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that Tertullian and Eusebius reasoned exactly as the Heathens did respecting the nature of Christ, and that the real source of their belief in his divinity was Heathenism.
My next object is to show that the Pagans adopted the supposition of our Lord's divinity, to set aside the claims of his Gospel. The Heathen philosophers thought themselves called upon to account for the miracles of Christ, and for his appearance after death. · If he were a demon, or God, the phenomena required no investiga tion 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 na, ture. This was sufficient : further inquiry would be unnecessary, or a mere matter of 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 receive his doctrine, and the records contained in 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 man. kind, 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 would be followed by indefinitely great misery, and virtue by indefinitely great happiness. To prove that he announced these glad tidings at the command of God, he did, with the power of God, things which no other power, but that of God, could do. He voluntarily laid down his life as a proof that he himself believed the doctrine which he 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, be in nature and constitution one of that kind. For if he inherited the divine nature, it most obviously followed, that a being who, by virtue of his superior nature, survived death, is no proof of the resurrection of an inferior race who, by the condition of their being, are subject to death. This was the argument which the Pagan writers wished to inculcate: and if it be solid, the Gospel, which contains the glad tidings of a future state to man, falls to the ground. In proof of the assertion that they proceeded on these premises, and with this view,, in holding the divine nature of Christ, I briefly cite the following facts.
1. The Pharisees, when they could no longer deny the works of Jesus, asserted that he was aided by a de
““ This man could not cast out these demons, but through Beelzebub, the prince of the demons:?? Matt. xii. 23. By this they méant to say, not only that Beelzebub assisted Jesus, but that he resided within him. . This is evident from the words of Mark, who represents the Pharisees as saying that he had an unclean spirit, chap. iii. 28. This is an incident of great importance, though the consequence of it has not been sufficiently observed by learned men. For it clearly shows that the surest and most plausible way which the enemies of Jesus had to undermine his claims, was to represent him as a supernatural being, or a supernatural being as united with him.
The Emperor Alexander Severus believed in the divinity of Christ, as is thus attested by Ælius Lampridius, a.writer whose testimony, as being that of a Pagan, cannot reasonably be called in question. “He (Alexander) intended to build a temple to Christ, and to receive him among
the gods; which Adrian also is reported to have designed, who ordered temples to be erected in all cities, without statues. But he was hindered by those who, by consulting the oracle, had discovered that, if such an event had happened to the person desired, all would be66 They
come Christians, and other temples would be forsaken.” See Lard. vii. 364.
2. Hadrian in his letter to the Consul Servianus, preserved by Vopiscus, (in Saturnino, c. 7. or Lard. vii. 363,) asserts that the devotees of Serapis were believers in Christ. Illi qui Serapim colunt Christiani sunt, et devoti sünt Serapi, qui se episcopos Christi dicunt. who worship Serapis profess Christianity, and the very bishops of Christ are devotees of Serapis." These devotees were doubtless such believers in Christ as Hadrian himself was, that is, they were believers in his divinity, thinking, or affecting to think, that the God which dwelled in him was the same with Serapis. Those bishops of Christ's, yet worshippers of Serapis, were the Gnostic teachers, of whom the celebrated Basilides was the chief. The devotion of that impostor to Serapis, while'he affected to be a believer in and teacher of Christianity, appears from a story told by Tacitus, which represents him, among others, as instigating Vespasian to cure a blind man at Alexandria, with no other view than to obtain, in honour of the Egyptian divinity, the counterpart of a miracle actually performed by Jesus Christ: the supposition that Christ and Serapis were the same, was as natural to the people of Egypt, as it was in the Jews to suppose that he was animated by Beelzebub; or in the magicians at Rome, that he was the son of Mercury and Penelope ; or in the people of Lystra, that Paul and Barnabas were Jupiter and Mercury.
9. Those who first believed, or affected to believe, that our Lord was a supernatural being, changed Christus into Chrestus, an epithet which the Pagans applied to such of the demons as they considered benign or useful to mankind. In this number seems to have been Suetonius, who briefly says that Claudius expelled the Jews for disturbing the city, at the instigation of Chrestus. Judæos, impulsore Chresto, assidue tumultuantes Roma expulit. This writer well knew that Jesus had been put to death in the reign of Tiberius; yet bis language in. plies that Christ was still living, and instigating the Jews in the time of Claudius. Suetonius, therefore, must have adopted the vulgar notion that Christ was a demon, and still in existence, though the man Jesus, in whom he for a time resided, had been long since put to death.
The philosophers who flourished in the second cens tury, and afterwards, and who formed the celebrated school of Alexandria, had recourse to the same reasoning; and there is reason to believe that they exerted all their talents and reputation to destroy Christianity, upon no other ground than that the founder was himself supposed to be a supernatural being. A passage of Amelius, a disciple of Plotinus, and one of the bitterest enemies of the Gospel, is decisive on this subject. “This truly is the word (Logos), by whom, as being eternal, all things were made, as Heraclitus would have acknowledged : and, indeed, the Barbarian assigning to him the rank and dignity of being in the beginning, asserts that he existed with God, and was God; that by him were all things made ; and in him every thing that is made, has its life and being ; that, having descended into a body, and clothed himself with flesh, he appeared a man; and that, after he had even then shown the greatness of his nature, he disengaged himself from the flesh, again resumed his Godhead, and is still a God as he was before he became a man. Euseb. Prep: Evan. lib. ii. 19. see Lard. vii. 160.
I need not tell the reader that the Barbarian here meant, was John the Evangelist. Here Amelius, an enemy of the Gospel, acknowledges the divinity of Christ, and admits the truth of his miracles, by saying that while in the flesh, he displayed the greatness of his nature. This is a remarkable fact; a Heathen asserts the divinity of Christ to be true, in order to set his go. spel aside as false. For he understood, or affected to understand, the Evangelist, as aiming to prove that
Christ who performed the miracles, was the same with the Logos who made all things. He moreover intimates that Heraclitus taught the same doctrine respecting the Logos : and that the Barbarian John had advanced nothing but what the Greek philosopher would have advanced, had he been then living : which amounts to this : “ that Christianity as far as it is true, is included in the Gentile philosophy; whilst, as far as it is new and peculiar, it is false and unnecessary.
This proposition, when properly investigated and ascertained, cannot fail to have great effect towards deciding the controversy between the advocates of the Orthodox, and those of the Unitarian faith. As the views of mankind shall open, the providence of God will appear to furnish wonderful provisions for restoring Christianity to its original purity, and to establish its truth throughout the world; and it will seem, in future times, surprising that even in the nineteenth century the great majority of those who profess the Christian religion, hold that doctrine to be essential to it, which its enemies at first adopted as the most specious and effectual means of setting it aside as false ; a sure proof that Christianity as vulgarly received and established, whether by prejudice or power, contains the very essence of Antichrist.
The Gnostic system and Antichrist the same.-Gnosticism
explained.--Its origin and authors pointed out by Christ.
THE Author of “ Not Paul but Jesus” has committed the ridiculous blunder of supposing that the term Anti