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other account than what this holy man' himself gave the Emperor of that name. When being asked by him, "Who was Theophorus?" he replied, "He who has Christ in his breast." And in this sense was this name commonly used among the Ancients; as has been shewn, in a multitude of examples, by bishop Pearson, in his elaborate Vindication of Ignatius's Epistles. I shall offer only one of them, that of St. Cyrill, who anathematizes those who should call our Saviour Christ, Theophorus; "lest," says he, "he should thereby be understood to have been no other than one of the saints."
8. It remains, then, that Ignatius was called Theophorus, for the same reason that any other divine, or excellent person, might have been so called; namely, upon the account of his admirable piety: because his soul was full of the love of God, and sanctified with an extraordinary portion of the Divine Grace; as both his life shewed, and the earnest desire he had to be dissolved and to be with Christ; and his joy when he saw himself approaching towards it; and (to mention no more) his constancy in his last and most terrible conflict, with the wild beasts, will not suffer us to doubt.
9. But though the story of our Saviour's taking St. Ignatius into his arms be of no credit, yet thus much St. Chrysostom' tells us, that he was intimately acquainted with the holy Apostles, and instructed by them in the full knowledge of all the mysteries of the Gospel. What was the country that gave birth to this blessed saint, or who his parents were, we cannot tell. Indeed, as
1 Acts of Ignat. num. v.
* Vind. Ignat. Part. II. p. 144.
3 Homil. in Ignat. p. 499. tom. I. Fevardent.
to the former of these, his country, a late author has endeavoured, from a passage in Abulfaragius, set out by our incomparable Dr. Pococke, to fix it at Nora in Sardinia; a place which still retains its ancient name with very little variation. This is certain, that growing eminent, both in the knowledge of the doctrine of Christ, and in a life exactly framed according to the strictest rules of it, he was, upon the death of Euodius, chosen by the Apostles, that were still living, to be bishop of Antioch, the metropolis of Syria; and, whatever Anastasius pretends', received imposition of hands from them.
10. How he behaved himself in this great station, though we have no particular account left to us, yet we may easily conclude from that short hint that is given us of it, in the relation of his martyrdom; where we are told that he was a man in all things like unto the Apostles; that "as a good governor, by the helm of prayer and fasting, by the constancy of his doctrine and "spiritual labour, he opposed himself to the "floods of the adversary: That he was like a "divine lamp illuminating the hearts of the faith"ful by his exposition of the holy scriptures; and lastly, that to preserve his Church, he doubted "not freely, and of his own accord, to expose "himself to the most bitter death." This is in general the character of his behaviour in his Church of Antioch; a greater hardly be given to any man.
than which can Nor indeed can we
+ Ernest. Tentzel. Exercit. Select. III. num. ii. p. 47. Comp. Dr. Grabe Spicileg. tom. ii. p. 1.
Vid, Chrysost. Orat. in Laud. Ignat. Theodoret. tom. iv. p. 33. Dial. 1. Comp. Usser. Annot. in Epist. ad Antioch. p. 107. Pearson. Vind. Ignat. part. II. p. 107.
Acts of Ignat. num. i, ii, iii.
doubt but that he, who, as Eusebius' tells us, and as his Epistles still remaining abundantly testify, was so careful of all the other Churches, to confirm them in a sound faith, and in a constant adherence to their holy religion, was certainly much more vigilant to promote the interests of piety within his own diocese, which was blessed with his government above forty years'.
11. Hence we may observe, what a tender concern he expresses in all his Epistles for his Church at Antioch: with what affection he recommends it to the prayers of those to whom he wrote; and especially to the care of his dear friend and fellowdisciple, St. Polycarp. And when he heard at Troas of the ceasing of the persecution there, how did he rejoice at it? and require all the neighbouring Churches to rejoice with him; and to send their messengers and letters thither, to congratulate with them upon that account?
12. Such was his affection towards his own Church, and his care of all the others round about him: by both of which he became in such an extraordinary favour with them, that they thought nothing could be sufficient to express their respect towards him. And therefore we are told, that when he was carried from Antioch to Rome, in order to his suffering, all the Churches every where sent messengers on the way to attend him, and to communicate to his wants. And what is yet more, they were generally their bishops themselves that came to meet him, and thought it a singular happiness to receive some
1 Hist. Eccles. lib. iii. cap. 36.
Euseb. Chron. ab anno 69 ad 110. alii ad 116. Vid. infr.
3 See his Epistles to the Philadelph. Smyrn. and to St. Polycarp. Vid. Ignat. Epist. et speciatim ad Rom. num. ix. Add. Act. Ignat. num. ix.
spiritual exhortations from him. And when he was dead, they paid such an honour to his memory, as to account the few bones' that were left of him by the wild beasts, more precious than the richest jewels: insomuch that we are told they were several ages after taken up from the place where they were first deposited, as not honourable enough for them to lie in, and that, being brought within the city where he once was bishop, there was instituted a yearly festival in memory of him.
13. As for what concerns the circumstances of his death, they are so particularly recounted in the relation I have here subjoined of it, that nothing more needs to be added to what is there delivered of this matter. Yet one remark I cannot but make on that particular of his story which has puzzled so many learned' men to account for, but may easily be resolved, and I believe most truly too, into the over-ruling hand of the Divine Providence; and that is, of the sending of this holy man from Antíoch as far as Rome to suffer. whatever the design of the Emperor may have. been in it, whether he intended to increase his sufferings by a journey so wearisome, and attended with so many bitter circumstances, as that must needs have been to a person, very probably, at that time, fourscore years of age; or whether he hoped by this means to have overcome his constancy, and to have drawn, him away from his faith; or lastly, whether, as Metaphrastes' tells us, upon his consulting with those of the Senate who were with
5 Vid. Act. Ignat. num. xiii.
Vid. Usserii Ann. in Act. Ignat. num. xxxvii.
7 Vid. Scalig. in Euseb. ad Ann. 110,
8 Vid. Usser. Not. in Act. Ignat. num. ix. p. 39, 40. Tentzel. Exere. iii. p. 49. 1
9 Matt. apud Coteler.
him, he was advised "not to let him suffer at "Antioch, lest thereby he should raise his esteem "the more among the people, and render him still 66 more dear and desirable to them;" we cannot doubt but that God hereby designed to present to all the nations through which he was to pass, a glorious instance of the power of his religion, that could enable this blessed martyr with so much constancy to despise all the violence of his enemies; and to be impatient after those trials which they hoped should have affrighted him into a base and degenerous compliance with their desires.
14. This was indeed a triumph worthy of the Christian religion: nor was it any small advantage to the Churches at such a critical time, to have their zeal awakened, and their courage confirmed, both by the example and exhortations of this great man, from Antioch even to Rome itself. And we are accordingly told with what mighty comfort and satisfaction they received his instructions, and, as the authors' of his Acts express it," rejoiced to partake in his spiritual gift."
15. Nay, but if we may believe Metaphrastes as to the effect which the sufferings of this holy man had upon the mind of the Emperor, the Church received yet greater benefit by his death: "For Tra
jan,' (says he,) hearing of what had been done to "Ignatius, and how undauntedly he had undergone "the sentence that was pronounced against him; "and being informed that the Christians were a "sort of men that did nothing contrary to the laws,
nor were guilty of any impieties; but worshipped "Christ as the Son of God, and exercised all temperance both in meat and drink, nor meddled with any thing that was forbidden; he began to
1 Acts of Ignat. num. ix.
Mart. Ignat. apud Coteler. p. 1002.