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a man of fine and brilliant intellect-a jealous in- | aspect of Josephus and his character oecurs to quirer-and, in extent of science, beyond your me as interesting, viz., when placed in collision contemporaries—how came you, then, to lend an with the character so different, and the position ear, so learned as yours, to two such knaves as partially the same, of St. Paul. In both, when your Jewish authorities ? For, doubtless, it was suddenly detained for inspection at an early stage they, viz., Josephus and Philo-Judæus, that of their career, we have a bigot of the most inpoisoned the Plinian ear. Others from Alexan- tractable quality ; and in both the bigotry exdria would join the cabal, but these vagabonds pressed its ferocity exclusively upon the Chriswere the ringleaders. Now there were three tians, as the newborn heretics that troubled the reasons for specially distrusting such men, two unity of the national church. Thus far the parknown equally well to Pliny and me, one sepa- ties agree ; and they agree also in being as learn. rately to myself. Jews had by that time earned ed as the limited afinities in their native studies the reputation, in Roman literature, of being cre- to exotic learning would allow. But from that dulous by preference amongst the children of point, up to which the resemblance in position, ir earth. That was one reason ; a second was, that education, in temper, is so close, how entirely all men tainted with intense nationality, and es opposed ! Both erring profoundly; yet the one not pecially if not the gay, amiable, nationality of only in his errors, but by his errors showing himFrenchmen, but a gloomy unsocial nationality, self most single-minded, conscientious, ferrent, are liable to suspicion as liars. So much was devout ; a holy bigot; as incapable of anything known to Pliny; and a third thing which was not, mercenary then, of anything insidious, or of comI could have told him, viz., that Josephus was promise with any mode of self-interest, as after the the greatest knave in that generation. A learned rectification of his views he was incapable of comman in Ireland is at this moment bringing out a promise with profounder shapes of error. The new translation of Josephus, which has, indeed, other, a time-serving knave, sold to adulation and long been wanted ; for “ wicked Will Whiston”* servile ministeries ; a pimp ; a liar ; or ready for was a very moderate Grecian--a miserable anti- any worse office, if worse is named on earth. quarian-a coarse writer of English-and, at that Never on any human stage was so dramatically time of day, in the absence of the main German realised, as by Josephus in Rome, the delineation and English researches on the many questions of the poet: (chronological or historical) in Syro-Judaic and Egyptian antiquities, had it not within his physi
“A fingering meddling slave;
One that woulil peep and botanise cal possibilities to adorn the Sparta which chance
Upon his mother's grave.” had assigned him. From what I hear, the history will benefit by this new labour of editorial cul- Yes, this master in Israel, this leader of Sanheture ; the only thing to be feared is, that the his- drims, went as to a puppet-show, sat the long day torian, the bad Josephus, will not be merito- through to see a sight.
What sight? Jugglers, riously scourged. I, lictor, colliga manus.
One was it ? buffoons ? tumblers ? dancing dogs ? or
a reed shaken by the wind ? Oh, no! Simply “ Wicked Will Whiston."-In this age, when Swift is
to see his ruined country carried captive in efigy so little read, it may be requisite to explain that Swift it through the city of her conqueror-to see the was who fastened this epithet of wicked to Will Whiston; sword of the Maccabees hung up as a Roman and the humour of it lay in the very incongruity of the trophy—to see the mysteries of the glorious temepithet; for Whiston, thus sketched as a profligate, was worn to the bone by the anxieties of scrupulousness: he was ple dragged from secrecy before the grooms and anything, but wicked, being pedantic, crazy, and fantas- gladiators of Rome. Then when this was finishtical in virtue after a fashion of his own. IIe ruined his wife and family, he ruined himself and all that trusted in ed, a woe that would once have caused Hebrew him, by crotchets that he never could explain to any rational corpses to stir in their graves, he goes home to man; and by one thing that he never explained to him- find his atrium made glorious with the monuself, which a hundred years after I explained very clearly, viz., that all his heresies in religion, all his crazes in eccle- ments of a thousand years that had descended siastical antiquities, in casuistical morals, and even as to through the princes of Hebrew tribes ; and to the discovery of the longitude, had their rise, not (as his find his luxury, his palace, and his haram, friends thought) in too much conscientiousness and too much learning, but in too little rhubarb and magnesia. In charged as a perpetual tax upon the groans of his autobiography he has described his own craziness of his brave unsurrendering countrymen, that had stomach in a way to move the gravest reader's laughter, been sold as slaves into marble quarries : they and the sternest reader's pity. Everbody, in fact, that knew his case and history, stared at him, derided him, pitied him, worked extra hours, that the only traitor to Jeruand, in some degree, respected him. For he was a man salem might revel in honour. of eternal self-sacrifice, and that is always venerable; he When first I read the account of the Essenes in was a man of primitive unworldly sincerity, and that is always lovely; yet both the one and the other were associ- Josephus, I leaned back in my seat, and apostroated with so many oddities and absurdities, as compelled phised the writer thus :—“ Joe, listen to me; the most equitable judge at times to join in the general you've been telling us a fairy tale ; and, for my stations as mathematicians, and were both honoured with part, I've no objection to a fairy tale in any sitathe acquaintance of Sir Isaac Newton, had both been can- ation ; because, if one can make no use of it onedidates for the Parliamentary prize as discoverers of the self, one always knows a child that will be thankfurnishes the immediate theme for Swift's savage ridicule: ful for it.
But this tale, Mr. Joseph, happens “ The longitude mist on
also to be a lie ; secondly, a fraudulent lie: By wicked Will Whiston;
thirdly, a malicious lie.” It was a fiction of By good Master Ditton,"
hatred against Christianity. For I shall startle
And not better hit on
the reader a little when I inform him that, if there to prepare the way for this, le proceeded to transwere a syllable of truth in the main statement late into Latin (but with plausible variations in of Josephus, then at one blow goes to wreck the the expression or arrangement) some of the most whole edifice of Christianity. Nothing but blind memorable passages in the poem. By this means ness and insensibility of heart to the true internal he had, as it were, melted down or broken up the evidence of Christianity could ever have hidden golden sacramental plate, and might now apply this from men. Religious sycophants who affect it to his own felonious purposes. The false the profoundest admiration, but in their hearts swindling travesty of the Miltonic passage he feel none at all, for what they profess to regard produced as the undoubted original, professing to as the beauty of the moral revelations made in have found it in some rare or obscure author, not the New Testament, are easily cheated, and often easily within reach, and then sayingJudge (I have been cheated, by the grossest plagiarisms beseech you) for yourself, whether Milton were from Christianity offered to them as the pure indebted to this passage or not. Now, reader, natural growths of paganism. I would engage a falsehood is a falsehood, though uttered under to write a Greek version somewhat varied and circumstances of hurry and sudden trepidation ; garbled of the Sermon on the Mount, were it but certainly it becomes, though not more a falsehidden in Pompeii, unearthed, and published as hood, yet more criminally, and hatefully a falsea fragment from a posthumous work of a Stoic, hood, when prepared from afar and elaborately with the certain result that very few people in- supported by fraud, and dovetailing into fraud, deed should detect in it any signs of forgery. and having no palliation from pressure and haste. There are several cases of that nature actually | A man is a knave who falsely, but in the panic unsuspected at this hour, which my deep cynicism of turning all suspicion from himself, charges and detestation of human hypocrisy yet antici- you or me with having appropriated another pates a banquet of gratification in one day expos- man's jewel. But how much more odiously.is he ing. Oh, the millions of deaf hearts, deaf to a knave, if with no such motive of screening him. everything really impassioned in music, that pre-self, if out of pure devilish malice to us, he has tend to admire Mozart! Oh, the worlds of hypo- contrived in preparation for his own lie to conceal crites who cant about the divinity of Scriptural the jewel about our persons ! This was what the morality, and yet would never see any lustre at wretch Lauder tried hard to do for Milton. This all in the most resplendent of Christian jewels, was what the wretch Josephus tried hard to do provided the pagan thief had a little disguised for Christ. Josephus grew up to be a mature their setting. The thing has been tried long be- man, about thirty-five years old, during that earfore the case of the Essenes ; and it takes more liest stage of Christianity, when the divine mothan a scholar to detect the imposture. A philo- rality of its founder was producing its first prosopher, who must also be a scholar, is wanted. found impression, through the advantage of a dim The eye that suspects and watches, is needed. religious one, still brooding over the East, from Dark seas were those over which the ark of the mysterious death of that founder. I wish Christianity tilted for the first four centuries ; that the reader would attend to a thing which I evil men and enemies were cruising, and am going to say.
In 1839-40 and 41, it was Alexandrian Pharos is required to throw back a found by our force in Affghanistan that, in a delight broad enough to search and sweep the guilty gree much beyond any of the Hindoo races, the secrets of those times. The Church of Rome has Affghan Sirdars and officers of rank were proalways thrown a backward telescopic glance of foundly struck by the beauty of the Evangelists ; question and uneasy suspicion upon these ridicu- especially in five or six passages, amongst which lous Essenes, and has repeatedly come to the were the Lord's Prayer, and the Sermon on the right practical conclusion—that they were, and Mount, with one or two Parables. The reason of must have been, Christians under some mask or this was, that the Affghans, though more simple other ; but the failure of Rome has been in car- and unpolished than the Hindoos, were also in a rying the Ariadne's thread through the whole far more natural condition of moral feeling ; labyrinth from centre to circumference. Rome being Mahometans, they were much more adhas given the ultimate solution rightly, but has vanced in their conceptions of Deity; and they not (in geometrical language) raised the construc- had never been polluted by the fearful distraction of the problem with its conditions and steps tions of the Hindoo polytheism. Now, I am far from of evolution. Shall I tell you, reader, in a brief insinuating that the Romans of that first Christian rememberable form what was the crime of the era were no further advanced in culture than the hound Josephus, through this fable of the Affghans. Yet still I affirm that, in many features, Essenes in relation to Christ? It was the very both moral and intellectual, these two martial same crime as that of the hound Lauder in rela- races resembled each other. Both were slow and tion to Milton. Lauder, about the middle of the tenacious (that is adhesive) in their feelings. Both last century, bearing deadly malice to the memory had a tendency to dulness, but for that very reaof Milton, conceived the idea of charging the son to the sublime. Mercurial races are never great poet with plagiarism. He would greatly sublime. There were two channels through whom have preferred denying the value in toto of the the Palestine of Christ's day communicated “ Paradise Lost.” But, as this was hopeless, with the world outside, viz., the Romans of the the next best course was to say-Well, let it be as Roman armies, and the Greek colonists. Syria, grand as you please, it is none of Milton's. And, under the Syro-Macedonian dynasty ; Palestine,
under the house of Antipater ; and Egypt, under tive change. A religion had collapsed--that was the Ptolemies-were all deluged with Greek eni- negative ; a moekery had been exposed--that was grants and settlers. Of these two races, the subtle, positive. It was not that restraints were resisted ; agile Greek, unprincipled, full of change and there were none to resist; they had crumbled levity, was comparatively of little use to Chris-away spontaneously. What power still acted tianity as a centre, waiting and seeking for means upon society? Terror from police, and still, as of diffusion. Not only were the deeper conscien- ever, the Divine restraints of love and pity, honout, tious instincts of the Romans more suited to a and domestic, affections. But the conscience profound religion, as instruments for the radiation spoke no longer through any spiritual organs. of light, but also it is certain that the military Just at this moment it was when the confusions condition per se supplies some advantages towards of Roman society, the vast expansion of the a meditative apprehension of vast eternal pro- empire, the sea-like expansion of the mighty blems beyond what can be supplied by the frac- capital, the political tendencies of the whole systionary life of petty brokerage or commerce. This tem, were all moving together towards grandeur is also certain, that Rome itself--the idea which and distraction of feeling, that the doctrine of predominated in Roman campscherished amongst apotheosis, applied to a man i and often to å her soldiery, from the very enormities of her state, monster, towered up to cause still greater distracand from the chaos of her internal life, a ten- tion.* The Pagan pantheon had just-sunk away dency to vast fermentations of thought favourable from the support of the Roman mind. It was to revolutions in man's internal worlds of feeling not only that the Pagan gods were individually and aspirations. Hence it will be found, if once too base and polluted to sustain the spiritual feel. a man's eye is directed into that current, that no ings of an expanding national intellect, but the classes of people did so much for the propagation whole collective idea of Deity was too feebly conof Christianity as the officers of the Roman army, ceived by Paganism. i. Had the individuals of the centurions, tribunes, prefects, legates, &c., or as Pantheon been purer and nobler, their doom was the aulic officers, the great ceremonial officers of sealed, nevertheless, by their abstract deficiencies the imperial court--or as the aulic ladies, the as modes of spiritual life for a race so growing as great leading ladies that had practically much in- that of man. How unfortunate, therefore, that fluence on the ear of Cæsar. The utter dying at this crisis, when ancient religions were crumb: away of the Roman paganism, which had become ling into ruins, new gods should be arising from quite as powerless to all the accomplished men the veriest beasts amongst men--utterly repelled and women of Rome for any purpose of terror or and rejected by the spiritual instinct in man, but of momentary consolation as to us English at pre- suggested by a necessity of political convenience. sent the mythology of Fairies, left a frightful But oftentimes the excess of an evil is its cure, vacuum in the mind of Roman grandees-a horror or the first impulse in that direction. From the as of voyagers upon some world floating away connexion of the great Augustan and Claudian without helmsman or governor. In this unhappy houses with the family of Herod, much knowledge agitation of spirit, and permanent posture of clamo- of Jewish peculiarities had been diffused in Rome. rous demand for light, a nidus was already forming Agrippa, the grandson of Herod, Bernice, and for a deep brooding interest in any great spiritual others of the reigning house in Judea, had been phenomena of breadth and power that might any long resident-had been loved and adınired-in where arise amongst men. Athens was too windy, too conceited, too shallow in feeling, to have been * The Romans themselves saw a monstrosity in this much impressed by the deepest revolutionary practice which did not really exist in the metaphysical nemovements in religion. But in Rome, besides the cessity. It was, and it was not, monstrous. In reality
it was rational, or monstrons, according to theoretic confar different character of the national mind, there struction. Generally speaking, it was but a variety of that were what may be called spiritual horrors arising, divinity which in Christendom all of us so long ascribed which (like dreadful nervous diseases) unfolded with their grand monarque. The Americans of the United
to kings. We English always laughed at the French terrifically to the experience spiritual capacities | States have always laughed at us English, and the sanctity and openings beyond what had been suspected. with which our constitution invests the Sovereign. Tre The great domestic convulsions of Rome, the pois at the Romans upon this matter of apotheosis. And when
English, French, and Americans, have all alike laughed sonings and assassinations, that gleam so fear- brought before us under the idea of Seneca's apocolocunfully from the pictures of Juvenal, were beginning tusis, this practice has seemed too monstrous for human about this period. It was not that by any coarse and Romans, should all have united in scorn for the deep
gravity. And yet again, we English, French, Americans, palpable logic, as dull people understood the case, Phrygian, Persian, or Asiatic servility to kings. We of women or men said--" Accountability there is European blood have all looked to the constitutional idea, none ; and we will no longer act as if there were.” though they also still feebly were groping after the same
not the individual person of the sovereign. The Asiatics, Accountability there never had been any ; but the deep idea, sought it in such a sensual body of externals, obscure scene of an order with which all things that noue but a few, philosophers could keep their grasp sympathised, men not less than the wheels of so- sanctity of the English sovereign's constitutional person, ciety--this had blindly produced an instinct of which iden first made possible the responsibility of the corresponding self-control. At present, when the sovereign's ministers. They could be responsible, only
if the sovereign were not ; let them be accountable, and the Pagan religion had virtually died out, all secret king might be inviolable. Now really in its secret metarestraints were breaking up ; a general delirium physics the Roman apotheosis meant little more. Only carried, and was felt to carry, a license into all the accountability lay not in Cæsar's ministers, but in the
personal and transitory Cæsar, as distinguished from the ranks ; it was not a négative merely, but a posi- eternal Imperator.
the imperial family. The tragical events in there were, or could be, then there were
of Abraham. The Jewish nature was now roused. But how did this particular form arise for the in good earnest. So much we may see sufficiently lie? Were there no such people as the Essenes ? in the Acts of the Apostles ; and we may be asWhy, no ; not as Josephus described them : if I sured by more than one reflection, that the Jewar
ish leaders at that time were resolved not again a brightness in the sky, intercepted to Paul, perto commit the error of relaxing their efforts until plexed him ; haunted him sleeping, troubled him the work of extermination was perfect. They when awake. That face of the martyr brought felt, doubtless not without much surprise, but still down telegraphically from some altitude inacceswith some self-reproach, that they had been too sible to himself, a handwriting that must be aunegligent in assuming the sect to have been thentic. It carried off to heaven, in the very trampled out by the judicial death of its leader. moment of death, a glory that from heaven it Dispersion had not prevented the members of the must have borrowed. Upon this we may sect from recombining; and even the public be sure that Paul brooded intensely ; that death as a malefactor of the leader was so far the effect, noticed as so often occurring at from having dimmed the eyes or dejected the martyrdoms, was already commencing in him ; hopes of the body, that, under the new colouring and probably that the noonday scene on the road given to it by the Christians, this very death had to Damascus did but quicken and ante-date a become the most triumphant of vietories. There result which would at any rate have come. That was, besides, a reason to dread the construction very case of Paul, and no doubt others not reof the Romans upon this heresy, if it continued corded, must continually have been causing fresh longer to defy public suppression. And there was uneasiness to the Jewish leaders.
Their own yet another uneasiness that must greatly have been ministers were falling off to the enemy. And increasing—an uneasiness of an affecting nature, now, therefore, at last they were deterinined, once and which long afterwards, in ages nearer to our for all, that it should be decided who was to be own, constituted the most pathetic feature in Master in Jerusalem. Christian martyrdoms. Oftentimes those who The Apostles, on their side, and all their flock, resorted to the fiery spectacle in pure hatred of though not losing a solemn confidence in the issue, the martyr, or who were purposely brought could not fail to be alarmed. A contest of life thither to be warned by salutary fear, were ob- and death was at hand. By what price of suflerserved by degrees to grow thoughtful; instead of ing and ruins the vietory might need to be reaping confirmation in their feelings of horror, achieved, they could not measure. They had they seemed dealing with some internal struggle, now faced, as they saw, without power any more musing, pausing, reflecting, and at length en- to evade it, a fiery trial. Ordinary counsels amoured as by some new-born love, languishing would not avail; and, according to the magnitude in some secret fascination. Those that in Pagan of the crisis, it became the first of duties to watch days caught in forests a momentary glimpse of warily every step they should take, since the the nymphs and sylvan goddesses, were struck very first false one might happen to prove irre. with a hopeless passion: they were nympholepts: trievable. The interests of the youthful church the affection, as well known as epilepsy, was were confided to their hands. Less than faithful called nympholepsy. This parallel affection, in they could not be ; but for the present that was those that caught a momentary celestial glimpse not enough. To be faithful in extremity was all from the countenances of dying martyrs, by the that might remain at last; but for the present, side of their fiery couches, might be called mar- the summons was to be wise, so as to intercept tyrolepsy. And many were they that saw the that extremity, if possible. In this exigency, secret glance. In mountainous lands, oftentimes and with the sudden illumination which very perwhen looking down from eminences far above the plexity will sometimes create, which the mere inlevel of lakes and valleys, it has happened that I spiration of distress will sometimes suggest, they could not see the sun : the sun was hidden behind devised the scheme of a Secret Society. some gloomy mass of clouds ; but far below I be- Armies of brave men bare often not only held, tremulously vibrating on the bosom of some honourably shut themselves up into impenetrable half-hidden lake, a golden pillar of solar splen- squares, or withdrawn altogether behind walls dour which had escaped through rifts and rents and batteries, but have even, by exquisite concert, in the clouds that to me were as invisible as the suddenly dispersed over a thousand hills ; hare sun himself. So in the martyrdom of the proto- vanished at noon-day on the clapping of hands, martyr St. Stephen, Paul of Tarsus, the learned as if into thick shadows; and again, by the clapJew, could see no gates of heaven that opened, ping of hands, in a moment have reässembled in could see no solar orb: to him were visible, as the battle array. Such was the magical effect from scenery about St. Stephen, nothing but darkness the new device. The Christians are seen off of error and clouds. Yet, as I far below in the their guard all around ; spearmen wheel sudlake, so he far below in the countenance of St. denly into view, but every Christian has vanished. Stephen, saw, with consternation, reflected a gol- The Christian is absolutely in the grasp of the den suulight, some radiance not carthly, which serjeant; but, unaccountably, he slips away, and ought not to have been there. That troubled a shadow only remains in the officers' hand. him. Whence came that? The countenance of The Christian fugitive is before your face, he Stephen, when the great chorus was even then rushes round a corner, you see him as he whirls arising—“ Stone him to death !”* shone like the round with a mask upon his face ; one bound countenance of an angel. That countenance, throws you round the corner upon his traces ; and which brought down to earth some revelation of then you see no fugitive at all, no mask, but a There is a chorus of that title, powerfully conceived,
man walking in tranquillity, who readily joins in Dr. Mendelssohn's Oratorio of St. Paul,
you in the pursuit.