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It is well known that I have long since intended a collection of passages of Jewish and Heathen authors, who bear testimony to the books or facts of the New Testament, or the affairs of Christians in their own times. I have also intimated, that I had by me large materials for that purpose; at the same time expressing my doubts, whether I ever should be able to put those materials into order. But God, in his good providence, has prolonged my life. And, having completed the Supplement to the second part of the Credibility of the Gospel History, I have now put my collections of Jewish and Heathen Testimonies into such order, that it has been judged not improper to begin the publication.
This part of my design has been long deferred; but I hope it is not the worse for that.
This argument was not omitted by Mr. Addison, in his Evidences of the Christian Religion, who has insisted, though briefly, upon the testimonies of Tacitus, Suetonius, Phlegon, Dion, Celsus Macrobius, and other Heathen authors, and made good remarks upon them; intending likewise to add the testimonies of Jewish writers, but was prevented by death.
In the year 1733 was published a book with this title--An Appeal to the genuine Records and testimonies of Heathen and Jewish Writers in Defence of Christianity: by Thomas Dawson, D. D. Vicar of New Windsor, some time Member of Convocation.*
That work has a pompous title, from which a great deal might be expected; but it is little more than an angry declamation against Dr. Sykes, for not shewing due respect to Phlegon, and Dionysius the Areopagite. I have made no use of that work. Nor do I know that I shall have occasion to take any farther notice of it.
An Argument in Defence of Christianity, taken from the Concessions of the most ancient Adversaries, Jews, and Pagans, Philosophers and Historians : by Gregory Sharpe, L.L. D. Fellow of the Royal Society, and of the Society of Antiquarians. Í am indebted to this learned author, and shall quote him sometimes.
In 1725 J. A. Fabricius published a volume in quarto, concerning the Truth of the Christian Religion. In the 32d chapter of which volume is a catalogue of authors, who have supported the evidence of the Jewish and Christian religion by testimonies of Heathen writers: where are mentioned many authors, with whom I am unacquainted, as well as others, whom I have seen, and of whom I shall take notice presently.
Le Clerc, who, in the year 1727, revised that work of Fabricius, in his Bibliotheque Ancienne et Moderne, observes, that o there are in Pagan authors, still remaining, testimonies
• It is in two parts; 201 pages for the first part, and 112 year of Christ 365, about which time, and afterwards, that for the second; in octavo.
denomination became common in Latin authors, as Prudenb A small volume of 166 pages, published in 1755. tius, Salvian, Orosius, Augustin. That denomination is sup
· Delectus argumentorum, et syllabus scriptorum, qui veri- posed to have had its rise from the state of things at that tatem religionis Christianæ adversus Atheos Deistas,..... time. Sacrifices were prohibited by Christian emperors in lucubrationibus suis asseruerunt. Hamb. 1725.
cities, but allowed for a while in villages and country-places, d Cap. xxxii. Ethnicorum testimonia, veritati religionis But I do not recollect that this way of speaking is adopted by naturalis, Judaicæ, et Christianæ suffragantia. Ibid. p. the Greek ecclesiastical historians, Socrates, Sozomen, and 634... 643.
Theodoret; though they wrote after this style was common e Il y a, dans les auteurs Payens qui nous restent des té- in Latin authors. To me it seems not quite proper to call moignages et des évènemens, qui peuvent beaucoup servir à those writers Pagans, who lived before the times of the confirmer la vérité de la réligion Chrétienne. C'étoit le Christian emperors. I therefore generally say, Heathens, Gen. sentiment d' Herman Conringius, qui étoit, comme l'on fait, tiles, Greeks; Heathenism, Gentilism, Hellenism. un très-savant homme. Bib. A. et M. T. 27. P. i. p. 71. Hæc omnia, ut in urbibus primo sublata, sic permissa ad
Le Clerc here follows the modern way of speaking; which tempus in pagis et vicis, ubi templa aliquamdiu Gentilibus indeed is now in use with all learned men in general. But patuere.... Unde Paganorum nomen enatum est, primum Heathen people were not called Pagans, Pagani,' before the auditum sub imperatoribus Christianis, primaque Paganorum VOL. III.
and events, which may be of great use to confirm the truth of the Christian religion. The same is said by Herman Conringius, who, as is well known, was a very learned man.
Unquestionably Conringius of Brunswick, was a very learned man, author of many valuable works, and in great esteem with divers princes of Germany. But I wish that Le Clerc had quoted his words at length, or referred to the work in which Conringius delivered his judgment upon this point, and where, possibly, he so enlarged upon it, as to afford us some instruction.
Houtteville, in his work entitled The Christian Religion proved by Facts; and in his Historical and Critical Discourse, prefixed to it," has alleged the testimonies of many Jewish and Heathen writers; Celsus, the emperor Julian, Porphyry, Jamblicus, the Talmud, and the Rabbins. Fabricius, in the forecited volume, has given a large account of this performance.
I may not omit Tobias Eckhard, who has published a learned and useful work, entitled, The Testimonies of such as are not Christians, collected from ancient Monuments. Of which there have been two editions, both in my hands; and from which I have reaped benefit. This author also is in the forementioned catalogue of Fabricius.
The - Christian Religion confirmed by the Testimonies of ancient Pagan authors; by Dominique Colonia, of the Society of Jesus. This author likewise is in the catalogue of Fabricius, who calls him a polite and eloquent writer.
This work has a nearer resemblance with mine, than any other which I have met with. Many authors are here' quoted: and Colonia gives some account of them, for shewing the value of their testimony. I shall often quote him, or refer to him; whereby the character of the work, and the judgment of the author, will be apparent to my readers. Undoubtedly, he has learning and zeal, but some allowances must be made for the credulity of his church.
However, it can little become me to pass censures upon others, who am as liable to be censured; and may fall into mistakes, notwithstanding my best care to avoid them.
One fault in my work may be reckoned to be very obvious, which is the prolixity of it. In regard to which, I beg leave to say beforehand, that I am to be distinct and particular. These things have been already slightly touched upon by many. I propose to enlarge, and set them in a fuller light. I allege passages of ancient authors at length: I settle their time: I distinguish their works, and endeavour to shew the value of their testimonies. I intend likewise to allege the judgments of divers learned moderns, who have gone before me in this service. All the persecutions of this time are a part of my subject, as they were appointed by edicts of Heathen emperors, and were carried on by Heathen governors of provinces, and officers under them. I shall have an opportunity to shew the patience and fortitude of the primitive Christians; and the state of Judaism, Gentilism, and Christianity, in the first four centuries. As most of the authors to be quoted by me, are men of great distinction in the republic of letters, some 'occasions will offer for critical observations, which cannot be all declined; but nice and intricate questions will be carefully avoided, that the whole may be upon the level with the capacities of all who are inquisitive, and disposed to read with attention.
In the first volume are the Jewish testimonies, and the testimonies of Heathen authors, who lived in the first century.
In the second volume are Heathen writings of the second century: among which are the letter of the younger Pliny to Trajan, and that eriperor's rescript; which will give occasion for many observations concerning the sufferings of the Christians at that time, and afterwards; and the remains of the work of Celsus against the Christians, preserved in Origen; which afford an mentio exstat in L. xviii. Cod. Theod. De Episcopis, &c. ... elegans ac disertus scriptor. Fabr. ubi supra. p. 635. Valentiniano et Valente. A. A. Coss. Spanhem. Hist. Christ. * Tom. 1. ch. I. Phlegon, et Thallus, ch. II. Ammianus Sec. iv. T. i. p. 836. Vid. et Jac. Gothofred. in notis in Tit. Marcellinus. III. Marcus Antoninus, Dion, Capitolinus, de Paganis. Et Conf. Pagi ann. 351. num. v.
Claudian, Thenjistius. IV. Plutarch; where comes in the Præceperas mihi, ut scriberem adversus vaniloqnam pravi- pilot Thamus, Strabo, Lucan, Juvenal. V. Claudian. Again, tatem eorum, qui alieni a civitate Dei, ex locorum agrestium VI. Chalcidius, Amelius, and Macrobius. VII. Cornelius compitis et pagis, Pagani vocantur, sive Gentiles. Oros. Hist. Tacitus. VIII. Celsus, the epicurean. IX. The philosopher 1. 1. cap. 1.
Porphyry. ... Tom. 2. Ch. 1. Lampridius. II. The younger a See the Dictionary and Supplement of Moreri.
Pliny. III. The sophist Libanius. iy. The emperor Julian Þ A large volume in quarto, at Paris in 1722.
the apostate. V. Lucian, of Samosata. VI. Rutilius Claue Non Christianorum de Christo testimonia, ex antiquis dius Numatianus. VII. The emperor Antoninus the pious. monumentis proposita et dijudicata. Quarto. 1725, et 1736. VIII. The emperor Marcus Antoninus again. IX. The false
La Réligion Chrétienne autorisée par le témoignage des prophet, Mahomet. X. Josephus the historian, XI. The anciens Auteurs Payens. Par le P. Dominique de Colonia, true acts of Pilate. de la Compagnie de Jesus. A Lyon. 1718.
early, and very valuable testimony to the genuineness of the books of the New Testament, and to the truth of the evangelical history.
In the third volume will be Ulpian, Dion Cassius, Porphyry, Hierocles, and other Heathen writers, and a history of the several persecutions of the Christians in the third century, concluding with that of the emperor Diocletian.
The fourth and last volume, in which will be the emperor Julian, Ammianus Marcellinus, Libanius, and other Heathen writers of the fourth and fifth centuries, may be as entertaining as any of the rest; but it cannot be so important. Julian, in his work against the Christians, may mention the names of the evangelists, and of the other writers of the New Testament, and quote the books more distinctly than Celsus; but his testimony to the scriptures, in the fourth century, cannot be so valuable as that of Celsus in the second. However, these also deserve to be collected, and put together in their proper order. We shall there see the last struggles of expiring Gentilism, and some attempts to restore it, after it had been for a while exploded with scorn and disdain.
And we may meet with more than a few men of great learning, and fine abilities, who were still tenacious of the ancient rites, and fond of all the fables upon which they were founded, and by which they had been long upheld and encouraged,
The author professes great impartiality: for which reason he is not without hopes that his work, notwithstanding some imperfections, may be approved by the candid of every denomination. If it shall be of some use to promote good learning, and true religion, he will have great reason to be well pleased.
JEWISH AND HEATHEN TESTIMONIES.
THE FAITH OF MANY JEWISH BELIEVERS IN EARLY TIMES, A VALUABLE TESTIMONY TO THE
TRUTH OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION.
I. That many of the Jewish people believed in Jesus as the Christ, shewn from the books of
the New Testament. II. From other ancient writings. III. Their faith a valuable testimony.
• Be per
1. The Lord Jesus was born at Bethlehem, and brought up at Nazareth; and in Judea (understanding thereby the land of Israel) he fulfilled his ministry. At Jerusalem he was crucified: there he arose from the dead, and thence he ascended to heaven.
A short time before his appearance in the world, John, called the Baptist, a man of an austere character, and acknowledged by all to be a prophet, who acted with a divine commission, preached to the people, saying, “ Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” • suaded by me to reform your lives, and break off every evil course, by repentance; for the
kingdom of God by the Messiah, long since promised by God, and foretold by the prophets, • is now about to be erected among you, which
is a dispensation of the greatest purity and per• fection, the privileges of which are appropriated to sincere penitents only, and really good
He also pointed to Jesus, as the person who was to set up that kingdom, and was much greater than himself.
Soon after which Jesus also appeared, preaching the like doctrine in the name of God; recommending the practice of strict and sublime virtue in heart and life; with a view, not to honour from men, or any other worldly advantages, but with an eye to the favour and approbation of God, who knows all things. These were the general terms proposed by him; forgiveness of past sins upon repentance, and eternal life to perseverance in the profession of the truth, and the practice of virtue; without any assurances of worldly riches, honour or preferment; and with frequent intimations of many difficulties, and external discouragements,
As he went about preaching that doctrine, he wrought many miracles, healing all men, who came to him, of the diseases they laboured under; and raising to life some who had died. And twice he miraculously fed in desert places, with a few loaves and small fishes, great numbers of men, who had long attended upon his discourses. At the beginning of his ministry, and during the time of it, there were some extraordinary manifestations from heaven, bearing testimony to him, as the “beloved Son of God," or the Messiah, the great and extraordinary person,