« FöregåendeFortsätt »
per Libanum. At Libamus multum rubicundæ terræ habet. V'enti ergo vehementes, qui stutos illis diebus flatus habent, terram flumini inferunt minio valde sinilem. Haec illud terra rerldit sanguineum.
This account has been since confirmed by Maundrel
in lis Voyages.
Sanguinem pluisse, says Cicero, senatui nuntiatum est, Atratum etiam fluvium fluxisse sanguine.-Sed et decoloratio quædam ex aliqua contagione terrena potest sanguini similis esse, De Div. ii. 27.
Some may think that we ought to read Gurgitibus miniis, aut lactis vortice torrens, instead of et. But, unless the best manuscripts deceive us, et is often used in a disjunctive sense, and iinplies much the same as ant ; and likewise que, where we might seem inore proper. Of this I gave some examples in the Miscell. Observ. vol. II.
Amongst the miracles recorded in the acts of the apostles is the casting out of evil spirits. In the New Testament, where any circumstances are added concerning the dæmoniacs, they are generally such as shew that there was something præternatural in the distemper; for these disordered persons agreed in one story, and paid homage to Christ and to his apostles, which is not to be expected from madmen, of whom some would have worshipped, and others would have reviled Christ, according to the various humour and behaviour observable in such persons.
One reason for which the divine providence should suffer evil spirits to exert their malignant powers so much at that time, might be to give a check to Sadduceism amongst the Jews, and to Epicurean atheism amongst the Gentiles, and to remove in some measure
these two great impediments to the reception of the gospel.
The first miracle after the ascension of Christ, namely, the gift of tongues, was of singular and extraordinary service to Christianity. It increased the number of believers at Jerusalem, and engaged the admiration and favour of the people so much, that the enemies of Christ could not accomplish their designs against the disciples, and it served to convey the gospel to distant regions.
It has been said that the gift of tongues continued for a considerable time to be absolutely necessary for the spreading of Christianity : but it is to be observed that the Scriptures never say co. We may therefore judge for ourselves how far it was needful.
Now at the time of Pentecost there was a great resort of Jews and proselytes from various and remote countries. The gift of tongues conferred upon the disciples served to convince and convert many of these persons, and these persons served to carry Christianity with them to their several homes. Afterwards the Æthiopian eunuch, Cornelius the Roman centurion, Sergius Paulus the proconsul, Dionysius the Areopagite, and many others, were converted. By these persons, and by the travels of some of the apostles and of their disciples, Christianity was spread in the Roman empire and in the East; and then the Greek language, together with human industry in learning other tongues, might be sufficient to convey the gospel as far, and as soon as providence intended.
Apollonius Tyaneus, as Philostratus relates, pretended to understand all languages without having learned them *. If Philostratus may be credited in this,
Vit. Apoll. p. 25. ed. Par. or Euseb. contr. Hier. p. 517.
it is probable that Apollonius, knowing that the Christians claimed this gift, took the same honour to him. self. He flourished in the times of Nero and of Domitian, and it is to be supposed that he could speak a little of several tongues, for he was a man of parts and a strolling vagabond.
Philostratus also assures us, that, when the mother of Apollonius was in labour, the swans came to attend and assist her; for which he produces no voucher, says Eusebius in Hierocl. p. 517. Now Philostratus, or whosoever was the author of this pretty story, stole the thought from Callimachus :
Κύκνοι δε θες μέλποίες αοιδοί
Μεσάων όρνιθες, αοιδότατοι σέθεηνών. Hymn. in Delum, 249. where these poetical birds perform the same office to Latona.
Clemens Alexandrinus cites Plato as saying that the gods or dæmons had the use of language, and that it appeared from the discourses of dæmoniacs, since in those possessions it was not the man himself, but the dæmon in him, who spake by the man's voice. 'O Πλάτων δε και τους θεούς διάλεκτον απονέμει τινά μάλισα μεν από των όνειράτων τεκμαιρόμενος και των χρησμών, άλλως δε, και από των δαιμονώντον, οι την αυτών και φθέγονται φωνήν υδε αλεκον, αλλατης των υπεισιόντων δαιμόνων. Stronm. 1. p. 405. Oxon. edit. I may have overlooked it, but I never could find this place in Plato. There is something a little like it in Porphyry, where Apollo says of himself,
Αυλ δ' έκ βρoτέοιο φίλην έτεκνώσατο φωνήν. *.
On * φίλην φωνήν may be translated suam vocem. . έτεκνώσαλο, fors. έτεχνώσα!ο, vel, έτεχνήσαίο vel, τεχνήσατο.
On which the philosoplier observes, Πνεύμα γαρ το κακόν και απόρροια εκ της επερανία δυνάμεως, είς οργανικών σωμα και έμψυχον εισελθεσα, βάσει χρωμένη τη ψυχή, δια τη σώματος, ως οργάna qaror erodedwoen. Spiritus enim e loco superiore delapsus, illaque adeo particula, quæ cælesti virtute in corpus suis instructum fucultatibus animatumque defuxit, animum reluti basim aliquam sortita, vocem per corpus,
per quoddam instrumentum, edit. Apud Euseb. Priep. Er. V. S. These adiporwles, of whom the philosophers speak, were persons inspired, or supposed to be inspired by Apollo, Cybele, or other dæmons. In later times, the speaking of new languages has been reckoned one of the proofs of being possessed with a dæmon. See Bayle's Dict. Grandier, and Michael Psellus de Operet. Dæmonum, and some instances collected by Cudworth, Intell. Syst. p. 704-5. That fiom Fernelius is mentioned by Le Clerc, in his extracts from Cudworth, Bibl. Chois. v. p. 109. He has made a small mistake when he says, Un melancholique que les medecins avoient traite en vain, et qui ne svoit ni Grec, ni Latin, se mit a parler ces deux langues. Fernelius only says that the young gentleman did not understand Greek.
To learn a foreign language so far as to understand it when we read or hear it, is a skill which is not to be acquired without much time and pains. To speak it readily and pronounce it rightly, is still more difficult : it is what many persons can never accomplish, though they have all the proper helps, as we may sce every day; nor can any study and application acquire this habit, unless there be an opportunity of conversing frequently with those whose tongue it is.
If the apostles on the day of Pentecost had expressed themselves improperly, or with a bad accent as most people do, when they speak a living language C 3
which is not natural to them, the hearers, who at that time were not converted to Christianity, would have suspected some fraud, would have taken notice of such faults *, and censured them ; which since they did not, it is to be supposed that they had nothing of that kind to object.
Within forty years after the resurrection of Christ came on the destruction of Jerusalem, a most important event, upon which the credit and the fate of Christianity depended. Christ had foretold it so expressly, that, if he had failed, his religion could not have supported itself. But his predictions were exactly accomplished, and proved him to be a true prophet.
Christ fixed the time also, saying that the days were at hand, and would come before that generation should pass away, and whilst the daughters of Jerusalem, or their children, should be living.
The completion of Christ's predictions has been fully shewed by many writers, particularly by Whitby. To him I refer the reader, on Matth. xxiv. and shall here insert in the notes some † remarks on this part of the
subject, As the Jews did to Peter, when they said to him, Thou art a Galilean, and by speech bewrayeth thee.
+ Our Saviour, foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem, applies to the Jews in a prophetic sense this proverbial saying, Wberesoever the carcase is, there will be eagles be gathered together, Mat. xxiv. 28.
The Jewish writers had this maxim among them, that wicked men while they live are to be reckoned amongst the dead: see Drusius on Mat. iv. 4. and viii. 22. see also Luke xv. 32. Eph. ii. 1. 1 Tim. v. 6. But wicked men are spoken of in scripture under this figure with still greater propriety, if for their crimes they were devoted to death, and condemned to it by a divine or human sentence, Gen. xx. 3. By the word carcase, Christ means the Jewish nation, which was morally and judicially dead, and whose destruction was pronounced in the decrees of heaven.