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and epistles as extant in our actual manuscripts, with the passages cited in Jerome, Eusebius, Tertullian, Irenæus, who had the very originals before them, or the immediate transcripts from those originals, and he will find almost the whole of our present canon.'
And this leads me to produce a noble pas. sage from Tertullian, who was born about fifty or sixty years after the death of St. John. In the thirty-sixth chapter of his work against Heresies, he says: “Come now, thou who wilt exercise thy curiosity more profitably in the business of thy salvation, run through the apostolical churches, in which the very chairs of the apostles still preside, in which their authentic”(some render it, original)“ letters are recited, sounding forth the voice and representing the countenance of each. Is Achaia near you, you have Corinth. If you are not far from Macedonia, you have Thessalonica. If you are near to Italy, you have Rome, from whence also our assertions will be readily confirmed.” What a striking appeal is this to the actual original Greek of the New Testament books, perhaps to the very autographs of the divine writers
* This proves that the sacred books have come down to us uncorrupted. The various readings in different manuscripts do not affect a single doctrine or precept of the Christian revelation.
or if the word, authenticæ, means only, wellattested—yet to the undoubted transcripts of the sacred epistles! When we connect this with the fine expression, that “the very chairs of the apostles still presided," as it were, “ in their respective churches,” and that their epistles when recited, “ sounded forth the voice and represented the countenance of each apostle;" and when we remember that those churches are appealed to, and those only, to which the sacred letters were addressed, and that the enquirer is sent by Tertullian (in the second century, be it noted) to examine the books for himself: I say, when we consider all this, and associate it in our minds with the critical revišion of ancient manuscripts made by Eusebius and Jerome in the fourth and fifth centuries, and our Codex Bezæ, Codex Alexandrinus, and Codex Vaticanus, probably of the very same date, now existing, I ask whether it does not present the proof of the authenticity of the New Testament before the very eyes, and reader it palpable almost to the senses of mankind ?
VI. I add that none of thESE EXTERNAL PROOFS OF AUTHENTICITY can be adduced for the apocryphal books of the New Testament;
which exhibit, indeed, every internal mark of being unauthentic and spurious.
We have no proof that any of them existed in the first century: they are not quoted by the apostolical fathers : few or no manuscripts of them exist : they were not read in the churches of Christians : were not admitted into their volumes : do not appear in their catalogues : were not noticed by their adversaries : were not alleged by different parties as of authority in their controversies: were not subjects amongst them of commentaries, versions, collations, expositions: were passed over in silence, or actually rejected during the three first centuries, and reprobated almost universally by Christian writers of succeeding ages. That is, they were not authentic.8
Besides this total want of external evidence of their genuineness, there is the strongest internal evidence in proof of their being spurious. For they propose doctrines and practices contrary to those which are certainly known to be true: they are filled with absurd and frivolous details : they relate as miracles, stories both useless and improbable: they mention things which are later than the time when the indi. vidual author lived whose name the book bears :
their style is totally different from that of the genuine books of the New Testament: they assert things in direct contradiction to authentic history, both sacred and profane : they contain studied imitations of passages in the genuine scriptures: they abound with gross falsehoods. That is, they are undoubtedly spurious; and illustrate by a perfect contrast the undoubted authenticity of the Canonical books.
But this leads us to another argument.
VII. The styLE AND MANNER of the books of the New Testament furnish an unanswerable proof of their being genuine.
I observed in the last Lecture, that there was nothing in the style or contents of the New Testament inconsistent with the age and characters of the professed authors; and that the inward characters of genuineness and truth shone brightly throughout the books of it.
We have just been pointing out the marks of spuriousness in the apocryphal books, from their gross defects in these very respects.
A nearer view of the contents of the Christian books will bring out a positive evidence of the most undeniable kind in favour of their authenticity. For the style of the New Testament agrees
9 T. H. Horue, i. 721.
with the times of the apostles of our Lord, and with no other. It is Greek; not the pure Greek which the critic perhaps would desire ; but Greek intermingled with Hebrew and Syriac idioms. It is a language which no one could write, but a person who had acquired a knowledge of the Greek after an education in a country where Chaldee and Syriac were the vernacular tongues. The destruction of Jerusalem, and the total subversion of the Jewish polity within forty years after our Lord's resurrection, made so entire a change in the language, associations, habits, familiar knowledge, terms of expression of the dispersed Jewish people, that an impostor at any time posterior to the death of the last of the apostles, would have written in a different style from that of the New Testament. A Greek or Roman Christian would have wanted the peculiar tincture of the Jewish literature prevalent before the fall of Jerusalem. A Jewish convert would have been wanting in the intermixed style and manner of the Hellenistic Jew. The idiomatic character lasted only for a brief period, and then perished. Even in the second century, the language of the Christian writers in their works now extant, infallibly proves that the New Testament was not produced in that age. A relater of falsehoods