« הקודםהמשך »
exposed themselves to persecution and to death,neglecting the things of this world, and rejecting the religions of the Greeks and of the Jews. To these queries our author replies in a letter, in which the truth of Christianity is, in a manner, taken for granted, and nothing is urged that was proper to convince and convert an unbeliver : so that Diognetus, if he had been morose and censorious, would have concluded, that this writer had found a new religion, but had lost somea
One would think that the apologist would have mentioned the prophecies of the Old Testament accomplished in Christ, the miracles of Christ and of his apostles, and other proofs of the truth and importance of Christianity. Not at all. He begins with setting forth the folly of worshipping images, and thinking them to be real gods; and this he gives as the reason for which Christians rejected the religion of the Gentiles.
The Jews, says he, though they worship one God, yet offer him sacrifices, as if he stood in need of such gifts, and were to be fed with the steam of victims; they are also superstitious observers of the difference between food clean and unclean, of the sabbath, of circumcision, fasts, feasts, new moons, &c. Therefore we Christians reject the Jewish religion.
What he says on this head is not only too severe upon the Jews, but incautious and injudicious; and, if it proved any thing, would prove more than he intended and was aware of, and bear hard upon the Mosaic law. The same defect may be observed in some arguments of Amobius upon the same subject.
Then he proceeds to observe that Christians were examples of all that was good, and patient under aillictions and ill usage ; that God sent his Son to suffer for men, to redeem and to instruct them, who, before he came, knew not God, and who were grown very wicked; all which, if intended as a sufficient proof of Christianity, was litile better than begging the question.
He speaks of the Jews as if at that time they offered up sacrifices, whence some learned men have concluded that he wrote before the destruction of Jerusalem ; but the argument is scarcely conclusive, especially when we consider what sort of a writer we have to do with. 6 Sacrificia quidem,'
νέσεως, says the Benedictin, “ Judæi offerre desierunt post urbis et templi excidia. Sed tamen cum author epistolæ quid intersit Judæos inter et Christianos exponat, non immerito in Judæis aspernatur cruenta illa animalium sacrificia, quæ et Judaici cultus pars erant insignis, et sibi per vim erepta Judæi, si minus usu, saltem animo et voluntate retinebant. Pluribus aliis contigit Judæos eodem modo exagitare. S. Phileas Martyr de Judæis sic loquitur, Act. Mart. p. 444.
• Solis Judæis præceptum fuerat sacrificare Deo soli in Jerosolyma. Nunc autem peccant Judæi in locis aliis solemnia sua celebrantes,' &c. Præf. p. 75.
I cannot believe that this epistle was written by Justin Martyr; for Justin would have managed the argument better, and have omitted neither the prophecies nor the miracles. The author seems to have been some Gentile converted to Christianity, who had perused Justin's Cohortatio ad Græcos. Justin begins it thus : 'Aρχόμενος της προς υμάς παραιο
ယ် υπάρξαι, τα δέοντα προς υμάς είπείν υμάς δε, της προτέρας άρεμένους φιλονεικίας, και της των προγόνων πλάνης απαλλαγέντας, ελέσθαι τα λυσιτελουντα νυνί. tationem apud vos, Græci, instituens, Deum precor, ut mihi quidem apud vos, ut par est, dicere contingat ; vos autem pristinam pertinaciam relinquentes, et a majorum discedentes errore, quæ utilia sunt in præsentia eligatis.' This is an imitation of the exordium in the oration of Demosthenes for Ctesiphon : and as Justin imitates Demosthenes, so the writer of the epistle imitates Justin-παρα του Θεού, του και το λέγειν και το ακούειν ημίν χωρηγούντος, αιτούμαι δοθήναι, εμοί μεν, είπείν ούτως, ως μάλιστα αν ακουσαι [ακούσαντά] σε βελτίω γενέσθαι· σοι τε [δε] ούτως άκουσαι, ως μη λυπηθήναι τον είπόντα. Ο Peto a Deo, qui et loquendi et audiendi nobis facultatem suppeditat, ut ab eo detur, mihi quidem, ita verba facere ut in primis contingat, te, postquam audieris, meliorem evadere ; et tibi, ita audire, ut tristitia non afficiatur is qui verba fecerit.' This is said well enough :
amphora cæpit Institui ; currente rota, cur urceus exit?'
The epistle has a few chasms, but there seems to be only a little of it that is lost. It was perhaps an exercise, or declamation, addressed to a great man, with whom the author had no acquaintance; as some modern epistles to the Pope, and to Lewis the fourteenth, which were never presented.
As I have had occasion to mention Tillemont, and shall probably often cite him hereafter, I take this opportunity to own my obligations to him for his useful and labo, rious collections. After this due respect and acknowledgment, I hope it will be permitted to make a few observations, which may do others some good, and can now do him no harm, nor destroy the peace which, I believe, he enjoys in a better world.
His History of the Emperors is very valuable; but he has filled his other books with an account of trifling, absurd, ridiculous miracles.
He never affirms facts without vouchers; but he often makes use of bad ones in his Ecclesiastical History, and builds upon a sandy foundation, upon the testimony of forgers, fanatics, and of interested persons, who write in their own behalf, and want to discredit their adversaries.
He commonly proceeds upon a supposition, that they who have obtained the honour of ecclesiastical knighthood, and are called saints, are all excellent men, and entirely to be trusted ; and that all they who were, or were accounted, heterodox, are to be little regarded, and held in bad esteem.
He seems to have been a pious, humble, meek and modest, as well as a very learned and accurate man; and yet he cannot forbear insulting Protestant writers as heretics, even those to whom he and the Christian world had
great obligations, as Usher, Pearson, &c. He takes all
opportunities, and sometimes goes out of his way to seek opportunities of inculcating the horrible doctrine, that the very best of Pagans, heretics, and schismatics, are condemned to suffer eternal tortures. Speaking of young Tiberius, who was murdered by order of the emperor Caius, and compelled by the scldiers, as Philo relates it, to thrust a sword into his own body, he concludes the melancholy tale with this reflection :- Thus by his own hand he ended his
miserable life, to begin another, the misery of which will never end.' Hist. des Emp. i. p. 142. Observe, that this unhappy youth was then but nineteen years age;
that he had been bred up at court under Tiberius, in a sort of genteel prison ; that probably he had never heard Christianity even mentioned; and that history relates no one bad thing concerning him: so that the Pagan ignorance of this poor child was altogether invincible, and might have been thought suificient to qualify him at least for Purgatory.
• Tantum relligio potuit suadere maloruin !' It is remarkable, that in the little edition of Tillemont the passage stands thus: he ended his miserable life.' What follows was added afterwards in the quarto edition, whence we may learn that the good man, as he grew older, grew more uncharitable in his religious notions. The apophthegm of Horace is not always true:
• Lenit albescens animos capillus.' The hoary heads of some persons are like Mount Ætna, where the snow and the fire dwell together in strict friend. ship.
Sed, quamvis nimio fervens exuberet æstu,
Scit nivibus servare fidem Claudian Rapt. Pros. i. 165.
These are some of the doctrines which have unhappily helped to propagate atheism or deism, and have made many a man say to himself , “If this be Christianity, let my
soul be with the philosophers.'
The old Christians were more charitable, and had nobler sentiments of the divine benignity. Justin Martyr, in his Apology, i. 46. speaks handsomely of Socrates, and of other worthy men in the Pagan world, and represents them as a sort of Christians, and doubtless entertained favourable thoughts of their future state.
Τον Χριστόν πρωτότοκον του Θεού είναι εδιδάχθημεν, και προεμηνύσαμε λόγον όντα, ου πουν γένος ανθρώπων μετέσχε" και οι μετα λόγου βιώσαντες, Χριστιανοί εισι, καν άθεοι ένομίστησαν: οον έν "Ελλησι μεν Σωκράτης και Ηράκλειτος, και οι όμοιοι αυτούς -αστε και οι προγενόμενοι άνευ λόγου βιώ
σαντες, άχρηστοι και εχθροί τα Χριστώ ήσαν, και φονείς των μετα λόγου βιούντων" οι δε μεια λόγου βιώσαντες, και βιούντες, Χριστιανοί και άφοβοι, και ατάραχοι υπάρ
Christum primogenitum Dei esse ac rationem illam, cujus omne hoininum genus particeps est, didicimus, et supra declaravimus. Ei qui cuin ratione vixerunt, Christiani sunt, etiamsi athei existimati sint; quales apud Græcos fuere Socrates et Heraclitus, iisque similes.--Similiter qui olim absque ratione vixere, improbi et Christo inimici fuere, et eorum qui cum ratione vivebant, homicidæ. Qui vero cum ratione vixerunt et vivunt, Christiani sunt, atque impavidi atque intrepidi.' Ed. Paris. 1742. Now turn to the Preface, p. xxxii. and see the Benedictin editor, fighting for a theological system which has nothing at all to do with an edition of Justin ; and taking great pains to clear the good father from the shameful imputation of supposing that a virtuous Pagan might be saved, as well as a monk. What will the Benedictin say for Clemens Alexandrinus ? This learned and good-natured father was of opinion that Christ and his apostles preached the gospel in Hades to the dead, and that the souls which repented and believed were received to favour: επεί σωτήριοι, και παιδευτικαί αι κολάσεις και του Θεού, εις επιστροφήν άγουσαι, και την μετάνοιαν του αμαρτωλου μάλλον ή τον θάνατον αιρούμεναι και ταυτα καθαρότερον διοραν δυναμένων των σωμάτων απηλλαγμένων ψυχών, καν πάθεσιν επισκοτώνται, δια το μηκέτι ΕΓΙΠΡΟΣΘΕΣΘΑΙ σαρκίω. • Sunt enim salutares, et quæ erudiunt, Dei castigationes, adducentes ad conversionem, et potius pænitentiam peccatoris eligentes quam mortem : idque præcipue cum possint animæ purius perspicere, quæ sunt liberæ a corporibus, etiamsi obscurentur perturbationi.bus, eo quod non se amplius eis opponat et impediat caruncula.'
I think it should be,-έπιπροσθείσθαι σαρκίω, “ obnubi
Διαφέρει δε τιμωρία και κόλασις: η μεν γαρ κόλασις του πάσχον. τος ένεκά εστιν ή δε τιμωρία του ποιoύντος: says Aristotle. In Xenophon. Oecon. terra κολάζεται, i. e. emendatur. See A. Gellius vi. 14 Θεός δε ου τιμωρείται έστι γαρ η τιμωρία, κακού ανταπόδοσις: κολάζει μέντοι προς το χρήσιμον και κοινή και ιδία τους κολάζομένοις. Clemens Strom. vii. p. 895. Origen was of the same opinion, and perhaps car. ried it somewhat further,