Слике страница
PDF
ePub

6

6

6

6

6

[ocr errors]

6

r

ing P Tertullian. When he had continued a presbyter of • the church till about the middle part of his age, on • account of the envy and reproaches of the clergy of the • Roman church, be went over to the sect of Montanus : • and in many of his books makes mention of that new pro

phecy. Several books especially were composed by bim • against the church, as these: Of Chastity, of Persecution, • Of Fasts, Of Monogamy, [or, against second marriages,] • Of Ecstasy, in six books: to which he added a seventh, * written against Apollonius. He is said to have lived to • an extreme (or decrepit] old age: and to have written many

books beside those which are now extant.' In his Chronicle, at the 15th of Severus, and 208th ycar of our Lord, Jerom says: · Tertullian, 9 an African, son of • a proconsular centurion, is famous in all the churches.'

Jerom has in other places extolled Tertullian's wit and learning, and says: "His Apology, and his other books

" against the Gentiles, take in all the treasures of human • learning.'

The encoinium of Tertullian, given by Vincentius Lirinensis, a writer of the fifth century, is beautiful, but too long to be transcribed, and had better be read in himself. The sum of it is in the very beginning : That, “ ass Origen • had the first place among the Greeks, so Tertullian ought • to be esteemed without dispute the prince of the Latin • writers of the church.'

So far of testimonies from the ancients. I shall now represent the sentiments of some learned moderns.

Cavet places Tertullian at the year 192. He supposes he might be born a little before the middle of the second century, and that he embraced christianity about the year 185, and was made a presbyter of the church of Carthage about 192. What Jerom says of Tertullian's leaving the catholic church about the middle of his age, is understood by that learned writer not of his natural, but christian life:

6

6

p It is observed by learned men, that Tertullian is not once quoted by Cyprian, in his works now extant. Nevertheless, in another place Jerom says positively, that Cyprian's works show he esteemed Tertullian his master Et beatus Cyprianus Tertulliano magistro utitur, ut ejus scripta probant. Hieron. ep. 69. And it is allowed that he imitates Tertullian in some of his remaining works.

9 Tertullianus, Afer, centurionis proconsularis filius, omnium ecclesiarum sermone celebratur. p. 172. Amsterd. 1658.

? Quid Tertulliano eruditius ? quid acutius ? Apologeticus ejus et Contra Gentes libri cunctam sæculi obtinent disciplinam. Ad Magnum Oratorem,

* Sed et Tertulliani quoque eadem ratio est ; nam sicut illc apud Græcos, ita et hic apud Latinos, nostrorum omnium facile princeps judicandus est. Commonitorium adv. Hæres. cap. 24. init. ! Hist. Lit.

ep. 84.

u

V

he therefore concludes, he became a Montanist about the year 199, and died, as may be conjectured, about 220.

Du Pin" says, Tertullian flourished chiefly in the time of Severus and Antoninus Caracalla : that is, from about the year 194 to 216.

Tillemont' computes him to have been born in 160, under Antoninus Pius, or his successor; to have left the church, and become an open Montanist, about 205; and to have died under Philip, about the year 245, when he was between 80 and 90 years of age.

Many learned" men have employed their labour in settling the time of the several works of this author. They generally divide them into two periods, those written before, and those after his fall into Montanism. I shall only observe some of their opinions concerning the date of the Apology, the most celebrated of all his pieces. Cave reckons but three of his books, written whilat he was a catholic; Of Baptism, Of Penitence, and Of Prayer; and thinks the Apology to have been written about the year 202. Du Pin places bis Apology in 200, before he became Montanist, which, according to him, happened in 202 or 203. Tillemont likewise places it at the

the year 200; Basnage* in 203; Pagi y in 205, but I think his arguments not sufficient to prove it so late; and Mr. Mosheim, after a very laborious examination of this point, concludes that a it was composed in the year 198. The Apology, as is now generally allowed by learned men, was not addressed to the senate of Rome, but to a the governors of provinces, or perhaps to the proconsul of Africa, and the chief magistrates residing at Carthage, where it was written.

I am desirous to speak of Tertullian about the time of his writing his Apology. He is often reckoned a writer of the second century; but a large part of his remaining works were written in the third century. I place him therefore at the year 200, which I take to be soon enough.

X

u Nouv. Bib. des Aut. Ecc. Tertullien.

v Mem. Ecc. Tom. ii. Tertullien, art. 13.

"_Joseph. Scal. Animadv. ad Euseb. Chron. p. 229. Cave, Hist. Lit. Allix, Disserta. de Vit. et Scriptis Tertulliani. Du Pin, Bibl. Tillemont, Mem. Ecc. Basnage, Annal. P. E. 200. sect. 4, 5, 6, et seq. Pagi, Vid. indicem Crit. in Baron. V. Tertullianus. * Ibid. A. D. 200. sect. 8.

y Crit. in Baron. A. D. 199. sect. 6. ? Vid. ejusd. Diss. de Ætate Apol. Tertull. n. xxix, xxx.

The Apology begins : Si non licet vobis, Romani imperii antistites, in aperto et edito, in ipso fere vertice civitatis præsidentibus ad judicandum, palam dispicere, &c. Apol. cap. 1. Hoc imperium, cujus ministri estis, civilis, non tyrannica dominatio est. Cap. 2. p. 3. D. Hoc agite, boni præsides. Cap. 30. p. 30. C. Vid. et cap. ult. p. 45. B.

Tertullian's conversion to Montanism is a remarkable event in his life; but we know little of the causes of that change in him, beside what Jerom says, who ascribes it to the envy and reproaches of the Roman clergy. Divers other particular reasons have been assigned by some moderns; as, a disappointment of the bishopric of Rome, or Carthage: but Tertullian is now generally acquitted by learned men of that charge. Some indeed do still conjecture, that the specious pretences of the Montanists to greater mortification in fasts and continence had an effect upon Tertullian, who was of a severe temper; which is not improbable.

However, the principles of Montanism made so little alteration in this author, that there are several of his pieces, concerning which it is not easy to determine, whether they were written by Tertullian a Montanist, or Tertullian still a catholic. To use the words of b Daille: “ As for Tertullian, I must confess his very turning Montanist has taken off indeed very much of the repute which he before had in • the church, both for the fervency of his piety, and also for • bis incomparable learning. But yet, beside that a great part of his works were written while he was yet a catholic, we are also to take notice, that this his Montanism put no separation at all betwixt him and other christians, save * only in point of discipline; which he, according to the severity of his nature, would have to be most harsh and rigorous. For as for his doctrine, ite is very evident that 'he constantly kept to the very same rule, and the same • faith, that the catholics did: whence proceeded that tart

speech of his : That d “ people rejected Montanus, Max* imilla, and Priscilla, not because they had any wbit de'parted from the rule of faith, but rather because they would have us fast oftener than to marry. Tertullian nevertheless, from this time forward, believed e

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

6

6

6

6

6

6

е

b Right Use of the Fathers, b. ii. ch. 4. p. 69. London, 1675. c Vid. lib. De Monogam. cap. 2. &c. De Jejuniis, cap. 1.

d Hi Paracleto controversiam faciunt; propter hoc novæ prophetiæ recusantur; non quod alium Deum prædicent Montanus, et Priscilla, et Maximilla ; nec quod Jesum Christum solvant; nec quod aliquam fidei aut spei regulam evertant; sed quod plane doceant sæpius jejunare quam nubere. De Jejuniis, cap. 1. p. 701. C.

e Sed et si nubendi jam modus ponitur, quem quidem apud nos spiritalis ratio, Paracleto auctore, defendit, unum in fide matrimonium præscribens. Adv. Marcion, 1. i. p. 452. B. Hanc et Ezechiel novit, et apostolus Joannes vidit, et qui apud fidem nostram est, novæ prophetiæ sermo testatur, ut etiam effigiem civitatis ante repræsentationem ejus conspectui futuram in signum prædicarit. Adv. Marcion. I. iii. p. 499. B

all;

the Spirit of God to have spoken in Montanus, and his two prophetesses Priscilla and Maximilla; and to have made by them some farther discoveries, for the greater perfection of christians, than had been made before. He approved of the longer, more strict, and more frequent fasts of the Montanists; condemned second marriages, as unlawful in

and denied the power of the church to pardon any great sins committed after baptism; that is, to receive again to communion any % who had fallen into fornication, adultery, or any such like offences after their baptism. He also often arrogantly calls his own people spiritual, and the catholics, as h conteinptuously, animal or carnal.

II. We proceed to consider his testimony to the books of the New Testament.

I begin with a passage of Tertullian concerning the four gospels, and their authors, taken out of his books against Marcion, writteni in the year of Christ 207 or 20€.

• In the first k place we lay this down for a certain truth, that the evangelic scriptures [literally, evangelic instrument] have for their authors the apostles, to whom the work of publishing the gospel was committed by the Lord himself. “And if also [it' have for authors] apostolical men, not them alone, but with the apostles, and after the apostles. [Which was very fit.] Forasmuch as the preaching of the disciples might have been suspected as liable to the charge of a desire of glory, if not supported by the authority of the masters, yea, of Christ, who made the apostles masters. To conclude, among the apostles John

| Vid. De Monogam. cap. 12. et alibi.
& Vid. De Pudicitiâ, cap. 19. p. 740. D. 741.

h Mirarer Psychicos, si solâ luxuriâ tenderentur, quâ sæpius nubunt; et non etiam ingluvie lacerarentur, quâ jejunia oderunt.- -Agnosco igitur animalem fidem studio carnis, quâ tota constat, tam multivorantiæ quam multinubentiæ pronam; ut merito spiritalem disciplinam pro substantia æmulam, in hac quoque specie continentiæ accuset. De Jejuniis, cap. 1. p. 701. A. B. Licet nec hoc Psychici curent. De Monog. c. 11. p. 684. A. Evasisti, Psychice, si velis, vincula disciplinæ totius. Ib. c. 12. p. 685. B.

Adv. Marcion, l. i. c. 15. p. 440. B. * Constituimus in primis, evangelicum instrumentum apostolos auctores habere, quibus hoc munus evangelii promulgandi ab ipso Domino sit impositum. Si et apostolicos, non tamen solos, sed cum apostolis, et post aposto. los. Quoniam prædicatio discipulorum suspecta fieri posset de gloriæ studio, si non adsistat illi auctoritas magistrorum, immo Christi, qui magistros apostolos fecit. Denique nobis fidem ex apostolis Joannes et Matthæus insinuant; ex apostolicis, Lucas et Marcus instaurant, iisdem regulis exorsi, quantum ad unicum Deum attinet creatorem, et Christum ejus, natum ex virgine, supplementum legis et prophetarum. Adv. Marc. I. iv. c. 2. p. 502. D. 503. A.

By the evangelical scriptures, in this place, Tertullian means the collection of the gospels.

VOL. II.

1

T

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

and Matthew [first] teach us the faith : among apostolical men, Luke and Mark refresh it, going upon thie same principles, as concerning the one God the creator, and his Christ born of the virgin, the accomplishment of the law and the prophets.' And soon after : · But m Marcion having got the epistle of Paul to the Galatians, who blames the apostles themselves, as not walking uprightly, according to the truth of the gospel, (ch. ii. 14,] and also charges some false apostles with perverting the gospel of Christ, sets himself to weaken the credit of those gospels" which are theirs, and are published under the name of apostles, or likewise of apostolical men.' [That is, are published under the name of apostles, or however of apostles and apostolical men.]

These passages show at once the number of the gospels universally received, the names of the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and their proper characters; two of which were apostles, and companions of Christ himself; and the other two apostolical men, or companions of Christ's apostles.

III. In the next passage to be here taken, Tertullian asserts against Marcion the genuineness and integrity of the copies of St. Luke's gospel, owned by himself and christians in general. For this he appeals to divers apostolical churches. He asserts at the same time the truth of the other three gospels; and that christians had the fullest persuasion of the genuineness and authority of the gospels

ת

[ocr errors]

6

6

m Sed enim Marcion nactus epistolam Pauli ad Galatas, etiam ipsos apostolos suggilantis, ut non recto pede incedentes ad veritatem evangelii, simul et accusantis pseudapostolos quosdam pervertentes evangelium Christi, connititur ad destruendum statum eorum evangeliorum, quæ propria, et sub apostolorum nomine eduntur, vel etiam apostolicorum. Ibid. c. 3. p. 503. C.

• Which are theirs,' or, their own,' quæ propria,' I have translated literally; but Tertullian hereby intends likewise of the highest authority.' And because all the four gospels are not written by apostles, and therefore, strictly speaking, are not all theirs; nor, according to Tertullian, in themselves of the first and highest authority; after saying, they were theirs, and published under the name of apostles,' he corrects himself, or represents the case more distinctly; adding, or likewise of apostolical men ;' that is, of apostles, or, however, of apostles and apostolical men. That this is what Tertullian means, is evident from a passage where he joins together the words * properly' and . principally,' and ascribes the highest and primary authority to apostles only: Disciplina igitur apostolorum proprie quidem instruit ac determinat principaliter sanctitatis omnis erga templum Dei antistitem, et ubique de ecclesiâ eradicantem omne sacrilegium pudicitiæ, sine ullâ restitutionis mentione. Volo tamen ex redundantiâ alicujus etiam comitis apostolorum testimonium superducere idoneum confirmandi de proximo jure disciplinam magistrorum.' Exstat enim et Barnabæ titulus ad Hebræos. De Pudicitiâ, c. 20. p. 741. B. C.

6

« ПретходнаНастави »