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tion, and give some authority to, the Apostolical Constitutions.
The second of those Fragments begins thus: They* who are acquainted with [or have understood] the latter constitutions of the apostles, know that the Lord in the New Testament has appointed a new offering, according to what is said in the prophet Malachi, i. 11, "For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same, my name shall be great among the Gentiles, and in every place incense shall be offered to my name, and a pure offering." As also John in the Revelation, v. 8, says: "The incense is the prayers of the saints." And Paul exhorts us, Rom. xii. 1, to" present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is our reasonable service." And again, Heb. xiii. 15, “Let us offer the sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of the lips." These offerings indeed are not according to the law, the hand-writing of which the Lord having blotted out, has taken it out of the way, but according to the spirit,' Col. ii. 14. "For God ought to be worshipped in spirit and truth," John iv. 24. Upon this passage I make only two remarks.
1. There is no good and sufficient evidence, that this is a passage of Irenæus bishop of Lyons. I learn from Dr. Pfaff's preface to his edition of the Fragments of St. Irenæus, that the learned marquis Scipio Maffei had proposed in the Italian Literary Journal several objections against their genuineness. I have not seen that Journal. However, there can be no question but Dr. Pfaff has fairly represented those objections in his preface. But so far as I am able to judge, he has not fully answered them, especially those against this second Fragment, which is attended with some difficulties peculiar to itself. I perceive likewise by a note of the marquis Maffei upon the Complexions of Cassiodorus, or Cassiodorius, (as that learned man thinks his name should be written,) that he is not convinced by what Dr. Pfaff has said. I add one objection against this second Fragment, which I do not see urged by the marquis Maffei that the writer, whoever he is, seems to own the epistle to the Hebrews for St. Paul's; whereas, I suppose it
* Οἱ ταις δευτεραις των αποτολων διατάξεσι παρηκολεθηκοτες ισασι, τον Κυριον νεαν προσφοραν εν τη καινη διαθηκη καθεςηκεναι κατα το Μαλαχις τε προφητε-ώσπερ και ὁ Ιωαννης εν τη Αποκαλυψει λεγει τα θυμιαματα εισιν αἱ προσευχαι των ἁγιων και ὁ Παυλος παρακαλει ἡμας παρατησαι τα σωματα ἡμων θυσιαν ζωσαν, ἅγιαν, ευαρεσον τῳ Θεῳ, την λογικην λατρειαν ἡμων, και παλιν Αναφερωμεν θυσιαν αινεσεως, τετέςι καρπον χειλεων. κ. λ. Irenæi Fragmenta Anecdota, p. 25. Hagæ comitum. 1715.
y Annot. ad Complexion. Cassiodor. in 1 Ep. ad Corinth. sect. xx.
has been before shown to be probable, that St. Irenæus, though he was acquainted with that epistle, did not know it to be St. Paul's, or own it as such. It appears to me indiscreet to admit the genuineness of a passage taken out of one of the Greek chains, as they are called, which is liable to several considerable difficulties.
2. The former part of this passage is obscure. Nor is it any wonder that there should be some obscurity, when we know not what preceded in the place of the author whence it was originally taken. It is not easy to say, what is meant by the latter, or second constitutions of the apostles. It is by no means plain, that the author intends any book with that title. He rather seems to mean only the constitutions, ordinances, or appointments of the apostles in the books of the New Testament, commonly received; and these he calls the later, in opposition to the more ancient ordinances of the law. This is the sense which first offers itself to my mind, and appears to be the most natural and likely meaning of the words. I have transcribed the more of this passage, that those of my readers who have not an opportunity of consulting the original may the better form some judgment of it. I shall only add, that in the third passage, published by Dr. Pfaff as a Fragment of St. Irenæus, the word 'constitute, appoint, or ordain,' is used concerning the directions and precepts of the apostles in their epistles: Thea apostles have ordained, that we "should not judge any man in meat or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath-days."'
Perhaps he intends particularly the precepts of the apostles in their epistles: and these he calls the latter, or second, with regard to the preceding doctrine and precepts of Christ himself in the gospels. But we need not be much concerned about the meaning of a passage, of which we know neither the time nor the author.
XII. The last thing which we are to consider, is upon what account Irenæus receives the gospels of Mark and Luke, and the Acts of the Apostles, written likewise by St. Luke; since these were not apostles, and he does not appear to have received any books as part of the sacred scriptures of the New Testament, but such as were written by apostles, excepting the writings of these two persons: and, if I mistake not, the ground upon which he receives the writings of these two evangelists is, that they were well • Εταξαν οἱ αποςολοι, μη δειναι ἡμας κρίνειν τινα εν βρώσει, και εν ποσει, και εν μερει ἑορτης, κ. λ. Irenæi Fragmenta Anecd. p. 147.
See p. 176, 177.
informed of the doctrine of the apostles, and have faithfully recorded it.
This seems evident from the passage above cited, where he says: Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, delivered to us in writing the things which had been preached by Peter; and Luke, the companion of Paul, put down in a book the gospel preached by him.'
For this reason it is, that he calls all the gospels, the gospels of the apostles. The Valentinians seem to have written a new gospel, of which Irenæus speaks in this manner: They have become so audacious,' says he, 'as to call that which has not been long since written by them, the gospel of truth, though it agree in nothing with the gospels of the apostles. And he there speaks several times of the things contained in the gospels being delivered by the apostles, in a passage somewhat obscure; for which reason I place the rest of it only in the margin, as we have it in the Latin version. But there were two only of the gospels written by apostles: the other two can be no otherwise the apostles', but as they contain the preaching or doctrine of the apostles; just as all the scriptures of the New Testament are the scriptures of the Lord, as containing his doctrine, whilst he himself wrote nothing. I say, they can be no otherwise the gospels of the apostles, but in the sense before mentioned: unless it should be supposed that, after they were written by those evangelists, they were expressly approved and authorized by the apostles. But this is not the ground Irenæus goes upon; (which is what we are now enquiring into ;) but the veracity of these evangelists, and their intimacy with the apostles, whose disciples and inseparable companions they were, and whose doctrine they have faithfully delivered in writing.
And that Irenæus could not proceed upon the ground of an express approbation of the apostles, is evident, at least as to Mark's gospel in that he 6 it was says, after their exit,' that is, either death or departure of the apostles Peter and Paul, that Mark delivered to us in writing the things that had been preached by Peter.
These two gospels, then, and the Acts, were received by b P. 170. c Si quidem in tantum processerunt audaciæ, uti quod ab his non olim conscriptum est, veritatis evangelium titulent, in nihilo conveniens apostolorum evangeliis, ut neque evangelium quidem sit apud eos sine blasphemia. Si enim quod ab eis profertur, veritatis est evangelium, dissimile est autem hoc illis, quæ ab apostolis nobis tradita sunt, qui volunt, possunt discere, quemadmodum ex scripturis ostenditur ; jam non esse id quod ab apostolis traditum est, veritatis evangelium, &c. L. iii. cap. xi
him as faithful narratives of the apostles' doctrine, composed by persons fully acquainted with it; with the guidance and assistance, undoubtedly, of the Holy Spirit. This observation, if just, may be of use to us hereafter.
ATHENAGORAS. HIS HISTORY.
WE have two pieces of Athenagoras, an Apology for the Christians, and a Treatise of the Resurrection. The Apology has the title of an embassy: from whence some have concluded, that Athenagoras was deputed by the christians of the country in which he lived, and waited upon the Roman emperor with this Apology. Others a rather think, there is no reason to suppose it was ever presented; and the Greek word translated embassy may as well signify a petition. There is no mention of Athenagoras in Eusebius or Jerom; but he is quoted by Methodius in a passage of his preserved in Epiphanius and Photius: and there is a particular account given by Philip Sidetes, (who flourished in the beginning of the fifth century,) in a Fragment of his Christian History published by Dodwell. Philip says, Athenagoras was at first a heathen, and that he intended to write against the christians: but when he was reading the scriptures, with a view of making his work the more complete, he was converted. He says that Athenagoras flourished under Adrian and Antoninus the pious, to whom his Apology was presented; and that he was the first president of the catechetical school of Alexandria, and master of Clement, who wrote the Stromata. I think it not easy to rely upon this account of Philip. Basnage f has made divers exceptions to it. It is certain the History of Philip has no great character given it by Socrates, or Photius, who had read it. As there is little said of Athenagoras by the ancients that can be relied on, we can know little certain of him, but
a See Bayle, Dict. H. et Critic. Athenagoras, Note B.
d Cod. 234. p. 908.
f Ann. P. E. 176. sect. 6.
h Cod. 35. p. 21.
Hær. 64. sect. 21. Vid. et Petav. not. p. 261.
what may be collected from his works themselves: nor will they afford much light into his history. In the title, however, of both these pieces he is styled an Athenian, and a philosopher.
The Apology is inscribed to Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, and Lucius Aurelius Commodus: but learned men differ about the time of it. Pagi is of opinion the Apology was written in 166: Dodwell, in 168: Cave,' about 177: Du Pin, in 178: Basnage," in 176: Tillemont, not before 177, which is also the opinion of Mr. Mosheim.
The chief ground of this difference is a doubt about one of the persons to whom the Apology is addressed. Pagi and Dodwell suppose it was addressed to Marcus Antoninus, and his adopted brother and colleague in the empire, Lucius Verus, who died in 169. The learned men of the other opinion think it was inscribed to Marcus Antoninus, and his son Commodus: and if to them, then after Commodus had the proconsular power: which is the opinion of Basnage who therefore places the Apology in 176, or else when Commodus had equal power with his father, which he did not receive till the year 177. This is the opinion of Tillemont and others, who place it in 177, or a little later. In behalf of this later date Tillemont has a learned argument to whom I refer the reader, and to Bayle's account of the controversy in his Dictionary, in the article of Athenagoras. I shall only observe farther, that Fabricius, who doubtless had seen and weighed the arguments on both sides, says: Athenagoras seems to have ' written his Apology between the year of Christ 177 and 180, and to have presented it (so he thinks) to M. Anto'ninus and Commodus, whose names are prefixed to it in all the manuscripts:' and Mr. Mosheim has supported his opinion with divers arguments and considerations, omitted by others.
As this opinion appears to me much the more probable of the two, I therefore place Athenagoras at the year 177 or 178.
It is likely the discourse Of the Resurrection of the
i Critic. in Baron. A. D. 165. sect. vi. 177. sect. viii, &c.
1 Hist. Lit.
n Annal. Polit. E. An. 176. sect. 6, &c.
• Mem. Ec. Tom. ii. Persecution de Marc Aurèle, Artic. 8, and Note x. ℗ Vid. ejusd. Diss. de verà ætat. Apol. Athenag.
In the place before referred to.
Apologiam videtur scripsisse Athenagoras intra annum Christi 177 et 180, obtulisseque M. Aurelio Antonino et L. Commodo, quoruni nomen in MSS. codicibus constanter præfixum legitur. Bibl. Gr. vol. vi. p. 86.