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General Denominations of the Collection of facred Books, received by Chriftians. I. Scripture. II. Bible. III. Canon. IV. Old and New Teftament. V. Inftrument. VI. Digest. VII. Gospel.

I. ****NE of the general denominations of facred books

is Scripture, or Scriptures, literally, and primarily Scripture. **** fignifying writing. But by way of eminence and diftinction the books in the highest esteem are called Scripture, or the Scrip


This word occurs often in the New Teftament, in the Gospels, the Acts, and the Epiftles. Whereby we perceive, that in the time of our Saviour and his Apoftles this word was in common use, denoting the books received by the Jewish People, as the rule of their faith. To them have been fince added by Christians the writings of Apostles and Evangelists, compleating the collection of books, received by them as facred and divine.

ii. 22.

Some of the places, where the word Scripture is used in the fingular number for the books of the Old Teftament, are these. 2 Tim. iii. 16. All fcripture is given by the inspiration of God. And Luke iv. 21. John Acts i. 16. viii. 32. 35. Rom. iv. 3. Gal. iii. 8. James ii. 18.23. 1 Pet. ii. 6. 2 Pet. i. 20. Scriptures, in the plural number, in thefe following, and many other places. Matth. xxi. 42. xxii. 29. xxvi. 54. Luke xxiv. 27. 32. 45. John v. 39. Acts xvii. 2. 11. xviii. 24. 28. 2 Tim. in. 15. 2 Pet. ii, 16.



St. Peter

- St. Peter applies this word to the books of the New, as well as of the Old Teftament, to St. Paul's Epiftles, in particular. 2 Pet. iii. 16... as alfo in all his epiftles.. which they that are unlearned, wreft, as they do alfo the other fcriptures, unto their own deftruction. Plainly denoting, that * St. Paul's Epiftles are Scriptures in the highest sense of the word.


II. Bible is another word, which has now been long in use among Chriftians, denoting the whole collection of writings received by them, as of divine Authority.

The word, primarily, denotes book. But now is given to the writings of Prophets and Apoftles by way of eminence. This collection is the Book, or Bible, the book of books, as fuperior in excellence to all other books. The word feems to be used in this fenfe by Chryfoftom in a pasfage already (a) cited. "I therefore exhort all of you to procure to your"felves Bibles, Bicxía. If you have nothing elfe, take care to have the "New Testament, particularly, the Acts of the Apoftles, and the Gof"pels, for your conftant instructors." And Jerome fays, "That (b) the Scriptures being all writ by one Spirit, are called one book." We likelike faw formerly a paffage of Auguftin, where he informs us, "That (c) "fome called all the canonical fcriptures one book, on account of their "wonderful harmonie, and unity of defign throughout." And I then faid: "It is likely, that this way of fpeaking gradually brought in the general use of the word Bible, for the whole collection of the fcriptures, or the books of the Old and New Testament.”

In fhort, the ancient Chriftians were continually speaking of the Divine Oracles, and the Divine Books, and were much employed in reading them, as Chryfoftom directs in a paffage, transcribed (d) below: where he recommends the reading the divine books daily, forenoon and afternoon. At length the whole collection was called the book, or the bible.

Dr. Heumann has an Epiftle, or fhort Differtation (e) concerning the origin of this name of our facred collection of books. And for fome while he was of opinion, that (f) it was fo called, as being the most excellent of all books: in like manner as the Jews had before called their collection the Scriptures, by way of eminence. So Acts xviii. 24. and 28. But (g) afterwards he fufpected, that the origin of this name was in


*Hac parte (quod bene notandum eft) Petrus canonizat, ut ita loquar, iḍ eft, in canonem facrarum fcripturarum afcribit, atque canonicas facit episto las Pauli. Dicens enim, ficut & ceteras fcripturas, utique fignificat, fe etiam illas in fcripturarum numero habere. De facris autem fcripturis eum loqui, in confeffo eft. Eft, in loc.

(b) The fame. p. 158.

(c) The fame. p. 256.

(a) Vol. X. p. 349. (α) Αλλὰ δεῖ πάνα καιρὸν ἐπιτήδειον ἡγεῖσθαι πρὸς τὴν τῶν πνευματικῶν λόγων διάλεξιν. . . . . . Δυνησόμεθα καὶ ἐπὶ οἰκίας διατρίβοντες, καὶ μετὰ τὴν ἐσιάσιν, καὶ πρὸ τῆς ἐστάσεως μετὰ χεῖρας λάβοντες τὰ θεῖα βιβλία τὴν ἐξ αὐτῶν καρπεσθαι ὠφέλειαν. In i. Gen. hom. x. T. 4. p. 81. C. Bened.

(e) De origine nominis Bibliorum. Heum. Poecile. Tom. i. p. 412... 415.

(f) Sufpicari deinde cœpi, ideo Biblia dictum effe facrum codicem, quod tanquam liber omnium præftantiffimus xal' iox dictus fit ra Bibaia Suppetias conjecturæ huic ferre videbatur illa appellatio, qua idem divinum opus vocari folet ai ygaqaí. e. gr. Act, xviii. 24. 28. Id. ib. p. 413.

(8) Ib. p. 414.

those words of Paul, 2 Tim. iv. 13. The cloak that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comeft, bring with thee, and the books, n ra BiCxía. For he believed, that thereby the ancient Chriftians understood the facred code. But he afterwards acknowledgeth, that he had not found any instance of that interpretation in ancient writers. It feems to me therefore, that this conjecture fhould be dropt, as deftitute of foundation: and that it should be better for us to adhere to the forementioned origin of this name, which appears to have in it a good deal of probability. III. Canon is originally a Greek word, fignifying a rule or standard, by which other things are to be examined and judged.


As the writings of the Prophets and Apostles and Evangelists contain an authentic account of the revealed will of God, they are the rule of the belief and practice of those who receive them.

Sometimes canon seems equivalent to a lift or catalogue, in which are inserted those books, which contain the rule of faith.

Du Pin fays, "This (b) word fignifies not only a law or rule, but "likewife a table, catalogue, lift. Some have fuppofed, that the cano"nical books were fo called, because they are the rule of the faith. But "though it be true, that they are the rule of our faith; yet the reason of "their being called canonical, is, because they are placed in the cata66 logue of facred books.”

Perhaps, there is no need to dispute about this. For there is no great difference in thofe two fenfes. And there may be paffages of ancient writers, where it would be difficult to determine, which of them is intended.


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St. Paul has twice used the word canon, or rule. Gal. vi. 16. As many as walk according to this rule. Upon which verfe Theodoret's comment is to this purpose: "He (i) calls the forementioned doctrine a rule, "as being ftrait, and having nothing wanting, nor fuperfluous.' Again, fays St. Paul, Philip. iii. 16. Whereunto we have already attained, let us walk according to the fame rule. Where he speaks of the doctrine of the gospel in general, or of fome particular maxim of it: not of any books, containing the rule of faith. However, his use of the word may have been an occafion of affixing that denomination to the books of fcripture. For it is of great antiquity among Chriftians.

Iraneus, fpeaking of the fcriptures, as the words of God, calls (k) them the rule, or canon of truth. Here canon is not a catalogue, but the books, or the doctrine contained in the books of scripture.

Clement of Alexandria, referring to a quotation of the Gospel according



(b) Le mot fignifie non feulement une loi, une regle, mais auffi une table, un catalogue, une lifte. Quelques-uns ont cru, que les livres canoniques étoient ainfi appellez, parcequ'ils font la regle de la foi. Mais quoique cela foit vrai, ce n'eft pas ce qui leur a fait donner le nom de canoniques, qu'ils n'ont que parceque l'on a nommé canon le catalogue des livres facrez. Diff. Prelim. 1. 1. ch. 1. §. ii.

(;) Κανόνα ἐκάλεσε τὴν προκειμένην διδασκαλίαν, ὡς εὐθύτης κοσμημένην, καὶ μήτε ἐλλείπων τὶ μήτε περιτιὸν ἔχεσαν. Theod. in loc.

(k) Nos autem unum et folum verum Deum doctorem fequentes, et regulam veritatis habentes ejus fermones, de iifdem femper eadem dicimus omnes. Iran. 1. 4. c. 35. al. 69. f. p. 277.



to the Egyptians, fays with indignation: " But (1) they who choose to "follow any thing, rather than the true Evangelical Canon, [or the ca

non of the Gospel,] infift upon what follows there as faid to Salome." In another place he fays: "The (m) ecclefiaftical canon is the confent " and agreement of the Law and the Prophets with the teftament deli"livered by the Lord."

Eufebe, as (n) formerly quoted, fays of Origen: "But in the first book "of his Commentaries upon the Gospel of Matthew, obferving (o) the "ecclefiaftical canon, he declares, that he knew of four Gofpels only." * I fhall add a few more paffages from later writers, chiefly fuch as have been already quoted in the foregoing volumes: to which paffages therefore the reader may eafily have recourse.

Athanafius (p) in his Festal Epistles fpeaks of three forts of books, the canonical, the fame, which are now received by us, fuch as were allowed to be read, and then of fuch as are apocryphal: by which he means books forged by heretics.

In the Synopfis of Scripture, afcribed to him, but probably not writ till above a hundred years after his time, near the end of the fifth centurie, is frequent mention (9) of canonical and uncanonical books. per

The council of Laodicea, about 363, ordains, that (q)" no books, not "canonical, fhould be read in the church, but only the canonical books of the Old and New Testament."

Rufin, enumerating the fcriptures of the Old and New Teftament, makes (r) three forts of books, fuch (s) as are included in the canon, fuch as are not canonical, but ecclefiaftical, allowed to be read, but not to be alleged for proof of any doctrine, and lastly,' apocryphal books, which were not to be publicly read.

Jerome likewife often speaks of the canon of Scripture, as we faw in his chapter, where he fays: "Ecclefiafticus, (t) Judith, Tobit, and the "Shepherd, are not in the canon:" and "that (u) the Church reads, or "allows to be read, Judith, Tobit, and the Maccabees, but does not re"ceive them among the canonical scriptures: and that they, and the "books of Wisdom and Ecclefiafticus, may be read for the edification of "the people, but not as of authority, for proving any doctrines." And for the Old Teftament he recommends (x) the true Jewish canon, or Hebrew

(1) See Vol. ii. p. 529. or 527.

(η) Κανὼν δὲ ἐκκλησιασικὸς ἡ συνωδία και η συμφωνία νόμω τε και προφητῶν τῇ κατὰ τὴν τὸ κυρία παρεσίαν παραδιδομένη διαθήκη. Cl. Strom. l. 6. p. 676. C. (n) Ch. 38. vol. iii. p. 235.

(9) The fame. p. 243... 245.
(r). See vol. x. p. 187. 188.

(0) ... τὸν ἐκκλησιασικὸν φυλάτίων κανόνα. Ap. Εufeb. 1. 6. c. 25. p. 226. Β. (p) See vol. viii. p. 228. 229. (9) The jame. p. 291. (s) Hæc funt, quæ patres intra canonem concluferunt, & ex quibus fidei noftræ affertiones conftare voluerunt..... Sciendum tamen eft, quod alii libri funt, qui non funt canonici, fed ecclefiaftici a majoribus appellati funt. Qua omnia legi quidem in ecclefiis voluerunt, non tamen proferri ad autoritatem ex his fidei confirmandam. Ceteras vero fcripturas apocryphas no minarunt, quas in ecclefiis legi noluerunt. Rufin. citat. ubi fupra p. 185. 'not. (g).

(4) Vol. x. p. 41.


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Hebrew verity. I refer below (y) to another place relating to the books of the New Testament.

The third Council of Carthage, about 397. ordains, "that (2) nothing " befide the canonical scriptures be read in the Church under the name "Divine Scriptures."

Auguftin, in 395. and afterwards, often (a) fpeaks of canonical fcriptures, and the (b) whole canon of fcripture, that is, all the facred books of the Old and New Teftament. We " (c) read of fome, fays he, that they. "fearched the fcriptures daily, whether those things were fo. Acts xvii. 11. "What fcriptures, I pray, except the canonical fcriptures of the Law and "the Prophets? To them have been fince added the Gofpels, the Epiftles "of Apoftles, the Acts of the Apostles, and the Revelation of John." Of the fuperior authority of the canonical scriptures to all others, he speaks frequently in paffages afterwards alleged (d) in the fame chapter.

Chryfoftom in a place already cited (e) fays: "They (f) fall into sc great abfurdities, who will not follow the rule (or canon) of the divine "fcripture, but truft entirely to their own reafoning." I refer to another place (g) to the like purpose.

Says Ifidore of Pelufium, about 412. " that (i) these things are fo, we "fhall perceive, if we attend to the rule [canon] of truth, the divine "fcriptures."

And Leontius, of Conftantinople, about 610. having cited the whole catalogue of the books of fcripture from Genefis to the Revelation (k) concludes: "Thefe (1) are the ancient and new books, which are re"ceived in the Church as canonical."

By all which we difcern, how much the use of these words, canon and canonical, has obtained among Chriftians, denoting those books, which are of the highest authority, and the rule of faith: as opposed to all other whatever, particularly, to ecclefiaftical, or the writings of orthodox and learned catholics, and to apocryphal, the productions, chiefly, of heretics, which by a fpecious name and title made a pretenfion to be accounted among facred books.

IV. The most common and general divifion of the canonical books, is that of ancient and new, or the Old and New Teftament. The Hebrew word, berith, from which

(y) Vol. x. p. 86.

(x)... p. 193. (a)... p. 207.

Old and New



(6). Totus autem canon fcripturarum.. his libris continetur. Ib. not. (r) P. 208.


.. P. 252,

(e) Vol. xii. p. 126.

(d) See p. 253. 256. 259. .. 268,

(γ) Ορᾶς, εἰς ὅσιν ατοπίαν ἐκπίπτεσιν οἱ μὴ βελόμενοι τῷ τῆς θείας γραφῆς κα Taxodir xavovi x. λ. In Gen, cap. 33. hom. 58. T. 4. p. 566. B.

(g) Vid. bom. 33. in A&t. Ap. fub fin.

(2) Οτι δὲ ταῦτα ὕτως ἔχει, τὸν κανόνα τῆς ἀληθείας, τας θείας φημὶ γραφας, καταπλεύσομεν. Ifid. ep. 114. 1. 4.

(k) See Vol. xi. p. 381.

(1) Ταῦτα ἔτι τὰ κανονιζόμενα βιβλία ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ, καὶ παλαιά καὶ νέων Gi tat. ibid. p. 380. not. (e).

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