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An Ecclesiastical History To The 20th Year Of The Reign Of Constantine by Eusebius

“WE have not therefore among us innumerable books that disagree and contradict each other, but only two and twenty, embracing the record of all history, and which are justly considered divine compositions. Of these, five are the books of Moses, comprehending both the laws and the tradition respecting the origin of man, down to his own death. This time comprehends a space of nearly three thousand years. But from Moses until the death of Artaxerxes, who reigned after Xerxes king of Persia, the prophets after Moses wrote the events of their day in thirteen books. The remaining four, comprehend hymns to the praise of God, and precepts for the regulation of human life. From Artaxerxes until our own times, the events are all recorded, but they are not deemed of authority equal with those before them, because that there was not an exact succession of the prophets. But it is evident from the thing itself, how we regard these books of ours. For in the lapse of so many ages, no one has dared either to add to them, or to take from them, or to change them, but it has been implanted in all Jews, from the very origin of the nation, to consider them as the doctrines of God, and to abide by them, and cheerfully to die for them, if necessary.” These declarations of this historian, I thought might be properly here subjoined. There is also another work, of no mean execution, by the same writer, “On the Supremacy of Reason,” which, indeed, is entitled by some Maccabaicum, because it contains the conflicts of those Hebrews that contended manfully for the true religion, as is related in the books called Maccabees. And at the end of the twentieth book of his Antiquities, the same author intimates, that he had purposed to write four books on God, and his existence, according to the peculiar opinions of the Jewish nation; also on the laws, wherefore it is permitted by them to do some things, whilst others are forbidden. Other subjects, he says, are also discussed by him in his works. In addition to these, it seems proper to subjoin also the expressions that he uses at the close of his Antiquities, in confirmation of the testimony that we have taken from him. For when he accuses Justus of Tiberias, who, like himself, attempted the history of his own times, and convicts him of not writing according to truth, after upbraiding him with many other misdemeanours, he also adds the following language: “I am not, however, afraid respecting my writings, as you are; but have presented them to the emperors themselves, as the facts occurred almost under their eyes. For I was conscious of adhering closely to the truth in my narration, and hence was not disappointed in expecting to receive their testimony. To many others, also, did I hand my history, some of whom were present at the war, as king Agrippa and some of his relatives. For the emperor Titus desired so much that the knowledge of these events should be communicated to the world, that with his own hand he authorized their publication.” And king Agrippa wrote sixty-two letters bearing testimony to their truth, of which Josephus subjoined two. But this may suffice respecting him. Let us now proceed to what follows in order.








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