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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. Gofpel.
I. ****NE of the general denominations of facred books O is Scripture, or Scriptures, literally, and primarily *** 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 Gofpels, the Acts, and the Epiftles. Whereby we perceive, that in the time of our Saviour and his Apoftles this word was in common ufe, denoting the books received by the Jewish People, as the rule of their faith. To them have been fince added by Chriftians the writings of Apoftles and Evangelifts, compleating the collection of books, received by them as facred and divine.
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 infpiration 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. iii. 15. 2 Pet. ii, 16. A
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 fenfe of the word.
II. Bible is another word, which has now been long in use Bible 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, Bixia. If you have nothing else, take care to have the "New Testament, particularly, the Acts of the Apostles, and the Gofpels, for your conftant inftructors." 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 ufe of the word Bible, for the whole collection of the fcriptures, or the books of the Old and New Teftament."
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, id eft, in canonem facrarum fcripturarum afcribit, atque canonicas facit epifto 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. Est. in loc.
(b) The fame. p. 158.
(c) The fame. p. 256.
(a) Vol. X. p 349. (1) Αλλὰ δεῖ πάντα καιρὸν ἐπιτήδειον ἡγεῖσθαι πρὸς τὴν τῶν πνευματικῶν λόγων διάλεξιν. . . . . Δυνησόμεθα καὶ ἐπὶ οἰκίας διατρίβοντες, καὶ μετὰ τὴν ἐσιάσιν, καὶ πρὸ τῆς ἐσιάσεως μετὰ χεῖρας λαβοντες τὰ θεῖα βιβλία τὴν ἐξ αὐτῶν καρπῶσθαι ὠφέλειαν. In i. Gen. hom. x. T. 4. p. 81. C. Bened.
(e) De origine nominis Bibliorum. Heum. Poecile. Tom. i. p. 412. (f) Sufpicari deinde cœpi, ideo Biblia dictum effe facrum codicem, quod tanguam liber omnium præftantifimus κατ' ἐξοχὴν dilus fit τὰ βιβλία. Suppetias conjecturæ huic ferre videbatur illa appellatio, qua idem divinum opus vocari folet ai reapaí. e. gr. Act, xviii. 24. 28. Id. ib. p. 413.
(g) 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 và Bibxía. For he believed, that thereby the ancient Chriftians understood the facred code. But he afterwards acknowledgeth, that he had not found any inftance of that interpretation in ancient writers. It feems to me therefore, that this conjecture fhould be dropt, as deftitute of foundation: and that it fhould 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 ftandard, by which other things are to be examined and judged.
As the writings of the Prophets and Apoftles and Evangelifts contain an authentic account of the revealed will of God, they are the rule of the belief and practice of thofe who receive them.
Sometimes canon feems equivalent to a lift or catalogue, in which are inferted those books, which contain the rule of faith.
Du Pin fays, "This (b) word fignifies not only a law or rule, but "likewise 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 cata"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.
St. Paul has twice ufed 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 ufe of the word may have been an occafion of affixing that denomination to the books of scripture. For it is of great antiquity among Christians.
Iraneus, speaking 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 fcripture.
Clement of Alexandria, referring to a quotation of the Gofpel 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. Di Prelim. 1. 1. ch. 1. §. ii.
(1) Κανόνα ἐκάλεσε τὴν προκειμένην διδασκαλίαν, ὡς εὐθύτης κοσμεμένην, και μήτε ἐλλείπων τὶ μήτε περιτιὸν ἔχυσαν. 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 (0) 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 Feftal Epiftles speaks 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.
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 Testament, 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 saw 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 fcriptures: 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
(i) See Vol. ii. p. 529. or 527.
p. 676. C.
(m) Κανὼν δὲ ἐκκλησιασικὸς ἡ συνωδία και η συμφωνία νόμω τε καὶ προφητῶν τῆ κατὰ τὴν τὸ κυρία παρεσίαν παραδιδομένη διαθήκη. Cl. Strom. l. 6. (n) Ch. 38. vol. iii. p. 235.
(0) ... τὸν ἐκκλησιασικὸν φυλάττων κανόνα. Αp. Εufeb. 1. 6. c. 25. p. 226. Β. (p) See vol. viii. p. 228. 229. (9) The fame. p. 243. 245. (r) See vol. x. p. 187. 188.
(4) The jame. p. 291. (5) 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... Quæ omnia legi quidem in ecclefiis voluerunt, non tamen proferri ad auctoritatem ex his fidei confirmandam. Ceteras vero fcripturas apocryphas no. minarunt, quas in ecclefiis legi noluerunt. Rufin. citat. ubi fupra p. 185. not. (gi.
(t) Vol. x. p. 41.