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When it was first seriously asserted by: Whiston, that he had discovered proofs of Josephus. being a Christian *, the discovery, tho:igh superlatively absurd, was at least amusing to his contemporaries, because it was new. The idle legend of Philo's conversion by St. Peter, would be now less disgusting in the repetition, as it is more antient; if it were not so soon repeated after Basnage had demonstrated t, that the proofs of this silly notion were deduced from a work which was written when he was a Jew. We might even listen to a dull protracted tale, purporting to prove an absurdity, which even the credulity of Whiston could not swallow : that the Epaphroditus, whom Josephus has ennobled by so many titles, and to whoin he has dedicated his principal works, was the humble emissary whoin St. Paul dispatched on a mission to the Philippians. But when compelled to submit io have that old, doting, monkish dream, told over, once more and again, which exhibits the Essenes and Therapeutæ of Philo in the character of reverend friars, after the absurdity has been so thoroughly exposed t, it is surely too much for the exhaused patience of our weary office to bear. : We need not' expose ourselves to the chance of ridicule in entering into a serious refutation of the arguments used to prove the christianity of these witnesses, on whose testimony the orthodox faith is now overthrown. Had we leisure or room for such an undertaking, we would undertake to prove, that by a very little address in the management of the same arguments, the number of those witnesses in behalf of the Unitarian opinions might be extended at will. We would-venture to demonstrate by the same, or similar arguments, that Celsus, or at least Porphyry, or those senseless Hebrew blasphemers, Kimchi and Lipman, were true advocates of the pure doctrines of Cliristianity, and enemies only to the errors of a corrupt and falsified creed. That undue advantage, however, may not be taken of our silence, we shall bestow on this fundamental position of our author just as much attention as it deserves. Leaving him therefore in unmolested enjoyment of those proofs, if he is pleased so to term them, by which he evinces that Pbilo, Josephus, and the Essenes were Christians, we shall submit to a
• Whist. Dissert. I. in Joseph. lxxi. p. xxii. Conf. Dissert.
The honour of this curious discovery is however re-
+ Vid. Basn. Hist. des Juif. Liv. II. chap. xxii. xxiii. Tom. IV.
task, which we feel to be derogatory to our consequence, though
One consideration is, we believe, adequate to lay the ques-
These facts speak for themselves. We merely mention inci. dentally, as a further specimen of the accuracy with which our author has commenced his vigorous attack upon the orthodox faith; that his notion of the identity of the Essenes and the Therapeute, whom he takes leave to confound, without offer. ing any apology for the liberty, has been censured as a gross error . And we are further so rude as to insinuate, by way of corollary, that his notion of the identity of the Epaphoditus, who was known to Josephus with that Epaphroditus, who was freedman to Nero, has been conceived to rest upon a chrono
* Vid. Basn. Hist. des Juif. Liv. II. chap. xvi. $ 20. p. 403.
Beyereg. Cod. Canon. Eccl. Prim. Lib. III. cap. ii, § 3, ap.
logical blunder* , which supposes a man to be in existence in the
We have dwelt thus particularly on the subject of our author's
* Vid. Huds. in Joseph. contr. Apion. Tom. II. p. 1329. n. f. Whist. in Joseph. Jew. Antiq. Procem. p. 2. n... Josephus inscribes his “i Life” to Epaphroditus, vid. Joseph. Vit. § 76. Tom. II. p. 39. ed. Haverc. specifying in the course of it, that K Agrippa II. was then dead ; Justus of Tiberias having deferred the publication of his history until that occurrence took place, that the falsity of his statements might not be detected; Id. bid. $ 65. p. 33. Justus, however, fixes the death of K. Agrippa to A. D. 100. ap. Phot. Bibliothec. Cod. xxxiii. which perfectly accords with the statement of Josephus, that Justin's history was completed during the life of Vespasian and Titus, though the publication of it was deferred twenty years after the time when it was composed. Joseph. ibid. p. 33. Now as Vespasian died A. D. 80, before which time it is not probable that Justin completed his history of the Jewish war, which was not terminated until A. D. 73: if we allow for the 20 years during which it remained unpublished, it brings down the time when Josephus, in addressing Epaphroditus, speaks of that history as published, and of Agrippa as dead, to A. D. 100. Nothing however is more certain than that the Epaphroditus, who was freedman to Nero, was put to death by Domitian, A. D. 95. Vid. Dio. Hist. Lib. LXVII. cap. xiv. p. 1113. He cannot of course form any middle term to connect the Epaphroditus who was known to Josephus with the Epaphroditus who was known to St. Paul But, in truth, we have
only to compare the description of Josephus, Vit. $ 76. p. 39. Antiq. Jud. Procem. § 2, Tom. I. p. 2. with that of the Apostle, Phil. ii. 25-30. in order to discover the ludicrous absurdity of conceiving them the same person; Josephus having courted the favour and protection of the one, while the other is commended to the respect and protection of the Philippians. The title under which Josephus addresses his patron, is ' ngátise dvdpão 'Escqçódott; which is precisely the title St. Paul gives to Festus, Act. xxvi. 25. ou raivojlar, xgátose Dñse, I am not mad most noble Festus: as “ the most noble Epaphroditus”. must have conceived him, had he found himself addressed in the following terms, τον αδελφον και συνεργός και συστρατιώτης με υμών de errósodov, These last words, instead of proving that the Apostle's» fellow-labourer, was the most noble Epaphroditus, a Procurator to Trajan, justify the received notion he was the humble Epaphroditus, who was afterwards bishop of Philippi ; vid. Bevereg, in Canon. Apost. ii. Patr. Apost. Tom. I. p. 458. col. 1.
among infidel Jews, the force of their testimony, which under any view must have been perfectly harınless, when cited against Christianity, now wholly vanishes into smoke. And whether their evidence is adduced against the miraculous conception, or the introductory chapters of the Gospels, by which that doctrine is proved, it is entitled to just as much respect as may be due to the “ Nizzachon" of Rabbi R. Lipmann, or “ Calni Inquiry" of Mr. Thomas Belsham, works which we conceive to rival each other as much in piety, as in learning and sense.
Our author having thus laid his foundation, proceeds on the main object of his work. His first part, which is divided into ten chapters, consequently opens with disclosing the source from whence the orthodox opinion has originated relative to the Di. vinity of our Lord. In this pious undertaking, “ Mr. Jones (who) professes to be an ardent and patient enquirer, guided only by the evidence of facts, and not by the authority of the learned,” has contrived to demonstrate this repugnance to owe any thing to the labours of the learned, by the equally liberal use and parsimonious acknowledgment which he makes of Dr. Lardner's laborious collections. The authorities which he thus musters, he directs to that point, to which, as may be easily conjectured, the reasoning of the Unitarian champion primarily tends,
“The Heathens, it is well known, believed in the existence and agency of many gods. These, as they supposed, often appeared in the shape, or entered the bodies of men.
When Jesus Christ ap-: peared, and exhibited, in the miracles which he performed, the proofs of his divine mission, the conclusion was natural, that he was himself one of the gods, acting by virtue of his own power, and not with the authority of Jehovah. A Jew, who disbelieved the Pagan gods, would more rationally infer that he was the servant. of God-rendued with power to prove the truth of his delegation. But the spirit of Paganism dictated to its votaries a very different inference; and this dictate will appear the origin of the Divines nature, which has ever since been imputed to Jesus of Nazareth."
Thus far, however, we are brought round by this ingenious mode of advancig, to the précise point from whence we set out. From this representation, which our author proceeds to confirm and exemplify, by the convenient assistance of Dr. Lardner, it appears, that the heathens were found polytheists at the beginning, and continued such to the last. But this is but a small part of the merit of this argument, which is a happy exemplification of that method of superabundant proof, which in establishing twice as much as is requisite, vixtually proves
nothing at all. From this reasoning it as certainly follows, that
and Peter, and the other Apostles, were deified not less than
But we can probably help this sophist to a distinction which will enable him to extricate the question out of that happy perplexity into which it blunders under his explanation. If therefore we may be allowed to state the truth, in a manner little known to Unitarian logicians, without suppressing the better part of it, the question between the Orthodox and Unitarian will assume a very different hue. Let the purblind sophist therefore restore that part of the argument which has been thus dexterously or unwittingly suppressed ; let him acknowledge prophecy as well as miracles to forin the proof of our Lord's divinity; he will thus possibly uuriddle the mystery in which the question between us is otherwise inextricably involved ;-how Christ was received as God, while his Apostles were merely acknowledged as men. In fact, on this species of divine demonstration, the founders aud apologists of Christianity have invariably insisted from the first. It is the proof to which the Apostle St. Peter appeals on the first preaching of the Gospel ; it is the proof to which the Evangelist St. Matthew appeals in the opening chapters of the first part of the sacred canon which he composed * The long list of Christian apologists, who have contended for the faith, from St. Barnabas to St. Athanasius, never deviate from this line of prooft, which was con
Comp. Act. ii. 14. 16. 25. 30. 33. 34. Matt. i. 22. 23. ii. 6. 16. 17. iii. 3. &c.
# S. Barnab. Epist. cap. i. ii. Patr. Apost. Tom. I. pp. 56.60. S. Ignat. Ep. ad Smyrn. capp. v. vii. Patr. Apost. Tom. II. pp. 35. 86. J. Mart. Dial. cum Tryph. p. 286. di sqq. ed. Par. 1675. T'ertul. adv. Jud. cap. vii. p. 188. sqq. ed. Rigalt 1675. S. Iren. adv. Hær. Lib. iv. cap. xi. p. 239. S. Cypr. adv. Jud. Lib. II. cap. ii, sqq. p. 82. ed. Ox. 1682. Orig. contr. Cels. Tom. I. p. 365. d. sqq. ed. Bened. Euseb. Dem. Evang. Lib. IV. cap. xv. p. 171. sqq. Lib. V.
per tot. p. 202. sqq. S. Athan, contr. 'Arian. Orat. I. cap. xiii. p. 417. cap. lii. sqq. p. 456. &c. ed. Bened.