From the book “THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH”
Continuing on page 175 from book 4
Justin the Philosopher martyred in Rome
16. At the same period, Justin, whom I mentioned a little way back, after presenting a second book in defence of our doctrines to the rulers already named, was honoured with a divine martyrdom, owing to the philosopher Crescens, a man who strove to make his life and conduct conform to his title of Cynic.2 It was he who devised the plot against Justin; for Justin had repeatedly refuted him in debate with an audience present, and now at the last by his martyrdom bound on his brow the trophies of victory of the truth he ever proclaimed. That martyrdom he himself, truly the most philosophical of men, clearly foretold in the Defence referred to above, exactly as it was so soon to happen to him. This is what he wrote:
I too expect to be plotted against and clapped in the stocks3 by one of those I have named, or maybe by Crescens, who calls himself a
1. Pionius is thought to have died nearly a century later.
2. Meaning ‘like a dog’.
3. Meaning doubtful
philosopher yet is a lover not of wisdom but of showing off. He does not deserve the name of philosopher, seeing that he publicly criticizes what he does not understand, alleging that Christians are godless and impious, his object being to win the favour and applause of the deluded masses. For if he lashes out at us without studying Christ's teaching he is most unscrupulous and much worse than simple people, who as a rule refrain from arguing and making false statements on subjects they know nothing about: if he has studied it and failed to understand its greatness, or has understood it but for fear of being suspected behaves in this shameful way, there is all the more reason to call him ignoble and unscrupulous, yielding as he does to ignorant and senseless prejudice and suspicion. I would like you to know that by putting certain questions of this kind for him to answer I found out - in fact, proved - that he really is totally ignorant: to show that I am speaking the truth, if you have not been informed of our discussions, I am prepared even in your presence to discuss the questions again. This would be a task worthy of emperors.1 But if you are already acquainted with my questions and his answers, it must be obvious to you that he knows nothing of what we stand for: if he does know, but dare not say so for fear of the audience, then, as I said before, he is shown up as a lover not of wisdom but of glory; for he does not even honour the admirable precept of Socrates.2
These are Justin's words. That in accordance with his own prediction he was entrapped by Crescens, and found his fulfilment, is recorded by Tatian - a man who in his early years acquired a considerable reputation by his lectures on Greek philosophy and science, and left a number of works for which he will long be remembered - in his work The Greeks Answered:
That wonderful man, Justin, rightly declared that these people were no better than bandits.
1. The plural is used throughout, because Justin is addressing the emperor and his 'sons'.
2. Eusebius has unaccountably failed to transcribe Justin's quotation. ‘A man is not to be reverenced more than the truth.’
Then, after further comments on the philosophers, he goes on:
Crescens, for instance, who made his lair in the great city, went beyond everyone in his offences against boys, and was passionately devoted to money-making. He urged others to despise death, but was so afraid of it himself that he did his best to compass the death of Justin - as though death was a calamity - simply because by preaching the truth Justin convicted the philosophers of gluttony and fraud.
Such was the cause of Justin's martyrdom.
The martyrs mentioned in Justin’s own writings
17. Before his own ordeal, Justin, in his first Defence, refers to others martyred before him. His account bears on our subject:
There was a woman who lived with a dissolute husband. At first she was as dissolute as he was, but when she came to know Christ's teaching, she reformed her ways and tried to persuade her husband to reform his, passing on what she had learnt and warning him that there will be punishment in eternal fire for those who do not reform and order their lives aright. But he remained as dissipated as ever and by his actions estranged his wife. For she thought it wrong to go on sharing the bed of a man who in defiance of natural law and of morality tried to obtain the satisfaction of his desires in every possible way; so she planned to end the union. When, however, she was implored by her family, who urged her to remain with him still, in the hope that one day her husband would change, she forced herself to stay. But when her husband went off to Alexandria, and news came that he was behaving still worse, she determined not to be involved in his abominable misconduct by maintaining the marriage bond as sharer of his board and bed; so she gave him what you call the ‘repudium,’ and regained her freedom.
That splendid fellow, her husband, ought to have been glad that she had finished with all that in the old days she had done so recklessly with servants and hirelings, delighting in drunken revels and vice of every kind, and that she wanted him to finish with them too. But no. She had left him against his wish, so he brought an accusation against her on the ground that she was a Christian. She then filed a petition with you, the Emperor, asking that she might be allowed first to put her affairs in order, and when that was done to answer the accusation. To this you agreed. Her former husband was no longer in a position to attack her,1 so he turned his attention to a man called Ptolemy, who had been her instructor in Christian doctrine and was punished by Urbicius.2 His method was simple. He persuaded a centurion friend to manacle Ptolemy, hold him tight, and ask him one question only - was he a Christian? When Ptolemy, a truthful man who hated deceit and falsehood, confessed himself a Christian, the centurion kept him manacled and tortured him for a long time in the prison. Finally, the poor fellow was brought before Urbicius and questioned as before on one point only - was he a Christian? Again, fully conscious of the benefits that came to him through Christ's teaching he confessed his schooling in divine virtues. For a man who denies anything either denies it because he condemns it, or avoids confession because he knows that he is unworthy and incapable of it. Neither of these is true of the real Christian.
When Urbicius ordered him to be led to execution, one Lucius, a Christian like Ptolemy, seeing the utter unreasonableness of the verdict said to Urbicius: 'Why have you punished this man, who is neither an adulterer, a fornicator, a homicide, a thief, nor a robber, and has not been found guilty of any offence, but merely confesses the name of Christian? Your verdict is discreditable to the Emperor Pius, to Caesar's philosopher son, and to the sacred Senate, Urbicius.' Urbicius made no reply except to say to Lucius: 'I think you're one of them yourself.' And when Lucius answered 'Indeed I am', he ordered him also to be led to execution. 'Thank you very much,' said Lucius. 'Now I'm free from such iniquitous masters, and I'm going to God, my gracious Father and King.' Then a third man stepped forward, and was condemned to the same punishment.
From this Justin naturally goes on to add the words I quoted above:
I too expect to be plotted against by one of those I have named, etc.
1. Because he would first have had to return her dowry.
2. City Prefect between A.D. 150 and 160.
The works of Justin that have come into my hands
18. Justin has left us many short works, the products of a cultured mind deeply versed in theology. They are full of good things, and I can recommend them to students, indicating those that have come usefully to my knowledge. There is one work of his championing our doctrines, addressed to Antoninus Pius, his sons, and the Roman Senate, and another containing A Second Defence of our Faith, written for the enlightenment of that emperor's successor and namesake, Antoninus Verus, whose period I am dealing with at present. A third work is The Greeks Answered, in which, after a very lengthy discussion of numerous questions debated both by ourselves and by the Greek philosophers, he expatiates on the nature of demons: these arguments there is no pressing need to quote at present. A second treatise of his in answer to the Greeks has come into my hands: this he entitled A Refutation. Then there is one called The Sovereignty of God, compiled not only from our own scriptures but from Greek books as well. Besides these there is a work entitled The Harpist, and a disputation on The Soul, in which he propounds various questions regarding the problem involved, and cites the opinions of the Greek philosophers: he promises to answer these and state his own opinion in a further treatise. Finally, he composed a Dialogue in Answer to the Jews, reproducing the argument that he had had in Ephesus with Trypho, one of the most eminent Hebrews of the day. In it he shows how God's grace guided him into the doctrine of the Faith, how keen he had once been on philosophic studies, and how fanatically he had striven to learn the truth.
Describing in the same work how the Jews contrived a plot against the teaching of Christ, he hurls these reproaches at Trypho:
Not only did you feel no remorse for your crimes, but you chose picked men at that time and dispatched them from Jerusalem to all parts of the world, saying that a godless sect of Christians had appeared, and retailing all the accusations which those who do not know us invariably bring against us, so that you corrupt not only yourselves but the entire human race.
He also tells us that right up to his own time prophetic gifts I were a conspicuous feature of the Church. He refers to the Revelation of John, stating explicitly that it was the work of the apostle. He also cites some passages from the prophets, proving against Trypho that the Jews had actually cut them out of the Scriptures.
Numerous other books on which he laboured are in the possession of many Christian scholars, and so worthy of study did even the earlier writers think his writings that Irenaeus quotes passages from him. In Book 1V of Heresies Answered, he makes this comment:
Justin puts it neatly in his treatise against Marcion: 'I would not have believed the Lord Himself, if He had preached another god beside the Creator.'
And in Book V of the same work he writes:
Justin puts it neatly: ‘Before the Lord's advent Satan never dared blaspheme God, since he did not yet know his condemnation.’
All this had to be said to encourage students to pay careful attention to his books, and there we will leave him.1
Prelates of Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch: Church writers of the time
19. When this reign was now in its eighth year2 Anicetus, who had completed eleven years as Bishop of Rome, was succeeded by Soter, and when Celadion had headed the see of
1. In the above list of Justin's works, no mention is made of his pamphlet against heresies, referred to on p. 165.
2. A.D. 168.
Alexandria for fourteen years.
20. Agrippinus took up the succession; while in the diocese of Antioch Theophilus, sixth from the apostles, was eminent. The fourth, appointed there after Hero, had been Cornelius, and after him in the fifth place Eros had succeeded to the bishopric.
21. It was at this period that a number of writers flourished in the Church. Hegesippus we have met already. There was also Bishop Dionysius of Corinth and Bishop Pinytus of Crete, as well as Philip, Apolinarius, Melito, Musanus, Modestus, and above all Irenaeus. In every case writings which show their orthodoxy and unshakable devotion to the apostolic tradition have come into my hands.
22. Hegesippus in the five short works that have come into my hands has left a very full account of his own beliefs. In them he describes how when travelling as far as Rome he mixed with a number of bishops and found the same doctrine among them all. Listen to what he appends to some remarks about Clement's Epistle to the Corinthians:
The Corinthian church continued in the true doctrine until Primus became bishop. I mixed with them on my voyage to Rome and spent several days with the Corinthians, during which we were refreshed with the true doctrine. On arrival at Rome I pieced together the succession down to Anicetus, whose deacon was Eleutherus, Anicetus being succeeded by Soter and he by Eleutherus. In every line of bishops and in every city things accord with the preaching of the Law, the Prophets, and the Lord.
The same writer sketches the origins of the heresies of his day:
When James the Righteous had suffered martyrdom like the Lord and for the same reason, Symeon the son of his uncle Clopas was appointed bishop. He being a cousin of the Lord, it was the universal demand that he should be the second. They used to call the Church a virgin for this reason, that she had not yet been seduced by listening to nonsense. But Thebuthis, because he had not been made bishop, began to seduce her by means of the seven sects (to which he himself belonged) among the people. From these came Simon and his Simon-ians, Cleobius and his Cleobienes, Dositheus and his Dositheans, Gorthaeus and his Gorathenes, and the Masbotheans. From these were derived the Menandrianists, Marcionists, Carpocratians, Valentians, Basihdians, and Saturnilians, every man introducing his own opinion in his own particular way. From these in turn came false Christs, false prophets, false apostles, who split the unity of the Church by poisonous suggestions against God and against His Christ.1
Hegesippus also names the sects that once existed among the Jews:
There were various groups in the Circumcision, among the Children of Israel, all hostile to the tribe of Judah and the Christ. They were these - Essenes, Galilaeans, Hemerobaptists, Masbotheans, Samaritans, Sadducees, and Pharisees.2
He wrote much else besides, to parts of which I have already referred, quoting his narrative whenever it was to the point. He also draws occasionally on the Gospel of the Hebrews, on the Syriac Gospel,3 and particularly on works in Aramaic,4 showing that he was a believer of Hebrew stock, and he mentions other matters as coming from Jewish oral tradition. And not only he but Irenaeus too, and the whole group of early writers, used to call Solomon's Proverbs the 'All-virtuous Wisdom'. And in discussing the apocryphal books, as they are called, he states that some of them were fabricated by heretics in his own time. But now I must move on to another writer.
1. This passage is somewhat obscure; perhaps Eusebius has omitted sentences.
2. The Galilaeans were possibly followers of Judas (see p. 50); the Hemerobaptists practised daily rebaptism; the Masbotheans were atheistic materialists; the Samaritans rejected the O.T. prophets, and with them the Davidic Messiah.
3. Otherwise unknown.
4. Or 'Hebrew'.
The epistles of Bishop Dionysius of Corinth
23. First it mus be said of Dionysius that when he had been enthroned as Bishop of Corinth he lavished his inspired industry without stint, not only on those under him but also on those in foreign lands, rendering the greatest service to all in the general epistles which he indited to the churches. Of these the one to the Spartans contains instruction in orthodoxy1 and an exhortation to peace and unity; the one to the Athenians is a rousing call to faith and to life according to the gospel. For their scorn of such a life, he takes them to task as virtual apostates from the word, since Publius their bishop had died a martyr's death in the persecutions of the time. He mentions that after Publius's martyrdom Quadratus was appointed their bishop, and testifies that through his endeavours they were brought together and their faith rekindled. He further informs us that Dionysius the Areopagite who, as related in the Acts,2 was converted to the Faith by the apostle Paul, was the first to be appointed Bishop of Athens.
Another extant epistle of his is addressed to the Nicomedians. In this he joins battle with Marcion's heresy in defence of the standard of truth.
He also wrote to the church at Gortyna and the other communities in Crete, congratulating Philip, their bishop, on the many courageous acts credited to the church under him, but warning him to guard against the distortions of the heretics.
In a similar letter to the church at Amastris and to those in Pontus he mentions that Bacchylides and Elpistus had pressed him to write it. He then gives explanations of Holy Scripture, and refers by name to their bishop Palmas. The letter also
1. i.e. the true doctrine; of the implication of stodginess which the word has unfortunately acquired there is of course no trace in Eusebius.
2. Acts xvii. 34.
contains a great deal of advice about marriage and celibacy,1 and a directive that those who returned to the fold after any kind of lapse, whether improper conduct or heretical error, should be warmly received.
Next on the list is an epistle to the Cnossians, in which he urges Pinytus, the bishop of the diocese, not to put on the brethren a heavy burden as being essential2 - the rule of celibacy - but to remember that most people were weak creatures. To this Pinytus replies that he admires and esteems Dionysius, but urges him in his turn to provide more solid food in the near future and nourish his flock with a further letter, this time a more advanced one, so that they may not be kept all their lives on a diet of milky words and treated like babes till they grow old without knowing it. In this letter Pinytus's orthodoxy regarding the Faith, his anxiety to help those under him, his learning and grasp of theology, are mirrored to perfection.
There is also extant an epistle of Dionysius to the Romans, addressed to the then bishop, Soter. I cannot do better than quote the passage in which he commends the custom observed at Rome down to the persecution of our own day:
From the start it has been your custom to treat all Christians with unfailing kindness, and to send contributions to many churches in every city, sometimes alleviating the distress of those in need, sometimes providing for your brothers in the mines by the contributions you have sent from the start. Thus you Romans have observed the ancestral Roman custom, which your revered Bishop Soter has not only maintained but enlarged, by generously providing the abundant supplies distributed among God's people, and by encouraging with inspired words fellow-Christians who come to the city, as an affectionate father encourages his children.3
1. Marcion, who came from Pontus, had forbidden marriage.
2. Matt, xxiii. 4 and Acts xv. 28.
3.1 Thess. ii.II.
In the same letter he refers to Clement's Epistle to the Corinthians, proving that from the very first it had been customary to read it in church. He says:
Today being the Lord's Day, we kept it as a holy day and read your epistle, which we shall read frequently for its valuable advice like the earlier epistle which Clement wrote on your behalf.1
Dionysius tells us that his own epistles had been tampered with:
When my fellow-Christians invited me to write letters to them I did so. These the devil's apostles have filled with tares,2 taking away some things and adding others. For them the woe is reserved,3 Small wonder then if some have dared to tamper even with the word of the Lord Himself, when they have conspired to mutilate my own humble efforts.
In addition to these there is an extant letter of Dionysius to Chrysophora, a devoted Christian woman. He writes most appropriately, and imparts to her the spiritual nourishment that she requires.
That is the complete list of Dionysius’s writings.
Bishop Theophilus of Antioch
24. From the pen of Theophilus, already mentioned as Bishop of Antioch, three rudimentary treatises To Autolycus are extant, as is another with the title The Heresy of Hermogenes Answered, in which he draws on the Revelation of John. Some Manuals of Elementary Instruction have also survived. At that time heretics were as busy as ever spoiling like tares the pure seed of the apostolic teaching; so the pastors of the churches everywhere, as though driving away savage beasts from Christ's sheep, strove to keep them at bay, now by warnings and admonitions to their congregations, now by more militant action, by subjecting the heretics to oral
1. Dionysius is addressing the whole Roman Church.
2. Matt, xiii, 25.
3. Rev. xxii. 18-19.
direct questioning and confutation, and finally by written polemics in which they employed the most unanswerable proofs to demolish their erroneous ideas. That Theophilus took the field against them with the others is plain from an admirable work which he wrote in answer to Marcion, and which has been preserved till now along with the others I have named.
He was succeeded as Bishop of Antioch by Maximin, the seventh from the apostles.
Philip and Modestus: Melito and the contents of his books
25. Philip, whom we met in Dionysius's letter as Bishop of Gortyna, was author of another most effective answer to Marcion, as were Irenaeus and Modestus,1 who was more successful than anyone in pinpointing the man's errors and making them crystal clear. There are several others whose works are still to be found on the shelves of many Christians.
26. Contemporary with them were Bishop Melito of Sardis and Bishop Apolinarius of Hierapolis, who were at the peak of their fame, and who without reference to each other addressed defences of the faith to the Roman emperor of the time.2 Of their works the following have come to my knowledge.
The Easter Festival, Books 1 and 11, Prophets and the ChristianWay of Life, The Church, and The Lord's Day; The Faith of Man, Creation, Obedience to the Faith, and The Senses; Soul and Body, and Baptism, Truth, Faith, and the Birth of Christ; his Book of Prophecy, Soul and Body, Hospitality, The Key, The Devil, The Revelation of John, and God in Bodily Form; and finally the Petition to Antoninus.3
1. Otherwise unknown.
2. Marcus Aurelius.
3. Dr Lawlor suggests that these groups correspond to distinct rolls. In that case two of them may have contained Soul and Body, which appears twice in the list, and none of them Extracts (quoted below), which does not appear at all.
In The Easter Festival he begins by indicating the time of its composition:
When Servillius1 Paulus was proconsul of Asia, at the time when Sagaris died a martyr's death, there was a great deal of argument at Laodicea about the Easter festival, which fell due at that time; and this essay was written.
The work is quoted by Clement of Alexandria in his own Easter Festival which was composed, he says, in consequence of Melito's.
[YES IN THE MIDDLE AND LATTER PART OF THE SECOND CENTURY A.D. THE EATER/PASSOVER DEBATE WAS IN FULL SWING. THE BISHOPS OF ASIA MINOR (WHERE PAUL AND JOHN WORKED SO HARD) OBSERVED THE PASSOVER DATE.
POLYCARP AND POLYCRATES WHO FOLLOWED POLYCARP, BOTH WENT TO THE ROMAN BISHOP TO DEBATE THE TRUE DATE FOR OBSERVING THE LORD’S DEATH. BUT THE BISHOPS OF ROME COULD NOT BE PERSUADED THAT THE BISHOPS OF ASIA MINOR WERE CORRECT IN KEEPING THE 14TH OF THE FIRST MONTH ON THE HEBREW CALENDAR.
THERE WAS ALSO BY THE MIDDLE SECOND CENTURY A.D. A MOVEMENT BY SOME, ESPECIALLY AT ROME, TO MOVE AWAY FROM OBSERVING THE 7TH DAY SABBATH, AND TO KEEP THE FIRST DAY. IT WAS A MOVEMENT THAT WANTED TO MOVE AWAY FROM ANYTHING THAT COULD BE ASSOCIATED WITH THE JEWS - Keith Hunt]
In the Petition to the emperor he complains of the treatment we were receiving under his rule:
What never happened before is happening now - religious people as a body are being harried and persecuted by new edicts all over Asia. Shameless informers out to fill their own pockets are taking advantage of the decrees to pillage openly, plundering inoffensive citizens night and day….If this is being done by your authority, well and good: a just monarch would never follow an unjust course, and we are happy to accept the honour of such a death. But we ask you to grant this one favour: first be good enough to find out the truth about the authors of such strife, so that you can judge in accordance with the facts whether they deserve to be condemned and executed or to be acquitted and left in peace. But if you are not responsible for this policy or this new decree - which could not properly be directed even against foreign enemies - we appeal to you all the more earnestly not to leave us at the mercy of these marauding hooligans.
A little farther on he writes:
Our way of thought first sprang up in a foreign land, but it flowered among your own peoples in the glorious reign of your ancestor Augustus,2 and became to your empire especially a portent
1. Servilius is unknown; Rufinus emends to Sergius, who was proconsul some time between A.D. 161 and 166. The name, if correct, is misspelt.
2. Christ was born in the reign of Augustus, but He did His work in that of Tiberius, and there was no organized church outside Syria and Palestine till the time of Claudius.
of good, for from then on, the power of Rome grew great and splendid. To that power you have most happily succeeded: it will remain with you and your son,1 if you protect the way of thought that began with Augustus and has grown to full stature along with the Empire. Your ancestors respected it, as they did the other cults, and the greatest proof that the establishment of our religion at the very time when the Empire began so auspiciously was an unmixed blessing lies in this fact - from the reign of Augustus the Empire has suffered no damage, on the contrary everything has gone splendidly and gloriously, and every prayer has been answered. Of all the emperors, the only ones ever persuaded by malicious advisers to misrepresent our doctrine were Nero and Domitian, who were the source of the unreasonable custom of laying false information against the Christians. But their ignorance was corrected by your religious predecessors, who constantly rebuked in writing all who ventured to make trouble for our people. It is clear, for instance, that your grandfather Hadrian wrote to many of his representatives, in particular the proconsul Fundanus, governor of Asia; and your father,2 while you were associated with him in the government of the world, wrote to the cities, for instance, Larissa, Thessalonica, and Athens, and to all the peoples of Greece, forbidding them to make trouble for us. You, sir, hold the same views on this matter as they did, but with much more human sympathy and philosophic insight; so we are the more convinced that you will wholeheartedly accede to our request.
The foregoing passages are taken from the Petition. In the Extracts which he wrote the same author begins his introduction with a list of the recognized books of the Old Testament, a list which it is necessary to quote at this point:
Melito to Onesimus, his brother in Christ, greeting. In your devotion to the word you have repeatedly asked for extracts from the Law and the Prophets regarding the Saviour and the whole of our Faith, and you also wished to learn the precise facts about the ancient books, particularly their number and order. I was most anxious to do this for you, knowing your devotion to the Faith and eagerness to learn about the word, and how in your yearning for God you value these things more than all else, as you strive with might and main to
1. Commodus, appointed joint-emperor in 177.
2. Antoninus Pius.
win eternal salvation. So when I visited the east and arrived at the place where it all happened and the truth was proclaimed, I obtained precise information about the Old Testament books, and made out the list which I am now sending you. Here are the names.
Five books of Moses:
Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, Deuteronomy;
Joshua son of Nun, Judges, Ruth:
Kings (four books),1 Chronicles (two);
The Psalms of David;
Solomon's Proverbs (Wisdom),2 Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs; Job;
Prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah,3 the Twelve in a single book, Daniel,
From these I have taken the extracts, arranged in six books.
Apolinarius and MusanusiTatian’s heresy
27. After Melito, Apolinarius, Numerous works of his are still to be found on the shelves of many persons, of which the following have come into my hands - the address to the emperor named above; The Greeks Answered (five books); Truth 1 and 11; The Jews Answered 1 and II; and his subsequent writings against the Phrygian heresy, an innovation contrived a little later but then beginning to sprout, since Montanus with his false prophetesses was already beginning to go off the track.5
28. Musanus, whose name appeared in the foregoing list, has left us a very pungent criticism which he wrote and sent to some Christians who had fallen away to the sect of the
1. Including Samuel.
2. Not the Apocryphal book.
3. Including Lamentations.
4. Including Nehemiah. Note the absence of Esther, perhaps rejected because it does not mention God.
5. See pp. 217-26.
so-called Encratites, which was then beginning to spring up and was introducing an outlandish and pernicious false doctrine into the world.
29. There is evidence that the author of this error was Tatian, whose observations on ‘that wonderful man Justin’ I quoted a few pages back,1 remarking that he was a disciple of the martyr. This is stated by Irenaeus in Heresies Answered, Book 1, where, speaking of the man and his heresy, he writes:
Borrowing from Saturninus and Marcion, the so-called Encratites preached celibacy, setting aside the original creation of God and tacitly condemming Him who made male and female for the generation of human beings.2 They also introduced abstention from 'animate things', as they call them, showing ingratitude to God who made ll things. Again, they deny the salvation of the first created man. This notion they adopted quite recently: one Tatian was the first to introduce this blasphemy. He had been a pupil of Justin, and all the time that he was with him he suggested nothing of the kind; but after Justin's martyrdom he became an apostate from the Church, and elated at the thought of being a teacher, and puffed up by the conviction of his own superiority, gave instruction on peculiar lines - he romanced about invisible aeons, like the followers of Valentinus, and repudiated marriage as being depravity and fornication, just as Marcion and Saturninus had done; his one original idea was to deny salvation to Adam.
This is what Irenaeus wrote at that time. But a little while later a man called Severus lent his weight to this sect, and in consequence its members have come to be called Severians after him. They make use of the Law, the Prophets, and the Gospels, interpreting in their own peculiar fashion the ideas contained in Holy Writ, but they ridicule Paul the Apostle, setting aside his epistles, and reject even the Acts of the Apostles. Their old leader Tatian produced a composite work by somehow combining the gospels, and called it the Diates-saron:3 some people still possess copies. It is said that he was
1. p. 176.
2. Gen. i. 27.
3. Literally 'the through four'.
bold enough to alter some of the Apostle's expressions as though trying to rectify their phraseology. He has left a great many works, of which the one most generally familiar is his famous essay The Greeks Answered, in which he discusses primitive times, showing that all the eminent writers of Greece belong to a much later period than Moses and the Hebrew prophets. This essay is, I think, the best and most helpful of all his writings.
Bardaisan the Syrian and his extant works
30. In the same reign heretical sects abounded in Mesopotamia. Bardaisan, a most able man and a highly skilled disputant in the Syriac language, composed dialogues against the followers of Marcion and other leaders of various doctrines, and wrote them down in his own language and script along with many other works of his. These dialogues his pupils, who were very numerous in view of his powerful defence of Christian truth, have translated from Syriac into Greek. Among them is his most effective dialogue with Antoninus, entitled Destiny, and many other works which he is said to have written in consequence of the current persecution. At an earlier stage he had belonged to the school of Valentinus, but later he condemned it and refuted many of its fanciful ideas, satisfied in his own mind that he had changed to the right way of thinking. For all that, the taint of the old heresy stuck to him to the end.1
Finally, it was at that period that the death occurred of Soter, Bishop of Rome.
1. Bardaisan doubted the resurrection of the body
TO BE CONTINUED
WE SEE BY THE MIDDLE OF THE SECOND CENTURY A.D. SOME TRUTHS WERE BEING HELD STRONGLY, BUT OTHER LAWS AND DOCTRINES OF GOD WERE BEING PUT ASIDE OR CHANGED. THIS WAS HAPPENING WITHIN THE MASSES OF THE CHURCHES OF GOD. THEN THERE WERE OTHER HERETIC GROUPS SPRINGING UP, WITH OUTLANDISH TEACHINGS, THAT WERE OPPOSED IN DEBATES OR WRITINGS FROM THE OVERALL BODY OF THE CHURCHES OF GOD.
SO FROM WITHIN AND FROM WITHOUT, ERRORS AND FALSE TEACHINGS AND PRACTICES WERE INCREASING, AS THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH WAS BEGINNING TO GAIN MORE POWER, INFLUENCE, AND POPULARITY.
WE MUST REMEMBER THE CHURCHES UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ROME, AND THE CHURCHES UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF THOSE IN ASIA MINOR, STILL REGARDED THEMSELVES AS ONE CHURCH, HENCE THE WILLING ATTITUDE OF DEBATING WITH EACH OTHER CERTAIN CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS BELIEFS AND PRACTICES.
SO THEN WE HAD MANY WHO DIED AS MARTYRS, WHO WERE OF ROMAN CHURCH PERSUASION, AND MANY WHO WERE OF ASIA MINOR CHURCH PERSUASION.