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• that he is a more credible and sure witness of the truth • than Valentinus and Marcion, and other authors of cor* rupt opinions. Who also, when he came to Rome in the * time of Anicetus, converted many of the before-mentioned

heretics to the church of God, declaring that to be the one ' and only truth which had been received from the apostles,

and was delivered by the church. And there are those * who have heard him say, that John, the disciple of the • Lord, going to bathe at Ephesus, and seeing "Cerinthus • already in the bath, came out again in haste without * bathing, saying to those who were with him : “ Let us flee

" • hence, lest the bath should fall while Cerinthus the

enemy of the truth is within.” And Polycarp himself, · Marcion once coming in his way, and saying to him, “ Do

you own me ?” he answered : “ I own you to be the first• born of Satan.” There is also a most excellent epistle

of Polycarp, written to the Philippians; from which they who are willing, and are concerned for their own salva* tion, may learn both the character of his faith, and the • doctrine of the truth.'

This passage has been transcribed by Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History, who immediately adds: “Poly



b The occasion of Polycarp's journey to Rome is said to be some controversy about the time of keeping Easter. See Euseb. H. E. 1. 4. c. 14. Hieron. de Vir. Ill. c. 17. But learned men are not agreed about the time of it. It must be determined by that of Anicetus being bishop of Rome. Bishop Pearson, as he places the bishopric of Anicetus in the beginning of the reign of Antoninus the pious, places this journey accordingly about the year 142. Oper. Post. Diss. ii. c. 14. Others in 153. Basnage, Ann. 153. sect. 64. Others in 158, or 160. See Pagi Crit. 165. n. v. Du Pin, Bibl. Polycarpe.

¿ The same story is told with different circumstances by Epiphanius, H. 30. c. 24. But the truth of it has been sometimes called in question. It is observable, that Irenæus, though personally acquainted with Polycarp, does not say that he had it himself from him ; but that there were some who had heard him say as much : Kal elolv Oi ακηκο0TES avre. It is not at all likely that the apostle John should go to a public bath. Epiphanius, or whoever formed the story, as related by him, saw this impropriety; and therefore says, that • John was moved by the Spirit to go • thither.' Ηναγκασθη υπο τα άγιο πνευματος προελθειν έως τα βαλανεια. And Theodoret says, that • John went thither because of an indisposition he hap“pened to labour under :' συνεβη γαρ και αυτον δι' αρρωσιαν χρησθαι τη Balavelas. Theod. H. F. 1. 2. c. 3. Irenæus and Theodoret say, it was Cerinthus : Epiphanius, that it was Ebion, who was in the bath. And there are other different circumstances in the relations of this matter, and also other objections against this whole story, which may be seen in Lampe, Prolegom. de Vit. Joann. Evang. lib. 1. cap. v. 1, 2. to whom I refer. And indeed some of the ancients who mention it speak of it only as an uncertain report, particularly Theodoret, before quoted. Tατον, ώς φασιν, ο θεσπεσιος Ιωαννης ο ευαγγελισης λεομενον θεασαμενος. κ. λ. ubi supra.

d L. iv. cap. 14.

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* carp, in the forementioned epistle to the Philippians, • which is still extant, has inade use of some testimonies • from the first epistle of Peter.'

Irenæus also, in ae letter to Florinus, who had embraced the errors of Valentinus, has these words: · Those opinions

the presbyters before us, who also conversed with the • apostles, have not delivered to you. For I saw you, when • I was very young, in the lower Asia with Polycarp• For I better remember the affairs of that time, than those • which have lately happened; the things which we learn ' in our childhood growing up with the soul, and uniting • themselves to it. Insomuch that I can tell the place in • which the blessed Polycarp sat and taught, and his going

out and coming in, and the manner of his life, and the • form of bis person, and the discourses he made to the peo

ple; and how he related his conversation with John, and • others who had seen the Lord; and how he related their sayings, and what he had heard from them concerning the

Lord; both concerning his miracles and his doctrine, as • he had received them from the eye-witnesses of the Word • of Life : all which Polycarp related agreeable to the

scriptures. These things I then, through the mercy of • God toward me, diligently heard and attended to, record. ing them not on paper, but upon my heart. And through ' the grace of God I continually renew the remembrance of • them. And I can affirm, in the presence of God, that if

this blessed and apostolical presbyter had heard any such • thing, he would have cried out, and stopped his ears, and,

according to his custom, would have said : Good God, to • what times bast thou reserved me, that I should hear such

things! And he would have fled from the place in which • he was sitting or standing, when he heard such words. • And as much may be perceived from his epistles, which " he sent to neighbouring churches, establishing them; or

to some of the brethren, instructing and admonishing • them.'

We have now seen in Irenæus Polycarp's age and character, particular mention of his letters to the Philippians and other churches, and to some of the brethren or particular persons.

Eusebius, speaking of those who flourished in the time of Trajan, as Ignatius and Papias," says: “At that time flou‘rished in Asia Polycarp, disciple of the apostles, who re

The letter itself is not extant. But Eusebius has preserved a fragment of it, L. v. c. 20.

f H. E. 1. 3. c. 36.











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ceived the bishopric of the church in Smyrna from the • eye-witnesses and ministers of the Lord.'

Št. Jerom in his book 6 of Illustrious Men says: "Polycarp, the disciple of John the apostle, and by him or• dained bishop of Smyrna, was the prince of all Asia. • Forasmuch as he had seen and been taught by some of • the apostles, and those who had seen the Lord. --After• wards, in the reign of Marcus Antoninus and L. Aurelius • Commodus, in the fourth persecution after Nero, he was • condemned to the flames at Smyrna, the proconsul being present, and all the people in the amphitheatre demanding his death. He wrote to the Philippians a very use· ful epistle, which to this day is read in the assembly of • Asia.

His martyrdom happened, according to bishoph Pearson, who supposes he suffered under Antoninus the pious, in the year 148: according to Du Pin, Tillemont, and many other learned inen, in the year 167, or thereabouts, in the seventh year of Marcus Antoninus the philosopher : according to Basnage, in the year 169, which was also k archbishop Usher's opinion. These latter opinions seem to me much nearer the truth than bishop Pearson's, because Eusebius and Jerom place it in the time of Marcus Antoninus : though to determine the exact year of this martyrdom is very difficult, as! Pagi has observed.

So I said in the first edition. I must now add, thatm there is an ancient inscription, which very much favours Pearson's argument for the early date of St. Polycarp's martyrdom.

We have the relation of his martyrdom in a letter of the church of Smyrna, to the church of Philadelphia and other churches. In this relation Polycarp says to the proconsul :

Eighty and six years have I now served Christ. Understand this of his life ; and, according to every calculation of the time of his death, he lived a good while in the first century. Understand it of his christianity, as" Tillemont does, and being martyred, as he says, in the year 166, his conversion to christianity happened in the year 80. Understand it of his serving Christ in the ministry; and he was bishop of Smyrna from the year 84, according to Basnage. He is thought by many to be the angel of the


8 Cap. 13.

h Op. Post. Diss. ii. c. 15, 16, 17. i Ann. 169. sect. vi. et seq.

k Vid. Not. ad Cap. xi. Ep. Polyc. ad Philip.

1 Critic. in Bar. 167. sect. 4, 5. m See Chishull's Travels, p. 11.

n Mem. E. T. 2. Part 2. Polycarp, Art. 1.

• Annal. 84. sect. 3. 169 sect. 12. VOL. 11.


church of Smyrna, to whom the epistle in the Revelation is sent.

But though we should not be able precisely to settle the time of Polycarp's birth, or death, it is evident from the testimonies here alleged, that he was a disciple of John; appointed bishop of Smyrna by him, if not also by some other apostles joining with him therein; and that he had conversed with several who had seen the Lord.

Irenæus assures us, Polycarp had written divers letters. The loss of the writings of such a person cannot but be lamented. And I think it somewhat likely, that Eusebius and Jerom had seen nothing of his, beside the epistle to the Philippians.

There is scarce any doubt or question among learned men about the genuineness of this epistle of Polycarp, though there have been exceptions taken to a passage or two of it, as if they were additions and interpolations, Indeed, the epistle we still have well answers to the apostolical character of Polycarp himself, and agrees with the character given of his epistle by Irenæus, and the observation of Eusebius, that he had therein quoted the first epistle of Peter, and not the second. It has also the passages expressly quoted from itp by Eusebius. It ought therefore to be received and respected as his, without hesitation.

It is certain this epistle was written after the death of Ignatius, and, as is generally supposed, soon after it. Basnage9 indeed denies that there is any proof of this. However I shall place it here in the year next after the death of Ignatius, A. D. 108.

The former and larger part of this epistle we have in its original Greek. The tenth, eleventh, and twelfth sections (of which there are thirteen in the whole) are now extant only in an ancient Latin version, which is entire, and contains the whole epistle.

The Relation of the Martyrdom of Polycarp, written by the church of Smyrna, of which he was bishop, is an excellent piece; which may be read with pleasure by the English reader in the archbishop of Canterbury's Collection of the apostolical Fathers. As there are in it some quotations of the books of the New Testament, or references to them, I shall give an account of it when I have made my collections out of Polycarp's epistle to the Philippians. The greatest part of that relation is inserted by

P H. E. 1. 3. c. 36. p. 108.

9 Annal. 110. sect. 4, 6.


Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical' History; and its is preserved elsewhere entire.

There are some fragments called Responsiones, ascribed to St. Polycarp; in which the four evangelists, and the characters of their gospels, are distinctly mentioned. These fragments were first published by Feuardentius in his Irenæus, from Victor of Capua, a writer of the sixth century, and have been since several times republished byt others. But we have already observed it to be somewhat likely, that there was nothing remaining of Polycarp in the time of Eusebius and Jerom, beside his epistle to the Philippians. Du Pin" says plainly, there is a good deal of reason to think these fragments are supposititious. And our most reverend Metropolitan, having observed that, beside the great distance of Victor Capuanus, the first collector of them from the time of Polycarp, he has given, upon some other occasions, manifest proofs of his little care and judgment in distinguishing the works of the ancient fathers who lived any long time before him ; and that the passages themselves ascribed to St Polycarp, are little agreeable to the apostolical age, concludes: All these

• • considerations have justly restrained learned men from

giving any credit to those fragments, or from receiving • them as belonging in any wise to so ancient an author. They will therefore be no farther taken notice of here. I proceed to consider the testimonies of the only remaining piece of this father.

In St. Polycarp's short epistle to the Philippians are many texts of the New Testament, though but few books cited, or expressly named. However, of these in the first place.


Books of the New Testament quoted by Polycarp.

N. T.

POLYCARP. J. I Cor. vi. 2. “ Do ye I. Ch. xi. . Dow we not not know that the saints shall know that the saints shall judge the world ?”

judge the world? as Paul teaches.'

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T. 2. p.

r L. iv. c. 15.

Apud Patr. Apost. Cotel. v. ii. Ruinart, Act. Martyr. et alibi.

Ap. Grabe, Irenæ. p. 205. et Patres Apost.

" Il y a bien de l'apparence, que ce sont des choses supposées. Bibl. Eccl. en Polycarpe.

Discourse concerning the treatises of his collection. Ch. 3. sect. 14. nescimus, quia sancti mundum judicabunt ? sicut Paulus docet.


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