網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

with Cerinthus, the chief Heretic and adversary of the
gospel then living, that he would either bave confuted and
put him to shame by the force of his reasoning, or con-
founded him by some act of that extraordinary power with
which he was endued from above.
· But St. John, as Dr. Waterland, declares, was all love,
meckness, and charity : and this indeed is said to have been
his peculiar character, above that of the other apostles.
And we are told of him by St. Jerom, " that in his extreme
age, when he used to be carried to the church by his disci.
ples, it was his custom to do nothing more than repeat
this single exhortation--My little children, love one ano-
ther : and when the people grew tired with bearing nothing
else from bim but that one precept, and asked, why he
continued always to repeat the same thing, he answered,
It is a saying worthy of John, and a precept of our Lord,
and if you practise this alone, it is sufficient." The same
doctrine, of love, charity, and mutual benevolence, was
eminently propagated also by his two principal scholars,
Ignatius, and Polycarp: What thanks are due to you, says
Ignatius, if you love only the good disciples? You must
subdue rather the more pestilent sort, by your mildness and
gentleness. And Polycarp, speaking of one who had fallen
away from the faith, says, Be moderate on this occasion,
and look not on such as enemies, but call them back, as suf-
fering and erring members.

How much more amiable, then, and agreeably to his proper character, is this same apostle represented in another story, delivered also by the ancients, concerning his painful and affectionate pursuit of the captain of a band of robbers ; whom he followed into the mountains, and, by his affectionate and paternal remonstrances, brought back from the head of his crew, and restored to the church ! yet from this charitable and benevolent act, Dr. Waterland has contrived to draw a most perverse and pernicious inference, that by Aying from the Heretic and running after the Rob. ber, he shewed, how much more he detested heresies, than cominon immoralities.

It is observable likewise, that this story is related with po small variation by the ancients themselves. Epiphanius tells it more than once, not of Cerinthus, but of another Heretic, called Ebion; and why might not both of them, says the editor of Irenæus, be found together in the bath at the same time? Baronius makes the same supposition, to

de

reconcile the two fathers; while others suppose, that Cerinthus and Ebion are but different names of the same person. Yet Tertullian expressly distinguishes them, and calls Ebion the successor of Cerinthus. But Mr. Tillemont solves the matter more judiciously by remarking, that there is no need of such conjectures, because it is common with Epiphanius to make blunders in history; who has added, he says, several other particulars, both trifling and impro- . bable, to this very story. One of the particulars which he has added, is this That St. John had never before made use of the public baths, till he was sent thither on this occasion by a divine inspiration, to give this open testimony of his detestation of heresy. Some of the other fathers as well as Epipbanius, declare Cerinthus to have been the disciple of Carpocrates, who was not in being, as the chronologers tell us, till after the death of St. John ; and if so, this whole story must of course fall to the ground.

The moderns also, in their turn, have added some embellishments to the same story. Fevardentius, in his notes on this passage of Irenæus, says, that St. Jerom, in his trea tise against the Luciferians affirms, that immediately after the retreat of St. John, the bath actually fell down andle crushed Cerinthus to death. Yet there is not the least. intimation of any such fact, as Dr. Grabe observes, either in that, or any other part of St. Jerom's works. Another writer with as little truth, asserts the same thing, on the authority of venerable Bede; and some also appeal to Polycarp, as the voucher of it, and all of them take occasion to moralize upon it with great gravity, as an instance of God's judgment upon Heretics.*

· * Monsieur Bayle, who mentions this story with all these particulars, makes the following remark upon it: “ Obserre," says he, “ the progress of it. Irenæus was probably the first who published it, and contented himself with relating, barely, what he had heard. But those who came after him, finding his narrative too simple and naked, added some embroidery to it. They fancied it dishonourable to the memory of the apostle to have it believed that he had ever made use of the public baths: they affirmed, therefore, that he had never done it before, and was sent thither on this occasion by the express command of Heaven. It was vecessary, in the next place, to find out a good reason for so particular an inspiration : and a reason was presently found; viz, the importance of leiting the faithful know what a horror they all ought to conceive against the enemies of the truth ; and how the divine justice was always ready to exert itself by some exemplary severity against an arch-heretic. Lastly, as it might

A Hymn. [From the United States' Literary Gazette.] The groves were God's first temples. Ere man learned To hew the shaft, and lay the architrave, And spread the roof above them,mere he framed The lofty yault, to gather and roll back The sound of antheins : in the darkling wood, Amidst the cool and silence, he knelt down And offered to the Mightiest, solemn thanks And supplication. For his simple heart Might not resist the sacred influences That, from the stilly twilight of the place And from the gray old trunks that high in heaven Miogled their mossy boughs, and from the sound Of the invisible breath that swayed at once All their green tops, stole o'er him, and bowed His spirit with the thought of boundless power And inaccessible majesty. Ab, why Should we, in the world's riper years, neglect God's ancient sanctuaries, and adore Only among the crowd and under roofs That our frail hands have raised ? Let me at least, Here, in the shadow of this aged wood, Offer one bymn-thrice bappy, if it fiud Acceptance in His ear.

" Father, thy hand Hath reared these venerable columns, thou Didst weave this verdant roof. Thou didst look down Upon the naked earth, and forth with rose All these fair ranks of trees. They, in thy sun, Budded, and shook their green leaves in thy breeze, And shot towards heaven. The century-living croir Whose birth was in their tops, grew old and died Among their branches, till, at last, they stood, As now they stand, massy and tall and dark, Fit shrine for humble worshiper to hold Communion with his Maker. Here are seen No traces of man's pomp or pride ;-—no silks

seem indecent for St. John to be thought liable to any vain and unnecessary fear, so it was found convenient to suppose, that the heretic, with whom he refused to bathe himself, was crushed to pieces by the fall of the house." Vide Artic. CERINTHUS, Note D, in Dictionaire.

Rustle, no jewels shine, nor envious eyes Encounter; no fantastic carvings shew . . The boast of our vain race to change the form Of thy fair works. But thou art here-thou fill'st The solitude. Thou art in the soft winds That run along the summits of these trees, - In music ;—thou art in the cooler breath,

That, from the inmost darkness of the place, Comes, scarcely felt ;-the barky trunks, the ground, The fresh moist ground, are all instinct with thee. Here is continual worship;nature, here, In the tranquillity that thou dost love, Enjoys thy presence. Noiselessly around, From perch to perch, the solitary bird Passes; and yon clear spring, that, 'midst its herbs, Wells softly forth and visits the strong roots Of half the mighty forest, tells no tale Of all the good it does. Thou hast not left Thyself without a witness, in these shades, , Of thy perfections. Grandeur, strength and grace Are here to speak of thee. This mighty oakBy whose iminoveable stem I stand and seem Almost annihilated—not a prince, In all the proud old world beyond the deep, E'er wore his crown as loftily as he Wears the green coronal of leaves with which Thy hand has graced him. Nestled at his root Is beauty, such as blooms not in the glare Of the broad sun. That delicate forest flower, With scented breath, and look so like a smile, Seems, as it issues from the shapeless mould, An emanation of the indwelling Life, A visible token of the upholding Love, That are the soul of this wide universe.

My heart is awed within me, when I think
Of the great miracle that still goes on,
In silence, round me- the perpetual work
Of thy creation, finished, yet renewed
For ever. Written on thy works I read
The lesson of thy own eternity.
Lo! all grow old and die—but see, again,
How on the faltering footsteps of decay
Youth presses--every gay and beautiful youth.

In all its beautiful forms. These lofty trees
Wave not less proudly that their ancestors
Moulder beneath them. Oh, there is not lost
One of earth's charins; upon her bosom yet,
After the flight of untold centuries,
The freshness of her far beginning lies,
And yet shall lie. Life mocks the idle bate
Of his arch enemy Death-yea, seats himself
Upon the sepulchre, and blooms and smiles,
And of the triumphs of his ghastly foe
Makes his own nourishment. For he came forth
From thine own bosom, and shall have no end.

There have been holy men who hid themselves
Deep in the woody wilderness, and gave
Their lives to thought and prayer, till they outlived
The generation born with them, nor seemed
Less aged than the hoary trees and rocks
Around them ;-and there have been holy men
Who deemed it were not well to pass life thus.
But let me often to these solitudes
Retire, and in thy presence treasure
My feeble virtue. Here its enemies,
The passions, at thy plainer footsteps shrink
And tremble and are still. Oh God! when thou
Dost scare the world with tempests, sett'st on fire
The heavens with falling thunderbolts, or fill'st
With all the waters of the firmament
The swift dark whirlwind that uproots the woods
And drowns the villages; when, at thy call,
Uprises tbe great deep and throws himself
Upon the continent and overwhelms
Its cities--who forgets not, at the sight
Of these tremendous tokens of thy power,
His pride, and lays his strifes and follies by ?
Oh, from these sterner aspects of thy face
Spare me and mine, nor let us need the wrath
Of the mad unchained elements to teach
Who rules them. Be it ours to meditate
In these calin shades thy milder majesty,
And, to the beautiful order of thy works, .
Learn to conform the order of our lives,

Bridit

en Cullen tiruna

« 上一頁繼續 »