Imágenes de páginas

Augustine, though he suspects it to be a contrivance, imagines it may be the contrivance, not of a Christian, but of an enemy to Christians: but, so far as can be judged from what we have remaining of this work, it is not the work of an enemy, but of a friend to Christianity. Undoubtedly, it was needful to cover the forgery of these oracles, and the real character of the writer, by some things that had the appearance of heathenism: for the assumed character of the writer is that of an heathen, and an enemy to Christianity: there is no doubt of that. He must therefore say some things to the disadvantage of Christianity itself, or of the professors of it: accordingly, he has here and there blamed the Christians with some freedom and seeming sharpness; and now and then, as it should seem from Augustine's account (though that does not appear in Eusebius,) he did also, in an obscure manner, speak disrespectfully of Christ himself. But, that the writer held Christian notions, and designed to favour the cause of Christianity, is evident from his commendations of the Jews, from his recommending the worship of the God of the Jews as the true and great God: and in that, when he said any thing to the disadvantage of Jesus he spoke obscurely, when to his advantage he spoke clearly. So this appears

in Au. gustine's own account. Having shewn what the author had said of the justice of the death of Christ, in ambiguous terms, he adds: •but let us proceed to clearer things:' Where the oracle and the writer plainly commend Christ: and the difference between these passages, in which Christ is reproached, from those in which he is commended, is thus represented by Augustine: the former things were spoken by the gods, when asleep, these, when they awaked.'

How favourable to the Christian cause this work was understood to be by Theodoret, mani. festly appears from what we quoted from him some while ago, where he calls upon the heathen people, and asks them: “Why do you not hearken to your own philosopher, and receive the oracle of the Delphic tripod, and learn of the Hebrew prophets and apostles?' Add to all this the many quotations of this work in Eusebius's Evangelical Preparation, all

, some way or other, on the side of Christianity, and directly, or indirectly, reviling the heathen deities and their worship; and it can be no longer doubted, that the design of this work was to favour Christianity, and weaken heathenism; therefore it was not composed by Porphyry.

Eusebius, as may be remembered, introduceth his first quotation of this work in his Preparation in this manner: But · I shall not now insist upon the testimonies of friends, which might be • reckoned of little value, but of strangers: and who of all the Greek historians or philosophers ' can be more fitly alleged, than he who in our time gained so much reputation by writing ' against us?' And again in his Demonstration, addressing himself to heathen people, he says: • What more credible assurance can you have of this than the testimony of our enemy?'

The composer of this work, (whoever he was,) had the same thought. Having formed a design to exhibit a covert testimony in behalf of Christianity in the name of some learned heathen, and to bring it into oracular answers of heathen deities, he supposed, that no fitter name could be taken than that of Porphyry's; who was in great repute for learning, and had not long since published the bitterest invectives against Jews and Christians, and the strongest arguments that had ever been alleged against their scriptures: and he hoped by this work to overthrow Porphyry's long work against the Christians, which had done so much mischief.

But it is wonderful that Eusebius should be so easily deceived, and adopt the same thought, and be pleased with it.

Upon the whole, this work is the artifice of some cunning but not wise Christian.

presume I have now said enough to justify my not alleging any passages from this work, as testimonies of Porphyry, or of any other heathen writer, in favour of Christianity.

And though this argument has detained us a great while, perhaps the length of it may be excused, when it is considered, how long the genuineness of this work has been admitted by learned men with great unanimity, and has been suspected by a very few only. If the several reasons here alleged are not impertinent, but to the purpose, the whole argument ought not to be charged with prolixity: learned men, as well as others, are oftentimes hard to be convinced of the falsehood of an opinion once embraced by them; nor will they yield till they are over. whelmed by a heap of reasons.

This argument is not very honourable to our ecclesiastical historian: I acknowledge it, but

a Pr. Ev. I. iv. p. 142.

b Dem. Ev. l. iii. p. 134. A.


2 K

I cannot help it; truth must be asserted. So o says the learned and generous Heumann, arguing against such as were unwilling to allow a fault in Socrates, when he recorded the story of Porphyry's having deserted Christianity.



I. A general account of these authors. II. Passages of Spartian concerning Septimius Severus

and Caracalla. III. Passages of Lampridius concerning Heliogabalus and Alexander Severus. IV. Passages of Flavius Vopiscus concerning Adrian and Aurelian.

1. There are six authors, called writers of the Augustan History, who have written the history, or rather the lives of the Roman emperors from Adrian to Carinus. Their names are Ælius Spartianus, Julius Capitolinus, Ælius Lampridius, Vulcatius Gallicanus, Trebellius Pollio, and Flavius Vopiscus, who lived in the times of Doclesian, Constantius Chlorus, and his son Constantine the Great. Some of these Lives are inscribed to Dioclesian, others to the forementioned Constantius, others to Constantine; some are without an inscription, nor does it appear to whom they are addressed: nor is it absolutely certain to which author every life belongs; for those which are generally ascribed to Lampridius, are by some ascribed to Spartian. They all lived much about the same time, under Dioclesian and his successors, near the end of the third and the beginning of the fourth century. I place them all, as at a mean, in the

year S06: but I bring them in here a little before the true order of their time, partly, that we might not be interrupted in our accounts of Dioclesian's persecution; and partly, because the testimonies of these several authors relate to things near the beginning of the third century, or however some good while before the end of it.

Most of their passages concerning the Christians have been already alleged in this work, under the several emperors of whom they write: nevertheless, I have a mind to take here a general review of them all together in this place, adding now one or two which have not yet been taken notice of.

II. Spartian, in his Life of Septimius Severus, addressed to the emperor Dioclesian, says of Severus: · He forbade under a severe penalty, that any should become Jews. A like edict ' was published by him against the Christians.'

Spartian intends the persecution of the Christians begun in the tenth year of Severus, A. D. 202, mentioned by Eusebius and other ecclesiastical writers, and of which we gave a distinct account some whiled

ago. 2. The same historian in the Life of Antoninus Caracalla, son and successor of Severus, says of him: “At the age of seven years, when he heard that a boy his play-fellow had been · grievously beaten, because he was of the Jewish religion, he would not for a good while after • so much as look upon his own father, nor the father of the boy, nor those who had beaten • him.'

It is probable, that by the · Jewish' is here intended the Christian religion :' forasmuch as • Quis, inquam, non videat, narrationem istam esse refe- Tillemont, Dioclesian art. 26 et 27. H. E. T. iv. p. 98. rendam inter viles pannos purpuræ historiæ ecclesiasticæ assutos ab hominibus minus circumspectis ? Nec audio Celeb. • Judæos fieri sub gravi ponâ vetuit. Idem etiam de ChrisSiberum, parcendum esse ducentem auctoritati scriptorum tianis sanxit. Spartian. Sever. cap. 17. p. 618. quoted beecclesiasticorum. Imo vero non parcamos erroribus veterum, fore in this volume, p. 168. nec ullâ quantumvis clari scriptoris auctoritate absterreamur d See before, p. 166, &c. ab investigatione veri. Veterum libros legere nos oportet e It is not certainly known to whom that Life is addressed. criticis oculis. Atqui critici est, fugere omnem w LOOWTOYUy. Septennis puer, quum collosorem suum puerum, ob JuHeumann. Ep. Miscell. T. iii. p. 59, 60.

daïcam religionem gravius verberatum audisset, neque patrem b Vid. Voss. de Hist. Lat. 1. ii. cap. 5, 6, 7. Fabr. Bib.

suum, neque patrem pueri, vel auctores verberum diu respexit. Lat. 1 iii. cap. vi. T. i. p. 546. &c. et. T. ii. p. 83. &c. Spartian. Carac. cap. i.



Tertullian, ` who lived at that time, says, that Caracalla was nursed by a Christian woman. Of this likewise we took notice formerly.

III. Lampridius, in his Life of Antoninus Heliogabalus, [who succeeded Macrinus, and reigned from 218 to 222,] addressed to Dioclesian, says : · He erected a temple upon Mount · Palatine, near the imperial palace, to the god Heliogabalus, intending to bring into that

temple the image of the mother of the gods, and the fire of Vesta, and the Palladium, and the • shields of Mars, and every object of the veneration of the Romans, that no god might be * worshipped at Rome beside Heliogabalus. He said likewise, that the religion of the Jews and

the Samaritans, and the devotion of the Christians, must be transferred thither, that the priest• hood of Heliogabalus might comprehend in it the mysteries of all religions. This is the passage which I promised some while "

ago. This mad emperor, remarkable for the worst follies and vices, was a native of Emesa in Syria, where the sun was worshipped under the appellation of Heliogabalus, or Elagabalus, to whom this emperor himself was priest.

There is no need to make many remarks upon this story of Lampridius. It shews however, that the Christian religion, though mentioned last here as being of the latest original, was then well known in the world, and was so considerable, as not to be omitted in this emperor's design of uniting the devotions of all men in the worship of the god to whom he was priest.

They who are desirous to inform themselves concerning the origin of the name Heliog balus may consult divers learned men, & whose works are in every body's hands.

2. The same writer, in his Life of Alexander Severus, successor of Heliogabalus, has several passages relating to the Christians, which have been already transcribed with remarks ; to which therefore the reader is now referred.

IV. Flavius Vopiscus of Syracuse is the sixth and last of the Augustan writers, but not the worst of them; for he is generally reckoned as learned a man, and as regular an historian, as any of them; as was observed before.

I have already taken from him a large article in the chapter of the emperor Adrian,k to which the reader is referred. It is taken out of his Life of Saturninus,' who was proclaimed emperor by the soldiers at Alexandria in the time of Probus," and after a short reign, or rebellion and tyranny, was put to death; and, as Eusebius" says, at Apamea.

2. The same writer, in his Life of the emperor Aurelian, ° speaks of a letter of his to the senate of Rome, written probably in the beginning of his reign, in the year 270 or 271, where the Christians are mentioned: the passage was transcribed formerly' with remarks ; to which therefore I now refer

my readers.

• Ad Scap. cap. 4.
b See p. 166.

* Fuit autem Heliogabalus vel Jovis vel Solis Sacerdos, Sed ubi primum ingressus est Urbem, omissis iis, quæ in atque Antonini sibi nomen asciverat. &c. Lamprid. ibid. provincia gerebantur, Heliogabalum in Palatino monte juxta ædes imperatorias consecravit, eique templum fecit, studens & Joseph. Scaliger. Animadv. in Euseb. Chron. p. 231. et Matris typum, et Vestæ ignem, et Palladium, et Ancilia, Basnag. ann. p. 218. num. viii. et omnia Romanorum veneranda in illud transferre templum, "See before, p. 177—179, &c.

i See p. 207. et id agens, ne quis Romæ deus nisi Heliogabalus coleretur. * See this Vol. p. 54, &c. Dicebat præterea, Judæorum et Samaritanorum religiones, et 'Fl. Vopisc Saturninus. cap. 7, 8. Christianam devotionem illuc transferendam, ut omnium cul- m Et, ne longius progrediar, dicendum est quod præcipuo turarum secretum Heliogabali sacerdotium teneret. Lamprid. ad hunc pertinet. Errare quosdam scio, et putare hunc esse Heliog. cap. iii. p. 796. o See before, p. 177. Saturninum, qui Gallieni temporibus imperium occupavit :

Vitam Heliogabali Antonini impurissimam, qui Varius quum hic longe alius fuerit, et Probo pene nolente sit occisus. etiam dictus est, nunquam in literas misissem, ne quis fuisse Obsessum denique in castro quodam ab iis, quos Probus Romanorum principern sciret, nisi ante Caligulas, et Nerones, miserat, invito Probo esse jugulatum. Id. ib. cap. xi. p. 734. et Vitellios, hoc idem habuisset imperium. Lamprid. ibid. * Saturninus, magister exercitûs, novam civitatem Antio. cap. i. p. 790.

chiæ exorsus est condere. Qui postea imperium molitus Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, Antonini Caracallæ, ut puta- invadere Apamiæ occiditur. Euseb. Chron. p. 177. Conf. batur, filius, et sacerdos, Eliogabali templi, adeo impudice in Scaligeri Animadv. p. 241. imperio suo vixit, ut nullum genus obscenitatis omiserit. Vopisc. Aurelian. cap. 20. p. 463, &c. Euseb. Chron. p. 173.

p See before, p. 207.






1. An Anonymous Author against the Christians. II. Hierocles, with a large account of his work from Lactantius and Eusebius. III. A great cruelty of Hierocles, in the time of Dioclesian's persecution, when he was præfect of Alexandria. IV. Remarks upon the accounts of his work, as given by Lactantius and Eusebius. V. That Apollonius was not so considerable as many learned men of late times have supposed. VI. A large account of the Life of Apollonius Ty. anæus written by Philostratus, with remarks upon it, shewing that it was not written with a design to oppose the miracles of our Saviour. VII. An account of the Lives of Pythagoras, written by Porphyry and Jamblichus, with remarks upon them, shewing, that in those works there was not any intention to oppose the Christian religion. VIII. Another work of Jamblichus concerning

the images of the gods. 1. LACTANTIUS speaks of two professed adversaries of the Christian religion at the beginning of Dioclesian's persecution. • I forbear,' says he,

• I forbear,' says he, « « to take notice of those who in former times • in vain opposed our religion. When I taught rhetoric at Nicomedia, having been invited • thither for that purpose, and at the same time the temple of God was demolished, there were

two men who with great pride unseasonably insulted the injured truth : one of whom professed • himself to be a master of Philosophy, but was extremely vicious. This man, who over. • threw his discourses by his manners, or condemned his manners by his discourses, and thus • was a severe censor and bitter reprover of himself, at that very time when good men were unrighteously abused, published three books against our religion, and the Christian name: professing likewise to act therein the part of a philosopher, in delivering men from their errors, • and bringing them back to the way of truth, that is, to the worship of the gods, by whose power and providence, as he said, the world is governed ; and not to suffer ignorant and unskilful men to be misled by the frauds of others, and that their simplicity might no longer be

a Omitto eos, qui prioribus eam temporibus necquidquam corporis cruciamenta devitent, nec sævas membrorum laceralacesserunt. Ego cum in Bithyniâ oratorias literas accitus do- tiones frustra perpeti velint. Ut autem appareret, cujus rei cerem, contigissetque, ut eodem tempore Dei 'templum gratiâ opus illud elaborâsset, effusus est in principum laudes, everteretur ; duo exstiterunt, qui jacenti atque abjectæ veritati, quorum pietas et providentia (ut quidem ipse dicebat) cum in nescio utrum superbius an importunius, insultarent. Quorum cæteris rebus humanis, tum præcipue in defendendis deorum alter antistitem se philosophiæ profitebatur. Verum ita religionibus claruisset : consultum esse tandem rebus humanis, vitiosus, ut continentiæ magister, non minus avaritiâ, quam ut, cohibitâ impiâ et anili superstitione, universi homines legilibidinibus arderet, in victu tam sumtuosus, ut in scholá vir- timis sacris vacarent, ac propitios sibi deos experirentur. Ubi tutis assertor, parsimoniæ, paupertatisque laudator, in palatio autem religionis ejus, contra quam perorabat, infamare voluit pejus cænaret quam domi: tamen vitia sua capillis, et pallio, rationem, ineptas, varius, ridiculus apparuit, quia gravis ille et (quod maximum est velamentum) divitiis prætegebat ; quas consultor utilitatis alienæ, non modo quid oppugnaret, sed ut augeret, ad amicitias judicum miro ambitu penetrabat. etiam quid loqueretur, nesciebat, Nam si qui nostrorum afHic vero, qui suas disputationes moribus destruebat, vel mores fuerunt, quamvis temporum gratiâ conniverent, animo tamen suos disputationibus arguebat, ipse adversus se gravis censor, derisere : utpote cum viderent hominem profiientem se ilet accusator acerrimus, eodem ipso tempore, quo justus po- luminaturum alios, cuni ipse cæcus esset, redacturum alios ab pulus nefarie lacerabatur, tres libros evomuit contra religionem, errore, cum ipse ignoraret, ubi pedes suos poneret : eruditurum nomenque Christianum. Professus ante omnia, philosophi alios ad veritatem, cujus ille ne scintillam quidem unam vidisset officium esse, erroribus hominum subvenire, atque illos ad aliquando ; quippe cum sapientiæ professor profligare sapienverain viam revocare, id est, ad cultus deorum, quorum tiam niteretur. Omnes tamen id arguebant, quod illo potisnumine ac majestate, ut ille dicebat, mundus gubernetur: nec siinui tempore id opus esset agressus, quo furebat odiosa pati homines imperitos quorumdam fraudibus illici; ne sim- crudelitas. O philosophun adulatoren ac tempori servientem! plicitas eorum prædæ ac pabulo sit hominibus astutis. Itaque Verum hic suâ inanitate contemtus est; qui et gratiam, quam se suscepisse hoc munus philosophiâ dignum, ut præferret non sperabat, non est adeptus, et gloria, quam captavit, in culpam, videntibus lumen sapientiæ, non modo, ut susceptis deorum reprehensionemque conversa est. Lactant. Inst. 1. v. cap. 2. cultibus resanescant, sedetiam ut pertinaciobstinatione depositâ,

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• the prey and food of cunning men. Therefore he had undertaken this office, well becoming a

philosopher, not only to hold out the light of wisdom to those who do not discern it, but also • to persuade them, laying aside all perverse obstinacy, to avoid heavy sufferings, and not *give up themselves to torments without reason. And that it might appear with what views • this work of his was composed, he enlarged in the praises of the emperors, whose wisdom and piety, he said, were conspicuous, not only in the affairs of the state, but also, and chiefly, in upholding the religion of the gods; and had taken due care of the welfare of mankind, in restraining an impious and foolish superstition, that all men performing the legal rites might enjoy the favour and protection of the gods. But when he came to confute the religion against · which he was arguing, he appeared very contemptible, not knowing what he opposed, nor . what to say; so that our people in general, though upon account of the times they might * think it best to say little, could not but despise him, and look upon him as a man who at• tempted to enlighten others when he was blind himself, and to bring others back from error • when he was himself ignorant, and knew not where to set his feet, and to teach others the • truth, of which he never had a glimpse himself. All thought it strange, that at this very time • he should engage in such a work, when the most cruel measures were taken. Behold then a • flattering philosopher and a server of the times. However, this man was despised for his ! emptiness : nor did he obtain the favour he hoped for: and instead of the glory which he • aimed at, he met with reproach and censure.'

Upon which I shall make only two or three remarks, and then proceed.

1. This writer is anonymous; nor do we know that he is mentioned by any one beside Lactantius in this place. Some have imagined that he is the same as Porphyry, but altogether without reason. Porphyry is older, and his character very different from that of the person here described : Porphyry was a man of virtue, and his work against the Christians, so far from being contemptible, was perhaps the most formidable of all the arguments written against them by any of their ancient heathen adversaries.

And we may therefore hence infer, that many books were written against the Christians in the first ages of which we now know nothing. They have been buried in oblivion ; but they may have given the Christians a good deal of trouble at the time when they were published.

2. Though we have not the work of this anonymous writer, we perceive what was in it. Lactantius, who was perfectly honest, as well as zealous for his religion, may be relied upon for having given a true and just account of the character of the author, and the design and contents of his work: and therefore I have judged it highly proper to transcribe him at length.

This author, by profession a philosopher, and a teacher of philosophy, represented Christianity to be superstition, foolish,' and also impious, neglecting the deities,' by whom, as he said the world was governed : contrary' likewise to the established laws,' and prejudicial • to the interests of mankind,' as exposing men to the displeasure of the gods. To cure men therefore of this superstition, (no matter how,) was to recommend them to the favour and blessing of those deities. He was also a flatterer, and he expatiated in the praises of the emperor; but his arguments were very inconsiderable.

3. I must be allowed to transcribe here a paragraph of Mr. Bayle, who was a witness of the persecution of the Protestants in his own country in the time of Lewis the XIVth.

• The preface of this philosopher,' says he, may enable us to discern the great conformity of Pagan and Christian persecutions. A self-interested and flattering author never fails to • take up the pen against the persecuted party: it appears a fine opportunity to praise his prince: • he lays hold of it, and enlarges upon the importance of the service done to God, and the charity of adding instruction to the authority of the laws: that enlightening the erroneous, they may be delivered from the pain to which their obstinacy might expose them. The volup• tuous philosopher of Nicomedia forgot none of these common-places. It may be said, that he * was the original to many French authors, who wrote during the sufferings of the Protestants. • It is easier to depart from the method of Dioclesian's persecution than from that of his . panegyrists.

II. Of the other writer Lactantius speaks after this manner: • The other,' says he, 'treated a See his Dictionary in Hierocles : note (C.)

tionis fuit ; quo scelere non contentus etiam scriptis eos, quos Alius eamdem materiam mordacius scripsit ; qui erat tum afflixerat, insecutus est. Composuit eniin libellos duos, non e numero judicum, et qui auctor in primis faciendæ persecu- contra Christianos, ne inimice insectari videretur, sed ad


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