From Eusebius Pamphilus : His Ten Books of Ecclesiastical History, Faithfully Translated and Abridg’d from the Original, by Samuel Parker, Gent.; London : Printed for George Sawbridge at the Three Flower de-Luces in Little Britain, 1703; pp. 37-54.
IN the mean time the Apostles were publishing the Gospel through all Quarters of the World, as they severally dispers’d themselves; St. Thomas in Parthia, St. Andrew in Scythia, St. John in Asia, St. Paul from Jerusalem round about unto Illyricum, St. Peter to the Jews in Pontus, Galatia, Bythinia, Cappadocia, and Asia. The last of these was succeeded in the Bishoprick of Rome by Linus, mention’d in the Second Epistle of St. Paul to Timothy; which Epistle, with the other Thirteen of the same Apostle, have been universally receiv’d for Canonical, though some have rejected the Epistle to the Hebrews, because it has been 38 doubted in the Church of Rome whether it was written by St. Paul. As for St. Peter’s Epistles, the first is undoubted, and quoted by the Ancients as such; but the second was not heretofore counted Scripture, tho’ for the Usefulness of it, read along with the inspir’d Books, as is at this Day the Pastor (a Book so entituled) of Hermas, mention’d in St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, which is quoted by some of the most Ancient Authors, not on the score of any Divine Authority, but for the Profitableness of its Matter. Nor is it by any means equal in Authority to the Second Epistle of St. Peter, which a very competent number of Vouchers has declar’d to be of Divine Inspiration. Much weaker yet are the Pretensions of the Books, entituled, The Acts, The Gospel, the Preaching and Revelation of St. Peter; for these never pass’d with any Body for Catholick. The Divine Authority of the first Epistle of St. John, and also of his Revelation has been, the first universally, the latter sufficiently acknowledged. The Second and Third Epistles which bear his Name, though possibly penn’d by another of that Name, have been doubted by some, but generally receiv’d; so have the Epistles of St. James and St. Jude. The Acts of St. Paul, the Epistle of St. Barnabas, the Institutions of the Apostles, The Gospel according to the Hebrews, (in great Esteem with the Jewish Converts) are all Spurious; and so are the Gospels of St. Peter, St. Thomas, St. Matthias, and others; and the Acts of St. Andrew, St. John, and 39 the like; all the Issue of Heretical Contrivance, unmention’d by any of the Successors of the Apostle, utterly destitute of the Simplicity of the Apostolick Stile, and, as to the Matter of them, Heterodox, Absurd, and Abominable.
In the See of Rome, after Linus succeeded Clemens, call’d by the Apostle his Fellow-Labourer in the Epistle to the Philippians; and Timothy was the first Bishop of Ephesus after St. John. Titus presided over the Churches of Crete; Crescens, as himself tells us, St. Paul sent into Gallia; and, as we learn from Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth, Dionysius surnam’d the Areopagite, converted by Paul’s Sermon in the Areopagus, was the first Bishop of Athens.
In the place of Nero, when he had been Emperor Thirteen Years, reign’d Galba and Otho (successively) during the space of One Year and an half; after whom Vespasian was proclaim’d Emperor, a General that had commanded very successfully against the Jews, and was then in Judea, but upon this Elevation return’d to Rome, and left the Army to the Conduct of his Son Titus. The Nation of the Jews having first crucify’d the Lord of Glory, and afterwards put to Death some of his Disciples, and persecuted and dispers’d the rest; and all the Believers that were left in Jerusalem, upon an extraordinary Warning from God, having withdrawn themselves, before the Enemy had made any Assault upon the City, to a little Town call’d Pella on the other side of Jordan; 40 Omnipotence now manifested it self much more terribly, than it had hitherto done in the Execution of its Justice upon that irreclaimable People. For a more particular Account of the several Calamities and Judgements that befel them, the Reader is referr’d to the History of Josephus. Yet one or two of the most remarkable, it may be proper to cite from that Author, as particularly the Fate of the Three hundred thousand Jews gathered together at Jerusalem from all Parts of Judea, upon occasion of the Paschal Solemnity, at which time they had crucify’d the Messiah. And again, the deplorable Effects of an extream and lasting Famine to compleat the Miseries of the besieged. The Wealthier Part were cut off upon pretended Suspicions of Treachery. And the Seditious broke into Houses, where if they found any Corn, they beat and abus’d the Masters for hiding it; if none, they tortur’d them to make them produce; taking it for granted, that whosever was not at the Point of expiring with Hunger, (and such they left to themselves) had plenty of Provisions. Entire Patrimonies and Estates were secretly commuted for a few handfuls of Corn, and as privately consum’d in an Instant. The stronger forc’d from the weaker, the most loathsome means of Refreshment, and the Wives and Children snatch’d the Morsels from out of the very Mouths of their Husbands and Parents. The Mothers reserv’d for themselves the Milk of the Breast, that should have nourish’d 41 their infants. The Women that had hoarded any Eatables were dragg’d by the Hair along the Streets, and Children that were found with Meat in their Mouths, had their Brains dash’d out upon the Stones. If one Man was presum’d to be better furnish’d than another, a Stake was run up his Fundament, or a Wire into his Yard, to make him Confess; besides a thousand other Cruelties, and these practis’d generally by such People as were the least distress’d, to prevent their being so. And when in the Night-time any Person had ventur’d out of the walls, and pick’d up a few Herbs or Roots, to be sure he was seiz’d upon his Return, and if he escap’d with Life, ’twas a Favour, while others just perishing, begg’d in vain to be dispatch’d. All Parts of the City were bestrow’d with Carcasses; and when there could no longer be found Hands to Bury them, they flung them over the Walls, having first barbarously mangled them, and so fill’d up the verye Fosses round the city, at which sight Titus call’d Heaven to Witness, That he had not been the Cause. No Filth or Carrion, though never so foul or putrid, came in their way but they greedily devour’d it, and eat up their Belts, their Shoes, the Leather of their shields, or any scatterings of musty Hay and Straw, which bore a mighty Price. A certain Woman, the Daughter of Eleazer, of a Rich and Noble Family, having been often despoil’d of whatever she collected to support Life, when she could not prevail upon the Plunderers to take 42 that away too, nor longer resist the Violence of her Passion, and the Extremity of her Want, cut the Throat of her own Sucking infant, dress’d him, eat half of him, and hid the rest; which being found, she left it to the choice of the Discoverers, either to eat it themselves, or leave it for her. In a word, there were no Calamities that could possibly come upon so wicked a People, for so horrid a Fact, as the Crucifixion of the Messiah. but they felt it to the utmost. The Sword and the Famine together, destroy’d to the number of 11000000. Upon the taking of the City, the Seditious cut one another’s Throats. Part of the Inhabitants were preserv’d for Triumph, others condemn’d to the Mines in Egypt, others to Die in the Theatres, and 90000 of them to perpetual Slavery. And all this exactly, and in every Circumstance, agreeable to what Christ had foretold, as whoever compares the Relation of Josephus with the Predictions of our Saviour, must immediately acknowledge with Astonishment.
Of this dreadful Desolation, the Jews had been premonish’d by a great many surprising Signs and Prodigies; a Comet in the Form of a Flaming-Sword, which hung over the City for a Year together; a shining Expanse of Light about the Altar in the Night, at the time of the Feast of Unleavened Bread; and a Heifer in the Temple prepar’d for Sacrifice, brought forth a Lamb. The great Brass Door of the Inner-Temple, which the Strength of Twenty 43 Men could hardly shut, though fasten’d with large Iron Bars that went deep into the Ground, open’d of it self. Some Days after was seen an Apparition of an incredible Size; Chariots and Armies engag’d in the Air, and Cities besieg’d. An Earthquake was felt by the Priests in the Temple, accompany’d with terrible Noises and Voices. Four Years before the War, Jesus, the Son of Ananias, a Plebeian, at the Celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles, went through all Parts of the City crying aloud, a Voice from the East; a voice from the West; a voice from the Four Winds; a Voice against Jerusalem and the Temple; a Voice against the Bridegrooms and the Brides; a Voice against the Nation. And tho’ miserably beaten and abus’d by Order of the Jewish Rulers, and afterwards fley’d with Scourges to the Bone, he receiv’d the Correction meekly, without desiring Favour, or shedding a Tear; at every Stroak mournfully repeating Wo, Wo to Jerusalem. About the same time there was found a Sacred Oracle, or Prophecy of a certain Person that should then arise out of that Country, and become an Universal King. This Josephus applies to Vespasian, whose Dominion only extended over the Roman Empire; whereas it is applicable to Christ alone, to whom said the Father, Desire of me, and I will give thee the Heathen for thine Inheritance, and the utmost Parts of the Earth for they Possession; and whose Apostles were then fulfilling that Prophecy of the Psalmist, Their Sound is gone forth unto all Lands, and their Words unto the end of the World.44
This Josephus, from whom we take the foregoing Account; was Born in Jerusalem, and a Jewish Priest. He was an active Party in the War, the greatest Man of his time among the Jews, not only in theirs, but in the Judgment of the Romans themselves, who erected him a Statue in Rome, and plac’d his Works in the Publick Library. He wrote the Antiquities of the Jews, and the History of the Jewish War, in Hebrew and Greek, and is a very faithful Historian. He wrote beside, two Books against Appion [Apion] and others, in Defence of the Jews. In the first of these he asserts the Divine Authority of the Books of the Old Testament, and witnesses the profound and pious Veneration, which the Nation of the Jews ever had for them. He wrote several other excellent Pieces, particularly his Maccabaicum, and had laid the Design of many more; and tells us, for the Authority of his History, that Emperors, and other great Men, had given in their Testimony to it; that the Emperor Titus had subscrib’d it with his own Hand, and that King Agrippa had written Sixty two Epistles, to vouch for the Truth of it.
After the Destruction of Jerusalem, the Apostles, Disciples, and Kindred of Christ, as many as were remaining, conven’d (as ’tis confirm’d) and chose unanimously, for Successor to St. James, Simeon [Symeon], the Son of Cleopas, and Nephew to Christ, according to Hegesippus, who makes Cleopas the Brother of Joseph. At the same time Vespasian molested the Jews afresh, 45 upon a Resolution he had taken to extirpate the Posterity of David.
After Vespasian came Titus, in the Second Year of whose Reign Linus deceasing, when he had held the See of Rome Twelve Years, left it to Anencletus : And to Titus succeeded his Brother Domitian, in whose Fourth Year Annianus, the first Bishop of Alexandria, deceasing, Avilius receiv’d the Chair; as Clement (mention’d in the Epistle to the Philippians) succeeded upon the Death of Anencletus, that had been Bishop Twelve Years. This Clement wrote a celebrated Epistle to the Corinthians, occasion’d by a Schism at Corinth, and Read publicly in the Churches at this Day.
The Second Persecution was now set a foot by Domitian, and St. John the Evangelist was banish’d into the Isle of Patmos, where (according to Irenæus) he receiv’d his Revelation. To this Persecution, and the Martyrdoms of it, as particularly that of Flavia Domitilla, the Consul’s Niece, the Enemies of Christianity have born witness upon Record. At the same time Domitian being troubled with the Jealousy which Herod had formerly receiv’d, order’d Search to be made after such Persons as were of Kin to Christ; and the Grandsons of Judas (the Brother of Christ, according to the Flesh) were brought before him; (says Hegesippus) but when he had examin’d them, and understood the meanness of their Condition, and that the Kingdom of Christ was not of this World, but Future and Spiritual, he gave no farther Disturbance 46 to them, or the Church; and afterwards they held Episcopal Authority in it, down to the time of Trajan.
Nerva succeeded Domitian, and St. John, among others, that had been banish’d by Domitian, was recall’d, resided at Ephesus, and govern’d the Churches of Asia.
In the First Year of Trajan, who follow’d Nerva, Avilius, having been Bishop of Alexandria Thirteen Years, died, and Cerdo succeeded him; and upon the Death of Evodius, Ignatius was made Bishop of Alexandria.
And here we must not omit a remarkable Tradition which is left us by Clemens of Alexandria. St. John, when upon occasion of ordaining Bishops, and settling Churches, he visited the Provinces adjoyning, came into a certain City not far from Ephesus, and among the Converts there, observ’d a young Man, with a very comely Aspect, but of a florid and sanguine Temper. Him particularly the Apostle, before his departing, recommended to the vigilance of the Bishop whom he had ordain’d in that place. Whereupon the Bishop took special Charge of him till after he had baptiz’d him, and then he thought there was not so much occasion to look as narrowly to him as he had hitherto done. The young Man finding the Rein slacken’d, and falling into ill Company, gave himself up to a Libertine Life, grew desperate, committed all manner of Rapines and Violences, and was elected Captain of a Gang of Banditti. Some time after, the 47 Apostle visited the same City again, and demanding at the Bishop’s Hands the Pledge which he had so strictly oblig’d him to secure; the Bishop with Sighs and Tears inform’d him of the wicked Courses the Youth had taken to. St. John having blam’d the Pastor’s Negligence, hasts to the place where the Thieves were lodg’d, and being seiz’d by them, desires they would carry him to their Captain, who, upon sight of the Apostle, presently speeded away; but being closely pursu’d by him, with the most pathetical Invitations to return and amend, and with a thousand Assurances of Reconciliation to God, stop’d his Horse, came trembling and weeping, fell down and embrac’d the Apostle’s Knees, was most heartily receiv’d by him, went through a Course of Pennance, and was restor’d to the Communion of the Church, and stands recorded a most affecting and memorable Example of the Efficacy of a sincere Repentance.
The Gospel of St. John has been at all times, and in all places, receiv’d for Canonical. It was writ, as it is plac’d, after the other three, the Authority of which this Apostle confirm’d, and in his own supply’d that part of the History which was wanting before the Baptist’s Imprisonment, beginning his Relation with an Account of the Eternal Generation of the Son of God. The other three Gospels have also been ever universally acknowledg’d Canonical, together with the Acts of the Apostles, which was written by St. Luke, an Antiochian by 48 Birth, and a Physician by Profession. He was conversant with the Apostles, and for many Years together attended St. Paul, who is understood to mean St. Luke’s, where he says, According to my Gospel.
In Imitation of Simon the Sorcerer, Menander his Country-man and Disciple, a Magician too, pretended himself to be the Saviour of the World, and that no body could hold those Angels in Subjection, which (he said) created the World, but by learning his Magick, and receiving his Baptism; in consequence whereof he promis’d his Followers a delightful Immortality upon Earth. There was also the Sect of the Ebionæans, who held that Christ was an ordinary Man, begotten by Joseph on Mary; though some of them deny’d only his Eternal Generation, and asserted that he was the Just One, barely in respect of his extraordinary Virtue; they affirm’d that the Ceremonial Law still remains in force; and that St. Paul was therefore an Apostate, whose Epistles they rejected, and admitted no other Gospel but the spurious one, according to the Hebrews, and kept the Jewish Sabbath, not including the Observation of the Lord’s Day. Cerinthus, at the same time, asserted, That Angels had reveal’d to him that after the Resurrection, Christ should Reign a Thousand Years upon Earth, Jerusalem flourish again, and that those who were worthy should inhabit there, and have all their Carnal Appetites indulg’d and gratify’d to the highest degree. This is the 49 Account which Caius and Dionysius of Alexandria gives of Cerinthus and his Heresy. Irenæus relates, as by Tradition from Polycarp, That St. John being accidentally in a Bath where Cerinthus was present, immediately left it, and desir’d his Followers to do the like, for fear the Building should fall upon their Heads. The Nicolaitans (mention’d in the Revelations) were Contemporaries with Cerinthus. They boasted themselves to be Followers of Nicolas, the Deacon, who (as these Hereticks would have it) when the Apostles reprov’d him for being Jealous of his Wife, brought her forth, and offer’d her to any body that would accept of her, and taught, That every Man ought to abuse his own Flesh, which his pretended Followers foully misinterpreted and practis’d : Whereas Nicolas, ’tis certain, was constant to one Wife, his Daughters perpetual Virgins, and his Son never marry’d. ’Tis true, he declar’d himself ready to be separated from his Wife, but it was in token of the Conquest he had obtain’d over his Appetites; and by abusing the Flesh, he meant nothing else but Mortification and Continence; as did likewise St. Matthias, when he us’d the same Expression.
Of the Apostles, three were marry’d, St. Peter, St. Paul, and St. Philip. St. Philip had Children, as had also St. Peter, who (as Clement relates) beholding his Wife carry’d to Martyrdom, exulted, and encourag’d her, and earnestly call’d to her, O Woman, be mindful of the Lord. St. Philip and his three Daughters, 50 one of which was marry’d after the time, when in the Acts they are all said to be Virgins, died at Hierapolis in Asia, and were there buried (as we learn from Polycrates, who was Bishop of Ephesus, in his Epistle to Victor, Bishop of Rome, and also from Caius before-cited) and St. John who wore a Sacerdotal Tiaræ or Mitre, (ἱορὺς τὸ πέταλον πεφορεκὼς, as Polycrates expresses it) died and was bury’d at Ephesus, being not the same Person with John the Elder, who was also bury’d there.
Under Trajan came on the Third Persecution, in which suffer’d Symeon [Simeon], the Second Bishop of Jerusalem, the Son of Cleopas, and who in all probability had seen Christ in the Flesh. He was inform’d against as a Christian, and one of the Family of David, by certain Hereticks, who were found themselves to be of the same Descent. And though he was an Hundred and twenty Years old, yet he endur’d the Torture so couragiously and unconcernedly, that the Officers and Spectators at the Execution were strangely astonish’d; and when he had suffer’d those Cruelties he was crucify’d. My Author is Hegesippus, who further adds, That till now, the Church had preserv’d her self pure and unspotted, and that hitherto Heresy had been modest, and manag’d in secret; but that so soon as the College of the Apostles, and those who had known Christ upon Earth, became Extinct, Impiety, and Heterodoxy, appear’d Bare-fac’d, and made a very bold and considerable Progress. This 51 Persecution was abated so soon as Pliny, the Younger, had represented to the Emperor, what Multitudes it destroy’d of Innocent Persons that abhorr’d the Crimes alleg’d against them of Adultery, Homicide, and the like, and were guilty of no other Misdemeanor but Singing Anthems every Morning to Christ, their God. Having receiv’d this Account of the Matter, the Emperor order’d that Informers should no longer be employ’d against them; but that nevertheless as often as any voluntary Information was exhibited, they should be prosecuted.
Symeon was succeeded in the See of Jerusalem by Justus, of Jewish Extraction; and Clement, (who died in the Third Year of Trajan), after he had been Bishop of Rome Nine Years) by Evarestus.
There were now also eminent in the Church, Polycarp, an immediate Disciple of the Apostles, and by them made Bishop of Smyrna; Papias, Bishop of Hierapolis; the celebrated Ignatius, Successor to St. Peter in the See of Antioch, who for the Profession of the Faith, was carry’d out of Syria to Rome, and expos’d to the Wild Beasts in the Amphitheatre, encouraging and strengthening the Churches as he pass’d, and cautioning them strictly against the Poyson of Heresy, or departing from the Doctrine of the Apostles. He has admirably express’d his vehement Desire of Martyrdom in that Epistle which he wrote to the Romans. He sent beside an Epistle to the Church at Ephesus, 52 where he names Onesimus as their Bishop; another to the Magnesians, where he names Dæmus as Bishop of that Church; and Polybius as Bishop of the Trallians, in his Epistle to them. These were all written from Smyrna. From Troas afterwards he wrote to the Philadelphians, to the Church of Smyrna; and to Polycarp, commending his Flock at Antioch to his Care. Of these Epistles, and their Author, Polycarp speaks very honourably in his own Epistle to the Philippians, exhorting them to imitate the great Example of the latter, and admonishing them of the Edification and Benefit they might reap from the former. Add to the aforesaid Worthies, Quadratus, endu’d with the Gift of Prophecy. But I have not adequate Opportunity to particularize that Cloud of Witnesses who surviv’d or succeeded the Apostles, and were left to Plant, Confirm, and Govern Churches; in order whereunto they first made sale of their Fortunes and Possessions, distributing the Money among the Indigent, and travell’d from place to place, dispersing the Evangelical Doctrines and Writings, and confirming the Truth of their Assertions by the Miracles which they wrought. I confine myself therefore to those of the number, who live still among us in their excellent Writings.
Among which Monuments has come down to us, the Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, which, by the frequent Quotations it fetches from the Epistle to the Hebrews, attests 53 the Antiquity and Divine Authority of that Epistle; and by the Affinity of the Stile, ’tis more probable that that Epistle, written by St. Paul in Hebrew, was translated by St. Clement than by St. Luke. The other Epistle ascrib’d to Clement, is not of equal Weight and Authority with the first, the Ancients having never regarded it. Neither do they take the least notice of Peter and Apion’s Disputations, and those other bulky Pieces ascrib’d to this Author, and which contain in them Heretical Notions.
Papias (according to Irenæus) a disciple of St. John, and Companion of Polycarp’s, though himself does no where say, That he convers’d with any of the Apostles, but only with those that had been intimate with them, wrote Five Books, which he entituled Explications of the Oracles of Christ; where he has inserted a great Variety of remarkable Particulars communicated to him by those who had known the Apostles; and lets us understand that he made it his Business, as it fell in his way, to enquire after the Sayings of Andrew, or Philip, or Peter, or Thomas, or any other of the Apostles. He tells us (what Philip’s Daughters had imparted to him) of a dead Body rais’d to Life again; and how that Justus, surnam’d Barsabas, having drunk a Draught of Poyson, received no manner of Hurt or Indisposition by it, and that St. Matthew wrote his Gospel in Hebrew, leaving it to the Reader to interpret for himself. His Writings have some Passages 54 in them Legendary and Groundless, particularly his Opinion, that after the Resurrection, Christ should reign visibly a Thousand Years upon Earth, which he was led into, being a plain and illiterate Man, by misunderstanding some Allegorical and Mystick Expressions of the Apostles; and afterwards the earliness of his Authority, drew Irenæus and others, into the same Error.