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end of the fourth century, and who mentions this massacre in the following terms: “Augustus," says he, "having been informed that Herod had ordered a son of his own to be killed, among the male infants, about two years old, whom he had put to death in Syria, said, "it is better to be Herod's HOG than his SON." Now, although Macrobius is far too modern to be produced as a valid evidence in this matter, unsupported by other circumstances, and although his story is magnified by an erroneous circumstance; yet the passage, cited from him, serves to prove how universally notorious was the murder of the children in Bethlehem, which was perpetrated by the orders of Herod.— Fifthly, with regard to the silence of Josephus, we may further remark, that no historian, not even an annalist, can be expected to record every event that occurs within the period of which he writes.-Sixthly, Contemporary historians do not relate the same facts: Suetonius tells us many things which Tacitus has omitted; and Dion Cassius supplies the deficiences of both.-Seventhly, It is unreasonable to make the silence of the Jewish historian an objection to the credibility of the sacred writer, while there is equal and even superior reason to confide in the fidelity of the latter.--Eighthly, Herod would naturally be disposed to take such precautions as he might think necessary without being scrupulous concerning the means.-Ninthly, Voltaire, either from ignorance or dishonesty, asserts that fourteen thousand children must have lost their lives in this massacre. If this were true, the silence of Josephus would indeed be a very important objection to the veracity of Matthew's narrative; and with this view Voltaire makes the assertion, who every where shows himself an inveterate enemy of revealed, and not seldom of natural religion also. But as the children, whom Herod caused to be put to death (probably by assassins whom he kept in his pay,) were only males of two years old and under, it is obvious, according to this statement, that more children must have been born annually in the village of Bethlehem, than there are either in Paris or London. Further, as Bethlehem was a very small place, scarcely two thousand persons existed in it and in its dependent district; consequently, in the massacre, not more than fifty at most could be slain. In the description of the life of such a tyrant as Herod was, this was so trifling an act of cruelty, that it was but of small consequence in the history of his sanguinary government. Lastly, as the male infants that were to be slain could easily be ascertained from the public tables of birth or genealogies, that circumstance will account for the reputed parents of our Saviour fleeing into Egypt, rather than into any city of Judæa.2

Any of these arguments would be sufficient to vindicate the evangelist's narrative; but, altogether, they form a cloud of witnesses, abundantly sufficient to overbalance the negative evidence attempted to be drawn from the silence of Josephus.

7. Luke ii. 2. is said to be contrary to historical fact, Saturninus and Volumnius being at that time the Roman presidents of Syria, and Cyrenius not being governor of that province until eleven years after the birth of Christ.

A slight attention to the situation of Judæa at that time, and a more correct

1 Macrob. Saturn, lib. ii. c. 4. The emperor, according to this writer, seems to have played upon the Greek words vv a hog, and viov a son; the point of the saying perhaps consists in this, that Herod, professing Judaism, was by his religion prohibited from killing swine, or having any thing to do with their flesh; and therefore that his hog would have been safe where his son lost his life. Macrobius, with singular propriety, states this massacre to have been perpetrated in Syria, because Judæa was at that time part of the province of Syria. Gilpin and Dr. A. Clarke on Matt. ii. 16. The massacre of the infants is likewise noticed in a rabbinical work called Toldoth Jeshu, in the following passage; "and the king gave orders for putting to death every infant to be found in Bethlehem; and the king's messengers killed every infant according to the royal order." Dr. G.Sharpe's First Defence of Christianity,&c. p. 40. 2 Lardner's Credibility, part i. book ii. ch. ii. sect. 1. (Works, vol. i. pp. 329-338. 8vo. or pp 180-185. 4to.) Volborth Cause cur Josephus cædem puerorum Bethlemeticorum, Matt. ii. 16. narratam silentio præterierit. 4to. Gottingen, 1788, as analysed in the Monthly Review (O. S.) vol. lxxx. p. 617. Schulzii Archeologia He. braica, pp. 52, 53.

rendering of the passage than is to be found in our English version, will easily reconcile the seeming difference between the sacred historian and Josephus. Towards the close of his reign, Herod the Great, having incurred the displeasure of Augustus Cæsar, (to whom his conduct had been misrepresented), the Roman Emperor issued a decree reducing Judæa to a Roman province, and commanding an enrolment, or register, to be made of every person's estate, dignity, age, employment, and office. The making of this enrolment was confided to Cyrenius or Quirinius, a Roman senator, who was collector of the imperial revenue; but Herod having sent his trusty minister, Nicholas of Damascus, to Rome, the latter found means to undeceive the emperor, and soften his anger, in consequence of which the actual operation of the decree was suspended. Eleven years afterwards, however, it was carried into effect, on the deposition and banishment of Archelaus, (Herod's son and successor,) for maladministration, by Augustus, upon the complaint of the Jews; who, weary of the tyranny of the Herodian family, requested that Judæa might be made a Roman province, Cyrenius was now sent as president of Syria, with an armed force, to confiscate the property of Archelaus, and to complete the census, to which the Jewish people submitted. It was this establishment of the assessment or taxing under Cyrenius, which was necessary to complete the Roman census, to which the evangelist alludes in the parenthetical remark occurring in Luke ii. 2., which may be more correctly written and translated thus: "It came to pass in those days," that is, a few days before our Saviour's birth, "that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the land" [of Judæa and Galilee under Herod's dominion] "should be enrolled" preparatory to a census or taxing; " The taxing itself was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria:"2 And all went to be enrolled, every one to his own city. (Luke ii. 1-3.)

By the preceding construction, supported by the emendation in the note, the evangelist is critically reconciled with the varying accounts of Josephus, Justin Martyr, and Tertullian, and an historical difficulty is solved, which has hitherto been considered as irreconcileable.3

1 Απογράφεσθαι την ΟΙΚΟΥΜΗΝΗΝ, Luke, ii. 1. That ΟΙΚΟΥΜΗΝΗ signifes the land of Judæa, and not the whole Roman empire, see Vol. III. pp. 1, 2. infra.

2 (Αύτη η απογραφη εγενετο ἡγεμονεύοντος της Συρίας Κυρηνιου.) In all the printed editions of the New Testament the first word in this verse is aspirated ȧvrn, this, as if it were the feminine of ouros. "But this," says Dr. Hales, to whom we are indebted for the above elucidation, “materially injures the sense, as if the enrolment decreed in the first verse was the same as this taxing in the second; whereas there was an interval of eleven years between the two. But in the most antient manuscripts, written in uncials or in capitals, without points or accents, the word is ambiguous, and may also be unaspirated avrn, self, the feminine of avros; and both occur together in this same chapter, where the evangelist, speaking of Anna the prophetess, says, ca avτη, aurη in wpa eπioraσa; “And this [woman] coming in at the instant itself,” or at "the self-same hour," &c. The ordinal porn, first, is here understood adverbially, (see Bishop Middleton on the Greek Article, pp. 304, 305.), and connected with the verb εγενετο, "" was made," or "took effect," signifying that the taxing itself first took effect, or was carried into execution, under the presidency of Cyrenius or Quirinius; which had been suspended from the time of his procuratorship." Dr. Hales's Analysis of Chronology, vol. ii. p. 705–710.

3 Dr. Campbell (Translation of the Four Gospels, vol. ii. pp. 140. 422–425.) renders Luke ii. 2. in the following manner :-" This first register took effect when Cyrenius was president of Syria." But, as we have seen in the preceding note that porn is here used adverbially, this version will not hold good. In confirmation of his rendering EYEVETO "took effect," (which is adopted by Dr. Hales,) Campbell refers to Matt. v. 18. vi. 10. xviii. 19. xxii. 42. and 1 Cor. xv. 54. Dr. Lardner has proposed another solution of the above difference, (Credibility, part i. book ii. ch. i. Works, vol. i. pp. 248-329. 8vo. or pp. 136-179, 4to,) which deserves to be noticed, because it has been adopted by Archdeacon Paley, (Evidences, vol. ii. pp. 177, 178.) It is as follows:-"This was the first enrolment of Cyrenius governor of Syria, that is, who was afterwards governor of Syria, and best known among the Jews by that title;" which title, belonging to him at the time of writing the account, was naturally subjoined to his name, although acquired after the transaction which the account de

Two other solutions, however, have been offered: which deserve to be noticed on account of their ingenuity.

(1) The first is that of Mr. Charles Thompson, late Secretary to the Congress of the United States, the learned translator of the Old and New Testaments from the Greek. He renders Luke ii. 1, 2. in the following manner : "Now it happened in those days that an edict came forth from Cæsar Augustus that this whole inhabited land should be enrolled. This was the first enrolment; it was made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria." In a note on the passage in question, he observes, "There were two enrolments, the first merely for the purpose of numbering the inhabitants, and the second for assessing them. The first here spoken of, was in the reign of Herod the Great, when Cyrenius was deputy-governor of Syria. It was done according to communities and families; and all were obliged to repair to their respective cities or towns, to be enrolled in their several families, according to their genealogies. The second, which was after the death of Herod,was for the sake of assessment, and was made indiscriminately. This was the enrolment which offended the Jews, and excited tumults and insurrections, and brought on the war which_terminated in the destruction of Jerusalem, and the utter dispersion of the Jews." From the rendering, thus supported, the praise of learning and ingenuity must not be withheld. Mr. Thompson evidently considers the word 7, (which all other translators consider as an indefinite article prefixed to anoуpapn, enrolment,) as the third person singular of ŋy, the imperfect tense in the indicative mood of the verb su, I am. It is well known that the profane writers use ʼn or indifferently as the third person singular; and if we could find a single parallel construction, in the New Testament, we should unquestionably give the preference to Mr. T.'s rendering.

(2) The other solution is that offered by the learned editor of Calmet's Dictionary; who conjectures, that for the purposes of enrolment, Cyrenius, though not probably governor of Syria at the time of Christ's birth, might be associated with Saturninus; or, though now sent into Syria as an extraordinary officer, yet being afterwards governor of Syria, he might be called governor of Syria, as we call an officer during his life by the title he has borne, even after he has given up his commission. On a medal of Antioch appear the names of Saturninus and Volumnius, who were the emperor's chief officers in Syria. It would seem therefore, that Volumnius was the colleague of Saturninus in the government of Syria, and procurator of the province; and that while Saturninus kept his court at Antioch, where he remained stationary, his associate Volumnius was engaged in other districts of the province as circumstances required. What we suppose of Volumnius we may also suppose of Cyrenius, who, after him, held the same office. Thus, the medal vindicates Josephus, who described Saturninus and Volumnius as governors of Syria; and it may justify both Saint Luke and Tertullian, of whom the former affirmed that Cyrenius, and the latter that Saturninus, executed the enrolment. It may also justify the evangelist, whose words the editor of Calmet thinks may be thus understood: "This was the first enrolment of Cyrenius, he being then governor of Syria, associated with Saturninus: and it should be distinguished from that which he made eleven years after, when he was the chief, the prosidential governor of the same province."1

The reader will adopt which of the preceding solutions he may prefer either of them affords a sufficient explanation of the seeming contradiction between the Evangelist and Josephus, though, upon the whole we think the rendering of Dr. Hales presents the most satisfactory elucidation.

3. In Luke iii. 19. Herod the tetrarch is said to have been reproved by John the Baptist for Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, whom he had forcibly taken away from her husband and married.

Now this is irreconcileable with profane history, which asserts his brother's name to have been Herod. Hence it is probable that the name of Philip has crept

1 Calmet's Dictionary, vol. i. article Cyrenius. Fragments Supplementary to Calmet, No. cxxiii. p. 37. Geographical Index and Sacred Geography, by the same editor, voce Antioch

into the text through the copyist's negligence, and ought to be omitted: Griesbach has omitted it in his text, but has inserted the word puzzou in the margin, with the mark of doubtful genuineness.

9. Acts v. 36. For before these days rose up Theudas, &c. Josephus's account of Theudas (Antiq. l. xx. c. 5. § 1.) referred to a transaction that occurred seven years after Gamaliel's speech, of which this text is a part.

The contradiction is removed by the probability that there might be two impostors of the same name: for there were four persons of the name of Simon within forty years, and three of Judas within ten years, all of whom were leaders of insurrections.1




THE Scriptures often refer to matters of fact, which are asserted

(though without any proof whatever) to be contradictory to philosophy and to the nature of things. A little consideration, however, will reconcile these alleged repugnances; for it has been well observed by different writers, who have treated on this subject, that the Scriptures were not written with the design of teaching us natural philosophy, but to make known the revealed will of God to man, and to teach us our duties and obligations to our great Creator and Redeemer. Therefore the sacred penmen might make use of popular expressions and forms of speech, neither affirming nor denying their philosophical truth. All proverbial sayings and metaphorical expressions introduced by way of illustration or ornament, must be taken from received notions; but they are not therefore asserted in the philosophical sense by him who uses them, any more than the historical truth of parables and similitudes is supposed to be asserted. Further, to have employed philosophical terms and notions only, and to have rectified the vulgar conceptions of men concerning all the phenomena incidentally mentioned in the Scriptures, would have required a large system of philosophy, which would have rendered the Scriptures a book unfit for ordinary capacities, and the greater part of those for whom it is designed. If, indeed, revelation had introduced any of the best founded system of modern physics, or if the Almighty Creator had been pleased to disclose the councils themselves of his infinite wisdom, what would have been the consequence? Philosophy would immediately have become matter of faith, and disbelief of any part of it a dangerous heresy. How many infidels would this or that man's fanciful hypothesis concerning the appearances of things have called forth! Besides if the Scriptures had been made the vehicle for a refined system of natural philosophy, such a theory of nature would have seemed as strange and incredible to most men as miracles do; for there is scarcely any thing which more surprises men, unacquainted with philosophy, than philosophical discoveries. How incredible do the motion of the earth and the rest of the sun appear to all but philosophers, who are now fully convinced of the reality of these phenomena, while the rising and setting of the sun are terms as much in use with those who hold the doctrine of the earth's motion as with others. In

1 Dr. Lardner has collected the passages in question relative to these impostors Works, vol. i. pp. 409-413. See also Paley's Evidences, vol. ii. pp. 179–181.

fact, if we would be understood, we must continue to make use of this expression; but excepting this one instance, which is and ever will be in use, according to the vulgar conceptions of all nations and languages, (notwithstanding any philosophical discoveries to the contrary,) there is nothing in the Scriptures that is not strictly consistent with the present notions of philosophy. The discoveries both in chemistry and in physics, as well as in natural history, which have been made in later times, concur in many instances to confirm and elucidate the sacred writings. A few examples will illustrate the preceding observations.

1. No fact recorded in the sacred writings has been a more favourite subject of cavil with modern objectors, than the account of the creation, related in the two first chapters of the book of Genesis. Founding their cavils upon translations, instead of consulting the original Hebrew, (which their ignorance completely disqualified them from doing), they have pretended that the Mosaic narrative is alike inconsistent with reason and with true philosophy. If, however, these writers had impartially considered the modern discoveries in philosophy, they would have found nothing to contradict, but on the contrary much-very much-to confirm the relation of Moses.

"The structure of the earth," says one of the most profound geologists and practical philosophers of the present day," and the mode of distribution of extraneous fossils or petrifactions, are so many direct evidences of the truth of the Scripture account of the formation of the earth; and they might be used as proofs of its author having been inspired; because the mineralogical facts discovered by modern naturalists were unknown to the sacred historian. Even the periods of time, the six days of the Mosaic description,-are not inconsistent with our theories of the earth." Nor are the phenomena of the heavenly bodies at all contradictory to the Mosaic history. Modern opposers of revelation have objected that the historian talks of light before there was any such thing as the sun, and calls the moon a great light, when every one knows it to be an opaque body. But Moses seems to have known what philosophy did not till very lately discover, that the sun is not the original source of light, and therefore he does not call either the sun or the moon a great light, though he represents them both as great luminaries or light-bearers. Had these objectors looked into a Hebrew, Greek, or Latin Bible, they would have found that the word, which in Gen. i. 3. our translators have properly rendered light, is different from that which in the fourteenth verse they have improperly rendered light also. In the third verse the original word is (aur); the Greek pws; and the vulgate Latin, lur; in the fourteenth verse the corresponding words are n, (mart), wornpes, and luminaria. Each of the former set of words means that subtile, elastic matter, to which in English we give the name of light; each of the latter, the instruments, or means, by which light is transmitted to men. But surely the moon is as much an instrument of this kind, as the reflector placed behind the lamp of a light-house, for the purpose of transmitting to the mariner at sea the light of that lamp, which would otherwise have passed in an opposite direction to the land. Though the moon is not a light in itself, yet is that planet a light in its effects, as it reflects the light of the sun to us. And both the sun and moon are with great propriety called great,-not as being absolutely greater than all other stars and planets, but because they appear greater to us, and are of greater use and consequence to this world. And now, after all our improvements in philosophy and astronomy, we still speak of the light of the moon, as well as of the sun's motion, rising and setting. And the man, who in a moral, theological or historical discourse, should use a different language, would only render himself ridiculous.

In like manner, had these objectors referred to the original Hebrew of Gen. i. 6, 7, 8. (which in our English authorised version, as well as in other modern

1 Professor Jameson, in page v. of his Preface to Mr. Kerr's translation of M. Cuvier's Essay on the Theory of the Earth.

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