« הקודםהמשך »
subject of these prophecies. That Jesus, coming to then as their Mesliah, should come under a character totally different from that in which they expected him; should deviate from the general perfuafion, and deviate into pretensions absolutely singular and original, appears to be inconsistent with the i..putation of enthusiasm or imposture, both which, by their nature, I should expect, would, and both which, throughout the experience which this very subject furnishes, in fact have followed, the opinions that obtained at the time.
If it be said, that Jesus, having tried the other plan, turned at length to this ; I answer, that the thing is said without evidence ; against evidence ; that it was competent to the rest to have done the fame, yet that nothing of this fort was thought
of by any.
CH A P. VI. ONE argument, which has been much relied upon, (læut not more than its just weight deserves) is the conformity of the faets, occasionally mentioned or referred to in fcripture, with the state of things in those times, as represented by foreign and independent accounts. Which conformity proves, that the writers of the New Testament possessed a species of local knowledge, which could only belong to an inhabitant of that country, and to one living in that age. This argument, if well made out by examples, is very little short of proving the abfo. lute genuineness of the writings. It carries them up to the age of the reputed authors, to an age, in which it must have been di:ficult to impose upon the Christian public forgeries in the names of of those authors, and in which there is no evidence that any forgeries were attempted. It proves at least, that the books, who
were the authors of them, were composed by persons living in the time and country in which these things were transacted, and, consequently, capable, by their Guation, of being well informed of the facts which they relate.
And the argument is stronger, when applied to the New Testament, than it is in the cale of almost
any other writings, by reason of the mixed nature of the allusions which this book contains. The scene of action is not confined to a single country, hat displayed in the greatest cities of the Roman empire. Allusions are made to the manneis and
principles of the Greeks, the Romans, and the Jews. This variety renders a forgery proportionably more difficult, especially to writers of a posterior age.
A Greek or Roman Christian, who lived in the second or third century, would have been wanting in Jewish literature ; a Jewish convert in those ages would have been equally deficient in the knowledge of Greece and Rome.
This, however, is an argument which depends entirely upon an induction of particulars; and as, consequently, it carries with it little force, without a view of the instances upon which it is built, I have to request the reader's attention to a detail of examples, distinctly and articulately proposed. In collecting these examples, I have done no more than to epitomize the first: volume of the first part of Dr. Lardner's credibility of the gofpel history. And I have brought the argument within its present compafs, first, by passing over fome of his sections in which the accordancy appeared to me less certain, or upon fubjects not fufficiently appropriate or circumstantial ; secondly, by cootracting every fection into the fewest words posible, contenting myself for the most part wich a mere apposition of paso fages; and, thirdly, by omitting many disquisitions, which, though learned and accurate, are not absolutely necessary to the understanding or verification of the argument.
The writer, principally made use of in the inquiry, is Jose-phus. Josephus was born at Jerusalem four years after Christ's ascension: He wrote his history of the Jewish war some time: after the destruction of Jerufalem, which happened in the year: of our Lord seventy, that is, thirty-feven years after the ascenfion ; and his history of the Jews he finished in the year ninesty-three, that is, fixty years after the ascensioni
At the head of each article, I have referred;. by figures in-. cluded in brackets, to the page of Dr. Lardner's volume where: the section, from which the abridgment is made, begins. The edition used is that of 1741...
1. (p. 14) Mat. xi. 22. “When lie. (Joseph) heard that Archelaus did reign in Judea, in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither ; notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee.”
In this paffage it is asierted, that Archelaus succeeded Herod in Judea ; and it is implied, that his power did not extend to
a Michaclis's Introduction to ihe New Te ameat, (Marth’s transla. tion) c. ij. fec. xi.
Galilee. Now we learn from Josephus, that Herod the Great; whose dominion included all the land of Israel, appointed Archelaus his fucceffor in Fudea, and affigned the rest of his dominions to other sons; and that this difpofition was ratified, as to the main parts of it; by the Roman emperor.a
St. Matthew says, that: Archelaus reigned, was king in Judea: Agreeably to this, we are informed by Jofephus, not only that Herod appointed Archelaus his successor in Judea, but that he also appointed him with the title of king; and the verb (Barinsvei) which the evangelist uses to denote the government and rank of Archelaus, is used likewise by Jofephus.
The cruelty of Archelaus's character, which is not obscurely intimated by the evangelist, agrees with divers particulars in his history, perserved by Josephus. “In the tenth year of his
gov. ernment, the chief of the Jews and Samaritans, not being able to endure his cruelty, and tyranny, presented complaints against him to Cæfar.''C
II. (p. 19.) Luke iii. 1. In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Cæsar-Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea, and of the region of Tracha onitis—the word of God came unto John.”.
By the will of Herod the Great, and the decree of Augus. tus thereupon, his two fons were appointed, one (Herod Antipas) tetrarcli of Galilee and Peræa, and the other (Philip) tetrarch of Trachonitis and the neighbouring countries.d. We have therefore these two persons in the situations in which St. Luke places them; and also, that they were in these situations: in the fifteenth year of Tiberius, in other words, that they continued in possession of their territories and titles until that time, and afterwards, appears from a passage of Jofephus, which re. Jates of Herod, "that he was removed by Caligula, the succesfor of Tiberius , and of Philip, that he died in the twentieth year of Tiberius, when he had governed. Trachonitis and Batanea and Gaulanitis thirty-seven years.fi
III. (p. 20:) Mark v: 17.3“ Herod' had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison, for Herodias's fake, his brother Philip’s wife ; for he had married her.” a Ant. lib. 17. c. 8. fec. I:- b De Bell: lib. I. C. 33. sec. 76
c Ant..lib.. 17. C. 13. sec. 1:. d Ant. lib, 17. c. 8. sec. 1. e Ant. lib. 13. c. 8. fec. 2.
f Ant. lih, 13. c. 5. sec. 6.
With this compare Jof. Ant. I. 18. c. 6. fec. 1. (Herod the tetrarch) made a visit to Herod his brother-Here, falling in love with Herodias, the wife of the said Herod, he ventured to make her proposals of marriage.'
Again, Mark vi. 22. “ And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in and danced.” With this also compare Jos. Ant. l. 18. 6. fec.
- Hero dias was married to Herod, son of Herod the Great. They had a daughter, whose name was Salome; after whofe birth, Herodias, in utter violation of the laws of her country, left her husband then living, and married Herod the tetrarch of Galilee, her husband's brother by the father's side.”
IV. (p. 29.) Acts xii. 1. Now, about that time, Herod the king stretched forth his hands, to vex certain of the church.” In the conclusion of the same chapter, Herod's death is represented to have taken place, soon after this persecution. The accuracy of our historian, or, rather, the unmeditated coincidence, which truth of its own accord produces, is in this instance remarkable. There was no portion of time, for thirty years before, nor ever afterwards, in which there was a king at Jerusalem, a person exercising that authority in Judea, or to whom that title could be applied, except the three last years of this Herod's life, within which period, the transaction recorded in the Acts is stated to have taken place. This prince was the grandson of Herod the Great. . In the Acts he
appears under his family name of Herod ; by Josephus he is called Agrippa. For proof that he was a king, properly so called, we have the testimony of Josephus in full and direct terms :-—" Sending for him to his palace, Caligula put a crown upon his head, and appointed him king of the tetrarchie of Philip, intending also to
a The affinity of the two accounts is unquestionable ; but there is a difference in the name of Herodias's first husband, which, in the co vangelift, is Philip, in Josephus, Herod. The difficulty, however, will not appear considerable, when we recollect how common it was in
those times, for the same person to bear two names : Simon, which is called Peter ; Lebheus, whose firname is Thaddeus ; Thomas, which is called Didymus ; Simeon, who was called Niger ; Saul, who was also called Paul.” The solution is likewise rendered calier in the present cafe, by the consideration, that Herod the Great had children by seve ven or eight wives; that Josephus mentions three of his sons under the name of Herod; that it is nevertheless highly probable, that the brothers bore some additional name, by which they were diftinguished from one another. Lard. vol. II. p. 897.
And upon ai
give him the tetrarchie of Lysanias." And that Judea was at last, but not until the last, included in his dominions, appears by a subsequent passage of the fame Jofephus, wherein he tells us, that Claudius by a decree confirmed to Agrippa the dominion which Caligula had given him, adding also Judea and Samaria, in the utmost extent, as polessed by his grandfather Herod.b
V. (p. 32.) Acts xii. 19, 23. “And he (Herod) went down from Judea to Cæsarea, and there abode. fet day, Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them; and the people gave a shout, faying, It is the voice of a god and not of a man ; and immediately the angel of the Lord fmote him, because he gave not God the glory; and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.”
Jof. Ant. lib. xix: C. 8. fec. 2. « He went to the city Cæfarea. Here he celebrated shows in honour of Cæfar. On the second day of the shows, early in the morning, he came into the theatre, dressed in a robe of filver, of most curious work manship. The rays of the rising fun, reflected from so splendid a garb, gave him a majestic and awful appearance. They called him a god, and entreated him to be propitious to them, saying, Hitherto, we have respected you as a man, but now we acknowledge you to be more than mortal. The king neither reproved these persons, nor rejected the impious flattery. Imme. diately after this, he was seized with pains in his bowels, extremely violent at the very first. He was carried therefore with all haste to his palace. These pains continually torment: ing him, he expired in five days time.'
The reader will perceive the accordancy of these accounts in various particulars. The place, (Cæsarea) the fet day, the gorgeous dress, the acclamations of the assembly, the peculiar turn of the flattery, the reception of it, the sudden and critical incursion of the disease, are circumstances noticed in both narratives. The worms mentioned by St. Luke are not remarked by Josephus, but the appearance of these is a symptom, not unusually, I believe, attending the disease, which Jofephus describes, viz. violent affections of the bowels.
VI. (p. 41.) Acts xxiv. 24. " And after certain days, then Felix came with his wife Drufilla, which was a Jewels. be sent for Paul.
4. Ant. xviii. c. vij. fec. Io.
b Ib. xix: C. V. fec. I..