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blish a Canon) as it was in the Beginning of Christianity. For the Books of the New Testa ment are all occasional Books, as Mr. WH ISTON it) has clearly shown, and not a Digest or System of Laws for the (u} governing the Church; and I add, were not join'd together in one Body or Collection, nor declared by any human Authority to be all Canonical, till the seventh Century, when the Controversy about the last Book of Canonical Scriptures, só calld, 5 (w) seems to have been brought to an End, as lays the Reverend Mr. John RICHARDSON, our most learned Defender of the Canon of the New Testament. They are Christian Books, and contain Proofs of Christianity from the Old Testament'; but contain Chriftianity itself no otherwise, than as explaining, illustrating, and confirming the Chriftianity taught in the Old Testament. They all seem, what (x) Grotius exprefly says of the Books of Luke, piously and faithfully written, and upon Subjects of great Concern to Salvation, and there'fore made CANONICAL by the Church. Which was plainly an accidental Event, and did befal those Books (9.) gradually, and after long Disputes about their Authority, and might have befél other pious Books, which tho’ deem'd
(t) Whifton's Efay on the Apostol. Conftitutions, p. 159-164. (u) See Hare's Sermon of Church Authority, p. 44. (w) Richardson's Canon of the New Testament vindicated againf Toland, p. 17.
(a) Grotti.Votum pro Pace, &c. Oper. Theologic. Tom. 3. .672, 673.
Ý Nye's Defence of :he Canon of the New Testam. p. 122. Floyer's Pref. to the Prophecies of Efdras, p. 3.
Scripture, and declared (2) Canonical by the Ancients, have been since rejected, as fpurious and Apocryphal. . It is also to be observed, that our Saviour, who affures us that he came to (a) fulfil the Low and the Prophets, and not to destroy the Religion of the Jews, (many of whom were, long before the Coming of CHRIST, deem'd (b) real Christians, and equally to believe the Gospel or Christianity, with those, who were converted by the Apostles) left nothing in Writing to establish his new Law, if it may be so callid, which was not properly a nero Law, but Judaism (c) explain'd, and set in a due Light. In a Word, Jews and Christians had one and the same Canon of Scripture ; nor would there have been any Difference between them, or any Separation of the latter from the former, with whom they continued many Years in Communion after the Death of Jesus, if the Jews had understood the spiritual Sense of their own Books, as declared and explain'd to them by the Apostles, who (d) said none other Things to any, than those which the Prophets and Moses did say.
In fine, Jesus and his Apostles do frequently and emphatically style the Books of the old Testament the Scriptures, and refer Men to them as their Rule and Canon. And St. PAUL
(a) Matt. 5, 17. Simon, Supplement aux Ceremonies des Juifs, p. 28, 29.
fo) Gal. 3. 8. Heb. II. See Barlow's Remains, p. 577-593. f) See Selden de Synedriis, d. 1. c. 8. p. 225. laí Acts 26. 22.
fays, (e) After the Christian] Way, which ye call Herely, to worship I the God of my Fathers, believing all Things that are written in the Law and the Prophets. But no new Books are declared by them to have that Character z nor was there (f) any new Canon of Scripture, or any Collection of Books of Scripture made, whether of Golpels or Epille's, during the Lives of the Apostles; as is confess’d by the Knowing in Antiquity, and particularly by our learned GRABE and Mill, who, latest of all Authors, have search’d, and That with great diligence, into these Matters. And if Jesus and his Apoftles have declared no Books to be Canonical, I would ask, who did, or could afterwards declare, or make any Books Canonical? If it had been deem'd proper, and suited to the State of Christianity, to have given or declared a new Canon or Digest of Laws, it should seem most proper to have been done by Jesus, or his Apoftles, and not left to any after them to do ; but especially not left to be settled long after their Times by weak, fallible, factious, and interested Men, who were disputing with one another about the Genuinness of all Books bearing the Names of the Apostles, and contending with one another about the Authority of very different Books. :;. · I have given these fhort Hints concerning the true Canon of Scripture of Christians, not only as they relate to my Argument, but as Confide
(e) Ads 24. 14.
(f) Grabe Spicil. Sec. 1. p. 320. Milii Proleg. ad Nov. Teftam. p. 23.
rations, which put an End to all the Controverlies of Christians about the Canon of Scripe'. ture; and which may also serve to set Mr.Whis TON right; who (8) adds, to the present Books of the New Testament, the two Epifles of CLEMENT to the Corinthians ; (both which, after having been wholly lost for several hun'dred Years, were but lately recover'd, and That but imperfectly, especially the second); the Do&trine of the Apostles; (a Book lost, which Mr. W. (6) imagined he had found); the Epistle of BARNABAS; the Pastor of Her-' : MAS; the (i) second Book of Apocryphal EsDRAS; the Epiftle of POLICARP; and the larger Epistles of IGNATIUS; and who seeing plainly, that the Books of the New Testament are no System of Laws for the governing the Church, nor design'd for that Purpose; and being persuaded that Christians ought to have fuch a System, sets up that manifestly forged modern Book of the Apoftolick Constitutions, as containing that System, tho' (k) doubtful as to the Antiquity of some of its Parts, interpolated in others, and first publiß'd in the Middle of the fourth Century. Which Book has, indeed, the Form of a Law, and pretends itself to be the Work of all the Apostles allembled together at Jerusalem; tho' (i) inconsistent
(8) Whiston's Elay on the Apoftol. Corfit. p. 33, 34, 67, 68, 71.
í ój Ib. Advertisement before Primitive Christianity.
() Whiston's Ejay on Apoft. Conf. p. 233-236. 122, 673, &c. 150.
(2) Smalbroke's pretended · Authority of the Apofiol. Conftitut. confused.
in many Instances with the Books of the New Testament, and That by the Confession of Mr. Whiston (m) himself, who says that such Inconsistency is a plain Character, peculi liar to the original and genuine Records of Christianity, and at least equally true of the four Gospels, and the rest of our present canonical Books, compared with one another; and that the Constitutions are the most authentick and exact of the two, and that the present Copies of the Gospels are rather to be corrected by them than the contrary.
I will finish this Article with observing, that tho' Mr. WHISTON calls the Books of the New Testament Scriptures and Canonical Scriptures, according to the common Language of Christians ; yet it is apparent, that he cannot think them divinely inspired Books, or of that Authority, which other Christians do. For he not only thinks them to have been (n) alter'd and changed, and to be contradictory to one another ; but that the Authors themselves may be (0) mistaken ; and he corrects a Disorder of Luke's making ; wherein he acts like the famous JURIEU, who (o) puts in Order, as he says, those Things, which the Holy
(m) Whiston's St. Clement, and St. Irenæus's Vind. of the Apoft. Conft. p. 5. See also Proceedings in Convoc. p. 103.
in) Whiston's Proceedings in Conv. p. 87, 99. Id. Pref: to Letter to Earl of Nott. p. 35, 36. Id. Chron. and Harmony, p. 100. Id. St. Clement and St. Irenæus's Vind. &c. p. 5. Id. Proceed. in Conv. p. 103. Id. Elay towards restor. &c. p. 119. and Elay on Revelations, p. 129, 135.
(0) Id. Chron. and Hars. p. 100.