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apology can be devised for the primitive Christians, for their not having exerted themselves with more activity to get possession of the cross? Neither the Jews, nor Pilate, who granted the dead body of Christ to Joseph of Arimathea, would have refused, I think, to indulge the disciples with the cross on which their Master expired. Suppose that they had refused, why did not at least the disciples of the Apostles, when the Jewish polity was destroyed and the city demolished by fire and sword, speedily return from the adjacent town to which they had fled, in order to search among the ruins for the cross, so essential a part of their religion, the inexhaustible treasury of blessings and miracles, the wealth, the hope, and the bulwark of the Church ;-particularly since the derision of persecutors was no longer to be dreaded, but all was solitude and silence? Certainly they believed, what is really the truth, that the Church could now receive no further advantage from the material cross. In their estimation, the faith, the love, and the service of Him who was crucified, were sufficient; together with the devout study of the Gospels, in which we have ample information respecting the sufferings of our Lord.

XIV. The other Authors give such contradictory accounts, that they rather destroy than support the credit of the story. See, as is customary in fabulous narrations, from what small beginnings this story has gradually increased. Cyril, it is said, in the first instance, affirmed in the simplest terms, that the saving wood of the cross was found in the days of Constantine. Here

"At this juncture all who believed in Christ left Jerusalem, " and removed to Pella and other places beyond the river Jordan, "so that they all marvellously escaped the general shipwreck of "their country." See Bishop Newton on the Prophecies, dissert. xviii. part 2. T.

he stopped. Ambrose embellished this plain story, or received it embellished from others; brought forward HELENA as the principal person concerned in the seeking and finding of the cross; represented our Lord's cross as ascertained from the title which it bore, and made a considerable addition respecting the nails. It appeared proper to others to enliven this dull narration of Ambrose by the glory of a miracle. Rufinus, therefore, a writer somewhat later than Ambrose, produced a sick woman instantaneously cured by the touch of the Lord's cross. But as even this was not equal to the majesty of so important an affair, it occurred to Paulinus, a poet and an orator of no small repute, that the miracle would be more illustrious, if life were restored to the dead, than merely health to the afflicted. Hence the corpse of a dead man was brought into contact with the cross, who immediately revived, and rose to his feet. A difference so material between the account of Rufinus, and that of Paulinus, was calculated to excite perplexity in scrupulous minds. But, behold, Nicephorus, with much ingenuity and a truly Grecian artifice, solves every difficulty by the admission of both miracles. Thus a story was gradually made up, which one most industriously delivered down to another, each always adding fresh improvements, till Pope Gelasius thought proper, by an express prohibition, to restrain this unbridled inclination to embellish.

XV. But no argument is more satisfactory than that which is derived from the silence of Eusebius. Since he was Bishop of Cæsarea, a city situated in the vicinity of Jerusalem, flourished at that very time, and was admitted to great familiarity with Constantine and Helena, he could not have remained ignorant of so nota




ble a matter, had it really taken place. If it had come to his knowledge, if even the gentlest whisper respecting it had reached his ear, he ought not to have passed it over in silence. Nay, he could not have done so, since he has detailed so minutely whatever was done by Constantine and Helena in the holy land, in the places of the nativity, the passion, and the burial of Christ, at no time sparing in his commendations of the Empress. This affair was without doubt particularly deserving of notice, and by no means to be omitted by so accurate a writer as Eusebius. This single argument, taken from the silence of Eusebius on a subject so notorious and so extraordinary, where there was so convenient an opportunity and so urgent a necessity for relating it, is abundantly sufficient to discredit the whole story of the discovery of the cross.


XVI. To this argument Bellarmine found nothing to oppose, but one objection, which has no weight. This affair, he says, is mentioned in the Chronicle, though not in the Histories of Eusebius; and he quotes the following words from that work, on the sixteenth year of Constantine: "Helena, the mother of Constantine, "warned by divine visions, found the blessed wood of "the cross, on which the salvation of the world depended, at Jerusalem." But this is either a direct fraud, or an instance of supine negligence, on the part of Bellarmine; for none of these words is to be found either in the Greek text of the Chronicle of Eusebius, or, according to the testimony of Scaliger and the admission of Spondanus, in any of the Latin Manuscripts. Baronius himself, too, confesses that the Chronicle of Eusebius has been greatly corrupted by transcribers. Besides, the matter in question speaks aloud for itself. The discovery of the cross, if it was discovered, must

be referred not to the sixteenth, but to the twenty-first year of Constantine, which is the three hundred and twenty-sixth year of Christ. This is therefore an interpolation, done by a modern hand. For these reasons we concur with Chamier,* Salmasius, † Daillé, ‡ and others, in esteeming the story of the invention of the cross a mere invention and a fable.11

XVII. But to return from this digression.—Let us now examine the MODE OF CRUCIFIXION, and consider in order, the circumstances which preceded, accompanied, and followed the fixing of the person to the cross. Three things were customary before the fixing to the cross, to wit, Beating, Imposition of the cross on the condemned that he might bear it to the place of crucifixion, and Stripping him of his clothes.

XVIII. The Romans were accustomed first to beat all that were condemned to capital punishment. Hence those ancient forms: "Go, sergeant, bind the hands, beat, muffle up the head, suspend on the ignominious "tree;"§ and, "Sergeant, take away, strip, beat, exe"cute the law, chastise." This castigation was expressly appointed to precede crucifixion. "Others be

ing scourged," says Livy, "were fastened to the "cross." And at the destruction of Jerusalem, the Jews, according to Josephus," were, in the first place, whipped, and tortured with all sorts of stripes, and "then crucified."** Similar examples occur very often




* Panstrat. lib. xxii. cap. 4.

+ Epist. de Cruc. p. 368. et seq.

De Object. cult. relig. lib. v. cap. 1.

§ I lictor, colliga manus, verberato, caput obnubito, arbori infelici suspendito.

|| Summove lictor, despolia, verbera, lege age, animadverte.

Alii verberati, crucibus affixi, lib. xxxiv.

** Lib. v. Halose cap. 32.

11 See NOTE XI.

in history. A great number are collected by Casaubon on the first book of Polybius, where he treats of the authors of the Rhegian crime.12 This beating was sometimes performed with rods, which was considered the milder and less disgraceful form; but more frequently with whips, which was at once more dishonourable and more severe,-particularly when the whips were sharpened with birds' claws and small bones. "Owing to the cruelty of the servants employed to in"flict the punishment, many," according to Ulpianus, "perished under scourges of that sort."* It must likewise be observed, that the scourge was not always administered in the same place or at the same time; for it was sometimes done in the Prætorium, before the sufferer was led away, and sometimes, on the road, whilst he was led forth to the cross. The last appears to have been the more ancient practice.

XIX. The Lord of glory, it is evident, suffered scourging before he was nailed to the cross. But it deserves examination, whether this was done in conformity to the Roman custom, or for a different reason. Matthew seems to intimate the former: "And when "he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be cruci"fied." Mark's expression is of the same import. But it is clear from John, that scourging was employed by Pilate for the purpose of pacifying, if possible, the enraged minds of the Jews, that they might desist from requiring the death of Christ; to which the words of Pilate in Luke have also a reference; "I will there"fore chastise him, and let him go."e We cannot em

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