Page images

He also speaks of heresy as “ borrowed from a barbarous philosophy;” and says of heretics that, “ though they say there is one God, and sing hymns to Christ, it was not according to truth ; for that they introduced another God, and such a Christ as the prophets had not foretold.”* He likewise speaks of heretics in general as having a high opinion of their own knowlegde. I He calls them co£100001, men who think that they have found the truth, and úto dogoTobias etmpuevos, elated with a conceit of their knowledge. I He says that “ heresy began in the time of Adrian," when it is well known that Basilides and the most distinguished of the Gnostics made their appearance. He says, that of the heretics some were distinguished by the names of particular persons, as those of Valentinus, Marcion and Basilides, some by the place of their residence, others by their tenets, &c. mentioning none but Gnostics. || It may only be conjectured that he meant the Ebionites by the Peratici enumerated by him among those who had their denomination from the place of their residence; but this is the only passage in which the word occurs. It is the more remarkable that this writer should omit the Unitarians, as he mentions fourteen different heretics by name, and ten heresies by character.

As the strict Ebionites held no communion with the Gentile Christians, it is very possible that Clemens Alexandrinus might insert them in a catalogue of heretics, and allude to them under the name of Peratici, without intending any censure of their doctrine with respect to Christ. Be. sides, this was a name given them, as he says, from their place of residence, and therefore did not include the Unitarians, among the Gentiles.

Tertullian represents our Saviour as alluding to false teachers, who said that he was not born of a virgin; but it is evident, from the whole passage, that he referred to the

Διοπερ αι καλα την βαρβαρον φιλοσοφιαν αιρεσεις καν Θεον λεγωσιν ένα, καν Χριςον ύμνωσιν, καία περιληψιν λεγεσιν, 8 προς αληθειαν αλλον γαρ τον Θεον τεριευρισκοσιν, και τον Χριςον θκ ως αι προφητειαι παραδιδοασι εκδεχονται. Strom. L. vi. p. 675. See also pp. 542, 662. (P.)

+ Oinowy ywcenç Einnpołwy. Ibid. L. vii. p. 754. (P.) I Ibid. pp. 755, 759.

και Καλω δε σερι της Αδριανε τε βασιλεως χρονες οι τας αιρεσεις επινοησανίες γεγoνασι. Ibid. p. 764. (P.)

11 Των δ αιρεσεων αι μεν απο ονοματος προσαγορευονίαι, ως η απο Βαλενλινε και Μαρκιανος και Βασιλειδε, καν την Μαίθιο αυχωσι προσαγεσθαι δοξαν μια γαρ η πανίων γεγονε των απος ολων ασπερ

διδασκαλια, ουτως δε και η παραδοσις: αι δε, απο τοπε, ως δι Περατικοι αι δε, απο εθνος, ας η των Φρυγων· δι δε, απο ενεργειας, ως η των Εγκραζιλων αι δε, απο δογμαίων ιδιαζονίων, ως η των Δωκίλων και η των Αιμαλιλων· αι δε, απο υποθεσεων, και αν τελιμηκασιν, ως Καιανιςαι τε και οι Οφιανοι προσαγορευομενοι: αι δε, αφ' ων παρανομος επεληδευσαν τε και ειολμησαν. Ιbid. p. 765. (Ρ.)

Gnostics only, who said that it was disgraceful to him to be so born,

In all other places in which I have found Tertullian speak of heresy in general, it is most evident that bis ideas went no farther than to the opinions of the Gnostics, except that he once calls Hebion a heretic. And then he expressly makes his heresy to consist in his observance of the Jewish ritual.t

“ Heresies,” he says, “ do not differ from idolatry, having the same author, and the same work, with idolaters, for that they make another god against the Creator, or if they acknowledge one Creator, they discourse of him in a manner different from the truth.” “ Heretics,” he says, “ deny that God is to be feared,”S which agrees with his saying, that “the beathen philosophers were the patriarchs of heresy,"|| for they held that doctrine ; but it was very remote from any thing that is ever laid to the charge of the Unitarians.

“ Heretics,” he says, “ associated with the magi, with fortune-tellers, with astrologers, with philosophers; being actuated by a principle of curiosity; so that the quality of their faith may be judged of from their inanner of life ; for discipline is the index of doctrine."

The whole of this account is inconsistent with Tertullian's considering Unitarians as heretics. But much more is his saying, that “ the Valentinians were the most numerous of all the hereties, and that the heretics had nothing to do with their discipline. Their want of communion,” he says,

« Prænunciaveram planè futuros fallaciæ magistros in meo nomine, et prophetarum et apostolorum etiam ; et discentibus meis eadem ad vos prædicare mandaveram, semel evangelium, et ejusdem regulæ doctrinam apostolis meis delegaveram : sed quum vos non crederetis; libuit mihi postea aliqua inde mutare. Resurrectionem promiseram etiam carnis, sed recogitavi ne implere non possem. Natum me osten. deram ex virgine, sed postea turpè mihi visum est," &c. De Præscriptione, Sect. xliv. p. 218. (P.)

+ “Ad Galatas scribens invehitur in observatores et defensores circumcisionis et legis. Hebionis hæresis est.” Ibid. Sect. xxxüi. p. 214. (P.)

† “ Neque ab idolatria distare hæreses, cum et auctoris et operis ejusdem sint cujus et idolatria. Deum aut fingunt alium adversus Creatorem, aut si unicum Creatorem confitentur, aliter eum disserunt quam in vero.” Ibid. Sect. xl. Opera, p. 217. (P.)

§ “ Negant Deum timendum." Ibid. Sect. xliii. p. 218. (P.)
Il “ Hæreticorum patriarchæ philosophi." Ad Herm. Sect. viii. p. 236.

“ Ipsæ denique hæreses à philosophia sabornantur. Inde æones, et formæ nescio quæ, et trinitas homiuis apud Valentinum. Platonicus fuerat." De Præscriptione, Sect. vii. p. 204. (P.)

& “ Notata etiam sunt commercia hæreticorum cum magis quampluribus, cum circulatoribus, cum astrologis, eum philosophis, curiositati scilicet deditis.-Adeo ut de genere conversationis qualitas Adei æstimari potest: doctrinæ index disciplina est.” Ibid. Sect. xliii. p. 218. (P.)

“ shews that they are foreign to us." For it is most evi. dent that those whom he calls simplices and idiote, were ranked by him among the credentes or believers. They were even the major pars credentium, though Unitarians, and holding the doctrine of the Trinity in abhorrence, as we shall see in its proper place.

Origen says, that “ heretics borrowed from the Greek philosophy, from abstruse mysteries, and from strolling astrologers.”+ Jerome also says, “ the vain words of the philosophers, which, in the doctrine of Plato, have killed the children of the church, is turned into divine wrath and blood to them.”Valentinus is said to have been a Platonist; but it is certain that, in general, the philosophy of the. Gnostics was that of the Oriental sect. Plotinus, we have seen, calls it a foreign philosophy. With much more justice might the Gnostics have recriminated on Origen and his friends, for their principles were certainly more properly those of the Platonists.

Farther: Origen says, that “heretics may be proved to be atheists by their doctrines, manners and works,” which is a charge that was never advanced against the Unitarians, but constantly against the Gnostics. “I wonder," says he again, “ how the heterodox can say that there are two Gods in the Old Testament."|| He also speaks of the heretics as “ studying eloquence to please their hearers, not to convert them from vice.” “Such," again, says he, “are the here- . tics, who adorn their discourse, not to convert their hearers, but to please them.”** Lastly, he says, “ the heretics, through their great madness, concealed their private myste


“ Valentiniani frequentissimum planè collegium inter hæreticos." Ad Valen. Sect. i. p. 250.

“ Hæretici autem nullum habent consortium nostræ disciplinæ, quos extraneos utique testatur ipsa ademptio communicationis." De Baptismo, Sect. xv. p. 230. (P.)

+ Αλλ' εςιν ανίοις τα δοξαζομενα αρχην μεν εκ της Ελληνων σοφιας λαβονία εκ δογμαίων φιλοσοφομενων, και μυστηριων επικεχειρημενων, και αςρολογων ρεμβομενων. Philosophumena, pp. 17, 185. (P.)

I“ Vana philosophorum verba, quæ in doctrinis Platonicis ecclesiæ parvulos interimebant, in ultionem divinam illis conversa est et in cruorem." In Ps. Ixxvii. Opera, VII, p. 97. (P.)

και Ινα αθεος αυτες επιδειξωμεν και κατα γνωμην, και κατα τροπον, και κατ' εργον. . Phi. losophumena, pp. 8, 16. (P.)

11 “Οθεν θαυμαζειν μοι επεισι πως δυσι θεοις προσαπίεσιν αμφοτερας τας διαθηκας οι ετεροδοξ Bκαι ελατίων και T8TB te pare shayxqueVos. Comment. II. p. 14. (P.)

Ο Τοιοτες ευρησεις τους λογους των ετεροδοξων, και τα καλλη των πιθανοτητων αυτων OUX ET15 PEPOYTWY TOUS AXovostas. In Jer. Hom. i. Comment. I. p. 72. (P.)

** “Tales sunt hæretici, qui orationem suam verborum decore componunt, non ut convertant audientes à vitiis, sed ut delectent." Opera, I. p. 614. (P.)

ries.". All these characters are exactly descriptive of the Gnostics, but not one of them can be said to apply to the Unitarians.

But, besides this, there are a great variety of characters by which Origen distinguishes heretics in general, and by which it may be perceived that he could not mean any besides the Gnostics.

In one place he evidently considers the Unitarians and heretics separately, as two distinct classes of men ; but supposes that the Unitarians confounded the persons of the Father and the Son, on which account they were called Patripassians. But, notwithstanding the evil that he says of them, he acknowledges that they adhered to their opinion as thinking that it did honour to Christ, as on other occasions he ascribes it to their regard to the one true God the Father. “ We are not,” says he, “to consider those as taking the part of Christ, who think falsely concerning him, out of an idea of doing him honour. Such are those who confound the intellect of the Father and the Son, distinguishing their substance in idea and name only. Also the heretics, who, out of a desire of speaking magnificently concerning him, carry their blasphemy very high, even to the Maker of the world, are not on his side.”+

Firmilian, writing to Cyprian on the subject of re-baptizing heretics, in answer to one Stephanus, who urged a direction of the apostles to that purpose, replies, that all heresies of any consequence were subsequent to the time of the apostles. The entire passage, which I shall insert in the notes, deserves the attention of the reader. It is also evi. dent that that excellent bishop considered the Gnostics as the only heretics, when he said they had neither God, nor Lord, nor church, nor faith, &c. in common with them. *

* Δια την υπερβαλλουσαν των αιρετικων μανιαν, οι δια του σιωπαν αποκροπίειν τε τα aporte iaUtwy uusimpia. Philosophumena, p. 6. (P.)

+ Ον νομιςεον γαρ ειναι υπερ αυτου τους τα ψευδη φρονουντας περι αυτου φαντασια του δοξαζειν αυτον, οποιοι εισιν συγκεοντες Πατρος και Υιου εννοιαν, και τη υποτασει ένα διδοντες ειναι τον Πατερα και τον Υιον, τη επινοια μονη και τους ονομασι, διαιρούντες το εν υποκεκειμενον" και οι απο των αιρεσεων, φαντασια του μεγαλα περι αυτου φρονείν, αδικιαν εις το υψος λαλουντες, και κακως λεγοντες τον Δημιουργον, ουκ εισιν υπερ αυτου. Comment, in Matt. I. p. 471. (P.)

† “ Et quidem quantum ad id pertineat quod Stephanus dixit, quasi apostoli eos qui ab hæresi veniant baptizari prohibuerint, et hoc custodiendum posteris tradiderint; plenissimè vos respondistis, neminem tam stultum esse qui hoc credat apostolos tradidisse, quando etiam ipsas hæreses constet execrabiles ac detestandas postea extitisse. Cum et Marcion, Cerdonis discipulus, inveniatur, sero post apostolos et post longa ab eis tempora, sacrilegam adversus Deum traditionem induxisse. A pelles quoque blasphemiæ ejus consentiens multa alia nova et graviora fidei ac veritati inimica addiderit. Sed et Valentini et Basilidis tempus manifestum est quod, et ipsi post apostolos et post longam ætatem, adversus ecclesiam Dei sceleratis mendaciis suis rebellaverint. Cæteros quoque hæreticos constat pravas suas sectas et inven. tiones perversas prout quisque errore ductus est, postea induxisse; quos omnes manifestum est à semetipsis damnatos esse, et ante diem judicii inexcusabilem sententiam adversus semetipsos dixisse : quorum baptisma qui confirmat, quid aliud quam cum ipsis se adjudicat, et se ipse participem talibus faciendo condemnat?" Cypriani Opera, II. p. 219. (P.)


Of Heresy in a later Period. It is of no great consequence to carry these authorities any farther, as it is acknowledged that the Unitarians were considered as heretics after the time of Origen; and it is possible that they may be so called occasionally by him, as well as others of his time who disliked their principles. For, about this time, the term heresy began to be applied to the doctrines which were not entertained by those more learned Christians, whose opinions (being in appearance more flattering to Christ, the author of their religion) continually gained ground; though it was a long time before the common people in general could relish them. So well established, however, by a long course of time, was the synonymous use of the terms heretic and Gnostic, that they continued to be so used occasionally, even long after the decrees of councils had pronounced other doctrines to be heretical; and of this I shall give some instances.

Athanasius says, “ the heretics make to themselves another Maker of the universe besides the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”+ Indeed, Athanasius considered the proper Unitarians in a more favourable light than he did either the Gnostics or the Arians. $ Again, he says, “ the heretics, leaving the discipline of the church, and making shipwreck of faith-make themselves another God besides the true God, the Father of Christ, who, they say, was unbegotten, the author of evil, and the maker of the world."

Eusebius, speaking of the heresies of the Jews, and those

“ Porro cum nobis et hæreticis nec Deus unus sit, nec Dominus upus, nec una ecclesia, vec fides uva, sed nec unus spiritus, aut corpus unum; manifestum est nec baptisma nobis et hæreticis commune esse posse, quibus nihil est omninò commune." Ibid. p. 229. (P.

+ “Οι δε απο των αιρεσεων αλλον εαυτοις αναπλατιονίαι δημιουργον των παντων σαρα τον Πατερα του Κυριου ημών Ιησου Χριςου. . De Incarnatione, Opera, I. p. 55. (P.)

| See Opera, 1. pp. 975, 977, 978. (P.)

5 Οι δε απο των αιρεσεων εκπεσοντες της εκκλησιαςικης διδασκαλιας, και περι την πισιν ναυαγησαντες, και ουτοι μεν υποςασιν του κακου παραφρονουσιν ειναι αναπλατίoνλαι δε εαυτους σαρα τον αληθινον του Χριςου Πατερα Θεον έτερον, και τουτον αγέννητον, του κακου ποιητης και της κακιας αρχηγον, τον και της κλισεως δημιουργον. Contra Gentes, Opera, I. p. 6. (P.)

« PreviousContinue »