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had the supreme government of the Jewish Nation; and on the mother's from the blood royal. He was born in the reign of Caligula, A. D. 37, and at the age of twenty-seven embraced the principles of the Pharisees. Upon the invasion of his Country by the Romans, he headed a party and fought for some considerable time against them, but with such ill success, as ultimately to have been compelled, with forty others, to take refuge in the secret recesses of a cavern; in which situation they determined to remain, rather than fall into the hands of the enemy; having at length exhausted their means of subsistence, they had recourse to the horrid expedient of casting lots of death to preserve the lives of the survivors; until being reduced to two, one of whom was Josephus, they agreed to surrender themselves to the army of Vespasian; and this circumstance has not been unwisely regarded as a particular intervention of Providence to preserve him to be the writer of the Jewish History.
Josephus, after he had thus surrendered himself to the Roman Power; by the aid of pretended inspiration, so ingratiated himself with Vespasian, as to gain the good opinion and friendship of that Prince; who ever afterwards bestowed upon him every mark of attach
i Vide Tillotson's Sermons, No. 186, vol. ii. p. 564, folio edit.
“ I would not willingly be imposed upon,” says Jortin, or impose upon the reader; but I leave it to be considered whether in all this there might not be something extraordinary, as both Vespasian and Josephus were designed and reserved for extraordinary purposes, to assist in fulfilling and justifying the prophecies of Daniel and of our Lord. The same Providence which raised up and conducted Cyrus, and preserved the rash Macedonian Conqueror from perishing, till he had overthrown the Persian Empire, that the Prophecies might be accomplished; might take the Roman EMPEROR and the Jewisu Writer under a singular protection for reasons of no less importance."-Remarks on Ecc. Hist. vol. i.
ment and regard, which were continued to him in ani equal degree by the succeeding Emperors, Titus and Domitian.
When Vespasian deputed his Son to carry on the siege against the Jews, Josephus was left with the latter as an Interpreter; and having secured the confidence of Titus, he had all the sacred books which were found in the City, or which belonged to the captives, consigned to his immediate care and conservation. In return for this proof of the good opinion of Titus, Josephus, on retiring with the Emperor to Rome, dedicated to him those Works which employed the greater part of his remaining life: it was in consequence of this circumstance, that he was enabled so correctly to describe not only the events which he had witnessed and treasured in his own mind, but those whose authority was derived from the public or private stores which thus fell into his possession. This, perhaps, may be better illustrated by his own words, taken from his Book against Apion, written towards the close of his life.
“ As for myself, I have composed a true history of that war, and all the particulars that occurred in it, “having been concerned in its transactions; for I a " as General with those among us who are called Ga
lileans, as long as it was possible for us to make any “ opposition: and when I was taken captive by the “ Romans, Vespasian and Titus ordered me to be kept " under a guard, but commanded that I should attend " them continually. At first I was in bonds; after“ wards I was set at liberty, and was sent to accompany Titus when he came from Alexandria to the
« siege of Jerusalem; during which time nothing was “ done which escaped my knowledge. What happened “ in the Roman camp I saw, and wrote down carefully; “ what information the deserters brought out of the
City, I was the only man who could understand it.” “ Afterwards I got leisure at Rome, and when all my “ materials were prepared, I procured the help of one “ to assist me in writing Greek. Thus I composed " the history of those transactions : and I was so well “ assured of the truth of what I related, that I first
appealed to those who held the supreme command “ in that war, Vespasian and Titus, as witnesses for
me; to them I first presented those books, and after"wards to many of the Romans who had been in the
I also communicated them to many of our “ countrymen who understood the Greek Philosophy;
among whom were Julius Archelaus, and Herod, a
person of great gravity, and King Agrippa himself, “ who was deserving the greatest praise. All these bore
testimony to me, that I preserved the strictest regard “ to truth: and they would not have dissembled the matter, nor have been silent, if through ignorance,
with a partiality to either side, I had altered, or * omitted any thing. "2
Now with regard to the truth and authenticity of the writings of Josephus; as in confirmation of the for
1 The language of the Romans was unknown to the Jews, as had been foretold.—“ Whose language thou knowest not, neither understandest what they say.”
;"_“A nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand.”—Jer. v. 15. Deut. xxviii. 49.
“ There had been no intercourse between them,” says Kett,“ till the time " of Pompey's invasion, and the Jews were utterly ignorant of the dialects * of the Western Troops, which composed the Roman armies.
History, the Interpreter of Prophecy, vol. i. p. 109. 2 Contra Apion i. 9.
mer, we have the clearest proofs from their internal character and the evidence of reason; so have we the highest assurances in testimony of the latter. Isidore, of Pelusium, among the ancients, and M. Tillemont and Archbishop Tillotson, among the moderns, as quoted by Lardner, place this fact in the clearest point of view. “ If
you have a mind,” says the former of these writers, “ to know what punishment the wicked “ Jews underwent, who ill-treated the Christ; read the
history of their destruction written by Josephus; a « Jew indeed, but a lover of truth: there you may see “the wonderful story, such as no time ever saw from “ the beginning of the world, nor ever shall see: “ for that none might refuse to give credit to the his
tory of their incredible and unparalleled sufferings, “ truth found out not a stranger, but a native; a
man fond of their institutions, to relate them in a " doleful strain.”l
“ God has been pleased” says M. Tillemont, “to « choose for our information in this History, not an
Apostle, nor any of the chief men of the Church, but
an obstinate Jew, whom neither the view of the vir“tue and miracles of the Christians, nor the knows
ledge of the Law, nor the ruin of his religion and country, could induce to believe in, and love the
Messiah, who was all the expectation of the Nation, “ God has permitted it to be so, that the testimony “ which this Historian gave to an event, the mystery “ of which he did not comprehend, might be rejected, “ neither by Jews nor Heathens; and that none might "be able to say that he had altered the truth of things, " to favour Jesus Christ and his Disciples.:
Thé 1 Lib. 4, p. 75. 2 Ruine des Juifs, Art. 1, p. 722.
The words of Archbishop Tillotson on this subject are these :-“We have this matter related not by a “ Christian, who might be suspected of partiality, and
a design to have paralleled the event withi our Sas viour's prediction; but by a Jew, both by nation and
religion; who seems designedly to have avoided, as
much as possibly he could, the very mention of the “ Christian name, and all particulars relating to our “ Saviour; though no Historian was ever more punc“ tual in other respects."
Bishop Newton's opinion may be adduced in this place with peculiar propriety, as it is at once conclusive. “ It is indeed very providential that a more pår* ticular detail, à more exact history is preserved of " the destruction of Jerusalem and all the circumstances “ relating to it, than of any other matter whatsoever, * transacted so long ago; and it is an additional ad
vantage to our cause that these accounts are trans“ mitted to us by a Jew, and by a Jew who was himself "an eye witness to most of the things he relates. As a “ General in the Wars, he must have had an exact know“ ledge of all transactions, and as a Jewish Priest he would “ not relate them with any favour or partiality to the “ Christian cause. His History was approved by Ves
pasian and Titus (who ordered it to be published) and by King Agrippa and many others, both Jews and Ro
mans, who were present in those wars. He had like“ wise many enemies, who would readily have convicted “him of falsification, if he had been guilty of any. “ He designed nothing less, and yet, as if he had de
signed nothing more, his history of the Jewish Wars
I Sermon No. 186,