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& à Sandto Cypriano in Epistolâ ad Pompeium. To these I may add, Josephus quotes its Relation of the Discourse of the Three Toung Men, What is strongest ? And if the many Quotations I have given concerning the second Book of Esdras Apocry. pha, be well consider’d, it will appear, that there are sufficient Testimonies for the second Book, behides the Prophecies contained in it, concerning the Roman Empire. This second Book has the Testimonies of Irenæus, Tertullian, Clem. Alexandrinus, Basil, Chrysostom, Hom 8. Epist. ad Hebr. Ambrose.
Genebr. in his Chronology places this Book in the Canon ; at which Bellarmine wonders.
Bibliander acknowledges this Book as Canonical ; and Scaliger, Exerc. 308. says, Arcana multa continentur in libr. Efdr. quorum admirabile & divinum compendium apud me eft, Syrâ confcri. ptum lingua.
The Christian Church never thought the Histories of the Apocrypha false, or Efdras's Prophecy Spu. rious : And therefore the third Council of Carthage A. D. 400. of 217 Bishops, (and St. Austin was then present) in which the two Books of Efdras are mentioned, 24th Canon, amongst the Apocrypha, ordered them to be read in Churches ; and they are called Divine Writings, and part of Canonical Scripture. And that St. Austin approved of El. dras as a Prophet, appears by this Quotation, lib. 17. ch. 24. Toto illo tempore ex quo redierunt de Babylonia, post Malachiam, Āggaum, &
Zachariam, qui tum prophetaverunt, & Esdram, non habuerunt Prophetas, ufque ad Salvatoris Ad. Ventum. Auf in, de Civitat. Dei.
From the Jewish Synagogues in Judæa the Primi. tive Christians received their First Canon of 22 Books: But the learned Jews in Alexandria made a further Collection of Divine Writings, and added them to their Septuagint; and from them the Latin Church received them; and those 22 Broks cola lected by Esdras, were called genuine, and allowed by both the fews at Jerusalem, and the Hellenists in Ægypt : But the last Collection is distinguished by the Name of Apocrypha. Epiphanius de meno furis & ponderibus, affirms, ad Ptolemæum mif. sos fuisse 22 libros genuinos, & alios Apocrypho. rum. When these were all translated, the Hellenists preserved them in their Bibles.
If these were called Apocryphal, becaufe their Authors are unknown, then. Ruth, Judges, Kings, and Chronicles, and some Psalms ought to be sa called.
In the Conference at Hampton Court, 'tis af. serted, that the Censure of the Apocry. phal, were the old Exceptions of the
Eccl. Hist. Jews, revived by St. Jerom ; and that upon Ruffinus's Challenge, he in some measure rea nounced his Opinion. St. Jerom's Distinction was, These Books were Canonical, ad informandos mo. res, non ad confirmandam fidem. Thus the grea. teft Enemy allows them half Canonical, which
seems very absurd. His great Objection against Erdras, was, because he mentions the Return of the Jews from their Captivity, their Re.. building a third City, and a Paradisiacal State on Earth. These things St. Jerom thought to be few. ish Fables. And at that time the Greeks doubted concerning the Authority of the Revelation, as if it were written by Cerinthus ; its Figures were then too mysterious, and could not then be interpreted till many Events had happened in the Roman History. And for the same reason Esdras was rejected; be. cause the Events whereby his Prophecies must be in. terpreted, were not then come to pass; such are his Three Heads of the Eagle, which neither the Jews, xor Christians could understand : But the Christians thought the Return of the Jews, their happy future State, the Third Temple, Cabalistic Vanities. All which we now find described by the Old Propbets ; and the present Age does not deny. That the Want of Interpretation of a Prophecy, may occasion the’denying of its Authority, we may observe by. Luther, wbo in bis older Prefame to the New Testament, profestes, he did not understand the Revelations ; ac se Apocalypsim neque pro prophetico, neque pro Apostolico libro recipere ; fed fimilem judicare libro quarto Efdræ.
The Canon of Scripture is only a Catalogue of Books approved by some Tradition, or allowed Coun. cil, to be read in the Jews or Christian Churches, for a Rule of Faith and Manners.
All Christians admitted the Apocrypha for In. struction ; but since the Secret of Christianity contai. ned in the Old Prophets, is more clearly and plainly Jet forth in the Apocrypha, than in any other of the Old Prophets, the whole Church hath admitted them to be read for Edification; and hath Power to prescribe such Books, as well as Homilies and Sermons. In these is the Secret of the Refurre&tion, the Gene ral Judgment, and the World to come, and the My Nery of the Holy Trinity expressed, by the Word and Wisdom of God, and his Holy Spirit. And the inward and spiritual Service of God in Truth of Heart, is more clearly opened in the Apocryphal Writings, than in the Law and oldest Prophets. Therefore these are more edifying to Christians, as introductory Doctrines to Christianity. Since the Latin Church receives all the Apocrypha but Ef. dras, I cannot find there are any other Reasons for their rejecting bim, but that they could not interpret his Prophecies ; and they made some Exceptions ao gainst bis Assertion about good Works : But yet they quote him in their Liturgies.
In the Primitive Church, the Apocrypha were prescribed ro Catechumens, in order to Bap. tism.
The Prophecies of Esdras were commanded to be kept in private, because they related to the Jews under the Persian, Grecian, and Roman Em. pires ; and tho obscure at first, yet the Events, as they appeared, would explain them.
might he offended at Esdras's describing a long time of Captivity, and that many other Nations Mould tyrannize over them, and that another City more glorious was to be built. 'Tis certain, the great Sy. nagogue of the Jews did not publish Esdras and Tobit, but kept them in private Archives, though both contained Prophecies as well as Baruch.
Nepos wrote for the Millennium deforibed in the Revelations, against the 'Allegorists, who calld the Chiliasts Flereticks; and the Revelations Authority was denied in the Third Century, because of the Millennium, by Dionysius Alexandrinus, who wrote against Nepos.
The reason of these Ecclefiaftical Writings not bea ing written in Hebrew, could not be the reason why they are called Apocrypha; because Ecclesiasticus and the First of Maccabees, St. Jercm says, were written in Hebrew, and Tobit and Judith in Chaldee. And fince there are some Prophecies in the Apocryphal Books, their not being written by Prophets, can be no reason why they are called A. pocrypha. Therefore there were only some pru. dential Reasons, why the Jewish Priests at Jerusa. lem would not multiply the Ecciefiaftic Writings above 22, in their Bibles: They thought those suf. ficient for their Histories, Prophecies, and Morali. ty But the most probable are, that the Apocryphal were collected after the Collection by Esdras and the great Synagogue. Tho' these Writings might be in being before that Collection, except Ecclesiasticus and the Maccabees; Esdras, and Tobit, and