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so entire in their records, for two thousand years, that, if any of them in termarried contrary to the rules thereby established, they were prohibited from approaching the altar, or partaking in their other solemnities, he goes on to say, * And this is rightly, or rather necessarily done, because none are permitted of themselves to register their own genealogies, neither is there any disagreement in the written records of these; the prophets alone having written the earliest and oldest account of events, as they learned them by inspiration from God, together with such as manifestly took place in their own times. For, we have not an innumerable multitude of books disagreeing from, and contradicting one another, but only twenty-two books, containing the record of all past time, which are justly believed to be divine. And of these, five are the books of Moses, which contain the law, and the tradition of the original history of mankind, till his death. This period was little short of three thousand years. But, as to the time from the death of Moses till the reign of Artaxerxes, the successor of Cyrus as king of Persia, the prophets who came after Moses recorded, in thirteen books, what was done in their times. The remaining four books contain hymns to God, and counsels for the regulation of human life. The events of our history have, no doubt, been minutely written, from the reign of Artaxerxes to the present time; but these narratives have not been reckoned worthy of the same credit with the former, on account of there having been no exact succession of prophets during that period. And, what confidence we have placed in our own Scriptures, is manifest from our conduct. For, though so many ages have already passed, no one has been so bold as either to add any thing to them, or to take any thing from them, or to change any thing in them, but it is become natural for all Jews, immediately, and from their very birth, to esteem these as containing the doctrines of God, and to abide by them, and, if need be, willingly to die for them. Hence, many of our captives have been frequently seen to endure racks and deaths of all kinds in the theatres, rather than utter a word against our laws, and the records that contain them; whereas, what one of the Greeks would submit to any such suffering, or incur the least danger on such an account, even though all the writings they hold in most esteem were to be destroyed? These, indeed, they regard merely as discourses framed according to the private sentiments of those who write them."-Against Apion, $ 7 and 8.
D, p. 18. Though it would be here quite out of place, to enter into any discussion respecting the conduct of the British and Foreign Bible Society, or their Committee, in regard to the Apocrypha, we must say that we can in nowise concur in our Author's opinion, that their management of the business connected with that dark page in their history was
" marked by consummate wisdom," unless mere prudential policy be entitled to that high appellation. In many of their proceedings, there was a want of ingenuousness, and an attempt to gloss over what could not be openly defended, which savoured little of the wisdom that is from above-while, in not a few of the publications put forth in their support, a most distressing laxity of principle was manifested on the subjects, equally of their undeniable misdemeanours, and of the plenary inspiration of the sacred volume. Of this, however, we would persuade ourselves Dr Alexander was not aware, otherwise he would certainly have expressed his approbation of their conduct in more measured terms. The great probability, indeed, is, that the documents to which he had access were chiefly on their side of the question, and, consequently, by no means impartial; and that the charity which
hopeth all things” led him to give them credit for more of a christian spirit, than he would have found himself warranted to do, if his information had been more complete. And, that this is the fact we conceive to be satisfactorily established by the manner in which he speaks of Von Ess, concerning whom Dr Morrison, the editor of the English edition of the present work, in a note to this passage, says, “ It is much to be regretted that the hopes of the Christian public have been mournfully blighted in reference to this individual;” and again, in his preface to that edition, “ Had Dr Alexander been aware of certain features in the moral character of Leander Von Ess, the knowledge of which has recently transpired, he would not have spoken of him in those terms of eulogy which, in ignorance of distressing facts, it was virtuous to employ." We are happy to find also, that Dr M. candidly admits that the Society “fell into a great error” with regard to the circulation of the Apocrypha; and we scarcely think that he will object to our applying to their conduct the suitable reflection he makes in reference to Von Ess : _By such painful occurrences, how powerfully are we admonished to cease from men, and to repose unshaken confidence alone in the God of Truth.”
E, p. 25. Valesius, in his note on the passage from Eusebius, referred to in the text, besides citing Dionysius of Alexandria, as applying the epithet in copa Biczos, i. e. the Wise book, to the Proverbs of Solomon, affirms that almost all the ancients gave it the title of sopia, or Wisdom, and sometimes of popice Tavapstos, i. e supereminent (literally all-virtuous) Wisdom. Accordingly, Eusebius himself distinctly states (Eccl. Hist. book iv, c. 22), not only that Hegesippus, of whose writings he is there treating, but Irenæus, and the whole of the ancients (o tas two egzawy xogos), were accustomed to designate it by the same titles. Clement of Rome, (ch. 57th of his Epistle), in quoting Proverbs i, 23, &c. introduces it with the words ουτως λεγει η παναρετος σοφια, thus saith the supereminent Wisdom. Suicer, in his Thesaurus also, not only cites Nicephorus as translating the passage in Melito, Solomonis Proverbia, sive sapientia, the Proverbs of Solomon, or Wisdom, but contends that the absence of the Greek article from the names of all the other Canonical books, as given by Melito, while it is prefixed to dopie, proves that that word must be understood as being a distinctive title of that inspired treatise. Nor, can it be questioned, as is proved by the same learned author, that in the post-Eusebian writers, such as those of Gregory Nazianzen, the Apostolic Constitutions, Theophanes, Chrysostom and Cyprian, this inspired book is frequently styled either simply “ Wisdom," or "the Wisdom of Solomon." Though, therefore, the Apocryphal book of Ecclesiasticus, as well as that which is more particularly entitled “the Wisdom of Solomon," often received the same appellation, there seems no reason to “ doubt that Melito, in his Catalogue, used the word Wisdom just as another name for the Proverbs."
F, p. 25. To this he then admirably subjoins" These are the fountains of salvation by these alone are schools of piety instructed in the Gospel; let no one add to them, and no one take away from them."
G, p. 28. Epiphanius also, Bishop of Constantia in Cyprus, who wrote his books against Heresies, about the year 374, there, and in his other writings, thrice enumerates the books of the Old Testament, as held by the Jews. But of the Apocryphal books he mentions none ; except the Wisdom of Solomon, and the Wisdom of the Son of Sirach, concerning
which he says, that however useful and profitable they may be, they are not to be reckoned among the number of those received (as Canonical); and never were deposited in the ark of the covenant." - Cosin. Hist. of the Canon, p. 64.
H, p. 48. Not differing essentially from our Author, in regard to the propriety of more attention being paid to the Apocryphal books than is, sometimes done, we yet confess that we cannot conscientiously concur with him in “ cordially recommending the frequent perusal of any one of them, not excepting the first of Maccabees, the Wisdom of Solomon, or even Ecclesiasticus." Nor will the reader be surprised that this is the case, if he enters into those views of the true character of these spurious scriptures, which are so well expressed in the following passages from a work already referred to, and which, besides conveying with much force our own sentiments on the subject, contain several statements in addition to those of Dr Alexander, respecting their contents and tendency, the consideration of which we conceive to be of no small importance towards determining the point in question :
“God himself is often introduced by the Apocryphal writers, as communicating his will to them, and long speeches are ascribed to him.* Thus, the writers of the Apocrypha come as the bearers of messages from God, and as such, they deliver them to mankind. They profess to communi. cate a portion of spiritual light, not borrowed from the Holy Scriptures, but immediately derived from the Source of Light. In every sense of the word, these books present themselves as a part of Divine Revelation; and, if they were what they pretend to be, would be entitled to equal attention and reverence with the Holy Scriptures. Here, then, there is no medium; and the conclusion is inevitable :- The Apocrypha is either an addition made to the Old Testament Scriptures by God himself, or it is the work of lying prophets. This important question ought, therefore, to be considered by every Christian, and happily its solution
is attended with no difficulty.
“ The Hebrew Scriptures come to us, as we have seen, with the fullest and most unequivocal attestations, that they are the oracles of God. On the other hand, if we examine the claims of the Apocryphal books, what do we observe? External evidence of their constituting a portion of Di. vine Revelation, they have none. The question then is, on this ground alone, even were there no other to which we could appeal, for ever decided against them. But in order to produce the fullest conviction in the minds of all who know the truth as it is in Jesus, and to exclude every doubt, let us call another witness. We shall appeal, then, to the internal evidence of these writings. They contain within themselves their own condemnation. They are inconsistent, absurd, and contrary to the word of God.”
“ Viewing the Apocryphal writings as standing by the side of the Holy Scriptures, what character do they present? Do they offer any thing new, any thing that it might be of importance to know beyond what is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament? Do they teach us the way of God more perfectly? This will not be pretended by any one. Do those histories, which they present to us as true, comport with the dignity of Holy Writ? Do they possess internal marks of being authentic? Do
"The absurd, unintelligible speeches, replete with trifling nonzense, ascribed to God in different places, proves the Apocrypha to be not only a human, but a most impious production."
they bear the character of a revelation from God, ġiven for our instruction? So far is this from being the case, that many of their narrations are in. credible and self-contradictory, and others irreconcilably at variance with the Canonical Scriptures. They are defiled with a variety of errors, vani. ties, low conceits, and other faults incident to human nature and human infirmities; while their style, far different from the grave and chaste simplicity, or the divine and spiritual majesty, of the pure genuine Word of God, is deformed with levity, and affectation of worldly wisdom and eloquence.
** The Apocryphal books are not only replete with absurdities, superstitions, and falsehoods, in their narrations, but also with false doctrines, directly opposed to the doctrine of the Holy Scriptures; such as those of purgatory, and prayers for the dead. But waving, for the present, every other charge on this head against them, let us turn our attention to a single point of the last importance, which involves an answer to that most momentous of all questions, * How shall man be just before God!'. The Scriptures assure us, that if any man denies the doctrine of justification by faith with. out works, he becomes a debtor to do the whole law. What judgment, then, are we bound to form of a work which openly contradicts this fundamental doctrine, and, exhibiting another way of acceptance with God, makes void the whole plan of redemption? On this one point, then, of the explicit contravention by the Apocryphal books of the grand Scripture doetrine of justification, let them be tried ;-that doctrine which is peculiar to the Christian religion, and unknown to every false one, which so remarkably illustrates and honours the finished work of the Redeemer--that doctrine of which God, in his word, has affirmed, that the man who perverts it, “ Christ shall profit him nothing."
“ It is written in the Apocrypha, “Whoso honoureth his father maketh an atonement for his sins;' and again, · Water quencheth a flaming fire, and alms maketh an atonement for sins,' Eccl. iii, 3_30. Sentiments more directly opposed to the doctrine of the Holy Scripture, more dishonour. able to God, and more destructive to the souls of men, cannot be imagined.
“ The Apostle Paul solemnly declared to the churches of Galatia, that if an angel from heaven should preach any other Gospel than that which he had preached to them, he should be accursed. That very occurrence which the Apostle here supposes, has, according to the Apocrypha, been realized. An angel from heaven, it affirms, has descended and declared that he came from God. 'I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels, which present the prayers of the saints, and which go in and out before the glory of the Holy ne: not of any favour of mine, but by the will of our God I came,' Tobit xii, 15, 18. And that very doctrine does this angel expli. citly contradict which the Apostle so earnestly inculcated, accompanied with the solemn asseveration, that the curse of God should rest on any creature who dared to pervert it. • It is better,' says this angel, . to give alms than to lay up gold; for alms doth deliver from death, and shall purge away all sin,' ib. 8, 9. If the man or angel who shall preach another gos. pel than that which the Bible contains, is pronounced by the Holy Ghost to be accursed, then must this awful denunciation apply to a book, which, pretending to record the message of an angel from heaven, teaches another gospel. On the Apocrypha, therefore, does this anathema rest." _Haldane's Evidence and Authority of Divine Revelation, vol. i, pp. 99, 103.
1, p. 54. We are happy to find so exact a coincidence of views betwixt Dr Alexander and Mr Haldane on this topic; which, though they may seem at first somewhat startling, we have no doubt rest on the soundest and most enlightened principles.
“ It is true," says Mr H., " that the sacred writers refer to other books that do not now exist, as of Iddo the seer : but they do not refer to them as Canonical books, but as civil records of the kingdom, such as the reference to the records of Persia, in the book of Esther. Were it even to be admitted that some epistles were written by the Apostles which have not come down to us, the fact would not imply that the Scriptures have lost an epistle, or a single word. There might have been hundreds of such inspired letters from the Apostles, without implying that ever they made a part of that collection that was designed by God to be a perfect and sufficient standard to all ages. This is said, not from any conviction that there ever existed any inspired letters of the Apostles except those we possess, but they may have existed in any number, without affecting the integrity of the Canon, which some have weakly supposed would follow from the fact, if admitted.". Ut sup. p. 94.
Neither can we withhold his concluding remarks on the subject of the Old Testament Canon, as an excellent supplement to Dr Alexander's cogent statements and reasoning throughout the whole of this section:
“While there are those who have dared to add certain Apocryphal books to the Jewish Canon, which form no part of it, but are the production of lying prophets, and therefore under the curse pronounced on such by God, there are others who have contended that certain books included in that Canon do not constitute a part of Divine Revelation. This has been particularly the case respecting the book of Esther, and the Song of Solomon, which, it has been alleged, are not quoted in the New Testament. But though this may be true as to particular passages, yet the books themselves are quoted each time that either the Lord Jesus Christ, or his Apostles, refer to what is written,' or to the Scriptures' of which they form a part. Exceptions have been made to these books from their contents, and on this ground their claims to be Canonical have been doubted. Such a sentiment is the effect of inconsiderate rashness and presumption. The arrogant wisdom of man may now pretend to quarrel with the Book of Esther for not containing the name of God, and to find impurity in the Song of Solomon, or imperfection in other bocks of Holy Writ. But the authority of Jesus Christ has given a sanction to every book in the Jewish Canon, and blasphemy is written on the forehead of that theory which alleges imperfection, error, or sin, in any book in that sacred collection. It is not necessary to urge, that the genuineness and authenticity of the two books referred to was not only not doubted, but that they were received by the Jews with peculiar veneration, which is a well-known fact. The incontrovertible proofs respecting their authenticity and inspiration is, that they form a part of those Scriptures which were committed to the Jewish church, and sanctioned by the Lord and his Apostles. On these incontrovertible grounds, all the books of the Old Testament Scriptures are most surely believed by the great body of Christians to be the Oracles of God: and could it be shown that any one of them is not worthy of being received as a part of the sacred Canon, this would invalidate the claim of all the rest. That man, therefore, who rejects a single one of these books as not being Canonical, in other words, equally the dictates of inspiration as the rest, proves that he does not rely on the true and secure foundation which God has laid for entire confidence in that portion of the faithful record of his Word. He does it in defiance of all the foregoing evidence; and to deny