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(confining ourselves to the prophets the superstruction, but as one who un. from Isaiah to Haggai) was most un- settles the foundations—the eternal likely to find its adequate result and substructions. In one short sentence, consummation in any petty change- Josephus is not ashamed to wrench any change short of a great national out the keystone from tlie great arch convulsion or revolution.
of Judaism ; so far as a feeble apoHence it happened, that no mode state's force will go, hie unlocks the in which a Roman writer could pre- whole cohesion and security of that sent the Jewish doctrine of a Messiah, monumental faith upon which, as its was free from one or other of the ob- basis and plinth, is the “ starry-pointjections indicated by the great Apos- ing" column of our Christianity. He tle : either it was too spiritual and delivers it to the Romans, as sound mysterious, in which case it was “ fool- Pharisaic doctrine, that God had enishness” to himself; or it was too joined upon the Jews the duty of palpably the symbol of a political in- respectful homage to all epichorial or terest, too real in a worldly senise, in national deities-to all idols, that is to which case it was a “stone of offence" say, provided their rank were attested to his Roman patrons-generally to by a suitable number of worshippers. the Roman people, specially to the The Romans applied this test to the Roman leaders. Josephus found him- subdivisions amongst princes ; if a self between Scylla and Charybdis if prince ruled over a small number of he approached that subject. And subjects, they called him (without retherefore it was that he did not ap- ference to the original sense of the proach it.
word) a tetrarch ; if a certain larger V. Yet, in this evasion of a theme number, an ethnarch ; if a still larger which interested every Jew, many read- number, a king. So again, the numers will see only an evidence of that ber of throats cut determined the timidity and servile spirit which must, question between a triumph and an of course, be presumed in one who ovation. And upon the same principle, had sold the cause of his country. if we will believe Josephus, was reguHis evasion, they will say, does not lated the public honour due to the argue any peculiar carelessness for Pagan deities. Count his worshippers truth; it is simply one instance amongst -call the roll over. hundreds of his mercenary cowardice. Does the audacity of man present The doctrine of a Messiah was the us with such another instance of persubject of dispute even to the Jews- fidious miscreancy? God the Jehovah the most religious and the most learned. änxious for the honour of Jupiter and Some restrained it to an earthly sense ; Mercury! God, the Father of light some expanded it into a glorified hope. and truth, zealous on behalf of those And, though a double sense will not lying deities, whose service is every justify a man in slighting both senses, where described as “ whoredom and still the very existence of a dispute adultery!” He who steadfastly reveals about the proper acceptation of a doc- himself as “a jealous God,” jealous . trine, may be pleaded as some palliation also (if we will believe this apostate for a timid man, in seeking to pass Jew) on behalf of that impure Panit sub silentio. But what shall we theon, who had counterfeited his name, say to this coming count in the in- and usurped his glory! Reader, it dictment? Hitherto Josephus is only an would be mere mockery and insult to apostate, only a traitor, only a libeller, adduce on this occasion the solemn only a false-witness, only a liar; and denunciations against idolatrous com. ás to his Jewish faith, only perhaps a pliances uttered through the great coward, only perhaps a heretic. But lawgiver of the Jews—the uncondi. now he will reveal himself in the tional words of the two first commandliteral sense of that word) as a miscre- ments—the magnificent thunderings ant ; one who does not merely go and lightnings upon the primal quesastray in his faith, as all of us may do tion, in the 28th chapter of Deuteroat times, but pollutes his faith by foul nomy, (which is the most awful adulterations, or undermines it by peroration to a long series of prophetic knocking away its propsmå misbe- comminations that exists even in the liever, not in the sense of a heterodox Hebrew literature ;) or to adduce the believer, who errs as to some point in endless testimonies to the same effect,
so unvarying, so profound, from all when the truth was so intensely conthe Hebrew saints, beginning with centrated, and so intensely militant; Abraham and ending with the prophets, all advantages barely sufficing to pass through a period of 1500 years. down the lamp of religion from one
This is not wanted : this would generation to the next. The contest be superfluous. But there is an was for an interest then riding at single evasion open to an apologist of Jose- anchor. This is a very possible case phus, which might place the ques. to the understanding. And that it tion upon a more casuistical footing. was in fact the real case, so that no And there is also a colourable vindica- compromise with idolatry could be tion of the doctrine in its very worst suffered for a moment; that the Jews shape, viz. in one solitary text of the were called upon to scoff at idolatry, English Bible, according to our received and spit upon it; to trample it under translation. To this latter argument, their feet as the spreading pestilence the answer is-first, that the word which would taint the whole race of gods is there a mistranslation of an Ori- man irretrievably, unless defeated and ental expression for princes ; secondly, strangled by them, seems probable in that an argument from an English the highest degree, from the examples version of the Scriptures, can be none of greatest sanctity amongst the Jewish for a Jew, writing a.d. 70; thirdly, inspired writers. "Who can forget the that if a word, a phrase, an idiom, blasting mockery with which Elijah could be alleged from any ancient and overwhelms the prophets of Baal-the contemporary Jewish Scripture, what greatest of the false deities, Syrian or is one word against a thousand - Assyrian, whose worship had spread against the whole current (letter and even to the Druids of the western isl. spirit) of the Hebrew oracles ; what, ands ? Or the withering scorn with any possible verbal argument against which Isaiah pursues the whole ecothat which is involved in the acts, the nomy of idolatrous worship ?--how he monuments, the sacred records of the represents a man as summoning the Jewish people ? But this mode of carpenter and the blacksmith; as cutdefence for Josephus will scarcely be ting down a tree of his own planting adopted. It is the amended form of and rearing ; part he applies as fuel, his doctrine which will be thought part to culinary purposes ; and thenopen to apology. Many will think having satisfied the meanest of his that it is not the worship of false gods animal necessities—what will he do which the Jew palliates, but simply with the refuse, with the offal ? Bea decent exterior of respect to their hold---s of the residue he maketh ceremonies, their ministers, their altars: himself a god !" Or again, who can and this view of his meaning might forget the fierce stream of ridicule, raise a new and large question. like a flame driven through a blowpipe,
This question, however, in its mo- which Jeremiah forces with his whole dern shape, is nothing at all to us, afflatus upon the process of idol-manuwhen applying ourselves to Josephus. facturing? The workman's part is The precedents from Hebrew antiquity described as unexceptionable: he plates show us, that not merely no respect, it with silver and with gold ; he rivets no lip honour, was conceded to false it with nails; it is delivered to order, forms of religion ; but no toleration- true and in workman-like style, so that not the shadow of toleration: “ Thine as a figure, as a counterfeit, if counter. eye shall not spare them.'
feits might avail, it is perfect.
But must all be sure that toleration is a very then, on examination, the prophet different thing indeed when applied detects oversights : it cannot speak; to varieties of a creed essentially the the breath of life has been overlooked; same-toleration as existing amongstus reason is omitted; pulsation has been people of Christendom, or even when left out; motion has been forgottenapplied to African and Polynesian it must be carried, “ for it cannot go." idolatries, so long as we all know that Here, suddenly, as if a semichorus the citadel of truth is safe, from the stepped in, with a moment's recoil of toleration applied in an age when the feeling, a movement of pity speaks,-pure faith formed a little island of - Be not afraid of them, for they light in a world of darkness. Intol- cannot do evil; neither also is it in erance the most ferocious may have them to do any good.” But in an been among the sublimest of duties instant the recoil is compensated : an
overwhelming reaction of scorn comes hurrying, we will pause to state. The back, as with the reflux of a tide ; and founder of the Jewish faith foresaw a a full chorus seems to exclaim, with the certain special seduction certain to beprophet's voice,-" They (viz. the set its professors in every age.
But heathen deities) are altogether brutish how and through what avenues ? Was and foolish ; the stock is a doctrine of it chiefly through the base and mervanities.”
cenary propensities of human nature What need, after such passages, to that the peril lay? No; but through quote the express injunction from its gentleness, its goodness, its graIsaiah ? (chap. xxx. v. 21, 2,)“ And cious spirit of courtesy. And in that thine ears shall hear a word behind direction it was that the lawgiver apthee, saying, This is the way ; walk plied his warnings and his resistance. ye in it: Ye shall de file the covering What more natural than that an idol. of the graven images, &c. ; ye shall atrous wife should honour the religicast them away as a polluted cloth.” ous rites which she had seen honour. Or this? (chap. xlii. 8,) “ I am the ed by her parents? What more essenLord;
1; that is my name : and my tial to the dignity of marriage, than glory will I not give to another ; nei- that a husband should show a leaning ther my praise to graven images.' to the opinions and the wishes of his Once for all, if a man would satisfy wife? It was seen that this condition himself upon this question of possible of things would lead to a collision of compromises with idolatry, let him feelings not salutary for man. The run over the eleven chapters of Jere- condition was too full of strife, if you miah, from the tenth to the twentieth suppose the man strong-of temptainclusive. The whole sad train of tion, if you suppose him weak. How, Jewish sufferings, all the vast equi- therefore, was the casuistry of such a page of woes and captivities that situation practically met ? By a prohiwere to pursue them through so many bition of marriages between Jews and a weary century, are there charged pagans; after which, if a man were upon that one rebellion of idolatry, to have pleaded his conjugal affection which Josephus would have us believe in palliation of idolatrous compliances, not only to be privileged, but (and it would have been answered“ It is that is the reason that we call him a a palliation; but for an error commiscreant) would have us believe to mitted in consequence of such a conhave been promoted by a collusion nexion. Your error was different; it emanating from God. In fact, if once commenced from a higher point; it it had been said authentically, Pay commenced in seeking for a connexion
outward homage to the Pagan which had been prohibited as a snare. Pantheon, but keep your hearts from Thus it was that the “ wisest heart going along with it—then, in that of Solomon was led astray. And countenance to idolatry as a sufferable thus it was in every idolatrous lapse thing, and in that commendation of of the Jews ;—they fell by these probi. it to the forbearance and indulgence bited connexions. Through that chan. of men, would have lurked every ad- nel it was, through the goodness and vantage that polytheism could have courtesy of the human heart, that the desired for breaking down the total Jewish law looked for its dangers, and barriers of truth.
provided for them. But the treason Josephus, therefore, will be given of Josephus came through no such up to reprobation ; apologist he will generous cause. It had its origin in find none; he will be abandoned as a servile fear, self-interest the most mer. profligate renegade, who, having sold cenary, cunning the most wily. Johis country out of fear and avarice, sephus argued with himself-that the having sold himself, sold also his reli- peculiar rancour of the Roman mind gion, and his religion not simply in towards the Jews had taken its rise in the sense of selling his individual share religion. The bigotry of the Jews, in its hopes, but who sold his religion for so it was construed by those who in the sense of giving it up to be pole could not comprehend any possible luted in its doctrine for the accommo- ground of distinction in the Jewish dation of its Pagan enemies.
God, produced a reaction of Roman VI. But, even after all this is said, bigotry. Once, by a sudden movethere are other aggravations of this ment of condescension, the Senate and Jew's crimes. One of these, though people of Rome had been willing to
make room for Jehovah as an assessor this case, though it will hardly be to their own Capitoline Jove. This thought such, the treason of Josephus being declined, it was supposed at first might have been dangerous: it was that the overture was too overwhelming certainly committed under terror of to the conscious humility of Judea. The the Roman sword, but it might have truth neither was comprehended, nor been avenged by the Jewish dagger. could be comprehended, that this mi. Had a written book in those days serable Palestine, a dark speck in the been as much a publication of a man's blazing orb of the Roman empire, had words as it is now, Josephus would declined the union upon any principle not long have survived that sentence of superiority. But all things becamo of his Antiquities. This danger gives known in time. This also became a shadow of respectability to that act known; and the delirious passion of of Josephus. And therefore, when it scorn, retorting scorn, was certainly is asked--can a viler act be cited from never, before or since, exemplified on history? we now answer— Yes : there the same scale. Josephus, therefore, is one even viler. And by whom profoundly aware of the Roman feels committed ? By Josephus. Listen, ing, sets himself, in this audacious reader. falsehood, to propitiate the jealousy so The overthrow of his country was wide awake, and the pride which had made the subject of a Roman triumph been so much irritated. You have -of a triumph in which his patrons, been misinformed, he tells the Ro- Vespasian and his two sons, figured as mans; we have none of that gloomy the centres of the public honour. unsocialty which is imputed to us. It Judea, with her banners trailing in the is not true that we despise alien gods. dust, was on this day to be carried We do not worship, but we venerate captive. The Jew attended with an Jupiter. Our lawgiver commanded obsequious face, dressed in courtly us to do so. Josephus hoped in this smiles. The prisoners, who are to way to sooth the angry wounds of die by the executioner when the pomp the Roman spirit. But it is certain shall have reached the summit of the that, even for the moment, he could hill, pass by in chains. What is their not have succeeded. His countrymen crime ? They have fought like brave of Jerusalem could not expose him; men for that dear country which the they had perished.
But there were base spectator has sold for a bribe. many myriads of his countrymen Josephus, the prosperous renegade, spread over the face of the world, who laughs as he sees them, and hugs himwould contradict every word that any self on his cunning. Suddenly á íu. equivocating Jew' might write. And mult is seen in the advancing crowds this treachery of Josephus, therefore, what is it that stirs them? It is the to the very primal injunction of his sword of the Maccabees : it is the native law, must have been as useless image of Judas Maccabæus, the warin the event as it was base in the pur- rior-Jew, and of his unconquerable pose.
brothers. Josephus grins with aduoiVII. Now, therefore, we may ask, ration of the jewelled trophies. Next was there ever a more abject perfidy but what shout is that which tore committed than this which we have the very heavens ? The abomination exposed—this deliberate surrender, for of desolation is passing by-the Law a selfish object, of the supremacy and and the Prophets, surmounted by unity in the Jehovah of the Jews- Capitoline Jove, vibrating his pagan this solemn renunciation of that law thunderbolts. Judea, in the form of and its integrity, in maintenance of a lady, sitting beneath her palmswhich seventy generations of Jews, Judea, with her head muffled in her including weak women and children, robe, speechless, sightless, is carried have endured the penalties of a dis- past. And what does the Jew? He persion and a humiliation more bitter sits, like a modern reporter for a newsby many degrees than death? Weigh- paper, taking notes of the circumstaning the grounds of comparison, was a tial features in this unparalleled viler treason ever perpetrated ? We scene, delighted as a child at a puptake upon ourselves to say-No. And pet-show, and finally weaves the whole yet, even in treason there is some- intó a picturesque narrative. The times a dignity. It is by possibility apologist must not think to evade the a bold act, a perilous act. Even in effect upon all honourable minds by
is not open:
supposing the case that the Jew's pre- have not been obtained of Jewish afsence at this scene of triumph over his fairs in more instances than one. Let ruined country, and his subsequent re- the reader understand also that, as record of its circumstances, might be a gards the Essenes, Josephus is not movement of frantic passion-bent, trustworthy on a double reason; first, on knowing the worst, bent on drinka' on account of his perfidy, as now suffiing up the cup of degradation to the ciently exposed, which too often invery last drop. No, no: this escape terfered to make secondary perfidies
The description itself requisite, by way of calling off the remains to this hour in attestation of field of hunters from his own traces the astounding fact, that this accursed in the first ; secondly, because his Jew surveyed the closing scene in the peculiar situation as a Pharisaic doctor great agonies of Jerusalem-not with of the law, combined with his characany thought for its frenzy, for its an. ter, (which surely could not entirely guish, for its despair, but absorbed in have concealed itself in any stage of the luxury of its beauty, and with a his public life,) must have made it single eye for its purple and gold. necessary for the Essenes to trust him " Off, off, sir !"-would be the cry to very cautiously, and never to any exsuch a wretch in any age of the world: tent that might have been irretrievable to " spit upon his Jewish gaberdine," in the event of his turning informer. would be the wish of every honest The Essenes, at all events, had some
Nor is there any thoughtful secret to guard ; in any case, therefore, person who will allege that such an- they were responsible for the lives of other case exists. Traitors there. all their members, so far as they could have been many: and perhaps trai- be affected by confidences reposed ; tors who, trusting to the extinction of and, if that secret happened to be all their comrades, might have had Christianity, then were they trebly courage to record their treasons. But bound to care and jealousy, for that certainly there is no other person secret involved not only many lives, known to history who did, and who but a mighty interest of human nature, proclaimed that he did, sit as a volun- so that a single instance of carelessness teer spectator of his buried country might be the most awful of crimes. carried påst in effigy, confounded with Hence we understand at once why it à vast carnival of rejoicing mobs and is that Josephus never advanced bearmies, echoing their jubilant out- yond the lowest rank in the secret cries, and pampering his eyes with society of the Essenes. His worldly ivory and gold, with spoils, and with character, his duplicity, his weakness, captives, torn from the funeral pangs were easily discerned by the eagleof his country. That case is unique, eyed fathers of Christianity. Consewithout a copy, without a precedent. quently, he must be viewed as under a
So much for Josephus. We have perpetual surveillance from what may thought it necessary to destroy that be called the police of history-liable man's character, on the principles of to suspicion as one who had a frequent a king's ship in levelling bulk-heads interest in falsehood, in order to screen and partitions when clearing for action. himself; secondly, as one liable to Such a course is requisite for a perfect unintentional falsehood, from the infreedom of motion. Were Josephus disposition to trust him. Having now trustworthy, he would sometimes extracted the poison-fangs from the prove an impediment in the way of Jewish historian, we will take a furour views : and it is because he has ther notice of his history in relation to been too carelessly received as trust the Essenes in our next number. worthy, that more accurate glimpses