CHAP. V. Of the Books called Apocrypha.
SOme Hereticks utterly abolisht the Divine Canon, as the Swingfeldians and Libertines who contemned all Scriptures; the Manichees and Marcionites re∣fused all the Books of the Old Testament (as the Jews do those of the New)* as if they had proceeded from the Devil.
Some diminish this Canon, as the Sadduces who (as Whitaker and others hold) rejected all the other Prophets but Moses; some inlarge it as the Papists, who hold that divers other Books called by us Apocrypha (i hidden) do belong to the Old Testament, and are of the same authority with the other before named; and they adde also their traditions and unwritten Word, equalling it with the Scripture; both these are accursed, Rev. 22. 18.
But against the first we thus argue: Whatsoever Scripture, 1. Is divinely inspi∣red: 2. Christ commandeth to search: 3. To which Christ and his Apostles ap∣peal and confirm their Doctrine by it, that is Canonical and of equal Authority with the New Testament. But the holy Scripture of the Old Testament is divinely inspi∣red,* 2 Tim. 3. 16. where he speaks even of the Books of the Old Testament, as is ga∣thered both from the universal, all writing, viz. holy, in the 15 verse; and from the circumstance of time, because in the time of Timothies infancy little or nothing of the New Testament was published. 2. Christ speaks not to the Scribes and Pha∣risees, but to the people in general, to search it Iohn 5. 39. this famous elogium be∣ing added, That it gives testimony of him, and that we may finde eternal life in it. 3. Christ and his Apostles appeal to it, and confirm their Doctrine by it, Luke 24. 27. Rom. 3. 21. Acts 10. 43. and 17. 11. and 20. 43. and 26. 20. the New Testament gives testimony of the Old, and Peter, 2 Pet. 1. 19. of Pauls Epistles.
The Ecclesiastical Canon (which is also called the second Canon) followeth, to which these Books belong, Tobit, Iudith, first and second of the Maccabees, Wis∣dom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, Additions to *Daniel and Esther; for these neither contain truth perfectly in themselves; nor are sanctified by God in the Church, that they may be a Canon of faith; and although abusively from custom they were cal∣led Canonical, yet properly in the Church they are distinguished from the Canoni∣cal by the name of Apocryphal.
The false Canon is that which after the authority of the Apocrypha increased was constituted by humane opinion; for the Papists as well as we reject for Apocry∣phal the third and fourth Book of Ezra, the prayer of Manasses, the third and* fourth of Maccabees, as Thomas Aquinas, Sixtus Senenfis, Bellarmine, and so the Councel of Trent confesse, when they omit these and reckon up the whole Canon.
The state therefore of the controversie betwixt us and the Papists is, Whether* those seven whole Books with the Appendices, be Sacred, Divine, Canonical. Page 55 We do not deny but many of these, especially Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus are very* good and profitable, and to be preferred before all humane Tractates, but that they are properly, and by an excellency Canonical, and of infallible truth, out of which firm arguments may be drawn; that we deny.
Those Books which the Jews of old, and the Reformed Churches now reckon for truly Canonical in the Old Testament, are received all even by our Adversa∣ries for Canonical without any exception; 2. For the Canonical Books of the New Testament, there is no controversie between us, and so far we agree; but in the Old Testament whole Books are reckoned by them for Canonical which we hold Apocryphal.
The reason why these Books at first were added to holy Writ, was this, the Jews* in their later times, before and at the coming of Christ were of two sorts; some properly and for distinction sake named Hebrews, inhabiting Ierusalem and the ho∣ly Land; others were Hellenists, that is, the Jews of the dispersion mingled with the Grecians. These had written sundry Books in Greek which they made use of, together with other parts of the Old Testament, which they had in Greek of the Translation of the LXX, when they now understood not the Hebrew; but the Hebrews receive only the two and twenty Books before-mentioned. Hence it came that the Jews delivered a double Canon of Scripture to the Christian Church; the one Pure, unquestioned and Divine, which is the Hebrew Canon; the other in Greek adulterate, corrupted by the addition of certain Books written in those times when God raised up no more Prophets among his people. Drus. praeterit. l. 5. Annotat. ad Act. Apost. c. 6. Jun. Animad in Bell. cont. 1. lib. 1. c. 4. l. 2. c. 15. Sect. 21. Tertul▪ in A∣pol. c. 19.
They are called Apocryphal (i. secret and hidden) not because the names of the writers are unknown (by that reason Iudges and Ruth should be Apocryphal) but because they were not wont to be read * openly in the Church of God as the Cano∣nical Books, but secretly and in private by private persons, or because their Autho∣rity was obscure and doubtful with the Ancient.
These Books our Church rejecteth, as not written by Divine Inspiration for these reasons.
All the Canonical Books of the Old Testament were written by the Prophets; a but none of these Books were written by any of the Prophets; for
1. The last of the Prophets of the Jews was Malachi, Mal. 4. 4, 5. between whom and Iohn Baptist came no Prophet. Mark begins with the same words al∣most with which Malachi ended; a good argument to prove that the New Testa∣ment is next to the Old. But these Books b were written by such who lived most of them after Malachi.
2. All the Prophets wrote in Hebrew, the language which the Jews understood; but the Fathers affirm, and Papists acknowledge that most of these Books were written in Greek; Ergo, being not written by the Prophets, they are not Canoni∣cal. 2. All the Books of the Old Testament were committed to the Jews and safe∣ly kept by them, Rom. 3. 2. our Saviour Christ which reproved the Jews c for cor∣rupting the sense of the Scripture, did yet never reprove them for rejecting those Books which were divinely inspired, which sacriledge he would not have conceal∣ed; yea our Saviour sendeth us unto the Scriptures, as they received them, Ioh. 5.* 39. Ezra after the Captivity is reported to have gathered all the Books of holy Scripture, and safely to lay them up. If the Jews should have rejected or not re∣ceived Page 56 any Books being Canonical, they had grievously erred, which the Papists themselves will not affirm. Yea there should have been some Canonical Books,* which no Church received; for besides the Church of the Jews at that time there was none in the world. The Canonical Books of the Old Testament were divided into Moses,dthe Prophets, and Psalms; with which agreeth the old distribution of the Hebrews, into the Law, Prophets and Hagiographa.
3. There are two wayes to know a Book to be Canonical; one by the testimony of some Prophet or Apostle: the other by the certain Testimony of them which did live when the Book was published, who did witnesse that the Book was writ∣ten* by some Prophet or Apostle. But these Books are known to be Canonical nei∣ther of these wayes; they were rejected by the Jews, who lived in the times when they were written; our Saviour Christ nor his Apostles never commend these Books unto us as endited by the Spirit. They are cited by Christ and his Apostles for the confirmation of their Doctrine. All the Canonical Books in general, Iohn 5. 39. and 10. 35. Rom. 16. 26, Luke 16. 29, 31. and Chap. 24. 25, 27, 44. The most of all in spe∣cial, Genesis, Matth. 19 4, 5, 6. Exodus, Mat. 5. 21, 27, 33, 38. Leviticus, Gal. 3. 12. Numbers, John 3. 14. Deuteronomy, Acts 3. 22. Ioshua, Heb. 11. 30, 31. Iudges, Heb. 11. 32. Ruth, Mat. 1. 3. First of Samuel, Matth. 12. 3. Second of Samuel, Heb. 1. 5. First of Kings, Mat. 12. 42. Second of Kings, Luk. 4. 27. First of Chronicles, Mat. 1. 3, 7, 10, 13. Second of Chronicles, Acts 7. 48. Ezra, Matth. 1. 12, 13. Iob, 1 Cor. 3. 19. Psalms, Act. 4. 25. Proverbs, Heb. 12. 5, 6, 7. Isaiah, Matth. 1. 23. Ieremiah, Heb. 10. 16, 17. Ezekiel, Mat. 25. 35. Daniel, Matth. 24. 25. All the lesser Prophets, Acts 7. 42. and 15. 15, 16. Hosea, Mat. 12. 7. Ioel, Act. 2. 12. Amos, Act. 15. 16. Ionah, Mat. 12. 40, 41. Micah, Mat. 10. 35. Nahum, Rom. 10. 15. Habakkuk, Rom. 1. 17. Haggai, Heb. 12. 26. Zachary, Matth. 21. 5. Malachi, Luke 1. 16, 17. These Books were not cited by Christ and his Apostles for confirmation of their Doctrine.
Object. If they be not Canonical, therefore because they are not cited; then Nahum and Zephany are not Canonical. Aratus, Menander, and Epimenides, pro∣phane Poets, are Canonical, because they are cited, Acts 17. 28. 1 Cor. 15. 33. Titus 1. 12.
Answ. They are not therefore not Canonical only, because they are not cited, but especially because they have not the characters of Divine Scripture. 2. Nahum and Zephany are implicitely quoted, when the Books of the Prophets are mention∣ed, Acts 7. 41. and 15. 15, 16. The Poets are not cited as Canonical, but the Apostle applied himself to his hearers, who did much esteem their authority. Some have* well concluded from Act. 10. 43. that the Apocrypha are not to be received as Cano∣nical Scripture, because they testifie not of Christ.
4. Those Books which contain manifest untruths contrary to the Word of God, and the Books of holy Scripture, were not inspired of God; for as God is true, so is his Word Ioh. 17. 17. sweetly agreeing with it self, and every part with other; these Books commend false things as true, and approve things evil as right. Iudith, Chap. 9. v. 2. commends killing the Sichemites against Gen. 49. 6, 7. 2 Maccab. 14 42. Razis is commended for killing himself, the fact is not only related but commended also in these words, nobly, manfully; and this commendation doth plainly shew that the Author thereof was not inspired e of God. When the D•natists out of this Book urged that it was lawful for them to kill themselves as Razis did, Augustinef then was forced to acknowledge, That the Authority of this Book was uncertain and questionable, and proves it by the judgement of the Jewish Church, Christ, and the Christians. Manifest Fables are told in some of them for true Histories, as that of gToby, Iudith, Bel and the Dragon.
Page 57If any desire a particular confutation of the several Books of the Apocrypha, I com∣mend to his reading that learned Treatise of DrRaynolds de libris Apocryphis, who hath so exactly handled this subject, that to write of it after him were to write Iliads after Homer, or to draw a line after Apelles,
5. The most ancient Fathers, and Councels which lived the best and first five hundred years after h Christ, rejected the same Books which we doe. Ierome on Matth. 23. saith concerning a Testimony cited out of the Apocrypha, Hoc quo∣niam ex Scriptura nihil habet authoritatis, eadem facilitate rejicitur, qua profer∣tur. Because this hath no authority out of Scripture, it may as easily be rejected as it is offered.
All that the Papists object for these Books in the general, is, That the third Coun∣cel at Carthage, the Florentire Councel, and that of Trent do approve the said Books to be Canonical, as also Augustine and Innocentius.
To which it may be answered, 1. That the Councel of Carthage was but a Pro∣vincial Councel, and therefore it cannot binde the whole world. Moreover in that* Councel there are divers things which the Papists will not endure; as in the 26 Ca∣non, there is a Decree that no Bishop shall be called chief or universal Bishop, no not the Bishop of Rome; how should the Papists binde us with the authority of that Councel with which they will not binde themselves? 2. The Latine * Fathers judged these Books fit to be read for example of life and instruction of manners; but not for confirmation of faith, or establishing any Doctrine. 3. These Books are not Proto-canonical, truly and properly Canonical, inspired by God, containing the immediate and unchangeable truth of God, sanctified by him, and given to the Church to be a perfect rule of sound doctrine and good life; but Deutero-canoni∣cal or rather Ecclesiastical, as they are styled. In this sense Augustine and Innocen∣tius are to be taken, when they reckon these Books among the Canonicall. 4. No Councel hath Authority to define what Books are Canonicall, what not, see∣ing Books truely Divine receive Authority from God himself, and are to be esteemed of undoubted truth, although all the world should bark against them.
These two Councels i are of too late standing to oppose against the other ancient Councels, which reject these Books. The Councel of Trent was gathered and kept against all Civil and Ecclesiastical Right; neither was there any forme of justice observed in it. 1. It was not kept in a lawfull place; for whereas it was intended against the Protestants, and the Germans were the parties accused, it ought to have been kept in Germany, according to the request exhibited by the Body of the States of Germany assembled at Noremberg; this equity was not observed, the parties ac∣cused being called into Italy. 2. In that Councel matters were concluded, and the sentence passed, the adversary not being heard speak, nor so much as present; for the Protestants might not be admitted to hearing, neither could they obtain to pro∣pound their opinion in the Councel, much lesse to avouch it by lawfull reasoning. Sleidan. fol. 29. and yet were condemned, against Divine and Humane Law; for they both forbid the condemning of any before he have lawfull liberty granted him to plead for himself. 3. In that Councel the Accuser and Judge were the same: for the Pope did accuse the Protestants of Heresie, he did convocate the Councel, he by his Delegates was President and Moderator in it, and so together was Accu∣ser, Judge and Witnesse, whereas the Reformation of the Pope was the thing in question.
Page 58Lastly, All Councels ought to be free; but in this, Protestants might not pro∣pound their cause, nor defend it,k neither might any thing be proposed, but ac∣cording to the minde of the Legates, or otherwise then they approved; no man had any voice in the Councel, but such as were sworn to the Pope, nothing was there determined which was not first concluded of at Rome by the Pope in the Col∣ledge* of Cardinals, and sent from Rome to Trent; whereupon this Proverb arose, Spiritum Sanctum Roma per peram mitti Tridentum, The holy Ghost came to Trent packt up in a Cloke-bag.
We hope therefore since the Apocrypha are justly rejected out of the Canon, that hereafter they will neither have the honour to be bound with our Bibles, nor read in our Churches.
The Apocrypha was never received by the Church of the Israelites, before Christ his coming; nor of the Apostolick and Primitive Church, for more then three hundred years after, as both Eusebius out of Origen, and the Councel of Laodicea, Can. 59. confirmed afterward by the sixth general Councel of Constantinople sheweth* for the Greek Church, and StIerom for the Latine.