view of Marcion. The name of the Deity was changed from Jehovah to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. If Marcion?s view had prevailed, the Old Testament would have been lost to the Christian Church. God?s revelation would have been deprived of its proof from prophecy. Development from the past, and divine conduct of Jewish history would have been denied. But without the Old Testament, as H. W. Beecher maintained, the New Testament would lack background; our chief source of knowledge with regard to God?s natural attributes of power, wisdom, and truth would be removed: the love and mercy revealed in the New Testament would seem characteristics of a weak being, who could not enforce law or inspire respect. A tree has as much breadth below ground as there is above; so the O.T. roots of God?s revelation are as extensive and necessary as are its N.T. trunk and branches and leaves. See Allen, Religious Progress, 81; Westcott Hist. N.T. Canon, and art.; Canon, in Smith?s Bible Dictionary. Also Reuss, History of Canon; Mitchell, Critical Handbook, part I.

B. The Christian and Apostolic Fathers who lived in the first half of the second century not only quote from these books and allude to them, but testify that they were written by the apostles themselves. We are therefore compelled to refer their origin still further back, namely, to the first century, when the apostles lived.

(a) Iren^us (120-200) mentions and quotes the four gospels by name, and among them the gospel according to John: ?Afterwards John, the disciple of the Lord, who also leaned upon his breast, he likewise published a gospel, while he dwelt in Ephesus in Asia.? And Iren^us was the disciple and friend of Polycarp (80-166), who was himself a personal acquaintance of the Apostle John. The testimony of Iren^us is virtually the evidence of Polycarp, the contemporary and friend of the Apostle, that each of the gospels was written by the person whose name it bears/

To this testimony it is objected that Iren^us says there are four gospels because there are four quarters of the world and four living creatures in the cherubim. But we reply that Iren^us is here stating, not his own reason for accepting four and only four gospels, but what he conceives to be God?s reason for ordaining that there should be four. We are not warranted in supposing that he accepted the four gospels on any other ground than that of testimony that they were the productions of apostolic men.

Chrysostom, in a similar manner, compares the four gospels to a chariot and four: When the King of Glory rides forth in it, he shall receive the

<- Previous Table of Contents Next ->

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment