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ought to be received as of authority, unless written by an apostle, and known to be so. All the catholic epistles bore the names of apostles: but whilst it was doubtful, with regard to several of them, whether they were written by apostles, so long they were of doubtful authority.
(10.) Lastly, we cannot omit to observe what is said at the end of this passage: that no perfect' or well instructed christian, should endeavour to prove any thing, but by the canonical books of scripture, acknowledged by all; which books have sufficiently declared whatever is needful to be known concerning the doctrines of religion.' A very valuable testimony to the sufficiency of scripture; and agreeable to the sentiments of all ancient christians, in general, as we have seen!
10. Hitherto we have seen nothing concerning the book of the Revelation; nor do I remember that there is any notice taken of it in this remaining work of Cosmas; and as it is a work of some length, and much is there said about the scriptures of the Old and New Testament, the entire omission of this book must be an argument, that it was not received by him. But whether the Revelation was received by Cosmas, or not, it is very likely that it was received by many christians in Egypt.
11. These then, as at first said, are the books of the New Testament, received by Cosmas: the four gospels; the Acts of the Apostles; fourteen epistles of the apostle Paul, and three catholic epistles; the epistle of James; one epistle of the apostle Peter; and one epistle of the apostle John.
IV. I would willingly observe the general titles and divisions of the books of sacred scripture, and the tokens of high respect for them, manifest in this writer.
1. This is the design of all the divinely inspired scripture, both of the Old and the New Testament.'
2. Moses and the prophets, Christ and his disciples, the evangelists and apostles, say nothing else.'
3. You should observe the harmony of Moses, and all the prophets; and of the evangelists, and apostles.'
4. Moses and the prophets said nothing of themselves, but only as inspired by divine revelation.' Some may think that our author had here an eye to 2 Pet. i. 21.
*· Οὗτος ὁ σκοπός πασης της θεοπνευτ8 γραφης, παλαιας τε και καινης διαθήκης. L. v. p. 208. B. ° 'Ο κοσμογραφος τοινυν Μωϋσης, και οἱ λοιποι παντες προφηται-αλλα και ὁ κύριος παραγεγονως, καὶ οἱ τότε μαθηται, ευαγγελιται και αποτολοι, ουδεν έτερον ανεκηρύξαν. L. v. p. 243. A. P L. v. p. 255. D. 4 - αλλ' εκ θειας αποκαλύψεως εμπνευσθεντες. L. i. p. 115. Β.
5. In some places already mentioned, and in many others, the whole of the New Testament is comprehended in the expression of evangelists and apostles.
6. He relies, he says, entirely, upon the truly divine scripture for what he advances.
7. Moses and the prophets, the Lord Christ, and the apostles.'
8. Blessed" therefore are all they, who, by the divine scriptures of the Old and New Testament, know the one God, Creator of all.'
V. I would now mention two observations:
1. The canon of the New Testament had not been settled in the time of this writer, by any authority that was decisive and universally acknowledged. The long passage concerning the catholic epistles, which we have seen, seems to afford full proof of this: for determining the regard due to those epistles, he appeals to the testimony of the church in early times, the commentators upon scripture, and divers ancient writers; and, in the end, mentions different opinions about them in his own time, and speaks of those epistles, or several of them, as of doubtful authority, whilst other parts of scripture were universally acknowledged; all which tends to show, that the canon of the scriptures of the New Testament had not been settled, and decided by any authority in which all acquiesced. But christian people were at liberty to judge for themselves, concerning the genuineness of writings proposed to them as apostolical; and to determine according to evidence.
2. I think that the work of this learned man, who had travelled, and seen divers parts of the world, and had also read, and was acquainted with the writings of ancient christians, affords a good argument, there never were any books of authority with christians, beside those books of the Old and New Testament which are now received by us and as, in the Old Testament, the writers are prophets; so, in the New, the writers are apostles and evange lists. This appears from his quotations, and from the titles and divisions of scripture just transcribed: moreover, after having supported his opinions, as he was able, by the writings of the prophets and apostles, for farther satisfaction, he alleges passages of divers writers who had lived before him. Some, it seems, after publication of the former part of this work, in which are so many quotations of the
L. i. p. 115. E. L. v. 245. A.
L. i. p. 115. E. Vid. et p. 116. A. E. Χριςον και τως αποτολες. L. i. p. 117. A.
several parts of canonical scripture, said, that his interpretations of scripture were different from those of our fathers, who might be reasonably supposed to have understood the true meaning of scripture. Well, what authors does he now allege? Does he produce passages of Hermas, Clement, Ignatius, the Recognitions, the Clementines, the Constitutions, the Acts or Preaching of Paul, or Peter, or Matthias, or any other like writings? No: his first author is Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria; and, after that, Gregory Nazianzen, and some others; which, I think, must be allowed to be a good argument, that the writings of early christians, after the apostles, never were of authority. Cosmas alleges none of them; nor did they, who made exceptions to the first edition of his work, expect such citations from him; for he makes no apology for taking no notice of them; but immediately proceeds to writers of the fourth century, whose works never could make any pretensions to be a part of the rule of faith. So now in a like case, a writer of the present time, after proofs from the Old and the New Testament, might for the satisfaction of some objectors, quote Stillingfleet, and Tillotson, and Burnet, or Owen, and Baxter, and Manton.
VI. I shall add a few select passages:
1. He says, that all Christ's miracles were suited to his excellent and gracious doctrine, being healing and beneficial. If any should object the loss of the swine, and the fig-tree; those miracles were not wrought on men, but only on brutes and a vegetable plant. He afterwards considers also the action of Christ's driving the buyers and sellers out of the temple; and says, that even then Christ did not strike any man with the whip which he had in his hand, but the brute animals only.
2. Cosmas speaks very agreeably of the progress of the christian religion: he observes, that the gospel was first preached by the apostles with great success, in the Roman empire; soon after that it was preached in Persia, by the apostle Thaddeus. Accordingly, it is written in the catholic epistles: The church, which is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you.' In another place he enlarges upon the wonderful progress of the christian religion, as agreeable to what Christ had foretold. [John xvi. 33; Matth. xvi. 18; xiii. 33; xxiv. 14.] For,' says he,
L. 10. p. 315. C. D.
Παριτω δε εις μεσον πρῶτος ὁ μέγας Αθανασιος, τα Ibid. E. 148. A.
* L. iii. p. 164, 165.
αυτα ήμιν κρυττων. y L. ii. p. 147. E. et p. 179.
L. iii. p. 178. C. D. E.
though from the beginning christians were persecuted by the Greeks and Jews, they overcame, and drew over their enemies to themselves: accordingly, we see, the church has not been destroyed, but still subsisting and multiplied; and the whole earth is filled, and still more and more filling, with the doctrine of the Lord Christ, and the gospel preached in all the world; which," says he, I myself have seen in many places, and therefore can bear witness to the truth of it.' Here he mentions a great many countries, remote from each other, where the gospel had been planted; and particularly several places in the Indies, where he had been, in which were many churches. He expressly says, that in Persia were many churches and bishops, and people, and many martyrs; as also in Ethiopia and Arabia.
FACUNDUS, BISHOP OF HERMIANA IN AFRICA.
1. FACUNDUS, a learned African Bishop, flourished about the year of Christ 540.
2. I need not take notice of quotations of the gospels, and Acts, and other books of the New Testament, which were always received by all christians in general, in every part of the world.
3. He quotes the epistle to the Hebrews, as the apostle Paul's.
4. He likewise quotes the epistle of the apostle James, and the second epistle of the apostle Peter, and the
2 Ib. p. 179. E. a Vid. Cav. H. L. Du Pin, Bib. T. v. p. 75. Fabric. Bib. Ec. ad Isidor. de Scr. Ec. c. 18, et 19.
b Sic etiam, cum Paulus ejus [Petri] coapostolus christianis omnibus legitur, dicens: Obedite præpositis vestris.' [Heb. xiii. 17.] Facund. 1. xii. c. 3. p. 195. C. Paris. 1679. ad Hebræos dicit apostolus. L. iii. c. 6. p. 47. D. et alibi. Jacobus apostolus dicit: Nolite plures magistri fieri.' [Cap. iii. 1.] L. x. c. 2. p. 151. C. Vid. et 1. vi. c. 5. p. 93. C.
d Attendant, quod Petrus apostolus dicat: Dilectissimus frater noster Paulus, secundum eam, quæ data est illi, sapientiam, scripsit vobis.' [2 Pet. iii. 15, 16.] L. xii. c. 2. p. 187. D. Quem Spiritum illi non habent, qui se ab ecclesia segregant, apostolo Judâ dicente: Hi sunt qui segregant semetipsos, animales, Spiritum non habentes.' [ver. 19.] 1. xii. c. 1. p. 186. B.
epistle of the apostle Jude, and alsof the book of the Revelation.
5. It is likely, therefore, that he received all the books of the New Testament, which we do, and no other.
6. His general division of the books of the New Testament is, thats of gospels and apostles: for all which he has the greatest regard.
7. He quotes the epistle to the Ephesians with that title.
8. He cites Tit. ii. 13. after this manner: Looking for the blessed hope, and the appearing of the glory of the great God, our Saviour Jesus Christ.'
9. Facundus, citing the fifth chapter of the first epistle of St. John, does not mention the heavenly witnesses, but says, that the spirit' denotes the Father, the water' the Holy Spirit, and the blood' Jesus Christ.
L. ii. c. 5. p. 30. A. et passim.' Evangelicæ et apostolicæ de Domino voces. L. i. c. 5. p. 17. B. h Hanc autem reverentiam ipsi divinæ scripturæ deferimus, ut non credamus quod aliquid indigne laudavit. Et ideo cum audiamus apostolum inter alios justos Samson quoque laudantem, atque dicentem [Heb. xi. 32.] intelligimus, quod-l. xü. c. 1. p. 186. D. Audiant apostolum scribentem Ephesiis, 1. iii. c. 6. p. 48. C. expectantes beatem spem, et adventum gloriæ magni Dei salvatoris nostri Jesu Christi. 1. i. c. 1. p. 3.
1 Nam et Johannes in epistolâ suâ de Patre et Filio et Spiritu Sancto sic dicit: Tres sunt, qui testimonium dant in terrâ, spiritus, aqua, et sanguis; et hi tres unum sunt;' in Spiritu' significans Patrem, sicut Dominus mulieri Samaritanæ, secundum ipsius Johannis Evangelium, loquitur, dicens. [Joh. iv. 21—24.] In aquâ' vero Spiritum Sanctum significans, sicut in eodem suo evangelio exposuit verba Domini. [cap. vii. 37-39.] Insanguine' vero Filium significans, quoniam ipse ex Sanctâ Trinitate communicavit, carni et sanguini. L. i. c. 3. p. 7. C.
Nam si ecclesia Christi-tres credidit et prædicavit, Patrem, et Filium, et Spiritum Sanctum, sicut testimonio Johannis supra docuimus quo, dictum est. Tres sunt, qui testimonium dant in terrà, spiritus, aqua, et sanguis; et hi tres unum sunt.' Ib. p. 8. C. D.