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me of common sense, I must, in resentment, throw away my religion! This is fulfilling in a very bad way the precept, • If any man will take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.'
The Constitutions forbid Christians to wear a gold ring, and to shave their beards ; which must have disgusted the Roman knights, and the Roman barbers. The true reason of the latter prohibition is this: It is said in Leviticus xix. 27. Neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.
' It is a wonder that they did not command Christians to keep the back door shut on Sundays, according to the laudable custom of the Essenes.
The Constitutions, from the beginning to the end, turn Christianity into a mere ceremonial law. i. 3.
They prove the resurrection by the pretty amusing story of the phenix *; though indeed they warrant not the truth of it, but introduce the phenix with an ως αυτοί φασι, and they cite the Sibylline oracles as prophecies, and ten verses from them which clearly foretell the resurrection of the dead, the conflagration of the world, and the judgment at the last day; and which are manifestly the manufacture of a Chris. tian :
'Αλλ' οπότ' ήδη πάντα τέφρα σποδοέσσα γένηται,
Όστία και σποδιών αυτος Θεός έμπαλιν άνδρα
Deus succensum extinxerit ignem,
† And yet even lionest Herodotus, who was inclined enough to give into the marvellous, rejected the story of the phenix : fuo uży oup πιστα λέγοντες, &c. ii. 73.
Ipse Deus, mundi judex: ac qui impietate
Se tunc agnoscent omnes, seseque videbunt.'
It is remarkable that the author of the Constitutions, who thus cites the Sibyl as a prophetess of good authority, at least as one fit to convince the Pagans, yet treats her with contempt (according to some copies), and calls her, not ECúria, but ’AGúra, or crazy fool, which reading Cotelerius has admitted into the text. If the old woman had been alive, she might have replied to Pseudo-Clemens,
Parcius ista, Pater, tamen objicienda memento.' It would not be suitable to good manners to reproach a lady for pronouncing or spelling a word wrong, and there. fore I am almost afraid to observe, that in the second line the prophetess has made a false quantity; for the penultima in xoquérn is short. Perhaps the place was corrupted by the librarian, with whom we make free, and call him a blunderer. He should have written κοιμήση, or κοιμίσσης In Homer, Odyss. M. 372, some editions give us
"H με μάλ' εις άτην κοιμίσατε νηλει ύπνω But there it has been changed into κοιμήσατε. . Menander also, Fragm. p. 2. has
"Έκαστος ημών, και συνηγωνίσατο". which Bentley changed into ournywvídsto. Le Clerc endeavoured in vain to defend the common reading against him by the passage in Homer cited above. Le Clerc has committed some faults in his edition of Menander and Philemon, because he had not sufficiently considered the laws of prosody; but they who made those laws their study, and reproached him for his ignorance of them, were not able to keep themselves free from such faults, as might easily be showed. The small and trifling blemishes of this kind in Le Clerc are covered and amply compensated by other
productions, for which he deserves, and will receive, praise and honour:
« Th'estate which wits inherit after death.'
It were easy to make many more objections to the Constitutions ; but others y have done it sufficiently, and per. haps it is not right to wage war with the dead :
Nullum cum victis certamen et æthere cassis,'
The APOSTOLICAL CANONS, though some of them may be antient, and composed in the second and third centuries
, are not apostolical, in the strict sense of the word; and are interpolated in several places, as Beveridge himself confesses, who undertook their defence, and made the most he could of them. See his Cod. Can. Vindic. l. i. cap. X. 4. Canon I. Επίσκοπος υπο Επισκόπων χειροτονείσθω δύο
Quinque doctores et prophetas Antiochiæ congregatos esse traditur. Act. xiii. l. Barnabam, Symeonem Ni. grum, Lucium, Manahem, et Saulum.--Dicebat Spiritus Sanctus, Αφορίσατε δή μοι τόν τε Βαρνάβαν και τον Σαύλονet protinus subjungitur, τότε νηστεύσαντες και προσευξάμενοι και επιθέντες τας χείρας αυτούς απέλυσαν. Ε igitur hic congregatis duo, Barnabas et Saulus, ordinati sunt: reliqui sunt ergo tres soli qui ordinarunt. Chrysostomus autem in locum ait, 6px 7 áhu úro' Tiwr yarpproved υπο Λουκείου και Μαναή, ac si Symeon ordinationi non in
Sed intererat haud dubie; quod etiam exinde constat, quod non in duali sed plurali numero dicitur, yra στεύσαντες, προσευξάμενοι, επιθέντες, adeo ut tres tunc temporis, non plures, nec pauciores, ordines conferebant.' Be. veridge.
To all these arguments I choose to say nothing : I only make a small grammatical remark, that in Greek, a verb in the plural is frequently joined to two nominative cases singular, and a participle plural with two substantives sin.
y See Turner's Discourse on the Constitutions.
gular; and that the dual number is not once used in all the New Testament: which Beveridge had forgotten, or had not observed.
What sort of opinion Beveridge had concerning the authority of these Canons, and whether he thought that Christians were obliged to observe them, is not very material to know: he seems to have entertained a great veneration for thein. He says, that by establishing the antiquity of the Canons, hoc etiam boni eommodique et nobis et aliis quibuscunque, se primitivorum Christianorum moribus conformes gerere cupientibus, emerget ; quod præ oculis habeamus, qua ratione vitam nostram ad eorum exemplar instituamus'.-p. 76.
The primitive Christians deserve to be honoured on many accounts, and imitated in many things; and the same ought to be said of this learned and pious bishop: but after all that can be said, the authors of these Canons were fallible men; and it would be better for a Christian to take the precepts of Christ and the undoubted writings of the apostles for the rule of his faith and practice, and to conform to primitive Christianity just as far as primitive Christianity is comformable to Scripture and to reason, and not to ascribe a sacred and apostolical authority to a set of unknown canon- and constitution-makers. ? Beveridge ascribes a kind of apostolical authority to the Lth Canon, which requires of the bishops and presbyters that they should make use of a threefold inmersion in baptism, under pain of being deposed. ' Aliquo tamen modo,' says he, id ab apostolis traditum negare non ausi sumus ; utpote quod a sanctis patribus nec semel assertum legimus.' The testimony of the fathers, in matters of tradition, is not always to be depended upon. But did our author himself use to conform to this canon?
The Lxixth Canon strictly requires the observation of the Quadragesimal Fast under spiritual pains and penalties: and this, together with other stated fasts, Beveridge takes to have been of apostolical institution. It is not probable that the apostles enjoined such things as absolutely necessary : things of that kind are more properly subjects for counsels than for precepts. To be temperate, and to keep the passions and appetites in due subjection, is the duty of all men : abstinence from food is so far good as it is found to conduce
to this end; but what suits one climate, and one constitution, and one age of life, suits not another.
The legislative spirit began to operate betimes; and when the Church made laws relating to doctrines and opinions which were not to be found in the New Testament, the codex became very bulky, and there was no end of law. making : How should there?
Somebody once asked a scholar, - what was the meaning of ff, which stands for the digests or pandects, and was told that it meant farrago farraginum. The answerer was not in earnest : nor am I.but Tacitus says somewhere : Corruptissima republica plurimæ leges.' And so much for
The Sibylline Oracles were composed at different times, by different persons, first by Pagans, and then perhaps by Jews, and certainly by Christians. See the collections concerning them made by Fabricius Bibl. Gr. i. p. 167. an author whose memory all the learned world ought to bless, and to whom they should wish
tenuem et sine pondere terram, Spirantesque crocos, et in urna perpetuum ver.' Justin Martyr, Cohort. ad Græcos 38, mentions the Sibyl as clearly foretelling the coming and the actions of Christ. • His verbis,' says the last editor, Sibyllini, quales hodie extant, libri indicantur, in quibus tam aperta est rerum a Christo gerendarum prædictio, ut eam ex eventis fictam fuisse vix quisquam hodie non fateatur.' Præf. p. Ixx. and in the Notes, Nihil sane suspicatus est Justinus, quamvis omnes horum librorum paginæ fraudem clamitent. Thus the Benedictin, compelled by hard necessity, who would have defended both the Sibylline oracles, and his friend Justin who cited them, if he had been able. It ought how. ever to be observed, that some persons, of at least as much learning and as much judgment as he, have suspected the genuineness of the Cohortatio.
The Sibylline oracles seem to have been all, from first to last, and without any one exception, mere impostures.
We have a collection of them in eight books, which abound with phrases, words, facts, and passages taken from