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NEW AND FULL
THE CANONICAL AUTHORITY
TO WHICH IS SUBJOINED
A VINDICATION OF THE FORMER PART
ST. MATTHEW'S GOSPEL,
FROM MR. WHISTON'S CHARGE OF DISLOCATIONS.
IN THREE VOLUMES.
THE REV. JEREMIAH JONES,
AT THE CLARENDON PRESS.
SETTLING THE CANON
A general Differtation, or Proof, concerning the Canonical Authority of the Four Gofpels.
EFORE I enter upon the proof of the Canonical autho
rity of each of the Gospels in particular, it will be very ferviceable to my design to observe and shew, that the primitive Chriftians have expressly acknowledged only four Gospels; and thofe four Gofpels which we now receive under the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, to be genuine and Canonical. I fhall produce the feveral teftimonies which I have obferved, according to the order of time in which the writers lived; and among these it will not be amifs to place,
1. St. JOHN.
I. The teftimony of St. John the Apostle; concerning whom we are told by Eufebius a, That when the three Gospels (of Matthew, Mark, and Luke) were published and known to every body, St. John at length faw them, approved them, and confirmed the truth of them; but (owned) that they were defective as to the account of those things which were done by our Saviour at the beginning of his miniftry-For which reafon John, being defired by his friends, supplied the defects of the three others, and wrote his Gofpel to inform us of that time, and the things which were done by our Saviour in it, viz. before the imprisonment of John the Baptift. Now hence it follows;
1. That before St. John wrote his Gospel, the Christians of that firft age owned and received no other than the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke; although it is certain there were many other falfe Gofpels extant at that time, as I have elsewhere proved.
2. That these three were universally received and approved. 3. That they were with just reason fo approved, because St. John alfo did approve them.
Befides this teftimony of Eufebius, I find in a very old book, intitled, Μαρτύριον Τιμοθέω τοῦ ̓Αποτόλυ, i. e. The Martyrdom of Timothy the Apostle, of which we have an extract in Photius (Cod. ccliv.); "That when, after the death of Domitian, "Nerva became Emperor, John returned to Ephesus, from "which place he had been banished by Domitian, he then "took the feveral books which contained the hiftory of our "Saviour's fufferings and miracles and doctrines, and were "now tranflated into feveral different languages, reviewed "them, rectified them, and joined himself to the former three Evangelifts (by writing his Gofpel)." I confefs I cannot
Τῶν προαναγραφέντων τριῶν εἰς πώντας ἤδη καὶ εἰς αὐτὸν Σξαδεδον μένων, ἀποδέξασθαι μὲν φασὶν ἀτή θειαν αὐτοῖς ἐπιμαρτυρήσαντα μότὴν δὲ ἄρα λείπεθαι τῇ γραφῇ τὴν περὶ τῶν ἐν πρώτοις καὶ καθ ̓ ἀρχὴν τῷ κηρύγματος ὑπὸ τοῦ Χρισᾶ πεπραγμένων διήγησιν -- Παρακληθέντα δὴ
ἐν τούτων ἕνεκα φησὶ τὸν ἀπόσυλον Ιωάννην, τὸν ὑπὸ τῶν προτέρων εὐας, γελισῶν παρασιωπηθέντα χρόνον, καὶ τὰ κατὰ τῦτον πεπραγμένα τῷ Σως τῆρι (ταῦτα δ ̓ ἦν τὰ πρὸ τῆς τοῦ Βαπτιςοῦ καθείρξεως) τῷ κατ ̓ αὐτὸν εὐαγγελίῳ παραδέναι, Hift. Eccl 1. 3. C. 24.
certainly determine the age of this book. There is a book extant, intitled The Martyrdom of Timothy, which goes under the name of Polycrates, a Bishop of Ephefus, in the latter end of the fecond century, out of which Photius feems to have made this extract; and if this be true, it makes the history more valid: but it must be owned that several learned men are of opinion this book was not made by Polycrates, into which it is not my business here to enquire.
2. St. POLYCARP.
II. The testimony of Polycarp, who, according to Irenæus, was not only inftructed by the Apoftles, and acquainted with many who had feen Chrift, but placed by the Apostles in Afia, as Bishop of Smyrna, whom, fays he, I also faw when I was young. He (Polycarp) exprefsly mentions together our four Gofpels and their authors thus: "It was not without " reason that the Evangelifts began their Gofpels different "ways; though the defign of each of them was the fame. "Matthew, because he wrote to the Hebrews, began with the "genealogy of Chrift, that he might evidence Chrift to be "descended of that family, which all the Prophets had foretold "he should defcend from. John being fixed among the "Ephefians, who as Gentiles were ignorant of the law, be
gan his Gofpel with an account of the cause of our redemp❝tion, viz. that God would have his Son become incarnate
• Καὶ Πολύκαρπος δὲ οὐ μόνον ὑπὸ ἀποςόλων μαθητευθείς, καὶ συναναγραφείς πολλοῖς τοῖς τὸν Χρισὸν ἑωρακόσιν, ἀλλὰ καὶ ὑπὸ ἀποσόλων καταταθεὶς εἰς τὴν ̓Ασίαν ἐν τῇ ἐν Σμύρνη ἐκκλησίᾳ ἐπίσκοπος, ὃν καὶ ἡμεῖς ἑωράκαμεν ἐν τῇ πρώτῃ ἡμῶν
nig. Adv. Hærei. 1. 3. c. 3. et apud Eufeb. 1. 4. c. 14.
Rationabiliter Evangelifta principiis diverfis utuntur, quamvis una eademque evangelizandi eorum probetur intentio. Matthæus, ut Hebræis fcribens, genealogiæ Christi ordinem texuit, ut oftenderet ab ea Chriftum defcendiffe progenie, de
qua eum nafciturum univerfi Pro
phetæ cecinerant. Joannes autem ad Ephefum conftitutus, qui legem tanquam ex Gentibus ignorabant, a caufa noftræ redemptionis Evange. lii sumpfit exordium; quæ caufa ex eo apparet, quod filium fuum Deus
pro noftra falute voluit incarnari.
Lucas vero a Zachariæ facerdotio incipit, ut ejus filii miraculo nativitatis, et tanti prædicatoris officio, Divinitatem Chrifti gentibus declararet. Unde et Marcus antiqua prophetici myfterii competentia adventui Chrifti declarat, ut non nova, fed antiquitus prolata ejus Prædicatio probaretur.