THE ANTE-NICENE FATHERS – by ArchBishop Uwe AE. Rosenkranz



translations of

The Writings of the Fathers down to a.d. 325






revised and chronologically arranged, with brief prefaces and occasional notes,









Copyright, 1886, by









Τὰ ἀρχαῖα ἔθη κρατείτω.

        The Nicene Council


In this volume a mass of fragmentary material has been reduced to method, and so harmonized as to present an integral result. The student has before him, therefore, (1) a view of the Christian Church emerging from the ten persecutions; (2) a survey of its condition on the eve of that great event, the (nominal) conversion of the empire; (3) an introduction to the era of Athanasius; and (4) a history of events that led to the calling of the first Catholic council at Nicæa.

The moral grandeur and predominance of the See of Alexandria are also here conspicuously illustrated. The mastery which its great school continued to exercise over Christian thought, its hegemony in the formation of Christian literature, its guardian influence in the development of doctrinal technology, and not less the Divine Providence that created it and built it up for the noble ends which it subserved in a Clement, an Origen, and an Athanasius, will all present themselves forcibly to every reflecting reader of this book. One half of this volume presents the Alexandrian school itself in its glorious succession of doctors and pupils, and the other half in the reflected light of its universal influence. Thus Methodius has no other distinction than that which he derives from his wholesome corrections of Origen, and yet the influence of Origen upon his own mind is betrayed even in his antagonisms. He objects to the excessive allegorizing of that great doctor, yet he himself allegorizes too much in the same spirit. Finally we come to Arnobius, who carries on the line of Latin Christianity in Northern Africa; but even here we find that Clement, and not Tertullian, is his model. He gives us, in a Latin dress, not a little directly borrowed from the great Alexandrian.

This volume further demonstrates—what I have so often touched upon—the historic fact that primitive Christianity was Greek in form and character, Greek from first to last, Greek in all its forms of dogma, worship, and polity. One idea only did it borrow from the West, and that not from the ecclesiastical, but the civil, Occident. It conformed itself to the imperial plan of exarchates, metropoles, and dioceses. Into this civil scheme it shaped itself, not by design, but by force of circumstances, just as the Anglo-American communion fell in with the national polity, and took shape in dioceses each originally conterminous with a State. Because it was the capital of the empire, therefore Rome was reckoned the first, but not the chief, of Sees, as the Council of Nicæa declared; and because Byzantium had become “New Rome,” therefore it is made second on the list, but equal in dignity. Rome was the sole Apostolic See of the West, and, as such, reflected the honours of St. Paul, its founder, and of St. Peter, who also glorified it by martyrdom; but not a word of this is recognised at Nicæa as investing it even with a moral primacy. That was informally the endowment of Alexandria; unasserted because unquestioned, and unchallenged because as yet unholy ambition had not infected the Apostolic churches.

It is time, then, to disabuse the West of its narrow ideas concerning ecclesiastical history. Dean Stanley rebuked this spirit in his Lectures on the Eastern Church. He complained that “Eastern Christendom is comparatively an untrodden field;” he quoted the German proverb,3 “Behind the mountains there is yet a population;” he called on us to enlarge our petty Occidental horizon; and he added words of reproach which invite us to reform the entire scheme of our ecclesiastical history by presenting the Eastern Apostolic churches as the main stem of Christendom, of which the church of Rome itself was for three hundred years a mere colony, unfelt in theology except by contributions to the Greek literature of Christians, and wholly unconscious of those pretensions with which, in a spirit akin to that of the romances about Arthur and the Round Table, the fabulous Decretals afterwards invested a succession of primitive bishops in Rome, wholly innocent of anything of the kind.

“The Greek Church,” says Dean Stanley, “reminds us of the time when the tongue, not of Rome, but of Greece, was the sacred language of Christendom. It was a striking remark of the Emperor Napoleon, that the introduction of Christianity itself was, in a certain sense, the triumph of Greece over Rome; the last and most signal instance of the maxim of Horace, Græcia capta ferum victorem cepit. The early Roman church was but a colony of Greek Christians or Grecized Jews. The earliest Fathers of the Western Church wrote in Greek. The early popes were not Italians, but Greeks. The name of pope is not Latin, but Greek, the common and now despised name of every pastor in the Eastern Church.… She is the mother, and Rome the daughter. It is her privilege to claim a direct continuity of speech with the earliest times; to boast of reading the whole code of Scripture, Old as well as New, in the language in which it was read and spoken by the Apostles. The humblest peasant who reads his Septuagint or Greek Testament in his own mother-tongue on the hills of Boeotia may proudly feel that he has access to the original oracles of divine truth which pope and cardinal reach by a barbarous and imperfect translation; that he has a key of knowledge which in the West is only to be found in the hands of the learned classes.

Before entering on the study of this volume, the student will do well to read the interesting work which I have quoted; but the following extract merits a place just here, and I cannot deprive even the casual reader of the benefit of such a preface from the non-ecclesiastical and purely literary pen of the Dean. He says:2 “The See of Alexandria was then the most important in the world. … The Alexandrian church was the only great seat of Christian learning. Its episcopate was the Evangelical See, as founded by the chair of St. Mark.… Its occupant, as we have seen, was the only potentate of the time who bore the name of pope. After the Council of Nicæa he became the judge of the world, from his decisions respecting the celebration of Easter; and the obedience paid to his judgment in all matters of learning, secular and sacred, almost equalled that paid in later days to the ecclesiastical authority of the popes of the West. ‘The head of the Alexandrian church,’ says Gregory Nazianzen, ‘is the head of the world.’ ”

In the light of these all-important historic truths, these volumes of the Ante-Nicene Fathers have been elucidated by their American editor. He begs to remind his countrymen that ecclesiastical history is yet to be written on these irrefragable positions, and the future student of history will be delivered from the most puzzling entanglement when once these idols of the market are removed from books designed for his instruction. Let American scholarship give us, at last, a Church history not written from a merely Western point of view, nor clogged with traditional phraseology perseveringly adhered to on the very pages which supply its refutation. It is the scandal of literature that the frauds of the pseudo-Decretals should be perpetuated by modern lists of “popes,” beginning with St. Peter, in the very books which elaborately expose the empiricism of such a scheme, and quote the reluctant words by which this gigantic imposition has been consigned to infamy in the confessions of Jesuits and Ultramontanes themselves.


Gregory Thaumaturgus

Introductory Notice

Introductory Note to Gregory Thaumaturgus

Translator’s Notice

Part I.—Acknowledged Writings

A Declaration of Faith


A Metaphrase of the Book of Ecclesiastes

Canonical Epistle


The Oration and Panegyric Addressed to Origen


Part II.—Dubious or Spurious Writings

A Sectional Confession of Faith


On the Trinity


Twelve Topics on the Faith


On the Subject of the Soul

Four Homilies

The First Homily on the Annunciation to the Holy Virgin Mary

The Second Homily

The Third Homily

The Fourth Homily


On All the Saints


On the Gospel According to Matthew


The Works of Dionysius Extant Fragments

Part I.—Containing Various Sections of the Works

Part II.—Containing Epistles, or Fragments of Epistles


Exegetical Fragments

I.—A Commentary on the Beginning of Ecclesiastes

II.—The Gospel According to Luke

III.—On Luke XXII. 42, Etc

IV.—An Exposition of Luke XXII. 46, Etc

V.—On John VIII. 12

VI.—Of the One Substance

VII.—On the Reception of the Lapsed to Penitence

Note by the American Editor

Julius Africanus

Introductory Notice to Julius Africanus

The Extant Writings of Julius Africanus

I.—The Epistle to Aristides

II.—Narrative of Events Happening in Persia on the Birth of Christ

III.—The Extant Fragments of the Five Books of the Chronography of Julius Africanus

IV.—The Passion of St. Symphorosa and Her Seven Sons



Anatolius and Minor Writers

Introductory Notice to Anatolius and Minor Writers

The Paschal Canon of Anatolius of Alexandria

Translator’s Biographical Notice

Fragments of the Books on Arithmetic

Alexander of Cappadocia

Translator’s Biographical Notice

From the Epistles of Alexander

Note by the American Editor

Theognostus of Alexandria

Translator’s Biographical Notice

From His Seven Books of Hypotyposes or Outlines

Pierius of Alexandria

Translator’s Biographical Notice

I.—A Fragment of a Work of Pierius on the First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians

II.—A Section on the Writings of Pierius

Theonas of Alexandria

Translator’s Biographical Notice

The Epistle of Theonas, Bishop of Alexandria, to Lucianus, the Chief Chamberlain


Translator’s Biographical Notice

Fragments of the Epistle of Phileas to the People of Thmuis

The Epistle of the Same Phileas of Thmuis to Meletius, Bishop of Lycopolis


Translator’s Biographical Notice

An Exposition of the Chapters of the Acts of the Apostles


Translator’s Biographical Notice

I.—The Epistle Written by Malchion

II.—Fragments Apparently of the Same Epistle of the Synod of Antioch

III.—From the Acts of the Disputation Conducted by Malchion Against Paul of Samosata

IV.—A Point in the Same Disputation



Introductory Notice

Translator’s Introductory Notice

The Acts of the Disputation with the Heresiarch Manes


General Note


Of the Manichaeans


Peter, Bishop of Alexandria

Introductory Notice to Peter, Bishop of Alexandria

Translator’s Introductory Notice

The Genuine Acts of Peter

The Canonical Epistle

Note by the American Editor

Fragments from the Writings of Peter



Introductory Notice to Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria

Epistles on the Arian Heresy



The Banquet of the Ten Virgins

Discourse I.—Marcella

Discourse II.—Theophila

Discourse III.—Thaleia

Discourse V.—Thallousa

Discourse VI.—Agathe

Discourse VII.—Procilla

Discourse VIII.—Thekla

Discourse IX.—Tusiane

Discourse X.—Domnina

Discourse XI.—Arete


Concerning Free-Will

From the Discourse on the Resurrection


General Note

Oration Concerning Simeon and Anna

Oration on the Palms


Three Fragments from the Homily on the Cross and Passion of Christ

Some Other Fragments of the Same Methodius

General Note


Introductory Notice to Arnobius

The Seven Books of Arnobius Against the Heathen. (Adversus Gentes.)

Book I

Book II

Book III

Book IV

Book V

Book VI

Book VII



Gregory Thaumaturgus

[translated by the rev. s. d. f. salmond, m.a.]

Introductory Note


Gregory Thaumaturgus.

[a.d. 205–240–265.] Alexandria continues to be the head of Christian learning. It is delightful to trace the hand of God from generation to generation, as from father to son, interposing for the perpetuity of the faith. We have already observed the continuity of the great Alexandrian school: how it arose, and how Pantænus begat Clement, and Clement begat Origen. So Origen begat Gregory, and so the Lord has provided for the spiritual generation of the Church’s teachers, age after age, from the beginning. Truly, the Lord gave to Origen a holy seed, better than natural sons and daughters; as if, for his comfort, Isaiah had written,2 forbidding him to say, “I am a dry tree.”

Our Gregory has given us not a little of his personal adventures in his panegyric upon his master, and for his further history the reader need only be referred to what follows. But I am anxious to supply the dates, which are too loosely left to conjecture. As he was ordained a bishop “very young,” according to Eusebius, I suppose he must have been far enough under fifty, the age prescribed by the “Apostolic Canons” (so called), though probably not younger than thirty, the earliest canonical limit for the ordination of a presbyter. If we decide upon five and thirty, as a mean reckoning, we may with some confidence set his birth at a.d. 205, dating back from his episcopate, which began a.d. 240. He was a native of Neo-Cæsarea, the chief city of Pontus,—a fact that should modify what we have learned about Pontus from Tertullian. He was born of heathen parentage, and lived like other Gentile boys until his fourteenth year (circa a.d. 218), with the disadvantage of being more than ordinarily imbued by a mistaken father in the polytheism of Greece. At this period his father died; but his mother, carrying out the wishes of her husband, seems to have been not less zealous in furthering his education according to her pagan ideas. He was, evidently, the inheritor of moderate wealth; and, with his brother Athenodorus, he was placed under an accomplished teacher of grammar and rhetoric, from whom also he acquired a considerable knowledge of the Latin tongue. He was persuaded by the same master to use this accomplishment in acquiring some knowledge of the Roman laws. This is a very important point in his biography, and it brings us to an epoch in Christian history too little noted by any writer. I shall return to it very soon. We find him next going to Alexandria to study the New Platonism. He speaks of himself as already prepossessed with Christian ideas, which came to him even in his boyhood, about the time when his father died. But it was not at Alexandria that he began his acquaintance with Christian learning. Next he seems to have travelled into Greece, and to have studied at Athens. But the great interest of his autobiography begins with the providential incidents, devoutly narrated by himself, which engaged him in a journey to Berytus just as Origen reached Cæsarea, a.d. 233, making it for a time his home and the seat of his school. His own good angel, as Gregory supposes, led him away from Berytus, where he purposed to prosecute his legal studies, and brought him to the feet of Origen, his Gamaliel; and “from the very first day of his receiving us,” he says, “the true Sun began to rise upon me.” This he accounts the beginning of his true life; and, if we are right as to our dates, he was now about twenty-seven years of age.

If he tarried even a little while in Berytus, as seems probable, his knowledge of law was, doubtless, somewhat advanced. It was the seat of that school in which Roman law began its existence in the forms long afterward digested into the Pandects of Justinian. That emperor speaks of Berytus as “the mother and nurse” of the civil law. Caius, whose Institutes were discovered in 1820 by the sagacity of Niebuhr, seems to have been a Syrian. So were Papinian and Ulpian: and, heathen as they were, they lived under the illumination reflected from Antioch; and, not less than the Antonines, they were examples of a philosophic regeneration which never could have existed until the Christian era had begun its triumphs. Of this sort of pagan philosophy Julian became afterwards the grand embodiment; and in Julian’s grudging confessions of what he had learned from Christianity we have a key to the secret convictions of others, such as I have named; characters in whom, as in Plutarch and in many retrograde unbelievers of our day, we detect the operation of influences they are unwilling to acknowledge; of which, possibly, they are blindly unconscious themselves. Roman law, I maintain, therefore, indirectly owes its origin, as it is directly indebted for its completion in the Pandects, to the new powers and processes of thought which came from “the Light of the World.” It was light from Galilee and Golgotha, answering Pilate’s question in the inward convictions of many a heathen sage.

It is most interesting, therefore, to find in our Gregory one who had come into contact with Berytus at this period. He describes it as already dignified by this school of law, and therefore Latinized in some degree by its influence. Most suggestive is what he says of this school: “I refer to those admirable laws of our sages, by which the affairs of all the subjects of the Roman Empire are now directed, and which are neither digested nor learnt without difficulty. They are wise and strict (if not pious) in themselves, they are manifold and admirable, and, in a word, most thoroughly Grecian, although expressed and delivered to us in the Roman tongue, which is a wonderful and magnificent sort of language, and one very aptly conformable to imperial authority, but still difficult to me.” Nor is this the only noteworthy tribute of our author to Roman law while yet that sublime system was in its cradle. The rhetorician who introduced him to it and to the Latin tongue was its enthusiastic eulogist; and Gregory says he learned the laws “in a thorough way, by his help.… And he said one thing to me which has proved to me the truest of all his sayings; to wit, that my education in the laws would be my greatest viaticum,—my ἐφόδιον (for thus he phrased it);” i.e., for the journey of life. This man, one can hardly doubt, was a disciple of Caius (or Gaius); and there is little question that the digested system which Gregory eulogizes was “the Institutes” of that great father of the civil law, now recovered from a palimpsest, and made known to our own age, with no less benefit to jurisprudence than the discovery of the Philosophumena has conferred on theology.

Thus Gregory’s Panegyric throws light on the origin of Roman law. He claims it for “our sages,” meaning men of the East, whose vernacular was the Greek tongue. Caius was probably, like the Gaius of Scripture, an Oriental who had borrowed a Latin name, as did the Apostle of the Gentiles and many others. If he was a native of Berytus, as seems probable, that accounts for the rise of the school of laws at a place comparatively inconsiderable. Hadrian, in his journey to Palestine, would naturally discover and patronize such a jurist; and that accounts for the appearance of Caius at Rome in his day. Papinian and Ulpian, both Orientals, were his pupils in all probability; and these were the “sages” with whose works the youthful Gregory became acquainted, and by which his mind was prepared for the great influence he exerted in the East, where his name is a power to this day.

His credit with our times is rather impaired than heightened by the epithet Thaumaturgus, which clings to his name as a convenient specification, to distinguish him from the other Gregories whose period was so nearly his own. But why make it his opprobrium? He is not responsible for the romances that sprung up after his death; which he never heard of nor imagined. Like the great Friar Bacon, who was considered a magician, or Faust, whose invention nearly cost him his life, the reputation of Gregory made him the subject of legendary lore long after he was gone. It is not impossible that God wrought marvels by his hand, but a single instance would give rise to many fables; and this very surname is of itself a monument of the fact that miracles were now of rare occurrence, and that one possessing the gift was a wonder to his contemporaries.

To like popular love of the marvellous I attribute the stupid story of a mock consecration by Phædimus. If a slight irregularity in Origen’s ordination gave him such lifelong troubles, what would not have been the tumult such a sacrilege as this would have occasioned? Nothing is more probable than that Phædimus related such things as having occurred in a vision; and this might have weighed with a mind like Gregory’s to overcome his scruples, and to justify his acceptance of such a position at an early age.

We are already acquainted with the eloquent letter of Origen that decided him to choose the sacred calling after he left the school at Cæsarea. The Panegyric, which was his valedictory, doubtless called forth that letter. Origen had seen in him the makings of a κῆρυξ, and coveted such another Timothy for the Master’s work. But the Panegyric itself abounds with faults, and greatly resembles similar college performances of our day. The custom of schools alone can excuse the expression of such enthusiastic praise in the presence of its subject; but Origen doubtless bore it as philosophically as others have done since, and its evident sincerity and heartfelt gratitude redeem it from the charge of fulsome adulation.

For the residue of the story I may refer my readers to the statements of the translator, as follows:—


We are in possession of a considerable body of testimonies from ancient literature bearing on the life and work of Gregory. From these, though they are largely mixed up with the marvellous, we gain a tolerably clear and satisfactory view of the main facts in his history, and the most patent features of his character. From various witnesses we learn that he was also known by the name Theodorus, which may have been his original designation; that he was a native of Neo-Cæsareia, a considerable place of trade, and one of the most important towns of Pontus; that he belonged to a family of some wealth and standing; that he was born of heathen parents; that at the age of fourteen he lost his father; that he had a brother named Athenodorus; and that along with him he travelled about from city to city in the prosecution of studies that were to fit him for the profession of law, to which he had been destined. Among the various seats of learning which he thus visited we find Alexandria, Athens, Berytus, and the Palestinian Cæsareia mentioned. At this last place—to which, as he tells us, he was led by a happy accident in the providence of God—he was brought into connection with Origen. Under this great teacher he received lessons in logic, geometry, physics, ethics, philosophy, and ancient literature, and in due time also in biblical science and the verities of the Christian faith. Thus, having become Origen’s pupil, he became also by the hand of God his convert. After a residence of some five years with the great Alexandrian, he returned to his native city. Soon, however, a letter followed him to Neo-Cæsareia, in which Origen urged him to dedicate himself to the ministry of the Church of Christ, and pressed strongly upon him his obligation to consecrate his gifts to the service of God, and in especial to devote his acquirements in heathen science and learning to the elucidation of the Scriptures. On receipt of this letter, so full of wise and faithful counsel and strong exhortation, from
the teacher whom he venerated and loved above all others, he withdrew into the wilderness, seeking opportunity for solemn thought and private prayer over its contents. At this time the bishop of Amasea, a city which held apparently a first place in the province, was one named Phædimus, who, discerning the promise of great things in the convert, sought to make him bishop of Neo-Cæsareia. For a considerable period, however, Gregory, who shrank from the responsibility of the episcopal office, kept himself beyond the bishop’s reach, until Phædimus, unsuccessful in his search, had recourse to the stratagem of ordaining him in his absence, and declaring him, with all the solemnities of the usual ceremonial, bishop of his native city. On receiving the report of this extraordinary step, Gregory yielded, and, coming forth from the place of his concealment, was consecrated to the bishopric with all the customary formalities;2 and so well did he discharge the duties of his office, that while there were said to be only seventeen Christians in the whole city when he first entered it as bishop, there were said to be only seventeen pagans in it at the time of his death. The date of his studies under Origen is fixed at about 234 a.d., and that of his ordination as bishop at about 240. About the year 250 his church was involved in the sufferings of the Decian persecution, on which occasion he fled into the wilderness, with the hope of preserving his life for his people, whom he also counselled to follow in that matter his example. His flock had much to endure, again, through the incursion of the northern barbarians about 260. He took part in the council that met at Antioch in 265 for the purpose of trying Paul of Samosata; and soon after that he died, perhaps about 270, if we can adopt the conjectural reading which gives the name Aurelian instead of Julian in the account left us by Suidas.

The surname Thaumaturgus, or Wonder-worker, at once admonishes us of the marvellous that so largely connected itself with the historical in the ancient records of this man’s life. He was believed to have been gifted with a power of working miracles, which he was constantly exercising. But into these it is profitless to enter. When all the marvellous is dissociated from the historical in the records of this bishop’s career, we have still the figure of a great, good, and gifted man, deeply versed in the heathen lore and science of his time, yet more deeply imbued with the genuine spirit of another wisdom, which, under God, he learned from the illustrious thinker of Alexandria, honouring with all love, gratitude, and veneration that teacher to whom he was indebted for his knowledge of the Gospel, and exercising an earnest, enlightened, and faithful ministry of many years in an office which he had not sought, but for which he had been sought. Such is, in brief, the picture that rises up before us from a perusal of his own writings, as well as from the comparison of ancient accounts of the man and his vocation. Of his well-accredited works we have the following: A Declaration of Faith, being a creed on the doctrine of the Trinity; a Metaphrase of the Book of Ecclesiastes; a Panegyric to Origen, being an oration delivered on leaving the school of Origen, expressing eloquently, and with great tenderness of feeling, as well as polish of style, the sense of his obligations to that master; and a Canonical Epistle, in which he gives a variety of directions with respect to the penances and discipline to be exacted by the Church from Christians who had fallen back into heathenism in times of suffering, and wished to be restored. Other works have been attributed to him, which are doubtful or spurious. His writings have been often edited,—by Gerard Voss in 1604, by the Paris editors in 1662, by Gallandi in 1788, and others, who need not be enumerated here.



There is one God, the Father of the living Word, who is His subsistent Wisdom and Power and Eternal Image: perfect Begetter of the perfect Begotten, Father of the only-begotten Son. There is one Lord, Only of the Only, God of God, Image and Likeness of Deity, Efficient Word,4 Wisdom comprehensive of the constitution of all things, and Power formative6 of the whole creation, true Son of true Father, Invisible of Invisible, and Incorruptible of Incorruptible, and Immortal of Immortal, and Eternal of Eternal. And there is One Holy Spirit, having His subsistence8 from God, and being made manifest by the Son, to wit to men:10 Image of the Son, Perfect Image of the Perfect; Life, the Cause of the living; Holy Fount; Sanctity, the Supplier, or Leader, of Sanctification; in whom is manifested God the Father, who is above all and in all, and God the Son, who is through all. There is a perfect Trinity, in glory and eternity and sovereignty, neither divided nor estranged.14 Wherefore there is nothing either created or in servitude in the Trinity;16 nor anything superinduced, as if at some former period it was non-existent, and at some later period it was introduced. And thus neither was the Son ever wanting to the Father, nor the Spirit to the Son;18 but without variation and without change, the same Trinity abideth ever.


The story of the “Revelation” is of little consequence, though, if this were Gregory’s genuine work, it would be easy to account for it as originating in a beautiful dream. But it is very doubtful whether it be a genuine work; and, to my mind, it is most fairly treated by Lardner, to whose elaborate chapter concerning Gregory every scholar must refer. Dr. Burton, in his edition of Bishop Bull’s works,2 almost overrules that learned prelate’s inclination to think it genuine, in the following words: “Hanc formulam minime esse Gregorii authenticam … multis haud spernendis argumentis demonstrat Lardner.” Lardner thinks it a fabrication of the fourth century.

Cave’s learned judgment is more favourable; and he gives the text from Gregory of Nyssa, which he translates as follows: “There is one God, the Father of the living Word and of the subsisting Wisdom and Power, and of Him who is His Eternal Image, the perfect begetter of Him that is perfect, the Father of the only-begotten Son. There is one Lord, the only Son of the only Father, God of God, the character and image of the Godhead, the powerful Word, the comprehensive Wisdom, by which all things were made, and the Power that gave being to the whole creation, the true Son of the true Father, the Invisible of the Invisible, the Incorruptible of the Incorruptible, the Immortal of the Immortal, and the Eternal of Him that is Eternal. There is one Holy Ghost, having its subsistence of God, which appeared through the Son to mankind, the perfect Image of the perfect Son, the Life-giving Life, the holy Fountain, the Sanctity, and the Author of sanctification, by whom God the Father is made manifest, who is over all, and in all; and God the Son, who is through all. A perfect Trinity, which neither in glory, eternity, or dominion is divided, or departed from itself.”


chap. i.

These words speaketh Solomon, the son of David the king and prophet, to the whole Church of God, a prince most honoured, and a prophet most wise above all men. How vain and fruitless are the affairs of men, and all pursuits that occupy man! For there is not one who can tell of any profit attaching to those things which men who creep on earth strive by body and soul to attain to, in servitude all the while to what is transient, and undesirous of considering aught heavenly with the noble eye of the soul. And the life of men weareth away, as day by day, and in the periods of hours and years, and the determinate courses of the sun, some are ever coming, and others passing away. And the matter is like the transit of torrents as they fall into the measureless deep of the sea with a mighty noise. And all things that have been constituted by God for the sake of men abide the same: as, for instance, that man is born of earth, and departs to earth again; that the earth itself continues stable; that the sun accomplishes its circuit about it perfectly, and rolls round to the same mark again; and that the winds in like manner, and the mighty rivers which flow into the sea, and the breezes that beat upon it, all act without forcing it to pass beyond its limits, and without themselves also violating their appointed laws. And these things, indeed, as bearing upon the good of this life of ours, are established thus fittingly. But those things which are of men’s devising, whether words or deeds, have no measure. And there is a plenteous multitude of words, but there is no profit from random and foolish talking. But the race of men is naturally insatiate in its thirst both for speaking and for hearing what is spoken; and it is man’s habit, too, to desire to look with idle eyes on all that happens. What can occur afterwards, or what can be wrought by men which has not been done already? What new thing is there worthy of mention, of which there has never yet been experience? For I think there is nothing which one may call new, or which, on considering it, one shall discover to be strange or unknown to those of old. But as former things are buried in oblivion, so also things that are now subsistent will in the course of time vanish utterly from the knowledge of those who shall come after us. And I speak not these things unadvisedly, as acting now the preacher.4 But all these things were carefully pondered by me when entrusted with the kingdom of the Hebrews in Jerusalem. And I examined diligently, and considered discreetly, the nature of all that is on earth, and I perceived it to be most various; and I saw that to man it is given to labour upon earth, ever carried about by all different occasions of toil, and with no result of his work. And all things here below are full of the spirit of strangeness and abomination, so that it is not possible for one to retrieve them now; nay, rather it is not possible for one at all to conceive what utter vanity has taken possession of all human affairs. For once on a time I communed with myself, and thought that then I was wiser in this than all that were before me, and I was expert in understanding parables and the natures of things. But I learned that I gave myself to such pursuits to no purpose, and that if wisdom follows knowledge, so troubles attend on wisdom.

chap. ii.

Judging, therefore, that it stood thus with this matter, I decided to turn to another manner of life, and to give myself to pleasure, and to take experience of various delights. And now I learned that all such things are vain; and I put a check on laughter, when it ran on carelessly; and restrained pleasure, according to the rule of moderation, and was bitterly wroth against it. And when I perceived that the soul is able to arrest the body in its disposition to intoxication and wine-bibbing, and that temperance makes lust its subject, I sought earnestly to observe what object of
true worth and of real excellence is set before men, which they shall attain to in this present life. For I passed through all those other objects which are deemed worthiest, such as the erecting of lofty houses and the planting of vines, and in addition, the laying out of pleasure-grounds, and the acquisition and culture of all manner of fruit-bearing trees; and among them also large reservoirs for the reception of water were constructed, and distributed so as to secure the plentiful irrigation of the trees. And I surrounded myself also with many domestics, both man-servants and maid-servants; and some of them I procured from abroad, and others I possessed and employed as born in my own house. And herds of four-footed creatures, as well of cattle as of sheep, more numerous than any of those of old acquired, were made my property. And treasures of gold and silver flowed in upon me; and I made the kings of all nations my dependants and tributaries. And very many choirs of male and female singers were trained to yield me pleasure by the practice of all-harmonious song. And I had banquetings; and for the service of this part of my pleasure, I got me select cup-bearers of both sexes beyond my reckoning,—so far did I surpass in these things those who reigned before me in Jerusalem. And thus it happened that the interests of wisdom declined with me, while the claims of evil appetency increased. For when I yielded myself to every allurement of the eyes, and to the violent passions of the heart, that make their attack from all quarters, and surrendered myself to the hopes held out by pleasures, I also made my will the bond-slave of all miserable delights. For thus my judgment was brought to such a wretched pass, that I thought these things good, and that it was proper for me to engage in them. At length, awaking and recovering my sight, I perceived that the things I had in hand were altogether sinful and very evil, and the deeds of a spirit not good. For now none of all the objects of men’s choice seems to me worthy of approval, or greatly to be desired by a just mind. Wherefore, having pondered at once the advantages of wisdom and the ills of folly, I should with reason admire that man greatly, who, being borne on in a thoughtless course, and afterwards arresting himself, should return to right and duty. For wisdom and folly, are widely separated, and they are as different from each other as day is from night. He, therefore, who makes choice of virtue, is like one who sees all things plainly, and looks upward, and who holdeth his ways in the time of clearest light. But he, on the other hand, who has involved himself in wickedness, is like a man who wanders helplessly about in a moonless night, as one who is blind, and deprived of the sight of things by his darkness. And when I considered the end of each of these modes of life, I found there was no profit in the latter;2 and by setting myself to be the companion of the foolish, I saw that I should receive the wages of folly. For what advantage is there in those thoughts, or what profit is there in the multitude of words, where the streams of foolish speaking are flowing, as it were, from the fountain of folly? Moreover, there is nothing common to the wise man and to the fool, neither as regards the memory of men, nor as regards the recompense of God. And as to all the affairs of men, when they are yet apparently but beginning to be, the end at once surprises them. Yet the wise man is never partaker of the same end with the foolish. Then also did I hate all my life, that had been consumed in vanities, and which I had spent with a mind engrossed in earthly anxieties. For, to speak in brief, all my affairs have been wrought by me with labour and pain, as the efforts of thoughtless impulse; and some other person, it may be a wise man or a fool, will succeed to them, I mean, the chill fruits of my toils. But when I cut myself off from these things, and cast them away, then did that real good which is set before man show itself to me,—namely, the knowledge of wisdom and the possession of manly virtue. And if a man neglects these things, and is inflamed with the passion for other things, such a man makes choice of evil instead of good, and goes after what is bad instead of what is excellent, and after trouble instead of peace; for he is distracted by every manner of disturbance, and is burdened with continual anxieties night and day, with oppressive labours of body as well as with ceaseless cares of mind,—his heart moving in constant agitation, by reason of the strange and senseless affairs that occupy him. For the perfect good does not consist in eating and drinking, although it is true that it is from God that their sustenance cometh to men; for none of those things which are given for our maintenance subsist without His providence. But the good man who gets wisdom from God, gets also heavenly enjoyment; while, on the other hand, the evil man. smitten with ills divinely inflicted, and afflicted with the disease of lust, toils to amass much, and is quick to put him to shame who is honoured by God in presence of the Lord of all, proffering useless gifts, and making things deceitful and vain the pursuits of his own miserable soul.

chap. iii.

For this present time is filled with all things that are most contrary to each other—births and deaths, the growth of plants and their uprooting, cures and killings, the building up and the pulling down of houses, weeping and laughing, mourning and dancing. At this moment a man gathers of earth’s products, and at another casts them away; and at one time he ardently desireth the beauty of woman, and at another he hateth it. Now he seeketh something, and again he loseth it; and now he keepeth, and again he casteth away; at one time he slayeth, and at another he is slain; he speaketh, and again he is silent; he loveth, and again he hateth. For the affairs of men are at one time in a condition of war, and at another in a condition of peace; while their fortunes are so inconstant, that from bearing the semblance of good, they change quickly into acknowledged ills. Let us have done, therefore, with vain labours. For all these things, as appears to me, are set to madden men, as it were, with their poisoned stings. And the ungodly observer of the times and seasons is agape for this world, exerting himself above measure to destroy the image3 of God, as one who has chosen to contend against it from the beginning onward to the end.5 I am persuaded, therefore, that the greatest good for man is cheerfulness and well-doing, and that this shortlived enjoyment, which alone is possible to us, comes from God only, if righteousness direct our doings. But as to those everlasting and incorruptible things which God hath firmly established, it is not possible either to take aught from them or to add aught to them. And to men in general, those things, in sooth, are fearful and wonderful; and those things indeed which have been, abide so; and those which are to be, have already been, as regards His foreknowledge. Moreover, the man who is injured has God as his helper. I saw in the lower parts the pit of punishment which receives the impious, but a different place allotted for the pious. And I thought with myself, that with God all things are judged and determined to be equal; that the righteous and the unrighteous, and objects with reason and without reason, are alike in His judgment. For that their time is measured out equally to all, and death impends over them, and in this the races of beasts and men are alike in the judgment of God, and differ from each other only in the matter of articulate speech; and all things else happen alike to them, and death receives all equally, not more so in the case of the other kinds of creatures than in that of men. For they have all the same breath of life, and men have nothing more; but all are, in one word, vain, deriving their present condition from the same earth, and destined to perish, and return to the same earth again. For it is uncertain regarding the souls of men, whether they shall fly upwards; and regarding the others which the unreasoning creatures possess, whether they shall fall downward. And it seemed to me, that there is no other good save pleasure, and the enjoyment of things present. For I did not think it possible for a man, when once he has tasted death, to return again to the enjoyment of these things.8

chap. iv.

And leaving all these reflections, I considered and turned in aversion from all the forms of oppression which are done among men; whence some receiving injury weep and lament, who are struck down by violence in utter default of those who protect them, or who should by all means comfort them in their trouble.10 And the men who make might their right are exalted to an eminence, from which, however, they shall also fall. Yea, of the unrighteous and audacious, those who are dead fare better than those who are still alive. And better than both these is he who, being destined to be like them, has not yet come into being, since he has not yet touched the wickedness which prevails among men. And it became clear to me also how great is the envy which follows a man from his neighbours, like the sting of a wicked spirit; and I saw that he who receives it, and takes it as it were into his breast, has nothing else but to eat his own heart, and tear it, and consume both soul and body, finding inconsolable vexation in the good fortune of others. And a wise man would choose to have one of his hands full, if it were with ease and quietness, rather than both of them with travail and with the villany of a treacherous spirit. Moreover, there is yet another thing which I know to happen contrary to what is fitting,
by reason of the evil will of man. He who is left entirely alone, having neither brother nor son, but prospered with large possessions, lives on in the spirit of insatiable avarice, and refuses l to give himself in any way whatever to goodness. Gladly, therefore, would I ask such an one for what reason he labours thus, fleeing with headlong speed from the doing of anything good, and distracted by the many various passions for making gain.2 Far better than such are those who have taken up an order of life in common, from which they may reap the best blessings. For when two men devote themselves in the right spirit to the same objects, though some mischance befalls the one, he has still at least no slight alleviation in having his companion by him. And the greatest of all calamities to a man in evil fortune is the want of a friend to help and cheer him.4 And those who live together both double the good fortune that befalls them, and lessen the pressure of the storm of disagreeable events; so that in the day they are distinguished for their frank confidence in each other, and in the night they appear notable for their cheerfulness. But he who leads a solitary life passes a species of existence full of terror to himself; not perceiving that if one should fall upon men welded closely together, he adopts a rash and perilous course, and that it is not easy to snap the threefold cord.6 Moreover, I put a poor youth, if he be wise, before an aged prince devoid of wisdom, to whose thoughts it has never occured that it is possible that a man may be raised from the prison to the throne, and that the very man who has exercised his power unrighteously shall at a later period be righteously cast out. For it may happen that those who are subject to a youth, who is at the same time sensible, shall be free from trouble,—those, I mean, who are his elders. Moreover, they who are born later cannot praise another, of whom they have had no experience,8 and are led by an unreasoning judgment, and by the impulse of a contrary spirit. But in exercising the preacher’s office, keep thou this before thine eyes, that thine own life be rightly directed, and that thou prayest in behalf of the foolish, that they may get understanding, and know how to shun the doings of the wicked.

chap. v.

Moreover, it is a good thing to use the tongue sparingly, and to keep a calm and rightly balanced heart in the exercise of speech.10 For it is not right to give utterance in words to things that are foolish and absurd, or to all that occur to the mind; but we ought to know and reflect, that though we are far separated from heaven, we speak in the hearing of God, and that it is good for us to speak without offence. For as dreams and visions of many kinds attend manifold cares of mind, so also silly talking is conjoined with folly. Moreover, see to it, that a promise made with a vow be made good in fact. This, too, is proper to fools, that they are unreliable. But be thou true to thy word, knowing that it is much better for thee not to vow or promise to do anything, than to vow and then fail of performance. And thou oughtest by all means to avoid the flood of base words, seeing that God will hear them. For the man who makes such things his study gets no more benefit by them than to see his doings brought to nought by God. For as the multitude of dreams is vain, so also the multitude of words. But the fear of God is man’s salvation, though it is rarely found. Wherefore thou oughtest not to wonder though thou seest the poor oppressed, and the judges misinterpreting the law. But thou oughtest to avoid the appearance of surpassing those who are in power. For even should this prove to be the case, yet, from the terrible ills that shall befall thee, wickedness of itself will not deliver thee. But even as property acquired by violence is a most hurtful as well as impious possession, so the man who lusteth after money never finds satisfaction for his passion, nor good-will from his neighbours, even though he may have amassed the greatest possible wealth. For this also is vanity. But goodness greatly rejoiceth those who hold by it, and makes them strong, imparting to them the capacity of seeing through12 all things. And it is a great matter also not to be engrossed by such anxieties: for the poor man, even should he be a slave, and unable to fill his belly plentifully, enjoys at least the kind refreshment of sleep; but the lust of riches is attended by sleepless nights and anxieties of mind. And what could there be then more absurd, than with much anxiety and trouble to amass wealth, and keep it with jealous care, if all the while one is but maintaining the occasion of countless evils to himself? And this wealth, besides, must needs perish some time or other, and be lost, whether he who has acquired it has children or not; and the man himself, however unwillingly, is
doomed to die, and return to earth in the selfsame condition in which it was his lot once to come into being. And the fact that he is destined thus to leave earth with empty hands, will make the evil all the sorer to him, as he fails to consider that an end is appointed for his life similar to its beginning, and that he toils to no profit, and labours rather for the wind, as it were, than for the advancement of his own real interest, wasting his whole life in most unholy lusts and irrational passions, and withal in troubles and pains. And, to speak shortly, his days are darkness to such a man, and his life is sorrow. Yet this is in itself good, and by no means to be despised. For it is the gift of God, that a man should be able to reap with gladness of mind the fruits of his labours, receiving thus possessions bestowed by God, and not acquired by force.2 For neither is such a man afflicted with troubles, nor is he for the most part the slave of evil thoughts; but he measures out his life by good deeds, being of good heart in all things, and rejoicing in the gift of God.

chap. vi.

Moreover, I shall exhibit in discourse the ill fortune that most of all prevails among men. While God may supply a man with all that is according to his mind, and deprive him of no object which may in any manner appeal to his desires, whether it be wealth, or honour, or any other of those things for which men distract themselves; yet the man, while thus prospered in all things, as though the only ill inflicted on him from heaven were just the inability to enjoy them, may but husband them for his fellow, and fall without profit either to himself or to his neighbours. This I reckon to be a strong proof and clear sign of surpassing evil. The man who has borne without blame the name of father of very many children, and spent a long life, and has not had his soul filled with good for so long time, and has had no experience of death meanwhile, —this man I should not envy either his numerous offspring or his length of days; nay, I should say that the untimely birth that falls from a woman’s womb is better than he. For as that came in with vanity, so it also departeth secretly in oblivion, without having tasted the ills of life or looked on the sun. And this is a lighter evil than for the wicked man not to know what is good, even though he measure his life by thousands of years.5 And the end of both is death. The fool is proved above all things by his finding no satisfaction in any lust. But the discreet man is not held captive by these passions. Yet, for the most part, righteousness of life leads a man to poverty. And the sight of curious eyes deranges many, inflaming their mind, and drawing them on to vain pursuits by the empty desire of show.7 Moreover, the things which are now are known already; and it becomes apparent that man is unable to contend with those that are above him. And, verily, inanities have their course among men, which only increase the folly of those who occupy themselves with them.

chap. vii.

For though a man should be by no means greatly advantaged by knowing all in this life that is destined to befall him according to his mind (let us suppose such a case), nevertheless with the officious activity of men he devises means for prying into and gaining an apparent acquaintance with the things that are to happen after a person’s death. Moreover, a good name is more pleasant to the mind than oil to the body; and the end of life is better than the birth, and to mourn is more desirable than to revel, and to be with the sorrowing is better than to be with the drunken. For this is the fact, that he who comes to the end of life has no further care about aught around him. And discreet anger is to be preferred to laughter; for by the severe disposition of countenance the soul is kept upright.9 The souls of the wise, indeed, are sad and downcast, but those of fools are elated, and given loose to merriment. And yet it is far more desirable to receive blame from one wise man, than to become a hearer of a whole chorus of worthless and miserable men in their songs. For the laughter of fools is like the crackling of many thorns burning in a fierce fire. This, too, is misery, yea the greatest of evils, namely oppression; for it intrigues against the souls of the wise, and attempts to ruin the noble way of life11 which the good pursue. Moreover, it is right to commend not the man who begins, but the man who finishes a speech; and what is moderate ought to approve itself to the mind, and not what is swollen and inflated. Again, one ought certainly to keep wrath in check, and not suffer himself to be carried rashly into anger, the slaves of which are fools. More over, they are in error who assert that a better
manner of life was given to those before us, and they fail to see that wisdom is widely different from mere abundance of possessions, and that it is as much more lustrous than these, as silver shines more brightly than its shadow. For the life of man hath its excellence2 not in the acquisition of perishable riches, but in wisdom. And who shall be able, tell me, to declare the providence of God, which is so great and so beneficent? or who shall be able to recall the things which seem to have been passed by of God? And in the former days of my vanity I considered all things, and saw a righteous man continuing in his righteousness, and ceasing not from it until death, but even suffering injury by reason thereof, and a wicked man perishing with his wickedness. Moreover, it is proper that the righteous man should not seem to be so overmuch, nor exceedingly and above measure wise, that he may not, as in making some slip, seem to sin many times over. And be not thou audacious and precipitate, lest an untimely death surprise thee. It is the greatest of all good to take hold of God, and by abiding in Him to sin in nothing. For to touch things undefiled with an impure hand is abomination. But he who in the fear of God submits himself, escapes all that is contrary. Wisdom availeth more in the way of help than a band of the most powerful men in a city, and it often also pardons righteously those who fail in duty. For there is not one that stumbleth not.4 Also it becomes thee in no way to attend upon the words of the impious, that thou mayest not become an ear-witness of words spoken against thyself, such as the foolish talk of a wicked servant, and being thus stung in heart, have recourse afterwards thyself to cursing in turn in many actions. And all these things have I known, having received wisdom from God, which afterwards I lost, and was no longer able to be the same.6 For wisdom fled from me to an infinite distance, and into a measureless deep, so that I could no longer get hold of it. Wherefore afterwards I abstained altogether from seeking it; and I no longer thought of considering the follies and the vain counsels of the impious, and their weary, distracted life. And being thus disposed, I was borne on to the things themselves; and being seized with a fatal passion, I knew woman—that she is like a snare or some such other object. For her heart ensnares those who pass her; and if she but join hand to hand, she holds one as securely as though she dragged him on bound with chains.8 And from her you can secure your deliverance only by finding a propitious and watchful superintendent in God; for he who is enslaved by sin cannot (otherwise) escape its grasp. Moreover, among all women I sought for the chastity10 proper to them, and I found it in none. And verily a person may find one man chaste among a thousand, but a woman never. And this above all things I observed, that men being made by God simple12 in mind, contract for themselves manifold reasonings and infinite questionings, and while professing to seek wisdom, waste their life in vain words.

chap. viii.

Moreover, wisdom, when it is found in a man, shows itself also in its possessor’s face, and makes his countenance to shine; as, on the other hand, effrontery convicts the man in whom it has taken up its abode, so soon as he is seen, as one worthy of hatred. And it is on every account right to give careful heed to the words of the king, and by all manner of means to avoid an oath, especially one taken in the name of God. It may be fit at the same time to notice an evil word, but then it is necessary to guard against any blasphemy against God. For it will not be possible to find fault with Him when He inflicts any penalty, nor to gainsay the decrees of the Only Lord and King. But it will be better and more profitable for a man to abide by the holy commandments, and to keep himself apart from the words of the wicked. For the wise man knows and discerneth beforehand the judgment, which shall come at the right time, and sees that it shall be just. For all things in the life of men await the retribution from above; but the wicked man does not seem to know verily that as there is a mighty providence over him, nothing in the future shall be hid. He knoweth not indeed the things which shall be; for no man shall be able to announce any one of them to him duly: for no one shall be found so strong as to be able to prevent the angel who spoils him of his life;15 neither shall any means be devised for cancelling in any way the appointed time of death. But even as the man who is captured in the midst of the battle can only see
flight cut off on every side, so all the impiety of man perisheth utterly together. And I am astonished, as often as I contemplate what and how great things men have studied to do for the hurt of their neighbours. But this I know, that the impious are snatched prematurely from this life, and put out of the way because they have given themselves to vanity. For whereas the providential judgment of God does not overtake all speedily, by reason of His great long-suffering, and the wicked is not punished immediately on the commission of his offences,—for this reason he thinks that he may sin the more, as though he were to get off with impunity, not understanding that the transgressor shall not escape the knowledge of God even after a long interval. This, moreover, is the chief good, to reverence God; for if once the impious man fall away from Him, he shall not be suffered long to misuse his own folly. But a most vicious and false opinion often prevails among men concerning both the righteous and the unrighteous. For they form a judgment contrary to truth regarding each of them; and the man who is really righteous does not get the credit of being so, while, on the other hand, the impious man is deemed prudent and upright. And this I judge to be among the most grievous of errors. Once, indeed, I thought that the chief good consisted in eating and drinking, and that he was most highly favoured of God who should enjoy these things to the utmost in his life; and I fancied that this kind of enjoyment was the only comfort in life. And, accordingly, I gave heed to nothing but to this conceit, so that neither by night nor by day did I withdraw myself from all those things which have ever been discovered to minister luxurious delights to men. And this much I learned thereby, that the man who mingles in these things shall by no means be able, however sorely he may labour with them, to find the real good.

chap. ix.

Now I thought at that time that all men were judged worthy of the same things. And if any wise man practised righteousness, and withdrew himself from unrighteousness, and as being sagacious avoided hatred with all (which, indeed, is a thing well pleasing to God), this man seemed to me to labour in vain. For there seemed to be one end for the righteous and for the impious, for the good and for the evil, for the pure and for the impure, for him that worshipped God, and for him that worshipped not. For as the unrighteous man and the good, the man who sweareth a false oath, and the man who avoids swearing altogether, were suspected by me to be driving toward the same end, a certain sinister opinion stole secretly into my mind, that all men come to their end in a similar way. But now I know that these are the reflections of fools, and errors and deceits. And they assert largely, that he who is dead has perished utterly, and that the living is to be preferred to the dead, even though he may lie in darkness, and pass his life-journey after the fashion of a dog, which is better at least than a dead lion. For the living know this at any rate, that they are to die; but the dead know not anything, and there is no reward proposed to them after they have completed their necessary course. Also hatred and love with the dead have their end; for their envy has perished, and their life also is extinguished. And he has a portion in nothing who has once gone hence. Error harping still on such a string, gives also such counsel as this: What meanest thou, O man, that thou dost not enjoy thyself delicately, and gorge thyself with all manner of pleasant food, and fill thyself to the full with wine? Dost thou not perceive that these things are given us from God for our unrestrained enjoyment? Put on newly washed attire, and anoint thy head with myrrh, and see this woman and that, and pass thy vain life vainly. For nothing else remaineth for thee but this, neither here nor after death. But avail thou thyself of all that chanceth; for neither shall any one take account of thee for these things, nor are the things that are done by men known at all outside the circle of men. And Hades, whatever that may he, whereunto we are said to depart, has neither wisdom nor understandíng. These are the things which men of vanity speak. But I know assuredly, that neither shall they who seem the swiftest accomplish that great race; nor shall those who are esteemed mighty and terrible in the judgment of men, overcome in that terrible battle. Neither, again, is prudence proved by abundance of bread, nor is understanding wont to consort with riches. Nor do I congratulate those who think that all shall find the same things befall them. But certainly those who indulge such thoughts seem to me to be asleep, and to fail to consider that, caught suddenly like fishes and birds, they will be consumed with woes, and meet speedily their proper retribution. Also I estimate wisdom at so high a price, that I should deem a small and poorly-peopled city, even though besieged also by a mighty king with his forces, to be indeed great and powerful, if it had but one wise man, however poor, among its citizens. For such a man would be able to deliver his city both from enemies and from entrenchments. And other men, it may be, do not recognise that wise man,
poor as he is; but for my part I greatly prefer the power that resides in wisdom, to this might of the mere multitude of the people. Here, however, wisdom, as it dwells with poverty, is held in dishonour. But hereafter it shall be heard speaking with more authoritative voice than princes and despots who seek after things evil. For wisdom is also stronger than iron; while the folly of one individual works danger for many, even though he be an object of contempt to many.

chap. x.

Moreover, flies falling into myrrh, and suffocated therein, make both the appearance of that pleasant ointment and the anointing therewith an unseemly thing; and to be mindful of wisdom and of folly together is in no way proper. The wise man, indeed, is his own leader to right actions; but the fool inclines to erring courses, and will never make his folly available as a guide to what is noble. Yea, his thoughts also are vain and full of folly. But if ever a hostile spirit fall upon thee, my friend, withstand it courageously, knowing that God is able to propitiate3 even a mighty multitude of offences. These also are the deeds of the prince and father of all wickedness: that the fool is set on high, while the man richly gifted with wisdom is humbled; and that the slaves of sin are seen riding on horseback, while men dedicated to God walk on foot in dishonour, the wicked exulting the while. But if any one devises another’s hurt, he forgets that he is preparing a snare for himself first and alone. And he who wrecks another’s safety, shall fall by the bite of a serpent. But he who removeth stones, indeed shall undergo no light labour; and he who cleaveth wood shall bear danger with him in his own weapon. And if it chance that the axe spring out of the handle,5 he who engages in such work shall be put to trouble, gathering for no good and having to put to more of his iniquitous and shortlived strength.7 The bite of a serpent, again, is stealthy; and the charmers will not soothe the pain, for they are vain. But the good man doeth good works for himself and for his neighbours alike; while the fool shall sink into destruction through his folly. And when he has once opened his mouth, he begins foolishly and soon comes to an end, exhibiting his senselessness in all. Moreover, it is impossible for man to know anything, or to learn from man either what has been from the beginning, or what shall be in the future. For who shall be the declarer thereof? Besides, the man who knows not to go to the good city, sustains evil in the eyes and in the whole countenance. And I prophesy woes to that city the king of which is a youth, and its rulers gluttons. But I call the good land blessed, the king of which is the son of the free: there those who are entrusted with the power of ruling shall reap what is good in due season. But the sluggard and the idler become scoffers, and make the house decay; and misusing all things for the purposes of their own gluttony, like the ready slaves of money, for a small price they are content to do all that is base and abject. It is also right to obey kings and rulers or potentates, and not to be bitter against them, nor to utter any offensive word against them. For there is ever the risk that what has been spoken in secret may somehow become public. For swift and winged messengers convey all things to Him who alone is King both rich and mighty, discharging therein a service which is at once spiritual and reasonable.

chap. xi.

Moreover, it is a righteous thing to give (to the needy) of thy bread, and of those things which are necessary for the support of man’s life. For though thou seemest forthwith to waste it upon some persons, as if thou didst cast thy bread upon the water, yet in the progress of time thy kindness shall be seen to be not unprofitable for thee. Also give liberally, and give a portion of thy means to many; for thou knowest not what the coming day doeth. The clouds, again, do not keep back their plenteous rains, but discharge their showers upon the earth. Nor does a tree stand for ever; but even though men may spare it, it shall be overturned by the wind at any rate. But many desire also to know beforehand what is to come from the heavens; and there have been those who, scrutinizing the clouds and waiting for the wind, have had nought to do with reaping and winnowing, putting their trust in vanity, and being all incapable of knowing aught of what may come from God in the future; just as men cannot tell what the woman with child shall bring forth. But sow thou in season, and thus reap thy fruits whenever the time for that comes on. For it is not manifest what shall be better than those among all natural things. Would, indeed, that all things turned out well! Truly, when a man considers with himself that the sun is good, and that this life is sweet, and that it is a pleasant thing to have many years wherein one can delight himself
continually, and that death is a terror and an endless evil, and a thing that brings us to nought, he thinks that he ought to enjoy himself in all the present and apparent pleasures of life. And he gives this counsel also to the young, that they should use to the uttermost the season of their youth, by giving up their minds to all manner of pleasure, and indulge their passions, and do all that seemeth good in their own eyes, and look upon that which delighteth, and avert themselves from that which is not so. But to such a man I shall say this much: Senseless art thou, my friend, in that thou dost not look for the judgment that shall come from God upon all these things. And profligacy and licentiousness are evil, and the filthy wantonness of our bodies carries death in it. For folly attends on youth, and folly leads to destruction.

chap. xii.

Moreover, it is right that thou shouldest fear God while thou art yet young, before thou givest thyself over to evil things, and before the great and terrible day of God cometh, when the sun shall no longer shine, neither the moon, nor the rest of the stars, but when in that storm and commotion of all things, the powers above shall be moved, that is, the angels who guard the world; so that the mighty men shall fail, and the women shall cease their labours, and shall flee into the dark places of their dwellings, and shall have all the doors shut. And a woman shall be restrained from grinding by fear, and shall speak with the weakest voice, like the tiniest bird; and all the impure women shall sink into the earth; and cities and their blood-stained governments shall wait for the vengeance that comes from above, while the most bitter and bloody of all times hangs over them like a blossoming almond, and continuous punishments impend like a multitude of flying locusts, and the transgressors are cast out of the way like a black and despicable caper-plant. And the good man shall depart with rejoicing to his own everlasting habitation; but the vile shall fill all their places with wailing, and neither silver laid up in store, nor proved gold, shall be of use any more. For a mighty stroke shall fall upon all things, even to the pitcher that standeth by the well, and the wheel of the vessel which may chance to have been left in the hollow, when the course of time comes to its end3 and the ablution-bearing period of a life that is like water has passed away. And for men who lie on earth there is but one salvation, that their souls acknowledge and wing their way to Him by whom they have been made. I say, then, again what I have said already, that man’s estate is altogether vain, and that nothing can exceed the utter vanity which attaches to the objects of man’s inventions. And superfluous is my labour in preaching discreetly, inasmuch as I am attempting to instruct a people here, so indisposed to receive either teaching or healing. And truly the noble man is needed for the understanding of the words of wisdom. Moreover, I, though already aged, and having passed a long life, laboured to find out those things which are well-pleasing to God, by means of the mysteries of the truth. And I know that the mind is no less quickened and stimulated by the precepts of the wise, than the body is wont to be when the goad is applied, or a nail is fastened in it.5 And some will render again those wise lessons which they have received from one good pastor and teacher, as if all with one mouth and in mutual concord set forth in larger detail the truths committed to them. But in many words there is no profit. Neither do I counsel thee, my friend, to write down vain things about what is fitting, from which there in nothing to be gained but weary labour. But, in fine, I shall require to use some such conclusion as this: O men, behold, I charge you now expressly and shortly, that ye fear God, who is at once the Lord and the Overseer7 of all, and that ye keep also His commandments; and that ye believe that all shall be judged severally in the future, and that every man shall receive the just recompense for his deeds, whether they be good or whether they be evil.


canon i.

The meats are no burden to us, most holy father, if the captives ate things which their conquerors set before them, especially since there is one report from all, viz., that the barbarians who have made inroads into our parts have not sacrificed to idols. For the apostle says, “Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them.”3 But the Saviour also, who cleanseth all meats, says, “Not that which goeth into a man defileth the man, but that which cometh out.” And this meets the case of the captive women defiled by the barbarians, who outraged their bodies. But if the previous life of any such person convicted him of going, as it is written, after the eyes of fornicators, the habit of fornication evidently becomes an object of suspicion also in the time of captivity. And one ought not readily to have communion with such women in prayers. If any one, however, has lived in the utmost chastity, and has shown in time past a manner of life pure and free from all suspicion, and now falls into wantonness through force of necessity, we have an example for our guidance,—namely, the instance of the damsel in Deuteronomy, whom a man finds in the field, and forces her, and lies with her. “Unto the damsel,” he says, “ye shall do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter: the damsel cried, and there was none to help her.”5

canon ii.

Covetousness is a great evil; and it is not possible in a single letter to set forth those scriptures in which not robbery alone is declared to be a thing horrible and to be abhorred, but in general the grasping mind, and the disposition to meddle with what belongs to others, in order to satisfy the sordid love of gain. And all persons of that spirit are excommunicated from the Church of God. But that at the time of the irruption, in the midst of such woful sorrows and bitter lamentations, some should have been audacious enough to consider the crisis which brought destruction to all the very period for their own private aggrandizement, that is a thing which can be averred only of men who are impious and hated of God, and of unsurpassable iniquity. Wherefore it seemed good to excommunicate such persons, lest the wrath (of God) should come upon the whole people, and upon those first of all who are set over them in office, and yet fail to make inquiry. For I am afraid, as the Scripture says, lest the impious work the destruction of the righteous along with his own. “For fornication,” it says,7 “and covetousness are things on account of which the wrath of God cometh upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light (for the fruit of the light is in all goodness, and righteousness, and truth), proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them; for it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light.” In this wise speaks the apostle. But if certain parties who pay the proper penalty for that former covetousness of theirs, which exhibited itself in the time of peace, now turn aside again to the indulgence of covetousness in the very time of trouble (i.e., in the troubles of the inroads by the barbarians), and make gain out of the blood and ruin of men who have been utterly despoiled, or taken captive, (or) put to death, what else ought to be expected, than that those who struggle so hotly for covetousness should heap up wrath both for themselves and for the Whole people?

canon iii.

Behold, did not Achar the son of Zara transgress in the accursed thing, and trouble then lighted on all the congregation of Israel? And this one man was alone in his sin; but he was not alone in the death that came by his sin. And by us, too, everything of a gainful kind at this time, which is ours not in our own rightful possession, but as property strictly belonging to others, ought to be reckoned a thing devoted. For that Achar indeed took of the spoil; and those men of the present time take also of the spoil. But he took what belonged to enemies; while these now take what belongs to brethren, and aggrandize themselves with fatal gains.

canon iv.

Let no one deceive himself, nor put forward the pretext of having found such property. For it is not lawful, even for a man who has found anything, to aggrandize himself by it. For Deuteronomy says: “Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ox or his sheep go astray in the way, and pay no heed to them; but thou shalt in any wise bring them again unto thy brother. And if thy brother come not nigh thee, or if thou know him not, then thou shalt bring them together, and they shall be with thee until thy brother seek after them, and thou shalt restore them to him again. And in like manner shalt thou do with his ass, and so shalt thou do with his raiment, and so shalt thou do with all lost things of thy brother’s, which he hath lost, and thou mayest find.” Thus much in Deuteronomy. And in the book of Exodus it is said, with reference not only to the case of finding what is a friend’s, but also of finding what is an enemy’s: “Thou shalt surely bring them back to the house of their master again.”3 And if it is not lawful to aggrandize oneself at the expense of another, whether he be brother or enemy, even in the time of peace, when he is living at his ease and delicately, and without concern as to his property, how much more must it be the case when one is met by adversity, and is fleeing from his enemies, and has had to abandon his possessions by force of circumstances!

canon v.

But others deceive themselves by fancying that they can retain the property of others which they may have found as an equivalent for their own property which they have lost. In this way verily, just as the Boradi and Goths brought the havoc of war on them, they make themselves Boradi and Goths to others. Accordingly we have sent to you our brother and comrade in old age, Euphrosynus, with this view, that he may deal with you in accordance with our model here, and teach you against whom you ought to admit accusations, and whom you ought to exclude from your prayers.

canon vi.

Moreover, it has been reported to us that a thing has happened in your country which is surely incredible, and which, if done at all, is altogether the work of unbelievers, and impious men, and men who know not the very name of the Lord; to wit, that some have gone to such a pitch of cruelty and inhumanity, as to be detaining by force certain captives who have made their escape. Dispatch ye commissioners into the country, lest the thunderbolts of heaven fall all too surely upon those who perpetrate such deeds.

canon vii.

Now, as regards those who have been enrolled among the barbarians, and have accompanied them in their irruption in a state of captivity, and who, forgetting that they were from Pontus, and Christians, have become such thorough barbarians, as even to put those of their own race to death by the gibbet or strangulation, and to show their roads or houses to the barbarians, who else would have been ignorant of them, it is necessary for you to debar such persons even from being auditors in the public congregations,8 until some common decision about them is come to by the saints assembled in council, and by the Holy Spirit antecedently to them.

canon viii.

Now those who have been so audacious as to invade the houses of others, if they have once been put on their trial and convicted, ought not to be deemed fit even to be hearers in the public congregation. But if they have declared themselves and made restitution, they should be placed in the rank of the repentant.

canon ix.

Now, those who have found in the open field or in their own houses anything left behind them by the barbarians, if they have once been put on their trial and convicted, ought to fall under the same class of the repentant. But if they
have declared themselves and made restitution, they ought to be deemed fit for the privilege of prayer.

canon x.

And they who keep the commandment ought to keep it without any sordid covetousness, demanding neither recompense, nor reward,3 nor fee, nor anything else that bears the name of acknowledgment.

canon xi.

Weeping takes place without the gate of the oratory; and the offender standing there ought to implore the faithful as they enter to offer up prayer on his behalf. Waiting on the word,7 again, takes place within the gate in the porch, where the offender ought to stand until the catechumens depart, and thereafter he should go forth. For let him hear the Scriptures and doctrine, it is said, and then be put forth, and reckoned unfit for the privilege of prayer. Submission, again, is that one stand within the gate of the temple, and go forth along with the catechumens. Restoration10 is that one be associated with the faithful, and go not forth with the catechumens; and last of all comes the participation in the holy ordinances.



(The title, p. 18.)


This is a genuine epistle, all but the eleventh canon. It is addressed to an anonymous bishop; one of his suffragans, some think. I suppose, rather, he consults, as Cyprian did, the bishop of the nearest Apostolic See, and awaits his concurrence. It refers to the ravages of the Goths in the days of Gallienus (a.d. 259–267), and proves the care of the Church to maintain discipline, even in times most unfavourable to order and piety. The last canon is an explanatory addition made to elucidate the four degrees or classes of penitents. It is a very interesting document in this respect, and sheds light on the famous canonical epistles of St. Basil.


(Basil the Great, p. 18, note.)


The “Canonical Epistles” of St. Basil are not private letters, but canons of the churches with which he was nearest related. When there was no art of printing, the chief bishops were obliged to communicate with suffragans, and with their brethren in the Apostolic See nearest to them. See them expounded at large in Dupin, Ecclesiastical Writers of the Fourth Century, Works, vol. i., London, 1693 (translated), p. 139, etc.


(Most holy father, p. 18.)


This expression leads me to think that this epistle is addressed to the Bishop of Antioch or of some other Apostolic See. It must not be taken as a prescribed formula, however, as when we say “Most Reverend” in our days; e.g., addressing the Archbishop of Canterbury. Rather, it is an expression of personal reverence. As yet, titular distinctions, such as these, were not known. In the West existing usages seem to have been introduced with the Carlovingian system of dignities, expounded by Gibbon.


argument i.—for eight years gregory has given up the practice of oratory, being busied with the study chiefly of roman law and the latin language.

An excellent thing has silence proved itself in many another person on many an occasion, and at present it befits myself, too, most especially, who with or without purpose may keep the door of my lips, and feel constrained to be silent. For I am unpractised and unskilled3 in those beautiful and elegant addresses which are spoken or composed in a regular and unbroken train, in select and well-chosen phrases and words; and it may be that I am less apt by nature to cultivate successfully this graceful and truly Grecian art. Besides, it is now eight years since I chanced myself to utter or compose any speech, whether long or short; neither in that period have I heard any other compose or utter anything in private, or deliver in public any laudatory or controversial orations, with the exception of those admirable men who have embraced the noble study of philosophy, and who care less for beauty of language and elegance of expression. For, attaching only a secondary importance to the words, they aim, with all exactness, at investigating and making known the things themselves, precisely as they are severally constituted. Not indeed, in my opinion, that they do not desire, but rather that they do greatly desire, to clothe the noble and accurate results of their thinking in noble and comely5 language. Yet it may be that they are not able so lightly to put forth this sacred and godlike power (faculty) in the exercise of its own proper conceptions, and at the same time to practise a mode of discourse eloquent in its terms, and thus to comprehend in one and the same mind—and that, too, this little mind of man—two accomplishments, which are the gifts of two distinct persons, and which are, in truth, most contrary to each other. For silence is indeed the friend and helpmeet of thought and invention. But if one aims at readiness of speech and beauty of discourse, he will get at them by no other discipline than the study of words, and their constant practice. Moreover, another branch of learning occupies my mind completely, and the mouth binds the tongue if I should desire to make any speech, however brief, with the voice of the Greeks; I refer to those admirable laws of our sages by which the affairs of all the subjects of the Roman Empire are now directed, and which are neither composed7 nor learnt without difficulty. And these are wise and exact in themselves, and manifold and admirable, and, in a word, most thoroughly Grecian; and they are expressed and committed to us in the Roman tongue, which is a wonderful and magnificent sort of language, and one very aptly conformable to royal authority,9 but still difficult to me. Nor could it be otherwise with me, even though I might say that it was my desire that it should be. And as our words are nothing else than a kind of imagery of the dispositions of our mind, we should allow those who have the gift of speech, like some good artists alike skilled to the utmost in their art and liberally furnished in the matter of colours, to possess the liberty of painting their word-pictures, not simply of a uniform complexion, but also of various descriptions and of richest beauty in the abundant mixture of flowers, without let or hindrance.

argument ii.—he essays to speak of the well-nigh divine endowments of origen in his presence, into whose hands he avows himself to have been led in a way beyond all his expectation.

But we, like any of the poor, unfurnished with these varied specifics —whether as never having been possessed of them, or, it may be, as having lost them—are under the necessity of using, as it were, only charcoal and tiles, that is to say, those rude and common words and phrases; and by means of these, to the best of our ability, we represent the native dispositions of our mind, expressing them in such language as is at our service, and endeavouring to exhibit the impressions of the figures2 of our mind, if not clearly or ornately, yet at least with the faithfulness of a charcoal picture, welcoming gladly any graceful and eloquent expression which may present itself from any quarter, although we make little of such. But, furthermore,4 there is a third circumstance which hinders and dissuades me from this attempt, and which holds me back much more even than the others, and recommends me to keep silence by all means,—I allude to the subject itself, which made me indeed ambitious to speak of it, but which now makes me draw balk and delay. For it is my purpose to speak of one who has indeed the semblance and repute of being a man, but who seems, to those who are able to contemplate the greatness of his intellectual calibre, to be endowed with powers nobler and well-nigh divine.6 And it is not his birth or bodily training that I am about to praise, and that makes me now delay and procrastinate with an excess of caution. Nor, again, is it his strength or beauty; for these form the eulogies of youths, of which it matters little whether the utterance be worthy or not. For, to make an oration on matters of a temporary and fugitive nature, which perish in many various ways and quickly, and to discourse of these with all the grandeur and dignity of great affairs, and with such timorous delays, would seem a vain and futile procedure.8 And certainly, if it had been proposed to me to speak of any of those things which are useless and unsubstantial, and such as I should never voluntarily have thought of speaking of,—if, I say, it had been proposed to me to speak of anything of that character, my speech would have had none of this caution or fear, lest in any statement I might seem to come beneath the merit of the subject. But now, my subject dealing with that which is most godlike in the man, and that in him which has most affinity with God, that which is indeed confined within the limits of this visible and mortal form, but which strains nevertheless most ardently after the likeness of God; and my object being to make mention of this, and to put my hand to weightier matters, and therein also to express my thanksgivings to the Godhead, in that it has been granted to me to meet with such a man beyond the expectation of men,—the expectation, verily, not only of others, but also of my own heart, for I neither set such a privilege before me at any time, nor hoped for it; it being, I say, my object, insignificant and altogether without understanding as I am, to put my hand to such subjects, it is not without reason that I shrink from the task, and hesitate, and desire to keep silence. And, in truth, to keep silence seems to me to be also the safe course, lest, with the show of an expression of thanksgiving, I may chance, in my rashness, to discourse of noble and sacred subjects in terms ignoble and paltry and utterly trite, and thus not only miss attaining the truth, but even, so far as it depends on me, do it some injury with those who may believe that it stands in such a category, when a discourse which is weak is composed thereon, and is rather calculated to excite ridicule than to prove itself commensurate in its vigour with the dignity of its themes. But all that pertains to thee is beyond the touch of injury and ridicule, O dear soul; or, much rather let me say, that the divine herein remains ever as it is, unmoved and harmed in nothing by our paltry and unworthy words. Yet I know not how we shall escape the imputation of boldness and rashness in thus attempting in our folly, and with little either of intelligence or of preparation, to handle matters which are weighty, and probably beyond our capacity. And if, indeed, elsewhere and with others, we had aspired to make such youthful endeavours in matters like these, we would surely have been bold and daring; nevertheless in such a case our rashness might not have been ascribed to shamelessness, in so far as we should not have been making the bold effort with thee. But now we shall be filling out the whole measure of senselessness, or rather indeed we have already filled it out, in venturing with unwashed feet (as the saying goes) to introduce ourselves to ears into which the Divine Word Himself—not indeed with covered feet, as is the case with the general mass
of men, and, as it were, under the thick coverings of enigmatical and obscure sayings, but with unsandalled feet (if one may so speak)—has made His way clearly and perspicuously, and in which He now sojourns; while we, who have but refuse and mud to offer in these human words of ours, have been bold enough to pour them into ears which are practised in hearing only words that are divine and pure. It might indeed suffice us, therefore, to have transgressed thus far; and now, at least, it might be but right to restrain ourselves, and to advance no further with our discourse. And verily I would stop here most gladly. Nevertheless, as I have once made the rash venture, it may be allowed me first of all to explain the reason under the force of which I have been led into this arduous enterprise, if indeed any pardon can be extended to me for my forwardness in this matter.

argument iii.—he is stimulated to speak of him by the longing of a grateful mind. to the utmost of his ability he thinks he ought to thank him. from god are the beginnings of all blessings; and to him adequate thanks cannot be returned.

Ingratitude appears to me to be a dire evil; a dire evil indeed, yea, the direst of evils. For when one has received some benefit, his failing to attempt to make any return by at least the oral expression of thanks, where aught else is beyond his power, marks him out either as an utterly irrational person, or as one devoid of the sense of obligations conferred, or as a man without any memory. And, again, though one is possessed naturally and at once by the sense and the knowledge of benefits received, yet, unless he also carries the memory of these obligations to future days, and offers some evidence of gratitude to the author of the boons, such a person is a dull, and ungrateful, and impious fellow; and he commits an offence which can be excused neither in the case of the great nor in that of the small:—if we suppose the case of a great and high-minded man not bearing constantly on his lips his great benefits with all gratitude and honour, or that of a small and contemptible man not praising and lauding with all his might one who has been his benefactor, not simply in great services, but also in smaller. Upon the great, therefore, and those who excel in powers of mind, it is incumbent, as out of their greater abundance and larger wealth, to render greater and worthier praise, according to their capacity, to their benefactors. But the humble also, and those in narrow circumstances, it beseems neither to neglect those who do them service, nor to take their services carelessly, nor to flag in heart as if they could offer nothing worthy or perfect; but as poor indeed, and yet as of good feeling, and as measuring not the capacity of him whom they honour, but only their own, they ought to pay him honour according to the present measure of their power,—a tribute which will probably be grateful and pleasant to him who is honoured, and in no less consideration with him than it would have been had it been some great and splendid offering, if it is only presented with decided earnestness, and with a sincere mind. Thus is it laid down in the sacred writings,3 that a certain poor and lowly woman, who was with the rich and powerful that were contributing largely and richly out of their wealth, alone and by herself cast in a small, yea, the very smallest offering, which was, however, all the while her whole substance, and received the testimony of having presented the largest oblation. For, as I judge, the sacred word has not set up the large outward quantity of the substance given, but rather the mind and disposition of the giver, as the standard by which the worth and the magnificence of the offering are to be measured. Wherefore it is not meet even for us by any means to shrink from this duty, through the fear that our thanksgivings be not adequate to our obligations; but, on the contrary, we ought to venture and attempt everything, so as to offer thanksgivings, if not adequate, at least such as we have it in our power to exhibit, as in due return. And would that our discourse, even though it comes short of the perfect measure, might at least reach the mark in some degree, and be saved from all appearance of ingratitude! For a persistent silence, maintained under the plausible cover of an inability to say anything worthy of the subject, is a vain and evil thing; but it is the mark of a good disposition always to make the attempt at a suitable return, even although the power of the person who offers the grateful acknowledgment be inferior to the desert of the subject. For my part, even although I am unable to speak as the matter merits, I shall not keep silence; but when I have done all that I possibly can, then I may congratulate myself. Be this, then, the method of my eucharistic discourse. To God, indeed, the God of the universe, I shall not think of speaking in such terms: yet is it from Him that all the beginnings of our blessings come; and with Him consequently is it that the beginning of our thanksgivings, or praises, or laudations, ought to be made. But, in truth, not even though I were to devote myself wholly to that duty, and that, too, not as I now am—to
wit, profane and impure, and mixed up with and stained by every unhallowed and polluting evil—but sincere and as pure as pure may be, and most genuine, and most unsophisticated, and uncontaminated by anything vile;—not even, I say, though I were thus to devote myself wholly, and with all the purity of the newly born, to this task, should I produce of myself any suitable gift in the way of honour and acknowledgment to the Ruler and Originator of all things, whom neither men separately and individually, nor yet all men in concert, acting with one spirit and one concordant impulse, as though all that is pure were made to meet in one, and all that is diverse from that were turned also to that service, could ever celebrate in a manner worthy of Him. For, in whatsoever measure any man is able to form right and adequate conceptions of His works, and (if such a thing were possible) to speak worthily regarding Him, then, so far as that very capacity is concerned,—a capacity with which he has not been gifted by any other one, but which he has received from Him alone, he cannot possibly find any greater matter of thanksgiving than what is implied in its possession.

argument iv.—the son alone knows how to praise the father worthily. in christ and by christ our thanksgiving sought to be rendered to the father. gregory also gives thanks to his guardian angel, because he was conducted by him to origen.

But let us commit the praises and hymns in honour of the King and Superintendent of all things, the perennial Fount of all blessings, to the hand of Him who, in this matter as in all others, is the Healer of our infirmity, and who alone is able to supply that which is lacking; to the Champion and Saviour of our souls, His first-born Word, the Maker and Ruler of all things, with whom also alone it is possible, both for Himself and for all, whether privately and individually, or publicly and collectively, to send up to the Father uninterrupted and ceaseless thanksgivings. For as He is Himself the Truth, and the Wisdom, and the Power of the Father of the universe, and He is besides in Him, and is truly and entirely made one with Him, it cannot be that, either through forgetfulness or unwisdom, or any manner of infirmity, such as marks one dissociated from Him, He shall either fail in the power to praise Him, or, while having the power, shall willingly neglect (a supposition which it is not lawful, surely, to indulge) to praise the Father. For He alone is able most perfectly to fulfil the whole meed of honour which is proper to Him, inasmuch as the Father of all things has made Him one with Himself, and through Him all but completes the circle of His own being objectively, and honours Him with a power in all respects equal to His own, even as also He is honoured; which position He first and alone of all creatures that exist has had assigned Him, this Only-begotten of the Father, who is in Him, and who is God the Word; while all others of us are able to express our thanksgiving and our piety only if, in return for all the blessings which proceed to us from the Father, we bring our offerings in simple dependence on Him alone, and thus present the meet oblation of thanksgiving to Him who is the Author of all things, acknowledging also that the only way of piety is in this manner to offer our memorials through Him. Wherefore, in acknowledgment of that ceaseless providence which watches over all of us, alike in the greatest and in the smallest concerns, and which has been sustained even thus far, let this Word3 be accepted as the worthy and perpetual expression for all thanksgivings and praises,—I mean the altogether perfect and living and verily animate Word of the First Mind Himself. But let this word of ours be taken primarily as an eucharistic address in honour of this sacred personage, who stands alone among all men; and if I may seek to discourse5 of aught beyond this, and, in particular, of any of those beings who are not seen, but yet are more godlike, and who have a special care for men, it shall be addressed to that being who, by some momentous decision, had me allotted to him from my boyhood to rule, and rear, and train,—I mean that holy angel of God who fed me from my youth, as says the saint dear to God, meaning thereby his own peculiar one. Though he, indeed, as being himself illustrious, did in these terms designate some angel exalted enough to befit his own dignity (and whether it was some other one, or whether it was perchance the Angel of the Mighty Counsel Himself, the Common Saviour of all, that he received as his own peculiar guardian through his perfection, I do not clearly know),—he, I say, did recognise and praise some superior angel as his own, whosoever that was. But we, in addition to the homage we offer to the Common Ruler of all men, acknowledge and praise that being, whosoever he is, who has been the wonderful guide of our childhood, who in all other matters has been in time past my beneficent tutor and guardian. For this office of tutor and guardian is one which evidently can suit7 neither
me nor any of my friends and kindred; for we are all blind, and see nothing of what is before us, so as to be able to judge of what is right and fitting; but it can suit only him who sees beforehand all that is for the good of our soul: that angel, I say, who still at this present time sustains, and instructs, and conducts me; and who, in addition to all these other benefits, has brought me into connection with this man, which, in truth, is the most important of all the services done me. And this, too, he has effected for me, although between myself and that man of whom I discourse there was no kinship of race or blood, nor any other tie, nor any relationship in neighbourhood or country whatsoever; things which are made the ground of friendship and union among the majority of men. But to speak in brief, in the exercise of a truly divine and wise forethought he brought us together, who were unknown to each other, and strangers, and foreigners, separated as thoroughly from each other as intervening nations, and mountains, and rivers can divide man from man, and thus he made good this meeting which has been full of profit to me, having, as I judge, provided beforehand this blessing for me from above from my very birth and earliest upbringing. And in what manner this has been realized it would take long to recount fully, not merely if I were to enter minutely into the whole subject, and were to attempt to omit nothing, but even if, passing many things by, I should purpose simply to mention in a summary way a few of the most important points.

argument v.—here gregory interweaves the narrative of his former life. his birth of heathen parents is stated. in the fourteenth year of his age he loses his father. he is dedicated to the study of eloquence and law. by a wonderful leading of providence, he is brought to origen.

For my earliest upbringing from the time of my birth onwards was under the hand of my parents; and the manner of life in my father’s house was one of error, and of a kind from which no one, I imagine, expected that we should be delivered; nor had I myself the hope, boy as I was, and without understanding, and under a superstitious father.2 Then followed the loss of my father, and my orphanhood, which perchance was also the beginning of the knowledge of the truth to me. For then it was that I was brought over first to the word of salvation and truth, in what manner I cannot tell, by constraint rather than by voluntary choice. For what power of decision had I then, who was but fourteen years of age? Yet from this very time this sacred Word began somehow to visit me, just at the period when the reason common to all men attained its full function in me; yea, then for the first time did it visit me. And though I thought but little of this in that olden time, yet now at least, as I ponder it, I consider that no small token of the holy and marvellous providence exercised over me is discernible in this concurrence, which was I so distinctly marked in the matter of my years, and which provided that all those deeds of error which preceded that age might be ascribed to youth and want of understanding, and that the Holy Word might not be imparted vainly to a soul yet ungifted with the full power of reason; and which secured at the same time that when the soul now became endowed with that power, though not gifted with the divine and pure reason,4 it might not be devoid at least of that fear which is accordant with this reason, but that the human and the divine reason might begin to act in me at once and together,—the one giving help with a power to me at least inexplicable,6 though proper to itself, and the other receiving help. And when I reflect on this, I am filled at once with gladness and with terror, while I rejoice indeed in the leading of providence, and yet am also awed by the fear lest, after being privileged with such blessings, I should still in any way fail of the end. But indeed I know not how my discourse has dwelt so long on this matter, desirous as I am to give an account of the wonderful arrangement (of God’s providence) in the course that brought me to this man, and anxious as nevertheless I formerly was to pass with few words to the matters which follow in their order, not certainly imagining that I could render to him who thus dealt with me that tribute of praise, or gratitude, or piety which is due to him (for, were we to designate our discourse in such terms, while yet we said nothing worthy of the theme, we might seem chargeable with arrogance), but simply with the view of offering what may be called a plain narrative or confession, or whatever other humble title may be given it. It seemed good to the only one of my parents who survived to care for me—my mother, namely—that, being already under instruction in those other branches in which boys not ignobly born and nurtured are usually trained, I should attend also a teacher of public speaking, in the hope that I too should become a public speaker. And accordingly I did attend such a teacher; and those who could judge in that department then declared that I should in a short period be a public speaker. I for my own part know not how to pronounce on that, neither
should I desire to do so; for there was no apparent ground for that gift then, nor was there as yet any foundation for those forces which were capable of bringing me to it. But that divine conductor and true curator, ever so watchful, when my friends were not thinking of such a step, and when I was not myself desirous of it, came and suggested (an extension of my studies) to one of my teachers under whose charge I had been put, with a view to instruction in the Roman tongue, not in the expectation that I was to reach the completest mastery of that tongue, but only that I might not be absolutely ignorant of it; and this person happened also to be not altogether unversed in laws. Putting the idea, therefore, into this teacher’s mind,2 he set me to learn in a thorough way the laws of the Romans by his help. And that man took up this charge zealously with me; and I, on my side, gave myself to it—more, however, to gratify the man, than as being myself an admirer of the study. And when he got me as his pupil, he began to teach me with all enthusiasm. And he said one thing, which has proved to me the truest of all his sayings, to wit, that my education in the laws would be my greatest viaticum —for thus he phrased it—whether I aspired to be one of the public speakers who contend in the courts of justice, or preferred to belong to a different order. Thus did he express himself, intending his word to bear simply on things human; but to me it seems that he was moved to that utterance by a diviner impulse than he himself supposed. For when, willingly or unwillingly, I was becoming well instructed in these laws, at once bonds, as it were, were cast upon my movements, and cause and occasion for my journeying to these parts arose from the city Berytus, which is a city not far distant4 from this territory, somewhat Latinized, and credited with being a school for these legal studies. And this revered man coming from Egypt, from the city of Alexandria, where previously he happened to have his home, was moved by other circumstances to change his residence to this place, as if with the express object of meeting us. And for my part, I cannot explain the reasons of these incidents, and I shall willingly pass them by. This however is certain, that as yet no necessary occasion for my coming to this place and meeting with this man was afforded by my purpose to learn our laws, since I had it in my power also to repair to the city of Rome itself.6 How, then, was this effected? The then governor of Palestine suddenly took possession of a friend of mine, namely my sister’s husband, and separated him from his wife, and carried him off here against his will, in order to secure his help, and have him associated with him in the labours of the government of the country; for he was a person skilled in law, and perhaps is still so employed. After he had gone with him, however, he had the good fortune in no long time to have his wife sent for, and to receive her again, from whom, against his will, and to his grievance, he had been separated. And thus he chanced also to draw us along with her to that same place. For when we were minded to travel, I know not where, but certainly to any other place rather than this, a soldier suddenly came upon the scene, bearing a letter of instructions for us to escort and protect our sister in her restoration to her husband, and to offer ourselves also as companion to her on the journey; in which we had the opportunity of doing a favour to our relative, and most of all to our sister (so that she might not have to address herself to the journey either in any unbecoming manner, or with any great fear or hesitation), while at the same time our other friends and connections thought well of it, and made it out to promise no slight advantage, as we could thus visit the city of Berytus, and carry out there with all diligence our studies in the laws. Thus all things moved me thither,—my sense of duty8 to my sister, my own studies, and over and above these, the soldier (for it is right also to mention this), who had with him a larger supply of public vehicles than the case demanded, and more cheques than could be required for our sister alone. These were the apparent reasons for our journey; but the secret and yet truer reasons were these,—our opportunity of fellowship with this man, our instruction through that man’s means10 the truth concerning the Word, and the profit of our soul for its salvation. These were the real causes that brought us here, blind and ignorant, as we were, as to the way of securing our salvation. Wherefore it was not that soldier, but a certain divine companion and beneficent conductor and guardian, ever leading us in safety through the whole of this present life, as through a long journey, that carried us past other places, and Berytus in especial, which city at that time we seemed most bent on reaching,
and brought us hither and settled us here, disposing and directing all things, until by any means he might bind us in a connection with this man who was to be the author of the greater part of our blessings. And he who came in such wise, that divine angel, gave over this charge to him, and did, if I may so speak, perchance take his rest here, not indeed under the pressure of labour or exhaustion of any kind (for the generation of those divine ministers knows no weariness), but as having committed us to the hand of a man who would fully discharge the whole work of care and guardianship within his power.

argument vi.—the arts by which origen studies to keep gregory and his brother athenodorus with him, although it was almost against their will; and the love by which both are taken captive. of philosophy, the foundation of piety, with the view of giving himself therefore wholly to that study, gregory is willing to give up fatherland, parents, the pursuit of law, and every other discipline. of the soul as the free principle. the nobler part does not desire to be united with the inferior, but the inferior with the nobler.

And from the very first day of his receiving us (which day was, in truth, the first day to me, and the most precious of all days, if I may so speak, since then for the first time the true Sun began to rise upon me), while we, like some wild creatures of the fields, or like fish, or some sort of birds that had fallen into the toils or nets, and were endeavouring to slip out again and escape, were bent on leaving him, and making off for Berytus or our native country, he studied by all means to associate us closely with him, contriving all kinds of arguments, and putting every rope in motion (as the proverb goes), and bringing all his powers to bear on that object. With that intent he lauded the lovers of philosophy with large laudations and many noble utterances, declaring that those only live a life truly worthy of reasonable creatures who aim all living an upright life, and who seek to know first of all themselves, what manner of persons they are, and then the things that are truly good, which man ought to strive after, and then the things that are really evil, from which man ought to flee. And then he reprehended ignorance and all the ignorant: and there are many such, who, like brute cattle,3 are blind in mind, and have no understanding even of what they are, and are as far astray as though they were wholly void of reason, and neither know themselves what is good and what is evil, nor care at all to learn it from others, but toil feverishly in quest of wealth, and glory, and such honours as belong to the crowd, and bodily comforts, and go distraught about things like these, as if they were the real good. And as though such objects were worth much, yea, worth all else, they prize the things themselves, and the arts by which they can acquire them, and the different lines of life which give scope for their attainment,—the military profession, to wit, and the juridical, and the study of the laws. And with earnest and sagacious words he told us that these are the objects that enervate us, when we despise that reason which ought to be the true master within us. I cannot recount at present all the addresses of this kind which he delivered to us, with the view of persuading us to take up the pursuit of philosophy. Nor was it only for a single day that he thus dealt with us, but for many days, and, in fact, as often as we were in the habit of going to him at the outset; and we were pierced by his argumentation as with an arrow from the very first occasion of our hearing him5 (for he was possessed of a rare combination of a certain sweet grace and persuasiveness, along with a strange power of constraint), though we still wavered and debated the matter undecidedly with ourselves, holding so far by the pursuit of philosophy, without however being brought thoroughly over to it, while somehow or other we found ourselves quite unable to withdraw from it conclusively, and thus were always drawn towards him by the power of his reasonings, as by the force of some superior necessity. For he asserted further that there could be no genuine piety towards the Lord of all in the man who despised this gift of philosophy,—a gift which man alone of all the creatures of the earth has been deemed honourable and worthy enough to possess, and one which every man whatsoever, be he wise or be he ignorant, reasonably embraces, who has not utterly lost the power of thought by some mad distraction of mind. He asserted, then, as I have said, that it was not possible (to speak correctly) for any one to be truly pious who did not philosophize. And thus he continued to do with us, until, by pouring in upon us many such argumentations, one after the other, he at last carried us fairly off somehow or other by a kind of divine power, like people with his reasonings, and established us (in the practice of philosophy), and set us down without the power of movement, as it were, beside
himself by his arts. Moreover, the stimulus of friendship was also brought to bear upon us,—a stimulus, indeed, not easily withstood, but keen and most effective,—the argument of a kind and affectionate disposition, which showed itself benignantly in his words when he spoke to us and associated with us. For he did not aim merely at getting round us by any kind of reasoning; but his desire was, with a benignant, and affectionate, and most benevolent mind, to save us, and make us partakers in the blessings that flow from philosophy, and most especially also in those other gifts which the Deity has bestowed on him above most men, or, as we may perhaps say, above all men of our own time. I mean the power that teaches us piety, the word of salvation, that comes to many, and subdues to itself all whom it visits: for there is nothing that shall resist it, inasmuch as it is and shall be itself the king of all; although as yet it is hidden, and is not recognised, whether with ease or with difficulty, by the common crowd, in such wise that, when interrogated respecting it, they should be able to speak intelligently about it. And thus, like some spark lighting upon our inmost soul, love was kindled and burst into flame within us,—a love at once to the Holy Word, the most lovely object of all, who attracts all irresistibly toward Himself by His unutterable beauty, and to this man, His friend and advocate. And being most mightily smitten by this love, I was persuaded to give up all those objects or pursuits which seem to us befitting, and among others even my boasted jurisprudence,—yea, my very fatherland and friends, both those who were present with me then, and those from whom I had parted. And in my estimation there arose but one object dear and worth desire,—to wit, philosophy, and that master of philosophy, this inspired man. “And the soul of Jonathan was knit with David.” This word, indeed, I did not read till afterwards in the sacred Scriptures; but I felt it before that time, not less clearly than it is written: for, in truth, it reached me then by the clearest of all revelations. For it was not simply Jonathan that was knit with David; but those things were knit together which are the ruling powers in man—their souls,—those objects which, even though all the things which are apparent and ostensible in man are severed, cannot by any skill be forced to a severance when they themselves are unwilling. For the soul is free, and cannot be coerced by any means, not even though one should confine it and keep guard over it in some secret prison-house. For wherever the intelligence is, there it is also of its own nature and by the first reason. And if it seems to you to be in a kind of prison-house, it is represented as there to you by a sort of second reason. But for all that, it is by no means precluded from subsisting anywhere according to its own determination; nay, rather it is both able to be, and is reasonably believed to be, there alone and altogether, wheresoever and in connection with what things soever those actions which are proper only to it are in operation. Wherefore, what I experienced has been most clearly declared in this very short statement, that “the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David; ” objects which, as I said, cannot by any means be forced to a separation against their will, and which of their own inclination certainly will not readily choose it. Nor is it, in my opinion, in the inferior subject, who is changeful and very prone to vary in purpose, and in whom singly there has been no capacity of union at first, that the power of loosing the sacred bonds of this affection rests, but rather in the nobler one, who is constant and not readily shaken, and through whom it has been possible to tie these bonds and to fasten this sacred knot. Therefore it is not the soul of David that was knit by the divine word with the soul of Jonathan; but, on the contrary, the soul of the latter, who was the inferior, is said to be thus affected and knit with the soul of David. For the nobler object would not choose to be knit with one inferior, inasmuch as it is sufficient for itself; but the inferior object, as standing in need of the help which the nobler can give, ought properly to be knit with the nobler, and fitted dependently to it: so that this latter, retaining still its sufficiency in itself, might sustain no loss by its connection with the inferior; and that that which is of itself without order2 being now united and fitted harmoniously with the nobler, might, without any detriment done, be perfectly subdued to the nobler by the constraints of such bonds. Wherefore, to apply the bonds is the part of the superior, and not of the inferior; but to be knit to the other is the part of the inferior, and this too in such a manner that it shall possess no power of loosing itself from these bonds. And by a similar constraint, then, did this David of ours once gird us to himself; and he holds us now, and has held us ever since that time, so that, even though we desired it, we could not loose ourselves from his bonds. And hence it follows that, even though we were to depart, he would not release this soul of mine, which, as the Holy Scripture puts it, he holds knit so closely with himself.

argument vii.—the wonderful skill with which origen prepares gregory and athenodorus for philosophy. the intellect of each is exercised first in logic, and the mere attention to words is contemned.

But after he had thus carried us captive at the very outset, and had shut us in, as it were, on all sides, and when what was best had been accomplished by him, and when it seemed good to us to remain with him for a time, then he took us in hand, as a skilled husbandman may take in hand some field unwrought, and altogether unfertile, and sour, and burnt up, and hard as a rock, and rough, or, it may be, one not utterly barren or unproductive, but rather, perchance, by nature very productive, though then waste and neglected, and stiff and untractable with thorns and wild shrubs; or as a gardener may take in hand some plant which is wild indeed, and which yields no cultivated fruits, though it may not be absolutely worthless, and on finding it thus, may, by his skill in gardening, bring some cultivated shoot and graft it in, by making a fissure in the middle, and then bringing the two together, and binding the one to the other, until the sap in each shall flow in one stream,2 and they shall both grow with the same nurture: for one may often see a tree of a mixed and worthless species thus rendered productive in spite of its past barrenness, and made to rear the fruits of the good olive on wild roots; or one may see a wild plant saved from being altogether profitless by the skill of a careful gardener; or, once more, one may see a plant which otherwise is one both of culture and of fruitfulness, but which, through the want of skilled attendance, has been left unpruned and unwatered and waste, and which is thus choked by the mass of superfluous shoots suffered to grow out of it at random,4 yet brought to discharge its proper function in germination, and made to bear the fruit whose production was formerly hindered by the superfluous growth.6 In suchwise, then, and with such a disposition did he receive us at first; and surveying us, as it were, with a husbandman’s skill, and gauging us thoroughly, and not confining his notice to those things only which are patent to the eye of all, and which are looked upon in open light, but penetrating into us more deeply, and probing what is most inward in us, he put us to the question, and made propositions to us, and listened to us in our replies; and whenever he thereby detected anything in us not wholly fruitless and profitless and waste, he set about clearing the soil, and turning it up and irrigating it, and putting all things in movement, and brought his whole skill and care to bear on us, and wrought upon our mind. And thorns and thistles, and every kind of wild herb or plant which our mind (so unregulated and precipitate in its own action) yielded and produced in its uncultured luxuriance and native wildness, he cut out and thoroughly removed by the processes of refutation and prohibition; sometimes assailing us in the genuine Socratic fashion, and again upsetting us by his argumentation whenever he saw us getting restive under him, like so many unbroken steeds, and springing out of the course and galloping madly about at random, until with a strange kind of persuasiveness and constraint he reduced us to a state of quietude under him by his discourse, which acted like a bridle in our mouth. And that was at first an unpleasant position for us, and one not without pain, as he dealt with persons who were unused to it, and still all untrained to submit to reason, when he plied us with his argumentations; and yet he purged us by them. And when he had made us adaptable, and had prepared us successfully for the reception of the words of truth, then, further, as though we were now a soil well wrought and soft, and ready to impart growth to the seeds cast into it, he dealt liberally with us, and sowed the good seed in season, and attended to all the other cares of the good husbandry, each in its own proper season. And whenever he perceived any element of infirmity or baseness in our mind (whether it was of that character by nature, or had become thus gross through the excessive nurture of the body), he pricked it with his discourses, and reduced it by those delicate words and turns of reasoning which, although at first the very simplest, are gradually evolved one after the other, and skilfully wrought out, until they advance to a sort of complexity which can scarce be mastered or unfolded, and which cause us to start up, as it were, out of sleep, and teach us the art of holding always by what is immediately before one, without ever making any slip by reason either of length or of subtlety. And if there was in us anything of an injudicious and precipitate tendency, whether in the way of assenting to all that came across us, of whatever character the objects might be, and even though they proved false, or in the way of often withstanding other things, even though they were spoken truthfully,—that, too, he brought under discipline in us by those delicate reasonings already mentioned, and by others of like kind (for this branch of philosophy is of varied form), and accustomed us not to throw in our testimony at one time, and again to refuse it, just at random, and as chance impelled, but to give it only after careful examination not only into things manifest,
but also into those that are secret. For many things which are in high repute of themselves, and honourable in appearance, have found entrance through fair words into our ears, as though they were true, while yet they were hollow and false, and have borne off and taken possession of the suffrage of truth at our hand, and then, no long time afterwards, they have been discovered to be corrupt and unworthy of credit, and deceitful borrowers of the garb of truth; and have thus too easily exposed us as men who are ridiculously deluded, and who bear their witness inconsiderately to things which ought by no means to have won it. And, on the contrary, other things which are really honourable and the reverse of impositions, but which have not been expressed in plausible statements, and thus have the appearance of being paradoxical and most incredible, and which have been rejected as false on their own showing, and held up undeservedly to ridicule, have afterwards, on careful investigation and examination, been discovered to be the truest of all things, and wholly incontestable, though for a time spurned and reckoned false. Not simply, then, by dealing with things patent and prominent, which are sometimes delusive and sophistical, but also by teaching us to search into things within us, and to put them all individually to the test, lest any of them should give back a hollow sound, and by instructing us to make sure of these inward things first of all, he trained us to give our assent to outward things only then and thus, and to express our opinion on all these severally. In this way, that capacity of our mind which deals critically with words and reasonings, was educated in a rational manner; not according to the judgments of illustrious rhetoricians—whatever Greek or foreign honour appertains to that title2 —for theirs is a discipline of little value and no necessity: but in accordance with that which is most needful for all, whether Greek or outlandish, whether wise or illiterate, and, in fine, not to make a long statement by going over every profession and pursuit separately, in accordance with that which is most indispensable for all men, whatever manner of life they have chosen, if it is indeed the care and interest of all who have to converse on any subject whatever with each other, to be protected against deception.

argument viii.—then in due succession he instructs them in physics, geometry, and astronomy.

Nor did he confine his efforts merely to that form of the mind which it is the lot of the dialectics to regulate; but he also took in hand that humble capacity of mind, (which shows itself) in our amazement at the magnitude, and the wondrousness, and the magnificent and absolutely wise construction of the world, and in our marvelling in a reasonless way, and in our being overpowered with fear, and in our knowing not, like the irrational creatures, what conclusion to come to. That, too, he aroused and corrected by other studies in natural science, illustrating and distinguishing the various divisions of created objects, and with admirable clearness reducing them to their pristine elements, taking them all up perspicuously in his discourse, and going over the nature of the whole, and of each several section, and discussing the multiform revolution and mutation of things in the world, until he carried us fully along with him under his clear teaching; and by those reasonings which he had partly learned from others, and partly found out for himself, he filled our minds with a rational instead of an irrational wonder at the sacred economy of the universe, and irreproveable constitution of all things. This is that sublime and heavenly study which is taught by natural philosophy—a science most attractive to all. And what need is there now to speak of the sacred mathematics, viz., geometry, so precious to all and above all controversy, and astronomy, whose course is on high? These different studies he imprinted on our understandings, training us in them, or calling them into our mind, or doing with us something else which I know not how to designate rightly. And the one he presented lucidly as the immutable groundwork and secure foundation of all, namely geometry; and by the other, namely astronomy, he lifted us up to the things that are highest above us, while he made heaven passable to us by the help of each of these sciences, as though they were ladders reaching the skies.

argument ix.—but he imbues their minds, above all, with ethical science; and he does not confine himself to discoursing on the virtues in word, but he rather confirms his teaching by his acts.

Moreover, as to those things which excel all in importance, and those for the sake of which, above all else, the whole family of the philosophical labours, gathering them like good fruits produced by the varied growths of all the other studies, and of long practised philosophizing,—I mean the divine virtues that concern the moral nature, by which the impulses of the mind have their equable and stable subsistence,—through these, too. he aimed at making us truly proof
against grief and disquietude under the pressure of all ills, and at imparting to us a well-disciplined and stedfast and religious spirit, so that we might be in all things veritably blessed. And this he toiled at effecting by pertinent discourses, of a wise and soothing tendency, and very often also by the most cogent addresses touching our moral dispositions, and our modes of life. Nor was it only by words, but also by deeds, that he regulated in some measure our inclinations,—to wit, by that very contemplation and observation of the impulses and affections of the mind, by the issue of which most especially the mind is wont to be reduced to a right estate from one of discord, and to be restored to a condition of judgment and order out of one of confusion. So that, beholding itself as in a mirror (and I may say specifically, viewing, on the one hand, the very beginnings and roots of evil in it, and all that is reasonless within it, from which spring up all absurd affections and passions; and, on the other hand, all that is truly excellent and reasonable within it, under the sway of which it remains proof against injury and perturbation in itself, and then scrutinizing carefully the things thus discovered to be in it), it might cast out all those which are the growth of the inferior part, and which waste our powers2 through intemperance, or hinder and choke them through depression,—such things as pleasures and lusts, or pains and fears, and the whole array of ills that accompany these different species of evil. I say that thus it might cast them out and make away with them, by coping with them while yet in their beginnings and only just commencing their growth, and not leaving them to wax in strength even by a short delay, but destroying and rooting them out at once; while, at the same time, it might foster all those things which are really good, and which spring from the nobler part, and might preserve them by nursing them in their beginnings, and watching carefully over them until they should reach their maturity. For it is thus (he used to say) that the heavenly virtues will ripen in the soul: to wit, prudence, which first of all is able to judge of those very motions in the mind at once from the things themselves, and by the knowledge which accrues to it of things outside of us, whatever such there may be, both good and evil; and temperance, the power that makes the right selection among these things in their beginnings; and righteousness, which assigns what is just to each; and that virtue which is the conserver of them all—fortitude. And therefore he did not accustom us to a mere profession in words, as that prudence, for instance, is the knowledge of good and evil, or of what ought to be done, and what ought not: for that would be indeed a vain and profitless study, if there was simply the doctrine without the deed; and worthless would that prudence be, which, without doing the things that ought to be done, and without turning men away from those that ought not to be done, should be able merely to furnish the knowledge of these things to those who possessed her,—though many such persons come under our observation. Nor, again, did he content himself with the mere assertion that temperance is simply the knowledge of what ought to be chosen and what ought not; though the other schools of philosophers do not teach even so much as that, and especially the more recent, who are so forcible and vigorous in words (so that I have often been astonished at them, when they sought to demonstrate that there is the same virtue in God and in men, and that upon earth, in particular, the wise man is equal4 to God), and yet are incapable of delivering the truth as to prudence, so that one shall do the things which are dictated by prudence, or the truth as to temperance, so that one shall choose the things he has learned by it; and the same holds good also of their treatment of righteousness and fortitude. Not thus, however, in mere words only did this teacher go over the truths concerning the virtues with us; but he incited us much more to the practice of virtue, and stimulated us by the deeds he did more than by the doctrines he taught.

argument x.—hence the mere word-sages are confuted, who say and yet act not.

Now I beg of the philosophers of this present time, both those whom I have known personally myself, and those of whom I have heard by report from others, and I beg also of all other men, that they take in good part the statements I have just made. And let no one suppose that I have expressed myself thus, either through simple friendship toward that man, or through hatred toward the rest of the philosophers; for if there is any one inclined to be an admirer of them for their discourses, and wishful to speak well of them, and pleased at hearing the most honourable mention made of them by others, I myself am the man. Nevertheless, those facts (to which I have referred) are of such a nature as to bring upon the very name of philosophy the last degree of ridicule almost from the great mass of men; and I might almost say that I would choose to be altogether unversed in it, rather than learn any of the things which these men profess, with whom I thought it good no longer to associate myself in this life,—though in that, it may be, I formed an incorrect judgment. But I say that no one should suppose
that I make these statements at the mere prompting of a zealous regard for the praise of this man, or under the stimulus of any existing animosity towards other philosophers. But let all be assured that I say even less than his deeds merit, lest I should seem to be indulging in adulation; and that I do not seek out studied words and phrases, and cunning means of laudation—I who could never of my own will, even when I was a youth, and learning the popular style of address under a professor of the art of public speaking, bear to utter a word of praise, or pass any encomium on any one which was not genuine. Wherefore on the present occasion, too, I do not think it right, in proposing to myself the task simply of commending him, to magnify him at the cost of the reprobation of others. And, in good sooth,2 I should speak only to the man’s injury, if, with the view of having something grander to say of him, I should compare his blessed life with the failings of others. We are not, however, so senseless. But I shall testify simply to what has come within my own experience, apart from all ill-judged comparisons and trickeries in words.

argument xi.—origen is the first and the only one that exhorts gregory to add to his acquirements the study of philosophy, and offers him in a certain manner an example in himself. of justice, prudence, temperance, and fortitude. the maxim, know thyself.

He was also the first and only man that urged me to study the philosophy of the Greeks, and persuaded me by his own moral example both to hear and to hold by the doctrine of morals, while as yet I had by no means been won over to that, so far as other philosophers were concerned (I again acknowledge it),—not rightly so, indeed, but unhappily, as I may say without exaggeration, for me. I did not, however, associate with many at first, but only with some few who professed to be teachers, though, in good sooth, they all established their philosophy only so far as words went. This man, however, was the first that induced me to philosophize by his words, as he pointed the exhortation by deeds before he gave it in words, and did not merely recite well-studied sentences; nay, he did not deem it right to speak on the subject at all, but with a sincere mind, and one bent on striving ardently after the practical accomplishment of the things expressed, and he endeavoured all the while to show himself in character like the man whom he describes in his discourses as the person who shall lead a noble life, and he ever exhibited (in himself), I would say, the pattern of the wise man. But as our discourse at the outset proposed to deal with the truth, and not with vain-glorious language,5 I shall not speak of him now as the exemplar of the wise man. And yet, if I chose to speak thus of him, I should not be far astray from the truth. Nevertheless, I pass that by at present. I shall not speak of him as a perfect pattern, but as one who vehemently desires to imitate the perfect pattern, and strives after it with zeal and earnestness, even beyond the capacity of men, if I may so express myself; and who labours, moreover, also to make us, who are so different,7 of like character with himself, not mere masters and apprehenders of the bald doctrines concerning the impulses of the soul, but masters and apprehenders of these impulses themselves. For he pressed us on both to deed and to doctrine, and carried us along by that same view and method,9 not merely into a small section of each virtue, but rather into the whole, if mayhap we were able to take it in. And he constrained us also, if I may so speak, to practise righteousness on the ground of the personal action of the soul itself, which be persuaded us to study, drawing us off from the officious anxieties of life, and from the turbulence of the forum, and raising us to the nobler vocation of looking into ourselves, and dealing with the things that concern ourselves in truth. Now, that this is to practise righteousness, and that this is the true righteousness, some also of our ancient philosophers have asserted (expressing it as the personal action, I think), and have affirmed that this is more profitable for blessedness, both to the men themselves and to those who are with them, if indeed it belongs to this virtue to recompense according
to desert, and to assign to each his own. For what else could be supposed to be so proper to the soul? Or what could be so worthy of it, as to exercise a care over itself, not gazing outwards, or busying itself with alien matters, or, to speak shortly, doing the worst injustice to itself, but turning its attention inwardly upon itself, rendering its own due to itself, and acting thereby righteously? To practise righteousness after this fashion, therefore, he impressed upon us, if I may so speak, by a sort of force. And he educated us to prudence none the less,—teaching to be at home with ourselves, and to desire and endeavour to know ourselves, which indeed is the most excellent achievement of philosophy, the thing that is ascribed also to the most prophetic of spirits2 as the highest argument of wisdom—the precept, Know thyself. And that this is the genuine function of prudence, and that such is the heavenly prudence, is affirmed well by the ancients; for in this there is one virtue common to God and to man; while the soul is exercised in beholding itself as in a mirror, and reflects the divine mind in itself, if it is worthy of such a relation, and traces out a certain inexpressible method for the attaining of a kind of apotheosis. And in correspondence with this come also the virtues of temperance. and fortitude: temperance, indeed, in conserving this very prudence which must be in the soul that knows itself, if that is ever its lot (for this temperance, again, surely means just a sound prudence): and fortitude, in keeping stedfastly by all the duties4 which have been spoken of, without falling away from them, either voluntarily or under any force, and in keeping and holding by all that has been laid down. For he teaches that this virtue acts also as a kind of preserver, maintainer, and guardian.

argument xii.—gregory disallows any attainment of the virtues on his part. piety is both the beginning and the end, and thus it is the parent of all the virtues.

It is true, indeed, that in consequence of our dull and sluggish nature, he has not yet succeeded in making us righteous, and prudent, and temperate, or manly, although he has laboured zealously on us. For we are neither in real possession of any virtue whatsoever, either human or divine, nor have we ever made any near approach to it, but we are still far from it. And these are very great and lofty virtues, and none of them may be assumed by any common person, but only by one whom God inspires with the power. We are also by no means so favourably constituted for them by nature, neither do we yet profess ourselves to be worthy of reaching them; for through our listlessness and feebleness we have not done all these things which ought to be done by those who aspire after what is noblest, and aim at what is perfect. We are not yet therefore either righteous or temperate, or endowed with any of the other virtues. But this admirable man, this friend and advocate of the virtues, has long ago done for us perhaps all that it lay in his power to do for us, in making us lovers of virtue, who should love it with the most ardent affection. And by his own virtue he created in us a love at once for the beauty of righteousness the golden face of which in truth was shown to us by him; and for prudence, which is worthy of being sought by all; and for the true wisdom, which is most delectable; and for temperance, the heavenly virtue which forms the sound constitution of the soul, and brings peace to all who possess it; and for manliness, that most admirable grace; and for patience, that virtue peculiarly ours;6 and, above all, for piety, which men rightly designate when they call it the mother of the virtues. For this is the beginning and the end of all the virtues. And beginning with this one, we shall find all the other virtues grow upon us most readily: if, white for ourselves we earnestly aspire after this grace, which every man, be he only not absolutely impious, or a mere pleasure-seeker, ought to acquire for himself, in order to his being a friend of God and a maintainer of His truth, and while we diligently pursue this virtue, we also give heed to the other virtues, in order that we may not approach our God in unworthiness and impurity, but with all virtue and wisdom as our best conductors and most sagacious priests. And the end of all I consider to be nothing but this: By the pure mind make thyself like8 to God, that thou mayest draw near to Him, and abide in Him.


argument xiii.—the method which origen used in his theological and metaphysical instructions. he commends the study of all writers, the atheistic alone excepted. the marvellous power of persuasion in speech. the facility of the mind in giving its assent.

And besides all his other patient and laborious efforts, how shall I in words give any account of
what he did for us, in instructing us in theology and the devout character? and how shall I enter into the real disposition of the man, and show with what judiciousness and careful preparation he would have us familiarized with all discourse about the Divinity, guarding sedulously against our being in any peril with respect to what is the most needful thing of all, namely, the knowledge of the Cause of all things? For he deemed it right for us to study philosophy in such wise, that we should read with utmost diligence all that has been written, both by the philosophers and by the poets of old, rejecting nothing, and repudiating nothing (for, indeed, we did not yet possess the power of critical discernment), except only the productions of the atheists, who, in their conceits, lapse from the general intelligence of man, and deny that there is either a God or a providence. From these he would have us abstain, because they are not worthy of being read, and because it might chance that the soul within us that is meant for piety might be defiled by listening to words that are contrary to the worship of God. For even those who frequent the temples of piety, as they think them to be, are careful not to touch anything that is profane.2 He held, therefore, that the books of such men did not merit to be taken at all into the consideration of men who have assumed the practice of piety. He thought, however, that we should obtain and make ourselves familiar with all other writings, neither preferring nor repudiating any one kind, whether it be philosophical discourse or not, whether Greek or foreign, but hearing what all of them have to convey. And it was with great wisdom and sagacity that he acted on this principle, lest any single saying given by the one class or the other should be heard and valued above others as alone true, even though it might not be true, and lest it might thus enter our mind and deceive us, and, in being lodged there by itself alone, might make us its own, so that we should no more have the power to withdraw from it, or wash ourselves clear of it, as one washes out a little wool that has got some colour ingrained in it. For a mighty thing and an energetic is the discourse of man, and subtle with its sophisms, and quick to find its way into the ears, and mould the mind, and impress us with what it conveys; and when once it has taken possession of us, it can win us over to love it as truth; and it holds its place within us even though it be false and deceitful, overmastering us like some enchanter, and retaining as its champion the very man it has deluded. And, on the other hand, the mind of man is withal a thing easily deceived by speech, and very facile in yielding its assent; and, indeed, before it discriminates and inquires into matters in any proper way, it is easily won over, either through its own obtuseness and imbecility, or through the subtlety of the discourse, to give itself up, at random often, all weary of accurate examination, to crafty reasonings and judgments, which are erroneous themselves, and which lead into error those who receive them. And not only so; but if another mode of discourse aims at correcting it, it will neither give it admittance, nor suffer itself to be altered in opinion, because it is held fast by any notion which has previously got possession of it, as though some inexorable tyrant were lording over it.

argument xiv.—whence the contentions of philosophers have sprung. against those who catch at everything that meets them, and give it credence, and cling to it. origen was in the habit of carefully reading and explaining the books of the heathen to his disciples.

Is it not thus that contradictory and opposing tenets have been introduced, and all the contentions of philosophers, while one party withstands the opinions of another, and some hold by certain positions, and others by others, and one school attaches itself to one set of dogmas, and another to another? And all, indeed, aim at philosophizing, and profess to have been doing so ever since they were first roused to it, and declare that they desire it not less now when they are well versed in the discussions than when they began them: yea, rather they allege that they have even more love for philosophy now, after they have had, so to speak, a little taste of it, and have had the liberty of dwelling on its discussions, than when at first, and without any previous experience of it, they were urged by a sort of impulse to philosophize. That is what they say; and henceforth they give no heed to any words of those who hold opposite opinions. And accordingly, no one of the ancients has ever induced any one of the moderns, or those of the Peripatetic school, to turn to his way of thinking, and adopt his method of philosophizing; and, on the other band, none of the moderns has imposed his notions upon those of the ancient school. Nor, in short, has any one done so with any other. For it is not an easy thing to induce one to give up his own opinions, and accept those of others; although these might, perhaps, even be sentiments which, if he had been led to credit them before he began to philosophize, the man might at first have admired
and accepted with all readiness: as, while the mind was not yet preoccupied, he might have directed his attention to that set of opinions, and given them his approval, and on their behalf opposed himself to those which he holds at present. Such, at least, has been the kind of philosophizing exhibited by our noble and most eloquent and critical Greeks: for whatever any one of these has lighted on at the outset, moved by some impulse or other, that alone he declares to be truth, and holds that all else which is maintained by other philosophers is simply delusion and folly, though he himself does not more satisfactorily establish his own positions by argument, than do all the others severally defend their peculiar tenets; the man’s object being simply to be under no obligation to give up and alter his opinions, whether by constraint or by persuasion, while he has (if one may speak truth) nothing else but a kind of unreasoning impulse towards these dogmas on the side of philosophy, and possesses no other criterion of what he imagines to be true, than (let it not seem an incredible assertion) undistinguishing chance. And as each one thus becomes attached to those positions with which he has first fallen in, and is, as it were, held in chains by them, he is no longer capable of giving attention to others, if he happens to have anything of his own to offer on every subject with the demonstration of truth, and if he has the aid of argument to show how false the tenets of his adversaries are; for, helplessly and thoughtlessly and as if he looked for some happy contingency, he yields himself to the reasonings that first take possession of him.2 And such reasonings mislead those who accept them, not only in other matters, but above all, in what is of greatest and most essential consequence—in the knowledge of God and in piety. And yet men become bound by them in such a manner that no one can very easily release them. For they are like men caught in a swamp stretching over some wide impassable plain, which, when they have once fallen into it, allows them neither to retrace their steps nor to cross it and effect their safety, but keeps them down in its soil until they meet their end; or they may be compared to men in a deep, dense, and majestic forest, into which the wayfarer enters, with the idea, perchance, of finding his road out of it again forthwith, and of taking his course once more on the open plain, but is baffled in his purpose by the extent and thickness of the wood. And turning in a variety of directions, and lighting on various continuous paths within it, he pursues many a course, thinking that by some of them he will surely find his way out: but they only lead him farther in, and in no way open up an exit for him, inasmuch as they are all only paths within the forest itself; until at last the traveller, utterly worn out and exhausted, seeing that all the ways he had tried had proved only forest still, and despairing of finding any more his dwelling-place on earth, makes up his mind to abide there, and establish his hearth, and lay out for his use such free space as he can prepare in the wood itself. Or again, we might take the similitude of a labyrinth, which has but one apparent entrance, so that one suspects nothing artful from the outside, and goes within by the single door that shows itself; and then, after advancing to the farthest interior, and viewing the cunning spectacle, and examining the construction so skilfully contrived, and full of passages, and laid out with unending paths leading inwards or outwards, he decides to go out again, but finds himself unable, and sees his exit completely intercepted by that inner construction which appeared such a triumph of cleverness. But, after all, there is neither any labyrinth so inextricable and intricate, nor any forest so dense and devious, nor any plain or swamp so difficult for those to get out of, who have once got within it, as is discussion,4 at least as one may meet with it in the case of certain of these philosophers. Wherefore, to secure us against falling into the unhappy experience of most, he did not introduce us to any one exclusive school of philosophy; nor did he judge it proper for us to go away with any single class of philosophical opinions, but he introduced us to all, and determined that we should be ignorant of no kind of Grecian doctrine.6 And he himself went on with us, preparing the way before us, and leading us by the hand, as on a journey, whenever anything tortuous and unsound and delusive came in our way. And he helped us like a skilled expert who has had long familiarity with such subjects, and is not strange or inexperienced in anything
of the kind, and who therefore may remain safe in his own altitude, while he stretches forth his hand to others, and effects their security too, as one drawing up the submerged. Thus did he deal with us, selecting and setting before us all that was useful and true in all the various philosophers, and putting aside all that was false. And this he did for us, both in other branches of man’s knowledge, and most especially in all that concerns piety.

argument xv.—the case of divine matters. only god and his prophets are to be heard in these. the prophets and their auditors are acted on by the same afflatus. origen’s excellence in the interpretation of scripture.

With respect to these human teachers, indeed, he counselled us to attach ourselves to none of them, not even though they were attested as most wise by all men, but to devote ourselves to God alone, and to the prophets. And he himself became the interpreter of the prophets to us, and explained whatsoever was dark or enigmatical in them. For there are many things of that kind in the sacred words; and whether it be that God is pleased to hold communication with men in such a way as that the divine word may not enter all naked and uncovered into an unworthy soul, such as many are, or whether it be, that while every divine oracle is in its own nature most clear and perspicuous, it seems obscure and dark to us, who have apostatized from God, and have lost the faculty of hearing through time and age, I cannot tell. But however the case may stand, if it be that there are some words really enigmatical, he explained all such, and set them in the light, as being himself a skilled and most discerning hearer of God; or if it be that none of them are really obscure in their own nature, they were also not unintelligible to him, who alone of all men of the present time with whom I have myself been acquainted, or of whom I have heard by the report of others, has so deeply studied the clear and luminous oracles of God, as to be able at once to receive their meaning into his own mind, and to convey it to others. For that Leader of all men, who inspires2 God’s dear prophets, and suggests all their prophecies and their mystic and heavenly words, has honoured this man as He would a friend, and has constituted him an expositor of these same oracles; and things of which He only gave a hint by others, He made matters of full instruction by this man’s instrumentality; and in things which He, who is worthy of all trust, either enjoined in regal fashion, or simply enunciated, He imparted to this man the gift of investigating and unfolding and explaining them: so that, if there chanced to be any one of obtuse and incredulous mind, or one again thirsting for instruction, he might learn from this man, and in some manner be constrained to understand and to decide for belief, and to follow God. These things, moreover, as I judge, he gives forth only and truly by participation in the Divine Spirit: for there is need of the same power for or those who prophesy and for those who hear the prophets; and no one can rightly hear a prophet, unless the same Spirit who prophesies bestows on him the capacity of apprehending His words. And this principle is expressed indeed in the Holy Scriptures themselves, when it is said that only He who shutteth openeth, and no other one whatever; and what is shut is opened when the word of inspiration explains mysteries. Now that greatest gift this man has received from God, and that noblest of all endowments he has had bestowed upon him from heaven, that he should be an interpreter of the oracles of God to men,4 and that he might understand the words of God, even as if God spake them to him, and that he might recount them to men in such wise as that they may hear them with intelligence. Therefore to us there was no forbidden subject of speech;6 for there was no matter of knowledge hidden or inaccessible to us, but we had it in our power to learn every kind of discourse, both foreign and Greek, both spiritual and political, both divine and human; and we were permitted with all freedom to go round the whole circle of knowledge, and investigate it, and satisfy ourselves with all kinds of doctrines, and enjoy the sweets of intellect. And whether it was some ancient system of truth, or whether it was something one might otherwise name that was before us, we had in him an apparatus and a power at once admirable and full of the most beautiful views. And to speak in brief, he was truly a paradise to us, after the similitude of the paradise of God, wherein we were not set indeed to till the soil beneath us, or to make ourselves gross with bodily nurture,8 but only to increase the acquisitions of mind with all gladness and enjoyment,—planting, so to speak, some fair growths ourselves, or having them planted in us by the Author of all things.

argument xvi.—gregory laments his departure under a threefold comparison; likening it to adam’s departure out of paradise, to the prodigal son’s abandonment of his father’s house, and to the deportation of the jews into babylon.

Here, truly, is the paradise of comfort; here are true gladness and pleasure, as we have enjoyed them during this period which is now at its end—no short space indeed in itself, and yet all too short if this is really to be its conclusion, when we depart and leave this place behind us. For I know not what has possessed me, or what offence has been committed by me, that I should now be going away—that I should now be put away. I know not what I should say, unless it be that I am like a second Adam and have begun to talk, outside of paradise. How excellent might my life be, were I but a listener to the addresses of my teacher, and silent myself! Would that even now I could have learned to be mute and speechless, rather than to present this new spectacle of making the teacher the hearer! For what concern had I with such a harangue as this? and what obligation was there upon me to make such an address, when it became me not to depart, but to cleave fast to the place? But these things seem like the transgressions that sprung from the pristine deceit, and the penalties of these primeval offences still await me here. Do I not appear to myself to be disobedient in daring thus to overpass the words of God, when I ought to abide in them, and hold by them? And in that I withdraw, I flee from this blessed life, even as the primeval man fled from the face of God, and I return to the soil from which I was taken. Therefore shall I have to eat of the soil all the days of my life there, and I shall have to till the soil—the very soil which produces thorns and thistles for me, that is to say, pains and reproachful anxieties—set loose as I shall be from cares that are good and noble. And what I left behind me before, to that I now return—to the soil, as it were, from which I came, and to my common relationships here below, and to my father’s house—leaving the good soil, where of old I knew not that the good fatherland lay; leaving also the relations in whom at a later period I began to recognise the true kinsmen of my soul, and the house, too, of him who is ill truth our father, in which the father abides, and is piously honoured and revered by the genuine sons, whose desire it also is to abide therein. But I, destitute alike of all piety and worthiness, am going forth from the number of these, and am turning back to what is behind, and am retracing my steps. It is recorded that a certain son, receiving from his father the portion of goods that fell to him proportionately with the other heir, his brother, departed, by his own determination, into a strange country far distant from his father; and, living there in riot, he scattered his ancestral substance, and utterly wasted it; and at last, under the pressure of want, he hired himself as a swineherd; and being driven to extremity by hunger, he longed to share the food given to the swine, but could not touch it. Thus did he pay the penalty of his dissolute life, when he had to exchange his father’s table, which was a princely one, for something he had not looked forward to—the sustenance of swine and serfs. And we also seem to have some such fortune before us, now that we are departing, and that, too, without the full portion that falls to us. For though we have not received all that we ought, we are nevertheless going away, leaving behind us what is noble and dear with you and beside you, and taking in exchange only what is inferior. For all things melancholy will now meet us in succession,—tumult and confusion instead of peace, and an unregulated life instead of one of tranquillity and harmony, and a hard bondage, and the slavery of market-places, and lawsuits, and crowds, instead of this freedom; and neither pleasure nor any sort of leisure shall remain to us for the pursuit of nobler objects. Neither shall we have to speak of the words of inspiration, but we shall have to speak of the works of men,—a thing which has been deemed simply a bane by the prophet,2 —and in our case, indeed, those of wicked men. And truly we shall have night in place of day, and darkness in place of the clear light, and grief instead of the festive assembly; and in place of a fatherland, a hostile country will receive us, in which I shall have no liberty to sing my sacred song, for how could I sing it in a land strange to my soul, in which the sojourners have no permission to approach God? but only to weep and mourn, as I call to mind the different state of things here, if indeed even that shall be in my power. We read4 that enemies once assailed a great and sacred city, in which the worship of God was observed, and dragged away its inhabitants, both singers and prophets, into their own country, which was Babylon. And it is narrated that these captives, when they were detained in the land, refused, even when asked by their conquerors, to sing the divine song, or to play in a profane country, and hung their harps on the willow-trees, and wept by the rivers of Babylon. Like one of these I verily seem to myself to be, as I am cast forth from this city, and from this sacred
fatherland of mine, where both by day and by night the holy laws are declared, and hymns and songs and spiritual words are heard; where also there is perpetual sunlight; where by day in waking vision we have access to the mysteries of God, and by night in dreams2 we are still occupied with what the soul has seen and handled in the day; and where, in short, the inspiration of divine things prevails over all continually. From this city, I say, I am cast forth, and borne captive to a strange land, where I shall have no power to pipe: for, like these men of old, I shall have to hang my instrument on the willows, and the rivers shall be my place of sojourn, and I shall have to work in mud, and shall have no heart to sing hymns, even though I remember them; yea, it may be that, through constant occupation with other subjects, I shall forget even them, like one spoiled of memory itself. And would that, in going away, I only went away against my will, as a captive is wont to do; but I go away also of my own will, and not by constraint of another; and by my own act I am dispossessed of this city, when it is in my option to remain in it. Perchance, too, in leaving this place, I may be going to prosecute no safe journey, as it sometimes fares with one who quits some safe and peaceful city; and it is indeed but too likely that, in journeying, I may fall into the hands of robbers, and be taken prisoner, and be stripped and wounded with many strokes, and be cast forth to lie half-dead somewhere.

argument xvii.—gregory consoles himself.

But why should I utter such lamentations? There lives still the Saviour of all men, even of the half-dead and the despoiled, the Protector and Physician for all, the Word, that sleepless Keeper of all. We have also seeds of truth which thou hast made us know as our possession, and all that we have received from thee,—those noble deposits of instruction, with which we take our coarse; and though we weep, indeed, as those who go forth from home, we yet carry those seeds with us. It may be, then, that the Keeper who presides over us will bear us in safety through all that shall befall as; and it may be that we shall come yet again to thee, bringing with us the fruits and handfuls yielded by these seeds, far from perfect truly, for how could they be so? but still such as a life spent in civil business makes it possible for us to rear, though marred indeed by a kind of faculty that is either unapt to bear fruit altogether, or prone to bear bad fruit, but which, I trust, is one not destined to be further misused by us, if God grants us grace.5

argument xviii.—peroration, and apology for the oration.

Wherefore let me now have done with this address, which I have had the boldness to deliver m a presence wherein boldness least became me. Yet this address is one which, I think, has aimed heartily at signifying our thanks to the best of our ability,—for though we have had nothing to say worthy of the subject, we could not be altogether silent,—and one, too, which has given expression to our regrets, as those are wont to do who go abroad in separation from friends. And whether this speech of mine may not have contained things puerile or bordering on flattery, or things offending by excess of simplicity on the one hand, or of elaboration on the other, I know not. Of this, however, I am clearly conscious, that at least there is in it nothing unreal, but all that is true and genuine, in sincerity of opinion, and in purity and integrity of judgment.

argument xix.—apostrophe to origen, and therewith the leave-taking, and the urgent utterance of prayer.

But, O dear soul, arise thou and offer prayer, and now dismiss us; and as by thy holy instructions thou hast been our rescuer when we enjoyed thy fellowship, so save us still by thy prayers in our separation. Commend us and set us constantly before thee in prayer. Or rather commend us continually to that God who brought us to thee, giving thanks for all that has been granted us in the past, and imploring Him still to lead us by the hand in the future, and to stand ever by us, filling our mind with the understanding of His precepts, inspiring us with the godly fear of Himself, and vouchsafing us henceforward His choicest guidance.7 For when we are gone from thee, we shall not have the same liberty for obeying Him as was ours when we were
with thee. Pray, therefore, that some encouragement may be conveyed to us from Him when we lose thy presence, and that He may send us a good conductor, some angel to be our comrade on the way, And entreat Him also to turn our course, for that is the one thing which above all else will effectually comfort us, and bring us back to thee again.


Neale, in his valuable work, does full justice to Dionysius, whose life is twinned with Gregory’s; but he seems to me most unaccountably to slight the truly great and commanding genius of Gregory. I take opportunity, then, to direct attention to Neale’s candid, and, on the whole, favourable view of Origen; but it grieves me whenever I see in critics a manifest inability to put themselves back into the times of which they write, as I think is the case, not infrequently, even with Dr. Neale. The figure of this grand ornament of the mighty patriarchate and school of Alexandria is colossal. His genius is Titanic, and has left all Christendom profoundly his debtor to this day, by the variety of his work and the versatility of his speech and pen. Doubtless the youthful Gregory’s panegyric does contain, as he himself suggests, much that is “puerile or bordering on flattery;” but, as he protests with transparent truthfulness, “there is nothing in it unreal.” It shines with “sincerity of thought and integrity of judgment.” And as such, what a portrait it presents us of the love and patient effort of this lifelong confessor! Let me commend this example to professors of theology generally. All can learn from it the power of sweetness and love, united with holiness of purpose, to stamp the minds and the characters of youth with the divine “image and superscription.”

But, as to the sharpness of modern censures upon Origen’s conspicuous faults, I must suggest three important considerations, which should be applied to all the Ante-Nicene doctors: (1) How could they who were working out the formulas of orthodoxy, be expected to use phrases with the skill and precision which became necessary only after the great Synodical period had embodied them in clear, dogmatic statements? (2) How could the active intellect of an Origen have failed to make great mistakes in such an immensity of labours and such a variety of works? (3) If, in our own day, we indulge speculative minds in large liberties so long as they never make shipwreck of the faith, how much more should we deem them excusable who were unable to consult libraries of well-digested thought, and to employ, as we do, the accumulated wealth of fifty generations of believers, whenever we are called to the solemn responsibility of impressing our convictions upon others? The conclusion of Dr. Neale’s review of Origen balances the praise and blame accorded to him by those nearest to his times; but let us reflect upon the painful conflicts of those times, and upon the pressure under which, to justify their own positions, they were often forced to object to any error glorified by even the apparent patronage of Origen.




Most hostile and alien to the Apostolic Confession are those who speak of the Son as assumed to Himself by the Father out of nothing, and from an emanational origin; and those who hold the same sentiments with respect to the Holy Spirit; those who say that the Son is constituted divine by gift and grace, and that the Holy Spirit is made holy; those who regard the name of the Son as one common to servants, and assert that thus He is the first-born of the creature, as becoming, like the creature, existent out of non-existence, and as being first made, and who refuse to admit that He is the only-begotten Son,—the only One that the Father has, and that He has given Himself to be reckoned in the number of mortals, and is thus reckoned first-born; those who circumscribe the generation of the Son by the Father with a measured interval after the fashion of man, and refuse to acknowledge that the æon of the Begetter and that of the Begotten are without beginning; those who introduce three separate and diverse systems of divine worship,3 whereas there is but one form of legitimate service which we have received of old from the law and the prophets, and which has been confirmed by the Lord and preached by the apostles. Nor less alienated from the true confession are those who hold not the doctrine of the Trinity according to truth, as a relation consisting of three persons, but impiously conceive it as implying a triple being in a unity (Monad), formed in the way of synthesis, and think that the Son is the wisdom in God, in the same manner as the human wisdom subsists in man whereby the man is wise, and represent the Word as being simply like the word which we utter or conceive, without any hypostasis whatever.


But the Church’s Confession, and the Creed that brings salvation to the world, is that which deals with the incarnation of the Word, and bears that He gave Himself over to the flesh of man which He acquired of Mary, while yet He conserved His own identity, and sustained no divine transposition or mutation, but was brought into conjunction with the flesh after the similitude of man; so that the flesh was made one with the divinity, the divinity having assumed the capacity of receiving the flesh in the fulfilling of the mystery. And after the dissolution of death there remained to the holy flesh a perpetual impassibility and a changeless immortality, man’s original glory being taken up into it again by the power of the divinity, and being ministered then to all men by the appropriation of faith.


If, then, there are any here, too, who falsify the holy faith, either by attributing to the divinity as its own what belongs to the humanity—progressions, and passions, and a glory coming with accession7 —or by separating from the divinity the progressive and passible body, as if subsisted of itself apart,—these persons also are
outside the confession of the Church and of salvation. No one, therefore, can know God unless he apprehends the Son; for the Son is the wisdom by whose instrumentality all things have been created; and these created objects declare this wisdom, and God is recognised in the wisdom. But the wisdom of God is not anything similar to the wisdom which man possesses, but it is the perfect wisdom which proceeds from the perfect God, and abides for ever, not like the thought of man, which passes from him in the word that is spoken and (straightway) ceases to be. Wherefore it is not wisdom only, but also God; nor is it Word only, but also Son. And whether, then, one discerns God through creation, or is taught to know Him by the Holy Scriptures, it is impossible either to apprehend Him or to learn of Him apart from His wisdom. And he who calls upon God rightly, calls on Him through the Son; and he who approaches Him in a true fellowship, comes to Him through Christ. Moreover, the Son Himself cannot be approached apart from the Spirit. For the Spirit is both the life and the holy formation of all things; and God sending forth this Spirit through the Son makes the creature2 like Himself.


One therefore is God the Father, one the Word, one the Spirit, the life, the sanctification of all. And neither is there another God as Father, nor is there another Son as Word of God, nor is there another Spirit as quickening and sanctifying. Further, although the saints are called both gods, and sons, and spirits, they are neither filled with the Spirit, nor are made like the Son and God. And if, then, any one makes this affirmation, that the Son is God, simply as being Himself filled with divinity, and not as being generated of divinity, he has belied the Word, he has belied the Wisdom, he has lost the knowledge of God; he has fallen away into the worship of the creature, he has taken up the impiety of the Greeks, to that he has gone back; and he has become a follower of the unbelief of the Jews, who, supposing the Word of God to be but a human son, have refused to accept Him as God, and have declined to acknowledge Him as the Son of God. But it is impious to think of the Word of God as merely human, and to think of the works which are done by Him as abiding, while He abides not Himself. And if any one says that the Christ works all things only as commanded by the Word, he will both make the Word of God idle,4 and will change the Lord’s order into servitude. For the slave is one altogether under command, and the created is not competent to create; for to suppose that what is itself created may in like manner create other things, would imply that it has ceased to be like the creature.


Again, when one speaks of the Holy Spirit as an object made holy, he will no longer be able to apprehend all things as being sanctified in (the) Spirit. For he who has sanctified one, sanctifies all things. That man, consequently, belies the fountain of sanctification, the Holy Spirit, who denudes Him of the power of sanctifying, and he will thus be precluded from numbering Him with the Father and the Son; he makes nought, too, of the holy (ordinance of) baptism, and will no more be able to acknowledge the holy and august Trinity.7 For either we must apprehend the perfect Trinity in its natural and genuine glory, or we shall be under the necessity of speaking no more of a Trinity, but only of a Unity;9 or else, not numbering created objects with the Creator, nor the creatures with the Lord of all, we mast also not number what is sanctified with what sanctifies; even as no object that is made can be numbered with the Trinity, but in the name of the Holy Trinity baptism and invocation and worship are administered. For if there are three several glories, there must also be three several forms of cultus with those who impiously worship the creature; for if there is a distinction in the nature of the objects worshipped, there ought to be also with these men a distinction in the nature of the worship offered. What is recent11 surely is not to be worshipped along with what is eternal; for the recent comprehends all that has had a beginning, while mighty and measureless is he who is before the ages. He, therefore, who supposes some beginning of times in the life of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, therewith also cuts off any possibility of numbering the Son and the Spirit with the Father. For as we acknowledge the glory to be one, so ought we also to acknowledge the substance in the Godhead to be one, and one also the eternity of the Trinity.


Moreover, the capital element of our salvation is the incarnation of the Word. We believe,
therefore, that it was without any change in the Divinity that the incarnation of the Word took place with a view to the renewal of humanity. For there took place neither mutation nor transposition, nor any circumscription in will, as regards the holy energy2 of God; but while that remained in itself the same, it also effected the work of the incarnation with a view to the salvation of the world: and the Word of God, living on earth after man’s fashion, maintained likewise in all the divine presence, fulfilling all things, and being united4 properly and individually with flesh; and while the sensibilities proper to the flesh were there, the divine energy maintained the impassibility proper to itself. Impious, therefore, is the man who introduces the passibility into the energy. For the Lord of glory appeared in fashion as a man when He undertook the economy6 upon the earth; and He fulfilled the law for men by His deeds, and by His sufferings He did away with man’s sufferings, and by His death He abolished death, and by his resurrection He brought life to light; and now we look for His appearing from heaven in glory for the life and judgment of all, when the resurrection of the dead shall take place, to the end that recompense may be made to all according to their desert.


But some treat the Holy Trinity in an awful manner, when they confidently assert that there are not three persons, and introduce (the idea of) a person devoid of subsistence.8 Wherefore we clear ourselves of Sabellius, who says that the Father and the Son are the same. For he holds that the Father is He who speaks, and that the Son is the Word that abides in the Father, and becomes manifest at the time of the creation, and thereafter reverts to God on the fulfilling of all things. The same affirmation he makes also of the Spirit. We forswear this, because we believe that three persons—namely, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—are declared to possess the one Godhead: for the one divinity showing itself forth according to nature in the Trinity10 establishes the oneness of the nature; and thus there is a (divinity that is the) property of the Father, according to the word, “There is one God the Father;” and there is a divinity hereditary12 in the Son, as it is written, “The Word was God;” and there is a divinity present according to nature in the Spirit—to wit, what subsists as the Spirit of God—according to Paul’s statement, “Ye are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you.”14


Now the person in each declares the independent being and subsistence. But divinity is the property of the Father; and whenever the divinity of these three is spoken of as one, testimony is borne that the property16 of the Father belongs also to the Son and the Spirit: wherefore, if the divinity may be spoken of as one in three persons, the trinity is established, and the unity is not dissevered; and the oneness Which is naturally the Father’s is also acknowledged to be the Son’s and the Spirit’s. If one, however, speaks of one person as he may speak of one divinity, it cannot be that the two in the one are as one. For Paul addresses the Father as one in respect of divinity, and speaks of the Son as one in respect of lordship: “There is one God the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him.”18 Wherefore if there is one God, and one Lord, and at the same time one person as one divinity in one lordship, how can credit be given to (this distinction in) the words “of whom” and “by whom,” as has been said before? We speak, accordingly, not as if we separated the lordship from the divinity, nor as estranging the one from the other, but as unifying them in the way warranted by actual fact and truth; and we call the Son God with the property of the Father,20 as being His image and offspring; and we call the Father Lord, addressing Him by the name of the One Lord, as being His Origin and Begettor.


The same position we hold respecting the Spirit, who has that unity with the Son which the Son has with the Father. Wherefore let the hypostasis of the Father be discriminated by the appellation of God; but let not the Son be cut off from this appellation, for He is of God. Again, let the person of the Son also be discriminated by the appellation of Lord; only let not God be dissociated from that, for He is Lord as being the Father of the Lord. And as it is proper to the Son to exercise lordship, for He
it is that made (all things) by Himself, and now rules the things that were made, while at the same time the Father has a prior possession of that property, inasmuch as He is the Father of Him who is Lord; so we speak of the Trinity as One God, and yet not as if we made the one by a synthesis of three: for the subsistence that is constituted by synthesis is something altogether partitive and imperfect. But just as the designation Father is the expression of originality and generation, so the designation Son is the expression of the image and offspring of the Father. Hence, if one were to ask how there is but One God, if there is also a God of God, we would reply that that is a term proper to the idea of original causation,2 so far as the Father is the one First Cause. And if one were also to put the question, how there is but One Lord, if the Father also is Lord, we might answer that again by saying that He is so in so far as He is the Father of the Lord; and this difficulty shall meet us no longer.


And again, if the impious say, How will there not be three Gods and three Persons, on the supposition that they have one and the same divinity?—we shall reply: Just because God is the Cause and Father of the Son; and this Son is the image and offspring of the Father, and not His brother; and the Spirit in like manner is the Spirit of God, as it is written, “God is a Spirit.” And in earlier times we have this declaration from the prophet David: “By the word of the Lord were the heavens stablished, and all the power of them by the breath (spirit) of His mouth.”5 And in the beginning of the book of the creation it is written thus: “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”7 And Paul in his Epistle to the Romans says: “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.” And again he says: “But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.”9 And again: “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” And again: “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost.”11 And again: “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, by the power of the Holy Ghost.”


And again, writing to those same Romans, he says: “But I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God, that I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the Gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost. I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God. For I dare not to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Holy Spirit.”14 And again: “Now I beseech you, brethren, for our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and by the love of the Spirit.” And these things, indeed, are written in the Epistle to the Romans.16


Again, in the Epistle to the Corinthians he says: “For my speech and my preaching was not in the enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power; that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” And again he says: “As it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.”18 And again he says: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God.”


Seest thou that all through Scripture the Spirit is preached, and yet nowhere named a creature?
And what can the impious have to say if the Lord sends forth His disciples to baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit? Without contradiction, that implies a communion and unity between them, according to which there are neither three divinities nor (three) lordships; but, while there remain truly and certainly the three persons, the real unity of the three must be acknowledged. And in this way proper credit will be given to the sending and the being sent (in the Godhead), according to which the Father hath sent forth the Son, and the Son in like manner sends forth the Spirit. For one of the persons surely could not (be said to) send Himself; and one could not speak of the Father as incarnate. For the articles of our faith will not concur with the vicious tenets of the heresies; and it is right that our conceptions should follow the inspired and apostolic doctrines, and not that our impotent fancies should coerce the articles of our divine faith.


But if they say, How can there be three Persons, and how but one Divinity?—we shall make this reply: That there are indeed three persons, inasmuch as there is one person of God the Father, and one of the Lord the Son, and one of the Holy Spirit; and yet that there is but one divinity, inasmuch as the Son is the Image of God the Father, who is One,—that is, He is God of God; and in like manner the Spirit is called the Spirit of God, and that, too, of nature according to the very substance, and not according to simple participation of God. And there is one substance4 in the Trinity, which does not subsist also in the case of objects that are made; for there is not one substance in God and in the things that are made, because none of these is in substance God. Nor, indeed, is the Lord one of these according to substance, but there is one Lord the Son, and one Holy Spirit; and we speak also of one Divinity, and one Lordship, and one Sanctity in the Trinity; because the Father is the Cause of the Lord, having begotten Him eternally, and the Lord is the Prototype6 of the Spirit. For thus the Father is Lord, and the Son also is God; and of God it is said that “God is a Spirit.”


We therefore acknowledge one true God, the one First Cause, and one Son, very God of very God, possessing of nature the Father’s divinity,—that is to say, being the same in substance with the Father; and one Holy Spirit, who by nature and in truth sanctifies all, and makes divine, as being of the substance of God.9 Those who speak either of the Son or of the Holy Spirit as a creature we anathematize. All other things we hold to be objects made, and in subjection, created by God through the Son, (and) sanctified in the Holy Spirit. Further, we acknowledge that the Son of God was made a Son of man, having taken to Himself the flesh from the Virgin Mary, not in name, but in reality; and that He is both the perfect Son of God, and the (perfect) Son of man,—that the Person is but one, and that there is one worship11 for the Word and the flesh that He assumed. And we anathematize those who constitute different worships, one for the divine and another for the human, and who worship the man born of Mary as though He were another than the God of God. For we know that “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” And we worship Him who was made man on account of our salvation, not indeed as made perfectly like in the like body,13 but as the Lord who has taken to Himself the form of the servant. We acknowledge the passion of the Lord in the flesh, the resurrection in the power of His divinity, the ascension to heaven, and His glorious appearing when He comes for the judgment of the living and the dead, and for the eternal life of the saints.


And since some have given us trouble by attempting to subvert our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and by affirming of Him that He was not God incarnated, but a man linked with God; for this reason we present our confession on the subject of the afore-mentioned matters of faith, and reject the faithless dogmas opposed thereto. For God, having been incarnated in the flesh of man, retains also His proper energy pure, possessing a mind unsubjected by the natural and fleshly affections, and holding the flesh and the fleshly motions divinely and sinlessly, and not only unmastered by the power of death, but even destroying death. And it is the true God unincarnate that has appeared incarnate, the perfect One with the genuine and divine perfection; and in Him there are not two persons. Nor do
we affirm that there are four to worship, viz., God and the Son of God, and man and the Holy Spirit. Wherefore we also anathematize those who show their impiety in this, and who thus give the man a place in the divine doxology. For we hold that the Word of God was made man on account of our salvation, in order that we might receive the likeness of the heavenly, and be made divine after the likeness of Him who is the true Son of God by nature, and the Son of man according to the flesh, our Lord Jesus Christ.


We believe therefore in one God, that is, in one First Cause, the God of the law and of the Gospel, the just and good; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, true God, that is, Image of the true God, Maker of all things seen and unseen, Son of God and only-begotten Offspring, and Eternal Word, living and self-subsistent and active, always being with the Father; and in one Holy Spirit; and in the glorious advent of the Son of God, who of the Virgin Mary took flesh, and endured sufferings and death in our stead, and came to resurrection on the third day, and was taken up to heaven; and in His glorious appearing yet to come; and in one holy Church, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the flesh, and life eternal.


We acknowledge that the Son and the Spirit are consubstantial with the Father, and that the substance of the Trinity is one,—that is, that there is one divinity according to nature, the Father remaining unbegotten, and the Son being begotten of the Father in a true generation, and not in a formation by will, and the Spirit being sent forth eternally from the substance of the Father through the Son, with power to sanctify the whole creation. And we further acknowledge that the Word was made flesh, and was manifested in the flesh-movement4 received of a virgin, and did not simply energize in a man. And those who have fellowship with men that reject the consubstantiality as a doctrine foreign to the Scriptures, and speak of any of the persons in the Trinity as created, and separate that person from the one natural divinity, we hold as aliens, and have fellowship with none such. There is one God the Father, and there is only one divinity. But the Son also is God, as being the true image of the one and only divinity, according to generation and the nature which He has from the Father. There is one Lord the Son; but in like manner there is the Spirit, who bears over6 the Son’s lordship to the creature that is sanctified. The Son sojourned in the world, having of the Virgin received flesh, which He filled with the Holy Spirit for the sanctification of us all; and having given up the flesh to death, He destroyed death through the resurrection that had in view the resurrection of us all; and He ascended to heaven, exalting and glorifying men in Himself; and He comes the second time to bring us again eternal life.


One is the Son, both before the incarnation and after the incarnation. The same (Son) is both man and God, both these together as though one; and the God the Word is not one person, and the man Jesus another person, but the same who subsisted as Son before was made one with flesh by Mary, so constituting Himself a perfect, and holy, and sinless man, and using that economical position for the renewal of mankind and the salvation of all the world. God the Father, being Himself the perfect Person, has thus the perfect Word begotten of Him truly, not as a word that is spoken, nor yet again as a son by adoption, in the sense in which angels and men are called sons of God, but as a Son who is in nature God. And there is also the perfect Holy Spirit supplied of God through the Son to the sons of adoption, living and life-giving, holy and imparting holiness to those who partake of Him,—not like an unsubstantial breath8 breathed into them by man, but as the living Breath proceeding from God. Wherefore the Trinity is to be adored, to be glorified, to be honoured, and to be reverenced; the Father being apprehended in the Son even as the Son is of Him, and the Son being glorified in the Father, inasmuch as He is of the Father, and being manifested in the Holy Spirit to the sanctified.


And that the holy Trinity is to be worshipped without either separation or alienation, is taught us by Paul, who says in his Second Epistle to the Corinthians: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all.” And again, in that epistle he makes this explanation: “Now He which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God, who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.”10 And still more clearly
he writes thus in the same epistle: “When Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”


And again Paul says: “That mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now He that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.” And again he says: “Approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities,”3 and so forth. Then he adds these words: “By kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God.” Behold here again the saint has defined the holy Trinity, naming God, and the Word, and the Holy Ghost. And again he says: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy.”5 And again: “But ye are washed, but ye are justified in the name of our Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” And again: “What! know ye not that your bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God?”7 “And I think also that I have the Spirit of God.”


And again, speaking also of the children of Israel as baptized in the cloud and in the sea, he says: “And they all drank of the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.” And again he says: “Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the sane Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body.”10 And again he says: “For if he who comes preaches another Christ whom we have not preached, or ye receive another spirit that ye have received not, or another gospel which ye have not obtained, ye will rightly be kept back.”


Seest thou that the Spirit is inseparable from the divinity? And no one with pious apprehensions could fancy that He is a creature. Moreover, in the Epistle to the Hebrews he writes again thus: “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost? ” And again he says in the same epistle: “Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost saith, To-day, if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness; when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do always err in their heart; for13 they have not known my ways: as I sware in my wrath, that they should not enter into my rest.” And there, too, they ought to give ear to Paul, for he by no means separates the Holy Spirit from the divinity of the Father and the Son, but clearly sets forth the discourse of the Holy Ghost as one from the person of the Father, and thus as given expression to15 by God, just as it has been represented in the before-mentioned sayings. Wherefore the holy Trinity is believed to be one God, in accordance with these testimonies of Holy Scripture; albeit all through the inspired Scriptures numberless announcements are supplied us, all confirmatory of the apostolic and ecclesiastical faith.

a fragment of the same declaration of faith, accompanied by glosses.

from gregory thaumaturgus, as they say, in his sectional confession of faith.

To maintain two natures in the one Christ, makes a Tetrad of the Trinity, says he; for he expressed himself thus: “And it is the true God, the unincarnate, that was manifested in the flesh, perfect with the true and divine perfection, not with two natures; nor do we speak of worshipping four (persons), viz., God, and the Son of God, and man, and the Holy Spirit.” First, however, this passage is misapprehended, and is of very doubtful import. Nevertheless it bears that we should not speak of two persons in Christ, lest, by thus acknowledging Him as God, and as in the perfect divinity, and yet speaking of two persons, we should make a Tetrad of the divine persons, counting that of God the Father as one, and that of the Son of God as one, and that of the man as one, and that of the Holy Spirit as one. But, again, it bears also against recognising two divine natures,3 and rather for acknowledging Him to be perfect God in one natural divine perfection, and not in two; for his object is to show that He became incarnate without change, and that He retains the divinity without duplication. Accordingly he says shortly: “And while the affections of the flesh spring, the energy5 retains the impassibility proper to it. He, therefore, who introduces the (idea of) passion into the energy is impious; for it was the Lord of glory that appeared in human form, having taken to Himself the human economy.”



(The minister … to the Gentiles, p. 43.)

If St. Peter had been at Rome, St. Paul would not have come there (2 Cor. 10:16). The two apostles had each his jurisdiction, and they kept to their own “line of things” respectively. How, then, came St. Peter to visit Rome? The answer is clear: unless he came involuntarily, as a prisoner, he came to look after the Church of the Circumcision, which was “in his measure;” and doubtless St. Paul urged him to this, the Hebrew Christians there being so large a proportion of the Church. St. Peter came “at the close of his life,” doubtless attended by an apostolic companion, as St. Paul was, and Barnabas also (Acts 15:39, 40). Linus probably laboured for St. Paul (in prison) among the Gentile Romans, and Cletus for St. Peter among Jewish Christians. St. Peter survived all his martyred associates, and left Clement in charge of the whole Church. This most probable theory squares with all known facts, and reconciles all difficulties. Clement, then, was first bishop of Rome (a.d. 65); and so says Tertullian, vol iii. p. 258, note 9.

That compendious but superficial little work, Smith’s History of the First Ten Centuries, justly censures as “misleading” the usage, which it yet keeps up, of calling the early bishops of Rome “Popes.”9 The same author utterly misunderstands Cyprian’s references to Rome as “a principal cathedra,” “a root and matrix,” etc.; importing into the indefinite Latin a definite article. Cyprian applies a similar principle, after his master Tertullian (vol. iii. p. 260, this series), to all the Apostolic Sees, the matrices of Christian churches.



Gregory Thaumaturgus, Bishop of Neo-Cæsareia in Pontus, near successor of the apostles, in his discourse on the Trinity, speaks thus:—

I see in all three essentials—substance, genus, name. We speak of man, servant, curator (curatorem),—man, by reason of substance; servant, by reason of genus or condition; curator, by reason of denomination. We speak also of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: these, however, are not names which have only supervened at some after period, but they are subsistences. Again, the denomination of man is not in actual fact a denomination, but a substance common to men, and is the denomination proper to all men. Moreover, names are such as these,—Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob: these, I say, are names. But the Divine Persons are names indeed: and the names are still the persons; and the persons then signify that which is and subsists,—which is the essence of God. The name also of the nature signifies subsistence; as if we should speak of the man. All (the persons) are one nature, one essence, one will, and are called the Holy Trinity; and these also are names subsistent, one nature in three persons, and one genus. But the person of the Son is composite in its oneness (unita est), being one made up of two, that is, of divinity and humanity together, which two constitute one. Yet the divinity does not consequently receive any increment, but the Trinity remains as it was. Nor does anything new befall the persons even or the names, but these are eternal and without time. No one, however, was sufficient to know these until the Son being made flesh manifested them, saying: “Father, I have manifested Thy name to men; glorify Thou me also, that they may know me as Thy Son.” And on the mount the Father spake, and said, “This is my beloved Son.”5 And the same sent His Holy Spirit at the Jordan. And thus it was declared to us that there is an Eternal Trinity in equal honour. Besides, the generation of the Son by the Father is incomprehensible and ineffable; and because it is spiritual, its investigation becomes impracticable: for a spiritual object can neither be understood nor traced by a corporeal object, for that is far removed from human nature. We men know indeed the generation proper to us, as also that of other objects; but a spiritual matter is above human condition, neither can it in any manner be understood by the minds of men. Spiritual substance can neither perish nor be dissolved; ours, however, as is easy to understand, perishes and is dissolved. How, indeed, could it be possible for man, who is limited on six sides—by east, west, south, north, deep, and sky—understand a matter which is above the skies, which is beneath the deeps, which stretches beyond the north and south, and which is present in every place, and fills all vacuity? But if, indeed, we are able to scrutinize spiritual substance, its excellence truly would be undone. Let us consider what is done in our body; and, furthermore, let us see whether it is in our power to ascertain in what manner thoughts are born of the heart, and words of the tongue, and the like. Now, if we can by no means apprehend things that are done in ourselves, how could it ever be that we should understand the mystery of the uncreated Creator, which goes beyond every mind? Assuredly, if this mystery were one that could be penetrated by man, the inspired John would by no means have affirmed this: “No man hath seen God at any time.” He, then, whom no man hath seen at any time,—whom can we reckon Him to resemble, so that thereby we should understand His generation? And we, indeed, without ambiguity apprehend that our soul dwells in us in union with the body; but still, who has ever seen his own soul? who has been able to discern its conjunction with his body? This one thing is all we know certainly, that there is a soul within us conjoined with the body. Thus, then, we reason and believe that the Word is begotten by the Father, albeit we neither possess nor know the clear rationale of the fact. The Word Himself is before every creature—eternal froth the Eternal, like spring from spring, and light from light. The vocable Word, indeed, belongs to those three genera of words which are named in Scripture, and which are not substantial,—namely, the word conceived, the word uttered, and the word articulated. The word conceived, certainly, is not substantial. The word uttered, again, is that voice which the prophets hear from God, or the prophetic speech itself; and even this is not substantial. And, lastly, the word articulated is the speech of man formed forth in air (aëre efformatus), composed of terms, which also is not substantial. But the Word of God is substantial, endowed with an exalted and enduring nature, and is eternal with Himself, and is inseparable from Him, and can never fall away, but shall remain in an everlasting union. This Word created heaven and earth, and in Him were all things made. He is the arm and the power of God, never to be separated from the Father, in virtue of an indivisible nature, and, together with the Father, He is without beginning. This Word took our substance of the Virgin Mary; and in so far as He is spiritual indeed, He is indivisibly equal with the Father; but in so far as He is corporeal, He is in like manner inseparably equal with us. And, again, in so far as He is spiritual, He supplies in the same equality (æquiparat) the Holy Spirit, inseparably and without limit. Neither were there two natures, but only one nature of the Holy Trinity before the incarnation of the Word, the Son; and the nature of the Trinity remained one also after the incarnation of the Son. But if any one, moreover, believes that any increment has been given to the Trinity by reason of the assumption of humanity by the Word, he is an alien from us, and from the ministry of the Catholic and Apostolic Church. This is the perfect, holy, Apostolic faith of the holy God. Praise to the Holy Trinity for ever through the ages of the ages. Amen.



Petavius, to whom the translator refers his readers, may be trusted in points where he has no theory of his own to sustain, but must always be accepted with caution. The Greek Fathers in this very series, from Justin onward, enable us to put the later terminology to the test of earlier exposition (see examples in the notes to the Praxeas of Tertullian, and consult Dr. Holmes’ valuable note embodied in my elucidations).6 We may go back to Theophilus for the distinction between the ἐνδιάθετος and the προφορικός, the immanent and the uttered Word. Compare Tertullian, also, against Marcion.8 Evidences, therefore, are abundant and archaic, indeed, to prove that the Ante-Nicene Fathers, with those of the Nicene and the Post-Nicene periods, were of one mind, and virtually of one voice.


wherein is given also the formula of excommunication, and an explication is subjoined to each.

topic i.

If any one says that the body of Christ is uncreated, and refuses to acknowledge that He, being the uncreated Word (God) of God, took the flesh of created humanity and appeared incarnate, even as it is written, let him be anathema.


How could the body be said to be uncreated? For the uncreated is the passionless, invulnerable, intangible. But Christ, on rising from the dead, showed His disciples the print of the nails and the wound made by the spear, and a body that could be handled, although He also had entered among them when the doors were shut, with the view of showing them at once the energy of the divinity and the reality of the body.

Yet, while being God, He was recognised as man in a natural manner; and while subsisting truly as man, He was also manifested as God by His works.

topic ii.

If any one affirms that the flesh of Christ is consubstantial with the divinity, and refuses to acknowledge that He, subsisting Himself in the form of God as God before all ages, emptied Himself and took the form of a servant, even as it is written, let him be anathema.


How could the flesh, which is conditioned by time, be said to be consubstantial with the timeless divinity? For that is designated consubstantial which is the same in nature and in eternal duration without variableness.

topic iii.

If any one affirms that Christ, just like one of the prophets, assumed the perfect man, and refuses to acknowledge that, being begotten in the flesh of the Virgin, He became man and was born in Bethlehem, and was brought up in Nazareth, and advanced in age, and on completing the set number of years (appeared in public and) was baptized in the Jordan, and received this testimony from the Father, “This is my beloved Son,”5 even as it is written, let him be anathema.


How could it be said that Christ (the Lord) assumed the perfect man just like one of the prophets, when He, being the Lord Himself, became man by the incarnation effected through the Virgin? Wherefore it is written, that “the first man was of the earth, earthy.” But whereas he that was formed of the earth returned to the earth, He that became the second man returned to heaven. And so we read of the “first Adam and the last Adam.”7 And as it is admitted that the second came by the first according to the flesh, for which reason also Christ is called man and the Son of man; so is the witness given that the second is the Savior of the first, for whose sake He came down from heaven. And as the Word came down from heaven, and was made man, and ascended again to heaven, He is on that account said to be the second Adam from heaven.

topic iv.

If any one affirms that Christ was born of the seed of man by the Virgin, in the same manner as all men are born, and refuses to acknowledge that He was made flesh by the Holy Spirit and the holy Virgin Mary, mad became man of the seed of David, even as it is written, let him be anathema.


How could one say that Christ was born of the seed of man by the Virgin, when the holy
Gospel and the angel, in proclaiming the good tidings, testify of Mary the Virgin that she said, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? ” Wherefore he says, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of the Highest.”2 And to Joseph he says, “Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a soil, and they shall call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.”

topic v.

If any one affirms that the Son of God who is before the ages is one, and He who has appeared in these last times is another, and refuses to acknowledge that He who is before the ages is the same with Him who appeared in these last times, even as it is written, let him be anathema.


How could it be said that the Son of God who is before the ages, and He who has appeared in these last times, are different, when the Lord Himself says, “Before Abraham was, I am;” and, “I came forth from God, and I come, and again I go to my Father?”5

topic vi.

If any one affirms that He who suffered is one, and that He who suffered not is another, and refuses to acknowledge that the Word, who is Himself the impassible and unchangeable God, suffered in the flesh which He had assumed really, yet without mutation, even as it is written, let him be anathema.


How could it be said that He who suffered is one, and He who suffered not another, when the Lord Himself says, “The Son of man must suffer many things, and be killed, and be raised again the third day from the dead;” and again, “When ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of the Father;”7 and again, “When the Son of man cometh in the glory of His Father?”

topic vii.

If any one affirms that Christ is saved, and refuses to acknowledge that He is the Saviour of the world, and the Light of the world, even as it is written, let him be anathema.


How could one say that Christ is saved, when the Lord Himself says, “I am the life;” and, “I am come that they might have life; “11 and, “He that believeth on me shall not see death, but he shall behold the life eternal?”

topic viii.

If any one affirms that Christ is perfect man and also God the Word in the way of separation, and refuses to acknowledge the one Lord Jesus Christ, even as it is written, let him be anathema.


How could one say that Christ is perfect man and also God the Word in the way of separation, when the Lord Himself says, “Why seek ye to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God?s” For God the Word did not give a man for us, but He gave Himself for us, having been made man for our sake. Wherefore He says: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. But He spake of the temple of His body.”15

topic ix.

If any one says that Christ suffers change or alteration, and refuses to acknowledge that He is unchangeable in the Spirit, though corruptible in the flesh,17 let him be anathema.


How could one say that Christ suffers change or alteration, when the Lord Himself says, “I am and I change not; again, “His soul shall not be left in Hades, neither shall His flesh see corruption?”19

topic x.

If any one affirms that Christ assumed the man only in part, and refuses to acknowledge that He was made in all things like us, apart from sin, let him be anathema.


How could one say that Christ assumed the man only in part, when the Lord Himself says, “I lay down my life, that I might take it again, for the sheep;” and, “My flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed;”2 and, “He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life?”

topic xi.

If any one affirms that the body of Christ is void of soul and understanding, and refuses to acknowledge that He is perfect man, one and the same in all things (with us), let him be anathema.


How could one say that the body of the Lord (Christ) is void of soul and understanding? For perturbation, and grief, and distress, are not the properties either of a flesh void of soul, or of a soul void of understanding; nor are they the sign of the immutable Divinity, nor the index of a mere phantasm, nor do they mark the defect of human weakness; but the Word exhibited in Himself the exercise of the affections and susceptibilities proper to us, having endued Himself with our passibility, even as it is written, that “He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.” For perturbation, and grief, and distress, are disorders of soul; and toil, and sleep, and the body’s liability to wounding, are infirmities of the flesh.

topic xii.

If any one says that Christ was manifested in the world only in semblance, and refuses to acknowledge that He came actually in the flesh, let him be anathema.


How could one say that Christ was manifested only in semblance in the world, born as He was in Bethlehem, and made to submit to the circumcising of the flesh, and lifted up by Simeon, and brought up on to His twelfth year (at home), and made subject to His parents, and baptized in Jordan, and nailed to the cross, and raised again from the dead?

Wherefore, when it is said that He was “troubled in spirit,” that “He was sorrowful in soul,”7 that “He was wounded in body,” He places before us designations of susceptibilities proper to our constitution, in order to show that He was made man in the world, and had His conversation with men,9 yet without sin. For He was born in Bethlehem according to the flesh, in a manner meet for Deity, the angels of heaven recognising Him as their Lord, and hymning as their God Him who was then wrapped in swaddling-clothes in a manger, and exclaiming, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will among men.” He was brought tip in Nazareth; but in divine fashion He sat among the doctors, and astonished them by a wisdom beyond His years, in respect of the capacities of His bodily life, as is recorded in the Gospel narrative. He was baptized in Jordan, not as receiving any sanctification for Himself, but as gifting a participation in sanctification to others. He was tempted in the wilderness, not as giving way, however, to temptation, but as putting our temptations before Himself on the challenge of the tempter, in order to show the powerlessness of the tempter.

Wherefore He says, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” And this He said, not as holding before us any contest proper only to a God, but as showing our own flesh in its capacity to overcome suffering, and death, and corruption, in order that, as sin entered into the world by flesh, and death came to reign by sin over all men, the sin in the flesh might also be condemned through the selfsame flesh in the likeness thereof;12 and that that overseer of sin, the tempter, might be overcome, and death be cast down from its sovereignty, and the corruption in the burying of the body be done away, and the first-fruits of the resurrection be shown, and the principle of righteousness begin its course in the world through faith, and the kingdom of heaven be preached to men, and fellowship be established between God and men.

In behalf of this grace let us glorify the Father, who has given His only begotten Son for the life of the world. Let us glorify the Holy Spirit that worketh in us, and quickeneth us, and furnisheth the gifts meet for the fellowship of God; and let us not intermeddle with the word of the Gospel by lifeless disputations, scattering about endless questionings and logomachies, and making a hard thing of the gentle and simple word of faith; but rather let us work the work of faith, let us love peace, let us exhibit concord, let us preserve unity, let us cultivate love, with which God is well pleased.

As it is not for us to know the times or the seasons which the Father hath put in His own power, but only to believe that there will come an end to time, and that there will be a manifestation of a future world, and a revelation of judgment, and an advent of the Son of God, and a recompense of works, and an inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, so it is not for us to know how the Son of God became man; for this is a great mystery, as it is written, “Who shall declare His generation? for His life is taken from the earth.” But it is for us to believe that the Son of God became man, according to the Scriptures; and that He was seen on the earth, and had His conversation with men, according to the Scriptures, in their likeness, yet without sin; and that He died for us, and rose again from the dead, as it is written; and that He was taken up to heaven, and sat down at the right hand of the Father, whence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead, as it is written; lest, while we war against each other with words, any should be led to blaspheme the word of faith, and that should come to pass which is written, “By reason of you is my name2 continually blasphemed among the nations.”



These “twelve anathemas,” as they are called, do evidently refute the Nestorians and later heretics. Evidently, therefore, we must assign this document to another author. And, as frequent references are made to such tests, I subjoin a list of Œcumenical or Catholic Councils, properly so called, as follows:—

1.    Jerusalem, against Judaism, a.d. 50.

2.    Nicæa, “Arianism (1), a.d. 325.

3.    Constantinople (I.), “Semi-Arianism (2), a.d. 381.

4.    Ephesus, “Nestorianism (3), a.d. 431.

5.    Chalcedon, “Eutychianism (4), a.d. 451.

6.    Constantinople (II.), “Monophysitism (5), a.d. 553.

7.    Constantinople (III.), “Monothelitism (6), a.d. 680.

These are all the undisputed councils. The Seventh Council, so called (a.d. 537), was not a free council, and was rejected by a free council of the West, convened at Frankfort a.d. 794. Its acceptance by the Roman pontiffs, subsequently, should have no logical force with the Easterns, who do not recognise their supremacy even over the councils of the West; and no free council has ever been held under pontifical authority. The above list, therefore, is a complete list of all the councils of the undivided Church as defined by Catholic canons. There has been no possibility of a Catholic council since the division of East and West. The Council of Frankfort is the pivot of subsequent history, and its fundamental importance has not been sufficiently insisted upon.


You have instructed us, most excellent Tatian, to forward for your use a discourse upon the soul, laying it out in effective demonstrations. And this you have asked us to do without making use of the testimonies of Scripture,—a method which is opened to us, and which, to those who seek the pious mind, proves a manner of setting forth doctrine more convincing than any reasoning of man.3 You have said, however, that you desire this, not with a view to your own full assurance, taught as you already have been to hold by the Holy Scriptures and traditions, and to avoid being shaken in your convictions by any subtleties of man’s disputations, but with a view to the confuting of men who have different sentiments, and who do not admit that such credit is to be given to the Scriptures, and who endeavour, by a kind of cleverness of speech, to gain over those who are unversed in such discussions. Wherefore we were led to comply readily with this commission of yours, not shrinking from the task on account of inexperience in this method of disputation, but taking encouragement from the knowledge of your good-will toward us. For your kind and friendly disposition towards us will make you understand how to put forward publicly whatever you may approve of as rightly expressed by us, and to pass by and conceal whatever statement of ours you may judge to come short of what is proper. Knowing this, therefore, I have betaken myself with all confidence to the exposition. And in my discourse I shall use a certain order and consecution, such as those who are very expert in these matters employ towards those who desire to investigate any subject intelligently.

First of all, then, I shall propose to inquire by what criterion the soul can, according to its nature, be apprehended; then by what means it can be proved to exist; thereafter, whether it is a substance or an accident; then consequently on these points, whether it is a body or is incorporeal; then, whether it is simple or compound; next, whether it is mortal or immortal; and finally, whether it is rational or irrational.

For these are the questions which are wont, above all, to be discussed, in any inquiry about the soul, as most important, and as best calculated to mark out its distinctive nature. And as demonstrations for the establishing of these matters of investigation, we shall employ those common modes of consideration by which the credibility of matters under hand is naturally attested. But for the purpose of brevity and utility, we shall at present make use only of those modes of argumentation which are most cogently demonstrative on the subject of our inquiry, in order that clear and intelligible6 notions may impart to us some readiness for meeting the gainsayers. With this, therefore, we shall commence our discussion.

i. wherein is the criterion for the apprehension of the soul.

All things that exist are either known by sense or apprehended by thought.8 And what falls under sense has its adequate demonstration in sense itself; for at once, with the application, it creates in us the impression of what underlies it. But what is apprehended by thought is known not by itself, but by its operations.10 The soul, consequently, being unknown by itself, shall be known property by its effects.

ii. whether the soul exists.

Our body, when it is put in action, is put in action either from without or from within. And that it is not put in action from without, is manifest from the circumstance that it is put in action neither by impulsion nor by traction,12 like soulless things. And again, if it is put in action from within, it is not put in action according to nature, like fire. For fire never loses its action as long
as there is fire; whereas the body, when it has become dead, is a body void of action. Hence, if it is put in action neither from without, like soulless things, nor according to nature, after the fashion of fire, it is evident that it is put in action by the soul, which also furnishes life to it. If, then, the soul is shown to furnish the life to our body, the soul will also be known for itself by its operations.

iii. whether the soul is a substance.

That the soul is a substance, is proved in the following manner. In the first place, because the definition given to the term substance suits it very well. And that definition is to the effect, that substance is that which, being ever identical, and ever one in point of numeration with itself, is yet capable of taking on contraries in succession.2 And that this soul, without passing the limit of its own proper nature, takes on contraries in succession, is, I fancy, clear to everybody. For righteousness and unrighteousness, courage and cowardice, temperance and intemperance, are seen in it successively; and these are contraries. If, then, it is the property of a substance to be capable of taking on contraries in succession, and if the soul is shown to sustain the definition in these terms, it follows that the soul is a substance. And in the second place, because if the body is a substance, the soul must also be a substance. For it cannot be, that what only has life imparted should be a substance, and that what imparts the life should be no substance: unless one should assert that the non-existent is the cause of the existent; or unless, again, one were insane enough to allege that the dependent object is itself the cause of that very thing in which it has its being, and without which it could not subsist.

iv. whether the soul is incorporeal.

That the soul is in our body, has been shown above. We ought now, therefore, to ascertain in what manner it is in the body. Now, if it is in juxtaposition with it, as one pebble with another, it follows that the soul will be a body, and also that the whole body will not be animated with soul, inasmuch as with a certain part it will only be in juxtaposition. But if, again, it is mingled or fused with the body, the soul will become multiplex,5 and not simple, and will thus be despoiled of the rationale proper to a soul. For what is multiplex is also divisible and dissoluble; and what is dissoluble, on the other hand, is compound; and what is compound is separable in a threefold manner. Moreover, body attached to body makes weight;7 but the soul, subsisting in the body, does not make weight, but rather imparts life. The soul, therefore, cannot be a body, but is incorporeal.

Again, if the soul is a body, it is put in action either from without or from within. But it is not put in action from without; for it is moved neither by impulsion nor by traction, like soulless things. Nor is it put in action from within, like objects animated with soul; for it is absurd to talk of a soul of the soul: it cannot, therefore, be a body, but it is incorporeal.

And besides, if the soul is a body, it has sensible qualities, and is maintained by nurture. But it is not thus nurtured. For if it is nurtured, it is not nurtured corporeally, like the body, but incorporeally; for it is nurtured by reason. It has not, therefore, sensible qualities: for neither is righteousness, nor courage, nor any one of these things, something that is seen; yet these are the qualities of the soul. It cannot, therefore, be a body, but is incorporeal.

Still further, as all corporeal substance is divided into animate and inanimate, let those who hold that the soul is a body tell us whether we are to call it animate or inanimate.

Finally, if every body has colour, and quantity, and figure, and if there is not one of these qualities perceptible in the soul, it follows that the soul is not a body.

v. whether the soul is simple or compound.

We prove, then, that the soul is simple, best of all, by those arguments by which its incorporeality has been demonstrated. For if it is not a body, while every body is compound, and what is composite is made up of parts, and is consequently multiplex, the soul, on the other hand, being incorporeal, is simple; since thus it is both uncompounded and indivisible into parts.

vi. whether our soul is immortal.

It follows, in my opinion, as a necessary consequence, that what is simple is immortal. And as to how that follows, hear my explanation: Nothing that exists is its own corrupter, else it could never have had any thorough consistency, even from the beginning. For things that are subject to corruption are corrupted by contraries: wherefore everything that is corrupted is subject to dissolution; and what is subject to
dissolution is compound; and what is compound is of many parts; and what is made up of parts manifestly is made up of diverse parts; and the diverse is not the identical: consequently the soul, being simple, and not being made up of diverse parts, but being uncompound and indissoluble, must be, in virtue of that, incorruptible and immortal.

Besides, everything that is put in action by something else, and does not possess the principle of life in itself, but gets it from that which puts it in action, endures just so long as it is held by the power that operates in it; and whenever the operative power ceases, that also comes to a stand which has its capacity of action from it. But the soul, being self-acting, has no cessation of its being. For it follows, that what is self-acting is ever-acting; and what is ever-acting is unceasing; and what is unceasing is without end; and what is without end is incorruptible; and what is incorruptible is immortal. Consequently, if the soul is self-acting, as has been shown above, it follows that it is incorruptible and immortal, in accordance with the mode of reasoning already expressed.

And further, everything that is not corrupted by the evil proper to itself, is incorruptible; and the evil is opposed to the good, and is consequently its corrupter. For the evil of the body is nothing else than suffering, and disease, and death; just as, on the other hand, its excellency is beauty, life, health, and vigour. If, therefore, the soul is not corrupted by the evil proper to itself, and the evil of the soul is cowardice, intemperance, envy, and the like, and all these things do not despoil it of its powers of life and action, it follows that it is immortal.

vii. whether our soul is rational.

That our soul is rational, one might demonstrate by many arguments. And first of all from the fact that it has discovered the arts that are for the service of our life. For no one could say that these arts were introduced casually and accidentally, as no one could prove them to be idle, and of no utility for our life. If, then, these arts contribute to what is profitable for our life, and if the profitable is commendable, and if the commendable is constituted by reason, and if these things are the discovery of the soul, it follows that our soul is rational.

Again, that our soul is rational, is also proved by the fact that our senses are not sufficient for the apprehension of things. For we are not competent for the knowledge of things by the simple application of the faculty of sensation. But as we do not choose to rest in these without inquiry, that proves that the senses, apart from reason, are felt to be incapable of discriminating between things which are identical in form and similar in colour, though quite distinct in their natures. If, therefore, the senses, apart from reason, give us a false conception of things, we have to consider whether things that are can be apprehended in reality or not. And if they can be apprehended, then the power which enables us to get at them is one different from, and superior to, the senses. And if they are not apprehended, it will not be possible for us at all to apprehend things which are different in their appearance from the reality. But that objects are apprehensible by us, is clear from the fact that we employ each in a way adaptable to utility, and again turn them to what we please. Consequently, if it has been shown that things which are can be apprehended by us, and if the senses, apart from reason, are an erroneous test of objects, it follows that the intellect2 is what distinguishes all things in reason, and discerns things as they are in their actuality. But the intellect is just the rational portion of the soul, and consequently the soul is rational.

Finally, because we do nothing without having first marked it out for ourselves; and as that is nothing else than just the high prerogative of the soul,—for its knowledge of things does not come to it from without, but it rather sets out these things, as it were, with the adornment of its own thoughts, and thus first pictures forth the object in itself, and only thereafter carries it out to actual fact,—and because the high prerogative of the soul is nothing else than the doing of all things with reason, in which respect it also differs from the senses, the soul has thereby been demonstrated to be rational.




(Substance or accident, p. 54.)


This essay is “rather the work of a philosopher than a bishop,” says Dupin. He assigns it to an age when “Aristotle began to be in some reputation,”—a most important concession as to the estimate of this philosopher among the early faithful. We need not wonder that such admissions, honourable to his candour and to his orthodoxy, brought on him the hatred and persecutions of the Jesuits. Even Bossuet thought he went too far, and wrote against him. But, the whole system of Roman dogma being grounded in Aristotle’s physics as well as in his metaphysics, Dupin was not orthodox in the eyes of the society that framed Aristotle into a creed, and made it the creed of the “Roman-Catholic Church.” Note, e.g., “transubstantiation,” which is not true if Aristotle’s theory of accidents, etc., is false. It assumes an exploded science.


(Prerogative of the soul, p. 56.)


If this “Discourse” be worthy of study, it may be profitably contrasted, step by step, with Tertullian’s treatises on kindred subjects. That the early Christians should reason concerning the Soul, the Mind, the immortal Spirit, was natural in itself. But it was also forced upon them by the “philosophers” and the heretics, with whom they daily came into conflict. This is apparent from the Anti-Marcion3 of the great Carthaginian. The annotations upon that treatise, and those On the Soul’s Testimony and On the Soul, may suffice as pointing out the best sources of information on speculative points and their bearings on theology. Compare, however, Athenagoras5 and the great Clement of Alexandria.



on the annunciation to the holy virgin mary.

To-day are strains of praise sung joyfully by the choir of angels, and the light of the advent of Christ shines brightly upon the faithful. To-day is the glad spring-time to us, and Christ the Sun of righteousness has beamed with clear light around us, and has illumined the minds of the faithful. To-day is Adam made anew, and moves in the choir of angels, having winged his way to heaven. To-day is the whole circle of the earth filled with joy, since the sojourn of the Holy Spirit has been realized to men. To-day the grace of God and the hope of the unseen shine through all wonders transcending imagination, and make the mystery that was kept hid from eternity plainly discernible to us. To-day are woven the chaplets of never-fading virtue. To-day, God, willing to crown the sacred heads of those whose pleasure is to hearken to Him, and who delight in His festivals, invites the lovers of unswerving faith as His called and His heirs; and the heavenly kingdom is urgent to summon those who mind celestial things to join the divine service of the incorporeal choirs. To-day is fulfilled the word of David, “Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad. The fields shall be joyful, and all the trees of the wood before the Lord, because He cometh.”4 David thus made mention of the trees; and the Lord’s forerunner also spoke of them as trees6 “that should bring forth fruits meet for repentance,” or rather for the coming of the Lord. But our Lord Jesus Christ promises perpetual gladness to all those who believe on Him. For He says, “I will see you, and ye shall rejoice; and your joy no man taketh from you.”8 To-day is the illustrious and ineffable mystery of Christians, who have willingly set their hope like a seal upon Christ, plainly declared to us. To-day did Gabriel, who stands by God, come to the pure virgin, bearing to her the glad annunciation, “Hail, thou that art highly favoured!10 And she cast in her mind what manner of salutation this might be. And the angel immediately proceeded to say, The Lord is with thee: fear not, Mary; for thou hast found favour with God. Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call12 His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David, and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever: and of His kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? ” Shall I still remain a virgin? is the honour of virginity not then lost by me? And while she was yet in perplexity as to these things, the angel placed shortly before her the summary of his whole message, and said to the pure virgin, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” For what it is, that also shall it be called by all means. Meekly, then, did grace make election of the pure Mary alone out of all generations. For she proved herself prudent truly in all things; neither has any woman been born like her in all generations. She was not like the primeval virgin Eve, who, keeping holiday14 alone in paradise, with thoughtless mind, unguardedly hearkened to the word of the serpent, the author of all evil, and thus became
depraved in the thoughts of her mind; and through her that deceiver, discharging his poison and refusing death with it, brought it into the whole world; and in virtue of this has arisen all the trouble of the saints. But in the holy Virgin alone is the fall of that (first mother) repaired. Yet was not this holy one competent to receive the gift until she had first learned who it was that sent it, and what the gift was, and who it was that conveyed it. While the holy one pondered these things in perplexity with herself, she says to the angel, “Whence hast thou brought to us the blessing in such wise? Out of what treasure-stores is the pearl of the word despatched to us? Whence has the gift acquired its purpose2 toward us? From heaven art thou come, yet thou walkest upon earth! Thou dost exhibit the form of man, and (yet) thou art glorious with dazzling light.” These things the holy one considered with herself, and the archangel solved the difficulty expressed in such reasonings by saying to her: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee. Therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And fear not, Mary; for I am not come to overpower thee with fear, but to repel the subject of fear. Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favour with God. Question not grace by the standard of nature. For grace does not endure to pass under the laws of nature. Thou knowest, O Mary, things kept hid from the patriarchs and prophets. Thou hast learned, O virgin, things which were kept concealed till now from the angels. Thou hast heard, O purest one, things of which even the choir of inspired men4 was never deemed worthy. Moses, and David, and Isaiah, and Daniel, and all the prophets, prophesied of Him; but the manner they knew not. Yet thou alone, O purest virgin, art now made the recipient of things of which all these were kept in ignorance, and thou dost learn the origin of them. For where the Holy Spirit is, there are all things readily ordered. Where divine grace is present, all things are found possible with God. The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee. Therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” And if He is the Son of God, then is He also God, of one form with the Father, and co-eternal; in Him the Father possesses all manifestation;6 He is His image in the person, and through His reflection the (Father’s) glory shines forth. And as from the ever-flowing fountain the streams proceed, so also from this ever-flowing and ever-living fountain does the light of the world proceed, the perennial and the true, namely Christ our God. For it is of this that the prophets have preached: “The streams of the river make glad the city of God.” And not one city only, but all cities; for even as it makes glad one city, so does it also the whole world. Appropriately, therefore, did the angel8 say to Mary the holy virgin first of all, “Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee;”
inasmuch as with her was laid up the full treasure of grace. For of all generations she alone has risen as a virgin pure in body and in spirit; and she alone bears Him who bears all things on His word. Nor is it only the beauty of this holy one in body that calls forth our admiration, but also the innate virtue of her soul. Wherefore also the angel addressed her first with the salutation, “Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee, and no spouse of earth;”
He Himself is with thee who is the Lord of sanctification, the Father of purity, the Author of incorruption, and the Bestower of liberty, the Curator of salvation, and the Steward and Provider of the true peace, who out of the virgin earth made man, and out of man’s side formed Eve in addition. Even this Lord is with thee, and on the other hand also is of thee. Come, therefore, beloved brethren, and let us take up the angelic strain, and to the utmost of our ability return the due meed of praise, saying, “Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee!” For it is thine truly to rejoice, seeing that the grace of God, as he knows, has chosen to dwell with thee—the Lord of glory dwelling with the handmaiden; “He that is fairer than the children of men”11 with the fair virgin; He who sanctifies all things with the undefiled. God is with thee, and with thee also is the perfect man in whom dwells the whole fulness of the Godhead. Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the fountain of the light that lightens all who believe upon Him! Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the rising of the rational Sun, and the undefiled flower of Life! Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the mead13 of sweet savour! Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the ever-blooming vine, that makes glad the souls of those who honour thee? Hail, thou that art highly favoured!—the soil that, all untilled, bears bounteous fruit: for thou hast brought forth in accordance with the law of nature indeed, as it goes with us, and by the set
time of practice, and yet in a way beyond nature, or rather above nature, by reason that God the Word from above took His abode in thee, and formed the new Adam in thy holy womb, and inasmuch as the Holy Ghost gave the power of conception to the holy virgin; and the reality of His body was assumed from her body. And just as the pearl2 comes of the two natures, namely lightning and water, the occult signs of the sea; so also our Lord Jesus Christ proceeds, without fusion and without mutation, from the pure, and chaste, and undefiled, and holy Virgin Mary; perfect in divinity and perfect in humanity, in all things equal to the Father, and in all things consubstantial with us, apart from sin.

Most of the holy fathers, and patriarchs, and prophets desired to see Him, and to be eye-witnesses of Him, but did not attaint hereto. And some of them by visions beheld Him in type, and darkly; others, again, were privileged to hear the divine voice through the medium of the cloud, and were favoured with sights of holy angels; but to Mary the pure virgin alone did the archangel Gabriel manifest himself luminously, bringing her the glad address, “Hail, thou that art highly favoured!” And thus she received the word, and in the due time of the fulfilment according to the body’s course she brought forth the priceless pearl. Come, then, ye too, dearly beloved, and let us chant the melody which has been taught us by the inspired harp of David, and say, “Arise, O Lord, into Thy rest; Thou, and the ark of Thy sanctuary.” For the holy Virgin is in truth an ark, wrought with gold both within and without, that has received the whole treasury of the sanctuary. “Arise, O Lord, into Thy rest.” Arise, O Lord, out of the bosom of the Father, in order that Thou mayest raise up the fallen race of the first-formed man. Setting these things forth,4 David in prophecy said to the rod that was to spring from himself, and to sprout into the flower of that beauteous fruit, “Hearken, O daughter, and see, and incline thine ear, and forget thine own people and thy father’s house; so shall the King greatly desire thy beauty: for He is the Lord thy God, and thou shalt worship Him.” Hearken, O daughter, to the things which were prophesied beforetime of thee, in order that thou mayest also behold the things themselves with the eyes of understanding. Hearken to me while I announce things beforehand to thee, and hearken to the archangel who declares expressly to thee the perfect mysteries. Come then, dearly beloved, and let us fall back on the memory of what has gone before us; and let us glorify, and celebrate, and laud, and bless that rod that has sprung so marvellously from Jesse. For Luke, in the inspired Gospel narratives, delivers a testimony not to Joseph only, but also to Mary the mother of God, and gives this account with reference to the very family and house of David: “For Joseph went up,” says he, “from Galilee, unto a city of Judea which is called Bethlehem, to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child, because they were of the house and family of David. And so it was, that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered; and she brought forth her son, the first-born of the whole creation,6 and wrapped him in swaddling-clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” She wrapped in swaddling-clothes Him who is covered with light as with a garment.8 She wrapped in swaddling-clothes Him who made every creature. She laid in a manger Him who sits above the cherubim, and is praised by myriads of angels. In the manger set apart for dumb brutes did the Word of God repose, in order that He might impart to men, who are really irrational by free choice, the perceptions of true reason. In the board from which cattle eat was laid the heavenly Bread,10 in order that He might provide participation in spiritual sustenance for men who live like the beasts of the earth. Nor was there even room for Him in the inn. He found no place, who by His word established heaven and earth; “for though He was rich, for our sakes He became poor,” and chose extreme humiliation on behalf of the salvation of our nature, in His inherent goodness toward us. He who fulfilled the whole administration12 of unutterable mysteries of the economy in heaven in the bosom of the Father, and in the cave in the arms of the mother, reposed in the manger. Angelic choirs encircled Him, singing of glory in heaven and of peace upon earth. In heaven He was seated at the right hand of the Father; and in the manger He rested, as it were, upon the cherubim. Even there was in truth His cherubic throne; there was His royal seat. Holy of the holy, and alone glorious upon the earth, and holier than the holy, was that wherein Christ our God rested. To Him be glory, honour, and power. together with the Father undefiled, and the altogether holy and quickening Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of the ages. Amen.


on the annunciation to the holy virgin mary.

discourse second.

It is our duty to present to God, like sacrifices, all the festivals and hymnal celebrations; and first of all, the annunciation to the holy mother of God, to wit, the salutation made to her by the angel, “Hail, thou that art highly favoured!” For first of all wisdom and saving doctrine in the New Testament was this salutation, “Hail, thou that art highly favoured!” conveyed to us from the Father of lights. And this address, “highly favoured,”3 embraced the whole nature of men. “Hail, thou that art highly favoured” in the holy conception and in the glorious pregnancy, “I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.”5 And again the Lord, who came for the purpose of accomplishing a saving passion, said, “I will see you, and ye shall rejoice; and your joy no man taketh from you.” And after His resurrection again, by the hand of the holy women, He gave us first of all the salutation “Hail!” And again, the apostle made the announcement in similar terms, saying, “Rejoice evermore: pray without ceasing: in everything give thanks.”8 See, then, dearly beloved, how the Lord has conferred upon us everywhere, and indivisibly, the joy that is beyond conception, and perennial. For since the holy Virgin, in the life of the flesh, was in possession of the incorruptible citizenship, and walked as such in all manner of virtues, and lived a life more excellent than man’s common standard; therefore the Word that cometh from God the Father thought it meet to assume the flesh, and endue the perfect man from her, in order that in the same flesh in which sin entered into the world, and death by sin, sin might be condemned in the flesh, and that the tempter of sin might be overcome in the burying of the holy body, and that therewith also the beginning of the resurrection might be exhibited, and life eternal instituted in the world, and fellowship established for men with God the Father. And what shall we state, or what shall we pass by here? or who shall explain what is incomprehensible in the mystery? But for the present let us fall back upon our subject. Gabriel was sent to the holy virgin; the incorporeal was despatched to her who in the body pursued the incorruptible conversation, and lived in purity and in virtues. And when he came to her, he first addressed her with the salutation, “Hail, thou that art highly favoured! the Lord is with thee.” Hail, thou that art highly favoured! for thou doest what is worthy of joy indeed, since thou hast put on the vesture of purity, and art girt with the cincture of prudence. Hail, thou that art highly favoured! for to thy lot it has fallen to be the vehicle of celestial joy. Hail, thou that art highly favoured! for through thee joy is decreed for the whole creation, and the human race receives again by thee its pristine dignity. Hail, thou that art highly favoured! for in thy arms the Creator of all things shall be carried. And she was perplexed by this word; for she was inexperienced in all the addresses of men, and welcomed quiet, as the mother of prudence and purity; (yet) being a pure, and immaculate, and stainless image10 herself, she shrank not in terror from the angelic apparition, like most of the prophets, as indeed true virginity has a kind of affinity and equality with the angels. For the holy Virgin guarded carefully the torch of virginity, and gave diligent heed that it should not be extinguished or defiled. And as one who is clad in a brilliant robe deems it a matter of great moment that no impurity or filth be suffered to touch it anywhere, so did the holy Mary consider with herself, and said: Does this act of attention imply any deep design or seductive purpose? Shall this word “Hail” prove the cause of trouble to me, as of old the fair promise of being made like God, which was given her by the serpent-devil, proved to our first mother Eve? Has the devil, who is the author of all evil, become transformed again into an angel of light; and bearing a grudge against my espoused husband for his admirable temperance, and having assailed him with some fair-seeming address, and finding himself powerless to overcome a mind so firm, and to deceive the man, has he turned his attack upon me, as one endowed with a more susceptible mind; and is this word “Hail” (Grace be with thee) spoken as the sign of gracelessness hereafter? Is this benediction and salutation uttered in irony? Is there not some poison concealed in the honey? Is it not the address of one who brings good tidings, while the end of the same is to make me the designer’s prey? And how is it that he can thus salute one whom he knows not? These things she pondered in perplexity with herself, and expressed in words. Then again the archangel addressed her with the announcement of a joy which all may believe in, and which shall not be taken away, and said to her, “Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favour
with God.” Shortly hast thou the proof of what has been said. For I not only give yon to understand that there is nothing to fear, but I show you the very key to the absence of all cause for fear. For through me all the heavenly powers hail thee, the holy virgin: yea rather, He Himself, who is Lord of all the heavenly powers and of all creation, has selected thee as the holy one and the wholly fair; and through thy holy, and chaste, and pure, and undefiled womb the enlightening Pearl comes forth for the salvation of all the world: since of all the race of man thou art by birth the holy one, and the more honourable, and the purer, and the more pious than any other; and thou hast a mind whiter than the snow, and a body made purer than any gold, however fine, and a womb such as the object which Ezekiel saw, and which he has described in these terms: “And the likeness of the living creatures upon the head was as the firmament, and as the appearance of the terrible crystal, and the likeness of the throne above them was as the appearance of a sapphire-stone: and above the throne it was as the likeness of a man, and as the appearance of amber; and within it there was, as it were, the likeness of fire round about.”

Clearly, then, did the prophet behold in type Him who was born of the holy virgin, whom thou, O holy virgin, wouldest have had no strength to bear, hadst thou not beamed forth for that time with all that is glorious and virtuous. And with what words of laudation, then, shall we describe her virgin-dignity? With what indications and proclamations of praise shall we celebrate her stainless figure? With what spiritual song or word shall we honour her who is most glorious among the angels? She is planted in the house of God like a fruitful olive that the Holy Spirit overshadowed; and by her means are we called sons and heirs of the kingdom of Christ. She is the ever-blooming paradise of incorruptibility, wherein is planted the tree that giveth life, and that furnisheth to all the fruits of immortality. She is the boast and glory of virgins, and the exultation of mothers. She is the sure support of the believing, and the succourer3 of the pious. She is the vesture of light, and the domicile of virtue. She is the ever-flowing fountain, wherein the water of life sprang and produced the Lord’s incarnate manifestation. She is the monument of righteousness; and all who become lovers of her, and set their affections on virgin-like ingenuousness and purity, shall enjoy the grace of angels. All who keep themselves from wine and intoxication, and from the wanton enjoyments of strong drink, shall be made glad with the products of the life-bearing plant. All who have preserved the lamp of virginity unextinguished shall be privileged to receive the amaranthine crown of immortality. All who have possessed themselves of the stainless robe of temperance shall be received into the mystical bride-chamber of righteousness. All who have come nearer the angelic degree than others shall also enter into the more real enjoyment of their Lord’s beatitude. All who have possessed the illuminating oil of understanding, and the pure incense of conscience, shall inherit the promise of spiritual favour and the spiritual adoption. All who worthily observe the festival of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, the mother of God, acquire as their meet recompense the fuller interest in the message, “Hail, thou that art highly favoured!” It is our duty, therefore, to keep this feast, seeing that it has filled the whole world with joy and gladness. And let us keep it with psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs. Of old did Israel also keep their festival, but then it was with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, of which the prophet says: “I will turn their feasts into afflictions and lamentation, and their joy into shame.”5 But our afflictions our Lord has assured us He will turn into joy by the fruits of penitence. And again, the first covenant maintained the righteous requirements7 of a divine service, as in the case of our forefather Abraham; but these stood in the inflictions of pain in the flesh by circumcision, until the time of the fulfilment. “The law was given to them through Moses” for their discipline; “but grace and truth” have been given to us by Jesus Christ. The beginning of all these blessings to us appeared in the annunciation to Mary, the highly-favoured, in the economy of the Saviour which is worthy of all praise, and in His divine and supramundane instruction. Thence rise the rays of the light of understanding upon us. Thence spring for us the fruits of wisdom and immortality, sending forth the clear pure streams of piety. Thence come to us the brilliant splendours of the treasures of divine knowledge. “For this is life eternal, that we may know the true God, and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent.”9 And again, “Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life.” For on this account the treasure of the knowledge of God is revealed to them who search the divine oracles. That treasure of the inspired Scriptures the Paraclete has unfolded to us this day. And let the tongue of prophecy and the doctrine of apostles be the treasure of wisdom to us; for without the law and the prophets, or the evangelists and the apostles, it is not possible to have the certain hope of salvation. For by the tongue of the holy prophets and apostles our Lord speaks, and God takes pleasure in the words of the saints; not that He requires the spoken address, but that He delights in the good disposition; not that He receives any profit from men, but that He finds a restful satisfaction in the rightly-affected soul of the righteous. For it is not that Christ is magnified by what we say; but as we receive benefits from Him, we proclaim with grateful mind His beneficence to us; not that we can attain to what is worthy therein, but that we give the meet return to the best of our ability. And when the Gospels or the Epistles, therefore, are read, let not your attention centre on the book or on the reader, but on the God who speaks to you from heaven. For the book is but that which is seen, while Christ is the divine subject spoken of. It brings us then the glad tidings of that economy of the Saviour, which is worthy of all praise, to wit, that, though He was God, He became man through kindness toward man, and did not lay aside, indeed, the dignity which was His from all eternity, but assumed the economy that should work salvation. It brings us the glad tidings of that economy of the Saviour worthy of all praise, to wit, that He sojourned with us as a physician for the sick, who did not heal them with potions, but restored them by the inclination of His philanthropy.

It brings us the glad tidings of this economy of the Saviour altogether to be praised, to wit, that to them who had wandered astray the way of salvation was shown, and that to the despairing the grace of salvation was made known, which blesses all in different modes; searching after the erring, enlightening the blinded, giving life to the dead, setting free the slaves, redeeming the captives, and becoming all things to all of us in order to be the true way of salvation to us: and all this He does, not by reason of our good-will toward Him, but in virtue of a benignity that is proper to our Benefactor Himself. For the Saviour did all, not in order that He might acquire virtue Himself, but that He might put us in possession of eternal life. He made man, indeed, after the image of God, and appointed him to live in a paradise of pleasure. But the man being deceived by the devil, and having become a transgressor of the divine commandment, was made subject to the doom of death. Whence, also, those born of him were involved in their father’s liability in virtue of their succession, and had the reckoning of condemnation required of them. “For death reigned from Adam to Moses.” But the Lord, in His benignity toward man, when He saw the creature He Himself had formed now held by the power of death, did not turn away finally from him whom He had made in His own image, but visited him in each generation, and forsook him not; and manifesting Himself first of all among the patriarchs, and then proclaiming Himself in the law, and presenting the likeness of Himself2 in the prophets, He presignified the economy of salvation. When, moreover, the fulness of the times came for His glorious appearing, He sent beforehand the archangel Gabriel to bear the glad tidings to the Virgin Mary. And he came down from the ineffable powers above to the holy Virgin, and addressed her first of all with the salutation, “Hail, thou that art highly favoured.” And when this word, “Hail, thou that art highly favoured,” reached her, in the very moment of her hearing it, the Holy Spirit entered into the undefiled temple of the Virgin, and her mind and her members were sanctified together. And nature stood opposite, and natural intercourse at a distance, beholding with amazement the Lord of nature, in a manner contrary to nature, or rather above nature, doing a miraculous work in the body; and by the very weapons by which the devil strove against us, Christ also saved us, taking to Himself our passible body in order that He might impart the greater grace to the being who was deficient in it. And “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” And appropriately was grace sent to the holy Virgin. For this word also is contained in the oracle of the evangelic history: “And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house and lineage of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary;”4 and so forth. And this was the first month to the holy Virgin. Even as Scripture says in the book of the law: “This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month among the months of the year to you.” “Keep ye the feast of the holy passover to the Lord in all your generations.” it was also the sixth month to Zacharias. And rightly, then, did the holy Virgin prove to be of the family of David, and she had her home in Bethlehem, and was betrothed rightfully to Joseph, in accordance with the laws of relationship. And her espoused husband was her guardian, and possessor also of the untarnished incorruption which was hers. And the name given to the holy Virgin was one that became her exceedingly. For she was called Mary, and that, by interpretation, means illumination. And what shines more brightly that the light of virginity? For this reason also the virtues are called virgins by those who strive rightly to get at their true nature. But if it is so great a blessing to have a virgin heart, how great a boon will it be to have the flesh that cherishes virginity along with the soul!

Thus the holy Virgin, while still in the flesh, maintained the incorruptible life, and received in faith the things which were announced by the archangel. And thereafter she journeyed diligently to her relation Elisabeth in the hill-country. “And she entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth,” in imitation of the angel. “And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leapt with joy in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost.”2 Thus the voice of Mary wrought with power, and filled Elisabeth with the Holy Ghost. And by her tongue, as from an ever-flowing fountain, she sent forth a stream of gracious gifts in the way of prophecy to her relation; and while the feet of her child were bound in the womb, she prepared to dance and leap. And that was the sign of a marvellous jubilation. For wherever she was who was highly favoured, there she filled all things with joy. “And Elisabeth spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? Blessed art thou among women.”4 For thou hast become to women the beginning of the new creation. Thou hast given to us boldness of access into paradise, and thou hast put to flight our ancient woe. For after thee the race of woman shall no more be made the subject of reproach. No more do the successors of Eve fear the ancient curse, or the pangs of childbirth. For Christ, the Redeemer of our race, the Saviour of all nature, the spiritual Adam who has healed the hurt of the creature of earth, cometh forth from thy holy womb. “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.” For He who bears all blessings for us is manifested as thy fruit. This we read in the clear words of her who was barren; but yet more clearly did the holy Virgin herself express this again when she presented to God the song replete with thanksgiving, and acceptance, and divine knowledge; announcing ancient things together with what was new; proclaiming along with things which were of old, things also which belong to the consummation of the ages; and summing up in a short discourse the mysteries of Christ. “And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour,” and so forth. “He hath holpen His servant Israel in remembrance of His mercy, and of the covenant which He established with Abraham and with his seed for ever.”6 Thou seest how the holy Virgin has surpassed even the perfection of the patriarchs, and how she confirms the covenant which was made with Abraham by God, when He said, “This is the covenant which I shall establish between me and thee.” Wherefore He has come and confirmed the covenant with Abraham, having received mystically in Himself the sign of circumcision, and having proved Himself the fulfilment of the law and the prophets. This song of prophecy, therefore, did the holy mother of God render to God, saying, “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour: for He that is mighty hath done to me great things, and holy is His name.” For having made me the mother of God, He has also preserved me a virgin; and by my womb the fulness of all generations is headed up together for sanctification. For He hath blessed every age, both men and women, both young men and youths, and old men. “He hath made strength with His arm,”8 on our behalf, against death and against the devil, having torn the handwriting of our sins. “He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts;” yea, He hath scattered the devil himself, and all the demons that serve under him. For he was overweeningly haughty in his heart, seeing that he dared to say, “I will set my throne above the clouds, and I will be like the Most High.” And now, how He scattered him the prophet has indicated in what follows, where he says, “Yet now thou shalt be brought down to hell,”10 and all thy hosts with thee. For He has overthrown everywhere his altars and the worship of vain gods, and He has prepared for Himself a peculiar people out of the heathen nations. “He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.” In these terms is intimated in brief the extrusion of the Jews and the admission of the Gentiles. For the elders of the Jews and the scribes in the law, and those who were richly privileged with other prerogatives, because they used their riches ill and their power lawlessly, were cast down by Him from every seat, whether of prophecy or of priesthood, whether of legislature or of doctrine, and were stripped of all their ancestral wealth, and of their sacrifices and multitudinous festivals, and of all the honourable privileges of the kingdom. Spoiled of all these boons, as naked fugitives they were cast out into captivity. And in their stead the humble were exalted, namely, the Gentile peoples who hungered after righteousness. For, discovering their own lowliness, and the hunger that pressed upon them for the knowledge of God, they pleaded for the divine word, though it were but for crumbs of the same, like the woman of Canaan; and for this reason they were filled with the riches of the divine mysteries. For the Christ who was born of the Virgin, and who is our God, has given over the whole inheritance of divine blessings to the Gentiles. “He hath holpen His servant Israel.”2 Not any Israel in general, indeed, but His servant, who in very deed maintains the true nobility of Israel. And on this account also did the mother of God call Him servant (Son) and heir. For when He had found the same labouring painfully in the letter and the law, He called him by grace. It is such an Israel, therefore, that He called and hath holpen in remembrance of His mercy. “As He spake to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever.” In these few words is comprehended the whole mystery of the economy. For, with the purpose of saving the race of men, and fulfilling the covenant that was made with our fathers, Christ has once “bowed the heavens and come down.” And thus He shows Himself to us as we are capable of receiving Him, in order that we might have power to see Him, and handle Him, and hear Him when the speaketh. And on this account did God the Word deem it meet to take to Himself the flesh and the perfect humanity by a woman, the holy Virgin; and He was born a man, in order that He might discharge our debt, and fulfil even in Himself4 the ordinances of the covenant made with Abraham, in its rite of circumcision, and all the other legal appointments connected with it. And after she had spoken these words the holy Virgin went to Nazareth; and from that a decree of Cæsar led her to come again to Bethlehem; and so, as proceeding herself from the royal house, she was brought to the royal house of David along with Joseph her espoused husband. And there ensued there the mystery which transcends all wonders,—the Virgin brought forth and bore in her hand Him who bears the whole creation by His word. “And there was no room for them in the inn.” He found no room who founded the whole earth by His word. She nourished with her milk Him who imparts sustenance and life to everything that hath breath. She wrapped Him in swaddling-clothes who binds the whole creation fast with His word. She laid Him in a manger who rides seated upon the cherubim.6 A light from heaven shone round about Him who lighteneth the whole creation. The hosts of heaven attended Him with their doxologies who is glorified in heaven from before all ages. A star with its torch guided them who had come from the distant parts of earth toward Him who is the true Orient. From the East came those who brought gifts to Him who for our sakes became poor. And the holy mother of God kept these words, and pondered them in her heart, like one who was the receptacle of all the mysteries. Thy praise, O most holy Virgin, surpasses all laudation, by reason of the God who received the flesh and was born man of thee. To thee every creature, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth, offers the meet offering of honour. For thou hast been indeed set forth as the true cherubic throne. Thou shinest as the very brightness of light in the high places of the kingdoms of intelligence; where the Father, who is without beginning, and whose power thou hadst overshadowing thee, is glorified; where also the Son is worshipped, whom thou didst bear according to the flesh; and where the Holy Spirit is praised, who effected in thy womb the generation of the mighty King. Through thee, O thou that art highly favoured, is the holy and consubstantial Trinity known in the world. Together with thyself, deem us also worthy to be made partakers of thy perfect grace in Jesus Christ our Lord: with whom, and with the Holy Spirit, be glory to the Father, now and ever, and unto the ages of the ages. Amen.8


on the annunciation to the holy virgin mary.

Again have we the glad tidings of joy, again the announcements of liberty, again the restoration, again the return, again the promise of gladness, again the release from slavery. An angel talks with the Virgin, in order that the serpent may no more have converse with the woman. In the sixth month, it is said, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a virgin espoused to a man. Gabriel was sent to declare the world-wide salvation; Gabriel was sent to bear to Adam the signature of his restoration; Gabriel was sent to a virgin, in order to transform the dishonour of the female sex into honour; Gabriel was sent to
prepare the worthy chamber for the pure spouse; Gabriel was sent to wed the creature with the Creator; Gabriel was sent to the animate palace of the King of the angels; Gabriel was sent to a virgin espoused to Joseph, but preserved for Jesus the Son of God. The incorporeal servant was sent to the virgin undefiled. One free from sin was sent to one that admitted no corruption. The light was sent that should announce the Sun of righteousness. The dawn was sent that should precede the light of the day. Gabriel was sent to proclaim Him who is in the bosom of the Father, and who yet was to be in the arms of the mother. Gabriel was sent to declare Him who is upon the throne, and yet also in the cavern. The subaltern was sent to utter aloud the mystery of the great King; the mystery, I mean, which is discerned by faith, and which cannot be searched out by officious curiosity; the mystery which is to be adored, not weighed; the mystery which is to be taken as a thing divine, and not measured. “In the sixth month Gabriel was sent to a virgin.” What is meant by this sixth month? What? It is the sixth month from the time when Elisabeth received the glad tidings, from the time that she conceived John. And how is this made plain? The archangel himself gives us the interpretation, when he says to the virgin: “Behold, thy relation Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is now the sixth month with her, who was called barren.” In the sixth month—that is evidently, therefore, the sixth month of the conception of John. For it was meet that the subaltern should go before; it was meet that the attendant should precede; it was meet that the herald of the Lord’s coming should prepare the way for Him. In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent to a virgin espoused to a man; espoused, not united; espoused, yet kept intact. And for what purpose was she espoused? In order that the spoiler might not learn the mystery prematurely. For that the King was to come by a virgin, was a fact known to the wicked one. For he too heard these words of Isaiah: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son.”2 And on every occasion, consequently, he kept watch upon the virgin’s words, in order that, whenever this mystery should be fulfilled, he might prepare her dishonour. Wherefore the Lord came by an espoused virgin, in order to elude the notice of the wicked one; for one who was espoused was pledged in fine to be her husband’s. “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph.” Hear what the prophet says about this man and the virgin: “This book that is sealed shall be delivered to a man that is learned.” What is meant by this sealed book, but just the virgin undefiled? From whom is this to be given? From the priests evidently. And to whom? To the artisan Joseph. As, then, the priests espoused Mary to Joseph as to a prudent husband, and committed her to his care in expectation of the time of marriage, and as it behoved him then on obtaining her to keep the virgin untouched, this was announced by the prophet long before, when he said: “This book that is sealed shall be delivered to a man that is learned.” And that man will say, I cannot read it. But why canst thou not read it, O Joseph? I cannot read it, he says, because the book is sealed. For whom, then, is it preserved? It is preserved as a place of sojourn for the Maker of the universe. But let us return to our immediate subject. In the sixth month Gabriel was sent to a virgin—he who received, indeed, such injunctions as these: “Come hither now, archangel, and become the minister of a dread mystery which has been kept hid, and be thou the agent in the miracle. I am moved by my compassions to descend to earth in order to recover the lost Adam. Sin hath made him decay who was made in my image, and hath corrupted the work of my hands, and hath obscured the beauty which I formed. The wolf devours my nursling, the home of paradise is desolate, the tree of life is guarded by the flaming sword, the location of enjoyments is closed. My pity is evoked for the object of this enmity, and I desire to seize the enemy. Yet I wish to keep this mystery, which I confide to thee alone, still hid from all the powers of heaven. Go thou, therefore, to the Virgin Mary. Pass thou on to that animate city whereof the prophet spake in these words: ‘Glorious things were spoken of thee, O city of God.’4 Proceed, then, to my rational paradise; proceed to the gate of the east; proceed to the place of sojourn that is worthy of my word; proceed to that second heaven on earth; proceed to the light cloud, and announce to it the shower of my coming; proceed to the sanctuary prepared for me; proceed to the hall of the incarnation; proceed to the pure chamber of my generation after the flesh. Speak in the ears of my rational ark, so as to prepare for me the accesses of hearing. But neither disturb nor vex the soul of the virgin. Manifest thyself in a manner befitting that sanctuary, and hail her first with the voice of gladness. And address Mary with the salutation, ‘Hail, thou that art highly favoured,’ that I may show compassion for Eve in her depravation.” The archangel heard these things, and considered them within himself, as was reasonable,
and said: “Strange is this matter; passing comprehension is this thing that is spoken. He who is the object of dread to the cherubim, He who cannot be looked upon by the seraphim, He who is incomprehensible to all the heavenly powers, does He give the assurance of His connection with a maiden? does He announce His own personal coming? yea more, does He hold out an access by hearing? and is He who condemned Eve, urgent to put such honour upon her daughter? For He says: ‘So as to prepare for me the accesses of hearing.’ But can the womb contain Him who cannot be contained in space? Truly this is a dread mystery.” While the angel is indulging such reflections, the Lord says to Him: “Why art thou troubled and perplexed, O Gabriel? Hast thou not already been sent by me to Zacharias the priest? Hast thou not conveyed to him the glad tidings of the nativity of John? Didst thou not inflict upon the incredulous priest the penalty of speechlessness? Didst thou not punish the aged man with dumbness? Didst thou not make thy declaration, and I confirmed it? And has not the actual fact followed upon thy announcement of good? Did not the barren woman conceive? Did not the womb obey the word? Did not the malady of sterility depart? Did not the inert disposition of nature take to flight? Is not she now one that shows fruitfulness, who before was never pregnant? Can anything be impossible with me, the Creator of all? Wherefore, then, art thou tossed with doubt?”
What is the angel’s answer to this? “O Lord,” he says, “to remedy the defects of nature, to do away with the blast of evils, to recall the dead members to the power of life, to enjoin on nature the potency of generation, to remove barrenness in the case of members that have passed the common limit, to change the old and withered stalk into the appearance of verdant vigour, to set forth the fruitless soil suddenly as the producer of sheaves of corn,—to do all this is a work which, as it is ever the case, demands Thy power. And Sarah is a witness thereto, and along with her3 also Rebecca, and again Anna, who all, though bound by the dread ill of barrenness, were afterwards gifted by Thee with deliverance from that malady. But that a virgin should bring forth, without knowledge of a man, is something that goes beyond all the laws of nature; and dost Thou yet announce Thy coming to the maiden? The bounds of heaven and earth do not contain Thee, and how shall the womb of a virgin contain Thee?” And the Lord says: “How did the tent of Abraham contain me? ” And the angel says: “As there were there the deeps of hospitality, O Lord, Thou didst show Thyself there to Abraham at the door of the tent, and didst pass quickly by it, as He who filleth all things. But how can Mary sustain the fire of the divinity? Thy throne blazes with the illumination of its splendour, and can the virgin receive Thee without being consumed? ” Then the Lord says: “Yea surely, if the fire in the wilderness injured the bush, my coming will indeed also injure Mary; but if that fire which served as the adumbration of the advent of the fire of divinity from heaven fertilized the bush, and did not burn it, what wilt thou say of the Truth that descends not in a flame of fire, but in the form of rain? “5 Thereupon the angel set himself to carry out the commission given him, and repaired to the Virgin, and addressed her with a loud voice, saying: “Hail, thou that are highly favoured! the Lord is with thee. No longer shalt the devil be against thee; for where of old that adversary inflicted the wound, there now first of all does the Physician apply the salve of deliverance. Where death came forth, there has life now prepared its entrance. By a woman came the flood of our ills, and by a woman also our blessings have their spring. Hail, thou that are highly favoured! Be not thou ashamed, as if thou wert the cause of our condemnation. For thou art made the mother of Him who is at once Judge and Redeemer. Hail, thou stainless mother of the Bridegroom of a world bereft! Hail, thou that hast sunk in thy womb the death (that came) of the mother (Eve)! Hail, thou animate temple of God! Hail, thou equal7 home of heaven and earth alike! Hail, thou amplest receptacle of the illimitable nature!” But as these things are so, through her has come for the sick the Physician; for them that sit in darkness, the Sun of righteousness; for all that are tossed and tempest-beaten, the Anchor and the Port undisturbed by storm. For the servants in irreconcilable enmity has been born the Lord; and One has sojourned with us to be the bond of peace and the Redeemer of those led captive, and to be the peace for those involved in hostility. For He is our peace; and of that peace may it be granted that all we may receive the enjoyment, by the grace and kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ; to whom be the glory, honour, and power, now and ever, and unto all the ages of the ages. Amen.


on the holy theophany, or on christ’s baptism.

O ye who are the friends of Christ, and the friends of the stranger, and the friends of the brethren, receive in kindness my speech to-day, and open your ears like the doors of hearing, and admit within them my discourse, and accept from me this saving proclamation of the baptism of Christ, which took place in the river Jordan, in order that your loving desires may be quickened after the Lord, who has done so much for us in the way of condescension. For even though the festival of the Epiphany of the Saviour is past, the grace of the same yet abides with us through all. Let us therefore enjoy it with insatiable minds; for insatiate desire is a good thing in the case of what pertains to salvation—yea, it is a good thing. Come therefore, all of us, from Galilee to Judea, and let us go forth with Christ; for blessed is he who journeys in such company on the way of life. Come, and with the feet of thought let us make for the Jordan, and see John the Baptist as he baptizes One who needs no baptism, and yet submits to the rite in order that He may bestow freely upon us the grace of baptism. Come, let us view the image of our regeneration, as it is emblematically presented in these waters. “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.”3 O how vast is the humility of the Lord! O how vast His condescension! The King of the heavens hastened to John, His own forerunner, without setting in motion the camps of His angels, without despatching beforehand the incorporeal powers as His precursors; but presenting Himself in utmost simplicity, in soldier-like form,5 He comes up to His own subaltern. And He approached him as one of the multitude, and humbled Himself among the captives though He was the Redeemer, and ranged Himself with those under judgment though He was the Judge, and joined Himself with the lost sheep though He was the Good Shepherd who on account of the straying sheep came down from heaven, and yet did not forsake His heavens, and Was mingled with the tares though He was that heavenly grain that springs unsown. And when the Baptist John then saw Him, recognising Him whom before in his mother’s womb he had recognised and worshipped, and discerning clearly that this was He on whose account, in a manner surpassing the natural time, he had leaped in the womb of his mother, in violation of the limits of nature, he drew his right hand within his double cloak, and bowing his head like a servant full of love to his master, addressed Him in these words: I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me? What is this Thou doest, my Lord? Why dost Thou reverse the order of things? Why seekest Thou along with the servants, at the hand of Thy servant, the things that are proper to servants? Why dost Thou desire to receive what Thou requirest not? Why dost Thou burden me, Thy servitor, with Thy mighty condescension? I have need to be baptized of Thee, but Thou hast no need to be baptized of me. The less is blessed by the greater, and the greater is not blessed and sanctified by the less. The light is kindled by the sun, and the sun is not made to shine by the rush-lamp. The clay is wrought by the potter, and the potter is not moulded by the clay. The creature is made anew by the Creator, and the Creator is not restored by the creature. The infirm is healed by the physician, and the physician is not cured by the infirm. The poor man receives contributions from the rich, and the rich borrow not from the poor. I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me? Can I be ignorant who Thou art, and from what source Thou hast Thy light, and whence Thou art come? Or, because Thou hast been born even as I have been,7 am I, then, to deny the greatness of Thy divinity? Or, because Thou hast condescended so far to me as to have approached my body, and dost bear me wholly in Thyself in order to effect the salvation of the whole man, am I, on account of that body of Thine which is seen, to overlook that divinity of Thine which is only apprehended? Or, because on behalf of my salvation Thou hast taken to Thyself the offering of my first-fruits, am I to ignore the fact that Thou “coverest Thyself with light as with a garment? ” Or, because Thou wearest the flesh that is related to me, and dost show Thyself to men as they are able to see Thee, am I to forget the brightness of Thy glorious divinity? Or, because I see my own form in Thee, am I to reason against Thy divine substance, which is invisible and incomprehensible? I know Thee, O Lord; I know Thee clearly. I know Thee, since I have been taught by Thee; for no one can recognise Thee, unless He enjoys Thine illumination. I know Thee, O Lord, clearly; for I saw Thee spiritually before I beheld this light. When Thou wert altogether in the incorporeal bosom of the heavenly Father, Thou wert also altogether in the womb of Thy handmaid and mother; and I, though held in the womb of Elisabeth by nature as in a prison, and bound with the indissoluble
bonds of the children unborn, leaped and celebrated Thy birth with anticipative rejoicings. Shall I then, who gave intimation of Thy sojourn on earth before Thy birth, fail to apprehend Thy coming after Thy birth? Shall I, who in the womb was a teacher of Thy coming, be now a child in understanding in view of perfect knowledge? But I cannot but worship Thee, who art adored by the whole creation; I cannot but proclaim Thee, of whom heaven gave the indication by the star, and for whom earth offered a kind reception by the wise men, while the choirs of angels also praised Thee in joy over Thy condescension to us, and the shepherds who kept watch by night hymned Thee as the Chief Shepherd of the rational sheep. I cannot keep silence while Thou art present, for I am a voice; yea, I am the voice, as it is said, of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord. I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me? I was born, and thereby removed the barrenness of the mother that bore me; and while still a babe I became the healer of my father’s speechlessness, having received of Thee from my childhood the gift of the miraculous. But Thou, being born of the Virgin Mary, as Thou didst will, and as Thou alone dost know, didst not do away with her virginity; but Thou didst keep it, and didst simply gift her with the name of mother: and neither did her virginity preclude Thy birth, nor did Thy birth injure her virginity. But these two things, so utterly opposite—bearing and virginity—harmonized with one intent; for such a thing abides possible with Thee, the Framer of nature. I am, but a man, and am a partaker of the divine grace; but Thou art God, and also man to the same effect: for Thou art by nature man’s friend. I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me? Thou who wast in the beginning, and wast with God, and wast God;2 Thou who art the brightness of the Father’s glory; Thou who art the perfect image of the perfect Father;4 Thou who art the true light that lighteneth every man that cometh into the world; Thou who wast in the world, and didst come where Thou wast; Thou who wast made flesh, and yet wast not changed into the flesh; Thou who didst dwell among us, and didst manifest Thyself to Thy servants in the form of a servant; Thou who didst bridge earth and heaven together by Thy holy name,—comest Thou to me? One so great to such a one as I am? The King to the forerunner? The Lord to the servant? But though Thou wast not ashamed to be born in the lowly measures of humanity, yet I have no ability to pass the measures of nature. I know how great is the measure of difference between earth and the Creator. I know how great is the distinction between the clay and the potter. I know how vast is the superiority possessed by Thee, who art the Sun of righteousness, over me who am but the torch of Thy grace. Even though Thou art compassed with the pure cloud of the body, I can still recognise Thy lordship. I acknowledge my own servitude, I proclaim Thy glorious greatness, I recognise Thy perfect lordship, I recognise my own perfect insignificance, I am not worthy to unloose the latchets of Thy shoes;6 and how shall I dare to touch Thy stainless head? How can I stretch out the right hand upon Thee, who didst stretch out the heavens like a curtain, and didst set the earth above the waters?8 How shall I spread those menial hands of mine upon Thy head? How shall I wash Thee, who art undefiled and sinless? How shall I enlighten the light? What manner of prayer shall I offer up over Thee, who dost receive the prayers even of those who are ignorant of Thee?

When I baptize others, I baptize into Thy name, in order that they may believe on Thee, who comest with glory; but when I baptize Thee, of whom shall I make mention? and into whose name shall I baptize Thee? Into that of the Father? But Thou hast the Father altogether in Thyself, and Thou art altogether in the Father. Or into that of the Son? But beside Thee there is no other Son of God by nature. Or into that of the Holy Spirit? But He is ever together with Thee, as being of one substance, and of one will, and of one judgment, and of one power, and of one honour with Thee; and He receives, along with Thee, the same adoration from all. Wherefore, O Lord, baptize Thou me, if Thou pleasest; baptize me, the Baptist. Regenerate one whom Thou didst cause to be generated. I Extend Thy dread right hand, which Thou hast prepared for Thyself, and crown my head by Thy touch, in order that I may run the course before Thy kingdom, crowned like a forerunner, and diligently announce the good tidings to the sinners, addressing them with this earnest call: “Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world!” O river Jordan, accompany me in the joyous choir, and leap with me, and stir thy waters rhythmically, as in the movements of the dance; for thy Maker stands by thee in the body. Once of old didst thou see Israel pass through thee, and thou didst divide thy floods, and didst wait in expectation of the passage of the people; but now divide thyself more decidedly, and flow more easily, and embrace the stainless limbs of Him who at that ancient time did convey the Jews through thee. Ye mountains and hills, ye valleys and torrents, ye seas and rivers, bless the Lord, who has come upon the river Jordan; for through these streams He transmits sanctification to all streams. And Jesus answered and said to him: Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.2 Suffer it to be so now; grant the favour of silence, O Baptist, to the season of my economy. Learn to will whatever is my will. Learn to minister to me in those things on which I am bent, and do not pry curiously into all that I wish to do. Suffer it to be so now: do not yet proclaim my divinity; do not yet herald my kingdom with thy lips, in order that the tyrant may not learn the fact and give up the counsel he has formed with respect to me. Permit the devil to come upon me, and enter the conflict with me as though I were but a common man, and receive thus his mortal wound. Permit me to fulfil the object for which I have come to earth. It is a mystery that is being gone through this day in the Jordan. My mysteries are for myself and my own. There is a mystery here, not for the fulfilling of my own need, but for the designing of a remedy for those who have been wounded. There is a mystery, which gives in these waters the representation of the heavenly streams of the regeneration of men. Suffer it to be so now: when thou seest me doing what seemeth to me good among the works of my hands, in a manner befitting divinity, then attune thy praises to the acts accomplished. When thou seest me cleansing the lepers, then proclaim me as the framer of nature. When thou seest me make the lame ready runners, then with quickened pace do thou also prepare thy tongue to praise me. When thou seest me cast out demons, then hail my kingdom with adoration. When thou seest me raise the dead from their graves by my word, then, in concert with those thus raised, glorify me as the Prince of Life. When thou seest me on the Father’s right hand, then acknowledge me to be divine, as the equal of the Father and the Holy Spirit, on the throne, and in eternity, and in honour. Suffer it to be so now; for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. I am the Lawgiver, and the Son of the Lawgiver; and it becometh me first to pass through all that is established, and then to set forth everywhere the intimations of my free gift. It becometh me to fulfil the law, and then to bestow grace. It becometh me to adduce the shadow, and then the reality. It becometh me to finish the old covenant, and then to dictate the new, and to write it on the hearts of men, and to subscribe it with my blood, and to seal it with my Spirit. It becometh me to ascend the cross, and to be pierced with its nails, and to suffer after the manner of that nature which is capable of suffering, and to heal sufferings by my suffering, and by the tree to cure the wound that was inflicted upon men by the medium of a tree. It becometh me to descend even into the very depths of the grave, on behalf of the dead who are detained there. It becometh me, by my three days’ dissolution in the flesh, to destroy the power of the ancient enemy, death. It becometh me to kindle the torch of my body for those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. It becometh me to ascend in the flesh to that place where I am in my divinity. It becometh me to introduce to the Father the Adam reigning in me. It becometh me to accomplish these things, for on account of these things I have taken my position with the works of my hands. It becometh me to be baptized with this baptism for the present, and afterwards to bestow the baptism of the consubstantial Trinity upon all men. Lend me, therefore, O Baptist, thy right hand for the present economy, even as Mary lent her womb for my birth. Immerse me in the streams of Jordan, even as she who bore me wrapped me in children’s swaddling-clothes. Grant me thy baptism even as the Virgin granted me her milk. Lay hold of this head of mine, which the seraphim revere. With thy right hand lay hold of this head, that is related to thyself in kinship. Lay hold of this head, which nature has made to be touched. Lay hold of this head, which for this very purpose has been formed by myself and my Father. Lay hold of this head of mine, which, if one does lay hold of it in piety, will save him from ever suffering shipwreck. Baptize me, who am destined to baptize those who believe on me with water, and with the Spirit, and with fire: with water, capable of washing away the defilement of sins; with the Spirit, capable of making the earthly spiritual; with fire, naturally fitted to consume the thorns of transgressions. On hearing these words, the Baptist directed his mind to the object of the salvation,4 and comprehended the mystery which he had received, and discharged the divine command; for he was at once pious and ready to obey. And stretching forth slowly his right hand, which seemed both to tremble and to rejoice, he baptized the Lord. Then the Jews who were present, with those in the vicinity and those from a distance, reasoned together, and spake thus with themselves and with each other: Was it, then, without cause that we imagined John to be superior to Jesus? Was it without cause that we considered the former to be greater than the latter? Does not this very baptism attest the Baptist’s pre-eminence? Is not he who baptizeth presented as the superior, and he who is baptized as the inferior? But while they, in their ignorance of the mystery of the economy, babbled in such wise with each other, He who alone is Lord, and by nature the Father of the Only-begotten, He who alone knoweth perfectly Him whom He alone in passionless fashion begat, to correct the erroneous imaginations of the Jews, opened the gates of the heavens, and sent down the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, lighting upon the head of Jesus, pointing out thereby the new Noah, yea the maker of Noah, and the good pilot of the nature which is in shipwreck. And He Himself calls with clear voice out of heaven, and says: “This is my beloved Son,” —the Jesus there, namely, and not the John; the one baptized, and not the one baptizing; He who was begotten of me before all periods of time and not he who was begotten of Zacharias; He who was born of Mary after the flesh, and not he who was brought forth by Elisabeth beyond all expectation; He who was the fruit of the virginity yet preserved intact, and not he who was the shoot from a sterility removed; He who has had His conversation with you, and not he who was brought up in the wilderness. This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: my Son, of the same substance with myself, and not of a different; of one substance with me according to what is unseen, and of one substance with you according to what is seen, yet without sin. This is He who along with me made man. This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. This Son of mine and this son of Mary are not two distinct persons; but this is my beloved Son,—this one who is both seen with the eye and apprehended with the mind. This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear Him. If He shall say, I and my Father are one,2 hear Him. If He shall say, He that hath seen me hath seen the Father, hear Him. If He shall say, He that hath sent me is greater than I,4 adapt the voice to the economy. If He shall say, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? answer ye Him thus:

Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. By these words, as they were sent from the Father out of heaven in thunder-form, the race of men was enlightened: they apprehended the difference between the Creator and the creature, between the King and the soldier (subject), between the Worker and the work; and being strengthened in faith, they drew near through the baptism of John to Christ, our true God, who baptizeth with the Spirit and with fire. To Him be glory, and to the Father, and to the most holy and quickening Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of the ages. Amen.


I Can do no better than follow Dupin as to the authorship of these Homilies. He thinks the style of Proclus (of Constantinople) may be detected in them, though the fourth is beyond him for eloquence, and has even been thought worthy of St. Chrysostom. It was produced after Nicæa, and probably after Ephesus, its somewhat exaggerated praises of the θεοτόκο being unusual at an earlier period. The titles of these Homilies are the work of much later editors; and interpolations probably occur frequently, by the same hands.


Grant thy blessing, Lord

It was my desire to be silent, and not to make a public display of the rustic rudeness of my tongue. For silence is a matter of great consequence when one’s speech is mean.3 And to refrain from utterance is indeed an admirable thing, where there is lack of training; and verily he is the highest philosopher who knows how to cover his ignorance by abstinence from public address. Knowing, therefore, the feebleness of tongue proper to me, I should have preferred such a course. Nevertheless the spectacle of the onlookers impels me to speak. Since, then, this solemnity is a glorious one among our festivals, and the spectators form a crowded gathering, and our assembly is one of elevated fervour in the faith, I shall face the task of commencing an address with confidence. And this I may attempt all the more boldly, since the Father5 requests me, and the Church is with me, and the sainted martyrs with this object strengthen what is weak in me. For these have inspired aged men to accomplish with much love a long course, and constrained them to support their failing steps by the staff of the word; and they have stimulated women to finish their course like the young men, and have brought to this, too, those of tender years, yea, even creeping children. In this wise have the martyrs shown their power, leaping with joy in the presence of death, laughing at the sword, making sport of the wrath of princes, grasping at death as the producer of deathlessness, making victory their own by their fall, through the body taking their leap to heaven, suffering their members to be scattered abroad in order that they might hold7 their souls, and, bursting the bars of life, that they might open the. gates of heaven. And if any one believes not that death is abolished, that Hades is trodden under foot, that the chains thereof are broken, that the tyrant is bound, let him look on the martyrs disporting themselves9 in the presence of death, and taking up the jubilant strain of the victory of Christ. O the marvel! Since the hour when Christ despoiled Hades, men have danced in triumph over death. “O death, where is thy sting! O grave, where is thy victory?” Hades and the devil have been despoiled, and stripped of their ancient armour, and cast out of their peculiar power. And even as Goliath had his head cut off with his own sword, so also is the devil, who has been the father of death, put to rout through death; and he finds that the selfsame thing which he was wont to use as the ready weapon of his deceit, has become the mighty instrument of his own destruction. Yea, if we may so speak, casting his hook at the Godhead, and seizing the wonted enjoyment of the baited pleasure, he is himself manifestly caught while he deems himself the captor, and discovers that in place of the man he has touched the God. By reason thereof do the martyrs leap upon the head of the dragon, and despise every species of torment. For since the second Adam has brought up the first Adam out of the deeps of Hades, as Jonah was delivered out of the whale, and has set forth him who was deceived as a citizen of heaven to the shame of the deceiver, the gates of Hades have been shut, and the gates of heaven have been opened, so as to offer an unimpeded entrance to those who rise thither in faith. In olden time Jacob beheld a ladder erected reaching to heaven, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon it. But now, having been made man for man’s sake, He who is the Friend of man has crushed with the foot of His divinity him who is the enemy of man, and has borne up the man with the hand of His Christhood,11 and has made the trackless ether to be trodden by the feet of man. Then the angels were ascending and descending; but now the Angel of the great counsel neither ascendeth nor descendeth: for whence or where shall He change His position, who is present everywhere, and filleth all things, and holds in His hand the ends. of the world? Once, indeed, He descended, and once He ascended,—not, however, through any change of nature, but only in the condescension2 of His philanthropic Christhood; and He is seated as the Word with the Father, and as the Word He dwells in the womb, and as the Word He is found everywhere, and is never separated from the God of the universe. Aforetime did the devil deride the nature of man with great laughter, and he has had his joy over the times of our calamity as his festal-days. But the laughter is only a three days’ pleasure, while the wailing is eternal; and his great laughter has prepared for him a greater wailing and ceaseless tears, and inconsolable weeping, and a sword in his heart. This sword did our Leader forge against the enemy with fire in the virgin furnace, in such wise and after such fashion as He willed, and gave it its point by the energy of His invincible divinity, and dipped it in the water of an undefiled baptism, and sharpened it by sufferings without passion in them, and made it bright by the mystical resurrection; and herewith by Himself He put to death the vengeful adversary, together with his whole host. What manner of word, therefore, will express our joy or his misery? For he who was once an archangel is now a devil; he who once lived in heaven is now seen crawling like a serpent upon earth; he who once was jubilant with the cherubim, is now shut up in pain in the guard-house of swine; and him, too, in fine, shall we put to rout if we mind those things which are contrary to his choice, by the grace and kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory and the power unto the ages of the ages. Amen.



The feast of All Saints is very ancient in the Oriental churches, and is assigned to the Octave of Pentecost, the Anglican Trinity Sunday. See Neale, Eastern Church, vol. ii. pp. 734, 753. In the West it was instituted when Boniface III. (who accepted from the Emperor Phocas the title of “Universal Bishop,” a.d. 607) turned the Pantheon into a church, and with a sort of practical epigram called it the church of” All the Saints.” It was a local festival until the ninth century, when the Emperor Louis the Pious introduced it into France and Germany. Thence it came to England. It falls on the 1st of November.

The gates of the church at Rome are the same which once opened for the worship of “all the gods.” They are of massive bronze, and are among the most interesting of the antiquities of the city.

The modern gates of St. Peter’s, at Rome, are offensive copies of heathen mythology; and among the subjects there represented, is the shameful tale of Leda,—a symbol of the taste of Leo X.


(CHAPTER VI Matthew 6:22, 23.)

“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But it thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!”

The single eye is the love unfeigned; for when the body is enlightened by it, it sets forth through the medium of the outer members only things which are perfectly correspondent with the inner thoughts. But the evil eye is the pretended love, which is also called hypocrisy, by which the whole body of the man is made darkness. We have to consider that deeds meet only for darkness may be within the man, while through the outer members he may produce words that seem to be of the light: for there are those who are in reality wolves, though they may be covered with sheep’s clothing. Such are they who wash only the outside of the cup and platter, and do not understand that, unless the inside of these things is cleansed, the outside itself cannot be made pure. Wherefore, in manifest confutation of such persons, the Saviour says: “If the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” That is to say, if the love which seems to thee to be light is really a work meet for darkness, by reason of some hypocrisy concealed in thee, what must be thy patent transgressions!


[translated by the rev. s. d. f. salmond, m.a.]

Introductory Notice


Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria

[a.d. 200–265.] The great Origen had twin children in Gregory and Dionysius. Their lives ran in parallel lines, and are said to have ended on the same day; and nobly did they sustain the dignity and orthodoxy of the pre-eminent school which was soon to see its bright peculiar star in Athanasius. Dionysius is supposed to have been a native of Alexandria, of heathen parentage, and of a family possessed of wealth and honourable rank. Early in life he seems to have been brought under the influence of certain presbyters; and a voice seemed to speak to him in a vision encouraging him to “prove all things, and hold fast that which is good.” We find him at the feet of Origen a diligent pupil, and afterwards, as a presbyter, succeeding Heraclas (a.d. 232) as the head of the school, sitting in Origen’s seat. For about fifteen years he further illuminated this illustrious chair; and then, in ripe years, about a.d. 246, he succeeded Heraclas again as bishop of Alexandria, at that time, beyond all comparison, the greatest and the most powerful See of Christendom.

For a year or two he fed his flock in peace; but then troubles broke in upon his people, even under the kindly reign of Philip. Things grew worse, till under Decius the eighth persecution was let loose throughout the empire. Like Cyprian, Dionysius retired for a season, upon like considerations, but not until he had been arrested and providentially delivered from death in a singular manner. On returning to his work, he found the Church greatly disturbed by the questions concerning the lapsed, with which Cyprian’s history has made us acquainted. In the letter to Fabius will be found details of the earlier persecution, and in that against Germanus are interesting facts of his own experience. The Epistle to the Alexandrians contains very full particulars of the pestilence which succeeded these calamities; and it is especially noteworthy as contrasting the humanity and benevolence of Christians with the cruel and cowardly indifference of the pagans towards the dying and the dead. Seditions and tumults followed, on which we have our author’s reflections in the Epistle to Hierax, with not a few animated touches of description concerning the condition of Alexandria after such desolations. In the affair of Cyprian with Stephen he stood by the great Carthaginian doctor, and maintained the positions expressed in the letter of Firmilian. Wars, pestilences, and the irruptions of barbarians, make up the history of the residue of the period, through which Dionysius was found a “burning and a shining light” to the Church; his great influence extending throughout the East, and to the West also. I may leave the residue of his story to the introductory remarks of the translator, and to his valuable annotations, to which it will not be necessary for me to add many of my own. But I must find room to express my admiration for his character, which was never found wanting amid many terrible trials of character and of faith itself. His pen was never idle; his learning and knowledge of the Scriptures are apparent, even in the fragments that have come down to us; his fidelity to the traditions received from Origen and Heraclas are not less conspicuous; and in all his dealings with his brethren of the East and West there reigns over his conduct that pure spirit of the Gospel which proves that the virgin-age of the Church was not yet of the past. A beautiful moderation and breadth of sympathy distinguish his episcopal utterances; and, great as was his diocese, he seems equally devoid of prelatic pride and of that wicked ambition which too soon after the martyr-ages proved the bane of the Church’s existence. The following is the


For our knowledge of the career of this illustrious disciple of Origen we are indebted chiefly to Eusebius, in the sixth and seventh books of his Historia Ecclesiastica, and in the fourteenth book of his Præparatio Evangelica. He appears to have been the son of pagan parents; but after studying the doctrines of various of the schools of philosophy, and coming under the influence of Origen, to whom he had attached himself as a pupil, he was led to embrace the Christian faith. This step was taken at an early period, and, as he informs us, only after free examination and careful inquiry into the great systems of heathen belief. He was made a presbyter in Alexandria after this decision; and on the elevation of Heraclas to the bishopric of that city, Dionysius succeeded him in the presidency of the catechetical school there about a.d. 232. After holding that position for some fifteen years Heraclas died, and Dionysius was again chosen to be his successor; and ascending the episcopal throne of Alexandria about a.d. 247 or 248, he retained that See till his death in the year 265. The period of his activity as bishop was a time of great suffering and continuous anxiety; and between the terrors of persecution on the one hand, and the cares of controversy on the other, he found little repose in his office. During the Decian persecution he was arrested and hurried off by the soldiers to a small town named Taposiris, lying between Alexandria and Canopus. But he was rescued from the peril of that seizure in a remarkably providential manner, by a sudden rising of the people of the rural district through which he was carried. Again, however, he was called to suffer, and that more severely, when the persecution under Valerian broke out in the year 257. On making open confession of his faith on this occasion he was banished, at a time when he was seriously ill, to Cephro, a wild and barren district in Libya; and not until he had spent two or three years in exile there was he enabled to return to Alexandria, in virtue of the edict of Gallienus. At various times he had to cope, too, with the miseries of pestilence and famine and civil conflicts in the seat of his bishopric. In the many ecclesiastical difficulties of his age he was also led to take a prominent part. When the keen contest was waged on the subject of the rebaptism of recovered heretics about the year 256, the matter in dispute was referred by both parties to his judgment, and he composed several valuable writings on the question. Then he was induced to enter the lists with the Sabellians, and in the course of a lengthened controversy did much good service against their tenets. The uncompromising energy of his opposition to that sect carried him, however, beyond the bounds of prudence, so that he himself gave expression to opinions not easily reconcilable with the common orthodox doctrine. For these he was called to account by Dionysius bishop of Rome; and when a synod had been summoned to consider the case, he promptly and humbly acknowledged the error into which his precipitate zeal had drawn him. Once more, he was urged to give his help in the difficulty with Paul of Samosata. But as the burden of years and infirmities made it impossible for him to attend the synod convened at Antioch in 265 to deal with that troublesome heresiarch, he sent his opinion on the subject of discussion in a letter to the council, and died soon after, towards the close of the same year. The responsible duties of his bishopric had been discharged with singular faithfulness and patience throughout the seventeen eventful years during which he occupied the office. Among the ancients he was held in the highest esteem both for personal worth and for literary usefulness; and it is related that there was a church dedicated to him in Alexandria. One feature that appears very prominently in his character, is the spirit of independent investigation which possessed him. It was only after candid examination of the current philosophies that he was induced to become a Christian; and after his adoption of the faith, he kept himself abreast of all the controversies of the time, and perused with an impartial mind the works of the great heretics. He acted on this principle through his whole course as a teacher, pronouncing against such writings only when he had made himself familiar with their contents, and saw how to refute them. And we are told in Eusebius, that when a certain presbyter once remonstrated with him on this subject, and warned him of the injury he might do to his own soul by habituating himself to the perusal of these heterodox productions, Dionysius was confirmed in his purpose by a vision and a voice which were sent him, as he thought, from heaven to relieve him of all such fear, and to encourage him to read and prove all that might come into his hand, because that method had been from the very first the cause of faith to him. The moderation of his character, again, is not less worthy of notice. In the case of the Novatian schism, while he was from the first decidedly opposed to the principles of the party, he strove by patient and affectionate argumentation to persuade the leader to submit. So, too, in the disputes on baptism we find him urgently entreating the Roman bishop Stephen not to press matters to extremity with the Eastern Church, nor destroy the peace she had only lately begun to enjoy. Again, in the chiliastic difficulties excited by Nepos, and kept up by Coracion, we see him assembling all the parochial clergy who held these opinions, and inviting all the laymen of the diocese also to attend the conference, and discussing the question for three whole days with all these ministers, considering their arguments, and meeting all their objections patiently by Scripture testimony, until he persuades Coracion himself to retract, and receives the thanks of the pastors, and restores unity of faith in his bishopric. On these occasions his mildness, and benignity, and moderation stand out in bold relief; and on others we trace similar evidences of his broad sympathies and his large and liberal spirit. He was possessed also of a remarkably fertile pen; and the number of his theological writings, both formal treatises and more familiar epistles, was very considerable. All these, however, have perished, with the exception of what Eusebius and other early authors already referred to have preserved. The most important of these compositions are the following: 1. A Treatise on the Promises, in two books, which was written against Nepos, and of which Eusebius has introduced two pretty large extracts into the third and seventh books of his History. 2. A Book on Nature, addressed to Timotheus, in opposition to the Epicureans, of which we have some sections in the Præpar, Evangel. of Eusebius. 3. A Work against the Sabellians, addressed to Dionysius bishop of Rome, in four books or letters, in which he deals with his own unguarded statements in the controversy with Sabellius, and of which certain portions have come down to us in Athanasius and Basil. In addition to these, we possess a number of his epistles in whole or part, and a few exegetical fragments. There is a Scholium in the Codex Amerbachianus which may be given here:—It should be known that this sainted Dionysius became a hearer of Origen in the fourth year of the reign of Philip, who succeeded Gordian in the empire. On the death of Heraclas, the thirteenth bishop of the church of Alexandria, he was put in possession of the headship of that church; and after a period of seventeen years, embracing the last three years of the reign of Philip, and the one year of that of Decius, and the one year of Gallus and Volusianus the son of Decius, and twelve years of the reigns of Valerian and his son Gallus (Gallienus), he departed to the Lord. And Basilides was bishop of the parishes in the Pentapolis of Libya, as Eusebius informs us in the sixth and seventh books of his Ecclesiastical History.


[translated by the rev. s. d. f. salmond, m.a.]

Part I.—Containing Various Sections of the Works.

i.—from the two books on the promises.

1. But as they produce a certain composition by Nepos, on which they insist very strongly, as if it demonstrated incontestably that there will be a (temporal) reign of Christ upon the earth, I have to say, that in many other respects I accept the opinion of Nepos, and love him at once for his faith, and his laboriousness, and his patient study in the Scriptures, as also for his great efforts in psalmody,3 by which even now many of the brethren are delighted. I hold the man, too, in deep respect still more, inasmuch as he has gone to his rest before us. Nevertheless the truth is to be prized and reverenced above all things else. And while it is indeed proper to praise and approve ungrudgingly anything that is said aright, it is no less proper to examine and correct anything which may appear to have been written unsoundly. If he had been present then himself, and had been stating his opinions orally, it would have been sufficient to discuss the question together without the use of writing, and to endeavour to convince the opponents, and carry them along by interrogation and reply. But the work is published, and is, as it seems to some, of a very persuasive character; and there are unquestionably some teachers, who hold that the law and the prophets are of no importance, and who decline to follow the Gospels, and who depreciate the epistles of the apostles, and who have also made large promises5 regarding the doctrine of this composition, as though it were some great and hidden mystery, and who, at the same time, do not allow that our simpler brethren have any sublime and elevated conceptions either of our Lord’s appearing in His glory and His true divinity, or of our own resurrection from the dead, and of our being gathered together to Him, and assimilated to Him, but, on the contrary, endeavour to lead them to hope for things which are trivial and corruptible, and only such as what we find at present in the kingdom of God. And since this is the case, it becomes necessary for us to discuss this subject with our brother Nepos just as if he were present.

2. After certain other matters, he adds the following statement:—Being then in the Arsinoitic prefecture—where, as you are aware, this doctrine was current long ago, and caused such division, that schisms and apostasies took place in whole churches—I called together the presbyters and the teachers among the brethren in the villages, and those of the brethren also who wished to attend were present. I exhorted them to make an investigation into that dogma in public. Accordingly, when they had brought this book before us, as though it were a kind of weapon or impregnable battlement, I sat with them for three days in succession, from morning till evening, and attempted to set them right on the subjects propounded in the composition. Then, too, I was greatly gratified by observing the constancy of the brethren, and their love of the truth, and their docility and intelligence, as we proceeded, in an orderly method, and in a spirit of moderation, to deal with questions, and difficulties, and concessions. For we took care not to press, in every way and with jealous urgency, opinions which had once been adopted, even although they might appear to be correct. Neither did we evade objections alleged by others; but we endeavoured as far as possible to keep by the subject in hand, and to establish the positions pertinent to it. Nor, again, were we ashamed to change our opinions, if reason convinced us, and to acknowledge the fact; but rather with a good conscience, and in all sincerity, and with open hearts2 before God, we accepted all that could be established by the demonstrations and teachings of the Holy Scriptures. And at last the author and introducer of this doctrine, whose name was Coracion, in the hearing of all the brethren present, made acknowledgment of his position, and engaged to us that he would no longer hold by his opinion, nor discuss it, nor mention it, nor teach it, as he had been completely convinced by the arguments of those opposed to it. The rest of the brethren, also, who were present, were delighted with the conference, and with the conciliatory spirit and the harmony exhibited by all.

3. Then, a little further on, he speaks of the Revelation of John as follows:—Now some before our time have set aside this book, and repudiated it entirely, criticising it chapter by chapter, and endeavouring to show it to be without either sense or reason. They have alleged also that its title is false; for they deny that John is the author. Nay, further, they hold that it can be no sort of revelation, because it is covered with so gross and dense a veil of ignorance. They affirm, therefore, that none of the apostles, nor indeed any of the saints, nor any person belonging to the Church, could be its author; but that Cerinthus, and the heretical sect founded by him, and named after him the Cerinthian sect, being desirous of attaching the authority of a great name to the fiction propounded by him, prefixed that title to the book. For the doctrine inculcated by Cerinthus is this: that there will be an earthly reign of Christ; and as he was himself a man devoted to the pleasures of the body, and altogether carnal in his dispositions, he fancied4 that that kingdom would consist in those kinds of gratifications on which his own heart was set,—to wit, in the delights of the belly, and what comes beneath the belly, that is to say, in eating and drinking, and marrying, and in other things under the guise of which he thought he could indulge his appetites with a better grace, such as festivals, and sacrifices, and the slaying of victims. But I, for my part, could not venture to set this book aside, for there are many brethren who value it highly. Yet, having formed an idea of it as a composition exceeding my capacity of understanding, I regard it as containing a kind of hidden and wonderful intelligence on the several subjects which come under it. For though I cannot comprehend it, I still suspect that there is some deeper sense underlying the words. And I do not measure and judge its expressions by the standard of my own reason, but, making more allowance for faith, I have simply regarded them as too lofty for my comprehension; and I do not forthwith reject what I do not understand, but I am only the more filled with wonder at it, in that I have not been able to discern its import.6

4. After this, he examines the whole book of the Revelation; and having proved that it cannot possibly be understood according to the bald, literal sense, he proceeds thus:—When the prophet now has completed, so to speak, the whole prophecy, he pronounces those blessed who should observe it, and names himself, too, in the number of the same: “For blessed,” says he, “is he that keepeth the words of the prophecy of this book; and I John who saw and heard these things.” That this person was called John, therefore, and that this was the writing of a John, I do not deny. And I admit further, that it was also the work of some holy and inspired man. But I could not so easily admit that this was the apostle, the son of Zebedee, the brother of James, and the same person with him who wrote the Gospel which bears the title according to John, and the catholic epistle. But from the character of both, and the forms of expression, and the whole disposition and execution of the book, I draw the conclusion that the authorship is not his. For the evangelist nowhere else subjoins his name, and he never proclaims himself either in the Gospel or in the epistle.

And a little further on he adds:—John, moreover, nowhere gives us the name, whether as of himself directly (in the first person), or as of another (in the third person). But the writer of the Revelation puts himself forward at once in the very beginning, for he says: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which He gave to him to show to His servants quickly; and He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bare record of the Word of God, and of his testimony, and of all things that he saw.” And then he writes also an epistle, in which he says: “John to the seven churches which are in Asia, grace be unto you, and peace.” The evangelist, on the other hand, has not prefixed his name even to the catholic epistle; but without any circumlocution, he has commenced at once with the mystery of the divine revelation itself in these terms: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes.”4 And on the ground of such a revelation as that the Lord pronounced Peter blessed, when He said: “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” And again in the second epistle, which is ascribed to John, the apostle, and in the third, though they are indeed brief, John is not set before us by name; but we find simply the anonymous writing, “The elder.” This other author, on the contrary, did not even deem it sufficient to name himself once, and then to proceed with his narrative; but he takes up his name again, and says: “I John, who also am your brother and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos for the Word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.”6 And likewise toward the end he speaks thus: “Blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book; and I John who saw these things and heard them.” That it is a John, then, that writes these things we must believe, for he himself tells us.

5. What John this is, however, is uncertain. For he has not said, as he often does in the Gospel, that he is the disciple beloved by the Lord, or the one that leaned on His bosom, or the brother of James, or one that was privileged to see and hear the Lord. And surely he would have given us some of these indications if it had been his purpose to make himself clearly known. But of all this he offers us nothing; and he only calls himself our brother and companion, and the witness of Jesus, and one blessed with the seeing and hearing of these revelations. I am also of opinion that there were many persons of the same name with John the apostle, who by their love for him, and their admiration and emulation of him, and their desire to be loved by the Lord as he was loved, were induced to embrace also the same designation, just as we find many of the children of the faithful called by the names of Paul and Peter. There is, besides, another John mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, with the surname Mark, whom Barnabas and Paul attached to themselves as companion, and of whom again it is said: “And they had also John to their minister.”9 But whether this is the one who wrote the Revelation, I could not say. For it is not written that he came with them into Asia. But the writer says: “Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John, departing from them, returned to Jerusalem.” I think, therefore, that it was some other one of those who were in Asia. For it is said that there were two monuments in Ephesus, and that each of these bears the name of John.

6. And from the ideas, and the expressions, and the collocation of the same, it may be very reasonably conjectured that this one is distinct from that. For the Gospel and the Epistle agree with each other, and both commence in the same way. For the one opens thus, “In the beginning was the Word;” while the other opens thus, “That which was from the beginning.” The one says: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us; and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father.”2 The other says the same things, with a slight alteration: “That which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life: and the life was manifested.” For these things are introduced by way of prelude, and in opposition, as he has shown in the subsequent parts, to those who deny that the Lord is come in the flesh. For which reason he has also been careful to add these words: “And that which we have seen we testify, and show unto you that eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us: that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you.”4 Thus he keeps to himself, and does not diverge inconsistently from his subjects, but goes through them all under the same heads and in the same phraseologies, some of which we shall briefly mention. Thus the attentive reader will find the phrases, “the life,” “the light,” occurring often in both; and also such expressions as fleeing from darkness, holding the truth, grace, joy, the flesh and the blood of the Lord, the judgment, the remission of sins, the love of God toward us, the commandment of love on our side toward each other; as also, that we ought to keep all the commandments, the conviction of the world, of the devil, of Antichrist, the promise of the Holy Spirit, the adoption of God, the faith required of us in all things, the Father and the Son, named as such everywhere. And altogether, through their whole course, it will be evident that the Gospel and the Epistle are distinguished by one and the same character of writing. But the Revelation is totally different, and altogether distinct from this; and I might almost say that it does not even come near it, or border upon it. Neither does it contain a syllable in common with these other books. Nay more, the Epistle—for I say nothing of the Gospel—does not make any mention or evince any notion of the Revelation; and the Revelation, in like manner, gives no note of the Epistle. Whereas Paul gives some indication of his revelations in his epistles; which revelations, however, he has not recorded in writing by themselves.

7. And furthermore, on the ground of difference in diction, it is possible to prove a distinction between the Gospel and the Epistle on the one hand, and the Revelation on the other. For the former are written not only without actual error as regards the Greek language, but also with the greatest elegance, both in their expressions and in their reasonings, and in the whole structure of their style. They are very far indeed from betraying any barbarism or solecism, or any sort of vulgarism, in their diction. For, as might be presumed, the writer possessed the gift of both kinds of discourse, the Lord having bestowed both these capacities upon him, viz., that of knowledge and that of expression. That the author of the latter, however, saw a revelation, and received knowledge and prophecy, I do not deny. Only I perceive that his dialect and language are not of the exact Greek type, and that he employs barbarous idioms, and in some places also solecisms. These, however, we are under no necessity of seeking out at present. And I would not have any one suppose that I have said these things in the spirit of ridicule; for I have done so only with the purpose of setting right this matter of the dissimilarity subsisting between these writings.6

ii.—from the books on nature.

i. in opposition to those of the school of epicurus who deny the existence of a providence, and refer the constitution of the universe to atomic bodies.

Is the universe one coherent whole, as it seems to be in our own judgment, as well as in that of the wisest of the Greek philosophers, such as Plato and Pythagoras, and the Stoics and Heraclitus? or is it a duality, as some may possibly
have conjectured? or is it indeed something manifold and infinite, as has been the opinion of certain others who, with a variety of mad speculations and fanciful usages of terms, have sought to divide and resolve the essential matter of the universe, and lay down the position that it is infinite and unoriginated, and without the sway of Providence?2 For there are those who, giving the name of atoms to certain imperishable and most minute bodies which are supposed to be infinite in number, and positing also the existence of a certain vacant space of an unlimited vastness, allege that these atoms, as they are borne along casually in the void, and clash all fortuitously against each other in an unregulated whirl, and become commingled one with another in a multitude of forms, enter into combination with each other, and thus gradually form this world and all objects in it; yea, more, that they construct infinite worlds. This was the opinion of Epicurus and Democritus; only they differed in one point, in so far as the former supposed these atoms to be all most minute and consequently imperceptible, while Democritus held that there were also some among them of a very large size. But they both hold that such atoms do exist, and that they are so called on account of their indissoluble consistency. There are some, again, who give the name of atoms to certain bodies which are indivisible into parts, while they are themselves parts of the universe, out of which in their undivided state all things are made up, and into which they are dissolved again. And the allegation is, that Diodorus was the person who gave them their names as bodies indivisible into parts. But it is also said that Heraclides attached another name to them, and called them “weights;”
4 and from him the physician Asclepiades also derived that name.

ii. a refutation of this dogma on the ground of familiar human analogies

How, shall we bear with these men who assert that all those wise, and consequently also noble, constructions (in the universe) are only the works of common chance? those objects, I mean, of which each taken by itself as it is made, and the whole system collectively, were seen to be good by Him by whose command they came into existence. For, as it is said, “God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.” But truly these men do not reflect on7 the analogies even of small familiar things which might come under their observation at any time, and from which they might learn that no object of any utility, and fitted to be serviceable, is made without design or by mere chance, but is wrought by skill of hand, and is contrived so as to meet its proper use. And when the object falls out of service and becomes useless, then it also begins to break up indeterminately, and to decompose and dissipate its materials in every casual and unregulated way, just as the wisdom by which it was skilfully constructed at first no longer controls and maintains it. For a cloak, for example, cannot be made without the weaver, as if the warp could be set aright and the woof could be entwined with it by their own spontaneous action; while, on the other hand, if it is once worn out, its tattered rags are flung aside. Again, when a house or a city is built, it does not take on its stones, as if some of them placed themselves spontaneously upon the foundations, and others lifted themselves up on the several layers, but the builder carefully disposes the skilfully prepared stones in their proper positions; while if the structure happens once to give way, the stones are separated and cast down and scattered about. And so, too, when a ship is built, the keel does not lay itself, neither does the mast erect itself in the centre, nor do all the other timbers take up their positions casually and by their own motion. Nor, again, do the so-called hundred beams in the wain fit themselves spontaneously to the vacant spaces they severally light on. But the carpenter in both cases puts the materials together in the right way and at the right time. And if the ship goes to sea and is wrecked, or if the wain drives along on land and is shattered, their timbers are broken up and cast abroad anywhere,—those of the former by the waves, and those of the latter by the violence of the impetus. In like manner, then, we might with all propriety say also to these men, that those atoms of theirs, which remain idle and unmanipulated and useless, are introduced vainly. Let them, accordingly, seek for themselves to see into what is beyond the reach of sight, and conceive what is beyond the range of conception;9 unlike him who in these terms confesses to God that things like these had been shown him only by God Himself: “Mine eyes did see Thy work, being till then imperfect.” But when they assert now that all those things of grace and beauty, which they declare to be textures finely wrought out of atoms, are fabricated spontaneously by these bodies without either wisdom or perception in them, who can endure to hear2 them talk in such terms of those unregulated atoms, than which even the spider, that plies its proper craft of itself, is gifted with more sagacity?

iii. a refutation on the ground of the constitution of the universe

Or who can bear to hear it maintained, that this mighty habitation, which is constituted of heaven and earth, and which is called “Cosmos” on account of the magnitude and the plenitude of the wisdom which has been brought to bear upon it, has been established in all its order and beauty by those atoms which hold their course devoid of order and beauty, and that that same state of disorder has grown into this true Cosmos, Order? Or who can believe that those regular movements and courses are the products of a certain unregulated impetus? Or who can allow that the perfect concord subsisting among the celestial bodies derives its harmony from instruments destitute both of concord and harmony? Or, again, if there is but one and the same substance in all things, and if there is the same incorruptible nature5 in all,—the only elements of difference being, as they aver, size and figure,—how comes it that there are some bodies divine and perfect, and eternal,7 as they would phrase it, or lasting, as some one may prefer to express it; and among these some that are visible and others that are invisible,—the visible including such as sun, and moon, and stars, and earth, and water; and the invisible including gods, and demons, and spirits? For the existence of such they cannot possibly deny however desirous to do so. And again, there are other objects that are long-lived, both animals and plants. As to animals, there are, for example, among birds, as they say, the eagle, the raven, and the phœnix; and among creatures living on land, there are the stag, and the elephant, and the dragon; and among aquatic creatures there are the whales, and such like monsters of the deep. And as to trees, there are the palm, and the oak, and the persea;9 and among trees, too, there are some that are evergreens, of which kind fourteen have been reckoned up by some one; and there are others that only bloom for a certain season, and then shed their leaves. And there are other objects, again—which indeed constitute the vast mass of all which either grow or are begotten—that have an early death and a brief life. And among these is man himself, as a certain holy scripture says of him: “Man that is born of woman is of few days.” Well, but I suppose they will reply that the varying conjunctions of the atoms account fully for differences11 so great in the matter of duration. For it is maintained that there are some things that are compressed together by them, and firmly interlaced, so that they become closely compacted bodies, and consequently exceedingly hard to break up; while there are others in which more or less the conjunction of the atoms is of a looser and weaker nature, so that either quickly or after some time they separate themselves from their orderly constitution. And, again, there are some bodies made up of atoms of a definite kind and a certain common figure, while there are others made up of diverse atoms diversely disposed. But who, then, is the sagacious discriminator, that brings certain atoms into collocation, and separates others; and marshals some in such wise as to form the sun, and others in such a way as to originate the moon, and adapts all in natural fitness, and in accordance with the proper constitution of each star? For surely neither would those solar atoms, with their peculiar size and kind, and with their special mode of collocation, ever have reduced themselves so as to effect the production of a moon; nor, on the other hand, would the conjunctions of these lunar atoms ever have developed into a sun. And as certainly neither would Arcturus, resplendent as he is, ever boast his having the atoms possessed by Lucifer, nor would the Pleiades glory in being constituted of those of Orion. For well has Paul expressed the distinction when he says: “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.”13 And if the coalition effected among them has been an unintelligent one, as is the case with soulless objects, then they must needs have had some sagacious artificer; and if their union has been one without the determination of will, and only of necessity, as is the case with irrational objects, then some skilful leader must have brought them together and taken them under his charge. And if they have linked themselves together spontaneously, for a spontaneous work, then some admirable architect must have apportioned their work for them, and assumed the superintendence among them; or there must have been one to do with them as the general does who loves order and discipline, and who does not leave his army in an irregular condition, or suffer all things to go on confusedly, but marshals the cavalry in their proper succession, and disposes the heavy-armed infantry in their due array, and the javelin-men by themselves, and the archers separately, and the slingers in like manner, and sets each force in its appropriate position, in order that all those equipped in the same way may engage together. But if these teachers think that this illustration is but a joke, because I institute a comparison between very large bodies and very small, we may pass to the very smallest.

Then we have what follows:—But if neither the word, nor the choice, nor the order of a ruler is laid upon them, and if by their own act they keep themselves right in the vast commotion of the stream in which they move, and convey themselves safely through the mighty uproar of the collisions, and if like atoms meet and group themselves with like, not as being brought together by God, according to the poet’s fancy, but rather as naturally recognising the affinities subsisting between each other, then truly we have here a most marvellous democracy of atoms, wherein friends welcome and embrace friends, and all are eager to sojourn together in one domicile; while some by their own determination have rounded themselves off into that mighty luminary the sun, so as to make day; and others have formed themselves into many pyramids of blazing stars, it may be, so as to crown also the whole heavens; and others have reduced themselves into the circular figure, so as to impart a certain solidity to the ether, and arch it over, and constitute it a vast graduated ascent of luminaries, with this object also, that the various conventions of the commoner atoms may select settlements for themselves, and portion out the sky among them for their habitations and stations.

Then, after certain other matters, the discourse proceeds thus:—But inconsiderate men do not see even things that are apparent, and certainly they are far from being cognisant of things that are unapparent. For they do not seem even to have any notion of those regulated risings and settings of the heavenly bodies,—those of the sun, with all their wondrous glory, no less than those of the others; nor do they appear to make due application of the aids furnished through these to men, such as the day that rises clear for man’s work, and the night that overshadows earth for man’s rest. “For man,” it is said, “goeth forth unto his work, and to his labour, until the evening.” Neither do they consider that other revolution, by which the sun makes out for us determinate times, and convenient seasons, and regular successions, directed by those atoms of which it consists. But even though men like these—and miserable men they are, however they may believe themselves to be righteous—may choose not to admit it, there is a mighty Lord that made the sun, and gave it the impetus3 for its course by His words. O ye blind ones, do these atoms of yours bring you the winter season and the rains, in order that the earth may yield food for you, and for all creatures living on it? Do they introduce summer-time, too, in order that ye may gather their fruits from the trees for your enjoyment? And why, then, do ye not worship these atoms, and offer sacrifices to them as the guardians of earth’s fruits? Thankless surely are ye, in not setting solemnly apart for them even the most scanty first-fruits of that abundant bounty which ye receive from them.

After a short break he proceeds thus:—Moreover, those stars which form a community so multitudinous and various, which these erratic and ever self-dispersing atoms have constituted, have marked off by a kind of covenant the tracts for their several possessions, portioning these out like colonies and governments, but without the presidency of any founder or house-master; and with pledged fealty and in peace they respect the laws of vicinity with their neighbours, and abstain from passing beyond the boundaries which they received at the outset, just as if they enjoyed the legislative administration of true princes in the atoms. Nevertheless these atoms exercise no rule. For how could these, that are themselves nothing, do that? But listen to the divine oracles: “The works of the Lord are in judgment; from the beginning, and from His making of them, He disposed the parts thereof. He garnished His works for ever, and their principles unto their generations.”6

Again, after a little, he proceeds thus:—Or what phalanx ever traversed the plain in such perfect order, no trooper outmarching the others, or falling out of rank, or obstructing the course, or suffering himself to be distanced by his comrades in the array, as is the case with that steady advance in regular file, as it were, and with close-set shields, which is presented by this serried and unbroken and undisturbed and unobstructed progress of the hosts of the stars? Albeit by side inclinations and flank movements certain of their revolutions become less clear. Yet, however that may be, they assuredly always keep their appointed periods, and again bear onward determinately to the positions from which they have severally risen, as if they made that their deliberate study. Wherefore let these notable anatomizers of atoms, these dividers of the indivisible, these compounders of the uncompoundable, these adepts in the apprehension of the infinite, tell us whence comes this circular march and course of the heavenly bodies, in which it is not any single combination of atoms that merely chances all unexpectedly to swing itself round in this way;2 but it is one vast circular choir that moves thus, ever equally and concordantly, and whirls in these orbits. And whence comes it that this mighty multitude of fellow-travellers, all unmarshalled by any captain, all ungifted with any determination of will, and all unendowed with any knowledge of each other, have nevertheless held their course in perfect harmony? Surely, well has the prophet ranked this matter among things which are impossible and undemonstrable,—namely, that two strangers should walk together. For he says, “Shall two come to the same lodging unless they know each other?”

iv. a refutation of the same on the grounds of the human constitution

Further, those men understand neither themselves nor what is proper to themselves. For if any of the leaders in this impious doctrine only considered what manner of person he is himself, and whence he comes, he would surely be led to a wise decision, like one who has obtained understanding of himself, and would say, not to these atoms, but to his Father and Maker, “Thy hands have made me and fashioned me.” And he would take up, too, this wonderful account of his formation as it has been given by one of old: “Hast Thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me as cheese? Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews. Thou hast granted me life and favour, and Thy visitation hath preserved my spirit.”5 For of what quantity and of what origin were the atoms which the father of Epicurus gave forth from himself when he begat Epicurus? And how, when they were received within his mother’s womb, did they coalesce, and take form and figure? and how were they put in motion and made to increase? And how did that little seed of generation draw together the many atoms that were to constitute Epicurus, and change some of them into skin and flesh for a covering, and make bone of others for erectness and strength, and form sinews of others for compact contexture? And how did it frame and adapt the many other members and parts—heart and bowels, and organs of sense, some within and some without—by which the body is made a thing of life? For of all these things there is not one either idle or useless: not even the meanest of them—the hair, or the nails, or such like—is so; but all have their service to do, and all their contribution to make, some of them to the soundness of bodily constitution, and others of them to beauty of appearance. For Providence cares not only for the useful, but also for the seasonable and beautiful. Thus the hair is a kind of protection and covering for the whole head, and the beard is a seemly ornament for the philosopher. It was Providence, then, that formed the constitution of the whole body of man, in all its necessary parts, and imposed on all its members their due connection with each other, and measured out for them their liberal supplies from the universal resources. And the most prominent of these show clearly, even to the uninstructed, by the proof of personal experience, the value and service attaching to them: the head, for example, in the position of supremacy, and the senses set like a guard about the brain, as the ruler in the citadel; and the advancing eyes, and the reporting ears; and the taste which, as it were, is the tribute-gatherer;7 and the smell, which tracks and searches out its objects; and the touch, which manipulates all put under it.

Hence we shall only run over in a summary way, at present, some few of the works of an all-wise Providence; and after a little we shall, if God grant it, go over them more minutely, when we direct our discourse toward one who has the repute of greater learning. So, then, we have the ministry of the hands, by which all kinds of works are wrought, and all skilful professions practised, and which have all their various faculties furnished them, with a view to the discharge of one common function; and we have the shoulders, with their capacity for bearing burdens; and the fingers, with their power of grasping; and the elbows, with their faculty of bending, by which they can turn inwardly upon the body, or take an outward inclination, so as to be able either to draw objects toward the body, or to thrust them away from it. We have also the service of the feet, by which the whole terrestrial creation is made to come under our power, the earth itself is traversed thereby, the sea is made navigable, the rivers are crossed, and intercourse is established for all with all things. The belly, too, is the storehouse of meats, with all its parts arranged in their proper collocations, so that it apportions for itself the right measure of aliment, and ejects what is over and above that. And so is it with all the other things by which manifestly the due administration of the constitution of man is wisely secured. Of all these, the intelligent and the unintelligent alike enjoy the same use; but they have not the same comprehension of them.2 For there are some who refer this whole economy to a power which they conceive to be a true divinity, and which they apprehend as at once the highest intelligence in all things, and the best benefactor to themselves, believing that this economy is all the work of a wisdom and a might which are superior to every other, and in themselves truly divine. And there are others who aimlessly attribute this whole structure of most marvellous beauty to chance and fortuitous coincidence. And in addition to these, there are also certain physicians, who, having made a more effective examination into all these things, and having investigated with utmost accuracy the disposition of the inward parts in especial, have been struck with astonishment at the results of their inquiry, and have been led to deify nature itself. The notions of these men we shall review afterwards, as far as we may be able, though we may only touch the surface of the subject.4 Meantime, to deal with this matter generally and summarily, let me ask who constructed this whole tabernacle of ours, so lofty, erect, graceful, sensitive, mobile, active, and apt for all things? Was it, as they say, the irrational multitude of atoms? Nay, these, by their conjunctions, could not mould even an image of clay, neither could they hew and polish a statue of stone; nor could they cast and finish an idol of silver or gold; but arts and handicrafts calculated for such operations have been discovered by men who fabricate these objects. And if, even in these, representations and models cannot be made without the aid of wisdom, how can the genuine and original patterns of these copies have come into existence spontaneously? And whence have come the soul, and the intelligence, and the reason, which are born with the philosopher? Has he gathered these from those atoms which are destitute alike of soul, and intelligence, and reason? and has each of these atoms inspired him with some appropriate conception and notion? And are we to suppose that the wisdom of man was made up by these atoms, as the myth of Hesiod tells us that Pandora was fashioned by the gods? Then shall the Greeks have to give up speaking of the various species of poetry, and music, and astronomy, and geometry, and all the other arts and sciences, as the inventions and instructions of the gods, and shall have to allow that these atoms are the only muses with skill and wisdom for all subjects. For ibis theogony, constructed of atoms by Epicurus, is indeed something extraneous to the infinite worlds of order,6 and finds its refuge in the infinite disorder.

v. that to work is not a matter of pain and weariness to god

Now to work, and administer, and do good, and exercise care, and such like actions, may perhaps be hard tasks for the idle, and silly, and weak, and wicked; in whose number truly Epicurus reckons himself, when he propounds such notions about the gods. But to the earnest, and powerful, and intelligent, and prudent, such as philosophers ought to be—and how much more so, therefore, the gods!—these things are not only not disagreeable and irksome, but ever the most delightful, and by far the most welcome of all. To persons of this character, negligence and procrastination in the doing of what is good are a reproach, as the poet admonishes them in these words of counsel:—

“Delay not aught till the morrow”

And then he adds this further sentence of threatening:—

“The lazy procrastinator is ever wrestling with miseries.”

And the prophet teaches us the same lesson in a more solemn fashion, and declares that deeds done according to the standard of virtue are truly worthy of God, and that the man who gives no heed to these is accursed: “For cursed be he that doeth the works of the Lord carelessly.”2 Moreover, those who are unversed in any art, and unable to prosecute it perfectly, feel it to be wearisome when they make their first attempts in it, just by reason of the novelty of their experience, and their want of practice in the works. But those, on the other hand, who have made some advance, and much more those who are perfectly trained in the art, accomplish easily and successfully the objects of their labours, and have great pleasure in the work, and would choose rather thus, in the discharge of the pursuits to which they are accustomed, to finish and carry perfectly out what their efforts aim at, than to be made masters of all those things which are reckoned advantageous among men. Yea, Democritus himself, as it is reported, averred that he would prefer the discovery of one true cause to being put in possession of the kingdom of Persia. And that was the declaration of a man who had only a vain and groundless conception of the causes of things,4 inasmuch as he started with an unfounded principle, and an erroneous hypothesis, and did not discern the real root and the common law of necessity in the constitution of natural things, and held as the greatest wisdom the apprehension of things that come about simply in an unintelligent and random way, and set up chance as the mistress and queen of things universal, and even things divine, and endeavoured to demonstrate that all things happen by the determination of the same, although at the same time he kept it outside the sphere of the life of men, and convicted those of senselessness who worshipped it. At any rate, at the very beginning of his Precepts6 he speaks thus: “Men have made an image of chance, as a cover8 for their own lack of knowledge. For intellect and chance are in their very nature antagonistic to each other. And men have maintained that this greatest adversary to intelligence is its sovereign. Yea, rather, they completely subvert and do away with the one, while they establish the other in its place. For they do not celebrate intelligence as the fortunate,10 but they laud chance as the most intelligent.”12 Moreover, those who attend to things conducing to the good of life, take special pleasure in what serves the interests of those of the same race with themselves, and seek the recompense of praise and glory in return for labours undertaken in behalf of the general good; while some exert themselves as purveyors of ways and means, others as magistrates, others as physicians, others as statesmen; and even philosophers pride themselves greatly in their efforts after the education of men. Will, then, Epicurus or Democritus be bold enough to assert that in the exertion of philosophizing they only cause distress to themselves? Nay, rather they will reckon this a pleasure of mind second to none. For even though they maintain the opinion that the good is pleasure, they will be ashamed to deny that philosophizing is the greater pleasure to them.14 But as to the gods, of whom the poets among them sing that they are the “bestowers of good gifts,” these philosophers scoffingly celebrate them in strains like these: “The gods are neither the bestowers nor the sharers in any good thing.” And in what manner, forsooth, can they demonstrate that there are gods at all, when they neither perceive their presence, nor discern them as the doers of aught, wherein, indeed, they resemble those who, in their admiration and wonder at the sun and the moon and the stars, have held these to have been named gods, from their running17 such courses: when, further, they do not attribute to them any function or power of operation, so as to bold them gods19 from their constituting, that is, from their making objects, for thereby in all truth the one maker and operator of all things must be God: and when, in fine, they do not set forth any administration, or judgment, or beneficence of theirs in relation to men, so that we might be bound either by fear or by reverence to worship them? Has Epicurus then been able, forsooth, to see beyond this world, and to overpass the precincts of heaven? or has he gone forth by some secret gates known to himself alone, and thus obtained sight of the gods in the void?22 and, deeming them blessed in their full felicity, and then becoming himself a passionate aspirant after such pleasure, and an ardent scholar in that life which they pursue in the void, does he now
call upon all to participate in this felicity, and urge them thus to make themselves like the gods, preparing as their true symposium of blessedness neither heaven nor Olympus, as the poets feign, but the sheer void, and setting before them the ambrosia of atoms, and pledging them in3 nectar made of the same? However, in matters which have no relation to us he introduces into his books a myriad oaths and solemn asseverations, swearing constantly both negatively and affirmatively by Jove, and making those whom he meets, and with whom he discusses his doctrines, swear also by the gods, not certainly that he fears them himself, or has any dread of perjury, but that he pronounces all this to be vain, and false, and idle, and unintelligible, and uses it simply as a kind of accompaniment to his words, just as he might also clear his throat, or spit, or twist his face, or move his hand. So completely senseless and empty a pretence was this whole matter of the naming of the gods, in his estimation. But this is also a very patent fact, that, being in fear of the Athenians after (the warning of) the death of Socrates, and being desirous of preventing his being taken for what he really was—an atheist—the subtle charlatan invented for them certain empty shadows of unsubstantial gods. But never surely did he look up to heaven with eyes of true intelligence, so as to hear the clear voice from above, which another attentive spectator did hear, and of which he testified when he said, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork.” And never surely did he look down upon the world’s surface with due reflection; for then would he have learned that “the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord”5 and that “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof;” and that, as we also read, “After this the Lord looked upon the earth, and filled it with His blessings. With all manner of living things hath He covered the face thereof.”7 And if these men are not hopelessly blinded, let them but survey the vast wealth and variety of living creatures, land animals, and winged creatures, and aquatic; and let them understand then that the declaration made by the Lord on the occasion of His judgment of all things is true: “And all things, in accordance with His command, appeared good.”9

iii.—from the books against sabellius.

on the notion that matter is ungenerated.

These certainly are not to be deemed pious who hold that matter is ungenerated, while they allow, indeed, that it is brought under the hand of God so far as its arrangement and regulation are concerned; for they do admit that, being naturally passive and pliable, it yields readily to the alterations impressed upon it by God. It is for them, however, to show us plainly how it can possibly be that the like and the unlike should be predicated as subsisting together in God and matter. For it becomes necessary thus to think of one as a superior to either, and that is a thought which cannot legitimately be entertained with regard to God. For if there is this defect of generation which is said to be the thing like in both, and if there is this point of difference which is conceived of besides in the two, whence has this arisen in them? If, indeed, God is the ungenerated, and if this defect of generation is, as we may say, His very essence, then matter cannot be ungenerated; for God and matter are not one and the same. But if each subsists properly and independently—namely, God and matter—and if the defect of generation also belongs to both, then it is evident that there is something different from each, and older and higher than both. But the difference of their contrasted constitutions is completely subversive of the idea that these can subsist on an equality together, and more, that this one of the two—namely, matter—can subsist of itself. For then they will have to furnish an explanation of the fact that, though both are supposed to be ungenerated, God is nevertheless impassible, immutable, imperturbable, energetic; while matter is the opposite, impressible, mutable, variable, alterable. And now, how can these properties harmoniously co-exist and unite? Is it that God has adapted Himself to the nature of the matter, and thus has skilfully wrought it? But it would be absurd to suppose that God works in gold, as men are wont to do, or hews or polishes stone, or puts His hand to any of the other arts by which different kinds of matter are made capable of receiving form and figure. But if, on the other hand, He has fashioned matter according to His own will, and after the dictates of His own wisdom, impressing upon it the rich and manifold forms produced by His own operation, then is this account of ours one both good and true, and still further
one that establishes the position that the ungenerated God is the hypostasis (the life and foundation) of all things in the universe. For with this fact of the defect of generation it conjoins the proper mode of His being. Much, indeed, might be said in confutation of these teachers, but that is not what is before us at present. And if they are put alongside the most impious polytheists, these will seem the more pious in their speech.

iv.—epistle to dionysius bishop of rome.

from the first book

1. There certainly was not a time when God was not the Father.

2. Neither, indeed, as though He had not brought forth these things, did God afterwards beget the Son, but because the Son has existence not from Himself, but from the Father.

And after a few words he says of the Son Himself:—

3. Being the brightness of the eternal Light, He Himself also is absolutely eternal. For since light is always in existence, it is manifest that its brightness also exists, because light is perceived to exist from the fact that it shines, and it is impossible that light should not shine. And let us once more come to illustrations. If the sun exists, there is also day; if nothing of this be manifest, it is impossible that the sun should be there. If then the sun were eternal, the day would never end; but now, for such is not really the state of the case, the day begins with the beginning of the sun, and ends with its ending. But God is the eternal Light, which has neither had a beginning, nor shall ever fail. Therefore the eternal brightness shines forth before Him, and co-exists with Him, in that, existing without a beginning, and always begotten, He always shines before Him; and He is that Wisdom which says, “I was that wherein He delighted, and I was daily His delight before His face at all times.”

And a little after he thus pursues his discourse from the same point:—

4. Since, therefore, the Father is eternal, the Son also is eternal, Light of Light. For where there is the begetter, there is also the offspring. And if there is no offspring, how and of what can He be the begetter? But both are, and always are. Since, then, God is the Light, Christ is the Brightness. And since He is a Spirit—for says He, “God is a Spirit” —fittingly again is Christ called Breath; for “He,”6 saith He, “is the breath of God’s power.”

And again he says:—

5. Moreover, the Son alone, always co-existing with the Father, and filled with Him who is, Himself also is, since He is of the Father.

from the same first book.

6. But when I spoke of things created, and certain works to be considered, I hastily put forward illustrations of such things, as it were little appropriate, when I said neither is the plant the same as the husbandman, nor the boat the same as the boatbuilder. But then I lingered rather upon things suitable and more adapted to the nature of the thing, and I unfolded in many words, by various carefully considered arguments, what things were more true; which things, moreover, I have set forth to you in another letter. And in these things I have also proved the falsehood of the charge which they bring against me—to wit, that I do not maintain that Christ is consubstantial with God. For although I say that I have never either found or read this word in the sacred Scriptures, yet other reasonings, which I immediately subjoined, are in no wise discrepant from this view, because I brought forward as an illustration human offspring, which assuredly is of the same kind as the begetter; and I said that parents are absolutely distinguished from their children by the fact alone that they themselves are not their children, or that it would assuredly be a matter of necessity that there would neither be parents nor children. But, as I said before, I have not the letter in my possession, on account of the present condition of affairs; otherwise I would have sent you the very words that I then wrote, yea, and a copy of the whole letter, and I will send it if at any time I shall have the opportunity. I remember, further, that I added many similitudes from things kindred to one another. For I said that the plant, whether it grows up from seed or from a root, is different from that whence it sprouted, although it is absolutely of the same nature; and similarly, that a river flowing from a spring takes another form and name: for that neither is the spring called the river, nor the river the spring, but that these are two things, and that the spring indeed is, as it were, the father, while the river is the water from the spring. But they feign that they do not see these things and the like to them which are written, as if they were blind; but they endeavour to assail me from a distance with expressions too carelessly used, as if they were stones, not observing that on things of which
they are ignorant, and which require interpretation to be understood, illustrations that are not only remote, but even contrary, will often throw light.

from the same first book

7. It was said above that God is the spring of all good things, but the Son was called the river flowing from Him; because the word is an emanation of the mind, and—to speak after human fashion—is emitted from the heart by the mouth. But the mind which springs forth by the tongue is different from the word which exists in the heart. For this latter, after it has emitted the former, remains and is what it was before; but the mind sent forth flies away, and is carried everywhere around, and thus each is in each although one is from the other, and they are one although they are two. And it is thus that the Father and the Son are said to be one, and to be in one another.

from the second book.

8. The individual names uttered by me can neither be separated from one another, nor parted. I spoke of the Father, and before I made mention of the Son I already signified Him in the Father. I added the Son; and the Father, even although I had not previously named Him, had already been absolutely comprehended in the Son. I added the Holy Spirit; but, at the same time, I conveyed under the name whence and by whom He proceeded. But they are ignorant that neither the Father, in that He is Father, can be separated from the Son, for that name is the evident ground of coherence and conjunction; nor can the Son be separated from the Father, for this word Father indicates association between them. And there is, moreover, evident a Spirit who can neither be disjoined from Him who sends, nor from Him who brings Him. How, then, should I who use such names think that these are absolutely divided and separated the one from the other?

After a few words he adds:—

9. Thus, indeed, we expand the indivisible Unity into a Trinity; and again we contract the Trinity, which cannot be diminished, into a Unity.

from the same second book

10. But if any quibbler, from the fact that I said that God is the Maker and Creator of all things, thinks that I said that He is also Creator of Christ, let him observe that I first called Him Father, in which word the Son also is at the same time expressed. For after I called the Father the Creator, I added, Neither is He the Father of those things whereof He is Creator, if He who begot is properly understood to be a Father (for we will consider the latitude of this word Father in what follows). Nor is a maker a father, if it is only a framer who is called a maker. For among the Greeks, they who are wise are said to be makers of their books. The apostle also says, “a doer (scil. maker) of the law.” Moreover, of matters of the heart, of which kind are virtue and vice, men are called doers (scil. makers); after which manner God said, “I expected that it should make judgment, but it made iniquity.”

11. That neither must this saying be thus blamed; for he says that he used the name of Maker on account of the flesh which the Word had assumed, and which certainly was made. But if any one should suspect that that had been said of the Word, even this also was to be heard without contentiousness. For as I do not think that the Word was a thing made, so I do not say that God was its Maker, but its Father. Yet still, if at any time, discoursing of the Son, I may have casually said that God was His Maker, even this mode of speaking would not be without defence. For the wise men among the Greeks call themselves the makers of their books, although the same are fathers of their books. Moreover, divine Scripture calls us makers of those motions which proceed from the heart, when it calls us doers of the law of judgment and of justice.

from the same second book

12. In the beginning was the Word. But that was not the Word which produced the Word.7 For “the Word was with God.” The Lord is Wisdom; it was not therefore Wisdom that produced Wisdom; for “I was that,” says He, “wherein He delighted9 Christ is truth; but “blessed,” says He, “is the God of truth.”

from the third book

13. Life is begotten of life in the same way as the river has flowed forth from the spring, and the brilliant light is ignited from the inextinguishable light.

from the fourth book.

14. Even as our mind emits from itself a word, —as says the prophet, “My heart hath uttered forth a good word,”12 —and each of the two is distinct the one from the other, and maintaining a peculiar place, and one that is distinguished
from the other; since the former indeed abides and is stirred in the heart, while the latter has its place in the tongue and in the mouth. And yet they are not apart from one another, nor deprived of one another; neither is the mind without the word, nor is the word without the mind; but the mind makes the word and appears in the word, and the word exhibits the mind wherein it was made. And the mind indeed is, as it were, the word immanent, while the word is the mind breaking forth. The mind passes into the word, and the word transmits the mind to the surrounding hearers; and thus the mind by means of the word takes its place in the souls of the hearers, entering in at the same time as the word. And indeed the mind is, as it were, the father of the word, existing in itself; but the word is as the son of the mind, and cannot be made before it nor without it, but exists with it, whence it has taken its seed and origin. In the same manner, also, the Almighty Father and Universal Mind has before all things the Son, the Word, and the discourse,2 as the interpreter and messenger of Himself.

about the middle of the treatise

15. If, from the fact that there are three hypostases, they say that they are divided, there are three whether they like it or no, or else let them get rid of the divine Trinity altogether.

and again:

For on this account after the Unity there is also the most divine Trinity.

the conclusion of the entire treatise

16. In accordance with all these things, the form, moreover, and rule being received from the elders who have lived before us, we also, with a voice in accordance with them, will both acquit ourselves of thanks to you, and of the letter which we are now writing. And to God the Father, and His Son our Lord Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

v.—the epistle to bishop basilides.

canon i.

Dionysius to Basilides, my beloved son, and my brother, a fellow-minister with me in holy things, and an obedient servant of God, in the Lord greeting.

You have sent to me, most faithful and accomplished son, in order to inquire what is the proper hour for bringing the fast to a close on the day of Pentecost.8 For you say that there are some of the brethren who hold that that should be done at cockcrow, and others who hold that it should be at nightfall. For the brethren in Rome, as they say, wait for the cock; whereas, regarding those here, you told us that they would have it earlier.10 And it is your anxious desire, accordingly, to have the hour presented accurately, and determined with perfect exactness, which indeed is a matter of difficulty and uncertainty. However, it will be acknowledged cordially by all, that from the date of the resurrection of our Lord, those who up to that time have been humbling their souls with fastings, ought at once to begin their festal joy and gladness. But in what you have written to me you have made out very clearly, and with an intelligent understanding of the Holy Scriptures, that no very exact account seems to be offered in them of the hour at which He rose. For the evangelists have given different descriptions of the parties who came to the sepulchre one after another,12 and all have declared that they found the Lord risen already. It was “in the end of the Sabbath,” as Matthew has said; it was “early, when it was yet dark,” as John writes;14 it was “very early in the morning,” as Luke puts it; and it was “very early in the morning, at the rising of the sun,” as Mark tells us. Thus no one has shown us clearly the exact time when He rose. It is admitted, however, that those who came to the sepulchre in the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, found Him no longer lying in it. And let us not suppose that the evangelists disagree or contradict each other. But even although there may seem to be some small difficulty as to the subject of our inquiry, if they all agree that the light of the world, our Lord, rose on that one night, while they differ with respect to the hour, we may well seek with wise and faithful mind to harmonize their statements. The narrative by Matthew, then, runs thus: “In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. And his countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: and for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said.”2 Now this phrase “in the end” will be thought by some to signify, according to the common use of the word, the evening of the Sabbath; while others, with a better perception of the fact, will say that it does not indicate that, but a late hour in the night, as the phrase “in the end”5 denotes slowness and length of time. Also because he speaks of night, and not of evening, he has added the words, “as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week.” And the parties here did not come yet, as the others say, “bearing spices,” but “to see the sepulchre;” and they discovered the occurrence of the earthquake, and the angel sitting upon the stone, and heard from him the declaration, “He is not here, He is risen.” And to the same effect is the testimony of John. “The first day of the week,” says he, “came Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.” Only, according to this “when it was yet dark,” she had come in advance.7 And Luke says: “They rested the Sabbath-day, according to the commandment. Now, upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared; and they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.” This phrase “very early in the morning”9 probably indicates the early dawn of the first day of the week; and thus, when the Sabbath itself was wholly past, and also the whole night succeeding it, and when another day had begun, they came, bringing spices and myrrh, and then it became apparent that He had already risen long before. And Mark follows this, and says: “They had bought sweet spices, in order that they might come and anoint Him. And very early (in the morning), the first day of the week, they come unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.”11 For this evangelist also has used the term “very early,” which is just the same as the “very early in the morning” employed by the former; and he has added, “at the rising of the sun.” Thus they set out, and took their way first when it was “very early in the morning,” or (as Mark says) when it was “very early;” but on the road, and by their stay at the sepulchre, they spent the time till it was sunrise. And then the young man clad in white said to them, “He is risen, He is not here.” As the case stands thus, we make the following statement and explanation to those who seek an exact account of the specific hour, or half-hour, or quarter of an hour, at which it is proper to begin their rejoicing over our Lord’s rising from the dead. Those who are too hasty, and give up even before midnight, we reprehend as remiss and intemperate, and as almost breaking off from their course in their precipitation,13 for it is a wise man’s word, “That is not little in life which is within a little.” And those who hold out and continue for a very long time, and persevere even on to the fourth watch, which is also the time at which our Saviour manifested Himself walking upon the sea to those who were then on the deep, we receive as noble and laborious disciples. On those, again, who pause and refresh themselves in the course as they are moved or as they are able, let us not press very hard: for all do not carry out the six days of fasting15 either equally or alike; but some pass even all the days as a fast, remaining without food through the whole; while others take but two, and others three, and others four, and others not even one. And to those who have laboured painfully through these protracted fasts, and have thereafter become exhausted and well-nigh undone, pardon ought to be extended if they are somewhat precipitate in taking food. But if there are any who not only decline such protracted fasting, but refuse at the first to fast at all, and rather indulge themselves luxuriously during the first four days, and then when they reach the last two days—viz., the preparation and the Sabbath—fast with due rigour during these, and these alone, and think that they do something grand and brilliant if they hold out till the morning, I cannot think that they have gone through the time on equal terms with those who have been practising the same during several days before. This is the counsel which, in accordance with my apprehension of the question, I have offered you in writing on these matters.

canon ii.

The question touching women in the time of their separation, whether it is proper for them when in such a condition to enter the house of God, I consider a superfluous inquiry. For I do not think that, if they are believing and pious women, they will themselves be rash enough in such a condition either to approach the holy table or to touch the body and blood of the Lord. Certainly the woman who had the issue of blood of twelve years’ standing did not touch the Lord Himself, but only the hem of His garment, with a view to her cure. For to pray, however a person may be situated, and to remember the Lord, in whatever condition a person may be, and to offer up petitions for the obtaining of help, are exercises altogether blameless. But the individual who is not perfectly pure both in soul and in body, shall be interdicted from approaching the holy of holies.

canon iii.

Moreover, those who are competent, and who are advanced in years, ought to be judges of themselves in these matters. For that it is proper to abstain from each other by consent, in order that they may be free for a season to give themselves to prayer, and then come together again, they have heard from Paul in his epistle.

canon iv.

As to those who are overtaken by an involuntary flux in the night-time, let such follow the testimony of their own conscience, and consider themselves as to whether they are doubtfully minded in this matter or not. And he that doubteth in the matter of meats, the apostle tells us, “is damned if he eat.”5 In these things, therefore, let every one who approaches God be of a good conscience, and of a proper confidence, so far as his own judgment is concerned. And, indeed, it is in order to show your regard for us (for you are not ignorant, beloved,) that you have proposed these questions to us, making us of one mind, as indeed we are, and of one spirit with yourself. And I, for my part, have thus set forth my opinions in public, not as a teacher, but only as it becomes us with all simplicity to confer with each other. And when you have examined this opinion of mine, my most intelligent son, you will write back to me your notion of these matters, and let me know whatever may seem to you to be just and preferable, and whether you approve of my judgment in these things. That it may fare well with you, my beloved son, as you minister to the Lord in peace, is my prayer.

Part II.—Containing Epistles, or Fragments of Epistles

epistle i.—to domitius and didymus.

1. But it would be a superfluous task for me to mention by name our (martyr) friends, who are numerous and at the same time unknown to you. Only understand that they include men and women, both young men and old, both maidens and aged matrons, both soldiers and private citizens,—every class and every age of whom some have suffered by stripes and fire, and some by the sword, and have won the victory and received their crowns. In the case of others. however, even a very long lifetime has not proved sufficient to secure their appearance as men acceptable to the Lord; as indeed in my own case too, that sufficient time has not shown itself up to the present. Wherefore He has preserved me for another convenient season, of which He knows Himself, as He says: “In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee.”

2. Since, however, you have been inquiring about what has befallen us, and wish to be informed as to how we have fared, you have got a full report of our fortunes; how when we—that is to say, Gaius, and myself, and Faustus, and Peter, and Paul—were led off as prisoners by the centurion and the magistrates,10 and the soldiers and other attendants accompanying them, there came upon us certain parties from Mareotis, who dragged us with them against our will, and though we were disinclined to follow them, and carried us away by force; and how Gaius and Peter and myself have been separated from our other brethren, and shut up alone in a desert and sterile place in Libya, at a distance of three days’ journey from Parætonium.

3. And a little further on, he proceeds thus:—And they concealed themselves in the city, and secretly visited the brethren. I refer to the presbyters Maximus, Dioscorus, Demetrius, and Lucius. For Faustinus and Aquila, who are persons of greater prominence in the world, are wandering about in Egypt. I specify also the deacons who survived those who died in the sickness, viz., Faustus, Eusebius, and Chæremon. And of Eusebius I speak as one whom the Lord strengthened from the beginning, and qualified for the task of discharging energetically the services due to the confessors who are in prison, and of executing the perilous office of dressing out and burying3 the bodies of those perfected and blessed martyrs. For even up to the present day the governor does not cease to put to death, in a cruel manner, as I have already said, some of those who are brought before him; while he wears others out by torture, and wastes others away with imprisonment and bonds, commanding also that no one shall approach them and making strict scrutiny lest any one should be seen to do so. And nevertheless God imparts relief to the oppressed by the tender kindness and earnestness of the brethren.

epistle ii.—to novatus.

Dionysius to Novatus his brother, greeting.

If you were carried on against your will, as you say, you will show that such has been the case by your voluntary retirement. For it would have been but dutiful to have suffered any kind of ill, so as to avoid rending the Church of God. And a martyrdom borne for the sake of preventing a division of the Church, would not have been more inglorious than one endured for refusing to worship idols; nay, in my opinion at least, the former would have been a nobler thing than the latter. For in the one case a person gives such a testimony simply for his own individual soul, whereas in the other case he is a witness for the whole Church. And now, if you can persuade or constrain the brethren to come to be of one mind again, your uprightness will be superior to your error; and the latter will not be charged against you, while the former will be commended in you. But if you cannot prevail so far with your recusant brethren, see to it that you save your own soul. My wish is, that in the Lord you may fare well as you study peace.

epistle iii.—to fabius bishop of antioch.

I. The persecution with us did not commence with the imperial edict, but preceded it by a whole year. And a certain prophet and poet, an enemy to this city, whatever else he was, had previously roused and exasperated against us the masses of the heathen. inflaming them anew with the fires of their native superstition. Excited by him, and finding full liberty for the perpetration of wickedness, they reckoned this the only
piety and service to their demons, namely, our slaughter.

2. First, then, they seized an old man of the name of Metras, and commanded him to utter words of impiety; and as he refused, they beat his body with clubs, and lacerated his face and eyes with sharp reeds, and then dragged him off to the suburbs and stoned him there. Next they carried off a woman named Quinta, who was a believer, to an idol temple, and compelled her to worship the idol; and when she turned away from it, and showed how she detested it, they bound her feet and dragged her through the whole city along the rough stone-paved streets, knocking her at the same time against the millstones, and scourging her, until they brought her to the same place, and stoned her also there. Then with one impulse they all rushed upon the houses of the God-fearing, and whatever pious persons any of them knew individually as neighbours, after these they hurried and bore them with them, and robbed and plundered them, setting aside the more valuable portions of their property for themselves, and scattering about the commoner articles, and such as were made of wood, and burning them on the roads, so that they made these parts present the spectacle of a city taken by the enemy. The brethren, however, simply gave way and withdrew, and, like those to whom Paul bears witness, they took the spoiling of their goods with joy. And I know l not that any of them—except possibly some solitary individual who may have chanced to fall into their hands—thus far has denied the Lord.

3. But they also seized that most admirable virgin Apollonia, then in advanced life, and knocked out all her teeth, and cut her jaws; and then kindling a fire before the city, they threatened to burn her alive unless she would! repeat along with them their expressions of impiety.4 And although she seemed to deprecate her fate for a little, on being let go, she leaped eagerly into the fire and was consumed. They also laid hold of a certain Serapion in his own house;6 and after torturing him with severe cruelties, and breaking all his limbs, they dashed him headlong from an upper storey to the ground. And there was no road, no thoroughfare, no lane even, where we could walk, whether by night or by day; for at all times and in every place they all kept crying out, that if any one should refuse to repeat their blasphemous expressions, he must be at once dragged off and burnt. These in fictions were carried rigorously on for a considerable time in this manner. But when the insurrection and the civil war in due time overtook these wretched people,8 that diverted their savage cruelty from us, and turned it against themselves. And we enjoyed a little breathing time, as long as leisure failed them for exercising their fury against us.

4. But speedily was the change from that more kindly reign announced to us; and great was the terror of threatening that was now made to reach us. Already, indeed, the edict had arrived; and it was of such a tenor as almost perfectly to correspond with what was intimated to us beforetime by our Lord, setting before us the most dreadful horrors, so as, if that were possible, to cause the very elect to stumble.11 All verily were greatly alarmed, and of the more notable there were some, and these a large number, who speedily accommodated themselves to the decree in fear; others, who were engaged in the public service, were drawn into compliance by the very necessities of their official duties;13 others were dragged on to it by their friends, and on being called by name approached the impure and unholy sacrifices; others yielded pale and trembling, as if they were not to offer sacrifice, but to be themselves the sacrifices and victims for the idols, so that they were jeered by the large multitude surrounding the scene, and made it plain to all that they were too cowardly either to face death or to offer the sacrifices. But there were others who hurried up to the altars with greater alacrity, stoutly asserting that they had never been Christians at all before; of whom our Lord’s prophetic declaration holds most true, that it will be hard for such to be saved. Of the rest, some followed one or other of these parties already mentioned; some fled, and some were seized. And of these, some went as far in keeping their faith as bonds and imprisonment; and certain persons among them endured imprisonment even for several days, and then after all abjured the faith before coming into the court of justice; while others, after holding out against the torture for a time, sank before the prospect of further sufferings.

5. But there were also others, stedfast and blessed pillars of the Lord, who, receiving strength from Himself, and obtaining power and vigour worthy of and commensurate with the force of the faith that was in themselves, have proved admirable witnesses for His kingdom. And of these the first was Julianus, a man suffering from gout, and able neither to stand nor to walk, who was arranged along with two other men who carried him. Of these two persons, the one immediately denied Christ; but the other, a person named Cronion, and surnamed Eunus, and together with him the aged Julianus himself, confessed the Lord, and were carried on camels through the whole city, which is, as you know, a very large one, and were scourged in that elevated position, and finally were consumed in a tremendous fire, while the whole populace surrounded them. And a certain soldier who stood by them when they were led away to execution, and who opposed the wanton insolence of the people, was pursued by the outcries they raised against him; and this most courageous soldier of God, Besas by name, was arranged; and after bearing himself most nobly in that mighty conflict on behalf of piety, he was beheaded. And another individual, who was by birth a Libyan, and who at once in name and in real blessedness was also a true Macar although much was tried by the judge to persuade him to make a denial, did not yield, and was consequently burned alive. And these were succeeded by Epimachus and Alexander, who, after a long time4 spent in chains, and after suffering countless agonies and inflictions of the scraper and the scourge, were also burnt to ashes in an immense fire.

6. And along with these there were four women. Among them was Ammonarium, a pious virgin, who was tortured for a very long time by the judge in a most relentless manner, because she declared plainly from the first that she would utter none of the things which he commanded her to repeat; and after she had made good her profession she was led off to execution. The others were the most venerable and aged Mercuria, and Dionysia, who had been the mother of many children, and yet did not love her offspring better than her Lord. These, when the governor was ashamed to subject them any further to profitless torments, and thus to see himself beaten by women, died by the sword, without more experience of tortures. For truly their champion Ammonarium had received tortures for them all.

7. Heron also, and Ater, and Isidorus8 who were Egyptians, and along with them Dioscorus, a boy of about fifteen years of age, were delivered up. And though at first he, the judge, tried to deceive the youth with fair speeches, thinking he could easily seduce him, and then attempted also to compel him by force of tortures, fancying he might be made to yield without much difficulty in that way, Dioscorus neither submitted to his persuasions nor gave way to his terrors. And the rest, after their bodies had been lacerated in a most savage manner, and their stedfastness had nevertheless been maintained, he consigned also to the flames. But Dioscorus he dismissed, wondering at the distinguished appearance he had made in public, and at the extreme wisdom of the answers he gave to his interrogations, and declaring that, on account of his age, he granted him further time for repentance. And this most godly Dioscorus is with us at present, tarrying for a greater conflict and a more lengthened contest. A certain person of the name of Nemesion, too, who was also an Egyptian, was falsely accused of being a companion of robbers; and after the had cleared himself of this charge before the centurion, and proved it to be a most unnatural calumny, he was informed against as a Christian, and had to come as a prisoner before the governor. And that most unrighteous magistrate inflicted on him a punishment twice as severe as that to which the robbers were subjected, making him suffer both tortures and scourgings, and then consigning him to the fire between the robbers. Thus the blessed martyr was honoured after the pattern of Christ.

8. There was also a body of soldiers, including Ammon, and Zeno, and Ptolemy, and Ingenuus, and along with them an old man, Theophilus, who had taken up their position in a mass in front of the tribunal; and when a certain person was standing his trial as a Christian, and was already inclining to make a denial, these stood round about and ground their teeth, and made signs with their faces, and stretched out their hands, and made all manner of gestures with their bodies. And while the attention of all was directed to them, before any could lay hold of them, they ran quickly up to the bench of judgment2 and declared themselves to be Christians, and made such an impression that the governor and his associates were filled with fear; and those who were under trial seemed to be most courageous in the prospect of what they were to suffer, while the judges themselves trembled. These, then, went with a high spirit from the tribunals, and exulted in their testimony, God Himself causing them to triumph gloriously.

9. Moreover, others in large numbers were torn asunder by the heathen throughout the cities and villages. Of one of these I shall give some account, as an example. Ischyrion served one of the rulers in the capacity of steward for stated wages. His employer ordered this man to offer sacrifice; and on his refusal to do so, he abused him. When he persisted in his non-compliance, his master treated him with contumely; and when he still held out, he took a huge stick and thrust it through his bowels and heart, and slew him. Why should I mention the multitudes of those who had to wander about in desert places and upon the mountains, and who were cut off by hunger, and thirst, and cold, and sickness, and robbers, and wild beasts? The survivors of such are the witnesses of their election and their victory. One circumstance, however, I shall subjoin as an illustration of these things. There was a certain very aged person of the name of Chæremon, bishop of the place called the city of the Nile. He fled along with his partner to the Arabian mountain,5 and never returned. The brethren, too, were unable to discover anything of them, although they made frequent search; and they never could find either the men themselves, or their bodies. Many were also carried off as slaves by the barbarous Saracens to that same Arabian mount. Some of these were ransomed with difficulty, and only by paying a great sum of money; others of them have not been ransomed to this day. And these facts I have related, brother, not without a purpose, but in order that you may know how many and how terrible are the ills that have befallen us; which troubles also will be best understood by those who have had most experience of them.

10. Those sainted martyrs, accordingly, who were once with us, and who now are seated with Christ, and are sharers in His kingdom, and partakers with Him in His judgment,8 and who act as His judicial assessors, received there certain of the brethren who had fallen away, and who had become chargeable with sacrificing to the idols. And as they saw that the conversion and repentance of such might be acceptable to Him who desires not at all the death of the sinner,10 but rather his repentance, they proved their sincerity, and received them, and brought them together again, and assembled with them, and had fellowship with them in their prayers and at their festivals. What advice then, brethren, do you give us as regards these? What should we do? Are we to stand forth and act with the decision and judgment which those (martyrs) formed, and to observe the same graciousness with them, and to deal so kindly with those toward whom they showed such compassion? or are we to treat their decision as an unrighteous one,12 and to constitute ourselves judges of their opinion on such subjects, and to throw clemency into tears, and to overturn the established order?

11. But I shall give a more particular account of one case here which occurred among us: There was with us a certain Serapion, an aged believer. He had spent his long life blamelessly, but had fallen in the time of trial (the persecution). Often did this man pray (for absolution), and no one gave heed to him;3 for he had sacrificed to the idols. Falling sick, he continued three successive days dumb and senseless. Recovering a little on the fourth day, he called to him his grandchild, and said, “My son, how long do you detain me? Hasten, I entreat you, and absolve me quickly. Summon one of the presbyters to me.” And when he had said this, he became speechless again. The boy ran for the presbyter; but it was night, and the man was sick, and was consequently unable to come. But as an injunction had been issued by me, that persons at the point of death, if they requested it then, and especially if they had earnestly sought it before, should be absolved,5 in order that they might depart this life in cheerful hope, he gave the boy a small portion of the Eucharist, telling him to steep it in water7 and drop it into the old man’s mouth. The boy returned bearing the portion; and as he came near, and before he had yet entered, Serapion again recovered, and said, “You have come, my child, and the presbyter was unable to come; but do quickly what you were instructed to do, and so let me depart.” The boy steeped the morsel in water, and at once dropped it into the (old man’s) mouth; and after he had swallowed a little of it, he forthwith gave up the ghost. Was he not then manifestly preserved? and did he not continue in life just until he could be absolved, and until through the wiping away of his sins he could be acknowledged for the many good acts he had done?

epistle iv.—to cornelius the roman bishop.

In addition to all these, he writes likewise to Cornelius at Rome, after receiving his Epistle against Novatus. And in that letter he also shows that he had been invited by Helenus, bishop in Tarsus of Cilicia, and by the others who were with him—namely, Firmilian, bishop in Cappadocia, and Theoctistus in Palestine—to meet them at the Council of Antioch, where certain persons were attempting to establish the schism of Novatus. In addition to this, he writes that it was reported to him that Fabius was dead, and that Demetrianus was appointed his successor in the bishopric of the church at Antioch. He writes also respecting the bishop in Jerusalem, expressing himself in these very words: “And the blessed Alexander, having been cast into prison, went to his rest in blessedness.”

epistle v., which is the first on the subject of baptism addressed to stephen, bishop of rome.

Understand, however, my brother, that all the churches located in the east, and also in remoter districts,12 that were formerly in a state of division, are now made one again; and all those at the head of the churches everywhere are of one mind, and rejoice exceedingly at the peace which has been restored beyond all expectation. I may
mention Demetrianus in Antioch; Theoctistus in Cæsareia; Mazabanes in Ælia, the successor of the deceased Alexander;2 Marinus in Tyre; Heliodorus in Laodicea, the successor of the deceased Thelymidres; Helenus in Tarsus, and with him all the churches of Cilicia; and Firmilian and all Cappadocia. For I have named only the more illustrious of the bishops, so as neither to make my epistle too long, nor to render my discourse too heavy for you. All the districts of Syria, however, and of Arabia, to the brethren in which you from time to time have been forwarding supplies and at present have sent letters, and Mesopotamia too, and Pontus, and Syria, and, to speak in brief, all parties, are everywhere rejoicing at the unanimity and brotherly love now established, and are glorifying God for the same.

the same, otherwise rendered.

But know, my brother, that all the churches throughout the East, and those that are placed beyond, which formerly were separated, are now at length returned to unity; and all the presidents of the churches everywhere think one and the same thing, and rejoice with incredible joy on account of the unlooked-for return of peace: to wit, Demetrianus in Antioch; Theoctistus in Cæsarea; Mazabenes in Ælia, after the death of Alexander; Marinus in Tyre; Heliodorus in Laodicea, after the death of Thelymidres; Helenus in Tarsus, and all the churches of Cilicia; Firmilianus, with all Cappadocia. And I have named only the more illustrious bishops, lest by chance my letter should be made too prolix, and my address too wearisome. The whole of the Syrias, indeed, and Arabia, to which you now and then send help, and to which you have now written letters; Mesopotamia also, and Pontus, and Bithynia; and, to comprise all in one word, all the lands everywhere, are rejoicing, praising God on account of this concord and brotherly charity.

epistle vi.—to sixtus, bishop.

1. Previously, indeed, (Stephen) had written letters about Helanus and Firmilianus, and about all who were established throughout Cilicia and Cappadocia, and all the neighbouring provinces, giving them to understand that for that same reason he would depart from their communion, because they rebaptized heretics. And consider the seriousness of the matter. For, indeed, in the most considerable councils of the bishops, as I hear, it has been decreed that they who come from heresy should first be trained in Catholic doctrine, and then should be cleansed by baptism from the filth of the old and impure leaven. Asking and calling him to witness on all these matters, I sent letters.

And a little after Dionysius proceeds:—

2. And, moreover, to our beloved co-presbyters Dionysius and Philemon, who before agreed with Stephen, and had written to me about the same matters, I wrote previously in few words, but now I have written again more at length.

In the same letter, says Eusebius, he informs Xystus8 of the

Sabellian heretics, that they were gaining ground at that time, in these words:—

3. For since of the doctrine, which lately has been set on foot at Ptolemais, a city of Pentapolis, impious and full of blasphemy against Almighty God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; full of unbelief and perfidy towards His only begotten Son and the first-born of every creature, the Word made man, and which takes away the perception of the Holy Spirit,—on either side both letters were brought to me, and brethren had come to discuss it, setting forth more plainly as much as by God’s gift I was able,—I wrote certain letters, copies of which I have sent to thee.

epistle vii.—to philemon, a presbyter.

I indeed gave attention to reading the books and carefully studying the traditions of heretics, to the extent indeed of corrupting my soul with their execrable opinions; yet receiving from them this advantage, that I could refute them in my own mind, and detested them more heartily than ever. And when a certain brother of the order of presbyters sought to deter me, and feared lest I should be involved in the same wicked filthiness, because he said that my mind would be contaminated, and indeed with truth, as I myself perceived, I was strengthened by a vision that was sent me from God. And a word
spoken to me, expressly commanded me, saying, Read everything which shall come into thy hands, for thou art fit to do so, who correctest and provest each one; and from them to thee first of all has appeared the cause and the occasion of believing. I received this vision as being what was in accordance with the apostolic word, which thus urges all who are endowed with greater virtue, “Be ye skilful money-changers.”

Then, says Eusebius, he subjoins some things parenthetically about all heresies:—

This rule and form I have received from our blessed Father Heraclus: For thou, who came from heresies, even if they had fallen away from the Church, much rather if they had not fallen away, but when they were seen to frequent the assemblies of the faithful, were charged with going to hear the teachers of perverse doctrine, and ejected from the Church, he did not admit after many prayers, before they had openly and publicly narrated whatever things they had heard from their adversaries. Then he received them at length to the assemblies of the faithful, by no means asking of them to receive baptism anew. Because they had already previously received the Holy Spirit from that very baptism.

Once more, this question being thoroughly ventilated, he adds:—

I learned this besides, that this custom is not now first of all imported among the Africans alone; but moreover, long before, in the times of former bishops, among most populous churches, and that when synods of the brethren of Iconium and Synades were held, it also pleased as many as possible, I should be unwilling, by overturning their judgments, to throw them into strifes and contentions. For it is written, “Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour’s landmark, which thy fathers have placed.”3

epistle viii.—to dionysius.

For we rightly repulse Novatian, who has rent the Church, and has drawn away some of the brethren to impiety and blasphemies; who has brought into the world a most impious doctrine concerning God, and calumniates our most merciful Lord Jesus Christ as if He were unmerciful; and besides all these things, holds the sacred laver as of no effect, and rejects it, and overturns faith and confession, which are put before baptism, and utterly drives away the Holy Spirit from them, even if any hope subsists either that He would abide in them, or that He should return to them.

epistle ix.—to sixtus ii.

For truly, brother, I have need of advice, and I crave your judgment, lest perchance I should be mistaken upon the matters which in such wise happen to me. One of the brethren who come together to the church, who for some time has been esteemed as a believer, and who before my ordination, and, if I am not deceived, before even the episcopate of Heraclas himself, had been a partaker of the assembly of the faithful, when he had been concerned in the baptism of those who were lately baptized, and had heard the interrogatories and their answers, came to me in tears, and bewailing his lot. And throwing himself at my feet, he began to confess and to protest that this baptism by which he had been initiated among heretics was not of this kind, nor had it anything whatever in common with this of ours, because that it was full of blasphemy and impiety. And he said that his soul was pierced with a very bitter sense of sorrow, and that he did not dare even to lift up his eyes to God, because he had been initiated by those wicked words and things. Wherefore he besought that, by this purest laver, he might be endowed with adoption and grace. And I, indeed, have not dared to do this; but I have said that the long course of communion had been sufficient for this. For I should not dare to renew afresh, after all, one who had heard the giving of thanks, and who had answered with others Amen; who had stood at the holy table, and had stretched forth his hands to receive the blessed food, and had received it, and for a very long time had been a partaker of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Henceforth I bade him be of good courage, and approach to the sacred elements with a firm faith and a good conscience, and become a partaker of them. But he makes no end of his wailing, and shrinks from approaching to the table; and scarcely, when entreated, can he bear to be present at the prayers.

epistle x.—against bishop germanus.

1. Now I speak also before God, and He knoweth that I lie not: it was not by my own choice, neither was it without divine instruction,
that I took to flight. But at an earlier period, indeed, when the edict for the persecution under Decius was determined upon, Sabinus at that very hour sent a certain Frumentarius to make search for me. And I remained in the house for four days, expecting the arrival of this Frumentarius. But he went about examining all other places, the roads, the rivers, the fields, where he suspected that I should either conceal myself or travel. And he was smitten with a kind of blindness, and never lighted on the house; for he never supposed that I should tarry at home when under pursuit. Then, barely after the lapse of four days, God giving me instruction to remove, and opening the way for me in a manner beyond all expectation, my domestics3 and I, and a considerable number of the brethren, effected an exit together. And that this was brought about by the providence of God, was made plain by what followed: in which also we have been perhaps of some service to certain parties.

2. Then, after a certain break, he narrates the events which befell him after his flight, subjoining the following statement:—Now about sunset I was seized, along with those who were with me, by the soldiers, and was carried off to Taposiris. But by the providence of God, it happened that Timotheus was not present with me then, nor indeed had he been apprehended at all. Reaching the place later, he found the house deserted, and officials keeping guard over it, and ourselves borne into slavery.

3. And after some other matters, he proceeds thus:—And what was the method of this marvellous disposition of Providence, in his case? For the real facts shall be related. When Timotheus was fleeing in great perturbation, he was met by a man from the country.5 This person asked the reason for his haste, and he told him the truth plainly. Then the man (he was on his way at the time to take part in certain marriage festivities; for it is their custom to spend the whole night in such gatherings), on hearing the fact, held on his course to the scene of the rejoicings, and went in and narrated the circumstances to those who were seated at the feast; and with a single impulse, as if it had been at a given watchword, they all started up, and came on all in a rush, and with the utmost speed. Hurrying up to us, they raised a shout; and as the soldiers who were guarding us took at once to flight, they came upon us, stretched as we were upon the bare couches. For my part, as God knows, I took them at first to be robbers who had come to plunder and pillage us; and remaining on the bedstead on which I was lying naked, save only that I had on my linen under-clothing, I offered them the rest of my dress as it lay beside me. But they bade me get up and take my departure as quickly as I could. Then I understood the purpose of their coming, and cried, entreated, and implored them to go away and leave us alone; and I begged that, if they wished to do us any good, they might anticipate those who led me captive, and strike off my head. And while I was uttering such vociferations, as those who were my comrades and partners in all these things know, they began to lift me up by force. And I threw myself down on my back upon the ground; but they seized me by the hands and feet, and dragged me away, and bore me forth. And those who were witnesses of all these things followed me,—namely, Caius, Faustus, Peter, and Paul. These men also took me up, and hurried me off7 out of the little town, and set me on an ass without saddle, and in that fashion carried me away.

4. I fear that I run the risk of being charged with great folly and senselessness, placed as I am under the necessity of giving a narrative of the wonderful dispensation of God’s providence in our case. Since, however, as one says, it is good to keep close the secret of a king, but it is honourable to reveal the works of God, I shall come to close quarters with the violence of Germanus. I came to Æmilianus not alone; for there accompanied me also my co-presbyter Maximus, and the deacons Faustus and Eusebius and Chæremon; and one of the brethren who had come from Rome went also with us. Æmilianus, then, did not lead off by saying to me, “Hold no assemblies.” That was indeed a thing superfluous for him to do, and the last thing which one would do who meant to go back to what was first and of prime importance:9 for his concern was not about our gathering others together in assembly, but about our not being Christians ourselves. From this, therefore, he commanded me to desist, thinking, doubtless, that if I myself should recant, the others would also follow me in that. But I answered him neither unreasonably nor in many words, “We must obey God rather than men.” Moreover, I testified openly that I worshipped the only true God and none other, and that I could neither alter that position nor ever cease to be a Christian. Thereupon he ordered us to go away to a village near the desert, called Cephro.

5. Hear also the words which were uttered by both of us as they have been put on record. When Dionysius, and Faustus, and Maximus, and Marcellus, and Chæremon had been placed at the bar, Æmilianus, as prefect, said: “I have reasoned with you verily in free speech,3 on the clemency of our sovereigns, as they have suffered you to experience it; for they have given you power to save yourselves, if you are disposed to turn to what is accordant with nature, and to worship the gods who also maintain them in their kingdom, and to forget those things which are repugnant to nature. What say ye then to these things? for I by no means expect that you will be ungrateful to them for their clemency, since indeed what they aim at is to bring you over to better courses.” Dionysius made reply thus “All men do not worship all the gods, but different men worship different objects that they suppose to be true gods. Now we worship the one God, who is the Creator of all things, and the very Deity who has committed the sovereignty to the hands of their most sacred majesties Valerian and Gallienus. Him we both reverence and worship; and to Him we pray continually on behalf of the sovereignty of these princes, that it may abide unshaken.” Æmilianus, as prefect, said to them: “But who hinders you from worshipping this god too, if indeed he is a god, along with those who are gods by nature? for you have been commanded to worship the gods, and those gods whom all know as such.” Dionysius replied: “We worship no other one.” Æmilianus, as prefect, said to them: “I perceive that you are at once ungrateful to and insensible of the clemency of our princes. Wherefore you shall not remain in this city; but you shall be despatched to the parts of Libya, and settled in a place called Cephro: for of this place I have made choice in accordance with the command of our princes. It shall not in any wise be lawful for you or for any others, either to hold assemblies or to enter those places which are called cemeteries. And if any one is seen not to have betaken himself to this place whither I have ordered him to repair, or if he be discovered in any assembly, he will prepare peril for himself; for the requisite punishment will not fail. Be off, therefore, to the place whither you have been commanded to go.” So he forced me away, sick as I was; nor did he grant me the delay even of a single day. What opportunity, then, had I to think either of holding assemblies, or of not holding them?

6. Then after some other matters he says:—Moreover, we did not withdraw from the visible assembling of ourselves together, with the Lord’s presence. But those in the city I tried to gather together with all the greater zeal, as if I were present with them; for I was absent indeed in the body, as I said,6 but present in the spirit. And in Cephro indeed a considerable church sojourned with us, composed partly of the brethren who followed us from the city, and partly of those who joined us from Egypt. There, too, did God open to us a door for the word. And at first we were persecute, we were stoned, but after a period some few of the heathen forsook their idols, and turned to God. For by our means the word was then sown among them for the first time, and before that they had never received it. And as if to show that this had been the very purpose of God in conducting us to them, when we had fulfilled this ministry, He led us away again. For Æmilianus was minded to remove us to rougher parts, as it seemed, and to more Libyan-like districts; and he gave orders to draw all in every direction into the Mareotic territory, and assigned villages to each party throughout the country. Bat he issued instructions that we should be located specially by the public way, so that we might also be the first to be apprehended;8 for he evidently made his arrangements and plans with a view to an easy seizure of all of us whenever he should make up his mind to lay hold of us.

7. Now when I received the command to depart to Cephro, I had no idea of the situation of the place, and had scarcely even heard its name before; yet for all that, I went away courageously and calmly. But when word was brought me that I had to remove to the parts of Colluthion, those present know how I was affected; for here I shall be my own accuser. At first, indeed, I was greatly vexed, and took very ill; for though these places happened to be better known and more familiar to us, yet people declared that the region was one destitute of brethren, and even of men of character, and one exposed to the annoyances of travellers and to the raids of robbers. I found comfort, however, when the brethren reminded me that it was nearer the city; and while Cephro brought us large intercourse with brethren of all sorts who came from Egypt, so that we were able to hold our sacred assemblies on a more extensive scale, yet there, on the other hand, as the city was in the nearer vicinity, we could enjoy more frequently the sight of those who were the really beloved, and in closest relationship with us, and dearest to us: for these would come and take their rest among us, and, as in the more remote suburbs, there would be distinct and special meetings. And thus it turned out.

8. Then, after some other matters, he gives again the following account of what befell him: —Germanus, indeed, boasts himself of many professions of faith. He, forsooth, is able to speak of many adverse things which have happened to him! Can he then reckon up in his own case as many condemnatory sentences as we can number in ours, and confiscations too, and proscriptions, and spoilings of goods, and losses of dignities,3 and despisings of worldly honour, and contemnings of the laudations of governors and councillors, and patient subjections to the threatenings of the adversaries, and to outcries, and perils, and persecutions, and a wandering life, and the pressure of difficulties, and all kinds of trouble, such as befell me in the time of Decius and Sabinus,5 and such also as I have been suffering under the present severities of Æmilianus? But where in the world did Germanus make his appearance? And what mention is made of him? But I retire from this huge act of folly into which I am suffering myself to fall on account of Germanus; and accordingly I forbear giving to the brethren, who already have full knowledge of these things, a particular and detailed narrative of all that happened.

epistle xi.—to hermammon.

1. But Gallus did not understand the wickedness of Decius, nor did he note beforehand what it was that wrought his ruin. But he stumbled at the very stone which was lying before his eyes; for when his sovereignty was in a prosperous position, and when affairs were turning out according to his wish, he oppressed those holy men who interceded with God on behalf of his peace and his welfare. And consequently, persecuting them, he persecuted also the prayers offered in his own behalf.

2. And to John a revelation is made in like manner: “And there was given unto him,” he says, “a mouth speaking great things, and blasphemy; and power was given unto him, and forty and two months.”9 And one finds both things to wonder at in Valerian’s case; and most especially has one to consider how different it was with him before these events, —how mild and well-disposed he was towards the men of God. For among the emperors who preceded him, there was not one who exhibited so kindly and favourable a disposition toward them as he did; yea, even those who were said to have become Christians openly11 did not receive them with that extreme friendliness and graciousness with which he received them at the beginning of his reign; and his whole house was filled then with the pious, and it was itself a very church of God. But the master and president of the Magi of Egypt2 prevailed on him to abandon that course, urging him to slay and persecute those pure and holy men as adversaries and obstacles to their accursed and abominable incantations. For there are, indeed, and there were men who, by their simple presence, and by merely showing themselves, and by simply breathing and uttering some words, have been able to dissipate the artifices of wicked demons. But he put it into his mind to practise the impure rites of initiation, and detestable juggleries, and execrable sacrifices, and to slay miserable children, and to make oblations of the offspring of unhappy fathers, and to divide the bowels of the newly-born, and to mutilate and cut up the creatures made by God, as if by such means they would attain to blessedness.

3. Afterwards he subjoins the following:—Splendid surely were the thank-offerings, then, which Macrianus brought them for that empire which was the object of his hopes; who, while formerly reputed as the sovereign’s faithful public treasurer,5 had yet no mind for anything which was either reasonable in itself or conducive to the public good, but subjected himself to that curse of prophecy which says, “Woe unto those who prophesy from their own heart, and see not the public good!”7 For he did not discern that providence which regulates all things; nor did he think of the judgment of Him who is before all, and through all, and over all. Wherefore he also became an enemy to His Catholic Church; and besides that, he alienated and estranged himself from the mercy of God, and fled to the utmost possible distance from His salvation. And in this indeed he demonstrated the reality of the peculiar significance of his name.9

4. And again, after some other matters, he proceeds thus:—For Valerian was instigated to these acts by this man, and was thereby exposed to contumely and reproach, according to the word spoken by the Lord to Isaiah: “Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their own abominations in which their souls delighted; I also will choose their mockeries, and will recompense their sin.”11 But this man (Macrianus), being maddened with his passion for the empire, all unworthy of it as he was, and at the same time having no capacity for assuming the insignia of imperial government,13 by reason of his crippled body,15 put forward his two sons as the bearers, so to speak, of their father’s offences. For unmistakeably apparent in their case was the truth of that declaration made by God, when He said, “Visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.” For he heaped his own wicked passions, for which he had failed in securing satisfaction, upon the heads of his sons, and thus wiped off17 upon them his own wickedness, and transferred to them, too, the hatred he himself had shown toward God.

5. That man,19 then, after he had betrayed the one and made war upon the other of the emperors preceding him, speedily perished, with his whole family, root and branch. And Gallienus was proclaimed, and acknowledged by all. And he was at once an old emperor and a new; for he was prior to those, and he also survived them. To this effect indeed is the word spoken by the Lord to Isaiah: “Behold, the things which were from the beginning have come to pass; and there are new things which shall now arise.” For as a cloud which intercepts the sun’s rays, and over-shadows it for a little, obscures it, and appears itself in its place, but again, when the cloud has passed by or melted away, the sun, which had risen before, comes forth again and shows itself: so did this Macrianus put himself forward,21 and achieve access for himself even to the very empire of Gallienus now established; but now he is that no more, because indeed he never was it, while this other, i.e., Gallienus, is just as he was. And his empire, as if it had cast off old age, and had purged itself of the wickedness formerly attaching to it, is at present in a more vigorous and flourishing condition, and is now seen and heard of at greater distances, and stretches abroad in every direction.

6. Then he further indicates the exact time at which he wrote this account, as follows:—And it occurs to me again to review the days of the imperial years. For I see that those most impious men, whose names may have been once so famous, have in a short space become nameless. But our more pious and godly prince has passed his septennium, and is now in his ninth year, in which we are to celebrate the festival.2

epistle xii.—to the alexandrians.

1. To other men, indeed, the present state of matters would not appear to offer a fit season for a festival: and this certainly is no festal time to them; nor, in sooth, is any other that to them. And I say this, not only of occasions manifestly sorrowful, but even or all occasions whatsoever which people might consider to be most joyous.5 And now certainly all things are turned to mourning, and all men are in grief, and lamentations resound through the city, by reason of the multitude of the dead and of those who are dying day by day. For as it is written in the case of the first-born of the Egyptians, so now too a great cry has arisen. “For there is not a house in which there is not one dead.” And would that even this were all!

2. Many terrible calamities, it is true, have also befallen us before this. For first they drove us away; and though we were quite alone, and pursued by all, and in the way of being slain, we kept our festival, even at such a time. And every place that had been the scene of some of the successive sufferings which befell any of us, became a seat for our solemn assemblies,—the field, the desert, the ship, the inn, the prison,—all alike. The most gladsome festival of all, however, has been celebrated by those perfect martyrs who have sat down at the feast in heaven. And after these things war and famine surprised us. These were calamities which we shared, indeed, with the heathen. But we had also to bear by ourselves alone those ills with which they outraged us, and we had at the same time to sustain our part in those things which they either did to each other or suffered at each other’s hands; while again we rejoiced deeply in that peace of Christ which He imparted to us alone.

3. And after we and they together had enjoyed a very brief season of rest, this pestilence next assailed us,—a calamity truly more dreadful to them than all other objects of dread, and more intolerable than any other kind of trouble whatsoever; and a misfortune which, as a certain writer of their own declares, alone prevails over all hope. To us however, it was not so; but in no less measure than other ills it proved an instrument for our training and probation. For it by no means kept aloof from us, although it spread with greatest violence among the heathen.

4. To these statements he in due succession makes this addition:—Certainly very many of our brethren, while, in their exceeding love and brotherly-kindness, they did not spare themselves, but kept by each other, and visited the sick without thought of their own peril, and ministered to them assiduously, and treated them for their healing in Christ, died from time to time most joyfully along with them, lading themselves with pains derived from others, and drawing upon themselves their neighbours’ diseases, and willingly taking over to their own persons the burden of the sufferings of those around them. And many who had thus cured others of their sicknesses, and restored them to strength, died themselves, having transferred to their own bodies the death that lay upon these. And that common saying, which else seemed always to be only a polite form of address, they expressed in actual fact then, as they departed this life, like the “offscourings of all. Yea, the very best of our brethren have departed this life in this manner, including some presbyters and some deacons, and among the people those who were in highest reputation: so that this very form of death, in virtue of the distinguished piety and the stedfast faith which were exhibited in it, appeared to come in nothing beneath martyrdom itself.

5. And they took the bodies of the saints on their upturned hands, and on their bosoms, and closed4 their eyes, and shut their mouths. And carrying them in company, and laying them out decently, they clung to them, and embraced them, and prepared them duly with washing and with attire. And then in a little while after they had the same services done for themselves, as those who survived were ever following those who departed before them. But among the heathen all was the very reverse. For they thrust aside any who began to be sick, and kept aloof even from their dearest friends, and cast the sufferers out upon the public roads half dead, and left them unburied, and treated them with utter contempt when they died, steadily avoiding any kind of communication and intercourse with death; which, however, it was not easy for them altogether to escape, in spite of the many precautions they employed.6

epistle xiii.—to hierax, a bishop in egypt.

1. But what wonder should there be if I find it difficult to communicate by letter with those who are settled in remote districts, when it seems beyond my power even to reason with myself, and to take counsel with my own soul? For surely epistolary communications are very requisite for me with those who are, as it were, my own bowels, my closest associates, and my brethren—one in soul with myself, and members, too, of the same Church. And yet no way opens up by which I can transmit such addresses. Easier, indeed, would it be for one, I do not say merely to pass beyond the limits of the province, but to cross from east to west, than to travel from this same Alexandria to Alexandria. For the most central pathway in this city9 is vaster and more impassable even than that extensive and untrodden desert which Israel only traversed in two generations; and our smooth and waveless harbours have become an image of that sea through which the people drove, at the time when it divided itself and stood up like walls on either side, and in whose thoroughfare the Egyptians were drowned. For often they have appeared like the Red Sea, in consequence of the slaughter perpetrated in them. The river, too, which flows by the city, has sometimes appeared drier than the waterless desert, and more parched than that wilderness in which Israel was so overcome with thirst on their journey, that they kept crying out against Moses, and the water was made to stream for them from the precipitous11 rock by the power of Him who alone doeth wondrous things. And sometimes, again, it has risen in such flood-tide, that it has overflowed all the country round about, and the roads, and the fields, as if it threatened to bring upon us once more that deluge of waters which occurred in the days of Noah.

2. But now it always flows onward, polluted with blood and slaughters and the drowning struggles of men, just as it did of old, when on Pharaoh’s account it was changed by Moses into blood, and made putrid. And what other liquid could cleanse water, which itself cleanses all things? How could that ocean, so vast and impassable for men, though poured out on it, ever purge this bitter sea? Or how could even that great river which streams forth from Eden, though it were to discharge the four hearts into which it is divided into the one channel of the Gihon,13 wash away these pollutions? Or when will this air, befouled as it is by noxious exhalations which rise in every direction, become pure again? For there are such vapours sent forth from the earth, and such blasts from the sea, and breezes from the rivers, and reeking mists from the harbours, that for dew we might suppose ourselves to have the impure fluids of the corpses which are rotting in all the underlying elements. And yet, after all this, men are amazed, and are at a loss to understand whence come these constant pestilences, whence these terrible diseases, whence these many kinds of fatal inflictions, whence all that large and multiform destruction of human life, and what reason there is why this mighty city no longer contains within it as great a number of inhabitants, taking all parties into account, from tender children up to those far advanced in old age, as once it maintained of those alone whom it called hale old men. But those from forty years of age up to seventy were so much more numerous then, that their number cannot be made up now even when those from fourteen to eighty years of age have been added to the roll and register of persons who are recipients of the public allowances of grain. And those who are youngest in appearance have now become, as it were, equals in age with those who of old were the most aged. And yet, although they thus see the human race constantly diminishing and wasting away upon the earth, they have no trepidation in the midst of this increasing and advancing consumption and annihilation of their own number.

epistle xiv.—from his fourth festival epistle.

Love is altogether and for ever on the alert, and casts about to do some good even to one who is unwilling to receive it. And many a time the man who shrinks from it under a feeling of shame, and who declines to accept services of kindness on the ground of unwillingness to become troublesome to others, and who chooses rather to bear the burden of his own grievances than cause annoyance and anxiety to any one, is importuned by the man who is full of love to bear with his aids, and to suffer himself to be helped by another, though it might be as one sustaining a wrong, and thus to do a very great service, not to himself, but to another, in permitting that other to be the agent in putting an end to the ill in which he has been involved.



(Apocalypse, note 7, p. 105, and note 9, p. 106.)

the moderation of Dionysius is hardly less conspicuous than his fearlessness of inquiry in the questions he raises about the Apocalypse. He utterly refuses to reject it.4 He testifies to the value set upon it by his fellow-Christians. Only, he doubts as to (the John) the “inspired person” who was its author, and with critical skill exposes the inferiority of the Greek of the Apocalypse to that of the Gospel and Epistles of St. John. Obviously he accepts it as part of the canon, only doubting as to the author. Modestly he owns that it passes his understanding. So Calvin forbore to comment upon it, and owned to “headache” when he came to it.



i.—a commentary on the beginning of ecclesiastes.

chap. 1.

Ver. 1. “The words of the son of David, king of Israel in Jerusalem.”

In like manner also Matthew calls the Lord the son of David.

3. “What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?”

For what man is there who, although he may have become rich by toiling after the objects of this earth, has been able to make himself three cubits in stature, if he is naturally only of two cubits in stature? Or who, if blind, has by these means recovered his sight? Therefore we ought to direct our toils to a goal beyond the sun: for thither, too, do the exertions of the virtues reach.

4. “One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever” (unto the age).

Yes, unto the age, but not unto the ages.5

16. “I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem; yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.

17. I knew parables and science: that this indeed is also the spirit’s choice.

18. For in multitude of wisdom is multitude of knowledge: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth grief.”

I was vainly puffed up, and increased wisdom; not the wisdom which God has given, but that wisdom of which Paul says, “The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.” For in this Solomon had also an experience surpassing prudence, and above the measure of all the ancients. Consequently he shows the vanity of it, as what follows in like manner demonstrates: “And my heart uttered8 many things: I knew wisdom, and knowledge, and parables, and sciences.” But this was not the genuine wisdom or knowledge, but that which, as Paul says, puffeth up. He spake, moreover, as it is written, three thousand parables. But these were not parables of a spiritual kind, but only such as fit the common polity of men; as, for instance, utterances about animals or medicines. For which reason he has added in a tone of raillery, “I knew that this also is the spirit’s choice.” He speaks also of the multitude of knowledge, not the knowledge of the Holy Spirit, but that which the prince of this world works, and which he conveys to men in order to overreach their souls, with officious questions as to the measures of heaven, the position of earth, the bounds of the sea. But he says also, “He that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.” For they search even into things deeper than these,—inquiring, for example, what necessity there is for fire to go upward, and for water to go downward; and when they have learned that it is because the one is light and the other heavy, they do but increase sorrow: for the question still remains, Why might it not be the very reverse?

chap. 2.

Ver. 1. “I said in mine heart, Go to now, make trial as in mirth, and behold in good. And this, too, is vanity.”

For it was for the sake of trial, and in accordance with what comes by the loftier and the severe life, that he entered into pleasure, And he makes mention of the mirth, which men call so. And he says, “in good,” referring to what men call good things, which are not capable of giving life to their possessor, and which make the man who engages in them vain like themselves.

2. “I said of laughter, It is mad; and of mirth, What doest thou?”

Laughter has a twofold madness; because madness begets laughter, and does not allow the sorrowing for sins; and also because a man of that sort is possessed with madness, in the confusing of seasons, and places, and persons. For he flees from those who sorrow. “And to mirth, What doest thou?” Why dost thou repair to those who are not at liberty to be merry? Why to the drunken, and the avaricious, and the rapacious? And why this phrase, “as wine?”3 Because wine makes the heart merry; and it acts upon the poor in spirit. The flesh, however, also makes the heart merry, when it acts in a regular and moderate fashion.

3. “And my heart directed me in wisdom, and to overcome in mirth, until I should know what is that good thing to the sons of men which they shall do under the sun for the number of the days of their life.”

Being directed, he says, by wisdom, I overcame pleasures in mirth. Moreover, for me the aim of knowledge was to occupy myself with nothing vain, but to find the good; for if a person finds that, he does not miss the discernment also of the profitable. The sufficient is also the opportune, and is commensurate with the length of life.

4. “I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards.

5. I made me gardens and orchards.

6. I made me pools of water, that by these I might rear woods producing trees.

7. I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had large possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me.

8. I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces. I gat me men-singers and women-singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as cups and the cupbearer.

9. And I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me.

10. And whatsoever mine eyes desired, I kept not from them; I withheld not my heart from any pleasure.”

You see how he reckons up a multitude of houses and fields, and the other things which he mentions, and then finds nothing profitable in them. For neither was he any better in soul by reason of these things, nor by their means did he gain friendship with God. Necessarily he is led to speak also of the true riches and the abiding property. Being minded, therefore, to show what kinds of possessions remain with the possessor, and continue steadily and maintain themselves for him, he adds: “Also my wisdom remained with me.” For this alone remains, and all these other things, which he has already reckoned up, flee away and depart. Wisdom, therefore, remained with me, and I remained in virtue of it. For those other things fall, and also cause the fall of the very persons who run after them. But, with the intention of instituting a comparison between wisdom and those things which are held to be good among men, he adds these words, “And whatsoever mine eyes desired, I kept not from them,” and so forth; whereby he describes as evil, not only those toils which they endure who toil in gratifying themselves with pleasures, but those, too, which by necessity and constraint men have to sustain for their maintenance day by day, labouring at their different occupations in the sweat of their faces. For the labour, he says, is great; but the art by the labour is temporary, adding6 nothing serviceable among things that please. Wherefore there is no profit. For where there is no excellence there is no profit. With reason, therefore, are the objects of such solicitude but vanity, and the spirit’s choice. Now this name of “spirit” he gives to the “soul.” For choice is a quality, not a motion. And David says: “Into Thy hands I commit my spirit.”8 And in good truth “did my wisdom remain with me,” for it made me know and understand, so as to enable me to speak of all that is not advantageous under the sun. If, therefore, we desire the righteously profitable, if we seek the truly advantageous, if in is our aim to be incorruptible, let us engage those labours which reach beyond the sun. For in these there is no vanity, and there is not the choice of a spirit at once inane and hurried hither and thither to no purpose.

12. “And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what man is there that shall come after counsel in all those things which it has done?”

He means the wisdom which comes from God, and which also remained with him. And by madness and folly he designates all the labours of men, and the vain and silly pleasure they have in them. Distinguishing these, therefore, and their measure, and blessing the true wisdom, he has added: “For what man is there that shall come after counsel?” For this counsel instructs us in the wisdom that is such indeed, and gifts us with deliverance from madness and folly.

13. “Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as much as light excelleth darkness.”

He does not say this in the way of comparison. For things which are contrary to each other, and mutually destructive, cannot be compared. But his decision was, that the one is to be chosen, and the other avoided. To like effect is the saying, “Men loved darkness rather than light.” For the term “rather” in that passage expresses the choice of the person loving, and not the comparison of the objects themselves.

14. “The wise man’s eyes are in his head, but the fool walketh in darkness.”

That man always inclines earthward, he means, and has the ruling faculty darkened. It is true, indeed, that we men have all of us our eyes in our head, if we speak of the mere disposition of the body. But he speaks here of the eyes of the mind. For as the eyes of the swine do not turn naturally up towards heaven, just because it is made by nature to have an inclination toward the belly; so the mind of the man who has once been enervated by pleasures is not easily diverted from the tendency thus assumed, because he has not “respect unto all the commandments of the Lord”.3 “Again: Christ is the head of the Church.” And they, therefore, are the wise who walk in His way; for He Himself has said, “I am the way.”5 On this account, then, it becomes the wise man always to keep the eyes of his mind directed toward Christ Himself, in order that he may do nothing out of measure, neither being lifted up in heart in the time of prosperity, nor becoming negligent in the day of adversity: “for His judgments are a great deep,” as you will learn more exactly from what is to follow.

14. “And I perceived myself also that one event happeneth to them all.

15. Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise?”

The run of the discourse in what follows deals with those who are of a mean spirit as regards this present life, and in whose judgment the article of death and all the anomalous pains of the body are a kind of dreaded evil, and who on this account hold that there is no profit in a life of virtue, because there is no difference made in ills like these between the wise man and the fool. He speaks consequently of these as the words of a madness inclining to utter senselessness; whence he also adds this sentence, “For the fool talks over-much;” and by the “fool” here he means himself, and every one who reasons in that way. Accordingly he condemns this absurd way of thinking. And for the same reason he has given utterance to such sentiments in the fears of his heart; and dreading the righteous condemnation of those who are to be heard, he solves the difficulty in its pressure by his own reflections. For this word, “Why was I then wise?” was the word of a man in doubt and difficulty whether what is expended on wisdom is done well or to no purpose; and whether there is no difference between the wise man and the fool in point of advantage, seeing that the former is involved equally with the latter in the same sufferings which happen in this present world. And for this reason he says, “I spoke over-largely8 in my heart,” in thinking that there is no difference between the wise man and the fool.

16. “For there is no remembrance of the wise equally with the fool forever.”

For the events that happen in this life are all transitory, be they even the painful incidents, of which he says, “As all things now are consigned to oblivion.” For after a short space has passed by, all the things that befall men in this life perish in forgetfulness. Yea, the very persons to whom these things have happened are not remembered all in like manner, even although they may have gone through like chances in life. For they are not remembered for these, but only for what they may have evinced of wisdom or folly, virtue or vice. The memories of such are not extinguished (equally) among men in consequence of the changes of lot befalling them. Wherefore he has added this: “And how shall the wise man die along with the fool? The death of sinners, indeed, is evil: yet the memory of the just is blessed, but the name of the wicked is extinguished.”10

22. “For that falls to man in all his labour.”

In truth, to those who occupy their minds with the distractions of life, life becomes a painful thing, which, as it were, wounds the heart with its goads, that is, with the lustful desires of increase. And sorrowful also is the solicitude connected with covetousness: it does not so much gratify those who are successful in it, as it pains those who are unsuccessful; while the day is spent in laborious anxieties, and the night puts sleep to flight from the eyes, with the cares of making gain. Vain, therefore, is the zeal of the man who looks to these things.

24. “And there is nothing good for a man, but what he eats and drinks, and what will show to his soul good in his labour. This also I saw, that it is from the hand of God.

25. For who eats and drinks from his own resources?”

That the discourse does not deal now with material meats, he will show by what follows; namely, “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting.” And so in the present passage he proceeds to add: “And (what) will show to his soul good in its labour.” And surely mere material meats and drinks are not the soul’s good. For the flesh, when luxuriously nurtured, wars against the soul, and rises in revolt against the spirit. And how should not intemperate eatings and drinkings also be contrary to God?3 He speaks, therefore, of things mystical. For no one shall partake of the spiritual table, but one who is called by Him, and who has listened to the wisdom which says, “Take and eat.”

chap. 3

Ver. 3. “There is a time to kill, and a time to heal.”

To “kill,” in the case of him who perpetrates unpardonable transgression; and to “heal,” in the case of him who can show a wound that will bear remedy.

4. “A time to weep, and a time to laugh.”

A time to weep, when it is the time of suffering; as when the Lord also says, “Verily I say unto you, that ye shall weep and lament.” But to laugh, as concerns the resurrection: “For your sorrow,” He says, “shall be turned into joy.”6

4. “A time to mourn, and a time to dance.”

When one thinks of the death which the transgression of Adam brought on us, it is a time to mourn; but it is a time to hold festal gatherings when we call to mind the resurrection from the dead which we expect through the new Adam.

6. “A time to keep, and a time to cast away.”

A time to keep the Scripture against the unworthy, and a time to put it forth for the worthy. Or, again: Before the incarnation it was a time to keep the letter of the law; but it was a time to cast it away when the truth came in its flower.

7. “A time to keep silence, and a time to speak.”

A time to speak, when there are hearers who receive the word; but a time to keep silence, when the hearers pervert the word; as Paul says: “A man that is an heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject.”

10. “I have seen, then, the travail which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.

11. Everything that He hath made is beautiful in its time: and He hath set the whole world in their heart; so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning and to the end.”

And this is true. For no one is able to comprehend the works of God altogether. Moreover, the world is the work of God. No one, then, can find out as to this world what is its space from the beginning and unto the end, that is to say, the period appointed for it, and the limits before determined unto it; forasmuch as God has set the whole world as a realm of ignorance in our hearts. And thus one says: “Declare to me the shortness of my days.” In this manner, and for our profit, the end of this world (age)—that is to say, this present life—is a thing of which we are ignorant.

ii.—the gospel according to luke.

an interpretation.—chap. 22:42–48.

Ver. 42. “Father, if Thou be willing to remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but Thine, be done.”

But let these things be enough to say on the subject of the will. This word, however, “Let the cup pass,” does not mean, Let it not come near me, or approach me. For what can “pass from Him,” certainly must first come nigh Him; and what does pass thus from Him, must be by Him. For if it does not reach Him, it cannot pass from Him. For He takes to Himself the person of man, as having been made man. Wherefore also on this occasion He deprecates the doing of the inferior, which is His own, and begs that the superior should be done, which is His Father’s, to wit, the divine will; which again, however, in respect of the divinity, is one and the same will in Himself and in the Father. For it was the Father’s will that He should pass through every trial (temptation); and the Father Himself in a marvellous manner brought Him on this course, not indeed with the trial itself as His goal, nor in order simply that He might enter into that, but in order that He might prove Himself to be above the trial, and also beyond it.12 And surely it is the fact, that the Saviour asks neither what is impossible, nor what is impracticable, nor what is contrary to the will of the Father. It is something possible; for I Mark makes mention of His saying, “Abba, Father, all things are possible unto Thee.” And they are possible if He wills them; for Luke tells us that He said, “Father, if Thou be willing, remove2 this cup from me.” The Holy Spirit, therefore, apportioned among the evangelists, makes up the full account of our Saviour’s whole disposition by the expressions of these several narrators together. He does not, then, ask of the Father what the Father wills not. For the words, “If Thou be willing,” were demonstrative of subjection and docility, not of ignorance or hesitancy. For this reason, the other scripture says, “All things are possible unto Thee.” And Matthew again admirably describes the submission and humility4 when he says, “If it be possible.” For unless I adapt the sense in this way, some will perhaps assign an impious signification to this expression, “If it be possible;” as if there were anything impossible for God to do, except that only which He does not will to do. But … being straightway strengthened in His humanity by His ancestral6 divinity, he urges the safer petition, and desires no longer that should be the case, but that it might be accomplished in accordance with the Father’s good pleasure, in glory, in constancy, and in fulness. For John, who has given us the record of the sublimest and divinest of the Saviour’s words and deeds, heard Him speak thus: “And the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” Now, to drink the cup was to discharge the ministry and the whole economy of trial with fortitude, to follow and fulfil the Father’s determination, and to surmount all apprehensions. And the exclamation, “Why hast Thou forsaken me?” was in due accordance with the requests He had previously made: Why is it that death has been in conjunction with me all along up till now, and that I bear not yet the cup? This I judge to have been the Saviour’s meaning in this concise utterance.

And He certainly spake truth then. Nevertheless He was not forsaken. But He drank out the cup at once, as His plea had implied, and then passed away. And the vinegar which was handed to Him seems to me to have been a symbolical thing. For the turned wine9 indicated very well the quick turning and change which He sustained, when He passed from His passion to impassibility, and from death to deathlessness, and from the position of one judged to that of one judging, and from subjection under the despot’s power to the exercise of kingly dominion. And the sponge, as I think, signified the complete transfusion11 of the Holy Spirit that was realized in Him. And the reed symbolized the royal sceptre and the divine law. And the hyssop expressed that quickening and saving resurrection of His, by which He has also brought health to us.

43. “And there appeared an angel unto Him from heaven, strengthening Him.

44. And being in an agony, He prayed more earnestly; and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”

The phrase, “a sweat of blood,” is a current parabolic expression used of persons in intense pain and distress; as also of one in bitter grief people say that the man “weeps tears of blood.” For in using the expression, “as it were great drops of blood,” he does not declare the drops of sweat to have been actually drops of blood. For he would not then have said that these drops of sweat were like blood. For such is the force of the expression, “as it were great drops.” But rather with the object of making it plain that the Lord’s body was not bedewed with any kind of subtle moisture which had only the show and appearance of actuality, but that it was really suffused all over with sweat in the shape of large thick drops, he has taken the great drops of blood as an illustration of what was the case with Him. And accordingly, as by the intensity of the supplication and the severe agony, so also by the dense and excessive sweat, he made the facts patent, that the Saviour was man by nature and in reality, and not in mere semblance and appearance, and that He was subject to all the innocent sensibilities natural to men. Nevertheless the words, “I have power to lay down my life, and I have power to take it again,”14 show that His passion was a voluntary thing; and besides that, they indicate that the life which is laid down and taken again is one thing, and the divinity which lays that down and takes it again is another.

He says, “one thing and another,” not as making a partition into two persons, but as showing the distinction between the two natures.

And as, by voluntarily enduring the death in the flesh, He implanted incorruptibility in it; so also, by taking to Himself of His own free-will the passion of our servitude, He set in it the seeds of constancy and courage, whereby He has nerved those who believe on Him for the mighty conflicts belonging to their witness-bearing. Thus, also, those drops of sweat flowed from Him in a marvellous way like great drops of blood, in order that He might, as it were, drain off2 and empty the fountain of the fear which is proper to our nature. For unless this had been done with a mystical import, He certainly would not, even had He been the most timorous and ignoble of men, have been bedewed in this unnatural way with drops of sweat like drops of blood under the mere force of His agony.

Of like import is also the sentence in the narrative which tells us that an angel stood by the Saviour and strengthened Him. For this, too, bore also on the economy entered into on our behalf. For those who are appointed to engage in the sacred exertions of conflicts on account of piety, have the angels from heaven to assist them. And the prayer, “Father, remove the cup,” He uttered probably not as if He feared the death itself, but with the view of challenging the devil by these words to erect the cross for Him. With words of deceit that personality deluded Adam; with the words of divinity, then, let the deceiver himself now be deluded. Howbeit assuredly the will of the Son is not one thing, and the will of the Father another. For He who wills what the Father wills, is found to have the Father’s will. It is in a figure, therefore, that He says, “not my will, but Thine.” For it is not that He wishes the cup to be removed, but that He refers to the Father’s will the right issue of His passion, and honours thereby the Father as the First.5 For if the fathers style one’s disposition gnomè, and if such disposition relates also to what is in consideration hidden as if by settled purpose, how say some that the Lord, who is above all these things, bears a gnomic will?8 Manifestly that can be only by defect of reason.

45. “And when He rose from prayer, and was come to His disciples, He found them sleeping for sorrow;

46. And said unto them, Why sleep ye? Rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.”

For in the most general sense it holds good that it is apparently not possible for any man to remain altogether without experience of ill. For, as one says, “the whole world lieth in wickedness;”10 and again, “The most of the days of man are labour and trouble.” But you will perhaps say, What difference is there between being tempted, and falling or entering into temptation? Well, if one is overcome of evil—and he will be overcome unless he struggles against it himself, and unless God protects him with His shield—that man has entered into temptation, and is in it, and is brought under it like one that is led captive. But if one withstands and endures, that man is indeed tempted; but he has not entered into temptation, or fallen into it. Thus Jesus was led up of the Spirit, not indeed to enter into temptation, but to be tempted of the devil.12 And Abraham, again, did not enter into temptation, neither did God lead him into temptation, but He tempted (tried) him; yet He did not drive him into temptation. The Lord Himself, moreover, tempted (tried) the disciples. Thus the wicked one, when he tempts us, draws us into the temptations, as dealing himself with the temptations of evil. But God, when He tempts (tries), adduces the temptations (trials) as one untempted of evil. For God, it is said, “cannot be tempted of evil.” The devil, therefore, drives us on by violence, drawing us to destruction; but God leads us by hand, training us for our salvation.

47. “And while He yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus, and kissed Him.

48. But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?”

How wonderful this endurance of evil by the Lord, who even kissed the traitor, and spake words softer even than the kiss! For He did not say, O thou abominable, yea, utterly abominable traitor, is this the return you make to us for so great kindness? But, somehow, He says simply “Judas,” using the proper name, which was the address that would be used by one who commiserated a person, or who wished to call him back, rather than of one in anger. And He did not say, “thy Master, the Lord, thy benefactor;” but He said simply, “the Son of man,” that is, the tender and meek one: as if He meant to say, Even supposing that I was not your Master, or Lord, or benefactor, dost thou still betray one so guilelessly and so tenderly affected towards thee, as even to kiss thee in the hour of thy treachery, and that, too, when the kiss was the signal for thy treachery? Blessed art Thou, O Lord! How great is this example of the endurance of evil that Thou hast shown us in Thine own person! how great, too, the pattern of lowliness! Howbeit, the Lord has given us this example, to show us that we ought not to give up offering our good counsel to our brethren, even should nothing remarkable be effected by our words.

For as incurable wounds are wounds which cannot be remedied either by severe applications, or by those which may act more pleasantly upon them; so2 the soul, when it is once carried captive, and gives itself up to any kind of wickedness, and refuses to consider what is really profitable for it, although a myriad counsels should echo in it, takes no good to itself. But just as if the sense of hearing were dead within it, it receives no benefit from exhortations addressed to it; not because it cannot, but only because it will not. This was what happened in the case of Judas. And yet Christ, although He knew all these things beforehand, did not at any time, from the beginning on to the end, omit to do all in the way of counsel that depended on Him. And inasmuch as we know that such was His practice, we ought also unceasingly to endeavour to set those right4 who prove careless, even although no actual good may seem to be effected by that counsel.

iii.—on luke 22:42, etc.

But let these things be enough to say on the subject of the will. This word, however, “Let the cup pass,” does not mean, Let it not come near me, or approach me. For what can pass from Him must certainly first come nigh Him, and what does thus pass from Him must be by Him. For if it does not reach Him, it cannot pass from Him. Accordingly, as if He now felt it to be present, He began to be in pain, and to be troubled, and to be sore amazed, and to be in an agony. And as if it was at hand and placed before Him, He does not merely say “the cup,” but He indicates it by the word “this.” Therefore, as what passes from one is something which neither has no approach nor is permanently settled with one, so the Saviour’s first request is that the temptation which has come softly and plainly upon Him, and associated itself lightly with Him, may be turned aside. And this is the first form of that freedom from falling into temptation, which He also counsels the weaker disciples to make the subject of their prayers; that, namely, which concerns the approach of temptation: for it must needs be that offences come, but yet those to whom they come ought not to fall into the temptation. But the most perfect mode in which this freedom from entering into temptation is exhibited, is what He expresses in His second request, when He says not merely, “Not as I will,” but also, “but as Thou wilt.” For with God there is no temptation in evil; but He wills to give us good exceeding abundantly above what we ask or think. That His will, therefore, is the perfect will, the Beloved Himself knew; and often does He say that He has come to do that will, and not His own will,—that is to say, the will of men. For He takes to Himself the person of men, as having been made man. Wherefore also on this occasion He deprecates the doing of the inferior, which is His own, and begs that the superior should be done, which is His Father’s, to wit, the divine will, which again, however, in respect of the divinity, is one and the same will in Himself and in His Father. For it was the Father’s will that He should pass through every trial (temptation), and the Father Himself in a marvellous manner brought Him on this course; not indeed, with the trial itself as His goal, nor in order simply that He might enter into that, but in order that He might prove Himself to be above the trial, and also beyond it. And surely it is the fact that the Saviour asks neither what is impossible, nor what is impracticable, nor what is contrary to the will of the Father. It is something possible, for Mark makes mention of His saying, “Abba, Father, all things are possible unto Thee;” and they are possible if He wills them, for Luke tells us that He said, “Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from me.” The Holy Spirit therefore, apportioned among the evangelists, makes up the full account of our Saviour’s whole disposition by the expressions of these several narrators together. He does not then ask of the Father what the Father wills not. For the words, “if Thou be willing,” were demonstrative of subjection and docility, not of ignorance or hesitancy. And just as when we make any request that may be accordant with his judgment, at the hand of father or ruler or any one of those whom we respect, we are accustomed to use the address, though not certainly as if we were in doubt about it, “if you please;” so the Saviour also said, “if Thou be willing:” not that He thought that He willed something different, and thereafter learned the fact, but that He understood exactly God’s willingness to remove the cup from Him, and as doing so also apprehended justly that what He wills is also possible unto Him. For this reason the other scripture says, “All things are possible unto Thee.” And Matthew again admirably describes the submission and the humility, when he says, “if it be possible.” For unless we adapt the sense in this way, some will perhaps assign an impious signification to this expression “if it be possible,” as if there were anything impossible for God to do, except that only which He does not will to do. Therefore the request which He made was nothing independent, nor one which pleased Himself only, or opposed His Father’s will, but one also in conformity with the mind of God. And yet some one may say that He is overborne and changes His mind, and asks presently something different from what He asked before, and holds no longer by His own will, but introduces His Father’s will. Well, such truly is the case. Nevertheless He does not by any means make any change from one side to another; but He embraces another way, and a different method of carrying out one and the same transaction, which is also a thing agreeable to both; choosing, to wit, in place of the mode which is the inferior, and which appears unsatisfying also to Himself, the superior and more, admirable mode marked out by the Father. For no doubt He did pray that the cup might pass from Him; but He says also, “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” He longs painfully, on the one hand, for its passing from Him, but (He knows that) it is better as the Father wills. For He does not utter a petition for its not passing away now, instead of one for its removal; but when its withdrawal is now before His view, He chooses rather that this should be ordered as the Father wills. For there is a twofold kind of withdrawal: there is one in the instance of an object that has shown itself and reached another, and is gone at once on being followed by it or on outrunning it, as is the case with racers when they graze each other in passing; and there is another in the instance of an object that has sojourned and tarried with another, and sat down by it, as in the case of a marauding band or a camp, and that after a time withdraws on being conquered, and on gaining the opposite of a success. For if they prevail they do not retire, but carry off with them those whom they have reduced; but if they prove unable to win the mastery, they withdraw themselves in disgrace. Now it was after the former similitude that He wished that the cup might come into His hands, and promptly pass from Him again very readily and quickly; but as soon as He spake thus, being at once strengthened in His humanity by the Father’s divinity, He urges the safer petition, and desires no longer that should be the case, but that it might be accomplished in accordance with the Father’s good pleasure, in glory, in constancy, and in fulness. For John, who has given us the record of the sublimest and divinest of the Saviour’s words and deeds, heard Him speak thus: “And the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” Now, to drink the cup was to discharge the ministry and the whole economy of trial with fortitude, to follow and fulfil the Father’s determination, and to surmount all apprehensions; and, indeed, in the very prayer which He uttered He showed that He was leaving these (apprehensions) behind Him. For of two objects, either may be said to be removed from the other: the object that remains may be said to be removed from the one that goes away, and the one that goes away may be said to be removed from the one that remains. Besides, Matthew has indicated most clearly that He did indeed pray that the cup might pass from Him, but yet that His request was that this should take place not as He willed, but as the Father willed it. The words given by Mark and Luke, again, ought to be introduced in their proper connection. For Mark says, “Nevertheless not what I will, but what Thou wilt;” and Luke says, “Nevertheless not my will, but Thine be done.” He did then express Himself to that effect, and He did desire that His passion might abate and reach its end speedily. But it was the Father’s will at the same time that He should carry out His conflict in a manner demanding sustained effort,2 and in sufficient measure. Accordingly He (the Father) adduced all that assailed Him. But of the missiles that were hurled against Him, some were shivered in pieces, and others were dashed back as with invulnerable arms of steel, or rather as from the stern and immoveable rock. Blows, spittings, scourgings, death, and the lifting up in that death, all came upon Him; and when all these were gone through, He became silent and endured in patience unto the end, as if He suffered nothing, or was already dead. But when His death was being prolonged, and when it was now overmastering Him, if we may so speak, beyond His utmost strength, He cried out to His Father, “Why hast Thou forsaken me?” And this exclamation was in due accordance with the requests He had previously made: Why is it that death has been in such close conjunction with me all along up till now, and Thou dost not yet bear the cup past me?4 Have I not drank it already, and drained it? But if not, my dread is that I may be utterly consumed by its continuous pressure; and that is what would befall me, wert Thou to forsake me: then would the fulfilment abide, but I would pass away, and be made of none effect. Now, then, I entreat Thee, let my baptism be finished, for indeed I have been straitened greatly until it should be accomplished.—This I judge to have been the Saviour’s meaning in this concise utterance. And He certainly spake truth then. Nevertheless He was not forsaken. Albeit He drank out the cup at once, as His plea had implied, and then passed away. And the vinegar which was handed to Him seems to me to have been a symbolical thing. For the turned wine indicated very well the quick turning and change which He sustained when He passed from His passion to impassibility, and from death to deathlessness, and from the position of one judged to that of one judging, and from subjection under the despot’s power to the exercise of kingly dominion. And the sponge, as I think, signified the complete transfusion of the Holy Spirit that was realized in Him. And the reed symbolized the royal sceptre and the divine law. And the hyssop expressed that quickening and saving resurrection of His by which He has also brought health to us.2 But we have gone through these matters in sufficient detail on Matthew and John. With the permission of God, we shall speak also of the account given by Mark. But at present we shall keep to what follows in our passage.

iv.—an exposition of luke 22:46, etc.

This prayer He also offered up Himself, falling repeatedly on His face; and on both occasions He urged His request for not entering into temptation: both when He prayed, “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me;” and when He said, “Nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” For He spoke of not entering into temptation, and He made that His prayer; but He did not ask that He should have no trial whatsoever in these circumstances, or that no manner of hardship should ever befall Him. For in the most general application it holds good, that it does not appear to be possible for any man to remain altogether without experience of ill: for, as one says, “The whole world lieth in wickedness;”5 and again, “The most of the days of man are labour and trouble,” as men themselves also admit. Short is our life, and full of sorrow. Howbeit it was not meet that He should bid them pray directly that that curse might not be fulfilled, which is expressed thus: “Cursed is the ground in thy works: in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;”7 or thus, “Earth thou art, and unto earth shalt thou return.” For which reason the Holy Scriptures, that indicate in many various ways the dire distressfulness of life, designate it as a valley of weeping. And most of all indeed is this world a scene of pain to the saints, to whom He addresses this word, and He cannot lie in uttering it: “In the world ye shall have tribulation.”9 And to the same effect also He says by the prophet, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous.” But I suppose that He refers to this entering not into temptation, when He speaks in the prophet’s words of being delivered out of the afflictions. For He adds, “The Lord will deliver him out of them all.” And this is just in accordance with the Saviour’s word, whereby He promises that they will overcome their afflictions, and that they will participate in that victory which He has won for them. For after saying, “In the world ye shall have tribulation,” He added, “But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” And again, He taught them to pray that they might not fall into temptation, when He said, “And lead us not into temptation;” which means, “Suffer us not to fall into temptation.” And to show that this did not imply they should not be tempted, but really that they should be delivered from the evil, He added, “But deliver us from evil.” But perhaps you will say, What difference is there between being tempted, and falling or entering into temptation? Well, if one is overcome of evil—and he will be overcome unless he struggles against it himself, and unless God protects him with His shield—that man has entered into temptation, and is in it, and is brought under it like one that is led captive. But if one withstands and endures, that man is indeed tempted; but he has not entered into temptation, or fallen under it. Thus Jesus was led up of the Spirit, not indeed to enter into temptation, but “to be tempted of the devil.”11 And Abraham, again, did not enter into temptation, neither did God lead him into temptation, but He tempted (tried) him; yet He did not drive him into temptation. The Lord Himself, moreover, tempted (tried) the disciples. And thus the wicked one, when he tempts us, draws us into the temptations, as dealing himself with the temptations of evil; but God, when He tempts (tries), adduces the temptations as one untempted of evil. For God, it is said, “cannot be tempted of evil.” The devil, therefore, drives us on by violence, drawing us to destruction; but God leads us by the hand, training us for our salvation.

v.—on John 8:12.

Now this word “I am” expresses His eternal subsistence. For if He is the reflection of the eternal light, He must also be eternal Himself. For if the light subsists for ever, it is evident that the reflection also subsists for ever. And that this light subsists, is known only by its shining; neither can there be a light that does not give light. We come back, therefore, to our illustrations. If there is day, there is light; and if there is no such thing, the sun certainly cannot be present. If, therefore, the sun had been eternal, there would also have been endless day. Now, however, as it is not so, the day begins when the sun rises, and it ends when the sun sets. But God is eternal light, having neither beginning nor end. And along with Him there is the reflection, also without beginning, and everlasting. The Father, then, being eternal, the Son is also eternal, being light of light; and if God is the light, Christ is the reflection; and if God is also a Spirit, as it is written, “God is a Spirit,” Christ, again, is called analogously Spirit.3

vi.—of the one substance.

The plant that springs from the root is something distinct from that whence it grows up; and yet it is of one nature with it. And the river which flows from the fountain is something distinct from the fountain. For we cannot call either the river a fountain, or the fountain a river. Nevertheless we allow that they are both one according to nature, and also one in substance; and we admit that the fountain may be conceived of as father, and that the river is what is begotten of the fountain.

vii.—on the reception of the lapsed to penitence.

But now we are doing the opposite. For whereas Christ, who is the good Shepherd, goes in quest of one who wanders, lost among the mountains, and calls him back when he flees from Him, and is at pains to take him up on His shoulders when He has found him, we, on the contrary, harshly spurn such a one even when He approaches us. Yet let us not consult so miserably for ourselves, and let us not in this way be driving the sword against ourselves. For when people set themselves either to do evil or to do good to others, what they do is certainly not confined to the carrying out of their will on those others; but just as they attach themselves to iniquity or to goodness, they will themselves become possessed either by divine virtues or by unbridled passions. And the former will become the followers and comrades of the good angels; and both in this world and in the other, with the enjoyment of perfect peace and immunity from all ills, they will fulfil the most blessed destinies unto all eternity, and in God’s fellowship they will be for ever (in possession of) the supremest good. But these latter will fall away at once from the peace of God and from peace with themselves, and both in this world and after death they will abide with the spirits of blood-guiltiness. Wherefore let us not thrust from us those who seek a penitent return; but let us receive them gladly, and number them once more with the stedfast, and make up again what is defective in them.


Frequent references to Gallandi, whose collection I have been unable to inspect, the cost of the best edition being about two hundred dollars, makes it worth while to insert here, from a London book-catalogue, the following useful memoranda: “Gallandii, Cong. Orat. (Andr.) Bibliotheca Veterum Patrum Antiquorumque Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Græco-Latina. Opera silicet eorundum minors ac rariora usque ad xiii. Sæculum complexa, quorum clxxx. et amplius nec in Veteri Parisiensi, neque in postrema Lugdunensi edits sunt. Venet., 1765.

“The contents are given in Darling, col. 298–306. Of the three hundred and eighty-nine writers enumerated, it appears that nearly two hundred are not in the earlier collections.

“The contents of these great collections are, not the works of the Great Fathers, of whose writings separate editions have been published, but the works, often extensive and important, of those numerous Ecclesiastical writers whose works go, with the Greater Fathers referred to, to make up the sum of Church Patristic literature.”

Julius Africanus

Introductory Notice


Julius Africanus.

[a.d. 200–232–245.] In a former volume, strengthened by a word from Archbishop Usher, I have not hesitated to claim for Theophilus of Antioch a primary place among Christian chronologists. It is no detraction from the fame of our author to admit this, and truth requires it. But the great Alexandrian school must again come into view when we speak of any considerable achievements, among early Christian writers, in this important element of all biblical, in fact, all historical, science. Africanus was a pupil of Heraclas, and we must therefore date his pupilage in Alexandria before a.d. 232, when Dionysius succeeded Heraclas in the presidency of that school. It appears that in a.d. 226 he was performing some duty in behalf of Emmaus (Nicopolis) in Palestine; but Heraclas, who had acted subordinately as Origen’s assistant as early as a.d. 218, could not have become the head of the school, even provisionally, till after Origen’s unhappy ordination. Let us assume the period of our author’s attending the school under Heraclas to be between a.d. 228 and a.d. 232, however. We may then venture to reckon his birth as circa a.d. 200. And, if he became “bishop of Emmaus,” it could hardly have been before the year 240, when he was of ripe age and experience. He adds additional lustre to the age of Gregory Thaumaturgus and Dionysius, as well as to that of their common mother in letters and theology, the already ancient academy of Pantænus and of Clement. His reviving credit in modern times has been largely due to the learned criticism of Dr. Routh, to whose edition of these Fragments the student must necessarily apply. Their chief interest arises from the important specimen which treats of the difficult question of the genealogies of our Lord contained in the evangelists. For a succinct statement of the points involved, and for a candid concession that they were not preserved to meet what modern curiosity would prefer to see established, I know of nothing more satisfactory than the commentary of Wordsworth, from which I have borrowed almost wholly one of my elucidations.

The reader will remember the specimen of our author’s critical judgment which is given with the works of Origen. He differed with that great author, and the Church Catholic has sustained his judgment as just. I regret that the Edinburgh editors thought it necessary to make the Letter to Origen concerning the Apocryphal Book of Susannah a mere preface to Origen’s answer. It might have been quoted there as a preface; but it is too important not to be included here, with the other fragments of his noble contributions to primitive Christian literature.

It does not clearly appear, from the Edinburgh edition, who the translator is; but here follows the


The principal facts known to us in the life of Africanus are derived from himself and the Chronicon of Eusebius. He says of himself that he went to Alexandria on account of the fame of Heraclas. In the Chronicon, under the year 226, it is stated that “Nicopolis in Palestine, which formerly bore the name of Emmaus, was built, Africanus, the author of the Chronology, acting as ambassador on behalf of it, and having the charge of it.” Dionysius Bar-Salibi speaks of Africanus as bishop of Emmaus.

Eusebius describes Africanus as being the author of a work called κεστοί. Suidas says that this book detailed various kinds of cures, consisting of charms and written forms, and such like. Some have supposed that such a work is not likely to have been written by a Christian writer: they appeal also to the fact that no notice is taken of the κεστοί by Jerome in his notice of Africanus, nor by Rufinus in his translation of Eusebius. They therefore deem the clause in Eusebius an interpolation, and they suppose that two bore the name of Africanus,—one the author of the κεστοί, the other the Christian writer. Suidas identifies them, says that he was surnamed Sextus, and that he was a Libyan philosopher.

The works ascribed to Africanus, beside the Cesti, are the following:—

1. Five Books of Chronology. Photius says of this work, that it was concise, but omitted nothing of importance. It began with the cosmogony of Moses, and went down to the advent of Christ. It summarized also the events from the time of Christ to the reign of the Emperor Macrinus.

2. A very famous letter to Aristides, in which he endeavoured to reconcile the apparent discrepancies in the genealogies of Christ given by Matthew and Luke.

3. A letter to Origen, in which he endeavoured to prove that the story of Susanna in Daniel was a forgery. A translation of this letter has been given with the Works of Origen.

The Acts of Symphorosa and her Seven Sons are attributed in the mss. to Africanus; but no ancient writer speaks of him as the author of this work.


i.—the epistle to aristides.


[Africanus on the Genealogy in the Holy Gospels. —Some indeed incorrectly allege that this discrepant enumeration and mixing of the names both of priestly men, as they think, and royal, was made properly,2 in order that Christ might be shown rightfully to be both Priest and King; as if any one disbelieved this, or had any other hope than this, that Christ is the High Priest of His Father, who presents our prayers to Him, and a supramundane King, who rules by the Spirit those whom He has delivered, a co-operator in the government of all things. And this is announced to us not by the catalogue of the tribes, nor by the mixing of the registered generations, but by the patriarchs and prophets. Let us not therefore descend to such religious trifling as to establish the kingship and priesthood of Christ by the interchanges of the names. For the priestly tribe of Levi, too, was allied with the kingly tribe of Juda, through the circumstance that Aaron married Elizabeth the sister of Naasson, and that Eleazar again married the daughter of Phatiel,4 and begat children. The evangelists, therefore, would thus have spoken falsely, affirming what was not truth, but a fictitious commendation. And for this reason the one traced the pedigree of Jacob the father of Joseph from David through Solomon; the other traced that of Heli also, though in a different way, the father of Joseph, from Nathan the son of David. And they ought not indeed to have been ignorant that both orders of the ancestors enumerated are the generation of David, the royal tribe of Juda. For if Nathan was a prophet, so also was Solomon, and so too the father of both of them; and there were prophets belonging to many of the tribes, but priests belonging to none of the tribes, save the Levites only. To no purpose, then, is this fabrication of theirs. Nor shall an assertion of this kind prevail in the Church of Christ against the exact truth, so as that a lie should be contrived for the praise and glory of Christ. For who does not know that most holy word of the apostle also, who, when he was preaching and proclaiming the resurrection of our Saviour, and confidently affirming the truth, said with great fear, “If any say that Christ is not risen, and we assert and have believed this, and both hope for and preach that very thing, we are false witnesses of God, in alleging that He raised up Christ, whom He raised not up?”6 And if he who glorifies God the Father is thus afraid lest he should seem a false witness in narrating a marvellous fact, how should not he be justly afraid, who tries to establish the truth by a false statement, preparing an untrue opinion? For if the generations are different, and trace down no genuine seed to Joseph, and if all has been stated only with the view of establishing the position of Him who was to be born—to confirm the truth, namely, that He who was to be would be king and priest, there being at the same time no proof given, but the dignity of the words being brought down to a feeble hymn,—it is evident that no praise accrues to God from that, since it is a falsehood, but rather judgment returns on him who asserts it, because he vaunts an unreality as though it were reality. Therefore, that we may expose the ignorance also of him who speaks thus, and prevent any one from stumbling at this folly, I shall set forth the true history of these matters.]


For whereas in Israel the names of their generations were enumerated either according to nature or according to law,—according to nature, indeed, by the succession of legitimate offspring, and according to law whenever another raised up children to the name of a brother dying childless; for because no clear hope of resurrection was yet given them, they had a representation of the future promise in a kind of mortal resurrection, with the view of perpetuating the name of one deceased;—whereas, then, of those entered in this genealogy, some succeeded by legitimate descent as son to father, while others begotten in one family were introduced to another in name, mention is therefore made of both—of those who were progenitors in fact, and of those who were so only in name. Thus neither of the evangelists is in error, as the one reckons by nature and the other by law. For the several generations, viz., those descending from Solomon and those from Nathan, were so intermingled by the raising up of children to the childless,2 and by second marriages, and the raising up of seed, that the same persons are quite justly reckoned to belong at one time to the one, and at another to the other, i.e., to their reputed or to their actual fathers. And hence it is that both these accounts are true, and come down to Joseph, with considerable intricacy indeed, but yet quite accurately.


But in order that what I have said may be made evident, I shall explain the interchange of the generations. If we reckon the generations from David through Solomon, Matthan is found to be the third from the end, who begat Jacob the father of Joseph. But if, with Luke, we reckon them from Nathan the son of David, in like manner the third from the end is Melchi, whose son was Heli the father of Joseph. For Joseph was the son of Heli, the son of Melchi.4 As Joseph, therefore, is the object proposed to us, we have to show how it is that each is represented as his father, both Jacob as descending from Solomon, and Heli as descending from Nathan: first, how these two, Jacob and Heli, were brothers; and then also how the fathers of these, Matthan and Melchi, being of different families, are shown to be the grandfathers of Joseph. Well, then, Matthan and Melchi, having taken the same woman to wife in succession, begat children who were uterine brothers, as the law did not prevent a widow, whether such by divorce or by the death of her husband, from marrying another. By Estha, then—for such is her name according to tradition—Matthan first, the descendant of Solomon, begets Jacob; and on Matthan’s death. Melchi, who traces his descent back to Nathan, being of the same tribe but of another family, having married her, as has been already said, had a son Heli. Thus, then, we shall find Jacob and Heli uterine brothers, though of different families. And of these, the one Jacob having taken the wife of his brother Heli, who died childless, begat by her the third, Joseph—his son by nature and by account.6 Whence also it is written, “And Jacob begat Joseph.” But according to law he was the son of Heli, for Jacob his brother raised up seed to him. Wherefore also the genealogy deduced through him will not be made void, which the Evangelist Matthew in his enumeration gives thus: “And Jacob begat Joseph.” But Luke, on the other hand, says, “Who was the son, as was supposed (for this, too, he adds), of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Melchi.” For it was not possible more distinctly to state the generation according to law; and thus in this mode of generation he has entirely omitted the word “begat” to the very end, carrying back the genealogy by way of conclusion to Adam and to God.8


Nor indeed is this incapable of proof, neither is it a rash conjecture. For the kinsmen of the Saviour after the flesh, whether to magnify their own origin or simply to state the fact, but at all events speaking truth, have also handed down the following account: Some Idumean robbers attacking Ascalon, a city of Palestine, besides other spoils which they took from a temple of Apollo, which was built near the walls, carried off captive one Antipater, son of a certain Herod, a servant of the temple. And as the priest was not able to pay the ransom for his son, Antipater was brought up in the customs of the Idumeans, and afterwards enjoyed the friendship of Hyrcanus, the high priest of Judea. And being sent on an embassy to Pompey on behalf of Hyrcanus, and having restored to him the kingdom which was being wasted by Aristobulus his brother, he was so fortunate as to obtain the title of procurator of Palestine. And when Antipater was treacherously slain through envy of his great good fortune, his son Herod succeeded him, who was afterwards appointed king of Judea under Antony and Augustus by a decree of the senate. His sons were Herod and the other tetrarchs. These accounts are given also in the histories of the Greeks.2


But as up to that time the genealogies of the Hebrews had been registered in the public archives, and those, too, which were traced back to the proselytes —as, for example, to Achior the Ammanite, and Ruth the Moabitess, and those who left Egypt along with the Israelites, and intermarried with them—Herod, knowing that the lineage of the Israelites contributed nothing to him, and goaded by the consciousness of his ignoble birth, burned the registers of their families. This he did, thinking that he would appear to be of noble birth, if no one else could trace back his descent by the public register to the patriarchs or proselytes, and to that mixed race called georae. A few, however, of the studious, having private records of their own, either by remembering the names or by getting at them in some other way from the archives, pride themselves in preserving the memory of their noble descent; and among these happen to be those already mentioned, called desposyni, on account of their connection with the family of the Saviour. And these coming from Nazara and Cochaba, Judean villages, to other parts of the country, set forth the above-named genealogy6 as accurately as possible from the Book of Days. Whether, then, the case stand thus or not, no one could discover a more obvious explanation, according to my own opinion and that of any sound judge. And let this suffice us for the matter, although it is not supported by testimony, because we have nothing more satisfactory or true to allege upon it. The Gospel, however, in any case states the truth.


Matthan, descended from Solomon, begat Jacob. Matthan dying, Melchi, descended from Nathan, begat Heli by the same wife. Therefore Hell and Jacob are uterine brothers. Heli dying childless, Jacob raised up seed to him and begat Joseph, his own son by nature, but the son of Heli by law. Thus Joseph was the son of both.

ii.—narrative of events happening in persia on the birth of christ

The best introduction to this production will be the following preface, as given in Migne:—Many men of learning thus far have been of opinion that the narrative by Africanus of events happening in Persia on Christ’s birth, is a fragment of that famous work which Sextus Julius Africanus, a Christian author of the third century after Christ, composed on the history of the world in the chronological order of events up to the reign of Macrinus, and presented in five books to Alexander, son of Mammæa, with the view of obtaining the restoration of his native town Emmaus. With the same expectation which I see incited Lambecius and his compendiator Nesselius, I, too, set myself with the greatest eagerness to go over the codices of our Electoral Library.… But, as the common proverb goes, I found coals instead of treasure. This narrative, so far from its being to be ascribed to a writer well reputed by the common voice of antiquity, does not contain anything worthy of the genius of the chronographer Africanus. Wherefore, since by the unanimous testimony of the ancients he was a man of consummate learning and sharpest judgment, while the author of the Cesti, which also puts forward the name of Africanus, has been long marked by critics with the character either of anile credulity, or of a marvellous propensity to superstitious fancies, I can readily fall in with the opinion of those who think that he is a different person from the chronographer, and would ascribe this wretched production also to him. But, dear reader, on perusing these pages, if your indignation is not stirred against the man’s rashness, you will at least join with me in laughing at his prodigious follies, and will learn, at the same time, that the testimonies of men most distinguished for learning are not to be rated so highly as to supersede personal examination when opportunity permits.

events in persia:

on the incarnation of our lord and god and saviour jesus christ.

Christ first of all became known from Persia. For nothing escapes the learned jurists of that country, who investigate all things with the utmost care. The facts, therefore, which are inscribed upon the golden plates,2 and laid up in the royal temples, I shall record; for it is from the temples there, and the priests connected with them, that the name of Christ has been heard of. Now there is a temple there to Juno, surpassing even the royal palace, which temple Cyrus, that prince instructed in all piety, built, and in which he dedicated in honour of the gods golden and silver statues, and adorned them with precious stones,—that I may not waste words in a profuse description of that ornamentation. Now about that time (as the records on the plates testify), the king having entered the temple, with the view of getting an interpretation of certain dreams, was addressed by the priest Prupupius thus: I congratulate thee, master: Juno has conceived. And the king, smiling, said to him, Has she who is dead conceived? And he said, Yes, she who was dead has come to life again, and besets life. And the king said, What is this? explain it to me. And he replied, In truth, master, the time for these things is at hand. For during the whole night the images, both of gods and goddesses, continued beating the-ground, saying to each other, Come, let us congratulate Juno. And they say to me, Prophet, come forward; congratulate Juno, for she has been embraced. And I said, How can she be embraced who no longer exists? To which they reply, She has come to life again, and is no longer called Juno, but Urania. For the mighty Sol has embraced her. Then the goddesses say to the gods, making the matter plainer, Pege4 is she who is embraced; for did not Juno espouse an artificer? And the gods say, That she is rightly called Pege, we admit. Her name, moreover, is Myria; for she bears in her womb, as in the deep, a vessel of a myriad talents’ burden. And as to this title Pege, let it be understood thus: This stream of water sends forth the perennial stream of spirit,—a stream containing but a single fish, taken with the hook of Divinity, and sustaining the whole world with its flesh as though it were in the sea. You have well said, She has an artificer [in espousal]; but by that espousal she does not bear an artificer on an equality with herself. For this artificer who is born, the son of the chief artificer, framed by his excellent skill the roof of the third heavens, and established by his word this lower world, with its threefold sphere6 of habitation.

Thus, then, the statues disputed with each other concerning Juno and Pege, and [at length] with one voice they said: When the day is finished, we all, gods and goddesses, shall know the matter clearly. Now, therefore, master, tarry for the rest of the day. For the matter shall certainly come to pass. For that which emerges is no common affair.

And when the king abode there and watched the statues, the harpers of their own accord began to strike their harps, and the muses to sing; and whatsoever creatures were within, whether quadruped or fowl, in silver and gold, uttered their several voices. And as the king shuddered, and was filled with great fear, he was about to retire. For he could not endure the spontaneous tumult. The priest therefore said to him, Remain, O king, for the full revelation is at hand which the God of gods has chosen to declare to us.

And when these things were said, the roof was opened, and a bright star descended and stood above the pillar of Pege, and a voice was heard to this effect: Sovereign Pege, the mighty Son has sent me to make the announcement to you, and at the same time to do you service in parturition, designing blameless nuptials with you, O mother of the chief of all ranks of being, bride of the triune Deity. And the child begotten by extraordinary generation is called the Beginning and the End,—the beginning of salvation, and the end of perdition.

And when this word was spoken, all the statues fell upon their faces, that of Pege alone standing, on which also a royal diadem was found placed, having on its upper side a star set in a carbuncle and an emerald. And on its lower side the star rested.

And the king forthwith gave orders to bring in all the interpreters of prodigies, and the sages who were under his dominion. And when all the heralds sped with their proclamations, all these assembled in the temple. And when they saw the star above Pege, and the diadem with the star and the stone, and the statues lying on the floor, they said: O king, a root (offspring) divine and princely has risen, bearing the image of the King of heaven and earth. For Pege-Myria is the daughter of the Bethlehemite Pege. And the diadem is the mark of a king, and the star is a celestial announcement of portents to fall on the earth. Out of Judah has arisen a kingdom which shall subvert all the memorials of the Jews. And the prostration of the gods upon the floor prefigured the end of their honour. For he who comes, being of more ancient dignity, shall displace all the recent. Now therefore, O king, send to Jerusalem. For you will find the Christ of the Omnipotent God borne in bodily form in the bodily arms of a woman. And the star remained above the statue of Pege, called the Celestial, until the wise men came forth, and then it went with them.

And then, in the depth of evening, Dionysus appeared in the temple, unaccompanied by the Satyrs, and said to the images: Pege is not one of us, but stands far above us, in that she gives birth to a man whose conception is in divine fashion. O priest Prupupius! what dost thou tarrying here? An action, indicated in writings of old,2 has come upon us, and we shall be convicted as false by a person of power and energy. Wherein we have been deceivers, we have been deceivers; and wherein we have ruled, we have ruled. No longer give we oracular responses. Gone from us is our honour. Without glory and reward are we become. There is One, and One only, who receives again at the hands of all His proper honour. For the rest, be not disturbed.4 No longer shall the Persians exact tribute of earth and sky. For He who established these things is at hand, to bring practical tribute to Him who sent Him, to renew the ancient image, and to put image with image, and bring the dissimilar to similarity. Heaven rejoices with earth, and earth itself exults at receiving matter of exultation from heaven. Things which have not happened above, have happened on earth beneath. He whom the order of the blessed has not seen, is seen by the order of the miserable. Flame threatens those; dew attends these. To Myria is given the blessed lot of bearing Pege in Bethlehem, and of conceiving grace of grace. Judæa has seen its bloom, and this country is fading. To Gentiles and aliens, salvation is come; to the wretched, relief is ministered abundantly. With right do women dance, and say, Lady Pege, Spring-bearer, thou mother of the heavenly constellation. Thou cloud that bringest us dew after heat, remember thy dependants, O mistress.

The king then, without delay, sent some of the Magi under his dominion with gifts, the star showing them the way. And when they returned, they narrated to the men of that time those same things which were also written on the plates of gold, and which were to the following effect:—

When we came to Jerusalem, the sign, together with our arrival, roused all the people. How is this, say they, that wise men of the Persians are here, and that along with them there is this strange stellar phenomenon? And the chief of the Jews interrogated us in this way: What is this that attends you, and with what purpose are you here? And we said: He whom ye call Messias is born. And they were confounded, and dared not withstand us. But they said to us, By the justice of Heaven, tell us what ye know of this matter. And we made answer to them: Ye labour under unbelief; and neither without an oath nor with an oath do ye believe us, but ye follow your own heedless counsel. For the Christ, the Son of the Most High, is born, and He is the subverter of your law and synagogues. And therefore is it that, struck with this most excellent response as with a dart,7 ye hear in bitterness this name which has come upon you suddenly. And they then, taking counsel together, urged us to accept their gifts, and tell to none that such an event had taken place in that land of theirs, lest, as they say, a revolt rise against us. But we replied: We have brought gifts in His honour, with the view of proclaiming those mighty things which we know to have happened in our country on occasion of His birth; and do ye bid us take your bribes, and conceal the things which have been communicated to us by the Divinity who is above the heavens, and neglect the commandments of our proper King? And after urging many considerations on us, they gave the matter up. And when the king of Judæa sent for us and had some converse with us, and put to us certain questions as to the statements we made to him, we acted in the same manner, until he was thoroughly enraged at our replies. We left him accordingly, without giving any greater heed to him than to any common person.

And we came to that place then to which we were sent, and saw the mother and the child, the star indicating to us the royal babe. And we said to the mother: What art thou named, O renowned mother? And she says: Mary, masters. And we said to her: Whence art thou sprung? And she replies: From this district of the Bethlehemites.2 Then said we: Hast thou not had a husband? And she answers: I was only betrothed with a view to the marriage covenant, my thoughts being far removed from this. For I had no mind to come to this. And while I was giving very little concern to it, when a certain Sabbath dawned, and straightway at the rising of the sun, an angel appeared to me bringing me suddenly the glad tidings of a son. And in trouble I cried out, Be it not so to me, Lord, for I have not a husband. And he persuaded me to believe, that by the will of God I should have this son.

Then said we to her: Mother, mother, all the gods of the Persians have called thee blessed. Thy glory is great; for thou art exalted above all women of renown, and thou art shown to be more queenly than all queens.

The child, moreover, was seated on the ground, being, as she said, in His second year, and having in part the likeness of His mother. And she had long hands, and a body somewhat delicate; and her colour was like that of ripe wheat;4 and she was of a round face, and had her hair bound up. And as we had along with us a servant skilled in painting from the life, we brought with us to our country a likeness of them both; and it was placed by our hand in the sacred temple, with this inscription on it: To Jove the Sun, the mighty God, the King of Jesus, the power of Persia dedicated this.

And taking the child up, each of us in turn, and bearing Him in our arms, we saluted Him and worshipped Him, and presented to Him gold, and myrrh, and frankincense, addressing Him thus: We gift Thee with Thine own, O Jesus, Ruler of heaven. Ill would things unordered be ordered, weft Thou not at hand. In no other way could things heavenly be brought into conjunction with things earthly, but by Thy descent. Such service cannot be discharged, if only the servant is sent us, as when the Master Himself is present; neither can so much be achieved when the king sends only his satraps to war, as when the king is there himself. It became the wisdom of Thy system, that Thou shouldst deal in this manner with men.

And the child leaped and laughed at our caresses and words. And when we had bidden the mother farewell, and when she had shown us honour, and we had testified to her the reverence which became us, we came again to the place in which we lodged. And at eventide there appeared to us one of a terrible and fearful countenance, saying: Get ye out quickly, lest ye be taken in a snare. And we in terror said: And who is he, O divine leader, that plotteth against so august an embassage? And he replied: Herod; but get you up straightway and depart in safety and peace.

And we made speed to depart thence in all earnestness; and we reported in Jerusalem all that we had seen. Behold, then, the great things that we have told you regarding Christ; and we saw Christ our Saviour, who was made known as both God and man. To Him be the glory and the power unto the ages of the ages. Amen.


iii.—the extant fragments of the five books of the chronography of julius africanus.


on the mythical chronology of the egyptians and chaldeans.

The Egyptians, indeed, with their boastful notions of their own antiquity, have put forth a sort of account of it by the hand of their astrologers in cycles and myriads of years; which some of those who have had the repute of studying such subjects profoundly have in a summary way called lunar years; and inclining no less than others to the mythical, they think they fall in with the eight or nine thousands of years which the Egyptian priests in Plato falsely reckon up to Solon.

(And after some other matter:)

For why should I speak of the three myriad years of the Phœnicians, or of the follies of the Chaldeans, their forty-eight myriads? For the Jews, deriving their origin from them as descendants of Abraham, having been taught a modest mind, and one such as becomes men, together with the truth by the spirit of Moses, have handed down to us, by their extant Hebrew histories, the number of 5500 years as the period up to the advent of the Word of salvation, that was announced to the world in the time of the sway of the Cæsars.


When men multiplied on the earth, the angels of heaven came together with the daughters of men. In some copies I found “the sons of God.” What is meant by the Spirit, in my opinion, is that the descendants of Seth are called the sons of God on account of the righteous men and patriarchs who have sprung from him, even down to the Saviour Himself; but that the descendants of Cain are named the seed of men, as having nothing divine in them, on account of the wickedness of their race and the inequality of their nature, being a mixed people, and having stirred the indignation of God. But if it is thought that these refer to angels, we must take them to be those who deal with magic and jugglery, who taught the women the motions of the stars and the knowledge of things celestial, by whose power they conceived the giants as their children, by whom wickedness came to its height on the earth, until God decreed that the whole race of the living should perish in their impiety by the deluge.


Adam, when 230 years old, begets Seth; and after living other 700 years he died, that is, a second death.

Seth, when 205 years old, begat Enos; from Adam therefore to the birth of Enos there are 435 years in all.

Enos, when 190 years old, begets Cainan.

Cainan again, when 170 years old, begets Malaleel;

And Malaleel, when 165 years old; begets, Jared;

And Jared, when 162 years old, begets Enoch;

And Enoch, when 165 years old, begets Mathusala; and having pleased God, after a life of other 200 years, he was not found.

Mathusala, when 187 years old, begat Lamech.

Lamech, when 188 years old, begets Noe.


On the Deluge.

God decreed to destroy the whole race of the living by a flood, having threatened that men should not survive beyond 120 years. Nor let it be deemed a matter of difficulty, because some lived afterwards a longer period than that. For the space of time meant was 100 years up to the flood in the case of the sinners of that time; for they were 20 years old. God instructed Noe, who pleased him on account of his righteousness, to prepare an ark; and when it was finished, there entered it Noe himself and his sons, his wife and his daughters-in-law, and firstlings of every living creature, with a view to the duration of the race. And Noe was 600 years old when the flood came on. And when the water abated, the ark settled on the mountains of Ararat, which we know to be in Parthia; but some say that they are at Celænæ6 of Phrygia, and I have seen both places. And the flood prevailed for a year, and then the earth became dry. And they came out of the ark in pairs, as may be found, and not in the manner in which they had entered, viz., distinguished according to their species, and were blessed by God. And each of these things indicates something useful to us.


Noe was 600 years old when the flood came on. From Adam, therefore, to Noe and the flood, are 2262 years.


And after the flood, Sem begat Arphaxad.

Arphaxad, when 135 years old, begets Sala in the year 2397.

Sala, when 130 years old, begets Heber in the year 2527.

Heber, when 134 years old, begets Phalec in the year 2661, so called because the earth was divided in his days.

Phalec, when 130 years old, begot Ragan, and after living other 209 years died.


In the year of the world 3277, Abraham entered the promised land of Canaan.


Of Abraham.

From this rises the appellation of the Hebrews. For the word Hebrews is interpreted to mean those who migrate across, viz., who crossed the Euphrates with Abraham; and it is not derived, as some think, from the fore-mentioned Heber. From the flood and Noe, therefore, to Abraham’s entrance into the promised land, there are in all 1015 years; and from Adam, in 20 generations 3277 years.


Of Abraham and Lot.

When a famine pressed the land of Canaan Abraham came down to Egypt; and fearing lest he should be put out of the way on account of the beauty of his wife, he pretended that he was her brother. But Pharaoh took her to himself when she was commended to him; for this is the name the Egyptians give their kings. And he was punished by God; and Abraham, along with all pertaining to him, was dismissed enriched. In Canaan, Abraham’s shepherds and Lot’s contended with each other; and with mutual consent they separated, Lot choosing to dwell in Sodom on account of the fertility and beauty of the land, which had five cities, Sodom, Gomorrah, Adama, Seboim, Segor, and as many kings. On these their neighbours the four Syrian kings made war, whose leader was Chodollogomor king of Ælam. And they met by the Salt Sea, which is now called the Dead Sea. In it I have seen very many wonderful things. For that water sustains no living thing, and dead bodies are carried beneath its depths, while the living do not readily even dip under it. Lighted torches are borne upon it, but when extinguished they sink. And there are the springs of bitumen; and it yields alum and salt a little different from the common kinds, for they are pungent and transparent. And wherever fruit is found about it, it is found full of a thick, foul smoke. And the water acts as a cure to those who use it, and it is drained in a manner contrary to any other water. And if it had not the river Jordan feeding it like a shell,3 and to a great extent withstanding its tendency, it would have failed more rapidly than appears. There is also by it a great quantity of the balsam plant; but it is supposed to have been destroyed by God on account of the impiety of the neighbouring people.


Of the Patriarch Jacob.

1. The shepherd’s tent belonging to Jacob, which was preserved at Edessa to the time of Antonine Emperor of the Romans, was destroyed by a thunderbolt.

2. Jacob, being displeased at what had been done by Symeon and Levi at Shecem against the people of the country, on account of the violation of their sister, buried at Shecem the gods which he had with him near a rock under the wonderful terebinth, which up to this day is reverenced by the neighbouring people in honour of the patriarchs, and removed thence to Bethel. By the trunk of this terebinth there was an altar on which the inhabitants of the country offered ectenœ7 in their general assemblies; and though it seemed to be burned, it was not consumed. Near it is the tomb of Abraham and Isaac. And some say that the staff of one of the angels who were entertained by Abraham was planted there.


From Adam, therefore, to the death of Joseph, according to this book, are 23 generations, and 3563 years.


From this record, therefore, we affirm that Ogygus,11 from whom the first flood (in Attica) derived its name, and who was saved when many perished, lived at the time of the exodus of the people from Egypt along with Moses.13 (After a break): And after Ogygus, on account of the vast destruction caused by the flood, the present land of Attica remained without a king tilt the time of Cecrops, 189 years. Philochorus, however, affirms that Ogygus, Actæus, or whatever other fictitious name is adduced, never existed. (After another break): From Ogygus to Cyrus, as from Moses to his time, are 1235 years.


1. Up to the time of the Olympiads there is no certain history among the Greeks, all things before that date being confused, and in no way consistent with each other. But these Olympiads
were thoroughly investigated by many, as the Greeks made up the records of their history not according to long spaces, but in periods of four years. For which reason I shall select the most remarkable of the mythical narratives before the time of the first Olympiad, and rapidly run over them. But those after that period, at least those that are notable, I shall take together, Hebrew events in connection with Greek, according to their dates, examining carefully the affairs of the Hebrews, and touching more cursorily on those of the Greeks; and my plan will be as follows: Taking up some single event in Hebrew history synchronous with another in Greek history, and keeping by it as the main subject, subtracting or adding as may seem needful in the narrative, I shall note what Greek or Persian of note, or remarkable personage of any other nationality, flourished at the date of that event in Hebrew history; and thus I may perhaps attain the object which I propose to myself.

2. The most famous exile that befell the Hebrews, then—to wit, when they were led captive by Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon—lasted 70 years, as Jeremias had prophesied. Berosus the Babylonian, moreover, makes mention of Nabuchodonosor. And after the 70 years of captivity, Cyrus became king of the Persians at the time of the 55th Olympiad, as may be ascertained from the Bibliothecæ of Diodorus and the histories of Thallus and Castor, and also from Polybius and Phlegon, and others besides these, who have made the Olympiads a subject of study. For the date is a matter of agreement among them all. And Cyrus then, in the first year of his reign, which was the first year of the 55th Olympiad, effected the first partial restoration of the people by the hand of Zorobabel, with whom also was Jesus the son of Josedec, since the period of 70 years was now fulfilled, as is narrated in Esdra the Hebrew historian. The narratives of the beginning of the sovereignty of Cyrus and the end of the captivity accordingly coincide. And thus, according to the reckoning of the Olympiads, there will be found a like harmony of events even to our time. And by following this, we shall also make the other narratives fit in with each other in the same manner.

3. But if the Attic time-reckoning is taken as the standard for affairs prior to these, then from Ogygus, who was believed by them to be an autochthon, in whose time also the first great flood took place in Attica, while Phoroneus reigned over the Argives, as Acusilaus relates, up to the date of the first Olympiad, from which period the Greeks thought they could fix dates accurately, there are altogether 1020 years; which number both coincides with the above-mentioned, and will be established by what follows. For these things are also recorded by the Athenian historians Hellanicus and Philochorus, who record Attic affairs; and by Castor and Thallus, who record Syrian affairs; and by Diodorus, who writes a universal history in his Bibliothecæ; and by Alexander Polyhistor, and by some of our own time, yet more carefully, and by all the Attic writers. Whatever narrative of note, therefore, meets us in these 1020 years, shall be given in its proper place.

4. In accordance with this writing, therefore, we affirm that Ogygus, who gave his name to the first flood, and was saved when many perished, lived at the time of the exodus of the people from Egypt along with Moses. And this we make out in the following manner. From Ogygus up to the first Olympiad already mentioned, it will be shown that there are 1020 years; and from the first Olympiad to the first year of the 55th, that is the first year of King Cyrus, which was also the end of the captivity, are 217 years. From Ogygus, therefore, to Cyrus are 1237. And if one carries the calculation backwards from the end of the captivity, there are 1237 years. Thus, by analysis, the same period is found to the first year of the exodus of Israel under Moses from Egypt, as from the 55th Olympiad to Ogygus, who founded Eleusis. And from this point we get a more notable beginning for Attic chronography.

5. So much, then, for the period prior to Ogygus. And at his time Moses left Egypt. And we demonstrate in the following manner how reliable is the statement that this happened at that date. From the exodus of Moses up to Cyrus, who reigned after the captivity, are 1237 years. For the remaining years of Moses are 40. The years of Jesus, who led the people after him, are 25; those of the elders, who were judges after Jesus, are 30; those of the judges, whose history is given in the book of Judges, are 490; those of the priests Eli and Samuel are 90; those of the successive kings of the Hebrews are 490. Then come the 70 years of the captivity, the last year of which was the first year of the reign of Cyrus, as we have already said.

6. And from Moses, then, to the first Olympiad there are 1020 years, as to the first year of the 55th Olympiad from the same are 1237, in which enumeration the reckoning of the Greeks coincides with us. And after Ogygus, by reason of the vast destruction caused by the flood, the present land of Attica remained without a king up to Cecrops, a period of 189 years. For Philochorus asserts that the Actæus who is said to have succeeded Ogygus, or whatever other fictitious names are adduced, never existed. And again: From Ogygus, therefore, to Cyrus, says he, the same period is reckoned as from Moses to the same date, viz. 1237 years; and some of the Greeks also record that Moses lived at that same time. Polemo, for instance, in the first book of his Greek History, says: In the time of Apis, son of Phoroneus, a division of the army of the Egyptians left Egypt, and settled in the Palestine called Syrian, not far from Arabia: these are evidently those who were with Moses. And Apion the son of Poseidonius, the most laborious of grammarians, in his book Against the Jews, and in the fourth book of his History, says that in the time of Inachus king of Argos, when Amosis reigned over Egypt, the Jews revolted under the leadership of Moses. And Herodotus also makes mention of this revolt, and of Amosis, in his second book, and in a certain way also of the Jews themselves, reckoning them among the circumcised, and calling them the Assyrians of Palestine, perhaps through Abraham. And Ptolemy the Mendesian, who narrates the history of the Egyptians from the earliest times, gives the same account of all these things; so that among them in general there is no difference worth notice in the chronology.

7. It should be observed, further, that all the legendary accounts which are deemed specially remarkable by the Greeks by reason of their antiquity, are found to belong to a period posterior to Moses; such as their floods and conflagrations, Prometheus, Io, Europa, the Sparti, the abduction of Proserpine, their mysteries, their legislations, the deeds of Dionysus, Perseus, the Argonauts, the Centaurs, the Minotaur, the affairs of Troy, the labours of Hercules, the return of the Heraclidæ, the Ionian migration and the Olympiads. And it seemed good to me to give an account especially of the before-noted period of the Attic sovereignty, as I intend to narrate the history of the Greeks side by side with that of the Hebrews. For any one will be able, if he only start from my position, to make out the reckoning equally well with me. Now, in the first year of that period of 1020 years, stretching from Moses and Ogygus to the first Olympiad, the passover and the exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt took place, and also in Attica the flood of Ogygus. And that is according to reason. For when the Egyptians were being smitten in the anger of God with hail and storms, it was only to be expected that certain parts of the earth should suffer with them; and, in especial, it was but to be expected that the Athenians should participate in such calamity with the Egyptians, since they were supposed to be a colony from them, as Theopompus alleges in his Tricarenus, and others besides him. The intervening period has been passed by, as no remarkable event is recorded during it among the Greeks. But after 94 years Prometheus arose, according to some, who was fabulously reported to have formed men; for being a wise man, he transformed them from the state of extreme rudeness to culture.


Æschylus, the son of Agamestor, ruled the Athenians twenty-three years, in whose time Joatham reigned in Jerusalem.

And our canon brings Joatham king of Juda within the first Olympiad.


And Africanus, in the third book of his History, writes: Now the first Olympiad recorded—which, however, was really the fourteenth—was the period when Corœbus was victor; at that time Ahaz was in the first year of his reign in Jerusalem. Then in the fourth book he says: It is therefore with the first year of the reign of Ahaz that we have shown the first Olympiad to fall in.


On the Seventy Weeks of Daniel.

1. This passage, therefore, as it stands thus, touches on many marvellous things. At present, however, I shall speak only of those things in it which bear upon chronology, and matters connected therewith. That the passage speaks then of the advent of Christ, who was to manifest Himself after seventy weeks, is evident. For in the Saviour’s time, or from Him, are transgressions abrogated, and sins brought to an end. And through remission, moreover, are iniquities, along with offences, blotted out by expiation; and an everlasting righteousness is preached, different from that which is by the law, and visions and prophecies (are) until John, and the Most Holy is anointed. For before the advent of the Saviour these things were not yet, and were therefore only looked for. And the beginning of the numbers, that is, of the seventy weeks which make up 490 years, the angel instructs us to take from the going forth of the commandment to answer and to build Jerusalem. And
this happened in the twentieth year of the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia. For Nehemiah his cup-bearer besought him, and received the answer that Jerusalem should be built. And the word went forth commanding these things; for up to that time the city was desolate. For when Cyrus, after the seventy years’ captivity, gave free permission to all to return who desired it, some of them under the leadership of Jesus she high priest and Zorobabel, and others after these under the leadership of Esdra, returned, but were prevented at first from building the temple, and from surrounding the city with a wall, on the plea that that had not been commanded.

2. It remained in this position, accordingly, until Nehemiah and the reign of Artaxerxes, and the 115th year of the sovereignty of the Persians. And from the capture of Jerusalem that makes 185 years. And at that time King Artaxerxes gave order that the city should be built; and Nehemiah being despatched, superintended the work, and the street and the surrounding wall were built, as had been prophesied. And reckoning from that point, we make up seventy weeks to the time of Christ. For if we begin to reckon from any other point, and not from this, the periods will not correspond, and very many odd results will meet us. For if we begin the calculation of the seventy weeks from Cyrus and the first restoration, there will be upwards of one hundred years too many, and there will be a larger number if we begin from the day on which the angel gave the prophecy to Daniel, and a much larger number still if we begin from the commencement of the captivity. For we find the sovereignty of the Persians comprising a period of 230 years, and that of the Macedonians extending over 370 years, and from that to the 16th year of Tiberius Cæsar is a period of about 60 years.

3. It is by calculating from Artaxerxes, therefore, up to the time of Christ that the seventy weeks are made up, according to the numeration of the Jews. For from Nehemiah, who was despatched by Artaxerxes to build Jerusalem in the 115th year of the Persian empire, and the 4th year of the 83d Olympiad, and the 20th year of the reign of Artaxerxes himself, up to ibis date, which was the second year of the 202d Olympiad, and the 16th year of the reign of Tiberius Cæsar, there are reckoned 475 years, which make 490 according to the Hebrew numeration, as they measure the years by the course of the moon; so that, as is easy to show, their year consists of 354 days, while the solar year has 3651/4days. For the latter exceeds the period of twelve months, according to the moon’s course, by 111/4 days. Hence the Greeks and the Jews insert three intercalary months every 8 years. For 8 times 111/4 days makes up 3 months. Therefore 475 years make 59 periods of 8 years each, and 3 months besides. But since thus there are 3 intercalary months every 8 years, we get thus 15 years minus a few days; and these being added to the 475 years, make up in all the 70 weeks.


On the Fortunes of Hyrcanus and Antigonus, and on Herod, Augustus, Antony, and Cleopatra, in abstract.

1. Octavius Sebastus, or, as the Romans call him, Augustus, the adopted son of Caius, on returning to Rome from Apollonias in Epirus, where he was educated, possessed himself of the first place in the government. And Antony afterwards obtained the rule of Asia and the districts beyond. In his time the Jews accused Herod; but he put the deputies to death, and restored Herod to his government. Afterwards, however, along with Hyrcanus and Phasælus his brother, he was driven out, and betook himself in flight to Antony. And as the Jews would not receive him, an obstinate battle took place; and in a short time after, as he had conquered in battle, he also drove out Antigonus, who had returned. And Antigonus fled to Herod the Parthian king, and was restored by the help of his son Pacorus, which help was given on his promising to pay 1000 talents of gold. And Herod then in his turn had to flee, while Phasælus was slain in battle, and Hyrcanus was surrendered alive to Antigonus. And after cutting off his ears, that he might be disqualified for the priesthood, he gave him to the Parthians to lead into captivity; for he scrupled to put him to death, as he was a relation of his own. And Herod, on his expulsion, betook himself first to Malichus king of the Arabians; and when he did not receive him, through fear of the Parthians, he went away to Alexandria to Cleopatra. That was the 185th Olympiad. Cleopatra having put to death her brother, who was her consort in the government, and being then summoned by Antony to Cilicia to make her defence, committed the care of the sovereignty to Herod; and as he requested that he should not be entrusted with anything until he was restored to his own government, she took him with her and went to Antony. And as he was smitten with love for the princess, they despatched Herod to Rome to Octavius Augustus, who, on behalf of Antipater, Herod’s father, and on behalf of Herod himself, and also because Antigonus was established as king by the help of the Parthians, gave a commission to the generals in Palestine and Syria to restore him to his government. And in concert with Sosius he waged war against Antigonus for a long time, and in manifold engagements. At that time also, Josephus, Herod’s brother, died in his command. And Herod coming to Antony …

2. For three years they besieged Antigonus, and then brought him alive to Antony. And Antony himself also proclaimed Herod as king, and gave him, in addition, the cities Hippus, Gadara, Gaza, Joppa, Anthedon, and a part of Arabia, Trachonitis, and Auranitis, and Sacia, and Gaulanitis; and besides these, also the procuratorship of Syria. Herod was declared king of the Jews by the senate and Octavius Augustus, and reigned 34 years. Antony, when about to go on an expedition against the Parthians, slew Antigonus the king of the Jews, and gave Arabia to Cleopatra; and passing over into the territory of the Parthians, sustained a severe defeat, losing the greater part of his army. That was in the 186th Olympiad. Octavius Augustus led the forces of Italy and all the West against Antony, who refused to return to Rome through fear, on account of his failure in Parthia, and through his love for Cleopatra. And Antony met him with the forces of Asia. Herod, however, like a shrewd fellow, and one who waits upon the powerful, sent a double set of letters, and despatched his army to sea, charging his generals to watch the issue of events. And when the victory was decided, and when Antony, after sustaining two naval defeats, had fled to Egypt along with Cleopatra, they who bore the letters delivered to Augustus those which they had been keeping secretly for Antony. And on Herod falls3

3. Cleopatra shut herself up in a mausoleum, and made away with herself, employing the wild asp as the instrument of death. At that time Augustus captured Cleopatra’s sons, Helios and Selene,5 on their flight to the Thebaid. Nicopolis was founded opposite Actium, and the games called Actia were instituted. On the capture of Alexandria, Cornelius Gallus was sent as first governor of Egypt, and he destroyed the cities of the Egyptians that refused obedience. Up to this time the Lagidæ ruled; and the whole duration of the Macedonian empire after the subversion of the Persian power was 298 years. Thus is made up the whole period from the foundation of the Macedonian empire to its subversion in the time of the Ptolemies, and under Cleopatra, the last of these, the date of which event is the 11th year of the monarchy and empire of the Romans, and the 4th year of the 187th Olympiad. Altogether, from Adam 5472 years are reckoned.

4. After the taking of Alexandria the 188th Olympiad began. Herod founded anew the city of the Gabinii, the ancient Samaria, and called it Sebaste; and having erected its seaport, the tower of Strato, into a city, he named it Cæsarea after the same, and raised in each a temple in honour of Octavius. And afterwards he founded Antipatris in the Lydian plain, so naming it after his father, and settled in it the people about Sebaste, whom he had dispossessed of their land. He founded also other cities; and to the Jews he was severe, but to other nations most urbane.

It was now the 189th Olympiad, which (Olympiad) in the year that had the bissextile day, the 6th day before the Calends of March,—i.e., the 24th of February,—corresponded with the 24th year of the era of Antioch, whereby the year was determined in its proper limits.


On the Circumstances connected with our Saviour’s Passion and His Life-giving Resurrection.

1. As to His works severally, and His cures effected upon body and soul, and the mysteries of His doctrine, and the resurrection from the dead, these have been most authoritatively set forth by His disciples and apostles before us. On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun. For the Hebrews celebrate the passover on the 14th day according to the moon, and the passion of our Saviour falls on the day before the passover; but an eclipse of the sun takes place only when the moon comes under the sun. And it cannot happen at any other time but in the interval between the first day of the new moon and the last of the old, that is, at their junction: how then should an eclipse be supposed to happen when the moon is almost diametrically opposite the sun? Let that opinion pass however; let it carry the majority with it; and let this portent
of the world be deemed an eclipse of the sun, like others a portent only to the eye. Phlegon records that, in the time of Tiberius Cæsar, at full moon, there was a full eclipse of the sun from the sixth hour to the ninth—manifestly that one of which we speak. But what has an eclipse in common with an earthquake, the rending rocks, and the resurrection of the dead, and so great a perturbation throughout the universe? Surely no such event as this is recorded for a long period. But it was a darkness induced by God, because the Lord happened then to suffer. And calculation makes out that the period of 70 weeks, as noted in Daniel, is completed at this time.

2. From Artaxerxes, moreover, 70 weeks are reckoned up to the time of Christ, according to the numeration of the Jews. For from Nehemiah, who was sent by Artaxerxes to people Jerusalem, about the 120th year of the Persian empire, and in the 20th year of Artaxerxes himself, and the 4th year of the 83d Olympiad, up to this time, which was the 2d year of the 102d Olympiad, and the 16th year of the reign of Tiberius Cæsar, there are given 475 years, which make 490 Hebrew years, since they measure the years by the lunar month of 29 1/2 days, as may easily be explained, the annual period according to the sun consisting of 365 1/4 days, while the lunar period of 12 months has 11 1 /4 days less. For which reason the Greeks and the Jews insert three intercalary months every eight years. For 8 times 11 1 /4 days make 3 months. The 475 years, therefore, contain 59 periods of 8 years and three months over: thus, the three intercalary months for every 8 years being added, we get 15 years, and these together with the 475 years make 70 weeks. Let no one now think us unskilled in the calculations of astronomy, when we fix without further ado the number of days at 365 1/4. For it is not in ignorance of the truth, but rather by reason of exact study, that we have stated our opinion so shortly. But let what follows also be presented as in outline3 to those who endeavour to inquire minutely into all things.

3. Each year in the general consists of 365 days; and the space of a day and night being divided into nineteen parts, we have also five of these. And in saying that the year consists of 365 1/4 days, and there being the five nineteenth parts … to the 475 there are 6 1/4 days. Furthermore, we find, according to exact computation, that the lunar month has 29 1/2 days.… And these come to5 a little time. Now it happens that from the 20th year of the reign of Artaxerxes (as it is given in Ezra among the Hebrews), which, according to the Greeks, was the 4th year of the 80th Olympiad, to the 16th year of Tiberius Cæsar, which was the second year of the 102d Olympiad, there are in all the 475 years already noted, which in the Hebrew system make 490 years, as has been previously stated, that is, 70 weeks, by which period the time of Christ’s advent was measured in the announcement made to Daniel by Gabriel. And if any one thinks that the 15 Hebrew years added to the others involve us in an error of 10, nothing at least which cannot be accounted for has been introduced. And the 1 1/2 week which we suppose must be added to make the whole number, meets the question about the 15 years, and removes the difficulty about the time; and that the prophecies are usually put forth in a somewhat symbolic form, is quite evident.

4. As far, then, as is in our power, we have taken the Scripture, I think, correctly; especially seeing that the preceding section about the vision seems to state the whole matter shortly, its first words being, “In the third year of the reign of Belshazzar,” where he prophesies of the subversion of the Persian power by the Greeks, which empires are symbolized in the prophecy under the figures of the ram and the goat respectively.7 “The sacrifice,” he says, “shall be abolished, and the holy places shall be made desolate, so as to be trodden under foot; which things shall be determined within 2300 days.” For if we take the day as a month, just as elsewhere in prophecy days are taken as years, and in different places are used in different ways, reducing the period in the same way as has been done above to Hebrew months, we shall find the period fully made out to the 20th year of the reign of Artaxerxes, from the capture of Jerusalem. For there are given thus 185 years, and one year falls to be added to these—the year in which Nehemiah built the wall of the city. In 186 years, therefore, we find 2300 Hebrew months, as 8 years have in addition 3 intercalary months. From Artaxerxes, again, in whose time the command went forth that Jerusalem should be built, there are 70 weeks. These matters, however, we have discussed by themselves, and with greater exactness, in our book On the Weeks and this Prophecy. But I am amazed that the Jews deny that the Lord has yet come, and that the followers of Marcion refuse to admit that His coming was predicted in the prophecies when the Scriptures display the matter so openly to our view. And after something else: The period, then, to the advent of the Lord from Adam and the creation is 5531 years, from which epoch to the 250th Olympiad there are 192 years, as has been shown above.


For we who both know the measure of those words, and are not ignorant of the grace of faith, give thanks to the Father,3 who has bestowed on us His creatures Jesus Christ the Saviour of all, and our Lord; to whom be glory and majesty, with the Holy Spirit, for ever.

iv.—the passion of st. symphorosa and her seven sons.

The text is given from the edition of Ruinart. His preface, which Migne also cites, is as follows: “The narrative of the martyrdom of St. Symphorosa and her seven sons, which we here publish, is ascribed in the mss. to Julius Africanus, a writer of the highest repute. And it may perhaps have been inserted in his books on Chronography,—a work which Eusebius (Hist. Eccles. vi. 31) testifies to have been written with the greatest care, since in these he detailed the chief events in history from the foundation of the world to the times of the Emperor Heliogabalus. As that work, however, is lost, that this narrative is really to be ascribed to Africanus, I would not venture positively to assert, although at the same time there seems no ground for doubting its genuineness. We print it, moreover, from the editions of Mombritius, Surius, and Cardulus, collated with two Colbert mss. and one in the library of the Sorbonne. The occasion for the death of these saints was found in the vicinity of that most famous palace which was built by Adrian at his country seat at Tiber, according to Spartianus. For when the emperor gave orders that this palace, which he had built for his pleasure, should be purified by some piacular ceremonies, the priests seized this opportunity for accusing Symphorosa, alleging that the gods would not be satisfied until Symphorosa should either sacrifice to them or be herself sacrificed; which last thing was done by Hadrian, whom, from many others of his deeds, we know to have been exceedingly superstitious, about the year of Christ 120, that is, about the beginning of his reign, at which period indeed, as Dio Cassius observes, that emperor put a great number to death. The memory of these martyrs, moreover, is celebrated in all the most ancient martyrologies, although they assign different days for it. The Roman, along with Notker, fixes their festival for the 18th July, Rabanus for the 21st of the same month, Usuardus and Ado for the 21st June. In the Tiburtine road there still exists the rubbish of an old church, as Aringhi states (Rom. Subter., iv. 17), which was consecrated to God under their name, and which still retains the title, To the Seven Brothers. I have no doubt that it was built in that place to which the pontiffs in the Acta, sec. iv., gave the name, To the Seven Biothanati, i.e., those cut off by a violent death, as Baronius remarks, at the year 138.” So far Ruinart: see also Tillemont, Mem. Eccles., ii. pp. 241 and 595; and the
Bollandists, Act. S.S. Funii, vol. iv. p. 350.

1. When Adrian had built a palace, and wished to dedicate it by that wicked ceremonial, and began to seek responses by sacrifices to idols, and to the demons that dwell in idols, they replied, and said: “The widow Symphorosa, with her seven sons, wounds us day by day in invoking her God. If she therefore, together with her sons, shall offer sacrifice, we promise to make good all that you ask.” Then Adrian ordered her to be seized, along with her sons, and advised them in courteous terms to consent to offer sacrifice to the idols. To him, however, the blessed Symphorosa answered: “My husband Getulius,7 together with his brother Amantius, when they were tribunes in thy service, suffered different punishments for the name of Christ, rather than consent to sacrifice to idols, and, like good athletes, they overcame thy demons in death. For, rather than be prevailed on, they chose to be beheaded, and suffered death: which death, being endured for the name of Christ, gained them temporal ignominy indeed
among men of this earth, but everlasting honour and glory among the angels; and moving now among them, and exhibiting trophies of their sufferings, they enjoy eternal life with the King eternal in the heavens.”

2. The Emperor Adrian said to the holy Symphorosa: “Either sacrifice thou along with thy sons to the omnipotent gods, or else I shall cause thee to be sacrificed thyself, together with thy sons.” The blessed Symphorosa answered: “And whence is this great good to me, that I should be deemed worthy along with my sons to be offered as an oblation to God?” The Emperor Adrian said: “I shall cause thee to be sacrificed to my gods.” The blessed Symphorosa replied: “Thy gods cannot take me in sacrifice; but if I am burned for the name of Christ, my God, I shall rather consume those demons of thine.” The Emperor Adrian said: “Choose thou one of these alternatives: either sacrifice to my gods, or perish by an evil death.” The blessed Symphorosa replied: “Thou thinkest that my mind can be altered by some kind of terror; whereas I long to rest with my husband Getulius,3 whom thou didst put to death for Christ’s name.” Then the Emperor Adrian ordered her to be led away to the temple of Hercules, and there first to be beaten with blows on the cheek, and afterwards to be suspended by the hair. But when by no argument and by no terror could he divert her from her good resolution, he ordered her to be thrown into the river with a large stone fastened to her neck. And her brother Eugenius, principal of the district of Tiber, picked up her body, and buried it in a suburb of the same city.

3. Then, on another day, the Emperor Adrian ordered all her seven sons to be brought before him in company; and when he had challenged them to sacrifice to idols, and perceived that they yielded by no means to his threats and terrors, he ordered seven stakes to be fixed around the temple of Hercules, and commanded them to be stretched on the blocks there. And he ordered Crescens, the first, to be transfixed in the throat; and Julian, the second, to be stabbed in the breast; and Nemesius, the third, to be struck through the heart; and Primitivus, the fourth, to be wounded in the navel; and Justin, the fifth, to be struck through in the back with a sword; and Stracteus, the sixth, to be wounded in the side; and Eugenius, the seventh, to be cleft in twain from the head downwards.

4. The next day again the Emperor Adrian came to the temple of Hercules, and ordered their bodies to be carried off together, and cast into a deep pit; and the pontiffs gave to that place the name, To the Seven Biothanati. After these things the persecution ceased for a year and a half, in which period the holy bodies of all the martyrs were honoured, and consigned with all care to tumuli erected for that purpose, and their names are written in the book of life. The natal day, moreover, of the holy martyrs of Christ, the blessed Symphorosa and her seven sons, Crescens, Julian, Nemesius, Primitivus, Justin, Stracteus, and Eugenius, is held on the 18th July. Their bodies rest on the Tiburtine road, at the eighth mile-stone from the city, under the kingship of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom is honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.




(Joseph the son of both, p. 127.)


The opinion that Luke’s genealogy is that of Mary was unknown to Christian antiquity. In the fifteenth century it was first propounded by Latin divines to do honour (as they supposed) to the Blessed Virgin. It was first broached by Annius of Viterbo, a.d. 1502. Christian antiquity is agreed that:—

1. Both genealogies are those of Joseph.

2. That Joseph was the son of Jacob or of Heli, either by adoption, or because Jacob and Heli were either own brothers or half-brothers; so that,—

3. On the death of one of the brothers, without issue, the surviving brother married his widow, who became the mother of Joseph by this marriage; so that Joseph was reckoned the son of Jacob and the son of Heli.

4. Joseph and Mary were of the same lineage, but the Hebrews did not reckon descent from the side of the woman. For them St. Luke’s genealogy is the sufficient register of Christ’s royal descent and official claim. St. Luke gives his personal pedigree, ascending to Adam, and identifying Him with the whole human race.


(Conclusion, cap. xix. p. 138.)


On Jewish genealogies, note Dean Prideaux, vol. i. p. 296, and compare Lardner, vol. ii. 129, et alibi. Stillingfleet should not be overlooked in what he says of the uncertainties of heathen chronology.

Lardner repeatedly calls our author a “great man;” and his most valuable account, digested from divers ancient and modern writers, must be consulted by the student. Let us observe the books of Scripture which his citations attest, and the great value of his attestation of the two genealogies of our Lord. Lardner dates the Letter to Origen5 a.d. 228 or 240, according to divers conjectures of the learned. He concludes with this beautiful tribute: “We may glory in Africanus as a Christian” among those “whose shining abilities rendered them the ornament of the age in which they lived,—men of unspotted characters, giving evident proofs of honesty and integrity.”


The valuable works of Africanus are found in vol. ix. of the Edinburgh edition, mixed up with the spurious Decretals and remnants of preceding volumes. I am unable to make out very clearly who is the translator, but infer that Drs. Roberts and Donaldson should be credited with this work.


[translated by the rev. s. d. salmond, m.a.]

Introductory Notice


Anatolius and Minor Writers

Instead of reprinting a disjointed mass of “Fragments,” I have thought it desirable to present them in a group, illustrative of the Alexandrian school. I give to Anatolius the deserved place of prominence, marking him as the meet successor of Africanus in ability if not in the nature of his pursuits. His writing and the testimony of Eusebius prove him to have been a star of no inferior magnitude, even in the brilliant constellation of faith and genius of which he is part.

These minor writers I have arranged, not with exclusive reference to minute chronology, but with some respect to their material, as follows:—

    I.    Anatolius,

a.d. 270

    II.    Alexander of Cappadocia,

a.d. 250

    III.    Theognostus,

a.d. 265

    IV.    Pierius,

a.d. 300

    V.    Theonas,

a.d. 300

    VI.    Phileas,

a.d. 307

    VII.    Pamphilus,

a.d. 309.



[a.d. 230–270–280.] From Jerome we learn that Anatolius flourished in the reign of Probus and Carus, that he was a native of Alexandria, and that he became bishop of Laodicea. Eusebius gives a somewhat lengthened account of him,2 and speaks of him in terms of the strongest laudation, as one surpassing all the men of his time in learning and science. He tells us that he attained the highest eminence in arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy, besides being a great proficient also in dialectics, physics, and rhetoric. His reputation was so great among the Alexandrians that they are said to have requested him to open a school for teaching the Aristotelian philosophy in their city. He did great service to his fellow-citizens in Alexandria on their being besieged by the Romans in a.d. 262, and was the means of saving the lives of numbers of them. After this he is said to have passed into Syria, where Theotecnus, the bishop of Cæsareia, ordained him, destining him to be his own successor in the bishopric. After this, however, having occasion to travel to Antioch to attend the synod convened to deal with the case of Paul of Samosata, as he passed through the city of Laodicea, he was detained by the people and made bishop of the place, in succession to Eusebius. This must have been about the year 270 a.d. How long he held that dignity, however, we do not know. Eusebius tells us that he did not write many books, but yet enough to show us at once his eloquence and his erudition. Among these was a treatise on the Chronology of Easter; of which a considerable extract is preserved in Eusebius. The book itself exists now only in a Latin version, which is generally ascribed to Rufinus, and which was published by Ægidius Bucherius in his Doctrina Temporum, which was issued at Antwerp in 1634. Another work of his was the Institutes of Arithmetic, of which we have some fragments in the θεολογούμενα τῆς ἀριθμητικῆς, which was published in Paris in 1543. Some small fragments of his mathematical works, which have also come down to us, were published by Fabricius in his Bibliotheca Græca, iii. p. 462.



As we are about to speak on the subject of the order of the times and alternations of the world, we shall first dispose of the positions of diverse calculators; who, by reckoning only by the course of the moon, and leaving out of account the ascent and descent of the sun, with the addition of certain problems, have constructed diverse periods, self-contradictory, and such as are never found in the reckoning of a true computation; since it is certain that no mode of computation is to be approved, in which these two measures are not found together. For even in the ancient exemplars, that is, in the books of the Hebrews and Greeks, we find not only the course of the moon, but also that of the sun, and, indeed, not simply its course in the general,2 but even the separate and minutest moments of its hours all calculated, as we shall show at the proper time, when the matter in hand demands it. Of these Hippolytus made up a period of sixteen years with certain unknown courses of the moon. Others have reckoned by a period of twenty-five years, others by thirty, and some by eighty-four years, without, however, teaching thereby an exact method of calculating Easter. But our predecessors, men most learned in the books of the Hebrews and Greeks,—I mean Isidore and Jerome and Clement,—although they have noted similar beginnings for the months, just as they differ also in language, have, nevertheless, come harmoniously to one and the same most exact reckoning of Easter, day and month and season meeting in accord with the highest honour for the Lord’s resurrection. But Origen also, the most erudite of all, and the acutest in making calculations,—a man, too, to whom the epithet χαλκεντής4 is given,—has published in a very elegant manner a little hook on Easter. And in this book, while declaring, with respect to the day of Easter, that attention must be given not only to the course of the moon and the transit of the equinox, but also to the passage (transcensum) of the sun, which removes every foul ambush and offence of all darkness, and brings on the advent of light and the power and inspiration of the elements of the whole world, he speaks thus: In the (matter of the) day of Easter, he remarks, I do not say that it is to be observed that the Lord’s day should be found, and the seven days of the moon which are to elapse, but that the sun should pass that division, to wit, between light and darkness, constituted in an equality by the dispensation of the Lord at the beginning of the world; and that, from one hour to two hours, from two to three, from three to four, from four to five, from five to six hours, while the light is increasing in the ascent of the sun, the darkness should decrease.6 … and the addition of the twentieth number being completed, twelve parts should be supplied in one and the same day. But if I should have attempted to add any little drop of mine after the exuberant streams of the eloquence and science of some, what else should there be to believe but that it should be ascribed by all to ostentation, and, to speak more truly, to madness, did not the assistance of your promised prayers animate us for a little? For we believe that nothing is impossible to your power of prayer, and to your faith. Strengthened, therefore, by this confidence, we shall set bashfulness aside, and shall enter this most deep and unforeseen sea of the obscurest calculation, in which swelling questions and problems surge around us on all sides.


There is, then, in the first year, the new moon of the first month, which is the beginning of every cycle of nineteen years, on the six and twentieth day of the month called by the Egyptians Phamenoth. But, according to the months of the Macedonians, it is on the two-and-twentieth day of Dystrus. And, as the Romans would say, it is on the eleventh day before the Kalends of April. Now the sun is found on the said six-and-twentieth day of Phamenoth, not only as having mounted to the first segment, but as already passing the fourth day in it. And this segment they are accustomed to call the first dodecatemorion (twelfth part), and the equinox, and the beginning of months, and the head of
the cycle, and the starting-point of the course of the planets. And the segment before this they call the last of the months, and the twelfth segment, and the last dodecatemorion, and the end of the circuit2 of the planets. And for this reason, also, we maintain that those who place the first month in it, and who determine the fourteenth day of the Paschal season by it, make no trivial or common blunder.


Nor is this an opinion confined to ourselves alone. For it was also known to the Jews of old and before Christ, and it was most carefully observed by them. And this may be learned from what Philo, and Josephus, and Musæus have written; and not only from these, but indeed from others still more ancient, namely, the two Agathobuli,4 who were surnamed the Masters, and the eminent Aristobulus, who was one of the Seventy who translated the sacred and holy Scriptures of the Hebrews for Ptolemy Philadelphus and his father, and dedicated his exegetical books on the law of Moses to the same kings. These writers, in solving some questions which are raised with respect to Exodus, say that all alike ought to sacrifice the Passover6 after the vernal equinox in the middle of the first month. And that is found to be when the sun passes through the first segment of the solar, or, as some among them have named it, the zodiacal circle.


But this Aristobulus also adds, that for the feast of the Passover it was necessary not only that the sun should pass the equinoctial segment, but the moon also. For as there are two equinoctial segments, the vernal and the autumnal, and these diametrically opposite to each other, and since the day of the Passover is fixed for the fourteenth day of the month, in the evening, the moon will have the position diametrically opposite the sun; as is to be seen in full moons. And the sun will thus be in the segment of the vernal equinox, and the moon necessarily will be at the autumnal equinox.


I am aware that very many other matters were discussed by them, some of them with considerable probability, and others of them as matters of the clearest demonstration, by which they endeavour to prove that the festival of the Passover and unleavened bread ought by all means to be kept after the equinox. But I shall pass on without demanding such copious demonstrations (on subjects8) from which the veil of the Mosaic law has been removed; for now it remains for us with unveiled face to behold ever as in a glass Christ Himself and the doctrines and sufferings of Christ. But that the first month among the Hebrews is about the equinox, is clearly shown also by what is taught in the book of Enoch.


And, therefore, in this concurrence of the sun and moon, the Paschal festival is not to be celebrated, because as long as they are found in this course the power of darkness is not overcome; and as long as equality between light and darkness endures, and is not diminished by the light, it is shown that the Paschal festival is not to be celebrated. Accordingly, it is enjoined that that festival be kept after the equinox, because the moon of the fourteenth, if before the equinox or at the equinox, does not fill the whole night. But after the equinox, the moon of the fourteenth, with one day being added because of the passing of the equinox, although it does not extend to the true light, that is, the rising of the sun and the beginning of day, will nevertheless leave no darkness behind it. And, in accordance with this, Moses is charged by the Lord to keep seven days of unleavened bread for the celebration of the Passover, that in them no power of darkness should be found to surpass the light. And although the outset of four nights begins to be dark, that is, the 17th and 18th and 19th and 20th, yet the moon of the 20th, which
rises before that, does not permit the darkness to extend on even to midnight.


To us, however, with whom it is impossible for all these things to come aptly at one and the same time, namely, the moon’s fourteenth, and the Lord’s day, and the passing of the equinox, and whom the obligation of the Lord’s resurrection binds to keep the Paschal festival on the Lord’s day, it is granted that we may extend the beginning of our celebration even to the moon’s twentieth. For although the moon of the 20th does not fill the whole night, yet, rising as it does in the second watch, it illumines the greater part of the night. Certainly if the rising of the moon should be delayed on to the end of two watches, that is to say, to midnight, the light would not then exceed the darkness, but the darkness the light. But it is clear that in the Paschal feast it is not possible that any part of the darkness should surpass the light; for the festival of the Lord’s resurrection is one of light, and there is no fellowship between light and darkness. And if the moon should rise in the third watch, it is clear that the 22d or 23d of the moon would then be reached, in which it is not possible that there can be a true celebration of Easter. For those who determine that the festival may be kept at this age of the moon, are not only unable to make that good by the authority of Scripture, but turn also into the crime of sacrilege and contumacy, and incur the peril of their souls; inasmuch as they affirm that the true light may be celebrated along with something of that power of darkness which dominates all.


Accordingly, it is not the case, as certain calculators of Gaul allege, that this assertion is opposed by that passage in Exodus, where we read: “In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the first month, at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread until the one-and-twentieth day of the month at even. Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses.” From this they maintain that it is quite permissible to celebrate the Passover on the twenty-first day of the moon; understanding that if the twenty-second day were added, there would be found eight days of unleavened bread. A thing which cannot be found with any probability, indeed, in the Old Testament, as the Lord, through Moses, gives this charge: “Seven days ye shall eat unleavened bread.”2 Unless perchance the fourteenth day is not reckoned by them among the days of unleavened bread with the celebration of the feast; which, however, is contrary to the Word of the Gospel which says: “Moreover, on the first day of unleavened bread, the disciples came to Jesus.” And there is no doubt as to its being the fourteenth day on which the disciples asked the Lord, in accordance with the custom established for them of old, “Where wilt Thou that we prepare for Thee to eat the Passover?” But they who are deceived with this error maintain this addition, because they do not know that the 13th and 14th, the 14th and 15th, the 15th and 16th, the 16th and 17th, the 17th and 18th, the 18th and 19th, the 19th and 20th, the 20th and 21st days of the moon are each found, as may be most surely proved, within a single day. For every day in the reckoning of the moon does not end in the evening as the same day in respect of number, as it is at its beginning in the morning. For the day which in the morning, that is up to the sixth hour and half, is numbered the 13th day of the month, is found at even to be the 14th. Wherefore, also, the Passover is enjoined to be extended on to the 21st day at even; which day, without doubt, in the morning, that is, up to that term of hours which we have mentioned, was reckoned the 20th. Calculate, then, from the end of the 13th4 day of the moon, which marks the beginning of the 14th, on to the end of the 20th, at which the 21st day also begins, and you will have only seven days of unleavened bread, in which, by the guidance of the Lord, it has been determined before that the most true feast of the Passover ought to be celebrated.


But what wonder is it that they should have erred in the matter of the 21st day of the moon who have added three days before the equinox, in which they hold that the Passover may be celebrated? An assertion which certainly must be considered altogether absurd, since, by the best-known historiographers of the Jews, and by the Seventy Elders, it has been clearly determined that the Paschal festival cannot be celebrated at the equinox.


But nothing was difficult to them with whom it was lawful to celebrate the Passover on any day when tile fourteenth of the moon happened after the equinox. Following their example up to the present time all the bishops of Asia—as themselves also receiving the rule from an unimpeachable authority, to wit, the evangelist John, who leant on the Lord’s breast, and drank in instructions spiritual without doubt—were in
the way of celebrating the Paschal feast, without question, every year, whenever the fourteenth day of the moon had come, and the lamb was sacrificed by the Jews after the equinox was past; not acquiescing, so far as regards this matter, with the authority of some, namely, the successors of Peter and Paul, who have taught all the churches in which they sowed the spiritual seeds of the Gospel, that the solemn festival of the resurrection of the Lord can be celebrated only on the Lord’s day. Whence, also, a certain contention broke out between the successors of these, namely, Victor, at that time bishop of the city of Rome, and Polycrates, who then appeared to hold the primacy among the bishops of Asia. And this contention was adjusted most rightfully by Irenæus, at that time president of a part of Gaul, so that both parties kept by their own order, and did not decline from the original custom of antiquity. The one party, indeed, kept the Paschal day on the fourteenth day of the first month, according to the Gospel, as they thought, adding nothing of an extraneous kind, but keeping through all things the rule of faith. And the other party, passing the day of the Lord’s Passion as one replete with sadness and grief, hold that it should not be lawful to celebrate the Lord’s mystery of the Passover at any other time but on the Lord’s day, on which the resurrection of the Lord from death took place, and on which rose also for us the cause of everlasting joy. For it is one thing to act in accordance with the precept given by the apostle, yea, by the Lord Himself, and be sad with the sad, and suffer with him that suffers by the cross, His own word being: “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death;”2 and it is another thing to rejoice with the victor as he triumphs over an ancient enemy, and exults with the highest triumph over a conquered adversary, as He Himself also says: “Rejoice with Me; for I have found the sheep which I had lost.”


Moreover, the allegation which they sometimes make against us, that if we pass the moon’s fourteenth we cannot celebrate the beginning of the Paschal feast in light, neither moves nor disturbs us. For, although they lay it down as a thing unlawful, that the beginning of the Paschal festival should be extended so far as to the moon’s twentieth; yet they cannot deny that it ought to be extended to the sixteenth and seventeenth, which coincide with the day on which the Lord rose from the dead. But we decide that it is better that it should be extended even on to the twentieth day, on account of the Lord’s day, than that we should anticipate the Lord’s day on account of the fourteenth day; for on the Lord’s day was it that light was shown to us in the beginning, and now also in the end, the comforts of all present and the tokens of all future blessings. For the Lord ascribes no less praise to the twentieth day than to the fourteenth. For in the book of Leviticus5 the injunction is expressed thus: “In the first month, on the fourteenth day of this month, at even, is the Lord’s Passover. And on the fifteenth day of this month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord. Seven days ye shall eat unleavened bread. The first day shall be to you one most diligently attended and holy. Ye shall do no servile work thereon. And the seventh day shall be to you more diligently attended7 and holier; ye shall do no servile work thereon.” And hence we maintain that those have contracted no guilt before the tribunal of Christ, who have held that the beginning of the Paschal festival ought to be extended to this day. And this, too, the most especially, as we are pressed by three difficulties, namely, that we should keep the solemn festival of the Passover on the Lord’s day, and after the equinox, and yet not beyond the limit of the moon’s twentieth day.


But this again is held by other wise and most acute men to be an impossibility, because within that narrow and most contracted limit of a cycle of nineteen years, a thoroughly genuine Paschal time, that is to say, one held on the Lord’s day and yet after the equinox, cannot occur. But, in order that we may set in a clearer light the difficulty which causes their incredulity, we shall set down, along with the courses of the moon, that cycle of years which we have mentioned; the days being computed before in which the year rolls on in its alternating courses, by Kalends and Ides and Nones, and by the sun’s ascent and descent.


The moon’s age set forth in the Julian Calendar.


January, on the Kalends, one day, the moon’s first (day); on the Nones, the 5th day, the moon’s 5th; on the Ides, the 13th day, the moon’s 13th. On the day before the Kalends of February, the 31st day, the moon’s 1st; on the Kalends of February, the 32d day, the moon’s 2d; on the Nones, the 36th day, the moon’s 6th; on the Ides, the 44th day, the moon’s 14th. On the day before the Kalends of March, the 59th day, the moon’s 29th; on the Kalends of March, the 60th day, the moon’s 1st; on the Nones, the 66th day, the moon’s 7th; on the Ides, the 74th day, the moon’s 15th. On the day before the Kalends of April, the 90th day, the moon’s 2d; on the Kalends of April, the 91st day, the moon’s 3d; on the Nones, the 95th day, the moon’s 7th; on the Ides, the 103d day, the moon’s 15th. On the day before the Kalends of May, the 120th day, the moon’s 3d; on the Kalends of May, the 121st day, the moon’s 4th; on the Nones, the 127th day, the moon’s 10th; on the Ides, the 135th day, the moon’s 18th. On the day before the Kalends of June, the 151st day, the moon’s 3d; on the Kalends of June, the 152d day, the moon’s 5th; on the Nones, the 153d day, the moon’s 9th; on the Ides, the 164th day, the moon’s 17th. On the day before the Kalends of July, the 181st day, the moon’s 5th; on the Kalends of July, the 182d day, the moon’s 6th; on the Nones, the 188th day, the moon’s 12th; on the Ides, the 196th day, the moon’s 20th. On the day before the Kalends of August, the 212th day, the moon’s 5th; on the Kalends of August, the 213th day, the moon’s 7th; on the Nones, the 217th day, the moon’s 12th; on the Ides, the 225th day, the moon’s 19th. On the day before the Kalends of September, the 243d day, the moon’s 7th; on the Kalends of September, the 244th day, the moon’s 8th; on the Nones, the 248th day, the moon’s 12th; on the Ides, the 256th day, the moon’s 20th. On the day before the Kalends of October, the 273d day, the moon’s 8th; on the Kalends of October, the 247th day, the moon’s 9th; on the Nones, the 280th day, the moon’s 15th; on the Ides, the 288th day, the moon’s 23d. On the day before the Kalends of November, the 304th day, the moon’s 9th; on the Kalends of November, the 305th day, the moon’s 10th; on the Nones, the 309th day, the moon’s 14th; on the Ides, the 317th day, the moon’s 22d. On the day before the Kalends of December, the 334th day, the moon’s 10th; on the Kalends of December, the 335th day, the moon’s 11th; on the Nones, the 339th day, the moon’s 15th; on the Ides, the 347th day, the moon’s 23d. On the day before the Kalends of January, the 365th day, the moon’s 11th; on the Kalends of January, the 366th day, the moon’s 12th.


The Paschal or Easter Table of Anatolius.

Now, then, after the reckoning of the days and the exposition of the course of the moon, whereon the whole revolves on to its end, the cycle of the years may be set forth from the commencement). This makes the Passover (Easter season) circulate between the 6th day before the Kalends of April and the 9th before the Kalends of May, according to the following table:





    1.    Sabbath


XVth before the Kalends of May, i.e., 17th April


    2.    Lord’s Day


Kalends of April, i.e., 1st April


    3.    IId Day (ferial)


XIth before the Kalends of May, i.e., 21st April


    4.    IIId Day


Ides of April, i.e., 13th April


    5.    IVth Day


IVth before the Kalends of April, i.e., 29th April


    6.    Vth Day


XIVth before the Kalends of May, i.e., 18th April


    7.    Sabbath


VIth before the Kalends of April, i.e., 27th March


    8.    Lord’s Day


Kalends of April, i.e., 1st of April


    9.    IId Day


XVIIIth before the Kalends of May, i.e., 14th March


    10.    IIId Day


VIIIth before the Ides of April, i.e., 6th April


    11.    IVth Day


IVth before the Kalends of April, i.e., 29th March


    12.    Vth Day


IIId before the Ides of April, i.e., 11th April


    13.    VIth Day


IIId before the Nones of April, i.e., 3rd April


    14.    Sabbath


IXth before the Kalends of May, i.e., 23rd April


    15.    Lord’s Day


VIth before the Ides of April, i.e., 8th April


    16.    IId Day


IId before the Kalends of April, i.e., 31st March


    17.    IVth Day


XIVth before the Kalends of May, i.e., 18th April


    18.    Vth Day


IId before the Nones of April, i.e., 4th April


    19.    VIth Day


VIth before the Kalends of April, i.e., 27th March



This cycle of nineteen years is not approved of by certain African investigators who have drawn up larger cycles, because it seems to be somewhat opposed to their surmises and opinions. For these make up the best proved accounts according to their calculation, and determine a certain beginning or certain end for the Easter season, so as that the Paschal festival shall not be celebrated before the eleventh day before the Kalends of April, i.e., 24th March, nor after the
moon’s twenty-first, and the eleventh day before the Kalends of May, i.e., 21st April. But we hold that these are limits not only not to be followed, but to be detested and overturned. For even in the ancient law it is laid down that this is to be seen to, viz., that the Passover be not celebrated before the transit of the vernal equinox, at which the last of the autumnal term is overtaken, on the fourteenth day of the first month, which is one calculated not by the beginnings of the day, but by those of the moon.2 And as this has been sanctioned by the charge of the Lord, and is in all things accordant with the Catholic faith, it cannot be doubtful to any wise man that to anticipate it must be a thing unlawful and perilous. And, accordingly, this only is it sufficient for all the saints and Catholics to observe, namely, that giving no heed to the diverse opinions of very many, they should keep the solemn festival of the Lord’s resurrection within the limits which we have set forth.


Furthermore, as to the proposal subjoined to your epistle, that I should attempt to introduce into this little book some notice of the ascent and descent of the sun, which is made out in the distribution of days and nights. The matter proceeds thus: In fifteen days and half an hour, the sun ascending by so many minutes, that is, by four in one day, from the eighth day before the Kalends of January, i.e., 25th December, to the eighth before the Kalends of April, i.e., 25th March, an hour is taken up; at which date there are twelve hours and a twelfth. On this day, towards evening, if it happen also to be the moon’s fourteenth, the lamb was sacrificed among the Jews. But if the number went beyond that, so that it was the moon’s fifteenth or sixteenth on the evening of the same day, on the fourteenth day of the second moon, in the same month, the Passover was celebrated; and the people ate unleavened bread for seven days, up to the twenty-first day at evening. Hence, if it happens in like manner to us, that the seventh day before the Kalends of April, 26th March, proves to be both the Lord’s day and the moon’s fourteenth, Easter is to be celebrated on the fourteenth. But if it proves to be the moon’s fifteenth or sixteenth, or any day up to the twentieth, then our regard for the Lord’s resurrection, which took place on the Lord’s day, will lead us to celebrate it on the same principle; yet this should be done so as that the beginning of Easter may not pass beyond the close of their festival, that is to say, the moon’s twentieth. And therefore we have said that those parties have committed no trivial offence who have ventured either on anticipating or on going beyond this number, which is given us in the divine Scriptures themselves. And from the eighth day before the Kalends of April, 25th March, to the eighth before the Kalends of July, 24th June, in fifteen days an hour is taken up: the sun ascending every day by two minutes and a half, and the sixth part of a minute. And from the eighth day before the Kalends of July, 24th June, to the eighth before the Kalends of October, 24th September, in like manner, in fifteen days and four hours, an hour is taken up: the sun descending every day by the same number of minutes. And the space remaining on to the eighth day before the Kalends of January, 25th December, is determined in a similar number of hours and minutes. So that thus on the eighth day before the Kalends of January, for the hour there is the hour and half. For up to that day and night are distributed. And the twelve hours which were established at the vernal equinox in the beginning by the Lord’s dispensation, being distributed over the night on the eighth before the Kalends of July, the sun ascending through those eighteen several degrees which we have noted, shall be found conjoined with the longer space in the twelfth. And, again, the twelve hours which should be fulfilled at the autumnal equinox in the sun’s descent, should be found disjoined on the sixth before the Kalends of January as six hours divided into twelve, the night holding eighteen divided into twelve. And on the eighth before the Kalends of July, in like manner, it held six divided into twelve.


Be not ignorant of this, however, that those four determining periods, which we have mentioned, although they are approximated to the Kalends of the following months, yet hold each the middle of a season, viz., of spring and summer, and autumn and winter. And the beginnings of the seasons are not to be fixed at that point at which the Kalends of the month begin. But each season is to be begun in such way that the equinox divides the season of spring from its first day; and the season of summer is divided by the eighth day before the Kalends of July, and that of autumn by the eighth before the Kalends of October, and that of winter by the eighth before the Kalends of January in like manner.5


What is mathematics?

Aristotle thinks that all philosophy consisted of theory and practice, and divides the practical into ethical and political, and the theoretic again into the theological, the physical, and the mathematical. And thus very clearly and skilfully he shows that mathematics is (a branch of) philosophy.

The Chaldæans were the originators of astronomy, and the Egyptians of geometry and arithmetic.…

And whence did mathematics derive its name? Those of the Peripatetic school affirmed that in rhetoric and poetry, and in the popular music, any one may be an adept though he has gone through no process of study; but that in those pursuits properly called studies, none can have any real knowledge unless he has first become a student of them. Hence they supposed that the theory of these things was called Mathematics, from μάθημα, study, science. And the followers of Pythagoras are said to have given this more distinctive name of mathematics to geometry, and arithmetic alone. For of old these had each its own separate name; and they had up till then no name common to both. And he (Archytas) gave them this name, because he found science in them, and that in a manner suitable to man’s study.5 For they (the Pythagoreans) perceived that these studies dealt with things eternal and immutable and perfect, in which things alone they considered that science consisted. But the more recent philosophers have given a more extensive application to this name, so that, in their opinion, the mathematician deals not only with substances7 incorporeal, and falling simply within the province of the understanding, but also with that which touches upon corporeal and sensible matter. For he ought to be cognisant of9 the course of the stars, and their velocity, and their magnitudes, and forms, and distances. And, besides, he ought to investigate their dispositions to vision, examining into the causes, why they are not seen as of the same form and of the same size from every distance, retaining, indeed, as we know them to do, their dispositions relative to each other, but producing, at the same time, deceptive appearances, both in respect of order and position. And these are so, either as determined by the state of the heavens and the air, or as seen in reflecting and all polished surfaces and in transparent bodies, and in all similar kinds. In addition to this, they thought that the man ought to be versed in mechanics and geometry and dialectics. And still further, that he should engage himself with the causes of the harmonious combination of sounds, and with the composition of music; which things are bodies,11 or at least are to be ultimately referred to sensible matter.

What is mathematics?

Mathematics is a theoretic science of things apprehensible by perception and sensation for communication to others.13 And before this a certain person indulging in a joke, while hitting his mark, said that mathematics is that science to which Homer’s description of Discord may be applied:—

“Small at her birth, but rising every hour,

While scarce the skies her horrid (mighty) head can bound,

She stalks on earth and shakes the world around.”

For it begins with a point and a line, and forthwith it takes heaven itself and all things within its compass.

How many divisions are there of mathematics?

Of the more notable and the earliest mathematics there are two principal divisions, viz., arithmetic and geometry. And of the mathematics which deals with things sensible there are six divisions, viz. computation (practical arithmetic), geodesy, optics, theoretical music, mechanics, and astronomy. But that neither the so-called tactics nor architecture, nor the popular music, nor physics, nor the art which is called equivocally the mechanical, constitutes, as some think, a branch of mathematics, we shall prove, as the discourse proceeds, clearly and systematically.

As to the circle having eight solids and six superficies and four angles.… What branches of arithmetic have closest affinity with each other? Computation and theoretical music have a closer affinity than others with arithmetic; for this department, being one also of quantity and ratio, approaches it in number and proportion. Optics and geodesy, again, are more in affinity with geometry. And mechanics and astrology are in general affinity with both.

As to mathematics having its principles in hypothesis and about hypothesis. Now, the term hypothesis is used in three ways, or indeed in many ways. For according to one usage of the term we have the dramatic revolution;3 and in this sense there are said to be hypotheses in the dramas of Euripides. According to a second meaning, we have the investigation of matters in the special in rhetoric; and in this sense the Sophists say that a hypothesis must be proposed. And, according to a third signification, the beginning of a proof is called a hypothesis, as being the begging of certain matters with a view to the establishment of another in question. Thus it is said that Democritus used a hypothesis, namely, that of atoms and a vacuum; and Asclepiades5 that of atoms and pores. Now, when applied to mathematics, the term hypothesis is to be taken in the third sense.

That Pythagoras was not the only one who duly honoured arithmetic, but that his best known disciples did so too, being wont to say that “all things fit number.”

That arithmetic has as its immediate end chiefly the theory of science, than which there is no end either greater or nobler. And its second end is to bring together in one all that is found in determinate substance.9

Who among the mathematicians has made any discovery?

Eudemus relates in his Astrologies that Œnopides found out the circle of the zodiac and the cycle12 of the great year. And Thales discovered the eclipse of the sun and its period in the tropics in its constant inequality. And Anaximander14 discovered that the earth is poised in space, and moves round the axis of the universe. And Anaximenes16 discovered that the moon has her light from the sun, and found out also the way in which she suffers eclipse. And the rest of the mathematicians have also made additions to these discoveries. We may instance the facts—that the fixed stars move round the axis passing through the poles, while the planets remove from each other round the perpendicular axis of the zodiac; and that the axis of the fixed stars and the planets is the side of a pentedecagon with four-and-twenty parts.

Alexander of Cappadocia


[a.d. 170–233–251.] Alexander was at first bishop of a church in Cappadocia, but on his visiting Jerusalem he was appointed to the bishopric of the church there, while the previous bishop Narcissus was alive, in consequence of a vision which was believed to be divine. During the Decian persecution he was thrown into prison at Caesarea, and died there,19 a.d. 251. The only writings of his which we know are those from which the extracts are made.


i. an epistle to the people of antioch.

Alexander, a servant and prisoner of Jesus Christ, sends greeting in the Lord to the blessed church of Antioch. Easy and light has the Lord made my bonds to me during the time of my imprisonment, since I have learned that in the providence of God, Asclepiades—who, in regard to the right faith, is most eminently qualified for the office—has undertaken the episcopate of your holy church of Antioch. And this epistle, my brethren and masters, I have sent by the hand of the blessed presbyter Clement, a man virtuous and well tried, whom ye know already, and will know yet better; who also, coming here by the providence and supervision of the Master, has strengthened and increased the Church of the Lord.

ii. from an epistle to the antinoites.

Narcissus salutes you, who held the episcopate in this district before me, who is now also my colleague and competitor in prayer for you, and who, having now attained to5 his hundred and tenth year, unites with me in exhorting you to be of one mind.

iii. from an epistle to origen.

For this, as thou knowest, was the will of God, that the friendship subsisting between us from our forefathers should be maintained unbroken, yea rather, that it should increase in fervency and strength. For we are well acquainted with those blessed fathers who have trodden the course before us, and to whom we too shall soon go: Pantænus, namely, that man verily blessed, my master; and also the holy Clement, who was once my, master and my benefactor; and all the rest who may be like them, by whose means also I have come to know thee, my lord and brother, who excellest all.

iv. from an epistle to demetrius, bishop of alexandria.

And he —i.e., Demetrius—has added to his letter that this is a matter that was never heard of before, and has never been done now,—namely, that laymen should take part in public speaking, when there are bishops present. But in this assertion he has departed evidently far from the truth by some means. For, indeed, wherever there are found persons capable of profiling the brethren, such persons are exhorted by the holy bishops to address the people. Such was the case at Laranda, where Evelpis was thus exhorted by Neon; and at Iconium, Paulinus was thus exhorted by Celsus; and at Synada, Theodorus also by Atticus, our blessed brethren. And it is probable that this is done in other places also, although we know not the fact.12



If Alexander died in the Decian persecution, it is noteworthy how far the sub-apostolic age extended. This contemporary of Cyprian was coadjutor to Narcissus, who may have seen those who knew St. John. See, vol. i. p. 416, note, this series; also vol i. p. 568, Fragment ii.

Theognostus of Alexandria


[a.d. 260. I can add nothing but conjectures to the following:] Of this Theognostus we have no account by either Eusebius or Jerome. Athanasius, however, mentions him more than once with honour. Thus he speaks of him as ἀνὴρ λόγιος, an eloquent or learned man. And again as Θεόγνωστος ὁ θαυμάσιος καὶ σπουδαῖος, the admirable and zealous Theognostus. He seems to have belonged to the Catechetical school of Alexandria, and to have flourished there in the latter half of the third century, probably about a.d. 260. That he was a disciple of Origen, or at least a devoted student of his works, is clear from Photius. He wrote a work in seven books, the title of which is thus given by Photius:4
The Outlines of the blessed Theognostus, the exegete of Alexandria. Dodwell and others are of opinion that by this term exegete, is meant the presidency of the Catechetical school and the privilege of public teaching; and that the title, Outlines, was taken from Clement, his predecessor in office. According to Photius, the work was on this plan. The first book treated of God the Father, as the maker of the universe; the second, of the necessary existence of the Son; the third, of the Holy Spirit; the fourth, of angels and demons; the fifth and sixth, of the incarnation of God; while the seventh bore the title, On God’s Creation7. Photius has much to say in condemnation of Thegnostus, who, however, has been vindicated by Bull and Prudentius Maranus.9 Gregory of Nyssa has also charged him with holding the same error as Eunomius on the subject of the Son’s relation to the work of creation. He is adduced, however, by Athanasius as a defender of the Homoüsian doctrine.



The substance of the Son is not a substance devised extraneously,13 nor is it one introduced out of nothing; but it was born of the substance of the Father, as the reflection of light or as the steam of water. For the reflection is not the sun itself, and the steam is not the water itself, nor yet again is it anything alien; neither is He Himself the Father, nor is He alien, but He is15 an emanation from the substance of the Father, this substance of the Father suffering the while no partition. For as the sun remains the same and suffers no diminution from the rays that are poured out by it, so neither did the substance of the Father undergo any change in having the Son as an image of itself.


Theognostus, moreover, himself adds words to this effect: He who has offended against the first term and the second, may be judged to deserve smaller punishment; but he who has also despised the third, can no longer find pardon.
For by the first term and the second, he says, is meant the teaching concerning the Father and the Son; but by the third is meant the doctrine committed to us with respect to the perfection and the partaking of the Spirit. And with the view of confirming this, he adduces the word spoken by the Saviour to the disciples: “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. But when the Holy Spirit is come, He will teach you.”2


Then he says again: As the Saviour converses with those not yet able to receive what is perfect, condescending to their littleness, while the Holy Spirit communes with the perfected, and yet we could never say on that account that the teaching of the Spirit is superior to the teaching of the Son, but only that the Son condescends to the imperfect, while the Spirit is the seal of the perfected; even so it is not on account of the superiority of the Spirit over the Son that the blasphemy against the Spirit is a sin excluding impunity and pardon, but because for the imperfect there is pardon, while for those who have tasted the heavenly gift,5 and been made perfect, there remains no plea or prayer for pardon.

Pierius of Alexandria.


[a.d. 275.] Among the very eminent men who flourished near his own time, Eusebius mentions Pierius, a presbyter of Alexandria, and speaks of him as greatly renowned for his voluntary poverty, his philosophical erudition and his skill in the exposition of Scripture and in discoursing to the public assemblies of the Church. He lived in the latter part of the third century, and seems to have been for a considerable period president of the Catechetical school at Alexandria. Jerome says that he was called Origenes, junior; and according to Photius, he shared in some of the errors of Origen, on such subjects especially as the doctrine of the Holy Ghost and the pre-existence of souls. In his manner of life he was an ascetic. After the persecution under Galerius or Maximus he lived at Rome. He appears to have devoted himself largely to sacred criticism and the study of the text of Scripture; and among several treatises written by him, and extant in the time of Photius, we find mention made of one on the prophet Hosea. And, in addition to the Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians9, Photius notices twelve books of his, and praises both their composition and their matter.


Origen, Dionysius, Pierius, Eusebius of Cæsareia, Didymus, and Apollinaris, have interpreted this epistle most copiously; of whom Pierius, when he was expounding and unfolding the meaning of the apostle, and purposed to explain the words, For I would that all men were even as I myself, added this remark: In saying this, Paul, without disguise, preaches celibacy.4


different discourses of the presbyter pierius.

There was read a book by Pierius the presbyter, who, they say, endured the conflict for Christ, along with his brother Isidorus. And he is reputed to have been the teacher of the martyr Pamphilus in ecclesiastical studies, and to have been president of the school at Alexandria. The work contained twelve books.7 And in style he is perspicuous and clear, with the easy flow, as it were, of a spoken address, displaying no signs of laboured art, but bearing us quietly along, smoothly and gently, like off-hand speaking. And in argument he is most fertile, if any one is so. And he expresses his opinion on many things outside what is now established in the Church, perhaps in an antique manner;9 but with respect to the Father and the Son, he sets forth his sentiments piously, except that he speaks of two substances and two natures; using, however, the terms substance and nature, as is apparent from what follows, and from what precedes this passage, in the sense of person and not in the sense put on it by the adherents of Arius. With respect to the Spirit, however, he lays down his opinion in a very dangerous and far from pious manner. For he affirms that He is inferior to the Father and the Son in glory.11 He has a passage also in the book entitled, On the Gospel according to Luke, from which it is possible to show that the honour or dishonour of the image is also the honour or dishonour of the original. And, again, he indulges in some obscure speculations, after the manner of the nonsense of Origen, on the subject of the “pre-existence of souls.” And also in the book on the Passover (Easter) and on Hosea, he treats both of the cherubim made by Moses, and of the pillar of Jacob, in which passages he admits the actual construction of those things, but propounds the foolish theory that they were given economically, and that they were in no respect like other things which are made; inasmuch as they bore the likeness of no other form, but had only, as he foolishly says, the appearance of wings.

Theonas of Alexandria.


[a.d. 300.] Of this Theonas we know extremely little. Eusebius tells us that Maximus, who had held the episcopal office at Alexandria for eighteen years after the death of Dionysius, was succeeded by Theonas. That bishopric, we also learn, he held for nineteen years. His date is fixed as from about 282 to 300 a.d. The only thing of his that has come down to our time is his letter to Lucianus, the chief chamberlain, and a person in high favour with the emperor. This epistle, which is a letter of advice to that individual on the duties of his office, was first published in the Spicilegium of Dacherius, and again in Gallandi’s Bibliotheca. The name of the emperor is not given, neither does the letter itself tell us who the Bishop Theonas was who wrote it. Hence some have, without much reason, supposed another Theonas, bishop of Cyzicus, as the author. And some, such as Cave, have thought the emperor in question was Constantius Chlorus. But the whole circumstances suit Diocletian best. Some infer from the diction of the epistle, as we have it, that it is a translation from a Greek original.


bishop theonas to lucianus, the chief chamberlain of our most invincible emperor.


I give thanks to Almighty God and our Lord Jesus Christ, who has not given over the manifesting of His faith throughout the whole world, as the sole specific for our salvation, and the extending of it even in the course of the persecutions of despots. Yea, like gold reduced in the furnace, it has only been made to shine the more under the storms of persecution, and its truth and grandeur have only become always the more and more illustrious, so that now, peace being granted to the churches by our gracious prince, the works of Christians are shining even in sight of the unbelieving, and God your Father, who is in heaven, is glorified thereby;6 a thing which, if we desire to be Christians in deed rather than in word, we ought to seek and aspire after as our first object on account of our salvation. For if we seek our own glory, we set our desire upon a vain and perishing object, and one which leads ourselves on to death. But the glory of the Father and of the Son, who for our salvation was nailed to the cross, makes us safe for the everlasting redemption; and that is the greatest hope of Christians.

Wherefore, my Lucianus, I neither suppose nor desire that yon should make it a matter of boasting, that by your means many persons belonging to the palace of the emperor have been brought to the knowledge of the truth; but rather does it become us to give the thanks to our God who has made thee a good instrument for a good work, and has raised thee to great honour with the emperor, that you might diffuse the sweet savour of the Christian name to His own glory and to the salvation of many. For just the more completely that the emperor himself, though not yet attached to the Christian religion, has entrusted the care of his life and person to these same Christians as his more faithful servants, so much the more careful ought ye to be, and the more diligent and watchful in seeing to his safety, and in attending upon him, so that the name of Christ may be greatly glorified thereby, and His faith extended daily through you who wait upon the emperor. For in old times some former princes thought us malevolent and filled with all manner of crime; but now, seeing your good works, they should not be able to avoid glorifying Christ Himself.


Therefore you ought to strive to the utmost of your power not to fall into a base or dishonourable, not to say an absolutely flagitious way of thinking, lest the name of Christ be thus blasphemed even by you. Be it far from you that you should sell the privilege of access to the emperor to any one for money, or that you should by any means place a dishonest account of any affair before your prince, won over either by prayers or by bribes. Let all the lust of avarice be put from you, which serves the cause of idolatry rather than the religion of Christ. No filthy lucre, no duplicity, can befit the Christian who embraces the simple and unadorned3 Christ. Let no scurrilous or base talk have place among you. Let all things be done with modesty, courteousness, affability, and uprightness, so that the name of our God and Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in all.

Discharge the official duties to which you are severally appointed with the utmost fear of God and affection to your prince, and perfect carefulness. Consider that every command of the emperor which does not offend God has proceeded from God Himself; and execute it in love as well as in fear, and with all cheerfulness. For there is nothing which so well refreshes a man who is wearied out with weighty cares as the seasonable cheerfulness and benign patience of an intimate servant; nor, again, on the other hand, does anything so much annoy and vex him as the moroseness and impatience and grumbling of his servant. Be such things far from you Christians, whose walk is in zeal for the faith.5 But in order that God may be honoured in yourselves, suppress ye and tread down all your vices of mind and body. Be clothed with patience and courtesy; be replenished with the virtues and the hope of Christ. Bear all things for the sake of your Creator Himself; endure all things; overcome and get above all things, that ye may win Christ the Lord. Great are these duties, and full of painstaking. But he that striveth for the mastery7 is temperate in all things; and they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible.


But because, as I apprehend it, ye are assigned to different offices, and you, Lucianus, are styled the head of them all, whom, also, by the grace of Christ given you, you are able to direct and dispose in their different spheres, I am certain that it will not displease you if I also bring before your notice, in a particular and summary manner, some of my sentiments on the subject of these offices. For I hear that one of you keeps the private moneys of the emperor; another the imperial robes and ornaments; another the precious vessels; another the books, who, I understand, does not as yet belong to the believers; and others the different parts of the household goods. And in what manner, therefore, these charges ought, in my judgment, to be executed, I shall indicate in a few words.


He who has charge of the private moneys of the emperor ought to keep every thing in an exact reckoning. He should be ready at any time to give an accurate account of all things. He should note down every thing in writing, if it is at all possible, before giving money to another. He should never trust such things to his memory, which, being drawn off day by day to other matters, readily fails us, so that, without writing, we sometimes honestly certify things which have never existed; neither should this kind of writing be of a commonplace order, but such as easily and clearly unfolds all things, and leaves the mind of the inquirer without any scruple or doubt on the subject; a thing which will easily he effected if a distinct and separate account is kept in writing of all receipts, and of the time when, and the person by whom, and the place at which they were made. And, in like manner, all that is paid out to others, or expended by order of the emperor, should be entered in its own place by itself in the reckoning; and that servant should be faithful and prudent, so that his lord may rejoice that he has set him over his goods,9 and may glorify Christ in him.


Nor will the diligence and care of that servant be less who has the custody of the robes and imperial ornaments. All these he should enter in a most exact catalogue, and he should keep a note of what they are and of what sort, and in what places stored, and when he received them, and from whom, and whether they are soiled or unsoiled. All these things he should keep in his diligence; he should often review again, and he
should often go over them that they may be the more readily known again. All these he should have at hand, and all in readiness; and he should always give the clearest information on every matter on which it is sought, to his prince or his superior, whenever they ask about any thing; and all this at the same time in such wise that every thing may be done in humility and cheerful patience, and that the name of Christ may be praised even in a small matter.


In a similar manner should he conduct himself to whose fidelity are entrusted the vessels of silver and gold, and crystal or murrha, for eating or for drinking. All these he should arrange suitably, of them all he should keep an account, and with all diligence he should make an inventory of how many and which sort of precious stones are in them. He should examine them all with great prudence; he should produce them in their proper places and on their proper occasions. And he should observe most carefully to whom he gives them, and at what time, and from whom he receives them again, lest there should occur any mistake or injurious suspicion, or perhaps some considerable loss in things of value.


The most responsible person. however, among you, and also the most careful, will be he who may be entrusted by the emperor with the custody of his library. He will himself select for this office a person of proved knowledge, a man grave and adapted to great affairs, and ready to reply to all applications for information, such a one as Philadelphus chose for this charge, and appointed to the superintendence of his most noble library—I mean Aristeus, his confidential chamberlain, whom he sent also as his legate to Eleazar, with most magnificent gifts, in recognition of the translation of the Sacred Scriptures; and this person also wrote the full history of the Seventy Interpreters. If, therefore, it should happen that a believer in Christ is called to this same office, he should not despise that secular literature and those Gentile intellects which please the emperor. To be praised are the poets for the greatness of their genius, the acuteness of their inventions, the aptness and lofty eloquence of their style. To be praised are the orators; to be praised also are the philosophers in their own class. To be praised, too, are the historians, who unfold to us the order of exploits, and the manners and institutions of our ancestors, and show us the rule of life from the proceedings of the ancients. On occasion also he will endeavour to laud the divine Scriptures, which, with marvellous care and most liberal expenditure, Ptolemy Philadelphus caused to be translated into our language;3 and sometimes, too, the Gospel and the Apostle will be landed for their divine oracles; and there will be an opportunity for introducing the mention of Christ; and, little by little, His exclusive divinity will be explained; and all these things may happily come to pass by the help of Christ.

He ought, therefore, to know all the books which the emperor possesses; he should often turn them over, and arrange them neatly in their proper order by catalogue; if, however, he shall have to get new books, or old ones transcribed, he should be careful to obtain the most accurate copyists; and if that cannot be done, he should appoint learned men to the work of correction, and recompense them justly for their labours. He should also cause all manuscripts to be restored according to their need, and should embellish them, not so much with mere superstitious extravagance, as with useful adornment; and therefore he should not aim at having the whole manuscripts written on purple skins and in letters of gold, unless the emperor has specially required that. With the utmost, most submission, however, he should do every thing that is agreeable to Cæsar. As he is able, he should, with all modesty, suggest to the emperor that he should read, or hear read, those books which suit his rank and honour, and minister to good use rather than to mere pleasure. He should himself first be thoroughly familiar with those books, and he should often commend them in presence of the emperor, and set forth, in an appropriate fashion, the testimony and the weight of those who approve them, that he may not seem to lean to his own understanding only.


Those, moreover, who have the care of the emperor’s person should be in all things as prompt as possible; always, as we have said, cheerful in countenance, sometimes merry, but ever with such perfect modesty as that he may commend it above all else in you all, and perceive that it is the true product of the religion of Christ. You should also all be elegant and tidy in person and attire, yet, at the same time, not in such wise as to attract notice by extravagance or affectation, lest Christian modesty be scandalised. Let every thing be ready at its
proper time, and disposed as well as possible in its own order. There should also be due arrangement among you, and carefulness that no confusion appear in your work, nor any loss of property in any way; and appropriate places should be settled and suitably prepared, in accordance with the capacity (captu) and importance of the places.

Besides this, your servants should be the most thoroughly honest, and circumspect, and modest, and as serviceable to you as possible. And see that you instruct and teach them in true doctrine with all the patience and charity of Christ; but if they despise and lightly esteem your instructions, then dismiss them, lest their wickedness by any hap recoil upon yourselves. For sometimes we have seen, and often we have heard, how masters have been held in ill-repute in consequence of the wickedness of their servants.

If the emperor visits her imperial majesty, or she him, then should ye also be most circumspect in eye and demeanour, and in all your words. Let her mark your mastery of yourselves and your modesty; and let her followers and attendants mark your demeanour; let them mark it and admire it, and by reason thereof praise Jesus Christ our Lord in you. Let your conversation always be temperate and modest, and seasoned with religion as with salt. And, further, let there be no jealousy among you or contentiousness, which might bring you into all manner of confusion and division, and thus also make you objects of aversion to Christ and to the emperor, and lead you into the deepest abomination, so that not one stone of your building could stand upon another.


And do thou, my dearest Lucianus, since thou art wise, bear with good-will the unwise; and they too may perchance become wise. Do no one an injury at any time, and provoke no one to anger. If an injury is done to you, look to Jesus Christ; and even as ye desire that He may remit your transgressions, do ye also forgive them theirs;4 and then also shall ye do away with all ill-will, and bruise the head of that ancient serpent, who is ever on the watch with all subtlety to undo your good works and your prosperous attainments. Let no day pass by without reading some portion of the Sacred Scriptures, at such convenient hour as offers, and giving some space to meditation.6 And never cast off the habit of reading in the Holy Scriptures; for nothing feeds the soul and enriches the mind so well as those sacred studies do. But look to this as the chief gain you are to make by them, that, in all due patience, ye may discharge the duties of your office religiously and piously—that is, in the love of Christ—and despise all transitory objects for the sake of His eternal promises, which in truth surpass all human comprehension and understanding, and shall conduct you into everlasting felicity.

A happy adieu to you in Christ, my Lord Lucianus.



[a.d. 307.] From Jerome we learn that this Phileas belonged to Thmuis, a town of Lower Egypt, the modern Tmai, which was situated between the Tanite and Mendesian branches of the Nile, an episcopal seat, and in the time of Valentinian and Theodosius the Great a place of considerable consequence, enjoying a separate government of its own. Eusebius speaks of him as a man not less distinguished for his services to his country than for his eminence in philosophical studies and his proficiency in foreign literature and science. He tells us further, that, along with another person of considerable importance, by name Philoromus, being brought to trial for his
faith, he withstood the threats and insults of the judge, and all the entreaties of relatives and friends, to compromise his Christian belief, and was condemned to lose his head. Jerome also, in the passage already referred to, names him a true philosopher, and, at the same time, a godly martyr; and states, that on assuming the bishopric of his native district, he wrote a very elegant book in praise of the martyrs. Of this book certain fragments are preserved for us in Eusebius. In addition to these we have also an epistle which the same Phileas seems to have written in the name of three other bishops, as well as himself, to Meletius, the bishop of Lycopolis, and founder of the Meletian schism. This epistle appears to have been written in Greek; but we possess only a Latin version, which, however, from its abrupt style, is believed to be very ancient. The four bishops whose names stand at the head of the Epistle—viz., Hesychius, Pachomius, Theodorus, and Phileas, are also mentioned by Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., 8:13) as distinguished martyrs. This epistle was written evidently when those bishops were in prison, and its date is determined by the mention of Peter as the then bishop of Alexandria. The martyrdom of Phileas is fixed with much probability as happening at Alexandria, under Maximus, about the year 307 a.d. [But see Neale, Patriarchate of Alex., i. pp. 97–101, for his view of two bearing this name.]



Having before them all these examples and signs and illustrious tokens which are given us in the divine and holy Scriptures, the blessed martyrs who lived with us did not hesitate, but, directing the eye of their soul in sincerity to that God who is over all, and embracing with willing mind the death which their piety cost them, they adhered steadfastly to their vocation. For they learned that our Lord Jesus Christ endured man’s estate on our behalf, that He might destroy all sin, and furnish us with the provision needful for our entrance into eternal life. “For He thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, taking upon Him the form of a servant: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself unto death, even the death of the cross.” For which reason also these Christ-bearing4 martyrs sought zealously the greater gifts, and endured, some of them, every kind of pain and all the varied contrivances of torture not merely once, bat once and again; and though the guards showed their fury against them not only by threatenings in word, but also by deeds of violence, they did not swerve from their resolution, because perfect love casteth out fear.


And to narrate their virtue and their manly endurance under every torment, what language would suffice? For as every one who chose was at liberty to abuse them, some beat them with wooden clubs, and others with rods, and others with scourges, and others again with thongs, and others with ropes. And the spectacle of these modes of torture had great variety in it, and exhibited vast malignity. For some had their hands bound behind them, and were suspended on the rack and had every limb in their body stretched with a certain kind of pulleys.7 Then after all this the torturers, according to their orders, lacerated with the sharp iron claws the whole body, not merely, as in the case of murderers, the sides only, but also the stomach and the knees and the cheeks. And others were hung up in mid-air, suspended by one hand from the portico, and their sufferings were fiercer than any other kind of agony by reason of the distention of their joints and limbs. And others were bound to pillars, face to face, not touching the ground with their feet, but hanging with all the weight of the body, so that their chains were drawn all the more tightly by reason of the tension. And this they endured not simply as long as the governor9 spoke with them, or had leisure to hear them, but well-nigh through the whole day. For when he passed on to others he left some of those under his authority to keep watch over these former, and to observe whether any of them, being overcome by the torture, seemed
likely to yield. But he gave them orders at the same time to cast them into chains without sparing, and thereafter, when they were expiring, to throw them on the ground and drag them along. For they said that they would not give themselves the slightest concern about us, but would look upon us and deal with us as if we were nothing at all. This second mode of torture our enemies devised then over and above the scourging.


And there were also some who, after the tortures, were placed upon the stocks and had both their feet stretched through all the four holes, so that they were compelled to lie on their back on the stocks, as they were unable (to stand) in consequence of the fresh wounds they had over the whole body from the scourging. And others being thrown upon the ground lay prostrated there by the excessively frequent application of the tortures; in which condition they exhibited to the onlookers a still more dreadful spectacle than they did when actually undergoing their torments, bearing, as they did, on their bodies the varied and manifold tokens of the cruel ingenuity of their tortures. While this state of matters went on, some died under their tortures, putting the adversary to shame by their constancy. And others were thrust half-dead into the prison, where in a few days, worn out with their agonies, they met their end. But the rest, getting sure recovery under the application of remedies, through time and their lengthened detention in prison, became more confident. And thus then, when they were commanded to make their choice between these alternatives, namely, either to put their hand to the unholy sacrifice and thus secure exemption from further trouble, and obtain from them their abominable sentence of absolution and liberation, or else to refuse to sacrifice, and thus expect the judgment of death to be executed on them, they never hesitated, but went cheerfully to death.2 For they knew the sentence declared for us of old by the Holy Scriptures: “He that sacrificeth to other gods,” it is said, “shall be utterly destroyed.” And again,4 “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.”



the beginning of the epistle of the bishops.

Hesychius, Pachomius, Theodorus, and Phileas, to Meletius, our friend and fellow-minister in the Lord, greeting. Some reports having reached us concerning thee, which, on the testimony of certain individuals who came to us, spake of certain things foreign to divine order and ecclesiastical rule which are being attempted, yea, rather which are being done by thee, we, in an ingenuous manner held them to be untrustworthy, regarding them to be such as we would not willingly credit, when we thought of the audacity implied in their magnitude and their uncertain attempts. But since many who are visiting us at the present time have lent some credibility to these reports, and have not hesitated to attest them as facts, we, to our exceeding surprise, have been compelled to indite this letter to thee. And what agitation and sadness have been caused to us all in common and to each of us individually by (the report of) the ordination carried through by thee in parishes having no manner of connection with thee, we are unable sufficiently to express. We have not delayed, however, by a short statement to prove your practice wrong. There is the law of our fathers and forefathers, of which neither art thou thyself ignorant, established according to divine and ecclesiastical order; for it is all for the good pleasure of God and the zealous regard of better things. By them it has been established and settled that it is not lawful for any bishop to celebrate ordinations in other parishes8 than his own; a law which is exceedingly important and wisely devised. For, in the first place, it is but right that the conversation and life of those who are ordained should be examined with great care; and in the second place, that all confusion and turbulence should be done away with. For every one shall have enough to do in managing his own parish, and in finding with great care and many anxieties
suitable subordinates among these with whom he has passed his whole life, and who have been trained under his hands. But thou, neither making any account of these things, nor regarding the future, nor considering the law of our sainted fathers and those who have been taken to Christ time after time. nor the honour of our great bishop and father, Peter,2 on whom we all depend in the hope which we have in the Lord Jesus Christ, nor softened by our imprisonments and trials, and daily and multiplied reproach, hast ventured on subverting all things at once. And what means will be left thee for justifying thyself with respect to these things? But perhaps thou wilt say: I did this to prevent many being drawn away with the unbelief of many, because the flocks were in need and forsaken, there being no pastor with them, Well, but it is most certain that they are not in such destitution: in the first place, because there are many going about them and in a position to act as visitors; and in the second place, even if there was some measure of neglect on their side, then the proper way would have been for the representation to be made promptly by the people, and for us to take account of them according to their desert. But they knew that they were in no want of ministers, and therefore they did not come to seek them. They knew that we were wont to discharge them with an admonition from such inquisition for matter of complaint, or that everything was done with all carefulness which seemed to be for their profit; for all was done under correction,4 and all was considered with well-approved honesty. Thou, however, giving such strenuous attention to the deceits of certain parties and their vain words, hast made a stealthy leap to the celebrating of ordinations. For if, indeed, those with thee were constraining thee to this, and in their ignorance were doing violence to ecclesiastical order, thou oughtest to have followed the common rule and have informed us by letter; and in that way what seemed expedient would have been done. And if perchance some persuaded you to credit their story that it was all over with us,—a thing of which thou couldest not have been ignorant, because there were many passing and repassing by us who might visit you,—even although, I say, this had been the case, yet thou oughtest to have waited for the judgment of the superior father and for his allowance of this practice. But without giving any heed to these matters, but indulging a different expectation, yea rather, indeed, denying all respect to us, thou hast provided certain rulers for the people. For now we have learned, too, that there were also divisions, because thy unwarrantable exercise of the right of ordination displeased many. And thou wert not persuaded to delay such procedure or restrain thy purpose readily even by the word of the Apostle Paul, the most blessed seer,6 and the man who put on Christ, who is the Christ of all of us no less; for he, in writing to his dearly-beloved son Timothy, says: “Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins.” And thus he at once shows his own anxious consideration for him,8 and gives him his example and exhibits the law according to which, with all carefulness and caution, parties are to be chosen for the honour of ordination. We make this declaration to thee, that in future thou mayest study10 to keep within the safe and salutary limits of the law.

the conclusion of the epistle of the bishops.

After receiving and perusing this epistle, he neither wrote any reply nor repaired to them in the prison, nor went to the blessed Peter. But when all these bishops and presbyters and deacons had suffered martyrdom in the prison at Alexandria, he at once entered Alexandria. Now in that city there was a certain person, by name Isidorus, turbulent in character, and possessed with the ambition of being a teacher. And there was also a certain Arius, who wore the habit of piety, and was in like manner possessed with the ambition to be a teacher. And when they discovered the object of Meletius’s passion and what it was that he sought, hastening to him, and looking with an evil eye on the episcopal authority of the blessed Peter, that the aim and desire of Meletius might be made patent,12 they discovered to Meletius certain presbyters, then in hiding, to whom the blessed Peter had given power to act as parish-visitors. And Meletius recommending them to improve the opportunity given them for rectifying their error, suspended them for the time, and by his own authority ordained two persons in their place, namely, one in prison and another in the mines. On learning these things the blessed Peter, with much endurance, wrote to the people of Alexandria an epistle in the following terms.14



[a.d. 309.] According to the common account Pamphilus was a native of Berytus, the modern Beirût, and a member of a distinguished Phœnician family. Leaving Berytus, however, at an early period, he repaired to Alexandria and studied under Pierius, the well-known head of the Catechetical school there. At a subsequent period he went to the Palestinian Cæsareia, and was made a presbyter of the Church there under Bishop Agapius. In course of the persecutions of Diocletian he was thrown into prison by Urbanus, the governor of Palestine. This took place towards the end of the year 307 a.d., and his confinement lasted till the beginning of the year 309, when he suffered martyrdom by order of Firmilianus, who had succeeded Urbanus in the governorship of the country. During his imprisonment he enjoyed the affectionate attendance of Eusebius, the Church historian, and the tender friendship which subsisted long between the two is well known. It was as a memorial of that intimacy that Eusebius took the surname of Pamphili. Pamphilus appears to have given himself up with great enthusiasm to the promotion of Biblical studies, and is spoken of as the founder of a theological school in which special importance was attached to exposition. He busied himself also with the transcription and dissemination of the Scriptures and other writings, such as those of Origen, of whom he was a devoted follower. At Cæsareia he established a great public library, consisting mainly of ecclesiastical writers; and among the treasures of that library are mentioned the Tetrapla and Hexapla of Origen, from which, with the help of Eusebius, he produced a new and revised edition of the Septuagint. There is a statement in Jerome to the effect that, though he was so great a student of the writings of others, Pamphilus, through an excess of modesty, wrote no work of his own, with exception of some letters to his friends.3 But there is a work bearing the title of An Exposition of the Chapters of the Acts of the Apostles, which is attributed by many to him, although others ascribe it to Euthalius, bishop of Sulce. And besides this there is also the Apology for Origen, of which, according to the statement of Photius, the first five books were compiled by Pamphilus, in conjunction with Eusebius, during the period of his imprisonment, the sixth book being added by Eusebius after his friend’s martyrdom. Of this Apology we possess now only the first book, and that, too, only in the faulty Latin version of Rufinus. There are repeated and warmly eulogistic references to Pamphilus in the Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius. Thus he speaks of him as that holy martyr of our day; and as that most eloquent man, and that philosopher truly such in his life;6 and again, as that most admirable man of our times, that glory of the church of Cæsareia. He devotes the eleventh chapter of the eighth book also to a notice of Pamphilus and other martyrs. And besides all this he wrote a separate life of his friend, in three books, of which, however, all has perished, with exception of a few disputed fragments.8


Having had ourselves the advantage of the method and model received from our fathers and teachers, we attempt, in a modest way, to give these in this exposition of the chapters, entreating your forgiveness for the rashness of such an endeavour in us who are young in point both of years and of study, and looking to have the indulgence3 of every one who reads this writing in prayer on our behalf. We make this exposition, therefore, after the history of Luke, the evangelist and historian. And, accordingly, we have indicated whole chapters by the letters of the alphabet, and their subdivisions into parts we have noted by means of the asterisk.5

A. Of Christ’s teaching after His resurrection, and of His appearing to the disciples, and of the promise of the gift of the Holy Ghost, and of the spectacle and manner of Christ’s assumption.

B. Peter’s discourse to those who were made disciples, on the subject of the death and reprobation of Judas;8 * in this chapter we have also the section on the substitution of Matthias, who was elected by lot through the grace of God with prayer.

C. Of the divine descent of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost which lighted on them who believed. In this we have also * the instruction delivered by Peter, and * passages from the prophets on the subject, and * on the passion and resurrection and assumption of Christ, and the gift of the Holy Ghost; also * of the faith of those present, and their salvation by baptism; and, further, * of the unity of spirit pervading the believers and promoting the common good, and of the addition made to their number.

D. Of the healing in (the name of) Christ of the man lame from his birth; and of the discourse of Peter, in which he reasons and sympathizes and counsels with respect to his11 salvation. And here we have * the interposition of the chief priests through jealousy of what had taken place, and their judgment on the miracle, and Peter’s confession13 of the power and grace of Christ. Also the section on* the unbelieving chief priests, commanding that they should not speak boldly in the name of Christ, and of the dismissal15 of the apostles. Then * the thanksgivings offered up by the Church for the faithful constancy of the apostles.

E. Of the harmonious and universal fellowship of the believers; and also*of Ananias and Sapphira and their miserable end.

F. Of the apostles being cast into prison, and led out of it by night by the angel of the Lord, who enjoined them to preach Jesus without restraint; and * of the fact that, on the following day, the chief priests apprehended them again, and, after scourging them, sent them away with the charge not to teach any longer. Then * the trusty opinion of Gamaliel touching the apostles, together with certain examples and proofs.

G. Of the election of the seven deacons.

H. The rising and slanderous information of the Jews against Stephen, and his address concerning the covenant of God with Abraham, and concerning the twelve patriarchs. Also the account of the famine and the buying of corn, and the mutual recognition of the sons of Jacob, and of the birth of Moses and the appearance of God to Moses, which took place at Mount Sinai. * Also of the exodus and and calf-making of Israel (and other matters), up to the times of Solomon and the building of the temple. * Then the acknowledgment of the supercelestial glory of Jesus Christ which was revealed to Stephen himself, on account of which Stephen was himself stoned, and fell asleep piously.

I. Of the persecution of the Church and the burial of Stephen; also * of the healing of many in Samaria by Philip the apostle.

J.     Of Simon Magus, who believed and was baptized with many others; also * of the sending of Peter and John to them, and their praying for the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the baptized.

K. That the participation of the Holy Ghost was not given for money,2 nor to hypocrites, but to saints by faith; also* of the hypocrisy and the reproof of Simon.

L. That the Lord helps the good and the believing on the way to salvation, as is shown from the instance of the eunuch.

M. Of the divine call that came from heaven for Paul to the apostleship of Christ; also * of the healing and the baptism of Paul by the hand of Ananias, in accordance with the revelation from God, and of his boldness of speech and his association with the apostles by the instrumentality of Barnabas.

N. Of the paralytic Æneas who was cured by Peter at Lydda. Also * the account of Tabitha, the friend of widows, whom Peter raised from the dead by means of prayer in Joppa.

O. Of Cornelius, and what the angel said to him. Also what was spoken to Peter from heaven with respect to the calling of the Gentiles. Then * that Peter, on being summoned, came to Cornelius. * The repetition by Cornelius of the things which the angel said5 to Cornelius himself. * Peter’s instruction of them in Christ, and the gift of the Holy Ghost upon those who heard him, and how those who believed from among the Gentiles were baptized there.

P. That Peter recounts to the apostles who contended with him all the things that had happened in order and separately.* Then the sending of Barnabas to the brethren in Antioch.

Q. The prophecy of Agabus respecting the famine in the world, and the liberal relief sent to the brethren in Jerusalem.

R. The slaying of the Apostle James. * Also the apprehension of Peter by Herod, and the account of the manner in which the angel by divine command delivered him from his bonds, and how Peter, after showing himself to the disciples by night, quietly withdrew. Also of the punishment of the keepers, and then of the miserable and fatal overthrow of the impious Herod.

S. The sending of Barnabas and Paul by the Holy Ghost to Cyprus.* The things which he did there in the name of Christ on Elymas the sorcerer.

T. Paul’s admirable exposition of the truth concerning Christ, both from the law and from the prophets in their order, both historical and evangelical; * his use both of the confuting and the argumentative mode of discourse on the subject of the transference of the word of preaching to the Gentiles, and of their persecution and their arrival at Iconium.

U. How, when they had preached Christ in Iconium, and many had believed, the apostles were persecuted.

V. Of the man lame from his birth in Lystra who was healed by the apostles; on account of which they were taken by the people of the place for gods who had appeared on earth. After that, however, Paul is stoned there by the neighbouring people.

W. That according to the decree and judgment of the apostles, the Gentiles who believe ought not to be circumcised. Here, also, is the epistle of the apostles themselves to those from among the Gentiles, on the subject of the things from which they should keep themselves. * The dissension of Paul with Barnabas on account of Mark.

X. Of the teaching of Timothy, and of the coming of Paul into Macedonia according to revelation. * Of the faith and salvation of a certain woman Lydia, and * of the cure of the damsel having a spirit of divination, on account of which the masters of the damsel cast Paul into prison; and * of the earthquake and miracle which happened there; and how the jailer believed and was baptized forthwith that same night with all his house. * That the apostles on being besought went out from the prison.

Y. Of the tumult that arose in Thessalonica on account of their preaching, and of the flight of Paul to Berea, and thence to Athens.

Z. Of the inscription on the altar at Athens, and of the philosophic preaching and piety of Paul.

AA. Of Aquila and Priscilla, and, the unbelief of the Corinthians, and of the good-will of God towards them according to fore-knowledge revealed to Paul. Also * of Priscus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, who believed with certain others and was baptized. And * that a tumult being stirred up in Corinth, Paul departed; and coming to Ephesus, and having discoursed there, he left it. * And concerning Apollos, an eloquent man and a believer.

BB. Of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost conferred by means of the prayer of Paul on those who believed in Ephesus, and of the healing of the people. * Of the sons of Sceva, and as to its not being meet to approach those who have become unbelieving and unworthy of the faith; and of the confession of those who believed; * and of the tumult that was stirred up in Ephesus by Demetrius, the silversmith, against the apostles.

CC. Of the circuit of Paul, in which also we have the account of the death of Eutychus and his restoration by prayer in Troas; also Paul’s own pastoral exhortations to the presbyters at Ephesus; also Paul’s voyage from Ephesus to Cæsareia in Palestine.

DD. The prophecy of Agabus as to what should befall Paul in Jerusalem.

EE. The address of James to Paul touching the matter that he should not offer to keep the Hebrews back from the practice of circumcision.

FF. Of the tumult that was excited against Paul in Jerusalem, and how the chief-captain rescues him from the mob. * Also Paul’s speech concerning himself and his vocation to be an apostle; * and of what Ananias said to Paul in Damascus, and of the vision and the voice of God that befell him once in the temple. * And that when Paul was about to be beaten for these words, on declaring that he was a Roman, he was let go.

GG. What Paul endured, and what he said, and what he did exactly when he came down into the council.

HH. Of the ambush planned by the Jews against Paul, and its discovery to Lysias; * and that Paul was sent to Cæsareia to the governor with soldiers and with a letter.

II. Of the accusation laid by Tertullus in Paul’s case, and of his defence of himself before the governor.

JJ. Of the removal of Felix and the arrival of Festus as his successor, and of Paul’s pleading before them, and his dismissal.

KK. The coming of Agrippa and Bernice, and their inquiry into the case of Paul. * Paul’s defence of himself before Agrippa and Bernice, respecting his nurture in the law, and his vocation to the Gospel. That Paul does no wrong to the Jews, Agrippa said to Festus.

LL. Paul’s voyage to Rome, abounding in very many and very great perils. * Paul’s exhortation to those with him as to his hope of deliverance. The shipwreck of Paul, and how they effected their safety on the island of Melita, and what marvellous things he did on it.

MM. How Paul reached Rome from Melita.

NN. Of Paul’s discourse with the Jews in Rome.

There are in all forty chapters; and the sections following these, and marked with the asterisk, are forty-eight.



[a.d. 270.] Eusebius speaks of Malchion as a man accomplished in other branches of learning10 and well-versed in Greek letters in particular, and as holding the presidency of the Sophists’ school at Antioch. Jerome says that he taught rhetoric most successfully in the same city. Nor was it only that he excelled in secular erudition; but for the earnest sincerity of his Christian faith he obtained the dignity of presbyter in the church of that place, as Eusebius also tells us. He took part in the Synod of Antioch, which Eusebius calls the final council, and which Gallandi and others call the second, in opposition to Pearson, who holds that there was but one council at Antioch. This synod met apparently about a.d. 269, and dealt with Paul of Samosata, who had introduced the heresy of Artemon into the church of Antioch; and Eusebius says that Malchion was the only one who, in the discussion which took place there with the arch-heretic, and which was taken down by stenographers who were present, was able to detect the subtle and crafty sentiments of the man. Paul’s real opinions being thus unveiled, after he had baffled the acuteness of his ecclesiastical judges for some time, he was at length convicted; and the discussion was published, and a synodical epistle was sent on the subject to Dionysius, bishop of Rome, and to Maximus of Alexandria, and to all the provinces, which, according to Jerome (De vir. illustr., ch. 71), was written by Malchion, and of which we have extracts in Eusebius.

i.—the epistle written by malchion in name of the synod of antioch, against paul of samosata

To Dionysius and Maximus, and to all our fellows in the ministry throughout the world, both bishops and presbyters and deacons, and to the whole Catholic Church under heaven, Helenus and Hymenæus and Theophilus and Theotecnus and Maximus, Proclus, Nicomas, and Aelianus, and Paul and Bolanus and Protogenes and Hierax and Eutychius and Theodorus and Malchion and Lucius, and all the others who are with us, dwelling in the neighbouring cities and nations, both bishops and presbyters and deacons, together with the churches of God, send greeting to our brethren beloved in the Lord.

1. After some few introductory words, they proceed thus:—We wrote to many of the bishops, even those who live at a distance, and exhorted them to give their help in relieving us from this deadly doctrine; among these, we addressed, for instance, Dionysius, the bishop of Alexandria, and Firmilian of Cappadocia, those men of blessed name. Of these, the one wrote to Antioch without even deigning to honour the leader in this error by addressing him; nor did he write to him in his own name, but to the whole district, of which letter we have also subjoined a copy. And Firmilian, who came twice in person, condemned the innovations in doctrine, as we who were present know and bear witness, and as many others know as well as we. But when he (Paul) promised to give up these opinions, he believed him; and hoping that, without any reproach to the Word, the matter would be rightly settled, he postponed his decision; in which action, however, he was deceived by that denier of his God and Lord, and betrayer of the faith which he formerly held. And now Firmilian was minded to cross to Antioch; and he came as far as Tarsus, as having already made trial of the man’s infidel4 iniquity. But when we had just assembled, and were calling for him and waiting for his arrival, his end came upon him.

2. After other matters again, they tell us in the following terms of what manner of life he was:—But there is no need of judging his actions when he was outside (the Church), when he revolted from the faith and turned aside to spurious and illegitimate doctrines. Nor need we say any thing of such matters as this, that, whereas he was formerly poor and beggarly, having neither inherited a single possession from his fathers, nor acquired any property by art or by any trade, he has now come to have excessive wealth by his deeds of iniquity and sacrilege, and by those means by which he despoils and concusses the brethren, casting the injured unfairly in their suit, and promising to help them for a price, yet deceiving them all the while and to their loss, taking advantage of the readiness of those in difficulties to give in order to get deliverance from what troubled them, and thus supposing that gain is godliness.6 Neither need I say any thing about his pride and the haughtiness with which he assumed worldly dignities, and his wishing to be styled procurator rather than bishop, and his strutting through the market-places, and reading letters and reciting them8 as he walked in public, and his being escorted by multitudes of people going before him and following him; so that he brought ill-will and hatred on the faith by his haughty demeanour and by the arrogance of his heart. Nor shall I say any thing of the quackery which he practises in the ecclesiastical assemblies, in the way of courting popularity and making a great parade, and astounding by such arts the minds of the less sophisticated; nor of his setting up for himself a lofty tribunal and throne, so unlike a disciple of Christ; nor of his having a secretum and calling it by that name, after the manner of the rulers of this world; nor of his striking his thigh with his hand and beating the tribunal with his feet; nor of his censuring and insulting those who did not applaud him nor shake their handkerchiefs,2 as is done in the theatres, nor bawl out and leap about after the manner of his partisans, both male and female, who were such disorderly listeners to him, but chose to hear reverently and modestly as in the house of God; nor of his unseemly and violent attacks in the congregation upon the expounders of the Word who have already departed this life, and his magnifying of himself, not like a bishop, but like a sophist and juggler; nor of his putting a stop to the psalms sung in honour of our Lord Jesus Christ, as the recent compositions of recent men, and preparing women to sing psalms in honour of himself in the midst of the Church, in the great day of the Paschal festival, which choristers one might shudder to hear. And besides, he acted on those bishops and presbyters, who fawned upon him in the neighbouring districts and cities, to advance the like opinions in their discourses to their people.

3. For we may say, to anticipate a little what we intend to write below, that he does not wish to acknowledge that the Son of God came down from heaven. And this is a statement which shall not be made to depend on simple assertion; for it is proved abundantly by those memoranda which we sent you, and not least by that passage in which he says that Jesus Christ is from below. And they who sing his praise and eulogise him among the people, declare that their impious teacher has come down as an angel from heaven. And such utterances the haughty man does not check, but is present even when they are made. And then again there are these women—these adopted sisters as the people of Antioch call them—who are kept by him and by the presbyters and deacons with him, whose incurable sins in this and other matters, though he is cognisant of them, and has convicted them, he connives at concealing, with the view of keeping the men subservient to himself, and preventing them, by fear for their own position, from daring to accuse him in the matter of his impious words and deeds. Besides this, he has made his followers rich, and for that he is loved and admired by those who set their hearts on these things. But why should we write of these things? For, beloved, we know that the bishop and all the clergy4 ought to be an example in all good works to the people. Nor are we ignorant of the fact that many have fallen away through introducing these women into their houses, while others have fallen under suspicion. So that, even although one should admit that he has been doing nothing disgraceful in this matter, yet he ought at least to have avoided the suspicion that springs out of such a course of conduct, lest perchance some might be offended, or find inducement to imitate him. For how, then, should any one censure another, or warn him to beware of yielding to greater familiarity with a woman, lest perchance he might slip, as it is written: if, although he has dismissed one, he has still retained two with him, and these in the bloom of their youth, and of fair countenance; and if when he goes away he takes them with him; and all this, too, while he indulges in luxury and surfeiting?

4. And on account of these things all are groaning and lamenting with themselves; yet they have such a dread of his tyranny and power that they cannot venture on accusing him. And of these things, as we have said already, one might take account in the case of a man who held Catholic sentiments and belonged to our own number; but as to one who has betrayed the mystery (of the faith), and who swaggers7 with the abominable heresy of Artemas,—for why should we hesitate to disclose his father?—we consider it unnecessary to exact of him an account for these things.

5. Then at the close of the epistle they add the following words:—We have been compelled, therefore, to excommunicate this man, who thus opposeth God Himself, and refuses submission, and to appoint in his place another bishop for the Church Catholic, and that, as we trust by the providence of God—namely, the son of Demetrianus, a man of blessed memory, and one who presided over the same Church with distinction in former times, Domnus by name, a man endowed with all the noble qualities which become a bishop. And this fact we have communicated to you in order that ye may write him, and receive letters of communion from him. And that other may write to Artemas, if it please him; and those who think with Artemas may hold communion with him, if they are so minded.

ii.—fragments apparently of the same epistle of the synod of antioch; to wit, of that part of it which it is agreed that eusebius left unnoticed

He says, therefore, in the commentaries (they speak of Paul), that he maintains the dignity of wisdom.

And thereafter:


If, however, he had been united according to formation and generation, this is what befalls the man. And again: For that wisdom, as we believe, was not congenerate with humanity substantially, but qualitatively.6

And thereafter:


In what respect, moreover, does he mean to allege that the formation of Christ is different and diverse from ours, when we hold that, in this one thing of prime consequence, His constitution differs from ours, to wit, that what in us is the interior man, is in Him the Word.8


And thereafter:


If he means to allege that Wisdom dwells in Him as in no other, this expresses indeed the same mode of inhabitation, though it makes it excel in respect of measure and multitude; He being supposed to derive a superior knowledge from the Wisdom, say for example, twice as large as others, or any other number of times as large; or, again, it may be less than twice as large a knowledge as others have. This, however, the catholic and ecclesiastical canons disallow, and hold rather that other men indeed received of Wisdom as an inspiration from without, which, though with them, is distinct from them; but that Wisdom in verity came of itself substantially into His body by Mary.


And after other matters:


And they hold that there are not two Sons. But if Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and if Wisdom also is the Son of God; and if the Wisdom is one thing and Jesus Christ another, there are two Sons.


And thereafter:


Moreover understand (Paul would say) the union with Wisdom in a different sense, namely as being one according to instruction and participation; but not as if it were formed according to the substance in the body.


And after other matters:


Neither was the God who bore the human body and had assumed it, without knowledge of human affections12 in the first instance; nor was the human body without knowledge, in the first instance, of divine operations in him in whom He (the God) was, and by whom He wrought these operations. He was formed, in the first instance, as man in the womb; and, in the second instance,14 the God also was in the womb, united essentially with the human, that is to say, His substance being wedded with the man.

iii.—from the acts of the disputation conducted by malchion against paul of samosata.

The compound is surely made tip of the simple elements, even as in the instance of Jesus Christ, who was made one (person), constituted by God the Word, and a human body which is of the seed of David, and who subsists without having any manner of division between the two, but in unity. You, however, appear to me to decline to admit a constitution3 after this fashion: to the effect that there is not in this person, the Son of God according to substance, but only the Wisdom according to participation. For you made this assertion, that the Wisdom bears dispensing, and therefore cannot be compounded; and you do not consider that the divine Wisdom remained undiminished, even as it was before it evacuated itself;5 and thus in this self-evacuation, which it took upon itself in compassion (for us), it continued undiminished and unchangeable. And this assertion you also make, that the Wisdom dwelt in Him, just as we also dwell in houses, the one in the other, and yet not as if we formed a part of the house, or the house a part of us.

iv.—a point in the same disputation.

Did I not say before that you do not admit that the only-begotten Son, who is from all eternity before every creature, was made substantially existent in the whole person of the Saviour;9 that is to say, was united with Him according to substance?




(The epistle written by Malchion, p. 169.)

Malchion, though a presbyter of Antioch, reflects the teaching of Alexandria, and illustrates its far-reaching influence. Firmilian, presiding at the Council of Antioch, was a pupil of Origen; and Dionysius was felt in the council, though unable to be present. Malchion and Firmilian, therefore, vindicate the real mind of Origen, though speaking in language matured and guarded. This council was, providentially, a rehearsal for Nicæa.


(Putting a stop to psalms, etc., p. 170.)

Coleridge notes this, with an amusing comment on Paulus Samosatenus, and refers to Pliny’s letter, of which see vol. v. p. 604, this series. Jeremy Taylor, from whom Coleridge quotes, gives the passage of our author as follows: “Psalmos et cantus qui ad Dom. nostri J. C. honorem decantari solent, tanquam recentiores et a viris recentioris memoriæ editos, exploserit” (Works, ii. p. 281, ed. Bohn, 1844). Observe what Coleridge says elsewhere on errors attributed to Origen: “Never was a great man so misunderstood as Origen.” He adds: “The caro noumenon was what Origen meant by Christ’s ‘flesh consubstantial with His Godhead.’ ”


[translated by the rev. s. d. f. salmond, m.a.]




[a.d. 277.] The Manichæan heresy, which was destined to operate so terribly against the Church and the purity of the Gospel, encountered its earliest successful antagonism in the Thebaid; and I have not doubted the wisdom of prefixing this Disputation to the veritable name and work of Alexander of Lycopolis, as important to the complete history of the great Alexandrian school. The Edinburgh translator of this work regards it as an “authentic relic of antiquity,” in spite of Beausobre, who treats it as a romance. I have forced myself, in this republication, to reject no theory of the Edinburgh collaborators to which I have not been able to give as much critical attention, at least, as they have evidently bestowed upon their work. It seems to me a well-sustained presumption that the work is fundamentally real, and Dr. Neander admits its base of fact. It is useful, at any rate, in its form and place, as here presented, and so much may be inferred from the following:—


A certain memorable Disputation, which was conducted by a bishop of the name of Archelaus with the heretic Manes, is mentioned by various writers of an early date. What professes to be an account of that Disputation has come down to us in a form mainly Latin, but with parts in Greek. A considerable portion of this Latin version was published by Valesius in his edition of Socrates and Sozomen, and subsequently by others in greater completeness, and with the addition of the Greek fragments.2 There seems to be a difference among the ancient authorities cited above as to the person who committed these Acts to writing. Epiphanius and Jerome take it to have been Archelaus himself, while Heraclianus, bishop of Chalcedon, represents it to have been a certain person named Hegemonius. In Photius there is a statement to the effect that this Heraclianus, in confuting the errors of the Manichæans, made use of certain Acts of the Disputation of Bishop Archelaus with Manes which were written by Hegemonius. And there are various passages in the Acts themselves which appear to confirm the opinion of Heraclianus. Zacagnius, however, thinks that this is but an apparent discrepancy, which is easily reconciled on the supposition that the book was first composed by Archelaus himself in Syriac, and afterwards edited, with certain amendments and additions, by Hegemonius. That the work was written originally in Syriac is clear, not only from the express testimony of Jerome, but also from internal evidence, and specially from the explanations offered now and again of the use of Greek equivalents. It is uncertain who was the author of the Greek version; and we can only conjecture that Hegemonius, in publishing a new edition, may also have undertaken a translation into the tongue which would secure a much larger audience than the original Syriac. But that this Greek version, by whomsoever accomplished, dates from the very earliest period, is proved by the excerpts given in Epiphanius. As to the Latin interpretation itself, all that we can allege is, that it must in all probability have been published after Jerome’s time, who might reasonably be expected to have made some allusion to it if it was extant in his day; and before the seventh century, because, in quoting the Scriptures, it does not follow the Vulgate edition, which was received generally throughout the West by that period. That the Latin translator must have had before him, not the Syriac, but the Greek copy, is also manifest, not only from the general idiomatic character of the rendering, but also from many nicer indications.2

The precise designation of the seat of the bishopric of Archelaus has been the subject of considerable diversity of opinion. Socrates and Epiphanius4 record that Archelaus was bishop of Caschar, or Caschara. Epiphanius, however, does not keep consistently by that scription.6 In the opening sentence of the Acts themselves it appears as Carchar. Now we know that there were at least two towns of the name of Carcha: for the anonymous Ravenna geographer8 tells us that there was a place of that name in Arabia Felix; and Ammianus Marcellinus mentions another beyond the Tigris, within the Persian dominion. The clear statements, however, to the effect that the locality of the bishopric of Archelaus was in Mesopotamia, make it impossible that either of these two towns could have been the seat of his rule. Besides this, in the third chapter of the Acts themselves we find the name Charra occurring; and hence Zacagnius and others have concluded that the place actually intended is the scriptural Charran, or Haran, in Mesopotamia, which is also written Charra in Paulus Diaconus, and that the form Carchar or Carchara was either a mere error of the transcribers, or the vulgar provincial designation. It must be added, however, that Neander11 allows this to be only a very uncertain conjecture, while others hold that Caschar is the most probable scription, and that the town is one altogether different from the ancient Haran.

The date of the Disputation itself admits of tolerably exact settlement. Epiphanius, indeed, says that Manes fled into Mesopotamia in the ninth year of the reign of Valerianus and Gallienus, and that the discussion with Archelaus took place about the same time. This would carry the date back to about 262 a.d. But this statement, although he is followed in it by Petrus Siculus and Photius, is inconsistent with the specification of times which he makes in dealing with the error of the Manichæans in his book On the Heresies. From the 37th chapter of the Acts, however, we find that the Disputation took place, not when Gallienus, but when Probus held the empire, and that is confirmed by Cyril of Jerusalem. The exact year becomes also clearer from Eusebius, who2 seems to indicate the second year of the reign of Probus as the time when the Manichaean heresy attained general publicity—Secundo anno Probi … insana Manichæorum hæresis in commune humani generis malum exorta; and from Leo Magnus, who in his second Discourse on Pentecost also avers that Manichæus became notorious in the consulship of Probus and Paulinus. And as this consulship embraced part of the first and part of the second years of the empire of Probus, the Disputation itself would thus be fixed as occurring in the end of a.d. 277 or the beginning of 278, or, according to the precise calculation of Zacagnius, between July and December of the year 277.

That the Acts of this Disputation constitute an authentic relic of antiquity, seems well established by a variety of considerations. Epiphanius, for instance, writing about the year a.d. 376, makes certain excerpts from them which correspond satisfactorily with the extant Latin version. Socrates, again, whose Ecclesiastical History dates about 439, mentions these Acts, and acknowledges that he drew the materials for his account of the Manichæan heresy from them. The book itself, too, offers not a few evidences of its own antiquity and authenticity. The enumeration given of the various heretics who had appeared up to the time of Archelaus, the mention of his presence at the siege of the city, and the allusions to various customs, have all been pressed into that service, as may be seen in detail in the elaborate dissertation prefixed by Zacagnius in his Collectanea Monumentorum Ecclesiæ Graecæ. At the same time, it is very evident that the work has come down to us in a decidedly imperfect form. There are, for example, arguments by Manes and answers by Archelaus recorded in Cyril which are not contained in our Latin version at all. And there are not a few notes of discrepancy and broken connections in the composition itself,5 which show that the manuscripts must have been defective, or that the Latin translator took great liberties with the Greek text, or that the Greek version itself did not faithfully reproduce the original Syriac. On the historical character of the work Neander expresses himself thus:7 “These Acts manifestly contain an ill-connected narrative, savouring in no small degree of the romantic. Although there is some truth at the bottom of it—as, for instance, in the statement of doctrine there is much that wears the appearance of truth, and is confirmed also by its agreement with other representations: still the Greek author seems, from ignorance of Eastern languages and customs, to have introduced a good deal that is untrue, by bringing in and confounding together discordant stories through an uncritical judgment and exaggeration.”



1. The true Thesaurus; to wit, the Disputation conducted in Carchar, a city of Mesopotamia, before Manippus3 and Ægialeus and Claudius and Cleobolus, who acted as judges. In this city of Mesopotamia there was a certain man, Marcellus by name, who was esteemed as a person worthy of the highest honour for his manner of life, his pursuits, and his lineage, and not less so for his discretion and his nobility of character: he was possessed also of abundant means; and, what is most important of all, he feared God with the deepest piety, and gave ear always with due reverence to the things which were spoken of Christ. In short, there was no good quality lacking in that man, and hence it came to pass that he was held in the greatest regard by the whole city; while, on the other hand, he also made an ample return for the good-will of his city by his munificent and oft-repeated acts of liberality in bestowing on the poor, relieving the afflicted, and giving help to the distressed. But let it suffice us to have said thus much, lest by the weakness of our words we rather take from the man’s virtues than adduce what is worthy of their splendour. I shall come, therefore, to the task which forms my subject. On a certain occasion, when a large body of captives were offered to the bishop Archelaus by the soldiers who held the camp in that place, their numbers being some seven thousand seven hundred, he was harassed with the keenest anxiety on account of the large sum of money which was demanded by the soldiers as the price of the prisoners’ deliverance. And as he could not conceal his solicitude, all aflame for the religion and the fear of God, he at length hastened to Marcellus, and explained to him the importance and difficulty of the case. And when that pattern of piety, Marcellus, heard his narration, without the least delay he went into his house, and provided the price demanded for the prisoners, according to the value set upon them by those who had led them captive; and unlocking the treasures of his goods, he at once distributed the gifts of piety among the soldiers, without any severe consideration of number or distinction,5 so that they seemed to be presents rather than purchase-moneys. And those soldiers were filled with wonder and admiration at the grandeur of the man’s piety and munificence, and were struck with amazement, and felt the force of this example of pity; so that very many of them were added to the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, and threw off the belt of military service,7 while others withdrew to their camp, taking scarcely a fourth part of the ransom, and the rest made their departure without receiving even so much as would defray the expenses of the way.

2. Marcellus, as might well be expected, was exceedingly gratified by these incidents; and summoning one of the prisoners, by name Cortynius, he inquired of him the cause of the war, and by what chance it was that they were overcome and bound with the chains of captivity. And the person addressed, on obtaining liberty to speak, began to express himself in these terms: “My lord Marcellus, we believe in the living God alone. And we have a custom of such a nature as I shall now describe, which has descended to us by the tradition of our brethren in the faith, and has been regularly observed by us up to the present day. The practice is, that every year we go out beyond the bounds of the city, in company with our wives and children, and offer up supplications to the only and invisible God, praying Him to send us rains for our fields and crops. Now, when we were celebrating this observance at the usual time and in the wonted manner, evening surprised us as we lingered there, and were still fasting. Thus we were feeling the pressure of two of the most trying things men have to endure,—namely, fasting and want of sleep. But about midnight sleep enviously and inopportunely crept upon us, and with necks drooping and unstrung, and heads hanging down, it made our faces strike against our knees. Now this took place because the time was at hand when by the judgment of God we were to pay the penalty proper to our deserts, whether it might be that we were offenders in ignorance, or whether it might be that with the consciousness of wrong we nevertheless had not given up our sin. Accordingly at that hour a multitude of soldiers suddenly surrounded us, supposing us, as I judge, to have lodged ourselves in ambush there, and to be persons with full experience and skill in fighting battles; and without making any exact inquiry into the cause of our gathering there, they threatened us with war, not in word, but at once by the sword. And though we were men who had never learned to do injury to any one, they wounded us pitilessly with their missiles, and thrust us through with their spears, and cut our throats with their swords. Thus they slew, indeed, about one thousand and three hundred men of our number, and wounded other five hundred. And when the day broke clearly, they carried off the survivors amongst us as prisoners here, and that, too, in a way showing their utter want of pity for us. For they drove us before their horses, spurring us on by blows from their spears, and impelling us forward by making the horses’ heads press upon us. And those who had sufficient powers of endurance did indeed hold out; but very many fell down before the face of their cruel masters, and breathed out their life there; and mothers, with arms wearied, and utterly powerless with their burdens, and distracted by the threats of those behind them, suffered the little ones that were hanging on their breasts to fall to the ground; while all those on whom old age had come were sinking, one after the other, to the earth, overcome with their toils, and exhausted by want of food. The proud soldiers nevertheless enjoyed this bloody spectacle of men continually perishing, as if it had been a kind of entertainment, while they saw some stretched on the soil in hopeless prostration, and beheld others, worn out by the fierce fires of thirst and with the bands of their tongues utterly parched, lose the power of speech, and beheld others with eyes ever glancing backwards, groaning over the fate of their dying little ones, while these, again, were constantly appealing to their most unhappy mothers with their cries, and the mothers themselves, driven frantic by the severities of the robbers, responded with their lamentations, which indeed was the only thing they could do freely. And those of them whose hearts were most tenderly bound up with their offspring chose voluntarily to meet the same pre-mature fate of death with their children; while those, on the other hand, who had some capacity of endurance were carried off prisoners here with us. Thus, after the lapse of three days, during which time we had never been allowed to take any rest, even in the night, we were conveyed to this place, in which what has now taken place after these occurrences is better known to yourself.”

3. When Marcellus, the man of consummate piety, had heard this recital, he burst into a flood of tears, touched with pity for misfortunes so great and so various. But making no delay, he at once prepared victuals for the sufferers, and did service with his own hand for the wearied; in this imitating our father Abraham the patriarch, who, when he entertained the angels hospitably on a certain occasion, did not content himself with merely giving the order to his slaves to bring a calf from the herd, but did himself, though advanced in years, go and place it on his shoulders and fetch it in, and did with his own hand prepare food, and set it before the angels. So Marcellus, in discharge of a similar office, directed them to be seated as his guests in companies of ten; and when the seven hundred tables were all provided, he refreshed the whole body of the captives with great delight, so that those who had strength to survive what they had been called to endure, forgot their toils, and became oblivious of all their ills. When, however, they had reached the fifteenth day, and while Marcellus was still liberally supplying all things needful for the prisoners, it seemed good to him that they should all be put in possession of the means of returning to their own parts, with the exception of those who were detained by the attention which their wounds demanded; and providing the proper remedies for these, he instructed the rest to depart to their own country and friends. And even to all these charities Marcellus added yet larger deeds of piety. For with a numerous band of his own dependants he went to look after the burying of the bodies of those who had perished on the march; and for as many of these as he could discover, of whatsoever condition, he secured the sepulture which was meet for them. And when this service was completed he returned to Charra, and gave permission to the wounded to return thence to their native country when their health was sufficiently restored, providing also most liberal supplies for their use on their journey. And truly the estimate of this deed made a magnificent addition to the repute of the other noble actions of Marcellus; for through that whole territory the fame of the piety of Marcellus spread so grandly, that large numbers of men belonging to various cities were inflamed with the intensest desire to see and become acquainted with the man, and most especially those persons who had not had occasion to bear penury before,—to all of whom this remarkable man, following the example of a Marcellus of old, furnished aid most indulgently, so that they all declared that there was no one of more illustrious piety than this man. Yea, all the widows, too, who were believers in the Lord had recourse to him, while the imbecile also could reckon on obtaining at his hand most certain help to meet their circumstances; and the orphaned, in like manner, were all supported by him, so that his house was declared to be the hospice for the stranger and the indigent. And above all this, he retained in a remarkable and singular measure his devotion to the faith, building up his own heart upon the rock that shall not be moved.

4. Accordingly, as this man’s fame was becoming always the more extensively diffused throughout different localities, and when it had now penetrated even beyond the river Stranga, the honourable report of his name was carried into the territory of Persia. In this country dwelt a person called Manes, who, when this man’s repute had reached him, deliberated largely with himself as to how he might entangle him in the snares of his doctrine, hoping that Marcellus might he made an upholder of his dogma. For he reckoned that he might make himself master of the whole province, if he could only first attach such a man to himself. In this project, however, his mind was agitated with the doubt whether he should at once repair in person to the man, or first attempt to get at him by letter; for he was afraid lest, by any sudden and unexpected introduction of himself upon the scene, some mischance might possibly befall him. At last, in obedience to a subtler policy, he resolved to write; and calling to him one of his disciples, by name Turbo,2 who had been instructed by Addas, he handed to him an epistle, and bade him depart and convey it to Marcellus. This adherent accordingly received the letter, and carried it to the person to whom he had been commissioned by Manes to deliver it, overtaking the whole journey within five days. The above-mentioned Turbo, indeed, used great expedition on this journey, in the course of which he also underwent very considerable exertion and trouble. For whenever he arrived, as4 a traveller in foreign parts, at a hospice,—and these were inns which Marcellus himself had supplied in his large hospitality, —on his being asked by the keepers of these hostels whence he came, and who he was, or by whom he had been sent, he used to reply: “I belong to the district of Mesopotamia, but I come at present from Persis, having been sent by Manichæus, a master among the Christians.” But they were by no means ready to welcome a name unknown6 to them, and were wont sometimes to thrust Turbo out of their inns, refusing him even the means of getting water for drinking purposes. And as he had to bear daily things like these, and things even worse than these, at the hands of those persons in the several localities who had charge of the mansions and hospices, unless he had at last shown that he was conveying letters to Marcellus, Turbo would have met the doom of death in his travels.

5. On receiving the epistle, then, Marcellus opened it, and read it in the presence of Archelaus, the bishop of the place. And the following is a copy of what it contained: —

Manichæus, an apostle of Jesus Christ, and all the saints who are with me, and the virgins, to Marcellus, my beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace be with you from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ; and may the right hand of light preserve you safe from this present evil world, and from its calamities, and from the snares of the wicked one. Amen.

I was exceedingly delighted to observe the love cherished by you, which truly is of the largest measure. But I was distressed at your faith, which is not in accordance with the right standard. Wherefore, deputed as I am to seek the elevation of the race of men, and sparing, as I do, those who have given themselves over to deceit and error, I have considered it needful to despatch this letter to you, with a view, in the first place, to the salvation of your own soul, and in the second place also to that of the souls of those who are with you, so as to secure you against9 dubious opinions, and specially against notions like those in which the guides of the simpler class of minds indoctrinate their subjects, when they allege that good and evil have the same original subsistence, and when they posit the same beginning for them, without making any distinction or discrimination between light and darkness, and between the good and the evil or worthless, and between the inner man and the outer, as we have stated before, and without ceasing to mix up and confound together the one with the other. But, O my son, refuse thou thus thoughtlessly to identify these two things in the irrational and foolish fashion common to the mass of men, and ascribe no such confusion to the God of goodness. For these men refer the beginning and the end and the paternity of these ills to God Himself,—”whose end is near a curse.” For they do not believe the word spoken by our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ Himself in the Gospels,2 namely, that “a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” And how they can be bold enough to call God the maker and contriver of Satan and his wicked deeds, is a matter of great amazement to me. Yea, would that even this had been all the length to which they had gone with their silly efforts, and that they had not declared that the only-begotten Christ, who has descended from the bosom of the Father,4 is the son of a certain woman, Mary, and born of blood and flesh and the varied impurities proper to women! Howbeit, neither to write too much in this epistle, nor to trespass at too great length upon your good nature,—and all the more so that I have no natural gift of eloquence,—I shall content myself with what I have said. But you will have full knowledge of the whole subject when I am present with yon, if indeed you still continue to care for6 your own salvation. For I do not “cast a snare upon any one,” as is done by the less thoughtful among the mass of men. Think of what I say, most honourable son.

6. On reading this epistle, Marcellus, with the kindest consideration, attended hospitably to the needs of the bearer of the letter. Archelaus, on the other hand, did not receive very pleasantly the matters which were read, but “gnashed with his teeth like a chained lion,” impatient to have the author of the epistle given over to him. Marcellus, however, counselled him to be at peace; promising that he would himself take care to secure the man’s presence. And accordingly Marcellus resolved to send an answer to what had been written to him, and indited an epistle containing the following statements:—

Marcellus, a man of distinction, to Manichæus, who has made himself known to me by his epistle, greeting.

An epistle written by you has come to my hand, and I have received Turbo with my wonted kindness; but the meaning of your letter I have by no means apprehended, and may not do so unless you give us your presence, and explain its contents in detail in the way of conversation, as you have offered to do in the epistle itself. Farewell.

This letter he sealed and handed to Turbo, with instructions to deliver it to the person from whom he had already conveyed a similar document. The messenger, however, was extremely reluctant to return to his master, being mindful of what he had to endure on the journey, and begged that another person should be despatched in his stead, refusing to go back to Manes, or to have any intercourse whatever with him again. But Marcellus summoned one of his young men, Callistus by name, and directed him to proceed to the place. Without any loss of time this young man set out promptly on his journey thither; and after the lapse of three days he came to Manes, whom he found in a certain fort, that of Arabion10 to wit, and to whom he presented the epistle. On perusing it, he was glad to see that he had been invited by Marcellus; and without delay he undertook the journey; yet he had a presentiment that Turbo’s failure to return boded no good, and proceeded on his way to Marcellus, not, as it were, without serious reflections. Turbo, for his part, was not at all thinking of leaving the house of Marcellus; neither did he omit any opportunity of conversing with Archelaus the bishop. For both these parties were very diligently engaged in investigating the practices of Manichæus, being desirous of knowing who he was and whence he came, and what was his manner of discourse. And he, Turbo, accordingly gave a lucid account of the whole position, narrating and expounding the terms of his faith in the following manner: —

If you are desirous of being instructed in the faith of Manes by me, attend to me for a short space. That man worships two deities, unoriginated, self-existent, eternal, opposed the one to the other. Of these he represents the one as good, and the other as evil, and assigns the name of Light to the former, and that of Darkness to the latter. He alleges also that the soul in men is a portion of the light, but that the body and the formation of matter are parts of the darkness. He maintains, further, that a certain commingling or blending has been effected between the two in the manner about to be stated, the following analogy being used as an illustration of the same; to wit, that their relations may be likened to those of two kings in conflict with each other, who are antagonists from the beginning, and have their own positions, each in his due order. And so he holds that the darkness passed without its own boundaries, and engaged in a similar contention with the light; but that the good Father then, perceiving that the darkness had come to sojourn on His earth, put forth from Himself a power which is called the Mother of Life; and that this power thereupon put forth from itself the first man, and the five elements. And these five elements are wind,3 light, water, fire, and matter. Now this primitive man, being endued with these, and thereby equipped, as it were, for war, descended to these lower parts, and made war against the darkness. But the princes of the darkness, waging war in turn against him, consumed that portion of his panoply which is the soul. Then was that first man grievously injured there underneath by the darkness; and had it not been that the Father heard his prayers, and sent a second power, which was also put forth from Himself and was called the living Spirit, and came down and gave him the right hand, and brought him up again out of the grasp of the darkness, that first man would, in those ancient times, have been in peril of absolute overthrow. From that time, consequently, he left the soul beneath. And for this reason the Manichæans, if they meet each other, give the right hand, in token of their having been saved from darkness; for he holds that the heresies have their seat all in the darkness. Then the living Spirit created the world; and bearing in himself three other powers, he came down and brought off the princes, and settled them in the firmament, which is their body, (though it is called) the sphere. Then, again, the living Spirit created the luminaries, which are fragments of the soul, and he made them thus to move round and round the firmament; and again he created the earth in its eight species.5 And the Omophorus sustains the burden thereof beneath; and when he is wearied with bearing it he trembles, and in that manner becomes the cause of a quaking of the earth in contravention of its determinate times. On account of this the good Father sent His Son forth from His own bosom7 into the heart of the earth, and into these lowest parts of it, in order to secure for him the correction befitting him. And whenever an earthquake occurs, he is either trembling under his weariness, or is shifting his burden from one shoulder to the other. Thereafter, again, the matter also of itself produced growths;9 and when these were carried off as spoil on the part of some of the princes, he summoned together all the foremost of the princes, and took from all of them individually power after power, and made up the man who is after the image of that first man, and united the soul (with these powers) in him. This is the account of the manner in which his constitution was planned.

8. But when the living Father perceived that the soul was in tribulation in the body, being full of mercy and compassion, He sent His own beloved Son for the salvation of the soul. For this, together with the matter of Omophorus, was the reason of His sending Him. And the Son came and transformed Himself into the likeness of man, and manifested Himself to men as a man, while yet He was not a man, and men supposed that He was begotten. Thus He came and prepared the work which was to effect the salvation of the souls, and with that object constructed an instrument with twelve urns,12 which is made to revolve by the sphere, and draws up with it the souls of the dying. And the greater luminary receives these souls, and purifies them with its rays, and then passes them over to the moon; and in this manner the moon’s disc, as it is designated by us, is filled up. For he says that these two luminaries are ships or passage-boats. Then, if the moon becomes full, it ferries its passengers across toward the east wind, and thereby effects its own waning14 in getting itself delivered of its freight. And in this manner it goes on making the passage across, and again discharging its freight of souls drawn up by the urns, until it saves its own proper portion of the souls. Moreover, he maintains that every soul, yea, every living creature that moves, partakes of the substance of the good Father. And accordingly, when the moon delivers over its freight of souls to the æons of the Father, they abide there in that pillar of glory, which is called the perfect air.2 And this air is a pillar of light, for it is filled with the souls that are being purified. Such, moreover, is the agency by which the souls are saved. But the following, again, is the cause of men’s dying: A certain virgin, fair in person, and beautiful in attire, and of most persuasive address, aims at making spoil of the princes that have been borne up and crucified on the firmament by the living Spirit; and she appears as a comely female to the princes, but as a handsome and attractive young man to the princesses. And the princes, when they look on her in her splendid figure, are smitten with love’s sting; and as they are unable to get possession of her, they burn fiercely with the flame of amorous desire, and lose all power of reason. While they thus pursue the virgin, she disappears from view. Then the great prince sends forth from himself the clouds, with the purpose of bringing darkness on the whole world, in his anger. And then, if he feels grievously oppressed, his exhaustion expresses itself in perspiration, just as a man sweats under toil; and this sweat of his forms the rain. At the same time also the harvest-prince, if he too chances to be captivated by the virgin, scatters pestilence4 on the whole earth, with the view of putting men to death. Now this body (of man) is also called a cosmos, i.e., a microcosm, in relation to the great cosmos, i.e., the macrocosm of the universe; and all men have roots which are linked beneath with those above. Accordingly, when this prince is captivated by the virgin’s charms, he then begins to cut the roots of men; and when their roots are cut, then pestilence commences to break forth, and in that manner they die. And if he shakes the upper parts of the root mightily, an earthquake bursts, and follows as the consequence of the commotion to which the Omophorus is subjected. This is the explanation of (the phenomenon of) death.

9. I shall explain to you also how it is that the soul is transfused into five bodies. First of all, in this process some small portion of it is purified; and then it is transfused into the body of a dog, or a camel, or some other animal. But if the soul has been guilty of homicide, it is translated into the body of the celephi;7 and if it has been found to have engaged in cutting, it is made to pass into the body of the dumb. Now these are the designations of the soul,—namely, intelligence, reflection, prudence, consideration, reasoning. Moreover, the reapers who reap are likened to the princes who have been in darkness from the beginning,10 since they consumed somewhat of the panoply of the first man. On this account there is a necessity for these to be translated into hay, or beans, or barley, or corn, or vegetables, in order that in these forms they, in like manner, may be reaped and cut. And again, if any one eats bread, he must needs also become bread and be eaten. If one kills a chicken, he will be a chicken himself. If one kills a mouse, he will also become a mouse himself. If, again, one is wealthy in this world, it is necessary that, on quitting the tabernacle of his body, he should be made to pass into the body of a beggar, so as to go about asking alms, and thereafter he shall depart into everlasting punishment. Moreover, as this body pertains to the princes and to matter, it is necessary that he who plants a persea12 should pass though many bodies until that persea is prostrated. And if one builds a house for himself, he will be divided and scattered among all the bodies. If one bathes in water, he freezes14 his soul; and if one refuses to give pious regard to his elect, he will be punished through the generations,16 and will be translated into the bodies of catechumens, until he render many tributes of piety; and for this reason they offer to the elect whatever is best in their meats. And when they are about to eat bread, they offer up prayer first of all, addressing themselves in these terms to the bread: “I have neither reaped thee, nor ground thee, nor pressed thee, nor cast thee into the baking-vessel; but another has done these things, and brought thee to me, and I have eaten thee without fault.” And when he has uttered these things to himself, he says to the catechumen, “I have prayed for thee;” and in this manner that person then takes his departure. For, as I remarked to you a little before, if any one reaps, he will be reaped; and so, too, if one casts grain into the mill, he will be cast in himself in like manner, or if he kneads he will be kneaded, or if he bakes he will be baked; and for this reason they are interdicted from doing any such work. Moreover, there are certain other worlds on which the luminaries rise when they have set on our world.2 And if a person walks upon the ground here, he injures the earth; and if he moves his hand, he injures the air; for the air is the soul (life) of men and living creatures, both fowl, and fish, and creeping thing. And as to every one existing in this world, I have told you that this body of his does not pertain to God, but to matter, and is itself darkness, and consequently it must needs be cast in darkness.

10. Now, with respect to paradise, it is not called a cosmos. The trees that are in it are lust and other seductions, which corrupt the rational powers of those men. And that tree in paradise, by which men know the good, is Jesus Himself, or5 the knowledge of Him in the world. He who partakes thereof discerns the good and the evil. The world itself, however, is not God’s work; but it was the structure of a portion of matter, and consequently all things perish in it. And what the princes took as spoil from the first man, that is what makes the moon full, and what is being purged day by day of the world. And if the soul makes its exit without having gained the knowledge of the truth, it is given over to the demons, in order that they may subdue it in the Gehennas of fire; and after that discipline it is made to pass into bodies with the purpose of being brought into subjection, and in this manner it is cast into the mighty fire until the consummation. Again, regarding the prophets amongst you, he speaks thus: Their spirit is one of impiety, or of the lawlessness of the darkness which arose at the beginning. And being deceived by this spirit, they have not spoken truth; for the prince blinded their mind. And if any one follows their words, he dies for ever, bound to the clods of earth, because he has not learned the knowledge of the Paraclete. He also gave injunctions to his elect alone, who are not more than seven in number. And the charge was this: “When ye cease eating, pray, and put upon your head an olive, sworn with the invocation of many names for the confirmation of this faith.” The names, however, were not made known to me; for only these seven make use of them. And again, the name Sabaoth, which is honourable and mighty with you, he declares to be the nature of man, and the parent of desire; for which reason the simple worship desire, and hold it to be a deity. Furthermore, as regards the manner of the creation of Adam, he tells us that he who said, “Come and let us make man in our image, after our likeness,” or “after the form which we have seen,” is the prince who addressed the other princes in terms which may be thus interpreted: “Come, give me of the light which we have received, and let us make man after the form of us princes, even after that form which we have seen, that is to say,8 the first man.” And in that manner he created the man. They created Eve also after the like fashion, imparting to her of their own lust, with a view to the deceiving of Adam. And by these means the construction of the world proceeded from the operations of the prince.

11. He holds also that God has no part with the world itself, and finds no pleasure in it, by reason of its having been made a spoil of from the first by the princes, and on account of the ill that rose on it. Wherefore He sends and takes away from them day by day the soul belonging to Him, through the medium of these luminaries, the sun and the moon, by which the whole world and all creation are dominated. Him, again, who spake with Moses, and the Jews, and the priests, he declares to be the prince of the darkness; so that the Christians, and the Jews, and the Gentiles are one and the same body, worshipping the same God: for He seduces them in His own passions, being no God of truth. For this reason all those who hope in that God who spake with Moses and the prophets have to be bound together with the said deity, because they have not hoped in the God of truth; for that deity spake with him in accordance with their own passions. Moreover, after all these things, he speaks in the following terms with regard to the end, as he has also written: When the elder has displayed his image,2 the Omophorus then lets the earth go from him, and so the mighty fire gets free, and consumes the whole world. Then, again, he lets the soil go with the new æon, in order that all the souls of sinners may be bound for ever. These things will take place at the time when the man’s image4 has come. And all these powers put forth by God,6 —namely, Jesus, who is in the smaller ship, and the Mother of Life, and the twelve helmsmen,8 and the virgin of the light, and the third elder, who is in the greater ship, and the living spirit, and the wall of the mighty fire, and the wall of the wind, and the air, and the water, and the interior living fire,—have their seat in the lesser luminary, until the fire shall have consumed the whole world: and that is to happen within so many years, the exact number of which, however, I have not ascertained. And after these things there will be a restitution of the two natures;10 and the princes will occupy the lower parts proper to them, and the Father the higher parts, receiving again what is His own due possession.—All this doctrine he delivered to his three disciples, and charged each to journey to a separate clime. The Eastern parts fell thus to the lot of Addas; Thomas12 obtained the Syrian territories as his heritage; and another, to wit, Hermeias, directed his course towards Egypt. And to this day they sojourn there, with the purpose of establishing the propositions contained in this doctrine.

12. When Turbo had made this statement, Archelaus was intensely excited; but Marcellus remained unmoved, for he expected that God would come to the help of His truth. Archelaus, however, had additional cares in his anxiety about the people, like the shepherd who becomes concerned for his sheep when secret perils threaten them from the wolves. Accordingly Marcellus loaded Turbo with the most liberal gifts, and instructed him to remain in the house of Archelaus the bishop. But on that selfsame day Manes arrived, bringing along with him certain chosen youths and virgins to the number of twenty-two.15 And first of all he sought for Turbo at the door of the house of Marcellus; and on failing to find him there, he went in to salute Marcellus. On seeing him, Marcellus at first was struck with astonishment at the costume in which he presented himself. For he wore a kind of shoe which is usually called in common speech the quadrisole; he had also a party-coloured cloak, of a somewhat airy17 appearance; in his hand he grasped a very sturdy staff of ebony-wood; he carried a Babylonian book under his left arm; his legs were swathed in trousers of different colours, the one being red, and the other green as a leek; and his whole mien was like that of some old Persian master and commandant.19 Thereupon Marcellus sent forthwith for Archelaus, who arrived so quickly as almost to outstrip the word, and on entering was greatly tempted at once to break out against him, being provoked to that instantly by the very sight of his costume and his appearance, though more especially also by the fact that he had himself been turning over in his mind in his retirement the various matters which he had learned from the recital of Turbo, and had thus come carefully prepared. But Marcellus, in his great thoughtfulness, repressed all zeal for mere wrangling, and decided to hear both parties. With that view he invited the leading men of the city; and from among them he selected as judges of the discussion certain adherents of the Gentile religion, four in number. The names of these umpires were as follows: Manippus, a person deeply versed in the art of grammar and the practice of rhetoric; Ægialeus, a very eminent physician, and a man of the highest reputation for learning; and Claudius and Cleobolus,22 two brothers famed as rhetoricians. A splendid assemblage was thus convened; so large, indeed, that the house of Marcellus, which was of immense size, was filled with those who had been called to be hearers. And when the parties who proposed to speak in opposition to each other had taken their places in view of all, then those who had been elected as judges took their seats in a position elevated above all others: and the task of commencing the disputation was assigned to Manes. Accordingly, when silence was secured, he began the discussion in the following terms:2

13. My brethren, I indeed am a disciple of Christ, and, moreover, an apostle of Jesus; and it is owing to the exceeding kindness of Marcellus that I have hastened hither, with the view of showing him clearly in what manner he ought to keep the system of divine religion, so that the said Marcellus verily, who at present has put himself, like one who has surrendered himself prisoner, under the doctrine of Archelaus, may not, like the dumb animals, which are destitute of intellect and understand not what they do, be fatally smitten to the ruin of his soul, in consequence of any failure in the possession of further facilities for setting about the right observance of divine worship. I know, furthermore, and am certain, that if Marcellus is once set right, it will be quite possible that all of you may also have your salvation effected; for your city hangs suspended upon his judgment. If vain presumption is rejected by every one of you, and if those things which are to be declared by me be heard with a real love for the truth, ye will receive the inheritance of the age to come, and the kingdom of heaven. I, in sooth, am the Paraclete, whose mission was announced of old time by Jesus, and who was to come to “convince the world of sin and unrighteousness.”4 And even as Paul, who was sent before me, said of himself, that “he knew in part, and prophesied in part,” so I reserve the perfect for myself, in order that I may do away with that which is in part. Therefore receive ye this third testimony, that I am an elect apostle of Christ; and if ye choose to accept my words, ye will find salvation; but if ye refuse them, eternal fire will have you to consume you. For as Hymenæus and Alexander were “delivered unto Satan, that they might learn not to blaspheme,”6 so will all ye also be delivered unto the prince of punishments, because ye have done injury to the Father of Christ, in so far as ye declare Him to be the cause of all evils, and the founder of unrighteousness, and the creator of all iniquity. By such doctrine ye do, indeed, bring forth from the same fountain both sweet water and bitter,—a thing which can in no possible way be either done or apprehended. For who ought to be believed? Should it be those masters of yours whose enjoyment is in the flesh, and who pamper themselves with the richest delights; or our Saviour Jesus Christ, who says, as it is written in the book of the Gospels, “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit,” and who in another place assures us that the “father of the devil8 is a liar and a murderer from the beginning,” and tells us again that men’s desire was for the darkness,10 so that they would not follow that Word that had been sent forth in the beginning from the light, and (once more shows us) the man who is the enemy of the same, the sower of tares,12 and the god and prince of the age of this world, who blinds the minds of men that they may not be obedient to the truth in the Gospel of Christ? Is that God good who has no wish that the men who are his own should be saved? And, not to go over a multitude of other matters, and waste much time, I may defer14 till another opportunity the exposition of the true doctrine; and taking it for granted that I have said enough on this subject for the present, I may revert to the matter immediately before me, and endeavour satisfactorily to demonstrate the absurdity of these men’s teaching, and show that none of these things can be attributed to the God and Father of our Lord and Saviour, but that we must take Satan to be the cause of all our ills. To him, certainly, these must be carried back, for all ills of this kind are generated by him. But those things also which are written in the prophets and the law are none the less to be ascribed to him; for he it is who spake then in the prophets, introducing into their minds very many ignorant notions of God, as well as temptations and passions. They, too, set forth that devourer of blood and flesh; and to that Satan and to his prophets all these things properly pertain which he wished to transfer to the Father of Christ, prepared as he was to write a few things in the way of truth, that by means of these he might also gain credence for those other statements of his which are false. Hence it is well for us to receive nothing at all of all those things which have been written of old even down to John, and indeed to embrace only the kingdom of heaven, which has been preached in the Gospel since his days; for they verily but made a mockery of themselves, introducing as they did things ridiculous and ludicrous, keeping some small words given in obscure outline in the law, but not understanding that, if good things are mixed up with evil, the result is, that by the corruption of these evil things, even those others which are good are destroyed. And if, indeed, there is any one who may prove himself able to demonstrate that the law upholds the right, that law ought to be kept; but if we can show it to be evil, then it ought to be done away with and rejected, inasmuch as it contains the ministration of death, which was graven, which also covered and destroyed the glory on the countenance of Moses.2 It is a thing not without peril, therefore, for any one of you to teach the New Testament along with the law and the prophets, as if they were of one and the same origin; for the knowledge of our Saviour renews the one from day to day, while the other grows old and infirm, and passes almost into utter destruction. And this is a fact manifest to those who are capable of exercising discernment. For just as, when the branches of a tree become aged, or when the trunk ceases to bear fruit any more, they are cut down; and just as, when the members of the body suffer mortification, they are amputated, for the poison of the mortification diffuses itself from these members through the whole body, and unless some remedy be found for the disease by the skill of the physician, the whole body will be vitiated; so, too, if ye receive the law without understanding its origin, ye will ruin your souls, and lose your salvation. For “the law and the prophets were until John;”4 but since John the law of truth, the law of the promises, the law of heaven, the new law, is made known to the race of man. And, in sooth, as long as there was no one to exhibit to you this most true knowledge of our Lord Jesus, ye had not sin. Now, however, ye both see and hear, and yet ye desire to walk in ignorance, in order that ye may keep6 that law which has been destroyed and abandoned. And Paul, too, who is held to be the most approved apostle with us, expresses himself to the same effect in one of his epistles, when he says: “For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a prevaricator.” And in saying this he pronounces on them as Gentiles, because they were under the elements of the world,8 before the fulness of faith came, believing then as they did in the law and the prophets.

14. The judges said: If you have any clearer statement yet to make, give us some explanation of the nature of your doctrine and the designation10 of your faith. Manes replied: I hold that there are two natures, one good and another evil; and that the one which is good dwells indeed in certain parts proper to it, but that the evil one is this world, as well as all things in it, which are placed there like objects imprisoned in the portion of the wicked one, as John says, that “the whole world lieth in wickedness,”12 and not in God. Wherefore we have maintained that there are two localities,—one good, and another which lies outside of this, so that, having space therein in his, it might be capable of receiving into itself the creature, i.e., creation, of the world. For if we say that there is but a monarchy of one nature, and that God fills all things, and that there is no location outside of Him, what will be the sustainer of the creature, i.e., creation? where will be the Gehenna of fire? where the outer darkness? where the weeping? Shall I say in Himself? God forbid; else He Himself will also be made to suffer in and with these. Entertain no such fancies, whosoever of you have any care for your salvation; for I shall give you an example, in order that you may have fuller understanding of the truth. The world is one vessel; and if15 the substance of God has already filled this entire vessel, how is it possible now that anything more can be placed in this same vessel? If it is full, how shall it receive what is placed in it, unless a certain portion of the vessel is emptied? Or whither shall that which is to be emptied out make its way, seeing that there is no locality for it? Where then is the earth? where the heavens? where the abyss? where the stars? where the settlements? where the powers? where the princes? where the outer darkness? Who is he that has laid the foundations of these, and where? No one is able to tell us that without stumbling on blasphemy. And in what way, again, has He been able to make the creatures, if there is no subsistent matter? For if He has made them out of the non-existent, it will follow that these visible creatures should be superior, and full of all virtues. But if in these there are wickedness, and death, and corruption, and whatever is opposed to the good, how say we that they owe their formation to a nature different from themselves? Howbeit if you consider the way in which the sons of men are begotten, you will find that the creator of man is not the Lord, but another being, who is also himself of an unbegotten nature, who has neither founder, nor creator, nor maker, but who, such as he is, has been produced by his own malice alone. In accordance with this, you men have a commerce with your wives, which comes to you by an occasion of the following nature. When any one of you has satiated himself with carnal meats, and meats of other kinds, then the impulse of concupiscence rises in him, and in this way the enjoyment2 of begetting a son is increased; and this happens not as if that had its spring in any virtue, or in philosophy, or in any other gift of mind, but in fulness of meats only, and in lust and fornication. And how shall any one tell me that our father Adam was made after the image of God, and in His likeness, and that he is like Him who made him? How can it be said that all of us who have been begotten of him are like him? Yea, rather, on the contrary, have we not a great variety of forms, and do we not bear the impress of different countenances? And how true this is, I shall exhibit to you in parables. Look, for instance, at a person who wishes to seal up a treasure, or some other object, and you will observe how, when he has got a little wax or clay, he seeks to stamp it with an impression of his own countenance from the ring which he wears; but if another countenance also stamps the figure of itself on the object in a similar manner, will the impression seem like? By no means, although you may be reluctant to acknowledge what is true. But if we are not like in the common impression, and if, instead of that, there are differences in us, how can it fail to be proved thereby that we are the workmanship of the princes, and of matter? For in due accordance with their form, and likeness, and image, we also exist as diverse forms. But if you wish to be fully instructed as to that commerce which took place at the beginning, and as to the manner in which it occurred, I shall explain the matter to you.

15. The judges said: We need not inquire as to the manner in which that primitive commerce took place until we have first seen it proved that there are two natural principles. For when once it is made clear that there are two unbegotten natures, then others of your averments may also gain our assent, even although something in them may not seem to fit in very readily with what is credible. For as the power of pronouncing judgment has been committed to us, we shall declare what may make itself clear to our mind. We may, however, also grant to Archelaus the liberty of speaking to these statements of yours, so that, by comparing what is said by each of you, we may be able to give our decision in accordance with the truth. Archelaus said: Notwithstanding, the adversary’s intent is replete with gross audacity and blasphemy. Manes said: Hear, O judges, what he has said of the adversary. He admits, then, that there are two objects. Archelaus said: It seems to me that this man is full of madness rather than of prudence, who would stir up a controversy with me to-day because I chance to speak of the adversary. But this objection of yours may be removed with few words, notwithstanding that you have supposed from this expression of mine that I shall allow that there are these two natures. You have come forward with a most extravagant6 doctrine; for neither of the assertions made by you holds good. For it is quite possible that one who is an adversary, not by nature, but by determination, may be made a friend, and cease to be an adversary; and thus, when the one of us has come to acquiesce with the other, we twain shall appear to be, as it were, one and the same object. This account also indicates that rational creatures have been entrusted with free-will, in virtue of which they also admit of conversions. And consequently there cannot be two unbegotten natures. What do you say, then? Are these two natures inconvertible? or are they convertible? or is one of them converted? Manes, however, held back, because he did not find a suitable reply; for he was pondering the conclusion which might be drawn from either of two answers which he might make, turning the matter over thus in his thoughts: If I say that they are converted, he will meet me with that statement which is recorded in the Gospel about the trees; but if I say that they are not convertible, he will necessarily ask me to explain the condition and cause of their intermingling. In the meantime, after a little delay, Manes replied: They are indeed both inconvertible in so far as contraries are concerned; but they are convertible as far as properties are concerned. Archelaus then said: You seem to me to be out of your mind, and oblivious of your own propositions; yea, you do not appear even to recognise the powers or qualities of the very words which you have been learning. For you do not understand either what conversion is, or what is meant by unbegotten, or what duality implies, or what is past, or what is present, or what is future, as I have gathered from the opinions to which you have just now given expression. For you have affirmed, indeed, that each of these two natures is inconvertible so far as regards contraries, but convertible so far as regards properties. But I maintain that one who moves in properties does not pass out of himself, but subsists in these same properties, in which he is ever inconvertible; while in the case of one who is susceptible of conversion, the effect is that he is placed outside the pale of properties, and passes within the sphere of accidents.

16. The judges said: Convertibility translates the person whom it befalls into another; as, for example, we might say that if a Jew were to make up his mind to become a Christian, or, on the other hand, if a Christian were to decide to be a Gentile, this would be a species of convertibility, and a cause of the same. But, again, if we suppose a Gentile to keep by all his own heathen properties, and to offer sacrifices to his gods, and to do service to the temples as usual, surely you would not be of opinion that he could be said to be converted, while he vet holds by his properties, and goes on in them? What, then, do you say? Do they sustain convertibility or not? And as Manes hesitated, Archelaus proceeded thus: If, indeed, he says that both natures are convertible, what is there to prevent our thinking them to be one and the same object? For if they are inconvertible, then surely in natures which are similarly inconvertible and similarly unbegotten there is no distinction, neither can the one of them be recognised as good or as evil. But if they are both convertible, then, forsooth, the possible result may be both that the good is made evil, and that the evil is made good. If, however, this is the possible result, why should we not speak of one only as unbegotten,5 which would be a conception in worthier accordance with the reckoning of truth? For we have to consider how that evil one became so at first, or against what objects he exercised his wickedness before the formation of the world. When the heavens had not yet appeared, when the earth did not yet subsist, and when there was neither man nor animal, against whom did he put his wickedness in operation? whom did he oppress unjustly? whom did he rob and kill? But if you say that he first appeared in his evil nature to his own kin, then without doubt you give the proof that he comes of a good nature. And if, again, all these are also evil, how can Satan then cast out Satan?7 But while thus reduced to a dilemma on this point, you may change your position in the discussion, and say that the good suffered violence from the evil. But none the more is it without peril for you to make such a statement, to the effect of affirming the vanquishing of the light; for what is vanquished has destruction near it. For what says the divine word? “Who can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he be stronger than he?”9 But if you allege that he first appeared in his evil nature to men, and only from that time showed openly the marks of his wickedness, then it follows that before this time he was good, and that he took on tiffs quality of conversion because the creation of man was found to have emerged as the cause of his wickedness. But, in fine, let him tell us what he understands by evil, lest perchance he may be defending or setting up a mere name. And if it is not the name but the substance of evil that he speaks of, then let him set before us the fruits of this wickedness and iniquity, since the nature of a tree can never be known but by its fruit.

17. Manes said: Let it first be allowed on your side that there is an alien root of wickedness, which God has not planted, and then I shall tell you its fruits. Archelaus said: Truth’s reckoning does not make any such requirement; and I shall not admit to you that there is a root of any such evil tree, of the fruit whereof no one has ever tasted. But just as, when a man desires to make any purchase, he does not produce the money unless he first ascertains by tasting the object whether it is of a dry or a moist species, so I shall not admit to you that the tree is evil and utterly corrupt, unless the quality of its fruit is first exhibited; for it is written, that “the tree is known by its fruits.” Tell us, therefore, O Manes, what fruit is yielded by that tree which is called evil, or of what nature it is, and what virtue it is, that we may also believe with you that the root of that same tree is of that character which you ascribe to it. Manes said: The root indeed is evil, and the tree is most corrupt, but the increase is not from God. Moreover, fornications, adulteries, murders, avarice, and all evil deeds, are the fruits of that evil root. Archelaus said: That we may credit you when you say that these are the fruits of that evil root, give us a taste of these things; for you have pronounced the substance of this tree to be ungenerate, the fruits of which are produced after its own likeness. Manes said: The very unrighteousness which subsists in men offers the proof itself, and in avarice too you may taste that evil root. Archelaus said: Well, then, as you have stated the question, those iniquities which prevail among men are fruits of this tree. Manes said: Quite so. Archelaus proceeded: If these, then, are the fruits, that is to say, the wicked deeds of men, it will follow that the men themselves will hold the place of the root and of the tree; for you have declared that they, produce fruits of this nature. Manes said: That is my statement. Archelaus answered: Not well say you, That is my statement: for surely that cannot be your statement; otherwise, when men cease from sinning, this tree of wickedness will appear to be unfruitful. Manes said: What you say is an impossibility; for even though one or another, or several, were to cease sinning, there would yet be others doing evil still. Archelaus said: If it is at all possible for one or another, or several, as you admit, not to sin, it is also possible for all to do the same; for they are all of one parent, and are all men of one lump. And, not to follow at my ease those affirmations which you have so confusedly made through all their absurdities, I shall conclude their refutation by certain unmistakeable counter-arguments. Do you allege that the fruits of the evil root and the evil tree are the deeds of men, that is to say, fornications, adulteries, perjuries, murders, and other similar things? Manes said: I do. Archelaus said: Well, then, if it happened that the race of men was to die off the face of the earth, so that they should not be able to sin any more, the substance of that tree would then perish, and it would bear fruit no more. Manes said: And when will that take place of which you speak? Archelaus said: What is in the future I know not, for I am but a man; nevertheless I shall not leave these words of yours unexamined. What say you of the race of men? Is it unbegotten, or is it a production? Manes said: It is a production. Archelaus said: If man is a production, who is the parent of adultery and fornication, and such other things? Whose fruit is this? Before man was made, who was there to be a fornicator, or an adulterer, or a murderer? Manes said: But if the man is fashioned of the evil nature, it is manifest that he is such a fruit, albeit he may sin, albeit he may not sin; whence also the name and race of men are once for all and absolutely of this character, whether they may do what is righteous or what is unrighteous. Archelaus said: Well, we may also take notice of that matter. If, as you aver the wicked one himself made man, why is it that he practises his malignity on him?

18. The judges said: We desire to have information from you on this point, Manichæus, to wit, to what effect you have affirmed him to be evil. Do you mean that he has been so from the time when men were made, or before that period? For it is necessary that you should give some proof of his wickedness from the very time from which you declare him to have been evil, Be assured that the quality of a wine cannot be ascertained unless one first tastes it; and understand that, in like manner, every tree is known by its fruit. What say you, then? From what time has this personality been evil? For an explanation of this problem seems to us to be necessary. Manes said: He has always been so. Archelaus said: Well, then, I shall also show from this, most excellent friends, and most judicious auditors, that his statement is by no means correct. For iron, to take an example, has not been an evil thing always, but only from the period of man’s existence, and since his art turned it to evil by applying it to false uses; and every sin has come into existence since the period of man’s being. Even that great serpent himself was not evil previous to man, but only after man, in whom he displayed the fruit of his wickedness, because he willed it himself. If, then, the father of wickedness makes his appearance to us after man has come into being, according to the Scriptures, how can he be unbegotten who has thus been constituted evil subsequently to man, who is himself a production? But, again, why should he exhibit himself as evil just from the period when, on your supposition, he did himself create man? What did he desire in him? If man’s whole body was his own workmanship, what did he ardently affect in him? For one who ardently affects or desires, desires something which is different and better. If, indeed, man takes his origin from him in respect of the evil nature, we see how man was his own, as I have frequently shown. For if man was his own, he was also evil himself, just as it holds with our illustration of the like tree and the like fruit; for an evil tree, as you say, produces evil fruit. And seeing that all were evil, what did be desiderate, or in what could he show the beginning of his wickedness, if from the time of man’s formation man was the cause of his wickedness? Moreover, the law and precept having been given to the man himself, the man had not by any means the power to yield obedience to the serpent, and to the statements which were made by him; and had the man then yielded no obedience to him, what occasion would there have been for him to be evil? But, again, if evil is unbegotten, how does it happen that man is sometimes found to be stronger than it? For, by obeying the law of God, he will often overcome every root of wickedness; and it would be a ridiculous thing if he, who is but the production, should be found to be stronger than the unbegotten. Moreover, whose is that law with its commandment—that commandment, I mean, which has been given to man? Without doubt it will be acknowledged to be God’s. And how, then, can the law be given to an alien? or who can give his commandment to an enemy? Or, to speak of him who receives the commandment, how can he contend against the devil? that is to say, on this supposition, how can he contend against his own creator, as if the son, while he is a debtor to him for deeds of kindness, were to choose to inflict injuries on the father? Thus you but mark out the profitlessness2 of man on this side, if you suppose him to be contradicting by the law and commandment him who has made him, and to be making the effort to get the better of him. Yea, we shall have to fancy the devil himself to have gone to such an excess of folly, as not to have perceived that in making man he made an adversary for himself, and neither to have considered what might be his future, nor to have foreseen the actual consequence of his act; whereas even in ourselves, who are but productions, there are at least some small gifts of knowledge, and a measure of prudence, and a moderate degree of consideration, which is sometimes of a very trustworthy nature. And how, then, can we believe that in the unbegotten there is not some little portion of prudence, or consideration, or intelligence? Or how can we make the contrary supposition, according to your assertion, namely, that he is discovered to be of the most senseless apprehension, and the dullest heart, and, in short, rather like the brutes in his natural constitution? But if the case stands thus, again, how is it that man, who is possessed of no insignificant power in mental capacity and knowledge, could have received his substance from one who thus is, of all beings, the most ignorant and the bluntest in apprehension? How shall any one be rash enough to profess that man is the workmanship of an author of this character? But, again, if man consists both of soul and of body, and not merely of body without soul, and if the one cannot subsist apart from the other, why will you assert that these two are antagonistic and contrary to each other? For our Lord Jesus Christ, indeed, seems to me to have spoken of these in His parables, when He said: “No man can put new wine into old bottles, else the bottles will break, and the wine run out.” But new wine is to be put into new bottles, as there is indeed one and the same Lord for the bottle and for the wine. For although the substance may be different, yet by these two substances, in their due powers, and in the maintenance of their proper mutual relations,4 the one person of man subsists. We do not say, indeed, that the soul is of one substance with the body, but we aver that they have each their own characteristic qualities; and as the bottle and the wine are applied in the similitude to one race and one species of men, so truth’s reckoning requires us to grant that man was produced complete by the one God: for the soul rejoices in the body, and loves and cherishes it; and none the less does the body rejoice that it is quickened by the soul. But if, on the other hand, a person maintains that the body is the work of the wicked one, inasmuch as it is so corruptible, and antiquated and worthless, it would follow then that it is incapable of sustainting the virtue of the spirit or the movement of the soul, and the most splendid creation of the same. For just as, when a person puts a piece of new cloth into an old garment, the rent is made worse; so also the body would perish if it were to be associated, under such conditions, with that most brilliant production the soul. Or, to use another illustration: just as, when a man carries the light of a lamp into a dark place the darkness is forthwith put to flight and makes no appearance; so we ought to understand that, on the soul’s introduction into the body, the darkness is straightway banished, and one nature at once effected, and one man constituted in one species. And thus, agreeably therewith, it will be allowed that the new wine is put into new bottles, and that the piece of new cloth is not put into the old garment. But from this we are able to show that there is a unison of powers in these two substances, that is to say, in that of the body and in that of the soul; of which unison that greatest teacher in the Scriptures, Paul, speaks, when he tells us, that “God hath set the members every one of them in the body as it hath pleased Him.”

19. But if it seems difficult for you to understand this, and if you do not acquiesce in these statements, I may at all events try to make them good by adducing illustrations. Contemplate man as a kind of temple, according to the similitude of Scripture: the spirit that is in man may thus be likened to the image that dwells in the temple. Well, then, a temple cannot be constituted unless first an occupant is acknowledged for the temple; and, on the other hand, an occupant cannot be settled in the temple unless the structure has been erected. Now, since these two objects, the occupant and the structure, are both consecrated together, how can any antagonism or contrariety be found between them, and how should it not rather appear that they have both been the products of subjects that are in amity and of one mind? And that you may know that this is the case, and that these subjects are truly at one both in fellowship and in lineage, He who knows and hears3
all has made this response, “Let us make man,” and so forth. For he who constructs the temple interrogates him who fashions the image, and inquires carefully about the measurements of magnitude, and breadth, and bulk, in order that he may mark off the space for the foundations in accordance with these dimensions; and no one sets about the vain task of building a temple without first making himself acquainted with the measurement needed for the placing of the image. In like manner, therefore, the mode and the measure of the body are made the subject of inquiry, in order that the soul may be appropriately lodged in it by God, the Artificer of all things. But if any one say that he who has moulded the body is an enemy to the God who is the Creator of my soul,5 then how is it that, while regarding each other with a hostile eye, these two parties have not brought disrepute upon the work, by bringing it about either that he who constructs the temple should make it of such narrow dimensions as to render it incapable of accommodating what is placed within it, or that he who fashions the image should come with something so massive and ponderous, that, on its introduction into the temple, the edifice would at once collapse? If such is not the case, then, with these things, let us contemplate them in the light of what we know to be the objects and intents of antagonists. But if it is right for all to be disposed with the same measures and the same equity, and to be displayed with like glory, what doubt should we still entertain on this subject? We add, if it please you, this one illustration more. Man appears to resemble a ship which has been constructed by the builder and launched into the deep, which, however, it is impossible to navigate without the rudder, by which it can be kept under command, and turned in whatsoever direction its steersman may wish to sail. Also, that the rudder and the whole body of the ship require the same artificer, is a matter admitting no doubt; for without the rudder the whole structure of the ship, that huge body, will be an inert mass. And thus, then, we say that the soul is the rudder of the body; that both these, moreover, are ruled by that liberty of judgment and sentiment which we possess, and which corresponds to the steersman; and that when these two are made one by, union, and thus possess a unison of function applicable to all kinds of work, whatever may be the products of their own operation, they bear a testimony to the fact that they have both one and the same author and maker.

20. On hearing these argumentations, the multitudes who were present were exceedingly delighted; so much so, indeed, that they were almost laying hands on Manes; and it was with difficulty that Archelaus restrained them, and kept them back, and made them quiet again. The judges said: Archelaus has given us proof sufficient of the fact that the body and soul of man are the works of one hand; because an object cannot subsist in any proper consonance and unison as the work of one hand, if there is any want of harmony in the design and plan. But if it is alleged that one could not possibly have sufficed to develop both these objects, namely, body and soul, this is simply to exhibit the incapacity of the artificer. For thus, even though one should grant that the soul is the creation of a good deity, it will be found to be but an idle work so far as the man is concerned, unless it also takes to itself the body. And if, again, the body is held to be the formation of an evil deity, the work will also none the less be idle unless it receives the soul; and, in truth, unless the soul be in unison with the body by commixture and due introduction, so that the two are in mutual connections, the man will not exist, neither can we speak of him. Hence we are of opinion that Archelaus has proved by a variety of illustrations that there is but one and the same maker for the whole man. Archelaus said: I doubt not, Manes, that you understand this, namely, that one who is born and created is called the son of him who begets or creates. But if the wicked one made man, then he ought to be his father, according to nature. And to whom, then, did the Lord Jesus address Himself, when in these terms He taught men to pray: “When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven;”2 and again, “Pray to your Father which is in secret?” But it was of Satan that He spoke when He said, that He “beheld him as lightning fall from heaven;”4 so that no one dare say that He taught us to pray to him. And surely Jesus did not come down from heaven with the purpose of bringing men together, and reconciling them to Satan; but, on the contrary, He gave him over to be bruised beneath the feet of His faithful ones. However, for my part, I would say that those Gentiles are the more blessed who do indeed bring in a multitude of deities, but at least hold them all to be of one mind, and in amity with each other; whereas this man, though he brings in but two gods, does not blush to posit enmities and discordant sentiments between them. And, in sooth, if these Gentiles were to bring in their counterfeit deities under conditions of that kind, we would verily have it in our power to witness something like a gladiatorial contest proceeding between them, with their innumerable natures and diverse sentiments.

21. But now, what it is necessary for me to say on the subject of him inner and the outer man, may be expressed in the words of the Saviour to those who swallow a camel, and wear the outward garb of the hypocrite, begirt with blandishments and flatteries. It is to them that Jesus addresses Himself when He says: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of uncleanness. Or know you not, that He that made that which is without, made that which is within also?” Now why did He speak of the cup and of the platter? Was He who uttered these words a glassworker, or a potter who made vessels of clay? Did He not speak most manifestly of the body and the soul? For the Pharisees truly looked to the “tithing of anise and cummin, and left undone the weightier matters of the law;”7 and while devoting great care to the things which were external, they overlooked those which bore upon the salvation of the soul. For they also had respect to “greetings in the market-place,” and “to the uppermost seats at feasts:”9 and to them the Lord Jesus, knowing their perdition, made this declaration, that they attended to those things only which were without, and despised as strange things those which were within, and understood not that He who made the body made also the soul. And who is so unimpressible and stolid in intellect, as not to see that those sayings of our Lord may suffice him for all cases? Moreover, it is in perfect harmony with these sayings that Paul speaks, when he interprets to the following intent certain things written in the law: “Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith He it altogether for our sakes?” But why should we waste further time upon this subject? Nevertheless I shall add a few things out of many that might be offered. Suppose now that there are two unbegotten principles, and that we determine fixed localities for these: it follows then that God is separated, if He is supposed to be within a certain location, and not diffused everywhere; and He will consequently be represented as much inferior to the locality in which He is understood to be for the object which contains is always greater than the object which is contained in it: and thus God is made to be of that magnitude which corresponds with the magnitude of the locality in which He is contained, just as is the case with a man in a house.13 Then, further, reason asks who it is that has divided between them, or who has appointed for them their determinate limits; and thus both would be made out to be the decided inferiors of man’s own power. For Lysimachus and Alexander held the empire of the whole world, and were able to subdue all foreign nations, and the whole race of then; so that throughout that period there was no other in possession of empire besides themselves under heaven. And how will any one be rash enough to say that God, who is the true light that never suffers eclipse, and whose is also the kingdom that is holy and everlasting, is not everywhere present, as15 is the way with this most depraved man, who, in his impiety, refuses to ascribe to the Omnipotent God even equal power with men?

22. The judges said: We know that a light shines through the whole house, and not in some single part of it; as Jesus also intimates when He says, that “no man lighting a candle puts it under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that it may give light unto all that are in the house.” If, then, God is a light, it must needs be that light (if Jesus is to be credited) shall shine on the whole world, and not on any portions of it merely. And if,3 then, that light holds possession of the whole world, where now can there be any ungenerated darkness? or how can darkness be understood to exist at all, unless it is something simply accidental? Archelaus said: Forasmuch, indeed, as the word of the Gospel is understood much better by you than by this person who puts himself forward as the Paraclete, although I could call him rather parasite than paraclete, I shall tell you how it has happened that there is darkness. When the light had been diffused everywhere, God began to constitute the universe, and commenced with the heaven and the earth; in which process this issue appeared, to wit, that the midst, which is the locality of earth covered with shadow, as a consequence of the interposition5 of the creatures which were called into being, was found to be obscure, in such wise that circumstances required light to be introduced into that place, which was thus situated in the midst. Hence in Genesis, where Moses gives an account of the construction of the world, he makes no mention of the darkness either as made or as not made. But he keeps silence on that subject, and leaves the explanation of it to be discovered by those who may be able to give proper attention to it. Neither, indeed, is that a very arduous and difficult task. For to whom may it not he made plain that this sun of ours is visible, when it has risen in the east, and taken its course toward the west, but that when it has gone beneath the earth, and been carried farther within that formation which among the Greeks is called the sphere, it then ceases to appear, being overshadowed in darkness in consequence of the interposition of the bodies? When it is thus covered, and when the body of the earth stands opposite it, a shadow is superinduced, which produces from itself the darkness; and it continues so until again, after the course of the inferior space has been traversed in the night, it rolls towards the east, and is seen to rise once more in its wonted seats. Thus, then, the cause of the shadow and the night is discovered in the solidity of the body of the earth,—a thing, indeed, which a man may understand from the fact of the shadow cast by his own body.7 For before the heaven and the earth and all those corporeal creatures appeared, the light remained always constant, without waning or eclipse, as there existed no body which might produce shadow by its opposition or intervention; and consequently one must say that nowhere was there darkness then, and nowhere night. For if, to take an illustration, it should please Him who has the power of all things to do away with the quarter which lies to the west, then, as the sun would not direct its course toward that region, there would nowhere emerge either evening or darkness, but the sun would be on its course always, and would never set, but would almost always hold the centre tract of heaven, and would never cease to appear; and by this the whole world would be illumined with the clearest light, in virtue of which no part of it would suffer obscuration, but the equal power of one light would remain everywhere. But on the other hand, while the western quarter keeps its position, and the sun executes9 its course in three parts of the world, then those who are under the sun will be seen to be illuminated more brightly; so that I might almost say, that while the people who belong to the diverse tract are still asleep, those former are in possession of the day’s beginning. But just as those Orientals have the light rising on them earlier than the people who live in the west, so they have it also more quickly obscured, and they only who are settled in the middle of the globe see always an equality of light. For when the sun occupies the middle of the heavens, there is no place that can appear to be either brighter or darker (than another), but all parts of the world are illuminated equally and impartially by the sun’s effulgence.11 If, then, as we have said above, that portion of the western tract were done away with, the part which is adjacent to it would now no more suffer obscuration. And these things I could indeed set forth somewhat more simply, as I might also describe the zodiacal circle; but I have not thought of looking into these matters at present. I shall therefore say nothing of these, but shall revert to that capital objection urged by my adversary, in his affirming so strenuously that the darkness is ungenerated; which position, however, has also been confuted already, as far as that could have been done by us.

23. The judges said: If we consider that the light existed before the estate of the creatures was introduced, and that there was no object in an opposite position which might generate shadow, it must follow that the light was then diffused everywhere, and that all places were illuminated with its effulgence, as has been shown by what you have stated just now; and as we perceive that the true explanation is given in that, we assign the palm to the affirmations of Archelaus. For if the universe is clearly divided, as if some wall had been drawn through the centre of it, and if on the one side the light dwells, and on the other side the darkness, it is yet to be understood that this darkness has been brought accidentally about through the shadow generated in consequence of the objects which have been set up in the world; and hence again we must ask who it is that has built this wall between the two divisions, provided you indeed admit the existence of such a construction, O Manichæus. But if we have to take account of this matter on the supposition that no such wall has been built, then again it comes to be understood that the universe forms but one locality, without any exception, and is placed under one power; and if so, then the darkness can in no way have an ungenerated nature. Archelaus said: Let him also explain the following subject with a view to what has been propounded. If God is seated in His kingdom, and if the wicked one in like manner is seated in his kingdom, who can have constructed the wall between them? For no object can divide two substances except one that is greater than either, even as it is said3 in the book of Genesis, that “God divided the light from the darkness.” Consequently the constructor of this wall must also be some one of a capacity like that: for the wall marks the boundaries of these two parties, just as among people who dwell in the rural parts a stone is usually taken to mark off the portion of each several party; which custom, however, would afford a better apprehension of the case were we to take the division to refer specially to the marking out of an inheritance failing to brothers. But for the present I have not to speak of matters like these, however essential they may appear. For what we are in quest of is an answer to the question, Who can have constructed the wall required for the designation of the limits of the kingdom of each of these twain? No answer has been given. Let not this perfidious fellow hesitate, but let him now acknowledge that the substance of his duality has been reduced again to a unity. Let him mention any one who can have constructed that middle wall. What could the one of these two parties have been engaged in when the other was building? Was he asleep? or was he ignorant of the fact? or was he unable to withstand the attempt? or was he bought over with a price? Tell us what he was about, or tell us who in all the universe was the person that raised the construction. I address my appeal to you, O judges, whom God has sent to us with the fullest plenitude of intelligence; judge ye which of these two could have erected the structure, or what the one could have been doing all the while that the other was engaged in the building.

24. The judges said: Tell us, O Manes, who designated the boundaries for the kingdom of each, and who made the middle wall? For Archelaus begs that due importance be attached, to the practice of interrogation in this discussion. Manes said: The God who is good, and who has nothing in common with evil, placed the firmament in the midst, in order to make it plain that the wicked one is an alien to Him. Archelaus said: How fearfully you belie the dignity of that name! You do indeed call Him God, but you do so in name only, and you make His deity resemble man’s infirmities. At one time out of the non-existent, and at another time out of underlying matter, which indeed thus existed before Himself, you assert that He did build the structure, as builders among men are wont to do. Sometimes also you speak of Him as apprehensive, and sometimes as variable. It is, however, the part of God to do what is proper to God, and it is the part of man to do what is proper to man. If, then, God, as you say, has constructed a wall, this is a God who marks Himself out as apprehensive, and as possessed of no fortitude. For we know that it is always the case that those who are suspicious of the preparation of secret perils against them by strangers, and who are afraid of the plots of enemies, are accustomed to surround their cities with walls, by which procedure they at once secure themselves in their ignorance, and display their feeble capacity. But here, too, we have something which ought not to be passed over by us in silence, but rather brought prominently forward; so that even by the great abundance of our declarations on the subject our adversary’s manifold craftiness may be brought to nought, with the help of the truth on our side. We may grant, then, that the structure of the wall has been made with the purpose of serving to distinguish between the two kingdoms; for without this one division it is impossible for either of them to have his own proper kingdom. But granting this, then it follows further that in the same manner it will also be impossible for the wicked one to pass without his own proper limits and invade the territories of the good King, inasmuch as the wall stands there as an obstacle, unless it should chance first to be cast down, for we have heard that such things have been done by enemies, and indeed with our own eyes we have quite recently seen an achievement of that nature successfully carried out. And when a king attacks a citadel surrounded by a strong wall, he uses first of all the ballista3 and projectiles; then he endeavours to cut through the gates with axes, and to demolish the walls by the battering-rams; and when he at last obtains an entrance, and gains possession of the place, he does whatever he listeth, whether it be his pleasure to carry off the citizens into captivity, or to make a complete destruction of the fortress and its contents, or whether, on the other hand, it may be his will to grant indulgence to the captured stronghold on the humble suit of the conquered. What, then, does my opponent here say to this analogy? Did no adversary substantially—which is as much as to say, designedly—overthrow the muniment cast up between the two? For in his former statements he has avouched that the darkness passed without its own limits, and supervened upon the kingdom of the good God. Who, then, overthrew that munition before the one could thus have crossed over to the other? For it was impossible for the evil one to find any entrance while the munition stood fast. Why are you silent? Why do you hesitate, Manichæus? Yet, although you may hold back, I shall proceed with the task of my own accord. For if we suppose you to say that God destroyed it, then I have to ask what moved Him in this way to demolish the very thing which He had Himself previously constructed on account of the importunity of the wicked one, and for the purpose of preserving the separation between them? In what fit of passion, or under what sense of injury, did He thus set about contending against Himself? Or was it that He lusted after some of the possessions of the wicked one? But if none of these things formed the real cause that led God to destroy those very things which He had constructed a long time before with the view of estranging and separating the wicked one from Him, then it must needs be considered no matter of surprise if God should also have become delighted with his society;5 for, on your supposition, the munition which had been set up with the purpose of securing God against trouble from him, will appear to have been removed just because now he is to be regarded no more as an enemy, but as a friend. And, on the other hand, if you aver that the wall was destroyed by the wicked one, tell us then how it can be possible for the works of the good God to be mastered by the wicked one. For if that is possible, then the evil nature will be proved to be stronger than God. Furthermore, how can that being, seeing that he is pure and total darkness, surprise the light and apprehend it, while the evangelist gives us the testimony that “the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not?” How is this blind one armed? How does the darkness fight against the kingdom of light? For even as the creatures of God7 here cannot take in the rays of the sun with uninjured eye, so neither can that being bear the clear vision of the kingdom of light, but he remains for ever a stranger to it, and an alien.

25. Manes said: Not all receive the word of God, but only those to whom it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. And even now10 I know who are ours; for “my sheep,” He says, “hear my voice.” For the sake of those who belong to us, and to whom is given the understanding of the truth, I shall speak in similitudes. The wicked one is like a lion that sought to steal upon the flock of the good shepherd; and when the shepherd saw this, he dug a huge pit, and took one kid out of the flock and cast it into the pit. Then the lion, hungering to get at it, and bursting with passion to devour it, ran up to the pit and fell in, and discovered no strength sufficient to bring him out again. And thereupon the shepherd seized him and shut him up carefully in a den, and at the same time secured the safety of the kid which had been with him in the pit. And it is in this way that the wicked one has been enfeebled,—the lion, so to speak, possessing no more capacity for doing aught injurious; and so all the race of souls will be saved, and what once perished will yet be restored to its proper flock. Archelaus said: If you compare the wicked one to the lion, and God to the true shepherd, tell us, whereunto shall we liken the sheep and the kid? Manes said: The sheep and the kid seem to me to be of one nature: and they are taken as figures of souls. Archelaus said: Well, then, God gave a soul over to perdition when He set it before the lion in the pit. Manes said: By no means; far from it. But He was moved by a particular disposition, and in the future He will save that other, the soul. Archelaus said: Now, surely it would be an absurd procedure, my hearers, if a shepherd who dreaded the inroad of a lion were to expose to the beast’s devouring fury a lamb that he was wont to carry in his bosom, and if it were then to be said that he meant to save the creature hereafter. Is not this something supremely ridiculous? Yea, there is no kind of sense in this. For an the supposition implied in your similitude God thus handed over to Satan a soul that he might seize and ruin. But when did the shepherd ever do anything like that? Did not David deliver a sheep out of the mouth of a lion or of a bear? And we mention this on account of the expression, out of the mouth of the lion; for, on your theory, this would imply that the shepherd can bring forth out of the mouth of the lion, or out of the belly of the same, the very object which it has devoured. But you will perhaps make this answer, that it is of God we speak, and that He is able to do all things. Hear, however, what I have to say to that: Why then do you not rather assert His real capacity, and affirm simply His ability to overcome the lion in His own might, or with the pure power of God, and without the help of any sort of cunning devices, or by consigning a kid or a lamb to a pit?4 Tell me this, too, if the lion were to be supposed to come upon the shepherd at a time when he has no sheep, what would the consequence be? For he who is here called the shepherd is supposed to be unbegotten, and he who is here the lion is also unbegotten. Wherefore, when man did not yet exist—in other words, before the shepherd had a flock—if the lion had then come upon the shepherd, what would have followed, seeing that there could have been nothing for the lion to eat before the kid was in existence? Manes said: The lion certainly had nothing to devour, but yet he exercised his wickedness on whatever he was able to light upon as he coursed over the peaks of the mountains; and if at any time food was a matter of necessity with him, he seized some of the beasts which were under his own kingdom. Archelaus said: Are these two objects, then, of one substance—the beasts which are under the kingdom of the wicked one, and the kids which are in the kingdom of the good God? Manes said: Far from it; not at all: they have nothing in common either between themselves or between the properties which pertain to them severally. Archelaus said: There is but one and the same use made of the food in the lion’s eating. And though he sometimes got that food from the beasts belonging to himself, and sometimes from those belonging to the good God, there is still no difference between them as far as regards the meats furnished; and from this it is apparent that those are of but one substance. On the other hand, if we say that there is a great difference between the two, we do but ascribe ignorance to the shepherd, in so far as he did not present or set before the lion food adapted to his use, but rather alien meats. Or perchance again, in your desire to dissemble your real position, you will say to me that lion ate nothing. Well, supposing that to be the case, did God then in this way challenge that being to devour a soul while he knew not how to devour aught? and was the pit not the only thing which God sought to employ with the view of cheating him?—if indeed it is at all worthy of God to do that sort of thing, or to contrive deceitful schemes. And that would be to act like a king who, when war is made upon him, puts no kind of confidence in his own strength, but gets paralyzed with the fears of his own feebleness, and shuts himself up within the walls of his city, and erects around him a rampart and other fortifications, and gets them all equipped, and trusts nothing to his own hand and prowess; whereas, if he is a brave man, the king so placed will march a great distance from his own territories to meet the enemy there, and will put forth every possible exertion until he conquers and brings his adversary into his power.

26. The judges said: If you allege that the shepherd exposed the kid or the lamb to the lion, when the said lion was meditating an assault on the unbegotten, the case is closed. For seeing that the shepherd of the kids and lambs is himself proved to be in fault to them, on what creature can he pronounce judgment, if it happens that the lamb which has been given up through the shepherd’s weakness has proved unable to withstand the lion, and if the consequence is that the lamb has had to do whatever has been the lion’s pleasure? Or, to take another instance, that would be just as if a master were to drive out of his house, or deliver over in terror to his adversary, one of his slaves, whom he is unable afterwards to recover by his own strength. Or supposing that by any chance it were to come about that the slave was recovered, on what reasonable ground could the master inflict the torture on him, if it should turn out that the man yielded obedience to all that the enemy laid upon him, seeing that it was the master himself2 who gave him up to the enemy, just as the kid was given up to the lion? You affirm, too, that the shepherd understood the whole case beforehand. Surely, then, the lamb, when under the lash, and interrogated by the shepherd as to the reason why it had submitted to the lion in these matters, would make some such answer as this: “Thou didst thyself deliver me over to the lion, and thou didst offer no resistance to him, although thou didst know and foresee what would be my lot, when it was necessary for me to yield myself to his commandments.” And, not to dilate on this at greater length, we may say that by such an illustration neither is God exhibited as a perfect shepherd, nor is the lion shown to have tasted alien meats; and consequently, under the instruction of the truth itself, it has been made clear that we ought to give the palm to the reasonings adduced by Archelaus. Archelaus said: Considering that, on all the points which we have hitherto discussed, the thoughtfulness of the judges has assigned us the amplest scope, it will be well for us to pass over other subjects in silence, and reserve them for another period. For just as, if a person once crushes the head of a serpent, he will not need to lop off any of the other members of its body; so, if we once dispose4 of this question of the duality, as we have endeavoured to do to the best of our ability, other matters which have been maintained in connection with it may be held to be exploded along with it. Nevertheless I shall yet address myself, at least in a few sentences, to the assertor of these opinions himself, who is now in our presence; so that it may be thoroughly understood by all who he is, and whence he comes, and what manner of person he proves himself to be. For he has given out that he is that Paraclete whom Jesus on His departure promised to send to the race of man for the salvation of the souls of the faithful; and this profession he makes as if he were somewhat superior even to Paul, who was an elect vessel and a called apostle, and who on that ground, while preaching the true doctrine, said:6 “Or seek ye a proof of that Christ who speaks in me?” What I have to say, however, may become clearer by such an illustration as the following:8 —A certain man gathered into his store a very large quantity of corn, so that the place was perfectly full. This place he shut and sealed in a thoroughly satisfactory fashion, and gave directions to keep careful watch over it. And the master himself then departed. However, after a lengthened lapse of time another person came to the store, and affirmed that he had been despatched by the individual who had locked up and sealed the place with a commission also to collect and lay up a quantity of wheat in the same. And when the keepers of the store saw him, they demanded of him his credentials, in the production of the signet, in order that they might assure themselves of their liberty to open the store to him, and to render their obedience to him as to one sent by the person who had sealed the place. And when he could neither exhibit the keys nor produce the credentials of the signet, for indeed he had no right, he was thrust out by the keepers, and compelled to flee. For instead of being what he professed to be, he was detected to be a thief and a robber by them, and was convicted and found out through the circumstance that, although, as it seemed, he had taken it into his head to make his appearance a long time after the period that had been determined on beforehand, he yet could neither produce keys, or signet, or any token whatsoever to the keepers, nor display any knowledge of the quantity of corn that was in store: all which things were so many unmistakeable proofs that he had not been sent across by the proper owner; and accordingly, as was matter of course,11 he was forbidden admittance by the keepers.

27. We may give yet another illustration, if it seems good to you. A certain man, the head of a household, and possessed of great riches, was minded to journey abroad for a time, and promised to his sons that he would send them some one who would take his place, and divide among them equally the substance falling to them. And, in truth, not long after that, he did despatch to them a certain trustworthy and righteous and true man. And on his arrival, this man took charge of the whole substance, and first of all exerted himself to arrange it and administer it, giving himself great labour in journeying, and even working diligently with his own hands, and toiling like a servant for the good of the estate. Afterwards feeling that his end was at hand,2 the man wrote out a will, demitting the inheritance to the relations and all the next of kin; and he gave them his seals, and called them together one by one by name, and charged them to preserve the inheritance, and to take care of the substance, and to administer it rightly, even as they had received it, and to take their use of its goods and fruits, as they were themselves left its owners and heirs. If, moreover, any person were to ask to be allowed to benefit by the fruits of this field, they were to show themselves indulgent to such. But if, on the other hand, any one were to declare himself partner in the heirship with them, and were to make his demands on that ground, they were to keep aloof from him, and pronounce him an alien; and further, they were to hold that the individual who desired to be received among them ought all the more on that account to do work. Well, then, granting that all these things have been well and rightly disposed of and settled, and that they have continued in that condition for a very long time, how shall we deal with one who presents himself well-nigh three hundred years after, and sets up his claim to the heirship? Shall we not cast him off from us? Shall we not justly pronounce such a one an alien—one who cannot prove himself to have belonged to those related to our Master, who never was with our departed Lord in the hour of His sickness, who never walked in the funeral procession of the Crucified, who never stood by the sepulchre, who has no knowledge whatsoever of the manner or the character of His departure, and who, in fine, is now desirous of getting access to the storehouse of corn without presenting any token from him who placed it under lock and seal? Shall we not cast him off from us like a robber and a thief, and thrust him out of our number by all possible means? Yet this man is now in our presence, and fails to produce any of the credentials which we have summarized in what we have already said, and declares that he is the Paraclete whose mission was presignified by Jesus. And by this assertion, in his ignorance perchance, he will make out Jesus Himself to be a liar; for thus He who once said that He would send the Paraclete no long time after, will be proved only to have sent this person, if we accept the testimony which he bears to himself, after an interval of three hundred years and more.6 In the day of judgment, then, what will those say to Jesus who have departed this life from that time on to the present period? Will they not meet Him with words like these: “Do not punish its rigorously if we have failed to do Thy works. For why, when Thou didst promise to send the Paraclete under Tiberius Cæsar, to convince us of sin and of righteousness, didst Thou send Him only under Probus the Roman emperor, and didst leave us orphaned, not withstanding that Thou didst say, ‘I will not leave you comfortless (orphaned), ‘8 and after Thou hadst also assured us that Thou wouldest send the Paraclete presently after Thy departure? What could we orphans do, having no guardian? We have committed no fault; it is Thou that hast deceived us.” But away with such a supposition in the case of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of every soul. For He did not confine Himself to mere promises;10 but when He had once said, “I go to my Father, and I send the Paraclete to you,” straightway He sent (that gift of the Paraclete), dividing and imparting the same to His disciples,—bestowing it, however, in greater fulness upon Paul.12

28. Manes said: You are caught in the charge you yourself bring forward. For you have been speaking now against yourself, and have not perceived that, in trying to cast reproaches in my teeth, you lay yourself under the greater fault. Tell me this now, I pray you: if, as you allege, those who have died from the time of Tiberius on to the days of Probus are to say to Jesus, “Do not judge us if we have failed to do Thy works, for Thou didst not send the Paraclete to us, although Thou didst promise to send Him;” will not those much more use such an address who have departed this life from the time of Moses on to the advent of Christ Himself? And will not those with still greater right express themselves in terms like these: “Do not deliver us over to torments,2 seeing that we had no knowledge of Thee imparted to us?” And will it only be those that have died thus far previously to His advent who may be seen making such a charge with right? Will not those also do the same who have passed away from Adam’s time on to Christ’s advent? For none of these either obtained any knowledge of the Paraclete, or received instruction in the doctrine of Jesus. But only this latest generation of men, which has run its course from Tiberius onward, as you make it out, is to be saved: for it is Christ Himself that “has redeemed them from the curse of the law;”4 as Paul, too, has given these further testimonies, that “the letter killeth, and quickeneth no man,” and that “the law is the ministration of death,”6 and “the strength of sin.” Archelaus said: You err, not knowing the Scriptures, neither the power of God. For many have also perished after the period of Christ’s advent on to this present period, and many are still perishing,—those, to wit, who have not chosen to devote themselves to works of righteousness; whereas only those who have received Him, and yet receive Him, “have obtained power to become the sons of God.”9 For the evangelist has not said all have obtained that power; neither, on the other hand, however, has he put any limit on the time. But this is his expression: “As many as received Him.” Moreover, from the creation of the world He has ever been with righteous men, and has never ceased to require their blood at the hands of the wicked, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zacharias. And whence, then, did righteous Abel and all those succeeding worthies,11 who are enrolled among the righteous, derive their righteousness when as yet there was no law of Moses, and when as yet the prophets had not arisen and discharged the functions of prophecy? Were they not constituted righteous in virtue of their fulfilling the law, “every one of them showing the work of the law written in their hearts, their’ conscience also bearing them witness?” For when a man “who has not the law does naturally the things contained in the law, he, not having the law, is a law unto himself.”13 And consider now the multitude of laws thus existing among the several righteous men who lived a life of uprightness, at one time discovering for themselves the law of God implanted in their hearts, at another learning of it from their parents, and yet again being instructed in it further by the ancients and the elders. But inasmuch as only, few were able to rise by this medium to the height of righteousness, that is to say, by means of the traditions of parents, when as yet there was no law embodied in writing, God had compassion on the race of man, and was pleased to give through Moses a written law to men, since verily the equity of the natural law failed to be retained in all its perfection in their hearts. In consonance, therefore, with man’s first creation, a written legislation was prepared which was given through Moses in behoof of the salvation of very many. For if we reckon that man is justified without the works of the law, and if Abraham was counted righteous, how much more shall those obtain righteousness who have fulfilled the law which contains the things that are expedient for men? And seeing that you have made mention only of three several scriptures, in terms of which the apostle has declared that “the law is a ministration of death,”15 and that “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law,” and that “the law is the strength of sin,”17 you may now advance others of like tenor, and bring forward any passages which may seem to you to be written against the law, to any extent you please.

29. Manes said: Is not that word also to the same effect which Jesus spake to the disciples, when He was demonstrating those men to be unbelieving: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do?” By this He means, in sooth, that whatever the wicked prince of this world desired, and whatever he lusted after, he committed to writing through Moses, and by that medium gave it to men for their doing. For “he was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” Archelaus said: Are you satisfied with what you have already adduced, or have you other statements still to make? Manes said: I have, indeed, many things to say, and things of greater weight even than these. But with these I shall content myself. Archelaus said: By all means. Now let us select some instance from among those statements which you allege to be on your side; so that if these be once found to have been properly dealt with, other questions may also be held to rank with them; and if the case goes otherwise, I shall come under the condemnation of the judges, that is to say, I shall have to bear the shame of defeat. You say, then, that the law is a ministration of death, and you admit that “death, the prince of this world, reigned from Adam even to Moses;”4 for the word of Scripture is this: “even over them that did not sin.” Manes said: Without doubt death did reign thus, for there is a duality, and these two antagonistic powers were nothing else than both unbegotten. Archelaus said: Tell me this then,—how can an unbegotten death take a beginning at a certain time? For “from Adam” is the word of Scripture, and not “before Adam.” Manes said: But tell me, I ask you in turn, how it obtained its kingdom over both the righteous and the sinful. Archelaus said: When you have first admitted that it has had that kingdom from a determinate time and not from eternity, I shall tell you that. Manes said: It is written, that “death reigned from Adam to Moses.” Archelaus said: And consequently it has an end, because it has had a beginning in time. And this saying is also true, that “death is swallowed up in victory.”8 It is apparent, then, that death cannot be unbegotten, seeing that it is shown to have both a beginning and an end. Manes said: But in that way it would also follow that God was its maker. Archelaus said: By no means; away with such a supposition! “For God made not death; neither hath He pleasure in the destruction of the living.” Manes said: God made it not; nevertheless it was made, as you admit. Tell us, therefore, from whom it received its empire, or by whom it was created. Archelaus said: If I give the most ample proof of the fact that death cannot have the substance of an unbegotten nature, will you not confess that there is but one God, and that an unbegotten God? Manes said: Continue your discourse, for your aim is to speak with subtlety. Archelaus said: Nay, but you have put forward those allegations in such a manner, as if they were to serve you for a demonstration of an unbegotten root. Nevertheless the positions which we have discussed above may suffice us, for by these we have shown most fully that it is impossible for the substances of two unbegotten natures to exist together.

30. The judges said: Speak to those points, Archelaus, which he has just now propounded. Archelaus said: By the prince of the world, and the wicked one, and darkness, and death, he means one and the same thing, and alleges that the law has been given by that being, on the ground of the scriptural statement that it is “the ministration of death,” as well as on the ground of other things which he has urged against it. Well, then, I say that since, as we have explained above, the law which was written naturally on men’s hearts did not keep carefully by the memory of evil things, and since there was not a sufficiently established tradition among the elders, inasmuch as hostile oblivion always attached itself to the memory,12 and one man was instructed in the knowledge of that law by master, and another by himself, it easily came about that transgressions of the law engraved by nature did take place, and that through the violation of the commandments death obtained its kingship among men. For the race of men is of such a nature, that it needs to be ruled by God with a rod of iron. And so death triumphed and reigned with all its power on to Moses, even over those who had not sinned, in the way which we have explained: over sinners indeed, as these were its proper objects, and under subjection to it,—men after the type of Cain and Judas; but also over the righteous, because they refused to consent to it, and rather withstood it, by putting away from themselves the vices and concupiscence of lusts,—men like those who have arisen at times from Abel

on to Zacharias; —death thus always passing, up to the time of Moses, upon those after that similitude.

But after Moses had made his appearance, and had given the law to the children of Israel, and had brought into their memory all the requirements of the law, and all that it behoved men to observe and do under it, and when he delivered over to death only those who should transgress the law, then death was cut off from reigning over all men; for it reigned then over sinners alone, as the law said to it, “Touch not those that keep my precepts.” Moses therefore served the ministration of this word upon death, while he delivered up to destruction4 all others who were transgressors of the law; for it was not with the intent that death might not reign in any territory at all that Moses came, inasmuch as multitudes were assuredly held under the power of death even after Moses. And the law was called a “ministration of death” from the fact that then only transgressors of the law were punished, and not those who kept it, and who obeyed and observed the things which are in the law, as Abel did, whom Cain, who was made a vessel of the wicked one, slew. However, even after these things death wished to break the covenant which had been made by the instrumentality of Moses, and to reign again over the righteous; and with this object it did indeed assail the prophets, killing and stoning those who had been sent by God, on to Zacharias. But my Lord Jesus, as maintaining the righteousness of the law of Moses, was wroth with death for its transgression of the covenant and of that whole ministration, and condescended to appear in the body of man, with the view of avenging not Himself, but Moses, and those who in a continuous succession after him had been oppressed by the violence of death. That wicked one, however, in ignorance of the meaning of a dispensation of this kind, entered into Judas, thinking to slay Him by that man’s means, as before he had put righteous Abel to death. But when he had entered into Judas, he was overcome with penitence, and hanged himself; for which reason also the divine word says: “O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?” And again: “Death is swallowed up of victory.”7 It is for this reason, therefore, that the law is called a “ministration of death,” because it delivered sinners and transgressors over to death; but those who observed it, it defended from death; and these it also established in glory, by the help and aid of our Lord Jesus Christ.

31. Listen also to what I have to say on this other expression which has been adduced, viz., “Christ, who redeemed us from the curse of the law.” My view of this passage is that Moses, that illustrious servant of God, committed to those who wished to have the right vision,9 an emblematic law, and also a real law. Thus, to take an example, after God had made the world, and all things that are in it, in the space of six days, He rested on the seventh day from all His works; by which statement I do not mean to affirm that He rested because He was fatigued, but that He did so as having brought to its perfection every creature which He had resolved to introduce. And yet in the sequel it, the new law, says: “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” Does that mean, then, that He is still making heaven, or sun, or man, or animals, or trees, or any such thing? Nay; but the meaning is, that when these visible objects were perfectly finished, He rested from that kind of work; while, however, He still continues to work at objects invisible with an inward mode of action,12 and saves men. In like manner, then, the legislator desires also that every individual amongst us should be devoted unceasingly to this kind of work, even as God Himself is; and he enjoins us consequently to rest continuously from secular things, and to engage in no worldly sort of work whatsoever; and this is called our Sabbath. This also he added in the law, that nothing senseless should be done, but that we should be careful and direct our life in accordance with what is just and righteous. Now this law was suspended over men, discharging most sharply its curse against those who might transgress it. But because its subjects, too, were but men, and because, as happens also frequently with us, controversies arose and injuries were inflicted, the law likewise at once, and with the severest equity, made any wrong that was done return upon the head of the wrong-doer; so that, for instance, if a poor man was minded to gather a bundle of wood upon the Sabbath, he was placed under the curse of the law, and exposed to the penality of instant death.2 The men, therefore, who had been brought up with the Egyptians were thus severely pressed by the restrictive power of the law, and they were unable to bear the penalties and the curses of the law. But, again, He who is ever the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, came and delivered those men from these pains and curses of the law, forgiving them their offences. And He indeed did not deal with them as Moses did, putting the severities of the law in force, and granting indulgence to no man for any offence; but He declared that if any man suffered an injury at the hands of his neighbour, he was to forgive him not once only, nor even twice or thrice, nor only seven times, but even unto seventy times seven; but that, on the other hand, if after all this the offender still continued to do such wrong, he ought then, as the last resource, to be brought under the law of Moses, and that no further pardon should be granted to the man who would thus persist in wrong-doing, even after having been forgiven unto seventy times seven. And He bestowed His forgiveness not only on a transgressor of such a character as that, but even on one who did offence to the Son of man. But if a man dealt thus with the Holy Spirit, He made him subject to two curses,—namely, to that of the law of Moses, and to that of His own law; to the law of Moses in truth in this present life, but to His own law at the time of the judgment: for His word is this: “It shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.”4 There is the law of Moses, thus, that in this world gives pardon to no such person; and there is the law of Christ that punishes in the future world. From this, therefore, mark how He confirms the law, not only not destroying it, but fulfilling it. Thus, then, He redeemed them from that curse of the law which belongs to the present life; and from this fact has come the appellation “the curse of the law.” This is the whole account which needs be given of that mode of speech. But, again, why the law is called the “strength of sin,” we shall at once explain in brief to the best of our ability. Now it is written that “the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners.” In these times, then, before Moses, there was no written law for transgressors; whence also Pharaoh, not knowing the strength of sin, transgressed in the way of afflicting the children of Israel with unrighteous burdens, and despised the Godhead, not only himself, but also all who were with him. But, not to make any round-about statement, I shall explain the matter briefly as follows. There were certain persons of the Egyptian race mingling with the people of Moses, when that people was under his rule in the desert; and when Moses had taken his position on the mount, with the purpose of receiving the law, the impatient people, I do not mean those who were the true Israel, but those who had been intermixed with the Egyptians,6 set up a calf as their god, in accordance with their ancient custom of worshipping idols, with the notion that by such means they might secure themselves against ever having to pay the proper penalties for their iniquities. Thus were they altogether ignorant of the strength of their sin. But when Moses returned (from the mount) and found that out, he issued orders that those men should be put to death with the sword. From that occasion a beginning was made in the correct perception of the strength of sin on the part of these persons through the instrumentality of the law of Moses, and for that reason the law has been called the “strength of sin.”

32. Moreover, as to this word which is written in the Gospel, “Ye are of your father the devil,” and so forth, we say in brief that there is a devil working in us, whose aim it has been, in the strength of his own will, to make us like himself. For all the creatures that God made, He made very good; and He gave to every individual the sense of free-will, in accordance with which standard He also instituted the law of judgment. To sin is ours, and that we sin not is God’s gift, as our will is constituted to choose either to sin or not to sin. And this you doubtless understand well enough yourself, Manes; for you know that, although you were to bring together all your disciples and admonish9 them not to commit any transgression or do any unrighteousness, every one of them might still pass by the law of judgment. And certainly whosoever will, may keep the commandments; and whosoever shall despise them, and turn aside to what is contrary to them, shall yet without doubt have to face this law of judgment. Hence also certain of the angels, refusing to submit themselves to the commandment of God, resisted His will; and one of them indeed fell like a flash of lightning upon the earth, while others,2 harassed by the dragon, sought their felicity in intercourse with the daughters of men, and thus brought on themselves the merited award of the punishment of eternal fire. And that angel who was cast down to earth, finding no further admittance into any of the regions of heaven, now flaunts about among men, deceiving them, and luring them to become transgressors like himself, and even to this day he is an adversary to the commandments of God. The example of his fall and ruin, however, will not be followed by all, inasmuch as to each is given liberty of will. For this reason also has he obtained the name of devil, because he has passed over from the heavenly places, and appeared on earth as the disparager of God’s commandment. But because it was God who first gave the commandment, the Lord Jesus Himself said to the devil, “Get thee behind me, Satan;”5 and, without doubt, to go behind God is the sign of being His servant. And again He says, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.” Wherefore, as certain men were inclined to yield obedience to his wishes, they were addressed in these terms by the Saviour: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.”7 And, in fine, when they are found to be actually doing his will, they are thus addressed: “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance.” From all this, then, you ought to see how weighty a matter it is for man to have freedom of will. However, let my antagonist here say whether there is a judgment for the godly and the ungodly, or not. Manes said: There is a judgment. Archelaus said: I think that what we have said concerning the devil contains no small measure of reason as well as of piety. For every creature, moreover, has its own order; and there is one order for the human race, and another for animals, and another for angels. Furthermore, there is but one only inconvertible substance, the divine substance, eternal and invisible, as is known to all, and as is also borne out by this scripture: “No man hath seen God at any time, save the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father.”10 All the other creatures, consequently, are of necessity visible,—such as heaven, earth, sea, men, angels, archangels. But if God has not been seen by any man at any time, what consubstantiality can there be between Him and those creatures? Hence we hold that all things whatsoever have, in their several positions, their own proper substances, according to their proper order. You, on the other hand, allege that every living thing which moves is made of one, and you say that every object has received like substance from God, and that this substance is capable of sinning and of being brought under the judgment; and you are unwilling to accept the word which declares that the devil was an angel, and that he fell in transgression, and that he is not of the same substance with God. Logically, you ought to do away with any allowance of the doctrine of a judgment, and that would make it clear which of us is in error.12 If, indeed, the angel that has been created by God is incapable of falling in transgression, how can the soul, as a part of God, be capable of sinning? But, again, if you say that there is a judgment for sinning souls, and if you hold also that these are of one substance with God; and if still, even although you maintain that they are of the divine nature, you affirm that, notwithstanding that fact, they do not keep the commandments of God, then, even on such grounds, my argument will pass very well,14 which avers that the devil fell first, on account of his failure to keep the commandments of God. He was not indeed of the substance of God. And he fell, not so much to do hurt to the race of man, as rather to be set at nought by the same. For He “gave unto us power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the strength of the enemy.”16

33. The judges said: He has given demonstration enough of the origin of the devil. And as both sides admit that there will be a judgment, it is necessarily involved in that admission that every individual is shown to have free-will; and since this is brought clearly out, there can be no doubt that every individual, in the exercise of his own proper power of will, may shape his course in whatever direction he pleases. Manes said: If (only) the good is from (your) God, as you allege, then you make Jesus Himself a liar. Archelaus said: In the first place, admit that the account of what we have adduced is true, and then I will give you proof about the “father of him.” Manes said: If you prove to me that his father is a liar, and yet show me that for all that you ascribe no such (evil) notion to God, then credit will be given you on all points. Archelaus said: Surely when a full account of the devil has once been presented, and the dispensation set forth, any one now, with an ordinarily vigorous understanding, might simply, by turning the matter carefully over in his own mind, get an idea of who this is that is here called the father of the devil. But though you give yourself out to be the Paraclete, you come very far short of the ordinary sagacity of men. Wherefore, as you have betrayed your ignorance, I shall tell you what is meant by this expression, the “father of the devil.” Manes said: I say so …; and he added: Every one who is the founder or maker of anything may be called the father, parent, of that which he has made. Archelaus said: Well, I am verily astonished that you have made so correct an admission in reply to what I have said, and have not concealed either your intelligent apprehension of the affirmation, or the real nature of the same. Now, from this learn who is this father of the devil. When he fell from the kingdom of heaven, he came to dwell upon earth, and there he remained, ever watching and seeking out some one to whom he might attach himself, and whom, through an alliance with himself, he might also make a partner in his own wickedness. Now as long, indeed, as man was not yet existent, the devil was never called either a murderer or a liar together with his father. But subsequently, when man had once been made, and when further he had been deceived by the devil’s lies and craftiness, and when the devil had also introduced himself into the body of the serpent, which was the most sagacious of all the beasts, then from that time the devil was called a liar together with his father, and then also the curse was made to rest not only on himself, but also on his father. Accordingly, when the serpent had received him, and had indeed admitted him wholly into its own being, it was, as it were, rendered pregnant, for it bore the burden of the devil’s vast wickedness; and it was like one with child, and under the strain of parturition, as it sought to eject the agitations6 of his malignant suggestions. For the serpent, grudging the glory of the first man, made its way into paradise; and harbouring these pains of parturition in itself, it began to produce mendacious addresses, and to generate death for the men who had been fashioned by God, and who had received the gift of life. The devil, however, was not able to manifest himself completely through the serpent; but he reserved his perfection for a time, in order that he might demonstrate it through Cain, by whom he was generated completely. And thus through the serpent, on the one hand, he displayed his hypocrisies and deceits to Eve; while through Cain, on the other hand, he effected the beginning of murder, introducing himself into the firstlings of the “fruits,” which that man administered so badly. From this the devil has been called a murderer from the beginning, and also a liar, because he deceived the parties to whom he said, “Ye shall be as gods;”8 for those very persons whom he falsely declared destined to be gods were afterwards cast out of paradise. Wherefore the serpent which conceived him in its womb, and bore him, and brought him forth to the light of day, is constituted the devil’s first father; and Cain is made his second father, who through the conception of iniquities produced pains and parricide: for truly the taking of life was the perpetrating of iniquity, unrighteousness, and impiety all together. Furthermore, all who receive him, and do his lusts, are constituted his brothers. Pharaoh is his father in perfection. Every impious man is made his father. Judas became his father, since he conceived him indeed, though he miscarried: for he did not present a perfect parturition there, since it was really a greater person who was assailed through Judas; and consequently, as I say, it proved an abortion. For just as the woman receives the man’s seed, and thereby also becomes sensible of a daily growth within her, so also did Judas make daily advances in evil, the occasions for that being furnished him like seed by the wicked one. And the first seed of evil in him, indeed, was the lust of money; and its increment was theft, for he purloined the moneys which were deposited in the bag. Its offspring, moreover, consisted of less vexations, and compacts with the Pharisees, and the scandalous bargain for a price; yet it was the abortion, and not the birth, that was witnessed in the horrid noose by which he met his death. And exactly in the same way shall it stand also with you: if you bring the wicked one to light in your own deeds, and do his lusts, you have conceived him, and will be called his father; but, on the other hand, if you cherish penitence, and deliver yourself of your burden, you will be like one that brings to the birth. For, as in school exercises, if one gets the subject-matter from the master, and then creates and produces the whole body of an oration by himself, he is said to be the author of the compositions to which he has thus given birth;2 so he who has taken in any little leaven of evil from the prime evil, is of necessity called the father and procreator of that wicked one, who from the beginning has resisted the truth. The case may be the same, indeed, with those who devote themselves to virtue; for I have heard the most valiant men say to God, “For Thy fear, O Lord, we have conceived in the womb, and we have been in pain, and have brought forth the spirit of salvation.” And so those, too, who conceive in respect of the fear of the wicked one, and bring forth the spirit of iniquity, must needs be called the fathers of the same. Thus, on the one hand, they are called sons of that wicked one, so long as they are still yielding obedience to his service; but, on the other hand, they are called fathers if they have attained to the perfection of iniquity. For it is with this view that our Lord says to the Pharisees, “Ye are of your father the devil,”4 thereby making them his sons, as long as they appeared still to be perturbed by him, and meditated in their hearts evil for good toward the righteous. Accordingly, while they deliberated in such a spirit with their own hearts, and while their wicked devices were made chargeable upon6 themselves, Judas, as the head of all the evil, and as the person who carried out their iniquitous counsels to their consummation, was constituted the father of the crime, having received at their hands the recompense of thirty pieces of silver for his impious cruelty. For “after the sop Satan entered into him” completely. But, as we have said, when his womb was enlarged, and the time of his travail came on, he delivered himself only of an abortive burden in the conception of unrighteousness, and consequently he could not be called the father in perfection, except only at that very time when the conception was still in the womb; and afterwards, when he betook himself to the hangman’s rope, he showed that he had not brought it to a complete birth, because remorse8 followed.

34. I think that you cannot fail to understand this too, that the word “father” is but a single term indeed, and yet one admitting of being understood in various ways. For one is called father, as being the parent of those children whom he has begotten in a natural way; another is called father, as being the guardian of children whom he has but brought up; and some, again, are called fathers in respect of the privileged standing accruing through time or age. Hence our Lord Jesus Christ Himself is said to have a variety of fathers: for David was called His father, and Joseph was reckoned to be His father, while neither of these two was His father in respect of the actuality of nature. For David is called His father as touching the prerogative of time and age, and Joseph is designated His father as concerning the law of upbringing; but God Himself is His only Father by nature, who was pleased to make all things manifest in short space10 to us by His word. And our Lord Jesus Christ, making no tarrying, in the space of one year12 restored multitudes of the sick to health, and gave back the dead to the light of life; and He did indeed embrace all things in the power of His own word. And wherein, forsooth, did He make any tarrying, so that we should have to believe Him to have waited so long, even to these days, before He actually sent the Paraclete? Nay, rather, as has been already said above, He gave proof of His presence with us forthwith, and did most abundantly impart Himself to Paul, whose testimony we also believe when he says, “Unto me only is this grace given.”15 For this is he who formerly was a persecutor of the Church of God, but who afterwards appeared openly before all men as a faithful minister of the Paraclete; by whose instrumentality His singular clemency was made known to all men, in such wise that even to us who some time were without hope the largess of His gifts has come. For which of us could have hoped that Paul, the persecutor and enemy of the Church, would prove its defender and guardian? Yea, and not that alone, but that he would become also its ruler, the founder and architect of the churches? Wherefore after him, and after those who were with Himself—that is, the disciples—we are not to look for the advent of any other (such), according to the Scriptures; for our Lord Jesus Christ says of this Paraclete, “He shall receive of mine.” Him therefore He selected as an acceptable vessel; and He sent this Paul to us in the Spirit. Into him the Spirit was poured;2 and as that Spirit could not abide upon all men, but only on Him who was born of Mary the mother of God, so that Spirit, the Paraclete, could not come into any other, but could only come upon the apostles and the sainted Paul. “For he is a chosen vessel,” He says, “unto me, to bear my name before kings and the Gentiles.” The apostle himself, too, states the same thing in his first epistle, where he says: “According to the grace that is given to me of God, that I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering4 the Gospel of God.” “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost.”6 And again: “For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me by word and deed.” “I am the last of all the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle. But by the grace of God I am what I am.”8 And it is his wish to have to deal with those who sought the proof of that Christ who spake in him, for this reason, that the Paraclete was in him: and as having obtained His gift of grace, and as being enriched with magnificent honour,10 he says: “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for strength is made perfect in weakness.” Again, that it was the Paraclete Himself who was in Paul, is indicated by our Lord Jesus Christ in the Gospel, when He says: “If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray my Father, and He shall give you another Comforter.”12 In these words He points to the Paraclete Himself, for He speaks of “another” Comforter. And hence we have given credit to Paul, and have hearkened to him when he says, “Or seek ye a proof of Christ speaking in me?”14 and when he expresses himself in similar terms, of which we have already spoken above. Thus, too, he seals his testament for us as for his faithful heirs, and like a father he addresses us in these words in his Epistle to the Corinthians: “I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures; and that He was seen of Cephas, then of the eleven apostles: after that He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that He was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all He was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the last of the apostles.”16 “Therefore, whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.” And again, in delivering over to his heirs that inheritance which he gained first himself, he says: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Christ,18 whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another Spirit, which we have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. For I suppose that I did nothing less for you than the other apostles.”

35. These things, moreover, he has said with the view of showing us that all others who may come after him will be false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed, like an angel of light. What great thing therefore is it, if his ministers also be transformed into the ministers of righteousness?—whose end shall be according to their works. He indicates, further, what manner of men these were, and points out by whom they were being circumvented. And when the Galatians are minded to turn away from the Gospel, he says to them: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would turn you away from the Gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which has been delivered to you, let him be accursed.”2 And again he says: “To me, who am the least of all the apostles, is this grace given;”4 and, “I fill up that which was behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh.” And once more, in another place, he declares of himself that he was a minister of Christ more than all others,6 as though after him none other was to be looked for at all; for he enjoins that not even an angel from heaven is thus to be received. And how, then, shall we credit the professions of this Manes, who comes from Persis, and declares himself to be the Paraclete? By this very thing, indeed, I rather recognise in him one of those men who transform themselves, and of whom the Apostle Paul, that elect vessel, has given us very clear indication when he says: “Now in the last times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; for-bidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving.”9 The Spirit in the evangelist Matthew is also careful to give note of these words of our Lord Jesus Christ: “Take heed that no man deceive you: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. But if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false apostles, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. If they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: if they shall say, Behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.”11 And yet, after all these directions, this man, who has neither sign nor portent of any kind to show, who has no affinity to exhibit, who never even had a place among the number of the disciples, who never was a follower of our departed Lord, in whose inheritance we rejoice,—this man, I say, although he never stood by our Lord in His weakness, and although he never came forward as a witness of His testament, yea rather, although he never came even within the acquaintance of those who ministered to Him in His sickness, and, in fine, although he obtains the testimony of no person whatsoever, desires us to believe this profession which he makes of being the Paraclete; whereas, even were you to do signs and wonders, we would still have to reckon you a false Christ, and a false prophet, according to the Scriptures. And therefore it is well for us to act with the greater caution, in accordance with the warning which the sainted apostle gives us, when, in the epistle which he wrote to the Colossians, he speaks in the following terms: “Continue in the faith grounded and rooted, and not to be moved away13 from the hope of the Gospel, which we have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven.”15 And again: “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him; rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any one spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead.” And after all these matters have been thus carefully set forth, the blessed apostle, like a father speaking to his children, adds the following words, which serve as a sort of seal to his testament: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course,17 I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.”

36. None of your party, O Manes, will you make a Galatian; neither will you in this fashion divert us20 from the faith of Christ. Yea, even although you were to work signs and wonders, although you were to raise the dead, although you were to present to us the very image of Paul himself, you would remain accursed still. For we have been instructed beforehand with regard to you: we have been both warned and armed against you by the Holy Scriptures. You are a vessel of Antichrist; and no vessel of honour, in sooth, but a mean and base one, used by him as any barbarian or tyrant may do, who, in attempting to make an inroad on a people living under the righteousness of the laws,2 sends some select vessel on beforehand, as it were destined to death, with the view of finding out the exact magnitude and character of the strength possessed by the legitimate king and his nation: for the man is too much afraid to make the inroad himself wholly at unawares, and he also lacks the daring to despatch any person belonging to his own immediate circle on such a task, through fear that he may sustain some harm. And so it is that your king, Antichrist, has despatched you in a similar character, and as it were destined to death, to us who are a people placed under the administration of the good and holy King. And this I do not say inconsiderately or without due inquiry; but from the fact that I see you perform no miracle, I hold myself entitled to entertain such sentiments concerning you. For we are given to understand beforehand that the devil himself is to be transformed into an angel of light, and that his servants are to make their appearance in similar guise, and that they are to work signs and wonders, insomuch that, if it were possible, the very elect should be deceived. But who, pray, are you then, to whose lot no such position of kinship has been assigned by your father Satan?4 For whom have you raised from the dead? What issue of blood do you ever staunch? What eyes of the blind do you ever anoint with clay, and thus cause them to have vision? When do you ever refresh a hungering multitude with a few loaves? Where do you ever walk upon the water, or who of those who dwell in Jerusalem has ever seen you? O Persian barbarian, you have never been able to have a knowledge of the language of the Greeks, or of the Egyptians, or of the Romans, or of any other nation; but the Chaldean tongue alone has been known to you, which verily is not a language prevalent among any great number of people,6 and you are not capable of understanding any one of another nationality when he speaks. Not thus is it with the Holy Spirit: God forbid; but He divides to all, and knows all kinds of tongues, and has understanding of all things, and is made all things to all men, so that the very thoughts of the heart cannot escape His cognizance. For what says the Scripture? “That every man heard the apostles speak in his own language through the Spirit, the Paraclete.” But why should I say more on this subject?8 Barbarian priest and crafty coadjutor of Mithras, you will only be a worshipper of the sun-god Mithras, who is the illuminator of places of mystic import, as you opine, and the self-conscious deity;”10 that is, you will sport as his worshippers do, and you will celebrate, though with less elegance as it were, his mysteries. But why should I take all this so indignantly? Is it not accordant with all that is fitting, that you should multiply yourself like the tares, until that same mighty father of yours comes, raising the dead, as he will profess to do, and persecuting almost to hell itself all those who refuse to yield to his bidding, keeping multitudes in check by that terror of arrogance in which he entrenches himself, and employing threatenings against others, and making sport of them by the changing of his countenance and his deceitful dealing? And yet beyond that he shall proceed no further; for his folly shall be made manifest to all men, as was the case with Jamnes and Mambres.13
The judges said: As we have heard now from you, as Paul himself also seems to tell us, and, further, as we have learned likewise from the earlier account given in the Gospel, an introduction to preaching, or teaching, or evangelizing, or prophesying, is not, in this life at least, held out on the same terms to any person in times subsequent to the apostle’s: and if the opposite appears ever to be the case, the person can only be held to be a false prophet or a false Christ. Now, since you have alleged that the Paraclete was in Paul, and that He attested all things in him, how is it that Paul himself said, “We know in part, and we prophesy in part; but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away?” What other one did he look for, when he uttered these words? For if he professes himself to be looking for some perfect one, and if some one must needs come, show us who it is of whom he speaks; lest that word of his perchance appear to carry us back to this man, Manes, or to him who has sent him, that is to say, Satan, according to your affirmation. But if you admit that that which is perfect is yet to come, then this excludes Satan; and if you look for the coming of Satan, then that excludes the perfect.

37. Archelaus said: Those sayings which are put forth by the blessed Paul were not uttered without the direction of God, and therefore it is certain that what he has declared to us is that we are to look for our Lord Jesus Christ as the perfect one, who is the only one that knows the Father, with the sole exception of him to whom He has chosen also to reveal Him,3 as I am able to demonstrate from His own words. But let it be observed, that it is said that when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. Now this man (Manes) asserts that he is the perfect one. Let him show us, then, what he has done away with; for what is to be done away with is the ignorance which is in us. Let him therefore tell us what he has done away with, and what he has brought into the sphere of our knowledge. If he is able to do anything of this nature, let him do it now, in order that he may be believed. These very words of Paul’s, if one can but understand them in the full power of their meaning, will only secure entire credit to the statements made by me. For in that first Epistle to the Corinthians, Paul speaks in the following terms of the perfection that is to come: “Whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall be destroyed: for we know in part, and we prophesy in part; but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” Observe now what virtue that which is perfect possesses in itself, and of what order that perfection is. And let this man, then, tell us what prophecy of the Jews or Hebrews he has done away with; or what tongues he has caused to cease, whether of the Greeks or of others who worship idols; or what alien dogmas he has destroyed, whether of a Valentinian, or a Marcion, or a Tatian, or a Sabellius, or any others of those who have constructed for themselves their peculiar systems of knowledge. Let him tell us which of all these he has already done away with, or when he is yet to do away with any one of them, in this character of the perfect one. Perchance he seeks some sort of truce—does he?5 But not thus inconsiderable, not thus obscure and ignoble, will be the manner of the advent of Him who is the truly perfect one, that is to say, our Lord Jesus Christ. Nay, but as a king, when he draws near to his city, does first of all send on before him his life-guardsmen,7 his ensigns and standards and banners, his generals and chiefs and prefects, and then forthwith all objects are roused and excited in different fashions, while some become inspired with terror and others with exultation at the prospect of the king’s advent; so also my Lord Jesus Christ, who is the truly perfect one, at His coming will first send on before Him His glory, and the consecrated heralds of an unstained and untainted kingdom: and then the universal creation will be moved and perturbed, uttering prayers and supplications, until He delivers it from its bondage. And it must needs be that the race of man shall then be in fear and in vehement agitation on account of the many offences it has committed. Then the righteous alone will rejoice, as they look for the things which have been promised them; and the subsistence of the affairs of this world will no longer be maintained, but all things shall be destroyed: and whether they be prophecies or the books of prophets, they shall fail; whether they be the tongues of the whole race, they shall cease; for men will no longer need to feel anxiety or to think solicitously about those things which are necessary for life; whether it be knowledge, by what teachers soever it be possessed, it shall also be destroyed: for none of all these things will be able to endure the advent of that mighty King. For just as a little spark, if taken and put up against the splendour of the sun, at once perishes from the view, so the whole creation, all prophecy, all knowledge, all tongues, as we have said above, shall be destroyed. But since the capacities of common human nature are all insufficient to set forth in a few words, and these so weak and so extremely poor, the coming of this heavenly King,—so much so, indeed, that perchance it should be the privilege only of the saintly and the highly worthy to attempt any statement on such a subject,—it may yet be enough for me to be able to say that I have advanced what I have now advanced on that theme on the ground of simple necessity,—compelled, as I have been, to do thus much by this person’s importunity, and simply with the view of showing you what kind of character he is.

38. And, in good truth, I hold Marcion, and Valentinian, and Basilides, and other heretics, to be sainted men when compared with this person. For they did display a certain kind of intellect, and they did, indeed, think themselves capable of understanding all Scripture, and did thus constitute themselves leaders2 for those who were willing to listen to them. But notwithstanding this, not one of these dared to proclaim himself to be either God, or Christ, or the Paraclete, as this fellow has done, who is ever disputing, on some occasions about the ages, and on others about the sun, and how these objects were made, as though he were superior to them himself; for every person who offers an exposition of the method in which any object has been made, puts himself forward as superior to and older than the subject of his discussion. But who may venture to speak of the substance of God, unless, it may be, our Lord Jesus Christ alone? And, indeed, I do not make this statement on the bare authority of my own words, but I confirm it by the authority of that Scripture which has been our instructor. For the apostle addresses the following words to us: “That ye may be lights in this world, holding4 the word of life for my glory against the day of Christ, seeing that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.” We ought to understand what is the force and meaning of this saying; for the word may suit the leader, but the effectual work suits the king.6 And accordingly, as one who looks for the arrival of his king, strives to be able to present all who are under his charge as obedient, and ready, and estimable, and lovely, and faithful, and not less also as blameless, and abounding in all that is good, so that he may himself get commendation from the king, and be deemed by him to be worthy of greater honours, as having rightly governed the province which was entrusted to his administration; so also does the blessed Paul give us to understand our position when he uses these words: “That ye may be as lights in this world, holding the word of life for my glory against the day of Christ.” For the meaning of this saying is, that our Lord Jesus Christ, when He comes, will see that his doctrine has proved profitable in us, and that, finding that he, the apostle, has not run in vain, neither laboured in vain, He will bestow on him the crown of recompense. And again, in the same epistle, he also warns us not to mind earthly things, and tells us that we ought to have our conversation in heaven; from which also we look for the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ. And as the knowledge of the date of the last day is no secure position for us, he has given us, to that effect, a declaration on the subject in the epistle which he wrote to the Thessalonians, thus: “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you; for yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”8 How, then, does this man stand up and try to persuade us to embrace his opinions, importuning every individual whom he meets to become a Manichæan, and going about and creeping into houses, and endeavouring to deceive minds laden with sins? But we do not hold such sentiments. Nay, rather, we should be disposed to present the things themselves before you all, and bring them into comparison, if it please you, with what we know of the perfect Paraclete. For you observe that sometimes he uses the interrogative style, and sometimes the deprecatory. But in the Gospel of our Sav