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archbishop Usher' himself, though he agrees with us as to the authority of the other six epistles here translated, yet doubts whether the seventh, written to St. Polycarp, be genuine or no. Nor does Isaac Vossius himself deny but that there are some things in it that may seem to render it suspicious; though more to prove it to be authentic. For, first, St. Polycarp expressly assures us that Ignatius had written to him; so both 'Eusebius and St. Hierome teach us to understand his expression. They mention the Epistle to St. Polycarp, as distinct from that to the Church of Smyrna. And, secondly, the ancient Fathers quote it as Ignatius's, no less than the rest. From both which it seems to be very plain, that this also has the same evidence of being written by Ignatius that any of the rest have; and, therefore, that he who allows it as sufficient for the one, ought not to refuse it for the other.
21. As for that which seems to be the most difficult to account for in it; namely, his writing in the plural number, and giving several instructions about the behaviour of the common people, particularly that," To adhere to the bishop;" (Chap. V. and VI.) it is rightly observed by Vossius, in his annotations on those chapters, that Ignatius in that place speaks not to St. Polycarp, but, by a usual change of person, intimates what he would have Polycarp say to his church: and whosoever shall consider in what manner he brings in what he there delivers, Say to my sisters," &c. and
again, "Exhort my brethren," &c. will presently see how those instructions are to be understood.
22. And now it remains only that I give some short account of the following translation of these Epistles. The copies from which I did it were those of Isaac Vossius and bishop Usher; comparing both, as I had occasion, with the late edition of Cotelerius. In the salutation of the Epistle to the Romans, I have departed from all of them, and followed the correction of that judicious man, whose name I mention in the margin of it. I thought myself the more at liberty to do this, because that this epistle was not found in the Florentine Manuscript, but made up, in some measure, from the Latin Versions, by the conjectures of learned men: and however it has since been published, together with the Acts of the Martyrdom of St. Ignatius, in its original Greek, yet I have rather chosen to note the differences between that and the copy I before followed, than to give a preference to either. And the reader will have this advantage by it, that he will here see both; and may make use of his own judgment, if at any time the copies disagree, to inform him which he thinks to be the most correct. For the rest, I have kept as strictly to the text of Vossius as the sense would permit me to do: only where a place was manifestly imperfect, I have sometimes taken the liberty to express my own conjectures, though differing from those of others, with whom, nevertheless, I pretend not to compare myself. But then I seldom do this without taking notice of it, and telling my reader to whom he may recur for somewhat a different opinion. If, after all, there shall appear some faults in my translation; though I may modestly say, I have taken what care my little acquaintance in these matters
would enable me to do, to avoid them; I desire it may be considered, that I had a difficult author to deal with; and I shall be very ready thankfully to amend any error, that any more discerning person shall think fit to advertise me of, if ever this Collection should be thought worthy to come to another edition.
OF THE MARTYRDOM OF ST. IGNATIUS; AND OF THE FOLLOWING RELATION OF IT, WRITTEN BY THOSE WHO WERE PRESENT AT HIS SUFFERINGS.
Of the Life of St. IGNATIUS-Whence he was called THEOPHORUS-That he never saw Christ, but was converted to Christianity by the Apostles; and by them made Bishop of Antioch-How he behaved himself in that station-Of his Death-Why he was sent from Antioch to Rome, in order to his suffering there-METAPHRASTES' account of the effect which his Death wrought upon the Emperor TRAJAN, rejected-How the Persecution of the Christians came to be mitigated about the time that he suffered-An Inquiry into the Time of his Martyrdom.
1. In the foregoing Chapter I have given such an account of the Epistles of St. Ignatius as seemed necessary to vindicate the authority of them, and to remove those prejudices which some had of late endeavoured to raise against them. I am now to pass from the writings of this holy man, to his truly great and heroical sufferings: an account whereof is in the next place subjoined, in the relation of those who accompanied him from Antioch to Rome, and were there the eyewitnesses of his martyrdom.
2. But before I come to the consideration of this last and noblest part of his life, I cannot but
think it will be expected from me to give some account of the foregoing passages of it; that so we may have at once a full view of this great saint, and perceive by what steps he prepared himself for so constant and glorious a death.
3. And here it will be necessary for me, in the first place, to consider the character which he gives of himself in the beginning of all his epistles, and which he freely asserted before the 'Emperor himself, at his examination; namely, that of Theophorus. Now this, according to the different pronunciation of it, may be expounded after a different manner; and signify either a person carried by God, or else a divine person; one who carries God in his breast. And in both these significations we find this name to have been given to this holy man.
4. For, first, as to the former signification, we are told, by some of the writers of his life, that St. Ignatius was the child whom our blessed Saviour took in his arms, and set before his Disciples as a pattern of humility, when he told them, That unless they should be converted, and become as little children, they should in no wise enter into the kingdom of God'; and that from thence he took the name of Theophorus, one who was borne, or carried by God. And thus not only Metaphrastes' and Nicephorus among the Greeks, but, as our learned bishop Usher' tells us, some Syriac writers, more ancient than they, both interpret this name, and give an account of its being attributed to this blessed martyr."
5. But, as stories of this kind seldom lose in
1 Acts of Ignatius, num. iv, v.
2 Mat. xviii. 3.
9 Metaphrast. apud Coteler. p. 991.
* Niceph. Hist. Eccl. lib. ii. cap. 35.
5 Usher. Annot. in Act. Mart. Ignat. num. iv.
the relation, so we find the Latins making a farther improvement of the present fable. For having confirmed the truth of what these men had before observed, of St. Ignatius's being taken up by our Saviour into his arms; they add, that for this reason the Apostles, when they made him bishop of Antioch, durst not lay their hands upon him," He having been before both commended by our Saviour Christ, and sanctified by his touching of him."
6. There is so much of romance in all the latter part of this story, and so little grounds for the former, that I shall not need to spend any time in the confuting of either. It is enough that St. Chrysostom' has assured us, that this holy man never saw the LORD; and that all the other ancient writers are silent as to this particular; which makes me the rather wonder at the endeavour of a late learned writers of our own country to give countenance to such a fable; which, if not destitute of all probability, yet at least wants any good authority to support it; and, as our learned bishop Pearson' very reasonably conjectures, was first started about the time of the Eighth General Council, by the party of that Ignatius who was then set up in opposition to Photius; and from thence derived both to Anastasius among the Latins, and to Metaphrastes among the Greeks.
7. To pass then from this fabulous account of this title, let us come to the consideration of the true import of it. Now, for that as we cannot have any better, so neither need we desire any
6 Vid. Annot. in Concil. Œcum. viii. Concil. Lab. tom. viii. p. 994. D. 7 Homil. in S. Ignat. tom. I. Fevardent. p. 499, 506. B, C.,
Montac, Origin. Eccles. tom. II. p. 211, 212.