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11.

CENT. I. thority, their genuineness, and purity, must conPART II sult the learned authors who have written professedly upon that matter."

The time when the can

XVI. The opinions, or rather the conjectures, of on was fixed. the learned, concerning the time when the books of the New Testament were collected into one volume, as also about the authors of that collection, are extremely different. This important question is attended with great and almost insuperable difficulties to us in these latter times. It is, however, sufficient for us to know, that, before the middle of the second century, the greatest part of the books of the New Testament were read in every christian society throughout the world, and received as a divine rule of faith and manners. Hence it appears, that these sacred writings were carefully separated from several human compositions upon the same subject, either by some of the apostles themselves, who lived so long, or by their disciples and successors, who were spread abroad through all nations. We are well assured, that the four gospels were collected during the life of St. John, and that the three first received the approbation of this divine apostle. And why may we not suppose that the other books of the New Testament were gathered together at the same time?

For the history of the books of the New Testament, see particularly Jo. Alb. Fabricius, Biblioth. Græc. lib. iv. cap. v. p. 122-227. The same learned author has given an accurate list of the writers, who have defended the divinity of these sacred books, in his Delectus Argumentorum et Syllabus Scriptorum pro verit. relig, Christiane, cap. xxvi. p. 502.

. See Jo. Ens, Bibliotheca S. seu Diatriba de librorum N. T. Canone, published at Amsterdam in 1710; as also Jo. Mill. Prolegomen. ad Nov. Test. § 1, p. 23.

▸ See Frickius, De cura Veteris Ecclesiæ circa Canon. cap. iii. p. 86. 9 This is expressly affirmed by Eusebius, in the xxivth. chapter of the third book of his Ecclesiastical History.

PART II.

Apocryphal

XVII. What renders this highly probable is, that CENT.I. the most urgent necessity required its being done. PAR For, not long after Christ's ascension into heaven, and spurious several histories of his life and doctrines, full of writings. pious frauds and fabulous wonders, were composed, by persons whose intentions, perhaps, were not bad, but whose writings discovered the greatest superstition and ignorance. Nor was this all; productions appeared which were imposed upon the world by fraudulent men, as the writings of the holy apostles. These apocryphal and spurious writings must have produced a sad confusion, and rendered both the history and the doctrine of Christ uncertain, had not the rulers of the church used all possible care and diligence in separating the books that were truly apostolical and divine from all that spurious trash, and conveying them down to posterity in one volume.

bishop of

XVII The writer, whose fame surpassed that of Clemens, all others in this century, the apostles excepted, Rome. was Clemens bishop of Rome. The accounts which remain of his life, actions, and death, are for the most part uncertain. Two Epistles to the Corinthians,' written in Greek, have been attribu

* Such of these writings as are yet extant have been carefully collected by the learned Fabricius, in his Codex Apocryphus Novi Testamenti, which work is published in two volumes. Many ingenious and learned observations have been made on these spurious books by the celebrated Beausobre, in his Histoire Critique des dogmes de Manichee, livr. ii. p. 337, &c.

• After Tillemont, Cotelerius and Grabe have given some accounts of this great man. And all that has been said concerning him by the best and most credible writers, has been collected by Rondinini, in the first of two books published at Rome, in the year 1706, under the following title, Libri duo de S. Clemente, Papa, et Martyre, ejusque Basilica in urbe Roma.

t J. A. Fabricius, in the vth. chapter of the fourth book of his Bibliotheca Græca, mentions the editions that have been given of St. Clement's epistles. To this account we must add the edition published at

PART II.

CENT. I. ted to him, of which the second has been looked upon as spurious, and the first as genuine, by many learned writers." But even this latter seems to have been corrupted and interpolated by some ignorant and presumptuous author, who appears to have been displeased at observing a defect of learning and genius in the writings of so great a man as Clemens."

The writings

falsely attrib

W

XIX. The learned are now unanimous in regarduted to him. ing the other writings which bear the name of Clemens, viz. the Apostolic Canons, the Apostolic Constitutions, the Recognitions of Clemens and Clementina, as spurious productions ascribed by

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Cambridge, in 1718, which is preferable to the preceding ones in many respects.

See the ample account that is given of these two Greek epistles of Clemens, by the learned Dr. Lardner, in the first volume of the seeond part of his valuable work, entitled, The Credibility of the Gospel History, &c. &c.

w See J. Bapt. Cotelerii Patres Apost. tom. i. p. 133, and Bernardi Adnotatiunculæ in Clementem, in the last edition of these fathers published by Le Clerc. The learned Wotton has endeavoured, though without success, in his observations on the epistles of Clemens, to refute the annotations above mentioned.

Beside these writings attributed to Clemens, we may reckon Two Epistles which the learned Wetstein found in a Syriac version of the New Testament, which he took the pains to translate from Syriac into Latin, and has subjoined both the original and the translation to his famous edition of the Greek Testament, published at Amsterdam in two volumes in folio, in the years 1751 and 1752. The title prefixed to these epistles is as follows; Dua Epistolæ S. Clementis Romani, Discipuli Pe tri Apostoli, quas ex Codice Manuscripto Novi Test. Syriaci nune primum erutas, cum versione Latina adposita edidit Jo. Jacobus Wetstemius. The manuscript of the Syriac version, from whence these epis tles were taken, was procured by the good offices of sir James Porter, a judicious patron of literature and men of letters, who, at that time, was British ambassador at Constantinople. The authenticity of these epistles is boldly maintained by Wetstein, and learnedly opposed by Dr. Lardner, in a Dissertation upon the two Epistles ascribed to Clement of Rome, lately published by Mr. Wetstein, &c. The celebrated professor Venema of Franeker suspected also the spuriousness of these epistles ;

CENT. I.

some impostor to this venerable prelate, in order to procure them a high degree of authority. The PART 11. Apostolical Canons, which consist of LXXXV ecclesiastical laws, contain a view of the church government and discipline received among the Greek and oriental christians in the second and third century. The VIII books of Apostolical Constitutions are the work of some austere and melancholy author, who, having taken it into his head to reform the christian worship, which he looked upon as degenerated from its original purity, made no scruple to prefix to his rules the names of the apostles, that thus they might be more speedily and favourably received. The Recognitions of Clemens, which differ very little from the Clementina, are the witty and agreeable productions of an Alexandrian Jew, well versed in philosophy. They were written in the third century, with a design to answer, in a new manner, the objections of the Jews, philosophers, and gnostics, against the christian religion; and the careful perusal of them will be extremely useful to such as are curious of information with respect to the state of the christian church in the primitive times.a

see an account of his controversy with Wetstein on that subject, in the Bibliotheque des Sciences et des Beaux Arts, tom. ii. p. 51, &c. p. $11. y For an account of the fate of these writings, and the editions that have been given of them, it will be proper to consult two dissertations of the learned Ittigius; the one De Patribus Apostolicis, which he has prefixed to his Bibliotheca Patrum Apostolicorum; and the other, De Pseudepigraphis Apostolicis, which he has subjoined to the appendix of his book De Haresiarchis Evi Apostolici. See also Fabricius's Bibliotheca Græca, lib. v. cap. i. p. 31, &c. and lib. vi. cap. i. p. 4.

z Budæus has collected the various opinions of the learned concerning the Apostolical Canons and Constitutions, in his Isagoge in Theologiam part ii. ch. v. p. 746.

Sce, for a full account of this work, Mosheim's dissertation, De turbata per recentiores Platonicos Ecclesia, § 34, p. 174. This dissertation is in the first volume of that learned work, which our author published some years ago under the title of Syntagma Dissertationum ad Historiam Ecclesiasticam pertinentium:

CENT. 1.

PART II.

xx. Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, succeeds Clemens in the list of the Apostolic Fathers, among op of Antioch. Whom were placed such christian doctors as had conversed with the apostles themselves, or their disciples. This pious and venerable man, who was the disciple and familiar friend of the apostles, was, by the order of Trajan, brought to Rome, and exposed to wild beasts in the public theatre, where he suffered martyrdom with the utmost constancy. There are yet extant several epistles, attributed to him, concerning the authenticity of which there have been, however, tedious and warm disputes among the learned, which still subsist. Of these epistles, seven are said to have been written by this eminent martyr, during his journey from Antioch to Rome; and these the most of learned men acknowledge to be genuine, as they stand in the edition that was published in the last century from a manuscript in the Medicean library. The others are generally rejected as spurious. As to my own sentiments of this matter, though I am willing to adopt this opinion as preferable to any other, yet I cannot help looking upon the authenticity of the Epistle to Polycarp as extremely dubious, on account of the difference of style; and, indeed, the whole question, relating to the epistles of St. Ignatius in general, seems to me to labour under much obscurity, and to be embarrassed with many difficulties.

Polycarp.

XXI. The Epistle to the Philippians, which is ascribed to Polycarp bishop of Smyrna, who, in the middle of the second century, suffered martyrdom in a venerable and advanced age, is looked upon by some as genuine; by others, as spurious;

b See Tillemont's Memoires pour servir a l'Histoire de l'Eglise, tom. ii. part ii. p. 42-80.

For an account of this controversy, concerning the genuineness of the epistles of Ignatius, it will be proper to consult the Bibliotheca Græca of Fabricius, lib. v. cap. i. p. 38-47.

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