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Opposite causes effected the preservation of these books in the Alexandrian Canon. The Jews of Egypt depended in matters of religion on the Jews of Palestine. Abundant data prove that they received their collection of Holy Books from Palestine. This was not accomplished all at once. It began with the translation of the Law, made under Ptolemy Philadelphus in the third century B.C., and continued down to the first century B.C. The influence of Greek thought and customs on the Hellenistic Jews modified the narrow national spirit of that nation. Later, in the time of the Maccabees, the pagan Greek customs were readily adopted by the Jewish youth. This liberal trend of religious thought effected that the deuterocanonical books were received and intermingled promiscuously with the other books. It is quite probable that there was always a certain degree of uncertainty and indecision in the synagogues of Alexandria. The minute, sharply drawn, Pharisaic distinctions did not obtain there. They had left home and home traditions, and, blending with a highly cultivated nation, even those who clung to the substance of the Mosaic covenant lost much of their conservative spirit. As they read the Scriptures in Greek, the deuterocanonical books were not distinguishable by difference of tongue from the books of the first Canon. On the contrary, in Palestine the Scriptures were inseparably cast in the mould of the Hebrew mother tongue. The strong love of the Hebrews for their mother tongue would naturally incline the Jews of Palestine to look with less favor on a sacred book not written in the Hebrew language. Now some of the deuterocanonical books, such as Wisdom and 2 Maccabees, were of Greek origin. It is quite probable that some of the others were already translated into Greek before their aggregation to the sacred collection, hence is explained their secondary place among the sacred books, and also why they are not found in the Hebrew Canon of to-day. It seems also quite certain that the Hellenistic Jews made no distinction between the protocanonical and the deuterocanonical books. Had such distinction been made, the books of secondary importance would have been relegated to the end of the collection. Now the direct opposite is found to have prevailed. Protocanonical and deuterocanonical works are indiscriminately intermingled in the Alexandrian Canon. This indiscriminate adoption of the deuterocanonical books was not the canonizing of these by the Alexandrians. It was a mere fact, which its authors had never taken thought to explain. Had they formally rendered equal these various books by an explicit declaration, it would have led to controversy between the Hellenists and the Jews of Palestine. No trace of any such controversy is found in the records and traditions of antiquity. The Jews of Palestine were not hostile to the deuterocanonical works, but, from the causes already enumerated, refused to accord them equal rank with the others. The Jews of Alexandria, without deciding the issue, received and revered them all, and intermingled them in the sacred collection.

There is plainly evident in this fact the workings of the Providence of God. The Almighty had decreed to effect the transition from the old to the new covenant through the medium of Greek language and culture. Israel was to receive the Christ in fulfillment of Yahvehs promises, but the great Gentile world was to be the chosen people of the New Covenant. Under the Providence of God, Alexander the Great brought the known world under Greek influence, and gave it the Greek language as the medium of thought. The Romans reduced this vast extent of territory to peace without changing the language. Thus two conditions favorable for the evangelization of the world were accomplished, peace and a uniform adequate vehicle of thought. It is easy to see how these two factors aided in the spread of the Gospel. Now, it was also expedient that the existing Scriptures should be in the universal tongue of the civilized world. We can see how the teachers of the New Covenant availed themselves of this element, since, with a few exceptions, they always make use of the Greek text of Scripture when quoting the Old Testament. Hence, the Providence of God brought it about that in the Greek there should exist a complete body of Scriptures. God was less solicitous about the Palestinian collection, because that was not to be the medium of grafting the new scion on the old stock. Thus the Alexandrians were instruments in the hands of God in collecting a complete body of Scriptures, which that same Providence has ever protected as the great basic element in the deposit of faith. The first virtual canonization of the deuterocanonical books was the approbation of the Alexandrian collection of books by the teachers of the New Law.

We have hitherto assumed that the deuterocanonical books were indiscriminately intermingled with the other books in the Alexandrian collection. That we may not be thought to assume unproven things, we shall adduce a few proofs of this well warranted fact. In the first place, we may remark that the only ones who would be likely to deny this would be the protestants. Now Davidson, a protestant, in his Canon of the Bible admits this as an obvious fact. The very way, he says, in which apocryphal (deuterocanonical) are inserted among canonical books in the Alexandrian Canon shows the equal rank assigned to both. We may consider a first proof, the presence of these books in the Christian Canon of the first ages. Now certainly they received their collection of the Old Testament from the Greek Canon. Though the codices whence they took their Canon have perished, yet the exemplars now existing were faithfully reproduced from them. The translation known as the Vetus Itala, which dates back to the 2nd century of the Christian era, had all the deuterocanonical works, and this was certainly made from the Alexandrian collection. The great codices of the Vatican and Mt. Sinai, going back probably to the fourth century, contain these works. The early Fathers were as conversant with the deuterocanonical works as with the rest of Holy Scripture. The subjects of the art of the Catacombs are largely taken from the deuterocanonical works. Such early and universal approbation could not be effected, had not these books been delivered to the Christian Church by the Old Covenant through the medium of the Greek.

It should not appear strange that all our attention is now centering upon the deuterocanonical books. This is the great issue between the protestants and us. The protocanonical works need no defense, except against the rationalists. Our defense against them will appear later in our work. Those who reject the protocanonical works attack the whole basis of religious belief. But those who reject the deuterocanonical works profess still to accept Gods word to man. With them, is the first issue. We shall first endeavor to prove that the writers of the New Law, by accepting and employing the Alexandrian text of Holy Scripture, in which were the deuterocanonical books, virtually canonized that collection of Scriptures.








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