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Rome, required the bishops of Asia to follow the custom of other churches. Polycrates, having consulted the bishops of Asia, wrote a letter with their approbation to Victor and the church of Rome, declaring their resolution to keep Easter at the time they had hitherto observed it: whereupon Victor excommunicated ball the churches of Asia, and those in their neighbourhood. Of this epistle there are two fragments in Eusebius. This is in short the history of Polycrates. It will be confirmed by that part of his letter which I am now about to transcribe, so far as is suitable to our purpose.
Only I would first of all observe, thato confirms the account given by Eusebius : and farther speaks of Polycrates as a person of considerable capacity and authority; and says, he flourished in the time of the emperor Severus, who began his reign in 193.
• We therefore,' says d Polycrates,' observe the true and genuine day, neither adding nor detracting any thing. For in Asia there are great lights buried, which shall be raised up in the day of the Lord's advent, in which he shall come with glory from heaven, and shall raise up all his saints ; as Philip, one of the twelve apostles, and moreover John, who leaned upon the Lord's breast. And what need I mention Melito, the eunuch, who conducted himself in all things by the Spirit; who rests in Sardis, expecting the visitation from heaven, at which he shall rise from the dead? All these have kept the day of Easter on the fourteenth day according to the gospel ; not transgressing in the least, but following the rule [or canon] of faith. And so have 1 Polycrates, who am the least of all, according to the tradition of my relations, some of whom also I have followed; for seven of my relations have been bishops, and I am the eighth : and my relations always kept the day, when the people [of the Jews] cast away their leaven. "I therefore, brethren, who k am sixty-five years of age in the
6 Lord, and who have conversed with the brethren in many
· Eus. I. v. c. 24. p. 192. B. C. et Socrat. H. E. l. v. c. 22. p.
284. B. c Hæc propterea posui, ut ingenium et auctoritatem viri ex parvo opusculo demonstrarem. Floruit temporibus Severi principis. De Vir. III. cap. 45. Ap. Eus. p. 191.
€ Ετι δε και Ιωάννης ο επι το σηθος Κυριε αναπεσων.
* Ουτοι παντες ετηρησαν την ημεραν της τεσσαρεσκαιδεκάτης τ8 πασχα κατα το ευαγγελιoν, μηδεν παρεκβαινοντες, αλλα κατα τον κανονα της πιςεως ακολοθοντες. 191. D.
8 Εγω ουν, αδελφοι, εξηκοντα πεντε ετη εχων εν Κυρια, και συμβεβληκως τους απο της οικουμενης αδελφοις, και πασαν άγιαν γραφην διεληλυθως, ο πτυρομαι επι τοις καταπλησσομενοις. Οι γαρ εμο μειζονες ειρηκασι, πειθαρχειν δει θεφ μαλλον η ανθρωπους. p. 192. Α.
parts of the world, and have read over all the holy scripture, am not moved at what I am threatened with. For they who are greater than me have said : “ We ought to obey God rather than men,”' Acts v. 29. .
We are at present to observe only what has a relation to any particular books of the New Testament, or to the collection of them in general.
When Polycrates calls Melito an eunuch, possibly he refers to Matt. xix. 12, where our Lord says: There be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake."
When he observes of John, that he • leaned on the Lord's breast :' he very probably refers to those places of St. John's gospel where this particular is mentioned : as ch. xüi, 25; xxi. 20.
Where he says, that greater than he had said : ought to obey God rather than men," there is an undoubted reference to Acts v. 29.
He moreover speaks of many who had observed this feast on the fourteenth day . according to the gospel; probably meaning thereby the collection of gospels, which he likewise calls the rule of faith.
Lastly, he says, he had read over all the holy scripture ;' meaning, it is likely, the scripture of the Old and the New Testament, and perhaps those of the New in particular,
This testimony needs not be summed up: it lies in a short compass.
And several other writers near the end of the second century.
HERACLITUS, says a Cave, flourished about the year 196. He is mentioned by Eusebius in his b Ecclesiastical History, together with several other writers of the church, who lived in the reign of Commodus and Severus, or about that time.
· Hist. Lit. p. 60.
b L. v. cap. 27.
• Moreover,' says he, there still remain, in the bands of many, divers monuments of the laudable industry of those ancient and ecclesiastical men. Of such of them as have
to our knowledge are the writings (or commen*taries] of Heraclitus upon the apostle: and of Maximus, * concerning the question so much discoursed of among the
heretics, Whence proceeds evil? and concerning the • creation of matter : and of Candidus upon the six days' • work, and of Appion upon the same argument. Likewise • the treatise of Sextus on the resurrection, and a book of * Arabianus, and innumerable other :' whose time, Eusebius says,
he did not know. He goes on: • There are besides • treatiscs of inany others, whose names we have not been * able to learn ; d'orthodox and ecclesiastical men, as the • interpretations of the divine scripture given by each one • of them manifest.'
St. Jerom has inserted a short account, in his Book of Illustrious Men, of all these writers, whom Eusebius has mentioned by name; of e Heraclitus, Maximus, & Candidus, h Appion, Sextus, and k Arabianus. And Eusebius
i in another work has preserved a large fragment of Maximus, of whom he there gives a great encomium.
Of Heraclitus St. Jeromm says, agreeably to Eusebius, • In the time of Commodus and Severus he wrote commen• taries upon the apostle:' by which is generally understood, that Heraclitus wrote commentaries upon
the epistles of St. Paul. It is pity Eusebius, or Jerom, if they had read Heraclitus, did not give us a more particular account of his performance, and how many of the apostle's epistles he had explained.
I have nothing farther to add here, but that it may be probably concluded that all, or most, of those writers, who, as Eusebius says, had manifested their orthodoxy by their • interpretations of the divine scriptures,' had taken some notice of the books of the New, as well as of the Old Testament.
ο Ων γε μην αυτοι διεγνωμεν, ειη τα Ηρακλειτε εις τον αποκολον. Ιbid.
4 Ορθοδοξων μεν και εκκλησιαστικων, ως γε δη ή έκασα παραδεικνυσι της θειας γραφης ερμηνεια. Ιbid.
i Cap. 47. & Cap. 48. 1 Cap. 49.
i Cap. 50. k Cap. 51.
Præp. Evan. I. vii, p. 337. A. &c. n) Heraclitus sub Commodi Severique imperio in apostolum commentarios composuit. De Vir. Ill. cap. 46.
HERMIAS has left us a short, but elegant discourse, called, a A Derision, or Banter, of the Gentile Philosophers. In the inscription of this work he has the title of Philosopher ; but who he was, and when he lived, is unknown. Some have thought him to be a writer b of the fourth or fifth century : Cave supposes that he wrote in the second century, whose arguments appear to me sufficient to render his opinion probable. The work itself seems to show, as that learned author o observes, that Gentilism still prevailed: and Du Pind agrees with him, that it was written before the fall of paganism. Tillemonte likewise thinks the argument of his book gives ground to suppose, it was written in the first ages of the church. I have therefore placed him here in the last year of the second century.
I have not observed, in this discourse, any reference to the books of the New Testament, except a quotation at the very beginning of it, to this purpose: Thef blessed
· apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthians in Laconic Greece, did not speak beside the purpose, when he said: “ The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God," ' 1 Cor. iii. 19.
Ερμια φιλοσοφε διασυρμος των εξω φιλοσοφων. b Vid. Cave, Hist. Lit. P. i. p. 50. P. ii. p. 35, 36. Fabric. Bib. Gr. Tom. v. p. 96.
© Ex toto opusculi contextu constare videtur, vigente adhuc gentilismo scriptum fuisse. Hist. Lit. P. ii. p. 36.
d Il n'y a pas de doute, qu'il est ancien, et qu'il vivoit avant que la religion payenne fût détruite. Bibl. Eccl. Tom, i.
© Tout ce que nous en pouvons dire, c'est que son sujet donne lieu de croire, qu'il écrivoit dans les premiers siècles de l'Eglise, où l'on s'occupoit à détruire le paganisme. Mem. Ecc. T. iii. p. i. en Hermogene.
Παυλος ο μακαριος αποσολος, τοις την Ελλαδα την Λακωνικης παροικοσι Κορινθιους γραφων, ω αγαπητοι, απεφηνατο λεγων: Η σοφια τα κοσμο τοτε μωρια παρα τω θεώ, 8 ασκοπως ειπων. p. 175. B. Paris,
WE have already seen the testimony of two bishops of the church of Antioch, Ignatius and Theophilus; under which last we observed the succession of the bishops of that church from the time of the apostles. Theophilus was succeeded by Maximin, about the year 191 ; and he by
a Serapion, the eighth in that succession, who was bishop from about the year 190 to 211, or somewhat later. I may therefore well place him here, at the year 200.
Eusebius ' says, Serapion wrote many pieces: but he had not seen any of them, beside a letter to Caracus and Ponticus, concerning the Montanists; another to Domninus, who in the time of the persecution (probably that of Severus] forsook the faith of Christ, and turned Jew; and some other epistles. There is also,' says Eusebius, ' an
• ,, ' other book of his concerning the gospel, entitled, according to Peter, wherein he confutes the falsities of that Gospel; * which book he composed for the sake of some in the parish • of Rhossus, [in Cilicia,] who by means of that writing were • led into heterodox opinions. It cannot be improper to • transcribe some short passages, in which he declares his • sentiment of that book. “ We a brethren, receive Peter, • and the other apostles, as Christ : but, as skilful men, we
reject those writings which are falsely ascribed to them; • well knowing, that we have received no such. When Í * was with you, I supposed you had all held the right • faith: and, not having read the Gospel offered to me • under the name of Peter, I said, if that be the only thing • that causeth a difference among you, let it be read. But * now having understood, by what has been told me, that • their minds are secretly filled with some heresy, I will do
1 Vid. Eus. H. E. I. iv. cap. 24. 1. v. cap. 19.
b Vid. Cave, Hist. Lit. p. 52. Du Pin, Bibl. Tillemont, Mem. Ecc. T. ii. Les Montanistes, Art. iv. et T. iii. Serapion.
c H. E. I. vi. c. 12. 4 Ημεις γαρ, αδελφοι, και Πετρον και της αλλες αποσολες αποδεχομεθα, ως Χρισον τα δε ονοματι αυτων ψευδεπιγραφα, ώς εμπειροι παραιτεμεθα: γινωσκοντες, ότι τα τοιαυτα ου παρελαβομεν. Εγω γαρ, γενομενος παρ' υμιν, υπενοεν τες παντας ορθη πισει προσφερεσθαι. Και μη διελθων το υπ' αυτων προφερομενον ονοματι Πετρ8 ευαγγελιον, ειπον οτι ει τετο εσι μονον το δοκεν παρεχειν μικροψυχ αν, αναγινωσκεσθω. κ. λ. Ιbid.