THE ARGUMENTS OF THE EMPEROR JULIAN AGAINST THE CHRISTIANS
TRANSLATED FROM THE GREEK FRAGMENTS PRESERVED BY CYRIL, BISHOP OF ALEXANDRIA
TO WHICH ARE ADDED,
FROM THE OTHER WORKS OF JULIAN
RELATIVE TO THE CHRISTIANS.
PRINTED FOR THE TRANSLATOR
[i.e. Thomas Taylor].
I rejoice in the opportunity which is now afforded me of printing this translation of the extracts from a lost work1 of Julian against the Christians; conceiving that it may be the means of benefiting a certain few, who though they have been educated in stupid opinions, have abandoned them, and who if properly instructed in, would immediately embrace the genuine religion of mankind.
As a man is naturally a religious animal, and as the true knowledge of divinity is, as Iamblichus beautifully observes, virtue, wisdom, and consummate felicity, nothing can be so important as the acquisition of this knowledge, and, as of the means of obtaining it, a purification from theological error. Julian, who was certainly on of the most excellent emperors recorded in the annals of history, wrote, I am persuaded, the treatise from which these fragments are taken with no other view than to lead the reader of it to this most sublime knowledge, and the translator of these extracts can most solemnly affirm this was his only aim in translating and printing them.
A few copies only of this translation were printed, because a very few only in the present state of things are likely to be benefited by it; and these few copies, for obvious reasons, are not published.
As an apology for certain strong expressions both in the fragments and accompanying notes, suffice it to say, that false opinions in things of the greatest consequence cannot be too forcibly reprobated; and that those who are offended by these expressions are such as will never be purified from the errors they are intended to expose.
I, also, deem it necessary to observe, that Cyril, from whom these extracts, are derived, is with the strongest reason suspected of being the cause of the murder of Hypatia, a lady who was one of the brightest ornaments of the Alexandrian school; who delivered instructions from that chair which Ammonius, Hierocles, and many other great philosophers had filled before, and who was not only a prodigy of learning, but also a paragon of beauty.
I shall only add, for the sake of the few who are capable of being benefited by the perusal of these extracts, that the religion of the of the heathens, as promulgated by Orpheus, Pythagoras, Plato, and their followers, is founded on the following principles; That the cause of all things is perfectly simple, unindigent, and beneficent, and that in consequence of this he cannot be more fitly denominated than by the epithets of The One and The Good; the former of these appellations denoting that all things proceed from him, and the latter that all things tend to him, as to the ultimate object of desire. That as it is necessary (the principle of things being The One) that the progression of beings should be continued, and that no vacuum should intervene either in incorporeal or corporeal natures; it is, also, necessary, that every thing which has a natural progression should proceed from similitude. That in consequence of this, it is necessary that every producing principle should generate a number of the same order with itself, viz. nature, a natural number; soul, one that is psychical (i.e., belonging to soul); and intellect, an intellectual number. For, if whatever possesses a power of generating generates similars prior to dissimilars, every cause must deliver its own form and characteristic property to its progeny; and before it generates that which gives subsistence to progressions far distant and separate from a nature, it must constitute things proximate to itself according to essence, and conjoined with it through similitude. It is, therefore, necessity from the preceding axioms, since there is one unity the principle of the universe, that this universe should produce from itself, prior to every thing else, a multitude of natures characterised by unity, and a number the most of all things allied to its cause; and these natures are no other than the gods.
No objection of any weight, no arguments but such as are sophistical, can be urged against this most sublime theory, which is so congenial to the unperverted conceptions of the human mind, and that it can only be treated with ridicule and contempt in degraded, barren, and barbarous ages. Indolence and priestcraft, however, have hitherto conspired to defame those inestimable works,2 in which this and many other sublime and important theories can alone be found; and the theology of the Greeks has been attacked with all the insane fury of ecclesiastical zeal, and all the imbecile flashes of mistaken wit, by men whose conceptions on the subject, like those of a man between sleeping and waking, have been turbid and wild, phantastic and confused, preposterous and vain.
THE EMPEROR JULIAN
AGAINST THE CHRISTIANS.
It appears to me to be proper that I should explain to all men the causes
through which I am persuaded that the fraudulent machination of the Galileans (σκευωρια)
is the fiction of men, composed with an evil intention and that it possesses
indeed nothing divine, but employing that part of the soul which delights in the
fabulous, which is puerile and stupid, adduces monstrous narrations in order to
a belief of the truth.
But intending to speak of all their dogmas, as they call them, I am desirous in the first place to observe, that it is requisite the reader, if he wishes to contradict what I assert, should, as in a court of justice, advance nothing foreign to the subject, nor, as it is said, recriminate till the first [p.2] charges have been defended. For thus the proper subject of dispute will be in a better manner and more clearly determined, when he wishes to correct any thing that is advanced by us, and does not recriminate in answering what we consider to be reprehensible.
It is, however, worth while briefly to relate whence and how the conception of divinity first came to us. Afterwards, to compare what is said by the Greeks and the Hebrews of the divinity. And in the next place, to interrogate those who are neither Greeks nor Jews, but of the sect of the Galileans, why they have preferred their own doctrine to ours; and still farther, why not adhering to the tenets of the Jews, but departing from them, they have taken a peculiar road, assenting to nothing beautiful, nothing worthy, neither among us the Greeks, nor among the Hebrews derived from Moses, but collecting from both nations what is pernicious; impiety, indeed, from the Judaic craft; but a depraved and dissolute life from our indolence and confusion,3 they think proper to denominate this the most excellent worship of divinity.
The Greeks, therefore, have devised incredible and prodigious fables of the
gods. For they say that Saturn devoured his children, and again sent them into
the light. They have also feigned illegal marriages. For Jupiter having
connexion with his mother, and having begotten children from her, married his
own daughter, and in short, after having connexion with her, delivered her up to
another. Afterwards follow the lacerations of Bacchus, and the conglutination of
his members. And such are the fables of the Greeks.
Here, however, if you are willing, we will compare the words of Plato with those of Moses. Consider therefore what Plato says of the Demiurgus, and what words he ascribes to him in the fabrication of the world, that we may compare the cosmogony of Plato and Moses with each other; for thus it will appear which is the more excellent, and which is more worthy of divinity; whether Plato who worshipped images, or he of whom the Scripture says, that God spoke to him face to face. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the [p.4] face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said. Let there be light, and there was light. And God saw the light that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light day, and the darkness he called night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. And God said, let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament heaven. And God said, let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God said, let the earth bring forth grass, and the fruit tree yielding fruit. And God said, let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven, to divide the day from the night. And God set them in the firmament of heaven, to give light upon the earth; and to rule over the day, and over the night." In this account of the creation, Moses neither says that the abyss was made by [p.5] God, nor the darkness, nor the water; though it was certainly requisite that he who said of the light that it was produced by the command of God, ought also to have said this of the night, of the abyss, and of the water. Moses, however, says nothing about the fabrication of them, though they are frequently mentioned by him. Besides this, neither does he make mention of the generation or creation of angels, nor of the manner in which they were produced, but alone speaks of the bodies which are contained in the heaven and the earth. So that God, according to Moses, is the fabricator of nothing incorporeal, but is the adorner of the subject matter of the universe. And when he says that the earth was without form and void, these are nothing more than the words of one who makes matter to be a moist and dry essence, and who introduces God as the adorner of it.
Let us, however, compare one with the other, and consider what, and after what manner Divinity fabricates according to Moses, and after what manner he fabricates according to Plato. "And God said, let us make man in our image, after our [p.6] likeness: and let him have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth on the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them, saying, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." Hear now the speech which Plato [in the Timaeus] ascribes to the Demiurgus of the universe: "Gods of gods, of whom I am the Demiurgus and father, whatever is generated by me is indissoluble, such being my will in its fabrication. Indeed, every thing which is bound is dissoluble; but to be willing to dissolve that which is beautifully harmonized and well composed is the property of an evil nature. Hence, so far as you are generated, you are not immortal, nor in every respect indissoluble, yet you shall never be dissolved, nor become subject to the fatality of death; my will being a much greater and more excellent bond than the vital connectives [p.7] with which you are bound at the beginning of your generation. Learn therefore what I now say to you as indicating my desire. Three genera of mortals yet remain to be produced. Without the generation of these, therefore, the universe will be imperfect; for it will not contain every kind of animal in its spacious extent. But it ought to contain them, that it may be sufficiently perfect. Yet if these are generated, and participate of life through me, they will become equal to the gods. That mortal natures therefore may subsist, and that the universe may be complete, Convert yourselves according to your nature, to the fabrication of animals, imitating the power which I employed in your generation. And whatever among these is of such a nature as to deserve the same appellation with immortals, which obtains sovereignty in them, and willingly pursues justice and reverences you,—of this I myself will deliver the seed and beginning: it is your business to accomplish the rest; to weave together the mortal and immortal nature; by this means fabricating and generating animals, causing them to increase by supplying them with aliment, and receiving them back again when dissolved by corruption."
Whether or not this is a dream, learn by understanding it. Plato denominates
gods those apparent natures, the sun and moon, the stars, and the heaven. These,
however, are the images of unapparent gods; the sun which is visible to the
eyes, of the intelligible and unapparent sun; and again, the moon which is
apparent to our eyes, and each of the stars are images of intelligibles. Plato,
therefore, knew those unapparent gods which are inherent in, co-existent with,
and generated and proceeding from the Demiurgus himself. Hence the Demiurgus in
Plato very properly says, addressing himself to the unapparent divinities,
Gods of gods, viz. of the apparent gods. But he who fabricated the heaven, the
earth, and the sea, and who generated the stars which are the archetypes of these
intelligibles, is the common Demiurgus of both these. Consider, therefore, that which follows this is well added. Three genera of mortals, says he,
yet remain to be produced, viz. men, animals, and plants; for each of these is
distinguished by a peculiar nature. If, therefore, says he, each of these is
mc, it will necessarily in every respect become im- [p.9]
mortal. For nothing else is the cause of immortality to the gods, and the
apparent world, than their being generated by the Demiurgus. What then does he
say? That whatever is immortal in these, is necessarily imparted by the
Demiurgus: but this is the rational soul. Of this, therefore, I myself will
deliver to you, being willing, the seed and beginning: it is your business to accomplish the rest, and to weave together the mortal and immortal nature. It
is evident, therefore, that the demiurgic gods receiving from their father a
demiurgic power, produced mortal animals on the earth. For if the heaven ought
to differ in no respect from man, nor, by Jupiter, from wild beasts, or
serpents, and fishes swimming in the sea; it is necessary that there should be
one and the same Demiurgus of all things. But if there is an abundant medium
between immortal and mortal natures, which cannot be greater by any addition
nor diminished by any ablation with reference to mortal and perishable natures,
it is fit that the causes of the one should be different from the causes of the
What occasion, however, have I here to call [p.10] the Greeks and Hebrews as my witnesses? There is no one who, when praying, does not extend his hands to the heaven; or who, when he swears by god or the gods, possessing in short a conception of a divine nature, does not tend thither. Nor is he improperly affected in this manner. For men perceiving that nothing pertaining to the heavens is either diminished, or increased, or changed, or sustains any passion of disordered natures; but that its motion is harmonic, its order elegant, that the laws of the moon, and the risings and settings of the sun, are definite; and in definite times, they have very reasonably believed it to be a god, and the throne of god. For a thing of this kind, not being multiplied by any addition, nor diminished by any ablation, and being remote from the mutation according to a change in quality and essence, is free from all corruption and generation.4 But being naturally immortal and indestructible, it is pure from every kind of stain. Since, also, it is perpetual and immutable, as we see, it is either moved in a circle about the mighty Demiurgus, by a more excellent and divine soul, inhabiting it, or receiving its [p.11] motion from divinity, as our bodies from the soul which is in us, it evolves an infinite circle, by an unceasing and eternal motion.5
Compare with these things the Judaical doctrine, the paradise planted by God, the Adam fashioned by him, and afterwards the woman created for Adam. For God said, it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make an help meet for him. She was not, however, a help meet to him in any thing, but was deceived, and became the cause both to him and herself of being expelled from the delights of Paradise. For these things are perfectly fabulous; since how is it reasonable to suppose that God was ignorant that the woman who was made as an help meet for Adam, would rather be pernicious than beneficial to him?
As to the serpent that discoursed with Eve, what kind of language shall we say it used! and in what do things of this kind differ from the fables devised by the Greeks?
Is it not also excessively absurd, that God should forbid men fashioned by himself the knowledge of good and evil? For what can be more foolish than one who is not able to know what is [p.12] good and what is depraved? For it is evident that such a one will not avoid some things, I mean evils: and that he will not pursue others, viz. such as are good. But, to crown all, God forbade man to taste of wisdom: than which nothing is more honourable to man. For the knowledge of good and evil is the proper work of wisdom, as is evident even to the stupid.
Hence the serpent was rather the benefactor, and not the destroyer of the human race. And not this only, but in what Moses afterwards adds, he makes God to be envious. For after God saw that man participated of wisdom, lest, said he, he should taste of the tree of life, he expelled him from Paradise, clearly saying, "Behold Adam is become as one of us to know good and evil: and now lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden." Each of these narrations, therefore, unless it is a fable containing an arcane theory, which I should think is the case,6 is full of much blasphemy towards divinity. For to be ignorant that the woman, who was to be the assistant of [p.13] man, would be the cause of his fall, and to forbid him the knowledge of good and evil, which alone appears to be the connective bond of human life; and besides this to be envious, lest by partaking of life, from being mortal he should become immortal, is the province of a being very envious and malevolent.
But the opinion which they have rightly formed of the God whom they celebrate, that he is the proximate Demiurgus of this world, our fathers have delivered to us from the beginning. For of the natures superior to this God, Moses in short says nothing, as neither has he ventured to say anything of the nature of angels; but that they minister to God, he frequently says, and in many places. But whether they are generated, or are unbegotten, or whether they are produced by one cause, and ordered to be ministrant to another, or were produced after some other manner, is nowhere determined. He narrates, however, about the heaven and the earth, and its contents, and after what manner they were adorned. And some things, he says, God ordered to be made, such as the day, and the light, and the firmament; [p.14] but that he made others, as the heaven and the earth, the sun and the moon. And that some things which had an existence, indeed, but were concealed, he separated, as water and the dry land. Besides this, neither has he ventured to say any thing about the generation, or about the creation of the spirit; but only says, that the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. But he does not at all indicate whether it was unbegotten or generated.
Since, therefore, about the proximate Demiurgus of this world does Moses appear to have discussed every thing, let us compare with each other the opinion of the Hebrews and of our fathers on this subject. Moses says, that the Demiurgus of the world selected the nation of the Hebrews, paid attention to, and was careful of them alone; but of other nations, he makes no mention whatever, how, or by what gods they are governed, unless some one should grant that he distributed to them the sun and moon. Of these things, however, we shall shortly speak. This much, indeed, I will show at present, that Moses himself, and the prophets after him, Jesus [p.15] of Nazareth also, and Paul, who surpassed all the magicians and impostors that ever lived, say that God is the God of Israel and Judea alone, and that these are his chosen people. Hear, then, their words, and in the first place those of Moses: "And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my first born. And I say unto thee, let my son go, that he may serve me; but thou art unwilling to dismiss him." And shortly after: "And they said to him, the God of the Hebrews has called us: let us go, we pray thee, three days journey into the desert, and sacrifice unto the Lord our God." And again, shortly after, in a similar manner: "The Lord God of the Hebrews hath sent me unto thee, saying. Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness."
But that God paid attention to the Jews alone from the beginning, and that their destiny was illustrious, not only Moses and Jesus, but Paul also appears to have said; though indeed this is not wonderful in Paul. For on every occasion, like the polypus on a rock, he changes the dogmas about divinity; at one time contending that the [p.16] Jews alone are the inheritance of God: and at another time, persuading the Greeks to join themselves to him, he says, "Is God the God of the Jews only, or also of the heathens? Certainly, he is also the God of the heathens." It is just, therefore, to ask Paul, if God is not the God of the Jews only, but also of the heathens, on what account he sent among the Jews an abundant prophetic spirit, Moses, unction, and the prophets, the law, miracles, and the prodigies of fables; for you hear them exclaiming, "Man eat the bread of angels." And, lastly, why he sent Jesus to them, not a prophet, not unction, not a teacher, not a proclaimer of the philanthropy of God, which would at length be extended to us; but he despised us for myriads, (or if you had rather,) for thousands of years, leaving all of us in such ignorance as you declare, to worship idols,—we who occupy the earth from the rising to the setting sun, and from the north to the south, excepting a small race of men, who not more than two thousand years ago inhabited a comer of Palestine. For if he is the God of all of us, and in a similar manner the Demiurgus of all things, why did he [p.17] despise us? Why, also, is he a jealous God, punishing the sins of the fathers? But all these are partial conceptions, and unworthy of divinity. Again, therefore, attend to the assertions of our fathers on this subject, For they say, that the Demiurgus is the common father and king of all things, and that to other nations he has distributed gods, who are the prefects of nations, and the curators of cities, each of which governs his own allotment in an appropriate manner. For since in the father all things are perfect, and all things are one, but in the natures distributed from him, a different power has dominion in a different divinity, hence Mars presides over the warlike concerns of nations; Minerva over the same concerns in conjunction with wisdom; but Hermes over such as rather pertain to sagacity than bold undertakings; and thus the nations which are governed by the several divinities follow the essence of their presiding gods. If, therefore, experience does not bear witness to our assertions, let our belief be a fiction, and an unreasonable persuasion: but let yours be praised. But if entirely on the contrary, experience from [p.18] eternity bears witness to what we say, but nothing anywhere is seen to accord with your assertions, why do you retain this pertinacity? For tell me what is the cause that the Gauls and the Germans are audacious; the Greeks and the Romans, for the most part polished and philanthropic, and at the same time constant and war-like; the Egyptians more sagacious, and excelling in the arts; and the Syrians unwarlike and luxurious, and at the same time of an intelligent, warm, light, and docile disposition? For if no cause of this can be assigned, but they may be rather said to happen from chance, how can it any longer be supposed that the world is governed by Providence? But if any one admits that there are causes of these things, let him by the Demiurgus himself tell me and teach me what they are. For it is very evident, indeed, that human nature has established laws adapted to itself; and that those are political and philanthropic, which very much contribute to nourish the love of mankind; but those savage and inhuman, in which a contrary nature is inherent, and contrary manners. For legislators, through the mode of [p.19] life which they have instituted, have added but little to the nature and pursuits of mankind; and hence the Scythians received Anacharsis as one agitated with Bacchic fury. Nor in the western nations will you easily find any, except a very few, who are led to philosophize, or geometrize, or who are adapted to any thing of this kind, though the Roman empire is so widely extended. But these nations alone enjoy the gift of speech, and those among them who are very ingenious, are skilled in rhetoric, but they are perfectly ignorant of the mathematical disciplines: so strong does nature appear to be. Whence then arises the difference of manners in nations and legal institutes?
Moses, indeed, assigns a very fabulous cause of the dissimilitude in languages. For he says that the sons of men, assembling together, were willing to build a city, and in it a great tower; but that God said, it was requisite he should descend, and confound their speech. And that no one may think these things are devised by me, we may read what follows in the writings of Moses: "And they said, come, let us build us a [p.20] city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men had builded. And the Lord said, Behold the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do; and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Come, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city and the tower." Do you think fit then to believe in these things, but disbelieve what is related by Homer of the Aloidæ,7 who formed the design of placing three mountains on each other, that heaven might be accessible?
Proud of their strength, and more than mortal size.
The gods they challenge, and affect the skies;
Heav'd on Olympus tott'ring Ossa stood,
On Ossa Pelion nods with all his wood.
Odyss. II. v. 315, trans. Pope.
For I say, that the one is in like manner fabulous with the other. But by the
gods, why do you who admit the former, reject the fable of Homer? For I think
it is proper to be silent among ignorant men about this circumstance, that
though all men in every part of the habitable globe should have one voice and
one language, yet they would not be able to build a city which would reach to
the heavens, though they should convert the whole earth into bricks. For an
infinite number of bricks of a magnitude equal to that of the earth, would be
requisite to reach as far as the orb of the moon. For let it be supposed that
all men assembled together, having one voice and one language, and that the
whole earth was converted into bricks and stones, when would they be able to
reach as far as the heavens, though they were drawn out into an extension finer
than a thread?
Do you, therefore, think that this narration which is so obviously a fable is
true? And can you entertain such an opinion of God, as that he was afraid of
all mankind having the same language, and that on this account he confounded
their speech? And farther still, do you dare to assert [p.22] this, and pretend that you have at the same time a knowledge of God?
But I return to the same subject (For Moses has informed us how God confounded the speech of men; and he assigns as a cause, that God was afraid lest they should attempt anything against him, and render heaven accessible to themselves, by having the same language, and being equally wise. But how does he accomplish the affair? By descending from heaven, not being able it seems to effect his purpose without descending on the earth.) Neither Moses, nor any other, has unfolded the cause of the difference in the manners and legal institutions of men; though, in short, there is a greater difference in the laws and manners of men, than there is in their speech. For what Greek will say that it is necessary to have connexion with a sister, or a daughter, or a mother. This, however^is judged to be good by the Persians. But why is it requisite I should narrate every particular; the love of liberty, and intractable disposition of the Germans; the tractable and mild nature of the Syrians, Persians, and Parthians; and in short of all the barbarians towards the east and the [p.23] west, and who are delighted to live under more despotic governments. If these things, therefore, take place, without a greater and more divine providence, why should we laboriously investigate things of a greater and more honourable nature, and in vain worship him who providentially attends to nothing? For is it any longer fit that he should require homage from us, who neither pays attention to our life, nor our manners, nor customs, nor equitable legislation, nor political establishment. By no means. See to what a great absurdity such an opinion leads. For of the goods which are surveyed about human life, those of the soul take the lead and those of the body follow. If, therefore, divinity despises the goods pertaining to the souls of us heathens, and neither provides for our natural composition, nor sends us teachers or legislators as he did to the Hebrews, according to Moses and the prophets after him, what is there for which we can be properly grateful to him?
See, however, whether divinity has not given to us, those, of whom you are ignorant, gods and good prefects, not at all inferior to him who was worshipped from the beginning by the Hebrews, [p.24] as the presiding deity of Judea, of which alone he was allotted the guardian care, as Moses says, and those who succeeded him, down to your time? But if the god worshipped by the Hebrews is the proximate Demiurgus of the world, as we form better conceptions of him than they do, he has also bestowed upon us greater goods than upon them, both pertaining to the soul and externals, of which we shall shortly speak. He has also sent us legislators, in no respect inferior to Moses, but many far superior to him.
What then shall we say, but that unless a certain ethnarchic god presides over every nation, and that under this god there is an angel, a daemon, and a peculiar genus of souls, subservient and ministrant to more excellent natures, from whence arises the difference in laws and manners,—unless this is admitted, let it be shown by any other how this difference is produced. For it is not sufficient to say, "God said, and it was done;" but it is requisite that the natures of things which are produced should accord with the mandates of divinity. But I will explain more clearly what I mean. God, for instance, com- [p.25] manded that fire should tend upward, and earth downward; is it not, therefore, requisite, in order that the mandate of God may be accomplished, that the former should be light, and the other heavy? Thus, also, in a similar manner in other things. Thus, too, in divine concerns. But the reason of this is, because the human race is frail and corruptible. Hence, also, the works of man are corruptible and mutable, and subject to all-various revolutions. But God being eternal, it is also fit that his mandates should be eternal. And being such, they are either the natures of things, or conformable to the natures of things. For how can nature contend with the mandate of divinity? How can it fall off from this concord? If therefore, as he ordered that there should be confusion of tongues, and that they should not accord with each other, so likewise he ordered that the political concerns of nations should be discordant; he has not only effected this by his mandate, but has rendered us naturally adapted to this dissonance. For to effect this, it would be requisite, in the first place, that there should be different natures of those whose political concerns [p.26] among nations are to be different. This, indeed, is seen in bodies, if any one directs his attention to the Germans and Scythians, and considers how much the bodies of these differ from those of the Lybians and Ethiopians. Is this, therefore, a mere mandate, and does the air contribute nothing, nor the relation and position of the region with respect to the celestial bodies?
Moses, however, though he knew the truth of this, concealed it; nor does he ascribe the confusion of tongues to God alone. For he says, that not only God descended, nor one alone with him, but many, though he does not say who they were. But it is very evident, that he conceived those who descended with God to be similar to him. If, therefore, not the Lord only, but those who were with him contributed to this confusion of tongues, they may justly be considered as the causes of this dissonance.
But to what purpose have I been thus prolix? For if, indeed, the God who is proclaimed by Moses is the proximate Demiurgus of the world, we form better .opinions of him, who conceive him to be the common Lord of all things; but [p.27] admit, also, that there are other gods who preside over nations, and who are subordinate to him indeed, but being as it were the ambassadors of the king each in a particular manner pays attention to the object of his charge. Nor do we co-arrange the Demiurgus with the gods that are under him. But if Moses, reverencing a certain partial divinity, ascribes to him the government of the universe, it will be better for the Christians being persuaded by us, to acknowledge the God of the universe, together with not being ignorant of that partial deity, than to worship, instead of the Demiurgus of all things, a divinity to whom is allotted the government of a very small part of the earth.
The law of Moses is wonderful. "Thou shalt not steal; Thou shalt not bear false witness." But each of the precepts are written in the very same words, according to Moses, in which they were written by God himself, "I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt." Another commandment follows: "Thou shalt have no other gods besides me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image;" and he adds the [p.28] cause: "For I, the Lord thy God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. Remember the Sabbath day. Honour thy father and mother. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not bear false witness. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's goods." What nation is there, by the gods, exclusive of the mandates "Thou shalt not worship other gods,'' and "Remember the Sabbath," which does not think it requisite to observe the other commandments? Hence punishments are established in all nations for those that transgress them, in some more severe, in others similar to those appointed in the laws of Moses; and there is, also, where they are more philanthropic.
But the commandment, Thou shalt not worship other gods, is calumniating divinity in a very high degree. For God is said to be a jealous God; and in another place, to be a consuming fire. When a man, therefore, is jealous and envious, does he appear to you to deserve reprehension; and are you to be considered as divinely inspired, if God is said [p.29] by you to be jealous? Though how is it reasonable to assert of God a thing which is so manifestly a lie? For if he is jealous, all the gods are adored, he being unwilling, and all other nations worship the gods. Why, therefore, does not he who is so jealous, and who is unwilling that the other gods should be adored, but desirous that himself alone should be worshipped,—why does not he prevent this from taking place? Is he not able; or from the first was he unwilling to forbid the other gods from being worshipped? But the first is impious, to assert that he is not able; and the second accords with our deeds. Abandon, then, this nugacity, and do not draw such great blasphemy upon yourselves.
For if God wished that no one should be adored but himself, why do you adore this son, whom God never thought, nor ever will think to be his own? And this I can easily show. But you, I know not whence, ascribe to him a spurious son.
Why, therefore, is it nowhere seen that God is angry, or indignant with, or swears on account of these things, or rapidly inclines to both sides, as Moses says of Phinehas? If any one of you reads [p.30] the book of Numbers, he will know what I say. For after he who was initiated by Beelphegor, and who had slain with his own hand the woman by whom he had been inveighed, with a shameful and most deplorable wound in the belly, God is made to say, (Numbers xxv. 11.) "Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, while he was zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy." What can be more trifling than the cause for which God is falsely made to be angry by the writer of these things? What can be more absurd? If ten or fifteen, or a hundred persons, for they will not say a thousand, but we will suppose that number, had dared to transgress any one of the laws ordained by God, would it be proper that six hundred thousand should be destroyed on account of one hundred thousand? How much better does it appear to me to save one depraved man, together with a thousand most excellent men, than that a thousand worthy men should be destroyed on account of one man? Nor is it fit that the maker of heaven and earth should be so [p.31] fiercely enraged as frequently to be willing to destroy the race of the Jews. For if the anger of one of the heroes, and of an obscure daemon is difficult to be borne by particular regions and entire cities, who can stand against so great a God, when angry with daemons, or angels, or men?
It is fit, indeed, to compare this god of Moses with the lenity of Lycurgus, and the clemency of Solon, or with the equity and benignity of the Romans towards malefactors.
Consider, also, from what follows, how much better our affairs are than theirs. Philosophers order us to imitate the gods as much as possible, and say that this imitation consists in the contemplation of real beings. Indeed, that this is without passion, and consists in contemplation, is evident, though I should not assert it; because the more we become impassive, the more we apply ourselves to the contemplation of true being, and so far become assimilated to divinity. But what is the imitation of God with the Hebrews? Anger and rage, and savage zeal. "For Phinehas, says God, has turned my wrath away, while he was zealous for my sake among the children of Israel." For God finding [p.32] one who joined with him in being indignant and afflicted, appears to have laid aside his anger. These, and other things of this kind, Moses is made to say of God, in not a few places of the scripture.
That God, however, has not alone paid attention to the Hebrews, but taking care of all nations, has given the Jews, indeed, nothing important or great, but has bestowed upon us things a little! more excellent and illustrious, consider from what follows: The Egyptians can enumerate the names of not a few wise men that flourished among them, many of whom were the successors of Hermes, of that Hermes I say, who was the third that came to Egypt. The Chaldeans and Assyrians can enumerate those who descended from Annus and Belus. And the Greeks, an infinite number of those who descended from Chiron, For from him all those who by nature are initiators into mysteries and theologies derive their origin; though the Hebrews appear to consider these two things as alone confined to them.
Afterwards, says Cyril, he derides the blessed David and Sampson, and says, that they were not [p.33] the most strenuous in battle, but far inferior in valour to the Egyptians and Greeks, and scarcely extended their empire to the boundaries of Judæa.
But God gave science, or the discipline of philosophers, to originate with us. For the theory about the phenomena was perfected by the Greeks, but first astronomical observations were made by the Barbarians in Babylon. The science of geometry, receiving its beginning from the measurement of the earth in Egypt, has arrived at its present magnitude. The theory of numbers, originating from Phoenician merchants, has at length acquired a scientific dignity among the Greeks, but the Greeks conjoining these three sciences together with music into one, combining astronomy with geometry, adapting numbers to both, and producing in these an harmonic elegance, thus formed their music, discovering the boundaries of harmonic ratios, and producing an irreprehensible consent, or in the highest degree approaching to it, with the auditory sense.
Whether, therefore, is it requisite that I should severally name the studies, or the men? Such as [p.34] Plato, Socrates, Aristides, Cimon, Thales, Lycurgus, Agesilaus, Archidamus; or rather the race of philosophers, generals, artificers, legislators. For the most depraved and execrable generals will be found to have used the greatest offenders more equitably than Moses did those who had committed no offence.
What kingdom, therefore, shall I mention? Shall I speak of that of Perseus, or of Æacus, or of Minos the Cretan, who having purified the sea from pirates, and expelled and put to flight the Barbarians, to Syria and Sicily, and thus extended the bounds of his empire, obtained dominion not only over islands, but also over the maritime coast. Sharing, likewise, with his brother Rhadamanthus, not the lands he had conquered, but attention to the welfare of mankind. And he, indeed, established laws which he received from Jupiter, who ordered Rhadamanthus to exercise the judicial province.8
But Jesus, who made converts of the worst part of you, has been celebrated by you for little more than three hundred years: and performed during the whole time that he lived no deed which deserves [p.35] to be mentioned, unless any one fancies that to cure the blind and the lame, and to exorcise those possessed by daemons, in the villages of Bethsaida, and Bethania, rank among the greatest undertakings.
Julian, after this, having spoken largely (says Cyril) of what is related about Dardanus, immediately passes on to the flight of Æneas, and clearly relates the settlement of the Trojans in Italy. He also makes mention of Remus and Romulus, and the manner in which Rome was inhabited; and having said much on this subject, he observes, that the most wise Numa was given to the Romans by Jupiter. He also says of him as follows:
But after the city was founded, it was infested on all sides with many wars. It strenuously, however, opposed and subdued all of them, and having increased by these calamitous circumstances, stood in need of greater security. Again, therefore, Jupiter gave it for its governor the most philosophic Numa. This Numa was a most worthy man, passing his time in solitary groves, and in consequence of the purity of his intellectual con- [p.36] ceptions, always associating with the gods. He also established most of thj6 laws pertaining to sacred rites.
These things, therefore, as the progeny of divine possessions and inspiration, both from that of the Sybil, and others whom in the language of our country we call prophets, Jupiter appears to have given to the city. And as to the shield which fell from the air, and the head which was found in the hill, whence I think the seat of the mighty Jupiter derived its name,9 whether shall we number these among the first, or the second of gifts. But you, O unfortunate men! neglecting to adore and reverence the heaven-descended shield which is preserved by us, and which was sent by the great Jupiter, or by the father Mars, as a most certain pledge that he will perpetually defend our city, you adore the wood of a cross, marking your forehead with the images of it, and engraving it in the vestibules of your dwellings. Whether, therefore, should any one deservedly hate the more intelligent, or pity the more insane among you, who following you have arrived at such perdition, as to neglect the eternal gods, and betake themselves to a dead body of the Jews.
After this, Julian having said, that divination is the gift of the gods,
observes as follows:
For the inspiration which comes to men from the gods, is rare, and exists but in a few. Nor is it easy for every man to partake of this, nor at every time. This has ceased among the Hebrews, nor is it preserved to the present time among the Egyptians. Spontaneous oracles, also, are seen to yield to periods of time. This, however, our philanthropic lord and father Jupiter understanding, that we might not be entirely deprived of communion with the god?, has given to us observation through sacred arts, by which we have at hand sufficient assistance.
I had almost, however, forgotten the greatest of the gifts of the sun and Jupiter: but I have very properly preserved it to the last. For it is not peculiar to us only, but is common also, I think, to our kindred the Greeks. For Jupiter, in intelligibles, generated from himself Æsculapius; but he was unfolded into light on the earth, through the prolific life of the sun.10 He, therefore, proceeding from heaven to the earth, appeared uniformly in a human shape about [p.38] Epidaurus. But thence becoming multiplied in his progressions, he extended his saving right hand to all the earth. He came to Pergamus, to Ionia, to Tarentum, and afterwards to Rome. Thence he went to the island Co, afterwards to Ægas; and at length to wherever there is land and sea. Nor did we individually, but collectively experience his beneficence. And at one and the same time, he corrected souls that were wandering in error, and bodies that were infirm.
But what thing of this kind can the Hebrews boast as the gift of God, to whom you have fled from us? If, therefore, you had attended to their assertions, you would not have been entirely unfortunate; but though you would have been worse than when you were with us, yet, at the same time, your endurance would have been light and tolerable. For you would have reverenced one God instead of many, and not a man as you do now, or rather many unfortunate men. You would also have used a law hard and rough, and having much of the rustic and barbaric, instead of our equitable and philanthropic laws. And, in other things, you would have been in a worse [p.39] condition, but you would have been more holy and pure with respect to sacred institutions. Now, however, the same thing happens to you as to swallows; for you draw the worst blood from thence, and leave the most pure.
For you do not take notice whether any mention is made by the Jews of holiness, but you emulate their rage and their bitterness, overturning temples and altars, and cutting the throats not only of those who remain firm in paternal institutes, but also of those heretics, who are equally erroneous with yourselves, and who do not lament a dead body in the same manner as you do.11 For neither Jesus nor Paul exhorted you to act in this manner. But the reason is, that neither did they expect that you would ever arrive at the power which you have obtained. For they were satisfied, if they could deceive maidservants and slaves, and through these married women, and men, such as Cornelius and Sergius; among whom if you can mention one that was at that time an illustrious character, (and these things were transacted under the reign of Tiberius or Claudius,) believe that I am a liar in all things.
This, however, I know not how, has been said by me, as if under the influence of
divine inspiration. But that I may return whence I digressed; why, being
ungrateful to our gods, have you fled to the Jews? Is it because the gods have
empire to Rome, but to the Jews liberty for a very little time, and perpetual
slavery and exile? Consider Abraham, was he not a stranger in a foreign land?
Jacob, was he not at first among the Syrians, afterwards in Palestine, and when
old man, a slave among the Egyptians? Did not Moses bring them from the house
of bondage, from Egypt, with an elevated arm? And when they inhabited
Palestine, did they not change their fortune more frequently than those say who
have seen the chameleon change its colour, they one time being obedient to
judges, and at another being slaves to those of a different tribe? And when
they were under the dominion of kings, (I omit at present how this happened, for
neither did God willingly grant that they should be governed by kings, as the
scripture says, but this was the effect of compulsion, and when he had
previously told them that they would be vilely [p.41] governed), they only inhabited and cultivated their own land a little more than
four hundred years. After that time, they were first in subjection to the
Assyrians, then to the Medes, then to the Persians, and last of all now to us.
Jesus himself, who is so much celebrated by you, was one of those who were in subjection to Caesar. If you disbelieve this, I will shortly after demonstrate it to you; or rather let it now be shown. For you say that he was registered together with his father and mother under Caesar. But after he was born, of what good was he to his kindred? For it is said, they were unwilling to obey him. How, indeed, did that hard-hearted and stony-necked people obey Moses? But Jesus who commanded spirits, who walked on the sea, and expelled daemons, and, as you say, made the heaven and the earth, (for no one of his disciples dared to say this of him, except John alone, nor he clearly and explicitly), could not change the deliberate choice of his friends and kindred to their own salvation.
Of these things, however, we shall shortly speak when we begin to explore the monstrous [p.42] deeds and fraudulent machinations of the evangelists. But now answer me this question: Whether is it better to be perpetually free, and for two thousand entire years to have dominion over the greater part of the earth and sea, or to be in subjection, and live in obedience to the mandate of another? There is no one so shameless as to prefer the latter to the former. But who will fancy that it is worse to vanquish in battle, than to be vanquished? Is there any one so insensate? If these things, then, are true, show me one leader of an army among the Hebrews to be compared with Alexander or Caesar. You have not one to show. Though, by the gods, I well know that I injure these men by the comparison. But I mention these as being known. For there are leaders inferior to these, who are unknown to many, each of whom is more admirable than all taken collectively that ever were among the Hebrews.
But the laws of a polity, the form of tribunals, the economy and beauty pertaining to cities, the increase of discipline, and the exercise of the liberal arts, were only to be seen among the [p.43] Hebrews in a miserable and barbaric state; though the depraved Eusebius pretends that they had hexameter verses among them, and is ambitious to prove that the Hebrews were acquainted with logic, the name of which he had heard from the Greeks. What form of medicine ever appeared among the Hebrews, such as that of Hippocrates among the Greeks, and of certain other sects posterior to him?
Is the most wise Solomon to be compared with the Phocylides, or Theognis, or Isocrates of the Greeks? If, indeed, you compare the exhortations of Isocrates with the proverbs of Solomon, I well know you will find that the son of Theodorus surpasses the most wise king. But he, say they, was exercised in the worship of divinity. What then? Did not this Solomon also worship our gods, being deceived, as they say, by a woman? O magnitude of virtue! O riches of wisdom! He had not vanquished pleasure, and the words of a woman perverted him. If, therefore, he was deceived by a woman, do not call this a wise man. But if you believe that he was a wise man, do not think that he was deceived by a woman, but [p.44] by his own judgment and intelligence, and that he worshipped other gods, in consequence of being persuaded by the doctrine of God who appeared to him. For envy and jealousy cannot approach the most excellent men and have no place at all among angels and gods. But you are busily employed about partial powers, which he will not err who denominates diabolical (δαιμονα). For among these powers there is ambition and vain glory; but in the gods there is nothing of this kind.
Why do you apply yourselves to the disciplines of the Greeks, if reading your writings is sufficient for you? Though it is better to forbid men to read them, than to eat consecrated animals. For he who eats of these, as Paul says, is not at all injured; but the conscience of a brother who sees it may, according to you, be scandalized. O wisest of men! ....12 But from these disciplines, whoever among you is naturally of a generous disposition will depart from impiety; so that even he who has but a small portion of a naturally good disposition, will through these most rapidly abandon your impiety. It is better, there- [p.45] fore, to restrain men from these disciplines, than from sacred victims. But, as it appears to me, you well know the difference with respect to the acquisition of wisdom between our disciplines and yours. For from yours no man will become generous and worthy; but from ours every man will become better than himself though he should be naturally in every respect unapt. But if he possesses an excellent nature, and has received erudition from these he will then in reality become the gift of God to men, either by enkindling the light of science, or establishing the best form of government, or putting to flight many enemies, and passing through many lands; and a great extent of sea, and through this evincing himself to be an heroic character. Of the truth of what I assert, this is a clear indication. Let boys selected from all of you apply themselves to the study of the scriptures, and when they arrive at manhood, if they are at all better than slaves, consider me as a trifler and insane. And yet you are so unfortunate and stupid, as to think those writings divine, from which no one will become more wise, or brave, or better than himself. But those writings from which fortitude, prudence, and [p.46] justice may be derived, you ascribe to Satan, and those who worship Satan.
Æsculapius heals our bodies; and the Muses, together with Æsculapius, Apollo, and the eloquent Hermes, instruct our souls. But Mars and Bellona are our associates in battle. Vulcan allots and distributes to us the arts; and all these the motherless virgin Minerva administers in conjunction with Jupiter. Consider, therefore, whether in each of these we are not better than you; I mean in things pertaining to the arts, wisdom, and intelligence? Whether you consider those arts which pertain to the indigence of human life, or those imitative arts which are for the sake of the beautiful, such as statuary, painting, and medicine the gift of Æsculapius, whose oracles are in every part of the earth, and of which the gods give us continually to partake. Hence, Æsculapius has frequently restored me to health by indicating remedies. And of these things Jupiter is a witness. If therefore, we, who have given ourselves up to the spirit of apostacy, are better than you in things pertaining to the soul, to the body, and to externals; why [p.47] abandoning these, do you betake yourselves to those?
Why, also, do you neither continue in the doctrine of the Hebrews, nor embrace the law which God gave them; but abandoning paternal rites, and giving yourselves up to those whom the prophets proclaimed, dissent more from them than from us? For if any one wishes to consider the truth respecting you [i.e. the Christians], he will find that your impiety is composed from the Judaic audacity, and the indolence and confusion of the heathens. And deriving from both not that which is most beautiful, but the worst, you have fabricated a web of evils. With the Hebrews, indeed, there are accurate and venerable laws pertaining to religion, and innumerable precepts which require a most holy life and previous choice. But when the Jewish legislator forbids serving the gods, and enjoins the worship of one alone, whose portion is Jacob, and Israel the line of his inheritance, and not only says this, but also adds, I think, "you shall not revile the gods,'' the detestable wickedness and audacity of those in after-times, wishing to take away all religious reverence from the [p.48] multitude, thought that not to worship should be followed by blaspheming the gods. This you have alone thence derived; but there is no similitude in any thing else between you and them. Hence, from the innovation of the Hebrews, you have seized blasphemy towards the venerable gods; but from our religion you have cast aside reverence to every nature more excellent than man, and the love of paternal institutes; and have alone retained the eating of all things, in the same manner as herbs. And if it be requisite to speak the truth you have ambitiously endeavoured to extend your confusion. However, I think it happens very properly, that you have conceived your doctrines ought to be adapted to all nations and lives of other men, such as inn-keepers, publicans, dancers, and others of the like kind!
That not only, however, the Christians of the present age, but also those who from the beginning received the word from Paul, were such men as these, is very evident from what Paul testifies, when writing to them. For I do not think he was so impudent as to have said of them so many disgraceful things in his letter, if he had not [p.49] known them to be true. Of these, however, if he wrote so many things in their praise, and they were true, he ought to have blushed; but if they were false and fictitious, he ought by concealing them to have avoided appearing to employ effeminate blandishments and illiberal flattery. What Paul, however, writes to them about his auditors is as follows: "Be not deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God, And of these things, brethren, you are not ignorant, because you also were such; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus."
You see, then, that they were such characters as these, but they were sanctified and washed, water being sufficient to wipe away and purify, which penetrates as far as to the soul! And baptism, indeed, does not take away the spots of leprosy, nor ring-worms, nor warts, nor the gout, nor the dysentery, nor [p.50] the dropsy, nor the reduvia,13 nor any small or I great defect of the body, but it can take away adultery, rapine, and, in short, all the crimes of the soul!!!
Since, however, they say that they differ from the Jews of the
present time, but that they are accurately Israelites, according to the prophets
of the Jews, and that they especially believe in Moses and the prophets derived
from him in Judea, let us see in what they particularly accord with them. But
let us begin with Moses, who they say predicted the future nativity of Jesus.
Moses, therefore, not once, nor twice, nor thrice, but very frequently thinks it
fit that one God alone should be honoured, whom he denominates supreme. But he
never says that any other god is to be worshipped, though he speaks of angels
and lords, and many gods. He considers, however, the first god as transcendent,
but does not think that there is any other who ranks as second, neither similar
nor dissimilar to him, according to your fabrication. But if there is with you
one word of Moses in favour of these things, it is just you should produce it.
For the words, "The [p.51] Lord our God will raise up a prophet for you among your brethren, like unto me;
unto him ye shall hearken;" (Deut. xviii. 15) are by no means said of the son of
Mary. But if any one should grant for your sake that they were said of Jesus,
yet Moses says he will be like him, and not God; a prophet like himself, and
originating from men, and not from God. And the words, ''The sceptre shall not
depart from Judah, nor a law-giver from between his feet,'' (Gen. xlix. 10.) are
by no means said of Christ, but of the kingdom of David, which appears to have
ended in the Sedecian king. And the scripture, indeed, has a twofold reading;
"Until those things shall come that are deposited for him;" but you
adulterate these words, "Until he shall come for whom these things are
deposited.'' But that none of these things pertain to Jesus is very evident. For
neither is he from Judah; since how is it possible he should, who according to
you was not born from Joseph, but from the holy spirit? For, genealogizing
Joseph, you refer him to Judah; and yet you have not been able to feign this
well. For Matthew and Luke may be confuted, [p.52] being discordant with each other about his genealogy.
The discussion of this, however, we shall omit, as we intend accurately to explore the truth of it, in the second book. Let it then be granted that his sceptre was from Judah, yet he was not God from God, according to what is said by you; nor were all things made by him, and without him nothing was made. But it is also said in Numbers, "A star shall arise from Jacob, and a man from Israel." (Num. xxiv. 17.) That this pertains to David, and his descendants, is very evident. For David was the son of Jesse. If, therefore, you can prove what you assert from these words, demonstrate that you can, deriving one word from thence, whence I have taken many. But that Moses thought his one God to be the God of Israel, he says in Deuteronomy, "That thou mightest know that the Lord thy God is one, and there is none else beside him." (Deut. iv. 35.) And again, "Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord thy God is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else." (Deut. [p.53] iv. 39.) And again, "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.'' (Deut. vi. 4,) Again, also, "See that I am, and there is no God besides me." These things, therefore, Moses says, contending that there is only one God. But they, also, perhaps will say, neither do we assert that there are two or three gods. I, however, will show that they do assert this, adducing the testimony of John, who says, "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God." You see that he is said to be with God. But whether this is said of him who was born from Mary, or of any other, in order that at the same time I may answer Photinus, is at present of no consequence, for I leave this contest to you. This, however, is sufficient as a testimony, that John says he was with God, and in the beginning. How, therefore, do these things accord with what Moses says? But they accord, say they, with the words of Isaiah, "Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son." (Isaiah vii. 14.) Let it be admitted that this is said of God, though this is by no means the case; for she who was married, was not a virgin; [p.54] and before she was delivered, she had had connection with her husband; but let this be admitted, does he say that God will be born of a virgin? You, however, do not cease to call Mary the God-producer, (θεοτοκος). Or, does he say that he who will be born from a virgin is the only-begotten son of God, and the first born of every creature? But can any one show among the words of the prophets, that which is asserted by John, "All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made." Hear, however, afterwards what we show from the writings of the prophets: "O Lord our God, keep us; beside thee we know of no other." And King Hezekiah is represented by them praying, "O Lord God of Israel, who sittest between the cherubims, thou art God alone," (Isaiah xxxvii. 16.) Does he, then, leave any place for a second?
If, however, the word is according to you, God from God, and is born from the essence of the father, why do you say that the virgin is the god-producer? For how could she produce a god, being human, such as we are? Besides, when God [p.55] clearly says, "I am, and there is not any saviour besides me," will you dare to call him the saviour who was born from Mary?
But that Moses denominates angels, gods, hear from his own words: "The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose." And a little afterlife adds, "And also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same were giants, which were of old, men of renown." (Gen. vi. 2 and 4.) That he means angels, therefore, by the sons of God is very evident: and that this is not a forced interpretation, is manifest from his saying, that not men, but giants, were produced from them. For if he had thought that men were their fathers, and not some more excellent and robust nature, he would evidently not have said that giants were their offspring. For he appears to me to signify that the race of giants derived its subsistence from the mixture of the mortal and immortal nature. Would not, then, he who names many, sons of God, and these not men, but angels, would not he have unfolded to men the only-be- [p.56] gotten word, or son of God, or in whatever manner you may call him, if he had known him? But because he thought this a great thing, he says of Israel, "My first-born son, Israel." (Exod. iv. 22.) Why, therefore, did not Moses say this of Jesus? He taught, indeed, that there is only one God, and that many of his sons are distributed among the nations, but he neither knew from the beginning, nor does he clearly teach anything about the first-born son, or God, the word, or any of those things which afterwards were falsely devised by you. Hear, then, Moses and the other prophets. Moses, indeed, asserts many such things, and everywhere. "Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." (Deut. vi. 13.) How then is Jesus in the gospels said to have commanded, "Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father, and of the son, and of the holy ghost," if they were to adore him also? You, likewise, conceiving in conformity to this, theologize about the son in conjunction with the father.
Hear again, therefore, what Moses says of the Averrunci:14 "And he shall take of the congregation [p.57] of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering. And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself and his house. And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the Lord, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat, and he shall be sent, says he, into the wilderness." (Levit. xvi. 5, 6, &c.) The goat, therefore, that is to be sent as a scapegoat, is to be sent in this manner. But "then," says he, "shall he kill the goat of the sin offering that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat. And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins." (Levit. xvi.)
That Moses, therefore, knew the modes of sacrifices is very evident from what has been said. [p.58] And that he did not conceive them to be impure as you do, again hear from his own words: "But the soul that eateth of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings, that pertain unto the Lord, having his uncleanness upon him, even that soul shall be cut off from his people." (Levit. vii. 20.) Moses himself was truly religious about the eating of victims.
But it is right after this that you should recollect what has been before said, and for the sake of which these things also have been mentioned. For why, since you have revolted from us, do you not embrace the law of the Jews, and abide in what is enjoined by them? Some one who sees acutely will perhaps say. Neither did the Jews sacrifice. But I will prove that the sight of such a one is dreadfully dull. In the first place, because you do not retain any other of the legal rites of the Jews. In the second place, because the Jews do sacrifice in their houses, and even now they eat all the victims, offer prayer before they sacrifice, and give the right hand shoulder as first fruits to the priests. Being now, however, deprived of a temple and altar, or, as they are accustomed to say, of a sanctuary, they are prevented [p.59] from offering the first fruits of the victims to God. But you who have discovered a new sacrifice, since you are not in want of Jerusalem, why do you not sacrifice? Though, indeed, I say this to you superfluously, since I said it before, when I wished to show that the Jews accorded with the heathens, except in believing that there is only one God. For that is peculiar to them, but foreign from us. Every thing else, indeed, is common to us, temples, sacred groves, altars, lustrations, and certain things to be observed; in which we either do not at all, or but little, differ from each other.
Why, too, are you not similarly pure in diet with the Jews? But you say it is requisite to eat all things as if they were pot-herbs, believing in Peter because he said, "What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common." (Acts x. 15.) Is this to be considered as an argument, that God formerly thought them defiled, and that now he has made them pure? For Moses speaking of quadrupeds says, "Whatsoever parteth the hoof and is cloven-footed, and cheweth the cud, is clean," (Levit. xi. 3.); "but that which is not of this kind is unclean." (Deut. xiv. 7.) If, there- [p.60] fore, the hog, from the vision of Peter, now ranks among those animals that chew the cud, shall we believe in him? For it would be truly prodigious if he should have this faculty after the vision of Peter, But if Peter feigned that he saw this revelation, that I may speak after your manner, at the tanner's house, why do you so readily assent in a thing of such consequence? For what difficult thing would he have enjoined you, if he had forbidden you to eat, besides swine, winged and aquatic animals, affirming that these also, as well as those, are rejected by God, and considered as impure?
But why am I thus prolix in relating what is said by them, when it may be seen whether their assertions possess any strength? For they say that God besides the former established a second law. That the former law was for a season circumscribed by a definite time; but that this posterior law made its appearance, because it was adumbrated in the time and by the type of Moses, That they assert this, however, falsely, I will clearly demonstrate, producing from Moses not only ten, but a thousand testimonies, in which he says, that the law is [p.61] eternal. But now hear from Exodus: "And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord, throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever. Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day shall ye put away leaven out of your houses." (Exod. xii. 24, 25.)
After this Julian, according to Cyril, cites other passages, in which he shows that the law is denominated eternal. He then adds as follows:
Omitting many passages of this kind on account of their multitude, in which it is said that the law of Moses is eternal, do you show me where that is which Paul after this had the audacity to say, viz. "That Christ is the end of the law?" Where does God promise to the Hebrews another law besides that which was established? Nowhere: nor does he promise a correction of the established law. For again, hear Moses: "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command, neither shall ye diminish ought from it. Keep the commandments of the Lord and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good. And cursed is every one who does not abide in all things." (Deut iv. [p.62] 10, &c.) But you think it a trifle to take away from and add to what is written in the law. You, also, think that to transgress it entirely is a proof of greater fortitude and magnanimity, not looking to truth, but to that which is calculated to persuade the multitude.
Cyril, also, informs us that Julian calls Peter a hypocrite, and says that he was reproved by Paul, because at one time he endeavoured to live according to the customs of the Greeks, and at another according to those of the Jews,15 Afterwards he adds:
But you are so unfortunate that neither do you abide in those things which were delivered to you by the apostles; and these by those that succeeded them were rendered worse and more impious. Neither Paul, therefore, nor Matthew, nor Luke, nor Mark dared to say that Jesus is God: but good John perceiving that now a great multitude in many of the Grecian and Italian cities were infected with this disease; and hearing, appears to me, that the sepulchres of Peter were privately indeed, but at the same time hearing that they were worshipped, was the at dared to assert this.
After this, says Cyril, Julian having said a little about John the Baptist,
returns to the word which was proclaimed by John the Evangelist. And "the
word," says he, "was made flesh, and dwelt among us," (John i.); but he was
ashamed to say how. He, likewise, never calls him either Jesus or Christ, while
he calls him God and the word. But gradually and fraudulently as it were
deceiving our ears, he says that John the Baptist gave this testimony of Jesus
Christ, viz. that it is requisite to believe him to be God the word.
I will not, however, deny that John says this of Jesus Christ; though it appears to some of the impious among you, that Jesus Christ is one person, and the word proclaimed by John another. But this is not the case. For he whom he says is God the word, is the Christ Jesus that was known by John the Baptist. Consider, therefore, how cautiously, gradually, and privately he introduces the colophon of impiety to the drama; for he is so crafty and fraudulent, that he again retracts what he had said, adding, "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten son which is in the bosom of the father, he hath declared him."
Whether, therefore, is this God, the word, who was made flesh, the only-begotten
son which is in the bosom of the father? And if, indeed, it is as I think it
is, you also have certainly seen God. For he dwelt among you, and you beheld his
glory. Why, therefore, do you say that no one has ever seen God ? For you have beheld,
if not God the father, yet certainly, God the word. But if the only-begotten God
is one person, and, God the word, another, as I have heard some of your sect
assert, neither John it seems has any longer dared to say this.
This evil, however, received its beginning from John. But who can execrate as it deserves what you have invented in addition to this, by introducing many recent dead bodies to that ancient dead body? You have filled all places with sepulchres and monuments, though it is never said by you any where, that you are to roll about sepulchres and worship them. But you have proceeded to that degree of depravity, as to think that not even the words of Jesus of Nazareth are to be attended to on this subject. "Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like [p.65] unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness." (Matt, xxiii. 27.) If, therefore, Jesus says that sepulchres are full of uncleanness, how is it that you invoke God upon them?
To this Julian adds, that when a certain disciple said to Christ, "Lord, suffer me to go and bury my father," he answered him, "Follow me, and let the dead bury the dead." (Matt. viii. 21 .)
This, then, being the case, why do you roll about sepulchres? Are you willing to hear the cause? Not I, but the prophet Isaiah will tell it. "They sleep in sepulchres and caves on account of dreams."16 (Isaiah lxv. 4.) Consider, therefore, how this work of incantation, to sleep in sepulchres for the sake of dreams, was resorted to by the Jews of old. It is probable that your apostles after the death of their master, doing the very same thing, delivered it to you who were the first believers from the beginning, and that they performed the incantation more according to the rules of art than you; but to those that came after them publicly exhibited the work-shops of this incantation and execrable employment. [p.66] You, however, apply yourselves to those things which God from the beginning execrated, both through Moses and the prophets; but you refuse to bring victims to the altar and to sacrifice. For fire does not descend as in the time of Moses, to consume the victims.17 This once took place under Moses, and again under Elias the Thesbite, a long time after. That Moses, however, thought it requisite that adventitious fire ought to be introduced, and farther still, the patriarch Abraham prior to him, I will briefly show.
Cyril then observes, that Julian having reminded the reader of the history of Isaac, again adduces Abel as an example, and says, that he when he sacrificed had not fire from heaven, but that it was externally brought to the altars. He also inquires why God praised the sacrifice of Abel, but rejected that of Cain; and what the meaning is of those words, "If you rightly offer, but do not rightly divide, will you not sin? Be quiet." (Gen, iv.) Julian endeavours to adapt these words to the divination pertaining to victims. For, says he, the sacrifice to God through animals is more acceptable to him than the sacrifice from the fruits of the earth.
And not this only, but also when the sons of Adam offered first fruits to God,
Moses says, "And the Lord had respect unto Abel, and to his offering: But
unto Cain and his offering, he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and
countenance fell. And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is
thy countenance fallen? If thou offerest rightly, but dost not divide rightly,
dost thou not sin?" (Gen. iv. 4, 8.) Do you desire, therefore, to hear what
were their offerings? "And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain
brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel he also
brought of the firstlings of his flock, and of the fat thereof.'' (Gen. iv. 3.)
Yes, say they, God does not blame the sacrifice, but the division; for he says
to Cain, "If thou offerest rightly, but dost not divide rightly, dost thou
not sin?" For this one of their all-wise bishops said to me. This bishop,
however, deceived himself in the first place and afterwards others. For being
asked after what manner the division was blameable, he had nothing to say, nor
could he even give me a frigid explanation of it. Perceiving, therefore,
[p.68] that he was perplexed, I said this, very thing which you say, God rightly
blamed. For with respect to alacrity, it was equal in both, because both thought
it was proper to offer gifts and sacrifices to God. But with respect to the
division, the one hit the mark, but the other deviated from it. In what manner,
however? Since of things on the earth, some are animated, but
others inanimate; and the animated are more honourable than the inanimate with
the living God, and the cause of life, so far as they participate of life, and
are more allied to soul; on this account God was delighted with him who offered
a perfect sacrifice.
That I may, however, repeat to them what I have said: Why are you not circumcised? Paul says, "they assert that circumcision is of the heart, and not of the flesh;'' and that he believes in the unholy words, proclaimed both by himself and Peter. But hear again, that God is said to have given the circumcision according to the flesh, as a covenant and a sign to Abraham. "This is my covenant which ye shall keep between me and you, and thy seed after thee; every man [p.69] child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant between me and you." (Gen. xvii. 10.)
Julian also adds to these things, that Christ himself says that the law ought to be preserved; for his words are: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law and the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." (Matt. v. 17.) And again, "Whosoever, therefore, shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven.'' (Matt. v. 19.) Since, therefore, Christ has indubitably commanded the law to be preserved, and has appointed punishments for those who break even one of those mandates, but you in short break all of them, what mode of apology can you invent? For either Jesus speaks falsely, or you are not perfectly observers of the law.
Cyril adds, that Julian also accuses the Galileans, that they neither keep the Sabbath, nor immolate a iamb after the manner of the Jews, nor eat unleavened bread; and that the only pre- [p.70] text which is left them for this negligence, is, that it is not lawful for those to sacrifice who are out of Jerusalem.
"Circumcision will be about thy flesh," says Moses. (Gen. xvii.) But neglecting this, the Galileans say, that they are circumcised in their hearts. Perfectly so. For no one among you is vicious, no one is depraved; you are so circumcised in your hearts! It is well. We are not able, say they, to observe the precept about unleavened bread and the passover; for Christ was once sacrificed for us, and afterwards he forbids us to eat unleavened bread. By the Gods, indeed, though I am one of those who are averse to celebrate the festivals of the Jews, yet I always adore the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who being themselves Chaldeans of a sacred and theurgic race, learnt circumcision from the Egyptians while they dwelt among them. The Jews worship that God, however, who to me, and to those who worship him, as Abraham did, was propitious, being a very great and powerful God, but not at all pertaining to you. For you do not imitate Abraham, by raising altars [p.71] to him, and worshipping him with sacrifices as he did.
For Abraham sacrificed always and continually just as we do; and in consequence of this he used the most excellent divination. This also, perhaps, was Grecian; but he employed augury in a greater degree than the Greeks. He had, likewise, a symbolical guardian of the house. But if any one of you disbelieves this, I will clearly show you what Moses says on the subject. "After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abraham in a vision of the night, saying. Fear not, Abraham, I am thy shield and thy exceeding great reward. And Abraham said. Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, saying. This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said. Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, so shall thy seed be. And he believed in the Lord; and [p.72] he counted it to him for righteousness." (Gen. xv. 1, &c.) Here tell me why the Angel or God that gave the oracle, brought him forth and shewed him the stars? For did he not know, while he was in the house, what a great multitude there was of stars which are perpetually apparent, and glitter by night? But I think he was willing to show him the shooting stars, in order that the decree of heaven, which governs and confirms all things, might produce a clear belief in his words.
Lest, however, some one should think that an interpretation of this kind is forced, I will confirm it by adding the words which immediately follow: "And he said unto him, I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give thee this land to inherit it. And he said. Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? And he said unto him. Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she-goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtle-dove, and a young pigeon. And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another ; but the birds divided he not. And when the birds came down upon the carcases.
Abraham sat together with them. Take notice, therefore, that the prediction of the angel or God who appeared, was confirmed by augury, and not as you say carelessly, but the divination was effected in conjunction with sacrifice. But he says, that by the flight of birds he will show that the promise is firm. Julian admits, however, the faith of Abraham, adding, that faith without truth is folly and rage; and that truth does not consist in mere words, but it is requisite that some clear sign should also follow the words, which when it happens, gives credibility to the prediction.
THE OTHER WORKS
THE EMPEROR JULIAN,
RELATIVE TO THE CHRISTIANS
EPISTLE II. TO THE ALEXANDRIANS.
As the founder of your city is Alexander, and your ruler and tutelar deity King
Serapis, together with the virgin his associate, and the Queen of all Egypt,
Isis, ...., you do not emulate a healthy city, but the diseased part dares to
arrogate to itself the name of [the whole] city. By the gods, men of
Alexandria, I should be very much ashamed, if, in short, any Alexandrian should
acknowledge himself to be a Galilean.
The ancestors of the Hebrews were formerly slaves to the Egyptians. But now, men of Alexandria, you, the conquerors of Egypt (for Egypt was conquered by your founder), sustain a voluntary servitude to the despisers of your national dogmas, in opposition to your ancient sacred institutions. And you do not recollect your former felicity, when all Egypt had communion with the [p.78] gods, and we enjoyed an abundance of good. But, tell me, what advantage has accrued to your city from those who now introduce among you a new religion? Your founder was that pious man Alexander of Macedon, who did not, by Jupiter! resemble any one of these, or any of the Hebrews who for excelled them. Even Ptolemy, the son of Lagus, was also superior to them. As to Alexander, if he had encountered, he would have endangered even the Romans. What then did the Ptolemies, who succeeded your founder? Educating your city, like their own daughter, from her infancy, they did not bring her to maturity by the discourses of Jesus, nor did they construct the form of government through which she is now happy, by the doctrine of the odious Galileans.
Thirdly, After the Romans became its masters, taking it from the bad government of the Ptolemies, Augustus visited your city, and thus addressed the citizens: "Men of Alexandria, I acquit your city of all blame, out of regard to the great god Serapis, and also for the sake of the people, and the grandeur of the city. A third cause of my kindness to you is my friend Areus." This Areus, the [p.79] companion of Augustus Caesar, and a philosopher, was your fellow-citizen.
The particular favours conferred on your city by the Olympic gods were, in short, such as these. Many more, not to be prolix, I omit. But those blessings which the apparent gods bestow in common every day, not on one family, nor on a single city, but on the whole world, why do you not acknowledge? Are you alone insensible of the splendour that flows from the sun? Are you alone ignorant that summer and winter are produced by him, and that all things are alone vivified, and alone germinate from him? Do you not, also, perceive the great advantages that accrue to your city from the moon, from him and by him the fabricator of all things? Yet you dare not worship either of these deities; but this Jesus, whom neither you nor your fathers have seen, you think must necessarily be God the word, while him, whom from eternity every generation of mankind has seen, and sees and venerates, and by venerating lives happily, I mean the mighty sun, a living, animated, intellectual, and beneficent image of the intelligible father, you despise. If, however, you [p.80] listen to my admonitions, you will by degrees return to truth. You will not wander from the right path, if you will be guided by him, who, to the twentieth year of his age, pursued that road, but has now worshipped the gods for near twelve years.
THE FRAGMENT OF AN ORATION
OR EPISTLE ON THE DUTIES OF A PRIEST,
If any are detected behaving disorderly to their prince, they are immediately punished; but those who refuse to approach the gods, are possessed by a tribe of evil daemons, who driving many of the atheists [i.e. of the Christians] to distraction, make them think death desirable, that they may fly up into heaven, after having forcibly dislodged their souls. Some of them prefer deserts to towns; but man, being by nature a gentle and social [p.81] animal, they also are abandoned to evil daemons who urge them to this misanthropy; and many of them18 have had recourse to chains and collars. Thus, on all sides, they are impelled by an evil daemon, to whom they have voluntarily surrendered themselves, by forsaking the eternal and saviour gods.
Statues and altars, and the preservation of the unextinguished fire, and, in short, all such particulars, have been established by our fathers as symbols of the presence of the gods; not that we should believe that these symbols are gods, but that through these we should worship the gods. For since we are connected with body, it is also necessary that our worship of the gods should be performed in a corporeal manner; but they are incorporeal. And they, indeed, have exhibited to us as the first of statues, that which ranks as the second genus of gods from the first, and which circularly revolves round the whole of heaven.19 Since, however, a corporeal worship cannot even be paid to these, because they are naturally unindigent, a third kind of statues was devised in the earth, by the worship of which we render the gods [p.82] propitious to us. For as those who reverence the images of kings, who are not in want of any such reverence, at the same time attract to themselves their benevolence; thus, also those who venerate the statues of the gods, who are not in want of any thing, persuade the gods by this veneration to assist and be favourable to them. For alacrity in the performance of things in our power is a test of true sanctity; and it is very evident but he who accomplishes the former, will, in a greater degree, possess the latter. But he who despises things in his power, and afterwards pretends to desire impossibilities, evidently does not pursue the latter, but overlooks the former. For though divinity is not in want of any thing, it does not follow that on this account nothing is to be offered to him. For neither is he in want of celebration through the ministry of words. What then? Is it, therefore, reasonable that he should also be deprived of this? By no means. Neither therefore, is he to be deprived of the honour which is paid him through works; which honour has been legally established, not for three, or for three thousand years, but in all preceding ages, among all nations of the earth.
But [the Galileans will say], O! you who have admitted into your soul every
multitude of daemons, who though, according to you, they are formless and
unfigured, you have fashioned in a corporeal resemblance, it is not fit that
honour should be
paid to divinity through such works. How, then, do we not consider as wood and
stones those statues which are fashioned by the hands of men? O more stupid
than even stones themselves! Do you fancy that all men are to be drawn by the
as you are drawn by execrable daemons, so as to think that the artificial
resemblance of the gods are the gods themselves? Looking, therefore, to the
resemblances of the gods, we do not think them to be either stones or wood; for
we think that the gods are these resemblances; since neither do we say that
royal images are wood, or stone, or brass, nor that they are the kings
themselves, but the images of kings. Whoever, therefore, loves his king, beholds
with pleasure the
image of his king; whoever loves his child is delighted with his image; and
whoever loves his father surveys his image with delight. Hence, also, he who is
a lover of divinity gladly surveys [p.84] the statues and images of the gods; at the same time venerating and fearing
with a holy dread the gods who invisibly behold him. If, therefore, some one
should fancy that these ought never to be corrupted, because they were once
images of the gods, such a one appears to me to be perfectly void of intellect.
For if this were admitted, it is also requisite that they should not be made by
men. That, however, which is produced by a wise and good man may be corrupted
by a depraved and ignorant man. But the gods which circularly revolve about the
heavens, and which are living statues, fashioned by the gods themselves as
resemblances of their unapparent essence,—these remain for ever. No one,
therefore, should disbelieve in the gods, in consequence of seeing and hearing that
some persons have behaved insolently towards statues and temples. For have there
not been many who have destroyed good men, such as Socrates and Dion, and the
great Empedotimus? And who, I well know, have, more than statues or temples,
been taken care of by the gods. See, however, that the gods knowing the body of
these to be corruptible, have [p.85] granted that it should yield and be subservient to nature; but afterwards have
punished those by whom it was destroyed; which clearly happened to be the case
with all the sacrilegious of our time.
Let no one, therefore, deceive us with words, nor disturb us with respect to providential interference. For as to the prophets of the Jews, who reproach us with things, of this kind, what will they say of their own temple, which has been thrice destroyed, but has not been since, even to the present time, rebuilt? I do not, however, say this as reproaching them; for I have thought of rebuilding it, after so long a period, in honour of the divinity who is invoked in it. But I have mentioned this, being willing to show, that it is not possible for any human thing to be incorruptible; and that the prophets who wrote things of this kind were delirious, and the associates of stupid old women. Nothing, however, hinders, I think, but that God may be great, and yet he may not have worthy interpreters [of his will]. But this is because they have not delivered their soul to be purified by the liberal disciplines; nor their eyes, which are profoundly closed, to be [p.86] opened; nor the darkness which oppresses them to be purged away. Hence, like men who survey a great light through thick darkness, neither purely nor genuinely, and in consequence of this do not conceive it to be a pure light, but a fire, and likewise perceiving nothing of all that surrounds it, but loudly exclaim. Be seized with horror, be afraid, a flame, death, a knife, a two-edged sword, expressing by many names the one noxious power of fire. Of these men, however, it is better peculiarly to observe how much inferior their teachers of the words of God are to our poets.
AN EDICT, FORBIDDING THE CHRISTIANS TO TEACH THE LITERATURE OF THE HEATHENS.
We are of opinion that proper erudition consists not in words, nor in elegant
and magnificent language, but in the sane disposition of an intel-
[p.87] ligent soul, and in true opinions of good and evil, and of what is beautiful and
base. "Whoever, therefore, thinks one thing, and teaches another to his
followers, appears to be no less destitute of erudition than he is of virtue.
Even in trifles, if
the mind and tongue be at variance, there is some kind of improbity. But in
affairs of the greatest consequence, if a man thinks one thing, and teaches
another contrary to what he thinks, in what respect does this differ from the
those mean-spirited, dishonest, and abandoned traders, who generally affirm what
they know to be false, in order to deceive and inveigle customers?
All, therefore, who profess to teach, ought to possess worthy manners, and should never entertain opinions opposite to those of the public; but such especially, I think, ought to be those who instruct youth, and explain to them the works of the ancients, whether they are orators or grammarians; but particularly if they are sophists. For these last affect to be the teachers, not only of words, but of manners, and assert that political philosophy is their peculiar province. Whether, [p.88] therefore, this be true or not, I shall not at present consider. I commend those who make such specious promises, and should commend them much more if they did not falsify and contradict themselves by thinking one thing, and teaching their scholars another. What then? Were not Homer, Hesiod, Demosthenes, Herodotus, Thucydides, Isocrates, and Lysias, the leaders of all erudition? And did not some of them consider themselves sacred to Mercury, but others to the Muses? I think, therefore, it is absurd for those who explain their works to despise the gods whom they honoured.
I do not mean (for I think it would be absurd) that they should change their opinions for the sake of instructing youth; but I give them their option, either not to teach what they do not approve, or, if they choose to teach, first to persuade their scholars that neither Homer, nor Hesiod, nor any of those whom they expound and charge with impiety, madness, and error concerning the gods, are really such as they represent them to be. For as they receive a stipend, and are maintained by their works, if they can act [p.89] with such duplicity for a few drachms, they confess themselves guilty of the most sordid avarice.
Hitherto, indeed, many causes have prevented their resorting to the temples; and the dangers that every-where impended were a plea for concealing the most true opinions of the gods. But now, since the gods have granted us liberty, it seems to me absurd for any to teach those things to men which they do not approve. And if they think that those writers whom they expound, and of whom they sit as interpreters, are wise, let them first zealously imitate their piety towards the gods. But if they think they have erred in their conceptions of the most honourable natures [the gods], let them go into the churches of the Galileans, and there expound Matthew and Luke, by whom, being persuaded, you forbid sacrifices. I wish that your ears and your tongues were (as you express it) regenerated in those things of which I wish that myself, and all who in thought and deed are my friends, may always be partakers.
To masters and teachers let this be a common [p.90] law. But let no youths be prevented from resorting to whatever schools they please. It would be as unreasonable to exclude children, who know not yet what road to take, from the right path, as it would be to lead them by fear and with reluctance to the religious rites of their country. And though it would be just to cure such reluctance, like madness, even by force, yet let all be indulged with that disease. For I think it is requisite to instruct, and not to punish the ignorant.
* * *
Julian was certainly right in forbidding the Christians to teach the literature of the heathens: for what business have those with such literature, who profess a religion by which it is despised? The study, therefore of heathen writers by those who call themselves Christians, is nothing more than duplicity; and that Pope who formed the design of destroying all the writings of the heathens, was certainly a consistent Christian, though a most execrable barbarian. He deserves to be ranked among the first of the saints, but was at least upon a level with the greatest savage!
That the reader, however, may be fully convinced that human learning is despised both by the founder of the Christian religion and his apostles, let him attend to the following testimonies from the scriptures themselves.
And, first, let us hear what Paul says, whom Julian calls the greatest of impostors: "I speak as a fool, I am more."20 And again, "Take me as a fool." And, further, "I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly." And, in another place, "We are fools, for Christ's sake." Again, "If anyone among you seem to be wise, let him be a fool, that he may be wise." Farther, still, "God hath chosen the foolish things of this world." And, "It pleased God by foolishness to save the world." God himself, also, is made to say by the mouth of his prophet, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and cast away the undertaking of the prudent." And Christ gives him thanks that he had concealed the mystery of salvation from the wise, but revealed it to babes and sucklings, that is to say, fools; for the Greek word for babes is νηπιοι, i.e., fools, which he opposes to the word σοφοι, i.e. wise men. In Luke, also, Jesus called those two disciples with whom he joined himself upon the way, fools. And, throughout the Gospel, you find him ever accusing the scribes and pharisees, and doctors of the law, but diligently defending the ignorant multitude. For what else is the meaning of, "Woe to ye scribes and pharisees!" than Woe to ye wise men? He, also, seems chiefly delighted with little children, women, and fishermen; carefully recommended folly to his apostles, but cautioned them against wisdom; and drew them together by the example of little children, lilies, mustard-seed, and sparrows, things senseless and inconsiderable, living only by the dictates of nature, and without either craft or care. To which we may add, that God forbade man to eat of the tree of knowledge, as if knowledge were the bane of happiness; and hence Paul disallows it, as puffing up and destructive. To all which we may further add, that in scripture there is frequent mention of harts, hinds, and lambs; and such as are destined to eternal life are called sheep, than which creature there is not anything more foolish, if we may believe that proverb of Aristotle, sheepish natures, which he tells us is taken from the foolishness of that creature, and is usually applied to dull-headed people, and lack-wits. And yet Christ professes to be the shepherd of his flock, and is himself delighted with the name of a lamb!
PREFACE TO THE REPRINT OF 1873
In the present day many works are published with the openly avowed intention of destroying Christianity. I therefore feel it a duty in bringing a work opposed to Christianity before the Public, openly to declare that I do so in the interest and on behalf of Christianity. I cannot do better, before going further, than quote the words of that able writer and well known Bishop, Cardinal Wiseman. In one of his lectures on the 'Connection between Science and Revealed Religion,' (fifth edition, page 250), he writes, "I must, however, premise some observations, which may apply to other cases, in future lectures, as well as the one in hand. Is it useful, it may be asked, or is it wholesome, to bring before you objections against sacred and solemn truths, which have never been proposed to you, and of which you perhaps are ignorant?
Would it not be better to waive illustrations of my theme, that tend to make you
acquainted with religious discussions, or free-thinking assertions, broached in
foreign countries, but totally excluded from your own? Were I addressing an
illiterate assembly, or were these lectures directed to the instruction of those
who have not travelled—I will not say, out of their own country, but—out of
their own literature, I own I might be inclined to avoid the mooting of such
dangerous inquiries. Or, were the rationalist philosophy of the continent, of
that seductive kind, which ensnares the dallying imagination, or catches the
unwary and casual inquirer, I should feel it a duty to close, rather than to
open, any avenue, which could lead into its enchanted gardens. But the case is
far otherwise in both regards. For, in the first place, all know in general,
that many such strange Fond objections have been made by philosophers of France
or Germany; however superficially acquainted with literature in these two
countries, in fifty years, is familiar with these who have laboured in the
unholy [p.vii] work. Now, I apprehend that there is no more danger in the vague impression,
that learned and able men have rejected Christianity, as irreconcilable with
their scientific discoveries or meditations, than in the particular examination
of the grounds on which they specifically based their rejection. An able critic
has observed, that it was a pity the writings of Julian the Apostate were lost,
as it would have been interesting to see what so learned and ingenious a man
could object to Christianity. This species of conjecture, and of longing regret,
is a thousand times more mischievous than the works themselves could possibly
The Cardinal's opinion of Julian enables me, as a Catholic, without hesitation to reprint this work.
Many persons would have imagined that the Apostate Emperor who was so learned, would have written in a way most dangerous to Christianity. It is true the spirit is detestable but the matter is most weak. I have, then, reprinted this book for the following reasons:
1st, As a curiosity.
2nd, As showing the weakness of Julian's writings, and thus preventing the
"conjecture,'' and "longing regret" spoken of by the Cardinal.
3rd. To show that the flippant infidelity of the present day is drawn from the same source; and, that the objections are very similar.
4th. As a valuable work for students of early history, who will be glad to have in a small space the line of thought taken by the Persecutor of the Church of Christ.
Infidels will find no new weapon. Christians will not be puzzled or have hard nuts to crack; but though this is so, yet I beg my Reader's patience for a few minutes ere passing on to the 'Arguments.'
I take this opportunity, of saying, in what an unfair manner men who have what are called "Religious Difficulties" proceed.
Is it to be supposed that an enemy is the proper person to apply to about his foe? Should I, if I wished to get an opinion of Englishmen ask a Fenian? No! yet directly a man has 'doubts' he forthwith, instead of asking information from those whose life is spent in study on [p.ix] 'Religion' seeks men and books which only tend to lead him from his Religious Belief.
Again, men will not go to the root of a subject; they are too often content with a brief criticism. Over and over again have I heard young men raise objections to Christianity, and, when I asked them where they heard them, I am told, "Oh! the 'Pall Mall Gazette' says so." I ask him, "Do you know who wrote the article?" "No," he replies. I ask him if he has certified the truth of the quotations and observations of the unknown writer. He again says "No."
This is the curse of the present day,—anonymous writing. Could the man who lays great weight on an article because written in the 'Pall Mall Gazette' or 'Times,' learn who the writer was, he might often say to him, "What the do you know about the matter?" Could he know that many of the. writers for the press are barristers who are briefless, doctors who have no patients, clergymen without livings; in short, men who have foiled in their own professions, he would no longer bow down to that "Unknown God"—the anonymous newspaper article. Might [p.x] I, in one word, recommend any young man who reads this book to take the following advice:—Don't play with a subject, but consult the works of great men, and when you can, those whose lives are spent on the subjects which puzzle you; and, never leave a subject till it is logically and rationally settled to your satisfaction.
The Divinity of our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, is denied by infidels, and not firmly believed and boldly maintained by many who profess to bear His name,—to be Christians.
I do not pretend in a Preface to defend Christianity; let those who really doubt its truth go to able men, such as the Jesuits at Farm Street, or Dr. Newman, and they will return satisfied. But some may take up this work who have doubts, but who are not willing opponents of Christianity. A few words to them. Dr. Newman, writing on Natural Religion, observes, speaking of God, "What strikes the mind so forcibly and so painfully is. His absence (if I may so speak) from His own world. It is a silence that speaks. It is as if others had got possession of His work. Why does not He, our Maker and Ruler, give us [p.xi] some immediate knowledge of Himself? Why does He not write His moral nature in large letters upon the face of History. On the contrary, He is specially a 'Hidden God.' .... My true informant, my burdened conscience, gives me at once the true answer to each of these antagonistic questions:—it pronounces without any misgiving that God exists:—it pronounces too quite as surely that I am alienated from Him; that 'His hand is not shortened, but that our iniquities have divided between us and God.'"
Dr. Newman, having thus spoken of the apparent absence of God from His own world, touchingly illustrates his argument by bringing before us the misery that we see around us. "Not only is the Creator far off, but some being of malignant nature seems, as I have said, to have got hold of us, and to be making us his sport. Let us say there are a thousand millions of men on the earth at this time; who can weigh and measure the aggregate of pain which this one generation has endured and will endure from birth to death? Then add to this all the pain which has fallen and will fall upon our race through centuries past [p.xii] and to come. Is there not then some great gulf fixed between us and the good God?"
Dr. Newman here appeals to our reason and our feelings, and none who have suffered can say that what he says is not true. If then there has been an alienation between the Almighty and man, is there no Mediator? The Atonement is the answer.
Is not the world a mystery if we simply believe in some vague Almighty Being, and Man? But grant the alienation between God and Man, and then the misery and woe that exists is explained. Grant also that the Son of God took on Himself our nature to restore us again to favour with God, then we see a key to all our puzzles.
So the Incarnation is a rational way of explaining what otherwise is a woeful mystery.
But again. God is infinite, Man is finite; in Jesus Christ the two are united—the chasm between the Creator and the Creature is crossed over. And once more, to the Historian, I would say this:—History shows that a Messiah was universally expected. A Messiah, one who claimed to be such came at a time and in a place before prophesied.
The Messiah, Jesus Christ, not only claimed to be God-sent, but to be God. Here
then there are three alternatives.
Either Jesus Christ was God—No. 1.
Or He was an Impostor—No. 2.
Or He was deceived—No. 3.
Let men examine the Old Testament, as a historical narrative (apart from Inspiration); let them study the life of Jesus Christ and the opinions of those who knew Him best; let them see how wild Indians, Orientals, Mahometans, and, in a word, all Religions, have made for themselves a link between the Infinite and Finite, either in the shape of an Idol, or a Grand Lama, or the Sun; and, in thus doing, they bear universal unanimous witness to the desire and opinion of the world that there must be a Revelation from God to Man, that there must be some link between God and Man, that there is not simply a supreme Being in Heaven and "Man on Earth. Is this testimony, this universal feeling which has existed from the creation of Man, to be swept away as of no value by the shallow philosophers of the nineteenth century? Has the universal craving for a God [p.xiv] with kindred feelings, with a loving heart, to be put down as a silly idea?
Oh! Good God—that men should talk of the Progress of our Day! Look at the heart-rending poverty—at the troubles which none know but ourselves—at the skeletons which each family has, unknown to the world; and then with all this woe, with no year passing without pain to every child of man—with all this, am I to be told that the one solace and comfort we have—the one bright hope which carries us on—that it is a lie! Is Jesus Christ an Impostor? Are the millions and millions who have loved Him been deceived; and have the ten thousands who have died for His Name—died for a scoundrel?
How easy by a warm fire-side, smoking a pipe, stretched at ease on a sofa, is it to laugh at Christianity—to sneer at Religion. Let sorrow come, and the scene is far different. Already have I said more than I intended, but I will relate a true adventure which happened to me about four years ago. It is to the point. At Dresden I met an Englishman of good family, Mr. H. he was an artist. As is natural we saw a good deal of [p.xvi] each other. He had fought with Garibaldi, and was an Infidel. He said Dr. Newman did not believe in Christ, and in fact that nobody really did so. I passed three weeks with him, and on leaving for Breslau I said to him, H., if ever you should want a friend remember my address. It was providential that I did so. About two years after, when in England, I had a letter forwarded to me containing a few shaky lines, as follows: "Dear Nevins, I am dying, for the love of God come to me and bring a priest with you." I went at once, but found him too far gone to be of much use. He said, however, "I wish to die a Catholic." A few words of repentance were got from him ere he died. This man had been a professed Infidel. He was a well known man to many Italians. His end showed that the bed of death shows that our only hope is in the Cross of Christ. Many a man who in life has spread infidelity around him, in death bitterly repents the evil he has done. I trust, should any Infidels read this book, that the death-bed I have mentioned may strike their hearts in time.
Julian on his death-bed was forced to cry out, "The Nazarene hath conquered."
1 This work consisted of seven books.
2 viz. The works of Plotinus, Porphyry, Iamblichus, Syrianus, Proclus, Ammonius, Damascius, Olympiodorus and Simplicius.
3 Much indolence and confusion took place in the heathen religion during its decline and fall under the Roman emperors. But this by no means militates against the excellence of that religion; since, as Aristotle justly observes, the best things are subject to the greater corruptions.
4 This is demonstrated by Aristotle in his treatise On the Heavens.
5 Whatever is produced by an inferior is at the same time produced of a superior cause, and therefore the heavens are both moved by a divine soul inhabiting in them, and by the cause of all.
6 The Mosaic account of the creation is doubtless a fable derived from the Egyptian mythology, but barbarized by the Jewish narrator.
7 The battle of the giants against the Olympian gods, signifies the opposition between the last fabricative powers of the universe and such as are first. And Minerva is said to have vanquished the giants, because she rules over these ultimate artificers of things by her unifying powers.
8 Minos and Rhadamanthus were intellectual heroes illuminated by Jupiter, who raised themselves from the whole of a visible nature to true being, and meddled with mortal concerns no farther than absolute necessity required.
9 By the seas of the mighty Jupiter, Julian means the Capitol, or the Capitoline mount, which was so denominated from the head of a man called Tolus, which was found by the workman when they were digging the foundation of the temple of Jupiter, who on this account was called Jupiter Capitolinus.
10 Æsculapius was a hero of the order of Apollo, who descended from that deity for the benefit of mankind.
11 Julian here alludes to the contests between the Arians and Trinitarians.
12 There is here an unfortunate chasm in the original.
13 i.e. The looseness of the skin about the roots of the nails of the fingers.
14 i.e. Gods who avert misfortune and evil accidents. Apollo and Hercules were of the number of these gods among the Greeks, as Castor and Pollux among the Romans, and they were from hence called αποτροπαιο.
15 The becoming of all things to all men, was doubtless a part of the creed of Peter as well as of Paul.
16 The vulgar translation is, "Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments."
17 Servius, in his Commentary on Vergil, says, that formerly fires were not kindled on altars, but drawn from heaven by prayer; apud majores aræ non incendebantur sed ignem divinum precibus eliciebant.
18 The Cappadocian monks and hermits.
19 Meaning those divine bodies the celestial orbs, which in consequence of participating a divine life from the incorporeal powers from which they are suspended, may be very properly called secondary gods.
20 i.e. I am a knave. For it is very possible for a man to be a knave, and yet a fool in things of greatest consequence.