« PreviousContinue »
Belsham literally imagined so many gratuitous assumptions, which rested upon his word. And in a tone of insult and exultation over an enemy whom he saw vanquished in idea, he beliered the victory, in order to be decided needed only to be claimed.
« The whole fabric of the famous church of orthodox christians at Ælia, who abandoned at once the institutions of Moses-rests solely upon the testimony of Jerome, more than two hundred and fifty years afterward, to this single fact, that in his time there were • Hebrews who believed in Christ.' And by the learned writers own frank and liberal confession, all the rest is taken for granted." P. 62.
After this observation, we may dismiss Mr. Belsham and his vindication, without further ceremony. An empty and confident declaimer may, we are conscious, impose upon that enlightened auditory who look up to him for illumination in a conventicle ; but upon an adversary so grossly deficient in the commonest in formation and discernment, upon the topics to which he pretends *, “ the wise men of the British Critic” must be pardoned, if they waste not another word, even of contempt.
With respect to the claims of Bp. Horsley, which have been called in question, it remains not for us to offer any thing in their justification. The public has been long made up in its opinion on his character, as a polemical writer, and, when it has acquired time for judging, it seldom errs from the truth. On his force of mind, his copiousness and energy of language, his profound and various attainments, it has been lavish in its praise; nor has it praised beyond what has been merited. But as infallibility is not the lot of man, Bishop Horsley, we fear, has suffered himself to be led into error. Deserting the footsteps of Bishop Bull, who marshalled his way with a steady and unerring light, for the conjectural wanderings of Dr. Mosheim, who, on many subjects of primitive antiquity, is not merely a blind, but a treacherous guide, he made a false step at the outset, which, with all his ability, he was unable to reclaim.
Such, we are inclined to be of opinion, was the case, in his attack upon the veracity of Origen; who bad asserted, that " the Jews who believed in Jesus had not deserted their paternal
* As it may be a matter of curiosity to Mr. Belsham, to hear how the several propositions taken as granted by Bp. Horsley have been established; we subjoin a few of the most obvious authorities on which they respectively rest. (1) Euseb. Lib. IV. cap. v. p. 143. 1. 22. sqq. (2) Id. ibid. cap. vi. p. 146. 1. 1. sqq. (3) Id. ibid. 146. 1. 4. sqq. (4) Orig. contr. Cels. II. cap. iii. p. 388. f. (7) S. Heir. Ep. Lxxxix. ad Aug. Tom. I. p. 317.
law*." But surely on this point we may venture to dissent even from the high authority of Bishop Horsley, as this fact seems to be not merely historically but necessarily true: since in desert. ing their paterval laws, they must have become exclusively Chris. tians and have consequently ceased to be Jews. Indeed the assumption of a Hebrew Church at Ælia, which had abandoned the rites of the Mosuic law, carries to our ears something incon. gruous even in the sound y. And as one false step generally occasions another, the unsoundness thus introduced into his theory, prevented him from employing those arguments to establish a position, virtually true, which his reading would have easily supplied. Such we take to be the vulnerable points in his mode of defence.
Let'us however abandon an unfortunate expression which has no relevancy to a question which turns on the doctrine, not the ceremonies of the Primitive Church; let us assert generally, with Bishop Horsley, that there was a Hebrew Church established at Ælia,' which acknowledged the divinity of our Lord; at the same time allowing full credit to the veracity of Origen, that as Hebrews, they had not (wholly) deserted their paternal law;'. and the antecedent proposition, which is alone worth the pains of contesting, may be easily proved.
In the first place, we have the positive testimony of St. Je. rome, that synagogues
of orthodox Hebrews were, in his own age, prevalent in many parts of the East I. In the next place,
, we have the positive authority of St. Epiphanius, that seven synagogues existed in the times of Hadrian at Jerusalem, one of which remained until the time of Constantine the Great S. And on this subject, both those witnesses are above all exception; as they visited Jerusalem, and resided in the East for a considerable period. Now the synagogue, which continued for this period,
* Vid. supr.
+ Orig. contr. Cels. Lib. II. cap. iii. p. 388. d. | St. Hier. Epist. lxxxix. ad August. Tom. I.
317. hodie per totas Orientis Synagogas, inter Judæos heresis est, quæ dicitur Minæorum, et a Pharasæis nunc usque damnatur, quos vulgo Nazaræos nuncupant, qui credunt in Christum, Filium Dei.”
Š S. Epiph. de Mens. & Pond. Tom. II. p. 170. C.-x Entè συναγωγαί, αι έν, τη Σιών μόναι εσήκεσαν, ως καλύβαι, εξ ών μία περιελείφθη, έως χρόνο Μάξιμωνά το Επισκόπο, κ Κωνςαντίνα TË Baoinews. It may be observed in illustration of this account, that Constantine had been at considerable pains to erect Churches in the East; and to consecrate the places of worship used by the infidels to the purposes of the Christian Religion. S. Epiph. Hår, xxx. Tom. I. p. 136. a. b.
must 388. f.
must have been erected when the city of Ælia rose out of the ruins of Jerusalem ; for the remains of the old city, which had been partly renewed after its demolition under Titus, were destroyed under Hadrian * ; and all the synagogues in Judæa, including those which have been mentioned by Epiphanius, were burned to the ground. This solitary synagogue, however, which remained till the age of Constantine, could not have been erected by, unbelieving Jews; as they were interdicted, under pain of death, from setting a foot upon the Holy Land 1. Nor could it have been erected by the believing Gentiles; for, according to the express distinction of St. Ephiphanius, on whose testimony we reason, these places of worship were denominated churches, in contradistiction from synagogues . Neither could it have been erected by Ebionitrs, or Unitarian believers ; for, according even to Dr. Priestley's admission |, they were not essentially distinguished from the Hebrews, and were thus excluded by the edict. which banished the Jews. Of consequence, as the question admits of no alternative, they must have been Nazarenes, or Orthodox Hebrew believers, who differed from their brethren of the Gentiles (, probably in their attachment to the letter of Scripture, in their strict observance of the Sabbath, and some ceremonies of the synagogue, from whence their place of worship derived its name.
Leaving the argument therefore of Bishop Horsley to stand in proof of the position which he laid down; we add these observations, in support of the conclusion which he maintained. While we are informed, on the testimouy of the ecclesiastical historians, that a church of Gentile converts was established at Ælia, under à bishop of the uncircumcision ; we conceive with Bishop Horsley, that it is morally certain, this Church admitted into its bosom numberless Hebrew believers, who of consequence
* S. Hier. Ep. cxxix. ad Dard. Tom. III. p. 371.
+ Lib. Machzor P. I. fol. 182. col. 1. (ap. Seld. de Synedr. Vet. Ebr. Lib. II. cap. vii. p. 190. ed. 1679.)
זכור יו מה היה לנו אדוואנוסיעל וישרוף ארבע מאות ושמונים בתי כנסיות
Recordare Domine, qualis fuerit nobis Adrianus
Sustulit combussitque quadringentas & octoginta Synagogas. Conf. Dio. Rom. Hist. Lib. LXIX.
145. 1. 5. Ś Conf. S. Epiphan. Hær. xxx. pp. 128. a. 142. a.
Tract, p. 418. ed. Lond. 1815.
discarded the rites of the law. For as the only probability is, that the privileges of the Elian colony, an hereditary attachment to the soil of Jerusalem, and the inconveniences attendant on emigration, would induce numbers to continue on the site of the old city; the only probability is, that on the appointment of a new bishop, they would abandon their indifferent ceremonies, and conform to the ordinances of the church. it is equally probable, that the attachment of many to their paternal customs would prevail even over these considerations; we further conceive it to be a fact, that besides this Church of Gentile and Hebrew converts, there was a Synagogue of Nazarenes, or orthodox Hebrew believers, settled at Ælia, who, according to Origen’s notion, had not discarded the rites of the Mosaic law. This fact we rest on the authority of St. Epiphanius and St. Jerome; the former of whom states that a Synagogue certainly existed at Jerusalem; while the latter evinces that it consisted of Nazarenes, whose places of worship were, in his own age, prevalent in many parts of the East. Under both these views of the question, as well as that taken by Bishop Bull, the offensive and defensive operations of Dr. Priestley and his advocates seem to be reduced to the same desperate case: and Mr. Belsham's oil and ink expended to no purpose, in vindicating the claims of his departed friend,
(To be concluded in our next.)
Art. VI. Memoirs of Lady Hamilton, with illustrative Anec
dotes of many of her most particular Friends, and distin.
guished Contemporaries. 1815. We took up the book before us with two impressions on our mind, that we should find it offensive to decency, and injurious to the character of Lord Nelson. In the first we acknowledge that we were in error; the book is as dull and prosiug as any that we ever laboured through (a bold word for a committee of reviewers), but it is not immoral or licentious; but we were not deceived by our second impression, and on this account we shall bestow a little time, and space on so wretched. a production.
When will the shade of our great and beloved warrior be allowed to rest in peace? When will a world of malicious writers, and wanton readers suffer his human frailties to be for. gotten amidst the crowd of his overpowering merits ? His fate
has been singular and cruel; in bis life-time vone so high, and so fondly loved ; high for no one dared deny hin the first place in that profession, on which we then reposed all our hopes of security, and raised nearly all our speculations of glory; loved for it was impossible not to love him, whose matchless skill and courage were yet exceeded by his affectionate gentleness to all, and bis ardent tenderness, “ passing the love of woman,” for those who had the happiness to be within bis more intimate circle. He died, as his biographer has well remarked, pot till his mission was accomplished, and every Englishman, when he heard the news, felt as if he had lost some dear familiar friend.: A few years have passed, and in consequence of his victories. the warlike exertions of the country have necessarily taken auother direction ; our success in the new line has been equally decisive, in it has arisen another Nelson, (we cannot pay even Wellington a higher compliment); but as a natural consequence zeal for naval exploits has languished, and wantonness, malice, or spleen, watching the opportunity, have busied themselves to expose the infirmities and errors of the departed hero. Is it too much to say, that the publick has lent itself to the ungenerous attempt; we have observed his faults, set them in our note-books, conned, and learned them, by, rote with a curiosity wanton and ungrateful in the extreme.
This is not the first time, that we have been called upon to reprehend such shameful publications ; in going into the following remarks on the question which they involve, we feel that we are liable to some misrepresentation, but it is too important to be declined on any personal considerations. Let it not then be supposed, that we would justify or excuse the errors of Nelşon. Whatever love, or veneration we have for his memory (and greater no one can have), we should think it an unwise and unworthy testimony of them to become the apologists of vice. Whenever his moral faults are mentioned, let them be visited with the censure which they deserve, let it distinctly appear, to serve as a guard to youthful and indiscreet admirers, that no talent, quality, or virtue, no success or glory can take away, or at all diminish the inseparable ugliness of sin. · In this point of view, we can conceive it a useful lesson to-shew how all the un. happiness of Nelson's life, and all the tarvish on his posthumous memory have flowed as legitimate consequences froni the breach of that moral obligation, from which po splendour of exploit, or height of situation had power to release him.
But uuless, according to the case supposed, morality enjoined the disclosure, or the important claims of history make it desirable, we can see no reason, why his frailties should ever be at all mentioned, The best and greatest - heroes, those to