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to erder a man, who had been accused of conspiring against him, to be imprisoned, have, without some very cogent reason, prezumed to revoke an indulgence, which he had freely granted to the Senate, and as Tacitus says, by way of confirming his own despotism ; and then, to abolish all those asyla which the Senate bad established, not excepting even the Jewish indulgence. If indeed he restored this privilege to the Senate, as Tacitus says, by way of confirming his despotism, would he without a sufficient provocation, have presumed to take it from them again? Would it, in that case, not have been better not to have restored it? Did he then notice some very great abuse, in any of them, which the Senate ought to have corrected ? If so, what could that have been but the abuse of the Jewish, in the case of our Lord? When we find a seditious person, and a murderer, was suffered to escape with impunity, and an innocent person put to death in his stead." P. 166.
We are also willing to bestow unqualified approbation, on the chapter in which Mr. Reydle has shewn, that Tiberius forbad the Jews to sione Jewish believers, but did not forbid them to stone other offenders as they had been accustomed to do. With considerable ingenuity, he has fixed the time when the Talmud of Jerusalem asserts, that judgment in criminal cases was taken froin Israel. He entertains the same opinion with the learned Selden, as to the power of the Sanhedrim in capital cases, even after the crucifixion of our Lord, and demonstrates that the privilege of the Jews to stone blaspheniery, was not restrained till they had made use of it, to persecute Christians under that appellation.
Thus far we can follow our author in his reasoning, but he now leaves us at a great distance. We can by no means agree as to the motive assigned by Mr. Rendle, for the secession of Tiberius from Rome, and his residence at Capreæ, and we shall state this reason in his own words.
« Grief then for the loss of his only son, and two or three very old friends, seems to be the only cause of his retiring from Rome, and remaining so long in Campania ; that is, from the year 779, or nearly the end of 780, if not till 781, in which last mentioned year he was 70, and Christ was rather early in that year preached at Rome. If then, grief was his complaint, and it was when the disaster of Fidenæ happened, so far abated, that the Senate began to expect his return, when V. Quinctilius his kinsman was accused, and in Iropes that he would counteract the then enormously increasing prevalence of accusers, why did he instead of returning withdraw to Capreæ; and though requested by the Senate again and again to return, in order to counteract i
the internal alarm, refuse to comply with their requests, and even to consent to an interview with them on the coast of Campania?
In that year we have seen Christ suffered ; and, as Clemens of Rome says, in the spring of that year, his faith began to be preached at Rome, and, as both Tacitus and Tertullian say, under the patronage of Tiberius, and, as the same two writers say, great opposition was made to it, and, of course to Tiberius, both by a ma. jority of the Senate and of the people ; how, then, as all this happened in the course of the year 781, are we to be sure that Tiberius may not have retired for personal safety? Of this at least we seem to be pretty well assured, and even by Tacitus, that Tiberius who used, without any 'attendant to enter the Senate, then, for the first time, complained to the father's by letter, that his life was in danger—that he suspected the plots of his enemies, and would not go as usual to the Senate, not even with a guard, nor be seen by them on the opposite coast; and that some of them from that time, took the liberty to speak disrespectfully of him, even in the Senate ; and others, among whom were even condemned persons, used to write any thing however scurrilous against him, and to publish it in the most frequented places; and not only of all this 'do we seem to be assured, but of this also; that the practice of accusing persons, for what we know not, unless it were for not worshipping Tiberius, began then to be in fashion, and that Tiberius refused the honor voted by the Senate to his mother ni cælestis religio decerneretur.” P. 124
As to the ni cælestis religio decerneretur, on which the author lays so much stress in several places of his work, we must observe that Mr. R. labours with no
common soliciturle, to proselytize not only Tiberius, but many of his re, Iations, and particularly his mother Livia, at that time, aged eighty-four: The proof of ther Christianity he finds in the following passage of Tacitus.
“honoresque menoride ejus ab Senatu largé decretos quasi per modestiam imminuit, paucis admodum receptis addíto, ne coelestis religio decerneretur, sic ipsam maluisse.”
Now in our simplicity, we really should have thought that no two persons could have differed in tlieir interpretation of this passage. The historian, as we suppose, intends to say that Tiberius from a pretended modesty, diminished the honors which the Senate had liberally decreed to the memory of his mother, subjoining, that divine worship should not be decreed to her, because such was 'her wish. “But as this construction does not accord with Mr. R.'s notions, he contends that ni should be substituted for ne. Thus, to adopt his own words, the meaning of Tacitus will be this.
“ Tiberius who in the year before 'had proposed it to the Senate, to authorise the worship of Christ, and had the mortification to see his proposal rejected, declared that it was his
mother's last command.; that but few of the honors which the Senate intended to decree to her memory should be accepted, ni, unless they would at the same time decree celestial religion; that is, decree that Christ should be worshipped.” P. 134.
In effect, Livia is made by Tiberius to say to the Senate, " I will not accept divine honors, unless you will decree a religion, which absolutely prohibits any mortal to accept them.” We presume Mr. R. may defend this absurdity, by alledging, that Tiberius has put it into the mouth of an old womún.
The cause of the retirement of Tiberius, we never can imagine, was in consequence of his disagreement with the Senate concerning the worship of Christ. In his seclusion at Capreæ, we find him not, as Mr. R. supposes, conversing with the apostolic teachers, but "cam grege Chaldæa." Yet
” with our author nothing is so easy as to discover Christianity both in the Chaldæan astrology, and in the Druidical immolations. We even find liim transforming the Cyrenians into Christians.
66 Strabo says of the Cyrenians, that they held an heresy, which Anniceris was in his time desirous of rectifying. Kai Avószágos ο δοκών επανορθώσαι την Κυρηνιάκης αίρεσιν, και παραγαγείν αντ' αυτής TM Amizepsar. But who ever heard of any heresy before the publication of Christianity? And who does not know that men of Cyrene are said to have been the first publishers of it?” P. 400.
We must inform Mr. R. that heresy was heard of before the introduction of Christianity. The word wipeous is used to denote both the variety of philosophical dogmata of Paganism, and of theological tenets in the Jewish Church. When applied to these, it is sometimes taken in a favourable sense; whereas when predicated of Christian division, it always indicates a defection from the Catholic faith. Has our author read his Josephus, and forgotten that writer's account of Jewish sects (aspegels ;) or Epiphanius, or Hegesippus, and their enumeration of Jewish sects subsisting at the appearance of our Lord ? We find St. Paul declaring of himself, According to the strictest sect of our(i. e. the Jewish religion) xata Tháng Gesátny αίρεσιν της ημετέρας θρησκείας, lived a Pharisee.”
Before we quit this part of the subject, we must communicate to our readers an important discovery, made by our author, suggested by the following verses written against Tiberius, and preserved by Suetonius; 4. Asper et immitis, breviter vix omnia dicam?
Dispeream si te mater amare potest,
Aurea mutasti Saturni sæcula Cæsar :
Incolumi nam te ferrea femper erunt.
Tam bibit hunc avide, quam bibit ante merum." Our author with wonderful dexterity exculpates Tiberius from the seeming charge of cruelty, by offering a conjecture; that the “ blood which Tiberius was so fond of quatting, was no ocher than the blood of our Lord;" or a participation of the eucharist. Far be it from us, to detract from the originality of this idea, or to offer any thing in its refuiation : we only lament that Mr. R. We not fortunate enough to find an equally
WE conclusive proof that Tiberius was initiated into the Christian Ghurch by receiving the rite of baptism.
Dismissing the consideration of the religious principles of the Roman Emperor, we shall submit a few comments on the defence of his general character. With the opinion which we have formed concerning the one, we are not very anxious about the other. We are perfectly contented to think of Tiberius, as our fathers thought, and as our tutors instructed us to think. Experience unhappily shews, that a speculative belief in Chris. tianity is often found joined with an immoral life, and we aro not yet
inclined to call ihe political protection of Tiberius, speculative belief. Mr R. has engaged in the arduous atteinpt of defending bis numerous atrocities with great confidence. The destruction of Agrippa Posthumus, of Germanicus, of Drusus, and of Sejanys, are all considered in due order, and Tiberius is exonerated from the guilt of all. We shall give the
. eum of our judgment on this part of the performance, by stating, that Mr. R. displays a strange mixture of credulity and distrust, that he is sometimes ingenious in proposing his own doubts, and in detecting the fallacies of others; but that his cavils are generally in the last degree puerile. Nothing that he has advanced, has contributed to alter our opinion on these historical questions. At one time we thought of watering into a minute discussion of his account of the rise and fall of Sejanus, and of exposing the weakness of his assumptions and of his objections. But we soon desisted from the undertaking, as it is not our province to answer bis book, and a complete aiisiler. would require a volume equal in size to his own, and a greater share of gravity, than we could muster up on such an occasion. We shall therefore not hazard the loss of our decorum, but take leave of Mr. R. by quoting his own conclusion, to which we shall award the praise which it deserves ; viz. that of breviry.
If the premises be right, who will deny that the following conclusions may be drawn from them? viz. That the scoffers-at
revealed revealed religion, are incomparably greater fools than they have hitherto been thought~ That Unitarians are rather more so - That the first Pope was an arch-impostor, and the greater part of the first general council, a set of knaves or fools That the Catholic claims, are the claims of dangerous heretics." P. 432.
We are by no means prepared to assent to the premises, but we trust that we are not less conscientious in our profession of Christianity, less orthodox in our belief of the Divinity of Christ, and less sincere in our renunciation of the errors of the Church of Rome.
Art. VI. Harmonies of Nature. By J. B. H. De St. Pierre
Translated by W. Meeston. M.4. 3 vols. Svo. 11. 16s. Baldwin and Co. 1815,
THERE is a figure in rhetoric, which although unnoticed by Cicero, Quinctilian, and other great masters of the ancient school, is nevertheless a vast favourite with the writers of modern days, to whom indeed may be ascribed, in great measure, the credit of its general acceptation. In former times indeed, its powers seem to have been but little understood, and its usage to have been attended with much diffidence and forbearance; a few sentences perhaps here and there were selected for its display, it being then modestly veiled under the names Metonymy, Synechdoche, Catachresis, and other unintelligible terms of art: but all this learned lumber has been long since discarded, and what was formerly the artificial ornament of a few fourishing periods, is now the natural and unaffected character of the whole, which thus becomes one entire and unadulterated specimen of perfect NONSENSE. Erasmus bas composed an encomium upon Folly, and we see no reason why a similar treatise night not be written in recommendation of Nonsense. We should strongly recommend the task to some Professor or LL.D. at least, of our sister kingdom, who might present us with two closely printed quartos on the “ Philosophy of Non. sense," morally and metaphysically considered, which particularly if peppered with a little atheism and treason, and with an udex rationale to the whole, might prove almost as attractive
some publications of celebrity which have issued from the other side of the Tweed.
Leaving however this hint to the consideration of those who are qp welt enabled to improve upop it, we shall now only