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"Judge not then, and ye shall not be judged:”—but upon the çensorious and malevolent shall judgment assuredly be retorted, judgment in this world, and in that which is to come. Mankind will always be ready to repay the harsh opinions which they receive from others; and you may be assured, that “ with the same measure that ye mete withal, it shall be measured to you again.” But what is the judgment of man, compared with the sentence of his Maker ? Before the tribunal of God, we are told by St. James, that “He shall have judgment without mercy, who hath showed no mercy.” As we, therefore, desire to be judged with favour by God, let us also be favourable in our judgments upon our fellow-creatures. And surely there is no one who does not feel that he stands in need of unlimited favour from his Almighty Judge. “In many things we offend all; and if thou, O Lord, art extreme. to mark what is done amiss, O Lord, who may abide it?” The great rule of that Gospel which Christ bas given us—that Gospel too, by which we shall one day be judged, is this: “ Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, even so do unto them.” And can there possibly be a more direct violation of this rule, than to slander, or misrepresent, or in any way judge uncharitably of our neighbours ?
Let us then judge of all men with candour and good-nature, "putting on, above all things, charity, which is the bond of perfectness." This is indeed the distinguishing badge of the Christian profession, and without which we shall be entitled to none of those blessings and privileges, which Christ has suffered to obtain for us. He that loveth not his brother — he that makes no allowance for the failings, and judges harshly of the conduct of others, will be excluded for ever from those peaceful regions of the blessed, “where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest.” In that celestial abode, where all is harmony and love, there can be no society for those who would mar the happiness of all about them. But "blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called the children of God.”
ON THE EARLY FATHERS OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH.
'Aving hv toês nãouv åmootoAlkos.-Mart. Ignat. § 1.
CHRISTIANITY had now struggled through the horrors of two inveterate persecutions, and the third had commenced
its ravages under the sanction, rather than under the direction, of Trajan. Although the scrutiny of Pliny, the talented governor of Bithynia, had been unable to detect any, the most trivial practices of the despised and misrepresented disciples of the cross, and the emperor himself had determined to leave them unmolested, provided they kept their
VOL. XII. NO. VII.
opinions to themselves, or abjured them upon conviction (Plin. Epist. X. 97, 98); still, in the provinces more especially, the infu: riated populace, backed by the influence of their rulers, paid little regard to the imperial edicts, and continued their savage opposition to the rising church without fear and without restraint. It has been imagined, that the undaunted courage with which the early martyrs endured, or rather courted, the cruel deaths to which they were exposed, savoured strongly of romance, and manifested a degree of impatience under the severe dispensations of Providence, more than of devout resignation to his will. Such an imputation, however, can only have originated in an undue attention to the peculiar circumstances of the times. The ancient martyrologies, it is true, abound with stories bordering very closely upon fiction; but in the more authentic histories of the primitive martyrs there is nothing which can detract, however slightly, from their testimony to the truth of that religion which they verified by their blood. Their desire of martyrdom was ardent and passionate ; but they considered, with St. Paul, that to them “ to die was gain,” not so much for their own sakes, as for the
of the brethren. They hoped by their own individual sufferings to avert those of the Church ; and by the fortitude which they exhibited, to attest their unshaken belief in the revelation of the Gospel. Hence, we find, that the most eminent of the early martyrs were numbered among the bishops and rulers of the Church; and their dying prayers were uttered for the peace and welfare of their flocks.
IGNATIUS, surnamed THEOPHORUS, was one of the earliest of these martyred worthies of whom any authentic record remains. Nora, in Sardinia, has been mentioned as the place of his birth; but it does not seem to possess any real claim to that honour. His parentage is equally uncertain; and little that is entitled to credit has reached us respecting his early history. There was a current tradition that he was the child whom our Saviour set before his disciples as a pattern of humility (Matt. xviii. 3.); from whence he is said to have received the name of Theophorus. But Ignatius himself, when brought before Trajan, attached a very different import to the name, explaining it of one who carries Christ in his breast, and referring to 2 Cor. vi. 16, where sincere believers are represented as “ Temples of the living God.” The story seems to have originated in an alleged sense of the name, of which it is certainly capable, rather than the name to have been derived from the circumstance in question. Chrysostom, (Hom. in Ignat. T. I. pp. 499, B. 506, C.) says expressly, that he never saw the Lord; though he became early acquainted with the Apostles, and was admitted to their most private conferences, and fully instructed by them in the mysteries of the Gospel. He was, however, more immediately connected with the beloved disciple, St. John, and received, together with his friend Polycarp, the benefits of his inspired instructions.
According to Eusebius, (Hist. Eccl. III. 22.) Ignatius succeeded Euodius in the See of Antioch in Syria, and the date of his bishopric, given in the Chronicon, is the year 69. Theodoret, however, (Dial. I.) affirms that he was ordained by St. Peter, and the Apostolic Constitutions, (VII. 46.) by St. Paul. Now it is well known that these great Apostles were mainly concerned in founding the Christian Church at Antioch, where the disciples, evangelized by their preaching, were first called Christians. (Acts xi. 26.). It is possible, therefore, that, as in the case of Clement at Rome, Euodius and Ignatius may have been set over the Jewish and Gentile converts respectively at the departure of the Apostles; and that, at the death of the former, the entire charge of the Antiochian Church devolved upon the latter. Against this conjecture, however, which is that of Baronius, we have the concurring testimony of Irenæus, Origen, Eusebius, and Jerome, that he was simply the successor of Euodius; and that he received imposition of hands from the Apostles then living, is recorded by Chrysostom. We may remark, by the way, that the statement of this Father is amply sufficient to destroy the absurd fiction, founded upon the story already alluded to, that the Apostles abstained from laying their hands upon him, as he had been previously sanctified by the touching of Christ. The tradition seems to have originated with the party of that Ignatius who was opposed to Photius, in the eighth general council, and from them derived to Anastasius among the Latins, and to Metaphrastes and Nicephorus among the Greeks.
Of the episcopal administration of Ignatius no particular memoranda have been preserved. From a perusal of those of his writings which yet remain to us, it will readily appear that he was animated with the most fervent zeal for the Christian cause, with the most devoted attachment to his own immediate flock, and with the most attentive watchfulness over the general interests of the neighbouring Churches. Heresies and schisms were his peculiar aversion ; and he laboured with the most persevering assiduity to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Chrysostom has preserved a remarkable saying, which Grabe, with great probability, attributes to Ignatius, respecting the heinousness of the sin of schism. Not even the blood of martyrdom, he observes, is able to wash out this guilty stain; and his epistles abound with exhortations against it, and the most awful representations of the dangers attending it.* The instruction which he had received from the Apostles had sunk deep into his heart; and it was the grand object of his life to build up the faith of his fock upon the foundation which they had laid, Jesus Christ him'self being the chief corner stone. By prayer and fasting he fitted himself for the work which he had undertaken : by sound doctrine, and faithful exposition of the Scriptures, he strengthened his hearers against the attacks of their great spiritual adversary: and at length, by exposing himself to the most cruel death, he preserved the Church committed to his care, and left behind him a brilliant example of the fruits of that victory which overcometh the world, even faith in Christ.
Elate with his recent successes in Scythia and Dacia, Trajan, in the ninth year of his reign, made his appearance in Antioch, at the head of his victorious army, which he was about to lead against the Parthians
* Ουδε μαρτυρίου αίμα ταύτην δύνασθαι εξαλείφειν την αμαρτίαν. Ηom. XI. ap. Chrysost. Compare Ignat. Epist, ad Ephes. $.5. Rom. §. 3. Trall. §. 7. Phil. 8.3. and elsewhere.
and Armerians. His arrival was regarded by Ignatius as the signal of impending danger to his flock; and the inquiries, which were immediately made respecting the condition of the Christians in that large and flourishing city, were not calculated to remove his fears. The horrors of persecution immediately commenced; when Ignatius forced himself into the presence of the Emperor, with the view of diverting the public calamity, - by kindling the rage of Trajan against himself. We have a full account of this interview and its consequences, in " The Acts of the Martyrdom of Ignatius,” which were written by eye-witnesses of the whole transaction, who accompanied him from Antioch to Rome, and were present at his death. Although the latter part of these “ Acts” was appended to the original document in a later age, the body of the narrative has every appearance of authenticity; and, at all events, it is far more deserving of credit, than the inauthentic history which was founded upon them by Simeon Metaphrastes. This last is to be met with in the work of Cotelerius; and it abounds with the most improbable and indeed contradictory statements. The genuine “ Acts” were first published from two Latin MSS. by Archbishop Usher, in 1647; and in the original Greek by Ruinart, at Paris, in 1689 : whence Dr. Grabe has reprinted them in his Spicilegium. They give the following report of the conference between the Bishop and the Emperor :
“ As soon as Ignatius came into the Imperial presence, Trajan thus accosted him :- What an evil demon art thou, thus eagerly to transgress our commands, and to lead others to their destruction, by persuading them to do likewise!' Ignatius replied :— No man can justly call Theophorus an evil demon : for wicked spirits have altogether departed from the servants of God. But if, from my aversion to them, you mean to call me an evil to demons,* I admit the justice of the appellation; for, having Christ, the heavenly King, within me, I dissolve all their snares.' Hereupon Trajan asks :- And who is Theophorus ?'—The man,' replies Ignatius,' who carries Christ in his breast.' — And do not we,' said Trajan, seem to have the gods abiding in us, when we obtain their assistance against our enemies?'* It is an error,' replied Ignatius, to call the evil spirits of the heathens gods. There is but one God, who made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that in them is; and one Christ Jesus, the only-begotten Son of God, whose kingdom may I obtain!'-'Him, mean you,' said Trajan, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate ?' — Even Him,' replied Ignatius, 'who crucified my sin with the author of it; and who hath put all the fraud and malice of the devil under the feet of them who carry him in their heart.'— Dost thou then,' asked Trajan, carry him who was crucified within thee?' — Yes,' said Ignatius, ' for it is written, I will dwell in them, and walk in them.' Upon this, Trajan passed sentence in these words :- " Whereas Ignatius has declared that he carries Him who was crucified within him, we ordain that he be conveyed in chains, under a military escort, to Great Rome, and there be devoured by wild beasts, for the amuse
* By referring to the Greek, it will be seen that there is here a play upon the word κακοδαίμων, which Ignatius ingeniously resolves into κακόν προς δαίμονας.
ment of the people. The holy martyr no sooner heard his doom, than he exclaimed with joy, — I thank thee, O Lord, that thou hast vouchsafed to honour me with perfect love towards thee ; and that, like thy Apostle Paul, I am bound with an iron chain.'
Such was the bold and uncompromising spirit in which Ignatius presented himself before the Emperor ; and the result was no other than might reasonably have been expected. Trajan, though generally represented as a prince of a mild and amiable disposition, viewed with a jealous eye the rising prospects of Christianity, and had occasionally endeavoured to subdue them by the sword of persecution. He was not likely therefore to suppress the irritation which an unreserved condemnation of paganism was calculated to excite, or to forgive the free and undaunted manner in which Ignatius not only disregarded, but even courted his displeasure. It is somewhat remarkable, that he was not condemned to instant death, instead of being sent to Rome for execution. Trajan may possibly have intended to exaggerate his sufferings by a tedious and painful journey, and thus to induce him to apostatise from the faith ; unless, perhaps, the account of Metaphrastes be correct, who states that he acted by the advice of his courtiers, that the example of their dying pastor might not have the effect of confirming and encouraging his flock. Whatever the Emperor's motive might be, his decision was unquestionably calculated, under Providence, to promote the interests of Christianity. The expectant martyr was thus enabled to confirm the disciples in the places through which he passed; to give his instruction to the Bishops of the neighbouring cities who met him on his way; to forward letters of advice and consolation to distant Churches; and, by the Christian heroism with which he met the cruel death prepared for him, to prove his devoted attachment to the cause for which he suffered, to
* Ως δε κατά πρόσωπον έστη Τραϊανού του βασιλέως" τίς εί, κακοδαίμον, ημετέρας σπουδάζων διατάξεις υπερβαίνειν, μετά το και ετέρους αναπείθειν, ίνα κακώς απολούνται ; Ιγνάτιος είπεν ουδείς θεοφόρον αποκαλεί κακοδαίμονα αφεστήκασι γαρ από των δούλων του θεού τα δαιμόνια. Ει δε ότι τούτοις επαχθής είμι, και κακόν με πρός δαίμονας αποκαλείς, συνομολογώ. Χριστόν γάρ έχων επουράνιον βασιλέα, τας τούτων καταλύω επιβουλάς. Τραϊανός είπεν και τις έστιν θεοφόρος; Ιγνάτιος απεκρίνατο ο Χριστόν έχων εν στέρνοις. Τραϊανός είπεν ημείς ούν σοι δοκούμεν κατά νουν μή έχειν θεούς, οις
χρώμεθα συμμάχοις προς τους πολεμίους ; Ιγνάτιος είπεν τα δαιμόνια των εθνών θεους προσαγορεύεις πλανώμενος' είς γάρ έστιν θεός, και ποιήσας τον ουρανόν και την γην και την θάλασσαν, και πάντα τα εν αυτοίς· και εις Χριστός Ιησούς, ο υιός του Θεού και μονογενής, ού της βασιλείας αναίμην. Τραϊανός είπεν τον σταυρωθέντα λέγεις επί Ποντίου Πιλάτου; Ιγνάτιος είπεν τον ανασταυρώσαντα την εμήν αμαρτίαν μετά του ταύτης ευρετού, και πάσαν καταδικάσαντα δαιμονικών πλάνην και κακίαν υπό τους πόδας των αυτόν εν καρδία φορούντων. Τραϊανός είπεν συ ουν έν σεαυτώ φέρεις τον σταυρωθέντα ; Ιγνάτιος είπεν ναι. Γέγραπται γάρ ενοικήσω εν αυτοίς, και εμπεριπατήσω. Τραϊανός απεφήνατο'' Ιγνάτιον προσετάξαμεν τον εν εαυτό λέγοντα περιφέρειν τον εσταυρωμένον, δέσμιον υπό στρατιωτών γενόμενον, άγεσθαι παρά την μεγάλην Ρώμην, βρώμα γενησόμενον θηρίων εις τέρψιν του δήμου. Ταύτης ο άγιος μάρτυς έπακούσας της αποφάσεως, κατά χαράς έβόησεν ευχαριστω σοι, δέσποτα, ότι με τελεία τη προς σε αγάπη τιμήσαι κατηξίωσας, των αποστόλω σου Παύλω δέσμοις συνδήσας σιδηροίς. Mart. Ignat. $ 2.