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And whereas it is declar'd, that (as Hierome faith) the Church does read those Uncanonical Books aforesaid, for Example of Life and Instruction of Manners, but yet doth not apply them to establish any Doctrine ; 1. St. Jerome does (b) expresly say, what is quoted from him, of the Church in his Days. His Words are these. Sicut ergo Judith, & Tobiah, & Machabæorum libros legit quidem Ecclesia, fed eos inter canonicas Scripturas non recipit : Sic & heç duo volumina (speaking of Ecclefiafticus and the Book of Wisdom, both which are Apocryphal) legat ad ædificationem plebis, non ad auctoritatem Ecclesiasticorum dogmatum confirmandam. 2. With respect to our Church's own Practice the fame is manifestly true. 3, As for the Lawfulness of our so reading those Uncanonical or Apocryphal Books, see Numb. 2. of the Appendix to the Paraphrafe with Annotations on the Book of Common Prayer.
The Canon of the Holy Scriptures being thus settled, let us now return to
The First Proposition. See the First Part of the
The Second is the necessary and immediate Con-
The Third has somewhat of Difficulty in it. ?Tis well known, that there has been Doubt in the Church of God, both of ancient and later Days, concerning the Authority of diverse of those Books which we receive and approve as Canonical Scri
be therefore ask'd, How, or in what Sense, it may be truly affirm'd, that there
(b) Præfat. in Proverb. Ecclef. & Cant. Salom. Tom. 3. p.692. Paris.1624.
never was any Doubt in the Church of the Authority of those Canonical Books of the Old and New Testament, which we do understaud in the Name of the Holy Scripture, that is, which we do receive and approve as Canonical Scripture, or the inspir'd Word of God ?
I answer, That this part of the Article is manifestly penn'd in Opposition to the Papists, particularly with respect to their then late Determination at the Council of Trent, which in the Fourth Session thunders thus ; Sacrosancta, Oecumenica, & generalis Tridentina Synodus, in Spritu Saneto legitime congregata, præsidentibus in ea eisdem tribus Apostolicæ sedis Legatis, hoc libi perpetuo ante oculos proponens, ut fublatis erroribus, puritas ipsa Evangelii in Ecclesia conservetur: quod promillum ante per Prophetasin Scripturis fanétis, Dominus noster Jesus Christus, Dei filius, proprio ore primum promulgavit : deinde per suos Apostolos tanquam fontem omnis, & salutaris veritatis, & morum disciplinæ, omni creaturæ prædicari jussit: perspiciensque banc veritatem, & disciplinam contineri in libris scriptis, & fine scripto traditionibus, quæ ex ipsius Christi ore ab Apostolis accepte, aut ab ipsis Apostolis, Spiritu Sanéto dietante, quasi per manus traditæ, ad nos usque pervenerunt, orthodoxorum Patrum exempla secuta, omnes libros tam Veteris, quam Novi Testamenti, cum utriusque unus Deus sit auctor, necnon traditiones ipsas, tum ad fidem, tum ad mores pertinentes, tanquam vel ore tenus à Chrijto, vel à Spiritu San&to dietatas, & continua successione in Ecclesia Catholica conservatas, pari pietatis affectu, ac reverentia suscipit, & veneratur. Sacrorum vero librorum Indicem buic decreto adfcribendum censuit ; ne cui dubitatio fuboriri poffit, quinam sint, qui ab ipsa Sysiodo fufcipiuntur. Sunt vero infrascripti, Testamenti Veteris, quinque Moysis, id eft, Genesis, Exodus, Levi
ticus, Numeri, Deuteronomium, Josue, Judicum, Ruth, quatuor Regum, duo Paralipomenon, Efdræ primus, & jècundus, qui dicitur Nehemias, Tobias, Judith, Hester, Job, Psalterium Davidicum centum quinquaginta Psa!morum, Parabole, Ecclefiaftes, Canticum canticorum, Sapientia, Ecclesiasticus, Isaias, Hieremias cum Baruch, Ezechie!, Daniel, duodecim Prophetæ minores, id eft, Osea, Joel, Amos, Abdias, Jonas, Michæas, Nabum, Abacuc, Sophonias, Aggæus, Zacharias, Malachias, duo Machabeorum, primus & fecundus: Testamenti Novi, quatuor Exangelia, secundum Matthæum, Marcum, Lucam, & Joannem : Aftus Apostolorum à Luca Evangelista confcripti : quatuordecim Epiftolæ Pauli Apostoli, ad Roma1.S,
dice ad Corinthios, ad Galatas, ad Ephesios, ad Philippenses, ad Colossenses, duæ ad Thessalonicenses, duæ ad Timotheum, ad Titum, ad Philemonem, ad Hebræos : Petri Apoftoli due, Joannis Apostoli tres, Jacobi Apostoli una, Jude Apostoli una, & Apocalypsis Joannis Apostoli
. Siquis autem libros ipsos integros cum omnibus suis partibus, prout in Ecclesia Catholica legi conjueverunt, & in veteri vulgata Latina editione habentur, pro Sacris & Canonicis non susceperit ; & traditiones prædi&tas sciens & prudens contempferit ; anathema sit. Omnes itaque intelligant, quo ordine, & via ipsa Synodus, post ja&tum fidei confessionis fundamentum, sit progressura ; & quibus potissimum testimoniis ac præsidiis in confirmandis dogmatibus, & inftaurandis in Ecclefia moribus, sit ufura.
'Tis plain from the foregoing Decree, that the Council of Trent receives those Books into the Canon which we reject as Apocryphal. Now the Reason of our rejecting them is, because they were not receiv'd as Canonical by the Ancient Church; whereas the Ancient Church did unanimously receive those which we do now receive.
I do not say, that there never was a Man, especially amongst the Heretics, that doubted of, or even rejected, some of those that we receive. Nor do I say, that every Book which we receive, was from the Beginning receiv'd by every Church. But I say, that the main Body of Orthodox Christians did always receive those Books which we receive, when once they became acquainted with them, and had Opportunity of examining into their Authority. Now the far greater part of these Books were thus universally receiv'd in the First and Second Centuries : and others that were at first suspected by some considerable Bodies of ChriItians, who were not as yet acquainted with them, were, after Examination made, receiy'd also by those very Bodies of Christians, and never after either rejected or even suspected by them.
When therefore the Article asserts, That there never was any Doubt in the Church of the Authority of those Books which we receive and approve as Canonical; it must be understood in a limited Sense, not absolutely, but respectively. There have been Doubts concerning some of them ; but so few, so short, so small, lo inconsiderable, that comparatively, or with respect to the Greatness of the Church's Extent, they are nothing, and none at all.
And in this the Papists as well as our first Reformers agreed. They well knew what Suspicions had been entertain’d in some Churches for a time, concerning some Books which we receive, upon the Account before mention'd; and what Doubts fome particular Men have express'd
in their Writings concerning them. And yet both Cour Reformers and the Papists did allow, that those
Books which we admit into the Canon, were never doubted of in the Church. But in what Sense? Why, they were never doubted of, when once known, by the Church in general, or even by any considerable Part of that diffusive Body. This therefore was infallibly the Meaning of the Compilers of our Article ; and they must be understood in this Sense. What is comparatively none, they must be suppos’d here to call none at all ; as we often do in common Conversation, and in all sorts of Writings. And if this be the Sense of the Article (as it manifestly is) 'tis certainly a found and a true one; as appears from what I have referr'd to touching the Canon of Holy Scripture.
In a Word then, our Church doth in this Propo. sition deliver the Reason, why she receives fome,. and rejects others, of those Books which the Papists acknowledge for their Canon of Scripture. She receives those, whose Authority was (comparatively speaking) never doubted of ; and she rejects those, whose Authority never was acknowledged by her Predecessors in the Faith.