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Sermon Podcast | Audio | Video : Christian Books : Chapter XI.--The Heresiarchs of that Age.

Church History by Eusebius Pamphilius

Chapter XI.--The Heresiarchs of that Age.

1. |For Valentinus came to Rome under Hyginus, flourished under Pius, and remained until Anicetus. Cerdon also, Marcion's predecessor, entered the Church in the time of Hyginus, the ninth bishop, and made confession, and continued in this way, now teaching in secret, now making confession again, and now denounced for corrupt doctrine and withdrawing from the assembly of the brethren.|

2. These words are found in the third book of the work Against Heresies. And again in the first book he speaks as follows concerning Cerdon: |A certain Cerdon, who had taken his system from the followers of Simon, and had come to Rome under Hyginus, the ninth in the episcopal succession from the apostles, taught that the God proclaimed by the law and prophets was not the father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the former was known, but the latter unknown; and the former was just, but the latter good. Marcion of Pontus succeeded Cerdon and developed his doctrine, uttering shameless blasphemies.|

3. The same Irenæus unfolds with the greatest vigor the unfathomable abyss of Valentinus' errors in regard to matter, and reveals his wickedness, secret and hidden like a serpent lurking in its nest.

4. And in addition to these men he says that there was also another that lived in that age, Marcus by name, who was remarkably skilled in magic arts. And he describes also their unholy initiations and their abominable mysteries in the following words:

5. |For some of them prepare a nuptial couch and perform a mystic rite with certain forms of expression addressed to those who are being initiated, and they say that it is a spiritual marriage which is celebrated by them, after the likeness of the marriages above. But others lead them to water, and while they baptize them they repeat the following words: Into the name of the unknown father of the universe, into truth, the mother of all things, into the one that descended upon Jesus. Others repeat Hebrew names in order the better to confound those who are being initiated.|

6. But Hyginus having died at the close of the fourth year of his episcopate, Pius succeeded him in the government of the church of Rome. In Alexandria Marcus was appointed pastor, after Eumenes had filled the office thirteen years in all. And Marcus having died after holding office ten years was succeeded by Celadion in the government of the church of Alexandria.

7. And in Rome Pius died in the fifteenth year of his episcopate, and Anicetus assumed the leadership of the Christians there. Hegesippus records that he himself was in Rome at this time, and that he remained there until the episcopate of Eleutherus.

8. But Justin was especially prominent in those days. In the guise of a philosopher he preached the divine word, and contended for the faith in his writings. He wrote also a work against Marcion, in which he states that the latter was alive at the time he wrote.

9. He speaks as follows: |And there is a certain Marcion of Pontus, who is even now still teaching his followers to think that there is some other God greater than the creator. And by the aid of the demons he has persuaded many of every race of men to utter blasphemy, and to deny that the maker of this universe is the father of Christ, and to confess that some other, greater than he, was the creator. And all who followed them are, as we have said, called Christians, just as the name of philosophy is given to philosophers, although they may have no doctrines in common.|

10. To this he adds: |And we have also written a work against all the heresies that have existed, which we will give you if you wish to read it.|

11. But this same Justin contended most successfully against the Greeks, and addressed discourses containing an apology for our faith to the Emperor Antoninus, called Pius, and to the Roman senate. For he lived at Rome. But who and whence he was he shows in his Apology in the following words.

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