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into the east, and was come to the place where those things were preached and done; I procured an accurate account of the books of the Old Testament, the catalogue of which 1 have here subjoined, and sent to you. Their names are these.’
From this assage I would conclude that there was then also a volliime or collection of books, called the New Testament, containing the writin s of apostles and apostolical men: but we cannot from ence infer the names, or the exact number of those books.
Melito then received the book of the Revelation, written by John; and, it is probable, many other books, collected together in a volume, called the New Testament; just as the books received by the Jews, as of divine authority, were called the Old Testament.
IN the time of Marcus Antoninus the christians sufl'ered extremely. ‘ In the seventeenth year of the reign of this ‘ prince,’ says Eusebius,a in his Ecclesiastical History, ‘ the persecution against us raged with great violence in ‘ several parts of the world, through the enmity of the ‘ people in the cities. What vast multitudes of martyrs ‘there were throughout the whole empire, may be well ‘ concluded from what happened in one nation.’ He means that of Gaul. The persecution was particularly violent at Lyons, and the country thereabout. At this time many of the christians of Lyons and Vienne suffered exquisite torments with the greatest patience. Pothinus bishop of Lyons, then above ninety years of age, was apprehended and carried before the Governor, by whom he was examined, and before whomahe made a generous confession of the christian religion; and having suffered man indignities, he was sent to prison, where e soon ex ire .
The time of the ersecution in Gaul has Iheen disputed. Some have argued or the year 167, thinking that Eusebius himself places it there in his Chronicle. Dodwellb has de
' L. v. Procem. b Diss. Cypr. xi. sect. 36.
fended this opinion with his usual diligence; but the general opinion is with Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History, who, as we have just shown, there places it in the seventeenth year of Marcus Antoninus, the I77th of our Lord. Supposing that Eusebius had in his Chronicle laced it in the seventh of that em eror, it would neverthe ess be more reasonable for us to a here to the account in the Ecclesiastical History, written after his Chronicle, where he gives the most particular account of the sufferings of these christians. But indeed Eusebius does not disagree with himself. The christians suffered, in one part or other of the world, from almost the beginning of Marcus’s reign to the end of it. In his Chronicle, Eusebius assigns the fourth persecution to the seventh year of that emperor, because some suffered then; and upon that occasion he makes a general mention of the martyrs of Lyons. But the persecution of the churches in Gaul did not happen until the seventeenth year of Marcus, as Eusebius particularly relates in his History. But I need not farther insist upon this point. The robability of the latter date of the persecution in Gaul as been so well argued, the invalidity of Dodwell’s arguments so fully shown, and every difliculty so fairly considered and removed by Pagic andd Tillemont, that, I think, every unprejudiced person must acquiesce. Nor do I expect that any learned man, who has a concern for his re utation as a critic, should attempt a direct confutation of this opinion.
The churches of Lyons and Vienne sent a relation of the sufferings of their martyrs to the churches of Asia and Phrygia. Eusebiuse placed this epistle entire in his collection of the acts of the martyrs; and he has likewise inserted a large part of it into his Ecclesiastical History, which we still have. It is the finest thin of'the kind in all antiquity. Some think it was composedIiy lrenteus.
There were at the same time some other letters despatched from these churches, concerning the affair of Montanism; which having had its rise about the car 171, began now to make a noise in the world. One 0 these letters
ikewise was sent to the brethren in Asia and Phrygia, another to Eleutherus bisho of Rome. These letters concerning the pretended prophecies of Montanus were written by the mart rsf themse ves, when in prison, before they were brought forth to be put to death. Of these letters
there is little remaining. But the former, containing) the relation of the sufferings of the martyrs at Lyons, eing for the main part of it preserved in Eusebius, will afford a considerable testimony to the books of the New Testament. And how valuable their testimony is, must be manifest from what has been said of them; and that they had for their bishop Pothiuus, who died aged above 90, in the year 177, and was born therefore about the year 87 of our Lord. We shall make frequent mention, in the course of this work, of this epistle of the churches of Vienne and Ly‘ons. I am now to exhibit only the testimony it affords to the books of the New Testament.
I. Luke i. 6. “ And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord, blameless.”
II. John xvi. 2. “Yea, the time cometh, that who
soever killeth you, will think that he doth God service.”
III. Acts vii. 60. “ And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.”
The EPISTLE, &c.
I. Of one of their brethren they say, ‘ Thatg though young, he equalled the character of old Zacharias: for he walked in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord, blameless.’
II. ‘Then was“ fulfilled that which was spoken by the Lord, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doth God service.’
III. ‘They prayedi for those from whom they suffered hard things, as did the perfect martyr Stephen: “ Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.” And if he
rayed for those that stoned
im, how much more ought we to pray for the brethren‘!’
I may be allowed to observe here, that the words of these Greek quotations, or references, are exactly conform
able to the Greek original in our coplies.
IV. Rom. 'viii'. 18. “For I, reckon, thatk the sufferings
he EPISTLE, 8w. IV. ‘ Showing indeed, thatl the sufferings of this
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N. T. of this present time are not worth to be compared with the gibry that shall be revealed in us.”
The EPIS'I‘LE, 8:0. present time are not worthy to be compared with the 10ry that shall be revealeg in us.’
Here is also an exact agreement in the very words, and it is remarkable.
V. ‘ Then they'“ came to Blandina; by whom Christ showed, that those things, which to men appear mean, 0bscure, and contemptible, are greatly honoured b God, for the love toward him shown in power, not boaste of in appearance.’ Here may be an allusion to 1 Cor. i. 25—31, and 2 Cor. v. 12.
VI. Eph. vi. 5. “ Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters ac
cording to the flesh.”
being in the form of God, far followers and imitators of thought it not robbery to be Christ: who bein in the equal with God.” form of God, thou t it not
robbery to be equa to God.’ One would be almost apt to think that these churches understood this text thus: ‘ did not think it a thing to be ‘ caught at, to be equal, or like to God.’ They seem at least to use the last words in that sense. They are not to their purpose in any other; unless we should suppose, that by reciting these they intend to refer to what there tbllows. But I think, that if the had not understood these words to be expressive of our Iord’s humility, they would have proceeded somewhat farther in that portion of scri ture; at least so far as to mention one branch of the humi ity of our blessed Lord.
N. T. The EPISTLE, 8w. VIII. 1 Tim. iii. 15. VIII. ‘ Attalus whop “ Which is the church of was always the pillar and
ound of the christians
the living God, the pillar
and ground of the truth.” See Rev. iii. 12. IX. 1 Tim. iv. 3, 4. “ — IX. ‘ Alcibiades lived up
commanding to abstain from on bread and water, in pri
XI. There is likewise,I think, [p. 160. B. C.] an allusion
to 1 Pet. iv. 14, 15, 16. But the
assage being somewhat
long, and this being a plain allusion to that epistle, I for
bear putting it down. N T
XII. I John iii. 16. “ Hereby erceive we the love of Go , because he laid down his life for us. Andt we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
XIII. Rev. xiv. 4. “ These are the v which follow the lamb whithersoever he goes.”
The EPISTLE, &c.
XII. ‘ Which he manifested by the abundance of his love, for“ he was willing in defence of the brethren to lay down even his own life.’
XIII. ‘ For he was indeed a enuine disci le of Christ,w foIlowing the amb whithersoever he goes.’
XIV. The passages alleged out of this epistle have a re