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pear not the great philosopher and the wise man he was thought to be, but a DEFAMER, a VAGABOND, and IMPOSTOR; and his own discourses, and these only, shall be the criterion by which he shall be judged. At present I shall merely state my answer to the above questions. Epictetus has vilified Epaphroditus, though intitled to his gratitude by his generosity, and to his reverence by his virtue and shining talents, because the latter embraced, and endeavoured to propagate, a religion, which the former despised. To use the language of an epigram, which was adopted by him, or applied to him by his friends, Epictetus was a friend of the gods*, and he thought himself free in common with others to hate and malign one, however distinguished, who sought to bring them into contempt. To aggravate his ingratitude and his baseness, he calumniated only when dead, and' as such no longer capable of defending himself, a man, whom not one even among his enemies presumed to reproach while yet living, and whom, from the purity and greatness of his character, the emperor himself destroyed under a frivolous and false pretence.
* A slave, in body maimed, as Irus poor,
Yet to the Gods was Epictetus dear.
See Lard. Vol. VII. p. 345, where the original of these lines are quoted.
Epictetus was sensible, that the moral code of thegospel far surpassed in excellence any system of virtue or duties, taught by the philosophers of Greece and Rome: but not having the humility or magnanimity to profess himself the disciple of a crucified master, he has imitated and copied that code without acknowledging his obligations; and thus he endeavours to check the progress, and to defeat the end of the gospel, by clandestinely holding himself forth to the Pagan world as the rival of its Founder. This is the object which Arrian had in publishing, and Simplicius in commenting upon the discourses of Epictetus; and they have artfully applied to Epictetus virtues and sayings, which with little variation belonged to Jesus Christ. This is an assertion of great consequence, and on a future occasion, I shall substantiate it by proofs from their writings. Celsus in the above passage is an instance of the use, which the enemies of the gospel made of Epictetus, in endeavouring to check its progress; as he there asserts that the patience, with which he endured the wrenching of his leg by his cruel master, exceeded the resignation, with which Jesus suffered death. It is here hardly necessary to add, that the boasted qualities ascribed to Epictetus, will in this view appear either altogether fictitious, or greatly exaggerated.
But to return to the subject.-From the language of Dion, we perceive, that so late as even the second century, the converts from heathenism were said to become Jews; the founder, with his immediate followers, being of that nation, and Christianity itself being only Judaism reformed and perfected. And if this language was natural and proper in a heathen, it was much more so in the Jewish believers, who, in following Christ, considered themselves as confirming, rather than abandoning, Moses and the prophets.
From the above testimony given by Josephus in favour of Epaphroditus, we are to conclude, that he engaged in his Antiquities, and persevered in that great work, partly by the encouragement of a believer in Christ. Hence we might well suspect that he was himself of that number, and that the great object of all his works was to promote the interests of the gospel among the Jews and Gentiles.
JOSEPHUS'S TESTIMONY TO THE DIVINE MIS, SION OF JOHN THE BAPTIST.
HIS words are to this effect: "To some of the Jews it appeared that the army of Herod was destroyed by God, in just vengeance for the murder of John named Baptist. For Herod slew him, though he was a just man, and encouraged the Jews to come to his baptism, in the practice of virtue, in the exercise of justice to one another, and of piety towards God; assuring them, that thus alone baptism is acceptable in his sight, and not by using it as the means of averting sins, but of cleansing the body, as the mind is cleansed by righteousness. Herod seeing his communication with others, and all his hearers much elated with his discourses, feared lest his powers of persuasion should induce the people to rebel; for they seemed eager to act in conformity to his advice. He therefore thought it better to anticipate a revolution by killing him, than repent after a change should involve him in difficulties. Thus, by the jealousy of Herod, he was sent in chains to Macharus, and there slain;
and it was the opinion of the Jews, that to avenge his death, there came upon the army of Herod the destroyer from God incensed at his baseness *."
At the time, in which Josephus wrote his history, the great facts contained in the four gospels, were known in every part of the Roman empire ; and the object of the Jewish historian was, without mentioning them, to enforce their truth, by well attested facts founded upon them. Thus it was known that the Baptist announced the kingdom of heaven to be at hand, which, as then understood to be of a temporal nature, would soon set aside the authority of Herod. The apprehension of this necessarily awakened his jealousy; and Josephus unequivocally declares, that a jealousy of this kind was his real motive for putting the Baptist to death. This base motive, however, Herod must have been desirous to conceal from the public, and to find some less noxious pretence for destroying the object of his fears. The Jewish historian, by saying that fear and jealousy induced Herod to murder the Baptist, intends his readers to conclude, that the story of his daughter pleasing him, and of the rash promise into which he was seemingly betrayed, was a mere contrivance between Herod and his family, Some
Jew, Antiq. Lib. XVIII, c. 5. 2.