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the asserted apostolic age. Polycarp is a great engine of this description. Irenæus claims personal acquaintance with this renowned saint. “I can tell,” he says, “the very place where the blessed Polycarp was accustomed to sit and discourse, and also his entrances, his walks, the complexion of his life, and the form of his body, and his conversations with the people, and his familiar intercourse with John, as he was accustomed to tell, as also his familiarity with those that had seen the Lord. How also he used to relate their discourses, and what things he had heard from them concerning the Lord. Also concerning his miracles, his doctrine ; all these were told by Polycarp, in consistency with the holy Scriptures, as he had received them from the eye-witnesses of the doctrine of salvation” (Euseb., Ec. Hist., V. 20). Polycarp is stated by Eusebius to have suffered martyrdom in the reign of Verus (Donaldson, I., 181). The emperor so designated was Marcus Aurelius, who began his reign in A.D. 161. The martyrdom is commonly placed at a few years later. Supposing the contemporaries of Jesus, so freely spoken of, to have survived to A.D. 80 or 85, or to about eighty years before the death of Polycarp, at what age is it possible that he could have imbibed their instructions with the sufficiency and profitableness described ?
The marvels at the martyrdom of Polycarp relegate his history to the type of the fabulous, and this account is traceable to the possession of Irenæus. The narrative appears in a letter purporting to be from eye-witnesses belonging to the church in Smyrna. They heard the voice from heaven, and saw the wondrous signs exhibited at the immolation of the saint. “What took the Christian brethren," asks Dr Donaldson, “to the stadium ? Were they going to glut their eyes with the sight of their aged pastor devoured by wild beasts ? Was there not a strong feeling prevalent among Christians that it was sinful and cruel to attend these shows, even when slaves were the object of the sport? Nay, would not the Church itself have pronounced a strong condemnation against these very individuals for thus being found in a place consecrated to the vilest exhibitions of idolatrous worship?” (I., 162). Irenæus is said to have had a copy of this epistle, to which other transcribers trace the copies they made (Ibid., I., 170,
174). We thus derive all we know of Polycarp from Irenæus, an insufficient witness, who puts this saintly form before us in what assumes a mythical aspect.
There is an epistle ascribed to Barnabas. It does not bear “ the author's name, is not dated from any place, and is not addressed to any special community. ... The first writer who mentions it is Clement of Alexandria, who calls its author several times the Apostle Barnabas ’” (Supernatural Religion, I., 239). The letter refers to the destruction of Jerusalem, and was written therefore after that event. Its date onwards to the close of the second century (or the period of Clement of Alexandria) is uncertain (Donaldson, I., 209, 220). Eusebius considers it a spurious production (Ec. Hist., iii. 25). Barnabas, the alleged companion of Paul, is represented to be a Levite, still sympathizing with Jewish rites. The writer of the epistle exhibits an aversion thereto, as well as ignorance on the subject. He commits the gross mistake of saying that Abraham circumcised his three hundred and eighteen followers, and allegorizes on this number, as if the Old Testament had been written in Greek (Donaldson, I., 204-208). “The great mass of critics are now agreed in asserting that the composition, which itself is perfectly anonymous, cannot be attributed to Barnabas, the friend and fellow-worker of Paul ” (Sup. Rel., I., 239).
The Pastor of Hermas is first quoted by Irenæus, who terms it scripture. The next to quote it is Clement of Alexandria, who calls it inspired. Origen also considered it inspired. Eusebius says it was disputed by some, but was read publicly in the churches. Neither Origen nor Eusebius knew who the author was. Tertullian denounced the work as apocryphal. The apostles are said by the writer to have passed away, and to have been replaced by a succession of teachers, which indicates the passage of time (Donaldson, I., 255-259, 265). That he is the person named in Romans xvi. 14 is an assertion wholly unsustainable.
We first hear of Papias from Irenæus, who describes him as a hearer of John and an associate of Polycarp. Eusebius points out from the writings of Papias that the statement is an inaccurate one, the declaration of Papias being that he was a hearer, not of the apostles, but of those who were intimate with them, and notices that he describes two Johns, one the apostle, and the other a presbyter, with which latter was his association (Ec. Hist., III., xxxix). The correction is of importance in showing how little Irenæus is to be depended upon even for the use of materials before him.
There are fifteen epistles attributed to Ignatius. Of these eight, which are not mentioned by either Eusebius or Jerome, are universally disallowed as spurious. Of the seven acknowledged by Eusebius there are two Greek recensions, and it has been a great question which of the two should be accepted. The shorter version has been commonly preferred, but it has been objected to by such critics as Jortin, Mosheim, Griesbach, Neander, and Lardner, as well as others, and that both have been interpolated is commonly allowed (Antenicene Christian Library, Introductory Notice). In 1845 Dr Cureton brought to light Syriac versions of three of the accepted epistles which throw a doubt upon the Greek collections (Super. Rel., I., 264). Eusebius gives a tradition that Ignatius was taken from Syria to Rome where he suffered martyrdom, citing Irenæus as an authority. He is said to have been “ carried through Asia (Minor) under a most rigid custody," and yet to have been able to “fortify the different churches in the cities where he tarried, by his discourses and exhortations." He says, “From Syria to Rome I am contending with wild beasts by land and sea, by night and day, being tied to ten leopards, the number of the military band, who, even when treated with kindness, only behave with greater ferocity;" and yet it is pretended that during this journey he found opportunities for writing the seven epistles which Eusebius acknowledges (Ec. Hist., III., xxxvi.) The epistle bearing the name of Polycarp refers to this martyr journey, and also to the epistles that are universally condemned as unauthentic, and thus condemns itself (Super. Rel., I., 279). There is a counter statement that Ignatius was martyred at Antioch (Ibid., I., 273). “ The whole of the literature ascribed to Ignatius is, in fact, such a tissue of fraud and imposture, and the successive versions exhibit such undeniable marks of the grossest interpolation, that if any small original element exist referrible to Ignatius, it is impossible to define it, or to distinguish with
the slightest degree of accuracy between what is authentic and what is spurious” (Ibid., I., 279).
The last class of writers with whom I propose to occupy myself are persons whom Dr Donaldson designates as apologists; that is, they were writers who are said to have addressed the emperors of Rome, or the public at large, in behalf of the Christians. The emperors so spoken of are Hadrian (A.D. 117-138), Antoninus Pius (A.D. 138-161), Marcus Aurelius. (A.D. 161-180), and Commodus, who was admitted by his father to participation in the imperial dignity in A.D. 176, and reigned in succession to him from A.D. 180 to 192.
Four of these writers are associated with the time of Hadrian, namely, Quadratus and Aristides, who are stated to have addressed apologies to the emperor, Agrippa Castor who is described as a controversialist, and Aristo of Pella. Quadratus is said to have declared that there were in his day those who had lived " whilst our Lord was on earth.” Nothing else is known of him or the others, none of their writings being extant. We depend entirely upon Eusebius for the fact that there were such persons, and that they were Christians (Ec. Hist, iv. 3, 6, 7; Donaldson, II., 51-61); but when we find Eusebius accounting the Therapeuts as Christians, and the writings they used as the Christian scriptures, it is clear that little dependence is to be placed on his discrimination or accuracy in respect of persons otherwise totally unknown.
We come now to the familiar name of Justin Martyr, which is attached to writings giving a very full account of the tenets of the Christians. “The best part of the information which we have with regard to Justin Martyr is derived from his own writings. The few particulars which we gather from others relate almost exclusively to his death.” He himself describes how he came to embrace Christianity. “We know almost nothing of Justin's life subsequent to his conversion.” Irenæus, Hyppolitus, Tertullian, Eusebius, and others refer to him as a martyr. “The circumstances of his death, however, are involved in doubt.” “ There exists a martyrion of one Justin and some others, which many believe to be a narrative of the martyrdom of Justin Martyr. The document has been handed down to us by Simeon Metaphrastes” (a Byzantine writer of the ninth and tenth centuries. Smith's Dict.). “The name of the author is not given, and the writer does not say how he got his information. The only points to be ascertained therefore are, whether the Justin referred to is our Justin, and whether the narrative is true.” On both heads Dr Donaldson is inclined to accept the document, but he has to admit “ that there is no historical evidence for its truth.” He believes “ that it is trustworthy, though entirely devoid of historical testimony." After this he proceeds to say, “ The few introductory words with which it commences are evidently the work of some editor who lived after the time of Constantine. They give the exact day and month of the martyrdom, and state that the saints when taken were brought to Rusticus, the prefect of Rome. The date given is worthless.” “ There is no clue to exact dates in the history of Justin. We know from Eusebius that he addressed his first Apology to Antoninus Pius, and his second to Marcus Aurelius. He mentions in the first that the Jewish war of Barchochebas had taken place in his time (A.D. 131-136). He speaks of Christ being born a hundred and fifty years before, but here,” Dr Donaldson observes, “ round numbers are used. The Chronicon Paschale places his martyrdom in A.D. 165, a probable date; but there is no reason to suppose that it is anything more than a guess.” Dr Donaldson then refers to the declaration made by Epiphanius that Justin was put to death in the reign of Hadrian, which he terms an "absurd statement,” and to an attempt to show from Epiphanius and Cedrenus that it occurred onwards about the year 148. He adds, “But if we cannot trust Eusebius, our only authority for placing Justin's martyrdom in the reign of Marcus Aurelius, we know nothing in regard to the date of Justin's death. The value of Eusebius' opinion,” he then observes, “ is not great, but it is infinitely to be preferred to the utterly uncritical statements of Epiphanius or Cedrenus” (Donaldson, II., 62-74, 85).
It is, I think, pretty clear that we have nothing to depend on for Justin, but what may be drawn from the writings bearing his name. These we have now to consider.
The First Apology is addressed to the Emperor Antoninus Pius, his adopted sons Verissimus (Marcus Aurelius) and Lucius, “ the holy senate,” and “the whole people of the Puomans.” Antoninus was adopted by Hadrian in A.D.
inink, premost may be accept to constammeror Anton and