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into the east, and was come to the place where those things were preached and done; I procured an accurate account of the books of the Old Testament, the catalogue of which I bave here subjoined, and sent to you. Their names are these.'
From this passage I would conclude that there was then also a volume or collection of books, called the New Testament, containing the writings of apostles and apostolical men : but we cannot from hence infer the names, or the exact number of those books.
Melito then received the book of the Revelation, written by John; and, it is probable, many other books, collected together in a volume, called the New Testament; just as the books received by the Jews, as of divine authority, were called the Old Testament.
THE EPISTLE OF THE CHURCHES OF VIENNE AND LYONS.
IN the time of Marcus Antoninus the christians suffered extremely. • In the seventeenth year of the reign of this . prince,' says Eusebius,a in his Ecclesiastical History, • the persecution against us raged with great violence in
several parts of the world, through the enmity of the * people in the cities. What vast multitudes of martyrs • There were throughout the whole empire, may be well • concluded from what happened in one nation. He means that of Gaul. The persecution was particularly violent at Lyons, and the country thereabout. At this time many of the christians of Lyons and Vienne suffered exquisite torments with the greatest patience. Pothinus bishop of Lyons, then above ninety years of age, was apprehended and carried before the governor, by whom he was examined, and before whom he made a generous confession of the christian religion; and having suffered many indignities, he was sent to prison, where he soon expired.
The time of the persecution in Gaul has been disputed. Some have argued for the year 167, thinking that Eusebius himself places it there in his Chronicle. Dodwellb has dea L. v. Proæm.
b Diss. Cypr. xi. sect. 36.
fended this opinion with his usual diligence; but the general opinion is with Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History, who, as we have just shown, there places it in the seventeenth year of Marcus Antoninus, the 177th of our Lord. Supposing that Eusebius had in his Chronicle placed it in the seventh of that emperor, it would nevertheless be more reasonable for us to adhere to the account in the Ecclesiastical History, written after his Chronicle, where he gives the most particular account of the sufferings of these christians. But indeed Eusebius does not disagree with himself. The christians suffered, in one part or other of the world, almost the beginning of Marcus's reign to the end of it. In his Chronicle, Eusebius assigns the fourth persecution to the seventh year of that emperor, because some suffered then; and upon that occasion he makes a general mention of the martyrs of Lyons. But the persecution of the churches in Gaul did not happen until the seventeenth year of Marcus, as Eusebius particularly relates in his History. But I need not farther insist upon this point.
. The probability of the latter date of the persecution in Gaul has been so well argued, the invalidity of Dodwell's arguments so fully shown, and every difficulty so fairly considered and removed by Pagic and. Tillemont, that, I think, every unprejudiced person must acquiesce. Nor do I expect that any learned man, who has a concern for his reputation as a critic, should attempt a direct confutation of this opinion.
The churches of Lyons and Vienne sent a relation of the sufferings of their martyrs to the churches of Asia and Phrygia. Eusebiuse placed this epistle entire in his collection of the acts of the martyrs; and he has likewise inserted a large part of it into his Ecclesiastical History, which we still have. It is the finest thing of the kind in all antiquity. Some think it was composed by Irenæus.
There were at the same time some other letters despatched from these churches, concerning the affair of Montanism; which having had its rise about the year 171, began now to make a noise in the world. One of these letters likewise was sent to the brethren in Asia and Phrygia, another to Eleutherus bishop of Rome. These letters concerning the pretended prophecies of Montanus were written by the martyrs themselves, when in prison, before they were brought forth to be put to death. Of these letters c Critic. in Baron. 177. sect. 3–7.
d Memoires Eccles. Tom. 3. St. Pothin, et les Martyrs de Lion. Art. ii. et Note i. e Vid. H. E. 1, v. Procem.
i Eus. H. E. 1. v. c. iv, fin. v. in.
there is little remaining. But the former, containing the relation of the sufferings of the martyrs at Lyons, being for the main part of it preserved in Eusebius, will afford a considerable testimony to the books of the New Testament. And how valuable their testimony is, must be inanifest from what has been said of them; and that they had for their bishop Pothinus, who died aged above 90, in the year 177, and was born therefore about the year 87 of our Lord. We shall make frequent inention, in the course of this work, of this epistle of the churches of Vienne and Lyons. I am now to exhibit only the testimony it affords to the books of the New Testament. N. T.
The EPISTLE, &c. 1. Luke i. 6. “ And they I. Of one of their brethren were both righteous before they say, Thats though
· God, walking in all the com
young, he equalled the chamandments and ordinances racter of old Zacharias : for of the Lord, blameless." he walked in all the com
mandments and ordinances
of the Lord, blameless.' II. John xvi. 2. “ Yea, II. • Then wash fulfilled the time cometh, that who- that which was spoken by killeth you, will
will the Lord, that whosoever think that he doth God ser- killeth you will think that vice.”
he doth God service.' III. Acts vii. 60. “ And III. • They prayedi for he kneeled down, and cried those from whom they sufwith a loud voice, Lord, lay fered hard things, as did the not this sin to their charge.” perfect martyr Stephen :
“ Lord, lay not this sin to their charge." And if he prayed for those that stoned him, how much more ought
to pray for the bre
thren ?' I may be allowed to observe here, that the words of these Greek quotations, or references, are exactly conformable to the Greek original in our copies. N. T.
The EPISTLE, &c. IV. Rom. viii. 18. “ For IV.
indeed, I reckon, thatk the sufferings that the sufferings of this
& Eus. H. E. I. v. cap. i. p. 155. D. Vid. et p. 156. A. B. Ibid. p. 157. A.
i P. 167. A. k οτι 8κ αξια τα παθηματα τα νυν καιρα, προς την μελλεσαν δοξαν αποκαλυφθηναι εις ημας.
1 “Οτι εκ αξια τα παθηματα τ8 νυν καιρ8, προς την μελλεσαν δοξαν αποκαλυφθηναι εις ημας. Ρ. 155. Β.
The EPISTLE, &c. of this present time are not present time are not worthy worthy to be compared with to be compared with the glothe glory that shall be re- ry that shall be revealed in vealed in us.”
Here is also an exact agreement in the very words, and it is remarkable.
V. Then they came to Blandina; by whom Christ showed, that those things, which to men appear mean, obscure, and contemptible, are greatly honoured by God, for the love toward him shown in power, not boasted of in appearance.' Here may be an allusion to 1 Cor. i. 25–31, and 2 Cor. v. 12. N. T.
The EPISTLE, &c. VI. Epb. vi. 5. 66 Ser- VI. · For when we were vants, be obedient to them all afraid on her account, that are your masters ac- and [especially] her fleshly cording to the flesh."
mistress. VII. Philip. ii. 6. “Who VII. · Whoo also were so being in the form of God, far followers and imitators of thought it not robbery to be Christ : who being in the equal with God."
form of God, thought it not
robbery to be equal to God.' One would be almost apt to think that these churches understood this text thus : did not think it a thing to be
caught at, to be equal, or like to God.' They seem at least to use the last words in that sense. They are not to their purpose in any other; unless we should suppose, that by reciting these they intend to refer to what there follows. But I think, that if they had not understood these words to be expressive of our Lord's humility, they would have proceeded somewhat farther in that portion of scripture; at least so far as to mention one branch of the humility of our blessed Lord. N. T.
The EPISTLE, &c. VIII. 1 Tim. iii. 15. VIII. "Attalus--whop “ Which is the church of was always the pillar and the living God, the pillar ground of the christians and ground of the truth.” there.' See Rev. iii. 12. IX. 1 Tim. iv. 3,
IX. • Alcibiades lived
upcommanding to abstain from on bread and water, in prim P. 157. B.
1 Ibid. • Οι και επι τοσοτον ζηλωται και μιμηται Χρισ8 εγενοντο, ος εν μορφη θεα υπαρχων θχ άρπαγμoν ήγησατο το ειναι ισα θεώ. p. 166. Β. p'P. 157. B.
The EPISTLE, &c. meats, which God hath cre
Attalus declared, It! ated to be received with was revealed to him, that thanksgiving
• Alcibiades did not do well creature of God is good, • in not using the creatures and nothing to be refused, if of God:'__and Alcibi
6 : it be received with thanks- ades was persuaded, and giving." ." See also Rom. xiv. partook of all things pro
miscuously, and gave God
thanks.' X. 1 Pet. v. 6. “ Humbler X. • Theys humbled themyourselves therefore under selves under the mighty the mighty hand of God, hand, by which they are now that he may exalt you in due proportionably exalted.' tiine."
XI. There is likewise, I think, [p. 160. B.C.] an allusion to 1 Pet. iv. 14, 15, 16. But the passage being somewhat long, and this being a plain allusion to that epistle, I forbear putting it down. N. T.
The EPISTLE, &c. XII. 1 John iii. 16. “ Here- XII. "Which he maniby perceive we the love of fested by the abundance of God, because he laid down his love, for" he was willing his life for us. Andt in defence of the brethren to ought to lay down our lives lay down even his own life.' for the brethren."
XIII. Rev. xiv. 4. “ These XIII. - For he was indeed are they", which follow the a genuine disciple of Christ," '
a lamb whithersoever he goes.” following the lamb whither
soever he goes.' XIV. The passages alleged out of this epistle have a reference to the gospels of St. Luke and St. John, the Acts of the Apostles, the epistle to the Romans, the first and second to the Corinthians, the epistles to the Ephesians and the Philippians, the first to Timothy, the first of St. Peter, the first of St. John, and the book of the Revelation; most of which will be readily allowed to be good references. But there is not any book of the New Testament expressly quoted in this epistle. However, a text of John is referred to as containing words of the Lord.' 1 P. 167. D.
Ταπεινωθητε εν υπο την κραταιαν χειρα το θεό, ένα υμας υψωση εν καιρώ.
8 Εταπεινον εαυτες υπο την κραταιαν χειρα, υφ' ής έκανως νυν εισιν υψωμενοι. Ρ. 166. D. " Και ημεις οφειλομεν υπερ των αδελφων τας ψυχας τιθεναι.
Ευδοκησας υπερ της των αδελφων απολογιας και την εαυτ8 θειναι ψυχην. P. 156. A B.
* Ούτοι εισιν οι ακολgθεντες τα αρνιρ οπε αν υπαγη. * Ακολεθων το αρνιρ οπε αν υπαγη. Ρ. 156. Β.