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CREDIBILITY OF THE GOSPEL HISTORY.
IN the epistle of St. Barnabas there is not any express mention made of any book of the New Testament: but there are in it some expressions which are in St. Matthew's gospel, and are introduced with this mark of quotation : " it is written." There are in it likewise the exact words of several other texts of the New Testament: and there
be thought to be allusions to some others. Nevertheless, I think it cannot be said with certainty, that he referred to any books of the New Testament: nor ought it to be reckoned strange, that a man, who was contemporary with the apostles, and had the same spirit and like gifts with them, if he was not an apostle himself
, should often reason and argue like them, without quoting their writings, or referring to them.
Ch. II. Clementa bishop of Rome wrote an epistle in the
Says Mr. Jortin, in the first volume of his remarks on Ecclesiastical Hisa' tory, p. 336, 337. Clemens epist. 1. 4. says • Ala Gylov o marne ruwv
Iakwß anedpa,—“ propter æmulationem pater noster Jacobus aufugit." • Whence, I find, some persons have lately discovered and concluded, that • Clemens was a Jew. I think the passage will not prove it. Theophilus ad • Autol. iii. 23.-τα γραμματα τα θεια νομα, τα δια Μωσεως ημιν δεδομενο. • The law was given to us, says Theophilus; and yet he had been converted
name of the church over which he presided, to the church of Corinth. In his epistle, the first epistle to the Corinthians is quoted in this manner: • Take into your hands the
epistle of the blessed Paul the apostle. What did he at • first write unto you in the beginning of the gospel? Verily • he did by the Spirit admonish you concerning himself, . and Cephas, and Apollos, because that even then you did • form parties. Compare 1 Cor. i. 12. He has likewise passages out of the epistle to the Romans, and some other of the apostolical epistles. And passages of the gospels of St. Matthew, and St. Luke, though without naming the evangelists, are introduced in this respectful manner : And • let us do, as it is written.For thus saith the Holy Spi• rit,-Especially remembering the words of the Lord Jesus
which he spake.'-Again : "Remember the words of the Lord Jesus.”—Or, as it is expressed, p. 46, . The first
epistle to the Corinthians is expressly ascribed by Clement to Paul. Words of our blessed Lord, found in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, are recommended with a • high degree of respect, but without the names of the
evangelists.' And, I think, there are in bim allusions to the Acts of the Apostles, the epistle to the Romans, the first and second to the Corinthians, and to divers other of the epistles of the New Testament.
Ch. III. In the Fragment, by some supposed to be Clement's, but more probably written about the middle of the third century, no evangelist is expressly named, or epistle of the New Testament expressly cited. But the gospels are several times quoted, with such terms as these : He • himself says: The Lord says: Thus saith the Lord : An
• from paganism to christianity. Therefore when any ancient christian writers • use such expressions, it is not to be inferred thence, with any kind of certainty, that they were of Jewish extraction, or even that they had been pro
selytes to judaism. Indeed nothing is more natural, than for christians to • speak as if they were Abraham's children ; as if the law and the prophets, . and the patriarchs, belonged to them as well as to the Jews. In ihe same • book, sect. 24. Theophilus says: Αβρααμ ο πατριαρχης ημων. 94. Δαυιδ ο
προγονος ημων. 27. Αβρααμ το προπατορος ημων.' I suppose Mr. Jortin may intend Mr. Bower, in his History of the Popes, Vol. i. p. 15. A learned foreigner likewise has very lately argued, that Clement of Rome was a man of Jewish extraction-cum Clemens fuerit origine Judæus, ut probabile est ex eo, quod • Jacobum patrem nostrum' appellans, se iis adjungere videatur, quorum pater fuit Jacob secundum carnem. H. Venem. Ep. secund. de genuitate epistolar. Clement. a Cl. Wetsten. publicat. p. 76. "I think, that Mr. Jortin has well confuted that argument : nevertheless I shall here refer to some passages, formerly quoted from Lactantius, a convert from Gentilism, where he speaks of the Jewish people, as the ancestors of christians. See vol. üi. ch. lxv, num. iv, 1.
other scripture says :' and • The Lord saith in the gospel.' And there seem to be references to some of the epistles of the New Testament.
Ch. IV. Hermas has no express quotations of the books of the New Testament: nor was it suitable to the design of his work to make such quotations : or, as it is expressed, p. 65, · Here are certainly many allusions to our genuine
books of the New Testament, though they are not cited. • The reason is, that it was not suitable to the nature of the ' work to quote books.' There seem to be in him allusions to several parts of the New Testament, particularly the gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John; the Acts; the epistle to the Romans; the first to the Corintbians; the epistle to the Ephesians; the epistle of James ; and the book of the Revelation.
Ch. V. Ignatius was bishop of Antioch in Syria, in the latter part of the first, and the beginning of the second century. He was sent prisoner from Antioch to Rome, where he suffered martyrdom in the year 107, or soon after. In his journey to Rome he wrote several letters, which are generally received as his; some of them were written whilst he was at Smyrna, the others at Troas. He expressly ascribes the epistle to the Ephesians to St. Paul. For, writing to them, he says: Ye are the “ symmystæ of
Paul,” or, ye are the companions of Paul in the mysteries of the gospel, wbo throughout all his epistle makes men* tion of you in Christ Jesus.' 'And in the same letter he bas several passages out of St. Paul's epistle to the Ephesians : and besides, there are in him plain allusions or references to the gospels of St. Matthew and St. John, and a probable allusion to St. Luke's. There seem likewise to be allusions to the Acts of the Apostles ; the epistle to the Romans; the first and second to the Corinthians; the Galatians; Philippians; first to the Thessalonians; the second to Timothy; the first epistle of St. Peter ; the first and third epistles of St. John.
Moreover, he has expressions, denoting a collection of gospels, and apostolical epistles. So say Grabe, Mill, and Le Clerc : and I think it proper now to transcribeb Mill, to whom I formerly referred only.
• Verum et aliquanto ante Marcionem, et quidem ante annum Christi xciv. exstabat Codex Apostolicus. Quod enim a nemine, quod quidem sciam, huc usque observatum fuit, monuit nos olim clarissimus Grabius, Ignatium utriusque hujus canonis mentionem fecisse, in epistolâ ad Philadelphicos. Προσφυγων των ευαγγελιω, κ. λ. nempe per ευαγγελιον Codicem Evangelicum, per atosoles Codicem Epistolicum, per prophetas Canonem V. T. OUVEKOOXews intelligendum existimat. Id quod nobis postea persuasissimum erat,
In the epistle to the Philadelphians are these expressions : • Fleeing to the gospel as the flesh of Jesus, and to the • apostles as the presbytery of the church. Let us also love • the prophets.'
Here by gospel’ is meant the book, or code, or volume of the gospels : by the apostles' the volume or collection of their epistles : as by · the prophets’ are meant the volume or canon of the Old Testament:
Again: to the church at Smyrna : Whom neither the ' prophecies, nor the law of Moses have persuaded ; nor yet the gospel even to this day.'
Here the gospel' seems to be used for the volume of the New Testament in general, consisting of gospels and epistles.
These passages, especially that from the epistle to the Philadelphians, seem to show, that in the time of Ignatius, and probably some while before, there were two codes or collections, one of the four gospels, another of epistles: but how full this last code was, we cannot now determine with certainty.
It should be observed, that in one place of these epistles of Ignatius there has been supposed to be a reference to the gospel according to the Hebrews : nevertheless, we rather think, that the passage contains only a loose quotation of some words of St. Luke's gospel ; as has been at large argued near the end of the chapter of Ignatius.
Ch. VI. The next writer is Polycarp, a disciple of St. John, and appointed bishop of the church of Sinyrna by him, if not also by some other apostles joining with him : and it may be supposed, that he had conversed with several, who had seen the Lord. He had the honour to die a martyr for Christ at Smyrna, in the year 148, as some think, or in 166 or 169, as others think. But his epistle to the Philippians, the only thing remaining and certainly known to be bis, seems to have been written in 108. In which he quotes to these Philippians themselves the epistle written by Paul to them, and, as I apprehend, the two epistles to the Thessalonians, in the same country of Macedonia, saying : • For neither I, nor any one like me, can come up to etiam ex aliis Ignatii locis. Nonnunquam enim Evangelii vocem strictius sumere videtur pro Codice Evangelico. Vid. Epist. ad Smyrn. sect. 7. et Ep. ad Philad. sect. 9. Tum vero alias laxiori significatu Evangelium apud eum pro canone integro N. T. acceptum videmus : ubi simul memorat legem Mosis, prophetias, et evangelium. Vid. Ep. ad Smyrn. sect. 5. Quod si vero res ita se habet, Canon Epistolicus mediocri temporis intervallo præcesserit, necesse est, epistolas Ignatianas: ideoque et prodierit sub annum forte æræ vulgaris cx. sive etiam aliquanto ante. Mill. Proleg. n. 198, 199.
4 the wisdom of the blessed and renowned Paul, who, when • absent, wrote to you letters : into which, if you look, you • will be able to edify yourselves in the faith, which has • been delivered unto you.' In another following chapter he speaks again as plainly as here of the apostle Paul's having written to them. No book of the New Testament is quoted by Polycarp expressly, and by name : however here are quotations of passages of the first epistle to the Corinthians, the epistle to the Ephesians, the epistle to the Philippians, and the two epistles to the Thessalonians. Words of our Lord found in St. Matthew's and St. Luke's gospels, are quoted as spoken by him : and beside these, there are references, which may be reckoned undoubted, to the Acts of the Apostles, the epistle to the Romans, the first and second to the Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, first and second to Timothy, the first of St. Peter, the first of St. John, and a probable reference to the epistle to the Hebrews. And the many exhortations, delivered in the words of Christ, and his apostles, in a short letter, are a convincing evidence of the respect which christians then bad for these books, and that they were deeply engraved in their memories.
Ch. VII. The next chapter has the relation of Polycarp's martyrdom, and general observations upon the testimony of the apostolical fathers. Some of them i here recite again, and make some additions.
Obs. 1. Barnabas has many more passages out of the Old Testament than the New ; which may be reckoned owing to the time and character of the writer. Moreover he argues chiefly with Jews.
Obs. 2. Clement bas more passages out of the Old Testament, and oftener alludes to it, than to the New : but yet he quotes this more than once, and often refers to it.
Obs. 3. Hermas quotes neither the Old nor the New Testament. The reason is, because he only relates his visions, and delivers precepts as received from angels.
Obs. 4. Ignatius has alluded much oftener to the New Testament than to the Old.
Obs. 5. Polycarp has alluded above twenty times to texts of the New Testament, or recited the very words of them, and scarce once refers to any passage of the Old Testament.
Obs. 6. In the writings of these apostolical fathers there is all the notice taken of the books of the New Testament, that could be expected. Barnabas, though so early a writer, appears to have been acquainted with the gospel of St.