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lic Fathers; but he means apocryphal books written in the early times of Christianity. That these writings should not be "so much as known" to the Jews, appears to me improbable. The writings of the Jews have been more destroyed, in proportion at least, than those of any other people: yet we still seem to have some testimonies. Allix says, that Philo quotes our apocryphal Books-Josephus, in the part where he mentions the 22 books of Scripture, and adds, that other books had been written after the time of Malachi, does not, to be sure, mention any names of authors; but he describes the kind of Books according to our idea of the more valuable parts of our Apocrypha he disowns their being so sacred as to be authentic; but he seems to treat them as next to divine: nay, as if nothing hindered them from being accounted divine, but a failure in the regular succession of Prophets.-In his History of the Maccabees', he is thought to have followed our first Book of Maccabees; and in his account of Zorobabel, to have adopted the ideas of the author of the third Book of Esdras. In Hudson's Josephus, the texts are put in the margin of the History; so any one may compare them, and judge for himself. Both the Prologues to Ecclesiasticus seem to speak the same language with Josephus about "other books."-And Jerom says, that some ancient writers thought, that Wisdom was written by Philo; but probably it was written earlier; however, Jerom must think it was known to the Jews.
d See Chandler on Prophecy, Pref, p. xiv. mentioned Book i. Chap. v. Sect. 8. of this.
The genuineness of this work is suspected; see Lard. Works, vol. VII, p. 35.
g Pref, to Books of Solomon.
Allix says, that Ramban speaks of Ecclesiasticus as being in Chaldee, and quotes Jerom for Tobit's having been in the same; now, whatever books have been in Chaldee, originally, or by translation, must have been known to the Jews. He accounts for their having been laid aside by the Jews, from those passages, which Grotius affirms to be interpolated; which favour the Christian cause. The Jews are said to speak unfavourably of Josephus; probably because so many testimonies are accidentally to be deduced from him in favour of Christians, though he was no Christian himself: this is no reason why he should be generally undervalued:-then he was a kind of Roman; actually with the Romans in camp during the siege of Jerusalem: and he is valued by Heathens as well as Christians: this may account for the Jewish prejudice.
Allix, in his 5th Chapter, goes through the whole catalogue, and speaks more learnedly than I have done of each book, except perhaps the prayer of Manasses; but, after what has been said, I will content myself with referring to him for particulars, and will only take the result of his inquiries and my own.
It seems probable, that, under the Ptolemies in Egypt, and the Seleucidæ in Syria, authors amongst the Jews were numerous; not only in Alexandria,
• Page 68, 69.
↳ Ramban, R. Moses the son (Ben.) of Nachman. “Gerendensis Hispanus." Claruit, 1212. See Buxtorf's Abbrev. (Gironne, near the Pyrenees and Mediterranean.)
c See Jerom's Preface to Tobit.
d From the Author's Prologue to Ecclus. it appears, that bis Grandfather collected the matter of that Book in Hebrew.
f See authorities collected, Lard. vol. VII, p. 34.
but at Jerusalem, and Babylon ;-and that their chief purpose in writing was, to promote good morals; but that they executed their purpose always with some sort of view to their Scriptures and national history; enlarging, imitating, supplying, as their judgment and imagination dictated. Some wrote in Chaldee (or possibly Hebrew) but more in Greek and it seems conceivable, that some works might be original in both Hebrew and Greek -Some of these authors had more solid understanding, others less; but they all delivered something of what was customary in the notions of the Jews, which turned frequently on the expectation of a Messiah. A great number of their writings have been destroyed; of the few remaining, some seem to us valuable; but the Jews do not value them as they ought, being determined to reject Jesus as Messiah, and indulging themselves, especially since the coming of our Messiah, in an immoderate regard for traditions, and a boundless range of childish conceits and fancies. The ancient Jewish writings in our Apocrypha are too rational for them, as well as too moral:I speak of the more respectable part.
As to the manner, in which Apocryphal books got in some places into the Canon of Scripture, I agree with Bishop Burnet" ;-they were first esteemed as pious, and as related, as it were, to Scripture; then they were read in Churches; and the canonical Scriptures being read there also, these got associated in men's minds, till, at last, they came to be upon one and the same footing.
It might greatly facilitate their reception amongst Christians, if they seemed, in any way, to favour the Christian cause.
This is mentioned Book i. Chap. vi. Sect. 1.
The second proposition remains: that is, the Church reads the Apocryphal books as moral; and Jerom affirms the same.
It may be thought of little moment to prove this, unless it were proved, that the Church ought to read them for such purpose. But the practice of those, whom we are to respect, is a strong argument of itself for the continuance of such practice. -The passages already mentioned in Clemens and Polycarp may answer our purpose. Athanasius says3, that these Books "were appointed by the Fathers to be read by those, who first come to be instructed in the way of Piety." What Jerom says, in his Preface to the Books of Solomon, is doubly to our purpose, as it proves both parts of the proposition now before us. "Sicut ergo Judith, et Tobiæ et Macchabæorum Libros legit quidem ecclesia, sed eos inter canonicas scripturas non recipit, sic et hæc duo volumina (Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus) legat ad ædificationem plebis, non ad auctoritatem Ecclesiasticorum dogmatum confirmandam.”—And lastly, Bishop Burnet proves the general custom of reading things not canonical in the Church.-Indeed, calling some writings ecclesiastical, which were not accounted canonical, shews pretty plainly what we mean to prove.
With regard to present times, though there may be some doubts about reading in Church the spurious additions to the Book of Daniel, yet I think it would not tend to edification to banish Ecclesiasticus and Wisdom". The more Grotius insists on
a See Burnet, p. 110, 8vo.
b Jerom, Pref. to his Translation of the Books of Solomon from the Hebrew. In English, Lard. Works, vol. V, p. 18.
© Articles, p. 111, 8vo. See also of this, Book i. Chap. xii, Sect. 4.
At the Reformation, when men had been brought up to revere them, it would have been both imprudent and cruel to set
some passages being interpolated by Christians, the more plainly do we see the propriety of reading those books, which contain those passages, in Christian Congregations.-And the recommendations which we find of them in the Christian Fathers, must at least make us judge candidly and cautiously of any of our Christian brethren, who are inclined to pay them great attention, as books of morality: though the truth probably is, that the Christian Fathers were much better judges of the Scriptures, than of Ethics.
14. 4. We are now come to our fourth and last station; where we are to consider, what our Article affirms with regard to the Books of the New Testament; whether our Church rightly receives them, and accounts them canonical.
As, in this, our Church agrees with other Churches, we might have discussed this subject in our first book; but as mention was to be made of these books in an Article, it seemed as well not to anticipate every thing that should be said upon it. No Church can well compose a set of Doctrines, without settling a Canon of Scripture.
But, though something has been deferred, yet we have employed eight Chapters of the first Book in proving the authority of the New Testament. The only question is now, of what writings does the New Testament consist? Besides those, which have been universally acknowledged as divine, there are some now found in our volume, whose authority has been controverted: a thing so well known, as to divide the writings of the New Testament into two classes ; the ὁμολογούμενα^ and the ἀντιλεγόMeva. Are we safe in admitting these last into our Canon? some examination of this point may be proper, in order to dispel doubts and suspicions; It
Richardson calls them the first Canon and the second Canon.