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part in his history. Usher found and published a copy of this epistle, and it is inserted in Le Clerc's Patres Apostolici. In the conclusion there is a foolish note of one Pionius the transcriber. There are some differences (though most of them small) between Eusebius and the epistle, as for example in the dream or vision of Polycarp, in the doxology at the end of his prayer, and in the description of the Martyr standing in the flames, ws déplos ónleóueros, as a loaf whilst it is baking, which is not in Eusebius.
The wonders relating to his martyrdom are these :
He had a dream, or vision, portending what should befal him. Much the same thing is said to have happened to Socrates. See Book I. p. 90. Και προσευχόμενος έν οπτασία γέγονε, στρο τριών ημερών το συλληφθήναι αυτόν και είδεν προσκεφάλαιον αυτα υπό πυρός καίακαιόμενον και γραφεις είπεν σρος της συνόνας αυτω προφήτικώς: Δι με ζωνία κατακαυθήναι. Εt cum oraret, triduo ante quam comprehenderetur, visio ei oblata est ; viditque cervical suum incendio conflagrare. Tum conversus ad comites suos; prophetice dixit ; Oportet me vivum comburi.
A voice from heaven encouraged him. Το δε Πολυκαρπω εισιόντι εις το σαδιού, φωνή έξ έρανε έγένετο. "Ισχυε και ανδρί ζε, Πολύκαρπε. Και τον μεν ειπόντα υδείς είδε, την δε φωνήν των ημέθέρων οι παρόντες ήκεσαν. Porno Polycarpo intranti in stadium, vox e cælo facta est ; Fortis esto, et viriliter age, Polycarpe. Et cum quidem qui vocem emisit, vidit nemo, vocem qui e nostris præsentes erant audierunt.
The fire would not burn him. Μεγάλης δέ έκλαμψάσης φλογές, θαυμα μέγα είδομεν, οίς ιδείν εδόθη: οί και ετηρήθημεν, εις το αναγγείλαι τους λοιπούς τα γενόμενα: το εσυ καμάρας άδος σοιισαν, ώσσερ οθόνη σλοία υπό πνεύματος αληρε μένη, κύκλώ σερίετίχισε το σώμα το μαρτυρος" και ήν μέσον έχ ως σαρξ καιομένη, αλλ' ως άρτος οπλωμενος, ή ως χρύσος και άργυρος εν καμίνω συρόμενος.
Cum vero ingens flamma emicasset, grande miraculum vidimus, quibus spectare concessum fuit ; qui et ideo reservati sumus, ut aliis quce contigerunt annunciaremus. Ignis enim fornicis speciem prcebens, tanquam navis velum a vento repletum atque sinuatum, undique circumdedit Martyris corpus ; quod quidem in medio positum, non ut caro assa videbatur, sed veluti panis coctus, vel sicut aurum et argentum in fornace candens.
A sweet smell came out of the pile. Kai ys' tuwdias τοσαύτης ανθελαβόμεθα, ως λιβανωθε πνέονθος, ή άλλα τινός των τιpów dpwátwr. Tantam quippe fragrantiam odorabamur, ac si thus, aut aliud quoddam pretiosorum aromatum oluisset. A
great quantity of blood came from him, which seems to be mentioned as something marvellous.
A dove at the same time came out of the wound. Πέρας εν ιδόντες οι άνομοι και δυνάμενον αυτο το σώμα υπό τη συρος απανηθήναι, εκέλευσαν προσελθόντα αυτω κομφέκτορα παραθυσαι ξιφίδιον" και τυτο τσοιήσαντος εξήλθε σεριφερα και πλήθος αίματος, ώσε κατασβέσαι το σύρ, και θαυμάσαι πάντα τον όχλον, εί τοσαύτη τις διαφορα μελαξύ των απίσων και των εκλεκίων.
Tandem igitur cernentes improbi corpus ipsius ab igne non posse consumi, jusserunt confectorem propius accedere, pugionemque capulo tenus abdere. Quod cum ille fecisset, egressa est columba, item tanta vis sanguinis, ut ignem extingueret, utque universa plebs miraretur tantum esse discrimen inter infideles ac electos.
From the agreement between the epistle and Eusebius in the main (the dove excepted) it appears that we have the epistle now as Eusebius had it, or nearly so ; and since Eusebius speaks of it as of an ancient and well-known writing, i sypáows i to depópevov, if it was a forgery, it must have been composed long before his time. But, excepting the marvellous parts, the rest U
of the narration hatlı all the appearance of truth and of fact; the manner of apprehending the martyr, the speeches of the proconsul, the behaviour and prayer of Polycarp; the rage of the populace, and particularly of the Jews, the zeal of the Christians and their affection for their bishop, &c. all is consistent and probable, and many little incidents are mentioned which have not the air of fiction.
The Christians who accompanied Polycarp at his execution, highly reverenced and almost adored him: they attended with a full expectation, as we may suppose, of seeing some strange events, and the sight of their dear and honoured friend thus dying might raise in them a tumult of passions, and take away some of the sedateness which may be requisite in forming an accurate judgment.
Let us now consider the miraculous parts of the story
I see no reason to doubt of Polycarp's vision, or to think it improbable that this apostolical father, and holy martyr should have been forewarned of his sufferings, and prepared to expect them, and enabled to give his friends this proof that God was with him and assisted him. He himself interpreted the vision, signifying by what death he should glorify God. Without this intimation he could not have known that lie should be condemned to the flames, because there were many other ways of destroying criminals, and of several martyrs, who at that time had been executed, not one was burnt, but they were thrown to the beasts, as the epistle informs us, after having endured with amazing patience and courage the worst tortures which malicious crnelty could contrive ; and when Polycarp was condemned, the populace requested
that he might be exposed to the lions; and because it could not be done they then chose to have him burnt.
To this foreknowledge which he had received of his death he seems to allude in his last prayer at the stake, in which he blesses God for calling him to martyrdom, and prays that he may
be received of him as an acceptable sacrifice, καθώς προητοί μασας, και ΠΡΟΕΦΑΝΕΡΩΣΑΣ, και επλήρωσας, ο αψευδής και αληθινός Θεός.-quemadmodum preparasti, et præmonstrasti, et adimplevisti, mendacü nesa cius ac verax Deus. For these reasons I cannot assent to the solution
proposed by Middleton : The foresight of his death, and the manner of it, in the time of a cruel persecution, when his person was particularly hunted from village to village, as the principal and destined sacrifice, may reasonably be considered as the effect of common prudence, without recurring to any thing miraculous. Inquiry, p. 9.
Polycarp prophesied that he should be burnt alive: the event was, that the fire could not burn him, its natural power being preternaturally suspended, and that he died by the sword. This, as the author of the two previous questions observes, is a difficulty. It will afford reason to doubt either of the prophecy, or of the miracle by which the power of the fire was restrained : and of the two, it were better to give up the latter than the former, if both cannot stand together.
Tillemont was aware of this difficulty, and therefore
supposes that Polycarp was killed by the fire, before he was wounded. Les Payens luy firent donner un coup d'épée-Il ne faut pas doubter neanmoins qu' ne fut mort des auparavant, puisque Dieu luy coit retelé qu'il devoit estre brulé. H. Ec. ii. 341. But this
solution is also attended with some difficulties. The epistle intimates no such thing, but rather that he died, partly at least, by the sword ; and, if he perished by the famės, Naturalists must determine, whether a man who dies in the fire, and then is run through, will bleed plentifully. One would not willingly have recourse to a miracle for the effusion of blood, because sucli a miracle could tend to no purpose.
Le Moyne says; Licet fuerit Polycarpus vulnere et telo confossus, tamen vivus arsit, et in pyra beatum suar animam efflavit. Proleg. ad Var. Sacr.
S. Basnage, who admits the rest of the account, hesitates at this part of it, at the effusion of blood; Unum est quod nos non satis capere profitemur : Confectorem propius accedere, &c. Tantumne sanguinis senili ex corpore pene exungui, cetateque confecto munait e vulnere, ut pyra ardens et magna sutis, penitus extincta sit? Citera vero mirá dulcedine alliciunt animos. Annal. ii. p. 195.
Some to reconcile the * vision with the event, will perhaps say that the vision of the pillow consumed by fire was sufficiently completed by Polycarp's dying at the stake, and by the burning of his body after he was dead; and that, if there was a small error, it was in Polycarp's interpretation. Pro
* When a deacon, called Sosius, was performing divine service, his head appeared surrounded with flames, which portended his martyrdom. Surias Sept. 23. The writer might borrow this from Polycarp's vision, or from Virgil's :
Ecce levis subito de vertice visus liili
Fundere lumen apex. or from the story of Servius Tullius in Livy, i. 39. cui caput arsisse ferunt multorum in conspectu. This Sosius was a companion of that Januarius who works miracles to this day in Naples with wonderful perseverance.