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is giren, how he, in a voyage by sea from Alex-CHAP.III. andria to Athens, was in great danger of shipwreck year after by a storm ; ‘and whereas all the rest in the ship files • were terrified with the fear of their bodily death, * I, says he did more dreadfully fear the death of
my soul. For I was in great hazard of departing • this life unbaptized : amidst the sea waters that
were to be my death, wanting that spiritual water. * And therefore I cried out, entreated, besought, that
some space of life might be granted to me.' He goes on to shew how his lamentation and dread on that account were so great and so moving, that the people in the ship forgot their own danger, in compassion to those terrors which they saw were upon his soul. And how he then vowed to God, that if he were delivered from that danger, he would offer himself up to God; and did so accordingly.
II. That his father was not a Christian when he married, nor for some time after, is plain from the said funeral oration. He was of the religion called Hypsistarian. These men, as is there related, did so renounce the worship of idols and sacrifices, as that they retained nevertheless the worship of fire and torches.
Mr. Le Clerc.", being busied in finding contradictions in the Fathers, thinks he has found one here: because Gregory in another place? says, his father iz cidéos rápos rjev (ówv* which he translates, was * subject to the idols of animals :' not minding that Vées there is the participle of the poetical verb súa
* Orat. 19. (or 18.)
Life of Greg. Saz. Bibliotheque, tom. x.
Carm. 1. de Rebus Suis. [Op. tom. ii. p. 31. edit. Paris. 1630.]
CHAP.III. and not the genitive of wov though Bilius had noted Year after that criticism.
He continued in that superstition till the year of 225. the council of Nice, anno Dom. 325. His wife had
before used her persuasions and prayers for his conversion. But then, when Leontius bishop of Cæsarea, and some other bishops, were going by that place for Nice to the council, she got them to instruct him in the grounds of the Christian religion; and he was baptized into it quickly after : and not long after that took priest's orders: and when the bishop of Nazianzum died, became his successor. In which office he lived forty-five years, and died near 100 years old. All this is clear in the oration aforesaid.
III. Now the question is, whether our Gregory his son were born before that his father's conversion in the said year 325, or after?
And the solution of it must be collected by knowing, if one could, how old he [the son] was when he died. For we know justly the year on which he died, by St. Hierome, who wrote the tract de Scriptoribus Ecclesiast.* the fourteenth year of Theodosius, anno 392; and says thereb, that Gregory Nazi
anzen had been dead but three years. He died 289. therefore in the year 389.
The difficulty is, to know what age he was of when he died.
Gregorius Presbyter, who wrote his life, says, he died very old. And Suidas (who mistakes the time of his death two years, making him to live till the
a (Hieronymus de Viris illustribus. Op. tom. ii. edit. Vallars.] Verb. Hieronymus. (cap. 135.)
b Verb. Gregor. (cap. 117.]
thirteenth year of Theodosius) says, that he was CHAP.III. then ninety years old. By that account he must have been born in the year 300, which is twenty-the apo
stles. five years before his father was a Christian.
But Baroniusd finds reason, as he thinks, to correct this chronology, from a passage out of Gregory himself; who, in the aforesaid Carmen de rita sua, speaking of his studying at Athens, and of his resolution to leave that place, says, it was then his thirtieth year (or, the thirtieth year]. This Baronius concludes to be the year 354, by Julian the apostate's being a student there at the same time, (for he was made Cæsar and sent into France the next year.) From whence he infers, that Gregory was born in the year 324, (which was the year before his father's conversion,) and that he was but sixty-five years old when he died.
IV. But Papebrochius in his Acta Sanctorum Naii octaroe corrects this correction, and sets the time of his birth back to the old account : bringing a great many probable evidences that Gregory's age must be greater than sixty-five years; since he himself so often speaks of his being unfit for business, by reason of his great age.
When Maximus the cynic opposed his being made bishop of Constantinople; Gregory, in his oration on that subject', brings in his adversaries, objecting to him his sickliness and old age.
When he desired to resign the said bishopric, (which was eight years before he died,) and per- 281.
e Verb. Spryop.
d Ad an. 354. et 389. e Chronologia vitæ Sancti Greg. expensa et emendata. (apud Acta Sanctorum Maii, tom. ii. p. 370.)
f Orat. 28. [or. 26. edit. Benedict.]
CHAP. 111. suaded the bishops then present at the council to Year after consent to his so doing; he used this argument:
• Let these my grey hairs prevail with you 8:' which looks as if he were then more than fifty-seven years old.
This learned man does also answer the reason that Baronius brings to the contrary, by endeavouring to shew that the foresaid mention of the thirtieth year, is not meant for the thirtieth year of his life, (of which it was the fifty-fourth, as he thinks,) but the thirtieth of his studies. And indeed the words, as they stand, do bear that sense very well; they are these :
και γαρ πόλυς τέτριπτο τοις λόγοις χρόνος .
ήδη τριακοστόν μοι σχεδόν τούτ' ήν έτος. . • For I had already spent a long time in study of learning : • This was almost the thirtieth year (or, my thirtieth year.']
Gregorius Presbyter, who wrote the life of St. Gregory, and took it for the most part out of his foresaid poem, seems to understand it so: and yet his words are capable of the other construction too. He expresses it thus : τριακοστόν ήδη πληρώσας έτος εν Tois madhuari “Having now completed thirty years * [or else his thirtieth year] in the study of learning h.'
Moreover Rufinus, who was contemporary with him, says', he died jam fessa ætate, being spent ' with age. Which hardly can be said of one that was but sixty-five years old.
These reasons, joined with some others of less
& Orat. 32. Cor. 42. edit. Benedict.]
h In vita Gregorii, [Operibus ejus præfixa, p. cxxxii. edit. Benedict.]
i Hist. lib. ii. c. 9. (See the two books added by Rufinus to the Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius.]
weight, prevailed with Papebrochius to embrace the chap.ui. old account as the truest, viz. that he was ninety year after years old when he died; and consequently that he the apa
stles was born anno Dom. 300. And that was twenty-five years before his father was a Christian.
Mr. Le Clerc, who writes a sort of life of this saints, manages this argument of his age after : heedless and absurd manner. For first, he, following Pagi, who had followed Papebrochius, savs, that he was born anno 300, which is twenty-five Fears before his father's conversion : and accordingly supposes with the foresaid authors, that the year on which he left Athens was the fifty-fourth of his age. And the use he makes of this is, to wonder that • he would spend so great a part of his life in study* ing rlietorie, forgetting in the mean time all care *of his aged parents, and of the church of God.' And yet afterward, in the same life, he wonders 'why, since it was the opinion of that age, that * those that die unbaptized are damned, his father * and mother being such zealous Christians did not
get him baptized in infaner.' Which is to suppose that he was born after his father's conversion, which be and every body place at the year 325; or else it is the wonder of a man that doats. One of these suppositions helps a man that would expose Gregory to censure; which seems to be the design of this writer of lives for this and some other Fathers. And the other serves to raise objections against the unirenality of the then practice of pædobaptism. But it is very unfair to serve both these intentions from this instance; because one of them supposes