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the exceeding improbability that such only the mask, supposing it to be a sect, laying the chief burden of the true face, ought to have regarded its scrupulosity in the matter of the mystifying arrangements as peroaths, should have bound its mem
He that saw the bers by " tremendous” oaths of countenance behind the masque-a secresy in a case where there was countenance sweet as Paradise, but nothing to conceal ; Thirdly, the sta, fearful as the grave at that particular ring contradictoriness between such time in Jerusalem, would never ask an avowal on the part of Josephus, again for the motives to this conceal. and his deliberate revelation of what ment. Those he would apprehend in he fancied to be their creed. The a moment. But as to Josephus, who objection is too inevitable : either you never had looked behind the mask, have taken the oaths or you have not. the order for concealment, the adjura, You have? Then by your own show. tions to concealment, the yows of ing you are a perjured traitor. You concealment, the adamantine walls of have not ? Then you confess yourself separation between the different orders to speak from no personal knowledge. of the fraternity, in order to ensure How can you know any thing of their concealment, ought to have been, secret doctrines ? The seal is wanting must have been regarded by him, as to the record.
the very hyperbole of childishness. However, it is possible that some Partly because Josephus was in this people will evade this last dilemma, by state of darkness, partly from personal suggesting-that Josephus wrote for causes, has he failed to clear up the Roman readers-for strangers and secret history of Judea, in her final, for strangers after any of his coun- that is her epichristian generation. trymen who might be interested in the The evidences of his having fạiled are secret, had perished ; if not personally two-Ist, the absolute fact, as existing perished, at least as a body politic. in his works; which present us with The last vestiges of the theoretical a mere anarchy of incidents, as regards government had foundered with Jerų- the politics of his own timeş, under salem; and it might be thought by a no law of cohesion whatsoever, or of better man than Josephus, that all ob- intelligible derivation,-?dly, the à ligations of secresy had perished in priori necessity that he should fail ; the general wreck.
a necessity laid in the very situation of We need not dispute that point. Josephus--as a man of servile temper There is enough in what remainsplaced amongst elements that required The positive points of contact between à Maccabee, and as a man without the supposed Essenes and the Christ- principle, who could not act so that ians are too many to be got over. But his actions would bear to be reported upon these we will not at presentinsist. without disguise, and as one in whom In this place we confine ourselves to po confidence was likely to be lodged the two points: 1. Of the universal by the managers of great interests, or silence amongst Christian writers, who, the depositories of great secrets. of all parties, would have felt it most This view of things summons us to essential to notice the Essenes, had pause, and to turn aside from our there existed such a sect antecedently general enquiry into a special one as to Christ: and, 2. Of the absurdity to Josephus. Hitherto we have deinvolved in exacting an inexorable rived our arguments on the Essenes concealment from those who had from Joseplius, as a willing witness nothing to reveal.
-a volunteer eyen. Bit now we But then recollect, reader, pre- are going to extort our arguments; cisely the Christian truths, which to torture him, to put him on the stood behind the exoteric doctrines of rack, to force him into confesthe Essenes, were the truths hidden sion; and upon points which he has from Josephus. Reason enough there done his best to darken, by throwing was for concealment, if the Essenes dust in the eyes of us all,
Why? were Christians and reason more because hand in hand with the truth than was ever known to Josephus. must go the exposure of himself. But then, this reason for concealment Josephus stands right in the very doorin the Essenes could be known only way of the light, purposely obscuring to him who'was aware that they had it. A glare comes round by side something to conceal. He who say snatches ; oblique rays, stray gleams,
from the truth which he so anxiously life? Doubtless there were ; but to
But before the real state of what purpose for people in their situthings can be guessed at, it is neces- ațion to come forward ? One and all, sary to destroy this man's character. positively without a solitary exeeption,
Now, let us try to appreciate the ex- they were themselves captiyes, slaves act position and reasonable credibility condemned, despairing. Ten thou. of Josephus, as he stands at present, sand being selected for the butcheries midway between us a distant poster of the Syrian amphitheatres, the rest ity, and his own countrymen of his were liable to some punishment equalown times, sole interpreter, sole sur: ly terrific ; multitudes were perishing viving reporter, having all things his of hunger; under the mildest award, own way, nobody to contradict him, they were sure of being sentenced to nobody to taint his evidence with sus- the stone quarries of Egypt. Wherepicion. His case is most remark- fore, in this extremity of personal able ; and yet, though remark- misery and of desperate prospects, able, is not so rare but that many should any man find himself at leisure times it must have occurred in private for a vengeance on one happier coun. (sometimes in public) life. It is the trymạn which could bring no profit to case of a solitary individual surviving the rest? Still, in a case so questionout of a multitude embarked in a des- able as that of Josephus, it is possible perate enterprise-some playing one enough that Titus would have sought part, (a part, suppose, sublime and some further light amongst the pris heroic,) some playing another, (base, soners under any ordinary circum, treacherous, fiendish.) Suddenly a stances. In his heart, the noble Rom great convulsion involves all in one com- man must have distrusted Josephus mon ruin, this man only excepted. He and his vain-glorious account of himnow finds himself with a carte blanche self. There were circumstances out. before him, on which he may inscribe standing, many and strong, that must whatever romance in behalf of himself have pointed his suspicions in that he thinks proper.
The whole field of direction; and the very conversation action is open to him—the whole field of a villain sure to entangle him in of motives. He may take what side contradictions. But it was now too he will. And be assured that, what- late to move upon that inquest, Jose, ever part in the play he assumes, he phus himself acknowledges, that Veswill give himself the best of charac- pasiạn was shrewd enough from the ters. For courage you will find him first to suspect him for the sycophan, a Maccabee. His too tender heart tish knave that he was. But that time interfered, or he could have signalized had gone by. And, in the interval, his valour even more emphatically. Josephus had used his opportunities And, descending to such base things skilfully; he had performed that paras treasures of money, jewels, land, ticular service for the Flavian family, &c., the chief part of what had been which was the one desideratum they captured, was of course (strictly speak- sought for and yearned for. By his ing) his own property. What im- pretended dreams, Josephus had put pudent falsehood, indeed, may such that seal of heavenly ratification to a man not bring forward, when there the ambitious projects of Vespasian, is nobody to confront him ?
which only was wanting for the satisBut was there nobody ? Reader, faction of his soldiers. The service absolutely nobody.
was critical, What Titus said to his tured with himself at Jotopata there father is known :- This man, be he were nope- not a man. That fact, what he may, has done a service to us. indeed--the inexorable fact, that he It is not for men of rank like us to only endured to surrender—that one haggle and chaffer about rewards. fact, taken with the commentary which Having received a favour, we must we could furnish as to the circum- make the reward princely; not what stances of the case, and the Jewish he deserves to receive, but what is casuistry under those circumstances, becoming for us to grant. On this is one of the many damning features consideration these great men acted. of his tale. But was there nobody, Sensible that, not having hanged Joamongst the ninety thousand prisoners sephus at first, it was now become taken at Jerusalem, who could have their duty to reward him, they did spoken to parts of this man's public not do the thing by halves.
tent with releasing him from his in his heart—it is a judicial retribuchains, they sent an officer to cut his tion—that precisely this very lie, chains to pieces—that being a sym- shaped and pointed to conciliate the bolic act by which the Romans abo- Roman taste for martial splendour, lished the very memory and legal was probably the very ground of that record that ever a man had been in disgust which seems to have alienated confinement. The fact is, that amongst Tacitus from his works. Apparently the Roman public virtues in that age, Josephus should have been the forewas an intense fidelity to engagements; most authority with this historian for and where they had even tacitly per- Jewish affairs. But enough remains mitted a man to form hopes, they ful- to show that he was not; and it is filled them beyond the letter. But clear that the confidence of so sceptiwhat Titus said to his staff, though cal a writer must have been shaken naturally not put on record by Jose- from the very first by so extravagant phus, was very probably this:-“Gen- a tale.
Abraham, a mere stranger tlemen, I see you look upon this Jew and colonist in Syria, whose descendas a poltroon, and perhaps worse. ants in the third generation mustered Well, possibly we don't much differ only seventy persons in emigrating to upon that point. But it has become Egypt, is here placed at the head of a necessary to the public service that force greater than great empires had this man should be reinstated in credits commanded or had needed. And from He will now, perhaps, turn over a
what resources raised ? From a new leaf. If he does not, kick him to little section of Syria, which (suppoHades. But, mean time, give the man sing it even the personal domain of a trial."
Abraham) could not be equal to Such, there can be little doubt, was Wales. And for what objects? To the opinion of Cæsar about this man. face what enemies ? A handful of But now it remains to give our own, robbers that might congregate in the with the reasons on which it rests. desert. Such insufferable fairy tales
1. First of all — which we bring must have vitiated the credit even of merely as a proof of his habitual men- his rational statements; and it is thus dacity_in one of those tongue-doughty pleasant to see the apostate missing orations, which he represents himself one reward which he courted, purely as having addressed to the men of through his own eagerness to buy it Jerusalem, they standing on the walls at the price of truth. But a second patiently, with paving-stones in their feature which this story betrays in the hands, to hear a renegade abuse them mind of Josephus, is the thorough deby the hour, [such is his lying le- fect of Hebrew sublimity and scriptu. gend,] Josephus roundly asserts that ral simplicity which mark his entire Abraham, the patriarch of their na- writing. How much more impressive tion, had an army of 360,000 troops, is the picture of Abraham, as the fathat is, somewhere about seventy-five ther of the faithful, the selected serlegions-an establishment beyond what vant and feudatory of God, sitting in the first Cæsars had found requisite for the wilderness, majestically reposing mastering the Mediterranean sea with at the door of his tent, surrounded by all the nations that belted it-that is, a a little camp of servants and kinsmen, ring fence of 5000 miles by 700 on an a few score of camels and a few herds average. Now, this is in the style of of cattle, than in the melodramatic atthe Baron Munchausen. But it is titude of a general, belted and plumed, worthy of a special notice, for two with a glittering staff of officers at his illustrations which it offers of this orders ? But the mind of Josephus, renegade's propensities. One is the always irreligious, was now violently abject homage with which he courted warped into a poor imitation of Rothe Roman notice. Of this lie, as of
He absolutely talks of all his lies, the primary purpose is, to liberty" and“ glory," as the moving fix the gaze and to court the admira- impulses of Hebrew saints; and does tion of the Romans. Judea, Jerusa. his best to translate the Maccabees, lem_these were objects never in his and many an elder soldier of the Jewthoughts ; it was Rome, the haven of ish faith, into poor theatrical mimics his apostasy, on which his anxieties of Spartans and Thebans. This desettled. Now, it is a judgment upon pravity of taste, and abjuration of his the man who carried these purposes national characteristics, must not be
overlooked in estimating the value great event; and all the three reigns ; whether of his opinions or his state- combined filled no important space of iments. We have evidence super
time. abundant to these two features in the 2. If Vespasian, for any incomprecharacter of Josephus-that he would hensible reason, were thought worthy distort
every thing in order to meet of being heralded by a prophecy, what į the Roman taste, and that he had ori. logic was there in connecting him with ! ginally no sympathy whatsoever with Syria ? That which raised him to the
the peculiar grandeur of his own purple, that which suggested him to country.
men's ds, was his military emiII. It is a remarkable fact, that Jo- nence, and this was obtained in Brisephus never speaks of Jerusalem and tain. those who conducted its resistance, but 3. If the mere local situations from in words of abhorrence and of loath- which any uninteresting emperor haping that amounts to frenzy. Now, in pened to step on to the throne, merited what point did they differ from him- this special glorification from propheself? Change the name Judea to Ga- cy, why was not many another region, lilee, and the name Jerusalem to Jo. town, or village, illustrated in the same topata, and their case was his case ; way ? That Thracian hamlet, from and the single difference was—that which the Emperor Maximin arose, the men, whom he reviles as often as had been pointed out to notice before he mentions them, had persevered to the event as a place likely to be distinmartyrdom, whilst he-he only_had guished by some great event. And snatched at life under any condition of yet, because this prediction had merely ignominy. But precisely in that dif- a personal reference, and no relation ference lay the ground of his han at all to any great human interest, it tred. He could not forgive those was treated with little respect, and whose glorious resistance (glorious, never crept into a general circulation. were it even in a mistaken cause) em- So of this prophecy with respect to blazoned and threw into relief his own one who should rise out of the East, apostasy. This we cannot dwell on; and should ultimately stretch his but we revert to the question- What sceptre over the whole world, (rerum had the people of Jerusalem done, potiretur,) if Josephus is allowed to which Josephus had not attempted to ruin it by his sycophancy, instantdo ?
ly, from the rank of a Hebrew proIII. Whiston, another Caliban wor- phecyếa vision seen by " the man shipping another Trinculo, finds out a whose
eyes God had opened”-it sinks divinity in Josephus, because, on being to the level of a vagrant gipsy's gosbrought prisoner to Vespasian, he pre- sip. What I shall Rome combine with tended to have seen in a dream that Jerusalem?—for we find this same mysthe Roman general would be raised to terious prediction almost verbally the the purple. Now,
same in Suetonius and in Tacitus, no 1. When we see Cyrus lurking in less than in the Jewish prophets. the prophecies of Isaiah, and Alex- Shall it stretch not only from the east ander in those of Daniel, we appre.
to the west in point of space, but É hend
a reasonableness in thus causing through the best part of a thousand the spirit of prophecy to settle upon years in point of time, all for the sake those who were destined to move in of preparing one day's adulatory nuzthe great cardinal revolutions of this zur, by which a trembling Jew may earth. But why, amongst all the make his propitiation to Cæsars, must Vespasian, in particu- triguing lieutenant of Cæsar? And lar, be the subject of a prophecy, and how came it that Whiston (who, & prophecy the most thrilling, from to do him justice, was too. pious to the mysterious circumstances which have abetted an infidel trick, had his surrounded it, and from the silence silliness suffered him to see through with which it stole into the mouths of it) failed to perceive this consequence ? all nations ? The reigns of all the If the prophecy before us belong to three Flavian Cæsars, Vespasian, with Vespasian, then does it not belong to his sons Titus and Domitian, were Christ. And in that case, the worst memorable for nothing: with the sole error of the Herodian Jews, who
exception of the great revolution in Ju- made the Messiah prophecies termişi dea, none of them were marked by any nate in Herod, is ratified by Chris
tians; for between Herod and Vespa- attention in that direction, and then sian the difference is none at all, as perhaps we notice it in every hour of regards any interest of religion. Can our intercourse. This only can exhuman patience endure the spectacle cuse the various editors, commentators, of a religious man, from perfect folly, translators, of Josephus for having combining in their very worst efforts overlooked one capital omission in with those whom it was the object of this author; it is this never in one his life to oppose ?
instance does Josephus allude to the 4. But finally, once for all, to cut great prophetic doctrine of a Messiah. sharp off by the roots this corruption To suppose him ignorant of this doc. of a sublime prophecy, and to re- trine is impossible; it was so mixed enthrone it in its ancient sanctity, it up with the typical part of the Jewish was not in the “ Orient" (which both religion, so involved in the ceremotechnically meant Syria in that parti- nies of Judaism, even waiving all the cular age, and is acknowledged to Jewishi writers, that no Jew whatever, mean it here by all parties) that Ves- much less a master in Israel, a Phari. pasian obtained the purple.
The see, a doctor of the law, a priest, all oracle, if it is to be translated from a which Josephus proclaims himself, Christian to a pagan oracle, ought at could fail to know of such a doctrine, least to speak the truth. Now, it even if he failed to understand it, or happens not to have been Syria in failed to appreciate its importance. which Vespasian was saluted emperor Why, then, has Josephus suppressed by the legions, but Alexandria; a it ? For this reason: the doctrine city which, in that age, was in no offers a dilemma-a choice between sense either in Syria or in Egypt. two interpretations-one being purely So that the great prophecy, if it is spiritual, one purely political. The once suffered to be desecrated by Jo- first was offensive and unintelligible sephus, fails even of a literal fulfil. (as was every thing else in his native ment.
religion beyond the merely ceremoIV. Mean time, all this is a matter nial) to his own worldly heart; the of personal falsehood in a case of trý. other would have been offensive to the ing personal interest. Even under Romans. The mysterious idea of a such a temptation, it is true that a Redeemer, of a Deliverer, if it were man of generosity, to say nothing of taken in a vast spiritual sense, was a principle, would not have been capa- music like the fabled Arabian voices ble of founding his own defence upon in the desert-utterly inaudible when the defamation of his nobler compa- the heart is deaf, and the sympathies triots. But in fact it is ever thus : untuned. The fleshly mind of Josehe, who has sunk deepest in treason, phus every where shows its incapais generally possessed by a double city for any truths, but those of sense. measure of rancour against the loyal On the other hand, the idea of a poliand the faithful. What follows, how tical deliverer-that was comprehenéver, has respect—not to truth per- sible enough; but, unfortunately, it sonal, truth of fact, truth momentary, was too comprehensible. It was the --but to truth absolute, truth doc- very watchword for national conspitrinal, truth eternal. Let us preface racies; and the Romans would state what we are going to say, by directing the alternative thus : The idea of a the reader's attention to this fact: great deliverer is but another name how easy it is to observe any positive for insurrection against us—of a petty feature in a man's writings or conver- deliverer is incompatible with the sation-how rare to observe the ne- grandeur implied by a vast prophetic gative features; the presence of this or machinery. Without knowing much, that characteristic is noticed in an or caring any thing about the Jewish hour, the absence shall often escape prophecies, the Romans were saganotice for years.
That a friend, for cious enough to perceive two thingsinstance, talks habitually on this or 1st, that most nations, and the Jews that literature, we know as familiarly above all others, were combined by as our own constitutional tastes; that no force so strongly as by one which he does not talk of any given litera. had the reputation of a heavenly de. ture, (the Greek suppose, may fail scent; 2dly, that a series of propheto strike us through a whole life, un- cies, stretching from the century betil somebody happens to point our fore Cyrus to the age of Pericles,