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phetre risorum suorum non semper fidi interpretes, Donim prophetias interpretandli prorsus erat distinctum a prophetice charismate, says Fell on Cyprian.
As to the voice t from heaven, there is nothing frivolous in such a miracle; it might be true : but yet it is a miracle which might be counterfeited, and one single Christian might have made the speech from a house-top, near the stadium, and have lain concealed there ; and if he kept his counsel, all his brethren might have been deceived by him. The human voice, if it be clear and strong, may
be heard at a great distance. The Jeralds in Homer had this accomplishment, and were Bony dyaloi, and Darius Hystaspis had an Egyptian in the army who was as good as a speaking-trumpet. 'Arig Aiyutloos purtων μέγισον ανθρώπων, who saved Darius and the they were in great danger, by the force of his lungs.. Herodotus iv. p. 266.
If the voice had been accompanied with an unusual splendor in the air, or with an earthquake, or preceded
+ When Constanțius, an Arian emperor, was carried in funeral pomp, his friends affirmed that a choir of angels attended the procession, singing and playing in the air ; and Gregory Nazianzen thought fit to record this miracle. Ea subdit Nazianzenus, quibus fidem afferre nobis est difficillimum : Cum corpus Tauro monte superato, ad paternam civitatem veheretur, vox qusedam e summis locis a nonullis audiebatur, velut psallentium et prosequentium; Angelicorum, opinor, cætuum, quod pietatis illi præmiam erat, funebrisque remuneratio. Orat. 4. Quæ figmenta ex Ariana officina prodiisse videntur. S. Basnage, Ann. ii: 863. Gregory Nazianzen had a favourable opinion of Constantius; but Lucifer Calaritanus, Hilary, and Athanasius load him with reproaches, and call him Tyrant, Antichrist, &c, Thus you have fathers against fathers, and saints against saints,
by thunder and lightning in a clear sky, the wonder had been evident.
The author of the epistle observes that the Chris. tians who attended Polycarp, heard this voice, but says not a word of the Jews and Gentiles, and leaves us uncertain whether they heard it or no.
A sweet smell issued from the pile. This is surely a very suspicious miracle ; and they who have defended the account of Polycarp's martyrdom, are willing to pass it over as fast as they can. They are in the right, for in truth it casts same dishonour upon the whole narration. The fact in all probability was true ; scented wood is common in hot countries, and the odour might proceed from the fuel, for the people ran about to the baths and other places to get wood; and a Christian might also join with them, and bring a bundle of wood with aromatics enclosed in it, to honour the funeral of his bishop: It had been an ancient fashion in various places to waste abundance of aromatics in burning dead persons of rank and quality; or those who threw themselves alive into the flames in complaisance to the deceased, or in compliance with cruel custom, as the Indian wives or à philosopher, who now and then mounted the pile, and entertained the public with roast-meat, as the Gymnosophists, Calanus, &c. The writer of the epistle would make us believe that these perfumes were conferred on Polycarp's pile, miraculously no doubt, else it would not have been worth the recording. The Christians, however frugal in other respects, yet in these expences were very profuse at the interment of their brethren. Si Arabire queruntur, says Tertullian, sciunt Sabrei pluris et carioris suas merces Christiapis sepeliendis profligari, quam Düs fumigandis.
This account of the yielding of the flames, of the voice, and of the sweet odour might give occasion to later writers to apply these wonders to other martyrs, as they frequently do. See Prudentius Περί Στεφ. vi. 100. and Basil, Hom. v. not to mention many more. The history of the aromatic scent of the sacred bones would fill a moderate folio. By the help of this odour reliques were discovered, and genuine bones distinguished from counterfeits, and it was very easy to find out a saint, withoạt borrowing the Lanthorn of Diogenes :
Ubi ubi est, diu celari non potest, Tillemont is excessively fond of this prodigy, and never fails to record it with great seriousness; and indeed there is no reason to question the fact, for of all miracles it is the easiest to be performed, and therefore the least satisfactory :
--Non bene olet, qui bene semper olet. The Pagan goddesses also smelt very sweet, as the poets, to whom they were best known, testify:
Ambrosiæque comse divinum vertice odorem
Mansit odor ; posses scire fuisse deam, Ovid. Fast. v. The Temple at Hierapolis smelt of the sweetest prefume, as the writer De Dea Syria assures us.
In Abul-Feda's life of Mohammed, we are told that a most agreeable odour proceeded from his carcase af, ter he was dead,
Copres, a monk of the fourth century, is said to have stood half an hour in the midst of a great fire, unhurt, to confute a poor Manichæan doctor who could not perform the same exploit. Rufinus Vit. Patrum.
Helles, Helles, another monk of those days would carry fire in his bosom, which neither singed his clothes nor his skin. Sozomen vi. 28. This miracle was wrought with a view to what is said, Prov. vi. 27. Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burnt? But Solomon, as well as Bernard, non vidit omma. Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burnt? Prov. vi. 28. This is what Pagans have pretended to do, as we shall see :
incedunt per ignes Suppositos cineri doloso. The arching of the fames, &c. if it was just as the author of the epistle relates it, must have been something preternatural : but the question is, whether the author's imagination did not impose upon him, and make him fancy a little more in it than there really was. If Polycarp had prophesied that his enemies could not and should not burn him, it had been * remarkable indeed : but here is a martyr, who could not be burned, and who was run through without difficulty. Besides the seeming disagreement of the prediction and the event, one may reasonably ask. To what purpose this miracle ? nor is the question easily answered.
Yet that is not all: the miracle was not only of the useless kind, but it might have produced rather a bad than a good effect on the minds of the spectators :
Therefore, as later authors improve upon their predecessors, thọ writers of the martyrdom of Romanus say, that when he was condemned to the flames, he declared before hand that the fire should not burn him, and accordingly a miraculous shower (borrowed it may be from the story of Crosus in Herodotus) put it out. Prudensius.
The Pagans had many examples in their fabulous and poetic history of men who had been unhurt in the fames, and they had also their priests and priestesses who walked barefoot over the fire without harm ; but these things were supposed by some Pagans to be tricks, by others to be magical operations; and consequently the inference made by the vulgar Pagans, and perhaps by the Jews, would have been, that Polycarp was an old magician, who had recourse, though in vain, to inchantments, and that his Dæmon had secured him for a time, from the flames, but could not protect him from the sword. Virgil Æn, xi.785.
Summe Deúm, sancti custos Soractis Apollo,
Where Servius ; Freti pietate. Iste quiclem hoc dixit ; sed Varro, ubique expugnator religionis, ait, cum quoddam medicamentum describeret : “ Eo uti solent Hirpini,
qui ambulaturi per ignem, medicamento plantas tin, "
Haud procul urbe Roma in Faliscorum agro familice sunt paucie, quæ vocantur Hirpi; he sacrificio annuo, quod fit ad montem Soractem Appollini, super ambustum ligni struem ambulantes non acluruntur. Et ob id
pers petuo Senatusconsulto militice omniumque aliorum munerum vacationem habent. Plinius l. vii. p. 372.
'Εν τούς Καταβάλοις εσι το της Περασίας 'ΑΠέμιδος ιερόν, όπο φασι τας ιερείας γυμνούς τους σοσι δι' ανθρακιας βαδίζουν απαθείς. . Apud Castabala autem Perasive Diane funıım est, ubi aiunt fæminas sacerdotes illæsis pedibus per prunas ambulare. Strabo.
Le Clerc, speaking of the water of jealousy, Numb. V. says, An ultio divina perjurium illico sequeretur non