The Apocryphal Books of the Old Testament,

And the Reasons for their Exclusion from the Canon of Scripture

By C. E. Stowe, D.D., Professor at Andover


I. The Apocryphal Books of the Old Testament

The books pertaining to the Old Testament which the Romish church holds to be sacred and canonical, in addition to the original Hebrew canon, are the following: Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch, Maccabees I. and II., additions to Daniel, additions to Esther. Besides these, there are generally printed, as an appendix to the Vulgate, the Prayer of Manasseh, and Esdras III. and IV. In the English Apocrypha these two books of Esdras are designated as I. and II. The reason of the Vulgate numeration is, that the canonical Esdras is in that translation called Esdras I., and the canonical Nehemiah, Esdras II. In this it differs from the Septuagint, which retains for Nehemiah the Hebrew canonical name.

Before the time of the Council of Trent, the books above mentioned had not been received as canonical by the Christian church; most of them had been positively and very pointedly condemned by some one or more of the eminent church fathers; those who had received them to be read in churches made a marked distinction between them and the books of the original Hebrew canon, assigning to them a much lower place; and those who called any of them canonical, generally assigned the most trivial and unsatisfactory reasons for so doing. For example, Hilary (Proleg. in Psalm.) mentions, that the Hebrews had twenty-two canonical books of the Old Testament corresponding to the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet; but as the Greeks have twenty-four letters in their alphabet, they ought to have twenty-four books in their Old Testament canon, and he, therefore, in order to make out the number twenty-four, would add to the Hebrew canon the books of Tobit and Judith, for the Greek Bible. According to this principle, the Old Testament for the Arabs, Ethiopians, Cherokees, and many other nations, ought to be enlarged by a number of books greater than all the apocryphal writings, numerous as they are, would be able to supply. Augustine, though the greatest man of his time intellectually, was a very poor critical scholar. He was disposed to receive all the books usually included in the Septuagint as canonical, because he ignorantly supposed that the Septuagint as a, whole had the sanction of the apostles (quae etiam ab Apostolis approbata est.—Epist. 32. ad Hieron. n. 35); yet, though he called all the Septuagint books canonical, he made a marked distinction among them in respect to their authority. He says: In canonicis Scripturis ecclesiarum catholicarum quamplurium auctoritatem sequatur, ut eas, quae ab omnibus accipiuntur ecclesiis catholicis, praeponat eas, quas quaedam non accipiunt. In eis vero, quae non accipiuntur ab omnibus, praeponat eas, quae plures gravioresque accipiunt.—Doctr. Christ. II. 3. Here is license enough for the most liberal Protestant; and it is by such statements as these that Jahn and other enlightened Roman Catholic scholars endeavor to vindicate the Council of Trent for their decree respecting the canon, on the ground that there was an understood and admitted distinction among the sacred books between the deutero-canonical and the proto-canonical. If Augustine and some other fathers made such a distinction, it is clear enough that the Council of Trent did not.

Jerome was greatly superior to Augustine in scholarship, so far as a critical knowledge of languages and books is concerned, though greatly inferior in almost all other respects. Jerome knew that the apocryphal books had no claim to canonical authority, and he said so very plainly, and when exasperated by opposition, very bitterly. He in one place declares: Sapientia, quae vulgo Salomonis inscribitur, et Jesu Sirach liber, et Judith et Tobias et Pastor non sunt in canone. In another place he says of these books very sharply: Apocryphorum naenias mortuis magis haerticis quam ecclesiasticis vivis canendas.—Proleg. Gal. et.Prol. in Com. Matt. Augustine was often at variance with Jerome, as the theologian is apt to be at variance with the scholar. He strongly condemned Jerome’s Latin translation of the Old Testament, because it varied so much from the Septuagint; though it departed from the Septuagint only by coming nearer to the divine original in the Hebrew; but Augustine was not scholar enough to know or appreciate a fact of this kind. (Compare Marheinecke’s Symbolik, Band 11. S. 224, K first edition, 1810.)

This is a subject of deep interest at the present time. Romanists among us are continually objecting to our Bible, calling it a mutilated Bible and furiously resisting, wherever they can, its introduction into schools and families. In the following pages, we shall give a review of the debates and decisions on this subject in the Council of Trent, that the reader may see on what very shallow and insufficient grounds that decision was made on which so much was depending; and then we shall show the grounds on which we pronounce that decision to be totally wrong, by exhibiting in full the reasons why the books in question ought to be excluded from the canon of Scripture. The following is a summary of the points which will be stated and proved in the ensuing discussion:

(1) These books never had the sanction of Christ or his apostles or of any of the writers of the New Testament.

(2) They formed no part of the original Hebrew canon, and were not written till after inspiration had ceased and the canon was closed.

(3) They were rejected with singular unanimity by the early Christian churches and by the best of the church fathers.

(4) The books themselves, examined individually, can be proved, each one by itself, to be unworthy of a place in the canon of Scripture.

Under this last head we shall give, in regard to each book: (a) a description of the book; (b) we shall examine its internal evidence in regard to its having a place in the canon, and (c) state the external testimony in respect to it.

II. Debates and Decisions in the Council of Trent

The Council of Trent for its fourth session, which was held in the spring of the year 1546, collected several propositions respecting the Scriptures from the writings of Luther, which they alleged to be erroneous. These propositions were earnestly discussed in the several congregations which preceded the session; as was also the question, whether canons with anathemas annexed, in the usual manner, should be issued against these errors. Two of the alleged errors were these: (a) That no books ought to be received into the canon of the Old Testament except those which were found in the original Hebrew canon, and (b) That the original text, the Hebrew for the Old Testament and the Greek for the New, is the only ultimate appeal as the pure word of God, and that the Latin Vulgate used in the churches, abounds in erroneous translations. We give not the words but only the substance, because it is only with these two points that we are concerned in the present discussion; and it would lead us too far out of our track to follow the exact order and method of the treatment of the several topics in the council. We propose to give, and that too in a very condensed form, only what pertains to the Old Testament canon, and the authority of the Latin Vulgate as compared with the original text.

In regard to the canon, they were generally agreed, that a catalogue of the sacred books should be made out, after the example of the ancients; and that all the books usually read in the Roman churches should be admitted into it, and that the Old Testament canon should not be limited to those books only which were received by the Hebrews. The catalogues of the Council of Laodicea, of Pope Innocent L, of the third Council of Carthage, and of Pope Gelasius, were proposed as models. As to the form of the catalogue there were four opinions: (1) Some proposed that the books should be separated into two divisions, the first of which should consist of those only which had always and without dispute been regarded as canonical, the ὁυολογουμένων of Eusebius; and the second, of those which had been by some rejected, and in regard to which there was more or less of doubt, the ἀντιλεγομένων. ( Compare Euseb. Hist. Eccl. III. 25.) They argued that, though this distinction had not been formally and expressly recognized by any pope or council, yet it had been in fact tacitly and universally acknowledged; that Augustine makes this distinction, and that it is received, and the authority of Augustine in respect to it confirmed by the Canon in canonicis. Gregory, also, who lived after Gelasius, declares, in his Exposition of Job, that the Books of Maccabees were written for edification and adapted to it, but yet they were not canonical.

Aloysius of Catanea, a Dominican Friar, affirmed that this distinction was made by Jerome, and that the church had accepted it as the rule and standard for establishing the canon of the Holy Scriptures. He also quoted Cardinal Cajetan, who, following Jerome, had made the same distinction, and, in the dedication to Clement VII. of his treatise on the historical books of the Old Testament, had declared it to be a settled principle of the church.

(2) A second proposition was, that the books should be arranged, not in two, but three divisions, the first to consist of those which had always and without contradiction been received as Divine; the second, those which had sometimes been doubted, but whose canonical authority had at length been confirmed by the usage of the church, to which class belong certain epistles and the Apocalypse of the New Testament, and some few passages in the evangelists; and the third division should consist of those books which had never been esteemed canonical, to which class belong the seven apocryphal books of the Old Testament, and the passages of Daniel and Esther which are not found in the Hebrew text.

(3) The third opinion was, that there should be no distinction made among the books, but after the example of the Council of Carthage and other synods, they should merely make out the catalogue and offer no remarks upon it

(4) The fourth proposal was this: that all the books in all their parts, just as they stand in the Latin Bible, should be declared equally of divine authority. The book of Baruch here made no little difficulty, for this book was not to be found in the catalogues of the Laodicean or the Carthaginian councils, nor yet in those made by the Roman pontiffs; and therefore it ought to be excluded, both for this reason and because the beginning of the book is wanting. Yet, because some lessons in the church books were taken from it, the members of the council could not be persuaded to relinquish its canonical authority; and they therefore resolved that it must have been regarded by the ancients as a part of the book of Jeremiah, and received by them into the canon tinder the name of that prophet. Thus their opinion of what the fact ought to have been, determined them to assume the fact itself, without evidence. A summary and convenient mode of proceeding, which has often been followed, both in ecclesiastical and other assemblies.

On the eighth of March, 1546, there was held an extraordinary congregation, in which it was unanimously resolved, that church tradition should be held of equal authority with the written word of God. With respect to the form in which they should put forth their catalogue of the canonical Scriptures, the theologians still entertained various opinions. One was, that the individual books need not be mentioned by name; another, that the books ought to be ‘divided into three classes; and a third, that all the books of the Latin Bible should be placed in one rank as of equal authority. In this diversity of opinions it was agreed, that catalogues should be made out according to the three different proposals, and laid before the next congregation for examination; and then it should be decided which of the three should be adopted.

In the congregation of the fifteenth of March, the three catalogues were actually presented; each had its advocates; but the third was the one which triumphed. In the subsequent congregations, the authority of the Latin translation was discussed; and here arose a hot conflict between the few who had some knowledge of the Greek language and a good understanding of the Latin, and the many who knew nothing of the one and but little of the other. The Dominican Aloysius of Catanea here again made himself heard. He remarked, that, in regard to this matter, nothing could be better in itself or more wisely adapted to the times than the principle asserted by Cardinal Cajetan, that justly celebrated divine, who from his early youth had devoted himself to the study of theology, and with a happy talent and unwearied diligence, which had made him the most distinguished in this branch of science of any one for many centuries; insomuch that there was not a prelate or doctor in the whole council who need be ashamed to confess himself his inferior and pupil in point of learning. This great prelate, when he went to Germany in 1523, to hold his conference with Luther, being led to study earnestly the best means of reuniting the dismembered church and bringing the heretics to a confession of their errors, concluded that the only effective method must be a critical understanding of the Holy Scriptures in their original languages. Accordingly, during all the rest of his life, full eleven years, he devoted himself entirely to the study of the Scriptures, and wrote his expositions upon them, not according to the Latin translation, but according to the original text, the Hebrew for the 014 Testament, and the Greek for the New; and, forasmuch as he was not himself skilled in these tongues, he employed men thoroughly acquainted with them to translate for him literally, word for word, as is abundantly manifest from his works on the sacred books. This excellent cardinal was wont to say, that to understand the Latin text was not necessarily to understand the word of God; the word of God is infallible, but the Latin translators may have made mistakes. On this account, also, Jerome justly said, that to prophesy and write holy books is the gift of God’s Spirit; but to translate these books from one language to another is matter of human skill. In reference to these words, Cajetan often said with a sigh: “Oh that the teachers of former times had been of this opinion, and then the Lutheran heresy would not have arisen.” Cataneus further declared, that the Latin translation could not be received as authoritative without violating the canon Ut Veterum, etc., dist. 9, where it is asserted that the truth of the Old Testament is to be sought in the Hebrew text, and that of the New in the Greek. To declare the one translation authentic, would be to condemn Jerome and all the others; for as these cannot be authentic, no further use can be made of them. A miserable business it would be, in a conflict with opponents, to select a text doubtful and not generally acknowledged, when one is in possession of the genuine and infallible text, which ensures a certain victory. With Jerome and Cajetan we must consider it certain that there is no translator, whatever care he may exercise, who may not sometimes fall into a mistake. If the holy council itself would undertake a translation, and examine and improve it by the original text, then it might not be doubted that the Holy Spirit, which guides all church councils in matters of faith, would so aid the fathers of the synod, that no error would be committed. A translation examined and established in this manner might safely be deemed authentic; but without such an investigation the synod ought not to venture to approve a translation or assure itself of the aid of the Holy Ghost. In the council of the apostles themselves there was a thorough investigation of the matters before them previous to a decision. But as such an investigation in this matter would require a ten years’ labor, he thought it best that the affair should be left as it had been for fifteen hundred years past.

The greater part of the theologians were opposed to these views. They argued that the translation which had so long been received and used in the churches and the schools, must of necessity be declared authentic; otherwise, the Lutherans had already gained their point and the door was thrown open to endless heresies and unappeasable disturbances. The popes and the scholastic theologians had for the most part founded the doctrines of the Romish church, which was the mother of all churches, on certain passages of Scripture; and now, if there were granted to every one the right to call in question the translation, whether it were correct or not, whether this were done by comparing it with other translations or with the original Hebrew and Greek text, then the linguists and grammarians might bring all into confusion and set up themselves as umpires in matters of faith; and they would be the doctors of theology and of the canon law, and they would have the dignity of bishops and cardinals; and the inquisitors, if they were not skilled in Hebrew and Greek, could no more proceed against the Lutherans, but they would cry out, “it is not so in the original,” “the translation is false,” and in this manner every school-fox may put forth his novelties and the abortions of his own brain, conceived in wickedness or ignorance, as the true doctrines, and never be at a loss, by some grammatical trick, to find a text to justify them; and thus there would never be an end. Every body knows that Luther’s translation of the Bible has brought after it numberless and contradictory heresies, worthy of being condemned to eternal darkness; and that Luther himself is continually changing his own translation, and never publishes a new edition without altering at least a hundred passages. Were such liberty allowed to all who might choose to make use of it, the time would soon come when a Christian would no longer know what to believe.

These views were by the majority received with approbation, and it was furthermore argued that God had given to the He-brew church an authentic Scripture, and to the Greek an authentic New Testament; and who could affirm, without offence, than the Roman church, more beloved of God than all the rest, should be left without so great a benefaction? Surely there could be no doubt that the same Holy Ghost which first gave these holy books, had also directed to the translation received by the Roman church.

To others it seemed going too far to consider a man a prophet and apostle because he was the translator of a book; and they modified their idea “by saying that the translators had not the prophetic and apostolic spirit, but doubtless one very nearly related to it. And should any one hesitate to attribute to them the influences of the Holy Spirit, he must at least allow these influences to the council; and if, therefore, the council should confirm the Vulgate and pronounce an anathema against those who dared question its authority, then it must be received as infallible, if not through the spirit which guided the translation, yet at least by the Spirit given to the council which had declared it authentic.

Isidor Clarus, a Benedictine abbot, and a scholar well-read in these studies, ventured, in the way of a historical review, to controvert these opinions, and said, that in the most ancient church there were several Greek translations of the Old Testament, which were collected by Origen into one book and arranged side by side in six columns. The principal of these was the Septuagint, from which many Latin translations had been made; and the New Testament also had been many times translated from the Greek into the Latin. Of these translations of the Old and New Testament, the so-called Itala found the most favor; and this was generally read in the churches, and was preferred to all the others by Augustine; still it was always held subordinate to the Greek text. When that great linguist, Jerome, became aware that the version of the Old Testament, partly through the fault of the Greek translators, and partly through that of the Latin, was in many places defective, he resolved to make a new translation immediately from the Hebrew, and to improve the version of the New Testament by a careful collation of the original Greek. The celebrity of his name induced many to receive his translations, but many rejected them, partly from attachment to the old and suspicion of the new, and partly, as Jerome himself affirms, out of envy. But after time had abated the bitterness of the envy, the translations of Jerome were received by the Latins very generally, and were used together with the Itala, the latter being designated as the old, the former as the new. Gregory gives testimony to this effect, for in his work on Job he writes to Leander, that the apostolic See received both translations, that in his exposition of Job he had used the new because it came nearest to the Hebrew text, yet in his citations he had sometimes used the one and sometimes the other, just as was most convenient for the purpose in hand.- Thus theologians wavering between the two, and using sometimes one and then the other, according to circumstances, they at length combined both into one and gave to this the name of Vulgate. The Psalms, continued Clarus, were regained entire in the old translation, because they, being daily sung in the churches, could not well be altered. The minor prophets were all in the new translation; the major prophets were in a translation made up of the two. No one can doubt that all this was done in accordance with the Divine will, without which nothing can take place; yet no one can say that the human will was not equally concerned in it. Jerome himself had freely taught that no translator is inspired by the Holy Spirit; and since the Latin Bible which we use is mostly in the translation of Jerome, it seems extravagant to attribute to him the special inspiration of the Holy Ghost, when he himself expressly disclaims it. No translation, therefore, ought to be esteemed of equal authority with the original text. For these reasons, therefore, he would advise that the Vulgate should have the preference over all other editions; that it should be revised and corrected by the original text and then declared to be authentic. If this were done, the other old translations would speedily go out of use, and new ones might be prohibited by a severe edict. Thus all the evils which arise from new translations, and which had been so ably set forth in the preceding congregations, would in a short time pass away.

Andrew de Vega, a Franciscan friar, would mediate between the two extremes. He would allow, with Jerome, that the translator has no prophetic inspiration, nor any gift of the Spirit which renders him infallible; and he would allow, with Jerome and Augustine, that the translation should be examined and corrected by the original text; yet he would add, that these admissions and views need not hinder the church from declaring the Vulgate to be authentic. Such a declaration would imply only that the translation contains no material error in respect to faith and practice, but not, that, in all its expressions and in every shade of meaning, it is equal to the original. No translation can reach to such a degree of accuracy, but must sometimes enlarge and sometimes limit the signification of particular words, and must sometimes avail itself of metaphors and other figures of speech not identical with those in the original. The Vulgate had been in use in the church for a thousand years and upwards, and in this time they had become certain that it contains no material error in respect to faith or practice. The ancient councils had recognized this translation as a sufficient one, and it ought now to be valued according to its worth thus indicated; and it ought to be declared authentic in this sense, that every one might rely on its correctness without hazarding his salvation. Learned men ought not to be withheld, by any prohibition, from applying themselves to the study of the Hebrew and Greek text; but the new and faulty translations, which bring confusion into the church, ought to be restrained.

The many difficulties urged, did not hinder the fathers from declaring, by almost general consent, the Vulgate translation to be the authentic Bible of the church. Some were so moved by the arguments of the theologians, that they wished the subject might be passed over for the present; but the majority were against it. Still, the proposal was made, and it was at length resolved, that the Vulgate, now declared to be authentic, should be carefully examined and corrected, and a copy made out according to which ail others should be printed. Six men were selected for this labor, and they were required to engage in it with all diligence that the work might be published before the close of the council. They reserved to themselves the power of adding to this committee, if, in the course of their sessions, men should be found suited to such an undertaking.

Thus the Vulgate was received as the authentic text, and the apocryphal books of the Old Testament, being a part of it, were received with it as canonical, not because there was any argument in favor of the infallibility of the text or any proof 6f the canonical authority of these books, for all the argument and all the proof was directly the other way; but simply because the state of things was such, that to seem to question the entire accuracy of the text or the canon of the Vulgate, would occasion great inconvenience and trouble to the dominant party in the Romish church, and put them at a great disadvantage in their controversy with the Protestants. Grammarians and linguists must not presume to know more than bishops and cardinals; well-settled ecclesiastics must not be put to the trouble of learning Hebrew and Greek; the church of the past must not in any respect be put in the wrong, nor must the common people be allowed to lessen their confidence in the teachers set over them in regular succession from the apostles. Whatever might be required by truth and Christian integrity, these things were by no means to be allowed.

There were strong men in that council, well-read and intelligent men, who saw the thing as it was, and labored to set it right; but their voice was lost in the clamor of the multitude, and truth and right availed little against the pressure of an immediate and urgent self-interest. We are sorry to say, that the Council of Trent is not the only deliberative body which has been swayed in a similar manner; but that there have been abundant examples of the same kind from that day to this, both in ecclesiastical and political assemblies, and among Protestants as well as Catholics.

In regard to the sense of Scripture, the well-known views of Cardinal Cajetan occasioned no little discussion. This prelate had taught, both by precept and example, that a new interpretation of any passage, if it be in accordance with the text and not opposed to other Scriptures, may be received, although the majority of the doctors are against it; for God did not grant the knowledge of Scripture to the ancients alone, otherwise there would be nothing left for posterity or the present generation to do but just to copy the fathers. Some strongly advocated these sentiments of Cajetan, and others opposed them; and, after a warm discussion on both sides, Cardinal Pacheco arose and said, that the Holy Scriptures had already been so well explained by so many pious and learned men, that there was nothing to be added, and that the new interpretations which, from time to time, were brought forward, could give rise only to heresies. He considered it necessary to bridle the insolence of the present age, and hold it in subjection to the fathers and the church; and, if a too bold spirit arise, it must be checked and not allowed to gratify itself and disturb the world by its new revelations. This declaration was vastly pleasing to almost the entire assembly. It is such an easy way of getting rid of difficulty and establishing the truth, that conservative majorities in all generations have been very apt to adopt it.

In the congregation on the twenty-ninth of March, the wording of the decree respecting the Scriptures came up for discussion. To many it seemed rather hard to thunder an anathema against a man, and curse him as a heretic, merely because he could not receive every unimportant passage of the Vulgate as authentic, and had some new view of the interpretation of a text or two of the Holy Scripture. After long discussion, they concluded to make out the catalogue of the sacred books, including the Old Testament Apocrypha, and fortify that with an anathema, as also the authority of church traditions; and then, as to translations and interpretations, they would so frame the decree as to make it a remedy against novelties and impertinent expositions. Thus all the learned men of the -Roman Catholic church in all time were shut up to a reception of the apocryphal books as authentic and canonical, however clearly their investigations might teach them the contrary, and though they knew that these books had been expressly rejected by almost all the saints and fathers of the church, who must therefore be regarded as openly anathematized by the council. The attempt of Jahn, and some other learned Catholics, to escape by classing the books as proto and deutero-canonical, is wholly unsuccessful; for, though this distinction was proposed in the council, it was triumphantly overborne by an almost unanimous vote, and all the books included in the Vulgate were placed on a footing of entire equality.

At the close of the congregation, Cardinal Montanus eulogized in high terms the wisdom and learning of the members, and earnestly exhorted them to an orderly and seemly behavior in the public session, and to avoid there all opposition and disputation, inasmuch as the points of difference had all been sufficiently discussed in the several congregations; and it was proper that the public decision should be characterized by harmony and unanimity. After they were dismissed, Cardinal Cervinus privately called together those who had opposed the reception of the Vulgate, and its apocryphal additions to the original canon, as authentic and canonical, and endeavored to pacify them by urging that it was not prohibited but allowed to correct the Vulgate by the original text, and they were only to allege that there were in it no errors of faith so great that it ought to be rejected.

On the eighth of April the public session was held, and the decrees were read in due form. The catalogue includes the whole of the Old Testament Apocrypha, and the decree declares that the synod receives all the books enumerated, with the same affection and reverence, and then proceeds in the following terms: “But if any one shall not receive these same books entire with all their parts, as they are wont to be read in the Catholic church, and the old Latin Vulgate edition, for sacred and canonical, and shall knowingly and intentionally despise the traditions aforesaid, let him be accursed.”

This surely is sufficiently explicit; and by this decree the council anathematizes the great body of the saints and fathers of the church, as we shall soon see. The next decree is without the anathema, and the first paragraph is in the following terms; “Moreover, the same holy synod decrees and declares, that this same old Vulgate edition, which has stood the test of so many ages’ use in the church, in public readings, disputings, preachings and expoundings, be deemed authentic, and that no one on any pretext dare or presume to reject it.”

Notwithstanding the strenuous opposition to the sentiment of these decrees while under discussion in the congregation, when they were put to vote in the public session, but two voices were heard in opposition or remonstrance. The poor little troublesome bishop of Chiozza alone ventured to say no, but prudently added, perhaps I shall submit (non placet, sed forsan obediam). One other member did not approve that traditions should be received pari pietatis affectu ac reverentia, but for pari he would substitute summa. All the others gave an unqualified affirmative.

When these proceedings of the council were made public, there were many, especially in Germany, who expressed themselves very freely in regard to them. Some said it was strange that five cardinals and forty-eight bishops should take it upon themselves to decide so peremptorily in regard to points of religion of so much weight, and which had hitherto remained undecided, declaring books to be canonical which had thus far been regarded as apocryphal, or at most uncertain, making a translation authentic which in numerous passages departs widely from the original text, and deciding in how limited or extended a sense men should understand the word of God. Moreover, among all these fathers there were none any way distinguished for learning; there were some good canon lawyers, but they had no extensive knowledge of religious matters; the few theologians there were below mediocrity; the assembly was principally made up of mere noblemen and courtiers; the greater part of the bishops had no actual sees, and those who were really bishops had such small dioceses, that all together they could not be considered as representing even the thousandth part of Christendom. From all Germany there was not at this time a single bishop or theologian present in the council.

Others said that the points decided were after all of no such great importance as they appeared to be. As to traditions, the decree was a mere bag of wind; for to what purpose was it to ordain that the church should receive the traditions, and yet not decide which were the true traditions that must be received? Moreover, it was not even commanded that they should be received; it was only forbidden that they should knowingly and consciously be despised; so that one might even reject them without violating the decree, provided he did it respectfully and reverently. The Papal court itself sets the example of such rejection; for it prohibits the ordination of deaconesses; it allows the people no vote in the choice of their pastors, when this was plainly an apostolic institution and observed in the church for more than eight hundred years; it obstinately withholds the cup from the laity, when Christ instituted the sacrament in both kinds, and it was so received by the apostles, and has been so observed by the whole church till within about two hundred years, and even now in all Christian churches except the Latin. If these be not traditions what else deserves the name? And in respect to the Vulgate, what signifies the affirmation of its authenticity, while the different editions vary so much from each other, and no one of these is pointed out as the correct one?

Such were the comments made at the time, and to this day they have lost none of their relevance or significance. The only authority for the reception of the apocryphal books into the Old Testament canon is the authority of the Council of Trent; and the entire worthlessness of that authority the preceding pages abundantly show.1

III. These Books Never Had The Sanction Of Christ Or His Apostles, Or Of Any Of The Writers Of The New Testament

The New Testament very frequently quotes, and much more frequently contains incidental allusions to, the Old. The Pentateuch, the prophetic books, the Psalms, and other parts of the sacred volume of the Hebrews, were continually on the minds of the writers, and flowed out in all their sayings and writings, as if welling up from the depths of their innermost religious consciousness. But in all these quotations and allusions, we look in vain for a reference to any of the apocryphal books. Though there are many places where incidents of the apocryphal writings would afford illustrations exceedingly apt and beautiful, yet no such illustrations are ever found. If the writers of the New Testament were acquainted with any of these books (and it is scarcely possible to doubt that they had seen some of them), most carefully must they have abstained from alluding to them in their canonical writings.

They sanctioned the whole Hebrew canon as it existed in their time; but they sanctioned none of the apocryphal books, for they never quote them, and these books never formed a part of the Hebrew canon. We speak of the ancient apocryphal books which are printed in the Vulgate Bible, and not of the more recent ones, such as the Book of Enoch, the Ascension of Moses, etc. These, it is true, sometimes borrow from the New Testament (compare 2 Tim. 3:8. Jude 9, 14); but the New Testament never from them, since it is itself more ancient than they are, or at least more ancient than the probably interpolated passages on which the stress is laid.

IV. These Books Formed No Part Of The Original Hebrew Canon, And Were Not Written Till After Inspiration Had Ceased And The Canon Was Closed

On this point we have the most explicit, the entirely disinterested testimony of Josephus, the Jewish historian. In his work against Apion (I. 8), he gives an account of all the books held sacred by the Hebrews, and this testimony is also copied by Eusebius, the celebrated Christian historian (Eccl. Hist. III. 10). This passage of Josephus we shall quote in full, as it stands in his writings, noting the variations that occur in Eusebius.

“We have not innumerable books which contradict each other, but only twenty-two, which contain the history of all past times, and are justly believed to be divine. Five of these belong to Moses, and contain his laws, and the history of the origin of mankind, and reach to his death. This is a period of nearly three thousand years. From the death of Moses to Artaxerxes [Eusebius: to the death of Artaxerxes], who, after Xerxes, reigned over the Persians, the prophets who lived after Moses wrote down the events of their times in thirteen books. The other four books contain hymns to God and precepts for men. From Artaxerxes to our own times, our history has indeed been written; but these writings are not esteemed worthy of the same credit as the former, because since that time we have no certain succession of prophets.

“What trust we put in these our writings is manifest by our deeds. Though so long time has elapsed, no one has ever dared to add to, or take from them, or make any change in them whatever. It is as it were inborn with every Jew, from the very first origin of the nation, to consider these books as the. doctrines of God, to stand by them constantly, and, if need be, cheerfully to die for them. It is no new thing to see the captives of our nation, many of them in number and at many different times, endure tortures and deaths of all kinds in the public theatres, rather than utter a word against our laws, or the records which contain them.”

Josephus here clearly recognizes the existence of the apocryphal books, and expressly excludes them from the canon; while he bears open testimony, as of a matter well-known to all the world, to the extreme and scrupulous care with which the Jews preserved all their canonical books free from mutilation and addition and change of every kind.

Comparing these explicit statements of Josephus with the numerous quotations from the Old Testament he has made in his historical writings, it is quite evident that the twenty-two books which he includes in the Hebrew canon, and which he affirms were held most sacred by the Jews who were contemporary with Christ and the apostles, are the following:

The five books of Moses:

(1) Genesis.

(2) Exodus.

(3) Leviticus.

(4) Numbers.

(5) Deuteronomy.

The thirteen prophetic books:

(1) Joshua.

(2) Judges and Ruth.

(3) 2 Books of Samuel.

(4) 2 Books of Kings.

(5) 2 Books of Chronicles.

(6) Ezra and Nehemiah.

(7) Esther.

(8) Isaiah.

(9) Jeremiah.

(10) Ezekiel.

(11) Daniel.

(12) 12 Minor Prophets.

(13) Job.

The four books of hymns and precepts:

(1) Psalms.

(2) Proverbs.

(3) Ecclesiastes.

(4) Canticles.

This is according to the Jewish arrangement and nomenclature of the books, which in many respects differs from that which has been received into our English Bibles from the Greek translation of the Seventy.2

V. These Books Were Rejected With Singular Unanimity By The Early Christian Churches And The Best Of The Church Fathers

(1) Testimony Of Melito, Bishop Of Sardis, A. D. 170, Who Rejects Them All

Melito was, after the apostles, one of the earliest bishops of the apocalyptic church of Sardis, a distinguished writer, and of great influence among the early Christians. He travelled to Palestine for the express purpose of ascertaining exactly the canon of the Old Testament, and gave the result of his investigations in the following letter to his friend Onesimus, which we find in Eusebius (Eccl. Hist. B. IV. 26) :

“Melito to Onesimus his brother, greeting: Since you have often, on account of your zeal for the word of God, begged of me to make selections for you, from the law and the prophets, concerning the Saviour and our whole faith; and as you, moreover, wished to learn accurately of the old books, how many they are in number and in what order they are written, I have earnestly endeavored to perform the same, well knowing your zeal for the faith and your great desire to learn the word of God; and that, through your earnest love toward God, you desire these more than all things else, striving for your eternal salvation.

“I accordingly went to the East, and, coming to the very place where these things were preached and transacted, I have accurately learned the books of the Old Testament. Their names are as follows: five books of Moses, to wit, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Joshua Nave, Judges, Ruth. Four books of Kings [two of Samuel and two of Kings], two of Paralipomenon [Chronicles]. The Psalms of David, the Proverbs of Solomon (which is also Wisdom), Ecclesiastes, the Song of Songs, Job. Of the prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah; and of the twelve prophets, one book; Daniel, Ezekiel, Esdras” [including also Nehemiah, and perhaps Esther].

Here this ancient bishop excludes every apocryphal book from the canon, though he must have known of their existence. From the names which he gives to some of the books, it is plain that he read them in the Septuagint translation; yet, though the apocryphal books had probably been added to this translation before his time, he carefully excludes them all The most ancient church fathers were much more discriminating in their investigation of the sacred books, than the comparatively modern fathers in the Council of Trent. Melito knew whereof he affirmed, for he had examined with the greatest care, at the very source of information, and under the pressure of a very strong and elevated motive.

Melito does not give the name of the book of Esther, and in some other of the church fathers this name is also omitted, But this does not prove that the book of Esther was by them excluded from the canon. Many, supposing that book to have been written by Ezra, included it under the general name of Esdras. In Hebrew the books have no names, but each is designated by its initial words. Melito arranges the books in the order of time, and the four historical books preceding the captivity (two of Samuel and two of Kings) he calls by the general name of Kings, and so it is possible that he might have designated the three historical books subsequent to the captivity by the general name of Esdras, especially as Nehemiah was usually included in that designation, and Esther was by some supposed to be the work of Ezra.3

It is possible, also, that Esther by these fathers might have been entirely excluded, on account of its being so encumbered with apocryphal additions, which they might have found it difficult to separate from the genuine work.

(2) Testimony Of Origen, The Great Biblical Scholar Of The Early Greek Church, A. D. 200, Who Rejects Them All

The testimony of Origen is preserved by Eusebius (Eccl. Hist VI. 25), and is for substance the following: “It should be observed that the collective books, as handed down by the Hebrews, are twenty-two, according to the number of letters in their alphabet. These twenty-two books, according to the Hebrews, are as follows: (1) Genesis; (2) Exodus; (3) Leviticus; (4) Numbers; (5) Deuteronomy; (6) Joshua, the son of Nave; (7) Judges and Ruth in one; (8) first and second of Kings in one (Samuel); (9) third and fourth of Kings in one; (10) first and second of Chronicles (Paralipomenon) in one; (11) Esdras, first and second (i.e. Nehemiah) in one; (12) Book of Psalms; (13) Proverbs of Solomon; (14) Ecclesiastes; (15) Song of Songs; (16) Isaiah; (17) Jeremiah, with Lamentations and the epistle, in one; (18) Daniel; (19) Ezekiel; (20) Job; (21) Esther.”

It is remarkable that, though Origen twice says the Hebrew books are twenty-two, the list which he gives contains but twenty-one. On examination, we find the book of the twelve minor prophets omitted. This added, would make the requisite number of twenty-two. That there is here, not a mistake of Origen, but an error in the text of Eusebius, is manifest from the fact that the Latin translation of Origen by Rufinus has this book, as does also Hilary’s prologue to the Psalms, which includes this passage of Origen.4 Origen’s other writings, also, show his acquaintance with these prophets.

It is, perhaps, not easy to determine what Origen intends by the epistle of Jeremiah. Possibly it may be the letter contained in the apocryphal book of Baruch, chapter vi. That Origen understood the difference between the canonical and apocryphal books is manifest from what he says in immediate connection with his catalogue: “Separate from these (ἔξω δὲ τούτων. are the Maccabees,” etc.

(3) Testimony Of The Apostolic Canons, About A. D. 250, Which Probably Reject Them All

The text here is somewhat uncertain, and has evidently been tampered with. The copies vary from each other. One manuscript includes Judith, and some admit Maccabees; but the oldest and best copies exclude all the apocryphal books. The following is the catalogue according to the best testimony:

“Let these be the sacred and holy books for all, both clergy and laity, namely, of the Old Testament, of Moses five, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; of Joshua, the son of Nave, one; of Ruth one; of Kings four; of Paralipomenon [Chronicles], the book of days, two; of Esdras two [including Nehemiah]; of Esther one; of Job one; of the Psalter one; of Solomon three, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs; of the twelve prophets one; of Isaiah one; of Jeremiah one; of Ezekiel one; one of Daniel.” There is then permission given to read the son of Sirach. The book of Judges is omitted, unless it be included under the name of Ruth. The text, however, is so imperfect, that we cannot very confidently rely upon it. Nevertheless, it shows, decidedly, that in the middle of the third century the apocryphal books had not yet found their way as canonical into the Christian church.5

(4) Testimony Of Athanasius, The Great Champion Of Orthodoxy, A. D. 330, Who Rejects Them All Except Baruch

The testimony of this father may be found in his works, Tom. II. p. 39, Paris edition, 1629. It is as follows: “The books of the Old Testament are twenty-two, which is the number of the letters among the Hebrews. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, of Bangs four, two books; of Paralipomenon (Chronicles) two, one book; Esdras two, one book; Psalms, Proverbs; twelve prophets, one book; then Isaiah, Jeremiah with Baruch, Lamentations, and epistles; Ezekiel and Daniel. Then there are books uncanonical, but readable, the Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach, Esther, Judith, Tobit.”

It is very curious that Athanasius should put Esther among the uncanonical books, and Baruch in the canonical; yet so it reads. Esther was encumbered with many apocryphal additions, and the epistle ascribed to Jeremiah in the book of Baruch was by some received as genuine. This may account for the mistake of Athanasius on this point; and the entire testimony of Athanasius clearly shows, that the apocryphal books, as a whole, were decidedly rejected by the church in his time.

There is another passage from Athanasius, very valuable on account of the clear distinction which it makes between the canonical and the apocryphal books. It is in the Epist. Festal, quoted by Carey (Testimonies of the Fathers, p. 117): “Since some persons have attempted to set in order the books that are called apocryphal, and to mix them with the divinely inspired Scriptures, of which we have been fully certified, as those who saw them from the beginning, and who, being ministers of the word, handed them down from our fathers, it seemed fitting to me, being exhorted thereto by the orthodox brethren, and having learned the truth, to set out in order the canonical Scriptures, which have been handed down, and are believed to be from God; that every one who has been deceived, may convict those who have led him astray.” Here follows the list. He adds: “It is true that, besides these, there are other books which are not put into the canon, but yet are appointed by the fathers to be read by those who first come to be instructed in the way of piety.” He then gives the names of most of the common apocryphal books.

(5) Testimony Of Hilary, The Celebrated Bishop Of Poictiers, A. D. 350, Who Rejects Them All

Prologue to the Psalms, Sec. 15:“And this is the cause that the law of the Old Testament is arranged in twenty-two books, that they may correspond with the number of the Hebrew letters. According to the traditions of the ancients, they are so arranged that there are five books of Moses; Joshua Nave, six; Judges and Ruth, seven; first and second of Kings, eight; third and fourth of Kings, nine; of Paralipomenon two, ten; book of days of Esdras, eleven; Solomon’s Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, thirteen, fourteen and fifteen; twelve prophets, sixteen; then Isaiah, Jeremiah with Lamentations and Epistle, these and Daniel and Ezekiel and Job and Esther, make up the number of twenty-two books. Some are pleased to add Tobit and Judith, to make the number twenty-four, according to the letters of the Greek alphabet.”

This hint of Hilary’s, which has already been referred to in another part of this discussion, is not an unfair specimen of a very considerable portion of the logic which we find among the good old fathers of the first four centuries. The Greeks had two more letters in their alphabet than the Hebrews had in theirs, and therefore it was well that they should have two more books in their Old Testament canon, to make all correspond; and it is suggested that for this purpose two can be taken out of the Apocrypha! No wonder that where such reasoning prevailed, spurious books sometimes crept in.

(6) Testimony Of Epiphanius, The Great Opposer Of Heresy, A. D. 360, Who Rejects Them All

“The Hebrews have two and twenty letters, and five of these have two forms; and also their sacred books are so disposed that they number twenty-two, and yet twenty-seven are found, because five of them are divided into two parts. Thus Ruth is joined to-Judges, and both are reckoned as one book by the Hebrews; and the first of Paralipomenon is joined to the second, and both called one book; the first of Kings is joined to the second, and called one book; the third to the fourth, and so on. Thus the books are contained in four Pentateuchs, and two others remain besides; so that the canonical books are thus: five legislative, (1) Genesis, (2) Exodus, (3) Leviticus, (4) Numbers, (5) Deuteronomy; and this is the Pentateuch and the legislation. Then five are poetical, (6) the book of Job, (7) the Psalter, (8) Proverbs of Solomon, (9) Ecclesiastes, (10) Song of Songs. Then another Pentateuch which is called the writings, and by some the holy writings, which are as follows: (11) book of Joshua, son of Nave, (12) Judges with Ruth, (13) first of Paralipomenon with the second, (14) first of Kings with the Second, (15) third of Kings with the fourth, (16) the twelve Prophets, (17) Isaiah, (18) Jeremiah, (19) Ezekiel, (20) Daniel; and this is the prophetic Pentateuch. Two others remain, which are, one of Esdras and this is also reckoned, and another book, which is called that of Esther. Thus the twenty-two books are completed, according to the number of the Hebrew letters.” He then mentions two of the apocryphal books, to wit, the Wisdom of Solomon, and the book of Jesus Sirach, and says: “these indeed are useful books and profitable, but they are not placed in the number of the canonical.” De Ponder, et Mens. II. 16.6

(7) Testimony Of The Council Of Laodicea, A. D. 367, Confirmed By The Fourth General Council Of Chalcedon, A. JD. 451, Which Rejects Them All

The books of the Old Testament which must be read are: Genesis of the world, Exodus from Egypt, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua son of Nave, Judges, Ruth, Esther, of Kings first and second, third and fourth, Paralipomenon first and second, Esdras first and second, book of 150 Psalms, Proverbs of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Job, twelve Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah [and Baruch],7 Lamentations and Epistles, Ezekiel, Daniel.” Labbe and Cossart, Concil. I. 1509.

(8) Testimony Of Gregory Nazianzen, The Fellow-Student And Distinguished Opponent Of The Emperor Julian, A. D. 390, Who Rejects Them All

Gregory gives a catalogue of the sacred books in one of those poetic effusions of his, which were quite famous in their day. “We will content ourselves with simply giving the facts, without attempting to translate the poetry.

“All the historical books are twelve. The first is Genesis, then Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and the Second Law (Deuteronomy). Then Joshua, and Judges, and Ruth the eighth. The ninth and tenth books are the deeds of the Kings, then Paralipomenon, and you have Esdras the last. Five are the poetic books, of which the first is Job, then David, then three of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, Song, and Proverbs. Five also are those of the prophetic spirit. Twelve [prophets] indeed are in one writing, Hosea, Amos, and Micah the third, then Jonah, Joel and Obadiah, Nahum, Habakuk and Zephaniah, Haggai, then Zachariah and Malachi. These make one book. The second is Isaiah, then Jeremiah, who was called from the womb, then Ezekiel, and the grace of Daniel. He gave two and twenty ancient books, corresponding to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet.”

He then speaks of other books (τούτων ἐκτός)”separate from these,” and (οὐκ ἐν γνησίοις) “not among the genuine;” thus showing that he was acquainted with the apocryphal books, and intelligently rejected them.

(9) Testimony Of Amphilochius, The Celebrated Bishop Of Iconium, A. D. 190, Who Rejects Them All

Amphilochius is the one who invented the argument, once so famous, which convinced the Emperor Theodosius of the deity of Christ Going to the emperor to induce him to take some measures against the Arians, he purposely omitted showing any respect to his son Arcadius. The emperor manifested indignation, and the bishop boldly said: “Sire, are you offended that an indignity is offered to your son? Then be assured God must abhor those who treat his Son with disrespect.” The emperor, of course, after this, was very severe on the Arians.

The catalogue of Amphilochius is also in poetry, but it is not necessary for our purpose that we translate into verse.

“I will speak of the first books of the Old Testament. The Pentateuch, the Creation [Genesis], then Exodus; Leviticus is the middle book, after that, Numbers, then Deuteronomy. Add to these Joshua and Judges; then Ruth, four books of Kings, and two books of Paralipomenon; and upon these the first of Esdras, then the second. I will mention to you in order the five poetic books: Job, pressed with conflicts of various sufferings; the book of Psalms, the melodious cure for souls; three books of Solomon the wise, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs; and to these add the twelve prophets, Hosea first, then Amos the second, Micah, Joel, Obadiah, also Jonah, the type of his three days’ passion, after these Nahum, Habakuk, then the ninth Zephaniah, Haggai and Zachariah, and the far-famed messenger Malachi. After which learn four prophets, Isaiah the great free-speaker, Jeremiah the sympathetic and mystic, Ezekiel, and Daniel the last, the same most wise in words and deeds. To these some also add Esther.” lamb, ad Sel.

This father, like some others, suggests a doubt as to Esther; but in all other respects his canon is precisely like ours, and excludes every one of the apocryphal books.

(10) Testimony Of Jerome, The Great Biblical Scholar Of The Latin Church, The Author Of The Very Vulgate Itself, A. D. 400, Who Clearly And Decidedly Rejects Them All

No one of the fathers had ever studied so thoroughly the literature of the Bible or understood it so well as Jerome. If Origen were his equal or even his superior, in general learning and iron industry, Jerome had most decidedly the advantage in sound judgment and common-sense principles of interpretation. Jerome divides and arranges the books of the Old Testament in the following manner: (1—5) five books of Moses; (G) Joshua; (7) Judges and Ruth; (8) two books of Samuel; (9) two books of Kings; (10) Isaiah; (11) Jeremiah’s Prophecy and Elegy; (12) Ezekiel; (13) twelve minor Prophets; (14) Job; (15) Psalms; (16) Proverbs; (17.) Ecclesiastes; (18) Song of Solomon; (19) Daniel; (20) two books of Chronicles; (21) two books of Ezra, i.e. Ezra and Nehemiah; (22) Esther.

In his Prologus galeatus to the Vulgate, he makes the following statements, which are directly in the teeth of the decisions of the Council of Trent in respect to that very Vulgate. “There are twenty-two letters in the Hebrew alphabet … and five of these letters have two forms, to wit, Caph, Mem, Nun, Pe, Tsade. Hence with most, five of the books are divided into two, to wit, Samuel, Melachim, Dibre Hajammim, Esdras, and Jeremiah with Cinoth, that is, Lamentations.

“As there are, therefore, twenty-two elements, by which we write in Hebrew all that we speak … so there are reckoned twenty-two volumes… . The first book among them is called Beresith, which we name Genesis, the second Veele Semoth, the third Vajicra, that is, Leviticus, the fourth Vajedabber, which we call Numbers, the fifth Elle Haddebarium, which is styled Deuteronomy. These are the five books of Moses, which they appropriately style Thora, that is, the Law.

“They make a second rank of the Prophets, and they begin with Jesus the son of Nave, whom they call Josue ben Nun. Then they add Sophetim, that is, the book of Judges, in which they include Ruth, because her story belongs to the time of the judges. Third follows Samuel, which we call the first and second of Kings; the fourth Melachim, that is, Kings, which is contained in the third and fourth volume of Kings… . The fifth is Esaias, the sixth Jeremias, the seventh Ezekiel. The eighth is the book of the twelve Prophets, which among them is called Thereasar.

“The third rank contains the Hagiographa. The first book by Job begins; the second is by David, the volume of Psalms in five divisions. The third is Solomon, having three books, Proverbs, which they call Misle, that, is, Parables, the fourth Ecclesiastes, that is, Coheleth, the fifth Song of Songs, which they entitle Sir Hassirim. The sixth is Daniel, the seventh Libre Hajammim, that is, the Words of Days … which among us is entitled the first and second of Paralipomenon (Chronicles). The eighth is Esdras, which the Greeks and Latins divide into two books [Ezra and Nehemiah], the ninth is Esther.

Thus there are twenty-two books of the Old Law, five of Moses, eight of the Prophets, and nine of the Hagiographa. Some put Ruth and Cinoth in the Hagiographa … , and then the books of the Old Law are made twenty-four.

“This prologue of the Scriptures can serve as a fortified approach to all the books which we translate from the Hebrew into Latin; so that we may know that whatever is beyond these must be put in the Apocrypha. Therefore the book of Wisdom, which is commonly entitled the Wisdom of Solomon; the book of Jesus the son of Sirach, Judith, Tobias, and Pastor, are not in the canon. I have found the first of Maccabees in Hebrew; the second is Greek, as can be proved from its very phraseology.”

Preface to Jeremiah. “We omit the book of Baruch … which does not exist and is not read among the Hebrews.’,

Preface to Daniel. This book, “among the Hebrews has neither the story of Susannah, nor the hymn of the three youths, nor the fables of Bel and the Dragon.”

Jerome also makes a similar remark in regard to the apocryphal additions to the book of Esther. In the very text of the Vulgate itself he notes with the most scrupulous care every apocryphal addition to the sacred text; and, had the Latin church but heeded the teachings of her great master on this subject, her Bible would never have been contaminated by its spurious excrescences; nor would the fathers of the Council of Trent have made a decision alike discreditable to their reputation as scholars and their sincerity and integrity as Christian men.

We will adduce but one other witness.

(11) Testimony Of Ruffinus, The Leaned Translator Of Origen, A. D. 400, Who Rejects Them All

Ruffinus was a theological opponent of Jerome, and had many a sharp controversy with him in regard to Origen; but when he gives a catalogue of the sacred books, he agrees with Jerome exactly, and then proceeds to remark: “These are they which the Fathers concluded within the canon; of which they would have the assertions of our faith to consist. But we must know that there are other books, which are not called canonical, but ecclesiastical, by the ancients; such as the Wisdom, which is called of Solomon, and another Wisdom, which is called of the Son of Sirach; which book among the Latins is called by this general term ‘Ecclesiasticus,’ by which word, not the author of the book, but the quality of the writing is designated. Of the same order is the little book of Tobit, also Judith and the books of Maccabees.”8

From the preceding exhibition it is as plain as daylight can make anything plain, that the Romish church, in receiving the apocryphal books as a part of Scripture, has not only set at nought all historical truths, but acted in direct violation of its own fundamental principle. The unanimous consent of the fathers is what she requires for the establishment of a doctrine; but on this subject, instead of a unanimous consent, for the first four centuries she is met with an all but unanimous dissent. Her maxim is to receive only quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus, is received; but here she obviously receives quod nunquam, quod nullibi, quod ab nullo, is received; and she anathematizes the Protestants and spurns their Bible as mutilated because they exclude from it those spurious writings which .were excluded with most remarkable unanimity by the churches and fathers of the first four centuries, including their own most boasted saints and their own most celebrated churches, the saints of Rome and the very church of Rome itself among the rest. The only shadow of a discrepancy from the strict Protestant view of the Old Testament canon, which we find in any of them, is, that, in one or two instances, the book of Baruch seems to be included and the book of Esther excluded. Yet even these instances, as we have already seen, are far from being certain; as to the great mass of the apocryphal books, the testimony against them for the first four centuries is unequivocal, unimpeachable, and perfectly decisive. The decree of the Council of Trent on this subject was neither more nor less than a most wretched blunder, arising partly from ignorance and partly from partisan heat and blindness. A church which claims infallibility, can never correct her own blunders, but must hold on upon them till they eat the very heart out of her, as a man may be destroyed, mind and body, by the morbid growth of an ineradicable wen.

The fourth point proposed, to wit, the examination of the apocryphal books themselves, will afford ample material for a separate discussion.


1) The statements in the above exhibition of the debates and decisions in the Council of Trent, rest on the following authorities: Sarpi’s Geschichte des Koncil von Trident, uebersetzt von Winterer. Band I. S. 290–298. The same translated by Brent, pp. 150-162. Mendham’s History of the Council of Trent, pp. 48-68. Marheineke’s Christliche Symbolik, II. S. 224–261. Perceval’s Roman Schism, pp. 158-164.

2) Compare Eichhorn’s Einleit. in Alt. Test. B. I. S. 143–163.

3) Carey’s Testimonies of the Fathers, p. 114. Eichhorn’s Einkleit. Alt Test. I. 166.

4) Eichhora’s Einleit. in Alt. Test. I. 169, 170. Perceval’s Roman Schism, p. 421.

5) Labbe and Cossart, Concil. I. 44. Perceval’s Eoman Schism, 421, 422.

6) Perceval’s Roman Schism, pp. 423,424. Carey’s Testimonies, pp. 116-118

7) The book of Baruch is omitted in the best copies; see above, p. 282, debates in the Council of Trent.

8) Perceval’s Roman Schism, p. 426. Carey’s Testimonies of the Fathers, p. 119.