图书图片
PDF
ePub

6

2. . Moreover,' adds Eusebius, the author of the fore• mentioned book relates another thing which happened in • the time of Zephyrinus, writing thus in these very words: • I will therefore s remind many of the brethren of a thing · which happened in our time, which if it had been done in

Sodom, I think it might have reformed even them. Perhaps here is a reference to Matt. xi. 23. Well, what is this sad thing? The author proceeds: “There was one Natalis a confessor, [that is, who had suffered from the heathen for the sake of christianity,] not long ago, but in our times. This person was deceived by Asclepiodotus, and another Theodotus, a banker, both disciples of the first Theodotus the tanner, who had been excommunicated by Victor for this opinion, or rather madness. This Natalis was persuaded by them to accept of the office of a bishop of this heresy, upon the consideration of receiving from them a salary of one hundred and fifty. denarii (about five pounds) by the month. Having associated himself with them, he was often admonished by the Lord in visions; for the merciful God, and our Lord Jesus Christ, would not that he should perish out of the church, who had been a witness of his own sufferings.' 1 Pet. v. 1. The author proceeds to relate, that. Natalis for a while neglecting these visions, out of fondness for the honour enjoyed, and the love of filthy lucre, was at length scourged and sorely beaten by holy angels for a whole night. Whereupon in the morning, being convinced of his fault, he put on sackcloth, and humbled himself before Zephyrinus, and all the clergy and laity, and after many tears and entreaties was with difficulty re-admitted to the communion of the church.'

In what is here said of Natalis having been a 'witness of Christ's sufferings,' it may be thought there is a reference to

1, and in what is said of his love of filthy Jucre,' to 1 Tim. iii. 3; or some other place where St. Paul condemns that fault. 3. • To these we shall add,' says Eusebius,

some other • words of the same writer concerning the same men, which

Υπομνησω γεν πολλες των αδελφων πραγμα εφ' ημων γενομενον και νομιζω οτι ει εν Σοδομoις εγεγονει, τυχον αν κακεινους ενεθετησε. Ιbid. p. 196. C.

Ναταλιος ην τις ομολογητης. Η “ο γαρ ευσπλαγχνος θεος και Κυριος ημων Iησος Χριςος ουκ εβαλετο εξω εκκλησιας γενομενον απολεσθαι μαρτυρα των ιδιων παθων. Ιbid. p. 197. Α.

Or, as some may choose it should be translated, our most merciful • God and Lord Jesus Christ.'

Δελεαζομενος τη τε παρ' αυτους πρωτοκαθεδρια, και τη πλεισες απολλυση αισχροκερδεια τελευταιον υπο αγιων αγγελων εμαςγωθη, δι' όλης της νυκτος 8 σμικρως αικισθεις. Ιbid.

1 Pet. v.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

W

• are to this purpose: Moreover, they * have without fear

corrupted the divine scriptures, and have rejected the • rule (canon] of the ancient faith, and have been ignorant

of Christ; not enquiring what the divine scriptures say, • but carefully studying what figure of syllogism may be • found out to support their impious system : and if any • one object to them a text of divine scripture, they consi• der whether a conjunctive or disjunctive form of syllo'gism can be made of it. And, leaving the holy scriptures of God, they study geometry, as being of the earth, and speaking of the earth, and ignorant of him that com6 eth from above. Here is a manifest reference to John ni. 31. This writer proceeds to say, ' that by some of these persons Euclid's geometry is laboriously studied; and they admire Aristotle and Theophrastus ; and by some of them Galen is even adored. They who abuse the sciences of the infidels for the support of their beretical sentiment, and with an impious subtilty adulterate the simple faith of the divine scriptures, of such men what need 'I say

that they are far from the faith? For which reason they have without fear laid their hands upon the divine scriptures, saying that they have amended them. And that I do not charge them falsely, any one may know that pleaseth : for if any one will be at the pains to procure a number of their copies, and compare them together, he will find that they disagree very much; for the copies of Asclepiades [or Asclepiodotus] differ from those of Theodotus. And many of them may be met with, because their disciples have diligently transcribed their several emendations, as they call them, but indeed corruptions. Again, the copies of Hermophilus agree not with these already mentioned : and those of Apollonides (or Apollonius] differ one from another; for any one, by comparing those first put out with these which were afterwards again perverted by him, may perceive a difference. How daringa crime this is, pos

X

Γραφας μεν θειας αφοβως ερραδιεργηκασι πισεως δε αρχαιας κανονα ηθετηκασι: Χριςον δε ηγνοηκασιν 8 τι αι θειαι λεγεσι, γραφαι ζητωντες, κ. λ.

-καν αυτοις προτεινη τις ρητον γραφης θείκης, εξεταζεσι,-καταλιποντες δε τας αγιας τε θεα γραφας, γεωμετριαν επιτηδευασιν ώς αν εκ της γης οντες, και εκ της γης λαλεντες, και τον ανωθεν ερχομενον αγνοοντες. κ.λ.: p. 197. B. C.

Y Γαληνος γαρ ισως υπο τινων και προσκυνείται. Οι δε ταις των απισων τεχναις εις την της αιρεσεως αυτων γνωμην αποχρωμενοι, , και τη των αθεων πανεργια την απλην των θειων γραφων πισιν καπηλευοντες" ότι μηδε εγγυς πιςεως υπαρχεσι, τι δει και λεγειν και Δια τετο ταις θειαις γραφεις αφοβως επεβαλον τας χειρας, λεγοντες αυτας διωρθωκεναι. ibid. p. 197. D. 198. A.

Oσης δε τολμης εσι τετο το αμαρτημα, εικος μη DE EKELVBS ayvoelv. Ibid. A.

Z

sibly they themselves are not ignorant: for either they do not believe the divine scriptures to have been dictated by the Holy Spirit, and then they are infidels; or else they think themselves wiser than the Holy Spirit, and what area they then but madmen? For they cannot deny this their daring crime, since the copies have been written out with their own hands; and they did not receive such b books from those by whom they were first taught the christian doctrine: nor are they able to produce the copies from whence they transcribed these things. Nay, some of them have not thought it worth the while to corrupt the scriptures, but plainly · rejecting the law and the prophets, by means of a lawless and impious doctrine, (taken up] under pretence of grace, they have fallen into the lowest pit of destruction.'

This may be thought a most terrible passage, weakening the credit of the sincerity or integrity of our present scriptures; since even in those early times there were men who had the assurance to correct and alter their copies according to their own fancy, in order to render them agreeable to their particular sentiments. But the concern may be abated by a few remarks.

1.) Whatever alterations were made, or attempted to be made, by some few, there were others who greatly disliked their conduct, and strictly guarded against alterations and pretended emendations of their copies. They loudly exclaimed against them, severely censured the authors of them, and warned all men against them.

2.) It is probable that all the alterations or corruptions here complained of, concerned only the copies of the Old Testament; and, if they relate to them, then to the copies only of some Greek version of the Old Testament, probably that of the Seventy. For this is what our author says: • That some of these men did not think it worth the while to alter the scriptures, but they plainly rejected the law and the prophets. They are therefore the scriptures of the Old Testament that he had been speaking of all along, when he complained of the alterations of the divine scriptures: and since these alterations were made, or attempted to be made, in a version only, the damage is the less. This indeed does not excuse these men, nor quite remove their crime, but it lessens the mischief of it.

3.) It seems reasonable to make some abatements in the * Και τι έτερον η δαιμονωσιν; Ιbid. Β.

Και παρ' ών κατηχηθησαν μη τοιαυτας παρελαβον τας γραφας. Ιbid. • Αλλ' απλως αρνησαμενοι τον τε νομον και τις προφητας. Ιbid.

b

6

charges of this writer. It is plain he is credulous, and indulges his passion, and declaims. I have no occasion to add a comment, by way of proof of these particulars; they are apparent from the passages here produced; so that every one may perceive as much by reflecting upon what we have transcribed. Besides, he blames these persons against whom he writes for things in which there is no fault. He censures them for · studying geometry,' and for

admiring Aristotle and Theophrastus.' Then it is likely he aggravates some things, as when he says, “ they left the scriptures to study Euclid's geometry:' Possibly they only joined together these two studies. 'He insinuates too, that some of them adored Galen,' which is very improbable. Considering all these things, it is reasonable to suppose that he has magnified the fault of these men; that is, in some measure misrepresented what they performed upon the scriptures. A writer of this character might censure a truly critical performance, as such things since have been often suspected and condemned by others.

4.) Upon the whole, then, we have seen in this writer a reference or two to the gospels of St. Matthew and St. John, and St. Peter's first epistle. There were scriptures in the hands of christians which they respected as sacred and divine, dictated by the Holy Spirit, and the rule of their faith, and particularly of superior authority to the writings of the christian brethren next in succession after the apostles; and they esteemed it a daring crime, of a high nature, to make any alterations in them. This writer also bears witness to the followers of Artemon, that they made appeals to the writings of the apostles and the brethren for the truth and antiquity of their sentiments. He adds, and loudly complains of it, that they had attempted to correct and alter (that is, corrupt) the copies of the divine scriptures; but he has not particularly informed us, what copies: it appears to be most probable, that he means only the copies of a Greek version of the Old Testament. And there is reason to think, likewise, that in what he has said relating to this matter, he has been guilty of some mistake or misrepresentation, and has aggravated thing's beyond the truth.

5.) I do not despise any work or fragment of this early antiquity, tending to illustrate the scriptures, or any practices of the christian church. These passages are useful in several respects; but I could have spared a part of them for the sake of the passage or passages of Caius, concerning St. Paul's epistles, and the other ancient scriptures.

And I heartily wish that Eusebius had made room in his Ecclesiastical History for more of that eloquent man.

IIJ. The third piece, which by some has been reckoned the work of Caius, is entitled, * Of the Universe,' as likewise. Of the Cause of the Universe,' and of the Nature of • the Universe ;' as we are informed by d Photius, in whose time it had inscribed, in some copies, the name of Josephus. But he had seen a note in it, wherein it was said to be written by Caius, a presbyter who dwelt at Rome. By some, he says, it was ascribed to. Justin Martyr, and by others to Irenæus. As for himself, Photius argues that it can hardly be esteemed a work of Josephus, because the author gives our Saviour the title of,' the Christ,' and speaks rightly enough of his divinity: and also expresses himself unexceptionably of our Lord's ineffable generation by the Father.

As this work has been ascribed to so many, and neither Eusebius nor Jerom have taken any notice of it in their accounts of Caius, I think there is no sufficient reason to reckon it his. Consequently bishop Bull has been too hasty in placing Caius among the Antenicene fathers who held the Nicene faith upon the sole foundation of what is said in this book. And it isf now the general opinion of learned men, that it is Hippolytus who has the best title to this treatise.

It is not now extant entire: but we have a large fragment, which has been published by several learned men, and in particular not long since by Fabricius, in his edition of Hippolytus.

I shall give a short account of the references which there are in this Fragment to the books of the New Testament, which is all that can be expected in this place. I must take some farther notice of it in the chapter of Hippolytus.

Here are then made use of, in explaining the christian doctrines, several scripture phrases, as 5. fire unquenchable,' h. Abraham's bosom,' Luke xvi. 22, 26. And it is said that between the good and bad there is a great and d Cod. 48.

e Vid. Geo. Bull. Defens. Fid. Nic. cap. viii. sect. ii. Utcunque autem de vero hujus operis auctore inter antiquos non convenit, neoterici Indiculi hujusce auctoritate, stylo et argumentationis genere, aliisque adhuc argumentis freti, Hippolyto id adjudicant; et in his novissimus Steph. Le Moyne, qui Latinâ versione instructum fragmentum ejus ab Hæschelio olim editum recudi fecit inter Varia Sacra. Cave, Hist. Lit. P. i. in Hippolyto. & Auuun Tupos aoßese. Apud Hippolytum, ex editione Fabricii, p. 220.

Τετω δε ονοματι κικλησκομεν κολπον Αβρααμ. Ιbid. p. 221. 1 Χαος γαρ Βαθυ και μεγα ανα μεσον επηρικται, ώσε μη δικαιον συμπαθη

f

h

« 上一页继续 »