« PreviousContinue »
to seek Saul, and when he had found him he brought him to Antioch. Here both the Apostles continued for upwards of a year, superintending the founding of the Church, and performing those functions, such as ordination and confirmation, which the priests and deacons could not do.
In the year a. D. 46, Evodius was consecrated first bishop of Antioch: he was succeeded by St. Ignatius, and a long line of illustrious prelates. It eventually became a Patriarchate, containing 203 bishoprics. A famous council of upwards of seventy bishops was held here, A. D. 270, against the heresy of Theodotus and Artemon, who taught that our Lord Jesus Christ was not God but mere man. Antioch was the scene of severe persecutions in the reign of Hadrian and Diocletian, but it stood the trial bravely, and furnished its quota of blessed martyrs and confessors, of whom Ignatius led the way, being exposed to wild beasts and devoured in the amphitheatre of Rome, A. D. 107.
Antioch was almost square, had many gates, was adorned with fine fountains, and possessed great fertility of soil and opulence of commerce. The Emperors Vespasian, Titus, and others, granted considerable privileges to Antioch, but it has also been exposed to great calamities and revolutions. Between the years 115 and 528, it was visited by no less than seven earthquakes. In 529 Justinian repaired it and called it Theopolis, or the City of God. Corshoes, king of Persia, took it A. D. 540, massacred the inhabitants and burned it. Justinian ordered it to be rebuilt in 552. Corshoes took it a second time in 574, in the reign of Justin, and destroyed its walls. In 588 it suffered a dreadful earthquake, in which above 60,000 persons perished. It was again rebuilt, and again it was exposed to new calamities. The Saracens took it A. D. 638 ; Nicephorus Phocas retook it A. D. 966. Godfrey of Bulloigne, when engaged in the conquest of the Holy Land, besieged it A. D. 1097. The siege was long and bloody, but at length the Christians obtained possession, on Thursday, June 3rd, A. D. 1098. In 1268 it was taken by the Sultan of Egypt, who utterly destroyed it and placed it under the dominion of the Turks. Antioch is now called Aptahia, and till the year 1822 it occupied a remote corner of the ancient enclosure of its walls; its splendid buildings being reduced to hovels, and its inhabitants living in Turkish debasement. At that period it was revisited by its ancient enemy, the earthquake, and converted into a heap of ruins.
ANTIOCH IN PISidia, the capital of the Province so named în Asia Minor. Paul and Barnabas preached bere ; but the Jews
being angry to see that some of the Gentiles received the gospel, raised a tumult, and obliged the Apostles to leave the city, (Acts, xiii. 14.) They, however, afterwards returned, and held an ordination, when several persons were admitted to the order of the priesthood, (Acts xiv. 21-23.) It is at present called Versategli, and also Tahoya, Sibi, and Antiocho.
APPII FORUM. The Forum was built by Appius, the consul. It was about fifty miles distant from Rome, and near the modern town of Piperno, on the way to Naples. The same Consul constructed a great road, which was called after him, the Appian Way.
The uses to which the Romans put those structures which they call Forums, were so various that it is not easy now to find out the exact nature of this building. It might be a place for the distribution of justice; or for holding a market.
The “Three Taverns" were nearer to Rome than the Appii Forum.* So that probably the chief number of Christians waited for the Apostle, St. Paul, at a place of refreshment, while some of their number went forward to meet him, and to acquaint him with their expectation of seeing him among them, for which they respectfully waited his coming, (Acts xxviii. 25.)
PRINCIPLES OF CHURCH HISTORY.
(Continued from Page 24.) Our review of the miraculous course of the Apostles, brought us to the inevitable conclusion, that nothing can be more certain than the divine authority and obligation of all that they were inspired to write in the Scriptures, or to institute in the Church. With respect to theirwritings, which in fact, include the whole Bible, as having been authenticated and confirmed by their authority, even although we knew far less than we do about them, and had no express assurance that all Scripture has been given by inspiration of God, we might almost, from the very nature of the case, be sure of this, and that the New Testament especially is of divine origin and authority. It is quite incredible, that He whose heavenly love constrained Him to come down from heaven, that He might be " the Light of the world," should not have made provision for the continuance of that light, by causing his first disciples to
*“Ab Appii Foro, horâ quartâ,dederan aliam Paulo ante a tribus tabernis." Cicero.
transmit it unimpaired to others; and even with respect to our present copies of the Scriptures, to say nothing at present of the faithfulness of the Church, as the witness and keeper of Holy Writ-the providential oversight and paternal care of God, render it quite inconceivable that He can have suffered His own message to His children, to be essentially mutilated or corrupted; or that while He numbers the very hairs of our heads, and without Him not a sparrow falls to the ground, His own holy Word may have had any thing of essential importance either added to, or taken from it. Look for instance at our Lord's prophecies respecting the Jewish nation and the progress of His church. These have been accomplished, and are yet accomplishing to the very letter ; they must therefore have been recorded by the apostles, and stand recorded in our own copies of the Bible, without any variation from what proceeded from His sacred lips; who never would have suffered the truth of the holy religion He came to establish, to be suspended on the accomplishment of predictions inaccurately reported; and thus inaccurate because He had made no effectual provision for their perfect correctness. He knew moreover that His recorded sayings would become the Rule of faith and practice for every future age : in this respect also, it is no less incredible that He should have left us in uncertainty, whether we really knew what He had taught and commanded; and so have made His teaching practically of none effect, or at least of doubtful authority, owing to the doubtfulness of the record of it. The many promises made to the apostles, such as, “when He the Spirit of truth is come, He shall lead you into all truth;" “He shall bring all things to your rememberance, whatsoever I have said unto you," still further show how far our Lord was from intending that the apostles to whom He made such promises, should be left to err.
It would be foreign to an historical treatise, to dwell further on this, or on the internal evidence of the divinity of the Bible, arising from the silent testimony of God's Spirit to the conscience of every Christian, and his experience of its power to convict of guilt, to subdue and soften, to enlighten, strengthen, and to comfort the heart. Let us proceed therefore to the church, as existing immediately after the Apostolic age; and the very first point calling for our attention, is her character as the “witness and keeper of Holy Writ,” authenticating and transmitting it to her children, as the supreme and alone infallible rule of faith and dnty.
Accordingly we receive the Bible as a volume written by men miraculously endowed and divinely inspired, because it has been
handed down to us as such by the primitive church; which would never have herself received it as such from the apostles, had not the supernatural endowments of the apostles and evangelists been indisputable. In the early ages, for some time if not for centuries after the death of the apostles, miraculous gifts, scantily indeed, yet more or less, remained in the church; several of the primitive bishops being spoken of in ecclesiastical history as inspired teachers, particularly St. Ignatius, St. Polycarp, and St. Cyprian. This indisputable fact is mentioned here in order to deepen our reverence for the primitive church as the pillar and ground of the truth; and as shewing with what entire confidence we may receive the volume of Holy Scripture, from the hands of those so capable in every way of knowing whether they were indeed inspired.
While the early bishops, the immediate successors of the apostles, had themselves a measure, although a very inferior measure of inspiration, the written word of God might have seemed of less paramount importance, and the authority of living teachers to approach so near to that of the writings of departed apostles, as to lessen the reverence paid to them as the supreme rule of faith. But the case was far otherwise. Never was the supreme authority, the special and unapproachable inspiration of the Scriptures more recognized and acted upon, than in those primitive days of prophetically inspired bishops and pastors. Towards the latter part of the second century, some wicked heretics attempted to overthrow the doctrine of the divinity of Christ, asserting Him to have been merely a man. They were met indeed by the unanswerable argument, that the whole Church had been otherwise taught by all its bishops and teachers from the very beginning; still the defenders of the truth made their principal appeal to the written volume of Inspiration, saying in the words of one of them, an unknown writer of the second century, “The sacred scriptures have been shamefully perverted by those deniers of the divinity of our Lord. The rule of the ancient faith they bave set aside; Christ they have denounced; not inquiring what the Holy Scriptures declared, but labouring by reasonings to establish their impiety. The excessive presumption of this heresy, (the heresy of the so called Unitarians) they can hardly but be conscious of themselyes, for either they do not believe that the Holy Scriptures were uttered by the Holy Spirit, and then they are infidels, or they deem themselves wiser than the Holy Spirit; and what are they then but demoniacs; denying the law and the prophets by their impure doctrine, they have sunk down to the lowest depths of perdition.”
This then was the doctrine of the Primitive Church, that the writings of the apostles, along with the rest of Scripture, were inspired by the Holy Spirit; and they drew a broad line of distinction and separation between the sacred, or as they are sometimes called the canonical books, and the writings of all others, even although they might have been inspired teachers. The difference being this, that however much any of the early bishops and pastors may have been under extraordinary influences of the Spirit, and endowed with miraculous gifts, they were not inspired to write ; their writings consequently are not inspired, are not authoritative; on the contrary, these very individuals appeal to the sacred volume, and to the inspired writers of it, as a higher authority than themselves, and as the supreme and infallible rule of faith.
Thus the Churchman's faith rests firmly on the Church itself as the pillar and ground of the truth; He knows that the holy gospels, the epistles, and all other portions of his bible are really inspired parts of Scripture, because the Church says so, and because the Church in the very age of inspiration, must have known all about it; and he knows that the books of scripture now in his hands, are the very gospels and epistles which the evangelists and apostles wrote, because the Church says so; she who must know, because she has had them in her possession un. interruptedly from age to age; handing them down by an unbroken succession from the apostolic times.
But the Church, the Primitive Church, is much more to us than the witness and keeper of Holy Writ; she is also our guide to the true meaning of it; and has transmitted to us a succesgion of ministers continuous with the apostles, and sacraments, creeds, and forms of worship. Of these, therefore, we shall next proceed to speak.
A DUE ESTIMATION OF THE TRUTH.—I would not be an heretic or a schismatic in the Church, to have the wisdom of Solomon, the tongues of St. Paul, and the eloquence of Apollos: no, not to be caught up into paradise, and hear those unutterable things. I would not be the best preacher that ever was, and speak in the pulpit by inspiration, to have that accusation lie against me, which St. Paul drew up against the Corinthians, of envy, strife, schism.-George Hickes, D.D.