rank. Apollonius meeting the funeral desired them to put down the bier; adding, I will stop your tears for the virgin. At the same time he asked the name. The multitude expected him to say something like what mourners usually do when they begin their lamentations; but he only uttered a faint sigh, and thus he awoke her from her seeming death : immediately the young woman spake die stinctly, and returned to her father's house, being restored to life as Alcestes had been by Hercules. The relatives of the virgin bestowed on him a hundred and fifty drachmas, which he gave to the young woman for her marriage portion. It is not certain but he found in her a spark of life which had escaped the physicians, but which he re-kindled, and thus restored the extinguished soul. There were those who said that the dew which fell from heaven evaporated from her face. The event to me appears mysterious, as it did to those who were present."

The first thing to be observed in this pretended miracle is, that the historian represents the young woman as actually dead. The physicians had examined her, and had pronounced her so; and her: friends were conveying her to the grave when Apollonius met the funeral. Her relatives considered her restoration as the effect of Apollonius's power, for they rewarded him with a vast sum of money. He only touched the bier, she revived in an instant, and she returned home in full possession of health and of her faculties. All Rome assembled on the occasion, and Philostratus insinuates that he had the transaction from persons who had been present. Lardner mistakes the original, when he says that the young woman breathed. Philostratus was con- . scious of having gone too far, and by that means

endangered his own end. He therefore, after having said all that was necessary to establish the miraculous nature of the case, on a sudden assumes an air of candour and hesitation. The restoration appeared to him, and to others who had been

present, mysterious : a spark of life indeed remained, which Apollonius might have blown into a flame. There were those who said that the dew of heaven evaporated from her face; which indicated that some warmth still remained. All this surely is mere grimace, which could impose on none but the simple. I observe, secondly, that Philostratus, in giving this narrative, had before his eyes the restoration of the widow's son at Nain, recorded by Luke, vii. 11. and the daughter of the ruler, mentioned in Mark vi. 35. Matt. ix. 18. The circumstances of these two incidents the impostor has blended into one story, turning the funeral into a marriage, and making the son and daughter a bride and bridegroom. The father of the damsel in the Gospel was a ruler, that of the virgin at Rome was of a consular rank. Jesus met the funeral when going into the city of Nain. In a similar manner Apollonius meets the funeral of the virgin. The funeral at Nain was followed by a great concourse of people. That at Rome was attended by the whole eity. Jesus stopped the procession, and only touched' the bier, and at his command the young man arose. Apollonius said nothing, but only touched the bier, and he awoke the virgin from her seeming death. The impostor here uses the language of the Gospel: for our Lord said to the mourners, “Why make ye this disturbance, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.” It was customary in Judea to bury 'the dead, and funerals were always numerously attended. Josephus informs us that even strangers, if they met a funeral, thought it decent to accompany the deceased to the grave._ In Rome, on the contrary, during the reign of the Emperors, the practice was universal of burning the dead. Here then we see Philostratus transferring to Rome a custom peculiar to Judea. And how came he to do this ? 'He did it, I answer, by the mere impulse of association. While he pretended to relate a transaction of Apollonius in Rome, his thoughts were really in Palestine; and thus he insensibly falls into an incongruity, which betrays the origin of the imposture.

I shall produce one instance more of the precaution adopted by this author for fear of exposure.

During these discourses a messenger introduces to the Indian sages certain persons praying for relief. Among these was a woman who interceded for her son, a youth of fourteen, possessed of a demon two years past: this demon was perfidious and lying, having fallen in love with her son on account of his superior beauty. Thus he drove him mad, and suffered him neither to attend to his exercise as an archer, nor to his learning, but conveyed him away to desert places, compelling him to speak with a coarse masculine voice, and to see with other eyes than his own. The wise man asked her if the youth was at hand. She answered, The demon used every means to prevent his being brought to you, threatening him with precipices, with pits, and with death, in case he should be forced to appear before your tribunal. The wise man replied, Be of good cheer, the demon will not destroy your son when he reads this, taking at the same time a letter from his bosom and delivering it

to her.

It was addressed to the spectre, and contained menaces calculated to alarm him. Then also came a lame man, thirty years old, who had been a renowned hunter of lions, one of which had attacked him, and, by dislocating his thigh, rendered him lame. The sage applied his hand to the injured part, and restored to him the faculty of walking upright. A third, who had been deprived of his eyes, departed in full possession of his sight. Another still

, had a weakness in his arm, and went away, after it was restored to full strength.” lib. iii. c. 38, 39.

The pretended miracles here stated are so directly opposed to those recorded in Matt. xvii. 14.John xix. 9.-Acts iii. 2. that I conceive no observation to be necessary to point out the opposition. Philostratus thought it unsafe to make Apollonius the author of them: he therefore ascribes them to the Bramins; men whose distance, and reputation for wisdom, rendered it safe in him to impute any works to them, however extraordinary, without danger of being refuted. Hierocles was a man who cherished against Christianity the same deadly hostility with Philostratus, and who lived about a century after him. The remoteness of the time in which he flourished enabled him to overlook the scruples of that author; and accordingly in his book against the Christians, he appears to have ascribed to Apollonius himself the miracles which Philostratus at an earlier age could impute with safety only to the Bramins.





Ix making out this proposition, I have again to encounter the authority of Lardner: but I have Mosheim on my side. This writer, De reb. Chris. tian. ante C. M. p. 562, speaks to this effect: “Porphyry in this century, and lambliehus in the subsequent, have written the life of Pythagoras, each beyond doubt with the design of exhibiting that philosopher as equal to Christ in all things, especially in his miracles, and in the wisdom of his precepts. This Kuster has demonstrated in his anno. tations to the life of lamblichus, and this every one will see who has a mind to compare the life given by both those men with the history of our Saviour. One lamb would not be more like to another, than Pythagoras would be to Christ, if the things were true which those two writers have recorded respect. ing him."

The statement here given by this learned writer I will briefly confirm by a few particulars, observing only that the fictions and misrepresentations of Porphyry have been copied by Iamblichus. In the third century it was generally believed that Jesus was in name only the son of Joseph, while in reality

« VorigeDoorgaan »