« PreviousContinue »
without the Father, being united to him, neither by himself, nor yet by his apostles ; so neither do ye do any thing without your bishop and presbyters."
What this excellent man said when he appeared before the emperor Trajan, was the language of a Unitarian : “You err," he said, “in that you call the evil spirits of the Heathens, gods. For there is but one God, who made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all that are in them; and one Jesus Christ, his only-begotten Son, whose friendship may I enjoy !”+
In Ignatius there is a passage which shews that the writer of it considered the Gnostics as out of communion with the church, and the only persons who were so. Speaking against heretics in general, he says, “ Be upon your guard against such, which you will do, if you be not puffed up, and do not separate yourselves from (God) Jesus Christ.”
In the epistle of Polycarp, contemporary with Ignatius, written to the Philippians after his death, there are several references to heretics, especially the quotation I made from it, p. 103, which I wish the reader to look back to. In that passage, and in the others in which he alludes to heresy, it is evident he had no view to any besides the Gnostics; as when he says, “ Laying aside all empty and vain speech, and the error of many, believing in him that raised up our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead; but he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also raise us up in like manner.”
The account that Irenæus gives of Polycarp, contains little more than a declaration of the antipathy that he bore to the Gnostics, and his having taught a doctrine contrary to theirs. Among other things he says, “ that when he met Marcion, who asked him whether he would own him, he replied, I own you to be the first-born of Satan ;'ll and that if he had heard of the heresy of which he was treating, which was that of Valentinus, he would have said, accord.
Ωσπερ ουν ο Κυριος ανευ του Πατρος ουδεν εποιησε, ηνωμενος ων ουτε δι' αυτου, ουτε δια των απος ολων ουτως μηδε υμεις ανευ του επισκοπου, και των πρεσβυτερων, μηδεν πρασσετε. Sect. vii. ibid. (P.) Wake, p. 80.
† “Unus enim est Deus, qui fecit cæluni, et terram, mare, et omnia quæ sunt in ipsis; et unus Jesus Christus, Filius ejus unigenitus, cujus amicitia fruar.” Cotelerii Patres, I. p. 179. (P.)
1 Φυλαττεσθε 3ν τοις τοιοτοις τετο δε εσαι υμιν μη φυσιομενοις, και εσιν αχωριςοις (@?e] Inge Xp158. Ad Mag. Sect. ix. p. 24. (P.)
6 Απολιποντες την κενην ματαιολογιαν, και την των πολλων πλανην, σισενσαντες εις τον εγειραντα τον Κυριον ημων Ιησεν Χριςον εκ νεκρων-δ δε εγειρας αντον εκ νεκρων και ήμας Eyepes. Sect. ii. p. 185. (P.) Wake, p. 52.
|| Και αυτος δε ο Πολυκαρπό. Μαρκιωμι ποτε εις οψιν αυτω ελθοντι, και φησαντι, Επιγινωσκεις ήμας, απεκριθη, Επιγινωσκω τον στρατοτοκον το Σατανα. L. iii. C. iii. p. 204. (P.)
ing to his custom, « Good God, to what times hast thou reserved me, that I should hear such things !"*
The manner in which Polycarp inscribes his epistle is that of an Unitarian ; “ Mercy unto you and peace, from God Almighty, and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour, be multiplied.”+
I shall consider the evidence for Hegesippus being an Unitarian more particularly hereafter. But, in this place, to take all the writers in the order of time, or nearly so, I shall produce two extracts from his works, preserved by Eusebius, in which a variety of denominations of Gnostics are mentioned as heretics; and such circumstances are added, as, exclusive of the consideration of his omitting the mention of the Ebionites, Nazarenes, or Unitarians of any kind, clearly shews that his idea was fixed to the Gnostics only.
“ Hegesippus,” Eusebius says, “ wrote the history of the preaching of the apostles in five books. Conversing with many bishops in his journey to Rome, he found the same doctrine with them all.-The church of Corinth continued in the right faith till their bishop Primus.-Hitherto,” i. e. till the time of Simon, bishop of Jerusalem, “ the church remained a virgin, for it was not corrupted with absurd doctrines. But first Thebuthis, because he was not a bishop, began to corrupt it, being one of the seven heresies, himself being of the laity, of whom were the Simonians from Simon, Cleobians from Cleobius, Dositheans from Dositheus, Gorthæns from Gorthæus, and the Masbotheans. From them came the Menandrians, the Marcionites, the Carpocratians, the Valentinians, the Basilidians, and the Saturnilians ; each of them preaching their different doctrines. From them came false Christs, and false prophets, who divided the unity of the church with corrupt doctrines against God, and against his Christ." I
* Και δυναμαι διαμαρευρασθαι εμπροσθεν τα Θεο: ότι ει τι τοιολον ακηκοει εκεινος και μακαριος και αποστολικος πρεσβυθερος" ανακραξας αν, και εμφραξας τα ωθα ανle, και καλα το συνηθες επων: Ο καλι Θεε, εις οίες με καιρος τελερηκας, ινα τείων ανεχωμαι" σεφευγοι αν και τον τοπον ενώ καθεζομενος η εως των τουρλων ακηκοει λογων. Ηist. L. V. C. xx, p. 239. (Ρ.)
Η Ελεος υμιν, και ειρηνη, παρα Θεε σανλοκρατορος, και Κυριε Ιησε Χρις8 τε Σωληρο. ημων, πληθυνθειν.. Ρ. 184. (Ρ.) Wake, p. 51.
1 “Ο μεν εν Ηγησιππο», εν σειε τοις εις ημας ελθωσιν υπομνημασι, της ιδιας γνωμης πληρεςαθην μνήμην καλαλελοιπεν. Εν οίς δηλοι, ως πλεισους επισκoπoις συμιξειεν, αποδημιαν Σειλαμενος μεχρι Ρωμης και ως ότι την αυλην παρα πανίων παρειληφε διδασκαλιαν.
Και επέμενεν η εκκλησια ή Κορινθιων εν τω ορθω λογα, μεχρι Πριμο επισκοπευονίος εν Κορινθω.-Δια τολο εκαλαν την εκκλησιαν παρθενον· επω γαρ εφθαριο ακοαις μαλαιαις αρχείαι δε ο Θεβαθις δια το μη γενεσθαι αυλον επισκοπον, υποφθειρειν, απο των επία αίρεσ-ων, αν και αυλος ην εν τω λαρ' αφ' ων Σιμων, όθεν οι Σιμωνιανοι και Κλεοβιος, οθεν Κλεοδιανοι” και Δοσιθεος, όθεν Δοσιθιανοι και Γορθαιος, οθεν Γορθηνοι, και Μασβαθαιδι. “Οθεν
What could this writer mean by those who divided the unity of the church, (which, in his time, the Gnostics only did, and the Unitarians certainly did not,) by the false Christs, and especially the doctrine against God, but the tenets of the Gnostics only? Corrupt doctrine against Christ is a more ambiguous expression; but the false notions of the Gnostics concerning Christ were as conspicuous as any of their doctrines, and are most particularly noticed by John. .
The other extract from this writer is no less to my purpose.
“ Till this time,” viz. the time of Trajan, “ Hegesippus says, that the church continued a virgin uncorrupted ; those who corrupted its doctrines, if they then existed, concealing themselves. But when the holy choir of the apostles was dead, and all that generation who were favoured with their divine instructions, then the system of atheistical error commenced, through the deceits of the heterodox; who, when none of the apostles were remaining, with open face undertook to oppose their knowlege, falsely so called, to the preaching of the truth.”* What could be meant by atheistical errors, and by knowledge falsely so called, but the principles of the Gnostics ? No characters of any sect in ecclesiastical history are more clearly marked than these. In later times, indeed, almost every erroneous opinion was called atheistical, but it was not so in that early age; and knowledge falsely so called, is as descriptive of the Gnostics as if they had been mentioned by name. .
SECTION III. Of Heresy according to Justin Martyr. CONTEMPORARY with Hegesippus was Justin Martyr, the first writer that can be proved to have advanced the
απο τολων Μενανδριανιςαι, και Μαρκιωνιςαι, και Καρποκραλιανοι και Βαλενλινιανοι, και Βασιλειδιανοι, και Σαλορνιλιανοι εκαςος ιδιος και έτερως ιδιας δοξαν παρεισηγαγεν. Απο τελων ψευδοχριστοι ψευδοπροφηται· ψευδαπος ολοι οι τινες εμερισαν την ένωσιν της εκκλησιας φθοριμαίοις λογους καλα τα Θεο, και καλα το Χρις8 ανθe. Hist. Ι. iv. C. xxiv. pp. 182, &c. (Ρ.)
Επι τελους και αυλος ανηρ διηγεμενος τα καλα τες δηλόμενες, επιλεγει ως αρα μεχρι των το7ε χρονων παρθενος καθαρα και αδιαφθορος εμεινεν η εκκλησια εν αδελφ σε σκοτει φολευονίων εισειι τοτε, των ει και τινες υπηρχον, παραφθειρειν επιχειρενίων τον υγιη κανονα το σωληρια κηρυγμαίος. Ως δ' ο ιερος των αποστολων χορος διαφορον ειληφει το βιε τελος, παρεληλυθει τε ή γενεα εκεινη των αυθαις ακοάις της ενθεα σοφιας επακεσαι καληξιωμενων, τηνικαυλα της αθεα πλανης την αρχην ελαμβανεν η συςασις, δια της των ετεροδιδασκαλων απαλης: οι και αλε μηδενος ελι των απος ολων λειπομενε, γυμνη λοιπον ηδη τη κεφαλη, τα, της αληθειας κηρυγμαλι την ψευδωνυμον γνωσιν ανθικηρυττειν επειχειρον. Εusebii Hist. L. iii. C. xxxii. p. 128. (Ρ.)
doctrine of the permanent personification of the logos, of which a full account will be given hereafter. He had occasion to mention both the Unitarians and the Gnostics. The former, as I shall shew in its proper place, he mentions with respect, and a tacit apology for differing from them, even from those who believed that Christ was the son of Joseph, as well as of Mary. But the manner in which he speaks of the Gnostics is very different indeed from this. "The apostle John himself does not express a greater abhorrence of their principles. He speaks of them as fulfilling our Sa. viour's prophecy, that there should be false Christs and false prophets (the very language of Hegesippus above-mentioned) who should deceive many. One of the passages is as fol. lows:
“ There are, and have been, many persons, who, pretending to be Christians, have taught to say and do atheistical and blasphemous things, and they are denominated by us from the names of the persons whose doctrines they hold, (for some of them blaspheme the Maker of the universe, and him who was by him foretold to come as the Christ, and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in one way, and others in another,) with whom we have no communication, knowing them to be atheistical, wicked and impious persons, who, instead of reverencing Jesus, confess him in name only. They call themselves Christians, in the same manner as those among the Heathens inscribe the name of God on the work of their own hands, and defile themselves with wicked and atheistical rites. Some of them are called Marcionites, some Valentinians, some Basilidians, some Saturnilians, and others go by other names, each from their peculiar tenets; in the same manner as those who addict themselves to philosophy are denominated from the founders of their respective sects. And, as I have said, Jesus, knowing what would come to pass after his death, foretold that there would be such men among his followers."
Εισιν 8ν και εγενoνλο, ω φιλοι ανδρες, πολλοι, οι αθεα και βλασφημα λεγειν και πρατίειν εδιδαξαν, εν ονομαι το Ιησε προσελθονίες και εισιν υφ' ημων απο της προσωνυ. μιας των ανδρων εξ υπερ εκασθη διδαχη και γνωμη ηρξαλο (αλλοι γαρ κατ' ιλλον τροπον βλασφημειν τον ποιη7ην των όλων, και τον υφ' αυ7α προφητευομενον ελευσεσθαι Χριςον, και τον Θεον Αβρααμ, και Ισαακ και Ιακωβ, διδασκ8σιν ων αδενι κοινωνεμεν, ပဲ။
γνωριζολες αθεες και ασεβεις, και αδικες και ανομες αυλος υπαρχοντας, και ανίι το τον Ιησον σεβει», ονομαλι μονον ομολογειν και Χριςιανος εαυθες λεγεσιν, ον τροπον, δι εν τοις έθνεσι το ονομα το θες επιγραφοσι τοις χειροποιηθοις, και ανομοις και αθεοις τελείαις κοινονεσι) και εισιν αυλων οι μεν τινες καλεμενοι Μαρκιανοι, οι δε Βαλενινιανοι, οι δε Βασιλιδιανοι, οι δε Σαλορνιλιανοι, και αλλοι αλλη ονομαλι, απο το αρχηγείο της γνωμης εκαςος, ονομαζομενοςως και εκ τελων ημεις–τον Ιησεν και των μετ' αυλων γενησομενων προγνωςτην επιςαμεθα. Dial. p. 208. (P.)
He must be entirely unacquainted with ecclesiastical history who can imagine that any of the characters here mentioned are descriptive of any other class of men than the Gnostics. For they were persons whose tenets were deemed atheistical, who went by the names of certain leaders, who are particularly specified, all of them known to be Gnostics, and they were not in communion with the catholic church.
The other passage is to the same purpose. After speaking of some who held the true Christian doctrine, he adds, “ For I have shewn you that there are some who call themselves indeed Christians, but are atheistical and wicked heretics, teaching blasphemous, atheistical and stupid doctrines. If you compare them with those who are called Christians, they will not agree with them, but dare to blaspheme the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; who also say, that there is no resurrection of the dead, but that immediately after death souls are received into heaven. Do not take these to be Christians."
Had the writer expressly said that the persous he was describing were Gnostics, and Gnostics only, he could not have spoken more plainly than he has done, especially in saying that they denied the resurrection, which none but Gnostics ever did, but which was done by all Gnostics without exception. If any person can think otherwise, I scruple not to say, that he has not the smallest tincture of that kind of knowledge which is requisite to qualify him for judging in these matters. It may be safely concluded, there fore, that, in the opinion of Justin, there were no heretics besides the Gnostics; and he does not appear to spare any whom he thought deserved the name of heretics, and were not in communion with the catholic church.
Lastly, I would observe, that it is after giving an account of Simon, Menander and Marcion, known Gnostics, and without any allusion to Unitarians, that Justin mentions his writing a treatise against all heresies.t
• Τες γαρ λεγομενες μεν Χριςιανες, ονlας δε αθεός, και ασεβεις αίρεσιωίας, ότι καλα τανία βλασφημα, και αθεα, και ανoνηλα διδασκασιν εδηλωσα σοι.-Ει γαρ και συνεβαλειε υμεις τισι λεγομενοις Χριςιανους, και τελο μη ομολογεσιν, αλλα και βλασφημειν τολμωσιν τον Θεον Αβρααμ, και τον Θεον Ισαακ, και τον Θεον Ιακωβ, δι και λεγεσιν μη ειναι νεκρων αναςασιν, αλλ' άμα των αποθνησκειν τας ψυχας αυλων αναλαμβανεσθαι εις τον ερανον μη Urodabyle aules Xposlaves. Dial. p. 311. (P.) The opinion bere ascribed to these heretics, has been maintained, in later times, by several learned and pious Christians. See Vol. II. p. 355, Note.
† Apol. I. p. 44. (P.)