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writers of the Augustan history, whoz flourished about the year 300. Adrian had been some while in Egypt. Having left it, when he got into Syria he wrote that letter to his brother-in-law, in the year 134. I shall transcribe it from the historian, with the connection.
* Thea Egyptians, as you well know,' says Vopiscus, ' are vain, fond of innovations, men of all characters-For . there are among them christians and Samaritans, and such • as take a prodigious liberty in censuring the present times. • That none of the Egyptians may be offended with me, I • shall produce a letter of Adrian, taken from the books of • Phlegon, bis freed-man, in which the character of the
Egyptians is clearly represented. “ Adrian Augustus to • the consul Servianus wisheth health. I have found Egypt, my dear Servianus, which you commended to me, all over fickle and inconstant, and continually shaken by the slightest reports of fame. The worshippers of Serapis are * christians, and they are devoted to Serapis, who call them'selves Christ's bishops. There is no ruler of the Jewish ' synagogue, no Samaritan, no presbyter of the christians, no * mathematician, no soothsayer, no anointer: even the patriarch, if he should come to Egypt, would be required by some to worship Serapis, by others Christ. A seditious 6 and turbulent sort of men. However, the city is rich and • populous. Nor are any idle. Some are employed in
making glass, others paper, others in weaving linen—They • bave one God-Him the christians, Him the Jews, Him . all the Gentile people, worship.""
z Vid. Vos. Hist. Lat. 1. 2. cap. 7. Fabric. Bib. Lat. 1. 3. cap. 6. Tillemont, L'Empereur Aurelien. art. xv.
a Sunt enim Ægyptii (ut satis nósti) viri ventosi, furibundi, jactantes, injuriosi-novatores rerum-versificatores, mathematici, aruspices, medici. Nam et Christiani, Samaritani, et quibus præsentia tempora cum enormi libertate displiceant. Ac nequis mihi Ægyptiorum irascatur, et meum esse credat, quod in literis retuli, Adriani epistolam ex libris Phlegontis liberti ejus proditam, ex quâ penitus Ægyptiorum vita detegitur, indidi. • Adrianus Aug. Ser• viano Coss. S. Ægyptum, quam mihi laudabas, Serviane carissime, totam • didici levem, pendulam, et ad omnia famæ momenta volitantem. Illi qui Serapim colunt, christiani sunt: et devoti sunt Serapi, qui se Christi episco
pos dicunt. Nemo illic Archisynagogus Judæoruin, nemo Samarites, nemo • Christianorum Presbyter, non Mathematicus, non Aruspex, non Aliptes.
Ipse ille Patriarcha, quum Ægyptum venerit, ab aliis Serapidem adorare, ab . aliis cogitur Christum. Genus hominum seditiosissimum, vanissimum,
imperiosissimum. Civitas opulenta, dives, fecunda, in quâ nemo vivat otiosus. • Alii vitrum conflant, ab aliis charta conficitur, alii linyphiones sunt: omnes
certe cujuscumque artis et videntur et habentur. Podagrosi, quod agant, habent; habent cæci, quod agant: ne chiragrici quidem apud eos otiosi • vivunt. Unus illis Deus est. Hunc christiani, hunc Judæi, hunc omnes * venerantur et Gentes," &c. Flav. Vopicus in Saturnino, cap. 7, et 8.
It cannot be needful for me to explain all the several sorts of people here spoken of. Nor ought it to be thought strange that christians share in the emperor's satire, and are represented by him as fickle and inconstant, like the other Egyptians. It appears from this letter that the christians were numerous at Alexandria, and in other parts of Egypt, when Adrian was in that country: which, certainly, is very remarkable, that in a century after the resurrection of Jesus he should have so many followers in Asia and Egypt, as is manifest from this one emperor's authentic writings. Without any countenance from the civil government, and under a great deal of opposition from it, as well as from most other ranks of men, and especially from the lower sort of people, Christ's bishops were already become as considerable as the priests of Serapis.
IV. Once more. Elius Lampridius, another writer of the Augustan history, who flourished about the end of the third, and the beginning of the fourth century, in the life of the emperor Alexander Severus, says: Heb intended to • build a temple to Christ, and to receive him among the
gods. Which Adrian also is reported to have designed ; · who ordered temples to be erected in all cities without • statues; which therefore to this day are called Adrian's, • it being said that he built them for that purpose. But he was hindered by some, who, having consulted the oracles, were assured that, if that were once done, all men would be christians, and the other temples would be deserted.'
This account is received by some e as true; hyd others it is rejected, as destitute of any good foundation. I have referred below to several learned and judicious men on this side the question; and I would willingly find room at the bottom of the page fore Casaubon's observations upon this
♡ Christo templum facere voluit, eumque inter Deos recipere. Quod et Adrianus cogitâsse fertur, qui templa in omnibus civitatibus sine simulacris jusserat fieri; quæ hodie idcirco, quia non habent numina, dicuntur Adriani, quæ ille ad hoc parâsse dicebatur. Sed prohibitus est ab iis, qui, consulentes sacra, repererant, omnes Christianos futuros, si id optato evenisset, et templa reliqua deserenda. Æl. Lainp. in Alex. Sever. cap. 43.
< Huet. Dem. Evan. Prop. 3. sect. xxii. Tillem. Persecution d'Adrien. art. vi.
d Casaub. Annot. in Lamprid. cap. 43. Pagi Crit. in Baron. ann. 134. n. iv. Basnag. ann. 126. n. v. vi. Dictionnaire de Bayle, Hadrien. Cleric. H. E. ann. 129. n. iii. Moshem. De Reb. Christian. Sec. 2. sect. xii. p. 237.
Quod et Hadrianus cogitâsse fertur.' De Tiberio narrant hoc Tertullianus et alii patres Græci et Latini. De Hadriano vero nemo illorum, si satis memini, simile quidquam. Et mirum profecto, tam nobilem historiam, tot fidei Christianæ propugnatores acerrimos, viros undecumque doctissimos, et quorum intererat hoc scire, potuisse fugere. Sed videtur hæc de Hadriano suspicio multo post ejus seculum hominum mentes insedisse;, com. neque Jus
section of Lampridius; and the rather, because they have been judged so material by Pagi, as to be transcribed by him into his Critique upon Baronius. Casaubon then, and • divers other learned men after him, or agreeably to him, 6 observe that somewhat of this kind has been related of · Tiberius by Tertullian, and other ancient Latin and Greek * writers of the church, who are quite silent about the story • of Lampridius. If there had been any truth in it, they say, so remarkable a thing could not have been omitted by Justin Martyr, Athenagoras, Tertullian, Cyprian, and * all other ancient writers of the second and third centuries, . who had many occasions to mention it, if there had been • any ground for it. Nor is this mistaken opinion of Lam
pridius, and some others in his time, very hard to be ac• counted for. Adrian had erected, or ordered to be erect
ed, temples in many places. He intended to have set up ' in them an altar, or statue, to bimself: but he died before
they were consecrated, and some of them were left un• finished. It was well known that the Jews and christians • had no images in their places of worship ; Lampridius
therefore, and some others in his time, entertained a notion ' that these temples were built in honour of Christ.'
That Adrian intended them in honour of himself, is con
tinus Martyr, neque Athenagoras, neque Tertullianus, neque Cyprianus, aut omnino quisquam ex illâ veterum patrum manu, vel tenuissimam ejus rei suspicionem fando unquam accepissent. Unde autem vulgo multi seculo Lampridii hanc de Hadriano concepissent opinionem, declarat auctor, cum subjicit : qui
templa in omnibus civitatibus sine simulacris jusserat fieri; quæ hodie id• circo, quia non habent numina, dicuntur Hadriani, quæ ille ad hoc pa• râsse dicebatur.' En fontem et originem hujus opinionis. Jusserat Hadrianus templa fieri in omnibus civitatibus, suo nomini sine dubio consecranda ; quod et Spartianus in vitâ suâ testatur. Sed, mortuo Hadriano prius quam hæc templa absolverentur, mansere pleraque illorum imperfecta, neque unquam dedicata sunt. Exemplo esse potest illud quod Tiberiade magnifice inchoatum, mox relictum est necdum absolutum, tandemque in usum balnearum a civibus destinatum. Epiphanius contra Ebionæos. H. 30. n. xii, vaos μεγισος εν τη πολει Τιβεριαδι προυπηρχε ταχα, οιμαι, Αδριανειον τοτο εκαλεν. Ατελες δε τοτο το Αδριανειον διαμενον οι πολιται εις δημοσιον λετρον επειρωντο ETIKEVAJAL. Talia ædificia in plerisque civitatibus adhuc Lampridii ætate exstabant, inchoata solum, non perfecta, non dedicata ; ac proinde, ut ait ipse, sine numine et simulacro ullo. Eo factum, ut in animum inducerent multi, quibus assentitur hic Lampridius, non sibi Hadrianum illa templa exstruxisse, verum Christo. Erat quidem Lampridius, 'Exiny religione, et a pietatis christianæ sacris, ut ejus scripta ostendunt, alienus; sed nôrat ille, quod ignorare poterat nemo, et Judæos olim in Hierosolymitanâ æde eldeç kal ayuluutos xwpus, ut Strabo quoque ac Dio scribunt, Deum coluisse ; et suis etiam temporibus christianorum templa ejusmodi esse, qualia adhuc memoriâ suâ beatissimus Augustinus cum alibi prodit fuisse, tum etiam in Psalmi ciii. enarratione, sane luculenter. Casaubon. annot. in Lamprid. cap. 43. Et Conf. Pagi ann. 134. iž. iv,
firmed by what Spartian says in his life of this emperor:
That,f when he had returned from Africa to Rome, he soon ' went away again into the East. Coming to Athens he
dedicated the buildings that had been begun by him, par* ticularly the temple of Jupiter Olympius, and an altar to • himself. In like manner, travelling through Asia, he con• secrated temples of his own name.'
That seems to be the most probable account. But though it cannot be reasonably supposed that Adrian intended those temples to the honour of Jesus Christ, some may imagine that, according to the doctrine of Numa and Pythagoras, Adrian might design to erect temples where the gods might be worshipped without images.
Crevier's judgment upon the point is to this purpose : · Heh paid but little attention to the religion of those nations, • whom the Romans and Greeks considered as barbarians,
they appearing to him as only deserving of contempt. * This makes it difficult for me to believe, upon Lampridius's • testimony, that he formed a design to consecrate, in honour * of Jesus Christ, a great many temples, which he had begun, but not finished, in the several cities of Asia and Egypt, and which remained without a dedication or statue. • It is much more probable that he intended them for him• self, and for his own proper worship:'
Indeed I think the opinion, that Adrian intended to consecrate temples to the honour of Jesus Christ, is without any good foundation ; it being inconsistent with hisi known principles, and unsupported by the testimony of those ancient christian writers, who must have known it, and would have mentioned it, if it had been true.
However, though there is no good ground for this story of Lampridius, itk is honourable to the christian religion,
f Denique quum post Africâ Romam redîsset, statim ad orientem, profectus per Athenas, iter fecit, atque opera, quæ apud Athenienses ceperat, dedicavit ; ut Jovis Olympii ædem et arcem sibi : eodemque modo per Asiam iter faciens, templa sui nominis consecravit. Spartian. in Hadrian. cap. 13.
& Extructa tamen ea Christo templa, quæ simulacrorum vacua erant, nostrum in animum inducere non sustinemus. Aliæ igitur nobis sunt tentandæ causæ. Legitur in Victore; “Adrianus, pace ad Orientem compositâ, Romam
regreditur. Ibi Græcorum more, seu Pompilii Numæ, cæremonias, leges,
gymnasia, doctoresque curare occæpit.' Est ergo vero proximum, more atque instituto et Pythagoræ, et Pompilii Numæ, Adrianum, philosophiæ peritum, templa quoque sine simulacris strui voluisse. Basnag. ann. 126. n. vi. h History of the Rom. Emp. Vol. 7. p. 167.
Και κατ' εμε ηδη, βασιλεως Αδριανά, της τε ες το θειον τιμης επιTEXELsov Eldovtos. Pausan. 1. i. cap. v. p. 14.
k Casaubon sans doute n'a point de fort de rejetter cela comme fabuleux. Ce que je trouve de vraisemblable, est cette crainte des Paiens, que leur relib Et scribit Bruttius plurimos christianorum sub Domitiano fecisse martyrium : inter quos Flaviam Domitillam, Flavii Clementis Consulis ex sorore neptem, in insulam Pontiam relegatam, quia se christianam testata est. Chron.
which was a spreading doctrine. And it was apprehended by those, who were far from wishing it success, that if a little encouragement were given to it, it would soon be the prevailing religion.
His testimony to Domitian's Persecution; with Remarks.
EUSEBIUS, in his Ecclesiastical History, speaking of the persecution under Domitian says: . Moreover, at this time . the doctrine of our faith was so conspicuous, that writers
averse to our sentiments have not forborne to insert in their • histories an account of this persecution, and the martyr• doms that happened in it. They have likewise exactly * marked the time of it, relating that in the fifteenth year of
Domitian, Flavia Domitilla, niece by the sister's side to · Flavius Clemens, then one of the consuls of Rome, with a 'great many others, was banished to the island Pontia, for • the profession of the christian religion.'
In his Chronicle, at the fifteenth year of Domitian, Eusebius says: “And Bruttius writes that many christians suf• fered martyrdom under Domitian. Among whom was · Flavia Domitilla, niece by the sister's side to Flavius Cle
mens the consul, who was banished to the island Pontia, * because she confessed herself to be a christian.'
I need not transcribe any thing from Nicephorus. But in the Paschal Chronicle, at the year of Christ 94, are these gion ne fût désertée, si l'on eût toléré publiquement le christianisme. Bayles Dictionnaire. Hadrian, note Q.
Εις τοσοτον δε αρα κατα τες δηλεμενες ή της ημετερας πισέως διδασκαλια διελαμπεν, ώς και τις αποθεν τε καθ' ημας λογα συγγραφεις μη αποκνησαι ταις αυτων ισοριαις τον τε διωγμον, και τα εν αυτω μαρτυρια παραδεναι. Oιγε και τον καιρον επ' ακριβες επησημηναντο εν ετει πεντεκαιδεκατω Δομετιανε κατα πλεισων ετερων και Φλαβιαν Δομεταλλαν ισορησαντες, εξ αδελφης γεγονοιαν Φλαβια Κλημεντος, ένος των τηνικαδε επι Ρωμης υπατων, της εις Χριςον μαρτυριας ένεκεν, εις νησον Ποντιαν κατα τιμωριαν δεδoσθαι. Η. Ε. 1. 3. c. 18. p. 89. A.
c Vid. Niceph. 1. 3. c. 9.