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iii. 6-18, showing the superior excellence of the gospel covenant, or the dispensation by Christ, above the legal covenant, or the dispensation by Moses, useth the word testament, not only for the covenant itself, but likewise for the books in which it is contained. At least he does so in speaking of the legal covenant. For, representing the case of the unbelieving part of the Jewish people, he says, ver. 14. "Until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in reading the Old Testament."
It is no wonder therefore that this way of speaking has much prevailed among christians. Melito, bishop of Sardis, about the year 177, went into the east, to get an exact account of the books of the law and the prophets. In his letter to his friend Onesimus, giving an account of his journey, and reckoning up the books in their order, he calls them the ancient books, and the books of the Old Testament. Eusebius calls ita catalogue of the ac'knowledged scriptures of the Old Testament.' Our ecclesiastical historian elsewhere P speaks of the scriptures of the New Testament. I shall remind my readers of but one instance more. Cyril of Jerusalem, introducing his catalogue of scriptures received by the christian church, says: These things we are taught by the divinely-in'spired scriptures of the Old and New Testament.' Many other like examples occur in the preceding volumes of this work.
V. Instead of testament, Latin writers sometimes use the word instrument, denoting writing, charter, record. We find it several times in Tertullian, reckoned the most ancient Latin writer of the church now remaining. In a passage already cited he calls the gospels, or the New Testament in general, the evangelic instrument. And says; How large chasms Marcion has made in the epistle to the Romans, by leaving out what he pleases, may appear 'from our entire instrument;' or our unaltered copies of the New Testament, particularly of that epistle. Speaking of the shepherd of Hermas, he says, it was not reckoned
"Ετι δε και μαθειν την των παλαιων βιβλιων εβεληθης ακριβειαν. κ. λ. Ap. Euseb. 1. 4. c. 27. p. 148. D.
-Και ακριβως μαθων τα της παλαιας διαθήκης βιβλια. Ib. p. 149. A. • Ibid. p. 148. D. P See Vol. iv. p. 141. See Vol. ii. p. 273.
a The same, p. 172.
• Quantas autem foveas in istâ vel maxime epistolà [ad Romanos] Marcion fecerit, auferendo quæ voluit, de nostri Instrumenti integritate patebit. Adv. Marcion. 1. 5. cap. 13. p. 601.
Sed cederem tibi, si scriptura Pastoris-divino instrumento meruisset incidi De Pudicit. cap. 10. p. 727. A.
a part of the divine instrument: thereby meaning, as it seems, the New Testament: which passage was quoted by us formerly. He calls the law and the prophets the Jewish instruments that is, writings or scriptures.
speaks of the antiquity of the Jewish instruments or scriptures. He seems in one place to use the word instrument, as equivalent to scriptures, containing the doctrine of revelation, or the revealed will of God.
VI. Digest is another word used by Tertullian in speaking of the scriptures. Luke's digest,' he says, is often 'ascribed to Paul.' He calls the gospels, or the whole New Testament' our digest,' in allusion, as it seems, to some collection of the Roman laws digested into order. Those two passages were cited in the chapter of Tertullian. I now transcribe the latter below more at large, it having also the word instrument, as equivalent to the New Testament. He likewise calls the Jewish scriptures Sacred 'Digests.' He seems to use the word digest elsewhere, as equivalent to writing, or work in general.
I shall not take notice of any other general denominations of the sacred scriptures.
VII. My chief concern is with the New Testament, which, as is well known, consists of gospels, the Acts, and epistles. The only word that needs explanation is
Gospel is a translation of the Greek word evayyedov, the Latin word evangelium, which signifies any good message
" See Vol. ii. p. 303.
▾ Aut numquid non justi Judæi, et quibus pœnitentiâ non opus esset, habentes gubernacula disciplinæ et timoris instrumenta, legem et prophetas. De Pudicitiâ, Cap. 7. p. 722. B.
Primam instrumentis istis auctoritatem summa antiquitas vindicat. Apol. cap. 19. p. 19. B.
Sed quoniam edidimus, antiquissimis Judæorum instrumentis sectam istam esse suffultam. Apol. cap. 21. in. p. 20.
* Sed quo plenius et impressius tam ipsum, quam dispositiones ejus et voluntates adiremus, instrumentum adjecit literaturæ, si quis velit de Deo inquirere. Apol. cap. 18. p. 18. C. y See Vol. ii. p. 275.
See Vol. ii. p. 299.
Si vero apostoli quidem integrum evangelium contulerunt, de solâ convictûs inæqualitate reprehensi, Pseudapostoli autem veritatem eorum interpolârunt, et inde sunt nostra digesta; quod erit germanum illud apostolorum instrumentum, quod adulteros passum est? Adver. Marc. 1. 4. cap. 3. p. 504. B. b Sed homines gloriæ, ut diximus, et eloquentiæ solius libidinosi, si quid in sanctis offenderunt digestis, exinde regestum pro instituto curiositatis ad propria verterunt. Apol. cap. 47. p. 41. B.
Elegi ad compendium Varronis opera, qui rerum divinarum ex omnibus retro digestis commentatus, idoneum se nobis scopum exposuit. Ad Nation. 1. 2. cap. i. p. 64. C.
or tidings. In the New Testament the word denotes the doctrine of salvation, taught by Jesus Christ and his apostles: which indeed is gospel by way of eminence, as it is the best tidings that ever were published in this world. Says Theodoret upon Rom. i. 1, He calls it gospel, as it contains assurance of many good things. For it proclaims peace with God, the overthrow of Satan, the remission of sins, the abolishing of death, the re'surrection of the dead, eternal life, and the kingdom of 6 heaven.'
Says St. Matthew, iv. 23, "And Jesus went all about Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom.” Και κμρύσσων το ευαγγελείην της Barthelas. Mark xiii. 10, " And the gospel [To evayyetion] must first be preached to all nations." Ch. xvi. 15, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." KnpuαTE TO EVаyyελOV. It is called "the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation," Eph. i. 13. And in like manner in other places.
But by gospel, when used by us concerning the writings of the evangelists, we mean the history of Christ's preaching and miracles. The word seems also to be so used by St. Mark, i. 1, "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ." Which may be understood and paraphrased thus: Here begins the history of the life and doctrine ' of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and Saviour of man'kind.'
St. Luke, referring to the book of his gospel, says, Acts i. 1, 2, "The former treatise have I made, O'Theophilus, of all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day in the which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen." But St. Luke, as it seems, there puts the principal part for the whole. For he has therein written also the history of our Lord's miraculous birth, and divers extraordinary events attending it and likewise the history
d Ευαγγέλιον δε το κήρυγμα προσηγόρευσεν, ὡς πολλων αγαθων ὑπισχνε μενον χορηγίαν. Ευαγγελίζεται γαρ τας τε Θες καταλλαγας, την τε διαβολε καταλυσιν, των ἁμαρτημάτων την αφεσιν, τε θανατε την παύλαν, των νεκρών την αναςασιν, την ζωην την αιωνιον, την βασιλειαν των ερανων. In ep. ad Rom. T. iii. p. 10. B.
* That is Dr. Clarke's paraphrase. But I am sensible it will not be allowed by all. Ecumenius says, that by Gospel Mark does not intend his own writing, but Christ's preaching. Μαρκος, Αρχη, φησι, το ευαγγελιο Ιησε Χριςε αλλα 8 την ἑαυτο συγγραφήν καλει ευαγγελιον, αλλα το τε Χρισε κηρυγ Ecum. in Act. Ap. He proceeds to say, that the faithful afterwards called the writings of the evangelists gospels, as truly containing the gospel, that is, the doctrine of Christ. See Vol. v. p. 155.
of the birth of John the Baptist, and divers circumstances of it, and his preaching and death.
In this sense the word gospel is frequently understood by us. A gospel is the history of Jesus Christ, his doctrine, miracles, resurrection and ascension: not excluding the history of his forerunner, who also is said to have preached the gospel, that is, the doctrine of the gospel, or the kingdom of God.
The gospel according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, is the history of Jesus Christ, as written by those several evangelists.
General observations upon the Canon of the New Testament.
I. THE canonical books of the New Testament received by christians in this part of the world, are the four gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, fourteen epistles of St. Paul, seven catholic epistles, and the Revelation.
II. There may be different canons of the New Testament among christians.
Indeed, there have been in former times, and still are, different sentiments among christians, concerning the number of books to be received as canonical. The canon of the Syrian churches is not the same as ours. Jerom tells us, that in his time some of the Latins rejected the epistle to the Hebrews, and some of the Greeks the book of the Revelation. From Chrysostom's works we perceive, that he did not receive the second epistle of St. Peter, nor the second and third of St. John, nor the epistle of St. Jude, nor the Revelation. And there is reason to think, that Theo
Mat. iii. 1, 2, "In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying: Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Compare Mark i. 4; Luke iii. 1, 2. And says St. Luke, iii. 18, "And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people.' Πολλα μεν εν και έτερα παρακαλων, ευηγγελίζετο τον λαον. Which may be literally rendered thus: "And exhorting many other like things, he evangelized [or preached the gospel to] the people."
a See Vol. iv. ch. ciii. and Vol. v. ch. cxlviii. num. ii. 9.
b Vol. iv. ch. cxiv. num. viii. 5.
d Vol. v. p. 19.
The same, ch. cxviii. num. x.
doret's canon likewise was much the same with Chrysostom's, and that of the churches in Syria. Nevertheless, we have observed in the course of this work, that about the same time the Egyptians, and the christians in divers other parts of the world, had the same number of canonical books that we have.
But to come nearer our own time, Calvin, Grotius, Le Clerc, Philip Limborch, and some other learned moderns, have not admitted the epistle to the Hebrews to have been written by St. Paul: though they were willing to allow it to be the work of an apostolical man, and a valuable part of sacred scripture. But I cannot say, that they were in the right in so doing. For it appears to me to have been a maxim of the ancient christians not to receive any doctrinal or preceptive writing, as of authority, unless it were known to be the work of an apostle. Consequently, the epistle to the Hebrews, if written by an apostolical man only, should not be esteemed canonical.
Grotius likewise supposed the second epistle ascribed to Peter, not to have been written by the apostle Simon Peter, but by Simeon, chosen bishop of Jerusalem after the death of James the Just, whose epistle we have. Which Simeon lived to the time of Trajan, when he was crucified for the name of Christ. Upon which I only observe at present, that if this Simeon be the writer of this epistle, it should not be a part of canonical scripture,
The same learned man supposeth the second and third Ego, ut Paulum agnoscam auctorem, adduci nequeo. Calvin. Argum. in ep. ad Hebr. f Facillima refutatu est postrema hæc opinio, ideo quod Paulinæ epistolæ inter se sint germanæ, pari charactere ac dicendi modo; hæc vero manifeste ab iis discrepet, selectiores habens voces Græcas, leniusque fluens, non autem fracta brevibus incisis, ac salebrosaGrot. Procem. in ep. ad Hebr.
8 Hist. Ec. Ann. 69. p. 455–461.
Prolegom. in ep. ad Hebr.
Hisce argumentis utrinque attente expensis, dicendum videtur, Paulum epistolæ hujus scriptorem non videri-Quis vero illius scriptor sit, incertum est. Alii eam Lucæ, alii Barnabæ, alii Clementi adscribunt-Interim divinam hujus epistolæ auctoritatem agnoscimus, multisque aliis, quas ab apostolis esse scriptas constat, ob argumenti quod tractat præstantiam, præferendam judicamus. Limb. ibid. Vid. et Calvin, ubi supra.
k Jam olim veterum multi credidere non esse apostoli Petri, argumento tum dictionis ab epistolâ priore multum diversæ, quod agnoscunt Eusebius et Hieronymus, tum quod multæ olim ecclesiæ hanc non receperint-Scriptorem autem hujus epistolæ arbitror esse Simeonem, sive Simonem, episcopum post Jacobi mortem Hierosolymis, ejusdemque Jacobi, cujus epistolam habemus, successorem et imitatorem-Unde etiam constat, vixisse hunc post excidium Hierosolymitanum ad Trajani tempora, et tunc pro nomine Christi crucifixum. Annot. in Ep. Petri secund.
1 Hanc epistolam, et eam quæ sequitur, non esse Johannis apostoli veterum multi jam olim crediderunt a quibus non dissentiunt Eusebius et Hieronymus.