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question the credit of this excellent piece, What do they find in it either unworthy of St. Clement, or disagreeable to those times in which we suppose it to have been written? Certainly, if this be a counterfeit piece, it was not only exceedingly well done, but without any design to serve any party or interest by it; there being nothing in the whole epistle that might not have become as excellent an age, and as holy a man, as that age and that man were, in which we have all the reason in the world to believe it was composed.
22. But what then is it that makes these learned men so unwilling to own this epistle to be the genuine work of that holy bishop to whom we ascribe it? It is in short this: That' the author of this epistle, in proof of the possibility of a future resurrection, reports the story of the Phoenix reviving out of its own ashes; which is not only a thing false in itself, but unworthy of such a person as St. Clement to mention.
23. Now not to say any thing as to this matter; 1st. That Photius*, a severe critic of the ancient Fathers, who first started it as a fault in St. Clement that he made use of this as a true observation, which it seems the other looked upon as a mere fable, yet did not think it any objection against the authority of this epistle, which he nevertheless acknowledged to be St. Clement's. To pass by, 2dly, That the generality of the ancient Fathers have made use of the very same instance, in proof of the same point; as the learned Junius has particularly shewn, in his Notes upon this: passage; and the authority of whose works no
Tentzelius Dissert. Select. de Phoenice, p. 33. Et Num. xvi. p. 45. + Photii Biblioth. tmem. cxxvi. p. 306.
Tertullian. Origen. Cyril. Hierosolym. Euseb. Greg. Naz. Epiphanius, Synesius, Hieronym. Lactantius, &c. Jun. Notæ in Clem. p. 34.
one yet ever called in question upon that account. I would only ask, 3dly, What if St. Clement really believed the truth of what he here wrote concerning this matter; that there was such a bird, and that he did revive out of the cinders of the body before burnt? Where was the great harm, either in giving credit to such a wonder, or, believing it, to make such a use as he here does of it?
24. The truth is, whosoever shall consider both the general credit which this story had in those days; and the particular accident which fell out, not long before the time that this epistle was written, to confirm their belief of it, (of which one of the most judicious of all the Roman historians has left us a large account,) I mean of the Phoenix that was said to have come into Egypt a little after the death of Christ, and to have given occasion of much discourse to 'the most learned men, both of the Greeks and Romans, concerning the very miracle of which St. Clement here speaks; will find it to have been no such strange thing in this holy man to have suffered himself to be led away with the common opinion; and to have believed what so many learned men did, among the Jews and Gentiles', no less than among the Christians; viz. That God was pleased to give to the world this great earnest and type of a future resurrection; and to silence thereby the cavils of such as should pretend (what we know the generality of the wise men of the world did) that it was impossible for God to effect such a restitution.
1 Tacitus Annal. lib. vi. num. 28.
2 Vid. Annot. Edit. Oxon. in loc. Bochartus Hierozoic. in Phoenice, &c. apud Tentzel. pag. 18, 19.
5 Vid. Ed. Oxon. loc. cit. Adde Annot, Schotti in Photium, tmem. cxxvi. pag. 305.
25. But I insist too long on so trifling an objection, however magnified by some men; and may, I think, from what I have said, conclude, that if this, be indeed, as they confess it is, the greatest ground they have to call in question the credit of this epistle, there is then nothing that ought to move any considering man to entertain, the least doubt or scruple concerning it.
26. There are, indeed, two other exceptions which Photius has made against St. Clement', upon the account of the epistle before us, which yet he looked upon as unquestionably his. The one, for that he speaks in it of the "Worlds beyond the ocean:" the other, in that he seems not to have written so honourably as was fitting of the Divinity of our Blessed Saviour. But, as the latter of these is but a mere cavil against this holy man, who not only in his other epistle expressly asserts the divine nature of Christ, but even in this speaks in such a manner of him as shews him to be much more than a mere creature; so in the former he said nothing but what was agreeable both to the notions and language of the times in which he lived, when it was common to call our British Isles another world, or, as St. Clement here styles them, the "Worlds beyond the ocean."
27. And these, I think, are the chief exceptions that have been raised against the following epistle; and which, however insisted upon in these latter times, yet did not hinder the first and best ages of the Church, when men were less curious, but much
4 " Aliis argumentis, tum HOC IMPRIMIS." Tentzel. Dissert. cit. p. 33.
5 Photii Bibl. cod. cxxvi.
6 Indeed to be God. See Bishop Bull, Def. Fid. Nic. sect. ii. cap. 3. And Dr. Grabe's learned Annot. on that chapter.
more pious than they now are, from putting a very great value upon it. Nor will they, I suppose, have any more weight with any serious and ingenuous person at this day; or hinder him from esteeming it a very great blessing to our present times, that a work so highly esteemed among the ancient Fathers, but so long (and, as it was justly feared, irrecoverably) lost to these latter ages, was at last so happily found out, for the increase and confirmation both of our faith and charity.
28. Now the manner of its discovery and publication was this. It happened about the beginning of the last age, that Cyril, patriarch of Alexandria, being removed from thence to Constantinople, brought along with him a great treasure of books to that place. Among the rest, he had a very ancient manuscript copy, both of the Septuagint Old, and of the New Greek Testament, written about four hundred years after Christ'. This he sent, as the most valuable present that he was master of, to our late royal sovereign King Charles the First, by Sir Thomas Roe, his Majesty's ambassador at that time at the Porte. Being thus brought into England, and placed in the royal library at St. James's, Mr. Patrick Young, the learned keeper of the King's library at that time, discovered this epistle, with part of another, at the end of the New Testament; and was thereupon commanded by his Majesty to publish it for the benefit of the world. This he accordingly did, with a Latin translation, and Notes, at Oxford, anno 1633. It was not long after, that a very learned man, and a great master of the Greek tongue, Mr. William Burton, translated it into English; and published it very accurately, and with new annotations of his own upon it. This I had
1 Vid. Præfat. Jun. in Edit.
2 Anno 1647. Lond. 4to.
not seen till the first sheets of the present edition were sent to the press: nor had I any other knowledge, either of that or of the author, than what I found in the accounts given by our late Reverend Dr. Cave and Monsieur Colomesius' of the one, and by our laborious antiquary Mr. A. Wood' of the other, in his useful collection of the lives and writings of our modern authors. And though I believe whosoever shall take the pains to compare the two translations together, will find them generally agreeing as to the sense; yet there will otherwise appear such manifest differences between them, as may abundantly satisfy any impartial person that I have truly translated it from the original Greek, and not revised only Mr. Burton's edition of it.
ON THE EPISTLE OF ST. POLYCARP TO THE PHILIPPIANS. Of the time when St. POLYCARP wrote this Epistle-The reason of its being placed before the Epistles of IGNATIUS-That St. POLYCARP wrote several other pieces-yet nothing of his now remaining but only this Epistle-Whether this Epistle has been interpolated, as those of IGNATIUS were?-The latter part of it vindicated against the exceptions of Mons. DAILLE, and some others-Of the translation of it into our own language by Dr. CAVE-and of the present edition of it.
1. THE next piece that follows in the present collection, is the Epistle of St. Polycarp to the Philippians: in placing of which, I have followed the example, not so much of our most reverend archbishop Usher', as of St. Polycarp himself:
Edit. Colomesii, lectori. Cave. Hist. Literar. in Clem. + Athenæ Oxon. 2. part. pp. 137, 138.
5 Edit. Polycarp. et Ignat. Oxon. Annot. 1644.