图书图片
PDF

the common opinion of the age of Bardesanes, which is, that he flourished in the time of M. Antoninus the philosopher. Perhaps that learned man would not have insisted on this argument if he had seen the Edessen Chronicle, since published by Dr. Asseman. However we will consider the difliculty, without retending to set it aside upon the Chronicle alone, thoug its authority may be justly reckoned to be of weight in this question.

In one place Porphyry quotes ‘ Bardesanes the Babylo‘ nian, who,’ says he,b ‘lived in the time of our fathers.’ In the otherC he speaks of some, ‘ who waited on Bardesanes ‘ of Mesopotamia, at the time that the emperor Antoninus, ‘who was of Emesa, came into Syria.’ He means the emperor Antoninus Heliogabalus, whosed reign is computed from the year 218 to 222.

Dodwell ‘ therefore suspects that Eusebius has mistaken the emperor under whom Bardesanes flourished. Finding the book Of Fate inscribed to Antoninus, he concluded Marcus Antoninus the hilosopher to be thereby intended ; whereas it was probab y the emperor Heliogabalus, who was of Emesa, and had also the name of Antoninus. And Eusebius, being himself deceived, has deceived and misled all following historians: so that learned man Grabef too was of opinion, that Bardesanes flourished in the time of Heliogabalus.

And it is obvious, that Porphyry’s Bardesanes is of the same country with him mentioned by christian writers; that is, of Mesopotamia: and as Porphyry calls him a Babylonian, so doesg Jerom likewise, in a place not yet referred to, cite ‘ Bardesanes the Babylonian :’ the quotation too is a part of one of the passages alleged byh Por

[ocr errors]

1 Vid. Pagi, Critic. in Baron. 222. sect. 2.

° Sed vereor ne recentioribus Eusebio historicis omnibus imposuerit Eusebius, qui Marco librum illum ‘ de Fato' putat a Bardesane dicatum. Eusebium autem ipsum, ni fallor, fefellit homonymia in voce Antonini. Sub Antonino enim, non Marco, sed Emesa, oriundo, Elagabalo, fioruit Bardesanes, scriptor celeberrimus, e Syria, etiam eidem qua et haereticus, Mesopotamia, teste ceitisimo Porphyrio de Styge.__-Diss. Iren. iv. sect. 35.

f S ieil. T. i. p. 317. I Bardesanes, vir Babylonius, in due ogmata apud Indos Gymnosophistas dividit, &c. Adv. Jovin. l. ii. T. iv. col. 206. Ed. Marrian. '\ Vid. Porphyr. de Abstin. p. 169.

phyry. We before observed, that Jerom assures us, Bardesanes was admired by philosophers: accordingly we find one of that name cited b Porphyry with respect. These particulars seem to ren er it probable, that one and the same person is every where intended. And, if so, Porphyry has determined his age, about which all our authors are mistaken.

Let us however consider their testimony, and whether it is likely that they should be in the wron . Dodwell aIIOWs, that Eusebius, both in his History and Chronicle, places Bardesanes near Tatian. This uniformity of computation seems to show, that Eusebius had no doubt of the truth of it. All our christian writers agree together about the age of Bardesanes, and they had every one of them some knowledge of his writings. Eusebius knew very well the book Of Fate. He was not wholly unacquainted with his other performances, as appears from his observation, that Bardesanes did not get entirely clear of his former errors. Jerom too commends his style and learning. Epiphanius passes his judgment upon the writings of this author, approving some and condemning others. And Theodoret says expressly, that he had seen a great many of them: which ac'quaintance with his works may be reasonably supposed to have enabled them to judge of his age, without depending upon the authority of Eusebius. Then Epiphanius relates some conversation between Bardesanes and Apollonius, a friend of the emperor Antoninus. And there was, beside others, a Stoic philosopher of that name, of Chalcis too, a city in SyriaX who wasi first a master, and afterwards an intimate friend,“ of Marcus Antoninus. Finally, Eusebius informs us, that it was generally said, (he was not certain of this,) that Bardesanes wrote some books concerning the persecution of that time, meaning the reign of Marcus. And Epiphanius infomis us of the persuasions or threatenin s of Apollonius, to induce Bardesanes to renounce the c ristian religion. These particulars concur in describing the reign of Marcus, not that of Heliogabalus, or his immediate predecessors, which Dodwell allows not to have been times of remarkable rigour against the christians.

I think then that we may allow, that Porphyry, and the christian writers, speak of one and the same peron: and that we need not dispute either his or their authority, concerning the age of Bardesanes, but may reconcile them

‘ Vid. Jul. Capitolin. in Antonino Pio. cap. 10. et M. Antonino Philos. cap. 2, 3.

VOL. 11. Y

together. The visit to Bardesanes of which Porphyry makes mention, when Antoninus Heliogabalus came into Syria, was made, we may suppose, in the year 218, before Heliogabalus set out from Antioch to go to Rome. And it is likely that Bardesanes did not live long after this, be having died before the time of Porphyry, who was born about the year 232. For so Porphyry says: ‘ He lived in ‘ the time of our fathers.’

Probably at the year 218 Bardesanes was of a great age. His extensive knowledge, vast reputation, the great number of his books, and of his followers, and his change of sentiments, are indications of no short, but rather of a long life. Possibly too he was an author in the early part of his life. Great men are usually, first of all, illustrious youths. There are many men who have flourished, as authors, thirty or forty years, and more. Tertullian, about the same time, flourished as long; Libanius, of the same country, longer. Iperceive not any absurdity in supp0sing Bardesanes to have been a writer of repute in the reign of Marcus Antoninus, and his being alive, and greatly respected, in the year 218 or 220. .

If, according to the Edessen Chronicle, Bardesanes was born in 154, he was hot yet seventy years of age in 220; and he would be twenty-six years of age complete in 180, the year in which Marcus died, before which time he might have written several books.

Thus Porphyry and our christian writers are reconciled, even allowing them all to s eak of one and the same per» son. It happens, that Porp yry has spoken of some things near the conclusion of Bardesanes’ life; whilst our authors have chiefly mentioned him about the time when he began to be famous in the world, withoutk denying him to have continued much longer.

" ‘ Without denying him to have continued much longer.‘] We must however eXeept Epiphanius, according to the common reading and interpre~ tation of his words, Hazr. 56, sect. 1. Au":st pew para r1111 siren/s reksvrnv axpi. row xpoww Av'rowws Kamapog, on for: Euaefiovg nahepsvs, aXXa rov Ovrlpa. ‘ That he continued after the death of Agbarus until the times of the ‘ emperor Antoninus, not him who is called Pius, but Verus ;' that is, Marcus Antoninus the philosopher: which words must be allowed to imply, that Bardesanes did not outlive the reign of Marcus. But on the other hand, if we could suppose Epiphanius to mean Heliogabalus, who was often called Varius, [vid. Lampridii Antonin. Heliogab. cap. i.] he would afford an argument, not that Bardesanes flourished in the time of Heliogabalus, as Grabe says, [Spiel]. T. i. p. 317,] but that he continued till the reign of that emperor. after having been eminent for a considerable time before, which may be the truth. But 1 think it in vain to criticise upon the words of Epiphanius, whose chronology is not always exact.

All this is proposed to be considered, upon the su position that Porphyry and the christian writers speak 0 one and the same Bardesanes. But I do not allow that to be certain, and out of doubt: for methinks it may be very well questioned, whether Jerom, when he quotes Bardesahes the Babylonian, means the same whom he has several times mentioned as a christian, or a heretic. However I maintain that our christian writers are not mistaken about the time of Bardesanes, whom they speak of as living, and being an author, in the reign of Marcus Antoninus. And I take it for granted that I have said enough to clear them from all suspicion of mistake in this matter.

XIII. Eusebius has given a short account of Apollonius, who suffered martyrdom at Rome in the time of Commodus; probably in the year 186 or 187. He says, thatl ‘ Apollonius was celebrated for learning and philosophy.’ Being accused before Perennis, [praefect of the Prwtorium,] ‘ Perennis desired him to give an account of himself before ‘ the senate, which he did, in a most eloquent apology for ‘ the faith pronounced in that assembly: and was then sen‘ teuced to lose his head, as by a ecree of the senate.’ Eusebius adds: ‘ They who are desirous to read what ‘ Apollonius said before the judge, his answers to the ‘interrogatories of Perennis, and'u his whole Apolog in ‘ the senate, may find them in the collection which I have ‘ made of the ancient martyrdoms.’ Which collection is lost.

Jerom has given Apollonius a place in his Catalogue“ of Ecclesiastical Writers. He calls him a ‘ senator of Rome.’ ‘ Being commanded to give an account of his faith, he ‘ composed an excellent piece, which he read in the senate. ‘ But nevertheless be was beheaded for Christ, by order of ‘ the senate.’

There are difficulties attending some parts of the history of Apollonius, which I pass over, considering him at present chiefly as an author. Jerom sa s, be read his Apology in the senate, which is not said I; Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History. However he deserves to be reckoned an author. If he only pronounced the apology, it_might be taken down from him in writing. Eusebius is express, that this ‘ whole apology’ might be read in his collection of the Acts of Martyrs.

[ocr errors]

Jerom,° in another work, mentions Apollonius among some of the most eminent christian writers. He is there placed with Greek authors: but in his Catalogue, in the article of Tertullian, he says, that father was then reckoned the ‘ first of the Latin writers, after Victor and Apollo‘ nius;’ where he seems to mean the same person. Possibly the reason of this different way of reckoning may be, that Apollonius delivered his apology to the senate in Latin; but in Jerom’s time it was extant only in Creek, in the Acts of the ancient Martyrs, collected by Eusebius.

XIV. Rhodon is spoken of by Eusebius, in his Ecclesiastical History, under the reign of Commodus. Jeromp says, he flourished in the times of Commodus and Severus: they both say, he was a native of Asia. I shall confine myself to the account which Eusebius gives of his works. He says, that Rhodon wrote several books; among others one a ainst the heresy of' Marcion, which he assures us was then divided into several parties. He relates a conference which he had with Apelles, one of them, then an old man, whom he confuted and exposed. ‘In the same book,’ saysq Eusebius, ‘which he inscribes to Callistion, he ‘informs us, that he had been instructed by Tatian at ‘Rome, and says that Tatian had composed a book of ‘ difiicult questions, for the explication of several obscure ‘ places of scripture: Rhodon at the same time promises to ‘ put out a distinct work, containing a solution of those ‘ questions. There is extant a commentary of his upon the ‘ six days’ work of .the creation.’ .

XV. Victor, as we are informed by1r Eusebius, succeeded Eleutherus, bishop of Rome, in the reign of the em eror Commodus. He says, that u on occasion of a di erence about keeping the time of taster, ‘ Victor en‘deavoured to cut off from the common unity all the ‘ churches of Asia, together with the churches in their ‘ nei hbourhood, as holding things contrary to the right ‘ faiti: and8 by letters roscribed, and declared excom‘ municated, all. the bret ren in those parts :’ for which he was reproved ‘ by Irenaens, and other bishops, as acting contrary to the laws of peace and charity.

There was before this a synodical letter, upon the same

° Scripsit et Miltiades contra gentes volumen egregium. Hippolytus quoque et Apollonius, Romana‘ urbis senator, propria opuscula condiderunt. Ad. Magnum, ep. 83. al. 84. P De V. I. c. 37.

1 L. v. c. 13. r H. E. l. v. c. 22. init.

’ Kat qnhirsvu 72 51a ypappafm', axon!quer apdm/ wawag Tong mews

avasnpvrrww adeihpsc. L. v. c. 24. p. 192. B. C. ' lb. p. 192, 193.

« 上一页继续 »