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him to the cross, those who before had entertained a respect for him, continued still so to do: for he appeared to them alive again on the third day; the divine prophets having declared these and many other wonderful things concerning him: and the sect of the Christians, so named from him, subsists to this very time."—This passage is cited by Eusebius, who lived near the end of the third century; and Josephus died in the second.—It is also mentioned by St. Jerome, Sophronius, Rufinus, Issidore of Damietta, Sozomene, Cedrenus, Nicephorus Callistus, and Suidas, all of whom considered it as authentjck. It is probable that these writers, living in different ages and in different places, did not possess the same copy of Josephus's history; yet all these copies agreed, as do those which are still extant.—After reading what has been said by the best modern criticks for and against the authenticity of this passage, we are induced to conclude with the pious and learned Dr. Milner,* "that the doubts which have been started on its authenticity seem mere surmises. One of them, the supposed inconsistency of the historian, in testifying so much of Christ, and yet remaining an unconverted Jew, affords an argument in its favour. Inconsistencies ought to be expected from inconsistent persons. Such are many in the Christian world at this day, who in like circumstances would have acted a similar part. Such was Josephus. He knew and had studied something of all sorts of opinions in religion, and his writings show him to have been firm in nothing, but a regard to his worldly interest. To me he seems to say just so much and no more of Christ, as might be expected from a learned skeptick, of remarkable good sense, and supreme love of worldly things." But let us allow that this passage has been foisted into the history of Josephus, and that he makes no mention whatever of Christ, what are the inferences, which we may naturally draw from his silence? In the firtt place, this historian, who was born three or four years after the death of Jesus Christ, could not but know, that there had appeared in Judea one Jesus, called a cheat, an impostor, a magician or prophet, who had performed wonderful works, or had found out the secret of persuading a number of persons that he had done so. He could not but know, that in his own time, there were still in that province people who professed to acknowledge him for their master. When he was carried to Rome, he could not but know, that Nero had caused a great number of Christians, who were in that city, to be destroyed with unusual and excessive cruelty: he could not but know that their death was a kind of show for the Roraans, of so publick and striking a nature, that Tacitus and Suetonius thought it worthy to be recorded in the annals of the empire: he saw, that under Domitian, both at Rome and in the provinces, persecutions were issued
out against the Christians, and that they were punished with death by orders of the emperour. Now, secondly, ought Josephus in his history, to have made mention of Jesus and his disciples? Assuredly he ought. Might he not have regarded that event as beneath the notice of historical dignity? Clearly not; and for the following reasons:—In the time of Josephus, the Christians were already so considerable a body of people that they drew the attention of emperours. These masters of the world enacted laws against them; they condemned them to capital punishment, and enjoined the magistrates to search for and apprehend them. The fidelity, therefore, of history, required that mention should be made of them. This was the opinion of Tacitus and Suetonius, to whom the sect of the Christians was an object far less interesting than to a Jew, as Josephus was. These two historians were persuaded that the rise and progress of Christianity were of sufficient importance to be ranked among the great transactions which they wished to deliver down to posterity. Besides, Josephus, in the 8th book of his Antiquities, chap. 2d, speaks of three sects among the Jews— the Essenes, the Sadducees, and the Pharisees; although the two last had ceased to exist after the destruction of the nation, and at the time his history was written. He ought not, therefore, to have been silent concerning the sectof the Christians, which had sprung up among the Jews, was existing even in his time, and had made a far greater progress than those which he mentions; for it had spread over several provinces of the empire, and even in the capital; whereas the others had not extended beyond Judea, or some of the neighbouring places. Again, Josephus mentions very circumstantially all the impostors, or heads of parties, which had started up among the Jews, from the reign of Augustus to the destruction of Jerusalem. He writes, that Judas the Gaulonitc, or Galilean, excited the Jews to rebellion against the Romans;* and, in another place he tells us, that the president, Tiberius Alexander, ordered the two sons of this ringleader to be crucified.f B •>.
He relates that an impostor brought the Samaritans together on Mount Gerizim, with a promise of discovering to them die sacred vessels that Moses had buried in that place. He speaks of the preaching of St. John the baptist, and the great concourse of people that followed him; he bears witness to the sanctity of his life, and adds, that the Jews believed that the army of Herod was defeated by Aretas king of the Arabians, as a punishment of the crime committed by him in putting that holy person to death.
He tells US', that an impostor named Theudas, seduced a great number of Jews, and led them towards Jordan, with a promise that he would divide that river, and that they should go over dry-shod. Cuspius Fabius, president of Judea, being apprized of it, sent a
body of soldiers to disperse this multitude, who killed Theudas, and brought his head to the president. He writes, that Felix, president of the province, having taken by stratagem Eleazar, the son of Dineus, the leader of a considerable troop of robbers, he sent him loaded with chains to Rome. He informs us, that an Egyptian, being come to Jerusalem, gave himself out for a prophet, and persuaded the people to follow him to the top of the Mount of Olives, and that from thence they should see the walls of Jerusalem fall down at his command. When this came to the knowledge of Felix, he placed himself at the head of the troops that were in the city, and having attacked this deluded people, killed four hundred of them, and took two hundred prisoners: but the Egyptian escaped and was seen no more. In a word, he relates, that a lying sorcerer drew the people into the wilderness, and promised them that under his conduct they should be secured from every kind of evil. The president, Festus, sent some troops against them, who defeated and dispersed them. Now, Jesus was the leader of a party, far more considerable and conspicuous than any other mentioned by Josephus. Those impostors, those heads of parties, who had drawn multitudes together, had no followers out of Judea; all of them were quickly dispersed, and nothing but the remembrance of them was left, when Josephus wrote his history. But this was not the case with the sect, the party which had been raised by Jesus. It still subsisted in the life-time of Josephus. It had spread over all the provinces of the empire, and even through the capital itself. The Roman sovereigns exerted all their power to crush it. This party, therefore, or sect, had a much superiour claim over any others mentioned by the Jewish historian, to a place in his history.
Since then, Josephus could not be ignorant of Jesus, or of the sect which he founded; and since it was evidently his duty, as a faithful and judicious historian, and in conformity to the plan he had adopted, to relate what he knew of this sect; what could have been his motives for suppressing any mention concerning it? an inquiry into these motives is of considerable importance. This historian either believed that the whole account of Jesus's disciples concerning their master was false, or he believed that it was true. In the first supposition, he would not have been silent. Every thing led him to speak on such an occasion, viz. the interest of truth, zeal for his religion, the foundations of which were sapped by the Christian system, and the reputation of his countrymen, who were accused by the disciples of Jesus, of having put to death, through a malignant and cruel jealousy, the Messiah, the Son of God. These were motives which he could not have overlooked. By detecting the imposture of the apostles, Josephus would have covered the enemies of his people with confusion, rendered himself popular with his countrymen, and conciliated the favour of the emperours, who wished to stifle Christianity in its birth. He would have secured the applauses of all those who held this rc-ligion in abhorrence, and undeceived multitudes, whom' the first disciples of Jesus had deluded. Now, is it possible to believe, that a man well acquainted with an imposition, which it is so much his interest to publish, should be thus scrupulously and profoundly silent respecting it, especially when such an obvious occasion to mention it was presented? If false miracles should, at this day, be attempted or propagated among the people, tending to play upon their credulity, and unsettle their faith, would not the zeal of every publick minister of religion, of every cotemporary historian, be excited to detect the impostors, and to prevent their delusion? "Would they not conclude, (and with good reason,) that silence on such an occasion would be a criminal prevarication? It appears, therefore, very evident, that had Josephus believed the relations and testimony of the apostles concerning Christ, to be false, he would have been anxious to record and enforce his opinion. If he did not believe them to be false, he was, of course, convinced of their truth. The fear of displeasing his own nation, and of incurring the resentment of the empcrours, must have been the cause of his silence, which, in this case, is therefore as powerful a testimony to the truth and' authenticity of the gospel history, as the most explicit narrative could have been.
FOR THE THEOLOGICAL MAGAZINE.
ON JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH.
lieing an abridgment of Dr. Whitby's fire/ace to his Commentary on the Ejiigtle to the Galatiane.
AMONG the articles of the Christian religion, faith in Christ, and justification by faith, are truths of primary importance, affecting the whole system of revelation, and claiming, of course, the solemn attention of all who believe in it. True indeed it is, that these subjects have, in latter ages, given occasion to some controversy and confusion of ideas; but this circumstance can with no more propriety dispense with the obligation upon the professors of religion, of maintaining what they conceive to be the truth in this point, than in any other article of religion .whatever; though indeed when prejudices are discarded, and the passages relating to these doctrines are critically examined, no very material difference will be found among the reformed churches on this head. In all the apostolick epistles, these primary doctrines are frequently insisted upon as essentially connected with the Christian system; but in none are they delivered with more earnestness and perspicuity than in the epistle to the Galatians, of which the principal drift seems to be, an elucidation of the doctrine of justification by faith. Wherefore, we will endeavour to show, first, what is the scriptural meaning of the word faith, especially as it relates to justification; or in other words, what is true Christian faith as taught in the scriptures. Secondly, what the apostle means by justification. Thirdly, that this justification is ascribed by him to faith alone, D opposition to works of righteousness performed either by Jew, tr Gentile. And Fourthly, that it imposes upon us, nevertheless, he highest obligations to perform them, under the penalty of forfeiting all its blessings; and that it offers always sufficient motives to Christian obedience, which, if sincere and lasting, it will certainly produce. And first, as to the scriptural meaning of the word faith. I think it appears evident throughout the whole New Testament, that gospel faith is nothing more than a cordial and firm belief, that Jesus is the Christ, the Lord, the true Messiah or Prophet, sent from God to reveal his will to the world; the Son of God, and Saviour of mankind. To prove this, we need only consider, that divine faith in general, is a firm assent unto, or full persuasion of mind concerning any truth revealed immediately by almighty God himself, or by those whom he has commissioned to reveal it, and bear testimony to it. For since human faith consists in a full persuasion of the truth of what is told us by fellow mortals, divine faith can be only a similar persuasion, resting altogether upon the authority of God. This description of faith is clearly taught by the apostle St. John, i. 5. for having declared, -v. 4, 5, that the faith by which we overcome the world, is the belief that" Jesus is the Son of God," he proceeds to the proofs of this proposition, viz. " that Jesus is the Son of God." 1st, Because the holy spirit beareth witness to it, and he is the spirit of truth, -v. 6. 2d, Because "there are three that bear record in heaven to it, namely, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, v. 7. "Now," says he," if we receive the witness of men, if we rely upon their testimony in courts of judicature, if by the mouth of two or three human witnesses, our weightiest concerns predetermined, shall not the witness of God be greater?" that is, shall it not establish our faith in this particular, that ".Jesus is the Son of God." To disbelieve this truth, says the apostle, is to give the lie to God, v. 10, " because we believe not the record, whicli God has given of his Son." If we do not receive this testimony on his authority, "we set our seal, that God is not true," John iii. 33. This being, then, th« nature of divine faith in general, faith in our Lord Jesus Christ must be a full assent to, or a firm persuasion: of, the truth of every particular, which God himself has revealed, or persons commissioned by him have testified and recorded conCming our Lord Jesus Christ; or, in other words, " it is an un