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manifested some tenderness for his own reputation, had he cono: sulted some comment, before he meddled with this dangerous text. He would have been thus warned of a chronological blunder, which it is bis good fortune never to miss, when it lies in his way. For this prophecy which predicts the birth óf Hezekiah, was unhappily uttered some years after he was born *. It is true, from the specimens which our critic has given us of accuracy in the case of Epaphroditus, his cbrenology may be right in the main; for by thus taking from one man's life what is added to the life of another, we will not dis. pute, that the gross amount of his calculations may finally square with the truth.
Having thus sapped the foundation of the orthodox faith, by depriving it of the support of the Law and the Prophets, our author now concentrates his force, and directs the main attack against the Evangelists. But as we are now menaced with the brunt of the action, we must entreat a few moment's parley to enable us to sustain the fury of the assault.
It seems not easy to mistake the views and purposes of the evangelical writers, in opening their respective narratives of the advent and life of our Lord. The immediate object of St. Matthew, who particularly wrote for his compatriots. t, was to demonstrate the coming of the Messiah by arguments calculated to operate on their prejudices as Jews. In attaining this object he was obviously confined to a particular
From the accounts of the Prophets, the Jews derived their entire knowledge and expectation of a Redeemer. Their predictions had pointed him out as a King of the seed of David; as the offspring of a Virgin, and born in Bethlehem; as announced and preceded by Elias ; and as following Moses, in the delivery of a new and spiritual law. These circumstances, with the events in which they were accomplished, seem indispensably necessary to the design of the Evangelist, in writing a Gospel and they constitute the whole of the incidents of which his introductory chapters are composed. Having deduced his genealogy directly from David the states the principal prophecies relative to his person and office, and thence specifying the events in which they were accomplished, he incidentally inculcates the peculiar doctrines whicbi distinguished the religion which he promulged. Having thus asserted the doctrine of the Incarnation
p. 317. d.
* Comp. 2 King. xvi. 1. 2. xviii. 1. 2. Euseb. Dem. Evang.
S. Hier. Com. in Es. Tom. IV, p. 28. d. Pears..on Crced. Vol. I. p. 270. Basn. Hist. des Juif. Tom. VIII. 198, + Euseb. Hist. Eccl. Lib. III. cap. xxiii. p. 116. 1. 29.
from Isaiah, and insinuate that of the eternal generation from Micah, he sets forth that of the Trinity, as exhibited at the bap. tism of our Lord. Thence proceeding to run the parallel be. tween him and Moses, as the prophet, whom the Jewish legislator had foretold should resemble himself, in promulgating a new law: in order to point the resemblance more strongly, he particularly insists on the fast of forty days, and the delivery of the sacred code on the Mount.
The object of St. Luke, who was the Evangelist of the great Apostle of the Gentiles, is more comprehensive than that of St. Matthew, who wrote for the immediate use of the Jews. As his Gospel was intended for the mixed concourse of pagans and proselytes *, who entered the church under the ministry of St. Paul, he carries his narrative higher up than the Evangelist of the Hebrews. He consequently deduces the genealogy of our Lord in the line of David; but follows up the succession, net merely to Abraham, who was the great progenitor of the Hebrews, but to Adam who was the common parent of all mankind. He insists Jess particularly on the prophecies as little known to his Gentile readers ; but dwells more circumstantially on the preternatural events which attended his first appearance in the flesh: eventually reconciling the high character with which he was invested with the humble state in which he appeared. And as many of the Heathens had formed erroneous notions of his origin, conceiving him a being merely of a celestial order, who had descended from heaven in a human form, he states most minutely the circumstances of his conception, birth, and pubescence, marking with great precision the period in which he appeared.
This statement of the views and object of the different Evan. gelists which is confirmed by the internal evidence of their res spective narratives, seems to leave very little room in which the most versatile fancy can exercise itself in tracing the incidents of their introductory chapters to an extraneous source. And admitting that it was deemed necessary to proscribe the whole ac. count as surreptitious ; they might be easily traced to their ori. gin, without investigating any causes which were latent or remote. The pious fraud would admit of one simple and adequate solution ; that the author had unwisely and reprehensibly endeavoured to elevate the character of Christ, by representing his birth as ordained by prophetical foresight, and accomplished by miraculous power,
* $. Iren. Fragment. p. 347. e Possin, Caten. Patr. p. 3.
. 346 Jones's Sequel to Ecclesiastical Researches. - But how does the delinquent before us go to work, in his outrageous attempts upon the sacred text? One of the most impure stories connected with the worship of the most impure deities of Paganism is selected from Josephus ; the gross and disgusting narrative is then illustrated by the comments of two defaming Jews, in which the Virgin Mother is exhited in the character of a prostitutes and this mass of beastlivess and blasphemy, by the most shameless arts of distortion and perversion, is given a semblance, which it naturally disclaims, to the facts detailed by the Holy Evangelists, relative to the conception and birth of our Saviour.
We will not foul our pages with a repetition of the gross and disgusting recital which this blasphemous libeller has drawn out in detail. But as some specimen of the turpitude of heart with which his infamous libel has been constructed; as some justi. fication of the strong language in which, giving way to the imperative demands of duty, we are compelled to hold it up to public abhorrence; we shall select one of the least offensive, but most apposite passages, and present it to our readers, in its author's words.
This shameless blasphemer, having confronted his witnesses, and having heard their testimony out, from which the vilest imagination can extract nothing related, even by the most distant allusion, to the peculiar doctrines of our faith ; thus setting truth and decency alike at defiance, forces his own blundering meanings upon their reluctant words. “ In the room of the paragraph in which Josephus speaks of
• of Tiberius Cæsar, many impieties were perpetrated, not in Judea only; even in Rome the city of royalty, many impieties were per. petrated.". The impieties here said to have prevailed in Judea and in Rome mean, according to the frequent use of the term, the practices of idolatry and fornication. The author therefore alluded to the doctrines of the divinity and miraculous birth of Jesus, which prevailed if not in Judea, in Rome and in other places. This allusion is certain." P. 106.
We refrain from the attempt to execute judgment in verbal castigation upon the outrageous offender who thus daringly insults the moral sense and religious feeling of society at large; and whose delinquency could alone receive its adequate remuneration from the secular arın. Leaving the correction of these enormities to those whom it may concern, to chastise the gross ignorance and still grosser dullness of the culprit, falls more immediately, within our province: and ours be the blame if it is not laid on with the full force of our arm.
We pass over the barefaced substitution of allusion for fact, the senseless confusion of time, place, and circumstance, in the passage before us.
Nor shall we more than incidentally mention the dulness or dexterity by which the city of Rome is taken for the land of Judea; the reign of Tiberius put for that of Augustus: and the perpetration of impieties taken as syno-) nimous with the prevalence of doctrines. We shall do justice to our author's skill in languages by a dissection of his version of Josippon in due time. Our present concern is with Josephus, on whom the entire weight of sustaining the attack which is madeupon the sacred scriptures ultimately devolves. His credibility as a witness against the Evangelists is rested upon the well-known passage of his antiquities, in which our Lord is declared to be the Christ who had been foretold by the prophets, and is admitted to have wrought miracles, and to have risen from the dead ; from whence it is inferred that the Jewish historian
a decided and undisguised believer in the Gospel." Now let us grant the premises, and note well the consequences which ensue. The life of Josephus was written by himself, and dedicated to that primitive christian, the most noble Epaphroditus,' after the work in which this disputed passage occurs. It particularly specifies the changes which took place in his religious opinions; the author not inerely stating ihat he was of the priestly order t, but that he had passed his probation through the three Jewish sects. Yet this circumstantial account expressly declares that quitting the Essenes he became and continued a Pharisees. In this character, he represents himself as acting under the direction of the Sanhedrim, and straining every nervę to sustain the authority of that council, which had procured the crucifixion of Christ, and exerted its small remains of power in persecuting and subverting his religion.
After receiving these impressions of Josephus's attachment to the name and religion of Christ, let us inspect the internal evidence of the work in which the disputed passage is inserted. So far is the author from admitting that our Lord was the Messiah foretold by the prophets, that he expressly denies that the
* Joseph. Antiq. Jud. Lib. XVIIỊ. cap. iii. 9. 3. Tom. I. p. 876.
+ Id. Vit. 8.15. Tom. II. p. 8.
Id. ibid, conf: 95. p. 3.
prophecies were accomplished which had been fulfilled in his person *. So far is he from applying to bim the title of Christ, that he represents the term as merely associated by vulgar usage with bis name t. And in the spirit of hostility to bis person ascribing the calamities which befel the Jewish nation to the cruelties inflicted on the deserving members of the commonwealth, he particularises one of the bumblest of his followers, yet suppresses all mention of his merits and sufferings, while he expressly alludes to his name I.
So much for the confirmation which this passage derives from the internal evidence of the work in which it occurs. spect to the external, it is remarkable that within the course of the first three centuries, Josephus is expressly quoted by Justin Martyr, St. Irenæus, Theophilus, Clemens Alexandrinus, Ter
* Id. Antiq. Jud. Lib. X. cap. x. 535.
+ He thus incidentally speaks of our Lord in referring to St. James; Antiq. Jud. Lib. XX. cap. ix. 5. 1, P. 976. Tàu da &ày rõ aeyouévs Xgosë. This is the confession which Št. Matthew puts in the mouth of Pilate, Matt. xxvii. 22: and Justin Martyr ascribes to Trypho or Tarpho, the Jew; Just. Mart. Dial. cum Tryph. p. 249. b. The relative force of heyóvevos Xposós in the above extract, and of • Xpisos šros ju in the disputed passage, will be of course best ascertained from the observation of a native Greek on both phrases; S. Epiphan. adv. Her. xxv, P. 80. C. 6 và Azuyoka, φήσας είπερ εισι λεγόμενοι Θεόι' έκ είναι τέτας υποφαίνει. εν τω γάς είπειν λεγόμενοι', έδειξεν αυτές εν τω λέγεσθαι μόνον είναι, μη όντας τη υποσάσει, άλλα δια της τινών υπολήψεως, On the contrary, it is observed by a Greek historian ; Sozom. Hist. Eccl. Lib. I. cap. i. p. 8. 1. 22. αξιόχρεως αν είη [ Ιώσηπος μάρτυς της περί Χρισέ αληθείαςάνδρα μεν γαρ αυτόν αποκαλείν οκνεϊ-Χρισον δε περιφανώς ονομάζει. Origen, it is apparent, received the
directly contrary impression, from reading Josephus's account of Christ, vid. infr. p. 349. n. t. And St. Jerome was so forcibly struck with the impossibility of reconciling the two passages before us ; of making the testimony borne to Christ agree with the declaration of Josephus ; that he corrects the former by the latter ; though he destroys the weight of Josephus's evidence by the alteration. S. Hier. Cat. Script. Eccl. in Joseph, Tom. I. p. 22. “Scripsit autem [Josephus) de Domino in hunc modum. · Eodem tempore fuit Jesus vir sapiens et credebatur esse Christus.” But Sophronius, who has translated Sto Jerome into Greek, has restored the true reading. Vid. Fabric, Bibl. Script. Eccl. p. 69. ed. Hamb. 1718. | Joseph. Antiq. Jud. Lib. XX, cap. ix. $. 1. p. 976.