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docet Moses, et rara hæc videntur fuisse exempla. Hugo Grotius exempla ex Scriptoribus Ethnicis adfert fontium, quorum aqure perjuros arguisse feruntur, nec rei fidem detrahit. Sed tot ficta miracula, apud Ethnicos narrabantur, ut ulli credere vix possimus. Alia est ratio Hebræorum, &c. Multa quoque in infimi ævi historis habemus de probationibus per ignem, per aquam, &c. quie tam mihi nefas videatur omnia credere, quam omnia rejicere. Certe ut veri non sunt sat clara in iis argumenta : itu nec mendacii indicüs manifestis notata sunt. Ideoque an vera sint, aut falsa, nos quidem scire non possumus.

The custom of trying the innocence of suspected persons by fire, or boiling water, is very ancient, for it is mentioned in the Antigone * of Sophocles, and it lasted till the fourteenth century in Europe, and is said to continue still in some places. But the horrible rashness and the profane impudence of appealing thus to God, without his permission, and of calling upon him to interpose miraculously, and the injuries which on these occasions have been done to the innocent, and the favour which hath been shewed to the guilty, incline us to think that no miracle of this kind was ever wrought at such trials, and that they who escaped, used some tricks, as well as the Hirpi. It would not be difficult to paint iron bars, so as to make them look as if they were red-hot,

It was the opinion of some that Cræsus had escaped the flames by the help of incantations.

Εφέσια γράμμαία-επωδαι και, τινές φασίν, εκείνα ήσαν, ας και Κροίσος επί της ουράς είπων ωφελήθη-Παυσανίας δέ φησιν,ότι


*Hμεν δέτοιμοι και μύδρες αίρειν χιρούν,

Και πύρ διέρπιν και θεές ορκωμοτάν---
Eramus quoque parati et ferrum ignitum levare manibus,
Et per ignem ire, et jurare Deos,


φωναι ήσαν τα Εφέσια γραμμαία φυσικών εμπεριέχεσι νgν αλεξίκακος, ας και Κροίσον επί συράς, φησί και αυτός, είπεϊν. Ephesie literat dicunt enim illas fuisse incantationes quasdam, quas et Cræsus jam rogo impositus pronunciarit atque itu liberatus fuerit.-Pausanias vero aitEphesias literas fuisse coces quasdam, quce naturalem quandım virtutem malorum depulsoriam haberent ; quas, ut etiam ille testatur, Cresus rogo impositus pronunciaverit. Eustathius in Odyss. Suidas. Etymol. Magn,

Of the same kind with the Ephesian Letters were these charms ;

Sista, Pista, Kista, Xista. and, Daries, Dardaries, Astaries, Dissunapiter, Huat,

Hamat, 8c, to which Varro and Cato ascribe great powers.

But, to return to Polycarp's martyrdom : If we may be permitted to hazard a conjecture upon this occasion, we may suppose that the Jews and Pagans, full of rage, brought together wood enough to burn ten persons, and heaped it all round the Martyr, and set fire to it in many places, which blazed up as at the pile of Cresus, * wépi čoxalx, at the extremities on all sides, and arched over Polycarp t. Upon this some of the Christians began to cry a miracle; his enemies said that the man was a magician, and fearing perhaps lest something extraordinary should appear in his favour, called for the exccutioner to dispatch him


* See the story in Herodotus,

+ Something not unlike this was seen at the martyrdom of Porphyrius, - αλλά και αφθείσης έξω από μακρά αποσήμα1ος κύκλω περί αυτόν της πυράς ενθένδε κακείθεν άφαρπάζονία των σόμαίι την φλόγα. Quin etiam cum rogus satis longo ab ipso intervallo circumquaque accensus fuisset itse binc inde flammam ore a!trahebar, Euseb. Mars, Pal. !i.

quickly. There was no withstanding the giddy im, patience of an irritated populace. The executioner complied, and ran Polycarp through, when he was almost dead and suffocated with the flames, and when perhaps his lower parts had been scorched ; and thus he perished partly by fire, and partly by the sword.

In order to reconcile the whole account, and to remove useless prodigies, it seems reasonable to suppose that there was nothing miraculous in the arching of the flames, that the fire had almost killed the martyr when he was wounded, and that the blood which issued from him quenched or damped the fire only on one side, and where it burned weakest.

The writer of the epistle observes, that Polycarp stood in the fire, ως χρυσός και άργυρος εν καμίνω συρόμενος, 82cut aurum et argentum in fornace candens, alluding pos, sibly to those passages of scripture where the rightepus are compared to gold and silver tried in the furnace, or to what is said of Christ, Rev. i. joi védes avis όμοιοι χαλκολιβάνω, ως εν καμίνω πεπυρωμένοι. Εusebius uses the same kind of expression concerning Peter, who suffered martyrdom at the stake, in Diocletian's persecution :-δια συρος οία χρυσός ακραιφνέςατος-tetut durum purissimum per ignem probatus-Mart. Pal, 10.

The story of the dove coming out of Polycarp's body, which is in the epistle, but not in Eusebius, or Rufinus, or Nicephorus, or two Mss. of the Latin translation of the epistle, arose possibly from a corruption of the text. The executioner stabbed him, and then Era be wipisipoé wintos crucelos, a dove came out, and abundance of blood. It is not likely that the author would have related so marvellous a circumstance so concisely and coldly in one single word wepesipd, just as if he were ashamed of it, and wanted to get over it as fast as he


could : but he might have written, with a very small alteration, εξήλθεν επ' αριτερα πλήθος αίματος, ώσε κατασβέσαι το süj; a greut quantity of blood issued out on, or to the left side, and put out the fire (on that side) : after which, the commanding officer ordered his body to be laid upon the wood and consumed, and the Christians had leave to gather up his bones. Or we might read, with an alteration still smaller, and without striking out the και, εξήλθεν επ' αριστερα και πλήθος αίμαίος, supposing και to mean even : there issued out even so much blood, as to extinguish the fire. The dove could scarcely be mentioned designedly by the author, who would have said something more, or nothing at all. The first conjecture is proposed by Le Moyne, but he writes it, éčnal dipise* sk. I should prefer içiña ber, to avoid poetic numbers ; and besides, the accusative plural éx' azısepad, joined to a verb of motion, would be better than the dative or ablative singular, la déposepą. 'Eşialev taapostpa, exivit ud lievam, as in Homer II. M. 239.

Είτ' επί δεξί ωσι προς ή τ' ήέλιόν τε,

Είτ' επ' αριστερά τoίγι, σοτί ζόφον ήερόενία. Genes. xiii. 9. uis cégesepsi-eis dešice. And so very of ten in the LXX.

Somebody * hath proposed etiabe ariposotice xai arīles aipalos, i, e. there came out plenty and abundance of blood; which is clumsy enough. Another improves upon it, and conjectures, εξήλθε αερισσεία ύδατος και πλήθος auclos, which is too bold, and passes the bounds of cober criticism.

When the virgin Eulalia was put to death, a dove, spotless and white as snow, flew out of her mouth, says Prudentius Iepi $7tp. iii. 161. This hath made


It should

Amongst other conjectures, one is, ár' agisegała have been da' úgssigãs, or, ár' ágisição.

some suspect that the story of Polycarp's doce might be somewhat more ancient than the time of Prudentius, and give occasion to the fiction about Eulalia's dove.

In the third century, when the Roman Christians were assembled together to chuse a bishop, a dove came and sat upon Fabian's head, to point him out for that office. This rumour Eusebius inserted in his history vi. 29. but he might as well have left it out.

In the fourth century, Ephraim Syrus went to Cæsarea, to visit Basil, and to hear him preach, and saw a dove, white as snow, and bright as the sun, sitting upon Basil's shoulder, and whispering to him what he should say. See Tillemont H. E. ix. 208.

These prodigies were borrowed partly from Pagan prodigies and auguries ; and partly from some passages in the gospels, to which Christians ought to have paid more reverence, and not to have made this imprudent and impertinent use of them.

It seems probable upon the whole (for in points of this kind there is no such thing as certainty) that the writer of the epistle did not mention the doce. It is impossible to determine whether Eusebius found wspisepad in his copy or no; because though he had seen it there, he might have dropped it on purpose, accounting it to be either a ridiculous miracle, or an interpolation. When he gives an account of the death of Herod Agrippa from Josephus, αυτοίς γράμμασιν, in the very words, he drops the owl, who, as Josephus says, appeared over the head of Agrippa, in which omission there is perhaps a little too much of the finesse. Mr Whiston endeavours to vindicate Eusebius in this affair, and forces the owl upon him by the help of a conjecture. We are certain that this bird is

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