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great event; and all the three reigns combined filled no important space of time.
overlooked in estimating the value whether of his opinions or his statements. We have evidence superabundant to these two features in the character of Josephus-that he would distort every thing in order to meet the Roman taste, and that he had originally no sympathy whatsoever with the peculiar grandeur of his own country.
II. It is a remarkable fact, that Josephus never speaks of Jerusalem and those who conducted its resistance, but in words of abhorrence and of loathing that amounts to frenzy. Now, in what point did they differ from himself? Change the name Judea to Galilee, and the name Jerusalem to Jo. topata, and their case was his case; and the single difference was- -that the men, whom he reviles as often as he mentions them, had persevered to martyrdom, whilst he-he only-had snatched at life under any condition of ignominy. But precisely in that difference lay the ground of his hatred. He could not forgive those whose glorious resistance (glorious, were it even in a mistaken cause) emblazoned and threw into relief his own apostasy. This we cannot dwell on ; but we revert to the question-What had the people of Jerusalem done, which Josephus had not attempted to do?
III. Whiston, another Caliban wor shipping another Trinculo, finds out a divinity in Josephus, because, on being brought prisoner to Vespasian, he pretended to have seen in a dream that the Roman general would be raised to the purple. Now,
1. When we see Cyrus lurking in the prophecies of Isaiah, and Alexander in those of Daniel, we appre hend a reasonableness in thus causing the spirit of prophecy to settle upon those who were destined to move in the great cardinal revolutions of this earth. But why, amongst all the Cæsars, must Vespasian, in particular, be the subject of a prophecy, and a prophecy the most thrilling, from the mysterious circumstances which surrounded it, and from the silence with which it stole into the mouths of all nations? The reigns of all the three Flavian Cæsars, Vespasian, with his sons Titus and Domitian, were memorable for nothing: with the sole exception of the great revolution in Judea, none of them were marked by any
2. If Vespasian, for any incomprehensible reason, were thought worthy of being heralded by a prophecy, what logic was there in connecting him with Syria? That which raised him to the purple, that which suggested him to men's minds, was his military eminence, and this was obtained in Britain.
3. If the mere local situations from which any uninteresting emperor happened to step on to the throne, merited this special glorification from prophecy, why was not many another region, town, or village, illustrated in the same way? That Thracian hamlet, from which the Emperor Maximin arose, had been pointed out to notice before the event as a place likely to be distinguished by some great event. And yet, because this prediction had merely a personal reference, and no relation at all to any great human interest, it was treated with little respect, and never crept into a general circulation. So of this prophecy with respect to one who should rise out of the East, and should ultimately stretch his sceptre over the whole world, (rerum potiretur,) if Josephus is allowed to ruin it by his sycophancy, instantly, from the rank of a Hebrew prophecy-a vision seen by "the man whose eyes God had opened”—it sinks to the level of a vagrant gipsy's gossip. What shall Rome combine with Jerusalem?-for we find this same mys. terious prediction almost verbally the same in Suetonius and in Tacitus, no less than in the Jewish prophets. Shall it stretch not only from the east to the west in point of space, but through the best part of a thousand years in point of time, all for the sake of preparing one day's adulatory nuzzur, by which a trembling Jew may make his propitiation to an intriguing lieutenant of Cæsar? And how came it that Whiston (who, to do him justice, was too. pious to have abetted an infidel trick, had his silliness suffered him to see through it) failed to perceive this consequence ? If the prophecy before us belong to Vespasian, then does it not belong to Christ. And in that case, the worst error of the Herodian Jews, who made the Messiah prophecies terminate in Herod, is ratified by Chris
tians; for between Herod and Vespasian the difference is none at all, as regards any interest of religion. Can human patience endure the spectacle of a religious man, from perfect folly, combining in their very worst efforts with those whom it was the object of his life to oppose?
4. But finally, once for all, to cut sharp off by the roots this corruption of a sublime prophecy, and to reenthrone it in its ancient sanctity, it was not in the "Orient" (which both technically meant Syria in that particular age, and is acknowledged to mean it here by all parties) that Vespaslan obtained the purple. The oracle, if it is to be translated from a Christian to a pagan oracle, ought at least to speak the truth. Now, it happens not to have been Syria in which Vespasian was saluted emperor by the legions, but Alexandria; a city which, in that age, was in no sense either in Syria or in Egypt. So that the great prophecy, if it is once suffered to be desecrated by Josephus, fails even of a literal fulfil
IV. Mean time, all this is a matter of personal falsehood in a case of trying personal interest. Even under such a temptation, it is true that a man of generosity, to say nothing of principle, would not have been capable of founding his own defence upon the defamation of his nobler compatriots. But in fact it is ever thus: he, who has sunk deepest in treason, is generally possessed by a double measure of rancour against the loyal and the faithful. What follows, however, has respect-not to truth personal, truth of fact, truth momentary, -but to truth absolute, truth doctrinal, truth eternal. Let us preface what we are going to say, by directing the reader's attention to this fact: how easy it is to observe any positive feature in a man's writings or conversation-how rare to observe the negative features; the presence of this or that characteristic is noticed in an hour, the absence shall often escape notice for years. That a friend, for instance, talks habitually on this or that literature, we know as familiarly as our own constitutional tastes; that he does not talk of any given literature, (the Greek suppose,) may fail to strike us through a whole life, until somebody happens to point our
attention in that direction, and then perhaps we notice it in every hour of our intercourse. This only can excuse the various editors, commentators, translators, of Josephus for having overlooked one capital omission in this author; it is this-never in one instance does Josephus allude to the great prophetic doctrine of a Messiah. To suppose him ignorant of this doctrine is impossible; it was so mixed up with the typical part of the Jewish religion, so involved in the ceremonies of Judaism, even waiving all the Jewish writers, that no Jew whatever, much less a master in Israel, a Pharisee, a doctor of the law, a priest, all which Josephus proclaims himself, could fail to know of such a doctrine, even if he failed to understand it, or failed to appreciate its importance.
Why, then, has Josephus suppressed it? For this reason: the doctrine offers a dilemma-a choice between two interpretations-one being purely spiritual, one purely political. The first was offensive and unintelligible (as was every thing else in his native religion beyond the merely ceremonial) to his own worldly heart; the other would have been offensive to the Romans. The mysterious idea of a Redeemer, of a Deliverer, if it were taken in a vast spiritual sense, was a music like the fabled Arabian voices in the desert-utterly inaudible when the heart is deaf, and the sympathies untuned. The fleshly mind of Josephus every where shows its incapacity for any truths, but those of sense. On the other hand, the idea of a political deliverer-that was comprehensible enough; but, unfortunately, it was too comprehensible. It was the very watchword for national conspiracies; and the Romans would state the alternative thus: The idea of a great deliverer is but another name for insurrection against us-of a petty deliverer is incompatible with the grandeur implied by a vast prophetic machinery. Without knowing much, or caring any thing about the Jewish prophecies, the Romans were sagacious enough to perceive two things1st, that most nations, and the Jews above all others, were combined by no force so strongly as by one which had the reputation of a heavenly descent; 2dly, that a series of prophecies, stretching from the century before Cyrus to the age of Pericles,
(confining ourselves to the prophets from Isaiah to Haggai) was most unlikely to find its adequate result and consummation in any petty changeany change short of a great national convulsion or revolution.
Hence it happened, that no mode in which a Roman writer could present the Jewish doctrine of a Messiah, was free from one or other of the objections indicated by the great Apostle: either it was too spiritual and mysterious, in which case it was "foolishness" to himself; or it was too palpably the symbol of a political interest, too real in a worldly sense, in which case it was a "stone of offence" to his Roman patrons-generally to the Roman people, specially to the Roman leaders. Josephus found himself between Scylla and Charybdis if he approached that subject. And therefore it was that he did not approach it.
V. Yet, in this evasion of a theme which interested every Jew, many readers will see only an evidence of that timidity and servile spirit which must, of course, be presumed in one who had sold the cause of his country. His evasion, they will say, does not argue any peculiar carelessness for truth; it is simply one instance amongst hundreds of his mercenary cowardice. The doctrine of a Messiah was the subject of dispute even to the Jewsthe most religious and the most learned. Some restrained it to an earthly sense; some expanded it into a glorified hope. And, though a double sense will not justify a man in slighting both senses, still the very existence of a dispute about the proper acceptation of a doctrine, may be pleaded as some palliation for a timid man, in seeking to pass it sub silentio. But what shall we say to this coming count in the indictment? Hitherto Josephus is only an apostate, only a traitor, only a libeller, only a false-witness, only a liar; and as to his Jewish faith, only perhaps a coward, only perhaps a heretic. But now he will reveal himself (in the literal sense of that word) as a miscreant; one who does not merely go astray in his faith, as all of us may do at times, but pollutes his faith by foul adulterations, or undermines it by knocking away its props—a misbeliever, not in the sense of a heterodox believer, who errs as to some point in
the superstruction, but as one who un settles the foundations-the eternal substructions. In one short sentence, Josephus is not ashamed to wrench out the keystone from the great arch of Judaism; so far as a feeble apostate's force will go, he unlocks the whole cohesion and security of that monumental faith upon which, as its basis and plinth, is the "starry-pointing" column of our Christianity. He delivers it to the Romans, as sound Pharisaic doctrine, that God had enjoined upon the Jews the duty of respectful homage to all epichorial or national deities to all idols, that is to say, provided their rank were attested by a suitable number of worshippers. The Romans applied this test to the subdivisions amongst princes; if a prince ruled over a small number of subjects, they called him (without reference to the original sense of the word) a tetrarch; if a certain larger number, an ethnarch; if a still larger number, a king. So again, the number of throats cut determined the question between a triumph and an ovation. And upon the same principle, if we will believe Josephus, was regulated the public honour due to the Pagan deities. Count his worshippers -call the roll over.
Does the audacity of man present us with such another instance of perfidious miscreancy? God the Jehovah anxious for the honour of Jupiter and Mercury! God, the Father of light and truth, zealous on behalf of those lying deities, whose service is every where described as "whoredom and adultery!" He who steadfastly reveals himself as "a jealous God," jealous also (if we will believe this apostate Jew) on behalf of that impure Pantheon, who had counterfeited his name, and usurped his glory! Reader, it would be mere mockery and insult to adduce on this occasion the solemn denunciations against idolatrous com. pliances uttered through the great lawgiver of the Jews-the unconditional words of the two first commandments-the magnificent thunderings and lightnings upon the primal question, in the 28th chapter of Deuteronomy, (which is the most awful peroration to a long series of prophetic comminations that exists even in the Hebrew literature ;) or to adduce the endless testimonies to the same effect,
so unvarying, so profound, from all the Hebrew saints, beginning with Abraham and ending with the prophets, through a period of 1500 years.
This is not wanted: this would be superfluous. But there is an evasion open to an apologist of Josephus, which might place the question upon a more casuistical footing. And there is also a colourable vindication of the doctrine in its very worst shape, viz. in one solitary text of the English Bible, according to our received translation. To this latter argument, the answer is-first, that the word gods is there a mistranslation of an Oriental expression for princes; secondly, that an argument from an English version of the Scriptures, can be none for a Jew, writing A.D. 70; thirdly, that if a word, a phrase, an idiom, could be alleged from any ancient and contemporary Jewish Scripture, what is one word against a thousandagainst the whole current (letter and spirit) of the Hebrew oracles; what, any possible verbal argument against that which is involved in the acts, the monuments, the sacred records of the Jewish people? But this mode of defence for Josephus will scarcely be adopted. It is the amended form of his doctrine which will be thought open to apology. Many will think that it is not the worship of false gods which the Jew palliates, but simply a decent exterior of respect to their ceremonies, their ministers, their altars: and this view of his meaning might raise a new and large question.
This question, however, in its modern shape, is nothing at all to us, when applying ourselves to Josephus. The precedents from Hebrew antiquity show us, that not merely no respect, no lip honour, was conceded to false forms of religion; but no toleration not the shadow of toleration: "Thine eye shall not spare them." And we must all be sure that toleration is a very different thing indeed when applied to varieties of a creed essentially the same-toleration as existing amongst us people of Christendom, or even when applied to African and Polynesian idolatries, so long as we all know that the citadel of truth is safe, from the toleration applied in an age when the pure faith formed a little island of light in a world of darkness. Intolerance the most ferocious may have been among the sublimest of duties
when the truth was so intensely concentrated, and so intensely militant; all advantages barely sufficing to pass down the lamp of religion from one generation to the next. The contest was for an interest then riding at single anchor. This is a very possible case to the understanding. And that it was in fact the real case, so that no compromise with idolatry could be suffered for a moment; that the Jews were called upon to scoff at idolatry, and spit upon it; to trample it under their feet as the spreading pestilence which would taint the whole race of man irretrievably, unless defeated and strangled by them, seems probable in the highest degree, from the examples of greatest sanctity amongst the Jewish inspired writers. Who can forget the blasting mockery with which Elijah overwhelms the prophets of Baal—the greatest of the false deities, Syrian or Assyrian, whose worship had spread even to the Druids of the western islands? Or the withering scorn with which Isaiah pursues the whole economy of idolatrous worship?—how he represents a man as summoning the carpenter and the blacksmith; as cutting down a tree of his own planting and rearing; part he applies as fuel, part to culinary purposes; and thenhaving satisfied the meanest of his animal necessities-what will he do with the refuse, with the offal? Behold--" of the residue he maketh himself a god!" Or again, who can forget the fierce stream of ridicule, like a flame driven through a blowpipe, which Jeremiah forces with his whole afflatus upon the process of idol-manufacturing? The workman's part is described as unexceptionable: he plates it with silver and with gold; he rivets it with nails; it is delivered to order, true and in workman-like style, so that as a figure, as a counterfeit, if counter. feits might avail, it is perfect. But then, on examination, the prophet detects oversights: it cannot speak; the breath of life has been overlooked; reason is omitted; pulsation has been left out; motion has been forgottenit must be carried, "for it cannot go.' Here, suddenly, as if a semichorus stepped in, with a moment's recoil of feeling, a movement of pity speaks,"Be not afraid of them, for they cannot do evil; neither also is it in them to do any good." But in an instant the recoil is compensated: an
overwhelming reaction of scorn comes back, as with the reflux of a tide; and a full chorus seems to exclaim, with the prophet's voice,-" They (viz. the heathen deities) are altogether brutish and foolish; the stock is a doctrine of vanities."
What need, after such passages, to quote the express injunction from Isaiah? (chap. xxx. v. 21, 2,) “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way; walk ye in it: Ye shall defile the covering of the graven images, &c. ; ye shall cast them away as a polluted cloth." Or this? (chap. xlii. 8,) " I am the Lord; that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another; neither my praise to graven images. Once for all, if a man would satisfy himself upon this question of possible compromises with idolatry, let him run over the eleven chapters of Jeremiah, from the tenth to the twentieth inclusive. The whole sad train of Jewish sufferings, all the vast equipage of woes and captivities that were to pursue them through so many a weary century, are there charged upon that one rebellion of idolatry, which Josephus would have us believe not only to be privileged, but (and that is the reason that we call him a miscreant) would have us believe to have been promoted by a collusion emanating from God. In fact, if once it had been said authentically, Pay an outward homage to the Pagan Pantheon, but keep your hearts from going along with it then, in that countenance to idolatry as a sufferable thing, and in that commendation of it to the forbearance and indulgence of men, would have lurked every advantage that polytheism could have desired for breaking down the total barriers of truth.
Josephus, therefore, will be given up to reprobation; apologist he will find none; he will be abandoned as a profligate renegade, who, having sold his country out of fear and avarice, having sold himself, sold also his religion, and his religion not simply in the sense of selling his individual share in its hopes, but who sold his religion in the sense of giving it up to be polluted in its doctrine for the accommodation of its Pagan enemies.
VI. But, even after all this is said, there are other aggravations of this Jew's crimes. One of these, though
hurrying, we will pause to state. The founder of the Jewish faith foresaw a certain special seduction certain to beset its professors in every age. But how and through what avenues? Was it chiefly through the base and mercenary propensities of human nature that the peril lay? No; but through its gentleness, its goodness, its gracious spirit of courtesy. And in that direction it was that the lawgiver applied his warnings and his resistance. What more natural than that an idolatrous wife should honour the religious rites which she had seen honoured by her parents? What more essential to the dignity of marriage, than that a husband should show a leaning to the opinions and the wishes of his wife? It was seen that this condition of things would lead to a collision of feelings not salutary for man. The condition was too full of strife, if you suppose the man strong-of temptation, if you suppose him weak. How, therefore, was the casuistry of such a situation practically met? By a prohibition of marriages between Jews and pagans; after which, if a man were to have pleaded his conjugal affection in palliation of idolatrous compliances, it would have been answered" It is a palliation; but for an error committed in consequence of such a connexion. Your error was different; it commenced from a higher point; it commenced in seeking for a connexion which had been prohibited as a snare.' Thus it was that the "wisest heart" of Solomon was led astray. And thus it was in every idolatrous lapse of the Jews;-they fell by these prohi bited connexions. Through that chan nel it was, through the goodness and courtesy of the human heart, that the Jewish law looked for its dangers, and provided for them. But the treason of Josephus came through no such generous cause. It had its origin in servile fear, self-interest the most mer. cenary, cunning the most wily. Josephus argued with himself—that the peculiar rancour of the Roman mind towards the Jews had taken its rise in religion. The bigotry of the Jews, for so it was construed by those who could not comprehend any possible ground of distinction in the Jewish God, produced a reaction of Roman bigotry. Once, by a sudden movement of condescension, the Senate and people of Rome had been willing to