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the classes, yet the great body of them had not; and this was sufficient to remove the reproach which Celsus had thrown out against the Jewish Christians in general.
That this was really the case, and that the great body of Jewish Christians were likewise Unitarians, we have the express testimony of Origen, uncontradicted, as I have shewn, by himself, or any other authority whatever. He could not but be well informed with respect to the fact; his veracity was never impeached ; and if he had been disposed to deny the truth, (which he had no temptation to do,) he wrote in circumstances in which his attempts to falsify could not have availed him.
But to prove Origen to be guilty of contradicting himself, is not the only use you make of the passage. “ But this is not all. In the next sentence he gives us to understand, though I confess more indirectly, but he gives us to understand, that of these three sorts of Hebrews profersing Christianity, they only, who had laid aside the use of the Mosaic law, were in his time considered as true Christians.”* This is extraordinary indeed; but let us see how it is given to be understood. Having found so little in your clear conclusions, I do not expect much from your supa posed insinuations.
“ For he mentions it as a further proof of the ignorance of Celsus, pretending, as it appears he did, to deep erudition upon all subjects, that, in his account of the heresies of the Christian church, he had omitted the Israelites believing in Jesus, and not laying aside the law of their ancestors. But how should Celsus,' he says, 'make clear distinctions upon this point, who, in the sequel of his work, mentions impious heresies altogether alienated from Christ, and others which have renounced the Creator, and has not noticed' (or knew not of) • Israelites believing in Jesus, and not relinquishing the law of their fathers ?'+ What opinion,” you say, “is to be entertained of a writer's veracity, who in one page asserts that the Hebrews professing Christianity had not renounced the Jewish law; 'and in the next affirms, that a part of them had renounced it, not without an insinuation that they who
! • 'Remarks, p. 27. (P.) Tracts, p. 352.
+ Αλλα γαρ ποθεν Κελσος τα κατα τον τοπον τρανωσαι, ος και αιρεσεων μεν αθεων, και το Ιησε σαντη αλλοτριων εν τοις εξης εμνημονευσε, και αλλων καταλειποσων τον δημιουργών ουκ οίδε δε και Ισραηλιτας εις Ιησον τις ευοντας, και ου καταλειποντας τον πατριον νόμον και [Here ends Horsley's quotation in Tracts, p. 953, Note.] Ou yap a poexerto auta pinaληθως όλα τα κατα τον τοπον εξετασαι, εν ει τι χρησιμον ευρισκοι παραδεξηται, αλλα και ας εχθρος, και ολος το ανατρεπείς άμα το ακεσαι γενομενος, τα τοιαυτα ανεγραψεν. Orig. contra Cels. L. ii. p. 59. (P.)
had not were heretics, not true Christians ? EGO HUIC TESTI, ETIAMSI JURATO, QUI TAM, MANIFESTO FUMOS VENDIT, ME NON CREDITURUM ESSE CONFIRMO.
Such is the curious inference of the learned Archdeacon of St. Alban's. From this construction of the passage a person might be led to think that Origen represented Celsus as having undertaken to give an account of the heresies in the Christian church, and as having in that account omitted the Israelites believing in Jesus, and not laying aside the rites of their ancestors ; and on vo other ground can your insinuation stand. Whereas, the most natural construction of the passage is, that Origen says, “ It is no wonder that Celsus should be so ignorant of what he was treating, when he classed the Gnostics along with Christians, and did not even know that there were Israelites who professed Christianity, and adhered to the laws of Moses,” Where, then, is the most distant insinuation that the Israelites believing in Christ, and not laying aside the rites of their ancestors, were heretics ? That the Gnostics were classed with Christians, was a common complaint of the orthodox in that
age. You strangely allege another instance of what you call prevarication in Origen, in the same book against Celsus. In the controversy with the Jews about the meaning of the word opby, which he contends, signifies a virgin, he says, “ The word opby, which the LXX. have translated into the word tapdevos: (a virgin), but other interpreters into the word veavis (a young woman), is put too, A$ THEY SAY, in Deu. teronomy, for a virgin.”+
On this you remark as follows: "What is this as they say? Was it unknown to the compiler of the Hexapla, what the reading of the Hebrew text, in his own time, was? If he knew that it was what he would have it thought to be; why does be seem to assert upon hearsay only? If he knew not, why did he not inform bimself, that he might either assert with confidence what he had found upon enquiry to be true, or not assert what could not be maintained ? EGO HUIC TESTI, ETIAMSI JURATO, QUI TAM, MANIFESTO FUMOS VENDIT, ME NON CREDITURUM
I am astonished that any man could think this state of the
• Tracts, pp. 352, 353.
+ Εαν δε Ιεδαιος ευρεσιλογων, το Ιδε η παρθενος μη γεγραφθαι λεγει αλλ' αντ' αυτο Ιδα η νεανις" φησομεν προς αυτον, ότι η μεν λεξις η Ααλμα ήν οι μεν έβδομηκοντα μετειληφασι προς την παρθενον, αλλοι δε εις την νεανιν, κειται ως φασι και εν τω Δευτερονομιο επι παρ'
Orig. contra Cels. L. i. p. 27. (P.) | Tracts, pp. 354, 355.
θενε ουτως εχεσα. .
case probable. The question between Origen and the Jews was not what was the word in the Hebrew, but what was the meaning of it in a particular place. : But even admitting that the dispute was about the true reading in the original, what great matter was there in Origen's saying the Jews said so, when he knew that what they said was true? Is this a foundation on which to affirm that you would not take a man's evidence upon his oath? What an appetite must a man have for calumny, who can seize upon such a circumstance as this to gratify it! Fænum habet in cornu : hunc tu, Romane, caveto.
I am, &c.
LETTER II. General Observations relating to the supposed Orthodox
Church of Jewish Christians at Jerusalem after the Time of Adrian,
Rev. Sir, Having fully considered what you have alleged in sup. port of your extraordinary charge of wilful falsehood in Origen, because the supposition of his being an honest man was inconsistent with the existence of your church of orthodox Jewish Christians at Jerusalem, after the time of Adrian, I shall proceed to consider the positive evidence that produced for the actual existence of such a church. But I shall, in the first place, mention some observations of a general nature relating to the subject.
That there was a Christian church at Jerusalem after the time of Adrian, we all acknowledge ; but you say, “the point in dispute between us is, of what members the church of Ælia was composed. He says, of converts of Gentile extraction. I say, of Hebrews of the very same persons, in the greater part, who were members of the ancient Hebrew church, at the time when the Jews were subdued by Adrian.”
1. Now, that the members of this church were not Jews, but Greeks, I think indisputable from this plain consideration, that after the time of Adrian the bishops of that church were Greeks, and that the language in which the public offices were performed was Greek ; whereas, immediately before, the bishops had been Hebrews, and the public offices had been in the Hebrew tongue.
* Remarks, p. 41. (P.) Tracts, p. 364.
2. If there was any considerable body of orthodox Jewish Christians, it is extraordinary that no particular mention should be made of them by any ancient writer. Jerome speaks of his acquaintance with learned Ebionites by whom he was taught the Hebrew tongue. Living as he did in the country, he might as easily, on your idea, have found learned orthodox Jewish Christians, with whom it would have been more agreeable to him to associate, unless you suppose that the learned Ebionites were heretics, and the unlearned, orthodox.
3. As so many writers speak of Ebionites, or heterodox Nazarenes, it would surely have been natural for some of them to have added, that they were not the great body, or at least, not the whole, of the Jewish Christians. The mention of the one would naturally have drawn after it, on some occasion, the mention of the other; and yet no ancient writer speaks of them.
4. As to a whole church of orthodox Jewish Christians at Jerusalem, or elsewhere, we hear of no intercourse between any such church and other orthodox churches. None of their bishops, or deputies from them, appear at any council; no appeals are ever made to them ; which would have been natural, as to the mother of all the churches. This is easily accounted for, on the supposition that all the remains of the Jewish Christians were the poor and despised Unitarian Ebionites, residing chiefly beyond the sea of Galilee, whose numbers likewise were inconsiderable ; but hard to be supposed, if there were any churches of orthodox Jewish Christians residing at Jerusalem, or elsewhere.
5. If there was any considerable body of orthodox Jewish Christians, why do we never hear of any Hebrew gospels besides that of Matthew ? If they held the doctrine of the orthodox Gentile churches concerning the person of Christ
, it is probable that they would have had the same respect for the other gospels, and the other books of the New Testament ; and yet it is almost certain that they made little use of them.
By way of apology for your additions to the scanty accounts of the ancients, concerning the conquest of Jerusalem by Adrian, you say, “ The ecclesiastical history of those times is so very general and imperfect, that whoever attempts to make out a consistent story from the ancient writers which are come down to us, will find himself under a necessity of helping out their broken accounts by his own conjectures.
* Remarks, p. 38. (P.) Tracts, p. 562.
But certainly, Sir, the contradicting of an ancient writer is not the way to help out his account of things. Now Eusebius, the oldest writer who mentions the fact, says, that after the taking of the city by Adrian, the whole nation of the Jews (Tay edvos, which excludes all distinction with re. spect to religion) were forbidden even to see the desolation of their metropolis at a distance.* To help out this broken account, because it does not contain all that you wish it to do, (though I see nothing broken in it) you say, that the Jews were allowed to remain in the place, and enjoy the privileges of the Æliun colony, on condition of their becoming Christians. To help out this addition, I would further add, that another of the terms of the capitulation was, that they should from that time speak, Greek, as without this, they could have derived no benefit from the offices of a Greek church.
Sulpitius says, that by this severity to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Adrian thought to destroy the Christian faith. But to this you oppose the authority of Orosius, (calling it, however, but a feather in the scale, t) that when the Jews were excluded, the Christians were allowed to remain. If your liberty of helping out a broken story may be exercised here, I should say, that, in the idea even of this writer, the Greek Christians might remain, but the Jewish not. If any regard is to be paid to Eusebius, the oldest historian, or to Sulpitius, who is much more circumstantial than Orosius, and on that account better entitled to credit, no Jews, Christians, or others, were allowed to remain in the place.
To make your account the more probable, you say, is a notorious fact that Adrian was not unfavourable to the Christians;" and that “ the church in his reign obtained a respite from persecution." But how far did this favour to the church extend? You say, “.the fury of its persecutors was restrained by the imperial rescripts to the provincial governors, who were directed not to proceed against the Christians, except by way of regular trial, upon the allega. tion of some certain crime ; and, when nothing more was alleged than the bare name of Christianity, to punish the
* Και τα της απονοιας αυτούς αιτιε την αξιαν έκτισαντος δικην, το παν εθνος εξ εκεινο και της περι τα Ιεροσόλυμα γης παμπαν επιβαινειν ειργεται, νομε δογματι και διαταξεσιν Αδριανε ώς αν μηδ' εξ αποπτο θεωροιέν το πατρώον εδαφος έγκελευσαμενε. Εuseb. Εccl. Ηist. L. iv. C. vi. edit. R. Steph. Paris, 1544, fol. 34. (P.)
. Remarks, p. 43. (P.) "The testimony of Orosius, however inconsiderable, might of itself outweigh the opinion of Dr. Priestley; if a featber only in the ono scale be more than a counterpoise for a nothing in the other.” Tracts, p. 367.