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' remove the pestilence from them ; upon which, it is said, " the plague was stayed. In memory of this deliverance the • Athenians erected several altars, which the historian Diogenes Laërtius calls Anonymous, because there was no name of any particular god inscribed upon them. The altars were erected, not to the honour of Jupiter, Mars, Apollo, * by name, but to that particular god, whoever he was, who • had wrought out this deliverance for them. See Laërtius

in bis Life of Epimenides. If they had known that Jupi* ter bad removed the plague, they would have inscribed • their altars to Jupiter. If they had known that Apollo · bad removed the plague, they would have inscribed the. • altars to Apollo. But while they could not tell which of • all their gods it was who had removed the plague, they • did not dedicate the altars to any one god by name, but * to that god, whoever he was, who had thus delivered 6 . them. But still they thought, this god, whoever be was, was one of the idols of the heathen world. They did not ' suspect him to be a being of any greater wisdom and

power than their own Jupiter and Apollo. They took iheir deliverer to be an idol of the same sort and size as • the rest whom they worshipped. But the truth was,

(though they did not know it,) that he, who delivered • them by his providence from that distress, was the one • infinite, supreme God. And therefore St. Paul justly says, " that the Athenians worshipped him ; for they worshipped oloim who removed the plague, whoever he was. But the • true God removed the plague; therefore they worshipped • the true God. But still, as the apostle observes, they - worshipped hin ignorantly, that is, they were ignorant of

his true greatness, majesty, and power, and looked upon bim as no greater than one of their own idols. Which • worshipping of him in this ignorant manner, and under * this debasing notion, was not much, if any thing, better * than their not worshipping him at all. Accordingly St. • Paul, in this same discourse, chargeth them, as men who ' yet wanted " to seek and find out" the true God, ver. 27,

as thinking, that the “ Godhead was like to gold and • silver images,” ver. 29, and as men“ living in times of

ignorance,” ver. 30. To which we may add what the same . apostle says, 1 Cor. i. 21, that "the world, by means of

wisdom," that is, of the philosophy of the heathens, which was accounted wisdom, * knew not God.” Agreeably to this, we may take notice throughout the Old Testament, • that the heathen nations, who heard of Jehovah, did not . look upon him as any other than the idol of Judea, a

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being of the same kind with Baal, Chemosh, and the · like. So writes my much esteemed friend the late Mr. Joseph Hallet.

Ill. In the Life of Pythagoras, among his precepts, Diogenes Laërtius mentions this: That' a loaf 'should not be broke, because it was anciently the custom for friends to meet together at one loaf, as the barbarians do now. And therefore that should not be divided wbich brings them together.'

Gregorius Giraldus supposed, thate by barbarians Laërtius here meant christians, and that he refers to their assemblies, where they met together to partake of the eucharist. But other learned men with more reason, as seems to me, believe, that he here intends such as were properly called barbarians, and that there is here no reference at all to the christians.

For certain, I lay not any stress upon this passage; I only put it down here, that it might not be suspected to be omitted merely through oversight, and that all may judge of it.

CHAP. XXV.

ALEXANDER SEVERUS.

1. His time. II. Divers passages concerning the christians, from his Life, written by Lampridius, un heathen author, about the year of Christ 306. 111. Of Mammæa, the emperor's mother, by some said to have been a christian.

I. SEPTIMIUS SEVERUS was succeeded by his son Caracalla, he by Macrinus; be by Heliogabalus, concern

Αρτον μη καταγνυειν, ότι επι ένα οι παλαι των φιλων εφοιτων, καθαπερ και νυν οι βαρβαροι" μηδε διαιρειν ος συναγει αυτες. Diog. La. 1. viii. sect. 35.

p. 518.

& Gregorius Giraldus, vir doctissimus, in libello de Pythagoræ symbolis, quid de hoc symbolo scribat, omnibus in promptu est. Quod autem barbaros Laërtius christianos hoc loco significet, id mihi nullo modo probatur. Neque eniin solent a scriptoribus quantumvis ethnicis hoc nomine appellari. Sed barbaros intelligo vere barbaros, apud quos certum est, eum morem viguisse coëundi in conviviis, qui idem omnium fere gentium mos est. Aldobrand. in loc. Et. conf. Menag. p. 370. Vid. et Jamblich. de Vitâ Pythagoræ. num. 86. cap. 18.

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ing whom I shall transcribe a passage froma Lampridius, when I come to the chapter of the Augustan writers. Heliogabalus was succeeded by Alexander Severus, whoseb reign is computed from March 6, 222, to March 14, or 19, in the year 235. He reigned thirteen years, and died before he was seven and twenty years of age. Alexander is much commended, as an excellent prince, by Lampridius, as well as by d otbers.

II. His Life of Alexander is addressed to Constantine; he has in it several passages relating to the christians, which must be taken notice of.

1. Of this emperor Lampridius says: "Hee maintained • the privileges of the Jews; He tolerated the christians.'

2. Of the same emperor he says: His' way of living was this. Early in the morning, if there was no impedi

ment, he perforined some acts of religious worship in his • private chapel, in which were the deitied emperors, and • also some eminently good men, and among them Apollo

nius; and, as a writer of his time says, Christ, Abraham, • and Orpheus, (whom he considered as deities,) and the images of his ancestors.'

3. In a following chapter Lampridius says : • This & emperor called Virgil the Plato of poets, and placed bis

image with that of Cicero, in his second chapel, where 6 also were the statues of Achilles, and other great men : • but Alexander the Great be placed among the deified, and • the best, in his more honourable chapel.'

W bereby it appears, that this emperor had two chapels, one greater, and more honourable, the other less bonourable. Lamprid. Heliogab. cap. iii. p. 796.

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b Vide Pagi ann. 235. num. ii. Basn. ann. 222. num. iii. Tillem. L'Emp. Alexandre. art. xxv. and Crevier's Hist. of the Roman Emperors, vol. viii. p. 277.

c Atque hæc parva sunt, nisi quod dignum se exhibuit, quem Senatus servaret, quem salvum milites cuperent, quem omnium bonorum sententia principem diceret. Æl. Lamprid. Sever. Alex, cap. 2. p. 883.

d Judæis privilegia reservavit : christianos esse passus est. Ib. cap. 22. p. 914.

e Fuit ita moratus Alexander, ita vità atque animo constitutus, ut, inter ethnicos, paucos æquales habuerit, superiorem forte neminem. Basnag. ann. 222. num. V.

f Usus vivendi eidem hic fuit: primum, ut si facultas esset, id est, si non cum uxore cubuisset, matutinis horis in larario suo, in quo et divos principes, sed optimos, electos, et animas sanctiores, in queis et Apollonium, et quantum scriptor suorum temporum dicit, Christum, Abraham, et Orpheum, (et hujuscemodi deos,) habebat, ac majorum effigies, rem divinam faciebat. Ib. cap. 29.

p. 930.

& Virgilium autem Platonem poëtarum vocabat, ejusque imaginem cum Ciceronis simulacro, in secundo larario habuit, ubi et Achillis, et magnorum virorum. Alexandrum vero Magnum, inter divos et optimos, in larario majore consecravit. Ib. cap. 31. p. 936

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Christ was in the former. We are likewise to observe, that this was mentioned by a writer of this emperor's own time; who, probably, was a gentile, or heathen, our author himself being an heathen, and making his collections from such.

4. Of the same emperor Lampridius likewise says: "Heh . had a mind to build a temple to Christ, and to receive him

into the number of the deities. Which Adrian also is ' supposed to have thought of before; who ordered temples • without images to be erected in all cities; which temples, • at this very time, because they have no deities in them,

called Adrian's. And he is said to have prepared them ' for that purpose; but he was forbid by those who consult

ed the oracles, they having found, that if that was done, * all men would become christians, and the other temples would be forsaken.'

What Lampridius here says of the temples built by Adrian, without statues, was considered formerly in another place, to which the reader is referred. We did not then think it reasonable to believe, that Adrian intended to have those temples consecrated to Christ; consequently, it may be questioned, whether we ought to rely upon what Lampridius here says of Alexander's designing to build a temple to Christ.

Farther, he says of this emperor : - Whenk he was about • to appoint any to the governments of provinces, or to other • like offices, he published their names, inviting the people, • if they had any crimes to lay to their charge, to produce • their evidences ; at the same time declaring, that if any

charged what he could not prove, he should be put to • death. And he said : It was a miserable thing, that when * the christians and Jews observed this method, of publish

ing the names of their priests before they were ordained, • the like care should not be taken about the governors of

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n Christo templum facere voluit, eumque inter deos recipere. Quod et Adrianus cogitâsse fertur, qui templa in omnibus civitatibus sine simulacris jusserat fieri; quæ hodie idcirco, quia non habent numina, dicuntur Adriani; quæ ille ad hoc parâsse dicebatur. Sed prohibitus est ab iis, qui, consulentes sacra, repererunt, omnes christianos futuros, si id optato evenisset, et templa reliqua deserenda. Ib. cap. 43. p. 993. See before, p. 99-101.

k Et quia publicandis dispositionibus mentio contigit, ubi aliquos voluisset vel rectores provinciis dare, vel præpositos facere, vel procuratores, id est, rationales, ordinare, nomina eorum proponebat, hortans populum, ut si quis quid haberet criminis, probaret manifestis rebus, si non probåsset, subiret pænam capitis. Dicebatque, grave esse, quum id christiani et Judæi facerent in prædicandis sacerdotibus qui ordinandi sunt, non fieri in provinciarum rectoribus, quibus et fortunæ hominum committerentur et capita. Ib. cap. 45. p. 997.

• provinces, with whom the lives and fortunes of men were • entrusted.'

That is a testimony to a custom in use among christians, and to the concern they had for the good character of those who were to be ordained to any offices in the church. It is also an argument, that christians, and their affairs, were then well known in the world.

6. Afterwards, in the same Life, Lampridius says : • When the christians had seized a spot of ground which

was public; and on the other hand the victuallers said, it * ought to be granted to them; he gave this rescript, That • it was better that God should be worshipped there in any • manner, than that the ground should be granted to the « victuallers.'

It cannot be determined whether the christians intended to raise a church upon that spot of ground, or only to make use of it for a coemetery, or burying place.

This emperor ought to be commended for his moderation, and for the justness of his sentiments. He judged a place, in which God was to be worshipped, though not in his own way, to be better employed, than when put to the uses of luxury. And we can hence conclude with certainty, that it was then well kuown, and generally believed, that promiscuous lewdness was no part of christian worship, or at all practised in their assemblies.

Here Crevierm writes to this purpose: 'I observed before, that he favoured the christians, and honoured Jesus Christ · in his domestic chapel. It is added, that he intended to * build a public temple to him; but this is far from being * proved; on the contrary, it seems as if, how much soever • he might esteem the moral precepts of christianity, he by

no means approved of its religious worship. And this he • showed even upon an occasion in which he protected it. • The christians being molested by the vintners of Rome, on • account of a building where they used to assemble, the • emperor determined the dispute in favour of the former,

by saying, that the building in question had better be used * for the worship of the Divinity in any manner whatever, 6 than to be made a tavern. Thus Alexander, loving virtue,

esteemed it in the christians; but he must not be said to • have favoured them any farther.'

If the building, I have been speaking of, was a church, | Quum christiani quendam locum, qui publicus fuerat, occupassent, contra popinarii dicerent, sibi eum deberi, rescripsit, melius esse, ut quomodocumque illic Deus colatur, quam popinariis dedatur. Ibid. cap. 49. p. 1003.

m History of the Roman Emperors, vol. viii. p. 345.

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