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The Spiritual Declension of the Soul by Michael Durham
"A believer may pass through much affliction, and yet secure very little blessing from it all. Abiding in Christ is the secret of securing all that the Father meant the chastisement to bring us." -
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: Against The Valentinians
Against The Valentinians
Chapter I.--Introductory Tertullian Compares the Heresy to the Old Eleusinian Mysteries. Both Systems Alike in Preferring Concealment of Error and Sin to Proclamation of Truth and Virtue.
Chapter II.--These Heretics Brand the Christians as Simple Persons The Charge Accepted, and Simplicity Eulogized Out of the Scriptures.
Chapter III.--The Folly of This Heresy It Dissects and Mutilates the Deity. Contrasted with the Simple Wisdom of True Religion. To Expose the Absurdities of the Valentinian System is to Destroy It.
Chapter IV.--The Heresy Traceable to Valentinus, an Able But Restless Man Many Schismatical Leaders of the School Mentioned. Only One of Them Shows Respect to the Man Whose Name Designates the Entire School.
Chapter V.--Many Eminent Christian Writers Have Carefully and Fully Refuted the Heresy These the Author Makes His Own Guides.
Chapter VI.--Although Writing in Latin He Proposes to Retain the Greek Names of the Valentinian Emanations of Deity Not to Discuss the Heresy But Only to Expose It. This with the Raillery Which Its Absurdity Merits.
Chapter VII.--The First Eight Emanations, or Æons, Called the Ogdoad, are the Fountain of All the Others Their Names and Descent Recorded.
Chapter VIII.--The Names and Descent of Other Æons; First Half a Score, Then Two More, and Ultimately a Dozen Besides. These Thirty Constitute the Pleroma. But Why Be So Capricious as to Stop at Thirty?
Chapter IX.--Other Capricious Features in the System The Æons Unequal in Attributes. The Superiority of Nus; The Vagaries of Sophia Restrained by Horos. Grand Titles Borne by This Last Power.
Chapter X.--Another Account of the Strange Aberrations of Sophia, and the Restraining Services of Horus. Sophia Was Not Herself, After All, Ejected from the Pleroma, But Only Her Enthymesis.
Chapter XI.--The Profane Account Given of the Origin of Christ and the Holy Ghost Sternly Rebuked An Absurdity Respecting the Attainment of the Knowledge of God Ably Exposed.
Chapter XII.--The Strange Jumble of the Pleroma The Frantic Delight of the Members Thereof. Their Joint Contribution of Parts Set Forth with Humorous Irony.
Chapter XIII.--First Part of the Subject, Touching the Constitution of the Pleroma, Briefly Recapitulated Transition to the Other Part, Which is Like a Play Outside the Curtain.
Chapter XIV.--The Adventures of Achamoth Outside the Pleroma The Mission of Christ in Pursuit of Her. Her Longing for Christ. Horos' Hostility to Her. Her Continued Suffering.
Chapter XV.--Strange Account of the Origin of Matter, from the Various Affections of Achamoth The Waters from Her Tears; Light from Her Smile.
Chapter XVI.--Achamoth Purified from All Impurities of Her Passion by the Paraclete, Acting Through Soter, Who Out of the Above-Mentioned Impurities Arranges Matter, Separating Its Evil from the Better Qualities.
Chapter XVII.--Achamoth in Love with the Angels A Protest Against the Lascivious Features of Valentinianism. Achamoth Becomes the Mother of Three Natures.
Chapter XVIII.--Blasphemous Opinion Concerning the Origin of the Demiurge,.. Supposed to Be the Creator of the Universe.
Chapter XIX.--Palpable Absurdities and Contradictions in the System Respecting Achamoth and the Demiurge.
Chapter XX--The Demiurge Works Away at Creation, as the Drudge of His Mother Achamoth, in Ignorance All the While of the Nature of His Occupation.
Chapter XXI.--The Vanity as Well as Ignorance of the Demiurge Absurd Results from So Imperfect a Condition.
Chapter XXII.--Origin of the Devil, in the Criminal Excess of the Sorrow of Achamoth The Devil, Called Also Munditenens, Actually Wiser Than the Demiurge, Although His Work.
Chapter XXIII.--The Relative Positions of the Pleroma The Region of Achamoth, and the Creation of the Demiurge. The Addition of Fire to the Various Elements and Bodies of Nature.
Chapter XXIV.--The Formation of Man by the Demiurge Human Flesh Not Made of the Ground, But of a Nondescript Philosophic Substance.
Chapter XXV.--An Extravagant Way of Accounting for the Communication of the Spiritual Nature to Man It Was Furtively Managed by Achamoth, Through the Unconscious Agency of Her Son.
Chapter XXVI.--The Three Several Natures-- The Material, the Animal, and the Spiritual, and Their Several Destinations. The Strange Valentinian Opinion About the Structure of Soter's Nature.
Chapter XXVII.--The Christ of the Demiurge, Sent into the World by the Virgin Not of Her. He Found in Her, Not a Mother, But Only a Passage or Channel. Jesus Descended Upon Christ, at His Baptism, Like a Dove; But, Being Incapable of Suffering, He Left Ch
Chapter XXVIII.--The Demiurge Cured of His Ignorance by the Saviour's Advent, from Whom He Hears of the Great Future in Store for Himself.
Chapter XXIX.--The Three Natures Again Adverted to They are All Exemplified Amongst Men. For Instance, by Cain, and Abel, and Seth.
Chapter XXX.--The Lax and Dangerous Views of This Sect Respecting Good Works That These are Unnecessary to the Spiritual Man.
Chapter XXXI.--At the Last Day Great Changes Take Place Amongst the Æons as Well as Among Men How Achamoth and the Demiurge are Affected Then. Irony on the Subject.
Chapter XXXII.--Indignant Irony Exposing the Valentinian Fable About the Judicial Treatment of Mankind at the Last Judgment. The Immorality of the Doctrine.
Chapter XXXIII.--These Remaining Chapters an Appendix to the Main Work In This Chapter Tertullian Notices a Difference Among Sundry Followers of Ptolemy, a Disciple of Valentinus.
Chapter XXXIV.--Other Varying Opinions Among the Valentinians Respecting the Deity, Characteristic Raillery.
Chapter XXXV.--Yet More Discrepancies Just Now the Sex of Bythus Was an Object of Dispute; Now His Rank Comes in Question. Absurd Substitutes for Bythus Criticised by Tertullian.
Chapter XXXVI.--Less Reprehensible Theories in the Heresy Bad is the Best of Valentinianism.
Chapter XXXVII.--Other Turgid and Ridiculous Theories About the Origin of the Æons and Creation...
Chapter XXXVIII.--Diversity in the Opinions of Secundus, as Compared with the General Doctrine of Valentinus.
Chapter XXXIX.--Their Diversity of Sentiment Affects the Very Central Doctrine of Christianity, Even the Person and Character of the Lord Jesus. This Diversity Vitiates Every Gnostic School.
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