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permission ? The city being divided into five parts, two of these were appropriated chiefly to the Jews, nor were the three others destitute of Jewish inhabitants. Of these they were soon deprived, and forced into one very small portion; which being able to contain but comparatively a few, the multitude rushed in torrents to the shores, into buryinggrounds, and into desert places, there to abide, though now deprived of all their goods. Their enemies, finding the houses thus defenceless, entered and plundered them, and divided the goods among themselves, without any restraint or compunction. They also broke open the shops and workhouses, and, carrying out whatever things they found valuable, divided them in the market-place, as if they were the rightful owners. In consequence of this cruelty, the Jews were unable to follow their daily business; and they were exposed to famine, not less by being deprived of their goods, than by being prevented to enjoy the fruits of their accustomed employments."
The sufferings of the Jews in this situation, according to our author, exceeded all description; and these sufferings were aggravated by the consideration that the want, under which they laboured, was surrounded by plenty, the country that year having been unusually productive, and that they were caused by a people who a little before were their friends, and who became their enemies by those very means which ought to have perpetuated their friendship.
Being unable, continues he, “any longer to bear hunger, some went about to their friends and relatives, begging a little bread; others, disdaining to beg, as ignoble and servile, ventured to the marketplace to purchase necessaries for themselves and
their families. These unhappy people were immediately seized and destroyed by the mob, being trampled to death, or dragged through the streets till their bodies were torn to pieces, and scattered so that not a limb remained to be interred.
“ Thousands perished in various other ways equally cruel and savage, their persecutors raving, as if they had assumed the nature of furious beasts. For wherever any of the Jews appeared, they wounded them with stones or clubs, taking care not to strike them in a vital part, lest instantaneous death might relieve them from the sense of pain. Some of these persecutors, confident of impunity, and actuated by passion, disdained the use of blunter weapons, and had recourse to fire and iron, burning some, and slaying many more with the sword. Whole families, children with their parents, husbands with their wives, were consumed by flames in the midst of the city, no compassion being taken on the aged, the young, or on innocent children, by their most un. merciful enemies. When wood was wanting, they collected fuel, and caused the sufferers to perish more frequently by the smoke than by the flames, thus artfully effecting a most painful and lingering death, to their unhappy victims, whose bodies, in heaps, lay half consumed, a shocking and most painful spectacle. If those sent to gather fuel were slow, they set fire to the utensils which had been plundered, and on these burnt their owners. Many of those who still lived, they tied by the leg above the ancle, dragging them, and treading upon them, till they met that cruel death which was meditated against them. Nor did they satiate their fury by this treatment of the living; but pursued with unrelenting vengeance even the bodies which they had
deprived of life, having torn their skin, flesh, and sinews, and dissevered their limbs by hauling them along the ground."
The perpetrators of these cruelties sometimes personated the sufferers, and exhibited a mock representation of them as on a stage; while of those who had really suffered, such relatives or friends as were seen to weep from sympathy, were carried to execution, and there flogged and tortured on the wheel ; and, after. sustaining all the indignities which their bodies could endure, were hung on a
No refinement in cruelty can seemingly add to the horrors of this frightful picture; yet Philo mentions one circunstance more, as greatly enhancing the afflictions of the Jews, and the unrelenting malice of Flaccus. Augustus had allowed the Alexandrian Jews to form a council, composed of eightand-thirty of their own elders, for the protection of their rights, and the administration of their own affairs. These distinguished persons, whom the Jews regarded with the utmost veneration, Flaccus seized within their own walls; and having tied their arms behind with iron chairs, he led them forth to the theatre, where he ordered them to be flogged in the presence of their enemies. The stripes which they endured were those usually received by the vilest criminals; and as they were infticted with inexorable severity, some of these honourable sufferers fell dead on the spot, while others were carried out without hopes of recovery. To aggravate these tor- . tures, they were inflicted on the anniversary of the birth of Augustus; a season usually distinguished by festivity and clemency. “I have known some,” says Philo, “ that had been crucified, taken down
from the cross, on such seasons, and delivered to their relatives to be interred in a becoming manner: for it was fit to extend even to the dead, some benefit from Cæsar's festival, and at the same time to preserve its solemnity unsullied by sorrow. But Flaccus, instead of taking down the dead, suspended the living; and this he did, after having in the midst of the theatre exposed them to stripes, to fire, and to the sword, a spectacle to entertain the populace.” This disgraceful scene continued three or four hours each morning, during which the Jews were whipped, hung, and tortured on the wheel; and, after receiving a mock trial, were led through the orchestra to execution: the exhibition concluded with dancing, mimicry, music, and similar entertainments.
Philo, who relates these cruel sufferings, was himself a spectator of all the transactions which he has recorded. This country had shared in the happy order and tranquillity which the salutary measures of Tiberius had established in all the provinces of the empire. At the death of that emperor, Flaccus had been governor of Egypt nearly five years, during which period he conducted the affairs of that nation with
great wisdom and equity, administering justice with impartiality, protecting the Jews as well as the Egyptians in the exercise of their civil and religious rights, and restraining or punishing only the licentious, the disturbers of the public peace, or the violaters of the laws.
Now what cause could induce Flaccus to change in this extraordinary manner his conduct towards the Jews ? What motives could induce the people of Egypt to treat with such ferocious and undiscriminating cruelty many thousands of men who had previously lived among them in peace and anity ? The answer to these questions may be developed with the utmost certainty. This virtuous and eloquent man asserts that a body of Jews existed at this time in Egypt, who thought it their duty to communicate to Greeks and barbarians the consummate blessing which themselves enjoyed. This blessing was no other than life and immortality brought to light, and offered to mankind on the terms of repentance and reformation.
Into whatever country Christianity was introduced, the first object of its friends was to subvert the reigning superstition. The preachers of the Gospel, in every place, denied the existence or exposed the character of the pagan deities, and called upon men to reject with contempt and abhorrence those imaginary beings which they had hitherto regarded as objects of worship. This was a task no less dangerous than difficult, as it was sure to kindle the animosities of those who were induced by bigotry or interest to resist the truth. The advocates of reformation could not hope, in many instances, to convince the interested devotees of paganism ; and their efforts, where they could not prove successful, must have provoked not only the opposition but the violence of their adversaries. The book of the Acts presents us with one remarkable instance of the convulsions that attended the propagation of the new faith among the Gentiles; and the cry “Great is Diana” resounded not less at Alexandria than in Ephesus or Antioch. And their enemies industriously represented them as men who turned the world upside down.
The writings of Philo furnish happy instances of the energy and eloquence with which
the champions of the Gospel assailed the contemptible divinities of