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History. Another remark must force itself on the most incredulous necessary to state briefly on what grounds their autho

examiner. The Letter affords an unquestionable proof rity has been received. The chief points on which we Christina From of the rapid diffusion of Christianity, throughout the would insist are the following :-these Letters are not a

Church

in the Ilnd Province of Pontus and Bithynia, in the short space of single, unconnected document, such, for instance, as the

Century. eighty years after the death of its Divine founder. The Acts of Pilate, which might be easily forged, but they

testimony of Pliny, corroborated as it is by the writings form a part of an extensive correspondence, into which From 211.

of Lucian, * ought to satisfy us that the expressions, in important Epistles could not without great difficulty be Wide diffu

101. which the Fathers describe the extent of the Church, interpolated; they are found in all manuscripts containsion of Christianity

, though doubtless hyperbolical, were not suggested by ing the Xth Book of Epistles, * in which this corre-
the remotest wish to invent and deceive.

spondence is preserved, and some of these manuscripts 211.
Pliny concludes by describing the revival of Pagan are of very great antiquity; these Letters, moreover, are
Rites, in consequence of his administration, and by ex- quoted by Tertullian, at an early period, when fabrica-
pressing a confident hope that if pardon were granted tion might have been speedily detected, particularly as
on repentance, the new Sect would lose a considerable it appears from the account of Pliny himself

, that his Reply of

number of its adherents. The answer of Trajan is brief Works were widely circulated ;t the quotation of TerTrajan. and positive. After declaring his approbation of the tullian is renewed without the slightest suspicion by

course pursued by Pliny, and admitting the impossi- Eusebius, by Jerome, by Orosius, and later writers;
bility of laying down any one rule, calculated for uni- lastly, these Letters bear all the internal characters of
versal application, he directs, that the Christians should truth;—they are not sufficiently favourable for a Christian
not be sought for, but that, if any were brought before fabricator, they are too favourable for a Pagan; the style,
the Governor, they should be punished. He was care- too, and manner of Pliny are so strikingly preserved,
ful to add, that such as denied the profession of Chris- that an editor, I who professes to have spent many years
tianity, and confirmed their denial by supplications in thoroughly examining and illustrating his Works,
to the Gods, notwithstanding any former suspicion, declares that he could perceive nothing in this part of
should obtain pardon. Moreover, he observes, that an them which was not perfectly in character with the rest;
accusation ought in no instance to be admitted, unless they have been, besides, repeatedly sifted and explained
signed by the person who presented it; for the sanction by men who possessed the deepest knowledge of langua-
of anonymous informations “ would be a disgraceful ges and antiquities, yet of these examiners none, till the

precedent, unworthy of the Age of Trajan." It is in time of Semler, ever ventured to deny their genuineness. tions of Ter- speaking of this Rescript that Tertullian has severely In a word, the authority of manuscripts, the testimony tullian on

reflected on the anomaly of forbidding the adoption of of succeeding writers, the consent of commentators, the the Edict, active measures against the Christians, as if innocent, exceeding difficulty of any interpolation, the absence of examined.

and yet ordering them to be punished as if guilty. a sufficient motive for such an interpolation, the style
“ If,” he exclaims, “they deserve condemnation, why and subject of the whole.|| must be admitted by the
should they not be sought for? if they deserve not to be dispassionate examiner, as far overbalancing a few
sought for, why should they not be acquitted ?"'+ But, captious objections, such as might be urged against the
although Trajan, from the nature of existing laws, and authenticity of almost any record of antiquity.
the influence of preconceived opinions, might not con- The operation of Trajan's Edict was favourable to State of
sider them as guiltless, he might nevertheless regard the rising Church. Stiil, it is evident that considerable Christianity
them as a race of mistaken men, who, in their relation scope was left to arbitrary Governors for the exercise of under Tra-
of Citizens, were not likely to endanger the peace and those powers, which reduced the Christians to a state of jan.
security of Society: while, on the other hand, all danger and distress. The turbulence and ferocity of
encouragement given to informers, a description of the populace, fomented by the artifices of the Priest-
men against whom he had published very severe hood, still displayed itself in those seasons of tumultu.
laws, would necessarily open a wide field for malig- ous festivity, when the strength of a collected multitude
nity, avarice, cruelty, and all the passions which are was more sensibly felt, and its desires less commonly
nourished by Persecution. He considered tacit neglect
as less dangerous than rigorous search, but open acquit-
tal as pregnant with the most disastrous consequences without sufficient grounds, against the whole of the Xth Book of

* It is but just to add, that suspicions have been entertained, but
to the institutions of the State. Tertullian himself has Epislles

, chiefly because it is found in very few manuscripts.
not reckoned Trajan among the Persecutors, and has + E. g. Bibliopolas Lugduni esse non putabam : ac tanto libentius
acknowledged that the effect of this Edict was in some er literis tuis cognovi venditari libellos meos, quibus peregrè manere
degree to frustrate the Penal Laws, on which the harsh gratiam, quam in urbe collegerint, delector. (Ep. 11. lib.xi.)
treatment which the Christians experienced from the

Gierig.

Ś They have been examined by Balduinus, in his Commentaries on
Provincial Rulers, was generally grounded.

the Edicts of the Roman Emperors ; by J. H. Boehmerus, by Sam. Genuine. We have hitherto detailed and commented upon the Petitus, and other writers, enumerated by Fabricius in his Biblioth. ness of these contents of these Letters on the tacit assumption of their Lat. tom. ii

. P: 415. Ed. Ernest. For further remarks on these EpisLetters. genuineness. As Semler, however, has undertaken to tles, see G. J. Vossii in Ep. Plin. de Christian. Comment.;

and discover in them the traces of imposture, it may be

Lardner's Jewish and Heathen Testimonies, vol v. p. 3–86.

1 The above arguments will be found more fully detailed in Gierig's edition of Pliny the Younger, (tom. ii. 498-519.)

It is hardly necessary to notice a supposed Edict, by which * Alexander, the false Prophet, is represented as complaining,– Trajan is said to have put a stop to the Persecution in consequence of αθίων έμπεπλήσθαι και Χριστιανών τον Πόντον. (Pseudomann. sec. 25.) a letter from Tiberian, Governor of the First Palestine, complaining

+ 0 sententiam necessitate confusam! Negat inquirendos, ut inno- that he was wearied with destroying the Christians, on whom severity centes, et mandat puniendos, ut nocentes. Parcit et sævit, dissimulat had no effect. It is first mentioned by John Malela, a credulous et animadvertit! Quid temetipsam, Censura, circumvenis ? 'Si damnas, writer of the VIth century, and, though cited by Suidas, (v. Tpairvós,) cur non et inguiris? si non inquiris

, cur non ct absolvis ? (Apol.c.2.) contains undeniable marks of forgery. See Dodwell, (in Dissert. Apol. c. 5.

Cyprian. diss. 11. sec. 23, 24.)

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Hadrian

consecrate

History. opposed. Tranquillity, for the most part, came or de- Jews, who had, not long before, been engaged in a

Of the no parted according to the ebb or flow of popular feeling. wide and bloody revolt, had exposed them to the retribu- Christian From

On the accession of Hadrian, a Prince, whose super- tive excesses of the Roman populace. Their hardships in the IInd

stitious addiction to Divination and Magic, * and whose now arose from another quarter, but were accompanied Century. 101.

zealous activity in the maintenance of the Pagan cere- with circumstances of aggravated calamity. The vast
monies, may have encouraged the Priests to renew their numbers, who gathered together under the standard of From

machinations,—the Christians were assailed by fresh the daring impostor Barcochebas,* spread terror and A. D. Accession c! Hadrian. charges, and harassed with increased violence. The desolation in every part of Palestine, and assailed with 101 public Games became, as usual, scenes of licentious- merciless fiiry the followers of Christ, as enemies alike

211. 117, ness inflamed by bigotry. The Civil Authorities were to the Liberty and the Religion of their Country.f The

unable to check the progress of an evil, of which they visitation of vengeance fell indeed no less rapidly than

witnessed the extent, and deprecated the consequences. dreadfully on that infatuated nation, and on the ancient A. D. Hence the complaints of Serenius Granianus, the Pro- seat of her departed glory ;I but it came too late to

126. consul of Asia, and the consequent Edict of the Emperor, protect numbers, who, amid scenes of slaughter and of
His Edict addressed to his successor, which we have already torment, amid the cry of rebellion and of blasphemy,

noticed. Though apparently not free from some am- unrecorded and unpitied, resigned their lives to pre-
biguity, it was considered, probably from its real effects, serve the Faith which they had conscientiously embraced.
as a powerful protection.

Thus was it the singularly unhappy situation of the
Hadrian united an inquisitive dispositionț with an Christians to be deemed dangerous by the Romans, as
affable address. It is probable, therefore, that this men disaffected to their Government, and by the Jews

favourable result may have been partly produced by as men attached to it. Whether the Apologies of Quadratus and Aristides. But how- The era of a new reign was generally the era of a A. D.

ever inclined the Emperor might be to shield the new Persecution. The salutary operation of Hadrian's 138. Csigned to Christians from insult and injury, we cannot admit Decree ceased in a great measure with his life; the Accession of Terples to

that it was his intention to have built a Temple to restless spirit of calumny revived, and impiety and Antoninus Christ? Christ, and to have enrolled him among the Gods. No Atheism were the reproaches to which the Christians

mention of any such design is to be found, where it is were exposed, even in the reign of the mild, the amiable,
most natural to seek it, in the Christian writers of the the benevolent Antoninus Pius. It was to deprecate this
IInd and IIIrd centuries. The assertion is founded on injustice that Justin Martyr addressed to the Emperor
the single testimony of Lampridius, || from whom we an Apology, remarkable for its open and manly lan-
also learn that Hadrian commanded Temples without guage. In consequence, perhaps, of this remonstrance,
Images to be erected in all cities. The origin of the Antoninus renewed by his sanction the Rescript of
report is thus easily traced; but to suppose that his Hadrian, and restored comparative tranquillity to the
object was really to introduce Christianity, is to contra- Church. Yet even the Imperial Decree was not suffi-
dict his character as one who exerted as much diligence cient to controul the force of popular exasperation.
in supporting the Religion of Rome, as he expressed An earthquake furnished additional matter for insult Public
contempt for all foreign worship. I In the singular and barbarity. For calamities, of whatever nature and misfortunes
Letter, which he wrote from Egypt to Servianus, the from whatever cause, storms, or blight, or pestilence, the influ-
state of the Christians is described in a tone of raillery.** or famine, or commotions, or defeats, were ascribed to

ence of
And, as we are expressly informed by Spartian,tt that the disciples of the new worship. “ Their enemies," Christianity
be consecrated several Temples to himself, it is not im- says Tertullian, “call aloud for the blood of the innocent,
probable that these buildings were designed for the same alleging this vain pretext for their hatred, that they
purpose, and left unfinished in consequence of his believe the Christians to be the cause of every public
death. From the prevalence of the report, however, we

misfortune. If the Tiber has overflowed its banks, or may safely draw one conclusion, that Hadrian was not the Nile has not overflowed ; if heaven has refused its

regarded as being hostile to the professors of Christianity. rain ; if the earth has quaked; if famine or the plague Esets of

It was particularly during the reign of Hadrian, as has spread its ravages, the cry is immediate, Away ke Jeišca. Eusebius informs us, that the cause of Revealed Truth with the Christians to the Lion.'"||

flourished.11 The deification of Antinous, the Temples In this instance the Emperor is said to have issued Edict of erected, Priests appointed, and victims offered, in

Antoninus honour of a depraved favourite, gave the Christians an

* Euseb. Hist. Eccles. lib. iv.c. 6. On the revolt of Barcochebas, Pius. opportunity of exposing the origin of the Pagan Deities,

see Hotlinger, Hist. Eccles. p. 68, and Encyclopædia, HADRIAN. which seems to have been successfully seized.lll

† Just. Mart. Apol. lib. ii. p. 12. Prist of

On the ruins of Jerusalem, Hadrian built Ælia Capitolina, from
But, notwithstanding the measures adopted in their which he excluded the Jews. (Dion Cassius, lib. Ixix'; Just. Mart.

favour, the Christians were still in a precarious and often Dial. cum Tryph.; Sulpit. Sever. Hist. Sacr. lib. ii. c. 31.) - Bardistressful situation. Their apparent identity with the

Arnob. lib. i. in init.

|| Tertull. Apol. c. 40. Dion Cassius, lib. Ixiv. Ammian. Marcell. lib. xxv.

În the very beginning of his Apology, Arnobius complains of this

unjust accusation, that Christianity excited even the depredations of * Encyclopæd. Hadrian. Curiositatum omnium explorator. Tertull. Apol. c. 5.

locusts and of vermin. The object of Cyprian's Tract to Demetrian In colloquiis etiam humillimorum civilissimus. Spart. Adrian.c. 20. effects of Christianity. Indeed this persuasion continued to increase

is to prove that the evils which oppressed the Empire were not the 1 In Vit. Alexand. Sever. c. 43. The story is rejected by Caubon.

so strongly, that Augustine undertook his great work De Civitate

Dei, and Orosius composed his History, to remove the objections
Sacra Romana diligentissimè curavit ; peregrina contempsit. which it raised. For even after the establishment of Christianity as
Spart. in Vil. Adrian, c. 22.
•. Vopisc. in Vit. Saturnin.

the Religion of the State, it was charged, in the language of the dep.

245. # In Vit. Adrian.

fenders of Polytheism, with having chased away the Genii of the I Euseb. Præp. lib. iv. c. 17.

Roman People, (Symm. pro Sacr. Patr. ap. Prudent.,) and drawn I!!! See Univ, Hist, vol. xv. p. 169. note.

down the indignation of their forefathers, as they hent from their seats above to contemplate the land of their birth and of their fame. (16.)

.

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History an Edict, preserved by Justin Martyr* and Eusebiust The situation of the Christians in those days of Of the

in which he not only prohibits his subjects from re- terror is delineated with minuteness and animation. Christian From sorting to vexatious and oppressive measures, but Debarred from mutual intercourse, excluded from the

Church

in the lind contrasts the confidence of the Christians with the common rights of Society, exposed to mockery, reproach, 101.

Century. supineness and indifference of the Heathen world. He and outrage, they had no source of solace, but the con211. adds, “ if any shall continue to molest the Christians viction, that “the sufferings of the present time are From

merely on account of their profession, let the accused not to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed
party be discharged, though confessedly a Christian, in us.” The delusion and fury of the multitude, their 101.
and let the informer himself be compelled to undergo crowding together, their cries, their blows, as they drag-
the rigour of the law."1

ged the sufferer, as they pillaged his property, as they 211. It was the singular happiness of the Roman Empire, assaulted him with stones, as they converted his house 161. that the virtues of Antoninus Pius were transmitted to into his prison, these are scenes which, even on a tran. Accession of a successor, who illustrated by his life, as well as by sient glance, open a view of the calamities which atMarcus Aurelius

his writings, the severe precepts of the most rigid Sect tended the profession of Christianity at that juncture. Antoninus.

of ancient Philosophy. This happiness, however, was But, however afflicting, they sink in the shade when com-
not universally felt. One class of his subjects, either pared with the dreadful circumstances which followed.
in consequence of new Rescripts or of the former Penal Some Christians shrank from torments, and abandoned
Laws, was still debarred from the benefits of an equitable their Religion. Apostate servants, overcome by the
Government, and the enjoyment of general tranquillity; instant fear of punishment, accused the Faithful of can-

still calumniated, still plundered, still persecuted. Even nibalism, infanticide, and promiscuous incest; “crimes,"
Causes of Marcus Aurelius, the disciple of a School which pro- exclaim the writers, “which it is not lawful for us to
his opposi- fessed to unite the love of justice with contempt of mention, or to think of, or to believe to have ever been
tion to
Christianity.

pain, viewed the sufferings and the fortitude of the committed by human beings." The calumny spread,
Christians without attempting to mitigate the one, or and was credited; the passions of the people were
to seek for the other any higher motive than mere obsti- excited and inflamed; consternation and uncertainty
nacy; an inflexibility which arose not from deliberation arose among the Christians; confidence was dissolved;
and judgment, but which exulted in producing a tragical the bonds of affinity and friendship, which had hitherto
effect. The impulse of his natural humanity seems, on linked them to the Gentile community, were rent; every
these occasions, to have been checked by various joint feeling of compassion was smothered; torments of all
causes, among the chief of which may be reckoned the kinds were exercised : neither age, nor sex, nor infirmity
paralyzing influence of the principles of Zeno and the claimed protection. From morning till evening pro-
suggestions of the Philosophers, to whom he paid an ceeded the horrid trial, till the executioner himself grew
unbecoming degree of obsequious reverence,|| while the faint and feeble, while his victim, torn and mangled,
Christians directed against them the most pointed still cried with renewed strength, “ I am a Christian-
attacks ; 1 to which may be added, his own feelings of there is no guilty practice among us.
contempt for all pretensions to Miraculous powers ;

Pothinus, the Bishop of Lyons, though upwards of
joined to a regard for the ceremonies of the Roman 90 years of age, was rudely assaulted, and perished in
Religion, so excessive as to expose him to the ridicule prison, in consequence of the merciless treatment which
of his Pagan contemporaries.It Crimes, from which the he experienced.
mind revolts with disgust and horror, were repeated It is not our intention to give a detail of the tor-
without investigation, and a Persecution arose, of which ments which are mentioned. Indeed, it is difficult
the reader may form some idea from the Martyrdom of to read them without asking, whether the ancient
one of its most remarkable victims, Polycarp, which we Christians were beings of the same texture as ourselves,
have already described.

ruled by the same laws of self-preservation, possessed Martyrdoms As an example of the Persecutions which raged in the of the same senses, affections, passions, fed by the at Lyons seventeenth year of the reign of M. Aurelius, Eusebiust same food, and hurt by the same weapons ?" and Vienne has preserved the account of the Martyrdoms of Lyons The whole description is perhaps more affecting than Remarks

and Vienne, written by the Churches there established. any other narrative in Ecclesiastical History. It speaks
* Apol. i. ad fin.

of men who, though marked by the prints of the lash
Hist. Eccles. lib. iv. c. 13. Eusebius quotes it from Melito.

and the scars of the burning iron, far from glorying in
This Edict, however, (of which the genuineness has been doubted) their constancy, extended their affectionate care to their
is ascribed to Marcus Aurelius by Scaliger, Valesius, Huet, Pagi, weak and fallen brethren,-of men who, in their own
Grabe, and other learned writers; but is accords better with the impressive language, “ had always loved peace, had
character and conduct of Antoninus Pius.
και Οία ιστίν η ψυχή και έτοιμος, εαν ήδη απολυθήναι δέη του σώματος,

always recommended peace, and in peace departed
και ήτοι σβεσθήναι, ή σκεδασθήναι η συμμείναι και το δε έτοιμον τούτο, ένα

to God." A tone of pious fortitude breathes through
årò idorñs xpirews texntai

, kə xarà fiagio cagárağı, as o Xperiavoì, it which comes home to the heart. Joseph Scaliger,
άλλα λελογισμένως, και σιμώς, και ώστε και άλλον πείσαι, ατραγώδως. in whom habits of callous criticism had not dulled
De Reb. Suis, lib. xi. sec. 3.
|| Jul. Capitol. in M. Aurel. &c.

the fine edge of sensibility, declares that the perusal
Tatian. Assyr. Orat. c. Græc. &c.

of it was wont to transport him beyond himself, to
** He observes, that he had learnt after Diagnetus, not to believe change him as it were into a new being. On the mind
the reports of workers of wonders and Magicians on the subject of of Addison,t fraught with an exquisite perception of
Incantation, the averting of Dæmons, and such like effects, p. i. ed. all that is pure and delicate and noble in sentiment and
Gatak.
++ E. g. the satirical petition : od 2.suxòi Bois Máqmay rõ Kzioagii elevate, and to convince. Amid so many legends, in

expression, it exerted its fall powers to charm, to de ou vixnors nusis berwaéyida. Ammian. Marcell. lib. xxv. c. 4.

Hist. Eccles.lib.v.c. 1. A part only of the accouit is preserved; the whole was inserted by Eusebius in his Collection of the Acts of

* Animad. in Euseb. p. 221. the Martyrs, which is now lost.

+ See his Evidences on Christianity, sec. 7.

**

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life and

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History, which circumstances, unnatural and distorted, revolt that he intended to burn himself at the Olympic Games, Of the

and disquiet the reader, though ever so well disposed The report was extensively circulated, and natu- Christian From

Church to repel captious surmises, it is pleasing to point out rally excited unusual interest. The crowd assembled

in the Ilnd some relations, on many parts of which it is impossible was immense. Vanity proved stronger than fear.

Century 101.

to dwell without feeling the influence of Religion. Peregrinus cast himself on a lighted pile erected for

To this reign* may be referred the death of Peregri- the purpose; and, in the words of his Biographer," the From 211.

nus, an occurrence which has been depicted by the lively flames rising on every side, nothing more was seen Brief count of the pencil of Lucian.f The history of this singular person, of him." His death was widely published, and its cir- 101.

succinctly sketched, may serve to throw light on the cumstances were exaggerated. The satirical spirit of death of customs of the ancient Christians. In early youth, if Lucian was gratified as he heard a spectator seriously

211. Peregrinus. we may credit his hostile Biographer, he was guilty of protest, that he had seen prodigies attending this spec

vices which endangered his safety. He is even accused tacle which the writer himself (for his love of Truth
of having murdered his father, in order to obtain more seems not to have stood in the way of his fondness for
speedily his inheritance ; and it is reported, that in con- pleasantry) had invented.
sequence of the notoriety of the crime, he was induced No general Persecution is recorded as having hap-
to fy his Country. In the course of his wanderings, pened in the reign of Commodus.* Some particular

181. whilst in Palestiue, he embraced or affected to embrace Martyrdoms, however, are mentioned, and of these the Reign of

. the Christian Religion. The reputation which he ac- most remarkable was that of Apollonius, a man distinquired in the new Sect, who were either ignorant of his tinguished by his Learning and Philosophy. It is a former character, or satisfied with his subsequent repen- singular circumstance, that in this last instance both 189. tance, is said to have been considerable. He presided the accused and the accuser were executed. It has Execution of in their assemblies, and displayed so much zeal in their been supposed that this punishment was inflicted on

the Accuser

and the ACcause, that he was seized by their enemies, and cast the one in consequence of the Law of Trajan, and on cused : how into prison. Whilst in confinement, he received from the other, in compliance with the Edict of Antoninus explained. the Christians every attention which benevolence could Pius. It is possible, however, that this double punishsuggest, to mitigate the severity of his situation. Widows ment may have arisen from a different cause. The and orphans came anxiously to pay to him the duties accuser of Apollonius was, as we learn from Jeof humanity; the Ministers of the Church prevailed on rome,t his slave; it may therefore be conjectured, his guards to allow them to spend the nights by his that he was condemned according to the ancient Law, side; and Deputies were sent with money to relieve renewed by Trajan, by which the Slave, who informed his wants and to administer consolation. Feasts of against his Master, was to be put to death. It also love, intermingled with converse on sacred subjects, appears that Apollonius was of Senatorian rank; a were celebrated in the scene of his trial. And here proof, independent of the testimony of Eusebius, that even the raillery of Lucian affords honourable testimony the Christian Religion was now professed by men of to the disinterestedness and fortitude which actuated the wealth and station. Indeed, we are informed by Dion Cause of the Christians. . They are described as assisting their Cassius,|| (unless the passage be one of the additions tranquillity afflicted friends with incredible promptitude and libe- of Xiphilin,) that Marcia, the concubine of Commo- of the Chris

tians. rality, and as despising alike riches and sufferings, in the dus, exerted the influence which she possessed with the hope of becoming qualified for immortality by per- Emperor, in procuring benefits for the Christians. Thus, severance in the laws of their legislator; one of which without a formal abolition of the Penal Laws, which laws enjoined them to regard all the members of their were directed against its members, the Church received community as brethren. They had all things, it is added, little injury from the powerful, whose prudence soon in common. The Governor of Syria, a man of a Phi- taught them to abandon Persecution, when their sagacity losophic turn of mind, observing that Peregrinus was discovered that it was not the road to Imperial favour. resolved to submit to Martyrdom, rather than to renounce But it is deeply to be lamented, that though we possess the Religion he had adopted, refused him the honour most of the principal facts in Christian History, we are which he sought, and set him free. On his release he ignorant of numerous slight intermediate occurrences, returned to Parium, his native town, and ceded to the which, however trivial, when considered singly, afford public treasure the property which he had inherited from in the aggregate the best clue towards a discovery of his father; an action which excited the highest degree the true motives which actuate the conduct of Man. It of admiration. Although professing Christianity, he is now left to conjecture, to mould into a consistent wore the cloak and assumed the usual exterior of a whole a strange mass of unconnected and sometimes Cynic Philosopher. In his travels, the Christians con- discordant materials. tinued to supply him with the necessaries of life, till, No mention of the Christians occurs during the short Pertinax owing to some breach of discipline which he com- reigns of Pertinax and Didius Julianus; these Em- and Didius mitted, he forfeited their esteem. Thus discarded, he perors, unable to quell the troubles which immediately

Julianus. indulged in all the grossness of the School he had last surrounded them, had but little inclination to make joined, and wandering through different Countries, at- inquiries into the state of a Religious Sect. tracted notice by the scurrilities which he vented. But as the novelty of his conduct wore away, the attention

* Hist. Eccles. lib. iv. c. 21. which it had excited gradually diminished. He judged

of De Vir. Illust. c. 42. it necessary, therefore, to devise some new method of dent from many passages; e. g. Quid? quum domestici eos vobis

| That Slaves, however, frequently accused the Christians, is eviraising himself to celebrity. The expedient which he prodant ? omnes à nullis magis prodimur, &c. Tertull. i. ad Nation. fixed upon was extraordinary. He publicly proclaimed 6.7; Bishop Kaye, on Tertullian, p. 139, note.

Sce the conjectures of M. de Mandajon in the article Sur une • Respecting the Miracle of the Thundering Legion, see Ency- Prétendue Loi de Marc. Aurel, en faveur des Chrétiens. (Hist. de clopeedia, M. AURELIUS ANT. Phil.

L'Acad. des Inscript. tom. xviii. p. 222.) + De Morte Peregrini.

Il Lib. Ixxii, c. 4.

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History

The Emperor Severus was at first favourably disposed conduct in a regular defence, but were asked the of the

towards the Christians, one of whom, named Proculus, simple question, whether they were members of the Christian From had cured him of a disorder by anointing him with oil, Sect to which they were reported to belong? and, on

Church

in the IInd A. D.

and was in consequence retained in the Imperial Palace their confession, they were either immediately con- Century 101.

till his death.* From a sense of gratitude, he defended demned, or, by a strange perversion of the usual rea

several Romans of high rank, who had embraced Chris- sons for the application of the rack, were tortured, not From 211.

tianity, and openly checked the fury which the multitude in order to disclose, but in order to retract the truth. Accession of Severus.

displayed against its followers. Another circumstance The most dreadful crimes were, as formerly, laid to 101.

may have contributed to produce this fortunate effect: their charge, without any attempt being made to esta193. the Christians had wholly abstained from taking part in blish them by evidence, or even to show their probabi

211. the Civil dissensions raised by Niger in the East, and · bility. The reformation of life produced by conversion, by Albinus in the West.

was seen, felt, and yet disputed. Virtue in a Christian Ci:citer Incensed, however, at the rebellious spirit of the was no longer deemed Virtue. To the accusation of

Jews, and, it may be supposed, naturally averse to all abandoning the worship of the Gods, they answered 202. deviations from the established Creed, he issued an that they were justified in rejecting an Idolatry, which His Edict. Edict, prohibiting his subjects from abjuring their Reli- invested with divine honours* deceased mortals, and

gion in order to embrace the Jewish or the Christian contained a disgusting mass of incongruity and pollu-
Faith. This Edict, though it was, perhaps, only intended tion. But, as their lives were traduced, so were their
to stop the progress of proselytism, proved in its opera- doctrines misrepresented. Fictions, which ought hardly
tion destructive to the tranquillity of the Church. The to have obtained credit, when the Sect was but little

reign of Severus became prolific in circumstances of spread, were still circulated and believed. The ChrisPersecution. deep and extensive calamity. In all parts, and par- tians were still often confounded with Jews; and the

ticularly in Egypt, Persecution assumed its most dread- history of the latter people was still misrepresented.
ful forms, and among the victims, who endured their The calumnies respecting the objects of Christian wor-
sufferings with extraordinary fortitude, the names of ship were repeated. Thus, ignorance combined with
Leonides, the father of Origen, of Perpetua and Feli- malice, and contempt with hatred, in directing the

citas, of Marcella and Potamiæna, and of many other efforts of obloquy and Persecution. Apology of Martyrs are recorded.|| It was probably about the One cause of the hostility of the People arose from Conduct of Tertullian.

commencement of this Persecution that Tertullian pub- the abstinence of the Christians from all tumultuous the ChrisCirciter

lished his celebrated Apology, addressed to the Gover- expressions of joy on occasions of public festivity. Public 204. nors of Proconsular Africa.

Amid the revellings and banquettings of the crowd, Festivals. State of the

It is manifest from this Apology, that the Christians when the city was become, in the language of the Apo-
Christians. were exposed to peculiar hardships. Their true name logist,“ a public Tavern;" when the extravagance of

was but imperfectly learned, yet this name was used uncontrolled mirth was termed the effusion of a loyal
as a test, by which their guilt or innocence was to be spirit, the Christian, over whom Religious feelings
determined. They were not allowed to state their exerted an undivided influence, retired from scenes
* The words of Tertullian are certainly ambiguous, Ipse etiam Sever tion ; his door-posts were not overshadowed with

of reckless gaiety to the exercise of peaceful devo-
rus, paler Antonini, Christianorum memor fuit. Nam et Proculum
Christianum, qui Torpacion cognominabatur, Euhodia [Euhodi] laurels, his windows were not illuminated with lamps,
Procuratorem, qui eum per oleum aliquando curaverat, requisivit, et his tables were not spread with costly viands; but, in
in palatio suo habuit usque ad mortem ejus. (Ad Scapul. c. 4. p. 87. temperance and modesty, he followed the purer precepts
ed. Rigalt.) Lord Hailes contends, but in our opinion wrongly, that, of his Religion, and sought not in the general rejoicings
according to Tertullian, the cure was wrought on Euhodus, and not
on Severus. (Inquiry into the Secondary Causes, which Mr. Gibbon

an excuse for luxury and licentiousness. But this con-
has assigned for the Rapid Growth of Christianity, p. 75.) This duct was deemed, by some, disaffection to the Govern-
interpretation had been before adopted by Basnage and Fleury. Dr. ment, and, by all, a morose rejection of the pleasures
Jortin infers from the context, that Tertullian considered the cure as

which shed a charm over human life.
miraculous. (Remarks on Eccles. Hist, vol. ii. p. 4.) Other writers
have regarded it as natural, and given instances of the medical

It is impossible, however, to understand distinctly Opinions of
uses of oil
. S. Petitus has made some learned remarks on the the state of feeling at this period, without giving a brief the Chris-

tians resubject; he conjectures that Euhodia was the daughter of Euhodus, sketch of the opinion of the Christians on the Heathen a freedman of Severus, who is called by Dion Cassius, Caracalla's

specting the

worship There was nothing of which the Christians Tgopeus, (i. e. the person who had the care of his education,) and that

origin and Proculus was her freedman. (Diatrib. de Jure Princip. Edict. Eccles.

entertained greater horror than Idolatry. It was the nature of quæsit. p. 62.) Bishop Kaye has observed, " It may be doubted general notion that, although the Heathen Deities were Idolatry. whether we ought to infer from this statement, that a practice then men, who during their lives had rendered eminent sersubsisted in the Church, of anointing sick persons with oil, founded vices to Society,|| the authors and promoters of their on the injunction in the Epistle of St. James. This, however, is worship were Demons. These Demons-either corrupt certain, that the practice, if it subsisted, was directly opposed to the Romish Sacrament of Extreme Unction, which is administered, not angels, ** or their progeny, tt-clothed in a texture of the with a view to the recovery of the patient, but when his tase is utmost tenuity, traversed the air, wandered over the hopeless.(On Tertullian, p. 455.) Besides the authors above. mentioned, the reader may consult Fabric. Lux Evang. p. 232.

* Tertull. Apol. c. 2. + Tertull. ad Scapul. c. 2.

+ Ibid. c. 35, 36, 38, 39. | Judæos fieri sub gravi pæná vetuit. Idem etiam de Christianis Ibid. c. 33. sanrit. See Spart. in Vit. Sever. c. 17 ; on which see the contra- Ś Tertull. (de Idolol. c. 1,) calls it principale crimen generis hudictory remarks of Mosheim, (de Reb. Christ. ante Const. M. mani, &c. Cyprian, summum delictum. Ep. 10. Thiers, Traité des p. 456,) and Lardner, (Testim. vol.iii. p. 12.)

Superstitions, lib, ii. c. 3. This is reckoned the Vth Persecution by Orosius, (lib. vii. c. 17,) Il Tertull. Apol. c. 10, 11, &c. and the Vith by Sulpicius Severus, (Hist. Sac. lib. ii. c. 32.)

1 On this subject, see Gibbon, Decline and Fall, &c. vol. ü. || Euseb. Hist. Eccles. lib. vi. c. 1, &c.

ch. xv. p. 127, and Bishop Kaye, on Tertullian, p. 214–221. I They were called Chrestiani, instead of Christiani. (Tertull. ** Min. Fel. c. 27. Apol. c. 3.)

top Tertull. Apol. c. 22.

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