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in the name of Jesus, rising as by one consent, yet without any previous concert, to carry on this labour of love.” P. 417, 418.
In these observations Mr. Frere concurs with Mr. Cuninghame, as he does also in applying to this Society the vision of the “angel having the everlasting Gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth,” which he calls a “contemporary prophecy,” though, as we have seen, it is applied by others, and with far greater probability, to one of the great harbingers of the reforthat 10n.
“We have witnessed,” says Mr. C. “a more extensive preaching of the gospel than has taken place before, since the days of the Apostles of the Lord, and have seen a society start into existence for the printing and circulation of the inspired volume, which has, in the short space of nine years, given a new impetus to the moral universe, and continues to advance with gigantic strides to universal empire.” “ The last anniversary meeting of the British and Foreign Bible Society,” he says, was “an assembly probably unequalled since the days of the Apostles*.”
We beg leave to add, that it was certainly “unequalled” in those days. “A man that is an heretic,” St. Paul says, “ reject.” (Tit. iii. 10.) “I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions, and avoid them.” (Rom. xvi. 17.) “We com: mand you, brethren, in the name ef our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.” “ If any man obey not our word, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.” (2 Thess, iii. 6. 14) “ If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctriue (the doctrine of Christ) receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed. For he that biddeth him God speed, is partaker of his evil deeds.” (2 John 10, 11.) When these precepts were delivered and exemplified in the lives of the Apostles and their converts, when the beloved disciple ran hastily out of the bath, in which the heretic Cerinthus was, there was unquestionably no society like the Bible Society, in which are to be found men who have nothing of Christianity but the name; men who reject the ministers and the sacraments which Christ ordained; men who assume the office of teachers without
* Mr. Faber also, vol. ii. p. 406. n. 493. (new edit. 1814) is a warm panegyrist of the Bible Society and other anomalous institutions of the day; but as he has no direct allusion to miraculous gifts, and forbears to adapt scriptural terms to his purpose, his language however hyperbolical, is not indecorous or prophane. Rev.
appointment; appointment; men who deny the Lord that bought them; men who believe the Scriptures, and men who do not believe them. Mr. C. therefore, as it appears to us, was needlessly fearful in restraining his comparison to the post-apostolic ages. To do his subject full justice he should have said, the society was not only “ unequalled since the days of the apostles,” but has had no equal since the world began - .
One portentous circumstance in this society, and in itself an evil of no small magnitude, is that it has, instead of uniting, for the first time divided the most conscientious and exemplary members of our truly primitive and apostolical Church. A man
may be a member of the Society for Promoting Christian
Knowledge, or for Propagating the Gospel, a member of the Humane Society, or of almost any other among the numberless benevolent institutions with which this happy land abounds, or he may not, according as circumstances, inclination, or a sense of duty suggests. No particular merit is claimed by those who are so associated; and certainly no censure is cast on those who are not. But here all is in extremes. The members of the society “ speak all things by talents;” and in their study to exalt their favourite institution, by allusions to the miraculous gifts and preaching of the apostles, allow themselves to use a language, which is extremely abhorrent to our feelings, if not absolutely profane. Those on the other hand, who keep aloof from the society, appear to be equally sincere, and some of them perhaps equally ardent, in their disapprobation and dislike. The warmth indeed which is manifested on the occasion is but the natural result of the importance which the one side and the other justly attach to the truly laudable object, the distribution of the Holy Scripture, provided it is done in a justifiable manner, and so as not to “ cast pearls before swine.” But the division is unavoidable, and as we greatly fear, incurable. For though many most sincere sons of the Church of England have, unwarily as we think, and doubtless with the best intentions, joined this society of imposing aspect; yet it is impossible but that numberless others, men of equally clear and sober judgment, are and will be convinced, that the alledged precepts and prohibitions of our Lord's apostles, forbidding us to consort with those that cause divisions, bear directly on this question ; and therefore that they cannot unite themselves with these motley associations, and hold consultations with them, especially for such a meritorious and holy purpose as the dissemination of the revealed word of God, till they can demonstrate the truth of the popish maxim, that “the end sanctifies the means,” and that “it is lawful to do evil that good may come.” ... We now take our leave fMr. Frere with every sentiment of “. . . .
respect which may be due to his pious and good intentions, but not altogether with that opinion of his discernment, to which perhaps he may think himself entitled. In the justice, however, of our animadversions, his own good sense, when he quietly reconsiders the subject, will, we are assured, gradually coincide.
ART. W. The History of that inimitable Monarch Tiberius; who, in the 14th Year of his Reign, requested the Senate to permit the Worship of Jesus Christ; and who in the 16th and three following Years, or before the Conversion of Cornelius by Peter, suppressed all Oppositions to it. By the Rev. John Rendle, M.A. lately Mathematical Lecturer of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, and since Fellow of that Society, but now Vicar of Widecomb in the Moor, Devon. 8vo. pp. 432. Il. 1s. Longman.
IT has been frequently suggested as a consolation to merit, when pining under neglect, or assailed by obloquy, that impartial posterity will unanimously bestow those commendations which prejudiced contemporaries have denied; that posthumous fame will be a compensation for present censure, and that calumny is deprived both of her inclination and of her power to hurt, when her victim is no longer capable of feeling her sting. The suggestion if verified by experience, would be unavailing, yet it
is more unavailing than fallacious. Posterity instead of ren
dering justice to those characters whose worth was not duly appreciated in the times in which they lived, are often eager to revive a long forgotte's slander, and to fabricate a groundless imputation. The extinctus amabitur idem of Horace, is applicable only to literary reputation, and that in a qualified sense; of all other reputation we must be compelled to acknowledge that it is vulnerable long after its possessor has departed “to those unseen abodes, where the din of controversy and the din of war are equally unheard.”
With whatever unwillingness we may admit the assertion, yet none is more indisputable than that the characters of an
tiquity must rest, on the testimony of their contemporaries,
especially if that testimony be not contradicted by other writers
of the same age, and above all when that testimony is unfavour.
able. The language of panegyric is generally vague, and is interpreted with some abatement; the language of censure is commonly conveyed in the form of specific charges, which it is impossible for distant generations to repel even though false.
Rendle's History of Tiberius. 177 The writer who is bold enough to eombat them, will often fail to gain a patient hearing, and rarely will he command a reluctalit assent. We believe that the masterly vindication of the Scottish Mary by Whitaker, has had little influence in turning the current of popular opinion, though the prejudices of Buchauan against that unfortunate princess, and the motives which inspired his antipathy, are palpable. When we ascend higher, the task of vindicating calumniated innocence becomes hopeless, because our materials are scanty, and if we be not contented to use them as they are, we are left to the uncertainty of conjecture. Nothing is more illusive, than to impugn the authority of historical facts by arguments drawn from abstract reasoning, and that improbabilities should be recorded in historical writings, is a consequence from an undeniable truth that man is made up of contradictions. We must therefore submit to receive the narratives of persons and actions as they have been transmitted to us, because if we destroy their credit, we have nothing but hypothesis to substitute in their room. The character of Tiberius the Roman Emperor has often been the subject of attention, but has never been till now, the subject of dispute. Its peculiarities and eminent features have been marked by Tacitus, whose sententious brevity is singularly adapted to impress the memory. The odia in longum jaciens qua reconde, et auctaque promeret, has become proverbial. What Tacitus has said of his dissimulation and cruelty is abundantly confirmed by other writers: what he has said of his debaucheries is confirmed not only by other writers, but by the medals now to be found in the island of Caprea, the residence of his latter days. But in the work before us, we are told that the character of Tiberius has been hitherto misunderstood. Its author has undertaken to establish these two points; first, that Tiberius was a Christian; and secondly, that because he was a Christian, he was maligned by the favourers of Paganism, particularly by the Pagan historians. - To decide the first question, whether Tiberius was a convert to Christianity, there is no occasion to resort to presumptive arguments, if we can find any direct evidence produced by the friends or by the enemies of the Christian faith. The evidence of the Christian apologists as to this matter is clear, uniform, and consistent. Clemens of Rome, Tertullian, Jerome, and Eusebius, have stated with little variation of phrase, that soon after the crucifixion of Christ, Pontius Pilate transmitted an account of the transaction to Tiberius, that Tiberius on reading this account, requested the senate to admit Christ among the number of the gods; and that on the refusal of the senate to comply with this sequest, he issued an edict threatening death - - - to vol., 1 v. August, 1815.
tö all who should molest Christians. The words 6f Jeromre
we quote, as being the most concise. * Pilato de Christianorum dogmate referente Tiberius detulit ad Senatum ut inter cætera
Sacra reciperetur.* These quotations from the Ecelesiastical
historians have been frequently adduced, and for that reason we forbear to dwek1 on them. Their testimony is corroborated in the work beföre us, ' by that of Moses the Choronensiam, a Jew, who wrote the history of Armenia in the language of that coiintry. A copy of this curious history is said to be preserved in the Library of Exeter College, Oxford, amd it ha§ been translated into Latin by William aud George Whiston, the sons of the ingeniotis philosopher of that manse. In this history is contained a letter of Tiberius in answer to an epistle which he had received from Agbarus king of Edessa, concernimg the miracles of Christ, and the wonders which happened at his death, and which concluded with this sentence. * Jam itaque 'novit majestas tua, quid de Judæorum populo imperamdum sit, qui hæc perpetrarunt, statuendumque per totum orbem ut Christum* eolant tanquam verum Deum." The answer of Tiberius is expressed in the following terms: -
**, Tiberius Romanorum Caesar, Agbaro regi salutem. Lecta fuit coram me epistoka amicitiæ tuæ, ob quam gratia a nobis tibi habenda est, quanquam et a multis hoc ipsum prius audiveramus. Miracula ejus luculenter exposuit Pilatüs, eumque postquam e mortuis surrexit a multos pro Deo fuisse habitum. Ac propterea, solui ipse idem facere quod tu cogitasti, sed cum Romanorum consuetudo sit ut Imperatoris modo auctoritate neminem in Deorum numero reponant dum a Senatu tentatus fuerit probatusque, ideo rem ad Sehatum retufi: respuit autem Senatus, quod ab ipso prirnuin quæstio de eo non fuerat habita. Nos autem unicuique <jui vólet permisimus, ut Jesum in Deos recipiat, mortemque illis ininati sumus, qui Christianos criminari pergant. De Judæorum autem populo, qui eum temere ausi sunt cruci suffigere, quem ego non cruce sed honore et veneratione dignum fuisse audio, ubi a bello, cum Hispanis qui a me defecêre, otium nactus fuero, re explorata iis pro meritis tribuam.”
Moses has subscribed the following memorandum. * Hæc $crip$it Agbarus, atque epistolæ ejus, ut et cæterarum, exemplum in Tabellario Edesseno reposuit.”
We pretend not to decide in this place, how far tbis history 'of Moses the Jew may be worthy of credit, or whether this iet er of Tiberius may be authentic ; we only say that this testiincny goes as far but no farther, tham that of the ecclesiastia!
*wrièré, and that the testimony of boih amounts simply to this
—t, at Tiberius was favourabiy iiiclined to the Christián faith, and that he prohibited all persecutious agaijst the professor8 of Christianity. If Tiberius had beca a real convert, would
- - - - ''he