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Asiatics, for whom Melito in particular seems to have pleaded.

Nevertheless there are difficulties relating to that edict, before translated, said to have been sent to the common council of Asia. Some think it was given by Titus Antoninus, others by Marcus Antoninus: and others suspect it to be a forgery, and really sent by neither of those emperors.

And among the ancients there is some difference of opínion. By Eusebius, whom I have transcribed at length, it is supposed to have been sent by Antoninus the pious. This letter, or edict, is also at length in the Paschal Chronicle and inp Nicephorus Callisti. By the former it is ascribed to Antoninus the philosopher, by the latter to his predeces

aras? follows Eusebius, as does also Xiphilinus, before quoted. Orosius does not expressly mention this edict; but he says that Justin presented an apology to Antoninus the pious, and that thereby the emperor was rendered favourable to the christians.

Among the moderns likewise, as before hinted, there are various sentiments. Valesius, the learned editor of Eusebius and the other ecclesiastical historians, dissents here from his author: he says the letter is Marcus's, and that Eusebius was mistaken in ascribing it to the elder Antoninus. Of the same opinion are Scaliger, Huet, Basnage, and Pagi. By * Baronius, y Cave, and a divers others, it is supposed to have been sent by Antoninus the pious. As the argument of the Benedictine editors, on the same side of the question, is not very prolix, I shall put a part of it below. They say, with Tillemont, that “thea authority of • Eusebius, who ascribes it to Titus Antoninus the pious, p L. 3. cap. 28.

9 Tom. 2. p. 206. " Verum Justinus philosophus librum pro christianâ religione compositum Antonino tradidit, benignumque eum erga christianos fecit. Oros. l. 7. cap. xiv.

s Errat Eusebius, qui Antonino Pio hanc epistolam tribuit, cum sit divi Marci. Annot. in Euseb. p. 66.

i Animadv. in Euseb. p. 219. u Dem. Evang. p. 42.

Pagi ann. 152. num. iv. v. y H. L. de Justino M. 2 Balduin. Edict. Princep. Rom. p. 86–92. Tillem. Antonin. art. xi. S. Justin M. art. xii. et note xi. Moshem. de Reb, Christian. p. 86–92.

# Nam, ut Tillemontii, qui Antonino vindicat, rationuni momenta breviter referam. 1. Eusebii auctoritas, qui eas Antonino tribuit, maximi debet esse ponderis. 2. Antonino conveniunt, qui Adrianum solus appellare potuit parentem suum, ac solus post Adrianum illâ ætate favit christianis. Hunc enim constat ea ad civitates, ac nominatim ad Larissæos, ad Thessalonicenses, ad Athenienses, ad universos denique Græcos scripsisse, quæ in literis ad Commune Asiæ leguntur, nempe nequid novi adversus christianos molirentur. At Marcus semper christianis iniquus fuit. Præf. ad Justin. M. Pars. 3. cap. V, nun. iii,

o P. 259.

Bas. ann. 139. n. vii. et ann. 164. n. iv.

x Baron. ann. 154, n. v.


ought by no means to be slighted : he only could call • Adrian his father, and was the only emperor after him who

favoured the christians: for Marcus was always unfriendly 6 to them: and it is certain that he wrote the same things to • the Larisseans, and the Thessalonians, that are contained * in this letter to the states of Asia, that they should not be • troublesome to the christians.'

But some suspect the genuineness of this letter, as Mr. Dodwell, who says it is so christian, that he can hardly think it was written by a heathen emperor. Thirlby® rejects it as a plain forgery. Dr. Jortin goes into the same opinion, saying: It was forged by some christian before . the days of Eusebius,' and Reimar wisheth thate some farther light might be obtained for clearing up the difficulties relating to it.

I think this rescript could not be written by Marcus Antoninus, who was always averse and unfriendly to the christians, as we shall see hereafter. If this letter had been written in the first year of Marcus's reign, as Valesius thought, or in the fourth of it, as Pagi and Basnage say, the christians would not have suffered such persecutions in his time, as they did in many places. Nor would there have been so many apologies presented to him, as we know there were. Nor could Melito have omitted to take notice of it. He reminds Marcus of the rescript of his grandfather Adrian, and the letter of Antoninus, his father, to several cities; much more would he have reminded him of his own letter in favour of the christians, if there had been any such thing

As for the suspicion of forgery, I see no plain evidence of it. I do not discern the hand of a conceited and pedantic sophist; nothing but what might come from a good-natured magistrate, as Antoninus was. Theref had been some earth

b Sed mihi fateor suspectum esse, magisque ad mentem christianorum esse conceptum, quam illud concepturus fuerit gentilis Imperator. Diss. Cypr. xi. nuin. 34.

< Tot viros doctos et graves ludos fecit unus, idemque non vaferrimus, nebulo, qui hoc rescriptum confinxit-Emendatione autem nostrâ dignum non censuimus figmentum ineptum et puerile. Thirlb. in Justin. M. p. 101.

d Remarks upon E. H. vol. 2. p. 168. See also p. 174..

e Quoniam vero ne veteres quidam sibi constant, utri imperatorum adscribenda sit; et, quamcumque teneas sententiam, difficultates aliæ obstant inextricabiles; operæ pretium fuerit, clariore quam factum est adhuc luce discutere dubia, ni tota illa epistola conficta quibusdam liberius judicantibus debeat videri. Reimar. in notis ad Dion. Cass. p. 1172. al. 799.

f Adversa ejus temporibus hæc provenerunt; fames, de quâ diximus, circi ruina, terræ motus, quo Rhodiorum et Asiæ oppida conciderunt.—Quæ omnia

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quakes in Asia, and other countries not far off. The heathen people were much terrified by them, and ascribed them to the vengeance of heaven, because the christians were numerous among them; and they had thereupon committed great outrages: of these injuries the christians made complaints; and the emperor, in his letter to the states, pleasantly reprimands his own people, the heathens, upon both those accounts, that is, for their timorousness, and for their cruel usage of the christians, their neighbours: and he as agreeably commends the christians for their intrepidity, or composure, amidst such dangers; and sends orders that they should not be any longer abused as they had been.

I think, then, that this rescript was sent by Titus Antouinus the pious, as Eusebius supposed. But, allowing that to be doubtful, we learn several things from what has now passed before us. The emperor Antoninus the pious must have had good knowledge of the christians and their principles: he was favourable to them, and must have been well satisfied of their innocence. To him Justin presented a long and excellent apology, still extant, a most valuable remain of christian antiquity. By Eusebius, and others, we are assured it had a good effect. And, if it had not been of some advantage to the christian interest at that time, Justin would scarcely have thought of making any more addresses to Roman emperors: and his addressing another apology afterwards to Marcus Antoninus is an argument that he had some encouragement to it by the success of his former apology.

To Antoninus the pious applications had been made also by other Christians beside Justin : and he wrote to the Larisseans, the Thessalonians, the Athenians, and all the Greeks in general, that they should forbear to give trouble to the christians, as such, and unless they were guilty of some offence contrary to the welfare of society and the peace of the Roman government: by which we must understand, at least, that he confirmed the rescript of Adrian, sent to Minucius Fundanus, proconsul of Asia. All this we are fully assured of from the apology of Melito, presented to Marcus Antoninus: for none can admit the suspicion of an attempt to impose upon so knowing and so great a man as that emperor. By all which we may be assured that Antoninus the pious was persuaded of the innocence, both of the principles and of the conduct of the christians; which are largely insisted upon in the apology of Justin Martyr.

mirifice instauravit. Capitolin. Antonin. Pius. cap. 9. p. 168. Vid. et. Dion. Cass. lib. 70. p. 1173.

8 Some more observations for showing that this rescript was sent by Antoninus Pius, will appear near the end of the chapter of Marcus Antoninus, in what is there called the Summary of the Argument.

And, as it was the design of all the apologies at that time to clear the christians from the charge of the crimes imputed to them, it is reasonable to believe that all the other apologies from different persons and several countries, agreeing in their accounts, they concurred together to give full satisfaction to this good and vigilant emperor, Antoninus the pious, for that is one part of his character : he was inquisitive about every part of his government: · Heb knew all • the concerns of the empire, and of all the people subject * to him, as distinctly as he did those of his own family.' Nor were the least things overlooked by him : wbich i is sometimes mentioned to his advantage, and at other times as a fault, and almost the only fault that could be charged upon him, that k he was too inquisitive, and prying into little things. That? temper however must have been of use to divers people; and, upon many occasions, this in particular. By most men at that time the christians and their affairs were despised, as unworthy of regard : and it is one great concern of all the christian apologists, to excite the attention of the Roman emperors, and the Roman governors of provinces, and of all other people in general, and to induce them to inquire and examine, and take cognizance of the christian cause, and their affairs: which, as it seems, this emperor had done, to his own credit and their benefit.

h Tantâ sane diligentiâ subjectos sibi populos rexit, ut omnia et omnes, quasi sua essent, curavit. Jul. Capitol. Vit. Tit. Antonin, cap. 7. p. 261.

Και το ζητητικον ακριβως εν τοις συμβολιοις, και επιμονον, αλλ' 8 το προαπεση της ερευνης αρκεσθεις ταις προχειροις φαντασιαις. Μarc. Anton. de Reb. suis. lib. i.

& Ιδων αυτον ο Σειληνος εφη βαβαι της μιχρολογιας εις ειναι μοι δοκει των diamPLOVTWV TO KvMvov, o tpeoBurns stog. Julian. Cæs. p. 312. A. ed. Spanh.

Λεγεται δε ο Αντωνινος ζητητικος γενεσθαι, και μηδε περι τα μικρα και τυχοντα της ακριβολογιας αφισασθαι· όθεν αυτον οι σκωττοντες κυμινοπριςην Ekalov. Xiph. ap. Dion. I. 70. p. 1173.

| Neque vero dubito, Xiphilinum loqui generatim, et intelligere accuratum et diligens studium, in quâcumque re, etiam minimâ et obviâ, inquirendi et rimandi id quod verum rectumque esset. Reimar. ad Xiphilin. loc. modo citat. not. k.

cap. 16.





year 180.

1. His time and character. II. The passage in his Medi

tations concerning the christians, with notes and obser

vations. 1. MARCUS AURELIUS ANTONINUS PHILOSOPHUS, or Marcus Antoninus, surnamed the Philosopher,

a born in the reign of Adrian, the twenty-sixth day of April, in the year of Christ 121. He succeeded Antoninus the pious on the second day of March in the year of our Lord 161, and died on the seventeenth day of March in the

The virtues of his private and public life have been greatly commended and highly celebrated : but, if a comparison were to be made between Antoninus the pious and Antoninus the philosopher, I should be disposed to give the preference to the former.

Aristides the sophist, in his panegyric upon this emperor, says, that before he came to the empire, he restrained and • prevented many disorders and mismanagements in the government of public affairs :' and insinuates that " great

injuries were done, and many things carried with violence 6 and insult.' But, as c Tillemont observes, · Aristides • seems to have aimed to decry the government of Antoni

nus, in order to extol that of Marcus. But,' as he adds, * the sophist therein showed greater regard to the laws of oratory than of truth. For, according to historians, Mar

cus did not at all excel Antoninus in moderation and the * care of the public.'

Some other learned men d have formed a like judgment concerning this emperor.

a Vid. Pagi ann. 180. n. ii. Basnag. ann. 121. viii. et 180. i. Tillemont, L'Emp. M. Aurele. art. i. Fabr. Bib. Gr. 1. 4. cap. 23. T. 4. p. 20, &c.

-όρων πολλα της βασιλειας και καλως εδε οσιως διοικεμενα, αλλα πολλην αυθαδειαν και υβριν και ακολασιας εγγινομενην, εια αυξεσθια-Τοιετος δε po te ßaollɛvoai nu. Aristid, in Regem Orat. p. 107. al. 59. Tom. i. c M. Aurele. art. iv.

d Vide vero hic infelicitatem temporum Marci, quo nullus Imperatorum justior et sapientior putatur! Princeps minime malus philosophicis meditationibus animum pascebat, non admodum curiosus eorum, quæ in imperio gererentur. Interea magistratus impune voluntati suæ obsequebantur, quasque

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