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sneeringly, "you give divine honours to your departed emperors, as you worship them in life” (A pol., sec. 13). Caius Caligula (A. D. 33-41) accounted himself a god, and designed to have a statue of himself erected as such in the Jewish temple (Philo, IV. 116, 146). Paul and Barnabas, we are told, were taken to be Jupiter and Mercury. This is said to have occurred at Lystra, in Phrygia, the region visited by these divinities when they received hospitality from Philemon and Baucis, according to the tale in Ovid. The gods,” the people said, " are come down to us in the likeness of men," whereon they proposed to sacrifice to them (Acts xiv. 11-13). Simon Magus was considered a god, and honoured with a statue at Rome. “And almost all the Samaritans," we are informed, “and a few even of other nations, worship him, and acknowledge him as the first god ” (Justin Martyr, 1st Apol. xxvi.). Irenæus, Tertullian, and Hippolytus have the same fact. Apsethus, a Libyan, gave himself out for a god (Hippolytus on Heresies, VI. ii.). Menander, a Samaritan, a pupil of Simon Magus, declared himself, as had his master, an æon, or emanation of God (Mosheim, Ec. Hist. i. 143). Apollonius of Tyana was reputed to be the son of Jupiter (His Life, by Philostratus, I. 13). Hierocles, speaking of his miracles, asserted that he had done greater things than Christ (Life of Eusebius, Bohn's ed. xvi.). His statue was placed by Severus in his lararium, side by side with those of Jesus Christ, Abraham, Alexander the Great, and Orpheus (Man's Origin and Destiny, by M. A. of Baliol, 714). Decius Mundus was able to pass himself off as Anubis in the Temple of Isis, and so defile a poble matron named Paulina, who thought she was honoured with the embraces of the Egyptian divinity (Josephus, Ant. XVIII. iii. 4). Tacitus has an account of a celestial youth ascending to heaven in a column of fire (John Jones, Ec. Res. 410).
These, then, were the characteristics of the times in which our earliest ecclesiastical historian had to hold his course. Pseudonymous writings, and positive literary fabrications, were currently resorted to, and every form of extravagant fable found ready acceptance. Eusebius was of his own day, and not beyond or above it, and what we take at his hands comes to us with the taint over it of the times in which he lived.
He had to deal with the Jewish scriptures, and we find him, according to the prevalent practice of the early Christians, resorting to that most imperfect representation of them we have in the Septuagint; and this version he exalts to the standing of an inspired record. He gives currency to the obviously incredible tale of the manner in which the translation was conducted, his authority being Irenæus. The people of Jerusalem sent “seventy of their elders that were best skilled in the Scriptures, and in both languages, to Ptolemy, and thus Providence favoured his design. But as he wished them to make the attempt separately, and apprehensive lest by concert they might conceal the truth of the Scriptures by their interpretation, therefore separating them from one another, he commanded all to write the same translation, and this he did in all the books. Assembling, therefore, in the same place, in the presence of Ptolemy, and each of them comparing their respective versions, God was glorified, and the Scriptures were recognised as truly divine, as all of them rendered the same things, in the very same expressions, and the same words, from the beginning to the end. So that the Gentiles present knew that the Scriptures were translated by a divine inspiration” (Ec. Hist. v. 8). In this collection occur, it must be remembered, those writings disavowed by Jews and Protestants as apocryphal, and which include such puerilities as the tales of Tobit, Susanna, and Bel and the Dragon.
Eusebius presents us with a correspondence between Agbarus, prince of Edessa, and Jesus Christ, verifying the same from the archives of Edessa; associated with which representation is an alleged mission of John for the conversion of Agbarus and his people, which was attended with miraculous demonstrations (Ec. Hist. i. 13; ii. 1). He cites Tertullian for the fact that Pontius Pilate transmitted to the emperor Tiberius an account of the miracles of Jesus, and his resurrection from the dead, representing that the mass of the people believed him to be a god; on which Tiberius is said to have proposed that he should be admitted into the Roman pantheon (ii. 2). He alleges that Mark evangelized Alexandria in the time of Philo, who had given an account of the churches established by him, and cites a tradition that when Philo was at Rome he had intercourse with Peter, who was there preaching the gospel (ii. 16, 17). He assumes the Therapeuts, as described by Philo, to have been the converts of Mark, and represents them, at this early day, to have been apparently in possession of the Christian scriptures. “It is highly probable," he observes, “ that the ancient commentaries which he (Philo) says they have, are the very gospels and writings of the apostles, and probably some expositions of the ancient prophets, such as are contained in the Epistle to the Hebrews and many others of St Paul's epistles” (ii. 17).
Have we consummate ignorance and erroneous judgment, or wilful misrepresentation, exhibited in these statements ? The testimony from Edessa appears personal to Eusebius, and its character is sufficiently transparent. No one in the present day attaches the slightest credence to the private correspondence with the alleged Agbarus attributed to the asserted saviour of the world, and yet we have from our historian the very letters that then passed, with an apparent voucher for their authenticity. The allegations of Tertullian no prudent person would accept on any subject. He was of a fiery impulsive temperament, reckless in his statements. Distant from the localities he testified of, being of Carthage in Africa, we are required, on a most important point, which would have attracted universal attention in the Christian world, to admit his statement of what took place between Judea and Rome a hundred and sixty years before his time, he being the sole person conscious of the occurrence. Eusebius's imputations respecting Philo, are against the clearly apparent facts. have fortunately the works of this author extant before us, and can satisfy ourselves that of Mark, Peter, or Christians in any form, he knew nothing.
a doctrinaire, occupied on just such subjects as would have required him to notice Christianity had he been aware of the movement; but he has not a word upon the subject. The allegation that the Therapeuts, whom he describes, were Christians, and the writings they used the Christian gospels and epistles, is a statement of unsurpassable hardihood. The Therapeuts, if nominally Jews, were really closely allied in doctrine and practice to the Asiatic ascetics. They had no knowledge of Christ, who was not named among them. Supposing Philo lived and was occupied with his writings to the age of
eighty, he could not have survived the resurrection by above thirty years. The suggestion that the ancient writings he describes the Therapeuts as possessing could possibly be the Christian scriptures, is a demand on one's credulity which it is inconceivable that any one should have made. It was well known, and the information must have been at the command of Eusebius, that the Therapeuts antedated Christianity by a considerable period, and therefore stood entirely independent of the movement. The historian would seem to have been here trading on the ignorance that surrounded him.
In respect of Josephus, he has endorsed the remarkable passages introduced into his writings relative to Jesus, John the Baptist, and James the Lord's brother (i. 11; ii. 13). It is not to the credit of our author's critical acumen that he should have supposed that one remaining a devout Jew should have written of these personages with the degree of acceptance proper only to one who was himself a Christian. Of these the statement of the most importance, namely, that concerning Jesus as the Christ, is first brought to notice by Eusebius himself, while Origen's writings show it had no existence in the works of Josephus in his day. Another of these passages, namely one of those relating to James the Just, appears to have been expunged from Josephus some centuries after the time of Eusebius ; that is, it has been given up by the Christians themselves. I have to treat more particularly of these circumstances hereafter in dealing with the testimony of Josephus.
Finally, Eusebius, in building up his history, puts together circumstances that could not possibly have co-existed. He has constant recurrences of martyrdoms, all that was required to bring down the visitation being the acknowledgment by the accused that he was a Christian. Directly this confession was made death was inflicted, the heathen requiring to hear no more (Ec. Hist. v. 1). And yet we are called upon to believe that at these very times there were long successions of Christian bishops openly maintained at Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome, Alexandria, Laodicea, and Cæsarea, that there were frequent controversial writings indited to put down heresies, and that formal apologies for Christianity were addressed in writing to the Roman authorities.
So far for the reliance we are to place in Eusebius as a competent critic groping his way in the midst of scanty and questionable materials. Then we have to view him in the aspect of a digester of facts in an age of unhesitating credulity. Of the incredibilities that we have had before us, he accepts as true the portents described by Josephus as having occurred at the siege of Jerusalem ; the miraculous powers of the early Christians reported by Papias and Irenæus, including the restoration of life to the dead; the demoniacal agency spoken of by Irenæus; and the marvels that are said to have occurred at the martyrdom of Polycarp (Ec. Hist. ii. 8, 39; iv. 15; v. 7). We have seen him also endorse the miraculous execution of the Septuagint translation, alleging that this incorrect version is to be accepted as of divine accuracy, notwithstanding also its serious disagreements with what the Hebrews present to us as the original text. He narrates, as possibly the case, that the
army of Marcus Aurelius was refreshed by a shower of rain, brought down by the prayers of Christian soldiers in one of his legions (v. 5); he records as credible that the apostle John raised one from the dead at Ephesus (v. 18); he gives us the tale of one Natalius being “lashed by holy angels through the whole night,” on account of heresy, and showing the marks of his castigation in order to be readmitted as a penitent to communion (v. 27); he speaks of miracles being wrought by one Narcissus, among which was the conversion of water into oil to supply the deacons at the time of their vigils during “ the great watch of the passover” (vi. 9); he says, that on a certain festival day a victim was thrown into the springs of the Jordan, and that this, “by the power of the dæmon, in some wonderful manner entirely disappeared," but that when one Astyrius prayed to God, through Christ, “to refute this seducing dæmon, the victim immediately floated on the stream," and the marvel was put an end to (vii. 17); he tells us, moreover, that when martyrs were cast before wild beasts for destruction, by the power of Christ, “the devouring wild beasts would not dare either to touch or to approach the bodies of these pious men." would not,” he goes on to say, "even touch the holy wrestlers standing naked and striking at them with their hands, as they were commanded, in order to irritate the beasts against them.