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‘dom, and ascent to heaven.' But who can believe that, when Porphyry had written a large work, the great design of which, in his remarks upon the book of Daniel, and elsewhere, was to prove Jesus an impostor? And is Porphyry now become an apostle, preaching to the world Christ's resurrection and ascension ? Eunapius indeed, in his Life of Porphyry, says, “ that “ * he lived to a great age. Whence it came to pass, that he ‘has left many sentiments different from those which he had • delivered in works formerly written.” But that may relate to some lesser matters only. We still have his Life of Plotinus, written when he was seventy years old, or thereabout; where he appears a true heathen philosopher. To me it seems very strange, that any christian, especially a learned christian, should call upon heathen people, as Eusebius here does, ‘to hearken to their demons and “gods speaking in their oracles:’ who might know, from the scriptures of the Old and New Testament, as well as from reason, that" heathen deities were nothing, and had neither power nor wisdom; if they were any thing they were evil spirits, and their testimonies were of no value. Our Lord never received the testimony of men who were supposed to be acted by demons. St. Paul did not value the testimony of the young woman at Philippi, who was said to have a spirit of Python, Acts xvi. 16. And I am persuaded, that our Saviour will never thank any of his followers for bringing in demons, or heathen deities in their oracles, speaking in his favour. May I not here adopt the language of St. Paul upon another occasion, and say : “What communion has light with darkness 2 And what concord has Christ with Belial 2 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?” 2 Cor. vi. 14–16. 6. Once more; this work, of the Philosophy of Oracles, is rarely mentioned by christian writers of the fourth and fifth centuries: therefore it was little known, or not known to be written by so considerable a man as Porphyry, who had written against the christians. It is often quoted by Eusebius, as we have seen ; it was also known, as it seems, to * Julius Firmicus Maternus, about the middle of the fourth century; it is also quoted by Theodoret, about 420, as we have seen; but not very often ; it is likewise quoted by Augustine in the fifth century; I shall transcribe him presently with remarks; but these are very few only. I forbear to enumerate here the names of the many writers of the fourth and fifth centuries who have taken no notice of this work; but it appears to me a great objection against its genuineness, that it is never mentioned in any of the numerous works of Jerom, or Cyril of Alexandria. Jerom wrote in the fourth and fifth centuries, and has often taken notice of Porphyry, but says nothing of this work; Cyril lived in the fifth century, and published a work against the emperor Julian in ten books; in that work he has quoted divers of Porphyry’s writings, and made good use of them; his Philosophic History, Of Abstinence from Animals, and some others. These Cyril quotes often, and largely; but has not once quoted or named this work, Of the Philosophy taught by Oracles. He has, it is true, the verses before quoted from Eusebius, which are likewise partly in Augustine; but not as taken from any writing of Porphyry, nor as a certain thing, but in this manner. “When,' y says Cyril, ‘somebody ‘ came to the Pythoness at the temple of Apollo, and in* quired which nations were wisest; it is said, the demon ‘there gave this answer; The Chaldaeans only have ob“tained wisdom; but the Hebrews worship the self-ex‘istent King, God himself. And Porphyry makes mention ‘ of the Essenes of Judea in these words.” Where Cyril proceeds to quote a passage of the fourth book of his Abstinence from Animals, cap. 13, though without saying from what work of Porphyry be takes it. It is plain, that Cyril does not quote that oracle from any work of Porphyry. It is likely, that in Cyril's time it was a common story, that the Pythian oracle had some time delivered such an answer as this: but he would not vouch for the truth of the
w Trox\ag yew roug mêm trpore trpayparévosvotç 3:3\totc Setoptag evavruaç rare\vors. Eunap. Vit. Porph. ad fin.
w Christians sometimes speak very justly, agreeable to the doctrine of the ancient prophets, that all the gods of the heathens were vanity, or senseless idols. It is a pity, that they are not always consistent with themselves. Et idola quidem omni sensu carere, quis dubitet Verum tamen cum his locantur sedibus, honorabili sublimitate, ut a precantibus atque immolantibus adtendantur, ipsá similitudine animatorum membrorum atque sensuum, quamvis insensata et examima, afficiunt infirmos animos, ut vivere et spirare videantur ; accedente praesertim veneratione multitudinis, quá tantus eis cultus impenditur, August. ep. 102. [al. 49.] n. 18. An excellent observation of that great and eminent ancient.
* J. F. M. de Errore Prof. Rel. p. 432, 433. ed. Gronov. 1709. 9 Apukopsw8 yap ruvog IIv6ot trpoç row AtroX\wvog vetov, spoutw8 re kat avapabsw 865&ovrog, tweg av maav Órt ua)\tora oospot row 80www; Xpmoat page tov avrodi jatpuova. Mavol XaXáalot apólnv Naxov, of 6 ap''E6paiot, Avroysvm row avaiera ossłačopsvol 6sov avrov. Atapeplumrat 6s Rat IIoppvptoc row kara Isèatav Ego awv, kat pnow 68s trips avrov. Contr. Jul. J. v. p. 180.
relation. The same is in Justin Martyr's Cobortatio ad Græcos, if it be his ; and it is brought in much after the same manner as in Cyril. * When * one, as you say, asked * your oracle who had been religious men, the oracle, as you * say, gave this answer: “The Chaldæans only have obtained wisdom, and the Hebrews worship the self-existent King, God himself.” * 7. We will now see what Augustine says of this work. He is showing, that the God whom the christians worship is the true God. * Lastly,' says ^ he, * He is God, whom * Porphyry, the most learned of the philosophers, though a * bitter enemy of the christians, and also the oracles whom * he thinks to be gods, acknowledge to be the great God.' * For" in his books, which he calls the Philosophy of
* Epopuεν8 yap τινος, όc avtov φατε, τε τap' ύμιν χρηεηριε, τινας συνεβη
$εοσεβεις ανδρας γεγενησθαι ττοτε, ετω το χρηεηριον ειρηκεναι φατε.
* Postremo ipse est Deus, quem doctissimus philosophorum, quamvis christianorum acerrimus inimicus, etiam per eorum oracula, quos Deos putat, Deum magnum Porphyrius confitetur. De Civ. Dei, l. xix. cap. 22.
° Nam im libris, quos εκ λογιων φιλοσοφιac appellat, in quibus exsequitur, atque conscribit rerum ad philosophiam pertinentium velut divina responsa, ut ipsa verba ejus, quemadmodum ex linguà Græcâ in Latinam interpretata sunt, ponam. Interroganti, inquit, quem Deum placando revocare possit uxorem suam a christianismo, hæc ait versibus Apollo. Deinde verba velut Apollinis ista sunt: Forte magis poteris in aquâ impressis literis scribere, aut ad instans pennas leves, per aëra ut avis volare, quam semel pollutæ revoces impiæ uxoris sensum. Pergat quomodo vult inanibus fallaciis perseverans, et lamentationibus fallacissimis mortuum Deum cantans, quem judicibus recta sentientibus perditum, pessima in speciosis ferro juncta mors interfecit. Deinde post hos versus Apollinis, qui non stante metro Latine interpretati sunt, subjunxit, atque ait: In his quidem tergiversationem irremediabilis sententiæ eorum manifestavit, dicens, Quoniam Judæi suscipiunt Deum magis quam isti. Ecce ubi decolorans Christum, Judæos præposuit christianis, confitens, quod Judæi suscipiunt Deum. Sic enim exposuit versus Apollinis, ubi a judicibus recta sentientibus Christum dicit occisum, tanquam illis juste judicantibus, merito sit ille punitus, Viderit quid de Christo vates mendax Apollinis dixerit, atque iste crediderit: aut fortasse vatem, quod non dixerit, dixisse iste ipse confixerit. Quam vero sibi constet, vel ipsa oracula inter se faciat convenire, postea videbimus. Hic tamen Judæos, tanquam Dei susceptores, recte dicit judicâsse de Christo, quod eum morte pessimâ excruciandum esse censuerint. Deus itaque Judæorum, cui perhibet testimonium, audiendus fuit, dicens: ** Sacrificans Diis eradicabitur, nisi Domino tantum," Ex. xxii. 20. Sed ad manifestiora veniamus, et audiamus quam magnum Deum dicat esse Judæorum. Item ad ea quæ interrogavit Apollinem, quid melius, sive verbum, sive ratio, an lex. Respondit, inquit, versibus hæc dicens. Ac deinde subjicit versibus, et in quibus et ista sunt, ut quantum satis est, inde decerpam : In Deum, inquit, generatorem, et regem ante omnia, quem tremit coelum et terra, atque mare, et infernorum abdita, et ipsa numina perhorrescunt ; quorum lex est Pater, quem valde sancti honorant Hebræi. Tali oraculo
* Oracles, and writes of things pertaining to Philosophy, as delivered in answers from the gods, he speaks to tliis purpose. And I shall put down his very words, as they have been translated out of the Greek tongue into Latiii. He says, when he inquired what god he should appease in order to reduce his wife from christianity, Apóllo answered in verse: “ Possibly you may more easily write in water, ol fly in the air like a bird, than convert your wife once polluted with impiety.” Let him go on as he will, singing with his fallacious lamentations the dead god, whom the judges rightly condemned, and the worst death destroyed. Then, after these verses of Apollo, which are not translated into good Latin metre, he subjoins, and says ; Hereby he [the god] “ expressed their incurable obstinacy. For the Jews may sooner acknowledge God than they.” Observe, how to disparage Christ he prefers the Jews before christians, confessing that the Jews acknowledge God ; for so he explained the verses of ApoIIo, where he says, that Christ was put to death by jüdges thinking right things, as if they had passed a just judg
Dei sui Apollinis Porphyrius tam magnum Deum dixit Hebræorum, ut eum et ipsa numina perhorrescunt ; quorum lex est Pater, quem valde sancti honorant Hebræi. Tali oraculo dei sui Apollinis, Porphyrius tam magnum Deum dixit Hebræorum, ut eum et ipsa numina perhorrescarit. Cum ergo Deus iste dixerit, ** Sacrificans diis eradicabitur," miror, quod ipse Porphyrius non perhorruerit, et sacrificans diis non formidaverit. Cap. 23. n. l. •
2. Dicit etiam bona philosophus iste de Christo, quasi oblitus illius, de quâ paullo ante locuti sumus, contumeliæ suæ 5 aut quasi in somnis dii ejus maledixerint Christo, et vigilantes bonum esse cognoverint, digneque laudaverint. Denique, tanquam mirabile aliquid atque incredibile prolaturus, præter opinionem, inquit, profecto quibusdam videatur esse, quod dicturi sumus. Christum enim dii piissimum pronuntiaverunt, et immortalem factum, et cum bonâ prædicatione ejus meminerunt. Christianos vero pollutos, inquit, et contaminatos, et errore implicatos dicunt; et multis talibus adversus eos blasphemiis utuntur. Deinde subjicit velut deorum oracula blasphemantium christianos. Et post hæc. De Christo auiem, imçquit, interrogantibus, si est Deus, ait Hecate : Quoniam quidem immortalis anima post corpus ut incedit, tu nôsti: a sapientiâ autem abscissa semper errat : viri pietate præstantissimi est illa anima. Hanc colunt alienâ a se veritate: Deinde post verba hujus quasi oraculi sua ipse contexens, piissimum igitur virum, inquit, eum dixit, et ejus animam, sicut et aliorum piorum, post obitum immortalitate donatam, et hanc colere christiani errantes. Interrogantibus autem, inquit, Cur ergo damnatus est ? Oraculo respondit Dea : Corpus quidem debilitantibus tormentis semper oppositum est: anima autem piorum cœlesti sede insidet. Illa vero anima aliis animabus fataliter dedit, quibus fata non annuerunt deorum obtinere dona, neque habere Jovis immortalis agnitionem, errore implicari. Propterea ergo diis exosi quia quibus fato fuit non nôsse Deum, nec dona a diis accipere, his fataliter dedit iste errore implicari. Ipse vero pius, et in coelum, sicut pii, concessit. ltaque hunc quidem non blasphemabis; misereberis autem hominum dementiam, ex eo in eis facile præcepsque peri«culum. Ib. n. 2.
ment, and he had been deservedly punished. , Let him see to it, what the lying priest of Apollo said of Christ, and he believed; or, perhaps, he himself pretended, the priest had said what he did not say. But how he is consistent with himself, or how he makes the oracles to agree, we shall see hereafter. However, here he says, the Jews as worshippers of God, judged rightly concerning Christ, when they condemned him to suffer the worst death; therefore the God of the Jews, to whom he bears this testimony, ought to be heard, who says: “He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the Lord only, shall be destroyed,” Ex. xxii. 20. But let us proceed to plainer things, and let us hear how great a God, he says, the God of the Jews is; and therefore let us observe the question he put to Apollo, Which is the best instructor, reason or law Ż He says, he made the answer in verse, saying these things. Then he puts down Apollo's verses, in which are these, that I may take what is sufficient; “You must worship the God creator, king, before all things, before whom the heaven, and the earth, and the sea, and things hidden in the deep tremble, and whom the gods themselves dread; whose law is the Father, whom the pious Hebrews adore.” In that oracle of his god Apollo, Porphyry declares the God of the Hebrews to be so great, that the gods themselves dread him. When therefore that God has said, “ he that sacrificeth to other gods shall be destroyed,” I wonder that Porphyry himself did not dread him, and did not fear to be destroyed when he sacrificed to other gods.’
‘This philosopher also says good things of Christ, as if he had forgot the reproach before mentioned; or, as if his gods blasphemed Christ in their sleep, and when they awoke acknowledged his merit, and gave him due praises. Finally, then as if he was about to say something wonderful and incredible, he says: “It may indeed appear strange which we are going to say. For the gods declared Christ to be most pious, and made immortal, and spoke honourably of him:” but, as he says, they said, “ the christians were polluted and corrupted, and involved in error.” And many such reproaches they cast upon them. Then he subjoins oracles of the gods reproaching the christians; afterwards he says, “when we inquired concerning Christ, whether he be a god, Hecate answered; That the soul after separation from the body becometh immortal thou knowest. A soul void of wisdom always wanders; but that is the soul of a man most eminent for piety. This they worship not rightly.” Then, after the words of the