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he have been satisfied with desiring that Christ might be wor-
N 2 - - The
The first passage which we shall mention is the well known.
citation from Tacitus, in the 15th Book of his Annals. “Repressaque in praesens exitiabilis superstitio rursus erumpebat non modo per Judaean originem ejus malised per urbem etiam.” The historian here confessedly describes Christianity as a destructive superstition; he states, that soon after its promulgation, it was for a time repressed; but that afterwards it again broke out; and spread itself not only over Judea, but in Rome. In the first Book of his Annals, he has this remarkable paragraph.
- * “Haud pigebit referre in Falanio et Rubrio praetentata crimina, ut quibus initiis, quanta arte Tiberii, gravissimum exitium. irrepserit, dein repressa fuit, postremo arserit, cunctaque corripuerit, noscatur.”
We think with Mr. R. that the similarity in the diction of these two passages, furnishes a strong presumption that the historian alludes to Christianity by the expression gravissimum exitium. The supposition is strengthened, when we advert to the crimes of which Falamius and Rubrius were accused. They were charged with impiety or with disrespect to the religion of their country; consequently, the gravissimum exitium subsequently introduced, must be of a religious nature. The Emperor instead of punishing the impieties of these two knights, dismissed the delinquents and their accusers by observing, that offences against the gods were to be punished by the gods. The indifference of Tiberius to the religious institutions of his country, his refusal to avenge their violation under the plea of moderation, may fairly be reckoned as the beginnings which led the way to the introduction of this grievous pest. A Pagan might naturally call it destructive, as its establishment subverted the whole edifice of Pagan superstition. We have placed the
argument in a different point of view from the author, but it
leads to the same conclusion. . • , -Another proof of the favourable disposition of Tiberius towards Christians, is his abolition of all the asyla in the empire.
Mr. Rendle proves satisfactorily, that this privilege was not
taken away till after the crucifixion of our Lord, and he assigns a probable reason why it was at length revoked.
“As Tiberius appears in the year 775, to have permitted the Senate to enquire into the privileges of the asyla, in most of the eastern countries, and to correct the abuses to which they were perverted (of which the chief was, as Tacitus says, the protection of state delinquents)—and to continue the exercise of their ancient right, till the year 781—why should he, who, as Tacitus says, was for nothing so anxious, as to let every thing remain as it was ; and who, as Josephus says, would hardly take the trouble
to order a man, who had been accused of conspiring against him, to be imprisoned, have, without some very cogent reason, presumed to revoke an indulgence, which he had freely granted to the Senate, and as Tacitus says, by way of confirming his own despotism; and then, to abolish all those asyla which the Senate had established, not excepting even the Jewish indulgence? If indeed he restored this privilege to the Senate, as Tacitus says, by way of confirming his despotism, would he without a sufficient provocation, have presumed to take it from them again * Would it, in that case, not have been better not to have restored it 2 Did he then notice some very great abuse, in any of them, which the Senate ought to have corrected 2 If so, what could that have been but the abuse of the Jewish, in the case of our Lord 2 When we find a seditious person, and a murderer, was suffered to escape go impunity, and an innocent person put to death in his stead.” . 166. - z
We are also willing to bestow unqualified approbation, on the chapter in which Mr. Rendle has shewn, that Tiberius forbad the Jews to stone Jewish believers, but did not forbid
them to stone other offenders as they had been accustomed to
do. With considerable ingenuity, he has fixed the time when the Talmud of Jerusalem asserts, that judgment in criminal cases was taken from Israel. He entertains the same opinion with the learned Selden, as to the power of the Sanhedrim in capital cases, even after the crucifixion of our Lord, and demon
strates that the privilege of the Jews to stone blasphemers,
was not restrained till they had made use of it, to persecute
* Grief then for the loss of his only son, and two or three very old friends, seems to be the only cause of his retiring from Rome,
and remaining so long in Campania; that is, from the year 779,
or nearly the end of 780, if not till 781, in which last mentioned year he was 70, and Christ was rather early in that year preached at Rome. If then, grief was his complaint, and it was when the disaster of Fidenae happened, so far abated, that the Senate began to expect his return, when W. Quinctilius his kinsman was accused, and in hopes that he would counteract the then enormously increasing prevalence of accusers, why did he instead of returning withdraw to Capreae; and though requested by the Senate again and again to return, in order to counteract to exts, so the infernal alarm, refuse to comply with their requests, and even to Consent to an interview with them on the coast of * * * . . . . - - - - *
In that year we have seen Christ suffered; and, as Clemens of Rome says, in the spring of that year, his faith began to be preached at Rome, and, as both Tacitus and Tertullian say, under the patronage of Tiberius, and, as the same two writers say, great opposition was made to it, and, of course to Tiberius, both by a majority of the Senate and of the people; how, then, as all this happened in the course of the year 781, are we to be sure that Tiberius may not have retired for personal safety 2 Of this at least
we seem to be pretty well assured, and even by Tacitus, that
Tiberius who used, without any attendant to enter the Senate, then, for the first time, complained to the fathers by letter, that his life was in danger—that he suspected the plots of his enemies, and would not go as usual to the Senate, not even with a guard, nor be seen by them on the opposite coast; and that some of them from that time, took the liberty to speak disrespectfully of him, even in the Senate; and others, among whom were even condemned persons, used to write any thing however scurrilous against him, and to publish it in the most frequented places; and not only of all this do we seem to be assured, but of this also ; that the practice of accusing persons, for what we know not, unless it were for not worshipping Tiberius, began then to be in fashion, and that Tibéritis réfused the honor voted b
the Senate to his mother—hiccelestis religio decerneretar.” P. 124.
As to the ni coelestis religio decerneretur, on which the author lays so much stress in several places of his work, we must observe that Mr. R. labours with no common solicitude, to proselytize not only Tiberius, but many of his relations, and particularly his mother Livia, at that time, aged eighty-four. The proof of her Christianity he finds in the following passage of Tacitus. - - -
“ —honoresque memorite ejus ab Setàtu large decretas quasi
per modestian imminuit, paucis admodum receptis addito, he coelestis religio decerneretur, sic ipsam maluisse.” ‘. . . . . . Now in our simplicity, we really should have thought that no two persons could have differed in their interpretation of this passage. The historian, as we suppose, interids to say that Tiberius from a pretended modesty, diminished the honors which the Senate #. liberally decreed to the memory of his mother, subjoining, that divine worship should not be decreed to her, because such was her wish. But as this construction does not accord with Mr. R.'s notions, he contends that ni should be substituted for me. Thus, to adopt his own words, the meaning of Tacitus will be this. “ Tiberius who in the year before had proposed it to the Senate, to authorise the worship of Christ, and had the mortification to see his proposal rejected, declared that it was his " " " . . . . . . . . . . . .” - mother's mother's last command; that but few of the honors which the §enate intended to decree to her memory should be accepted, ni, unless they would at the same time decree celestial religion; that is, decree that Christ should be worshipped.” P. 134. In effect, Livia is made by Tiberius to say to the Senate, “I will not accept divine honors, unless you will decree a religion, ... which absolutely prohibits any mortal to accept them.” We presume Mr. R. may defend this absurdity, by alHedging, that Tiberius has put it into the mouth of an old w0mian. . . . . - - . . The cause of the retirement of Tiberius, we never can imagine, was in consequence of his disagreement with the Senate concerning the worship of Christ. In his seclusion at
Caprea, we find him not, as Mr. R. supposes, conversing
with the apostolic teachers, but “cum grege Chaldaea.” Yet with our author nothing is so easy as to discover Christianity both in the Chaldaean astrology, and in the Druidical immolations. We even find him transforming the Cyrenians into Christians. . - \ . “Strabo says of the Cyrenians, that they held an heresy, which Anniceris was in his time desirous of rectifying, Kai ‘Ayyizier; 5 ozá, #wavogoza; t}, Kvenvićxny afésaw, o wagoyo yov &vr' air?; why Awzigzy. But who ever heard of any heresy before the publication of Christianity ? And who does not know that men of Cyrene are said to have been the first publishers of it?” P. 400.
We must inform Mr. R. that heresy was heard of before the introduction of Christianity. The word 2.jpsos is used to denote both the variety of philosophical dogmata of Paganism, and of theological tenets in the Jewish Church. When applied to these, it is sometimes taken in a favourable sense; whereas when predicated of Christian division, it always indicates a defection from the Catholic faith. Has our author read his Josephus, and forgotten that writer's account of Jewish sects (a peasis ;) or Epiphauius, or Hegesippus, and their enumeration of Jewish sects subsisting at the appearance of our [Lord? We find St. Paul declaring of himself, “ According to the strictest sect of our (i.e. the Jewish religion) zarz ray &xgićescorny gigsaw rās husriggs $gnoxsizs, I lived a Pharisee.” Before we quit this part of the subject, we must communicate to our readers an important discovery, made by our author, suggested by the following verses written against Tiberius, and preserved by Suetonius ; “Asper et immitis, breviter vix omnia dicam 2 Dispeream site mater amare potest. Non es eques—Quare : non Sunt tibi millia centum; Quaia si qugeras et Rhodoš exilium est. . . . . - Aurea