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tle was a fisherman, and the Scythian Anacharsis a philosopher, and that such reflections are good for nothing.
Tertullian informs us that a Christian, called Proculus, cured the Emperor Severus of some distemper with oil, for which the emperor was favourable to the Christians, and kept Proculus, as long as he lived, in the palace. Ipse etiam Severus, pater Antonini, Christanorum memor fuit, nam et Proculum Christianum, qui Torpacion cognominabatur, Euhodeve procuratorem, qui eum per oleum aliquando curaverat, requisivit, et in palatio suo habuit ad mortem ejus : quem et Antoninus optime noverat, lacte Christiano educatus. Ad Scap. iv.
Was this cure miraculous ?
Instead of making a direct answer to the question, we will supply the reader with some facts relating to it, which ought to be taken into consideration.
Tertullian seems to have thought the cure miracu. lous, for he joins it to other cures of that kind, which, as he says, were wrought by Christians. Haec omnia tibi et officio suggeri possunt, et ab iisdem aduocatis, qui et ipsi beneficia habent Christianorum, licet adclament quce volunt. Nam et cujusdam Notarius, cum a Demone praecipitaretur, liberatus est ; et quorundam propinquus et puerulus. Et quanti honesti viri, de vulgaribus enim non dicimus, aut a Dæmoniis aut valetudinibus remediati sunt. Ipse etiam Severus, &c.
The relation of Tertullian, as to the cure, must be admitted, since he is so circumstantial, and part of his account is confirmed by Pagan writers. See Tillemont H. des Emp. iii. 89. and H. Eccl. iii. 114. and Fabricius Bibl. Gr. viii, 460, where it appears that there was such a man as Euhodus, who was Libertus of the Emperor Severus, and by him appointed to
éducate educate his eldest son Caracalla. Proculus was steward to this Euhodus, or Euhodeas, or to Euhodea, who might be the daughter of Euhodus. Caracalla had a Christian nurse, and a Christian boy for a play-fellow, and it is probable that Euhodus, or Euhodea, was a Christian, as well as Proculus.
Tertullian and Severus were not only contemporaries, but countrymen, and Africans ; and Tertullian, who seems also to have been very curious and inquisitive, might know more particularities concerning the emperor than many other people.
It had been a custom with Christians in the apostolical age to anoint the sick with oil, and to pray over them, after which I know not whether it be mentioned in the three first centuries, except this passage of Tertullian be allowed a proof of it, or the authority of the Constitutions be admitted in this particular: yet it is probable that the practice was continued. .
Many medical uses of oil were very well known before that time, as may be seen in Pliny's Natural History, 11. p. 308, &c. Ed. Hard. and the state of physic in the days of Severus was flourishing enough, and Galen lived then and was in high esteem.
If oil had been thought proper for his distemper, Severus would probably have known it without the advice of Proculus.
The case seems to have been somewhat extraordinary and not accounted curable by oil, since Severus was so fond of the Christian who recovered him, and took him into the palace, perhaps that he might have him at hand, if he should want him for himself or his family.
Severus kept medicines by liim, which he used to bestow on those who stood in need of them, and it is
said that many persons had found them beneficial in dangerous discases and disorders. Some emperors before Severus had done the same. See Galen de Theriaca.
Severus was for a time very favourable to the Christians, though afterward upon some disgust he used them ill. He was haughty, cruel, stubborn, and unrelenting: He was vere Pertinax, vere Severus, as the common people used to say of him, alluding to his names. If he had been obstinately bent upon subverting Christianity, he would have proved a most terrible enemy; but the remembrance of the service which he had received from a Christian, and the dutiful behaviour of the Christians, who had never been in arms against him, or assisted his rivals, and other motives, might have contributed to make him less vio. lent, for if Spartian inform us right, his decree was thus : Judeos ficri sub gravi pana vetuit : idem etiam de Christiunis sanxit ; which might be interpreted as only prohibiting the Jews and Christians to make any more converts, and the Pagans to embrace either of those religions.
Many writers suppose that his persecution was sharp, but Dodwell * thinks that it was not rigorous, and the writer de Mortibus Persecutorum passes it over in silence, as though it had not been considerable.
Thus stands the evidence, from which the reader may draw what conclusion he thinks proper. He may also examine these points :
* In his Dissertation De Paucitate Martyrum; in which, if he sometimes falls short of the truth, yet he approaches nearer to it than his antagonists, who greatly overshoot it in their notions De Multitudine Martyrum, and in the regard which they pay to lying Legends.
Was Proculus a Presbyter ?
Whether he was or was not, could he anoint a Pagan with oil, in pursuance of the direction given by St James v. 11. ?
Or was it in imitation of the common practice of the Jews, or of the disciples whom Christ sent to preach, Mark vi. 13. ?
In the Constitutions there is a form of consecrating water and oil, in which the bishop or the presbyter prays that God would give to each of them δύναμιν υγείας εμποιητικήν, νόσων απελασικήν, δαιμόνων φυγαδευτικήν, σασης επιβεaris Swxlixhr. vim effectricem sunitatis, morborum expultricem, Dremonum fugatricem, omnium insidiarum profligatricem. viii. 29.
In the passage of Tertullian concerning Proculus, S. Basnage for Euhodeve reads Euhodi, and for Torpa. cion, Torpeion, and thus explains the place, Hinc ergo est mens Tertulliani : Cum Severus miraculum a Proculo fuisse editum, ec Euhodo per oleum sunuto comperisset, hunc requisivit Proculum, quem et in palutio suo habuit usque ad mortem ejus. Annal. ii. p. 201. .
Thus he supposes that Proculus cured Euhodus, and not Severus ; and Fleury in his Histoire. Ecclesiastique understands it in the same manner; but this interpretation seems to do some violence to the words, and is not the most obvious sense, and eum is more naturally referred to the emperor. Besides, the expression memor fuit, and the affection and kindness which the emperor shewed to this man, make it probable that he himself had been cured by him.
In the persecution under Severus, many Aed to a. void it, or gave money to redeem themselves. Tertullian, like a frantic Montanist, condemned these expedients. De Fuga, 5, 6. One Rutilius, distrusting his
own courage, made use of them both ; but afterwards being seized, he endured cruel torments and death with great constancy and intrepidity, leaving an excellent example of prudence and piety.
Theophilus wrote three books and addressed tliem to his friend Autolycus, a learned Pagan, A. D. 168. He thus disputes * with him concerning the doctrine of the resurrection.
Shew me, said Autolycus, even one man raised from the dead, that I may see and believe.
Autolycus, in all probability, had no thoughts of calling in good earnest upon his friend, or upon any of the Christians, to perform such a miracle ; but like the generality of the Gentiles, accounted the future resurrection of the dead, expected by the Christians, to be an idle fancy and an utter impossibility, a hope without ground and without example, and the resurrection of Christ to be a fable ; therefore, said he, give me an instance, and shew me one man at least who hath been restored to life. Observe that this was a common argument in the inouth of the pagans. Tanta ætas abit, says Cæcilius in Minucius Felix, secula
* 'Αλλα και το αρνείσθαι σε νεκρες εγείρεσθαι" φής , δειξόν μοι καν ένα εγερθέντα εκ νεκρών, ίνα ίδων σισεύσω πρώτον μεν τί μέγα, ει θεασάμενος το γεγονός πισεύσεις και είτα πιστεύεις μεν Ηρακλέα καυσανία εαυτόν, ζην" και 'Ασκληπιον κεραυνωθένα έγηγέρθαι. τα δε υπό τη Θεέ σοι λεγόμενα απισείς και ίσως και επιδείξω σοι νεκρόν εγερθένα και ζωία, και τετο απισήσεις. Ο μεν εν Θεός σοι πολλα τεκμήρια επιδείκνυσιν εις το σισεύειν αυτω" ει 8 βέλει, κατανόησαν την μεν καιρών και ημερων και νυκτων τελευτην, σως και αυτα τελευτα και ανίσαθαι.---Μη εν απίσω, αλλά σίσευε' και δ' έγω ήπίσαν τυτο έσεσθαι, αλλά νυν κατανοήσας αυτα σισεύω, άμα και επιτυχών Ιεραϊς γραφαϊς των αγίων προφητων, οι και προείπον δια Πνεύματος Θει τα προγεγονότα και τρόπω γέγονε, και τα ενερωτα τίμ τρόπο γίνεται, και τα επερχόμενα ποια τάξει απαρτισθάσεται, 1, 13.