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our books speak of Pharisees, and Sadducees, and Herodians ? Josephus confirms all that is said of these in the minutest particulars. Does Luke speak of soldiers who went to John the Baptist, using a word (στρατευομενοι) which indicates that they were then under arms and marching to battle ? Josephus tells us that Herod was then at war with Antipas, his fatherin-law, and that a body of soldiers was at that very time marching through the region where John was. Does Luke speak of Herod as reproved by John for Herodias, his brother Philip's wife? Josephus tells us it was on her account that Herod had sent back his wife, and that the war was undertaken. Does Paul say of Ananias, when reproached for reviling God's high priest, “ I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest”? We find, from Josephus, that Ananias had been deposed, and his successor murdered, and that in the interim, when there really was no high priest, Ananias had usurped the place. Does Luke speak of a body of soldiers stationed at Cæsarea, called the Augustan band? Josephus says, that though that garrison was chiefly composed of Syrian soldiers, yet that there was a small body of Roman soldiers stationed there, called by this title, and he applies to them the very Greek term used by Luke. So minute and perfect are these coincidences, that no one can resist the conviction that the writers of our books lived and acted in the scenes which they relate.

But it is said that Josephus is silent respecting Christ and Christianity. This is not true, if we admit as authentic a passage which is found in all the manuscripts, and which has strong external testimony. The following is the passage: “ Now there was, about

this time, Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he performed many wonderful works. He was a teacher of such men as received the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him many of the Jews, and also of the Gentiles. This was the Christ. And when Pilate, at the instigation of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those who had loved him from the first did not cease to adhere to him. For he appeared to them alive again on the third day; the divine prophets having foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, subsists to this time."* He says in another place, and subsequently, “Ananias assembled the Jewish Sanhedrim, and brought before it James, the brother of Jesus, who is called Christ, with some others, whom he delivered over to be stoned as infractors of the law.” The authenticity of these passages has been controverted. But, if we suppose Josephus silent, then it is certain, from Tacitus, that his silence was not from ignorance, and, inasmuch as he continued a Jew, it thus becomes an indirect testimony. He could not say any thing to contradict our books. He says nothing different from our historians; he brings no charge of falsehood against them. He confirms them in all incidental points.

But, again ; does Luke speak of the Athenians as spending their time in hearing and telling some new thing? We find Demosthenes, long before, inquiring of them whether it was their sole ambition to wander through the public places, each inquiring of the other,

* For a vindication of the genuineness of this passage, see the recent edition of Horne, vol. 1. p. 463.

“What news ?” Does Paul speak of the Cretans as liars? We find that to “Cretize” was a proverbial expression, among the ancients, for lying.

Before citing two celebrated Latin authors, I will say a word of the testimony of Pilate. It appears that the Roman governors sent to the emperors an account of remarkable transactions which took place in their provinces, and these accounts were preserved as the acts of that government. Eusebius, speaking of this custom, says, “Our Saviour's resurrection being much talked of throughout Palestine, Pilate informed the emperor of it.” These accounts were never published; but Justin Martyr, in his first Apology, presented to the Emperor Antoninus Pius and to the senate of Rome, only about one hundred years after the death of Christ, having mentioned the crucifixion, and some of the attending circumstances, adds, “And that these things were so done, you may know from the Acts made in the time of Pontius Pilate.” And again, speaking of the miracles of Christ, he refers in the same words to these Acts of Pilate. Tertullian also speaks expressly of them, and states some things they contained. If such Acts had not existed, it would have been mere foolhardiness in Justin to refer to them when writing to the very person in whose hands they were; and if they did exist, how perfect the evidence !*

But I pass to Tacitus, whose testimony even Gibbon admits must be received. In connection with an account of the burning of Rome, in the tenth year Nero, which was imputed by Nero to the Christians, he tells us that Christ was put to death by Pontius


Horne, to whom, and Paley, I have chiefly referred in this part of the lecture.

Pilate, who was the procurator under Tiberius, as a malefactor; that the people called Christians derived their name from him; that this superstition arose in Judea, and spread to Rome, where at that time, only about thirty years after the death of Christ, the Christians were very numerous.

The words of Tacitus, in speaking of them, are, “ ingens multitudo," a great multitude. It is obvious, also, from the account of Tacitus, that the Christians were subjected to contempt and the most dreadful sufferings. “Their executions,” says he, “ were so contrived as to expose them to derision and contempt. Some were covered over with the skins of wild beasts, that they might be torn to pieces by dogs; some were crucified; while others, being daubed over with combustible materials, were set up as lights in the night-time, and were thus burnt to death.” This account is confirmed by Suetonius, and by Martial, and Juvenal. In his first satire, Juvenal has the following allusion, which I give as translated by Mr. Gifford :

“ Now dare
To glance at Tigellinus, and you glare
In that pitched shirt in which such crowds expire,
Chained to the bloody stake, and wrapped in fire.”

This testimony of Tacitus, confirmed as it is, is perfectly conclusive respecting the time and the main facts of the origin of Christianity.

It would here be in place to quote the whole of the celebrated letter of Pliny to Trajan, and the reply ; but as these are so well known, I will simply give two brief passages, one respecting the character, and the other the numbers, of the Christians. Pliny was proprætor of Pontus and Bithynia, a part of Asia remote

from Judea, and the letter was written but a little more than seventy years after the death of Christ. “ They affirmed,” says he, – that is, those who said they had once been Christians, but were not then, " that the whole of their fault, or error, lay in this, that they were wont to meet together on a stated day before it was light, and sing among themselves, alternately, a hymn to Christ, as God, and bind themselves, by an oath, not to the commission of any wickedness, but not to be guilty of theft, or robbery, or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor to deny a pledge committed to them when called upon to return it. When these things were performed, it was their custom to separate, and then to come together again to a meal, which they ate in common without any disorder.” This account seemed so extraordinary to Pliny, that he applied torture to two women, but discovered nothing more.

The passage in regard to numbers is — “Suspending, therefore, all judicial proceedings, I have recourse to you for advice ; for it has appeared to me a matter highly deserving consideration, especially on account of the great number of persons who are in danger of suffering ; for many of all ages and every rank, of both sexes likewise, are accused, and will be accused. Nor has the contagion of this superstition seized cities only, but the lesser towns also, and the open country.” Here we find the testimony given in our books of the progress of the religion fully confirmed. Pontus and Bithynia were remote provinces, and it does not appear that the Christian religion had spread more rapidly there than elsewhere. How strong must have been that primitive evidence for Christianity

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