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writers*, whose works only remain in fragments and quotations, and in every one of which is some reference or other to the Gospels (and in one of them, Hippolytus, as preserved in Theodoret, is an abstract of the whole Gospel history), brings us to a name of great celebrity in Christian antiquity, Origen + of Alexandria, who, in the quantity of his writings, exceeded the most laborious of the Greek and Latin authors. Nothing can be more peremptory upon the subject now under consideration, and from a writer of his learning and information, more satisfactory, than the declaration of Origen, preserved, in an extract from his works, by Eusebius; “That the four Gospels alone are received without dispute by the whole church of God under heaven:" to which declaration is immediately subjoined a brief history of the respective authors, to whom they were then, as they are now, ascribed. The language holden concerning the Gospels, throughout the works of Origen which remain, entirely corresponds with the testimony here cited. His attestation to the Acts of the Apostles is no less positive: "And Luke also once more sounds the trumpet, relating the acts of the Apostles." The universality with which the Scriptures were then read, is well signified by this writer, in a passage in which he has occasion to observe against Celsus, "That it is not in any private books, or such as are read by a few only, and those studious persons, but in books read by every body, that it is written, The invisible things of God from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by things that are made." It is to no purpose to single out quotations of Scripture from such a writer as this. We might as well make a selection of the quotations of Scripture in Dr. Clarke's Sermons. They are so thickly sown in the works of Origen, that Dr. Mill says, "If we had all his works remaining, we should have before us almost the whole text of the Bible ‡."

Origen notices, in order to censure, certain apocryphal Gospels. He also uses four writings of this sort; that is, throughout his large works he once or twice, at the most, quotes each of the four; but always with some mark, either of direct reprobation or of caution to his readers, manifestly esteeming them of little or no authority §.

XIV. Gregory, bishop of Neocæsarea, and Dionysius of Alexandria, were scholars of Origen . Their testimony, therefore, though full and particular, may be reckoned a repe

Minucius Felix, Apollonius, Caius, Asterius, Urbanus, Alexander, bishop of Jerusalem, Hippolytus, Ammonius Julius Africanus.

† Lardner, vol. iii. p. 234.

Mill, Proleg. cap. vi. p. 66.

Origen was surnamed Adamantias, from his invincible constancy and strength of mind. He was born at Alexandria in or about the year 185, of Christian parents, according to Eusebius, although Porphyry makes them out to be heathens. He possessed a mind at once ardent and inquisitive, anxiously dived into the deepest mysteries, and possessed in his enquiries all the restlessness of genius. He had for his tutors, first, his father Leonides, then Ammonius, in philosophy, and Clement of Alexandria, in divinity, so that he was not a likely man to believe in a fable. Jerome describes him as being equally skilled in geometry, arithmetic, music, rhetoric, and grammar. Suffering persecution, his father being martyred before Origen was eighteen years of age, he had to support his mother and his brothers, at first, by teaching grammar, and afterwards by filling the chair, as professor of sacred learning, at Alexandria. His austerities, in this period of his life, at least demonstrated his sincerity; he even mutilated himself from a sudden impulse, and mistaken reading of the text, "there be some who make themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of God." A mistake which he afterwards very candidly acknowledged and denounced. Of his profound learning, his "Tetrapla bore ample testimony this was a Bible, in which, in parallel columns, he gave the Hebrew text, and four translations, that of the Seventy, of Aquila, of Theodotian, and of Symmachus. To this he afterwards added two anonymous versions, and another of the Psalms only which he had discovered at Jericho. These are known as Origen's

"Hexapla." Consequently he was the first who constructed a Polyglott Bible, and although others have improved upon his valuable, erudite labours, yet his was the first, and consequently by far the most difficult effort.

It was long after this, that he was ordained a priest, and it is quite certain, that his own diocesan, Demetrius, was not his friend. If the early prelates were conscious of any imposture in their profession, it is evident that they were not harmonious conspirators, for Demetrius absolutely refused to allow Origen, when he was a layman, to preach.

Origen was the author of "Commentaries upon the Holy Scriptures," five books upon St. John's Gospel, eight upon Genesis, and others upon the first twenty-five Psalms, and the Lamentations of Jeremiah, besides his works, "de Principiis," and "Stromata." He suffered persecutions of all kinds, was banished by his own diocesan, was imprisoned and tortured by Roman emperors; but died a natural death, according to Eusebius, in the sixtyninth year of his age.

To those who would examine more minutely the herculean works of this splendid early Christian author, the editors would recommend the collection of the remaining works of Origen in Latin, by Merlinus and Erasmus, 1512, 2 vols. folio; or that by Ginnebrand, in 1619, 2 vols. folio. All the Greek fragments of Origen, upon the Scriptures, were collected by Huetius, 1685, 2 vols. folio, with an able account of his life, writings, and doctrines. The works of this author are the more valuable, since, amongst others, are some against not only heretics, but against infidels and objectors. Huctius. Cave. Dupin. Jortin.—ED.

Dionysius of Alexandria was another of Origen's celebrated pupils; he was made bishop of Alexandria in

tition only of his. The series, however, of evidence, is continued by Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, who flourished within twenty years after Origen. "The church," says this father, "is watered, like Paradise, by four rivers, that is, by four Gospels." The Acts of the Apostles is also frequently quoted by Cyprian under that name, and under the name of the "Divine Scriptures." In his various writings are such constant and copious citations of Scripture, as to place this part of the testimony beyond controversy. Nor is there, in the works of this eminent African bishop, one quotation of a spurious or apocryphal Christian writing *.

XV. Passing over a crowd of writers following Cyprian at different distances, but all within forty years of his time; and who all, in the imperfect remains of their works, either cite the historical Scriptures of the New Testament, or speak of them in terms of profound respect; I single out Victorin, bishop of Pettaw in Germany, merely on account of the remoteness of his situation from that of Origen and Cyprian, who were Africans; by which circumstance his testimony, taken in conjunction with theirs, proves that the Scripture histories, and the same histories, were known and received from one side of the Christian world to the other. This bishop ‡ lived about the year 290: and in a commentary upon this text of the Revelation, "The first was like a lion, the second was like a calf, the third like a man, and the fourth like a flying eagle," he makes out that by the four creatures are intended the four Gospels; and, to show the propriety of the symbols, he recites the subject with which each evangelist opens his history. The explication is fanciful, but the testimony positive. He also expressly cites the Acts of the Apostles.

XVI. Arnobius and Lactantius §, about the year 300, composed formal arguments upon the credibility of the Christian religion. As these arguments were addressed to Gentiles, the authors abstain from quoting Christian books by name; one of them giving this very reason for his reserve; but when they come to state, for the information of their readers, the outlines of Christ's history, it is apparent that they draw their accounts from our Gospels, and from no other sources; for these statements exhibit a summary of almost every thing which is related of Christ's actions and miracles by the four evangelists. Arnobius vindicates, without mentioning their names, the credit of these historians; observing, that they were eye-witnesses of the facts which they relate, and that their ignorance of the arts of composition was rather a confirmation of their testimony, than an objection to it. Lactantius also argues in defence of the religion, from the consistency, simplicity, disinterestedness, and sufferings, of the Christian historians, meaning by that term our evangelists ||.

247. His works have perished, with the exception of they were published in English by Dr. Marshall, in 1717. some fragments preserved by Eusebius.-Dupin.

Theodorus Gregory, surnamed Thaumaturgus, or wonder-worker, was born at Neocæsarea, in Cappadocia, of which place he was afterwards made bishop; although it is probable that he was originally intended for the practice of the law, which he was first diverted from by an ardent taste for philosophy. Afterwards attending the school of Origen, he was converted to Christianity, and became an able and a zealous minister.

He died soon after the Council of Antioch, about the year 264, and left behind the character of an eloquent, learned, yet humble, minister: most of his works are supposed to be lost. An edition of all that have been spared to us was printed by Gerard Vossius at Mentz in 1604.-Douglas' Criterion of Miracles, 397. Mosheim. Cave.-ED.

• Thascius Cæcilius Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, was born at that city towards the beginning of the third century. He was of heathen parents, but embraced Christianity in the year 246; he was distinguished for his oratory, and as a teacher of rhetoric. He suffered persecution of all kinds from Roman emperors, and heretics of his own church, and finally martyrdom in 258.

He is one of the most eloquent of all the Latin fathers, and his notices of Ecclesiastical History are particularly valuable; his works were printed at Oxford in 1682, under the editorship of bishops Fell and Pearson, and

-Milner's Ecclesiastical History, vol. i. p. 369.-ED. Novatus, Rome, A. D. 251; Dionysius, Rome, A. D. 259; Commodian, A.D. 270; Anatolius, Laodicea, A. D. 270; Theognostus, A. D. 282; Methodius, Lycia, A.D. 290; Phileas, Egypt, A. D. 296.

Lardner, vol. v. p. 214.

§ Ibid. vol. viii. p. 43. 201.

Of Arnobius, the celebrated apologist of Christianity, few particulars are known; he flourished about the year 300. His "Apology" is supposed to be only a fragment of the original work. He was a teacher of rhetoric, and embraced Christianity in the midst of persecutions, and candidly admits in his writings that he was once a blind idolater. His work "Adversus Gentes" has been often reprinted, as at Rome in 1542, and at Hamburgh 1610.-Lardner. Cave.-ED.

Of Lactantius, one of the eminent primitive fathers of the church, and perhaps the most eloquent of the Latin ecclesiastical writers, the particulars are few and doubtful. He is said to have been a native of Fermo, in the March of Ancona; to have been a teacher of rhetoric; and had, among other pupils, Crispus the son of Constantine. The best edition of his collected works, known to the editors, is that of Paris 1748, 2 vols. quarto. An admirable edition of his fifth book "de Justitia," was published in 1777, by Lord Hailes, and a translation of his works by the same learned editor in 1782.-Lardner. Cave.-ED.

XVII. We close the series of testimonies with that of Eusebius* bishop of Cæsarea, who flourished in the year 315, contemporary with, or posterior only by fifteen years to, the authors last cited. This voluminous writer, and most diligent collector of the writings of others, beside a variety of large works, composed a history of the affairs of Christianity from its origin to his own time. His testimony to the Scriptures is the testimony of a man much conversant in the works of Christian authors, written during the first three centuries of its era, and who had read many which are now lost. In a passage of his Evangelical Demonstration, Eusebius remarks, with great nicety, the delicacy of two of the evangelists, in their manner of noticing any circumstance which regarded themselves; and of Mark, as writing under Peter's direction, in the circumstances which regarded him. The illustration of this remark leads him to bring together long quotations from each of the evangelists; and the whole passage is a proof, that Eusebius, and the Christians of those days, not only read the Gospels, but studied them with attention and exactness. In a passage of his Ecclesiastical History, he treats, in form, and at large, of the occasions of writing the four Gospels, and of the order in which they were written. The title of the chapter is, "Of the Order of the Gospels;" and it begins thus: "Let us observe the writings of this apostle John, which are not contradicted by any and, first of all, must be mentioned, as acknowledged by all, the Gospel according to him, well known to all the churches under heaven; and that it has been justly placed by the ancients the fourth in order, and after the other three, may be made evident in this manner."-Eusebius then proceeds to shew that John wrote the last of the four, and that his Gospel was intended to supply the omissions of the others; especially in the part of our Lord's ministry, which took place before the imprisonment of John the Baptist. He observes, "that the apostles of Christ were not studious of the ornaments of composition, nor indeed forward to write at all, being wholly occupied with their ministry."

This learned author makes no use at all of Christian writings, forged with the names of Christ's apostles, or their companions†.

We close this branch of our evidence, here, because, after Eusebius, there is no room for any question upon the subject; the works of Christian writers being as full of texts of Scripture, and of references to Scripture, as the discourses of modern divines. Future testimonies to the books of Scripture could only prove that they never lose their character or authority.


When the Scriptures are quoted, or alluded to, they are quoted with peculiar respect, as books sui generis; as possessing an authority which belonged to no other books; and as conclusive in all questions and controversies amongst Christians.

BESIDE the general strain of reference and quotation, which uniformly and strongly indicates this distinction, the following may be regarded as specific testimonies :

Lardner, vol. viii. p. 33.

Eusebius, whom Dr. Jortin styled "the most learned bishop of his age, and the father of ecclesiastical history," was surnamed Pamphilius, from his friendship with the martyr Pamphilius. He was born in Palestine about 267, became bishop of Caesarea in 315, and died about 338. He was befriended by the emperor Constantine, and appears to have been mild, tolerant, learned, and laborious. Unfortunately many of his works have either partially or entirely perished; but the fragments which have been spared, bear ample testimony to his profound erudition, his zeal, and his love of truth.

Amongst his great and important works, too long to particularise in this note, we may mention,

1. His "Chronicon;" which was translated into Latin by St. Jerome, and the Greek fragments of which were first collected and published at Leyden, in 1606, folio, by Joseph Scaliger; which has been justly described by Dupin, as displaying "a prodigious extent of reading and

consummate erudition." It is a history of the Chaldeans,
Assyrians, Medes, Persians, &c., from the creation to his
own time.

2. Præparationes Evangelicæ, Libri xv.
3. Demonstratione Evangelica.

These two were printed in 1554-5, by Stephens.
4. Historia Ecclesiastica, Libri v.; or, History of the
Church from the earliest period to about the year 324; the
best editions of which are those of Valesius. Paris: 1659.
Franckfort: 1672. Reprinted at Cambridge, 1720, by
William Reading.

Eusebius was evidently a man of profound research; his replies to a work of the pagan Hierocles, and to the heretic Marcellus, which have escaped to us, evince also his zeal for truth; and besides these, he wrote a much longer work in answer to the objections of the learned philosopher Porphyry, which has unfortunately perished.—Jortin on Ecclesiastical History. Cave. Lardner. Dupin.-ED.

I. Theophilus *, bishop of Antioch, the sixth in succession from the apostles, and who flourished little more than a century after the books of the New Testament were written, having occasion to quote one of our Gospels, writes thus: "These things the Holy Scriptures teach us, and all who were moved by the Holy Spirit, among whom John says, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God." Again: "Concerning the righteousness which the law teaches, the like things are to be found in the Prophets and the Gospels, because that all, being inspired, spoke by one and the same Spirit of God t." No words can testify more strongly than these do, the high and peculiar respect in which these books were holden.

II. A writer against Artemon‡, who may be supposed to come about one hundred and fifty-eight years after the publication of the Scripture, in a passage quoted by Eusebius, uses these expressions: "Possibly what they (our adversaries) say, might have been credited, if first of all the Divine Scriptures did not contradict them; and then the writings of certain brethren more ancient than the times of Victor." The brethren mentioned by name, are, Justin, Miltiades, Tatian, Clement, Irenæus, Melito, with a general appeal to many more not named. This passage proves, first, that there was at that time a collection called Divine Scriptures; secondly, that these Scriptures were esteemed of higher authority than the writings of the most early and celebrated Christians.

III. In a piece ascribed to Hyppolitus §, who lived near the same time, the author professes, in giving his correspondent instruction in the things about which he inquires, "to draw out of the sacred fountain, and to set before him from the Sacred Scriptures, what may afford him satisfaction." He then quotes immediately Paul's Epistles to Timothy, and afterward many books of the New Testament. This preface to the quotations carries in it a marked distinction between the Scriptures and other books ||.

IV. "Our assertions and discourses," saith Origen ¶, "are unworthy of credit; we must receive the Scriptures as witnesses." After treating of the duty of prayer, he proceeds with his argument thus: "What we have said, may be proved from the Divine Scriptures." In his books against Celsus, we find this passage: "That our religion teaches us to seek after wisdom, shall be shewn, both out of the ancient Jewish Scriptures, which we also use, and out of those written since Jesus, which are believed in the churches to be divine." These expressions afford abundant evidence of the peculiar and exclusive authority which the Scriptures possessed.

V. Cyprian, bishop of Carthage **, whose age lies close to that of Origen, earnestly exhorts Christian teachers, in all doubtful cases, "to go back to the fountain; and, if the truth has in any case been shaken, to recur to the Gospels and apostolic writings."- "The precepts of the Gospel," says he in another place, "are nothing less than authoritative divine lessons, the foundations of our hope, the supports of our faith, the guides of our way, the safeguards of our course to heaven."

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VI. Novatust, a Roman contemporary with Cyprian, appeals to the Scriptures, as the authority by which all errors were to be repelled, and disputes decided. "That Christ is not only man, but God also, is proved by the sacred authority of the Divine Writings.""The Divine Scripture easily detects and confutes the frauds of heretics."—"It is not by the fault of the heavenly Scriptures, which never deceive." Stronger assertions than these could not be used. ‡‡.

VII. At the distance of twenty years from the writer last cited, Anatolius, §§ a learned Alexandrian, and bishop of Laodicea, speaking of the rule for keeping Easter, a question at

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tt Lardner, Cred. vol. v. p. 102.

‡‡ Novatus was a priest in the Christian church of Carthage, and the founder of a schism in the church, whose followers long were known as the Novatians.

He is said to have been talented and unquiet, eloquent and profligate; but let us bear in mind that his enemies are his historians. That he had considerable influence is very evident; for his doctrines extended very widely, and his followers were certainly pretty numerous, even to the end of the eighth century.-Lardner. Milner. Dupin. -ED.

§§ Lardner, Cred. vol. v. p. 146.

that day agitated with much earnestness, says of those whom he opposed, "They can by no means prove their point by the authority of the Divine Scripture.'

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VIII. The Arians, who sprang up about fifty years after this, argued strenuously against the use of the words consubstantial and essence, and like phrases; "because they were not in Scripture." And in the same strain one of their advocates opens a conference with Augustin, after the following manner: "If you say what is reasonable, I must submit. If you allege any thing from the Divine Scriptures, which are common to both, I must hear. But unscriptural expressions (quæ extra Scripturam sunt) deserve no regard."

Athanasius, the great antagonist of Arianism, after having enumerated the books of the Old and New Testament, adds, "These are the fountain of salvation, that he who thirsts may be satisfied with the oracles contained in them. In these alone the doctrine of salvation is proclaimed. Let no man add to them, or take any thing from themt."

IX. Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem ‡, who wrote about twenty years after the appearance of Arianism, uses these remarkable words: "Concerning the divine and holy mysteries of faith, not the least article ought to be delivered without the Divine Scriptures." We are assured that Cyril's Scriptures were the same as ours, for he has left us a catalogue of the books included under that name §.

X. Epiphanius ||, twenty years after Cyril, challenges the Arians, and the followers of Origen, "to produce any passage of the Old and New Testament, favouring their sentiments ¶."

XI. Pœbadius, a Gallic bishop, who lived about thirty years after the council of Nice, testifies, that "the bishops of that council first consulted the sacred volumes, and then declared their faith **.”

XII. Basil, bishop of Cæsarea, in Cappadocia, contemporary with Epiphanius, says, "that hearers, instructed in the Scriptures, ought to examine what is said by their teachers, and to embrace what is agreeable to the Scriptures, and to reject what is otherwise tt."

XIII. Ephraim, the Syrian, a celebrated writer of the same times, bears this conclusive testimony to the proposition which forms the subject of our present chapter: "The truth written in the Sacred Volume of the Gospel, is a perfect rule. Nothing can be taken from it nor added to it, without great guilt ‡‡."

XIV. If we add Jerome to these, it is only for the evidence which he affords of the judgment of preceding ages. Jerome observes, concerning the quotations of ancient Christian writers, that is, of writers who were ancient in the year 400, that they made a distinction between books; some they quoted as of authority, and others not: which observation relates to the books of Scripture, compared with other writings, apocryphal or heathen §§.'

Lardner, Cred. vol. vii. p. 283, 284.
Ibid. vol. xii. p. 182.

Athanasius was born of heathen parents, at Alexandria, of which place he became bishop in 326; and for forty-six years presided over the church at that place with great talent and success. The best edition of his works is, perhaps, that of Montfaucon, in 3 vols. folio, 1698. They principally relate to the Arian controversy, which very long engaged the attention of Athanasius, and which he controverted with much clearness and elegance. The Creed which bears his name, is supposed by Usher, Pearson, Cave, Dupin, and other eminent critics, to be the production of a later author.-Waterland's History of the Athanasian Creed. Cave.-ED.

Lardner, Cred. vol. iii. p. 276.

Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem, was ordained a priest about the year 350. He was deposed from his see of Jerusalem in the reign of the emperor Julian, and died in 386. There are several editions of his works, amongst which we need only mention that of Milles; Oxford, 1703. They consist principally of eighteen discourses, a Letter to Constantius, &c. Cave.-ED.

|| Lardner, Cred. vol. iii. p. 314.

Epiphanius was born about the year 320, at the village of Besanduce, in Palestine: he died at sea, on his return from Constantinople to Cyprus, about the year 403. He was an excellent linguist, being well versed in

Syriac, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and Egyptian, besides being learned in ecclesiastical antiquities. He had great zeal and piety, but was not always discreet; and his detractors have readily found out that he paid little attention to grammar, and still less to the polishing of his sentences. Epiphanius had his mind employed upon far more important subjects than the rounding of a period. He was ever the friend of what he deemed genuine Christianity, and even quarrelled with Origen upon some doctrinal points: his zeal betrayed his sincerity, though it certainly annoyed his contemporaries. Chrysostom betrayed this feeling when he told him, on his departure from Constantinople, "I hope you will never return to your own country."

The best edition of his works is that of Petavius, in
Greek and Latin. Paris: 1662. 2 vols. folio.-Mosheim.
Cave. Dupin.-ED.

** Lardner, Cred. vol. ix. p. 52.
++ Ibid. vol. ix. p. 124.

Basil, bishop of Cæsarea, in 370, at which place he was
born in 326, was called "the Great," from his extensive
learning and piety. He was indefatigably industrious, and
profoundly learned. The best edition of his works, in
three folio volumes, in Greek and Latin, is that of 1722
-1730, by the Benedictines of St. Maur. Cave. Dupin.
1 Lardner, Cred. vol. ix. p. 202.
§§ Ibid. vol. x. p. 123, 124.

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