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ISIDORE OF PELUSJUM.
I. His time. II. His works. III. Select passages. IV.
Books of the Old and New Testament received by him. V. His respect for the scriptures, and exhortations to read and study them. VI. Various readings, and ob
servations upon scripture. 1. ISIDORE, of Pelusium in Egypt, is spoken of by a Mill, next after Nonnus, as being his contemporary: and be is placed, by Cave, at the year 412. Basnage speaks of him at the year 427 : it is likely, that he died before the middle of the fifth century. Pagi says, Wed hear nothing of him after the
433. II. Facundus says, he wrote two thousand epistles for the edification of the church : Suidas says three thou• sand, explaining the divine scriptures. There are still extant above two thousand ; but they are most of them very short, and not a few of them coincident, treating the same question, and in a like manner. Dr. Heumann has a Dissertation on Isidore, of Pelusium, wbich well deserves to be read. He rectifies divers mistakes of learned moderns; and argues, thath most of his letters are fictitious, and not a real correspondence: and he seems to have proved what he advances.
III. I shall, in the first place, take some select passages of Isidore ; and then observe his testimony to the scriptures.
1. • Ai cloak and staff,' says he,' do not make a philosopher ; but freedom of speech, and a suitable life; in like Proleg. n. 916, &c.
b H. L. T. i. Conf. Fabr. Bib. Gr. J. v. c. 34. T. ix. p. 253, &c. Du Pin. T. iii. p. 2. Tillem. Mem. T. 15. c Ann. 427. n. 5.
d Post hunc annuin nulla amplius occurrit mentio sancti Isidori Pelusiotæ, &c. Ann. 433. n. 23.
e Isidorus, Presbyter Ægyptius Pelusiota, quem duo millia epistolarum ad ædificationem ecclesiæ multi scripsisse noverunt. Facund. I. iii. c. 4. V. Ισιδωρος.
6 De Isidoro Pelusiotà et ejus epistolis. Diss. xv. ap. Primatias Gottingenses, Hanover, 1738. 4to.
plerasque esse fictitias, ac rhetorico more conscriptas, non ut ii, quorum præfixa sunt nomina, eas acciperent, legerentque, sed ut specimina essent eloquentiæ iis imitandæ, quos haberet Isidorus artis dicendi discipulos. Ib. n. 9. p. 222. Cæterum etsi fictitiæ sunt hæ epistolæ, ficta tamen non sunt quæ in iis leguntur, sed ex animi sententià scripta ab Isidoro. Ib. n. 13.
1 Ωσπερ τον φιλοσοφον εχ' η σολη και η βακτηρια δεικνυσιν, αλλ' ή παρρησια και η πολιτεια" ετω και τον χριστιανον και σχημα και λογος, αλλα τροπος και βιος το ορθω λογω εφαμιλλος. L. iv. Ep. 34.
manner, habit and profession do not make a christian; but a life and conversation agreeable to right reason.'
2. Nothing is so dear to God as love: for the sake of which he became man, and was obedient unto death. And the first two disciples, called by our all-wise Saviour, were brothers; to show, that all his disciples should live together in a brotherly manner.'
3. • It was not, my dear friend, because our Lord foresaw the design of Judas, that he was guilty of treachery; but because that wretch had conceived the design to betray him, therefore he, who knew the secret motions of the heart, spake before-hand of future things, as if they were present.
4. • Youm seem to wonder, that Christ did not persuade the traitor to the love of virtue, when he heard him so often speaking of it in his discourses ; or rather of nothing else. On the other hand, I think it strange, that you should wonder at it, when you know the powers of free-will: for man's salvation is not accomplished by force and violence, but by gentleness and persuasion. Therefore, the salvation of every man is in his own power; that they who are rewarded, and they who are punished, may justly receive what they have chosen.
5. He says, thato piety is natural to us; that P. the human nature has in it seeds of goodness. Men 9 are neither above temptation, nor is evil natural to them ; but for want of due care they fall from virtue, as did the first man.' To the like purpose in other places; to some of which' I refer.
6. Hes sometimes argues very well for our Saviour's resurrection, and the truth of the christian religion, against both Jews and Gentiles.
7. He magnifies the progress of the christian religion, notwithstanding many difficulties, by unlikely instruments. * L. i. Ep. 10.
L. i. Ep. 57.
m L. ii. Ep. 129. Εγω δε θαυμαζω, πως τον ορος της αυτεξασιοτητος επισαμενος, περι τοτε εθαυμασας. Ου γαρ βια και τυραννιδι, αλλα πειθοι και προσηνεια ή των ανθρωπων σωτηρια κατασκευαζεται. . Διο και το κυρος έχει έκασος της οικείας σωτηριας ίνα και οι σεφανόμενοι, και οι τιμωρεμενοι, δικαιως υπομενοιεν όπερ ηρηνται. Ibid.
° 'Οτι φυσικως εσιν εν ημιν ευσεβεια. L. 1. Ep. 431. Ρ Ει παλαι ειχεν ή των ανθρωπων φυσις τα εις καλοκαγαθιαν σπερματα, κ. λ. L. ii. Ep. 2. in. Conf. Ep. 167.
« Η φυσις ή ανθρωπεια, θαυμασιε, ουτε ανεπιδεκτος εσι κακων, οτε φυσικως κεκτηται τα κακα, αλλα γνωμη ναι ραθυμια την αποπτωσιν υπομενει των χρησων όπερ και
πρωτος πεπονθεν ανθρωπος. L. iii. Ep. 303.
Vid. I. i. Ep. 435, 436. 1. ii. Ep. 72. et 79. I. ii. 335. I. iv. Ep. 12. et 51.
* L. i. i. Ep. 18. I. ii. Ep. 99. I. iv. Ep. 27, 30, 31. · L. i. Ep. 168, 170. I. ii. Ep. 251. l. iii. Ep. 182.
IV. Isidore has largely quoted all, or most of the canonical books of the Old Testament. Apocryphal books are quoted by him very seldom.
1. He says, thereu are three books of Solomon; and that they should be read in this order : first, the Proverbs ; then Ecclesiastes; and, last of all, the Canticles. He who has well digested the first two, may read the third safely and profitably.
2. He calls the author of the book of Ecclesiasticus, a certain wise man. It is likely, that is the highest character which he ascribed to him; and not that of prophet.
3. He often quotes the four gospels; the Acts of the Apostles; and all St. Paul's epistles, except that to Phile
4. The" Acts of the Apostles is ascribed by him to Luke, as the writer.
5. He several times quotes the Epistle to the Hebrews, and y as Paul's.
6. He likewise quotes all, or most of the catholic Epistles. However, to be here a little more particular, may not be improper.
7. Ilez quotes and explains passages of the Epistle of James, expressly calling it his. 'He quotes the first, and b the second Epistle of Peter ; as also the first Epistle of John. Hed explains the eighth verse of the second Epistle of John : there can be no reason to doubt whetber he received the other. Het explains a passage of the Epistle of Jude.
8. Hef has several expressions which seem to be taken from the book of the Revelation ; though I do not recollect that he has any where mentioned the title of the book, or the name of the writer.
9. If Isidore received the book of the Revelation, (which may be reckoned probable,) his canon of scripture was the same as ours. u L. iv. Ep. 40.
Σοφος τις ανηρ, ο το Σιραχ, φημι, και την Σοφιαν εκεινην συγγραψας. L. iv. Ep. 228.
* Βλεπε και των μεγαλοφρονα και θεοφορον Λεκαν τον Ηρωδε τυφον ισορεντα, κ. λ. L. i. Ep. 74. Conf. ib. Εp. 500, Ακεε τε παναρισα Λακα εν ταις Πραξεσι γεγραφοτος. L. 1. Ep. 448.
* L. iv. Ep. 12. p. 473. D. 'y L. i. Ep. 7. Vid. ib. Ep. 94. et 234. z L. i. Ep. 93. Conf. I. ii
. Ep. 158. et l. iv. Ep. 10. et 65. L. i. Ep. 119. et 139. 1. iv. Ep. 218. I. v. Ep. 362. L. i. Ep. 140, 143, 188.
• L. i. Ep. 58. d L. ii. Ep. 380.
° L. iv. Ep.58. ο μισθος μετ' αυτ8 εσιν, ον έκασος ληψεται προς τον ιδιον κοπον. [Vid. Apoc. xxii, 12.] L. i. Ep. 13. Ει ο ερανος ως βιβλιον ελισσεται, και τα αερα TITTEL, K. 1. [Vid. Apoc. vi. 13, 14.] L. i. Ep. 188. Vid. et l. ij. Ep. 175.
V. He had a great respect for the scriptures, and often recommends the reading of them.
1. Writing to a beathen, or supposed heathen, he says : • Two volumes, one called the Old, the other the New, Testament, which I have sent to you, are sufficient to teach you our religion.' In another letter he shows the complete harmony of the Old and the New Testament, or the law and the prophets, and the gospel. He calls the scriptures, the divine Oracles ;k the divine and heavenly Oracles: the sacred gospels is another expression of his. He speaks very honourably of Paul, calling him a most wise instructor; and the excellent apostle. Some,'' he says, • blame the divine scriptures, because they have not all the ornaments of eloquence to be found in some heathen writ. ings; but we know that is no disparagement to them. Those admired authors, among the Greeks, sought their own glory; but the truly divine scriptures aim at the salvation of men. The scriptures teach true religion in a plain style ; that the ignorant as well as the knowing, and even children and women, may understand. Nor is that any injury to the knowing: whereas the contrary method would have been detrimental to the greatest part of the world. And, by consulting the benefit of the most, or rather of all, the scriptures evidently manifest themselves to be divine and heavenly
2. I refer to divers other places, where P he exhorts to the reading the scriptures, ori commends them; and lays down rules for the right reading them, so as to understand them. James Basnage says, ' All' that can be offered upon • this subject, may be seen in Isidore of Pelusium.'
VI. 1. Hes had the first chapter of St. Matthew's gospel; and says,
that the sacred volume of the gospels brings down the genealogy of Joseph from David; and
8 Την ημετεραν δε θρησκειαν δυο πυκται διδαξησιν, άς επεμψαμην, ών ή μεν πρεσβυτερα, η δε νεα διαθηκη προσαγορευεται. L. 1. Εp. 7. h L. i. Ep. 107.
θειοι χρησμοι. .
L. i. Ep. 5. * Οι θειοι και ερανιοι χρησμοι. L. iii. Ep. 138. -- εν τοις ιεροις ευαγγελιoις. L. iv. Ep. 216.
παρα Παυλα τα σοφα διδασκαλ8. L. 1. Ep. 49. η Φιλιππησιοις γραφει ο θειος αποτολος. L. 1. Ep. 139. Και ο θεσπεσιος Παυλος. L. iv. Ep. 88.
• L. iv. Ep. 67. P Aναγινωσκειν τας γραφας οφειλεις, και μη περι παντων ερωταν. L. iii. Ep. 13. in.
9 L. i. Ep. xxiv. 369, 449. 1. ii. Ep. v. 297. 1. iii. Ep. 125, 338. 1. iv. Ep. 33, 61, 91, 133, 140. 1. v. Ep. 281. * Hist. de l'Eglise. 1. ix. ch. 2. sect. 7. fin. s Vid. I. i. Ep. 18.
• Η μεν ίερα των ευαγγελιων πυκτη, κ.λ. L. i. Ep. 7.
thereby shows that Mary likewise was of the tribe of Judab.
2. Isidoreu had the doxology at the end of the Lord's Prayer.
3. He explains' Rom. i. 32, according to our present common reading, which he prefers. But some were rather for the other; and not only they who do them, but they also who have pleasure in them that do them :' and they said it was the ancient reading. I do not suppose that Philo ever read any of St. Paul's epistles; but there is in him a passage very agreeable to the sense of this last mentioned reading. They w are wicked,' says he, not only • that do such things, but they also who willingly approve of • those who do them :' however, his expressions are very different from St. Paul's. Philo, in ' approving,' seems to include flattery.
4. As some unbelievers absurdly and wickedly deny the prophets to have spoken at all of Christ, so he thinks they* are blameable, who endeavour to explain all the Old Testament as relating to him ; for, by forced applications of texts, which do not speak of Christ, they cause those to be suspected, where he is really intended ; and so hurt the cause of truth, and strengthen the adversary.'
5. They excellent Paul, though enriched with spiritual gifts, employed some time in reading ; and therefore he writes to that eminent disciple of his; “ Give attendance to reading.” 1 Tim. iv, 13.
6. Some,? in his time, wore about them small gospels, or some portions of the gospels; which he blames, as resembling the Jewish superstition, in wearing phylacteries. This kind of superstition we have already seen censured by a Jerom, and Chrysostom.
" L. iv. Ep. 24. fin.
L. iv. Ep. 60. Conf. 1. v. Ep. 74. et 159. Ασεβασι γαρ εχ' οι δρωντες μονοι, αλλα και όσοι τοις δρωσιν έκασια γνωμη συν τη των δρωντων εξεσια συνεπιγραφονται. De Special. Leg. p. 779. C.
κτως της πασαν παλαιαν εις αυτον μεταφερειν πειρωμενες εκ εξω αιτιας τιθημι.-Τω γαρ ελεγχεσθαι παρ' εκεινων περι τοτε μη ειρημενα εις αυτον ελκειν εκβιαζομενοι, τατων καν τους περι αυτο αληθως και διαρρηδην ειρημενοις υπονοιαν τικτασι. . L. ii. Ep. 339. Conf. 1. i. Ep. 107. 1. i. Ep. 195.
Και ο θεσπεσιος Παυλος, και τοις πνευματικους κομων χαρισμασι, της αναγ: νωσεως 8 μικραν εποιειτο σπεδην. Διο και τη θρεμματι αυτο το περιβλεπτη εγραφε προσεχε τη αναγνωσει. L. 4. Ep. 88. in.
απερ εφορων οι των Ιεδαιων καθηγηται, ώσπερ νυν αι γυναικες τα ευαγγελια τα μικρα. L. ii. Ep. 150. a Vol. iv. ch. cxiv. sub. fin.
b Vol. iv. ch. cxvii.