Imagini ale paginilor

ten word has ever been appointed by Christ Jesus himself to be the rule of our belief.” Again, p. 57: “The Bible neither proclaims its own inspiration, nor can the sacred article be proved by any testimony of the Bible." In the same work (p. 57) are quoted approvingly the words of “the excellent and learned Hooker," as he is there called: "But it is not the word of God, which doeth or can assure us, that we do well to think it his word.

The good priest, it seems to us, had better have argued from the true Catholic standpoint, and have averred that the Bible does not and cannot prove itself, and that the only present and living witness of its inspiration and truth is the Catholic Church. When this ground is taken we shall be prepared to consider it. I fear, however, that such position would hardly be considered tenable by his Protestant readers; besides, should nie now change his base he would be obliged, as lumbermen say when they “stick” or “stave,” to “raft over."

We now come to the long-mooted question respecting a passage in Josephus.

Ingersoll.—“ Is it not wonderful that Josephus, the best historian the Hebrews produced, says nothing about Jesus ?”

Lambert.-" Here is what he says : Now about this time Jesus, a wise man,'" etc.

Ingersoll.—“The passage in Josephus is admitted to be an interpolation.”

Lambert.—“Admitted by whom? By you, and Paine and Voltaire, and other infidels, Tooley street tailors.”

Without stopping to commend the manly dignity and Christian courtesy of this reply I pass to the question at issue. Did Josephus write the paragraph referred to ? I answer no, and assign the reasons which seem to me to necessitate the conclusion: ist, the context shows that it is an interpolation; 2d, the probabilities of the case, strong enough to

[ocr errors]

exclude the possibility of an opposite conclusion, show it; 3d, it is shown to be spurious by learned Catholic and Protestant as well as Hebrew authority.

First, as to the context. Just before the disputed passage intervenes Josephus is speaking of the wrongs suffered by the Jews at the hands of Pilate and of the end of a certain sedition. Then, as we claim, was interpolated the passage: “ Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as received the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him : for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not cxtinct at this day.” What follows? "About the same time also another sad calamity put the Jews into disorder," etc. What! was it a calamity that the crucified Saviour had risen from the dead? That he had proved himself the long-looked-for Messiah, the hope of Israel, whose coming the prophets had foretold, and which was to be the redemption of the Hebrew race ?

But leave out the interpolation and you will see how the preceding and the succeeding paragraphs dovetail together (See “Antiquities of the Jews,” Book 18, Chapter 3).

Second, as to the probabilities of the case. Josephus was a Jew and, in his latter days, of that strictest of sects, the Pharisees, whom Christ had called hypocrites and vipers. Would not a convert from such a class, a man of noble lineage and of such great learning and literary power, have been referred to as one of the greatest triumphs of the new faith? Would not Josephus have embraced with holy ecstasy the religion of him whom he believed to be "the Christ?" Josephus wrote his own biography no earlier than 100 A. D., but he nowhere indicates a change of faith, nor refers to the greatest event of all ages, the coming of the Son of God for the redemption of the world.

Third. Historical and critical authorities, by a vast preponderance, negative the genuineness of the disputed passage. True Eusebius refers to it twice, and that is the first reference made to it in history. Of Eusebius we are told that " he is called the 'Father of History, not because he was master of historiographer's art, for he had neither method with respect to the whole, nor criticism with respect to details; neither style nor absolute veracity” (“ Enc. of Rel. Knowledge,” vol. i., 771). The same authors observe : “But though this famous

“ testimony is by Eusebius (“ Hist. Ecc.” i., ii). it is entirely spurious.” See list of learned authorities cited. The “Encyclopædia Britannica” says: “Book xviii., chap. iii., sec. 3 [of Josephus] contains a remarkable passage relating to Jesus Christ, which is twice cited by Eusebius as genuine, and which is met with in all the extant MSS. It is, however, unanimously believed to be, in its present form at least, spurious, and those who contend for its partial genuineness are decidedly in the minority.” To the same effect says the "American Encyclopædia.” Eusebius was born in the third century and died about 340 A. D. Yet Origen, the most learned father of the church, who lived in the second century, says that Josephus was not a believer in Jesus.

Were all these wise, learned, Christian writers, “Tooley street tailors?"

Ingersoll.—“Is it not wonderful that no historian ever mentioned any of these prodigies ? "

Lambert.—“The prodigies you refer to are, first, the massa

[ocr errors]

cre of the infants by Herod; second, the star of Bethlehem; third, the darkness at the time of the crucifixion, etc.

“ The first is referred to by Macrobius, a heathen historian, in such a manner as to leave no doubt as to the universal belief in the fact.

"The second is mentioned by Chalcidus, a Platonic philosopher, who attests the facts in almost the same words as the Gospel.

“ The third (the darkness) is mentioned by Phlegon of Trallium, a pagan who lived in the middle of the second century; i. l., about the year of our Lord 150."

; e As to Macrobius, who lived in the fifth century, one would suppose that he was a poor witness of events which transpired some four hundred years before he was born. And again, a legend precisely like that told of the massacre of the infants by Herod was believed to have taken place 1200 years A. D., when a tyrant sought the life of the child Chrishna, the atoning saviour of the Hindoos.

Chalcidus, who was born in the second century (scarcely contemporary with Jesus or his apostles), speaks, in his "Comments on the Timaeus of Plato," of a star which presaged neither disease nor death, but the descent of a god among men, which was verified by Chaldean astronomers, who hastened to present gifts to the child-god. But what proof have we that Chalcidus referred to events which attended the birth of Jesus? The Father is aware that the unlearned will suppose that the passage quoted could refer only to the events spoken of by the evangelists. They are not presumed to know that hundreds of years before Christ was born, and among many nations, prophecies were written of stars which should appear at the birth of heroes, gods, and demi-gods, whose births, with attendant wonders, heathen historians afterwards recorded as having occurred in exact fulfilment of


When you


prophecy; that stars appeared; that wise men hastened to bow before the infant prodigies, and to present their gifts in token of adoration; that those saviours of the ancient world were born of virgins, and came to save the world and atone for sin. “Faber, an English writer, in his history of idolatry, tells us that Zoroaster prophetically declared that a virgin should conceive and bear a son, and that a star would appear blazing at mid-day to signalize the occurrence. behold the star,' said he to his followers, 'follow it whitherso. ever it leads you. Adore the mysterious child, offering to him gifts with profound humility. He is indeed the Almighty Word which created the heavens. He is indeed the Lord and everlasting King.'

So of Chrishna (1200 years B. c.), who, according to the Hindoo Bible, was born of a virgin, was visited by shepherds, wise men, and angels, whose life was threatened, as was that of Jesus, by a tyrant, who commanded all of the first-born to be put to death; who was baptized in the river Ganges, was anointed by women, and who had his beloved disciple. He taught by parables, preached a notable sermon, was honored by a triumphal reception by the crowds, who strewed branches before him; taught doctrines of peace and purity, was crucified, rose from the dead and appeared to his disciples. See Appendix (B). The parallel might be extended and numerous other cases cited, did space permit, of miraculous occurrences attendant on the birth of “god-men," who lived and died long before Jesus was born. Does the Father then claim that the Platonist, Chalcidus, referred to the star of Bethlehem, when heathen records abound in accounts of the appearance, under like circumstances, of the same wonders as are recorded by the evangelists; all in attestation of like events (the birth of gods), and presaging to humanity the same deliverances?

* See “ The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviours,” by Kersey Graves.

« ÎnapoiContinuați »