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ISIDORE OF PELUSIUM.
I. His time. II. His works. III. Select passages. IV. Books of the Old and New Testament received by him. V. His respect for the scriptures, and exhortations to read and study them. VI. Various readings, and observations upon scripture.
I. ISIDORE, of Pelusium in Egypt, is spoken of by a Mill, next after Nonnus, as being his contemporary and he is placed, by Cave, at the year 412. Basnage speaks of him at the year 427: it is likely, that he died before the middle of the fifth century. Pagi says, Wed hear nothing of him after the year 433.
II. Facundus says, he wrote two thousand epistles for the edification of the church: Suidas says three thou'sand, explaining the divine scriptures." There are still extant above two thousand; but they are most of them very short, and not a few of them coincident, treating the same question, and in a like manner. Dr. Heumanng has a Dissertation on Isidore, of Pelusium, which well deserves to be read. He rectifies divers mistakes of learned moderns; and argues, that most of his letters are fictitious, and not a real correspondence: and he seems to have proved what he advances.
III. I shall, in the first place, take some select passages of Isidore; and then observe his testimony to the scrip
1. A cloak and staff,' says he, do not make a philosopher; but freedom of speech, and a suitable life; in like
Proleg. n. 916, &c.
b H. L. T. i. Conf. Fabr. Bib. Gr.
1. v. c. 34. T. ix. p. 253, &c. Du Pin. T. iii. p. 2. Tillem. Mem. T. 15. Ann. 427. n. 5.
d Post hunc annum nulla amplius
occurrit mentio sancti Isidori Pelusiotæ, &c. Ann. 433. n. 23.
* Isidorus, Presbyter Ægyptius Pelusiota, quem duo millia epistolarum ad ædificationem ecclesiæ multi scripsisse noverunt. Facund. l. iii. c. 4. 8 De Isidoro Pelusiotà et ejus epistolis. Diss. xv. ap. Primatias Gottingenses, Hanover, 1738. 4to.
1 V. Ισίδωρος.
h― plerasque esse fictitias, ac rhetorico more conscriptas, non ut ii, quorum præfixa sunt nomina, eas acciperent, legerentque, sed ut specimina essent eloquentiæ iis imitandæ, quos haberet Isidorus artis dicendi discipulos. Ib. n. 9. p. 222. Cæterum etsi fictitiæ sunt hæ epistolæ, ficta tamen non sunt quæ in iis leguntur, sed ex animi sententiâ scripta ab Isidoro. Ib. n. 13. p. 228. Ώσπερ τον φιλοσοφον εχ' ἡ πολη και ἡ βακτηρια δεικνυσιν, αλλ' ἡ παῤῥησια και ἡ πολιτεία έτω και τον χρισιανον ο σχημα και λογος, αλλά τροπος και βιος την ορθῳ λόγῳ εφαμιλλος. L. iv. Ep. 34.
manner, habit and profession do not make a christian; but a life and conversation agreeable to right reason.'
2. Nothing is so dear to God as love: for the sake of which he became man, and was obedient unto death. And the first two disciples, called by our all-wise Saviour, were brothers; to show, that all his disciples should live together in a brotherly manner.'
3. It' was not, my dear friend, because our Lord foresaw the design of Judas, that he was guilty of treachery; but because that wretch had conceived the design to betray him, therefore he, who knew the secret motions of the heart, spake before-hand of future things, as if they were present.'
4. You seem to wonder, that Christ did not persuade the traitor to the love of virtue, when he heard him so often speaking of it in his discourses; or rather of nothing else. On the other hand, I think it strange, that you should wonder at it, when you know the powers of free-will: for man's salvation is not accomplished by force and violence, but by gentleness and persuasion. Therefore, the salvation of every man is in his own power; that they who are rewarded, and they who are punished, may justly receive what they have chosen.
5. He says, that° piety is natural to us; that P.. the human nature has in it seeds of goodness. Men are neither above temptation, nor is evil natural to them; but for want of due care they fall from virtue, as did the first man.' To the like purpose in other places; to some of which I
6. He sometimes argues very well for our Saviour's resurrection, and the truth of the christian religion, against both Jews and Gentiles.
1 L. i. Ep. 57.
7. Het magnifies the progress of the christian religion, notwithstanding many difficulties, by unlikely instruments. * L. i. Ep. 10. m L. ii. Ep. 129. Εγω δε θαυμάζω, πως τον όρον της αυτεξυσιότητος επισάμενος, περὶ τότε εθαύμασας. Ου γαρ βια και τυραννίδι, αλλα πειθοι και προσηνεια ή των ανθρωπων σωτηρια κατασκευάζεται. Διο και το κύρος έχει έκατος της οικείας σωτηριας ἵνα καὶ οἱ σεφανέμενοι, και οἱ τιμωρεμενοι, δικαίως ὑπομενοιεν ὁπερ ήρηνται. Ibid. • Ότι φυσικώς εσιν εν ήμιν ευσεβεια. L. i. Ep. 431. P Ει παλαι είχεν ἡ των ανθρωπων φυσις τα εις καλοκαγαθίαν σπέρματα, κ. λ. L. ii. Ep. 2. in. Conf. Ep. 167. 4 Η φυσις ἡ ανθρώπεια, θαυμασιε, ούτε ανεπίδεκτος εξι κακων, ετε φυσικώς κεκτηται τα κακα, αλλα γνωμη και ῥαθυμια την απόπτωσιν ὑπομένει των χρησων όπερ και ὁ πρωτος πεπονθεν ανθρωπος. L. iii. Ep. 303. Vid. 1. i. Ep. 435, 436.
1. ii. Ep. 72. et 79. l. iii. 335. l. iv. Ep. 12. et 51.
IV. Isidore has largely quoted all, or most of the canonical books of the Old Testament. Apocryphal books are quoted by him very seldom.
1. He says, there" are three books of Solomon; and that they should be read in this order: first, the Proverbs; then Ecclesiastes; and, last of all, the Canticles. He who has well digested the first two, may read the third safely and profitably.
2. He calls the author of the book of Ecclesiasticus, a certain wise man. It is likely, that is the highest character which he ascribed to him; and not that of prophet.
3. He often quotes the four gospels; the Acts of the Apostles; and all St. Paul's epistles, except that to Phile
4. The Acts of the Apostles is ascribed by him to Luke, as the writer.
5. He several times quotes the Epistle to the Hebrews, andy as Paul's.
6. He likewise quotes all, or most of the catholic Epistles. However, to be here a little more particular, may not be improper.
7. He quotes and explains passages of the Epistle of James, expressly calling it his. He quotes the first, and b the second Epistle of Peter; as also the first Epistle of John. He explains the eighth verse of the second Epistle of John there can be no reason to doubt whether he received the other. He explains a passage of the Epistle of Jude.
8. He has several expressions which seem to be taken from the book of the Revelation; though I do not recollect that he has any where mentioned the title of the book, or the name of the writer.
9. If Isidore received the book of the Revelation, (which may be reckoned probable,) his canon of scripture was the
same as ours.
" L. iv. Ep. 40.
Σοφος τις ανηρ, ὁ τε Σιραχ, φημι, ὁ την
Σοφιαν εκείνην συγγραψας. L. iv. Ep. 228.
* Βλεπε και των μεγαλοφρονα και Θεοφορον Λεκαν τον Ηρωδε τύφον ἱσορενTα, K. λ. L. i. Ep. 74. Conf. ib. Ep. 500. Aksε To Tavapisy AжKа EV TαIÇ Πράξεσι γεγραφότος. L. i. Ep. 448. * L. iv. Ep. 12. p. 473. D.
y L. i. Ep. 7. Vid. ib. Ep. 94. et 234.
* L. i. Ep. 93. Conf. l. ii. Ep. 158. et 1. iv. Ep. 10. et 65.
L. i. Ep. 119. et 139. 1. iv. Ep. 218. 1. v. Ep. 362.
b L. i. Ep. 140, 143, 188.
d L. ii. Ep. 380.
* Ο μισθός μετ' αυτό εςιν, όν
c L. i. Ep. 58.
e L. iv. Ep. 58.
έκατος λήψεται προς τον ίδιον κοπον. [Vid.
Apoc. xxii. 12.] L. i. Ep. 13. Ει ὁ έρανος ως βιβλίον ελίσσεται, και τα αερα WITTEL, K. λ. [Vid. Apoc. vi. 13, 14.] L. i. Ep. 188. Vid. et l. ii. Ep. 175.
V. He had a great respect for the scriptures, and often recommends the reading of them.
1. Writing to a heathen, or supposed heathen, he says: Two volumes, one called the Old, the other the New, Testament, which I have sent to you, are sufficient to teach you our religion.' In another letter he shows the complete harmony of the Old and the New Testament, or the law and the prophets, and the gospel. He calls the scriptures, the divine Oracles; the divine and heavenly Oracles: the sacred gospels is another expression of his. He speaks very honourably of Paul, calling him a most wise instructor; and the excellent apostle. Some,' he says, ⚫ blame the divine scriptures, because they have not all the ornaments of eloquence to be found in some heathen writings; but we know that is no disparagement to them. Those admired authors, among the Greeks, sought their own glory; but the truly divine scriptures aim at the salvation of men. The scriptures teach true religion in a plain style; that the ignorant as well as the knowing, and even children and women, may understand. Nor is that any injury to the knowing whereas the contrary method would have been detrimental to the greatest part of the world. And, by consulting the benefit of the most, or rather of all, the scriptures evidently manifest themselves to be divine and heavenly.'
2. I refer to divers other places, where he exhorts to the reading the scriptures, or commends them; and lays down rules for the right reading them, so as to understand them. James Basnage says, 'All that can be offered upon 'this subject, may be seen in Isidore of Pelusium.'
VI. 1. He had the first chapter of St. Matthew's gospel; and says, that the sacred volume of the gospels brings down the genealogy of Joseph from David; and
8 Την ἡμετεραν δε θρησκειαν δυο πυκται διδάξωσιν, ὡς επεμψάμην, ὧν ἡ μεν πρεσβύτερα, ή δε νεα διαθηκη προσαγορεύεται. L. i. Ep. 7.
" L. i. Ep. 107.
Θειοι χρησμοι. L. i. ED. 5.
* Οἱ θείοι και ερανιοι χρησμοι. L. ii. Ep. 138.
εν τοις ἱεροις ευαγγελίοις. L. iv. Ep. 216.
* Φιλιππησίοις γράφει ὁ θεῖος αποτολος. L. i. Ep. 139.
Και ὁ Θεσπέσιος Παυλος. L. iv. Ep. 88.
• Αναγινώσκειν τας γραφας οφείλεις, και μη περι παντων ερωταν. L. iii.
Ep. 13. in.
• L. iv. Ep. 67.
4 L. i. Ep. xxiv. 369, 449. l. ii. Ep. v. 297. l. iii.
* Η μεν ίερα των ευαγγελιων πυκτη, κ. λ.
Ep. 125, 338. l. iv. Ep. 33, 61, 91, 133, 140. l. v. Ep. 281.
Hist. de l'Eglise. 1. ix. ch. 2. sect. 7. fin.
* Vid. 1. i. Ep. 18.
L. i. Ep. 7.
thereby shows that Mary likewise was of the tribe of 'udab.
2. Isidore" had the doxology at the end of the Lord's Prayer.
3. He explains Rom. i. 32, according to our present common reading, which he prefers. But some were rather for the other; and not only they who do them, but they also who have pleasure in them that do them:' and they said it was the ancient reading. I do not suppose that Philo ever read any of St. Paul's epistles; but there is in him a passage very agreeable to the sense of this last mentioned reading. They are wicked,' says he, not only that do such things, but they also who willingly approve of those who do them: however, his expressions are very different from St. Paul's. Philo, in approving,' seems to include flattery.
4. As some unbelievers absurdly and wickedly deny the prophets to have spoken at all of Christ, so he thinks they are blameable, who endeavour to explain all the Old Testament as relating to him; for, by forced applications of texts, which do not speak of Christ, they cause those to be suspected, where he is really intended; and so hurt the cause of truth, and strengthen the adversary.'
5. The excellent Paul, though enriched with spiritual gifts, employed some time in reading; and therefore he writes to that eminent disciple of his; "Give attendance to reading." 1 Tim. iv. 13.
6. Some, in his time, wore about them small gospels, or some portions of the gospels; which he blames, as resembling the Jewish superstition, in wearing phylacteries. This kind of superstition we have already seen censured by3 Jerom, and Chrysostom.
" L. iv. Ep. 24. fin.
▾ L. iv. Ep. 60. Conf. 1. v. Ep. 74. et 159. Ασεβεσι γαρ εχ' οἱ δρωντες μονοι, αλλα και όσοι τοις δρωσιν έκεσιῳ γνωμη συν τη των δρωντων εξεσια συνεπιγράφονται. De Special. Leg. p. 779. C. όπως τες πασαν παλαιαν εις αυτον μεταφέρειν πειρωμένος εκ έξω αιτιας τιθημι.-Τῳ γαρ ελεγχεσθαι παρ' εκείνων περι τοτε μη ειρημενα εις αυτ τον έλκειν εκβιαζόμενοι, τέτων καν τοις περι αυτό αληθώς και διαρρήδην ειρημevolg vπOVOLAV TIKт8σL. L. iii. Ep. 339. Conf. 1. i. Ep. 107. l. ii. Ep. 195.
* Και ο θεσπεσιος Παυλος, και τοις πνευματικοις κομων χαρισμασι, της αναγ νώσεως 8 μικράν εποιείτο σπεδην. Διο και τη θρεμματι αυτό τω περιβλεπτῳ έγραφε προσεχε τη αναγνώσει. L. 4. Ep. 88. in.
· απερ εφορων οἱ των Ιεδαίων καθηγηται, ώσπερ νυν αἱ γυναῖκες τα ευαγγελια τα μικρά. L. ii. Ep. 150. b Vol. iv. ch cxviii.
Vol. iv. ch. cxiv. sub. fin.