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asserted, that St. Paul was not the author of that Epistle, his mere silence argues rather the custom of the Latin Church, (as it is termed by Jerom)

than the opinion of Irenæus himself. Of the v Catholic Epistles Irenæus has quoted (according

to the index in the Benedictine edition) from the Epistle of St. James, both Epistles of St. Peter, and the first and second of St. John. That he has never quoted the third Epistle of St. John is no argument whatever against it. As it contains no doctrine, a quotation from it in the works of Irenæus was not to be expected. His silence on the Epistle of St. Jude has been considered by some writers as an argument, either that the Epistle was unknown to him, or that he did not consider it as a book of authority. But his silence admits of another solution, and one which is not improbable, namely, that the particular controversies, in which he was engaged, did not require a quotation from that Epistle. And this solution leaves its authenticity unimpaired. On the book of Revelation his testimony is clear and positive. He has not only quoted it in numerous instances, but has expressly ascribed it to St. John the Apostle *. And Irenæus from his acquaintance with Polycarp the disciple of St. John, had the means of obtaining certain information on this subject.

* Adv. Hæres. Lib. IV. c. 20. 6.11. Lib. V. c. 26. init.

Lastly, we may observe on the quotations of Irenæus, that they bear ample testimony, as well to the integrity, as to the authenticity of the New Testament. For those quotations are so numerous, and many of them so long, as to afford undoubted evidence, that the books of the New Testament, which were known to the disciple of Polycarp, are the same books, which have descended to the present age.

Here then we will conclude the catalogue of our authorities for the authenticity of the New Testament. In the next Lecture shall be given the result of the inquiries, which have been instituted in the present.

LECTURE XXV.

IT

appears from the preceding Lecture, that all the books of the New Testament, which we receive at present, were received in the fourth century, as the works of the authors to whom they are ascribed. They were received as such by Jerom the most learned of the Latin Fathers : and if the testimony of Jerom required support from a contemporary in the Latin Church, we might add the Catalogue which Augustine has given in his treatise of Christian Doctrine,* and in which he distinctly enumerates every book, which is now contained in the New Testament. Among the Greek Fathers of the fourth century, we have seen, that Athanasius and Epiphanius have likewise given complete Catalogues of the books of the New Testament: and if the Catalogue, which is given by Gregory of Nazianzum, contains not the book of Revelation, the omission

Tom. III. P. i. p. 23, ed. Benedict.

may be rather considered as an act of deference to the Greek Church, which then rejected the book of Revelation, than as expressive of the opinion entertained by Gregory himself.

When we ascend from the fourth to the third century, we find Origen the most learned of the Greek Fathers, who, as appears from the preceding Lecture, received all the books of the New Testament, which constitute our present canon. When we further ascend from the third to the second century, we find Irenæus in the West, and Clement of Alexandria in the East, bearing ample testimony to the books of the New Testament. The Epistle to Philemon, the second Epistle of St. Peter, with the second and third of St. John, are the only books of the New Testament, from which we do not find quotations in the works of Clement, though the works which now remain bear only a small proportion to those, which he composed. But the Epistle to Philemon, and the second and third of St. John are so short, and so little adapted to doctrinal discussion, that Clement could hardly have had occasion to quote them. Nor can we conclude that the second Epistle of St. Peter did not then exist, because the remaining works of Clement contain no quotation from it. We have the positive testimony therefore of Clement of Alexandria to the whole of the New Testament, with the exception of four short Epistles, which all together contain little more than a hundred of our modern verses : and even of these, we have no reason to suppose that Clement rejected them. The positive testimony of Irenæus is no less important. And though he cannot be produced, with Clement of Alexandria, as evidence for the Epistle to the Hebrews, he cannot, for the reasons already assigned, be produced as evidence against it. We may rest therefore satisfied with the testimony of Clement on the Epistle to the Hebrews, though it was long rejected by the Latin Church. And on the book, which was long rejected by the Greek Church, the Revelation of St. John, we have the testimony, both of Clement and of Irenæus.

The evidence for the authenticity of the New Testament has thus been carried upwards, as high as the age, which succeeded the age of the Apostles. And if no evidence has yet been produced from the writings of those, who were contemporary with the Apostles, we have had the evidence of those, who knew their disciples, the evidence therefore of those, who could hardly be mistaken in regard to the question, whether the books of the New Testament

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