« EdellinenJatka »
to specify their belief in the resurrection of the body. The cause of this omission we may easily perceive, if we attend to the situation in which he published his works. The re-organization of the human body, after being dissolved by death, though supported by the declaration, and illustrated by the resurrection of Jesus, was folly to the Greeks.
In the Acts we read of the manner in which this tenet was regarded by the philosophers of Athens, though enforced by the eloquence and authority of the apostle Paul; nor is it less evident from the apologies of the fathers, that the reputed wise in the Pagan schools ever treated with derision and contempt this leading article of the christian faith. Josephus addressed his writings to the Greeks and Romans; and he wished to conciliate them as much as possible to the gospel by throwing a veil over this important, but offensive feature. He goes even farther; he acts the part of a prudent and cautious advocate, by representing the ideas of the Greeks, not only as like those of the Esseans, respecting a future
* Cæcilius (M. Felix, p. 96.) calls this opinion aniles fabulas ; and Lucian says, Πεπεικασι αυτους οι κακοδαι μονες, το μεν αθανάτοι εσεσθαι, και βιωσεσθαι τον αει χρονον. Hence Origen with truth says, νοηθεν το περι της ανατάσεως μυτήριον θρυλλείται γέλωμένον ὑπὸ τῶν απείρων.
state, but as borrowed from them. "From this notion," says he, "the Greeks appear to have copied their island of the blessed, consecrated to those brave men, whom they call heroes or demigods, and the region of the impious, appropriated to the souls of the wicked in hades. By this they inculcate the immortality of the soul, discourage vice, and enforce virtue. For good men aré made better in this life by the hope of future reward, and the wicked restrained by the fear of endless punishment after death. These are the sentiments of the Esseans respecting the soul; and thus they attach, by an irresistible allurement, those who have once tasted of their religion." J. W. lib. 2. c. 8. 11.
The political conduct of Josephus in thus, as far as he could, accommodating the sentiments of the Jewish believers to the prepossessions of the Pagans, is the more obvious, as in a book "Concerning the Cause of the Universe," which formerly went by his name, and a fragment of which is still extant, he explicitly declares it to be the belief of those who embraced christianity, and of his own in the number, that the body itself, though dissolved, shall rise. again, and that all shall appear before the judgment seat of Christ, to be rewarded
or punished, according to their deeds in this life.*
The writings of Philo and Josephus, considered as historians and apologists of the early Jewish believers, must appear very valuable and interesting. But they will prove useful in another point of light: as they describe the opinions and peculiar customs of the early followers of Jesus, they will serve to illustrate, with great felicity and precision, those passages in the christian scriptures which are either doubtful or obscure, and thus to settle in due time those disputes which so long have divided the christian world, and I may add, so long disgraced christianity itself. On this subject, however, it is not my intention at present to dwell. Nevertheless, I shall here produce one instance illustrative of this assertion. "Those who are detected of heinous crimes," says Josephus, "are expelled from the society; and the person expelled often perishes in a mi
Nos credimus corpus resurrecturum- -Omnes enim sive justi, sive injusti ducentur coram deo verbo. Illi enim pater omne judicium dedit. Et ille voluntatem patris implens, judex adveniet, ille inquam, quem nos christum vocamus. A fragment only of this work of Josephus remains, and it is annexed to the second volume of his Works, Havercamp's edition, p. 145.
serable manner, being prevented by the most solemn engagement from partaking of the food. used by others. He therefore feeds on herbs, or. wastes to death by famine. For this reason they have compassion on many, and receive them again in their last extremities, thinking that sufferings so nearly fatal a sufficient punishment for their guilt."
" It The following is an instance of this sort. is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath done this deed. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such an one to Satan, for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the name of the Lord Jesus." 1 Cor. v. 1.
From this passage it appears, that a person was received as a member into the church at Corinth, who had married his step-mother, or, in Hebrew and Arabic phraseology, the wife
of his father. of some consequence, as his admission into the christian church caused them to be puffed up, or, in other words, filled them with joy and exultation. The rank or fortune of the man who thus disgraced the new religion had, however no impression on the elevated mind of the apostle Paul, who insists on his expulsion, but not without giving him the hope of re-admission, after sufficiently suffering from the anguish of repentance and mortification. The language in which he conveys this sentiment is remarkably illustrated by the above account of Josephus. While the christians at Corinth rejoiced in the union of this pretended convert, the apostle represents it as a funeral, which required them to mourn, rather than to rejoice. This is the figure which he uses; and we must have recourse to the form of burial among the Jews, in order to see its force and propriety.
This seems to have been a man
Before the corpse was lifted up to be removed, persons, hired to mourn, began their lamentation. This is the point of light in which Paul places this morally dead offender. "And ye have not
* This phrase, however, occurs in Greek authors. Venus calls Phædra, the step-mother of Ippolytus, TaTROS EVİYEVTS Sapag. Eurip. Ippol. 26.