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though not always guided by discrimination and judgment, was greater than his care and skill in disposing of the stores he had accumulated, will be readily granted. When his documents were good he often read and transcribed them with too little attention to accuracy, and without troubling himself to select such portions only of their contents as were worth preserving. He commits numerous errors of names and dates ; sometimes confounds persons and places ;* and occasionally makes false quotations, or gives imperfect and garbled extracts, which are obscure and sometimes absolutely unintelligible without a knowledge of what precedes and follows in the original narration.t But much as we lament the obscurity and confusion introduced into his work by his careless manner of quotation, and his manifest blunders, we willingly acquit him of all corrupt design.
Still the veracity and honest intention of the historian remain unimpeached. He is not a skillful narrator. He has not fused down his materials into a mass of pure ore. He has left much rubbish which a more scrupulous judgment would have swept away. His work belongs to an age not imbued with the spirit of philosophical criticism, and it bears numerous marks of haste and inadvertency. As a production of art, it is full of blemishes. Yet we should be grateful for the many precious remains of antiquity it has saved from destruction, and the numerous traditions it has been the means of arresting in
* For example, he refers to Josephus as asserting that Herod was banished to Vienna in Gaul. Josephus says that he was banished to Lyons. Compare Euseb. Lib. i. c. 11; Jos. Antiq. xviii. 7.
In his account of Herod Agrippa, which he professes to quote from Josephus, he makes Agrippa on looking up, see“ an angel sitting over his head,” if our present copies be correct; whereas Josephus says, “ he saw an owl sitting on a certain rope over his head,” which “he understood to be an angel or messenger of ill tidings.” Compare Euseb. Lib. ii. c. 10; Jos. Antiq. xix. 8.
Again he makes Marcus Aurelius, who commanded the army containing the fulminating legion, at the time the miraculous shower is reported to have happened, brother to the Emperor Antonine; whereas they were one and the same person.
Lib. v. C. 4. + See, as an instance, his notice of the great slaughter of the Jews, which happened during the celebration of the Passover in the reign of Claudius. The slaughter occurred under circumstances favorable to the Jews. Those circumstances Eusebius, who had no love of the Jews, has suppressed. Compare Euseb. Lib. ii. c. 19; Jos. Antiq. XX. c. 5.
their passage to the gulf of oblivion. Eusebius should be read with judgment, that we may separate the wheat from the chaff. We believe that he meant to be faithful, but we cannot say of him, that he “left nothing to be forgiven.' But his errors are those of human infirmity, and afford, in our opinion, no ground for those sweeping conclusions which would annihilate, at a blow, his historical credit. Against such conclusions we must beg leave to enter our humble, but sincere and earnest protest.
One word we must add on the use which is made of Eusebius, by those who would overturn the foundations of our faith. We are to distinguish between his inferences and his facts, between his reasonings and the historical statements on which they are founded. An error in the former does not necessarily imply the falsity of the latter. The fact may be correctly given, though the speculations to which it gives rise in the mind of the writer may be fanciful in the extreme. This distinction has not been attended to, and Eusebius consequently has been quoted as a witness against that faith, which it was the main purpose of his labors to establish.
We allude particularly to the appeal which has been made to some reasonings he has set down in his chapter on the Egyptian Therapeutæ. In one of the foulest productions of infidelity now in circulation among us,* we find the following statement in substance, advanced with great pomp, and, as the writer would have his readers believe (he writes for the unlearned), triumphantly proved. We have the testimony of Eusebius, says he, that the Egyptian Therapeutæ, or Therapeuts, as he calls them, described by Philo, were Christians, and the ancient writings of which, according to the assertion of the same author, they were in possession in his time, that is, soon after the period assigned for the death of Christ, were no other than our present Gospels and Epistles, which consequently existed before the Augustan age, and were the fabrica
* Taylor's “Diegesis.” We are almost ashamed, after the notice already taken of this work, in our Number for January last, again to refer to it. It is a work of unparalleled effrontery, containing from beginning to end a tissue of false statements and false reasoning, too absurd almost to deserve a serious reply. It can certainly impose only on the most shallow understandings. In charity for the author we must set it down for what it appears to be, the effusion of rage and insanity, rather than the offspring of a mind conscious of what it was doing. tions of those Therapeutic monks. This is called the “ demonstration of a certainty, than which history hath nothing more certain,” founded on the “valid” testimony of Eusebius. With the numerous absurdities the statement involves, and which are too gross to impose on any but the most ignorant minds, we have now nothing to do. We are only concerned with the use which the writer, and others of the same stamp, make of what they imposingly call the testimony of Eusebius. The truth is, Eusebius affords, strictly speaking, no testimony at all in the case.
He only indulges a train of reasoning, futile enough, to be sure, starting from some facts stated by Philo.
Philo, in his treatise on the “Contemplative Life," describes the Therapeutæ, a gloomy and ascetic sect, which existed in his time, and were found chiefly in retired situations in the vicinity of the Lake Mareotis, in Egypt. From this treatise Eusebius gives extracts, from which he deduces the inference, that these same Therapeutæ were Christian monks, who, as he supposed, had been converted to the faith of the cross, by the preaching of Mark, the Evangelist, who, according to an ancient tradition, first conveyed the Gospel to Egypt. The inference, as the learned have abundantly shown, is wholly unfounded. The Therapeutæ were not Christians, nor could the writings in their possession have been Christian writings. But what then? We do not set aside the testimony of Eusebius, but only his reasoning, his inference from certain given facts. He does not pretend, in this instance, to be relating a matter of history, he attempts to argue, and he argues badly enough, and proves himself but a sorry logician. But neither does his reputation as a narrator, which is all we are anxious to defend, suffer, nor are the evidences for the genuineness and authenticity of the Christian Scriptures impaired in consequence.
Eusebius reasoned weakly on other occasions, and was, in fact, as we have said, but a poor critic. In regard to the case in question, however, we would observe, he is not quite so absurd, as the statement, which has called forth our present remarks, would seem to imply; for he says that the treatise of Philo, from which he quotes, was written "“ a long time after” his reputed journey to Rome in the time of Claudius. If so, Eusebius might very reasonably suppose that the writings of “ ancient men," (he does not say ancient writings as the writer in question makes him say) by whom he supposed were meant the first Christian Apostles, were known in Egypt in his day ; and the supposition, that the Therapeutæ described by him might have been acquainted with them, certainly involved no anachronism, nor was inconsistent with the views generally entertained of the origin of our present Gospels and Epistles.
* Lib. ii. c. 16, 17.
The new version, the title of which stands at the head of the present article, is executed, we believe, so far as the sense is concerned, with a degree of fidelity to the original, highly creditable to the translator. Whatever may be his theological opinions, he has not suffered them often to interfere with his duty to his author. He has correctly rendered some passages of which the prejudices or ignorance of former translators led them to give a faulty version. Thus Hanmer*
Thus Hanmer* represents Pliny as saying, in his Letter to Trajan, a part of which Eusebius has quoted at second hand, † that the early Christians were accustomed to meet and “celebrate Christ as God," and Shorting has “singing hymns to Christ as unto God," instead of " as to a God,” as Mr. Cruse gives it, and which is all the expression could mean in the mouth of a Roman. I
* Meredith Hanmer, the author of the oldest English version of Eusebius. The Epistle Dedicatory to his first edition bears date the 15th of December, 1584. The translation went through five editions, the last of which was published in 1650. Nearly a century after the first edition of Hanmer (not " more than a century afterwards," as Mr. Cruse states) a new translation appeared, the second edition of which we have before us, published at London in 1709. The translator has suppressed his name, but is generally understood to have been T. Shorting. Parker's abridgment appeared afterwards,
+ Eusebius quotes inmediately from Tertullian. Lib. iii. c. 30, Hapmer; c. 33, Shorting.
| One word, however, of very frequent occurrence in Eusebius, Mr. Cruse, whether inadvertently or by design, we do not undertake to say, has, we believe, uniformly mistranslated - gaporxía, parish, not church, as he has erroneously rendered it, the latter word having now acquired a technical signification entirely foreign from its primitive meaning. In one instance, he has rendered the word in its plural form, strangely enough, places. Eusebius says, at the commencement of his history, (Lib. i. c. 1.) that he shall speak of those who presided over the principal parishes. There is no reason why places should be substituted, as by Mr. Cruse, or Provinces, as by Christophorson and Hanmer, or Sees, as by Shorting, except a desire to get rid of the necessary inference, that the ancient bishops were simply Parochial bishops. VOL. XVIII. N. S. VOL. XIII. NO, III.
The present publication, however, is not a scholarlike performance. In breaking up some of Eusebius's long periods, the translator has occasionally made imperfect sentences. The first sentence, as it stands in the new translation, is fragmentary and ungrammatical. We think too that Mr. Cruse has not done wisely in omitting entirely the notes of former translators and editors, especially those of Valesius (De Valois), many of which are preserved by Shorting, and which we cannot agree with the present translator in pronouncing “mostly verbal criticisms,” referring to “ various readings of the Greek text,” and “such as can have but little interest for the general reader.” A judicious selection from them, to which others might have been added, would have greatly enhanced the value of the present publication. The want of notes, and of an index, which too is omitted, we esteem a capital defect in it; and this is fully sufficient, we think, to counterbalance all the advantages the version may possess over that of Shorting. The latter exhibits a specimen of good old idiomatic English; and the very air of quaintness and antiquity which is spread over it, we confess, does not displease
Taken all in all, we must say, that we should have preferred a republication of Shorting's, with all its faults, which are certainly great, to the present translation. Yet we sincerely thank Mr. Cruse for what he has done. He is entitled to the praise of good intentions, and to the gratitude of the public for having presented, in an accessible form, an old and valued work, which was before to be found only in our public libraries, and a very few private collections.
Art. III. — The Bridgewater Treatises on the Power, Wis
dom, and Goodness of God, as manifested in the Creation. Treatise III. On Astronomy and General Physics. By the Rev. W. Whewell. Philadelphia : Carey, Lea, & Blanchard. 1833. 12mo. pp. 234.
The unceasing agency of the Creator throughout his material works is one of the most prominent doctrines of the Bible. It is early impressed on most readers of the sacred volume in consequence of its sublimely striking representations of the infinite presence, power, and majesty of the Most High.