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ORPHYRIUS, a philosopher of great name among
nicia; and had the name of Malchus, in common lioth. Græc. with his father, who was a Syrophænician. St. Jerom and Holftenius St. Augustin have called him Bataneotes : whence Fabricius de vit. &
script. Por suspects, that the real place of his nativity was Batanea, a phyrii ibid. town of Syria ; and that he was carried from thence with a subjunct. colony to Tyre. He went to Athens, where he had the famous Longinus for his master in rhetoric, who changed his Syrian name Malchus, as not very pleasing to Grecian ears, into that of Porphyrius, which answered to it in Greek. Afterwards he proceeded to Rome, where, at thirty years of age, he heard the celebrated philosopher Plotinus; whose life he has written, and inferted in it many particulars concerning himself. Five years after, he went to reside at Lilybæum in Sicily, on which account he is sometimes called Siculus : and here,' as Eusebius and Jerom relate, he composed those famous books against the christians, which, for the name and authority of the man, and for the sharpness and learning with which they were written, were afterwards Vol. X.
thought fo considerable, as to be suppressed by particular edicts under the reigns of Constantine and Theodofius. Some have surmised, that these books are still extant, and secretly preserved in the duke of Tuscany's library : but, considering the zeal with which the christians would naturally pursue the memory and writings of this philosopher, who was indeed the most bitter as well as the most able adversary they had ever known, it cannot be supposed, but they would use their utmost endeavours to search out and destroy these execrable books. The circumstances of Porphyry's life, after his arrival in Sicily, are little known ; except that he died at Rome towards the end of Diocletian's reign, when he was above seventy years of age. Some have imagined that he was in the early part of his life a christian, but afterwards, through some disgust or other, deferted that profession, and grew exceedingly bitter against it: while others have hinted, that he embraced christianity when he was old, and after he had written with great acrimony against it. Though many ancient writers have given countenance to the former of these opinions, yet there seems nothing to fupport it, éx.
cept that in his younger years he was familiarly acquainted ! with Origen ; whose great and extensive reputation had drawn him to Alexandria. The latter has no foundation at all. Eunapius, who wrote the life of Porphyry, which is still extant, after observing that he lived to be extremely old, says, “ hence it came to pass, that many things in his later writ“ ings contradict what he had advanced in his former, from « whence I cannot but fuppose, that, as he grew older, he or changed his opinions :" yet there is no reason to conclude, that the change here alluded to was from paganism to chri, ftianity.
Porphyry wrote a great number of things, the far greater part of which have perished. Some have wished, that his books against the christians had come down to us, because they are firmly persuaded, that among innumerable blasphemies against Christ and his religion, which might easily have been confuted, many admirable things would have been found. And indeed, there is no small reason to think fo : for Porphyry was not only at the head of the later Platonists, and on that account called by way of distinction “ the phi
« losopher," but he was consummate in all kinds of learning and knowledge. Some of his works remain : and the four following, De abftinentia ab esu animalium libri quatuor, De vita Pythagoræ, Sententiæ ad intelligibilia ducentes, De Antro Nymphorum, with a fragment De Styge preserved by Stobæus, were printed at Cambridge 1655, 8vo. with a Latin version, and the life of Porphyry subjoined, by Lucas Holstenius. The life of Pythagoras, which however is but a fragment, has since been published by the noted critic Kusterus, at Amsterdam 1707 in 4to. in conjunction with that written by Jamblicus, who was a disciple of our philosopher. It lhould have been observed, that the above pieces of Pythagoras, printed at Cambridge, were published jointly with Epictetus and Arrian's Commentary, and the Tabula Cebetis.
POTTER (Dr. CHRISTOPHER) a learned English divine, was nephew of Dr. Barnabas Potter, bishop of Carlille ; and born in Westmorland about 1591. He was ad- Lloyd's Mes mitted of Queen's college Oxford in 1606, where he took moirs
Fuller's in due time both the degrees in arts and divinity. He was Worthies of first made fellow, and in 1626 succeeded his uncle in the Westmora provoftship of his college. Though a zealous puritanical Wood's Apreacher, he became at length an adherent to bishop Laud. then. Oxon. In 1628, he preached a sermon at Ely-house, upon the con- Dictionary. secration of his uncle; who, “ though a thorough-paced * Calvinist,” says Mr. Wood, was made bishop of Carlisle by the endeavours of Laud. In 1633, he published ani « Answer to a late popish pamphlet, intitled Charity Mif“ taken :" (See KNOT and CHILLINGWORTH.) which he wrote by the special order of king Charles I. whose chaplain he was. In 1635, he was promoted to the deanery of Worcester ; and in 1640 became vice-chancellor of Oxford, in the execution of which office he met with fome trouble from the members of the long parliament. Upon the breaking out of the civil wars, he fent all his plate to the king; and declared, that he would rather, like Diogenes, drink out of the hollow of his hand, than that his majefty should want; and he afterwards suffered much for the royal cause. He was nominated to the deanery of Dur