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through the most remote regions, for the purpose of comparing their different tenets *. As this person was a converted Jew it, his evidence must be conceived superior to every objection. The substance of his testimony has been preserved by Eusebius; and is still direct in our favour. Having enumerated the succession of bishops in the church of Rome, and spoken of his familiarity with the bishop which presided in that city, in his own times, he thus expressly declares i ; “but in every succession, and every city, that doctrine is held, which the law, and the prophets, and our Lord himself had inculcated.” As it is specifically stated by the historian who preserves this account, that he had left the most plenary testimonials of his religious opinions §5 and, as the historian himself has acknowledged the diyinity of our Lord, and condemned the Ebiomites, who abjured it, as heretical and profane ||: we can be at no loss to determine in what sense be understood the author before us, in re
presenting the catholic church as agreeing in their opinions of .
the person of Christ. - The testimony which was thus collected by the primitive writers who visited different churches, is indisputably confirmed by the members of the same churches who assembled in one place, for the purpose of delivering their sentence in council. Besides the convention which was held under Victor, bishop of Rome, against the first heretick on record, who held the notions of the modern Unitarians of ; a synod was held at Antioch, against Paul of Samosata, in which that heretick, though vested with the government of the see, was deposed, for impugning the divinity of the Saviour**. About fifty-six years subsequent to this period the celebrated council of Nice was convened; in which it is no where disputed, that the orthodox doctrine was fully canvassed, and formally recognized and confirmed, by the bishops of the Catholic Church, in a solemu confession, attested by their subscription ++. - - On the weight of this sentence of the Catholic Church, in deciding the point at issue, we have already stated our opinion ;
and had all the monuments of ecclesiastical antiquity irrecoverably perished, from this single sentence the primitive doctrine might be infallibly collected. The venerable assembly who met for the purpose of comparing their opinions, were collected from the remotest parts of the civilized world. To that council flocked the divines from Arabia and Persia on the one side, and of the British isles on the other *. In this vast assemblage of the learning and piety of the habitable globe, there was not a single dissenting voice from the general sentence, which acknowledged the pre-existence of Christ, and admitted his divinity, as at least antecedent to the creation +. But five bishops, and these as inconsiderable in their name as their numbert, denied his co-etermity and co-essentiality with the Father. For this uniformity of testimony, it is scarcely necessary to repeat, there can be but one mode of accounting; that the opinion in which so many witnesses agreed, must have been coincident with that which they severally derived by tradition from the Apostles of Christ. . Irrefragable as the body of proof is which thus accumulates as we advance, in support of the orthodox faith, it forms but a part of the testimony, to which the Church may appeal in defence of the purity of its faith. Those who would question this evidence, as of suspicious authority, in consequence of the cor'rupted channel through which it is derived, may be finally referred to the Pagans and Jews for a testimony of its integrity. Within a few years of the death of the last surviving Apostle, 'the proconsulate of Asia was committed by Trajan to the younger Pliny. The desertion of the Heathen temples, within the sphere of his immediate jurisdiction, in consequence of the rapid ‘extension of Christianity, excited his alarm, and became the subject of his complaint to the Emperor $. The most effectual means were taken by the proconsul to acquire a just knowledge of the tenets and institutions of a sect, whose history was novel and extraordinary. For this purpose he examined two young persons, of the office of deaconness, by torture, that the strength of their sufferance operating on the weakness of their sex, he might acquire, from their extorted confessions, a perfect insight into the nature of the new religion ||. The result of this experiment,
+ soil. ibid. p. 22. l. 11—13.
# Id: ibid. p. 22. l. 14–18. $ Plin. Epist. Lib. X. cap. xcvii. p. 722, ed. Varior. 1669,
| Id, ibid. . l
which involves a proof, in the very attempt to extort a confession, that Christianity was at this early period distinguished by its mysteries, furnishes a noble testimony to the acknowledged divinity of its neavenly Founder. The utmost that he had acquired from this undertaking he has himself recounted; and it amounts to little more than a discovery that the Christians merely convened for the purpose of addressing hymns to Christ as God”. We may clearly collect from his testimony, that the mysteries of which he was informed, were solemnized in the simple ceremony of partaking of bread and wine, under a covemant, which bound the soldiers of Christ not to trans
moral obligation Were there any thing equivocal in the testimony thus explicitly borne to the divinity of Christ, it would be at once illustrated, and the obvious meaning of Piny confirmed, by the description given by ecclesiastical historians of those hymns, in which our Lord was celebrated in the congregation of primitive Christians. Among the many proofs to which the early theologians appealed against the original impugners of this fundamental article of our faith, were these compositions +. One of these historians has expressly referred the origin of this psalmody to the times of St. Ignatius, who was placed in the see of Antioch by St. John the Evangelist £. And we have, even at this day, a specimen of these early productions, in a hymn composed by Clemens Alexandrinus, the disciple of Pantaenus, who, if he did not converse with the Apostles, was instructed by their immediate disciples. This curious document, however, closes with the most plenary confession of the divinity of our Lord; in hailing him as “Christ, the King, the God of Peace $,” as
* Plin Epist. Lib. X. cap. xcvii. p. 724. “Adfirmabant autem hanc faisse summam, vel culpae suae, vel erroris, quod essent
soliti, stato die, ante lucem convenire, carmengue Christo quasi Dee Alicere secum invicem.”
* . . . . . . $3Awasy pos
©EoN orns. -- -
o had been previously termed by the great evangelical pro-
again and again. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . We had been indeed told, by a talking title-page, as our rear ders have been already fully apprised, that “the origin of the introductory chapters of Matthew and Luke was (at length)
brought to light from Josephus.” But we must plead guilty
to the count of dulness, to which our thankless though necessary office often and perhaps justly exposes us, in the heavy task which is imposed on us of following where others precede; that we did not anticipate a larger portion of our author’s “Intro
duction” than we can confess to, and which now appears to us by far too amusing to withhold any longer from our readers. It did not indeed enter our conception, that any writer would be found at the present day, so hardy as to risk his reputation for sanity, by avowing the dull and exploded fable, that the Essenes were primitive christians, and that Josephus and Philo, by whom they are described, were converts to the truth of the
Gospel. Such, however, is too truly, the case. In the proof
of these points the author labours through the whole of his * Introduction,” if indeed we may apply that term to the fortysix pages of senseless raving which he employs in giving us some insight into his designs. Thus far, however disposed to deny almost every conclusion which he has formed, we frankly admit he has succeeded probably beyond his expectations. For though we can discover, in the mode in which he has conducted his arguments, or to express ourselves with accuracy, has recounted his dreams, nothing from which we can conjecture how he could delude himself into the belief that he had established a single point at which he aimed; he thus far explained his intentions, as he has demonstrated, with admirable success, that there was a sinister object at which he secretly drove. It required no exertion of sagacity to discover, that by proving Philo, Josephus, and the Essenes to have been Christians, a commanding point would be gained. Since in being Jews, they must have been deists, it would have been strange, indeed, if this point being secured, their testimony could not be turned to some useful account, in undermining the peculiar doctrines of the Christian faith. There are few discussions, however distinguished by their absurdity, which can be prolonged to any extent, (where the fatal extreme is avoided of wearying the reader by their tediousness and length) that do not afford something novel or ludicrous, to repay the patience of the reader, who follows them on to the close. When the Tolands or Woolstons of the last age exposed a soft or vulnerable part to the rod of the chastiser, they sometimes unexpectedly exhibited themselves in those curious postures, which afforded some food for laughter, where they did not provoke a painful sense of disgust. But with such a drowsy and determined dullness has the sorry animal before us, (whose species is not defined by the quickness of their perception, but the length of their ears,) laid himself down to the lash, that we derive nothing but weariness from the painful duty he has imposed ou us of goading him out of that sacred inclosure into which he has obtruded. Others err through inadvertence, but the sciolist with whom we are engaged, blunders by premeditation and design, ~ ... . . . . . -, - . . .