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of the three letters, not a single verse of Scripture is given at length.
"2. The chronological blunders prove their spurious character.
"3. Various words are employed in a meaning which they did not acquire till a time long after the death of Ignatius. 'Purity ' or ' chastity' and 'bishop' are such terms.
"4. The puerilities, vaporing, and mysticism of these letters proclaim their forgery.
"5. The unhallowed and insane desire and anxiety for martyrdom which appears throughout these letters is another decisive proof of fabrication."
But in favor of the genuineness of at least a certain part of the Ignatian literature several arguments are presented, the evidence of which, controverting the points just cited, amounte to hardly less than positive proof. It may here be remarked that the most strenuous defenders of this literatnre do not at the present day claim genuineness for other than the seven epistles to the Ephesians, to the Magnesians, to the Trallians, to the Romans, to the Philadelphians, to the Smyrnaeans, and to Polycarp. The following arguments are limited in their application to these seven letters.
1. The testimony of the Fathers. In the epistle of Polycarp to the Church at Philippi, written probably in the first quarter of the second century, the author remarks: "The epistles of Ignatius which he wrote unto us, together with his other lettere which have come to our hands, we have sent to you according to your order, subjoined to this epistle; and ye may be greatly profited by them, for they treat of faith and patience, and of all things that pertain to edification in the Lord Jesus." Ensebius, in his "Ecclesiastical History," informs us that these letters of Ignatius, alluded to by Polycarp, were quoted by Irenaeus. In the third century, Origen twice cites Ignatius by name. But the most important testimony is that of Eusebins, which is remarkably full and exact:—
Ignatius, who is celebrated among many,, even to the present time, had obtained the episcopate, being secured in the succession from Peter at Antioch. Of whom it is related that being sent from Syria to the city of Rome, he was devoured by wild beasts on account of his confession of Christ. And passing through Asia under the vigilant guard of his keepers, confirming the dioceses, as he stayed at each city, by verbal discourses and exhortations, he charged them most especially to beware of the heresies then springing up and beginning to abound, and exhorted them to maintain resolutely the tradition of the apostles, which for the more security he thought it necessary to set forth in writing also, thus confirmmg it by his own testimony. Having, therefore, arrived at Smyrna, where Polycarp was, he writes one epistle to the Church at Ephesus, mentioning its pastor, Onesimus ; another to that at Magnesia on the Ma?ander, in which again he makes mention of their bishop, Damus ; and another to that in Tralles, mentioning Polybius as then being its ruler. Besides these, he writes'to the Church of the Romans; to whom he addresses an entreaty that they would not disappoint him of his hope and desire by interceding for the remission of his sentence. [Here follows the narrative found in Romans v, as quoted.] After he had set forth from Smyrna he wrote again from Troas to the Philadelphians and to the Church of the Smymaaans, and particularly to Polycarp, its president, to whom—forasmuch as he well knew him to be an apostolical man—like a true and good shepherd he committed his flock at Antioch, entreating him diligently to take the charge of it. Moreover, in his epistle to the Smyrnasans he reports a saying, I know not whence derived, speaking in this manner concerning Christ: But I know and believe him to have been in the flesh, even after his resurrection. And when he came to Peter and the rest, he said unto them: Take hold, handle me, and see that I am not a spirit without body.
2. The vigor and freshness of their style also indicate the genuineness of these letters. These qualities are exemplified in the liberal quotations we have made, and are not such as a forger could easily counterfeit.
3. The quotations from the New Testament are very few. This proves that they were written at a time when the MSS. of the New Testament were difficult to. obtain; that is, in the sub-apostolic age.
4. The directness and simplicity of its method of opposing the principal heresies of the early Church, particularly Gnosticism, show that these errors were in the first stage of development.
5. Though episcopacy is lauded,* the primacy of Rome is not recognized even in the epistle to the Romans.\ This fact, though allowing no inference as to a definite date, indicates that the letters were composed not later than the third century.
The question, however, still remains for consideration, Does the Syriac or the shorter Greek recension more accurately represent the original Ignatius? That the longer Greek recension
• See Tral., vii, et alim. \ SchafTs " History," i, 470.
was formed by interpolations in the shorter is now granted by the common consent of scholarship. Respecting the genuineness of the Syriac or of the shorter Greek version, we incline toward the belief that the Greek more correctly represents the epistles as they were written by the martyr. The following reasons appear to us conclusive:—
1. The testimony of Eusebius, of the fourth century, proves the existence of the seven epistles which we now have in Greek. But, according to Dr. Cureton, the MS. of the Syriac version is not earlier than the sixth or seventh century, two or three centuries later than the date of Eusebius' "History," when the Greek version was circulating through the East.
2. The Greek version agrees with the citations made by the Fathers, not only of the first three centuries, but also with those of the fourth, fifth, and sixth, with an accuracy similar to that which is observed in the patristic quotations of the Scriptures.
3. The Syriac version is in places obscure for the lack of words which the Greek text supplies.
4. The translation and abridgment of Greek MSS. into Syriac was not uncommon in the first centuries of the Christian era.
5. A careful scrutiny and comparison of the Syriac and the Greek text indicates that the former is an abridgment of the latter. Baur, Hilgenfeld, and Uhlhorn, after a most minute' examination of the two versions, arrived at this conclusion.*
6. The sixth and last argument that we present for the genuineness of the Greek text is derived from the personal characteristics of the author which are impressed upon the writings. These characteristics, it will be remembered, we found to be in the first division of the paper, courage, spirituality, enthusiasm, spiritual pride, extreme loyalty to the Church, and courtesy. These personal qualities, it must be observed, could not be inferred from the Syriac version.
The introduction of those personal elements into the problem of the genuineness of the Ignatian epistles materially aids its solution. The first question to be considered in relation to them is. Are these the characteristics which would be demanded in the bishop of the Church at Antioch, and which would be disciplined by the duties of that office. If they are, a strong argument follows for the genuineness of the letters; if they
• See "Quarterly Review " for 1881, pp. 97, 98; Schaff s " History," i, p. 471.
are not, a corresponding presumption is established in behal of their forged character.
Antioch was the metropolis of Syria. It hid been the residence of the Syrian kings. It was, under the early emperors, the capital city of the East. Art and architecture had made it a Syrian Athens. Wealth had been so profusely lavished in its adornment that it was known as " the golden." In its cypress groves the Daphnean pleasures were celebrated with more than oriental luxuriance and exquisiteness. This city of architectural magnificence, profuse wealth, and pagan wickedness, was for the first centuries the center of Gentile Christianity. Here the disciples were first called Christians. Here Paul labored, and from the city's gates he set forth on his first missionary journey. Its bishops, headed, tradition relates, by Peter, ranked in ordine dignitatis after those of Rome and Alexandria. Its Christians numbered, in Chrysostom's day, 100,000, and its Church ministered to the needs of 3,000 of its poor. Antioch was, therefore, the Syrian Jerusalem. What, then, were the qualities needed in a bishop of such a Church of such a city in the last years of the first and the first years of the second century? Courage, that persecution may be endured without disruption of membership. Spirituality, love to Christ, that doctrine may be kept pure, that the allurements of pleasure may not beguile. Pride, that the consciousness of divine duties may repel the Christian from the degradations of heathenism. A loyalty to the Church, that neither imperial edict may cause dismay nor internal jealousies create disunion. And courtesy, that the charity of which the apostles who abode in the city wrote may blossom in all its life. The qualities which are demanded in the Antiochan bishop, and which were disciplined by the episcopal office, are precisely the qualities which are impressed- upon the Ignatian epistles. The agreement is obvious. Ignatius was bishop of the Church at Antioch, and the characteristics of his reputed letters are the characteristics which were needed in and disciplined by that office.
The second consideration in the solution of the problem relates to the consistency of these characteristics. Do they contradict each other? Are they natural, or, to use Dr. Whateley's word, are they plausible? If they are, the inference is strongly in favor of the genuineness of the letters from whose contents they are deduced. The courage manifested in the Ignatian literature is of a most impulsive type. It bursts into hyperbole. It riots in extravagance of simile. It should not, however, for this reason be condemned as unreal. It is no more peculiar than the bravery of the Scottish Wishart, who, as he is bound to the stake, exclaims, " You shall not see me change my countenance. I fear not the fire." The courage of the martyr described in the letters is of that intense type befitting a follower of Stephen. Of the same strong cast, too, are his love to Christ and his enthusiasm. His spiritual pride, moreover, is the natural result of his courage, combined with a consciousness of the responsibilities with which he is clothed. His loyalty to the Church flows from his loyalty to his God, whose visible body is in peril of being torn asunder by schismatics. And his tenderness toward others is the obedience to his Master's command of loving his neighbor as himself. These character!stioe are natural, plausible, consistent. They are colored with the intensest reality. The inference is, therefore, allowable that the writings whence they are drawn are neither forgeries nor the patch-work of fabricators, but that they are the genuine productions of the pen of him whose name they bear.
The conclusion, therefore, which this protracted examination necessitates favors the genuineness of the shorter Greek recension. This is the conclusion now generally adopted by the best scholars, and one that has recently been fortified by the work of Zahn. Until, therefore, more light is shed upon the question in consequence of new comparisons of the text or by the discovery of new MSS., critical opinion must incline toward the position that the Greek version more accurately rep.resents the original Ignatius than the Syriac,
The teaching of these epistles, whose genuineness we have endeavored to prove, should be exhibited more fully than the previous drift of our discussion has permitted. Two pointB deserve consideration.
1. C/vristology. The representations of the letters respecting the divinity and humanity of Christ are remarkably full and positive. God was manifested by Jesus Christ his Son, who is the 'Word, not spoken, but essential.* Of himself he can do nothing, f He was begotten by the Father before the beginning • Mag., Tiii. f Ibid., vii; John Y, 30 .