Слике страница
PDF
ePub

у

6

dom, of what kind it was, and when and where it should appear? Luke xix. 11; they answered that it was not worldly nor terrene, but heavenly and angelical, and would be in the end of the world; when he coming in glory should judge the quick and the dead, and render to every man according to his works,' 2 Tim. iv. 1.

I do not pretend absolutely to determine a reference to any particular texts in these last words : but I have thought it very proper to place them here, together with what precedes, as representing the doctrine of the New Testament very much in the style of it.

I omit the next fragment of this author in* Eusebius, giving the history of the martyrdom of Simeon bishop of Jerusalem, it containing nothing suitable to our present design.

III. But afterwards, in another chapter, Eusebius observes several things which were in the five books of this writer : • That in his journey to Rome he visited many bi• shops, in particular Primus bishop of Corinth, where he • staid many days: and where,' says he,' we received mu• tual refreshment from the true faith. From thence he

went to Rome, and staid there to the time of Eleutherus.' Hez adds: “And in every succession, and in every city, • the same doctrine is taught, which the law, and the pro'phets, and the Lord preacheth.” Here it seems, that by • the Lord' he must mean the scriptures of the New Testament; which he looks upon as containing the very doctrine taught and preached by Jesus Christ. However, he afterwards speaks of heresies; but the true church was free from these.

IV. · He also takes some things,' saysa Eusebius, “out of • the gospel according to the Hebrews, and out of the • Syriac, and in particular out of the Hebrew tongue; manifesting hereby, that he is one of the faithful from among the Hebrews.'

The former part of this sentence is rendered agreeably to the translation of Valesius, which I suppose is generally taken very contentedly; though, on the other hand, some have been mightily puzzled about the true meaning. I think Valesius's version is agreeable enough to the Greek

6

.

6

6

6

* L. iii. cap. 32.

y L. iv. cap. 22. 1 Εν έκας) δε διαδοχη και εν εκαση πολει ουτως εχει, ως ο νομος κηρυττει,

ó και οι προφηται, και ο Κυριος. p. 142. C.

1 Εκ τε τε καθ' Εβραιες ευαγγελια, και το Συριακο, και ιδιως εκ της Εβραϊδος διαλεκτο τινα τιθησιν, εμφαινων εξ Εβραιων αυτον πεπιςευκεναι. p. 143. B.

6

6

in Eusebius. But one would be apt to suspect our present copies are here hardly right. I cannot pretend to correct them : but I imagine that St. Jerom has given us, though undesignedly, the true sense of what Eusebius wrote, when he says: - in the gospel according to the He,

b brews, which is written indeed in the Syriac and Chaldaic tongue, [or Syro-Chaldaic tongue,] but in Hebrew characters is this history;' which he there relates.

Let this passage of Eusebius be allowed to be ever so obscure, I think it affords proof, that there was an Hebrew

gospel in the time of Hegesippus, and that he made use of it; but how far, we cannot say. Here is nothing to help us to determine the question, whether this gospel according to the Hebrews, written in the Syriac language, but in Hebrew letters, was a translation, or an original.

V. The last passage concerning our author to be taken from Eusebius is this: "And discoursing c of the books * called apocryphal, he relates, that some of them were • forged by some heretics in his tiine.'

Whether he speaks of apocryphal books of the Old Testament, or the New, may be doubtful; because the last preceding observation of Eusebius is, that this writer, as well as Irenæus, and some other ancients, call the Proverbs of Solomon by the name of Wisdom. But the connection in Eusebius does not, I think, afford any certain proof that he means the apocryphal books of the Old Testament. However this we may learn hence, that the first christians were not only upon their guard against heretics, but also against their forgeries.

VI. Beside these, there is a remarkable fragınent of Hegesippus preserved by Photiusd in his extracts out of Stephen Gobar, a tritheistical writer of the sixth century.

Gobar there says: • The eye hath not seen, nor • heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the • things which God hath prepared for the righteous : thoughe Hegesippus, an ancient and apostolical man, in

[ocr errors]

ear

6

6

с

6 In evangelio juxta Hebræos, quod Chaldaïco quidem Syroque sermone, sed Hebraïcis literis scriptum est;--adv. Pelagian. lib. iii. init. Op. T. iv. Part 2. p. 533. ed. Bened.

Και περι των λεγομενων δε αποκρυφων διαλαμβανων, επι των αυτ8 χρονων προς τινων αιρετικων αναπεπλασθαι τινα τετων ισορει. p. 143. Β.

d Cod. 232. p. 893. Ηγησιππος μεν τοι, αρχαιος τε ανηρ και αποκολικος, εν τω πεμπτω των απομνηματων, οιδ' ό, τι και παθων, μεν ειρησθαι ταυτα λεγει, και καταψευδεσθαι τες ταυτα φαμενος των τε θειων γραφων, και το Κυριο λεγοντος, Μακαριοι οι οφθαλμοι υμων οι βλεποντες, και τα ωτα υμων τα ακ8οντα, και εξης. Αpud Matth. Υμων δε μακαριοι οι οφθαλμοι, ότι βλεπεσι και τα ωτα υμων, ότι ακ8ει.

e

6

• the fifth book of his Commentaries, for Memoirs,] I know

] • not for what reason, says, this is said without ground, and

that they who say so contradict the divine scriptures, and • the Lord, who says: 66 Blessed are your eyes,

which

see, 6 and

your ears which hear :" and what follows.' Here is a good quotation of St. Matthew's gospel, ch. xiii. 16. The other words are in 1 Cor. ii. 9; Isa. Ixiv. 4. It is likely Hegesippus did not blamef these words themselves, but only some interpretation of them by persons who pretended that Jesus Christ was a mere phantom, and that the senses were not good judges of his actions.

VII. We have then seen in Hegesippus divers things expressed in the style of the gospels, and Acts, and some other parts of the New Testament. He refers to the history in the second chapter of St. Matthew, and recites another text of that gospel, as spoken by the Lord. He speaks of the doctrine taught by the law, the prophets, and the Lord; by which last expression he must mean some writing or writings containing the doctrine of Christ. Moreover, he used the gospel according to the Hebrews, and says, there had been books forged by heretics; but they were such only as were called apocryphal, and were not received by the Catholics as of authority.

CHAP. XV.

MELITO.

THIS writer will afford little relating to our present design. However, for the sake of that little, and his otherwise great merit, and many labours, it is very fit we should here settle his tinie, and give some account of him.

Melito is placed bya Cave at the year 170. He was bishop of Sardis in Lydia. Some moderns have supposed him to be the angel of the church of Sardis, to whom the epistle is directed, Rev. iii. 1–6; but this is without ground from antiquity: and, as s'illemonto observes, it would oblige us to suppose he was bishop above seventy years; which is not easy to believe, none of the ancients | Vid. Grabe, Spic. T. 2. p. 256.

a Hist. Lit. b Mem. Ec. T. ii. Meliton, Note 1

[ocr errors]

6

6

a

calling him a disciple of the apostles, or making any mention of his great age; and Eusebius placeth him after several others who flourished about the middle of the second century.

Polycrates, bishop of Ephesus, calls him an eunuch, on account, as is generally supposed, of his living a chaste and self-denying life in celibacy, for the sake of the gospel. • What need 1,' says he, mention Melito the eunuch, who • conducted himself in all things by the Holy Spirit, who o lies buried in Sardis ?' St. Jeromd informs us, that Tertullian, in one of his

• • books, praises Melito's elegant and oratorical genius, and says, that he was esteemed a prophet by many of our people.'

He travelled into Palestine on purpose to learn the number of the books of the Old Testament. His cataloguee is preserved by Eusebius, who took it out of Melito's preface to his book of Extracts out of the Law and the Prophets. • It is a catalogue,' says Eusebius,“ of the scriptures of the • Old Testament universally acknowledged.' 'It contains the books received by the Jews into their canon; but he does not mention the book of Esther. It is the first catalogue of the books of the Old Testament recorded by any christian writer.

Melito presented, or addressed at least, an Apology to Marcus Antoninus in behalf of the christians then under sufferings. It is placed by Eusebius in his Chronicle at the

year 170, the tenth of that emperor, after the death of Lucius Verus, adopted brother and colleague of Marcus Antoninus, which happened in the year 169. With Eusebius agrees the Alexandrian Chronicle. It is evident, it could not be written sooner than the year 170, or the latter part of 169. Pagiherein follows the Chronicle of Eusebius. Tillemont, from the manner in which Melito speaks of the emperor's son in a passage of his Apology, (recorded byi Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History,) concludes, that Commodus had then the tribunitian power, if he was not colleague with his father in the empire. The former, Commodus received in the year 175, and equal power with his father Marcus Antoninus in 176 or 177. Tillemont

Τι δε δει λεγειν--Μελιτωνα τον ευνεχον, τον εν άγιο πνευματι παντα TTON_Tevoajevov. ap. Eus. H. E. I. v. c. 24. p. 191. D.

4. Hujus elegans et declamatorium ingenium laudans Tertullianus in septem libris quos scripsit adversus ecclesiam pro Montano dicit eum a plerisque nostrorum prophetam putari. De Script. Ill. n. 24. e Eus. H. E. 1. iv. cap. 26. p. 148, 149.

f Ibid. 8 Critic. in B. 170. sect. 3.

h Meliton, as above, Note 2. i L, iv. c. 26. p. 148, A.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

therefore is inclined to place this Apology in the year 175, and Basnagek is rather for 177. This argument for the latter date of this Apology is so cogent, that I likewise choose to place it in 177.

Eusebius' has given us this catalogue of Melito's works: • Two books concerning Easter : Rules of Life, and of the

Prophets : Of the Church: A Discourse of the Lord's • Day: Another of the Nature of Man, and of his Forma• tion: Of the Obedience of the Senses to Faith : Of the • Soul and Body, or of the Mind : Concerning Baptism: • Of Truth, and of Faith, and the Generation of Jesus

Christ: His Book of Prophecy, and of Hospitality : and • the Key, and of the Devil, and m the Revelation of John.' Another book, the title of which I do not translate, because the meaning of it is doubtful. And lastly, his

• • little book to Antoninus:' by which Eusebius means his forementioned Apology.

St. Jeromp gives also a catalogue of Melito's works, in the main agreeable to Eusebius. We need not here concern ourselves about some little differences between them. These books are all lost, except a few fragments.

It was not amiss to put down here at length the titles of all this good man's works, to show the diligence of our christian ancestors. But the only piece belonging to our present design is that concerning the Revelation of John. What it contained, we are not informed. Mill9 says, it was a commentary upon that book. It is plain he ascribed that book to John, and very likely to John the apostle. I think it very probable he esteemed it a book of canonical authority.

There is nothing in the fragment of his Apology preserved by Eusebius to be inserted here. But in his preface to his Extracts out of the Law and the Prophets is a short passage, which I shall put down in this place, having only first observed, that' Eusebius professes there to give us the passage he alleges, word for word. It is a letter to one Onesimus, to whom Melito says: “When therefore I went

a

η Και ο

k Ann, Polit. Ec. 177. sect. 3.

'H. E. 1. iv. c. 26. p. 146, 147. η Και τα περι τε διαβολα, και της αποκαλυψεως Ιωαννε. περι ενσωματ8 θες.

• See Tillemont, as before, in Meliton, Note 3. et Fabric. Gr. V. v. and the references there. p De Vir. Ill. cap. 24.

9 Melito vero Sardensis ecclesiæ (ad quem quintam Johannis, cap. 3. Apoc. epistolam datam aiunt) episcopus integro eam commentario illustravit

. Prolegom. n. 227. Εχοντα επιλεξεως ούτως. p. 148. D. 5 Ανελθων εν εις την ανατολης, και έως το τοπο γενομενος ενθα εκηρυχθη και επραχθη, και ακριβως μαθων τα της παλαιας διαθηκης βιβλια, υποταξας επεμψα σοι. Ιbid. p. 149. Α.

[ocr errors]
« ПретходнаНастави »