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7. It is argued, thath Polycarp, writing to the Philipplans, expresseth himself, as if he thought St. Paul had written to them more epistles than one.
To which it is easy to answer, that though the word be in the plural number, one epistle only might be meant. Secondly, it is not improbable, that Polycarp intended the epistle to the Philippians, and also the two epistles of Paul to the Thessalonians, who were in the same province of Macedonia, as was shown' formerly. Indeed this objection is so obviated by what was said, when we largely considered the testimony of Polycarp to the New Testament, that I think nothing more needs to be added here.
V. In treating this subject Mr. Ens could not help thinking of those passages of Origen and Eusebius, where they speak of the apostles not being solicitous to write many volumes. Which passages were taken notice of by us k long ago. He endeavours to evade the proper conclusion to be thence drawn. But he owns, thate the ancients had no knowledge of those writings of the apostles, which he and some others have imagined to be lost. And he thinks it almost miraculous, or however a very wonderful dispensation of providence, that they should so soon perish, as to be unknown to the ancients, as well as to us.
But does not that show, that this whole argument is frivolous and insignificant? For plausible speculations cannot be valid against fact and evidence. If the primitive christians knew not of any apostolical writings, beside those which have been transmitted to us, it is very probable there were none.
h Memorat quoque Polycarpus in literis ad Philippenses, S. Paulum non unam sed plures ad eos £7ri=ro\ac absentem scripsisse. Pfaff. ib. p. 47. Conf. Ens, p. 51—56. * See Vol. ii. p. 100, 101.
k See Vol. ii. p. 494; and Vol. iv.p. 95, 96.
1 Fateor ingenue, vix concipi potest, unde tam cito tanta fuerit inter veteres ignorantia de eo, quod apostoli multo plura scripserint, quam quidem illorum ct nostras pervenit ad manus. Fateor, vix concipi potest, ubi tam profunde latere potuerint scripta ilia apostolica, ut omnium fugerint oculos. At divina hie mihi admiranda ac adoranda videtur providentia, quae ad tempus data scripta, dum aliorum quae permanerent in vitae canonem perpetuum nondum essetin ecclesiis copia, deinde protinuse medio tolli voluerit. Ens, ibid. sect. Ii. p. 68.
JEWISH AND HEATHEN TESTIMONIES
TO THE TRUTH OF THE
NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS.
THE JEWISH TESTIMONIES, AND THE TESTIMONIES OF HEATHEN AUTHORS OF THE FIRST CENTURY.
IT is well known that I have long since intended a collection of passages of Jewish and heathen authors, who bear testimony to the books or facts of the New Testament, or the affairs of christians in their own times. I have also intimated, that I had by me large materials for that purpose; at the same time expressing my doubts, whether ever should be able to put those materials into order. But God, in his good providence, has prolonged my life. And, having completed the Supplement to the second part of the Credibility of the Gospel History, I have now put my collections of Jewish and heathen Testimonies into such order, that it has been judged not improper to begin the publication.
This part of my design has been long deferred; but I hope it is not the worse for that.
Many others of late times have made collections of this kind.
This argument was not omitted by Mr. Addison, in his Evidences of the Christian Religion, who has insisted, though briefly, upon the testimonies of Tacitus, Suetonius, Phlegon, Dion, Celsus, Macrobius, and other heathen authors, and made good remarks upon them: intending likewise to add the testimonies of Jewish writers, but was prevented by death.
In the year 1733 was published a book with this title— An Appeal to the genuine Records and Testimonies of Heathen and Jewish Writers in Defence of Christianity: by Thomas Dawson, D. D. Vicar of New Windsor, some time Member of Convocation.*
That work has a pompous title, from which a great deal might be expected ; but it is little more than an angry declamation against Dr. Sykcs, for not showing due respect to Phlegon, and Dionysius the Areopagite. I have made no use of that work. Nor do I know that I shall have occasion to take any farther notice of it.
An Argument in Defence of Christianity, taken from the
a It is in two parts 5 201 pages for the first part, and 112 for the second; in octavo.