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“ning",” i.e. by all Christian churches, by all which descended from the apostles in opposition to the heretical ones, which descended from their several founders, who were later than the apostles. And was it not easy for him to know this from the ancient copies of these books preserved in the several churches, from the tradition handed down from time to time by grave, wise, and elderly men, but more especially from the writings that were then extant, both of Christians and heretics? It was but little more than 230 years from the martyrdom of the apostles Peter and Paul, and scarcely 200 years from the death of the apostle John, when Eusebius was full thirty years of age. It is now about the same distance of time since the beginning of the reformation. Is it a difficult matter for us to look back to that time in the writings both of protestants and of papists, and to learn what books were received by each as scripture, and what were rejected ? When Eusebius says that the Gospel of St. Luke and the Acts of the Apostles were universally acknowledged by the Christian church from the beginning, he means that they were received and acknowledged as written by St. Luke. I am fully persuaded, that this was a thing in his time so notorious, from the strong current of tradition, and the many writings then extant, that a very small inquiry was abundantly sufficient to give any man the fullest satisfaction therein.
4 Τας κατά την εκκλησιαστικής παράδοσιν αληθείς, και απλάστους, και ανωμολογουμένας γραφάς, p. 78, C.
That the Acts of the Apostles was owned and re
ceived by the Christians in the first ages as a sacred book.
HAVING laid before you the proofs there are that St. Luke wrote the History of the Acts, I proceed now to shew that it was received by the Christians in the first ages as a sacred book. And in doing this I shall invert the method I before used, shall begin at the time of Constantine the Great, and go backwards. Eusebius, who had with great pains perused the writings of those who went before him, who well knew what their sense of this matter was, and expressly undertakes to represent it“, says,
Luke, born at Antioch, by profession a physician, “ who was mostly with Paul, though he conversed “ not a little with the other apostles, has left us, in “two divinely'inspired books, samples of the art of
healing souls, which he learnt from the apostles, “ that is, in the Gospel which he declares to have “ written, as those who from the beginning were
eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word delivered “ it to him, all of whom he professes to have fol“ lowed from the beginning; and in the Acts of the
Apostles, which he composed not as he received by “ hearsay from others, but as an eyewitness b.”
A Προϊούσης δε της ιστορίας, προύργου ποιήσομαι συν ταϊς διαδοχαίς υποσημήνασθαι, τίνες των κατά χρόνους εκκλησιαστικών συγγραφέων, οποίαις κέχρηνται των αντιλεγομένων" τίνα τε περί των ενδιαθήκων και ομολογουμένων γραφών, και όσα περί των μή τοιούτων αυτούς είρηται. L. 3. c. 3, C. fin.
• L. 3. C. 4. p. 58, D.
As he here expressly tells us that not only St. Luke's Gospel, but that the Acts also, was a divinely inspired book, so he perpetually quotes it as such. Thus, in the beginning of his second book, having professed to continue his History from the sacred writings, he gives an account of the election of Matthias into the number of the apostles, of the ordaining of the seven deacons, and of the martyrdom of St. Stephen, from the Acts of the Apostles; then adding some particulars from Clemens of Alexandria, and the Chronicle of Edessa, when he returns to the History of the Acts, he says, “ But let us “ pass again to the divine scripture d.” Then giving a brief account of the dispersion of the disciples after the martyrdom of Stephen, he has this expression; “ Some of them, as says the divine scripture, went
as far as Phænice, and Cyprus, and Antioch,
preaching the word to the Jews only.” And again, having related that Herod beheaded James the brother of John, he proceeds; “ Then, as saith “ the divine scripture, Herod perceiving that what
was done pleased the Jews, he laid hold on Peter “ also e.” and in the next chapter shews the agreement of the History of the Acts, which he there also calls the divine scripture, with the History of Josephus, in the death of Herod Agrippa f. He not only thus expressly asserts that the Acts of the Apostles was a divinely inspired book, but he also says, “ that it was from the beginning unanimously re
• Τα μεν εκ των θείων παρασημαινόμενοι γραμμάτων. Ρroem. in.
[ Ibid. C. 10. P. 37, D. et p. 38, D. v ieoà hãy soicaby Yean. C. 18, fin.
“ceived by all the churches as part of the New Tes“ tament, or sacred code of divinely inspired books." The consequence of which is, that it was from the beginning publicly read in all the churches as a sacred book. For when he speaks of those books which were controverted, which were not unanimously admitted by all as part of the New Testament, but rejected by some; as a proof that they were received by others, he says, “that they were
publicly read by them in their churches h.” And of the public reading the scriptures of the New Testament in the churches, we have manifest footsteps in most of the writers which precede him, even from the beginning of Christianity i.
Cyprian, who was bishop of Carthage, and suffered martyrdom in the year of Christ 258 ", wrote several tracts and epistles, which are come down to
In these he frequently quotes the Acts of the
& L. 3. C. 25, tit. pr. et p. 78, B. fin. et C.
" Thus of the Epistle of James. L. 2. C. 23, fin. Of the Pastor of Hermas. L. 3. c. 3. p. 58, A. Of the Epistle of Clemens. Ibid. c. 16. And of all the controverted books in general. Tãy årtineyoμένων μεν, όμως δ' εν πλείσταις εκκλησίαις παρά πολλούς δεδημοσιευμένων. Ibid. c. 31, prop. fin.
i Vid. Apostol. Constit. I. 2. c. 57. p. 265. Cyprian. Ep. 23. 29. 39. Tertull. adv. Marcion. I. 4. C. 5, pr. p. 415, D. De Præscript. Hær. c. 41, fin. p. 217, C. Apol. c. 22. p. 22, A. fin. Coimus ad literarum divinarum commemorationem-certe fidem sanctis vocibus pascimus, spem erigimus, fiduciam figimus, &c. C. 39. p. 31, Α. Και τη του ηλίου λεγομένη ημέρα πάντων κατά πόλεις και αγρούς μενόντων επί το αυτό συνέλευσις γίνεται, και τα απομνημονεύματα των αποστόλων, και τα συγγράμματα των προφητών αναγινώσκεται μέχρις έγχωρεί. Είτα παυσαμένου του αναγινώσκοντος, κ. τ. λ. Just. Mart. Αp. p. 98, C. D. The scriptures were also read in private families. Vid. Clem. Alex. Strom. I. 7. p. 860, fin.
k Vid. Annal. Cyprian.
Apostles as of the same authority with the other divinely inspired writings!. In the preface to his two books of Testimonies against the Jews, he professes to collect those Testimonies from the divine fountain, i. e. the scriptures of the Old and New Testament; and among the other scriptures he quotes the Acts of the Apostles in both these books m. In the preface to his third book of Testimonies he declares, that he has gathered out of the sacred scriptures certain heads pertaining to the religious discipline of Christians. To
To compose these capitula, or heads, are frequent citations from the Acts of the Apostles, as well as from other parts of the inspired writings ". And one of these heads has no text whatever cited but from the Acts . In another place also he quotes it under the name of the divine scripture. It is in his treatise of the Unity of the Church P. “ This unanimity was of old under “ the apostles; so the new people of believers, keep“ing the commandment of the Lord, held fast their
charity. The divine scripture proves this, which says, And the multitude of them that believed
were of one heart and of one soul: and again, “ And they all continued with one accord in prayer “ with the women and Mary, the mother of Jesus,
| Vid. de Hab. Virg. p. 93. compared with p. 97. de Opere et Eleemos. p. 201. compared with 208. Ep. 3. p. 6. Ep. 59. p. 128. et 64. p. 161. p. 166. et 72. p. 196. et 73. p. 202. et 209. et 75. p. 221.
m L. 1. C. 21. p. 29. et I. 2. c. 16. p. 42.
n C. 3. p. 62. c. 14. p. 68. c. 30. p. 74, pr. c. 61. p. 83. c. 89. p. 87. c. 100. p. 88. c. 101. p. 89. C. 119. p. 91.
• C. 44. p. 77