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the highest heavens, before all time, enlightening the world with his beams in his appointed time, i. e. Christ by his precepts." The most respectable and competent of the early fathers confidently affirm that Great Britain was blessed with the Go. spel from the earliest period : and Philo, who wit+ nessed its rapid and early diffusion, asserts that it had then been conveyed through every part of the habitable globe, even in his days.

The enemies of the Gospel in Judea, and in the provinces, must have waited with anxiety the disposition of the emperor with regard to its advocates ; and they welcomed the opportunity which the persecution at Rome offered them for showing their malice and cruelty against the followers of Jesus. Accordingly, we read, that " at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem.” Acts viii. 1. Tiberius, however, soon became sensible that the sufferers were misrepre, sented and calumniated ; and from being an oppressor he became their protector and friend; having, as Philo attests, sent an edict to the provinces to secure them from further oppression. A complete suspension of persecution was the necess sary consequence; and the sacred historian thus candidly states the fact: “ Then had all the churches rest throughout all Judea, and Galilee, and Sama. ria; and were edified and multiplied.” Acts ix. 31.

This event took place about the time when Tiberius died; and the description which Philo gives of the state of the Roman empire on the accession of Caligula, implies; that the repose of the churches proceeded from this edict..." What person,” says he," on beholding Caius, when, after the death of Tiberius, he had assumed dominion over every land and sea; which dominion held every country, east, west, north, and south, in tranquillity and order; which united every province in social harmony, blended together in congratulating the return, and in enjoying the blessing, of universal peace ;--who, I

say, on seeing this felicity under Caius, which it exceeds the power of words to describe, would not be filled with ecstasy at the sight ?" If then such was the happy state of every city, of every place in the Roman empire, in consequence of the measures above mentioned adopted by Tiberius, the churches in Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, must have shared in the general blessing, and derived their repose from the regulations which produced it.

Ælius Lampridius, a writer of the Augustan history, who flourished about the end of the third century, has words to this effect in his Life of Alexander Severus: “He intended to build a temple to Christ, and to receive him among the gods: which Hadrian also is reported to have designed; who ordered temples to be erected in all cities without' statues ; which therefore to this day were called Hadrian's, it being said that he built them for that purpose. But he was hindered by those who, by consulting the oracle, had discovered that if such an event had happened to the favoured person, all would become Christians, and other temples would be forsaken." Æl. Lamp. in Alex, Sev.c.xliii. See Lard. vii.p.364.

If this paragraph had been penned by any ancient Christian, the truth of it would, no doubt, have been called in question : but it is written by a heathen, who did not believe in Christ, and who, therefore, had no motive to record such a falsehood; and we may be assured that he would not have recorded a thing so falşe and, at the same time,

so obviously repugnant to his prejudices, if it had not been forced upon him by unquestionable evidence. The fact itself is very important, as it shows that the divinity of Christ was very generally believed among the heathens, and that the emperors themselves were of the same opinion. The conduct of Hadrian and of Alexander Severus illustrates and confirms that of Tiberius.

The notion that Christ was a god in human shape, or a god dwelling in the man Jesus, must have prevailed in Egypt as well as in other countries. Hadrian, in his letter to the consul Servianus, preserved by Vopiscus*, asserts, that the devotees of Serapis were believers in Christ. They were doubtless such believers in Christ as Hadrian himself was ; that is, they were believers in his divinity, thinking, or affecting to think, that the god which dwelled in him was the same with Serapis. This supposition was as natural in the people of Egypt, as it was in the Jew's to suppose that he was animated by Beelzebub; or in the magicians in Rome, that he was the son of Mercury and Penelope; or in the people of Lystra, that Paul and Barnabas were Jupiter and Mercury.

Suetonius briefly says, that Claudius expelled the Jews for disturbing the city, “ Chrestus being their instigator." This we have seen is the name which the heathens gave to the demons. This writer well knew that Christ had been put to death in the reign of Tiberius; yet his language implies that he was still living, and instigating the Jews at the time of Claudius.

A curious allusion to the introduction of John, written by Amelius, a disciple of Plotinus, is recorded by Eusebius, who thus prefaces the words of that philosopher : “ This man is greatly distinguished among the new philosophers; and though he has not deigned to mention John by name, yet he bears testimony to him in the very words of the evangelist : This truly is the word, by whom, as being eternal, all things were made, as Heraclitus would have acknowledged : and indeed the barbarian, assigning to him the rank and dignity of being in the beginning, asserts that he existed with God and was God; that by him were all things made, and in him every thing that is made has its life and being; that having descended into a body, and clothed himself with flesh, he appeared a man; and that, after he had then showed the greatness of his nature, he disengaged himself from the flesh, again resumed his godhead, and is still a god as he was before he became a man.' Euseb. Præp. Evang. lib. xi. c. ix. p. 540. Lard. vol. viii. p. 160,

* Vopisc. in Saturnino, c. vii. viii. Lard. vol. vii. 363.

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CHAPTER IX.

SIMON OF SAMARIA AND THE EMPEROR CALIGULA

OPPOSED TO JESUS CHRIST.

Justin Martyr, in his first Apology addressed to the emperor and senate, has the following passage, which has occasioned great perplexity to modern critics : “ Simon, a Samaritan from the village of Gitton, in the reign of Claudius, by means of de mons working in him, is in your royal city deemed. a god, and is honoured as such with a statue from you; which statue had been raised by the river Ti-ber, between the two bridges, having upon it this inscription in Latin, Simoni Deo Sancto." Page 38, ed. Thirlby. On this passage

Middleton, a fine writer but a superficial inquirer, thus remarks: “It is manifest beyond all reasonable doubt, that Justin was led here into a gross blunder, by his usual want of judgementand his ignorance of Roman affairs; and his preconceived notions of fabulous stories, which past current about this Simon amongst the first Christians : for the statue and inscription, to which he appeals, were not dedicated to his countryman Simon Magus, of whose deification there is not the least hint in any Roman writer, but to a Sabine deity of ancient worship in Rome, and of similar name, Semoni Sanco, frequently mentioned by the old writers; as the inscription itself, dug up about two centuries

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