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riages; which, as Dionysius of Alexandria informs us, was the impure and sordid opinion of Cerinthus. But they expected a kingdom of Christ, in which peace would flourish, in which truth, and righteousness, and piety would prevail, and the sacred name of God be every where celebrated with deserved praise. Then the orthodox hoped for a temporary kingdom of Christ, only as a prelude (if I may so express myself) to his celestial kingdom, which they believed would endure through everlasting ages."* Lardner, in like manner, endeavours to retrieve the credit of Cerinthus himself.f
The Anti-millennarians, on the other hand, though they looked equally with the others for an ulterior state of transcendant prosperity and glory to the people of God, yet they strenuously maintained that the passages of holy writ which announced it, were to be allegorically interpreted. Thus says Origen ; “ Those who deny the millennium are Οι τροπολογουντες τα προφητικα- those who interpret the sayings of the prophets by a trope.”I Those, on the contrary, who maintained it, are styled solius literæ discipuli,- disciples of the letter only. The first, says he, assert «horum vim figuraliter intelligi debere,—the import of these things ought to be figuratively understood ;' the others, he adds, understand the scripture, “ Judaico sensu,--after the manner of the Jews."$ So Epiphanius, speaking of the notion of the millennium maintained by Apollinarius, says, “ 'There
* Bulli Judicium Eccl. Cath. c. 6. p. 55.
IIepe åpxūv, L. 2. c. 12.
is indeed a millennium mentioned by John, but the majority of pious men look upon those words as true in. deed, but to be taken in a spiritual sense."* The advocates of a spiritual interpretation accordingly received from the opposite party the appellation of allegorists, and Nepos, a defender of the millennarian theory, entitled his work Ελεγχος των αλληγοριστων,-a refutation of the allegorists. Of these tropical expositors Irenæus says, “I am not ignorant that some among us who believe, in divers nations and by various works, and who, believing, do consent with the just, do yet endeavour, (META specv) to turn these things into metaphors. But if some have attempted to allegorise these things, they have not been found in all things consistent with themselves, and may be confuted from the words themselves.”+
We perceive, however, an equal positiveness in the deniers of what they deemed a voluptuous millennium. Gennadius says, “In the divine promises we believe nothing concerning meat and drink, as Irenæus, Tertullian, and Lactantius teach from their author Papias, nor of the reign of a thousand years of Christ on earth after the resurrection, and the saints reigning deliciously with him, as Nepos taught.”I
* -.non mèv övra, ev Ba067nti dè capnvišóueva TERLOT EÚ KAOLV.-Epiph. Hær. 77.526, p. 1031.
+ Irenæus Adv. Hær. L. 5. c. 33.
# Non quod ad cibum vel ad potum pertinet sicut, Papia auctore, Irenæus, Tertullianus, et Lactantius acquiescunt, neque (per) mille annos post resurrectionem regnum Christi in terra futurum, et sanctos cum illo in deliciis regnaturos speramus, sicut Nepos edocuit.-Gennad. Eccl. Dogmat. c. 55.
Augustin also observes of this opinion, “That it might be tolerable if they mentioned any spiritual delights which the saints might enjoy by Christ's presence; but since they affirm that they who then rise shall enjoy carnal and immoderate banquets of meat and drink without modesty, these things can only be believed by carnal men."*
Origen moreover speaks of this opinion, “ As a wicked doctrine, a reproach to Christianity, the heathens · themselves having better sentiments than these.”+ And
Eusebius says of it, “That it took its rise from Papias, a man of slender judgment; but the antiquity of the man prevailed with many of the ecclesiastics to be of that opinion, particularly with Irenæus, and if there were any other of the same judgment with him.”I
But of all the ancients the most inveterate oppugner of the millennarian conceit was Jerome.
“If,” says he, “we understand the Revelation literally, we must judaize; if spiritually, as it is written, we shall seem to contradict many of the ancients, particularly the Latins, Tertullian, Victorinus, Lactantius ; and the Greeks likewise, especially Irenæus, bishop of Lyons, against whom Dionysius, bishop of the church of Alexandria, a man of uncommon eloquence, wrote a curious piece deriding the fable of a thousand years, and the terrestrial Jerusalem adorned with gold and precious stones; rebuilding the temple, bloody sacrifices, sabbatical rest, circumcision, marriages, lyings-in, nursing of children, dainty feasts, and servitude of the nations : and again after this, wars, armies, triumphs, and slaughters of conquered enemies, and the death of the sinner a hundred years old. Him Apollinarius answered in two volumes, whom not only men of his own sect, but most of our own people likewise follow in this point. So it is no hard matter to foresee what a multitude of persons I am like to displease."*
* Sed cum eos qui tunc resurrexerint dicunt immoderatissi. mis carnalibus epulis vacaturos, in quibus cibus sit tantus et potus, ut non solum nullam modestiam teneant, sed modum quoque ipsius incredulitatis excedant, nullo modo ista possunt nisi de carnalibus, credi.-August. De Civ. Dec. L. 20. c. 7.
† Prolegomena to the Canticles.
Of the Dionysius here mentioned Lardner says, “ In the time of Dionysius's episcopate there were great numbers of Christians in the district of Arsinoe in Egypt, who were fond of the millennary notion, expecting a kingdom of Christ here on earth in which
* -et qua ratione intelligenda sit Apocalypsis Johannis quam si juxta literam accipimus, Judaizandum est ; si sp; * aliter, ut scripta est, disserimus, multorum veterum opinio: ubro contraire, Latinorum, Tertulliani, Victorini, Lactantii ; Graccorum, ut cæteros prætermittam, Irenæi tantum Lugdunensis episcopi faciam mentionem ; adversus quem vir eloquentissimus Dionysius, Alexandrinæ ecclesiæ pontifex, elegantem serie bit librum, irridens mille annorum fabulam; et auream atyue gemmatam in terris Jerusalem ; instaurationem templi ; iustiarum sanguinem ; otium Sabbati; circumcisionis injuriam, nuptias, partus, liberorum educationem, epularum delicias, et cunctarum gentium servitatem : rursus bella, exercitus, ac triumphos, et superatorum neces, mortemque centinarii peccatoris. Cui duobus voluminibus respondit Apollinarius, quem non solum suæ sectæ homines, sed et nostrorum in hac parte duntaxat plurima sequitur multitudo ; ut præsaga mente jam cernam, quantorum in me rabies concitanda sit.-Hieron. in Es. 1. 18. in Proem. p. 477, 478. Ed. Bened.
men should enjoy sensual pleasures. These persons were much confirmed in this opinion by a book of Nepos, an Egyptian bishop, entitled, A Confutation of the Allegorists. Dionysius had a disputation or conference with those Christians, which he gave an account of in one of his books, written upon that subject. In a fragment which we have in Eusebius, he writes to this purpose : • When,' says he, • I was in the province of Arsinoe, where you know this opinion has for some time so far prevailed as to cause divisions and apostacies of whole churches, having called together the presbyters and teachers of the brethren in the villages, admitting likewise as many of the brethren as pleased to be present, I advised that this opinion should publicly be examined into. And when they produced to me that book as a shield and impregnable bulwark, I sat with them three whole days successively, from morning to evening, discussing the contents of it.” He then goes on highly applauding the good order of the dispute, the moderation and candour of all present, their willingness to be convinced, and to retract their former opinions, if reason so required : With a good conscience,' says he, and unfeignedly, and with hearts open to the sight of God, embracing whatever could be made out by good arguments from the holy scriptures. In the end, Coracio, the chief defender of that opinion, engaged and promised, in the presence of all the brethren, that he would no longer maintain nor defend, nor teach, nor make mention of it, as being fully convinced by the arguments on the contrary side. And all the brethren