יום רביעי, 29 באפריל 2015


Introductory Notice to Remains of the Second and Third Centuries
Under the title of Fragments of the Second and Third Centuries are grouped together, in the Edinburgh series, a mass of valuable illustrative material, which might have been distributed with great advantage through the former volumes, in strict order of chronology. Something is due, however, to the unity of authorship, and to the marked design of the editors of the original edition to let these Fragments stand together, as the work of their accomplished collaborator, the Rev. B. P. Pratten, with whose skill and erudition our readers are already familiar.1
I have contented myself, therefore, with giving approximate order and continuity, on chronological grounds, to the series of names subjoined. Bardesanes has been eliminated here, and placed more appropriately with the Syriac authors. The reader will find references which may aid him in seeking further information. Some of these names are of lasting value and interest in the Church. I prefer to call these "Fragments" their "Remains."
To each of the following names I have prefixed some details of information, with such dates as the learned supply.
The following is the Translator's Introductory Notice-.
The fragments that follow are the productions of writers who lived during the second century or the beginning of the third. Little is known of the writers, and the statements made in regard to them are often very indefinite, and the result of mere conjecture.
1. Quadratus was one of the first of the Christian apologists. He is said to have presented his apology to Hadrian while the emperor was in Athens attending the celebration of the Eleusinian mysteries.
2. Aristo of Pella, a Jew, was the author of a work called The Disputation of Jason and Papiscus. Nothing further is known of him. He flourished in the first half of the second century.
3. Melito was bishop of Sardis, and flourished in the reign of Marcus Aurelius. He wrote many works, but all of them have perished except a few fragments. The genuineness of the Syriac fragments is open to question.
4. Hegesippus also flourished in the time of Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. He is the first ecclesiastical historian; but his book was rather notes for an ecclesiastical history, than a history.
5. Dionysius was bishop of Corinth in the reign of Marcus Aurelius. He wrote letters to various churches.
6. Rhodon went from Asia to Rome, and became a pupil of Tatian. After the lapse of his master into heresy he remained true to the faith, and wrote against heretics.
7. Maximus flourished about the same time as Rhodon, under the emperors Commodus and Severus.
8. Claudius Apollinaris was bishop of Hierapolis, and presented a defense of the Christians to Marcus Aurelius. He wrote many important works, of which we have only a few fragments.
9. Polycrates was bishop of Ephesus. He took part in the controversy on the Passover question. He died about 200 a.d.
10. Theophilus was bishop of Caesarea. He was a contemporary of Polycrates, and, like him, engaged in the Passover controversy.
11. Serapion was ordained bishop of Antioch a.d.190, but almost no other fact of his life is known. He wrote several works.
12. Apollonius wrote a work against the Montanists, probably in the year a.d.210. This is all that is known of him.
13. Pantaenus, probably a Sicilian by birth, passed from Stoicism to Christianity, and went to Judaea to proclaim the truth. He returned to Alexandria, and became president of the catechetical school there, in which post he remained till his death, which took place about the year 212 a.d.
14. The Letter of the Churches in Vienne and Lyons was written shortly after the persecution in Gaul, which took place in a.d.177. It is not known who is the author. Some have supposed that Irenaeus wrote it, but there is no historical testimony to this effect.
Quadratus, Bishop of Athens.1
[a.d. 126.] Quadratus2 is spoken of by Eusebius as a "man of understanding and of Apostolic faith." And he celebrates Aristides as a man of similar character. These were the earliest apologists; both addressed their writings to Hadrian, and they were extant and valued in the churches in the time of Eusebius.
From the Apology for the Christian Religion.1
Our Saviour's works, moreover, were always present: for they were real, consisting of those who had been healed of their diseases, those who had been raised from the dead; who were not only seen whilst they were being healed and raised up, but were afterwards constantly present. Nor did they remain only during the sojourn of the Saviour on earth, but also a considerable time after His departure; and, indeed, some of them have survived even down to our own times.2
Aristo of Pella.
[a.d. 140.] Aristo of Pella1 is supposed to have been a Jew, whose work was designed to help the failing Judaism of his country. Though his work is lost, alike the original and the Latin translation of one "Celsus," it seems to have been a popular tract among Christians of Cyprian's time, and the Latin preface is often suffixed to editions of that Father.
The work of Aristo is known as the Disputation of Papiscus and Jason, and Celsus tells us that Jason was a Hebrew Christian, while his opponent was a Jew of Alexandria. Now, Papiscus owns himself convinced by the arguments of Jason, and concludes by a request to be baptized. Celsus, who seems to have been a heathen or an Epicurean, derides the work with scornful commiseration; but Origen rebukes this, and affirms his respect for the work. All this considered, one must think Aristo was "almost persuaded to be a Christian," and deserves a place among Christian writers.
From the Disputation of Jason and Papiscus.
"I Remember," says Jerome (Comm. ad Gal., cap. iii. comm. 13), "in the Dispute between Jason and Papiscus, which is composed in Greek, to have found it written: `The execration of God is he that is hanged.'"
From the Same Work.
Jerome likewise, in his Hebrew Questions on Genesis, says: "In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth. The majority believe, as it is affirmed also in the Dispute between Fason and Papiscus, and as Tertullian in his book Against Praxeas contends, and as Hilarius too, in his exposition of one of the Psalms, declares, that in the Hebrew it is: `In the Son, God made the heaven and the earth.' But that this is false, the nature of the case itself proves."
Perhaps from the Same Work.
... And when the man himself1 who had instigated them2 to this folly had paid the just penalty (says Eusebius, Hist, iv. 6), "the whole nation from that time was strictly forbidden to set foot on the region about Jerusalem, by the formal decree and enactment of Adrian, who commanded that they should not even from a distance look on their native soil!" So writes Aristo of Pella.
From the Same Work.
I have found this expression Seven heavens (says Maximus, in Scholia on the work concerning the Mystical Theology, ascribed to Dionysius the Areopagite, cap. i. ) also in the Dispute between Papiscus and Jason, written by Aristo of Pella, which Clement of Alexandria, in the sixth book of the Outlines,3 says was composed by Saint Luke.
Concerning the Same Work.
Thus writes Origen: 4 ...in which book a Christian is represented disputing with a Jew from the Jewish Scriptures, and showing that the prophecies concerning the Christ apply to Jesus: although his opponent addresses himself to the argument with no common ability,5 and in a manner not unbefitting his Jewish character.
Melito, the Philosopher.
[a.d. 160-170-177.] Melito1 may have been the immediate successor of the "angel" (or "apostle") of the church of Sardis, to whom our Great High Priest addressed one of the apocalyptic messages. He was an "Apostolic Father" in point of fact; he very probably knew the blessed Polycarp and his disciple Irenaeus. He is justly revered for the diligence with which he sought out the evidence which, in his day, established the Canon of the Old Testament, then just complete.
In the following fragments we find him called Bishop of Sardis, Bishop of Ittica, and Bishop of Ittica. He is also introduced to us as "the Philosopher," and we shall find him styled "the Eunuch" by Polycrates. It is supposed that he had made himself a coelebs "for the kingdom of heaven's sake," without mistaking our Lord's intent, as did Origen. He was not a monk, but accepted a single estate to be the more free and single-eyed in the Master's service. From the encyclopedic erudition of Lightfoot we glean some particulars, as follows:-
1. I have adopted his date, as Lightfoot gives it,-that is, the period of his writings,-under the Antonines. The improbability of seventy years in the episcopate is reason enough for rejecting the idea that he was himself the "angel of the church of Sardis," to whom our Lord sent the terrible rebuke.
2. His silence concerning persecutions under Vespasian, Trojan, and Antoninus Pius cannot be pleaded to exempt them from this stain, against positive evidence to the contrary.
3. A coincidence with Ignatius to the Ephesians2 will be noted hereafter.
4. Melito, with Claudius Apollinaris and even Polycrates, may have been personally acquainted with Ignatius;3 of course, one with another. These lived not far from Smyrna; Asia Minor was, in the first century, the focus of Christian activity.
5. We know of his visit to the East from his own account, preserved by Eusebius. The Christians of proconsular Asia were accustomed to such journeys. Even Clement of Alexandria may have met him, as he seems to have met Tatian and Theodotus.4
6. Melito vouches for the rescript of Hadrian,5 but his supposed reference to the edict of Antoninus does not bear close scrutiny as warrant for its authenticity.6
7. The Apology of our author was addressed to Aurelius in his mid-career as a sovereign, about a.d.170. Justin, Melito, Athenagoras, and Theophilus all tell the same sad story of imperial cruelty. Even when Justin wrote to Antoninus, Marcus was supreme in the councils of the elder emperor.7
8. He became a martyr, probably under Marcus Aurelius, circa a.d.177;8 some eminent critics have even dated his Apology as late as this.
A Discourse Which Was in the Presence of Antoninus Caesar, and He Exhorted1 The Said Caesar to Acquaint Himself with God, and Showed to Him the Way of Truth.
He began to speak as follows:-
"It is not easy," said Melito, "speedily to bring into the right way the man who has a long time previously been held fast by error. It may, however, be effected: for, when a man turns away ever so little from error, the mention of the truth is acceptable to him. For, just as when the cloud breaks ever so little there comes fair weather, even so, when a man turns toward God, the thick cloud of error which deprived him of true vision is quickly withdrawn from before him. For error, like disease2 and sleep, long holds fast those who come under its influence;3 but truth uses the word as a goad, and smites the slumberers, and awakens them; and when they are awake they look at the truth, and also understand it: they hear, and distinguish that which is from that which is not. For there are men who call iniquity righteousness: they think, for example, that it is righteousness for a man to err with the many. But I, for my part, affirm that it is not a good excuse for error that a man errs with the many. For, if one man only sin,4 his sin is great: how much greater will be the sin when many sin together!
"Now, the sin of which I speak is this: when a man abandons that which really exists, and serves that which does not really exist. There `is' that which really exists, and it is called God. He, I say, really exists, and by His power doth everything subsist. This being is in no sense made, nor did He ever come into being; but He has existed from eternity, and will continue to exist for ever and ever. He changeth not, while everything else changes. No eye5 can see Him, nor thought apprehend Him, nor language describe Him; and those who love Him speak of Him thus: `Father, and God of Truth.'
"If, therefore, a man forsake the light, and say that there is another God, it is plain from what he himself says that it is some created thing which he calls God. For, if a man call fire God, it is not God, because it is fire; and, if a man call water God, it is not God, because it is water; and, if he so call this earth on which we tread, or these heavens which are seen by us, or the sun, or the moon, or some one of these stars which run their course without ceasing by Divine command, and do not speed along by their own will, neither are these gods; and, if a man call gold and silver gods, are not these objects things which we use as we please? and, if he so call those pieces of wood which we burn, or those stones which we break, how can these things be gods? For, 1o! they are for the use of man. How can `they' escape the commission of great sin, who in their speech change the great God into those things which, so long as they continue, continue by Divine command?
"But, notwithstanding this, I say that so long as a man does not hear, and so does not discern or understand that there is a Lord over these creatures, he is not perhaps to be blamed: because no one finds fault with a blind man though he walk ever so badly. For, in the same manner as the blind, so men also, when they were seeking after God, stumbled upon stones and blocks of wood; and such of them as were rich stumbled upon gold and silver, and were prevented by their stumblings from finding that which they were seeking after. But, now that a voice has been heard through all the earth,6 declaring that there is a God of truth, and there has been given to every man an eye wherewith to see, those persons are without excuse who are ashamed of incurring the censure of their former companions in error, and yet desire to walk in the right way. For those who are ashamed to be saved must of necessity perish. I therefore counsel them to open their eyes and see: for, 1o! light is given abundantly7 to us all to see thereby; and if, when light has arisen upon us, any one close his eyes so as not to see, into the ditch he must go.8 But why is a man ashamed of the censure of those who have been in error along with himself? Rather does it behove him to persuade them to follow in his steps; and, if they should not be persuaded by him, then to disengage himself from their society. For there are some men who are unable to rise from their mother earth, and therefore also do they make them gods. from the earth their mother; and they are condemned by the judgments of truth, forasmuch as they apply the name of Him who is unchangeable to those objects which are subject to change, and shrink not from calling those things gods which have been made by the hands of man, and dare to make an image of God whom they have not seen.
"But I have to remark further, that the Sibyl9 also has said concerning them that it is the images of deceased kings that they worship. And this is easy to understand: for, lo! even now they worship and honour the images of those of Caesarean rank10 more than their former gods; for from those their former gods both pecuniary tribute and produce accrue to Caesar, as to one who is greater than they. On this account, those who despise them, and so cause Caesar's revenue to fall short, are put to death. But to the treasury of other kings also it is appointed how much the worshippers in various places shall pay, and how many vesselfuls11 of water from the sea they shall supply. Such is the wickedness of the world-of those who worship and fear that which has no sensation. Many of them, too, who are crafty, either for the sake of gain, or for vainglory, or for dominion over the multitude, both themselves worship, and incite those who are destitute of understanding to worship, that which has no sensation.
"I will further write and show, as far as my ability goes, how and for what causes images were made to kings and tyrants, and how they came to be regarded12 as gods. The people of Argos made images to Hercules, because he belonged to their city, and was strong, and by his valour slew noxious beasts, and more especially because they were afraid of him. For he was subject to no control, and carried off the wives of many: for his lust was great, like that of Zuradi the Persian, his friend. Again, the people of Acre worshipped Dionysus,13 a king, because he had recently14 planted the vine in their country. The Egyptians worshipped Joseph the Hebrew, who was called Serapis, because he supplied them with corn during the years of famine. The Athenians worshipped Athene, the daughter of Zeus, king of the island of Crete, because she built the town of Athens, and made Ericthippus her son king there, whom she had by adultery with Hephaestus, a blacksmith, son of a wife of her father. She was, too, always courting the society of Hercules, because he was her brother on her father's side. For Zeus the king became enamoured of Alcmene, the wife of Electryon, who was from Argos, and committed adultery with her, and she gave birth to Hercules. The people of Phoenicia worshipped Balthi,15 queen of Cyprus, because she fell in love with Tamuz, son of Cuthar king of the Phoenicians, and left her own kingdom and came and dwelt in Gebal, a fortress of the Phoenicians, and at the same time made all the Cyprians subject to King Cuthar. Also, before Tamuz she had fallen in love with Ares, and committed adultery with him; and Hephaestus, her husband, caught her, and his jealousy was roused against her, and he came and killed Tamuz in Mount Lebanon, as he was hunting16 wild boars; and from that time Balthi remained in Gebal, and she died in the city of Aphiki,17 where Tamuz was buried. The Elamites worshipped Nuh, daughter of the king of Elam: when the enemy had carried her captive, her father made for her an image and a temple in Shushan, a royal residence which is in Elam. The Syrians worshipped Athi, a Hadibite, who sent the daughter of Belat, a person skilled in medicine, and she healed Simi, the daughter of Hadad king of Syria; and some time afterwards, when Hadad himself had the leprosy upon him, Athi entreated Elisha the Hebrew, and he came and healed him of his leprosy. The people of Mesopotamia also worshipped Cuthbi, a Hebrew woman, because she delivered Bakru, the paternal king18 of Edessa, from his enemies. With respect to Nebo, who is worshipped in Mabug, why should I write to you? For, lo! all the priests who are in Mabug know that it is the image of Orpheus, a Thracian Magus. Hadran, again, is the image of Zaradusht, a Persian Magus. For both of these Magi practised magic at a well which was in a wood in Mabug, in which was an unclean spirit, and it assaulted and disputed the passage of every one who passed by in all that country in which the town of Mabug is situated; and these Magi, in accordance with what was a mystery in their Magian system, bade Simi, the daughter of Hadad, to draw water from the sea and pour it into the well, so that the spirit should not come up and commit assault. In like manner, the rest of mankind made images to their kings and worshipped them; of which matter I will not write further.
"But thou, a person of liberal mind, and familiar with the truth, if thou wilt properly consider these matters, commune with thine own self;19 and, though they should clothe thee in the garb of a woman, remember that thou art a man. Believe in Him who is in reality God, and to Him lay open thy mind, and to Him commit thy soul, and He is able to give thee immortal life for ever, for everything is possible to Him;20 and let all other things be esteemed by thee just as they are-images as images, and sculptures as sculptures; and let not that which is only made be put by thee in the place of Him who is not made, but let Him, the ever-living God, be constantly present to thy mind.21 For thy mind itself is His likeness: for it too is invisible and impalpable,22 and not to be represented by any form, yet by its will is the whole bodily frame moved. Know, therefore, that, if thou constantly serve Him who is immoveable, even He exists for ever, so thou also, when thou shalt have put off this body, which is visible and corruptible, shall stand before Him for ever, endowed with life and knowledge, and thy works shall be to thee wealth inexhaustible and possessions unfailing. And know that the chief of thy good works is this: that thou know God, and serve Him. Know, too, that He asketh not anything of thee: He needeth not anything.
"Who is this God? He who is Himself truth, and His word truth. And what is truth? That which is not fashioned, nor made, nor represented by art: that is, which has never been brought into existence, and is on that account called truth.23 If, therefore, a man worship that which is made with hands, it is not the truth that he worships, nor yet the word of truth.
"I have very much to say on this subject; but I feel ashamed for those who do not understand that they are superior to the work of their own hands, nor perceive how they give gold to the artists that they may make for them gods, and give them silver for their adornment and honour, and move their riches about from place to place, and then worship them. And what infamy can be greater than this, that a man should worship his riches, and forsake Him who bestowed those riches upon him? and that he should revile man, yet worship the image of man; and slay a beast, yet worship the likeness of a beast? This also is evident, that it is the workmanship of their fellowmen that they worship: for they do not worship the treasures24 while they are laid by in the bag, but when the artists have fashioned images out of them they worship them; neither do they worship the gold or the silver considered as property,25 but when the gravers have sculptured them then they worship them. Senseless man to what addition has been made to thy gold, that now thou worshippest it? If it is because it has been made to resemble a winged animal, why dost thou not worship the winged animal itself? And if because it has been made like a beast of prey, lo! the beast of prey itself is before thee. And if it is the workmanship itself that pleases thee, let the workmanship of God please thee, who made all things, and in His own likeness made the workmen, who strive to do like Him, but resemble Him not.
"But perhaps thou wilt say: How is it that God did not so make me that I should serve Him, and not images? In speaking thus, thou art seeking to become an idle instrument, and not a living man. For God made thee as perfect as it seemed good to Him. He has given thee a mind endowed with freedom; He has set before thee objects in great number, that thou on thy part mayest distinguish the nature of each thing and choose for thyself that which is good; He has set before thee the heavens, and placed in them the stars; He has set before thee the sun and the moon, and they too every day run their course therein; He has set before thee the multitude of waters, and restrained them by His word; He has set before thee the wide earth, which remains at rest, and continues before thee without variation:26 yet, lest thou shouldst suppose that of its own nature it so continues, He makes it also to quake when He pleaseth; He has set before thee the clouds, which by His command bring water from above and satisfy the earth-that from hence thou mayest understand that He who puts these things in motion is superior to them all, and mayest accept thankfully the goodness of Him who has given thee a mind whereby to distinguish these things from one another.
"Wherefore I counsel thee to know thyself, and to know God. For understand how that there is within thee that which is called the soul-by it the eye seeth, by it the ear heareth, by it the mouth speaketh; and how it makes use of the whole body; and how, whenever He pleaseth to remove the soul from the body, this falleth to decay and perisheth. From this, therefore, which exists within thyself and is invisible, understand how God also moveth the whole by His power, like the body; and that, whenever it pleases Him to withdraw His power, the whole world also, like the body, will fall to decay and perish.
"But why this world was made, and why it passes away, and why the body exists, and why it falls to decay, and why it continues, thou canst not know until thou hast raised thy head from this sleep in which thou art sunk, and hast opened thine eyes and seen that God is One, the Lord of all, and hast come to serve Him with all thy heart. Then will He grant thee to know His will: for every one that is severed from the knowledge of the living God is dead and buried even while in his body. Therefore is it that thou dost wallow on the ground before demons and shadows, and askest vain petitions from that which has not anything to give. But thou, stand thou up from among those who are lying on the earth and caressing stones, and giving their substance as food for the fire, and offering their raiment to idols, and; while themselves possessed of senses, are bent on serving that which has no sensation; and offer thou for thy imperishable soul petitions far that which decayeth not, to God who suffers no decay-and thy freedom will be at once apparent; and be thou careful of it,27 and give thanks to God who made thee, and gave thee the mind of the free, that thou mightest shape thy conduct even as thou wilt. He hath set before thee all these things, and showeth thee that, if thou follow after evil, thou shall be condemned for thy evil deeds; but that, if after goodness, thou shall receive from Him abundant good,28 together with immortal life for ever.
"There is, therefore, nothing to hinder thee from changing thy evil manner of life, because thou art a free man; or from seeking and finding out who is the Lord of all; or from serving Him with all thy heart: because with Him there is no reluctance to give the knowledge of Himself to those that seek it, according to the measure of their capacity to know Him.
"Let it be thy first care not to deceive thyself. For, if thou sayest of that which is not God: This is God, thou deceivest thyself, and sinnest before the God of truth. Thou fool I is that God which is bought and sold? Is that God which is in want? Is that God which must be watched over? How buyest thou him as a slave, and servest him as a master? How askest thou of him, as of one that is rich, to give to thee, and thyself givest to him as to one that is poor? How dost thou expect of him that he will make thee victorious in battle? for, lo! when thy enemies have conquered thee, they strip him likewise.
"Perhaps one who is a king may say: I cannot behave myself aright, because I am a king; it becomes me to do the will of the many. He who speaks thus really deserves to be laughed at: for why should not the king himself lead the way29 to all good things, and persuade the people under his rule to behave with purity, and to know God in truth, and in his own person set before them the patterns of all things excellent-since thus it becomes him to do? For it is a shameful thing that a king, however badly he may conduct himself, should yet judge and condemn those who do amiss.
"My opinion is this: that in `this' way a kingdom may be governed in peace-when the sovereign is acquainted with the God of truth, and is withheld by fear of Him from doing wrong30 to those who are his subjects, and judges everything with equity, as one who knows that he himself also will be judged before God; while, at the same time, those who are under his rule31 are withheld by the fear of God from doing wrong to their sovereign, and are restrained by the same fear from doing wrong to one another. By this knowledge of God and fear of Him all evil may be removed from the realm. For, if the sovereign abstain from doing wrong to those who are under his rule, and they abstain from doing wrong to him and to each other, it is evident that the whole country will dwell in peace. Many blessings, too, will be enjoyed there, because amongst them all the name of God will be glorified. For what blessing is greater than this, that a sovereign should deliver the people that are under his rule from error, and by this good deed render himself pleasing to God? For from error arise all those evils from which kingdoms suffer; but the greatest of all errors is this: when a man is ignorant of God, and in God's stead worships that which is not God.
"There are, however, persons who say: It is for the honour of God that we make the image: in order, that is, that we may worship the God who is concealed from our view. But they are unaware that God is in every country, and in every place, and is never absent, and that there is not anything done and He knoweth it not. Yet thou, despicable man! within whom He is, and without whom He is, and above whom He is, hast nevertheless gone and bought thee wood from the carpenter's, and it is carved and made into an image insulting to God.32 To this thou offerest sacrifice, and knowest not that the all-seeing eye seeth thee, and that the word of truth reproves thee, and says to thee: How can the unseen God be sculptured? Nay, it is the likeness of thyself that thou makest and worshippest. Because the wood has been sculptured, hast thou not the insight to perceive that it is still wood, or that the stone is still stone? The gold also the workman33 taketh according to its weight in the balance. And when thou hast had it made34 into an image, why dose thou weigh it? Therefore thou art a lover of gold, and not a lover of God. And art thou not ashamed, perchance it be deficient, to demand of the maker of it why he has stolen some of it? Though thou hast eyes, dose thou not see? And though thou hast intelligence,35 dose thou not understand? Why dose thou wallow on the ground, and offer supplication to things which are without sense? Fear Him who shaketh the earth, and maketh the heavens to revolve, and smiteth the sea, and removeth the mountain from its place-Him who can make Himself like a fire, and consume all things; and, if thou be not able to clear thyself of guilt, yet add not to thy sins; and, if thou be not able to know God, yet doubt not36 that He exists.
"Again, there are persons who say: Whatsoever our fathers have bequeathed to us, that we reverence. Therefore, of course, it is, that those whose fathers have bequeathed them poverty strive to become rich! and those whose fathers did not instruct them, desire to be instructed, and to learn that which their fathers knew not! And why, forsooth, do the children of the blind see, and the children of the lame walk? Nay, it is not well for a man to follow his predecessors, if they be those whose course was evil; but rather that we should turn from that path of theirs, lest that which befell our predecessors should bring disaster upon us also. Wherefore, inquire whether thy father's course was good: and, if so, do thou also follow in his steps; but, if thy father's course was very evil, let thine be good, and so let it be with thy children after thee.37 Be grieved also for thy father because his course is evil, so long as thy grief may avail to help him. But, as for thy children, speak to them thus: There is a God, the Father of all, who never came into being, neither was ever made, and by whose will all things subsist. He also made the luminaries, that His works may see one another; and He conceals Himself in His power from all His works: for it is not permitted to any being subject to change to see Him who changes not. But such as are mindful of His words, and are admitted into that covenant which is unchangeable, `they' see God-so far as it is possible for them to see Him. These also will have power to escape destruction, when the flood of fire comes upon all the world. For there was once a flood and a wind,38 and the great39 men were swept away by a violent blast from the north, but the just were left, for a demonstration of the truth. Again, at another time there was a flood of water, and all men and animals perished in the multitude of waters, but the just were preserved in an ark of wood by the command of God. So also will it be at the last time: there shall be a flood of fire, and the earth shall be burnt up, together with its mountains; and mankind shall be burnt up, along with the idols which they have made, and the carved images which they have worshipped; and the sea shall be burnt up, together with its islands; but the just shall be preserved from wrath, like as were their fellows of the ark from the waters of the deluge. And then shall those who have not known God, and those who have made them idols, bemoan themselves, when they shall see those idols of theirs being burnt up, together with themselves, and nothing shall be found to help them.
"When thou, Antoninus40 Caesar, shall become acquainted with these things, and thy children also with thee, then wilt thou bequeath to them an inheritance for ever which fadeth not away, and thou wilt deliver thy soul, and the souls of thy children also, from that which shall come. upon the whole earth in the judgment of truth and of righteousness. For, according as thou hast acknowledged Him here, so will He acknowledge thee there; and, if thou account Him here superfluous, He will not account thee one of those who have known Him and confessed Him.
"These may suffice thy Majesty; and, if they be too many, yet deign to accept them."41 Here endeth Melito.
From the Discourse on Soul and Body.42
For this reason did the Father send His Son from heaven without a bodily form, that, when He should put on a body by means of the Virgin's womb, and be born man, He might save man, and gather together those members of His which death had scattered when he divided man.
And further on: -The earth shook, and its foundations trembled; the sun fled away, and the elements turned back, and the day was changed into night: for they could not endure the sight of their Lord hanging on a tree. The whole creation was amazed, marvelling and saying, "What new mystery, then, is this? The Judge is judged, and holds his peace; the Invisible One is seen, and is not ashamed; the Incomprehensible is laid hold upon, and is not indignant; the Illimitable is circumscribed, and doth not resist; the Impossible suffereth, and doth not avenge; the Immortal dieth, and answereth not a word; the Celestial is laid in the grave, and endureth! What new mystery is this? "The whole creation, I say, was astonished; but, when our Lord arose from the place of the dead, and trampled death under foot, and bound the strong one, and set man free, then did the whole creation see clearly that for man's sake the Judge was condemned, and the Invisible was seen, and the Illimitable was circumscribed, and the Impassible suffered, and the Immortal died, and the Celestial was laid in the gave. For our Lord, when He was born man, was condemned in order that He might Show mercy, was bound in order that He might loose, was seized in order that He might release, suffered in order that He might feel compassion,43 died in order that He might give life, was laid in the grave that He might raise from the dead.44
From the Discourse on the Cross.45
On these accounts He came to us; on these accounts, though He was incorporeal, He formed for Himself a body after our fashion,46 -appearing as a sheep, yet still remaining the Shepherd; being esteemed a servant, yet not renouncing the Sonship; being carried in the womb of Mary, yet arrayed in the nature of His Father; treading upon the earth, yet filling heaven; appearing as an infant, yet not discarding the eternity of His nature; being invested with a body, yet not circumscribing the unmixed simplicity of His Godhead; being esteemed poor, yet not divested of His riches; needing sustenance inasmuch as He was man, yet not ceasing to feed the entire world inasmuch as He is God; putting on the likeness of a servant, yet not impairing47 the likeness of His Father. He sustained every character48 belonging to Him in an immutable nature: He was standing before Pilate, and at the same time was sitting with His Father; He was nailed upon the tree, and yet was the Lord of all things.
On Faith.49
We have collected together extracts from the Law and the Prophets relating to those things which have Been declared concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, that we may prove to your love that this Being is perfect reason, the Word of God; He who was begotten before the light; He who is Creator together with the Father; He who is the Fashioner of man; He who is all in all; He who among the patriarchs is Patriarch; He who in the law is the Law; among the priests, Chief Priest; among kings, the Ruler; among prophets, the Prophet; among the angels, Archangel; in the voice of the preacher, the Word; among spirits, the Spirit; in the Father, the Son; in God, God; King for ever and ever. For this is He who was pilot to Noah; He who was guide to Abraham; He who was bound with Isaac; He who was in exile with Jacob; He who was sold with Joseph; He who was captain of the host with Moses; He who was the divider of the inheritance with Jesus the son of Nun; He who in David and the prophets announced His own sufferings; He who put on a bodily form in the Virgin; He who was born in Bethlehem; He who was wrapped in swaddling-clothes in the manger; He who was seen by the shepherds; He who was glorified by the angels; He who was worshipped by the Magi; He who was pointed out by John; He who gathered together the apostles; He who preached the kingdom; He who cured the lame; He who gave light to the blind; He who raised the dead; He who appeared in the temple; He who was not believed on by the people; He who was betrayed by Judas; He who was apprehended by the priests; He who was condemned by Pilate; He who was pierced in the flesh; He who was hanged on the tree; He who was buried in the earth; He who rose from the place of the dead; He who appeared to the apostles; He who was carried up to heaven; He who is seated at the right hand of the Father; He who is the repose of those that are departed; the recoverer of those that are lost; the light of those that are in darkness; the deliverer of those that are captive; the guide of those that go astray; the asylum of the afflicted; the bridegroom of the Church; the charioteer of the cherubim; the captain of the angels; God who is from God; the Son who is from the Father; Jesus Christ the King for evermore. Amen.
This is He who took a bodily form in the Virgin, and was hanged upon the tree, and was buried within the earth, and suffered not dissolution; He who rose from the place of the dead, and raised up men from the earth-from the grave below to the height of heaven. This is the Lamb that was slain; this is the Lamb that opened not His mouth.51 This is He who was born of Mary, fair sheep of the fold. This is He that was taken from the flock, and was led to the slaughter, and was slain in the evening, and was buried at night; He who had no bone of Him broken on the tree; He who suffered not dissolution within the earth; He who rose from the place of the dead, and raised up the race of Adam from the grave below, This is He who was put to death. And where was He put to death? In the midst of Jerusalem. By whom? By Israel: became He cured their lame, and cleansed their lepers, and gave light to their blind, and raised their dead! This was the cause of His death. Thou, O Israel, wast giving commands, and He was being crucified; thou wast rejoicing, and He was being buried; thou wast reclining on a soft couch, and He was watching in the grave and the shroud.52 O Israel, transgressor of the law, why hast thou committed this new iniquity, subjecting the Lord to new sufferings-thine own Lord, Him who fashioned thee, Him-who made thee, Him who honoured thee, who called thee Israel? But thou hast not been found to be Israel: for thou hast not seen God, nor understood the Lord. Thou hast not known, O Israel, that this was the first-born of God, who was begotten before the sun, who made the light to shine forth, who lighted up the day, who separated the darkness, who fixed the first foundations, who poised the earth, who collected the ocean, who stretched out the firmament, who adorned the world. Bitter were thy nails, and sharp; bitter thy tongue, which thou didst whet; bitter was Judas, to whom thou gavest hire; bitter thy false witnesses, whom thou stirredst up; bitter thy gall, which thou preparedst; bitter thy vinegar, which thou madest; bitter thy hands, filled with blood. Thou slewest thy Lord, and He was lifted up upon the tree; and an inscription was fixed above, to show who He was that was slain. And who was this? (that which we shall not say is too shocking to hear, and that which we shall say is very dreadful: nevertheless hearken, and tremble.) It was He because of whom the earth quaked. He that hung up the earth in space was Himself hanged up; He that fixed the heavens was fixed with nails; He that bore up the earth was borne up on a tree; the Lord of all was subjected to ignominy in a naked body-God put to death! the King of Israel slain with Israel's right hand! Alas for the new wickedness of the new murder! The Lord was exposed with naked body: He was not deemed worthy even of covering; and, in order that He might not be seen, the luminaries turned away, and the day became darkened53 because they slew God, who hung naked on the tree. It was not the body of our Lord that the luminaries covered with darkness when they set,54 but the eyes of men. For, because the people quaked not, the earth quaked; because they were not affrighted, the earth was affrighted. Thou smotest thy Lord: thou also hast been smitten upon the earth. And thou indeed liest dead; but He is risen from the place of the dead, and ascended to the height of heaven, having suffered for the sake of those who suffer, and having been bound for the sake of Adam's race which was imprisoned, and having been judged for the sake of him who was condemned, and having been buried for the sake of him who was buried.
And further on: -This is He who made the heaven and the earth, and in the beginning, together with the Father, fashioned man; who was announced by means of the law and the prophets; who put on a bodily form in the Virgin; who was hanged upon the tree; who was buried in the earth; who rose from the place of the dead, and ascended to the height of heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father.
He that bore up the earth was borne up on a tree. The Lord was subjected to ignominy with naked body-God put to death, the King of Israel slain!
From the work on the passover.57 When Servilius Paulus was proconsul of Asia, at the time that Sagaris58 suffered martyrdom, there arose a great controversy at Laodicea concerning the time of the celebration of the Passover, which on that occasion had happened to fall at the proper season;59 and this treatise was then written.60
From the apology addressed to Marcus Aurelius Antoninus.61
For the race of the pious is now persecuted in a way contrary to all precedent, being harassed by a new kind of edicts62 everywhere in Asia. For unblushing informers, and such as are greedy of other men's goods, taking occasion from the orders issued, carry on their robbery without any disguise, plundering of their property night and day those who are guilty of no wrong.
If these proceedings take place at thy bidding,63 well and good.64 For a just sovereign will never take unjust measures; and we, on our part, gladly accept the honour of such a death. This request only we present to thee, that thou wouldst first of all examine for thyself into the behaviour of these reputed agents of so much strife, and then come to a just decision as to whether they merit death and punishment, or deserve to live in safety and quiet. But if, on the contrary, it shall turn out that this measure, and this new sort of command, which it would be unbecoming to employ even against barbarian foemen, do not proceed from thee, then all the more do we entreat thee not to leave us thus exposed to the spoliation of the populace.
For the philosophy current with us flourished in the first instance among barbarians;65 and, when it afterwards sprang up among the nations under thy rule, during the distinguished reign of thy ancestor Augustus, it proved to be a blessing of most happy omen to thy empire. For from that time the Roman power has risen to greatness and splendour. To this power thou hast succeeded as the much desired66 possessor; and such shalt thou continue, together with thy son,67 if thou protect that philosophy which has grown up with thy empire, and which took its rise with Augustus; to which also thy more recent ancestors paid honour, along with the other religions prevailing in the empire. A very strong proof, moreover, that it was for good that the system we profess came to prevail at the same time that the empire of such happy commencement was established, is this-that ever since the reign of Augustus nothing untoward has happened; but, on the contrary, everything has contributed to the splendour and renown of the empire, in accordance with the devout wishes68 of all. Nero and Domitian alone of all the emperors, imposed upon by certain calumniators, have cared to bring any impeachment against our doctrines. They, too, are the source from which it has happened that the lying slanders on those who profess them have, in consequence of the senseless habit which prevails of taking things on hearsay, flowed down to our own times.69 But the course which they in their ignorance pursued was set aside by thy pious progenitors, who frequently and in many instances rebuked by their rescripts70 those who dared to set on foot any hostilities against them. It appears, for example, that thy grandfather Adrian wrote, among others, to Fundanus, the proconsul then in charge of the government of Asia. Thy father, too, when thou thyself wast associated with him71 in the administration of the empire, wrote to the cities, forbidding them to take any measures adverse to us: among the rest to the people of Larissa, and of Thessalonica, and of Athens, and, in short, to all the Greeks. And as regards thyself, seeing that thy sentiments respecting the Christians72 are not only the same as theirs, but even much more generous and wise, we are the more persuaded that thou wilt do all that we ask of thee.
From the same apology.73
We are not those who pay homage to stones, that are without sensation; but of the only God, who is before all and over all, and, moreover, we are worshippers of His Christ, who is veritably God the Word74 existing before all time.
From the Book of Extracts.75
Melito to his brother Onesimus, greeting:-
As you have often, prompted by your regard for the word of God, expressed a wish to have some extracts made from the Law and the Prophets concerning the Saviour, and concerning our faith in general, and have desired, moreover, to obtain an accurate account of the Ancient Books, as regards their number and their arrangement, I have striven to the best of my ability to perform this task: well knowing your zeal for the faith, and your eagerness to become acquainted with the Word, and especially because I am assured that, through your yearning after God, you esteem these things beyond all things else, engaged as you are in a struggle for eternal salvation.
I accordingly proceeded to the East, and went to the very spot where the things in question were preached and took place; and, having made myself accurately acquainted with the books of the Old Testament, I have set them down below, and herewith send you the list. Their names are as follows:-
The five books of Moses-Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; Joshua,76 Judges, Ruth, the four books of Kings, the two of Chronicles, the book of the Psalms of David, the Proverbs of Solomon, also called the Book of Wisdom, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Songs, Job, the books of the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, of the twelve contained in a single book, Daniel, Ezekiel, Esdras. From these I have made my extracts, dividing them into six books.
From the Catena on Genesis.77
In place of Isaac the just, a ram appeared for slaughter, in order that Isaac might be liberated from his bonds. The slaughter of this animal redeemed Isaac from death. In like manner, the Lord, being slain, saved us; being bound, He loosed us; being sacrificed, He redeemed us ...
For the Lord was a lamb, like the ram which Abraham saw caught in the bush Sabec.78 But this bush represented the cross, and that place Jerusalem, and the lamb the Lord bound for slaughter.
For as a ram was He bound, says he concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, and as a lamb was He shorn, and as a sheep was He led to the slaughter, and as a lamb was He crucified; and He carried the cross79 on His shoulders when He was led up to the hill to be slain, as was Isaac by his father. But Christ suffered, and Isaac did not suffer: for he was but a type of Him who should suffer. Yet, even when serving only for a type of Christ, he smote men with astonishment and fear.
For a new mystery was presented to view,-a son led by his father to a mountain to be slain, whose feet he bound together, and laid him on the wood of the sacrifice, preparing with care80 whatever was necessary to his immolation. Isaac on his part is silent, bound like a ram, not opening his mouth, nor uttering a sound with his voice. For, not fearing the knife, nor quailing before the fire, nor troubled by the prospect of suffering, he sustained bravely the character of the type of the Lord. Accordingly there lies Isaac before us, with his feet bound like a ram, his father standing by, with the knife all bare in his hand, not shrinking from shedding the blood of his son.
Two scholia on Genesis 22:13.81
The Syriac and the Hebrew use the word "suspended,"82 as more clearly typifying the cross.
The word Sabek83 some have rendered remission,84 others upright,85 as if the meaning, agreeing with the popular belief, were-a goat walking erect up to a bush, and there standing erect caught by his horns, so as to be a plain type of the cross. For this reason it is not translated, because the single Hebrew word signifies in other languages86 many things. To those, however, who ask it is proper to give an answer, and to say that Sabek denotes lifted up.87
On the nature of Christ.88
For there is no need, to persons of intelligence, to attempt to prove, from the deeds of Christ subsequent to His baptism, that His soul and His body, His human nature89 like ours, were real, and no phantom of the imagination. For the deeds done by Christ after His baptism, and especially His miracles, gave indication and assurance to the world of the Deity hidden in His flesh. For, being at once both God and perfect man likewise, He gave us sure indications of His two natures:90 of His Deity, by His miracles during the three years that elapsed after His baptism; of His humanity, during the thirty similar periods which preceded His baptism, in which, by reason of His low estate91 as regards the flesh, He concealed the signs of His Deity, although He was the true God existing before all ages.
From the Oration on Our Lord's Passion.92
God has suffered from the right hand of Israel.93
Head of the Lord-His simple Divinity; because He is the Beginning and Creator of all things: in Daniel.95
The white hair of the Lord, because He is "the Ancient of Days: "as above.
The eyes of the Lord-the Divine inspection: because He sees all things. Like that in the apostle: For all things are naked and open in His eyes."96
The eyelids of theLord-hidden spiritual mysteries in the Divine precepts. In the Psalm: "His eyelids question, that is prove, the children of men."97
The smelling of the Lord-His delight in the prayers or works of the saints. In Genesis: "And the Lord smelled an odour of sweetness."98
The mouth of the Lord-His Son, or word addressed to men. In the prophet, "The mouth of the Lord hath spoken; "99 and elsewhere, "They provoked His mouth to anger."100
The tongue of the Lord-His Holy Spirit. In the Psalm: "My tongue is a pen."101
The face of the Lord-His manifestation. In Exodus, "My face shall go before thee; "102 and in the prophet, "The face of the Lord divided them."103
The word of the Lord-His Son. In the Psalm: "My heart hath uttered a good word."104
The arm of the Lord-His Son, by whom He hath wrought all His works. In the prophet Isaiah: "And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? "105
The right hand of the Lord-that is, His Son; as also above in the Psalm: "The right hand of the Lord hath done valiantly."106
The right hand of the Lord-electio omnis. As in Deuteronomy: "In His right hand is a fiery law."107
The wings of the Lord-Divine protection. In the Psalm: "In the shadow of Thy wings will I hope."108
The shoulder of the Lord-the Divine power, by which He condescends to carry the feeble. In Deuteronomy: "He took them up, and put them on His shoulders."109
The hand of the Lord-Divine operation. In the prophet: "Have not my hands made all these things? "110
The finger of the Lord-the Holy Spirit, by whose operation the tables of the law in Exodus are said to have been written;111 and in the Gospel: "If I by the finger of God cast out demons"112
The fingers of the Lord-The lawgiver Moses, or the prophets. In the Psalm: "I will regard the heavens," that is, the books of the Law and the Prophets, "the works of Thy fingers."113
The wisdom of the Lord-His Son. In the apostle: "Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God; "114 and in Solomon: "The wisdom of the Lord reacheth from one end to the other mightily."115
The womb of the Lord-the hidden recess of Deity out of which He brought forth His Son. In the Psalm: "Out of the womb, before Lucifer, have I borne Thee.116
The feet of the Lord-His immoveableness and eternity. In the Psalm: "And thick darkness was under His feet."117
The throne of the Lord-angels, or saints, or simply sovereign dominion.118 In the Psalm: "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever."119
Seat-the same as above, angels or saints, because the Lord sits upon these. In the Psalm: "The Lord sat upon His holy seat."120
The descent of the Lord-His visitation of men. As in Micah: "Behold, the Lord shall come forth from His place; He shall come down trampling under foot the ends of the earth."121 Likewise in a bad sense. In Genesis: "The Lord came down to see the tower."122
The ascent of the Lord-the raising up of man, who is taken from earth to heaven. In the Psalm: "Who ascendeth above the heaven of heavens to the east."123
The standing of the Lord-the patience of the Deity, by which He bears with sinners that they may come to repentance. As in Habakkuk: "He good and measured the earth;124 and in the Gospel: "Jesus stood, and bade him be called,"125 that is, the blind man.
The transition of the Lord-His assumption of our flesh, through which by His birth, His death, His resurrection, His ascent into heaven, He made transitions, so to say. In the Song of Songs: "Behold, He cometh, leaping upon the mountains, bounding over the hills."126
The going127 of the Lord-His coming or visitation. In the Psalm.
The way of the Lord-the operation of the Deity. As in Job, in speaking of the devil: "He is the beginning of the ways of the Lord."128
Again: The ways of the Lord-His precepts. In Hosea: "For the ways of the Lord are straight, and the just shall walk in them."129
The footsteps of the Lord-the signs of His secret operations. As in the Psalm: "And Thy footsteps shall not be known."130
The knowledge of the Lord-that which makes men to know Him. To Abraham He says: "Now I know that thou fearest the Lord; "131 that is, I have made thee to know.
The ignorance of God132 is His disapproval. In the Gospel: "I know you not."133
The remembrance of God-His mercy, by which He rejects and has mercy on whom He will. So in Genesis: "The Lord remembered Noah; "134 and in another passage: "The Lord hath remembered His people."135
The repentance of the Lord-His change of procedure.136 As in the book of Kings: "It repented me that I have made Saul king."137
The anger and wrath of the Lord-the vengeance of the Deity upon sinners, when He bears with them with a view to punishment, does not at once judge them according to strict equity. As in the Psalm: "In His anger and in His wrath will He trouble them."138
The sleeping of the Lord-when, in the thoughts of some, His faithfulness is not sufficiently wakeful. In the Psalm: "Awake, why sleepest Thou, O Lord? "139
The watches of the Lord-in the guardianship of His elect He is always at hand by the presence of His Deity. In the Psalm: "Lo! He will not slumber nor sleep."140
The sitting of the Lord-His ruling. In the Psalm: "The Lord sitteth upon His holy seat."141
The footstool of the Lord-man assumed by the Word; or His saints, as some think. In the Psalm: "Worship ye His footstool, for it is holy."
The walking of the Lord-the delight of the Deity in the walks of His elect. In the prophet: "I will walk in them, and will be their Lord."142
The trumpet of the Lord-His mighty voice. In the apostle: "At the command, and at the voice of the archangel, and at the trumpet of God, shall He descend from heaven."143
Fragments from His Five Books of Commentaries on the Acts of the Church.
[a.d. 170.] One of the sub-Apostolic age, a contemporary of Justin and of the martyrs of "the good Aurelius," we must yet distinguish Hegesippus2 from the apologists. He is the earliest of the Church's chroniclers-we can hardly call him a historian. His aims were noble and his character was pure; nor can we refuse him the credit due to a foresight of the Church's ultimate want of historical material, which he endeavoured to supply.
What is commonly regarded as his defect is in reality one of his greatest merits as a witness: he was a Hebrew, and looks at the Church from the stand-point of "James the Lord's brother." When we observe his Catholic spirit, therefore, as well as his Catholic orthodoxy; his sympathy with the Gentile Church and Pauline faith of the Corinthians; his abhorrence of "the Circumcision" so far as it bred sects and heresies against Christ; and when we find him confirming the testimony of the Apostolic Fathers, and sustaining the traditions of Antioch by those of Jerusalem,-we have double reason to cherish his name, and to treasure up "the fragments that remain" of his works. That touching episode of the kindred of Christ, as they appeared before Domitian, has always impressed my imagination as worthy to be classed with the story of St. John and the robber, as one of the most suggestive incidents of early Christian history. We must lament the loss of other portions of the Memoirs which were known to exist in the seventeenth century. He was a traveller, and must have seen much of the Apostolic churches in the East and West; and the mere scraps we have of his narrative concerning Corinth and Rome excite a natural curiosity as to the rest, which may lead to gratifying discoveries.
Concerning the martyrdom of James, the brother of the Lord, from Book V.1
James, the Lord's brother, succeeds to the government of the Church, in conjunction with the apostles. He has been universally called the Just, from the days of the Lord down to the present time. For many bore the name of James; but this one was holy from his mother's womb. He drank no wine or other intoxicating liquor,2 nor did he eat flesh; no razor came upon his head; he did not anoint himself with oil, nor make use of the bath. He alone was permitted to enter the holy place:3 for he did not wear any woollen garment, but fine linen only. He alone, I say, was wont to go into the temple: and he used to be found kneeling on his knees, begging forgiveness for the people-so that the skin of his knees became horny like that of a camel's, by reason of his constantly bending the knee in adoration to God, and begging forgiveness for the people. Therefore, in consequence of his pre-eminent justice, he was called the Just, and Oblias,4 which signifies in Greek Defence of the People, and Justice, in accordance with what the prophets declare concerning him.
Now some persons belonging to the seven sects existing among the people, which have been before described by me in the Notes, asked him: "What is the door of Jesus? " And he replied that He was the Saviour. In Consequence of this answer, some believed that Jesus is the Christ. But the sects before mentioned did not believe, either in a resurrection or in the coming of One to requite every man according to his works; but those who did believe, believed because of James. So, when many even of the ruling class believed, there was a commotion among the Jews, and scribes, and Pharisees, who said: "A little more, and we shall have all the people looking for Jesus as the Christ.
They came, therefore, in a body to James, and said: "We entreat thee, restrain the people: for they are gone astray in their opinions about Jesus, as if he were the Christ. We entreat thee to persuade all who have come hither for the day of the passover, concerning Jesus. For we all listen to thy persuasion; since we, as well as all the people, bear thee testimony that thou art just, and showest partiality to none. Do thou, therefore, persuade the people not to entertain erroneous opinions concerning Jesus: for all the people, and we also, listen to thy persuasion. Take thy stand, then, upon the summit5 of the temple, that from that elevated spot thou mayest be clearly seen, and thy words may be plainly audible to all the people. For, in order to attend the passover, all the tribes have congregated hither, and some of the Gentiles also."
The aforesaid scribes and Pharisees accordingly set James on the summit of the temple, and cried aloud to him, and said: "O just one, whom we are all bound to obey, forasmuch as the people is in error, and follows Jesus the crucified, do thou tell us what is the door of Jesus, the crucified." And he answered with a loud voice: "Why ask ye me concerning Jesus the Son of man? He Himself sitteth in heaven, at the right hand of the Great Power, and shall come on the clouds of heaven."
And, when many were fully convinced by these words, and offered praise for the testimony of James, and said, "Hosanna to the son of David," then again the said Pharisees and scribes said to one another, "We have not done well in procuring this testimony to Jesus. But let us go up and throw him down, that they may be afraid, and not believe him." And they cried aloud, and said: "Oh! oh! the just man himself is in error." Thus they fulfilled the Scripture written in Isaiah: "Let us away with the just man, because he is troublesome to us: therefore shall they eat the fruit of their doings." So they went up and threw down the just man, and said to one another: "Let us stone James the Just." And they began to stone him: for he was not killed by the fall; but he turned, and kneeled down, and said: "I beseech Thee, Lord God our Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."
And, while they were thus stoning him to death, one of the priests, the sons of Rechab, the son of Rechabim, to whom testimony is borne by Jeremiah the prophet, began to cry aloud, saying: "Cease, what do ye? The just man is praying for us." But one among them, one of the fullers, took the staff with which he was accustomed to wring out the garments he dyed, and hurled it at the head of the just man.
And so he suffered martyrdom; and they buried him on the spot, and the pillar erected to his memory still remains, close by the temple. This man was a true witness to both Jews and Greeks that Jesus is the Christ.
And shortly after Vespasian besieged Judaea, taking them captive.
Concerning the relatives of our saviour.6
There still survived of the kindred of the Lord the grandsons of Judas, who according to the flesh was called his brother. These were informed against, as belonging to the family of David, and Evocatus brought them before Domitian Caesar: for that emperor dreaded the advent of Christ, as Herod had done.
So he asked them whether they were of the family of David; and they confessed they were. Next he asked them what property they had, or how much money they possessed. They both replied that they had only 9000 denaria between them, each of them owning half that sum; but even this they said they did not possess in cash, but as the estimated value of some land, consisting of thirty-nine plethra only, out of which they had to pay the dues, and that they supported themselves by their own labour. And then they began to hold out their hands, exhibiting, as proof of their manual labour, the roughness of their skin, and the corns raised on their hands by constant work.
Being then asked concerning Christ and His kingdom, what was its nature, and when and where it was to appear, they returned answer that it was not of this world, nor of the earth, but belonging to the sphere of heaven and angels, and would make its appearance at the end of time, when He shall come in glory, and judge living and dead, and render to every one according to the course of his life.7
Thereupon Domitian passed no condemnation upon them, but treated them with contempt, as too mean for notice, and let them go free. At the same time he issued a command, and put a stop to the persecution against the Church.
When they were released they became leaders8 of the churches, as was natural in the case of those who were at once martyrs and of the kindred of the Lord. And, after the establishment of peace to the Church, their lives were prolonged to the reign of Trojan.
Concerning the martyrdom of Symeon the son of Clopas, bishop of Jerusalem.9
Some of these heretics, forsooth, laid an information against Symeon the son of Clopas, as being of the family of David, and a Christian. And on these charges he suffered martyrdom when he was 120 years old, in the reign of Trajan Caesar, when Atticus was consular legate10 in Syria. And it so happened, says the same writer, that, while inquiry was then being made for those belonging to the royal tribe of the Jews, the accusers themselves were convicted of belonging to it. With show of reason could it be said that Symeon was one of those who actually saw and heard the Lord, on the ground of his great age, and also because the Scripture of the Gospels makes mention of Mary the daughter of Clopas, who, as our narrative has shown already, was his father.
The same historian mentions others also, of the family of one of the reputed brothers of the Saviour, named Judas, as having survived until this same reign, after the testimony they bore for the faith of Christ in the time of Domitian, as already recorded.
He writes as follows: They came, then, and took the presidency of every church, as witnesses for Christ, and as being of the kindred of the Lord. And, after profound peace had been established in every church, they remained down to the reign of Trojan Caesar: that is, until the time when he who was sprung from an uncle of the Lord, the aforementioned Symeon son of Clopas, was informed against by the various heresies, and subjected to an accusation like the rest, and for the same cause, before the legate Atticus; and, while suffering outrage during many days, he bore testimony for Christ: so that all, including the legate himself, were astonished above measure that a man 120 years old should have been able to endure such torments. He was finally condemned to be crucified.
... Up to that period the Church had remained like a virgin pure and uncorrupted: for, if there were any persons who were disposed to tamper with the wholesome rule of the preaching of salvation,11 they still lurked in some dark place of concealment or other. But, when the sacred band of apostles had in various ways closed their lives, and that generation of men to whom it had been vouchsafed to listen to the Godlike Wisdom with their own ears had passed away, then did the confederacy of godless error take its rise through the treachery of false teachers, who, seeing that none of the apostles any longer survived, at length attempted with bare and uplifted head to oppose the preaching of the truth by preaching "knowledge falsely so called."
Concerning his journey to Rome, and the Jewish sects.12
And the church of the Corinthians continued in the orthodox faith13 up to the time when Primus was bishop in Corinth. I had some intercourse with these brethren on my voyage to Rome, when I spent several days with the Corinthians, during which we were mutually refreshed by the orthodox faith.
On my arrival at Rome, I drew up a list of the succession of bishops down to Anicetus, whose deacon was Eleutherus. To Anicetus succeeded Soter, and after him came Eleutherus. But in the case of every succession,14 and in every city, the state of affairs is in accordance with the teaching of the Law and of the Prophets and of the Lord....
And after James the Just had suffered martyrdom, as had the Lord also and on the same account, again Symeon the son of Clopas, descended from the Lord's uncle, is made bishop, his election being promoted by all as being a kinsman of the Lord.
Therefore was the Church called a virgin, for she was not as yet corrupted by worthless teaching.15 Thebulis it was who, displeased because he was not made bishop, first began to corrupt her by stealth. He too was connected with the seven sects which existed among the people, like Simon, from whom come the Simoniani; and Cleobius, from whom come the Cleobiani; and Doritheus, from whom come the Dorithiani; and Gorthaeus, from whom come the Gortheani; Masbothaeus, from whom come the Masbothaei. From these men also come the Menandrianists, and the Marcionists, and the Carpocratians, and the Valentinians, and the Basilidians, and the Saturnilians. Each of these leaders in his own private and distinct capacity brought in his own private opinion. From these have come false Christs, false prophets, false apostles-men who have split up the one Church into parts16 through their corrupting doctrines, uttered in disparagement of God and of His Christ....
There were, moreover, various opinions in the matter of circumcision among the children of Israel, held by those who were opposed to the tribe of Judah and to Christ: such as the Essenes, the Galileans, the Hemerobaptists, the Masbothaei, the Samaritans, the Sadducees, the Pharisees.
Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth.
Fragments from a Letter to the Roman Church.
[a.d. 170.] Eusebius is almost diffuse in what he tells us of this Dionysius,1 "who was appointed over the church at Corinth, and imparted freely, not only to his own people, but to others, and those abroad also, the blessings of his divine labours." He wrote "Catholic Epistles; "he addressed an epistle to the Spartans and the Athenians; and, as Eusebius says, Dionysius the Areopagite, the convert of St. Paul, was the first bishop of Athens.2 He wrote to the Nicomedians, refuting Marcion, and closely adhering to "the rule of faith." In an epistle to the Gortynians and others in Crete, he praises Philip for his courageous ministry, and warns them against the heretics. He seems to recognise Palmas as bishop of Amastris and Pontus, and adds expositions of Scripture, and rules regarding marriage, its purity and sanctity. He also inculcates tenderness to penitent lapsers and backsliders. With Pinytus, bishop of the Gnossians, he corresponds on similar subjects; but Pinytus, while he thanks him and commends his clemency, evidently regards him as too much inclined to furnish "food for babes," and counsels him to add "strong meat for those of full age." He also writes to Chrysophora, his most faithful sister, imparting spiritual instruction.
For this has been your custom from the beginning, to do good to all the brethren in various ways, and to send resources to many churches which are in every city, thus refreshing the poverty of the needy, and granting subsidies to the brethren who are in the mines.1 Through the resources which ye have sent from the beginning, ye Romans, keep up the custom of the Romans handed down by the fathers, which your blessed Bishop Sorer has not only preserved, but added to, sending a splendid gift to the saints, and exhorting with blessed words those brethren who go up to Rome, as an affectionate father his children.
From the same epistle.2
We passed this holy Lord's day, in which we read your letter, from the constant reading of which we shall be able to draw admonition, even as from the reading of the former one you sent us written through Clement.
From the same.
Therefore you also have by such admonition joined in close union the churches that were planted by Peter and Paul, that of the Romans and that of the Corinthians: for both of them went3 to our Corinth, and taught us in the same way as they taught you when they went to Italy; and having taught you, they suffered martyrdom at the same time.4
From the same.5
For I wrote letters when the brethren requested me to write. And these letters the apostles of the devil have filled with tares, taking away some things and adding others, for whom a woe is in store. It is not wonderful, then, if some have attempted to adulterate the Lord's writings, when they have formed designs against those which are not such.6
[a.d. 180.] This Rhodon2 was supposed by St. Jerome to have been the author of the work against the Cataphrygians, ascribed to Asterius Urbanus more probably.3 Eusebius4 gives us the fragment from his work against Marcion, addressed to Callistion, which is here translated. He tells us that he was a pupil of Tatian, and expresses an intention of furnishing original solutions of Scriptural problems sated by Tatian,5 and by that author explained in a manner apparently unsatisfactory. He also appears to have written against the blasphemous Apelles,6 whose Hexaëmeron was an attempt to refute Moses; but whether he also fulfilled his promise concerning an 'Epi/lusij of Tatian's Problems (or Questions), seems doubtful. Routh has devoted to the fragment here translated six pages of notes,7 which he subjoins to the Greek text (of Eusebius) and a Latin version of the same.
Wherefore also they1 disagree among themselves, maintaining as they do an opinion which has no consistency with itself. For one of their herd, Apelles, who prides himself on the strictness of his life,2 and on his age, admits that there is only one first principle,3 yet says that the prophecies have come from an opposing spirit, in which opinion he is influenced by the responses of a soothsaying4 maid named Philumene. But others, among whom are Potitus and Basilicus, like Marcion5 himself, introduce two first principles. These men, following the Pontic wolf, and not being able to discover any more than he the division of things, have had to recourse to rash assertion, and declared the existence of two first principles simply and without proof. Others of them, again, drifting from bad to worse, assume not two only, but even three natures. Of these men the leader and champion is Syneros, as those who adopt his teaching say....
For the old man Apelles entered into conversation with us, and was convicted of uttering many false opinions. For example, he asserted that men should on no account examine into their creed,6 but that every one ought to continue to the last in the belief he has once adopted. For he declared that those who had rested their hope on the Crucified One would be saved, provided only they were found living in the practice, of good works. But the most perplexing of all the doctrines laid down by him was, as we have remarked before, what he said concerning God: for he affirmed that there was only one first principle, precisely as our own faith teaches....
On asking him, "Where do you get proof of this? or how are you able to assert that there is only one first principle? tell us,"-he said that the prophecies refuted themselves, because they had uttered nothing at all that was true: for that they were discordant and false, and self-contradictory. As to the question, "How does it appear that there is one first principle? "he said he could not tell, only he was impelled to that belief. On my thereupon conjuring him to speak the truth, he solemnly declared that he was expressing his real sentiments; and that he did not know" how" there could be one uncreated God, but that he believed the fact. Here I burst into laughter and rebuked him, because he professed to be a teacher, and yet was unable to confirm by arguments what he taught.
Maximus Bishop of Jerusalem.
[a.d. 185-196.] He was a noted character among Christians, according to Eusebius; living, according to Jerome, under Commodus and Severus. He wrote on the inveterate question concerning the Origin of Evil; and the fragment here translated, as given by Eusebius, is also textually cited by Origen against the Marcionites,1 if that Dialogue be his. The reader will not fail to recollect that liberal citations out of this work are also to be found in Methodius, On Free-Will.2 But all who desire fuller information on the subject will be gratified by the learned prolegomena and notes of Routh, to which I refer them.3 Whether Maximus was the bishop of Jerusalem (a.d. 185) mentioned by Eusebius as presiding in that See in the sixth year of Commodus, seems to be uncertain.
From the Book Concerning Matter, or in Defence of the Proposition that Matter is Created, and is Not the Cause of Evil.1
"That there cannot exist two uncreated substances at one and the same time, I presume that you hold equally with myself. You appear, however, very decidedly to have assumed, and to have introduced into the argument, this principle, that we must of unavoidable necessity maintain one of two things: either that God is separate from matter; or else, on the contrary, that He is indissolubly connected with it.
"If, then, any one should choose to assert that He exists in union with matter, that would be saying that there is only one uncreated substance. For either of the two must constitute a part of the other; and, since they form parts of each other, they cannot be two uncreated substances. Just as, in speaking of man, we do not describe him as subdivided into a number of distinct parts, each forming a separate created substance, but, as reason requires us to do, assert that he was made by God a single created substance consisting of many parts,-so, in like manner, if God is not separate from matter, we are driven to the conclusion that there is only one uncreated substance.
"If, on the other hand, it be affirmed that He is separate from matter, it necessarily follows that there is some other substance intermediate between the two, by which their separation is made apparent. For it is impossible that one thing should be shown to be severed by an interval from another, unless there be something else by which the interval between the two is produced. This principle, too, holds good not only with regard to this or any other single case, but in any number of cases you please For the same argument which we have employed in dealing with the two uncreated substances must in like manner be valid if the substances in question be given as three. For in regard to these also I should have to inquire whether they are separate from one another, or whether, on the contrary, each of them is united to its fellow. For, if you should say that they are united, you would hear from me the same argument as before; but if, on the contrary, you should say that they are separate, you could not escape the unavoidable assumption of a separating medium.
"If, again, perchance any one should think that there is a third view which may be consistently maintained with regard to uncreated substances,-namely, that God is not separate from matter, nor yet, on the other hand, united to it as a part, but that God exists in matter as in a place, or possibly matter exists in God,-let such a person observe the consequence:-
"That, if we make matter God's place, we must of necessity admit that He can be contained,2 and that He is circumscribed by matter. Nay, further, he must grant that He is, in the same way as matter, driven about hither and thither, unable to maintain His place and to stay where He is, since that in which He exists is perpetually being driven about in one direction or another. Beside this, he must also admit that God has had His place among the worst kind of elements. For if matter was once in disorder, and if he reduced it to order for the purpose of rendering it better, there was a time when God existed among the disordered elements of matter.
"I might also fairly put this question: whether God filled the whole of matter, or was in some part of it. If any one should choose to say that God was in some part of matter, he would be making Him indefinitely smaller than matter, inasmuch as a part of it contained the whole of Him;3 but, if he maintained that He pervaded the whole of matter, I need to be informed how He became the Fashioner of this matter. For we must necessarily assume, either that there was on the part of God a contraction,4 so to speak, of Himself, and a withdrawal from matter, whereupon He proceeded to fashion that from which He bad retired; or else that He fashioned Himself in conjunction with matter, in consequence of having no place to retire to.
"But suppose it to be maintained, on the other hand, that matter is in God, it will behove us similarly to inquire, whether we are to understand by this that He is sundered from Himself, and that, just like the air, which contains various kinds of animals, so is He sundered and divided into parts for the reception of those creatures which from time to time exist in5 Him; or whether matter is in God as in a place,-for instance, as water is contained in earth. For should we say `as in air, 'we should perforce be speaking of God as divisible into parts; but if `as water in earth, 'and if matter was, as is admitted, in confusion and disorder, and moreover also contained what was evil, we should have to admit that God is the place of disorder and evil. But this it does not seem to me consistent with reverence to say, but hazardous rather. For you contend that matter is uncreated,6 that you may not have to admit that God is the author of evil; and yet, while aiming to escape this difficulty, you make Him the receptacle of evil.
"If you had stated that your suspicion that matter was uncreated arose from the nature of created things as we find them,7 I should have employed abundant argument in proof that it cannot be so. But, since you have spoken of the existence of evil as the cause of such suspicion, I am disposed to enter upon a separate examination of this point. For, when once it has been made clear how it is that evil exists, and when it is seen to be impossible to deny that God is the author of evil, in consequence of His having had recourse to matter for His materials,8 it seems to me that a suspicion of this kind disappears.
"You assert, then, that matter, destitute of all qualities good or bad, co-existed at the outset with God, and that out of it He fashioned the world as we now find it."
"Such is my opinion."
"Well, then, if matter was without any qualities, and the world has come into existence from God, and if the world possesses qualities, the author of those qualities must be God."
"Exactly so."
"Since, too, I heard you say yourself just now that out of nothing9 nothing can possibly come, give me an answer to the question I am about to ask you. You seem to me to think that the qualities of the world have not sprung from pre-existing10 qualities, and moreover that they are something different from the substances themselves."
"I do."
"If, therefore, God did not produce the qualities in question from qualities already existing, nor yet from substances, by reason that they are not substances, the conclusion is inevitable, that they were made by God out of nothing. So that you seemed to me to affirm more than you were warranted to do, when you said that it had been proved impossible to hold the opinion11 that anything was made by God out of nothing.
"But let us put the matter thus. We see persons among ourselves making certain things out of nothing, however true it may be that they make them by means of something.12 Let us take our illustration, say, from builders. These men do not make cities out of cities; nor, similarly, temples out of temples. Nay, if you suppose that, because the substances necessary for these constructions are already provided, therefore they make them out of that which already exists, your reasoning is fallacious. For it is not the substance that makes the city or the temples, but the art which is employed about the substance. Neither, again, does the art proceed from any art inhering in the substances, but it arises independently of any such art in them.
"But I fancy you will meet the argument by saying that the artist produces the art which is manifest in the substance he has fashioned out of the art which he himself already has. In reply to this, however, I think it may be fairly said, that neither in man does art spring from any already existing art. For we cannot possibly allow that art exists by itself, since it belongs to the class of things which are accidentals, and which receive their existence only when they appear in connection with substance. For man will exist though there should be no architecture, but the latter will have no existence unless there be first of all man. Thus we cannot avoid the conclusion, that it is the nature of art to spring up in man out of nothing. If, then, we have shown that this is the case with man, we surely must allow that God can make not only the qualities of substances out of nothing, but also the substances themselves. For, if it appears possible that anything whatever can be made out of nothing, it is proved that this may be the case with substances also.
"But, since you are specially desirous of inquiring about the origin of evil, I will proceed to the discussion of this topic. And I should like to ask you a few questions. Is it your opinion that things evil are substances, or that they are qualities of substances? "
"Qualities of substances, I am disposed to say."
"But matter was destitute of qualities and of form: this I assumed at the outset of the discussion. Therefore, if things evil are qualities of substances, and matter was destitute of qualities, and you have called God the author of qualities, God will also be the former of that which is evil. Since, then, it is not possible, on this supposition any more than on the other, to speak of God as not the cause of evil, it seems to me superfluous to add matter to Him, as if that were the cause of evil. If you have any reply to make to this, begin your argument."
"If, indeed, our discussion had arisen from a love of contention, I should not be willing to have the inquiry raised a second time about the origin of evil; but, since we are prompted rather by friendship and the good of our neighbour to engage in controversy, I readily consent to have the question raised afresh on this subject. You have no doubt long been aware of the character of my mind, and of the object at which I aim in dispute: that I have no wish to vanquish falsehood by plausible reasoning, but rather that truth should be established in connection with thorough investigation. You yourself, too, are of the same mind, I am well assured. Whatever method, therefore, you deem successful for the discovery of truth, do not shrink from using it. For, by following a better course of argument, you will not only confer a benefit on yourself, but most assuredly on me also, instructing me concerning matters of which I am ignorant."
"You seem clearly to agree with13 me, that things evil are in some sort substances:14 for, apart from substances, I do not see them to have any existence. Since, then, my good friend, you say that things evil are substances, it is necessary to inquire into the nature of substance. Is it your opinion that substance is a kind of bodily structure? "15
"It is."
"And does that bodily structure exist by itself, without the need of any one to come and give it existence? "
"And does it seem to you that things evil are connected with certain courses of action? "
"That is my belief."
"And do actions come into existence only when an actor is there? "
"And, when there is no actor, neither will his action ever take place? "
"It will not."
"If, therefore, substance is a kind of bodily structure, and this does not stand in need of some one in and through whom it may receive its existence, and if things evil are actions of some one, and actions require some one in and through whom they receive their existence, -things evil will `not' be substances. And if things evil are not substances, and murder is an evil, and is the action of some one, it follows that murder is not a substance. But, if you insist that agents are substance, then I myself agree with you. A man, for instance, who is a murderer, is, in so far as he is a man, a substance; but the murder which he commits is not a substance, but a work of the substance. Moreover, we speak of a man sometimes as had because he commits murder; and sometimes, again, because he performs acts of beneficence, as good: and these names adhere to the substance, in consequence of the things which are accidents of it, which, however, are not the substance itself. For neither is the substance murder, nor, again, is it adultery, nor is it any other similar evil. But, just as the grammarian derives his name from grammar, and the orator from oratory, and the physician from physic, though the substance is not physic, nor yet oratory, nor grammar, but receives its appellation from the things which are accidents of it, from which it popularly receives its name, though it is not any one of them,-so in like manner it appears to me that the substance receives name from things regarded as evil, though it is not itself any one of them.
"I must beg you also to consider that, if you represent some other being as the cause of evil to men, he also, in so far as he acts in them, and incites them to do evil, is himself evil, by reason of the things he does. For he too is said to be evil, for the simple reason that he is the doer of evil things; but the things which a being does are not the being himself, but his actions, from which he receives his appellation, and is called evil. For if we should say that the things he does are himself, and these consist in murder, and adultery, and theft, and such-like, these things will be himself. And if these things are himself, and if when they take place they get to have a substantial existence,16 but by not taking place they also cease to exist, and if these things are done by men,-men will be the doers of these things, and the causes of existing and of no longer existing. But, if you affirm that these things are his actions, he gets to be evil from the things he does, not from those things of which the substance of him consists.
"Moreover, we have said that he is called evil from those things which are accidents of the substance, which are not themselves the substance: as a physician from the art of physic. But, if he receives the beginning of his existence from the actions he performs, he too began to be evil, and these evil things likewise began to exist. And, if so, an evil being will not be without a beginning, nor will evil things be unoriginated, since we have said that they are originated by him."
"The argument relating to the opinion I before expressed, you seem to me, my friend, to have handled satisfactorily: for, from the premises you assumed in the discussion, I think you have drawn a fair conclusion. For, beyond doubt, if matter was at first destitute of qualities, and if God is the fashioner of the qualities it now has, and if evil things are qualities, God is the author of those evil things. The argument, then, relating to that opinion we may consider as well discussed, and to me it now seems false to speak of matter as destitute of qualities. For it is not possible to say of any substance17 whatsoever that it is without qualities. For, in the very act of saying that it is destitute of qualities, you do in fact indicate its quality, representing of what kind matter is, which of course is ascribing to it a species of quality. Wherefore, if it is agreeable to you, rehearse the argument to me from the beginning: for, to me, matter seems to have had qualifies from all eternity.18 For in this way I can affirm that evil things also come from it in the way of emanation, so that the cause of evil things may not be ascribed to God, but that matter may be regarded as the cause of all such things."
"I approve your desire, my friend, and praise the zeal you manifest in the discussion of opinions. For it assuredly becomes every one who is desirous of knowledge, not simply and out of hand to agree with what is said, but to make a careful examination of the arguments adduced. For, though a disputant, by laying down false premises, may make his opponent draw the conclusion he wishes, yet he will not convince a hearer of this; but only when he says that which19 it seems possible to say with fairness. So that one of two things will happen: either he will, as he listens, be decisively helped to reach that conclusion towards which he already feels himself impelled, or he will convict his adversary of not speaking the truth.
"Now, it seems to me that you have not sufficiently discussed the statement that matter has qualities from the first. For, if this is the case, what will God be the maker of? For, if we speak of substances, we affirm these to exist beforehand; or if again of qualities, we declare these also to exist already. Since, therefore both substance and qualities exist, it seems to me unreasonable to call God a creator.
"But, lest I should seem to be constructing an argument to suit my purpose, be so good as to answer the question: In what way do you assert God to be a creator? Is He such because He changed the substances, so that they should no longer be the same as they had once been but become different from what they were; or because, while He kept the substances the same as they were before that period, He changed their qualities? "
"I do not at all think that any alteration took place in substances: for it appears to me absurd to say this. But I affirm that a certain change was made in their qualities; and it is in respect of these that I speak of God as a creator. Just as we might happen to speak of a house as made out of stones, in which case we could not say that the stones no longer continue to be stones as regards their substance, now that they are made into a house (for I affirm that the house owes its existence to the quality of its construction, forasmuch as the previous quality of the stones has been changed),-so does it seem to me that God, while the substance remains the same, has made a certain change in its qualities; and it is in respect of such change that I speak of the origin of this world as having come from God."
"Since, then, you maintain that a certain change-namely, of qualifies-has been produced by God, answer me briefly what I am desirous to ask you."
"Proceed, pray, with your question."
"Do you agree in the opinion that evil things are qualities of substances? "
"I do."
"Were these qualities in matter from the first, or did they begin to be? "
"I hold that these qualifies existed in combination with matter, without being originated."
"But do you not affirm that God has made a certain change in the qualities? "
"That is what I affirm."
"For the better, or for the worse? "
"For the better, I should say."
"Well, then, if evil things are qualities of matter, and if the Lord of all changed its qualities for the better, whence, it behoves us to ask, come evil things? For either the qualities remained the same in their nature as they previously were, or, if they were not evil before, but you assert that, in consequence of a change wrought on them by God, the first qualities of this kind came into existence in connection with matter,-God will be the author of evil, inasmuch as He changed the qualities which were not evil, so as to make them evil.
"Possibly, however, it is not your view that God changed evil qualities for the better; but you mean that all those other qualities which happened to be neither good nor bad,20 were changed by God with a view to the adornment of the creation."
"That has been my opinion from the outset."
"How, then, can you say that He has left the qualities of bad things just as they were? Is it that, although He was able to destroy those qualities as well as the others, He was not willing; or did He refrain because He had not the power? For, if you say He had the power, but not the will, you must admit Him to be the cause of these qualities: since, when He could have put a stop to the existence of evil, He chose to let it remain as it was, and that, too, at the very time when He began to fashion matter. For, if He had not concerned Himself at all with matter, He would not have been the cause of those things which He allowed to remain. But, seeing that He fashioned a certain part of it, and left a certain part as we have described it, although He could have changed that also for the better, it seems to me that He deserves to have the blame cast on Him, for having permitted a part of matter to be evil, to the ruin of that other part which He fashioned.
"Nay, more, it seems to me that the most serious wrong has been committed as regards this part, in that He constituted this part of matter so as to be now affected by evil. For, if we were to examine carefully into things, we should find that the condition of matter is worse now than in its former state, before it was reduced to order. For, before it was separated into parts, it had no sense of evil; but now every one of its parts is afflicted with a sense of evil.
"Take an illustration from man. Before he was fashioned, and became a living being through the art of the Creator, he was by nature exempt from any contact whatever with evil; but, as soon as ever he was made by God a man, he became liable to the sense of even approaching evil: and thus that very thing which you say was brought about by God for the benefit of matter,21 is found to have turned out rather to its detriment.
"But, if you say that evil has not been put a stop to, because God was unable to do away with it, you will be making God powerless. But, if He is powerless, it will be either because He is weak by nature, or because He is overcome by fear, and reduced to subjection by a stronger. If, then, you go so far as to say that God is weak by nature, it seems to me that you imperil your salvation itself; but, if you say that He is weak through being overcome by fear of a greater, things evil will be greater than God, since they frustrate the carrying out of His purpose. But this, as it seems to me, it would be absurd to say of God. For why should not `they' rather be considered gods, since according to your account they are able to overcome God: if, that is to say, we mean by God that which has a controlling power over all things?
"But I wish to ask you a few questions concerning matter itself. Pray tell me, therefore, whether matter was something simple or compound. I am induced to adopt this method of investigating the subject before us by considering the diversity that obtains in existing things. For, if perchance matter was something simple and uniform, how comes it that the world is compound,22 and consists of, divers substances and combinations? For by `compound' we denote a mixture of certain simple elements. But if, on the contrary, you prefer to call matter compound, you will, of course, be asserting that it is compounded of certain simple elements. And, if it was compounded of simple elements, these simple elements must have existed at some time or other separately by themselves, and when they were compounded together matter came into being: from which it of course follows that matter is created. For, if matter is compound, and compound things are constituted from simple, there was once a time when matter had no existence,-namely, before the simple elements came together. And, if there was once a time when matter was not, and there was never a time when the uncreated was not, matter cannot be uncreated. And hence there will be many uncreated substances. For, if God was uncreated, and the simple elements out of which matter was compounded were also uncreated, there will not be two uncreated things only,-not to discuss the question what it is which constitutes objects simple, whether matter or form.
"Is it, further, your opinion that nothing in existence is opposed to itself? "
"It is."
"Is water, then, opposed to fire? "
"So it appears to me."
"Similarly, is darkness opposed to light, and warm to cold, and moreover moist to dry? "
"It seems to me to be so."
"Well, then, if nothing in existence is opposed to itself, and these things are opposed to each other, they cannot be one and the same matter; no, nor yet be made out of one and the same matter.
"I wish further to ask your opinion on a matter kindred to that of which we have been speaking. Do you believe that the parts of a thing are not mutually destructive? "
"I do."
"And you believe that fire and water, and so on, are parts of matter? "
"Quite so."
"Do you not also believe that water is subversive of fire, and light of darkness, and so of all similar things? "
"Well, then, if the parts of a whole are not mutually destructive, and yet the parts of matter are mutually destructive, they cannot be parts of one matter. And, if they are not parts of one another, they cannot be composed of one and the same matter; nay, they cannot be matter at all, since nothing in existence is destructive of itself, as we learn from the doctrine of opposites: for nothing is opposed to itself-an opposite being by nature opposed to something else. White, for example, is not opposed to itself, but is said to be the opposite of black; and, similarly, light is shown not to be opposed to itself, but is considered an opposite in relation to darkness; and so of a very great number of things besides. If, then, matter were some one thing, it could not be opposed to itself. This, then, being the nature of opposites, it is proved that matter has no existence."
Claudius Apollinaris,1 Bishop of Hierapolis, and Apologist.
[a.d. 160-180.] This author, an early apologist, is chiefly interesting as a competent witness, who tells the story of the Thundering Legion2 in an artless manner, and gives it the simple character of an answer to prayer. This subject is treated by Lightfoot, in his recent work on the Apostolic Fathers,3 in an exhaustive manner; and the story, reduced to the simple narrative as Apollinaris gives it, receives from him a just and discriminating approval.
Apollinaris, as well as Rhodon, has been imagined the author of the work (ascribed to Asterius Urbanus) against Montanism, dedicated to Abiricius Marcellus.4 This is sufficiently refuted by Routh,5 whose Greek text, with notes, must be consulted by the studious.6
Apollinaris was bishop of Hierapolis on the Maeander, and, Lightfoot thinks, was probably with Melito and Polycrates, known to Polycarp, and influenced by his example and doctrine.7 He addressed his Apology, which is honourably mentioned by Jerome, to M. Antoninus, the emperor. He also wrote Adversus Gentes and De Veritate; also against the Jews. Serapion calls him8 "most blessed."
From an Unknown Book.1
"This narration (says Eusebius, Hist., v. 5) is given" (it relates to that storm of rain which was sent to the army of the Emperor M. Antoninus, to allay the thirst of the soldiers, whilst the enemy was discomfited by thunderbolts hurled upon them) "even by those historians who are at a wide remove from the doctrines that prevail among us, and who have been simply concerned to describe what related to the emperors who are the subjects of their history; and it has been recorded also by our own writers. But historians without the pale of the Church, as being unfriendly to the faith, while they have recorded the prodigy, have refrained from acknowledging that it was sent in answer to our prayers. On the other hand, our writers, as lovers of truth, have reported the matter in a simple and artless way. To this number Apollinaris must be considered as belonging. `Thereupon, 'he says, `the legion which had by its prayer caused the prodigy received from the emperor a title suitable to the occurrence, and was called in the Roman language the Thunder-hurling Legion.'"
From the Book Concerning the Passover.2
There are, then, some who through ignorance raise disputes about these things (though their conduct is pardonable: for ignorance is no subject for blame-it rather needs further instruction), and say that on the fourteenth day the Lord ate the lamb with the disciples, and that on the great day of the feast of unleavened bread He Himself suffered; and they quote Matthew as speaking in accordance with their view. Wherefore their opinion is contrary to the law, and the Gospels seem to be at variance with them.3
From the Same Book.
The fourteenth day, the true Passover of the Lord; the great sacrifice, the Son of God instead of the lamb, who was bound, who bound the strong, and who was judged, though Judge of living and dead, and who was delivered into the hands of sinners to be crucified, who was lifted up on the horns of the unicorn, and who was pierced in His holy side, who poured forth from His side the two purifying elements,4 water and blood, word and spirit, and who was buried on the day of the passover, the stone being placed upon the tomb.
Polycrates1 Bishop of Ephesus.
[a.d. 130-196.] This author2 comes in as an appendix to the stories of Polycarp and Irenaeus and good Anicetus, and his writings also bear upon the contrast presented by the less creditable history of Victor. If, as I suppose, the appearance of our Lord to St. John on "the Lord's day" was on the Paschal Sunday, it may at first seem surprising that this Apostle can be claimed by Polycrates in behalf of the Eastern custom to keep Easter, with the Jews, on the fourteenth day of the moon. But to the Jews the Apostles became "as Jews" in all things tolerable, so long as the Temple stood, and while the bishops of Jerusalem were labouring to identify the Paschal Lamb with their Passover. The long survival of St. John among Jewish Christians led them to prolong this usage, no doubt, as sanctioned by his example. He foreknew it would quietly pass away. The wise and truly Christian spirit of Irenaeus prepared the way for the ultimate unanimity of the Church in a matter which lies at the base of "the Christian Sabbath," and of our own observance of the first day of the week as a weekly Easter. Those who in our own times have revived the observance of the Jewish Sabbath, show us how much may be said on their side,3 and elucidate the tenacity of the Easterns in resisting the abolition of the Mosaic ordinance as to the Paschal, although they agreed to keep it "not with the old leaven."
Our author belonged to a family in which he was the eighth Christian bishop; and he presided over the church of Ephesus, in which the traditions of St. John were yet fresh in men's minds at the date of his birth. He had doubtless known Polycarp, and Irenaeus also. He seems to have presided over a synod of Asiatic bishops (a.d. 196) which came together to consider this matter of the Paschal feast. It is surely noteworthy that nobody doubted that it was kept by a Christian and Apostolic ordinance. So St. Paul argues from its Christian observance, in his rebuke of the Corinthians.4 They were keeping it "unleavened" ceremonially, and he urges a spiritual unleavening as more important. The Christian hallowing of Pentecost connects with the Paschal argument.5 The Christian Sabbath hinges on these points.
From His Epistle to Victor and the Roman Church Concerning the Day of Keeping the Passover.1
As for us, then, we scrupulously observe the exact day,2 neither adding nor taking away. For in Asia great luminaries3 have gone to their rest, who shall rise again in the day of the coming of the Lord, when He cometh with glory from heaven and shall raise again all the saints. I speak of Philip, one of the twelve apostles,4 who is laid to rest at Hierapolis; and his two daughters, who arrived at old age unmarried;5 his other daughter also, who passed her life6 under the influence of the Holy Spirit, and reposes at Ephesus; John, moreover, who reclined on the Lord's bosom, and who became a priest wearing the mitre,7 and a witness and a teacher-he rests at Ephesus. Then there is Polycarp, both bishop and martyr at Smyrna; and Thraseas from Eumenia, both bishop and martyr, who rests at Smyrna. Why should I speak of Sagaris, bishop and martyr, who rests at Laodicea? of the blessed Papirius, moreover? and of Melito the eunuch,8 who performed all his actions under the influence of the Holy Spirit, and lies at Sardis, awaiting the visitation9 from heaven, when he shall rise again from the dead? These all kept the passover on the fourteenth. day of the month, in accordance with the Gospel, without ever deviating from it, but keeping to the rule of faith.
Moreover I also, Polycrates, who am the least of you all, in accordance with the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have succeeded-seven of my relatives were bishops, and I am the eighth, and my relatives always observed the day when the people put away10 the leaven-I myself, brethren, I say, who am sixty-five years old in the Lord, and have fallen in with the brethren in all parts of the world, and have read through all Holy Scripture, am not frightened at the things which are said to terrify us. For those who are greater than I have said, "We ought to obey God rather than men."11 ...
I might also have made mention of the bishops associated with me, whom it was your own desire to have called together by me, and I called them together: whose names, if I were to write them down, would amount to a great number. These bishops, on coming to see me, unworthy as I am,12 signified their united approval of the letter, knowing that I wore these grey hairs not in vain, but have always regulated my conduct in obedience to the Lord Jesus.
Theophilus Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine.
[a.d. 180.] When Eusebius says that the churches of "all Asia" concurred in the Ephesine use concerning the Paschal, he evidently means Asia Minor, as in the Scriptures and elsewhere.1 Throughout "the rest of the world," he testifies, however, that such was not the use. The Palestinian bishops, after the Jewish downfall, seem to have been the first to comprehend the propriety of adopting the more Catholic usage; and our author presided over a council in Caesarea, of which he was bishop, assisted by Narcissus, bishop of Jerusalem, with Cassius of Tyre and Clarus of Ptolemais, which confirmed it. It is to be noted, that Alexandria is cited by Theophilus as authority for this custom; and it is not quite correct to say that the Western usage prevailed at Nicaea, for it was the general use, save only in Asia Minor and churches which were colonies of the same. This fact has been overlooked, and is very important, in history.
From His Epistle on the Question of the Passover, Written in the Name of the Synod of Caesarea.1
Endeavour also to send abroad copies of our epistle among all the churches, so that those who easily deceive their own Souls may not be able to lay the blame on us. We would have you know, too, that in Alexandria2 also they observe the festival on the same day as ourselves. For the Paschal letters are sent from us to them, and from them to us: so that we observe the holy day in unison and together.
Serapion1 Bishop of Antioch.
[a.d.circa 190-200-211.] He was the eighth bishop of Antioch, a diligent writer and exemplary pastor. Little as we have of his remains, Lardner shows how very useful is that little. (1) He testifies to the Apostles as delivering the words of Christ Himself; (2) to the jealousy of the early Christians in siring inspired writings from those of no authority as Scriptures; (3) to their methods, as in the case of the pseudo-gospel of Peter; and (4) to the utterly apocryphal character of that book, which Grabe and others suppose to be the work of Leucius, a noted forger and falsifier. It had never been heard of in the great See of Antioch, and this famous bishop could only get sight of it by fishing it out of the dirty pool of the Docetae.
From the epistle to Caricus and Ponticus.1
That ye may see also that the proceedings of this lying confederacy,2 to which is given the name of New Prophecy, is abominated among the whole brotherhood throughout the world, I have sent you letters of the most blessed Claudius Apollinarius, who was made bishop of Hierapolis in Asia.
From the book concerning the Gospel of Peter.3
For we, brethren, receive both Peter and the rest of the apostles as Christ Himself. But those writings which are falsely inscribed with their name,4 we as experienced persons reject, knowing that no such writings have been handed down to us.5 When, indeed, I came to see you, I supposed that all were in accord with the orthodox faith; and, although I had not read through the Gospel inscribed with the name of Peter which was brought forward by them, I said: If this is the only thing which threatens6 to produce ill-feeling among you, let it be read. But, now that I have learnt from what has been told me that their mind was secretly cherishing some heresy,7 I will make all haste to come to you again. Expect me therefore, brethren, shortly. Moreover, brethren, we, having discovered to what kind of heresy Marcion adhered, and seen how he contradicted himself, not understanding of what he was speaking, as you will gather from what has been written to you8 -for, having borrowed this said Gospel from those who were familiar with it from constant perusal, namely from the successors of those who were his leaders in the heresy, whom we call Docetae (for most of the opinions held by him are derived from their teaching), we were able to read it through; and while we found most of its contents to agree with the orthodox account of the Saviour, we found some things inconsistent with that, and these we have set down below for your inspection.
[a.d. 211.] He was a most eloquent man, according to St. Jerome; and his writings against Montanism were so forcible as to call forth Tertullian himself, to confute him, if possible. He flourished under Commodus and Severus, and probably until the times of Caracalla. He bears testimony to the existence of a canon of Scripture,2 and to its inspired authority as the rule of faith and practice; and he witnesses, by citation, to the Gospel of St. Matthew. The Revelation of St. John also, according to Eusebius, was employed by him in his works; and he preserves a tradition that our Lord bade the Apostles continue in Jerusalem for the space of twelve years. We cannot affirm that he was invested with any office in the Church.Concerning Montanism.1
But who is this new teacher? His works and teaching inform us. This is he who taught the dissolution of marriage; who inculcated fasting; who called Peruga and Tymius, small towns of Phrygia, Jerusalem, because he wished to collect thither people from all parts; who set up exactors of money; who craftily contrives the taking of gifts under the name of voluntary offerings; who grants stipends to those who publish abroad his doctrine, that by means of gluttony the teaching of the doctrine may prevail.
We declare to you, then, that these first prophetesses, as soon as they were filled with the spirit, left their husbands. Of what falsehood, then, were they guilty in calling Prisca a maiden! Do you not think that all Scripture forbids a prophet to receive gifts and money? When, therefore, I see that the prophetess has received gold and silver and expensive articles of dress, how can I avoid treating her with disapproval?
Moreover, Themison also, who was clothed in a garb of plausible2 covetousness, who declined to bear the sign of confessorship, but by a large sum of money put away from him the chains of martyrdom, although after such conduct it was his duty to conduct himself with humility, ye had the hardihood to boast that he was a martyr, and, in imitation of the apostle, to compose a general epistle, in which he attempted to instruct3 in the elements of the faith those who had believed to better purpose than he, and defended the doctrines of the new-fangled teaching,4 and moreover uttered blasphemy against the Lord and the apostles and the holy Church.
But, not to dwell further on these matters, let the prophetess tell us concerning Alexander, who calls himself a martyr, with whom she joins in banqueting; who himself also is worshipped by many;5 whose robberies and other deeds of daring, for which he has been punished, it is not necessary for us to speak of, since the treasury6 has him in keeping. Which of them, then, condones the sins of the other? The prophet the robberies of the martyr, or the martyr the covetousness of the prophet? For whereas the Lord has said, "Provide not gold, nor silver, nor two coats a-piece,"7 these men have, on the flat contrary, transgressed the command by the acquisition of these forbidden things. For we shall show that those who are called among them prophets and martyrs obtain money not only from the rich, but also from the poor, from orphans and widows. And if they are confident that they are right in so doing, let them stand forward and discuss the point, in order that, if they be refuted, they may cease for the future so to transgress. For the fruits of the prophet must needs be brought to the test: for "from its fruit is the tree known."8 But that those that desire it may become acquainted with what relates to Alexander, he was condemned by Aemilius Frontinus, proconsul at Ephesus, not on account of the name of Christ, but for the daring robberies he committed when he was already a transgressor.9 Afterwards, when he had spoken falsely of the name of the Lord, he was released, having deceived the faithful there;10 and even the brethren of his own district,11 from which he came, did not receive him, because he was a robber. Thus, those who wish to learn what he is, have the public treasury of Asia to go to. And yet the prophet, although he spent many years with him, knows forsooth nothing about him! By convicting "him," we by his means clearly convict of misrepresentation12 the prophet likewise. We are able to prove the like in the case of many others besides. And if they are confident of their innocence, let them abide the test.
If they deny that their prophets have taken gifts, let them confess thus much, that if they be convicted of having taken them, they are not prophets; and we will adduce ten thousand proofs that they have. It is proper, too, that all the fruits of a prophet should be examined. Tell me: does a prophet dye his hair? Does a prophet use stibium on his eyes? Is a prophet fond of dress? Does a prophet play at gaming-tables and dice? Does a prophet lend money on interest?13 Let them confess whether these things are allowable or not. For my part, I will prove that these practices have occurred among them.
Pantaenus1 The Alexandrian Philosopher.
[a.d. 182-192-212.] The world owes more to Pantaenus than to all the other Stoics put together. His mind discovered that true philosophy is found, not in the Porch, but in Nazareth, in Gethsemane, in Gabbatha, in Golgotha; and he set himself to make it known to the world. We are already acquainted with the great master of Clement,2 "the Sicilian bee," that forsook the flowers of Enna, to enrich Alexandria with what is "sweeter than honey and the honey-comb; "and we remember that he became a zealous missionary to the Oriental Ethiopia, and found there the traces of St. Matthias' labours, and those also of St. Bartholomew. From this mission he seems to have returned about a.d.192. Possibly he was master of the Alexandrian school before he went to India, and came back to his chair when that mission was finished. There he sat till about a.d.212, and under him this Christian academy became famous. It had existed as a catechetical school from the Apostles' time, according to St. Jerome. I have elsewhere noted some reasons for supposing that its founder may have been Apollos.3 All the learning of Christendom may be traced to this source; and blessed be the name of one of whom all we know is ennobling to the Church, and whose unselfish career was a track of light "shining more and more unto the perfect day."
"In the sun hath He set His tent."2 Some affirm that the reference is to the Lord's body, which He Himself places in the sun;3 Hermogenes, for instance. As to His body, some say it is His tent, others the Church of the faithful. But our Pantaenus said: "The language employed by prophecy is for the most part indefinite, the present tense being used for the future, and again the present for the past."
This mode of speaking Saint Dionysius the Areopagite declares to be used in Scripture to denote predeterminations and expressions of the divine will.5 In like manner also the followers of Pantaenus,6 who became the preceptor of the great Clement the Stromatist, affirm that they are commonly used in Scripture for expressions of the divine will. Accordingly, when asked by some who prided themselves on the outside learning,7 in what way the Christians supposed God to become acquainted with the universe,8 their own opinion being that He obtains His knowledge of it in different ways,-of things falling within the province of the understanding by means of the understanding, and of those within the region of the senses by means of the senses,-they replied: "Neither does He gain acquaintance with sensible things by the senses, nor with things within the sphere of the understanding by the understanding: for it is not possible that He who is above all existing things should apprehend them by means of existing things. We assert, on the contrary, that He is acquainted with existing things as the products of His own volition."9 They added, by way of showing the reasonableness of their view: "If He has made all things by an act of His will (and no argument will be adduced to gainsay this), and if it is ever a matter of piety and rectitude to say that God is acquainted with His own will, and if He has voluntarily made every several thing that has come into existence, then surely God must be acquainted with all existing things as the products of His own will, seeing that it was in the exercise of that will that He made them."
[a.d. 177.] This letter should have been made a preface to the works of Irenaeus, or at least an appendix. It is worthy of his great name; "the finest thing of the kind in all antiquity," says Lardner. Critics of no mean name have credited it to Irenaeus; but, as this cannot be proved, I have accordingly marked it as a pseudonym. The same writer condenses the arguments of others, on which he decides to adhere to the later chronology of Eusebius, assigning its date to the seventeenth year of Marcus Aurelius.1 Naturally humane and comparatively gentle in other respects he was; but Stoicism, as well as heathenism, showed what it could exact of such a character in maintenance of the popular and imperial superstitions. Terrible is the summary of Lightfoot concerning the barbarities of this darling of the "philosophers: ""It is a plain fact, that Christian blood flowed more freely under M. Aurelius than at any time previously during the half century since the Bithynian martyrdoms under Trajan, or was yet to flow at any time during the decades which would elapse before the Severian persecution. These persecutions extend throughout his reign: they were fierce and deliberate; aggravated, at least in some cases, by cruel tortures. They had the emperor's direct personal sanction. They break out in all parts of the empire,-in Rome, in Asia Minor, in Gaul, in Africa, possibly also in Byzantium."
Bishop Lightfoot accounts for the fact, that, in spite of this sanguinary character of the period, little complaint is heard from the suffering Church, by a simple statement which is honourable to Aurelius as a Roman and an emperor. He was such a contrast to the Neros and Caligulas, that the wretched Romans loved him as a father; to reproach him was, therefore, poor policy for Christians. They would have been answered, practically: "If so good a sovereign finds it necessary to punish you, the fault is your own; you have only to be as we are, and he will treat you as well as he does us."
Of this awful outbreak in Lyons and Vienne, says Lightfoot:2 "The persecution was wholesale, so that it was not safe for any Christian to appear out of doors. No difference of age or sex was made. The prisoners were put to the most cruel tortures. All the elements of power combined to crush the brethren."
To forbear threatenings, to revile not again, to conquer through patient suffering, to persevere, "looking unto Jesus," and to be silent, like Him, before their murderers, was therefore the world-wide conduct of the saints. This golden letter shows what they were called to endure, and how they glorified Christ by their deaths, from the utmost Orient to the extreme limits of the West.
The Letter of the Churches of Vienna and Lugdunum to the Churches of Asia and Phrygia1
It began thus:-"The servants of Christ who sojourn in Vienna and Lugdunum of Gaul to the brethren throughout Asia and Phrygia, who have the same faith and hope of redemption as ourselves, peace, grace, and glory from God the Father, and from Christ Jesus our Lord."
After some further preliminary remarks the letter proceeds:-"The greatness of the tribulation in this region, and the exceeding anger of the heathen nations against the saints, and the sufferings which the blessed Witnesses2 endured, neither are we competent to describe accurately, nor indeed is it possible to detail them in writing. For with all his strength did the adversary assail us, even then giving a foretaste of his activity among us which is to be without restraint; and he had recourse to every means, accustoming his own subjects and exercising them beforehand against the servants of God, so that not only were we excluded from houses,3 baths, and the forum, but a universal prohibition was laid against any one of us appearing in any place whatsoever. But the grace of God acted as our general against him. It rescued the weak; it arrayed against him men like firm pillars, who could through patience bear up against the whole force of the assaults of the wicked one. These came to close quarters with him, enduring every form of reproach and torture; and, making light of grievous trials, they hastened on to Christ, showing in reality that the `sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us.'4 And first they nobly endured the evils which were heaped on them by the populace,-namely, hootings and blows, draggings, plunderings, stonings, and confinements,5 and everything that an infuriated mob is wont to perpetrate against those whom they deem bitter enemies. And at length, being brought to the forum by the tribune of the soldiers, and the magistrates that had charge of the city, they were examined in presence of the whole multitude;

אין תגובות:

הוסף רשומת תגובה