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no public worship to be paid, except to the superior and inferior deities, approved by the re
The Egyptian goddess Isis had a temple in Rome to the time of Tiberius, who demolished it, because its priests, having been bribed by Mundus, suffered him to lie with a lady called Paulina in the temple itself, under the name and form of the god Anubis. Indeed this story is to be found only in Josephus, who did not live at that time; and was moreover a credu. lous and exaggerating writer : and there is very little probability, that, in so enlightened an age as that of Tiberius, a lady of the first distinction in Rome, could be so weak to believe that a god cohabited with her.
But whether this anecdote be true or false, this one thing is certain, that the Egyptian idolatry was in the possession of a temple at Rome with the public consent. The Jews had also lived as traders in that city ever since the Punic war ; they had their synagogues there in the time of Augustus, and alınost always continued to have them in the same manner as they now have in modern Rome. Can we defire a stronger inftance, that the Romans looked upon tolera
tion as the most facred of all the laws of nations ?
We are told, that as soon as the Christian religion began to make its appearance, its followers were perfecuted by these very Romans who persecuted no one. This fact, however, appears to me to be evidently false, and I defire no better authority than that of St. Paul himfelf. In the acts of the Apostles *, we are told, that St. Paul being accused by the Jews of attempting to overturn the Mosaic law by that of Jesus Christ, St. James proposed to him to fhave his head, and go into the temple with four Jews, and purify himself with them, “ That all men may know, says he, that those " things whereof they were informed concern« ing thee, are nothing, but that thou thyself « doft keep the law of Moses."
Accordingly, we find that St. Paul, though a Christian, submitted to perform these Jewish ceremonies for the space of seven days; but before the expiration of this time, the Jews of Asia, who knew him again, seeing him in the
temple, not only with Jews but Gentiles also, cried out, that he had polluted the holy place, and laid hands upon him. drew him out of the temple, and carried him before the governor Felix: they afterwards accused him at the judge ment-seat of Feftus, whither the Jews came in crowds demanding his death. But Feftus anfwered them, “ It is not the manner of the " Romans to deliver any man to die, before 66 that he which is accused have the accusers 66 face to face, and have licence to answer for 36 himself t."
These words of the Roman magistrate are more remarkable, as he appears to have been no favourer of St. Paul, but rather to have held him in contempt, for, imposed upon by the false lights of his own reason, he took him for a person besides himself; nay, he expressly says, to him, “ Much learning hath made thee mad 8.” Feftus then, was entirely guided by the equity of the Roman law, in taking under his protection a stranger, for whom he could have no regard.
† Acts 25.
§ Ibid. 26
Here then we have the word of God itself declaring, that the Romans were a just people, and no persecutors. Besides, it was not the Romans who laid violent hands on St. Paul, but the Jews. St. James, the brother of Jesus, was stoned to death by order of a Sadducee Jew, and not by that of a Roman judge: it was the Jews alone who put St. Stephen to death I; and though St. Paul held the clothes of those who stoned him, he certainly did not act then as a Roman citizen.
The primitive Christians had certainly no cause of complaint against the Romans ;. the Jews, from whom they at that time began to
| Though the power of life and death in criminal matters had been taken from the Jews after the banishment of Archelaus into the country of the Allobroges, and that Judea had been governed as a province; nevertheless, the Romans frequently winked at the exertion of a judicial power by these people on any particular occasion that related merely to those of their own sect ; such as for inftance, when in any sudden tumult, they out of zeal stoned to death the person whom they thought guilty of blasphemy.
separate themselves, were their only enemies, Every one knows the implacable hatred all seco taries bare to those who quit their sect. There, doubtless, were several tumults in the synagogues at Rome. Suetonius, in his life of Claudius, has these words, Judæos impulsore Christo assidue tumultuantes Roma expulit. He is wrong in saying, that it was at the instigation of Christ they raised commotions in Rome, but he could not be acquainted with all the circumstances relating to a people who were held in such con, tempt at Rome as the Jews were; and, however mistaken he may have been in this particular, yet he is right as to the occasion of these commotions. Suetonius wrote in the reign of Adrian in the second century, when the Chris. tians were not distinguished from the Jews by the Romars: therefore this passage of Suetonius is a proof, that the Romans, so far from opprefling the primitive Christians, chastised the Jews who persecuted them, being desirous that the Jewish fynagogue at Rome should show the same indulgence to its diffenting brethren, as it received itself from the Roman senate ; and we find from Dion Caffius and Ulpian, that the Jews who were thus banished from Rome,