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especially two. The first his escape of martyrdom ; for whereas all the rest suffered some kind of forcible death, we have no history that he suffered any; and men might think he was not capable thereof; for as history informeth, by the command of Domitian he was cast into a caldron of burning oil, and came out again unsinged. Now future ages apprehending he suffered no violent death, and finding also the means that tended thereto could take no place, they might be confirmed in their opinion, that death had no power over him; that he might live always, who could not be destroyed by fire, and was able to resist the fury of that element which nothing shall resist. The second was a corruption, crept into the Latin text, for si reading sic eum manere volo; whereby the answer of our Saviour becometh positive, or that he will have it so; which way of reading was much received in former ages, and is still retained in the vulgar translation: but in the Greek and original the word is èàv, signifying si or if, which is very different from cüzw, and cannot be translated for it: and answerable hereunto is the translation of Junius, and that also annexed unto the Greek by the authority of Sixtus Quintus.
The third confirmed it in ages farther descending, and proved a powerful argument unto all others following-because in his tomb at Ephesus there was no corpse or relick thereof to be found; whereupon arose divers doubts, and many suspicious conceptions; some believing he was not buried, some that he was buried but risen again, others, that he descended alive into his tomb, and from thence departed after. But all these proceeded upon unveritable grounds, as Baronius hath observed; who allegeth a letter of Celestine, Bishop of Rome, unto the council of Ephesus, wherein he declareth the relicks of John were highly honoured by that city; and a passage also of Chrysostom in the homilies of the apostles, “That John being dead, did cures in Ephesus, as though he were still alive.” And so I observe that Estius, discusing this point, concludeth hereupon, quòd corpus ejus nunquam reperiatur, hoc non dicerent si veterum scripta diligenter perlustrassent.
Now that the first ages after Christ, those succeeding, or
any other, should proceed into opinions so far divided from reason, as to think of immortality after the fall of Adam, or conceit a man in these later times should out-live our fathers in the first,-although it seem very strange, yet is it not incredible. For the credulity of men hath been deluded into the like conceits; and, as Irenæus and Tertullian mention, one Menander, a Samaritan, obtained belief in this very point, whose doctrine it was, that death should have no power on his disciples, and such as received his baptism should receive immortality therewith. 'T was surely an apprehension very strange; nor usually falling either from the absurdities of melancholy or vanities of ambition. Some indeed have been so affectedly vain, as to counterfeit immortality, and have stolen their death, in a hope to be esteemed immortal; and others have conceived themselves dead: but surely few or none have fallen upon so bold an error, as not to think that they could die at all. The reason of those mighty ones, whose ambition could suffer them to be called gods, would never be flattered into immortality; but the proudest thereof have by the daily dictates of corruption convinced the impropriety of that appellation. And surely, although delusion may run high, and possible it is that for a while a man may forget his nature, yet cannot this be durable. For the inconcealable imperfections of ourselves, or their daily examples in others, will hourly prompt us our corruption, and loudly tell us we are the sons of earth.
Of some others more briefly.
Many others there are which we resign unto divinity, and perhaps deserve not controversy. Whether David were punished only for pride of heart for numbering the people, as most do hold, or whether, as Josephus and many maintain, he suffered also for not performing the commandment of God
concerning capitation, that when the people were numbered, for every head they should pay unto God a shekel,*_we shall not here contend. Surely if it were not the occasion of this plague, we must acknowledge the omission thereof was threatened with that punishment, according to the words of the law. “ When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the Lord, that there be no plague amongst them.”+ Now how deeply hereby God was defrauded in the time of David, and opulent state of Israel, will easily appear by the sums of former lustrations. For in the first, the silver of them that were numbered was an hundred talents, and a thousand seven hundred and threescore and fifteen shekels;
bekah for every man, that is, half a shekel, after the shekel of the sanctuary; for every one from twenty years old and upwards, for six hundred thousand, and three thousand and five hundred and fifty men. Answerable whereto we read in Josephus, Vespasian ordered that every man of the Jews should bring into the Capitol two drachms; which amounts unto fifteen pence, or a quarter of an ounce of silver with us; and is equivalent unto a bekah, or half a shekel of the sanctuary. For an Attick drachm is seven-pence half-penny or a quarter of a shekel, and a didrachmum, or double drachm, is the word used for tribute money, or half a shekel; and a stater, the money found in the fish's mouth, was two didrachmums, or a whole shekel, and tribute sufficient for our Saviour and for Peter.
We will not question the metamorphosis of Lot's wife, or whether she were transformed into a real statue of salt: though some conceive that expression metaphorical, and no
* Exod. xxx.
† Exod. xxxviii. ? We will not question, &c.] Dr. contradictory stories (he remarks,) have Adam Clarke has given a long note on been told, of the discovery of Lot's wife this question, to which the reader is still remaining unchanged—and indeed referred. He enumerates in addition to unchangeable,-her form having still resiBrowne's two hypotheses, a third :—viz. dent in it a continual miraculous energy, that, by continuing in the plain, she reproductive of any part which is broken might have been struck dead with light- off: so that though multitudes of visitors ning, and enveloped and invested in the have brought away each a morsel, yet bituminous and sulphurous matter which does the next find the figure-complete ! descended. But Dr. C. evidently in- The author of the poem De Sodoma, clines to accept the metaphorical inter- at the end of Tertullian's works, and pretation. A number of absurd and with him, Irenæus, asserts the figure
more thereby than a lasting and durable column, according to the nature of salt, which admitteth no corruption ;' in which sense the covenant of God is termed a covenant of salt; and it is also said, God gave the kingdom unto David for ever, or by a covenant of salt.
That Absalom was hanged by the hair of the head, and not caught up by the neck, as Josephus conceiveth, and the common argument against long hair affirmeth, we are not ready to deny. Although I confess a great and learned party there are of another opinion ; although if he had his morion or helmet on, I could not well conceive it; although the translation of Jerome or Tremellius do not prove it, and our own seems rather to overthrow it.
That Judas hanged himself,—much more that he perished thereby,--we shall not raise a doubt. Although Jansenius, discoursing the point, produceth the testimony of Theophylact and Euthymius, that he died not by the gallows, but under a cart wheel; and Baronius also delivereth, this was the opinion of the Greeks, and derived as high as Papias, one of the disciples of John. Although also how hardly the expression of Matthew is reconcileable unto that of Peter,-and that he plainly hanged himself, with that, that falling headlong he burst asunder in the midst,—with many other the learned Grotius plainly doth acknowledge. And lastly, although as he also urgeth, the word innygato in Matthew doth not only signify suspension or pendulous illaqueation, as the common picture describeth it, but also suffocation, strangulation or interception of breath, which may arise from grief, despair, and deep dejection of spirit, in which sense it is used in the history of Tobit concerning Sara, ελυπήθη σφόδρα ώστε
to possess certain indications of a re- in vain, and it is now very generally maining portion of animal life, and the admitted, either that the statue does not latter father in the height of his absur- exist-or that some of the blocks of dity, makes her an emblem of the true rock-salt met with in the vicinity of the church, which, though she suffers much, Dead Sea-are the only remains of it. aud often loses whole members, yet 3 which, &c.] Itt admitteth noe corruppreserves the pillar of salt, that is, the tion in other things, but itselfe suffers lifoundation of the true fuith !! Josephus quation, and corruption too, that is, looses asserts that he himself saw the pillar. its savour, as appears by that remarkS. Clement also says that Lot's wife was able speech of our Saviour, Marc. ix, 50. remaining, even at that time, as a pillar -Wr. of salt. Recent and more respectable 4 That Judas, fc.] See vol. ii, p. 33, travellers however have sought for her note 2.
åráyğacda, Ita tristata est ut strangulatione premeretur, saith Junius; and so might it happen from the horror of mind unto Judas.* So do many of the Hebrews affirm, that Achitophel was also strangled, that is not from the rope, but passion. For the Hebrew and Arabic word in the text, not only signifies suspension, but indignation, as Grotius hath also observed.
Many more there are of indifferent truths, whose dubious expositions worthy divines and preachers do often draw into wholesome and sober uses, whereof we shall not speak. With industry we decline such paradoxes and peaceably submit unto their received acceptions.
Of the Cessation of Oracles.
That oracles ceased or grew mute at the coming of Christ," is best understood in a qualified sense, and not without all latitude, as though precisely there were none after, nor any decay before. For (what we must confess unto relations of antiquity,) some pre-decay is observable from that of Cicero, urged by Baronius; Cur isto modo jam oracula Delphis non eduntur, non modo ætate, sed jam diu, ut nihil possit esse contemptius. That during his life they were not altogether dumb, is deducible from Suetonius in the life of Tiberius, who attempting to subvert the oracles adjoining unto Rome, was deterred by the lots or chances which were delivered at Præneste. After his death we meet with many; Suetonius reports, that the oracle of Antium forewarned Caligula to beware of Cassius, who was one that conspired his death.
* Strangulat inclusus dolor.
• That oracles ceased, fc.) On the sub- Oracles, vol. iv, p. 226, note 5. Browne ject of this very curious chapter, see a betrays, throughout, his full belief in the passage in Rel. Med. with a note thereon, supernatural and Satanic character of vol. ii, p. 42, note 3 ;--and the Tract on oracles.