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man. Therefore, let us hourly expect the kingdom of God in love and righteousness, since we know not the day of the advent of God.”
Here the kingdom of God is spoken of as future, and to be enjoyed, not after death, but at the coming of Christ-an object of ardent and constant expectation in this life. But lest the spuriousness of this second epistle of Clement be plead, it may suffice to remark, that almost the very same words occur in the first epistle admitted to be genuine, differing only in the extent to which the simile is carried, and the manner in which it is applied. Ye see how in a little time the fruit of the tree comes to maturity. truth, shortly and suddenly shall His will be accomplished, the Scripture even testifying, that 'He will quickly come and not tarry; and suddenly the Lord shall come into his temple, and the Holy One whom
The illustrations he afterwards introduces from the succession of day to night, the stories related among the Arabs about the bird called phenix, and from the sower casting his seed into the ground, in order to set forth the resurrection, show plainly that this coming of the Lord, wbich he exhorted Christians continually to expect, was not a spiritual coming, but his personal appearance at the resurrection, for the introduction of his kingdom. There is not the most remote hint of a temporal Millenium, consisting in 1,000 years' religious prosperity before the coming of Christ, but that coming was the object of anxious, diligent, daily expectation.
Thus also does Ignatius,f another of the apostolic fathers as they are called-who, according to Eusebius, succeeded Peter at Antioch, who died an illustrious
* Patres Apostol., vol. i. pp. 97-99, Oxf. ed. | Patres Apostol., vol. ii. pp. 455-6, Oxford ed.
martyr, A. .D. 107, and who, speaking in several of his epistles, of the expectation of Christ's coming, and particularly in that to Polycarp, says: “It behoves us especially to endure all things for God's sake, that he also
Become more studious than you are.
Consider the times : expect Him who is above time, the eternal invisible, for our sakes visible.” The same expectation of Christ's coming so commonly and forcibly urged by Christ and his apostles, continued to be the expectation of their suc
Polycarp, who was the angel of the church in Smyrna, to whom Christ, it is supposed, addressed one of his seven epistles by John, and who was ordained by the latter,* to whom Eusebius bears the highest testimony, saying that he had been instructed by the apostles, and had familiar intercourse with many that had seen Christ, and whom, he says, he had himself seen, while he was a youth, having lived to a great age, and died at last a martyr, A. D. 167—this pattern of orthodoxy, as he was regarded by Eusebius, beside other allusions to the same subject, says, in his epistle to the Philippians, so therefore let us serve (Christ) with fear and all reverence, according as He commanded, and the apostles have preached the Gospel to us, and the prophets who have heralded the advent of our Lord Jesus Christ, “ being zealous of good works, abstaining from scandals and false brethren, even those who hypocritically bear the name of the Lord, and who make vain men to err. one who confesseth not that Jesus Christ hath come in the flesh is Antichrist : and whosoever confesseth not the martyrdom of His cross is of the devil: and
For every whosoever perverts the discourses of the Lord to his own desires, and hath said there is neither a resurrection nor a judgment, he is the first born of Satan."* “If we please (the Lord) in this dispensation, we shall also partake of that which is to come, according as He has promised us to raise us from the dead, and that if we demean ourselves worthy of Him and truly believe, we shall also reign with Him.”+
* See Spanheim's Hist., p. 192.
Papias is the next writer of the first century, whose testimony we quote. He was bishop, or pastor, of Hierapolis in Phrygia, and supposed, by Irenæus, to have been instructed by Johnf the apostle. Eusebius says, he was a hearer of John, and associate of Polycarp, and quotes from his historical work, in five books, not now extant, entitled an explanation or account of the Lord's sayings or oracles. The following is Papias's own account of the authorities he refers to, as reported by Eusebius. “Whatsoever I have at any time accurately ascertained and treasured up in my memory, as I have received it from the elders, I have recorded it in order to give additional confirmation to the truth by my testimony. For I have never, like many, delighted to hear those that tell many things, but those that teach the truth, neither those that record foreign precepts, but those that are given from the Lord to our faith, and that come from the truth itself. But if I met with any one, who had been a follower of the elders anywhere, I made it a point to inquire, what were the declarations of the elders, what was said by Andrew, Peter or Philip, what by Thomas, James, John, Matthew, or any other of the disciples of our Lord; what was said by Aristion, and
• Patres Apostol., v. ii. pp. 498-501, Oxford ed. | Patres Apostol., v. ii. pp. 494-497, Oxford ed.
Spanheim's Hist., p. 194.
the presbyter John, disciples of the Lord, for I do not think I derived so much benefit from books, as from the living voice of those that are still surviving."
This is the very method which should be adopted by, and these the essential qualifications of, a faithful historian. What his language was in setting forth the faith of the apostles, and their cotemporaries, about the Millenium, and the kingdom of Christ, we do not know, but his statements come to us through a prejudiced channel, through Eusebius, who was a courtier and philosopher of the Platonic school, who lived 200 years after Christ, and adopted and extolled the allegorical or mystical interpretation. The following, nevertheless, is Eusebius's account of Papias's sentiments and interpretation of the Scriptures. “He says there would be a certain Millenium after the resurrection, and that there would be a corporeal sign of Christ on this very earth : which things, adds Eusebius, he appears to have imagined, as if they were authorized by the apostolic narrations, not understanding correctly those matters which they propounded mystically in their representations."*
It is worthy of remark here, that Eusebius does not impeach the veracity of Papias, who does not profess to discuss doctrines; but simply to give a narrative of the traditions he derived from those that conversed with the apostles, and which, he says, were, in the very words of the apostles themselves, for the truth and fidelity of which, he pledges himself. It is also worthy of remark, that Eusebius admits, that the plain. and literal meaning of the apostolical narratives, would seem to sanction the views of Papias, because he charges him with taking the plain meaning, instead
Eusebius's Hist., v. iii. p. 110.
of understanding them “mystically,” and by this means with being led into error.
Because Papias displayed no skill in the allegorical or mystical interpretation, Eusebius says he was very limited in his comprehension. That is, his millenarianism was proof of folly, according to Eusebius, whose principles of interpretation were so opposite ; yet he admits that he was both eloquent and learned in the Scriptures-a far better learning than the philosophy of the schools.
It is also still more worthy of remark, that however foolish the views of Papias appeared to Eusebius, he was constrained to admit, that the great body of ecclesiastical writers coincided with Papias; and he endeavors to account for the fact, by his antiquity. “He was the cause,” says Eusebius, “why most of the ecclesiastical writers, urging the antiquity of the man, were carried away by the same error.
With the testimony of Papias we conclude that of the first century. In review of what has been adduced, and what shall be submitted in the next chapters, the following facts, we think, are abundantly established.
1. That cotemporaneously, almost, with the prophets of the captivity, who are the most remarkable in the fulness and precision of their predictions, relative to the coming and kingdom of Christ, there arose the belief, that the Messiah would come, and personally appearing, raise the dead, and establish His kirgdom in this world.
2. That this belief was propagated, and may be traced down, through the Jewish church, to the days of Christ, not in the legends of the nation, but in the influential views of the most devout and godly of that people.
* Eusebius's Hist., lib. iii. p. 110.