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for full information on the Maccabees and their successors. A brief but instructive note on the external history of Israel between the close of the Old Testament canon and the birth of Christ will be found in the Cambridge Companion to the Bible, and a short article by Gwatkin (“ Jewish History from the Maccabees to the Destruction of Jerusalem") in Peake's Commentary on the Bible (1920). For an exhaustive discussion of the Apocrypha, on its moral side, see Maldwyn Hughes, Ethics of Jewish Apocryphal Literature.
5. A brief word may usefully be added here on the vexed question of a Maccabæan element in the canonical Psalter. It is not to be denied that some, at least, of the Psalms may have been written in Maccabæan times, reluctant as the “ orthodox's have been to admit it. Calvin himself ascribes to this period Psalms xliv. and lxxvii. (and perhaps lxxix.). The tendency of some recent writerse.g., Cheyne and Kennett-has been so to exalt the greatness of that period as to attribute to Maccabæan writers quite a large proportion of the Psalter. “If,” says Cheyne (Origin of the Psalter),
apocalypse, the child of prophecy, began so nobly in the [Maccabæan] book of Daniel, how can the same spirit of world-subduing faith have failed to find a worthy expression in spiritual song ?” How, indeed! Certainly, in typical Maccabæan psalms, we should expect to discover some clear references to the circumstances of the age in which we may suppose them to have originated; and such in fact we do find. It is well within the bounds of possibility that the early psalter may have been supplemented in Maccabæan days, for it is hardly likely that the canon was definitely closed at the date of the Great Revolt in 167 B.C. Precisely how many and which of the psalms are genuinely Maccabæan may well be open to dispute; but the history of the canon does not, surely, preclude the view that some new hymns were worked into the national collection even as late as 140 B.C. The early and the late (as in our own Hymns Ancient and Modern) may well lie side by sidepre-exilic, exilic, sub-exilic, Maccabæan. As God never left Himself “ without witness," His people never without “a song" (see Professor Robertson's Croall Lectures, Poetry and Religion of the Psalms, 1898; W. T. Davison, art. “Psalms in Hastings's D.B. iv. 149 sqq.; Encycl. Bibl. iii. 3921-3967; Driver, Introd. L.O.T., pp. 364 sqq.).
READINGS FROM THE
§ 1. God's Warning to His People. Thus saith the Almighty Lord, Have I not prayed you as a father his sons, as a mother her. daughters, and a nurse her young babes, that ye would be my people as I am your God; that ye would be to me for sons and I to you for a father ? I gathered you together as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings: but now, what shall I do unto you? I will cast you out from my presence. When ye offer gifts unto me, I will turn my face from you; for your solemn feast days, your new moons, and your circumcisions, have I despised. I sent unto you my servants the prophets, whom ye have taken and slain, whose blood I will require of you, saith the Lord.
Thus saith the Almighty Lord, Your house is desolate, I will cast you out as the wind doth stubble. And your children shall not be fruitful, for they have despised my commandment and done the thing that is evil before me. Your houses will I give to a people that shall come, which, not having heard of me, yet believe; they to whom I have shown no signs shall do that I have commanded. They have seen no prophets, yet shall they call their former things to remembrance. I take to witness the grace of the people to come, whose little ones rejoice with gladness; and though they see me not with their eyes, yet in spirit they believe the thing that I have spoken.
2 ESDRAS i. 28-37
$ 2. Esdras comforts his people. Be not troubled, for when the day of tribulation and heaviness cometh, others shall weep and be sorrowful, but thou shalt be merry and have abundance. The heathen shall envy thee, but they shall be able to do nothing against thee, saith the Lord. My hands shall cover thee, so that thy children shall not see hell.
Be joyful, O thou mother, with thy children; for I will deliver thee, saith the Lord. Remember thy children that sleep, for I shall bring them forth out of the hiding places of the earth, and show mercy unto them; for I am merciful, saith the Lord Almighty.
Embrace thy children till I come and preach mercy unto them; for my wells run over, and my grace shall not fail.
2 ESDRAS ii. 27-32.
§ 3. God has not made Paradise in vain, for
He is Just. This is my first and last saying, that it had been better that the earth should not have borne Adam, or else have kept him from sinning. For what profit is for men now in this present time to live in heaviness, and after death to look for punishment ? O thou Adam, what hast thou done ? For though it was thou that sinned, thou art not fallen alone, but all we that come of thee. For what profit is it unto us, if there be promised us an immortal time, whereas we have done the things that bring forth death ? and that there is promised us an everlasting hope, whereas ourselves most miserably are made vain ? and that there are laid up for us dwellings of health and safety, whereas we have lived wickedly ? and that there should be showed a paradise whose fruit abideth without decay, wherein is fulness and healing, seeing we shall not enter into it ? For while we lived and committed iniquity, we thought not on what we must suffer after death.
Then answered the angel and said, This is the purpose of the battle, which man that is born upon the earth shall fight; that, if he be overcome, he shall suffer as thou hast said; but if he get the victory, he shall receive the thing that I say. For this is the way whereof Moses spake unto the people while he lived, saying, Choose thee life that thou mayest live.
2 ESDRAS vii. 46-59.
§ 4. The Prayer of Esdras. O Lord, thou that dwellest in everlastingness, whose eyes are lifted up, whose pavilion is in the air, whose throne is inestimable, whose glory may not be comprehended, before whom the angel hosts stand with trembling; whose word is true, and