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him, for fear it should be discovered that all their best things were stolen from Origen. By dint of restless activity, this contemptible faction prevailed over wiser and better men; and Origen was long held up as an object of odium throughout the greater part of Christendom. The consequences of this partyspirit have been seriously detrimental to the cause of learning and truth in a variety of ways. Many of his most important works have been completely suppressed; and much of what remains has been tampered with by enemies and injudicious friends; so that a calm inquirer of the present day can only avail himself in a very limited degree of the fruits of Origen's researches; and has only suspicious and garbled data for ascertaining his real opinions. Had he been a Pagan commentator on Aristotle, he would have been far more equitably dealt with.

Something of a similar fate attended another writer, who has perhaps still stronger claims on the notice and the gratitude of posterity-Eusebius of Cæsarea. Equal to Origen in learning, he excelled him in judgment; and, like him, he devoted a long and active life to the promotion of sacred literature, and the defence of the Church against its Pagan enemies. Yet he did not escape calumny and misrepresentation, either alive or dead; and, though his writings have, upon the whole, fared better than those of Origen, we have still to regret the loss of many of no small importance. This, of course, is partly owing to the calamitous condition of the Church under barbarian and Mohammedan dominion. But there can be no doubt that the orthodox Greeks could have preserved Eusebius as easily as St. Johannes Damascenus, if they had liked him as well. We are under some obligations to the heterodox in this matter. The Syrian Jacobites have preserved the Theophania; and the Armenians have taken care of the Chronicle. If there is any Eutychian or Nestorian community in being, able to produce the lost books of the Demonstratio Evangelica,' or the controversy with Porphyry, we do not scruple to say we should be happy to make their acquaintance. We should be thankful, in the next degree, to any scholar who would undertake to do for his collective works what the Dean of Christchurch has done for the · Præparatio Evangelica.' The attempt would probably have been made long ago, if the prejudice against him (to which we have adverted, and which is not yet extinct) had not interfered.

This spirit of sacrificing truth to party-feelings and interests sometimes operated equally mischievously, in a different way. When the controversies which distracted the Church in the third and fourth centuries raged most vehemently, the champions on both sides were naturally anxious to avail themselves of the authority of their most distinguished predecessors in support of their respective opinions. But it usually happened that little support could be derived by either side from the earlier Fathers, for this simple reason ;-- the questions afterwards most eagerly debated had never been mooted in their time. It, therefore, became a common artifice to interpolate their writings, or forge new ones in their name; and thus make them give suitable testimony, - whether they would or no. Both the orthodox and the heterodox accused their adversaries roundly of this dishonest course; and it is to be feared that neither side was perfectly free from the imputation. Such men as Athanasius were doubtless irreproachable on this head; but it may be questioned whether all their adherents were equally scrupulous. There is, for example, a pretty large collection of writings professedly by St. Clement of Rome. Some of them were undoubtedly forged by heretics; but others appear to have been the productions of persons, whose doctrine did not differ materially from that of the dominant party in the Church. Neither side would have taken the trouble, except with the view of countenancing their own opinions by the ostensible authority of a writer of the apostolic age. Considerable success attended the attempt; and the * Recognitions,' in particular, -- the work of a man of no principle, but of great learning and ability, - did much mischief, from the fables to which it gave currency, and the legendary spirit which it fostered.

A similar experiment was tried, at a little later period, upon the subject of the present article, - Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch in the first and second centuries. The fact of epistles being written by Ignatius to different Christian communities, a short time before his martyrdom, is sufficiently well attested. They are mentioned by respectable authors of the second and third centuries, — by Polycarp, Irenæus, Theophilus of Antioch, and Origen, — who refer to or quote three several epistles still extant; but do not intimate that any others were then in existence. In the fourth century, however, Eusebius specifies seven epistles, attributed to Ignatius, as being current in his time; but speaks of them in guarded terms, as if he were not perfectly satisfied of their genuineness. He states, indeed, that those addressed to the Romans and to Polycarp had been mentioned by ancient writers; and he might have added the testimony of Origen with respect to the one to the Ephesians. But neither he nor any one else adduces any ancient evidence on behalf of those to the Magnesians, Trallians, Philadelphians, or Smyrnæans, which were circulated, along with the others, in the fourth century. Here, then, we have three documents, indubitably known at a very early period — placed in company with four others, which, as far as we know, were never heard of before the fourth century. The question, therefore, naturally arises, whether all seven are to be put on the same footing? or whether the same process of amplification was exercised upon Ignatius to which St. Clement had been subjected in the preceding century? This point was argued, pro and con., with great ability in the seventeenth century; but -- as is generally the case in controversies where the data are scanty, and the opponents equally matched and equally confident - with very unsatisfactory results. The same remarkable country which has enabled Champollion and his coadjutors to retrieve so much of what Time had forgotten, has furnished Mr. Cureton with the means of placing this particular question in an entirely new light; and, if we mistake not, of giving a conclusive and satisfactory solution of its doubtful points. In order to make the results at which he has arrived intelligible, it will be requisite to give a slight sketch of the rise and progress of this Ignatian controversy.

We have already observed, that three Ignatian epistles are mentioned by authors prior to the fourth century, and seven by Eusebius. We have no data for deciding whether Eusebius knew of any more than those actually specified by him; but we find two or three more quoted by writers of the sixth and fol. lowing centuries. At the revival of letters, not fewer than fifteen were collected from various quarters, - twelve Greek, and three occurring only in Latin copies. No question appears to have arisen as to the genuineness of the whole or of any part of the collection, prior to the middle of the sixteenth century; when the Reformation, and the controversies consequent upon it, brought a vast accession of party feeling into play. In the epistles, as they then stood, the importance and high authority of the episcopal office are depicted in extravagant terms, and are repeatedly impressed upon the faithful as cardinal points of belief. This doctrine was not, of course, very acceptable to those who had just thrown off the yoke of the Romish hierarchy; and, consequently, many Protestant writers began to question the genuineness of the documents which taught it. There were various shades of opinion among the demurrers. Scultetus, for example, thought that there was a foundation of truth in the epistles, but that the copies then extant had been grievously interpolated. On the other hand, Calvin, whose anti-hierarchical feelings were apparently stronger, did not hesitate to condemn them, in the mass, as a stupid forgery. The same reasons for which they were distasteful to the school of Calvin rendered them acceptable to Baronius and other high Romanists, who stand forward stoutly in their defence. The ground of controversy was somewhat narrowed by Archbishop Usher and Isaac Vossius, who published from MSS. Greek and Latin recensions in a more concise form, and who agreed in rejecting as spurious all the epistles not mentioned by Eusebius. The conclusions of these eminent scholars were generally acquiesced in by Episcopalians, Catholic as well as Protestant; but non-Episcopalians still found many grounds of exception. The ablest adversary of this class was undoubtedly the French Reformed minister, Daillé, whose examination of the Ignatian epistles is a masterpiece of critical acuteness and polemical dexterity. He has, indeed, advanced arguments against the genuineness of particular passages, which admit of no satisfactory answer. But, by endeavouring to prove too much, he gave a great advantage to an antagonist as able as himself. Bishop Pearson, in his celebrated Vindiciæ Igna

tianæ,'— at the same time that he deals very evasively with Daillé's direct proofs of falsification, - has no difficulty in showing that Daillé had overstated his case, and had excepted against things which furnished no reasonable grounds for exception. After all, the two redoubted champions left the matter nearly as uncertain as they found it. Presbyterians appealed as confidently to the demonstration of Daillé, as high Episcopalians did to that of Pearson; while learned and moderate men thought that the truth lay between the two, and that the epistles, as they then stood, were like the things seen in the Cave of Montesinos, – part true and part false. This was, in fact, the opinion of Usher himself, who delivers his verdict in the following terms:- De Græcis quæ circumferuntur Ignatii Epistulis hodie si quæratur; omnino respondendum esse concludimus, * earum sex nothas, totidem alias mixtas, nullas omni ex parte sinceras esse habendas et genuinas.'

As long as suspicions of this character attached to the Ignatian Epistles, it is clear that no stress could be laid upon them, in the way of evidence for points of faith or practice. Archbishop Usher was the first to direct attention to the quarter, where assistance was to be looked for. He observed, that the Epistles were specified in a catalogue of Syriac MSS. at Rome - which had been brought to England by Sir Henry Savile; and he perceived at once, that this version might, in the absence of better Greek copies, be of paramount importance in settling the questions connected with the subject. VOL. XC. NO, CLXXXI.


He was, however, disappointed in his expectations of obtaining a copy from Rome; and the persevering efforts of Dr. Fell to procure one from the East, were attended with no better success. Singularly enough, Huntington, the agent employed by Fell, visited the very monastery in the desert of Nitria where the copies, now happily in the British Museum, were deposited. But the monks, with true Oriental jealousy, would only show him one out of the hundreds of valuable MSS. then in their possession. The more successful results of the enterprising researches of our countrymen of the present day, cannot be better stated then in Mr. Cureton's own words.

In the valuable collection of Syriac manuscripts procured by the late Claudius James Rich during his residency at Bagdad, and purchased after his decease by the Trustees of the British Museum, is an imperfect volume, containing lives of saints and martyrs; among them is found the fragment of the martyrdom of St. Ignatius, and of his Epistle to the Romans usually inserted therein, which is printed at pp. 222-225, 252—255 of this work. So early as the year 1839 I had transcribed this fragment; and I further entertained great hopes of being able to procure a complete copy of the Martyrdom of St. Ignatius, in which I concluded the Epistle to the Romans would be comprised, from a very ancient manuscript, containing numerous acts of martyrs, and among them those of St. Ignatius, which had been obtained from the monastery of St. Mary Deipara of the Syrians in the desert of Nitria, by J. S. Assemani in 1715, and deposited in the Vatican. I trusted to be able to procure from Rome a copy of one at least of these Epistles; and thus to have some grounds for forming an opinion as to what value we might reasonably expect should be attributed to the Syriac version of the whole collection, should it ever come to light. I was, however, sadly disappointed in this my expectation; for, although my application was made and repeated through a channel which I had every ground to suppose would prove successful, the only reply which I could obtain was, that no such book existed. It is, nevertheless, distinctly stated to be in the collection of Syriac manuscripts in the Vatican, both by J. S. Assemani, and also by his cousin, Step. Evod. Assemani.

* But fuller means of investigating this subject, than I had ever ventured to hope for, were unexpectedly thrown in my way by the acquisition of several very ancient Syriac manuscripts, procured from the same monastery in the Desert of Nitria, called also the Valley of Scete or of the Ascetics, by the Rev. Henry Tattam, now Archdeacon of Bedford, during his visit to Egypt in the years 1838 and 1839.

• No sooner was this collection deposited in the British Museum, than I anxiously examined the contents of every volume, to ascertain if any of the Epistles of St. Ignatius were among them; and I was rejoiced to discover, not only several extracts from these Epistles, cited by different ecclesiastical writers, but also the entire Epistle to St. Polycarp, in a volume of great antiquity.

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