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John, and the Acts of the apostles; and he so quotes them as to intimate that these were the only historical books, received by Christians as of authority, and the only authentic memoirs of Jesus Christ and his apostles, and the doctrine preached by them. He allows the early date of the gospels, and even argues for it. He quotes, or plainly refers to the Acts of the apostles, as already said, to St. Paul's epistles to the Romans, to the Corinthians, and to the Galatians. He does not deny the miracles of Jesus Christ, but allows him to have · healed the blind, and the
lame, and dæmoniacs, and to have rebuked the winds, and to have walked upon the waves of • the sea. He endeavours indeed to diminish those works, but in vain. The consequence is un.. deniable. Such works are good proofs of a divine mission. He endeavours also to lessen the number of the early believers in Jesus; and yet acknowledgeth that there were “multitudes of • such men in Greece and Italy,' before St. John wrote his gospel. He likewise affects to diminish the quality of the early believers; and yet he acknowledgeth that beside men-servants, and maid-servants, Cornelius, a Roman centurion at Cæsarea, and Sergius Paulus, proconsul of Cyprus, were converted to the faith of Jesus, before the end of the reign of Claudius. And he often speaks with great indignation of Peter and Paul, those two great apostles of Jesus, and successful preachers of his gospel. So that, upon the whole, he has undesignedly borne witness to the truth of many things recorded in the books of the New Testament. He aimed to overthrow the Christian religion, but has confirmed it. His arguments against it are perfectly harmless, and insufficient to unsettle the weakest Christian.
There follow in this volume testimonies of Himerius, Themistius, Libanius, Eutropius, Ammianus, Marcellinus, Vegetius, Eunapius, Claudian, Macrobius, Rutilius, Olympiodorus, Zosimus, Hierocles of Alexandria, Proclus, Marinus, Damascius, Simplicius, men of great note in their times : some in the fourth, others in the fifth, and some in the sixth century; sophists, historians, poets, philosophers, and some senators, and magistrates; all of some use to us, none of whom could be omitted in a collection of ancient testimonies to the truth of the Christian religion.
To be a little more particular in rehearsing the testimonies of some of those eminent men last mentioned.
Themistius has a good argument for allowing to all men full liberty to worship the Deity according to their own sentiments. The principles of toleration were agreeable to the judgment of the emperor Jovian. Themistius applauds him for it; and supports that determination by divers reasons and considerations of no small weight. Libanius pleads the cause of Gentilism with great freedom in the presence of Theodosius himself. In Ammianus Marcellinus are many passages deserving attentive regard, too many to be brought up here in a general review. Eunapius, a zealous Gentile, has entertained us with many curious histories of learned sophists and philosophers, and honourable magistrates, all zealous likewise for Gentilism, though not without some marks of candour and moderation. In all which we have seen the true spirit, and the genuine principles of Gentilism. Claudian · bears witness to the memorable victory of Theodosius over Arbogastes and Eugenius in the year 394. Macrobius' at about the bears testimony to Herod's slaughter of the infants at Bethlehem, soon after the nativity of our Saviour. Rutilius 6 at the year 418, ridicules monkery, and laments the progress of the Christian religion. In " Zosimus, about the year 425, we have seen many invectives against Constantine and Theodosius, which have given us occasion to set some things in a clearer light. He also loudly complains of the progress of the Christian religion: at the same time he is himself so superstitious, and so credulous in receiving and recording silly fables and fictions, as to expose rather than recommend the ancient religion to which he adhered.
But among all the testimonies to Christianity which we have met with in the first ages, none are more valuable and important than the testimonies of those learned philosophers who wrote against
All know whom I mean: Celsus in the second century; Porphyry and Hierocles, and the anonymous philosopher of Lactantius in the third, and Julian in the fourth century. These may be seemingly against us, but are really for us: they are not come down to us entire; but we have large and numerous fragments of some of them ; which bear a fuller and more valuable testimony to the books of the New Testament, and to the facts of the evangelical history, and
A P. 351, &c. . P. 380, &c.
b P. 358, &c. P. 371, &c.
· P. 389, &c.
i P. 393, 394.
8. P. 394, 395.
to the affairs of Christians, than all our other witnesses besides. They proposed to overthrow the arguments for Christianity. They aimed to bring back to Gentilism those who had forsaken it, and to put a stop to the progress of Christianity, by the farther addition of new converts; but in those designs they had very little success in their own times. And their works, composed and published in the early days of Christianity, are now a testimony in our favour, and will be of use in the defence of Christianity to the latest ages.
One thing more which may be taken notice of is this: That the remains of our ancient adversaries confirm the present prevailing sentiments of Christians concerning those books of the New Testainent which we call canonical, and are in the greatest authority with us. For their writings shew that those very books, and not any others, now generally called apocryphal, are the books which always were in the highest repute with Christians, and were then the rule of their faith as they now are of ours.
Sect. I. Imperial laws concerning Gentile people and their worship. II. A consultation and divi:
nation of heathen people in the time of Valens, about the year 373. III. The petition of the Roman senate to Valentinian the younger in the year 384, that the Altar of Victory which had been removed by Gratian might be restored. IV. The correspondence between Maximus of Madaura and Augustine in the year 390. V. The demolition of the temple of Serapis at Alexandria, and other temples in Egypt, and some other temples elsewhere, in the year 391. VI. A pretended heathen oracle in the year 398 foretelling the period of the Christian religion. VII. Thé demolition of the temple of the goddess Coelestis at Carthage in the year 399. VIII. An image of Hercules destroyed by the Christians at Suffecta in Africa in the 3.99. IX. A disturbance at Calama in Numidia in the year 408. X. The overthrow of Radagaisus the Goth in the year 405. XI. Rome besieged, taken, and sacked by Alaric the Goth in the year 410. XII. The correspondence between Augustine and Volusian in the year 412. XIII. The correspondence between the people of Madaura and Augustine : time uncertain. XIV. The correspondence between Augustine and Longinian: time uncertain. XV. Observations of Orosius and Augustine upon the treatment given to the Gentiles by Christian magistrates. XVI. Concluding observations upon the State of Gentilism, under Christian emperors.
IMPERIAL LAWS CONCERNING GENTILE PEOPLE AND THEIR WORSHIP.
I. Laws of Constantine. II. Laws of his sons Constans and Constantius. III. Julian. IV. Laws
of Jovian, Valentinian, Valens, and Gratian. V. Laws of Theodosius I. and his successors.
1. That is a necessary article in this work. And in shewing what it was, I presuine it will be proper to begin with the laws and edicts of Christian emperors concerning Gentile people and their worship. In doing this I shall have assistance not only from the Theodosian code, and James Gothofred's annotations upon it, but also from divers modern writers of ecclesiastical history. Cave in particular, at the beginning of his second volume of the Lives of the l'rimitive Fathers, has a long introduction concerning the state of Paganism in the reign of Constantine, and under the reigns of the succeeding emperors, till the end of the reign of Theodosius the First, or the Great, and his sons Arcadius and Honorius, and then of Theodosius the younger.
Of this I shall make good use, not neglecting the observations which may be found in other writers who have treated of the same argument.
In the former part of this Volume I made some observations upon the state of Christianity under Gentile emperors :: where it is shewn, that all along, during that time, Christianity had been in a state of persecution. We shall now be able to judge whether under Christian emperors Gentilism was not all along in a state of persecution ; however, I would hope not so severe and rigorous as that of the Christians in the foregoing period of near three hundred years,
Here the thing to be first taken notice of is the law or edict of Constantine and Licinius in the year 313, giving liberty to all men, Christians and others, to follow that way of worship which should be most agreeable to them: which was transcribed by us at length formerly. The substance of which may be reckoned to be comprised in these words, a part of it: • These things • we have thought proper to signify to you, in order to your perceiving that we have given free • and full liberty to those same Christians to follow their own religion. And you may perceive • that as we have granted full liberty to them, so in like manner we have granted the same li• berty to others, to observe their own institution and religion. For, as is manifest, this is suita•ble to the tranquillity of our times, that every one should have liberty to chuse and follow the • worship of that Deity which he approves. This we have determined, that it may appear we do not forbid or restrain any religion, or way of worship whatever.'
In order to form a right judgment of the conduct of Constantine in the treatment given by him to Gentile people, it will be of use to us to distinguish his reign into two periods, the first preceding the final defeat and death of Licinius, the other after those events.
In the year 313 those two emperors were at Milan, when Constantine gave to Licinius his sister Constantia in marriage. At the same place, and in the same year, was published the edict above mentioned. In that law, as has been often observed already, Licinius joined with Constantine. But their friendship did not last long without interruption. In the year 314 « broke out a war betwixt them, which was concluded in the same year. Afterwards there was another war between them, which began in the year 323, and was concluded in the year 324, when Lici. nius was reduced to a private condition. And though his life was then granted him, at the request and intercession of Constantia, he was put to death in the year 324 or 325. From that time Constantine was sole emperor both of the East and the West till the time of his death, on the day of Pentecost, May 22, in the year 337.
About the year 319 arose a great coldness between Constantine and Licinius; and from that time Licinius began to treat the Christians and their ministers very hardly, till he proceeded to an open persecution of them: of which accounts may be seen in Eusebius. Insomuch that as that historian says: . Iff you divide the Roman empire into two parts, that in the East was ..covered with thick darkness, whilst that in the West enjoyed a bright day. A war between the two emperors then became unavoidable.
I formerly cited three laws of Constantine relating to soothsayers, % enacted in the year 319 and 321, forbidding them to go to private houses, and appointing that all divinations should be made in the temples, or at public altars only, and requiring that the result of those consultations should be sent to him if they related to the public. It may be allowed that those laws laid some restraints upon the practice of soothsaying ; but I do not think that they were any infringement of the edict of liberty to all, before taken notice of. A heathen emperor might publish such laws for his own safety, or for the security of the public.
Eusebius, speaking of things, when Constantine was in possession of the whole empire: • And * now,'' says he, after that, the emperor proceeding to act with great vigour, gave the govern'ment of the provinces chiefly to Christians. And when
governors, they were prohibited to sacrifice. Which law comprehended not only presidents of provinces,
a Ch. xli. sect. ii. o Ch. xl. sect. x.
* De V. C. I. i. cap. 49. p. 432. D.. d Et tamen primum illud bellum anno 314 et inchoatuin et 8 See before, p. 400, 401. absolutum. Persecutio anno 319 a Licinio excitari cæpta ; Sed et contra Tiberius, ut memorat Suetonius, 1.3, cap. ultimumque Constantini com Licinio bellum non nisi anno 63, haruspices secreto ac sine testibus consuli vetuit, Publice 323 motum, ac subsequenti continuatum._Pagi ann. 316. n. igitur permisit. Gothofred. in Cod. Theod. Tom. 3. p. 115. vi. Vid. et 317. iv. et vi. 318. ü. Conf. Basn. aun, 319. ii. i De Vita Constantin. I. 2; cap. 44 ; p. 464. iii. iv.
* Όσοι δ' ελληνιζειν εδοκαν, τατους θυειν απειρητο. • H. E. I. 10. cap. 8. De V. C. 1. i. cap. 49-56.
• but also higher officers, and even the Prætorian præfects. If they were Christians, they were • required to act according to their principles. If they were otherwise disposed, still the practice of idolatrous rites was forbidden.'
Eusebius goes on to say in the very next chapter : ' And soon after that were two laws pub• lished at one and the same time, one prohibiting the detestable rites of idolatry hitherto prac• tised in cities and country places : and that for the future none should erect statues to the gods, • nor perform the vain arts of divination, nor offer up any sacrifices. The other law was for • enlarging Christian oratories and churches, or for rebuilding them more grand and splendid.'
The first of those two laws, as I apprehend, must be explained with some restrictions. Constantine, I presume, did not now absolutely forbid divination. What Eusebius says here must be understood agreeably to the laws relating to soothsayers before cited. He forbade private but not public divination. Nor is it to be supposed that sacrifices were universally forbidden, and every where. They were allowed of at Rome and Alexandria long after this, as appears from Libanius's oration for the temples in the time of Theodosius, as is also observed by Valesius in his annotations upon this chapter of Eusebius. Cave expresseth himself differently: I cannot say that he is in the right; but I shall place below what he says. However, there is another way of solving this difficulty. Constantine may have forbid sacrificing every where ; but at the accession of Julian his laws were abrogated, by which means the Gentiles obtained the liberty of sacrificing; which may have continued at Rome and Alexandria till the time of Libanius.
Afterwards, still lower in the life of Constantine, comparing him with former emperors, Eusebius says: • They commanded the temples to be magnificently adorned; he demolished them to the foundation, especially such as were most respected by superstitious people.”
And in some following chapters' Eusebius has given a particular account of the demolishing several heathen temples by Constantine's order, beside depriving many others of their richest and most respected ornaments; as a temple dedicated to Venus in a grove at Aphæa in Phæniciar. Eusebius
says it was a kind of a school for lewdness, and all manner of vice, where no grave or modest people came; the emperor ordered it to be totally demolished'; which was done by the soldiers. A temple of Æsculapius, at Ægis in Cilicia, was in like manner. destrayed by the military power at the emperor's command. "Eusebius does not
Eusebius does not say that any lewdness was prac. tised there. But that temple was the means of seducing many people, and it was much respected by the philosophers. Beside these another temple of Venus, a place of much lewdness, was destroyed at Heliopolis in Phænicia, and a spacious church was erected in the room of it.
Theodoret, reflecting upon the conduct of the several Roman Christian emperors to his own time, says: • That the excellent Constantine absolutely forbade sacrificing to dæmons; never
theless he did not demolish their temples, he only ordered them to be shut up :' which from what we have seen, appears to be not very accurate. Eunapius says: • That Constantine in • the time of his reign destroyed the most magnificent temples, and erected Christian structures • in their room. The general account of Constantine's conduct in this matter, in Jerom’s Chronicle, at the year 333, or thereabout, and after the dedication of the city of Constantinople, is, * that by an edict of Constantine the temples of the Gentiles were thrown down.' Orosius, after mentioning the building of the city of Constantinople, says that · Constantine" then apa Cap. 45. p. 464.
6. sacrifices permitted at Rome and Alexandria, yet was it go μητε μην θυειν καθολ8 μηδενα. .
otherwise than as they could do it by stealth, or by conμητε μην θυειν καθολά μηδενα.] De privatis sacri- 'nivance, not by any public allowance, or.constitution of the ficiis hæc Eusebii verba intelligenda sunt. Nam Constantinus empire, &c.? Cave Introd. p. xv. Magnus lege latâ vetuit, ne quis Gentilium privatim domi sa
ο δε εκ βαθρων καθηρει τατων αυτων τα μαλισα crificaret, ut docet lex prima codice Theodos de Paganis. Ita- mapa toig deltidasMooi Trondo ağa. De V. C. l. 3. c. i. que aruspices sacrificii causå domum evocare probibuerat. Hi
De V. C. 1. 3. cap. 55-58. enim victimarum exta: inspiciebant. Publica vero templa adire - και την οικεμενην ετι μεμηνυιαν ορα», το μεν δαιμασι sacrificandi causâ, ibique aruspicum operâ uti non vetuit Con- θυειν πανταπασιν απαγορευσε, τες δε τ8των ναυς ου κατελυσεν, stantinus, ut testatur lex prima codice Theod. de Maleficis. ara' aß2789 EIVAI TPOTETAČE. Theod. 1. 5. c. 21. p. 226. Vide Libanium. in oratione pro templis, p. 10, et quæ ibi no- h: Κωνσταντινος γαρ εβασίλευσε, τα τε των ιερων επιφανες ατα tavit Gothofredus. Vales. in loc.
κατασρεφων, και τα των Χριστιανων ανεγειρων οικηματα. Εud' In short, by several laws he forbade to offer sacrifices, nap. Vit. Ædes. p. 33. 'or to erect any images to the gods, or to consult their priests i Edicto Constantini Gentilium templa eversa. Chr: p. • and oracles, or to exercise any of their mysterious rites. k Tum deinde primus Constantinus justo ordine et pio * And though Libanius more than once affirms, [pro templis, vicem vertit edicto, signidem statuit, citra ullam hominum R: 9, 20, 21, 22.). that their temples were left open, and cædem Paganorum templa claudi.. Oros. I. 7, c. 28, p.540.
p. 483. B.
• pointed by an edict, that the temples of the Pagans should be shut up, but without putting any of them to death.' This
may suffice for an account of the treatment given by Constantine to Gentile people. It
very plainly that this first Christian emperor did not strictly observe his edict, published in the year 313. All men were not permitted to follow that way of worship which they approved. Some things, just taken notice of, must be reckoned inconsistent with that edict of general toleration. And some reflections were made upon it by us formerly : * adding also the judgments of divers learned and judicious writers, to which I now only refer; for hereafter may be another occasion to observe upon the treatment given to Gentiles, not only by Constantine, but also by succeeding Christian emperors. For the present I add nothing more here; beside an observation of Mr. Mosheim : " After the final defeat of Licinius, Constantine was • sole emperor to the time of his death. And according to the utmost of his power, by various * methods, by laws, institutions, rewards, and encouragements, he endeavoured to root out the • ancient religions, and to promote the Christian doctrine. The emperor appears to have been
fully convinced by the wars and intrigues of Licinius, that neither he nor the Roman empire * could be safe, so long as the ancient superstition subsisted. Henceforward therefore he openly • opposed the gods, and their worship, as dangerous to the public welfare.' We now proceed.
II. The second section in Cave's Introduction is thus entitled : « The Condition of the Gen• tiles under the reign of Constantine Junior, Constantius, and Constans.'
Constantine died in the year 337, and was succeeded by his sons, between whom the whole empire was divided. Constantine the eldest had Britain, Spain,Gaul, and part of Africa. Constans the youngest had Italy, Illyricum, Macedonia, Greece, and the parts that border upon the Euxine sea, and the remainder of Africa. Constantius, the second son, had Mysia, Thrace, Asia, the East, and Ægypt. Constantine had reigned scarcely three years, when quarrelling with his brother Constans about the division of the empire, he marched with his army as far as Aquileia to encounter him, where he was slain near the end of April in the year 340. In the year 350 Constans was killed by the procurement of the usurper Magnentius, who in the year 353 was overthrown by Constantius, and then killed by himself, to prevent falling alive into Con. stantius's power, and to avoid a lingering death, after he had reigned three years and a half. Constantius died in the year 361, and was succeeded by Julian.
Now therefore we are to recite the laws of Constantine's sons, relating to the Gentile religion.
1. The first is a law of Constans, with whom Constantius is to be supposed to have joined in the year 341, directed to Madalian, vice-prætorian præfect.
. Let superstition cease ; let the madness of sacrificing be abolished. For whoever shall presume contrary to the constitution of our father, a prince of blessed memory, and contrary • to this command of our clemency, to offer sacrifices, let a proper and convenient punishment • be inflicted, and execution presently done upon
him.' Here is a reference to some law of Constantine against sacrifices which is not extant,
But we may depend upon the truth of what is here said, as it is agreeable to what is said by Eusebius, and Theodoret before quoted, as well as other Christian writers, that Constantine did forbid sacrificing. But as the law is not extant, we cannot say exactly what it was, and how it was conceived. It is here enacted, that they who act contrary to this law, should undergo a proper * and convenient punishment, and that execution should be presently done. But it is not said what punishment, whether that of death, or some other.
2. This law is followed by another law' of Constans in the next year, 342, directed to Catua Vol. ii. p. 343–346. Þ Post hanc de Licinio victoriam, solus regnabat ad obitum
. Constantis Imp. Lex adversus sacrificia. Ad Mada
lianum agentem vicem. PF. P. Cesset superstitio. SacriConstantinus, et, quantum poterat, consiliis, institutis, præ- ficiorum aboleatur insania. Nam quicumque contra legem miis nitebatur, ut veteres religiones sensim destrueret, Chris- Dei Principis Parentis nostri, et hanc nostræ mansuetudinis tianaque sacra per orbem Romanum proferret. Intelligebat jussionem, ausus fuerit sacrificare, competens in eum vindicta, sine dubio Imperator ex Licipii bellis et machinationibus, et præsens, sententia exseratur. Ap. Cod. Theod. lib. 16. Tit. neque se, neque Romanorum imperium, salvâ veteri super- x. 1. 2. Tom. 6, p. 261. stitione, salvum esse posse ; atque hinc ab eo tempore aperte 'Constantis Imp. Lex de templis extra muros Urbis Ro. deos, eorumque religionem, tamquam rei-publicæ noxiam op- mæ positis non exscindendis, Ad Catulinum. P. U. Quam. pugnabät. Moshem. Inst. p. 146.
quam omnis superstitio penitus eruenda sit, tamen volumus, * Introd. p. xviii.
ut ædes templorum, quæ extra muros sunt positæ, intactæ in