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nally written in Greek, but our present copies differ exceedingly from the Old Latin translation.
The Council of Laodicea forbade the reading of any books in the churches but such as were Canonical; and that the people might know what these were, a catalogue was given, answering to the Canon which we now receive.
ORIGEN barely mentions the Maccabees. ATHANASIUS takes no notice of these books. EUSEBIUS, in his Chronicon, speaks of the history of the Maccabees, and adds, “ These books are not received as divine Scriptures."
PHILASTRIUS, an Italian bishop, who lived in the latter part of the fourth century, in a work on Heresy, says, “It was determined by the apostles and their successors, that nothing should be read in the catholic church but the Law, Prophets, Evangelists, &c."- And he complains of certain heretics, “That they used the book of Wisdom, by the Son of Sirach, who lived long after Solomon."
CHRYSOSTOM, a man who excelled in the knowledge of the Scriptures, declares, “That all the divine books of the Old Testament were originally written in the Hebrew tongue, and that no other books were received."*
But JEROME, already mentioned, who had diligently studied the Hebrew Scriptures, by the aid of the best Jewish teachers, enters into this subject more fully and accurately than any of the rest of the Fathers. In his general preface to his version of the Scriptures, he mentions the books which he had translated out of Hebrew into Latin: “ All besides them," says he, “must be placed among the Apocryphal. Therefore, Wisdom, which is ascribed to Solomon, the book of Jesus the Son of Sirach, Judith, Tobit, and Pastor, are not in the Canon. I have found the first book of Maccabees in Hebrew (Chaldee); the second in Greek, and, as the style shows, it must have been composed in that language.”
And in his preface to Ezra and Nehemiah (always reckoned one book by the Jews), he says, “Let no one be disturbed that I have edited but one book under this name; nor let any one please himself with the dreams contained in the third and fourth Apocryphal books ascribed to this author; for with the Hebrews, Ezra and Nehemiah make but one book; and those things not contained in this are to be rejected as not belonging to the Canon." And in his preface to the books of Solomon, he speaks “of Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus; the former of which," he says, “ he found in Hebrew (Chaldee), but not the latter,
• Hom. 4, In. Gen.
which is never found among the Hebrews, but the style strongly savours of the Grecian eloquence.” He then adds, “ As the church reads the books of Judith, Tobit, and the Maccabees, but does not receive them among the Canonical Scriptures, so also she may read these two books for the edification of the common people, but not as authority to confirm any of the doctrines of the church.”
Again, in his preface to Jeremiah, he says, “ The book of Baruch, the scribe of Jeremiah, is not read in Hebrew, nor esteemed Canonical; therefore I have passed it over.” And in his preface to Daniel, “ This book among the Hebrews has neither the History of Susanna, nor the Song of the Three Children, nor the Fables of Bel and the Dragon, which we have retained lest we should appear to the unskilful to have curtailed a large part of the sacred volume."
In the preface to Tobit, he says, " The Hebrews cut off the book of Tobit from the catalogue of divine Scriptures.”
And in his preface to Judith, “ Among the Hebrews, Judith is placed among the Hagiographa, which are not of authority to determine controversies.”*
Rurin, in his exposition of the Creed, observes, “ That there were some books which were not called Canonical, but received by our ancestors; as the Wisdom of Solomon, and another Wisdom of the Son of Sirach: of the same order are the books of Tobit, Judith, and the Maccabees."
Gregory the First, speaking of the testimony in the Maccabees respecting the death of Eleazer, says, “ Concerning which thing we do not act inordinately, although we bring our testimony from a book which is not Canonical."
AUGUSTINE is the only one among the Fathers, who lived within four hundred years after the Apostles, who seems to favour the introduction of these six disputed books into the Canon. In his work on Christian Doctrine, he gives a list of the books of the Old Testament, among which he inserts Tobit, Judith, the two books of Maccabees, two of Esdras, Wisdom, and Ecclesiasticus. These two last mentioned, he says, are called Solomon's, on account of their resemblance to his writings, although it is known that one of them was composed by the Son of Sirach, which deserves to be received among the prophetical books.” But this opinion he retracted afterwards.f
AUGUSTINE was accustomed to the Greek and Latin Bibles in which those books had been introduced, and we must suppose, unless we would make him contradict himself, that he • Note G.
† See his Retractions.
meant in this place, merely to enumerate the books then contained in the sacred volume; for, in many other places, he clearly shows that he entertained the same opinion of the books of the Old Testament, as the other Fathers.
In his celebrated work “of the City of God,” he expresses this opinion most explicitly—“ In that whole period, after the return from the Babylonish captivity, after Malachi, Haggai, Zachariah, and Ezra, they had no prophets, even until the
time of the advent of our Saviour. As our Lord says, the Law and the Prophets were until John. And even the reprobate Jews hold that Haggai, Zachariah, Ezra, and Malachi, were the last books received into Canonical authority.”
In his commentary on the xl. Psalm, he says, “ If any adversary should say, you have forged these prophecies, let the Jewish books be produced—the Jews are our librarians.” And on the lvi. Psalm, “When we wish to prove to the Pagans that Christ was predicted, we appeal to writings in possession of the Jews;—they have all these Scriptures.
And again, in the work first cited, “ The Israelitish nation, to whom the oracles of God were intrusted, never confounded false prophecies with the true, but all these writings are harmonious.” Then, in another work, in speaking of the books of the Maccabees, he says, “ This writing the Jews never received, in the same manner as the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms, to which the Lord gave testimony, as by his own wit
And frequently in his works, he confines the Canonical books to those properly included in this threefold division. He also repeatedly declares that the Canonical Scriptures, which are of the most eminent authority, are the books committed to the Jews. But in the eighteenth book of “ The City of God,” speaking of Judith, he says, “Those things which are written in this book, it is said, the Jews have never received into the Canon of scripture.” And in the seventeenth book of the same work, “ There are three books of Solomon which have been received into Canonical authority, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Canticles; the other two, Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus, have been called by his name, through a custom which prevailed, on account of their similitude to his writings; but the more learned are certain that they are not his, and they cannot be brought forward with much confidence for the conviction of gainsayers.”
He allows that the book of Wisdom may be read to the people, and ought to be preferred to all other tracts; but he does not insist that the testimonies taken from it are decisive.
And respecting Ecclesiasticus, he says, when speaking of Samuel's prophesying after his death, “ But if this book is objected to because it is not found in the canon of the Jews, &c.”
His rejection of the books of Maccabees from the Canon is repeated and explicit.-" The calculation of the times after the restoring of the Temple is not found in the Holy Scriptures which are called Canonical, but in certain other books, among which are the two books of Maccabees. The Jews do not receive the Maccabees as the Law and the Prophets.”
It may be admitted, however, that AUGUSTINE entertained too high an opinion of these Apocryphal books, but it is certain that he did not put them on a level with the genuine Canonical books.
He mentions a custom which prevailed in his time, from which it appears, that although the Apocryphal books were read in some of the churches, they were not read as Holy Scriptures, nor put on a level with the Canonical books; for he informs us, that they were not permitted to be read from the same desk as the Canonical Scriptures, but from a lower place in the church.
INNOCENT the First, who lived about the same time, is also adduced as a witness to prove that these disputed books were then received into the Canon. But the epistle which contains his catalogue is extremely suspicious. No mention is made of this epistle by any writer for three hundred years after the death of INNOCENT. But it is noways necessary to our argument to deny, that in the end of the fourth and beginning of the fifth century, some individuals, and perhaps some councils, received these books as Canonical: yet there is strong evidence that this was not the opinion of the universal church; for in the council of Chalcedon, which is reckoned to be æcumenical, the Canons of the Council of Laodicea, which contain a catalogue of the genuine books of the Old Testament, are adopted. And it has been shewn already that these Apocryphal books were excluded from that catalogue.
But it can be proved, that even until the time of the meeting of the Council of Trent, by which these books were solemnly canonized, the most learned and judicious of the Popish writers adhere to the opinions of JEROME and the ancients; or, at least, make a marked distinction between these disputed books, and those which are acknowledged to be Canonical by
A few testimonies from distinguished writers, from the commencement of the sixth century down to the era of the Reformation, shall now be given.
It deserves to be particularly observed here, that in one of the laws of the Emperor JUSTINIAN concerning ecclesiastical matters, it was enacted, “ That the Canons of the first four general councils, should be received, and have the force of laws."
ANASTASIUS, Patriarch of Antioch, in a work on the Creation, makes “ The number of books which God hath appointed for his Old Testament” to be no more than twenty-two, although he speaks in very high terms of Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus.
Leontius, a learned and accurate writer, in his book against the Sects, acknowledges no other Canonical books of the Old Testament but those which the Hebrews received, namely, twelve Historical books, five Prophetical, four of Doctrine and Instruction, and one of Psalms; making the number twentytwo, as usual;—and he makes not the least mention of any others.
GREGORY, who lived at the beginning of the seventh century, in his book of Morals, makes an apology for alleging a passage from the Maccabees, and says,“ “ Though it be not taken from the Canonical Scripture, yet it is cited from a book which was published for the edification of the church.”
Isidore, bishop of Seville, divides the Canonical books of the Old Testament into three orders, the Law, the Prophets, and the Hagiographa; and afterwards adds—“ That there is a fourth order of books, which are not in the Hebrew Canon of the Old Testament.” Here he names these books, and says, Though the Jews rejected them as Apocryphal, the church has received them among the Canonical Scriptures."
John DAMASCENE, a Syrian presbyter, who lived early in the eighth century, adheres to the Hebrew Canon of the Old Testament, numbering only two-and-twenty books. Of Maccabees, Judith, and Tobit, he says not one word; but he speaks “ Of Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus as elegant and virtuous writings, yet not to be numbered among the Canonical books of scripture, being never laid up in the ark of the covenant."
Venerable BEDE follows the ancient method of dividing the books of the Old Testament into three classes; but he remarkably distinguishes the Maccabees from the Canonical books, by classing them with the writings of Josephus and Julius the African.
Alcuin, the disciple of Bede, says, “That the book of the son of Sirach was reputed an Apocryphal and dubious Scripture.”