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29. Whence to this they assigned the day, but only a small part of the night to that;
30. And some of them think not of nourishment for three days, so much greater is their desire of understanding;
31. And some so delight themselves and triumph, as banquetted on wisdom, so richly and satisfactorily ministering her doctrine; as to abstain for a double length of time, and scarce after six days to taste of necessary food in the way of eating!
32. These clear and indisputable remarks of Philo, we consider to be spoken of men of our religion only.*
33. But if any one should yet be so hardened as to contradict these things, yet may he be moved from his incredulity, yielding to such cogent evidences as can be found with none, but only in the religion of Christians, according to the Gospel:+
34. For he mentions, that even women are found among the men of whom we speak, and that many of them are virgins, at an extreme age; preserving their chastity, not from necessity, like the sacred virgins among the Greeks, but from a voluntary law, from their zeal and desire of wisdom;
35. With whom studying to live, they have abjured the pleasures of the body, no longer desiring a mortal offspring, but that which is immortal, and which 'tis certain that the soul which loves God can alone beget upon itself.
36. From whence proceeding, he delivers these things still more emphatically:
37. That their expositions of the holy scriptures are, by an under-sense, delivered in allegories;
38. For the whole divine revelation, to these men seems to resemble an animal, and that the words spoken are the body, but the soul is the invisible sense involved in the words: which it is their religion itself which first began to exhibit distinctively, as in a glass, putting the beautiful results of the things understood under the indecencies of the names.
39. What need is there to add to these things, their meetings together, and their residences,-the men in one place, and the women in another?
40. And the exercises according to the custom this day continued among us, and which, especially upon the festival of our Saviour's passion, we have been accus
tomed to observe, in fastings, in watchings, and in studying the divine discourses?
41. And which are kept to this day in the same manner only among us: as the same author hath shown most manifestly, and delivered in his own writing;
42. And especially relating the vigils of the great festival, and the exercises in them, and their hymns, which are the very same as those used to be said among us;
43. And how, as one of them sang the psalm in a pleasing voice; the others leisurely listening, took up the last stanza of the hymns; and how, on the afore-named days, lying on beds of straw upon the ground, they would taste no wine at all?
44. As he has in so many words written. Nor would they eat any thing that had blood in it;* that water only is their drink; and hyssop, bread, and salt, their food.
45. In addition to these circumstances, he describes the orders of preferment among those of them who aspire to ecclesiastical ministrations,-the offices of the deacons, the humbler rank, and the supreme authority of their bishops.
46. Whoever wishes a clear understanding of these matters, may acquire it from the afore-mentioned work of this author. "But that Philo wrote these things with reference to those who were the first preachers of the discipline which is according to the Gospel, and to the manners first handed down from the Apostles, must be manifest to every man."+
This conclusion on the whole matter is so strong, that though I am confident a more faithful translation of the whole cannot be made by any man, I recommend a reference to the original, that the scholar may see at once that I have taken no liberty with my author; and have no occasion to conciliate his favour, or to deprecate his criticism. I offer him my own translation, not on the score of its being mine, but on the score of its being as good as the best that could possibly be made, and better than any that is not the best.
"For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burthen than these necessary things: that ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from .; from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well."-Acts
For they that have used the office of a deacon well, purchase to themselves a good degree."-1 Tim, iii. 13.
* Ότι δε τις πρώτες κήρυκας της κατά το ευαγγέλιον διδασκαλίας, τα τε αρχηθεί προς των αποστολων εθνη παραδεδομένα καταλαβών ο Φίλων ταντ' εγραφε, παντι τω δηλον.-Ibid.
OF PHILO AND HIS TESTIMONY.
OF Philo, or as he is commonly called, Philo-Judæus— Philo the Jew; whom Eusebius thus largely quotes; it becomes of supreme importance that we should be able to ascertain the age in which he wrote, and who and what he was; since his treatise on "the Contemplate Life," or Monkery, is a demonstration, than which history could not possibly have a stronger, that the monastic institution was in full reign at and before his time.
Philo-Judæus was a native of Alexandria, of a priest's family, and brother to the Alabarch, or chief Jewish magistrate in that city. He was sent at the head of an embassy from the Egyptian Jews, to the Emperor Caius Caligula, A. D. 39, and has left an interesting recital of it, usually printed in Josephus. He also wrote a defence of the Jews against Flaccus, then President of Egypt; yet extant. He was eminently versed in the Platonic philosophy, of which both his style and his opinions partake. His works consist chiefly of allegorical expositions of the Old Testament.
Eusebius places his time in the reign of Caius Claudius, the immediate successor of the Emperor Tiberius, and says of him, that he was a man not only superior to the most of our own religion, but by far the most renowned of all the followers of profane knowledge:* and that he was by lineal descent à Hebrew, and not inferior to any in rank at Alexandria; but by following the Platonic and Pythagorean philosophy, he surpassed all the learned men of his time.
Eusebius is anxious to have it believed, that Philo was in such sense 66 one of us," as to have been to all intents and purposes a Christian: and intimates that "it was reported that Philo had met and conversed with St. Peter, at Rome, in the reign of Claudius."+
But alas, Philo has been insensible, or ungrateful, for the honours with which he was so distinguished, and
* Φιλων εγνωρίζετο πλείστοις ανήρ ε μόνον των ημετερων αλλα δε των από της εξωθεν ορμωμενων παιδείας, επισημότατος.-Ecc. Hist. lib. 2, c. 4.
+ Ον και λόγος εχει κατα Κλαύδιον επι της Ρωμης εις ομιλίαν ελθειν Πετρω τους εκείσε τότε κηρυττοντι, και εκ απεικός αν είη τετογε.-Lib. 2, c. 15.
though he has so accurately described the discipline of a religious community, of which he was himself a member : 1. Having parishes, 2. Churches, 3. Bishops, priests, and deacons; 4. Observing the grand festivals of Christianity; 5. Pretending to have had apostolic founders; 6. Practising the very manners that distinguished the immediate apostles of Christ; 7. Using scriptures which they believed to be divinely inspired, 8. And which Eusebius himself believed to be none other than the substance of our gospels; 9. And the selfsame allegorical method of interpreting those scriptures, which has since obtained among Christians; 10. And the selfsame manner and order of performing public worship; 11. And having missionary stations or colonies-of their community established in Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colosse, and Thessalonica; precisely such, and in such circumstances, as those addressed by St. Paul, in his respective epistles to the Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians; and 12. Answering to every circumstance described of the state and discipline of the first community of Christians, to the very letter; 13. And all this, as nothing new in Philo's time, but of then long-established notoriety_and venerable antiquity: yet Philo, who wrote before Josephus, and gave this particular description of Egyptian monkery, when Jesus Christ, if such a person had ever existed, was not above ten years of age, and at least fifty years, before the existence of any Christian writing whatever, has never once thrown out the remotest hint, that he had ever heard of the existence of Christ, of Christianity, or of Christians.
1. SHOULD it turn out, that the text of Philo, as it may have come down to our times, presents material discrepancies from the report which Eusebius has here made of it; that discovery would bring no relief to the cogency of the demonstration resulting from Eusebius's testimony merely; because it is with Eusebius alone, that we are in this investigation concerned; and,
2. Because Christianity would be but little the gainer by overthrowing the credibility of Eusebius in this instance, at so dear an expence, as the necessary destruction of his credibility in all others. If we are not to give Eusebius credit for ability and integrity, to make a fair and accurate quotation, upon a matter that could have no room for mistake, or excuse for ignorance; if on such a matter he would knowingly and wilfully deceive us; and the variations of the text of Philo, from the quotations he has given us, be held a sufficient demonstration that he has done so: there remains no alternative, but that his testimony must lose its claim on our confidence, in all other cases whatever: with the credit of Eusebius must go, all that Eusebius's authority upheld, and the three first ages of Christianity, will remain without an historian, or but as A tale,
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
But the evidences of the Christian religion are not yet in this distress.
The testimony of Eusebius on this subject, is neither more nor less valid, for any confirmation or impeachment it might receive, from any extant copies of the writings of Philo.
3. Because, nothing is more likely, than that the text of Philo, might have been altered purposely to produce such an appearance of discrepancy, and so to supply to Christians, (what 'tis known they would stop at no means to come by,) a caveat and evitation of the most unguarded and portentous giving-of-tongue, that ever fell from so shrewd and able an historian; and,
4. Because, nothing is more certain, than that no writings have ever been safe from such interpolations; the text of the New Testament itself, at this day, presenting us with innumerable texts, which were not contained in its earlier copies, and being found deficient of many texts that were in those copies.*
5. We have certainly Eusebius's testimony in this chapter, and in such a state as that it may be depended on, as being bona fide his testimony, really and fairly exhibiting to us, what his view and judgment of Christianity was, or-(the Christian is welcome to the alternative!)
*See chapter 16.