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innumera fluxerunt: quis unus ullus ab inferis vel Protesilai sorte remeavit, horarum saltem permisso commeatu, vel ut exemplo crederemus ? xi.
So in Lactantius :--illud reponitur, Tot jam secula transierunt : Quis unquam unus ab inferis resurrexit, ut exemplo ejus fieri posse credamus ? Div. Inst. vii. 22.
So in Tertullian : At enim Christianus, si de komine hominem, ipsumque de Caio Caium reducem repromittat, statim illic vesica quceritur: lapidibus magis nec saitem crestibus a populo exigetur. Apol. c. 48.
The general purpose of which, though some of the expressions be obscure, and perhaps corrupted, is plainly this, that if a Christian speaks of the certainty of a resurrection, he is presently treated by the Pagans as a knave, or a fool, or a madman. Speaking of a resurrection and a future judgment, he adds; Hæc et nos risimus aliquando. De vestris fuimus. Apol. c. 18. Let us see what Theophilus replies.
1. What great thing would it be, if you should give credit to zchat
beheld? Theophilus here seems to have thought upon the words of Christ, Because thou hast seen thou hast believed, &c.
2. You who are so incredulous, can yet imagine that Hercules lives, and that Esculapius was raised after death.
To this Autolycus would perhaps have replied, My friend, let me tell you a secret ; I believe no more of the matter than
you do : but though I should think that the souls of these two heroes became gods after their death, what is that to the resurrection which
you Christians expect?
If Autolycus really believed such things, he had much more credulity than the Roman publicans. Au
Amphiaraus Amphiaraus Deus erit, et Trophonius ? Nostri quidem publicuni, quum essent agri in Bæotia Deorum immortalium excepti lege censoria, negabant immortales esse ul. los, qui aliquando homines fuissent. Cicero De Nat. Deorum, iii,
Supposing him to have admitted popular Paganism, and rejected Christianity, Theophilus might have told him, that he strained out a gnat, and swallowed a camel,
3. If you will not believe the testimony of God, I question whether you would believe, though I should shew you a person raised from the dead,
Theophilus liad in bis mind, If they believe not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, tho' one rose from the dead.
4. The death and resurrection of the seasons of the year, of day and night, of the sun and moon, of seeds and fruits, fc, are figures and divine indications of the resurrection which we expect,
5. I, who was a Pagan and an unbeliever like believe a resurrection, being induced to it by the indications of it which I have mentioned, and by the prophets, whosc writings shew that they were inspired of the Holy Ghost, and had the knowledge of things past, present, and future,
Theophilus by the prophets meant, not only the writers of the Old, but of the New Testament, and immediately subjoins some passages taken from St Paul's epistles,
From all this it must, I think, be acknowledged that Theophilus never saw a man raised from the dead : if he had, it would have so affected him, that he could not have avoided the mentioning it, and would have urged it to his friend, whom he was desirous to confute and to convert, and who would surely have paid some
degree of regard to his testimony. At least he would have mentioned it as a reason for his own belief, and a motive to himself to continue stedfast in all the doctrines of Christianity, and particularly in the doctrine of a resurrection, a reason and a motive stronger surely than the return of seasons, and the setting and rising of the sun, &c. Soles occiilere et redire possunt, &c. Instead of saying, I myself have seen it, he talks of the small merit in believing what one beholds, and of the reasonableness of assenting to inspired men, without such overbearing evidence.
It is probable, from his silence, that he had heard of no instance of such a miracle in his days; probable, I say, but not certain : because though he had hcard of it, he might possibly have thought it to no purpose to tell his friend that there were Christians who affirmed such things, and he might suspect that Autolycus would not have admitted the testimony of persons with whom he had no acquaintance, and for whom he had little regard.
Theophilus makes no mention of any miracles, except the casting out dæmons, not even of the miracles of Christ and his apostles, which is strange ; and when he speaks of curing the dæmoniacs, it is with a sort of moderation and reserve-οι δαιμονώντες ενίοτε και μέχρι το δεύρο εξορκίζονται και ομολογεί τα πλάνα πνεύμαα είναι δαίμονεςThis is done, says he, sometimes, even still.-ii.
p Is that all he had to say? And yet some will have it that dæmoniacs and resurrections were as common in those days as fevers and palsies. It must be confessed, that his books are not drawn up in a manner altogether proper to convince unbelievers.
Clemens Romanus, Athenagoras, Tertullian, Tatian, Minucius Felix, and others, when they treat the same subject, the doctrine of a resurrection, mention no resurrections in their days to confirm it, but Clemens mentions the resurrection of Christ.
As Theophilus was disputing with a pagan about the resurrection, he might have told him that the thing had not appeared impossible to some Pagans, and have referred him to a remarkable passage in Plato; έκ των τελελευτηκότων αυ, κειμένων δε έν γη, σάλιν εκ ξυνισα. puéres rj arabiwoxouévous ex mortuis nimirum, sed terrá conditis, illos iterum tum restitutos, et in novam vitam restauratos.—And again ; éx yñs gs drebuGcxovto savles x'ser Mep.rruévor tw wspóoger. Oinnes enim ex terra redivivi nascebantur, rerum præteritarum immemores. Polit. p. 271, 272. Plato is speaking of an old history, a anaiou uvbou. The Athenians could not be surprised at St Paul's mentioning avasaris, if they had read Plato. See the passage of Minucius cited above, and some Pagan stories of resurrections in the notes of Davies, and Grotius de Ver. R. C. ii. $ 7, 10. and Bayle's Dict. TheoPOMPE, not. L.
It is certain that the most convincing proof of the resurrection which could have been offered to Autolycus, or which Autolycus could have asked, would have been to raise a dead man before his eyes : but in this kind of dialogues, real or fictitious, we are not to suppose that the Pagan always said what was most suitable, and that the Christians always replied in the inost pertinent manner.
Theophilus iii. 3. says ; Τί μοι λοιπόν καβαλέγειν τα σερί Ποσειδώνος, και 'Απόλλωνος, ο Διονύσε και Ηρακλέας, Αθηνάς της φιλοκόλπου, και 'Αφροδίτης της αναισχύντου-; Quid jam recenseam Neptuni Apollinis, Bacchi, Herculis, Minervre sinus amantis, Veneris pudorem projicientis facinora? φιλοκόλπο is an epithet which ought to have been ex
plained by the editors. Theophilus means the Ephesian Diana, Diana convmesos who is represented with a multitude of breasts one above another, and makes an ugly figure, more like a she-devil than a goddess. Diane-Ephesia mammis multis et veribus [uberibus] erstructa. Minucius, 2. 21. where see Davies. Theophilus should rather have called her "Aplemes than 'Aberä, but the pagans confounded their deities together, and made their Ceres, Diana, llecate, Isis, Proserpina, Minerva, gc. to be one and the same, and thence came the Symbolic and Pantheistic images of gods and goddesses, representing the attributes of several deities.
Contemporary with Theophilus was Irenæus, who gives us an account of miracles wrought in the church, as healing the sick, casting out devils, speaking various languages, raising the dead, &c.
It hath been hitherto taken for granted on all sides that he speaks of all these miracles, as being performed in his days. Therefore Dr Middleton has laboured to invalidate his testimony, and to shew that he was a weak, credulous, and injudicious man ; and I fear it will be no easy task to clear him entirely from the imputation of credulity and inaccuracy *.
But on considering the words of Irenæus, a conjecture offered
The credulity and inaccuracy of the Christians of those times permit us not to trust to their relations, especially when they contain any thing preternatural. One cannot help wishing that they had been more circumspect and less credulous ;. but perhaps providence would not preserve them from these errors and defects, that it might plainly appear, that they were men in no manner comparable to the first disciples of Jesus Christ, and consequently altogether incapable of forging the books of the New Testament. Le Cleri, Bibl. A. et M.
xxii. p. 27.