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continuously for forty days. The result is ninety-four books, of which twenty-four are the restored canonical books that had been destroyed, and seventy are of an esoteric nature to be preserved by the wise. Ezra's translation follows.

Whatever view be taken of the original elements of the book, there is certainly a different tone and outlook in the earlier and later parts. The earlier visions are far more deeply concerned with the ultimate problems of human life. The writer is rebellious and perplexed. Why, he asks, is Israel delivered over to the heathen? If for punishment, the heathen surely are equally sinful. And if men by their "evil heart” are doomed to sin from the beginning, the Law is only the salvation of a few. The answers to his despondent questioning are that God is inscrutable, and man's intelligence limited, that earth's ways have been fore-ordained, and that in spite of all the love of God for Israel is deeper than the measure of man's mind.” He concludes generally in utter pessimism as to the future of this present order; all hope lies over the border in the incorruptible world. Yet even so the problem of the loss of the sinful remains. Would it not have been better for them not to have existed ? Still he clings to the divine love, and the hope that “not one life shall be destroyed, or cast as rubbish to the void.” In short, he realizes the failure of the Law, and stands side by side with St. Paul in his conviction that all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God, and therefore that all need mercy.

From this stress on the individual we pass in the later visions to the more usual ideas of national restoration. In the Eagle Vision we see theocracy take the place of the Roman tyranny. In the Son of Man Vision the Messiah rules by the Law, and his people attain perfection by obedience to it. In the Ezra Legend the world is very near its end, and the Messiah will soon appear, and establish a temporary Messianic Kingdom, which will terminate in his death, and the return of all things to silence. Then will follow the Judgement. All this is more or less parallel with the ideas of the other apocalyptic writers. It seems to belong to a different world of thought from that of the writer of the earlier visions with his obstinate questionings, his sense of the inestimable worth of the individual, and his grasp of the Infinite Pity. If authors were always perfectly consistent, it would be impossible to regard the earlier and later visions as the production of one mind. But it is perhaps allowable to regard him as inconsistent and illogical-presenting now the questions that surged in a deeply sensitive and religious soul, and now the stereotyped visions of future political events, which were the common property of the apocalyptic school. We moderns go to the first part of his book and hear a brother-mind debating the same problems that always arise in the human heart, and leave him refreshed and uplifted, despondent though he be of this world's future, while we find in the second a picture of what the more commonplace Jewish mind was thinking as to the future of his race, as he saw the beloved City ruined.

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We are indebted to this book for the picturesque story of Ezra rewriting the canonical books, and for the words of the "Requiem” of Western Christendom

“Requiem aeternitatis dabit vobis,
Lux perpetua lucebit vobis.'

(II. 34, 35.)

S.P.C.K.

Note. -Temple Apocrypha edition, by Duff. edition, by Box (1917).

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THE PSALMS OF SOLOMON

THE Psalms of Solomon, which only exist now in Greek Manuscripts and one in Syriac, were Hebrew writings, dated by most scholars in the middle of the first century B.C.

We find them recognized by the Christian Church up to the sixth century, and returning into notice after long years of oblivion in the seventeenth century.

They are eighteen in number, and, like the canonical Psalms, express the fundamental piety and the deepset ideals of the Jewish race in hours of stress and crisis. Though not necessarily the work of one author, they are pervaded by a unity of tone and sentiment, which stamps them as the production of one school of thought.

They are distinctly partisan in spirit, and they throw considerable light on the acute antagonism of the Pharisees and Sadducees in the half-century preceding our Lord's birth.

The writers belong to the Chasidim, or “godly” Jews, distinctively poor and uninfluential in politics, averse from rebellion against oppression, content to wait for the slow harvest of God's purpose in the coming Messianic Kingdom, rigorous in their fulfilment of the commands of the Law, passionately pure in sexual matters, firm believers in a future life, and holding the balance even between fate and freewill in the manner of the later Pharisees described by Josephus.

The Psalms denounce those opposed to all such ideals, whom we shall be right in identifying with the Sadducees. From the point of view of the writers the latter are characteristically " sinful,” loose in morals, , and careless of the honour of the Sanctuary, with

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which they had a very close connection. They possessed wealth and political influence, which was based upon their support of the later Hasmonæan king-priests. By their sins they had drawn down upon their country the storm of Roman invasion, merging good and bad alike in common ruin, and the prophetic insight of the Psalmist foresees for them no portion in the world to come but utter destruction.

Thus in these Psalms we have a very striking picture of the intense bitterness of feeling between the two chief religious parties of that day, a bitterness which saw no trace of good in its opponents, and exaggerated their feelings with relentless severity.

The references to the “ alien conqueror " seem to fix the date of these writings unmistakably, as well as to show the attitude of Jewish Quietists to the Romans. Though these have been referred to Antiochus Epiphanes, there can be little question that they point far more directly to Pompey the Great, and his capture of Jerusalem in 48 B.C. They tell of one who came from the West, and was allowed by those in power to approach Jerusalem without opposition, who, when at last he found himself opposed, stormed Mount Zion with battering-rams, defiled the altar, carried captives away with him, and eventually perished amid the sands of Egypt, where he lay on the shore without burial. Now all this is remarkably close to what actually happened in the case of Pompey, and we are justified in regarding the Psalms as the product of a time when these tragedies were not long past.

Continuing the prophetic attitude to foreign invaders like Cyrus, Pompey is seen by the writer as an Avenger sent by God Himself

"He captured the fortresses and the wall of

Jerusalem; For God Himself led him in safety, while they wandered."

(VIII. 21.)

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It was a necessary doom, a flood that swept away defilement, and left” the servants of God like innocent lambs in the midst," to adore the righteousness and faithfulness of God. It was the proper harvest of the days when “the king was a transgressor, and the judge disobedient, and the people sinful.” And now it is past, the Advent of the true King, the Son of David, may be looked for. Nowhere in these writings is the picture of the Messiah more beautifully drawn than in Psalm xvii. He is the Righteous Deliverer freeing Israel by“ the word of his mouth,” and driving unrighteousness away. He is the Universalist Messiah “who shall have the heathen nations to serve under his yoke.” He is the model king "who himself shall be pure from sin, that he may rule a great people.”

As a short example of the general spirit of these Psalms, I will select the sixth

VI. IN HOPE: OF SOLOMON Happy is the man, whose heart is fixed to call upon

the name of the Lord; When he remembereth the name of the Lord he will

be saved. His ways are made even by the Lord, And the works of his hands are preserved by the Lord

his God. At what he seeth in his bad dreams his soul shall not

be troubled; When he passeth through rivers, and the tossing of

seas, he shall not be dismayed; He ariseth from sleep and blesseth the name of the

Lord; When his heart is at peace he singeth to the name of

His God : And he entreateth the Lord for all his house. And the Lord heareth the prayer of every one that

feareth God,

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