« ZurückWeiter »
his words are rendered) of those that were with him, were destroyed; in his Antiquities, he represents four hundred to have been killed upon this occasion, and two hundred taken prisoners* : which certainly was not the “ greatest part," nor“ a great part," nor“ a great number,” out of thirty thousand. It is probable also, that Lylias and Jef phus spoke of the expedition in its different stages: Lysias, of those who followed the Egyptian out of Jerusalem ; Josephus, of all who were collected about him afterwards, from different quarters.
XLI. (Lardner's Jewish and Heathen Testimonies, vol. iii. p. 21.) Acts xvii. 22. “ The Paul stood in the midst of Marshill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too fuperftitious ; for, as I passed by and beheld your devotions; I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.” * Lib. XX. C. 7, fec. 6.
Diogenes * Diogenes Laërtius, who wrote about the year 210, in his history of Epimenides, who is supposed to have flourished nearly fix hundred years before Christ, relates of him the following fory: that, being invited to Athens for the purpose, he delivered the city from a pestilence in this manner“ Taking several sheep, fome black, others white, he had them up to the Areopagus, and then let them go where they would, and gave orders to those who followed them, wherever any of them should lie down, to facrifice it to the god to whom it belonged; and so the plague ceased. Hence,” says the historian," it has come to pass, that, to this present time, may be found in the boroughs of the Athenians ANONYMOUS altars : a memorial of the expiation then made *.” These altars, it may be presumed, were called anonymous, because there was not the name of any particular deity inscribed upon them.
the second century, in his description of Athens, having mentioned an altar of Jupiter Olympius, adds, “ And nigh unto it is an altar of unknown gods *.” And, in another place, he speaks “ of altars of gods called unknown t."
Philoftratus, who wrote in the beginning of the third century, records it as an observation of Apollonius Tyanæus, “.That it was wise to speak well of all the gods, efpecially at Athens, where altars of unknown demons were erected 1."
The author of the dialogue Philopatris, by many supposed to have been Lucian, who. wrote about the year 170, by others fome anonymous heathen writer of the fouộth century, makes Critias swear by the unknown god of Athens; and, near the end of the dialogue, has these words, “ But let us find out the unknown god at Athens, and, stretching
our hands to heaven, offer to him our praises and thanksgivings*.”
This is a very curious and a very im. portant coincidence. It appears beyond controversy, that altars with this inscription were existing at Athens, at the time when St. Paul is alledged to have been there.” It feems also, which is very worthy of observation, that this inscription was peculiar to the Athenians. There is no evidence that there were altars infcribed “ to the unknown God” in any other country. Supposing the history of St. Paul to have been a fable, how is it possible that such a writer as the author of the Acts of the Apostles was, should hit upon a circumstance so extraordinary, and introduce it by an allusion fo fuitable to St. Paul's office and character?
The examples here collected will be sufficient, I hope, to satisfy us, that the writers
* Lucian. in Philop. tom. ii. Græv. p: 767. 780,
of the Christian history knew something of what they were writing about. The argument is also strengthened by the following confiderations :
1. That these agreements appear, not only in articles of public history, but, sometimes, in minute, recondite, and very peculiar circumstances, in which, of all others, a forger is most likely to have been found tripping.
II. That the destruction of Jerusalem, which took place forty years after the commencement of the Christian institution, produced such a change in the state of the country, and the condition of the Jews, that a writer who was unacquainted with the circumstances of the nation before that event, would find it difficult to avoid mistakes, in endeavouring to give detailed accounts of transactions connected with those circumstances, forasmuch as he could no longer have a living exemplar to copy from.
III. That there appears, in the writers of