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for it in the original work, and endeavouring to represent it faithfully.
I had not proceeded far in these Lectures, before I discovered that the plan, which I am necessarily bound to follow, is attended with difficulties and inconveniences. In the first place the Bampton Lecturer has to unite two objects, which cannot very easily be made compatible. He has to engage the attention of a congregation during eight Sermons which are orally delivered: and afterwards these same Sermons are to appear in a printed book. It is obvious that the style and the method, which might be suited to one of these purposes, may not be well adapted to the other. If one of them is exclusively attended to, there is a chance of the other being unsuccessful: or if the author aim at both, he may possibly fail in both. This however is by no means the greatest inconvenience: for few persons would hesitate as to the choice which they are to make in such an alternative: and though there may be something of arrogance in an author speaking thus of his own work, I conceive it to be his duty as well as his ambition to say with the Athenian historian, κτήμα ες αει μάλλον ή αγώνισμα ες το παραχρήμα ακούειν ξύγκειται. . There is however another inconvenience attendant
upon the twofold shape, in which these Lectures appear before the public; and the difficulty is much more strongly felt in proportion to the degree of critical research, which the subject requires. A long and minute detail of historical or critical evidence is extremely irksome to a congregation : nor indeed is it easy to follow an intricate argument, or to connect the separate parts of it, when the whole depends upon the attention and the memory. And yet the subject which I have chosen is one, which calls for an elaborate investigation in almost every page. To have introduced all my materials into the body of the Lectures, would have been quite incompatible with the prescribed and ordinary length of such discourses: and although some of my readers will perhaps think the Notes already too long, they might, if it had appeared expedient, have been extended to a much greater length. There was therefore only one
course remaining, to state the facts and conclusions in the Lectures, and to leave the detail of arguments and evidence for the Notes. This is the plan, which I have generally followed. The shorter notes are printed at the bottom of the page; but those, which contain a longer and more elaborate discussion, are placed together at the end. I am aware, that this is not a convenient plan to many readers : but I repeat, that in the present case it was unavoidable; and whoever is acquainted with Mosheim's Institutiones Majores, or his work de Rebus ante Constantinum, will have seen this plan carried to a much greater length, where there does not appear to have existed the same necessity, and where the notes, which greatly exceed the text in bulk, contain nearly all the information. The Notes at the end of the present volume will perhaps be passed over by many persons, who will not read them in their respective places, because they interrupt the body of the Lecture: beside which they may be thought tedious, and too full of minute references to ancient writers. Still however I cannot avoid pointing out the expediency of reading the Notes together with the Text, and of forgetting, as far as is possible, that part of the work was addressed to a congregation. I wish the whole to be read and considered as a whole. The point, which I have chosen for discussion, is one which ought to have been treated as a consecutive and connected history: it comprehends in fact nearly the whole of the ecclesiastical history of the first century: and though so much has been done by foreign writers in this department, I cannot but again repeat my regrets, that no ecclesiastical historian has appeared in our own country, who has given a full and particular account of the progress of the Gospel in the early ages of the Church.
Acts xx. 30. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse
things, to draw away disciples after them. THERE never perhaps was a time, when the writings of the New Testament were so minutely and critically examined, as in the present day. So various indeed, and so severe have been the tests, to which that book has been submitted, that we may say with confidence, when advocating its truth, that there is no description of evidence which it does not possess, there is no species of doubt or suspicion from which it has not been cleared. The writers of our own country have been among the foremost and the most successful in traversing this ample field : and we have good reason to thank God, that hitherto at least they have not been seduced by that false and fatal philosophy, which has caused some of their fellow-labourers to make shipwreck of their faith. I could wish, that of the protestant divines in Germany we could speak in terms of approbation only, or that our censure was confined to mistakes of judgment. They have indeed been mighty champions in the field of criticism; and the church of Christ will always acknowledge and profit by their labours, though she laments the darkness which has so strangely beset them, while they were leading others to a fuller and a clearer light. For works of general introduction to the New Testament, the German the
ologians stand preeminent, and have left little in this department for future critics to supply. Much however may yet be done by a division of labour: and persons of inferior minds and more limited reading may add something to the general stock of knowledge, if they confine their investigations to particular points.
Thus one person may illustrate the language of the New Testament, by a reference to contemporary writers: another may discover and explain allusions by an observance of eastern manners : the geography and chronology of the sacred books may furnish matter for distinct inquiries : and thus while all are employed upon separate parts, the whole system is better understood ; and critical learning promotes what ought to be its final aim, and what is unquestionably its noblest use, the means of bringing man nearer to God, and of shewing him in a clearer light the mercies of his Creator, his Sanctifier, and his Redeemer.
There are many passages in the New Testament, and particularly in the Epistles, which are either unintelligible or lose much of their force, if the reader is unacquainted with the circumstances in which the writer was placed. What a comment should we have upon St. Paul's Epistle to the Corinthians, and what a key to many of its difficulties, if we were able to compare it with the letter“, to which it was an answer? and no discovery could be so valuable to the biblical critic, as the writings of those persons who opposed or perverted the preaching of the gospel. In the absence of such documents, eccle
a See 1 Cor. vii. 1. xvi. 17.
siastical history supplies some facts in the lives of the apostles, which enable us to throw light upon many of their expressions. It will be my object in the present Lectures to bring together these scattered notices, and to consider the heresies which infested the church in the lifetime of the apostles.
The plan, which first presented itself, was to confine the inquiry to those heresies only which are mentioned in the New Testament. But this was not sufficient. Some of the passages, in which erroneous opinions are condemned, admit such different interpretations, and some of the allusions are so obscurely worded, that it will sometimes be doubted whether in these passages any heresies are intended at all. Even where the names of persons are expressly mentioned, we know so little of their history and of the tenets which they espoused, that we must go to other sources beside the New Testament, if we wish for information concerning them. Instead therefore of confining myself to those heresies, which are mentioned in the New Testament, I shall direct your attention to all the heresies which are known to have existed in the apostolic age. And when I speak of the apostolic age, it might be equally correct to speak of the first century of the Christian era : for it seems certain, that St. John survived the rest of the apostles; and the death of St. John, according to every account, very nearly coincided with the commencement of the second century b.
Đ The earliest and most va 178.) he says that St. John luable testimony upon this point lived “ to the time of Trajan," is that of Irenæus, who had con μέχρι των Τραϊανού χρόνων. Trajan versed with Polycarp the dis- reigned from the year 98 to 117. ciple of St. John. In two places Cave quotes Eusebius and Jerom (II. 22. 5. p. 148. III. 3. 4. p. as saying, that John died in the