Early Church Fathers
74 It is an historical fact that, in 174 a.d., the Roman army in Hungary was relieved from a very dangerous predicament by the sudden occurrence of a thunder-storm, which quenched their thirst and frightened the barbarians, and thus gave the Romans the victory. By heathen writers this event (quite naturally considered miraculous) was held to have taken place in answer to prayer, but by no means in answer to the prayers of the Christians. Dion Cassius (LXXI. 8) ascribes the supposed miracle to the conjurations of the Egyptian magician Arnuphis; Capitolinus (Vita Marc. Aurelii, chap. 24, and Vita Heliogabali, chap. 9), to the prayer of Marcus Aurelius. The emperor himself expresses his view upon a coin which represents Jupiter as hurling lightning against the barbarians (see Eckhel. Numism. III. 61).
As early as the time of Marcus Aurelius himself the Christians ascribed the merit of the supposed miracle to their own prayers (e.g. Apolinarius, mentioned just below), and this became the common belief among them (cf. Tertullian, Apol. chap. 5, quoted just below, and ad Scap. chap. 4, and the forged edict of Marcus Aurelius, appended to Justin Martyr's first Apology). It is probable that the whole legion prayed for deliverance to their respective deities, and thus quite naturally each party claimed the victory for its particular gods. That there were some Christians in the army of Marcus Aurelius there is, of course, no reason to doubt, but that a legion at that time was wholly composed of Christians, as Eusebius implies, is inconceivable.
75 This legion was called the Melitene from the place where it was regularly stationed,-Melitene, a city in Eastern Cappadocia, or Armenia.
76 Kneeling was the common posture of offering prayer in the early Church, but the standing posture was by no means uncommon, especially in the offering of thanksgiving. Upon Sunday and during the whole period from Easter to Pentecost all prayers were regularly offered in a standing position, as a symbolical expression of joy (cf. Tertullian, de Corona, chap. 3; de Oratione, chap. 23, &c.). The practice, however, was not universal, and was therefore decreed by the Nicene Council in its twentieth canon (Hefele, Conciliengesch. I. 430). See Kraus' Real-Encyclopädie der Christlichen Alterthümer, Bd. I. p. 551 sqq.
77 logoj exei. See above, note 1.
78 Dion Cassius and Capitolinus record the occurrence (as mentioned above, note 2). It is recorded also by other writers after Eusebius' time, such as Claudian and Zonaras. None of them, however, attribute the occurrence to the prayers of the Christians, but all claim it for the heathen gods. The only pre-Eusebian Christian accounts of this event still extant are those contained in the forged edict of Marcus Aurelius and in the Apology of Tertullian, quoted just below (cf. also his de Orat. 29). Cyprian also probably refers to the same event in his Tractat. ad Demetriadem, 20. Eusebius, in referring to Apolinarius and Tertullian, very likely mentions all the accounts with which he was acquainted. Gregory Nyssa, Jerome, and other later Christian writers refer to the event.
79 i.e. Claudius Apolinarius, bishop of Hierapolis. Upon him and his writings, see above, Bk. IV. chap. 27, note 1. This reference is in all probability to the Apology of Apolinarius, as this is the only work known to us which would have been likely to contain an account of such an event. The fact that in the reign of the very emperor under whom the occurrence took place, and in an Apology addressed to him, the Christians could be indicated as the source øf the miracle, shows the firmness of this belief among the Christians themselves, and also proves that they must have been so numerous in the army as to justify them in setting up a counter-claim over against the heathen soldiers.Apolinarius is very far from the truth in his statement as to the name of the legion. From Dion Cassius, LV. 23, it would seem that the legion bore this name even in the time of Augustus; but if this be uncertain, at any rate it bore it as early as the time of Nero (as we learn from an inscription of his eleventh year, Corp. Ins. Lat. III. 30). Neander thinks it improbable that Apolinarius, a contemporary who lived in the neighborhood of the legion's winter quarters, could have committed such a mistake. He prefers to think that the error is Eusebius', and resulted from a too rapid perusal of the passage in Apolinarius, where there must have stood some such words as, "Now the emperor could with right call the legion the Thundering Legion." His opinion is at least plausible. Tertullian certainly knew nothing of the naming of the legion at this time, or if he had heard the report, rejected it.
80 In Bk. II. chap. 2, §4, and Bk. III. chap. 33, §3 (quoted also in Bk. III. chap. 20, §9).
81 Apol. chap. 5.
82 A pretended epistle of Marcus Aurelius, addressed to the Senate, in which he describes the miraculous deliverance of his army through the prayers of the Christians, is still extant, and stands at the close of Justin Martyr's first Apology. It is manifestly the work of a Christian, and no one now thinks of accepting it as genuine. It is in all probability the same epistle to which Tertullian refers, and therefore must have been forged before the end of the second century, although its exact date cannot be determined. See Overbeck, Studien zur Gesch. d. alten Kirche, I.
83 The epistle says that the accuser is to be burned alive (zwnta kaiesqai). Tertullian simply says that he is to be punished with a "condemnation of greater severity" (damnatione et quidem tetriore). Eusebius therefore expresses himself more definitely than Tertullian, though it is very likely that the poor Greek translation which he used had already made of damnatio tetrior the simpler and more telling expression, qanatoj.
84 Apol. ibid.
85 See Bk. III. chap. 12, note 1.
86 Upon Trajan's rescript, and the universal misunderstanding of it in the early Church, see above, Bk. III. chap. 33 (notes).
87 Upon Hadrian's treatment of the Christians, see above, Bk. IV. chap. 9.
88 Upon Antoninus Pius' relation to them, see above, Bk. IV. chap. 13.
89 Whether Eusebius refers in this remark only to the report of Tertullian, or to the entire account of the miracle, we do not know. The remark certainly has reference at least to the words of Tertullian. Eusebius had apparently not himself seen the epistle of Marcus Aurelius; for in the first place, he does not cite it; secondly, he does not rest his account upon it, but upon Apolinarius and Tertullian; and thirdly, in his Chron. both the Armenian and Greek say, "it is said that there are epistles of Marcus Aurelius extant," while Jerome says directly, "there are letters extant."
90 See above, chap. 1, §29.
91 Upon Irenaeus, see Bk. IV. chap. 21, note 9.
92 Cf. Adv. Haer. II. 3. 4, &c., and Eusebius, chap. 20, below.
93 Adv. Haer. III. 3. 3.
94 Namely, Peter and Paul; but neither of them founded the Roman church. See above, Bk. II. chap. 25, note 17.
95 On Linus, see above, Bk. III. chap. 2, note 1; and for the succession of the early Roman bishops, see the same note.
96 2 Tim. iv. 21.
97 On Anencletus, see above, Bk. III. chap. 13, note 3.
98 On Clement, see above, Bk. III. chap. 4, note 19.
99 Although the identification of this Clement with the one mentioned in Phil. iv. 3 is more than doubtful, yet there is no reason to doubt that, living as he did in the first century at Rome, he was personally acquainted at least with the apostles Peter and Paul.
100 See the Epistle of Clement itself, especially chaps. 1 and 3.
101 Upon the epistle, see above, Bk. III. chap. 16, note 1.
102 aneousa thn pistin autwn kai hn newsti apo twn apostolwn paradotin eilhfei. The last word being in the singular, the tradition must be that received by the Roman, not by the Corinthian church (as it is commonly understood), and hence it is necessary to supply some verb which shall govern paradosin, for it is at least very harsh to say that the Roman church, in its epistle to the Corinthians "renewed" the faith which it had received. The truth is, that both in Rufinus and in Irenaeus an extra participle is found (in the former exprimens, in the latter annuntians), and Stroth has in consequence ventured to insert the word kataggelousa in his text. I have likewise, for the sake of the sense, inserted the word proclaiming, not thereby intending to imply, however, the belief that kataggelousa stood in the original text of Eusebius.
103 It is interesting to notice how strictly Eusebius carries out his principle of taking historical matter wherever he can find it, but of omitting all doctrinal statements and discussions. The few sentences which follow in Irenaeus are of a doctrinal nature, and in the form of a brief polemic against Gnosticism.
105 Upon Evarestus, see above, Bk. III. chap. 34, note 3.
106 Upon Alexander, see Bk. IV. chap. 1, note 4.
107 Upon Xystus, see IV. 4, note 3.
108 Upon Telesphorus, see IV. 5, note 13.
109 Upon Hyginus, see IV. 10, note 3.
110 Upon Pius, see IV. 11, note 14.
111 Upon Anicetus, see IV. 11, note 18.
112 Upon Soter, see IV. 19, note 2.
113 Upon Eleutherus, see Introd. to this book, note 2.
114 diadoxh, which is confirmed by the ancient Latin version of Irenaeus (successione), and which is adopted by Zimmermann, Heinichen, and Valesius (in his notes). All the mss. of Eusebius, followed by the majority of the editors, read didaxh, which, however, makes no sense in this place, and can hardly have been the original reading (see Heinichen's note in loco).
115 In the various passages referred to in the notes on the previous chapter.
116 elegxou kai anatrophj thj yeudwnumou gnwsewj (cf. 1 Tim. vi. 20). This work of Irenaeus, which is commonly known under its Latin title, Adversus Haereses (Against Heresies), is still extant in a barbarous Latin version, of which we possess three mss. The original Greek is lost, though a great part of the first book can be recovered by means of extensive quotations made from it by Hippolytus and Epiphanius. The work is directed against the various Gnostic systems, among which that of Valentinus is chiefly attacked. The first book is devoted to a statement of their doctrines, the second to a refutation of them, and the remaining three to a presentation of the true doctrines of Christianity as opposed to the false positions of the Gnostics. The best edition of the original is that of Harvey: S. Irenaei libros quinque adv. Haereses., Cambr. 1857, 2 vols.; English translation in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, I. p. 309 ff. For the literature of the subject, see Schaff, II. p. 746 ff. On Irenaeus himself, see Book IV. chap. 21, note 9.
117 Adv. Haer. II. 31. 2. The sentence as it stands in Eusebius is incomplete. Irenaeus is refuting the pretended miracles of Simon and Carpocrates. The passage runs as follows: "So far are they [i.e. Simon and Carpocrates] from being able to raise the dead as the Lord raised them and as the apostles did by means of prayer, and as has been frequently done in the brotherhood on account of some necessity-the entire Church in that locality entreating with much fasting and prayer [so that] the spirit of the dead man has returned, and he has been bestowed in answer to the prayer of the saints-that they do not even believe this can possibly be done, [and hold] that the resurrection from the dead is simply an acquaintance with that truth which they proclaim."This resurrection of the dead recorded by Irenaeus is very difficult to explain, as he is a truth-loving man, and we can hardly conceive of his uttering a direct falsehood. Even Augustine, "the iron man of truth," records such miracles, and so the early centuries are full of accounts of them. The Protestant method of drawing a line between the apostolic and post-apostolic ages in this matter of miracles is arbitrary, and based upon dogmatic, not historical grounds. The truth is, that no one can fix the point of time at which miracles ceased; at the same time it is easy to appreciate the difference between the apostolic age and the third, fourth, and following centuries in this regard. That they did cease at an early date in the history of the Church is clear enough. Upon post-apostolic miracles, see Schaff, Ch. Hist. II. p. 116 ff., J. H. Newman's Two Essays on Biblical and Eccles. Miracles, and J. B. Mozley's Bampton lectures On Miracles.
118 See the previous note.
119 Adv. Haer. II. 32. 4.
120 Cf. Matt. x. 8.
121 Adv. Haer. V. 6. 1.
122 Eusebius is apparently thinking of the preface to his work contained in Bk. I. chap. 1, but there he makes no such promise as he refers to here. He speaks only of his general purpose to mention those men who preached the divine word either orally or in writing. In Bk. III. chap. 3, however, he distinctly promises to do what he here speaks of doing, and perhaps remembered only that he had made such a promise without recalling where he had made it.
123 Adv. Haer. III. 1. 1.
124 See above, Bk. III. chap. 24, note 5. Irenaeus, in this chapter traces the four Gospels back to the apostles themselves, but he is unable to say that Matthew translated his Gospel into Greek, which is of course bad for his theory, as the Matthew Gospel which the Church of his time had was in Greek, not in Hebrew. He puts the Hebrew Gospel, however, upon a par with the three Greek ones, and thus, although he does not say it directly, endeavors to convey the impression that the apostolicity of the Hebrew Matthew is a guarantee for the Greek Matthew also. Of Papias' statement, "Each one translated the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew as he was able," he could of course make no use even if he was acquainted with it. Whether his account was dependent upon Papias' or not we cannot tell.
125 See above, Bk. II. chap. 25, note 17.
126 See above, Bk. II. chap. 15, note 4.
127 See above, Bk. III. chap. 4, note 15.
128 See above, Bk. III. chap. 24, note 1.
129 Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. V. 30. 1.
130 Rev. xiii. 18. Already in Irenaeus' time there was a variation in the copies of the Apocalypse. This is interesting as showing the existence of old copies of the Apocalypse even in his time, and also as showing how early works became corrupted in the course of transmission. We learn from his words, too, that textual criticism had already begun.
131 The sentence as Eusebius quotes it here is incomplete; he repeats only so much of it as suits his purpose. Irenaeus completes his sentence, after a few more dependent clauses, by saying, "I do not know how it is that some have erred, following the ordinary mode of speech, and have vitiated the middle number in the name," &c. This shows that even in Irenaeus' time there was as much controversy about the interpretation of the Apocalypse as there has always been, and that at that day exegetes were as a rule in no better position than we are. Irenaeus refers in this sentence to the fact that the Greek numerals were indicated by the letters of the alphabet: Alpha, "one," Beta, "two," &c.
132 i.e. concerning the Beast or Antichrist. Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. V. 30. 3; quoted also in Bk. III. chap. 18, above.
133 See above, Bk. III. chap. 18, note 1.