Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume III/Anti-Marcion/The Prescription Against Heretics/Chapter XXX
Chapter XXX.—Comparative Lateness of Heresies. Marcion’s Heresy. Some Personal Facts About Him. The Heresy of Apelles. Character of This Man; Philumene; Valentinus; Nigidius, and Hermogenes.
Where was Marcion then, that shipmaster of Pontus, the zealous student of Stoicism? Where was Valentinus then, the disciple of Platonism? For it is evident that those men lived not so long ago,—in the reign of Antoninus for the most part,—and that they at first were believers in the doctrine of the Catholic Church, in the church of Rome under the episcopate of the blessed Eleutherus, until on account of their ever restless curiosity, with which they even infected the brethren, they were more than once expelled. Marcion, indeed, [went] with the two hundred sesterces which he had brought into the church, and, when banished at last to a permanent excommunication, they scattered abroad the poisons of their doctrines. Afterwards, it is true, Marcion professed repentance, and agreed to the conditions granted to him—that he should receive reconciliation if he restored to the church all the others whom he had been training for perdition: he was prevented, however, by death. It was indeed necessary that there should be heresies; and yet it does not follow from that necessity, that heresies are a good thing. As if it has not been necessary also that there should be evil! It was even necessary that the Lord should be betrayed; but woe to the traitor! So that no man may from this defend heresies. If we must likewise touch the descent of Apelles, he is far from being “one of the old school,” like his instructor and moulder, Marcion; he rather forsook the continence of Marcion, by resorting to the company of a woman, and withdrew to Alexandria, out of sight of his most abstemious master. Returning therefrom, after some years, unimproved, except that he was no longer a Marcionite, he clave to another woman, the maiden Philumene (whom we have already mentioned), who herself afterwards became an enormous prostitute. Having been imposed on by her vigorous spirit, he committed to writing the revelations which he had learned of her. Persons are still living who remember them,—their own actual disciples and successors,—who cannot therefore deny the lateness of their date. But, in fact, by their own works they are convicted, even as the Lord said. For since Marcion separated the New Testament from the Old, he is (necessarily) subsequent to that which he separated, inasmuch as it was only in his power to separate what was (previously) united. Having then been united previous to its separation, the fact of its subsequent separation proves the subsequence also of the man who effected the separation. In like manner Valentinus, by his different expositions and acknowledged emendations, makes these changes on the express ground of previous faultiness, and therefore demonstrates the difference of the documents. These corrupters of the truth we mention as being more notorious and more public than others. There is, however, a certain man named Nigidius, and Hermogenes, and several others, who still pursue the course of perverting the ways of the Lord. Let them show me by what authority they come! If it be some other God they preach, how comes it that they employ the things and the writings and the names of that God against whom they preach? If it be the same God, why treat Him in some other way? Let them prove themselves to be new apostles! Let them maintain that Christ has come down a second time, taught in person a second time, has been twice crucified, twice dead, twice raised! For thus has the apostle described (the order of events in the life of Christ); for thus, too, is He accustomed to make His apostles—to give them, (that is), power besides of working the same miracles which He worked Himself. I would therefore have their mighty deeds also brought forward; except that I allow their mightiest deed to be that by which they perversely vie with the apostles. For whilst they used to raise men to life from the dead, these consign men to death from their living state.
- [Kaye, p. 226.]
- See adv. Marcion, iv. 4. infra.
- Enim, profecto (Oehler).
- 1 Cor. xi. 19.
- Mark. xiv. 21.
- Stemma. The reading of the Cod. Agobard. is “stigma,” which gives very good sense.
- Sanctissimi. This may be an ironical allusion to Marcion’s repudiation of marriage.
- In chap. vi. p. 246 above.
- Energemate. Oehler defines this word, “vis et efficacia dæmonum, quibus agebatur.” [But see Lardner, Credib. viii. p. 540.]
- Matt. vii. 16.
- Sine dubio.
- Alterius fuisse. One reading is anterius; i.e., “demonstrates the priority” of the book he alters.
- Nescio qui.
- Compare de Carne Christi, chap. ii. [Elucidation IV.]
- Christ; so Routh.
- We add Oehler’s reading of this obscure passage: “Sic enim apostolus descripsit, sic enim apostolos solet facere, dare præterea illis virtutem eadem signa edendi quæ et ipse.” [“It is worthy of remark” (says Kaye, p. 95), “that he does not appeal to any instance of the exercise of miraculous powers in his own day.”]