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cond century, in his description of Athens, having mentioned an altar of Jupiter Olympius, adds, And nigh unto it is an altar of unknown gods."'*. And in another place, he speaks “ of oltars of gods called unknown.+

Philostratus, who wrote in the beginning of the third century, records it as an observation of Apol. lonius Tyanæus, that it was wise to speak well of all the gods, especially at Athens, where altars of unknown demons were erected.!

The author of the dialogue Philopatris, by many supposed to have been Lucian, who wrote about the year 170, by others some anonymous Heathen writer of the fourth century, makes Critias swear by the unknown god of Athens ; and, near the end of the dialogue, has these words, “ But let us find out the unknown god at Athens, and, stretching our hands to heaven, offer to him our praises and thanks. givings.??

This is a very curious and a very important coincidence. It

appears beyond controversy, that altars with this inscription were existing at Athens, at the time when Saint Paul is alleged to have been there. It seems also (which is very worthy of observation) that this inscription was peculiar to the Athenians. There is no evidence that there were altars inscribed “ to the unknown god” in any other country. Supposing the history of Saint Paul to have been a fable, how is it possible that such a writer as the author of the Acts of the Apostles was, should hit upon a circumstance so extraordinary, and introduce it by an allusion so suitable to Saint Paul's office and character ?

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The examples bere collected will be sufficient, I
hope, to satisfy us, that the writers of the Christian
history knew something of what they were writing
about. The argument is also strengthened by the
following considerations :-
• Paus. 1. p. 412.

| Paus. I. i. p. 3.
Philos. A poll. Tyan. I. ri. c. 3.
|| Lucian in Philop ton it. Grær. p. 767. 780:

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I. That these agreements appear, not only in articles of public history, but sometimes, in minute, recondite, and very peculiar circumstances, in which, of all others, a forger is most likely to have been found tripping.

II. That the destruction of Jerusalem, which took place forty years after the commencement of the Christian institution, produced such a change in the state of the country, and the condition of the Jews, that a writer who was unacquainted with the circumstances of the nation before that event, would find it difficult to avoid mistakes, in endeavouring to give detailed accounts of transactions onnected with those circumstances, forasmuch as he could no longer have a living examplar to copy from.

III. "That there appears, in the writers of the New Testament, a knowledge of the affairs of those tiines, which we do not find in authors of later ages. In particular, many of the Christian writers of the second and third centuries, and of the following ages, had false notions concerning the state of Judea, between the nativity of Jesus and the destruction of Jerusalem."* Therefore they could not have composed our histories.

Amidst so many conformities, we are not to won. der that we meet with some difficulties. The principal of these I will put down, together with the so. lutions which they have received. But in doing this, I must be contented with a brevity better suit. ed to the limits of my volume than to the nature of a controversial argument. For the historical proofs of my assertions, and for the Greek criticisms upon which some of them are founded, I refer the reader to the second volume of the first part of Dr. Lardner's large work.

1. The taxing during which Jesus was born, was “first made,” as we read, according to our trans. lation, in Saint Luke, “whilst Cyrenius was governor of Syria.”+ Now it turns out that Cyrenius was not governor of Syria until twelve, or, at the soonest, ten years after the birth of Christ; and that a taxing, census, or assessment, was made in Judea in the beginning of his government. The

* Lardner, part i. vel ing p. 960. Chap is. Ter. 2.

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charge, therefore, brought against the evangelist is, that, intending to refer to this taxing, he has misplaced the date of it by an error of ten or twelve years.

The answer to the accusation is found in his using the word “ first :"'_“And this taxing was first made :" for according to the mistake imputed to the evangelist, this word could have no signification whatever ; it could have had no place in his narrative: because, let it relate to what it will, taxing, census, enrolment, or assessment, it imports that the writer had more than one of those in contemplation. It acquits him therefore of the charge : it is inconsistent with the supposition of his knowing only of the taxing in the beginning of Cyrenius's government. And if the evangelist knew (which this word proves that he did) of some other taxing beside that, it is too much, for the sake of convincing him of a mistake, to lay it down as certain that he intended to refer to that.

The sentence in Saint Luke may be construed thus: “ This was the first assessment (or enrolment) of Cyrenius, governor of Cyria ;'* ihe words

governor of Syria” being used after the name of Cyrenius as his addition or title. And this title belonging to him at the time of writing the account, was naturally enough subjoined to his name, though acquired after the transaction which the account describes. A modern writer who was not very exact in the choice of his expressions, in relating the affairs of the East Indies, might easily say, that such a thing was done by Governor Hastings ; though, in truth, the thing had been done by him before his advancement to the station from which

he received the name of governor. And this, as we * contend, is precisely the inaccuracy which has

produced the difficuliy in Saint Luke.

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If the word which we render“ first," be rendered "before," which it has been strongly contended that the Greek idiom allows of, the whole difficnlty vanishes : for then the passage would be "Now this taxing was made before Cyrenius was governor of Sy

ria;which corresponds with the chronology. Bnt I rather choose 1 to argue, that however the word “ first" be rendered, to give it a

meaning at all, it milicates with the objective. In this I think there çaq be no mistake.

At any rate, it appears from the form of the ex. pression, that he had two taxings or enrolments in contemplation. And if Cyrenius had been sent upon this business into Judea, before he became governor of Syria, (against which supposition there is no proof, but rather external evidence of an enrolment going on about this time under some person or other,)* then the census, on all hands acknowledged to have been made by him in the beginning of his government, would form a second, so as to occasion the other to be called the first.

II. Another chronological objection arises upon a date assigned in the beginning of the third chapter of Saint Luke.t “ Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Cæsar,”—Jesus began to be about thirty years of age : for, supposing Jesus to have been born, as Saint Matthew, and Saint Luke also himself, relate, in the time of Herod, he must, according to the dates given in Josephus and by the Roman historians, have been at least thirty-one years of age in the fifteenth year of Tiberius. If he was born, as Saint Matthew's narrative intimates, one or two years before Herod's death, he would have been thirty-two or thirty-three years old at that time.

This is the difficulty: the solution turns upon an alteration in the construction of the Greek. "Saint Luke's words in the original are allowed, by the general opinion of learned men, to signify, not

that Jesus began to be about thirty years of age,” but “that he was about thirty years of age when he began his ministry.”. This construction being admitted, the adverb – about” gives us all the latitude we want, and more, especially when applied, as it is in the present instance, to a decimal num. ber : for such numbers, even without this qualifying * Josephas (Antiq. xvii. c. 2. sect. 6.) has this remarkable pas

" When therefore the whole Jewish nation took an oath to de faithful to Cæsar, and the interests of the king." This transaction corresponde in the course of the bistory with the time of Christ's

What is called a census, and which we reader taxing, was delivering upon oath an account of their property. This might be aconmpanied with no oath of fidelity, or might be mistaken by Jo. srpaut for tt.


Larduer, part á vot, ii. p. 768.


addition, are often used in a laxer sense than is here contended for.*

III. Acts v. 36. “For before these days rose up 'Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves : who was slain; and al, as many as obeyed him, were scattered and brought to nought.”

Josephus has preserved the account of an impostor of the name of Theudas, who created some disturbances, and was slain; but according to the date assigned to this man's appearance, (in which, however, it is very possible that Josephus may have been mistakent), it must have been, at the least, seven years after Gamaliel's speech, of which this text is a part, was delivered. It has been replied to the objection, that there might be two impostors of this name : and it has been observed, in order to give a general probability to the solution, that the same thing appears to have happened in other instances of the same kind. It is proved from Josephus, that there were not fewer than four persons of the name of Simon within forty years, and not fewer than three of the name of Judas within ten years, who were all leaders of insurrections : and it is likewise recorded by this historian, tl'at, upon the death of Herod the Great (which agrees very well with the time of the commotion referred to by Gamaliel, and with his manner of stating that time, “ before these days,”) there were innumerable disturbances in Judea.ll Archbishop Usher was of opinion, that one of the three Judases above mentioned was Gamaliel's Theudas ;s and that with a less variation of the name than we actually find in the Gospels, where one of the twelve apostles is

* Livy, speaking of the peace which the conduct of Romulus bad procured to the state, during the whole reign of his successor (Numa,) bas these words (a) Ab illo enim profectis viribus datis tantum valuit, ut, in quadraginta deinde annos, tutam pacem haberet :"' yet afterward, in the same chapter, "Romulus (he says) septem et triginta regnavit annos. Numa tres et quadraginta."

† Michaelis's Introduction to the New Testament, (Marsh's Translation,) vol. i. p. 61, Lardner, part i. vol. ii. p. 922. ll Antiq. l. xvii. c. 12, sect. 6. Annalo, p. 797.

(a) Liv Hist. c. 1. sect. 16:

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