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An Hiftorical and Critical ACCOUNT




Most Eminent Perfons

In every NATION;

Particularly the BRITISH and IRISH;
From the earlieft Accounts of Time to the present Period.


Their remarkable ACTIONS or SUFFERINGS,
particularly displayed; with a CATALOGUE of their



Printed for T. OSBORNE, J. WHISTON and B. WHite,
J. ROBSON, R. GOADBY, and E. Baker.


2101..e. 33

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Univerfal, Hiftorical, and Literary




lioth. Græc. tom. iv. et

Holftenius de vit. & fcript. Porphyrii ibid. fubjunct.

ORPHYRIUS, a philofopher of great name among the Ancients, was born A. D. 233. in the Reign of Alexander Severus. He was of Tyre, a city in Phoe- Fabric. Bibnicia; and had the name of Malchus, in common with his father, who was a Syrophoenician. St. Jerom and St. Auguftin have called him Bataneotes: whence Fabricius fufpects, that the real place of his nativity was Batanea, a town of Syria; and that he was carried from thence with a colony to Tyre. He went to Athens, where he had the famous Longinus for his mafter in rhetoric, who changed his Syrian name Malchus, as not very pleafing to Grecian ears, into that of Porphyrius, which anfwered to it in Greek. Afterwards he proceeded to Rome, where, at thirty years of age, he heard the celebrated philofopher Plotinus; whose life he has written, and inferted in it many particulars concerning himself. Five years after, he went to refide at Lilybæum in Sicily, on which account he is fometimes called Siculus and here, as Eufebius and Jerom relate, he compofed those famous books against the chriftians, which, for the name and authority of the man, and for the sharpness and learning with which they were written, were afterwards VOL. X. thought

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thought fo confiderable, as to be fuppreffed by particular edicts under the reigns of Conftantine and Theodofius. Some have furmised, that these books are still extant, and fecretly preserved in the duke of Tuscany's library: but, confidering the zeal with which the chriftians would naturally pursue the memory and writings of this philofopher, who was indeed the most bitter as well as the most able adverfary they had ever known, it cannot be fuppofed, but they would use their utmost endeavours to search out and deftroy these execrable books. The circumftances of Porphyry's life, after his arrival in Sicily, are little known; except that he died at Rome towards the end of Diocletian's reign, when he was above feventy years of age. Some have imagined that he was in the early part of his life a chriftian, but afterwards, through fome difguft or other, deferted that profeffion, and grew exceedingly bitter againft it: while others have hinted, that he embraced christianity when he was old, and after he had written with great acrimony against it. Though many ancient writers have given countenance to the former of these opinions, yet there seems nothing to fupport it, except that in his younger years he was familiarly acquainted with Origen; whofe great and extenfive reputation had drawn him to Alexandria. The latter has no foundation at all. Eunapius, who wrote the life of Porphyry, which is ftill extant, after observing that he lived to be extremely old, fays, "hence it came to pafs, that many things in his later writ"ings contradict what he had advanced in his former, from "whence I cannot but fuppofe, that, as he grew older, he

changed his opinions :" yet there is no reason to conclude, that the change here alluded to was from paganifm to chriftianity.

Porphyry wrote a great number of things, the far greater part of which have perifhed. Some have wifhed, that his books against the chriftians had come down to us, because they are firmly perfuaded, that among innumerable blafphemies against Chrift and his religion, which might eafily have been confuted, many admirable things would have been found. And indeed, there is no small reason to think so: for Porphyry was not only at the head of the later Platonists, and on that account called by way of diftinction "the phi«lofopher.”

lofopher," but he was confummate in all kinds of learning and knowledge. Some of his works remain: and the four following, De abstinentia ab esu animalium libri quatuor, De vita Pythagoræ, Sententiæ ad intelligibilia ducentes, De Antro Nymphorum, with a fragment De Styge preserved by Stobæus, were printed at Cambridge 1655, 8vo. with a Latin verfion, and the life of Porphyry fubjoined, by Lucas Holftenius. The life of Pythagoras, which however is but a fragment, has fince been published by the noted critic Kusterus, at Amsterdam 1707 in 4to. in conjunction with that written by Jamblicus, who was a disciple of our philofopher. It should have been observed, that the above pieces of Pythagoras, printed at Cambridge, were published jointly with Epictetus and Arrian's Commentary, and the Tabula Cebetis.

Lloyd's Me moirs.


Worthies of



POTTER (Dr. CHRISTOPHER) a learned English divine, was nephew of Dr. Barnabas Potter, bishop of Carlifle; and born in Weftmorland about 1591. He was admitted of Queen's college Oxford in 1606, where he took in due time both the degrees in arts and divinity. He was first made fellow, and in 1626 fucceeded his uncle in the Weftmor provostship of his college. Though a zealous puritanical Wood's Apreacher, he became at length an adherent to bishop Laud. then. Oxon. In 1628, he preached a fermon at Ely-houfe, upon the con- Dictionary. fecration of his uncle; who, "though a thorough-paced "Calvinift," fays Mr. Wood, was made bishop of Carlisle by the endeavours of Laud. In 1633, he published an "Answer to a late popifh pamphlet, intitled Charity Mif"taken :" (See KNOT and CHILLINGWORTH.) which he wrote by the fpecial order of king Charles I. whose chaplain he was. In 1635, he was promoted to the deanery of Worcester; and in 1640 became vice-chancellor of Oxford, in the execution of which office he met with fome trouble from the members of the long parliament. Upon the breaking out of the civil wars, he fent all his plate to the king; and declared, that he would rather, like Diogenes, drink out of the hollow of his hand, than that his majefty should want; and he afterwards suffered much for the royal caufe. He was nominated to the deanery of Dur

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