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'Tis night-the peal comes long and loud,
Each thunderer roaring from his cloud-
Each wrapp'd in his own sulphurous shroud.

'Tis midnight; but athwart the haze,
What startling splendour blasts the gaze?
Huge L'Orient! thine that fatal blaze.

Round mast and flag the flame-wreaths soar;
Red rolls the surge, like molten ore:
Starts into spectral light the shore.

The anchors part. No more she clings
To shore or sand. Afar she springs,
The whirlwind and the flame her wings.

The fight is hush'd at once! no sound
Bursts from the brazen ramparts round:

The Briton's heart his hand has bound.

But, where the desert meets the glare,
Ring on the melancholy air

Howls of a mighty host's despair.

There, by the corpse-strewn waters stood,
In the mind's more than solitude,
The Man of glory and of blood !

NAPOLEON: no! great homicide !
A wilder sand, a wilder tide,
Must give the moral of thy pride.

The magazine's fired!-One horrid roar
Bursts round the sky, the sea, the shore.
L'Orient-thy last, fierce fight is o'er.

Down darts she, through the whirlpool, down;
To leave the shoals of Egypt strown
With wealth of many a shrine and throne.

Morn rose in beauty. Broadly roll'd
The red-cross flag its victor fold.
Fallen Tricolor, thy tale was told!

All calm, that lovely light beneath,
The sabre slumber'd in its sheath,
The cannon held its fiery breath.

Though Britain's blood was pour'd like rain,
Not one bright drop was shed in vain-
The combat shiver'd Europe's chain!

Where is that combat's victor? Gone.
His fame was like a star, alone!

He will'd to conquer-and 'twas done.

One bolder deed was yet untried-
A vassal world his flag defied:
He smote it at a blow-and died!

'Ews.

ON THE ESSENES.

PART II.

WE have sketched rapidly, in the first part of our essay, some outline of a theory with regard to the Essenes, confining ourselves to such hints as are suggested by the accounts of this sect in Josephus. And we presume that most readers will go along with us so far as to acknowledge some shock, some pause given to that blind acquiescence in the Bible statement which had hitherto satisfied them. By the Bible statement we mean, of course, nothing which any inspired part of the Bible tells us-on the contrary, one capital reason for rejecting the old notions is, the total silence of the Bible; but we mean that little explanatory note on the Essenes, which our Bible translators under James I. have thought fit to adopt, and in reality to adopt from Josephus, with a reliance on his authority which closer study would have shown to be unwarranted.

We

do not wonder that Josephus has been misappreciated by Christian readers. It is painful to read any author in a spirit of suspicion; most of all, that author to whom we must often look as our only guide. Upon Josephus we are compelled to rely for the most affecting section of ancient history. Merely as a scene of human passion, the main portion of his Wars transcends, in its theme, all other histories. But considered also as the agony of a mother church, out of whose ashes arose, like a phoenix, that filial faith "which passeth all understanding," the last conflict of Jerusalem and her glorious temple exacts from the devotional conscience as much interest as would otherwise be yielded by our human sympathies. For the circumstances of this struggle we must look to Josephus him or none we must accept for witness. And in such a case, how painful to suppose a hostile heart in every word of his deposition! Who could bear to take the account of a dear friend's last hours and farewell words from one who confessedly hated him?-one word melting us to tears, and the next rousing us to the duty of jealousy and distrust! Hence we do not wonder at the pious

NO. CCXCIV. VOL. XLVII.

fraud which interpolated the wellknown passage about our Saviour. Let us read any author in those circumstances of time, place, or immediate succession to the cardinal events of our own religion, and we shall find it a mere postulate of the heart, a mere necessity of human feeling, that we should think of him as a Christian; or, if not absolutely that, as every way disposed to be a Christian, and falling short of that perfect light only by such clouds as his hurried life or his personal conflicts might interpose. We do not blame, far from it-we admire those who find it necessary (even at the cost of a little self-delusion) to place themselves in a state of charity with an author treating such subjects, and in whose company they were to travel through some thousands of pages. We also find it painful to read an author and to loathe him. We too would be glad to suppose, as a possibility about Josephus, what many adopt as a certainty. But we know too much. Unfortunately, we have read Josephus with too scrutinizing (and, what is more, with too combining) an eye. We know him to be an unprincipled man, and an ignoble man; one whose adhesion to Christianity would have done no honour to our faith-one who most assuredly was not a Christian-one who was not even in any tolerable sense a Jewone who was an enemy to our faith, a traitor to his own: as an enemy, vicious and ignorant; as a traitor, steeped to the lips in superfluous baseness.

The vigilance with which we have read Josephus, has (amongst many other hints) suggested some with regard to the Essenes: and to these we shall now make our own readers a party; after stopping to say, that thus far, so far as we have gone already, we count on their assent to our theory, were it only from those considerations: First, the exceeding improbability that a known philosophic sect amongst the Jews, chiefly distinguished from the other two by its moral aspects, could have lurked unknown to the Evangelists; Secondly,

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the exceeding improbability that such a sect, laying the chief burden of its scrupulosity in the matter of oaths, should have bound its members by "tremendous" oaths of secresy in a case where there was nothing to conceal; Thirdly, the staring contradictoriness between such an avowal on the part of Josephus, and his deliberate revelation of what he fancied to be their creed. The objection is too inevitable: either you have taken the oaths or you have not. You have? Then by your own showing you are a perjured traitor. You have not? Then you confess yourself to speak from no personal knowledge. How can you know any thing of their secret doctrines? The seal is wanting to the record.

However, it is possible that some people will evade this last dilemma, by suggesting that Josephus wrote for Roman readers-for strangers-and for strangers after any of his countrymen who might be interested in the secret, had perished; if not personally perished, at least as a body politic. The last vestiges of the theoretical government had foundered with Jerusalem; and it might be thought by a better man than Josephus, that all obligations of secresy had perished in the general wreck.

We need not dispute that point. There is enough in what remains, The positive points of contact between the supposed Essenes and the Christ ians are too many to be got over. But upon these we will not at present insist. In this place we confine ourselves to the two points: 1. Of the universal silence amongst Christian writers, who, of all parties, would have felt it most essential to notice the Essenes, had there existed such a sect antecedently to Christ: and, 2. Of the absurdity involved in exacting an inexorable concealment from those who had nothing to reveal.

But then recollect, reader, precisely the Christian truths, which stood behind the exoteric doctrines of the Essenes, were the truths hidden from Josephus. Reason enough there was for concealment, Ir the Essenes were Christians; and reason more than was ever known to Josephus. But then, this reason for concealment in the Essenes could be known only to him who was aware that they had something to conceal. He who saw

only the mask, supposing it to be the true face, ought to have regarded the mystifying arrangements as perfect mummery: He that saw the countenance behind the masque-a countenance sweet as Paradise, but fearful as the grave at that particular time in Jerusalem, would never ask again for the motives to this concealment. Those he would apprehend in a moment. But as to Josephus, who never had looked behind the mask, the order for concealment, the adjurations to concealment, the vows of concealment, the adamantine walls of separation between the different orders of the fraternity, in order to ensure concealment, ought to have been, must have been regarded by him, as the very hyperbole of childishness.

Partly because Josephus was in this state of darkness, partly from personal causes, has he failed to clear up the secret history of Judea, in her final, that is her epichristian generation. The evidences of his having failed are two,-1st, the absolute fact, as existing in his works; which present us with a mere anarchy of incidents, as regards the politics of his own times, under no law of cohesion whatsoever, or of intelligible derivation,-2dly, the à priori necessity that he should fail; a necessity laid in the very situation of Josephus-as a man of servile temper placed amongst elements that required a Maccabee, and as a man without principle, who could not act so that his actions would bear to be reported without disguise, and as one in whom no confidence was likely to be lodged by the managers of great interests, or the depositories of great secrets.

This view of things summons us to pause, and to turn aside from our general enquiry into a special one as to Josephus. Hitherto we have derived our arguments on the Essenes from Josephus, as a willing witness -a volunteer even. But now we are going to extort our arguments; to torture him, to put him on the rack, to force him into confession; and upon points which he has done his best to darken, by throwing dust in the eyes of us all, Why? because hand in hand with the truth must go the exposure of himself. Josephus stands right in the very doorway of the light, purposely obscuring it. A glare comes round by side snatches; oblique rays, stray gleams,

from the truth which he so anxiously screens. But before the real state of things can be guessed at, it is necessary to destroy this man's character. Now, let us try to appreciate the exact position and reasonable credibility of Josephus, as he stands at present, midway between us a distant posterity, and his own countrymen of his own times, sole interpreter, sole surviving reporter, having all things his own way, nobody to contradict him, nobody to taint his evidence with suspicion. His case is most remarkable; and yet, though remarkable, is not so rare but that many times it must have occurred in private (sometimes in public) life. It is the case of a solitary individual surviving out of a multitude embarked in a desperate enterprise-some playing one part, (a part, suppose, sublime and heroic,) some playing another, (base, treacherous, fiendish.) Suddenly a great convulsion involves all in one common ruin, this man only excepted. He now finds himself with a carte blanche before him, on which he may inscribe whatever romance in behalf of himself he thinks proper. The whole field of action is open to him-the whole field of motives. He may take what side he will. And be assured that, whatever part in the play he assumes, he will give himself the best of characters. For courage you will find him a Maccabee. His too tender heart interfered, or he could have signalized his valour even more emphatically. And, descending to such base things as treasures of money, jewels, land, &c., the chief part of what had been captured, was of course (strictly speaking) his own property. What impudent falsehood, indeed, may such a man not bring forward, when there is nobody to confront him?

But was there nobody? Reader, absolutely nobody. Prisoners captured with himself at Jotopata there were none-not a man. That fact, indeed the inexorable fact, that he only endured to surrender-that one fact, taken with the commentary which we could furnish as to the circumstances of the case, and the Jewish casuistry under those circumstances, is one of the many damning features of his tale. But was there nobody, amongst the ninety thousand prisoners taken at Jerusalem, who could have spoken to parts of this man's public

life? Doubtless there were; but to what purpose for people in their situation to come forward? One and all, positively without a solitary exception, they were themselves captives, slaves condemned, despairing. Ten thousand being selected for the butcheries of the Syrian amphitheatres, the rest were liable to some punishment equally terrific; multitudes were perishing of hunger; under the mildest award, they were sure of being sentenced to the stone quarries of Egypt. Wherefore, in this extremity of personal misery and of desperate prospects, should any man find himself at leisure for a vengeance on one happier countryman which could bring no profit to the rest? Still, in a case so questionable as that of Josephus, it is possible enough that Titus would have sought some further light amongst the pri soners under any ordinary circum stances. In his heart, the noble Ro man must have distrusted Josephus and his vain-glorious account of himself. There were circumstances outstanding, many and strong, that must have pointed his suspicions in that direction; and the very conversation of a villain is sure to entangle him in contradictions. But it was now too late to move upon that inquest, Josephus himself acknowledges, that Vespasian was shrewd enough from the first to suspect him for the sycophantish knave that he was. But that time had gone by. And, in the interval, Josephus had used his opportunities skilfully; he had performed that particular service for the Flavian family, which was the one desideratum they sought for and yearned for. By his pretended dreams, Josephus had put that seal of heavenly ratification to the ambitious projects of Vespasian, which only was wanting for the satisfaction of his soldiers. The service was critical, What Titus said to his father is known :-This man, be he what he may, has done a service to us. It is not for men of rank like us to haggle and chaffer about rewards. Having received a favour, we must make the reward princely; not what he deserves to receive, but what is becoming for us to grant. On this consideration these great men acted. Sensible that, not having hanged Josephus at first, it was now become their duty to reward him, they did not do the thing by halves. Not con

tent with releasing him from his chains, they sent an officer to cut his chains to pieces-that being a symbolic act by which the Romans abolished the very memory and legal record that ever a man had been in confinement. The fact is, that amongst the Roman public virtues in that age, was an intense fidelity to engagements; and where they had even tacitly permitted a man to form hopes, they fulfilled them beyond the letter. But what Titus said to his staff, though naturally not put on record by Josephus, was very probably this:-"Gentlemen, I see you look upon this Jew as a poltroon, and perhaps worse. Well, possibly we don't much differ upon that point. But it has become necessary to the public service that this man should be reinstated in credit. He will now, perhaps, turn over a new leaf. If he does not, kick him to Hades. But, mean time, give the man a trial."

Such, there can be little doubt, was the opinion of Cæsar about this man. But now it remains to give our own, with the reasons on which it rests.

I. First of all-which we bring merely as a proof of his habitual mendacity-in one of those tongue-doughty orations, which he represents himself as having addressed to the men of Jerusalem, they standing on the walls patiently, with paving-stones in their hands, to hear a renegade abuse them by the hour, [such is his lying legend,] Josephus roundly asserts that Abraham, the patriarch of their nation, had an army of 360,000 troops, that is, somewhere about seventy-five legions-an establishment beyond what the first Cæsars had found requisite for mastering the Mediterranean sea with all the nations that belted it—that is, a ring fence of 5000 miles by 700 on an average. Now, this is in the style of the Baron Munchausen. But it is worthy of a special notice, for two illustrations which it offers of this renegade's propensities. One is the abject homage with which he courted the Roman notice. Of this lie, as of all his lies, the primary purpose is, to fix the gaze and to court the admiration of the Romans. Judea, Jerusalem-these were objects never in his thoughts; it was Rome, the haven of his apostasy, on which his anxieties settled. Now, it is a judgment upon the man who carried these purposes

in his heart-it is a judicial retribution-that precisely this very lie, shaped and pointed to conciliate the Roman taste for martial splendour, was probably the very ground of that disgust which seems to have alienated Tacitus from his works. Apparently Josephus should have been the foremost authority with this historian for Jewish affairs. But enough remains to show that he was not; and it is clear that the confidence of so sceptical a writer must have been shaken from the very first by so extravagant a tale. Abraham, a mere stranger and colonist in Syria, whose descendants in the third generation mustered only seventy persons in emigrating to Egypt, is here placed at the head of a force greater than great empires had commanded or had needed. And from what resources raised ? From a little section of Syria, which (supposing it even the personal domain of Abraham) could not be equal to Wales. And for what objects? To face what enemies? A handful of robbers that might congregate in the desert. Such insufferable fairy tales must have vitiated the credit even of his rational statements; and it is thus pleasant to see the apostate missing one reward which he courted, purely through his own eagerness to buy it at the price of truth. But a second feature which this story betrays in the mind of Josephus, is the thorough defect of Hebrew sublimity and scriptural simplicity which mark his entire writing. How much more impressive is the picture of Abraham, as the father of the faithful, the selected servant and feudatory of God, sitting in the wilderness, majestically reposing at the door of his tent, surrounded by a little camp of servants and kinsmen, a few score of camels and a few herds of cattle, than in the melodramatic attitude of a general, belted and plumed, with a glittering staff of officers at his orders? But the mind of Josephus, always irreligious, was now violently warped into a poor imitation of Roman models. He absolutely talks of "liberty" and " glory," as the moving impulses of Hebrew saints; and does his best to translate the Maccabees, and many an elder soldier of the Jewish faith, into poor theatrical mimics of Spartans and Thebans. This depravity of taste, and abjuration of his national characteristics, must not be

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