Imágenes de páginas


Upon the whole, this work of Philostratus appears to me throughout Pythagoræan; as Jamblichus himself says in his Life of Pythagoras : Hence it comes to pass, that all Pythagoræans • in general readily assent to such things as are related of Aristeas the Proconnesian, and Abaris • the Hyperborean, and all other such like things. They assent to all these stories, and they • invent inany other themselves, as thinking nothing incredible which is said of the deity: • Nor do they think, that they therefore are weak and silly, but others are so who disbelieve them. For to say, some things are possible to the gods, others impossible, is the principle not of wise men, but of ignorant pretenders to science.'


fair and honest confession ! My advice, therefore, with which I would conclude this section is, that they who are desirous to understand the history which Philostratus has left us of Apollonius Tyanæus, should read the Life of Pythagoras written by Diogenes Laërtius, Porphyry, Jamblichus, and the anonymous author in Photius, and the Lives of Empedocles, and other Pythagoræans in Laërtius : observing. likewise the stories relating to these men found in Plutarch, Ælian, and other ancient authors.

Let me however add an observation from Chrysostom: Jesus Christ, b? says he, not only • prescribed a rule of life, but also planted it every where throughout the whole world. How • many things have been said of Apollonius Tyanæus! but that you might be satisfied they are all • falsehood and fiction, and nothing true, they are extinct, and come to an end.'

I have now enlarged upon this point, and have said a great deal of Apollonius, and the history of Philostratus, and some things very different from the general apprehensions of learned men in our time : nevertheless, if I am not mistaken, I have said little more than was said long ago by Dr. S. Parker, bishop of Oxford, in his Demonstration of the Divine Authority of the Law of Nature, and of the Christian Religion : and I therefore intend to transcribe his observations upon this subject as an appendix to this chapter.

VII. As I have been led to say so much about the Life of Apollonius, written by Philostratus, I shall take this opportunity to consider two Lives of Pythagoras, written, one by Porphyry, whom we have placed at the year of Christ 270, the other by Jamblichus of Chalcis, a disciple of Porphyry: who, as Fabricius - says, lived in the time of Constantine, and probably died before the year 333: I therefore place him at the year 313. I speak of these writings together, and in this place, for the sake of brevity, that I may not be obliged to make, distinct articles of works that are of little importance to us.

Here I shall transcribe at length the observations of Mr. La Roche referred to before: 'I am by no means,' says he, of Mr. Kuster's opinion in his note' upon Jamblichus. I think, • he did not design to oppose the pretended miracles of Pythagoras to those of Jesus Christ :

nor do Rittershusius or Lucas Holstenius in their notes say, that Jamblichus or Porphyry had 'any such intention. There is nothing in Jamblichus, or in what remains of Porphyry's Life

of Pythagoras, but what they would have said if there had been no Christians in the world : • the same may be said of Philostratus in the Life of Apollonius. I wonder the learned Dr. * Gale should suspect in his notes upon Jamblichus de mysteriis, p. 244, that Jamblichus & did. • indirectly reflect upon the incarnation of the OfævOpwios. ."

I am of opinion, that this last observation, as well as the others, is very right: but what I




* Vit. Pyth. cap. 28. num. 138, 139. Vid. et num. 135, 136. • See above, p. 261.

6 Ο δε Χριςος εκ εβραψε σολίλειαν μονον, αλλα και σανlαχε Vid. Jambl. de Vita Pythag. cap. 2. num. 10. not. 13. της οικεμενης αυτην καιεφυίευσε. Ποσα λεειαι Απολλωνιος ο p. 7. Amst. 1707. εκ Τυανων πεποιηκέναι; Αλλ' ίνα μαθης ότι ψευδος παντα εκείνα 8 Suspicor interim Jamblichum per hæc jamdudum oblique ην, και φαντασια, και αληθες εδεν εσζεσαι, και τελος ελαζεν. notasse ενσαρκωσιν Θεανθρωπο. Gale. Chrys. adv. Judæos. Or. v. T. i. p. 631. A.

1 Since writing what is above, and indeed, since finishing. Vid. Eunap. de Vit. Philosoph. p. 21. &c. I think it best this whole chapter, as I was revising it, I have observed, that to transcribe here entire the article of Jamblichus in Suidas. Mr. Mosheim also went into the common opinion concerning Ιαμβλιχος έθερος. Χαλκιδος της Συρίας, φιλοσοφος, μαθητης these two Lives of Pythagoras. I shall therefore here tranΠορφυριο το φιλοσοφε το Πλωθινε ακεσε, γεύονως, καλα τες scribe what he says; but I do not think it needful to add one χρονες Κωνςανλινε το βασιλεως: Είραψε βιβλια φιλοσοφα. syllable to my argument as already finished. Pythagora vitam diapopa. Suid.

hoc seculo Porphyrius, sequenti Jamblichus, uterque eo sine • Hoc certe constat, regnante adhuc Constantino M. atque, dubio consilio exaravit, ut par Christo rebus omnibus, maxime ut videtur, ante A. C. 333, e vitâ discessisse. Nam post miraculis et præceptorum sapientiâ, philosophus ille videretur. Jamblichi mortem Sopater, ejus discipulus, in Constantini Demonstratum hoc dedit in adnotationibus ad Jamblichi vitam: M. se aulam contulit, teste Eunapio, in Ædesio. p. 34. Fabr. a se editam Ludolphus Kusterus ; et videbit facile, cui plaBib, Gr. l. iy. cap. 28. T. iv. p. 283. Vid. et Tillem. L'Emp. cebit cum Servatoris nostri historiâ utramque vitam conferre. Constantin, art. 91.

Non agnus agno similior esset, quam Christo Pythagoras, si

add farther shall relate to the two Lives of Pythagoras, written by Porphyry and Jamblichus; and that they had no intention to oppose Pythagoras to the Lord Jesus Christ, appears to me very evident for these two reasons.

First of all, they have said nothing new of Pythagoras, nothing but what had been often said of himn before the appearance of the Christian religion in the world.

As Josephus says, * many authors have written the history of Pythagoras :' so it appears from the two writers of his Life above mentioned, and from Diogenes Laërtius, who expressly quote many authors by name for what they say, and seem also sometimes to refer to traditionary accounts.

And Origen observes, that many strange things were said of Pythagoras, who shewed his • ivory thigh at the assembly of the Greeks, and pretended to know the shield (hung up at

Mycenæ) with which he had fought when he was Euphorbus, and is said to have been seen on • one and the same day in two cities.' So writes Origen; and they were old stories long before his time.

Kuster was of opinion, that in his Life of Pythagoras Jamblichus borrowed from Porphyry without naming him; and he wonders at it. Vossius' was of the same opinion; and other learned men, I suppose, have formed the same judgment: nevertheless I must take the liberty to say, that I cannot see any good ground for the supposition: and I am of opinion, that they both found the same stories in writers more ancient than themselves; whom they both tran. scribed, and sometimes almost word for word.

Secondly, most of the things related by those two authors are so trifling, and so manifestly fabulous, that I cannot believe they intended to oppose them to the miracles of Jesus Christ.

The golden or ivory thigh of Pythagoras comes over again and again in Jamblichus; nor is it omitted by Porphyry:' and his solicitous concern to dissuade men from eating beans; which they endeavour to justify by saying, that by their food he endeavoured to lead men to virtue. Abaris the Scythian, or Hyperborean, they say, travelled with great ease and expedition over seas and rivers upon an arrow : • Which,' as they also say, “some supposed to have been the case of • Pythagoras, when he was in one and the same day in Metapontus and Tauromenium.' This is both in Jamblichus and Porphyry in the places above referred to: and says Porphyry, 'if credit * • is to be given to his historians, and those ancient and of unquestioned authority, he extended « his instructions to brute animals. He laid hold of the Daunian bear, which had done abun• dance of mischief, and having stroked it a long while, and given it bread and acorns, he

adjured it no more to eat flesh, and let it go: after which it lived quietly in the woods and on • the mountains, and never more attacked so much as a brute animal. And when he saw the *ox at Tarentum straying at will in the fields, and eating green beans, he went to the herdsman, • and desired him to speak to the ox, “ not to eat beans:" but he said he did not understand the • language of oxen. Pythagoras then went to the ox himself, and whispered it in the ear: whereupon the ox not only left the field in which the beans were, but never more eat any." So writes that great philosopher Porphyry; and to the like purpose Jamblichus.

The miracles of our Saviour are all great and awful, related by credible witnesses, with all the circumstances of credibility: the trifling and fabulous accounts of Pythagoras cannot be set in competition with them. It is sufficient disparagement to those proud and learned philosophers, that they give credit to the Pythagoræan fables: we need not reproach them with an intention to oppose them to the miracles of Jesus Christ.

I therefore allege no testimonies out of these two works; I see not in them any references to



vera forent quæ de hoc duumviri illi scripta reliquerunt. iisdem vel leviter immutatis verbis, scripsit Jamblichus. Voss. Moshem. de Reb. Christian. ante C. M. p. 562.

de Hist. Gr. I. ii. cap. 18. πολλοι δε τα περι αυτον ισoρηκασι. Contr. Αp. 1. i. e Jambl. cap. 19. n. 92. cap. 22. n. 135. Vid. et num. 140. can. 22.

f Porph. num. 28. b Cont. Cels. I. vi, num. 8. p. 280.

δια της τροφης αρχομενος εις αρείην οδη/ειν τες • Vid. Jambl. de Vit. Pythag. cap. 14. num. 63. et Porph. ar9pWT85. Jambl. cap. 23. num. 109. de Vit. Pyı hag. num. 27 et 45.

si Jambl. cap. 28. n. 136. Porph. num. 28, 29. Cum samblicho, ob argumenti et materiæ similitudinem • Οπερ υπενοησαν και ΠυθαΓοραν τινες πεπονθεναι τοτε, ηνικα conjunximus Porphyrium de Vitâ Pythagoræ ; cujus scrinia εν Μεταπονλιω και εν Ταυρομενιω τοις εκαλερωθε έλαιροις ωμιλησεν noster (quamvis tacito, quod miror, ejus nomine) identidem og avion quepa. Porph. num. 29. Jambl. n. 138. compilavit. Kust. Præf. in Jambl.

* Ει δε δει πιςευειν τοις ισορηκασι σερι αυτε, παλαιοις δε Tractârat hoc argumentum antea præceptor ejus Malchus, 864 xai alorosois, *. 1. De Vit. Pyth. num. 23, 24. vid. sive Porphyrius; ex cujus de Pythagorâ libro multa, vel et Jamblo de Vita Pythagoræ cap. 13. num. 60, 61.

our Saviour's miracles, or the evangelical history: they are all over Pythagoræan, like the Life of Apollonius written by Philostratus ; upon which I have expatiated so much, that there can be no need for me to enlarge any farther upon

these. VIII. As I have been obliged to take some notice of these two Lives of Pythagoras, I shall also observe upon another work of Jamblichus not now extant, entitled, Of Images, or as Fabricius a calls it, Of the Divinity of Images, of which there is some account in Photius.

Says Photius : • We read the treatise of John Philoponus against the work of Jamblichus, · which he inscribed Of Images. The design of Jamblichus is to shew the divinity of idols, (for • so he calls images,) and that they are filled with the divine presence, and not only such as • having been formed by a secret art, and therefore are said to have fallen down from Jupiter; • for these being of an heavenly nature, and having fallen down thence to this earth, are always * so called; but also such as have been formed by the skill of the founder, or engraver, or smith. • All these, Jamblichus says, are supernatural works, and surpass the common opinion of men

about them. In support of this, he tells a great many incredible stories; some things he • ascribes to occult causes : nor is he ashamed to assert things contradictory to what is obvious • to human sight. The whole work is divided into two parts, one called the greater, the other • the less; both which are confuted by Philoponus.'

A wonderful work truly! Another instance of Pythagoræan credulity, and in that respect exactly resembling the Lives of Pythagoras before mentioned. So writes Jamblichus, himself a philosopher and a disciple of Porphyry, also a renowned philosopher and hearer of Plotinus.

Lucas Holstenius was of opinion, that Porphyryd likewise published a work with this same title Of Images.

Such were the philosophers of that time: they did little or nothing to improve the sentiments of mankind: they confirmed the prejudices of the common people, and made them still worse than they otherwise would have been. If any others kave since resembled them therein, they are far from deserving commendation.



[ocr errors]

I shall now, according to my promise at p. 269, transcribe the observations of Dr. S. Parker upon the character of Apollonius Tyanæus, and the history of him written by Philostratus.

His observations, I believe, will be generally allowed to be right and pertinent. They are particularly remarkable upon two accounts : First, he considers Apollonius as a professed and conceited Pythagorean philosopher, or, as his terms are, ' a mere fanatic and pedantic Pytha

goræan. Secondly, he rejects the parablelisms of Huet, and shews their futility. Consequently he did not embrace the opinion of Dr. Cudworth, and divers other learned men, who have supposed, that · Philostratus intended to set up Apollonius as a corrival with our Saviour.' I thought I had been singular in the opinion which I received from Mr. La Roche, but here is a learned man who wrote almost an hundred years ago, and thought in the same manner.

* Ispı alanualwv, seu de divinitate imaginum liber, quem μενος. Εις δυο δε όλην την τραυματειαν διαθεμνει, την μεν μειζονα confutavit Joh. Philoponus, teste Photio, quem vide codice

καλων, την

δε ελατίoνα. Καθ' έκαιερας δε τείων και Φιλοπονος 215. Fabr. Bib. Gr. 1. iv. c. 24. T. iv. p. 293. Conf. Tom. isala.. Phot. cod. 215. p. 353. ix, p. 450.

" See before, p. 269, note. • Ανενωσθη Ιωαννα το Φιλοπον8 καλα της σπεδης Ιαμίλιχο, & Luc. Holsten, de Vitä сt Scriptis Porphyrii. cap. ix. p. 53. yelpave wapi alanpalwy. Esi per sy i txotros Iqucnsxw Cantabrig. 1655. cap. x. p. 268. Ap. Fabric. Bib. Gr. T. iv. θεια τε δειξαι τα ειδωλα (ταυλα γαρ υποβαλλει το ονομαι τα e A Demonstration of the Divine Authority of the Law of αλαλματος) και θειας μεθυσιας αναπλεα και μονον όσα χειρες αν- Nature, and of the Christian Religion, in two Parts. By SaOwn'wy xpupsçe apažei taxmoquevas, dia to adyacy Te TEXyile muel Parker, D.D. Archdeacon of Canterbury, 1681.' Dr. διοπετη επ' ωνόμασαν» ταυλα γαρ αφανιας τε φυσεως ειναι, κακείθεν Parker was.afterwards bishop of Oxford. The passage to be επι γης θεσεις εξ α και την επωνυμιαν φερειν συνεςησανθο αλλα quoted by me is taken from P. 2. sect. xxvii. p. 293-300. I και όσα τεχνη χαλκευτικη τε και λαξευλική, και η τεκίονων επι leave his references as they are, made to the Paris edition of önaw ulofw xai eplacia Siejopowoarlo. Tolwy sy draylwe epsa Philostratus in 1608. And in some places I add, at the bottom τε υπερφυη, και δοξης ανθρωπινης κρειττονα γραφει Ιαμβλιχος, of the page, references to the edition of Olearius at Leipsich, πολλα μεν απιθανα μυθολοίων, πολλα μεν εις αδηλες φέρων in 1709. αίλιας, πολλα δε και τους δρωμενοις εγεια γραφειν θκ αισχυνο


His words are these : But the man of wonders is Apollonius Tyanæus, of whom they boast - and insult as the true heathen Messias : in that he wrought not, as Vespasian did, one or two - chance miracles, but his whole life was all prodigy, and equal to our Saviour's both for the * number and the wonder of his works. But here, first, we have in part shewn what undoubted * records we have of the life of Jesus : whereas all the credit of Apollonius his history, depends

upon the authority of one single man, who, beside that he lived an hundred years after him, * ventured nothing, as the apostles did, in confirmation of its truth, but only composed it in his

study: thereby, as appears from his frequent digressions, to take occasion of communicating ** to the world all the learning which he had raked together. Nay, so far was he from incurring

any loss by the work, that he was set upon it by a great empress, whose religious zeal in the * cause would be sure to see him well rewarded. And though he made use of the Commentaries * of Damis, the inseparable companion of Apollonius, yet he confesses, that Damis himself never * published his own Commentaries, but that a friend of Damis cominunicated them to the * empress, which himself might probably have forged (as is common in courts) to pick her

pocket. However, as for Damis himself, it is evident from Philostratus his whole story, that ** he was a very simple man, and that Apollonius only picked him up as a fit Sancho Pancha to - exercise his wit upon; so that upon all occasions we find him not only baffling the esquire in

disputes, but breaking jests upon him, which he always takes with much thankfulness, and - more humility, still admiring his master's wisdom, but much more his wit.

• But after all, what the story of Damis was, or whether there were ever any such story, we - have no account, unless from Philostratus himself; and therefore we must resolve it all into his

authority alone. And there it is evident, that Apollonius was neither a god nor a divine man, * as his friends boasted, nor a magician or conjuror, as his enemies imagined, but a meer fanatic - and pedantic Pythagorean : who for the honour of his sect travelled, as many others have done, into all parts of the world: and when he returned home told his countrymen, that all men

renowned for wisdom all the world over were of the sect of the Pythagoreans; and then for • advancement of their authority told strange and prodigious tales of their wonder-working * power. Though here either he, or his historian, has acquitted himself so aukwardly, as utterly * to spoil the tale and defeat the design. This Eusebius has shewn at large in his book against · Hierocles, by taking to pieces all parts of the story, and discovering all its flaws and incoherences.'

· But I shall content myself with proving the vanity of the whole from the notorious falsehood * of one particular narration, upon which depends all that extraordinary power which he pre* tends to; and that is his conversation with the Indian Bramans, from whom, if we may be. • lieve his account of himself, he learned all that he could do more than the common philosophers • of Greece. And if this prove a romance, all the rest of his history must unavoidably follow * its fortune. And for this little proof will serve, when most of the stories are so very mean • and childish, as to be more contemptible than those little tales wherewith nurses are wont to * quiet their children.

• For what could be contrived more unphilosophically, than the Bramans keeping tubs of * rain, wind and thunder by them, which they bestow upon their friends as their necessities? * required, 1. iii. c. 3. And the swelling of the earth like the waves of the sea, only with the • stroke of a Braman's wand ? c. 5. Though the most pleasant scene of the whole comedy • was their feast, in which there was no need of any attendants; but the chairs and the stools, the * pots and the cups, the dishes and the plates, understood every one their own offices: and so

served in the entertainment themselves, and ran hither and thither as the guests commanded, * or their attendance required.' c. 8.

• But of all lies the geographical lie is the most unhappy: for the matter of them being perpetual, and not as the actions of men are, transient, they may be confuted in any age. And • yet in this very thing he has outdone Sir John Mandevil himself, for incredible monsters and

fables, describing men and beasts of strange shapes, that were never seen by any man but • himself: as a sort of women half black, halt white, a nation of pigmies, living under ground,

c. 14, griffins, apes as big as men, beasts with the faces of men, and bodies of lions, wool * growing like

grass out of the earth, and dragons almost as common as sheep in other couna L. iii. cap. xiv. p. 104. Olear. edit.

L. iii. cap. 3. p. 96. p. 99, 100, 101. b L. iii. cap. xxvii. p. 117, 118.

L. ii. cap. 47. p. 133. • L, iii. cap. 6, 7, 8.

• tries, c. 2. All which being so vulgarly known at this day to be mere fables, they cannot but * overthrow the credit of the whole story. For either he wandered as far as the Indies, or not: • if not, then his saying that he did is one lie for all : if he did, then it is evident from these par* ticulars that he made no conscience of truth or falsehood, but designed only to amuse the • world with strange and prodigious reports of the power of Pythagorism.'

* And that is the most that I can make of the story; though I know that Huetius . is of opinion that all the substantial miracles are stolen out of the gospels and the Acts of the apostles, and that, for the most part, in the words and phrases of St. Luke. And this he has • endeavoured to make good by a great variety of parallel instances; and then thinks it a manifest • discovery both of the vanity of Philostratus and the imposture of Apollonius, when he is only

adorned with borrowed feathers, but a great accession to the credit of our Saviour, that when • his enemies would frame the idea of a divine man, they were forced to steal their best feathers • from his picture. So that, he says, it was no wonder, that Hierocles should so confidently compare the miracles of Apollonius to those of Jesus, when those of Jesus were with so little disguise clapped upon Apollonius.'

• This were å pretty discovery if it stood upon good grounds : but alas! most of the parable• lisms are so forced, or so slender, or so far fetched, that it were easy to make as many, and as ‘ probable, between any other histories whatever. And indeed, in such a design as this of Philo

stratus, viz. to make up a story as full of strange things as he could contrive, it is scarce possible • not to have hit upon some things like some of those miracles which are recorded in the gospels ; so that in some few of them there may be some resemblance, as particularly there seems to be in that of the Gadarene dæmoniac and the Corcyrean youth; yet it is very • obvious to apprehend, that this might happen not by design but by chance. Propos. i. sect. 5.

And whereas Huetius will needs have it, that Philostratus has stolen not only the stories but • the very words of St. Luke, I find no instance of it but only in this one relation, where they • both, it seems, use the word Becevigerv; and this they might easily do without theft or imitation, • it being the common Greek word that signifies to torment: so that they could no more avoid • that in Greek, than we could this in rendering it into English. Nay, setting aside this one • story, I find so little resemblance between the history of Philostratus and that of the gospels, • that I scarce know any two histories more unlike : for it is obvious to any man that reads • Philostratus, that his whole design was to follow the train of the old heathen mythology; and • that is the bottom of his folly, by his story to gain historical credit to the fables of the poets. • So that it is a very true and just censure which Ludovicus Vives has given of him, that as he • had endeavoured to imitate Homer, so he had abundantly out-lied him. For there is scarce • any thing extraordinary reported in the whole history, in which he does not apparently design • either to verify or to rectify some of that blind ballad singer's tales: but especially in conjuring · Achilles out of his tomb, and discoursing with him about the old stories that were told of the Trojan war.

• And yet after all, few of Apollonius his miracles are sufficiently vouched, even in his own • history : v. g. the last that I mentioned, of the apparition of Achilles : which had no other testimony but of Apollonius himself, who stubbornly refused to have any companion or witness of the fact : beside many other absurdities in the story itself; as his rising out of the tomb five .foot long, and then swelling to twice the length ; his being forced to vanish away at cock. • crowing, and the nymphs constantly visiting him.'

· And so again, he pretended to understand all languages without learning any: and yet, when he came to the Indian king, he was forced to converse with him by an interpreter. • And whereas the story tells us of the devil's being cast out of a young man by a mandate • from the Bramans, yet it gives us no account of the event of it, only they pretended to do • it: but whether it was effectually done, we do not find that either Apollonius or Damis ever inquired.'

. But the great faculty which he pretended to was the understanding of the languages of • birds and beasts; which he says he learned from the Arabians, and the citizens of Paræa in * India, who acquired it by eating dragons' hearts. Now all stories of dragons are hard of

[ocr errors]

a Demonstr. Evang. c. 147. sect. 4.
• L. iv. cap. 15, 10. p. 151-154.
· L. ii. cap. 26. p. 77. ct Conf. 1. i. c. 27. et l. ii. cap. 23.


d L. iii. cap. 38. p. 128.
e L. iii. cap. 9. p. 101. Conf. 1. i. cap. 20. p. 23.

2 N

« AnteriorContinuar »