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Paul and Barnabas were Jupiter and Mercury. The adoration-paid to Jesus Christ under the notion, that he was the God Serapis, naturally awakened the envy of Caligula. He saw one of that nation, whom he mortally hated, worshipped as a god. He arrogated the titles, and wore the badges of Jupiter, Apollo, &c. in order to share the vain honours that were paid them; nor could he be less ambitious to participate in the homage paid to Jesus. When Tiberius proposed his deification to the senate, they in return expressed a wish to deify him. The proposal, no doubt, proceeded from malice and envy towards Jesus. The emperor, however, had the prudence or virtue to decline the proposal. The senate, now inured to servility and adulation, knew how dangerous it was to resist the will of Cæsar. But on this occasion, they availed themselves of his seeming self-denial, and dexterously concealed their refusal under the veil of a handsome compliment.

Caligula acted a very different part. His vanity and ambition were inflamed into madness by the people of Alexandria, and by a few favourites who were Egyptians, and who were actuated only by deep-rooted malice against the Jews: and he hence claimed divine honours from this people as well as from other nations. This was the cause of the greatest calamity which befel the Jews, even in those distressing times, namely, the profanation of their synagogues in Egypt, and of the Temple in Jerusalem, by introducing into them the images of Cæsar. Philo was at the head of those Jews who opposed this impious attempt. Though a Christian, he thought

it absurd and impious to pay to Christ that worship which was due to Jehovah alone; but at the same time he insinuates, that the supposition of his being a God in the form of a man, was less absurd than that such a base corrupt creature as Caligula, should be capable of assuming the divine nature. His own words are too important to be omitted. "Some persons," says he," abusing the generous principle of Roman liberty, introduced into Italy the worship of men. Our nation alone was likely to resist that practice, being accustomed to choose a voluntary death, in order, as it were, to become immortal rather than suffer any of their paternal rites to be taken from them, though that of which they were deprived might be very inconsiderable. But the question agitated was not inconsiderable-it was the greatest of all questions, namely, Whether the derived and corruptible nature of man can assume even in appearance the underived and incorruptible nature of God, a presumption which our nation deem the most flagrant. For sooner might God transform himself into a man, than a man into a God."*

It would be a matter of some curiosity to know how Tacitus accounted for the miracles of Christ; and from his attempt to oppose Serapis to him, we might infer, that he had adopted the popular

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Μικρον δε ουκ ην το κινούμενον, αλλά το μεγιςον των οντων, ανθρωπων γενητην και φθαρτην φυσιν, εις αγενητον και αφθαρτον, όσα τω δοκειν, θεοπλαςησαι, ὁπερ ασεβημάτων εκρινεν ειναι χαλεπωτατον· θαττον γαρ αν εις ανθρωπον θεον, η εις θεον άνθρωπον μεταβαλειν. Philo, Vol. II. p. 562 or

p. 1008.

notion of his divinity. Suetonius is more explicit, though he but briefly says, That Claudius expelled the Jews for disturbing the city at the instigation of CHRESTUS.* By this name, our Lord was sometimes designated in heathen countries, and it is thought to have been an accidental corruption of CHRISTUS: but the change was a natural consequence of being deemed a god. For Chrestus (xpasos) is an epithet applied to those demons of a benign nature, that were supposed to act as mediators between the gods and men.† Suetonius well knew that Jesus had been put to death in the reign of Tiberius; yet his language implies, that Christ was still living, and instigating the Jews in the time of Claudius, which leads us to suppose, that, in his opinion, Christ was one of the demons, and still in existence.

* Judæos impulsore CHRESTO, assidue tumultuantes Roma expulit.

† Τουςδε ΧΡΗΣΤΟΥΣ παλιν και αγαθους, ὁ τε Ἡσίοδος άγνους δαίμονας και φύλακας ανθρωπων προσαγορεύει. Plut. de Iside. § 26.





IN the discussion of the preceding chapter, two facts of considerable importance present themselves to our attention, namely, that the deity of Christ is a doctrine coeval with the belief of his miracles among the pagans-That it was the unavoidable dictate of heathenism, and that a belief in it, so far from supposing a belief in the Gospel, was adopted by those who rejected the Gospel. Neither Tiberius, nor the philologers in his court, nor Thaumas, por Plutarch, nor Suetonius, nor the devotees of Serapis, nor Hadrian, nor Severus, believed the religion of Christ, though they were all believers in the divine nature of Christ. They considered these as two distinct propositions; and it was the furthest possible from their thoughts to become Christians by admitting, that the founder of Christianity was a divine being. In this chapter, I proceed to shew, that the doctrine of the divinity of Christ was calculated to undermine his religion; and that its enemies had recourse to that hypothesis, for no other end than to render the Gospel ineffectual.

The Pagans thought themselves called upon only to account for the miracles of Christ, and for his appearance after death. If he were a demon or god, the phenomena required no inves

tigation beyond his personal nature. They might say, he performed the works ascribed to him by virtue of his own power, he survived death by virtue of his own nature. This was sufficient; farther enquiry would be unnecessary, or a matter of mere curiosity. On the other hand, if the dictate of paganism were discarded, and Jesus considered, as he appeared, to be a mere man, in order to account for his miracles, it was then necessary to examine and receive his doctrine, and the records containing it. And here they would view him held forth as a divine teacher coming from God, the creator and governor of the world, with the most important information to all mankind, calling upon them to repent, to mend their lives, and to lead a new course of virtue as a proper qualification for a higher and nobler state of being, in which vice will be followed by indefinitely great misery, and virtue by indefinitely great happiness. To prove that he announced glad tidings at the command of God, he did with the power of God things, which no other power than that of God could do. He voluntarily laid down his life, as a proof, that he himself believed the doctrine which he had brought to light; also, as an example of the happy influence which it produces under trials and suffering; and, lastly, as a step previously requisite to establish the truth of his subsequent resurrection. And here, it must be observed, that the simple humanity of Christ is essential to the validity of the whole scheme. Jesus Christ rose from the dead as a pledge of the resurrection of mankind: he must, therefore, in nature and constitution, be one of that kind. For if he inherited the divine nature,

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