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‘the frauds of others, and that their simplicity might no ‘ longer be the prey and food of cunning men. Therefore ‘ he had undertaken this office, well becoming a philoso‘pher, not only to hold out the light of wisdom to those who do not discern it, but also to persuade them, laying aside all perverse obstinacy, to avoid heavy sufferings, and not give up themselves to torments without reason. And that it might appear with what views this work of his was composed, he enlarged in the praises of the emperors, whose wisdom and piety, he said, were conspicuous, not only in the affairs of the state, but also, and chiefly, in upholding the religion of the gods; and had taken due care of the welfare of mankind, in restraining an impious and foolish superstition, that all men performing the legal rites might enjoy the favour and protection of the gods. But when he came to confute the religion against which he was arguing, he appeared very contemptible, not knowing what he opposed, nor what to say; so that our people in general, though upon account of the times they might think it best to say little, could not but despise him, and look upon him as a man who attempted to enlighten others when he was blind himself, and to bring others back from error when he was himself ignorant, and knew not where to set his feet, and to teach others the truth, of which he never had a glimpse himself. All thought it strange, that at this very time he should engage in such a work, when the most cruel measures were taken. Behold then a flattering philosopher and a server of the times. However, this man was despised for his emptiness; nor did he obtain the favour he hoped for; and instead of the glory which he aimed at, he met with reproach and censure.” Upon which I shall make only two or three remarks, and then proceed. 1. This writer is anonymous; nor do we know that he is mentioned by any one beside Lactantius in this place. Some have imagined that he is the same as Porphyry, but altogether without reason. Porphyry is older, and his character very different from that of the person here described; Porphyry was a man of virtue, and his work against the christians, so far from being contemptible, was perhaps the most formidable of all the arguments written against them by any of their ancient heathen adversaries. And we may therefore hence infer, that many books were written against the christians in the first ages of which we now know nothing. They have been buried in oblivion;


but they may have given the christians a good deal of trouble at the time when they were published. 2. Though we have not the work of this anonymous writer, we perceive what was in it. Lactantius, who was perfectly honest, as well as zealous for his religion, may be relied upon for having given a true and just account of the character of the author, and the design and contents of his work; and therefore I have judged it highly proper to transcribe him at length. This author, by profession a philosopher, and a teacher of philosophy, represented christianity to be ‘superstition, ‘foolish, and also “impious, neglecting the deities,” by whom, as he said, the world was governed : * contrary’ likewise to the ‘established laws, and ‘prejudicial to the ‘ interests of mankind, as exposing men to the displeasure of the gods. To cure men therefore of this superstition, (no matter how,) was to recommend them to the favour and blessing of those deities. He was also a flatterer, and he expatiated in the praises of the emperor; but his arguments were very inconsiderable. 3. I must be allowed to transcribe here a paragraph of Mr. Bayle, who was a witness of the persecution of the Protestants in his own country in the time of Lewis the XIVth. “The" preface of this philosopher,’ says he, “may enable ‘ us to discern the great conformity of pagan and christian “ persecutions. A self-interested and flattering author never “fails to take up the pen against the persecuted party; it “appears a fine opportunity to praise his prince; he lays * hold of it, and enlarges upon the importance of the service ‘done for God, and the charity of adding instruction to the ‘authority of the laws; that enlightening the erroneous, “ they may be delivered from the pain to which their obsti‘macy might expose them. The voluptuous philosopher of * Nicomedia forgot none of these common-places. It may ‘ be said, that he was the original to many French authors, * who wrote during the sufferings of the Protestants. It is “easier to depart from the method of Dioclesian's persecu‘tion than from that of his panegyrists.” II. Of the other writer Lactantius speaks after this manner: ‘The “ other,’ says he, “treated the same subject more

* See his Dictionary in Hierocles, note (C.) * Alius eandem materiam mordacius scripsit; quierat tum e numero judicum, et qui auctor in primis faciendae persecutionis fuit; quo scelere non contentus etiam scriptis eos, quos afflixerat, insecutus est. Composuit enim libellos duos, non contra christianos, ne inimice insectari videretur, sed ad christianos, ut humane ae

‘accurately; he was then one of the judges, and a princi‘pal adviser of the persecution; and not contented with ‘ that piece of wickedness, he also pursued those with his writings whom he had brought into trouble. For he composed two books, not entitled, Against the Christians, lest he should seem to bear hard upon them, but ‘To the Christians,’ that he might be thought to advise them in a kind and friendly manner: in which books he endeavoured to show, that the sacred scriptures overthrow themselves by the contradictions with which they abound; he particularly insisted upon several texts as inconsistent with each other; and indeed on so many, and so distinctly, that one might suspect he had some time professed the religion which he now exposed. However, the sacred scriptures may have by some accident or other fallen into his hands; but the scriptures are as far from inconsistencies as he was from the truth.--—But he chiefly reviled Paul and Peter, and the other disciples, as propagators of falsehood; who nevertheless,’ as he says, “were ignorant and illiterate, and some of them got their livelihood by fishing; as if he was displeased, that some Aristophanes or Aristarchus had not handled the subject.” “But it hence follows, that they were not cunning and designing men, being entirely unacquainted with the arts of deceit. And how should unlearned men, of their own heads, contrive a plausible story in every part, and throughout consistent, when the most learned philosophers, Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, and Zeno, have delivered inconsistencies and contradictions? For this is the nature of falsehood, that it cannot hold together; but the doctrine of Christ's disciples being true, it is all of a piece and consistent throughout; and therefore it satisfies and gains * followers, because it is built upon solid reason. Nor did

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benigne consulere putaretur. In quibus ita falsitatem scripturæ Sacrae arguere conatus est, tanquam sibi esset tota contraria. Nam quaedam capita, quae repugnare sibi videbantur, exposuit; adeo multa, adeo intima enumerans, ut aliquando ex eådem disciplinä fuisse videatur nisi forte casu in manus ejus divinae literae inciderunt. Tantum enim abest a divinis literis repugmantia, quantum ille abfuit a veritate. Praecipue tamen Paulum Petrumque laceravit, caeterosque discipulos, tanquam fallacia seminatores; quos eosdem tamen rudes et indoctos fuisse testatus est. Nam quosdam eorum piscatorio artificio fecisse quaestum; quasi aegre ferret, quod illam rem non Aristophanes aliquis, aut Aristarchus commentatus sit. Ib. cap. 2. Abfuit ergo ab his fingendi voluntas, et astutia, quoniam rudes fuerunt. Aut quis possit indoctus apta inter se et cohaerentia fingere; cum philosophi doctissimi, Plato, et Aristoteles, et Epicurus, et Zenon, ipsi sibi repugnantia et contraria dixerint. Haec est enim mendaciorum natura, ut cohaerere non possint. Illorum autem traditio, quia vera est, quadrat undique, ac sibi tota con

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they invent this religion for the sake of any worldly profit whatever; for the precepts of it give no encouragement to voluptuousness, and in their whole conduct they showed a contempt of those things which are most valued. Nor did they only lay down their lives for the truth, but knew beforehand that they should do so, and also foretold it; and plainly declared to all others who embraced the same doctrine, that they must expect the like sufferings. But he says, that Christ was banished by the Jews, and after that got together nine hundred men, and committed robbery. Who can withstand such an authority ? By all means let us believe him; for perhaps some Apollo told it him in his sleep. Many robbers have been executed in all times, and are executed daily. You have condemned a great many; but who of them after crucifixion has been esteemed as a god, or even as a man? But possibly you have the more easily believed this, because your people have deified the murderer Mars; which however you would not have done if he had been crucified by order of the court of Areopagus. Moreover, as Lactantius goes on to say, “this writer endeavours to overthrow Christ's ‘miracles, though he does not deny the truth of them ; he ‘ aims to show, that like things, or even greater, were done ‘ by Apollonius. It is somewhat strange that he omitted “Apuleius, of whom many wonderful things are commonly “ said. Christ, it seems, must be reckoned a magician, ‘ because he did many wonderful things; but Apollonius is ‘more able, because, as you say, when Domitian would “ have put him to death, he escaped; whereas Christ was “apprehended and crucified.’

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sentit: et ideo persuadet, quia constanti ratione suffulta est. Non igitur quaestūs et commodi gratiâ religionem istam commenti Sunt; quippe quiet praeceptis, et re ipsä, eam vitam secuti Sunt, quae et voluptatibus caret, et omnia quae habentur in bonis Spernit; et quinon tantum pro fide mortem subierint, Sed etiam morituros esse se et Scierint, et praedixerint; et postea universos, quieorum disciplinam secuti essent, acerba et nefanda passuros. Ipsum autem Christum affirmavit, a Judaeis fugatum, collectà nongentorum hominum manu, latrocinia fecisse. Quistantae auctoritati audeat repugnare Credamus hoc plane. Nam fortasse hoc illi in somnis Apollo aliquis nuntiavit. Tot Semper latrones perierunt, et quotidie pereunt: utique multos et ipse damnàsti. Quis eorum, post crucem suam, non dicam deus, sed homo appellatus est Verum tu forsitan ex eo credidisti, quia vos homicidam Martem consecrāstis, ut deum : quod tamen non fecissetis, si illum Areopagitae in crucem sustulissent. Item, cum facta ejus mirabilia destrueret, nec tamen negaret, voluit ostendere. Apollonium vel paria vel etiam majora fecisse. Mirum, quod Apuleium praetermisit, cujus solent et multa et mira memorari Si magus Christus, quia mirabilia fecit, peritior utique Apollonius, qui, ut describis, cum Domitianus eum pumire vellet, repente in judicio non comparuit, quam ille, quiet comprehensus est, et cruci affixus. Ib. cap. 3.

More follows concerning Apollonius, but I think I need not proceed any farther. Lactantius has not told us the name of this writer; but from the author of the book of the Deaths of Persecutors, different" from Lactantius, but coutemporary with him, we learn, that he was Hierocles, at first vicar, afterwards president in Bithynia, of whom he expressly says, that he was a persecutor, and an adviser of the persecution. Hierocles is also mentioned by Epiphanius, as praefect at Alexandria in the time of Dioclesian's persecution. Against his work Eusebius of Caesarea wrote an answer, still extant, of which I shall now give an account; by which it will farther appear, that Lactantius and Eusebius speak of the same author, and the same work. Eusebius at the beginning tells his friend, to whom he addresseth himself, ‘ that; Hierocles had made a comparison * of our Saviour and Master with Apollonius of Tyana, ‘giving the preference to the latter. To this part he in“tended to confine himself; for, says he, as for the rest of ‘ his work, which he calls Philalethes, or Lover of Truth, I ‘ do not think it needful to take much notice of it; it not ‘ being his own, but shamefully borrowed from others, and ‘ had been already fully answered by Origen in his answer * to the work of Celsus, called “ The true Word.”” * Referring therefore,’ says Eusebius, ‘to that work of * Origen, such as are desirous to inform themselves more ‘particularly of our religion, we shall at this time examine ‘the comparison made of Jesus Christ and Apollonius by “ this Philalethes.” * He " admires, then, and extols this man, as if by some

* That he is different from Lactantius, I argued largely some while ago; Vol. ii. p. 295—300. At the end of that argument are mentioned several learned men, who have been of the same opinion. To them ought to be added Dr. Chapman, in his Charge to the Clergy of the Archdeaconry of Sudbury, p. 125. * Nam cum incidisses in Flaccinum Praefectum, non pusillum homicidam, deinde in Hieroclem ex Vicario Praesidem, qui auctor et consiliarius ad faciendam persecutionem fuit, postremo in Priscillianum successorem ejus, documentum omnibus invictae fortitudinis præbuisti. De Mortib. Persecut, cap. 16. * Kašmudvoc usv my strapyoc Tuc engalooc, A\séavópeiac Čs ‘Ispok\mc. Epiph. H. 68. num. 1. * Ag' 8v, a poorms, koksiva as "s ovyypaspetog ačtov atrobavpiałętv, & Top ñuerspoo Xornot rs kav ćidaoka)\p row Tvavsa £vykpiww.v, trapsóočoxoyst. IIpog poev Yap ta Moutra row sv top dot\a\m{}st aôsv av sum oorsèatov sort ro trapovrog is aabat, pun avra têta rvyxavovra' opoćpa Ös evatdog árepov sk avroic povovext vompaolv, ax\a kav Šmuagu, kat ovXNagalg trpoosavamus va, k. Å. Euseb. Contr. Hier. p. 511. ad Calc. Dem. Evang. * 6avpia&st sv Kat arroësysra, 9sig rive kai ağmrw gopig 8xt 6s yomrstag acqugpiaqi res)avuarapynksval paakwu avrov-Ares 3' 8v ć pmgiv avraig ovXAa

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