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bed. To the like purpose speaks Jerom. Nevertheless they made solemn declarations of their innocence, and gave such assurances of being unpolluted by carnal commerce, as were satisfactory. So So says Mr. Dodwell upon the authority of a passage of St. Cyprian: which however still declares the practice to be unreputable and offensive. Leontius the Arian bishop of Antioch is censured by Athanasius for cohabiting with a virgin. And he may be reckoned to be one of those, who gave proof of his freedom from carnal commerce.
We cannot dispute the truth of what St. Cyprian says, that in Africa some of these ecclesiastics and their virgins lay in the same room, and in the same bed. Nevertheless perhaps there were very few instances of this sort. St. Chrysostom has two homilies or orations upon this subject. One is against those who had with them subintroduced virgins.' The other, that canonical women ought not to dwell [or cohabit] with men.' It may be allowed, that he treats those whom he reproves with a good deal of politeness and tenderness. Nevertheless his argument is very cogent. Nor can any imagine, that John Chrysostom would extenuate the guilt of those whom he blamed, or dissemble any part of their fault. And yet I do not perceive, that he had received any intelligence of those last mentioned aggravating circumstances. He speaks of their dwelling under the same roof, of their cohabiting together, eating at the same table, sitting together, and discoursing freely and pleasantly in the day-time. But they did not lie together. He plainly supposeth, that they had different apartments, and that there were others, particularly women-servants, in the house with them. In that way of acting it may be reckoned, that their virtue would not be in any immediate danger. However, undoubtedly, notwithstanding such precautions, some would be suspicious; which was enough to render this practice offensive. And therefore the fathers of the council of Nice ordained in one of their canons, that no bishop, presbyter, or deacon, or any of the clergy, should have an introduced woman, unless she be a mother, or sister, or aunt, or however a person liable to no suspicion.' But I need not enlarge further by way of introduction to my argument.
That this practice is referred to, and censured in these epistles, is manifest from some passages to be now produced. We are persuaded, says the writer, that you will mind these things, which are necessary to your salvation. But we speak as we do, because of the evil • fame and report concerning impudent men, who dwell with virgins under a pretence of piety, and put their souls in danger-It is altogether unfit, that they who are Christians, and fear God, should act thus.'
Setting forth his own conduct, and that of others, whom he represents as exemplary, he says; We do not dwell with virgins, nor have we any concern with them. We do not eat ⚫ and drink, where a virgin is. Nor do we lie [sleep] where a virgin lies. Nor do women wash our feet, or anoint us. We never lie [or sleep] where a virgin is, who is unmarried, and fit for marriage. Though she be alone, and in another place, [or part of the house,] we do not spend the night there.'
• Unde in ecclesias Agapetarum pestis introiit! Unde sine nuptiis aliud nomen uxorum!-Eadem domo, uno cubiculo, sæpe uno tenentur et lectulo,et suspiciosos nos vocant, si aliquid existimamus. Ad. Eustoch. ep. 18 al. 22. T. IV. p. 33.
Quid deinde illud quod cum summo animi nostri gemitu et dolore cognovimus, non deesse qui Dei templa et post confessionem sanctificata et illustrata membra turpi et infami concubitu suo plus maculent, cubilia sua cum feminis promiscua jungentes, quando etsi stuprum conscientiæ eorum desit, hoc ipso grande crimen est, quod illorum scandalo in aliorum ruinas exempla nascuntur. [Čypr. ep. 6. al. 7. al. 13.] Constat itaque, qui ita cum mulieribus concumberent, carnis tamen integritatem servâsse illibatam. Dodwell ubi supra, n. i. • Ο μεν γαρ Λεοντιο διαβαλλομενος, μετά γυναικός τιν νεωτέρας, λεγόμενης Ευσολία, και κωλυομενο συνοικειν αυτή, δι' αυτήν ἑαυτόν απέκοψεν, ίν' επ' αδείας εχη διατρίβειν μετ' UTS. Apol. de fugâ suâ. p. 335. E. Vid. et Hist. rian. ad Monach. p. 360. B.
-v805- - κόρη συνοίκων παρθένω, και συγκαθημένα, και συνδείπνων και συνδιαλεγομενΘ- δι' ήμερας των γαρ αλλαν εδεν προσίθημι Ib. p. 231. Β.-αλλ' ότι την αυτήν έχαν οικίαν, και τραπέζης, και λόγων κοινωνων, και μετά παρρησίας πολλης. Ib. C.
Ubi supra. p. 241. D. E. p. 254. fin.
sed ita loquimur de iis quæ loquimur, propter famam et rumorem malum de hominibus impudentibus, qui habitant cum virginibus prætextu pietatis, et conjiciunt animam suam in periculum-Prorsus non decet Christianos et timentes Deum ita conversari. Alii autem edunt et bibunt cum virginibus, &c. Ep. i. c. 10. Wetstein.
i Cum virginibus non habitamus, et inter illas nihil habemus negotii. Et cum virginibus nec edimus nec bibimus. Nec lavant mulieres pedes nostros, nec ungunt nos. Et prorsus ubi dormit virgo, quæ viri non est, aut filia nubilis, non dormimus etiamsi sit in alio loco sola, non pernoctamus ibi. Ep. 2. c. 1. W.
In another chapter. We that are holy, do not eat and drink with women. Nor do women or virgins minister to us, or wash our feet, or anoint us. Nor do we lie [sleep] where women lie, that we may be in all things without offence.'
Afterwards in another chapter, Even after the Lord was risen from the dead, when Mary 'came running to the sepulchre, and falling down at his feet, and worshipping him, sought to touch him, he said unto her; "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father." John xx. 17. Is it not then wonderful, that the Lord permitted not that blessed woman Mary ' to touch his feet? And you dwell with them, and women and virgins minister to you, and you lie where they lie: and women wash your feet, and anoint you-Many holy women have • ministered to the saints out of their substance, as the Shunamite woman ministered to Elisha. • But she did not dwell with him; for the prophet dwelt in a house by himself, 2 Kings iv. 8-10. • Women ministered to the Lord Jesus Christ out of their substance, Luke viii. 3, but they did ⚫ not dwell with him. We also find that women ministered to the other apostles, and to Paul; but they did not dwell with them.'
I need not transcribe any more; here is enough, to show the occasion and design of these epistles. However, there is still one thing more to be taken notice of, which will fully determine the point. The people complained of by St. Cyprian, and others, were ecclesiastics, and women, who made profession of virginity. So it is here. Both these letters are addressed to virgins. And it is implied, that they were pure in body, or free from carnal pollutions. Who' ever,' says the author, professeth before the Lord, that he will keep his chastity, ought to 'be clothed with every virtue; and if he has truly crucified his body for the sake of piety, he deprecates that saying, "increase and multiply," and all concupiscence, and all the delights of this world, and shuns all those snares, by which he might be endangered.'
And presently afterwards, in the next chapter, For this cause he separates himself from 'the desires of the body, and not only deprecates that, "increase and multiply," but desires the promised hope, prepared and laid up in heaven, even a better place [or recompence] than that of those who have been holy in the state of marriage.'
Nor does this author any where charge those to whom he writes with any acts of uncleanness: but he advises them to keep more out of the way of temptation, and also to show a greater regard for the opinion of men, and avoid whatever might be an occasion of offence and scandal.
This being the case, we now see the reason of some things, which otherwise would not be. easily accounted for. First, We see the reason of the address of these epistles, which at first seems odd and whimsical. They are addressed to virgins, and virgins.' So in the first chap
a Nos sancti cum mulieribus nec edimus nec bibimus, nec ministrant nobis mulieres vel virgines. Et mulieres non lavant nobis pedes, nec ungunt nos; et non conveniunt nobis mulieres; neque dormimus, ubi dormiunt mulieres, ut simus sine reprehensione, &c. Ep. 2. c. 3. W.
Nec hoc solum, sed etiam postquam surrexit Dominus a mortuis, et veniret Maria ad sepulcrum currens, et sedens ad pedes Domini, et adorans eum, et quærens eum apprehendere, ipse dixit ei: Noli me tangere. Nondum enim adscendi ad Patrem meum.' Nonne igitur mirabile est de Domino, quod non permisit Mariæ, mulieri beatæ, ut tangeret pedes ejus; tu autem habitas cum illis, et tibi ministrant mulieres et virgines; et dormis, ubi illæ dormiunt; et lavant tibi pedes, et ungunt te mulieres?-Mulieres autem multæ sanctæ ministrârunt sanctis e possessionibus suis, sicut ministravit Sulamitis Elisa; sed cum eo non habitavit; et ipse Propheta in domo seorsim habitavit Domino Jesu Christo ministrârunt mulieres e possessionibus suis; sed cum illo non habitârunt. Etiam apostolis, etiam Paulo reperimus ministrâsse mulieres; sed cum illis non habitârunt. Ep. 2. c. 15.W.
Quicumque enim profitetur coram Domino, se servaturum castitatem, debet cingi omni virtute sanctâ Dei, et si vere in timore crucifixit corpus suum propter pietatem, deprecatur verbum, dicens, Crescite et multiplicamini,' et totam mentem et cogitationem, et concupiscentiam mundi hujus, et delicias, et ebrietatem, et omnem amorem ejus, et otium
ejus et exinanitus est ab omni conversatione mundi hujus, et ex laqueis et retibus et impedimentis ejus. Ep. i. c. 3. W. Propterea separat se ab omnibus concupiscentiis corporis; et non solum deprecatur illud, fructificate et multiplicate,' sed desiderat spem promissam et præparatam et positam in cœlis Deo, qui promisit ore, et non mentitur--locum celebrem in domo Dei excellentiorem filiis et filiabus, et excellentiorem illis, qui conjuges fuerunt in sanctitate. Ibid. c. 4.
-et exinanitus est ab omni conversatione mundi hujus, et ex laqueis et retibus et impedimentis ejus. Ep. i. cap. 3. f. -et conjiciunt animam suam in periculum; et eunt cum illis in semitâ et in deserto soli viam plenam periculis, et plenam offendiculis et laqueis et foveis. Ibid. c. 10.
-ut simus sine reprehensione in omnibus, ne quis in nobis offendatur, &c. Ep. ii. c. 3.
et ne demus occasionem illis, qui volunt, ut teneant occasionem post nos, et loquantur de nobis mala, et ut nemini simus offendiculo, &c. Ib. cap. 5.
8 Virginibus (fratribus') beatis, qui constituerunt servare virginitatem propter regnum cœlorum, et virginibus (sororibus') sanctis in Deo, salutem. cap. 1. Unicuique virginum (fratrum') et virginum (sororum')—Qui autem vere sunt virgines ( fratres') et virgines (sorores') audiunt eum qui dixit-cap. 2.
ter, and twice in the second, and frequently throughout the epistles. Which Mr. Wetstein, and rightly, as I suppose, renders' virgins,' brethren, and virgins,' sisters. Chrysostom pronounced two orations for the sake of these people: one against those who had with them subintroduced 'virgins: the other, that canonical women ought not to dwell with men.' But this writer applies to both together, and calls them virgins. Secondly, we now also see the reason why the good conduct of the preachers of the gospel is so much insisted upon in these epistles. They were clergymen who offended in this point, and therefore needed to be admonished to take more care both of their virtue, and their reputation, and not to give offence to other people. Thirdly, that expression, relating to this matter, which we saw just now, men, who dwell with virgins ' under a pretence of piety,' appears remarkable, and leads to the following observation. The ecclesiastics, now complained of, were generally, or for the most part, men of religion and virtue. Being desirous to have the attendance and assistance of a woman in their domestic affairs, they pitched upon such as were virgins by profession, whom they judged to be the most unexceptionable of any, and least liable to suspicion. Determined to keep themselves pure, they supposed, that if notwithstanding all their care an evil thought or desire should arise in them, such persons would not encourage, but check and controul it. So they dwelled with virgins under a pretence of piety,' as this writer says. It has often seemed strange to me, that these subintroduced women,' mentioned by ancient writers, were continually spoken of as virgins, and devoted to Christ, and the like. We here see the reason, why such were chosen and preferred to others. This observation first came into my mind upon reading these epistles; and it is referred to the consideration of the learned.
The time therefore of these epistles is to be collected from that of this practice. When it was first introduced, and when it ceased, may not be easily decided. It was taken notice of and censured by Cyprian about the middle of the third century. And not long after that time Paul of Samosata, bishop of Antioch, and divers of the clergy of that diocese were charged with it. And if Chrysostom's orations upon occasion of it, were not composed till after the commencement of his episcopate, as the Benedictine editors think, it subsisted to the end of the fourth century. And doubtless there were instances of it in the following century. Chrysostom speaks of it as a new thing, that had arisen in that age; but the expressions of orators may be understood with latitude. However, it is very probable, that it did not appear in the early days of Christianity, nor till after the death of all the apostles, and their disciples, called apostolical men: consequently, not in the time of Clement bishop of Rome. And if the writer of these epistles refers to it, as I think he plainly does, he is not Clement disciple of the apostle Paul.
4. I observe, in the fourth place, that this writer exceeds in his praises of virginity, and in his recommendations of it. Mr. Wetstein is sensible, that what he says is not agreeable to the Protestant doctrine. Nevertheless he thinks it is not unreasonable, nor unscriptural. If I am not mistaken, I could easily show, that a great deal said upon this head by the writer of these epistles is destitute of support and countenance from the doctrine of the New Testament. But instead of doing that at present, I would observe, that he differs from Clement, who in the first chapter of his epistle to the Corinthians says: You were subject to your rulers, giving • becoming respect to elders. Young men you taught to be modest. The women you exhorted to do all things unblameably-loving their husbands, as is fit,—and managing the affairs of the house with propriety and modesty. And in the 21st chapter: Let us respect our rulers, • and honour the elders: young men let us instruct in the discipline and fear of God: our wives let us direct to that which is good, that they may show forth the agreeable behaviour of chas⚫tity-And let our children be bred up in the discipline of Christ.' So Clement. Whether he was married, or single, I know not. But this apostolical man, to render his exhortations more forcible, joins himself with men in the marriage-state. Nothing of this kind is to be found in the writer of these two epistles. He scorns to touch upon these points. The virtues of the marriage-state are below his regard.
a Vid. ep. i. c. 11. 12. et ep. ii. passim.
b Vide Monitum. T. i. p. 227.
-ETTI DE TYS YEVERS TμETEрas Naι TPIT ETEVOrr, Tρon καινος τις και παραδοξο. T. i. p. 228. Α. Β.
Erunt fortasse, quibus harum epistolarum scriptor vide
bitur et matrimonio esse iniquior, cœlibatum vero nimium extollere Aliterque, fateor, de cœlibatu et matrimonio sensit Clemens, quam M. Lutherus. At nondum probatum est, illum male sensisse. Wetst. Prolegom. p. vii.
Ile differs likewise from St. Cyprian, who in treating on this subject, adviseth rather that these virgins should marry, if they are not able to persevere in the purpose of purity.
For it is
He differs also from St. Chrysostom, who in the second of his orations before-mentioned, says to those virgins: If you desire to have men to cohabit with you, you should not have chosen virginity, but should have married; for it would be better to marry, than to act thus in a state of virginity. God does not condemn marriage, nor do men disparage it. honourable, offending none, injuring none. But virginity, in the company of men, is worse and more offensive to all, than fornication itself.' Afterwards in the same oration he says, it 'would be better for these virgins to marry twice, than to act as they did, and be the occasion of so much scandal.' I refer to some other like places in these homilies of Chrysostom. But nothing of this kind appears in these epistles.
He who should read what this writer says in praise of virginity: how glorious, and how arduous it is, the great examples by which it is encouraged, and what peculiar rewards it is entitled to: must, I apprehend, think it strange, that for preventing ill consequences, and that men might not be led into a snare, he did not reckon himself obliged to add something concerning the lawfulness and purity of marriage, and the expediency of it for most men: which are so often intimated, and expressly asserted in the New Testament, and may be easily discerned by the reason, and observation and experience of mankind.
It is very likely, that before this practice obtained, the marriage of the clergy lay under some restraints. They who doubt of it, may read the notes of Gothofred upon a law of Honorius and Theodosius the younger, relating to this very matter. I transcribe from him a few lines only below. The marriage of the clergy was not forbidden by any canon of the church, or law of the state. But it lay under discouragements, and was restrained by the prevailing opinion of men. Celibacy was more reputable; and many clergymen coveted the honour of it, who found it burdensome. And virginity likewise being much applauded, many women were induced to make a profession of it: who afterwards knew not how to perform their engagements, nor to get rid of them. Gradually the celibacy of the clergy, and virginity of women, grew more and inore in vogue. And the high notions, which the writer of these epistles has of virginity, without saying any thing in favour of marriage, make me think, that he did not write soon, but rather not till a good while after the rise of the practice of which we have been speaking.
IV. THE AUTHOR ANONYMOUS. Who the author was, cannot be determined. Probably he was a bishop. It was most becoming a man in that high station, to write letters with exhortations to Christian people, especially to such as made profession of celibacy and virginity. Moreover it may be argued from the authoritative manner in which the second epistle concludes.
I do by no means charge the writer with imposture; I do not believe he had the least thought of such a thing. It should be observed, that there is not at the beginnings or endings of these epistles any distinguishing inscription. There is no name of the writer, nor any hint of his character and station. Nor is there any intimation of the city or country where they lived, to whom the epistles are addressed. There is only a title prefixed to these epistles, to this purpose: the first, or the second epistle of the blessed Clement disciple of the apostle Peter. And at the end is that common phrase Here ends the first, or the second epistle of Clement disciple of Peter.' These titles, or inscriptions, as I imagine, were placed there by some late editor, who did not know who was the writer of the epistles. It might be done by him igno
Quodsi ex fide se Christo dicaverant, pudicæ et cast sine ulla fabula perseverent, et ita fortes et stabiles præmium virginitatis exspectent. Si autem perseverare nolunt, vel non possunt, melius est ut nubant, quam in ignem delictis suis cadant. Certe nullum fratribus et sororibus scandalum faciant. Cypr. ad Pompon. ep 4. al. 62.
* Ει γαρ άνδρας επιθυμεις έχειν συνοικέντας, εκ εδει παρθεγιαν έλεσθαι, αλλ' επι τον γαμον ελθειν· πολλῳ γαρ βελτιον γάμειν εκείνως, η παρθενεύειν έτως· κ. λ. Ubi sup. p. 253. Ε.
• Πολλώ γας βελτιον ένι, και δευτερῳ συνάπτεσθαι γαμῳ, Y TORTA ATXquova. x. λ. Ib. p. 265. D.
Vid. ep. i. cap. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.
Extraneas, inquam, mulieres vetantur clerici sibi adsciscere. Nempe ex quo cœlibatûc clericalis mos paulatim inolescere coepit, atque hac etiam ratione clerici probabilem seculo disciplinam agere, seque seculo de cœlibatûs seu continentiæ voto commendare instituerunt, clam tamen atque aliâ ratione voluptates suas explere alicubi rerum experimentis visi sunt, xpun woFvEUOVTES, &c. In Cod. Theod. lib. 16. cap. 2. 1. 44.
Porro epistola prior beati Clementis, discipuli Petri Apostoli.
Explicit Epistola secunda Clementis, discipuli Petri.
234. D. 236. D. E.
rantly, or designedly; which of the two, we cannot determine. He might, I say, herein act honestly. Possibly he really supposed them to be the epistles of Clement; though, if he did, he was much mistaken. Or he might do it designedly, with a view to procure the more regard for the epistles, which he was publishing.
As there is nothing in the epistles to distinguish the author, or the people, to whom he wrote, I have suspected, that he was anonymous, and that he designed to be so. When he formed the intention to write upon this subject, he determined to conceal himself. He hoped, that his exhortations might in that way have the greater effect.. Having thus fixed his resolution, he wrote in the form of epistles, upon the subject, which at that time was much discoursed of, and addressed himself to those who were chiefly concerned, sending them admonitions and directions. according to the best of his judgment. However, this is only conjecture. For when these epistles were first published, the writer might be well known, though afterwards his name and character were forgotten.
V. IMPORTANCE OF THESE EPISTLES. From the extracts, placed at the beginning of this Dissertation, we learn, that the epistle to the Hebrews was received by the writer of these epistles. And from the numerous quotations out of the Old and the New Testament, we perceive the great regard which Christians had for the sacred scriptures. Of which we have seen many proofs in the collections that have been made from the ancient writers of the church.
We likewise discern, that at the time of writing these epistles virginity was in great esteem. But if a true account has been now given of the time and occasion of these epistles, we cannot from them learn the date of any of the books of the New Testament. Mr. Wetstein, supposing, that these epistles were written by Clement of Rome, thinks, that from the quotations here made of St. John's gospel, it may be proved, that St. John wrote earlier than many have imagined, or about the thirty-second year after our Lord's ascension. I do not now concern myself about the time of publishing St. John's gospel. But if these epistles were not written before the middle of the third century, no argument for the early age of that gospel can be drawn from the quotations of it by this writer. And though the writer were Clement, Mr. Wetstein's argument would not be conclusive, because the exact time of Clement's episcopate is not certainly known. At least there are different opinions about it: some placing it in the year of Christ 61, and onwards, others in 69 or 70. And others say, he was not bishop before the year 91, or 93. Many years ago, when I made my extracts out of Clement's epistle to the Corinthians, written in the name of the Church of Rome, it seemed to me most probable, that it was written about the year 96. And the late learned Dr. Waterland, whose good judgment in such things is allowed, readily declared his acquiescence in the reasons there alleged. These epistles therefore might be Clement's, and yet not written much before the end of the first century. Consequently, the quotations therein made of St. John's gospel will not prove it to have been written before the year of our Lord 70.
VI. CONCLUSION. I have now made a fair examination of these two epistles. I hope I have given no offence to Mr. Wetstein, or his friends. That learned man knows very well, that the pretensions of writings, which bear the names of eminent ancients, ought to be carefully weighed, before they are admitted. And I persuade myself, that upon farther consideration. Mr. Wetstein will be convinced he has too hastily published these epistles as Clement's bishop of Rome. And I am apt to think, that he and other learned men will discern in them more marks of a later age, than have been taken notice of by me.
When tidings were first brought hither, that Mr. Wetstein had received two new epistles of Clement out of the East, several of my friends and readers signified their desire, that when they should be published, I would observe the testimony therein afforded to the books of the New Testament. Which service I have now performed, according to my ability. They supposed it to be a necessary part of the work, in which I have been long employed. Which is not barely a bibliotheque of ecclesiastical authors, or memoirs of ecclesiastical history, but was begun, and
• Hinc etiam consequitur, Evangelium Joannis non ab eo jam decrepito et fere centenario, et post mortem Clementis, sed diu antea esse editum, adeoque inscriptionem codicum Græcorum, qui illud Evangelium auno 32 post ascensionem Christi-scriptum fuisse testantur, ad verum propius accedere. Proleg. p. ix,
b See Vol. I. p. 292.
See Dr. Waterland's Review of the Doctrine of the Eucharist, p. 33. Cambridge 1737.