Page images
PDF
EPUB

book, says,

he adds, “ They say that some of these are found in the Chaldee, some in the Arabic, and some in the Greek language.”

R. AZARIAH ascribes the book called the Wisdom of Solomon to Philo; and R. GEDALIAH, in speaking of the same

“ That if Solomon ever wrote it, it must have been in the Syraic language, to send it to some of the kings in the remotest parts of the East. “But,” says he, “ Ezra put his hand only to those books which were published by the prophets under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and written in the sacred language; and our wise men prudently and deliberately resolved to sanction none but such as were established and confirmed by him.”

“This book," says he, “the Gentiles (i.e. Christians) have added to their Bible.”

“Their wise men,” says Buxtorf, "pronounced this book to be Apocryphal.”

The book called Ecclesiasticus, said to be written by the son of Sirach, is expressly numbered among Apocryphal books in the Talmud. “In the book of the Son of Sirach, it is forbidden to read."

MANASSEH BEN Israel has this observation, “Those things which are alleged from a verse in Ecclesiasticus are nothing to the purpose, because that is an Apocryphal book.” Another of their writers says, “The book of the Son of Sirach is added to our twenty-four sacred books, by the Ro

This book also they call extraneous, which some of the Jews prohibit to be read. With what face then can the Romanists pretend that this book was added to the Canon not long before the time of Josephus ?

"Baruch," says one of their learned men, “is received by Christians" (i. e. Romanists), “but not by us.”

Of Tobit, it is said, in ZEMACH DAVID, “Know then that this book of Tobias is one of those which Christians join with the Hagiographa.” A little afterwards, it is said, “ Know then that Tobit, which is among us in the Hebrew tongue, was translated from Latin into Hebrew by Sebastian Munster.” The same writer affirms of the history of Susannah, “That it is received by Christians, but not by us.

The Jews, in the time of Jerome, entertained no other opinion of these books than those who came after them; for in his Preface to Daniel he informs us, “That he had heard one of the Jewish doctors deriding the history of Susannah, who said it was invented by some Greek, he knew not whom.'”*

* See the Thesaurus Philologicus of Hottinger.

mans.”

on

The same is the opinion of the Jews respecting the other books which we call Apocryphal, as is manifest from all the copies of the Hebrew Bible extant; for undoubtedly if they believed that any of these books were Canonical, they would give them a place in their sacred volume. But will any ask, what is the opinion of the Jews to us? I a

answer, much this point. The oracles of God were committed to them, and they preserved them with a religious care until the advent of Messiah. Christ never censures them for adding to the Sacred Scriptures, nor detracting from them. Since their nation has been in dispersion, copies of the Old Testament, in Hebrew, have been scattered all over the world, so that it was impossible to produce a universal alteration in the Canon. But it is needless to argue this point, for it is agreed by all that these books never were received by the Jewish nation.

3. The third argument against the Canonical authority of these books, is derived from the total silence respecting them in the New Testament. They are never quoted by Christ and his apostles. This fact, however, is disputed by the Romanists, and they even attempt to establish their right to a place in the Canon, from the citations which they pretend have been made from these books by the apostles. They refer to Rom. xi, and Heb. xi, where they allege that Paul has cited passages from the Book of Wisdom: “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been his counsellor ? - For before his translation he had this testimony that he pleased God.” But both these passages are taken directly from the Canonical books of the Old Testament. The first is nearly in the words of Isaiah, and the last from the book of Genesis; their other examples are as wide of the mark as these, and need not be set down.

It has already been shown that these books were included in the volume quoted, and referred to, by Christ and his apostles, under the title of the Scriptures, and are entirely omitted by Josephus in his account of the sacred books. It would seem, therefore, that in the time of Christ, and for some time afterwards, they were utterly unknown, or wholly disregarded.

SECTION IV.

TESTIMONIES OF THE CHRISTIAN FATHERS, AND OF OTHER LEARNED MEN

DOWN TO THE TIME OF THE COUNCIL OF TRENT, RESPECTING THE APJCRYPHA.

The fourth argument is, that these books were not received as Canonical by the Christian Fathers, but were expressly declared to be Apocryphal.

Justin Martyr does not cite a single passage, in all his writings, from any Apocryphal book.

The first catalogue of the books of the Old Testament which we have, after the times of the apostles, from any Christian writer, is that of Melito, bishop of Sardis, before the end of the second century, which is preserved by Eusebius. The fragment is as follows:-“Melito to his brother Onesimus, greeting. Since you have often earnestly requested of me, in consequence of your love of learning, a collection of the Sacred Scriptures of the Law and the Prophets, and what relates to the Saviour, and concerning our whole faith; and since, moreover, you wish to obtain an accurate knowledge of our ancient books, as respects their number and order, I have used diligence to accomplish this, knowing your sincere affection towards the faith, and your earnest desire to become acquainted with the word; and that striving after eternal life, your love to God induces you to prefer these to all other things. Wherefore, going into the East, and to the very place where these things were published and transacted, and having made diligent search after the books of the Old Testament, I now subjoin and send you the following catalogue:- Five books of Moses, viz. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus Numbers, and Deuteronomy; Joshua, Judges, Ruth, four books of Kings, two of Chronicles, the Psalms of David, the Proverbs of Solomon, or Wisdom, * Ecclesiastes, the Song of Songs, Job, (the Pro

* Whether Melito, in his catalogue, by the word Wisdom meant to designate a distinct book, or whether it was used as another name for Proverbs, seems doubtful. The latter has generally been understood to be the sense; and this accords with the understanding of the ancients; for Rufin, in his translation of this passage of Eusebius, renders Tagorpusas เช copía, Salomonis Proverbia, quæ est sapientia, that is, the Proverbs of Solomon, which is Wisdom. Pineda, a learned Romanist, says, “ The word

Ezra.”

phets) Isaiah, Jeremiah, twelve in one book, Daniel, Ezekiel,

ORIGEN also says, “We should not be ignorant that the Canonical books are the same which the Hebrews delivered unto us, and are twenty-two in number, according to the number of letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Then he sets down in order the names of the books, in Greek and Hebrew.

ATHANASIUS, in his Synopsis, says, “ All the Scriptures of us Christians are divinely inspired; neither are they indefinite in their number, but determined and reduced into a Canon. Those of the Old Testament are, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, four books of Kings, Chronicles, Ezra, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles, Job; the twelve prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel.”+

Hilary, who was contemporary with Athanasius, and resided in France, has numbered the canonical books of the Old Testament in the following manner:“The five of Moses; the sixth, of Joshua; the seventh, of Judges, including Ruth; the eighth, of first and second Kings; the ninth, of third and fourth Kings; the tenth, of the Chronicles, two books; the eleventh, Ezra (which included Nehemiah); the twelfth, the Psalms. Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs, the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth; the twelve Prophets, the sixteenth; then Isaiah and Jeremiah, including Lamentations and his Epistle, # Daniel, Ezekiel, Job, and Esther, making up the full number of twenty-two.” And in his preface he adds, “That these books were thus numbered by our ancestors, and handed down by tradition from them.”

GREGORY NAZIANZEN exhorts his readers to study the sacred books with attention, but to avoid such as were Apocryphal; and then gives a list of the books of the Old Testament, and, according to the Jewish method, makes the number twoand-twenty. He complains of some that mingled the Apocryphal books with those that were inspired; “of the truth of which last,” says he, “we have the most perfect persuasion; therefore, it seemed good to me to enumerate the Canonical books from the beginning; and those which belong to the Old TesWisdom should here be taken as explicative of the former, and should be understood to mean the Proverbs." -- See Note E.

Euseb. Hist. Ecc, lib. iv. + Note F.

By this is to be understood the 29th chapter of his Prophecy.--Evi § Proleg. in Psalmos.

. C,

26.

TOR.

tament are two-and-twenty, according to the number of the Hebrew alphabet, as I have understood." Then he proceeds to say, “Let no one add to these divine books, nor take any thing away from them. I think it necessary to add this, that there are other books besides those which I have enumerated as constituting the Canon, which, however, do not appertain to it, but were proposed by the early Fathers to be read for the sake of the instruction which they contain.” Then he expressly names, as belonging to this class, the Wisdom of Solomon, the Wisdom of Sirach, Esther, Judith, and Tobit.

JEROME, in his Epistle to Paulinus, gives us a catalogue of the books of the Old Testament, exactly corresponding with that which Protestants receive; “ Which,” says he, “we believe, agreeably to the tradition of our ancestors, to have been inspired by the Holy Spirit.”

EPIPHANIUS, in his book concerning Weights and Measures, distributes the books of the Old Testament into four divisions, of five each. “The first of which contains the Law; next, five poetical books, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs; in the third division he places Joshua, Judges, including Ruth, first and second Chronicles, four books of Kings. The last five, the twelve prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel. Then there remain two, Ezra, and Esther.” Thus he makes up the number twenty-two.

CYRIL of Jerusalem, in his Catechism, exhorts his catechumen diligently to learn from the church what books appertain to the Old and New Testaments; and he says, thing which is Apocryphal. Read the Scriptures, namely, the TWENTY-Two books of the Old Testament, which were translated by the seventy-two interpreters.” And in another place, “Meditate, as was said, in the twenty-two books of the Old Testament, and if you wish it, I will give you their names.” Here follows a catalogue, agreeing with those already given, except that he adds Baruch to the list. When Baruch is mentioned as making one book with Jeremiah, as is done by some of the Fathers, it is most reasonable to understand those parts of Jeremiah, in the writing of which Baruch was concerned, as particularly the lii. chapter; for, if we understand them as referring to the separate book, now called Baruch, the number, which they are so careful to preserve, will be exceeded. This Apocryphal Baruch never existed in the Hebrew, and is never mentioned separately by any ancient author, as Bellarmine confesses. This book was origi

* Epist. ad Theod. and Lib. Carm.

“ Read no

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »