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only evidence we have that he committed the crime at all, is the sentence of the court; and though no open bribery was there proved, yet when we consider the defenceless condition of the boy, the uncertainty of the law, and the chicanery of the lawyers, together with the strength of the popular odium, there can scarcely remain a doubt on the reader's mind, that this unhappy youth died to appease those passions which demand an atonement, but are careless to find the right victim.'
Yet this book, with all the talents and malignity with which it is written, may be made one of the most harmless volumes that was ever delivered by hoary wisdom into the hands of unsuspecting youth. The bubbles of Hume's history vanish at a touch; and a single note, at the bottom of a page, might blow them into the air of which they were originally made. Thus, when he makes us pity the innocent Mary, weeping before the brutal Knox, it is only necessary to state a few facts of which that innocence was composed, (facts of the historian's own concession,) and the scene may safely be left to speak for itself. The tears of a beautiful young queen, are of great account, no doubt, in romance and tragedy. But when we remember that a woman's tears are sometimes her most effectual weapons; that Mary was a papist, and in league with her uncles, the Guises, the most determined papists Europe ever saw, in a plot actually to put down the protestants; that they even went so far as to think of dethroning Elizabeth ; that power, and wealth, and treachery, and arms, are on one side, and that a solitary and intrepid spirit, in the form of a Christian minister, stands on the other-the griefs of Mary, though a youthful queen, will not be thought very pathetic, except by those who have chivalry enough to place the tears of a woman above the destinies of mankind. How potent is truth, when the sophistry of Hume only serves at last more clearly to reveal it !
PUNISHMENT OF THE CROSS.
The ingenuity of men in the invention of penal tortures, has well nigh equalled their ingenuity in the invention of crime. They have seemed to think, that the more terrific and revolting a chastisement is, so much the stronger will be the reluctance to incur it. In this they have forgotten that certainty, rather than severity of retribution, deters from sin; and that any apparent savageness in the penal code, instead of repressing insubordination, excites to it. The spectacle of a barbarous punishment blunts the sensibility of the observer, annihilates his pliableness to moral consideration, removes sympathy from the side of justice to that of an injured criminal, inflames the recreant spirit to a fearlessness of all milder penalties, and a willingness to hazard such as, though terrific, are yet uncertain and are apt, whenever inflicted, to gain flattering commiseration. The history, then, of punishment on the cross, as it detects the secret efficacy of all punishment, commends itself to the notice of all who are interested in legislating. For a different reason, it commends itself to Christians. This was the punishment inflicted on their Master. In enduring its agonies, consisted partly his atonement. If they wish to learn the cost of the atonement, they will wish to meditate on the extent of those agonies.
It has long been a point in debate, whether the Jews ever adopted this punishment, before their subjection to Rome. I. Casaubon, J. Scaliger, D. H. Muller, J. M. Dilherr, and others, have strenuously contended that they never did; and to support the negative of the question, have relied principally on two arguments, which may now be noticed.
The first argument is derived from the Hebrew language. This contains no word, denoting specifically either crucifixion or the cross; and the Rabbins, when desiring to specify either, are compelled to use a circumlocution. But what if the language has no word appropriate, in its original meaning, to the cross, or the punishment upon it? It has many general terms, which were used secondarily with this particular import. Thus the word a tree,” “wood,”
may as well have been applied to the cross, as the Latin “ lignum," "arbor," or the Greek “ Evlov," which were frequently applied so. * The verb "to be wrenched," "dislocated," etc. may be easily made to denote crucifixion, because, says Schindler, " the limbs of those who are crucified are distorted and wrenched.” Gesenius accordingly construes the Hiphil of this word, “ to suspend upon á stake," and the Jewish Targum translates the plural of it in 2 Sam. xxi. 6, “we will crucify." So the verb obo, to hang,” may, especially when united with
Sy,“ upon the wood,” denote to crucify, as well as the majority of Greek and Latin words, denoting the same. Gesenius assigns this meaning to it, in Gen. xl. 22; Deut. xxi. 23.
The second argument is derived from Jewish testimony. The Rabbins assert, that four kinds of capital punishment were used by their nation—" stoning, burning, the application of the sword, and strangling.” They describe the mode of strangling, and show that it was performed without the use of wood, and without any suspension of the body. On this point, however, the Rabbins give us witness against witness; for the Targum, Ruth ch. i. v. 17, substitutes for strangling, as the fourth punishment, an altogether distinct one, “the suspension on wood.” In reference to this suspension, the Codex Sanhedrim asserts, “ the custom has never obtained in Israel, to fix nails in the feet or hands of the men who are hung; they are hung with their hands bound to the wood.” But to this assertion it may be replied, first, in the words of Clozius, lib. i. p. 256, “ the Jews did not always use nails in suspension, sometimes only cords ; " secondly, after the time of Constantine, cords alone were used, and some expressions in the Targum doubtless refer to the punishment as it was then modified ; thirdly, some of the Jewish writers, anxious to invalidate the proof of the Saviour's passion, were equally anxious to prove, that their countrymen so abhorred the punishment which he is pretended to have borne, as to prevent their ever being accessary to it; and this anxiety to establish a favorite dogma, as it would have driven all men, so above all, it drove the Jews to many extravagant and incredible statements.
* See the Vulgate translation, and the original Greek of Acts v. 30; x. 39; xiii. 29; Gal. ii. 13; 1 Pet. i. 24. VOL. I.
There are several authors, Lipsius, Clozius, and others, who have labored, and that successfully, to prove that the Jews did punish by crucifixion. We read in Deut. xxi. 23, that the man “who is hanged, is accursed of God.'
Is not the same mode of hanging intended in this and the preceding verse, as in Gal. iii. 13, which seems to be a quotation from this ? D. Clozius says,* " the use of the gallows, on which the man dies by means of a cord around his neck, was unknown to the Greeks, Romans, or Jews, before the time of Constantine, who substituted this mode of suspension for that by nails;” and Salmasius, after a long examination of the subject, says, “whatever things are recorded before Constantine, about hanging upon the wood, tree, or cross, are to be applied specifically to crucifixion, the only mode of hanging which was used before that period.” With this fact in view, we must interpret 2 Sam. xxi. 6–9, as an instance of crucifixion. Another instance is in Josh. viii. 29, where the king of Ai is said to have been" hung upon a tree,” “éntà Gule Sidvus,” according to the Septuagint, “ the double cross," the instrument appropriated to suspension by the hands and feet. Another proof that this was a Jewish punishment, is found in Josh. x. 26. Junius, Tremellius, and others, suppose the five kings here spoken of to have been killed by their suspension, and not before it. Be this as it may, it was a common custom to suspend the criminal's body after death. Suetonius, c. 74, records that “ Julius Cæsar commanded the pirates first to be killed, and then, simply for disgrace, affixed to the cross ;” and the Talmud, Sanhedrim, c. 6, testifies that condemned criminals were first punished with death, afterwards were hung. The suspension of the kings, whether prior or posterior to their death, proves that the cross was not unknown in Judea. Unequivocal evidence of the same fact is found in Josephus. He says of John Hyrcanus Alexander, prince of his nation, called also Alexander Janneus, that "eight hundred captives he crucified in the middle of the city," and that “ the Jews were so careful about burials, as to take down by sunset men who had been crucified, and bury them."
This evidence, perhaps, may convince us, that the peculiar people did sometimes, it is admitted that they did not
* Tractatus de doloribus animal. Christi. p. 258.
† Epist. de Cruce. p. 427.
uniformly, nor perhaps generally, crucify their malefactors. The evidence must be heightened by the fact that other nations did the same, particularly those who exerted over Judea the most commanding influence.*
At a very early date, we hear of crucifixion among the Egyptians. Moses mentions it in Gen. xl. 19, 20, where the Vulgate translates," he shall suspend thee upon the cross, and Josephus, " he shall deliver thee, being fired to the cross, to be devoured by birds.” Thucydides describes the crucifixion of a king, Justin of several women, in Egypt.
We next hear of the punishment among the Persians. See Esther ii. 23; vii. 10; ix. 14. Josephus calls the gallows here mentioned oravpos. Herodotus relates, that sometimes the Persian criminal was put to death in an easier mode than that of crucifixion, and immediately after death was exhibited on the cross, so as to receive the odium of the punishment, without its agonies.
The Carthaginians seem to have been smitten with a passion for this kind of penalty. They applied it not only to the ignoble, but to the most illustrious. Valerius says, that they crucified their generals, even if just returned from victory, whenever they appeared to have been led on to victory by a bad design. Justin tells us of Bomilcar, whom he calls king of Carthage, who, while suffering all the torments of a public crucifixion, harangued the spectators with a vehement and unconquered spirit, inveighed against their crimes, and incensed them by his bitter though merited
The cross was early used in Assyria, according to Diodorus Siculus ; in Greece, according to Plutarch, Quintus Curtius, Justinius ; in Germany, according to Tacitus; and indeed in almost every land of which a history has come down to us.
It is still used by Mohammedans in the East. Livy dates its introduction into Rome, at the time of Tullus. He is probably correct; though Cicero dates it at the reign of Tarquin the Proud, who certainly applied the torture with all the zeal of one who had introduced it as a novelty. The use of it became more general, as the republic increased. We read of the crucifixion of five hundred and upwards in a single day, by Titus ; of about two thou
* For an extended discussion of this topic, see Dissertatio Georgii Moe. bii, de supplicio crucis, Thesaurus Theologico-Philologicus, 234-240,