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His.org. earth, and employed their subtile powers in deceiving the Heathen ceremonies, it was at once attributed to

of the

Christian and in tormenting the Human race. * They first drew the wiles of malicious Spirits. * From

Church Man from the knowledge of his Creator, and afterwards The adoption of these opinions concurred with a

in the lind tried every device to confirm him in his error. Sus- sense of the Divine prohibitions, and with a view

Century. 101. ceptible of receiving both nourishment and pleasure both of the practical evils, and of the rooted force of from the savoury steam of victims, they encouraged Polytheism, to inspire them with extreme fear of all

From 211. Sacrifices, and lurked in Statues.t Capable of trans- which might, even by indirect reasoning, be considered

porting themselves with wonderful velocity into the as connected with the guilt of Idolatry. An abhorrence 101. most distant regions, and of entering, by reason of the of it was carefully instilled into the mind of the new fineness of their substance, into the most minute and Convert. Some, as Tertullian, condemned every em- 211. hidden recesses, they acquired a knowledge almost in- ployment which could tend in any manner to support Fear of stantaneous of passing events. These events they com- and promote it. To carve Statnes, to adorn Temples,

Idolatry. municated to the Ministers of Oracles, who were thus to teach the ancient Mythology, to sell frankincense, enabled to rival true Prophets, by declaring what it or any merchandise used in the Heathen worship; was beyond Human power to learn, or, at least, to learn to allow themselves to be adjured or blessed by the name 80 soon. By their assistance children Prophecied.Ş of any Idol; to receive or pay money on legal days, To maintain the ceremonies of Idolatry, they governed which were sacred to any Heathen God; to hang lots, moved the entrails of victims, and directed the lamps or garlands at their doors : all these acts, howflight of birds. They were ever busy in producing ever strong the distinction which really existed between evil : they nipped the young bud, and shed blight upon them, were indiscriminately subjected to censure. I the corn; they raised storms and infected the atmo- But it should not be forgotten, that this sensitive fear, sphere; they filled the mind with violent passions and though sometimes unreasonable, flowed from a deep irregular desires ; they worked the illusions of enchant- feeling of conviction and of piety; and that it preserved ment, and called up the souls of the departed by the Primitive Church from that disguised adoption of Necromancy; they infused dreams, and deluded the Pagan ceremonies, with which it was afterwards resenses by Miracles. By them the death of Socrates proached. was suggested, in order to destroy every effort of From the effects of these opinions, however, we may Enmity of Truth. ** By their invisible lash, the Emperors, as the derive much of the popular enmity. To gratify it, the popu

lace. Apologists boldly declared to them, were impelled to per- the Magistrates, although it must be confessed they secute the Faithful without cause.tt Yet these Demons were often anxious, by suggesting evasions, to have an were subject to the Christians. If Tertullian openly opportunity of releasing the accused,|| were sometimes challenges his adversaries to bring Demoniacs before the willing to sacrifice victims so easily obtained and Tribunals, and affirms, that the Spirits which possessed destroyed as the Christians. Hence they were daily them, when summoned by the exorcist, would confess besieged, daily betrayed ; often surprised and seized in themselves to be Evil Demons, and bear witness to the the very midst of their meetings and assemblies. truth of Christianity.SS Similar appeals are confidently. The punishments were no less various than atrocious : Cruelties made by other Fathers of the Church. Saturn, and they were cast into exile, or condemned to the mines, exercised Jupiter, and Serapis, and the other Gods of Paganism, or bound to crosses, or torn with nails, or thrown to unable to endure the pain, are described as proclaiming wild beasts, or beheaded, or consigned to the flames :** their nature. III Such were the general sentiments of the penalties to which even persons guilty of sacrilege or early Believers. By the constant application of these rebellion were not subjected.tt But, as if the cup of theories, they felt themselves under no necessity to misery was not yet full, the bitterness of ridicule was deny the most absurd pretensions and fables in the infused, and pleasantry was exercised in giving them ancient Mythology. And, by the same system, when- names derived from the nature of their torments. 1 ever any similarity existed between the Christian and Nor were these severities, which were authorized by

the Civil Magistrate, although unexampled, 88 the only

sufferings to which they were exposed; often, in Bac* Tertull. Apol. c. 22.

chanalian riot, the mob, with a spontaneous motion, lbid. Min. Fel. c. 27, &c.

assailed them with stones and fire, or violated the quiet 1 Thus Tertullian (in Apol. c. 22,) explains how Apollo knew that Crasus was boiling a tortoise with the filesh of a lamb. The story mangled and dispersed the remains of the already dis

of the tomb, tore the corpse from its sacred refuge, and is told in Herodotus, lib. i. c. 47, Tertull. Apol. c. 23.

figured body ; I||| an outrage the more painfully felt, | Min. Fel. c. 27.

as the ancient Christians were most careful, and, in See Tertull. Apol. c. 23. He even adds, that by their means et capre el mense divinare consueverunt. See also Min. Fel. c. 27. fact, expensive, in preserving and embalming the Lactant, Div. Inst. lib. ii. c. 14. ** Just. Mart. Apol. i.

See, for instance, how Justin Martyr explains the supposed reit Ibid. Comp. Tertull. Apol. c. 27.

semblance between Baptism and the Pagan Lustrations, and between 11 Just. Mart. Dal. c. Tryph. Tertull. Apol. c. 23. Cyprian. de the Mysteries of Mithra and the Eucharist. (Apol. i.) Idol. Vanit.-Ad Demetrian. Orig. e. Cels, lib. i. and lib. vii. + Orig. c. Cels. lib. i. Theoph. ad Autol. lib. ii. Lactant. lib. iv. c. 27, &c.

See Bishop Kaye, on Tertullian, p. 378. note 289, &c. os Apol.c. 23.

$ Tertull. Apol. c. 49. Il Cyprian, ad Demetrian. Comp. Lactant. lib. iv. c. 27, &c. li ibid. c. 27. Comp. ud Scapul. c. 4. Scorpiace, c. 1

Thus Tertullian accounts for the tales of the sieve holding I Tertull. Apol. c. 7. Water-a ship drawn by a girdle—the black beard of Domitius

** Ibid. c. 12. Ahenobarbus, which turned red at the touch of Castor and Pollux, #f ld. ad Scapul. c. 4. Bishop Kaye, on Tertullian, p. 157. &c. The Philosophic Pagans would probably have whispered some 11 Tertull. Apol. c. 50. remark similar to that which Seneca makes, at an attempt to explain $$ Tertullian alludes to the almost incredible fact, that a female an absurd fiction—Quantò expeditius erat dicere, Mendacium et was committed to the keeper of the Public Stews. (Apol. sub fine.) fabula est? (Quæst. Nat. lib. iv. c. 7.)

IIII Tertull. Apol.c.37. Mosh. de Reb. Christ. ante Const. M. p. 254.

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History dead.* From these expressions, openly made in a of the Christians are not to be weighed by the exact

of the public document, the reader may form some idea of the number who endured capital punishment: they are not Christian From cruelties exercised against the Christians at this period. even appreciated by calculating the penalties imposed in the Ind It was in the Persecutions of this reign that many by the Magistrates, and the injuries inflicted by the

Century 101.

Christians sought safety by flight, or by paying money. People. Their sufferings arose from a thousand private

Tertullian, who was then a Montanist, wrote his Tract channels. The husband, without ground of jealousy, 211. Tertullian's

de Fugâ in Persecutione, in order to prove that all divorced his wife, simply because she was a Christian : Treatise de attempts to avoid Martyrdom were weak and impious for the same cause the father disinherited his son, and 101. Fuga. endeavours to oppose the will and to accuse the justice the master dismissed his slave.* The nearest relations of the Deity. From this Tract, the harsh production of scrupled not to bring informations against their kindred.t

211. a severe-minded man, it appears that whole Churches The name of Christian effaced the impression of every were in the habit of purchasing, by subscription, their virtue calculated to conciliate esteem.

“ He is a good tranquillity.Ş Yet the example of Rutilius, who em- man, but,-he is a Christian."! The end of the sentence ployed this method, but, when seized, submitted to cancelled the effects produced by the beginning. But torments and death with Christian fortitude, proves as the profession of Christianity entailed on the Conthat a sense of Religion was not necessarily lost, be- verts the insults of their enemies, it naturally excited cause a prudential regard to personal security was en- the affection of their brethren. Vengeance on the one tertained. But when sums of money were paid to in- side was not more deep, than benevolence on the other formers and to Magistrates, it was not surprising that was warm and active. The Pagans, themselves, though the number of the former increased, and the vigilance they questioned the motive, could not but remark the of the latter was redoubled. Avarice was whetted. circumstance : “ behold,” they exclaimed, “ how these The rapacious soldier watched their meetings, and his Christians love one another.''S The hardships of exile connivance was obtained by bribes. For the Christians and imprisonment were alleviated by the consolations, considered that this voluntary privation of worldly by the reverence, and by the contributions of the members goods was in itself a .pledge of their sincere attach of the Church.ll The dungeon was visited by females, Honours ment to the Faith which they had embraced.

who came devoutly to kiss the fetters of the perse- paid to Digression It may here perhaps be the proper place to make some cuted; and by Penitents, who sought through inter- Martyrs. on Martyr- remarks on the subject of the Christian Martyrdoms in cession to be readmitted into the Church.** If the doms,

general. The term Martyr,ll which originally signified Christian passed through his trial without suffering

a witness," was applied, not merely to all who had death, his character commanded a high degree of de-
laid down their lives in testimony of their Faith, but, ference and respect, which gave him a superior claim
with great latitude, to persons who had submitted to to Ecclesiastical dignities.tt If it was his lot to fall,
exile, imprisonment, or other severities, in defence he was told that Martyrdom was a second Baptism,
of their Religion; persons who were afterwards more which both supplied the Baptism by water, when this
commonly designated by the term Confessors. In last had not been received, and restored it, when lost; ##
consequence of this extension of the name, the list of that it obtained the pardon of every sin ; SS that the
Martyrs has been unduly swelled. Other causes have Martyr enjoyed the privilege denied to other Souls, of
also contributed to produce the false estimate, which entering immediately on the departure of life from the
has been sometimes admitted: such as the vanity or body into the mansions of the blessed.Illl His body was
injudicious zeal of later Monks, and the mistakes aris- anxiously sought: bis bones, deemed more valuable
ing from the misinterpretation of abbreviations on than gold and precious stones, were carefully interred
ancient inscriptions.

with the Faithful, apart from the Gentiles. *** The
The learned Dodwell wrote a Dissertation ** to prove anniversary of his death was termed Natilitium, being,
that the number of Martyrs, who suffered death under as it were, the day of his birth into a better world.ttf
the Roman Emperors, was very limited. Ruinarttt It was diligently notediff and commemorated at his
has maintained that the number was extremely great. tomb.SSS Such honours were designed as marks of
An examination of the Fathers will lead rather to the veneration for the dead, and as incentives of gratitude
former than to the latter opinion.

to the living. I| Nor was this design unattended by But, it has been justly remarked, that the hardships the desired circumstances. The Martyr regarded the

pile which encircled him, as his garb of victory, or bis * Tertullian speaks of the quantities of costly spices which the Christians purchased of the Arabian merchants for that purpose. * Tertull. Apol.c. 3. (Apol. c. 42.)

+ Id. Scorpiace, c. 9, 10. + Pacisceris cum delatore, vel milite, vel furunculo aliquo præside, | Id. Apol, c. 3. &c. c. 12.

$ Ibid. c. 39. For an account of the Treatise de Fugå in Persecutione, see Bishop Kaye, on Tertullian, p. 148.

1 Id. ad Uror. lib. ii. c. 4. $ Parum denique est, si unus aut alius ita eruitur. Massaliter ** Id. ad Martyr. lib. i. Bishop Kaye, on Tertullian, p. 141. totæ Ecclesiæ tributum sibi irrogaverunt, &c. c. 13.

++ Tertull. adv. Valentinian. c. 4. Bishop Kaye, on Tertull

. p. 142. || At a time when this application of the term was common, the 11 Tertull. de Patient. c. 13; de Baptism. 16. See Testimonies members of the Church of Lyons, notwithstanding their sufferings, collected in Bingham, Antiq. book x. c. 2. Bishop Kaye, on Tertullian, had the humility to refuse it. (Euseb. Hist. Eccles, lib. v. c. 2.)

9 The History of the 11,000 Virgins is supposed by Sirmond to $$ Tertull. Apol. c. 50.
have arisen from a mistake of this kind. The first reporters, having III Id. Resurr. Carnis, c. 43, &c.
found in manuscript Martyrologies, SS. Ursula et Undecimilla V. M. TI Euseb. Hist. Eccles. lib. iv. c. 15.
(i. e. Sanctæ Ursula et Undecimilla Virgines Martyres,) supposed *** Cyprian, ep. 68. sec. 7 and 3.
that Undecimilla, with V. and M. following, was an abridgement of +++ Tertull. de Coron, Milit. c. 3; Scorpiace, c, 15.
Undecim Millia Virginum Martyrum. (Valesiana, p. 49.)

111 Cyprian. ep. 37. sec. 2. ** Dissert. Cyprian. xi.

$$$ Euseb. Hist. Eccles. lib. vii. c. 11, &c. ++ Præfat. Act. Martyr. Select, et Sincer.

||||| Ibid. lib.iv... 15.

|| Ibid.

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History. chariot of triumph.* Their bonds were deemed as or- professed. In the second place, persons, even among

of the

Christian naments, which adorned them, even as the fringed robe the Orthodox, who had displayed great resolution in

Church From becomes a bride.† And as, in later times, Columbus,t the times of Persecution, betrayed, when danger was in the lind A.D. from a sense of indignation at ingratitude, so the Chris- past, the absence of many virtues, essential to the Century 101

tian anciently, from feelings of exultation at distresses character of a genuine Christian.

endured in the cause of Truth, commanded that the It has been, however, too often ascribed to an excess From 211.

chains, which he had worn, should be buried in his of mistaken zeal that the Christians came in crowds to A. D.
grave. $
the Pagan Tribunals to offer themselves as Martyrs to

101. Injudicious The ardour evinced by many of the early Christians the cause of the Faith which they had embraced. Their

211. language of to obtain the honour of Martyrdom,|| thus strongly set conduct may, sometimes, have originated in a desire of tie Fathers forth, sometimes hurried them into a rash and un- forcing upon the minds of the Magistrates the consider

warrantable exposure of their lives. The expressions ation, that Persecution must be at once extensive and
of the Fathers were at times intemperate; though an unavailing, since the sufferers were not only numerous
indulgent allowance ought to be made for the peculiar but resolute, and punishment was not dreaded, but vo-
circumstances of distress under which they were used. luntarily encountered. Such self-devotion would, it was
When the conduct of the Christians had the greatest expected, appeal to the dictates of common prudence,
influence on the minds of the unconverted, and when or the natural sentiments of humanity. During a
their choice lay between Apostasy and Death, it is not Persecution in Asia, the Christians appeared in a Body
surprising if they eagerly availed themselves of the before the Proconsul Arrius Antoninus, who, struck
most powerful exhortations. They might, however, with wonder, exclaimed, “ Wretched men ! if you

wish
have derived more just views from the conduct of the to die, have you not precipices or halters ?"*

There are Apostles, who, notwithstanding their desire to exchange cases, however, which, it must be confessed, if considered this fleeting life for immortality, never presumed, by abtractedly from the influencing motives, ought to be courting destruction, to throw off the duties of patience regarded rather as criminal than as meritorious. and resignation. Their own experience also might have On the Philosophic Gentiles the effects produced Effects of taught them, from two circumstances, that the extrava- by the Martyrdoms of the Christians were seldom Martyrdom gant praises which they lavished on Martyrdom were of a nature calculated to leave on the mind conviction on the Phi,

losophers.' often unjustifiable. In the first place, Martyrdoms of the truth of their Religion. Their fortitude was were not exclusively confined to the Orthodox Believers. deemed by some “obstinacy,” † and was traced by Among those who suffered death at Smyrna, one was a others to the force of “mere habit." I The Sages, Priest of the Sect of the Marcionites. I Several other to whom the prospects of a future world were covered Heretics claim their Martyrs. ** To ascribe their forti- with doubts and darkness, were at a loss to conceive tude in every instance to the operation of pride,tt is how men could submit to pains, which were certain, to judge their conduct with too much harshness. from the fear of punishments, which were deemed Although a true knowledge of Christianity, and a core uncertain. Since the death of Socrates,|| to die for responding observance of the great duties which it the sake of Truth formed no part of their creed, or of requires, may be justly deemed most adapted to prepare, their conduct. Futurity had no hold on their convicand strengthen, and support the spirit under pain and tions: its influence glimmered, perhaps, in the shades affliction ; yet it cannot be denied, that the conscious- of study, but was suddenly extinguished by active life; ness of sincerity, even in the cause of error, will enable its scenes were treated as ideal creations, which the the mind to endure Persecution with extraordinary firm- imagination richly lit up with its warmest colours, but Dess. Constancy in maintaining principles is not a which melted away before present realities. criterion of their truth ; it is not even a proof that the But very different were the general results. The General mode of inquiry which led to their adoption was free blood of Martyrs was the seed of the Church. We effects of from blame : but, unless the tenour of circumstances are like grass, exclaimed the Christian Father, which

tian Martyr:
manifestly points out an evil motive, it is but common grows the more abundantly the oftener it is cut doms.
charity, in this our state of ignorance, to allow that down.** The multitude, who saw the Christians
principles, so maintained, might be conscientiously mangled and torn, yet unsubdued and almost un-

moved, naturally concluded that this supernatural for-
* Tertull. Apol, sub fine.
+ Euseb, Hist. Eccles. lib. v. c. 1.

titude must proceed from Divine assistance;tt or, at
Robertson, Hist. of America, vol. i. p. 176.

least, that there must be some extraordinary force in Chrysost. I. de S. Babyl. tom. i. p. 669.

the evidence of that Religion, which the most exquisite Il in the Acts of Felicitas and Perpetua, who suffered in the time torments could not prevail on its followers to renounce. of Tertullian, it is said that when one Saturus, a Catechumen, was thrown to a leopard, and, at the first bite, covered with blood, the people gave him the testimony of the second Baptism, by crying, * Tertull. ad Scapul. c. 5. The conduct of these Christians is Salvum lotum, Salvum lokum: Baptized and saved, Baptized and Attributed to intemperate ardour by Mosheim, (de Reb. Christ, ante saved :" whence it is inferred, that the Pagans were not ignorant of Const. M. p. 235,) and by Gibbon. (Decline and Fall, c. 16. vol. ii. the opinion entertained by the Christians. (Bingham, Antiq. book x. p. 234.) It is ascribed to a more laudable motive by Lardner, c. 2. sec. 20.)

(Heathen Testim. vol. ii.) whose interpretation is supported by Bishop ( Euseb. Hist. Eccles. lib. iv. c. 15.

Kaye. (On Tertull. p. 147.) ** Ibid. lib. v. c. 16; lib. vii. c. 12; de Martyr. Palest. c. 10. + Marc, Anton. lib. xi. sec. 3. Lactant. lib. v. c.2. See particularly Bayle, Dict. Hist. Art. Marcionites. Cyprian, I Epictet. lib. iv. c. 7; lib. viii. c. 45. who follows Tertullian in considering Martyrdom as a second and Ś Min. Fel. c. 8. efficacious Baptism, excepts Heretics and Schismatics froin its Il See the reasons given by Timon, as quoted by Sextus Empiricus, advantages: Quale delictum est, quod nec baptismo sanguinis potest for the flight of Protagoras; and by Diogenes Laertius (lib. v. c. 5,) ablui! Quale crimen est, quod martyrio non potest expiari?' (De for that of Aristotle. Oral. Domin. p. 212, &c.)

I Tertull. Apol. c. 50. + See the reasons assigned by Tillemont, Mém. tom. ii. part ii,

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pt Lactant. lib. v. c. 13,

Ibid.

p. 188.

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of the

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History. While criminals, whose frame was most robust, proved various disputes. In the reign of Antoninus Pius,

by their cries that they were overcome with pain, the Polycarp came to Rome, whereof Anicetus was Bishop, Christian From very children and females of the Faithful are repre- to confer with him on the best means of effecting an

Church

in the line sented as enduring their sufferings without a groan.* agreement. The result of their conference was, that 101.

Century: But, while the Martyr was silent, the spectators were each still retained his opinion, but both resolved to

sometimes unable to refrain from tears. The Chris- preserve the bonds of charity unbroken. But the ex211.

From tians were probably the only persons who, when con- ample of moderation, which they had set, was afterwards demned, returned thanks to their Judges, and in the but little imitated. At the close of this century Coun- 101. midst of torments wore smiles on their countenances, cils were held by the Bishops in Palestine, Rome, sang hymns, and rejoiced. It was not suprising, there- Gaul, and various other places, in which it was unani- 211.

fore, if Martyrdoms were followed by conversions. mously decreed that Easter should be celebrated on a Martyrolo- The Acts of the Martyrs were carefully preserved and Sunday. Polycrates, Bishop of Ephesus, after having gies. read in the ancient Church. Eusebius informs us that

convened the Asiatic Prelates, in consequence of a he made a collection of such Acts.ll It is much to be menacing mandate from Victor, Bishop of Rome, wrote, regretted that this work is no longer extant. Several with their connivance, a spirited Epistle in defence of the Works were destroyed in subsequent Persecutions, and practice, which they had always followed, and to which the remaining Martyrologies are so replete with fables, they were determined to adhere. Victor, incensed at and so affectedly overspread with rhetorical conceits, their opposition, publicly pronounced the brethren of that it is impossible to ascertain the degree of credit to the Churches of Asia to be wholly excommunicated. which they are respectively entitled. The best are The other Bishops, who disapproved of these harsh generally such as are brief and simple, and abound not proceedings, not only used their endeavours to perin miracles and extraordinary punishments.

suade him to adopt a course better calculated to proDisputes

About the middle of the IInd Century a celebrated con- mote peace, unity, and love, but even addressed him in respecting troversy arose, which, although it turned entirely on a the language of severe censure ; a sufficient proof that Easter, be. tween the

matter of form, was carried on with a degree of violence the supremacy of the Bishop of Rome, though it was
Asiatic and and acrimony, which would have been unbecoming even advancing by no iinperceptible steps, was not at that
Western on questions of vital importance. At the same time it is time acknowledged. Irenæus, in particular, strongly
Christians. right to observe, that much of this intemperance, deeply recommended the preservation of mutual charity. These

as it is to be lamented, sprang from a scrupulous exhortations appear to have been efficacious in arrest-
attachment to every branch of the Christian system, ing the progress of imperious measures, and tranquillity
and an apprehension of the dangers which might was gradually restored. But the difference of method
grow out of the slightest change in its external regu- still continued till the period of the Council of Nice,
lations.

in the IVth century, when the usage of the Asiatic
The dispute related to the proper days on which the Churches was condemned, and it was decreed that
Festivals in commemoration of the Death and Resurrec- Easter should be celebrated on the same day throughout
tion of Christ ought to be observed. The Churches of the Christian world.*
Europe and Africa kept the Paschal Feast on the night In this century forged writings were largely cir- Sibylline
preceding the anniversary of the Resurrection, which culated and injudiciously received by the Christians. Oracles.
was always on a Sunday; and, in defence of this cus- The most extensive fabrications which they are charged Proofs of
tom, they appealed to the authority of St. Peter and St. with having countenanced, are the Books of the Sibylline their sorgei
Paul. The Asiatic Christians held the Paschal Feast Oracles. That the eight Books, which still remain,
on the fourteenth day of the first month of the Jewish are replete with fables, so gross as to be almost
year, at the same time that the Jews eat the Paschal beneath confutation, can hardly be denied. The design,
Lamb, and celebrated the day of the Resurrection pre- the style, the nature of the verse, the matter, all are
cisely three days after. And, in support of this practice, calculated to destroy their credibility. The ancient
they urged the tradition derived from St. Philip and St. Oracles related to the sacrifices and ceremonies, by
John, the Apostles. In consequence, however, of their which the Romans might appease the anger of the
method two difficulties arose. By this Festival they Gods; the modern are filled with vehement declama-
interrupted the solemn Fast which the other Christians tions against Polytheism and Idolatry: the ancient, as
observed during the whole of the great, or Passion Cicero expressly asserts,f were so extremely vague as
Week. And, as the fourteenth of the month fell not on

Considerable confusion has arisen from a want of sufficient the same day of the week in every year, they were often

attention to the various meanings of the word Pascha. The Christian prevented from celebrating the Resurrection on the first Writers, posterior to the Council of Nice, use it to signify the day on day, or Sunday, in conformity with the usage of the which Christ rose from the dead, and on wbich the memory of his majority of Christians. From this difference sprang tullian, mean by it not merely the day of the Resurrection, but also

Resurrection is renewed. But the Ante-Nicene Writers, e. g. Ter

the day of the Crucifixion, and sometimes the whole of Passion * Lactant. lib. v. c. 13. Cave, Primit. Christ. p. 198.

week. The true nature of this dispute, which was properly concern+ Euseb. Hist. Eccles. lib. iv. c. 15.

ing the Celebration of the Paschal Feast, has been explained, with * Tertull. Apol. c. 46.

his usual acuteness, by Mosheim, (de Reb. Christ. &c. p. 435-448.) Magis damnati quàm absoluti guudemus. Tertull. ad Scapul. See also Decreti Nicæni de Paschate Explicatio, Chr. G. F. c. 1, &c.

Walchii, in Nov. Commentar. Societ. Reg. Scient. Gottingens. Ann. 11 Euseb. Hist. Eccles. lib. viii. c. 9.

1769, lom. i. p. 10–65. I It was once the custom in Monasteries to propose to the young The above account of this dispute is taken from Eusebius, (Hist. members, as an exercise, the Martyrdom of some Saint, to be amplified Eccles. lib. iv. c. 14 ; lib. v. c. 24.) See also Epiphan. (Hæres. li.) and embellished with various circumstances and discourses. The and particularly Socrales, (Hist. Eccles. lib. v. c. 22.) most ingenious and plausible were set aside, and being afterwards + Callidè enim, qui illa composuit, perfecit, ut, quodcumque accie found among other manuscripts in the Libraries of Monasteries, were disset, prædictum videretur, hominum et temporum definitione sublatá. probably often confounded with the true Histories of Saints. See Adhibuit enim latebram obscuritatis, ut idem versus alias in aliam Bayle, Dict. Hist. Art. Valerius.

posse accomodari viderentur. (Cic. de Div. ii. c. 54.)

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History. to be applicable to any time, place, or circumstance; however, were certainly ready to admit as true, what, Of the the modern are unequivocally circumstantial : the an- destitute of the leisure, the means of research and com

Christian From

cient were paracrostics, that is, the first verse of every parison, and the critical acumen which later inquirers in the find article comprehended

all the letters in order that began have possessed, they could not prove to be false, and "Century. 101.

the following verses ;* the modern present no instance they believed to be cogent. They urged, therefore, not

of this kind of acrostic, (for even those which are cited the whole mass of Prophecies, which is presented to us From 211.

in a Speech of Constantine, preserved by Eusebius, are with all its absurdities concentrated, but scattered parts differently constructed :) lastly, the modern Oracles which were extensively circulated. The Pagan Philo- 101. could be written only by a person well versed in the sophers, who were themselves so ignorant of the laws of Doctrines of Christianity, and the details of the Evan- rigid criticism as to cite as genuine the Works fabricated

211.

congelists; and, though the different pieces of the collection by the later Platonists, under the names of Orpheus, duct of them may have been composed at different times, there is Musæus, Eumolpus, &c., produced no proofs that the

Pagan Philostrong internal evidence that some part was written at Sibylline Oracles were forged. Origen challenged sophers a period posterior to the year 169 after Christ.† In Celsus to show that they were a fabrication, and we this collection, some of the Prophecies cited by Justin never hear that the challenge was accepted. The arguMartyr, Theophilus Antiochenus, Clemens Alexan- ment was, therefore, popular and plausible. But prodrinus, and other writers, are wanting. These Prophe- gress of time probably convinced the Christians that cies, however, bear no clear marks of genuineness. it was false, or at least doubtful. Eusebius, in his It is not our intention to offer the slightest defence of a Evangelical Preparation, cites the testimony of the worthless Work : perhaps the only partial argument, Sibyl only after Josephus, and alleges favourable Ora which has any claim to attention, is that, as Augustus cles only when found in Porphyry, the direct enemy of sent deputies into various Countries to collect Sibylline Christianity. Augustine* grants that these Oracles were verses, it is possible that many Jewish Prophecies, re. exposed to the suspicion of spuriousness, and that it was

lative to the Messiah, might be incorporated in the col- the part of a writer of sound judgment to confine himself Inferences lection. But we wish to guard against the conclusion, to the testimony of the Jewish Prophecies. In fact, after bbe drawn that the Christians were either eager to promote impos- the establishment of Christianity, their credit fell into above facts. ture, or utterly unable to discover it in the Works which merited disrepute. If, therefore, the authority of the

they examined. That some person, either with settled Christians is to be destroyed because many of them malignity to discredit a Sect which he had abandoned, or were inclined to lay some stress on the Sibylline Oracles, with injudicious zeal to promote the interests of a party the Book of Mercurius Trismegistus, and Hystaspes, of persecuted men, whose character he revered, I should the Epistles between St. Paul and Seneca, and other have disgraced himself by inventing these Prophecies, records, of which they had not the means of demon

is no improbable conjecture; yet they may have been strating the spuriousness, the credibility of their Pagan CHUSS

forged by Pagans. A belief was generally entertained contemporaries must also be rejected, and History bewere the pres that the Sibyl had predicted some extraordinary reign, comes but uncertainty and confusion. But experience Remarks on detection of accompanied by the renovation of the Golden Age. The has taught us that men of remarkable acuteness and of forged write the forgery

. minds of all were, therefore, in some degree, prepared unsullied character, may be grossly imposed upon by ings, and

for the reception of these Oracles. The Christians forgeries, and yet be considered as unexceptionable tion of credit appear not to have been universally deceived. Some, witnesses. In the list of names appended to the certi- which a

ficate of examination, which pronounced the fabrica- belief in Cic. de Div. ii. c. 54.

tions of Ireland to be the composition of Shakspeare, we them should † The last writer is clearly marked in the 5th and 8th Books. He puts into the mouth of the Sibyl that the Roman Empire was to have integrity were never called in question. The same high

may remark the signatures of men whose abilities and produce. fifteen kings: the first fourteen are indicated by the numerical value of the first letter of their name in the Greek alphabet. She is made

character is attached to the defenders of the forgeries to add, that the fifteenth will be a white-headed man, whose name of Psalmanazar, of Lauder, and of Chatterton. Muretus will be derived from a sea near Rome: the fifteenth is Adrian, so deceived Scaliger himself by a pretended copy of ancient called from the Adriatic Gulf. From him will arise three others

, Latin verses. So difficult it is to unite to an extensive who will rule the Empire together at the same time, but at length one will remain sole possessor. These three scions (acédos) are Anto

and accurate knowledge of customs and languages, ninus, Marcus Aurelius, and L. Verus : allusion is made to their that fine perception of the delicate shades of style and adoptions and partnership. M. Aurelius was sole master of the expression, which results from long experience and Empire on the death of L. Verus, at the beginning of the year 169, peculiar tact. and he governed without a colleague till 177, when he took Commodus as his partner on the throne. As there is nothing applicable to this new colleague, it is manifest that the compilation was finished between a. D. 169 and 177. (See Fréret, in the Treatise mentioned

* De Civ. Dei, xviii. 47. below.)

* The above line of argument will be found in the observations of Some forgeries were made through mistaken zeal. A Priest M. Fréret, sur les Recucils de Prédictions écrites qui portoient les forged the Acts of St. Paul and Thecla, out of attachment for St. Paul. noms de Musée, de Bucis, et de la Sibylle. Mém. de l'Académ. Tertullian, de Baptism. c. 17. Hieron. de Vir. Illust. ix. See other xxiii. p. 187-212. See also J. Alb. Fabric. Biblioth. Græc. tom. i.; instances in Daillé, du Vrai Usage des Pères, tom. i. c. 3.

the able work of Blondel, des Sibylles celebrées tant par l'antiquité Eusebius accuses the Pagaus of forging the Acts of Pilate. Hist.

Payenne que par les Saints Pères, 1649; and Servat. Gallæus, in Eccles. lib. ix. c. 5.

Dissertat. de Sibyllis, &c.

I Bayle, Dict, Hist. Art. Trabea.

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