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Achilles cut up. Having neither knives nor forks, they washed their hands before and after meals, a servant always attending with water and napkins. Their tables were wiped with sponges after eating. King's daughters used to wash their own clothes. They carried them out to the wells, and trampled the clothes with their feet in holes or cisterns full of water, and when they were quite clean, they spread them on the ground. "Consanguinity was no obstacle to a marriage, except the relation of parent and child. Children were disposed of by their parents, and it was disreputable, if not unlawful, to marry without their consent. The father gave a portion to his daughter; and the bridegroom, considerable presents to his spouse; and also, it would appear, to her father, as we make settlements. The same custom prevailed among the Hebrews in the time of Jacob. Polygamy, perhaps, made women scarce, but it did not prevail among the Greeks."
"As soon as a person died, his eyes and mouth were affectionately closed by his nearest relations; and the want of this ceremony was deeply lamented by the friends of those who died in war, or abroad.***The body was then washed and anointed. It was afterwards rolled in a cloth, and covered with a sepulchral robe. The corpse was then laid out with the feet to the porch. The mourning then began accompanied by singers, who sung the funeral dirge, while the women beat their bosoms, tore their hair, and threw it on the This sometimes lasted many days. corpse. The principal mourners expressed their grief by rolling in the dust. Achilles threw hot ashes on his head, like the mourners among the Jews. *** The bodies were all burned in Homer's day, and the bones collected in a vase, which was buried in the earth." Funeral feasts followed. This custom prevails in Wales, where we, some time ago, attended to the grave, the body of a lady cut off in the prime of life, and after the ceremony of burial, returned to the parent's house, accompanied by the large funeral procession. A bountiful feast was prepared, at which the mother presided, and the brothers assisted. And, certainly, the festivities of the day little harmonized with the solemn occasion.
Section Sixth. The ornamental and mechanical Arts. Music was in the highest repute, of which the lyre was the favourite instrument. Statuary existed, but we know not in what state. Painting seems to have been unknown.
In his concluding remarks, our author says, that "Theology is the most defective part of their system." We think that his book is defective in this respect. There should, in our opinion, be a more particular account of the religion of the Greeks. We think our author cannot prove, that sentiments of genuine piety and virtue may be ascribed to the higher orders of the people, and that their practice was better than their theory. The conduct of the heroes on the plains of Troy, appears to us any thing but religious and moral.
The assertion, "that as to morals we have no reason to plume ourselves on superiority," is, also, we think, unfounded and incautious. They were, in our opinion, semibarbarians. Dr. Bruce indeed admits, that "the principal objects of war were plunder by land, and piracy by sea.
Whilst the Greeks had no knowledge of the One True God, and had no code of morality, the Jews of that age worshipped Jehovah as the Lord of Universal Nature, despised the gods of the Heathens, and were in possession of a pure code of morality. Whilst they were not superior to the Greeks in refinement, in the arts and sciences, they were incomparably before all other nations in religious and moral wisdom. Whence had this gross and stiff-necked people, all their knowledge? whence did they obtain their superiority? From God, reply all Jews and Christians. This answer is satisfactory. Unbelievers can give no consistent reply. All their explanations are irrational.
A Summary View of the State of the Argument, on the Historical Evidences of Christianity, between Mr. Beard and his opponents, Mr. Carlile and Mr. Taylor. From "The Historical Evidences of Christianity Unassailable," &c.
AFTER reading an extended treatise on any subject, it is well, I think, to read an abstract; as the subject is hence better understood, and longer remembered. It was under this impression, that the following "Brief View," &c. was drawn up; and in order that others may derive good from it, as well as myself, it is now sent for insertion in your valuable Miscellany.
My object also, is, by this means, to recommend Mr. Beard's admirable and able work; which, from its rare
merit, and the vital importance of the subject, deserves an extensive circulation. It is the only proper and Christian way, in which Deists can be met; and it can hardly fail, I think, to be eminently useful.
True, if Mr. B. could have been influenced by a regard to the character of his opponents, as opponents-their ribaldry, and recklessness of controversial principle-he would have remained silent. But he acted from the more worthy motive, a regard to others, whom their false statements and calumnies might lead astray. And are such to be lost, because those who delude them are disreputable? Truly, those Christians, who could thus argue, and thus act, would ill deserve the name. Christ came to seek and save those that were lost; and we are exhorted, in our endeavours to imitate his example, to "consider him, who endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest we be wearied and faint in our minds." If baseness of character, were to cover the attacks of the infidel, then it would be his policy to be the basest of the base. And thus, a premium would be offered to wickedness, and the interests of Christianity would be sacrificed to a false shame. In fact, it ought never to be the question in these cases, Is a writer respectable? but,-Is he capable of disseminating error? If so, the honest advocate of truth, who "seeks the praise of God, rather than the praise of men," will feel it to be an imperative duty, strenuously to oppose him. Mr. B. has acted on this principle of disinterested zeal, and "singleness of eye towards God;" having had regard to the "misinformed," and having been "desirous of benefiting the deluded." He has done his duty he has done it well. May professing Christians do theirs, and spread his work; and not manifest that mistaken fastidious delicacy, which is frightened at the appearance of a few "wretched names.'
"But for these vile guns, He would himself have been a soldier."
LETTERS I. & II.-Mr. Beard and Mr. Carlile.
Mr. B.—Sir, In "The Republican," dated Friday, October 14, 1825, are some observations, calling in question the real existence of Jesus Christ. You have long been clamorous for opponents. I have thought it
Monthly Repository, New Series, p. 287.
my duty, to expose the errors and falsehoods of which you have been guilty, in the paper above alluded to. I most deeply regret, that I am constrained to charge you with falsehood; but I believe that you are guilty. I must call things by their proper names; the claims of truth are paramount. [L. i. p. 1.]
Mr. C.-Sir, The history of Jesus Christ is a fable, because the two words forming his name, are synonymous. Such a name would never have been adopted by those, who understood the meaning of both words; it is a tautology, which no people ever adopted in the way of title, except a few names among ourselves. [L. i. pp. 1, 2.]
Mr. B.-I deny both your premises and conclusion, though in fact, you have refuted yourself, with your except, &c. It is not true, on your own showing, that "no people,' &c. But the words are not synonymous. The word Jesus, is derived from a Hebrew root, and the word Christ, from a Greek root. The former, signifies to save; the latter, anoint. Besides, such a mode of argumentation, would go to prove, that there never was such a person as Alexander-that is, the great, the powerful man; Cato the Censor-that is, the wise, the grave: or Desiderius Erasmus-the first name Latin, the second Greek, and both synonymous, meaning the beloved. It would blot out of existence, all the William Williams's, the John Johns, and the Thomas Thomson's. Nay, the great globe itself, would vanish at your magic touch, and leave not a wreck behind; because it is called a sphere, and an orb; the first Greek, the secondLatin; and both signifying that which is round! But, to be serious, it is really astonishing, that any man with the least pretensions to rationality, can have recourse to such an argument. [L. i. pp. 1, 2.]
Mr. C.-The words Jesus Christ, are identical.
Mr. B.-This I cannot admit; and you yourself allow, that they are not derived from the same root. they equivalent in their application; for the one cannot hold the place of the other. We can say, Jesus the Christ, but not Christ the Jesus. The word Christ, is descriptive of the Messiah, the word Jesus is not. [L. ii. p. 32.]
Mr. C.-But it is the circumstance, that Jesus Christ was a new name, and a name doubled when given, that disproves the real existence of such a person.
Mr. B.-Now the words, taken separately, were not new when given. You may read of several persons of
the name of Jesus, in the writings of Josephus; and Lardner contends, that the false prophets, who rose up before the destruction of Jerusalem, assumed the name of Christ. Nor was the name Jesus Christ, doubled when first used. We do not find it so doubled during the childhood of Jesus: then, his appellation was Jesus, not Jesus Christ. He did not receive his title of office, until he began to discharge the functions of his office. [L. ii. p. 33.]
Mr. C. The story of Jesus is a fable, because the names of the disciples are all Grecian.
Mr. B. Here you again confute yourself; for you grant that one of the names among them, Levi, was Jewish. Besides, the names of the following disciples,Zaccheus, Barnabas, Lazarus, Cleophas, Judas (not Iscariot), Annanias, Sapphira, Tabitha, and Mary, are not of the Greek, but Hebrew origin. And the names of the following Apostles,-Simon, James (the same as Jacob), John, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, and James (the son of Alpheus), are derived also from the same source. In fact, the argument is nothing, as it was a custom with the Jews to exchange their Hebrew for a Grecian name, when they left their native country; as many did a long time previous to the destruction of Jerusalem. [L.i. p.3, 4.]
Mr. C.-We have another proof: the first preachers of Christianity were all Grecians.
Mr. B.-Well, supposing that they were all Grecians, that does not prove "that the story of Jesus was of Grecian origin." The first preachers of Christianity in England were Italians; had, therefore, the Christian religion its origin in Italy? But to show you how well authorized you are in ascribing to Christianity a "Grecian origin," I subjoin a quotation or two, from your friend Celsus. He says, that "some Jews in the time of Jesus, made a sedition against the body of the people of the Jewish nation, and followed Jesus;" that Jesus was "the first author of this sedition," that he was born "in a Jewish village," and was the "man of Nazareth." I leave Mr. Carlile to battle the matter with his Deistical associate Celsus. [L. i. p. 4, 5.]
Mr. C.-The affixing of the designation, Baptist, to the name of John the Baptist, proves that the Christian religion is of Grecian origin.
Mr. B.-The consequence of this argument will be apparent to all, when it is known, that, as the Greeks had spread themselves and their language through the East,