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examples of the saints mentioned, either expressly, or tacitly, in this chapter, are taken from the sacred scriptures, that is, from those books which were in the days of ' the writer of this epistle esteemed to be sacred by “ chris* tians." Yet still how a man of Estius's excellent, good
sense could have a notion, that the second book of the • Maccabees was a part of sacred scripture, when it was
confessedly written after the spirit of prophecy ceased in • Malachi, and before it was restored in John the Baptist, is • not a little surprising.
• But there is no more need to go to the Apocrypha, than • to Fox's Book of Martyrs, for instances of men," being tortured, not accepting deliverance.” There are confessedly several instances of this ind in the Old Testament. • The apostle, just after, more particularly points at the
persons he means, viz, such as were stoned, sawn asunder, or slain with the sword,” ver. 37. 6 These were tor• tured. These did not accept deliverance." And these • refused to accept of deliverance upon sinful terms, for this • very end, “ that they might obtain a blessed resurrection" • to eternal life. These therefore may be the • meant.'
I am not fond of singularity: yet I hope I can follow truth alone, with a view of increasing her train, and having more company in time, attracted by the same reasons and arguments, by which I have been swayed myself.
We have just seen how Mr. Hallett argues, and that these persons are not referred to in the epistle to the Hebrews; but I do not say that he denied the fact, since he has rot expressly told us.
I once thought that Dr. Prideaux doubted of the truth of this history, because he has not particularly related it; and because he points at the want of a material circumstance, the place of this transaction. But perhaps I was mistaken; however I shall transcribe here what he says: Conn. year before Christ 167, p. 181, . On this occasion happened the * martyrdom of Eleazar, and of the mother and her seven
sons, which we have described to us by the author of the • second book of the Maccabees, and by Josephus ; by both • of which a full account having been given of this matter,
especially the latter, I refer my readers to them. Rufinus, • in bis Latin paraphrase of this book of Josephus, concern• ing the Maccabees, gives us the names of these seven bro
thers, and of their mother. [Maccabees, Aber, Machir, • Judas, Achaz, Aseth, Jacob; and their mother's name • Solomona; but the later Jewish historians call her Anna.]
A Letter to the Author of the Remarks upon the Inquiry, &c. 257
• And be tells us, that as well they as Eleazar were carried
from Judea to Antioch; and that it was there that they • were judged by Antiochus; but without any authority • that we know of for either, except his own invention. The ' reason of the thing, as well as the tenor of the bistory, • wbich is given us of it by both the authors I have men* tioned, make it much more likely, that Jerusalem, and 'not Antioch, was made the scene of this cruelty : and that, especially, since it being designed for an example of terror unto the Jews of Judea, it would have lost its force, if executed any where else than in that country.'
So says that eminent writer; but, I presume, that no modern, however learned and eminent, can determine the place of an event, wbich is entirely omitted by all ancient writers. If Rufinus had no authority for placing this transaction at Antioch, except his own invention; Prideaux can bave no better authority in behalf of Jerusalem. And if these brothers were tortured, and slain in the presence of Antiochus, Rufinus's conjecture would be as plausible as any other. But all conjectures of this sort are vain and groundless. And they should be declined, and never be proposed, or mentioned by wise and sedate men. not now add to what ancient authors bave delivered. In history there is no room for invention.
J am desirous, gentlemen, if you please, by your means, to recommend these thoughts to the consideration of the public.
TO THE AUTHOR OF THE
REMARKS UPON THE INQUIRY INTO THE TRUTH OF THE HISTORY OF THE SEVEN BROTHERS IN
I AM obliged to you for your Remarks, as they will give me an opportunity farther to clear up the point.
You chiefly object to what I have alleged from Mr. Hallett, relating to Heb. xi. 35.
• First published in the LIBRARY for May 1762.
A Letter to the Author of the Remarks upon the Inquiry
• There are no instances in the Old Testament • of any persons, who, on account of their faith in God, were *sawn asunder, or wandered about in sheep-skins, or goat
skins, or were afflicted by other instances of distress or • persecution, mentioned in the three verses above mentioned,' viz. 35, 36, 37. But I somewhat wonder that
Is it not the opinion of all interpreters in general, that by the persons " who wandered about in sheep-skins, and goatskins,” are intended Elijah and Elisha, and other prophets of the Old Testament? And, says Clement of Rome, a companion of St. Paul, in his epistle to the church of Corinth, cb, xvij. Let us be imitators of those who went about in goat-skins and sheep-skins, preaching the coming of Christ; we mean the prophets, Elijah, and Elisha, and Ezekiel, &c. which passage is largely quoted by Clement of Alexandria in the fourth book of his Stromata. And see 1 King's xix. 13, 19; and 2 Kings ii. 8, 13, 14; in the Greek version, where Elijah's mantle is called a melote.
Ånd Estius and Grotius have referred to persons in the Old Testament, who were instances of all the several sorts of distress and persecution, mentioned in ver. 36 and 37, though they also take notice of other like examples in later times,
Dr. Owen's observation upon ver. 36, wbich also may be applied elsewhere, is to this purpose: . It is of no use to fix the particulars here mentioned to certain determinate persons. For seeing the apostle has left that undetermined, so may we do also. Certain it is, that there were in these days believers, who through faith, patiently and victoriously underwent these things.'
You presently after say, Much less are there any in• stances of persons in these calamitous circumstances to • whom deliverance was offered on sinful conditions, in any • of the canonical books of the Old Testament. Nor are
there any persons mentioned in the said scriptures, to have • expressed their hopes of obtaining a better resurrection, • either in these, or any other circumstances.'
Here, Sir, you should have attended to what Mr. Hallett says, as quoted by me in the Inquiry. But there is no more need to go to the Apocrypha, than to Fox's Book of Martyrs, for instances of men, being tortured, not accepting deliverance. There are, confessedly, several instances of • this kind in the Old Testament. The apostle, just after, • particularly points at the persons he means. And these • refused to accept deliverance upon sinful terms, for that
• very end, that they might obtain a blessed resurrection to • eternal life.'
This appears to me very right. The persons just referred to, and many others, who suffered death in the times of the Old Testament, might have avoided it, if they would have practised sinful compliances; but they refused so to do, in hopes of future recompenses.
Mr. Hallet's observation, so far as I am able to judge, is agreeable to the style of the apostle in this epistle, and particularly in this chapter: thus at ver. 24, “ By faith Moses, when he came to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter." Moses did not tell her, nor any one else, that he would no more be called or reckoned her son ; but be showed his refusal of that character by his conduct. As St. Stephen says, Acts vii. 23, " And when he was full forty years old, it came into bis heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel." • Non legitur eam adoptionem Moses verbis respuisse, sed facto satis respuit, quando, relictâ aulâ regiâ, ad fratres suos io afflictione egressus est, nec ad aulæ delicias ultra reversus, ut legitur. Exod. cap. ii. and Acts vii. Estius.
In like manner, ver. 14, “ For they that say such things, declare plainly, that they seek a country.” Ver. 16, “ But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly.” They declared and manifested this by their conduct, and by some of their words. Nevertheless, they never expressly said, that they sought, or desired, a better, and a heavenly country.
You observe, . that the noun touravov, as it stands for an • instrument of torture, occurs not in any part of the canoni• cal Greek scriptures.' You mean, I think, of the Old Tes
I therefore add, Nor is that word in St. Paul. But the word tuultavicouar, used by him Heb. xi. 35, is in 1 Sam. xxi. 13, a part of canonical Greek scripture.
You add : . Neither is any inflection of the word tuuraviçouai, signifying torturing in general, to be found any • where, but in this single passage of the epistle to the • Hebrews.'
On the contrary, Gataker, in his laboured Disquisition concerning this noun and verb, expressly says, that the verb is often used in that larger sense. • Sed illud adjicere non abs usu fuerit, to anotuuTaviseolar, latiori etiam significatu non raro usurpari. Quum enim modus iste tollendi miseros mortales, utpote qui promptus nimis & proclivis esset, frequentius adhiberetur, inde natum est, ut tuumaves
260 A Letter to the Author of the Remarks upon
the Inquiry Seobai kai anotuuTavifeodal dicerentur, qui vi aliquâ e medio tollebantur, sive fuste, sive reste, sive ferro, id fierit.' Misc. cap. 46. p. 912. Vid. et Poli Synops. in loc. p. 1375. M.
I shall allege one place where it is so used. It is in the epistle of the churches of Vienne and Lyons concerning their inartyrs and confessors,
• The governor wrote to the • emperor for directions concerning some who were in pri• son. The emperor directed, that they who still confessed • Christ should be put to death, [tes per a totuuTavovat, ut • confidentes gladio coderentur, Vales.] and that they who
renounced the faith should be set at liberty. When • therefore the governor had again interrogated them, as
many as were found to bc Roman citizens, be ordered to • be beheaded, the rest were cast to the wild beasts.'
• The apostle,' you say, ' or whoever wrote the epistle to • the Hebrews, mentions the matter in very general terms, • and with no other circumstances, than what might very
naturally and probably happen to some martyrs in the persecution under Antiochus.'
But the history, to which you suppose the apostle to refer, is uunatural, and improbable, and very unlikely to happen under the persecution of Antiochus, or any other persecution whatever, as was before shown in the Inquiry. You proceed :
• And as no critic seems to doubt but the • history was extant, when the epistle to the Hebrews was ' written, we may be sure, that wbatever the writer of • that epistle thought, the Hebrews, to whom he wrote, • believed an history so honourable to their countrymen.'
But I do not see how we can be sure of that. This history is omitted in the first book of the Maccabees, where it inight have been properly inserted, and probably would have been inserted, 'if it had been true, and generally credited and respected by the Jewish people.
Josephus was contemporary with the apostle, and the Hebrews to whom he wrote. But he did not write till after St. Paul's martyrdom, and after the death of many of the Hebrews to whom he wrote. He has never taken any notice of these martyrs, though he had twice a fair occasion for it. How then can we be sure, that the history of the martyrs, in the second book of Maccabees, was generally believed and respected by the Hebrews ?
I do not know when the second book of the Maccabees was published; but Mr. Wbiston, who was well acquainted with the writings of Josephus, says, that he never made use