Books not admitted into the canon of scripture, being either spurious, or at least not acknowledged as divine. The word is Greek, and derived from “from,” and ” to hide or conceal.” They seem most of them to have been composed by Jews. None of the writers of the New Testament mention them; neither Philo nor Josephus speak of them. The Christian church was for some ages a stranger to them. Origen, Athanasius, Hilary, Cyril of Jerusalem, and all the orthodox writers who have given catalogues of the canonical books of scripture, unanimously concur in rejecting these out of the canon. The Protestants acknowledge such books of scripture only to be canonical as were esteemed to be so in the first ages of the church; such as are cited by the earliest writers among the Christians as of divine authority, and after the most diligent enquiry were received and judged to be so by the council of Laodicea. They were written after the days of Malachi, in whom, according to the universal testimony of the Jews, the spirit of prophecy ceased, Mal. iv, 4-6. Not one of the writers in direct terms advances a claim to inspiration. They contain fables, lies, and contradictions. 1 Macc. vi. 4.16. 2 Macc. i 13, 16. 2 Macc. ix. 28. The apocryphal books are in general believed to be canonical by the church of Rome; and, even by the sixth article of the church of England, they are ordered to be read for example of life and instruction of manners, though it doth not apply them to establish any doctrine. Other reformed churches do not so much as make even this use of them.


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