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inserted them in the Catalogue of the Books of Scripture. And when Severus informs us that the greater part rejected them, he hints particularly at the Greeks and those of the East, who adherd to the Council of Laodicea held about 110 Years before. We already find Councils clashing with one another, with respect to the Revelations; the Council of Laodicea which had rejected them, and that of Carthage which now receives it : But as the Council of Laodicea, the first that debated upon it, had confin'd the Canon of the Scriptures within too narrow Bounds, the Council of Carthage, on the contrary, extended them still farther; and not only excluded the Revelations from among them, but also Ecclefiafticus, the Books of Wisdom, Tobit, Judith, and the two Books of the Macchabees.

The Fathers who compos'd this Council, have not thought proper to let us into the Reasons of their proceeding in this manner. What at once prompted those of Laodicea not to make any mention of the Revelations, was their not finding the least footsteps of that Book, either by Tradition, or in the Archives either of Ephefus, or of those Churches, among which was that of Laodicea ; in like manner as the Motive for their rejecting Ecclefiafticus, the Book of Wisdom, Tobit, Judith, and the Macchabees, was, because they did not find it inserted in the Catalogue of the Jews. Where we have no certainty of a Book's being genuine, we may justly suspend our belief that it is so ; but before we can receive any Piece as dictated by the Spirit of God, we ought to have the strongest Reason to induce us to receive it as such; and if the Council of Cartbage does not condescend to give any, it must be consider'd, that those Assemblies are

were the true Books of the Old Testament? And since we are here only upon the New Testament, whence came it to pass that the Latins were better Judges than the Greeks, with regard to the Books whereof the Churches of the East were the Depositaries, and which it was impossible for the Latins themselves to receive by any other Canal than the Greeks?

This method of referring to our nearest Neighbours, is a proof that they liv'd in very good harmony with St. Austin : However, if this Method suited him beft, we cannot say it was the safest, since he ran the hazard of making his Court at the expence of Truth. Did he search out the Number, the Grandeur, and Majesty of the Churches, in order to fix and determine himself? All this was found no less in the Greek Churches than in those of the Latins. 'Tis true indeed, that the Latins had him in great Veneration, and were very fond of his Opinion with regard to operating Grace ; but as for the Greeks, they had no notion of it, and our Friends generally make the most considerable Body. However, St. Austin was incapable of falling into this Snare which self-love laid for him; and thoʻhe was not for sufficient Grace, which the Greeks were very fond of, he was sufficiently buoy'd up with his own Merit, so that he stood in no need of the applause of the Latins. Had he then examined whether the Churches, which have receiv'd fuch and fuch Books from the hand of the Apostles, look'd upon them as Canonical : This was allowing the Greeks to be in the right. If the Revelations were certainly written by St. John, they must certainly have had their birth among them; they were the proper Judges in this Affair, and St. Auftin was oblig'd to rely upon their

decision,

out taking any notice of Antiquity, receives the Book of Wisdom; and for this Reason, as he tells us, vize that it had been read by Christians, and heard in the Churches, during several Years, with all the regard and veneration due to a Canonical Book. He lays no stress on the Jews having rejected the Books of the Maccbabees, but thinks 'tis fufficient for his purpose, that they were receiv'd by the Western Church, because of the glorious Sufferings of its Martyrs. Several Martyrs have suffer'd for the Truth ; whence it follows that their Histories must be receiv'd as Canonical. 'Twas thus St. Anfiin argued, or made the Church argue. His Principles were supported by Practice; he us’d to read the Acts of the Martyrs in the Pulpit ; 'twas his Custom to draw up a kind of inventory of the Miracles which were wrought by their Relicks, and read them in publick even on Sundays. Inprimis, a Priest cur'd of the Gravel, and afterwards rais'd from the dead by one of his Shirts which were carried to the Martyr's Shrine : Item, two Persons afflicted with the Gout, one of whom was compleatly cur’d, and the other very much eas'd whenever his Pain return'd: Item, a most incredulous Wretch converted by Flowers being laid under his Bolster, which had been taken from off the Altar. Sometimes the Martyr had appear’d to a Woman purely for the fake of administring consolation to her; and at other times he had refus’d to grant the request which was made to him, and so on. I am delighted to see those great Genii, who foar so far above the Sphere of our Understanding, descend to grovel with the vulgar, and sometimes argue as poorly as they do. By what Method did the Christians know better than the Jews which

were the true Books of the Old Testament ? And since we are here only upon the New Testament, whence came it to pass that the Latins were better Judges than the Greeks, with regard to the Books whereof the Churches of the East were the Depositaries, and which it was impossible for the Latins themselves to receive by any other Canal than the Greeks?

This method of referring to our nearest Neighbours, is a proof that they liv'd in very good harmony with St. Austin : However, if this Method suited him beft, we cannot say it was the safest, since he ran the hazard of making his Court at the expence of Truth. Did he search out the Number, the Grandeur, and Majesty of the Churches, in order to fix and determine himself? All this was found no less in the Greek Churches than in those of the Latins. 'Tis true indeed, that the Latins had him in great Veneration, and were very fond of his Opinion with regard to operating Grace ; but as for the Greeks, they had no notion of it, and our Friends generally make the most considerable Body. However, St. Austin was incapable of falling into this Snare which felf-love laid for him; and tho he was not for sufficient Grace, which the Greeks were very fond of, he was sufficiently buoy'd up with his own Merit, fo that he stood in no need of the applause of the Latins. Had he then examined whether the Churches, which have receiv'd such and such Books from the hand of the Apostles, look'd upon them as Canonical : This was allowing the Greeks to be in the right. If the Revelations were certainly written by St. John, they must certainly have had their birth among them; they were the proper Judges in this Affair, and St. Auftin was oblig'd co rely upon their

decision,

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decision, in the fame manner as he referr'd himself to the Latins, in his enquiry whether the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans boasted that Apostle for its Author.

St. Jerom, tho' a better Critick than St. Alftin, does not however give us any better light into this Matter; being fatisfy'd, as he himself tells us, * with receiving the Revelations on the bare testimony of the Ancients wbo quoted them. We have already observ'd what may be inferr'd from these Quotations, and as on one hand the Ancients, such as Justin, Irenæus, &c. quoted this Book ; fo on the other, the Ancients also doubted whetber it were genuine or not; a Circumstance we are told by Eusebius that liv'd earlier than Jerom, who himself ought to have remov’d that little obftacle. This Father makes a glorious Encomium on the Revelations, in another place, so far as to fay, that there is not a single word in them which does not comprebend seven Meanings ; if we, says he, can but have the good luck to find them out. St. Denis, that modest Writer, fat down easy and contented with one meaning, which he himself did not understand ; whereas St. Jerom, who was equally dimsighted, supposes several ; and this Circumstance alone is fufficient to reconcile all the Commentators on the Revelations; provided however, says the Father in question, they bave but the good luck to find them out. This Expreffion has all the Features of a Time-server's Language; that neverenough applauded Art, which teaches us to express ourselves in words quite foreign to our Thoughts, and which St. Jerom thought of such mighty consequence, that he has reduc'd it into a System,

* Epift. 129. ad Dardanum.

and

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