صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

rufalem. G. Voffius*, upon the ground of this paffage of Minucius, puts Antonie Julian among Latin hiftorians, who had writ a history of the Jews.

Minucius reckons Jofephus among Roman writers. Dr. Davis fufpects it to be an interpolation, and affigns not improbable reasons, in his notes upon the place.

Suetonius has mentioned the occafion of the war, the appointment of Vefpafian to be general, his, and his fon's triumph at Rome, and feveral other material things, which have been already obferved, or will in time be observed by us from him.

What Tacitus has writ upon this fubject, fo far as it remains, may be taken notice of hereafter.

Dion Caffius is another witnefs, whofe teftimony alfo may be taken more at large hereafter.

Philoftratus fays, "that ** when Titus had taken Jerufalem, and "filled all about it with dead bodies, and the neighbouring na"tions offered him crowns, he faid, he was not worthy of such an "honour, nor had he himself, he faid, done that great work. He "had only lent his hand to the fervice of God, when he was pleased "to fhew his difpleafure." Philoftratus fays, that Apollonius was much pleased with that token of wisdom and humanity. He likewise fays, that Apollonius wrote a letter to Titus, and fent it by Damis, to this purpose. "Apollonius fendeth greeting to Titus emperor of "the Romans. Since you refufe to be applauded for blood-fhed "and victory in war, I fend you the crown of moderation. You "know, for what things crowns are due,"

Hence divers learned men have argued, that Titus refufed to be crowned for his victory over the Jews. Bafnage ++ and other learned men on the contrary are of opinion, that we may rely upon the authority of Jofephus, who tells us, "that he went from Antioch to "the Zeugma, whither came to him meffengers from Vologefus "king of Parthia, and brought him a crown of gold, upon the vic"tory obtained by him over the Jews: which he accepted of, and "feafted the king's meflengers, and then returned to Antioch. "Moreover, he accepted of a triumph for his victory over the Jews, "and all other honours cuftomary upon the like occafions." Nevertheless Olearius, in his notes upon the place, argues, that ‡‡ Philoftratus needs

"Antonius Julianus Judaicam videtur hiftoriam confignaffe, &c." De Hift. Lat. 1. 3. De Hiftoricis incertæ ætatis.

+ Sueton. Vefpaf. cap. 4, 5:

[ocr errors]

——— ac triumphum utriufque Judaicum, equo albo comitatus eft." Vid. Tac. Hift. Lib. v. Dio. 1. 66. fub in.

Domit. cap. 2.

** Ἐπεὶ δὲ Τίτος ἡρήκει τὰ Σόλυμα, και νεκρῶν πλέα ἦν πάνα, τὰ ὅμορὰ τε ἐθνῶν ἐσε φάνων αυτόν. Ὁ δὲ ἐκ ἠξίε ἐαυτὸν τέτε· μὴ γὰρ αὐτὸν ταῦτα εἰςγάσθαι, θεῷ δὲ ὀργὴν φὴναντι ἐπεδεδωκέναι τὰς ἑαυτῷ χεῖρας. κ. λ. Philof. de Vit. Apol. 1. 6. cap. 29.

tt "Modeftiam Titi laudibus effert Baronius, quod oblatâ fibi coronâ aureâ à provinciis, "noluit coronari, teftatus fe prorfus indignum. Ufferius, aliique eruditi, illud et ipfum "tradunt, freti auctoritate Philoftrati."- -Bafnag. Ann. 70. n. xvi.

"Quem tamen Jofephi locum immerito Philoftrato opponi putem.-- -Neque enim "Philoftratus repudiafle soronam Titum ait, atque eâ non acceptâ legatos dimiffiffe,


" quod

[ocr errors]

needs not to be understood to fay, that Titus refufed the crowns offered him, but only faid, that he was unworthy of that honour, he having been only an inftrument in the hand of God for displaying his juft vengeance against guilty men.

And it must be owned, that Olearius expreffeth himself with great judgement and moderation. Either way, thofe learned men are to be reckoned mistaken, who have maintained that Titus refufed to be crowned for his victory over the Jews.

However, we are ftill to reckon Philoftratus, at the beginning of the third century, a good witness to the overthrow of Jerufalem by Titus.

Thefe are early Heathen authors, who have related the deftru&tion of Jerufalem, and thereby borne teftimony to the accomplishment of our Lord's predictions concerning it.

Nor can any forget the triumphal arch of Titus, still standing at Rome, of which we before took notice.

There is alfo an ancient infcription to the honour of Titus *, who by his father's directions and counfels had fubdued the Jewish nation and destroyed Jerufalem, which had never been destroyed by "any princes, or people before."

Which has occafioned fome learned men to fay, that even infcriptions are not free from flattery. But then it must be owned, that the genuineness and antiquity of this infcription have been called in queftion t. And there are some reasons to doubt, whether this comes from the fenate of Rome itself, as is pretended.

"quod viro docto interpretes perfuafere, fed hoc tantum, quod eo honore fe indignum dix-
erit: juftitiæ Dei vindicatricis inftrumentum, cujus nullæ fuerint in iftis patrandis propriæ
"vires fefe exftitiffe agnofcens, &c." Olear. in loc.

* Imp. Tito. Cæfari. Divi. Vefpafiani. F.
Vefpafiano. Aug. Pontifici. Maximo
Trib. Pot. x. Imp. xvii. Cof. viii. P. P.
Principi. fuo. S. P. Q. R.

Quod. Præceptis. Patris. Confiliifque. et.
Aufpiciis. Gentem. Judæorum. Domuit. Et.
Urbem. Hierofolymam. Omnibus. Ante. Se.
Ducibus. Regibus. Gentibufque. aut. Fruftra.
Petitam. aut. omnino. Intentatam. Delevit.

Ap. Gruter. p. 244.

"Ubi fteterit, ignoratur. Scaliger vult ab Onufrio fictum." Ap. Gruter. Ib.






[ocr errors]

F the Gofpels were forgeries, it is natural to suppose, some of the actions therein recorded would be unbecoming the character and circumstances of the perfons to whom they are afcribed. The truth is, this fort of cenfure has actually been paffed upon a few of the things performed by Jefus, by his difciples, and by his enemies. Indeed, the boldnefs with which particular actions have been thus condemned, looks as if they were really blameable; yet, upon examination, it appears that there is not any juft foundation for cavil here. In the relation which the Evangelifts have given of our Lord's actions, they have maintained the niceft propriety. He has done nothing below his dignity as the Son of God, and Saviour of the world. The conduct of his difciples and of his enemies is equally in character, being exactly fuch as might be expected from perfons of their difpofitions. In this, therefore, as in all other refpects, the Gospels are fufficiently probable, yea carry a high degree of evidence in their own bofom. But, that the reader may judge for himself, 1 propofe to examine matters minutely; beginning with the ordinary actions of our Lord's life, which have been blamed by the enemies of revelation, as unworthy of the high character ascribed to him in the Gospels.


Shewing that all the ordinary actions of our Lord's life, were perfectly fuitable to his character and undertaking.

OUR Lord's ordinary actions are fuch as follow, During the years of his childhood and youth, he remained with his parents, being in fubjection to them, and working with his father at his occupation.-When he entered on his public life, he went about doing good to the bodies and to the fouls of men. He minded no private concern of his own, being wholly employed in the duties of his miniftry.He therefore did not live in worldly pomp or fplendor, but in continual hardships and mortifications; being fupported VOL. V. N


[ocr errors]

by the charity of his friends. In all this he plainly acted agreeably to his character and function. Nor, in fact, have our adverfaries found any fault with his general conduct. What reproaches have been thrown out, are levelled against a few actions, which may be eafily defended, being reafonable and decent in the highest degree.

1. His behaviour towards his parents has been cenfured as not fufficiently refpectful. And the following inftances are mentioned. His ftaying behind them in' Jerufalem without their knowledge, when at the age of twelve years they carried him up to the paffover. The anfwer which he gave to his mother at the marriage in Cana, when The informed him that the wine was run fhort. And what he said of his mother and brethren, to one who told him, that they stood without, defiring to fpeak with him.--As to our Lord's "tarry

ing in Jerufalem after his parents were gone," though his mother blamed him for it, because of the pain which it had given them, it was no fort of difobedience. They had not ordered their fon to come away. Having parted with them by accident, perhaps on the day they propofed to fet out, they thought he had gone away with fome of their kinsfolk. And in this perfuafion they departed without making any search for him. The fault, therefore, if there was any here, lay in themselves. His parents having thus left him, Jefus proposed to spend his time profitably till they fhould return. He prefented himself to the doctors, who in the chambers of the temple inftructed fuch young ones as had been brought up by their parents to the feaft. And when it came to his turn, by afking the doctors certain questions in the courfe of the exercife, he modeftly infinuated to them a correction of the errors they were guilty of in teaching. Thus he gave the people a fpecimen, by way of prelude, of what he was more fully to perform afterwards in the course of his miniftry. If his parents had duly confidered what the angel formerly told them concerning the dignity of their fon, they might have expected fome fuch extraordinary tranfaction during his firft attendance in his father's houfe. At leaft, when they found him so employed, instead of finding fault, they ought with reverence to have beheld thofe firft manifeftations of his divinity. Wherefore the answer which he returned to his mother's complaint, is a fufficient vindication of his conduct in this matter. Luke ii. "And 49. "he faid unto them, How is it that ye fought me ?" viz. on the road, that was an improper place. "Wift ye not that I must be about my "Father's bufinefs?" or, as others tranflate it, "in my Father's house?" You ought, therefore, to have fought me in the temple.--What Jefus faid to his mother at the marriage of Cana, was by no means difrefpectful. John ii. 4, "Woman, what have I to do with thee? "Mine hour is not yet come." Intour language, indeed, the compellation of woman founds harfh, being a term of difrefpect. But it was by no means fo among the Eafterns, who made ufe of it in addreffing perfons of the first quality, as all know who are acquainted with the Grecian writings.Our Lord, therefore, is very ignorantly


found fault with on this account; efpecially as he is well known to have addreffed his mother by the appellation of Woman, at a time when he meant to fhew her the highest and tendereft regard, by recommending her from the cross to the care of the beloved difciple. John xix. 26. "Woman, behold thy fon." To proceed, the fentence read interrogatively will easily run thus: "Woman, what have "I to do with thee? is not mine hour come?" is not the feason of my public miniftry commenced, in which I am to be no longer under the direction of my parents; but muft work miracles, when I myself and not you judge it proper?The answer which he gave to the people in Capernaum, who told him that his mother and bre thren defired to fpeak with him, does not imply the leaft contempt of the natural relations eftablished by God among mankind in general, nor any want of affection to his mother and brethren in particular; on the contrary, it imports the highest regard to both. Matth. xii. 49. "Who is my mother and brethren ?" Who do you think are the objects of my tendereft regard? And he ftretched "forth his hands towards his difciples, and faid; Behold my mother and my brethren. For whofoever fhall do the will of my Father which "is in heaven, the fame is my brother, and fifter, and mother." They who do the will of God, are beloved by me with a tenderness equal to that which I bear to my brother, my fifter, and my mo ther. A declaration of this kind is fo far from throwing contempt in general on the relations established between mankind by nature, or on Chrift's mother and brethren in particular, that it implies thefe relations to be objects of the ftrongest and tendereft affections in the human nature; and that he had the higheft refpect and love for his own relations in particular.

2. The manner in which Jefus reformed the abuses committed in the temple is found fault with. We are told that his driving out, with a fcourge of fmall cords, not only the cattle and those who fold them, but the money-changers alfo, and the people; his overturning the tables of the money-changers, and the feats of them who fold doves; and his fcattering the changers money; were outrageous actions, more becoming the furious zeal of an enthufiaft, than that command of temper and fobriety which Jefus is faid to have poffeffed.- -But to understand this part of our Lord's conduct, we muft remember, that in the action itself he called himself "the Son "of him to whom the temple belonged," John ii. 16. "And he said unto them that fold doves, Take these things hence, and make not my father's house, a house of merchandize." Wherefore, as on this occafion he exprefsly affirmed that he was the Son of God, his right to reform the abufes of the temple, the houfe of God, was unquestionable. Nor can any fault be found with the manner of the reformation, confidering the authority of the perfon who made it. He acted plainly as mafter of the houfe. And though he was unfupported, the terror which he fingly impreffed upon the minds of the men, by the air of his countenance and the tone of his voice, was great, that none of them made any refiftance. The whip of


[blocks in formation]
« السابقةمتابعة »