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congregation of the Lord, as adopted children. Gentiles were allowed to worship, and offer sacrifices to the God of Israel, in the outer court of the temple (P); and some of them, persuaded of the sole and universal sovereignty of the Lord Jehovah, might renounce idolatry without embracing the Mosaic law; but such persons appear to me never to be called Proselytes in Scripture, any
antient Christian writer (9).
X. THE Karaites have their name from the Chaldee word Kara, Scriptura sacra, because they adhered to the Scripture as the whole and only rule of faith and practice, admitting the authority of tradition only when it agreed with the written word of God. Upon the dissension between Hillel the president of the Sanhedrim, and Shammai the vice-president, about thirty years before Christ, their respective scholars formed two parties and took different names. Those who adhered to Scripture only were called Karaim, or Scriptuarii, and were followers of Shammai; and those who were zealous for the traditions taught by the Scribes or Rabbis, were called Rabbanim,
Rabbanists (p) Josephus mentions Alexander the Great, Antiochus, and Ptolemy, as having all worshipped, and offered sacrifices, in the temple at Jerusalem.
(9) 66 I do not believe that the notion of two sorts of Jewish Proselytes can be found in any Christian writer before the 14th century, or later."--Lardner.
Rabbanists, and were followers of Hillel. The Karaites, however, justly boasted the high antiquity of their principles, as being the followers of Moses and of the prophets, in opposition to human tradition; but when the doctrines of the Rabbis were generally adopted among the Jews, the Karaites were considered as schismatics. They seem to have remained for some time in obscurity; but about the year of our Lord 750, Anan, a Jew of Babylon, of the stock of David, and Saul his son, both inen of learning, publicly disclaimed the authority of the traditionary doctrines of the Talmud, asserted the Scriptures to be the sole rule of faith, and became heads of the Karaites or Scriptuarii
, who again grew into repute, and increased in numbers. There are now some of this sect in Poland and Russia, but they chiefly reside in Turkey and Egypt; few or none are to be found in these western countries (r). Thus it appears that a remnant has been always left, who confined their faith to the written word of God, and that the absurdities of the Talmud revived the spirit of true religion among the Jews; for the Karaites are universally reckoned men of the best learning, of the greatest piety, and of the purest morals of the whole nation.
(o) Vide Prideaux,
CHAPTER THE FIRST:
OF THE CANON OF THE NEW TESTAMENT.VII. OF THE 'INSPIRATION OF
THE BOOKS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT.
1. THE Canon of the New Testament consists
of twenty-seven books, which were written by eight different authors, all of whom were contemporary with our Saviour. These books were written at different times, and at places remote from each other; and when the latest of them was publişhed, the Gospel had been preached, and churches founded, in many parts of Asia, Europe, and Africa. Different churches at first received different books, according to their situation and circumstances; their canons were gradually enlarged, and it was not long, though the precise time is not known, before the same,
or very nearly the same, books were acknowledged by the Christians of all countries.
The persecutions, under which the professors of the Gospel continually laboured, and the want of a national establishment of Christianity, prevented for several centuries, any general assembly of Christians for the purpose of settling the canon of their Scriptures. Since, therefore, there could be no declaration by public authority upon this subject for so long a period, recourse must be bad to. ecclesiastical writers for the earliest catalogues of the books of the New Testament; and we have the satisfaction of finding an almost perfect agreement among them (a).
The first writer, who has left us a regular catalogue of the books of the New Testament, is Origen, who lived in the beginning of the third century, although, as it will hereafter appear, they
(a) “ This canon (that is, of the New Testament) was not determined by the authority of councils, but the books, of which it consists, were known to be the genuine writings of the Apostles and Evangelists, in the same way
and manner that we know the works of Cæsar, Cicero, Virgil, Horace, Tacitus, to be theirs; and the canon has been formed upon the ground of an unanimous, or generally concurring testimony and tradition.” Lardner, vol. 6. p. 27. This was indeed a point so little disputed, that we do not find any catalogue of canonical books in the decrees of the early general councils.
are all mentioned separately by much earlier authors. This catalogue is the same as our present canon, except that it omits the epistles of St. James and St. Jude; but Origen, in other parts of his writings, refers to these epistles as the productions of those apostles. In the following century we have catalogues in the remaining works of Eusebius, Athanasius, Cyril, Epiphanius, Gregory Nazianzen, Philaster, Jerome, Ruffin, and Augustine, and those settled at the provincial councils of Laodicea and Carthage (b). Of these eleven catalogues, seven exactly agree with our canon; and the other four differ only in these respects, namely, three omit the Revelation only, and Philaster, in his catalogue omits the Epistle to the Hebrews, as well as the Revelation ; but he acknowledges both these books in other parts of his works. 'These catalogues include no books which are not in our canon; and we learn from Polycarp, who was contemporary with the Apostles, and from Justin Martyr, Tatian, Irenæus, Tertullian, and Clement of Alexandria, all of whom lived in the second century, that the primitive church admitted no other gospels but those of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These authors also, and many others, assure us, that the Scriptures
of (b) This was the third council at Carthage,