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other accounts had little communication with them, the latter came soon to be distinguished by a peculiar name, viz. · that of Ebionites, which was probably given them by their unbelieving Jewish brethren, or that of Nazarenes, which, not being any longer used in Greek, as synonymous to Christians, but retained by the Jews, was not wanting to distinguish the Gentile Christians.
For similar reasons, the Gnostics were soon distinguished by a variety of peculiar names, as Nicolaitans, Cerinthians, &c., insomuch that other Christians having no other name, this circumstance alone came to be considered as a proof that all those who were known by these peculiar names were not Christians. It may, therefore, be taken for granted, that all bodies of men who had no peculiar names by which they were distinguished, were, in those early times, considered as orthodox Christians; and this was the case with all the Unitarians among the Gentiles, at the same time that they are allowed to have been even the majority of the unlearned among them. But of this hereafter.
A person disputing with a Marcionite says, “ How can you be a Christian, who bear not the name; for you are not called a Christian, but a Marcionite?”* Athanasius also argues, that “ Arians are not Christians, because they bear his name, and not that of Christ.”+ Chrysostom, teaching how to distinguish the Catholics from others, says, that “ Heretics have some persons from whom they are called. According to the name of the heresiarch, so is the sect. But no inan has given us a name, but the faith itself.” I Again, he says, “Were we ever separated from the church Have we heresiarchs? Have we any name from men; as Marcion gave his name to some, Manes his to others, and Arius his to a third part?”'S Tertullian says, “ If they be heretics, they cannot be Christians."||
I shall now proceed to prove, by a great mass of evidence, that the Gnostics were in fact considered as the only heretics
• Πως ει Χριςιανος, ος εδε ονομα Χριςιανε καταξιωσαι φερειν" γαρ Χριςιανος ονομαζει zrna Mapcswvioins; Orige!), Contra Marcionites, p. 12. (P.)
+ Χριςιανι εσμεν και καλομεθα. Οι δε γε τοις αιρετικους ακολεύοντες, καν μυριος dia. δοχες εχωσιν, αλλα παντως το ονομα τε την αίρεσιν εφευροντος φερεσιν, αμελει τελευτηTANTOS Apely. Contra Arianos, Orat. i. Opera, I. p. 309. (P.
+ Εκεινοι εχασι τινας αφ' ων καλενται, αυτα τα αίρεσιαρχ8, δηλονοτι το ονομα, και εκασίη αίρεσις ομοιως παρ' ημιν ανηρ μεν εδεις εδωκεν ημιν ονομα, η δε πιεις αυτη. In Acta Apost. C. xv. Hom. xxxiii. Vill. p. 680. (P.)
και Μη γαρ απεσχισμεθα της εκκλησιας μη γαρ αίρεσιαρχας εχομεν μη γαρ απ’ ανθρωτων καλομεθα μη γαρ προηγεμενο ημων τις εςιν, ωσπερ τω μεν Μαρκιων, το δε Μανιχαιος, το δε Αρειος, το δε αλλος τις αιρεσεως αρχηγό». Ιbid. p. 68 1. (Ρ.)
ll" Si enim hæretici sunt, Christiani esse non possunt." De Præscriptions, Sect. Xxxvii, p. 215. (P.)
in early times; and it is particularly remarkable, that the term heretic and Gnostic had been so long used as synonymous, that there are many instances of their being used as such, long after the Arians, Unitarians and others had been decreed to be heretics, which is a plain proof of the longestablished use of that term. In the instances that I shall produce, it will be exceedingly evident, that when the writers which I quote speak of heresy in general, the circumstances of the discourse are such as adinit of no other application of the term than to the Gnostics only. As this is an article of some importance, I shall produce a number of instances from writers of every period; and I can assure my readers, that I could have added greatly to the number of such quotations, if I had thought it necessary.
I shall take the writers in the order of time; but in addi. tion to what I have already said concerning the apostles, and the notice that they have taken of the Gnostics, and especially concerning John, and the introduction to his gospel, I shall previously observe, that the oldest opinion on this subject, viz. that of Irenæus, is in favour of my supposition, that even, in the introduction to his gospel, he had a view to the Gnostics only; and by no means, as it was afterwards imagined, and to serve a particular hypothesis, perpetually insisted upon by the later fathers, to the Unitarians.
Irenæus, speaking of the Cerinthians and Nicolaitans, says, that “ John meant to refute them, and shew that there is only one omnipotent God, who made all things by his word, visible and invisible, in the introduction to his gospel."* “No heretics,” he says, “ hold that the word was made flesh.”+ Again, he says, “ Joho alludes to the Gnostics both in his gospel and in his epistle, and describes them by the name of Antichrist, and those who were not in communion with Christians.": The whole of these passages are well worth the reader's consideration.
* “ Omnia igitur talia circumscribere volens discipulus Domini, et regulam veritatis constituere in ecclesia quia est unus Deus omnipotens, qui per verbum suum omnia fecit, et visibilia, et invisibilia ; significans quoque, quoniam per verbum, per quod Deus perfecit conditionem, in hoc et salutem his qui in conditione sunt, præstitit hominibus, sic inchoavit in ea quæ est secundum evangelium doctrina. In principio erat verbum." L, iii. C. xi. p. 218. (P.)
t“ Secundum autem nullam sententiam hæreticorum, verbum Dei caro factum est.” Ibid. p. 219. (P.)
1 “ Non ergo alterum filium hominis novit evangelium, nisi hunc qui ex Maria, qui et passus est: sed neque Christum avolantem ante passionem ab Jesu; sed hunc qui natus est, Jesum Christum novit Dei filium, et eundem hunc passum resurrexisse, quemadmodum Johannes Domini discipulus confirniat, dicens: Hæc autem scripta sunt, ut credatis quoniam Jesus est Christus Filius Dei, et ut credentes, vitam æternam abeatis in nomine ejus; providens has blasphemas regulas, quæ dividunt Dominum, quantum ex ipsis attinet, ex altera et altera substantia dicentes eum factum. Propter quod et in epistola sua sic testificatus est nobis: Filioli, novissima hora est, et quemadmodum audistis quoniam Antichristus venit, nunc Antichristi multi facti sunt; unde cognoscimus quoniam novissima hora est. Ex nobis exierunt, sed non erant ex nobis; si enim fuissent ex nobis permansissent utique nobiscum : sed ut manifestarentur quouiam non sunt ex nobis. Cognoscite ergo quoniam omne mendacium extraneum est, et non est de veritate. Quis est mendax, nisi qui neg at quoniam Jesus non est Christus; hic est Antichristus.-Sententia enim eorum homicidialis, Deos quidem plures confingens, et patres multos simulans, comminuens autem et per multa dividens Filium Dei: quos et Dominus nobis cavere prædixit, et discipulus ejus Johannes in prædicta epistola fugere eus præcepit, dicens: Multi seductores exierunt in hunc mundum, qui non confitentur Jesum Christum in carue venisse. Hic est seductor et Antichristus. Videte eos, ne perdatis quod operati estis. Et rursus in epistola ait: Multi pseudoprophetæ exierniat de seculo. In hoc cognoscite Spiritum Dei
He had the same idea with respect to the introduction of the gospel of Matthew. For, speaking of those who said that Jesus who was born of Mary was not the Christ, he says, , “ The Holy Spirit, foreseeing their perverseness, and guarding against their artifice, said by Matthew, the generation of Christ was in this wise." .
With respect to the apostle John, Clemens Alexandrinus had the same idea, when he said, that “ They are the Antichrist, intended by John in his epistle, who reject marriage, and the procreation of children, being guilty of impiety to. wards the omnipotent Creator, the one God, that they may not be the authors of misery, and supply food for death.”+ Ecumenius also says, that by Antichrist, John meant Cerinthus, and those who were like bim. He also says, that " Peter, by those who follow the flesh, meant the accursed Nicolaitans, as the Gnostics, or Naasenes, or Cerdonians, for the mischief goes by many names.
This, I doubt not, was the truth of the case ; and if this apostle expressed so much indignation against the Gnostics,
. Omnis spiritus qui confitur Jesum Christum in carne venisse ex Deo est. Et omnis spiritus qui solvit Jesum Christum, non est ex Deo, sed ex Antichristo est. Hæc autem similia sunt illi quod in evangelio dictum est, quoniam verbum caro factum est. Et habitavit in nobis. Propter quod rursus in epistola clamat. Oppis qui credit quia Jesus est Christus, ex Deo natus est; unum et eundem sciens Jesum Christum cui apertæ sunt portæ cæli propter carnalem ejus assumpsionem: qui etiam in eadem carne in quæ passus eat, veniet, gloriam revelans Patris." L. iii. C. xviii. pp. 241, 242. (P.)
* “ Sed prævidens Spiritus Sanctus depravatores, et præmuniens contra fraudulentiam eorum, per Matthæum ait: Christi autem generatio sic erat.” C. xviii. p. 239. (P.)
* Τοις δε ευφημως δι' εγκρατειας ασεβεσιν, εις τε την κλισιν και τον άγιον δημιουργον τον σανθοκρατορα μονον Θεον, και διδασκησι μη δειν παραδεχεσθαι γαμον, και παιδοποιαν μηδε αλεισαγειν τω κοσμο δυςυχησανίας έτερες, μηδε επιχορηγειν το θαναλω τροφην· εκεινα λευθεον» πρωίον μεν, το το απος ολα Ιωαννε, και νυν Ανιχριςοι πολλοι γεγoνασιν. Strom. L. ii. p. 445. (P.)
1 Ταυλο δε Σιμων ο ανοσιος εληρεί, αλλον ειναι τον Ιησον, και αλλον τον Χριςον τον μεν Ιησον, τον απο της αγιας Μαριας, τον δε Χριςον, τον επει το Ιορδανε καταβαντα απ' ou pouvou, τω ψευδει ουν περιπροτουμενος φησι τουτω ούτος Αντιχριςος εςι. In 1 John iii. Opera, H. p. 573. (P.)
Λει δε περί των ναταρατια Νικολαιτων, ητοι Γνωνικων, η Ναασηνων, η Κερδωνιανων,
L. v. “Ον τινες
and the Gnostics only (for no hint is given of there being more than one heresy that gave him any disturbance), it is plain that the Unitarians, who were always considered as directly opposite to the Gnostics, gave him none. not only the nature of the thing shews, that there must have been Unitarians in the church at that time, but it was expressly allowed by all the fathers, that the church was full of them, most of them disbelieving even the miraculous conception. But this will be discussed more largely hereafter.
Of Heresy before Justin Martyr. IGNATIUS frequently mentions heresy and heretics, and, like John, with great indignation; but it is evident to every person who is at all acquainted with the history, learning and language of those times, and of the subsequent ones, that he had no persons in his eye but the Gnostics only. I desire no other evidence of this, than a careful inspection of the passages. I shall recite only one of them. Speaking of his own sufferings, he says," he who was made a perfect man strengthening me.
Whom some, not knowing, do deny, or rather have been denied by him, being the advocates of deatlı rather than of the truth ; whom neither the prophecies, nor the law of Moses, have persuaded, nor the gospel itself, even to this day, nor the sufferings of every one of us. For they think also the same things of us. For what does a man profit me, if he shall praise me, and blaspheme my Lord, not confessing that he was truly made man? Now he that doth not say this, does in effect deny him, and is in death.. But for the names of such as do this, they being unbelievers, I thought it not fitting to write them unto you. Yea, God forbid that I should make any mention of them, till they shall repent, to a true belief of Christ's passion, which is our resurrection. Let no man deceive himself,” &c. * He afterwards speaks of those persons abstain
* From the Epistle to the Smyrneans, Sect. iv. v. vi. in Wake's translation, p. 116. Παντα υπομενω αυτου με ενδυναμουντος του τελειου ανθρωπου γενομενου. . αγνούντες αρνουνται, μαλλον δε ηρνηθησαν υπ' αυτου, οντες συνηγοροι του θανατου μαλλον η της αληθειας, ους ουκ επεισαν αι προφηται, ουδε ο νομος Μωυσεως, αλλα ουδε μεχρι νυν το ευαγγελιον, ουδε τα ημετερα τον κατα ανδρα σαθηματα και γαρ σερι ημων το αυτο φρονουσιν. Τι γαρ με ωφελει τις, ει εμε επαινει τον δε Κυριον μου βλασφημει, μη ομολογων αυτον σαρκοφορον; Ο δε τουτο μη λεγων, τελειως αυτον απαρνηται, ων νεκρoφoρoς. Τα δε ονοματα αυτων, οντα απιςα ουκ εδοξε μοι ευγραψαι αλλα μηδε γενοιτο μοι αυτων μνημονευειν, μεχρις του μετανοησωσιν εις το παθος, ό εςιν ημων αναςασις. Μηδεις πλανάσθω.
ing “from the eucharist, and from the public offices, because they confess not the eucharist to be the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of his goodness, raised again from the dead.—It will, therefore,” he adds, “ become you to abstain from such persons, and not to speak with them, neither in private nor in public."*
How like is this to the language of the apostle John, and how well they explain each other! Here we see the blas. phemy ascribed to the Gnostics, which Justin mentions, their separating themselves from the communion of Christians, their denying the resurrection, and their pride. Now, how came this writer, like John, never to censure the Unitarians, if he had thought them to be heretics ? Their conduct can only be accounted for on the supposition, that both himself and the apostle John were Unitarians, and that they had no idea of any heresies besides those of the different kinds of Gnostics.
Pearson says, that Ignatius refers to the doctrine of the Ebionites in his epistle to Polycarp, and in those to the Ephesians, the Magnesians and the Philadelphians. But I find no such references in them, except perhaps in two passages which may easily be supposed to have been altered; because, when corrected by a Unitarian, nothing is wanting to the evident purpose of the writer; whereas his censures of the Gnostics are frequent and copious ; so that no person can pretend to leave them out, without materially injuring the epistles. Iudeed, the evidence that I shall produce of writers subsequent to Ignatius not considering Unitarians as heretics, affords a strong presumption that he did not consider them in that light, and therefore that any passages in his epistles which express the contrary must be spurious.
Besides, there are in these epistles of Ignatius several things that are unfavourable to the doctrine of the divinity of Christ. Thus, to the Ephesians, he says, “ How much more must I think you happy who are so joined to him (the bishop) as the church is to Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ to the Father, that so all things may agree in the same unity !”+ To the Magnesians, he says, “ As, therefore, the Lord did nothing
Ευχαριςιας και προσευχης απεχονται, δια το μη ομολογειν την ευχαριςιαν σαρκα ειναι του Σωτήρος ημων Ιησου Χριςου, την υπερ αμαρτιων ημων παθουσαν, ήν τη χρης οτητα και Πατηρ ηγειρεν. Πρεπον ουν εςιν απεχεσθαι των τοιουτων, και μητε κατ' ιδίαν περι αυτων dahev, urte nouvy. Ibid. p. 37. (P.) Sect. vii. Wake, p. 117.
+ Ποσο μαλλον υμας μακαριζω τους εγκεκραμενους ουτως, ως η εκκλησια Ινσου Χριςο, και ο Ιησούς Χριςος το Πατρι, ινα παντα εν ενοτετι συμφωνα η. Sect. ν. p. 13. (Ρ.) Wake, p. 66.