« PreviousContinue »
If he retains his scowling from other sources to be true of the bigotry, the consistory at the centre Christians. are warned, and trust him no farther. No. 1.- The Essenes, according to He is excluded from the inner ranks, Josephus, were in the habit of pro. and is reconciled to the exclusion (or, phesying. The only prophets known if not, is turned aside from suspicion) in the days of the Apostles, and reby the impression conveyed to him cognised as such by the Christian that these central ranks are merely the writers, Agabus for instance, and governing ranks,-highest in power, others, were Christians of the Chrisbut not otherwise distinguished in tian brotherhood in Judæa. point of doctrine.
- And it is but seldom," says JoThus, though all is true from first sephus, "they miss in their predicto last, from centre to circumference- tions.”—Josephus could not but have though nothing is ever taught but the been acquainted with this prophecy truth-yet, by the simple precaution of Agabus—too practical, too near, too graduation, and of not teaching every urgent, too local, not to have rung where the whole truth-in the very throughout Judæa; before the event, midst of truth the most heavenly, were as a warning ; after it, as a great proattained all the purposes of deceit the vidential miracle. He must therefore most earthly. The case was as though have considered Agabus as one of the colour of blue were a prohibited those people whom he means by the and a dangerous colour. But upon a term Essenes. Now we know him for suggestion that yellow is a most popu- a Christian. Ergo, here is a case of lar colour, and green tolerated, whilst identity made out between a Christian, the two extremes of blue and yellow owned for such by the Apostles, and are both blended and confounded in one of the Essenes. green, this last is selected for the mid- No. II.- The Essenes particularly dle rank; and then breaking it up by applied themselves to the study of meinsensible degradations into the blue dicine. This is very remarkable in tints towards the interior, and the yel.. a sect like the Essenes, who, from low towards the outermost rings, the their rigorous habits of abstinence, case is so managed as to present the must of all men have had the least full popular yellow at the outside, and personal call for medicine: but not the celestial blue at the hidden centre. at all remarkable if the Essenes are
Such was the constitution of the identified with the Christians. For, : Essenes; in which, however, the 1. Out of so small a number as four reader must not overlook one fact, Evangelists, one was a physicianthat, because the danger of Christian- which shows at least the fact that me. ity as a religious profession was con- dicine was cultivated amongst the fined, during the epichristian age, to Christians. But, Judæa, therefore the order of the Es- 2. The reason of this will appear senes was confined to that region; and immediately in the example left by that in the extra-Syrian churches, the Christ, and in the motives to that Christians of Palestine were known example. simply as the Brethren of Jerusalem, As to the example, at least nine in of Sepphoris, &c., without further ten of Christ's miracles were medical designation or disguise. Let us now miracles-miracles applied to derangesee, having stated the particular cir- ments of the human system. cumstances in which this disguise of As to the motives which governed a secret society called Essenes arose, our Saviour in this particular choice, what further arguments can be traced it would be truly ridiculous and for identifying these Essenes with the worthy of a modern utilitarian, to Christians of Palestine.
suppose that Christ would have sufWe have already pursued the Es- fered his time to be occupied, and the senes and the Christians through ten great vision of his contemplations to features of agreement. Now let us be interrupted, by an employment so pursue them through a few others. trifling (trifling surely by comparison And let the logic of the parallel be with his transcendant purposes) as kept steadily in view: above, we show the healing of a few hundreds, mare some characteristic reputed to be true or less, in one small district throu, of the Essenes; below, we show one brief triennium. that this same characteristic is known office was adopted, not chiefly for :
This heali- jpg
own sake, but partly as a symbolic become in Oriental countries, haannunciation of a superior healing, kims; and as with us, that character abundantly significant to Oriental was assumed as a disguise for ulterior minds ; chiefly, however, as the indis- purposes that could not have been
pensable means, in an eastern land, of otherwise obtained *-our purposes KB, advertising his approach far and wide, were liberal, theirs divine. Therefore
and thus convoking the people by we conclude our argument No. II. myriads to his instructions. From by saying, that this medical feature in Barbary to Hindostan — from the the Essenes is not only found in the setting to the rising sun-it is noto. Christians, but is found radicated in rious that no travelling character is the very constitution of that body, as so certainly a safe one as that of ha. a proselytizing order, who could not kim or physician.
As he advances on dispense with some excuse or other his route, the news fly before him ; for assembling the people in crowds. disease is evoked as by the rod of No. III.- The Essenes think that oil Amram's son ; the beds of sick people, is a defilement.--So says Josephus, as
in every rank, are ranged along the one who stood in the outermost rank of aliproad sides; and the beneficent dis. 'the order-admitted to a knowledge I penser of health or of relief moves of some distinctions, but never to the
through the prayers of hope on the secret meaning upon which those
one side, and of gratitude on the distinctions turned. Now with reby other. Well may the character be a spect to this new characteristic, what ni protection ; for not only is every in- is our logical duty ? It is our duty to
valid in the land his friend from the show that the Essenes, supposing * 'first
, but every one who loves or pities them to be the latent Christians, had an invalid. In fact, the character is a special motive for rejecting oil; *too favourable, because it soon be- 'whereas on any other assumption they comes burdensome; so that of late, had no such motive. And next, we in Affghanistan, Bokhara, &c., Eng: will show that this special motive has ‘lishmen have declined its aid--for sustained itself in the traditionary
inevitably it impedes a man's progress; 'usages of a remote posterity. bu and it exposes him to two classes of First of all, then, how came the
applications, one embarrassing from Jews ever to use oil at all for the pur. the extravagance of its expectations, pose of anointing their persons ? It (as that a man should understand was adopted as a Grecian luxury, from doubtful or elaborate symptoms at a
their Grecian fellow-townsmen in cities glance,) the other degrading to an without number, under the Syroen Englishman's feelings, by calling upon Macedonian kings. Not only in Syria
him for aphrodisiacs or other modes proper, but in many other territories of collusion with Oriental sensuality. adjacent to Judæa, there were cities This medical character the Apostles like the two Cæsareas, the maritime and their delegates adopted, using it and the inland, which were divided beboth as the trumpet of summons to tween Greeks and Jews, from which some central rendezvous, and also as equality of rights came feuds and the
very best means of opening the dreadful calamities in the end, but heart to religious influences—the heart previously a strong contagion of Gresoftened already by suffering, turned cian habits. Hence, in part, it arose inwards by solitarý musing; or melted, that the Jews in our Saviour's time perhaps, by relief from anguish, into were far from being that simple people fervent gratitude. This, upon consi- which they had been whilst insulated deration, we believe to have been the in gloomy seclusion, or whilst assosecret key to the Apostolic meaning ciated only with monotonous Oriental in sending abroad the report that they neighbours. Amongst other luxuries "cultivated medicine. They became which they had caught from their what so many of us Englishmen have Grecian neighbours were those of the
* " That could not have been otherwise obtained.”_One thing is entirely overlooked. Neither in Syria, nor any part of Asia Minor, of Achaia, &c., could the Apostles have called a general meeting of the people without instant liability to arrest as public disturbers. But the character of physicians furnished a privileged case, which operated as a summons, instant, certain, safe, uniformly intelligible to others, and without effort of their own,
bath and the palæstra. But, in Jeru- one instant an inaugurating solemnity, salem, as the heart of Judea, * and the a baptismal value, to the act of anointcitadel of Jewish principle, some front ing. Christians bearing in their very of resistance was still opposed to these name (though then, by the supposi. exotic habits. The language was one
a secret name") a record and aid to this resistance; for elsewhere everlasting memorial of that chrism the Greek was gaining ground, whilst by which their Founder was made the here the corrupted Hebrew pre- Anointed of God, thought it little vailed. But a stronger repulsion to consistent with reverential feelings to foreigners was the eternal gloom of use that consecrated rite of anointing the public manners. No games in in the economy of daily life. They Jerusalem - -no theatre - no hippo- abstained from this Grecian practice, drome; for all these you must go therefore, not as the ignorant Jew down to the sea-side, where Cæsarea, imagines, from despising it, but from though built by a Jew, and half-peopled too much revering it. The symbolic by Jews, was the Roman metropolis meaning overpowered and eclipsed its of Palestine, and with every sort of natural meaning; and they abstained Roman luxury. To this stern Je- from the unction of the palæstra just rusalem standard all Jews conformed as any man amongst ourselves, the in the proportion of their patriotism; least liable to superstition, would (if to Græcize or not to Græcize had be- he had any pious feeling at all) recoil come a test of patriotic feeling ; and from the use of sacramental vessels thus far the Essenes had the same in a service of common household general reasons the Christians life. (supposing them two distinct orders After this explanation of our view, of men) for setting their faces against we shall hardly need to go forward the luxurious manners of the age. in proof, that this sanctity of the oil But if the Essenes were Christians, and of the anointing act has sustained then we infer that they had a much itself in traditionary usages, and propastronger and a special motive to all gated its symbolic meaning to a poskinds of abstinence, from the memor- terity far distant from the Essenes. able charge of Christ to his evangeliz. The most solemn of the ceremonies in ing disciples ; for which charge there the coronation of Christian kings is a was a double motive :-Ist, To raise memorial of this usage so reverentially an ideal of abstinence ; 2d, To re- treated by the Essenes. The affecting lease the disciple from all worldly rite by which a new-born stranger cares, and concentrate his thoughts upon earth is introduced within the upon his duty. Now, the Essenes, if fold of the Christian Church, is but the Christians, stood precisely in that prolongation of that ancient chrism. situation of evangelizers.
And so essential, in earlier ages, was Even thus far, therefore, the Es- the presence of the holy Judæan oil senes, as Christians, would have higher used by the first Christians, were it only motives to abstinence than simply as to the amount of one solitary drop, a sect of Jews; yet still against oil, that volumes might be collected on the merely as a mode of luxury, their rea- exertions made for tending the trees sons were no stronger than against which produced it, and if possible for any luxury in any other shape. But multiplying or transplanting them. a Christian of that day had a far more Many eastern travellers in our own special restraint with regard to the day, have given the history of those familiar use of oil—not as a luxury, consecrated trees, and their slow debut as a consecrated symbol, he re. clension to the present moment; and to garded it with awe-oil was to him this hour, in our London bills of morunder a perpetual interdict. The very tality, there is one subdivision headed, name Christos, the anointed, gave in " Chrysom children,"† which echoes
*" As the heart of Judæa.”“It was an old belief amongst the Jews, upon their ideas of cosmography, that Judæa was the central region of the earth, and that Je. rusalem was the omphalos or navel of Judæa-an idea which the Greeks applied to Delphi.
Chrysom children.”—Tell a child of three years old to pronounce the word helm ; nine times out of ten it will say helom from the imperfection of its organs. By this mode
from a distance of almost two thousand never admitted to any conjectural years the very act and ceremony which glimpse of their deliberations, or their was surrounded with so much reve. system of proceeding, or their princirence by the Essenes.
ples. Here is the truth, but traced No. IV.- The Essenes think it a by its shadow. On the other hand, thing of good omen to be dressed in if the Essenes (considered as distinct white robes.-- Yes; here again we from Christians) were concerned, find the external fact reported by Jo- what need should they have of courts sephus, but with his usual ignorance -numerous or not numerous ? Had of its symbolic value, and the secret the Sadducees courts? Had the Pharecord which it involved. He does not risees courts ? Doubtless they had, in pretend to have been more than a no- their general character of Jews, but vice-that is, at most he had been ad- certainly not in their separate characmitted into the lowest or outer- ter as sects. Here again, therefore,
most class, where no hint would be in this very mention of courts, had í given of the Christian mysteries that there been no word dropped of their
would open nearer to the centre. The form, we see an insuperable evidence white robes were, of course, either the to the fact of the Christians being the baptismal robes, the albatæ vestes no- parties concerned. ticed in the foot-note, or some other of No. VI.-The Essenes are divided the typical dresses assumed in different by Philo-Judæus into the Therapeuranks and situations by the primitive tici and the Practici. A division into Christians
four orders has already been noticed, No. V.-- In the judgments they pass, in explaining the general constitution the Essenes are most accurate and just ; of the society. These orders would nor do they pass sentence by the votes of very probably have characteristic a court that is lower than a hundred. names as well as barely distinguishing Here we find Josephus unconsciously numbers. And if so, the name of alluding to the secret arrangements of Therapeuta would exactly correspond the early Christian Church-the ma- to the medical evangelists (the hachinery established for conducting af- kims) noticed under No. II. fairs so vast, by their tendency, in a No. VII.--Moreover the Essenes are condition so critical by its politics. The stricter than any other of the Jews in Apostolical constitutions show that resting from their labours on the seventh many of the forms in general councils, day: for they even get their food ready long after that age, had been tradition- on the day before, that they may not be ally derived from this infancy of the obliged to kindle a fire on that day.Christian Church,—a result which is Now, then, it will be said, these natural in any case, but almost inevit- Essenes, if Christians, ought not to able where the original organizers are have kept the Jewish Sabbath. This invested with that sort of honour and seems a serious objection. But pause, authority attached to inspired apostles. reader.
One consideration is most Here are positive traces of the Chris- important in this whole discussion. tian institutions, as viewed by one The Jews are now ranged in hostility who knew of their existence under to the Christians; because now the very another name, and witnessed some of name of Jew makes open proclamatheir decisions in the result, but was tion that they have rejected Christian
of corruption came the word chrysom, from the baptismal chrism of the early Christians. In England, if a child dies within the first month of its life, it is called a chrysom child ; whence the title in the London bills of mortality. In such a case, it was the beautiful custom amongst our ancestors, perhaps still is so amongst those who have the good feeling to appreciate these time-honoured usages, to bury the innocent creature in its baptismal robe; to which the northern Spaniards add, as another symbol of purity, on the lid of the little coffin,
“A happy garland of the pure white rose." How profoundly this mysterious chrism influenced the imaginations of our forefathers, is shown by the multiplied ricochets through which it impressed itself upon the vocabulary of the case ; the oil, the act of anointing, the little infant anointed, the white robe in which it was dressed, -all and each severally bore the name of the chrysom.
ity ; but, in the earliest stage of perly entertained by a journal whose Christianity, the Jew's relation to that primary functions are literary. But new creed was in suspense and unde- to pursue it further might entangle us termined: he might be, 1. in a state more intricately in speculations of of hostility; 2. in a state of certain Christian doctrine than could be suittransition ; 3. in a state of delibera- able to any journal not essentially tion. So far, therefore, from shock- theological. We pause therefore; ing his prejudices by violent altera, though not for want of abundant mattions of form, and of outward symbol, ter to continue the discussion. One not essential to the truth symbolized, point only we shall glance at in the error of the early Christians would taking leave :-the Church of Rome lie the other way ; as in fact we know has long ago adopted the very doctrine that it did in Judæa, that is, in the for which we have been contending: land of the Essenes, where they re- she has insisted, as if it were an imtained too much rather than too little portant article of orthodox faith, upon of Mosaic rites. Judaism is the ra- the identity of the Essenes and the dix of Christianity-Christianity the primitive Christians. But does not integration of Judaism. And so long this fact subtract from the originality as this integration was only not ac- of our present essay ? Not at all. If .cepted, it was reasonable to presume it did, we are careless. But the truth it the subject of examination ; and to is-it does not. And the reason is regard the Jew as a Christian in tran- this—as held by the Church of Rome situ, and by tendency as a Christian the doctrine is simply what the Ger. elect. For one generation the Jews mans call a machtspruch, i. e. a hard must have been regarded as novices dogmatical assertion, without one shain a lower class advancing gradually dow of proof or presumptive arguto the higher vows,—not as enemies ment_that so it must have been, noat all, but as imperfect aspirants. Du thing beyond the allegation of an old ring this pacific interim, (which is not immemorial tradition—that so in fact to be thought hostile, because indivi. it was. Papal Rome adopts our theory dual Jews were hostile,) the Chris- as a fact, as a blind result; but not tians most entangled with Jews, viz. as a result resting upon any one of our the Christians of Palestine, would not principles. Having, as she thinks, seek to widen the interval which di. downright testimony and positive devided them. On the contrary, they positions upon oath, she is too proud would too much concede to the pre- to seek the aid of circumstantial evi. judices of their Jewish brethren; they dence, of collateral probability, or of would adopt too many of the Jewish secret coincidence. rites : as at first even circumcision- If so, and the case being that the à fortiori, the Jewish Sabbath. Thus Papal belief on this point (though coit would be during the period of sus inciding with our own) offers it no pence, Hostility would first com- collateral support, wherefore do we mence when the two orders of men mention it?" For the following reacould no longer be viewed as the in- son-important at any rate--and speviting and invited-as teaching and cially important as a reason in sum. learning; but as affirming and deny- ming up; as a reason to take leave ing-as worshippers and blasphemers. with—as a linch-pin or iron bolt to Then began the perfect schism of the lock up all our loose arguments into two orders. Then began amongst the one central cohesion. Dogmatism,
, Syrian Christians the observance of because it is haughty, because it is ina Christian Sunday; then began the solent, will not therefore of necessity general disuse of circumcision. be false. Nay, in this particular in
Here we are called upon to close stance, the dogmatism of Rome rests this investigation; and for the follow- upon a sense of transcendant truthing reason: Most subjects offer them- of truth compulsory to the Christian selves under two aspects at the least, conscience. And what truth is that? often under more. This question, It is one which will reply triumphantaccordingly, upon the true relations ly to the main objection likely to be of the Essenes, may be contemplated urged by the reader. He will be apt either as a religious question, or as a to say-This speculation is curious ; question of Christian antiquities. Un but of what use is it? Of what conder this latter aspect, it is not impro- sequence to us at this day, whether the