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tinuance in the service of the emperor exposed him to the censure of those who thought his of fice incompatible with a belief in Christianity. Paul defends his conduct, and holds him forth to the Philippians as a man to be revered and imitated, not for his profession, but for his work in Christ.
Epaphroditus as an officer under Nero, though at first a slave, was a soldier and a minister. The apostle alludes to these peculiarities in the character of his noble friend; and to take away the odium, which belonged to his rank and employment under the emperor, he applies them metaphorically as descriptive of his usefulness and zeal in the service of Christ. Thus, he calls
him a slave of Christ. Col. iv. 12; my fellom soldier, and a minister of my wants. Phil. ii. 25. See vol. i. p. 31.
Finally, Epaphroditus as a minister of state, necessarily possessed wealth, and high influence even with the emperor himself. That he was wealthy may be inferred from the words of the apostle; for he is said to have made up the de ficiency which, Paul, being now in bonds, and unable to supply his own wants, felt from the want of liberality in the Philippians. We may draw a similar inference respecting his influence with Nero. The apostle says of him "that he was nigh unto death for the work of Christ:" which means that, in order to supply the great apostle of Christ in his difficulties and wants, and to defend him from the accusations alleged against him, he risked the friendship of the emperor and hazarded not only his political consequence but
7. When the Gospel was offered to the nations, the writings and the antiquities of the Jews became subjects of controversy, between them and their enemies. APION, a learned grammarian of Alexandria, took an active part in this religious warfare and the work which he published against the Jews, was answered by Josephus, some years after his death. Now, it is maintained that in this immortal work, Josephus is a Christian apologist, defending the Jewish converts under the general name of Jews, and describing their religion, under those terms which designate the religion of Moses and the prophets. The proofs which warrant this assertion, are the following:
First, Josephus dedicates this book to Epaphroditus, and to other Pagan believers in the Gospel; who, in the language of the times, were said to have become Jews. "To thee, O Epaphroditus," says he, "who lovest the truth, and to those who, like thee, wish to be informed about our laws and nations, I dedicate this book."
Secondly, Josephus describes the religion of Moses and the prophets, not such as the Jewish doctors would have described it*, a mixture of external ordinances and moral precepts, but such
If Josephus had been strictly a Jew, very different would have been his account of the Jewish law. For as Paley observes, nothing could be more quibbling than were the comments and expositions of the Jewish doctors at that time, uothing more puerile than their distinctions. Their evasion of the fifth commandment, their exposition of the law of oaths, are specimens of the bad taste in morals, which then prevailed. Paley's Evid. vol. ii. c. 2.
as our Lord and his apostles made the Gospel to consist in, a pure system of piety and benevolence, founded on the firm assurance of a future state. "The reward of those," says he, “who live in every respect conformably to our laws, is not silver or gold, or a garland of olive, or of smallage, or some such honour, but the approbation of his own conscience, which each possesses, in consequence of believing, that the faithful observer of these laws shall, after a revolution of years, live again, and receive a better life, our law-giver having foretold this, and God having confirmed it by a powerful assurance." Eccles. Res. p. 594. Josephus against Apion, lib. ii. §. 30. Though Christ and his apostles considered a life to come as predicted in the Jewish scriptures, no powerful assurance of that animating fact was ever given by God, before the resurrection of Christ. We have full evidence of this in the New Testament. The apostles, on every occasion, preached a future state of existence; and, on every occasion they rest the evidence of it on the fact that. Christ rose as a proof and a pledge of the resurrection of all mankind. However the hope or expectation of a life after this might prevail among the Jews, the resurrection of Jesus renders it evident that no powerful assurance of that event had been previously given to the Jewish nation. Otherwise the death and resuscitation of our Lord would have been unnecessary; and the stress laid on it by the first preachers of the Gospel, would have been most unwarrantable. By the powerful assurance which God has given of a new exist
ence, Josephus therefore meant the assurance given by the resurrection of Jesus. God is said to have given it, because it was God that raised him from the dead; and he calls it "a powerful assurance," and not the resurrection of Christ, because he preferred, and wisely preferred, to express the fact by its object or relation to mankind, this being the only circumstance which gives it importance.
Thirdly, Josephus believed in the resurrection of Christ; for, he asserts in his Antiquities, that Jesus appeared again alive the third day, and that his disciples on that account continued their attachment to him. He believed also in the resurrection of the human body, which is the great and distinguishing doctrine of the Gospel: for in the Jewish war (lib. iii. c. viii. 5.) he says that, "the souls of good men obtain a most holy place in heaven, whence after the revolution of ages, they shall be re-united with their bodies." Here Josephus expresses the vulgar notion entertained by Christians: and it is remarkable that his language is the same with that used in the Assembly's Catechism to express the same doctrine. In the above passage against Apion, the author is more philosophical; as he intimates that death is to all men the suspension of existence, and that God after a period of time, will confer on good men a happier state of being. Here Josephus virtually rejects the doctrine of a separate soul, and concurs with the Gospel in placing
* Eccles. Res. p. 299. J. Anti. lib. xviii, c. iii, 3
the hope of a future state on the powerful assurance afforded by God himself. This circumstance alone demonstrates to my mind that by the powerful assurance of a new life given by God, the writer meant the resurrection of Christ, as stated in the New Testament.
Finally, the following passage contains a glorious and decisive evidence that, in his book against Apion, Josephus is a Christian apologist. "As God pervades the whole world, so his law has at length pervaded all mankind; and whoever reflects on his own country, and even his own family, will find evidence of the assertion now made by me. And if we (Jews) were not sensible of the superior excellence of our laws, we should fall below that multitude of converts, who glory in them*.'
Soon after the resurrection of Christ, the Gospel which originated in Judaism, and was Judaism itself, purified of its external grosser parts, was offered to the nations, and was received in all countries throughout the civilized world, in the manner here described by Josephus. By the law of God, he therefore means the Gospel of Christ. Of the Gospel, which he considered as the religion of Moses and the prophets, refined and carried into perfection by the Son of God, the fact here stated is most true.
Judaism used in the modern sense of that word, it is not true, nor did it in any degree approach the truth. After the spirit of the Jewish religion was separated from its letter, no converts
Eccles. Res. p. 556. Jos. against Ap. lib. ii. § 39.