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Catholics, without our insulting him so far as to accuse him of intolerance ?*
On the Globes of Fire said to have issued from the Earth
to prevent the re-building of the Temple of Jerusalem
under the Emperor Julian. It is very likely that, when Julian resolved to carry the war into Persia, he wanted money. It is also very likely that the Jews gave him some for permission to rebuild their temple, which Titus had partly destroyed, but of which there still remained the foundations, an entire wall, and the Antonine tower. But is it as likely that globes of fire burst upon the works and the workmen, and caused the undertaking to be relinquished ?
Is there not a palpable contradiction in what the historians relate?
1. How could it be that the Jews began by destroying (as they are said to have done) the foundations of the temple, which it was their wish and their duty to rebuild on the same spot? The temple was necessarily to be on Mount Moriah. There it was that Solomon had built it. There it was that Herod had rebuilt it, with greater solidity and magnificence, having previously erected a fine theatre at Jerusalem, and a temple to Augustus at Cæsarea. The foundations of this temple, enlarged by Herod, were, according to Josephus, as much as twenty-five feet broad. Could the Jews, in Julian's time, possibly be mad enough to wish to disarrange these stones ; which were so well prepared to receive the rest of the edifice, and upon which the Mahometans afterwards built their mosque?+
• See the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, in corruboration of the truths so pleasantly put forward by Voltaire.-T.
+ Omar, having taken Jerusalem, built a mosque on the very foundations of the temple of Herod and of Solomon, and this temple was dedicated to the same God whom Solomon had worshipped before be turned, idolater-the God of Abraham and Jacob, wbom Jesus Christ had adored when Jerusalem, and who is acknowledged by the Mussulmen. This temple is still existing; and was never entirely destroyed.
What man was ever foolish and stupid enough thus to deprive himself, at great cost and excessive labour, of the greatest advantage that could present itself to his hands and eyes? Nothing is more incredible.
2. How could eruptions of fame burst forth from the interior of these stones? There might be an earthquake in the neighbourhood, for they are frequent in Syria : but that great blocks of stone should have vomited clouds of fire! Is not this story entitled to just as much credit as all those of antiquity?
3. If this prodigy, or if an earthquake, which is not a prodigy, had really happened, would not the Emperor Julian have spoken of it in the letter in which he says, that he had intended to rebuild this temple? Would not his testimony have been triumphantly adduced ? Isit not infinitely more probable that he changed his mind? Does not this letter contain these words
“Quid de templo suo dicent, quod, quum tertiò sit eversum, nondùm hodiernam usque diem instauratur? Hæc ego, non ut illis exprobarem, in medium adduxi, utpotè qui templum illud tanto intervallo à ruinis excitare voluerim; sed ideò commemoravi, ut ostenderem delirasse prophetas istos, quibus cum stolidis aniculis negotium erat.
«« What can the Jews say of their temple, which has been destroyed for the third time, and is not yet restored? I speak of this, not for the purpose of reproaching them, for I myself intended to have raised it once more from its ruins, but to show the extravagance of their prophets, who had none but old women to deal with.”
Is it not evident that the Emperor, having paid attention to the Jewish prophecies that the temple should be rebuilt more beautiful than ever, and that all the nations of the earth should come and worship in it, thought fit to revoke the permission to raise the edifice. The historical probability, then, from the Emperor's own words, is, that unfortunately holding the Jewish books, as well as our own, in abhorrence, he at length resolved to make the Jewish prophets lie.
The Abbé de la Blétrie, the historian of the Emperor Julian, does not understand how the temple of Jerusalem was destroyed three times. He says* that apparently Julian reckoned as a third destruction the catastrophe which happened during his reign. A curious destruction this !—the non-removal of the stones of an old foundation. What could prevent this writer from seeing that the temple, having been built by Solomon, reconstructed by Zorobabel, entirely destroyed by Herod, rebuilt by Herod himself with so much magnificence, and at last laid in ruins by Titus, manifestly made three destructions of the temple? The reckoning is correct. Julian should surely have escaped calumny on this point.
The Abbé de la Blétrie calumniates him sufficiently by saying, that all his virtues were only seeming, while all his vices were real. I But Julian was not hypocritical, nor avaricious, nor fraudulent, nor lying, nor ungrateful, nor cowardly, nor drunken, nor debauched, nor idle, nor vindictive. What then were his vices ?
4. Let us now examine the redoutable argument made use of to persuade us that globes of fire issued from stones. Ammianus Marcellinus, a pagan writer, free from all suspicion, has said it. Be it so: but this Ammianus has also said, that when the Emperor was about to sacrifice ten oxen to his gods for his first victory over the Persians, nine of them fell to the earth before they were presented at the altar. lates a hundred predictions—a hundred prodigies. Are we to believe in them? Are we to believe in all the ridiculous miracles related by Livy?
Besides, who can say that the text of Ammianus Marcellinus has not been falsified? Would it be the only instance in which this artifice has been employed ?
I wonder that no mention is made of the little fiery crosses which all the workmen found on their bodies when they went to bed. They would have made an admirable figure along with the globes.
Page 399. + Julian might even have counted four destructions of the temple; for Antiochus Eupator bad all its walls pulled down.
| La Blétrie's Preface.
The fact is, that the temple of the Jews was not rebuilt, and it may be presumed never will be so. Here let us hold, and not seek useless prodigies. Globi fammarum-globes of fire, issue neither from stones nor from earth. Ammianus, and those who have quoted him, were not natural philosophers. Let the Abbé de la Blétrie only look at the fire on St. John's day, and he will see that flame always ascends with a point or in a cloud, and never in a globe. This alone is sufficient to overturn the nonsense which he comes forward to defend with injudicious criticism and revolting pride.
After all, the thing is of very little importance. There is nothing in it that affects either faith or morals; and historical truth is all that is here sought for.*
APOSTLES. Their Lives, their Wives, their Children. After the article Apostle in the Encyclopedia, which is as learned as it is orthodox, very mains to be said. But we often hear it asked—Were the apostles married? Had they any children? If they had, what became of those children? Where did the apostles live ? Where did they write ? Where did they die? Had they any appropriated districts ? Did they exercise any civil ministry? Had they any jurisdiction over the faithful? Were they bishops? Had they an hierarchy, rites, or ceremonies ?
Were the Apostles married ? There is extant a letter attributed to St. Ignatius the martyr, in which are these decisive words
“ I call to mind your sanctity as I do that of Elias, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, and the chosen disciples Timothy, Titus, Evadius, and Clement; yet I do not
* Much of this argument might be spared in Great Britain, but not so in France, or possibly in any other Catholic country, during the life-time of Voltaire. If any one be disposed to doubt this fact, let him turu his attention to the recent alleged miracles of Prince Hohenloe.-T.
blame such other of the blessed as were bound in the
their footsteps in his kingdom, after the example of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Isaiah, and the other prophets, -of Peter and Paul, and the apostles who were married.”
Some of the learned assert, that the name of St. Paul has been interpolated in this famous letter : however, Turrian and all who have seen the letters of Ignatius in the library of the Vatican, acknowledge that St. Paul's name appears there. And Baronius* does not deny that this passage is to be found in some Greek manuscripts :-Non negamus in quibusdam græcis codicibus. But he asserts that these words have been added by modern Greeks.
In the old Oxford library, there was a manuscript of St. Ignatius's letters in Greek, which contained these words; but it was, I believe, burned with many other books at the taking of Oxford by Cromwell. There is still one in Latin in the same library, in which the words Pauli et apostolorum have been effaced, but in such a manner that the old characters may be easily distinguished.
It is however certain, that this passage exists in several editions of these letters. This dispute about St. Paul's marriage is, after all, a very frivolous one. What matters it whether he was married or not, if the other apostles were married ? His first Epistle to the Corinthians is quite sufficient to prove that he might be married, as well as the rest ;-1
“Have we not power to eat and to drink? Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas? Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working? Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges ?''$
* 3d Baronius, anno 57.
& Who The Romans, who had no country; the Greeks; the Tartars, who destroyed so many empires; the Arabs; every conquering people.