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History and heresy of Simon Magus, of Marcion,


LECT. promised, that He should be sent as the Comforter. And he so deceived the Roman state, that Claudius set up a statue of him, writing under it in the Roman tongue, SIMONI DEO SANCTO: which being interpreted is, "To Simon the Holy God."




προστά. 15. The error spreading, that goodly pair, Peter and Paul, Ta vid. the rulers of the Church, being present, set matters right Lect. iv. again; and on Simon the supposed God, attempting a dis§. 35. play, they straightway laid him dead. Simon, that is, promised that he should be raised aloft towards heaven, and accordingly was borne through the air on a chariot of Dæmons; on which the servants of God falling on their knees, gave an instance of that agreement, of which Jesus said, If Mat. 18, two of you shall agree as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them and reaching the sorcerer with this unanimity of their prayer, they precipitated him to the earth. For is this strange, though it be strange? for Mat. 16, it was Peter, he who bears with him the keys of heaven: is it astonishing? for it was Paul, he who was caught up into 12, 2. 4. the third Heaven, and into paradise, and who heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. It was these, I say, who precipitated from air to earth the supposed God, on his journey to the place under the earth. He then was the first serpent of evil: but though one head had been cut off, the root of evil turned out many-headed.

19. 2 Cor.



16. Cerinthus wasted the Church, and Menander, and Carpocrates: and the Ebionites, and Marcion, a very mouthpiece of ungodliness; for one who teaches different Gods, one John 17, good, the other just, contradicts the Son, who says, Righteous Father. Again, one who says that the Father is different from the Maker of the world, is at variance with the Son who Luke 12, says, If then God so clothe the grass, which is to-day in the field, and to-morrow is cast into the oven; and Who maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain

28. Mat. 5, 45.

on the just and on the unjust.

This Marcion, then, came

This account originates in Justin Martyr, who says he saw the statue in the island of the Tiber. A doubt, however, is cast on it, from a stone having been dug up in this very island in the Pontificate of Gregory XIII, A.D. 1585, with this inscription, Semoui Sango Deo Sacrum.

Sex. Pompeius &c. Sangus or Sancus was a Sabine God. vid. Lact. i. 15. Aust. de Civ. D. xviii, 19. That Simon was struck dead at Rome by St. Peter is confirmed by the cautious Eusebius, but the details of the occurrence are not certain.

and of Valentinus.


next, the originator of another error; for being refuted by the texts from the Old Testament which are cited in the New, he who had already effaced the idea of God, was the first to venture also on cutting out those very testimonies to the word of faith preached in the Gospel; and to consent to weaken the Church's faith, as though there had been no heralds of it.

17. Next came Basilides, of evil fame, plausible in his bearing, and a preacher of profligacy. Valentinus aided the (11.) wretched cause, with his announcement of thirty Gods. The Greeks tell of few: but this man, in name though not in truth a Christian, carried on their fiction to a whole thirty". And he says that Bythus, the Abyss, begat Silence; (for it became him who is the abyss of wickedness, to begin his doctrine from the Abyss;) and that of Silence he begat the Word.This Bythus is worse than the Jupiter of the Greeks, who was married to his sister: for Silence was said to be the child of Bythus. What a monstrous doctrine to be cloked under the pretence of Christianity! but wait awhile, and thou shalt hate the impious creed. He says that of him were begotten eight Æons, or Ages: and of them, ten more: and of them, other twelve, male and female. And what is the proof of all this? their arguments are as absurd as their creed; how dost thou demonstrate the thirty Eons? because, says he, it is written, that Jesus was baptized, being thirty years old: Luke 3, granting the fact, what a demonstration is this? He broke 23. five loaves among five thousand; are there therefore five Gods? or because He had twelve disciples, must there be twelve?

1, 24.

18. Even this however is little compared with the impious things which follow: he says, that the last of the Gods is both male and female; (thus he dares to speak,) and that this is Wisdom: what blasphemy! for Christ is the Wisdom of 1 Cor. God, His only-begotten Son: and yet his doctrine degraded the Wisdom of God to a female nature, and a thirtieth principle, and the last creation. And he says, that Wisdom attempted to behold the first God; but that, not bearing his brightness, she fell from heaven, and forfeited the thirtieth place; that

d Licet Gentiles duodecim Deos appellent, isti [Valentiniani] triginti et

duos Æonas colant quos appellant Deos.
Ambros. Ep. xl. 16. ap. Ed. Bened.


History of Manichism.


LECT. then as she groaned, her groans begat the devil: and while she wept her downfal, she gave being to the sea. What blasphemy! as if the devil could be born from Wisdom, and evil from understanding, or from light, darkness? And he says, that the devil begat others, some of whom framed the world; and that the Christ came down, to make men revolt from the Maker of the World.

19. Now listen, whom they say that Christ Jesus is; that thou mayest hate them still more. They teach then, that when Wisdom was cast out, in order that the number of the thirty might not be incomplete, the nine and twenty Eons each contributed some little element, and formed the Christ: and him again, as they say, both male and female. Can there be aught more blasphemous, aught more miserable than this? I go through their heresy, to make you hate them more. 2 John Flee then such blasphemy, nor bid such an one God speed, lest thou have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. And be not curious about them, nor seek to converse with them.


Eph. 5, 11.


20. Thou must hate all heretics, but especially him who even in name is a Maniac; who arose lately under the Emperor Probus: (for the error is just seventy years standing,) and there are to this day men who have seen him with their own eyes. But hate him not for this, that he is of recent date; but because of his impious doctrines, hate thou this worker of evil, this reservoir of all pollution, who hath taken on him the filth of every heresy. For being ambitious of distinction among the bad, he took the doctrines of all, and having framed one heresy filled with blasphemies, and with all wickedness, he devastates the Church, (or rather those without it,) like a lion ranging about, and devouring. Heed not thou their fair speeches, nor their supposed humility: for they are serpents, the offspring of vipers. Judas too said, Hail Master, and betrayed Him: heed not that they kiss, but guard against their venom.

21. Lest I seem to bring these charges without grounds, I will go out of the way to say who this Manes is, and to a certain point what he teaches; as to giving a full account of his foul teaching, no time would be long enough. It will serve as an aid in season, to lay up in thy memory what I

Scythianus, Terebinthus or Buddas.


have said on other occasions and shall repeat now, with the view of informing the ignorant and reminding the informed. Manes did not rise from the Christian body; God forbid! nor like Simon was he cast out of the Church, neither he, nor those who taught before him, for he is a pilferer and appropriator of other men's sins;-but how, and after what manner, ye must hear.

22. There was in Egypt a certain Scythianus, a Saracen (13.) by race, without any thing in common either with Judaism, or with Christianity. This man, who dwelt at Alexandria, as an Aristotelian, composed four books: one called the Gospel, yet not an account of the acts of Christ, though bearing this title; and another called the Book of Chapters; and a third called the Book of Mysteries; and a fourth, which they now use, called the Treasure. This man had a disciple, Terebinthus by name; as for Scythianus himself he passed into Judæa, and while he was engaged in infecting that country, the Lord took him off by a sickness, and stopped the plague.

23. Terebinthus, his disciple in wicked error, was heir of his gold, his books, and his heresy: he made his appearance in Palestine; but on being recognized and condemned in Judæa, he resolved to pass into Persia; and to prevent a second recognition from his name, he changed it to Buddas. But there he found opponents, the ministers of Mithras: and being subjected to a series of defeats in discussion and controversy, at last hard pressed, he betakes himself to a certain widow. Then having gone up to the top of the house, and invoked the Dæmons of the air, whom the Manichæans to this day invoke upon their detestable ceremony of the fig', he was stricken of God, fell headlong from the house, and gave up the ghost: and thus the second

monster was cut off.

24. The books, however, the records of impiety, remained; and these and the property the widow inherited. And whereas she had neither kinsman, nor any one else, she determined out of the money to purchase a boy, named Cubricus: and having adopted him, she brought him up as a son in the

The Saracens are first mentioned by Dionysius of Alexandria, apud Euseb.


Hist. vi, 42.

f Vid. infra, §. 33.

72 Cubricus or Manes, fails to cure the Persian King's son.


LECT. learning of the Persians, and thus sharpened an evil weapon against mankind. So Cubricus, her wicked servant, grew up in the midst of philosophers; and on her death, inherited the books, and the money. Then, lest the name of slavery should be a reproach to him, he called himself instead of Cubricus, Manes, which in the Persian language means, discourse: for since a disputant seemed to be a character of weight, he so surnamed himself, as though he were a most excellent discourser. But though he put himself to pains to gain repute according to the Persian language, yet by the Divine dispensation he was made still an unwilling witness against himself; so as to honour himself in Persia, at the expense of proclaiming himself a maniac among the Greeks.


(14.) 25. And he dared to say that he was the Paraclete'; Mark 3, though it be written, But he who shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, hath no forgiveness. He then blasphemed, saying that he was the Holy Ghost; let him that hath fellowship with them, take heed with whom he is ranking himself. The Prov.30, servant shook the world, since for three things the earth is

21. 22. disquieted, and the fourth it cannot bear, when a servant

reigneth. And having come into public, he now began to promise things superhuman. The son of the king of the Persians was sick, and a great crowd of physicians was in attendance. Manes promised to restore him by prayer, as though he were a devout man. The physicians departed, and the child's life with them, this detected the man's impiety; our philosopher came into bonds, being cast into prison, not for reproving the king for truth's sake, not for overthrowing the idols, but for promising to save, and lying; yea rather, to say truth, for committing murder. For a patient who might have been cured by medical treatment, he in sending away the physicians, murdered by want of that treatment.

26. But in this enumeration of his multiplied offences, remember first his blasphemy; secondly, his slavery; (not that slavery is a shame to a man, but that for a man who is a slave to feign himself free, is an offence;) thirdly, the falsehood of his promise; fourthly, the murder of the child;

8 That Manes or Manichæus professed bius, Hist. vii. 31. Theodoret, Her. i. himself to be the promised Paraclete or 26. and Austin, contr. Faust. xxxii. 16. Spirit of Christ, is confirmed by Euse- 17.

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