« Prev Chapter XII. Next »

12. You bring forward arguments against us, and speculative quibblings,34803480    Lit., “subtleties of suspicions.” This passage is certainly doubtful. The reading translated, et suspicionum argutias profertis, is that of LB., Orelli, and the later edd. generally; while the ms. reads -atis—“Bring forward arguments to us, and” (for which Heraldus conjectures very plausibly, nec, “and not”) “subtleties,” etc., which, by changing a single letter, reads in the earlier edd. pro-fer-etis—“Will you,” or, “You will bring forward,” etc. which—may I say this without displeasing Him—if Christ Himself were to use in the gatherings of the nations, who would assent? who would listen? who would say that He decided34813481    Meursius conjectures in- (for ms. ju-) dicare—“pointed out,” of which Orelli approves. anything clearly? or who, though he were rash and utterly34823482    So the ms. and both Roman edd., supported by Heraldus, reading solidæ facilitatis, changed by the edd. into stolidæ—“stupid.” credulous, would follow Him when pouring forth vain and baseless statements? His virtues have been made manifest to you, and that unheard-of power over things, whether that which was openly exercised by Him or that which was used34833483    So all the edd. except Oehler; but as the first verb is plural in the ms., while the second is singular, it is at least as probable that the second was plural originally also, and that therefore the relative should be made to refer both to “virtues” and “power.” over the whole world by those who proclaimed Him: it has subdued the fires of passion, and caused races, and peoples, and nations most diverse in character to hasten with one accord to accept the same faith. For the deeds can be reckoned up and numbered which have been done in India,34843484    Orelli notes that by India is here meant Ethiopia. If so, it may be well to remember that Lucan (x. 29 sq.) makes the Seres neighbours of the Ethiopians, and dwellers at the sources of the Nile. among the Seres, Persians, and Medes; in Arabia, Egypt, in Asia, Syria; among the Galatians, Parthians, Phrygians; in Achaia, Macedonia, Epirus; in all islands and provinces on which the rising and setting sun shines; in Rome herself, finally, the mistress of the world, in which, although men are34853485    Instead of sint, Stewechius would read essent—“were.” busied with the practices introduced by king34863486    Instead of the ms. reading, Numæ regis artibus et antiquis superstitionibus, Stewechius, followed by Heraldus, would read ritibus—“with the rites of Numa,” etc. Numa, and the superstitious observances of antiquity, they have nevertheless hastened to give up their fathers’ mode of life,34873487    So the ms., reading res patrias, for which Heraldus, ritus patrios—“rites.” and attach themselves to Christian truth. For they had seen the chariot34883488    So the ms., although the first five edd., by changing r into s, read cur-s-um—“course.” This story is of frequent occurrence in the later Fathers, but is never referred to by the earlier, or by any except Christian writers, and is derived solely from the Apostolic Constitutions. In the Greek version of the Apost. Const. the sixth book opens with a dissertation on schisms and heresies in which the story of Simon and others is told; but that this was interpolated by some compiler seems clear from the arguments brought forward by Bunsen (Hippolytus and his Age, more particularly vol. ii. pt. 2, § 2, and the second appendix). of Simon Magus, and his fiery car, blown into pieces by the mouth of Peter, and vanish when Christ was named. They had seen him, I say, trusting in false gods, and abandoned by them in their terror, borne down headlong by his own weight, lie prostrate with his legs broken; and then, when he had been carried to Brunda,34893489    Brunda or Brenda, i.e., Brundisium. worn out with anguish and shame, again cast himself down from the roof of a very lofty house. But all these deeds you neither know nor have wished to know, nor did you ever consider that they were of the utmost importance to you; and while you trust your own judgments, and term that wisdom which is overweening conceit, you have given to deceivers—to those guilty ones, I say, whose interest it is that the Christian name be degraded—an opportunity of raising clouds of darkness, and concealing truths of so much importance; of robbing you of faith, and putting scorn in its place, in order that, as they already feel that an end such as they deserve threatens them, they might excite in you also a feeling through which you should 439run into danger, and be deprived of the divine mercy.

« Prev Chapter XII. Next »
Please login or register to save highlights and make annotations
Corrections disabled for this book
Proofing disabled for this book
Printer-friendly version


| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |