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' him, whoever he was, who should remove the inflicted pestilence.' Dr. Doddridge, reciting this paragraph in his notes upon Acts ch. xvii. understands the direction to be, when the sheep • lay down, to sacrifice them to the god, near whose temple or altar they then were.'
There is another sense, which appears to me to be very obvious, and therefore I think to be right. Epimenides took with him up to the Areopagus several sheep, 'some black, some white. And when he let them go, he directed, that each one, when it lay down, should be sacrificed • to the god to which it appertained, or belonged,' ut eam mactarent Deo, ad quem pertineret. Black sacrifices were offered to some gods, white to others. Epimenides knew not by what god the pestilence had been inflicted upon the Athenians. When he was desired to purify the city, in order to its deliverance, he chose out sacrifices of different kinds, black sheep, and white sheep, and led them up to the Areopagus : and from that place, the citadel or the seat of the senate and of the court of judicature, he sent out the sheep, as in the name of the whole city and commonwealth, to be sacrificed, in order to appease the offended deity, whoever he was. A sheep with a black fleece, when it lay down, was to be offered to a deity who delighted in such sacrifices. A sheep with a white fleece was to be offered to a deity, to whom white sacrifices were acceptable. By this means he hoped to ingratiate the offended deity, whoever he was.
It follows in Laërtius : • And so the plague ceased. Hence it has come 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.'
• In the boroughs of the Athenians.' So I have translated, vaid tas dyf485 twv Abyvalav. Of them Potter speaks in this manner: · These · Amuon were little boroughs in Attica, several of • which were reckoned together in the business of the commonwealth ; yet had separate habi. * tations, and distinct rites, and gods too; for each of them adored peculiar deities : and yet
unanimously agreed in worshipping Minerva, who was the tutelar goddess of the whole *country.'
Thus I have explained this paragraph as I am able. I am now to make some observations: but they will be no more than two only. First, there were several anonymous altars at Athens, and in the adjoining country. We know not how many sheep Epimenides took up with him to the Areopagus, and then let them go away at pleasure : but they would all lie down when weary, if not before ; some, it is likely, in the streets, or other public places of the city of Athens; others in the adjacent country: where they were sacrificed to the god, to whom they were supposed to appertain, according to their different colours. And the city being hereby expiated, and purified, and delivered from the pestilence, there was an anonymous altar erected in every place, where a sacrifice had been made, in memorial of the obtained deliverance. Secondly, all these altars were in the singular number. For each • sheep, when it lay down, was to be sacrificed to the god to whom it appertained.'
Thus then, according to this curious history in Laërtius, St. Paul must have been in the right, when he said, “ he had found an altar with this inscription: To the Unknown God.” And even to the time of Laërtius, there were still such anonymous altars to be found in the boroughs of the Athenians.
Let us now observe some other heathen writers; where, possibly, we may find some things confirming these observations, or however at least casting farther light upon them. I shall first quote Pausanias, who flourished and wrote before the end of the second century. Having mentioned an altar of Jupiter Olympus, he says and nigh unto it is an altar of unknown gods. He does not say, the altar,' but an altar. Therefore there may have been several such altars, as Laërtius says. And when he says, an altar of unknown gods, he needs not to be understood to mean, that the inscription was in the plural number: it may have been, and probably was, in the singular number.
În another place Pausanias speaks of altars of gods called unknown, and of heroes, and of • the sons of Theseus, and Phalerus.' The inscription of this altar likewise may have been in terpres - loci ejus proximo Deo : verum Deo convenienti,' 2 Potter's Antiquities of Greece. B. i. ch. ix. p. 50. vol. i. Deo, ad quem res ista pertinebat : ei, quisquis tandem is fue- Oxford. 1699. rit, qui immissam luem propulsaret. Drake, ubi supra, p. 6. • Καλείται δε Ολυμπια Διος. Προς αυτω δ' εςιν αίνωςων
Which seems to me to be much the same with that of Gro- DEWY Bwpoç. Pausan. 1. v. p. 412. tius — Sicut Laërtius, originem hujus rei narrans, dicit ab • Βωμοι δε θεων τε ονομαζομενων αίνωςων, και ηρωων, και Epimenidemonitos Αthenienses, ut sacra facerentσω προσηκονλι παιδιων των Θησεως, και Φαληρ8. Paus. 1. i. p. 4. Dew, id est 'ei Deo, ad quem ea res pertineret, non addito nomine. Grotius.
the singular number : but as there were several altars at Athens, or near it, inscribed • To the Unknown God, it was natural enough for some writers to call them • altars of unknown gods.' So says
Grotius : • When · Pausanias says, that there were at Athens altars of unknown gods, * he means that there were many altars with such an inscription, “ To the Unknown God :"
though, possibly, there were some with an inscription in the plural number, whilst others were • in the singular. Olearius o has expressed himself in the like manner.
The first observation appears to me very right. The second observation, that there might • be also some altars in the plural number, to “unknown gods,”' is a supposition without proof or evidence, so far as I see, and therefore may not be true.
Philostratus records it, as an observation of Apollonius Tyanæus, that we are never to speak disrespectfully of any of the gods : intimating also at the same time, that there was
some special reason to be upon the guard in that respect, at Athens, where are altars to un. • known dæmons.'
But neither does this necessarily imply, that there were altars with inscriptions to “unknown gods” in the plural number. It implies no more, than that there were several altars with that inscription “ To the Unknown God.” And farther : We are hereby led to think, that inscriptions to “ the Unknown God,” were peculiar to the Athenians. There were no such inscriptions any where else.
I come now at length to the Dialogue Philopatris, quoted by Dr. Drake, and others, as a work of Lucian: but. I rather think, of some anonymous heathen author in the fourth century.
Here Critias confirms what he says, swearing by the Unknown God at Athens.' And near the end of the Dialogue : But let us find out the Unknown God at Athens, and stretch
ing our hands to heaven, offer to him our praises and thanksgivings, that we are worthy to live • under so great an empire, and leave others to trifle as they please.'
Which must lead us to think that the inscription at Athens was in the singular number. There can be no reason assigned, why this author doing his utmost to expose and ridicule the Christians, should adopt the singular number, if the inscription was plural.
Thus I have now illustrated this text by the testimonies of heathen authors, who wrote whilst these 'altars with their inscriptions were in being: Diogenes Laërtius, Pausanias, Philostratus, and the author of Philopatris. This inscription upon the altar at Athens was in the singular number : nor does it appear, that there were any in the plural to “ Unknown Gods.” And this inscription seems to have been peculiar to the Athenians. It does not appear that there w any altars inscribed To the Unknown God” in any other countries. But when I say, these altars were peculiar to the Athenians, I do not intend the city of Athens alone: for there were several like altars in the boroughs of the Athenians, and possibly in some other adjoining places. The altar observed by Paul, probably, was in some street, or open place of the city of Athens : the altars mentioned by Pausanias were elsewhere. That which I first quoted from him was at Olympia : the other was at Phalerus, as 'he expressly says, which was the nearest sea-port to Athens, and not far off from the city.
I shall now recite the observations of the late Mr. Hallett of Exeter. Having argued the great ignorance of the heathen people concerning the Deity, and having alleged several texts from the New Testament to the same purpose, he goes on : The same St. Paul, when he was • at Athens, where, if any where, the heathens should have known better, took notice, that the ' people had no knowledge of the true God. He found there an altar erected to the Un• known God,” Acts xvii. 23, that is, they did not know by what name to call him. This is * manifest from the occasion of erecting the altar, which was this : About 600 years before our
a Cum Pausanias ait, aras Athenis fuisse JEUV atrwswr, hoc ταυλα Αθηνησιν, και και ανασων δαιμονων βωμοι ιδρυνθαι. vult, multas fuisse aras tali inscriptione su alyw5w; quam- Philst. Apoll. Tyan. I. vi. cap. 3 p. 232. Conf. Suid. V. quam potuere et aliæ esse pluraliter inscriptæ, aliæ singulariter. Tigowy. Grot. ad Act. xvii.
Nn Toy ayw 50% ey Alypais. Lucian. Philop. p. 767. Þ Cæteri auctores omnes, qui altarium meminerunt twy Tom, ii. Græv. aluwowy, plurali numero illos deos efferunt. Puto tamen Ημεις δε, τον Αθηναις ανωςον εφευρονίες, και προσκυνηPausaniae et Philostrati Ioca viris doctis observata, in quibus σανlες, χειρας εις ερανον εκλεινανίες, τεθω ευχαρισησομεν, κ. λ. Bwuwy wy alrwswv mentio, ita accipi posse, ut aræ exsti- Ibid. p. 780. tisse multæ intelligantur, quarum singulis, aut saltem quibus- 1 ο δε επι Φαληρω, καθα και πρότερον ειρηίαι μοι-Paus. dam ex iis inscriptio fuerit, osw alwwsw. Olearius apud Wolf. in Act. Ap. xvii. 23.
* Mr. Haller's Notes and Discourses upon texts of Scrip-σωφρονεςερον γαρ το αερι πανίων θεων ευ λείειν, και ture. Vol. i. p. 307–309.
* Saviour's birth, there was a pestilence at Athens. In order to get it removed, upon the advice ' of the philosopher Epimenides, (who appears by this to have been as ignorant of the true God ' as the Athenian populace) the people sacrificed many sheep, not to any particular idol, but to • that God, be he who he would, who was able to remove the pestilence from them: upon which, • it is said, the plague was stayed. In memory of this deliverance the Athenians erected several
altars, which the historian Diogenes Laërtius calls Anonymous, because there was no name of • any particular god inscribed upon them. The altars were erected, not to the honour of
Jupiter, Mars, Apollo, by name, but to that particular god, whoever he was, who had wrought * out this deliverance for them. See Laërtius in his Life of Epimenides. If they had known • that Jupiter had removed the plague, they would have inscribed their altars to Jupiter. If they had known that Apollo had removed the plague, they would have inscribed the altars to Apollo. But while they could not tell which of all their gods it was who had removed the plague, they did not dedicate the altars to any one god by name, but to that god, whoever • he was, who had thus delivered them. But still they thought, this god, whoever he was, was
one of the idols of the heathen world. They did not suspect him to be a being of any greater • wisdom and power than their own Jupiter and Apollo. They took their deliverer to be an idol • of the same sort and size as the rest whom they worshipped. But the truth was, (though they • did not know it,) that he, who delivered them by his providence from that distress, was the • one infinite supreme God. And therefore St. Paul justly says, that the Athenians worshipped • him: for they worshipped him whp removed the plague, whoever he was. But the true God removed the plague : therefore they worshipped the true God. But still
, as the apostle * observes, they worshipped him ignorantly, that is, they were ignorant of his true greatness, - majesty, and power, and looked upon him as no greater than one of their own idols. Which worshipping of him in this ignorant manner, and under this debasing notion, was not much, if any thing, better than their not worshipping him at all. Accordingly St. Paul, in this same discourse, chargeth them, as men who yet wanted " to seek and find out” the true God, ver. 27, as thinking, that the “Godhead was like to gold and silver images,” ver. 29, and as « men living in times of ignorance,” ver. 30. To which we may add what the same apostle says, • 1 Cor. i. 21, that “the world, by means of wisdom,” that is, of the philosophy of the heathens, • which was accounted wisdom,“ knew not God.” Agreeably to this, we may take notice throughout the Old Testament, that the heathen nations, who heard of Jehovah, did not look upon him as any other than the idol of Judea, a being of the same kind with Baal, Chemosh, and the like.' So writes my much esteemed friend the late Mr. Joseph Hallett.
III. In the Life of Pythagoras, among his precepts, Diogenes Laërtius mentions this: That * a loaf should not be broke, because it was anciently the custom for friends to meet together at ore loaf, as the Barbarians do now. And therefore that should not be divided · which brings them together.'
Gregorius Giraldus supposed, that by Barbarians Laërtius here meant Christians, and that he refers to their assemblies, where they met together to partake of the eucharist. But other learned men with more reason, as seems to me, believe, that he here intends such as were properly called Barbarians, and that there is here no reference at all to the Christians.
For certain, I lay not any stress upon this passage : I only put it down here, that it might not be suspected to be omitted merely through oversight, and that all may judge of it.
Αρλον μη καθαίνυειν, ότι επι ένα οι παλαι των φιλων εφοδίων, solent a scriptoribus quantumvis Ethnicis hoc nomine appelκαθαπερ και νυν οι βαρβαροι μηδε διαιρειν ος συναψει αυλες. lari. Sed barbaros intelligo vere barbaros, apud quos certum Diog. La. I. viii. sect. 35. p. 518.
est, eum morein viguisse, coëundi in conviviis, qui idem b Gregorius Giraldus, vir doctissimus, in libello de Pytha- omniuna fere gentium mos est. Aldobrand. in loc. Et Conf. goræ symbolis, quid de hoc symbolo scribat, omnibus in Menag. p. 370. Vid. et Jamblicb. de Vita Pythagore. Dum. promptu est. Quod autem barbaros Laërtius Christianos hoc 86. cap. 18. loco significet, id mihi nullo modo probatur. Neque erim
I. His time. II. Divers passages concerning the Christians, from his Life, written by Lampridius,
an heathen author, about the year of Christ 306. III. Of Mammæa, the emperor's mother, by some said to have been a Christian.
1. Septimius Severus was succeeded by his son Caracalla, he by Macrinus ; he by Heliogabalus, concerning whom I shall transcribe a passage from · Lampridius, when I come to the chapter of the Augustan writers. Heliogabalus was succeeded by Alexander Severus, whose reign is computed from March 6, 222, to March 14, or 19, in the year 235. He reigned thirteen years, and died before he was seven and twenty years of age. Alexander is much commended, as an excellent prince, by Lampridius, as well as by others.
II. His Life of Alexander is addressed to Constantine, he has in it several passages relating to the Christians, which must be taken notice of.
1. Of this emperor Lampridius says : • He maintained the privileges of the Jews : He • tolerated the Christians.'
2. Of the same emperor he says: "His ' way of living was this. Early in the morning, if "there was no impediment, he performed some acts of religious worship in his own private chapel
, • in which were the deified emperors, and also some eminently good men, and among them A pol• lonius: and, as a writer of his time says, Christ, Abraham, and Orpheus, (whom he considered • as deities,) and the images of his ancestors.'
3. In a following chapter Lampridius says: “this 8 emperor called Virgil the Plato of poets, “and placed his image with that of Cicero, in his second chapel, where also were the statues of
Achilles, and other great men: but Alexander the great he placed among the deified, and the best, in his more honourable chapel.'
Whereby it appears, that this emperor had two chapels, one greater, and more honourable, the other less honourable. Christ was in the former. "We are likewise to observe, that this was mentioned by a writer of this emperor's own time: who, probably, was a gentile, or heathen, our author himself being an heathen, and making his collections from such.
4. Of the same emperor Lampridius likewise says: · He had a mind to build a temple to • Christ, and to receive him into the number of the deities. Which Adrian also is supposed to • have thought of before: who ordered temples without images to be erected in all cities: which * temples, at this very time, because they have no deities in them, are called Adrian's. And he is * said to have prepared them for that purpose : but he was forbid by those who consulted the
* Lamprid. Heliogab. cap. iii. p. 796.
scriptor suorum temporum dicit, Christum, Abraham, et Or. Vide Pagi ann. 235. num. ii. Basn. ann. 222. num. iii. pheum, (et hujuscemodi deos) habebat, ac majorum effi. Tillem. L'Emp. Alexandre. art. xxv. and Crevier's Hist. of gies, rem divinam faciebat. Ib. cap. 29. p. 930. the Roman Emperors. Vol. viii. p. 277.
& Virgilium autem Platonem poëtarum vocabat, ejusque * Atque hæc parva sunt, nisi quod dignum se exhibuit, imaginem cum Ciceronis simulacro, in secondo larario habuit, quem Senatus servaret, quem salvum milites cuperent, quem ubi et Achillis, et magnorum virorum. Alexandrum vero omnium bonorum sententia principem diceret. Æl. Lamprid. Magnum, inter divos et optimos, in larario majore consecravit. Sever. Alex. cap. 2. p. 883.
Ib. cap. 31. p. 936. • Judæis privilegia reservavit: Christianos esse passus est. Christo templum facere voluit, eumque inter deos reciIb. cap. 22. p. 914.
pere. Quod et Adrianus cogitâsse fertur, qui templa in om• Fuit ita moratus Alexander, ita vità atque animo consti- nibus civitatibus sine simulacris jusserat fieri; quæ hodie idtutus, ut, inter Ethnicos, paucos æquales habuerit, superiorem circo, quia non habent numina, dicuntur Adriani; quæ ille forte neminem. Basnag. ann. 222. num. v.
ad hoc parasse dicebatur. Sed prohibitus est ab iis, qui, conUsus vivendi eidem hic fuit : primum, ut, si facultas sulentes sacra, repererunt, omnes Christianos futuros, si id esset; id est, si non cum uxore cubuisset, matutinis horis in optato evenisset, et templa reliqua deserenda. Ib. cap. 43. larario suo, in quo et divos principes, sed optimos, electos, et
p. 993. enimas sanctiores, in queis et Apollonium, et, quantum VOL. IV.
oracles, they having found, that if that was done, all men would become Christians, and the • other temples would be forsaken.'
What Lampridius here says of the temples built by Adrian, without statues, was considered formerly in another place,' to which the reader is referred. We did not then think it reasonable to believe, that Adrian intended to have those temples consecrated to Christ : consequently, it may be questioned, whether we ought to rely upon what Lampridius here says of Alexander's designing to build a temple to Christ.
Farther, he says of this emperor : . When he was about to appoint any to the governments • of provinces, or to other like offices, he published their names, inviting the people, if they had any crimes to lay to their charge, to produce their evidences : at the same time declaring, that if any charged what he could not prove, he should be put to death. And he said : It was a miserable thing, that when the Christians and Jews observed this method, of publishing the names of their priests before they were ordained, the like care should not be taken about the governors of provinces, with whom the lives and fortunes of men were entrusted.' That is a testimony to a custom in use among Christians, and to the concern
they had for the good character of those who were to be ordained to any offices in the church. It is also an argument, that Christians, and their affairs, were then well known in the world.
6. Afterwards, in the same Life, Lampridius says: · When the Christians had seized a spot • of ground which was public; and on the other hand the victuallers said, it ought to be granted • to them; he gave this rescript, That it was better that God should be worshipped there in any • manner, than that the ground should be granted to the victuallers.' It cannot be determined whether the Christians intended to raise a church
upon ground, or only to make use of it for a cæmetery, or burying place.
This emperor ought to be commended for his moderation, and for the justness of his sentiments. He judged a place, in which God was to be worshipped, though not in his own way, to be better employed, than when put to the uses of luxury. And we can hence conclude with certainty, that it was then well known, and generally believed, that promiscuous lewdness was no part of Christian worship, or at all practised in their assemblies.
Here Crevier writes to this purpose : •1 observed before, that he favoured the Christians, ' and honoured Jesus Christ in his domestic chapel. It is added, that he intended to build a
public temple to him; but this is far from being proved : on the contrary, it seems, as if, how * much soever he might esteem the moral precepts of Christianity, he by no means approved of • its religious worship. And this he shewed even upon an occasion in which he protected it. • The Christians being molested by the vintners of Rome, on account of a building where they ' used to assemble, the emperor determined the dispute in favour of the former, by saying, that the building in question had better be used for the worship of the Divinity in any manner
whatever, than to be made a tavern. Thus Alexander, loving virtue, esteemed it in the • Christians : but he must not be said to have favoured them any farther.'
• If the building, I have been speaking of, was a church belonging to the Christians, which : may be naturally enough supposed; this is the oldest testimony we have of any edifice publicly *consecrated to the worship of our holy religion, known to be such by the Pagans.'
So Crevier. But I think it may be questioned whether these observations are exactly suited to this passage of Lampridius.
7. Once more. The same writer says of the same emperor : If any went out of the road into the grounds of any private person, according to the nature of the ground, he was to be
a See before p. 54-56.
scripsit, melius esse, ut quomodocumque illic Deus colatur, • Et quia de publicandis dispositionibus mentio contigit, ubi quam popivariis dedatur. Ibid. cap. 49. p. 1003. aliquos voluisset vel rectores provinciis dare, vel præpositos History of the Rom. Emperors. vol. 8. p. 345. facere, vel procuratores, id est, rationales, ordinare, nomina e Si quis de vià in alicujus possessionem deflexisset, pro eorum proponebat, hortans populum, ut si quis quid haberet qualitate loci, aut fustibus subjiciebatur in conspectu ejus, aut criminis
, probaret manifestis rebus, si non probåsset, subiret virgis, aut condemnationi, aut, si hæc oninia transiret dignitas pænam capitis. Dicebatque, grave esse, quuin id Christiani hominis, gravissimis contumeliis, quum diceret : Visne hoc in et Judæi facerent in prædicandis sacerdotibus qui ordinandi agro tuo fieri, quod alteri facis? Clamabatque sæpius quod a sunt, non fieri in provinciarum rectoribus, quibus et fortunæ quibusdam, sive Judæis sive Christianis, audierat, et tenebat. hominum committerentur et capita. Ib. cap. 45. P. 997: Idque per præconem, quum aliquem emendaret, dici jubebat:
· Quum Christiani quemdam locum, qui publicus fuerat, Quod tibi fieri non vis, alteri ne feceris.' Quam sententiam occupâssent, contra popinarii dicerent, sibi eum deberi ; re- usque adeo dilexit, ut in palatio, et in publicis operibus, præ
scribi juberet. Id. ib. cap. 51. p. 1006.