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but many times, when they laid their cities waste, demolished their temples, and cut the throats of those animals whom they esteemed to be gods: for it is not reasonjable to imitate the clownish ignorance of Apion, who hath no regard to the misfortunes of the Athenians, or of the Lacedemopians, the latter of which were styled by all men the inost courageous, and the former the most religious of the Grecians. I say nothing of such kings as have been fa. mous for piety, particularly of one of them whose name was Cresus, nor what calamities he met with in his life; I say nothing of the citadel of Athens, of the temple at Ephesus, of that at Delphi, nor of ten thousand others which have been burnt down, while nobody casts reproaches on those that were the sufferers, but on those that were the actors therein. But now we have met with Apion, an accuser of our nation, though one that still forgets the miseries of his own people, the Egyptians ; but it is that Sesostris, who was once so celebrated a king of Egypt that hath blinded him: now we will not brag of our kings, David and Solomon, though they conquered many nations; accordingly, we will let them alone. However, Apion is ignorant of what every body knows, that the Egyptians were servants to the Persians, and afterwards to the Macedonians, when they were lords of Asia, and were no better than slaves, while we have enjoyed liberty formerly ; nay, more than that, have had the dominion of the cities that lie round about us, and this nearly for an hundred and twenty years together, until Pompeius Magnus. And when all the kings every where were conquered by the Romans our ancestors were the only people who continued to be esteemed their confederates and friends, on account of their fidelity to them.
13. But, says A pion, “we Jews have not had any won. “ derful men amongst us, nor any inventors of arts, nor any “eminent for wisdom.” He then enumerates Socrates, and Zeno, and Cleanthes, and some others of the same sort; and, after all, he adds himself to them, which is the most wonderful thing of all that he says, and pronounces Alexandiria to be happy, because it hath such a citizen as he is in it; for he was the fittest man to be a witness to his own deserts, although he hath appeared to all others no better than a wicked mountebank of a corrupt life and ill discourses ; on which account one may justly pity Alexandria,
if it should value itself upon such a citizen as he is. But as to our own men, we have had those who have been as deserving of commendation as any other whosoever, and such as have perused our Antiquities cannot be ignorant of them.
14. As to the other things which he sets down as blameworthy, it may perhaps be the best way to let them pass without apology, that he may be allowed to be his own accuser, and the accuser of the rest of the Egyptians. However, he accuses us for sacrificing animals, and for abstaining from swine's flesh, and laughs at us for the circumcision of our privy members. Now, as for our slaughter of tame animals for sacrifices, it is common to us and to all other men ; but this Apion, by making it a crime to sacrifice them, demonstrates himself to be an Egyptian ; for had he been either a Grecian, or a Macedonian, [as he pretends to be], he had not shewed any uneasiness at it; for those people glory in sacrificing whole hecatombs to the gods, and make use of those sacrifices for feasting; and yet is not the world thereby rendered destitute of cattle, as Apion was afraid would come to pass. Yet, if all men had followed the manners of the Egyptians, the world had certainly been made desolate as to mankind, but had been filled full of the wildest sort of brute beasts, which, because they suppose them to be gods, they carefully nourish. However, if any one should ask Apion, which of the Egyptians he thinks to be the most wise and most pious of them all, he would certainly acknowledge the priests to be so; for the histories say, that two things were originally committed to their care by their kings' injunctions, the worship of the gods, and the support of wisdom and philosophy. Accor-, dingly, these priests are all circumcised, and abstain from swine's flesh ; nor does any one of the other Egyptians assist them in slaying those sacrifices they offer to the gods. A pion was therefore quite blinded in his mind, when, for the sake of the Egyptians, he contrived to reproach us, and to accuse such others as not only make use of that conduct of life which he so much abuses, but have also taught other men to be circumcised, as says Herodotus, which makes ie think that Apion is hereby justly punished for his casting such reproaches on the laws of his own county ; for he was circumcised himself of necessity, on account of and ulser in his privy member; and, when he received no benefit
by such circumcision, but his member became putrid be.. died in great torment. Now men of good tempers ought to observe their own laws concerning religion accurately, and to persevere therein, but not presently to abuse the laws of other nations, while this Apion deserted his own laws, and told lies about ours. And this was the end of A pion's life, and this shall be the conclusion of our discourse about him.
15. But now, since Appollonius Molo, and Lysimachus, and some others write treatises about our law-giver-Moses, and about our laws which are neither just nor true, and this partly out of ignorance, but chiefly out of ill-will to us, while they calumniate Moses as an impostor and deceiver and pretend that our laws teach us wickedness, but nothing that is virtuous; I have a mind to discourse briefly according to my ability, about our whole constitution of government, and about the particular branches of it. For I suppose it will thence become evident that the laws we have given us are disposed after the best manner for the advancement of piety, for mutual communion with one another, for a general love of mankind as also for justice, and for sustaining labours with fortitude, and for a contempt of death. And I beg of those that shall peruse this writing of mine to read it without partiality; for it is not my purpose to write an encomium upon ourselves, but I shall esteem this as a most just apology for us, and taken from those our laws, according to which we lead our lives, against the many and the lying objections that have been made against us. Moreover, since this Appollonius does not do like Apion, and lay a continued accusation against us, but does it only by starts, and up and down his discourse, while he sometimes reproaches us as atheists, and man-haters, and sometimes hits us in the teeth with our want of courage, and yet sometimes on the contrary, accuses us of two great boldness, and madness in our conduct: nay, he says, that we are the weakest of all the barbarians, and that this is the reason why we are the only people which have made no improvements in human life. Now, I think, I shall have then sufficiently disproved all these his allegations, when it shall appear that our laws enjoin the very reverse of what he says, and that we very carefully observe those laws ourselves. And if I be compelled to make mention of the laws of other nations, that are contrary to ours, those ought deservedly to thank themselves for it, who have pre
tended to depreciate our laws in comparison of their own ; nor will there, I think, be any room after that for them to pretend, either that we have no such laws ourselves, an epitome of which I will present to the reader, or that we do not, above all men, continue in the observation of them.
16. To begin, then, a good way backward; I would advance this in the first place, that those who have been admirers of good order, and of living under common laws, and who began to introduce them, may well have this testimony, that they are better than other men, both for mod-. eration, and such virtue as is agreeable to nature. Indeed, their endeavour was to have every thing they ordained believed to be very ancient, that they might not be thought to imitate others, but might appear to have delivered a rcgular way of living to others after them. Since then, this is the case, the excellency of a legislator is seen in providing for the people's living after the best manner, and prevailing with those that are to use the laws he ordains for them, to have a good opinion of them, and in obliging the multitude to persevere in them, and to make no changes in them, neither in prosperity nor adversity. Now I venture to say, that our legislator is the most ancient of all the legislators whom we have any where heard of; for, as for the Lycurguses and Solons, and Zaleucus Locrensis, and all those legislators which are so admired by the Greeks, they seem to be of yesterday, if compared with our legislator, insomuch that the very name of a law was not so much as known in old times among the Grecians. Homer is a witness to the truth of this observation, who never uses that term in all his poems; for indeed there was then no such thing among them, but the multitude was governed by wise maxims and by the injunctions of their king. It was also a long time * that they continued in the use of these unwritten customs, although they were always changing them upon several occasions. But for our legislator who was of so much greater antiquity than the rest (as even those that speak against us upon all occasions do always confess), he exhibi. ted himself to the people as their best governor and counselfor, and included in his legislation the entire conduct of their Jives and prevailed with them to receive it, and brought it
* Viz. After the greatest part of the world had left off their obedience to God, their original legislator. See Scripture Politics, page 6. 7.
so to pass, that those that were made acquainted with his laws, did most carefully observe them.
17. But let us consider his first and greatest work: for when it was resolved on by our forefathers to leave Egypt and return to their own country, this Moses took the many ten thousands that were of the people, and saved them out of many desperate distresses and brought them home in safety. And certainly it was here necessary to travel over a country without water, and full of sand, to overcome their enemies, and during these battles, to preserve their chiidren and their wives, and their prey: on all which occasions he became an excellent general of an army, and a most prudent counseller, and one that took the truest care of them all; he also so brought it about, that the whole multitude depended upon him. And while he had them always obedient to what he enjoined, he made no manner of ulse of his authority for his own private advantage, which is the usual time when governors gain great powers to them. selves, and pave the way for tyranny, and accustom the multitude to live very dissolutely : whereas, when our legislator was in so great authority, he, on the contrary, thought he ought to have a regard to piety, and to shew his great good will to the people; and, by this means, he thought he might shew the great degree of virtue that was in him, and might procure the most lasting security to those who had made him their governor. When he had there. fore come to such a good resolution, and had performed such wonderful exploits, we had just reason to look upon ourselves as having him for a divine governor and counsellor. And when he had first * persuaded himself that his actions and designs were agreeable to God's will, he thought it his duty to imprint, above all things, that notion upon
* This language, that Moses FloaS EAUTOY, persuaded himself that what he did was according to God's will, can mean no more by Josephus's own constant notions elsewhere, than what he was firmly persuaded, that he had fully satisfied himself, that so it was, viz. hy the many revelations he had received from God, and the numerous miracles God bad enabled him to work, as he both ju these very two hooks against Apion, and in his Antiqui. ties inost clearly and frequently assures us. This is farther evident from seve
al passages lower, where he affirms, that Moses was no impostor nor deceiver, and where he assures us that Moses's constitution of government was no other than a Theocracy; and where he says, they are to hope for deliv. erence out of their distresses by prayer to God, and that withall it was owing in part to this prophetic spirit of Moses, that the Jews expected a resurreca tion from the dead. See almost as strange an use of the like words Teich Toy Oz:v, to persuads God. Antiq. B. vi. ch. v. 6. vol. ji.