« PoprzedniaDalej »
early Church, whether Ante- or Post-Nicene, would be voted to be very dry reading by those who have no interest in any but devotional works, and who require to be carried along by the attractions of a modern style. This description of persons, however, was not contemplated in the republication of such works :
“The chief writers on the early heresies are: Irenæus, of the second century; Hippolytus, his pupil, of the third ; Philastrius, Epiphanius, and St. Augustine, of the fourth century. The learned need scarcely be reminded of the comprehensive digest furnished by Ittigius in the preface to his dissertation on the heresies of the apostolic and post-apostolic ages. A book more within the reach of the general reader is Dr. Burton's Inquiry into the Heresies of the Apostolic Age.” (p. 30.)
But the last name, that of the late learned Regius Professor of Divinity, would be of no more weight as an argument for reading any one of those writers, than that of the first in the list, who was only one remove from the Apostle John, if there were no desire for information upon such matters. Great, too, is the difference between acquiring a sketchy acquaintance with those philosophizing heretics from treatises, however respectable, born in our own day, and those which came out at only a short space from the birth of Christianity itself; a difference almost as great as is found between water which before it reaches our lips has passed through a tank and other vessels, and that which comes to us fresh from the spring. Students of theology in our Universities, and expectants of ordination, would do well to remember, that it was not by reading Compendiums, by satisfying themselves with publications as short as they are cheap, professing to furnish “omne scibile” on the subject of Divinity, that the “masters in Israel” of our own day, about whom all are agreed that they are completely accoutred in the panoply of theological knowledge,-it was not by any such short cuts that these men have attained to their eminence, but by a "patient continuance” in sacred studies, either commencing from, or tracing their inquiries up to, the original sources. Quite as true now, and as applicable to the present case, are the words of Thucydides which he used with respect to historical facts :-"So unwilling to take trouble are most men in their inquiry for truth, preferring to turn to what is ready to their hands." Could a heathen say, “Nothing great has Heaven given to men, without labour;" and shall not the same law prevail in respect of the studies which have God's eternal truth for their subject?
We can imagine a student of divinity, upon opening this work of Hippolytus, (never before, perhaps, having heard even
Vol. 68.–No. 374.
of the name of the writer of it), secretly asking, of what imaginable service to me can any of these become ?
" Thales, his physics and theology (Contents, p. 1); Pythagoras, his cosmogony and transmigration of souls; Empedocles, his two-fold cause; Heraclitus, his universal dogmatism, his theory of flux, and other systems; Anaximander, his theory of the Infinite, his astronomic opinions, his physics; Anaximenes, his system of an infinite air; Anaxagoras, his theory of mind; Archelaus, his origin of the earth and of animals; Parmenidas, his theory of unity, his eschatology; Leucippus, his atomic theory; Democritus, his duality of principle; Xenophanes, his notions of God and nature; Ecphantus, his tenet of infinity; Hippo, his psychology.”
The reply is, that these several systems, shown o be the groundwork, become thereby the key, to the wild phantasies of the first and second centuries; the knowledge of which fact may suggest a warning to ourselves, that we do not give an entrance to any false principles, “any wood, hay, stubble” of man's inventions; since a building may quickly rise, of equally base materials, and “whose end," alike, “ is to be burned.”
The reader whom we have supposed would be less likely to despise these Writings of Hippolytus, when, sending his eye onwards through the Contents, he should perceive that the remaining chapters of the First Book are occupied with Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, Epicurus, the Academics, and the Druids; for he has been taught to associate the names of some of these authors and systems with the notions that prevailed at the beginning of the Gospel history, while of others as mentioned, or plainly referred to, in the Acts and Epistles he has a clear recollection. The reader, without being displeased, is reminded that he is in the company of a Scotch editor, when, at the end of the Table of Contents of Book I., he finds within brackets [“ Books II. and III. awanting”'], and is introduced to Book IV., of which it is said in a foot note,
“The beginning of this book is evidently missing. Even the sentence with which what remains of it begins is imperfect. The deficiency is supplied here and elsewhere from Sextus Empiricus, whom Hippolytus has compiled from.” (p. 64.)
In this Fourth Book, Hippolytus first explains the system of sidereal influence over men. This explanation includes the “ Chaldean Astrology," with a notice of - The Heresy derivable from it," and of the “Horoscope,” which is thus described :
“Horoscope (from üpa 6:0góc) is the act of observing the aspect of the heavens at the moment of any particular birth. Hereby the astrologer alleged his ability of foretelling the future career of the person so born. The most important part of the sky for the astrologer's consideration was that sign of the Zodiac which rose above the horizon at the moment of parturition. This was the ' horoscope ascendant,' or 'first house. The circuit of the heavens was divided into twelve 'houses,' or zodiacal signs.” (p. 66.)
As a branch of the latter, is added “The system of the Arithmeticians," "who, by means of numbers and names, suppose that they interpret life.” Not wholly dissimilar from the modern system of Lavater (though we would not injure his memory by attributing to him a belief in zodiacal inferences), and others of kindred ideas, is the account given of the physiognomists :
“There is another more profound art among the all-wise speculators of the Greeks (to whom heretical individuals boast that they attach themselves as disciples).... an art of divination by examination of the forehead; or, rather, I should say, it is madness: yét we shall not be silent as regards this system. There are some who ascribe to the stars figures that mould the ideas and disposi. tions of men, assigning the reason of this to births under particular stars."
The “Futility of this theory of Stellar Influence” is set forth in the Twenty-seventh Chapter, after separate enumeration of the types of those born under the several zodiacal signs :
“Hippolytus, having explained the system of sidereal influence over men, proceeds to detail the magical rites and operations of the sorcerers. This arrangement is in conformity with the technical divisions of astrology into (1) judiciary, (2) natural. The former related to the prediction of future events, and the latter of the phenomena of nature, being thus akin to the art of magic.” (p. 93.)
The “ fraud of the foregoing practices,” and “their connection with heresy,” is the useful appendage which makes up the Forty-second Chapter : so is, just after, a vindication of the use of these discussions, which are with the view of ex. posing the heretics, and reclaiming those who had been their victims.
The system of the Chaldean horoscope, and the magical rites and incantations of the Babylonian Theurgists, which thus occupies the Fourth Book, is succeeded by that portion of the work extending hrough Books V.-IX., which relates more immediately to the heresies of the Church.
“The heresies enumerated by Hippolytus comprehend a period starting from an age prior to the composition of St. John's Gospel, and terminating with the death of Callistus. The heresies are explained according to chronological development, and may be ranged under five leading schools : (1) The Ophites; (2) Simonists; (3) Basilidians; (4) Docetæ; (5) Noetians. Hippolytus ascends to the origin of heresy, not only in assigning heterodoxy a derivative nature from heathenism, but in pointing out in the Gnosis elements of abnormal opinions antecedent to the promulgation of Christianity. We have thus a most interesting account of the early heresies, which in some respects supplies many desiderata in the ecclesiastical history of this epoch.” (p. 21.)
On these heads of Heresy we can only just touch. Hippolytus regards the Ophites as the grand source of heresy. The title, from the Greek word for " serpent” (ophis), may be regarded as the generic denomination for all the advocates of this phase of Gnosticism. The priests and champions of the system were at the first called Naasseni, being so denominated from the Hebrew language, in which the serpent is called nachash. Their theory of the soul has an affinity to that of the Assyrians, and draws support from the Phrygian and Egyptian mysteries. They allegorize our Saviour's miracles, and other leading facts of Christianity. The Peratæ are another division of the Ophites; they derive their system from the astrologers. “Most of what is mentioned by Hippolytus concerning this sect is new, as the chief writers on the early heresies are comparatively silent concerning the Peratæ; indeed, Irenæus, Tertullian, and Epiphanius completely so." “ The Peratic heresy is not generally known," the author tells us, “and is altogether a tissue of fable, and one that disguises its own peculiar venom,” derived from its insane fancies respecting the Serpent, which, however, they deduce from Scripture. The import of their name, Peratics, is Transcendentalists. The Sethians are another division of the Ophites; they allegorize Scripture, but really derive their system from natural philosophers, and from the Ophic rites. « The system of Justinus," the author assures us, “is framed by him, not out of the Holy Scriptures, but from the detail of marvels furnished by Herodotus the historian.” He holds a triad of principles, and founded on it a theory of the Angels. Then, the Simonists, of whose leader it is said :
“This Simon being an adept in sorceries, both making a mockery of many, partly according to the art of Thrasymedes, in the manner in which we have explained above, and partly also by the assistance of demons perpetrating his villany, attempted to deify himself.
But] the man was a smere7 cheat, and full of folly, and the Apostles reproved him in the Acts.” (p. 196.)
Basilides adopted the Aristotelian doctrine of Non-entity as a cause; and affirmed that there is a non-existent God. The doctrine of the Docetæ was derived from the Greek Sophists : they were called by that name because they held, or supposed “the body of Jesus to be a phantom, thus denying the proper humanity of our Saviour.” The system of Noetus amounted to a denial of a distinction of persons in the godhead. It was opposed at Rome by Hippolytus. The conduct of Callistus and Zephyrinus in the matter of Noetianism (an event contemporaneous with the time of Hippolytus), is the occasion of an amusing episode on the personal history of the former, who, it seems, having set up as a banker in Rome, committed a fraud on Carpophorus, who had committed to him," as being of the faith, no inconsiderable sum of money," with which, along with “some deposits by widows and orphans," he made away. Callistus escaped to sea, but was detected after he had gone on board a vessel about to sail. He threw himself into the sea, but was taken out by the sailors; and then condemned to the treadmill, and subsequently barished to Sardinia. Being released from exile by the interference of Marcia, he arrived at Rome, but was removed thence to Antium by Pope Victor, at whose death, returning to Rome, he found a friend in Zephyrinus. “The Callistian School at Rome” was corrupt in its doctrin.es, but its practices were incredibly immoral. · It would almost seem as if the name of “Callistus” (very fine or very fair) was bestowed on him in severe irory, his tenets pointing out“Kakistos” as the name with which he should have been branded.
“The following are the contents of the tenth book of the * Refutation of all Heresies : '-an Epitome of all Philosophers; an Epitome of all keresies; and, in conclusion to all, What the Doctrire of the Truth is.”
In reference to the latter, the Translator says :“Hippolytus, by his arrangement, recognises the duty not merely of overthrowing error, but substantiating truth, or, in other words, the negative and positive aspect of theology. His brief statement (chap. xxviii.-xxx.) in the latter department, along with being eminently reflective, constitutes a noble specimen of patristic eloquence." (p. 403.)
We learn from the Translator's "Introductory Notice,” that the whole of the contents of this volume, (for such, we presume, is intended by “The entire of The Refutation of all Heresies,'"). with the exception of Book i., was found in a MS. brought from a convent on Mount Athos in the year 1842, the discoverer of the "treasure” being Minoïdes Mynas, a learned Greek, who had been directed by the Minister of Public Instruction under Louis Philippe, to search for ancient MSS., in executing which commission he had visited his native country. To the University of Oxford belongs a share of the credit of giving to to the world the valuable work which the French Government had been instrumental in bringing to light, the “Refutation” having been printed at the Clarendon Press in 1851. The authorship of this work has been a subject of question. It has been ascribed, in turn, to Origen and
wybiela commune og alustb.contented at the ben origen