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eluded from the canon. But there is another class, small and select, for whom the doctrine is only established when they have worked their way to it for themselves. And for this class the Book of Ecclesiastes would have been of the greatest assistance, even if it had been relegated to the Apocrypha. I am very glad however that, in spite of all opposition, it found its way into the canon, because this ensures its being more widely known and read. If it had not been canonical, it would take a brave man to preach upon it!
We come now to the New Testament. The idea of a canon of Christian writings had not been conceived in the time of the apostles, nor even in that of the apostolic fathers. For them the Old Testament alone was inspired and sacred. Justin Martyr, in the middle of the second century, thought very little of the Pauline Epistles, though he esteemed highly 1 Peter, 1 John, and the Apocrypha. But even those which he regarded as most valuable he never calls Scripture. Of the Apocalypse he says, " A man among us named John wrote it." In course of time, however, the apostolic writings, or those considered apostolic, were canonised, that is to say, raised to equal authority with the books of the Old Testament. It was probably considered necessary to have a code of Christian writings, divine and perfect like the Old Testament, to which appeal might be made against the heretics, and which would prevent the original tradition being lost by the multiplication of spurious and forged documents. And so we find, towards the end of the second century, a recognised canon of the New Testament, consisting of two parts, called respectively the Gospel and the Apostles. The first part contained our four Gospels; the second contained the Acts of the Apostles, thirteen Epistles of Paul, 1 John, 1 Peter, and the Book of Eevelation. At this time 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the Epistles of St Jude and St James, were all regarded as non-apostolical, and therefore non-canonical; they were put on a level with the Shepherd of Hennas and the Epistle of Barnabas. In the middle of the third century Origen, while recognising the sanctity of those books which had been already canonised as apostolic, maintains that he was still in considerable doubt as to the worth of the rest. In the middle of the fourth century Eusebius was intrusted by the Emperor Constantine with a commission to make out a complete collection of the Christian writings which should be considered sacred. His list agrees with our own, except that he omits the Apocalypse which he regarded as spurious. But the books
which he admits he divides into two classes—viz., the homologoumena, or those which were generally received; and the antilegomena, or those which had been controverted. In the second class he places the Epistles of James, Jude, 1 Peter, and 2 and 3 John. The canon of Eusebius was adopted by Athanasius. The latter however added the Apocalypse, and regarded all the books as having equal claims to be regarded as apostolic and inspired.
I have only two remarks to make in conclusion. You will notice that there is a serious historical inaccuracy in the sixth article of ours which, after giving the orthodox enumeration of the canonical books, declares that "of their authority there was never any doubt in the Church." Some of them, both in the Old and New Testaments, were doubted and disputed for centuries. My second remark is this, there are at least three important omissions in our canon. I allude to the book of Enoch which is quoted by Jude, the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, and the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs. Those books contain much that is of very great value, but they were not admitted into the canon, and never seem to have been regarded as having much claim to admission. I suppose this was because they were not written by apostles. But the same reason should have excluded, in the opinion of all competent modern critics, the Epistle to the Hebrews. The exclusion of the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, which has only recently been rediscovered, is deeply to be regretted. It would have served to emphasise the importance of conduct, on which Christ laid so much stress. I shall speak to you about this book some other time. But for the present I will only say that, if it had been included in the Bible, and so recognised as authoritative, the whole history of Christendom would have been different. We should have had less ecclesiastical theology, and infinitely more practical religion.
IN REGARD TO PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES.
"Thou shalt not covet."—Exod. xx. 17.
"Covet earnestly the best gifts."—1 Cor. xii. 13.
GOOD many persons who profess to be guided
by the teaching of the Bible seem to have misread these passages. Judging by their conduct, they appear to take the reverse principle for their rule of life—do not covet at all the best gifts, but covet earnestly the worst. There is a strange perversity in human nature, which inclines us always to do exactly the opposite of what we ought. This is strikingly exemplified in the case of covetousness and discontent. Most men are eager for more money, more pleasure, more admiration; but they care little, if anything, about possessing a more enlightened mind, a more sympathetic heart, a