Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume IV/Origen/Origen Against Celsus/Book VI/Chapter XXXI

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Chapter XXXI.

Moreover, if any one would wish to become acquainted with the artifices of those sorcerers, through which they desire to lead men away by their teaching (as if they possessed the knowledge of certain secret rites), but are not at all successful in so doing, let him listen to the instruction which they receive after passing through what is termed the “fence of wickedness,”[1]—gates which are subjected to the world of ruling spirits.[2]  (The following, then, is the manner in which they proceed):  “I salute the one-formed[3] king, the bond of blindness, complete[4] oblivion, the first power, preserved by the spirit of providence and by wisdom, from whom I am sent forth pure, being already part of the light of the son and of the father:  grace be with me; yea, O father, let it be with me.”  They say also that the beginnings of the Ogdoad[5] are derived from this.  In the next place, they are taught to say as follows, while passing through what they call Ialdabaoth:  “Thou, O first and seventh, who art born to command with confidence, thou, O Ialdabaoth, who art the rational ruler of a pure mind, and a perfect work to son and father, bearing the symbol of life in the character of a type, and opening to the world the gate which thou didst close against thy kingdom, I pass again in freedom through thy realm.  Let grace be with me; yea, O father, let it be with me.”  They say, moreover, that the star Phænon[6] is in sympathy[7] with the lion-like ruler.  They next imagine that he who has passed through Ialdabaoth and arrived at Iao ought thus to speak:  “Thou, O second Iao, who shinest by night,[8] who art the ruler of the secret mysteries of son and father, first prince of death, and portion of the innocent, bearing now mine own beard as symbol, I am ready to pass through thy realm, having strengthened him who is born of thee by the living word.  Grace be with me; father, let it be with me.”  They next come to Sabaoth, to whom they think the following should be addressed:  “O governor of the fifth realm, powerful Sabaoth, defender of the law of thy creatures, who are liberated by thy grace through the help of a more powerful Pentad,[9] admit me, seeing the faultless symbol of their art, preserved by the stamp of an image, a body liberated by a Pentad.  Let grace be with me, O father, let grace be with me.”  And after Sabaoth they come to Astaphæus, to whom they believe the following prayer should be offered:  “O Astaphæus, ruler of the third gate, overseer of the first principle of water, look upon me as one of thine initiated,[10] admit me who am purified with the spirit of a virgin, thou who seest the essence of the world.  Let grace be with me, O father, let grace be with me.”  After him comes Aloæus, who is to be thus addressed:  “O Aloæus, governor of the second gate, let me pass, seeing I bring to thee the symbol of thy mother, a grace which is hidden by the powers of the realms.[11]  Let grace be with me, O father, let it be with me.”  And last of all they name Horæus, and think that the following prayer ought to be offered to him:  “Thou who didst fearlessly overleap the rampart of fire, O Horæus, who didst obtain the government of the first gate, let me pass, seeing thou beholdest the symbol of thine own power, sculptured[12] on the figure of the tree of life, and formed after this image, in the likeness of innocence.  Let grace be with me, O father, let grace be with me.”


  1. φραγμὸν κακίας.
  2. πύλας ἀρχόντων αἰῶνι δεδεμένας.
  3. μονότροπον.
  4. λήθην ἀπερίσκεπτον.
  5. ᾽Ογδοάδος.  Cf. Tertullian, de Præscript. adv. Hæreticos, cap. xxxiii. (vol. iii. p. 259), and other references in Benedictine ed.
  6. Φαίνων.  “Ea, quæ Saturni stella dicitur, φαινων que a Græcis dicitur.”—Cicero, de Nat. Deorum, book ii. c. 20.
  7. συμπαθεῖν.
  8. νυκτοφαής.
  9. πεντάδι δυνατωτέρᾳ.
  10. μύστην.
  11. χάριν κρυπτομένην δυνάμεσιν ἐξουσιῶν.
  12. For καταλυθέν Boherellus conjectures καταγλυφθέν, which has been adopted in the translation.