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III. Remains of the Second and Third Centuries
Quadratus Bishop of Athens, Aristo of Pella, Melito the
Philosopher, Hegesippus, Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth, Rhodon, Maximus,
Bishop of Jerusalem, Claudius Apollinaris, Bishop of Hierapolis, and
Apologist, Polycrates, Bishop of Ephesus, Theophilus, Bishop of Caesarea in
Palestine, Serapion, Bishop of Antioch, Apollonius, Pantaenus, the
Alexandrian Philosopher, Pseud-Irenaeus,
REMAINS OF THE SECOND AND THIRD CENTURIES
[Translated by the Rev. B. P. Pratten.]
QUADRATUS, BISHOP OF ATHENS.(1)
FROM THE APOLOGY FOR THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION.(3)
OUR Saviour's works, moreover, were always present: for they were real,
consisting of those who had been healed of their diseases, those who had
been raised from the dead; who were not only seen whilst they were being
healed and raised up, but were afterwards constantly present. Nor did they
remain only during the sojourn of the Saviour on earth, but also a
considerable time after His departure; and, indeed, some of them have
survived even down to our own times.(4)
ARISTO OF PELLA.
FROM THE DISPUTATION OF JASON AND PAPISCUS.
"I REMEMBER," says Jerome (Comm. ad Gal., cap. iii. comm. 13), "in the
Dispute between Jason and Papiscus, which is composed in Greek, to have
found it written: 'The execration of God is he that is hanged.'"
FROM THE SAME WORK.
Jerome likewise, in his Hebrew Questions on Genesis, says: "In the
beginning God made the heaven and the earth. The majority believe, as it is
affirmed also in the Dispute between Fason and Papiscus, and as Tertullian
in his book Against Praxeas contends, and as Hilarius too, in his
exposition of one of the Psalms, declares, that in the Hebrew it is: 'In
the Son, God made the heaven and the earth.' But that this is false, the
nature of the case itself proves."
PERHAPS FROM THE SAME WORK.
. . . And when the man himself(1) who had instigated them(2) to this
folly had paid the just penalty (says Eusebius, Hist, iv. 6), "the whole
nation from that time was strictly forbidden to set foot on the region
about Jerusalem, by the formal decree and enactment of Adrian, who
commanded that they should not even from a distance look on their native
soil!" So writes Aristo of Pella.
FROM THE SAME WORK.
I have found this expression Seven heavens (says Maximus, in Scholia an
the work concerning the Mystical Theology, ascribed to Dionysius the
Areopagite, cap. i.) also in the Dispute between Papiscus and Jason,
written by Aristo of Pella, which Clement of Alexandria, in the sixth book
of the Outlines,(3) says was composed by Saint Luke.
CONCERNING THE SAME WORK.
Thus writes Origen:(4) . . . in which book a Christian is represented
disputing with a Jew from the Jewish Scriptures, and showing that the
prophecies concerning the Christ apply to Jesus: although his opponent
addresses himself to the argument with no common ability,(5) and in a
manner not unbefitting his Jewish character.
MELITO, THE PHILOSOPHER.
A DISCOURSE WHICH WAS IN THE PRESENCE OF ANTONINUS CAESAR, AND HE
EXHORTED(3) THE SAID CAESAR TO ACQUAINT HIMSELF WITH GOD, AND SHOWED TO
HIM THE WAY OF TRUTH.
HE began to speak as follows:--
"It is not easy," said Melito, "speedily to bring into the right way
the man who has a long time previously been held fast by error. It may,
however, be effected: for, when a man turns away ever so little from error,
the mention of the truth is acceptable to him. For, just as when the cloud
breaks ever so little there comes fair weather, even so, when a man turns
toward God, the thick cloud of error which deprived him of true vision is
quickly withdrawn from before him. For error, like disease(4) and sleep,
long holds fast those who come under its influence;(5) but truth uses the
word as a goad, and smites the slumberers, and awakens them; and when they
are awake they look at the truth, and also understand it: they hear, and
distinguish that which is from that which is not. For there are men who
call iniquity righteousness: they think, for example, that it is
righteousness for a man to err with the many. But I, for my part, affirm
that it is not a good excuse for error that a man errs with the many. For,
if one man only sin,(6) his sin is great: how much greater will be the sin
when many sin together!
"Now, the sin of which I speak is this: when a man abandons that which
really exists, and serves that which does not really exist. There 'is(1)
that which really exists, and it is called GOD. He, I say, really exists,
and by His power doth everything subsist. This being is in no sense made,
nor did He ever come into being; but He has existed from eternity, and will
continue to exist for ever and ever. He changeth not, while everything else
changes. No eye(7) can see Him, nor thought apprehend Him, nor language
describe Him; and those who love Him speak of Him thus: 'Father, and God of
"If, therefore, a man forsake the light, and say that there is another
God, it is plain from what he himself says that it is some created thing
which he calls God. For, if a man call fire God, it is not God, because it
is fire; and, if a man call water God, it is not God, because it is water;
and, if he so call this earth on which we tread, or these heavens which are
seen by us, or the sun, or the moon, or some one of these stars which run
their course without ceasing by Divine command, and do not speed along by
their own will, neither are these gods; and, if a man call gold and silver
gods, are not these objects things which we use as we please? and, if he so
call those pieces of wood which we burn, or those stones which we break,
how can these things be gods? For, 1o! they are for the use of man. How can
'they' escape the commission of great sin, who in their speech change the
great God into those things which, so long as they continue, continue by
"But, notwithstanding this, I say that so long as a man does not hear,
and so does not discern or understand that there is a Lord over these
creatures, he is not perhaps to be blamed: because no one finds fault with
a blind man though he walk ever so badly. For, in the same manner as the
blind, so men also, when they were seeking after God, stumbled upon stones
and blocks of wood; and such of them as were rich stumbled upon gold and
silver, and were prevented by their stumblings from finding that which they
were seeking after. But, now that a voice has been heard through all the
earth,(8) declaring that there is a God of truth, and there has been given
to every man an eye wherewith to see, those persons are without excuse who
are ashamed of incurring the censure of their former companions in error,
and yet desire to walk in the right way. For those who are ashamed to be
saved must of necessity perish. I therefore counsel them to open their eyes
and see: for, 1o! light is given abundantly(9) to us all to see thereby;
and if, when light has arisen upon us, any one close his eyes so as not to
see, into the ditch he must go.(1) But why is a man ashamed of the censure
of those who have been in error along with himself? Rather does it behove
him to persuade them to follow in his steps; and, if they should not be
persuaded by him, then to disengage himself from their society. For there
are some men who are unable to rise from their mother earth, and therefore
also do they make them gods. from the earth their mother; and they are
condemned by the judgments of truth, forasmuch as they apply the name of
Him who is unchangeable to those objects which are subject to change, and
shrink not from calling those things gods which have been made by the hands
of man, and dare to make an image of God whom they have not seen.
"But I have to remark further, that the Sibyl(2) also has said
concerning them that it is the images of deceased kings that they worship.
And this is easy to understand: for, lo! even now they worship and honour
the images of those of Caesarean rank(3) more than their former gods; for
from those their former gods both pecuniary tribute and produce accrue to
Caesar, as to one who is greater than they. On this account, those who
despise them, and so cause Caesar's revenue to fall short, are put to
death. But to the treasury of other kings also it is appointed how much the
worshippers in various places shall pay, and how many vesselfuls(4) of
water from the sea they shall supply. Such is the wickedness of the world--
of those who worship and fear that which has no sensation. Many of them,
too, who are crafty, either for the sake of gain, or for vainglory, or for
dominion over the multitude, both themselves worship, and incite those who
are destitute of understanding to worship, that which has no sensation.
"I will further write and show, as far as my ability goes, how and for
what causes images were made to kings and tyrants, and how they came to be
regarded s as gods. The people of Argos made images to Hercules, because he
belonged to their city, and was strong, and by his valour slew noxious
beasts, and more especially because they were afraid of him. For he was
subject to no control, and carried off the wives of many: for his lust was
great, like that of Zuradi the Persian, his friend. Again, the people of
Acre worshipped Dionysus,(6) a king, because he had recently(7) planted the
vine in their country. The Egyptians worshipped Joseph the Hebrew, who was
called Serapis, because he supplied them with corn during the years of
famine. The Athenians worshipped Athene, the daughter of Zeus, king of the
island of Crete, because she built the town of Athens, and made Ericthippus
her son king there, whom she had by adultery with Hephaestus, a blacksmith,
son of a wife of her father. She was, too, always courting the society of
Hercules, because he was her brother on her father's side. For Zeus the
king became enamoured of Alcmene, the wife of Electryon, who was from
Argos, and committed adultery with her, and she gave birth to Hercules. The
people of Phoenicia worshipped Balthi,(8) queen of Cyprus, because she fell
in love with Tamuz, son of Cuthar king of the Phoenicians, and left her own
kingdom and came and dwelt in Gebal, a fortress of the Phoenicians, and at
the same time made all the Cyprians subject to King Cuthar. Also, before
Tamuz she had fallen in love with Ares, and committed adultery with him;
and Hephaestus, her husband, caught her, and his jealousy was roused
against her, and he came and killed Tamuz in Mount Lebanon, as he was
hunting(9) wild boars; and from that time Balthi remained in Gebal, and she
died in the city of Aphiki,(10) where Tamuz was buried. The Elamites
worshipped Nuh, daughter of the king of Elam: when the enemy had carried
her captive, her father made for her an image and a temple in Shushan, a
royal residence which is in Elam. The Syrians worshipped Athi, a Hadibite,
who sent the daughter of Belat, a person skilled in medicine, and she
healed Simi, the daughter of Hadad king of Syria; and some time afterwards,
when Hadad himself had the leprosy upon him, Athi entreated Elisha the
Hebrew, and he came and healed him of his leprosy. The people of
Mesopotamia also worshipped Cuthbi, a Hebrew woman, because she delivered
Bakru, the paternal king(11) of Edessa, from his enemies. With respect to
Nebo, who is worshipped in Mabug, why should I write to you? For, lo! all
the priests who are in Mabug know that it is the image of Orpheus, a
Thracian Magus. Hadran, again, is the image of Zaradusht, a Persian Magus.
For both of these Magi practised magic at a well which was in a wood in
Mabug, in which was an unclean spirit, and it assaulted and disputed the
passage of every one who passed by in all that country in which the town of
Mabug is situated; and these Magi, in accordance with what was a mystery in
their Magian system, bade Simi, the daughter of Hadad, to draw water from
the sea and pour it into the well, so that the spirit should not come up
and commit assault. In like manner, the rest of mankind made images to
their kings and worshipped them; of which matter I will not write further.
"But thou, a person of liberal mind, and familiar with the truth, if
thou wilt properly consider these matters, commune with thine own self;
and, though they should clothe thee in the garb of a woman, remember that
thou art a man. Believe in Him who is in reality God, and to Him lay open
thy mind, and to Him commit thy soul, and He is able to give thee immortal
life for ever, for everything is possible to Him; and let all other
things be esteemed by thee just as they are--images as images, and
sculptures as sculptures; and let not that which is only made be put by
thee in the place of Him who is not made, but let Him, the ever-living God,
be constantly present to thy mind. For thy mind itself is His likeness:
for it too is invisible and impalpable, and not to be represented by any
form, yet by its will is the whole bodily frame moved. Know, therefore,
that, if thou constantly serve Him who is immoveable, even He exists for
ever, so thou also, when thou shalt have put off this body, which is
visible and corruptible, shall stand before Him for ever, endowed with life
and knowledge, and thy works shall be to thee wealth inexhaustible and
possessions unfailing. And know that the chief of thy good works is this:
that thou know God, and serve Him. Know, too, that He asketh not anything
of thee: He needeth not anything.
"Who is this God? He who is Himself truth, and His word truth. And what
is truth? That which is not fashioned, nor made, nor represented by art:
that is, which has never been brought into existence, and is on that
account called truth. If, therefore, a man worship that which is made
with hands, it is not the truth that he worships, nor yet the word of
"I have very much to say on this subject; but I feel ashamed for those
who do not understand that they are superior to the work of their own
hands, nor perceive how they give gold to the artists that they may make
for them gods, and give them silver for their adornment and honour, and
move their riches about from place to place, and then worship them. And
what infamy can be greater than this, that a man should worship his riches,
and forsake Him who bestowed those riches upon him? and that he should
revile man, yet worship the image of man; and slay a beast, yet worship the
likeness of a beast? This also is evident, that it is the workmanship of
their fellowmen that they worship: for they do not worship the treasures
while they are laid by in the bag, but when the artists have fashioned
images out of them they worship them; neither do they worship the gold or
the silver considered as property, but when the gravers have sculptured
them then they worship them. Senseless man to what addition has been made
to thy gold, that now thou worshippest it? If it is because it has been
made to resemble a winged animal, why dost thou not worship the winged
animal itself? And if because it has been made like a beast of prey, lo!
the beast of prey itself is before thee. And if it is the workmanship
itself that pleases thee, let the workmanship of God please thee, who made
all things, and in His own likeness made the workmen, who strive to do like
Him, but resemble Him not.
"But perhaps thou wilt say: How is it that God did not so make me that
I should serve Him, and not images? In speaking thus, thou art seeking to
become an idle instrument, and not a living man. For God made thee as
perfect as it seemed good to Him. He has given thee a mind endowed with
freedom; He has set before thee objects in great number, that thou on thy
part mayest distinguish the nature of each thing and choose for thyself
that which is good; He has set before thee the heavens, and placed in them
the stars; He has set before thee the sun and the moon, and they too every
day run their course therein; He has set before thee the multitude of
waters, and restrained them by His word; He has set before thee the wide
earth, which remains at rest, and continues before thee without
variation: yet, lest thou shouldst suppose that of its own nature it so
continues, He makes it also to quake when He pleaseth; He has set before
thee the clouds, which by His command bring water from above and satisfy
the earth--that from hence thou mayest understand that He who puts these
things in motion is superior to them all, and mayest accept thankfully the
goodness of Him who has given thee a mind whereby to distinguish these
things from one another.
"Wherefore I counsel thee to know thyself, and to know God. For
understand how that there is within thee that which is called the soul--by
it the eye seeth, by it the ear heareth, by it the mouth speaketh; and how
it makes use of the whole body; and how, whenever He pleaseth to remove the
soul from the body, this falleth ta decay and perisheth. From this,
therefore, which exists within thyself and is invisible, understand how God
also moveth the whole by His power, like the body; and that, whenever it
pleases Him to withdraw His power, the whole world also, like the body,
will fall to decay and perish.
"But why this world was made, and why it passes away, and why the body
exists, and why it falls to decay, and why it continues, thou canst not
know until thou hast raised thy head from this sleep in which thou art
sunk, and hast opened thine eyes and seen that God is One, the Lord of all,
and hast come to serve Him with all thy heart. Then will He grant thee to
know His will: for every one that is severed from the knowledge of the
living God is dead and buried even while in his body. Therefore is it that
thou dost wallow on the ground before demons and shadows, and askest vain
petitions from that which has not anything to give. But thou, stand thou up
from among those who are lying on the earth and caressing stones, and
giving their substance as food for the fire, and offering their raiment to
idols, and; while themselves possessed of senses, are bent on serving that
which has no sensation; and offer thou for thy imperishable soul petitions
far that which decayeth not, to God who suffers no decay--and thy freedom
will be at once apparent; and be thou careful of it, and give thanks to
God who made thee, and gave thee the mind of the free, that thou mightest
shape thy conduct even as thou wilt. He hath set before thee all these
things, and showeth thee that, if thou follow after evil, thou shall be
condemned for thy evil deeds; but that, if after goodness, thou shall
receive from Him abundant good, together with immortal life for ever.
"There is, therefore, nothing to hinder thee from changing thy evil
manner of life, because thou art a free man; or from seeking and finding
out who is the Lord of all; or from serving Him with all thy heart: because
with Him there is no reluctance to give the knowledge of Himself to those
that seek it, according to the measure of their capacity to know Him.
"Let it be thy first care not to deceive thyself. For, if thou sayest
of that which is not God: This is God, thou deceivest thyself, and sinnest
before the God of truth. Thou fool I is that God which is bought and sold?
Is that God which is in want? Is that God which must be watched over? How
buyest thou him as a slave, and servest him as a master? How askest thou of
him, as of one that is rich, to give to thee, and thyself givest to him as
to one that is poor? How dost thou expect of him that he will make thee
victorious in battle? for, lo! when thy enemies have conquered thee, they
strip him likewise.
"Perhaps one who is a king may say: I cannot behave myself aright,
because I am a king; it becomes me to do the will of the many. He who
speaks thus really deserves to be laughed at: for why should not the king
himself lead the way to all good things, and persuade the people under
his rule to behave with purity, and to know God in truth, and in his own
person set before them the patterns of all things excellent--since thus it
becomes him to do? For it is a shameful thing that a king, however badly he
may conduct himself, should yet judge and condemn those who do amiss.
"My opinion is this: that in 'this' way a kingdom may be governed in
peace--when the sovereign is acquainted with the God of truth, and is
withheld by fear of Him from doing wrong to those who are his subjects,
and judges everything with equity, as one who knows that he himself also
will be judged before God; while, at the same time, those who are under his
rule are withheld by the fear of God from doing wrong to their
sovereign, and are restrained by the same fear from doing wrong to one
another. By this knowledge of God and fear of Him all evil may be removed
from the realm. For, if the sovereign abstain from doing wrong to those who
are under his rule, and they abstain from doing wrong to him and to each
other, it is evident that the whole country will dwell in peace. Many
blessings, too, will be enjoyed there, because amongst them all the name of
God will be glorified. For what blessing is greater than this, that a
sovereign should deliver the people that are under his rule from error, and
by this good deed render himself pleasing to God? For from error arise all
those evils from which kingdoms suffer; but the greatest of all errors is
this: when a man is ignorant of God, and in God's stead worships that which
is not God.
"There are, however, persons who say: It is for the honour of God that
we make the image: in order, that is, that we may worship the God who is
concealed from our view. But they are unaware that God is in every country,
and in every place, and is never absent, and that there is not anything
done and He knoweth it not. Yet thou, despicable man! within whom He is,
and without whom He is, and above whom He is, hast nevertheless gone and
bought thee wood from the carpenter's, and it is carved and made into an
image insulting to God. To this thou offerest sacrifice, and knowest not
that the all-seeing eye seeth thee, and that the word of truth reproves
thee, and says to thee: How can the unseen God be sculptured? Nay, it is
the likeness of thyself that thou makest and worshippest. Because the wood
has been sculptured, hast thou not the insight to perceive that it is still
wood, or that the stone is still stone? The gold also the workman: taketh
according to its weight in the balance. And when thou hast had it made
into an image, why dose thou weigh it? Therefore thou art a lover of gold,
and not a lover of God. And art thou not ashamed, perchance it be
deficient, to demand of the maker of it why he has stolen some of it?
Though thou hast eyes, dose thou not see? And though thou hast
intelligence, dose thou not understand? Why dose thou wallow on the
ground, and offer supplication to things which are without sense? Fear Him
who shaketh the earth, and maketh the heavens to revolve, and smiteth the
sea, and removeth the mountain from its place--Him who can make Himself
like a fire, and consume all things; and, if thou be not able to clear
thyself of guilt, yet add not to thy sins; and, if thou be not able to know
God, yet doubt not that He exists.
"Again, there are persons who say: Whatsoever our fathers have
bequeathed to us, that we reverence. Therefore, of course, it is, that
those whose fathers have bequeathed them poverty strive to become rich! and
those whose fathers did not instruct them, desire to be instructed, and to
learn that which their fathers knew not! And why, forsooth, do the children
of the blind see, and the children of the lame walk? Nay, it is not well
for a man to follow his predecessors, if they be those whose course was
evil; but rather that we should turn from that path of theirs, lest that
which befell our predecessors should bring disaster upon us also.
Wherefore, inquire whether thy father's course was good: and, if so, do
thou also follow in his steps; but, if thy father's course was very evil,
let thine be good, and so let it be with thy children after thee. Be
grieved also for thy father because his course is evil, so long as thy
grief may avail to help him. But, as for thy children, speak to them thus:
There is a God, the Father of all, who never came into being, neither was
ever made, and by whose will all things subsist. He also made the
luminaries, that His works may see one another; and He conceals Himself in
His power from all His works: for it is not permitted to any being subject
to change to see Him who changes not. But such as are mindful of His words,
and are admitted into that covenant which is unchangeable, 'they' see God--
so far as it is possible for them to see Him. These also will have power to
escape destruction, when the flood of fire comes upon all the world. For
there was once a flood and a wind, and the greats men were swept away by
a violent blast from the north, but the just were left, for a demonstration
of the truth. Again, at another time there was a flood of water, and all
men and animals perished in the multitude of waters, but the just were
preserved in an ark of wood by the command of God. So also will it be at
the last time: there shall be a flood of fire, and the earth shall be burnt
up, together with its mounrains; and mankind shall be burnt up, along with
the idols which they have made, and the carved images which they have
worshipped; and the sea shall be burnt up, together with its islands; but
the just shall be preserved from wrath, like as were their fellows of the
ark from the waters of the deluge. And then shall those who have not known
God, and those who have made them idols, bemoan themselves, when they shall
see those idols of theirs being burnt up, together with themselves, and
nothing shall be found to help them.
"When thou, Antoninus Caesar, shall become acquainted with these
things, and thy children also with thee, then wilt thou bequeath to them an
inheritance for ever which fadeth not away, and thou wilt deliver thy soul,
and the souls of thy children also, from that which shall come. upon the
whole earth in the judgment of truth and of righteousness. For, according
as thou hast acknowledged Him here, so will He acknowledge thee there; and,
if thou account Him here superfluous, He will not account thee one of those
who have known Him and confessed Him.
"These may suffice thy Majesty; and, if they be too many, yet deign to
Here endeth Melito.
FROM THE DISCOURSE ON SOUL AND BODY.
For this reason did the Father send His Son from heaven without a
bodily form, that, when He should put on a body by means of the Virgin's
womb, and be born man, He might save man, and gather together those members
of His which death had scattered when he divided man.
And further on:--The earth shook, and its foundations trembled; the sun
fled away, and the elements turned back, and the day was changed into
night: for they could not endure the sight of their Lord hanging on a tree.
The whole creation was amazed, marvelling and saying, "What new mystery,
then, is this? The Judge is judged, and holds his peace; the Invisible One
is seen, and is not ashamed; the Incomprehensible is laid hold upon, and is
not indignant; the Illimitable is circumscribed, and doth not resist; the
Impossible suffereth, and doth not avenge; the Immortal dieth, and
answereth not a word; the Celestial is laid in the grave, and endureth!
What new mystery is this?" The whole creation, I say, was astonished; but,
when our Lord arose from the place of the dead, and trampled death under
foot, and bound the strong one, and set man free, then did the whole
creation see clearly that for man's sake the Judge was condemned, and the
Invisible was seen, and the Illimitable was circumscribed, and the
Impassible suffered, and the Immortal died, and the Celestial was laid in
the gave. For our Lord, when He was born man, was condemned in order that
He might Show mercy, was bound in order that He might loose, was seized in
order that He might release, suffered in order that He might feel
compassion, died in order that He might give life, was laid in the grave
that He might raise from the dead.
FROM THE DISCOURSE ON THE CROSS.
On these accounts He came to us; on these accounts, though He was
incorporeal, He formed for Himself a body after our fashion,--appearing
as a sheep, yet still remaining the Shepherd; being esteemed a servant, yet
not renouncing the Sonship; being carried in the womb of Mary, yet arrayed
in the nature of His Father; treading upon the earth, yet filling heaven;
appearing as an infant, yet not discarding the eternity of His nature;
being invested with a body, yet not circumscribing the unmixed simplicity
of His Godhead; being esteemed poor, yet not divested of His riches;
needing sustenance inasmuch as He was man, yet not ceasing to feed the
entire world inasmuch as He is God; putting on the likeness of a servant,
yet not impairing the likeness of His Father. He sustained every
character belonging to Him in an immutable nature: He was standing
before Pilate, and at the same time was sitting with His Father; He was
nailed upon the tree, and yet was the Lord of all things.
We have collected together extracts from the Law and the Prophets
relating to those things which have Been declared concerning our Lord Jesus
Christ, that we may prove to your love that this Being is perfect reason,
the Word of God; He who was begotten before the light; He who is Creator
together with the Father; He who is the Fashioner of man; He who is all in
all; He who among the patriarchs is Patriarch; He who in the law is the
Law; among the priests, Chief Priest; among kings, the Ruler; among
prophets, the Prophet; among the angels, Archangel; in the voice of the
preacher, the Word; among spirits, the Spirit; in the Father, the Son; in
God, God; King for ever and ever. For this is He who was pilot to Noah; He
who was guide to Abraham; He who was bound with Isaac; He who was in exile
with Jacob; He who was sold with Joseph; He who was captain of the host
with Moses; He who was the divider of the inheritance with Jesus the son of
Nun; He who in David and the prophets announced His own sufferings; He who
put on a bodily form in the Virgin; He who was born in Bethlehem; He who
was wrapped in swaddling-clothes in the manger; He who was seen by the
shepherds; He who was glorified by the angels; He who was worshipped by the
Magi; He who was pointed out by John; He who gathered together the
apostles; He who preached the kingdom; He who cured the lame; He who gave
light to the blind; He who raised the dead; He who appeared in the temple;
He who was not believed on by the people; He who was betrayed by Judas; He
who was apprehended by the priests; He who was condemned by Pilate; He who
was pierced in the flesh; He who was hanged on the tree; He who was buried
in the earth; He who rose from the place of the dead; He who appeared to
the apostles; He who was carried up to heaven; He who is seated at the
right hand of the Father; He who is the repose of those that are departed;
the recoverer of those that are lost; the light of those that are in
darkness; the deliverer of those that are captive; the guide of those that
go astray; the asylum of the afflicted; the bridegroom of the Church; the
charioteer of the cherubim; the captain of the angels; God who is from God;
the Son who is from the Father; Jesus Christ the King for evermore. Amen.
This is He who took a bodily form in the Virgin, and was hanged upon
the tree, and was buried within the earth, and suffered not dissolution; He
who rose from the place of the dead, and raised up men from the earth--from
the grave below to the height of heaven. This is the Lamb that was slain;
this is the Lamb that opened not His mouth. This is He who was born of
Mary, fair sheep of the fold. This is He that was taken from the flock, and
was led to the slaughter, and was slain in the evening, and was buried at
night; He who had no bone of Him broken on the tree; He who suffered not
dissolution within the earth; He who rose from the place of the dead, and
raised up the race of Adam from the grave below, This is He who was put to
death. And where was He put to death? In the midst of Jerusalem. By whom?
By Israel: became He cured their lame, and cleansed their lepers, and gave
light to their blind, and raised their dead! This was the cause of His
death. Thou, O Israel, wast giving commands, and He was being crucified;
thou wast rejoicing, and He was being buried; thou wast reclining on a soft
couch, and He was watching in the grave and the shroud. O Israel,
transgressor of the law, why hast thou committed this new iniquity,
subjecting the Lord to new sufferings--thine own Lord, Him who fashioned
thee, Him-who made thee, Him who honoured thee, who called thee Israel? But
thou hast not been found to be Israel: for thou hast not seen God, nor
understood the Lord. Thou hast not known, O Israel, that this was the
first-born of God, who was begotten before the sun, who made the light to
shine forth, who lighted up the day, who separated the darkness, who fixed
the first foundations, who poised the earth, who collected the ocean, who
stretched out the firmament, who adorned the world. Bitter were thy nails,
and sharp; bitter thy tongue, which thou didst whet; bitter was Judas, to
whom thou gavest hire; bitter thy false witnesses, whom thou stirredst up;
bitter thy gall, which thou preparedst; bitter thy vinegar, which thou
madest; bitter thy hands, filled with blood. Thou slewest thy Lord, and He
was lifted up upon the tree; and an inscription was fixed above, to show
who He was that was slain. And who was this? (that which we shall not say
is too shocking to hear, and that which we shall say is very dreadful:
nevertheless hearken, and tremble.) It was He because of whom the earth
quaked. He that hung up the earth in space was Himself hanged up; He that
fixed the heavens was fixed with nails; He that bore up the earth was borne
up on a tree; the Lord of all was subjected to ignominy in a naked body--
God put to death! the King of Israel slain with Israel's right hand! Alas
for the new wickedness of the new murder! The Lord was exposed with naked
body: He was not deemed worthy even of covering; and, in order that He
might not be seen, the luminaries turned away, and the day became darkened?
because they slew God, who hung naked on the tree. It was not the body of
our Lord that the luminaries covered with darkness when they set, but
the eyes of men. For, because the people quaked not, the earth quaked;
because they were not offrighted, the earth was affrighted. Thou smotest
thy Lord: thou also hast been smitten upon the earth. And thou indeed liest
dead; but He is risen from the place of the dead, and ascended to the
height of heaven, having suffered for the sake of those who suffer, and
having been bound for the sake of Adam's race which was imprisoned, and
having been judged for the sake of him who was condemned, and having been
buried for the sake of him who was buried.
And further on:--This is He who made the heaven and the earth, and in
the beginning, together with the Father, fashioned man; who was announced
by means of the law and the prophets; who put on a bodily form in the
Virgin; who was hanged upon the tree; who was buried in the earth; who rose
from the place of the dead, and ascended to the height of heaven, and
sitteth on the right hand of the Father.
He that bore up the earth was borne up on a tree. The Lord was
subjected to ignominy with naked body--God put to death, the King of Israel
FROM THE WORK ON THE PASSOVER.
When Servilius Paulus was proconsul of Asia, at the time that
Sagaris suffered martyrdom, there arose a great controversy at Laodicea
concerning the time of the celebration of the Passover, which on that
occasion had happened to fall at the proper season; and this treatise
was then written.
FROM THE APOLOGY ADDRESSED TO MARCUS AURELIUS ANTONINUS.
For the race of the pious is now persecuted in a way contrary to all
precedent, being harassed by a new kind of edicts everywhere in Asia.
For unblushing informers, and such as are greedy of other men's goods,
taking occasion from the orders issued, carry on their robbery without any
disguise, plundering of their property night and day those who are guilty
of no wrong.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
If these proceedings take place at thy bidding, well and good.
For a just sovereign will never take unjust measures; and we, on our part,
gladly accept the honour of such a death. This request only we present to
thee, that thou wouldst first of all examine for thyself into the behaviour
of these reputed agents of so much strife, and then come to a just decision
as to whether they merit death and punishment, or deserve to live in safety
and quiet. But if, on the contrary, it shall turn out that this measure,
and this new sort of command, which it would be unbecoming to employ even
against barbarian foemen, do not proceed from thee, then all the more do we
entreat thee not to leave us thus exposed to the spoliation of the
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
For the philosophy current with us flourished in the first instance
among barbarians; and, when it afterwards sprang up among the nations
under thy rule, during the distinguished reign of thy ancestor Augustus, it
proved to be a blessing of most happy omen to thy empire. For from that
time the Roman power has risen to greatness and splendour. To this power
thou hast succeeded as the much desired possessor; and such shalt thou
continue, together with thy son, if thou protect that philosophy which
has grown up with thy empire, and which took its rise with Augustus; to
which also thy more recent ancestors paid honour, along with the other
religions prevailing in the empire. A very strong proof, moreover, that it
was for good that the system we profess came to prevail at the same time
that the empire of such happy commencement was established, is this--that
ever since the reign of Augustus nothing untoward has happened; but, on the
contrary, everything has contributed to the splendour and renown of the
empire, in accordance with the devout wishes of all. Nero and Domitian
alone of all the emperors, imposed upon by certain calumniators, have cared
to bring any impeachment against our doctrines. They, too, are the source
from which it has happened that the lying slanders on those who profess
them have, in consequence of the senseless habit which prevails of taking
things on hearsay, flowed down to our own times. But the course which
they in their ignorance pursued was set aside by thy pious progenitors, who
frequently and in many instances rebuked by their rescripts those who
dared to set on foot any hostilities against them. It appears, for example,
that thy grandfather Adrian wrote, among others, to Fundanus, the proconsul
then in charge of the government of Asia. Thy father, too, when thou
thyself wast associated with him in the administration of the empire,
wrote to the cities, forbidding them to take any measures adverse to us:
among the rest to the people of Larissa, and of Thessalonica, and of
Athens, and, in short, to all the Greeks. And as regards thyself, seeing
that thy sentiments respecting the Christians are not only the same as
theirs, but even much more generous and wise, we are the more persuaded
that thou wilt do all that we ask of thee.
FROM THE SAME APOLOGY.
We are not those who pay homage to stones, that are without sensation;
but of the only God, who is before all and over all, and, moreover, we are
worshippers of His Christ, who is veritably God the Word existing before
FROM THE BOOK OF EXTRACTS.
Melito to his brother Onesimus, greeting:--
As you have often, prompted by your regard for the word of God,
expressed a wish to have some extracts made from the Law and the Prophets
concerning the Saviour, and concerning our faith in general, and have
desired, moreover, to obtain an accurate account of the Ancient Books, as
regards their number and their arrangement, I have striven to the best of
my ability to perform this task: well knowing your zeal for the faith, and
your eagerness to become acquainted with the Word, and especially because I
am assured that, through your yearning after God, you esteem these things
beyond all things else, engaged as you are in a struggle for eternal
I accordingly proceeded to the East, and went to the very spot where
the things in question were preached and took place; and, having made
myself accurately acquainted with the books of the Old Testament, I have
set them down below, and herewith send you the list. Their names are as
The five books of Moses--Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers,
Deuteronomy; Joshua, Judges, Ruth, the four books of Kings, the two of
Chronicles, the book of the Psalms of David, the Proverbs of Solomon, also
called the Book of Wisdom, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Songs, Job, the books
of the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, of the twelve contained in a single book,
Daniel, Ezekiel, Esdras. From these I have made my extracts, dividing them
into six books.
FROM THE CATENA ON GENESIS .
In place of Isaac the just, a ram appeared for slaughter, in order that
Isaac might be liberated from his bonds. The slaughter of this animal
redeemed Isaac from death. In like manner, the Lord, being slain, saved us;
being bound, He loosed us; being sacrificed, He redeemed us. . For the
Lord was a lamb, like the ram which Abraham saw caught in the bush
Sabec. But this bush represented the cross, and that place Jerusalem,
and the lamb the Lord bound for slaughter.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
For as a ram was He bound, says he concerning our Lord Jesus Christ,
and as a lamb was He shorn, and as a sheep was He led to the slaughter, and
as a lamb was He crucified; and He carried the cross on His shoulders
when He was led up to the hill to be slain, as was Isaac by his father. But
Christ suffered, and Isaac did not suffer: for he was but a type of Him who
should suffer. Yet, even when serving only for a type of Christ, he smote
men with astonishment and fear.
For a new mystery was presented to view,--a son led by his father to a
mountain to be slain, whose feet he bound together, and laid him on the
wood of the sacrifice, preparing with care whatever was necessary to
his immolation. Isaac on his part is silent, bound like a ram, not opening
his mouth, nor uttering a sound with his voice. For, not fearing the knife,
nor quailing before the fire, nor troubled by the prospect of suffering, he
sustained bravely the character of the type of the Lord. Accordingly there
lies Isaac before us, with his feet bound like a ram, his father standing
by, with the knife all bare in his hand, not shrinking from shedding the
blood of his son.
TWO SCHOLIA ON GEN. XXII. 13.
The Syriac and the Hebrew use the word "suspended," as more clearly
typifying the cross.
The word Sabek some have rendered remission, others upright,
as if the meaning, agreeing with the popular belief, were--a goat walking
erect up to a bush, and there standing erect caught by his horns, so as to
be a plain type of the cross. For this reason it is not translated, because
the single Hebrew word signifies in other languages many things. To
those, however, who ask it is proper to give an answer, and to say that
Sabek denotes lifted up.
ON THE NATURE OF CHRIST.
For there is no need, to persons of intelligence, to attempt to prove,
from the deeds of Christ subsequent to His baptism, that His soul and His
body, His human nature like ours, were real, and no phantom of the
imagination. For the deeds done by Christ after His baptism, and especially
His miracles, gave indication and assurance to the world of the Deity
hidden in His flesh. For, being at once both God and perfect man likewise,
He gave us sure indications of His two natures: of His Deity, by His
miracles during the three years that elapsed after His baptism; of His
humanity, during the thirty similar periods which preceded His baptism, in
which, by reason of His low estate as regards the flesh, He concealed
the signs of His Deity, although He was the true God existing before all
FROM THE ORATION ON OUR LORD'S PASSION.
God has suffered from the right hand of Israel.
Head of the Lord--His simple Divinity; because He is the Beginning and
Creator of all things: in Daniel.
The white hair of the Lord, because He is "the Ancient of Days:" as
The eyes of the Lord--the Divine inspection: because He sees all
things. Like that in the apostle: For all things are naked and open in His
The eyelids of the Lord--hidden spiritual mysteries in the Divine
precepts. In the Psalm: "His eyelids question, that is prove, the children
The smelling of the Lord--His delight in the prayers or works of the
saints. In Genesis: "And the Lord smelled an odour of sweetness."
The mouth of the Lord--His Son, or word addressed to men. In the
prophet, "The mouth of the Lord hath spoken;" and elsewhere, "They
provoked His mouth to anger."
The tongue of the Lord--His Holy Spirit. In the Psalm: "My tongue is a
The face of the Lord--His manifestation. In Exodus, "My face shall go
before thee;" and in the prophet, "The face of the Lord divided
The word of the Lord--His Son. In the Psalm: "My heart hath uttered a
The arm of the Lord--His Son, by whom He hath wrought all His works. In
the prophet Isaiah: "And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?"
The right hand of the Lord--that is, His Son; as also above in the
Psalm: "The right hand of the Lord hath done valiantly."
The right hand of the Lord--electio omnis. As in Deuteronomy: "In His
right hand is a fiery law."
The wings of the Lord--Divine protection. In the Psalm: "In the shadow
of Thy wings will I hope."
The shoulder of the Lord--the Divine power, by which He condescends to
carry the feeble. In Deuteronomy: "He took them up, and put them on His
The hand of the Lord--Divine operation. In the prophet: "Have not my
hands made all these things?"
The finger of the Lord--the Holy Spirit, by whose operation the tables
of the law in Exodus are said to have been written; and in the Gospel:
"If I by the finger of God cast out demons"
The fingers of the Lord--The lawgiver Moses, or the prophets. In the
Psalm: "I will regard the heavens," that is, the books of the Law and the
Prophets, "the works of Thy fingers."
The wisdom of the Lord--His Son. In the apostle: "Christ the power of
God, and the wisdom of God;" and in Solomon: "The wisdom of the Lord
reacheth from one end to the other mightily."
The womb of the Lord--the hidden recess of Deity out of which He
brought forth His Son. In the Psalm: "Out of the womb, before Lucifer, have
I borne Thee.
The feet of the Lord--His immoveableness and eternity. In the Psalm:
"And thick darkness was under His feet."
The throne of the Lord--angels, or saints, or simply sovereign
dominion. In the Psalm: "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever."
Seat--the same as above, angels or saints, because the Lord sits upon
these. In the Psalm: "The Lord sat upon His holy seat."
The descent of the Lord--His visitation of men. As in Micah: "Behold,
the Lord shall come forth from His place; He shall come down trampling
under foot the ends of the earth." Likewise in a bad sense. In Genesis:
"The Lord came down to see the tower."
The ascent of the Lord--the raising up of man, who is taken from earth
to heaven. In the Psalm: "Who ascendeth above the heaven of heavens to the
The standing of the Lord--the patience of the Deity, by which He bears
with sinners that they may come to repentance. As in Habakkuk: "He good and
measured the earth; and in the Gospel: "Jesus stood, and bade him be
called," that is, the blind man.
The transition of the Lord--His assumption of our flesh, through which
by His birth, His death, His resurrection, His ascent into heaven, He made
transitions, so to say. In the Song of Songs: "Behold, He cometh, leaping
upon the mountains, bounding over the hills."
The going of the Lord--His coming or visitation. In the Psalm.
The way of the Lord--the operation of the Deity. As in Job, in speaking
of the devil: "He is the beginning of the ways of the Lord."
Again: The ways of the Lord--His precepts. In Hosea: "For the ways of
the Lord are straight, and the just shall walk in them."
The footsteps of the Lord--the signs of His secret operations. As in
the Psalm: "And Thy footsteps shall not be known."
The knowledge of the Lord--that which makes men to know Him. To Abraham
He says:"Now I know that thou fearest the Lord;" that is, I have made
thee to know.
The ignorance of God is His disapproval. In the Gospel: "I know you
The remembrance of God--His mercy, by which He rejects and has mercy on
whom He will. So in Genesis: "The Lord remembered Noah;" and in another
passage: "The Lord hath remembered His people."
The repentance of the Lord--His change of procedure. As in the book
of Kings: "It repented me that I have made Saul king."
The anger and wrath of the Lord--the vengeance of the Deity upon
sinners, when He bears with them with a view to punishment, does not at
once judge them according to strict equity. As in the Psalm: "In His anger
and in His wrath will He trouble them."
The sleeping of the Lord--when, in the thoughts of some, His
faithfulness is not sufficiently wakeful. In the Psalm: "Awake, why
sleepest Thou, O Lord?"
The watches of the Lord--in the guardianship of His elect He is always
at hand by the presence of His Deity. In the Psalm: "Lo! He will not
slumber nor sleep."
The sitting of the Lord--His ruling. In the Psalm: "The Lord sitteth
upon His holy seat."
The footstool of the Lord--man assumed by the Word; or His saints, as
some think. In the Psalm: "Worship ye His footstool, for it is holy."
The walking of the Lord--the delight of the Deity in the walks of His
elect. In the prophet: "I will walk in them, and will be their Lord."
The trumpet of the Lord--His mighty voice.In the apostle: "At the
command, and at the voice of the archangel, and at the trumpet of God,
shall He descend from heaven."
FRAGMENTS FROM HIS FIVE BOOKS OF COMMENTARIES ON THE ACTS OF THE CHURCH.
CONCERNING THE MARTYRDOM OF JAMES, THE BROTHER OF THE LORD, FROM BOOK V.
JAMES, the Lord's brother, succeeds to the government of the Church, in
conjunction with the apostles. He has been universally called the Just,
from the days of the Lord down to the present time. For many bore the name
of James; but this one was holy from his mother's womb. He drank no wine or
other intoxicating liquor, nor did he eat flesh; no razor came upon his
head; he did not anoint himself with oil, nor make use of the bath. He
alone was permitted to enter the holy place: for he did not wear any
woollen garment, but fine linen only. He alone, I say, was wont to go into
the temple: and he used to be found kneeling on his knees, begging
forgiveness for the people--so that the skin of his knees became horny like
that of a camel's, by reason of his constantly bending the knee in
adoration to God, and begging forgiveness for the people. Therefore, in
consequence of his pre-eminent justice, he was called the Just, and
Oblias, which signifies in Greek Defence of the People, and Justice, in
accordance with what the prophets declare concerning him.
Now some persons belonging to the seven sects existing among the
people, which have been before described by me in the Notes, asked him:
"What is the door of Jesus?" And he replied that He was the Saviour. In
Consequence of this answer, some believed that Jesus is the Christ. But the
sects before mentioned did not believe, either in a resurrection or in the
coming of One to requite every man according to his works; but those who
did believe, believed because of James. So, when many even of the ruling
class believed, there was a commotion among the Jews, and scribes, and
Pharisees, who said: "A little more, and we shall have all the people
looking for Jesus as the Christ.
They came, therefore, in a body to James, and said: "We entreat thee,
restrain the people: for they are gone astray in their opinions about
Jesus, as if he were the Christ. We entreat thee to persuade all who have
come hither for the day of the passover, concerning Jesus. For we all
listen to thy persuasion; since we, as well as all the people, bear thee
testimony that thou art just, and showest partiality to none. Do thou,
therefore, persuade the people not to entertain erroneous opinions
concerning Jesus: for all the people, and we also, listen to thy
persuasion. Take thy stand, then, upon the summit of the temple, that
from that elevated spot thou mayest be clearly seen, and thy words may be
plainly audible to all the people. For, in order to attend the passover,
all the tribes have congregated hither, and some of the Gentiles also."
The aforesaid scribes and Pharisees accordingly set James on the summit
of the temple, and cried aloud to him, and said: "O just one, whom we are
all bound to obey, forasmuch as the people is in error, and follows Jesus
the crucified, do thou tell us what is the door of Jesus, the crucified."
And he answered with a loud voice: "Why ask ye me concerning Jesus the Son
of man? He Himself sitteth in heaven, at the right hand of the Great Power,
and shall come on the clouds of heaven."
And, when many were fully convinced by these words, and offered praise
for the testimony of James, and said, "Hosanna to the son of David," then
again the said Pharisees and scribes said to one another, "We have not done
well in procuring this testimony to Jesus. But let us go up and throw him
down, that they may be afraid, and not believe him." And they cried aloud,
and said: "Oh! oh! the just man himself is in error." Thus they fulfilled
the Scripture written in Isaiah: "Let us away with the just man, because he
is troublesome to us: therefore shall they eat the fruit of their doings."
So they went up and threw down the just man, and said to one another: "Let
us stone James the Just." And they began to stone him: for he was not
killed by the fall; but he turned, and kneeled down, and said: "I beseech
Thee, Lord God our Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."
And, while they were thus stoning him to death, one of the priests, the
sons of Rechab, the son of Rechabim, to whom testimony is borne by Jeremiah
the prophet, began to cry aloud, saying: "Cease, what do ye? The just man
is praying for us." But one among them, one of the fullers, took the staff
with which he was accustomed to wring out the garments he dyed, and hurled
it at the head of the just man.
And so he suffered martyrdom; and they buried him on the spot, and the
pillar erected to his memory still remains, close by the temple. This man
was a true witness to both Jews and Greeks that Jesus is the Christ.
And shortly after Vespasian besieged Judaea, taking them captive.
CONCERNING THE RELATIVES OF OUR SAVIOUR.
There still survived of the kindred of the Lord the grandsons of Judas,
who according to the flesh was called his brother. These were informed
against, as belonging to the family of David, and Evocatus brought them
before Domitian Caesar: for that emperor dreaded the advent of Christ, as
Herod had done.
So he asked them whether they were of the family of David; and they
confessed they were. Next he asked them what property they had, or how much
money they possessed. They both replied that they had only 9000 denaria
between them, each of them owning half that sum; but even this they said
they did not possess in cash, but as the estimated value of some land,
consisting of thirty-nine plethra only, out of which they had to pay the
dues, and that they supported themselves by their own labour. And then they
began to hold out their hands, exhibiting, as proof of their manual labour,
the roughness of their skin, and the corns raised on their hands by
Being then asked concerning Christ and His kingdom, what was its
nature, and when and where it was to appear, they returned answer that it
was not of this world, nor of the earth, but belonging to the sphere of
heaven and angels, and would make its appearance at the end of time, when
He shall come in glory, and judge living and dead, and render to every one
according to the course of his life.
Thereupon Domitian passed no condemnation upon them, but treated them
with contempt, as too mean for notice, and let them go free. At the same
time he issued a command, and put a stop to the persecution against the
When they were released they became leaders of the churches, as was
natural in the case of those who were at once martyrs and of the kindred of
the Lord. And, after the establishment of peace to the Church, their lives
were prolonged to the reign of Trojan.
CONCERNING THE MARTYRDOM OF SYMEON THE SON OF CLOPAS, BISHOP OF
Some of these heretics, forsooth, laid an information against Symeon
the son of Clopas, as being of the family of David, and a Christian. And on
these charges he suffered martyrdom when he was 120 years old, in the reign
of Trajan Caesar, when Atticus was consular legate in Syria. And it so
happened, says the same writer, that, while inquiry was then being made for
those belonging to the royal tribe of the Jews, the accusers themselves
were convicted of belonging to it. With show of reason could it be said
that Symeon was one of those who actually saw and heard the Lord, on the
ground of his great age, and also because the Scripture of the Gospels
makes mention of Mary the daughter of Clopas, who, as our narrative has
shown already, was his father.
The same historian mentions others also, of the family of one of the
reputed brothers of the Saviour, named Judas, as having survived until this
same reign, after the testimony they bore for the faith of Christ in the
time of Domitian, as already recorded.
He writes as follows: They came, then, and took the presidency of every
church, as witnesses for Christ, and as being of the kindred of the Lord.
And, after profound peace had been established in every church, they
remained down to the reign of Trojan Caesar: that is, until the time when
he who was sprung from an uncle of the Lord, the aforementioned Symeon son
of Clopas, was informed against by the various heresies, and subjected to
an accusation like the rest, and for the same cause, before the legate
Atticus; and, while suffering outrage during many days, he bore testimony
for Christ: so that all, including the legate himself, were astonished
above measure that a man 120 years old should have been able to endure such
torments. He was finally condemned to be crucified.
. . . Up to that period the Church had remained like a virgin pure and
uncorrupted: for, if there were any persons who were disposed to tamper
with the wholesome rule of the preaching of salvation, they still lurked
in some dark place of concealment or other. But, when the sacred band of
apostles had in various ways closed their lives, and that generation of men
to whom it had been vouchsafed to listen to the Godlike Wisdom with their
own ears had passed away, then did the confederacy of godless error take
its rise through the treachery of false teachers, who, seeing that none of
the apostles any longer survived, at length attempted with bare and
uplifted head to oppose the preaching of the truth by preaching "knowledge
falsely so called."
CONCERNING HIS JOURNEY TO ROME, AND THE JEWISH SECTS.
And the church of the Corinthians continued in the orthodox faith up
to the time when Primus was bishop in Corinth. I had some intercourse with
these brethren on my voyage to Rome, when I spent several days with the
Corinthians, during which we were mutually refreshed by the orthodox faith.
On my arrival at Rome, I drew up a list of the succession of bishops
down to Anicetus, whose deacon was Eleutherus. To Anicetus succeeded Soter,
and after him came Eleutherus. But in the case of every succession, and
in every city, the state of affairs is in accordance with the teaching of
the Law and of the Prophets and of the Lord. . . .
And after James the Just had suffered martyrdom, as had the Lord also
and on the same account, again Symeon the son of Clopas, descended from the
Lord's uncle, is made bishop, his election being promoted by all as being a
kinsman of the Lord.
Therefore was the Church called a virgin, for she was not as yet
corrupted by worthless teaching. Thebulis it was who, displeased because
he was not made bishop, first began to corrupt her by stealth. He too was
connected with the seven sects which existed among the people, like Simon,
from whom come the Simoniani; and Cleobius, from whom come the Cleobiani;
and Doritheus, from whom come the Dorithiani; and Gorthaeus, from whom come
the Gortheani; Masbothaeus, from whom come the Masbothaei. From these men
also come the Menandrianists, and the Marcionists, and the Carpocratians,
and the Valentinians, and the Basilidians, and the Saturnilians. Each of
these leaders in his own private and distinct capacity brought in his own
private opinion. From these have come false Christs, false prophets, false
apostles--men who have split up the one Church into parts through their
corrupting doctrines, uttered in disparagement of God and of His Christ. .
There were, moreover, various opinions in the matter of circumcision
among the children of Israel, held by those who were opposed to the tribe
of Judah and to Christ: such as the Essenes, the Galileans, the
Hemerobaptists, the Masbothaei, the Samaritans, the Sadducees, the
DIONYSIUS, BISHOP OF CORINTH.
FRAGMENTS FROM A LETTER TO THE ROMAN CHURCH.
FOR this has been your custom from the beginning, to do good to all the
brethren in various ways, and to send resources to many churches which are
in every city, thus refreshing the poverty of the needy, and granting
subsidies to the brethren who are in the mines. Through the resources
which ye have sent from the beginning, ye Romans, keep up the custom of the
Romans handed down by the fathers, which your blessed Bishop Sorer has not
only preserved, but added to, sending a splendid gift to the saints, and
exhorting with blessed words those brethren who go up to Rome, as an
affectionate father his children.
FROM THE SAME EPISTLE.
We passed this holy Lord's day, in which we read your letter, from the
constant reading of which we shall be able to draw admonition, even as from
the reading of the former one you sent us written through Clement.
FROM THE SAME.
Therefore you also have by such admonition joined in close union the
churches that were planted by Peter and Paul, that of the Romans and that
of the Corinthians: for both of them went to our Corinth, and taught us
in the same way as they taught you when they went to Italy; and having
taught you, they suffered martyrdom at the same time.
FROM THE SAME..
For I wrote letters when the brethren requested me to write. And these
letters the apostles of the devil have filled with tares, taking away some
things and adding others, for whom a woe is in store. It is not wonderful,
then, if some have attempted to adulterate the Lord's writings, when they
have formed designs against those which are not such.
WHEREFORE also they disagree among themselves, maintaining as they
do an opinion which has no consistency with itself. For one of their herd,
Apelles, who prides himself on the strictness of his life, and on his
age, admits that there is only one first principle, yet says that the
prophecies have come from an opposing spirit, in which opinion he is
influenced by the responses of a soothsaying maid named Philumene. But
others, among whom are Potitus and Basilicus, like Marcion himself,
introduce two first principles. These men, following the Pontic wolf, and
not being able to discover any more than he the division of things, have
had to recourse to rash assertion, and declared the existence of two first
principles simply and without proof. Others of them, again, drifting from
bad to worse, assume not two only, but even three natures. Of these men the
leader and champion is Syneros, as those who adopt his teaching say....
For the old man Apelles entered into conversation with us, and was
convicted of uttering many false opinions. For example, he asserted that
men should on no account examine into their creed, but that every one
ought to continue to the last in the belief he has once adopted. For he
declared that those who had rested their hope on the Crucified One would be
saved, provided only they were found living in the practice, of good works.
But the most perplexing of all the doctrines laid down by him was, as we
have remarked before, what he said concerning God: for he affirmed that
there was only one first principle, precisely as our own faith teaches ....
On asking him, "Where do you get proof of this? or how are you able to
assert that there is only one first principle? tell us,"--he said that the
prophecies refuted themselves, because they had uttered nothing at all that
was true: for that they were discordant and false, and self-contradictory.
As to the question, "How does it appear that there is only one first
principle?" he said he could not tell, only he was impelled to that belief.
On my thereupon conjuring him to speak the truth, he solemnly declared that
he was expressing his real sentiments; and that he did not know" how" there
could be one uncreated God, but that he believed the fact. Here I burst
into laughter and rebuked him, because he professed to be a teacher, and
yet was unable to confirm by arguments what he taught.
MAXIMUS, BISHOP OF JERUSALEM.
FROM THE BOOK CONCERNING MATTER, OR IN DEFENCE OF THE PROPOSITION THAT
MATTER IS CREATED, AND IS NOT THE CAUSE OF EVIL.
"THAT there cannot exist two uncreated substances at one and the same
time, I presume that you hold equally with myself. You appear, however,
very decidedly to have assumed, and to have introduced into the argument,
this principle, that we must of unavoidable necessity maintain one of two
things: either that God is separate from matter; or else, on the contrary,
that He is indissolubly connected with it.
"If, then, any one should choose to assert that He exists in union with
matter, that would be saying that there is only one uncreated substance.
For either of the two must constitute a part of the other; and, since they
form parts of each other, they cannot be two uncreated substances. Just as,
in speaking of man, we do not describe him as subdivided into a number of
distinct parts, each forming a separate created substance, but, as reason
requires us to do, assert that he was made by God a single created
substance consisting of many parts,--so, in like manner, if God is not
separate from matter, we are driven to the conclusion that there is only
one uncreated substance.
"If, on the other hand, it be affirmed that He is separate from matter,
it necessarily follows that there is some other substance intermediate
between the two, by which their separation is made apparent. For it is
impossible that one thing should be shown to be severed by an interval from
another, unless there be something else by which the interval between the
two is produced. This principle, too, holds good not only with regard to
this or any other single case, but in any number of cases you please For
the same argument which we have employed in dealing with the two uncreated
substances must in like manner be valid if the substances in question be
given as three. For in regard to these also I should have to inquire
whether they are separate from one another, or whether, on the contrary,
each of them is united to its fellow. For, if you should say that they are
united, you would hear from me the same argument as before; but if, on the
contrary, you should say that they are separate, you could not escape the
unavoidable assumption of a separating medium.
"If, again, perchance any one should think that there is a third view
which may be consistently maintained with regard to uncreated substances,--
namely, that God is not separate from matter, nor yet, on the other hand,
united to it as a part, but that God exists in matter as in a place, or
possibly matter exists in God,--let such a person observe the consequence:-
"That, if we make matter God's place, we must of necessity admit that
He can be contained, and that He is circumscribed by matter. Nay,
further, he must grant that He is, in the same way as matter, driven about
hither and thither, unable to maintain His place and to stay where He is,
since that in which He exists is perpetually being driven about in one
direction or another. Beside this, he must also admit that God has had His
place among the worst kind of elements. For if matter was once in disorder,
and if he reduced it to order for the purpose of rendering it better, there
was a time when God existed among the disordered elements of matter.
"I might also fairly put this question: whether God filled the whole of
matter, or was in some part of it. If any one should choose to say that God
was in some part of matter, he would be making Him indefinitely smaller
than matter, inasmuch as a part of it contained the whole of Him; but,
if he maintained that He pervaded the whole of matter, I need to be
informed how He became the Fashioner of this matter. For we must
necessarily assume, either that there was on the part of God a
contraction, so to speak, of Himself, and a withdrawal from matter,
whereupon He proceeded to fashion that from which He bad retired; or else
that He fashioned Himself in conjunction with matter, in consequence of
having no place to retire to.
"But suppose it to be maintained, on the other hand, that matter is in
God, it will behove us similarly to inquire, whether we are to understand
by this that He is sundered from Himself, and that, just like the air,
which contains various kinds of animals, so is He sundered and divided into
parts for the reception of those creatures which from time to time exist
in Him; or whether matter is in God as in a place,--for instance, as
water is contained in earth. For should we say ' as in air,' we should
perforce be speaking of God as divisible into parts; but if 'as water in
earth,' and if matter was, as is admitted, in confusion and disorder, and
moreover also contained what was evil, we should have to admit that God is
the place of disorder and evil. But this it does not seem to me consistent
with reverence to say, but hazardous rather. For you contend that matter is
uncreated, that you may not have to admit that God is the author of
evil; and yet, while aiming to escape this difficulty, you make Him the
receptacle of evil.
"If you had stated that your suspicion that matter was uncreated arose
from the nature of created things as we find them, I should have
employed abundant argument in proof that it cannot be so. But, since you
have spoken of the existence of evil as the cause of such suspicion, I am
disposed to enter upon a separate examination of this point. For, when once
it has been made clear how it is that evil exists, and when it is seen to
be impossible to deny that God is the author of evil, in consequence of His
having had recourse to matter for His materials, it seems to me that a
suspicion of this kind disappears.
"You assert, then, that matter, destitute of all qualities good or bad,
co-existed at the outset with God, and that out of it He fashioned the
world as we now find it."
"Such is my opinion."
"Well, then, if matter was without any qualities, and the world has
come into existence from God, and if the world possesses qualities, the
author of those qualities must be God."
"Since, too, I heard you say yourself just now that out of nothing
nothing can possibly come, give me an answer to the question I am about to
ask you. You seem to me to think that the qualities of the world have not
sprung from pre-existing qualities, and moreover that they are something
different from the substances themselves."
"If, therefore, God did not produce the qualities in question from
qualities already existing, nor yet from substances, by reason that they
are not substances, the conclusion is inevitable, that they were made by
God out of nothing. So that you seemed to me to affirm more than you were
warranted to do, when you said that it had been proved impossible to hold
the opinion that anything was made by God out of nothing.
"But let us put the matter thus. We see persons among ourselves making
certain things out of nothing, however true it may be that they make them
by means of something. Let us take our illustration, say, from builders.
These men do not make cities out of cities; nor, similarly, temples out of
temples. Nay, if you suppose that, because the substances necessary for
these constructions are already provided, therefore they make them out of
that which already exists, your reasoning is fallacious. For it is not the
substance that makes the city or the temples, but the art which is employed
about the substance. Neither, again, does the art proceed from any art
inhering in the substances, but it arises independently of any such art in
"But I fancy you will meet the argument by saying that the artist
produces the art which is manifest in the substance he has fashioned out of
the art which he himself already has. In reply to this, however, I think it
may be fairly said, that neither in man does art spring from any already
existing art. For we cannot possibly allow that art exists by itself, since
it belongs to the class of things which are accidentals, and which receive
their existence only when they appear in connection with substance. For man
will exist though there should be no architecture, but the latter will have
no existence unless there be first of all man. Thus we cannot avoid the
conclusion, that it is the nature of art to spring up in man out of
nothing. If, then, we have shown that this is the case with man, we surely
must allow that God can make not only the qualities of substances out of
nothing, but also the substances themselves. For, if it appears possible
that anything whatever can be made out of nothing, it is proved that this
may be the case with substances also.
"But, since you are specially desirous of inquiring about the origin of
evil, I will proceed to the discussion of this topic. And I should like to
ask you a few questions. Is it your opinion that things evil are
substances, or that they are qualities of substances?"
"Qualities of substances, I am disposed to say."
"But matter was destitute of qualities and of form: this I assumed at
the outset of the discussion. Therefore, if things evil are qualities of
substances, and matter was destitute of qualities, and you have called God
the author of qualities, God will also be the former of that which is evil.
Since, then, it is not possible, on this supposition any more than on the
other, to speak of God as not the cause of evil, it seems to me superfluous
to add matter to Him, as if that were the cause of evil. If you have any
reply to make to this, begin your argument."
"If, indeed, our discussion had arisen from a love of contention, I
should not be willing to have the inquiry raised a second time about the
origin of evil; but, since we are prompted rather by friendship and the
good of our neighbour to engage in controversy, I readily consent to have
the question raised afresh on this subject. You have no doubt long been
aware of the character of my mind, and of the object at which I aim in
dispute: that I have no wish to vanquish falsehood by plausible reasoning,
but rather that truth should be established in connection with thorough
investigation. You yourself, too, are of the same mind, I am well assured.
Whatever method, therefore, you deem successful for the discovery of truth,
do not shrink from using it. For, by following a better course of argument,
you will not only confer a benefit on yourself, but most assuredly on me
also, instructing me concerning matters of which I am ignorant."
"You seem clearly to agree with me, that things evil are in some
sort substances: for, apart from substances, I do not see them to have
any existence. Since, then, my good friend, you say that things evil are
substances, it is necessary to inquire into the nature of substance. Is it
your opinion that substance is a kind of bodily structure?"
"And does that bodily structure exist by itself, without the need of
any one to come and give it existence?" "Yes.
"And does it seem to you that things evil are connected with certain
courses of action?"
"That is my belief."
"And do actions come into existence only when an actor is there?"
"And, when there is no actor, neither will his action ever take place?"
"It will not."
"If, therefore, substance is a kind of bodily structure, and this does
not stand in need of some one in and through whom it may receive its
existence, and if things evil are actions of some one, and actions require
some one in and through whom they receive their existence,-things evil will
'not' be substances. And if things evil are not substances, and murder is
an evil, and is the action of some one, it follows that murder is not a
substance. But, if you insist that agents are substance, then I myself
agree with you. A man, for instance, who is a murderer, is, in so far as he
is a man, a substance; but the murder which he commits is not a substance,
but a work of the substance. Moreover, we speak of a man sometimes as had
because he commits murder; and sometimes, again, because he performs acts
of beneficence, as good: and these names adhere to the substance, in
consequence of the things which are accidents of it, which, however, are
not the substance itself. For neither is the substance murder, nor, again,
is it adultery, nor is it any other similar evil. But, just as the
grammarian derives his name from grammar, and the orator from oratory, and
the physician from physic, though the substance is not physic, nor yet
oratory, nor grammar, but receives its appellation from the things which
are accidents of it, from which it popularly receives its name, though it
is not any one of them,--so in like manner it appears to me that the
substance receives name from things regarded as evil, though it is not
itself any one of them.
"I must beg you also to consider that, if you represent some other
being as the cause of evil to men, he also, in so far as he acts in them,
and incites them to do evil, is himself evil, by reason of the things he
does. For he too is said to be evil, for the simple reason that he is the
doer of evil things; but the things which a being does are not the being
himself, but his actions, from which he receives his appellation, and is
called evil. For if we should say that the things he does are himself, and
these consist in murder, and adultery, and theft, and such-like, these
things will be himself. And if these things are himself, and if when they
take place they get to have a substantial existence, but by not taking
place they also cease to exist, and if these things are done by men,--men
will be the doers of these things, and the causes of existing and of no
longer existing. But, if you affirm that these things are his actions, he
gets to be evil from the things he does, not from those things of which the
substance of him consists.
"Moreover, we have said that he is called evil from those things which
are accidents of the substance, which are not themselves the substance: as
a physician from the art of physic. But, if he receives the beginning of
his existence from the actions he performs, he too began to be evil, and
these evil things likewise began to exist. And, if so, an evil being will
not be without a beginning, nor will evil things be unoriginated, since we
have said that they are originated by him."
"The argument relating to the opinion I before expressed, you seem to
me, my friend, to have handled satisfactorily: for, from the premises you
assumed in the discussion, I think you have drawn a fair conclusion. For,
beyond doubt, if matter was at first destitute of qualities, and if God is
the fashioner of the qualities it now has, and if evil things are
qualities, God is the author of those evil things. The argument, then,
relating to that opinion we may consider as well discussed, and to me it
now seems false to speak of matter as destitute of qualities. For it is not
possible to say of any substance whatsoever that it is without
qualities. For, in the very act of saying that it is destitute of
qualities, you do in fact indicate its quality, representing of what kind
matter is, which of course is ascribing to it a species of quality.
Wherefore, if it is agreeable to you, rehearse the argument to me from the
beginning: for, to me, matter seems to have had qualifies from all
eternity. For in this way I can affirm that evil things also come from
it in the way of emanation, so that the cause of evil things may not be
ascribed to God, but that matter may be regarded as the cause of all such
"I approve your desire, my friend, and praise the zeal you manifest in
the discussion of opinions. For it assuredly becomes every one who is
desirous of knowledge, not simply and out of hand to agree with what is
said, but to make a careful examination of the arguments adduced. For,
though a disputant, by laying down false premises, may make his opponent
draw the conclusion he wishes, yet he will not convince a hearer of this;
but only when he says that which it seems possible to say with fairness.
So that one of two things will happen: either he will, as he listens, be
decisively helped to reach that conclusion towards which he already feels
himself impelled, or he will convict his adversary of not speaking the
"Now, it seems to me that you have not sufficiently discussed the
statement that matter has qualities from the first. For, if this is the
case, what will God be the maker of? For, if we speak of substances, we
affirm these to exist beforehand; or if again of qualities, we declare
these also to exist already. Since, therefore both substance and qualities
exist, it seems to me unreasonable to call God a creator.
"But, lest I should seem to be constructing an argument to suit my
purpose, be so good as to answer the question: In what way do you assert
God to be a creator? Is He such because He changed the substances, so that
they should no longer be the same as they had once been but become
different from what they were; or because, while He kept the substances the
same as they were before that period, He changed their qualities?"
"I do not at all think that any alteration took place in substances:
for it appears to me absurd to say this. But I affirm that a certain change
was made in their qualities; and it is in respect of these that I speak of
God as a creator. Just as we might happen to speak of a house as made out
of stones, in which case we could not say that the stones no longer
continue to be stones as regards their substance, now that they are made
into a house (for I affirm that the house owes its existence to the quality
of its construction, forasmuch as the previous quality of the stones has
been changed),--so does it seem to me that God, while the substance remains
the same, has made a certain change in its qualities; and it is in respect
of such change that I speak of the origin of this world as having come from
"Since, then, you maintain that a certain change--namely, of qualifies-
-has been produced by God, answer me briefly what I am desirous to ask
"Proceed, pray, with your question."
"Do you agree in the opinion that evil things are qualities of
"Were these qualities in matter from the first, or did they begin to
"I hold that these qualifies existed in combination with matter,
without being originated."
"But do you not affirm that God has made a certain change in the
"That is what I affirm."
"For the better, or for the worse?"
"For the better, I should say."
"Well, then, if evil things are qualities of matter, and if the Lord of
all changed its qualities for the better, whence, it behoves us to ask,
come evil things? For either the qualities remained the same in their
nature as they previously were, or, if they were not evil before, but you
assert that, in consequence of a change wrought on them by God, the first
qualities of this kind came into existence in connection with matter,--God
will be the author of evil, inasmuch as He changed the qualities which were
not evil, so as to make them evil.
"Possibly, however, it is not your view that God changed evil qualities
for the better; but you mean that all those other qualities which happened
to be neither good nor bad, were changed by God with a view to the
adornment of the creation."
"That has been my opinion from the outset."
"How, then, can you say that He has left the qualities of bad things
just as they were? Is it that, although He was able to destroy those
qualities as well as the others, He was not willing; or did He refrain
because He had not the power? For, if you say He had the power, but not the
will, you must admit Him to be the cause of these qualities: since, when He
could have put a stop to the existence of evil, He chose to let it remain
as it was, and that, too, at the very time when He began to fashion matter.
For, if He had not concerned Himself at all with matter, He would not have
been the cause of those things which He allowed to remain. But, seeing that
He fashioned a certain part of it, and left a certain part as we have
described it, although He could have changed that also for the better, it
seems to me that He deserves to have the blame cast on Him, for having
permitted a part of matter to be evil, to the ruin of that other part which
"Nay, more, it seems to me that the most serious wrong has been
committed as regards this part, in that He constituted this part of matter
so as to be now affected by evil. For, if we were to examine carefully into
things, we should find that the condition of matter is worse now than in
its former state, before it was reduced to order. For, before it was
separated into parts, it had no sense of evil; but now every one of its
parts is afflicted with a sense of evil.
"Take an illustration from man. Before he was fashioned, and became a
living being through the art of the Creator, he was by nature exempt from
any contact whatever with evil; but, as soon as ever he was made by God a
man, he became liable to the sense of even approaching evil: and thus that
very thing which you say was brought about by God for the benefit of
matter,  is found to have turned out rather to its detriment.
"But, if you say that evil has not been put a stop to, because God was
unable to do away with it, you will be making God powerless. But, if He is
powerless, it will be either because He is weak by nature, or because He is
overcome by fear, and reduced to subjection by a stronger. If, then, you go
so far as to say that God is weak by nature, it seems to me that you
imperil your salvation itself; but, if you say that He is weak through
being overcome by fear of a greater, things evil will be greater than God,
since they frustrate the carrying out of His purpose. But this, as it seems
to me, it would be absurd to say of God. For why should not 'they' rather
be considered gods, since according to your account they are able to
overcome God: if, that is to say, we mean by God that which has a
controlling power over all things?
"But I wish to ask you a few questions concerning matter itself. Pray
tell me, therefore, whether matter was something simple or compound. I am
induced to adopt this method of investigating the subject before us by
considering the diversity that obtains in existing things. For, if
perchance matter was something simple and uniform, how comes it that the
world is compound,  and consists of, divers substances and combinations?
For by 'compound' we denote a mixture of certain simple elements. But if,
on the contrary, you prefer to call matter compound, you will, of course,
be asserting that it is compounded of certain simple elements. And, if it
was compounded of simple elements, these simple elements must have existed
at some time or other separately by themselves, and when they were
compounded together matter came into being: from which it of course follows
that matter is created. For, if matter is compound, and compound things are
constituted from simple, there was once a time when matter had no
existence,--namely, before the simple elements came together. And, if there
was once a time when matter was not, and there was never a time when the
uncreated was not, matter cannot be uncreated. And hence there will be many
uncreated substances. For, if God was uncreated, and the simple elements
out of which matter was compounded were also uncreated, there will not be
two uncreated things only,--not to discuss the question what it is which
constitutes objects simple, whether matter or form.
"Is it, further, your opinion that nothing in existence is opposed to
"Is water, then, opposed to fire?"
"So it appears to me."
"Similarly, is darkness opposed to light, and warm to cold, and
moreover moist to dry?"
"It seems to me to be so."
"Well, then, if nothing in existence is opposed to itself, and these
things are opposed to each other, they cannot be one and the same matter;
no, nor yet be made out of one and the same matter.
"I wish further to ask your opinion on a matter kindred to that of
which we have been speaking. Do you believe that the parts of a thing are
not mutually destructive?"
"And you believe that fire and water, and so on, are parts of matter?"
"Do you not also believe that water is subversive of fire, and light of
darkness, and so of all similar things?"
"Well, then, if the parts of a whole are not mutually destructive, and yet
the parts of matter are mutually destructive, they cannot be parts of one
matter. And, if they are not parts of one another, they cannot be composed
of one and the same matter; nay, they cannot be matter at all, since
nothing in existence is destructive of itself, as we learn from the
doctrine of opposites: for nothing is opposed to itself--an opposite being
by nature opposed to something else. White, for example, is not opposed to
itself, but is said to be the opposite of black; and, similarly, light is
shown not to be opposed to itself, but is considered an opposite in
relation to darkness; and so of a very great number of things besides. If,
then, matter were some one thing, it could not be opposed to itself. This,
then, being the nature of opposites, it is proved that matter has no
CLAUDIUS APOLLINARIS,  BISHOP OF HIERAPOLIS, AND APOLOGIST.
FROM AN UNKNOWN BOOK. 
"THIS narration (says Eusebius, Hist., v. 5) is given" (it relates to
that storm of rain which was sent to the army of the Emperor M. Antoninus,
to allay the thirst of the soldiers, whilst the enemy was discomfited by
thunderbolts hurled upon them) "even by those historians who are at a wide
remove from the doctrines that prevail among us, and who have been simply
concerned to describe what related to the emperors who are the subjects of
their history; and it has been recorded also by our own writers. But
historians without the pale of the Church, as being unfriendly to the
faith, while they have recorded the prodigy, have refrained from
acknowledging that it was sent in answer to our prayers. On the other hand,
our writers, as lovers of truth, have reported the matter in a simple and
artless way. To this number Apollinaris must be considered as belonging.
'Thereupon,' he says, 'the legion which had by its prayer caused the
prodigy received from the emperor a title suitable to the occurrence, and
was called in the Roman language the Thunder-hurling Legion.'"
FROM THE BOOK CONCERNING THE PASSOVER. 
There are, then, some who through ignorance raise disputes about these
things (though their conduct is pardonable: for ignorance is no subject for
blame -- it rather needs further instruction), and say that on the
fourteenth day the Lord ate the lamb with the disciples, and that on the
great day of the feast of unleavened bread He Himself suffered; and they
quote Matthew as speaking in accordance with their view. Wherefore their
opinion is contrary to the law, and the Gospels seem to be at variance with
FROM THE SAME BOOK.
The fourteenth day, the true Passover of the Lord; the great sacrifice,
the Son of God instead of the lamb, who was bound, who bound the strong,
and who was judged, though Judge of living and dead, and who was delivered
into the hands of sinners to be crucified, who was lifted up on the horns
of the unicorn, and who was pierced in His holy side, who poured forth from
His side the two purifying elements, water and blood, word and spirit,
and who was buried on the day of the passover, the stone being placed upon
POLYCRATES, BISHOP OF EPHESUS.
FROM HIS EPISTLE TO VICTOR AND THE ROMAN CHURCH CONCERNING THE DAY OF
KEEPING THE PASSOVER.
As for us, then, we scrupulously observe the exact day, neither
adding nor taking away. For in Asia great luminaries have gone to their
rest, who shall rise again in the day of the coming of the Lord, when He
cometh with glory from heaven and shall raise again all the saints. I speak
of Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who is laid to rest at
Hierapolis; and his two daughters, who arrived at old age unmarried;
his other daughter also, who passed her life under the influence of the
Holy Spirit, and reposes at Ephesus; John, moreover, who reclined on the
Lord's bosom, and who became a priest wearing the mitre, and a witness
and a teacher--he rests at Ephesus. Then there is Polycarp, both bishop and
martyr at Smyrna; and Thraseas from Eumenia, both bishop and martyr, who
rests at Smyrna. Why should I speak of Sagaris, bishop and martyr, who
rests at Laodicea? of the blessed Papirius, moreover? and of Melito the
eunuch, who performed all his actions under the influence of the Holy
Spirit, and lies at Sardis, awaiting the visitation from heaven, when he
shall rise again from the dead? These all kept the passover on the
fourteenth. day of the month, in accordance with the Gospel, without ever
deviating from it, but keeping to the rule of faith.
Moreover I also, Polycrates, who am the least of you all, in accordance
with the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have succeeded--seven of
my relatives were bishops, and I am the eighth, and my relatives always
observed the day when the people put away the leaven -- I myself,
brethren, I say, who am sixty-five years old in the Lord, and have fallen
in with the brethren in all parts of the world, and have read through all
Holy Scripture, am not frightened at the things which are said to terrify
us. For those who are greater than I have said, "We ought to obey God
rather than men." ...
I might also have made mention of the bishops associated with me, whom
it was your own desire to have called together by me, and I called them
together: whose names, if I were to write them down, would amount to a
great number. These bishops, on coming to see me, unworthy as I am,
signified their united approval of the letter, knowing that I wore these
grey hairs not in vain, but have always regulated my conduct in obedience
to the Lord Jesus.
THEOPHILUS, BISHOP OF CAESAREA IN PALESTINE.
FROM HIS EPISTLE ON THE QUESTION OF THE PASSOVER, WRITTEN IN THE NAME OF
THE SYNOD OF CAESAREA.
ENDEAVOUR also to send abroad copies of our epistle among all the
churches, so that those who easily deceive their own Souls may not be able
to lay the blame on us. We would have you know, too, that in Alexandria
also they observe the festival on the same day as ourselves. For the
Paschal letters are sent from us to them, and from them to us: so that we
observe the holy day in unison and together.
SERAPION, BISHOP OF ANTIOCH.
FROM THE EPISTLE TO CARICUS AND PONTICUS.
THAT ye may see also that the proceedings of this lying confederacy,
to which is given the name of New Prophecy, is abominated among the whole
brotherhood throughout the world, I have sent you letters of the most
blessed Claudius Apollinarius, who was made bishop of Hierapolis in Asia.
FROM THE BOOK CONCERNING THE GOSPEL OF PETER.
For we, brethren, receive both Peter and the rest of the apostles as
Christ Himself. But those writings which are falsely inscribed with their
name, we as experienced persons reject, knowing that no such writings
have been handed down to us. When, indeed, I came to see you, I supposed
that all were in accord with the orthodox faith; and, although I had not
read through the Gospel inscribed with the name of Peter which was brought
forward by them, I said: If this is the only thing which threatens to
produce ill-feeling among you, let it be read. But, now that I have learnt
from what has been told me that their mind was secretly cherishing some
heresy, I will make all haste to come to you again. Expect me therefore,
brethren, shortly. Moreover, brethren, we, having discovered to what kind
of heresy Marcion adhered, and seen how he contradicted himself, not
understanding of what he was speaking, as you will gather from what has
been written to you--for, having borrowed this said Gospel from those
who were familiar with it from constant perusal, namely from the successors
of those who were his leaders in the heresy, whom we call Docetae (for most
of the opinions held by him are derived from their teaching), we were able
to read it through; and while we found most of its contents to agree with
the orthodox account of the Saviour, we found some things inconsistent with
that, and these we have set down below for your inspection.
BUT who is this new teacher? His works and teaching inform us. This is
he who taught the dissolution of marriage; who inculcated fasting; who
called Peruga and Tymius, small towns of Phrygia, Jerusalem, because he
wished to collect thither people from all parts; who set up exactors of
money; who craftily contrives the taking of gifts under the name of
voluntary offerings; who grants stipends to those who publish abroad his
doctrine, that by means of gluttony the teaching of the doctrine may
We declare to you, then, that these first prophetesses, as soon as they
were filled with the spirit, left their husbands. Of what falsehood, then,
were they guilty in calling Prisca a maiden! Do you not think that all
Scripture forbids a prophet to receive gifts and money? When, therefore, I
see that the prophetess has received gold and silver and expensive articles
of dress, how can I avoid treating her with disapproval?
Moreover, Themison also, who was clothed in a garb of plausible
covetousness, who declined to bear the sign of confessorship, but by a
large sum of money put away from him the chains of martyrdom, although
after such conduct it was his duty to conduct himself with humility, ye had
the hardihood to boast that he was a martyr, and, in imitation of the
apostle, to compose a general epistle, in which he attempted to instruct
in the elements of the faith those who had believed to better purpose than
he, and defended the doctrines of the new-fangled teaching, and moreover
uttered blasphemy against the Lord and the apostles and the holy Church.
But, not to dwell further on these matters, let the prophetess tell us
concerning Alexander, who calls himself a martyr, with whom she joins in
banqueting; who himself also is worshipped by many; whose robberies and
other deeds of daring, for which he has been punished, it is not necessary
for us to speak of, since the treasury has him in keeping. Which of
them, then, condones the sins of the other? The prophet the robberies of
the martyr, or the martyr the covetousness of the prophet? For whereas the
Lord has said, "Provide not gold, nor silver, nor two coats a-piece,"
these men have, on the flat contrary, transgressed the command by the
acquisition of these forbidden things. For we shall show that those who are
called among them prophets and martyrs obtain money not only from the rich,
but also from the poor, from orphans and widows. And if they are confident
that they are right in so doing, let them stand forward and discuss the
point, in order that, if they be refuted, they may cease for the future so
to transgress. For the fruits of the prophet must needs be brought to the
test: for "from its fruit is the tree known." But that those that desire
it may become acquainted with what relates to Alexander, he was condemned
by AEmilius Frontinus, proconsul at Ephesus, not on account of the name of
Christ, but for the dating robberies he committed when he was already a
transgressor. Afterwards, when he had spoken falsely of the name of the
Lord, he was released, having deceived the faithful there; and even the
brethren of his own district, from which he came, did not receive him,
because he was a robber. Thus, those who wish to learn what he is, have the
public treasury of Asia to go to. And yet the prophet, although he spent
many years with him, knows forsooth nothing about him! By convicting" him,"
we by his means clearly convict of misrepresentation the prophet
likewise. We are able to prove the like in the case of many others besides.
And if they are confident of their innocence, let them abide the test.
If they deny that their prophets have taken gifts, let them confess
thus much, that if they be convicted of having taken them, they are not
prophets; and we will adduce ten thousand proofs that they have. It is
proper, too, that all the fruits of a prophet should be examined. Tell me:
does a prophet dye his hair? Does a prophet use stibium on his eyes? Is a
prophet fond of dress? Does a prophet play at gaming-tables and dice? Does
a prophet lend money on interest? Let them confess whether these things
are allowable or not. For my part, I will prove that these practices have
occurred among them.
PANTAENUS, THE ALEXANDRIAN PHILOSOPHER.
"In the sun hath He set His tent."(3) Some affirm that the reference is
to the Lord's body, which He Himself places in the sun;(4) Hermogenes, for
instance. As to His body, some say it is His tent, others the Church of the
faithful. But our Pantaenus said: "The language employed by prophecy is for
the most part indefinite, the present tense being used for the future, and
again the present for the past."
This mode of speaking Saint Dionysius the Areopagite declares to be
used in Scripture to denote predeterminations and expressions of the divine
will.(6) In like manner also the followers of Pantaenus,(7) who became the
preceptor of the great Clement the Stromatist, affirm that they are
commonly used in Scripture for expressions of the divine will. Accordingly,
when asked by some who prided themselves on the outside learning,(8) in
what way the Christians supposed God to become acquainted with the
universe,(9) their own opinion being that He obtains His knowledge of it in
different ways,--of things falling within the province of the understanding
by means of the understanding, and of those within the region of the senses
by means of the senses,--they replied: "Neither does He gain acquaintance
with sensible things by the senses, nor with things within the sphere of
the understanding by the understanding: for it is not possible that He who
is above all existing things should apprehend them by means of existing
things. We assert, on the contrary, that He is acquainted with existing
things as the products of His own volition."(10) They added, by way of
showing the reasonableness of their view: "If He has made all things by an
act of His will (and no argument will be adduced to gainsay this), and if
it is ever a matter of piety and rectitude to say that God is acquainted
with His own will, and if He has voluntarily made every several thing that
has come into existence, then surely God must be acquainted with all
existing things as the products of His own will, seeing that it was in the
exercise of that will that He made them."
THE LETTER OF THE CHURCHES OF VIENNA AND LUGDUNUM TO THE CHURCHES OF ASIA
IT began thus:--"The servants of Christ who sojourn in Vienna and
Lugdunum of Gaul to the brethren throughout Asia and Phrygia, who have the
same faith and hope of redemption as ourselves, peace, grace, and glory
from God the Father, and from Christ Jesus our Lord."
After some further preliminary remarks the letter proceeds:--"The
greatness of the tribulation in this region, and the exceeding anger of the
heathen nations against the saints, and the sufferings which the blessed
Witnesses(3) endured, neither are we competent to describe accurately, nor
indeed is it possible to detail them in writing. For with all his strength
did the adversary assail us, even then giving a foretaste of his activity
among us which is to be without restraint; and he had recourse to every
means, accustoming his own subjects and exercising them beforehand against
the servants of God, so that not only were we excluded from houses,(4)
baths, and the forum, but a universal prohibition was laid against any one
of us appearing in any place whatsoever. But the grace of God acted as our
general against him. It rescued the weak; it arrayed against him men like
firm pillars, who could through patience bear up against the whole force of
the assaults of the wicked one. These came to close quarters with him,
enduring every form of reproach and torture; and, making light of grievous
trials, they hastened on to Christ, showing in reality that the 'sufferings
of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to
be revealed in us.'(5) And first they nobly endured the evils which were
heaped on them by the populace,--namely, hootings and blows, draggings,
plunderings, stonings, and confinements,(6) and everything that an
infuriated mob is wont to perpetrate against those whom they deem bitter
enemies. And at length, being brought to the forum by the tribune of the
soldiers, and the magistrates that had charge of the city, they were
examined in presence of the whole multitude; and having confessed, they
were shut up in prison until the arrival of the governor.
"After this, when they were brought before the governor, and when he
displayed a spirit of savage hostility to us, Vettius Epagathus, one of the
brethren, interposed. For he was a man who had contained the full measure
of love towards God and his neighbours. His mode of life had been so
strict, that though he was a young man, he deserved to be described in the
words used in regard to the elderly Zacharias: `He had walked therefore in
all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.'(1) He was also
eager to serve his neighbour in any way, he was very zealous for God, and
he was fervent in spirit. Such being the character of the man, he could not
bear that judgment should be thus unreasonably passed against us, but was
moved with indignation, and requested that he himself should be heard in
defence of his brethren, undertaking to prove that there is nothing ungodly
or impious amongst us. On this, those who were round the judgment-seat
cried out against him, for he was a man of distinction; and the governor,
not for a moment listening to the just request thus made to him, merely
asked him if he himself were a Christian. And on his confessing in the
clearest voice that he was, he also was taken up into the number of the
Witnesses, receiving the appellation of the Advocate of the Christians,(2)
and having himself the Advocate, the Spirit,(3) more abundantly than
Zacharias; which he showed in the fulness(4) of his love, in that he had of
his own good-will offered to lay down his own life in defence of the
brethren. For he was and is a genuine disciple of Christ, 'following the
Lamb whithersoever He goeth.'(5)
"After this the rest began to be distinguished,(6) for the proto-
martyrs were decided and ready, and accomplished the confession of their
testimony with all alacrity. But there appeared also. those who were
unprepared and unpractised, and who were still feeble, and unable to bear
the tension of a gear contest. Of these about ten in number proved
abortions; causing great grief and immeasurable sorrow amongst us, and
dumping the ardour of the rest who had not yet been apprehended. For these,
although they suffered every kind of cruelty, remained nevertheless in the
company of the Witnesses, and did not forsake them. But then the whole of
us were greatly alarmed on account of our uncertainty as to confession, not
because we feared the tortures inflicted, but because we looked to the end,
and dreaded lest any one should fall away. Those who were worthy, however,
were daily apprehended, filling up the number of the others: so that out of
the two churches all the excellent, and those to whom the churches owed
most of all their establishment and prosperity, were collected together in
prison. Some heathen household slaves belonging to our people were also
apprehended, since the governor had given orders publicly that all of us
should be sought out. These, through the instigation of Satan, and through
fear of the tortures which they saw the saints enduring, urged on also by
the soldiers, falsely accused us of Thyestean banquets and (Edipodean
connections, and other crimes which it is lawful for us neither to mention
nor think of; and, indeed, we shrink from believing that any such crimes
have ever taken place among men. When the rumour of these accusations was
spread abroad, all raged against us like wild beasts; so that if any
formerly were temperate in their conduct to us on account of relationship,
they then became exceedingly indignant and exasperated against us. And thus
was fulfilled that which was spoken by our Lord: 'The time shall come when
every one who slayeth you shall think that he offereth service to God.'(7)
"Then at last the holy Witnesses suffered tortures beyond all
description, Satan striving eagerly that some of the evil reports might be
acknowledged by them.(8) But in an exceeding degree did the whole wrath of
mob, general, and soldiers fall on Sanctus, a deacon from Vienna, and on
Maturus, a newly-enlightened but noble combatant, and on Attalus, a native
of Pergamus, who had always been the Pillar(9) and foundation of the church
there, and on Blandina, through whom Christ showed that the things that to
men appear mean and deformed and contemptible, are with God deemed worthy
of great glory, on account of love to Him,--a love which is not a mere
boastful appearance, but shows itself in the power which it exercises over
the life. For while we were all afraid, and especially her miStress in the
flesh, who was herself one of the combatants among the Witnesses, that she
would not be able to make a bold confession on account of the weakness of
her body, Blandina was filled with such power, that those who tortured her
one after the other in every way from morning till evening were wearied and
tired, confessing that they had been baffled, for they had no other torture
they could apply to her; and they were astonished that she remained in
life, when her whole body was torn and opened up, and they gave their
testimony(1) that one only of the modes of torture employed was sufficient
to have deprived her of life, not to speak of so many excruciating
inflictions. But the blessed woman, like a noble athlete, recovered her
strength in the midst of the confession; and her declaration, 'I am a
Christian, and there is no evil done amongst us,' brought her refreshment,
and rest, and insensibility to all the sufferings inflicted on her.
"Sanctus also nobly endured all the excessive and superhuman(2)
tortures which man could possibly devise against him; for the wicked hoped,
on account of the continuance and greatness of the tortures, to hear him
confess some of the unlawful practices. But he opposed them with such
firmness that he did not tell them even his own name, nor that of his
nation or city, nor if he were slave or free; but in answer to all these
questions, he said in Latin, 'I am a Christian.' This was the confession he
made repeatedly, instead of giving his name, his city, his race, and indeed
in reply to every question that was put to him; and other language the
heathens heard not from him. Hence arose in the minds of the governor and
the torturers a determined resolution to subdue him; so that, when every
other means failed, they at last fixed red-hot plates of brass to the most
delicate parts of his body. And these indeed were burned, but he himself
remained inflexible and unyielding, firm in his confession, being bedewed
and strengthened by the heavenly fountain of the water of life which issues
from the belly of Christ.(3) But his body bore witness to what had
happened: for it was all wounds and weals, shrunk and torn up, and had lost
externally the human shape. In him Christ suffering wrought great wonders,
destroying the adversary, and showing for an example to the rest that there
is nothing fearful where there is the Father's love, and nothing painful
where there is Christ's glory. For the wicked after some days again
tortured the Witness, thinking that, since his body was swollen and
inflamed, if they were to apply the same tortures they would gain the
victory over him, especially since the parts of his body could not bear to
be touched by the hand, or that he would die in consequence of the
tortures, and thus inspire the rest with fear. Yet not only did no such
occurrence take place in regard to him, but even, contrary to every
expectation of man, his body unbent itself and became erect in the midst of
the subsequent tortures, and resumed its former appearance and the use of
its limbs, so that the second torture turned out through the grace of
Christ a cure, not an affliction.
"Among those who had denied was a woman of the name of Biblias. The
devil, thinking that he had already swallowed her, and wishing to damn her
still more by making her accuse falsely, brought her forth to punishment,
and employed force to constrain her, already feeble and spiritless, to
utter accusations of atheism against us. But she, in the midst of the
tortures, came again to a sound state of mind, and awoke as it were out of
a deep sleep; for the temporary suffering reminded her of the eternal
punishment in Gehenna, and she contradicted the accusers of Christians,
saying, 'How can children be eaten by those who do not think it lawful to
partake of the blood of even brute beasts?' And after this she confessed
herself a Christian, and was added to the number of Witnesses.
"But when the tyrannical tortures were rendered by Christ of no avail
through the patience of the blessed, the devil devised other contrivances--
confinement in the darkest and most noisome cells of the prison, the
stretching of the feet on the stocks,(4) even up to the fifth hole, and the
other indignities which attendants stirred up by wrath and full of the
devil are wont to inflict on the imprisoned. The consequence was, that very
many were suffocated in prison, as many at least as the Lord, showing His
glory, wished to depart in this way. For there were others who were
tortured so bitterly, that it seemed impossible for them to survive even
though they were to obtain every kind of attention; and yet they remained
alive in prison, destitute indeed of care from man, but strengthened by the
Lord, and invigorated both in body and soul, and they animated and consoled
the rest. But the new converts who had been recently apprehended, and whose
bodies had not previously been tortured, could not indure the confinement,
but died in the prison.
"Now the blessed Pothinus, who had been entrusted with the service of
the bishopric in Lugdunum, was also dragged before the judgment-seat. He
was now upwards of ninety years of age, and exceedingly weak in body.
Though he breathed with difficulty on account of the feebleness of the
body, yet he was strengthened by the eagerness of his spirit, on account of
his earnest desire to bear his testimony. His body, indeed, was already
dissolved through old age and disease, yet the life was preserved in him,
that Christ might triumph through him. When he was brought by the soldiers
to the judgment-seat, under a convoy of the magistrates of the city, and
amid exclamations of every kind from the whole population, as if he himself
were the Christ, he gave the good testimony. Being asked by the governor
who was the God of the Christians, he said, 'If thou art worthy, thou shalt
know.' Thereupon he was unmercifully dragged about, and endured many blows;
for those who were near maltreated him in every way with their hands and
feet, showing no respect for his age, while those at a distance hurled
against him each one whatever came to hand, all of them believing that they
would sin greatly and act impiously if they in any respect fell short in
their insulting treatment of him. For they thought that in this way they
would avenge their gods. And Pothinus, breathing with difficulty, was cast
into prison, and two days after he expired.
"Upon this a grand dispensation(1) of God's providence took place, and
the immeasurable mercy of Jesus was made manifest,--such an occurrence as
but rarely happens among the brotherhood, yet one that does not fall short
of the art of Christ. For those who in the first apprehension had denied,
were imprisoned along with the others, and shared their hardships. Their
denial, in fact, turned out at this time to be of no advantage to them. For
while those who confessed what they really were, were imprisoned simply as
Christians, no other accusation being brought against them, those who
denied were detained as murderers and profligates. They, moreover, were
doubly punished. For the confessors were lightened by the joy of their
testimony and their hope in the promises, and by their love to Christ, and
by the Father's Spirit. But the deniers were tormented greatly by their own
consciences, so that when they were led forth their countenances could be
distinguished among all the rest. For the confessors went forth joyous,
with a mingling of glory and abundant grace in their looks, so that their
chains lay like becoming ornaments around them, as around a bride adorned
with golden fringes wrought with divers colours.(2) And they breathed at
the same time the fragrance of Christ,(3) so that some even thought that
they were anointed with this world's perfume. But the deniers were
downcast, humbled, sad-looking, and weighed down with every kind of
disgrace. They were, moreover, reproached even by the heathens with being
base and cowardly, and charged with the crime of murder; they had lost the
altogether honourable, glorious, and life-giving appellation.(4) When the
rest saw this, they were strengthened, and those who were apprehended
confessed unhesitatingly, not allowing the reasoning of the devil to have
even a place in their thoughts."
Eusebius omits something, saying that after a little the; letter
proceeded as follows:--
"After these things, then, their testimonies took every shape through
the different ways in which they departed.(5) For, plaiting a crown from
different colours and flowers of every kind, they presented it to the
Father. It was right therefore that the noble athletes, after having
endured divers contests and gained grand victories, should receive the
great crown of incorruption.
"Maturus, therefore, and Sanctus, and Blandina, and Attalus were
publicly(6) exposed to the wild beasts--that common spectacle of heathen
barbarity; for a day was expressly assigned to fights with wild beasts on
account of our people. And Maturus and Sanctus again endured every form of
torture in the amphitheatre, as if they had had no suffering at all before.
Or rather, like athletes who had overthrown their adversary several
times,(7) and were now contending for the crown itself, again they endured
the lashes(8) which were usual there; and they were dragged about by the
wild beasts, and suffered every indignity which the maddened populace
demanded in cries and exhortations proceeding from various parts of the
amphitheatre. And last of all they were placed in the iron chair, on which
their bodies were roasted, and they themselves were filled with the fumes
of their own flesh. But the heathens did not stop even here, but became
still more frantic in their desire to overcome the endurance of the
Christians. But not even thus did they hear anything else from Sanctus than
the utterance of the confession which he had been accustomed to make from
the beginning. These, then, after life had lasted a long time throughout
the great contest, were at last sacrificed,(9) after they alone had formed
a spectacle to the world, throughout that day, instead of all the
diversity which usually takes place in gladiatorial shows.
"Blandina(1) was hung up fastened to a stake, and exposed, as food to
the wild beasts that were let loose against her; and through her presenting
the spectacle of one suspended on something like a cross, and through her
earnest prayers, she inspired the combatants with great eagerness: for in
the combat they saw, by means of their sister, with their bodily eyes, Him
who was crucified for them, that He might persuade those who trust in Him
that every one that has suffered for the glory of Christ has eternal
communion with the living God. When none of the wild beasts at that time
touched her, she was taken down from the stake and conveyed back to prison.
She was thus reserved for another contest, in order that, gaining the
victory in many preparative conflicts, she might make the condemnation of
the Crooked Serpent(2) unquestionable, and that she might encourage the
brethren. For though she was an insignificant, weak, and despised woman,
yet she was clothed with the great and invincible athlete Christ. On many
occasions she had overpowered the adversary, and in the course of the
contest had woven for herself the crown of incorruption.
"Attalus also was vehemently demanded by the mob; for he was a man of
mark, He entered the lists a ready combatant on account of his good
conscience, since he had been truly practised in the Christian discipline,
and had always been a Witness of the truth among us. He was led round the
amphitheatre, a tablet going before him, on which was written in Latin,
'This is Attalus the Christian;' and the people swelled with indignation
against him. But the governor, learning that he was a Roman, ordered him to
be taken back to prison and kept with the rest who were there, with regard
to whom he had written to the Caesar, and was now awaiting his
"The intervening time did not prove barren or unfruitful to the
Witnesses, but through their patient endurance the immeasurable love of
Christ was made manifest. For through the living the dead were made alive;
and the Witnesses conferred favours on those who were not Witnesses, and
the Virgin Mother had much joy in, receiving back alive those whom she had
given up as dead abortions. For through the Witnesses the greater number of
those who had denied returned, as it were, into their mother's womb, and
were conceived again and re-quickened; and they learned to confess. And
being now restored to life, and having their spirits braced, they went up
to the judgment-seat to be again questioned by the governor, while that
God who wishes not the death of the sinner,(3) but mercifully calls to
repentance, put sweetness: into their souls. This new examination took
place because the Caesar had given orders that the Witnesses should be
punished, but that if any denied they should be set free. And as now was
commencing here the fair, which is attendee by vast numbers of men
assembling from all nations, he brought the. blessed up to the judgment-
seat, exhibiting them as a theatrical show and spectacle to the mobs.
Wherefore also he again questioned them, and whoever appeared to have had
the rights of Roman: citizenship he beheaded, and the rest he sent to the
"Now Christ was greatly glorified in those who formerly denied; for,
contrary to every expectation of the heathen, they confessed. For these
were examined separately, under the belief that they were to be set free;
but confessing, they were added to the number of the Witnesses. But there
were also some who remained without; namely, those who had no trace of
faith, and no perception of the marriage garment,(4) nor notion of the fear
of God, but through their conduct caused evil reports of our way of life,
that is, sons of perdition. But all the rest were added to the Church.
"Present at the examination of these was one Alexander, a native of
Phrygia, a physician by profession. He had lived for many years in Gaul,
and had become well known to all for his love to God and his boldness in
proclaiming the truth, for he was not without a share of apostolic grace.
He stood near the judgment-seat, and, urging by signs those who had denied
to confess, he looked to those who stood round the judgment-seat like one
in travail. But the mobs, enraged that those who had formerly denied should
now confess, cried out against Alexander as if he were the cause of this
change. Then the governor summoned him before him, and inquired of him who
he was; and when Alexander said he was a Christian, the governor burst into
a passion, and condemned him to the wild beasts. And on the next day he
entered the amphitheatre along with Attalus; for the governor, wishing to
gratify the mob, again exposed Attalus to the wild beasts. These two, after
being tortured in the amphitheatre with all the instruments devised for
that purpose, and having undergone an exceedingly severe contest, at last
were themselves sacrificed. Alexander uttered no groan or murmur of any
kind, but conversed in his heart with God; but Attalus, when he was placed
on the iron chair, and all the pans of his body were burning, and when the
fumes from his body were borne aloft, said to the multitude in Latin, 'Lo
!this which ye do is eating men. But as for us, we neither eat men nor
practise any other wickedness. ' And being asked what name God has, he
answered, ' God has not a name as men have.'
"After all these, on the last day of the gladiatorial shows, Blandina
was again brought in along with Ponticus, a boy of about fifteen years of
age. These two had been taken daily to the amphitheatre to see the tortures
which the rest endured, and force was used to compel them to swear by the
idols of the heathen; but on account of their remaining stedfast, and
setting all their devices at nought, the multitude were furious against
them, so as neither to pity the tender years of the boy nor to respect the
sex of the woman. Accordingly they exposed them to every terror, and
inflicted on them every torture, repeatedly trying to compel them to swear.
But they failed in effecting this; for Ponticus, encouraged by his
sister, so plainly indeed that even the heathens saw that it was she
that encouraged and confirmed him, after enduring nobly every kind of
torture, gave up the ghost; while the blessed Blandina, last of all, after
having like a noble mother encouraged her children, and sent them on before
her victorious to the King, trod the same path of conflict which her
children had trod, hastening on to them with joy and exultation at her
departure, not as one thrown to the wild beasts, but as one invited to a
marriage supper. And after she had been scourged and exposed to the wild
beasts, and roasted in the iron chair, she was at last enclosed in a net
and cast before a bull. And after having been well tossed by the bull,
though without having any feeling of what was happening to her, through her
hope and firm hold of what had been entrusted to her and her converse with
Christ, she also was sacrificed, the heathens themselves acknowledging that
never among them did woman endure so many and such fearful tortures.
"Yet not even thus was their madness and their savage hatred to the
saints satiated. For wild and barbarous tribes, when excited by the Wild
Beast, with difficulty ceased from their rage, and their insulting conduct
found another and peculiar subject in the bodies of the Witnesses. For they
felt no shame that they had been overcome, for they were not possessed of
human reason; but their defeat only the more inflamed their rage, and
governor and people, like a wild beast, showed a like unjust hatred of us,
that the Scripture might be fulfilled, 'He that is unjust,' let him be
unjust still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still.' For
they threw to the dogs those who had been suffocated in prison, carefully
watching them day and night, lest any one should receive burial from us.
They then laid out the mangled remains left by the wild beasts, and the
scorched remains left by the fire, and the heads of the rest along with
their trunks, and in like manner for many days watched them lying unburied
with a military guard. There were some who raged and gnashed their teeth at
them, seeking to get from them further vengeance. Others derided and
insulted them, at the same time magnifying their own idols, and ascribing
to them the punishment inflicted on the Christians. There were persons also
of a milder disposition, who to some extent seemed to sympathize; yet they
also frequently upbraided, saying, ' Where now is their God, and what good
have they got from that religion which they chose in preference to their
life?' Such was the diversity which characterized the conduct of the
heathens. But our state was one of deep sorrow that we could not bury the
bodies. For night aided us not in this matter; money failed to persuade,
and entreaty did not shame them into compliance; but they kept up the watch
in every way, as if they were to gum some great advantage from the bodies
of the Christians not obtaining burial.
Something is omitted. The letter then goes on:--
"The bodies of the Witnesses, after having been maltreated in every
way, and exposed in the open air for six days, were burned, reduced to
ashes, and swept by the wicked into the river Rhone, which flows past, in
order that not even a vestige of them might be visible on earth. And these
things they did, as if they had been able to overcome God, and deprive them
of their second birth, in order, as they said, that ' they may not have
hope in a resurrection, trusting to which they introduce some strange and
new mode of worship, and despise dangers, and go readily and with joy to
death. Now let us see if they will rise again, and if their God can help
them, and rescue them out of our hands.'"
Eusebius here breaks off his series of continuous extracts, but he makes
a few more for special purposes. The first is the account which the
churches gave of the character of the Witnesses:--
"Who also were to such an extent zealous followers and imitators of
Christ, who, being in the shape of God, thought it not an object of desire
to be treated like God ; that though they were in such glory, and had
bone their testimony not once, nor twice, but often, and had been again
taken back to prison after exposure to the wild beasts, and bore about with
them the marks of the burnings and bruises and wounds all over their
bodies, yet did they neither proclaim themselves Witnesses, nor indeed did
they permit us to address them by this name; but if any one of us on any
occasion, either by letter or in conversation, called them Witnesses, they
rebuked him sharply. For they willingly gave the title of Witness to
Christ, 'the faithful and true Witness,' and first-born from the dead,
and the leader to the divine life. And they reminded us of those Witnesses
who had already departed, and said: ' These indeed are now Witnesses, whom
Christ has vouchsafed to take up to Himself in the very act of confession,
thus putting His seal upon their testimony through their departure. But we
are mean and humble confessors.' And with tears they besought the brethren
that earnest prayers might be made for their being perfected. They in
reality did all that is implied in the term 'testimony,' acting with great
boldness towards all the heathen; and their nobleness they made manifest
through their patience, and fearlessness, and intrepidity. But the title of
Witness, as implying some superiority to their brethren, they refused,
being filled with the fear of God."
After a little they say: --
"They humbled themselves under the powerful hand by which they are
now highly exalted. Then they pleaded for all, but accused none; they
absolved all, they bound none; and they prayed for those who inflicted the
tortures, even as Stephen the perfect Witness, 'Lord, lay not this sin to
their charge.' But if he prayed for those who stoned him, how much more
for the brethren !"
After other things, again they say:--
"For they had this very great conflict with him, the devil, on account
of their genuine love, in order that the Beast being choked, might vomit
forth those whom he thought he had already swallowed. For they assumed no
airs of superiority over the fallen, but with those things in which they
themselves abounded they aided the needy, displaying towards them the
compassion of a mother. And pouring out many tears for them to the Father,
they begged life; and He gave it to them, and they shared it with their
neighbours. And departing victorious over all to God, having always loved
peace, and having recommended peace to us, in peace they went to God,
leaving no sorrow to their Mother, nor division and dissension to their
brethren, but joy and peace, and concord and love."
"The same writing of the fore-mentioned martyrs," says Eusebius,
"contains a story worth remembrance.
"For there was one of them of the name of Alcibiades, who lived an
exceedingly austere life, confining his diet to bread and water, and
partaking of nothing else whatsoever. He tried to continue this mode of
life in prison; but it was revealed to Attalus after the first conflict
which he underwent in the amphitheatre that Alcibiades was not pursuing the
right course in refusing to use the creatures of God, and in leaving an
example which might be a stumbling-block to others. And Alcibiades was
persuaded, and partook freely of all kinds of food, and thanked God. For
they were not without the oversight of the grace of God, but the Holy
Spirit was their counsellor."
Taken from "The Early Church Fathers and Other Works" originally published
by Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. in English in Edinburgh, Scotland, beginning in
1867. (ANF 8, Roberts and Donaldson). The digital version is by The
Electronic Bible Society, P.O. Box 701356, Dallas, TX 75370, 214-407-WORD.