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gathered very many facts and particulars illustrative of Scripture. Pliny speaks of the horrible custom of offering up human victims in sacrifice: he mentions Moses by name, in conjunction with Jamnes and Jotape, as magicians among the Jews; and notices many of the localities and cities of the East, in accordance with the description given of them in the Bible. He lost his life in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, A.D. 79, when Pompeii and Herculaneum were destroyed. Having approached too near to the scene of the catastrophe with a view to render assistance to those who were in danger, he was suffocated by the noxious vapours which arose from the earth on which he had reclined.
C. PLINIUS CECILIUS SECUNDUS.
Born A.D. 61-Died A.D. 100.
Nephew of the former, commonly called Pliny the younger. In his youth he served as a military tribune in Syria, and when pro-consul in Bithynia, wrote his celebrated letter to Trajan on the punishment of the Christians. In this most interesting epistle, which was composed about forty years after the death of St. Paul, he bears testimony to the virtuous lives, the unflinching fortitude, and pious resignation of the Christians. The profession of christianity was sufficient in those days to ensure condemnation, and the punishment appointed by law was death. See notes on Matt. xxiv. 8, 9, 10. Pliny complains in this letter that the contagion of this wide-spread superstition had infected the cities, the villages, and the country, that the temples of the gods were deserted, and that no purchasers could be found for the victims. The answer of Trajan commends the conduct of Pliny; but directs that the Christians should not be officiously sought for, but that if brought forward and convicted they should be punished. The extant works of Pliny are his Panegyric, or Eulogium of the Emperor Trajan, and the ten books of his Epistles.
D. JUNIUS JUVENALIS.
Flourished A.D. 82.
Juvenal was born in the reign of Claudius, and lived during the successive reigns of Domitian, Nerva, Trajan, and Adrian. His indignant satire displays the corruption of heathen manners so as fully to demonstrate that the Romans were given over at that time to a reprobate mind. He makes frequent mention of the Jews, of their sabbaths, of their rites, and of their lawgiver, Moses. He also notices the persecutions to which the Christians were exposed, and speaks of the pitched shirts in which they were burnt, fixed to the stake in the arena. The extant works of Juvenal consist of sixteen satires: the broad and offensive descriptions of which, however calculated to excite shame in those whose abominable practices they exposed, are totally unfit for perusal.
P. PAPINIUS STATIUS.
Born A.D. 61-Died A.D. 96.
Born at Neapolis; the son of a distinguished grammarian, who held the post of preceptor to Domitian. The works of Statius which have come down to us are,-Silvo, a collection of occasional poems in five books; the Thebais, an heroic poem in twelve books, founded upon ancient legends of the expedition of the Seven against Thebes, and the Achilleis, which was interrupted by the death of the poet, and is incomplete.
M. VALERIUS MARTIALIS.
Born A.D. 43-Died A.D. 104.
The extant works of Martial consist of upwards of 1,500 epigrams, divided into fourteen books. Martial was a courtier and a flatterer in times the most depraved and corrupt. His writings are valuable on account of the vast fund of information which they convey on the customs and habits of the Romans; but they are defiled by the grossest impurities, and are for the most part unfit for translation.
M. FABIUS QUINTILIANUS.
Born A.D. 40. Died A.D. 118.
Quintilian, the most famous of Roman rhetoricians, was born in Spain, but received his education at Rome. His Institutes of Eloquence, in twelve books, written during the reign of Domitian, whose grand-nephews were under his tuition, comprises a complete system of oratory. The first book contains a treatise on the education of children from
their earliest years, and is remarkable for the soundness and wisdom of the principles inculcated. The tenth book is very interesting, on account of the outline of the history of Greek and Roman literature which it contains; and the whole work is characterised by sound judgment, pure taste, and graceful composition.
C. CORNELIUS TACITUS.
Born A.D. 61. Died A.D. 118. (?)
The exact date and place of this historian's birth are unknown. He was a great favourite of the emperor Vespasian, and of succeeding emperors also. His History of the Roman Emperors was written during the reign of Trajan; it began with the accession of Galba and ended with the death of Domitian; but four books only, with a fragment of the fifth, are extant, and these comprise the events of little more than one year. Annals begin with the death of Augustus, and extend over a period of fifty-four years to the death of Nero. Many parts of this work also are lost. His Germany contains an account of the religion, customs, and political institutes of the Germans.
Tacitus has been sometimes accused of atheism; but there are passages which sufficiently demonstrate his belief in the government of a Supreme Being, and he speaks with reverence of Jupiter, "the best and greatest." Tacitus gives many particulars of the history of the Jews, derived, in part, perhaps, from Josephus: he mentions the Exodus and the giving of the law by Moses, and observes that the Jews worship only one God, who is to be conceived by the mind alone, and not represented by visible images. Many events of New Testament history are also confirmed by this writer; and the accounts he gives of the Christians afford the most striking testimony to the facts on which their religion rests, and furnish affecting evidence of the sufferings to which the early Christians were exposed under persecution.
C. SUETONIUS TRANQUILLUS.
Suetonius, who held for a time the office of private secretary to the emperor Hadrian, appears to have written many works; but the principal, and perhaps the only genuine one extant, is the Lives of the Twelve Cæsars, beginning with Julius Cæsar, and ending with Domitian. It has been remarked with respect to this work that the historian described the lives of the emperors with as much freedom as they lived. He certainly does not appear to conceal anything; but enters into such particulars as to afford the most deplorable proofs of the corruption which prevailed in high places, and probably throughout the whole of the Roman empire, in those days.
Suetonius relates the cure of blind and lame persons by the emperor Vespasian, in imitation, doubtless, of the miracles of Christ. He represents the Christians as a race of men addicted to a new and mischievous superstition; and makes frequent mention of events connected with the history of the first apostles.
1. In the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth.
It has always been a fundamental doctrine of Christianity that the world was created, by the almighty power of God, out of nothing. His word called into existence not only the various forms of animate and inanimate nature, but also the very material of which they all consist. Mankind could never, by any effort of reason alone, have arrived at this great truth: it is essentially a doctrine of Divine revelation. All heathen philosophers appear to have supposed that matter was eternal. By some it was held to have existed separately, out of God, for an infinite period; by others to have been joined with God from all eternity. Some believed it to be a perpetual emanation from the Deity; while others attributed to it a nature altogether distinct, and even antagonistic. There are, it is true, many passages in the writings both of the poets and philosophers which, taken by themselves, appear to favour the idea of the absolute creation of all things by the Deity out of nothing; but these will be found, upon comparison with other expressions of the same writers, to refer only to that work of arrangement by which order was produced from Chaos. The voice of nature or tradition seems to have given a confused, imperfect echo of the second verse of Genesis-" The Earth was without form and void," but to have been silent as to the first verse- "In the beginning GOD CREATED."
The following passages will show the opinions generally entertained on this subject by the heathen writers :
"O Jove, much-honour'd, Jove supremely great,
To thee our holy rites we consecrate,
Our prayers and expiations, King divine,
For all things to produce with ease, through mind, is thine.
Hence, mother earth, and mountains swelling, high
Proceed from thee, the deep, and all within the sky.
Saturnian King, descending from above,
ORPH. Hymn in Jov.
"Jove, in counsel wise,
Father of Gods and men."-HES. Theogon. v. 457.
"There is in truth one only God, who made the heaven, and the wide earth, and the blue depths of the sea, and the force of the winds."-SOPHOс. Fragm. apud Grot.
"Thee, the self-sprung, I invoke, who enfoldest the whole nature of things, whirling in etherial gyration, around whom day, and variegated night, and the countless throng of stars perpetually dance."-EURIP. Pirith. apud Grot.
"A beginning is uncreate; for everything that is created must necessarily be created from a beginning, but a beginning itself from nothing whatever; for if a beginning were created from anything it would not be a beginning."-PLAT. Phædr. c. 24.
"Before Heaven existed there was, through reason, Form and Matter, and the God who is the worker out of the better."-PLAT, Tim. Locr. c. 2,
"God seems to be a cause of all things, and a certain principle."-ARISTOT. Metaph. 1. 1. c. 2.
"It is impossible that there be a production of anything if nothing pre-exist."IBID. 1. VI. c. 7.
"One energy is invariably antecedent to another in time, up to that which is primarily and eternally the moving cause."-IBID. 1. VIII. c. 8.
"Not in infinite time did chaos or night subsist; but the same things continually were in existence as are in existence at present, either in a revolutionary system or otherwise, on the supposition that energy is a thing antecedent to potentiality."-IBID.I. XI. c. 6. "The poets of the early ages assert the dominion and the rule, not of these first principles, such as Night, and Heaven, or Chaos, or even Oceanus, but of Jupiter.”— IBID. 1. XIII. c. 4.
"Those things which exist in themselves by necessity are all eternal. But things eternal are uncreate and incorruptible."-IBID. Eth. 1. vi. c. 3.
"All the philosophers assert that the world was made."-IBID. de Cœlo, 1. 1. c. 10. "According to the Brachmans the world was created, and is liable to corruption: it is of a spheroidal figure: the god who made and governs it pervades the whole of it."-STRAB. 1. XV. c. 1.
"Heraclitus said: 'All things are formed from fire, and fire from all things.'' -PLUT. de Ei apud Delph. c. 8.
"Plato calleth the one unmade and eternal God, the father and maker of the world, and of all other things generated."-IBID. Sympos. 1. VIII. c. 1.
"God, the father and creator of all things that exist, is more ancient than the sun, more ancient than the heavens, more excellent than time, than eternity, than every flowing nature."-MAX. TYR. diss. 38.
"Thales, the Milesian, said that God was the oldest of all things, because he is uncreate."-DIOG. LAERT. 1. I. c. 35.
There was a certain eternity from infinite time, not measured by any circumscription of seasons; but how that was in space we cannot understand, because we cannot possibly have even the slightest idea of time before time was.”—Cic. de nat, deor. 1. 1. c. 9.
"What conception can we possibly have of a Deity who is not eternal ?”—
IBID. 1. I. c. 10.
Can any one in his senses imagine that this disposition of the stars, and this heaven, so beautifully adorned, could ever have been formed by a fortuitous concourse of atoms ?"-IBID. 1. II. c. 44.
Lucretius argues from the progress of arts and sciences and from the gradual extent of civilisation that the world had a beginning, and that at no very distant time :
And therefore arts, that lay but rude before,
Are polished now; we now increase the store;
We perfect all the old and find out more."-LUCRET. de rer. nat. l. v. v. 331.
"The first parent of the world set apart the shapeless realms and unformed matter."-Luc. Phars. 1. II. v. 7.
2. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
"Night, parent of gods and men.”---ОRPH. Hymn. in noct. v. 1.
"First Chaos was; next ample-bosomed Earth;
Then Love, who is pre-eminent among the immortals."-HES. Theogon. v. 116. "Heaven and Earth were anciently of one form from these, as soon as they were separated from each other, all things were produced and brought to light-trees, birds, and beasts, and the race of mortal men."-EURIP. Menalippe apud Diod. Sic. 1. 1. c. 7.