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truth with delight. He attached to himself many of the Jews and also many of the Greeks. This was the Christ: and though at the instigation of our leading men Pilate condemned him to the cross, yet such as loved him at first did not cease to love him; for he appeared to them after three days again alive, the divine prophets having foretold this and innumerable other marvellous things concerning him: and the people who from him call them selves Christians have not fallen away." A. J. lib. 18. c. 3. 3.
During a whole century this famous passage has been the subject of much dispute in every country throughout Christendom, till at length those, who agree in nothing else, came to agree in this, that the paragraph is the forgery of some Christian in the third century: nor perhaps is there a man of any estimation in Europe who thinks it the production of Josephus. The arguments that led to this conclusion are principally the two following:
“ This is the work of a Christian, which Josephus was not.” The assumption is erroneous: Josephus was a believer in Christ, and his immortal works bear testimony to his being the historian and apologist of the Gospel. In his book against Apion he relates that a pure system of worship and morals, issuing from Judea, had in his days pervaded the world; that there was scarcely a family among Greeks or Barbarians into which this system had not forced its way; that those who received it equalled, if not excelled, in zeal and attachment to it, the very people who taught it; that the foundation of it was a future state foretold by Moses and afterwards confirmed by a mighty proof given by God himself; and finally, that this doctrine supposed not the immortality of the human soul, but the renewal of being to mankind after a revolution of ages. But, the author does not say what was the nature of the strong proof which God gave of a future state, but only that it was foretold by Moses. In the above paragraph, however, he supplies this omission, and tells us that Christ, at the impeachment of the leading men, was condemned to the cross; and that notwithstanding he appeared to his followers after three days again alive; and that these, with other marvellous things concerning him, had been predicted by the divine prophets : and this is precisely the history of Christ and his religion, as far as we can gather them from the New Testament.
But it is said that this testimony of Josephus was not quoted by any Christian writer before the days of Eusebius in the third century. True: but the more early Greek and Latin fathers had sufficient reason for not quoting it. Josephus was an apostolic believer; he received and embraced the religion of Jesus in its purity. And he not only excludes the doctrines of his divinity and miraculous birth from the history which he gives of our Lord,--and by this exclusion he shows them to be foreign to his Gospel,—but in the context he brings to light the origin of those doctrines, and brands the base authors of them with infamy to the end of time. Justin Martyr, Origen, and others, knew this to be a fact, and they passed over the testimony of the Jewish historian in profound silence, lest in an age when the transactions were fresh in the memories of men, the secret should transpire, and the very foundations of the orthodox faith be blown up as with gunpowder by the illustrious historian of the Jews. Time however removed the events to which Josephus refers from the knowledge of men; and after three centuries ecclesiastical writers feel themselves safe to quote the authority of Josephus.
The objections made against this disputed passage would never have been made, had these things been known : they originated in misconception; and the real character and views of Josephus being at length brought to light, they fall like a dead weight to the ground; and there they will remain, a monument of the temerity and mistaken views of those who urged them. Nor should I omit to mention that the style of the passage is in exact unison with the very peculiar style of Josephus; the same conciseness and comprehension, the same dry and unvarnished detail of facts, distinguish it, which distinguish all his other works. Nor can any suspicion arise against its genuineness, from the want of authentic evidence. The same historical testimony authenticates it which authenticates all the works of Josephus, no manuscript, no version, no copy being ever known to exist without this celebrated paragraph. When men talk of forging a passage in Josephus, they surely talk without due consideration. A spurious paragraph might have been inserted in those copies which the Christians possessed; but could they do the same with those in possession of the Jews ? And what Jew ever possessed the works of Josephus which did not contain the testimony he bears to Jesus Christ ?
This important passage unites in a remarkable manner the opposite qualities of brevity and fulness. few sentences Josephus has brought together the leading articles of faith contained in the four Gospels, and asserts them to be true. Beginning in substance with the third chapter, and ending with the twenty-eighth of Matthew, he states that “ Jesus was a wise man, and the aụthor of wonderful works. The same Jesus is the Christ: the rulers condemned, and Pilate crucified him. Nevertheless his followers, who loved him from the beginning, still continued to love him to the end : for he appeared to them again alive the third day, the inspired penmen of Judea having foretold these and thousand other things respecting him. In the midst of his suffer. ings and his disgrace, he attached to himself many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles; to these he taught the truth; and the men who loved him, who saw his works, and who heard his words and recorded them in the memoirs of his public life, were such as took pleasure only
in the truth. These great facts, thus explicitly attested by the Jewish historian, are the chief points on which the Apostles insisted in preaching the Gospel ; and they form the peculiar and distinguishing doctrines of Christianity*.
* The learned Daubuz has composed a whole volume to show that one egg is not more like to another than the style of this paragraph is to that of Josephus. I will here point out one coincidence, not only between the words but the ideas and sentiments of Josephus. He says of Jesus, that he attracted to himself many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. The verb is senyaysto. Now in speaking of the converts which the Apostles made at Antioch, he used the same verb ayw in the middle voice combined with rgos instead of sto. They were continually attracting to their own worship a great multitude of the Greeks.” When Josephus says that Jesus attracted many to himself, he explains the cause to be the wisdom, the love of truth, which he displayed, and the wonderful works which he performed. The miracles which had been done by our Lord, and those which at the time were done by the preachers, were also the real cause of the attraction at Antioch. Every thing also connected with them was repulsive in the extreme, as they were vilified and persecuted not only as heretics, but even as incendiaries. The writer of the Acts briefly says, that “ the hand of the Lord was with them,” yet Josephus is silent respecting the miraculous power that thus gave them success, though the notice of it was necessary to render his narrative intelligible and rational. The improper use which the Heathens, to whom Josephus addressed his writings, made of the miracles wrought by Christ and his Apostles, is the true cause of the reserve which the Jewish historian maintains respecting them; and this is well illustrated by a signal example io modern days. I allude to the celebrated convert to Unitarianism in India. The Hindoos were disqualified by their erroneous notions of God and the laws of nature, to draw the proper inference from the miracles of Christ. RAMMOHUN Roy, therefore, in order to bring his countrymen over to Cbristianity, addresses to them a work in which he passes over the miracles of Jesus, and dwells on his precepts as the guide to peace and happiness.
Antichrist taught at Rome by a Jew and certain Egyptian
Priests. The Emperor prevailed upon by these Men to propose to the Senate the Deification of Jesus.—The same stigmatized as Impostors by Josephus.—The Notice taken of them by Paul in his Epistle to the Romans.
My object in this and the two succeeding chapters is to show, that the antichristian system described in the third was introduced into the several churches established by the apostle Paul. If this should appear to be the case, two consequences will obviously follow; namely, that the authors of that system at Jerusalem employed emissaries in disseminating it, with the view of counteracting the labours of the Apostles; and that the success which the impostors met with, was the principal means in the hands of providence in calling forth the letters which Paul addressed to the converts whose name they bear. This inquiry is an object of high importance, as it cannot fail to throw new light upon many obscure parts of these writings, settle the question respecting certain dogmas imputed to the author by the advocates of the orthodox faith, and enable us to meet and refute the allegation, that Paul taught a religion different from that of Christ and his other apostles.
I begin with the introduction of Gnosticism into the church at Rome: and here a celebrated passage of Tertullian already quoted, claims our attention. Therein he says that Tiberius, apprized of the works of Jesus, proposed his deification to the senate, with his own vote in his favour, but that the senate rejected the proposal, because the emperor had himself declined that honour. Eusebius and Orosius state the same fact. The words of the latter are to this effect, Oros.lib.7. c. 4. “ Tiberius