תמונות בעמוד

circumcision and the rites of their religion, that he seems to say some of the Gentile Christians conformed to them.

Having consulted Eusebius and other ancient writers to no purpose, for some account of these Jews who had de, serted the religion of their ancestors, I looked into Tillemont, who is wonderfully careful and exact in bringing together every thing that relates to his subject; but his account of the matter differs widely indeed from that of Mosheim. He says, “ The Jews converted to the faith of Christ were not excepted by the Pagans from the prohibition, to that nation, to continue at Jerusalem. They were obliged to go out. with the rest. But the Jews being then obliged to abandon Jerusalem, that church began to be composed of Gentiles, and before the death of Adrian, in the middle of the year 138, Mark, who was of Gentile race, was established their bishop.”+ He does not say with Mosheim, that this Mark. was chosen by the Jews who abandoned the Mosaic rites. I

Fleury, I find, had the same idea of that event. “ From this time the Jews were forbidden to enter Jerusalem, or even to see it at a distance. The city being afterwards inhabited by Gentiles, had no other name than. Ælia.Hitherto the church of Jerusalem had only been composed of Jewish converts, who observed the ritual of the law under the liberty of the Gospel; but then, as the Jews were forbidden to remain there, and guards were placed to defend the entrance of it, there were no other Christians there besides. those who were of Gentile origin ; and thus the remains of the servitude of the law were entirely abolished."

He says,

“Quia non solum carnales Judæi de circumcisione carnis revincendi sunt nobis, sed nonnulli ex eis, qui Christi nomen videntur suscepisse, et tamen carnalem circumcisionem recipiendam putant: ut Ebionitæ, et si qui bis simili paupertate sensus aberrant." In Gen. Hom. iii. Opera, I. p. 19. (P:)

+ Hist. des Empereurs, II. (Pt. ji.), p. 506. (P.) « Les Juifs convertis à la foi de J. C., n'avoient garde d'être exceptés, par les Payens, de la défense faite à ceux de cette nation de demeurer à Jérusalem. lls furent obligés d'en sortir avec les autres.--Mais les Juifs étant contraints alors d'abandonner Jérusalem, cette église commença à être composée de Gentils, et dès devant la mort d' Adrien, qui arriva au milieu de l'an 138, on y établit S. Marc pour évêsque, lequel l'étoit aussi des Genuils." Histoire, 1732, Venice, I., pp. 293, 294. See Vol. XVIII. p. 179.

Hist. I. p. 172. (P.) See Vol. XVIII. p. 179, Note t.

Hist. I. p. 316. (P.) “ Depuis ce tems il fut défendu aux Juifs d'entrer à Jérusalem, ni même de la regarder de loin. La ville, habitée désormais par des Gentils, n'eut plus d'autre nom qu'Elia.

Jusques-là l'église de Jérusalem n'avoit guères été composée que de Juifs convertis, qui gardoient encore les observations légales, sous la liberté de l'évangile. Mais alors, comme il étoit défendu aux Juifs d'y demeurer, et qu'il y avoit mêine des gardes pour leur en défendre l'entrée, il n'y eut plus que des Chrétiens Geptils d'origine: ainsi les restes de l'ancienne servitude de la loi s'abolirent entièrement." Histoire Ecclésiastique, 1750, Paris, I. pp. 343, 344. See Vol. XVIII. p. 180.

I cannot help, in this place, taking some farther notice of what Mosheim says with respect to this charge of a wilful falsehood on Origen. Jerome, in his epistle to Pammachius, * says, that Origen adopted the Platonic doctrine of the subserviency of truth to utility, as with respect to deceiving enemies, &c., the same that Mr. Hume, and other speculative moralists have done ; considering the foundation of all social virtue to be the public good. But it by no means follows from this, that such will ever indulge themselves in any greater violations of truth, than those who hold other speculative opinions concerning the foundation of morals. +

Jerome was far from saying, that “ Origen reduced his theory to practice." He mentions no instance whatever of his having recourse to it, and is far, indeed, from vindicating any person in asserting, that to silence an adversary, he had recourse to the wilful and deliberate allegation of a notorious falsehood.

Grotius also says, in the passage which I have quoted from him, that it is well observed by Sulpicius Severus, that all the Jewish Christians till the time of Adrian held that Christ was God, though they observed the law of Moses. But the sense in which Grotius understood the term God in this place must be explained by his own sentiments concerning Christ. As to Sulpicius himself, he must be considered as having said nothing more than that - almost all the Jews at Jerusalem were Christians, though they observed the law of Moses.' This writer's mere assertion, that the Jewish Christians held Christ to he God, in the proper sense of the word, unsupported by any reasons for it, is not to be regarded. I

CHAPTER X. Of the supposed Heresy of the Ebionites and Nazarenes, and

other Particulars relating to them. I HAVE observed, [p. 139,] that Tertullian is the first Christian writer who expressly calls the Ebionites heretics. Irenæus, in his large treatise concerning heresy, expresses great dislike of their doctrine, always representing them as believing that Jesus was the son of Joseph ; but he never confounds them with the heretics. Justin Martyr makes no mention of Ebionites, but he speaks of the Jewish Christians, which has been proved to be a synonymous expression; and it is plain, that he did not consider all of them as heretics, but only those of them who refused to communicate with the Gentile Christians. With respect to the rest, he says, that he should have no objection to hold communion with them. * He describes them as persons who observed the law of Moses, but did not impose it upon others. . Who could these be but Jewish Unitarians ? For, according to the evidence of all antiquity, and what is supposed by Justin himself, all the Jewish Christians were such. † It is probable, therefore, that the Nazarenes or Ebionites, were considered as in a state of excommunication, merely because they would have imposed the law of Moses upon the Gentiles, and refused to hold communion with any, besides those who were circumcised; so that, in fact, they excommunicated themselves,

Opera, I. p. 496. (P.)

+ See Vol. XVIII. pp. 180, 181.


This circumstance may throw some light on the passage in Jerome, in which he speaks of the Ebionites as anathematized solely on account of their adherence to the Jewish law. The Ebionites, at least many of them, would have imposed the yoke of the Jewish law upon the Gentile Christians. They would not communicate with those who were not circumcised, and of course these could not communicate with them; so that they were necessarily in a state of excommunication with respect to each other. This would also be the case with the Cerinthians, as well as the Ebionites; and therefore Jerome mentions them together ; the separation of communion with respect to both arising, in a great measure, from the observance of the law of Moses; though Jerome might write unguardedly, as he often did, in confounding the case of the Cerinthians so much as he here does with that of the Ebionites. I

Ruffinus makes the heresy of Ebion to consist in its enjoining the observance of the Jewish law. The attachment of the Jews to their own law was certainly very great. Origen speaks of the Ebionities as thinking that Christ came chiefly for the sake of the Israelites. || * Dial. p. 231. (P.)

+ See Vol. XVIII. p. 187. See ibid. p. 187, Note.

“ Consilium vanitatis est quod Ebion docet, ita Christo credi debere, ut circumcisio carnis, et observatio sabbathi, et sacrificiorum solemnitas, cæteræque omnes observantiæ secundum legis literam teneantur." In Symbol. p. 189. (P.)

!!, Ουκ απεςαλγην ει μη εις τα προβαλα τα απολωλολα οικε Ισραηλ' ουκ ελαμβανομεν ταυλα ας οι πτωχοι τη διανοια Εβιωναιοι, πτωχειας της διανοιας επωνυμοι, (Εβιω γαρ πτωχος, παρ' Εβραιοις ονομαζεται,) ώςε υπολαβειν επι της σαρκικες Ισραελιτας προηγε

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

There is something very particular in the conduct of Tertullian with respect to the Ebionites. He speaks of the heresy of Ebion (of which he makes but the slightest mention in his treatise against heresy in general) as consisting in the observance of the Jewish ceremonies ; * and yet he says, that “ John in his epistle calls those chiefly antichrists, who denied that Christ came in the flesh, and who did not think that Jesus was the Son of God;” meaning, probably, a disbelief of the miraculous conception. - The former," he says, “ Marcion held; the latter, Ebion.”+

Upon the whole, the conduct of Tertullian very much resembles that of Irenaus, who, without classing the Ebionites with heretics, expresses great dislike of their doctrine.

It is certain, that the Ebionites were a very different set of persons from the Gnostics, and that they were utter strangers to the principles of that philosophy which were the cause of the prejudice that was entertained concerning matter and the body, and which led the Gnostics to recommend corporeal austerities, and abstinence from marriage. Epiphanius says, that “the Ebionites, and all such sects, were enemies to virginity and continence.”

This writer's hatred of the Ebionites, and of course his misrepresentation of them, are very conspicuous. But there is one thing which he lays to their charge, which, though not absolutely incredible, it is not easy to account for. For he says, that “ the Ebionites revere water as a God.” § Damascenus says the same after him.||

Another most extraordinary and highly improbable allegation of Epiphanius, with respect to the Ebionites, is his charging them with the peculiar doctrines of the Gnostics, which is contrary to the testimony, I may safely say, of all other ancient writers; it being cominonly said by them, that the heresy of the Ebionites was the very reverse of that of the Gnostics. He says, however, that “ some of the Ebionites held that Adam, who was first formed, and into whom God breathed the breath of life, was Christ. But others of them say that he was from above, that he was a spirit created

“ Ad Galatas scribens invehitur,in observatores et defensores circumcisionis et legis. Hebionis bæresis est.” De Præscrip. Sect. xxxiii, Opera, p. 214. (P.)

+ “At in epistola eos maxime antichristos vocat, qui Christum negarent in carne venisse, et qui non putarent Jesum esse Filium Dei. Illud Marcion, hoc Hebion vindicavit.” Ibid. (P.)

1 Τα νυν δε απαγορευται πανlαπασι παρ' αυτοις παρθενια τε και εγκρατεια, ώς και παρα τους αλλαις ομοιαις ταυλη αιρεσεσι. Ηer. XXX. p. 526. (Ρ.)

5 Το υδωρ αντι Θεου εχεσι. Opera, I. p. 53. (Ρ.)

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

before any others, before the angels, that he was lord of all, was called Christ, and made the sovereign of that age; that he came from thence whenever be pleased, as into Adam, and that he appeared in the form of a man to the patriarchs, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and that it was the same who in the latter days, being clothed with the body of Adam, appeared as a man, was erucified, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven.” .

Again, speaking of the Ebionites in general, he says, “ They assert that there were two beings created, viz. Christ and the Devil; that Christ took the inberitance of the future age, and the Devil of the present, and that the Supreme Being made this appointinent at the request of them both. On this account, they say that Jesus was born of the seed of man, and became the son of God by adoption, by Christ coming into him from above, in the form of a dove. But they say that he was not generated from God the Father, but created by hin, as one of the archangels, though greater than they ; for that he is lord of the angels, and of all things that were made by the Almighty ; that he came and taught what is contained in their Gospel, saying, “I am come to destroy sacrifices, and if you will not cease to sacrifice, wrath shall not cease with respect to you.' These and such like things are taught by them.”+

la another passage he ascribes these doctrines not to Ebion himself, but to his followers. “ Ebion himself," he says,

“ held that Christ was a mere man, born as other men are ; but they who from him are called Ebionites, say that God had a superior power called his son, that he assumed the form of Adam, and put it off again." I

• Τινες γαρ εξ αυίων και Αδαμ τον Χριςον ειναι λεγεσι, τον πρωθον πλασθενία τε και εμφυσηθελα απο της τα Θεον επιπνοιας" αλλοι δε εν αυτοις λεγεσιν ανωθεν μεν οντα, τρο πανίων δε κτισθενία πνευμα ολα και υπερ ηθελες ονlα, πανίων τε κυριευονία, και Χρισον λεγεσθαι, τον εκεισε δε αιωνα κεκληρωσθαι ερχεσθαι δε ενιαυθα οτε βελείαι, ως και εν τω 'Αδαμ ηλθε, και τοις πατριαρχαις εφαινείο, ενδυομενο το σωμα, προς Αβρααμ ελθων και Ισαακ και Ιακωβ: ο αυλος επ' εσχαλων των ημερων ηλθε, και αυτο το σωμα το Αδάμ ενεδυσαλο, και ωφθη ανθρωτος, και εσταυρωθη, και ανες και ανηλθεν. Ηer. xXx, Sect, iii. p. 127. (Ρ.)

* Δυο δε τινας, ως εφην, συνις ωσιν εκ Θεω τελαμενές, ένα μεν τον Χριςον, ένα δε τον διαβολον και τον μεν Χριςον λεγεσι, τα μελλοντος αιωνος ειληφεναι τον κληρον, τον δε διαβολον τελον σεπιςευθαι τον αιώνα, εκ προςαγης δηθεν του πανιοκραίορος καια αιτησιν έκατερων αυτων και τετου ένεκα Ιησgν

γεγενημενον εκ σπερματο» ανδρος λεγεσι, και επιλεχθεντα, και έτω καλα εκλογην υιον Θεου κληθελα, απο του ανωθεν εις αυλον ηκυντ» Χριςe εν ειδει περιφερας ου φασκοσι δε εκ Θεου πατρος αυτων γεγενησθαι, αλλα κτισθαι, ως ένα των αρχαγΓελων, μειζονα δε αυλων ονlα, ανίον δε κυριενει», και αγίελων και πανίων απο του σανloκρατορου πεποιημενων, και ελθονία και υφηγησαμενον, ως το παρ' αυτοις ευαγfέλιον καλαμενον περιέχει, ότι ηλθον καlαλυσαι τας θυσιας, και εαν μη παυσησθε του θεά, ου παυσεται αφ' υμων η οργη και ταυλα και τοιαυλα τινα εςιν τα παρ' αυτους επιτηδευματα. Ibid. Sect. xvi. p. 140. (Ρ.)

+ Παί μεν και αυτος Εν λεγον εη ταρατριβης φλον ανθρωπον αυτον γεγεννησθαι

[ocr errors]
« הקודםהמשך »