parts of the earth. For men have made laws for themselves in various countries, in the exercise of that freedom which was given them by God: forasmuch as this gift is in its very nature opposed to that Fate emanating from the Potentates, who assume to themselves that which was not given them. I will begin my enumeration of these laws, so far as I can remember them, from the East, the beginning of the whole world:—
“Laws of the Seres.—The Seres have laws forbidding to kill, or to commit impurity, or to worship idols; and in the whole of Serica there are no idols, and no harlots, nor any one that kills a man, nor any that is killed: although they, like other men, are born at all hours and on all days. Thus the fierce Mars, whensoever he is ‘posited’ in the zenith, does not overpower the freedom of the Seres, and compel a man to shed the blood of his fellow with an iron weapon; nor does Venus, when posited with Mars, compel any man whatever among the Seres to consort with his neighbour’s wife, or with any other woman. Rich and poor, however, and sick people and healthy, and rulers and subjects, are there: because such matters are given into the power of the Governors.
“Laws of the Brahmans who are in India.—Again, among the Hindoos, the Brahmans, of whom there are many thousands and tens of thousands, have a law forbidding to kill at all, or to pay reverence to idols, or to commit impurity, or to eat flesh, or to drink wine; and among these people not one of these things ever takes place. Thousands of years, too, have elapsed, during which these men, lo! have been governed by this law which they made for themselves.
“Another Law which is in India.—There is also another law in India, and in the same zone,77 prevailing among those who are not of the caste78 of the Brahmans, and do not embrace their teaching, bidding them serve idols, and commit impurity, and kill, and do other bad things, which by the Brahmans are disapproved. In the same zone of India, too, there are men who are in the habit of eating the flesh of men, just as all other nations eat the flesh of animals. Thus the evil stars have not compelled the Brahmans to do evil and impure things; nor have the good stars prevailed on the rest of the Hindoos to abstain from doing evil things; nor have those stars which are well ‘located’ in the regions which properly belong to them,79 and in the signs of the zodiac favourable to a humane disposition,80 prevailed on those who eat the flesh of men to abstain from using this foul and abominable food.
“Laws of the Persians.—The Persians, again, have made themselves laws permitting them to take as wives their sisters, and their daughters, and their daughters’ daughters; and there are some who go yet further, and take even their mothers. Some of these said Persians are scattered abroad, away from their country, and are found in Media, and in the country of the Parthians,81 and in Egypt, and in Phrygia (they are called Magi); and in all the countries and zones in which they are found, they are governed by this law which was made for their fathers. Yet we cannot say that for all the Magi, and for the rest of the Persians, Venus was posited with the Moon and with Saturn in the house of Saturn in her portions, while the aspect of Mars was toward them.82 There are many places, too, in the kingdom of the Parthians, where men kill their wives, and their brothers, and their children, and incur no penalty; while among the Romans and the Greeks, he that kills one of these incurs capital punishment, the severest of penalties.
“Laws of the Geli.—Among the Geli the women sow and reap, and build, and perform all the tasks of labourers, and wear no raiment of colours, and put on no shoes, and use no pleasant ointments; nor does any one find fault with them when they consort with strangers, or cultivate intimacies with their household slaves. But the husbands of these Gelae are dressed in garments of colours, and ornamented with gold and jewels, and anoint themselves with pleasant ointments. Nor is it on account of any effeminacy on their part that they act in this manner, but on account of the law which has been made for them: in fact, all the men are fond of hunting and addicted to war. But we cannot say that for all the women of the Geli Venus was posited in Capricorn or in Aquarius, in a position of ill luck; nor can we possibly say that for all the Geli Mars and Venus were posited in Aries, where it is written that brave and wanton83 men are born.
“Laws of the Bactrians.—Among the Bactrians, who are called Cashani, the women adorn themselves with the goodly raiment of men, and with much gold, and with costly jewels; and the slaves and handmaids minister to them more than to their husbands; and they ride on horses decked out with trapping of gold and with precious stones.84 These women, moreover, do not practise continency, but have intimacies with their slaves, and with strangers who go to that country; and their husbands do not find fault with them, nor have the women themselves any fear of punishment, because the Cashani look upon85 their wives only as mistresses. Yet we cannot say that for all the Bactrian women Venus and Mars and Jupiter are posited in the house of Mars in the middle of the heavens,86 the place where women are born that are rich and adulterous, and that make their husbands subservient to them in everything.
“Laws of the Racami, and of the Edessaeans, and of the Arabians.—Among the Racami, and the Edessaeans, and the Arabians, not only is she that commits adultery put to death, but she also upon whom rests the suspicion87 of adultery suffers capital punishment.
“Laws in Hatra.—There is a law in force88 in Hatra, that whosoever steals any little thing, even though it were worthless as water, shall be stoned. Among the Cashani, on the contrary, if any one commits such a theft as this, they merely spit in his face. Among the Romans, too, he that commits a small theft is scourged and sent about his business. On the other side of the Euphrates, and as you goeastward, he that is stigmatized as either a thief or a murderer does not much resent it;89 but, if a man be stigmatized as an arsenocoete, he will avenge himself even to the extent of killing his accuser.
“Laws.…—Among90 … boys … to us, and are not … Again, in all the region of the East, if any persons are thus stigmatized, and are known to be guilty, their own fathers and brothers put them to death; and very often91 they do not even make known the graves where they are buried.
“Such are the laws of the people of the East. But in the North, and in the country of the Gauls92 and their neighbours, such youths among them as are handsome the men take as wives, and they even have feasts on the occasion; and it is not considered by them as a disgrace, nor as a reproach, because of the law which prevails among them. But it is a thing impossible that all those in Gaul who are branded with this disgrace should at their Nativities have had Mercury posited with Venus in the house of Saturn, and within the limits of Mars, and in the signs of the zodiac to the west. For, concerning such men as are born under these conditions, it is written that they are branded with infamy, as being like women.
“Laws of the Britons. “—Among the Britons many men take one and the same wife.
“Laws of the Parthians.—Among the Parthians, on the other hand, one man takes many wives, and all of them keep to him only, because of the law which has been made there in that country.
“Laws of the Amazons.—As regards the Amazons, they, all of them, the entire nation, have no husbands; but like animals, once a year, in the spring-time, they issue forth from their territories and cross the river; and, having crossed it, they hold a great festival on a mountain, and the men from those parts come and stay with them fourteen days, and associate with them, and they become pregnant by them, and pass over again to their own country; and, when they are delivered, such of the children as are males they cast away, and the females they bring up. Now it is evident that, according to the ordinance of Nature, since they all became pregnant in one month, they also in one month are all delivered, a little sooner or a little later; and, as we have heard, all of them are robust and warlike; but not one of the stars is able to help any of those males who are born so as to prevent their being east away.
“The Book of the Astrologers.—It is written in the book of the astrologers, that, when Mercury is posited with Venus in the house of Mercury, he produces painters, sculptors, and bankers; but that, when they are in the house of Venus, they produce perfumers, and dancers, and singers, and poets. And yet, in all the country of the Tayites and of the Saracens, and in Upper Libya and among the Mauritanians, and in the country of the Nomades, which is at the mouth of the Ocean, and in outer Germany, and in Upper Sarmatia, and in Spain, and in all the countries to the north of Pontus, and in all the country of the Alanians, and among the Albanians, and among the Zazi, and in Brusa, which is beyond the Douro, one sees neither sculptors, nor painters, nor perfumers, nor bankers, nor poets; but, on the contrary, this decree of Mercury and Venus is prevented from influencing the entire circumference of the world. In the whole of Media, all men when they die, and even while life is still remaining in them, are cast to the dogs, and the dogs eat the dead of the whole of Media. Yet we cannot say that all the Medians are born having the Moon posited with Mars in Cancer in the day-time beneath the earth: for it is written that those whom dogs eat are so born. The Hindoos, when they die, are all of them burnt with fire, and many of their wives are burnt along with them alive. But we cannot say that all those women of the Hindoos who are burnt had at their Nativity Mars and the Sun posited in Leo in the night-time beneath the earth, as those persons are born who are burnt with fire. All the Germans die by strangulation,93 except those who are killed in battle. But it is a thing impossible, that, at the Nativity of all the Germans the Moon and Hora should have been posited between Mars and Saturn. The truth is, that in all countries, every day, and at all hours, men are born under Nativities diverse from one another, and the laws of men prevail over the decree of the stars, and they are governed by their customs. Fate does not compel the Seres to commit murder against their wish, nor the Brahmans to eat flesh; nor does it hinder the Persians from taking as wives their daughters and their sisters, nor the Hindoos from being burnt, nor the Medes from being devoured by dogs, nor the Parthians from taking many wives, nor among the Britons many men from taking one and the same wife, nor the Edessaeans from cultivating chastity, nor the Greeks from practising gymnastics, …, nor the Romans from perpetually seizing upon other countries, nor the men of the Gauls from marrying one another; nor does it compel the Amazons to rear the males; nor does his Nativity compel any man within the circumference of the whole world to cultivate the art of the Muses; but, as I have already said, in every country and in every nation all men avail themselves of the freedom of their nature in any way they choose, and, by reason of the body with which they are clothed, do service to Fate and to Nature, sometimes as they wish, and at other times as they do not wish. For in every country and in every nation there are rich and poor, and rulers and subjects, and people in health and those who are sick—each one according as Fate and his Nativity have affected him.”
“Of these things, Father Bardesan,” said I to him, “thou hast convinced us, and we know that they are true. But knowest thou that the astrologers say that the earth is divided into seven portions, which are called Zones; and that over the said portions those seven stars have authority, each of them over one; and that in each one of the said portions the will of its own Potentate prevails; and that this is called its law? ”
“First of all, know thou, my son Philip,” said he to me, “that the astrologers have invented this statement as a device for the promotion of error. For, although the earth be divided into seven portions, yet in every one of the seven portions many laws are to be found differing from one another. For there are not seven kinds of laws only found in the world, according to the number of the seven stars; nor yet twelve, according to the number of the signs of the zodiac; nor yet thirty-six, according to the number of the Decani.94 But there are many kinds of laws to be seen as you go from kingdom to kingdom, from country to country, from district to district, and in every abode of man, differing one from another. For ye remember what I said to you—that in one zone, that of the Hindoos, there are many men that do not eat the flesh of animals, and there are others that even eat the flesh of men. And again, I told you, in speaking of the Persians and the Magi, that it is not in the zone of Persia only that they have taken for wives their daughters and their sisters, but that in every country to which they have gone they have followed the law of their fathers, and have preserved the mystic arts contained in that teaching which they delivered to them. And again, remember that I told you of many nations spread abroad over the entire circuit of the world,95 who have not been confined to any one zone, but have dwelt in every quarter from which the wind blows,96 and in all the zones, and who have not the arts which Mercury and Venus are said to have given when in conjunction with each other. Yet, if laws were regulated by zones, this could not be; but they clearly are not: because those men I have spoken of are at a wide remove from having anything in common with many other men in their habits of life.
“Then, again, how many wise men, think ye, have abolished from their countries laws which appeared to them not well made? How many laws, also, are there which have been set aside through necessity? And how many kings are there who, when they have got possession of countries which did not belong to them, have abolished their established laws, and made such other laws as they chose? And, whenever these things occurred, no one of the stars was able to preserve the law. Here is an instance at hand for you to see for yourselves: it is but as yesterday since the Romans took possession of Arabia, and they abolished all the laws previously existing there, and especially the circumcision which they practised. The truth is,97 that he who is his own master is sometimes compelled to obey the law imposed on him by another, who himself in turn becomes possessed of the power to do as he pleases.
“But let me mention to you a fact which more than anything else is likely98 to convince the foolish, and such as are wanting in faith. All the Jews, who received the law through Moses, circumcise their male children on the eighth day, without waiting for the coming of the proper stars, or standing in fear of the law of the country where they are living. Nor does the star which has authority over the zone govern them by force; but, whether they be in Edom, or in Arabia, or in Greece, or in Persia, or in the north, or in the south, they carry out this law which was made for them by their fathers. It is evident that what they do is not from Nativity: for it is impossible that for all the Jews, on the eighth day, on which they are circumcised, Mars should ‘be in the ascendant, ’so that steel should pass upon them, and their blood be shed. Moreover, all of them, wherever they are, abstain from paying reverence to idols. One day in seven, also, they and their children cease from all work, from all building, and from all travelling, and from all buying and selling; nor do they kill an animal on the Sabbath-day, nor kindle a fire, nor administer justice; and there is not found among them any one whom Fate compels,99 either to go to law on the Sabbath-day and gain his cause, or to go to law and lose it, or to pull down, or to build up, or to do any one of those things which are done by all those men who have not received this law. They have also other things in respect to which they do not on the Sabbath conduct themselves like the rest of mankind, though on this same day they both bring forth and are born, and fall sick and die: for these things do not pertain to the power of man.
“In Syria and in Edessa men used to part with their manhood in honour of Tharatha; but, when King Abgar100 became a believer he commanded that every one that did so should have his hand cut off, and from that day until now no one does so in the country of Edessa.
“And what shall we say of the new race of us Christians, whom Christ at His advent planted in every country and in every region? for, lo! wherever we are, we are all called after the one name of Christ—Christians. On one day, the first of the week, we assemble ourselves together, and on the days of the readings101 we abstain from taking sustenance. The brethren who are in Gaul do not take males for wives, nor those who are in Parthia two wives; nor do those who are in Judges circumcise themselves; nor do our sisters who are among the Geli consort with strangers; nor do those brethren who are in Persia take their daughters for wives; nor do those who are in Media abandon their dead, or bury them alive, or give them as food to the dogs; nor do those who are in Edessa kill their wives or their sisters when they commit impurity, but they withdraw from them, and give them over to the judgment of God; nor do those who are in Hatra102stone thieves to death; but, wherever they are, and in whatever place they are found, the laws of the several countries do not hinder them from obeying the law of their Sovereign, Christ; nor does the Fate of the celestial Governors compel them to make use of things which they regard as impure.
“On the other hand, sickness and health, and riches and poverty, things which are not within the scope of their freedom, befall them wherever they are. For although the freedom of man is not influenced by the compulsion of the Seven, or, if at any time it is influenced, it is able to withstand the influences exerted upon it, yet, on the other hand, this same man, externally regarded,103 cannot on the instant liberate himself from the command of his Governors: for he is a slave and in subjection. For, if we were able to do everything, we should ourselves be everything; and, if we had not the power to do anything, we should be the tools of others.
“But, when God wills them, all things are possible, and they may take place without hindrance: for there is nothing that can stay that Great and Holy Will. For even those who think that they successfully withstand it, do not withstand it by strength, but by wickedness and error. And this may go on for a little while, because He is kind and forbearing towards all beings that exist,104 so as to let them remain as they are, and be governed by their own will, whilst notwithstanding they are held in check by the works which have been done and by the arrangements which have been made for their help. For this well-ordered constitution of things105 and this government which have been instituted, and the intermingling of one with another, serve to repress the violence of these beings,106 so that they should not inflict harm on one another to the full, nor yet to the full suffer harm, as was the case with them before the creation of the world. A time is also coming when this propensity to inflict harm which still remains in them shall be brought to an end, through the teaching which shall be given them amidst intercourse of another kind. And at the establishment of that new world all evil commotions shall cease, and all rebellions terminate, and the foolish shall be convinced, and all deficiencies shall be filled up, and there shall be quietness and peace, through the gift of the Lord of all existing beings.”
Here endeth the Book of the Laws of Countries.
Bardesan, therefore, an aged man, and one celebrated for his knowledge of events, wrote, in a certain work which was composed by him, concerning the synchronisms107 with one another of the luminaries of heaven, speaking as follows :—
Two revolutions of Saturn,108 60 years; 5 revolutions of Jupiter, 60 years; 40 revolutions of Mars, 60 years; 60 revolutions of the Sun, 60 years; 72 revolutions of Venus, 60 years; 150 revolutions of Mercury, 60 years; 720 revolutions of the Moon, 60 years.
And this,” says he, “is one synchronism of them all; that is, the time of one such synchronism of them. So that from hence it appears that to complete too such synchronisms there will be required six thousands of years. Thus :—
200 revolutions of Saturn, six thousands of years; 500 revolutions of Jupiter, 6 thousands of years; 4 thousand revolutions of Mars, 6 thousands of years; Six thousand revolutions of the Sun, 6 thou-sands of years; 7 thousand and 200 revolutions of Venus, 6thousands of years; 12 thousand revolutions of Mercury, 6 thou-sands of years; 72 thousand revolutions of the Moon, 6 thou-sands of years.”
These things did Bardesan thus compute when desiring to show that this world would stand only six thousands of years.
A Letter of Mara, Son of Serapion.1
Mara, son of Serapion, to Serapion, my son: peace.
When thy master and guardian wrote me a letter, and informed me that thou wast very diligent in study, though so young in years, I blessed God that thou, a little boy, and without a guide to direct thee, hadst begun in good earnest; and to myself also this was a comfort—that I heard of thee, little boy as thou art, as displaying such greatness of mind and conscientiousness:2a character which, in the case of many who have begun well, has shown no eagerness to continue.
On this account, lo, I have written for thee this record, touching that which I have by careful observation discovered in the world. For the kind of life men lead has been carefully observed by me. I tread the path of learning,3 and from the study of Greek philosophy4 have I found out all these things, although they suffered shipwreck when the birth of life took place.5
Be diligent, then, my son, in attention to those things which are becoming for the free,6so as to devote thyself to learning, and to follow after wisdom; and endeavour thus to become confirmed in those habits with which thou hast begun. Call to mind also my precepts, as a quiet person who is fond of the pursuit of learning. And, even though such a life should seem to thee very irksome, yet when thou hast made experience of it for a little while, it will become very pleasant to thee: for to me also it so happened. When, moreover, a person has left his home, and is able still to preserve his previous character, and properly does that which it behoves him to do, he is that chosen man who is called “the blessing of God,” and one who does not find aught else to compare with his freedom.7 For, as for those persons who are called to the pursuit of learning, they are seeking to extricate themselves from the turmoils of time; and those who take hold upon wisdom, they are clinging to the hope of righteousness; and those who take their stand on truth, they are displaying the banner of their virtue; and those who cultivate philosophy, they are looking to escape from the vexations of the world. And do thou too, my son, thus wisely behave thyself in regard to these things, as a wise person who seeks to spend a pure life; and beware lest the gain which many hunger after enervate thee, and thy mind turn to covet riches, which have no stability. For, when they are acquired by fraud, they do not continue; nor, even when justly obtained, do they last; and all those things which are seen by thee in the world, as belonging to that which is only for a little time, are destined to depart like a dream: for they are but as the risings and settings of the seasons.
About the objects of that vainglory, too, of which the life of men is full, be not thou solicitous: seeing that from those things which give us joy there quickly comes to us harm. Most especially is this the case with the birth of beloved children. For in two respects it plainly brings us harm: in the case of the virtuous, our very affection for them torments us, and from their very excellence of character we Suffer torture; and, in the case of the vicious, we are worried with their correction, and afflicted with their misconduct.
Thou hast heard,8 moreover, concerning our companions, that, when they were leaving Samosata, they were distressed about it, and, as if complaining of the time in which their lot was cast, said thus: “We are now far removed from our home, and we cannot return again to our city, or behold our people, or offer to our gods the greeting of praise.” Meet was it that that day should be called a day of lamentation, because one heavy grief possessed them all alike. For they wept as they remembered their fathers, and they thought of their mothers9 with sobs, and they were distressed for their brethren, and grieved for their betrothed whom they had left behind. And, although we had heard that their10 former companions were proceeding to Seleucia, we clandestinely set out, and proceeded on the way towards them, and united our own misery with theirs. Then was our grief exceedingly violent, and fitly did our weeping abound, by reason of our desperate plight, and our wailing gathered itself into a dense cloud,11 and our misery grew raster than a mountain: for not one of us had the power to ward off the disasters that assailed him. For affection for the living was intense, as well as sorrow for the dead, and our miseries were driving us on without any way of escape. For we saw our brethren and our children captives, and we remembered our deceased companions, who were laid to rest in a foreign12 land. Each one of us, too, was anxious for himself, lest he should have disaster added to disaster, or lest another calamity should overtake that which went before it. What enjoyment could men have that were prisoners, and who experienced things like these?
But as for thee, my beloved, be not distressed because in thy loneliness thou hast13 been driven from place to place. For to these things men are born, since they are destined to meet with the accidents of time. But rather let thy thought be this, that to wise men every place is alike, and that in every city the good have many fathers and mothers. Else, if thou doubt it, take thee a proof from what thou hast seen thyself. How many people who know thee not love thee as one of their own children; and what a host of women receive thee as they would their own beloved ones! Verily, as a stranger thou hast been fortunate; verily, for thy small love many people have conceived an ardent affection for thee.
What, again, are we to say concerning the delusion14 which has taken up its abode in the world? Both by reason of toil15 painful is the journey through it, and by its agitations are we, like a reed by the force of the wind, bent now in this direction, now in that. For I have been amazed at many who cast away their children, and I have been astonished at others who bring up those that are not theirs. There are persons who acquire riches in the world, and I have also been astonished at others who inherit that which is not of their own acquisition. Thus mayest thou understand and see that we are walking under the guidance of delusion.
Begin and tell us, O wisest of men,16 on which of his possessions a man can place reliance, or concerning what things he can say that they are such as abide. Wilt thou say so of abundance of riches? they are snatched away. Of fortresses? they are spoiled. Of cities? they are laid waste. Of greatness? it is brought down. Of magnificence? it is overthrown. Of beauty? it withers. Or of laws? they pass away. Or of poverty? it is despised. Or of children? they die. Or of friends? they prove false. Or of the praises of men? jealousy goes before them.
Let a man, therefore, rejoice in his empire, like Darius; or in his good fortune, like Polycrates; or in his bravery, like Achilles; or in his wife, like Agamemnon; or in his offspring, like Priam; or in his skill, like Archimedes; or in his wisdom, like Socrates; or in his learning, like Pythagoras; or in his ingenuity, like Palamedes;—the life of men, my son, departs from the world, but their praises and their virtues abide for ever.
Do thou, then, my little son, choose thee that which fadeth not away. For those who occupy themselves with these things are called modest, and are beloved, and lovers of a good name.
When, moreover, anything untoward befalls thee, do not lay the blame on man, nor be angry against God, nor fulminate against the time thou livest in.
If thou shalt continue in this mind, thy gift it not small which thou hast received from God, which has no need of riches, and is never reduced to poverty. For without fear shalt thou pass thy life,17 and with rejoicing. For fear and apologies for one’s nature belong not to the wise, but to such as walk contrary to law. For no man has even been deprived of his wisdom, as of his property.
Follow diligently learning rather than riches. For the greater are one’s possessions, the greater is the evil attendant upon them. For I have myself observed that, where a man’s goods are many, so also are the tribulations which happen to him; and, where luxuries are accumulated, there also do sorrows congregate; and, where riches are abundant, there is stored up the bitterness of many a year.
If, therefore, thou shalt behave with understanding, and shalt diligently watch over thy conduct, God will not refrain from helping thee, nor men from loving thee.
Let that which thou art able to acquire suffice thee; and if, moreover, thou art able to do without property, thou shale be called blessed, and no man whatsover shall be jealous of thee.
And remember also this, that nothing will disturb thy life very greatly, except it be the love of gain; and that no man after his death is called an owner of property: because it is by the desire of this that weak men are led captive, and they know not that a man dwells among his possessions only in the manner of a chance-comer, and they are haunted with fear because these possessions are not secured to them: for they abandoned that which is their own, and seek that which is not theirs.
What are we to say, when the wise are dragged by force by the hands of tyrants, and their wisdom is deprived of its freedom18 by slander, and they are plundered for their superior intelligence, without the opportunity of making a defence? They are not wholly to be pitied. For what benefit did the Athenians obtain by putting Socrates to death, seeing that they received as retribution for it famine and pestilence? Or the people of Samos by the burning of Pythagoras, seeing that in one hour the. whole19 of their country was covered with sand? Or the Jews by the murder of their Wise King, seeing that from that very time their kingdom was driven away from them? For with justice did God grant a recompense to the wisdom of all three of them. For the Athenians died by famine; and the people of Samos were covered by the sea without remedy; and the Jews, brought to desolation and expelled from their kingdom, are driven away into Every land. Nay, Socrates did “not” die, because of Plato; nor yet Pythagoras, because of the statue of Hera; nor yet the Wise King, because of the new laws which he enacted.
Moreover I, my son, have attentively observed mankind, in what a dismal state of ruin they are. And I have been amazed that they are not utterly prostrated20 by the calamities which surround them, and that even their wars21 are not enough for them, nor the pains they endure, nor the diseases, nor the death, nor the poverty; but that, like savage beasts, they must needs rush upon one another in their enmity, trying which of them shall inflict the greater mischief on his fellow. For they have broken away from the bounds of truth, and transgress all honest laws, because they are bent on fulfilling their selfish desires; for, whensoever a man is eagerly set on obtaining that which he desires, how is it possible that he should fitly do that which it behoves him to do? and they acknowledge no restraint,22 and but seldom stretch out their hands towards truth and goodness, but in their manner of life behave like the deaf23 and the blind. Moreover, the wicked rejoice, and the righteous are disquieted. He that has, denies that he has; and he that has not, struggles to acquire. The poor seek help, and the rich hide their wealth, and every man laughs at his fellow. Those that are drunken are stupefied, and those that have recovered themselves are ashamed.24 Some weep, and some sing; and some laugh, and others are a prey to care. They rejoice in things evil, and a man that speaks the truth they despise.
Should a man, then, be surprised when the world is seeking to wither him with its scorn, seeing that they and he have not one and the same manner of life? “These” are the things for which they care. One of them is looking forward to the time when in battle he shah obtain the renown of victory; yet the valiant perceive not by how many foolish objects of desire a man is led captive in the world. But would that for a little while self-repentance visited them! For, while victorious by their bravery, they are overcome by the power of covetousness. For I have made trial of men, and with this result: that the one thing on which they are intent, is abundance of riches. Therefore also it is that they have no settled purpose; but, through the instability of their minds, a man is of a sudden cast down from his elation of spirit to be swallowed up with sadness. They look not at the vast wealth of eternity, nor consider that every visitation of trouble is conducting us all alike to the same final period. For they are devoted to the majesty of the belly, that huge blot on the character of the vicious.
Moreover, as regards this letter which it has come into my mind to write to thee, it is not enough to read it, but the best thing is that it be put in practice.25 For I know for myself, that when thou shale have made experiment of this mode of life, it will be very pleasant to thee, and thou wilt be free from sore vexation; because it is only on account of children that we tolerate riches.26
Put, therefore, sadness away from thee, O most beloved of mankind,—a thing which never in anywise benefits a man; and drive care away from thee, which brings with it no advantage whatsoever. For we have no resource or skill that can avail us—nothing but a great mind able to cope with the disasters and to endure the tribulations which we are always receiving at the hands of the times. For at these things does it behove us to look, and not only at those which are fraught with rejoicing and good repute.
Devote thyself to wisdom, the fount of all things good, the treasure that faileth not. There shalt thou lay thy head, and be at ease. For this shall be to thee father and mother, and a good companion for thy life.
Enter into closest intimacy with fortitude and patience, those virtues which are able successfully to encounter the tribulations that befall feeble men. For so great is their strength, that they are adequate to sustain hunger, and can endure thirst, and mitigate every trouble. With toil, moreover, yea even with dissolution, they make right merry.
To these things give diligent attention, and thou shalt lead an untroubled life, and I also Shall have comfort,27 and thou shalt be called “the delight of his parents.”
For in that time of yore, when our city was standing in her greatness, thou mayest be aware that against many persons among us abominable words were uttered; but for ourselves,28 we acknowledged long ago that we received love, no less than honour, to the fullest extent from the multitude of her people: it was the state of the times only that forbade our completing those: things which we had resolved on doing.29 And here also in the prison-house we give thanks to God that we have received the love of many: for we are striving to our utmost to maintain a life of sobriety and cheerfulness;30 and, if anyone drive us by force, he will but be bearing public testimony against himself, that he is estranged from all things good, and he will receive disgrace and shame from the foul mark of shame that is upon him. For we have shown our truth—that truth which in our now ruined kingdom we possessed not.31 But, if the Romans shall permit us to go back to our own country, as called upon by justice and righteousness to do, they will be acting like humane men, and will earn the name of good and righteous, and at the same time will have a peaceful country in which to dwell: for they will exhibit their greatness when they shall leave us free men, and we shall be obedient to the sovereign power which the time has allotted to us. But let them not like tyrants, drive us as though we were slaves. Yet, if it has been already determined what shall be done, we shall receive nothing more dreadful than the peaceful death which is in store for us.
But thou, my little son, if thou resolve diligently to acquaint thyself with these things, first of all put a check on appetite, and set limits to that in which thou art indulging. Seek the power to refrain from being angry; and, instead of yielding to outbursts of passion, listen to the promptings of kindness.
For myself, what I am henceforth solicitous about is this—that, so far as I have recollections of the past, I may leave behind me a book containing them, and with a prudent mind finish the journey which I am appointed to take, and depart without suffering out of the sad afflictions of the world. For my prayer is, that I may receive my dismissal; and by what kind of death concerns me not. But, if any one should be troubled or anxious about this, I have no counsel to give him: for yonder, in the dwelling-place of all the world, will he find us before him.
One of his friends asked Mara, son of Serapion, when in bonds at his side: “Nay, by thy life, Mara, tell me what cause of laughter thou hast seen, that thou laughest.” “I am laughing,” said Mara, “at Time:32 inasmuch as, although he has not borrowed any evil from me, he is paying me back.”
Here endeth the letter of Mara, son of Serapion.
A Memorial2 a which Ambrose, a chief man of Greece, wrote: who became a Christian, and all his fellow-senators raised an outcry against him; and he fled from them, and wrote and pointed out to them all their foolishness.
Beginning his discourse,3 he answered and said:—
Think not, men of Greece, that my separation from your customs has been made without a just and proper reason. For I acquainted myself with all your wisdom, consisting of poetry, of oratory, of philosophy; and when I found not there anything agreeable to what is right, or that is worthy of the divine nature, I resolved to make myself acquainted with the wisdom of the Christians also, and to learn and see who they are, and when they took their rise, and what is the nature of this new and strange wisdom of theirs,4 or on what good hopes those who are imbued with it rely, that they speak only that which is true.
Men of Greece, when I came to examine the Christian writings, I found not any folly sin them, as I had found not any folly5in them, as I had found in the celebrated Homer, who has said concerning the wars of the two trials:6 “Because of Helen, many of the Greeks perished at Troy, away from their beloved home.”7 For, first of all, we are told8 concerning Agamemnon their king, that by reason of the foolishness of his brother Menelaus, and the violence of his madness, and the uncontrollable nature of his passion, he resolved to go and rescue Helen from the hands of a certain leprous9 shepherd; and afterwards, when the Greeks had become victorious in the war, and burnt cities, and taken women and children captive, and the land was filled with blood, and the rivers with corpses, Agamemnon himself also was found to be taken captive by his passion for Briseis. Patroclus, again, we are told, was slain, and Achilles, the son of the goddess Thetis, mourned over him; Hector was dragged along the ground, and Priam and Hecuba together were weeping over the loss of their children; Astyanax, the son of Hector, was thrown down from the walls of Ilion, and his mother Andromache the mighty Ajax bore away into captivity; and that which was taken as booty was after a little while, all squandered in sensual indulgence.
Of the wiles of Odysseus the son of Laertes, and of his murders, who shall tell the tale? For of a hundred and ten suitors did his house in one day become the grave, and it was filled with corpses and blood. He, too, it was that by his wickedness gained the praises of men, because through his pre-eminence in craft he escaped detection; he, too, it was who, you say, sailed upon the sea, and heard not the voice of the Sirens only because he stopped his ears with wax.10
The famous Achilles, again, the son of Peleus, who bounded across the river, and routed11 the Trojans, and slew Hector,—this said hero of yours became the slave of Philoxena, and was overcome by an Amazon as she lay dead and stretched upon her bier; and he put off his armour, and arrayed himself in nuptial garments, and finally fell a sacrifice to love.
Thus much concerning your great “men; ”12and thou, Homer, hadst deserved forgiveness, if thy silly story-telling had gone so far only as to prate about men, and not about the gods. As for what he says about the gods, I am ashamed even to speak of it: for the stories that have been invented about them are very wicked and shocking; passing strange,13 too, and not to be believed; and, if the truth must be told,14 fit only to be laughed at. For a person will be compelled to laugh when he meets with them, and will not believe them when he hears them. For think of gods who did not one of them observe the laws of rectitude, or of purity, or of modesty, but were adulterers, and spent their time in debauchery, and yet were not condemned to death, as they ought to have been!
Why, the sovereign of the gods, the very “father of gods and men,” not only, as ye say, was an adulterer (this was but a light thing), but even slew his own father, and was a paederast. I will first of all speak of his adultery, though I blush to do so: for he appeared to Antiope as a satyr, and descended upon Danaë as a shower of gold, and became a bull for Europa, and a swan for Leda; whilst the love of Semele, the mother of Dionysus, exposed both his own ardency of passion and the jealousy of the chaste Hera. Ganymede the Phrygian, too, he carried off disguised as an eagle, that the fair and comely boy, forsooth, might serve as cup-bearer to him. This said sovereign of the gods, moreover killed his father Kronos, that he might seize upon his kingdom.
Oh! to how many charges is the sovereign of the gods amenable,15 and how many deaths does he deserve to die, as an adulterer, and as a sorcerer,16 and as a paederast! Read to the sovereign of the gods, O men of Greece, the law concerning parricide, and the condemnation pronounced on adultery, and about the shame that attaches to the vile sin of paederasty. How many adulterers has the sovereign of the gods indoctrinated in sin! Nay, how many paederasts, and sorcerers, and murderers! So that, if a man be found indulging his passions, he must not be put to death: because he has done this that he may become like the sovereign of the gods; and, if he be found a murderer, he has an excuse in the sovereign of the gods; and, if a man be a sorcerer, he has learned it from the sovereign of the gods; and, if he be a paederast, the sovereign of the gods is his apologist. Then, again, if one should speak of courage, Achilles was more valiant that this said sovereign of the gods: for he slew the man that slew his friend; but the sovereign of the gods wept over Sarpedon his son when he was dying, being distressed for him.
Pluto, again, who is a god, carried off Kora,17 and the mother of Kora was hurrying hither and thither searching for her daughter in all desert places; and, although Alexander Paris, when he had carried off Helen, paid the penalty of vengeance, as having made himself her lover by force, yet Pluto, who is a god, when he carried off Kora, remained without rebuke; and, although Menelaus, who is a man, knew how to search for Helen his wife, yet Demeter, who is a goddess, knew not where to search for Kora her daughter.
Let Hephaestus put away jealousy from him, and not indulge resentment.18 For he was hated,19 because he was old and lame; while Ares was loved, because he was a youth and beautiful in form. There was, however, a reproof administered in respect of the adultery. Hephaestus was not, indeed, at first aware of the love existing between Venus20 his wife and Ares; but, when he did become acquainted with it, Hephaestus said: “Come, see a ridiculous and senseless piece of behaviour—how to me, who am her own, Venus, the daughter of the sovereign of the gods, is offering insult—to me, I say, who am her own, and is paying honour to Ares, who is a stranger to her.” But to the sovereign of the gods it was not displeasing: for he loved such as were like these. Penelope, moreover, remained a widow twenty years, because she was expecting the return of her husband Odysseus, and busied herself with cunning tasks,21 and persevered in works of skill, while all those suitors kept pressing her to marry them; but Venus, who is a goddess, when Hephaestus her husband was close to her, deserted him, because she was overcome by love for Ares. Hearken, men of Greece: which of you would have dared to do this, or would even have endured to see it? And, if any one “should” dare to act so, what torture would be in store for him, or what scourgings!
Kronos, again, who is a god, who devoured all those children of his, was not even brought before a court of justice. They further tell us that the sovereign of the gods, his son, was the only one that escaped from him; and that the madness of Kronos his father was cheated of its purpose because Rhea his wife, the mother of the sovereign of the gods, offered him a stone in the place of the said sovereign of the gods, his son, to prevent him from devouring him. Hearken, men of Greece, and reflect upon this madness! Why, even the dumb animal that grazes in the field knows its proper food, and does not touch strange food; the wild beast, too, and the reptile, and the bird, know their food. As for men, I need not say anything about them: ye yourselves are acquainted with their food, and understand it well. But Kronos, who is a god, not knowing his proper food, ate up a stone!
Therefore, O men of Greece, if ye will have such gods as these, do not find fault with one another when ye do such-like things. Be not angry with thy son when he forms the design to kill thee: because he thus resembles the sovereign of the gods. And, if a man commit adultery with thy wife, why dost thou think of him as an enemy, and yet to the sovereign of the gods, who is like him, doest worship and service? Why, too, dost thou find fault with thy wife when she has committed adultery and leads a dissolute life,22 and yet payest honour to Venus, and placest her images in shrines? Persuade your Solon to repeal his laws; Lycurgus, also, to make no laws; let the Areopagus repeal23 theirs, and judge no more; and let the Athenians have councils no longer. Let the Athenians discharge Socrates from his office: for no one like Kronos has ever come before him. Let them not put to death Orestes, who killed his mother: for, lo! the sovereign of the gods did worse things than these to his father. Oedipus also too hastily inflicted mischief on himself, in depriving his eyes of sight, because he had killed his mother unwittingly: for he did not think about24 the sovereign of the gods, who killed his father and yet remained without punishment. Medea, again, who killed her children, the Corinthians banish from their country; and yet they do service and honour to Kronos, who devoured his children. Then, too, as regards Alexander Paris—he was fight in carrying off Helen: for he did it that he might become like Pluto, who carded off Kora. Let your men be set free from law, and let your cities be the abode of wanton women, and a dwelling-place for sorcerers.
Wherefore, O men of Greece, seeing that your gods are grovelling like yourselves, and your heroes destitute of courage,25 as your dramas tell and your stories declare—then, again, what shall be said of the tribulations of Orestes; and the couch of Thyestes; and the foul taint in the family of Pelops; and concerning Danaus, who through jealousy killed his sons-in-law, and deprived them of offspring; the banquet of Thyestes, too, feeding upon the corpse set before him by way of vengeance for her whom he had wronged; about Procne also, to this hour screaming as she flies; her sister too, warbling, with her tongue cut out?26 What, moreover, is it fitting to say about the murder committed by Oedipus, who took his own mother to wife, and whose brothers killed one another, they being at the same time his sons?
Your festivals, too, I hate; for there is no moderation where they are; the sweet flutes also, dispellers of care, which play as an incitement to dancing;27 and the preparation of ointments, wherewith ye anoint yourselves; and the chaplets which ye put on. In the abundance of your wickedness, too, ye have forgotten shame, and your understandings have become blinded, and ye have been infuriated28 by the heat of passion, and have loved the adulterous bed.29
Had these things been said by another, perhaps our adversaries would have brought an accusation against him, on the plea that they were untrue. But your own poets say them, and your own hymns and dramas declare them.
Come, therefore, and be instructed in the word of God, and in the wisdom which is fraught with comfort. Rejoice, and become partakers of it. Acquaint yourselves with the King Immortal, and acknowledge His servants. For not in arms do they make their boast, nor do they commit murders: because our Commander has no delight in abundance of strength, nor yet in horsemen and their gallant array, nor yet in illustrious descent; but He delights in the pure soul, fenced round by a rampart of righteousness. The word of God, moreover, and the promises of our good King, and the works of God, are ever teaching us. Oh the blessedness of the soul that is redeemed by the power of the word! Oh the blessedness of the trumpet of peace without war! Oh the blessedness of the teaching which quenches the fire of appetite! which, though it makes not poets, nor fits men to be philosophers, nor has among its votaries the orators of the crowd; yet instructs men, and makes the dead not to die, and lifts men from the earth as gods up to the region which is above the firmament. Come, be instructed, and be like me: for I too was once as ye are.
Mara, son of Serapion, p. 735.
I Cannot withhold from the student the valuable hints concerning “the dialect of Edessa” by which Professor Nöldke30 corrects the loose ideas of Mommsen, more especially because the fresh work of Mommsen will soon be in our hands, and general credit will be attached to specious representations which are sure to have a bearing on his ulterior treatment of Christianity and the Roman Empire.
Of the Syriac language Professor Nöldke says:—
“It was the living language of Syria which here appears as the language of writing. In Syria it had long ago been compelled to yield to the Greek as the official language, but private writings were certainly yet to a great extent written in Aramaic. We cannot lay much stress upon the fact that the respectable citizen in the Orient would have the schoolmaster of the village compose a Greek inscription for his tomb, of which he undoubtedly understood but little himself. And what a Greek this often was! That no books written by Aramaic Gentiles have been preserved for us, does not decide against the existence of the Aramaic as the language of literature in that day; for how could such Gentile works have been preserved for us? To this must be added, that that particular dialect which afterward became the common literary language of Aramaic Christendom—namely, that of Edessa—certainly had in the Gentile period already been used for literary purposes. The official report of the great flood in the year 201, which is prefixed to the Edessa Chronicles, is written by a Gentile. To the same time must be ascribed the letter, written in good Edessan language by the finely educated Mara bar Serapion, from the neighbouring Samosata, who, notwithstanding his good-will toward youthful Christianity, was no Christian, but represented rather the ethical stand-point of the Stoicism so popular at that time. The fixed settling of Syriac orthography must have taken place at a much earlier period than the hymns of Bardesanes and his school, which are for us very old specimens of that language, since these hymns represent a versification much younger than the stage of development which is presupposed in this orthography. In general, it must be granted that the dialect of Edessa had been thoroughly developed already in pre-Christian times; otherwise, it could not have been so fixed and firm in writing and forms of expression. And the Syriac Dialogue on Fate, which presupposes throughout the third century, treats of scientific questions, according to Greek models, with such precision that we again see that this was not the beginning, but rather the close, of a scientific Syriac literature, which flourished already when there were but few or possibly no Christians there. Of course I recognise, with Mommsen, that Edessa offered a better protection to the national language and literature than did the cities of Syria proper; but circumstances were not altogether of a different nature in this regard in Haleb, Hems, and Damascus than they were in Edessa and Jerusalem. If, as is known, the common mass spoke Aramaic in the metropolitan city of Antiochia, it cannot safely be accepted that in the inland districts the Greek was not the language of the ‘educated, ’but only of those who had specially learned it. The Macedonian and Greek colonists have certainly only in a very small part retained this language in those districts down to the Roman period. In most cases they have been in a minority from the beginning over against the natives. Further. as the descendants of old soldiers, they can scarcely be regarded as the called watchmen of Greek custom and language.”
No verb is found in the lexicons, etc., note 3, p. 737.
The study of Syriac is just beginning to be regarded as only less important to the theologian than that of the Hebrew. The twain will be found a help, each to the other, if one pursues the study of the cognate languages together. In fact, the Book of Daniel demands such a preparation for its enjoyment and adequate comprehension.31 Let the commend to every reader the admirable example of Beveridge, who at eighteen years of age produced a grammar of the Syriac language, and also a Latin essay on the importance of cultivating this study, as that of the vernacular of our Lord Himself. This little treatise is worthy of careful reading; and right worthy of note is the motto which he prefixed to it,—“Estote imitatores mei, sicut et ego sum Christi” (1 Cor. xi. 1).
When one thinks of the difficulties even yet to be overcome in mastering the language,—the want of a complete lexicon, etc.,32 —it is surprising to think of Beveridge’s pioneer labours in extreme youth. Gutbir’s Lexicon Syriacum had not yet appeared, nor his edition of the Peshito, which preceded it, though Brian Walton’s great name and labours were his noble stimulants. Nobody can read the touching account which Gutbir33 gives of his own enthusiastic and self-sacrificing work, without feeling ashamed of the slow progress of Oriental studies in the course of two centuries since the illustrious Pocock gave his grand example to English scholarship. All honour to our countryman Dr. Murdock, who late in life entered upon this charming pursuit, and called on others to follow him.34 May I not venture to hope that even these specimens of what may be reaped from the field of Aramaic literature may inspire my young countrymen to take the lead in elucidating the Holy Scriptures from this almost unopened storehouse of “treasures new and old”?
Remains of the Second and Third Centuries
Introductory Notice to Remains of the Second and Third Centuries
Under the title of Fragments of the Second and Third Centuries are grouped together, in the Edinburgh series, a mass of valuable illustrative material, which might have been distributed with great advantage through the former volumes, in strict order of chronology. Something is due, however, to the unity of authorship, and to the marked design of the editors of the original edition to let these Fragments stand together, as the work of their accomplished collaborator, the Rev. B. P. Pratten, with whose skill and erudition our readers are already familiar.1
I have contented myself, therefore, with giving approximate order and continuity, on chronological grounds, to the series of names subjoined. Bardesanes has been eliminated here, and placed more appropriately with the Syriac authors. The reader will find references which may aid him in seeking further information. Some of these names are of lasting value and interest in the Church. I prefer to call these “Fragments” their “Remains.”
To each of the following names I have prefixed some details of information, with such dates as the learned supply.
The following is the Translator’s Introductory Notice—.
The fragments that follow are the productions of writers who lived during the second century or the beginning of the third. Little is known of the writers, and the statements made in regard to them are often very indefinite, and the result of mere conjecture.
1. Quadratus was one of the first of the Christian apologists. He is said to have presented his apology to Hadrian while the emperor was in Athens attending the celebration of the Eleusinian mysteries.
2. Aristo of Pella, a Jew, was the author of a work called The Disputation of Jason and Papiscus. Nothing further is known of him. He flourished in the first half of the second century.
3. Melito was bishop of Sardis, and flourished in the reign of Marcus Aurelius. He wrote many works, but all of them have perished except a few fragments. The genuineness of the Syriac fragments is open to question.
4. Hegesippus also flourished in the time of Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. He is the first ecclesiastical historian; but his book was rather notes for an ecclesiastical history, than a history.
5. Dionysius was bishop of Corinth in the reign of Marcus Aurelius. He wrote letters to various churches.
6. Rhodon went from Asia to Rome, and became a pupil of Tatian. After the lapse of his master into heresy he remained true to the faith, and wrote against heretics.
7. Maximus flourished about the same time as Rhodon, under the emperors Commodus and Severus.
8. Claudius Apollinaris was bishop of Hierapolis, and presented a defense of the Christians to Marcus Aurelius. He wrote many important works, of which we have only a few fragments.
9. Polycrates was bishop of Ephesus. He took part in the controversy on the Passover question. He died about 200 a.d.
10. Theophilus was bishop of Caesarea. He was a contemporary of Polycrates, and, like him, engaged in the Passover controversy.
11. Serapion was ordained bishop of Antioch a.d.190, but almost no other fact of his life is known. He wrote several works.
12. Apollonius wrote a work against the Montanists, probably in the year a.d.210. This is all that is known of him.
13. Pantaenus, probably a Sicilian by birth, passed from Stoicism to Christianity, and went to Judaea to proclaim the truth. He returned to Alexandria, and became president of the catechetical school there, in which post he remained till his death, which took place about the year 212 a.d.
14. The Letter of the Churches in Vienne and Lyons was written shortly after the persecution in Gaul, which took place in a.d.177. It is not known who is the author. Some have supposed that Irenaeus wrote it, but there is no historical testimony to this effect.
Quadratus, Bishop of Athens.1
[a.d. 126.] Quadratus2 is spoken of by Eusebius as a “man of understanding and of Apostolic faith.” And he celebrates Aristides as a man of similar character. These were the earliest apologists; both addressed their writings to Hadrian, and they were extant and valued in the churches in the time of Eusebius.
From the Apology for the Christian Religion.1
Our Saviour’s works, moreover, were always present: for they were real, consisting of those who had been healed of their diseases, those who had been raised from the dead; who were not only seen whilst they were being healed and raised up, but were afterwards constantly present. Nor did they remain only during the sojourn of the Saviour on earth, but also a considerable time after His departure; and, indeed, some of them have survived even down to our own times.2
Aristo of Pella.
[a.d. 140.] Aristo of Pella1 is supposed to have been a Jew, whose work was designed to help the failing Judaism of his country. Though his work is lost, alike the original and the Latin translation of one “Celsus,” it seems to have been a popular tract among Christians of Cyprian’s time, and the Latin preface is often suffixed to editions of that Father.
The work of Aristo is known as the Disputation of Papiscus and Jason, and Celsus tells us that Jason was a Hebrew Christian, while his opponent was a Jew of Alexandria. Now, Papiscus owns himself convinced by the arguments of Jason, and concludes by a request to be baptized. Celsus, who seems to have been a heathen or an Epicurean, derides the work with scornful commiseration; but Origen rebukes this, and affirms his respect for the work. All this considered, one must think Aristo was “almost persuaded to be a Christian,” and deserves a place among Christian writers.
From the Disputation of Jason and Papiscus.
“I Remember,” says Jerome (Comm. ad Gal., cap. iii. comm. 13), “in the Dispute between Jason and Papiscus, which is composed in Greek, to have found it written: ‘The execration of God is he that is hanged.’“
From the Same Work.
Jerome likewise, in his Hebrew Questions on Genesis, says: “In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth. The majority believe, as it is affirmed also in the Dispute between Fason and Papiscus, and as Tertullian in his book Against Praxeas contends, and as Hilarius too, in his exposition of one of the Psalms, declares, that in the Hebrew it is: ‘In the Son, God made the heaven and the earth.’ But that this is false, the nature of the case itself proves.”
Perhaps from the Same Work.
… And when the man himself1 who had instigated them2 to this folly had paid the just penalty (says Eusebius, Hist, iv. 6), “the whole nation from that time was strictly forbidden to set foot on the region about Jerusalem, by the formal decree and enactment of Adrian, who commanded that they should not even from a distance look on their native soil!” So writes Aristo of Pella.
From the Same Work.
I have found this expression Seven heavens (says Maximus, in Scholia on the work concerning the Mystical Theology, ascribed to Dionysius the Areopagite, cap. i. ) also in the Dispute between Papiscus and Jason, written by Aristo of Pella, which Clement of Alexandria, in the sixth book of the Outlines,3 says was composed by Saint Luke.