페이지 이미지

fore they must be allow'd to have cited the genuine Verses of the Sibyls.

And if the Sibyls had deliver'd nothing relating to these Matters, why should any one counterfeit Verses in their Name, rather than under the Title of any o ther Oracle? There must be some Ground and Folin-, dation of Truth, to give any Opportunity or Pretence to the Counterfeiting of it: And the Prophecies of the Sibyls concerning Christ, must be the Oca casion of all the additional Prophecies which were fallly ascrib'd to them.

4. Ifaac Vollius thought that great part of these Oracles were compos'd by the Jews. And indeed, Paufanias says, one of the Sibyls was by the Jews call'd Sabba; the same, I suppose, who is mention'd by * Ælian ; and by Suidasy, said to be descended from Noah, and named Sambethe, call'd the Chaldean, and by some the Hebrew, and also the Persian Sibyl; whom # Alexander ab. Alexandro calls Sibylla Judæa , though I Josephus citing a Sibyl concerning the Tower of Babel, gives no such Account of her, but rather fupposes the contrary: Which passage is likewise cited by * Theophilus Antiochenus, and is Itill extant in the Siby: line Books. : this is

But if these were only Heathen Oracles, yet there is reason to believe that the predictions concerning Christ were very plain, though not so particular as those now set down in the Sibylline Books; both bė: cause the Heathen having but few Oracles of this nar ture, and so many of a quite contrary nature, it was the more necessary, that these should be plain; and because we find, that when God, in his infinite Wisdom, saw it fitting to reveal himself to others, he did it in as plain a manner; and fometimes in a plainer, than he did to his own People in any one Prophecy.... 01. z Paufan. in Phocic. p. 328.

*Elian. T. 12. C. 35. f Alexand. ab Alex. 1. 3. C. 16. .it Jofeph. Antiq. 1. 1. &. 5. á Ad Autolych. lib. 2. Sibyll. lib.3. fina


Thus Balaam’s Prophecy is as plain as any Prophecy of that time at least; and our Saviour discoverd himself more plainly to the Woman of Samaria, than he had yet done to any of his Disciples, John iv. 26. Not to mention the Dreams of Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar, or the Message of Fonah to the Ninevites. And as Balaam, an Inchanter or Sorcerer, deliver'd a true and famous Prophecy of Christ, and the Devils were forced to confess him to be the Son of God; so it is reasonable to believe, that God might ordain, that these celebrated Prophetesses, whofe Oracles were otherwise the Devil's Instruments to promote his Ends, should foretel our Saviour's Coming : And yet St. Augustine assures us, b'that the Silylla Erythrea, or Cumına, had nothing of Idolatry in her Verses; but spoke so much against it, that he believ'd her to belong to the City of God. PT. The difference which there is between Virgil's Fourth Eclogue, and the Translation of it into Greek, in Constantine's Oration, is rather an-Argument for the Authority of the Sibylline Oracles, than against it. For

Constantine was wont to compose his Orations and Epifles in Latin, and they were translated into Greek by some whom he employd in that Service : And the Author of the Translation translated only what was properly Virgil's; but when he came to what was by Virgil borrow'd from the Sibyl, he wrote down the Original Greek, not translating the Variations which Virgil had made from it, to apply the Proč phecy to his own Subje&t.

It is well known, that the Antients took as great a Liberty as this in their Translations; and it was the more allowable, when there could be no Design or Likelihood of Deceit in the Translation of so famous a Poem as that Eclogue of Virgil. This was but to


6 August. Civ. Dei, I. 18. c. 23. c Euseb. Vit. Const. l. 3. c. 13.

point out the Alterations which Virgil had made, and to fhèw how easily these parts of his Poem might be füpply'd from the Original Greek: And perhaps this was a known Translation of that Eclogue which had been made with this Design.

It were no difficult matter, to Answer all the other Objections which are wont to be brought against the Sibylline Oracles, fo far as the Notion here proposed is concern'd in them. For thoʻ the Books which we have now, contain 'manifest Falsifications and Forgeries; yet there must have been something real, to give a pretence and countenance to so many elaborate Forgeries of this nature, and that was the Sibylline Oracles mention'd in Tullys Salluft; Virgil, &c. We may therefore conclude, that the True Religion received a considerable Promulgation from these Oracles, which served to awaken in the Gentiles an Expe&ation of a King to be born in Fudea:

As soon as the Gospel appeared in the World, like the Rising Sun, it diffused its Divine Light and Infoence into all parts of the Earthz-its Propagation was it self a Miracle, and anfwerable to that initaculous Power of Languages, and other Means-by which it was accomplished. Tertullian acquaints-us, d that it was soon propagated beyond the Bounds of the Roman Empire, he speaks of the Northern Parts of Britain. - One, who was moft capable of knowing, St. Clement, His Fellow-labourer, acquaints us, that St. Paul went as far as the West, according to the Geography of those Times, extended. Which shews, that he accomplish'd his Intention (Rom. XV24, 28.) of going to Spain. And it is probably suppos’d, that he landed in Britain, and made some stay here in his Paf

d Tertul. adv. Judæos, c. 7.' Κήρυξ γενόμενοτε τη 'Αναλολή, και εν τη δύσ, - και επί το τέρμα η δύσεως ελθών. . Clem. Kom. Ep. 1. Č.5.


sage. sage. And we know it receiv'd as early a Propagation in other Places more remote, being preached by St. Bartholomew f to the Indians, by St. Thomas to the Parthians, and to the Scythians by St. Andrew. & St. Thomas preached likewise to the Indians, and St. Matthew to the Persians. In h general we are told, that the Apostles preached to the Persians, Armenians, Parthians, Scythians, Indians, and Brittans, to i the Indians, Ægyptians, and Æthiopians, that they preached k not only to all under the Roman Empire, but to the Scythians, the Samaritans, the Indians, the Æthiopians, the Persians, the Seres (Chineses,) the Hyrcanians, the

Bačrians, the Brittans, the Cimbri, the Germans, and in short to all Nations. The Eunuch, Treasurer to Candace Queen of Æhiopia, being Converted and Bap

tized by St. Philip, returned and preached the Gospel there 5 whereby ... St. Cyrit of Jerusalem observes, that Prophecy of the Psalmist was fulfilled, Æthiopia Shall foon stretch out, her hands unto God, Pfal. lxviii. 31.

In St. Auguftine's time, – the Christians were more -numerous in all the known Parts of the World, than the Jeus and Heathens together. Theodoret says, that but very few Gentiles, Three or Four, in comparison, continued in their Infidelity, and that they valued themselves upon being singular, and not led away with the Multitude: And we have reason to believe, that the Zeal, of the Apostles, and their immediate Disciples and Followers, had carried the glad Tidings of the Gospel farther than either Ambition or Avarice it self, 'till of late Years, had made any Discovery; which Tertullian likewise sufficiently intimates. ° Le Compte thinks, that Șt. Thomas in Person, or by


I Catech. 17.

f Eufeb. Hift. ‘l. 3. c. 1. & l. 5. 6. 10. g Ambros. in Pfal. xlv. -: h Eufeb. Dem. Evang. 1. 3. c. 7. i Theodoret. Tom. I. in Psal. cxvi. k Id. Tom. 4. Serm. 9. m St. Aug. de Utilit. Credendi, c. 7. n Theodoret. in Pfal. o Le Compte's Memoirs, p. 346.


Ixv. 7.

his Followers, propagated the Gospel in China, because the Indians had then great Dealings with the Chineses, to whom, he says, almost all India was Tributary. And the Christian Religion, which had anciently been preached throughout the East, received an additional Propagation under Tamerlane, in the beginning of the Fifteenth Century. For that mighty Prince, who conquered the Muscovites, brought China under his Power, and by his Vi&ories over the Turks, established the Greek Emperor in his Dominions, and fubdued Ægypt, had with him many Christians skilful in several Arts and Sciences, whom he brought from all Places where he had been with his Armies, or who had been recommended to him. Axalla a Genoese, who had been bred up with him, was a Christian, and in great Favour and Authority under him. The Christians were his best and chiefest Soldiers, upon whom he most relyed; he reposed as much Trult and Confidence in them, as in his Natural Subje&s, and more than in the most zealous Mahometans. He gave out Orders all over his vast Empire, that Christians should have the free Exercise of their Religion, and that Christ should be honoured and reverenced by all Men; and the Christian Worship was daily performed in his Army

This Emperor had in his Dominions many Countries, where the Inhabitants were all Christians, and he commanded that the Christians should be every where used with as much refpe&t and esteem, as thole of the Mahometan Religion. All which is p related in the most authentick Account that has been published of the Life of this great Emperor.

The Cross was found to be in use among the Chineses, by those who first went from Europe a into China; and a Bell was seen there, which had Greek Characters

P Hift. of Tamerl. by Sanctyon. c. 2, 7.

9 Trigaut. de Christ. Expedit. apud Sinas, 1. 1. C. II. Alvar. Seinedo Hift. of China, Part I. c. 31.


I 2

« 이전계속 »