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At last he ordered the physicians to give their opinion, whether this sort of blind. Qess and lameness were curable by the art of man or not? The physicians answered uncertainly, that the one had not his visual faculty utterly destroyed, and that it might be restored, if the obstacles were removed, that the other's limbs were disordered, but if a healing virtue were made use of, they were capable of being made whole. Per haps, said they, the gods are willing to assist, and that the emperor is chosen by divine interposition : however, they said at last, that if the cures succeeded, Cæsar would have the glory, if not, the poor miserable objects would only be laughed at. Whereupon Vespasian imagined that his good fortune would be universal, and that nothing on that account could be incredible so he looked cheerfully, and in the sight of the multitude, who stood in great ex. pectation, he did what they desired him: upon which the lame hand was recovered, and the blind man saw immediately. Both these cures* are related to this day by those that were present, and when speaking falsely will get no reward.
BOOK V. CHAP. I.
At the beginning of the same year, Titus Cæsar, who was pitched upon by his father to finish the conquest of Judea, and while both he and his father were private persons, was celebrated for his martial conduct, acted now with greater vigour and hopes of reputation, the kind inclinations both of the provinces and of the armies striving one with another who should most encourage him. He was also himself in a disposition to show that he was more than equal to his fortune ; and when he appeared in arms, he did all things after such a ready and graceful way, treating all after such an affable manner, and with such kind words, as in. Vited the good will and good wishes of all. He appeared also in his actions and in his place in the troops ; he mixed with the common soldiers, yet without any stain to his honor as a general. He was received in Judea by three legions, the fifth and the tenth, and the fifteenth, who were Vespasian's old soldiers. Syria also afforded him the twelfth, and Alexandria soldiers out of the twenty, second and twenty-third legions. Twenty cohortst of auxiliaries accompanied him, as also eight troops of horse.
King Agrippa also was there, and King Sohemus, and the auxiliaries of King Antiochus, and a strong body of Arabians, who, as is usual in nations that are neighbours to one another, went with their accustomed hatred against the Jews, with many others out of the city of Rome, as every one's hopes led him of getting early into the general's favour, before others should prevent them.
He entered into the borders of the enemies' country with these forces, in exact order of war: and looking carefully about him, and being ready for battle, he pitched his camp not far from Jerusalem.
Chap. X.] When, therefore, he had pitched his camp, as we said just now, before the walls of Jerusalem, he pompously showed his legions ready for an engagement.
The miraculous cures done by Vespasian are attested to both by Suetonius in Vespasian, sect. 7. and by Dio, p. 217, and seem to me well attested. Our Saviour seems to have overruled the heathen oracle of Serapis to procure the divine approbation to Vespasian's advancement to the empire of Rome, as he suggested the like approbation to the advancement both of Vespasian and Titus to Josephus, which two were to be his chosen instruments in bringing on that terrible destruction upon the Jewish nation, which he had threatened to execute by these Roman armies. Nor could any other Roman generals than Vespasian and Titus, at that time, in human probability, have prevailed over the Jews, and destroyed, Jerusalem, as this whole history in Josephus implies. Josephus also everywhere supposes Vespasian and Titus raised up to command against Judea and Jerusalem, and to govern the Roman empire by di. vine providence, and not in the ordinary way: as also, he always supposes this destruction a divine judgment on the Jews for their sins.
+ This character of Titus agrees exactly with the history of Josephus upon all occasions. i These twenty cohorts and eight troops of horse are not directly enumerated by Josephus, Antiq. B. chap. 1. sect. 6.
This word in Tacitus, pompously showed his legions, looks as if that pompous show, which was som months afterward, in Josephus, ran in his mind, Antiq. B. v. chap. ix sech 1.
CHAP. XI.] The Jews formed their camp under the very walls* [of the city,} and if they succeeded, they resolved to venture farther, but if they were beates back, that was their place of refuge. When a body of cavalryt were sent against them, and with them cohorts, that were expedite and nimble, the fight was doubt. ful; but soon afterwards the enemies gave ground, and on the following days there were frequent skirmishes before the gates, till after many losses they were driven into the city. The Romans then betook themselves to the siege, for it did not seem honourable to stay till the enemies were reduced by famine. The soldiers were very eager to expose themselves to dangers, part of them out of true valour, many out of a brutish fierceness, and others out of a desire of ewards.
Titus had Rome, and the riches and pleasures of it before his eyes, all which seemed to be too long delayed, unless Jerusalem could be soon destroyed.
The cityg stood on a high elevation, and it had great works and ramparts to secure it, such indeed as were sufficient for its fortification, had it been on plain ground; for there were two hills, of a vast height, which were enclosed by walls made crvoked by art, or (naturally) bending inwards, that they might flank the besiegers, and cast darts on them sideways. The extreme parts of the rock were craggy, and the towers, when they had the advantage of the ground, were 60 feet high : when they were built on the plain ground they were not built lower than 120 feet : they were of uncommon beauty, and to those who looked at them at a great distance, they seemed equal. Other walls there were beneath the royal palace, besides the tower of Antonia, with its top particularly conspicu
It was called so by Herod, in honour of Marcus Antonius. Chap. XII.] The temple was like a citadel, having walls of its own, which had more labour and pains bestowed on them than the rest. The cloisters where with the temple was enclosed were an excellent fortification.
They had a fountain of water that ran perpetually; and the mountains were hollowed under ground; they had moreover pools|| and cisterns for the preserva. tion of rain water.
They that built this city foresaw, that, from the difference of their conduct of life from their neighbours, they should have frequent wars; thence it came to pass that they had provisions for a long siege. After Pompey's conquest also their fear and experience had taught them generally what they should want. I
Moreover the covetous temper that prevailed under Claudius gave the Jews an opportunity of purchasing for money leave** to fortify Jerusalem; so they built walls in time of peace, as if they were going to war, they being augmented in number by those rude multitudes of people that retired thither on the ruin of the other cities ; for every obstinate fellow ran away thither, and there became more seditious than before.
There were three captains, and as many armies. Simon had the remotest and largest parts of the walls under him. John, who was also called Bar Gioras [the son of Gioras,] had the middle parts of the city under him: and Eleazar had fortified the temple itself. John and Simon were superior in multitude and strength of arms, Eleazar was superior by his situation ; but battles, factions and burnings were common to them all; and a great quantity of corn was con sumed by fire. After a while John sent some who, under the pretence of offering sacrifice, might slay Eleazar, and his body of troops, which they did, and got the temple under their power. So the city now was parted into two factions, until, upon the coming of the Romans, this war abroad produced peace between these that were at home.
* These first bickerings and battles near the walls of Jerusalem, are at large in Josephus, Antiq B. <. shap. ii.
+ Josephuis distinctly memions these horsemen or cavalry, 600 in number, among whom Titus had like to have been slain or taken prisoner, Antiq. B. v. chap. ii. sect. 1-3.
Such a deliberation and resolution, with this very reason, that it would be dishonourable to stay till the Jews were starved out by famine, is » Josephus, Antiq. B. v. chap. xii. sect. 1.
This description of the city of Jerusalem, its two hills, its three walls, and four towers, &c. are in this place at large in Josephus, Antig B v.ch iv. See also Pompey's siege, 8. xiv. ch. iv. sect 2
|| Of these pools, see Josephus, B. v. ch. xi. sect. 4. The cisterns are not mentioned by him here, though they be inentioned by travellers. See Reland's Palestine, tom. i.
This is Tacitus's or the Romans own hypothesis, unsupported by Josephus. ** This sale of leave for the Jews to build the walls of Jerusalem for money is also Tacitus's or the Romans own hypothesis, unsupported by Josephus. Nor is Josephus's character of Claudità near so pad, as to other things also, as it is in Tacitus ind Suetonins. Dio says, he was far from covetousness in particular. The others seem to have misrepresented bis meek and quiet temper and learning, but without ambition, and his great kindness to the Jews, as the most contemptible folly. See Antiq. B. xix cb. iv. sect. 4. He was, indeed, much ruled at first by a very bad minister, Pallas; and at last was ruled ead poisoned by a very bau wise, Agrippina
CHAP. XIII.) Such prodigies* had happened as this nation, which is supersti tious enough in its own way, would not agree to expiate by the ceremonies of the Roman religion, nor would they atone the gods by sacrifices and vows, as these used to do on the like occasions. Armies were seen to fight in the sky, and their armour looked of a bright red colour, and the temple shone with sudden flashes of fire out of the clouds. The doors of the temple were opened on a sudden, and a voice greater than human was heard, that the gods were retiring; and at the same time was there a great motion perceived, as if they were going out of it, which some esteemed to be causes of terror. The greater part had a firm belief that it was contained in the old sacerdotal books, that at this very time the east would prevail, and that some that came out of Judea should obtain the em. pire of the world, which obscure oracle foretold Vespasian and Titus; but the generality of the common people, as usual, indulged their own inclinations, and when they had once interpreted all to forebode grandeur to themselves, adver. sity itself could not persuade them to change their minds, though it were from falsehood to truth.t
We have been informed that the number of the besieged, of every age, and of both sexes, male and female, was six hundred thousand. There were weapons for all that could carry them, and more than could be expected, for their num. ber were bold enough to do so. The men and the women were equally obstinate: and when they supposed they were to be carried captive, they were more afraid of life than of death.
Against this city and nation Titus Cæsar resolved to fight, by ramparts and ditches, since the situation of the place did not admit of taking it by storm or surprise. He parted the duty among the legions ; and there were no farther en. gagements, until whatever had been invented for the taking of cities by the an. cients, or by the ingenuity of the moderns, was got ready.
ANNAL. Book XV.
Nero, in order to stifle the rumour (as if he had himself set Rome on fire,] as. cribed it to those people who were hated for their wicked practices, and called by the vulgar Christians ; these be punished exquisitely. The author of this , name was Christ, who, in the reign of Tiberius, was brought to punishment by Pontius Pilate the procurator.§ For the present this pernicious superstition was in part suppressed, but it brake cut again, not only over Judea, whence this mis. chief first sprang, but in the city of Rome also, whither do run from every quarter and make a noise, all the flagrant and shameful enormities. At first, therefors, those were seized who confessed, afterward a vast multitude were detected by them, and were convicted, not so much as really guilty of setting the city on fire, • These prodigies, and more, are at large in Josephus, Antiq. B. vi. chap. v. sect. 3.
This interpretation and reflections are in Josephus, Antiq. R. vi. chap. v. sect. 4.
The number 600,000 for the besieged is nowhere in Josephus, but is there for the poor oured at the public charge, Antiq. B. v. chap. xiii. sect. 7, which might be about the number of the besieged under Cestius Gallus, though they were many more afterward at Titus's siege, as Josephus implies, Antiq. B. vi.
& This passage seems to have been directly taken from Josephus's famous testimony concerning Christen od the Christians, Antiq. B. xviii. ch. iii. sect. 3, of which Dissert. I. before.
Cil. ix. sect. 3.
but as hating all mankind; nay, they made a mock of them as they perished, and destroyed thern by putting them into the skins of wild beasts, and setting dogs upon them to tear them to pieces. Some were nailed to crosses, and other, flamed to death : they were also used in the night time instead of torches, for illumination. Nero had offered his own gardens for this spectacle. He also gave them Circensian games, and dressed himself like a driver of a chariot, sometimes appearing among the common people, sometimes in the circle itself; whence a commiseration arose, though the punishments were levelled at guilty persons, and such as deserve to be made the most flagrant examp.es, as if these people were destroyed, not for the public advantage, but to satisfy the barbarous humour of one man.
N. B. Since I have set down all the vile calumnies of Tacitus upon the Christians as well as the Jews, it will be proper, before I come to my observations, to set down two heathen records in their favour, and those hardly inferior in antiquity, and of much greater authority, than Tacitus, I mean Pliny's epistle to Trajan, when he was proconsul of Bithynia, with Trajan's answer or rescript to Pliny, cited by Tertullian, Eusebius, and Jerom. These are records of so great esteem with Havercamp, the last editor of Josephus, that he thinks tbey but only deserve to be read, but almost to be learned by heart also
PLINY'S EPISTLE TO TRAJAN.
ABOUT A. D.112.
Sır, It is my constant method to apply myself to you for the resolution of all my doubts; for who can better govern my dilatory way of proceeding, or in struct my ignorance? I have never been present at the examination of the Christians [by others,] on which account I am unacquainted with what uses to be inquired into, and what and how far they used to be punished : nor are my doubts small, whether there be not a distinction to be made between the ages (of the accused,] and whether tender youth ought to have the same punishment with strong men ? whether there be not room for pardon upon repentance ?* or whether it may not be an advantage to one that had been a Christian, that he has for. saken Christianity ? whether the bare name,t without any crimes besides, or the crimes adhering to that name, be to be punished ? In the meantime, I have taken this course about those who have been brought before me as Christians.I asked them whether they were Christians or not? If they confessed that they were Christians, I asked then again, and a third time, intermixing threatenings with the questions : if they persevered in their confession, I ordered them to be executed ;f for I did not doubt but, let their confession be of any sort whatsoever, this positiveness and inflexible obstinacy deserved to be punished. There have been some of this mad sect whom I took notice of in particular as Roman citizens, that they might be sent to that city.§ After sometime, as is usual in such examinations, the crime spread itself, and many more cases came before me.
A libel was sent me, though without an author, containing many names (of persons accu
ccused.] These denied that they were Christians now, or * Till now it seems repentance was not commonly allowed those that had been once Christians, but though they recanted, and returned to idolatry, yet were they commonly put to death. This was percecution in perfection!
¢ This was the just and heavy complaint of the ancient Christians, that they commonly suffered for that bare name, without the preience of any crimes they could prove against them. This was also per secution is perfection !
Ar.azing doctrine ! that a firm and fixed resolution of keeping a good conscience should be thougbi withou dispute to deserve death, and this by such comparatively excellent heathens as Pliny and Traste
This was the case of St. Paul, who being a citizen of Rome was allowed to appeal unto Corrita. was sent to Rone accordingly. Acts, xxii. 25. 29; xxv. 25; xxri, 32; xxvii.
ever had been. They called upon the gods, and supplicated to your image, which I caused to be brought to me for that purpose, with frankincense and wine : they also cursed Christ :t none of which things, as it is said, can any of those that are really Christians be compelled to do ; so I thought fit to let them go.-Others of them, that were named in the libel, said they were Chris. tians, but presently denied it again ; that, indeed, they had been Christians, but had ceased to be so, some three years, some many more ; and one there was that said he had not been so these twenty years. All these worshiped your im. age, and the images of our gods: these also cursed Christ. However, they assured me, that the main of their fault, or of their mistake, was this,—that they were wont, on a stated day, to meet together before it was light, and to sing a hyma to Christ, as a god, alternately; and to oblige themselves by a sacrament [ör oath,] not to do any thing that was ill, but that they would commit no theft, or pilfering, or adultery ; that they would not break their promises, or deny what was deposited with them, when it was required back again : after which it was their custom to depart, and to meet again at a common but innocent meal, which yet they had left off upon that edict which I published at your command, and wherein I had forbidden a'iy such conventicles. These examinations made me think it necessary to inquire by torments, what the truth was, which I did of two servant maids, which were called deaconesses ; but still I discovered no more, than that they were addicted to a bad and an extravagant superstition. Here. upou I have put off any farther examinations, and have recourse to you; for the affair seems to be well worth consultation, especially on account of the number of those that are in danger ;$ for there are many of every age,
of and of both sexes, which are now and hereafter likely to be called to account, and to be in danger; for this superstition is spread like a contagion, not only into cities ard towns, but into country villages also, which yet there is reason to hope may be stopped and corrected. To be sure, the temples, which were al. most forsaken, begin already to be frequented; and the holy solemnities, which were long intermitted, begin to be revived. The sacrifices begin to sell well everywhere, of which very few purchasers had of late appeared ; whereby it is easy to suppose how great a multitude of men may be amended, if place for re. pentance be admitted.
TRAJAN'S EPISTLE TO PLINY,
My PLINY_You have taken the method which you ought, in examining the causes of those that had been accused as Christians ; for, indeed, no certain and general form of judging can be ordained in this case. These people are not to be sought for; but if they be accused, and convicted, they are to be punished, but with this caution, that he who denies himself to be a Christian, and makes it plain that he is not so by supplicating to our gods, although he had been so for. merly, may be allowed pardon, upon his repentance. As for libels sent without an author, they ought to have no place in any accusation whatsoever, for that would be a thing of very ill example, and not agreeable to my reign.
* Amazing stupidity! that the emperor's image, even while he was alive, should be allowed capable of divine worship, even hy such comparatively excellent heathens as Pliny and Trajan.
+ Take here a parallel account out of the martyrdoin of Polycarp, seci. 9. The proconsul said—“ Re proach Christ." "Polycarp replied—“ Eighty and six years have I now serred Christ, and he has never done nie the least wrong; how then can I blaspheme iny King aod my Saviour ?."
This must most probably be the feast of charity.
So:ne of late are very loath to believe that thc Christians were numerous in the second century, bui this is such an evidence that they were very numerous, at least in Bithynia, even in the beginning of that century, as is wholly undeniable.