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have concealed his design better, if he had written, together with the Son and Spirit. It will be seen in its proper place, that this form of doxology, in which glory is given to the Holy Spirit, was complained of as an innovation in the time of Basil, and that it was altogether unknown before the Council of Nice.
The philosophical opinions that appear to have been held by the author of the Clementines and Recognitions are absurd enough, but they were those of the age in which they were written, and, therefore, require no particular apology. He considered God as being in the form of man.* But this is an opinion that is generally ascribed to the Jews, as we may see in the works of Agobard.† It is also well known to have been the opinion of Melito, the Christian bishop of Sardis, and from him Tertullian is thought to have derived the same notion. Indeed, this Anthropomorphitism, Beausobre shews to have been common in the Christian church. The thing that is most objectionable in the conduct of this work is, that the writer thought artifice might be safely employed to promote a good cause, and he exemplifies this principle in a curious manner. But this dangerous maxim was generally admitted by the philosophers of that age. All the use that I would now make of this work is, to exhibit the principles of the oriental philosophy, as held by one who did not profess Christianity, that they may be compared with those of the Christian Gnostics, which I shall now proceed to explain.
No inconsiderable argument for the antiquity of the Clementines may be drawn from the writer of them supposing that Christ preached only one year, which I have shewn to have been the opinion of the ancients in general, and which, from the circumstances of the gospel history, must be the truth ; as I think I have proved in the Disser
Και ο Σιμων εφη· ηθελον ειδεναι Πετρε ει αληθως τις ευεις ότι η ανθρωπε μορφη προς τον εκεινα μορφης διατετυπωται. Και ο Πετρος: αληθως, ο Σιμων, έτως εχειν JETXmporpompieces. Hom. xvi. Sect. xix. p. 728. (P.)
† “ Deum esse corporeum, audire, et videre corpus hominis ad imaginem Dei factum.” Synopsis.
"Dicunt, denique, Deum suum esse corporeum, et corporeis liniamentis per membra distinctum, et alia quidem parte illum audire ut nos, alia videre, alia vero loqui, vel aliud quid agere; ac per hoc humanum corpus ad imaginem Dei factum, excepto quod ille digitos manuum habeat inflexibiles ac rigentes, utpote qui nihil manibus operetur. Setlere autein more terreni alicujus regis in solio, quod à quatuor circumferatur bestiis, et magno quamvis palatio contineri.” De Judaicis Superstitionibus, p. 75. (P.)
1- Histoire de Manicheisme, I. p. 501. (P.) “ L'erreur des Anthropomorphites est si ancienne, qu'il seroit bien difficile d'en marquer l'époque." ' Pt. ü. L. iii. Ch.iv.
tations prefixed to my Harmony of the Gospels, and in my Letters to the Bishop of Waterford.
If Christ,” says Peter, in his disputation with Simon, “ appeared and conversed only in vision, why did he, as a teacher, converse a whole year with his disciples, who were awake?”*
OF THE PRINCIPLES OF THE CHRISTIAN GNOSTICS.
NOTWITHSTANDING the extreme repugnance between the principles of the oriental philosophy, and those of Christianity, many persons who were addicted to that philosophy, were likewise so much impressed with the evidence of the divine mission of Christ, that they could not refuse to believe it; and yet, being strongly attached to their former principles, they endeavoured to retain both. Nor can it be doubted but that they were very sincere in their profession. Indeed, in that age there was no external temptation for any man to become a Christian. Simon Magus was tempted with the sight of the miracles which Peter wrought, and especially his power of communicating the Holy Spirit; but it would soon be evident, that this was a gift that could not be exercised at pleasure, and therefore could not answer the purpose of any pretended converts; and wealth and power were not then on the side of Christianity.
Besides, we are not to suppose that every person who professed Christianity, embraced it in all its purity, or immediately resigned himself to the full and
influence of it; and least of all are we to suppose that every person who believed it to be true, was resolved to expose himself to all hazards in adhering to it. Many persons who had been addicted to philosophy (in every system of which the doctrines concerning God, and his intercourse with the world, were primary articles), would consider Christianity as a new and improved species of philosophy, and (as they had been used to do with respect to other systems), they would adopt, or reject, what they thought proper of it, and in doing this would naturally retain what was most consonant to the principles to which they had been long
δε δι' οστασιαν προς διδασκαλιαν σοφισβηναι δυναται· και ει μεν ερεις δυνατον δια τι ολα ενιαυτο εγρηγορησιν παραμενων αμιλησεν διδασκαλό»; Ηom. xvii. Sect. xix. p. 756. (P.)
attached. Greater numbers still would content themselves with ranking themselves with Christians while they were unmolested, but would abandon Christianity in time of persecution, not thinking it necessary to maintain any truth at the hazard of life, liberty, or property. Christianity would, of course, find
every possible disposition and state of mind, and would therefore be received with every possible variety of effect; and in all cases tiine would be requisite to the full understanding both of its principles and its requirements, and to separate the proper professors from the improper and unworthy. Of this we may be satisfied by reading the apostolical epistles, where we find accounts of persons who classed themselves with Christians, and yet both disbelieved some of its most fundamental doctrines, and likewise allowed themselves in practices which it strictly prohibited. This continued a long time after the age of the apostles, as ecclesiasti history testifies.
With respect to opinions held by any persons who called themselves Christians, and which were foreign to the genuine principles of Christianity, it is evident to any person who attentively peruses the apostolical epistles, that they are all reducible to one class. The writers sometimes speak of, or allude to, one of their errors or practices, and sometimes to another of them ; but we no where find that they were of two or more classes. And if we collect all that the apostles have occasionally dropped concerning heresy, we shall find that all the articles of it make no more than one system; and that this was, in all its features, the very same thing with that which, in the age after the apostles, was universally called Gnosticism ; the leading principles of it being those which have been represented as belonging to the oriental philosophy, and to have been ascribed to Simon Magus in the Clementines, viz. that matter is the source of all evil, and therefore, that the commerce of the sexes is not to be encouraged, and the resurrection no desirable thing.
History, however, shews that there were two distinct kinds of the Gnostics, who equally held the general principles above-mentioned; and these were the Jews and the Gentiles. It is to the former only that the apostle Paul ever alludes ; and accordingly we find, by the unanimous testimony of all ecclesiastical history, the Jewish Gnostics (at the head of whom Cerinthus is placed) appear before any of the others. That this man himself was so early as
Epiphanius represents him, viz. as opposing Peter, * may not perhaps be depended upon ; but the tradition of John meeting with him at Ephesus, † is not improbable, especially as his sect is spoken of as being most prevalent in Asia Minor: The Nicolaitans, concerning whom we are much in the dark, we may be almost certain were Gnostics, from what is mentioned of them in the book of Revelation, and from other Gnostics being said to be derived from them. §
These authorities are much strengthened by an attention to the actual state of things among Christians in the age of the apostles. For we there find no certain trace of that doctrine which most of all distinguished the Gnostics in the following age, viz. that the supreme God, the Father of Jesus Christ, was not the being who made the world, or gave the law to the Jews. The Gnostic teachers who opposed the apostles were Jews, who, together with a most rigid adherence to the law, (and consequently firmly believing it was the true God who made the world, who gave the law by Moses, and lastly spake to men by Jesus Christ,) held every other principle that is ascribed to the Gnostics, as will be clearly seen when I come to the detail of them. They were, therefore, in several respects, the same that the Cerinthians are described to have been. Froin the mean opinion which they entertained of matter, and their contempt of the body, they would not allow that the man Jesus was the Christ; but they either supposed that he was man only in appearance, having nothing more than the semblance of a body, so as to deceive those who conversed with him ; or if he had a real body, it was some celestial intelligence, some principal emanation from the Supreme Being, that was properly the Christ. This Christ they said entered into him at his baptism, and quitted him at his death.
That the authors of heresy in the time of the apostles were chiefly Jews, is evident from a variety of circumstances, and may be inferred particularly from Tit. i. 9–14: “ Holding fast the faithful word, as he hath been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. For there are many unruly and vain talkers
* Hær. xxvji. I. p. 111. (P.)
Η Εν ταυτη γαρ τη πατριδι, φημι δε Ασια, αλλα και εν τη Γαλατια, πανυ ήκμασε TO THTWY 810a Cuadelov. Epiphanius Hær. xxviii. I. p. 114. (P.)
5 Και εντευθεν αρχονται οι της ψευδωνυμα γνωσεως κακως τω κοσμο επιφυεσθαι φημι 8c I'varukorg &c. Ibid. Hist. xxv. I. p. 77. (P.)
and deceivers, especially they of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.- Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men that turn from the truth.” The persons who opposed Paul at Corinth were also evidently Jews, and so was Alexander at Ephesus.
My object, as I have observed already, does not require that I should enter very minutely into the history of the Gnostics. I shall therefore only give an outline of their system ; but this will contain a view of all their distinguishing tenets, shewing the dependence they had on each other, and especially their influence with respect to Christianity, as it was held by those who were not Gnostics, and as it continues to be held by many to this day. To each article, I shall likewise subjoin a view of each tenet as it may be inferred from the New Testament, that no doubt may be entertained of these being the very heretics alluded to there, and of course of their being the only heretics in that age; which is an article of great importance in my general argument.
It seems probable, that Gnosticism was in a great measure repressed by the writings of the apostles, as we do not find that the Gnostics made any great figure from that time till the reign of Adrian, when several distinguished teachers of that doctrine made their appearance; as Cerdon, who is said by Eusebius, to have been of the school of Simon,* and to have appeared in the time of Hyginus, the ninth bishop of Rome from the time of the apostles, Marcion of Pontus, who succeeded him, and who was living in the time of Justin Martyr; t but especially Basilides of Alexandria, and Valentinus, the most celebrated of them all, and whose followers were the most numerous in the time of Tertullian, and continued to be so till the time of Manes, who was after
* Κερδων τις απο των περι τον Σιμωνα τας αφορμας λαβων, και επιδημησας εν τη Ρωμη επι “Υγινε ενατον κληρον της επισκοπικης διαδοχης απο των Αποστολων εχοντος, εδίδαξε τον υπο το νομε και προφητων κεκερυγμενον Θεον, μη ειναι Πατερα το Κυριε ήμων Ιησε Χος. Τον μεν γαρ γνωριζεσθαι τον δε αγνωτoν ειναι. Και τον μεν δικαιον τον δε αγαθον υπαρχειν. Διαδεξαμενος δε αυτον Μαρκιων ο Ποντικος, ηυξησε το διδασκαλειον, απορυθριασμενως βλασAmuwe. Hist. L. iv. C. xi. p. 155. (P.)
+ Μαρκιωνα δε τινα, Ποντικον, ος και νυν ετι εςι διδασκων της πειθομενες, αλλον τινα νομιζειν μειζονα τα δημιεργα θεον. Ος κατα ταν γενν ανθρωπων, δια της των δαιμονων συλληψεως, πολλες πεποιηκε βλασφημιας λεγειν. Αροί. 1. p. 48. Ρ.)
“Valentiniani frequentissimum plane collegium inter hæreticos." Adv. Valen. tinianos, Sect. i. p. 250. (P.)