Imagens das páginas




statue cast out of its mouth water in great abundance. when it was morning, the men of the city said, "Woe for us, because we are dying;" and they began to flee out of the city.

[ocr errors]

Then Andrew prayed : "O Lord Jesus Christ, send Michael thy archangel in a cloud of fire, and let him be a wall of fire around the city that no one be able to escape." And straightway a cloud of fire came down and encircled the city like a wall. And the water was as high as the neck of the men. And they cried out, "God of the stranger, take away from us this water." And the apostle said to the alabaster statue, 'Stop the water, for they have repented. And I say to thee, that if the citizens of this city shall believe, I will build a church and place thee in it, because thou hast done me this service." And the statue ceased flowing. And Andrew came out of the prison, and the water ran this way and that from the feet of the blessed Andrew. And an old man, who had given up his children to be slain to save himself, came and threw himself at the feet of the blessed Andrew, saying, "Have pity on me." And Andrew answered, "Together with this water shalt thou go into the abyss." And the blessed one, looking up to heaven, prayed before all the multitude; and the earth opened and swallowed up the water, and the old man along with the water. He was carried down into the abyss, together with the executioners.

[ocr errors]

And the men of the city, seeing what had happened, were exceedingly afraid, and began to say, "Woe unto us, because this man is of God; and now he will kill us because of the afflictions that we have caused him." And Andrew said to them, Fear not, children, for I shall not send you also to Hades, but those have gone that you may believe in our Lord Jesus Christ." Then the holy Andrew ordered to be brought up all who had died in the water. And they were not able to bring them; for there had died a great multitude both of men and women and cattle. Then Andrew prayed, and they all came to life. And after these things he built a



church, and baptized the people, and gave them the ordinances

of our Lord Jesus Christ. him to stay with them.

And the men of the city entreated But he went his way.

And the Lord Jesus, coming down from heaven like a comely little child, said, “Andrew, why hast thou left them without fruit? Return and remain there seven days, until I shall confirm their souls in the faith." Then Andrew turned and went back into the city, saying, "I thank thee, my Lord Jesus Christ, who wishest to save every soul, that thou hast not allowed me to go forth out of this city in mine anger.” And when he had returned into the city, they rejoiced with exceeding joy. And he stayed there seven days, teaching and confirming them in the Lord Jesus Christ. And the seven days being fulfilled, while the blessed Andrew was going out, all came together to him, from the child even to the elders, and sent him on his way, saying, "There is one God, the God of Andrew and our Lord Jesus Christ, who alone doeth wonders, to whom be glory and strength for ever.

Amen."* What fatuous credulity have we here! No wonder the ages which invented, received, circulated and transmitted fictions so monstrous and marvels so absurd, held me to be a real person, and propagated their belief over land and ocean and down to distant ages!

"Is it not a popular legend?" you ask, Theophilus. Possibly so; none the less gross must the credulity have been. There is, however, one redeeming quality in this narrative, as in many others of the same kind, viz., the moral glory of Jesus is sustained and even thrown into prominence by the deep shadows in which it is embedded. And if my moral ugliness serves to make his transcendent beauty appear more beautiful, I find consolation in the thought, and am content to live on if only to aid in bringing about its final supremacy.

* "Apocryphal Gospels," &c., in Clark's Ante-Nicene Library.

[blocks in formation]


THE advent of Christ is described by Milton as fatal to the superstitions of the pagan world:

From this happy day

The old dragon, under ground

In straiter limits bound,

Not half so far casts his usurped sway;

And, wroth to see his kingdom fail,

Swinges the scaly horror of his folded tail.

As the

As a prophetic prolepsis, this is undoubtedly true. statement of a fact, it is contradicted emphatically by my own experience. The immediate effect of the appearance of Christianity before the eye of the world was to call forth opposition from all the actual powers of society. Alike the philosophic and the sacerdotal world rallied and concentrated their forces against the invader of their domains. Appealing to my worst passions, they invoked and secured my aid. No sooner was that guaranteed than the black arts assumed unwonted activity, and society was afflicted with delusious and marvels most numerous and most deadly. The plagues of Egypt were renewed by the magicians of civilization.

Special efforts were made by a philosophy which, losing



its reason, became most unreasonable, and, ceasing to be divine, became demoniacal. Its entire effort was made with a view to withstand and throw back the swelling and advancing tides of the religion of Jesus. The labour was Herculean, and appeals came to me from all sides for aid in the tremendous issue. Then was it that I suggested a personal opponent to Christ. Christianity must be withstood with its own weapons. Surely philosophy could readily crush the babe of Bethlehem. Set Pythagoras in opposition to Jesus. Encounter the poverty of the latter with the asceticism of the former. Easily could the ethics of the Jewish prophet be eclipsed by the morality of the Academy and the Portico. And as to the alleged miracles of the gospel, it would be the easiest thing in the world for me to make them look tame and poor by marvels on the grandest scale and the most dazzling splendour.

Accordingly, with the aid of Philostratus of Lemnos, I produced and put before the world Apollonius of Tyana, a Greek city of Cappadocia. The pseudo-biographer was a

member of the literary and cultured circle which had been brought together by the wife of Septimus Severus (A.D. 193 -211), Julia Domna, at whose command the book was compiled. I have lately renewed my acquaintance with its contents, and find that the volume, though a tissue of falsehoods, is not without a certain interest, particularly as illustrating the infatuation of the imperial court and the stolid credulity of the age. As a picture of the times the work is the more instructive, since it came forth under high auspices, and in its survey comprehends nearly the whole of the civilized earth. With a view to interest the reader and make the narratives impressive, Apollonius is represented as, like great people in modern times, making the tour, not of Europe only, but the world. Passing through the chief cities of Greece, he repairs to Babylon and penetrates India, accompanied by his disciple Damis. Asia Minor, Italy and Egypt he visits. Everywhere he seeks for and teaches true wisdom; everywhere



he does his best to sustain or restore the sinking polytheism; everywhere he performs astounding feats of the wonderful. The Hindoo sages inhabit the summit of a mountain, whence they hurl thunderbolts on the rash men who try to ascend thither without their permission. The nearer you approach the lofty ridges, the more do you find yourself in the regions of the preternatural. It is, for example, an insect which produces an oil, from which may be extracted inextinguishable flames wherewith to. besiege and capture hostile cities. Farther on it is a woman, black in hue from her head to her waist, and white from her waist to her feet; thus coloured expressly by nature in order to pay to the Indian Venus the homage which she claims. Elsewhere you come upon fields of pear-trees cultivated by monkeys; and then enormous serpents, which are taken by extending along the mouth of their lair some yards of red linen, imprinted with magical characters. In the head of those reptiles are precious stones, whose virtue is the same as that of the ring of Gyges, which made its wearer invisible.

At last Apollonius reaches the sacred mountain. It is environed by mists which grow thicker or thinner at the will of the sage. As you ascend, you meet with a fire which purifies from all stain; a well which utters oracles; two large stone vases which contain, the one rain, the other wind, both at the disposition of the sage. According to the doctrine of the wise, this mountain is the navel of India. There they adore the fire which they boast of drawing directly from the sun, the prerogative of Prometheus, a symbol for them as well as him of inventive science. With his own eyes Damis sees those sages rise in the air without support, without any artifice, to the height of several feet. The sages have no house; when it rains they bring a cloud to shelter themselves with. They wear their hair long, white mitres, vestments woven from flax, which the earth allows them only to gather. Apollonius is disconcerted by their knowledge, and yet he is not easily astonished. They possess absolute science. They

« AnteriorContinuar »