« AnteriorContinuar »
fourth and fifth centuries miracles were ascribed to him ; of which I say nothing now: but I propose to consider that point hereafter in the chapter of Hierocles.
IV. But, if it might not be reckoned too presuming, I would now consider the judgment passed upon the Metamorphosis, the principal remaining work of this author, by Dr. Warburton, now bishop of Gloucester: who supposes that his a design was to recommend the Pagan reli'gion as the only cure for all vice in general.'
Against that interpretation, it seems to be no small objection that'the author himself calls it a • Milesian tale, and a Greek fable; and the ancients always so understood it, as our great author himself acknowledges.
· The Metamorphoses," says he, p. 117, even from its first appearance, hath had the cha'racter of a trifling fable. Capitolinus, in Clodius Albinus, tells us that Severus could not • bear with patience the honours which the senate had conferred on Albinus, especially the
distinguishing title of learned, who was grown old in the study of oldwives fables, such as the • Milesian Punic tales of his countryman and favourite Apuleius. Major fuit, (says Severus in • his letter to the senate on this occasion,) dolor, quod illum pro literato laudandum plerique * duxistis, quum ille næniis quibusdam anilibus occupatus inter Milesias Punicas Apuleii sui et « ludicra literaria consenesceret. That poor, modern-spirited, critic Macrobius, talks too of • Apuleius in the same strain, lib. 1. cap. 2.' Again, p. 118. • The ancients, who stuck in • the outside, considered it without refinement as an idle fable.' And p. 123. · The author in*troduces his Metamorphoses in this manner: At ego tibi sermone isto Milesio varias fabulas * conferam, auresque tuas benevolas lepido susurro permulceam-And his kind readers took • him at his word : and from that day to this never troubled themselves about any further. • meaning.'
And why should not · his readers take him at his word,' and accept of his own account of the design of his work? And why should we trouble ourselves farther? Why may we not understand him as the ancients did ?
One reason against that is taken from the character of the writer, p. 117. · However, • Macrobius seems to wonder that Apuleius should trifle at this rate; and well he might; for the 'writer of the Metamorphosis was one of the gravest and most virtuous philosophers of his age.'
I do not know what assurance we have of this. I am not able to reconcile that character with the many horrible obscenities of that work, not inferior to the most offensive things of that kind in any of the works of Lucian. A grave philosopher may, for the sake of diversion, propose in conversation, or writing, a tale, a Milesian tale,' if you please; but not such a story as that of Apuleius's ass. Marcus Aurelius was a philosopher of the same age : no man can believe him capable of such an obscene performance as this, notwithstanding his aversion to Christianity.
I own that Apuleius must have been studious; otherwise he had not attained to such learning as appears in his writings: and he had the character of a philosopher : but his obscenity is a strong objection to his virtue and gravity. And his apology also manifests great gaiety of temper; nor is it entirely free from obscenity.
P. 123, 124. • The fable opens with the representation of a young man, figured in his own person.'. For certain, it is Lucius Apuleius himself throughout, who speaks, and acts, and suffers, in his fable.
P. 125. • Matters growing still from bad to worse, his affairs come to a crisis : for being now ' about to perpetrate, in the ninth book, (it should be said the tenth,) one of the most shocking * enormities,-he abhors the idea of his projected crime, evades his keepers, and flies to the sea shore.' I
ust take the liberty to say I do not perceive that to be the truth of the case : ford he had before perpetrated that shocking enormity, and has related the commission of it with shameful particularity: but he scorned to repeat it in public, and made his escape from his keepers.
a See the Divine Legation of Moses denionstrated, book iv. sect. 4. vol. 2. p. 117, &c. in the notes, ed. 1741.
At ego tibi sermone isto Milesio varias fabulas conferam,
auresque tuas bibulas [al. benivolas] lepido susurro permulceai. Apul. Met. lib. i. p. 1.
• Fabulam Græcam incipimus. Lector intende, lætaberis.. ib. p. t. L. 10 p. 336, &c. • Ib. p. 343, &C 'to raise his character for knowledge, and to make himself a + Tota porro bæc Metamorphosis Apuleiana et stylo et • subject of admiration. Crevier's Hist. of the Emperors, sententiâ satyricon est perpetuum, (ut recte observavit Bar- vol. vii. p. 344. thius Adv. 1. 51. cap. 17.) in quo magica deliria, sacrificulo- So says that learned modern. Had he never read the rum scelera, adulterorum crimina, furum et latronum im- Apology of Apuleius? And did he suppose every thing said punitæ factiones differuntur. J. Florid. Annot. in Apul. in in the Metamorphosis, or Fable of the Ass, to be real matter usum Delphin. p. 2.
At the end, in the eleventh book, he recovers his original form, and he undergoes three initiations into the mysteries of Isis, and then of Osiris, and lastly the Roman rites.
• All this considered,' says the venerable and laborious author before named, p. 130, who can any longer doubt but that the true design of this work was to recommend initiation into • the mysteries, in opposition to the new religion ?' meaning the Christian religion.
I do not yet perceive the certainty of that conclusion. Supposing a man by some means to have been transformed into an ass, and in that state to have been treated as a beast of burden, and to have undergone many hardships ; it was natural for him, upon his recovering the human shape, to make acknowledgments to heaven, in a way agreeable to the religion of which he makes professions, or as best suited his own temper. Lucian, whose regard for the gods is not reckoned to have been very extraordinary, having been transformed, as Apuleius is represented to have been, upon the recovery of human shape, • sacrifices * to the gods, his saviours, and • makes offerings to them.' Apuleius, who was more accustomed to religious rites, is initiated, as just shewn.
I must therefore still understand this to be a Milesian fable, as the ancients did. And I cannot but consider the allegorical interpretation as a fiction without foundation.
But, though I am not able to discern that deep and hidden design which our author sees in this work, it may be allowed to be (what divers learned and ingenious men have supposed) a perpetual satire of the tricks and irregularities of magicians, priests, debauchees, cheats, and sharpers, with which the world was then filled.
Crevier's character of Apuleius is absurd and unaccountable. I put it below with a remark or two; and perhaps it may be remembered when we come to the chapter of Hierocles.
Since writing what is above, upon reviewing the chapter, I have observed that Mr. Mosheim had seen and examined the argument of the bishop of Gloucester. But, after expressing just tokens of respect for his lordship, he declares himself not to be fully satisfied with his representation of the design of the fable of the ass.
A general account of the early adversaries of the Christians, who wrote against them : Celsus, Por
phyry, Hierocles, Julian, Fronto, and some others.'
The next author to be quoted by me, is Celsus, who in the second century wrote professedly against the Christians. And I shall now give
And I shall now give a general account of all our 'ancient adversaries, or such heathen authors, who designedly opposed the Christian religion.
Doubtless, all the heathen authors, hitherto quoted were, in a sense, enemies to Christianity.
• Ενταυθα, θεοις σωτηρσιν εθυον, και αναθηματα εθηκα. “main, all he did was mere imposture, by which he proposed Lucian. Asin. p. 117. T. 2. Græv.
of fact? See likewise Bayle in Apulée.
De consilio vero fabulæ de Asino, quod commendationem co Apuleius ought to be ranked with the philosophers who mysteriorum, et Christianæ religionis contemtionem, vir • pretend to join magic to philosophy. He was an Apol- doctissimus esse conjicit, dubitare mihi liceat ; quum nihil • lonius Tyanæus in miniature. Miracles were ascribed to afferri videam ex eâ quod difficulter in aliam partem accipi * him and a supernatural commerce with the gods. In the possit. Moshem. de Reb. ante C. M. p. 563.
For though they had heard of it, they did not embrace it, but rejected it: and usually they manifest ill-will and aversion, in their manner of speaking of Christians, and their principles. But now I intend such as on set purpose wrote against it, and endeavoured to confute it. In these it is reasonable to expect more particulars concerning Christianity, than in others, who only speak of it by the bye. We might at least expect this if their treatises were now entire; or if there remain some considerable fragments of them. We might expect to see there the best reasons which Heathens had to offer against it, and the arguments deduced at length, and the defects of the evidences of our religion, if indeed there are any. And if those adversaries employ only weak and inconclusive arguments, or make use of ridicule and calumny, we may be thence farther confirmed in the persuasion of the truth of our religion. And it is very likely, that we should see fresh reason to admire the steadiness and perseverance of the Christians of those times, who bore up, and held out, against the virulent pens of keen and witty adversaries, as well as against the sword of the magistrate, and the clamours of the common people.
The most noted adversaries of the Christian Religion, in the first four centuries, are Celsus, Porphyry, Hierocles, and Julian. The three former wrote within the compass of the first three centuries, and before the establishment of Christianity in the Roman empire by Constantine: the last, not till after the middle of the fourth century, and after the reigns of several Christian emperors, Constantine and his sons. But, beside them, there were some others, not so considerable, of whom I shall take some notice here.
The principal adversaries were Celsus, Porphyry, and Julian ; as may be inferred from the distinct and frequent mention made of them by ancient Christian writers : who, when they are speaking of the enemies of our religion, sometimes mention those three only, without taking notice of any others. So Jerom“ in the preface to his book of Illustrious Men: and also in another place, where he likewise particularly mentions those learned Christians who had published answers to them. I transcribe both those places below.
It is evident from a letter of Constantine, that in his time the memory of Porphyry was made infamous, and that his books against the Christian Religion were by edict ordered to be burnt. There was afterwards another edict of " Theodosius the younger, in 449, for abolishing the writings of Porphyry, and of every one else, who had written against the Christian Religion.
In that edict Porphyry only is expressly mentioned. It is a proof of the great aversion which Christians had for his memory.
I do not by any means justify such proceedings; which have been often blamed by learned moderns, who regret the loss of those writings. However, I do not entirely ascribe the loss of them to imperial edicts; but rather to the general contempt which they soon fell under. There is a remarkable passage in Chrysostom, in which he says, “that the books written • against Christianity were so contemptible, that they had been all in a manner lost long ago. • Many of them perished almost as soon as they appeared. But if they are still to be found any where, it is among the Christians.'
a Discant igitur Celsus, Porphyrius, Julianus ; discant eu- diam scripta, et pias mentes offendentia, ne ad aures quidem rum sectatores, qui putant Ecclesiam nullos philosophos, et hominum venire volumus. Cod. Lib. i. Tit. 1. J. iii. in. Vid. eloquentes, nullos habuisse doctores, quanti et quales viri et Justinian. Nov. 42, cap. i. eam fundaverint, exstruxerint, adornaverint; et desinant € Hinc Porphyrius, Syrus sive Tyrius, -- vir imprimis fidem nostram, rusticæ tantum simplicitatis arguere, suamque subtilis et acutus, longum in Christianos opus componebat, potius imperitiam agnoscant. De Vir. III. in Proæm. quod Imperatorum Christianorum legibus periisse dolendum
Scripserunt contra nos Celsus atque Porphyrius. Priori Moshem. de Reb. Chr. ante Const. M. p. 561. Origenes, alteri Methodius, Eusebius, et Apollinarius fortis- At facile aliquis subscripserit virorum doctorum judicio, sime responderunt. Quorum Origenes octo scripsit libros ; qui optent exstare, et Christianorum potius gloriæ futurum Methodius usque ad decem millia procedit versuum ; Euse- putarent, si ad nos Porphyrii opus pervenisset. Verum non bius et Apollinarius viginti quinque et triginta volumina con-. ininus ego vehementer optem exstare opera, quæ Porphyrio diderunt.-Julianus Augustus septem libros in expeditione opposuerant Christiani doctores antiqui, Eusebius, Methodius, Parthicâ adversus Christum evomuit, et juxta fabulas poëta- Apollinarius, et Philostorgius. Fabr. Lux, Evangel. cap. 8. rum suo se ense laceravit. Hieron. ad Magn. ep. 83. al. 84. T. iv. P. ii. p. 655.
1 Αλλα τοσε7ος εςι των υπ' αυλων γεγραμμενων ο γελως, ώςε Ap. Socrat. H. E. 1. i. cap. 9. p. 32.
αφανισθήναι και τα βιβλια παλαι, και αμα τω δειχθηναι, και Sancimus igitur, ut omnia, quæcumque Porphyrius sua απολεσθαι τα πολλα. Ει δε πε τι και ευρεθειη διασωθεν, παρα pulsus insaniâ, aut quivis alius, contra religiosum Christiano- Xp15varois polo ow SouleyOy Eufot tos ar. De S. Bab. Or. 2. rum cultum conscripsit, apud quemcumque inventa fuerint, Tom. ii. p. 539. Bened. gui mancipentur, Omnia enim provocantía Deum ad iracun
Lactantius * makes particular mention of two persons in his own time, (though he does not name them,) who wrote against the Christian religion: and he supposeth, that there might be others who did the like about the same time, as well as in former times. One of the two above mentioned is supposed to be Hierocles, who wrote, as is computed, in the year of Christ 303, and was confuted by Eusebius of Casarea. Of him we shall be obliged to take particular notice hereafter.
But beside them, I think, there were some others of an earlier age, possibly, about the same time with Celsus, or before him. Minucius Felix published his excellent apology for the Christian religion about the year 210. It is in the form of a dialogue, or conference, between Cæcilius Natalis a heathen, and Octavius Januarius a Christian, in which Minucius sits as judge.
Cæcilius, the heathen interlocutor, arguing against the Christians, speaks to this purpose. • As for the feast, it is a well known thing. Every body talks of it. They come together upon an appointed day, with all their children, their sisters, and mother: persons of each sex, and of every condition. And after feeding plentifully, when the lights are put out, they practise promiscuously incest, and all manner of uncleanness.'
To this Octavius refers, when it comes to his turn to speak. • The story,' says " he, of the incestuous mixtures is a mere fiction, a lie invented by dæmons. Nor does your Fronto attest • it as a positive witness; but he flings it out in the way of reproach as an oratori'
It hence plainly appears, that one Fronto had published an oration against the Christians, in which was that odious calumny, particularly taken notice of by Tertullian, and other ancient Christian apologists. Several learned men have been of opinion, that this Fronto is the same, who was master in the Latin tongue to Marcus Antoninus the philosopher. If so, we may the less wonder at that emperor's antipathy to the Christians: for Fronto was one of his masters, for whom he had a high respect. As Antoninus's master was a professed orator and rhetorician, the conjecture that he is the same who published the oration here mentioned, is very probable.
But beside this Fronto, who was of Cirtha in Numidia, expressly mentioned both by Cæcilius and Octavius in their conference, there seem to be references to one or two more, who are anony
For before Octavius mentions Fronto, he says: · And he who tells against us the fic* tion of our worshipping the priests secret parts
, only strives to throw scandals upon us, which • are his own, and belong to his own people.
And soon afterwards: • And' now, says Octavius, I would willingly speak to him, who says, or believes, that we are initiated with the murder and blood of a child.'
Here seem to me to be two different writers, who had aspersed the Christians, beside Fronto. But whether they were professed adversaries, who wrote a book against the Christians, as Fronto did; or whether they only occasionally flung out reflections upon the Christians in some work, the principal part of which was some other subject, does not clearly appear. But they are authors. And as they are both taken notice of by Octavius, before he comes to Fronto, it is not unlikely, that they were at least as ancient as he; and probably not very remote in time from Celsus, of whom we are now to speak more distinctly.
a Inst. I. v. cap. 2, 3, 4, 5. And see in this work vol, i. • Nam et ex eâdem Africâ prodibant hostes minime ignavi, p. 267, 268. b See vol. i. p. 477, 478.
neque improbi minus, quam vehementer caluniniatores. Qua¢ Et de convivio notum est. Passim omnes loquuntur. lis, ne longius abeam, fuit ille, cujus jam memini, FrontoId etiam Cirtensis nostri testatur oratio. Ad epulas solenni Nollem hunc fuisse Papirium Frontonem jarisconsultum, qui die coëunt, cum omnibus liberis, sororibus, mauribus, sexůs in Pandectis laudatur. Suspicor potius fuisse Cornelium Fron. omnis homines, et omnis ætatis. Illic, post multas epulas, tonem rhetorem, quem Capitolinus narrat fuisse præceptorem ubi convivium caluit, et incestæ libidini ebrietatis fervor exarsit, M. Antonini Philosophi Inip. -Balduin. in Præf. ad Min. canis, qui candelabro nexus est, jactu ossulæ ultra spatium Felic. cap iij. Vid. et annotata a Rigaltio in cap. ix. lineæ, quâ vinctus est ad impetum et saitum provocator. Sic Latinas autem literas eum Fronto orator nobilissimus everso et exstincto conscio lumine, impudentibus tenebris docuit. Eutrop. I. viii. cap. 12. nexus infandæ cupiditatis involvunt per incertum sortis. Et & Sed multum ex his Frontoni detulit, cui et statuam in si non omnes operâ, corscientiâ tamen pariter incesti; quo- Senatu petiit. Jul. Capitol. M. Antoniu.cap. 2. niam voto universorum appetitur, quidquid accidere potest h Etiam ille, qui de adoratis sacerdotis virilibus adversus in actu singulorum. Min. Fel. cap. 9.
nos fabulatur, tentat in nos conferre quæ sua sunt. Cap. 28. d Et de incesto convivio fabulam grandem adversum nos i Illum jam convenire, qui initiari nos dicit, aut credit, de dæmonum coitio mentita est, ut gloriam pudicitiæ deformis cæde infantis et sanguine. Cap, 30. in. infamiæ aversione [f. aspersione) macularet—Sic de isto et tuus Fronto, non, ut affirmator, testimonium fecit, sed convivium ut orator, inspersit. Ib. cap. 31.
I have not particularly mentioned Autolycus, to whom Theophilus, bishop of Antioch, near, the end of the second century, addressed three books in the way of apology for the Christians.
Nor Deinetrian, to whom Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, about the middle of the third century, wrote a letter, with the same view; because, though they were men of some learning, and of some consideration upon account of their worldly condition, it does not appear, that they ever wrote against the Christians, but only, so far as we can discern, cast reflections upon them in their discourses, and sometimes even in the presence of the above-mentioned bishops, to whom they were not absolute strangers.
CHA P. XVIII.
I. His time, and character, and his work against the Christians, II. Passages in Celsus, repre
senting the Jewish expectation of the Messiah. III. Passages of Celsus, containing references to the books of the N. T. IV. Passages of Celsus concerning Christian facts, chiefly such as are recorded in the N. T. V. Passages of Celsus relating to the Christian principles. VI. Passages relating to the progress of the Christian Religion. VII. Passages of Celsus, in which he chargeth the Christians with magical practices. VII. Passages relating to Christian worship, and their religious assemblies. IX. Passages in Celsus concerning those called heretics. X. Passages in Celsus, containing calumnies, or injurious reflections upon the Christians. XI. Remarks upon the work of Celsus against the Christians, and upon Origen's answer to it. XII. A Recapitulation of the preceding extracts. XIII. Three summaries of the fragments of the work of Celsus preserved in Origen, made by three several learned men.
His time, and character, and his work against the Christians.
The book, which Celsus wrote against the Christians, was · entitled “The true Word.' Origen says, he had understood, that there were two of this name, who were Epicureans: one lived in the time of Nero, the other in the time of Adrian, and afterwards.' Him he takes to be the person who had written against us.
Concerning Celsus, and his work, divers learned moderns may be consulted.
It was a time of persecution when he wrote: for he several times speaks of the Christians teaching their principles privately, and holding assemblies contrary to law, and hiding themselves, because they were sought for to be put to death. This leads us to the reign of Marcus Antoninus the philosopher. It is also very probable, that this Celsus is the same, to whom Lu
-Λοξον Αληθη, ως επεΓραψεν ο Κελσος. Οτίg. contr.
Υμων δε καν πλαναται τις ελι λανθανων, αλλα ζητείται προς Cels. in Pr. sect. 4. Bened. p. 3. Spencer. seu Cant. Javalo dixny.' L. vüi. sect. 69. p. 424.
Και περιεΓραψαμεν εν οκτω βιβλιοις παντα, οσα πρεπον ειναι e Ut ut est, Celsus, quem confutat Origenes, suym Angling ενομισαμεν υπα/ορευσαι προς τον επιθετραμμενον Κελσε Αληθη nojoy scribere non potuit ante Marci Aurelii imperium, quanMojoy. L. viii. sect. 76. p. 428. et passim.
doquidem, teste Origine, 1. v. n. 62, non solum in eo opere b Contr. Cels. 1. i. c. 8.
meminerat Marcionitarum, qui circa annum Christi 142 orti c Cav. H. L. p. 96. Fabr. B. Gr. I. iii. cap. 33. T. ii. p. sunt, sed et Marcellianorum, qui nomen trahebant a Marcel809.et Lux Evangel. p. 151. Tillem. Origene. art. 34. lina quâdam, ex Carpocratianorum sectâ muliere, quæ, teste
Πρωλον τω Κελσω κεφαλαιον εςι βελομενω διαβαλεις Irenæo, lib. i. cap. 24, Romam venit sub Aniceto post annum Χριςιανισμον, ως συνθηκας κρυβδην προς αλληλες ποιέμενων Christi 157. Verisimile autem admodum est illum hoc opus Χρισιανων παρα τα νενομισμενα. L. 1. sect. 1. Ben. composuisse ardente Marci Aurelii adversus Christianos perseCant.
cutione, siquidem, teste Origine, lib. viii. num. 69, Chris Mela taula, weps to xpupa Xpıslaves ta aperxola laulois tianos asserit ubique latere, ut mortis, ad quam quærebantur, σοιειν και διδασκειν ειπων, και ότι ο μαλην τελο σοισιν, αλε periculum evaderent. Benedictin. Monitum ad libros Origenis διωθεμενοι την επηρίημενην αυθοις δικην τα θαναΐe. L. 1. sect. 3. contr. Cels. p. 313. P. 5.