1. Some others are secretly introducing another doctrine, who have become disciples of one Noetus, who was a native of Smyrna, and lived not very long ago. This person was greatly puffed up and inflated with pride, being inspired by the conceit of a strange spirit. He alleged that Christ was the Father Himself, and that the Father Himself was born, and suffered, and died. Ye see what pride of heart and what a strange inflated spirit had insinuated themselves into him. From his other actions, then, the proof is already given us that he spoke not with a pure spirit; for he who blasphemes against the Holy Ghost is cast out from the holy inheritance. He alleged that he was himself Moses, and that Aaron was his brother. When the blessed presbyters heard this, they summoned him before the Church, and examined him. But he denied at first that he held such opinions. Afterwards, however, taking shelter among some, and having gathered round him some others who had embraced the same error, he wished thereafter to uphold his dogma openly as correct. And the blessed presbyters called him again before them, and examined him. But he stood out against them, saying, “What evil, then, am I doing in glorifying Christ?” And the presbyters replied to him, “We too know in truth one God; we know Christ; we know that the Son suffered even as He suffered, and died even as He died, and rose again on the third day, and is at the right hand of the Father, and cometh to judge the living and the dead. And these things which we have learned we allege.”  Then, after examining him, they expelled him from the Church. And he was carried to such a pitch of pride, that he established a school.

2.  Now they seek to exhibit the foundation for their dogma by citing the word in the law, “I am the God of your fathers: ye shall have no other gods beside me” [Exodus 20:2-3]; and again in another passage, “I am the first,” He saith, “and the last; and beside me there is none other.” [Isaiah 44:6]. Thus they say they prove that God is one. And then they answer in this manner: “If therefore I acknowledge Christ to be God, He is the Father Himself, if He is indeed God; and Christ suffered, being Himself God; and consequently the Father suffered, for He was the Father Himself.” But the case stands not thus; for the Scriptures do not set forth the matter in this manner. But they make use also of other testimonies, and say, Thus it is written: “This is our God, and there shall none other be accounted of in comparison of Him. He hath found out all the way of knowledge, and hath given it unto Jacob His servant (son), and to Israel His beloved. Afterward did He show Himself upon earth, and conversed with men.” You see, then, he says, that this is God, who is the only One, and who afterwards did show Himself, and conversed with men.” And in another place he says, “Egypt hath labored; and the merchandise of Ethiopia and the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over unto thee, and they shall be slaves to thee; and they shall come after thee bound with manacles, and they shall fall down unto thee, because God is in thee; and they shall make supplication unto thee: and there is no God beside thee. For Thou art God, and we knew not; God of Israel, the Savior.” [Isaiah 45:14]. Do you see, he says, how the Scriptures proclaim one God? And as this is clearly exhibited, and these passages are testimonies to it, I am under necessity, he says, since one is acknowledged, to make this One the subject of suffering. For Christ was God, and suffered on account of us, being Himself the Father, that He might be able also to save us. And we cannot express ourselves otherwise, he says; for the apostle also acknowledges one God, when he says, “Whose are the fathers, (and) of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever.” [Romans 9:5].

3.  In this way, then, they choose to set forth these things, and they make use only of one class of passages; just in the same one-sided manner that Theodotus employed when he sought to prove that Christ was a mere man. But neither has the one party nor the other understood the matter rightly, as the Scriptures themselves confute their senselessness, and attest the truth.  See, brethren, what a rash and audacious dogma they have introduced, when they say without shame, the Father is Himself Christ, Himself the Son, Himself was born, Himself suffered, Himself raised Himself. But it is not so. The Scriptures speak what is right; but Noetus is of a different mind from them. Yet, though Noetus does not understand the truth, the Scriptures are not at once to be repudiated.  For who will not say that there is one God? Yet he will not on that account deny the economy (i.e., the number and disposition of persons in the Trinity). The proper way, therefore, to deal with the question is first of all to refute the interpretation put upon these passages by these men, and then to explain their real meaning. For it is right, in the first place, to expound the truth that the Father is one God, “of whom is every family” [Ephesians 3:15], “by whom are all things, of whom are all things, and we in Him.” [1 Corinthians 8:6].

4.  Let us, as I said, see how he is confuted, and then let us set forth the truth. Now he quotes the words, “Egypt has labored, and the merchandise of Ethiopia and the Sabeans,” and so forth on to the words, “For Thou art the God of Israel, the Savior.” And these words he cites without understanding what precedes them. For whenever they wish to attempt anything underhand, they mutilate the Scriptures. But let him quote the passage as a whole, and he will discover the reason kept in view in writing it. For we have the beginning of the section a little above; and we ought, of course, to commence there in showing to whom and about whom the passage speaks. For above, the beginning of the section stands thus: “Ask me concerning my sons and my daughters, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me. I have made the earth, and man upon it: I with my hand have stablished the heaven; I have commanded all the stars. I have raised him up, and all his ways are straight. He shall build my city, and he shall turn back the captivity; not for price nor reward, said the Lord of hosts. Thus said the Lord of hosts, Egypt hath labored, and the merchandise of Ethiopia and the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over unto thee, and they shall be slaves to thee: and they shall come after thee bound with manacles, and they shall fall down unto thee; and they shall make supplication unto thee, because God is in thee; and there is no God beside thee. For Thou art God, and we knew not; the God of Israel, the Savior,” “In thee, therefore,” says he, “God is.” But in whom is God except in Christ Jesus, the Father’s Word, and the mystery of the economy? And again, exhibiting the truth regarding Him, he points to the fact of His being in the flesh when He says, “I have raised Him up in righteousness, and all His ways are straight.” For what is this? Of whom does the Father thus testify? It is of the Son that the Father says, “I have raised Him up in righteousness.” And that the Father did raise up His Son in righteousness, the Apostle Paul bears witness, saying, “But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.” Behold, the word spoken by the prophet is thus made good, “I have raised Him up in righteousness.” And in saying, “God is in thee,” he referred to the mystery of the economy, because when the Word was made incarnate and became man, the Father was in the Son, and the Son in the Father, while the Son was living among men. This, therefore, was signified, brethren, that in reality the mystery of the economy by the Holy Ghost and the Virgin was this Word, constituting yet one Son to God. And it is not simply that I say this, but He Himself attests it who came down from heaven; for He speaketh thus: “No man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” [John 3:13]. What then can he seek beside what is thus written? Will he say, forsooth, that flesh was in heaven? Yet there is the flesh which was presented by the Father’s Word as an offering, -- the flesh that came by the Spirit and the Virgin, and was demonstrated to be the perfect Son of God. It is evident, therefore, that He offered Himself to the Father. And before this there was no flesh in heaven. Who, then, was in heaven but the Word unincarnate, who was dispatched to show that He was upon earth and was also in heaven? For He was Word, He was Spirit, He was Power. The same took to Himself the name common and current among men, and was called from the beginning the Son of man on account of what He was to be, although He was not yet man, as Daniel testifies when he says, “I saw, and behold one like the Son of man came on the clouds of heaven.” [Daniel 7:13]. Rightly, then, did he say that He who was in heaven was called from the beginning by this name, the Word of God, as being that from the beginning.

5.  But what is meant, says he, in the other passage: “This is God, and there shall none other be accounted of in comparison of Him?” That said he rightly. For in comparison of the Father who shall be accounted of? But he says: “This is our God; there shall none other be accounted of in comparison of Him. He hath found out all the way of knowledge, and hath given it unto Jacob His servant, and to Israel His beloved.” He saith well. For who is Jacob His servant, Israel His beloved, but He of whom He crieth, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye Him?” Having received, then, all knowledge from the Father, the perfect Israel, the true Jacob, afterward did show Himself upon earth, and conversed with men. And who, again, is meant by Israel but a man who sees God? and there is no one who sees God except the Son alone, the perfect man who alone declares the will of the Father.  For John also says, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.” [John 1:18]. And again: “He who came down from heaven testifieth what He hath heard and seen.” This, then, is He to whom the Father hath given all knowledge, who did show Himself upon earth, and conversed with men.

6.  Let us look next at the apostle’s word: “Whose are the fathers, of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever.” [Romans 9:5].  This word declares the mystery of the truth rightly and clearly. He who is over all is God; for thus He speaks boldly, “All things are delivered unto me of my Father.” He who is over all, God blessed, has been born; and having been made man, He is yet God for ever. For to this effect John also has said, “Which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” [Revelation 1:8]. And well has he named Christ the Almighty. For in this he has said only what Christ testifies of Himself. For Christ gave this testimony, and said, “All things are delivered unto me of my Father;” and Christ rules all things, and has been appointed Almighty by the Father. And in like manner Paul also, in setting forth the truth that all things are delivered unto Him, said, “Christ the first-fruits; afterwards they that are Christ’s at His coming. Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule, and all authority, and power. For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For all things are put under Him. But when He saith, All things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted which did put all things under Him. Then shall He also Himself be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.” [1 Corinthians 15:20-28]. If, therefore, all things are put under Him with the exception of Him who put them under Him, He is Lord of all, and the Father is Lord of Him, that in all there might be manifested one God, to whom all things are made subject together with Christ, to whom the Father hath made all things subject, with the exception of Himself. And this, indeed, is said by Christ Himself, as when in the Gospel He confessed Him to be His Father and His God. For He speaks thus: “I go to my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God.” [John 20:17]. If then, Noetus ventures to say that He is the Father Himself, to what father will he say Christ goes away according to the word of the Gospel? But if he will have us abandon the Gospel and give credence to his senselessness, he expends his labor in vain; for “we ought to obey God rather than men.”

7.  If, again, he allege His own word when He said, “I and the Father are one,” [John 10:30], let him attend to the fact, and understand that He did not say, “I and the Father am one, but are one.” For the word are is not said of one person, but it refers to two persons, and one power. He has Himself made this clear, when He spake to His Father concerning the disciples, “The glory which Thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and Thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; that the world may know that Thou hast sent me.” [John 17:22-23]. What have the Noetians to say to these things? Are all one body in respect of substance, or is it that we become one in the power and disposition of unity of mind? In the same manner the Son, who was sent and was not known of those who are in the world, confessed that He was in the Father in power and disposition. For the Son is the one mind of the Father. We who have the Father’s mind believe so (in Him); but they who have it not have denied the Son. And if, again, they choose to allege the fact that Philip inquired about the Father, saying, “Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us,” to whom the Lord made answer in these terms: “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father. Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?” [John 14:8-10] and if they choose to maintain that their dogma is ratified by this passage, as if He owned Himself to be the Father, let them know that it is decidedly against them, and that they are confuted by this very word. For though Christ had spoken of Himself, and showed Himself among all as the Son, they had not yet recognized Him to be such, neither had they been able to apprehend or contemplate His real power. And Philip, not having been able to receive this, as far as it was possible to see it, requested to behold the Father. To whom then the Lord said, “Philip, have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” By which He means, If thou hast seen me, thou mayest know the Father through me. For through the image, which is like the original, the Father is made readily known. But if thou hast not known the image, which is the Son, how dost thou seek to see the Father? And that this is the case is made clear by the rest of the chapter, which signifies that the Son who “has been set forth was sent from the Father, and goeth to the Father.”

Nautin's Greek Text

8.  Many other passages, or rather all of them, attest the truth. A man, therefore, even though he will it not, is compelled to acknowledge God the Father Almighty, and Christ Jesus the Son of God, who, being God, became man, to whom also the Father made all things subject, Himself excepted, and the Holy Spirit; and that these, therefore, are three. But if he desires to learn how it is shown still that there is one God, let him know that His power is one. As far as regards the power, therefore, God is one.  But as far as regards the economy there is a threefold manifestation, as shall be proved afterwards when we give account of the true doctrine. In these things, however, which are thus set forth by us, we are at one. For there is one God in whom we must believe, but unoriginated, impassible, immortal, doing all things as He wills, in the way He wills, and when He wills. What, then, will this Noetus, who knows nothing of the truth, dare to say to these things?  And now, as Noetus has been confuted, let us turn to the exhibition of the truth itself, that we may establish the truth, against which all these mighty heresies have arisen without being able to state anything to the purpose.

9.  There is, brethren, one God, the knowledge of whom we gain from the Holy Scriptures, and from no other source. For just as a man, if he wishes to be skilled in the wisdom of this world, will find himself unable to get at it in any other way than by mastering the dogmas of philosophers, so all of us who wish to practice piety will be unable to learn its practice from any other quarter than the oracles of God.  Whatever things, then, the Holy Scriptures declare, at these let us took; and whatsoever things they teach, these let us learn; and as the Father wills our belief to be, let us believe; and as He wills the Son to be glorified, let us glorify Him; and as He wills the Holy Spirit to be bestowed, let us receive Him. Not according to our own will, nor according to our own mind, nor yet as using violently those things which are given by God, but even as He has chosen to teach them by the Holy Scriptures, so let us discern them.

10.  God, subsisting alone, and having nothing contemporaneous with Himself, determined to create the world. And conceiving the world in mind, and willing and uttering the word, He made it; and straightway it appeared, formed as it had pleased Him. For us, then, it is sufficient simply to know that there was nothing contemporaneous with God. Beside Him there was nothing; but He, while existing alone, yet existed in plurality. For He was neither without reason, nor wisdom, nor power, nor counsel. And all things were in Him, and He was the All. When He willed, and as He willed, He manifested His word in the times determined by Him, and by Him He made all things.  When He wills, He does; and when He thinks, He executes; and when He speaks, He manifests; when He fashions, He contrives in wisdom. For all things that are made He forms by reason and wisdom -- creating them in reason, and arranging them in wisdom. He made them, then, as He pleased, for He was God. And as the Author, and fellow-Counselor, and Framer of the things that are in formation, He begat the Word; and as He bears this Word in Himself, and that, too, as yet invisible to the world which is created, He makes Him visible; and uttering the voice first, and begetting Him as Light of Light, He set Him forth to the world as its Lord, and His own mind; and whereas He was visible formerly to Himself alone, and invisible to the world which is made, He makes Him visible in order that the world might see Him in His manifestation, and be capable of being saved.

11.  And thus there appeared another beside Himself. But when I say another, I do not mean that there are two Gods, but that it is only as light of light, or as water from a fountain, or as a ray from the sun. For there is but one power, which is from the All; and the Father is the All, from whom cometh this Power, the Word. And this is the mind which came forth into the world, and was manifested as the Son of God. All things, then, are by Him, and He alone is of the Father. Who then adduces a multitude of gods brought in, time after time? For all are shut up, however unwillingly, to admit this fact, that the All runs up into one. If, then, all things run up into one, even according to Valentinus, and Marcion, and Cerinthus, and all their fooleries, they are also reduced, however unwillingly, to this position, that they must acknowledge that the One is the cause of all things. Thus, then, these too, though they wish it not, fall in with the truth, and admit that one God made all things according to His good pleasure. And He gave the law and the prophets; and in giving them, He made them speak by the Holy Ghost, in order that, being gifted with the inspiration of the Father’s power, they might declare the Father’s counsel and will.

12.  Acting then in these prophets, the Word spoke of Himself. For already He became His own herald, and showed that the Word would be manifested among men. And for this reason He cried thus: “I am made manifest to them that sought me not; I am found of them that asked not for me.” And who is He that is made manifest but the Word of the Father? -- whom the Father sent, and in whom He showed to men the power proceeding from Him. Thus, then, was the Word made manifest, even as the blessed John says. For he sums up the things that were said by the prophets, and shows that this is the Word, by whom all things were made. For he speaks to this effect: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made.” [John 1:1-3]. And beneath He says, “The world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not; He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” [John 1:10]. If, then, said he, the world was made by Him, according to the word of the prophet, “By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made,” [Psalm 33:6], then this is the Word that was also made manifest. We accordingly see the Word incarnate, and we know the Father by Him, and we believe in the Son, and we worship the Holy Spirit. Let us then look at the testimony of Scripture with respect to the announcement of the future manifestation of the Word.

13. Now Jeremiah says, “Who hath stood in the counsel of the Lord, and hath perceived His Word?” But the Word of God alone is visible, while the word of man is audible. When he speaks of seeing the Word, I must believe that this visible Word has been sent. And there was none other sent but the Word. And that He was sent Peter testifies, when he says to the centurion Cornelius: “God sent His Word unto the children of Israel by the preaching of Jesus Christ. This is the God who is Lord of all.” [Acts 10:36]. If, then, the Word is sent by Jesus Christ, the will of the Father is Jesus Christ.

14.  These things then, brethren, are declared by the Scriptures. And the blessed John, in the testimony of his Gospel, gives us an account of this economy (disposition) and acknowledges this Word as God, when he says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” If, then, the Word was with God, and was also God, what follows? Would one say that he speaks of two Gods?  I shall not indeed speak of two Gods, but of one; of two Persons however, and of a third economy (disposition), viz., the grace of the Holy Ghost. For the Father indeed is One, but there are two Persons, because there is also the Son; and then there is the third, the Holy Spirit. The Father decrees, the Word executes, and the Son is manifested, through whom the Father is believed on. The economy of harmony is led back to one God; for God is One. It is the Father who commands, and the Son who obeys, and the Holy Spirit who gives understanding: the Father who is above all, and the Son who is through all, and the Holy Spirit who is in all. And we cannot otherwise think of one God, but by believing in truth in Father and Son and Holy Spirit. For the Jews glorified (or gloried in) the Father, but gave Him not thanks, for they did not recognize the Son. The disciples recognized the Son, but not in the Holy Ghost; wherefore they also denied Him.  The Father’s Word, therefore, knowing the economy (disposition) and the will of the Father, to wit, that the Father seeks to be worshipped in none other way than this, gave this charge to the disciples after He rose from the dead: “Go ye and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” [Matthew 28:19]. And by this He showed, that whosoever omitted any one of these, failed in glorifying God perfectly. For it is through this Trinity that the Father is glorified.  For the Father willed, the Son did, the Spirit manifested. The whole Scriptures, then, proclaim this truth.

Nautin's Greek Text

15.  But some one will say to me, You adduce a thing strange to me, when you call the Son the Word. For John indeed speaks of the Word, but it is by a figure of speech. Nay, it is by no figure of speech. For while thus presenting this Word that was from the beginning, and has now been sent forth, he said below in the Apocalypse, “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was Faithful and True; and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. And His eyes were as flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written that no man knew but He Himself. And He was clothed in a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called the Word of God.” [Revelation 19:11-13]. See then, brethren, how the vesture sprinkled with blood denoted in symbol the flesh, through which the impassible Word of God came under suffering, as also the prophets testify to me. For thus speaks the blessed Micah: “The house of Jacob provoked the Spirit of the Lord to anger. These are their pursuits. Are not His words good with them, and do they walk rightly?  And they have risen up in enmity against His countenance of peace, and they have stripped off His glory.” That means His suffering in the flesh. And in like manner also the blessed Paul says, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak, God, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be shown in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” [Romans 8:3-4]. What Son of His own, then, did God send through the flesh but the Word, whom He addressed as Son because He was to become such (or be begotten) in the future? And He takes the common name for tender affection among men in being called the Son. For neither was the Word, prior to incarnation and when by Himself, yet perfect Son, although He was perfect Word, only-begotten. Nor could the flesh subsist by itself apart from the Word, because it has its subsistence in the Word. Thus, then, one perfect Son of God was manifested.

16.  And these indeed are testimonies bearing on the incarnation of the Word; and there are also very many others. But let us also look at the subject in hand, -- namely, the question, brethren, that in reality the Father’s power, which is the Word, came down from heaven, and not the Father Himself.  For thus He speaks: “I came forth from the Father, and am come.” [John 8:42]. Now what subject is meant in this sentence, “I came forth from the Father,” but just the Word? And what is it that is begotten of Him, but just the Spirit, that is to say, the Word? But you will say to me, How is He begotten? In your own case you can give no explanation of the way in which you were begotten, although you see every day the cause according to man; neither can you tell with accuracy the economy in His case. For you have it not in your power to acquaint yourself with the practiced and indescribable art (method) of the Maker, but only to see, and understand, and believe that man is God’s work. Moreover, you are asking an account of the generation of the Word, whom God the Father in His good pleasure begat as He willed.  Is it not enough for you to learn that God made the world, but do you also venture to ask whence He made it? Is it not enough for you to learn that the Son of God has been manifested to you for salvation if you believe, but do you also inquire curiously how He was begotten after the Spirit? No more than two, in sooth, have been put in trust to give the account of His generation after the flesh; and are you then so bold as to seek the account of His generation after the Spirit, which the Father keeps with Himself, intending to reveal it then to the holy ones and those worthy of seeing His face? Rest satisfied with the word spoken by Christ, viz., “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit,” [John 3:6], just as, speaking by the prophet of the generation of the Word, He shows the fact that He is begotten, but reserves the question of the manner and means, to reveal it only in the time determined by Himself. For He speaks thus: “From the womb, before the morning star, I have begotten Thee.” [Psalm 110:3 LXX].

17.  These testimonies are sufficient for the believing who study truth, and the unbelieving credit no testimony. For the Holy Spirit, indeed, in the person of the apostles, has testified to this, saying, “And who has believed our report?” Therefore let us not prove ourselves unbelieving, lest the word spoken be fulfilled in us. Let us believe then, dear brethren, according to the tradition of the apostles, that God the Word came down from heaven, and entered into the holy Virgin Mary, in order that, taking the flesh from her, and assuming also a human, by which I mean a rational soul, and becoming thus all that man is with the exception of sin, He might save fallen man, and confer immortality on men who believe on His name. In all, therefore, the word of truth is demonstrated to us, to wit, that the Father is One, whose word is present with Him, by whom He made all things; whom also, as we have said above, the Father sent forth in later times for the salvation of men. This Word was preached by the law and the prophets as destined to come into the world. And even as He was preached then, in the same manner also did He come and manifest Himself, being by the Virgin and the Holy Spirit made a new man; for in that He had the heavenly nature of the Father, as the Word and the earthly nature, as taking to Himself the flesh from the old Adam by the medium of the Virgin, He now, coming forth into the world, was manifested as God in a body, coming forth too as a perfect man. For it was not in mere appearance or by conversion, but in truth, that He became man.

18.  Thus then, too, though demonstrated as God, He does not refuse the conditions proper to Him as man, since He hungers and toils and thirsts in weariness, and flees in fear, and prays in trouble.  And He who as God has a sleepless nature, slumbers on a pillow. And He who for this end came into the world, begs off from the cup of suffering. And in an agony He sweats blood, and is strengthened by an angel, who Himself strengthens those who believe on Him, and taught men to despise death by His work. And He who knew what manner of man Judas was, is betrayed by Judas. And He, who formerly was honored by him as God, is condemned by Caiaphas. And He is set at nought by Herod, who is Himself to judge the whole earth. And He is scourged by Pilate, who took upon Himself our infirmities. And by the soldiers He is mocked, at whose behest stand thousands of thousands and myriads of myriads of angels and archangels.  And He who fixed the heavens like a vault is fastened to the cross by the Jews. And He who is inseparable from the Father cries to the Father, and commends to Him His spirit; and bowing His head, He gives up the ghost, who said, “I have power to lay down my life, and I have power to take it again;” and because He was not overmastered by death, as being Himself Life, He said this: “I lay it down of myself.” And He who gives life bountifully to all, has His side pierced with a spear. And He who raises the dead is wrapped in linen and laid in a sepulchre, and on the third day He is raised again by the Father, though Himself the Resurrection and the Life. For all these things has He finished for us, who for our sakes was made as we are. For “Himself hath born our infirmities, and carried our diseases; and for our sakes He was afflicted,” [Isaiah 53:4] as Isaiah the prophet has said.  This is He who was hymned by the angels, and seen by the shepherds, and waited for by Simeon, and witnessed to by Anna. This is He who was inquired after by the wise men, and indicated by the star; He who was engaged in His Father’s house, and pointed to by John, and witnessed to by the Father from above in the voice, “This is my beloved Son; hear ye Him.” He is crowned victor against the devil. This is Jesus of Nazareth, who was invited to the marriage-feast in Cana, and turned the water into wine, and rebuked the sea when agitated by the violence of the winds, and walked on the deep as on dry land, and caused the blind man from birth to see, and raised Lazarus to life after he had been dead four days, and did many mighty works, and forgave sins, and conferred power on the disciples, and had blood and water flowing from His sacred side when pierced with the spear. For His sake the sun is darkened, the day has no light, the rocks are shattered, the veil is rent, the foundations of the earth are shaken, the graves are opened, and the dead are raised, and the rulers are ashamed when they see the Director of the universe upon the cross closing His eye and giving up the ghost. Creation saw, and was troubled; and, unable to bear the sight of His exceeding glory, shrouded itself in darkness. This is He who breathes upon the disciples, and gives them the Spirit, and comes in among them when the doors are shut, and is taken up by a cloud into the heavens while the disciples gaze at Him, and is set down on the right hand of the Father, and comes again as the Judge of the living and the dead. This is the God who for our sakes became man, to whom also the Father hath put all things in subjection. To Him be the glory and the power, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, in the holy Church both now and ever, and even for evermore. Amen.

Excerpts from Book VII
Refutation of All Heresies


21.  But a certain Cerinthus, himself being disciplined in the teaching of the Egyptians, asserted that the world was not made by the primal Deity, but by some virtue which was an offshoot from that Power which is above all things, and which yet is ignorant of the God that is above all. And he supposed that Jesus was not generated from a virgin, but that he was born son of Joseph and Mary, just in a manner similar with the rest of men, and that Jesus was more just and more wise than all the human race. And Cerinthus alleges that, after the baptism of our Lord, Christ in form of a dove came down upon him, from that absolute sovereignty which is above all things. And then, (according to this heretic,) Jesus proceeded to preach the unknown Father, and in attestation of his mission to work miracles. It was, however, the opinion of Cerinthus, that ultimately Christ departed from Jesus, and that Jesus suffered and rose again; whereas that Christ, being spiritual, remained beyond the possibility of suffering.

22.  The Ebionaeans, however, acknowledge that the world was made by Him Who is in reality God, but they propound legends concerning the Christ similarly with Cerinthus and Carpocrates. They live conformably to the customs of the Jews, alleging that they are justified. according to the law, and saying that Jesus was justified by fulfilling the law. And therefore it was, (according to the Ebionaeans,) that the Savior was named the Christ of God and Jesus, since not one of the rest of mankind had observed completely the law.  For if even any other had fulfilled the commandments contained in the law, he would have been that Christ. And the Ebionaeans allege that they themselves also, when in like manner they fulfill the law, are able to become Christs; for they assert that our Lord Himself was a man in a like sense with all the rest of the human family.

23.  But there was a certain Theodotus, a native of Byzantium, who introduced a novel heresy. He announces tenets concerning the originating cause of the universe, which are partly in keeping with the doctrines of the true Church, in so far as he acknowledges that all things were created by God. Forcibly appropriating, however, his notions of Christ from the school of the Gnostics, and of Cerinthus and Ebion, he alleges that our Lord appeared in some such manner as I shall now describe. According to this, Theodotus maintains that Jesus was a (mere) man, born of a virgin, according to the counsel of the Father, and that after he had lived promiscuously with all men, and had become pre-eminently religious, he subsequently at his baptism in Jordan received Christ, who came from above and descended upon him in form of a dove. And this was the reason, (according to Theodotus,) why miraculous powers did not operate within him prior to the manifestation in him of that Spirit which descended, and which proclaims him to be the Christ. But among the followers of Theodotus some are disposed to think that never was this man made God, even at the descent of the Spirit; whereas others maintain that he was made God after the resurrection from the dead.

Excerpts from Book IX
Refutation of All Heresies


1.  A lengthened conflict, then, having been maintained concerning all heresies by us who, at all events, have not left any unrefuted, the greatest struggle now remains behind, viz., to furnish an account and refutation of those heresies that have sprung up in our own day, by which certain ignorant and presumptuous men have attempted to scatter abroad the Church, and have introduced the greatest confusion among all the faithful throughout the entire world. For it seems expedient that we, making an onslaught upon the opinion which constitutes the prime source of (contemporaneous) evils, should prove what are the originating principles of this opinion, in order that its offshoots, becoming a matter of general notoriety, may be made the object of universal scorn.

2.  There has appeared one, Noetus by name, and by birth a native of Smyrna. This person introduced a heresy from the tenets of Heraclitus. Now a certain man called Epigonus becomes his minister and pupil, and this person during his sojourn at Rome disseminated his godless opinion. But Cleomenes, who had become his disciple, an alien both in way of life and habits from the Church, was wont to corroborate the Noetian doctrine. At that time, Zephyrinus imagines that he administers the affairs of the Church -- an uninformed and shamefully corrupt man. And he, being persuaded by proffered gain, was accustomed to connive at those who were present for the purpose of becoming disciples of Cleomenes. But Zephyrinus himself, being in process of time enticed away, hurried headlong into the same opinions; and he had Callistus as his adviser, and a fellow-champion of these wicked tenets. But the life of this Callistus, and the heresy invented by him, I shall after a little explain. The school of these heretics during the succession of such bishops, continued to acquire strength and augmentation, from the fact that Zephyrinus and Callistus helped them to prevail. Never at any time, however, have we been guilty of collusion with them; but we have frequently offered them opposition, and have refuted them, and have forced them reluctantly to acknowledge the truth. And they, abashed and constrained by the truth, have confessed their errors for a short period, but after a little, wallow once again in the same mire.

3.  But since we have exhibited the succession of their genealogy, it seems expedient next that we should also explain the depraved teaching involved in their doctrines. For this purpose we shall first adduce the opinions advanced by Heraclitus “the Obscure,” and we shall next make manifest what are the portions of these opinions that are of Heraclitean origin. Such parts of their system its present champions are not aware belong to the “Obscure” philosopher, but they imagine them to belong to Christ. But if they might happen to fall in with the following observations, perhaps they thus might be put out of countenance, and induced to desist from this godless blasphemy of theirs. Now, even though the opinion of Heraclitus has been expounded by us previously in the Philosophumena, it nevertheless seems expedient now also to set down side by side in contrast the two systems, in order that by this closer refutation they may be evidently instructed.  I mean the followers of this heretic, who imagine themselves to be disciples of Christ, when in reality they are not so, but of “the Obscure.”

4.  Heraclitus then says that the universe is one, divisible and indivisible; generated and ungenerated; mortal and immortal; reason, eternity; Father, Son, and justice, God. “For those who hearken not to me, but the doctrine, it is wise that they acknowledge all things to be one,” says Heraclitus; and because all do not know or confess this, he utters a reproof somewhat in the following terms: “People do not understand how what is diverse nevertheless coincides with itself, just like the inverse harmony of a bow and lyre.” But that Reason always exists, inasmuch as it constitutes the universe, and as it pervades all things, he affirms in this manner. “But in regard of this Reason, which always exists, men are continually devoid of understanding, both before they have heard of it and in first hearing of it. For though all things take place according to this Reason, they seem like persons devoid of any experience regarding it. Still they attempt both words and works of such a description as I am giving an account of, by making a division according to nature, and declaring how things are.” And that a Son is the universe and throughout endless ages an eternal king of all things, he thus asserts: “A sporting child, playing at his dice, is eternity; the kingdom is that of a child.” And that the Father of all things that have been generated is an unbegotten creature who is creator, let us hear Heraclitus affirming in these words: “Contrariety is a progenitor of all things, and king of all; and it exhibited some as gods, but others as men, and made some slaves, whereas others free.” And he likewise affirms that there is “a harmony, as in a bow and lyre.” That obscure harmony is better, though unknown and invisible to men, he asserts in these words: “An obscure harmony is preferable to an obvious one.” He commends and admires before what is known, that which is unknown and invisible in regard of its power. And that harmony visible to men, and not incapable of being discovered, is better, he asserts in these words: “Whatever things are objects of vision, hearing, and intelligence, these I pre-eminently honor,” he says; that is, he prefers things visible to those that are invisible. From such expressions of his it is easy to understand the spirit of his philosophy. “Men,” he says, “are deceived in reference to the knowledge of manifest things similarly with Homer, who was wiser than all the Greeks. For even children killing vermin deceived him, when they said, ‘What we have seen and seized, these we leave behind; whereas what we neither have seen nor seized, these we carry away.’”

5.  In this manner Heraclitus assigns to the visible an equality of position and honor with the invisible, as if what was visible and what was invisible were confessedly some one thing. For he says, “An obscure harmony is preferable to an obvious one;” and, “Whatsoever things are objects of vision, hearing, and intelligence,” that is, of the corporeal organs, -- “these,” he says, “I pre-eminently honor,” not (on this occasion, though previously), having pre-eminently honored invisible things. Therefore neither darkness, nor light, nor evil, nor good, Heraclitus affirms, is different, but one and the same thing. At all events, he censures Hesiod because he knew not day and night. For day, he says, and night are one, expressing himself somehow thus: “The teacher, however, of a vast amount of information is Hesiod, and people suppose this poet to be possessed of an exceedingly large store of knowledge, and yet he did not know the nature of day and night, for they are one.” As regards both what is good and what is bad, they are, according to Heraclitus, likewise one.  “Physicians, undoubtedly,” says Heraclitus, “when they make incisions and cauterize, though in every respect they wickedly torture the sick, complain that they do not receive fitting remuneration from their patients, notwithstanding that they perform these salutary operations upon diseases.” And both straight and twisted are, he says, the same.  “The way is straight and curved of the carders of wool;” and the circular movement of an instrument in the fuller’s shop called “a screw” is straight and curved, for it revolves up and circularly at the same time. “One and the same,” he says, “are, therefore, straight and curved.” And upward and downward, he says, are one and the same.  “The way up and the way down are the same.” And he says that what is filthy and what is pure are one and the same, and what is drinkable and unfit for drink are one and the same. “Sea,” he says, “is water very pure and very foul, drinkable to fishes no doubt, and salutary for them, but not fit to be used as drink by men, and (for them) pernicious.” And, confessedly, he asserts that what is immortal is mortal, and that what is mortal is immortal, in the following expressions: “Immortals are mortal, and mortals are immortal, that is, when the one derive life from death, and the other death from life.” And he affirms also that there is a resurrection of this palpable flesh in which we have been born; and he knows God to be the cause of this resurrection, expressing himself in this manner: “Those that are here will God enable to arise and become guardians of quick and dead.” And he likewise affirms that a judgment of the world and all things in it takes place by fire, expressing himself thus: “Now, thunder pilots all things,” that is, directs them, meaning by the thunder everlasting fire. But he also asserts that this fire is endued with intelligence, and a cause of the management of the Universe, and he denominates it craving and satiety. Now craving is, according to him, the arrangement of the world, whereas satiety its destruction. “For,” says he, “the fire, coming upon the earth, will judge and seize all things.” But in this chapter Heraclitus simultaneously explains the entire peculiarity of his mode of thinking, but at the same time the characteristic quality of the heresy of Noetus. And I have briefly demonstrated Noetus to be not a disciple of Christ, but of Heraclitus. For this philosopher asserts that the primal world is itself the Demiurge and creator of itself in the following passage: “God is day, night; winter, summer; war, peace; surfeit, famine.” All things are contraries -- this appears his meaning -- “but an alteration takes place, just as if incense were mixed with other sorts of incense, but denominated according to the pleasurable sensation produced by each sort.” Now it is evident to all that the silly successors of Noetus, and the champions of his heresy, even though they have not been hearers of the discourses of Heraclitus, nevertheless, at any rate when they adopt the opinions of Noetus, undisguisedly acknowledge these Heraclitean tenets. For they advance statements after this manner -- that one and the same God is the Creator and Father of all things; and that when it pleased Him, He nevertheless appeared, (though invisible,) to just men of old. For when He is not seen He is invisible; and He is incomprehensible when He does not wish to be comprehended, but comprehensible when he is comprehended. Wherefore it is that, according to the same account, He is invincible and vincible, unbegotten and begotten, immortal and mortal. How shall not persons holding this description of opinions be proved to be disciples of Heraclitus? Did not Heraclitus the Obscure anticipate Noetus in framing a system of philosophy, according to identical modes of expression?

Now, that Noetus affirms that the Son and Father are the same, no one is ignorant. But he makes his statement thus: “When indeed, then, the Father had not been born, He yet was justly styled Father; and when it pleased Him to undergo generation, having been begotten, He Himself became His own Son, not another’s.” For in this manner he thinks to establish the sovereignty of God, alleging that Father and Son, so called, are one and the same (substance), not one individual produced from a different one, but Himself from Himself; and that He is styled by name Father and Son, according to vicissitude of times. But that He is one who has appeared amongst us, both having submitted to generation from a virgin, and as a man having held converse among men. And, on account of the birth that had taken place, He confessed Himself to those beholding Him a Son, no doubt; yet He made no secret to those who could comprehend Him of His being a Father. That this person suffered by being fastened to the tree, and that He commended His spirit unto Himself, having died to appearance, and not being (in reality) dead.  And He raised Himself up the third day, after having been interred in a sepulchre, and wounded with a spear, and perforated with nails. Cleomenes asserts, in common with his band of followers, that this person is God and Father of the universe, and thus introduces among many an obscurity of thought such as we find in the philosophy of Heraclitus.

6.  Callistus attempted to confirm this heresy, -- a man cunning in wickedness, and subtle where deceit was concerned, and who was impelled by restless ambition to mount the episcopal throne. Now this man molded to his purpose Zephyrinus, an ignorant and illiterate individual, and one unskilled in ecclesiastical definitions. And inasmuch as Zephyrinus was accessible to bribes, and covetous, Callistus, by luring him through presents, and by illicit demands, was enabled to seduce him into whatever course of action he pleased. And so it was that Callistus succeeded in inducing Zephyrinus to create continually disturbances among the brethren, while he himself took care subsequently, by knavish words, to attach both factions in goodwill to himself. And, at one time, to those who entertained true opinions, he would in private allege that they held similar doctrines with himself, and thus make them his dupes; while at another time he would act similarly towards those who embraced the tenets of Sabellius. But Callistus perverted Sabellius himself, and this, too, though he had the ability of rectifying this heretic’s error. For at any time during our admonition Sabellius did not evince obduracy; but as long as he continued alone with Callistus, he was wrought upon to relapse into the system of Cleomenes by this very Callistus, who alleges that he entertains similar opinions to Cleomenes. Sabellius, however, did not then perceive the knavery of Callistus; but he afterwards came to be aware of it, as I shall narrate presently.

Now Callistus brought forward Zephyrinus himself, and induced him publicly to avow the following sentiments: “I know that there is one God, Jesus Christ; nor except Him do I know any other that is begotten and amenable to suffering.” And on another occasion, when he would make the following statement: “The Father did not die, but the Son.” Zephyrinus would in this way continue to keep up ceaseless disturbance among the people. And we, becoming aware of his sentiments, did not give place to him, but reproved and withstood him for the truth’s sake. And he hurried headlong into folly, from the fact that all consented to his hypocrisy -- we, however, did not do so -- and called us worshippers of two gods, disgorging, independent of compulsion, the venom lurking within him. It would seem to us desirable to explain the life of this heretic, inasmuch as he was born about the same time with ourselves, in order that, by the exposure of the habits of a person of this description, the heresy attempted to be established by him may be easily known, and may perchance be regarded as silly, by those endued with intelligence. This Callistus became a “martyr” at the period when Fuscianus was prefect of Rome, and the mode of his “martyrdom” was as follows.

7.  Callistus happened to be a domestic of one Carpophorus, a man of the faith belonging to the household of Caesar. To this Callistus, as being of the faith, Carpophorus committed no inconsiderable amount of money, and directed him to bring in profitable returns from the banking business. And he, receiving the money, tried the experiment of a bank in what is called the Piscina Publica. And in process of time were entrusted to him not a few deposits by widows and brethren, under the ostensive cause of lodging their money with Carpophorus. Callistus, however, made away with all the moneys committed to him, and became involved in pecuniary difficulties. And after having practiced such conduct as this, there was not wanting one to tell Carpophorus, and the latter stated that he would require an account from him. Callistus, perceiving these things, and suspecting danger from his master, escaped away by stealth, directing his flight towards the sea. And finding a vessel in Portus ready for a voyage, he went on board, intending to sail wherever she happened to be bound for. But not even in this way could he avoid detection, for there was not wanting one who conveyed to Carpophorus intelligence of what had taken place. But Carpophorus, in accordance with the information he had received, at once repaired to the harbor (Portus), and made an effort to hurry into the vessel after Callistus. The boat, however, was anchored in the middle of the harbor; and as the ferryman was slow in his movements, Callistus, who was in the ship, had time to descry his master at a distance.  And knowing that himself would be inevitably captured, he became reckless of life; and, considering his affairs to be in a desperate condition, he proceeded to cast himself into the sea. But the sailors leaped into boats and drew him out, unwilling to come, while those on shore were raising a loud cry. And thus Callistus was handed over to his master, and brought to Rome, and his master lodged him in the Pistrinum.

But as time wore on, as happens to take place in such cases, brethren repaired to Carpophorus, and entreated him that he would release the fugitive serf from punishment, on the plea of their alleging that Callistus acknowledged himself to have money lying to his credit with certain persons. But Carpophorus, as a devout man, said he was indifferent regarding his own property, but that he felt a concern for the deposits; for many shed tears as they remarked to him, that they had committed what they had entrusted to Callistus, under the ostensive cause of lodging the money with himself.  And Carpophorus yielded to their persuasions, and gave directions for the liberation of Callistus. The latter, however, having nothing to pay, and not being able again to abscond, from the fact of his being watched, planned an artifice by which he hoped to meet death. Now, pretending that he was repairing as it were to his creditors, he hurried on their Sabbath-day to the synagogue of the Jews, who were congregated, and took his stand, and created a disturbance among them. They, however, being disturbed by him, offered him insult, and inflicted blows upon him, and dragged him before Fuscianus, who was prefect of the city. And (on being asked the cause of such treatment), they replied in the following terms: “Romans have conceded to us the privilege of publicly reading those laws of ours that have been handed down from our fathers. This person, however, by coming into our place of worship, prevented us so doing, by creating a disturbance among us, alleging that he is a Christian.”  And Fuscianus happens at the time to be on the judgment-seat; and on intimating his indignation against Callistus, on account of the statements made by the Jews, there was not wanting one to go and acquaint Carpophorus concerning these transactions. And he, hastening to the judgment-seat of the prefect, exclaimed, “I implore of you, my Lord Fuscianus, believe not thou this fellow; for he is not a Christian, but seeks occasion of death, having made away with a quantity of my money, as I shall prove.” The Jews, however, supposing that this was a stratagem, as if Carpophorus were seeking under this pretext to liberate Callistus, with the greater enmity clamored against him in presence of the prefect. Fuscianus, however, was swayed by these Jews, and having scourged Callistus, he gave him to be sent to a mine in Sardinia.

But after a time, there being in that place other martyrs, Marcia, a concubine of Commodus, who was a God-loving female, and desirous of performing some good work, invited into her presence the blessed Victor, who was at that time a bishop of the Church, and inquired of him what martyrs were in Sardinia. And he delivered to her the names of all, but did not give the name of Callistus, knowing the villainous acts he had ventured upon. Marcia, obtaining her request from Commodus, hands the letter of emancipation to Hyacinthus, a certain eunuch, rather advanced in life. And he, on receiving it, sailed away into Sardinia, and having delivered the letter to the person who at that time was governor of the territory, he succeeded in having the martyrs released, with the exception of Callistus. But Callistus himself, dropping on his knees, and weeping, entreated that he likewise might obtain a release. Hyacinthus, therefore, overcome by the captive’s importunity, requests the governor to grant a release, alleging that permission had been given to himself from Marcia (to liberate Callistus), and that he would make arrangements that there should be no risk in this to him. Now the governor was persuaded, and liberated Callistus also. And when the latter arrived at Rome, Victor was very much grieved at what had taken place; but since he was a compassionate man, he took no action in the matter. Guarding, however, against the reproach uttered by many, -- for the attempts made by this Callistus were not distant occurrences, -- and because Carpophorus also still continued adverse, Victor sends Callistus to take up his abode in Antium, having settled on him a certain monthly allowance for food. And after Victor’s death, Zephyrinus, having had Callistus as a fellow-worker in the management of his clergy, paid him respect to his own damage; and transferring this person from Antium, appointed him over the cemetery.

And Callistus, who was in the habit of always associating with Zephyrinus, and, as I have previously stated, of paying him hypocritical service, disclosed, by force contrast, Zephyrinus to be a person able neither to form a judgment of things said, nor discerning the design of Callistus, who was accustomed to converse with Zephyrinus on topics which yielded satisfaction to the latter. Thus, after the death of Zephyrinus, supposing that he had obtained the position after which he so eagerly pursued, he excommunicated Sabellius, as not entertaining orthodox opinions. He acted thus from apprehension of me, and imagining that he could in this manner obliterate the charge against him among the churches, as if he did not entertain strange opinions. He was then an impostor and knave, and in process of time hurried away many with him. And having even venom imbedded in his heart, and forming no correct opinion on any subject, and yet withal being ashamed to speak the truth, this Callistus, not only on account of his publicly saying in the way of reproach to us, “Ye are Ditheists,” but also on account of his being frequently accused by Sabellius, as one that had transgressed his first faith, devised some such heresy as the following. Callistus alleges that the Logos Himself is Son, and that Himself is Father; and that though denominated by a different title, yet that in reality He is one indivisible spirit. And he maintains that the Father is not one person and the Son another, but that they are one and the same; and that all things are full of the Divine Spirit, both those above and those below. And he affirms that the Spirit, which became incarnate in the virgin, is not different from the Father, but one and the same. And he adds, that this is what has been declared by the Savior: “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?” For that which is seen, which is man, he considers to be the Son; whereas the Spirit, which was contained in the Son, to be the Father. “For,” says Callistus, “I will not profess belief in two Gods, Father and Son, but in one. For the Father, who subsisted in the Son Himself, after He had taken unto Himself our flesh, raised it to the nature of Deity, by bringing it into union with Himself, and made it one; so that Father and Son must be styled one God, and that this Person being one, cannot be two.” And in this way Callistus contends that the Father suffered along with the Son; for he does not wish to assert that the Father suffered, and is one Person, being careful to avoid blasphemy against the Father. (How careful he is!) senseless and knavish fellow, who improvises blasphemies in every direction, only that he may not seem to speak in violation of the truth, and is not abashed at being at one time betrayed into the tenet of Sabellius, whereas at another into the doctrine of Theodotus.

The impostor Callistus, having ventured on such opinions, established a school of theology in antagonism to the Church, adopting the foregoing system of instruction. And he first invented the device of conniving with men in regard of their indulgence in sensual pleasures, saying that all had their sins forgiven by himself. For he who is in the habit of attending the congregation of any one else, and is called a Christian, should he commit any transgression; the sin, they say, is not reckoned unto him, provided only he hurries off and attaches himself to the school of Callistus. And many persons were gratified with his regulation, as being stricken in conscience, and at the same time having been rejected by numerous sects; while also some of them, in accordance with our condemnatory sentence, had been by us forcibly ejected from the Church. Now such disciples as these passed over to these followers of Callistus, and served to crowd his school. This one propounded the opinion, that, if a bishop was guilty of any sin, if even a sin unto death, he ought not to be deposed. About the time of this man, bishops, priests, and deacons, who had been twice married, and thrice married, began to be allowed to retain their place among the clergy. If also, however, any one who is in holy orders should become married, Callistus permitted such a one to continue in holy orders as if he had not sinned. And in justification, he alleges that what has been spoken by the Apostle has been declared in reference to this person: “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant?” But he asserted that likewise the parable of the tares is uttered in reference to this one: “Let the tares grow along with the wheat;” or, in other words, let those who in the Church are guilty of sin remain in it. But also he affirmed that the ark of Noe was made for a symbol of the Church, in which were both dogs, and wolves, and ravens, and all things clean and unclean; and so he alleges that the case should stand in like manner with the Church. And as many parts of Scripture bearing on this view of the subject as he could collect, he so interpreted.

And the hearers of Callistus being delighted with his tenets, continue with him, thus mocking both themselves as well as many others, and crowds of these dupes stream together into his school. Wherefore also his pupils are multiplied, and they plume themselves upon the crowds attending the school for the sake of pleasures which Christ did not permit. But in contempt of Him, they place restraint on the commission of no sin, alleging that they pardon those who acquiesce in Callistus’ opinions. For even also he permitted females, if they were unwedded, and burned with passion at an age at all events unbecoming, or if they were not disposed to overturn their own dignity through a legal marriage, that they might have whomsoever they would choose as a bedfellow, whether a slave or free, and that a woman, though not legally married, might consider such a companion as a husband. Whence women, reputed believers, began to resort to drugs for producing sterility, and to gird themselves round, so to expel what was being conceived on account of their not wishing to have a child either by a slave or by any paltry fellow, for the sake of their family and excessive wealth.  Behold, into how great impiety that lawless one has proceeded, by inculcating adultery and murder at the same time! And withal, after such audacious acts, they, lost to all shame, attempt to call themselves a Catholic Church! And some, under the supposition that they will attain prosperity, concur with them. During the episcopate of this one, second baptism was for the first time presumptuously attempted by them. These, then, are the practices and opinions which that most astonishing Callistus established, whose school continues, preserving its customs and tradition, not discerning with whom they ought to communicate, but indiscriminately offering communion to all. And from him they have derived the denomination of their men; so that, on account of Callistus being a foremost champion of such practices, they should be called Callistians.

8.  The doctrine of this Callistus having been noised abroad throughout the entire world, a cunning man, and full of desperation, one called Alcibiades, dwelling in Apamea, a city of Syria, examined carefully into this business. And considering himself a more formidable character, and more ingenious in such tricks, than Callistus, he repaired to Rome; and he brought some book, alleging that a certain just man, Elchasai, had received this from Serae, a town of Parthia, and that he gave it to one called Sobiai. And the contents of this volume, he alleged, had been revealed by an angel whose height was 24 schoenoi, which make 96 miles, and whose breadth is 4 schoenoi, and from shoulder to shoulder 6 schoenoi; and the tracks of his feet extend to the length of three and a half schoenoi, which are equal to fourteen miles, while the breadth is one schoenos and a half, and the height half a schoenos. And he alleges that also there is a female with him, whose measurement, he says, is according to the standards already mentioned. And he asserts that the male angel is Son of God, but that the female is called Holy Spirit. By detailing these prodigies he imagines that he confounds fools, while at the same time he utters the following sentence: “that there was preached unto men a new remission of sins in the third year of Trajan’s reign.” And Elchasai determines the nature of baptism, and even this I shall explain. He alleges, as to those who have been involved in every description of lasciviousness, and filthiness, and in acts of wickedness, if only any of them be a believer, that he determines that such a one, on being converted, and obeying the book, and believing its contents, should by baptism receive remission of sins.

Elchasai, however, ventured to continue these knaveries, taking occasion from the aforesaid tenet of which Callistus stood forward as a champion. For, perceiving that many were delighted at this sort of promise, he considered that he could opportunely make the attempt just alluded to. And notwithstanding we offered resistance to this, and did not permit many for any length of time to become victims of the delusion. For we carried conviction to the people, when we affirmed that this was the operation of a spurious spirit, and the invention of a heart inflated with pride, and that this one like a wolf had risen up against many wandering sheep, which Callistus, by his arts of deception, had scattered abroad. But since we have commenced, we shall not be silent as regards the opinions of this man. And, in the first place, we shall expose his life, and we shall prove that his supposed discipline is a mere pretense. And next, I shall adduce the principal heads of his assertions, in order that the reader, looking fixedly on the treatises of this Elchasai, may be made aware what and what sort is the heresy which has been audaciously attempted by this man.


Excerpts from Book X
Refutation of All Heresies


[Books I - XVI Omitted]

XVII.  Cerinthus, however, himself having been trained in Egypt, determined that the world was not made by the first God, but by a certain angelic power. And this power was far separated and distant from that sovereignty which is above the entire circle of existence, and it knows not the God (that is) above all things.  And he says that Jesus was not born of a virgin, but that He sprang from Joseph and Mary as their son, similar to the rest of men; and that He excelled in justice, and prudence, and understanding above all the rest of mankind. And Cerinthus maintains that, after Jesus' baptism, Christ came down in the form of a dove upon Him from the sovereignty that is above the whole circle of existence, and that then He proceeded to preach the unknown Father, and to work miracles. And he asserts that, at the conclusion of the passion, Christ flew away from Jesus, but that Jesus suffered, and that Christ remained incapable of suffering, being a spirit of the Lord.

XVIII.  But the Ebionaeans assert that the world is made by the true God, and they speak of Christ in a similar manner with Cerinthus. They live, however, in all respects according to the law of Moses, alleging that they are thus justified.

XIX.  But Theodotus of Byzantium introduced a heresy of the following description, alleging that all things were created by the true God; whereas that Christ, he states, in a manner similar to that advocated by the Gnostics already mentioned, made His appearance according to some mode of this description. And Theodotus affirms that Christ is a man of a kindred nature with all men, but that He surpasses them in this respect, that, according to the counsel of God, He had been born of a virgin, and the Holy Ghost had overshadowed His mother. This heretic, however, maintained that Jesus had not assumed flesh in the womb of the Virgin, but that afterwards Christ descended upon Jesus at His baptism in form of a dove. And from this circumstance, the followers of Theodotus affirm that at first miraculous powers did not acquire operating energy in Savior Himself. Theodotus, however, determines to deny the divinity of Christ. Now, opinions of this description were advanced by Theodotus.

XX.  And others also make all their assertions similarly with those which have been already specified, introducing one only alteration, viz., in respect of regarding Melchisedec as a certain power. But they allege that Melchisedec himself is superior to all powers; and according to his image, they are desirous of maintaining that Christ likewise is generated.

XXI.  The Phrygians, however, derive the principles of their heresy from a certain Montanus, and Priscilla, and Maximilla, and regard these wretched women as prophetesses, and Montanus as a prophet. In respect, however, of what appertains to the origin and creation of the universe, the Phrygians are supposed to express themselves correctly; while in the tenets which they enunciate respecting Christ, they have not irrelevantly formed their opinions. But they are seduced into error in common with the heretics previously alluded to, and devote their attention to the discourses of these above the Gospels, thus laying down regulations concerning novel and strange fasts.

XXII.  But others of them, being attached to the heresy of the Noetians, entertain similar opinions to those relating to the silly women of the Phrygians, and to Montanus. As regards, however, the truths appertaining to the Father of the entire of existing things, they are guilty of blasphemy, because they assert that He is Son and Father, visible and invisible, begotten and unbegotten, mortal and immortal. These have taken occasion from a certain Noetus to put forward their heresy.

XXIII.  But in like manner, also, Noetus, being by birth a native of Smyrna, and a fellow addicted to reckless babbling, as well as crafty withal, introduced (among us) this heresy which originated from one Epigonus.  It reached Rome, and was adopted by Cleomenes, and so has continued to this day among his successors. Noetus asserts that there is one Father and God of the universe, and that He made all things, and was imperceptible to those that exist when He might so desire. Noetus maintained that the Father then appeared when He wished; and He is invisible when He is not seen, but visible when He is seen. And this heretic also alleges that the Father is unbegotten when He is not generated, but begotten when He is born of a virgin; as also that He is not subject to suffering, and is immortal when He does not suffer or die.  When, however, His passion came upon Him, Noetus allows that the Father suffers and dies. And the Noetians suppose that this Father Himself is called Son, (and vice versa,) in reference to the events which at their own proper periods happen to them severally.

Callistus corroborated the heresy of these Noetians, but we have already carefully explained the details of his life. And Callistus himself produced likewise a heresy, and derived its starting-points from these Noetians, -- namely, so far as he acknowledges that there is one Father and God, viz., the Creator of the universe, and that this (God) is spoken of, and called by the name of Son, yet that in substance He is one Spirit. For Spirit, as the Deity, is, he says, not any being different from the Logos, or the Logos from the Deity; therefore this one person, (according to Callistus,) is divided nominally, but substantially not so. He supposes this one Logos to be God, and affirms that there was in the case of the Word an incarnation. And he is disposed to maintain, that He who was seen in the flesh and was crucified is Son, but that the Father it is who dwells in Him. Callistus thus at one time branches off into the opinion of Noetus, but at another into that of Theodotus, and holds no sure doctrine. These, then, are the opinions of Callistus.

XXIV.  But one Hermogenes himself also being desirous of saying something, asserted that God made all things out of matter coeval with Himself, and subject to His design. For Hermogenes held it to be an impossibility that God should make the things that were made, except out of existent things.

XXV.  But certain others, introducing as it were some novel tenet, appropriated parts of their system from all heresies, and procured a strange volume, which bore on the title page the name of one Elchasai.  These, in like manner, acknowledge that the principles of the universe were originated by the Deity.  They do not, however, confess that there is but one Christ, but that there is one that is superior to the rest, and that He is transfused into many bodies frequently, and was now in Jesus.  And, in like manner, these heretics maintain that at one time Christ was begotten of God, and at another time became the Spirit, and at another time was born of a virgin, and at another time not so.  And they affirm that likewise this Jesus afterwards was continually being transfused into bodies, and was manifested in many different bodies at different times.  And they resort to incantations and baptisms in their confession of elements.  And they occupy themselves with bustling activity in regard of astrological and mathematical science, and of the arts of sorcery. But also they allege themselves to have powers of prescience.


XXVIII.  The first and only one God, both Creator and Lord of all, had nothing coeval with Himself; not infinite chaos, nor measureless water, nor solid earth, nor dense air, not warm fire, nor refined spirit, nor the azure canopy of the stupendous firmament. But He was One, alone in Himself. By an exercise of His will He created things that are, which antecedently had no existence, except that He willed to make them. For He is fully acquainted with whatever is about to take place, for foreknowledge also is present to Him. The different principles, however, of what will come into existence, He first fabricated, viz., fire and spirit, water and earth, from which diverse elements He proceeded to form His own creation. And some objects He formed of one essence, but others He compounded from two, and others from three, and others from four. And those formed of one substance were immortal, for in their case dissolution does not follow, for what is one will never be dissolved. Those, on the other hand, which are formed out of two, or three, or four substances, are dissoluble; wherefore also are they named mortal. For this has been denominated death; namely, the dissolution of substances connected. I now therefore think that I have sufficiently answered those endued with a sound mind, who, if they are desirous of additional instruction, and are disposed accurately to investigate the substances of these things, and the causes of the entire creation, will become acquainted with these points should they peruse a work of ours comprised under the title, Concerning the Substance of the Universe. I consider, however, that at present it is enough to elucidate those causes of which the Greeks, not being aware, glorified, in pompous phraseology, the parts of creation, while they remained ignorant of the Creator. And from these the heresiarchs have taken occasion, and have transformed the statements previously made by those Greeks into similar doctrines, and thus have framed ridiculous heresies.

XXIX.  Therefore this solitary and supreme Deity, by an exercise of reflection, brought forth the Logos first; not the word in the sense of being articulated by voice, but as a ratiocination of the universe, conceived and residing in the divine mind. Him alone He produced from existing things; for the Father Himself constituted existence, and the being born from Him was the cause of all things that are produced. The Logos was in the Father Himself, bearing the will of His progenitor, and not being unacquainted with the mind of the Father. For simultaneously with His procession from His Progenitor, inasmuch as He is this Progenitor's first-born, He has, as a voice in Himself, the ideas conceived in the Father. And so it was, that when the Father ordered the world to come into existence, the Logos one by one completed each object of creation, thus pleasing God.  And some things which multiply by generation He formed male and female; but whatsoever beings were designed for service and ministration He made either male, or not requiring females, or neither male nor female.  For even the primary substances of these, which were formed out of nonentities, viz., fire and spirit, water and earth, are neither male nor female; nor could male or female proceed from any one of these, were it not that God, who is the source of all authority, wished that the Logos might render assistance in accomplishing a production of this kind.  I confess that angels are of fire, and I maintain that female spirits are not present with them. And I am of opinion that sun and moon and stars, in like manner, are produced from fire and spirit, and are neither male nor female. And the will of the Creator is, that swimming and winged animals are from water, male and female. For so God, whose will it was, ordered that there should exist a moist substance, endued with productive power. And in like manner God commanded, that from earth should arise reptiles and beasts, as well males and females of all sorts of animals; for so the nature of the things produced admitted. For as many things as He willed, God made from time to time. These things He created through the Logos, it not being possible for things to be generated otherwise than as they were produced. But when, according as He willed, He also formed objects, He called them by names, and thus notified His creative effort. And making these, He formed the ruler of all, and fashioned him out of all composite substances. The Creator did not wish to make him a god, and failed in His aim; nor an angel, -- be not deceived, -- but a man. For if He had willed to make thee a god, He could have done so. Thou hast the example of the Logos. His will, however, was, that you should be a man, and He has made thee a man. But if thou art desirous of also becoming a god, obey Him that has created thee, and resist not now, in order that, being found faithful in that which is small, you may be enabled to have entrusted to you also that which is great.

The Logos alone of this God is from God himself; wherefore also the Logos is God, being the substance of God. Now the world was made from nothing; wherefore it is not God; as also because this world admits of dissolution whenever the Creator so wishes it. But God, who created it, did not, nor does not, make evil. He makes what is glorious and excellent; for He who makes it is good. Now man, that was brought into existence, was a creature endued with a capacity of self-determination, yet not possessing a sovereign intellect, nor holding sway over all things by reflection, and authority, and power, but a slave to his passions, and comprising all sorts of contrarieties in himself. But man, from the fact of his possessing a capacity of self-determination, brings forth what is evil, that is, accidentally; which evil is not consummated except you actually commit some piece of wickedness. For it is in regard of our desiring anything that is wicked, or our meditating upon it, that what is evil is so denominated. Evil had no existence from the beginning, but came into being subsequently. Since man has free will, a law has been defined for his guidance by the Deity, not without answering a good purpose. For if man did not possess the power to will and not to will, why should a law be established? For a law will not be laid down for an animal devoid of reason, but a bridle and a whip; whereas to man has been given a precept and penalty to perform, or for not carrying into execution what has been enjoined. For man thus constituted has a law been enacted by just men in primitive ages. Nearer our own day was there established a law, full of gravity and justice, by Moses, to whom allusion has been already made, a devout man, and one beloved of God.

Now the Logos of God controls all these; the first begotten Child of the Father, the voice of the Dawn antecedent to the Morning Star. Afterwards just men were born, friends of God; and these have been styled prophets, on account of their foreshowing future events. And the word of prophecy was committed unto them, not for one age only; but also the utterances of events predicted throughout all generations, were vouchsafed in perfect clearness.  And this, too, not at the time merely when seers furnished a reply to those present; but also events that would happen throughout all ages, have been manifested beforehand; because, in speaking of incidents gone by, the prophets brought them back to the recollection of humanity; whereas, in showing forth present occurrences, they endeavoured to persuade men not to be remiss; while, by foretelling future events, they have rendered each one of us terrified on beholding events that had been predicted long before, and on expecting likewise those events predicted as still future. Such is our faith, O all ye men, -- ours, I say, who are not persuaded by empty expressions, nor caught away by sudden impulses of the heart, nor beguiled by the plausibility of eloquent discourses, yet who do not refuse to obey words that have been uttered by divine power.  And these injunctions has God given to the Word.  But the Word, by declaring them, promulgated the divine commandments, thereby turning man from disobedience, not bringing him into servitude by force of necessity, but summoning him to liberty through a choice involving spontaneity.

This Logos the Father in the latter days sent forth, no longer to speak by a prophet, and not wishing that the Word, being obscurely proclaimed, should be made the subject of mere conjecture, but that He should be manifested, so that we could see Him with our own eyes. This Logos, I say, the Father sent forth, in order that the world, on beholding Him, might reverence Him who was delivering precepts not by the person of prophets, nor terrifying the soul by an angel, but who was Himself -- He that had spoken -- corporally present amongst us. This Logos we know to have received a body from a virgin, and to have remodelled the old man by a new creation.  And we believe the Logos to have passed through every period in this life, in order that He Himself might serve as a law for every age, and that, by being present (amongst) us, He might exhibit His own manhood as an aim for all men. And that by Himself in person He might prove that God made nothing evil, and that man possesses the capacity of self-determination, inasmuch as he is able to will and not to will, and is endued with power to do both. This Man we know to have been made out of the compound of our humanity. For if He were not of the same nature with ourselves, in vain does He ordain that we should imitate the Teacher. For if that Man happened to be of a different substance from us, why does He lay injunctions similar to those He has received on myself, who am born weak; and how is this the act of one that is good and just? In order, however, that He might not be supposed to be different from us, He even underwent toil, and was willing to endure hunger, and did not refuse to feel thirst, and sunk into the quietude of slumber. He did not protest against His Passion, but became obedient unto death, and manifested His resurrection. Now in all these acts He offered up, as the first-fruits, His own manhood, in order that thou, when thou art in tribulation, mayest not be disheartened, but, confessing thyself to be a man (of like nature with the Redeemer), mayest dwell in expectation of also receiving what the Father has granted unto this Son.

XXX.  Such is the true doctrine in regard of the divine nature, O ye men, Greeks and Barbarians, Chaldeans and Assyrians, Egyptians and Libyans, Indians and Ethiopians, Celts, and ye Latins, who lead armies, and all ye that inhabit Europe, and Asia, and Libya. And to you I am become an adviser, inasmuch as I am a disciple of the benevolent Logos, and hence humane, in order that you may hasten and by us may be taught who the true God is, and what is His well-ordered creation. Do not devote your attention to the fallacies of artificial discourses, nor the vain promises of plagiarizing heretics, but to the venerable simplicity of unassuming truth.  And by means of this knowledge you shall escape the approaching threat of the fire of judgment, and the rayless scenery of gloomy Tartarus, where never shines a beam from the irradiating voice of the Word!

You shall escape the boiling flood of hell's eternal lake of fire and the eye ever fixed in menacing glare of fallen angels chained in Tartarus as punishment for their sins; and you shall escape the worm that ceaselessly coils for food around the body whose scum has bred it. Now such torments as these shall thou avoid by being instructed in a knowledge of the true God. And thou shalt possess an immortal body, even one placed beyond the possibility of corruption, just like the soul. And thou shalt receive the kingdom of heaven, thou who, whilst thou didst sojourn in this life, didst know the Celestial King. And thou shalt be a companion of the Deity, and a co-heir with Christ, no longer enslaved by lusts or passions, and never again wasted by disease. For thou hast become God: for whatever sufferings thou didst undergo while being a man, these He gave to thee, because thou wast of mortal mould, but whatever it is consistent with God to impart, these God has promised to bestow upon thee, because thou hast been deified, and begotten unto immortality. This constitutes the import of the proverb, "Know thyself;" i.e., discover God within thyself, for He has formed thee after His own image. For with the knowledge of self is conjoined the being an object of God's knowledge, for thou art called by the Deity Himself. Be not therefore inflamed, O ye men, with enmity one towards another, nor hesitate to retrace with all speed your steps. For Christ is the God above all, and He has arranged to wash away sin from human beings, rendering regenerate the old man. And God called man His likeness from the beginning, and has evinced in a figure His love towards thee. And provided thou obeyest His solemn injunctions, and becomest a faithful follower of Him who is good, thou shall resemble Him, inasmuch as thou shall have honour conferred upon thee by Him. For the Deity, (by condescension,) does not diminish aught of the divinity of His divine perfection; having made thee even God unto His glory!

Holy, Holy, HolyThe Philo LibraryHypatia's Bookshelf