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[174] I have been obliged to set down these decree because the present history of our own acts will go generally among the Greeks; and I have hereby demonstrated to them that we have formerly been in great esteem, and have not been prohibited by those governors we were under from keeping any of the laws of our forefathers; nay, that we have been supported by them, while we followed our own religion, and the worship we paid to God; and I frequently make mention of these decrees, in order to reconcile other people to us, and to take away the causes of that hatred which unreasonable men bear to us. As for our customs 1 there is no nation which always makes use of the same, and in every city almost we meet with them different from one another; but natural justice is most agreeable to the advantage of all men equally, both Greeks and barbarians, to which our laws have the greatest regard, and thereby render us, if we abide in them after a pure manner, benevolent and friendly to all men; on which account we have reason to expect the like return from others, and to inform them that they ought not to esteem difference of positive institutions a sufficient cause of alienation, but [join with us in] the pursuit of virtue and probity, for this belongs to all men in common, and of itself alone is sufficient for the preservation of human life. I now return to the thread of my history.

2

1 The remaining part of this chapter is remarkable, as justly distinguishing natural justice, religion, and morality, from positive institutions in all countries, and evidently preferring the former before the latter, as did the true prophets of God always under the Old Testament, and Christ and his New; whence Josephus seems to have been at this time nearer Christianity than were the Scribes and Pharisees of his age; who, as we know from the New Testament, were entirely of a different opinion and practice.

2 HOW, UPON HEROD'S GOING DOWN INTO DAVID'S SEPULCHER, THE SEDITION IN HIS FAMILY GREATLY INCREASED.

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