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1 This Simon, a friend of Felix, a Jew, born in Cyprus, though he pretended to be a magician, and seems to have been wicked enough, could hardly be that famous Simon the magician, in the Acts of the Apostles, 8:9, etc., as some are ready to suppose. This Simon mentioned in the Acts was not properly a Jew, but a Samaritan, of the town of Gittae, in the country of Samaria, as the Apostolical Constitutions, VI. 7, the Recognitions of Clement, II. 6, and Justin Martyr, himself born in the country of Samaria, Apology, I. 34, inform us. He was also the author, not of any ancient Jewish, but of the first Gentile heresies, as the forementioned authors assure us. So I suppose him a different person from the other. I mean this only upon the hypothesis that Josephus was not misinformed as to his being a Cypriot Jew; for otherwise the time, the name, the profession, and the wickedness of them both would strongly incline one to believe them the very same. As to that Drusilla, the sister of Agrippa, junior, as Josephus informs us here, and a Jewess, as St. Luke informs us, Acts 24:24, whom this Simon mentioned by Josephus persuaded to leave her former husband, Azizus, king of Emesa, a proselyte of justice, and to marry Felix, the heathen procurator of Judea, Tacitus, Hist. V. 9, supposes her to be a heathen; and the grand-daughter of Antonius and Cleopatra, contrary both to St. Luke and Josephus. Now Tacitus lived somewhat too remote, both as to time and place, to be compared with either of those Jewish writers, in a matter concerning the Jews in Judea in their own days, and concerning a sister of Agrippa, junior, with which Agrippa Josephus was himself so well acquainted. It is probable that Tacitus may say true, when he informs us that this Felix (who had in all three wives, or queens, as Suetonius in Claudius, sect. 28, assures us) did once marry such a grandchild of Antonius and Cleopatra; and finding the name of one of them to have been Drusilla, he mistook her for that other wife, whose name he did not know.
2 This eruption of Vesuvius was one of the greatest we have in history. See Bianchini's curious and important observations on this Vesuvius, and its seven several great eruptions, with their remains vitrified, and still existing, in so many different strata under ground, till the diggers came to the antediluvian waters, with their proportionable interstices, implying the deluge to have been above two thousand five hundred years before the Christian era, according to our exactest chronology.
3 This is now wanting.
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