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ΜΕ Τ Η Ο D

FOR

SETTLING THE CANON

OF THE

NEW TESTAMENT.

PART IV.

A general Dissertation, or Proof, concerning the Canonical Au

thority of the Four Gospels.

D EFORE I enter upon the proof of the Canonical author

D rity of each of the Gospels in particular, it will be very ferviceable to my design to observe and shew, that the primi. tive Christians have expressly acknowledged only four Gospels; and those four Gospels which we now receive under the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, to be genuine and Canoni. cal. I shall produce the several testimonies which I have observed, according to the order of time in which the writers lived ; and among these it will not be amiss to place,

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1. St. John. I. The testimony of St. John the Apostle ; concerning whom we are told by Eusebius a, That when the three Gospels (of Matthew, Mark, and Luke) were published and known to every body, St. John at length saw 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 ministry- For which reason John, being desired by his friends, supplied the defects of the three others, and wrote his Gospel 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 first age owned and received no other than the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke; although it is certain there were many other false Gospels 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 also did approve them. . . . . .

Besides this testimony of Eusebius, I find in a very old book, intitled, Magtúgior Toyotés tū ’Amoróde, 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 several books which contained the history of our “ Saviour's sufferings and miracles and doctrines, and were

now translated into several different languages, reviewed “ them, rectified them, and joined himself to the former three

Evangelists (by writing his Gospel).” I confess I cannot

• Το προαναγραφέντων τριών εις τωντας ήδη και εις αυτόν Α/α δεδομένων, αποδέξασθαι μεν φασιν αλήθειαν αυτοίς επιμαρτυρήσαντα μότην δε άρα λείπεθαι τη γραφή την περί των εν πρώτοις και κατ' αρχήν τ8 xrpypatos ÝTIO TOŨ Xpusã mengay évwe oranoia- Ilapexanbevla on

έν τούτων ένεκα φησί τον απόσυλον 'Ιωάννην, τον υπο των προτέρων ευαίγελικών παρασιωπηθέντα χρόνον, και τα κατά τέτον πεπραγμένα τω Σωτήρι (ταύτα δ' ήν τα προ της του Βαπτικού καθείρξεως) το κατ' αυτόν guayyeniw napadãvar. Hift. Eccl. 1. 3. c. 24.

certainly

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 seems 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 Trenæus“, was not only instructed by the Apostles, and acquainted with many who had seen Christ, but placed by the Apostles in Afia, as Bishop of Smyrna, whom, says he, I also saw when I was young. He (Polycarp) expressly mentions together our four Gospels and their authors thus : " " It was not without 6 reason that the Evangelists began their Gospels different “ ways; though the design of each of them was the same. “ Matthew, because he wrote to the Hebrews, began with the “ genealogy of Christ, that he might evidence Christ to be « descended of that family, which all the Prophets had foretold “ he should descend from. John being fixed among the “ Ephesians, who as Gentiles were ignorant of the law, be“ gan his Gospel with an account of the cause of our redemp“tion, viz. that God would have his Son become incarnate

* Kai Ilonúxcerros où nóvou υπό αποστόλων μαθητευθείς, και συναναγραφείς πολλούς τους τον Χρισον έωρακόσιν, αλλά και υπό αποστόλων rataga Seis eis o'rin `Aviar iy o ły Zjuupon Euna noia EtioxOTOS, öv nai nueis iwpoérapev ev tñ nogórn var roxía. Adv. Härei. 1. 3. c. 3. et apud Euseb. l. 4. C. 14.

bRationabiliter Evangelistæ prin. cipiis diverfis utuntur, quamvis una eademque evangelizandi eorum probetur intentio. Matthæus, ut Hebrzis fcribens. genealogize Chrifti ordinem texuit, ut oftenderet ab ea Chriftum descendisle progenie, de

ie de

qua eum nasciturum universi Prophetæ cecinerant. Joannes autem ad Ephesum conftitutus, qui legem tanquam ex Gentibus ignorabant, a caufa noftræ redemptionis Evange. lii fumpfit exordium ; quæ causa ex eo apparet, quod filium suum Deus pro noftra falute voluit incarnari. Lucas vero a Zachariæ facerdotio incipit, ut ejus filii miraculo nativitatis, et tanti prædicatoris officio, Divinitatem Christi gentibus declararet. Unde et Marcus antiqua prophetici mysterii competentia adventui Chrilti declarat, ut non nova, sed antiquitus prolata ejus Prædicatio probaretur.

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мЕтноо

FOR

SETTLING THE CANON

OF THE

NEW TESTAMENT.

PART IV.

A general Dissertation, or Proof, concerning the Canonical Ax

thority of the Four Gospels.

DEFORE I enter upon the proof of the Canonical author D rity of each of the Gospels in particular, it will be very ferviceable to my design to observe and shew, that the primie tive Christians bave expressly acknowledged only four Gospels ; and those four Gospels which we now receive under the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, to be genuine and Canonia cal. I shall produce the several testimonies which I have observed, according to the order of time in which the writers lived; and among these it will not be amiss to place,

YOL. III.

1. St.

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