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• the Christians : for the two edicts were both alike. Nor can there be any good reason to be• lieve, that Severus published any other edict against the Christians beside that mentioned by Spartian.' So says that learned author, upon which I must make some free observations.
First of all Mr. Mosheim seems to say, that • Severus enacted not any new laws against the • Christians. Which is not the truth : for he did enact a new law against them. It is mentioned by Spartian; and Mr. Mosheim himself grants, and allows, and supposes it: and after his manner he explains the meaning and design of it.
Secondly, Mr. Mosheim has no right to diminish the sufferings of the Christians in the reign of this emperor.
He earnestly contends, that Tertullian's Apology was composed in the year of Christ 198, before there was any law of Severus against the Christians; and he has published a long dissertation * to prove it. Nor was Mr. Tillemonto very averse to that date of the Apology; though he generally speaks of it as written in the year 200. And according to that later date, it was written before Severus had made any edict against the Christians.
Well, what was the state of the Christians at that tiine, even before the edict of Severus, which is allowed to be rightly dated at the year of Christ 202? • They underwent,' our learned author
says, ' a multiplicity of the greatest sufferings.' · From that Apology of Tertullian it • appears, that they were crucified, hung upon stakes, burnt alive, thrown to wild beasts, con. • demned to the mines, banished into desert islands. I have put down no more than a part of the list of their sufferings, extracted by Mosheim himself from that Apology of Tertullian. And moreover, as that learned man likewise observes, “the magistrates then transgressed the law
of Trajan. They were not contented to punish those who were brought before them: they • sought for them to be punished.'
Such were the sufferings of the Christians then : And were they abated and restrained afterwards, when a new edict was published among them? No, certainly, they were increased.
If? • these things were done, whilst the emperor was as yet no enemy to them, and the ancient laws
against them were in a manner silent, and those which were favourable to them, were yet in • being: what may we suppose to have been done when Severus was provoked, and not only
confirmed the old laws against them, but added also severe laws of his own.' They are the words of Mosheim himself. For certain, the persecution then became more violent, and more general, than it had been before; as this ? learned writer himself acknowledgeth.
Nevertheless, he will say something to mitigate the guilt of their enemies. For he says, * that the Christians fomented the persecution against themselves by a custom, which now for 'some while had obtained among them, of redeeming their lives and safety by presents of * money made to the presidents, or other magistrates.'
Undoubtedly such things were done by some, but not by so many, nor so often, as is insi, nuated by Tertullian ; who, when a Montanist, equally. condemned Hight in persecution, and
a De Ætate Apologetici Tertulliani, &c.
mico, et antiquis in eos legibus quiescentibus quodammodo, • Tertullien. art. v. at the beginning.
et per alias clementiores quasi obliteratis. Quid factum fuisse • Hoc loco nihil mihi propositum est aliud, quam ut ante putabimus, Severo exardescente, atque veteres non modo leges ann, cii quo Severi in Christianos edicta publice rogata esse firmante, verum novas etiam severiores rogante? Ibid. concedo, infinitam jam malorum magnitudinem illis exhibitam esse, planum faciam. Diss. de Ætate Apol. num. vii.
6 Hæc calamitas valde augebatur, quum tertio hujus seculi d Perversissimi ergo judices non legibus obtemperabant, sed anno Imperator ipse animum erga Christianos, incertum quibus in manifestas leges vexandis Christianis peccabant. Suppli- de causis, quodammodo niutaret, atque, proposito edicto, cives ciorum atrocitas par erat odio, quo ferebantur Christianorum Romanos sub gravi poznâ ad Christianam religionem a majorum bostes. , Apol. cap. xii. •Crucibus et stipitibus imponitis sacris transire vetaret. Ib. p. 455. Christianos—ungulis eraditis latera Christianorum
Malis his, variis ex causis natis, ipsi sine dubio Christiani • Cervices ponimus ad bestias impellimur ignibus uri- . alimenta suppeditabant per consuetudinem, quæ ab aliquo mur in metalla dampamus-insula relegamur.' tempore, approbantibus episcopis, inter eos invaluerat, saluEadem fere repetit cap. 30. Moshem, de Reb Christ. &c. tem et vitam argento magistratibus oblato redimendi. Præsides 255.
enim et magistratus pecuniæ avidi Christianos sæpe invadebant, Tanta vero erat persecutionis hujus immanitas et gravitas, et pauperiorum quosdam Decari jubebant, quo ditiores forut ipsa etiam Trajani lex, quæ inquiri Christianos vetabat, tunis suis emungerent, et ecclesiarum thesauris rem suam negligeretur. Explorabantur enim conventus eorum ; et ad locupletarent. ibid. p.
453. Deum colendum congregati sine accusatore abducebantur. Ultro igitur de hoc tibi suggeranı, definiens persecutio. Cap. vii. Quotidie obsidemur, quotidie prodimur
, in ipsis nem, quam constat non esse fugiendam, proinde nec rediplurimum cætibus et congregationibus nostris oppriinimur.'
mendam. Pretium interest. Cæterum, sicut fuga redemptio id. ib. p. 254.
gratuita est, ita redemptio nummaria fuga est. De Foga in Hæc omnia fiebant, Imperatore Christianis nondum ini- Pers. cap. 12. p. 697. Vid. cap. 10, et 11., VOL. IV.
pecuniary redemptions. Nor can there be any good reason, why this writer, in accounting for the sufferings of the Christians in this persecution, should forget, as it were, the common hatred and enmity of men toward them, and almost entirely ascribe all their afflictions to the avarice of governors, stimulated and allured by the forwardness of Christians themselves, to redeem their own, or their friends safety by pecuniary presents.
I do by no means think, that there was any other edict of Severus against the Christians, beside that mentioned by Spartian : but possibly he has not fully expressed the whole design of it.' There was at the same time an edict published against the Jews : nevertheless, the edict against the Christians might be somewhat different. Whether it was, or not, it is manifest from Tertullian and Eusebius and other ecclesiastical writers, that after the tenth of Severus, there was a general persecution against the Christians, wherein many suffered. And though the edict was exactly as Spartian says, the publication of it would give occasion for heathens of all sorts, both common people and magistrates, to shew their enmity to the Christians; especially, as the rescript of Trajan was still in force. Nor need it be supposed, that they who were unfriendly to the Christians, would be scrupulously exact to the terms of the edict, and forbear to prosecute, or condemn any, beside new converts. It is certain they did not forbear others : for many who were born of Christian parents, or had been Christians by profession a good while before this edict of Severus, suffered martyrdom in this persecution. Trajan's rescript forbids searching for Christians : nevertheless, that part of his rescript was oftentimes transgressed or neglected by presidents, who published orders that they should be sought for.
Mr. Mosheim says, that the words of the edict of Severus, as represented by Spartian, shew, that Severus only intended to hinder the increase of the church, and ordered such to be * punished, who forsook the old religion of their ancestors for the sake of the Christian. They, therefore, who were Christians by birth, or were such before the time of this edict, had nothing to fear from it.'
But I very much suspect this observation to be of no moment: for all persecuting edicts may have been of this form. They may have been made so, to give them a more specious appearance, and to cover the real cruelty and malignity of them. The severest edicts of the worst persecutors may have been expressed in the same terms, and in the same form, with this of Severus. So
So says the emperor Maximin, one of that sort, at the beginning of his letter to Sabinus : · It is well known to yourself, and to all the world, that our lords and fathers, Dio• clesian and Maximian, when they observed, that almost all men were forsaking the worship of • the gods, and joining themselves to the sect of the Christians, did rightly ordain, that all who
had forsaken the worship of their immortal gods, should be recalled to the worship of the gods, by public chastisement and punishment.
The letter of this law might affect new converts only, who had forsaken gentilism, and gone over to the Christians: but that cannot be supposed to be the spirit of the law, or the intention of the makers of it.
Upon the whole, I can discern little weight in Mr. Mosheim's observations upon this edict of Severus : and still think, that the common opinion of learned men concerning the persecution of Severus is very right.
V. I have been longer here than I at first intended : and yet I have still one observation more to take notice of. Balduinus, in the place before cited, says: Papinian was præfect of
a Oriente seculo multis in provinciis Romanis varie affili- φανερον ειναι πεποιθα, τες δεσποίας ημων Διοκλητιανον και gebatur res Christiana. Hec vero calamitas crescebat, quum Μαξιμιανον της ημετερες πατερας, ηνικα συνειδον σχεδον απανίας A. D. ciii. Imperator Severus, Christianis alioquin haud ini- ανθρυπες, παραλειφθεισης της των Θεων θρησκειας, τα εθνει micus, lege latà prohiberet, ne quis majorum religionem cum των Χριστιανων εαυθες συμμετεχολας, ορθως διατεταχεναι πανίας Christianâ aut etiam cum Judaïcâ commutaret. Ut enim ανθρωπος τες απο της των αυίων Θεων των αθαναίων θρησκειας hæc lex Christian:os non damnaret, sed progressus tantum αναχωρησανίας, προδήλω κολασει και τιμωρια εις την θρησκειαν Christianæ religionis cohiberet, peropportunam tamen avaris των Θεων ανακληθηγαι. Euseb. H. E.I ix. cap. 9. p 360. C. et injustis præsidibus et magistratibus occasionem suppeditabat Certe temporibus Severi proconsulem eum (Claudium Christianos vexandi, et plurimos inopum necandi, quo ditiores Herminianum] fuisse, facile credo ; quibus et Papinianus præad periculum argento amovendum invitarent. Moshem. torio præfectus erat. Sed sæpe mirari cogor, Papinianum, Instit. ut. Hist. Ecc. p. 101. Vid. supra not. h.
qui veluti summus tunc erat Prætor, auctorem non fuisse, ut b See Tillemont. Persécution sous Sévère art. iv. p. 159, barbara illa feritas præsidum Christianos exagitantium aliquando 159. Bruxelles.
reprimeretur ; saltem ad aliquam judiciorum legem, rationem, See before. p. 105.
ordinem, revocaretur. Balduin. de Edict. Princ. Roman. * Και παρα τη τη σιβαρολοι και παρα πασιν ανθρωπους p. 99, 100.
• the prætorium in this reign. And he says, he has often wondered, that Papinian did not take * care to restrain the barbarous fierceness of the presidents, who treated the Christians with i so much cruelty; or at least find out a method to reduce their judicial proceedings to some 'good order, and the common rules of equity.'
We must therefore suppose, that either Papinian did not understand the principles of religious and civil liberty, or that he was not able to establish all the schemes of equity which he had formed in his mind.
I. His time and work. II. The inscription of the altar to the Unknown God, in Acts xvii. 23,
illustrated by a paragraph in this author. III. Whether he refers to the Christian eucharist.
1. Diogenes, • surnamed Laërtius, as is generally supposed from Laërtes his native place, a town or castle in Cilicia, who wrote of the lives and opinions of the most famous philosophers in ten books, flourished, as Vossius thinks, in the time of Antoninus the pious, or soon afterwards. Others have thought it more probable, that he lived under Severus and his successors, and that his book of the Lives of the Philosophers was written about the year 210; where also I shall
II. Says St. Luke, Acts xvii, 16–23. “ Now while Paul waited for Silas and Timothy at Athens, his spirit was stirred within him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and the devout persons (or proselytes :) and in the market daily with them that met him. Then certain philosophers, of the
Epicureans, and of the Stoics, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? Others, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods, because he preached to them Jesus, and the resurrection. And they took him, and brought him to the Areopagus, saying: May we know, what this new doctrine is, whereof thou speakest ? For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears : we would know, therefore, what these things mean. (For all the Athenians, and strangers which were there, spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell
, or to hear some new thing.) Paul, therefore, standing up in the midst of the Areopagus, said : Ye men of Athens, I perceive, that ye are in all things very religious. For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom, therefore, ye worship without knowing him, Him do I declare unto you. After which follows the rest of the apostle's excellent discourse.
The introduction to this speech was distinctly considered formerly: and the propriety and decency of the Apostle's address to the Athenians were clearly shewn.
I now intend to consider the inscription, “ To the Unknown God,” of which he here reminds thie Athenians, and upon which he argues so rationally. For, if I mistake not, I have now an opportunity to illustrate this text by a paragraph of Diogenes in the Life of Epimenides: which, therefore, I shall here transcribe at length, and then explain.
Voss. ut supra.
a Voss. de Histor. Gr. I. ii. cap. 13. Tillem. H. Emp. ' unknown to us, namely, the mode of his existence : the Sévère art. 16. Rollin. Hist. Anc. T. xii. p. 266. Diogène knowledge of which is either unnecessary, or else could not Laërte. Diction, de Morery. Crevier's Hist. of the Roman • be revealed to such creatures as we are, who cannot comEmperors. Vol. viii. p. 148.
* prehend, or have any idea of spirit. It was in this sense, Nempe vixit Laërtius sub Antonino Pio, vel paullo post. that God was unkvown to the sages of antiquity: and to
this unknown God, I doubt not, but one or other of them, Tillemont as above.
erected the famous altar, which St. Paul took so much no. d See Vol. i. p. 105, 106.
' tice of, and attributed to the superstition of the Athenians. e • The Being and Attributes of God, appear to bave been * But in this I cannot belp thinking there was some • known to the philosophers and sages of antiquity: and that mistake. An altar, with such an inscription, could hardly only seems to have been unknown to them, which is also • be set up by the priests of that country, because it rather
Epimenides is supposed to have been contemporary with Solon, and to have lived in the forty-sixth Olympiad, almost six hundred years before the nativity of our Saviour. And Laërtius has given us a letter of Epimenides sent to Solon."
Diogenes Laërtius, having related some strange things of Epimenides, goes on : * At this • time the fame of Epimenides was very great among all the Greeks, and he was supposed to be • in great favour with the gods. The Athenians being afflicted with a pestilence, they were • directed by the Pythian oracle to get their city purified by expiation. They therefore sent • Nicias, son of Niceratus, in a ship to Crete, inviting Epimenides to come them. He coming • thither in the forty-sixth Olympiad, purified their city, and delivered them from the pestilence • in this manner. "Taking several sheep, some black, others white, he had them up to the
Areopagus; and then let them go where they would: and gave orders to those who followed • them, wherever any one of them should lie down, to sacrifice it to the god to whom it be
longed. And so the plague ceased. Hence it comes to pass, that to this present time may be • found in the boroughs of the Athenians anonymous altars, a memorial of the expiation then « made.'
This paragraph, I think, will mightily illustrate the text above cited from the Acts: but before I make my observations, it may be not amiss to allege tlre observations of divers Christian interpreters, both ancient and modern.
Jerom, in his comment upon the first chapter of Titus, ver. 12, says: • The inscription of • the altar at Athens was not “ to the Unknown God," as St. Paul quotes it, but to the gods of
Asia, and Europe, and Africa, unknown and strange gods.' He speaks to the like purpose in another place; and supposeth, that the apostle had not quoted the inscription exactly, but dex. terously applied it to his own purpose.
Chrysostom, in a homily upon the Acts of the apostles, speaks to this purpose: • I found • an altar with this inscription, “ to the Unknown God.” What is that! The Athenians, who in
a long tract of time had received various gods from their neighbours, as the temple of Minerva, • Pan, and others from elsewhere; apprehensive that there might be still some other god, un• tended to destroy superstition, and subvert their power and οι βαλoιντο, προσαξας τους ακολοθοις, ενθα αν κατακλινοι αυλων influence, than to establish either. Their gods were local, έκαςον, θυειν τω προσηκονι Θεω" και ελω ληξαι το κακον. "Οθεν their names and temples publicly known, and their priests ετι και νυν εσιν ευρειν κατα της δημος των Αθηναιων βαμος strove who should gain the greatest number of profitable ανωνυμες, υπομνημα της τοτε γενομενης εξιλασεως. Diog. · votaries. This altar then must surely have been erected by Laërt. in Epimenide. I. i. segm. 110. p. 70, 71. soine philosopher, to the One True God, who was known * Nec mirum, si, pro opportunitate temporis, gentilium by the effects of his intimite power, wisdom, and goodness : poëtarum versibus abutatur ; quum etiam de inscriptione aræ * but unknown as to the mode of his existence. The one true aliqua commutans, ad Athenienses loquutus sit: 'Pertransiens 'God, (whom we now adore,) was neither known, nor wor- enim, inquit, et contemplans culturas vestras, inveni et aram, * shipped by the ignorant, deceived, heathen multitude. in quâ superscriptum est : Ignoto Deo. Quod ergo ignorantes • Neither was he ignorantly worshipped by philosophers. colitis, hoc ego annuntio vobis.' Inscriptio autem aræ non ita • For they might, and every one who exercises his reason in erat, ut Paulus asseruit, ' Ignoto Deo,' sed ita ; ' Diis Asia., • the inquiry, may, from the works of creation, trace out the et Europæ, et Africæ, diis ignotis et peregrinis. Verum, · Being and Attributes of God.' The Morality of the N. T. quia Paulus non diis indigebat ignotis, sed uno tantum ignolo digested under various heads. p. 50—52.
Deo, singulari verbo usus est. &c. In ep. ad Titum. cap. i. So says the anonymous Writer of the book just mentioned. T. iv. P. i. p. 420. I do not perceive, what is 'the mistake,' which is here im- Ac, ne parum hoc esset, ductor Christiani exercitùs, et puted, or intended to be imputed to St. Paul. Nor indeed orator invictus pro Christo causam agens, etiam inscriptionem am I able to understand, or make out a consistent sense in the fortuitam arte torquet in argumentum fidei. Didicerat enim rest which is here said. However, it may be all clear to some, a vero David extorquere de manibus hostium, et Goliæ superand important likewise. I therefore thought it not improper, bissimi caput proprio mucrone truncare. Ad magnum. ep. that these observations should lie before my readers, in a note 83. T. iv. P. ii.
655. at least, that such use may be made of then), as is judged to -- ευρον και βωμον, εν ω επείε ραπίο, Λίνως Θεο. Τι be reasonable.
εςι το7ο και οι Αθηναιοι, επειδαν καλα καιρος συλλές εδεξανθο θεες Diogen. La. 1. i $ 113. p. 72.
και απο της υπεροριας, οίον, το της Αθηνας ιερον, τον Πανα, Γνωσθεις δε
παρα τοις Ελλησι θεοφιλεςαλος ειναι και αλλες αλλαχοθεν, δεδoικoίες, μηποτε και αλλος τις η αυτοις υπελήφθη. "Οθεν Αθηναιοις τω τε λοιμων κατεχομενοις εχρησεν μεν εδεπω γνωριμος, θεραπευόμενος δε αλλαχο, υπερ πλείονος η Πυθια καθηραι την πολιν. Οι δε σεμπασι ναυν τε και Νικιαν δηθεν ασφαλειας, και τελω βωμον εςησαν.
Και επειδη εκ η τον Νικηραλε εις Κρήτην, καλογίες του Επιμηνιδην
. Και ος ελθων, δηλος ο Θεος, επεξεύραπλο, Λίνωση Θεω. Τελον εν Χρισον Ολυμπιαδι τεσσαρακοση έκλη εκαβηρες αυίων την πολιν, και Ιησεν ειναι Παυλος λεξεις μαλλον δε των παντων Θεον, ον εν επαυσε τον λοιμον τελoν τον τροπ». Λακων προβαία μελανα : αίνουνλες, φησιν, ευσεβείλε, τελον είιυ καλαίγελλου ιμιν. In Act. και λευκα, η Γαλε προς τον Αρειον πατον κακείθεν ειασε μεναι Apost. hom. 38. T. ix. p. 267. A. Bened:
known to them, who was 'worshipped elsewhere in other places, for the greater safety erected • also an altar to him. But because the God was not manifest, they put upon it this inscripition, “ To the Unknown God.” This God, Paul says, is Jesus Christ, or rather the God of the universe. “ Whom therefore you ignorantly worship,” says he,“ him declare I
So speaks Chrysostom: nor do I perceive him to have had any doubt about the genuineness of the inscription, as composed in the singular number, “ To the Unknown God.”
Nevertheless Theophylact* and Oecumenius b. after saying the same that is in Chrysostom, add: that the whole of the inscription was to this purpose: To the gods of Asia, and Europe, and Libyia, to the unknown and strange God.'
Isidore of Pelusium has a letter upon this subject, which begins in this manner. « There • were, as is said, two causes of the inscription of the altar at Athens, " To the Unknown God.” “. And having taken notice of the second occasion, which was a pestilence, he says, that after • their deliverance the Athenians erected a temple and altar, with this inscription, “ To the • Unknown God.". Nor do I perceive that there is, throughout that letter, any the least intimation, that there was at Athens any altar inscribed “ to unknown gods” in the plural number.
There is, therefore, great inaccuracy in the quotation of Isidore of Pelusium, which is in Mr. Wetstein's New Testament. For there he is quoted as saying, that the whole inscription
of the altar, was, To the gods of Asia, Europe, and Libya, the unknown and strange God.' Which, indeed, is very agreeable to Theophylact and Oecumenius, as just seen: but Isidore says nothing of that kind.
We have seen therefore two ancient Christian writers, Chrysostom and Isidore of Pelusium, in the fourth, or the beginning of the fifth century, who supposed, that the inscription at Athens was in the singular number, as St. Paul quotes it.
The opinions of learned moderns have been different. Many maintain the genuineness of the inscription, as cited by St. Paul. But Le Clerc says, that' though the inscription was in the plural number, St. Paul was in the right to allege it in the singular number.
In the year 1724 was published at Cambridge a Latin sermon upon this subject. I read it when it came out: but I know not now where to find it. I remember well, that it is a very learned and elaborate discourse: and I made some extracts which are still by me; but they are defective and imperfect. However, I perceive by them, that the author Dr. Drake asserted the inscription to have been in the singular number; though my extracts are not particular enough, to shew how he made it out. But I know, that he argued from the place of Oecumenius above quoted by me, and likewise from the dialogue Philopatris, which I also shall quote by and by
Having seen the judgment of learned Christians, ancient and modern, I here intend to propose my own observations.
Diogenes Laërtius informs us, that the Athenians, by the direction of an oracle, sent for Epimenides to purify, or expiate their city, when they were afflicted with a pestilence: Epimenides, when he came to Athens, took several sheep, some black, some white, and then let them go where they would, directing those who followed them, when any one should lie down, to sacrifice it to the God to whom it belonged : which in the Latin version is rendered, ' • to the god next the place. Which translation, as I perceive by my extracts, is disliked by Dr. Drake. He therefore translates in this manner : to the proper god,k to whom that affair belonged, to * Theodh in Act. Ap. p. 151.
8' Ara Ignoto Deo sacra :' ad Clerum habita Cantabrigiæ • Εσι δε πασα το βωμα επιβραφη τοιαυτη Θεoις Ασιας, και vii. Idus Julii 1724, pro gradu Doctoratûs in sacrâ Theologia. Ευρωπης, και Λιζυης: Θεω αίνωσω και ξενω. Oecum. in Act. Auctore Samuele Drake. S. T. P. Collegii Divi Johannis Ap. p. 137
Evangelista Socio-Cantab. 1724. • Δυν φασιν αιτιας ειναι, το επιδείραφθαι Αθηνησι τω βωμω. 1 Fatendum tamen est, plures fuisse olim Deos, quorum Alyw5Osw. x. A. Ibid. 1. iv. ep. 69.
opem auxiliuinque anonymis aris invocabant-Hanc autem, ναον δειμαμενοι και βωμον, επιβραψαν7ες, Αίνωση de quâ speciatim cgit Apostolus, inscriptionem singulari fuisse EW. Ibid.
numero prolatam confirmat ipsius Pauli fides, industria, non Isidorus iv. 69: 'Hwara ta Bixy.8 emul peor, 8015 Arias, sequioris ætatis testimonio, non Hieronymi corjecturæ postκαι Ευρωπης, και Λιζυης, Θεω αίνωςω και ξενω. Wetsten. in babenda. Drake ubi supra. p. 5. In Excerptis nostris. Act. Ap. cap. xvii 23.
His qui illas sequebantur, ubicumque illæ accubuissent, Quamvis plurali numero legeretur inscriptio, Alvausais singulas mactarent loci ejus proximo Deo. O£015, recte de • Deo Ignoto' locutus est Paulus, quia plurali Hujus [Epimenidis) consilio monitos tradit Athenienses, numero continetur singularis. Cleric. H. E. A. 52. p. 374. com patrios deos frustra fatigârint, sarra ut facerent, aramque in notis.
construerent. Il proyxezia es: null, ix male Laërtii .11