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in Josephus, but we have little reason to conclude that he ever was in Eusebius. One owl in the hand is worth two in the conjectural bush. See Eusebius H. E. ij. 10. and Josephus Ant. xix. 8. and Mr Whiston's translation and notes.
Eusebius i. 9. cites Josephus as mentioning Lysanias the Tetrarch, for which Jos. Scaliger and Valesius blame him, and take it to be a wilful misrepresentation.
After all, supposing that Eusebius suppressed the dove, I see no reason for tragical outcries that, by granting this, we must give him up as a writer of no integrity; and that all his credit is at an end. He had his defects, as well as other ancient writers, and some of those faults shall be taken notice of in their proper place. But in the case before us, it may be said, he had no mind to expose Christianity to the scoffs of infidels, and himself at the same time, by recording such a silly contemptible tale ; and in such cases suppressions are more allowable than interpolations ; the latter are always unpardonable, the former may sometimes be excusable ; for, as a critic, Ensebius miglit justly suspect that the passage was not genuine, and as an historian, he might not care to go out of his way, and give reasons for omitting it, since that was not the method of writing in ancient times.
Le Clerc, says Middleton, took wspisefæ to be the truě reading. How doth this appear ? Because he gave it in his edition of the Apostolicul Fathers. And so would any fair editor, who ought to represent the reading of the manuscript in such a remarkable place. But Le Clerc says nothing against it in his Notes. True ; because he was in haste, which was often the case with him, and not disposed to discuss the question. In his Ecclesiastical History, he passes the dove over in silence, as not worthy to be mentioned, p. 729. and in his Bibl. Chois. xxvi. p. 218. he absolutely rejects it as an interpolation. Il n'y a rien de cette Colombe dans un MS. que le P. Ruinart cite, non plus que dans Eusebe, etc. ce qui
fait croire que c'est une addition de quelcun, qui vouloit rendre, par une fraude pieuse, le martyre de S. Polycarpe plus merveilleux.
Polycarp's prayer at the stake is such as one might expect from an holy martyr, and it is in few words. When he had finished it, and said Amen, they set fire to the pile. 'Avanéut arlos autó tò duir, cum amen clara voce insonuisset
Verbum áraniu for los hoc mihi indicare videtur, ipsam quidem orationem tucite ac submissa voce a Polycarpo pronunciatam fuisse ; Amen vero edita voce prolatum. Valesius.
Non potuissent preces ab iis qui aderant Christianis audiri et aliis referri, si submissa voce eas fudisset Polycarpus. Quod miror Valesium ad animum non revocasse. Clericus Hist. Eccl. p. 728.
The observation of Valesius is indeed neither judicious, nor worthy of him ; nor will the word &razéunu, joined to Amen, (take it as you will) prove that the prayer was uttered in a low voice. It should have been translated simply, Et postquam amen pronunciasset, or emisisset
When the Proconsul exhorted Polycarp to comply, and to repent, and to say, Aige igs ábers, Away with the impions, the saint looking severely on the multitude, and sighing, said, Away with the impious.
This, in the sense in which Polycarp must be supposed to have meant it, hath been thought too uncharitable, and therefore a forgery of the writer ; yet,
candidly candidly interpreted, it may mean no more than this, May true religion flourish, and impiety cease! and some perhaps will be of' opinion that this apostolical father spake prophetically to the wicked and persecuting Jews and Gentiles of Smyrna, who stood round him, impatient to destroy him ; for not long after his martyrdom the city of Smyrna was overturned by a very violent earthquake, A. D. 177. in which many of them
may be supposed to have perished. Dio 1. Ixxi. Aristides Orat. 20, 21, 22, 41.
When Polycarp was urged by the proconsul to renounce Christ, he replied, These eighty-six yeurs do I serve him, &c.
Hence some have concluded that he was just so many years old. S. Basnage is of another opinion, and
says that Polycarp meant, he had been so many years a bishop. Irenæus also represents him as extremely and uncommon's old, επιπολύ και παρέμεινε και πάνω rezáneos}lence Basnage concludes that he was about 120 years old when he died. Annal. i. p. 792. I think we may suppose that the eighty-six years mentioned by Polycarp were neither those of his life nor those of his episcopal function, but of his being a Christian, and then, if he was converted at fourteen, he would be an hundred years old at his death. Many other persons have arrived to that age, and amongst Gruter's inscriptions is this : MEMORIAE. SEX. VIGELLII. AQVINAT. QVI. ANNVM. ATTIGIT. CENTES. SED. ALTERVM. ET. NONAG. PERPET. INOFFENSA. VA
Polycarp says to the Philippians (in the old Latin. version of his Epistle, which supplies the defect of the Greek copy) De robis enim gloriatur [Paulus] in omnibus Ecclesiis, quce Deum solce tunc cognoverant:
Nos autem nondum noveramus. Basnage, who, with Usher, thinks that Polycarp means himself by nos, makes this an argument for his great length of time : but it is not evident that Polycarp speaks of himself ; he may mean the Christians of Smyrna, as Cotelerius observes.
Tillemont places his death A. D. 166. See Hist. Eccl. ii. p. 635, &c. S. Basnage dates it 169.
When they would have fastened him with nails to the stake, he desired them to desist. He for whom I suffer, said he, will enable me to stand still, and not to fly from the fire: nor did his resolution fail him.
The miracles at his martyrdom are of the dubious and suspicious kind, and it is possible that the Epistle itself which contains them might have passed through the hands of interpolators before it came into those of Eusebius. That he suffered martyrdom is unquestionable : besides many other testimonies, we have that of Polycrates, Bishop of Ephesus, in the second century, who says, Πολύκαρπος ο εν Σμύρνη και επίσκοπος και paplus. apud Euseb. v. 24.
If* any one imagines the relation made by the Church of Smyrna on this occasion to be just and faithful, he has a right to believe it. I think so too; and I add, that we have no right to insult him for being of that opinion. But let others also be permitted to suspend their assent.
Whatsoever we determine concerning the wonders, the behaviour of Polycarp, and of his contemporaries and fellow Christians, teaches us to determine that God was with them and assisted them. The suffer
* Two previous Questions, etc. P. 31.
ings of the Christians afforded examples of courage and constancy which seemed more than human, and had an happy effect in converting others. We have authentic accounts of many persons, in the bloom of life, and of the infirmer sex, who received the sentence of condemnation to a * cruel death without consternation, and underwent it without a complaint, and sometimes with exultation and joy. When we read that Arria gave her husband the sword from her bleeding breast, with, My dear, it is nothing, we admire the deed and the speech. In the Pagan lady such resolution is heroism ; in the Christian what is it less ?
The persecution which the Christians endured was the completion of Christ's predictions ; the fortitude with which they endured it was the completion of his promises. He bequeathed calamities and sufferings to them as a legacy, and he commanded them to die for bis sake, a command hard to flesh and blood! but he promised that he would be with them, and make his abode in them, and be their strength and support, when all things else should tail and forsake them.
Many were the motives which concurred to animate the ancient Christians, motives which might sometimes produce an excess of courage bordering X 2
* In Diocletian's persecution, the Pagans endeavoured to invent the most painful torments, to weary out the patience of the Christians, and to make them recant : and the pious Christians of later ages, who have presided over the inquisition, have imitated the Pagans in all these cruelties, and used their best endeavours to surpass them in barbarity, and perhaps studied the Acts of the Martyrs and the Ecclesiastical Historians for this purpose : though indeed Sat.213 might inspire them without such helps.