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bishop upon baptism, which we have not, observes, that from the testimony there given him it may be perceived that * Dionysius of Rome was a very learned and admirable man. Basil, in the place before quoted, styles him a most blessed bishop, illustrious for the orthodoxy of • his faith, and every other virtue:' and he elsewhere mentions him together with Irenæus, Clement of Rome, and Dionysius of Alexandria, and other ancient ecclesiastical writers of chief note. I need not insist any farther upon the regard which Athanasius has shewn him.
III. However, I am now to transcribe from Athanasius a part of the fragment of this bishop of Rome, which he has preserved : It will represent to us his respectful manner of speaking of the scriptures in general: and it contains quotations out of some books of the New Testament.
• The true disciples of Christ,' says " Dionysius, • know very well that a Trinity is taught by * the divine scriptures; but that neither the Old nor the New Testament teaches three Gods.* Afterwards : · But the Son always was, if he “ is in the Father,” as he himself says: (John • xiv. 11.) and if Christ be his word and wisdom and power, as ye know the divine scriptures
say, Christ is.' He argues : · Was he made, who is “ the first-begotten of every creature ? " Col. i. 15. • He observes, that % in many places the divine oracles say Christ was begotten ; no
where that he was made.' Finally, at the conclusion of the fragment : “ For - 1,” says he, “ and the Father are one.” And, “I in the Father, and the Father in me.” John x. 30; xiv. 10, 11.
This is all I have to produce from Dionysius : though it be little, it suffices to shew the concurrence of this bishop of Rome with other Christians of that time in acknowledging the divine scriptures, and divine oracles, to be the rule of faith by which all doctrines were to be tried. He likewise, as well as others, teaches us where these oracles are to be found; namely, in the Old and New Testament, which contain all the scriptures that were in the strictest sense sacred and divine.
I. His history and work. II. Select passages. III. His testimony to the scriptures. 1. Commodian, a Latin author, formerly supposed by some to have lived in the time of Constantine, near the beginning of the fourth century, now' with more reason reckoned contemporary with St. Cyprian, or to have lived soon after him, is not at all mentioned by St. Jerom. As Gennadius, who wrote near the end of the fifth century, has given Commodian a place in his book of Ecclesiastical writers, I place the whole article entire at the bottom of the page.
He speaks loosely' of its being then two hundred years from Christ to his own time. It is
Εξ ης γνωναι παρεςιν, όπως και αυτος ετος λογιoς τε και They who desire to know more of Commodian and his θαυμασιος προς το κατ' Αλεξανδρειαν Διονυσια μεμαρτυρηται. . time, and the editions of his work, will do well to consult Eus. 1. vii. c. 7. fin.
Cav. Hist. Lit. T. i. p. 136, &c. and Fabr. De Verit. Rel. 6 Διονυσιον εκεινον, τον μακαριωταθον επισκoπoν, παρ' υμιν Christ. p. 227, &c. Γmake use of Davies's edition at the end επι ορθοτητι πιςεως, και τη λοιπη αρετη διαπρεψαντα. Basil. of Minutius Felix. Cantabr. 1712. ut supra.
* Commodianus, dum inter seculares literas etiani nostras Ειρηναιος εκεινος, και Κλημης ο Ρωμαιος, και Διονυσιος ο legit, occasionem accepit idei. Factus itaque Christianus, et 'Pujalos. x. d. Id. de Sp. S. cap. 29. p. 60. Bened. volens aliquid studiorum suorum muneris offerre Christo, suæ
* Ουτοι γαρ τριαδα μεν κηρυττομενην υπο της θειας γραφης salutis auctori, scripsit mediocri sermone, quasi versu, librum σαφως επιςανται, τρεις δε Θε8ς 8τε παλαιας 8τε καινη διαθη- adversum Paganos. Et quia parum nostrarum attigerat literaxury xmpuriecar. ap Ath. de Decret. Nicen. Syn. T. i. p. 231. F. rum, magis illorum destruere potuit dogmata, quam nostra Bened.
firmare. Unde et de divinis repromissionibus adversum illos • Αει δε ην, ει γε εν τω πατρι εςιν, ως αυτος φησιν και ει λο- vili satis et crasso, ut ita dixerim, sensu disseruit, illis stuporem γος και σοφια και δυναμις ο Χριςος: ταυτα γαρ ειναι τον Χριςον et nobis desperationem incutiens, Tertullianum, et Lactanαι θειαν λεγεσι γραφαι, ασπερ επιςασθε. ib. p. 232. Α. tium, et Papiam auctores secutus. Moralem sane doctrinam, * Ποιημα και πρωτότοκος πασης κτίσεως- ib. D.
et maxime voluntariæ paupertatis amorem optime prosecutus, 8 Και πολλαχε δε των θειων λογιων γεγενησθαι-λεγομενων studentibus inculcavit. Gennad. De V. Ι. cap. 15. -X. A. ibid.
-Cur annis ducentis • Εγω γαρ, φησι, και ο πατηρ εν εσμεν και εγω εν τω παίρι,
fuistis infantes Instr. vi.
202. και ο πατηρ εν εμοι: ibid. Ε.
likely, therefore, that · it was not quite three hundred years since Christ when he wrote: nor are there any expressions throughout the work that should induce us to think he lived after the alteration of the state of things made by the conversion of Constantine. Cave therefore seems to have rightly concluded that he wrote about the year 270.
It is no improbable conjecture, that Commodian was a native of Africa: it is certain he was originally a heathen: it appears from his acknowledgments in many places.
It may be argued that he was not an illiterate person; for, as he himself says, he was converted by reading the law; that is, as - Rigaltius understands him, the scriptures of the Old and New Testament. Gennadius plainly supposeth him to have been acquainted with secular authors before he read the sacred scriptures.
The only work of this author mentioned by Gennadius is still in being; consisting of eighty sections, or instructions, all acrostics, in a style between verse and prose.
Gennadius calls it a little book against the Pagans: but no one can suppose that to have been the title originally: it is more likely that it was in general entitled instructions. Nor is it against heathens only; Christians likewise are here instructed and admonished as '. Rigaltius clearly perceived.
In the former part of the work Cominodian derides and exposes the heathen deities and their worship: this was an easy thing: herein, for certain, the Christians triumphed; and Commodian's thoughts are both just and acute. He likewise instructs the 8 Jews; and not content with this he also instructs Christians. This was yet a greater and more difficult attempt. To confute error by reason and argument is a laudable performance; but it may be soon done, and without much labour: to persuade men to act as Christians and friends of truth, requires more time and pains. Commodian aimed at this difficult work: and accordingly he instructs catechumens, the ' faithful, “ Christian women, the' inferior clergy, the pastors or bishops of the church, "and the aged; not to mention any other particulars.
Commodian had no office in the church; but he endeavoured to be useful by propounding good instructions: and if he was not a fine writer, he was an honest man and a zealous Christian.
II. Having given this history of Commodian, and his work, I shall make some extracts out of him, for shewing the sentiments of Christians at that time.
1. He often says that the heathen people were deceived and imposed upon by their priests.
2. Commodian believed that men have free-will; that they are born reasonable beings, not brutes; and that with the help of those means which God affords them, they are able to convert themselves from error and sin, if they will but use their natural powers, and exercise thought and consideration,
n. lix. lx.
a Vid. Davis. not.
Ego similiter erravi tempore multo,
Legem hic et alibi passim appellat libros utriusque Testamenti. Rigalt.
Libello suo Commodianus titulum fecit Instructiones, scilicet ad paganos, ut ab idolorum cultu ad veram Christianæ legis philosophiam convertantur: quinetiam ad Christianos ipsos, ne obliti Christianorum ad secularia redeant. Rigalt. in Præf. ap. Davis. p. 197.
8 Instr. xxxvii. xxxvii. xxxix. xl. bi ib. n. xlvi. i n. xlvii. xlviii. et passim. Mysterium Christi, zacones, exercite caste.
Idcirco ministri facite præcepta magistri. Instr. n. lxviii. in Pastor, si confessus fuerit, geminavit agonem, &c.
n ibid. • Non sum ego doctor, sed lex docet ipsa clamando. num. Ixiii. p. 256. ♡ Vos autem seducunt sacerdotes pauci. Instr, viii. p. 205.
Deludunt vos pauci scelerati vates inanes,
212. 9 Gens, homo, tu frater, noli pecus esse ferinum,
Erue te tandem, et tecum ipse retracta.
5. He shews what was the common opinion of Christians at that time concerning the fall of the angels.
4. Commodian heartily embraced the doctrine of the expected millennium. He deserves to be added to authors formerly mentioned.
5. He mentions the Lord's day: and, as · Rigaltius understands it, the passage shews that Christians had love-feasts upon that day.
6. What he says' of antichrist may deserve the notice of the curious.
2. He expressly speaks of the Old Testament, which prophesied of Christ: therefore there was another which was called the New Testament: he likewise in the same place speaks of the old and new law.
3. He quotes or alludes to divers things in the gospels.
5. He quotes divers of St. Paul's epistles; as the first to the Corinthians, the " epistle to the Philippians, the “ epistles to Timothy and Titus.
6. I cannot well tell whether o he refers to the epistle of St. James.
8. He very frequently transcribes or refers to the 9 book of the Revelation, and once 'expressly quotes it.
9. Commodian's respect for the scriptures appears many ways, in frequently adapting the words of it, and in the manner of quoting it.
10. He quotes • the writings of the blessed Paul as of authority: in one place, ' Paul, or rather God by him, says. He refers "all men to the law, that is, the scriptures, in order to their understanding religion.
a Cum Deus Omnipotens exornaret mundi naturam,
Tanta fuit forma feminarum, quæ flecteret illos,
Ut coinquinati non possent cælo redire. num. ii.
De cælo descendet civitas in anastasi prima.
Resurgemus illi, qui fuimus illi devoti.
Recipiuntque bona, quoniam mala passi fuere.
See Vol. i. p. 641. d De die Dominicâ quid dicis ? Si non ante locavit,
Excita de turba pauperem, quem ad prandium ducas. num. lxi. p. 254.
Omnibus omnino diebus cum paupere sumpsit. num. lxi. p. 254.
Nam testamentum vetus de illo proclamat. Instr. xxv. p. 220. i Idcirco cæcus cæcum in fossam deducit. num. xxvii.
p. 220. Unde Deus clamat, stulte, hac nocte vocaris. . n. lxiv. p. 256. Vid. Luc. xii. 20. Vid. n. lv. p. 247, et alibi passim. In talibus spes est vestra de Christo refecto. n. lxi. vid. Matth. xxv. * Rectam qui diligit Stephanus sibi vitam in iter. n. lxii.
Crux autem stultitia facta est adulteræ genti. n. xxxvi. p. 229. m Vobis autem Deus est venter, et præmia jura.
Suggerit hoc Paulus apostolus, non ego duplex. n. xxxi. p. 225. vid. ad Philip. cap. iii.
Sit patiens rector, &c. n. Ixix. p. 260.
Beatus Paulus, qualiter te ornari præcipit. n. lx. in.
Lex docet, in medio ciet, consulite pro vobis. n. xxii. p. 217.
11. It is pleasing to observe this high respect for scripture running through the writings of all early Christians in general.
1. His history, and testimonies to him. II. Remarks, and his testimony to the scriptures.
1. Says Jerom in his · Catalogue: · Malchion, a most eloquent presbyter in the church of Antioch, • who had taught rhetoric in the same city with great applause, held a disputation with Paul of • Samosata, bishop of the church of Antioch, who had revived the opinion of Artemon: which disputation was taken down by short-hand writers, and is still extant. There is also another large epistle written by him in the name of the synod, and directed to Dionysius and Maximus, • bishops of Rome and Alexandria. He flourished under Claudius and Aurelian.'
So Jerom in the above-mentioned work. Malchion is again mentioned by him in his letter to Magnus among other ancient Christian authors.
Eusebius, in his account of the last council of Antioch, in the affair of Paul, speaks of Malchion after this manner in his ecclesiastical history: · But the person who especially convicted
and confuted him, when he endeavoured to conceal himself, was Malchion, an eloquent man, • and a sophist, president of the school of Greek literature at Antioch; who for his uncommon • soundness in the faith of Christ, had the honour to be made a presbyter in that church. Being • the only person of all present that was able to detect that subtle and deceitful man, he entered • into dispute with him: which disputation was taken down by short-hand writers, and we know • it to be still extant.'
Theodoret calls this person Malachion: he says that he was formerly a sophist, afterwards ordained presbyter; that he disputed with Paul, and convicted him of holding the opinion he was charged with.
These are the principal remaining accounts of Malchion, and testimonies to him; for I think it scarce worth observing, what is said by so late a writer as Trithemius, that Malchion taught rhetoric at Antioch with applause many years: and yet perhaps he concluded as much from an expression of 'Theodoret. Indeed we do not find much notice taken of Malchion in ancient writers. The Greek Christians however have put him into their calendar for the service he did in opposing Paul of Samosata, as has been observed by Valesius 8 and others.
II. Having put down these testimonies to this author, I propose to mention some observations.
1. It is probable that Malchion was originally a heathen: Jerom does not expressly say so; but he says he taught rhetoric at Antioch with reputation; which is near the same with what he says of Cyprian, who certainly was at first a heathen. Nor does Eusebius expressly say it: but
• Malchion disertissimus Antiochene ecclesie presbyter, αυλοθει παροικιας αξιωμενος. ουλος γελοι, επισημειομενων ταχυquippe qui in eaderm urbe rhetoricam forentissime docuerat, γραφων, ζήτησιν προς αυτον ενσησαμενος, ήν και εις δευρο adversum Paulum Samosatenum, qui Antiochenæ ecclesiæ φερομενην ισμεν, μονος ισχυσε των αλλων κρυψινεν ονία και episcopus dogma Artemonis instaurarat, excipientibus notariis anainaov owpacai toy ay pwnov. Eus. 1. vii. c. 29. disputavit; qui dialogus usque hodie exstat. Sed et alia « Μαλχιωνος δε τινος προθερον μεν σοφισευσανθος, ύσερον δε grandis epistola ex personâ synodi, ab eo scripta, ad Diony- τα πρεσβύτερα τιμηθεντος χειροτονια, την προς τον Παυλον sium et Maximum, Romance et Alexandrine ecclesia episco- ποιησαμενα διαλεξιν, εφωραθη τον Χριςον ανθρωπον λεγων, κ. λ. pos, dirigitur. Floruit sub Claudio et Aureliano. De V.1. Theod. Hæret. Fab. L. ii. c. 8. p. 223, B.
- quippe qui rhetoricam in eâdem civitate múltis annis • Necnon presbyterorum Pamphili, Pierii, Luciani, Mal- florentissigpe docuit. Trithem. de script. Ecc, cap. 45. chionis. ad Mag. Orat. ep. 83, [al 84) p. 656, m.
--ύςερον δε πρεσβύθερα τιμηθευλος χειροτονια. vid. not. 4. “μαλισα δ' αυλον ευθυνας επικρυπτομενον διηλεγξε Μαλχιων" Vales. Annot. in Eus. 1. vii. cap. 29. Vid. et Tillem. ανηρ τα τε αλλα λογιος, και σοφισης, των επ' Αντιοχείας Ελλη- Mem. Ec. T. iv. Ρ. ii. Paul de Samosates, art. 5, p. 268. νικων παιδευτηριων διαίρισης προεσως 8 μην αλλα και οι υπερ- h Vid. de. V. I. cap. 67. βαλλεσαν της εις Χρισον πιςεως γνησιοτητα πρεσβυθηριο της
that he taught Greek literature, as I have translated him; or profane learning, as Du Pin renders the same phrase. And Theodoret, as well as Eusebius, says, that Malchion was at first a sophist. I presume these testimonies therefore may afford a probable argument that Malchion was originally a heathen; but whether they are sufficient to put the point beyond dispute I cannot say.
2. Malchion was an author, or a Christian writer. The Disputation or conference, mentioned by Eusebius and Jerom, must be reckoned his. It was, as we may well suppose, published by him, and not by Paul; and both Eusebius and Jerom speak of it as extant in their times; but it appears to me somewhat probable that Eusebius had never read it: he says we know it to be still extant: if he had seen it I suppose he would have expressed himself differently.
Jerom ascribes likewise to Malchion the epistle of the last council of Antioch, of which we have large fragments in Eusebius's Ecclesiastical history: indeed Cave makes a doubt of this: he suspects that Jerom said it of his own head, without any good authority: but most other learned moderns, whom I have consulted, allow that epistle to have been composed by Malchion: I mean particularly Fabricius, Tillemont, and Fleury. Du Pin does not declare his opinion: he only observes that Jerom says Malchion was also the author of the letter written in the name of the synod against Paul of Samosata. I see no good reason to dispute Jerom's account; and the piece shews its author; Malchion was a sophist, and the epistle is a common place of accusation.
We have no certain account of any other works of Malchion, beside the disputation and epistle just mentioned. Jerom mentions these two only, without so much as hinting there were any other. Trithemius indeed says that “ Malchion composed several excellent works of great use against heretics; but that is a mere flourish: he mentions none by name but the two we have taken notice of already.
3. There is nothing now remaining of Malchion that can be depended on as genuine, beside the fragments of the synodical epistle in Eusebius, of which I gave a large account formerly. It has been observed by several learned men, that Leontius of Byzantium, who lived near the end of the sixth century, has quoted two passages of the Disputation or conference with Paul: but Du Pin says it is not altogether certain that they are genuine. Tillemont.' observes likewise, that there is a passage out of it in the letter of Peter the deacon to Fulgentius, and other African bishops: which Peter flourished in the same sixth century, but earlier than Leontius above-named; it is only a part of what is cited by Leontius. I have not made any use of these fragments in my history of Paul' formerly given: nor do I intend now to take any thing out of them.
Trithemius expresseth himself as - if that Disputation was in being in his time: but * Fabricius well observes, in a note upon him, that those words mean no more than that it was extant in the time of Jerom, not of Trithemius. The same observation, I suppose, ought to be applied to ° Bede in the eighth, and ? Freculph in the ninth, century; who likewise speak of this piece as extant in their times: but they only transcribe Jerom: and it is he in all these places, who is to be understood to say it was then extant; that is, in his time.
If the citations of Leontius and Peter the deacon are not to be relied upon, then we have not any certain notice of this work after Eusebius and Jerom: what has been the occasion of so great neglect of this piece I cannot say; but, methinks, it is pity it is not still extant.
4. I would observe, in the fourth place, that Malchion was the principal director of the last council of Antioch concerned about Paul of Samosata. In the first council moderate principles prevailed: in the last 9 council
, when Firmilian was dead, and several other eminent bishops absented for some reason or other, very different measures were taken: these, as I formerly' intimated, may be chiefly ascribed to Málchion. We have now seen further proof of that suppo. sition; Eusebius assures us that Malchion only, and no other, was able to detect or confute
-les sciences profanes. Du Pin. Bibl. p. 193. b Cav. Hist. Lit. in Malchion.
• Vid. Fabric. Bibl. Gr. I. vi. c. 4. Tom. xi. p. 346. Cette lettre fut composée par Malquion. Tillem. ut supra, p. 630. See likewise Fleury's Ecc. Hist. B. 8. ch. iv. p. 479.
► Mais il n'est pas entièrement certain, qu'ils fussent veritables. Du Pin in Malchion, as above, p. 193.
i Tillem. ub. supr. p. 629.
Edidit nonnulla præclara opuscula, quæ suo tempore ad
e Vol. i. p. 621, &c.
m-De quibus exstat opus insigne dialogorum contra Paulum Samosatenum. Trithem. ut supr.
"Extabat Hieronymi tempore, non Trithemii. Fabric. • Vid. Bed. Chr. p. 22, Cantabr. 1722.
P Frecuph. Chr. T. ii, 1. iii. c. 11. ap. Bib. Patr. Tom. xix. p. 1166, D.
9 See Vol. i.