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of the world himself: a circumstance alone sufficient to draw the attention of the world upon it.
His ATTEMPT produced other circumstances that would obtrude themselves even on the most incurious. The principal Jews were called together from all quarters * : Alypius, a man of the first figure, was put at the head of the undertaking: immense quantities of materials were laid in; vast numbers of workmen were assembled ; and the impotent triumphs of the Jews gave an eclat to every movement which the restless though determined spirit of Julian was hourly pushing forward.
The PLACE contributed no less to its notoriety. It was in the centre of the empire; and in the head quarters of the two religious parties that then divided it.
The Time likewise was critical. The religious world had just suffered a surprising revolution. It had been suddenly brought back from the new opinions to a profession of the old. Yet the disgraced religion, by courage and constancy in suffering, still kept its enemies anxious amidst all their success, and fearful, amidst all their power, for what might be the final issue.
The action too was capitally interesting: The design of the project was to give the last blow to the credit of Christianity. And the honour of the new and old profession was staked on the event.
We have shewn that every body understood Julian's purpose to be no other than to put a public affront upon Revelation. Paganism was big with
* -τέτων γαρ εκείνοι [οι Ιεδαίοι] των λόγων ασπασίως ακέσαντες, άπασι τα προσέλαβμένα τους κατά την οικεμένην ομοφύλους εδήλωσαν. Οι δε σάντοθεν συνέθεον και χρήματα και προθυμίαν εις την οικοδομίαν εισφέρούλες. . Theodoret, Hist. Eccl, 1. iii. c. 20.
expectation. expectation. The Church in general was alarmed; but the more knowing and pious amongst them, to the very last, mocked and defied the impiety of the attempt *.
Such were the various passions and interests which concurred with the time and place, to engage the attention, and excite the impatience of all men for the event.
But now, when full expectation on the one side, and continued alarms on the other, had set the world at gaze, the project suddenly disappeared. It was as it had never been; and the temple once more presented itself in its old ruins; but with a worse face, of horror and desolation. A surprising issue of so much determined power, and immense preparation!
A world, thus attentive and concerned, could not but be desirous of knowing the cause of so sudden a change of measures, if it were a change of measures, that influenced the event. Did the emperor relent Did his agents fail in their obedience? or were the Jews, on better thoughts, become resigned to their visitation? Was the purpose diverted by a foreign invasion, or by domestic troubles ? Did some hostile Barbarian, at that juncture, break in upon
the empire; or some rebellious province suspend and weaken its authority? Or, lastly, did the Christians themselves . defeat the insult, by opposing force to force? One or
• Cyrillus, post Maximum confessorem, Jerosolymis habebatur episcopus. Apertis igitur fundamentis, calces cæmentaque adhibita : nihil omnino deerat, quin die postera, veteribus deturbatis, nova jacerent fundamenta; cum tamen episcopus, diligenti consideratione habita, vel ex his quæ in Danielis prophetia de temporibus legerat, vel quod in evangeliis dominus prædixerat, persisteret nullo genere fieri posse ut ibi a Judæis lapis super lapidem poneretur. Res erat in crpectatione. -Rufini Hist. Eccl. 1. X. C. 37, &c.
other of these causes must be given, to account for the defeat in a common way: and yet the astonished inquirer perceived that none of these had any thing to do in it. The emperor's hatred to our holy faith kept increasing to his death : Alypins's fidelity to his master, and zeal for the old superstition, were without bounds; and the nad insolence of the Jews proved them ready to storm heaven itself to get into their old quarters. The empire, in all other parts, was at peace; and the only enemies it had, in these, were the Persians; who were too much alarmed by Julian's preparations, and too much taken up in putting their own frontiers in a condition of defence, to think of farther provoking hiin by new inroads into the empire.
What then would be the state of men's minds on this posture of affairs ? Those who were at a distance would, in their loss for a natural cause, be attentive to what was told them of a miracle *. And those who were on the place would want no means of convincing them. For nothing was equivocal. The directors, the overseers, and the chief agents in this attempt, were all scattered and dispersed; and, surely, by no panic terror. An earthquake, that let loose a subterraneous fire, joined to a heaven all in flames, tore in sunder the foundations, destroyed the workmen, and burnt up and consumed the materials. Effects, which were all the objects of sense, and, what is more, remained so for a long time after. For many of those who survived their fellow's, bore about them the lasting marks of their punishment: and, another religious revolution coming on, the site of the temple was suffered to retain that face of ravage and com
φήμη επί τον τόπον ήγε τες σόρρω διάγονίας. Socrat. Ηist. Eccl. 1. iii. c. 20.
bustion, which the escape of pent-up fires always leave behind them *.
In this account then all parties must agree. And, by what remains of antiquity, it appears they did so: A consent, not procured in the way whereby false reports of the like kind have sometiines procured it. For this was no trifling event, laid in a remote corner, seen but by a few prejudiced
a few prejudiced relators, and accompanied only with ambiguous circumstances : In which case, partly from contempt of a thing incredible, partly from neglect of a thing uninteresting, but principally from an indolence that shuns the trouble of examining, many a moukish tale hath made its fortune. But here, had the fact been groundless, or the event different, their falsehood must have been known to thousands; and what was so easy to be disproved, the interests of thousands would have exposed. Had the circumstances been ambiguous, they could not have passed uncontroverted : for This was not of the nature of the miracle said to be procured by the prayers of the thundering legion, which only gave testimony to the power of Christ, a matter about which Paganism was very indifferent: This went to the quick, and exposed the impotence and falsehood of their idols, a charge which always put the Gentiles out of temper. But if they were so cold in the cause of superstition as to need a spur to vindicate its honour, This they had likewise in the triumphs and exultations of the Christian ministers; who, in their sermons, their apologies, their histories, addressed both to friends and enemies, relate the event in all its circumstances; call upon the numerous eye-witnesses to attest the truth; appeal to the standing marks of the fact, the traces of a dreadful exterminating fire over all the place, and on many of the persons concerned; and, lastly, defy the advocates of idolatry to gainsay the exactness of their relation.
* Και νύν εάν έλθης εις Ιεροσόλυμα, γυμνά όψει τα θεμέλια και την αιτίαν ζητήσης, έδεμίαν άλλ' ή ταύτην ακέσεις. και τότε μάρμυρες ημείς σάλες" εφ' ημών γαρ, και προ πολλέ ταύτα γέγονε χρόνο– Chrys. adver. Judæos, Orat. v.
Such is the illustrious miracle we have here attempted to defend. We have examined it on the severest rules of rational assent. And we find it established on that full concurrence of happy circumstances which, we might expect, should attend a miracle so singular in its nature, and so important and decisive in its use.
But there is one circumstance almost peculiar to it, and, as it crowns all the rest, will deserve our most serious regard. It is this, that the attempt and the issue are so interwoven with one another, that they must stand or fall together. For whoever allows that Julian began to rebuild the temple, which he could not finish, must confess the obstruction came from above, because no human impediment interfered. And whoever denies the obstruction must deny the attempt, because if there were no obstruction of that kind, there was none at all: and if there were none at all, then there was nothing to be obstructed. That is, Julian never attempted to rebuild the Temple; an inference so furiously sceptical, as would overturn the whole body of civil history.