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scholars, by directing their attention to those very valuable and comprehensive compilations, which contain a vast mass of passages saved out of the wreck of the old Greek historians.

The manuscript of Origen was among those brought from Greece by a certain Minoides Mynas, a Greek employed by the French government, under the auspices of M. Villemain, to make literary researches in the Levant. The collection of Mynas contained also the curious and clever fables of Babrias, already repeatedly edited in France and in Germany, and in England by Mr. Cornewall Lewis. This MS. is of the fourteenth century, written by a scribe named Michael, no doubt a Greek monk. In the first official description of the collection it was merely described as “a MS, on cotton paper, containing a refutation of beresies by an anonymous author. The quick and experienced eye of M. Miller at once discerned evidence that it could be no other than the long-lost work called the Philosophoumena of Origen.' Of this treatise, known to have comprised ten books, only part of the first book had hitherto been supposed extant. The three first are wanting in the Mynas codex, as likewise a small part of the fourth, and some leaves at the end. Not merely did the internal evidence suggest at once the author of the text, but it appeared that the copyist had been perfectly aware that the treatise was Origen’s, and generally recognised as such when he made his transcript. When, for example, towards the close of the last book, the author states his own opinion on the true doctrines of Christianity, the scribe has written on the margin poryérns and payévous dóža. On such a subject, even if the case seemed less clear, we should be disposed to treat the opinion of M. Miller with much deference and respect. He seems, from the execution of his present task, fully to deserve his reputation as a sound and judicious scholar : we may indeed rejoice that Paris has one so well qualified to take the place of Letronne.

Accepting then for the present his conclusion that the work is Origen’s, we proceed to give some brief account of its contents : selecting those points on which the matter is either curious or new, or throws unexpected light on controverted subjects--such passages more especially as may be interesting to the general reader as well as to the habitual student of Christian antiquities. This is no easy task, for the MS. seems to have been very carelessly written. The editor has corrected many of the most manifest errors. His conjectural emendations, where the blunders and corruptions are less obvious, seem in general acute and felicitous. The former amendments are very properly admitted into the text, the latter subjoined in the notes and submitted to the judgment of the reader. The Greek, as that of Origen usually is, is easy


and perspicuous, where the subject-matter is clear and distinct ; but treating, as it often does, on very abstruse questions of philosophy and religion, and even on things in common life familiar to the author's contemporaries, but altogether obsolete and unknown in our day, it is in many places not only difficult to comprehend, but still more difficult to render into English. Perhaps we might more prudently have awaited the Essay which the editor has promised to publish in French, on the contents, scope, and value of the work; but we have been so much struck with some passages illustrative and characteristic of a period on which Pagan and Christian historians are all but totally silent--the latter part of the second and the commencement of the third century (from Commodus to Gallienus)- with the whimsical medley of information not only on the philosophy but also on the manners of the times—with one or two fragments of poetry of a high order—with details on ancient conjuring, and on the Messrs. Robins and Phillips of Rome and the provinces—with new names of heresiarchs and sectarians, and more full accounts of the opinions of others already known by name; above all we have been so startled by some very singular details on the state of the Church and the lives of one or two popes of that period, that we feel ourselves irresistibly tempted to anticipate, by a few brief notices, the more elaborate dissertations of M. Miller.

The work announces itself as a Refutation of All Heresies. The theory of Origen is that all the heresies which are broadly described as those of the Gnostics, and even those concerning the nature of the Godhead, which, commencing from Noetus, through Sabellius, afterwards

rise to the great Trinitarian controversy, sprung directly from the Greek philosophy. Origen manifestly does not exclude Oriental influences; but his view seems to be that these Oriental influences chiefly worked througlr the philosophy of the Grecks. The first and most famous of the Greek sages had drawn largely from Egypt, perhaps Chaldea, and were not indeed altogether unacquainted with India. This was a theory likely to be embraced by one whose chief education had been in Alexandria, and who, as it should seem, addressed his treatise almost exclusively to Greek or Roman Christians. The three first books of the Refutation, still lost, except the portion of the first which M. Miller has reprinted from the text of De la Rue, are most fortunately those which we can best spare. They contained a summary of the doctrines of the different schools of Greek philosophy, of which we have elsewhere copious and trustworthy accounts. Taken as a whole, the remaining seven books, which, more or less complete, fill this volume, are to us the most living and remarkable revelation of the strange anarchy and confusion of opinions that prevailed among the more learned and cultivated classes, through all which genuine Christianity was slowly working its way.



There was, we are persuaded, a strong under-current-perhaps an upper-current also-of sound religion, more deep, pure, and strong. Many humble and simple minds received at once, in quiet and ardent and less inquiring faith, the truths of the gospel. There were those, in no inconsiderable numbers, who believed from the heart—who accepted the glad tidings—the consolations of the gospel--because they were glad and consolatory--who bowed before the irresistible evidence of Christianity presented in the purity of its precepts, in its proinise of pardon, peace, everlasting life. There were some of a higher intellectual being, who rose at once to the unincumbered majesty of its great truths, and who, with instinctive good sense, stood aloof from the subtile and presumptuous questions which Christianity did not profess to solve, or on which it avowedly maintained a wise and lofty reserve; questions, in regard to which the most enlightened of mankind, having gone sounding on into depths which become more and more unfathomable, returns to the shore, falls on his knees, and worships God in the illimitable harmony of his universe--in the wonderful world within himself-with calm hopelessness of coinprehending further-hopelessness which has nothing of the gloom, terror, or agony of despair.

But the vast mass of the upper classes had received their whole education in the schools of rhetoric and philosophy--the universities and colleges of those days. And many of these, not only with that specious and disdainful hospitality with which Rome had admitted all foreign gods into her Pantheon ; not merely with that cosmopolitan indifference with which all religions and all superstitions were allowed to coexist during the great era of peace --the reigns of Hadrian and the elder Antonines ;—but with an honest and eager thirst after truth, were content to give Christianity a fair hearing, and partially at least to admit its purity and sublimity. What they could not and would not comprehend was its pretension to sole and exclusive truth. It might enter into their wide eclecticism, might harmonise itself, as best it could, with Pythagoras, or Plato; above all, it might not presume to set itself above those cosmogonical or theurgic questions on which those who were called the physical philosophers, or the astrologers, or the mathematicians, the whole host indeed of the leaders in the schools, professed to instruct mankind. Such was to a great extent the state of educated society throughout the world. the heathen part of this condition of things we have strange


glimpses in the writings of Lucian and Apuleius. And all that we know of the Christian Gnostics, from Cerinthus to Montanus and Manes, shows the same wild confusion, if not within the pale, under the denomination, using the language and resting for the most part on the sacred books, of Christianity. This is a kind of border land, where Christianity, heathenism, philosophy, Orientalism, met, mingled, and fermented in incessant turmoil and strife, Christianity had now assisted to a great extent in this total disorganization of ancient creeds and opinions, but it had by no means compelled all which it had cast loose, into the fold of its own organization. Within its own sanctuary-within its own baptized communities--it was the truth, the way, the life. But without it was one of many religions, of which each might take what he would, and mould it, whether in seeming concord or glaring incongruity, with tenets and opinions swept together from all quarters and out of all systems. The chamber of Alexander Severus, where Abraham and Orpheus, and Christ, and Apollonius of Tyana, met together in seeming amity and shared the impartial veneration of the amiable emperor, was the type and symbol of the belief through a large part of the Roman world.

That which was the peculiar excellence and strength of Christianity was at the same time its weakness—its absolutely and exclusively moral and religious spirit: its reserve, its modesty so to speak, which shrunk from, which refused to answer, much on which the Oriental religions and the philosophy of the Greeks dwelt as an essential, as an attainable part of human knowledge, and of perfect religion. A religion which made no physical or metaphysical revelations--must not presume to displace a religion or a philosophy which professed to interpret all such problems. The plain sublime truth of the one Great Creator, the Father and Ruler of the worlds, as taught in the Churches, was a meagre and unsatisfactory doctrine to those who had been discussing in the schools what God was—one or more of the elements—or all the elements combined whether fire or water—whether coexistent with or anterior to the original matter. The Omnific Word, by which, according to St. John, the Father made the worlds, seemed at once to accord with, but could not be allowed to supersede the countless theories about the Demiurge ; whether he were one of the long chain of æons emanating from the Sole Supreme, the Primal, the Dark, the Ineffable, or a hostile and, as commingled with matter, a malignant Being. The connexion and mutual relation of the visible and invisible world, of the starry heavens and the earth; the mystic powers of numbers; the prophetic functions of words and letters ; allegorical interpretations of the Greek mythology--all was to be blended and fused into Chris

tianity. tianity. Discomfited philosophy and discomfited superstition would come to terms; and provided that Christianity would amicably coalesce, and allow full scope for the wildest speculation, they would admit at least much of the language of the new religion. They would receive the sacred books with this privilege of unlicensed interpretation ; though some of them are accused of throwing off all the severe constraint of Christian morals—while some no doubt, though on different principlesprinciples which afterwards worked too deeply into monastic Christianity-vied with and transcended the followers of the simple Gospel in their austere asceticism,

With this view, which deserves perhaps to be wrought out at greater length than our space will permit on the present occasion, coincides the fact broadly stated by Gibbon, that Gnostic Christianity spread chiefly among the higher and more opulent classes. Initiation, it should appear, into the Basilidian mysteries, as into the Eleusinian and Isiac, was a costly proceeding. *

The author of the work now before us, at the imperfect opening of his fourth book, appears in conflict with a certain school, who had mingled up the Chaldean astrology with Christianity. On astrology itself he makes an onslaught with vigour and success. The impossibility of calculating horoscopes is shrewdly and effectively demonstrated, but with a particularity of detail somewhat curious to those who recollect the personal history of Origen. How is it, he asks in one sentence, that since the nativities of so many must have exactly coincided with that of Alexander the Great, none other was so fortunate as Alexander? He soon, however, gets beyond his depth ; confounds astronomy with astrology; and offers a memorable example of the great truth, applicable in every age of Christianity, that, if philosophy should respect the province of religion, religion should no less respect that of philosophy. It is not more unwise to demand scientific demonstration on articles of faith, than to decide scientific questions out of the Bible. He taunts no less distinguished men than Archimedes, Hipparchus, and Apollonius, with discrepancies in their respective calculations on the distances of the planets- and then winds up with this impotent sneer against, perhaps, the highest name in Grecian science, that of Ptolemy, Who will not be amazed at the thought and toil spent on these calculations? This Ptolemy, who has so carefully studied these things, is not altogether an useless person. I am only grieved by this, that, being of modern times, he could be of no service to the sons of the Giants, who, knowing nothing of these measurements, thought that the heights

* Compare Munter, Primordia Ecclesiæ Africanæ, p. 22, note.


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