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panied by a woman shining with glory; the forft of these was St. John the Evangelist, and
abfurd and tyrannical : they pretended, that the whole universe belonged to their monarchy. It well became such an abject race to set up for conquerors
of the world.!
The profound learning which we find attributed to the Egyptian priests is also one of the most ridiculous absurdities in antient history, that is to say, in fable. People who pretended that in a revolution of eleven thousand years, the sun had rose twice in the west and set twice in the east in beginning his course anew, were doubtless, curious astronomers. The religion of these priests, who governed the state, was inferior even to that of the most fa. vage people of America : every one knows that crocodiles, monkies, cats, and onions, were the objects of their adoration; and there is not perhaps in the world so absurd a worship, excepting that of the great Lama.
Their arts were as mean as their religion; there is not one antient Egyptian statue fit to be feen ; and whatever they had amongst them of any merit, came from Alexandria in the times of the Ptolo
the other the holy virgin. St. John dictated to him a creed, which Gregory afterwards went about to preach. In his way he passed through Neocesarea, where the rain obliged him to stay all night, and he took up his lodging near a temple famous for its oracles. Here he made several signs of the cross. The high-priest coming the next morning into the temple was surprised to find, that the oracle did not give its answer as usual ; upon which he invoked the
mies and Cæsars, and was the works of Grecian artists : nay, they were even obliged to send to Greece for masters to teach them geometry. i
The illustrious Bossuet, in his discourse upon universal history, dedicated to the son of Lewis the Fourteenth,-runs wild in his encomiums upon the merits of the Egyptians ; this may dazzle the un.. derstanding of a young prince, but will never fatiffy men of learning. This production is a very fine piece of eloquence; but an historian ought to be more of the philosopher than the orator. The reflections here offered concerning the Egyptians are merely conjectural ; for by what other name can we call any thing that is said concerning antiquity?
spirits of the place, who appearing, told him, that they could no longer inhabit that manfion, as St. Gregory had passed a night there, and had made signs of the cross; upon which the highpriest caused Gregory to be seized, who gave hiin to understand, that he could drive out or cause to enter the familiar spirits wherever he pleased; if so, said the high-priest, pray fend them back here again; then St. Gregory tearing a leaf from a little book he held in his hand, wrote these words upon it,“ Gregory to Satan, I 6 command thee to enter again into this temple;" the paper being laid upon the altar, the dæmons in obedience to the saint's mandate, gave their oracles that day as usual ; after which they remained silent.
This story is related by St. Gregory of Nyssa in his life of St. Gregory Taumaturgos. Certainly, the idolatrous priests had great reason to be offended with St. Gregory, and might have delivered him over to the secular power, as one who was their greatest enemy; and yet we do not find that they offered him any burt.
The history of St. Cyprian informs us, that he was the firft bishop of Carthage who suffered martydom ; this was Anno Dom. 258. consequently no bishop of Carthage had been put to death on account of religion for a great length of time. The history of this saint does not inform us what charge was brought against him, who were his enemies, or how he incurred the displeasure of the proconful of Africa. We find St. Cyprian thus writing to Cornelius, bishop of Rome, “ There has been a tumult of the " people-lately at Carthage, in which it was “ twice proposed to throw me to the lions.” It might possibly happen, that the blind resentment of the people of Carthage, did at length cause Cyprian to be put to death; for, certainly, he was never condemned to suffer for his religion by the emperor Gallus, who lived at so great a distance, and, moreover, permitted Cornelius to exercise his episcopal function under his very ege.
So many and various are the hidden causes that are frequently blended with the apparent one, in the persecution of an individual, that it is hardly possible for posterity to discover the
true source of the misfortunes that befal even the most considerable personages, much less that of the sufferings of a private person, hardly known to any
but those of his own sect.
And here let it be observed, that S. Gregory Taumauturgos, and St. Denis, bilhopof Alexandria, who were both cotemporaries with St. Cyprian, neither of them suffered any persecution. How then happened it, that being certainly as well known as the bishop of Carthage, they were suffered to live unmolested, while he was delivered over to punishment? May we not fairly infer, that the one fell a victim to personal and powerful enemies, either in consequence of a malicious accusation, or from reafons of state, which frequently interfere in religious matters, while the other had the good fortune to escape the designs of wicked men ?
We cannot with any degree of probability suppose, that the charge of being a Christian was the only cause of St. Ignatius being put to death, under the just and merciếul Trajan, finĉe we find that several of his own religion were suffered to accompany and minister comfort to him on his
to Rome t. There had been
+ Tho' we do not presume to doubt the suffer