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a work of thelito's at alle interesting ingenuine original plainly
cerms, andhat of a
by Melito, as a guide to the study of the books of the Old Testament, is in no degree improbable; indeed, the prevalence of spiritual interpretation among the Christians of his day is evident from the writings of S. Theophilus of Antioch, the Epistle of S. Barnabas (which at least was thus old), of Hermas, and others, as well as from the fragments attributed to himself. We are aware we are understating the case; for we, of course, believe that such interpretation is of apostolic origin.
That Melito's Key, then, was such as this may well be admitted ; but that the treatise of which seven manuscript copies in Latin have been found by Dom Pitra, is this work, is at least highly questionable; that in its present form it is not his, is absolutely certain. It is possible, however, that an attempt may be made by the good fathers of Solêmes to discriminate between plainly spurious parts and what may be the genuine original. The publication will, indeed, be interesting in itself; because, even if it be not Melito's at all—if it be, as we think most probable, a work of the middle ages-it will at least supply a want generally felt, that of a Key to the prophetical, or spiritual use of terms; and still more, if any portion of it can be shown to be of this early antiquity, it will be most precious.
We will give our readers a translation of that portion of its contents which Dom Pitra has extracted, and then state why we doubt its genuineness. The portions selected by him are those which immediately illustrate the extract from Papias. We notice in each case whether the Latin citation of Scripture agrees with the Vulgate version or not; for an obvious reason, to which we shall revert presently.
· VINEYARD. The Church, in Canticles, “The Peacemaker (Solomon) had a vineyard ... he delivered it to keepers." (Cant. viii. 11. Vulg.)
· VINEYARD (vinea). The Jewish people, in the Psalm, “ Thou hast brought a vine (vineam) out of Egypt.” (Ps. lxxix. 9. Vuly. ]
· VINEYARD. The peoples of the faithful, in Solomon, " Take us the little foxes that spoil the vineyards (cineas)." [Cant. ii. 15.]
• BUNCH OF GRAPES. The Church, or Body of the Lord, in Numbers, because the Israelitish spies brought back a bunch of grapes out of the land of promise on the pole of the cross. [See Numb, xiii. 24.]
• VINE. Christ, in the Gospel, “I am the Vine.” (John xv. 5. Vulg.) · VINE BRANCHES. The saints, as above, “Ye are the branches." [Ibid. 1
· WINE. The grace of the Holy Spirit, in the Gospel, “ New wine must be put into new bottles." (Marc, ii, 22. Vulg. 7
«WINE. The blood of Christ, in the Gospel, “ He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood.” [John vi, 55. Vulg.]
• EARS OF Corn. The beginnings of faith, or commencement of good works, as in Job it is said of heretics, “ They take away the ears of corn from the hungry." [Job xxiv, 10. Vulg.]
"A GRAIN OP Conn. Christ, in the Gospel, “Except a grain of corn, falling upon the ground, die, it abideth alone.” (John xii. 24. Vulg.]
· CORN. The word of preaching, in Solomon, “They that hide corn shall be cursed among the peoples.” [Prov. xi. 26. Vulg.]
GRANARY. The kingdom of heaven, in the Gospel, “ He shall gather the wheat into His granary." (Matt. iii. 22. Vulg.)
- Wheat. The saints, or the elect of God, in the Gospel, as above, [Ibid.]'
Now, we observe a recent air in the whole of these extracts. They look like the production of a late period. But, more particularly, the fact that almost all the citations are literally from the Vulgate, tells against the antiquity of the translation of the work, at least in its present form; i.e. it must be admitted either that the translation was made after the Vulgate was in general use, which would imply the existence of the original at a very late date, and is itself improbable,-or, at all events, that the citations from Scripture have been accommodated to that translation. But we have very little doubt that it will appear that the work, as a whole, is a comparatively recent composition, made up out of the mystical interpretations of Scripture in the Latin Fathers. We will state our reasons. First, judging only from the extracts given here, we observe that whilst, as we have said, most of the citations are word for word from the Vulgate, some are not; e.g. that from Num. xiii. 24 is not. Such a departure from the ordinary rule is strange, and inconsistent with the view of a translation or an adaptation made after the Vulgate was received. The words themselves are very peculiar, as is the interpretation. Now, we find the exposition referring to the pole as symbolical of the Cross, with the very same unusual word phalanga, where the Vulgate has vecte, in a sermon on S. Cyprian by Maximus, Bishop of Turin, in the fifth century, which used to pass under the name of S. Ambrose ; also, in a spurious sermon, attributed to S. Augustine, de Temp. 100, Op, tom. v. Append. Serm. 28, now assigned to Cæsarius of Arles, of the sixth century; and in a sermon of Peter Damian. Again, the passage from Canticles ii. 15 does not agree with the Vulgate version, but it does agree with that in S. Ambrose, On the 118th (our 119th) Psalm, Op., tom. i. col. 1114. The Latin of the Clavis is, Capite nobis vulpes pusillas, exterminantes vineas ; that of S. Ambrose the same, except that prendite is found instead of capite. The words of the Vulgate are, Vulpes parvulas, quæ demoliuntur vineas. S. Ambrose understands the words of the heretics vexing the churches.
Now, we conceive that if the work was a translation from Melito, it is highly improbable that the translator should so very generally coincide exactly with the Vulgate in his version of the words of Scripture, and yet in these passages should so closely agree with S. Ambrose and others, and that in the use of unusual words, such as phalanga for the pole on which the bunch of grapes was borne; and that at the same time the
that of S. Ambopite nobis vulpesomi, col. 1114. n rose, On the Melito.umelos; neinally in Latrix.
two should coincide in the interpretation of the symbol, almost to a word. It is the coincidence of copying, not of accident.
But still more evident is it that the passage on Vinea, as understood of the Jewish people, referring to Ps. lxxx. (lxxix. in Vulg.) is not Melito's, but was written originally in Latin; for the word in the Septuagint is åporelos; no doubt therefore åutrelos would be found in Melito. Now, in translating such a work as this, where exactness is necessary, we submit that the word å utrelos would have been translated by vitis, (the word which is used just below of Christ,) not by vinea, which might mean either vine or vineyard; since the writer or translator did not, as we have seen, feel bound to adhere to the Vulgate, which is ambiguous here.
Thus much we infer from the extracts given by Dom Pitra. But we find in citations given by Dr. Routh, more decided evidence of matter much later than the second century; for instance, we read, * Three, for the threefold profession of the • faithful; that is, of clergy, monks, married : of the threefold
profession in the Church, God speaks through Ezekiel:' words which were obviously written after there were monks, and they a settled order, i.e. after the fourth or the sixth century: and again—what we must give in Latin-Hostia pacifica; opus 'misericordiæ, quæ ideo hostia pacifica adpellatur, eo quod
hosti Diabolo resistat, et Deo hominem reconciliet. In * Psalmo. Tollite hostias et intrate in atria ejus. Dr. Routh adds that some one had noted in the margin, Allusio hostis • ad hostiam, quæ nonnisi a Latino quopiam excogitata sit.' Independently of this, the hostia pacifica is peculiar to the Latin version of the Old Testament; the Greek of the LXX. is Ovo la owinplov, which does not at all suggest the idea either of enemy or of reconciliation. The whole interpretation evidently is that of a Latin. The work itself is said to be not unlike a book attributed to S. Eucherius, called the . Formulæ Spiritualis Intelligentiæ;' yet that work is considered not to be S. Eucherius's, from its being collected from writers later than his time. We apprehend the same may be shown of this Clavis, if it is examined with any care. Dr. Routh's own cautious inference is that, at all events, some of it is not Melito’s. (See Routh's Reliquiæ, tom. i. p. 133.)
It appears further from what Dr. Routh cites from Gallandi, that this very Clavis, of which a MS. was preserved in the Jesuits’ College at Paris, had been emended by Sirmond, and was on the point of being edited by Magnus Crusius of Gottingen; and afterwards was taken up by Christian Woog, who published two dissertations upon it, in one of which some extracts were given, from which Keil (Notes on Fabricius, vol. vii. p. 150,
Tolliteesistat, et Deo Pacifica adpell pacifica; o
ed. Harles, 1801) judge:l that its not being published was, no great loss; and the same opinion was entertained of it by one who had examined it, as reported by Gallandi, (Bibl. Patr. vol. i. p. 111.) We hope Dom Pitra's affection for his treasure will not prejudice his judgment in deciding on its real origin and value, and that he will not put forth the productions of the seventh as if they were those of the second century.
doctrine, hen forainst H
II. IRENÆUS.—The fragment we first considered is, as we have said, really a fragment of Irenæus, though consisting almost entirely of an extract from Papias. It is followed by versions in Syriac and Armenian, of another fragment of the same great father, hitherto unknown, which, in the Armenian version, is said to be • De Resurrectione Domini,' as though that was the title of the treatise from which it was extracted; and by another Syriac fragment, bearing the name of Irenæus, on the two Natures of Christ. These passages certainly are not unlike Irenæus, in manner or doctrine, particularly if we suppose them to be portions of homilies. Then follows an introduction in Latin to the great work of Irenæus, against Heresies; from the Arundel MS. of that treatise, which had not been printed by any editor of Irenæus. It is attributed very probably to Florus, the deacon of Lyons, f. A.D. 837. In treating of the authorship of this introduction, Dom Pitra speaks kindly of his reception and lodging at Magdalen College, Oxford, and his having found in the library of the venerable President a MS. formerly in the possession of the Carthusians, of this same Florus’ Commentary on the Epistles of S. Paul, containing many fragments of Latin fathers; and promises to publish it in a future volume of the Spicilegium. “Another fragment, bearing the name of Irenæus, being the beginning of a homily on the Sons of Zebedee, in Armenian, from a MS. of the Mechitarists' of Vienna, is printed in the Appendix, p. 505; but Dom Pitra considers that its genuineness is not so clear. It is part of a homily which, as a whole, is justly regarded as spurious by Dom Pitra and his friends, the Mechitarists, the possessors and translators of it; for it attacks the doctripes of the Arians, and even the Arians themselves by name; but the beginning of it is thought by the Editor to breathe an air of antiquity, and to be possibly a genuine production of Irenæus; and the patching up of sermons from two or three sources was no uncommon practice. Of course, from
1 The Mechitarists are the Armenian monks, originally and still settled in the Convent of San Lazaro, at Venice ; so called from their founder, Peter Mekhitar, who fixed himself at Venice in 1717. They are, we need not say, the great promoters of Armenian literature in Europe, having a press, from which most of our Armenian works have been sent out. The world has heard much of them through the interest that Lord Byron took in them.
its being a translation, we lose many of the means we should otherwise have had of testing its genuineness; and in that portion which is printed there is nothing which could at all decide the question. The extract, bowever, which we mentioned as coming first, in Syriac and Armenian, is of considerable interest. Indeed, the contemporaneous discovery of two translations of one and the same fragment is in itself a curious fact. When Dom Pitra was in the British Museum, taking an interest naturally in the remains of the great Bishop and Father of Lyons, on Mr. Cureton's offering to allow him to transcribe from any of the Syriac treasures with which the Museum has been enriched, he asked if there were anything of Irenæus. This fragment was produced. On his going to Paris, the Mechitarist, Gabriel Aizavouski, made a similar offer as regards the Armenian MSS. of his convent. Irenæus was asked for, to be sent from Venice transcribed and translated. A month or two after, when the Benedictine had returned to Solêmes, this very passage, which he had found in Syriac in London, was sent him in Armenian from Venice; and also, exactly at the same time, the fragment of the same great writer, which comes next in the volume, in Syriac, was sent from Rome. We will not dwell on the value of the MS., but translate the passage itself; desiring our readers to observe that the Armenian version contains clauses, and one long passage marked by brackets, which are not in the Syriac; to which we shall revert presently, as the question arises, whether the Syriac translator has epitomized, or the Armenian interpolated, the original. The words in parentheses are in the Syriac, and not in the Armenian :
The Law, and the Prophets, and the Evangelists, have declared of Christ, that He was born of a Virgin ; suffered on the Cross; was raised from the dead, and ascended into heaven; that He was glorified (by the Father); and is King for ever ; that This is the perfect Mind, the Word of God; (who was begotten before the light;) who is the Creator of the universe; the framer of man; is all things in all; in the Patriarcbs, a Patriarch; in the Law, the Law; in the Priests, the chief Priest; in Kings, the chief Ruler ; in the Prophets, a Prophet; in the Angels, an Angel; in Men, Man ; in the Father, the Son; in God, God; King for ever.
• This is He who was in the ark with Noe; (was sold with Joseph ;] was the guide of Abraham ; was bound with Isaac; a pilgrim with Jacob; [with Moses a leader; and towards the people a Lawgiver; prophesied in the prophets; was incarnate of the Virgin; born in Bethlehem; received by John, and baptized in Jordan; tempted in the wilderness, and found to be the Lord. He gathered together the Apostles, and preached the Kingdom of Heaven; enlightened the blind, and raised the dead; was seen in the temple; disbelieved by the people; seized by the priests, and carried before Herod; was judged in the presence of Pilate, manifesting himself in the body; was hung on the Cross, and raised from the dead; showed Himself to the Apostles, and was taken up to heaven; sitteth at the right hand of the Father, and glorified by Him, as the Resurrection of the dead, and the Salvation of the lost; a light to them that are in darkness, and redemption