Imágenes de páginas

failings and their errors; nor were they altogether free from strife and contention : but there were among them many men of sincere and undissembled virtue, and some eminent therein, who were shining examples of every thing excellent and commendable in human life. They were quiet and peaceable, and obedient to magistrates in all things appertaining to their * jurisdiction. They prayed for the Roman emperors, and for the officers under them, and for the prosperity of the empire. They were kind to each other, and to strangers. · Our affair,' said the ancient apologists Justin Martyr and Athenagoras, · lies not in words, but in works.' And Lactantius, so low as the beginning of the fourth century, could say, ' the great concern of our * people is to be holy and unblamable in their lives.' Pliny has borne an honourable and ample testimony to the good design of their religious' assemblies; and they were remarkable for their patience and fortitude under sufferings for the principles which they had embraced: by all which they glorified God, edified each other, and were continually making converts from among their Gentile neighbours, and even from among such as hitherto had been their enemies.

If afterwards Christians altered for the worse : if they departed from “ the faith once delivered to the saints,” Jude ver. 3: if they admitted into their belief and profession corrupt mixtures of human invention : if instead of being persecuted themselves, they persecuted other men: or, if they persecuted one another for difference in speculative opinions, of little importance: or if they did any thing else contrary to the purity of the doctrine of the gospel, we shall be obliged to acknowledge it without partiality, when we see the proofs of it.

And indeed Chrysostom has observed, that Christianity rather declines under Christian emperors; so far is it from being cherished by the honours and preferments of this world: • but it thrives most when it is persecuted, and lies under worldly discouragements. And said Sulpicius Severus not long ago, speaking of Dioclesian's persecution, Glorious martyrdoms were then as earnestly contended for, as bishoprics have been since sought by ambitious men.'

We may do well therefore to emulate the best times, and the sincerest disciples of Jesus Christ, whom we have taken for our inaster and guide in the things of religion : and we may sometimes recollect what our Lord said " before Pontius Pilate therein witnessing a good confession. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” 1 Tim. vi. 13. John xviii. 37.

Let us then carefully attend to that word of the gospel which was first “preached every where,” by men chosen and appointed, and fully qualified for that purpose, Mark xvi. 20, the Lord” himself “working with them, and confirming it with signs following:" and has been since recorded by his faithful apostles and evangelists. Amen.

• See this Vol. p. 25.

ο Ου γαρ μελετη λοίων, αλλ' επιδειξει, και διδασκαλια εργων o Oramus etiain pro Imperatoribus, pro ministris eorum, Ta guslepa. Athen. p. 37. B. Vid. et p. 12. A. et Justin. ad ac potestatibus, pro statu seculi, pro morà finis. Tertull. ap. Gr. Coh. p. 53. B. cap. 39. cited above, p. 28. And see p. 193, 195, 197.

• Nostro autem populo quid horum potest objici, cojus © Instances of both those kinds of generosity to such as omnis religio est, sine scelere, et sine maculà vivere ? Inst. were in affliction, may be seen in the chapter of Cyprian, 1. v. cap. 9. sub fin. bishop of Carthage, Vol. ii. p. 6,7; and in the chapter of Voliv. p. 14. Dionysius, bishop of Alexandria, Vol. i. p. 612, 613 ; and 8 De S. Bab. contr. Gentil. T. ii. p. 548. Bened. here at p. 196. See also the chapter of Lucian of Samosata,

+ P. 277.

p. 150,



I. His time, work, and character. II. His testimony to the appearance of an extraordinary star

at the time of our Saviour's nativity, with remarks.


1. Chalcidius translated into Latin the former part of the Timæus of Plato, and added a prolix commentary of his own upon it; in which he

shews a great deal of learning, and good skill in the sentiments of the ancient philosophers. This work is inscribed to Osius, or Hosius, supposed to be the bishop of Corduba in Spain, and a principal member of the council of Nice in the year 325, but without any intimation of his character, as bishop, or ecclesiastic, or Christian.

And the time and character of this author are uncertain. By some he has been supposed to be deacon or arch-deacon in the church of Carthage : others think he was an heathen. According to Humphry Hody," he was a Gentile, well acquainted with Christian writings. Beausobre calls him a Christian philosopher, and intimate friend of Hosius : and, as he says, he joined Christianity with Platonism. Cave" is at an absolute uncertainty about his real character ; he knows not whether he was a Gentile or a Christian. Fabricius, the last editor of Chalcidius, publisheth him as Christian, who wrote near the beginning of the fourth century; and has endeavoured to answer objections. Nevertheless Mosheim still hesitates.

I shall, after others, take notice of some difficulties ; for Chalcidius seems to approve of the divinations of Gentilism, and allows them to be of use for discovering futurities. quotes Moses as a wise man, and “as said’ to have divine inspiration, as well as human knowledge. However, that expression as said, ut ferunt,' Fabricius * thinks need not to be understood to denote any uncertainty in the author's mind.

It ought to be observed by us likewise, that he' has quoted Solomon's Book of Proverbs once or twice, and also the words of Ecclesiasticus, ch. xxix. 21.

I think it must be allowed that there is some difficulty in determining this writer's true character; Fabricius "himself has acknowledged as much, and that he may be compared to


a Chalcidius, Commentator in Timæum Platonis, ipse qui- culis, homines præmonentur ; prædicente aliquo propitio dædem Gentilis, sed in libris Christianorum versatus- -Hod. mone, qui sit eorum omnium, quæ deinceps sequuntur, scius. De Bibl. Textib. Origin. l. iii. p. 1. cap. 4. p. 299. Vid. et Chalcid. in Tim. cap. 7. sect. 183. p. 346. al. p. 275. cap. vii. p: 310.

i Hebræi sylvam generatam esse confitentur. Quorum sa♡ Chalcidius donc, philosophe Chrétien, et intime ami pientissimus Möyses non humanâ facundiâ, sed divinâ, ut ferunt, d' Osius, n' admettoit pas seulement l'éternitè de la matière, inspiratione vegetatus, in eo libro, qui De Geniturâ mundi mais- -Hist. de Manich. Tom. 2. p. 238.

censetur, ab exordio sic est præfalus, juxta interpretationem · Chalcidius, qui ajoûtoit le Christianisme au Platonisme, septuaginta prudentam. Ib. cap. 13. sect. 274. p. 380. al. &c. Ib. p. 469. Conf. Tom. I. p. 478, 479.

p. 372. d De hac re pridem me monuit Sellerus noster. Et cum k Verba, ut ferunt, non dubitantis sunt, sed Hebræorum in hanc quidem sententiam viros quosdam non indoctos pro- sententiam exponentis. Fabric, not. (d) p. 380. pendere video, locum ei inter scriptores ecclesiasticos non de- | Tum initii multas esse significationes, ut • Initium sanegavimus. Me certe ETEXEIY fateor ; neque enim satis pientiæ timorem Domini esse,' Salomon dixit. [Prov. i. 7.] constat, philosophus solum Platonicus fueritne, an etiam Chris- Atque etiam in præconio sapientiæ cælestis auctor : tianus, &c. Cav. H. L. p. 199.

Initium vitæ panis et aqua, et tunica,' inquit, ' et domus e Chalcidii, Christiani scriptoris, qui sub quarti seculi initia idonea velandis pudendis.' [Sirach. xxix. 21.)- -Est tamen vixit. Fabric. p. 225. ad calcem Operum S. Hippolyti. Ham- unum rerum omnium initium, de quo Salomo in Proverbiis. burg. 1716.

Creavit me,' inquit, ' Deus progressionis suæ semitam'* Vid. Fabric. Annot. in Chalcidii Prolog. p. 226. et Bib. [Prov. viii. 22–25.] Chalcid. cap. 13. sect. 274. p. 380. al. Lat. lib. iii. cap. 7. Tom. i. p. 554.

& Vid. De turbatâ per recentiores Platonicos Ecclesià. sect. Chalcidius, V.C. et gnarissimus veteris philosophiæ, 31. p. 165, &c. et Institution. Hist. Eccl. Sec. 4. P. I cap. 1. dubium reliquit lectoribus suis, utrum Christo nomen dederit, p. 149, 150.

fueritne Hebræus, an Ethnicam probaverit superstitionem. h Quæ cuncta observatione, scientiâ, artificiosâ quoque so- Possis de eo uti verbis, quæ Photius [Cod. 180. p. 211. al. p. lertiâ colliguntur. Aut enim alitum volatu, aut extis, aut ora- 405.) de Joanne Laurentio Philadelphensi Lydo scripta reliVOL. IV.



P. 373.

another author mentioned by Photius, whose character was doubtful: his manner of writing not clearly shewing what was his religion, whether Christianity or Gentilism.

I dare not be positive; but to me it seems, that he was a polite Platonic philosopher, who was willing to be on good terms with Christians, whose religion prevailed at that time; and I place him, with · Cave, as flourishing about the year 330.

II. I now proceed to quote the passage of this commentary of Chalcidius, for the sake of which I produce him among other authors in this work. There is likewise,' says he, another

more sacred and more venerable history, which relates, that the appearance of a certain star • declared not diseases and deaths, but the descent of a venerable God, for the salvation of man• kind, and the good of the world. When this star had been seen upon a journey in the nighttime, by some truly wise men of the Chaldæans, who were well versed in the contemplation of the heavenly bodies, they are said to have made inquiry concerning the late birth of a God; * and when they had found the young majesty, they paid him the worship and homage which was worthy of so great a God. But to none are these things so well known as to yourself.'

It is manifest that the author here refers to the history in St. Matthew, ch. ii. 1. “ Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, ver. 2. Saying, Where is he that is born king of the Jews ? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. Ver. 9. When they had heard the king [Herod] they departed, and lo the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 10. And when they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 11. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child, with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshipped him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto himn gifts, gold, and frankincense and myrrh.” Comp. Matt. i. 21—23.

Fabricius · thinks this paragraph to be a good proof of the writer's Christianity. And from the compliment at the end made by him to the person to whom the work is incribed, we may be induced to allow his episcopal character.

Whether this writer was a Christian or a heathen, this passage is a valuable testimony to St. Matthew's gospel, and to this remarkable history. And if this commentary upon Plato's Timæus be reckoned the work of a Gentile philosopher, the several quotations of the Old Testament, which we before saw, and now this of the New, afford proof, that the sacred scriptures were then well known in the world. To me it seems, that the style of the paragraph just cited, is the style of a Gentile, not of a Christian writer. Cave d seems to have made the same judga ment upon it.

quit--Την δε θρησκειαν ο ανηρ εoικε δεισιδαιμων είναι: σεβεται μεν τα Ελληνων και θειαζει: θειαζει δε και ημετερα, μη διδες τους αναγινωσκεσιν εκ τε ρας συμβαλείν, ποτερον ετω νομιζων θειαζει, και ως επι σκηνης. Fabric. Bib. Lat. 1. iii. cap. 7. Tom. i. p. 554.

à Claruit forsan circa annum 330, certe Hosio ætate par, si modo Hosius Cordubensis erat, quo suadenfte, Chalcidius PlaIonis Timæum Latine interpretatus est, et erudito commentario explicavit. Cav. H. L. p. 199.

• Est quoque alia sanctior et venerabilior historia, quze perhibet, ortu stellæ cujusdam, non morbos mortesque denuntiatas, sed descensum Dei venerabilis ad humanæ conservationis, rerumque mortalium gratiam. Quam stellam, cum

nocturno itinere suspexissent Chaldæorum profecto sapientes viri, et consideratione rerum cælestium satis exercitati quæsîsse dicuntur recentem ortum Dei : repertâque illâ majestate puerili, veneratos esse, et vota, Deo tantum convenientia, nuncupâsse, quæ tibi multo melius sunt comperta, quam cæteris. Cap. 7. sect. 125. p. 325. al. 219.

Hoc loco satis perspicue Christianum se prodit Chalcidius. Fabric. p. 325. not. (e).

a Semel meminit stellæ, Christum recens natum præmonstrantis, cujus in historia evangelica fit mentio: de quibus nihilominus, haud satis pro Christiani scriptoris more loquitur. Cav. H. L p. 199.



1. His work, time, and character. II. Extracts out of his work, containing many references to the

scriptures of the Old and New Testament, and to the Christian doctrine.

1. Alexander of Lycopolis, in Egypt, was mentioned by me long ago, in the History of the Manichees, among those authors · who had written against thein: but learned men are not agreed about his character, as was also observed formerly:. Some think he was a Christian : others suppose him to have been a heathen. If this last be his character, he comes in properly to be mentioned here among such writers; we must therefore now more distinctly consider that point.

Fabricius - thinks, he was at first heathen, then a Manichee, and afterwards a good catholic Christian, when he wrote this work, and he placeth him in the fourth century.

All which is agreeable to the sentiments of our · Cave; who also supposeth him to have been acquainted with some of the first followers and disciples of Mani himself. If so, he must have lived not far from the beginning of the fourth century.

Photius in his work against the Manichees, calls' Alexander archbishop of Nicopolis.

Tillemont · says, “ that by his book he appears to have been a pagan philosopher; who, • observing that some of his fellow-disciples embraced the opinion of the Manichees, and think

ing it to be very absurd, composed that book to confute it by natural and philosophical * reasons. He speaks with respect of Jesus Christ, and prefers the doctrine of the churches (those ( are his terms) to that of Mani. But we can perceive from those very places that he was not • at all a Christian. Combefis, his editor, thinks him to be very ancient, because he had learned * the doctrine of the Manichees from the disciples of the author of the sect; but the place upon • which he relies, may denote no more than that Egypt knew Mani by his disciples, without • necessarily implying that Alexander himself knew any of them.'

Beausobre s'is of the same opinion. He calls Alexander a pagan philosopher. He argues after this manner: • First, he never alleges the scriptures in his dispute with the Manichees,

which a Christian would not have failed to do, since the Manichees admitted the authority of • the books of the New Testament. 2. He speaks of the souls of Nymphs, which is not the

style of a Christian. 3. He speaks of the deluge of Deucalion, and Phoronæus, without • mentioning that of Noah. 4. He expresseth himself altogether like a pagan, saying, that' of • all the gods, the Manichees honoured only the sun and the moon. He manifestly placeth • himself in the number of pagans; for, after having observed, that the Manichees endeavoured ' to confirm their error by the history, or fable of Bacchus, and the attempt of the giants, he

* Vol. ii. p. 145.

miliariter conversati fuerint, accepisse. Cave Diss. de ScripAlexandri Lycopolitæ, ex Ethnico Manichæi, atque inde tor. incertæ ætatis, p. 2. ad ecclesian reducti, liber-Videtur scripsisse seculo quarto. d'Oτε της πολεως Λυκων Αλεξανδρος τες αρχιερατικές εγBib. Gr. lib. v. c. 1. Tom. 5. p. 290.

κεχειρισμένος νομος.

Phot. contr. Manich. 1. i. cap. 11. • Alexander Lycopolita, natione Ægyptius, Lyco urbe e Mem. Ec. T. 4. Les Manichéens, art. 16. Thebaïdos oriundus-Erat quidem primum cultu Gentilis, ! See p. 18, cited in note a p. 309. deinde ad Manichæos, in Ægyptum recens delatos, se con- 8 Hist. des Manichéens, Vol. i. p. 236, 237. tulit. Tandem ejuratâ hæresi ad Catholicorum castra transiit. h P. 17. B. C. Et cum ex eorum grege fuerat, opiniones probe novit, scrip- ---εν η Ηλιος και η Σεληνη, ες μονες θεων αιδεισθαι sitque librum προς τας Μανιχαια δοξας--Etas auctoris 0x010, Alex. Lycop. contr. Manich. p. 7. c. etsi certo”definiri nequit, antiquissimum tamen esse, et quarti But it should be observed, that Alexander elsewhere owns, seculi scriptorem, nec forsan ab ipsius Manetis temporibus that the Manichees did not worship the sun and moon, as longe remotum, suspicere fas est. Ait se relationem hujusce gods : but only as the way by which they attain to God. opinionis απο γνωριμων τα ανδρος, ab iis qui cum homine fa- Τιμωσι δε μαλισα Ηλιον και Σεληνην, εχ ως θεος, αλλ' ως

δον δι' ης εςιν προς Θεον αφικεσθαι. Ιbid. p. 5. D.

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• adds :: the more learned among them, says he, who have some knowledge of the Greek lite. . rature, remind us of our own ceremonies, and our own mysteries.' These arguments Beausobre thinks decisive; and Mosheim has declared his approbation of them.

I shall presently make large extracts out of this writer ; whereby all my readers will be qualified to judge for themselves concerning his character.

The time when he lived is uncertain ; there is nothing in his work to shew clearly, that he wrote near the beginning of the fourth century. But it seems to me not improbable, that he wrote soon after the principles of Manichæism had gained some footing in Egypt: he might, therefore, compose this work about the middle of the fourth century, or even before it; I therefore place him at the year of Christ 350.

II. The work of Alexander begins in this manner : • The philosophy of the Christians is * called simple; for its principal concern is to regulate the manners of men, having first inti'mated the right doctrine concerning the Deity, as the one efficient cause of all things. It for

bears obscure questions and nice arguments about the reason of things; nor does it labour to • describe particularly the grounds and nature of every virtue ; but holdeth forth in a general

way the precepts of all virtue. By attending to which, as experience shews, the common * people are much influenced, and gradually allured to the love and practiee of piety.'

• But this simplicity being disliked, some have moved difficult and abstruse questions; and delighting in contention, have formed sects. Such an one was Manichee, who was of the

country of Persia. One Papus, and after him Thomas, teachers of that doctrine, brought it • in among us. He lived, as it is said, in the time of Valerian; and accompanying Sapor in his wars, he offended him, and so lost his life. Such is said to have been the origin of this doctrine, which has been brought in among us by his disciples. They hold two principles, God • and matter:' and what follows, giving an account of the Manichæan notions.

I have transcribed below a large part of the introduction, of which I have made only a loose translation. But Alexander here gives a very honourable character of the genuine Christian philosophy, as simple, and intended by plain precepts, without nice disquisitions, and intricate - reasonings, to promote virtue among all sorts of men, and even among the lower ranks, and

common people, which, indeed, are the bulk of mankind. We shall see this character of the Christian religion repeated again by and by; but let me proceed to take other passages as they lie in the book itself.

2. For, soon afterwards, in his representation of the Manichæan doctrine, he says : They suppose man to be an image of the divine power, and that Christ is mind; and that having descended from above, he sent back to God a large part of this power: at length he was cru'cified, and by that means afforded knowledge.' And what follows.

I do not stay to explain these Manichæan absurdities; I only produce this passage to shew that Alexander was not silent about Christ. We go on.

3. • But it would be much better for them to say, that wisdom had been given to men by • God, that by the exercise of reason they might be gradually delivered from the love of pleasure,

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* Οι δε εν τατους χαριεςεροι, και Ελληνικων ουκ απειροι ανδρος αφικείο προς ημας. Αρχας είιθείο Θεον και

Υλην. λογων, αναμιμνησκεσιν ημας εκ των οικείων εκ μεν των τε- P. 4. Β. λετων, κ. λ. Αlex. p. 6. Α.

* Υπαρχειν γαρ αυλον θειας δυναμεως εικονα τον δε Χρισον Hujus philosophandi libellus extat Græce contra Mani- είναι Ναν" ον δη και αφικομενον ποτε απο το ανω τοπο, πλεισον chæos.- De religione ejus accurate egit Isaac de Beausobre. τε της δυναμεως ταυλης προς τον Θεον λελυκεται και δη και Moshem. Institut. H. E.

τελευταιον αναςαυρωθενία παρασχεσθαι γνωσιντοιωδε, τροπο και * Χριςιανων φιλοσοφια απλη καλειται. Αυτη δε επι την τ8 την δυναμιν την θειαν ενηρμοσθαι, ενεςαυρασθαι τη Υλη. p. 5. C. ηθος κατασκευης την πλεισης επιμελειαν ποιειται, αινιττομενη και ΙΙολυ δε καλλιον ην την σοφιαν οπλον φαναι τοις ανθρωπους περι των ακριβεςερων λοίων περι Θεe' ών το κεφαλαιον της υπο το Θεε δεδoσθαι, εν ό εςιν αυτοις δια το αισθητικοις ειναι εξ σερι ταυλα σπεδης εικοθως αν απανlες αποδεξαινθο, ενθα το επιθυμιας και ηδονης, τε7ο καλα μικρον εις το αλαθον αερια εσα, ποιητικον αιθιον τιμιωλαθον τιθενται και πρεσβυλαίον, και πανίων το επομενον αθoπoν εξ αυτων ανελη. Ολως γαρ ουλοι τε αρείην αιθιον των ούλων παραλγελματα δε παχυθερα, ως είυίχανεν, επα/γέλλομενοι διδασκειν, ζηλωθαι αν ησαν της προθεσεως και επισωρευονίες: αν ο πολυς δημος ακέων, ως εκ της σειρας εςι το βιο πολλη τε αν ην ελπις τε, οιι σοιε παυσείαι τα κακα, μαθειν, σφοδρα επιδιδωσιν εις επιείκειαν και της ευσεβειας παντων γενομενων σοφων. Ο δοκει μοι καλανενοηκεναι ο Ιησες. χαρακτηρ ενιζανει αυλων τοις ηθεσιν, αναζωπυρων το εκ της Και ένα μη απεληλαμενοι ωσι τ8 αναθε γεωρίοι τε και τεκίονες τοιαύτης συνηθειας συνειλημμενον ηθος, και καθ' όλιθον εις την τε και οικοδομοι, και οι αλλοι απο των τεχνων, κοινον συνεδριον καλα αυτα ορεξιν οδηλαν. Αlex. Lycop. adν. Μanich. p. 3. ap. καθισαι παντων ομακαι δι' απλων και ευκολων διαλεξεων, και Combetis. Auctarium Patr. Græc. novissimum. Paris. 1672. εις Θεα εγνοιαν αυίες απενηνοχεναι, και το καλο εις επιθυμιαν 4 Ιbid. p. 3, 4.


ποιησαι.. p. 13. C. D. • Τοια δε θα τις φημη της εκεινε δοξης απο των γνωριμων τα

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