« PreviousContinue »
still remaining. It is called the Shepherd * or Pastor of Hermas. Its antiquity is incontestible, from the quotations of it in Irenæus, A. D. 178; Clement of Alexandria, A. D. 194; Tertullian, A. D. 200; Origen, A. D. 230. The notes of time extant in the epistle itself, agree with its title, and with the testimonies concerning it, for it purports to have been written during the lifetime of Clement.
In this piece are tacit allusions to Saint Matthew's, Saint Luke's, and Saint John's Gospels; that is to say, there are applications of thoughts and expressions found in these Gospels, without citing the place or writer from which they were taken. In this form appear in Hermas the confessing and denying of Christ t; the parable of the seed sown; the comparison of Christ's disciples to little children; the saying, “ he that putteth away his wife and marrieth another, committeth adultery $;" the singular expression, having received all power from his father,” in probable allusion to Matt. xxviii. 18; and Christ being the “ gate,” or only way of coming God,” in plain allusion to John, xiv. 6.; X. 7.9. There is also a probable allusion to Acts, v. 32.
* Lardner, Cred. vol. i. p. 111. + Matt. x. 32, 33. or, Luke, xii. 8, 9. # Matt. xiii. 3. or, Luke, viii. 5. § Luke, xvi. 18.
This piece is the representation of a vision, and has by many been accounted a weak and fanciful performance. I therefore observe, that the character of the writing has little to do with the purpose for which we adduce it. It is the age in which it was composed that gives the value to its testimony.
IV. Ignatius, as it is testified by ancient Christian writers, became bishop of Antioch about thirty-seven years after Christ's ascension ; and therefore, from his time, and place, and station, it is probable that he had known and conversed with many of the apostles. Epistles of Ignatius are referred to by Polycarp, his contemporary. Passages found in the epistles now extant under his name, are quoted by Irenæus, A. D. 178; by Origen, A. D. 230; and the occasion of writing the epistles is given at large by Eusebius and Jerome. What are called the smaller epistles of Ignatius, are. generally deemed to be those which were read by Irenæus, Origen, and Eusebius*.
In these epistles are various undoubted allusions to the Gospels of Saint Matthew and Saint John; yet so far of the same form with those in the preceding articles, that like them, they are not accompanied with marks of quotation.
Of these allusions the following are clear specimens :
“ Christ was baptized of John,
that all righteousness might be fulMat.t filled by him.”
“ Be ye wise as serpents in all things, and harmless as a dove."
* Lardner, Cred. vol. i. p, 147, - + Chap. iii. 15. 6. For thus it becomes us to fulfil all righteousness.
Chap. x. 16. 66 Be ye therefore' wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."
“ Yet the Spirit is not deceived, being from God: for it knows whence it comes, and whither it
“ He (Christ) is the door of the Father, by which enter in Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the apostles, and the church.”
As to the manner of quotation, this is observable :- Ignatius, in one place, speaks of Saint Paul in terms of high respect, and quotes his Epistle to the Ephesians by name; yet, in several other places, he borrows words and sentiments from the same epistle without mentioning it; which shows, that this was his general manner of using and applying writings then extant, and then of of high authority.
V. Polycarpt had been taught by the
# Chap. iii. 8. “ The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth ; so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”
Chap. X. 9. “ I am the door ; by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved."
+ Lardner, Cred, vol, i. p. 192.
apostles ; had conversed with many who had seen Christ; was also by the apostles appointed bishop of Smyrna. This testimony concerning Polycarp is given by Irenæus, who in his youth had seen him :-“I can tell the place,” saith Irenæus, “ in which the blessed Polycarp sat and taught, and his going out and coming in, and the manner of his life, and the form of his
person, and the discourses he made to the people, and how he related his conversation with John, and others who had seen the Lord, and how he related their sayings, and what he had heard concerning the Lord, both concerning his miracles and his doctrine, as he had received them from the eye-witnesses of the word of life: all which Polycarp related agreeable to the Scriptures.”
Of Polycarp, whose proximity to the age and country and persons of the apostles is thus attested, we have one undoubted epistle remaining. And this, though a short letter, contains nearly forty clear allusions to books of the New Testament; which is strong evidence of the respect which Christians of that age bore for these books.