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This author proceeds: · Moreover, · Titus reigned two years after he had taken Jerusalem, . and then died. Titus was a wise king, and composed many valuable books both in the Greek • and in the Roman language. Titus was a just and upright man, and all his judgments were in • righteousness; but being compelled by necessity he destroyed and laid waste Jerusalem : all • which evil came upon Jerusalem because of the robbers which were in Israel, and because of • their wickedness; as we have shewn in this history.'
He here says that • Titus reigned two years after he had taken Jerusalem,' which is very inaccurate. Vespasian did not die before the year of our Lord 79: after himn Titus reigned more than two years, and died in the year of Christ 81: nor does our author say any thing here of Vespasian, as he ought to have done. But we must not stay to remark upon the defects or inaccuracies of this writer; if we had so done we should never have got through his work; and every reader is able to observe many things without my mentioning them.
This author gives a good character of Titus: and he could do no less, after having before related so many favours and civilities conferred by him upon the Jews. Titus also, as all know, is much commended in the History of the Jewish War, written by Flavius Josephus, from which this writer had all his inaterials that are of any value. But herein he differs from the Talmudical writers, as Gagnier observes in his notes upon this work; for they represent Titus as exceeding impious and profane, as we also have seen. How the learned Jews can reconcile these contradictions is not easy to comprehend: but they continue to pay respect to this author as well as to the Talmudical doctors.
Reland, · likewise, in his notes upon the triumphal arch of Titus, takes notice of the grievous reproaches and scandalous reflections upon him in the Jewish writers; whereby they have shewn that they are skilful in the art of slandering, and spare not when they attempt it. Moreover, in this their enmity to Titus, they bear witness to that great event, the overthrow of their city and temple, of which he was, under God, the instrument.
III. I may now make some general remarks; but they need not to be many nor long.
1. This writer is evidently an impostor, a detestable character, which cannot be too much disliked, nor too much censured: he did not live in the time of Vespasian and Titus, as he pretends; nor is he Joseph the son of Gorion the priest, who was appointed to preside in Jerusalem, or to govern in Galilee.
2. Nevertheless he is a witness to the burning of the temple, and the taking of Jerusalem, and the conquest of Judea, by the forementioned emperors: to those events he has borne his testimony, and his testimony is received by the people of his own nation ; especially by the learned among them.
3. He says that • Titus was compelled by necessity to destroy Jerusalem, and that all this evil had come upon Jerusalem because of the robbers and their wickedness.'
He therefore does not ascribe the calamities. which befell the Jews, in the time of Vespasian and Titus, to their sin in rejecting Jesus, and not receiving him as the Messiah. Their calamities he owns, and thereby bears witness to the fulfilinent of our Saviour's prophecies concerning the destruction of Jerusalem: but he does not acknowledge any guilt contracted by his people in crucifying the Lord Jesus, and persecuting his followers: nor does Josephus: nord indeed can I well see how any unbelieving Jews can make such acknowledgments. Rabbi Isaac, in his Munimen Fidei above quoted, which is written against the Christians, quotes John xix. 15. “ The chief-priests answered: We have no king but Cæsar.” Upon which he remarks in this manner : . This · shews that, before Jesus was crucified, the Jews were subject to the Roman
Řegnavit autem Titus duobus annis postquam cepit Jeru- Flavium Josephum secutus, illum sæpius multis elogiis ornasalem, et mortuus est. Porro Titus Rex fuit sapiens, magnus visset, non ausus fuit suos Doctores Talmudicos cum famæ suce in scientiâ eloquentiæ, tum in linguâ Græcâ, tum in lingua dispendio sequi, ne videlicet sibi contrarius videretur. Gagn. Romanâ, et composuit libros multos cum sapientià Græce et Romane. Fuitque Titus vir justus et rectus, et omnia judicia c Hebræi narrant, sed ex odio Titi, quem illuin impium ejus erant cum justitiâ. Verum necessitate coactus desolavit vocant, ac si hominem longe post homines natos sceleratissiet delevit Jerusalem. Et quidem desolavit et delevit eam, mum diceres, non modo velis sacris eum vasa templi impoquia omne malum illud, quod venit super Jerusalem, non suisse, sed et contaminasse adytum impio facinore, in Gemara venit nisi per latrones, qui erant in Israël, et propter impieta- Gittin. fol. 56, 2. Cepit meretricem, eâque inductâ in tem illorum, uti memoravimus. Cap. 97, p. 456.
sanctum sanctorum, stratoque Legis volumine, facinus patra• Hic magna est discordia Ben-Gorionem inter et Talmudi- vit super illud. Dein stricto gladio velum perrupit, unde cos Doctores, quam non diffitentur ipsi Rabbini. Nec deesse sanguis, facto miraculo, missus est, sic ut exiens Titus putaret tamen asserunt sapientes, qui illam contradictionein concilient, se Deum ipsum peremisse - Reland. de Spollis Templi in quemadmodum affirmat R. David Ganz. Sed quo judicio id Arcu Titiano. cap. 13, p. 130, 131. tentaverint, judicium sit penes lectorem.
d It is said by some learned men, that Maimonides ascribes Quoad nostrum Ben-Gorionem, illum hoc loco sibi constare the destruction of Jerusalem to our Lord. So Dr. Sharpe in fatendum est. Cum enim' in versione Rufini ubique magnas his argument, &c. p. 38, 39. And De Voisin in Pr. Rugion. Titi Imp. virtutes summis laudibus prædicari legerit, ipseque, Fidei. p. 127. Certe R. Moses in tract. De Regibus, et De Bell. cap. 11, propter Jesum Christum excidium Jerosolymi- initio: Valebit hoc pro responso adversus objectionem Nazatanum contigisse fatetur. Id est, ^ Ille, qui visus est esse ræorum, quà clamitant, Judæos propter peccatum suspensionis • Messias, et occisus est sententiâ judiciali, &c. ille fuit causa, Jesu perdidisse regnum suum, &c.' R. Isacci Munimen Fid. * cur Israël gladio perierit, et reliquiæ Israël dispersæ sint, et p. 447. Conf. p. 55, 56. ibid. • depressæ, et cur lex mutata sit.' But how this is to be Cæterum, ob illam, quæ inter Regem Agrippam et imunderstood, I cannot well say. I have not the tract of Mai- probos duces factiosorum exorta fuerat contentionem, denique monides here referred to.
emperors. The emperor here intended was Tiberius, who sent Pilate to preside at Jerusalem, • as appears from the third chapter of Luke at the beginning. This may suffice for an answer " to an objection of the Nazarenes, who say the Jews lost their kingdom for their sin in hanging • Jesus.' This, though it be no better than an evasion, shews the Jewish temper and principles. I say it is no better than an evasion. The Jewish people, as we know very well, were subject to the Romans in our Saviour's time: but the case was much altered with them afterwards. They were then very happy, and were so for some good while after that, enjoying, under the mild government of the Romans, the free exercise of their religion, and the temple worship, and many other privileges. The distress, and other circumstances of the siege of Jerusalem, were very uncommon, sufficient to raise the attention of all serious men, and the long duration, and other circumstances of their captivity and dispersion ever since, are also very uncommon and extraordinary: but this is not a time or place for me to enlarge upon them any farther. But it is reasonable to think that unbelieving Jews must endeavour, some how or other, to evade the argument in favour of Christianity, taken from the destruction of Jerusalem, and their long continued captivity and dispersion. And beside the passage just now alleged, the same Rabbi Isaac, in the place before referred to, relating to the death of Agrippa, says, “that the dif• ferences between king Agrippa, and the wicked leaders of the factions, at length brought on • the desolation of the temple.'
4. This work of Josippon confirms the history of the Jewish war written by Flavius Josephus, son of Matthias; and it must induce us to set a real value upon Josephus, and raise our esteem for him. They are both fond of their own people: but Josephus was the events which he records, and with the principal actors in them, and therefore he must have the preference. This author is a plagiary, and knows nothing of the war of which he writes, but what he has stolen from another without naming him: and, with all his Greek politeness, Josephus has more the air of sincerity and simplicity than this Hebrew writer. Indeed, it would have been a bad exchange if, instead of the History of the Jewish War, written by Flavius Josephus, we had palmed upon us the History of the Wars of Jehova, written by Josippon; who neither was the son of Gorion, who presided at Jerusalem, nor the son of Matthias, who governed in Galilee.
A RECOLLECTION OF THE FOREGOING ARTICLES, AND REFLECTIONS UPON THEM.
1. The preceding articles recollected. II. Reflections upon them. III. Concluding observations. 1. I
QUOTE no more Jewish writers. I therefore now proceed to recollect what we have seen, and to make remarks; but I need not recollect the first two chapters: I hope they have not been
desolatum fuit templum, uti ex Josepho constat. Munim. Fid. a Hæc ibi. Ecce hoc dicto ostenditur, ante Jesu cruci p. 417. And see before p. 564, note b. affixionem jam tum Cæsares Romanos Judæis imperitâsse. • Some learned men have of late appealed to a book enAtque is Cæsar (de quo ibi sermo] Tiberius fuit, qui Pilatum titled Toldoth Jeschu. I am of opinion that Christianity Hierosolymis præfecerat, ceu constat ex capitis III. Lucæ does not need such a testimony, nor such witnesses, I baye
improperly premised to this work; but they need not to be brought in here in the way of recapitulation and recollection: I shall recollect only what we have seen in Jewish writers, beginning with Josephus.
Two things are to be regarded by us--their testimony to the Lord Jesus Christ, and to the destruction of Jerusalem.
In Josephus there is a paragraph where Jesus is mentioned very honourably, and agreeably to his true character: but it is not universally received by learned men as genuine. Many are rather of opinion that it has been inserted in his works since his time.
There is in him another paragraph concerning John the Baptist, which is generally received as genuine: and it is a valuable testimony to his preaching, and therein calling men to the practice of virtue. He likewise says that he was put to death by Herod the tetrarch; but he says nothing of that part of his character, that he appeared as the forerunner of the Messiah.
He likewise acknowledgeth that there was then in Judea a general expectation of a great person to arise from among them, who should obtain the empire of the world; and that this expectation was one great occasion of the war with the Romans, and that it was built upon an oracle found in their sacred writings; and that many of their wise men embraced it, and acted upon it in their engaging in the war. He has also spoken of many false prophets who appeared at that time, promising great advantages to the people if they would follow them, and that many were deceived by them. If they did not call themselves Christs, as well as prophets, they did in effect take upon them the character of the Messiah.
In the Mislina it is allowed that there is no express mention of Jesus Christ, the design of that work being to make a collection of the numerous traditions which hitherto were unwritten; but I have alleged a paragraph · which I think contains an invidious representation of the state of things under the gospel dispensation, in the second century.
In the Talmudical writings Jesus is mentioned: but as Lightfoot, who was well acquainted with them, says, it was chiefly with a view to wound and reproach him. They call his mother by the name Mary; but they have aspersed her character, and have assigned to Jesus a spurious nativity. They have mentioned several of our Saviour's disciples, who, as they say, were put to death. They say our Saviour suffered as a malefactor at one of the Jewish Passovers, or in the eve of it, as the expression is. They seem in some places to acknowledge the power of miracles in Jesus and his disciples: and if they had not known that many miraculous works were ascribed to him, they would not have insinuated that he learned magical arts in Egypt, and brought them thence in a private manner, and then set up himself among his countrymen as an extraordinary person.
That is the sum of their testimony upon this article. It would be in vain to expect a great deal from Jews upon this head, who are our enemies. Such are their prejudices, that they are, and always have been, the most inveterate enemies of Jesus, and his followers.
Concerning the other point, the destruction of Jerusalem, their testimony is more material, indeed very valuable. Josephus, without intending it, has borne testimony to the fulfilment of all our Saviour's predictions concerning the miseries of the siege of Jerusalem, the desolation of the land of Judea, and the dispersion of his nation. We have above transcribed his account at large. His testimony has been repeated, with some variations, in Josippon's History of the Jewish War: and the Mishna, and the Talmuds likewise, acknowledge the conquest of Judea by Vespasian and Titus, the burning of the temple, or the second house, and the overthrow of Jerusalem, which was dug up to the foundation.
looked it over several times, with an intention to give some « for above a thousand years, but was conveyed thence by account of it; but, after all, I could not persuade myself to Jesus; which is not only false, but an inpudent fiction, attempt it: for it is a modern work, written in the 14th or ! (non mendaciter modo, sed et impudenter confictum est.) 15th century, and is throughout, from the beginning to the For, as to the lions, so remarkable and wonderful a thing, end, burlesque and falsehood; nor does the shameless writer • neither the books of the Kings, nor the Chronicles, nor acknowledge any thing that has so much as a resemblance of Josephus, mention any thing of them. Nor did the Romans, the truth, except in the way of ridicule. I shall however put 'who before the times of Jesus entered the temple with down here the short censure of Grotius upon this work, Pompey, find any such thing.' Grotius, of the truth of though he does not mention the title of it; not thinking it, the Christian religion. B. 5, sect. iv. in the version of Dr:: as I suppose, worthy to be named. Some of the Jews John Clarke. And I refer 10. Wagenseil's Coutitation of • ascribe the miracles of Jesus to a certain secret name, which the Toldothi Jeschu... was put in the temple by Solomon, and kept by two lions, a See above, p. 550-552.
II. But how should this be? How could this come to pass ? What should be the reason of it? Does not this deserve serious consideration ? Amos iii. 6. “ Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord has not done it?" Such things are not the effect of chance, but are owing to the direction of Providence. Is. xlv. 7. “ I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.” But if God inflict calamities upon any people, it is not without reason; for all his works are done in truth. So again, in the forecited chapter of Amos, ver. 1 and 2: “ Hear this word, that the Lord hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family, which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying: You only have I known of all the families of the earth. Therefore I will punish (or visit] you for all your iniquities."
It is a reasonable maxim: “ Unto whidm much is given, of him shall much be required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will
ask the more:” Luke xii. 48. The people of the Jews had been favoured by God with many privileges; a suitable improvement might be expected; if they transgress the laws of God, their punishment will be exemplary: nor could any thing else but sin alienate the mind of God from them. Is. lix. 1, 2: “ Behold the Lord's hand is not shortened that it cannot save: neither is his ear heavy that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated between you and your God.” And Lam. i. 8: “ Jerusalem has grievously sinned; therefore she is removed.” According to the declarations of Moses and all the prophets, the prosperity and adversity of this people would be proportionate to their regard or disregard of the laws of God: for this I refer to Leviticus, ch. xxvi. and Isaiah, ch. i. And I shall make quotations from the book of Deuteronomy, ch. xxviii. 1, 2: “ And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God ver. 15. But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day, that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: 25. The Lord shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies. Thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them, and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth-ver. 37: And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a by-word among all the nations, whither the Lord shall lead theever. 49, 50: The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, [as swift] as the eagle flieth, a nation, whose tongue thou shalt not understand: a nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young:ver. 52–59, And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst throughout all thy land. And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, throughout all thy land, which the Lord thy God hath given thee. And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and thy daughters, which the Lord thy God hath given thee, in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thy enemies shall distress thee. So that the man, who is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the remnant of his children, which he shall leave: so that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children, which he shall eat: because he has nothing left him in the siege, and in the straitness wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee in all thy gates. The tender and delicate woman among you, which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground, for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter, and toward her young one that cometh from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear. For she shall eat them for the want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates. If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law, which I have written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, the Lord thy God: then the Lord will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance.”
We may be hence apt to think that Moses foresaw the distresses of the siege of Jerusalem, in the year of our Lord 70, and all the ealamities endured by the Jewish people about that time, throughout their whole land, and their dispersion afterwards. If he did not foresee them, the words spoken by him were then fulfilled; and all the calamities which then befell the Jewish people, or have since befallen them, are exactly according to the original plan of Divine Proridence concerning them.
When the law of the ten commandments was delivered at mount Sinai, the people were greatly terrified; and they earnestly requested that God might speak to them no more in that way: if he would be pleased to speak to them by Moses, they engaged to hear and obey hiin. God accepted of this request, and assured them that for the future he would reveal his mind to them in a more familiar manner: he would speak unto them by Moses, and afterwards by prophets like unto him: and that there might be no room for mistake, deceit, or delusion, he would furnish those, whom he should send unto them, with suflicient credentials of their mission. If any should come to them in his name without such credentials, they might be slighted and despised; but if they came with proper credentials, they ought to be heard and obeyed; and if not, it would be resented. This is related several times in the books of Moses, and deserves to be attended to by us.
Ex. xx. 18, 19: “ And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpets, and the mountain smoking.- -And they said unto Moses : Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.".
Deut. v. 22—29. “ These words the Lord spake unto all your assembly in the mount, out of the midst of the fire of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice-And it came to pass, when ye heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, (for the mountain did burn with fire) that ye came near unto me, even all the heads of your
tribes and your elders. And
ye said: Behold, the Lord our God has shewn us his glory, and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire-Now therefore, why should we die ? For this great fire will consume us. If we hear the voice of the Lord our God any more we shall die
-Go thou near, and hear all that the Lord our God shall say, and speak thou unto us all that the Lord our God shall speak unto thee, and we will hear, and do it. “And the Lord heard the voice of your words when ye spake unto me, and the Lord said unto me, I have heard the voice of the words of this people which they have spoken unto thee; they have well said all that they have spoken; O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!" Which words are supposed to be wonderfully emphatical, expressive of a most ardent wish and desire.
Once more Deut. xviii. 15—18. “ The Lord thy God will raise up to thee a prophet, from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me: unto him shall ye hearken. According to all that thou desiredst of the Lord thy God in Horeb, in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord thy God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. And the Lord said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren,” and what follows.
Here is the origin of the prophetical character; men sent from God with a special commission to declare to mankind his mind and will. And from the occasion of this institution (the great terrors of mount Sinai, and the request thereupon made) it might be argued that, if ever a prophet should arise among the people of Israel, like unto Moses, and meeker than he, and if his iniracles, the signs and proofs of his mission, should be more universally saving and beneficent than those of Moses, it should not be any disadvantage to him, nor lessen the respect fit to be shewn unto him.
We proceed in considering the texts lying before us.
Deut. xviii. 18—22. Says God to Moses: " I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken to my words, which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. But the prophet which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods
, even that prophet shall die. And, if thou say in thy heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken ? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken, but the prophet has spoken presumptuously. Thou shalt not be afraid of him."