The Canons Of The Apostles -- By: Irah Chase

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 004:13 (Feb 1847)
Article: The Canons Of The Apostles
Author: Irah Chase

The Canons Of The Apostles

Irah Chase, D. D.

Introductory Note

[The author of this Dissertation De Codice Canonum, qui Apostolorum nomine circumferuntur, is Dr. O. C. Krabbe, now a Professor in the University of Kiel. To say nothing of his other highly valuable productions, his work in German on the Origin and Contents of the Apostolical Constitutions ought to be mentioned here, as being akin to the small Latin work now presented in an English dress. It was a Prize Essay at the University of Bonn. It forms an octavo volume of about three hundred pages. It introduces the reader to a dark but deeply interesting period of Ecclesiastical History; and to all who are prepared to enter on a fundamental investigation, furnishes important aid in solving one of the most difficult problems, and in understanding the state of the ancient church. It is already translated from the German; and, probably, it will soon be published in connection with an English version of the so called Apostolical constitutions and canons of the Apostles. Indeed, from the evidence of manuscripts, the canons of the Apostles seem once to have constituted a concluding chapter (47th) of the Eighth and last Book of the Apostolical Constitutions. But, in the present Article, they are treated as a distinct collection.

It is unnecessary here to speak of the mighty influence which these canons have had, or of their importance in shedding light on the history of Christendom. And it would be wrong to detain the reader by apologies, or criticisms, or commendations. In the few instances in which it has seemed desirable to add anything, it has been added by the translator, and included in brackets.— Tr.]

From the time of the Lutheran Reformation, a new and brighter day shone on Ecclesiastical History, as well as on all the departments of Theology. For there have been men now mentioned among theologians with merited praise, who, when they had received the liberty of thinking and speaking, applied the torch as it were, of criticism to the thick darkness of errors, and summoned to a more accurate examination various statements which, although commonly admitted, were yet not placed beyond doubt They felt themselves under special obligations to go back to the earlier ages of the Christian church, and inspect carefully the foundation on which the Romish church had been resting. But the more they penetrated into the most interior recesses of Ecclesiastical History, and explored critically the sources themselves, the better they have understood that many things by which the Romish church has assumed her authority, and sustained herself for so many ages, are nothing else than inventions destitute of all firm and stable foundation. ...

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