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PART III.

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that it will come to pass one time or other: in which case this mark of a prophet is unuseful; and therefore the miracles that oblige us to believe a prophet, ought to be confirmed by an immediate, or a not long deferred event. So that it is manifest, that the teaching of the religion which God hath established, and the showing of a present miracle, joined together, were the only marks whereby the Scripture would have a true prophet, that is to say, immediate revelation, to be acknowledged ; neither of them being singly sufficient to oblige any other man to regard what he saith.

Seeing therefore miracles now cease, we have Miracles ceasno sign left, whereby to acknowledge the pretended cease, and the revelations or inspirations of any private man;

Scripture sup

plies their place nor obligation to give ear to any doctrine, farther than it is conformable to the Holy Scriptures, which since the time of our Saviour, supply the place, and sufficiently recompense the want of all other prophecy; and from which, by wise and learned interpretation, and careful ratiocination, all rules and precepts necessary to the knowledge of our duty both to God and man, without enthusiasm or supernatural inspiration, may easily be deduced. And this Scripture is it, out of which I am to take the principles of my discourse, concerning the rights of those that are the supreme governors on earth of Christian commonwealths; and of the duty of Christian subjects towards their sovereigns. And to that end, I shall speak in the next chapter, of the books, writers, scope and authority of the Bible.

CHAPTER XXXIII.

OF THE NUMBER, ANTIQUITY, SCOPE, AUTHORITY
AND INTERPRETERS OF THE BOOKS OF

HOLY SCRIPTURE.

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PART III. By the Books of Holy SCRIPTURE, are understood

those, which ought to be the canon, that is to say, Of the books of the rules of Christian life. HolyScripture.

And because all rules of life, which men are in conscience bound to observe, are laws; the question of the Scripture, is the question of what is law throughout all Christendom, both natural and civil. For though it be not determined in Scripture, what laws every Christian king shall constitute in his own dominions ; yet it is determined what laws he shall not constitute. Seeing therefore I have already proved, that sovereigns in their own dominions are the sole legislators ; those books only are canonical, that is, law, in every nation, which are established for such by the sovereign authority. It is true, that God is the sovereign of all sovereigns; and therefore, when he speaks to any subject, he ought to be obeyed, whatsoever any earthly potentate command to the contrary. But the question is not of obedience to God, but of when and what God hath said ; which to subjects that have no supernatural revelation, cannot be known, but by that natural reason, which guideth them, for the obtaining of peace and justice, to obey the authority of their several commonwealths, that is to say, of their lawful sovereigns. According to this obligation, I can acknowledge no other books of the Old

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Testament, to be Holy Scripture, but those which part m. have been commanded to be acknowledged for such, by the authority of the Church of England. Of the books of

HolyScripture. What books these are, is sufficiently known, without a catalogue of them here; and they are the same that are acknowledged by St. Jerome, who holdeth the rest, namely, the Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, Judith, Tobias, the first and the second of Maccabees, (though he had seen the first in Hebrew,) and the third and fourth of Esdras, for Apocrypha. Of the canonical, Josephus, a learned Jew, that wrote in the time of the emperor Domitian, reckoneth twenty-two, making the number agree with the Hebrew alphabet. St. Jerome does the same, though they reckon them in different

For Josephus numbers five Books of Moses, thirteen of Prophets that writ the history of their own times, (which how it agrees with the prophets' writings contained in the Bible we shall see hereafter,) and four of hymns and moral precepts. But St. Jerome reckons five books of Moses, eight of Prophets, and nine of other Holy Writ, which he calls of á yıbypapa. The Septuagint, who were seventy learned men of the Jews, sent for by Ptolemy, king of Egypt, to translate the Jewish law out of the Hebrew into the Greek, have left us no other for Holy Scripture in the Greek tongue, but the same that are received in the Church of England.

As for the Books of the New Testament, they are equally acknowledged for canon by all Christian churches, and by all sects of Christians, that admit any books at all for canonical.

Who were the original writers of the several Books of Holy Scripture, has not been made evi

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PART 11. dent by any sufficient testimony of other history,

which is the only proof of matter of fact; nor can Their antiquity be, by any arguments of natural reason: for reason

serves only to convince the truth, not of fact, but, of consequence. The light therefore that must guide us in this question, must be that which is held out unto us from the books themselves : and this light, though it show us not the writer of every book, yet it is not unuseful to give us knowledge of the time, wherein they were written.

And first, for the Pentateuch, it is not argument enough that they were written by Moses, because they are called the five Books of Moses ; no more than these titles, the Book of Joshua, the Book of Judges, the Book of Ruth, and the Books of the Kings, are arguments sufficient to prove, that they were written by Joshua, by the Judges, by Ruth, and by the Kings. For in titles of books, the subject is marked, as often as the writer. The history of Livy, denotes the writer ; but the history of Scanderberg, is denominated from the subject. We

read in the last chapter of Deuteronomy, verse 6th, teuch not writ- concerning the sepulchre of Moses, that no man ten by Moses.

knoweth of his sepulchre to this day, that is, to to the day wherein those words were written. It is therefore manifest, that those words were written after his interment. For it were a strange interpretation, to say Moses spake of his own sepulchre, though by prophecy, that it was not found to that day, wherein he was yet living. But it may perhaps be alleged, that the last chapter only, not the whole Pentateuch, was written by some other man, but the rest not. Let us therefore consider that which we find in the book of Genesis, (xii. 6.) And Abraham passed through the land to the

The Penta

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teuch not writ

place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh, and the PART II. Canaanite was then in the land; which must needs be the words of one that wrote when the Canaanite The Pentawas not in the land ; and consequently, not of teu by Moses. Moses, who died before he came into it. Likewise Numbers, xxi. 14, the writer citeth another more ancient book, entitled, The Book of the Wars of the Lord, wherein were registered the acts of Moses, at the Red Sea, and at the brook of Arnon. It is therefore sufficiently evident, that the five Books of Moses were written after his time, though how long after it be not so manifest.

But though Moses did not compile those books entirely, and in the form we have them; yet he wrote all that which he is there said to have written: as for example, the Volume of the Law, which is contained, as it seemeth, in the with. of Deuteronomy, and the following chapters to the xxviith. which was also commanded to be written on stones, in their entry into the land of Canaan. And this also did Moses himself write, (Deut.xxxi. 9, 10) and delivered to the priests and elders of Israel, to be read every seventh year to all Israel, at their assembling in the Feast of Tabernacles. And this is that law which God commanded, that their kings, when they should have established that form of government, should take a copy of from the priests and Levites : and which Moses commanded the priests and Levites to lay in the side of the ark, (Deut. xxxi. 26); and the same which having been lost, was long time after found again by Hilkiah, and sent to king Josias (2 Kings xxii. 8) who causing it to be read to the people, (2 Kings xxiii. 1, 2, 3) renewed the covenant between God and them.

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