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tin Martyr, who mistook the inscription on the statue of a Sabine god named Semo to indicate a statue to Simon Magus; but of this error has arisen the legend which Eusebius, soaring into 1he regions of fancy and fiction, relates in the legendary style of monkish superstition, rather than in that of a cautious, authentic historian. This, however, [the supremacy of Simon Magus] did not continue long; for immediately, under the reign of Claudius, by the benign and gracious providence of God, Peter, that powerful and great apostle, who by his courage took the lead of all the rest, was conducted to Rome against this pest of mankind. He, like a noble commander of God, fortified with divine armor, bore the precious merchandise of the revealed light itself and salutary doctrine of the soul, the proclamation of the kingdom of God."1
In the same strain, we are told that Mark, as the companion of Peter, is constrained by the Romans to write his gospel as a memorial of the oral instructions of Peter. "So greatly did the splendor of piety enlighten the minds of Peter's hearers, that it was not sufficient to hear but once, nor to receive the unwritten doctrine of the gospel of God, but they persevered with various entreaties to solicit Mark, as the companion of Peter, whose gospel we have, that he should leave them in writing a monument of the doctrine thus orally communicated." * The gospel of Mark, then, is not the inspiration of God, but a legend of the public ministrations of Peter at Rome.
The honor set upon bishops by Eusebius, the interpositions of Heaven, at times, in their appointment, all indicate the same prelatical prepossessions. Thus, Fabianus is " advanced in the most remarkable manner by divine and celestial grace " to the episcopal office at Rome. The unanimity respecting him was a special providence, and the election was directed by the Spirit of God: When they were all assembled in the church, "a dove flying suddenly down from on high, sat upon his head, exhibiting a scene like that of
the Holy Spirit descending upon our Saviour in the form of a dove. Upon this the whole assembly exclaimed, with all eagerness and with one voice, as if moved by the Spirit of God, that he was worthy; and without delay they took and placed him upon the episcopal throne." 1
Observe the grace, the dignity, the glory with which the episcopate is invested, to which the emperor himself does homage. Even the implacable contentions of these holy bishops abates not the respect of Constantine. "For indeed he treated the parties with all respect as fathers, nay as prophets of God."9 The bishops at the council of Nice assembled from different countries, formed "as it were a vast garland of priests, composed of a variety of the choicest flowers." This garland Constantine " presented to Christ as a thank-offering for his victories, thus exhibiting a similitude of the apostolic company."s Constantine himself is careful to show all due deference to this " apostolic company" of bishops. On entering into their assembly, " like some heavenly messenger of God, clothed with raiment which glittered as it were with rays of light, at first he remained standing, and when a low chair of wrought gold had been sent for him, he waited until the bishops had beckoned to him, and then sat down."4 But when, on the anniversary of the twentieth year of his reign the emperor entertains the bishops " at the imperial banquet, the circumstances of which were splendid beyond description," then our courtly bishop becomes entranced with a vision of more than millennial glories. "One might have thought that a picture of Christ's kingdom was thus shadowed forth, and that the scene was less like reality than a dream."5 The glory of the episcopal office, not lost even in death, but after the resurrection, shall grace these dignitaries of the church even in heaven. Thus Melito, bishop of Sardis, "whose walk and conversation was altogether under the influence of the Holy Spirit, now rests at Sardis, await
ing the episcopate from heaven, when he shall rise from the dead."
We may also distinctly notice in the same connection the germ of the pope's infallibility. The bishop himself administers his official duties, ev dylw IIvevfiaTi, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.1
The intercessions of the saints is another of the popish delusions of Eusebius. Potamiaena, on being led forth to death by Basilides, promises to him in return for his compassion and kindness towards her "to intercede for him with her Lord, and it would not be long before she would reward him for his kindness towards her." Accordingly, three days after her martyrdom, standing before him at night, [she] placed a crown upon his head, and said that she had entreated the Lord on his account, and had obtained her prayer, and ere long would take him with her. On this the brethren gave him the seal [of baptism] in the Lord; and he, bearing as distinguished testimony to the Lord, was beheaded."2 Theodosia of Tyre herself suffers martyrdom in consequence of saluting certain prisoners, confessors of the kingdom of Christ—"as is probable, with a view to entreat them to remember her when they should come before the Lord."3 The intercession of the Virgin Mary is but a ready inference, a resistless conclusion from the efficacy of the prayers of departed saints.
The suicide of martyrs is repeatedly commemorated with evident approbation. Germanicus "eagerly irritated the wild beast against him, all but forcing and stimulating him, that he might the sooner be freed from this unjust and lawless generation."4 At Antioch "men and women, with a certain divine and irrepressible alacrity rushed into the fire."5 Some of the Christians, " sooner than be taken and fall into the hands of their enemies, cast themselves headlong from lofty houses, considering death an advantage,
riiy &irb Tuc ohpavuv iTiaKoiri)v. iv ji 4k vtKpuy avcuTTfi<rtrcu. — Lil< V. c 2*1.
* Lib. VI. c. 5. 3 Lib VIII. c. 7
♦ Lib. IV. c. 15. Comp. Lib. VIII. c. 6. * Ibid. c. 6.
compared with the malignity of these impious persecutors."1 Two noble young women, when threatened by their persecutors, with violence to their persons, " having requested the guards a little time to retire, on the way decently adjusted their garments and cast themselves into the flowing river."9 Another noble woman of Alexandria, under similar circumstances, requesting a little time to retire to her chamber, "when alone, thrust a sword into her breast."3 These confessions, evincing more of Roman constancy than of religious consistency, win for themselves, through the encomiums of our historian, the crowns of martyrdom from papal Rome.
Kindred to these suicidal sacrifices is the zeal of Christians for martyrdom, often recorded by Eusebius with similar indications of approval, though but another of the saintly sins which have often been canonized by papacy.
Popish superstition raises abundant encouragement also from our historian's account of the renovation manifested for martyrs and for holy relics. "The martyrs undeservedly live as the disciples and imitators of our Lord." This is said by the church of Smyrna, in their account of the martyrdom of Polycarp, which Eusebius considers " it all-important also to record." They add in conclusion: "Thus, at last, taking up his bones, more valuable than precious stones, more tried than gold, we deposited them where it is proper they should be. There, also, as far as we can, the Lord will grant us to assemble and celebrate the natal day of his martyrdom."3 The erection of tombs and churches in honor of the martyrs of the churches of the holy sepulchre at Jerusalem, of the nativity at Bethlehem, of the ascension on the mount of Olives, saints' days and festivals, — these are detailed by our historian as of the gravest importance, who so speaks of them as to commend these superstitions to us by the authority of his venerated name.
The miraculous interpositions of divine power in behalf of saints and martyrs are frequently detailed by Eusebius to the same effect. Whether we receive these narratives as
pious frauds, or as instances of his overweening credulity, they equally impeach his authority as an historian. "Justus, surnamed Barsabus, though he drank a deadly poison, experienced nothing injurious, through the grace of the Lord."1 Dionysius was encouraged to read heretical books 'by a vision sent from heaven, when a voice came to him and commanded him in words as follows:' "Read all that thou takest in hand, for thou art qualified to correct and prove all, and this very thing has been the cause of thy faith in Christ from the beginning." The mouths of lions, leopards, and bears, to which the martyrs were exposed, have been stopped "by a divine and inscrutable power," and a savage bull when he had seized and tossed in air others, rushing upon "the saints with rage and menace — beating with his feet, and pushing with his horns hither and thither," goaded to madness by the spectators, " has been drawn back again by a divine interposition." All this is attested by Eusebius as an eye witness. "At these scenes we have been present ourselves, when we also observed the divine power of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, himself present, and effectually displayed in them; when, for a long time, the devouring wild beasts would not dare either to touch or to approach the bodies of these pious men, but directed their violence against others that were anywhere stimulating them from without. They would not touch the holy masters standing naked and striking at them with their hands as they were commanded in order to irritate the beasts against them. Sometimes, indeed, they would rush upon them, but, as if repulsed by some divine power, again retreated."2
Paul, according to the same venerable authority cited from Clement, had a wife "whom he did not take about with him, in order to expedite his ministry the better,"3 a miserable fiction in favor of celibacy.
Martyr women "who had contemplated a life of perpetual virginity," are subjects of special commendation. Enna
1 Lib. III. c. 29.
2 Lib. VIII. c. 7.
1 Lib. III. c. 30.