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of Augustine's excellent observations, in his arguments with the Manichees, concerning the genuineness and integrity of the books of the New Testament. I shall transcribe from him here a few lines only, which are very much to the present purpose. We know the writings of the 'apostles, says he, as we know the words of Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Varro, and others; and as we know the writings of divers ecclesiastical authors: forasmuch as they have the testimony of cotemporaries, and of those who have lived in succeeding ages.

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Upon the whole, the writings of the apostles and evangelists are received, as the works of other eminent men of antiquity are, upon the ground of general consent and testimony. Nor does the canon of the scriptures of the New Testament owe its establishment to the decisions of councils but it is the judgment of christian people in general: and so far as we are able to perceive, after a long and careful examination, it is a right and reasonable judgment. And it may induce us to believe, that if men were encouraged to think freely, in other matters also, and to judge for themselves, according to evidence, and proper assistances were afforded them, it would not be at all detrimental to the interests either of truth or virtue.

CHAP. IV.

OF THE TIME OF WRITING THE GOSPELS, ESPECIALLY THE FIRST THREE.

SECT. I.

That the Gospels are not mentioned, nor referred to, in the Epistles of the New Testament.

EUSEBIUS intimates, that many before him supposed, that when Paul in his epistle speaks of his own gospel, he

a

See Vol. iii. p. 422-424.

* Ib. p. 423, 424.

Φασι δε, ώς αρα το κατ' αυτόν ευαγγελιο μνημονεύειν ὁ Παυλος ειωθεν, ὁπηνικα ὡς περι ίδια τινος ευαγγελιο γραφων ελεγε, κατα το ευαγγέλιον με. Eus. H. E. 1. 3. c. 4. p. 73. D.

intended the gospel according to Luke. We will therefore consider those texts, and some others of a like kind.

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I. St. Paul says, Rom. ii. 16—" in the day, when God shall judge the secrets of men, according to my gospel." The same phrase occurs again, ch. xvi. 25; and 2 Tim. ii. 8," Remember, that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead, according to my gospel." In all which places, I apprehend, it must be reasonable to understand, not any written gospel, or history of Jesus Christ: but the doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which had been preached by Paul. Which is also the opinion of learned modern interpreters in general.

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d

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II. 2 Cor. viii. 18, " And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel, throughout all the churches." Many have been of opinion, that St. Luke is the brother here intended, and that St. Paul refers to Luke's written gospel. This is said to be Origen's interpretation; but I do not clearly perceive it. Origen, speaking of the four gospels, says: The third is that according to Luke, the gospel commended by Paul.' say, I do not perceive it to be clear, that Origen had an eye to 2 Cor. viii. 18. He might intend Rom. ii. 16, or xvi. 25, or 2 Tim. ii. 8. However, whether it be Origen's interpretation of that text or not, it is Jerom's; who, writing the history of St. Luke in his book of Illustrious Men, says: He wrote a gospel of which Paul makes mention, saying: "And we have sent with him the brother, whose 'praise is in the gospel." To the same purposef also in the prologue to his Commentary upon St. Matthew : and likewise in his Commentary upon the epistle to Philemon.

Chrysostom upon the place speaks after this manner. And who is this brother? Some say, Luke: and think, that the apostle refers to the history written by him. 'Others say Barnabas. For by gospel he intends unwritten

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bWho this brother was, is much contested. Antiquity has carried it for St. Luke, worthy of praise in all the churches for the gospel which he wrote. The authority of this assertion seems to rest upon the words of Origen, the interpolated Ignatius, and St. Jerom.' So Whitby upon the place. Παύλε επαινέμενον ευαγγελιον. Ap.

• Και τρίτον το κατα Λεκαν, το ύπο

Eus. 1. 6. cap. 25. p. 226. C.

d See Vol. ii. p. 494.

f lb. num. viii. 3.

e See Vol. iv. ch. cxiv. num. vii. 1. 8 De quo [Lucâ] et in alio loco;

Misi, inquit, cum illo fratrem, cujus laus est in evangelio per omnes ecclesias― &c. In Philem. T. IV. P. I. p. 454.

h Και τις ετος εσιν ὁ αδελφος ; τινες μεν τον Λεκαν. Και φασι, δια την ἱσοριαν ήνπερ εγραψε. Τινες δε τον Βαρναβαν. Και γαρ το αγραφον κηρυγμα ευαγγέλιον καλει. In 2 Epist. ad Corinth. hom. 18. tom. X.

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preaching.' Theophylact speaks to the like purpose. Theodoret by the brother understood Barnabas: and therefore could not think of any written gospel, no such work having been ascribed to him by the ancients. Ecumenius's note is to this purpose. Many say, this bro'ther is Luke, mentioned upon account of the gospel composed by him. Many others suppose him to be Barnabas: for, as they say, unwritten preaching is here called gospel; which is the more likely for what follows is more suitable to Barnabas: "whose praise is in the gospel." As much as to say, he not only preaches, but commendably.' And afterwards. The meaning is, he 'not only evangelizeth, and preacheth the gospel admira'bly, and commendably, but he has been chosen to travel ' with us, with this grace also.' Such are the sentiments of the ancients upon this text.

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Let us now observe the interpretations of some judicious moderns.

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Grotius says: 'Hem does not dislike the opinion of those, who think Luke to be here intended: but he does not think, that St. Paul refers to his book of the gospel, which 'was not then published: but to the office of an evangelist, which Luke had discharged in several places, or to his preaching the gospel. And he says, that in the gospel may be the same as by the gospel. So in ch. x. 14, of the same epistle.'

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Estius likewise says, that" by gospel is to be understood preaching not St. Luke's gospel, which we are not certain was then published.

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Le Clerc, in his French Testament, translates in this manner: "One of our brethren, who is praised on account of the gospel in all the churches." And in his notes says, that generally St. Luke is here supposed to be intended: though St. Paul refers rather to his preaching the gospel, 'than to the book of his gospel.'

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Beausobre translates after this manner :

i In loc. p. 389.

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k Τον τρισμακάριον Βαρνάβαν τα ειρημένα χαρακτηρίζει. Theod. in loc. T. III. p. 243.

Ecum. in loc. Tom. I. p. 663.

m Mihi non displicet sententia illorum, qui hic Lucam designari putant : ita tamen ut per evangelium non intelligatur liber, qui tunc editus nondum erat, sed ipsum munus evangelistæ, quod Lucas Pauli vice multis in locis fideliter obierat, sive ipsa evangelii prædicatio, ut infra, x. 14. εv in,' pro dia per.' Grot. ad 2 Cor. viii. 18.

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Neque enim Paulus de evangelio scripto loquitur, sed,

quo modo passim alibi, de evangelio prædicato. Deinde nec satis constat, evangelium Lucæ tum editum fuisse, quando Paulus hanc epistolam scripsit.

Est. in loc.

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brethren, who has made himself famous in all the churches by [preaching] the gospel." And says in his notes: that ' though some of the ancients have hereby understood St. Luke, and his gospel; he thinks, that by the gospel is 'here intended the preaching of the gospel. Besides, there is no proof, that St. Luke had as yet written his gospel: 'it is rather reasonable to think, he had not.'

Upon the whole, though we cannot certainly say, who is the brother, whose praise was in the gospel: whether Luke, or Barnabas, or Silas, or Apollos: I presume we are sufficiently warranted to say, that by gospel is here intended neither the gospel according to Luke, nor any other written gospel whatever.

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III. I Tim. vi. 20, "O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust." Hereby some have been disposed to understand a written gospel: but they are not favoured by the best interpreters. Grotius says, that this deposit, or thing committed to Timothy's trust, is the sacred doctrine of the gospel. Estius says the same. I place below likewise a part of Beza's note upon this text. Le Clerc in his notes explains it thus: The doctrine of the gospel, which was a sacred deposit, committed by the apostles to their disciples.' And Beausobre thus: The 'doctrine, which had been committed to, or entrusted with Timothy.' See also, says he, 1 Tim. i. 18, and 2 Tim. ii. 2. I say no more to this text.

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IV. 2 Tim. i. 13, 14, “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me-That good thing, which was committed unto thee, keep by the Holy Ghost, which dwelleth in us."

Hereby some may understand a written gospel, or history of Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, I think, I need not add much here to what has been already said of the preceding text, it being nearly parallel. The meaning of both is much the same. Timothy is here again exhorted, and required, to retain with all fidelity those sound words, that pure doctrine of the gospel, which he had been taught by the apostle, and had often heard from him,

• Vid. Est. in 2 Cor. viii. 18. et Beausobr. in ver. 18, et 23.

P Vocat autem depositum sacram doctrinam evangelii, quia et res est alterius, nempe Christi, et pastoribus fida ejus custodia incumbit. Grot. ad 1 Tim. vi. 20. Iterum serio et graviter admonet, ut acceptam fidei doctrinam conservet, ne locum relinquat ulli peregrino dogmati. Nomine depositi metaphorice significatur doctrina successori credita ac per manus tradita. Est. in loc. Depositum proculdubio vocat sanam evangelii doctrinam, et dona quæcumque ad ecclesiæ ædificationem, veluti depositum, Deus commiserat Timotheo. Bez. in loc.

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It does not appear, then, that there are in the apostolical epistles of the New Testament, any references to written gospels, or histories of Jesus Christ. I do not say this is a proof, that no such histories were then written. Nevertheless, I have thought it not improper to show, that there is no notice taken of any such histories in these epistles: and therefore they cannot afford any evidence of their being then written and published. I think likewise, that it was not amiss to embrace this occasion to show the true meaning of some texts, which have been often misinterpreted.

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SECT. II.

Observations of ancient christian writers, leading to the true time when the gospels were written.

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1. SAYS Irenæus, as formerly a quoted, Forb we have not ' received the knowledge of the way of our salvation from any others, than those, by whom the gospel has been brought to us: which gospel they first preached, and afterwards by the will of God committed to writing, that 'for time to come it might be the foundation and pillar of our faith. Nor may any say, that they preached before they had a complete knowledge of the doctrine of the 'gospel. For after that our Lord rose from the dead, and they [the apostles] were endowed from above with the power of the Holy Ghost coming down upon them, they ' received a perfect knowledge of all things. They then 'went forth to all the ends of the earth, declaring to men 'the blessing of heavenly peace, having all of them, and 'every one alike, the gospel of God.'

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He then proceeds to speak of the gospels of the four evangelists severally, and the times and occasions of writ

a See Vol. ii. p. 169.

b Non enim per alios dispositionem salutis nostræ cognovimus, quam per eos, per quos evangelium pervenit ad nos: quod quidem tunc præconiaverunt, postea vero per Dei voluntatem in scripturis nobis tradiderunt, fundamentum et columnam fidei nostræ futurum. Nec enim fas est dicere, quoniam ante prædicaverunt, quam perfectam haberent agnitionem, sicut quidam audent dicere, gloriantes, emendatores se esse apostolorum. Postea enim quam surrexit Dominus noster a mortuis, et induti sunt supervenientis Spiritûs Sancti virtutem ex alto, de omnibus adimpleti sunt, et habuerant perfectam agnitionem, exierunt in fines terræ, ea quæ a Deo nobis bona sunt evangelizantes, et cœlestem pacem hominibus annunciantes; qui quidem et omnes pariter et singuli eorum habentes evangelium Dei-Iren. Adv. Hær. 1. 3. cap. 1.

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