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character of the author making such reference. Proceeding by this rule, we have, concerning the first epiftle to the Corinthians in particular, within forty years after the epistle was written, evidence, not only of its being extant at Corinth, but of its being known and read at Rome. Clement, bishop of that city, writing to the church of Corinth, uses thefe words: Take into

your hands the epistle of the bleffed Paul “ the apostle. What did he at first write “ unto you in the beginning of the gospel ? Verily he did by the spirit admonish

you concerning himself and Cephas and Apol" los, because that even then you did form “ parties*.” This was written at a time when probably some must have been living at Corinth, who remembered St. Paul's miniftry there and the receipt of the epistle. The testimony is still more valuable, as it shows that the epistles were preserved in the churches to which they were fent, and that they were spread and propagated from them to the rest of the Christian community Agreeably to which natural mode + See Lardner, vol. xii. p. 22.

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and order of their publication, Tertullian, a century afterwards, for proof of the integrity and genuineness of the apostolic writings, bids - any one, who is willing to exer“cise his curiosity profitably in the business cs of their salvation, to visit the apostolical “ churches, in which their very authentic ss letters are recited, ipfæ authenticæ literæ 56 eorum recitantur." Then he • Achaia near you? You have Corinth. If

you are not far from Macedonia, you have Philippi, you have Thessalonica. If you rs can go to Asia, you have Ephesus; but if

you are near to Italy, you have Rome*.” I adduce this passage to show, that the distinct churches or Christian societies, to which St. Paul's epistles were sent, subsisted for some ages afterwards; that his severalepistles were all along respectively read in those churches; that Christians at large received them from those churches, and appealed to those .churches for their originality and authencity.

Arguing in like manner from citations and allusions, we have, within the space of a hundred and fifty years from the time * Lardner, vol. ii. p. 598.

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that the first of St. Paul's epistles was written, proofs of almost all of them being read, in Palestine, Syria, the countries of Asia Minor, in Egypt, in that part of Africa which used the Latin tongue, in Greece, Italy, and Gaul *. I do not mean fimply to affert, that, within the space of a hundred and fifty years, St. Paul's epistles were read in those countries, for I believe that they were read and circulated from the beginning; but that proofs of their being so read occur within that period. And when it is considered how few of the primitive Christians wrote, and of what was written how much is loft, we are to account it extraordinary, or rather as a sure proof of the extensiveness of the reputation of these writings, and of the general respect in which they were held, that fo many

testimonies, and of such antiquity, are still extant. “ In the remaining works of Ire

næus, Clement of Alexandria, and Ter“ tullian, there are perhaps more and "larger quotations of the small volume of “the New Testament, than of all the works

* Şee Lardner's Recapitulation, vol. xii. p. 53.

« of Cicero, in the writings of all characters “ for several ages*.” We must add, that the epistles of Paul come in for their full share of this observation; and that all the thirteen epistles, except that to Philemon, which is not quoted by Irenæus or Clement, and which probably escaped notice merely by its brevity, are severally cited, and expressly recognized as St. Paul's, by each of these Christian writers. The Ebionites, an early, though inconsiderable Christian feet, rejected St. Paul and his epistles ut; that is, they rejected these epistles, not because they were not, but because they were St. Paul's; and because, adhering to the obligation of the Jewish law, they chose to dispute his doctrine and authority. Their suffrage as to the genuineness of the epistles does not contradict that of, other Christians. Marcion, an heretical writer in the former part of the second century, is said by Tertullian to have rejected three of the epistles which we now receive, viz. the two Epistles to Timothy and the epistle to Titus. It appears to

* Vide Lardner's Recapitulation, vol. xii. p. 53. + Lardner, vol. ii.

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me not improbable, that Marcion might make some such distinction as this, that no apostolic epistle was 'to be admitted which was not read or attested by the church to which it was fent; for it is remarkable that, together with these epistles to private persons, he rejected also the catholic epistles. Now the catholic epistles and the epistles to private persons agree in the circumstance of wanting this particular species of attestation. Marcion, it seems, acknowledged the epistle to Philemon, and is upbraided for his inconfistency in doing so by Tertullian*, who asks “why, when he received a letter writ

ten to a single person, he should refuse two to Timothy and one to Titus com

posed upon the affairs of the church ?” This passage fo far favours our account of Marcion's objection, as it shows that the objection was supposed by Tirtullian to have been founded in something, which belonged to the nature of a private letter.

Nothing of the works of Marcion remains. Probably he was, after all, a rash, arbitrary, licentious critic (if he deserved * Lardner, vol. xiv. p. 455.

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