heap upon him. Soon after, Apollonius directed them to remove the stones, that they might discern the wild beast which they had killed. When that was done, the person whom they thought they had killed was vanished: but a dog in shape like a mastiff, in size equal to a very great lion, appeared overwhelmed with stones, and foaming after the manner of mad dogs; which is the form of the averting statue. Moreover, a statue of Hercules stands in the place where this spectre was stoned.”

This is what Lardner calls a silly story: but he ought to have considered that it must have been intended to convey some meaning. This, if developed by him, would have opened his eyes on the subject. The person here represented as changed in so extraordinary a manner is no other than Proteus, whose transfiguration is described by Homer and Ovid. Under this name Lucian, we have seen, has vilified the Lord Jesus. This idea withdraws the veil from the above malignant fiction. The plague then here mentioned, is no other than the Christian religion, described under the figure of its founder. The enemies of Christ very commonly represented him as born many years before the real period of his birth; and it followed from this representation that he was an old man when he was put to death. Thus Lucian speaks of him throughout the Life of Peregrinus, as an old man; and this is the idea that we see given of him in the above story. Hence we discover the foundation of the whole fiction. The old man is said to be an enemy to the gods, and that he was a plague to the city. Charges of this nature were generally brought against Christ and his followers: “ Whilst the numerous spec- : tators," says Gibbon, vol. ii. p. 421, “ crowned

with garlands, perfumed with incense, purified with the blood of victims, and surrounded with the altars and statues of their tutelar deities, resigned themselves to the enjoyment of pleasures, which they considered as an essential part of their religious worship; they recollected, that the Christians alone abhorred the gods of mankind, and by their absence and melancholy on these solemn festivals seemed to insult or to lament the public felicity. If the empire had been afflicted by any recent calamity; by a plague, a famine, or an unsuccessful war; if the Tyber had, or if the Nile had not, risen beyond its banks; if the earth had shaken, or if the temperate order of the seasons had been interrupted, the superstitious pagans were convinced that the crimes and the impiety of the Christians, who were spared by the excessive lenity of the government, had at length provoked the divine justice.”

Messengers were sent to Apollonius at Smyrna, who presently came to Ephesus; and he engaged to the people that he would speedily stop the plague. This supposes that he was a willing and leading agent in opposing the new faith, and that he instigated the Ephesians to destroy the Christians in that city. The old man is said to have been poor, which carries an allusion to the language of Paul, where he writes that “ Jesus, though rich, for our sake became poor;" the very word 7 Tweuw *, which is used by the apostle, and which is of very rare occurrence, being copied by Philostratus. He is moreover represented as closing his eyes through artifice; which means that Christ, while he lived, did not fully reveal his design of enlightening and reforming the world, but in a measure kept it se

* δι' υμας επτωχευσε, 2 Cor. viii. 9.

cret till after his resurrection, the last and most decisive evidence of his divine mission, had been established. After this event, the light of the Gospel broke forth, and illumined those who sat in darkness and the shadow of death, with the effulgence of day; and this is the meaning of the clause which says “ he looked

fierce with eyes full of fire.” Jesus of Nazareth, whom the apostle preached as a man approved of God, was regarded by many of the heathen converts as himself a divine being. On the other hand, his enemies in Judea and other countries vilified him as a demon, and the Ephesians are here said to look upon him in the same light. Apollonius directed them to remove the stones which the people had heaped upon him, and they discovered him in the shape of a large dog. This alludes to the great number of Stoics and Cynics who became converts to the Gospel, and who, like Seneca and Philo, (to use the words of Lucian,) fought the cause of Christ under the banners of Diogenes, Crates, and Antisthenes. The assertion that a statue of Hercules stood in the place where this spectre was stoned, is very significant. When Jupiter, at the complaint of Philosophy, commissioned Mercury to descend and destroy the Christians, Lucian represents him as addressing Hercules: “ Accompany him; and, taking Philosophy along with you, make the best of your way to the earth, and consider the extermination of these filthy monsters as your thirteenth labour." Hercules replies, “I had rather once more cleanse the Augean stable, than be troubled with them: however, let us go!" Hercules, having finished this arduous task, had a statue erected to him in the place where the monster was stoned; which means that the enemies of the Gospel, after having destroyed its votaries, erected a trophy to heathenism on the very spot where stood their church.

Philostratus has not once mentioned our Lord or his followers, nor even alluded to them. From this silence Lardner infers that he intended no opposition to Jesus : but I think the contrary inference ought to be drawn; for as the things which he relates of Apollonius are many of them copied from the New Testament, policy required that he should appear ignorant of that book and its authors -on the same principle that a thief would pretend never to have seen a person whose pocket he had picked. His silence therefore concerning Christ, of itself affords strong grounds for suspecting that hostility to him and his cause dictated the motives for publishing his book. Philostratus, indeed, intimates that he composed this narrative at the request of the empress Julia, who like himself was a friend to literature and philosophy. With this de claration Lardner seems satisfied: but this implies that the narrative itself is founded in truth; whereas from beginning to end the work is a gross fiction, calculated neither to instruct nor to amuse; without interest, and without information, and withal very laboured and of great extent. The motive, therefore, which this biographer pretends, is as false as the events he relates; and we are left to conclude that his real object was such as he was ashamed to avow*.

The motive which actuated Philostratus to write his Life of Apollonius, is similar to that which induced Luke to publish his Gospel. This was to contradict some teachers who bad undertaken to give a false history of Christ. And it will appear evident beyond doubt that he had the evangelist before his eyes.

.: Lardner asserts that the things ascribed to Apol. lonius by Philostratus are not so extraordinary as some imagine. Those who have read and fully understand Philostratus must think them very extraordinary. What led Lardner to think otherwise was the artful caution which Philostratus felt it necessary to observe, lest he should say too much, and by that means defeat his own end. I will illustrate this by a few examples. The author asserts that the oracles at Didymi and Colophon and at Pergamus sent persons to Apollonius to be healed; yet he does not specify any one person on whom a cure was effected, or even attempted. lib. iv. c. 1. The reason is obvioas: he could not particularize times, persons, and places, without the risk of detection. The assertion respecting the oracle is too general to be in danger of refutation. In lib. iv. c. 45. we read the following barefaced story: “At Rome a virgin appeared to have died in the season in which she was appointed to be married. The bridegroom followed her bier, and loudly lamented his disappointment. All Rome joined in his lamentation, for she belonged to a family of a consular

Marægenes and others had written a true, but, as Philostratus would have his readers believe, a false account of Apollonius. In reference to this he says: “It appeared to me also not to overlook the presumptuous ignorance of many, but to describe accurately, with regard to times and places, the things said and done by this man, and the degrees of wisdom by which he became esteemed a demon and a god." lib. i. c. 2. Here the purport and spirit in both authors are the same. Many of the words are also the same. Luke says edoče xai Elor. Philost. DOXEL μοι. Οι πολλοι are used by both. For ακριβως καθεξής γραψαι of the Evangelist, Philostratus has substituted eCargobwo al TOIS Xporois. Luke holds forth the subject of his discourse as "the Logos of God.” Philostratus speaks of his hero as one who by supernatural wisdom became first a demon and then a god.

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