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ritative was considered to be clothed with divine authority. This fanciful and puerile method of criticism became a fruitful source of error, mysticism, nonsense, fable, fraud, and forgery” (Primitive Church History, 57, Mr Scott's Series).
The Pentateuch, as examined by the light of modern criticism, can no longer be ascribed to Moses; many of the Psalms are evidently of later date than the time of David; much of Isaiah, and a considerable portion of Ezekiel, are found to be additions made by other hands; and Daniel's period is not that of the captivity, but apparently of the Maccabæan era. The Jewish Apocrypha, which has found its way into the Alexandrine version, exhibits further acknowledged instances of pseudonymous writing. The Book of Enoch is a marked example of which the Christian evangelists have not scrupled to serve themselves, Jude going so far as to quote it openly as the production of the seventh man from Adam. We can quite understand the encouragement there was for the fabrication of the Christian Apocrypha, in which category are to be included the writings ascribed to the ante-nicene fathers. In respect of what we have from these fathers, Dr Giles assures us that there is no class of ancient literature, sacred or profane, more loaded with doubt and suspicion. The second of the epistles attributed to Clement of Rome is universally disallowed. The genuineness of the epistle bearing the name of Polycarp is disputed. Hefele, for cogent reasons, rejects the epistle of Barnabas. The Shepherd of Hermas is seen to be spurious. Eight out of the fifteen epistles ascribed to Ignatius are given up by common consent as not authentic; and the Rev. W. Cureton has brought to light MSS. from the East which shake the credit of the remainder. “Of the writings ascribed to Justin Martyr, and to Irenæus, more than half are acknowledged forgeries” (Giles, Christian Records, 53-58, 67). The epistle to Diognetus purports to be of the apostolic age, but has every mark of being a concoction of later times. The Clementine recognitions “form a kind of philosophical and theological romance.” Professing to be of the apostolic period, they are relegated by some to as far forward as the fourth century Ante-nicene Christian Library, III., 137, 138). Nor did secular writers, such as Josephus, Pliny, Suetonius, and Tacitus escape the efforts of the early Christian advocates to
support themselves with their authority by means of statements fabricated and introduced into their writings (Our First Century, Scott's Series).
Withal the credulity of these early ages knew no bounds. There was an appetite for wonders of any dimensions. “The Talmud and other Rabbinical writings are full of references to demoniacal possession.” All diseases were ascribed to the action of the devil and other demons. “The interpretation of dreams became a public profession.” The Jews believed in amulets and charms, in sorcery and magic (Supernatural Religion, I., 104-107). Justin Martyr, in his dialogue with Trypho, admits that demoniacal influence was the common belief of the Jews. Justin, Clement of Alexandria, Theophilus of Antioch, Athenagoras, Tatian, Cyprian of Carthage, Tertullian, Origen, Jerome, and Chrysostom believed in the agency of good and bad angels (Ibid. 108-124). “Preternatural interference with the affairs of life and the phenomena of nature was the rule in those days, not the exception, and miracles, in fact, had apparently lost all novelty, and through familiarity had become degraded into mere common-place” (Ibid. 130). Josephus, in view of the statements appearing in Genesis vi. 1-4, accepted,'as literally the case, that “many angels of God accompanied with women, and begat sons that proved unjust, and despisers of all that was good, on account of the confidence they had in their own strength ” (Ant. I., iii. 1). Of Solomon he says, God had “enabled him to learn that skill which expels demons, which is a science useful and sanative to men. He composed such incantations also by which distempers are alleviated. And he left behind him the manner of using exorcisms, by which they drive away demons, so that they never return, and this method of cure is of great force unto this day; for I have seen a certain man of my own country, whose name was Eleazar, releasing people that were demoniacal in the presence of Vespasian, and his sons, and his captains, and the whole multitude of his soldiers. The manner of the cure was this,--He put a ring that had a root of one of those sorts mentioned by Solomon to the nostrils of the demoniac, after which he drew out the demon through his nostrils; and when the man fell down immediately, he adjured him to return into him no more, making still mention of Solomon, and reciting the incantations which he composed. And when Eleazar would persuade and demonstrate to the spectators that he had such a power, he set a little way off a cup or basin full of water, and commanded the demon, as he went out of the man, to overturn it, and thereby to let the spectators know that he had left the man. And when this was done, the skill and wisdom of Solomon was shown very manifestly” (Ant. VIII., ii. 5). Josephus describes, as actual events, various portents which occurred at the siege of Jerusalem by Titus. A star, in the form of a sword, stood over the city for a whole year; at night, during the feast of unleavened bread, a light shone for half-an-hour round the altar and temple with the power of daylight; a heifer taken to be sacrificed brought forth a lamb in the midst of the temple; the eastern gate of the inner court of the temple, which was of brass, and so ponderous that it required twenty men to close it, when securely fastened with deep bolts, opened itself at night; chariots and troops of soldiers and armour were seen coming through the clouds ; and at Pentecost the priests, when ministering in the inner court of the temple, “heard a great noise, and after that they heard a sound as of a great multitude, saying, 'Let us remove hence'” (Wars, VI., v. 3). Papias is reported to have said that “in his time there was one raised from the dead," and that one Justus, “who, though he drank a deadly poison, experienced nothing injurious, through the grace of the Lord” (Euseb. Ec. Hist. iii. 39). Clement of Rome cited the fabulous Phoenix in illustration of the resurrection. Of this bird, he stated there was but one specimen at a time. It lived five hundred years, and then built a nest of frankincense, myrrh, and spices, in which it laid itself and died. From its decomposed flesh there arose a new Phoenix, which took the nest, with the bones of its parent, and deposited them on the altar of the sun at Heliopolis, the act being repeated by successive birds every five hundred years, punctually to a day (1st Ep. to Cor., chap. xxv). Tertullian and other fathers used the same illustration. At the martyrdom of Polycarp the fire is said to have arched round him like a vault, refusing to burn his body, and the odour of precious spices came from the pile. Finally he was stabbed to death, and the blood gushing from him extinguished
the flames (Martyrdom of Polycarp, chap. xv. xvi). Barnabas believed that the hyena annually changes its sex, becoming at one time male, at another female (Ep., chap. x). Justin Martyr's belief in the agency of demons was very distinct. “Since of old,” he says, “ these evil demons, effecting apparitions of themselves, both defiled women and corrupted boys, and showed such fearful sights to men, that those who did not use their reason in judging of the actions that were done were struck with terror; and being carried away by fear, and not knowing that these were demons, they called them gods, and gave to each the name which each of the demons chose for himself” (1st Apol. v). Irenæus, Eusebius observes, “ shows that even down to his times instances of divine and miraculous power were remaining in some churches. So far are they (the heretics) from raising the dead, as the Lord raised, and as the apostles, by means of prayer—for even among the brethren frequently in a case of necessity, when a whole church united in much fasting and prayer, the spirit has returned to the ex-animated body, and the man was granted to the prayers of the saints. ... Some, indeed, most certainly and truly cast out demons, so that frequently those persons themselves that were cleansed from wicked spirits believed and were received into the church. Others have the knowledge of things to come, as also visions and prophetic communications; others heal the sick by the imposition of hands, and restore them to health. And, moreover, as we said above, even the dead have been raised, and continued with us many years ” (Euseb. Ec. Hist., v. 7). Tertullian declared that “the carcases of the giants of old time” were apparent, their “bony frames being still extant” in his day. He gravely communicates these extraordinary tales. "I am acquainted,” he says, “with the case of a woman, the daughter of Christian parents, who in the very flower of her age and beauty slept peaceably in Jesus), after a singularly happy though brief married life. Before they laid her in her grave, and when the priest began the appointed office, at the very first breath of his prayer she withdrew her hands from her sides, placed them in an attitude of devotion, and after the holy service was concluded, restored them to their lateral position. Then again, there is that wellknown story among our own people that a body voluntarily
made way in a certain cemetery to afford room for another body to be placed near it.” He also believed in the actuality of demons. “Socrates," he states, “while yet a boy was found by the spirit of the demon. Thus, too, is it that to all persons their genii are assigned, which is only another name for demons.” “There is hardly a human being who is unattended by a demon; and it is well known to many that premature and violent deaths, which men ascribe to accidents, are in fact brought about by demons” (On the Resurrection of the Flesh, chap. xlii ; De Anima, chap. xxxix., li., lvii). Origen supported the statement that Jesus was born of a virgin with the allegation that there was a certain female animal which had offspring without contact with a male. He said there were still in his time Christians who could “expel evil spirits, perform many cures, and foresee events, according to the will of the Logos.” He believed also that stars and comets appear to mark changes of dynasties and other events of importance on earth (Contr. Celsus, chap. xxxvii., xlvi., lix).
Not only were demons concerned with mankind, the gods themselves, in these early days, walked the earth and held intercourse with them; and it was a common thing for those who were exalted among the human race to be translated to the sphere and conditions of the divinities. With such tales the early Christians are found to have been familiar. Alexander the Great was a reputed son of Jupiter, and after death, observes Clement of Alexandria, was canonized as the thirteenth god (Exhortation to the Heathen, chap. x.). Ariston, Origen informs us, was said to have been prevented having marital intercourse with his wife Amphictione until Plato, of whom she was pregnant by Apollo, was born (Contr. Celsus, chap. xxxviii.). The warning was conveyed in a dream, and the birth was from a virgin (Cranbrook, The Founders of Christianity, 181, note, citing Lewes Hist. of Philos.). The Gnostics, Irenæus states, possessed images, and among them that of Jesus, which they set up with the images of Pythagoras, Plato, and Aristotle (Against Heresies, I. xxv. 6). Tiberius, according to Tertullian, proposed to enrol Christ among the gods (Apol. sec. 5). The habit was to deify the Roman emperors. “With perfect propriety,” says the writer,