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design throout, as Eusebius would have it, may pasid by our Lord bimself. And, admitting their be perceived by any one that has bur look Followers were engaged, yet 'twas not of themselves into my Harmony; fo that I need not infift lone, but in concurrence with the Apostles, and after here upon a particular proof of it.
thern. For the Disciples would have been fuppedited V. Having demonftrated the facred Volumes of vain Glory in their Ministry, had they nso been afcrib'd to che Evangelifts to be truly cheirs, back with the Authority of their Mallers, end I shall briefly make appear that none elte Chrift himfelf, who made the Apoples Mallors. were held aurthcmick. Irenæus hath a whole In fone, John and Matthew lay the foundation Chapter upon this Argument, vir. the ele. of our Futb, which is built upon by Luke and venth of his 3d Book, under this Head, Mark, advancing on the same grounds as they A Demonstration that there could be neither more with respect to one God 'the Creator, and his nor less than four Gospels. In which Chapter Chrift, born of a Virgin, the fulfilling of the he argues thus : The Gospel stands fo mighty Law and the Prophets : For so long as they are firm, that the very Hereticks give testimony to it, agreed in the capital point of Faith, let him and every one goes about from the Gospels to con- know what be pleases of their varying in the firm bis Do&trine. The Ebionites using only Mar- disposition of their Narratives. He ihoivs after. thew, are from him alone convinced of their undue wards in the stb Chapter, That Luke's Gospel Presumptions concerning our Lord. Marcion, the was upheld from the very date of its Publication, mutilating Luke, is notwithstanding, from what and vigorously maintained, not only by the Aposto he has left of him, fewn to be guilty of Blasphe- lical Churches, but universally by those that were my
againft the one existing God. Those that few of the same Communion with them. Add to parate Jefus from Chrift, affirming Christ re- which, amongst more of that nature, that the m sined impaffable, and that Jefus only suffered, very Authority of the Apostolical Churches gave from Mark's
Gospel, which they prefer, upon im- Patronage to the other Gospels, which from them partial reading may corre& their mistakes. And were handed to us by their order ; I mean John's the Valentinians that extend the Gospel of St. Gospel, and that of Marthew: althe Mark's be
John to the widest purposes, to prove their ascribed to Peter, whose Interpreter he wms;
This of Tertullian is very abftrufe, OCCbear we witness, and make use of these very fioned by the obfcurity of his Expression, Gospels, our Demonstration of them is true and and brevity of Stile ; but deserves a better valid, that there are neither more nor less than Light, which I will endeavour to give it in a Four Gospels. which is a strong Argument of short explication. And first, by a fingular Irenæus, and clear evidence of the number of Providence, the Gospels were written partly the Gospels. But he disgraces this manifest by the Apoftles, and partly by their followTruth afterwards by frivolous Inductions, en ers. Had the Apostles been sole Authors, it deavouring to prove it from the Division of might have been disputed afterwards, whether the world, and the number of the Cheru- our Saviour's Promile had been accomplished bims. But here the difpuce is not upon what concerning the mission of the Holy Ghoft Reafonings Irenæus proceeds, but what was upon the Apostles : For the Apostles themthe perfuafion of the Christians his Cotempo- felves could not satisfy Pofterity in a matter raries concerning the number of the Gospels ; which not a little tended to the advancement and what it was is evident from his words. of their own Authority, nor could they be
Tertullian in many places argues for the Evidences in their own Cause ; but their same number ; but more especially in his Disciples, Luke and Mark, have given a bright
Tracts against Marcion, from whence I shall Testimony to this point, and thereby concite one or two Passages. Accordingly in Book firmed the whole Gospel, Mark at the end of 4. chap. 5. We, fays he, lay dowon first that his, and Luke in the Preface to his Acts of the Apofilles were Autbors of the Gospel, on whom the Apoftles. Of which Promise had Chri the office of propagating the Gospel was im- defeated his Apoftles, they had been withoup
any number of Disciples; for to have been But Marcion's (says Tertullian, meaning Luke's mistaken in a matter of that mighty moment, Gospel corrupted by him) was unknown to would have utterly ruined their Credit. And most, and by those that knew it disapproud of. so far would they have been from finding Origen, admirably skilled not only in the Disciples to take Memoirs of Christ's and their Tenents of his Age, but in the Antiquities of own Actions and Sayings, that they would have the Church, hach this observation upon che been a publick Derifion to all, and unable to four Gospels, in a Fragment of his firft Tome propagate their memories to Postericy. For of Annotations upon Matthew, which is prewho would not have forsaken and despised served by Eusebius in his Eccl. Hift. lib. 6. c.ag. men of no polite Learning, of no Authcrity, As I have learn’d by Tradition concerning the and fupported by no Estates, and above all, 4 Gospels, which alone are indijptably received the Disciples of a Master who had so noto- in Chrift's universal Church upon Earth, viz. riously failed in his Promise? who could That the forft Gospel was writ by Marchew, have credited the Apostics relating the Mi. Sometime a Publican, afterwards an Apostle of sacles wrought by that Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus Christ, who put it forth in Hebrew fór who had not (tho under an engagement) con- the sake of the Jewish Converts. The next we fer'd the like ability of working upon chem? are informed, is Mark's, compiled from the InOr who could have forbore calling them a pack structions of Peter; for which reason Peter in of credulous, tho perhaps honest men, put upon his general Epistle calls him his son: The Church by chcir Master, and of no manner of repute? that is at Babylon, elected togecher with you,
'Twas therefore of greatest importance to saluceth you, and so doch Marcus my son. have transiniteed to after Ages a History of the The third is the Gospel of Luke, commended by Gospel delivered by our Saviour, and by his Paul, and compos'd for the benefit of the Gene Apoltles: For 'cis plain the Disciples of the ciles. The last of all is the Gospel of John. Apostles were convinced from thence that The concluding Testimony fhall be of Exthey were sent from God, and that Jesus was sebius, abundantly confirming the former Alin his Heavenly Kingdom, from whence he legations, and whose Authority here is so had dispers'd the Gifts of the Holy Spiric upon much the weightier, for that in recourcing the Apostles, who had otherwise been with- the Record; of the more ancient Writers in the out Follower:.
Church, he hath usd a more diligent Enquiry Now as the Disciples of the Apostles bring than ever was made before, what Apoftolical it weighey Testimony to their Masters; so their Tracts they had taken notice of, whether geRelation, so agrecable to the Writings of their nuine or fuppofititious, which is manifeft to Masters by chem unseen, is not a liccle con- all that have read his Ecclefiaftical History. firm'd: For 'eis not credible that Mark or And thus he, Lib. 3. c. 24. Only Macchew and Luke had seen the Gospel according to St. John of all the Disciples of our Lord have left Matthew, who otherwise would have avoided us their Commentaries, being, as 'tis said, reall Repetitions of what was well related be. cesitated to write : For Maschew, doc. Then fore, and all seeming Clashings. John in- follows the Paffage concerning Matthew, cited deed might have had a light of them all, before No 1. He proceeds: Now, after Mark having repeated very sparingly what had been and Luke had published their Gospels, John, Taid by others before.
they say, who had been all bis Life-time a The third ching is, that the most primi- Preacher only, and not a Writer, was obliged to tive Churches founded by the Apostles ever write for this reason. Then he subjoins what is since the publication of the Gospels, con- alledg'd before from him upon John. 1tantly believed 'em to be theirs whose Names From these Testimonies it appears that unithey bear. Some Hereticks, 'tis true, as we verfally the Christians, whose Tenents were have gathered from Ireneus, adherd only to most conformable to the Do&rine of the Gosone of the Evangelists; but neither did pel, were always of a perfuafion that there they agrec in their choice, and they were con were no more Gospels than these four poi in demind by much the greater part of Christians.use, from which the Writers, both Greele
and Latin, of the second and third Century; of famous persons to other mens Works. quote a great many Paffages perfectly agree. The best Testimony to be relied
on is that of ing with
our Copies, which puc it beyond coremporary Writers, or (for want of these) doube chat ours nos are the very fame they of those who lived not long after. But we received from their Ancestors. There are, I need say no more in a matter requiring so confefs, now and then some various Readings, little; or if it needed a more prolix Dilquibut of very small regard, compared with fition, would it be lo pertinent to the Subthose in which the ancient and our modern ject of this Discourse. Copies agree. For satisfaction let the Index's
VI. A Learned Man put formerly this Queof places of Scripture annex'd to the best E stion to H. Grotius, the ablent Commentator ditions of the most primitive Fathers be noc we ever had upon the Sacred Text, Why no only consulted, but their Reatonings also mention was made of any Pallages of our carefully considered, and it will appear they Lord's Life before his thirtieth Year, fave . generally argued from the Readings we now that one single instance reported by Luke to use, and find in the most ancient MSS. have happened in his twelfth ? To which this And besides, let the old Versions now extanc excellent Critick, in the 33d of his Letters in the Polyglot Bibles, be bur compared with written to persons in France, makes a com : the Texes cited by the Anciencs, and body pendious, but very acure Answer. Since will doubt but they had the same Copies. therefore, in pursuance of my Design, I am
I am sensible some will dislike my method to account here for the same thing, I shall of proving the Legitimacy of the Sacred transcribe Grotius piece by piece, and illustrate Text; but those are wholly ignorant of the him as ofren as it Thall appear neceffary. Art which prescribes us Rules in Examinations What every Author ought to rekate, and what of this nature : They must therefore learn to omit, is deducible from the design of his that, before they can deserve an Anfwer; for Work. The intention of the Apostles, and their they confound matters of the most different Disciples, was not to write a compleat History of kind, thro their unskilfulnefs in that very Christ; but the matter of their Writings was Art which they profefs. 'Tis one thing, for the same as that of their Preaching, viz. what example, to prove the Doctrine of the Golpels the Title imports, no other than & Gospel. For divinely inspired; but another to demon. in ministring the Word, and calling People to strate them to appertain unquestionably to Repentance, two things were principally inthofe Authors whole Names they bear. This cumbene upon the Apostles to account for, last is all I aim at in this Dissertation, tho which they might easily have an exact knowthey are in themselves so nearly allied. The ledg of; namely, who this Jesus was, from Divinity of the Evangelical Doctrine is de- whom they pretended to derive their miffion; monstrated from its own Excellence, and also and what Duties he exacted from Men : noc. from the Miracles by which God has confirm'd what he had done in his Minority, which was. ic. Now a Book is proved genuine from the not possible for them to know, unless from . concurring Testimony of those through whose his Mother and Relations. Wherefore, to hands it has past since the publicacion, and make evident who chac Master was, whose who have unanimously given it the Name it Disciples they profess'd themselves, teir bue carries ; for there is no other way to come at. finess was to tell, how they knew him, whar the knowledg of the Author. From the Miracles he had wrought, and all those other. matter of the Book is perceived the Excel- particulars which we read in their Gospels ; lence of the Argument, and the Learning of in which they made use of no Difquifitions, the Author ; but no body can divine his Name but in a plain and faithful Narrative declared from thence, especially if that be the only their knowledg of those matters. And this Book of his remaining. Nor is it fufficient looks like the fingular Care and wisdom for the Editor to prefix che. Name to resolve of Divine Providence, chat nothing of huus of the undoubted Author : for to enhance map Invention might be said to be mix'd with the purchase, they frequently put the Names chc Gofpel, which could not have been pre
: venced, had the Apostles in their Writings violated a Precept enjoined upon a capie fer down not only what they chemselves had tal Penalty, cho they repeared afterwards; feen, but their Conjectures also and Deductions whereas the Gospel, on the contrary, profrom the Actions and Sayings of our Saviour, mises God's Pardon to every Singer, reNow to signify what Ducies were required quiring no expiation, only a fiacere Converfrom us by Christ, they related his Discourses lion, and a new Life : which was obscurely in the manner they had heard them, as they hinted by the Baptist, but after him exprelly occurred to their Memories, which were mi- caught by Christ and his Apostles, inculcating raculoully firengthened by the affifiance of to their Disciples a Sanctity of Manners, as the Holy Ghost, and thus delivering the plain the one thing absolutely necessary to SalvaDoctrine of our Saviour, without any arci- tion, without any observation of the Cerc. ficial Disguise, whether Logical or Rhetorical
, monial Law, tho they did not condema it. they rendred then selves easily intelligible But so great was the Conversion required of to their Hearers. This was the main fcope: them, whether Jews or Gentiles, that the of the Gospel, which hindred noc but the hearty Penitents might be truly said to beconie on other accounts the Apofiles might draw regenerate, and new Men. The Jews were consequences of their own from the Doctrines to learn, that all the Rites so highly valued by of our Saviour, in application to the particu- them, an extreme regard to which had made lar necessities of those they had to deal with; them shun all familiar associating with other tho upon a due ballance we fall find this was Nations, were ot finall concern; that a Rc. not so much the Gospel it self, as an accommo- ligion pleasing to God confifted in our awful dation of it to the particular exigencies of Thoughcs of him, and in expressing the Converes, and those that were yet to be con- Sincerity of our outward Professions by a verted. Their Addicions did not consist in futable Holiness-of Life. They were to chink Notions of their own, never learned from Divorce unlawtul, cho tolerated by Moses ; their Master, and propounded as necessary to and were to put on a more refined San&iry Salvation ; but in confirmation of the Doctrine than heretofore, manifesting it self in brodelivered to them by Christ, and chat with a therly Love and Charity to all men, altho particular regard to the edification of the they did not observe the Mofaic Rites. And respective Hearers, Jews or Gentiles. This certainly the Jews could never be brought to is plain from Paul's Preaching and Writings, such a persuasion and behaviour as this, withwhere he argues with the Jews for che most out that entire change of Judgment and will, part from their own Law, and with the Gen- as might justly make them seem to be new tiles from Heathen Practices and Maxims, men after so great a Reformation. And if this being all things to all men, that many may be may be fo justly faid of the fews, with greater saved ; bur exalts from no body che belief of reason may ic be applied to the Heathens, chac any thing as neceffary to Salvacion, but what entertained such absurd Nocions of the Deity, he had received from Christ ; that
is that they and were men of the most prcfligate Lives. would believe the Gospel which Jesus himself Now co these, equally with the Jews, hath published. And what is that Gospel ? our Lord engaged Remission of Sins, imposing
It is, faich Grotius, a new Do&trine, requiring no external observance of Rites, only obliging fincere Repentance, and promising Remision of to such a Reformation of Manners as may Sins and everlasting Life ; proclaimed at first by make them frame their future Lives to a conJohn Baptist to prepare the minds of men to enter- formicy with his Gospel Precepts; and prefain it, when it should be more perfe&tly revealed rently, upon promise of Obedience to those by Christ
, who enjoined it to be preached by his his Precepts, Christ enjoins this their ProfessiMinisters all the World over, Mar. 4. 23. on in a more solemn manner to be renewed in chap.9.35. chap. 24. Mark 1. 14. Eph. 6.15. Baptism, an caly Rite before in use among Acts 10. 36. Luke 16.16. Indeed the Mo- Fews and Gentiles. Now to all that made good faical Law had no Referves of Pardon for the this their Baptismal Engagement by a com contumelious Despisers of it, or those that stant perseverance in the Laws of his Gospel
to their Lives-end, he made a general pro- Which Promise we could never have relied upmise of Remiffion of Sins, and after this on, unless he had carried himself as became Mortality of Life Eternal, without any exclu- Teacher commissioned by God, and confirm-. Sion, of what Nation foever the penitent ed his Doctrines by the Miracles that are relacConvert was, and whatsoever his former Offen- ed in the Gospels. So thar an account of the ces had been. But this perseverance is nos Miracles of Christ
, his Resurrection, and AG that which we might be content to pay, when cenfion into Heaven, is no inconsiderable porour Honour, or our Lives and Fortunes are accion of the Gospel, as he thus confirms in the stake, but discovers it self in our willingness tollowing words. to part with all these, rather than deny him, Wherefore (St. Petet faith) of those men or renounce our Profession of being his Diß which have companied with us all the time that ciples.
the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginThe Truth of which Do&trine revealed by ning from the Baptism of John unto the same day Christ, continues he, and the certainty of his that he was taken up, must one be ordained to Promise, is considerably evidenced from his be a Witness with us of his Refurre&tion, Acts 1. Deuth, Refurre&tion, Ascension into Heaven, and 22. And in another place be calls this DispenMision of the Holy Spirit, all which are mani. Sation, the Word which was publisid throughout fejt tokens that he is the Son of God. So that all Judea, and began from Galilee, after the the Gospel consists of two parts, the Doctrinal, Baptism which John preached, Acts 10. 37. and Historical confirming the other.
Luke briefly gives us the Argument of my forWe are not to look on the Gospel Precepts mer Treasije, in an account of all that Jesus as Systems of Morality, tending only to make began to do and teach, until the day in which he our lives as happy as may be in this world; was taken up; that í, from the time be began to but as Divine Constitutions, fecuring Heavenly teach, and to work Miracles. Now that which Rewards from God co the due Observers. he did in Cana of Galilee, John 2. 11. after That we may have this just Nocion of the he had been baptized by John, being then about Gospel, and pay a ready Obedience to it, 'tis thirty years of age, Luke 3. 23. was the begirnecessary for us to be rightly informed, ning of his miracles. and believe the Divine Descent of Jesus upon Not to enlarge upon the Morality of the: Earch: otherwise, tho his Rules be exactly Gospel, which we have already mentioned, confonant to right Reason, and excellently we likewise find in the Evangelical History, accommodated to the condition of our Nature, that many Miracles were wrought by Jesú, we should only embrace them as the Institu- and for his fake, as also an account of his Re. tions of an excellent Politician, and follow surrection, Ascension inco Heaven, and the them on no other obligation than as con- Mission of the Holy Ghost: and this, that we ducing to our good; but should never hazard may apprehend in the first place that Jesus. our Lives, or submit to any grievous Calamity was sent from God, and then confide in him, for their fakes. For having no hopes of a in reference to his Doctrine, which instructs Srace after this, where Rewards are laid up us in the Blessings that will be the consequence for Virtue, 'cwere our Interest to improve the of a holy Life, and the Punishments attendenjoyment of present Happiness, and to love ing Sin; and not only fo, but give Faith co Vircue no more than as it promotes our secular his Affertions of himself both before and after ends. Since therefore Jejus hach commanded his Resurrection. So for instance, we must us, in compliance with his Laws, to lay down believe that he is the Son of God in a wonderour Lives cheerfully upon occasion ; that is, ful manner; chat he died not for any Crime of if men will oblige us upon char penal conse- his, bur to procure credit to his Doctrine by quence to a violacion of them ; it became our his Refurrection, and to his Believers and SerGreat Lawgiver, in compensation for Life vanes Redemption from Sin and Punishment , lost, and to commute for the Crosses to be that morcover all Power was given him. undergone in keeping his Gospel, to promise in Heaven and on Earth, from which time us a Resurrection and happy immortality. commenced his Reign over the whole world,