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of the city. James and his fellow-sufferers were accused by Ananus and his party with being transgressors of the laws: but the most equitable, and those who had the most accurate knowledge of the laws, thought otherwise. They therefore had the same views of the Jewish religion with the apostle in other words, they were believers in Christ. And here we have the indirect testimony of Josephus, that the most virtuous and wise portion of the Jews, even among the principal men of Jerusalem, had at this time acceded to the christian doctrine.

This historian, it is to be observed, does not say where James and others were stoned, but only that a sentence of this kind was delivered against him by Ananus. But Hegesippus, a writer of the second century, tells us, that James was stoned in the courts of the temple. If the account of both these writers be taken as true, we are to infer that, after a mock trial of James and his associates, the mob were let loose upon them; who, instead of conducting the innocent victims out of the temple, which they had perhaps orders to do, vented their fury upon them in that place.

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Origen, in his commentary on Matthew xiii. 55, speaks to this effect. "This James is he, whom Paul mentions in his epistle to the Galatians, saying, Others of the apostles saw I none, save

James the Lord's brother.

This James was in so great repute with the people, that Josephus, who wrote twenty books of the Jewish Antiquis ties, desirous to assign the reason of their suffering such things, says, that it was owing to the anger of God for what they did to James, the brother of Jesus, called Christ. And it is wonderful, that he who did not believe our Jesus to be the Christ, should bear such a testimony to our James. He also says, that the people thought theysuffered these things upon account of James." These things are asserted also by Eusebius and Jerome, who depended, no doubt, on the authority of Origen. But modern critics are of opinion, that the paragraph to which Origen alludes, does not at present exist in the works of Josephus. This, however, I conceive to be a mistake. The Jewish historian, after saying that the murder of Jonathan was left unpunished, observes, that the robbers ascended on subsequent occasions to the feast without apprehension, and murdered some whom they thought their enemies, and others whom they were suborned so to do. Origen understood from Josephus, that the persons so slain from time to time were for the most part believers in Christ, and that James himself fell in the number. This apostle had high reputation for equity and wisdom; the supporters of the gospel were numerous and power

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ful, and the sentence was allowed to be unjust. For these reasons, Ananus and his party felt it difficult or dangerous to execute the sentence delivered against James and his associates, and therefore suborned the robbers, either openly or in secret to destroy them. If this were the case, James, was one of those, to whose murder Josephus ascribes the destruction of the city and temple. The historian, it is true, does not say, that this was done on account of James, but on account of all the persons who suffered in Jerusalem and in the temple; that is, on account of the followers of Jesus in general. As, however, James is the only person whom Josephus has specified by name, Origen thought himself justified, though he certainly was not, in saying, that in vengeance of him these calamities befel the Jews. Origen, it is farther to be noticed, oh, serves, that Josephus styles our apostle a very just man. But he does not speak thus of him. It is, however, very plain, that he thought him a most just man, and labours without expressing it to impress that idea on his readers. Origen drew the proper inference; and therefore without in justice made him speak what he only meant.

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Origen asserts, that Josephus did not believe in our Jesus as the Christ. This assertion is not true; and there is reason to apprehend that Origen knew it not to be true. That learned, but

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uncandid apologist, thoroughly comprehended the works of Josephus; and therefore needed not to be informed, that they suppose the truth of christianity, and contain apologies for Christ and his followers among the Jews, under the name of Esseans. But the Jewish believers, and Josephus in the number, as we shall see hereafter, did not believe certain doctrines, which Origen thought essential to christianity. For this reason the Greek and Latin fathers held them in detestation, and would not allow them to be believers in Jesus. The same illiberal spirit is not extinct in the present more enlightened age; and if posterity were to judge of Doctor Priestley by what some of his adversaries have said of him, he should be classed by future gene rations rather among the sceptics, than the christians of the eighteenth century.

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I shall now revert to the above of passage Matthew, and offer a few remarks more immediately in illustration of it.

First, the Scribes and Pharisees, on whom our Lord there denounces woes, were the very same with the robbers or zealots mentioned by Jose phus, or such of the Scribes, Sadducees, and Pharisees, as united with those wicked men in opposition to the gospel. This conclusion we may draw, because he holds them up as full of iniquity, that is, full of that atheistic or anti

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nomiań system, which the zealots or gnostics opposed to spiritual judaism. In reference to the serpent, of which by their apostacy they became abettors, he farther characterizes them as " serpents and a race of vipers." Because, further, Jesus speaks of them by anticipation, and notices not only the crimes which they had already committed, but the murders which they were in a subsequent period to commit. Finally, because he intimates, that on account of those murders the city and temple would be destroyed. This intimation completely identifies them with the zealots and robbers. "Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men and scribes; and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city." This language was prophetic. Josephus has related the fulfilment of it, and holds up the agents in it under the name of zealots. The zealots, therefore, and the men whom our Saviour here denounces, are the same people. "Even in the sacred place," says Josephus," they had the audacity to massacre. And I am of opinionthat, on this account, God, who hates impiety, has demolished our city; and regarding the temple as no longer a pure habitation for himself, brought upon us the Romans, and exposed it, with the city, to purifying fire." And in an


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