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that he was drawing his own picture, and not consi, dering that he was just such another as Adrian in many respects.
There was then no edict or law which particularly forbad Christians to write in their own defence, or to read this or that book. Justin Martyr was probably mistaken in some of his assertions on this point, as Le Clerc observes, Hist. Eccl. p. 624. The last editor of Justin takes this point under consideration ; but he hath hardly given a satisfactory account of it, or removed the difficulties. Præf.
If there had been any danger in presenting an Apology to Adrian, yet every one who knows ecclesiastical history must know that the Christians of those times were men whom the fear of death would not have deterred. But the danger perhaps was not so great : Adrian seldom acted cruelly, except when he was moved by suspicion, jealousy, or envy; and whatsoever his temper was, he ever affected to appear generous, mild, open, gentle, and affable: in colloquiis etiam humillimorum civilissimus fuit,' says Spartian, Adr. 20.: much more might he admit Aristides, who was a learned man, an Athenian, and a philosopher; for he loved to converse with men of letters, and he was, by incorporation, an Athenian ; he had been at Athens before he was emperor, and the Athenians had paid him the compliment of making him their archon, and he was always kind to them.
Adrian seems to have had no hatred for the Christians, or for any other religious sects, and to have been more disposed to banter than to persecute them. In a letter to Servianus, in which he gives the Ægyptians a very bad character, he observes that Alexandria was inhabited by Jews, Samaritans, Christians, and worshippers of the Ægyptian deities; and that all these people, notwithstanding their diversity of opinions, and their religious squabbles, in reality worshipped only one God, and that God was Money. See Vopiscus, Saturnin. 8. p. 719. and the Miscell. Observ. ii. p. 309.
309. The Ægyptians had no extraordinary character with
many people. Vid. Schol. Aristoph. Nub. 1128.
Tilemont, Hist. des Emp. i. p. 197.
Adrian gave a Rescript to Minucius Fundanus concerning the Christians (preserved in Eusebius iv. 9. and at the end of Justin's first Apology) which is obscure. It is probable that he composed it so on purpose, for the same reason that moved his predecessor Trajan to grant the Christians only a half favour, and a sort of connivance. Thus Severus Alexander paid divine honours to Christ, and was very kind to the Christians; and yet, as Lampridius expresses it pretty accurately, “Judæis privilegia reser. vavit ; Christianos esse passus est.' 22. 29. Adrian's Rescript, though it doth not manifestly exempt Christians from punishment, yet seems in some degree to favour them, and might have been so interpreted by a judge who was disposed to put the mildest construction upon it. The Christians therefore made their use of it, and often appealed to it.
Lampridius, who was a Pagan, mentions a report that Adrian had a design to deify Jesus Christ, and to build him a temple; but he positively affirms that Severus Alexander intended it. He adds, that the emperor (I suppose he means Alexander) was deterred by some persons, probably Pagan priests, who, consulting the gods, found, as they said, that, if such a thing were executed, Christianity would be established, and Paganism abolished. « Christo templum facere voluit (Severus Alexander] eumque inter deos recipere. Quod et Adrianus cogitasse fertur, qui templa in omnibus civitatibus sine simulacris”, jusserat fieri: quæ
hodie idcirco quia non habent numina, dicuntur Adriana
quæ ille ad hoc parasse dicebatur. Sed prohibitus est ab iis qui consulentes sacra, repererant omnes Christianos futuros si id optato evenisset, et templa reliqua deserenda.' 43. The report concerning Adrian's design was groundless, in all probability. See Spartian. Adr. 13. and
c Interea ea traditio Lampridii nobis lucro est. Etenim si imaginibus referta tum temporis fuissent templa Christianorum, fingi nullo potuisset modo, Adriania numinibus vacua Christo fuisse posita. Neque Adriano aliquid caussæ fuisset, cur ejusmodi templa conderet, expertia simulacrorum, si ecclesia in more habuit imagines in templis collocare. Nulla
quoque Constantino imperante imagines Christianorum in Basilicis videbantur, utpote quæ ad siniilitudinem Adrianioruin accedebant. Busnage, Annal. i. p. 60.
Basnage, Annal. ïi. p. 59.; and yet it evidently shows that he never passed for an enemy to Christianity.
Since the Christian Apologists d reproach the Pagans for their human sacrifices, Quadratus and Aristides may be supposed to have touched upon that subject. Adrian forbad this wicked practice, and also made laws in favour of slaves.
Several Apologies were afterwards made by Christians, addressed sometimes to the emperors and the senate. Pa. gans of rank and quality were perhaps not much moved by them : yet they must have had some knowledge of them; for doubtless the Christians, who valued neither danger, nor money, nor labour, when the common cause required it, and of whom some were of good families and fortunes, got them transcribed, and handed them about to persons of eminence, and it could be no difficult thing to give them to those emperors who had learning and humanity. And indeed, which is very remarkable, the Apologies are addressed to such sort of emperors, to Adrian, Titus Antoninus, Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus, and perhaps to Commodus', who, bad as he was, yet showed kindness to the Christians. The emperors commonly were accessible enough, and did not use to hide themselves like eastern monarchs. Augustus, for example, suffered all persons to approach him ; and when a poor man once offered him a petition in a timorous manner, with a hand half extended and half drawn back, the emperor jested with him, and told him that he looked as if he was giving a halfpenny to an elephant. • Promiscuis salutationibus admittebat et plebem, tanta comitate adeuntium desideria excipiens, ut quendam joco corripuerit, quod sic sibi libellum porrigere dubitaret, quasi elephanto stipem.' Suet. Aug. 53. Nor was the style of the apologists such as could disgust the readers. They wrote in general as well, and with as much learn
a Dr. Middleton, and many besides him, have observed, that of the Christian Apologists, the latter often copy the earlier ; and a man who reads them must be blind not to see it, or perverse not to own it.
e Tillemont, Hist. des Emp. ii. 262, &c. See also Eusebius, Præp. Ey. iv. 16, 17.
* Tillemont, Hist. Eccl. ii. p. 631. and Justin M. ed. Paris 1742. Præf. p. cxii.
ing, elegance, vivacity, and good sense, as their Pagan contemporaries. These Christians were by no means obscure and contemptible persons; they had enjoyed a liberal education, they were learned, and some of thein had been philosophers, and retained the habit of philosophers; and in those days a philosopher and a man of letters might have access to persons of the highest rank and quality. Le Clerc was far from thinking that the antient defenders of Christianity were quite despised by the Heathen, as some are willing to imagine. On the contrary, he supposes that their arguments against Paganism contributed greatly to its destruction.
It is very necessary for those who would be well acquainted with ecclesiastical history, to read the authors who in the early ages composed Apologies for Christi. anity, and at the same time overset the religion of the Heathen. These were the first attacks which were made on Paganism, and which gave the very Pagans such a disgust for it, that almost the whole Roman empire declared for Christianity, as soon as it was safe to do so.' Bibl. Chois. xxvii. 426.
Under Adrian the Jews revolted, and were severely handled, and Jerusalem was again taken, and sacked, and burnt, and totally destroyed, according to several writers. • The melancholy view of its ruinous condition caused an infinite number of people to embrace Christianity, as it set before their eyes the truth of Christ's predictions, says Tillemont, Hist. des Emp. ii. 295. for which he refers us to Eusebius, Demonstr. Evang. p. 407. ed.
But this accurate author is here mistaken, I think, and makes Eusebius say more than can fairly be inferred from his words. See the passage, which is too long to be here inserted.
At this time lived Aquila, who translated the Bible into Greek. He was converted from Paganism by the piety and miracles of the Christians, says Epiphanius De Mens. c. 14, 15. and afterwards apostatized, and went over to Judaism. But Epiphanius was made up of hastiness and credulity, and is never to be trusted where he speaks of a miracle. For example:
He relates that many fountains and rivers were annually turned into wine on the same day, and at the same hour, when Christ wrought his miracle at Cana in Galilee; that this wonder continued at Cibyra in Caria, where he himself had drunk out of the fountain, and at Gerasa in Arabia, and that many testified the same of the river Nile.
The Pagans had miracles of the same kind. “In An. dro insula, templo Liberi Patris, fontem Nonis Januariis semper vini sapore fluere Mucianus ter consul credit.' Plinius ii. 106. p. 121.
* Mucianus Andri, e fonte Liberi Patris, statis diebus septenis ejus Dei vinum fluere, si auferatur a conspectu templi, sapore in aquam transeunte.' Idem, xxxi. 13.
Baronius was either so credulous, or so disingenuous, as to urge this miracle at Andros in confirmation of those which are attested by Epiphanius. It was an artifice of the priests of Bacchus, and served to delude silly Pagans, as S. Basnage observes, Ann. i. 217.
We may conjecture, from the relation of F.piphanius, that there were in his time, i. e. in the fourth century, pious knaves, who once a year conveyed wine into the fountain at Cibyra, and that the father drank a cup of this adulterated liquor, and was imposed upon by these jugglers. The trick might serve for other purposes besides those of a godly nature; it might draw company to the Wells of Cibyra once a year, and enrich the neighbourhood, and the proprietors of the holy water.
This is the civilest thing that we can say of Epiphanius, since he must have been either a dupe or a deceiver. Learned and judicious men, who have examined his writings, have been forced to conclude, that, with all his learning and piety, he was credulous, careless, censorious, and one who made no scruple of romancing and misrepresenting.
The miracle of the fountains is just as good as that recorded by Orosius, that the tracks of Pharaoh's chariotwheels remained in the sand of the Red Sea, and that nei. ther the winds nor the waves could eflace them.
Here is another tradition of the same kind from Epiphanius. Jerom mentions a particularity of the fountain Siloam,