Слике страница
PDF
ePub

115

CHAP. VIII.

EVANGELISTS IN THE REIGN OF TRAJAN.

6

6

6

6

EUSEBIUSa in the history of things in the reign of Trajan has this remarkable passage:

Among those who were illustrious at that time was • Quadratus, who, together with the daughters of Philip, is • said to have enjoyed the gift of prophecy. And beside • these there were at that time many other eminent persons,

whob had the first rank in the succession of the apostles : ' who, being the worthy disciples of such men, every where • built up the churches, the foundations of which had been • laid by the apostles ; extending likewise their preaching * yet farther, and scattering abroad the salutary seeds of

the kingdom of heaven all over the world. For many of 'the disciples of that time, whose souls the Divine Word . had inspired with an ardent love of philosophy, first ful• filled our Saviour's precept, distributing their substance • to the necessitous. 'Then travelling abroad, they per• formed the work of evangelists, being ambitious to preach • Christ, and deliver the scripture of the divine gospels.'

I presume I have not improperly placed this passage here. Eusebius, as I just said, is writing the history of things under Trajan. In the foregoing chapter he had given an account of Ignatius and his writings, who died in the tenth of Trajan. And in the two following chapters he speaks of Clement of Rome, and Papias. Though therefore Eusebius does not always place things in bis Ecclesiastical History in the exact order of time; yet I think it must be allowed, that he was fully persuaded, that before the end of the reign of Trajan, who died in 117, the gospels were well known, and collected together : and they who preached the doctrine of Christ to those who had not heard it, carried the gospels with them, and delivered them to their converts. They must therefore have been before this for some time in use, and in the highest esteem in the churches planted by the apostles. It must have been no difficult thing at that time to know the genuineness of writings which were of so great authority with them. And a H. E. l. 3. c. 37.

Την πρωτην ταξιν της των αποφολων επεχοντες διαδοχης.

Και την των θειων ευαγγελιων παραδιδοναι γραφην.

b

с

a

certainly they were well assured of it, or they had not so highly esteemed them. The persons of whom Eusebius here speaks were the immediate successors of the apostles, and had the first rank among them : and they lived a good part of their time in the very first century, as well as St. Ignatius and St. Clement.

There can be, I think, but one exception to my placing this passage here, in the reign of Trajan, at the year 112, which is, that this is not a passage of any ancient writer of this time, but of Eusebius, an author of the fourth century. To which I would answer, that it is reasonable to suppose, Eusebius had good ground, from ancient authors, for what he here says. And that the gospels were before now well known, and in great esteem, and collected together, appears probable from what we ourselves have seen in the apostolical fathers still remaining, particularly in Ignatius. If this does not satisfy, I would add, that I do not intend to bring forward many more passages of Eusebius, or any other writer, in this manner.

CHAP. IX.

PAPIAS.

PAPIAS is placed by Cavea at the year 110. According to others, he flourished about the yearb 115, oro 116. How long he lived is uncertain. He is said hy somed to have been a martyr. But as this is not mentioned by Eusebius or Jerom, I think it need not be much regarded. Irenæus speaks of him as a hearer of John, and companion of Polycarp; and by John seems to intend the apostle and evangelist.

Eusebius, in his Ecclesiastical History, has a whole chapter concerning him, beside what he says of him in other places. There is no part of that chapter which we shall not have occasion for at one time or other. I think therefore, though it be long, it will be the shortest course to take

all here at once.

a Hist. Lit. Papias.

b Basnage, Ann. P. E. 115. n. 8. Pagi, Crit. in Bar. A. D. 116. Cleric. H. E.

d Vid. Cave, ibid. e L. v. c. 33.

[ocr errors]

6

6

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

6

6

• There are,' says Eusebius, ' five books of Papias, entitled, An Explication of the Oracles of the Lord. These • Irenæus makes mention of as the only books written by • him, after this manner : “ These things Papias, who was a • hearer of John, and a companion of Polycarp, an ancient

man, attests in his fourth book : for there are five books ' composed by him.” Thus speaks Irenæus. But Papias • in the preface of his books does by no means say, thath • he heard or saw any of the holy apostles : but only, that • he had received the thing's concerning the faith from those • who were well acquainted with them, which he shows in • these words : “ I shall not think much to set down toge*ther with my interpretations, what I have learned from ' the elders, [or presbyters,] and do well remember, confirming the truth by them. For I took no delight, as most men do, in those that talk a great deal, but in those that • teach the truth, nor in those that relate strange precepts, * but in them that relate the precepts which the Lord has

entrusted us with, and which proceed from the truth it• self. And if at any time I met with one who had con* versed with the elders, I enquired after the sayings of the • elders: what Andrew or what Peter said ; or what Phi.

lip, what Thomas, or James had said: what John or • Matthew, or what any other of the disciples of the Lord

were wont to say: and what Aristion, or John the pres• byter, disciples of the Lord say: for I was of opinion, that I could not profit so much by books k as by the

Where it is proper to observe, that he twice mentions the name of John; the former of whom he * reckons with Peter, James, Matthew, and the rest of the

apostles, manifestly intending the evangelist. Then mak* ing a distinction in his discourse, he places the other John

with the others who are not of the number of apostles, * putting Aristion before him; and he expressly calls him . presbyter. By which too is shown the truth of their account, who have said, that there were two in Asia of that name; and that there were two sepulchres at Ephesus, • and that each of them are still said to be the sepulchre of

6

6

[ocr errors]

6

living."

6

6

6

6

6

6

8

i H. E. 1. 3. c. 39.

Αρχαιος ανηρ. " It is therefore still a question, whether Papias was a hearer of John the apostle, as Irenæus seems to intimate, or only of John the elder. See this question considered by Grabe, Spic. T. 2. p. 26, &c. Tillem. Mem. Ec. T. 2. p. 2. St. Papias, Note i. Pagi, Crit. in Baron. 116. n. 5. Basnage, Ann. 115. n. ix. Beausobre, Hist. des Manich. liv. 2. ch. 2. p. 352. Note (2.) Παρα των πρεσβυτερων.

k 'Όσον τα παρα ζωσης φωνης και μενεσης.

i

6

6

6

6

[ocr errors]

6

6

6

• John. This is worthy of our remark. For it is likely * that the Revelation, which goes under the name of John, was seen by the second, if not by the first. This Papias then, of whom we have been speaking, confesseth, that he received the apostles' sayings from those who conversed • with them; and says, thai he was a hearer of Aristion, and • John the presbyter. And indeed he often mentions them by name, and puts down in his writings the traditions he had received from them. Nor will our mention of these things, I suppose, be judged unprofitable. It will be • worth while to add here to the fore-cited words of Papias

some other of his passages, in which he mentions some * miracles, and other things which had come to him by tra• dition. That Philip the apostle resided with his daugh

ters at Hierapolis, has been shown in some things we have alrcady produced. Now we are to observe how Papias, • who lived at the same time, mentions a wonderful relation • he had received from Philip's daughters. For be relates, • that in his time a dead man was raised to life. He also • relates another miracle of Justus surnamed Barsabas : • that he drank deadly poison, and by the grace of the • Lord suffered no harm. Now that this Justus, after the

ascension of our Saviour, was sent forth by the holy apos• tles together with Matthias, and that they prayed, that one of them might be allotted to fill up their number in the room of Judas the traitor, the scripture of the Acts re• lates in this manner, ch. i. 23, 24, “ And they appointed •two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said.” And other things the same writer has related, which he received by unwritten tradition, and some strange parables of our Saviour, and sermons of his, and several other things of a • fabulous kind. Among which he says likewise, that

there shall be a thousand years after the resurrection of • the dead, wherein the kingdom of Christ shall corporally *subsist upon this earth. Which opinion, I suppose, he

was led into by misunderstanding the apostolical narra• tions; and for want of seeing into those things which

they spoke mystically, and in figures. For bem was a 'man of no great capacity, as may be conjectured from his * writings. Yet he gave occasion to a great many ecclesias• tical writers after him to be of the same opinion, who re

spected the antiquity of the man; as Irenæus, and the • rest who have maintained that opinion. In the same I L. 3. c. 31.

Σφοδρα γαρ τοι σμικρος ων τον νεν, ώς αν εκ των αυτο λογων, τεκμηραμενον ειπειν, φαινεται.

6

[ocr errors]

6

[ocr errors]

6

[ocr errors]

6

6

m

6

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

6

6

6

6

• writing he delivers many other narrations of the fore

mentioned Aristion, of the words of the Lord, and tradi• tions of John the presbyter ; to which we refer the curi*ous reader. But it is requisite we should subjoin to his • fore-cited passages a tradition which he has concerning • Mark, who wrote the gospel, in these words : " And this

6 • the presbyter (or elder] said : Mark being the interpreter

of Peter wrote exactly whatever he remembered : but not in the order in which things were spoken or done by • Christ. For he was neither a hearer, nor a follower of • the Lord; but, as I said, afterwards followed Peter, who * made his discourses for the profit of those that beard him, • but not in the way of a regular history of our Lord's • words. Mark however committed no mistake in writing some things, as they occurred to his memory. For this one thing be" made his care, to omit nothing which he • had heard, and to say nothing false in what he related.” • Thus Papias writes of Mark.. Concerning Matthew he • says: “ Matthew wrote the [divine] oracles in the He• brew tongue, and every one interpreted them as he was

able." He also brings testimonies out of the first epistle • of John, and of Peter in like manner. He relates also • another story, of a woman accused of many crimes before • the Lord, which is contained in the gospel according to • the Hebrews.'

It should be just observed, that in another placer Eusebius, speaking of Ignatius and Polycarp, says: * At the * same time fourished Papias, bishop of Hierapolis, an

eloquent man, and skilful in the scriptures.' But Valesius in his notes offers divers reasons for believing this last character to be an interpolation : it being wanting in several manuscripts, and also in the translation of Rufinus, and contrary to what Eusebius says in the above-cited chapter.

I need not put down distinctly what Jerom in his Catalogue says of Papias, it being little more than a transcript of Eusebius. Only we may observe, that he assures us he was bishop of Hierapolis in Asia, and that he wrote five books, called An Explication of the Words of the Lord.

Omitting now the confirmation which Papias affords to the facts of the evangelical history, in what he says of our blessed Lord and his apostles, there are divers things in the foregoing chapter of Eusebius to be taken notice of,

“Ως τε εδεν ήμαρτε Μαρκος, έτως ενια γραψας ως απομνημονευσεν ένος γαρ εποιησατο προνοιαν, τε μηδεν ών ηκεσε παραλιπειν, η ψευσασθαι τι εν

ο Ην το καθ' 'Εβραιες ευαγγελιoν περιεχει. P H. E. 1. 3. c. 36. in.

6

[ocr errors]

n

αυτοις.

« ПретходнаНастави »