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It was, perhaps, somewhat presumptuous in a person 
occupying so humble a station in the sacred ministry to 
offer to the Church a work which would necessarily induce 
comparisons between itself and the similar productions of 
a Prelate of the Church — a Divine of the highest rank and 
character. The author can, however, at least say, that it 
was no foolish ambition which led to his employing himself 
on such a work. Having been led by circumstances to a 
repeated perusal and study of the writings of S. Irenseus, 
he saw the great value of his testimony to the leading prin- 
ciples and doctrines of the Church of England. He had 
himself derived much benefit from the works of Bishop 
Kaye on others of the Fathers ; he thought that if he 
could do nothing more than to draw out the substance of 
the doctrine and opinions of Irenseus for the use of the 
student in theology, in a more accessible form than that in 
which he himself had to look for it, accompanied by the 
text of the portions from which he had formed his state- 


ments, and with a little illustration of the meaning in 
passages liable to misunderstanding,— he should have ren- 
dered a service to his younger brethren : and if it should 
so happen that that distinguished Prelate or any other 
writer did anticipate him, it would be so much clear gain to 
himself to have been so employed. When he had com- 
pleted his first preparations, and had learnt by proper 
inquiry that the Illustrator of Justin, Clement, and Tertul- 
lian was not engaged on Irenseus, he endeavoured to put 
the work somewhat into form : and being afterwards 
encouraged by one upon whose judgment and acquirements 
public opinion had set its stamp, and who had seen portions 
of the work, to believe that it possessed a certain degree of 
value, — he ventured to bring it into public notice in the 
only way which appeared open to him. 

He desires here to record his sense of the most kind 
and most hearty encouragement he has met with from 
persons of all ranks and classes, capable of appreciating a 
work of this description, or of aiding in its publication: 
more especially of that afforded him by her Majesty The 
Queen Dowager, by the Most Reverend and Right Reve- 
rend Prelates who have honoured him with their support, 
by the many persons distinguished either for station or for 
literary eminence, whose names will be found in the sub- 
joined list, and by the warm-hearted friends, both of the 
clergy and of the laity, with whom he is either locally or 
personally connected. 

His work, such as it is, he now sends forth, trusting 
that, through the blessing of the Divine Head of the 
Church, it may be available to the great ends of the 



ministry to which he has been called, and may tend to the 
unity, the strength, and the stability of the Church. 

Before, however, he takes his leave of his readers, he 
wishes to add a few words on the Right Use of the 
Writings of the Fathers. 

1 . We use them as we do the writings of secular authors, 
to ascertain the facts of the history of their own or of pre- 
ceding times ; principally as concerning the Church, and 
secondarily as concerning the world. To this use of them 
no objection in principle can be raised ; and in so doing, we 
treat them exactly as we do ordinary writers. 

2. We use them, as evidence of the state of the Church, 
in their own and preceding ages, as regards either discipline 
or morals. In regard to the former, as it is a thing not in 
its nature liable to hasty alteration, — discipline established 
in one age continuing on, for the most part, into the next, 
— their testimony will avail for the immediately preceding 
generation, as well as for their own. In regard to the 
latter, it can scarcely be received for any thing anterior to 
their own age, unless where they record the observations of 
some older person. In both, moreover, it requires to be 
noted whether they are writing controversially or histori- 
cally : because we all know that through the imperfection 
of our nature we are apt to overstate our own case, and to 
understate that of our opponents. And if that is the case 
now, when a more extended and more accurate education 
has disciplined the minds of writers to impartiality, how 
much more must it have been so in an earlier stage of 
controversial writing, when there had been no opportunity 


for any such discipline. It is necessary, therefore, in the 
perusal of their controversial writings to be on our guard, 
and to notice, in any particular case, whether the mind of 
the writer is likely to have been influenced in his statements 
by any such bias. It must be remembered, moreover, that 
no individual author can be considered as evidence for the 
state of the universal Church, unless we have sufficient 
proof that he had means of knowing the condition of the 
whole Church, and unless we can gather that, being so 
qualified, he intends to speak thus largely. 

Again, when not writing controversially, if we are aware 
that they laboured under any particular prejudice or bias, 
either towards any particular opinion or state of feeling, or 
against any particular class or individual, which is liable to 
affect their statements, — then likewise we must view them 
with caution. 

On the other hand, when we have no evidence of any 
circumstance likely to pervert their perceptions, or to exag- 
gerate their statements, it is obvious that they must be 
taken at their full value. 

3. We use the Fathers as evidence of the doctrine which 
was taught by the Church, in their own and preceding ages. 
And here some of the remarks just made will apply again. 
The Fathers, like all other writers, sometimes state them 
own individual opinions, or the views of doctrine which 
prevailed in the sect or party to which they were attached, 
or in the particular part of the Church in which they were 
placed, or in the age in which they lived : at other times, 
and more frequently, the doctrines of the whole Church, in 


their own and all preceding ages. Now, where a writer 
states that what he is saying is held by the whole Church, 
unless we know any thing to the contrary, it is reasonable 
to believe that it was the case ; because we know that the 
tradition of doctrine was, for the most part, jealously kept 
up by the perpetual intercourse and communication between 
the bishops of the several churches. And so again, where 
a writer affirms that any particular doctrine has been 
handed down from the beginning, unless we have opposing 
evidence, it is reasonable to take his word ; because we 
know that it was the custom and practice of the whole 
Church to require every new bishop to confess the doctrine 
already received, and to teach its doctrines to new converts 
as already received. And, at all events, such a statement 
is conclusive evidence, that such doctrine had come down 
from a generation or two preceding that of the writer; 
unless (as was said before) we have proof to the contrary. 

But, as has been already stated, it is possible for an 
individual to be led away by controversy, or prejudice, or 
party bias ; and therefore, when he is manifestly under any 
such influence, it is well to be on our guard. For that and 
other reasons, in any matter of serious doubt, it is impossible 
to rest upon the word of any single writer; but we use 
him as a link in the chain of evidence as to the doctrine 
taught from the beginning by the united universal Church. 

4. We use them to aid us in interpreting the text of 
Scripture. For many of them quote very largely from the 
Sacred Volume ; and as some lived near apostolical times, 
and many wrote in the language in which the New Testa- 
ment was written, whilst others were persons of great 


inquiry and learning, and lived nearer to the localities of the 
sacred events than we do, — they had advantages which we 
do not possess. When, therefore, several or many of them 
concur in giving one uniform meaning to particular passages 
of Scripture, the evidence becomes very strong that they 
had the right interpretation : and even where only one 
writer gives any assistance upon any particular text, we 
shall frequently see reason for accepting his acceptation of 
it in preference to more modern suggestions. At the same 
time it is necessary to bear in mind, that most of them 
knew nothing of the original language of the Old Testa- 
ment; and that they are often only applying passages 
according to the prevalent habit (countenanced indeed by 
our Lord and his Apostles, but carried to various degrees 
of excess by most of the early writers) of seeking for mys- 
tical accommodations : and we must distinguish between 
application and interpretation. 

Now these methods of employing the writings of the 
Fathers are a priori so obvious and so unobjectionable, that 
few writers of any credit object to the principle : but as 
the results of the application of the principle are highly 
inconvenient to those who have rejected the doctrine or 
discipline universally upheld in the primitive ages of the 
Church, two lines of argument have been taken to nullify 
this application. And as they have been lately revived in 
various ways, and particularly by the re-publication of the 
work from which most of them have been derived, viz. 
Daille's Treatise on the Bight Use of the Fathers, I have 
thought proper to notice them in that brief manner which 
the limits of a preface permit. Some, indeed, of the ob- 
jections brought forward ought to be considered as simply 


cautions to the inquirer, and as such I have already treated 
them ; the chief remaining ones I now proceed to mention. 

(1.) Some contend that, however reasonable in the ab- 
stract this sort of appeal to the Fathers may appear, it is 
beset with such difficulties, that it is useless in practice : 
that we have so few early writings, that those we have are 
so adulterated, that we have so many forgeries in the names 
of early writers, that the writings of the Fathers are so 
difficult to understand, that they so often give the opinions 
of others without any intimation that they are not their 
own, that they so constantly altered their views as they 
grew older, and that it so frequently happened that the men 
who are now of most note were in a minority of their con- 
temporaries, — that it is practically useless to attempt to 
apply the Fathers to modern use. 

Now I do not deny that there is something in these dif- 
ficulties ; otherwise they would not have been brought for- 
ward at all. No doubt we have but few writings of sub- 
apostolical times : but then we must use such as we have, 
and illustrate their sense by such methods as are in our 
power; and we shall find that they give a clear and con- 
sistent testimony to several important matters, both of 
doctrine and of discipline. It might be true, when Daille 
first wrote, that the very important epistles of S. Ignatius 
were much adulterated : but it is not so now; the 
genuine copies having become known to the world in his 
time : neither is it true to any considerable extent of 
subsequent writers ; and when it is, it simply presents a 
difficulty, which must be surmounted as we best can, or 
must cast a doubt over any particular writing. Sermons 


and popular treatises of writers of note were often altered 
in transcribing ; just as we, in these days, re-publish popu- 
lar books with omissions and alterations suited to the 
change of times, or to the shade of difference between our 
own views and those of the writer : and for that reason 
works of that description, however useful for devotional 
reading and instruction, must be brought forward in con- 
troversy with more caution than others, and sometimes set 
aside altogether. In short there is need of judgment and 
discrimination in the use of the Fathers ; and that is the 
whole amount of this difficulty. With regard to the diffi- 
culty of understanding them, that is of course a matter of 
degree, dependent upon the acquaintance of the student 
with the original languages, as used in the age and country 
of the writers, upon his acquaintance with Church history 
and the state of controversy, upon the degree of prejudice 
or false doctrine with which his own mind is imbued : but 
I do not think that they present nearly so much difficulty as 
the Platonical writers, which many persons study with great 
interest. As to the Fathers giving the opinions of others 
without intimating that they are so, that is no more than 
St. Paul himself does ; and it very seldom occurs. So no 
doubt, like all other persons, they modify their views and 
occasionally change them, as they grow older : but that is, 
for the most part, only in subordinate matters, and it is 
very rarely that the circumstance presents any practical 
difficulty. Finally, that men whose name has become great 
amongst posterity were in a minority in their own age, is no 
doubt true in some instances : but when it is so, it can be 
ascertained, and must be allowed for ; and when it cannot 
be ascertained it must not be surmised. And even where 
they were so, as in the case of Athanasius, they may be 


connected with a majority in preceding and subsequent 

So that these objections are partly such difficulties as 
occur in every study, (but stated with much exaggeration,) 
and partly flimsy unpractical cavils, not worth dwelling 

(2.) But supposing that the writings of the Fathers are 
intelligible upon many points, another class of objections 
arises. It is asserted that they were themselves often mis- 
taken, that they even contradict one another, and in short 
that no class or party is really willing to abide by their 

Here again, if they were mistaken, let it be shown by 
undoubted testimony (of Holy Writ or otherwise) that 
they were mistaken : but let no one take for granted that 
because they differ from the received notions of our own 
age, they were therefore in error. It should never be for- 
gotten that every age has its errors : and it may be, possibly, 
that wherein we differ from them the error is our own. No 
doubt each eminent writer then, as each eminent writer 
now, was in some respects mistaken. It is the simple con- 
dition of humanity to be liable to error. But as that does 
not cause us to refuse the testimony of our contemporaries, 
or their aid in the pursuit of truth, so it need not cause us 
to turn a deaf ear to the earlier writers. The circumstance 
that in some respects each was in error only renders their 
combined testimony to truth more weighty. It has indeed 
been asserted that they were all in error upon certain points: 


but that assertion the Author has elsewhere ! shown to be 
totally destitute of truth. Again, with regard to their 
contradictions of each other, where they do occur they 
should of course be noted ; but the cases will be found to 
be of little practical importance ; and their differences upon 
some points only place in a clearer light their agreement 
where they do agree. Lastly, as to the alleged fact that 
no class or party heartily accepts even the combined evi- 
dence of the Fathers, it is certainly true of two opposite 
parties ; viz. the Roman Church and those Protestants who 
have rejected the Apostolical succession, — both setting up 
modern opinions to oppose or to explain away primitive 
doctrine : but it is not true of the Church of England, 
which (as has been frequently shown) both formally recog- 
nizes the consent of Catholic Doctors, and does in point of 
fact, in her public acts and documents, agree substantially 
in doctrine and discipline with that consent, so far as it has 
yet been ascertained ; whatever instances have been brought 
forward to the contrary being mistakes in matter of fact. 

5. But besides this use of the Fathers as evidence, many 
persons attribute to them a certain degree of authority; 
and greater objection is felt to appealing to them as autho- 
rity, than to using them as testimony. There are, however, 
very different ways of treating them as authority. 

Now to quote sentences of the Fathers, as we do texts of 
Holy Writ, as being infallibly conclusive, (which has been 

1 In his " Doctrine of Scripture and of the Primitive Church upon 
Religious Celibacy," in reply to the author of "Antient Christianity." 


done by writers of the Roman Church, especially before 
DailltTs time,) can only be done in ignorance or in bad 
faith; because every person acquainted with them knows 
that, like all uninspired writers, they differ from each other 
and from themselves. But if we simply quote them as per- 
sons whose opinion or testimony ought to have with us very 
great weight, either for what they were in themselves, or 
for the age in which they lived, this is a quite different mat- 
ter ; it is constantly done in the Homilies of the Church ; 
and there surely can be no valid objection to it. We 
do not hesitate to appeal to the judgment of the great lights 
of our own Church, and to regard their dicta as not to be 
lightly questioned, partly for their own learning, judgment, 
and piety, (as Hooker, Sanderson, Wilson, Waterland,) 
partly for the era in which they flourished, (as Cranmer, 
Ridley, Jewel:) we give them authority over our own minds, 
and in deciding controversies between ourselves ; and what 
valid objection can be raised to our giving corresponding 
weight to the worthies of more ancient times ? And as the 
earliest writers conversed either with Apostles, or with 
those who had heard the Apostles, it is natural to attribute 
greater weight to their words than to those of subsequent 
writers. And what if they do show whilst writing, that 
they had no anticipation of being guides to posterity ? what 
if they caution us against trusting them implicitly, and re- 
commend us to search the Scriptures for ourselves ? what if 
they were sometimes in error ? Do not all these circum- 
stances apply to those more modern authors whom we do 
not hesitate to recognize as, in themselves, authorities 1 and 
why then should we be reluctant to yield to the more ancient 
that authority, as individuals, which all subsequent time has 


accorded to them \ Authority may be great without being 
infallible. Authority may have weighty influence upon the 
judgment without directly binding the conscience. 

These remarks and arguments are capable of being stated 
much more fully, and of being illustrated by instances 
throughout ; but to do so would require a separate treatise ; 
and it has been thought better to produce them thus na- 
kedly than to omit them altogether. 

It is proper to state that the editions of Irenseus and of 
other Fathers referred to are chiefly the Benedictine : 
Clement of Alexandria is quoted in the edition of Klotz, 
and Eusebius in that of Zimmermann. 



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I. — Life of S. Ibjbrjeus and General Account of his Writings 
His birth and early life 
His remembrance of Polycarp 
His subsequent education 
His removal to Lyons . 
His character .... 
His mission to Rome 
He is made Bishop of Lyons 
Whether consecrated at Rome 
The extent of his jurisdiction 
His conduct in the Episcopate 
His Letter to Blastus 
His Letter to Florinus . 
His Treatise on the Ogdoad . 
His Treatise against Gnosticism . 
The date of its composition . 
The manner of its composition 
The language in which it was written 
The ancient Latin Version 
The effect of the work . 
His conduct in the Paschal controversy 
The conduct and claims of the Bishop of Rome 
Other works of Irenseus 
Whether he was a Martyr 



II. — Testimony of Iren^us to certain Facts of Church History 56 


The extent of the Church 

The Churches differing in usage, one in faith 

The Churches settled by the Apostles 

The Bishops of Rome . 

An anecdote of St. John 

Particulars respecting St. Polycarp 

St. Clement of Rome 

The Pre-eminence of the Church of Rome 

The Miraculous Powers of the Church . 

Relation of Christians to Heathens 





III. — On the Nature, Office, Powers, and Privileges of the 

Church 74 

The nature of the Church . ... . . -74 

The office and privileges of the Church . . . 75 

The powers of the Church 78 

The apostolical succession 80 

Private judgment 81 

The authority of the Roman Church .... 82 
The Bishops of the Church . . . . . .83 

IV. — On the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity .... 88 

The Trinity in Unity 88 

The twofold nature of Christ 90 

Christ the Mediator 97 

His birth and ministry .98 

His agency in our salvation 99 

The Divinity of the Holy Ghost 100 

His agency in our salvation 101 

V. — The Origin of Evil 103 

VI.— The Evil Spirits 107 

VII. — The Divine Dispensations 113 

They were planned from the beginning . . .113 

The four Covenants 114 

The Law of Moses . 116 

The Abolition of the Law 117 

The Moral Law 118 

The Ceremonial Law . 120 

The Law of Liberty 121 

Works of Supererogation 123 

VIII. — On the Canon, Genuineness, Versions, Use, and Value of 

Holy Scripture . . 124 

The Canon of Scripture 124 

Genuineness of our Scrip tures 129 

Authenticity of the Gospels and Revelation . . . 129 
A passage of the Old Testament not in our copies . 131 

Sayings of our Lord's not in the New Testament . .131 
Some Scripture rejected by Heretics .... 132 
The Old Testament restored by Ezra . . . .133 

The Septuagint Version 134 

The Versions of Theodotion and Aquila . . .135 
The use and value of Holy Scripture .... 135 
The right method of understanding the Scriptures . 138 
No infallible interpreter 141 



IX. — On the Nature and Use of Primitive Tradition . . 142 
The reason of Irenaius' appealing to Tradition . .142 

Romanist mistakes refuted 143 

The manner of using Tradition 146 

The nature of Primitive Catholic Tradition . . .148 
Resemblance between the Gnostics and Romanists . 152 

Private Tradition 152 

Application of Tradition to the interpretation of Scripture 156 

X. — On the Creed 157 

The Creed rehearsed at Baptism 157 

Sketch of the Creed 158 

Another 159 

XI. — Freewill, Predestination, and Election . . . .162 

Freewill 162 

Predestination 166 

Election 168 

Whether Predestination regards foreseen faith . .170 

XI L— On Baptism 172 

Baptismal Regeneration and Infant Baptism . . .172 

Who are the children of God 174 

Remission of sins after baptism 175 

XIII.— The Eucharist 177 

An important passage 178 

The Real Presence 181 

No Transubstantiation 181 

A second passage 182 

The oblation in the Eucharist 185 

No propitiatory sacrifice of Christ under the appearance 

of the elements 189 

No Transubstantiation 189 

The Consecration of the Eucharist . . . .191 

No Transubstantiation 192 

XIV. — On Justification 194 

The causes of justification 194 

Justification in the forensic sense 197 

XV.— On Ceremonies, Usages, and Forms of Words . . . 199 

The Commandments 199 

Forms observed in the Holy Communion . . . 200 

Anointing 201 

Confession and penance 202 

Standing in Prayer 202 

^; »•'•*'« 



The Lent Fast 203 

TLapoiKia ......... 210 

Churchmen . . . . ... . . .210 

XVI. — On the Sabbath 211 

The Lord's Day not a Sabbath 211 

The Sabbath Mosaical, and abolished with the Law . 212 
What Christians are to learn from the fourth Command- 
ment 213 

How Christians observed the spirit of the fourth Com- 
mandment 216 

Why we in these days must insist on the Sabbath . . 219 

XVII. — On the Typical Interpretation of Scripture . . . 221 

Abel and Joseph .222 

Moses 222 

The Sons of Thamar ....... 223 

The misdeeds of the Patriarchs 224 

Jacob and Esau 226 

Rahab 229 

Moses and Joshua 230 

Balaam's Ass 230 

Samson . . . 231 

XVIII. — On the Intermediate State 233 

Scriptural information 233 

The invisible place . 234 

Christ's descent into hell 237 

XIX. — On Unfulfilled Prophecy „ 239 

Antichrist 240 

The Kingdom of Heaven 249 

The Millennium 250 

XX.— The Virgin Mary 257 

XXI. — Account of the Gnostic Teachers and their Tenets . . 262 

Section I. Simon Magus, Nicolas, and the Ebionites . . 262 

II. Menander, Saturninus, and Basilides . . . 268 

III. Carpocrates and Cerinthus 275 

IV. Cerdon, Marcion, Tatian, and the Cainites . . 279 
V. The Barbeliots, Ophites, and Sethites . . .282 

VI. Valentinus 291 

VII. Secundus, Epiphanes, Ptolemy, Colorbasus, and 

Marcus 308 

VIII. Gnostic Redemption 316 

IX. Reflections upon Gnosticism 317 



If Polycarp is an object of great interest, as the dis- 
ciple of St. John, and the hearer both of him and of 
other contemporaries of our Lord ; if Justin is so, as 
having been the first man of eminent learning who 
came over from the walks of heathen philosophy to 
submit his mind to the doctrine of Christ ; Irenaeus, 
again, has claims upon our attention scarcely less, as 
having been brought up in the Christian faith under 
the eye of Polycarp ; having, therefore, no previous 
tinge of Judaism or heathen philosophy, but imbued 
with Christian principles almost, if not quite, from 
his cradle, and at the same time displaying equal 
vigour of mind, if not equal knowledge of heathen 
learning, with either Justin or Clement of Alex- 
andria *. To these circumstances we are no doubt 
to attribute it, that there appear in his writings a 

1 Tertullian {adv. Valent. 5.) calls him omnium doctrinarum 
curiosissimus explorator. 



greater justness of reasoning, and a more unexcep- 
tionable use of scripture, than is to be found in the 
writers of the Alexandrian school. 

With regard to the time of his birth we know 
nothing certain. We find him still a lad, irdiq wv in 2 , 
listening to the Christian instruction of Polycarp, not 
long, as it would appear, before the death of that 
martyr. For, after saying 3 that he had seen Poly- 

3 Epist. ad Florinum. EtcW yap ae, ttcuq u>v etl kv rrj kclto) 
'Acta irapa TwTloXvKdpTTw, XafjnrpoJg Trpdrrovra kv rrj fiaaikucrj avXfj, 
/cat 7C£ipu)jxEvov evdoKLjJieiy 7rap'avrw. MaXXov yap ra tote Biajj.vr]- 
fiovEvu) t&v Evayxpg yivofxiviov' at yap ktc 7rat'<W fiadrjaEig, avv 
avlflvaai ttj \pv)(rj, kvovvTai avTrj' wore jjle dvvaadai eXtteiv /cat tov 
totxov, kv <3 KadE^dfjiEPOQ SuXiyETO 6 jua/captoe HoXvKapTrog, /cat 
Tag TTQOoZovg avTOv /cat Tag Elcrofiovg, /cat tov ^apaKTfjpa tov /3/ov, 
/cat ty\v tov ffwfiaTog Idiav, /cat Tag BiaXi^Eig ag ettoielto Trpbg to 
TrXrjdog, /cat ty)v fiETa 'ludvvov avvavaffTpo(j)r)v <og cnrr)yy£XXE, /cat 

Tr)v fl£Td TWV XoLTTCJV T(x)V EWpUKOTlOV TOV KvpiOV' /Cat W£ a-KE\LVK]- 

fxdvEVE Tovg Xoyovg avT&v, /cat 7rept tov Kvpt'ou Tiva r)v a nap 
ekeivojv r/KrjKOEL' /cat 7TEpl tGjv hwafiEWV avTOv /cat ttedI Trjg ^t^acrica- 
Xiag, wg Tvaph tCjv avTOTTT&v Trjg Z&rjg tov Aoyov Trap£iXr)(j)u)g 6 
UoXvKapirog cnrriyyEXXE, TrdvTa (rvfjupuva Talg ypacpdlg. Tavra /cat 
tote Bid to 'iXEog tov Qeov to kit kfiol yEyovog vwovBaiiog i]KOvov, 
vTTO/jivr]jJLaTL^6fJL£vog avTa ovk kv yapTr], aXX' kv Ty kfiy /capita* /cat 
act c>ia tt)v yapiv tov Qeov yvr/aiiog avra avajuapv/cw/xat. 

3 Adv. Hcer. III. iii. 4. Kat HoXvKapTrog Be ov fxovov vtto aVo- 
<tt6X(i)v fJLadrjTEvdElg, /cat crvvavaaTpa^dg 7roXXo~ig TO~ig tov XpivTov 
EiopaKocrLv, dXXd /cat vtto diroaToXuv /caraorafotg Eig tt)v 'Aaiav, 
kv rrj kv Hifivpvy ktacXrjcrlq:, ETTtaKOTzog, ov /cat r]fi£~ig ewpa'/cajuev kv 
Trj 7rpu)Ty r)fiiji)v rjXiKia' {ettlttoXv yap TrapifXEivE, /cat irdvv yqpa- 
Xiog, kvBo^ojg /cat eVi^a j/£orara fiapTvprjvag, k^rjXdE tov filov)' 

K. T. \. 


carp in the early part of his life, kv ry irp^ry r)\iKia, — 
in order to account for what might appear improba- 
ble, viz., his being the contemporary of that martyr at 
all, — he says, that Polycarp lived to a very advanced 

age ; £7ri7roAu yap Trapk/uuve, /cat navv yrjpaXeoQ 

££r)X0e tov fiiov. This makes it evident that it must 
have taken place towards the very close of Polycarp's 
life ; and yet not so near to it but that he had had 
time to mark 4 his manner of life, and the discourses 
he made to the people, and remembered his account oj 
his familiar intercourse with the apostle John, and the 
survivors of those who had seen the Lord, and his re- 
hearsals of their sayings, and of their accounts of the 
discourses and miracles of the Lord. All this would 
require, one should suppose, at least five or six years. 
Then, again, we are to bear in mind that he would 
not have been capable of marking things of such a 
nature, (so as to remember them, as he tells us he 
did, perfectly,) when a young child, nor until his 
mind had in some degree begun to expand. So that 
we can scarcely suppose him younger than sixteen at 
the time of Polycarp's martyrdom, and the expres- 
sion itaiq would admit of his being some years older. 

Dodwell 5 , indeed, has endeavoured to arrive at 
greater accuracy, and thinks that, by another casual 
expression of Irenseus, in his letter to Florinus, he is 
enabled to fix the date absolutely. Irenseus remarks 

4 Ep. ad Flor. 5 Diss, in Irenceum, III. § 10, 11. 



that he had seen Florinus, when himself still a lad, 
in the company of Polycarp, in Lower Asia ; when at 
the same time Florinus was getting on very pros- 
perously at the court of the emperor : \a/jnrpwg irpaT- 
tovtcl kv Ty fiaaiXiKy av\y. Taking it for granted 
that Irenseus intends to say that he was an actual 
witness of the prosperity of his friend, and conse- 
quently that the imperial court must have been at 
that very time sojourning in Lower Asia, and having 
ascertained that Adrian is the only emperor who 
appears to have remained any time there, he fixes 
upon the year 122 as the probable year in which 
Adrian might have been there, and thus imagines 
that he has established at least one date with cer- 
tainty. Now the stress of the observation of Irenseus 
does not lie upon the success of Florinus at court, 
but upon his having associated with Polycarp, and 
having endeavoured to gain his good opinion ; that, 
so far as appears, is the only thing which Irenseus 
witnessed. The imperial court may therefore have 
been at some other place, and Florinus may have 
been only on a visit at Smyrna, at the time when 
Irenseus saw him there. 

There is another objection to this hypothesis of 
Dodwell, and that is, that it is inconsistent with the 
date of the martyrdom of Polycarp, which took place 
a.d. 166-7. We have seen above that Irenseus could 
not have known him for many years before his death, 



whereas Dochvell's notion would require him to have 
been acquainted with him forty years before, when it 
is impossible Polycarp could have been very old, to 
say nothing of Irenajus' implication as to its having 
been towards the close of his life. If we suppose, 
then, that he was acquainted with him for six or 
eight years, and that he was about eighteen at the 
time of his martyrdom, it will make the birth of 
Irenseus to have taken place about the year 150. 
This, at all events, is the latest date we can assign to 
it. Dupin 6 and Massuet 7 place it a.d. 140; Tille- 
mont s twenty years earlier ; and Dodwell is desirous 
of carrying it up ten or twenty years earlier still. 
Perhaps Massuet's date may be nearest the truth. 
But exactness in these particulars is of the less mo- 
ment, as we have, established by his own mouth, the 
main circumstance on account of which it is of im- 
portance to ascertain it : for the chief, if not the 
only, reason for desiring to fix the date of his birth 
is, that we may judge what kind of witness he is 
likely to have been of apostolical tradition. Now we 
have seen him expressly affirming that he had heard 
Polycarp recount the narratives and doctrines of St. 
John and other contemporaries of Christ ; and he 
likewise informs us he paid diligent attention to him, 
and that he remembered him so minutely that he 

6 Auteurs Ecclesiastiques, torn. i. S. Trenee. 

7 The Benedictine Editor : Dissert. Prcev. II. § 2. 

8 Memoires, torn. iii. S. Irenee, art. ii. 


could 9 point out the place where he sat, and trace 
the walks he was accustomed to take ; and moreover, 
that he not only heard his words, but treasured them 
up in his memory, and was continually refreshing his 
remembrance of them by meditation upon them. 
The testimony of such a witness must be more than 
ordinarily valuable. 

Upon the death of Polycarp, it is probable that he 
put himself under the guidance of Papias, as he is 
called by Jerome 1 his disciple. Certain it is, that 
he several times quotes that pious but too credu- 
lous writer, and that with evident approbation. There 
is likewise a person, whom he does not name, but 
whom he often mentions 2 , from whom he appears to 

9 Ep. ad Flor. supra. 

1 Epist. 53. al. 29. ad Theodoram viduam. Refert Irenaeus, 
vir Apostolicorum temporum, et Papias, auditoris Evangelistae 
Joannis, discipulus, Episcopus Ecclesiae Lugdunensis, quod 
Marcus quidam, de Basilidis Gnostici stirpe descendens, primum 
ad Gallias venerit, et eas partes, per quas Rhodanus et Garumna 
fiuunt, sua doctrina maculaverit, maximeque nobiles fceminas, 
quasdam in occulto mysteria repromittens, hoc errore seduxerit, 
magicis artibus et secreta corporum voluptate amorem sui con- 
cilians : inde Pyrenaeum transiens, Hispanias occuparit ; et hoc 
studii habuerit, ut divitum domos, et in ipsis fceminas maxime 
appeteret, quae ducuntur variis desideriis, semper discentes, et 
nunquam ad scientiam veritatis pervenientes. Hoc ille scripsit ante 
annos circiter trecentos ; et scripsit in iis libris, quos adversus 
omnes haereses doctissimo et eloquentissimo sermone composuit. 

2 Adv. Hcer. I. Praef. 2. xv. 6. III. xvii. 4. xxiii. 3. 
IV. xxvii. 1. 


have learnt much, and who was a contemporary of 
the apostolical generation. Some have conjectured 
him to have been the same as Papias 3 . Dodwell 
thinks him to have been Pothinus 4 , the predecessor 
of Irenseus in the see of Lyons ; yet, if he had been 
either one or the other of them, there appears no 
reason why he should not have named him ; for he 
does mention Papias by name more than once, and 
Pothinus was likewise a person of sufficient eminence 
to have been quoted by name. The probability ap- 
pears to be, that he was a person of no great note, 
but who had the advantage of being a hearer of those 
who had seen the Lord 5 . 

How long Irenseus continued to reside in Asia 
Minor we know not; but we find him next at Lyons 6 , 

3 See Massuet, Diss. Prcev. II. § 3. 4 Diss, in hen. IV. 3. 

5 Irenaeus (IV. xxvii. 1.) calls him quendam presbyterum qui 
audierat ab his qui apostolos viderant, et ab his qui didicerant. 

6 Euseb. Hist. Eccl.V. iii. 2. Kcit a) dtcKpwviag virapyovang -rrepl 
twv helr)kitifiivb)v [sc. Montanus and his disciples] aidig ol Kara 
Trjy TaXkiav dce\<pol ti)v Idiav Kpiaiv koi mpl tovtiov ev\a(3rj ical 
6pdocoi,ordrr}v v-ordrrovcnv' ekQejievol teal rwv 7rctp' avroig teXelio- 
Qzvtiov fiap-vpwv ciatyopovg exi<rro\dg, ag kv cW/ituc; etl virdp^ovreg 
roig eV 'Affiac kcu <§>pvytag d^e\<f>o1g huydpafav' ov fxr)v dWd /cat 
'EXevdepu) tw tote 'Pw/xcuW LinoKo-Kio, Trig twv EKKkntnwv Etprjvng 


iv. 1. Ot cT avrol fxaprvpEg kcu tov JLipnvcLlov, 7rp£<rl3vr£pov tot 
ovto. TJjg ev A.ovylovv(o irapoticiag, rw SrjXojdivTi Kara 'Fojjunv 
ETiHTKOTru) ffvvi(JTU)v, 7r\£t0Ta t<5 avZpl [XCipTVpOVVTEg, <bg at TOVTOV 
£)(0U(7at tov Tpoizov c^rfKovoi tyuvai. 


a priest of the church there, under Pothinus 7 , its 
venerable bishop. What led him there we are not 
informed. The place lay a good way up the Rhone, 
near the mouth of which was Marseilles, a Greek 
colony from Phocsea in Asia Minor 8 , with which 
commercial intercourse had been kept up ever since 
B.C. 600. Business or relationship might have taken 

7 Jerome, Catalog. Irenseus Pothini Episcopi, qui Lugdunen- 
sem in Gallia regebat ecclesiam, Presbyter, a Martyribus ejusdem 
loci ob quasdam Ecclesiae quaestiones legatus Romam missus, 
honorificas super nomine suo ad Eleutherium Episcopum perfert 
literas. Postea jam Pothino prope nonagenario ob Christum 
martyrio coronato, in locum ejus substituitur. Constat autem 
Polycarpi, cujus supra fecimus mentionem, sacerdotis et martyris, 
hunc fuisse discipulum. Scripsit quinque adversus Hcereses libros, 
et contra Gentes volumen breve, et de Disciplina aliud, et ad 
Marcianum fratrem de Apostolica prcedicatione, et librum Vario- 
rum tractatuum, et ad Blastum de Schismate, et ad Florinum de 
Monarchia, sive, quod Deus non sit conditor malorum, et de 
Octava egregium commentarium, in cujus fine significans se 
Apostolicorum temporum viciirum fuisse. sic subscripsit : 

1 Adjuro te qui transcribis librum istum, per Dominum Jesum 
Christum, et per gloriosum ejus adventum, quo judicaturus est 
vivos et mortuos, ut conferas postquam transcripseris, et emendes 
ilium ad exemplar, unde scripsisti, diligentissime : hanc quoque 
obtestationem similiter transferas, ut invenisti in exemplari.' Fe~ 
runtur ejus et alia? ad Victorem Episcopum Romse de qucestione 
Paschce epistolae, in quibus commonet eum, non facile debere 
unitatem collegii scindere : siquidem Victor multos Asiae et Ori- 
entis Episcopos, qui decimaquarta luna cum Judseis pascha cele- 
brabant, damnandos crediderat ; in qua sententia hi qui discrepa- 
bant ab illis, Victori non dederunt manus. Floruit maxime sub 
Commodo principe, qui Marco Antonino Vero in imperium suc- 
cesserat. 8 Athen. Deipnosoph. xiii. 5. Justin, xliii. 3. 


him thither, or even to Lyons itself. For although 
this latter was a Roman colony, and its name, Lug- 
dunum, sufficiently evinces that it was not of Greek 
foundation, yet the number of Greek names 9 amongst 
the Christians there shows that there must have been 
many of that race residing there. Indeed, the cir- 
cumstance that the Montanist heresy, which arose in 
Phrygia, spread in no long time to Lyons, and that 
the Lyonnese wrote to the churches in Asia and 
Phrygia, both to give an account of the persecution, 
and to discountenance the opinions of Montanus, 
clearly prove that there was some reason for frequent 
intercourse and sympathy between Lyons and Asia 

There is no reason, therefore, to conjecture any 
extraordinary mission or other conjuncture to bring 
him into that part of the world. He may have been 
ordained priest after he arrived there ; but we cannot 
argue that with any certainty from his being called 
by Jerome 1 a priest of Pothinus ; for even when church 
discipline attained its greatest strictness, and every 
bishop regarded an ecclesiastic ordained by himself 
as his subject, there was nothing to prevent a bishop 
from transferring one of his clergy to the jurisdiction 

9 Pothinus, the bishop, Attalus, (Hepyanrjvog rw yivzc Euseb. 
V. i. 7.) Alcibiades, Biblias, Alexander, ($pv£, to yevoQ' ibid. 21.) 
all mentioned by Eusebius, besides others recorded in the mar- 
tyrologies. ■ See note 7 , p. 8. 


of another bishop, whose subject he thenceforward 
became. So that the epithet made use of by Jerome 
only proves — what we know from Eusebius 2 < — that 
Irenseus was a priest of the diocese of Lyons when 
Pothinus was bishop. 

It is the more necessary to remark this, as there 
appears to be a disposition gaining ground to take 
the slightest evidence as absolute proof. Undoubtedly 
a sceptical disposition is a great mischief ; but a 
credulous temper, although less injurious to the 
possessor, is no slight evil, from its natural tend- 
ency to produce scepticism by an unavoidable re- 

But wheresoever Xrenseus first entered into the 
priesthood, he had abode so long at Lyons in the 
year 177 3 , that he had gained the character of a per- 
son zealous for the gospel of Christ 4 , and recommend- 

2 Hist. Eccl.Y. v. 3. Hodeivov Si] k<f oXoigrfjg farjg eteoiv evevy\- 
Kovra avv roig etv\ TaXXiag fxaprvprja-affi TeXeiojdevrog, Wipiqvalog 
rfjg Kara AovySovvov, -qg 6 Uodetvbg riyeiro TrapoiKiag, rrjv ETrtffKo- 
tty\v diad£)(ETai. HoXvicdp7rov de rovrov dtcovarriv yeveaQai Kara 
rrjv veav EfiavQdvofXEV yfXiKiav. 

3 Tillemont, Memoires, Note 1. Sur les Martyrs de Lion. 

4 See the Epistle of the Martyrs to Eleutherus ; Euseb. 
V. iv. 1. XalpEiv ev 0eJ ge iv naaiv EvyofiEQa /ecu cle\, TrdrEp 
'EXevQepf. Tavrd aoi ra ypdfifxara -nporpEipafj-Eda rbv ddsXcpdv 
r/fjiuiv Kai koivwvov Fjlprfvalov ciiaicofiMTai' Kal izapaKaXov^iEV e^elv 
<je avruv ev TrapadiaEi, ^rfXtorriP ovra rfjg ^tadfjKrjg rov Xpicrrov. 


ed more by his intrinsic excellence than by his sacred 
office ; and was so relied upon as to be chosen by the 
martyrs of Lyons, then in prison, as a fit person to 
send to Eleutherus, bishop of Rome, with their testi- 
mony against the Montanists. It is, indeed, barely 
said by Eusebius 5 , that their epistles were written for 
the purpose of promoting the peace of the churches 

(tt)c tu)v skk\t}(juov tlprjvrjc svtKa TrpsafitvovTeg) j but 

connecting them, as he does in his narrative, with 
the mention of the Montanist heresy, and of the 
dissensions occasioned by it (SuKpuviag vira^ov^g mpl 
Ttjv ^£^Xwju£vwv), it is unavoidable to conclude that 
they had reference to it. Some light may be thrown 
upon the subject by the assertion of Tertullian 6 , that 

2. Et yap rj^eifxev tq-kov nvl ZiKaioovvr)v 7repnroLE~t(TQat } Cjq 
irpeofivTEpov £KK\r}(7tag, cnrtp early hir" aurw, kv Trptoroig av 

5 Hist. Eocl. V. iii. 2. See note 6 , p. 7- 

6 Tertull. adv. Praxean, i. Nam iste primus ex Asia hoc 

genus perversitatis intulit Romae Nam idem tunc Episco- 

pum Romanum, agnoscentem jam prophetias Montani, Priscae, 
Maximillae, et ex ea agnitione pacem ecclesiis Asiae et Phrygiae 
inferentem, falsa de ipsis prophetis et ecclesiis eorum adseverando, 
et praecessorum ejus auctoritates defendendo, coegit et literas pacis 
revocare jam emissas, et a proposito recipiendorum charismatum 
concessare. Ita duo negotia diabolo Praxeas Romae procuravit : 
prophetiam expulit (we must remember that Tertullian was a 
Montanist), et haeresin intulit : Paracietum fugavit, et Patrem cru- 
cifixit. Fructicaverant avenae Praxeanae, hie quoque super- 
seminatae, dormientibus multis in simplicitate doctrinae ; traductae 
dehinc per quem Deus voluit, etiam evulsae videbantur. Denique 
caverat pristinum doctor de emendatione sua ; et manet chirogra- 


a bishop of Rome had admitted the Montanists to 
communion by giving them letters of amity. Who 
the bishop was he gives no hint ; and as he connects 
the matter with the account of the dissemination of 
the heresy of Praxeas, some, as Dupin 7 and Tille- 
mont 8 , have concluded that it could not have been 
an earlier bishop than Victor, because Praxeas did 
not appear as a heretic at an earlier period. This, 
however, as Massuet justly argues & , is not conclu- 
sive ; for the throwing together two things in a nar- 
rative by no means proves that they closely followed 
each other ; and this visit of Praxeas to Rome may, 
with greater probability, be assumed to have been 
when he was a catholic. A sufficient space of time 
had evidently elapsed between the visit of Praxeas 
to Rome, under the bishop who had granted commu- 
nicatory letters to the Montanists, and the time when 
Tertullian was writing 1 , to allow of his becoming 
tinged with the Patripassian heresy, of his dissemi- 
nating it secret] y, of his avowing it openly, of his 
being convinced of his error, and being reconciled to 
the church ; finally, of his relapsing, and ultimately 
quitting the church. All this would take up many 

phum apud Psychicos (the orthodox), apud quos res tunc gesta 

est. Exinde silentium Ita aliquamdiu per hypocrisin 

subdola vivacitate latitavit, et nunc denuo erupit. 

7 In his account of Tertullian's Treatise against Praxeas. 

8 Tom. ii. Note 4. Sur les Montanistes. 

9 Dissertationcs Prcev. II. § 8, 9. 
1 See Tertullian in loco. 


years, and allow ample time for the supposition that 
Eleutherus was the bishop alluded to; not to say 
that a bishop of Rome was little likely to have 
listened to him when an avowed heretic. And then 
the letter of the martyrs has a well-defined object, 
viz., to dissuade him from contributing to rend the 
church in pieces by countenancing a set of men who 
had been excommunicated by the churches by whom 
they were surrounded, and by those in Gaul with 
which they were in some degree connected ; and 
thoroughly explains the expression of Eusebius, rrjc 

twv zkkXtjgigjv tipi'ivriQ tveKa 7rpeaj3evovTi^. 

There is another circumstance, which, so far as I 
know, has not been adverted to : viz., that the 
Montanists appear not to have differed from the 
other Christians of Asia Minor in the observance of 
Easter ; and as we know that Victor excommunicated 
those Churches for differing from him, he is not 
likely to have patronized a sect who also differed 
from him in a matter he regarded as so important. 

As we know that the Church of Lyons sent these 
letters to Eleutherus, with one of their own, preserved 
in part by Eusebius 2 , giving an account of the mar- 
tyrdoms, it has been supposed by some that Irenseus 
actually wrote this letter ; and the idea is confirmed 

2 Hist.EccLY.l 1. 


by the circumstance, that (Ecumenius, in his Com- 
mentary on the First Epistle of St. Peter, (cap. 3. 
p. 498.) has preserved a fragment of a writing of 
Irenseus, concerning Sanctus mid Blandina, Now, 
these two persons are mentioned particularly in the 
letter of the Church of Lyons 3 ; of which, therefore, 
this fragment (numbered xiii. in the Benedictine 
edition) is probably another remnant. There is no 
ground for doubting that Irenseus did really visit 
Rome ; the more especially, as two of his subsequent 
compositions were occasioned by errors of priests of 
that Church — -viz. Florinus and Blastus 4 . 

Pothinus died in this persecution, as really a 
martyr as others who have been regarded as more 
truly such. Being upwards of ninety years old, suf- 
fering under infirmity both of age and sickness, 
dragged to the tribunal, and back again to prison, 
without any regard to his weakness and age, beaten, 

3 Euseb. V. i. 7. 

4 Euseb. V. xx. 1. 'E^Evavriag tojv eVt f Pw/^e tov vyifj Tfjg 
EKic\r)(TLa.Q Qeojaov TrapayapaTTOVTWV) JLiprjvcuog (Siatyopovg eVioroXag 

OVVTOLTTEl' T1]V jJLEV ETTiypd^Cig Ttpbg RXciCTTOV TiEoX G^iafXaTOQ' TlfV Ee 

npog <&Xu)pTvov 7T£pl /jtovap^iag, ?} 7tEpl tov jjd) eIvcll tov Qeov 
"KOtriTriv KcucibV tolvt^q yap tol Tfjg yvwfiqg ovTog eSoicei irpoacnri^Eiv' 
hi ov civBlq viroavpofiEVOv Trj KctTa OvclXevtIvov rrXavr), KCU TO TTEpl 
oyhoddog GVVTa.TTETatT(plLipr}va.i(i) aTrovhaafia' kv w KcuETnGiifiaivE- 
rat T)]v irpu)Tr)v tGjv cnrocrToXiov Ka.T£i\r)(j)ivai eolvtov htado\{]v. 

kv jj ye fx))y TrpoEipijKa/JiEV rrpbg tov <&X(i)p~ivov 6 TLiprjvcuog 

E7n(TToXrj avdtg Tyg djia IioXvKctp7ro) avvovaiag ai)TOv fAvrifiovevEi 
Xsyijjv' Ta hoyfiaTa, k. t. X. 


kicked, and assailed with every missile that came to 
hand, it is more wonderful that he did not breathe 
his last under their hands, than that he lingered out 
two days in the prison 5 . Irenseus succeeded him 6 ; 
and if we may judge of him by the ability, learning, 
zeal, and sound judgment displayed in his writings, 
and by the Christian temper he evinced on the 
occasion of the paschal controversy, we may safely 
conclude that he was a more than worthy suc- 

Before I proceed further, I will observe a little 
upon the visit of Irenaeus to Rome, which appears to 
have been the third application made to Rome from 
any distant Church ; the first being from Corinth, 
under St. Clement, the second by Polycarp, to 
Anicetus. The first was not unnatural, when we 
consider that Clement had been the companion of 
St. Paul, and that the Church of Corinth was under 
pecuniary obligations to that of Rome. The second 
was a consultation, as between equals. The third 
was a deputation from the Churches of an adjacent 
country, (civilly subject to Rome, and therefore in 
the habit of visiting the city,) to expostulate with 
the then bishop upon an injudicious step he had 
taken. They were evidently led to it by their sym- 
pathy with the Asiatic Churches, from whence they 

5 Euseb. Hist. Eccl. V. i. 14. 6 Ibid. V. v. 3, supra. 


drew their own origin, whose divisions and errors 
they deplored : and they were afraid of the mischief 
likely to accrue to the Christian world from the 
sanction given to the Montanist errors by the head 
of a Church so important as that of Rome, to which, 
from its being the common resort of Christians from 
all quarters, they had been in the habit of looking as 
the depository of their common traditions, and whose 
example therefore must be tenfold more hurtful than 
that of any other Church, if given on the side of 
error. It was, moreover, in all probability, an ex- 
postulation with him for having committed the actual 
error of countenancing what the whole catholic 
Church, from first to last, has declared to be delusion 
and heresy ; and the object of it was, to entreat him 
to recant his error. How contrary is this whole 
matter to the notion of these Churches being subject 
to that of Rome, or to their looking up to the bishop 
of it as an authorized director in cases of doubt and 
difficulty ! And even if we do not admit that 
Eleutherus was the actual bishop who gave his 
letters of peace to the Montanists, yet it has always 
been acknowledged that the letters of the martyrs, 
thus sent by the public authority of the Gaulish 
Churches, were intended to caution him against 
entertaining them, and that either he or Victor did 
countenance them. And how inconsistent is such 
a state of things with the idea of a Church privi- 
leged to be free from error or delusion, watching 


over others, instead of being watched over by 
them ! 

One other point about this visit remains to be 
noticed. It has been supposed 7 that Irenams went 
to Rome to be consecrated to the Church of Lyons, 
or that he was consecrated there. That he went 
there for any such purpose is contrary to all the 
evidence we have, which specifies another cause for 
his journey, and does not hint at this. Massuet, 
indeed, argues, from Jerome's relating his visit to 
Rome immediately before his ordination, as successor 
to Pothinus s , that the two must have an explicit 
connexion with each other ; but the very connecting 
term postea, and the reason given with it, that 
Pothinus had suffered martyrdom, would rather 
appear to separate the journey with its circum- 
stances, from the ordination with its reason. He 
likewise relies upon the request of the martyrs to 
Eleutherus, i^UV ae avrov ev TrapaQtaEi 9 ; which he 
chooses to translate, id ipsum ccsteris anteponas. So 
very much to be drawn from one word, reminds one 
of Dodwell's theories. The expression might, indeed, 
possibly have a force, which it is rather surprising 
that Massuet has overlooked. It might mean " place 

7 By Quesnel (see Tillemont, torn. iii. just at the end of his 
account of Irenaeus) ; and by Massuet, Dissert. Prcev. II. § 12. 

8 See note 7 , p. 8. 

9 See note 4 , p. 10. 



him by thy side," which, if it had occurred to the 
French divine, he would probably have translated, 
" Elatum eum fac in eundem quern ipse tenes 
ordinem :" " Make him a bishop like thyself." But 
when we take it in connexion with the concluding 
clause, £v 7Tpioroig av -irapzQkfizda, the phrase would 
appear to signify nothing more than, "Treat him 
with all respect." 

That he may have been consecrated when there, 
if Pothinus died in the interim, is not impossible ; 
for it has not been unusual, in all ages of the Church, 
for a bishop elect to be consecrated in the place 
where he happened to be at the time of his election. 
But there is no evidence for this ; nothing, in short, 
but the presumption, that there was no other bishop 
in Gaul but the bishop of Lyons. And if there were, 
as is not improbable, bishops of Autun, of Aries, and 
of Vienne, at this time, then there was no motive 
whatever for having recourse to the bishop of Rome, 
at a period when, as is well known, the neighbouring 
bishops always filled up a vacancy, with the consent 
of the clergy and people, without having recourse to 
any higher or ulterior authority. But supposing that 
he was consecrated at Rome, it makes nothing what- 
ever for the supremacy of that see. I am willing to 
grant to it a much higher rank and authority than 
such a circumstance would vindicate for it. Igna- 
tius, when going to martyrdom, besought Polycarp 


to appoint a bishop in his place ; and jet no one has 
thought fit, on that ground, to claim for Poly carp the 
title even of primate of the East ; whilst I readily 
admit that the bishop of Rome was long looked up 
to, not only as primate of the West, but as the first 
bishop in rank, and governing the first Church in 
authority, in the whole Christian world. 

But whatever may be doubtful, one thing is cer- 
tain, that Irenoeus did succeed Pothinus as bishop of 
Lyons. Of his conduct in his own particular Church 
we have no means of judging, for no record has sur- 
vived to tell us of anything he did there. It appears 
certain, from the expression of Eusebius \ kirzaKo-rrzi 
tCov Kara TaWmv irapoiKiiov, that he was primate, or, 
at least, had influence over several dioceses in Gaul ; 
as wapoiKia in the early writers commonly signifies a 
diocese 2 . This idea is farther confirmed by the use 
of a parallel expression 3 , to describe the jurisdiction 
of the bishop of Alexandria. It is well known that, 
in the time of Athanasius, the number of dioceses 
under him was near a hundred 4 ; of these, between 
seventy and eighty were in Egypt, and sixteen within 
seventy miles of Alexandria, and in the same civil 
province of iEgyptus Prima. Over all these, the 
bishop of Alexandria exercised a control more com- 

1 V. xxiii. 2. 2 Bingham, IX. ii. 1. 

3 Euseb. V. 22. TQv kclt 'AXe'tcivSpeLav irapoiKuv. 

4 Athanas. Apol. 2. p. 788. Paris, 1527- 



plete than that of any other patriarch of those times. 
I mention these circumstances to show that, at the 
time to which Eusebius refers, his archiepiscopal 
province must have been considerable. And as the 
ecclesiastical station of Irenseus is described in the 
same terms, it almost amounts to demonstration, that 
he held a similar pre-eminence. The only difference 
is, that Irenssus is said to have ruled the irapoiKiuv 
Kara TaWlav, and the bishop of Alexandria those 
kqt ' A\£av§puav. But this expression only shows 
that the Churches in Egypt emanated from Alexan- 
dria, and were permanently dependent upon it ; 
whilst those in Gaul emanated from no point within 
the country, nor were permanently dependent upon 
any one church. If any one should suppose that the 
term irapoiKia is used with regard to Alexandria in 
its modern sense of parish, and that Eusebius is 
speaking of the extent of the single diocese of 
Alexandria, I will only say, that that whole diocese 
contained only fourteen pastors, that the city con- 
tained sixteen churches 5 ; and that Socrates, who 
wrote more than one hundred years after Eusebius, 
when describing the distinction of the pastoral charges 
in the diocese of Alexandria, merely says 6 , that they 
were like napooc'iai : so that this word had retained 
its meaning of diocese even to that period. 

5 Bingham, IX. ii. 6. 
Hist. I. 27. Etffiv V7rb tyiv avTov tzo\lv <!)£ 7rapoiKtai. 


Massuet, indeed, argues at great length 7 against 
the idea that there was any other bishop in Gaul 
than the bishop of Lyons ; but all his arguments 
resolve themselves into the one, that there is no 
mention made in any early writer of any other. On 
this ground one might, with equal reason, conclude 
that there were no bishops in Britain before the 
council of Aries, when they are first mentioned. 
But until it can be shown that there is an instance 
in any writer anterior to Eusebius, or of his time, of 
the use of the term TrapoiKta to signify a parochial 
church or parish, the simple use of this word by him 
is sufficient evidence against all negative arguments 
whatever. What the author of the Acts of the 
Martyrdom of St. Saturninus says 8 of the fewness 
of churches in Gaul in his time is really no contra- 
diction to this opinion ; for if there were at that 
time as many as twenty or thirty, it would be 
extremely few, considering the extent of the 

I have said that we have no record of the opera- 
tions of Trenseus as bishop of Lyons. I mean, that 
we know of nothing which he did in that particular 
church. He bore, in a general way, the character of 
"the light of the western 9 Gauls," and is said to 

7 Dissert. II. § 13 — 16. 

8 Ruinart. Act. Mart. p. 110. cited by Massuet, Diss. II. § 

So called to distinguish them from the inhabitants of 


have "cultivated and enlightened the Celtic nations 1 ." 
And in consonance with this there is a tradition 2 , 
though of comparatively recent date, that he sent a 
priest and deacon as missionaries to Besancon, and a 
priest and two deacons to Valence, in Dauphine. 
The circumstance is very probable in itself, and 

Galatia. Theodoret. Dial. i. p. 33. ed. Sirmond : — TLlpr\vaiog rfjg 
Ilo\vKa.p7rov hdaatcaXiag amfXavGev' kytyovu Be (fxoo-rrjp TaXarwy 


1 Id. Hcer. Fab. p. 189. Tovg jjleitol riov -rraXaiwv aipiaeuv 
uvdovg etc rijjv TraXaiiov rrjg EKKXrjcriag ciSaaKaXw trvyeXe^a, 
'lovarivov rov ^lXocto^ov Kcii ^dprvpog, icai ^Elprjvaiov rov tci 
KiXriKa /ecu yewpy^aayrog /ecu (puriffavrog 'iQvq. 

2 Anonymus auctor martyrii S. Ferreoli presbyteri, et Ferruc- 
c'wnis diaconi, ac sociorum ejus, apud Surium, torn. viii. ad diem 16. 
Junii. Eodem tempore quo summus Sacerdos et Martyr Ecclesiae 
Lugdunensis, S. Irenaeus Episcopus Christi, lumen aeternum et 
splendor justitiae, publice suam praedicationem in Galliis dederat, 
et assidue verbum Domini nostri Jesu Christi gentibus declararat, 
Sanctum Ferreolum Presbyterum, et Ferruccionem Diaconum ad 
Vesunsensem civitatem vere ut fundamentum fortissimum ad 
fundandam supra petram Christi Ecclesiam misit : et sicut angu- 
laris lapis sponsi coelestis, et ut margaritae resplendentes fulge- 
bant, per quos nomen aeternum et splendor gloriae gentibus, quae 
in tenebris jacebant, coruscaret ; ut eorum praedicatione ad Bap- 
tismatis gratiam convolarent in quibus erat mira virtus Christi. 
In verbo enim et sapientia strenui, vultum angelicum et Domini 
servitutibus aptum manifeste populis demonstrabant. Augebatur 
Catholica fides, laetabantur de confuso et victo diabolo quotidie 
Christiani ; qui derelinquentes idola, sequebantur Christi vestigia. 
Similiter Sanctus Irenaeus Felicem Presbyterum, Fortunatum, et 
Achilleum Diaconos, ex suo latere ante gloriosum martyrium 
suum Valentiam dirigit in urbem : quibus ingressis, talem 
Dominus athletis suis contulit gratiam, ut ilia Paganorum multi- 
tudo, quae in tenebris jacebat, eos plenissimo afFectu diligeret. 


is in agreement with the traditions of those 

We now come to a more remarkable period of his 
life. We have seen that the Christians of that age 
looked with peculiar anxiety to Rome, as the Church 
where, from the constant meeting together of Chris- 
tians from the provinces, the traditions of the cath- 
olic Church were most accurately preserved. Any 
departure of that Church from purity of doctrine 
would be of more serious consequence than the de- 
flexion of one of less influence. Irenreus had been 
taught to exercise this feeling by his mission from 
the martyrs ; and had no doubt learnt to feel it more 
deeply on the spot, when he trode the ground con- 
secrated by the martyrdom of the two great apostles 
with whose joint superintendence and instruction 
that Church was so long favoured, and when he ob- 
served how every heretic likewise resorted to Rome, 
as a more important theatre than any other. Nor 
can we suppose that he had left that Church without 
forming some bond of union with individual mem- 
bers of it. His heart, therefore, returned no doubt 
to it, and caused him to indite those several epistles 
Eusebius mentions 3 , occasioned by the dissensions 
he heard of as prevailing there. The first men- 
tioned by the historian is that addressed to Blastus 
on the subject of schism. What it was which led 

3 Hist. EccL V. xx. 1. 


him into schism is variously related by ancient 
writers. Eusebius simply says 4 that he indulged 
in speculations of his own at variance with truth. 
Theodoret 5 stated that he was entangled in the 
errors of Marcion and Valentinus ; but if he had been 
so at that time, it appears most probable that Ire- 
neeus would have noticed the errors themselves even 
more prominently than the schism which accom- 
panied them. A more probable account is that given 
by the ancient author whose addition to one of Ter- 
tullian's works is commonly printed with it 6 , that 
"he wished covertly to introduce Judaism;" and in 
particular, that "he insisted on the observance of 
the paschal season on the fourteenth day of the 
moon, according to the law of Moses ;" with which 
agrees what Pacian says 7 , " that he was a Greek, and 
that he adhered to the Montanists ;" for the Mon- 
tanists, having arisen in Asia Minor, celebrated that 
season at the same time as the other Christians of 
that country, i. e. with the Jews. So that his schism 
probably consisted in this, that having come from 
Asia, he wished to raise a party favourable to the 
Asiatic practice, or, at least, declined to conform to 
that of Rome. And we can imagine how earnestly 
Irenseus would press him to conform to the usages 
of the Church in which he sojourned ; a thing he 
could do with so much greater authority, inasmuch 

4 Ibid. 15. s Hcer. Fab. I. 23. 

6 Tertull. de Prcescript. 53. 7 Epist. 1. 


BS, being himself of Asiatic birth, and brought up in 
the very church of Polycarp, he had conformed to 
the Western usage. 

Whether it was before or after this time that 
Blastus left the communion of the Church we know 
not. Eusebius, however, relates 8 , (at least so Mas- 
suet 9 , with great probability, apprehends his mean- 
ing,) that he was deposed from the priesthood, and 
that he detached many from the Church to follow 
speculations of his own, at variance with the truth. 
Theodoret's statement may therefore be substantially 
correct, although at a period subsequent to that at 
which Irenaius wrote the letter Utol *Z^i<jfxaTog. 

The next letter Eusebius mentions is that to Flo- 
rinus. This person was likewise a priest of the 
Church at Rome, and had been known to Irenoeus 
in early life \ when they were both pupils of Poly- 
carp, and Florinus was high in the court of the reign- 
ing emperor. But he had forsaken civil life, and 
entered holy orders, from which he was now ejected, 
as being the head of a party holding novel and pe- 

s Hist. Eccl. V. 15. Ol o iirl 'Pto/JLYjc ijKfxa^ov, wv ip/elro 
^\ojP~lvoq, Trptojivrtpiov rrjg iw\T]cria.Q a.7ro7reorwv, BXaarog re avv 
tovt(o 7rapa7r\r]<Ti(i) Trrw^an Karea\r]fxiyog' 6i Kai TrXelovg rfjg ek- 
tcXrjalag TrepieXtcovreg, IttI to <j(piov vTcfjyov fiovXrjfxa' darepog ictwg 
7repl n)v aXijdeiav veojrepi^eiv Treipw/jLevog. 9 Diss. II. § 59. 

1 Epist. ad Florinum, supra, p, 2. 


culiar opinions 2 . His peculiarity is distinctly speci- 
fied, viz, that he taught that God was the author of 
evil. To avoid this conclusion, Marcion had taught 
two first principles — the one of good, the other of 
evil. It was probably in combating this error that 
Florinus had insisted on the unity of God, and of 
his providential government, which he had expressed 
by the term novapyla, and, from opposing one heresy 
with zeal too ardent for his judgment, had fallen 
into the opposite one. Irenseus, upon hearing of the 
fall of his former acquaintance, felt an earnest desire 
to restore him, and accordingly wrote to him, endea- 
vouring, as it would appear, to explain the true 
notion of the /movapyjia of God, and especially to 
combat his peculiar error. A fragment of this letter 
is preserved by Eusebius 3 , and printed 4 at the end 
of the best editions of the works of Irenseus. In it 
Irenseus represents to him how much at variance 
his opinions were with those of the Church ; how 
impious in their tendency ; how far beyond what 
any excommunicated heretic had ever taught ; how 
much opposed to apostolical tradition : and he ap- 
peals to him from his own remembrance of the 
teaching of Poly carp (whom they had mutually re- 
verenced), and from his published epistles, how 
shocked that blessed martyr would have been if he 
had heard such blasphemies. 

2 Euseb. V. 15. 3 Hist. Eccl. V. xx. 2—4. 4 Fragm. ii. 


But Irenams, as it would appear, succeeded only 
so far with the unstable Florinus as to drive him 
from his position, that God was the author of evil. 
From this he went into the Valentinian speculations, 
by which they endeavour to escape the great diffi- 
culty of the origin of evil 5 . From them he learnt 
to believe in an ogdoad of emanations from the 
Supreme Being, from one of the later of whom, by 
a species of accident, evil sprung. Irenams could 
not give up his ancient friend, but composed for his 
use a treatise 6 upon this portion of the Gnostic 
theory. Of this, however, we have not a fragment 
left which can throw any light upon its structure. 
There is only the concluding sentence preserved 7 , 
in which he adjures the transcriber of it to compare 
it most carefully with the original, and to append 
the adjuration itself to his transcript. We might 
wonder, perhaps, at the solemnity of the adjuration, 
did we not consider how important it was that 
Irenreus himself should not be represented, by any 
error of the copyist, as holding opinions at variance 
with the truth he was so anxious to maintain. 

5 Euseb. V. xx. 1. 6 Hep*. 'OydodSog. 

7 Euseb. V. xx. 2, and Fragm. i. of the Benedictine edition. 
'OpKi^co oe tov fiETaypa^oyiEvov to /3ij3\iov tovto, /caret tov Kvplov 
rifiuiv 'Irjcrov Xptorov, ical Kara rrjg kvho^ov irapovaiag clvtov, rjg 
tpyjerai Kp~ivai Zuvrag jcai VEKpoi/g, 'iva avTipdXrjg 6 /JteTeypd^u), 

KCll KCLTOpduHTtlC O.VTO TTpOQ aVTiypCKpOV TOVTO, 6dEV fXET Ey pu\p(t} , 

e-kijxeXijjq' Kal tov opKOV tovtov oj-ioiiog (JLETaypd\pyg, nal Or'jffEig iv 
tw dv7iypd<puf. 


But although we have no distinct remains of this 
particular treatise, it is highly probable that it formed 
the germ of that great work which has, in some sort, 
remained entire, and upon which the reputation of 
Irenaeus, as a controversial writer, altogether rests. 
To that I will now direct my attention. 

The Gnostic theories had risen in the East, and 
from thence had early spread to Rome ; whither 
came, in succession, most of their eminent teachers. 
It is not my purpose to give a full account of them. 
This has been done by the late Dr. E. Burton, in his 
Bampton Lectures, " On the heresies of the apostolical 
age" and the notes appended to them. I shall, how- 
ever, give in detail Irenaeus's account of them in a 
subsequent part of this work. The general principle 
of them all was to escape making God the author of 
evil, by making it to spring, by a species of chance, 
from some emanation indefinitely removed from the 
great First Cause. For this purpose, they imagined 
certain spiritual beings, more or less numerous, the 
first pair produced by the Supreme Being, in con- 
junction with an emanation from himself; the rest 
emanating, for the most part, successively from each 
preceding pair, and becoming more and more liable 
to infirmity as they were further distant from the 
One Original. From one of the most distant they 
imagined the author of evil to have sprung, whom 
they also made the creator of the world, and the god 


of the Jews. They professed to believe in Jesus, 
but regarded him either as not truly man or as not 
truly united with the Godhead ; and Christ, as well 
as the Only-begotten, the Saviour, and the Life, 
they looked on as distinct from him. 

The great charm of these theories was, that they 
professed to unravel a great secret, which no pre- 
vious philosophy had reached, and which Christianity 
itself had left untouched. We may wonder, indeed, 
that any Christian should have found anything to 
tempt him in hypotheses so subtile and intricate, and 
so palpably at variance with the known truths of the 
Gospel. But we must bear in mind that when they 
first arose, no part of the New-Testament scripture 
was written ; that consequently the poison had time 
to mix itself with the current of opinion everywhere, 
before an antidote of general application was pro- 
vided ; that the minds of all inquiring men in those 
times were peculiarly given to subtilties, and to the 
notion of inventing schemes selected from all pre- 
vailing opinions ; and that, to recommend themselves 
to Christians, they professed to be the depositories 
of that " hidden wisdom" which St. Paul was known 
to have affirmed that he had imparted to those who 
were capable of receiving it. It is, therefore, not 
much to be wondered at, that they prevailed amongst 
the speculative for their very subtilty, and with the 
vain and weak-minded by their affectation of superior 


There was another feature of the scheme, which 
served a further purpose. They pretended that the 
minds which inhabit human bodies are of two kinds, 
spiritual and carnal ; that the carnal alone are the 
work of the Creator of this world, whilst the spiritual 
are emanations from the highest and purest order of 
spiritual beings : that the carnal are readily con- 
taminated by the flesh and the world, and thence 
require restraint and law ; whilst the spiritual are 
only placed in bodies for a time, that they may know 
everything, but incapable of contamination, and 
destined, after a period of exercise, to be taken up 
into the Supernal Fulness. By this theory the abs- 
tracted and mystical were flattered with the idea of 
spiritual superiority to their fellow-men ; whilst the 
worldly and sensual might keep up the highest pre- 
tensions, and yet wallow in the most revolting pro- 
fligacy. It was under this latter phase that Gnosti- 
cism first showed itself amongst the half-civilized, 
semi-Roman inhabitants of southern Gaul. In its 
more abstract and refined form it would have had 
no attraction for them ; for the European mind is 
too plain and common-sense to follow subtilties. 
But its practical licentiousness found a fit nidus in 
the accompanying sensual disposition which marked 
the Romans of that age, and all who were tinged 
with their blood. It worked its way for some time 
in silence, till the attention of the bishop of Lyons 
was drawn to it by the seduction of Christian matrons, 
and by the influx of extraordinary impurity through- 


out that region 8 . He was thus led to trace the 
mischief to its cause ; and finding this to be his old 
enemy, under its then prevailing form of Valen- 
tinianism, which thus appeared to be rearing its head 
everywhere, and had now come to assail him on his 
own ground, he set himself to understand its system 
thoroughly, that, by refuting it both in its principle 
and in its details, he might completely disabuse the 
Christian world, do away with the divisions, and im- 
purities, and calumnies, arising from it, and thus 
afford the freer scope for the power of truth upon 
the hearts and practice of men. 

He was the more determined upon doing this by 

8 Adv. Hcer. I. v. 3. 01 $e Kai Ta~ig ri]c trapKog iidovciig Kara- 


Tolg 7ri'ev/j.aTiKulQ cnro^i^ocrdat Xiyovtri. Kcu ol f.ikv avrtov XaSpa rag 
dicatTKOfjiivag V7r' civtGiv ti)v Zt^ayjiv ravrr]v yvvcuKag hmcpQtipovcnv, 
cog TvoXXciKcg V7r' kv'icov avTcov k&7raTr)d£~icrai, i-KEiTca kiziOTpi^aaai 
yvvcuKEg elg rijv 'EkkXtjctUiv tov Qeov, gvv ttj Xonrfj ivXavrj kcu 
tovto kt,cofxoXoyi\(TUVTO. ol 3k Kai Kara to cpavepor a-KEpvdpcciaavTEg, 
coy civ kpatrOcotn yvvaiKcov, ravrag a7r' av^pcor cnrocnrccaavTEg, 
ictiag yafXErag i}y)}travro. aXXoi hk ah ttciXiv cTEfivcog Kar cip-^ag, 
cog fXEra uctEXcpcov TrpoaTroLOVfXEVoi avvoLKEiv, Tvpoiovrog rov \povov 
i)XiyyQr}aav, kyKvfxovog rfjg ac)£Xtpiig v-rro tov a^EXcpov yEvr\QEiat]g. 
lb. xiii. 7. Toiavra dk Xkyov-Eg Kai TTpdrrovTEg, Kai kv rolg /co0' 
ilfjLcig KXifxacri rrjg 'PoSavovaiag, troXXag £^7rar///ca<Tt ywalKag, 
a'lTLVEg KEKavT-qpiacTjxivai rijv avvEicr]tnv, at }xkv Kai Eig tyavEpbv 
k^oj-ioXoyovvTat, at Ik dvacoitovfiEvai tovto, ycrv^fj Si 7rcog kavTag, 
ciTrrjXTriKvlai ttjq %cof]g tov Qeov, evlul fikv £ig to TravTEXkg dni- 
tTrrjtrav, evlcu $k kTrafjicf)OTEpi£ov(7i, Kai to Trjg Trapoc^iag TtETrovQaac, 


fxaTog tcov tekvcov Ti)g yicouEcoq. 


the solicitations of a friend, who appears to have 
lived more in the heart of the mischief than him- 
self 9 . Who he was we are not told. That he had 
some pastoral charge is most probable, from the con- 
cluding portion of the preface to the first book, in 
which Xrenseus speaks to his friend as having spiritual 
care of others, and as able, both by his station and 
by his abilities, to turn to the best account the hints 
he was able to furnish him. That the native, or at 
least customary, language of his friend was Greek, 
may be inferred from the work being in that lan- 
guage, and by the apology made for the imperfec- 
tions of the style; and altogether, it seems most 
probable that he was a bishop of one of the Greek 
colonies of southern Gaul. 

In the accomplishment of this work, he no doubt 

9 Adv. Hcer. I. Praef. 3. Ovk E7n£r]Tr)GEig ()£ irap' rj/iojv twv ek 
KeXrolg diarpifiovTU)}', Kal irepl (3dp(3apov didXeKrov to ttXe~igtov 
dcr)(oXov fiEviov ', Xoycov TEyvr\v, fjv ovk EfiddofiEv, ovte ^vvafj.iv Gvy- 

ypCKpEOJQ, fjV OVK t)(TKri(TClfA£V, OVTE K aXXd) IT I GfXOV XeE,£(i)V, OVTE TClBcLVO- 

rrjTd, fjv ovk o'LSajjLEv' a'Ua dirXuig, Kal dXrjduig, Kal IduoTiKwg Ta 
fjLETCt dydirr}Q gol ypatyivra, juera dya7rrjg gv 7rpoa^E^rf' Kal avTog 
av'^rjGEig aura rrapa GeavTU), olte iKavwTEpog fjfxwv Tvyyanov, o'wveI 
cnripfiaTa Kal dp^dg Xafiibv nap' ijfj.wv, Kal kv rw 7rXar£t gov tov 
vov kwl ttoXv Kap7ro(j)Opr)(TEig Ta Bi oXiyiov v(f yj/jkdv EiprifiEva, Kal 
cWarwc 7rapaffTf](TELg toIq ^jletu gov Ta aGdEvoig v<f rijiiov aV^y- 
yEXjxiva. Kal we ijfjielg EcpiXoTifi^drj/JiEv, irdXai ^rjTOvvTog gov fxadElv 
ty)v yvwfirjv avrwv, fJtrj \xovov Got TtoiiJGai (pavspav, dXXd Kal 
tyoSia dovvat Ttpbg to etti^elkvijelv avujv xpEvdrj' ovtu) $e Kal gv 
(pLXoTi/JLOjg Tolg XoLivdlg (HiaKovrjGEig, /caret tyjv %dptv tyjv vtto tov 
Ki/ptov goI ^E^OjjiEvrjv, elg to firjKETi TrapaGvpEGdai Tovg dvQpioivovg 
vtto Trjg eke'ivmv iridavoXoyiag, ovGrjg TOiavTrjg. 


made use of the treatise of Justin Martyr against the 
Marcionites, now lost to us, because superseded by 
the completer work of Irenseus. But he derived the 
greatest help from the writings of the Gnostics them- 
selves, from which he learnt their scheme without 
any possibility of doubt or gainsaying, and thus was 
enabled, by the mere statement, in open light, of its 
fantastic puerilities, to unclothe it of the mystery 
which was one of its chief recommendations, to de- 
monstrate more clearly its self-contradictions, and to 
contrast it in its naked folly with the simplicity of 
acknowledged truth 5 . 

To the ascertaining of the date of this composition 
we have but two certain guides. One is, the list of 
bishops of Rome given in the beginning of the third 
book 6 . The catalogue closes with the name of Eleu- 
therus, and thus shows that that book, at least, was 
begun, and most probably published, under his pon- 

5 I. Praef. 2. "Iva ovv p) trapa ti\v y\\x(.Ttpav alriav avvapira- 
£a)PT<xi tlveq, ojq 7TjOo/3ara i/7ro Xv/cwy, ayvoovvTEQ avTOvg, dia rrjv 
e^todev TrJQ 7rpo/3aretov dopag EirifiovXriv, ovg tyvXaaaeiv 7rapr)y- 
ycXicev >//itv Kvpwg, biioia fiiv XaXovvrag, avofxoia c)£ typovovvTag' 
avayKolov yjyrjacifjLrjv, ivrvyjjjv tolq tu>v, wg avrol 
Xeyovaiv, OvoXevtLvov fiadriTwv, evioig & avTwv Kal avfj.fiaX(oy, 
Kal KaraXa(36fi€vog ty)v yvojfxrjv avrwv, ixiivvaai aoi, aya7rr/re, ra 
Tsparoj^t) /ecu fiadia Livarripia., a ov Travreg -^copovcriv, ekeI jjli) 
iravTiq tov kyKityaXov E^ETTTVKaatV ottojq /cat <jv fxaduty avra, izaci 
Tolg iiETa gov tyavepa. 7roir)crr)g, /cat -rrapatviarjg avro'ig (pvXa^aa-dai 
tov fivQbv rr)g avoiag, Kal Trjg elg XpiorcV ftXaa(pr]fxiag. 

6 III. iii. 1. given at length in ch. II. of this work. 



tificate, which began about a. d. 177. The other 
is, that in the same book the author mentions the 
translation of the Old Testament by Theodotion 7 . 
Now that translation was not made till about a.d. 
184 8 . Irenaeus would not become acquainted with it 
immediately ; so that we are driven towards the end 
of the pontificate of Eleutherus, who died a. d. 192, 
for the publication of the third book. The work 
appears to have grown upon the hands of the writer, 
and to have become more than twice as voluminous 
as when it was first planned 9 . The books were 
written separately, as he found his matter arrange 
itself, and the two first apparently sent first 10 , 

7 III. xxi. 1. given at length in the chapter on the Canon, tyc. 
of Holy Scripture. 

8 See Epiphan. de Pond, et Mens. § 17. and the Alexandrian 
Chronicle, quoted by Massuet, Diss. II. § 47. 

9 Book I. xxxi. 4. Cum igitur hasc sic se habeant, quatenus 
promisi, secundum nostram virtutem inferemus eversionem ipso- 
rum, omnibus eis contradicentes in sequenti libro : (enarratio 
enim in longum pergit, ut vides :) et viatica quoque dabimus ad 
eversionem ipsorum, occurrentes omnibus sententiis secundum 
narrationis ordinem : ut simus non tantum ostendentes, sed et 
vulnerantes undique bestiam. 

10 III. Praef. Misimus tibi libros, ex quibus primus quidem 
omnium illorum sententias continet, et consuetudines, et charac- 
teres ostendit conversations eorum. In secundo vero destructa 
et eversa sunt quae ab ipsis male docentur, et nudata, et ostensa 
sunt talia qualia et sunt. In hoc autem tertio ex Scripturis in- 
feremus ostensiones, ut nihil tibi ex his, quae praeceperas, desit a 
nobis ; sed et, praeterquam opinabaris, ad arguendum et everten- 
dum eos, qui quolibet modo male decent, occasiones a nobis acei- 
pias. Quae enim est in Deo charitas, dives et sine invidia ex- 


followed by tlie three others at distinct inter- 
vals l . 

The general object of the first book is to give a 
full exposition of the Gnostic doctrines 2 . The first 

sistens, plura donat quam postulet quis ab ea. Memento igitur 
eorum quae diximus in prioribus due-bus libris ; et haec illis ad- 
jungens, plenissimam habebis a nobis adversus omnes haereticos 
contradictionem, et fiducialiter ac instantissime resistes eis pro 
sola vera ac vivifica fide, quam ab Apostolis Ecclesia percepit, 
et distribuit filiis suis. Etenim Dominus omnium dedit Aposto- 
lis suis potestatem Evangelii, per quos et veritatem, hoc est, Dei 
Filii doctrinam cognovimus ; quibus et dixit Dominus : ' Qui vos 
audit, me audit : et qui vos contemn it, me contemnit, et eum qui 
me misit.' 

1 lb. & IV. Praef. 1. Hunc quartum librum, dilectissime, trans- 
mittens tibi, operis quod est de detectione et eversione falsae cogni- 
tionis, quemadmodum promisimus, per Domini sermones ea, quae 

praediximus, confirmabimus V. Praef. Traductis, dilectissime, 

omnibus haereticis in quatuor libris, qui sunt tibi ante hunc a nobis 
editi, et doctrinis ipsorum manifestatis ; eversis quoque his, qui 
irreligiosas adinvenerunt sententias, aliquid quidem ex propria 
uniuscuj usque illorum doctrina, quam in suis conscriptis reli- 
querunt ; aliquid autem ex ratione, universis ostensionibus pro- 
cedente ; et veritate ostensa, et manifestato praeconio Ecclesiae, 
quod Prophetae quidem praeconaverunt, quemadmodum demon- 
stravimus, perfecit autem Christus, Apostoli vero tradiderunt, a 
quibus Ecclesia accipiens, per universum mundum sola bene cus- 
todiens, tradidit filiis suis ; quaestionibusque omnibus solutis, 
quae ab haereticis nobis proponuntur ; et Apostolorum doctrina 
explanata, et manifestatis pluribus, quae a Domino per parabolas 
et dicta sunt et facta : in hoc libro quinto, operis universi, quod 
est de traductione et eversione falso cognominatae agnitionis, ex 
reliquis doctrinae Domini nostri, et ex Apostolicis epistolis, 
conabimur ostensiones facere. 

2 I. Praef 2. Ka<, Kadwg ^vvafxig ri/jlv, ri]v re yv(o\iY\v avrdv 



seven chapters contain a detailed account of the 
system of Valentinus, who was at that time the most 
fashionable teacher of those doctrines. The eighth 
gives the Valentinian explanation of numerous pas- 
sages of Scripture, which they brought forward as 
corroborative of the truth of their system, although 
they did not pretend to rest it upon them ; and the 
ninth refutes those explanations. The tenth points 
out the unity of Catholic doctrine, and the remain- 
ing chapters are occupied in exhibiting the discre- 
pancies of the various Gnostic sects and teachers. 

The object of the second book is to overthrow the 
system, both in its principle and in its details, by 
demonstrating its contradictoriness and impossibility 3 . 
The first nineteen chapters are occupied in the 
destruction of the system ; the next five are a fuller 
refutation of their arguments in support of it than 
he had given in chapter nine of the first book ; and 
the twenty-sixth, twenty-seventh, and twenty-eighth 

TbJv vvv Trapa^thaaKovTijJV, Xeyw di] rGtv Trepl HToXeficuov, clttclv- 
Otfr/Jia ovaav rrjc OvaktvTivov a^oXfjc, (tvvt6/j.u}£ kciI acKJMjUg ci7ray- 

3 II. Prsef. 2. In hoc autem libro instruemus quae nobis apta 
sunt, et qua? permittit tempus, et evertemus per magna capitula 
omnem ipsorum regulam : quapropter, quod sit detectio et ever- 
sio sentential ipsorum, operis hujus conscriptionem ita titulavi- 
mus. Oportet enim absconditas ipsorum conjugationes, per raa- 
nifestarum conjugationum indicium et eversionem, Bythum dis- 
solves ; et quoniam neque fuerit aliquando, neque sit, accipere 


lay down certain rules for the proper study of the 
Scriptures. The rest of the book is taken up with 
a fuller consideration and refutation of particular 
opinions held by Gnostics. 

Irenaeus himself states it to be the object of the 
third book to confute the heretical system by Scrip- 
ture, as containing in writing the undoubted doc- 
trine of those apostles through whose preaching the 
economy of salvation was originally revealed, and 
from whom the Church received the doctrine she 
preached 4 . But since the heretics appealed to tra- 
dition as interpreting Scripture, he likewise appeals 
to it in the second, third, and fourth chapters 5 ; and 
having shown that it is totally adverse to the here- 
tical doctrine, he returns to the argument from Scrip- 
ture 6 , and carries it on by quotations briefly from 
the Old Testament, and more fully from the words 
of the evangelists and apostles, showing, to the end 
of the fifteenth chapter, that they knew but one 
God, and from thence to the end of the twenty- 
second chapter, that they taught but one Jesus 
Christ, truly God and truly man. The twenty-third 
is a refutation of Tatian's opinion, that Adam was 
not saved ; and the two last contain sundry general 

4 See note 10 above, p. 34. 

5 See III. ii. 1. quotevl in the chapter on Tradition, 

6 III. v. 1. 


Our author bad confined himself in the third book 
for the most part to the testimony of evangelists aud 
apostles; he informs us, that his object in the fourth 
is to show that our Lord himself testified of only one 
God. his Father, the maker and governor of the 
world, the author of the old and new covenants, and 
the judge of all mankind ". He does not carry on 
his argument with much regularity, and it would be 
difficult to give any useful analysis of it. But he 
discusses, towards the end. in chapters thirty-seven, 
thirty-eight, and thirty-nine, the great question of 
the accountability of man. and the freedom of the 

In the preface to the fifth book \ he announces 
his intention of carrying on the argument by quota- 
tions from the writings of the apostle Paul, to show 
that the same God who had spoken to Abraham and 
given the law had in the latter days sent his Son to 
give salvation to human flesh ; which he pursues in 

7 See IV. Praef. 1. quoted above, p. 35. and i, 1. Cum sk igitur 
hoc firmum et constants, neminem alteram Deum e: Dominum 
a Spiritu praedicatum. nisi earn qui dominatur omnium Dens, cum 
Yerbo suo. et eos qui adoptionis Spiritum accipiunt. hoc est, e:s 
qui credunt in unum et verum Deum. e: Christum Jesum FOium 
Dei ; similiter et Apostolos neminem alium a semetipsis Deum 
appellasse, aut Dominum cognominasse : multo autem magis 
Dominum nostrum, qui et nobis praecepit neminem Pattern con- 
fiteri, nisi eum qui est in ceelis. qui est unus Deus. et uiius Pater. 

g See V. Pra?f. quoted above, p. 35. 


the first eighteen chapters, dwelling particularly on 
the doctrine of the resurrection of the flesh (chap. 
7 — 14), and corroborating S. Paul's doctrine from 
other parts of Scripture. He is thence led to the 
object and end of the scheme of salvation by Christ, 
and the opposition to it by Satan (chap. 19 — 24), 
especially the great opposition to it through the 
agency of antichrist (chap. 24 — 30), and passes from 
the notice of the state of departed souls (chap. 31) 
to exhibit and confirm his opinion of the terrestrial 
reign of Christ and the righteous (chap. 32 — 35), 
concluding with the consummation of all things in 
the eternal felicity of the just. 

It will be seen by this slight sketch that the 
former part of the treatise is by far the most re- 
gular ; and for this sufficient reason, that it was 
more completely studied and digested before it was 
written. In the latter books, he adheres but imper- 
fectly to the intention announced in the preface, and 
introduces much matter which was evidently sug- 
gested casually as he was writing, by some word or 
expression he found himself using. 

The work, as I have said, was written in Greek ; 
but the greater portion of the original has been lost. 
What remains has been preserved by various authors 
in the form of quotations. In this way two-thirds of 


the first book have come down to us ; a few detached 
fragments in the latter half of the second ; consider- 
ably larger and more numerous portions of the third; 
very little of the fourth, but copious extracts from 
the fifth, especially near the beginning. The whole, 
however, existed in the ninth century, as we learn 
from the testimony of Photius 9 . But, although we 
have lost the greater part of the original, an ancient 
Latin translation of the whole work has been pre- 
served to us. The precise antiquity of this version 
we are unable to ascertain ; but the closeness with 
which Tertullian appears to follow it in many pas- 
sages ] , and in particular his making the very same 

9 In Bibliotheca, cod. 120. 

1 Massuet, Diss. II. §. 53. Quisquis Irenaeum Latinura cum 
Tertulliano contulerit, e vestigio deprehendet adeo hunc vestigia 
illius premere, adeo verbis ipsis, verborumque figuris et ordini 
adhaerere, ut id unum sibi proposuisse videatur, paucioribus con- 
trahere, iisdem saepe servatis verbis, immixtis taraen pro more 
dicteriis, quas ille fusioribus exsequutus est. Sic Irenaeus, lib. I. 
cap. xi. n. 3. Epiphanis sententiam referens, scribit : ' Est qui- 
dem ante omnes Proarche, proanennoetos, et inenarrabilis, et in- 
nominabilis, quam ego monotetera voco. Cum hac monotete est 
virtus, quam et ipsam voco henotetem. Hasc henotes et monotes, 
cum sint unum, emiserunt, cum nihil emiserint, principium om- 
nium noeton, et agenneton, et aoraton, quam archem sermo 
monada vocat. Cum hac monade est virtus ejusdem substantias 
ei, quam et earn voco hen. Hae autem virtutes, id est, monotes 
et henotes, et monas, et hen, emiserunt reliquas emissiones iEo- 
num.' Tertullianus vero cap. 37. 'Est/ inquit, 'ante omnia 
Proarche, inexcogitabile et inenarrabile, quod ego nomino mono- 
teta. Cum hac erat alia virtus, quam et ipsam appello henoteta. 


mistakes as the interpreter, (as for instance, in regard 
to the name of the heretic Epiphanes, which they 

Monotes et henotes, id est, solitas et unitas, cum unura essent, 
protulerunt, non proferentes, initium omnium intellectuale, 
innascibile, invisibile, quod sermo monada vocavit. Huic 
adest consubstantiva virtus, quam appellat unio. Ha? igitur 
virtutes, solitas, singularitas, unitas, unio, caeteras pro- 
lationes iEonum propagarunt.' Ubi eadem verba, (nisi quod 
Graeca quaedam Latine vertuntur,) eadem styli barbaries, atque 
apud Irenaei interpretem occurrunt. Hie n. 5. 'Alii rursus 
ipsorum primam et archegonon octonationem his nominibus 
nominaverunt : primum Proarchen, deinde Anennoeton, tertiam 
autem Arrheton, et quartam Aoraton. Et de prima quidem 
Proarche emissum esse primo et quinto loco Archcn ; ex Anen- 
noeto secundo et sexto loco Acatalepton ; et de Arrheto tertio et 
septimo loco Anonomaston ; de Aorato autem quarto et octavo 
loco Agenneton.' Tertullianus, cap. 25. totidem verbis : 'Primo 
enim constituunt Proarchen, secundo Anennoeton, tertio Arrheton, 
quarto Aoraton. Ex Proarche itaque processisse primo et quinto 
loco Archen ; ex Anennoeto, secundo et sexto loco Acatalepton ; 
ex Arrheto, tertio et septimo loco Anonomaston ; ex Invisibili, 
quarto et octavo loco Agenneton.' Certe si e Graeco immediate 
exscripsisset omnia haec Tertullianus, tot nomina Graeca Latine 
vertisset ; nee fortuito et casu fieri potuit ut hoc illi cum Irenaei 
interprete convenerit. Hie cap. xii. n. 3. Colorbaseorum hypo- 
thesim sic exponit. ' Quando cogitavit aliquid emittere Propator, 
hoc Pater vocatus est; at ubi quae emisit, vera fuerunt, hoc 
Alethia vocatum est. Cum ergo voluit semetipsum ostendere, 
hoc Anthropos dictus est. Quos autem praecogitaverat postea- 
quam emisit, hoc Ecclesia vocata est. Loquutus est Anthropos 
Logon, hie est primogenitus Filius. Subsequitur autem Logon 
Zoe, et sic prima octonatio completa est.' Hie cap. 36. 'Quum, 
inquiunt, cogitavit proferre, hoc Pater dictus est ; quum 
protulit, quia vera protulit, hie Veritas appellata est. Quum 
semetipsum voluit probari, hoc Homo pronuntiatus est. Quos 
autem praecogitavit, cum protulit, tunc Ecclesia nuncupata est. 


have both rendered by an epithet, and others in- 
stanced by Massuet,) almost amounts to a demon- 

Sonuit Homo Sermonem, et hie est primogenitus Films : et 
Sermoni accessit Vita, et ogdoas prima conclusa est.' Plura 
alia similia passim occurrunt apud Tertullianum. Sed quod 
demum ostendit hunc non e Graeco, sed ex interprete Irenaei 
sumpsisse quae refert, illud est, quod ubi lapsus est interpres 
Graeca perperam reddens, lapsus est et Tertullianus. Hie, ut jam 
dixi, nomen ^irKpavrig appellativum esse putans, male omnino 
vertit 'clarus.' Tertullianus similiter errantem sequutus scripsit, 
'insignior.' Irenaeus, cap. ii. n. 3. Sophias perturbationem enar- 
rans, scribit earn, fcetum informem cum peperisset, ' primo quidem 
contristatam propter inconsummationem generationis, post deinde, 
(j)o(3r]0rivai /jirj /ecu avro riXog £%#•' Sic saltern legit interpres ; 
vertit enim, 'timuisse ne hoc ipsum finem habeat;' ubi riXog 
' perfectionem,' non ' finem' vertendum erat, ut in notis ad hunc 
locum diximus. Nee melius Tertullianus, cap. 10. ' primo 
quidem contristari propter inconsummationem generationis, et 
metuere postremo, ne finis quoque insisteret.' Ubi similiter 
to clteXeq rfjg yevvrjaewQ vertit ' inconsummationem genera- 
tionis ;' et relicto Irenaeo Graeco, Latinum interpretem sequu- 
tus scripsit, ' ne quoque finis insisteret.' Eodem cap. n. 4. 
refert Irenaeus, quod Pater per Monogenem emiserit Horon in 
imagine sua, aav^vyov, aQifkuvrov : ubi interpres perperam legens 
aav^vyu), ddrfXvvTw, vel, ut alii volunt, dppevodrjXei, perperam et 
vertit, ' sine conjuge masculo-fcemina.' Eadem culpa tenetiir et 
Tertullianus, cap. cit. ' Pater per Monogenem Nun, quern supra 
diximus Horon, in haec promit in imagine sua fcemina-mare.' 
Nempe uterque id ad imaginem refert, quod Horo soli convenire 
posse recta ratio demonstrat. Culpam hanc non sustineret Ter- 
tullianus, si textum Graecum hie potius quam interpretem con- 
suluisset. Paulo post, Sophian ab Horo mundatam et confirma- 
tam, ac suae restitutam conjugationi cum dixisset Irenaeus, addit : 
Xojpiadeio-rjg yap rfjg kvQvfiriaeujg air avrfjg avv rw kiriy ivofiiva) 
Trad ei, avriiu \xev EVTog HXvpu/jiaTog fiE~tvai' ri)v c)£ Evdv[ir\aiv avrrjg 
avv tw ttcLOei vtto rov"Opov dcpopiaQfjvai ical d7roaravpiodf}vai. Quae 


stration that he had read that version. That it 
existed in the time of S. Augustin, is certain, as he 
quotes it at least twice, almost word for word 2 . 

The effect of this great work appears to have been 
decisive, for we hear no more of any eminent person 
who held the Gnostic opinions. They prevailed to a 
certain degree for the greater part of another cen- 
tury, but they did not make head again. The name, 
indeed, continued to have so great a charm, that 
Clement of Alexandria took it from the heretics, and 
applied it to an intelligent Christian, whom he depicts 
as the only true Gnostic. But the system, as a whole, 
became so entirely extinct that scarce a trace of its 
influence remains, except in the writings of those 
who had to combat it. 

sic reddidit interpres : * Separata enim intentione ab ea, cum 
appendice passione, ipsara quidem infra Pleroma perseverasse : 
concupiscentiam vero ejus cum passione ab Horo separatam, et 
crucifixam, et extra eum factam esse, &c.' ubi duo peccat, primum 
quod, avv rw iTnyivofifva) nadec, vertit, 'cum appendice passione;' 
vertendum erat, ' cum passione quae supervenerat.' Secundum, 
quod d-KOOTavpudiivai vertit, ' crucifixam ;' hie significat, quasi 
' vallo cinctam et disjunctam' a Pleromate. Eadem omnino 
peccat et Tertullianus, scribens : ' Enthymesin ejus et illam 
appendicem passionem ab Horo relegatam et crucifixam.' Haec 
et plura alia, quag identidem in notis observavi, invicte, ni fallor, 
probant, Tertullianum, ut Grascum Irenaeum legerit, (quod non 
nego) ab eo tamen saepe defecisse, ut Latini interprets, et quidem 
interdum errantis, vestigia sectaretur. 

2 Contra Julianum Pelagianum, I. c. 3. he has quoted the last 
clause of IV. ii. 7 ; and c. 7. the last paragraph of V. xvii. 1. 



In his opposition to the Gnostics, Irenseus had to 
combat a heresy ; the next circumstance which 
brought him forward was, a schism which threatened 
to separate a portion of the Christian world from the 
communion of its most influential Church. There 
had been a variation in very early times, and indeed 
from the beginning, between the Churches of Asia 
Minor, Syria, and Mesopotamia on the one hand, 
and the rest of the Christian world on the other, in 
regard to the keeping of Easter ; — other Churches 
uniting in keeping Easter-day on a Sunday, whilst 
the Christians of those countries kept it at the 
Jewish passover, on whatever day of the week it 
happened to fall 3 . The inconvenience had been felt 
in the time of S. Poly carp, who sojourning in Rome 
in the time of its bishop Anicetus, they endeavoured 

8 Eusebius indeed says (V. xxiii. 1) that the Churches of all 
Asia were united in differing from the rest of the world ; but it is 
evident, from chap. xxv. that he means Asia Minor ; for he men- 
tions the bishops of Jerusalem, Caesarea, Tyre, and Ptolemais, as 
asserting that the Church of Alexandria agreed with them in their 
present practice, which was the same as that of the West. 

Tfjg 'Aaiag cnraarjg at TrapoiKiat, <hg etc Trapacoaetog ap-^aiOTepag, 
aeXrjvrjg T?jv Tea<Tap£<Tica.icJ£icaTr)v wovro b€iv kiri rfjg tov (Tiorrjpiov 
Traaya eoprfjg 7rapa(f)vXaTT£tr, iv rj Qve.iv to irpofiaTOv 'lovdaioig 
Trporiyopevro' wg heov EKiravrog Kara Tavrrfv, oiroia b" av hfiipa rrjg 
efi(ioiJ,d()og Trepirvyyavoi, rag tHjv aaiTLwv eiriXvcreig TvoielaQaL' ovk 
edovg ovTog tovtov ETrireXelv tov Tpotrov Tcug ctva rrjv Xonrrjv 
a-rraarav olKovjiivqv eKicXrjGiaig, e£ aizoaroXiKiig 7rapab6ae(t)g to kol 
elg bevpo KpaTrjaav edoc cj)vXaTTOv<raig' <hg firj^ £Tepa 7rpoarjK£iy 
-rrapa Ti)V Trjg dvaaTciffeiog tov HioTijpog ijfxatv yjfjiipav Tag vrjaTeiag 


each to persuade the other to embrace the practice 
he followed. But their conferences were without 
any other effect than to cause both parties to agree 
to differ in peace *. But Victor, who succeeded 
Eleutherus in the see of Rome, viewed the matter in 
a different light. He had no doubt felt the incon- 
venience of this diversity of practice when Blastus 
endeavoured to raise a schism in Rome on this very 
point 5 . He therefore conceived the idea of using 
his influence, as the bishop of the principal Church 

* As appears by the following Fragment of Trenaeus's Epistle 
to Victor, quoted by Euseb. V. xxiv. 5. Kai ol 7rpb 'ZojTijpog 
TrpeaJDVTepot ol Trpoardvreg Tfjg kKKXriviag, i)g vvv cKprjyrj, 'AWkt;- 
tov XiyofXEV Kai Yliov, 'Yyli uv re Kai TeXea^opo)', cat Svarov, 
ovte uvtoI irriprjaav, ovte toIq jjet avTOvg kirETpEivov. ko.1 ovIev 
kXarrov avrol /j.>) rrjpovy-Ec, Elpi/VEvov rule and t(Hv TrapotKiuiv, 
kv aig ETrjpElro, kpyop.ivoig irpbc aWovg, Kairoi fiaXXov kvdvTiov 

1]V TO TT)pE~lV TO~Cg fJLt) TT]pOV(TL' Kai OV<"ETTOTE Old TO eI(jOC tovto 

dirEfoXridrjacu' tiveq. a'XX' avrol fxi) TrjpovvTEg, ol irpb aov irpEa- 
(jvTEpoi, to~ic dirb rdv TrapoiKiwv Trjpovcriv ETVEfxirov EV^apiffrtav. 
Kai rov uatcapcov YIoXvicdpTrov ETTi^rj/jirjaavTog rij 'Fw/jirj etz\ 
'Avik^tov, Kai iTEpl dXXiov rivdjv fxiKod ayovTEg irpbg dXXrjXovg, 
Evdvg Eipi'ivEvcrav, irEpl tovtov rov KE(paXalov fxrj <piXEpiaTy]aavTEg 
EavrovQ. ovte yap 6 "Av'iKqTOQ rov TIuXvKapTrov TTElaai ihvvaro fAt) 
rripE~iv, a.TE fiETct 'Jiodvvov tov uadr]TOV Kvptov i/pv, Kai XotTruiy 
aVoordXwv olg avvduTpiipEv, dsl TErr}pr)Kora' ovte fiijv 6 UoXv- 
Kapwog tov 'Ai'Iktjtov ettelge TrjpEw, Xiyovra ti)v avvrjdEiav tojv 


tojv, EKOLVh)vr]aav Eavrolg' Kai kv tt} EKKXrjaiq. TrapEyjj)pr\(yEV 6 
'AviKrjTog ti)v EvyapiaTiav to) IioXvKap7ra), KaT kvTpo7rr)v StjXovoti, 
kuI uet Eiprjvrjg an aXX^Xiov aTrrfXXdyrjaav, ndarig Trjg EKKXrjciag 
elprjvrjv kyovTbJV, Kai tGjv T-qpovvTOJV Kai twv /xr) TrjpovvTOjp. 
3 See p. 23. above. 


in the world, to bring all Christians to one uniform 
rule. For this purpose he wrote to certain 6 leading 
bishops in Asia, requesting them to convene synods 
of the neighbouring bishops, in order to come to an 
agreement ; which was done accordingly ; and they 
all, with the exception of the Churches above men- 
tioned, wrote circular letters to the whole catholic 
Church, affirming that with them the apostolical 
tradition was, not to break their paschal fast until 
the Sunday. Eusebius particularly mentions 7 the 
dioceses in Gaul under the superintendence of 

6 We know that he wrote to Polycrates of Ephesus, and there- 
fore probably to the rest. Euseb. Hist. Eccl. V. xxiv. 3. — 
'EeWa'/iffv C£ Tibv ettlgkottivv tG)v GVjjnrapovTOJV [ivrjuovEVGCu, ovg 
vjjleIq ))^iojaare UETaKXrjdfji'cu vw efiov, /cat /uETEKaXEGclurjv. 

7 Hist. Eccl. V. xxiii. 2. ^vvoooi hr\ kcu GvyKpoTr/GEtg ettlgkottiov 


aGTUibv hoy act rolg iravTayooE 3ietv7tovvto, wc av fir)^ kv oKXt) 


tou Kvpiov /JLvarypLov, /cat oiruyg ev ravrr] uovrj t&v kcitci to iraaya 
vy]gteiCjv (bvXaTToiuEda Tag EinXvGEig. Oeperat <T eigeti vvv tG>v 
/cara UaXai(7Tivr}v tj^vikciEe GvyKEKpoTiqjXEviov ypatyri, u)v irpovTE- 
tclkto QEO(f)iXog Trjg EvKaiaapEta TvapoiKiag EirlaK07rog, /cat Nctp/ctirtroc 
Trjg iv 'TEpoGoXvuoig' teal tCjv ettI 'Pwjjirjg ?>e bjioiwg aXXij tveoI tov 
avTOv ZrjTrijJiaTog, ettIgkottov Bt/crojoa drjXovGa' tu>v te /caret U.6v- 
tov ETTMTKOTru)}', (ov YldXfxag <bg ctjO^atoraroc irpovTETCiKTO' kcu twv 
/caret raAAtW De napoiKiibv, tig JLlprjvaiog ettegkottei' etl he. tu>v 
/caret Trjv 'Oaporjvrir /cat Tag ekeIge iroXEig' kcu iDiojg Ba/c^vXXou Trjg 
Y^npivQiuv EKKX-qGiag ettlgkotcov, kcu ttXe'lgtwv ogojv aXXcov, oi uiav 
/cat tyjv clvtyiv Zo^av te /cat KpiGiv E^evEyKOfiEvoL, t>)v avrrjv TidEivTCU 

\l/rj(j)Ov 24. Twv hi ettI Tfjg 'Aa/ac; ettigkottojv to 7rdXcu 

npoTEpoy avTolg irapaDoQEv hiatyvXciTTEiv kdog \prjvcu hi'iG^ypL^o- 
uivojv i]y£~tTO TloXvKpciTrjg. 


Irenaeus as having agreed upon such a synodical 
letter, which he asserts was in existence in his time. 
So far, Victor was successful ; and, probably upon 
the strength of the almost universal agreement of 
the Churches, he appears to have held out some 
threat to those of Asia Minor 8 , unless they thought 
proper to conform to the general practice. This, 
however, they absolutely refused to do ; maintaining 
that their region abounded with relics of apostles and 
martyrs, and that they preserved a tradition purer 
than that of any other Church, and more consonant 
with the Scriptures. This reply so incensed Victor, 
that he forthwith issued letters, announcing that the 
Asiatic brethren were cut off from the common 
unity of Christians 9 . Here, however, he was not 
followed by those who had previously agreed with 
him ; and Irenreus in particular, in the name of the 
Christians in Gaul under his jurisdiction, wrote both 
to Victor and to various other bishops \ strongly 

Hist. Eccl. V. xxiv. 2. 'Eyw ovv, aSeXtyol, k^KOvra kcli 
-kevte £-?; eyuv ev Kvpia), teat crvfApe(3\r)Ku)Q rolg aVo Tfjg olKOVfxevr^g 
adeXfoig, /cat -jvaaav ayiav ypa(f)t)v BieXrjXvOiog, ov TTTVpojiai eirl 
rolg Kuraw\r]aao^iivoLc, 

Euseb. V. xxiv. 3. 'E7rt rovroig 6 f.iev rijg 'Po)fxalb)v irpoeaTujg 
BiKrojp, adpuwg rrjg 'Aertac 7rd(rag ctfxa ralg bfxopoig eKKXrjffiaig rag 
7rapoth:lag cnroTifiveiv, wg erEpoco'tovaag, rrjg KOivrjg evuxreiog Tteiparat' 
teal arrjXiTevei ye Sia ypanfidruji', aKoivojvr'irovg dphr]v irdrrag roiig 
ekeIijE aKaKripvTTiov aBeXtyovg. 

1 Ibid. 'AW 1 ov Ttaol ye rolg i-rncrtco-noLg tclvt i)peaKero' clvtl- 
TTapaKsXevovTCii drjra aurw, ra rrjg elpijvrjg /cat rrjg npog rovg nXr)- 
aiov evwaewg koX aydizr)g cppoveli'. <&epovrai Be /cat at tqvtuv 


pressing milder measures, and reminding the Roman 
prelate of the example of Anicetus, one of his pre- 
decessors, who paid Poly carp the highest honour, 
even when assured that he would not conform to the 
Western custom, and regarded his own as more 

What the immediate result of these letters was 
we are not informed by any contemporary writer. 
Anatolius, indeed, (if the Latin version of his Trea- 
tise on the Paschal Cycle, published by Bucherius, is 
to be relied on,) asserts that Victor did not persist in 
his excommunication 2 ; and we know subsequently 3 

0WVCU, 7v\r)KTlKU)repOV KaOaTTTOfAEViOV TOV BlKTOpOQ' EV 61 Q Kai 6 

YXpnvaTog ek Ttpoaoj-rrov iov Kara rrjv YaWiav aBsXtyuty 
EmnrEtXag, iraplorarai jiev rw SeIv ev fiovn rrj rfjg Kvpiaxrjg rj^epa 
to rfjg rov Kvpiov avaaraGEuyq ETrireXEladai fxvffrijpiov' rw ye fiijy 
TttiCTopi irpo(jr)KovTb)Q, o)Q juy airoKOTTTOi oXag EKKXnaiag Qeov 
cipyaiov kdovg TtapdZoaiv kmrripovcyac, ^AcTora erepa irapaivEl, /cat 
avrolg Be pyfxam rah kirCkEyuv' Then follows the fragment Ov 

yap fiovov avvicrrnai, extracted in the chapter on the 

Forms and Ceremonies of the Church, and that quoted above, 
p. 45, note 4 . — Ibid. xxiv. 6. f O B' avrog ov povov rip BUropi, 
dXXa /cat Bict(j)6poig 7r\Ei(rroig apypvaiv ktCKXnai&v, rh KaraXXrjXa 
Bi kmaroXiiov irEpi rov KEKirnfiipov ^rjri'iiuaTog w^lXel. 

2 Anatolius, apud Bucher. de Cycl. Vict. p. 444. ed. Antwerp, 

3 Firmilian, bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, in a letter ad- 
dressed to Cyprian, preserved amongst those of Cyprian (Epist. 
75. ed. Potter, p. 220.), says, in reference to the diversity of 
customs " circa celebrandos dies paschae, et circa multa alia 


that many Churches in Asia adhered to the Jewish 
reckoning, and yet were not on that account regarded 
with any aversion by their brethren ; and it was not 
until the council of Nice that their bishops there 
assembled agreed to follow the general custom \ — 
to which, however, many persons did not conform in 
the time of Chrysostom. 

The part which the bishop of Rome took in this 
matter requires perhaps a more explicit notice. It 
has, no doubt, been felt that Victor acted in a man- 
ner which countenances the claims set up by the 
popes of later days ; but when we come to examine, 
we shall find that whatever claims he advanced, 
beyond what we should allow, were discountenanced 
by the then catholic Church. He did, or attempted 
to do, two things : first, to bring the whole Church 

divinae rei sacramenta," " Nee tamen propter hoc ab ecclesise 
Catholicae pace atque unitate aliquando discessum est." 

Athanasius, (de Synodis Arimini et Seleucice, § 5.), says, that 
before the Council of Nice, 01 fxev dirb rrjg 2vpiag kuI KtXiKiag ical 
yitaoTrorafxiaQ e^wXevov Trepl rrfv eoprrjv, /cat fierd riHy 'Iov(5aion> 
E7ruiovvTO Tzaoya. 

Chrysostom, in his Discourses against the Jews, in that one in 
which he dissuades the Christians of Antioch from joining in 
their observances, (torn. v. Horn. 55. p. 608. ed. Benedict.) re- 
minds them that the Church of Antioch once universally kept the 
ante-paschal fast with the Jews, although they had, since the 
Council of Nice, given up that practice : Kcu iijieiq ovtwq evnartvo- 
fiev 7rpoT€pov, a\\' o/aioq Trpoerifirjcrafxev rrjv (rvfifioviay rfjg tujv 
yjpoviov Traparripf]crEU)g. 

4 Theodoret. Hist. I. 9. Euseb. de Fit. Const. 19. 



to one practice in the observance of the feast of 
Easter ; secondly, when he did not succeed with 
some Churches, to excommunicate the dissen- 

The first was laudable; inasmuch as Christians 
who travelled upon business, or removed their resi- 
dence from one part of Christendom to another, had 
their feelings disturbed by finding their brethren 
celebrating so important a festival on a different day 
from that to which they were accustomed; and 
some weak or factious minds were thus tempted to 
make divisions in Churches to which they removed. 
This had been particularly the case in the Church of 
Rome, as being a place of general resort ; and there- 
fore Victor, both on that account, and as bishop of 
the principal Church in the world, very rightly 
exerted himself to bring about uniformity. The 
course he took was also a good one. He wrote to 
the principal bishops in various countries, to request 
them to call synods of the neighbouring bishops, 
that thus he might ascertain the sense of the catholic 
Church. Nothing could be more prudent or tem- 
perate; nor was anything apparently better calcu- 
lated to persuade the minority, than to find one 
consenting custom in so many Churches, in coun- 
tries separated so entirely from each other. 

Now so far we have no claim set up inconsistent 


with the station of influence and dignity which we 
readily concede to have appertained to the Roman 
bishops from very early times ; and which, if not 
most grossly abused, would never have been denied 
to them. Some 5 have supposed that he, with his 
letters, issued a threat of excommunicating those 
Churches which refused to comply with the western 
custom ; but that is opposed to the sequel of the 
history, from which we learn that such a threat 
would have called forth remonstrances, of which in 
this stage of the business we hear nothing. 

Having received letters from every quarter except 
from Asia Minor, stating that the traditional custom 
was the same as that of Rome, he then, instead of 
proceeding by persuasion, immediately conceived the 
idea of compelling the dissentient Churches to com- 
ply with his wishes, by threatening to cut them off 
from communion if they declined. His threat had 
no effect, and he proceeded to put it into execution, 
nothing doubting that the Churches who had been 
with him hitherto would still stand by him. And 
this is the point at which we encounter something 
like the modern papal claims ; for he declared the 
Churches of Asia Minor cut off, not only from his 
communion, but from the common unity 6 . Some 
might argue that he must have had some foundation 

5 See Massuet, Diss. Prcev. II. § 21. 

6 Euseb. Hist. Eccl. V. xxiv. 3. quoted p. 47, note 9 . 

E 2 


for this claim ; but till something of the kind can be 
shown, we have no need to suppose any ground but 
a strong desire of a rash and determined mind to 
carry the point he had undertaken. Be the ground 
what it may, the Catholic Church negatived his 
claim ; those who agreed with him in the desire of 
bringing about unity of practice 7 would not unite 
with him in excommunicating their brethren, but 
rebuked him sharply 8 ; and Ireneeus in particular 
represented to him the difference between his spirit 
and that of his predecessors. And so entirely abor- 
tive was his attempt, that, as we have seen, about 
sixty years after, Firmilian, in his letter to Cyprian 9 , 
expressly asserted that the peace and unity of the 
Catholic Church had never been broken by differ- 
ences about the observance of Easter or other reli- 
gious rites : and that, in alluding to the conduct of 
Stephen, bishop of Rome, who had quarrelled with 
the African bishops because their custom differed 
from the Roman on the subject of rebaptizing those 
who had been baptized by heretics ; which would 
necessarily have brought to mind any schism pro- 
duced by Victor, a previous bishop of Rome, if any 
such had been produced. 

Here, then, we have the most satisfactory evidence 

7 Jerome in Catal. quoted p. 8, note 7 . 

8 Euseb. as quoted p. 47, note \ 

9 See note 3 p. 48. 


that the Catholic Church, so near to the Apostles' 
times, had decided against the power of the bishop 
of Rome to cut off whom he might think fit from 
the common unity ; not that they knew nothing of 
such a claim, but that it was practically made and 
decided against. 

We have now brought to a close all the circum- 
stantial part of the public life of Irenseus. Eusebius l 
(who is followed by Jerome ) has preserved to us 
the names of others of his writings, which we have 
now lost. Of these he mentions first, A Discourse to 
the Gentiles, which he characterizes as very brief, and 
very necessary, or cogent, and informs us that the title 
of it was Uzpl 'l^Tri<jTi)tir)Q, which Jerome, in his Cata- 
logue, translates De Disciplina, and supposes it to 
be different from the Discourse. Another tract he 
wrote, dedicated to one Marcianus, On the Preach- 
ing of the Apostles. The last Eusebius mentions is 
a volume of miscellaneous tracts or discussions, of 
which the ninth fragment is probably a remnant. 

1 L ist. Eccl. v. 26. 'A\\a yap irpbg toiq cnrododelaiv Etp^vcuou 
vvyypanfiaai kcu ralg kin.(jToXa~ig, (piperai rig avroii irpbg "^XXrjuag 
Xoyog avvrofxujTaroQ kcu rafidXtora dvayKaiorarog, Uepl £iri<TT)i/jirig 
iTnyeypafifxivoQ' nal dXXog, ov avarideiKev dfoX(p<i> MapKiavw 
Tovvofxa, eig etti^ei^lp too diroaroXiKov nrjovyfiarog' Kai fiifiXiov tl 
^laXifewp e)ict(p6pii)v, kv J rr\g irpbg 'E/3pat'oue ETrtGToXrjg icai rrjg 
Xeyo/JEprjg aotyiag ^loXwtiwvTog /j.vrjfioi'svei, prjTa Ttva it, avTwv 

2 See p. 2, note 7 . 


The Discourse concerning Easter, quoted by the au- 
thor of the Questions to the Orthodox 3 , formerly as- 
cribed to Justin Martyr, may have been his letter 
to Victor on that subject. Maximus 4 cites some 
Discourses on Faith, addressed to Demetrius, a dea- 
con of Vienne, of which we have two fragments, 
whether genuine or not, (numbered IV. and V.) in 
the best editions of his Remains. Although forty- 
two fragments, attributed to Irenseus, have been col- 
lected, chiefly from Catenas, we have no clue for 
appropriating the greater part of them to the writings 
of which they formed a portion. One of them (the 
last in the Benedictine edition) is said to pertain to 
a discussion on the Eternity of Matter ; but whether 
belonging to a separate treatise, or a remnant of his 
Discourse to the Gentiles, we have no means of judg- 

We have no account of the death of Irenaeus 
upon which we can absolutely depend. Jerome in 
one passage 5 calls him a martyr, and so does the 
author of the Questions and Answers above cited ; 
but no other early writer gives him that appellation; 
neither have we any notice of his death by any 

3 Tn the Answer to Question 115. f O fiaKapiog Wtprjvcuog, 6 
[AapTvp Kai kiricKoiroQ Aovydovvov, ev rw irepl rov HaV^a \6y<*> 

K. T. A. 

4 Tom. II. p. 152, ed. Combefis. 

5 On Isaiah, lxiv. 4, 5. in vol. iv. p. 761 of his Works. 


earlier author than Gregory of Tours 6 , who wrote 
towards the end of the sixth century, and who 
asserts that he died a martyr in a bloody persecution, 
which the martyrologists Usuard and Ado 7 assert 
took place under Severus. In fact all the martyr- 
ologists, both Latin and Greek, make him a martyr. 
The tradition, therefore, appears a highly probable 
one. But in whatever way he quitted this world, 
we may rest assured that his name is written in the 
book of life. His body is said 8 to rest in the crypt 
under the altar of the Church of St. John at Lyons. 

6 Hist. Franc, x. 27. Veniente persecutione, talia ibidem dia- 
bolus bella per tyrannum exercuit, et tanta ibi multitudo Chris- 
tianorum ob confessionem divini nominis est jugulata, ut per 
plateas flumina currerent de sanguine Christiano ; quorum nee 
numerum nee nomina colligere potuimus : Dominus enim eos in 
libro vitae conscripsit. Beatum Irenaeum, diversis in sua car- 
nifex praesentia pcenis affectum, Christo Domino per martyrium 

7 Tillemont, Memoires, torn. iii. part. 1. S. Irenee, Art. x. 

8 Gregor. Turon. de Gloria Martyrum, I. 5. Hie in crypta 
Basilicas B. Joannis sub altari est sepultus. 



There are two circumstances which must prevent us 
from expecting that the writings of Irenseus should 
add largely to our stores of historical knowledge ; 
one, that his remains are not very considerable in 
extent, and the other, that they are chiefly occupied 
in doctrinal controversy. What, however, he does 
tell us, is important. He asserts that the Church in 
his time was spread throughout the world ] ; and par- 
ticularly specifies the Churches in Germany, Iberia, 
(i. e. Spain), amongst the Celts (i. e. in Gaul), in the 
East, in Egypt, in Lybia, and in the centre of the 

1 I. X. 1. 'H jxev yap 'EiacXrjvia., KatTctp tcad' bXrjg ttjq oIkov- 
fiivrjQ eo)Q 7repdr(ov tyjq yrjc dtea-jrapfjiivr). — 2. Tovto to KT]pvy/j.a 
7rapet\r)(f)v7a, kcu ravTr\v rr\v 7riariv, wg 7rpoi(f)auEV, ?/ 'EfaX^cta, 
KaiTrep kv bXto rw koguu) SLEaTrapuEvq, ETUUEXiog (pvXcivcjEi, i)g eva 
oikov oiKovcra' /cat ouoiwg 7tkttevei tovtoiq, <bg fiiav x^v^v /cat rrjy 
avri)v e^ovara Kaphiav kcu (TVfAtywvwg ravra Ktjpvaaei, /cat SiddcrKEi, 
Kcu TrapahihwcnV) <bg tv arofia KEKrrjjJEPrj. 


world, by which he no doubt means Palestine 2 . He 
likewise incidentally shows that the Gospel had been 
preached in Ethiopia 3 . He furnishes no evidence 
concerning the first missionaries, except in the case 
of Ethiopia, to which he informs us the eunuch bap- 
tized by Philip was sent 3 ; but he declares explicitly 
that all the Churches through the world, although 
differing in usage 4 , had but one faith 5 , which was 
delivered to them at baptism 6 . 

He speaks of the Churches in general as having 
been settled by the Apostles \ and particularly spe- 

2 I. X. 2. Kat yap at Kara tov Koaf.iov CidXeKTOi dvofxotai, aXX' 
>/ dvrafxiQ Trjg 7rapaSoffE(t)g fila kui // uvt>)' Kat ovte at kv TepfxaviaiQ 
t^pv/j-iyat 'EtCKXriaiai dXXojg TTETTLarivKaaiVy r\ aXXwg wapaStSoacrLV, 
ovte kv raig 'Ifirjpiaig, ovte ev Ki\to~iq, ovte Kara Tag civaroXag, 
ovte kv Alyvirra), ovte kv Aifivrj, ovte at Kara /ueaa tov Koopov 

3 III. xii. 8. '£lg avrog 6 evvovypg ireiadelc, Kai irapavTiKa a^iiov 
fiaTTiadfjvai, e'Xeye* Hmttevu) tov Ylov tov Qeov elvat 'Iqvovv Xpt- 
arov. og kcu e7rifj(f)dr] elg to. KXtjuara AldiOTrLag, Krjpv^iov tovto, 
onep kiriGTEWE, Qeov fikv tva y tov Sia twv TrpotyrjTwv KEKrjpvyfxivov. 
— IV. xxiii. 2. Nihil enim aliud deerat ei, qui a Prophetis fue- 
rat praecatechizatus : non Deum Patrem, non conversationis dis- 
positionem, sed solum adventum ignorabat Filii Dei ; quern cum 
breviter cognovisset, agebat iter gaudens, praeco futurus in Ethi- 
opia Christi adventus. 4 Frag. iii. p. 45, note 4 . 

3 I. x. 2 S 3. Trjg ovarjg 'l^KKXrjaiag Tvdar\g fxiav kcu ty\v avTrjv 
tticttlv kyp\)(n)g elg navTa tov Koauov, Kudcjg TrpoiyauEv, k. t. X. 

6 I. ix. 4. Ovtu) c)£ Kat 6 tov kcivovcl Trjg ciXrjdeiag clkXivtJ kv 
kavTiZ kute^cov, ov hid tov (3u7tt lo fjiCLTog s'iXrjtye, k. r. X. 

7 III. iii. 1. Traditionem itaque Apostolorum in to to mundo 
manifestatam, in omni Ecclesia adest respicere omnibus qui vera 


rifles that the Church of Rome was founded by S. 
Peter and S. Paul, who appointed its first bishop 
Linus 9 ; that Poly carp was made bishop of Smyrna 
by Apostles 1 , and that the succession from him had 
been kept up to the time of his writing 2 ; and that 
S. John watched over the Church of Ephesus down 
to the time of Trajan 3 . He informs us that the suc- 

velint videre : et habemus armumerare eos qui ab Apostolis in- 
stituti sunt Episcopi in Ecclesiis, et successores eorum usque ad 
nos, qui nihil tale docuerunt, neque cognoverunt, quale ab his 
deliratur. Etenim si recondita mysteria scissent Apostoli, quag 
seorsim et latenter ab reliquis perfectos docebant, his vel maxime 
traderent ea quibus etiam ipsas Ecclesias committebant. Valde 
enim perfectos et irreprehensibiles in omnibus eos volebant esse, 
quos et successores relinquebant, suum ipsorum locum magisterii 
tradentes ; quibus emendate agentibus fieret magna utilitas, lap- 
sis autem summa calamitas. 

9 III. iii. 2. Sed quoniam valde longum est in hoc tali volumine 
omnium Ecclesiarum enumerare successiones ; maximae, et anti- 
quissimas, et omnibus cognitae, a gloriosissimis duobus Apostolis 
Petro et Paulo Romas fundatae et constitutes Ecclesias, earn quam 
habet ab Apostolis Traditionem, et annuntiatam hominibus fidem, 
per successiones Episcoporum pervenientem usque ad nos indican- 
tes, confundimus omnes eos, qui quoquo modo, vel per sibi pla- 
centia, vel vanam gloriam, vel per caecitatem et malam senten- 
tiam, praeterquam oportet colligunt. 

1 See p. 2, note 3 . 

2 III. iii. 4. Map-vpoiiaiv tovtolq at /caret rrjv 'Aaiav eKKXrjaiai 
7raerat, (cat ol f*£XP L v ^ v ^ La ^ e ^ £ 7l J '^ VOL T ^ HoXvxapwov, 7roXX<p 
a^LOTriGTOTEpov kcu /3£/3at07 epov aXrjdsiag fiaprvpa ovra OvaXevTi- 
vov /cat Mapfawvoc, /cat tCjv Xoinu>v KaKoyvu)fj,6vii)v. 

3 III. iii. 4. 'AXXa kccl rj kv 'E^tVw EKKXrjaia vtto HavXov fiev 
rtQtfXi.XL(Ofxevri, 'lioavvov $e TrapafxdvavTOQ avrolg ^XP L T ^ v Tpa'i- 
uvoii xpovojv, [xaoTvc aXi]6))c kori rrjc 'ArroarnXuJv 7rupa^6<T£(i)g. 


cessors of the first bishops might be reckoned up in 
many Churches down to his own time 4 , particularly 
specifies the Churches of Rome and Smyrna 5 , and 
gives a catalogue of the bishops of Rome as follows : 
— Linus, mentioned by S. Paul in his epistles to 
Timothy 6 ; Anencletus 7 ; Clement 8 , who had seen 
and conferred with the Apostles ; Evarestus ; Alex- 
ander ; Xystus, or Sixtus ; Telesphorus, who suf- 
fered martyrdom ; Hyginus ; Pius ; Anicetus ; Soter ; 
Eleutherius 9 : and we have a fragment of a letter of 

4 III. iii. 1. supra. 

5 III. iii. 1. 4 c 2 Tim. iv. 21. 

7 Anencletus is called Anacletus by the ancient translator of 
Irenaeus, and Cletus by Epiphanius (Hcer. I. § 27.) and the 
Canon of the Mass. Later writers than Epiphanius make him 
two persons, but their accounts are contradictory. See Pearson's 
Posthumous Works, Dissert, de Serie et Successione Episcoporum 
Romanorum, II. 1 , and Nourry, Apparatus ad Biblioth. Patrum, 
VI. v. 5. 

8 Clement is mentioned by Tertullian (De Prcescrip. Hcer. 32.) 
as ordained by Peter. It is probable that this might have taken 
place in the slight interval which elapsed between the death of 
St. Paul and that of St. Peter, both of which took place in the 
same persecution. 

9 III. iii. 3. QeptXiujoravTEg ovv Kal ohoEopr]cravT£g ol fj.aica.pioi 
cnroaroXoi rijv etacXrjaiav, Aivu) rfjg ETrtoKoirijg Xeirovpylav kveyei- 
ptaav. tovtov rov Aivov YlavXog ev ra~ig irpog Tipodeov E7n.aroXatg 
fxifjLvnraC hiah^iyETai Be avrbv 'AviyKX-nTog. fiera tovtov teal Tpho) 


ewpaKwg Tovg paKaplovg cnroaToXovg, Kal avpfiefiXrjKiog avrotf, Kal 
ert EvavXov to Krjpvypa ratv a7roordXtuv, Kal ttjv TzapaBooiv Trpo 
otyQaXpCov zyjov, ov povog' ert yap 7roXXol V7reXet7rovTO tote vtto tojv 
cnroaroXiov BEBiBaypivot.— Tov ce KXi'ipEvra tovtov BiaB£-)(Erai 


his own to Victor, the successor of Eleutherius 1 . 
He has preserved an anecdote of St. John, viz. that 
upon one occasion entering a bath, and seeing Cerin- 
thus there, he withdrew precipitately, saying that he 
was afraid lest the building should fall, because Ce- 
rinthus, the enemy of the truth, was in it ~. This 
anecdote is indeed at variance with the notion of 
Christian charity current at the present day, but it 
rests upon the testimony of Poly carp, who knew St. 
John well ; and it is strictly in accordance with the 
spirit of the directions he himself gave to " the elect 
lady," not to receive heretical teachers into her 
house, or bid them God speed 3 . 

We are likewise indebted to Irenseus for some 
particulars respecting Polycarp. He states that he 
had been favoured with familiar intercourse with St. 

'Evapearoc' xal rov Ei/apeorov 'AXiEavcpoc' el& > ovtwq ektoq cltto 
tG)v d—oaroXcov KaQiararou. Zvaroc' /jterd ce rovrov TeXeaoopog, 
og Kai kvdo^iog efxap-iiprjaei'' k-Eira 'Yyivoc, lira Uloc' fxeQ' ov 
'Aviktjtoq. ciah^afJievov rov 'Aviap-ov I.ojTJJpoc, vvv cojcekcltu) totto) 
rov rfjg eirurKOiriJQ li~6 rtov d-oaroXcov KariyEi tcXfjoov 'ILXEvdEpog. 
-fj avrrj raUi, kclI r?j avry cica^f} V~£ a~o rwv d-oaroXwv kv rjj ek- 
KXrjaiq. Trapdcoaig, /cat to rijg aXi]deia.c Kqpvyfia Kar-ijvrrjKEV eIq i] 

1 Fragm. iii. See p. 45, note *. 

2 III. iii. 4. Kcu elgiv ol clk^kootec aiirov, otl 'Lwdwrjc, 6 rov 
Kvolov /j.adrjri]c, kv rrj 'E^icw TropEvdEic Xovaaadat, xal Icojv egu) 
Kijoivdov, ktfjXaro rov paXaveiov /.'.?) XoverdjjEvog, a'AA' etteittojv' 
^vy(i)fj.£v, u?/ Kai to j3aXavE~LOv av^-iai^ evcov bvrog Kr]plv6ov, rov 
rfjc uXrjdciac k\Bpov. 

3 3 John 10. 


John and the rest who had seen Jesus, and had heard 
from them particulars respecting him and his mira- 
cles and teaching 4 . He mentions his having spent 
some time in Rome in the days of Anicetus 5 . He 
does not, indeed, state the cause of his visit ; but 
Eusebius 6 and Jerome 7 distinctly say that it was on 
account of the Paschal controversy. This subject, 
amongst others, our author states to have been dis- 
cussed between them, and that Polycarp rested his 
adherence to the Jewish practice upon his having 
always kept Easter in that way with St. John and 
the other Apostles, and consequently declined to 
change it ; whereupon, to show that this inflexibility 
had produced no breach of amity, Anicetus thought 
proper to request Polycarp to officiate for him, and 
to take his place at the holy communion 8 . During 
his stay there 9 he met Marcion, who inquired if he 

4 Frag. ii. See p. 2, note 2 . 

5 III. iii. 4. "Og Kai etzI 'A.viki}tov E7ridr)fxr]aag rrj 'P6jfj.r], 7roXXovg 
cnrb tG)V irpoEipr)}XEV(jjv alpETiKwv kiriaTpr^ev elg rrjv EKKXrja'iav tov 
Qeov, filav Kai fj.6vr]v ravrrjv aXi'ideiav Krjpv&g viro tCjv airoaToXwv 
TrapEiX-qtyivai, ttjv viro rrjg EKKXr)(riag Trapa$e.Zojxivr)v, 

6 Hist. Eccl. IV. 14. 7 Be Viris lllustribus, 27. 

8 Frag. iii. See p. 45, note 4 . 

9 III. iii. 4. Kat avrog Ze 6 UoXvKapirog TblapKiojvi ttote elg 
o\piv avT(p eXQovtl, Kai fr'jaavri, 'YL-KiyivioGKEig rifxag ; cnrEKpidrj' 
'E7riy iv di a ku) tov irpwroroKOv tov 2arayd. Toaavrrji' ol cl-kooto- 
Xoi, Kai ol [xadriral avTutv tayov evXafieiav, irpog to firj^e pe^pi 
Xoyov KOLVis)veiv tlvI Tiov TrapayapaaaovThtv rrjv aXrjdeiap, tig Kai 
HavXog E(pr)ffEV AlpETiKov avdpwirov /jleto. fiiau Kat ^Evripav vov- 
OEaiav irapairov, Eidiog on E&ffTpairTai 6 rowvrog, Kat ct/j.apTavEi, 


recognised him. His reply was, " I recognise the 
first-born of Satan." This severity (or bigotry, as it 
would now be called) does not appear to have ope- 
rated in his disfavour ; for he was instrumental in 
recovering to the Church many who had been led 
away by the Gnostic delusions l . Ireneeus likewise 
mentions Polycarp's epistle to the Philippians 2 , and 
other epistles to other Churches and individuals 3 . 

Respecting Clement, whom Eusebius 4 identifies 
with the companion of S. Paul 5 , he states that he 
wrote a very effectual letter to the Corinthians, to 
allay the dissensions which had arisen amongst them, 
and to restore the integrity of their faith 6 . This is, 
of course, the first epistle of S. Clement, to the genu- 

£)v ahroKaraicpiToc. That it was at Rome rests upon the testi- 
mony of Jerome, De Fir. III. 17. 

1 III. iii. 4. 

2 III. iii. 4. "Eort ds Kctl eTTKTToXtj n.o\vaap7Tov irpbg <bi\nnrr}- 
alovg yeypajjifjiivri Ikavwrarrj, e£, r/g Kctl top j^apaKrfjpa rfjg 7rtareiog 
avrov, kcu to KripvypLct rfjg aXrjdeiag, ol j3ovX6f.i£VOi, teal (j>poi'ri^ovrEg 
rfjg eavrujv <T(orr)ptag, dvvavrai fxadelv. 

3 Frag. ii. Kcu etc tGjv EmaroXujv Be avrov, ix>v etegteiXev ijroi 
raig yeirviojcraig EiacXrjcriaig, E7ri(m]pi^ojv avrdg, i) rwv d^eX<pwv 
riai, vovderujv avrovg, ical irporpETroiiEvog, hvvarai (j>avepo)dfji'ai. 

4 Hist. III. 15. 5 Phil. iv. 3. 

6 III. iii. 3. 'E7rt tovtov ovv rov KXi/fxevrog (Trdarewg ovk oXiyrjg 
Tolg kv KopirOa) ytvo\xivy]g d()E\<po~ig, ettegteiXev f] iv 'Po>/^ ekkXtj- 
aia iKavurarriv ypacpijv rdlg Koptvdiotg, Eig Elprjvrjv <rvfJifii(3d£ovffa 
avrovg, /ecu dvavEOvaa rrfv rrivriv avrG)i>, koi fjv veuxtti aVo noy 
(iTTOfTToXtov irapdZomv eiXrj(pEi. 


ineness of which his mention of it is a powerful tes- 

He speaks of the Church of Rome not only as 
having been founded and settled under its first bishop 
by St. Peter and St. Paul, but as being one of the 
greatest and most ancient, well known to all men 7 , 
preserving the true doctrine by the resort of persons 
from all quarters, and possessing from this circum- 
stance a more powerful pre-eminence ; and states 
that all Churches must on that account resort to it 8 . 
It is well known that this is a passage upon which 
Romanists very much rely, as establishing the claim 
of their Church to be the mistress of controversies 
to all Christendom ; and I have chosen to give it 
the utmost force of which it is fairly capable, in order 
to avoid the charge of slurring it over, and in order 
to show that even thus it states nothing inconsistent 
with the doctrine of the Church of England respect- 
ing the present Church of Rome. I will therefore 
give a translation of the passage, which appears be- 
low, and make some remarks upon that translation : 
— " For every Church (that is, the faithful who are 
on all sides,) must on account of its more powerful 

7 See p. 5, note ". 

8 Ill.iii. 2. Ad hanc enim Ecclesiam propter potentiorem prin- 
cipalitatem necesse est omnem convenire Ecclesiam, hoc est, eos 
qui sunt undique fideles, in qua semper ab his, qui sunt undique, 
conservata est ea quae est ab Apostolis Traditio. 


pre-eminence resort to this Church, in which the 
apostolical tradition is preserved by those who are 
on all sides." 

There are several words in this passage which 
must influence the sense of it. The first I shall 
notice is the word potentiorem, the more especially 
as there is a various reading upon it. One MS. (the 
Clermont) of considerable value, reads potior em ; but 
Massuet, who examined it, says that it had been 
written pontiorem (but altered to potiorem,) which is 
almost certainly a contraction for the common read- 
ing. We must therefore, I conclude, sit down with 
the common reading ; although Massuet, in the Bene- 
dictine edition, and J. J. Griesbach, in some remarks 
upon this passage 8 , prefer the other. But what 
Greek word potentiorem represents must be matter 
of conjecture ; and no one who is acquainted with 
the manner in which the translator has rendered 
Greek words will be inclined to lay much stress 
upon it. It may have been put for iKavwrepav, or 
KpuTTova ; or, in short, the comparative of any adjec- 
tive which admits of being rendered potens. We 
then come to the word principalitatem. This we 
know that the ancient translator of Irenseus uses to 
signify apyr\ 9 . Putting these two together, Griesbach 

8 Prog, de potentiore Eccl. Rom. principalitate. Jenae, 1780. 

9 IT. xxx. 9. In translating Eph. i. 21. 


has rendered K^urrova apyr\v, potiorem initium, and 
thus got rid of the idea of authority altogether. But 
there is no need of this. Principalis is used by the 
translator as the rendering of rjyEjUovi/coc ' ; principa- 
liter, of TrpoiiyovfxhijjQ 2 , and 7rpor)-yrjrtKwg 3 ; principalis 
totem habeo, of ?r s o utsvu 4 . We know that all the 
apostolical sees had a kind of principality or pre- 
eminence above the surrounding Churches; a more 
powerful pre-eminence than other Churches equally 
ancient with themselves. Nay, we know that the 
Church of Rome had at that time, in point of fact, 
a more powerful pre-eminence than any other 

The next word to be considered is convenire, 
which may be rendered either resort or agree; 
and I confess I should have been disposed, with 
Massuet, to render it agree, were it not for a 
perfectly parallel passage in the 32d Oration of 
Gregory of Nazianzum, delivered at the first council 
of Constantinople. Speaking of Constantinople, he 

Says, uq i]v to. Travrayodzv ciKpa avvrpkyti, Kat bOtv «f>)(£- 

rai tog e/unropiov koivov ttjc TriartajQ. Here Constanti- 
nople is spoken of then under the very same terms 
as Rome by Irenaeus, as the common repository of the 
faith : other parts of the Christian world are said to 

1 III. xi. 8. 2 1, ix. 3. 

3 V. xxvii. 2. 4 IV. xxxviii. 3. 



be governed (ap^erai) by it; and distant Churches 
are said to resort from all quarters : awrpkyzi navTa- 
yoQzv. Are not these words an exact parallel to the 
convenire and undique of the translator of Irenseus ? 
I therefore feel bound to give convenire the sense of 
resort. The next word to be noticed is undique, the 
application of which is disputed ; some, as Barrow 5 
and Faber 6 , applying it only to the immediate neigh- 
bourhood of Rome, i. e. Italy and the adjacent parts 
of Gaul; others, and of course the Romanists, to 
the whole Christian Church. According to the for- 
mer plan, the clause " hoc est ... fldeles" is a limi- 
tation of the expression " omnem ecclesiam," con- 
fining it to the Churches immediately surrounding 
Rome; and consequently the pre-eminence of the 
Church of Rome would be equally narrowed by this 
interpretation of undique. I am far from contending 
that this interpretation is not correct ; and the very 
fact of the passage admitting it, without any force 
whatever, shows how little the papal cause can be 
made to rest upon it. But as Gregory, in the paral- 

5 Pope's Supremacy, V. ix. p. 234, edit. 1680. " The faithful 
who are all about." 

6 Difficulties of Romanism, B. I. chap. iii. sect. iv. 2. (4.) "To 
this Church, on account of the more potent principality, it is ne- 
cessary that every Church should resort ; that is to say, those 
faithful individuals who are on every side of it. In which Church, 
by those who are on every side of it, the tradition, which is from 
the Apostles, has always been preserved." 


lei passage I have quoted, uses the term iravTayoQev, 
I am disposed to take undique as its representative ; 
the more especially as we have seen that, whatever 
influence it gives to Rome, the selfsame influence 
had Constantinople in an after age. 

There are one or two more words still to be men- 
tioned. Necesse est is one of them. It may imply 
that it is the duty of every Church to resort to 
Rome ; but its more natural and usual meaning is, 
that, as a matter of course, Christians from all parts, 
and not strictly the Churches themselves, were led 
to resort thither by the superior eminence of that 

I have hitherto taken this passage as though it 
must be applied definitely to the Church of Rome. 
But this is by no means necessary ; for it may be a 
general observation applicable to all the most emi- 
nent Churches, as may be seen by the following 
translation and arrangement of it : — " For every 
Church, (that is, the faithful all around,) must neces- 
sarily resort to that Church in which the apostolical 
tradition has been preserved by those on all sides 
of it, on account of its more powerful pre-eminence;" 
that is, Christians must have recourse each to the 
most ancient and most eminent Church in his neigh- 
bourhood. And this agrees with a passage of Ter- 



tullian 7 , in which he refers southern Greeks to 
Corinth, northern to Philippi and Thessalonica, Asi- 
atics to Ephesus, Italians and Africans to Rome. 
The only objection which occurs to me lies in the 
word hanc, which, if the passage is to be taken in 
this application, must be translated that; but as it 
was in all probability the representative of ravrrjv, 
this word can scarcely present any difficulty. 

I will close this whole discussion with two re- 
marks ; first, that unless we could recover the Greek 
text of this passage, it is plainly impossible to as- 
certain its true sense ; and secondly, that the strong- 
est sense we can attach to it, consistently with his- 
tory, is, that Christians of that period from all parts 
of Christendom must, if they wish to ascertain tra- 
ditions, have recourse to the Church of Rome, be- 
cause, as the first Church in Christendom, the com- 
mon traditions were preserved there by the resort of 
Christians from all quarters. This twofold reason 
for resorting thither has long ceased to exist, and 
consequently this passage of Irenseus can afford no 
support to the claims of modern Rome, until it can 
be proved that those portions of the Christian world 
which are not in communion with her are no part 
of the Catholic Church. 

7 De Prcescr, Hcer. 36. 


There is another subject which has caused much 
discussion, which is adverted to by Irenseus, viz. the 
miraculous powers of the Church. He declares that 
in his time powers of this kind were possessed by 
Christians, such as raising the dead 8 , and casting out 
devils, and healing the sick ; that they likewise had 
the gift of prophecy 9 , and spoke with tongues, and 

8 II. xxxi. 2. Kcu kv rij afcXcpoTriri 7ro\\df:ig £ia to avayKaiov, 
t7)q Kara tottov tKKXrjffiag ttckttjq ahrjaa^iyjjg jjletci vrjffTsiag ttoX- 
KiJQ Ktxi, e7rearpe\pe to 7rvevfua too TETeXev-rj^orog, kcu 
e\api(rdr) 6 avdpu)7rog Tci'ig tv-^cug twv ciyiwv. — xxxii. 4. Quaprop- 
ter et in illius nomine, qui vere illius sunt discipuli ab ipso acci- 
pientes gratiam, perficiunt ad beneficia reliquorum hominum, 
quemadmodum unusquisque accepit donum ab eo. Alii enim 
daemones excludunt firmissime et vere, ut etiam saepissime cre- 
dant ipsi, qui emundati sunt a nequissimis spiritibus, et suit in 
Ecclesia. Alii autem et praescientiam habent futurorum, et visi- 
ones, et dictiones propheticas. Alii autem laborantes aliqua in- 
firmitate per manus impositionem curant, et sanos restituunt. 
Jam etiam, quemadmodum diximus, et mortui resurrexerunt, et 
perseveraverunt nobiscum annis multis. Et quid autem ? Non 
est numerum dicere gratiarum, quas per universum mundum 
Ecclesia a Deo accipiens, in nomine Christi Jesu, crucifixi sub 
Pontio Pilato, per singulos dies in opitulationem gentium perficit, 
neque seducens aliquem, nee pecuniam ei auferens. Quemad- 
modum enim gratis accepit a Deo, gratis et ministrat. 5. 

munde et pure et manifeste orationes dirigens ad Dominum, qui 
omnia fecit, et nomen Domini nostri Jesu Christi invocans, 
virtutes ad utilitates hominum, sed non ad seductionem, per- 

9 II. xxxii. 4, supra. V. vi. 1. Kadibgical ttoXXojv ciKovofiev dhX- 
(f>u>i> kv Trj e^KXr^aia, Trpo(pr)TiKa ^aptVwara e^ovtiov, /ecu iravTOCairaig 
XciXovvtujv cHa tov Hvev^aTog yfZxjaaig, kcu to. i^pvcfjia tCjv dvdpoj- 


revealed secret things of men and mysteries of God \ 
It is well known that Gibbon and Middleton have 
thrown doubt upon the miraculous powers of the 
primitive Church ; and one of their chief arguments 
is that the early writers, such as Irenseus, content 
themselves with general statements, but bring no 
specific instance. The subject has been very fully 
entered into by the present highly learned and ami- 
able bishop of Lincoln, Dr. Kaye, in his work on 
Tertullian 2 ; and in the general I am disposed to 
acquiesce in the theory adopted by the bishop, that 
those powers were conferred only by apostolical 
hands, and that of course they would continue till 
all that generation was extinct who were contem- 
porary with St. John, the last of the Apostles. That 
would admit of Irenaeus having known instances ; 
and not having any idea that the power was to be 
extinct, he would think that it still remained, even 
if he had not known any recent instances. It is 
necessary to remark, however, that he speaks of the 
gifts of tongues and the revealing of secrets and 
mysteries, not as a thing coming under his own 
knowledge, but heard of from others; and it does 
not appear that he intends to say that they con- 
tinued to his own time. And I will venture to ob- 
serve that it appears rather unfair to Irenseus to set 

7ro)v etc <pavepop dyovruv £7rt r&> ovfityipovTi, Kai to. fivariipia rov 
Qeov eK<)ir]yovfi£vii)v. 

1 V. vi. 1. 2 Pp. 98— 102. 


aside his testimony by saying that he brings no spe- 
cific instance of those things which he speaks of as 
still done. He might feel that the thing was so 
notorious, that those who were not convinced by the 
notoriety of such occurrences would cavil at any 
particular case he might select ; and his mentioning 
that some of those who had been delivered from evil 
spirits had become converts, that some of those who 
had been raised from the dead, being poor, had been 
assisted with money 3 , and that some had lived many 
years after 4 , surely indicates that he was speaking 
from a knowledge of individual cases. One should 
indeed have expected that every one who owed his 
deliverance from Satanic possession to the miraculous 
power possessed by Christians would have embraced 
the faith of those who exercised it ; and the circum- 
stance that Irenseus affirms this of some only gives 
a greater air of probability to his whole statement. 
Besides this, we must distinguish between the cases 
of persons healed by the direct agency of an indi- 
vidual, and those in which it pleased God to hear 
the joint prayers of several ; for it is observable that 
our author attributes the raising of the dead only to 

3 II. xxxi. 3. in Ecclesia autem miseratio, et misericordia, 

et firmitas, et Veritas ad opitulationem hominum, non solum sine 
mercede et gratis perficiatur ; sed et nobis ipsis quae sunt nostra 
erogantibus pro salute hominum, et ea quibus hi, qui curantur, 
indigent, ssepissime non habentes, a nobis accipiunt. 

4 II. xxxii. 4. See p. 69, note 8 . 


the united prayers and fasting of a whole Church, 
and confines it to cases of great urgency 5 . 

The testimony which Irenaeus bears to the relation 
between the Church and the empire is but slight. 
He mentions a Christian as having been in his own 
youth high in the imperial court, at the same time 
that he was a follower or admirer of Polycarp 6 ; he 
speaks of Christians in the imperial palace deriving 
an income from the heathen, and able to assist their 
poorer brethren 7 ; and he acknowledges the general 
advantages which Christians derived from the supre- 
macy of the Romans, in common with their other 
subjects, in the prevalence of peace and the freedom 
from individual outrage 8 . But he mentions very 
distinctly the persecutions at another time Christians 
suffered (particularly alluding to those which took 
place at Lyons), and notices that slaves were com- 
pelled to inform against their masters ; and that in 
this way the calumny that Christians fed upon human 
flesh arose, from a misunderstanding of the nature of 
the holy Eucharist 9 ; the slaves having heard their 

5 II. xxxi. 2. Sia to dvayKaiov. See p. 69, note 8 . 

6 Frag. ii. See p. 2. note 2 . 

7 IV. xxx. 1. Quid autem et hi, qui in Regali aula sunt, fide- 
les, nonne ex eis, quae Caesaris sunt, habent utensilia, et his qui 
non habent, unusquisque eorum secundum virtutein praestat. 

8 IV. xxx. 3. Sed et mundus pacem habet per eos, et nos sine 
timore in viis ambulamus et navigamus quocumque voluerimus. 

9 Frag. xiii. XpiorLariov yap KaTi]\ovfiiv(i)v covXovg r 'EA\7/y££ 


masters speak of feeding on the body and blood of 
Christ, and taking it in a literal sense. 

£ru\Xa/3dvr£c, dra fjiadely tl 7rapa tovtojv Crjdey air6ppr]TOv nepl 
XpuTTiavwv avayKa^ovTEQy ol SoiiXoi. ovtol, firj 'iyovTEQ ttGjq to to~iq 
avayt;ct£ov<n K.a0' 7/£ovr)v epe'tv, Trap' ouov i\kovov twv ^£(T7totu)V, ty\v 
deiav HETa\rj\Liiv alfia Kal aCJ/ua dvai Xpiarov, avrol vofxiaavTEQ 
T(g ovri alfxa Kal adptca eivai, tovto k^Cnrov tolq tK^r]TOvai. ol Se 
XafiovTEQ w£ avToyjpr}fia tovto TeXelaOai XpiaTiavolg, k.t.X. 



The proper aspect to view the Church in is a matter 
of so much practical importance at all times, that 
it can never be uninteresting to know the light in 
which it was regarded in the subapostolical age, of 
which Irenseus is a very unobjectionable evidence. 

We shall find then that this writer considered the 
Church to be an ascertainable society, planted first 
at Jerusalem l , and thence spread to the limits of the 
habitable globe 2 ; planted by the Apostles, and kept 
up by and in the elders or bishops their successors 3 . 
It is, however, divided into separate Churches, which 
are to regard that of Jerusalem as their mother 

1 III. xii. 5. After quoting Acts iv. 24, &c. he proceeds thus : 
— Avrai cpojval rrJQ eKK\r)ffiag } i£ rjQ iraaa zayjiicev EKicXrjaLa rrjv 
dpyfiv' avrai tyioval rrjg Mr)rpo7r6\£h)Q r&v rijg icaivfJQ diadr]Krjg 


2 I. x. 1. See p. 55, note. 

3 III. iii. 1. See p. 56, note 7 . 


Church 4 . The whole Church, moreover, is to its 
individual members as a mother to her children 5 : 

4 III. xii. 5. supra. 

5 III. xxiv. 1. Praedicationem vero Ecclesiae undique constan- 
tem, et aequaliter perseverantem, et testimonium habentem a 
Prophetis et ab Apostolis, et ab omnibus discipulis, quemadmo- 
dum ostendimus per initia, et medietates, et finem, et per univer- 
sam Dei dispositionem, et earn quae secundum salutem hominis 
est solitam operationem, quae est in fide nostra ; quam perceptam 
ab Ecclesia custodimus, et quae semper a Spiritu Dei, quasi in 
vase bono eximium quoddam depositum juvenescens, et juve- 
nescere faciens ipsum vas in quo est. Hoc enim Ecclesiae credi- 
tum est Dei munus, quemadmodum ad inspirationem plasmationi, 
ad hoc ut omnia membra percipientia vivificentur : et in eo dis- 
posita est communicatio Christi, id est, Spiritus sanctus, arrha 
incorruptelaj, et confirmatio fidei nostrae, et scala ascensionis ad 
Deum. " In Ecclesia enim," inquit, " posuit Deus Apostolos, 
Prophetas, doctores," et universam reliquam operationem Spiri- 
tus : cujus non sunt participes omnes, qui non currunt ad Eccle- 
siam, sed semetipsos fraudant a vita, per sententiam malam, et 
operationem pessimam. Ubi enim Ecclesia, ibi et Spiritus Dei ; 
et ubi Spiritus Dei, illic Ecclesia, et omnis gratia : Spiritus autem 
Veritas. Quapropter qui non participant eum, neque a mam- 
millis Matris nutriuntur in vitam, neque percipiunt de corpore 
Christi procedentem nitidissimum fontem ; sed effodiunt sibi 
lacus detritos de fossis terrenis, et de coeno putidam bibunt 
aquam, effugientes fidem Ecclesiae, ne traducantur ; rejicientes 

vero Spiritum, ut non erudiantur. 2. Alienati vero a veritate, 

digne in omni volutantur errore, fluctuati ab eo, aliter atque ali- 
ter per tempora de eisdem sentientes, et nunquam sententiam 
stabilitam habentes, sophistae verborum magis volentes esse quam 
discipuli veritatis : non enim sunt fundati super unam petram, 

sed super arenam. V. xx. 2. Fugere igitur oportet senten- 

tias ipsorum (of the Gnostics), et intentius observare necubi vex- 
emur ab ipsis ; confugere autem ad Ecclesiam, et in ejus sinu 


she is appointed for the quickening of creation 6 , and 
in her is the way of life 7 , which those who keep 
aloof from her do not possess 8 ; in her is the Holy 
Spirit, which is not to be found out of her 9 . She 
possesses the adoption and inheritance of Abraham, 
and her members are consequently the seed of Abra- 
ham 1 . Being thus appointed for the quickening of 
the world, by being the way of life to its members, 
she has for that purpose received the faith from the 
Apostles, which it is her business to distribute to her 
children 2 . She is therefore the appointed preacher 
of the faith, or the truth, which is not variable and 

educari, et Dominicis scripturis enutriri. Plantata enim est Ec- 
clesia, paradisus in hoc mundo : " ab omni''" ergo "ligno paradisi 
escas manducabitis," ait Spiritus Dei ; id est, ab omni scriptura 
Dominica manducate. 

6 III. xxiv. 1. supra. 

7 III. iv. 1. Tantae igitur ostensiones cum sint, non oportet 
adhuc quaerere apud alios veritatem, quam facile est ab Ecclesia 
sumere ; cum Apostoli, quasi in depositorium dives, plenissime 
in earn contulerint omnia quae sint veritatis : uti omnis quicum- 
que velit, sumat ex ea potum vitae. Haec est enim vitae intro- 
itus ; omnes autem reliqui fures sunt et latrones. Propter quod 
oportet devitare quidem illos ; quae autem sunt Ecclesiae, cum 
summa diligentia diligere, et apprehendere veritatis Traditionem. 

8 III. xxiv. 1. supra. 9 Ibid. 

1 IV. viii. 1. Deum, qui in regnum ccelorum introducit Abra- 
ham, et semen ejus quod est Ecclesia, per Christum Jesum, cui 
et adoptio redditur, et haereditas quae Abrahae promissa est. 

2 III. Praef. quoted p. 34, note 10 . V. xx. 1. Et Ecclesiae 

quidem praedicatio vera et firraa, apud quam una et eadem salutis 
via in universo mundo ostenditur. Huic enim creditum est 


changeable, but one, and only one 3 ; not merely a 
quality infused into the heart, but a form of truths 
embodied or summed up in words, and delivered to 
her members when they are initiated into her 4 . 
Her ancient system is therefore the guide to truth 5 , 
and those who wish to know it must have recourse 
to her, and be brought up in her bosom 6 . Her tes- 
timony, moreover, is confirmed by the Apostles and 
Prophets 7 , whose writings are kept in the custody 
of her elders 8 , with which, moreover, those must 

lumen Dei Ubique enim Ecclesia praedicat veritatem ; et 

haec est itttcluvIoq lucerna, Christi bajulans lumen. 

3 I. ix. 5. Kcu U tovtov yap (the exhibition of the incon- 
sistency of error) aKpifiwg avii$£iv tcrrai, Kal izpb ttjq aTro^tileiog, 
fiefiaiav T))v vtto rfjg EKKXriatac Krjpvcrorofj.iyr)V dXydeiav. — x. 3. 

cited p. 56, note 5 . III. xii. 7. Ecclesia vero per universum 

mundum ab Apostolis flrmum habens initium, in una et eadem de 
Deo et de Filio ejus perseverat sententia. 

4 I. ix. 4. See p. 56, note 6 . 

5 IV. xxxiii. 8. TvGxjlq dXrjdrjg, >/ tCov diroffToXuv SiSa^f), Kal 
to dp-^a'iov rfjg eKKXrjfriag avarr\\ia Kara iravroq tov Koa/jov, et 
character corporis Christi secundum successiones Episcoporum, 
quibus illi earn, quae in unoquoque loco est Ecclesiam tradide- 
runt : quae pervenit usque ad nos custoditione sine fictione 
Scripturarum tractatio plenissima, neque additamentum neque 
ablationem recipiens; et lectio sine falsatione, et secundum Scrip- 
turas expositio legitima, et diligens, et sine periculo, et sine 

6 V. xx. 2. Seep. 75, note 5 . 

7 III. xxiv. 1. cited ibid. 

8 IV. xxxii. 1 . Post deinde et omnis sermo ei constabit, si et 
Scripturas diligenter legerit apud eos qui in Ecclesia sunt presby- 
teri, apud quos est apostolica doctrina. 


expect to be fed who come to her 9 . She has suc- 
ceeded to the office of the ancient Jewish Church 
of being the great witness of the unity of the God- 
head \ 

To show that she is commissioned from above, she 
wrought continual miracles for the good of the 
world by prayer and invocation of the name of 
Jesus 2 ; she even raised the dead by means of fast- 
ing and prayer 3 ; and she alone produced persons 
who sealed their own sincerity and the truth of their 
faith by their blood 4 . 

Finally, although not exempt from weakness, and 

9 V. xx. 2. See p. 75, note 5 . 

1 II. ix. I. Veteribus quidem et in primis a protoplasti tradi- 
tione hanc suadelam custodientibus, et unum Deum, fabricato- 
rem coeli et terras hymnizantibus ; reliquis autem post eos a pro- 

phetis Dei hujus rei commemorationem accipientibus 

Ecclesia autem omnis per universum orbem hanc accepit ab 
apostolis traditionem. 

2 II. xxxii. 4, 5. See p. 69, note 8 . 3 II. xxxi. 2. cited ibid. 
4 IV. xxxiii. 9. Quapropter Ecclesia omni in loco ob earn 

quam habet erga Deum dilectionem, multitudinem martyrum in 
omni tempore prasmittit ad Patrem ; reliquis autem omnibus non 
tan turn non habentibus hanc rem ostendere apud se, sed nee qui- 
dem necessarium esse dicentibus tale martyrium ; esse enim mar- 
tyrium verum sententiam eorum : nisi si unus, aut duo aliquando, 
per omne tempus ex quo Dominus apparuit in terris, cum mar- 
tyribus nostris, quasi et ipse misericordiam consequutus, oppro- 
brium simul bajulavit nominis, et cum eis ductus est, velut ad- 
jectio qusedam donata eis. 


capable of losing whole members, she, as a body, 
remains imperishable 5 . 

It is remarkable how strictly this notion of an 
external, visible, ascertainable body, consisting of 
individuals, and under the government of individual 
officers, having a personal succession in distinct lo- 
calities 6 , is in accordance with the doctrine of the 
Church of England ; and how totally opposed it is 
to the notions held amongst dissenters, and by in- 
dividuals within the Church in modern times. Accord- 
ing to Irenaeus, moreover, the different classes of sec- 
taries would be regarded as having neither spiritual 
life nor the Holy Spirit, except so far as they might be 
supposed to be in communion with the body governed 
by elders or bishops descended from the Apostles. 
If in any way or to any degree they can be supposed 
to be in communion with them, to that extent they 
would be thought to have the Holy Ghost, and to 
be in the way of life, but no further. I am not now 
discussing whether he was right or wrong; I am 
merely pointing out the contrariety between his 
views of the Church and those which appear to be 
most popular at present. I doubt if most Protes- 
tants would not pronounce his doctrine to be gross 

5 IV. xxxi. 3. Ecclesia, quae est sal terras, subrelicta est in 
confinio terrae, patiens quae sunt humana ; et, dum saepe auferun- 
tur ab ea membra integra, perseverat statua salis. 

6 See pp. 57, 58. 


bigotry ; for very many of those who would go so 
far with him as to acknowledge the Church to be a 
visible society, would be very far from restricting 
the grace of the Holy Spirit to the communion of 
the bishops in succession from the Apostles. 

I must, however, direct more particular attention 
to one part of his system which did not require to 
be brought out prominently. We have seen that 
he thought it possible for the Church to lose whole 
members. In fact, although he thought that the 
truth was kept up by the succession of bishops 
throughout the Church, and that it was a mark of 
truth to be so kept up, he still believed that pres- 
byters or bishops might, through pride, or other evil 
motives, make schisms in the Church 7 ; and he taught 
that those were to be adhered to who, with the suc- 

7 IV. xxvi. 2. Quapropter eis qui in Ecclesia sunt, Presbyteris 
obaudire oportet, his qui successionem habent ab Apostolis, sicut 
ostendimus ; qui cum Episcopatus successione charisma veritatis 
certum secundum placitum Patris acceperunt : reliquos vero, qui 
absistunt a principali successione, et quocumque loco colligunt, 
suspectos habere ; vel quasi hsereticos, et malse sententiae ; vel 
quasi scindentes, et elatos, et sibi placentes ; aut rursus ut hypo- 
critas, quaestus gratia et vanse glorise hoc operantes. Omnes 

autem hi deciderunt a veritate. -3. Qui vero crediti quidem 

sunt a multis esse presbyteri, serviunt autem suis voluptatibus, 
et non praeponunt timorem Dei in cordibus suis, sed contumeliis 
agunt reliquos, et principalis concessionis tumore elati sunt, et in 
absconsis agunt mala, et dicunt, "Nemo nos videt," redarguentur 
a Verbo. 


cession, keep the Apostles' doctrine, and lead good 
lives 8 ; implying, of course, that some who were in 
the succession might depart from the Apostles' doc- 
trine. The succession was not, therefore, in his opi- 
nion, an infallible test of truth in the individual 
Church. Any individual Church, or even a consider- 
able number or collection of Churches, might fall 
into heresy, and thus become cut off from the 
Church ; but it is evident that he did not think this 
possible to happen to the great body of the Church. 

It is manifest from this that he thought the pri- 
vate Christian must sometimes pass judgment upon 
his bishop, and might be called upon to separate from 
him, and to adhere to those who were more ortho- 
dox. In what cases this was requisite, or what was 
to be the extent of the alienation, he does not give 
any hint ; but this clearly establishes that he thought 
private judgment upon religious controversy to be 
sometimes a duty : for without the exercise of pri- 
vate judgment upon the part of the layman, it would 
be in some cases impossible for him to show his 
preference for those bishops who adhered to the 
Apostles' doctrine. 

8 IV. xxvi. 4. Ab omnibus igitur talibus absistere oportet, 
adhaerere vero his qui et apostolorum, sicut praediximus, doc- 
trinam custodiunt, et cum presbyterii ordine sermonem sanum 
et conversationem sine offensa praestant, ad confirmationem et 

correptionem reliquorum. 5. Ubi igitur charismata Domini 

posita sunt, ibi discere oportet veritatem, apud quos est ea quae 



We find no trace in Irenseus of any authority in 
the Church of Rome to decide controversies for the 
rest of the Church. On the contrary, he taught 
Christians to have recourse to any ancient apostoli- 
cal Church, or rather collection of Churches 9 , if they 
wished to ascertain the traditional system of the 
Church. He indeed quotes that Church as being in 
his time a more important witness to the truth than 
any other individual Church, because, through the 
continual concourse of Christians thither, in conse- 
quence of its more powerful pre-eminence, the tra- 
ditions of the universal Church were there collected 
as it were into a focus l ; but, as I have pointed out 
elsewhere 2 , he recognises no authority in that Church 
to claim to decide controversies. With him it is not 
any individual Church that is commissioned to pre- 
serve the truth, not even the Church of Jerusalem, 
which he calls the mother of all Churches (a title 
which has been since arrogated by the Roman 
Church), but the Catholic Church, truly so called, by 
the mouth of her pastors throughout the world ; for 
although he mentions the pre-eminence of the Church 
of Rome in his day as a matter of fad, he does not 

est ab Apostolus Ecclesiae successio, et id quod est sanum et irre- 
probabile conversations, et inadulteratum et incorruptibile ser- 
monis constat. 

9 See III. iii. 1. p. 57, note 7 ; ibid. 2. p. 58, note 9 ; ibid. 4. 
p. 58, notes 2 and 3 . 

1 III. iii. 2. See pp. 52 and 63. 

2 See p. 68. 


state it to be a matter of right ; nor does he ground 
any thing upon it but the further fact that it fol- 
lowed, of course, that Christians resorted to it from 
all quarters, as they did afterwards to Constantinople. 
He gives no hint as to the source of that pre-emi- 
nence, other than its having been settled by the two 
Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul, and honoured with 
being the scene of their martyrdom 3 . And his ap- 
peal to it he builds, not on any authority residing in 
it, but upon the fact that at that time the confluence 
from all parts of the Church caused the tradition of 
the whole Church to be best preserved there, as was 
afterwards the case at Constantinople, and has since 
been no where. So that his appeal to Rome is not 
in fact an appeal to that Church, but to the Church 
universal ; and since Rome has ceased to be the 
place of resort to the universal Church, the ground 
for appealing to her has ceased likewise. 

On the subject of the Bishops of the primitive 
Church several questions have arisen, and it is of 
course highly desirable to know whether Irenseus 
furnishes any evidence on either side of them. It is 
not to be expected that we can discuss any of them 
fully by the aid of any single writer ; but such indi- 
cations as we meet with may with propriety be 
drawn out. 

3 See p. 58, note 9 , and p. 63, note s . 



That which first demands our notice is whether 
Bishops existed, as a distinct order from Presbyters, 
from the beginning. 

Now Ireneeus does undoubtedly call the same per- 
sons by the name of Bishops and Presbyters inter- 
changeably. But it has been long ago pointed out 
that the circumstance of the same name being borne 
by persons holding two different offices, proves no- 
thing. It is unsafe to infer from the circumstance 
that bishops are called presbyters, or presbyters bishops, 
that therefore there was not a permanent officer set 
over the other presbyters, and endued with functions 
which they could not exercise, although not at first 
distinguished by a specific name. 

On the other hand, we learn from him that there 
were to be found in every part of the Christian world 
bishops or presbyters placed at the head of Churches, 
which from their importance, must have had other 
presbyters in them, and which we know from other 
sources to have had other presbyters in them ; that 
there was only one of these at one and the same 
time ; that they were intrusted with the government 
of the Churches, and called the Bishops of those 
Churches ; that the authority of the office was handed 
down from individual to individual ; and that the 
individuals who filled this office, and by consequence 


the office itself, were appointed by inspired apostles 4 . 
All these facts are irreconcileable with the hypo- 
thesis that all presbyters were equal in authority and 

The question whether these bishops and presbyters 
might not have been simply pastors of independent 
congregations, is answered by finding that they had 
other presbyters under them, (as Irenseus under 
Pothinus, and Florinus and Blastus under the 
Bishops of Rome,) and that in places such as Rome, 
where there were probably more congregations than 

There is nothing in Irenseus to favour the idea 
that the subject-presbyters were not properly clergy- 
men ; on the contrary, the letter of the martyrs to 
Eleutherius would appear to speak of Irenseus as a 
clergyman, when we at the same time know him to 
have been a presbyter : and it does appear in the 
highest degree improbable that the flourishing 
Church of Rome, which we know to have been the 
place of residence of two Apostles at once, should 
have been left, down to Irenseus's time, with only a 
single clergyman in it, which must have been the 
case upon this theory; to say nothing of Smyrna, 
which, according to the same scheme, must have 

1 See pp. 57 — 59, and the passages there adduced. 


been left destitute of spiritual superintendence during 
Poljcarp's visit to Rome, which S. Irenseus has 

But granting the existence of Bishops such as we 
have them now, and their appointment by Apostles, 
another question arises, first suggested, so far as we 
know, by S. Jerome, whether the powers now exclu- 
sively reserved to Bishops, such as ordination and 
government, were so exclusively delegated to them 
by the Apostles, as that those powers exercised by 
other presbyters are invalid. The question does not 
appear to have occurred to Irenseus : but we have 
no hint in him of other presbyters having the same 
authority as the bishops of the Churches; on the 
other hand, he expressly states that the Apostles 
committed the Churches to the government and 
teaching of individual bishops or presbyters in each, 
making them their successors, and giving them their own 
office 5 . And the very circumstance of their committing 
the Churches to those individuals did (by what appears 
to me inevitable consequence) exclude all others 
from the same 'place to which those individuals were 
appointed, and constitute them an order by them- 
selves. And that the universal Church understood 
the appointment in that sense is proved by the fact, 
recorded by Irenseus, that the succession of autho- 

5 — quos et successores relinquebant, suum ipsorum locum 
magisterii tradentes. See p. 58, note 7 . 


rity was kept up in individuals down to his time ; 
the evident implication being that it was so in all 

The evidence, therefore, supplied by Irenseus, al- 
though not enabling us, by itself ] to discuss the whole 
question fully, is in support of the discipline of the 
Church of England, which refuses to recognize the 
ordinations of any but bishops, properly so called, 
and having their authority in succession from the 
Apostles 6 . 

6 See the Preface to the Ordination Services. 



The controversy which Irenseus carried on with the 
Gnostics being directly and explicitly on the subject 
of the Divine Nature, led him to treat distinctly of 
the divinity and humanity of Christ and his incar- 
nation, of the providential government of God, and 
his various manifestations. He is thus led, almost 
of necessity, to enunciate the doctrine of the Trinity 
in Unity in various aspects, but most especially in 
regard to the twofold nature of Christ. 

In direct reference to the doctrine of the Trinity 
in Unity, he describes the agency of the three Per- 
sons in the creation of man ; the Father willing and 
commanding, the Son ministering and forming, the 
Spirit sustaining and nourishing him l . So again 
he declares that God made all things by his Word 

1 IV. xxxviii. 3. 'O yewtfTog kui irsTrkaafiivog avQpuyKog tear 
eiKoya /cat bfjioiucriv tov aysvviiTOv yivErai Qeov' tov fxkv Ylarpog 
Ev^oKovvTog kcu KeXevovTog, tov tie Ylov icpaaoovTog kcu drjfiiovp- 
youi'rog, tov Se UvtvfxaTog TpktyovTog ko.1 av^ovrog. 


or Son, and Wisdom or Spirit, using the terms per- 
sonally ; and that this was the same thing as making 
them by himself 2 , because they are his hands 3 . And 
again, in explaining God's dispensations in regard to 
man, he affirms 4 that God was seen under the Old 
Testament by the Spirit of prophecy, that he was 
seen subsequently by means of the Son, adoptively, 

2 I. xxii. 1. Omnia per ipsum fecit Pater .... non per an- 
gelos, neque per virtutes aliquas abscissas ab ejus sententia (nihil 
enim indiget omnium Deus), sed et per Verbum et Spiritum suum 
omnia faciens et disponens et gubernans, et omnibus esse prae- 

stans. II. xxx. 9. Hie Pater, hie Deus, hie Conditor, hie 

Factor, hie Fabricator, qui fecit ea per semetipsum, hoc est, per 
Verbum et per Sapientiam suam, ccelum et terram et maria et 

omnia quae in eis sunt. IV. vii. 4. Haec enim Filius, qui est 

Verbum Dei, ab initio praestruebat ; non indigente Patre angelis, 
uti faceret conditionem et formaret hominem .... sed habente 
copiosum et inenarrabile ministerium : ministrat enim ei ad om- 
nia sua progenies et figuratio sua, id est Filius et Spiritus Sanc- 
tus, Verbum et Sapientia ; quibus serviunt et subjecti sunt omnes 

3 V. i. 3. Sic in fine Verbum Patris et Spiritus Dei, adunitus 
antiquae substantiae plasmationis Adae, viventem et perfectum 

effecit hominem, capientem perfectum Patrem non enim 

effugit aliquando Adam manus Dei, ad quas Pater loquens, dicit : 
M Faciamus hominem ad imaginem et similitudinem nostrum." — 
xxviii. 4. Plasmatus initio homo per manus Dei, id est, Filii 
et Spiritus, fit secundum imaginem et similitudinem Dei. 

4 IV. xx. 5. Potens est enim in omnibus Deus ; visus quidem 
tunc per Spiritum prophetiae, visus autem et per Filium adoptive, 
videbitur autem et in regno ccelorum paternaliter : Spiritu quidem 
praeparante hominem in Filio Dei, Filio autem adducente ad 
Patrem, Patre autem incorruptelam donante in aeternam vitam, 
quae unicuique evenit ex eo quod videat Deum. 


i. e. adopting human nature into the divine 5 , and 
that he will be seen in his character of Father in the 
kingdom of heaven ; and that in this way the Spirit 
in the Son prepares man, and the Son brings him to 
the Father, and the Father grants to him immor- 
tality: and so again in the work of man's redemption 6 , 
the Spirit operates, the Son supplies, the Father 
approves, and man is perfected to salvation. He 
likewise gives two statements of the substance of the 
Creed, in which the three Persons of the Trinity are 
spoken of in the same manner as in the Nicene 
Creed, both of which will be given in a subsequent 

These are all the passages, so far as I have been 
able to discover, which speak of the three Persons 
of the most Holy Trinity together ; but the doctrine 

is implied throughout. 

On the twofold nature of Christ, and especially on 
his divinity, he is more full. Indeed it would take 
more space than I can spare to introduce all the 
passages which bear upon the subject. 

5 III. xix. 1. Ei£ tovto yap 6 AoyoQ avOpoj-rrog, et qui Filius 
Dei est Filius hominis factus est, commixtus Verbo Dei, Iva 6 
avdpojrroc (i. e. human nature) rbv Aoyov \u)pi]<jac, /ecu ri}v vlode- 
clav Xapwv, vide yivi]rai Qeov. 

6 IV. xx. 6. Per omnia enim haec Deus Pater ostenditur, Spi- 
ritu quidem operante, Filio vero ministrante, Patre vero compro- 
bante, homine vero consummato ad salutem. 


Very near the beginning of his treatise, in re- 
hearsing the faith qf the Church, he speaks of 
"Christ Jesus our Lord andGod aisU oaviour and 
King 7 ;" further on he quotes many passages of 
Scripture to show that he was spoken of absolutely 
and definitely as God and Lord s , and asks the ques- 

7 I. X. 1. 'H fiev yap 'JLKKXrjala, Kaiirep icad' oXrjg rfjc oiKovfie- 
vj)q eiog irepciTtov ~i)g yrjc ^uaTrapfiivrj, Trapa £e tCjv 'AttootoAwv, 
kcll twv eKeivuiv [xadrj-iov TrapaXa'povaa t))v elg eva Qeov, Uaripa 
Trai'TOKparopa, tov TreTroirjKOTa tov ovpavbv Kai ty)v yfjy Kai Tag 
daXaaaag Kai 7ravra to. kv avroic, nicr-iv' Kai elg eva Xpiarov 
'Ir/covv, tov Ylbv tov Qeov, tuv aaptcajdivra vrrep ri]g ijfxeripag cw- 
rrjpiag' Kai elg livEu/ja ayiov, to £ua tQv 7rpo(j)riTU)V KeKi]pv%6g Tag 
ohovofiiag teal Tag kXevcreig, teal t))v £K irapdevov yevvrjcnv, teal to 
7radog, Kai ty)v eyepaiv eK veKpwv, Kai tt)v evaapKov elg Tovg ovpa- 
vovg ava\r)\pLV tov i]ya7vr]/xei'Ov Xpiorou 'Ir^ou tov Kvpiov ijfxiov, 
cai T))v ex. Tatv ovpaviov kv Trj col,rj tov LTarpog irapovalav avTov, 
£7rl to avaKetyaXuiuHjaadat to. izavTa, teal avaoTr\oai naaav aapKa 
iratTTjg avdpioTroTrjTog, iva Xpiorw 'Irjcrov rw JLvpiu> iifiatv Kai 
Gefcj Kai ffioTtjpL Kai fiaaiXel, Kara ty\v evooKiav tov TIaTpog tov 
aopaTOVf Ttav yovv Kafiifyr) 'eirovpaviiov koX k-myeiiov Kai KaTaydo- 
vi(ov, Kai Traaa yXwoaa k^ofxoXoyrjerrjTaL ai/rJ, Kai Kpimv ciKalav 
kv T0~ig TroiijarrjTat, to. fikv TrvevfxaTLKa Trjg Trovrjplag, Kai ayye- 
Xovg irapafiefiriKOTag Kai kv aizoaTaala yeyovorag, Kai Tovg aaejoelg 
Kai adiKovg Kai avofxovg Kai (jXaacpiifxovg twv avdpu)7rh)v elg to 
alwviov irvp 7refi\prj' Tolg £e SiKaioig Kai oaioig Kai Tag kvToXag 
avTOv TeTriprjKocri, Kai kv Trj ayaTrr] avTov oiaiiefievqKooi, TO~ig air ap- 
Xfje, Tolg de eK fieTavoiag, £ojr)v j^apicrafxevog, acpdapcriav ^wpZ/o-^rat, 
Kai £o£av al(ovtav irepiTroujar). — 2. Tovto to Kiipvyfia. 7rapeiXri(pv7a } 
ko.1 TavTrjv ty)v ttiotiv, wg Trpoecpajxev, r) 'EKKXrjaia, Kaiirep kv 6'Xw 
T(p Koafxu) c tea-Trap fxevrj, e7rLfxeXwg (pvXdcrcTei. — A translation of this 
passage will be found in the chapter on Creeds. 

8 III. vi, 1. Vere igitur cum Pater sit Dominus, et Filius vere 
sit Dominus, merito Spiritus Sanctus Domini appellatione signa- 
vit eos. Et iterum in eversione Sodomitarum Scriptura ait : " Et 


tion, How would men be saved, if He who wrought 
out their salvation upon earth y^ not God 9 ? 

He asserts thut the Word was with God from ever- 
lasting \ and that Jesus was the Son of God before 
the creation 2 , that no man knows the mode of his 

pluit Dorainus super Sodomam et Gomorrham ignem et sulfur a 
Domino de ccelo." Filium enim hie significat, qui et Abrahse 
colloquutus sit, a Patre accepisse potestatem ad judicandum Sodo- 
mitas, propter iniquitatem eorum. Similiter habet illud : " Se- 
des tua, Deus, in seternum ; virga directionis, virga regni tui. 
Dilexisti justitiam, et odisti iniquitatem, propterea unxit te Deus, 
Deus tuus." Utrosque enim Dei appellatione signavit Spiritus, 
et eum qui ungitur, Filium, et eum qui ungit, id est, Patrem. — 
2. Nemo igitur alius, quemadmodum prsedixi, Deus nominatur 
aut Dominus appellatur, nisi qui est omnium Deus et Dominus, 
qui et Moysi dixit : " Ego sum qui sum : et sic dices filiis 
Israel : Qui est, misit me ad vos :" et hujus Filius Jesus Christus 
Dominus noster, qui filios Dei facit credentes in nomen suum. 

9 IV. xxxiii. 4. UojQ hvvavTai aiodrjvai, el fir) 6 Oeoq r)v 6 rrjv 
a(i)Tr)piai> avT&v kirl yfjg epyaadfieyoQ ; rj 7ru>g avdpit)7rog yh)pr\ati 
elg Qebv, el fir) 6 Oeoq e^ii)pf)dri elg avdpu)Trov ; 

1 II. xxv. 3. Non enim infectus es, O homo, neque semper 
coexsistebas Deo, sicut proprium ejus Verbum. xxx. 9. Sem- 
per autem coexsistens Filius Patri, olim et ab initio semper reve- 
lat Patrem, et angelis et archangelis et potestatibus et virtutibus, 

et omnibus quibus vult revelare Deus. III. xviii. 1. Ostenso 

manifeste, quod in principio Verbum exsistens apud Deum, per 
quem omnia facta sunt, qui et semper aderat generi humano, 
hunc in novissimis temporibus secundum praefinitum tempus a 
Patre, unitum suo plasmati, passibilem hominem factum; exclusa 
est omnis contradictio dicentium : " Si ergo tunc natus est, non 
erat ergo ante Christus." Ostendimus enim, quia non tunc ccepit 
Filius Dei, exsistens semper apud Patrem. 

2 F'rag. xxxvii. Xptoroc,-, 6 wpo aiuvwv kXtjOelq Qeov Yioq. 


generation 3 , and that God made all things by his 
indefatigable Word, who is the Artificer of all things, 
and sittetli upon the cherubim, and preserves all 
things 4 . He declares that the Lord who spake to 
Abraham was the Son 5 , and that it was the Word 
that appeared to Moses 6 . 

This Divine Word, then, was united with his crea- 
ture 7 , (which union is expressed by the name Em- 
manuel*,) and humbled himself to take upon him 

3 II. xxviii. 6. Si quis itaque nobis dixerit : " Quomodo ergo 
Filius prolatus a Patre est?" dicimus ei, quia prolationem istam 
sive generationem sive nuncupationem sive adapertionem, aut quo- 
libet quis nomine vocaverit generationem ejus, inerrabilem ex- 
sistentem nemo novit. 

4 II. ii. 4. Nullius indigens omnium Deus Verbo condidit 
omnia et fecit ; neque angelis indigens adjutoribus ad ea quae 

fiunt omnia autem quae facta sunt infatigabili Verbo 

fecit. III. xi. 8. 'O Tutv clttclvtuv T£\vtTr]g Aoyog, o icadrjiuivog 

en! tsjjv ^epovjSifj. kcli avvkyuv to. iravra, 

6 III. vi. 1. p. 91, note 8 . 

6 IV. xx. 9. Et Verbum quidem loquebatur Moysi, apparens 
in conspectu. 

7 III. xvi. 6. Hujus Verbum unigenitus, qui semper humano 
generi adest, unitus et consparsus suo plasmati secundum placi- 
tum Patris et caro factus, ipse est Jesus Christus Dominus noster; 
qui passus est pro nobis, et surrexit propter nos, et rursus Ven- 
turas in gloria Patris ad resuscitandum universam carnem, et ad 
ostensionem salutis, et regulam justi judicii ostendere omnibus, 

qui sub ipso facti sunt. IV. xxxiii. 11. Ol tov ek ty\q irap- 

Oivov 'Efi/JLavovrjX ktjpvttovteq, ty}v evuaiv tov Aoyov tov Qeov 
7rpog to 7rXa'(T/xa avroii i^r/Xouv. 

8 IV. xxxiii. 11. supra. — III. xxi. 4. Diligenter igitur signi- 


the infant state of man 9 , and thus having become 
Son of man \ went through all the ages of man 2 , 
and finally hung upon the cross 3 . He asserts, more- 
over, that although the angels knew the Father 
solely by the revelation of the Son 4 , and indeed all 

ficavit Spiritus Sanctus, per ea quae dicta sunt (Isai. vii. 10, &c.) 
generationem ejus quae est ex Virgine, et substantiam, quoniam 
Deus : Emmanuel enim nomen hoc significat. 

9 IV. xxxviii. 2. 1tvv£vr]7ria^ev Y'ioq tov Qeov, teXeloq u>v, t<5 
avdpu)7TM, oh $i Bawdy, dXXa Sia to tov dvQpioirov vi]tciov. 

1 III. x* 2. Christus Jesus Dominus noster, Filius Dei altis- 
simi, qui per legem et prophetas promisit salutarem suum fac- 
turum se omni carni visibilem, ut fieret Filius hominis, ad hoc ut 
et homo fieret filius Dei. xvi. 6. supra. 

2 II. xxii. 4. Non reprobans, nee supergrediens hominem, ne- 
que solvens legem in se humani generis, sed omnem aetatem sanc- 
tificans per ill am, quae ad ipsum erat, similitudinem. Omnes 
enim venit per semetipsum salvare : omnes, inquam, qui per eura 
renascuntur in Deum, infantes, et parvulos, et pueros, et juvenes, 
et seniores. Ideo per omnem venit aetatem, et infantibus infans 
factus, sanctificans infantes : in parvulis parvulus, sanctificans 
hanc ipsam habentes aetatem, simul et exemplum illis pietatis 
efFectus et justitiae et subjectionis : in juvenibus juvenis, exem- 
plum juvenibus fiens, et sanctificans Domino. Sic et senior in 
senioribus, ut sit perfectus magister in omnibus, non solum secun- 
dum expositionem veritatis, sed et secundum aetatem, sanctificans 
simul et seniores, exemplum ipsis quoque fiens. Deinde et usque 
ad mortem pervenit, ut sit " primogenitus ex mortuis, ipse pri- 
matum tenens in omnibus," princeps vitas, prior omnium, et prae- 
cedens omnes. 

8 III. xvi. 6. supra. — V. xviii. 1. Ipsum Verbum Dei incar- 
natum suspensum est super lignum. 

4 II. xxx. 9. Hie Pater Domini nostri Jesu Christi, per Ver- 
bum suum, qui est Filius ejus, per eum revelatur et manifestatur 
omnibus quibus revelatur. See also p. 92, note \ 


from the beginning have known God by the Son 5 , 
so that the Father is the Son invisible, and the 
Son the Father visible 6 , yet that the Son knew not 
the day of judgment 7 ; and that this was so ordered, 
that we may learn that the Father is above all 8 , 
and that the Son ministers to the Father 9 : finally, 
that when Jesus was tempted and suffered, the Word 
in him restrained his energy 1 . But he declares 
likewise that Christ remained in the bosom of the 
Father, even when upon earth 2 . 

5 IV. vii. 2. Omnes, qui ab initio cognitum habuerunt Deum 
et adventum Christi prophetaverunt, revelationem acceperunt ab 
ipso Filio. 

IV. vi. 6. Et per ipsum Verbum visibilem et palpabilem fac- 
tum Pater ostendebatur, etiamsi non omnes similiter credebant ei ; 
sed omnes viderunt in Filio Patrem : invisibile etenim Filii Pater, 
visibile autem Patris Filius. 

7 II. xxviii. 6. Ipse Filius Dei ipsum judicii diem et horam 
concessit scire solum Patrem. 

8 Ibid 8. Etenim si quis exquirat causam, propter quam in 
omnibus Pater communicans Filio, solus scire horam et diem a 
Domino manifestatus est ; neque aptabilem magis neque decen- 
tiorem, nee sine periculo alteram quam hanc inveniat in praesenti 
. . . . ut discamus per ipsum, super omnia esse Patrem. 

9 IV. vi. 7. Omnia autem Filius administrans Patri, perfecit ab 
initio usque ad finem. 

1 III. xix. 3. "Slcnrep yap i)v dvOpionog, iva -nEipaaQrj, ovrio teal 
Aoyog, iva So£,a(rdrj' i\av)(6.£ov70Q fxev rov Aoyov iv -J Treipd^eadai 
et inhonorari Kal aravpovvdai /ecu divoQviiGKeiv, cvyyivojiivov Ze 
T(3 dvQpu)TT(t) ev r<v viKq.v Kal V7r0fiiv£iv cat xprjcrrevecrOai icai dvi- 
(rracrdai Kal dvaXafiftdveadat. 

2 III. xi. 5. Hie (Deus) et benedictionem escae et gratiam 
potus in novissimis temporibus per Filium suum donat humano 


These mysteries in the nature of Christ Irenseus 
does not attempt to explain, fully holding the eternal 
and unchangeable Divinity of the Son, even when 
made flesh, and his strict personal union with that 
flesh, and at the same time asserting his subordi- 
nation to the Father, even in his divine nature ; 
feeling that when we cannot discover the reason of 
every thing, we should consider the immeasureable 
difference between us and God 3 ; that if we cannot 
explain earthly things, we cannot expect to ex- 
plain heavenly things, and that what we cannot 
explain we must leave to God 4 ; and in short that it 

generi, incomprehensibilis per comprehensibilem, et invisibilis per 
visibilem ; cum extra eum non sit, sed in sinu Patris exsistat. 

3 II. xxv. 3. Si autem et aliquis non invenerit causam omnium 
quae requiruntur, cogitet quia homo est in infinitum minor Deo, et 
qui ex parte acceperit gratiam, et qui nondum aequalis vel similis 
sit Factori, et qui omnium experientiam et cogitationem habere 
non possit, ut Deus : sed in quantum minor est ab eo, qui factus 
non est et qui semper idem est, ille qui hodie factus est et ini- 
tium facturae accepit ; in tantum secundum scientiam, et ad in- 
vestigandum causas omnium, minorem esse eo qui fecit. 

4 II. xxviii. 2. Et non est mirum, si in spiritalibus et ccelesti- 
bus, et in his quae habent revelari, hoc patimur nos ; quandoqui- 
dem etiam eorum quae ante pedes sunt (dico autem quae sunt in 
Lac creatura, quae et contrectantur a nobis et videntur et sunt no- 
biscum) multa fugerunt nostram scientiam, et Deo haec ipsa com- 
mittimus. — 3. Et Kai enl riou rrjc KTicrecog evict fiev araKetrai rw 
Gew, tvia. 11 /cat elg yvCjcnv eXrjXvOe rr/v fj/J-Eripav, tl yakEirbv, el 
iced TtuP ev raic ypatyalg ^-qrovfieviov, oXcjp rwu ypcKpwv 7rvev}iaTi- 
kuJv ov(Tu>u, ei'ia fikv eiriXvofxev /caret \apiv Qtov, evta he avatcei- 
(Ttrai to) 0£w ; 


is much better to know nothing but Christ crucified, 
than by subtil inquiries to fall into impiety 5 . 

This Jesus, then, who has been testified of by all 
things that he was truly God and truly man 6 , being 
related to both God and man, and thus having the 
indispensable qualification for his office, became the 
Mediator between them 7 ; he came in every dispen- 

5 II. xxvi. 1. "Afxeivov teal (TVfjKpepwTepov, iBiioTag Ka\ dXtyo^ua- 
Oe'ig virapyjE.Lv, teal iui rf]g aya.7rr]g irXqaiov yeveadai tov Qeoii, y 
TrciXvfiade'ig rat efiireipovg ZotcovvTag elvai, \3\aatpi)y.ovg elg tov lav- 

tlov EvpitTKeadai hiaizoT-qv Melius itaque est, sicuti praedixi, 

nihil omnino scientem quempiam, ne quidem unam causam cujus- 
libet eorum quae facta sunt, cur factum sit, credere Deo, et per- 
severare eos in dilectione, aut (*/ — rather quani) per hujusmodi 
scientiam inflates excidere a dilectione, quae hominem vivificat : 
nee aliud inquirere ad scientiam, nisi Jesum Christum Filium 
Dei, qui pro nobis crucifixus est, aut (?*/) per quaestionum subtili- 
tates et minutiloquium in impietatem cadere. 

6 IV. vi. 7. Ab omnibus accipiens testimonium quoniam vere 
homo et quoniam vere Deus, a Patre, a Spiritu, ab angelis, ab 
ipsa conditione, ab hominibus, et ab apostaticis spiritibus et dae- 
moniis et ab inimico et novissime ab ipsa morte. 

7 III. xviii. 7> "Hvioaev ovv, Kadwg -rrpoecpafxev, tov avdptoTrov 
rip Qeio. Et yap prf avOpioirog eviicrjaev tov avTiirakov rov av- 
dpioirovy o\jk av (iiKaiujg svlkyjOt) 6 iyQpog. TlaXiv re, el /dij 6 Qeog 
z£ii)pi]oaTO ryjv (Tiorrjpiav, ovk av (jefiattog eayp\iev avrr\v. Kat el 
fjiri crvvTjvcodr] 6 avdpcoirog tco Qeco, ovk av i]Cvvi)Qr) fieTaayelv rfjg 
cupdapaiag. "E^ei yap rov ueair-qv Qeov te koX avdpcoTriov, Sia rrjg 
Idiag irpog eKarepovg olxeiorrjTog, elg (piXiav kcu bjxovoiav rovg cifi- 
(po-epovg trvvayayeiv' koX Qeip jjlev -xapacrTrjcrai tov avdpiowov, 
ai'BpioTTOtg Se yvcopiaat tov Qeov. 



sation, and summed up all things in himself 8 . He 
was born about the forty-first year of the reign of 
Augustus 9 ; when not full thirty he was baptized, 
but he did not begin to teach till past forty *. His 
ministry extended through three passovers 2 , and 

8 III. xvi. 6. Unus Christus Jesus Dominus noster, veniens 
per universam dispositionem, et omnia in semetipsum recapitu- 

9 III. xxi. 3. Natus est enim Dominus noster circa primum et 
quadragesimum annum Augusti imperii. 

1 II. xxii. 6. Responderunt ei : " Quinquaginta annos non- 
dum habes, et Abraham vidisti ?" Hoc autem consequenter dici- 
tur ei, qui jam xl annos excessit, quinquagesimum autem annum 
nondum attigit, non tamen multum a quinquagesimo anno ab- 
sistat. Ei autem, qui sit xxx annorum, diceretur utique : " Qua- 
draginta annorum nondum es." Qui enim volebant eum men- 
dacem ostendere, non utique in multum extenderent annos ultra 
aetatem, quam eum habere conspiciebant : sed proxima aetatis 
dicebant, sive vere scientes ex conscriptione census, sive conjici- 
entes secundum aetatem, quam videbant habere eum super qua- 
draginta ; sed ut non quae esset triginta annorum. Irrationabile 
est enim omnino, viginti annos mentiri eos, volentes eum juni- 
orem ostendere temporibus Abrahas. Quod autem videbant, hoc 
et loquebantur : qui autem videbatur, non erat putativus, sed 
Veritas. Non ergo multum aberat a quinquaginta annis. 

2 II. xxii, 3. Et primum quidem ut fecit vinum ex aqua in 

Cana Galilaeae, ascendit in diem festum paschae et post 

haec iterum secunda vice ascendit in diem festum paschae in Hie- 
rusalem, quando paralyticum, qui juxta natatoriam jacebat 

xxxviii annos, curavit Deinde, cum Lazarum suscitas- 

set ex mortuis, et insidiae fierent a Pharisaeis, secedit in Ephrem 
civitatem ; et inde " ante sex dies paschae veniens in Bethaniam" 
scribitur, et de Bethania ascendens in Hierosolyraam, et mandu- 
cans pascha, et sequenti die passus. 


he suffered on the day of the passover 3 . He is our 
High Priest 4 ; he gave his soul for our souls, and 
his flesh for ours 5 ; his righteous flesh has reconciled 
to God our sinful flesh 6 ; and he brings us into union 
and communion with God 7 . He rose again in the 
flesh 8 , and in the flesh he ascended into heaven, and 

3 IV. x. 1. Et non est numerum dicere in quibus a Moyse 
ostenditur Filius Dei ; cujus et diem passionis non ignoravit, sed 
figuration praenuntiavit eum, Pascha nominans : et in eadem ipsa, 
quae ante tantum temporis a Moyse praedicata est, passus est 
Dominus adimplens Pascha. 

4 IV. viii. 2. Non enim solvebat sed adimplebat legem, summi 
sacerdotis operam perficiens, propitians pro hominibus Deum, 
et emundans leprosos, infirmos curans, et ipse moriens, uti 
exsiliatus homo exiret de condemnatione, et reverteretur intre- 
pide ad suam haereditatem. — The allusion is to that provision of 
the Mosaic law by which those who had been living in the cities 
of refuge, on the death of the High Priest returned to their 

5 V. i. 1. Tw tc/w ovv alfiari XvTpioffafxivov fjfjidg tov Kvplov, 
ical Iovtoq ttjv \pv)(iiv V7cep tu)V iifieripiov xpv^ivv, kxu ty/v oapKa rrfv 
eavrov avrl tu)V rjnerfpwv aapKuiv, /c.r.X. 

6 V. xiv. 2. "In corpore," ait, " reconciliati carnis ejus:" hoc, 
quoniam justa caro, reconciliavit earn carnem quae in peccato 
detinebatur, et in amicitiam adduxit Deo. 

7 V. i. 1. Et efFundente Spiritum Patris in adunitionem et 
communionem Dei et hominis ; ad homines quidem deponente 
Deum per Spiritum, ad Deum autem rursus imponente hominem 
per suam incarnationem, et firme et vere in adventu suo donante 
nobis incorruptelam per communionem quae est ad eum. 

8 V. vii. 1 . Christus in carnis substantia surrexit. 

H 2 


will come again to judgment 9 ; and he introduces 
his Church into the kingdom of heaven 1 . 

Respecting the Holy Ghost, Irenaeus declares that 
he was with God before all created things 2 , and (as 
we have seen) that he was the Wisdom of God, whose 
operation was the operation of God 3 ; that he is rightly 
called Lord 4 ; and he affirms that the bread of eter- 
nal life, which is the Word, is also the Spirit of the 
Father 5 . He speaks of him as coming with power to 
give entrance unto life to all nations, and to open to 
them the new Covenant, and as offering to the Father 
on the day of Pentecost the first fruits of all nations 6 . 

9 I. x. 1. supra, p, 91. — III. xvi. 8. "Era koi avrov elctoc 
'Irjtrovv XpwTOVj a i]votyQi]Gav n't rrvXat rov ovpavov eta ri]v ev- 
trapzov araXiyl/tv avrov' be rat kv rr\ eivrfj crapjrc, ev i) Ka\ errader, 
eXevtrerat, rr)v cbZav arroKaXv-rojv rov Uarpbe. 

1 IV. viii. 1. — — Deum, qui in regnum coelorum introducit 
Abraham et semen ejus, quod est Ecclesia, per Jesum Christum ; 
cui et adoptio redditur et haereditas quae Abrahae promissa est. 

2 IV. xx. 3. Et Sapientia, quae est Spiritus, erat apud eum 
ante omnem constitutionem. 

3 See p. 89, note 2 . 4 See p. 91, note 8 . 

5 IV. xxxviii. 1. Rat aa rovro wc vi]-iote 6 aproe 6 reXetoe rov 
Uarpbg ya\a ijfjt'tv eavrbv -apea-^ev, orrep i]v ?/ Kar' avdpojrrov av- 
rov rrapovaia' tva the vrro jiaaQov rye traptrbe avrov rpatbevreg, Kat 
eta rfjc rotavri]e yaXaKrovpyiae edtadevree rptoyetv kcu rrlvetv rov 
Abyov rov Qeov, rov rije adavaalae dprov, orrep earl rb Ilievua 
rov Harpbg, ev r/fiiv avrole Karaa^elv dvvtjdufiev. 

6 III. xvii. 2. Quern, et descendisse Lucas ait post ascensum 
Domini super discipulos in Pentecoste, habentem potestatem 


He affirms that man, at his creation, had the 
image of God in the flesh, the likeness in the soul 
by the communication of the Divine Spirit 7 . He 
implies that, since the fall, man has lost the Spirit, 
and consequently the life of his soul ; he asserts that 
he remains carnal until he recovers the Spirit of 
God 8 , and then he becomes again a living soul, and 
has in him the seed of eternal life 9 ; that the Spirit 

omnium gentium ad introitum vitae et adapertionem novi testa- 
menti : unde et omnibus linguis conspirantes hymnum dicebant 
Deo ; Spiritu ad unitatem redigente distantes tribus, et primitias 
omnium gentium offerente Patri. 

7 V. vi. 1. Cum autem Spiritus hie commixtus animae unitur 
plasmati, propter effusionem Spiritus spiritualis et perfectus homo 
factus est : et hie est qui secundum imaginem et similitudinem 
factus est Dei. Si autem defuerit animas spiritus, animalis vere 
est, qui est talis, et carnalis derelictus imperfectus est ; imaginem 
quidem habens in plasmate, similitudinem vero non assumens per 

8 V. vi. 1. supra. — viii. 2. Qui ergo pignus Spiritus habent, et 
non concupiscentiis carnis serviunt, sed subjiciunt semetipsos 
Spiritui, ac rationabiliter conversantur in omnibus, juste Aposto- 
lus spirituales vocat, quoniam Spiritus Dei habitat in ipsis. In- 
corporates autem spiritus non erunt homines spirituales ; sed sub- 
stantia nostra, id est, animae et carnis adunatio, assumens Spiri- 
tum Dei, spiritualem hominem perficit. Eos autem qui abjiciunt 
quidem Spiritus consilium, carnis autem voluntatibus serviunt, 
.... hos hucaiioQ u "A-rroffroXog aapKacovc KaXel. 

9 V. ix. 2. Quotquot autem timent Deum, et credunt in ad- 
ventum Filii ejus, et per fidem constituunt in cordibus suis Spi- 
ritum Dei, hi tales juste homines dicentur et mundi et spirituales 
et viventes Deo ; quia habent Spiritum Patris, qui emundat homi- 
nem et sublevat in vitam Dei et ex utrisque factus est 


we receive here is a pledge of a fuller portion * ; and 
that at the resurrection the souls and bodies of the 
just will be quickened by the Spirit in union with 
them, and their bodies become spiritual bodies 2 , and 
capable of immortality. 

This is the substance of the doctrine of Irenseus 
on the Trinity, and it will be seen that it is identical 
with that of the Church of England, and that his 
way of carrying it out throws light on important 
passages of Holy Writ ; and if there had been no- 
thing of interest to us in this Treatise beyond these 
clear and direct testimonies to the belief of the 
Church of that age on the fundamental doctrine of 
the Gospel, we might well be glad that it was writ- 
ten and handed down to our times. 

vivens homo ; vivens quidem propter participationem Spiritus, 
homo autem propter substantiam carnis. 

1 V. viii. 1. Nunc autem partem aliquam a spiritu ejus sumi- 
mus, ad perfectionem et prseparationem incorruptelae ; paulatim 
assuescens capere et portare Deum : quod et pignus dixit Apo- 
stolus, hoc est pars ejus honoris qui a Deo nobis promissus est. 

Si igitur nunc pignus habentes, clamamus, " Abba, 

Pater ;" quid net quando resurgentes facie ad faciem videbimus 

eum ? Si enim pignus complectens hominem in semet- 

ipsum, jam facit dicere, " Abba, Pater ;" quid faciet universa 
Spiritus gratia, quae hominibus dabitur a Deo ? 

2 V. vii. 2. Per Spiritum surgentia, fiunt corpora spiritualia, 
uti per Spiritum semper permanentem habeant vitam. 



This being the subject out of which the Gnostic 
theories appear to have arisen (they being- so many 
attempts to account for it, without in any wise bring- 
ing it into connexion with the Supreme Being), it 
might, perhaps, have been expected that Irenseus 
should have endeavoured to throw some light upon 
it. He has, however, taken a much wiser course. 
He has altogether declined making it clear, and 
thereby escaped the danger of inventing another 

He grants, indeed, that there is sufficient ground 
for inquiring why God has allowed evil and imper- 
fection to exist ; but he declares that all things were 
intended by the Almighty to be created in the very 
state and with the very qualities with which they 
were created *. He will not allow that subsequent 

1 II. iv. 1. Causa igitur quaerenda est hujusmodi dispositionis 
Dei, sed non fabricatio mundi alteri adscribenda : et ante prse- 


dispensations were really intended to remedy the 
imperfections of prior ones, because that would be 
to accuse God himself of not understanding at first 
the effects of his works 2 . 

He asserts, moreover, that supposing angels and 
men to have a proper voluntary agency, to be endued 
with reason and the power of examining and de- 
ciding upon examination, they must, in the very 
nature of things, be capable of transgressing ; and 
that, indeed, otherwise excellence would not have 
been either pleasant or an object of desire, because 
they would not have known its value, neither would 
it have been capable of reward, or of being enjoyed 
when attained; nor would intercourse with God 
have been valued, because it would have come with- 
out any impulse, choice, care, or endeavour of their 
own 3 . This is the only approach to a solution of 

parata omnia dicenda sunt a Deo, ut fierent, quemadmodum et 

facta sunt. 2. Qui enira postea emendat labem, et velut raa- 

culam emundat labem, multo prius poterat observare, ne initio in 

suis fieri talem maculam. Et si ideo quod benignus sit, in 

novissimis temporibus misertus est hominum, et perfectum eis 
dat ; illorum primo misereri debuit, qui fuerunt hominum factores 
(he alludes to the Gnostic notion that man was made by inferior 
beings) et dare eis perfectum. Sic utique et homines misera- 
tionem percepissent, de perfectis perfecti facti. 

2 Tbid. 2. 

3 IV. xxxvii. 6. Sed oportebat, inquit, eum neque Angelos 
tales fecisse, ut possent transgredi, neque homines qui statim 
ingrati exsisterent in eum ; quoniam rationabiles, et examinatores, 


the difficulty which all the study of philosophers and 
divines has ever discovered. 

But when we come to inquire why some of God's 
creatures transgressed, and some continued in obe- 
dience, this, he says, is a mystery which God has 
reserved to himself, and which it is presumption for us 
to inquire into ; and that we ought to consider what 
it has pleased him to reveal as a favour, and leave to 
him that which he has not thought proper to make 
known 4 . 

et judiciales facti sunt, et non (quemadmodum irrationabilia, sive 
inanimalia, quae sua voluntate nihil possunt facere, sed cum ne- 
cessitate et vi ad bonum trahuntur, in quibus unus sensus, et 
unus mos,) inflexibiles, et sine judicio, qui nihil aliud esse pos- 
sunt, praeterquam quod facti sunt. Sic autem nee suave esset 
eis quod est bonum, neque pretiosa communicatio Dei, neque 
magnopere appetendum bonum, quod sine suo proprio motu et 
cura et studio provenisset, sed ultro et otiose insitum : ita ut 
essent nullius momenti boni, eo quod natura magis quam volun- 
tate tales exsisterent, et ultroneum haberent bonum, sed non 
secundum electionem ; et propter hoc nee hoc ipsum intelligentes, 
quoniam pulchrum sit quod bonum, neque fruentes eo. Quae 
enim fruitio boni apud eos qui ignorant ? Quae autem gloria 
his qui non studuerunt illud ? Quae autem corona his qui non 
earn, ut victores in certamine, consequuti sunt ? 

4 II. xxviii. 7. Similiter autem et causam propter quam, cum 
omnia a Deo facta sint, quaedam quidem transgressa sunt, et abs- 
cesserunt a Dei subjectione, quaedam autem, immo plurima, per- 
severaverunt et perseverant in subjectione ejus qui fecit ; et cujus 
naturae sunt quae transgressa sunt, cujus autem naturae quae per- 
severant ; cedere oportetDeo et Verbo ejus. — Ipsam autem cau- 
sam naturae transgredientium neque Scriptura aliqua retulit, nee 


He notwithstanding suggests this practical good 
arising out of the existence of evil, that the love of 
God will be more earnestly cherished for ever by 
those who have known by experience the evil of sin, 
and have obtained their deliverance from it not 
without their own exertion ; and therefore that this 
may be regarded as a reason why God permitted 
evil 5 . 

The sobriety of these views is so obvious, that it 
appears unnecessary to dwell further upon them. 

apostolus dixit, nee Dominus docuit. Dimittere itaque oportet 
agnitionem hanc Deo, quemadmodum et Dominus horae et diei : 
nee in tantum periclitari, uti Deo quidem concedamus nihil, et 
hsec ex parte accipientes gratiam. 

5 IV. xxxvii. 7. Bonus igitur agonista ad incorruptelse ago- 
nem adhortatur nos ; uti coronemur, et pretiosam arbitremur 
coronam ; videlicet quae per agonem nobis acquiritur, sed non 
ultro coalitara. Et quanto per agonem nobis advenit, tanto est 
pretiosior : quanto autem pretiosior, tanto earn semper diligamus. 
Sed ov-% 6/jloiioq aya-TzaTai ra Ik tov avTOfxarov Trpoffyivofieva toIq 

fxera (TiiOvh^Q evpiaKOfiivoiQ. Quoniam igitur pro nobis 

erat plus diligere Deum, cum labore hoc nobis adinvenire Domi- 
nus docuit et apostolus tradidit. Pro nobis igitur omnia haec 

sustinuit Dominus (i. e. he endured the existence of evil) uti per 
omnia eruditi, in omnibus in futurum simus cauti et perseveremus 
in omni ejus dilectione, rationabiliter edocti diligere Deum. 



Although Irenseus does not think proper to discuss 
the subject of the origin of evil, properly so called, 
he speaks agreeably to the Scriptures as to its intro- 
duction into this lower world, and in some degree 
fills up their outline. Thus he describes Satan as 
having been originally one of the angels who had 
power over the air 1 . He attributes the beginning 
of his overt acts of rebellion to his envy towards 
man 2 , because he had been made in the image of 

1 V. xxiv. 4. Sic etiam diabolus, cum sit unus ex angelis his, 
qui super spiritum aeris praepositi sunt, quemadmodum Paulus 
apostolus in ea quae est ad Ephesios manifestavit, invidens 
homini, apostata a divina factus est lege ; invidia enim aliena est 
a Deo. Et quoniam per hominem traducta est apostasia ejus, et 
examinatio sententiae ejus homo factus est, ad hoc magis magis- 
que semetipsum contrarium constituit homini, invidens vitas ejus, 
et in sua potestate apostatica vol ens concludere eum. 

2 IV. xl. 3. 'Ef: tote yap cnrocrTCLTriQ 6 ayyekog avTOv Kcti k\QpoQ, 
a^' ote k^rfkuMTE to TrXaa/ia tov Qeov, /ecu iyQpo , KOiy\(jai clvto ttqoq 
top Qeov ETTEyEiprioe. — V. xxiv. 4. supra. 

Tertullian, Cyprian, and Cyril of Jerusalem, were of the 
same opinion. I subjoin the passages. — Tertullian de Pali- 


God, i. e. immortal 3 ; whom through envy he stirred 
up to rebellion likewise 4 , and that by falsehood 5 , 

e?itia, 5. Natales impatientiae in ipso diabolo deprehendo, jam 
tunc cum Dominum Deum universa opera quae fecisset, imagini 
suae, id est, homini subjecisse impatienter tulit. Nee enim dolu- 
isset, si sustinuisset ; nee invidisset homini, si non doluisset. 

Adeo decepit eum, quia inviderat. Cyprian, de Zelo et Livore, 

p. 223, ed. Potter. Hinc diabolus inter initia statim mundi et 
perit primus et perdidit. Ille dudum angelica maj estate sub- 
nixus, ille Deo acceptus et cams, postquam hominem ad imagi- 
nem Dei factum conspexit, in zelum malevolo livore prorupit . . 
. . . stimulante livore homini gratiam data? immortalitatis eripit. 
— — Cyril. Hierosol. Catech. xii. 5. 'AXXa tovto to \xiyia-ov tuv 
h]fjLOvpyi]fJLaT(i)y } kv TrapacEicro) ypptvov, (pOovog e^e/SaXe ciafio- 

3 III. xxiii. 1. Si enim qui factus fuerat a Deo homo, ut 
viveret, hie amittens vitam, lassus serpente qui depravaverat 
eum, jam non reverteretur ad vitam, sed in totum projectus 
esset morti ; victus esset Deus, et superasset serpentis ne- 
quitia voluntatem Dei. Sed quoniam Deus invictus et mag- 
nanimis est, magnanimem quidem se exhibuit ad correptionem 
fa : i minis, et probationem omnium, quemadmodum prasdiximus ; 
per secundum autem hominem alligavit fortem, et deripuit ejus 
vasa, et evacuavit mortem, vivificans eum hominem, qui fuerat 
mortificatus. Primum enim possessionis ejus vas Adam factus 
est, quern et tenebat sub sua potestate, hoc est, prasvaricationem 
inique inferens ei, et per occasionem immortalitatis, mortifica- 

tionem faciens in eum. 8. Et serpens nihil profecit, dissua- 

dens homini, nisi illud quod eum(i. e. se) transgressorem ostendit, 
initium et materiam apostasias suae habens hominem ; Deum enim 
non vicit. 

1 V. xxiv. 4. supra. 

5 V. xxiii. 1. Assuetus enim erat jam ad seductionem homi- 

num mentiri adversus Deum Ille mentiens adversus 

Dominum tentavit hominem. 


putting on the form of the serpent, that he might 
escape the eye of God 6 : wherefore, although God 
had pity upon man, as having fallen through weak- 
ness 7 , and because otherwise Satan would have frus- 
trated the Divine purpose 8 , he totally cut off from 
himself the apostate angels 9 , and doomed them and 
their Prince to the eternal fire \ which he had from 
the beginning prepared for obstinate transgressors 2 , 

6 IV. Praef. 4. Et tunc quidem apostata angelus per serpen- 
tem inobedientiam hominum operatus, existimavit latere se 
Dominum. V. xxvi. 2. infra. 

7 IV. xl. 3. Ato ical 6 Qeoc tov jiev Trap' olvtov emaTreipavTa to 
Zi^aviov, TOvriari, rrjv iraoafiamv EiaEVEyKovTa, atywpicre ttjc, iStag 
uerovaiag' tov oe afxeXivg fiev aXXa kcocwq 7rapac)E^afi£Vov Tt}v 
irapaKoiiv avQpioirov k\ir)(re. teal avTeaTpe\pe t))v E^Spav^ fjv iyQpo- 
rroiriffE, TTpog tov uvtov inimicitiarum auctorem. 

8 III. xxiii. 1. supra. 

9 IV. xl. 3. 

1 III. xxiii. 3. Non homini principaliter praeparatus est aeter- 
nus ignis, sed ei qui seduxit et offendere fecit hominem, et, in- 
quam, qui princeps apostasiae est, et his angelis qui apostatae 
factae sunt cum eo : quem quidem juste percipient etiam hi, qui, 
similiter ut illi, sine pcenitentia et sine regressu in malitiae per- 
severant operibus. 

2 II. xxviii. 7. Quoniam praesciit Deus hoc futurum 

ignem aeternum his qui transgressuri sunt praeparavit ab initio. — 
V. xxvi. 2. Omnes qui falso dicuntur esse Gnostici organa 
Satanae ab omnibus Deum colentibus cognoscantur esse, per quos 
Satanas nunc, et non ante, visus est maledicere Deo, qui ignem 
aeternum praeparavit omni apostasiae. Nam ipse per semetipsum 
nude non audet blasphemare suum Dominum ; quemadmodum 
et initio per serpentem seduxit hominem, quasi latens Deum. 
Ka\wc 6 'Yovgtlvoq e(j)rj, otl irpo jjlev ttjq tov Kvptov irapovaiag 
ovliiroTE EToX/JLjjaev 6 Sararag ft\aa(f>r)/JLrj(Tcu tov Qeov, cite firj(J£7r(o 


although he did not make known to them at that 
time that their lot was irremediable 3 . 

The next act of the apostate spirits was to mingle 
themselves with human nature by carnal copulation 
with women, and thus to cause the total corruption 
of the old world and its inhabitants (notwithstand- 
ing the preaching of Enoch to these fallen spirits), 
and consequently their destruction 4 . 

eidioQ abrov ty}v KaTOLK^Lfftv' quoiiiam et in parabolis, et allegoriis, 
a Prophetis de eo sic dictum est. Post autem adventum Domini 
ex sermonibus Christi et Apostolorum ejus discens manifeste, 
quoniam ignis aeternus ei praeparatus est ex sua voluntate absce- 
denti a Deo, et omnibus qui sine pcenitentia perseverant in apo- 
stasia ; per hujusmodi homines blasphemat eum Deum, qui judi- 
cium importat, quasi jam condemnatus, et peccatum suae apo- 
stasiae Conditori suo imputat, et non suae voluntati et sententiae : 
quemadmodum et qui supergrediuntur leges, et poenas dant, que- 
runtur de legislatoribus, sed non de semetipsiso Sic autem et hi 
diabolico spiritu pleni, innumeras accusationes inferunt Factori 
nostro, qui et Spiritum vitas nobis donaverit, et legem omnibus 
aptam posuerit ; et nolunt justum esse judicium Dei. 

3 V. xx vi. 2, 

4 IV. xxxvi. 4. Et temporibus Noe diluvium inducens, uti 
extingueret pessimum genus eorum, qui tunc erant homines, qui 
jam fructificare Deo non poterant, cum angeli transgressores eom- 

mixti fuissent eis. xvi. 2. Sed et Enoch sine circumcisione 

placens Deo, cum esset homo, legatione ad angelos fungebatur, et 
conservatur usque nunc testis justi judicii Dei : quoniam angeli 
quidem transgressi deciderunt in terram in judicium, homo autem 
placens translatus est in salutem. 

The nature of the intercourse or commixture is not indeed 
stated by Irenaeus ; but, as Feuardent and Grabe have pointed 


Irenaeus makes none but very general allusions to 
the agency of the fallen spirits from the fall of man 
till the coming of Christ. He declares that, up to 
that time 5 , they had not ventured upon blaspheming 
God ; but that then, becoming aware that everlasting 
fire was the appointed recompense of those who con- 
out in commenting on these passages, he is evidently alluding to 
the tradition spoken of more fully by Josephus, Justin Martyr, 
Athenagoras, and Clement of Alexandria, whose words I subjoin. 

Joseph. Anllq. I. ii. 1. UoXkol yap ayyeXoi Qeov, yvvat^l crvji- 
fAiyevTeg, vfipiaraQ kykvvr\oav iralcag, eat tzclvtoq virepoirTag KaXov, 
diet Ti)y etti rfj ^vvafjLEL 7rETroidr](Ttv' ofioia yap TOLQ V7TO yiyavriov 
TEToXf-niadaL \Eyofiivotg vcf 'EWj/voij' eat ovtoi Spaaai irapaSi- 

Justin M. Apol. II. 5. 'O Qeoq .... rr}V (jlev tCjv avdpu)7rwv 
eat ru)v v7t6 Toy ovpavov irpovoiav ayykXoig, ovg etti rovroig eVa^e, 
7rapEhoKEV. Ot <)£ ayyeXot, 7rapaj3avrEg ryvh ry)v ra'£tj/, yvvaiKuv 
jj.i£,E(Tiv i]TTi]drj(Tav, Kal walcag ETEKvucav, o'l Eiaiv ol XEyofiEvoi 

Athenag. Legat. 22. Ot ce (the fallen angels) ivvfipioav Kal rrj 
77/C oixxiag viroaraoEi teal Trj apx?'' ovrog te (Satan) 6 rrjg vXrjg eat 


piu)/j.a' ekeIvol fxkv Eig ETTidv/j-iay izEOOVTEg Trapdivtoy, Kal ijrrovg 
rrapKog EvpEdivvEg, ovrog Be ufiEXrjaag eat irovqpog TTEpi rrjy tQv 
7rE7ri(TTEVfJEy(t)y yEyo/jLEvog cioiKrjaiv. 'Ee fiEv ovv t<Zv tteoI rag 7rap- 
Qivovg kyovriiiv ol KaXoiif.tEvoi EyEvvrjdrjtrav ylyavrEg. 

Clem. Alex. Pcedag. III. 2. § 14. Ot ayyeXot rov Qeov to ea'X- 

Xog KaraXEXonroTeg Bui KciXXog /jLapaivo/uEvov. Strom. III. 7. 

§ 59. "AyyfXot rivsg aeparttc; y£v6\i£voi £7ridvfiiq: aXovrsg ovpavo- 

QeV $£UpO KaTa-KETTTWKaaiV. 

The opinion contained in these quotations has been discoun- 
tenanced since the time of Cyril of Alexandria ; but is it there- 
fore necessarily unfounded ? 

5 V. xx vi. 2. supra. 



tinued in rebellion without repentance, they felt 
themselves already condemned, and waxing despe- 
rate, charged all the sin of their rebellion on their 
Maker, by inspiring the Gnostics with their impious 
tenets 6 . It seems to be implied that sentence is 
not yet pronounced upon the fallen angels 7 . 

6 IV. Praef. 4. Nunc autem, quoniam novissima sunt tempora, 
extenditur malum in homines, non solum apostatas eos faciens, 
sed et blasphemos in Plasmatorem instituit multis machinationi - 
bus, id est, per omnes haereticos. 

7 See V. xxvi. 2. p. 109, note 2 . 



After the introduction of evil into creation, and the 
agency by which it is propagated in the world, we 
have next to notice the Divine plans for its counter- 
action and removal; and as Irenoeus was opposing 
the Gnostic notion that the whole government of 
the world, prior to the Gospel, was in the hands of 
beings adverse to the Supreme Being, he was natu- 
rally led to show that, on the contrary, the whole 
history of mankind has been a series of dispensations 
emanating from one and the same Supreme and only 

We have already 1 seen him stating that the whole 
of these dispensations were planned from the begin- 
ning ; and he states them to have been carried into 
execution by God the Son exhibiting himself to 
mankind under four different aspects, figured by the 

1 See p. 103. 


four faces of the cherubim ; first to the Patriarchs, 
in a kingly and divine character ; secondly, under 
the law, in a priestly and sacrificial aspect ; thirdlv. 
at his nativity, as a man ; fourthly, after his ascen- 
sion, by his Spirit 2 . 

Again, he represents God as having made four 
covenants with mankind ; one with Noah, of which 
the rainbow was the sanction ; a second with Abra- 
ham, by circumcision ; a third of the law, by Moses ; 
a fourth of the Gospel, by Christ 3 . At least this is 

2 III. xi. 8. Kcu yap to. Xepovptfi TETpaTcpocioira' teal tcl -poa- 
wwa avruiv EinovEg tt}q tt p ay [iare lag tov Ylov tov Qeov. To jj.ev 
yap 7rpS)TOv Z,G)Ov, (piicrl, o/jlolov Xeoi'ti, to E^TzpaKrov avrov nal 
yyEfioviKOv kcu jSaaiXiKov yapaKTiipl^ov' to ce Ievtepov Ofioiov 
fxoa-^o), n)v lEpovpyiKriv teal ispa-itcr/v ra^iv Efx<ba~ivoV to %e Tp'iTOv 
e\ov 7rp6(T(s)7rov avdpwTTOv, T7]v caret a.v&pb)— ov avTOv Tapovalat' 
(j>avEpu)TaTa oiaypd&ov' to hk TETapTOv o/jlolov aerw ttetu)[J.£vo), tjjv 


Kcu aWoQ $£ 6 Aoyoc tov Qeov Tolg jjiev Trpo Mcovgeojc TraTpidpyaig, 
KaTO. to Oe'Lkov /ecu 'ivhotov wjilXel' toIc ce ev tu> vofiu), iepariKqv et 
ministerialem Tat.iv clttevejiev' jxetcl ce ravrct avdpu)7roe yEvofiEvoc, 
ti]v ZupEav tov aylov livEVfj-aTOc eiq izaaav kli-Efi-liE ti)v yyv, ffKETrd- 
(u)v VfJ-dg Talg EavTOv wripv^iv. 'Oiroia ovv ?] TzpayfiaTEia tov Yiov 
tov Qeov, TOiavTT) kcu tiov £w(i)v y fiopcpi)' teal oVota ?/ tu>v Lojcjv 
fjiopd))], TOiovTog Kal 6 ^apaKTi)p tov suayyeXtou. TETpdfjLopcpa yap 
-a £a5a, TETpdjj.opcf>ov teal to EvayyiXtov, Kal ij Trpayjuareta tov Kv- 
plov. ical ctd tovto TEaaapEc kcodrjaar KadoXitcal ctadijKat Trj diBpio- 
ttot^tl' fjila jjlev tov xaTaxXvafiov tov Nwe, knl tov toqov' CEVTEpa 
3e tov 'A/3pod/i, ETrl tov &r]fj.£tov Tf/g irepiTOfiijQ' TpiTi) hk i] vofio- 
dEaia ekl tov Mojvaiiog' TETapTi] ce ?/ tov EvayyEXiov, CLU TOV 
Kvplov li/jiojv 'Irjaov XpLGTOv. 

3 Ibid. 


the enumeration made in the Questions and Answers 
of Anastasius, and in the Theoria Return Ecclesiasti- 
carum of Germanus, where the Greek of Irengeus is 
transcribed, and from which it was first published 
by Grabe. But the old Latin version makes a dif- 
ferent enumeration, reckoning the first covenant be- 
fore the deluge with Adam, and the second after 
that event with Noah \ 

He thinks that the knowledge of God was kept 
up amongst the patriarchs by tradition from Adam, 
and amongst the Jews by the prophets ; whilst in 
heathen nations the tradition has been lost, and men 
are left to find it out by reason 5 : that human govern- 
ments were providentially ordained to restrain the 
ferocity and rapacity of mankind after they had given 
up the fear of God 6 ; that the law of Moses was given 

4 Et propter hoc quatuor data sunt testamenta humano generi ; 
unum quidem ante cataclysmum sub Adam ; secundum vero, 
post cataclysmum sub Noe ; tertium vero, legislatio sub Moyse ; 
quartum vero, quod renovat hominem, et recapitulat in se omnia, 
quod est per Evangelium, elevans et pennigerans homines in 
coeleste regnum. 

5 I. ix. 1. See p. 78, note \ 

6 V. xxiv. 2. Quoniam enim absistens a Deo homo in tan turn 
efferavit, ut etiam consanguineum hostem sibi putaret, et in omni 
inquietudine et homicidio et avaritia sine timore versaretur, im- 
posuit ill! Deus humanum timorem, (non enim cognoscebant 
timorem Dei,) ut potestati hominum subjecti, et lege eorum ad- 
stricti, ad aliquid assequantur justitiae, et moderentur ad invicem, 
in manifesto propositum gladium timentes. 



by way of discipline, to recover the Israelites back to 
that sense of justice, and responsibility, and feeling 
of love to God and man which they had lost 7 ; that 

7 IV. xiv. 2. Sic et Deus ab initio hominem quidem plasmavit 
propter suam munificentiam ; Patriarchas vero elegit propter il- 
lorum salutem ; populum vero prseformabat, docens indocibilem, 
sequi Deum ; Prophetas vero praestruebat in terra, assuescens 
hominem portare ejus Spiritum, et communionem habere cum 
Deo : ipse quidem nullius indigens ; his vero qui indigent ejus, 
suam praebens communionem ; et his qui ei complacebant, fabri- 
cationem salutis, ut architectus, delineans, et non videntibus in 
iEgypto a semetipso dans ducationem ; et his qui inquieti erant 
in eremo dans aptissimam legem, et his qui in bonam ter- 
rain introierunt, dignam prsebens haereditatem ; et his qui con- 
vertuntur ad Patrem, saginatum occidens vitulum, et priraam 
stolam donans : multis modis componens humanum genus ad con- 
sonantiam salutis. Et propter hoc Joannes in Apocalypsi ait : 
" Et vox ejus quasi vox aquarum multarum." Vere enim aquae 
multae Spiritus, quoniam dives, et quoniam magnus est Pater. 
Et per omnes illos transiens Verbum, sine invidia utilitatem prae- 
stabat eis qui subjecti sibi erant, omni conditioni congruentem et 

aptam legem conscribens. xvi. 3. Cum autem haec justitia 

et dilectio, quae erat erga Deum, cessit in oblivionem, et extincta 
esset in iEgypto, necessario Deus propter multam suam erga 
homines benevolentiam semetipsum ostendebat per vocem, et 
eduxit de iEgypto populum in virtute, uti rursus fieret homo 
discipulus et sectator Dei : et affligebat indictoaudientes, [dicto 
non audientes, contumaces] ut non contemnerent eum qui se fecit ; 
et manna cibavit eum, uti rationalem acciperent escam, quemad- 
modum et Moyses in Deuteronomio ait : " Et cibavit te manna, 
quod non sciebant patres tui, uti cognoscas, quoniam non in pane 
solo vivit homo, sed in omni verbo Dei, quod procedit de ore ejus, 
vivit homo." Et erga Deum dilectionem praecipiebat, et earn quae 
ad proximum est justitiam insinuabat, ut nee injustus, nee indig- 
nus sit Deo ; praestruens hominem per Decalogum in suam ami- 


the prophets were inspired in order to accustom man 
by degrees to bear God's Spirit and to have commu- 
nion with him 8 : and thus in various ways God pre- 
pared mankind for salvation, providing for them laws 
suited to their various states of preparation. 

In opposing the notions of the Gnostics, Irenseus 
had to defend the position that the Old Testament 
is not contrary to the New ; that they both emanated 
from the same God acting differently under different 
circumstances. The abolition of the law, he contended, 
was no proof of a change of mind, but only of a change 
of circumstances ; the law being in its nature symbo- 
lical and preparatory, when the Gospel, the reality and 
the end, was revealed, the office of the law ceased 9 . 

citiam, et earn quae circa proximum est concordiam; (quae quidem 
ipsi proderant homini ;) nihil tamen indigente Deo ab homine. 

8 IV. xiv. 2. 

9 This is the argument of the first twenty chapters of the fourth 
book, and the quotations are too copious and diffuse to be given 
at length. A few, therefore, must suffice. 

IV. ii. 7. Non enim Lex prohibebat eos credere in Filium Dei, 
sed et adhortabatur, dicens non aliter salvari homines ab antiqua 
serpentis plaga, nisi credant in eum qui secundum similitudinem 
carnis peccati in ligno martyrii exaltatur a terra, et omnia trahit 
ad se, et viviflcat mortuos. — He alludes to the brazen serpent 
exhibited on a pole in the wilderness. 

v. 4. In Abraham enim praedidicerat et assuetus fuerat homo 
sequi Verbum Dei, Etenim Abraham secundum fidem suam 
secutus prseceptum Verbi Dei, irpodv^q rov \liov jj-ovoyevfj /cat 
dyairr}TOv TrapaywpiiaaQ Qvaiav rat Oew, "iva /cat 6 Qebg svSoicrjar] 
VTzep tov (nripfxarog civtov ttcIvtwq top "t^iov /JLOVoysvrj ical dyairq* 


He distinguishes, however, between what he calls 
the natural portions of the law and the rest. As 
they were kept by good men before the law *, so he 
conceives them to be binding on us ever since 2 . It 

tov Yldv dvviav Trapaay/iv eIq Xvrpiocnv hfieTspap. — 5. Propheta 
ergo cum esset Abraham, et videret in Spiritu diem adventus 
Domini, et passionis dispositionem, per quern ipse quoque, et 
omnes qui, similiter ut ipse credidit, credunt Deo, salvari inei- 
perent, exsultavit vehementer. 

ix. 1. Pater familias enim Dominus est, qui universse domui 
paternae dominatur : et servis quidem et adhuc indisciplinatis 
condignam tradens legem, liberis autem et fide justificatis con- 
gruentia dans praecepta, et filiis adaperiens suam haereditatem. — 
3. Novo enim testamento cognito et praedicato per prophetas, et 
ille qui illud dispositurus erat secundum placitum Patris praedi- 
cabatur; manifestatus hominibus, quemadmodum voluit Deus, 
ut possint semper proficere credentes in eum, et per testamenta 
maturescere perfectum salutis. Una enim salus, et unus Deus ; 
quae autem formant hominem prascepta multa, et non pauci gra- 
dus qui ducunt hominem ad Deum. 

xiii. 1. Et quia Dominus naturalia legis, per quae homo justi- 
ficatur, quae etiam ante legislationem custodiebant, qui fide jus- 
tificabantur et placebant Deo, non dissolvit, sed extendit et im- 
plevit ; ex sermonibus ejus ostenditur. . . . Haec autem non quasi 
contraria Legi docebat ; sed adimplens Legem, et infigens justi- 
ficationes Legis in nobis. Illud autem fuisset Legi contrarium, 
si quodcumque Lex vetasset fieri, idipsum discipulis suis jussis- 
set facere. Et hoc autem quod praecepit, non solum vetitis a 
Lege, sed etiam a concupiscentiis eorum abstinere, non contra- 
rium est, quemadmodum diximus ; neque solventis Legem, sed 
adimplentis et extendentis et dilatantis. 

1 IV. xiii. 1. 

2 IV. xiii. 4. Quia igitur naturalia omnia praecepta communia 
sunt nobis et illis, in illis quidem initium et ortum habuerunt, 
in nobis autem augmentum et adimpletionem perceperunt. 


is not at first sight clear what he means by that 
term, but he expressly informs us that he comprises 
in it the whole decalogue 3 . And yet there is every 
appearance that he would exclude the fourth com- 
mandment, which he expressly asserts not to have 
been observed before the giving of the law 4 . 

But although the precepts of the moral law are 
equally binding at all times, he thought that they 
were not formally given to the just men of old, be- 
cause they observed them voluntarily, being a law 
unto themselves 5 . But when God's people forgot 

3 IV. xv. 1. Nam Deus primo quidem per naturalia praecepta, 
quae ab initio infixa dedit hominibus, admonens eos, id est, per 
Decalogum (qua? si quis non fecerit, non habet salutem), nihil 
plus ab eis exquisivit. 

4 IV. xvi. 2. Et quia non per base justificabatur homo, sed in 
signo data sunt populo, ostendit, quod ipse Abraham sine circum- 
cisione, et sine observatione sabbatorum, " credidit Deo, et repu- 
tatum est illi ad justitiam, et amicus Dei vocatus est." Sed et 
Lot sine circumcisione eductus est de Sodomis, percipiens salutem 
a Deo. Item Deo placens Noe cum esset incircumcisus, accepit 
mensuras mundi secundae generationis. Sed et Enoch sine cir- 
cumcisione placens Deo, cum esset homo, legatione ad Angelos 
fungebatur, et translatus est, et conservatur usque nunc testis 
justi judicii Dei : quoniam Angeli quidem transgressi deciderunt 
in terram in judicium ; homo autem placens, translatus est in 
salutem. Sed et reliqua autem omnis multitudo eorum, qui ante 
Abraham fuerunt justi, et eorum Patriarcharurn, qui ante Moysem 
fuerunt, et sine his quae praedicta sunt s et sine lege Moysi justifi- 

5 IV. xiii. 1. supra. — xvi. 3. Quare igitur patribus non disposuit 
Dominus testamentum ? Quia lex non est posita justis ; justi 
autem patres, virtutem decalogi conscriptam habentes in cordibus 
et animabus suis, diligentes scilicet Deum qui fecit eos, et absti- 


them in the land of Egypt, then it became necessary 
distinctly to enact them, to prepare man for the 
fuller duties of love to God and goodwill to man 6 . 
And when they did not obey the moral law, he 
added to it the ceremonial 7 , that, by types, their ser- 
vile and childish natures might be trained up to the 
apprehension of realities; by temporal things, of eter- 
nal ; by carnal, of spiritual ; by earthly, of heavenly 8 . 
Some of their ordinances had a twofold use ; as cir- 
cumcision was intended, equally with their rites and 
ceremonies, to keep them distinct from the heathen, 
and also to signify the circumcision of the soul 9 . 

nentes erga proximum ab injustitia : propter quod non fuit ne- 
cesse admoneri eos correptoriis Uteris, quia habebant in semet- 
ipsis justitiam legis. 

6 IV. xvi. 3. 

7 IV. xv. 1. At ubi conversi sunt in vituli factionem, et reversi 
sunt animis suis in iEgyptum, servi pro liberis concupiscentes 
esse, aptam concupiscentiae suae acceperunt reliquam servitutem, 
a Deo quidem non abscindentem, in servitutis autem jugo domi- 
nantem eis. 

8 IV. xiv. 3. Sic autem et populo Tabernaculi factionem, et 
aedificationem Templi, et Levitarum electionem, sacrificia quoque 
et oblationes, et monitiones, et reliquam omnem Lege statuebat 
deservitionem. Ipse quidem nullius horum est indigens ; est 
enim semper plenus omnibus bonis, omnemque odorem suavitatis, 
et omnes suaveolentium vaporationes habens in se, etiam ante- 
quam Moyses esset : facile autem ad idola revertentem populum 
erudiebat, per multas vocationes praestruens eos perseverare, et 
servire Deo : per ea quae erant secunda, ad prima vocans, hoc est, 
per typica, ad vera ; et per temporalia, ad asterna ; et per car- 
nalia, ad spiritalia ; et per terrena, ad ccelestia. 

9 IV. xvi. 1. Quoniam autem et circumcisionem non quasi 


To show that the moral law was preparatory to 
the Gospel, he alleges the fact that Jesus taught its 
precepts as the way of life to the young lawyer who 
came to inquire of him ; not supposing that these 
were sufficient in themselves, but that they were 
steps to the knowledge of Christ ] . 

He, however, thought that our Lord wished that 
the whole ceremonial law should be observed as long 
as Jerusalem stood 2 . 

But although he appears to think that the law, 
as a whole and in the letter, is no longer binding to 
Christians, he does not think that this leaves us at 
liberty to do as we like. If we are not tied down 

consummatricem justitiae, sed in signo earn dedit Deus, ut cogno- 
scibile perseveret genus Abrahae, ex ipsa Scriptura discimus. . . . 
In signo ergo data sunt haec : non autem sine symbolo erant 
signa, id est, sine argumento, neque otiosa, tanquam quae a sapi- 
ente Artifice darentur ; sed secundum carnem circumcisio circum- 
cisionem significabat spiritalem. 

1 IV. xii. 5. Quoniam autem Lex praedocuit hominem sequi 
oportere Christum, ipse facit manifestum, ei qui interrogavit eum, 
quid faciens vitam aeternam haereditaret, sic respondens : " Si vis 
in vitam introire, custodi praecepta." Illo autem interrogante, 
" Quae ?" rursus Dominus : " Non mcechaberis, non occides, non 
furaberis, non falsum testimonium reddes, honora patrem et ma- 
trem, et diliges proximum tanquam teipsum ;" velut gradus pro- 
ponens praecepta Legis introitus in vitam, volentibus sequi eum : 
quae uni turn dicens, omnibus dicebat. 

2 IV. xii. 4. Non ergo earn Legem, quae est per Moysem data, 
incusabat, quam adhuc salvis Hierosolymis suadebat fieri. 


to the letter, like slaves, that is because it was in- 
tended that the law of liberty should be of wider 
range, and our obedience extend itself beyond the 
letter, and that our subjection to our Heavenly King 
should be more hearty and thoroughgoing than ever ; 
and therefore, if we wish to remain in the way of 
salvation through Christ, we must voluntarily adopt 
the precepts of the decalogue, and, giving them a 
completer meaning, endeavour to realize in our con- 
duct all the fulness of their enlarged application 3 . 

3 IV. xiii. 2. Etenira Lex, quippe servis posita, per ea quae 
foris erant corporalia, animam erudiebat, velut per vinculum at- 
trahens earn ad obedientiam praeceptorum, uti disceret homo ser- 
vire Deo : Verbum autem liberans animam, et per ipsam corpus 
voluntarie emundari docuit. Quo facto, necesse fuit auferri qui- 
dem vincula servitutis, quibus jam homo assueverat, et sine vin- 
culis sequi Deum ; superextendi vero decreta libertatis, et augeri 
subjectionem quae est ad regem, ut non retrorsus quis revertens, 
indignus appareat ei qui se liberavit : earn vero pietatem et obe- 
dientiam, quae est erga patremfamilias, esse quidem eandem et 
servis et liberis ; majorem autem fiduciam habere liberos, quo- 
niam sit major et gloriosior operatio libertatis, quam ea quae est in 
servitute obsequentia. — 3. Haec autem, quemadmodum praedixi- 
mus, non dissolventis erant Legem, sed adimplentis, et exten- 
dentis in nobis : tamquam si aliquis dicat, majorem libertatis 
operationem, et pleniorem erga Liberatorem nostrum infixam nobis 
subjectionem et affectionem. Non enim propter hoc liberavit 
nos, ut ab eo abscedamus ; nee enim potest quisquam extra do- 
minica constitutus bona, sibimetipsi acquirere salutis alimenta : 
sed ut plus gratiam ejus adepti, plus eum diligamus. Quanto 
autem plus eum dilexerimus, hoc majorem ab eo gloriam acci- 
piemus, cum simus semper in conspectu Patris. 


It is almost unnecessary to point out the exact 
agreement of these sentiments with the seventh and 
fourteenth articles of the Church of England, and 
how impossible it must be for a person holding them 
to think that we can do any thing whatever beyond 
what Christ has a right to expect from us. It is 
manifest that he would not have thought that any 
degrees of Christian holiness are really at our option, 
whether we shall seek them or not ; but that every 
person who, having any degree of perfection, or any 
means of advancement placed before him, knowingly 
neglects it, becomes thereby unworthy of him who 
has given him liberty \ and hazards his salvation : 
in short, that " to whom much is given, of him will 
much be required." 

4 IV. xiii. 2. 



Unnatural as it may appear, it is notwithstanding 
true that we find much less clear ideas in regard to 
the canon of Holy Scripture in the earlier ages than 
in the later. The word scripture was used, as we 
shall see, in a latitude with which no church or party 
in later times has used it. 

Irenseus quotes all the books which we of the 
Church of England esteem canonical, except Ruth, 
Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Ecclesiastes, 
Canticles, Obadiah, Nahum, Zephaniah, and Hag- 
gai. But the mere circumstance of his not citing 
them cannot, of course, imply any doubt as to their 
inspiration or canonicity. He had no occasion to 
do so for the purposes of his argument. It is only 
wonderful that he thought himself obliged to quote 
so largely upon such a subject. 

But besides the writings which we esteem canon- 
ical, he quotes others which we reject from the 


canon. He not only repeats sentiments from them, 
as when he introduces a sentiment which occurs in 
the book of Wisdom ', or the story of Susanna 2 , 
without, however, mentioning the books themselves ; 
he also quotes the story of Bel and the Dragon 3 
as truly relating the words of the prophet Daniel, 
and the book of Baruch 4 as truly recording those 
of Jeremiah, and uses the latter as inspired. In 
short, Irenaeus quoted from the Septuagint ver- 
sion of the Scriptures ; and he consequently read 
the stories of Susanna, and Bel and the Dragon, as 
part of the book of Daniel, and the book of Baruch 
as a continuation of that of Jeremiah. There is, in 
fact, great reason to think that he believed in the 
inspiration (in some sense) of the whole of the books 
contained in that version. But if so, that does not 
prove (as we shall see presently), that they were all 
esteemed by the Church as canonical. 

1 IV. xxxviii. 3. 'A<f>dapala $e eyyvg elvai iroiei Qeov. Quoted 
from Wisdom vi. 19, 20. 

2 IV. xxi. 2. Deus qui est absconsorum cognitor. Quoted 

from Daniel xiii. 42. in the Septuagint version. 

3 IV. v. 2. Quern et Daniel propheta, cum dixisset ei Cyrus 
rex Persarum, " Quare non adoras Bel ?" annunciavit, dicens, 
" Quoniam non colo idola manufacta, sed vivum Deum, qui con- 
stituit ccelum et terram, et habet omnis carnis dominationem." 

4 V. xxxv. 1. Et quotquot ex credentibus ad hoc praeparavit 
Deus ad derelictos multiplicandos in terra, et sub regno sanctorum 
fieri, et ministrare huic Hierusalem, et regnum in ea, significavit 
Jeremias propheta ; " Circumspice," dicens, &c. : and then he 
quotes a passage from the book of Baruch, extending from ch. 
iv. 36. to the end of ch. v. 


But then there is a circumstance which must pre- 
vent the Church of Rome from appealing to him 
with success in support of the canonicity of any of 
the books of the Apocrypha ; and that is, that he 
quotes, under the express name of Scripture, a work 
which the whole Church, from not long after his 
time, has agreed to regard as merely human, if not 
altogether spurious — I mean the Shepherd of Her- 
nias 5 . It is true that he is not singular in so speak- 
ing ; for Clement of Alexandria directly ascribes in- 
spiration to Hermas 6 . And yet Tertullian, who was 
contemporary with Clement, affirms 7 that the Italian 
Churches had in express councils declared his book 

I argue thus on the supposition that his single 
authority is appealed to. If he is adduced, with 
other writers of his age, to show that the Church 
acknowledged the apocryphal books as canonical, 
then one reply is, that even if this were true of the 

5 IV. XX. 2. KctXwe ovv e'nrev fj ypa(j)r), f] Xeyovara' Upuirov 


icarapriaag, ical 7coi\\aag etc rov fir/ ovrog elg to eIvcll to. iravra. 
This is quoted from the first commandment in the abovementioned 

6 Strom. I. xxix. § 181. Qeicjg ro'ivvv i\ ^vvajxig rj rw 'Epi"? 
/car' a.7roKa\v\piv XaXovaa. 

7 De Pudicitia, 10. Sed cederem tibi, si scriptura Pastoris, quae 
sola mcechos amat, divino instrumento meruisset incidi ; si non 
ab omni concilio ecclesiarum etiam vestrarum (he is addressing 
the Bishop of Rome) inter apocrypha et falsa judicaretur. 



Church of that age, we are not bound by the deci- 
sion of a single age. Massuet, indeed s , reasons as 
though the canonicity of the books the Church of 
Rome receives were established by the authority of 
" all churches, or at least the greater part of them, 
and those of distinguished rank." Now it so hap- 
pens that we have quite a chain of evidence on the 
opposite side. Melito 9 , contemporary with Irenaeus, 
after diligent inquiry in Palestine, reckons up, as 
canonical, the same books of the Old Testament 
which we acknowledge, and no others : for the 2o- 
<pia 10 , which (according to one reading) comes in after 
the Proverbs, is merely another name for that book ; 
and Ezra, it is well known, included Nehemiah and 
Esther. Origen 1 , in the middle of the third cen- 

8 Dissert. III. § 4. 

9 Euseb. Hist. Eccl. IV. xxvi. 6. " 'AKpifiiog fiadiov va rfjg 7ra- 
Xcudf Ctadr]KT]g fiifiXia, virora^ag eirefixpa crot. tov ecrri -a 6v6fj.ara' 
~M(ov aitog itevte' T£v£(TiQ, ,r EE ) o()og i AeviriKdv, 'AptdfAol, Aevrepovu- 
fJLiov' 'hiaovg Navi/, Kptrat, 'VovQ' BaciXacDv riaaapa, UapaXet- 
7ro/i£j'wv Svo' ^aX/uwv Aa/3to, 2>oXofj.wvog Tlapotfxiai (?/ kclI So^ua), 
'EwArffftacn/e, Wajia olafiariov, Tw/3* 7rpo(f)r}Tu>p, 'Racuov, 'lepe- 
liiov' Tibv KoIeko. ev fiovofiifiXu)' AaviT/X, 'If^£Ku)\,"Eo-cpae." 

10 Some copies, instead of fj /cat 2o0/a, read */ 2o0ia. 

1 Euseb. Hist. VI. xxv. 1. Tov ueVroiye TrpCorov ifyyovfievog 
\paXfi6v, ekQegiv 7T£7ro£r/rat tov twv iepG)V ypa(f>u>v rrjg 7raXaiag dia- 
Qi)Kr)g KCLTaXoyov, iocs irug ypaty&v Kara Xi£,iV Ovk ay vor\riov V elvai 
rag kvdiadiiKOvg fiifiXovg, wg 'E/3patot 7rapaSi<j6a.(nv, Svo iced e'ikovl' 

ij Trap rjjjuv TkvEGig kit iyey 'pafifjiivri, "Et,o3og, 

Aevitiicov, . . . 'Apt0«oi, Aevrepovofj-Loy .... 'Jrjaovg vlog Naui), 
.... Kptrat, f Poi>8, 7rap' avro'tg kv evl, . . . BacriXstuii/ 7rpu)rr], 
cevripa, Trap 1 avro~ig ev, 2auovj)X, 2. "BaaiXsiiov rpin), 

128 iren^eus not a witness 

tury, and Athanasius 2 , Epiphanius 3 , Gregory of Na- 
zianzum 4 , and Jerome 5 , successively in the fourth — 
and what is more, the council of Laodicea 6 , in the 
third century, whose acts were recognised by the 
sixth synod of Constantinople and Pope Adrian 7 — all 
agree in receiving a canon of the Old Testament 
much more like ours than like that of Rome. It is 
true that Origen adds the Maccabees, but he states 
that they are not in the canon. Athanasius, Epi- 
phanius, and the Council of Laodicea reckon Baruch 
as part of the book of Jeremiah ; Athanasius and 
the Council add the epistle of Jeremiah ; Athanasius 
alone reckons Susanna and Bel and the Dragon. 
On the other hand, they all, together with Gregory 
of Nazianzum, Jerome, and Ruffinus, who entirely 

reraprr}, kv evl, IIapa\«7rojU£vwv Trpwrn, Sevrspa, kv ew, 

.... "Eo-^pag 7rpu>TOQ kcu devripog, kv kvl 'E^pa, .... fiifiXog 

^aXfxiop, .... ItoXojiQvTog TrapoifxtaL, 'Eiac\7]ffia(TTric, 

. . . . ' A/Tfia cjo-jua-wv, .... aXXa kcu to tu>v t/3' Trpotynribv ev 

konv 'Hffatag, 'Ispefiiag avv Opijvoig teal rrj eVi- 

aroXfj, kv evl, .... AavirjX, .... 'le^SKii^X, . . . 'Iw/3, . . . 
'EaOrjp, . . . . "E£w £e tovtojv kari tcl Ma/cfca/3atK:a." 

Here we have Origen distinctly recognizing the Hebrew canon 
as the true one, only making a mistake in the matter of fact, that 
the apocryphal epistle of Jeremiah belonged to the Hebrew book. 

2 Opera, torn. ii. pp. 126—204. 

3 Be Pond, et Mens. torn. ii. ed. Colon, p. 162. § 4, 5. Beer. 
xxix. § 7. 

4 Quoted in Beveridge on the Sixth Article of the Church of 
England, in his Exposition of the Articles. 

5 Prolog. Galeat. and Epist. ad Paulinum. 

6 Can. 60. 7 See Beveridge, as above cited. 


agree with us, reject all the other books which the 
Church of Rome has since admitted into the canon. 
Epiphanius 7 says that Christians and Nazorsei 
agreed in receiving the Jewish books, so that he 
could not have been aware that the Jews did not 
admit Baruch. So that how many soever may agree 
in quoting the apocryphal books, the weight of autho- 
rity is clearly against their reception as canonical. 

From all that has been said, it must be clear 
that we can make but little use of Irenoeus in set- 
tling the canon of Scripture. But from the number 
of books and of passages which he has quoted, he 
is of great value in establishing the genuineness of 
our present copies ; all the passages bearing as near 
a resemblance to the corresponding parts of our 
MSS. as can be expected from a writer who evi- 
dently quotes from memory. 

He likewise bears direct testimony to the authen- 
ticity of the four Gospels and the Revelation of St. 
John ; affirming that St. Matthew wrote his in He- 
brew for the use of the Jews, at the time when St. 
Peter and St. Paul conjointly were preaching and 
establishing the Church at Rome 8 ; that after their 

7 Hcer. 29. 

8 III. i. 1. 'O fxkv Brj MaTdaioQ iv roig '^j3paioig rrj Idtct. dia- 
XeKTo) avTuiv /ecu ypa<f>r\v klfovzyKtv evayyeXiov, rov lier^ov kcu 
tov UavXov kv Pw/^fl evayyeXii^ofjie^ojv, kcu defxeXiovvriov rr)v i/c- 



departure, St. Mark committed to writing what he 
had heard from St. Peter, and St. Luke what he had 
heard from St. Paul 8 ; that St. John wrote his Gos- 
pel at Ephesus, to oppose the errors of Cerinthus 9 , 
and that he was likewise the author of the Revela- 
tion which bears his name \ the visions of which he 
saw towards the close of the reign of Domitian 2 . 

K\i}(riav. JJ.ETO. ce rrjv tovtojv e^ocov Maptcog, 6 fJLadrjrijg Kal epfirj- 
vevttjq Uirpov, Kal avTog tcl vtto Hirpov KrjpvacrofXEva kyypd^wg 
i]fi1v 7rapa.()ici(i)K£. Kal AovKag ce 6 aKoXovdog UavXov, to vtt ekel- 
vov Krjpvaaofievov EvayyiXiov kv fiifiXlo) KaridEro. etteitci 'I(i)dvvr}g 
6 fiadrjrrjg tov Kvplov, 6 Kal ettI to GTrjdog avTOv avaTreaojv, Kal 

avTog e^eBojke to EvayyiXiov, kv 'E^eVw ttjc 'Aviag ^ia-pij3(j)v. 

Frag. 29. To Kara MarOalov EvayykXiov irpbg 'lovcalovg kypatyr}' 
ovtol yap £7teQvii.ovv ttclvv crcpodpa ek (nripfJiaTog Aa/3lo XptoroV. 6 
Se Mar0a7oc, Kal etl paXXov crcpoctpoTEpav tyuv ti)v TOiavT-qv ettl- 
Ouf-Liav, 7ravTo'uag egwevce irXripoipopiav TtapeyEiv avTO~ig, <bg e'lt] Ik 
<T7V£pfj.aTog AafilS 6 XptGTog' 3i6 Kal cltto Tfjg yEVEGEwg avTOv 

8 III. i. 1. supra. 

9 Ibid. — xi. 1. Hanc fidem annuntians Joannes Domini discipu- 
lus, volens per evangelii annuntiationem auferre eum qui a Cerin- 
tho inseminatus erat hominibus errorem, et multo prius ab his 
qui dicuntur Nicolaitae, qui sunt vulsio ejus quae falso cognomi- 

natur scientiae, omnia igitur talia circumscribere volens 

discipulus Domini, et regulam veritatis constituere in ecclesia, . . 
... sic inchoavit in ea quae est secundum evangelium doctrina : 
" In principio erat Verbum," &c. 

1 V. xxvi. 1. Manifestius adhuc etiam de novissimo tempore 
.... significavit Joannes Domini discipulus in Apocalypsi. 

2 V. xxx. 3. 'ttfxelg ovv ovk (nroKivcvvEvoyiEV Trepl tov SvofjiaTog 
tov 'AvTt^piaTOv, aTTotyaivojiEvoi (3Ej3atu)TLKwg. Et yap eBei ava- 
(pavdov t<P vvv Kaipui Kiipv—ecrdai. Tovvofia avTOv, ci eke'ivov av 
eppidr] tov Kal rrjv 'ATroKaXvipiv eupaKOTog. ov$e yap 7rpo ttoXXov 



It is curious that Irenseus quotes a passage as 
written either by Isaiah or Jeremiah, which does not 
appear in our present copies 3 . Justin Martyr had 
quoted it before him, and asserted that it had been 
wilfully erased by the Jews from the Hebrew copies 4 . 
Now, however, it does not appear even in the Sep- 
tuagint. He likewise records a saying or two as our 
Lord's which do not appear in the New Testament 5 : 

Xpovov kiopadi], a\\a oyehbv kwi Tijg rifierepag yevcdg, npbg t<3 
ri\et rfjg Aofieriavov ap-^rjg. 

3 III. xx. 4. Et quoniam non solum homo erat, qui moriebatur 
pro nobis, Esaias ait : " Et commemoratus est Dominus sanctus 
Israel mortuorum suorum, qui dormierant in terra sepultionis ; 
et descendit ad eos evangelizare salutem quae est ab eo, ut sal- 
varet eos." At IV. xxxiii. 1. he ascribes it to Jeremiah, as does 
Justin Martyr, (Dial, cum Tryph. 72.) who gives it in Greek. 
In IV. xxxiii. 12. and V. xxxi. 1. he quotes it without men- 
tioning the author. 

4 Tryph. 72. 

5 II. xxxiv. 3. Et ideo Dominus dicebat ingratis exsistentibus 
in eum : " Si in modico fideles non fuistis, quod magnum est 
quis dabit vobis ?" The same passage is quoted by S. Clement 
of Rome, Epist. II. 8. Aeyei yap Kvpiog ev tm evayyeklo)' Et 

to fXLKpov ou/c irr)p{](rare, to juiya Tig v^uv ^waa ; V. xxxiii. 3. 

Quemadmodum Presbyteri meminerunt, qui Joannem discipulum 
Domini viderunt, audisse se ab eo, quemadmodum de temporibus 
illis docebat Dominus, et dicebat : " Venient dies, in quibus 
vineee nascentur, singulae decern millia palmitum habentes, et in 
una palmite dena millia brachiorum, et in uno vero palmite dena 
millia flagellorum, et in unoquoque flagello dena millia botruum, 
et in unoquoque botro dena millia acinorum, et unumquodque 
acinum expressum dabit vigintiquinque metretas vini. Et cum 
eorum apprehenderit aliquis sanctorum botrum, alius clamabit : 
Botrus ego melior sum ; me sume ; per me Dominum benedic." 

K 2 


the latter of which indeed few persons will believe 
to have been spoken by our Lord. 

He informs us that the Ebionites use only St. 
Matthew's Gospel, and reject St. Paul 6 ; that Mar- 
cion curtailed St. Luke, and in effect the whole Gos- 
pel 7 ; that Cerinthus used St. Mark, and the Valen- 

Similiter et granum tritici decern millia spicarum generaturum, 
et unamquamque spicam habituram decern millia granorum, et 
unumquodque granum quinque bilibres similae clarse mundae : 
et reliqua autem poma, et semina, et herbam secundum congru- 
entiam iis consequentem : et omnia animalia iis cibis utentia, 
quae a terra accipiuntur, pacifica et consentanea invicem fieri, 
subjecta hominibus cum omni subjectione. — 4. Tavra Be Kal 
TIa.7ria.Q 'Ioj/ivpov fjiev dKOvorijc, HoXvicdpTrov Be eraipog yeyovwc, 
dp-^alog dvrjpf eyy pd(p(og kinfiapTvpCi ev rrj TETapry rwv avrov 
/3i/3X/wv. earn yap avrw nevre (3i(3\ia avvreraLy\ieva. Et adjecit, 
dicens : " Haec autem credibilia sunt credentibus." Et " Juda," 
inquit, " proditore non credente, et interrogante : Quomodo ergo 
tales geniturae a Domino perficientur ?" dixisse Dominum : 
" Videbunt qui venient in ilia." 

6 III. xi. 7. Ebionei etenim eo Evangelio, quod est secundum 
Matthaeum, solo utentes, ex illo ipso convincuntur, non recte 
praesumentes de Domino. Marcion autem id quod est secundum 
Lucam circumcidens, ex his quae adhuc servantur penes eum, 
blasphemus in solum exsistentem Deum ostenditur. Qui autem 
Jesum separant a Christo, et impassibilem perseverasse Christum, 
passum vero Jesum dicunt, id quod secundum Marcum est prae- 
ferentes Evangelium, cum amore veritatis legentes illud, corrigi 
possunt. Hi autem qui a Valentino sunt, eo quod est secundum 
Joannem plenissime utentes, ad ostensionem conjugationum su- 

arum. xv. 1. Eadem etiam dicimus iterum et his qui Paulum 

apostolum non cognoscunt Neque enim contendere pos- 
sunt Paulum non esse apostolum. 

7 III. xi. 7. — 9. Etenim Marcion totum rejiciens Evangelium, 


tinians St. John s , and invented a Gospel of their 
own ; and that the Montanists reject St. John's Gos- 
pel and St. Paul 9 . It appears, however, that the 
Gnostics did in fact quote, at least when arguing 
with Christians, the self-same books which we now 
have ; for all the passages of Scripture which Irenasus 
brings forward as perverted by them correspond with 
our present copies. 

Irenaius was of opinion that the whole of the 
sacred books of the Old Testament were lost during 
the Babylonish captivity, and that Ezra restored 
them by divine inspiration l . 

immo vere seipsum abscindens ab Evangelio, pariter gloriatur se 
habere Evangelium. Alii vero ut donum Spiritus frustrentur, 
quod in novissimis temporibus secundum placitum Patris effusum 
est in humanum genus, illam speciem non admittunt, quae est 
secundum Joaunis Evangelium, in qua Paracletum se missurum 
Dominus promisit ; sed simul et Evangelium, et propheticum 
repellunt Spiritum. Infelices vere, qui pseudo-prophetae qui- 
dem esse volunt, propheticam vero gratiam repellunt ab Ecclesia : 
similia patientes his, qui propter eos qui in hypocrisi veniunt, 
etiam a fratrum communicatione se abstinent. 
8 III. xi. 7. 9 III. xi. 9. 

III. xxi. 2. Upo yap rovg 'Foj/xalovg Kparvvat rr\v apyj]v av- 
Ttov, en tujv M.clks()6v(jjv tt}v ' ' Aaiav Kare^ovrwy, YlroXefxaiog 6 
Aayov, (j)i\ori[J.oviJ.Evog tyjv vtt avroii KaTECKEvadfiivriv f3i/3XtodtiKrjv 
ev A\ec,avcp£ia Koa/J-fjaai role tcclvtwv avftpwiriov (Tvyypdfi/jiacriv, 
baa ye OTrovlaTia VKijpyev, rjrr)(jaro irapa twv 'lepoaoXvjjitTOJu elq 
rr\v EWrjvucriv haXeKrop ay/iv avrCjv f.UTa(D£J3\r}fjiivag rag ypa(J)dg. 
Ol Ce (virt]Kovoy yap etl roig Ma/ce^ocrt tote) rovg Trap' avrolg 
efnreipo-dTOvg rwv ypatywv, /cat ajj.(pOTipu)y riov haXsKTWv, efido/jiri- 
novra irpeafivTEpovg E7rEfx\pay UroXEfxaia), iroiriaavTog tov Qeov onep 


He likewise fully believed the fable of Aristeas 
concerning the translation of the Septuagint by the 
direction of one of the Ptolemies, whom he names 
the son of Lagus 2 . He does not relate it with all 
the particularity of Josephus; but he relates the 
separation of the seventy interpreters from each 
other, and their miraculous agreement in the same 
words and phrases from beginning to end. It is 

ej3ov\ero. 'O Be Idiq. ir£~ipav clvtGjv Xafielv fteX^crae, evXafirtdelg re 
/j{]Ti apa avvdifxevoLf cnroKpv\p(i)cri ty\v kv tcuq ypa(pa"lg hid rfjg 
kpfjLrjvEiag dXrjdeiav, yupiaciQ aiirovg a7r' dXXr)Xo)v, ekeXevije rovg 
Tcavrag tyjv avrijv epfj,r]veiav ypatyeiv' Kal tovt eVt Tcavriov rwv 
joiftXioov E7rolr)(TE. livyeXdoyroju Be avr&v kwl ro avrb irapd rtp 
UroXepaio), Kal <rvvavTi(3aX6vTiov ekclgtov rrjv eavrov ep/JirjvEiav, 6 
jiev Qeoq kBo^dcrdrj, at Be ypatyal ovriog delai kyvojcrdrjarav, rtov Ttdv- 


pEvadvriiiv die hpyj\g f-^XP 1 r ^ ov Q m &gte Kal tcl wapovra kdvr} 
yrwvat, on Kar kiriirvoiav rov Qeov eiolv fipfJLr)VEV[i€vai at ypa^at. 
Kal ovBev y£ 6avfj.aar6v, tov Qeov tovto kvr)pyr)K£vai, og y£ Kal kv 
rrj kirl ~NafiovyoBovoaop at^juaXwcta tov Xaov BiatydapEiatov ruiv 
ypatywv, Kal /jletci efjBofxijKovTa ety] rwv MovciatW avEXdovriov dg 
rrjv yjopav avrcHv, £7T£tra kv TO~ig ^povoig 'Apra^ep^ov rov Hepouiv 
ftcMTiXEiog, kv£7rv£VG£v"IL<Tc)pa t<5 lEpEi ek Tijg (pvXrjg Aev't, rovg t&v 
irpoyEyovoriov 7rpo(pr)rtdv 7rdvrag avard^aaOai Xoyovg, Kal enro' 
Karaarrjcrai rw XaJ rr\v lid Mww'wf vofxoQEdiav. — 3. Cum tanta 
igitur veritate et gratia Dei interpretatae sint Scripturae, ex qui- 
bus praeparavit etreformavit Deus fidem nostram, quae in Filium 
ejus est, et servavit nobis simplices Scripturas in ^Egypto, in qua 
adolevit et domus Jacob, effugiens famem quae fuit in Chanaan ; 
in qua et Dominus noster servatus est, effugiens earn persequu- 
tionem quas erat ab Herode; et haec earum Scripturarum inter- 
pretatio priusquam Dominus noster descenderet, facta sit, et ante- 
quam Christiani ostenderentur, interpretata sit. 
2 III. xxi. 2, 3. 


clear, therefore, that he believed in the inspiration 
of the Septuagint, so far as it is a translation of the 
Hebrew ; and no wonder that he was unable to avoid 
extending the same feeling to the other books which 
commonly accompany the translated portion. 

He likewise mentions Theodotion of Ephesus, and 
Aquila of Pontus, both Jewish proselytes, as having 
wrongly translated Isaiah vii. 14 3 . Theodotion was 
the contemporary of Irenseus, and must have pub- 
lished his version so recently, that it is wonderful 
that Irenseus should have seen it. 

Lastly, he mentions and distinguishes between the 
genuine and ancient copies of the Scriptures and the 
incorrect ones 4 . 

Having noticed all the external matter, let us come 
to the opinions of Irenams in regard to the use and 
value of the holy Scriptures, and the method of 
understanding them. Although here his example is 
more forcible than his precepts, it is satisfactory 
that he speaks very definitely, and to the purpose. 

3 III. xxi. 1. 'AXX' ovx we evio'i <pctffi t&v vvv fxedep/jiriveveip 
To\fxu)VTb>v Tijv ypa(j)}]v' 'Icov r/ veolvlq kv yaarpl eL)ei, ical Te^erat 
vloV u)Q QeoSotiuv tip jj.ii vevctev 6 'E^ecioc, ical 'AicvXag 6 IlovTtKog, 
cifjityoTEpoi 'lovdaiot. TrpoorikvToC olg KaTaKoXovdrjcavrEg ol 'E/3«u- 
vaioi, El, 'Iwo/^) civtov ytyEvrjardat (fxicFKOVGL. 

V. xxx. 1. Tourwv ^£ ovrcog kyovTMV) ical kv 7rao"t roig gttov- 
haioiQ ical apyaioig civTLypd<potg tov dpidfxov tovtov KEifxivov k. t. X. 


For instance, he informs us that, after the Apostles 
had preached the Gospel orally, they took care that 
the substance of their preaching should be put in 
writing, to be the ground and pillar of our faith 5 . 
It is very remarkable that he should use this very 
phrase in speaking of the Gospel, which St. Paul 
had used in speaking of the Church itself; showing 
apparently that it was by the custody of the Scrip- 
tures that the Church was to sustain its office. In- 
deed he expresses this in so many words in another 
passage, when he says that the truth is preserved by 
the keeping and reading of the Scripture, and preach- 
ing consistently with it 6 . 

His own practice is perfectly consistent with his 
principles. When he enters into controversy, his 
first appeal, indeed, in the particular case in hand, 
was to common sense, as showing the extreme ab- 
surdity and glaring contradiction of the Gnostic the- 

5 III. i. 1. Non enim per alios dispositionem salutis nostras 
cognovimus, quam per eos, per quos Evangelium pervenit ad nos : 
quod quidem tunc preeconaverunt, postea vero per Dei voluntatem 
in Scripturis nobis tradiderunt, fundamentum et columnarn fidei 

nostras futurum. xi. 8. Neque autem plura numero quam haec 

sunt, neque rursus pauciora capit esse Evangelia. 'Eim^j) enim 
riaaapa. KXifiara tov Koafxov, kv id eafxev, eici, iccu riaaapa icad- 
oXiKa 7rvevjjLaTa, KaTEa7raprat Be rj eiac\r)aia ettI 7rdar)g rfjg yrjg, arv- 
Xog de ical Grripiyjia iiacXrjalag to EvayyiXiov /ecu IlvEvfia £<*>VQ* 
eiKOTOjg riaaapag e\eiv avrr\v arvXovg, iravTayoQEV irviovrag rr/v 
citydapaiav kcu ava^iOTrvpovvrag rovg dvQpojirovg. 

6 IV. xxxiii. 8. See p. 77, note 5 . 


ories 7 . But as they claimed revelation for their 
authority, he then goes to the Scripture, as the only 
authentic record of revelation s ; and it is evident 
that, on his own account, he would never have ap- 
pealed to any other authority in support of the great 
and leading doctrines he has to deal with. When he 
does bring in tradition as an independent and col- 
lateral witness of revelation, he does so because the 
Gnostics themselves appealed to tradition 9 as some- 
thing more certain than Scripture. And having met 
them upon this ground, he goes on ! , in the large 
remaining portion of his treatise, to refute their sys- 
tems by the induction of passages from the succes- 
sive portions of the Old and New Testaments. 

7 Lib. I. II. 8 III. Praef. See p. 34, note 10 . 

9 III. ii. 1. Cum enim ex Scripturis arguuntur, in accusationem 
convertuntur ipsarura Scripturarum, quasi non recte habeant, 
neque sint ex auctoritate, et quia varie sint dictae, et quia non 
possit ex his inveniri Veritas ab his, qui nesciant Traditionem. 
Non enim per literas traditam illam, sed per vivam vocem : ob 
quam causam et Paulum dixisse : " Sapientiam autem loquimur 
inter perfectos ; sapientiam autem non mundi hujus." Et hanc 
sapientiam unusquisque eorura esse dicit, quam a semetipso ad- 
invenerit, Actionem videlicet ; ut digne secundum eos sit Veritas, 
aliquando quidem in Valentino, aliquando autem in Marcione, 
aliquando in Cerintho ; postea deinde in Basilide fuit, aut et in 
illo qui contra disputat, qui nihil salutare loqui potuit. Unus- 
quisque enim ipsorum omnimodo perversus, semetipsum, regulam 
veritatis depravans, praedicare non confunditur. 

1 III. v. 1. Traditione igitur, qua? est ab apostolis, sic se 
habente in ecclesia et permanente apud nos, revertamur ad earn 
quae est ex Scripturis ostensionem eorum qui Evangelium con- 
scripserunt Apostolorum, &c. 


Clearly, therefore, his disposition, where the ques- 
tion was what God had revealed, would be to go, 
first of all, and entirely, if possible, to Scripture ; for 
whereas the heretics held that the inspired volume 
was obscure and uncertain 2 , he maintained that there 
were truths contained in it without any doubt or ob- 
scurity, and that those were the things in which the 
sound-minded and pious would chiefly meditate 3 . 

2 III. ii. 1. Massuet (Diss. I. § 24-) says, " Hanc non repre- 
hendit Irenaeus, imrao in sequentibus probat." Now, to my 
apprehension, he does tacitly disapprove the sentiment in the 
very passage ; and however he may acknowledge that there are 
many parts of Scripture obscure and ambiguous, yet the whole 
method of his arguing shows incontestably that he thought its 
voice, on such points as he was discussing with the Gnostics, 
perfectly unambiguous. 

3 II. xxvii. 1. 'O vyirjg vovg mi ddvlvvog kcl\ ev\aj3i]g kcll 
(piXaXrjdrig, ova kv ry tljv dvdp<jJ7rii)v kipvoia ceSojkev 6 Qeog, kol 
vTroTETa-^e ry y/jLETepa. yvuxrEi, ravra TrpodvjJLOjg ekheXetjjgei, mi kv 
avToig 7rpoic6\pEL, Sia TTJQ KaQr)iXEpivT]Q daKriffEiOQ pq.3iav rrjv fiddrjcnv 


ij/jiETEpay, mi ocra (pavEptig mi dva/jicpifDoXtvg cxvtoXe&l ev rcug dEtaig 
ypcHpctig XeXektcll. Et ideo parabolae debent non ambiguis adap- 
tari : sic enim et qui absolvit, sine periculo absolvit, et parabolas 
ab omnibus similiter absolutionem accipient ; et a veritate [i. e. 
per veritatem] corpus integrum, et simili aptatione membrorum, 
et sine concussione perseverat.— 2. Cum itaque universae Scrip- 
turae et Prophetiae et Evangelia in aperto et sine ambiguitate et 

similiter ab omnibus audiri possint, etsi non omnes credunt. 

xxviii. 1. Habentes itaque regulam ipsam veritatem, et in aperto 
positum de Deo testimonium, non debemus per quaestionum de- 
clinantes [in] alias atque alias absolutiones ejicere firmara et 
veram de Deo scientiam : magis autem absolutionem quaestionum 
in hunc characterem dirigentes, exerceri quidein convenit per 


And with regard to those things which are obscure 
and doubtful, he taught that we should endeavour 
to explain them by those parts which are unam- 
biguous 4 . 

There was, however, another aid which he looked 
upon as of the most certain and most important 
utility, so far as it extended, and that was the bap- 
tismal creed, which he regarded as infallible for lead- 
ing to the right sense of Scripture upon fundamental 
points, and according to which he thought all Scrip- 
ture ought to be interpreted 5 . It is evident, there- 
fore, that he regarded the tradition of the Church, 
to that extent, as divine and infallible. 

inquisitionem mysterii et dispositionis exsistentis Dei ; augeri 
autem in charitate ejus, qui tanta propter nos fecit et facit. 

Grabe argues from the first of these passages as though every 
thing which God would have us know or believe were contained 
in express words in Scripture, and thus incurs the reprehension 
of Massuet. (Diss. III. § 11.) All that can be gathered from it 
legitimately is, that the things clearly revealed are expressed in 
Scripture without ambiguity, and that these are the most impor- 

4 II. x. 1. Omnis autem quaestio non per aliud quod quaeritur 
habebit resolutionem, nee ambiguitas per aliam ambiguitatem sol- 
vetur apud eos qui sensum habent, aut aenigmata per aliud majus 
aenigma ; sed ea quae sunt talia ex manifestis et consonantibus 
et claris accipiunt absolutiones. 

5 I. ix. 4. Ovtio Zk kox 6 tov kclvovcl Ttjg dXrjdeiag dtcXivrj kv 
eavT(o KaTtywv, ov Bia tov j3a.7rTirTiJ.aTOQ eiXritye, to. fxev ek tu>v 
ypatyojv ovo/dara Kal Tag Xi^eig Kal Tag irapafioXag STrtyvojaeTai, — 
x. 1. See p. 91, note 7 . 


A third aid was to be found in the assistance of 
the elders of the Church, who preserve the doctrine 
of the Apostles 6 , and, with the order of the priest- 
hood, keep sound discourse and an inoffensive life \ 
who have the succession from the Apostles, and, to- 
gether with the episcopal succession, have received 
the sure gift of truth 8 . He who in this way studies 
the Scriptures will judge (or condemn) all who are 
in error 9 . 

It is obvious that he means the bishops of the 
Churches, who were the chief preachers of those 
times. And it is observable that he does not think 
the succession a perfect guarantee of the truth being 
preserved, otherwise he would not have added the 
qualifications of sound discourse and a holy life. He 
does not therefore support the idea that the truth is 
necessarily preserved in any one Church by the suc- 
cession, or that any one bishop of any particular 
Church (the Bishop of Rome, for instance,) is capable 
of deciding the sense of Scripture authoritatively. 

6 IV. xxxii. 1 . See p. 77, note s . 

7 IV. xxvi. 4. See p. 80, note 7 . 

8 IV. xxvi. 2. See p. 80, note 7 . 

9 IV. xxxiii. 1. Talis discipulus vere spiritalis recipiens Spi- 
ritum Dei, qui ab initio in universis dispositionibus Dei adfuit 
hominibus, et futura annuntiavit et praesentia ostendit et prae- 
terita enarrat, judicat quidem omnes, ipse autem a nemine judi- 

catur. Nam judicat gentes Examinabit autem doctri- 

nam Marcionis, &e. 


And, in point of fact, it is only upon fundamentals 
that he recommends an appeal to the bishops, as sure 
to guide the inquirer into truth. 

It is obvious, moreover, that, although no doubt 
God will aid and bless his ordinance of the ministry 
at all times to the faithful soul, yet that the aid of 
one's own particular pastor or bishop must be much 
less capable of settling the mind now that Christ's 
true pastors are opposed to each other, than in the 
time of Irenrcus, when they held all together. In 
his time no such thing had occurred as a bishop of 
Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Rome, or Constan- 
tinople, acknowledged by general consent to have 
fallen into great and important error. 

In short, we have no approach in Irenseus to the 
idea of an interpreter so infallible as shall take away 
from the private Christian all responsibility but that 
of ascertaining him and following his decisions. He 
points out means of arriving at truth ; but he does 
not speak of them as unfailing, except in the case 
of those foundation truths which are now acknow- 
ledged by the body of every ancient Church under 



It was controversy which elicited from Ireneeus a 
declaration of his views as to the nature and use of 
tradition. The Gnostics taught a different doctrine 
from the Catholics on the nature and attributes of 
God, the incarnation and life of Christ, and the whole 
scheme of the divine dispensations. Against them 
he takes up three different lines of argument : from 
common sense, from tradition, and from Scripture. 
The argument from common sense he carries on 
through the first and second books, showing the in- 
consistencies, contradictions, and absurdities of the 
various Gnostic systems. It is evident, from his own 
words, that it was his intention to rest his remaining 
argument principally on the Scriptures ; for in the 
preface to the third book, in announcing the plan of 
the rest of his work, he says that in that book he 
shall bring forward his proofs from Scripture, with- 
out mentioning tradition ; but since they demurred 
to its authority, asserting ] that it was imperfect and 

1 III. ii. 1. See p. 136, note 9 - 


self-contradictory, and, in short, that it was impos- 
sible for any to learn the truth from it but those 
who possessed the true tradition, (which they con- 
tended was preserved amongst themselves, having 
been communicated to them orally, and being, in 
fact, that hidden wisdom which had been imparted 
by the Apostles only to the perfect,) Irenseus like- 
wise appeals to tradition. 

I cannot take leave of this passage without no- 
ticing the extraordinary comments made upon it by 
the Benedictine editor, Massuet, in the second of 
his prefatory dissertations, art. iii. § 14. 

He says, " Ex quibus hsec liquido sequuntur ; 1°, 
ipsos omnium hsereticorum pessimos agnovisse et 
confessos fuisse, Scripturas varie dictas esse, id est, 
inter dum obscuras esse, variosque iis subesse sensus : 
2°, obscurorum locorum sensum a traditione peten- 
dum esse, non ea, qtice per litems tradita sit, sed per 
vivam vocem: hsec non reprehendit Irenseus, immo 
in sequentibus probat, ut mox videbitur : 3°, tradi- 
tionem latius patere scripturis, et ab iis distingui, 
ntpote quae earum sit interpres ; quod et hsec Irensei 
conclusio demonstrat : Evenit itaque, neque scripturis 
jam neque traditioni consentire eos" 

I will take his conclusions in their order : — 


1. So far is Irenseus from applauding the Gnostics 
for admitting (not the variety of senses which the 
Scripture may afford, but) the inconsistency of dif- 
ferent Scriptural statements, that it is evident that 
he is blaming them for wishing to escape from the 
obvious meaning of Scripture under this pretence. 
I am not saying that he would have denied that 
various senses of particular passages may appear 
equally natural ; but that is not the case as between 
Ireneeus and the Gnostics. He is evidently asserting 
what he believes to be written throughout the Scrip- 
tures as with a sunbeam, and brings in tradition, not 
to explain the Scripture, but to confirm his view 
of it. 

2. It is very true that Irenseus would evidently 
have gone to tradition to explain the obscurities of 
Scripture, if in any point it could be so explained ; 
but that does not appear from this passage : on the 
contrary, it is the heretics who are here for appealing 
to it, and not to such a tradition as he approved, but 
to one which was capable of no proof that it was 
apostolical. And with regard to the tradition he 
appealed to being an unwritten tradition ; in the first 
place, he does appeal to written tradition when he 
can, viz, to the epistles of St. Clement and St. Poly- 
carp ; and in regard to the unwritten tradition which 
he adduces, the only tradition of that kind to which 
both he and the Romanist writers agree to appeal is 


the Baptismal Creed (as will be shown presently) ; 
for on two of the other points on which he adduces 
a different kind of unwritten tradition, viz. the mil- 
lenium and the age of Christ at his crucifixion, his 
views are rejected by the Roman Church. 

3. That primitive tradition must originally have 
been wider than Scripture (at least upon points not 
of faith), must be true from the very nature of the 
case. But this does not by any means follow from 
Irenaeus's distinguishing between Scripture and tra- 
dition, because what he means is simply this, that 
the Gnostic tenets were at variance with apostolical 
truth, whether gathered from Scripture or handed 
down by tradition. The traditional truth he brings 
forward against them is identical with what he de- 
duces from the written word. 

Having shown, then, that really apostolical tradi- 
tion unequivocally opposed the Gnostic tenets, he 
returns again to the Scriptures, and goes on in the 
large remaining portion of his work (which, contrary 
to his intention, spread itself into a fourth, and even 
a fifth book,) to show how inconsistent they were 
with the Scriptures, first of the Old, and afterwards 
of the New Testament, and how important to our 
salvation those verities were which they impugned. 

It is perfectly evident, therefore, that the mind of 



Irenseus naturally went to Scripture, either to prove 
doctrine or to refute error ; and that he regarded it 
as being, to all orthodox Christians, the natural 
standard of appeal. "With regard to the Gnostics, 
he evidently thought that they were past conviction 
from either reason, tradition, or Scripture ; because, 
whatever criterion was produced, they had something 
to say against it or to turn it aside 2 : but to single- 
minded Christians he felt that the written word 
must be the great authoritv, and arguments drawn 
from it the most perfectly conclusive. He speaks of 
some things in it as admitting no doubt ; he points 
to an obvious aid to the interpretation of ambiguities. 
by calling in plainer things to explain the doubtful ; 
he speaks of the Xew Testament as the ground and 
pillar of our faith ; and he declares that the truth is 
preserved by the keeping, reading, and consistent 
exposition of the Scriptures. 

In what way, then, does he appeal to tradition ? 
In this part of his work he calls it in as establishing 
the same general views, which he confirms more at 
length from Scripture ; as preparing the mind to 

2 III. ii. 1. See supra, p. 136, note 9 . — 2. Cum autem ad earn 
iterum traditionem, quae est ab Apostolis, quae per successiones 
presbyterorum inEcclesiis custoditur.provocamus eos ; adversantur 
traditioni, dicentes se non solum presbyteris, sed etiam Apostolis 
exsistentes sapientiores, sinceram invenisse veritatem. . . . Evenit 
itaque, neque Scripturis jam, neque traditioni consentire eos. 


believe that the view he takes of Scripture is the 
true one ; as a separate and independent witness to 
the selfsame truths which he is preparing to con- 
firm by an adduction of multiplied passages of Holy 
Writ. He does not bring it forward to establish 
any thing not hinted at in the Bible ; neither, on 
the other hand, does he bring it forward to show 
what others had gathered out of the Scriptures ; but 
he adduces it as a separate testimony, emanating 
originally from the same source as the Scriptures 3 , 
and therefore, so far as it went, a fitting criterion of 
their meaning. 

I have chosen to adduce the opening of the third 
book first of all, because Irenoeus enters more pro- 
fessedly there into his motives for appealing to tra- 
dition; but he had made the appeal, as may have 
been seen, in an early part of the first book 4 . The 
manner of the appeal is somewhat different in the 
two places: in the first book he appeals to it to show 
the strong contrast between the inconsistencies and 
contradictions of the Gnostics and the unity and 
consistency of catholic teaching; in the latter, to 
confirm his own views of Scripture. It is true 
that in both these cases the appeal is in some sense 
of a negative character, i. e. it is for the purpose of 
proving that such and such doctrines are not to be 

3 Conf. III. iii. 1. p. 57, note 7 , et i. 1. p. 135, note 5 . 
* I. x. 1. See p. 91. 



received; but in other cases he makes a directly 
positive use of it, viz. to prove particular doctrines 
which do not appear to have been explicitly disputed. 

What, then, is the tradition to which Irenseus 
assigns this important function? It is that faith 
which the Church received from the Apostles, and 
distributes to her children 5 ; which may be seen in 
every Church 6 ; which is handed down by the bishops 
in all the several Churches 7 ; which is taught to 
every person when he is baptized 8 ; which was in 
his time preserved in the Church of Rome, in par- 
ticular, by the confluence of the faithful from every 
side 9 ; in the Church of Smyrna by S. Poly carp and 
his successors ; in the Church of Ephesus, founded 
by St. Paul, and watched over by St. John ; and in 
the rest of the Asiatic Churches l ; which may like- 
wise be learnt in the first epistle of S. Clement, and 
in the epistle of S. Polycarp to the Philippians 2 ; 
which was one and the same throughout the 
Churches, so that ability cannot increase its efficacy, 
nor weakness diminish it ; so that knowledge may 
add to it the explanation of difficulties, but cannot 

5 III. Praef. p. 34, note 10 . 

6 III. iii. 1. See p. 57, note \ 7 Ibid. 

8 I. ix. 4. p. 57, note 6 . 

9 III. iii. 2. p. 63, note 8 . 

1 III. iii. 4. p. 58, notes 2 & 3 . 

2 III. iii. 3, 4. p. 62, notes 2 & V 


change the faith 3 ; and so that wisdom interprets 
Scripture conformably to it 4 . 

It is obvious, from these quotations, that the par- 
ticular tradition which Irenseus adduces against the 
Gnostics is the substance of the baptismal creed ; and 
thence, perhaps, it may be inferred that he would 
confine tradition altogether to the creed. But it 
must be remembered that, in declining to go to 
Gnostic tradition, and choosing in preference that 
which is truly apostolical, the principle of his appeal 
is this: that the Apostles delivered the doctrines 
of the Gospel by preaching, &c. to the different 
Churches, and by individual instruction to the par- 
ticular persons whom they made bishops of the 
Churches ; that the bishops had delivered down the 
same mass of truths to the Churches they presided 
over, and to their successors ; and that the truth 
might be ascertained by discovering what was uni- 
versally received in all the apostolical sees 5 . But 

3 I. x. 2. Ovrit) Kal to Ki'ipvy/ia rrjg aXrjdeiag 7ravTa-^r] (palvei, 
Kal <pu)Ti£ei iravrag dvQpw-KOvg rovg fiovXofjievovg elg eidyvwaiv 
aXrjdeiag eX6e~iv. Kal ovre 6 ttclvv fivvarog ev X6ya> tu>v ev raig 
EKKXrjaiaig irpoearujTUJV erepa tovtojv epeV (ovdelg yap virep rov 
cidaaKaXov") ovre 6 aadevrjg ev rw Xoyw eXaTTwaei t))v Trapdhocriv' 
fxidg yap Kal rrjg avrrjg 7ri<7T£(vg ovorjg, ovre 6 ttoXv nepl avrfjg 
cwdfievog elire'iv, eirXeovacrev, ovre 6 ro oXtyov rjXarTOvqae. 

4 I. X. 3. To he nXe'iov rj eXarrov Kara avveaiv eXZevai rivdg . . 
. . . yiverai . . . . ev rw ra, oaa ev 7rapa/3o\cu£ e'iprjTai, Trpoa- 
ewepyd^effdai Kal oiKeiovv rrj rfjg ivloTewg virodeaei k. t. X. 

5 III. iii. 1. p. 57, note 7 ; I. x. 1, 2. p. 91. 


this truth was not confined to the creed, for there 
are other truths as certain as those in the creed, 
which are not specified in it ; and the very creed 
itself was variable, or rather was variously stated at 
different times 6 . 

But we are not left to inference alone to learn 
the views of Irenseus ; he instances the epistles of 
Clement and Polycarp as containing true traditions, 
and they exhibit other truths beyond those of the 
creed. Again, the faith, which, if the Apostles had 
left no writings, he affirms must have been kept up 
by tradition, and which was, in fact, kept up in bar- 
barous nations without the aid of writing 7 , must have 
been something more extensive than the mere ele- 
mentary points of belief. Nay, his assertion that 
when we are in doubt, even upon trifling points, it 
is a duty to have recourse to the most ancient 
Churches 8 , shows at once that the province of tra- 
dition, in his mind, was far wider than the trans- 
mission of simply fundamental points ; it was a great 
system of doctrine, discipline, and practice, which 
such an observation looked at; and there can be 
but little doubt that, although his subject in his great 

6 Thus Irenseus gives two different versions of it (I. x. 1 . et 
III. iv. 2) ; in one of which he mentions Christ's ascent into 
heaven in the Jiesh, and other matters, which are omitted in the 

7 III. iv. 2. See p. 159, note 3 . s III. iv. 1. ibid. 


Treatise leads him to adduce it formally, only on the 
subject of doctrine, that he found himself bound by 
it upon all points which appeared to be thus uni- 
versally handed down in the Churches. 

But then it must be confessed that Irenaeus stood 
in a position with regard to this tradition very dif- 
ferent from that in which we stand. It was a thing 
which lived about him in all the daily intercourse of 
life, and respecting which there was scarcely a pos- 
sibility of a doubt ; whereas to us it is a thing which 
has to be established by evidence, which does not 
come to our minds unsought. It was a thing then 
which the most unlearned knew thoroughly ; for it 
was the very atmosphere in which he breathed : to 
us learning is required, and actual application to the 
subject. The Church then testified directly to the 
individual : now we have to ascertain the Church's 
testimony by the further testimony of individuals. 
It is impossible, therefore, that apostolical tradition 
should have the same evidence to men's minds now 
which it had then ; although we may think it ought 
to be reverently followed, wherever and by whom- 
soever it can be ascertained. 

Again, we have seen that the medium through 
which Irenseus believed pure tradition to be trans- 
mitted was the bishops of the Churches ; but it does 
not follow that he thought every bishop, or the 


bishops of any particular Church, an unerring depo- 
sitory of such tradition. He supposed the case of a 
bishop who was in the succession, but yet did not 
hold fast the Apostles' doctrine 9 , and he evidently 
implies that such a person was not to be adhered to ; 
it is, therefore, not any individual bishop, or the 
bishop of any particular see, that he would appeal 
to, but the aggregate of the bishops of the universal 

It is remarkable how strong is the resemblance 
between the positions occupied by the Gnostics and 
Irenseus respectively, and those taken up by Roman- 
ists and the Church of England. Both that ancient 
father and ourselves think Scripture perfectly clear 
upon the fundamental points to the singleminded, 
go first and last to Scripture upon all doctrinal 
points, and make tradition only auxiliary and sub- 
ordinate to it. Both the Gnostics and the Romanists 
complain of the insuperable difficulties of the Scrip- 
ture without tradition, and thus make tradition prac- 
tically set aside Scripture ; and the tradition they 
appeal to turns out, when examined, to be nothing 
more nor less than their own teaching. 

But besides this public tradition, extant through- 
out all the Churches, there is another kind of tra- 

9 IV. xxvi. 4. p. 81, note \ 


dition he brings forward, viz. that kept up by a 
direct line from the Apostles by the testimony of 
individuals. This he brings forward under various 
forms of expression, as " I have heard from an elder, 
who had heard from those who had seen and been 
instructed by the Apostles;" " Wherefore the elders, 
who are disciples of the Apostles, say," &c. ; " As 
the elders, who saw John, the Lord's disciple, remem- 
ber that they heard of him ;" " And all the elders, 
who associated with John, the Lord's disciple, testify 
that John taught them this ; for he remained with 
them down to the time of Trajan." He appeals to 
it on the subject of Christ's descent into hell \ which 
did not enter into the earliest creeds ; on the place 
of the saints departed 2 ; on the millennium 3 ; as well 
as on the fact that Jesus continued his teaching till 
past forty years of age 4 . 

1 IV. xxvii. 1. Quemadmodum audivi a quodara presbytero, 
qui audierat ab his qui Apostolos viderant, et ab his qui didi- 
cerant, sufficere veteribus, de his quae sine consilio Spiritus ege- 

runt, earn quae ex Scripturis esset correptionem 2. Et 

propter hoc Dominum in ea, quae sunt sub terra, descendisse, 
evangelizantem et illis adventum suum. 

2 V. v. 1. A/o /ecu \iyovoiv ol irpecrfivTEpoi, tujv a7roar6\(t)v 
fxadrjraif tovq fieraredivTag eKelae fxeraredfivai' i. e. to Paradise. 

3 V. xxxiii. 3. Quemadmodum presbyteri meminerunt, qui 
Joannem discipulum Domini viderunt, audisse se ab eo, quem- 
admodum de temporibus illis (i. e. those of the new heavens 
and new earth) docebat Dominus. 

i 11. xxii. 6. p. 98, note \ 


It is evident that such testimony, carried down in 
one chain, unchecked by any other similar chain, 
must be liable to great deterioration. An instance 
of this may be seen in the last-mentioned case in 
which he quotes this kind of evidence ; viz. his idea 
that Jesus continued his teaching till past forty years 
of age 5 . All other writers who speak on the subject 
are agreed that Irenseus, or some person through 
whom this assertion came, must have made some 
mistake ; that our Lord, in fact, began his teaching 
shortly after his baptism, and continued it through 
three passovers, and no more. And yet we have 
apparently very strong evidence for the assertion of 
Irenaaus ; for he declares that all the elders who 
companied with John the Apostle affirmed it, and 
that some of them declared that they had it from 
other Apostles. The probability is, that Irenseus, 
who was quite a youth when acquainted with these 
persons, had misunderstood what he had heard in 
their conversations with each other, or remembered 
it incorrectly after a long lapse of years, being biassed 
by his own view of a passage of Scripture which he 
quotes in confirmation 6 , and which may be the real 
foundation of the opinion in question. 

It is likewise evident that this tradition in regard 
to mere facts not connected with any important doc- 

5 II. xxii. 6. 6 II. xxii. 6. 


trine, and depending upon the correctness of the 
memory of an individual, is of very different character 
from that of important facts and doctrines, and points 
of discipline, kept up publicly in all Christian Churches 
and witnessed to by him as actually subsisting in his 
own day or at the very time of his writing. At the 
same time they may be received, as we receive other 
historical facts, when not contradicted by other evi- 

And something of the same degree of uncertainty 
must in like manner hang about the transmission of 
doctrines or opinions by such a channel. And it 
is to be remembered that Irengeus, when he testifies 
of these, is not in the same position as when he 
speaks of public doctrine, discipline, or customs. 
There he is the witness of the combined teaching of 
many lines of apostolical succession ; here, for all 
that appears, of only one : and that one requires to 
be checked or confirmed by other evidence before it 
can gain our full assent. If what is gained in this 
way fall in with Scripture, or explains or carries out 
more fully the meaning of Scripture in a manner not 
inconsistent with other Scripture, then we may feel 
that it is to be treasured up, as being in all proba- 
bility a fragment of apostolical tradition. If, again, 
it is confirmed by other sufficient testimony, it may 
be looked upon in the same light, in proportion to 
the degree of evidence : for although Irenseus un- 



questionably quoted these latter traditions as un- 
doubted truths, it is impossible that they should, 
upon his single testimony, appear so to our minds. 

There is, however, one general remark which ap- 
plies to all the various instances in which he appeals 
to tradition, and that is, that he does not appear to 
have known any thing of a transmitted comment on 
the text of Scripture. The only way in which he 
applies tradition to the interpretation of Scripture 
is, by laying down certain facts of our Lord's history, 
which were universally acknowledged or handed 
down by sufficient testimony, or certain doctrines of 
religion or general principles which were universally 
received as of apostolical authority, and bringing 
them forward in confirmation of the views which he 
himself deduced from a comparison and accumu- 
lation of texts. 



The Baptismal Creed having been mentioned in the 
two previous chapters, in the one as a guide in the 
interpretation of Scripture, in the other as embody- 
ing (to a certain extent) Primitive Tradition, it ap- 
pears natural to bring forward in the next place 
such notices of it as Irenseus furnishes. 

We find, then, that it was customary at baptism 
to rehearse to every person the rule of faith held 
throughout the Catholic Church ; in other words, 
the Creed 1 . This, indeed, was not uniform in lan- 
guage, but the same points appear to have been 
adhered to, and to have been stated in much the 
same order. Irenseus, indeed, does not distinctly 
copy any creed : but he rehearses all the chief points 
of it in two different passages, which I will give at 

1 I. ix. 4. p. 57, note 6 . 


length ; these being the first clear traces we have of 
the primitive creed. 

The first is as follows 2 : — 

" For the Church, although spread throughout the 
world, even to the utmost bounds of the earth, and 
having received from the Apostles and their disci- 
ples the faith in one God the Father Almisrhty, 
Maker of heaven and earth, and the seas, and all 
that in them is : and in one Jesus Christ, the Son 
of God, who was incarnate for our salvation : and in 
one Holy Ghost, who through the prophets preached 
the dispensations, and the advents, and the birth of 
a Virgin, and the Passion, and the resurrection from 
the dead, and the ascension into heaven in flesh of 
the beloved Christ Jesus our Lord, and his coming 
from heaven in the glory of the Father, to gather 
together all things in one, and to raise from the dead 
all flesh of all mankind ; that according to the good 
pleasure of the invisible Father, every knee may bow 
to Christ Jesus, our Lord and God and Saviour and 
King, of things in heaven and things in earth and 
things under the earth, and every tongue may con- 
fess to him ; and that he may execute just judgment 
upon them all, and send into eternal fire the spirits 

2 I. x. 1. The Greek of this passage is to be found at p. 91. 


of wickedness, and the angels that sinned and were 
in rebellion, and the ungodly and unjust and law- 
less and blasphemous amongst men ; and bestowing 
life upon the just and holy, and those who have kept 
his commandments and remained in his love, some 
from the beginning and some after repentance, might 
give them incorruption and clothe them with eter- 
nal glory: having received this preaching and this 
faith, as we said before, the Church, though dispersed 
throughout the world, keeps it diligently," &c. 

This passage strikes us at once as containing frag- 
ments of a creed the same as that of Nice, repeated 
in portions in the same order, although the general 
arrangement of the creeds is departed from. 

The other passage is this 3 : — 

" But what if the Apostles had not left us any 
writings? must we not have followed the order of 

3 III. iv. 1. Quid enim ? Et si de aliqua modica quaestione 
disceptatio esset, nonne oporteret in antiquissimas recurrere Eccle- 
sias, in quibus Apostoli conversati sunt, et ab eis de praesenti 
quaestione sumere quod certum et re liquidum est ? Quid au- 
tem si neque Apostoli quidem Scripturas reliquissent nobis, nonne 
oportebat ordinem sequi Traditionis, quam tradiderunt iis quibus 
committebant Ecclesias ? — 2. Cui ordinationi assentiunt raultae 
gentes barbarorum, eorum qui in Christum credunt, sine charta 
et atramento scriptam habentes per Spiritum in cordibus suis 


that tradition which they delivered to those to whom 
they entrusted the Churches ? Which order is 
assented to by those many barbarous tribes who 
believe in Christ, who have salvation written by the 
Spirit in their hearts without paper and ink, and 
diligently keep the old tradition ; believing in one 
God, the Maker of heaven and earth, and of all that 
in them is, by Christ Jesus the Son of God : who for 
his most exceeding love toward his own handywork, 
submitted to be born of the Virgiu, himself by him- 
self uniting man to God, and suffered under Pontius 

salutem, et veterem Traditionera diligenter custodientes ; in unura 
Deum credentes Fabricatorem cceli et terras, et omnium quae in 
eis sunt, per Christum Jesum Dei Filium : qui propter emi- 
nentissimam erga figmentum suum dilectionem, earn quae esset 
ex Virgine generationem sustinuit, ipse per se hominem adunans 
Deo, et passus sub Pontio Pilato, et resurgens, et in claritate 
receptus, in gloria venturus Salvator eorum qui salvantur, et 
Judex eorum qui judicantur, et mittens in ignem asternum trans- 
figuratores veritatis, et contemptores Patris sui et adventus ejus. 
Hanc fidem qui sine Uteris crediderunt, quantum ad sermonem 
nostrum barbari sunt : quantum autem ad sententiam et consue- 
tudinem et conversationem, propter fidem perquam sapientissimi 
sunt, et placent Deo, conversantes in omni justitia et castitate 
et sapientia. Quibus si aliquis annuntiaverit ea, quae ab hasreti- 
cis adinventa sunt, proprio sermone eorum colloquens, statim con- 
cludentes aures, longo longius fugient, ne audire quidem susti- 
nentes blaspbemum colloquium. Sic per ill am veterem Aposto- 
lorum Traditionem, ne in conceptionem quidem mentis admittunt, 
quodcumque eorum portentiloquium est : nequedum enim con- 
gregatio fuit apud eos, neque doctrina instituta. 


Pilate, and rose again, and was received up in glory, 
and will come again to be the Saviour of those 
who are saved, and the judge of those who are 
judged, and sendeth into eternal fire those who per- 
vert the truth, and despise his Father and his 

The order of the creed is better preserved in this 
than in the other, but it is not so full in its state- 

There is one other allusion to the opening words 
of the creed 4 . 

4 I. iii. 6. Ti)v tt'mjtlv elg eva Qeov Ylaripa TravTOKpciTopa, kuX 
elg eva Kvpiov 'lrjaovv Xptorov tov Ylov tov Qeov. 




No controversy had arisen amongst Christians in the 
time of Irenseus on the subject of predestination, 
but heathen Stoics believed in an irresistible fate, 
and the Gnostics taught a natural and essential dif- 
ference between the soul of one man and that of 
another, by virtue of which the former was of course 
raised at death v to an intimate union with the Su- 
preme Essence, whilst the latter could never hope 
for such an elevation, although he might be raised 
to a higher state than that of earthly existence. 

Both these notions Irenaeus combatted. He taught 
that man is endued with freewill \ having o*ood 

1 IV. xxxvii. 1. Illud autem, quod ait : " Quoties volui col- 
ligere filios tuos, et noluisti ?" veterem legem libertatis hominis 
manifestavit : quia liberum eura Deus fecit ab initio, habentem 
suam potestatem, sicut et suam animam, ad utendum sententia Dei 
voluntarie, et non coactum a Deo. B/o enim Qe J ob 7rp6a£a-iv' 
ayadrj Be yv&)\XT) -kvlvtote avfjarapearLv avru). Et propter hoc con- 


and evil set before him, and having the power to 
choose or reject either one or the other, and to act 

silium quidem bonum dat omnibus. Posuit autem in horaiae 
potestatera electionis, quemadmodum et in angelis (etenim angeli 
rationabiles) ; uti hi quidem qui obedissent, juste bonum sint 
possidentes, datum quidem a Deo, servatum vero ab ipsis. Qui 
autem non obedierunt, juste non invenientur cum bono, et meri- 
tam poenam percipient : quoniam Deus quidem dedit benigne 
bonum, ipsi vero non custodierunt diligenter illud, neque preti- 
osum arbitrati sunt, sed supereminentiam bonitatis contempse- 
runt. Abjicientes igitur bonum, et quasi respuentes, merito 

omnes justum judicium incident Dei Dedit ergo Deus 

bonum, . . . et qui operantur quidem illud, gloriam et honorem 
percipient, quoniam operati sunt bonum, cum possint non operari 
illud ; hi autem qui illud non operantur, judicium justum exci- 
pient Dei, quoniam non sunt operati bonum, cum possint operari 
illud. — 2. Ei (pvaet ol ueV tyavXoi, ol $e ayadol yeyuvaanv, ovd' 
ovrot farawerol, ovTEg ayadot, toiovtol yap KareaKevdadrjaav' ovt 
ekeIvol /x£^t7rrot, oi/Twg yeyovoreg. 'AW E7T£t£>) ol navTEg Trjg avrijg 
slot (pvaeioc, cvvauEvoi re Karaay/lv Kal Trpa^ai to ayaQov, /cat 
Zvvajxevoi tcoKlv aTro(3a\e~iv avro, /cat «») Troifjaai' SiKaiwg Kal nap' 
avdpojTroig Tolg euvo/iovjueVotc, Kal 7roXv irpoTEpov irapa Ofw, ol jxev 
kiratvovvTai koX afyag rvyycivovai fiapTvpiag, Trjg rov KaXov Kad- 
6Xov EKXoyijg Kal tirLfjLOvfjg' ol ce /caratrtwvrat /cat a^lag Tvyyavovai 
Zqfiiag, Trjg rov KaXov Kal ayadov a-KofioXrjg. Kal £ta tovtov ol 
7rpo(pi}Tat Traprjvovv rolg avQpuTroLg £t/cat07rpay£tv, Kal to ay aQbv 

k^epya^taQaC wg l(f f/fjuv ovrog rov toiovtov, /cat 3ta ttjv 

ttoXXi)v afxeXeiav elg Xr'idrjv ek-ketttwkotwv, /cat ynjj/xrjg Seo/jievwv 
ciyadrjg, rjv 6 ayadog QEog irapEoyE yivloaKEiv £ta tu>v 7rpo(pr]T(ov. 
— 3. TaxiTa yap ivavra to avTE&vaiov ETnltiKwai tov avdpojTov, 


a7T£t0£tj/ avrw, aXXa jxr) /3ta£o/i£j'ov. — 5. Et non tan turn in operi- 
bus, sed etiam in fide liberum et suae potestatis arbitrium homi- 
nis servavit Dominus, dicens : "Secundum fidem tuam fiat tibi;" 
propriam fidem hominis ostendens, quoniam propriam suam habet 



accordingly 2 ; that God has always treated men 
as having the power to act for themselves 3 , reward- 

sententiam. Et iterum : " Omnia possibilia sunt credenti ;" et, 
" Vade, sicut credidisti, fiat tibi." Et omnia talia sua? potestatis 
secundum fidem ostendunt hominem. Et propter hoc is " qui 
credit ei, habet vitam seternam ; qui autem non credit Filio, non 

habet vitam aeternam, sed ira Dei manebit super ipsum." V. 

xxvii. 1. Si ergo adventus Filii super omnes quidem similiter 
advenit, judicialis est autem, et discretor credentium et non cre- 
dentium, quoniam ex sua sententia credentes faciunt ejus volun- 
tatem, et ex sua sententia credentes faciunt ejus voluntatem, 
et ex sua sententia indictoaudientes non accedunt ad ejus 
doctrinam : manifestum, quoniam et Pater ejus omnes quidem 
similiter fecit, propriam sententiam unumquemque habentem, et 
sensum liberum ; respicit autem omnia, et providet omnibus, 
" solem suum oriri faciens super malos et bonos, et pluens super 
justos et injustos." — 2. Et oaa tv\v rrpog Qeov rrjpel tyiXiav, 
tovtoiq rrjv Ihiav Trapeyei Kotvuviav. KOivojvia Se Qeov, £o») Kal 
(f>u>g, Kal atroXavaig tu>v 7rap' aiirov ayaflwv. oool autem acpiaravTut 
Kara Trjv yvujfirjv avTiov rov Qeov, tovtoiq top car avTOv ^wpitTfiov 

kirayei. xxviii. 1. 'E^ei ovv kv rw al&vi tovtw, ol fiev 7rpo(T~ 

Tp£\ovai rw <J)(i)tI, Kal Bid Tfjg iriaTeiag evovaiv eavTOvg rw Oew, ol 


hiyETai b Aoyog tov Qeov, toIq TtaaLv ap/JLoi^ovcrav olKrjtnv kirdyiov' 
to~lq jxev ev tu> (J)(i)tI, Tcpog to diroXaveiv aWovg Tu>v kv avTco dya- 
Oiov, TO~ig Be kv tu> GKOTei,Trpbg to [ieTeyeiv ovtovq rfjg kv avTto 
juo)(0^piac. Aia tovto (brjcri, tovq fxev ek de'Ziiov dvamXeaaadai elg 
Trjv Ttov obpaviov paatXeiuv, Tovg $e it, dpiaTepibv elg to alwviov 
Tvvp 7rifx\peiv' eavTOvg yap wavTiov eo-Teprjvav twv dyaduiv. 

2 IV. xxxvii. 1, 2. V. xxvii. 1. xxviii. 1. 

3 IV. xv. 2. Si autem quidam, propter inobedientes Israelitas 
et perditos, infirmum dicunt legis doctorem, invenient in ea voca- 
tione quae est secundum nos multos quidem vocatos, paucos vero 
electos ; et intrinsecus lupos, a foris vero indutos pelles ovium ; 
et id quod erat semper liberum et suas potestatis in homine sem- 
per servasse Deum et suam exhortationem. xxxvii. 1. 


ing or punishing them 4 , praising or blaming 5 them 
according to the nature of their choice; and that 
this proves that we have freewill fi : that in fact the 
circumstance that our faith is called our own, and 
is rewarded \ proves that we are free agents 8 . In 
conformity with this opinion, he teaches that men 
are redeemed, not by compulsion, but by per- 
suasion 9 ; that each person has a portion of divine 
light given him, and will be recompensed according 
as he keeps or rejects it l ; and that as each man's 
salvation thus depends upon his own exertion, and 
cannot be attained without it, so our reward will be 
the more valued for having been gained by exertion 2 . 

We can see, therefore, that Irenscus could not 
have believed that the salvation of the elect was 

4 IV. xxxvii. 1, 5. V. xxvii. 2. xxviii. 1. 

5 IV. xxxvii. 2. 6 IV. xxxvii. 3. 

7 IV. xxxvii. 5. V. xxvii. 1. xxviii. 1. 

8 IV. xxxvii. 5. 

9 IV. xxxvii. 3. — V. i. 1. Et quoniam injuste dominabatur 
nobis apostasia, et cum natura essemus Dei omnipotentis, alienavit 
nos contra naturam, suos proprios faciens discipulos ; potens in 
omnibus Dei Verbum, et non deficiens in sua justitia, juste etiam 
adversus ipsam conversus est apostasiam, ea quae sunt sua redi- 
mens ab ea : non cum vi, quemadmodum ilia initio dominabatur 
nost.ri, ea quae non erant sua insatiabiliter rapiens ; sed secundum 
suadelam, quemadmodum decebat Deum suadentem et non vim 
inferentem, accipere quae vellet : ut neque quod est justum con- 
fringeretur, neque antiqua plasmatio Dei deperiret. 

1 IV. xxxvii. 1. 

2 IV. xxxvii. 7. See p. 106, note 5 . 


accomplished by the mere will of God concerning 
the individuals, either in opposition to their own will 
or by constraining their wills ; although he asserted 
very fully the necessity of divine grace to cause our 
freewill to take a right direction 3 . 

And yet he was a believer in divine predestination. 
He believed that some were predestined to have the 
gift of incorruptibility imparted to them, (which we 
have seen to mean the Divine Spirit, by which we 
become the adopted children of God,) and thus to 
have life in the sight of God, whereas they were 
originally in a state of death 4 . But he no where 
implies that they could not lose this gift, but the 
contrary 5 . So again he teaches that God inten- 

3 III. xvii. 2. Sicut arida terra, si non percipiat humorem, non 
fructificat, sic et nos, lignum aridum exsistentes primum, nun- 
quam fructificaremus vitam, sine superna voluntaria pluvia. — 3. 
Quapropter necessarius nobis est ros Dei, ut non comburamur, 
neque infmctuosi efficiamur. 

4 V. i. 1. Qui nunc nuper facti sumus, a Solo Optimo et bono, 
et ab eo qui habet donationem incorruptibilitatis, in earn, quae 
est ad eum, similitudinem facti, (praedestinati quidem ut essemus, 
qui nondum eramus, secundum praescientiam Patris, facti autem 
initium facturae,) accepimus in praecognitis temporibus secundum 
ministrationem Verbi, qui est perfectus in omnibus : quoniam 
Verbum potens, et homo verus, sanguine suo rationabiliter redi- 
mens nos, redemptionem semetipsum dedit pro his, qui in cap- 
tivitatem ducti sunt. 

5 IV. xli. 3. Quemadmodum enim in hominibus indictoaudi- 
entes patribus filii abdicati, natura quidem filii eorum sunt, lege 
vero alienati sunt (non enim haeredes fiunt naturalium parentum), 



tionally delivers some men over to unbelief without 
a trial. But who are they? Those who, he fore- 
sees, will not believe ! . He was of opinion that 
there is a predestined number of those who shall be 
saved eternally, and that when that number is com- 
pleted, the end of the world will come 2 : the very 

eodem modo apud Deum, qui non obediunt ei, abdicati ab eo, 

desierunt filii ejus esse Cum enim converterentur et 

pcenitentiam agerent et quiescerent a malitia, filii poterant esse 
Dei, et haereditatem consequi incorruptelae quae ab eo praestatur. 

Verum quando credunt et subjecti esse Deo perseverant 

et doctrinam ejus custodiunt, filii sunt Dei : cum autem absces- 
serint et transgressi fuerint, diabolo adscribuntur principi, ei qui 
primo sibi, tunc et reliquis, causa abscessionis sit factus. 

1 IV. xxix. 2. Si igitur et nunc, quotquot scit non credituros 
Deus, cum sit omnium praecognitor, tradidit eos infidelitati 
eorum, et avertit faciem ab hujusmodi, relinquens eos in tene- 
bris, quae ipsi sibi elegerunt ; quid mirum si et tunc nunquam 
crediturum Pharaonem, cum his qui cum eo erant, tradidit eos 

suae infidelitate ? V. xxvii. 2. "Oaoi autem dty'ioTavTai Kara 

tt)v yv&firjv avrwv tov Qeov, tovtoiq tov aV avrov ^piafxbv [earn 
quae electa est ab ipsis, separationem — Old Latin Version] 
£7ray£t. Xwpifffxog de tov Qeov davarog' /cat -^(opiafiog (fxjjrog <tko- 
rog' Kal ^wpKTfXog Qeov d-rrofioXrj iravTiav tCjv aV avrov dyadHJv. 

2 II. xxxiii. 5. Kat £ta tovto TrXrjpwdevTog rov dpidfxov, ov 
abrog Trap avrw Trpowpiae, irdvTeg ol eyypatyevTeg elg £(or)v dva- 
orrjcrovTai, tdta eyovreg ffwjuara, /cat iSiag eyovreg \pv)(ctg, Kal 'Ldta 
7rvev[iaTa, ev olg evrj peart] aav ra> Qeu' ol he rrjg KoXaaewg a&oi 
aTreXevaovrai elg ty}v avrr/v, /cat avrol iSlag eyovreg \pv%ag /cat t^ta 
aiojiaTa, ev olg aVeor^onv aVo Trig rov Qeov ydpLTog. Kal irav- 
uovrai eicdrepoL tov yevvav e.Ti /cat yevvaaQai, /cat ya/melv /cat ya- 
jj-eladaC \va to av\i\xeTpov <f>vXov Trjg Trpooplaeiog aVo Qeov dvdpw- 
Tt6rr]Tog ditOTeXeaQelg Tr/v apfxovlav Trjprjarj tov HaTpog. 

The same idea is expressed by Clement of Rome and Justin 
Martyr. [Clem. 


idea embodied in our burial service 3 . But he no 
where hints that the individuals were predestined, as 
well as the number, or that those who were predes- 
tined to have the gift of immortality, were all in the 
number of those who should be saved eternally : so 
that the more we examine, the more clear does it 
become that he would have been opposed to Cal~ 
vinistic predestination. 

Who, then, are those who are predestined to the 
gift of immortality ? The manner in which he speaks 
of election will enable us to answer this question. 
In explaining the parable of the vineyard let out to 
husbandmen, he says, 4 that, after the first set of hus- 
bandmen had been cast out, the vineyard was " no 
longer fenced in, but opened to all the world, and 

Clem. R. ad Corr. I. 2. 'Aywy l)v vfiiv v/iipac re teal vvktoc 
V7rep TrdarjQ tT]q d^s\(p6rr}TOC, eIc to (roj^EerOcu. yiET eXeovq tcai avr- 
eih)(T£wc tov dptdfibv tu>v 'eicXektQv avrov, 

Justin M. Apol. I. 45. 'Ayayetv tov Xpiorov elq tov ovpavbv 

6 UaTtjp Tutv 7rdvTU)v Qeoq kfieWe, /cat KaTE^etv eujc av 

7rara£?7 tovc E^QpaivovTag aurw cai/uovac, teal (tvvte\e(t6^ 6 
tG)V irpoEyviiXTfJiivuiv avTto, dyadwv yivojjiivwv teal EvapETiov, di ovc 


3 " Beseeching thee that it may please thee of thy gracious 
goodness shortly to accomplish the number of thine elect, and 
to hasten thy kingdom." 

4 IV. xxxvi. 2. Qui priores, sive primum, per servilem legis- 
dationem vocaverat Deus, hie posteriores, sive postea, per adop- 
tionem. assumpsit. Plantavit enim Deus vineam humani generis, 
primo quidem per plasmationem Ada? et electionem patrum ; 
tradidit autem colonis per earn legisdationem quae est per Moy- 


the tower of the election exalted every where, beau- 
tiful to look on; for," said he, "the Church is every 
where distinctly visible, and every where is there a 
winepress dug, and every where are those who re- 
ceive the Spirit." Here we find election commen- 
surate with the visible Church (indeed he knows no 
other) : and so he proceeds further on 5 to speak of 
" the Word of God, who elected the patriarchs and lis ;" 
just as in the passage before cited 6 he had said, " We 
who were not as yet were predestined to be ;" that 
is, spiritually, through redemption. And so in ano- 
ther place he speaks of the Church as " the congre- 
gation of God ; which God, that is the Son, has him- 
self collected by himself 7 ;" and in another passage, 

sem ; sepem autera circumdedit, id est, circumterminavit eorum 
culturam ; et turrim aedificavit, Hierusalem elegit ; et torcular 

fodit, receptaculum prophetici Spiritus praeparavit Non 

credentibus autem illis, novissime misit Filium suum, (misit Domi- 
num nostrum Jesum Christum) quern cum occidissent mali coloni, 
projecerant extra vineam. Quapropter tradidit earn Dominus 
Deus non jam circumvallatam, sed expansam in universum mun- 
dum aliis colonis, reddentibus fructus temporibus suis, turre elec- 
tionis exaltata ubique et speciosa : ubique enim praeclara est 
ecclesia, et ubique circumfossum torcular ; ubique enim sunt qui 
suscipiunt Spiritum. 

5 IV. xxxvi. 8. Sed quoniam et patriarchas qui elegit et nos, 
idem est Verbum Dei, &c. 

6 V. i. 1. supra. 

7 III. vi. 1. Haec (Ecclesia) enim est synagoga Dei, quam 
Deus, hoc est Filius, ipse per semetipsum coHegit. 


"the wages of Christ are men collected out of various 
and differing nations into one company of faith V* 

All these passages reflect light upon each other, 
and exhibit the allwise God as planning from eter- 
nity the last dispensation, by which He chooses, 
through the Divine Word, to gather out of the 
world men of all nations, and to restore to them the 
lost gift of immortality, by adopting them for his 
own children, and bestowing on them his Spirit, and 
thus uniting them in the one body of his Church ; 
so that those who believe, and continue in obedience 
to Him, and hold fast his teaching, continue his 
children ; whilst those who do not obey Him are cut 
off from Him. and cease to be his children. And as 
baptism is the sign and means of our union with 
God and the reception of the Holy Spirit -. so bap- 
tism is the sign and pledge of this predestination 
and election. 

There is another question as to this election, upon 
which Irenaeus throws but little light ; that is. whe- 
ther God has elected into his Church upon foreseen 
faith or not. He expressly declares l that God leaves 

5 IV. xxi. 3. Variae ores, qua? fiebant huic Jacob merces : e: 
Christi merces. qui ex variis et differentibus gentibus in unam 
cohortem fidei convenientes Sunt homines, 

s See p. 173. ] See p. 167. note K 


in darkness and unbelief those who, He foresees, will 
not believe ; but what is the precise application of that 
declaration, whether to those to whom God vouch- 
safes no opportunity of becoming acquainted with 
the Gospel, or to those who, living in the hearing of 
the Gospel, do not receive his grace, is by no means 
clear. And it would be unsafe, therefore, to argue 
that Irenaeus believed that God predestines men to 
grace from foreseen faith. The two things may ap- 
pear to us correlative ; but we must remember that 
there had been no controversy on the subject, and 
therefore he cannot be supposed to have weighed 
his language as we should perhaps do at present. 



The doctrine of the Church in regard to baptism 
has afforded less dispute than almost any other down 
to the very times in which we live. It was fully 
recognized by Irenaeus, and appears scattered up and 
down in various parts of his writings. 

He asserts in direct terms that baptism is our new 
birth to God l , and ascribes to infants a share in that 
new birth equally with grown persons 2 . There is 
no room for any equivocal meaning in these passages. 
It is not merely that he speaks, as a thing of course, 
of infants being baptized, (which, by the plain force 
of words, he manifestly does,) but he directly as- 
cribes to them also the new birth, which he asserts 
to be baptism. This testimony in favour of infant 

1 I. xxi. 1. Ecu on jiev tig ii,a.ovr)(nv rod l3a7rri(rfiaTOg, rfjg elg 
Qeov dvayevvrjaeiog, /ecu 7ra<rr/e rrjg 7rlartu)g aVofoau', v7roJDi[3\r)TaL 
to elcog tuvto vnb tov Sarava, k. t. X. 

2 II. xxii. 4. See p. 94, note 2 . 


baptism and infant regeneration is very valuable 
from one who lived so near the apostolical times. 

The necessity of the laver of regeneration he 
states to arise from the original corruption of man 3 , 
whom he asserts to be and to remain carnal, until he 
receives the Spirit of God 4 . The water of baptism 
is therefore a type of the Holy Spirit 5 ; and in bap- 
tism our bodies receive the union with God to eternal 
life, which our souls at the same time receive by the 
Spirit 6 . In receiving the Holy Spirit, therefore, the 
soul of man receives that which it had not by nature 
since the fall ; it becomes a living soul ; for the 
Spirit of God is the life of the soul 7 . This Spirit 

3 V. xv. 3. Et quoniam in ilia plasmatione, quae secundum 
Adam fuit, in transgressione factus homo indigebat lavacro rege- 

*V . vi. 1. viii. 2. See p. 101, note 8 . 

5 III. xvii. 2. Unde et Dominus pollicitus est mittere se Para- 
cletum, qui nos aptaret Deo. Sicut enim de arido tritico massa 
una fieri non potest sine humore, neque unus panis ; ita nee nos 
multi unum fieri in Christo Jesu poteramus, sine aqua quae de 
coelo est. Et sicut arida terra, si non percipiat humorem, non 
fructificat ; sic et nos, lignum aridum exsistentes primum, nun- 
quam fructificaremus vitam, sine superna voluntaria pluvia. 
Corpora enim nostra per lavacrum illam, quae est ad incorruptio- 
nem, unitatem acceperunt ; animae autem per Spiritum. 

6 III. xvii. 2. 

7 V. vi. 1. — vii. 1. Incompositus est enim et simplex Spiritus, 

et ipse vita est eorum qui percipiunt ilium. ix. 2. Spiritum 

Patris, qui emundat hominem, et sublevat in vitam. xii. 2. 

"Erepoy kart irvoi] farjg, y iced \pv^tt:6v axepya^o/mivr] top avdpiv- 


lie elsewhere calls the Spirit of remission of sins s , 
and declares that we are quickened by it. In con- 
nexion with what he says of our flesh being united 
to God in baptism, we may take what he elsewhere 
says, that our flesh is a member of Christ 9 . 

If we inquire for his opinion of the actual spiritual 
state of the Christian body, we shall find him de- 
claring that those only are the children of God who 
do the will of God ! ; that some remain thus in the 

ttov' Kal erepov irvevfjia ^coottolovv, to koI TrvEV^xaTiKov avrov a~o- 
teXovv. . . . hid Kal TraXiy 6 avrdg 'Haatag hiaa-EXXojv ra Trpo- 
£Lpr]fiipa(j)r](Tt' UvEvjia yap Trap' ifiov e^EXevtrerai, Kal irvoriv 7rda-av 
syib ETroirjcra' to TtvEVfia ihiiog kin tov Qeov Ta^ag tov EKyiovTog 
aWb in novissimis temporibus ha Tfjg vlodEGiag ekI ti]v avQpu-o- 
T7)Ta, tjjv hs 7tvo7]V Koivuig E7r\ Tr}g KTLffEiog' Kal TToirjfia ctvayopEvaag 
avTtfv. ETEpov hi e(ttl to ttoltjOev tov 7i0ii)0avT0g. 'H ovv irvor) irpoa- 
xaipog, to hs TrvEVfia aivvaov. Kal ?/ filv Trvorj aKfjidaaaa 7rpog (jpayru, 
Kal, Kaipaj tlvl Trapajuavaca, [jleto. tovto -KopEVETat, cnrvovv KaTaXi- 
irovaa ekeIvo, tteoI o i)v to npoTEpov to hs TTEpiXafiov IvhoQEv Kal eIio- 


8 IV. xxxi. 2. Quando igitur hie vitale semen, id est, Spiri- 
tum remissionis peccatorum per quera vivificamur, effudit in 
humanum genus ? 

9 V. ii. 3. Hiog Eektlk)]v fit] Elvat Xiyovcn ti)v crdpKa Tfjg cwpEag 
tov Qeov, ijTig e<ttI £u)ij alwviog, ti)v aVo tov era^uaroe Kal a't/uaTog 
tov Kvplov TpEtyojjLEvrjv, Kal fiiXog aWov vTrdp-^ovaav ; 

1 IV. xli. 2. Secundum igitur naturam quag est secundum con- 
ditionem, ut ita dicam, omnes filii Dei sumus, propter quod a 
Deo omnes facti sumus : secundum autem dictoaudientiam [obe- 
dientiam] et doctrinam non omnes filii Dei sunt, sed qui credunt 
ei et faciunt ejus voluntatem : qui autem non credunt et non 
faciunt ejus voluntatem filii et angeli sunt diaboli. 


love of God, even from the time of their baptism ; 
others fall away, and cease to be his children ; and 
of those who fall, some by repentance recover their 
relation to Him, and remain thenceforward in his 
love 2 . 

There is one passage 3 in which he appears at first 
sight to deny forgiveness to those who sin since the 
coming of Christ, and thence to give some coun- 
tenance to the idea that wilful sin of Christians can- 
not be forgiven. What he really does say is simply 
this ; that whereas the ancients who sinned before 
the coming of Christ did, when they had the Gospel 
preached to them in the regions below, and believed, 
receive remission of sins, there is no such hope 
awaiting those who now commit sin. If they die in 
sin, there is no further sacrifice remaining for them 
to be preached to them in the regions of the dead. 

We can scarcely avoid remarking the strict cor- 
respondence between the doctrine of Irenseus upon 
this subject and that contained in the formularies of 
the Church of England, particularly in the Baptismal 

2 I. x. 1. ad finem. See p. 91, note 7 . IV. xli. 3. See 

p. 166, note 5 . 

3 IV. xxvii. 2. Si enim hi qui praecesserunt nos in charis- 
matibus veteres, propter quos nondum Fjlius Dei passus erat, 
delinquentes in aliquo, et concupiscentise carnis servientes, tali 
affecti sunt ignominia (viz. to have their transgressions recorded 
in the Scripture), quid passuri sunt qui nunc sunt, qui contemp- 


Service and the 16th and 27th Articles. And it is 
the more valuable, because it does not appear directly 
in the form of a precise statement, but indirectly, as 
in the Scriptures themselves ; showing that it per- 
vaded the whole practical system with which his 
mind was imbued. The difficulty in the Scriptures 
unquestionably is, that regeneration is no where in 
so many words affirmed respecting infants, and that 
there is language, as in St. John's first epistle, ap- 
pearing to restrict it to persons capable of actual 
obedience. Now in Irenseus we find that omission 
supplied, and yet he uses without scruple the same 
kind of language as St. John ; showing that in the 
system he inherited, and that by an interval of only 
one descent from St. John himself, the two things 
which, with our prejudices, are apt to appear incon- 
sistent, were parts of one and the same doctrine, 

serunt adventum Domini, et deservierunt voluptatibus suis ?._ 
Et illis quidem curatio et remissio peccatorum mors Domini fuit : 
propter eos vero qui nunc peccant Christus non jam morietur, 
jam enim mors non dominabitur ejus : sed veniet Filius in gloria 
Patris, exquirens ab actoribus et dispensatoribus suis pecuniam 
quam eis credidit cum usuris ; et quibus plurimum dedit, pluri- 
mum ab eis exiget. 



Tren^eus has expressed himself so much more fully 
on the subject of the holy Eucharist than any other 
writer near his time, that it is not wonderful that his 
opinions should be appealed to by those who have 
entered into the various discussions on the subject. 
And his language has just so much of ambiguity 
about it as to allow of hanging upon it a more exact 
and positive meaning than he ever thought of. Every 
sentence, and almost every word therefore, requires 
to be well weighed, that we may come at his real 
meaning. And we must bear in mind that he wrote 
hundreds of years before any controversy had arisen 
on the subject, and consequently is not to be judged 
of as though he had written since. 

There are two or three important passages which 
bear directly on the subject, and I do not know how 
to do justice to it without giving them at length. 



The first I shall take is that in the fifth book 1 , where 
he is combating the Gnostic notion that the flesh is 
incapable of salvation. His words are as follows : — 

" And altogether absurd are they who despise the 
whole of the divine arrangement, and deny the sal- 
vation of the flesh, and reject its regeneration, say- 
ing that it is not capable of immortality. But if 
it is not saved, then the Lord did not redeem us by 
his blood ; nor is the cup of the Eucharist the com- 
munion of his blood, nor the bread which we break 
the communion of his body. For there is no blood, 
except from veins and flesh, and the rest of man's 
substance, in which the Word of God was truly 
made. With his blood he redeemed us ; as also his 
apostle saith : in whom we have redemption through his 
blood, even the remission of sins. And since we are his 
members, and are nourished by the creature, and he 

1 V. ii. 2. Vani autem omnimodo, qui universam dispositionem 
Dei contemnunt, et carnis salutem negant, et regenerationem 
ejus spernunt, dicentes non earn capacem esse incorruptibilitatis. 
Si autem non salvetur hsec, videlicet nee Dominus sanguine suo 
redemit nos ; neque calix Eucharistiae communicatio sanguinis 
ejus est, neque panis quern frangimus communicatio corporis 
ejus est. Sanguis enim non est, nisi a venis et carnibus, et a 
reliqua quae est secundum hominem substantia, qua vere factum 
est Verbum Dei. Sanguine suo redemit nos, quemadmodum et 
Apostolus ejus ait : " In quo habemus redemptionem per san- 
guinem ejus, remissionem peccatorum." Et e7reiSri fx£\r) avrov 
ifffxeyy Kal £ia rfJQ KTiaewg rpe^ofxeda, rr}v hk kt'ioiv rjfj.~ip uvtoq 



himself gives us the creature, making his sun to rise 
and sending rain as it pleaseth him, he has recog- 
nised the cup of the creature for his own blood, 
with which he tinges (hvu) our blood, and the bread 
of the creature he has ordained to be his own body, 
by which he strengthens our body. 

" Since, therefore, both the mingled cup and the 
created bread receive the word of God, and the 
Eucharist becomes the blood and body of Christ, 
and by these the substance of our flesh gains strength 
and subsists, how can they say that the flesh is not 
capable of the gift of God, which is eternal life, 
when it is nourished by the body and blood of the 
Lord, and is his member ? As St. Paul saith : For 
we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his 
bones : not saying these things of some spiritual and 
invisible man (for the spirit has neither flesh nor 

irapiyti, tov ijXiov avrou avareWuv Kal fipiywv Kadiog fiouXeTai* 
to cltto rfjg KTtaeiog TroTtipioy alfia 'idiov w/xoXoyijae, e£ ov to rifii- 
Tepov Sevei aifia, Kal tov cltto rrjg KTiasojg apTOv 'idtov (tlo/jlo. Stefie- 
fia.uocra.TO, acf ov to. y/JLETEpa av^t acofxaTa. — 3. 'Ottote ovv koX to 
KEKpajxivov TzoTiiptov koX 6 yeyovojg apTOQ £7ri£e)(£rcu tov \6yov TOV 
Qeov, kal yiveTai t] evyapHTTia aiofta XpiOTOv, ek tovtwv he avfci 
teal avv'iOTaTai ff tyjq ffapKoc rjfiwv virooTaoig' ttCjq heKTiKijv /j,rj elvai 
Xiyovai tt)v aapKa ttjq htopeag tov Qeov, ijTig ectI £**>rj alcoviog, ty\v 
cltto tov (ToofiaTog Kal a'i^iaTog tov Kvplov TpE(f)OfiEvr)y, Kal (jleXoq av- 
tov virapypvaav ; Kadiog 6 itaKapiog YlavXog (prjcriv, kv rrj trpbg 
'EtpEfflovg ZTTMTToXrj' otl /xe\?7 efffxev tov aiofiaTog, ek rfjg eapKog 


aopaTOv avdpwrcov Xiyiov Tavra, (jo yap Trvevfia ovte OffTea, ovte 



bones) ; but concerning the divine work in the real 
man, consisting of flesh and veins and bones ; which is 
also nourished from his cup, which is his blood, and 
is strengthened by the bread, which is his body. And 
as the wood of the vine, bent down into the earth, 
in its proper season bears fruit, and the grain of 
wheat, falling into the earth and becoming dissolved, 
rises manifold through the Spirit of God, which takes 
in all things ; and then, through the wisdom of God, 
having come to the use of men, and having received 
the word of God, becomes the Eucharist, which is 
the body and blood of Christ ; so also our bodies, 
being nourished by it, and being deposited in the 
earth and dissolved in it, will rise again in due sea- 
son, the word of God granting to them resurrection 
to the glory of God, even the Father." 

In the beginning of this passage we have an ex- 

aapKa e^el) tt\Aa nspl rrjg Kara rov aXriQivov avdpio7rov oiKovo/jiiag, 
rfjg ek aapKog ical vevpiov /cat ocrricov avvEard)av\g' fjng Kal ek rov 
irorrjpiov avrov, 6 kari to alfxa avrov, rpi(j>ETai, Kal ek rov aprov, 6 
kari to aio/ia avrov, avfcrai. /cat ovrtEp rpowov to £vXov rfjg au- 
niXov kXiOev Eig rffv yfjv rw t^/w KaipS EKapirocpop-qaE, /cat 6 KOKKog 
rov airov wsawv Eig tyjv yfjv, Kal ^LuXvOslg, TroXXoardg lyipdrj £ta rov 
irvEVfiarog rov Qeov, rov avviyovrog ret iravra' EitEira Ze Zia rfjg <ro- 
(j)tag rov Qeov Eig ^pfjaiv kXdovra avdpuirojv, /cat TrpoaXa^avo^iEva 
rov Xoyov rov Qeov, Evyapioria yivErat, onep Earl aS>\ia /cat atjua 
rov Xpiarov' ovriog /cat ra rjfXETEpa au)fxara kl, avrfjg rpE^ofXEva, 
Kal rEdivra Eig rrjv yfjv, /cat StaXvOivra kv avrrj, avaffrrjcrErat ev 
rw ihito /catpw, rov Xoyov rov Qeov rrjv EyEpoiv avrolg \apiilofXEvov 
tig co'fav Qeov kul narpog. 


plicit acknowledgment that it is in some way or 
another in the real body and blood of Christ that we 
communicate in the Eucharist ; and I am willing to 
grant that the whole passage, on a cursory reading, 
might be taken to imply that the bread and wine 
was changed into the literal body and blood of Christ ; 
for he appears to speak of our corporeal frames being 
literally sustained by the body and blood of our 
Lord. But when we find him speaking of the ne- 
cessity of our bodily frames being sustained by him- 
self, arising out of the fact that we, even our bodies, 
are his members, we see immediately that, as we 
cannot be literally and corporeally his members, so 
the change of the bread into his body, and that of 
the wine into his blood, in order to nourish our 
bodies with himself, cannot be a literal and corporeal 
change. And so he does not say that Jesus effected 
any such change, but simply that he recognized 
the cup for his blood, and ordained the bread to be 
his body 2 . 

2 Tertullian, who uses this selfsame argument against the 
Gnostics, expressly calls the bread the representation of Christ's 
body ; arguing that if Christ had no real body, there could have 
been no representation or figure of it. — Contra Marcionem, IV. 
40. Acceptum panem et distributum discipulis corpus suum 
ilium fecit, ' Hoc est corpus meum' dicendo, id est, figura corporis 
mei : figura autem non fuisset, nisi veritatis esset corpus. .... 
Sic et in calicis mentione testamentum constituens sanguine suo 
obsignatum, substantiam corporis confirmavit : nullius enim cor- 
poris sanguis potest esse, nisi carnis.— See likewise Bishop 


Before I attempt to draw out any other of the 
opinions implied in this passage, I will go to another 
contained in the fourth book 3 . It is this : — 

" Since, therefore, the Church offers with single- 
ness of heart, its sacrifice is rightly accounted pure 
with God. As also Paul saith to the Philippians : 
For I am filled with those tilings ichich I have received 
from Epaphroditus, which were sent hy you, a sweet 
savour, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. 
For it is our duty to make an offering to God, and 
in all things to be found grateful to God our Maker, 
offering to him the first fruits of 'his creatures with 
a pure mind and unfeigned faith, in hope unshaken, 
in fervent charity. And this oblation the Church 
alone offers pure to the Creator, offering to him of 
his own work with giving of thanks. But the Jews 

Kaye's Tertullian (p. 454, note 137, of the second edition) for 
other passages. 

3 IV. xviii. 4. Quoniam igitur cum simplicitate Ecclesia offert, 
juste munus ejus purum sacrificium apud Deum deputatum est. 
Quemadmodum et Paulus Philippensibus ait : " Repletus sum 
acceptis ab Epaphrodito, quae a vobis missa sunt, odorem suavi- 
tatis, hostiam acceptabilem, placentem Deo." Oportet enim nos 
oblationem Deo facere, et in omnibus gratos inveniri Fabricatori 
Deo, in sententia pura et fide sine hypocrisi, in spe firma, in 
dilectione ferventi, primitias earum, quae sunt ejus, creaturarum 
offerentes. Et hanc oblationem Ecclesia sola puram offert Fabri- 
catori, offerens ei cum gratiarum actione ex creatura ejus. Judaei 
autem non offerunt: manus enim eorum sanguine plense sunt; non 
enim receperunt Verbum, quod [or per quod] offertur Deo. Sed 


do not offer it ; for their hands are full of blood ; for 
they did not receive the Word, who is offered to 
God [or through whom the offering is made to God], 
neither indeed do all the assemblies of the heretics. 

How, indeed, can they feel assured that the 

bread over which thanksgiving is made, is the body 
of their Lord, and the cup that of his blood, if they 
do not call himself the Son of the Creator of the 
world, that is, his Word, by whom the wood bears 
fruit, and the springs gush forth, and the earth 
affords first the blade, after that the ear, then the 
full corn in the ear ? 

"And how, again, can they say that the flesh, 
which is sustained by the body of the Lord and by 
his blood, turns to corruption, and partakes not of 
life ? Either let them alter their view, or let them 

neque omnes haereticorum synagogae. Alii enim alterum praeter 
fabricatorem dicentes Patrem, ea quae secundum nos creata sunt, 
ofterentes ei, cupidum alieni ostendunt eum, et aliena concupi- 
scentem. Qui vero ex defectione et ignorantia et passione 
dicunt facta ea. quae sunt secundum nos ; ignorantiae, passionis, 
et defectionis fructus offerentes, peccant in Patrem suum, con- 
tumeliam facientes magis ei, quam gratias agentes. Quomodo 
autem constabit eis, eum panem in quo gratiae actae sint corpus 
esse Domini sui, et calicem sanguinis ejus, si non ipsum Fabri- 
catoris mundi Filium dicant, id est, Verbum ejus, per quod lig- 
num fructificat, et defluunt fontes, et terra dat primum quidem 
fcenum, post deinde spicam, deinde plenum triticum in spica ? — 
5. Iiu>Q autem tyiv capita Xiyovatv elg tydopav ^(lopeiv, kcu fj.ij jiet- 
tXi.Lv rfjg ^torjc, ri]v and tov atofiaroc tov Kvpiov nal tov afymrog 


decline to offer the before-mentioned gifts. But our 
view harmonizes with the Eucharist, and the Eucha- 
rist again confirms our view : and we offer to him his 
own, making a corresponding profession of commu- 
nion and union, and acknowledging the resurrection 
of flesh and spirit. For as the bread which comes 
from the earth, receiving the invocation of God, is 
no longer common bread, but Eucharist, consisting 
of two things, an earthly and a heavenly, so also our 
bodies, partaking of the Eucharist, are no longer 
corruptible, having the hope of the resurrection to 
eternity. For we offer to him, not as though he 
needed, but giving thanks to his Divine Majesty, 
and sanctifying the work of his hands." 

To understand this passage more completely, it 
will be necessary to go back a little. Irenseus is 
showing, contrary to the Gnostic doctrine, that the 

avrov 7{>E(pOfJiivr}v ; q ri]v yriofxrjv aXXaLanoaav, rj to 7rpo(p£peiv ra 
dpi]/J.iva 7rapaLTsiadii)crav . 'iiijLwv ct av^^iovoc 7) yvw/j.?] rrj Evya- 
piariq, Kal i] evy^apLCTTia rursus iSejSaiol ri]i' yru)fJLr]v nostram : -po<r- 
(pepo/uev 3e avrw to. tcia, efXjjLtXwQ Kotvwviav Kal evuxtlp ciTrayyiX- 
Xovteq, Kal afxoXoyovPTEQ crapKoc Kal TTVEVfia-aQ eyepcriy. £lg yap 
and yfjg aprog 7rpoaXafj.j3av6jj.EyoQ rr)v ekkXiictlv rov Qeov, ovketl 
Kotvog aprog iarlv, aXX Evyapurria, ek cvo irpayfxarujy gvvegti)- 
Kv'ia, hnyeiov re Kal ovpaviov' ovtioc Kal ra awixara i\\xu)v fjiera- 
Xa^jjcivovra rf\g Evyapioriag, /j.i]ketl eivui cpdapra, n)v kX-ica rijg 
Eig al&vag avacrraaEwg 'kyovra. — 6. Ofierimus enim ei, non quasi 
indigenti, sed gratias agentes duminationi ejus, et sanctificantes 


Old and New Covenants emanate from one and the 
same God, adopting different methods at different 
periods of the world. He points out, therefore, that 
the offerings of the law of Moses were not intended 
to be permanent, and that, even under the law, God 
undervalued sacrifice as compared with obedience. 
He then goes on to affirm 4 that the prophecy of 
Malachi that sacrifices should cease, and that not- 
withstanding a pure offering should throughout the 
world be offered to the name of God, was fulfilled in 
the Eucharist ; for he informs us that Jesus, " in- 
structing his disciples to offer to God the first 
fruits of his creatures (not as though he needed, but 
that they might not be unfruitful or ungrateful), 
took the created thing, bread, and gave thanks, say- 
ing, * This is my body ;' and likewise the cup of the 
earthly creature he acknowledged as his blood, and 
taught them the new offering of the New Testa- 
ment; which the Church, receiving from the Apos- 
tles, offers throughout the world to God, — to him 

4 IV. xvii. 5. Sed et suis discipulis dans consilium primitias 
Deo offerre ex suis creaturis (non quasi indigenti, sed ut ipsi nee 
infructuosi nee ingrati sint), eum, qui ex creatura panis est, ac- 
cepit, et gratias egit, dicens: " Hoc est corpus meum;" et calicem 
similiter, qui est ex ea creatura quae est secundum nos, suum 
sanguinem confessus est, et novi Testamenti novam docuit obla- 
tionem ; quam ecclesia ab apostolis accipiens, in universo mundo 
offert Deo, — ei, qui alimenta nobis praestat, primitias suorum 


who affords us our sustenance, the first fruits of his 

Here we see very distinctly what is the offering 
which the Church offers in the Lord's Supper, viz. 
the creatures or elements of bread and wine, pre- 
sented as the first fruits of his gifts, and as a thank- 
offering to him for the rest 5 . 

The same idea appears again in a fragment edited 
by Pfaff 6 :— 

" For we offer to God the bread and the cup of 

5 Clement of Rome and Justin Martyr exhibit the same view, 
Clem. R. ad Corr. I. 40. ilavra ra^et ttoieIv 6({>EiXofAEv, oaa 6 
Aea7rurr]Q ettlteXeIv ekeXevvev' Kara Kaipovc reray/jiivovQ rag te urpoa- 
(popag rat XeiTOvpyiag kTZLriXeiadat. — And to show what kind of 
offering is spoken of in connection with the Xeirovpyia, take the 
following passage from § 44. 'A/j-apTta yap ov fxiicpa hjJ.1v earai, 
eav tovq a./j,ifjL7rT(og teal oviioq rrpocreveyKOVTag rd Biopa t?iq 'Exigko- 
wrjg a7ro(3aXu)[i£V. 

Justin is more express : Dial, cum Tryph. 41. Uepl Be twv kv 
Tcavrl T07ru) v(f ij/jLiov twv kdvwv Trpoatyepofj.ivis)v avruj dventiv, tovt- 


pioriaQ. And again § 117. "Oti /.iev ovv rat Evyai rat ev^apiariai 
vtto tu>v afywv yivdfievai riXeiaL jxovai KaX evapeaToi elan rw 0e« 
dvariaif rat avTog (prj/JiL' ravra yap flora rat Xptortavot TrapeXafiov 
7tole~ip, rat eV ava\ivi\aei he. rrjg Tpotyrjg avrivv fypag te rat i/ypag, 
kv rf /cat tov iraBovg o 7re7rovde Bi avrov 6 Qeog tov Qeov fiejJ.vrjTai. 

6 Irencei Scripta Anecdota, Frag. 2. p. 29. Aion rat fj irpoa- 
(}>opa rfjc £v%api(TTiag ovtc eoti aap/ct/c/) dXXa 7rvevfjiaTiKij, rat kv 
tovto) Kadapa. Tipo(T(pepofiev yap tm Gew tov dpTOV /cat to 


blessing, giving thanks to him, because he hath com- 
manded the earth to bring forth fruits for our use ; 
and then having performed the offering, we invoke 
the Holy Spirit that he would render this sacrifice, 
even the bread, the body of Christ, and the cup the 
blood of Christ ; so that those w r ho partake of these 
figures may obtain remission of sins and eternal life. 
Those, therefore, who bring these offerings with re- 
membrance of the Lord, make no approach to the 
opinions of the Jews, but, performing a spiritual ser- 
vice, shall be called children of wisdom." 

There is something more definite in this passage 
than in the allusions in the Treatise against the 
Heresies, but the spirit is precisely similar ; and it is 
remarkable, — more remarkable than where he is not 
professing to give details, that there is no mention 
of more than one offering, namely, that of the ele- 
ments, which, and which alone, are called by the 
name of Ovaia. 

7roTrjpiov Ttjg evXoyiag, ev^aptarovyreQ avrw, on ri\ yrj ekeXev- 
atv ek([)v<tui tovq KapTrovg tovtovq eiq Tpotyr/v rjfJLETEpav. KO.I 
evTavda tyjv 7rpo(T(f)opai> teXegolvteq EKKaXovfxev to Uvevfxa to 
aytor, ottioq dirotyyvri tyjv Qvaiav tuvttiv /cat tov dpTOv craijua tov 

XpiGTOV, KCtl TO 7TOTtjpiOV TO CUpX TOV XpiGTOV' "iVd 01 /J.£TClXd(3oVTEG 
TOVTiiiV TMV dvTLTV7T(OP TY\q d(j)E(TE<s)g T&V CLfXapTlG)V Kal Ttjg £(i)fJ£ 

alojyiov Tvyucriv. Ot ovv tclvtclq tclq Ttpoatyopag kv ttj dvcifivricrEi 
tov Kvpiov ayovTEQ oh To'ig t&v 'Iou^cu'wv doyfjuuri TtpoaipyovTai) 
dXXd 7TVEVfiaTiKWQ XeiTOvpyovi'Ttg Trjg ao(piag viol KXrjdrjffOPTai. 


When, however, we come back to the second pas- 
sage I have translated, we find one clause 7 in which 
there is a various reading, where those which are 
acknowledged to be the best MSS. speak of the 
Word (i. e. the personal Word, Jesus Christ regarded 
especially in his divine nature,) as offered to God in 
the Eucharist, and the Jews are affirmed to be in- 
capable of offering the oblation in it because they 
did not receive him. Now it is no doubt possible 
that Irenseus may have intended to speak of a spiri- 
tual offering up of our Lord with the oblation, i. e. 
of an offering of it in and through him ; but that is 
all that can be implied, for there is no hint whatever 
of the repetition of the sacrifice of atonement for 
the remission of sins. The only offering is before 
the invocation of the Holy Ghost ; and it is only 
after that invocation that the elements are to be 
regarded as the body and blood of Christ, capable of 
communicating remission of sins. If, therefore, ac- 
cording to him, there is any offering up of our Lord, 
it must be with the oblation of the material elements, 
to render that thank-offering acceptable. 

But there is another reading 8 which is more con- 
sonant with other passages, and therefore probably 
to be preferred ; viz. that which represents " the 

7 Judsei autem non offerunt : . . . . non enim receperunt Ver- 
buin quod offer tur Deo. See p. 182. 
8 Verbum, per quod offertur Deo. 


Word" as the Mediator or Propitiation through whom 
the oblation is made. We have that idea distinctly 
expressed in a former passage 9 , in which he speaks, 
in reference to this very text of Malachi, of the 
Church as offering through Jesus Christ ; and it is 
implied in the Fragment, in which he speaks of our 
offering these things "with remembrance (zv ry ava- 
nvi'iozi) of the Lord V 

But whichever reading we take, there is no foun- 
dation for the idea of a propitiatory sacrifice of Christ 
under the figure and appearance of the consecrated 

Both this latter quotation from the "Heresies" 
and the Fragment are opposed to the notion of any 
substantial change in the elements. The former 
speaks of the bread after consecration as " not com- 
mon bread, 5 ' implying that it is still bread, although 

9 IV. xvii. 6u Quoniam ergo nomen Filii proprium Patris est, 
et in Deo omnipotente per Jesum Christum offert Ecclesia, bene 
ait secundum utraque : " Et in omni loco incensum offertur 
nomini meo et sacrificum purum." Incensa autem Joannes in 
Apocalypsi orationes esse ait sanctorum. 

1 Justin Martyr again: {Dial. 117.) Hclptciq ovv 61 did tov 
ovofxarog tovtov dvaiag ag TrapiZu)Kf.v 'Irjcrovg 6 XpiGTog yivecrdai 
[7rpoa(f)tpov(TLv must be introduced either here or further on], 
rovriaTiv £7rt Trj ei^apior/a tov dprov /cat tov woTrjptov, Tcig kv 
tzclvtI t6tt(o TYJQ yfjg yivofievag V7r6 tCjv XpiaTtavtoi', 7rpoa\aj3(jjv 6 
Qeog /J.apTvpe~t evapiaTOvg xnrap\ety ai/rw. 


adapted to a sacred and mysterious use ; and as 
" consisting of two things, an earthly and a heavenly 2 " 
(meaning probably the elements themselves and the 
body and blood of Christ), whereas the notion of 
transubstantiation requires that there should be 
nothing of the earthly really left after the conse- 
cration. The fragment still more explicitly calls 
them figures at the very time that we partake of 
them. It is true that the view of Irenseus differs 
equally from ordinary Protestant notions, and indeed 
is more positive than that of the English Church ; 
bat we are to bear in mind that the Fathers did not 
always speak with logical accuracy. Their language 
has been brought forward in support of the theory 
of transubstantiation, and therefore it has become 
necessary to show that they did not write on that 
theory. It is not equally requisite that we should 
be able to construct a theory which shall explain all 
the figurative and imaginative language in which 
they expressed their faith in the real presence of 
Christ in the Sacrament. Irenseus certainly taught 
this doctrine, and that is enough for us of the Church 
of England, who do not concern ourselves to ex- 
plain the manner of his presence. Some of us may 
agree with his manner of expressing it, but we 
do not require of others that they should agree with 

2 IV. xviii. 5. See p. 184, note. 


We cannot complete our view of the opinions of 
Irenseus in regard to the Eucharist without advert- 
ing to his ideas on the consecration of the elements. 
This he describes in various ways, sometimes attri- 
buting it to the word of God 3 , sometimes to the 
invocation of God 4 : , sometimes to the invocation of the 
Holy Ghost 5 . But all these may be reconciled, if 
we consider them to be allusions to various portions 
of the consecration prayer. There is such a form 
left in the Apostolical Constitutions, with which all 
the four ancient liturgies exhibited by Brett and 
Palmer coincide, viz. the Roman, the Oriental, the 
Egyptian, and the Gallican. Now all these forms 
contain a recital of the words of institution, which 
may not unfitly be called the word of God, and an 
invocation of God to send down his Holy Spirit upon 
the gifts, to consecrate them to be the body and 
blood of Christ, which may be called either an invo- 
cation of God or an invocation of the Holy Ghost. Is 
it not therefore most probable that Irenseus alludes 
to this prayer, which must have been used in very 
early ages, for its leading features to be found thus 
spread throughout the world ? The expressions, 
therefore, which he uses, though various and distinct, 
are not contrary or contradictory: they allude to 
various portions of the same form. 

3 V. ii. 3. 4 IV. xviii. 5. 

5 See the Fragment, p. 186, note 6 . 


It is worthy of observation, however, that this 
attributing of the consecration to these different 
things is contrary to the modern doctrine of transub- 
stantiation, which attributes it to one and one only, 
viz. the recital of the words of institution : This is 
my body. This is my blood. 

There is another passage which proves that no 
transubstantiation was then thought of; viz. the 
fragment 6 , which appears likely to have been a part 
of the account of the persecutions at Lyons. We 
there read that the heathen tortured the slaves of 
some Christians, in order to extort from them some- 
thing which might serve as a colour for the severities 
they exercised upon them ; and that the slaves, " not 
knowing what to say to please their tormentors, 
except what they had heard from their masters, that 
the Holy Communion was the blood and body of 
Christ, and thinking that it was really flesh and 
blood, told this to those who were questioning them." 
Now it appears very clear that language such as 
this could scarcely have been used by a person who 
thought that the sacred elements had become really 
flesh and blood, which is the doctrine of transub- 
stantiation ; although it might be employed with per- 
fect consistency by those who believed in a real 
mysterious presence of them in the Holy Commu- 

<! See p. 72, note 9 . 


nion, without any change in the nature of the ele- 

Massuet 7 brings forward, in support of the doc- 
trine of transubstantiation, the fact that the Mar- 
cosians pretended, by magical rites, to effect a 
change of the wine into blood. As they professed 
to produce a substantial change, he infers that the 
Church must have really produced such a change. 
But the inference is far from being a sound one ; for 
as magical rites are invented to pander to the appe- 
tite of the ignorant for something supernatural, so 
it is most probable that a pretender of this descrip- 
tion, who wished to set up for something superior 
to the clergy, should profess to do something more 
wonderful than they ; that whereas they effected 
none but a mystical change, he should pretend to a 
literal one. And this no doubt is the history of 
transubstantiation. It is the attempt of unspiritual 
minds to raise the wonder of the sacred mysteries 
to the highest pitch, forgetful meanwhile of the spi- 
ritual objects of them. The doctrine is eminently 
a carnal doctrine. 

7 Diss. III. § .76. See the passage quoted below, p. 200, 
note 2 . 



Those scholastical discussions on the nature of justi- 
fication with which we have become familiar had 
not arisen when Irenseus wrote, and consequently 
we cannot expect him to speak with the precision 
to which we are accustomed. Still there are some 
principal points upon which, simply following the 
Scriptures, he is practically clear. 

He teaches, for instance, that men are not justified 
in themselves, but by the coming of Christ 1 , and 

1 IV. xxvii. 2. Quemadmodum enim illi (the Patriarchs and 
just men of old) non imputabant nobis incontinentias nostras, 
quas operati sumus, priusquam Christus in nobis manifestaretur ; 
sic et nos non est justum imputare ante adventum Christi his qui 
peccaverunt. Omnes enim homines egent gloria Dei; justifi- 
cantur autem non a semetipsis, sed a Domini adventu, qui inten- 
dunt (probably ol kcltclvoovixevoi ; see I. ii. 3, where the Old 
Translator renders Karavorjaatrap by cum intendisset) lumen ejus. 
Et illis quidem curatio et remissio peccatorum mors Domini fuit. 
— In IV. vi. 5. the opposite to intendunt lumen is fugiunt lumen. 


more explicitly, by the obedience of Christ 2 ; whence 
we may fairly conclude that he would place the 
meritorious cause of justification in Christ: and as he 
connects justification with remission of sins 3 , and 
remission of sins with the cross and death of Christ 4 , 
he would no doubt trace our justification to the 
death of Christ on the cross. 

In the same general manner he teaches that faith 
justifies man 5 , speaking particularly of Abraham, to 

2 III. xviii. 7. Oportebat enim eum qui inciperet occidere 
(JnroK-avviv fxiXXrj — occisurus esset) peccatum, et mortis reum 
redimere hominem, id ipsum fieri quod erat ille, id est, hominem : 
qui a peccato quidem in servitium tractus fuerat, a morte vero 
tenebatur, ut peccatum ab homine interficeretur, et homo exiret a 
morte. "iioTrtp yap dta rijg -rrapaKofjg tov kvog avQpuirov, tov 7rpw- 
rwg lie yrjg dvEpyaoTov itEirXaa fxivov, a.fxapro)\o\ KaTEffTadrjaav ol 
7roX\oi, kcu dirifiaXov rrjv £<u?/v" ovriog eSei Kal $i v7raKof}Q ei>6q 
dvQpojirov, tov 7rp<jjT(i)g ek napdivov yEyEprjfjLEVOV, BiKaujjOfjpai 7roX- 
Xovg Kal dTToXaf^Elv rifv awTripiav. Sic igitur Verbum Dei homo 
factus est. 

3 IV. xxvii. 2. 

4 Ibid, et V. xvii. 3. Uti quemadmodum per lignum facti 
sumus debitores Deo, per lignum accipiamus nostri debiti remis- 

5 IV. v. 5. Propheta ergo cum esset Abraham, et videret in 
Spiritu diem adventus Domini et passionis dispositionem, per 
quem ipse quoque et omnes qui, similiter ut ipse credidit, cre- 
dunt Deo salvari inciperent (<7w£eo-0ai jiiXXioaL — salvandi essent), 
exsultavit vehementer. Non incognitus igitur erat Dominus 
Abrahae, cujus diem concupivit videre : sed neque Pater Domini ; 
didicerat enim a Verbo Domini, et credidit ei : quapropter et 
deputatum est ei ad justitiam a Domino. Fides enim, quae est 



whom he attributes faith in Christ. He appears 
likewise to express faith, in another passage, by 
attending to the light of Christ 6 ; but as the pas- 
sage does not exist in the Greek, we cannot be quite 
certain what is its real meaning. Now although he 
says here that faith justifies, and elsewhere that our 
faith is our own 7 , because it springs from our own 
will and choice, yet it is plain, from the previous 
paragraph, that he simply means that faith is the 
qualification for justification. 

Again, where Irenaeus says that man is justified 
by the moral law, which those who were justified by 
faith before the giving of the Law observed 8 ; and 
again, quoting the text : " Offer unto God the sacri- 
fice of praise, and pay thy vows unto the Most 
High ; and call upon me in the day of trouble, and 
I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me ;" de- 
clares that God rejected the sacrifices and cere- 
monies by which the Jews thought to obtain remis- 
sion of sins, and taught them these things (contained 

ad Deum altissimum, justificat hominetn ; et propter hoc dicebat : 
" Extendam manum meam ad Deum altissimum, qui constituit 
coelum et terram." 

6 IV. xxvii. 2, supra. 

7 IV. xxxvii. 5. Et non tantum in operibus sed etiam in fide 
liberum et suae potestatis arbitrium hominis servavit Dominus, 
dicens : " Secundum fidem tuam fiet tibi ;" propriam fidem ho- 
minis ostendens, quoniam propriam habet sententiam. 

8 IV. xiii. 1. See p. 117, note \ 


in that text) by which man is justified, and draws 
nigh to God 9 : in these passages Irenseus no doubt 
intends to say nothing more or less than St. James 
does where he declares that man is justified by works. 
If any one regards Irenseus as contradicting the true 
doctrine of justification by faith, he must conceive 
that St. James equally contradicts it ; and the same 
considerations which explain St. James will equally 
explain Irenseus. 

I may remark, moreover, in a matter confessedly 
not admitting of absolute demonstration, that Ire- 
nseus appears to use justification in what is com- 
monly called the forensic sense, and as taking its date 
from the act of the soul, by which it receives and 
embraces the divine light, and as being kept up and 
renewed by acts of thanksgiving and calling upon 

9 IV. xvii. 1. Deinde ne quis putet, propterea quod irasceretur, 
eum recusare hsec (i. e. the sacrifices of the Law), infert, consi- 
lium ei dans : " Immola Deo sacrificium laudis et redde Altis- 
simo vota tua ; et invoca me in die tribulationis tuae, et eripiam 
te, et glorificabis me :*' ilia quidem, per quae putabant peccantes 
propitiari Deum, abnuens ; haec autem, per quae justificatur homo 

et appropinquat Deo, hortatur et admonet. He elsewhere 

(IV. vi. 5.) affirms that " to believe in Christ is to do his will." 
Et ad hoc Filium revelavit Pater, ut per eum omnibus manifes- 
tetur, et eos quidem qui credunt ei justi [justos illos qui ei cre- 
dunt] in incorruptionem et in aeternum refrigerium recipiat (cre- 
dere autem ei est facere ejus voluntatem) ; eos autem, qui non 
credunt, et propter hoc fugiunt lumen ejus, in tenebras quas ipsi 
sibi elegerint juste recludet. 


God and dependence upon him, and observance of 
the moral law. But I have no wish to insist con- 
troversially upon these conclusions. 



The object of the Great Treatise of Irenseus, which 
is almost the whole that remains to us of his writings, 
being to refute doctrinal error, things of a ceremonial 
and ritual nature can be introduced only incidentally. 
It is interesting however to trace those fragments 
of the external system of the Church which have 
dropped from the pen of the writer whilst thinking 
chiefly of other matters. 

We find then that he alludes to the command- 
ments of God as being ten in number, and as being 
divided into two tables l : but he asserts, conform- 
ably to the opinion of Josephus 2 and Philo 3 , that 

1 II. xxiv. 4. Unaquseque tabula, quarn accepit a Deo, prae- 
cepta habebat quinque. 

2 Antiq. III. vi. 5. Tag ()vo TrXaicag, kv aig rovg dim \6yovg 
(Tvyyeypatydai ffVfxfieflriiCEi, am ttevte jjle.v tig eKaripav, 

3 De Decalogo, cited by Feuardent in loco. 


each table contained five commandments. On the 
other hand Hesychius 4 , Origen 5 , Ambrose 6 , and 
Procopius 7 reckon them as we do. The division 
into three and five, followed by the Roman Church, 
does not appear earlier than Augustine 8 . There is 
however sufficient diversity to prevent our insisting 
much on our division. It must be observed, how- 
ever, that Josephus 9 and (I believe) Philo reckon the 
commandments individually exactly as we do, and 
not as the Romanists. 

We have several allusions to the form observed 
at the Holy Communion. We find that the cup 
contained water mixed with wine 3 ; that a form of 
invocation was used, which the heretics imitated 2 ; 
that the term tvyapiGTea) (to give thanks) had become 

4 Cited by Feuardent. 

5 Horn. 8. in cap. xx. Exodi, cited by Massuet in loco. 

6 Cited by Feuardent. 7 Cited ibid. 

8 Qucest. 71. in Exodum, cited ibid. 9 Antiq. III. v. 5. 

1 IV. xxxiii. 2. Dominus accipiens panem, suura 

corpus esse confitebatur, et temperamentum calicis suura san- 
guinem confirmavit. 

V. ii. 3. Kal to KsKpafjLevov 7roTi)piov Kul 6 yEyovibg dprog etti- 
oiyErai rov \6yov rov Qeov, Kal yivErai r] EvyapiG-La ffu>fJ.a Xpiarov' 
ek tovtuv Se av^ei /ecu avviaTarai ?/ rrjc aapKog y/j.wi> v7r6aTa<jic. 

2 I. xiii. 2. Ylorijpia d"ivu) KEKpafAEva 7rpocnroiOvnEvog Evya- 

piGTElV) Kal ETTL TtXeOV EKTEIV0)V TOV \6yOV TJJQ E7TLK.\i]<T£(t)C, 7TOp(pV- 

pea Kal epvQpa avatyaivecOat 7tole~l' (He is speaking of Marcus, 
the Gnostic) we cWetv ti)v cnrb tojv virep ra 6\a Xapip to alfj.a 
to kavrfjc oto-'Ceiv ev rio eke'ivm noTripiu) Sia rrjg E7riK\ii(TEU)g avrov. 


technical, and signified to consecrate 3 ; that the ex- 
pression for ever and ever occurred in the Eucha- 
ristical form 4 , which shows that a settled form had 
become customary in his time ; and that Christians 
sounded Amen all together 5 . The Eucharist was 
sent from one bishop to another, in token of com- 
munion and amity 6 . 

We find, too, that the same pharisaical spirit, 
which now keeps many from communion, because 
others come to it in hypocrisy, had the selfsame 
effect in his time 7 . 

There seems, in some of the practices of the 
Cfiiostics, to have been an imitation of the anointing 
at baptism or confirmation practised in the Church s . 

There are several allusions to the practice of pub- 

3 Ibid. 

4 I. iii. 1. 'AXXd cai 7/«a£ ettI -ijc ev\a pi ariac, XiyovruQ* Etc; 
aiwvag tGjv alwiojy r. r. A. 

5 I. xiv. 1. to 'Au/)v ofuov Xeyovrojv )/pv ic. r. A. 

6 Fragm. iii. See p. 45, note 4 . 

7 III. xi. 9. Infelices vere, qui pseudoprophetae quidem esse 
volunt, propheticam vero gratiam repellunt ab ecclesia ; similia 
patientes his qui, propter eos qui in hypocrisi veniunt, etiam a 
fratrura communicatione se abstinent. 

8 I. xxi. 3. Kcu Taiira fj,ev ETriKiyovaiv ol avrol teXouvtei;* 6 
ce tete\eohevoq InroKplvETaC 'TLoTijpiy/JLai /ecu XeAurpwucu k. t. A. — 
"E7T£t7a \xvpiCovai tov tete\eg\.ievov r« 07rw rw airo fidkaafiov' 
to yap fxvpov tovto tvttov rJ/C virep tu o\a EvwSiag eivcu Xiyovaiv. 4 


lie confession and penance, as a customary and esta- 
blished part of discipline. In some cases it was 
voluntary 9 . 

It was the established custom not to kneel in 
prayer on the Lord's day, or during the whole season 
from Easter to Whitsuntide, which was called Pen- 
tecost \ 

9 I. xiii. 5. "Ort he tytXrpa /cat ay toy ifxa, npog to /cat toIq atofxa- 
aiv avTwv evv(3pi£eiv, efjnroLei ovTog 6 Mcip/coe; eviaig tcov yvvaiKiov, 
el /cat fir) 7rdaaig, avrat 7roXXcucig et: iffrpe\paaaL elg rr\v eKKXr\alav 
tov Qeov e^ioLioXoyrjaavro, /cat /caret to (Tojfia r)^peiiocrdai vir clvtov, 
/cat epcoriKcog ircivv clvtov Tre(pi\r}Keva.i' ware /cat diaicovov Tiva tlov 
ev rfj 'Acta tcov rijieTepiov, vTrohe^dcievov clvtov elg tov oikov clvtov, 
7repi7reae~iv TavTy Trj avLityopcj., Trjg yvvaiKog clvtov eiiechovg virap- 
^ovarjg, /cat ttjv yvioLir}v /cat to atOLia hiaipdapeicrrjg into tov Liayov 
tovtov, iced ikcLKoXovdyffdarig avrw 7roXXw tw 'xpova). exeiTa, iieTa 
ttoXXov Koirov tlov aheXcpLov eTriaTpex^avTcov, aiiTr) tov dVavra %po- 
vov e^ofxoXoyovfxevr) hieTeXeae, Trevdovaa /cat dprjvovtra e(p r] eiraOev 

V7TO tov fidyov Sia<j)dop<}. III. iv. 3. Kephiov he 6 npo Mao- 

icitovog, /cat avTog €7rt 'Yyivov, og r)v evarog eiriaKOTrog, elg ty\v e/c- 
icXrjoiav eXdcov, /cat e&LioXoyovLievog, ovTiog hieTeXeffe, iroTe Lcev 
XadpohdaaKaXiov, ttote he ttclXlv ecflLcoXoyovLievog, 7tote he eXey- 
yoLievog k<j> oig ehihatrice iccuaog, Kal altera a evoe; Trjg tlov aheXtpdv 

1 Fragm. vii. To he ev Kvpianrj fir) icXlveLv yovv, ltvli(3oX6v 
effTi Trjg avaoTaaecog, hC rig Trj tov Xptarov yapLTL, tcov re aLiapTr)- 
llcltlov /cat tov eV ctvTiov TeQcLvcLTioLiEVov Qclvcltov rjXevdepiodrjfxev. 
'E/c tcov cltto(ttoXlku)V he yjiovLov r) TOiavTrj crvvrjdeta eXafie rrjv 
apxfiv' tcadojg §r\GLv 6 Lia.Ka.piog JLlpyvalog, o LidpTvp /cat eTriaKOTrog 
Aovyhovvov, ev Tip 7repl tov ETao-^a Xoyio' ev to LieLivr\Tai /cat nepl 
rrjg IlevTyicoaTrjg, ev y ov KXivoLiev yovv, eneihr) laohwaLLel Trj 
rj/j-epa. Trjg Kvpiaicrjg, /caret ti)v prjde~icrav irepl avrrjg alrlav. This 
is a quotation from the Qucestiones et Responsiones ad Oriho- 


A fast before Easter was generally observed, but was 
of unequal duration, according to the choice of those 
who observed it 2 . The passage of Irenams has been 
introduced into the great controversy between those 
who assert the apostolical antiquity of the forty days' 
season of abstinence, and those who deny it. In 
this country our great divines have taken different 
sides ; Beveridge 3 , Patrick 4 , and Hooper 5 uphold- 

doxos, formerly attributed to Justin Martyr, § 115. We learn 
from Basil the great, (de Spirilu Sancto, 27.) that the whole 
space from Easter to Whitsunday was called Pentecost. 

2 Frag. iii. Ov yap \xovov ttedI rijg yfiipag eotIv y\ a[i(pi<j(3ri- 
rncng, dXXa Kal tteoI tov ei^ovg avrov Trjg vnaTEiag' ol fxlv yap 
oiovrai fxiay ijjjLipav Sely avTOvg vvo-teveiv' ol Be Bvo, ol Be Kal 
7r\eiovag' ol Be reaaapaKovra wpag fifiepivag te Kal vvKTEpivag 
ffv/JLfXETpovat Trjv fifiipav avriov. Kai roiavrr) p.Ev noiKiXia twv ettl- 
TnpovvTMv, ov vvv E(f if/Jiiov yEyovvia, dXXa Kal noXv irporEpov 
ettI rijbv irpb vptiv, tu>v 7rapa to aKpipEg, u>g EiKog, KpaTOvvTiov, 
Ttjv Kad* cnrXoTrjTa Kal iBiiOTifffxoy ovvr]QEiav Eig to fiETEirEiTa 
7TE7roii]K6TU)v. Kal ovBev eXcittov iravTEg ovroi EiprjvEvaay te, Kal 
EtpnvEvofjLEV 7rpog dXXr]Xovg' Kal r) Biatyiovia Trjg vqaTEiag ty\v 
ofxovoiav Trjg izioTEiog ovvLvTncn. 

3 Beverigii Annotationes in Canones Apostolicos. In Can. lxix. 
Tr)v ayiav TEoaapaKQOTrjV. 

Codices quibus usus est Valesius, eodem modo, quo nos jam 

transcripsimus, legunt atque interpungunt. Et huic 

quidem lectioni favit ?ivvo\pig Trjg EvayyEXiKrjg laTopiag, in quam 
Beatus Rhenanus in praef. ad Ruffinum se incidisse refert, ubi 
haec Irenaei verba sic citantur, seu potius explicantur : Ol jiev 
yap fx'iav fiovov r)fxipav evi]gtevov, ol Be Bvo, ol Be 7rXEiovag' ol Be 

4 Of Fasting in Lent, ch. xvi. p. 143. 

5 Discourse of Lent, Part I. ch. 3. 


ing it, and Morton 6 , Taylor \ and Bingham 8 deny- 
ing it. This passage might appear to be decisive, 

fi wpag fxovag rjfiepivag /cat WKrepivag, topav avrt >/jU€pag, vrjffrev- 
ovteq. Quod etiam observatum est a doctissimo nostro Petro 
Gunning jam episcopo Cicestriensi in appendice ad tractatum de 
paschali jejunio. Verum multa sunt quae huic lectioni refra- 
gantur. Ut alia omittam, quis miri hujus jejunii quadraginta 
horis commensurati, e veteribus praesertim, meminit ? Quadra- 
ginta dierum jejunio nihil in antiquis scriptoribus frequentius 
occurrit; at de quadraginta horarum jejunio altum iis silentium. 
Porro aliud quoque in his verbis, sic interpunctis, seque si non 
magis inauditum observare licet, diem viz. quadraginta horis 
diurnis ac nocturnis commensuratum. Quo nihil absurdius ex- 
cogitari potest : ac proinde Valesius pro rjfjiepav substituendum 
putat viqareiav, lit non dies, sed jejunium quadraginta horis com- 
mensuretur. Hanc autem violenter introductam verborum com- 
mutationem contra unanimem omnium codicum consensum docti 
nunquam admittent ; praecipue cum e verbis ipsis, ut in omnibus 
codicibus leguntur, et in nonnullis distinguuntur, verior et ec- 
clesiae primitives ritibus magis consonus sensus elucescat : nimi- 
rum Johannes Christophorsonus et Henricus Savilius hunc Irenaei 

locum sic distinxerunt ; recraapakovra. &pag re rjfiepivag 

Kcu vvKrepivag avjifierpovai rr)v rjfxepav avrCov. Sic etiam legit et 
distinxit olim Ruffinus, qui sic vertit : " Quidam enim putant 
uno tantum die observari debere jejunium, alii duobus, alii 
vero pluribus, nonnulli etiam quadraginta ; ita ut horas diurnas 
nocturnasque computantes diem statuant." Quibus verbis nihil 
aliud indigitatur, quam quod hi uno, illi duobus, alii pluribus, 
nonnulli etiam quadraginta diebus jejunarunt ; omnes autem 
unamquamque diem, quam jejunii peregerunt, per nocturnas 
aeque ac diurnas horas emensi sunt ; ut nulla hora vel diei vel 
noctis, usque ad numeri dierum, quos sibi constituerant, exitum, 
jejunium solverent. Contra hanc expositionem H. Valesius duo 
objicit : primo, quod hinc necessario consequetur, eos qui xl dies 
jejunabant, toto illo tempore nihil prorsus comedisse, quando- 



if we could be sure of the punctuation, but unhap- 
pily Ruffinus pointed it differently from all the 
MSS. of Eusebius and, I believe, Nicephorus : for 
he introduces a stop after TtaaapaKovra, which makes 
Irenacus distinctly affirm that in his time some fasted 
forty days, whereas the common reading makes them 
fast only forty successive hours 9 . 

quidem horas tarn diurnas quam nocturnas jejunio deputabant. 
Respondeo, nihil minus quam hoc ex dicta expositione consequi : 
in jejuniis enim celebrandis, pryesertim hoc paschali, non ab 
omni prorsus alimento, ut cuique notum est, sed a carnibus tan- 
tum vel aliis fortasse nonnullis ciborum generibus abstinebant ; 
at reliquis vesci licebat. Hoc egregie confirmatur ex concil. 
Laod. can. 50, quo dicitur eel Truaay t))v reaaapaKoffrrii' vx]OTtvtiv 
^r/joo^ayouvrag. Hie enim per totam quadragesimam, ac proinde 
nocturnas aeque ac diurnas horas, jejunare praecipitur ; et tamen 
aridis vesci permittitur ; vel potius per istius modi fypoyayiav, 
sive aridorum esum, totum hoc quadragesimale jejunium celebrari 
constituitur. Alterum, quod objicit, est, quod cum Irenseus 
dixerit, alios uno die, alios biduo, alios vero pluribus diebus 
jejunare, quid necesse est addere alios 40 dies jejunare, cum in 
eo quod plures dies dixit, quadraginta satis comprehendantur. 
Respondeo, quod etiamsi nonnullos plures quam duos dies je- 
junare dixerat, non tamen superfluum erat, eorum etiam, qui xl 
dies jejunabant, mentionem facere. Cum enim a minimo jejunio, 
viz. unius diei, inceperit, quidni in maximum quoque expresse 
desineret, ut maximus viz. dierum numerus, quern quispiam in 
jejuniis observabat, aeque ac minimus innotesceret ? 

6 Catholick Appeal, II. 24. p. 304. 

7 Ductor Dubitantium, III. 4. p. 631. 

8 Antiquities, XXI. i. 2. 

9 Post TEcrcrapaKovra interpungunt Christophorsonus, Savilius, 
Strothius, praeeunte Ruffino, nulla codicum auctoritate. Totum 
locum ol $e. . . . . avraiy uno tenore sine interpunctura legunt 


It would be impossible to do justice to the subject 
without entering fully into the arguments on both 
sides ; and therefore I will confine myself to an obser- 
vation or two on the text of Irenseus. Let us then 
look at the passage according to the two methods of 
punctuation ; and we shall find Irenaeus affirming 
according to one that those who fasted any number 
of days, from one to forty, reckoned the hours both 
of day and of night into their day; or according to 
the other that some fasted one day, some two, some 
more ; and that some reckoned forty hours of day 
and night into their day. Now that any persons 
could fast forty successive days, both day and night, 
abstaining from food all the time, cannot be ima- 
gined : and if they did not abstain from food all the 
time of their fast, the mention of its continuance 
day and night would be unmeaning. 

To this argument the reply of Beveridge, as may 
be seen in note 3 , is, that no fast was kept strictly 
throughout the twenty-four hours by total abstinence 
from food : and he quotes the 50th Canon of Lao- 

C. F. Virgulam post ol ds, item post vvicTEpivag, ponunt Steph. 
A : eandem post wpag ponunt B. D. Nicephorus fi' pro reaaapa- 
kovtcl legit, quod alterutri interpretationi favere posset : — re post 
ilfiepivag om. Steph. Slroth. A. E : — alg post vvKTEpivag add. 
M. Grut. Cast. — u>pag re legit c. — Burton in loco, in the last 

Oxford edition of Eusebius. C. and E. are of the tenth 



dicea to show that the Lent fast was nothing more 
than abstaining from flesh, &c. and living upon dry 
food. But, with deference to so great a name, 
this is but begging the question. The Canon of 
Laodicea only shows what the Church required, not 
what individuals practised. And Grabe l (on this 
passage) has proved that there were anciently two 
kinds of strict fasts observed in the last week of 
Lent ; one of abstinence from all food till the eve- 
ning, and then eating nothing but bread and salt 
accompanied with pure water ; the other, practised 
by the more zealous, of holding over one, two, three, 
four, or six days, till the cock-crowing on Easter- 

1 Ol fxev yap oiovrcti, &c. Similiter Saec. III. Dionysius 
Alexandrinus de jejunii Ante-Paschalis differentia scripsit in 
Epistola ad Basilidem. MrjBe rdg eE, tu>v vrjareiiov fj/jiepag 'iaiog, 
fj.r)Be bfxo'noQ iravreg Biafievovcrtv' a\\' ol fiev kox irdcrag virepriQe- 
acriv, acriTOt BtaTeXovvreg, ol Be Bvo, ol Be rpelg, ol Be Tevaapag, ol 
Be ovBefxiav. Et Epiphanius in Expositione fidei Catholicae, 
libris contra Haereses subnexa, postquam de jejunio quartae et 
sextae feriae, et Quadragesimali dixerat, ad jejunium Ante-Pas- 
chale, quod in Canonibus Timothei Alexandrini vocatur, r/ vr\- 
areia tov 7rdax a i progreditur, aitque fideles per hebdomadam 
Pascha prascedentem solo pane et aqua vesci ad vesperam, et 
addit: 'AWa Kal ol ckovBoIol BnrXag Kal rpnrXag Kal rerpairXag 
vwepTtdeaai, Kal oXrjv tt]v ef]Bofj.dBa nveg a^pig dXeicr pv 6 vo)v fcXay- 
yijg TTJg Kvpiaicrjg ex KpiocrKovarjg. In quibus v-rrepQeaig et v?j- 
areia distinguuntur : et jejunare quidem dicuntur, qui post abs- 
tinentiam totius diei vespere tenui fruuntur cibo ; V7repridii^ai 
vero, qui nee vespera ullam sumunt refectionem, sed omnino 
abstinent, sive una, sive pluribus diebus, usque ad terminum 
jejunii, Paschale scilicet mane, quod a galli cantu incipit. 


day. Both Grabe and Bingham 2 agree (what indeed 
appears self-evident) that there is no meaning in 
words, if these persons did not remain in total ab- 
stinence during this whole time ; for what extra- 
ordinary zeal could there be in their practice, if they 
broke their fast in the evening, as others did. 

If, on the other hand, we suppose the fast to have 
been one of forty hours, commencing from the hour 
in which Jesus gave up the ghost, and terminating 
with that of his resurrection, there is then a suf- 
ficient reason for mentioning that the fast continued 
day and night ; it becomes a thing within the reach 
of probability ; and the period is a very natural one 
for those persons to choose who felt themselves 
equal to it. At the time in which the Apostolical 
Constitutions were written, it was enjoined on 
Christians 3 to fast the Friday and Saturday, if pos- 
sible ; if not, at least on the Saturday : and in either 
case it appears that they were not to break their fast 
till the first cock-crowing ; i. e. in all probability, 
on Easter day. 

Leaving, then, other sources of controversy on 

2 Antiquities, XXI. i. 25, 

3 Constit. A post. V. 18. T^ TrapaaKevriv kou to (Taj3(3ciTov 6\6- 
KXqpov vrjffrevaare, olg Zvva^ig Trpocrean TOiavrr\ % fi-qBevoQ yevofie- 
i'ol juf/^piQ d\EKTopo(j)U)viag vvktoq' el hi rig dhvyarei rag Svo 
(Tvva7TTi.iv 6fj.ov f (pvXaffffiadio kqv to aapparov. 


either side, the text itself appears to supply the 
strongest evidence in favour of the punctuation of 
the MSS. How that of Ruffinus arose, we are not 
absolutely concerned to say : but when the practice 
of the more lengthened fast had become established 
in the Church, it might easily lead to understanding 
the words of Irenaeus in such a manner as to give it 
primitive authority. 

But even supposing the fast of forty days to have 
been kept by some persons in the age of St. Ignatius, 
this does not prove that practice to have originated 
in the apostles, as Irenaeus gives equally high author- 
ity for the shorter fasts of one, two, or several days. 
All, therefore, that would be proved by the language 
of Irenaeus (taking it in this sense) is that in the 
time of Ignatius a fast was kept before Easter, and 
that Christians were left to their own discretion as 
to the length of it. Chrysostom indeed expressly 
says 3 , that the fast of forty days was not ordained 

3 Chrysost. Contra Judceos, III. § 4. p. 611. Tivog ovv evekev 
vr)aT£vofitv, (pnai, rag TEaaapaKovra ravrag ijfxkpag ; IToXXot to 
7raXat6v ro~ig fxvarrqpioig 7rpo(rrjeaay cnrXu>g Kal wg 'irv^e, Kal fid- 
Xiara Kara top tcaipov tovtov, Ka§" ov 6 Xpurrog avra irapeSioKe. 
2uvft^oree ovv ol irarkpeg ri)v fiXafinv rrjv yivo\xkvr\v ek ryjg >7/i£- 
Xrjfxivng irpoaodov, avreXdopreg krviziocrav f]/J.ipctg TEaaapaKovra 
vrjcTTEiatg, Evyjibv, aKpodaeiocy avvoouv' tv kv raig fjfiepaig ravraig 
KaQapQkvTeg \jlet atcpifDetag cnravrEg Kal di evyjjbv, Kal Bi kXer}}xoav' 
vng, Kal dia vrjarEiag, Kal Sia Travvvyjluv, Kal £ta SaKpvojy, Kal Et 
k^OfjLoXoyy)<reu)g, Kal Sta tCov clXXojv a.7ravTb)V, ovtoj Kara Zvvafiiv 
tijv ij/jLerkpav fxera Kadapov ovvEilorog 7rpo(ri.u)fiev. 



until the mass of Christians had come to communi- 
cate only on Easter day, and that without suitable 
devotion, and that the fast and other devotional 
exercises were appointed, to prepare them for the 
Communion on Easter day. 

Very little more remains to be observed under 
this head. 

Irenseus likewise is, I believe, the first writer who 
uses the term wapoiKia to signify the district under 
the superintendence of a bishop 4 . And it is in- 
teresting that the selfsame term which we now use 
to distinguish ourselves from separatists was in use 
in his age, namely, that of Churchmen 5 . And that 
was perfectly natural, for the Church had a name 
from the beginning, but its attribute of Catholicism 
or Universality, as distinguished from the confined 
locality of schisms and heresies, was not observed 
till afterwards ; and therefore the name of Catholic 
was posterior to that of Churchman. 

4 Fragm. iii. See p. 45, note *. 

5 III. xv. 2. Hi enira ad multitudinem, propter eos qui sunt 
ab ecclesia, quos communes ecclesiasticos ipsi dicunt, inferunt 
sermones per quos capiunt simpliciores. 



Oxe of the greatest difficulties to modern readers in 
the history of the primitive Church is the state of 
feeling and opinion on the subject of the Sabbath. 
We have been in the habit of arguing from the 
primitive institution of a holy day (which we have 
called a sabbath), and of viewing the Lord's day as 
answering to it ; and if w T e may judge by the lan- 
guage of the earliest writers, they did not consider 
the Lord's day as intended to be a sabbath in itself, 
although some of them regarded it as being ap- 
pointed instead of the Sabbath l . Irenaeus certainly 

1 Bingham, Antiquities, XX. ii. 3. " St. Austin, or whoever was 
the author of the Sermons de Tempore, {Horn. 251, de Tempore, 
T. 10, p. 307.) says, ' The Apostles transferred the observation 

of the Sabbath to the Lord's day.' " Clement of Alexandria 

gives indications of the same idea, where he says that " to all 
appearance the eighth day is likely to become the proper seventh 
day, and the seventh the sixth: so that the former will be 
the proper sabbath, and the seventh a working day." — 

p 2 


viewed the institution of the Sabbath as entirely 
Mosaical, and thought that Abraham and the patri- 
archs before the Law did not keep it 2 . 

It must not, however, be thence hastily concluded 
that he believed that Abraham and the patriarchs 
knew nothing of the seventh day as a day of divine 
worship. The primary and leading idea of a sab- 
bath, properly so called, is (not holiness but) rest ; 
that is, abstinence from any employment that can be 
construed into labour. Now Irenseus might very 
well deny that the Patriarchs kept a day of rest 
from all employment, without in any degree in- 
tending to deny that they devoted the seventh day 
especially to religious worship. 

An illustration of my meaning will be found in 
the admission of Justin Martyr, that Christians did 
not keep the Sabbath 3 , coupled with the well-ascer- 
tained fact 4 , that a very large proportion of them 

Ku'cvvevEi yap r] jikv oydodg eftdofidg elvai Kvplwg, k^dg Se fj eJ3So- 
fidg Kara ye ru EfJMJxivsg' ical r] jiev icvpiwg eIvcll (rdfifiarov, kpyd- 
Tig Se rf epSo/jag. 

2 IV. xvi. 2. See p. 119, note 4 . See also Justin Martyr, 
Dial, cum Tryph. 19. 27. 43. 

3 Dial, cum Tryph. 10. He represents Tryphon charging the 
Christians with neglecting circumcision, the feasts, and the sab- 
bath ; which charge he admits, and argues against the necessity of 

* Bingham's Antiquities, XX. iii. 1. 


indeed were in the habit of attending divine service 
on the seventh day. Perhaps a still closer illustra- 
tion is seen in the Canons of the Council of Laodi- 
cea, which expressly forbid Christians to keep the 
Sabbath like Jews 5 , and at the same time direct 
the Eucharistic offering to be made on that day as 
well as on the Lord's clay 6 . If then many of the 
early Christians devoted a portion of the Saturday 
statedly to public religious exercises, and yet did not 
consider themselves as keeping a sabbath, it would 
be very unsafe to infer from the assertion that the 
Patriarchs did not keep the Sabbath, that therefore 
they had no day of religious worship. In fact it 
seems scarcely possible that the division and num- 
bering of the days by sevens could have been kept 
up, as we know it was 7 , before the giving of the 
Law, without some religious observance connected 
with it. 

Although, then, Irenaeus did not regard the Mo- 
saical Sabbath as being observed before the giving of 
the Law, and consequently regarded it as abolished 
with the Law, yet as he has asserted that the moral 

Can. 29. "On ov Bel Xpianavovg 'Iovda'i£eiv, icai kv rw 
<ra/3/3aVw ary(o\d^eLV ) aXXa kpyd^eadat clvtovq kv rrj avrrj yfxepq.' 
rrjv Be KvptaKrjv 7rport{i(vvTeg, e'iye Bvvaivro, cr-^oXd^etv wq Xpiort- 
avoi. el Be evpedelev 'loi^cuorcu, eerojarav avadefia izapd Xptorw. 

Can. 49. "On ov Bel rrj reaaapaKOffry dprov Trpoacpipeiv, el fxt) 
kv 2a/3/3ci7-w Ka\ KvptaKy fxovov. 
7 Gen. viii. 10. 12. xxix. 27. 


law or decalogue was observed before Moses, and 
implies that we are not at liberty to reject it 8 , it is 
very certain that he must have conceived the fourth 
commandment to be in some sense or other a di- 
rectory to Christians : and it may therefore be in- 
quired what he conceived ought to be learnt from it. 
This may in some degree be gathered from his say- 
ing that the Sabbath, like the whole Jewish Law, 
was symbolical, and that it was intended to teach 
men to serve God every day, and to typify the 
kingdom of God, when whosoever has persevered 
in godliness shall partake of his table 9 . For he 
believed that the world was destined to endure in 

8 See pp. 118, 119. 

9 IV. xvi. 1. Hoc idem de sabbatis Ezechiel Propheta ait: 
11 Et sabbata mea dedi eis, ut sint in signo inter me et ipsos, ut 
sciant quoniam ego Dominus, qui sanctifico eos." Et in Exodo 
Deus ait ad Moysem : " Et sabbata mea observabitis : erit enim 
signum apud me vobis in generationes vestras." In signo ergo 
data sunt hsec : non autem sine symbolo erant signa, id est, sine 
argumento, neque otiosa, tanquam quae a sapiente Artifice daren- 
tur ; sed secundum carnem circumcisio circumcisionem signiflca- 
bat spiritalem. Etenim " nos," ait Apostolus, " circumcisi sumus 
circumcisione non manufacta." Et Propheta ait : " Circumcidite 
duritiam cordis vestri." Sabbata autem perseverantiam totius 
diei [i. e. omni tempore. See below] erga Deum deservitionis edo- 
cebant. " iEstimati enim sumus," ait Apostolus Paulus, " tota 
die ut oves occisionis ;" scilicet consecrati, et ministrantes omni 
tempore fidei nostras, et perseverantes ei, et abstinentes ab omni 
avaritia, non acquirentes, nee possidentes thesauros in terra. 
Manifestabatur autem et tanquam de [post] ea quae facta sunt 
requietio Dei ; hoc est, Regnum, in quo requiescens homo ille 
qui perseveraverit Deo adsistere, participabit de mensa Dei. 


its present state as many thousands of years as the 
days of creation, and that then God's kingdom would 
be set up on earth \ which will be the true sabbath 
of the just 2 . But he regarded our Lord's apparent 
relaxation of the stringency of the sabbath, not as a 
direct instruction to Christians, but as an explana- 
tion of the proper meaning of the fourth command- 
ment as addressed to the Jews 3 . 

1 V. xxviii. 3. "Oaaig enim i/fiepaig eyevero 6 tcoafiog, roaavraig 
■^tXioi'rd.(TL avvreXe'iTai. teal ha tovto tyr]oiv // ypatyi)' Kat avvere.- 
Xeadrjaav 6 ovpavbg kcu >/ yi/, xal irac 6 Koafiog clvtuv. cat avveri- 
Xeaev 6 Qeog rrj iifiepa rrj <=r' ra epya avrov a exoirjae, Kat core- 
TvavdEV o Qeog kv rrj iffiipa ttj £' cWo ttclvtiov t&v 'epyojv avrov. 
Tovto B* egti tCjv TtpoyeyovoTuv dit'iyrjaie, xal twu eaofievwv irpo- 
(j>Tjrtia. ij yap f] fie pa Kvptov ug a, err)' ev \l, ovv f/fiepaig crvyrere- 
XecTTai ra yeyovora' tyavepov ovv, on ?/ avvreXeia avrwv to <* t 
erog itrrlv. See the Epistle of Barnabas, § 11. quoted p. 250. 

2 V. xxxiii. 2. Referring to Luke xiv. 12, 13, and Matt. xix. 
29, lie says, "Haec sunt in Regni temporibus, hoc est, in septima 
die quae est sanctificata, in qua requievit Deus ab omnibus operi- 
bus quae fecit ; quae est verum justorum sabbatum ; in qua non 
facient omne terrenum opus, sed adjacentem habebunt paratam 
mensam a Deo, pascentem eos epulis omnibus." 

3 IV. viii. 2. Manifestum est igitur, quoniam eos qui similiter 
ut Abraham credebant ei, solvit et vivificavit, nihil extra Legem 
faciens, curans in die sabbatorum. Non enim prohibebat Lex 
curari homines sabbatis, quae et circumcidebat eos in hac die, et 
pro populo jubebat ministeria Sacerdotibus perficere ; sed et mu- 
torum animalium curationem non prohibebat. Et Siloa etiam 
saepe sabbatis curavit : et propter hoc assidebant ei multi die 
sabbatorum. Continere enim jubebat eos Lex ab omni opere 
servili, id est, ab omni avaritia, quae per negotiationem, et re- 
liquo terreno actu agitur : animae autem opera, quae fiunt per 


I think it would appear from these passages that 
Irenseus was not in the habit of regarding the Chris- 
tian practice of hallowing the Lord's day as the ex- 
plicit fulfilment of the fourth commandment. He 
lived so near the apostolical times that he no doubt 
observed it in obedience to Christ's institution, with- 
out considering whether it was contemplated by the 

sententiam et sermones bonos, in auxilium eorum qui proximi 
sunt, adhortabatur fieri. Et propter hoc Dominus arguebat eos, 
qui injuste exprobrabant ei, quia sabbatis curabat. Non enim 
solvebat, sed adimplebat Legem, summi Sacerdotis operam per- 
flciens, propitians pro hominibus Deum, et emundans leprosos, 
infirmos curans, et ipse moriens, uti exsiliatus homo exiret de 
conderanatione, et reverteretur intrepide ad suam haereditatem. — 
3. Sed et esurientes accipere sabbatis escam ex his quae adjace- 
bant, non vetabat Lex : metere autera et colligere in horreum 
vetabat. Et ideo Dominus his, qui incusabant discipulos ejus, 
quoniam vellentes spicas manducabant, dixit : " Nee hoc legistis, 
quod fecit David, cum esurisset, quemadmodum introivit in do- 
mum Dei, et panes propositionis manducavit, et dedit eis qui 
cum eo erant, quos non licebat manducare, nisi solis Sacerdoti- 
bus ?" per Legis verba suos discipulos excusans, et significans 
licere Sacerdotibus libere agere. Sacerdos autem scitus fuerat 
David apud Deum, quamvis Saul persequutionem faceret ei. 
Ilde enim j3aai\evg Bikciioq UpaTiKrjv e^ei rd^iv. Sacerdotes autem 
sunt omnes Domini Apostoli, qui neque agros, neque domos 

haereditant hie, sed semper altari et Deo serviunt Et 

Sacerdotes in Templo sabbatum prophanabant, et rei non erant. 
Quare ergo rei non erant ? Quia cum essent in Templo, non 
saecularia sed Dominica perficiebant ministeria, Legem adim- 
plentes, non autem praetereuntes Legem, quemadmodum is qui a 
semetipso arida ligna attulit in castra Domini ; qui et juste 
lapidatus est. 


original institution of a holy day or not. But in 
common with other Christian writers, he did not 
think that the fulfilment of the fourth command- 
ment lay in devoting* any particular portion of time 
to the service of God ; but in serving him conti- 
nually as much as possible ; and therefore, as a mat- 
ter of course, in observing those times of sacred 
repose and divine worship which either the institu- 
tion of Christ, or the common custom of Christians, 
or the rules of the Church, might have appointed 4 . 

* We have various indications of the observance of the Lord's 
day in early writers. Thus Ignatius {Ad Magnes. 9.) speaks of 
" the ancient prophets leading lives in harmony with the Lord's 
day." Mr/kert aa(3j3arl^ovreg, aXXct Kara Kvptao/v £o)r}v £u>vreg, 
e v 77 kcu // £W/ i)fxix)i' avireCKev cV avrov. Here there is an evident 
allusion to some way in which that day was spent, in contra- 
distinction to the Jewish Sabbath. — The Epistle of Barnabas, 
written not far from Apostolical times, speaks of it as a festival : 
"Ayouev tyjv iifiipav rrjv 6y$6r\v tig ev(ppoavvr)v, kv r] kcu 6 'Irjaovg 
aviarr) £k vEKp&v. — Justin Martyr, again, (Apol. II. 67-) describes 
the practice of assembling for instruction, worship, and commu- 
nion on that day, and affirms that our Lord, when he appeared 
to his disciples on Easter day, taught them to observe the day in 
this manner. Kcu rrj fitra ri]v KpoviKrjv, ijrtg early ( K\iov ry/atpa, 
(f>avelg rdlg uiroaroXoig avrov Kal ^adrjralg, eSi^a^e ravra. — A 
little later Dionysius of Corinth speaks of " celebrating the 
Lord's holy day." Ti]v arj/xepov ovv Ki/pia/c/)>> ayiav f]fj.ipav Sirj- 
ydyofjLEv. — So Clement, as I showed above (p. 211, note 1 ), 
informs us that in his time the Lord's day appeared likely to 
be regarded as the proper sabbath. — Further on we find the 
Council of Laodicea (see p. 213, note 5 ) directing Christians to rest 
by preference on the Lord's day, and not on the Sabbath. — 
Finally, we may see in Bingham (Antiq. XX. ii. 2, 3, 4.) how, 



According to such a feeling, therefore, whilst no par- 
ticular portion of time would be kept with Jewish 
superstition, as though it were an end of itself, what- 
ever time was kept would be so kept as to ensure 
the ends proposed by its observance. 

And, if we revert to what has been before ob- 
served as to Irenaeus's view of the law of liberty, we 
shall see that he would be so far from supposing that 
this Christian freedom authorized us to dispense with 
devoting one day in seven to God's service, that he 
would feel that it ought to lead those who had it in 
their power to devote even a larger portion. And 
such in fact was the practice of the Christians of 
those times. They assembled together not only on 
the morning and evening of the Sunday, but also 
throughout the east on the morning and evening of 
Saturday, and on the morning of Wednesday and 
Friday. When, therefore, there was so much zeal 
for the service of God, and the commandment was 
kept so amply in its spirit without thinking of the 
letter of it, — the warm feeling of Christians making 
them a law to themselves. — there was nothing to 
lead them to inquire critically how much the com- 
mandment actually required of them ; and to have 

as Christianity became established, business, labour, and public 
sports were forbidden by public authority; which proves of course 
what had been the practice of Christians themselves before their 
religion obtained the sanction of the civil power. 


instituted such an inquiry would have appeared like 
putting a restriction upon the ardour of Christian 
love, and returning to the spirit of the Law of 


The true question, then, to ask is, not why the 
first Christians did not put the Lord's day upon the 
footing of the paradisiacal sabbath, but why we are 
called upon to do so in these latter days ? And the 
true answer will be found in the fact that the great 
body of us have abused the law of liberty, as the 
Israelites of old had done, and therefore, like them, 
have need, in the providential dealings of God, to be 
put back under rules and restrictions again, until we 
are become fitted to act as children of God : and 
when we are so, we have no wish to shake off such 
restrictions, but of our own accord go beyond them. 

In connection with this subject it is very remark- 
able that the Church of England in her catechism 
has not thought proper to connect the Lord's day in 
particular with the fourth commandment ; although 
most of our writers for the last three hundred years 
have found it necessary so to do. It is true that we 
have done no more than our duty by pointing out to 
our people that God from the beginning has hal- 
lowed one day in seven, in order to prevent them 
from relapsing into absolute heathenism ; — the error 
has been that we have too much omitted to show 


that this was the least he would be satisfied with. 
We have too much written as though those who 
fully observed one day in seven had done their duty, 
instead of leading them to feel that they cannot be 
possessed of the spirit of true Christian obedience so 
long as they confine themselves to the letter of the 
law, and do not of their own accord embrace every 
means of grace and spiritual improvement. 



The writers of the primitive Church, taking the lead 
from the inspired writers, and probably preserving 
in many cases the traditional interpretations of the 
Apostles, were in the habit of seeing types in many 
things which to us appear to have none but a literal 
meaning. It is, however, certain that there was 
a great tendency amongst the Hellenistic Jews to 
make the whole of the Old Testament typical ; and 
no doubt some Christians early followed them, as 
the Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas 
(which were early writings, whether spurious or not) 
abundantly show : and this tendency continued to 
increase until the time of Origen, by whom it was 
pushed to such extremes, that, from that time, it 
became less popular. 

Irenseus, however, is far from being a fanciful 
writer, and was more directly connected with the 
Apostles than most of the Fathers, and therefore the 


types which he recognises are worthy of much more 
attention than those of Origen. 

With him, then, Abel was a type of Christ, as 
having suffered innocently l ; Joseph 2 was a type of 
Christ, though in what way we are not told, probably 
in the same sense as Abel ; Moses was a type of 
him when he spread forth his hands, and by that 
sign conquered Amalek 3 . That the brazen serpent 
was a type of healing man from the bite of the 
old serpent by faith, the words of Christ himself led 
him to see 4 . 

There were other points in which Moses was a 
type of Christ. " He took an Ethiopian woman to 
wife, whom he thereby made an Israelitess ; fore- 
showing that the wild olive is grafted into the olive, 

1 IV. xxxiv. 4. " Vide enim," inquit, " quomodo Justus perit, et 
nemo intuetur ; et viri justi tolluntur, et nemo excipit corde." 
Haec autem in Abel quidem prasmeditabantur, a prophetis vero 
prseconabantur, in Domino autem perficiebantur. 

2 Frag. xvii. 'Ev fiev ru> 'Iwen/0 7rpoerv7rojdr]. 

3 IV. xxiv. 1. Primogenitum mortuorum, et principem vitse 
Dei, eum qui per extensionem manuum dissolvebat Amalech, 
et vivificabat hominem de serpentis plaga per fidem, quae erat in 

eum. Justin Martyr (Tryph. 90.) expresses tbe same idea 

more fully ; and remarks as confirmatory of the typical signifi- 
cation of the posture of Moses, that it was altogether unusual as 
a posture of prayer, and indeed adopted by him on no other 
occasion, nor by any one since his time. 

4 Ibid. 


and partakes of its fatness. For since that Christ, 
who was born according to the flesh, was to be 
sought out for destruction, and to be delivered in 
Egypt, that is, amongst the Gentiles, to sanctify the 
infants there, whence also he made a Church there ; 
(for Egypt was from the beginning a gentile nation, 
as was also ./Ethiopia ;) for this reason by the mar- 
riage of Moses was shown the marriage of the Word, 
and by the ^Ethiopian wife the Gentile Church is 
pointed out : and those who speak against it, and 
inveigh against and deride it, shall not be clean ; for 
they shall be leprous and cast out of the camp 5 ." 

He declares that the re-appearance of justification 
by faith, after it had been for some time cast out of 
sight by the Law of Moses, was typified by the 
circumstances of the birth of the sons of Thamar. 
For as Zarah put forth his hand first, and had the 

8 IV. xx. 12. Sic autem et Moyses iEthiopissam accipiebat 
uxorem, quam ipse Israelitidem fecit ; prsesignificans, quoniam 
oleaster inseritur in olivara, et participans pinguedinis ejus erit. 
Quoniam enim is qui secundum carnem natus est Christus, a 
populo quidem habebat inquiri ut occideretur, liberari vero in 
iEgypto, id est, in Gentibus, sanctificare eos qui ibi essent infan- 
tes, unde et Ecclesiam ibi perfecit ; (.zEgyptus enim ab initio 
gentilis, quemadmodum et ^Ethiopia) propter hoc £ia rov yafjiov 
jMwvcewg 6 rov 'Jtjgov vo-qrog ycifj.og edeiKvvro, /cai £ta rfjg Aidio-i- 
ktjg vvfji(f)r)q, rj el, idvaiv EKK\r)<Tia i^rjXovro' fjv ol KaTa\a\ovyTeQ, 
Kal evSiafidWovTeg, teal hafJiU)K<l)fJ.£yoi i ovk 'iaovrai xadapoi. \e- 
Trprjaovai yap, kol\ it,a<popi(rdri<JovTai rrjg riov SiKaiiov 7rap£/j.f3o\rjc. 


scarlet thread bound upon it, and then retiring gave 
way to his brother Pharez, and thus was born after 
him ; by this the Scripture declared " that people 
which has the scarlet sign, viz. faith in uncircum- 
cision, which was shown first in the patriarchs, and 
afterwards withdrawn when its brother was born; 
and that in consequence that which was first was 
born second, being known by the scarlet mark upon 
it, which is the suffering of the Just One, foreshown 
in Abel, written by the Prophets, and accomplished 
in the last times in the Son of God 6 ." 

IrensBus was of opinion that some of the apparent 
misdeeds of the old Patriarchs were not really sins, 
but circumstances brought upon them by divine Pro- 
vidence, with some mystical and typical end. Thus 
the cohabitation of Lot and his daughters is with 

6 IV. xxv. 2. Hoc et per alia quidem multa, jam vero et per 
Thamar Judse nurum typice ostenditur. Cum enim concepisset 
geminos, alter eorum prior protulit manum suam : et cum ob- 
stetrix putaret eum primogenitum esse, coccinum alligavit sig- 
num in manu ejus. Cum hoc autem factum esset, et abstraxisset 
manum suam, prior exivit frater ejus Phares ; sic deinde secundus 
ille, in quo erat coccinum, Zara : clare manifestante Scriptura 
eum quidem populum qui habet coccinum signum, id est, earn 
fidem quae est in prseputio, prseostensam quidem primum in 
Patriarchis, post deinde subtractam, uti nasceretur frater ejus ; 
deinde sic eum, qui prior esset, secundo loco natum, qui est cog- 
nitus per signum coccinum, quod erat in eo ; quod est passio 
Justi, ab initio prsefigurata in Abel, et descripta a Prophetis, per- 
fecta vero in novissimis temporibus in Filio Dei. 


him providential and typical, signifying that from one 
Father the Word, by means of the life-giving Spirit, 
the two sister synagogues, the Jewish and the Chris- 
tian, have brought forth a spiritual seed 7 . 

7 IV. xxxi. 1. Quemadmodum et Lot, qui eduxit de So- 
domis filias suas, quae conceperunt de patre suo, et qui reliquit 
in circumfinio uxorem suam statuam salis usque in hodiernum 
diem. Etenim Lot non ex sua voluntate, neque ex sua concu- 
piscentia carnali, neque sensum neque cogitationem hujusmodi 
accipiens, consummavit typum, Quemadmodum Scriptura dicit : 
" Et intravit major natu, et dormivit cum patre suo ilia ; et non 
scivit Lot cum dormiret ilia, et cum surgeret :" et in minore hoc 
idem : " Et non scivit," inquit, " cum dormisset secum, nee cum 
surrexisset :" fxi) elcvrog rov Awr, fii]te. ijcorrj EuvXtvaavrog, 
olKoyojuia ETrereXuro, Ei 1 yg at cvo filiae, id est, duae av^aycoyal enro 
kvog kcu tov avrov 7rci7pug rei:vn7roir](Tu^.tvai inqvvoi'TO civev aapKog 
ycorfjg. Ov yap i)v ciXXog ovcelg (nr-epfia Cwtikov kcu tikvwv kiziKap- 
Triav Ivraf-uvog covvai avralg, xadiog yeypairrat' " Dixit autem 
major ad minorem : Pater noster senior est, et nemo est super 
terram qui intret ad nos, ut oportet omni terroe : veni, potione- 
mus patrem nostrum vino, et dormiamus cum eo, ut suscitemus 
de patre nostro semen." — 2. Illae quidem filias secundum simpli- 
citatem et innocentiam putantes universos homines perisse, quem- 
admodum Sodomitas, et in universam terram iracundiam Dei 
supervenisse, dicebant haec. Quapropter et ipsae excusabiles 
sunt, arbitrantes se solas relictas cum patre suo ad conservati- 
onem generis humani, et propter hoc circumveniebant patrem. 
Per verba autem earum significabatur, neminem esse alterum qui 
possit filiorum generationem majori et minori synagogae praestare, 
quam Patrem nostrum. Pater autem generis humani Verbum 
Dei ; quemadmodum Moyses ostendit dicens : " Nonne hie ipse 
Pater tuus possedit te, et fecit te, et creavit te ?" Quando 
igitur hie vitale semen, id est, Spiritum remissionis peccatorum 
per quem vivificamur, effudit in humanum genus ? Nonne tunc 



St. Paul has taught us that Jacob and Esau were 
types of the elder and younger Churches ; but Ire- 
nseus has much amplified the figure, and brought in 
other parallelisms. " And if any one would study 
the acts of Jacob, he will find them not empty, but 
full of providential arrangements 8 : and first in his 
birth, as he caught hold of the heel of his brother, 
and was called Jacob, that is, the supplanter ; hold- 
ing and not holden ; fettering but not fettered ; 
struggling and conquering ; holding in his hand the 
heel of his adversary, i. e. the victory : to this end 
was the Lord born, whose birth he typified, con- 
cerning whom John saith in the Revelation, He went 
forth conquering, to conquer. Moreover, in taking the 
birthright when his brother disdained it ; as also the 
younger people accepted Christ the first-born, when 
the elder people rejected him, saying, We have no 

cum convescebatur cum hominibus, et bibebat vinum in terra ? 
" Venit" enim, inquit, " filius hominis manducans et bibens :" 
et cum recubuisset, obdormivit, et somnum cepit. Quemadmo- 
dum ipse in David dicit : " Ego dormivi et somnum cepi." Et 
quoniam in nostra communicatione et vita hoc agebat, iterum ait : 
f( Et somnus meus suavis mihi factus est." Totum autem sig- 
nificabatur per Lot, quoniam semen patris omnium, id est, Spi- 
ritus Dei, per quern facta sunt omnia, commixtus et unitus est 
carni, hoc est, plasmati suo : per quam commixtionem et unitatem 
duae synagogae, id est, duae congregationes fructificantes ex patre 
suo Alios vivos vivo Deo. 

8 Justin Martyr expresses the same sentiment: Tryph. 134. 
Ol^oyo/jLtai rtveg fJieydXiov fxvcrTi]pio)v iv eKdarrf rivl roiavrrf Trpdfci 


king but Ccesar. And in Christ was the whole bless- 
ing ; and for this reason the latter people stole from 
the Father the blessing of the former people, as 
Jacob took away the blessing from Esau, For which 
cause his brother suffered from the lying in wait and 
persecutions of a brother, as also the Church suffers 
from the Jews 9 . The twelve tribes, the children of 
Israel, were born in a foreign country, as Christ 
began at a distance from his home to lay the twelve- 
pillared foundation of the Church. The spotted 
sheep were the wages of Jacob ; and Christ's reward 
is the assemblage of men from differing nations into 
the one bond of the faith l , as the Father promised 
him : * Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen 
for thine inheritance, and the utmost parts of the 
earth for thy possession.' And as to Jacob, the Lord's 
prophet, it consisted of a multitude of children, it 
was necessary that he should have children from two 
sisters ; as also Christ from two laws of one and the 
same Father 2 ; and likewise of two maid-servants, 

9 Justin M. Tryph. 134, ad finem, draws the same parallel. 
Toy ypovov Trdvra efxiae~iTO vtto tov a^e\<pov 6 'IaK-w/3* ical ^{jleIq 
vvv, kol avrvg 6 Kvptog ijfiwv /atae'irai v<f vfxCov teal V7r6 twv aXXiov 
&7rAw£ avdpu)7r<ov, bvTiov izdvTWV rrj (bvaet a^eX^wv. 

1 Justin, ibid. 'JLIovXevoev 'Ia/cw/3 ru Aa/3aj/ virep t&v pav- 
twv teal 7ro\vfx6p(f)ii)v QpEfXfxa.TU)v' ISovXevae k<xi rijv ^X9 L OTavpov 
hovkeiav 6 Xpiarog vnep tujv ek 7ravr6e yivovg Troudkuv /cat 7ro\v- 

ElZHbv ay0pW7TWV, dl CllfUlTOQ Kat /JLVfTTrjpiov TOV UTCLVpOV KT?7<7a- 

2 Justin, ibid. 'AXXa Ae/a fi£v b Xaoc v/jlwv /cat fj crvvayvyr}' 
'Pa^X £e EKfc\r]aria >//xwv. 

Q 2 

228 jacob. 

signifying that Christ should make sons of God out 
both of those who in the flesh were free and of 
slaves, granting to all alike the gift of the life-giving 
Spirit 3 . And he did all for the sake of the younger, 
Rachel, who typified the Church, for whose sake 
Christ endured 4 ." 

3 Justin, ibid. ILlg aTTOKardo-Taoiv cifKporepiov re tu>v kXtvQepwv 
tekvujv Kal nov tv avrolg <)ov\(i)v Xpiarbg eXr/Xyde, riov avriov vrdv- 
tclq KaraliMV rovg (pvXdtxaovTag rag evroXag avrov' ov rprmov Kal 
ol 0.770 t(x>v eXevdipojv Kal ol cnro riov dovXw yevofxevot r« 'Ia/cw/3 
Txavrzg viol Kal bjxorifxoL yeyovaai. 

4 IV. xxi. 3. Si quis autem et actus qui sunt Jacob addiscat, 
inveniet eos non inanes, sed plenos dispositionum. Et imprimis 
in nativitate ejus, quemadmodum apprehendit calcaneum fratris, 
et Jacob vocatus est, id est, supplantator ; tenens, et qui non 
tenetur ; ligans pedes, sed qui non ligatur ; luctans, et vincens ; 
tenens in manu calcaneum adversarii, id est, victoriam. Ad hoc 
enim nascebatur Dominus, cujus typum generations prsestabat, 
de quo et Joannes in Apocalypsi ait : " Exivit vincens, ut vince- 
ret." Deinde autem primogenita accipiens, quando vituperavit 
ea frater ejus : quemadmodum et junior populus eum primogeni- 
tum Christum accepit, cum eum repulit populus setate provectior, 
dicens : " Non habemus Regem, nisi Csesarem." In Christo 
autem universa benedictio : et propter hoc benedictiones prioris 
populi a Patre subripuit posterior populus, quemadmodum Jacob 
abstulit benedictionem hujus Esau ; ob quam causam fratris 
patiebatur insidias et persecutiones frater suus, sicut et Ecclesia 
hoc idem a Judseis patitur. Peregre nascebantur xn tribus, genus 
Israel, quoniam et Christus peregre incipiebat duodecastylum 
firmamentum Ecclesiae generare. Variae oves, quae flebant, huic 
Jacob merces : et Christi merces, qui ex variis et differentibus 
gentibus in unam cohortem fidei convenientes fiunt homines, 
quemadmodum Pater promisit ei : " Postula," dicens, " a me, et 
dabo tibi Gentes haereditatem tuam, et possessionem tuam ter- 
minos terras." Et quoniam multitudinis flliorum Domini Pro- 

RAHAB. 229 

Rabab tbe barlot, again, who was a heathen and 
a great sinner, and received the three spies, and 
by reliance upon the scarlet thread, (which meant 
the same thing as the passover,) was saved, whilst 
the city in which she lived was destroyed, is a type 
of sinners in all future ages, who, revering the Tri- 
nity, and by faith in Christ our passover, are saved, 
whilst the world of those who rejected him are 
lost 5 . 

phetae fiebat Jacob, necessitas omnis fuit ex duabus sororibus 
eum filios facere ; quemadmodum Christus ex duabus Legibus 
unius et ejusdem Patris : similiter autem et ex ancillis ; signifi- 
cans quoniam secundum carnem ex liberis et ex servis Christus 
statueret filios Dei, similiter omnibus dans munus Spiritus vivi- 
ficantis nos. Omnia autem ille faciebat propter illam juniorem, 
bonos cculos habentem, Rachel, quae praeflgurabat Ecclesiam, 
propter quam sustinuit Christus : qui tunc quidem per Patri- 
archas suos et Prophetas praefigurans et praenuntians futura, 
praeexercens suam partem dispositionibus Dei, et assuescens hae- 
reditatem suam obedire Deo, et peregrinari in saeculo, et sequi 
verbum ejus, et praesignificare futura. Nihil enim vacuum, ne- 
que sine signo apud Deum. 

5 IV. xx. 12. Sic autem et Raab fornicaria semetipsam qui- 
dem condemnans, quoniam esset gentilis, omnium peccatorum 
rea, suscepit autem tres speculatores, qui speculabantur universam 
terram, et apud se abscondit, Patrem scilicet et Filium cum 
Spiritu sancto. Et cum universa civitas, in qua habitabat, con- 
cidisset in ruinam, canentibus septem tubicinis, in ultimis Raab 
fornicaria conservata est cum universa domo sua, fide signi coc- 
ci ni : sicut et Dominus dicebat his, qui adventum ejus non exci- 
piebant, Pharisasis scilicet, et coccini signum nullificant, quod 
erat pascha, redemptio et exodus populi ex iEgypto, dicens : 
11 Publicani et meretrices praecedunt vos in Regno ccelorum." 

The same type is acknowledged by Clement of Rome, in his 


Joshua, again, he makes a type of Christ, bringing 
his people into their eternal inheritance, as Moses 
brought them out of captivity; and he further de- 
clares that as Moses, representing the law, rested, in 
prefignration of the cessation of the law, so Joshua, 
as representing the Gospel, and a perfect type of the 
personal Word, discoursed to the people ; and that 
as Moses gave the manna, so Joshua gave the new 
bread, the first-fruits of life, a figure of the body of 
Christ \ 

He finds a very humble parallel to our Lord in 

First Epistle to the Corinthians. § 12, Kal TrpoaiOerra cut?] 

COVVCLl GT}fl£~lOV } OTTLOC KQEfldoT} ZK 70V Ci'lKOV aVTTJQ KOUUrOV, -p6c7]\0V 

-ciovvrec on clcl tov a'iuaroc rov E^vpiov Xvrptwng eotoi ram rc~c 

77l<jtevgv7iv ko.l z\-i.lcv7iv i-\ rov Qscv. Likewise by Justin, 

Tryph. 111. Kai yap re a\ uocXcr rev kckkli ov c-apriov. gvicuikclv 

, . . . 01 KCLTCIGKO-Ol Paa3 7Tj -GOVT], .... GUGiiOC 70 VUflfSoXoP 

roi 1 ah/arcc rev Xol<77Gv krqXov, ci ov ol -a'Xcu ttoovoi kcu acixoi £k 
-airujf 7bJv kdvujv craj^oiTaL, doccro duapnafv Xaocrrec. 

° Fra^. xix. Aao; t-ogc ceo.v7gv 7gv 'I^crovi viov Sam}, "Ecft 
yew ki Aiyvrrrov ^Sltovarju 7ov Xaov Eiayaysli-, ror ce Iqmniv sic 
7 : i]v K"\'/700C07/aj' e i? ay ay e~lv' kou 7gv llev Mojv<777v 3 cue rouov, dra- 
-avXai XauSavEW, 'lrjaovv ce, die Ac; cr. cai 7Cv Ewro mw t o* 
Aoyov rinroi a-J/evoijj :u Xaw o/ur/yopeo'' kql 7ov ilev 'McovTr/i- 76 
uavva 7C~tc — aroa-r/ roco//r clcgicii. 7ov ce Irjaovv rov t egv ajori 
[rather dprovj. 7r\v drraoy/ 1 ' rif£ ZwjSj rincov rev nt/iaros rev 
XpL>77Gv' eaOd or/TL kcu ■/] yoacri, ort ran. e-cucraro rofiarra Kvpiov 70 oayilv 7or ui70v \o.ov a~o rT/c y/jc. 

Clement of Alexandria. Protrept. 9. § 85. & Pcedag. I. 7- 
§ 60. makes Joshua a type of Christ, but draws other parallels 
than those of Irenaeus. 


the ass of Balaam : for as all men rest from toil by 
mounting on a beast of burden, so Christ gives us 
repose from the toil of our souls by bearing the 
burden of our sins 7 . 

The last specimens of types which I shall bring 
forward are to be found in the history of Samson. 
The temple in which he found his death, filled with 
Philistines, St. Irenseus supposes to represent the 
world of the ungodly ; Samson himself is God's true 
people ; the two pillars are the two covenants ; and 
the lad who conducted Samson to the pillars is John 
the Baptist, leading God's people to know the mystery 
of Christ 8 . 

These types will, of course, bring with them to the 
mind various degrees of probability. The Scripture 
itself teaches us the principle of typical application ; 
and no person who considers the manner in which 

7 Frag, xxiii. ovroc Iteefiefiriicei ettl rfjg ovov civtov. f H fx£v 


cav^a-wi' ava-Kavo^iEvoi., wg virb o^tjfjiarog jSaara^oi'Tai. to yap 
(popriov tQv yfXETEpu)v afjLap-r][j.aTU)v 6 ^ioryjo avE^i^aTO. 

8 Frag, xxvii. To fikv ovv -Ka.ica.piov -^Eipayojyovv tov Zafxxptbv 
7rpoTV—(i)d))(JE7ai eIq 'Icoavvrjv roy Ba-xTL<rri]v, L-KLCEiKvyvra rw Xaui 

T1JV ELQ XpiOTOV TriOTlV. 6 C£ ollCOC, eIq OV i]GaV (TWqyfXEVOlf 

G7]fxaivETaL Eivai 6 KOcrfj.oc, ev (o KariotCEi to, aXXocpvXa eQvt} ical 
a—Lcra, Qvaia^ovra Tolg eIcwXolc avrCjv' ol Ce cvo gtvXoi, al dvo 
ciadrjxat. to ovv E7rava7ravdf}vai tov Eaji^tov E7rl tovq GTvXovg, 
tov cica^QivTai Xabv ETCiyvwvai to tov XptffTOv fAVGTripiov. 



the various books of the New Testament were writ- 
ten, their occasional nature, so to speak, will suppose 
that the whole of the types are developed in it. We 
must therefore be left to ourselves, in some degree, 
to discover the other types ; and yet it cannot be 
supposed that all the resemblances our mind can 
strike out were absolutely intended. But it must be 
some recommendation of any typical application, to 
say the least, to find it struck out in that early age, 
when those who had conversed with apostolical men 
were living : and where we find a number of writers 
agreeing to adopt any one type, (as, for instance, 
Clement of Rome, Justin and Irenseus, make Rahab's 
scarlet line typical,) it will, I suppose, appear to 
most minds to have a very high probability. And it 
is only by noticing the types in each early writer, 
that we can arrive at this species of authority for 
any one particular type. 



Persons sometimes ask, What is the advantage of 
studying the Fathers ? why cannot we be contented 
with the light of Scripture ? Those who study them 
reply, that one use at least is, that by their help the 
obscure parts of Scripture, where some truths are 
but hinted at or supposed, are brought forth into 
light and clear outline. 

An instance of this, and a very unobjectionable 
one, is to be found in the doctrine of Irenseus, and 
not of him alone, as to the intermediate state. We 
know from Scripture that there is an unseen state 
to which Christ descended * ; and that the just after 
death go to paradise 2 , and are with Christ 3 . If the 
parable of the rich man and Lazarus is taken literally, 
it seems to be implied that the good and bad are 

Acts ii. 31. 2 Luke xvi. 22. xxiii. 43. 

3 Phil. i. 23. 


separated in that state, and yet that they are capable 
of holding intercourse with each other ; and there 
seems to be a hint that the state of the dead is, 
in some sense, a state of confinement 4 . Beyond 
this we have little, if any thing. 

Our views, however, such as they are, become 
confirmed and acquire definiteness, as we find the 
same subjects treated of or alluded to by Trenseus. 

He treats the parable I have spoken of, as not 
strictly a parable, but a relation of real occurrences 5 ; 
and asserts that it shows us that the soul, in a state 
of separation from the body, retains its individuality, 
so that disembodied souls may know each other, and 
hold mutual intercourse; and that each class of 
persons has its appropriate habitation even before 
the day of judgment 6 . Accordingly he affirms that 

4 1 Pet. iii. 19. iv. 6. 

5 IV. ii. 4. Non autem fabulam retulit nobis pauperis et 

6 II. xxxiv. 1. Plenissime autem Dominus docuit, non solum 
perseverare, non de corpore in corpus transgredientes, animas ; 
sed et characterem corporis, in quo etiam adaptantur, custodire 
eundem, et meminisse eas operum, quae egerunt hie, et a quibus 
cessaverunt, in ea relatione, quae scribitur de divite et de Lazaro 
eo, qui refrigerabat in sinu Abrahae : in qua ait, divitem cogno- 
scere Lazarum post mortem, et Abraham autem similiter, et 
manere in suo ordine unumquemque ipsorum, et postulare mitti 
ei ad opem ferendam Lazarum, cui ne quidem de mensae suae 


Christ observed the law of the dead, and departed 
into the midst of the shadow of death, where the 
souls of the dead were. And conformably he teaches 
us that the souls of his disciples will at death depart 
into the invisible place destined for them by God, 
and there remain, waiting for the resurrection 7 . 

amicis eommunicabat : et de Abrahae responso, qui non tantum ea, 
quae secundum se, sed et quae secundum divitem essent, sciebat ; 
et praecipiebat Moysi assentire et Prophetis eos, qui non mallent 
pervenire in ilium locum pcenae, et recipientes praeconium ejus, 
qui resurrexerit a mortuis. Per haec enim manifeste declaratum 
est, et perseverare animas, et non de corpore in corpus transire, 
et habere hominis figuram, ut etiam cognoscantur, et meminerint 
eorum, quae sint hie ; et propheticum quoque adesse Abrahae, et 
dignam habitationem unamquamque gentem percipere, etiam ante 

7 V. xxxi. 2. Si ergo Dominus legem mortuorum servavit, ut 
fieret primogenitus a mortuis, et commoratus usque in tertiam 
diem in inferioribus terrae ; post deinde surgens in came, ut 
etiam fixuras clavorum ostenderet discipulis, sic ascendit ad 
Patrem ; quomodo non confundantur, qui dicunt inferos quidem 
esse hunc mundum, qui sit secundum nos ; interiorem autem 
hominem ipsorum derelinquentem hie corpus, in superccelestem 
ascendere locum ? Cum enim Dominus " in medio umbrae mor- 
tis abierit," ubi animae mortuorum erant, post deinde corporaliter 
resurrexit, et post resurrectionem assumptus est ; manifestum 
est quia et discipulorum ejus, propter quos et haec operatus est 
Dominus, At \^v\ai cnrip-^ovraL elg rbv roirov invisibilem rbv wpt<7- 
fievov avraig euro tov Qeoii, kclkel fJ-SXP 1 T V Q civaarcMTEwg (poiruxri, 
Trepifjiivovaai rrfv avaa-aaiv' 'inura aTroXafiovcai to. ffw/ictra, kcu 
6\oKk)]pwQ avaordffcu, tovtegti tTW/iart/cuic, xadibQ /cat 6 Kvptog 
dvia-j), ovtu)q iXevaovTai elg rijv o-^lv tov Qeov. "Nemo enim 
est discipulus super magistrum : perfectus autem omnis erit 
sicut magister ejus." Quomodo ergo Magister noster non statim 


And this invisible place he declares to be paradise, to 
which Enoch and Elias are already translated with 
their bodies, anticipating immortality 8 . But to 
those who have died he declares that this state is 
a state of condemnation, even to those who are 
found in life 9 . For he believed that the souls of 
the just, although in death and consequent con- 
demnation, would retain the Spirit of God, and con- 
sequently the seed and pledge of a new life ] ; and 

evolans abiit, sed sustinens definitum a Patre resurrectionis suae 
tempus, (quod et per Jonam manifestatum est,) post triduum 
resurgens assumptus est ; sic et nos sustinere debemus definitum 
a Deo resurrectionis nostras tempus, prasnuntiatum a Prophetis, 
et sic resurgentes assumi, quotquot Dominus ad hoc dignos ha« 
buerit. — — So Clement of Rome {Ad Corr. I. 50) affirms that 
" they who have departed, fully established in love, enjoy the 
place of the just" — x™P av zvcz-fiwv. 

8 V. v. 1. "OTzovye 'Ero^ EvapEarijaag rw Qe<f, kv auj^art fier- 
£-£077, Ti)y fie-ddePLV rtvv clkclIwv 7rpop.r]vv(i)V teal 'HXlag, wg -ijv, 
kv rfj tov TzXdajiarog v~o<jrd(TEL dvEX{j(pOi], ttjv dvdXr}\piv riov ttvev- 
fiaTiKujv 7rpo(pT]TEvu)v, K.r.X. . . . Ato Kul Xiyovcnv ol Trpefffivrepoi, 
Thiv dirocrToXiov fiadrj-al, rovg fiETareQiv-ag eke~l<te [that is, to para- 
dise] fjLETCiTEdrjvai' (ciKaloig yap dvdpwTroig /cat —VEv/J.a.-o(jj6potg 
7]TOLfJ.dcrdr] 6 7rapdCEL<rog, kv 10 /ecu IlauXoc; aTroaroXog sla^ofiLcrdElg 
i]Kovgev dppi]ra p{]fj.ara, the ~pog yjfJ-dg kv rco Trapovri") m/Cfl 
fiivELV rovg /JLETCLTEdivTag EU)g avvTEXEtag, Trpooifiia^ofiivoVQ ri]v 

9 III. xix. 3. Ut quemadmodum caput resurrexit a mortuis, 
sic et reliquum corpus omnis hominis, qui invenitur in vita, 
impleto tempore condemnations ejus, quae erat propter inobedi- 
entiam, resurgat. 

1 V. ix. 2. Quotquot autem timent Deum, et credunt in ad- 
ventum Filii ejus, et per fidem constituunt in cordibus suis Spi- 


that by means of this same Spirit they would rise 
again at the last day, being quickened by the Spirit, 
even as their Lord was 2 . 

There is another branch of this subject ; viz. the 
employment of our Saviour while in the intermediate 
state. Irenaeus thought, as did other Fathers, that 
our Lord went and preached the Gospel to those 
who were dead, there being forgiveness to whosoever 
would believe in him, so preaching to them ; and 
that those who in old times had hoped in him, and 
foretold his coming, did then believe in him and 
obtain remission 3 . 

ritum Dei, hi tales juste homines dicentur, et mundi et spiritales 
et viventes Deo ; quia habent Spiritum Patris, qui emundat 

hominem et sublevat in vitam Dei Infirmitas enim 

carnis absorpta potentem ostendit spiritum ; spiritus autem rur- 
sus absorbens infirmitatem, haereditate possidet carnem in se : 
et ex utrisque factus est vivens homo ; vivens quidem propter 
participationem Spiritus, homo autem propter substantiam carnis. 

3. Ubi autem Spiritus Patris ibi homo vivens, sanguis 

rationalis ad ultionem a Deo custoditus, caro a Spiritu possessa, 
oblita quidem sui, qualitatem autem spiritus assumens, conformis 
facta Verbo Dei. 

2 V. vii. 1. Et iterum ad Romanos ait : "Si autem Spiritus 
ejus qui suscitavit Jesum a mortuis habitat in vobis, qui suscita- 

vit Christum a mortuis vivificabit et mortalia corpora vestra. ■ 

2. Haec sunt enim corpora mortalia, id est, participantia animae, 
quam cum amiserint, mortificantur ; deinde per Spiritum surgen- 
tia fiunt corpora spiritualia, uti per Spiritum semper permanentem 
habeant vitam. 

3 IV. xxvii. 2. Et propter hoc Dominum in ea, quae sunt 


Here again we have a definite meaning given to 
passages of Holy Writ, respecting which we may 
discuss and have discussed endlessly, resting in the 
mere light of Scripture. And that being the case, 
it appears more rational to accept the interpretation 
furnished by early writers, who are in all probability 
in this and other cases giving us views which had 
come down from the Apostles themselves. 

sub terra, descendisse, evangelizantem et illis adventum suum ; 
remissione peccatorum exsistente his qui credunt in eum. Cre- 
diderunt autem in eum omnes qui sperabant in eum, id est, qui 
adventum ejus praenuntiaverunt, et dispositionibus ejus servi- 
erunt, justi et prophetae et patriarchal ; quibus similiter ut nobis 
remisit peccata. 

Clem. Alex. Strom. VI. 6. § 44. Aio7rep 6 Kvpiog evrjyyeXiffaro 

kcu toIq kv "Aidov. 45. <&r}a\ yovv f] ypcKpfj' Aiyei 6"AiSr]Q Trj 

diroXeia' E2^0£ fikv avrov ovk EicHofiev, (pojvrjv Se avrov rjKovaafjiEV. 

Tt <T oby\ drjXovaiv evrjyyeXiadai rbv Kvpiov toiq re ctTro- 

XojXoctlv kv tu) KaraxXvafMo, fiaXXov ce 7rE7TElr}fXEVOLQ Kal toIq kv 

(pvXaKrj re ical typovpa avveypjiivoiQ. Tertullian de Anima, 55. 

Christus Deus, quia et homo, mortuus secundum Scripturas, et 
sepultus secus easdem, huic quoque legi satisfecit, forma humanae 
mortis apud inferos functus ; nee ante ascendit in sublimiora 
ccelorum, quam descendit in inferiora terrarum, ut illic patriarchas 
et prophetas compotes sui faceret. — See also Cyril of Jerusalem, 
Catech. xiv. 18, 19. 



It was the opinion of the Gnostics that the Tempter 
was either the same as the God of the Old Testa- 
ment, acting in opposition to the Supreme Being, 
or a creature and agent of this God. In contra- 
diction to this notion, Irenseus lays down, and con- 
firms from various portions of Scripture, that he was 
one of the angels, attendants upon the Supreme 
Being, who rebelled against him, who consummated 
his rebellion by seducing man from his allegiance, 
and who is always setting himself up as a rebel 
against his Maker *. 

Having proved this from the past history of the 
world, he continues the proof by adducing the pro- 
phecies concerning Antichrist, the Millennium, and 
the consummation of all things 2 . In this way he is 

1 V. xxiv. 4. See p. 107, note \ 

2 Book V. chapter xxv. to the end. 


led to develope his own views upon those subjects : 
and as his opinions on the Millennium are different 
from those which have prevailed subsequently, with 
almost universal consent in the Western Church, 
that portion of his Treatise is rarely found complete 
in our present MSS.. the copyists not thinking it 
proper or worth their while to copy what was gene- 
rally disapproved by the Church 3 . 

Irenceus, then, regards Antichrist as a direct agent 
of Satan, in and by means of whom he will fulfil the 
great object of his rebellion, of procuring himself 
to be owned by mankind as their king, and wor- 
shipped as their God ; by whom he will abolish all 
idols, and set himself up as the one idol, uniting in 
himself all the delusion of all the false gods who 
have ever existed. In him, therefore, will be literally 
fulfilled the prophecy of St. Paul, 2 Thess. ii. 3, 4 4 : 

3 The five last chapters of the Fifth Book are wanting in all 
but two MSS. 

i V. xxv. 1. Et non tantum autem per ea qua? dicta sunt, sed 
et per ea quae erunt sub Antichristo, ostenditur, quoniam existens 
apostata et latro, quasi Deus vult adorari : et cum sit servus, 
Regem se vult praeconari. Iile enim omnem suscipiens diaboli 
virtutem, veniet non quasi Rex Justus, nee quasi in subjectione 
Dei legitimus ; sed impius et injustus et sine lege, quasi apostata 
et iniquus et homicida. quasi latro, diabolicam apostasiam in se 
recapitulans : et idola quidem seponens, ad suadendum quod ipse 
sit Deus ; se autem extollens unum idolum, habens in semetipso 
reliquorum idolorum varium errorem : ut hi qui per multas 


for he will literally enthrone himself in the temple of 
God at Jerusalem, and by oppressive methods will 
endeavour to exhibit himself as God, and Christ 5 . 

abominationes adorant diabolum, hi per hoc unum idolum ser- 
viant ipsi, de quo Apostolus in epistola, quae est ad Thessaloni- 
censes secunda, sic ait : " Quoniam nisi venerit abscessio primum, 
et revelatus fuerit homo peccati, Alius perditionis, qui adversatur 
et extollit se super omne quod dicitur Deus, aut colitur ; ita ut 
in templo Dei sedeat, ostendens semetipsum tanquam sit Deus." 
Manifeste igitur Apostolus ostendit apostasiam ejus, et quoniam 
extollitur super omne quod dicitur Deus, vel quod colitur, hoc 
est, super omne idolum, (hi enim sunt qui dicuntur quidem ab 
hominibus, non sunt autem, Dii,) et quoniam ipse se tyrannico 
more conabitur ostendere Deum. 

5 V. "xxv. 2. Super haec autem manifestavit et illud, quod a 
nobis per multa ostensum est, quoniam in Hierosolymis templum 
dispositione veri Dei factum est. Ipse enim Apostolus ex sua 
persona diffinitive templum illud dixit Dei. Ostendimus autem 
in tertio libro, nullum ab Apostolis ex sua persona Deum appel- 
lari, nisi eum qui vere sit Deus, Patrem Domini nostri : cujus 
jussu hoc, quod est in Hierosolymis, factum est templum, ob eas 
causas quae a nobis dictae sunt : in quo adversarius sedebit, ten- 
tans semetipsum Christum ostendere, sicut et Dominus ait : 
11 Cum autem videritis abominationem desolationis, quod dictum 
est per Danielem Prophetam, stantem in loco sancto, (qui legit, 
intelligat,) tunc qui in Judaea sunt, fugiant in montes : et qui in 
tecto est, non descendat tollere quidquam de domo. Erit enim 
tunc pressura magna, qualis non est facta ab initio saeculi usque 
nunc, sed neque fiet." — 4. Et Dominus autem hoc item non cre- 
dentibus sibi dicebat : " Ego veni in nomine Patris mei, et non 
recepistis me ; cum alius venerit in nomine suo, ilium recipietis :" 
alium dicens Antichristum, qui alienus est a Domino. Et ipse est 
" iniquus judex," qui a Domino dictus est, quoniam " Deum non 
timebat, neque hominem reverebatur," ad quern fugit vidua oblita 
Dei, id est, terrena Hierusalem, ad ulciscendum de inimico. 



Irenaeus applies to this event the prophecy of Daniel 
concerning the abomination of desolation, quoted by 
our Lord, Matt. xxiv. 15, 16 6 . 

He likewise applies to him what is said by Daniel 
of the little horn, in Dan. vii. 8. 20 — 26 ; conceiving 
the ten liorns to be ten kings of different portions of 
the Roman Empire 7 , and consequently believing 

Quod et faciet in tempore regni sui : transferet regnum in earn, et 
in templo Dei sedet [sedebit], seducens eos qui adorant eum, quasi 
ipse sit Christus. Quapropter ait Daniel iterum : " Et sanctum 
desolabitur : et datum est in sacrificium peccatum, et projecta est 

in terra justitia, et fecit, et prospere cessit." xxviii. 2. Et 

propter hoc Apostolus ait : " Pro eo quod dilectionem Dei non 
receperunt, ut salvi fierent, et ideo mittet eos Deus in operationem 
erroris, ut credant mendacio, ut judicentur omnes qui non credi- 
derunt veritati, sed consenserunt iniquitati." Illo enim veniente, 
et sua sententia apostasiam recapitulante in semetipsum, et sua 
voluntate et arbitrio operante quagcumque operabitur, et in tem- 
plo Dei sedente, ut sicut Christum adorent ilium qui seducentur 
ab illo ; quapropter et juste " in stagnum projicietur ignis :" 
Deo autem secundum suam providentiam prsesciente omnia, et 
apto tempore eum, qui talis futurus erat, immittente, " ut credant 
falso, et judicentur omnes, qui non crediderunt veritati, sed con- 
senserunt iniquitati." 

6 V. xxv. 4. 

7 V. xxv. 3. Daniel autem novissimi regni flnem respiciens, 
(id est, novissimos decern Reges, in quos dividitur regnum illo- 
rum, super quos filius perditionis veniet,) cornua dicit decern nasci 
bestise ; et alterum cornu pusillum nasci in medio ipsorum, et 
tria cornua de prioribus eradicari a facie ejus. " Et ecce," inquit, 
" oculi quasi oculi hominis in cornu hoc, et os loquens magna, et 
aspectus ejus major reliquis. Videbam, et cornu illud faciebat 


that Antichrist will be a power, who will overthrow 
and kill three of the kings of those divisions, and 
reign for a space of three years and a half; during 

bellum adversus sanctos, et valebat adversus eos ; quoadusque 
venit vetustas dierum, et judicium dedit Sanctis altissimi Dei, et 
tempus pervenit, et regnum obtinuerunt sancti." Postea in ex- 
solutione visionum dictum est ei : " Bestia quarta regnum 
quartum erit in terra, quod eminebit super reliqua regna, et 
manducabit omnem terrain, et conculcabit earn, et concidet. Et 
decern cornua ejus, decern Reges exsurgent : et post eos surget 
alius, qui superabit malis omnes qui ante eum fuerunt, et Reges 
tres deminorabit, et verba adversus altissimum Deum loquetur, et 
sanctos altissimi Dei conteret, et cogitabit demutare tempora et 
Legem : et dabitur in manu ejus, usque ad tempus temporum et 
dimidium tempus," hoc est, per triennium et sex menses, in 

quibus veniens regnabit super terram. xxvi. 1. Manifestius 

adhuc etiam de novissimo tempore, et de his qui sunt in eo decern 
Regibus, in quos dividetur quod nunc regnat imperium, significa- 
vit Joannes Domini discipulus in Apocalypsi, edisserens quae 
fuerint decern cornua, quae a Daniele visa sunt, dicens sic dictum 
esse sibi : " Et decern cornua quae vidisti decern Reges sunt, qui 
regnum nondum acceperunt, sed potestatem quasi reges una 
hora accipient cum bestia. Hi unam sententiam habent, et vir- 
tutem et potestatem suam bestiae dant. Hi cum Agno pugna- 
bunt, et Agnus vincet eos, quoniam Dominus Dominorum est, et 
Rex Regum." Manifestum est itaque, quoniam ex his tres in- 
terficiet ille qui venturus est, et reliqui subjicientur ei, et ipse 
octavus in eis ; et vastabunt Babylonem, et comburent earn igni, 
et dabunt regnum suum bestiae, et effugabunt Ecclesiam : post 
deinde ab adventu Domini nostri destruentur. Quoniam enim 
oportet dividi regnum, et sic deperire, Dominus ait : " Omne 
regnum divisum in se, desolabitur : et omnis civitas vel domus 
divisa in se, non stabit." Dividi igitur et regnum, et civitatem, 
et domum oportet in decern : et propterea jam partitionem et 
divisionem praefiguravit. 



which time he will trample under foot the saints of 
the Most High 8 . 

He affirms that he is the other, mentioned by our 
Lord, (John v. 43,) who will come in his own name ; 
and the unjust judge, who feared not God nor regarded 
men, to whom the widowed Jerusalem will come for 
redress against her enemy ; in consequence of which 
he will transfer the seat of his dominion thither. 

He declares him to be the wicked king of Daniel, 
(viii. 23 — 25,) who for three years and a half will 
put down the pure offering which the saints offer to 
God, i. e. the Holy Eucharist 9 . 

He finds him under the Beast of the Revelation of 

8 V. xxv. 3. 

9 V. xxv. 4. Et Gabriel Angelus exsolvens ejus visionem, de 
hoc ipso dicebat : " Et in novissimo regni ipsorum exsurget Rex 
improbus facie valde, et intelligens qusestiones ; et valida virtus 
ejus et admirabilis ; et corrumpet, et diriget, et faciet, et extermi- 
nabit fortes et populum sanctum, et jugum torquis ejus dirige- 
tur : dolus in manu ejus, et in corde suo exaltabitur, et dolo 
disperdet multos, et ad perditionem multorum stabit, et quomodo 
ova manu conteret." Deinde et tempus tyrannidis ejus significat, 
in quo tempore fugabuntur Sancti, qui purum sacrificium offerunt 
Domino : " Et in dimidio hebdomadis," ait, " tolletur sacrificium 
et libatio, et in Templum abominatio desolationis, et usque ad 
consummationem temporis consummatio dabitur super desola- 
tionem ;" dimidium autem hebdomadis tres sunt anni et menses 


St. John, (xvii. 1 1 — 14,) who will drive the Church 
into the wilderness, and finally be vanquished by our 
Lord. He identities the ten kings who will give 
their kingdom to the beast with the ten divisions of 
Daniel's fourth kingdom, (Dan. ii. 33,) of whom three 
will be killed by Antichrist ; and the rest, submitting 
to him, will assist him in conquering Babylon, and 
burning it with fire : and he makes the stone cut 
out without hands to be Christ, who shall destroy 
temporal kingdoms, and set up an eternal one, (Dan. 
ii. 44, 45 1 ). 

1 V. xxvi. I. Et diligenter Daniel finem quarti Regni digi- 
tos ait pedum esse ejus imaginis, quae a Nabuchodonosor visa 
est, in quos venit lapis sine manibus praecisus ; et quemadmodum 
ipse ait : " Pedes, pars quidem aliqua ferrea, et pars aliqua ficti- 
lis ; quoadusque abscissus est lapis sine manibus, et percussit 
imaginem in pedes ferreos et fictiles, et comminuit eos usque ad 
finem." Post deinde in exsolutione ait : " Et quoniam vidisti 
pedes et digitos, partem quidem fictilem, partem autem ferream, 
regnum divisum erit, et a radice ferrea erit in eo, quemadmodum 
vidisti ferrum commixtum testae. Et digiti pedum, pars quidem 
aliqua ferrea, pars autem aliqua fictilis." Ergo decern digiti 
pedum, hi sunt decern Reges, in quibus dividetur regnum : ex 
quibus quidam quidem fortes et agiles, sive efficaces ; alii autem 
pigri et inutiles erunt, et non consentient : quemadmodum et 
Daniel ait : " Pars aliqua regni erit fortis, et ab ipsa pars erit 
minuta. Quoniam vidisti ferrum commixtum testae, commix- 
tiones erunt in semine hominum, et non erunt adjuncti invicem, 
quemadmodum ferrum non commiscetur cum testa." Et quoniam 
finis fiet, inquit : " Et in diebus Regum illorum excitabit Deus 
cceli Regnum, quod in aeternum non corrumpetur, et Regnum 
ejus alteri populo non relinquetur. Comminuet et ventilabit 


Irenseus again sees Antichrist in the beast (Rev. 
xiii. 2 — 18) whose head was wounded, who has a 
mouth given to him speaking great things, and 
receives power for forty and two months ; who has 
an armour-bearer, called the false prophet, who will 
work great miracles by magical power, through the 
aid of evil spirits ; the number of whose name is 
666 2 . 

omnia regna, et ipsum exaltabitur in aeternum. Quemadmodum 
vidisti, quoniam de monte praecisus est lapis sine manibus, et 
comminuit testam, ferrum, et aeramentum, et argentum, et aurum. 
Deus magnus significavit Regi, quae futura sunt post haec : et ve- 
rum est somnium, et fidelis interpretatio ejus." — 2. Si ergo Deus 
magnus significavit per Danielem futura, et per Filium confirma- 
vit ; et Christus est lapis, qui prsecisus est sine manibus, qui 
destruet temporalia Regna, et aeternum inducet, quae est justorum 
resurrectio : " Resuscitabit," ait, " Deus cceli Regnum, quod in 
aeternum nunquam corrumpetur." See also xxvi. 1. p. 243, note. 
2 V. xxviii. 2. Cujus adventum Joannes in Apocalypsi signifi- 
cavit ita : " Et bestia quam videram, similis erat pardo 

Si quis gladio occiderit, oportet eum in gladio occidi. Hie est 
sustinentia et fides sanctorum/' Post deinde et de armigero ejus, 
quern et pseudoprophetam vocat : " Loquebatur," inquit, " quasi 
draco, et potestatem primae bestiae omnem faciebat in conspectu 
ejus : et facit terram, et qui habitant in ea, ut adorarent bestiam 
primam, cujus curata est plaga mortis ejus. Et faciei signa 
magna, ut et ignem faciat de ccelo descendere in terram in con- 
spectu hominum, et seducet inhabitantes super terram." Haec 
ne quis eum divina virtute putet signa facere, sed magica ope- 
rations Et non est mirandum, si daemoniis et apostaticis spiriti- 
bus ministrantibus ei, per eos faciat signa, in quibus seducat 
habitantes super terram. " Et imaginem," ait, " jubebit fieri 
bestiae, et spiritum dabit imagini, uti et loquatur imago, et eos 


Respecting this number he enters into a special 
discussion, in which he first reproves those who 
hastily endeavoured to interpret it 3 , and then endea- 
vours to lay down correct principles of interpretation 
for it. He suggests that we must wait till the other 
signs of Antichrist begin to be fulfilled, such as the 
division of the Roman Empire into ten parts, and 
the sudden coming of another power to their dis- 
comfiture. We must also remark, he tells us, that 
Jeremiah (viii. 16) has foretold that he will be of 
the tribe of Dan 4 . We must not be rash in applying 

qui non adoraverint earn, faciet occidi. Et characterem autem," 
ait, "in fronte, etin manu dextra faciet dari, ut non possit aliquis 
emere vel vendere, nisi qui habet characterem nominis bestias, vel 
numerum nominis ejus; et esse numerum sexcentos sexaginta 
sex, quod est, sexies centeni, et deni sexies, et singulares sex ;" 
in recapitulationem universae apostasiae ejus, quae facta est in 
sex millibus annorum. 

3 V. xxx. 1. Kai irpioTOv jjlev ^r\jiia kv r« anoTvyjuv rrjg a\r)- 
deictg, teal to fjLi) or cog ov vTroXafielv' iizEira ce tov TrpoaBivTog rj 
a(pe\6vTOg tl rijg ypacpfjg, i-Kvn\iiav ov rr\v Tvyjyvaav k^ovTog, sic 
avri]v kfXTTeGelv avayKt] rbv tolovtov, E7raKoXovd)'i(JEi ce ko.1 ETEpog 


yjploTOv bvofia' el yap aXXo fiEV ovtol Zokovglv, liXXo c;e ekeij'Oq 
Eyiov e\Evff£Tai, pacicog E^a7zaTr]dij(rovTai nap avrov' cog /jltjc^ettov 
irapovTog ekeivov, ov (pvXaaaEtrdac irpoaiiKEi. 

4 V. xxx. 2. Oportet itaque tales discere, et ad verum recur- 
rere nominis numerum ; ut non in pseudoprophetarum loco depu- 
tentur. Sed scientes firmum numerum qui a Scriptura annun- 
tiatus est, id est, sexcentorum sexaginta sex, sustineant primum 
quidem divisionem Regni in decern : post deinde, illis regnantibus, 
et incipientibus corrigere sua negotia et augere suum regnum ; 



the number to any particular individual or power, 
for many names will correspond with it, such as 
Evavdas, Aarctvog, (which he thinks very probable, as 
being the name of the last of the four empires,) and 
Tarav, for which he suggests many, to his appre- 
hension, plausible recommendations 5 . 

qui de improviso advenerit regnum sibi vindicans, et terrebit 
praedictos, habens nomen continens prsedictum numerum, hunc 
vere cognoscere esse abominationem desolationis. Hoc et Apo- 
stolus ait : " Cum dixerint, Pax et munitio, tunc subitaneus illis 
superveniet interitus." Hieremias autem non solum subitaneum 
ejus adventum, sed et tribum, ex qua veniet, manifestavit dicens : 
" Ex Dan audiemus vocem velocitatis equorum ejus : a voce 
hinnitus decursionis equorum ejus commovebitur tota terra: et 
veniet, et manducabit terram, et plenitudinem ejus, et civitatem, 
et qui habitant in ea." Et propter hoc non annumeratur tribus 
haec in Apocalypsi cum his quae salvantur. 

5 V. XXX. 3. 'AfftyaXiaTepov ovv Kal atcivfivvoTEpov, to irepi- 
fiiveiv rrjv tKJSacriv ttjq 7rpo(prjTeiac, rj to KaTacrTO^a^euBai, kcu /cara- 
fxavTi-veaQaL ovo^iaTog' rvy^bv he ettI 7ro\\iov 6vojia.TU)v evpedrjvai 
hvvafiivov tov axiTOv apidfiov, et nihilominus quidem erit haec 
eadem quaestio. Et yap 7ro\Xa eottl to. evpiGKOjieva opofxa-a, 
iyovTa tov avTOv apiQfibv, tvo'iov it, avTwv (popiaEi 6 kpyofiEVOQ, 
£r]Tr)df]<TeTat. Quoniam autem non propter inopiam nominum 
habentium numerum nominis ejus dicimus haec, sed propter timo- 
rem erga Deum et zelum veritatis : EYAN9A2 enim nomen habet 
numerum de quo quaeritur : sed nihil de eo affirmamus. Sed et 
AATEIN02 nomen habet sexcentorum sexaginta sex numerum : 
et valde verisimile est, quoniam novissimum regnum hoc habet 
vocabulum. Latini enim sunt qui nunc regnant : sed non in hoc 
nos gloriabimur. Sed et TEITAN, prima syllaba per duas Grascas 
vocales e et i scripta, omnium nominum quae apud nos inveniuntur, 
magis fide dignum est. Etenim praedictum numerum habet in se, 


This is the sum of what he tells us on the subject 
of Antichrist; and he declares that when he has 
reigned, sitting in the temple of Jerusalem, for three 
years and a half, then the Lord will come to judg- 
ment, and to introduce the times of the kingdom of 
heaven, and the true Sabbath, in which many shall 
come from the east and west, and sit down with 
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob 6 . 

et literarum est sex, singulis syllabis ex ternis Uteris constantibus, 
et vetus, et semotum ; neque enim eorum Regum, qui secundum 
nos sunt, aliquis vocatus est Titan ; neque eorum, quae publice 
adorantur, idolorum apud Graecos et barbaros habet vocabulum 
hoc : et divinum putatur apud multos esse hoc nomen, ut etiam 
sol Titan vocetur ab his qui nunc tenent : et ostentationem quan- 
dam continet ultionis, et vindictam inferentis, quod ille simulat se 
male tractatos vindicare. Et alias autem et antiquum, et fide 
dignum et regale, magis autem et tyrannicum nomen. Cum 
igitur tantum suasionum habeat hoc nomen Titan, tamen habet 
verisimilitudinem, ut ex multis colligamus ne forte Titan vocetur, 
qui veniet. Nos tamen non periclitabimur in eo, nee asseverantes 
pronuntiabimus, hoc eum nomen habiturum : scientes, quoniam 
si oporteret manifeste praesenti tempore praeconari nomen ejus, 
per ipsum utique editum fuisset, qui et Apocalypsim viderat. 

6 V. xxx. 4. Cum autem vastaverit Antichristus hie omnia in 
hoc mundo, regnans annis tribus et mensibus sex, et sederit in 
templo Hierosolymis ; tunc veniet Dominus de ccelis in nubibus 
in gloria Patris, ilium quidem et obedientes ei in stagnum ignis 
mittens ; adducens autem justis Regni tempora, hoc est, requie- 
tionem, septimam diem sanctificatam ; et restituens Abrahae pro- 
missionem haereditatis : in quo Regno ait Dominus, multos ab 
Oriente et Occidente venientes, recumbere cum Abraham, Isaac, 
et Jacob. Ibid, xxxiii. 2. See p. 215, note 2 . 


It is foreign to my purpose to enter into the pro- 
bability or improbability of these interpretations : 
but two things strike me as remarkable : first, the 
decided identification of the ten horns of the beast 
with the Roman Empire in a state of division ; and 
secondly, the admission of the mystical meaning of 
days in the prophecy of Daniel (viii. 27) as signifying 
years, coupled with the literal interpretation of 
time in other passages ; as, for instance, Dan. vii. 25, 
and Rev. xiii. 5. 

When the short reign of Antichrist ceases, the 
undisputed reign of Christ (according to Irenseus) 
will begin, and will continue a thousand years. For 
as the days of creation were six, and the day of rest 
one ; as moreover one day is with the Lord a 
thousand years ; this world is destined to endure six 
thousand years in this state of turmoil and per- 
plexity 7 , and then will succeed a thousand of rest 
and enjoyment 8 . When that time arrives, the world 
will be restored to its pristine state ; the very ani- 
mals will all associate together in peace ; the just 

7 V. xxviii. 3. See p. 215, note \ 

The very ancient writer under the name of Barnabas, con- 
temporary at least with Justin Martyr, says, (Epist. § 11.) npoo- 
f^ere, Tttcva, t'l Xeyet to' livveriXacrtv kv el, yjfiipatc. Tovro Xeyei 
on (tvvteXeI Kvpiog kv et,aKiayj.\ioLC treat to. 7ravra. 

8 V. xxx. 4. xxxiii. 2. 


will rise with their bodies, and upon this very earth, 
upon which they suffered, will receive the reward of 
their endurance 9 . Then shall Abraham receive, 

9 V. xxxii. 1. Quoniam igitur transferuntur quorundam sen- 
tentiae ab haereticis sermonibus, et sunt ignorantes dispositiones 
Dei et mysteriuirt justorum resurrectionis et Regni quod est prin- 
cipium incorruptelae, per quod regnum qui digni fuerint paulatim 
assuescunt capere Deum ; necessarium est autem dicere de illis 
quoniam oportet justos primos in conditione hac quae renovatur, 
ad apparitionem Dei resurgentes, recipere promissionem haeredi- 
tatis quam Deus promisit patribus, et regnare in ea ; post deinde 
fieri judicium. In qua enim conditione laboraverunt sive afflicti 
sunt, omnibus modis probati per sufferentiam, justum est in ipsa 

recipere eos fructus sufferentiae Oportet ergo et ipsam 

conditionem, reintegratam ad pristinum, sine prohibitione servire 

justis. xxxiii. 4. Haec ergo tempora prophetans Esaias ait: 

" Et compascetur lupus cum agno, et pardus conquiescet cum 
haedo, et vitulus et taurus et leo simul pascentur, et puer pusil- 
lus ducet eos. Et bos et ursus simul pascentur, et simul infan- 
tes eorum erunt : et leo et bos manducabunt paleas. Et puer 
infans in cavernam aspidum, et in cubile filiorum aspidum manum 
mittet ; et non male facient, nee poterunt perdere aliquem in 
monte sancto meo." Et iterum recapitulans ait : " Tunc lupi et 
agni pascentur simul, et leo quasi bos vescetur paleis, serpens 
autem terram quasi panem : et non nocebunt neque vexabunt in 
monte sancto meo, dicit Dominus." Non ignoro autem, quoniam 
quidam haec in feros, et ex diversis gentibus et variis operibus 
credentes, et cum crediderint consentientes justis, ten tent trans- 
ferre. Sed etsi nunc hoc sit in quibusdam hominibus, ex variis 
gentibus in unam sententiam fidei venientibus, nihilominus in 
resurrectione justorum super iis animalibus, quemadmodum dic- 
tum est : dives enim in omnibus Deus. Et oportet conditione 
revocata, obedire et subjecta esse omnia animalia homini, et ad 
primam a Deo datam reverti escam, (quemadmodum autem in 


fully and literally, the promise made to him and to 
his seed, i. e. the Church, and shall really enjoy bis 
inheritance from the river of Egypt to the great 
Euphrates \ Then shall Jesus drink the fruit of the 
vine new with his disciples 2 ; for there shall be no 
more labour, but there shall be a continual table 
prepared by a creative hand, by the incredible pro- 

obedientia subjecta erant Adae,) fructum terrae. Alias autem et 
non est nunc ostendere leonem paleis vesci. Hoc autem signifi- 
cabat magnitudineni et pinguedinem fructuum. Si enim leo 
animal paleis vescitur; quale ipsum triticum erit, cujus palea ad 
escam congrua erit leonum ? 

Theophilus ad Autohjcum, II. 25. 'O7rorav ovv ttoXlv b avdpw- 
7rog avadpdfxrf slq to Kara tyvciv, ^ketl ko.kot7oi(Jqv ; KaKeiva (i. e. 
ra drjpia) a7roKa-a<TTad)]aeTaL elg ri)v ap-^i)6ev i]^ep6rr]Ta. 

1 V. xxxii. 2. " Semini tuo dabo terram hanc, a flumine 
iEgypti usque ad flumen magnum Eupbratem." Si ergo huic 
[Abraham] promisit Deus hsereditatem terrae, non accepit autem 
in omni suo incolatu ; oportet eum accipere cum semine suo, hoc 
est, qui timent Deum et credunt in eum, in resurrectione justorum. 
Semen autem ejus Ecclesia, per Dominum adoptionem quae est 

ad Deum accipiens Neque Abraham neque semen 

ejus, hoc est, qui ex fide justificantur, nunc sumunt in ea hasredi- 
tatem ; accipient autem earn in resurrectione justorum. 

2 V. xxxiii. 1. Promisit bibere de generatione vitis cum suis 
discipulis ; utrumque ostendens, et hasreditatem terrae in qua 
bibitur nova generatio vitis, et carnalem resurrectionem discipu- 
lorum ejus : quas enim nova resurgit caro, ipsa est quae et novum 
percipit poculum. Neque autem sursum in superccelesti loco 
constitutus cum suis potest intelligi bibens vitis generationem ; 
neque rursus sine carne sunt, qui bibant illud : carnis enim pro- 

prium est, et non spiritus, qui ex vite accipitur potus. 2. See 

p. 215, note 2 . 


ductiveness of the fruits of the earth s . Then shall 
the righteous hold intercourse and communion with 
Angels 4 in Jerusalem, which shall be then rebuilt 5 . 

This state of things he believed, as I have said, 
would last a thousand years; and he adopted this 
view, not for want of knowing that there was an 
allegorical interpretation, but because he thought it 
forced and unnatural, and labouring under irreme- 
diable difficulties 6 . 

3 V. xxxiii. 2. supra. — 3. Praedicta itaque benedictio ad tempora 
Regni sine contradictione pertinet, quando regnabunt justi sur- 
gentes a mortuis : quando et creatura renovata, et liberata, multitu- 
dinem fructificabit universae escae, ex rore cceli, et ex fertilitate 
terras. See p. 131, note 5 . 

4 V. xxxv. 1. Regnabunt justi in terra, crescentes ex visione 
Domini, et per ipsum assuescent capere gloriam Dei Patris, et 
cum Sanctis Angelis conversationem et communionem, et unita- 
tem spiritalium in Regno capient : et illos quos Dominus in 
came inveniet, exspectantes eum de ccelis, et perpessos tribula- 
tionem, qui et effugerint iniqui manus. 

5 V. xxxv. 2. In Regni temporibus, revocata terra a Christo, 
et reaedificata Hierusalem, secundum characterem quae sursum 
est Hierusalem. 

6 V. xxxiii. 4. supra. — xxxv. 1. Si autem quidam tentaverint 
allegorizare haec, quae ejusmodi sunt ; neque de omnibus poterunt 
consonantes sibimetipsis inveniri, et convincentur ab ipsis dic- 
tionibus. — 2. Et nihil allegorizari potest, sed omnia firma, et vera, 
et substantiam habentia, ad fruitionem hominum justorum a Deo 
facta. Quomodo enim vere Deus est, qui resuscitat hominem ; 
sic et vere resurgit homo a mortuis, et non allegorice, quemad- 
modum per tanta ostendimus. Et sicut vere resurgit, sic et vere 


And when the thousand years were ended, he 
believed that the great day of judgment would come, 
and the general resurrection, when the New Jeru- 
salem would descend from heaven, of which the 
former Jerusalem, in which the just were prepared 
for immortality, would have been but an image 7 . 
Then will there be new heavens and a new earth, in 
which man will for ever conyerse with God. But 
there will not be only one abode of the righteous : 
some will ascend into heaven above the angels ; 
others will enjoy the delights of a paradise 8 ; but all 

praemeditabitur [peXenitreTai — sese exercebit in] incorruptelam, 
et augebitur, et vigebit in Regni temporibus, ut fiat capax gloria? 
Patris. Deinde omnibus renovatis, vere in civitate habitabit 

7 V. xxxv. 2. His itaque praetereuntibus super terram, novam 
superiorem Hierusalem ait Domini discipulus Joannes descendere, 
quemadmodum sponsam ornatam viro suo ; et hoc esse taberna- 
culum Dei, in quo inhabitabit Deus cum borainibus. Hujus 
Hierusalem imago ilia, quae in priori terra, Hierusalem, in qua 
justi prsemeditantur incorruptelam, et parantur in salutem. Et 
bujus tabernaculi typum accepit Moyses in monte. 

6 V. xxxvi 1. HapeXOovTOQ ce rov trxfiparoQ rovrov, kcu dva- 
veojdii'TOQ rov civdpoo-ov, kcu atc/ddaravrog ~pog n)v acbdapaiav, ware 
firjtcirL ovvaadat rcepa rcaXaiuQijvai, etrrai 6 ovpavog xaivbg, /ecu ?/ 
yri kcllvi)' kv rolg kolivoiq avajievel 6 dvdpu)rrog del tcaivog, kcli —pocr- 

ofjiikGjv -J Qscf' (prjaiv yap 'Ho-atac' "Ov rpo~ov yap 6 

ovpavoe Kaivog teal ?/ yij kcuvi), h eylo rrouo, /uivet kv<l)-iov e/uov, 
XeyEL Kvpiog, ovra) arijaerai rb tnripfta vfj.uji> Kal rd bvofxa v/xuiv . . . 
ojc ol 7rpeaj3vrepoL Xiyovat, rore Kal ol fiev KaraL,LU)dtvreg rijg kv 
ovpavio ctarptprjc, Efccttre ywp^aovcnv, ol ce rije rov -apa.cei.aov 
rpvcpijg ctTToXavaovaiv, ol ce ri)v XafjLTrporrjra rijg ttoXecoq KaQeiovaiv' 


will have the continual manifestation of the presence 
of God, and be changed into his likeness 9 . 

This, I believe, is a correct view of the opinions 
of Irenseus as to certain departments of unfulfilled 
prophecy. I offer upon them no opinion of my own ; 
but it is right to say that he was by no means 
singular in his own age \ and that there is no writer 

Trav-a*)(ov yap 6 Sw-j^p opadiiatrai, Kadojg ci£iot eaovrat ol bpuJvTEg 

9 V. xxxvi. 3. Ut progenies ejus, primogenitus Verbum, de- 
scendat in facturam, hoc est, in plasma, et capiatur ab eo ; et 
factura iterum capiat Verbum, et ascendat ad eum, supergrediens 
Angelos, et fiet secundum imaginem et similitudinem Dei. 

1 Justin Martyr, Dial, cum Tryph. 80, makes Tryphon ask the 
question : Ylize. ci fxoi aXr/dug, v/jle~iq avoiKoco^-qQrivai tuv toitov 
'lepovaaXijfj. tovtov 6fioXoyt~iTE, Kal ovvayd))<7EGdai rov Xaov i/p)', 
Kal ev((jpavdyjpac avv rw XptorJ d'/xa TO~ig TrarpLap^aiQ Kal toiq 


ttoIv iXde'ty v\xu)v tov Xpiarov, TrpoacoKaTE ; And to this Justin 
replies, 'QijuoXoyrjaa ovv vol Kal irpoTEpov, on tyw /jlev Kal aXXoi 
noXXol ravra (ppovov/JiEv, <hg Kal Trayrtog EwlaraadE, tovto yEvr\uo\iE- 
vov' TtoXXovg & av Kal twv rfjg Kadapag Kal EVGEpovg ovtojv Xpia- 
TtavCov yvwfxrjg tovto fxr} ypojpi^Etv kar^iavd aot. And further on : 
'Eyw £f, Kal Et Tivig elaiv opdoyvwfxovEg Kara irdvTa Xpiortaroi 
fcai crapKog avdaTaaiv yEvi\GEaQai £7rioTa'jU£0a* Kal x*'Ata vrr\ ev 
'lEpovaaXiifx otKO^ofxrjdEitrr) Kal KoafirfdEiffrj Kal irXarvvQEiay ol irpo- 

07/rat "Ie^ekiyiX Kal 'Hcra'iag Kal ol aXXoi bfioXoyovaLv. Perhaps 

I ought to notice, that some persons have supposed Justin in this 
last passage to assert, that orthodox Christians in general taught 
the doctrine of the personal reign, and thence have imagined 
a discrepancy between the latter statement and that immediately 
preceding : but a little attention will show, that all he asserts 


of any importance, down to the time of Origen, who 
impugned the doctrine of the personal reign of Christ 
on earth. After that time, that doctrine became 
more and more unpopular in the Church at large ; 
although many, from time to time, have advocated 
views more or less in accordance with those of the 
primitive millenarians. 

concerning orthodox Christians in general is, that they believe 
the resurrection of the flesh ; and he further adds, that the pro- 
phets taught that Jerusalem was to be rebuilt, and to remain a 
thousand years inhabited by the just. 

Tertullian. advers. Marcion. III. 24. Nam et confitemur in terra 
nobis regnum repromissum ; sed ante ccelum, sed alio statu ; utpote 
post resurrectionem in mille annos, in civitate divini operis Hieru- 
salem ccelo delata. — See also Barnabas and Theophilus, quoted 
pp. 250 & 252. 



There are two passages of Irenreus, in which the 
name of the Blessed Virgin is introduced, which 
would not have called for any particular remark, 
were it not for the manner in which they are per- 
verted by Romanist writers, and especially by the 
Benedictine editor, Massuet, in support of the blas- 
phemous honour they bestow on her. When, how- 
ever, we have examined them, we shall perceive 
that, although they may, no doubt, to those whose 
minds are imbued with superstitious prejudice, at 
first sight appear to countenance that prejudice, they 
do not really favour it. 

The first of these passages affirms that "as Eve, 
having Adam for her husband, but being still a vir- 
gin .... being disobedient, became both to herself 
and to the whole human race the cause of death ; so 
also Mary, having her destined husband and yet 



a virgin, being obedient, became both to herself and 
to the whole human race the cause of salvation 1 ." 
There seems no difficulty in granting all this, and 
yet the conclusion by no means follows that the 
Blessed Virgin is to be regarded as a mediatrix and 
intercessor with God, next after her Son 2 . Eve was 
certainly the cause of death to the whole human 
race, because through her transgression Adam was 
made to transgress ; and in him all mankind are 
made sinners. But it does not appear that original 
sin came to all mankind directly from Eve, or that 
she was any otherwise the cause of death to our race, 
except by bringing Adam into the transgression : 
otherwise we must suppose that our Lord, being 
born of a woman, must have inherited a sinful na- 
ture ; for even Massuet does not make the Virgin 
sinless. As the transgression of Eve therefore, al- 

1 III. xxii. 4. Maria virgo obediens invenitur, dicens : " Ecce 
ancilla tua, Domine, flat mihi secundum verbum tuum :" Eva 
vero inobediens ; non obedivit enim, adhuc cum esset virgo. 
Quemadmodum ilia, virum quidem habens Adam, virgo tamen 

adhuc existens inobediens facta, et sibi et universo 

generi humano causa facta est mortis ; sic et Maria habens prae- 
destinatum virum, et tamen virgo, obediens, et sibi et universo 

generi humano causa facta est salutis Sic autem et 

Evse inobedientige nodus solutionem accepit per obedientiam 
Mariae : quod enim alligavit virgo Eva per incredulitatem, hoc 
virgo Maria solvit per fidem. 

2 Massuet, Diss. Prcev. III. § 65. Nostra? salutis prima post 

Filium mediatrix mediatricis conciliatricisque cum 



though no doubt her own act, was only instrument- 
ally and indirectly the cause of our condemnation, 
so the obedience of the Virgin Mary, although her 
own act, was only instrumentally and indirectly the 
cause of our salvation, that is, by leading to the in- 
carnation and birth of our Lord 3 . And if so, there 
is no foundation whatever for making her a medi- 
atrix and intercessor with God. 

But still stronger reliance appears to be placed 
upon the next passage, in which the Virgin Mary is 
called " the advocate of the Virgin Eve V And yet 
that very passage supplies a proof that this term 
cannot be taken otherwise than in a figurative and 

3 And so Justin Martyr puts it in a parallel passage to this of 
Irenaeus : Try ph. 100. Hapdivoc ovoa Ei/a, tov Xoyov tov cltto 
rov 6(f>e(i)r avXXaftovaa, 7rapai:oiiv Kai ddvarov eteke' tz'igtiv ce kclI 
\apav Xafiovaa Mapia ?/ rrapdivog, EvayyEXi^opivov avrrj Ta- 

fipiijX dyyiXov,' Tevoito pot Kara, ro pijpd 

(tov. Kat ota ravrrjg yEyivr\rai ovtoq Bi ob 6 Qeoq rov 

btyiv KaraXvEi, dwaXXayiiy Be tov davdrov 


4 V. xix. 1. Quemadmodum enim ilia per angeli sermonem 
seducta est, ut effugeret Deum, praevaricata verbum ejus ; ita et 
haec per angelicum sermonem evangelizata est, ut pcrtaret Deum, 
obediens ejus verbo. Et si ea inobedierat Deo, sed haec suasa 
est obedire Deo, uti virginis Evae virgo Maria fieret advocata. 
Et quemadmodum adstrictum est morti genus humanum per vir- 
ginem, salvatur per virginem ; aequa lance disposita, virginalis 
inobedientia per virginalem obedientiam. 



improper sense : for Irengeus therein asserts that " as 
the human race was condemned to death through a 
virgin, so it is saved through a virgin;" i. e. as he 
himself explains it, through her submission to the 
angelic announcement of the will of God, that his 
Son should be born of her. Now it would be clear 
blasphemy to ascribe our salvation to the Virgin 
otherwise than in a figurative sense, as being an in- 
strument in the divine hand for its accomplishment 
by becoming the mother of the real Saviour; and 
so, in the same figurative sense she was the advocate 
of Eve, by becoming the mother of him who was 
really her advocate. The figure is, no doubt, rather 
bold, but still it is evidently but a figure. 

This interpretation indeed is so obvious, that to 
us, who have no such prejudices as the members of 
the Roman Church, it would have been unnecessary 
to insist upon it, were it not for the violent per- 
version of the passage by their writers. It is, per- 
haps, worthy of more distinct indication, that Ire- 
naaus, by declaring that the Blessed Virgin was the 
cause of salvation to herself, as well as to others 5 , 
directly contradicts the idea held by some in the 
Roman Church, (and I believe in the Greek like- 
wise,) that she was entirely sinless. On the other 

5 III. xxii. 4. 


hand, lie undoubtedly countenances (although he does 
not use) the appellation given to her by many, of the 
mother of God 6 . 

6 V. xix. 1 ut portaret Deum. 





Several writers have speculated upon the sources 
of the Gnostic errors ; but, I believe that the asser- 
tion of Irenseus remains uncontradicted, that Simon 
Magus was the first to give them a definite form *. 
We learn from Theodoret 2 , Elias Cretensis 3 , and 
Nicetas 4 , that he imagined an ogdoad of superior 

1 I. xxiii. 2. xxvii. 4. II. Prsef. 1. III. Praef. 

2 Hcer. I. 1. He calls the Great Original a twofold Fire, 
hidden and apparent, and he gives the names of the Pairs who 
proceeded from this Fire, as Noi/g ical 'E7rtVoia, $wvij rat "Evvoia, 
Aoyia/J,6g ical 'HLvdvjJirjcriQ. 

3 Ad Gregor. Naz. Orat. xxiii. The names he gives are 
Hvdog Kul 2iiyri, Novg ical 'AXrideia, Aoyog KaX Zwri, " Avdpwnog ko.1 

4 Ad ejusdem Orat. xliv. 


beings, all the rest of whom emanated from the first. 
He imagined one First Cause, the source of all ex- 
istence, with whom he joined his Thought (Ewoia). 
Irenseus mentions no more than these 5 . Simon 
taught that this Thought, issuing forth from the 
Supreme Father, and knowing his intentions, de- 
scended from above, and produced the Angels and 
Powers by whom the world was made, and who 
were ignorant of the Father : that they, not wishing 
to acknowledge any author of their existence, de- 
tained her, and subjected her to every kind of con- 
tumely, to prevent her return to the Father, and 
caused her to exist in this world in perpetual trans- 
migration from one female form to another. 

He taught that he himself was this Supreme 
Father 6 , and a prostitute, named Helena, whom he 
had purchased at Tyre, and with whom he cohabited, 
was his Thought, who had been formerly the Trojan 
Helen: that she was the lost sheep 7 , and that he 
was come down upon earth to rescue her from the 
bondage in which she was held ; and to rescue man 
by the knowledge of himself from the tyranny they 
were under to the angels who created the world. 
This tyranny was obedience to the moral law, which 
was imposed upon man by the agency of the inspired 
persons of the old dispensation solely to keep him in 

5 I. xxiii. 2. 6 I. xxiii. 1. II. ix. 2. 7 I. xxiii. 2. 



subjection : and the deliverance he accomplished for 
his followers was to bring them to believe that all 
actions were indifferent in their own nature, and 
that the will of the Creative Powers was the only 
thing which made one action more just than another. 
To do away with this tyranny, he declared that he 
had transformed himself first into a resemblance to 
the angels, then into that of man ; in which latter 
form he had appeared in Judsea as the Son, and there 
apparently suffered ; but only apparently 8 ; that he 
had afterwards manifested himself to the Samaritans 
as the Father, and to the rest of the world as the 
Holy Ghost 9 . 

Irenseus gives it as his own opinion that the con- 
version of Simon was only pretended; that he re- 
garded the Apostles as nothing more than impostors 
or sorcerers of a somewhat deeper skill and subtler 
knowledge than himself, which he hoped to be initi- 
ated into : and that his mortification at the rebuff he 
met with caused him to set himself in opposition to 
them, and to dive deeper into magic arts for that 
purpose ; on account of his proficiency in which he 
was honoured by Claudius Caesar with a statue \ 

The natural fruits followed from such doctrines 
and such an example. The priests of his heresy 

8 I. xxiii. 1.3. 9 I. xxiii. 1. l I. xxiii. 1. 


were sorcerers of various degrees of ability, and their 
lives were very impure. They taught their followers 
to worship Simon under the form of Jupiter, and 
Helena under that of Minerva 2 . 

It is obvious that such a scheme was adapted only 
to the gross and ignorant, with just enough of mys- 
ticism about it to enable its founder to keep up the 
character of a philosopher with the more refined, 
and enable him to pass off his lewdness as the result 
of a philosophical system, rather than the dominion 
of low propensities. The Emperor Claudius, noto- 
rious as a man of weak intellect, was an extremely 
likely person to be both amused and duped by his 
magical performances. 

We have here the germ of all the Antinomian 
heresies from that time to the present. However 
they may have been espoused by refined and virtuous 
minds, they all originate with persons of impure and 
unbridled propensities, who are unwilling to avow 
the real grossness of their characters, and therefore 
set up for some deeper knowledge or more subtle 
system than ordinary men. 

It will be observed, too, that Irenseus confirms the 
2 1. xxiii. 4. 


statement of Justin Martyr respecting the statue 
erected in honour of Simon 3 . The subject is so well 
taken up by the late Dr. E. Burton, in the 42nd 
note to his Bampton Lectures, that I do not purpose 
to enter into it here, further than to remark that 
Irenaeus ought not to be regarded as merely follow- 
ing Justin: for he himself had visited Rome, and 
was therefore likely to have informed himself per- 
sonally upon a subject which he thought sufficiently 
important to bring forward in controversy. 

It is likewise a fact deserving notice, that the first 
instance we have of the worship of images amongst 
persons recognizing in any degree the gospel, is to 
be found amongst the followers of Simon Magus. 
Something of this kind probably suggested St. John's 
caution : " Little children, keep yourselves from 

Concerning Nicolas, the author, whether inten- 
tionally or not, of the sect which bears his name 4 , 
he informs us that he was one of the seven deacons, 
which some have doubted. He gives us no addi- 
tional information concerning the sect, beyond that 
furnished by St. John 5 . This, however, connects 

3 I. xxiii. 1. 4 Clem. Alex. Strom. II. 20. § 118. III. 4. § 25. 
5 I. xxvi. 3. 


them with the Gnostics in their licentious doctrines, 
and no further. 

The Ebionites are mentioned by Irenseus, as 
though he meant to class them with the Gnostics : 
but all the information he gives respecting them 
leads to the conclusion that they had nothing in 
common with them, except their schism. He ex- 
pressly states that they believed differently from the 
Gnostics, and agreed with Christians as to the 
creation of the world ; and that they differed from 
Cerinthus and Carpocrates on the subject of the 
miraculous conception 6 . Tertullian 7 indeed implies 
that Ebion denied this latter fact ; and Eusebius dis- 
tinctly asserts of the great body of his followers, that 
they thought, as Carpocrates and Cerinthus did, that 
Jesus was a mere man, and exalted for his excel- 
lence like other men 8 : but he states, and Theodoret 9 
confirms his statement, that there were Ebionites 
who believed the miraculous conception. 

6 I. xxvi. 2. 7 Be Virg. Vel 6. Be Came Christi, 13. 

8 Hist. Eccl. III. 27. 

9 Hcer. II. 1. Toy Se 2u)Tfjpa /ecu Kvptov Ik 7rap6ivov yeyev- 
vrjadai <pr)(riv. 



The succession of heresy, unlike that of the Church, 
had not for its object the keeping up of one uniform 
system of doctrine, but the exhibition of something 
sufficiently attractive or striking to prevent the 
minds of men from dwelling upon the truth. It 
required leaders, and therefore persons remarkable 
for ability of some kind or another. A successor 
was therefore provided to Simon in the person of 
Menander, a Samaritan like himself 1 , and, as Justin 
informs us, his pupil 2 ; but whose great qualification 
was, that he equalled or excelled his master in the 
knowledge of magic 3 . Heresy, likewise, not requiring 
to be uniform, permitted its successive teachers to 
improve upon the system of their predecessors; and by 
this means both satisfied the natural love of mankind 
for novelty, and kept up the appetite. So Menander 
differed a little from Simon, at least in expression, 
in saying that the Supreme Essence was unknown to 
all men. He likewise introduced another name from 
the Gospel, representing himself, not as the Supreme 

1 I. xxiii. 5. 2 Apol. I. 26. 

3 Euseb. Hist. EccL III. xxvi. 1. 


Being, either personally or by direct emanation and 
operation, (as Simon did,) but as the Saviour, sent by 
the unseen Powers for the salvation of man. He 
likewise taught his followers, that by the magical 
practices in which he instructed them, they might 
even vanquish the Angelic Creators of this lower 
world, which was somewhat more than Simon pro- 

It appears likewise that he initiated his followers 
by baptism, which he represented as the true and 
only resurrection, and taught them to believe that 
after receiving it they could neither grow old nor 
die 4 . How he got over the fact that they did both, 
we are not informed : but this making baptism the 
same thing as the resurrection, explains St. Paul's 
words 5 , where he represents some as teaching that 
" the resurrection is already past. 1 ' Hymenseus and 
Philetus, who spread this error in all probability in 
Asia Minor, might easily have been disciples of 
Menander, who made Antioch his head quarters 6 . 

Menander was succeeded by two of his pupils 7 , 
Saturninus and Basilides, who, though taking up 
the same general system, were very different men, 

4 I. xxiii. 5. 5 1 Tim. ii. 17, 18. 

6 Justin. Apol. I. 26. 

7 Euseb. Hist. Eccl. IV. vii. 2. Tertullian, de Anima, 23, 
mentions Saturninus as the pupil of Menander. 


and therefore modified it in different ways, and were 
employed by their invisible master in different parts 
of his vineyard. 

Saturninus remained at Antioch. teaching the 
same general doctrine as his preceptor Menander. 
He defined the number of the angels by whom the 
world was made to be seven s , one of whom was the 
God of the Jews ; and he introduced one of the 
remaining angels, who had not been concerned in 
the creation, under the name of Satan, as the oppo- 
nent of the Creators, and more especially of the God 
of the Jews 9 . He represented the creation of man 
as having taken place at the suggestion of the 
Supreme Power, who exhibited to the angels a 
bright image of himself: which, as he immediately 
drew it up again to himself, they endeavoured to 
copy, and thus made man after its image arid likeness : 
but not having the power to make him erect, he 
would have grovelled on the earth like a worm, had 
not the Supreme Power, taking compassion on this 
poor copy of himself, sent forth into it a spark of 
life, which gave it limbs and an erect posture \ By 
an unaccountable inconsistency, however, (for having 
a system to make or improve at pleasure, he might 
as well have made its parts consistent with each 
other,) he likewise taught that there were at first 

8 I. xxiv. 1. ■ Ibid. 2. ] Ibid. 1. 


created two sorts of men, one of which was not 
enkindled with the celestial spark : that those alone 
would be saved who possessed it 2 ; and that when 
they died, this heavenly portion of them would 
ascend to the Powers above, and the other portions 
of their nature would be dissolved 3 . 

The cause of the coming of the Saviour, or Christ, 
as they also called him, (who was unborn, incor- 
poreal, and man only in appearance,) he declared to 
be the conspiracy of all the Angelic Princes, headed 
by the Jewish God, against the Supreme Father ; 
which obliged him to come down to destroy the God 
of the Jews, together with demons and wicked men, 
and to save those who believed in him, that is, those 
who had received the spark of life. Who these 
demons were, or whether the whole of the angels 
were to be destroyed, we are not told 4 . 

The prophecies of the Old Testament he attri- 
buted partly to the Creators and partly to Satan 5 . 

It is evident that this is merely a modification of 
the scheme of Simon Magus, with the addition of 
Satan, and the Jewish God, and the spark of life : but 
there is another feature of his system which is 
remarkable, as differing widely from that of his 

2 I. xxiv. 2. 3 Ibid. 1. 4 Ibid. 2. 5 Ibid. 


predecessors. Instead of opening the door to un- 
bridled lust, he affected an extraordinary repugnance 
to every thing carnal, declaring marriage and its na- 
tural consequences to be works of Satan ; and some 
of his followers entirely abstain from animal food 6 . 

Basilides \ the other successor of Menander, set- 
tled at Alexandria in Egypt. He was, as I have 
said, a man of very different character from Saturni- 
nus, and followed his master in his addiction to 
magical practices, and in his licentious doctrines ; 
teaching likewise that meats offered to idols were to 
be eaten indifferently with others 8 . 

But that he might have something of his own, he 
greatly modified and added to the speculative system 
of his predecessors. He taught that from the Un- 
born Father was born his Mind, and from him the 
Word, from him Understanding (Qpovriaic;), from him 
Wisdom and Power, and from them Excellences, 
and Princes, and Angels, who made a heaven. He 
then introduced a successive series of angelic beings, 
each set derived from the preceding one, to the num- 
ber of 365, and each the author of their own pecu- 

6 I. xxiv. 2. 

7 Clem. Alex. (Strom. VII. 17. § 106,107.) speaks of Basilides 
as being a good deal younger than Marcion, and about the same 
age as Valentinus. 

8 I. xxiv. 5. 


liar heaven 8 . To all these angels and heavens he 
gave names 9 , and assigned the local situations of the 
heavens. The first of them is called Abraxas, a 
mystical name containing in it the number 365 ] ; 
the last and lowest is the one which we see ; the 
Creators of which made this world, and divided its 
parts and nations amongst them. In this division 
the Jewish nation came to the share of the Prince 
of the Angels ; and as he wished to bring all other 
nations into subjection to his favourite nation, the 
other angelic Princes and their nations resisted him 
and his nation 2 . The Supreme Father, seeing this 
state of things, sent his first-begotten Mind, who is 
also called Christ, to deliver those who should be- 
lieve in him from the power of the Creators. He 
accordingly appeared to mankind as a man, and 
wrought mighty deeds. He did not, however, really 
suffer, but changed forms with Simon of Cyrene, 
and stood by laughing whilst Simon suffered ; and 
afterwards, being himself incorporeal, ascended into 
heaven. Building upon this transformation, Basili- 
des taught his disciples that they might at all times 
deny him that was crucified, and that they alone 
who did so understood the providential dealings of 
the Most High, and by that knowledge were freed 

8 I.xxiv. 3. 9 Ibid. 5. 1 Ibid. 7. 

2 The Prophecies, like Simon, he attributed to the Angels in 
general, but the Law to their Chief. § 5. 



from the power of the angels, whilst those who con- 
fessed him remained under their power 3 . Like Sa- 
turninus, however, but in other words, he asserted 
that the soul alone was capable of salvation, but the 
body necessarily perishable 4 . 

He taught, moreover, that they who knew his 
whole system, and could recount the names of the 
angels, &c, were invisible to them all, and could 
pass through and see them, without being seen in 
return : that they ought likewise to keep themselves 
individually and personally unknown to common 
men, and even to deny that they are what they are ; 
that they should assert themselves to be neither 
Jews nor Christians, and by no means reveal their 
mysteries 5 . This, of course, and their unscrupulous- 
ness as to actions of any kind whatever, would en- 
tirely exempt them from persecution. 

It appears likewise, from a fragment preserved in 
Origen's Commentary on the Romans 6 , that he taught 
the transmigration of souls. He affirmed that the 
martyrs suffered for offences committed at some 
other time : for he thought it contrary to the divine 
justice that any innocent person should suffer 7 . 

3 I. xxiv. 4. 4 Ibid. 5. 5 Ibid. 6. 

6 Lib. V. cap. 5. See the Appendix to the Benedictine edition 
of Irenseus. 

7 Clem. Alex. Strom. IV. 12. § 83. 


In this scheme we find a feature, which was after- 
wards taken up and amplified, viz., the connection of 
mystical numbers with Gnosticism. 

It is likewise curious to observe how much of the 
Gospel history and phraseology was interwoven with 
it, without one single atom of its purity and rege- 
nerating influence. 



Carpocrates is placed by Irenseus next to Basi- 
lides s : but as there is a general agreement amongst 
the early writers that Carpocrates was prior to Cerin- 
thus 9 , and that the latter flourished in the last years 
of St. John, it appears most probable that Carpocrates 
was, if any thing, earlier than Basilides, and more 
properly coeval with Menander. In favour of this 
idea there is this internal argument, that his system 
does not appear to be in any degree an amplification 

8 I. XXV. 1. 

9 The writer of the Appendix to Tertull. de Prase rip. Hcer. 48. 
Epiphan. Hcer. xxviii. 2. See also Lampe, Proleg. in Joan. II. 
3. 2. p. 184, quoted in Burton's Bampion Lectures, note 75. 

T 2 


or alteration of that of Basilides, but rather to have 
been an independent modification of the original 
scheme of Simon. 

He agreed with him, and Menander, and Basilides, 
in professing magic 1 , and in preaching licentious 
doctrines. He agreed with Simon likewise in teach- 
ing the doctrine of the transmigration of souls, and 
adapted it to the support of profligacy, by asserting 
that every soul is destined to become acquainted 
with every kind of action, and that it passes from 
body to body until it has accomplished every thing 
to which it is predestined 2 . 

Like all other Gnostics, he asserted that the world 
and human bodies were made by Angels 3 ; he agreed 
with some in teaching that all souls were originally 
in the same sphere (7TEpi<j>opa) as the Supreme Being 4 , 
but that when once placed in bodies, they continued 
under the power of the Angels, until they had ful- 
filled their destined task ; that when a person died, 
his soul was brought before the Prince of the Angels, 
by the Devil, and if it had not accomplished every 
thing, was handed over to another Angel, to be 
inclosed again in a body ; but that when it has ful- 

1 T. xxv. 3. 2 Ibid. 4. 

3 At least this is implied in § 4. 

4 He said (§ 2) that they were in the same sphere as Jesus, 
who (§1) was from the same as the Father. 


filled its destiny they have no longer any power over 
it, but it returns to the Father, from whom it 
originally came 5 . 

Unlike Simon, however, or any whom I have yet 
mentioned, (except, perhaps, Ebion) he taught that 
Jesus was a mere man, the son of Joseph; that 
being brought up in the Jews' religion, remembering 
what he had been when in the same sphere with the 
Father, and being of an unusually firm and resolute 
mind, he looked down upon the Angels, and set at 
nought bodily suffering 6 . But his followers thought 
that there was no reason why any individual man 
might not surpass Jesus, and that, in point of fact, 
many of their sect were superior to the Apostles. 
Others went so far as to affirm, that the Apostles 
were not at all inferior to Jesus, and that if any man 
whatever could attain to a greater degree of con- 
tempt for the Creators than Jesus arrived at, he 
would become superior to him 7 . 

They affirmed that we are to be saved by faith 
and love ; all actions being good or bad only accord- 
ing to human opinion ; and that Jesus taught their 
system as an esoteric doctrine to the Apostles, who 
delivered it to those who were worthy 8 . 

5 I. xxv. 4. 6 Ibid. 1, 

7 Ibid. 2. 8 Ibid. 5. 


Some branded their followers upon the right 
ear 9 . 

I mentioned before that the first worship of 
images arose amongst heretics : and it is remarkable 
that heretics again, viz. the Carpocratians, were the 
first to pay honour to the image of Christ, whom 
they worshipped equally with Pythagoras, and Plato, 
and Aristotle, with the same kind of honour as that 
which was customary amongst the heathen \ 

One of the female followers of Carpocrates, by 
name Marcellina, is said to have visited Rome in 
the time of Anicetus, and to have seduced many 2 . 

Respecting Cerinthus, whom we know from Ire- 
nseus to have been a contemporary of St. John 3 , the 
information he furnishes is very slight. He did not 
attribute the Creation to the Angels in a body, but 
to some one Power far removed from the Supreme 
Power. He made Jesus a mere man, but more ex- 
cellent than other men : he affirmed that the Christ 
had descended upon him at baptism, and made 
known to him the unknown Father, and empowered 
him to work miracles, but that he departed from him 
before the crucifixion, and left him to suffer alone 4 . 

I. xxv. 6. * Ibid. 2 Ibid. 

III. iii. 4. See p. 60. 4 I. xxvi. 1 




Cerdon would seem to be another independent 
offset from the stock of Simon. He likewise taught 
a Supreme God, the Father of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, and another inferior deity, who inspired the 
prophets 5 . He joined the church at Rome under 
Hyginus, its bishop, i. e. about a.d. 141, and appears 
to have wished by all means to remain in its com- 
munion ; and accordingly he recanted his error. He 
could not, however, refrain from spreading it co- 
vertly, and being detected, he again recanted ; still 
he kept his heresy, and being at length judged in- 
corrigible, he was withheld from the communion of 
the Church 6 . 

Marcion succeeded Cerdon 7 , and took up and 
amplified his doctrine. He likewise made the Cre- 

5 I. xxvii. 1. The Author of the Appendix to Tertullian's 
Treatise de Prces. (§ 51.) makes these two Primary Beings ; but 
Irenseus declares that the former was unknown, the latter known ; 
the former good, the latter merely just. 

6 III. iv. 3. 

7 Clement of Alexandria mentions Marcion as being in time 
the successor of Simon Magus, {Strom. VII. 17. § 107,) and 
predecessor of Basilides and Valentinus ; contemporary, but older. 



ator inferior to the Supreme God, and the author of 
evil, fond of war, inconsistent, and self-contradic- 
tory; and taught that Jesus was sent by the 
Supreme God to do away all the operations of 
the Creator, and especially the Law and the Pro- 
phets 8 . He agreed with other Gnostics in declaring 
that the soul alone was capable of salvation, and of 
souls only those which received his doctrine ; but 
the peculiarity of his system was, that Cain, and the 
Sodomites, and Egyptians, &c. were saved by be- 
lieving in Jesus, when he descended into hell ; but 
that Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and all the good 
men and prophets of the Old Covenant, having often 
been deceived by their God, were afraid to trust in 
Jesus, and consequently remain still in the state of 
death 9 . 

Another peculiarity was that, whilst professing to 
receive portions of the New Testament, such as the 
Gospel of St. Luke^nd the Epistles of St. Paul, he 
rejected every portion of them which he imagined to 
militate against his hypothesis ! . 

Marcion, who, having been originally a Christian, 

8 I. xxvii. 2. 

9 Ibid. 3. His opinions concerning Cain became the nucleus 
of another sect, the Cainites. 

1 Ibid. 2. The writer in the name of Tertullian, as quoted above, 
note 5 , asserts that he received only some of St. Paul's Epistles. 


and the son of a Bishop, had been excommunicated 
for seduction 2 , appears to have harmonized with 
Saturninus in professing extraordinary strictness of 
habits 3 . Hence some of the followers of both formed 
themselves into a separate sect, called by a name 
('Ey/cparac) of which perhaps Puritans is the best 
English Translation. Tatian, who had been a sin- 
cere Christian, was formerly a disciple of Justin, and 
had written a treatise to set forth the folly of the 
heathen religion 4 , became a leading man amongst 
them : for they adopted an opinion of his that Adam 
was not saved. Their most distinguishing charac- 
teristics however were, their abstinence from mar- 
riage, and from animal food 5 . 

Marcion taught that Cain and the Sodomites, &c. 
were saved by believing in Jesus 6 . Others went 
further, and declared that they were agents of the 
Supreme Power, to oppose the God of this world. 

2 Tertull. 1. c. 3 I. xxviii. 1. 

4 From this treatise, which is still extant, we learn that he 
was an Assyrian by birth, had been a heathen, and had been 
initiated into most of the heathen mysteries, but had been con- 
verted (a rare instance) by the reading of the Scriptures (§§ 64 & 
46). In this treatise he opposes the idea that matter had no 
beginning, and declares that it was created by the (personal) 
Word of God (§ 8). Perhaps he may be thought to lean to 
Gnosticism where he says that the soul is naturally mortal, and 
that the unenlightened soul perishes with the body. § 21, 22. 

* I. xxviii. 1. 6 See above, note 9 . 


They likewise took Judas under their patronage, and 
declare that he betrayed Jesus, not from treachery 
or a love of gain, but because, being better instructed 
than the rest, he was aware that the death of Jesus 
would be the means of dissolving and breaking up 
the whole work of the Creator, whom they regarded 
as in rebellion against the Great Original 7 . 



Those of whom I have hitherto spoken have been 
acknowledged disciples, more or less directly, of 
Simon Magus. But there were others, who owned 
no connexion with him, and yet taught a system 
more or less like his. The Barbeliots, for instance, 
imagined one Supreme Being, and with him another 
Being of the female sex, but remaining always a 
virgin, and never growing old, whom they call Bar- 
belo, Ennoea (Thought), &c. 

They say that he willed to manifest himself to her, 
and that she, coming into his presence, called for 
Foreknowledge, and she came forth. At their 

7 I. xxxi. 1. 


request again In corruption was produced, and then 
Life Eternal. After this Barbelo herself produced 
a light like to herself, which the Father saw and 
anointed with his goodness, and thus made it the 
Christ. At his request Understanding was sent him 
as a helpmate, and afterwards the Father added the 
Word : upon which there were made Pairs, by the 
union of Thought and the Word, Incorruption and 
the Christ, Life Eternal and the Will of the Father, 
Understanding and Foreknowledge ; all of whom 
magnified the Great Light and Barbelo 8 . 

From Thought and the Word was then sent forth 
the Self-existent and the Truth ; from the Christ 
and Incorruption, four Lights to attend upon the 
Self-existent ; and from Will and Life Eternal, four 
Beings to wait upon these Lights, namely, Grace, 
Will, Comprehension (Strong), and Prudence. 
These were joined respectively to the four Lights, 
and made other four Pairs 9 . 

These two quaternions being settled, the Self- 
existent creates a man, in a state of perfection, 
named the Unconquered, and in union with him 
Knowledge, likewise perfect. From these were 
manifested the Mother, the Father, and the Son, 
and they jointly produced the tree of knowledge, 

8 I. xxix. 1. 9 Ibid. 2. 


and their enjoyment consists in celebrating the 
praises of the Great Being \ 

Lastly, Charis, the attendant upon Harmogenes 2 , 
produces the Holy Spirit, called likewise Wisdom 
and Prunicus. She, seeing herself unmated, stretched 
herself forth in every direction, and even towards 
the nether parts, seeking her mate ; and in the effort 
brought forth a production in which appeared pre- 
sumption and ignorance ; which production became 
the Prime Governor, and Maker of this world, and 
Creator of Powers and Angels, and being paired 
with Presumption, he begot malice, and emulation, 
and jealousy, and fury, and desire : upon which his 
mother, being grieved, departed and left him alone ; 
whence he imagines that there is none but he, and 
utters that sentiment by the mouths of the pro- 
phets 3 . 

There was another more intricate and complete 
hypothesis, which owned no master, but took its 
denomination variously from two different marked 

1 I. xxix. 3. 

2 I read Harmogenes for Monogenes, because the latter name 
has not occurred as the name of any of these supposed Beings, 
and because Harmogenes is the first of them who is said to have 
an attendant, which is the idea implied in Angelos, the word used 
by Irenseus. Massuet suggests Autogenes, but gives no reason. 

3 I. xxix. 4. 


portions of it, which will be noticed in their 
place 4 . 

It supposed, like most of its predecessors, an Ori- 
ginal, called the First Light, the Father of all, and 
the First Man ; and his Thought, issuing from him, 
and thence called the Son of Man. Next to them 
came the Holy Spirit, the first woman, which 
hovered over the elements, water, darkness, the 
abyss and chaos. From the Father and Son, im- 
pregnating the Spirit, came the Christ, the third 
man 5 . By this impregnation, however, she was 
filled so superabundantly, that she produced not only 
the Christ on the right hand, but also another Being, 
imbued likewise with light, called Wisdom and Pru- 
nicus, a hermaphrodite. Upon this the Christ was 
united with the first Three, and with them formed 
the true holy Church 6 ; whilst Wisdom descended 
upon the waters, and moved them to their lowest 
depths, and took from them a material body, which 
had nearly overpowered her; but making a great 
effort, by the aid of the supernal light within her, 
she rose aloft, and from her body, by a voluntary 
expansion, created the heavens 7 . 

She, moreover, had a son, who knew not his 
mother, but sent forth from the waters a son of his 

4 See pp. 286, 288. 5 I. xxx. 1. 6 Ibid. 2. 7 Ibid. 3. 


own, and he another, and so on to the seventh, who, 
with their mother formed an ogdoad 8 ; the first of 
whom was named Jaldabaoth, the second Jao, the 
third Great Sabaoth, the fourth Adonai, the fifth 
Eloeus (or Elohei), the sixth Horeus, the seventh 
Astaphseus. All these for some space of time sat har- 
moniously in heaven, in due subordination one to the 
other : but Jaldabaoth, confident in having been the 
author of the others, took upon him to create angels 
and archangels, and excellencies, and powers and 
dominions; envious at which, his posterity rebelled 
against him : upon which he fixed his desires upon 
the unformed matter, and from it produced a son 
in the form of a serpent, called Understanding, 
(from whom these people derived their name of 
Ophites 9 ,) and subsequently Spirit, Soul, and all 
earthly things, from which sprang forgetfulness, 
malice, emulation, jealousy, and death l . 

Jaldabaoth, blindly exulting in his success, ex- 
claimed, I am Father and God, and besides me there 
is no other ; but his mother astonished him and his 
posterity, by exclaiming, Lie not, Jaldabaoth, for there 
is above thee the First Man, the Father of all, and 
Man the Son of Man. To call off their attention 

8 I. xxx. 4. 

9 Some of them said that Wisdom herself took the form of a 
serpent. § 15. 

1 I. xxx. 5. 


from this intelligence, he invited them to make man 
in their own image. This idea their mother secretly 
encouraged, that they might empty themselves of 
their celestial virtue. Their production, however, 
although immense in size and length, lay sprawling 
on the ground, until they brought it to their father, 
who, to the great satisfaction of Wisdom, breathed 
into it the breath of life, and thereby emptied him- 
self of his virtue 2 . This newly-created being, there- 
fore, was possessed of understanding and desire, and 
deserting his Creators, gave thanks to the First 
Man 3 . 

Jaldabaoth upon this being jealous of him, endea- 
voured to re-extract the celestial virtue from him, 
by creating woman from his desire ; but Prunicus, 
having invisibly taken charge of her, extracted the 
virtue from her, and the posterity of Jaldabaoth, 
admiring her beauty, called her Eve, and begot from 
her angels. The machinations of Prunicus did not 
end here, for she employed Understanding, the son 
of Jaldabaoth, who was in the form of a serpent, to 
seduce the man and woman into disobedience to the 
commands of Jaldabaoth, by eating the forbidden 
fruit 4 , by which means they became acquainted with 

In some degree ; for he was totally emptied of it by a 
different process. See below, p. 291. 

3 I. xxx. 6. 

4 Those who called Wisdom the serpent, say that she inspired 
them with knowledge. 


the Supreme Virtue, and forsook their Creators 5 . 
Upon this they were ejected from paradise, and being 
deprived by Prunicus of the divine light they had, 
that nothing divine might be subjected to curse, they 
were cast out into this world, together with the ser- 
pent, who from the earthly angels begat seven sons, 
in imitation of Jaldabaoth and his six descendants. 
These with their parent are always opposing the 
welfare of the human race 6 . 

Before Adam and Eve fell they had bright and 
spiritual bodies ; but afterwards their bodies became 
opaque and heavy, and their souls relaxed and weak ; 
until Prunicus having pity on them, restored to them 
the savour of the heavenly light, by which means 
they became aware of their degraded condition. 
Knowing, however, that the debasement was only 
temporary, they complied with their condition, ate 
and drank, and begat Cain and Abel, of whom Cain, 
being seized on by the serpent, fell into folly and 
presumption, envy and murder. After this, by the 
interposition of Prunicus, they begat Seth and No- 
rea, from whom mankind sprung 7 , and were seduced 
by the serpent and his children into every evil ; 
although Prunicus constantly opposed them, and 

5 I. xxx. 7. 6 Ibid. 8. 

7 From leaving out Cain as joint progenitor of mankind, and 
deriving all the human race from Seth, they seem to have been 
called Sethites. 


saved the celestial light 8 . So likewise when Jalda- 
baoth, enraged at not being worshipped by mankind, 
sent the flood upon them, Wisdom saved Noah and 
his family, for the sake of the tincture of light which 
was in them. Abraham, however, and the Jews 
were the chosen people of Jaldabaoth, who with his 
six descendants chose agents from among them, each 
for himself, to glorify him as God 9 . Moses, there- 
fore, Joshua, Amos, and Habakkuk, were the pro- 
phets of Jaldabaoth; Samuel, Nathan, Jonah, and 
Micah of Jao ; Elijah, Joel, and Zachariah of Sa- 
baoth ; Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Daniel of 
Adonai ; Tobias and Haggai of Elohei ; Micah and 
Nahum of Horeus ; Ezra and Zephaniah of Asta- 
phseus 10 . 

But here again Wisdom, or Prunicus, interfered, 
and turned these prophets into her own instruments, 
causing them to speak of the Supreme Being, and 
of the Christ above, who was to descend upon earth. 
These announcements from the mouth of their own 
prophets so alarmed the Princes, the posterity of 
Jaldabaoth, that they left her at liberty to cause 
him, not knowing what he did, to send forth two 
men, one, John the Baptist, the other, Jesus *. For 
having found no rest below, she had returned in 
penitence to her mother, the Holy Spirit, the first 

8 I. xxx. 9. 9 Ibid. 10. 10 Ibid. 11. ' Ibid. 



woman, and called upon her for help. Whereupon 
the Holy Spirit petitioned the Supreme Father that 
the Christ might descend to her aid : of which, when 
she was aware, she inspired the prophets to speak; 
and likewise prepared John to announce his coming, 
and Jesus by means of her son Jaldabaoth, the God 
of this world, to be his receptacle upon earth 2 . 

The Christ therefore descended through the seven 
heavens 3 , taking upon him the likeness of their 
children, and drew out from them their virtue, so 
that all the supernal light with which they were 
imbued returned to him ; and having arrived in this 
world united himself to Wisdom, his sister, and in 
union with her descended upon Jesus, who thence- 
forward begun to work miracles. Upon this Jalda- 
baoth and his posterity united to kill him ; where- 
upon the Christ and Wisdom left him, and returned 
to the upper sphere ; not however deserting him 
altogether; for the Christ sent down upon him a 
power by which he rose again, clothed with a spi- 
ritual body 4 . But after this, although he remained 
on earth eighteen months, he wrought no miracle, 
(as neither did he before his baptism,) being forsaken 
by the Christ and Wisdom. Yet he was in a cer- 

2 These were, no doubt, Jaldabaoth and his six descendants, 
who (§ 5) are called heavens, and are likewise spoken of as per 
ordinem sedentes in ccelo, secundum generationem ipsorum. 

3 I. xxx. 12. 4 Ibid. 12, 13. 


tain degree inspired, and taught these things to a 
few of his disciples 5 . 

At the end of eighteen months he was taken up 
into heaven, where the Christ placed him 6 on the 
right hand of his father Jaldabaoth, though without 
his knowledge, where his business is to receive the 
souls of those who know these doctrines, viz. those 
who are imbued with the heavenly light. By this 
means Jaldabaoth will by degrees lose the whole of 
that which he originally possessed, and be left en- 
tirely earthly and material ; whilst the whole of the 
light will be withdrawn from the world and its 
creators ; and then will be the consummation of all 
things 7 . 



But none of the Gnostic leaders, excepting per- 
haps Marcion, obtained so high a pre-eminence as 
Valentinus, who drew out a kind of eclectic system, 
and thus became the founder of a new school : at 

5 I. xxx. 14. 

6 I imagine this to be the meaning of Christo sedente ; sedeo 
being taken in a transitive sense. 'iSpvofiai was probably the 
original word. 

7 I. xxx. 14. 



least Irenaeus represents the matter so completely in 
this light, that he classes all the others together by 
the general name of Gnostics s . in contradistinction 
to Valentinus and his school. 

Report ' makes him an .Egyptian by birth, and 
Tertullian expressly informs us 10 that he was origin- 
ally a Christian ; and indeed a person of such emi- 
nence in the Church that he aspired to the office of 
Bishop. But his mind was tinged with the Pla- 
tonism ' which was so prevalent in Alexandria, the 
place of his education ; and it did not happen to 
him as to Justin and Clement, in whom the truth 
moulded their philosophical notions, and clad them 
in a Christian garb ; for being disappointed in the 
object of his ambition, he showed how wisely the 
Church had acted in rejecting him. by giving him- 
self thenceforth, like Arius. to the propagation of 
error. As he could not be a bishop, he would be a 
father of heresy. 

He took for his foundation. a> it would seem 2 , the 

s I. si. 1. bis. : Epiphan. Hcer. xxxi. 2. 

11 Adv. Talent. 4. 

1 Tertull. de Prcescr. ". 30. Epiphan. UE-cucEvcdai rijv rwi 
'EW/'/ran* TTaiceiav. 

2 This appears from a fragment of his. preserved in a Dialogue 
against the Marcwni'.es, erroneously ascribed to Origen, (see 
Dupin upon Origen.) in which it is quoted at length by one of the 


difficulty of explaining the origin of evil consist- 
ently with holding the perfection of God. He was 
thence led to make matter co-eval with the Creator, 
and to declare that all the defects of created things 
arise from that portion of matter which he left un- 
touched in the work of creation, as unfit for his use. 
This idea he doubtless borrowed from the Platonic 
philosophy : but how from this he passed into the 
absurdities of Gnosticism we are not informed. We 
only learn from Irenseus that he fashioned them into 
a new system. It is curious, however, that he is 
said by his followers to have derived his notions from 
a disciple of St. Paul s , and that he endeavoured to 
represent them as perfectly consistent with the 
Scriptures 4 . He had attained such a degree of 
notoriety before the year 142, in which Justin 
Martyr offered his First Apology to Antoninus Pius, 
that Justin therein speaks of having written that book 
against all the heresies 5 , to which Tertullian is believed 
to refer when he mentions Justin amongst those who 
had written against Valentin us 6 . And this agrees 
with what Irenaeus says 7 , that he came to Rome in 

speakers. See the fragment, in the Appendix to the Benedictine 
edition of Irenaeus, or in Grabe's Spicilegium, II. p. 55. 

3 Called Theodas, by Clement of Alexandria, Strom. VII. 
17. § 106. 

4 Tertull. de Prcescr. 38. 

5 Apol. I. 26. See Grabe's Spicilegium, II. 44, 45. 
fi Adv. Valent. 5. 7 III. iv. 3. 


the time of Hyginus, flourished under Pius, and 
continued to the time of Anicetus. For whether 
we take the Chronology of Eusebius 8 , who places 
his coming to Rome in the year 141, or third of 
Antoninus, or that of Eutychius, favoured by Bishop 
Pearson 9 , who makes Hyginus contemporary with 
Adrian, this would equally agree with Justin having 
already written against him in 142: for he made 
himself known in his own country as an opposer of 
the truth before he came to Rome \ Whatever may 
be thought of the precise year at which he came to 
that city, he remained there fifteen or twenty years, 
for he continued to the episcopate of Anicetus, and 
retained some character for piety and correctness of 
faith up to that period 2 . Thenceforward, however, 
he cast off all such pretensions, and retiring to Cy- 
prus, taught without disguise all the impieties his 
system naturally led to 3 . 

It has so happened that Irenseus did not write 
directly against him, but against his followers : and 
as every disciple held himself capable of improving 
upon the system of his instructor, that which the 
Bishop of Lyons gives in full detail differs in some 
particulars from that taught by Valentinus himself. 

8 In his Canon Chronicus. 

9 Dissert. 2. de annis primorum Roma Episcoporum, cap. 12. 
1 Tertull. adv. Valent. 4. 2 Epiphan. Rcer. xxxi. 7. 

3 Ibid. 


It was in fact more nearly that of Ptolemy, his most 
noted follower 4 : but still Ptolemy had some pecu- 
liarities of his own 5 . Yet Irenseus has preserved 
to us the leading features of the scheme as taught 
by Valentinus, and by their help, and that of a frag- 
ment preserved by Epiphanius 6 , which corresponds 
with what Irenaeus has told us, (although Bishop 
Pearson rightly contends that it is not the work of 
the heretical leader himself). I will endeavour to 
place it before my readers. 

Valentinus then taught, according to Irenseus, that 
all things sprung from one primeval pair, the Inef- 
fable and Silence 7 : the latter being according to 
the fragment the Thought of the former or his 
Grace, but called Silence more correctly, because 
she accomplished every thing by simple desire with- 
out utterance. From these, according to Valentinus, 
sprung another pair, the Father 8 and the Truth : the 
former of whom the fragment makes to emanate 
from the Unbegotten Original and Silence, by her 

4 I. Prof. 2. 5 I. xii. 1. 

6 Hcer. xxxi. 5. It is printed in the Appendix to the best 
editions of Irenaeus. 

7 I. xi. 1. The Valentinians against whom Irenseus wrote 
made the first pair the First Cause, First Father, or Depth, and 
Thought, Grace or Silence. See I. i. 1 . — Ptolemy placed the Depth 
first, but gave him two consorts, Thought and Will. See I. xii. 1. 

8 Called by his followers Mind, Only-begotten, Father or Be- 
ginning of all things. 


desire; the latter from herself and the Father, by 
some mysterious union of the lights from each; so 
that their offspring was a true image of herself and 
thence derived her name. Truth, therefore, by a 
like mysterious union with her Father, produces a 
tetrad of two pairs, the Word and the Life, Man 
and the Church. Subsequently the Holy Spirit was 
sent forth either by the Truth or by the Church, (for 
upon that point the Old Translator of Irenaeus and 
Epiphanius differ.) to examine the iEons, and to 
make them fruitful in the produce of truth 9 . 

So far Irenaeus and the fragment correspond, 
excepting that the latter places Man and the Church 
first ' : but from this point there appears nothing 
more in common, and as henceforth there is a gene- 
ral coincidence between Valentinus and his follow- 
ers, I shall give the scheme as it appears in the first 
book of Irenseus, mentioning the variations where 
they occur. 

It may be however proper to notice this radical 
difference between the heresiarch and his disciples, 
that he considered all these iEons, as they were 
called, or Eternal Essences, as merely feelings, af- 
fections, and motions of the one unseen, infinite 

9 I. xi. l. 

1 As Irenaeus tells us some of the Valentinians did. 



First Cause, whereas they regarded them as so many 
personal beings \ 

The last mentioned tetrad then, knowing them- 
selves to have been sent forth to the glory of the 
unbegotten Father, desired to glorify him by their 
own act. Wherefore the Word and the Truth sent 
forth ten iEons, called the Profound and Mixture, 
the Ever-youthful and Union, the Self-existent and 
Pleasure, the Immoveable and Commixture, the 
Only-begotten and the Blessed : whilst Man and the 
Church sent forth twelve, called the Paraclete and 
Faith, the Paternal and Hope, the Maternal and 
Charity, Ai'nus (the Eternal Mind, or as it is in 
the Latin ^Enos, or Praise) and Comprehension, the 
Ecclesiastical and Blessedness, the Desired and 
Wisdom 3 . 

These thirty Mom, consisting of twelve, and ten, 
and eight, composed what they called the Fulness 4 : 
and Valentinus differed from his followers in placing 
a barrier between the First Cause and the others 5 ; 

At least this is the account of Tertullian, adv. Valent. 4. 

I. i. 2. The names are Bvdiog, Mi^tg, 'Ay^paroe, "Evwo-tg, 
AvTO<pvric, 'K^ovi], 'Ak'ivtjtoq, Si/y/cpactg, Movoyevqc, Matcapia : 
Hapa.K\r)TOQ, liiarig, UarpiKog, 'E\7ri£, Mrjrpiicoz, 'Aya^, 'Asivovg, 
ZvvEaig, 'EfCfcXr/aiaaraoc, Max a pi6rr]c, QeXrjrdc, Ho(pla. 

4 IIXi7pw^ta, I. i. 3. 

5 I. xi. 1. 


which probably is to be explained by his saying that 
they were not, like him, real beings, but merely 
qualities or emanations. Ireneeus was probably the 
first person who published their names : for the 
Valentinians prided themselves on their being a 
secret, hidden from all but the initiated. The names, 
however, were differently stated by later Valen- 
tinians 6 , and were in all probability altered on set 
purpose whenever they became known. 

Of these thirty, the Only-begotten or Father alone 
knew the nature of the Great Father of all : the rest 
desired to know their origin, but knew him not : and 
although the Only-begotten was desirous of reveal- 
ing him to them, Silence restrained him 7 . A new 
state of things, however, arose from the restlessness 
of the last of the JEons, namely Wisdom ; who, 
under the pretext of affection for the unknown First 
Parent, but in reality through venturesome curiosity, 
reached forth into the fathomless height and depth, 
in a state of extreme excitement and anxiety, and 
would have been reabsorbed into the original sub- 
stance, but for the interposition of a power called the 
Barrier, which prevented her farther progress, and 
brought her back to herself; but at the same time 
kept up a perpetual separation between her and the 
Father, to which she originally belonged 8 . 

6 See the fragment above quoted. 7 I. ii. 1. 8 I. ii. 2. 



Valentinus then taught that Wisdom, being thus 
separated from Theletos, became the mother of the 
Christ, producing him from the remembrance of the 
better things or superior beings she had left, but 
with a kind of shadow attached to him, derived from 
her fallen condition ; and by that means emptied 
herself of her spiritual substance. Whereupon he, 
having become possessed of it, cut off from him the 
shadow, and returned aloft into the Fulness, leaving 
his mother under the shadow he rejected. In this 
still more degraded condition, Valentinus makes her 
to have produced a son, who became the Creator, 
and whom he regards as complete ruler of all things 
subordinate to him 9 . 

His followers, however, improved, as they thought, 
upon this part of his scheme. They personified the 
longing of Wisdom, making it her offspring, com- 
prising in it all the feelings of admiration and won- 
der, of sorrow, and fear, and perplexity, under which 
she had laboured l . They represent the Barrier per- 
sonally, as sent down at the intercession of the 
Word or Only-begotten, and give him the appella- 
tions of the Stake or Cross, the Redeemer, the 
Limiter, the Reconciler 2 . They affirm that by his 
agency Wisdom was freed from the consequences 
of her vain search after her original, and restored to 

9 I. xi. 1. ' I. ii. 3. 

2 I. ii.4. liravpoQ, AvrpwrriQ, Kap7rt<JTrjg,'OpodiTric, MeTayojyevg. 


her spouse and to the Fulness, whilst her longing 
was separated from the Fulness 3 . 

At this crisis, to prevent another commotion 
amongst the Mom, by the will of the Supreme 
Father, the Mind or Only-begotten produced another 
pair, the Christ and the Holy Spirit ; the former of 
whom gave them fully to understand that it was 
impossible to comprehend the First Cause, but that 
what could be comprehended of him was revealed in 
the Only-begotten, whom he taught them to con- 
template 4 ; whilst the latter put them all upon an 
equality with each other, and made them all, 
according to their sex, Minds, Words, Men, and 
Christs, or Truths, Lives, Churches, and Spirits. By 
this means they were reduced to a state of repose, 
and betook themselves to magnify the Great First 
Father. In token whereof they all united to produce 
one perfect being, Jesus, called also the Saviour, the 
Christ, the Word, and the All, together with angels 
his attendants 5 . 

But we must return to the personified Longing of 
Wisdom, whom we shall have to know henceforth 
under the name of Achamoth 6 , which* is merely a 

3 I. ii. 4. 4 Ibid. 5. 

5 Ibid. 6. It appears that he was likewise called the Paraclete 
or Comforter (I. iv. 5), and Christ (I. iii. 1). 
5 I. iv. 1. 


corruption of the Hebrew word for wisdom, JTO^n, 
Chokmoth, or the same word in some kindred dialect, 
omitting the aspirate n. She, it must be remem- 
bered, was separated from the Celestial Fulness by 
f '0/oog, the personal Barrier, the ^ravpog or Stake. 
But the Christ took pity on her, and reaching forth 
over the Barrier, (&a tov Sraupov £7re/cra0ac 5 a strange 
perversion and accommodation of evangelical ex- 
pressions to their system,) gave her a natural life, and 
left with her a savour of immortality, but did not 
communicate to her that knowledge, which in their 
system is the principle of spiritual life. What he 
did leave, however, worked its effect. It led her 
to seek after him who had deposited it in her, and 
being restrained by the Barrier, she sustained various 
feelings, sorrow, and fear, and consternation, all 
accompanied by ignorance of all above her, and a 
perpetual turning towards him who had given her 
life, and pleasure in thinking of the glimpse of light 
which had been permitted to her 7 . From the 
tumult within her sprung various productions ; being 
however in the whole, the Creator of the world and 
all created things, of which we shall see more here- 
after 8 . 

She had scarcely recovered from this state of 
perturbation, when the Christ sent down to her the 

M.iv. 1. 8 Ibid. 2. 


Paraclete ; not the offspring of Man and the Church, 
but that perfect being produced bj the Mom con- 
jointly, called likewise the Saviour 9 , having power 
given him over all things below, and accompanied 
by his angels. He separated her from all the pro- 
ducts of her perturbation, and endued her with that 
knowledge which before she possessed not. He 
likewise separated her productions definitely into 
two species of substance, one radically bad, the other 
capable of being either good or evil ; the one mate- 
rial, the other animate ; to which she speedily added 
another, spiritual in its nature, conceived from joy- 
ful contemplation of the angel-attendants of the 
Saviour 10 . 

From this period she begins to be herself an active 
fashioner of her productions. With the spiritual 
seed she could not meddle, because it was equal to 
herself : but from the animate l substance she first 
formed the actual Creator of all earthly things, called 
likewise God the Father, the Saviour, the King of 

9 See p. 300, note 5 . 10 I. iv. 5. v. 1. 

1 The term Irenaeus uses (I. v. 1.) is -^vyiKOQ. Its meaning is 
not easy to express by another word. Valentinus, like the Pla- 
tonists and several of the early Christian writers, believed in three 
kinds of substance, TrvevfiaTLaj^v^if:)), ffwjuam'?/, analogous to the 
three parts of man, spirit, soul, and body ; the first of which he 
conceived to be naturally and necessarily immortal, the third 
necessarily perishable, the second capable of either immortality 
or destruction, but having a kind of life, as long as it existed, 
which the third had not. 


all, the Mother's Father, the Fatherless 2 . By him 
she, or rather the Saviour through her, fashioned all 
things here below, from the two substances, animate 
and material : first the seven heavens, who are also 
seven angels 3 , then the earth and man 4 , and all the 
elements and creatures, and lastly the spirits of wick- 
edness, of whom the prince of this world was the 
chief 5 . Of these man was a compound of the animate 
and the material 6 . All these the Creator made, not 
knowing what he did ; and so his mother Achamoth, 
without his knowledge, infused into the man which 
he had made, that spiritual seed of which I have 
before spoken 7 , which is the Church, (or rather the 
Calling, eKK\ri<yia,) an image of the Ecclesia above 8 . 

It is not however to be supposed that all men 
have a share of this seed of election. It is only 
partially possessed. Those who have it not may be 
saved by faith and good works, those who have it are 
necessarily saved, and are incapable of being cor- 
rupted by any action or course of life. To the former 
class belong Churchmen, (Christians) to the latter 

2 I.v. l. 3 Ibid. 2. 

4 Valentinus himself appears to have made man the joint work 
of the Creator and the other Angels. See a fragment of one of 
his letters, preserved by Clem. Alex. Strom. II. 8. § 36. 

5 I. v. 3, 4. 6 Ibid. 5. 

7 This was recognised by Valentinus in the fragment above 

8 I. v. 6. 


Gnostics 9 . The natural consequences followed, such 
as I have detailed before, with more or less of dis- 
guise, according to the character or circumstances of 
the professors of such doctrines. Some did openly 
whatever they felt inclined to, others went more 
warily to work : but the result every where was the 
same, the free indulgence of the sensual passions, 
with all their lamentable consequences ; and those 
so much the more fatal, as they were accompanied 
by a profession of superior knowledge and purity ! . 

We have mentioned one Jesus already : but they 
likewise professed to believe in the Jesus of the 
Gospel. They taught that the Creator produced a 
son, un spiritual like himself, and that he was sent 
into the world by the Virgin Mary, as a mere vehi- 
cle, such as a water-pipe is to water ; that he was 2 
clad in a body different from that of others ; that 
when he was baptized, the Jesus before mentioned 
descended upon him in the form of a dove ; and that 
he was likewise impregnated by Achamoth with the 
spiritual seed. Of these four portions of his nature 

9 I. vi. 1, 2. ' Ibid. 3. 

2 Tertull. de Resur. Carnis, 2, states this as the opinion of 
Valentinus, and de Came Christi, 15. In the fragment, (Clem. 
Alex. Strom. III. 7. § 59,) Valentinus says that Jesus attained 
to divinity by his purity ; which was such that his food did not 
corrupt within him. 


only the two former suffered ; the Saviour having 
quitted him when he was delivered up to Pilate 3 . 

The winding up of this state of things is to take 
place when all the spiritual seed has become per- 
fect in knowledge. Then Achamoth and the spi- 
ritual portion of every Gnostic will be elevated into 
the Fulness: the Creator, the animal souls of the 
Gnostics, with the souls of those who have been 
saved by faith and good works, will be raised to the 
intermediate heaven ; and then the hidden fire will 
burst forth from this lower w T orld and consume those 
souls which have not attained to salvation together 
with all material things, and with them will be 
reduced to nothing 4 . 

The most remarkable feature in the scheme of 
Valentinus was his treatment of the Scriptures. He 
did not, like some of his predecessors, speak with 
contempt of them, as having proceeded from an im- 
perfect Being. He did not like others reject the 
w T hole New Testament, as a figment of the " natural 
men," as they called the orthodox, and substitute 
apocryphal writings in their place : nor did he again, 
like others, reject such portions of the Scriptures as 
militated strongly against their views. He professed 
to receive the whole of the Gospels and Apostolical 

3 1, vii. 2. 4 Ibid. 1. 



writings, but he accommodated the Scripture to his 
views. Tertullian indeed 5 uses very different terms ; 
viz. that he did not accommodate the Scripture to 
his views, but his views to the Scripture. It was 
certainly his endeavour to appear so to do ; and 
accordingly he adopted Scripture language to a very 
great extent, and no doubt professed, like all modern 
teachers of false doctrine, to find all his doctrine in 
the Scripture : so that I believe we have only one 
instance of his reading a passage differently from 
the Church 6 . Indeed he reproached the orthodox 
for not having preserved the true meaning : or rather 
looked down upon them as being naturally incapable 
of receiving it ; being not spiritual, but natural and 

It was, no doubt, in this way that he kept up that 
character for faith and piety, of which Epiphanius 
speaks, and to which Tertullian alludes 7 . Irenams 
has given us numerous instances in which he and 
his followers quoted the Scriptures as supporting 
their own doctrine 8 : but they will be found to be 
either forced accommodations of numbers and names, 
or violent perversions of the letter of Scripture, or 

5 Be Prcescr. 38. 

6 Matt. xi. 27. See IV. vi. 1. But his followers preferred 
the Gospel of St. John (III. xi. 7), and some of them forged what 
they called the Gospel of the Truth. Ibid. 9. 

7 Be Pressor. 30. 8 I. i. 3. iii. viii. 


mystical interpretations put upon it in such a way as 
that it may almost be made to mean anything. The 
success of such interpretations was of course aided 
by the equally unnatural accommodations of Scrip- 
ture customary with the orthodox, at least those of 
the Alexandrian school. There are, likewise, some 
fragments of his preserved by Clement of Alexan- 
dria 9 , which have the same tone as the system gene- 
rally ; but one of these ! , in which he compares the 
heart occupied by divers evil passions to an inn or 
caravanserai defiled by travellers, appears at first 
sight so unobjectionable, that, out of the connection 
in which it stands, one should hardly suspect any 
evil meaning. It is however intended to teach the 
Gnostic tenet, that the heart of the spiritual man is 
no more a partaker of the evil wrought in it by evil 
spirits, than a caravanserai in the nuisances commit- 
ted by every wanton traveller. This is evidently 
another, and a less offensive way of stating that to 
the spiritual mind no passion can communicate any 
permanent pollution, and that the elect are not to 
be called to account for what they fall into in this 
world : and its inoffensiveness at first sight is no bad 
illustration of the habit Irenseus charges them with 
of teaching their heresies by stealth 2 . 

9 Strom. II. 8. § 36. 20. § 114. III. 7- § 59. IV. 13. § 91. 
VI. 6. § 52. 

1 Ibid. II. 20. § 114. 2 I. Prsef. 2. 

x 2 




Irenseus mentions several successors of Valen- 
tinus, some more at length than others. 

Respecting Secundus, who was the contemporary 
and disciple of Valentinus 3 , he is very brief, merely 
informing us that he divided the first ogdoad into 
two tetrads, the right and the left, which he deno- 
minated light and darkness: and that he asserted 
that the Being which erred and was forsaken by the 
upper powers was not one of the thirty, but one of 
their productions 4 . The latter idea would appear 
to have for its object to remove the origin of evil 
further from the First Cause : but the former seems 
to be a contradiction to it, as it brings darkness into 
the Pleroma. 

Epiphanes, whose name the old translator has 
chosen to render by Clarus, (probably not under- 
standing it to be a proper name,) was the son of 
Carpocrates 5 , but attached himself to the followers 

3 Epiphan. Hcer. xxxi. 1. 4 I. xi. 2. 

5 Clem. Alex. Strom. III. ii. § 5. 


of Secundus 6 . He died very young, being accord- 
ing to Clem. Alex, only seventeen at the time of 
his death, and was honoured as a god by the people 
of Cephalonia, the birth-place of his mother and his 
own place of residence. He is identified with the 
Clarus of the old translator of Irenaeus; 1. because 
he is commonly reckoned next to Secundus 7 ; 2. 
because Clarus is a literal rendering of 'E7ri^avric ; 
3. because the doctrines ascribed to Epiphanes are 
the same as those which are attributed in Irenaeus 
to Ciarus 8 . He differed from his predecessors in 
not giving any name (properly speaking) to the First 
Cause, but in calling him Movorrje, and his companion 
'Evottjc, which may perhaps be rendered Soleness 
and Unity. These, he said, constituted only one 
being. This duopersonal Being produced, without 
separation from himself, a beginning of all things, 
comprehensible, but unbegotten and invisible, called 
the Monad, and with him another power denomi- 
nated the One. This was his first tetrad ; but in 
the rest he does not appear to have differed from the 
other Valentinians 9 . 

Ptolemy was a Valentinian, and is said to have 
been a disciple of Secundus and Epiphanes. It 
would appear from Irenaeus that the system which 

6 See Massuet, Diss. Prcev. I. § 80. 

7 Epiphan. xxxi. 1. xxxii. 3. Theodoret. Hcer. Fab. 1.5. 

8 Ibid. 9 I. xi. 3. 


he states at length, and which I have detailed above, 
was his actual system l . Epiphanins indeed, quoting 

Irenteus : . makes him say that this heretic and his 
disciples ascribed two wives to Bythus, Thought and 
Will, from whom he made the rest of the -Eons to 
proceed. But it is evident from the version of the 
Ancient Interpreter that the actual words of Ire- 
nteus were 0! -sol H-oXtuaiov. which mav mean either 
Ptolemy or his followers, and as Tertullian ascribes 
this tenet to his disciples, desirous of improving upon 
their master, we may safely conclude that Epiphanins 
does not intend to attribute it distinctly to Ptolemy, 
but either to him or to his followers. 

Of the followers of Ptolemy, Irenaeus mentions 
the tenets of Colorbasus particularly. He does not 
indeed name him, but Epiphanes 3 and Theodoret 4 
have supplied that defect, nor is there any contra- 
dictory statement on the subject. He taught that 
the first ogdoad of .Eons did not spring successively 
one pair from another, but that the first four after 
the First Cause and his Thought were created at 
once when the Forefather determined upon giving 
forth some being, that became the Father ; as what 
he emitted was true, it was called the Truth : when 

1 I. Praef. 2. viii. 5. 

1 Hcer. xxxiii. I. '0 lJro\efj.cuoc ecu ol truv cutJ. The passage 
he quotes is I. xii. 1. 

' Hcer. xxxv. 1. : Hcer. Fab. I. 12. 

MARCUS. 311 

he wished to manifest himself, then came Man ; and 
those whom he then foresaw were the Church. Then 
Man spoke the Word, and from Man and the Church 
came Life 5 . 

Marcus is mentioned by Irenaeus apparently as a 
disciple of Ptolemy, or at least as having made his 
system after him 6 : and as Tertullian 7 speaks of him 
in the same terms, we may safely take that as the 
sense of Irenaeus. We find him first in Asia Minor, 
recompensing the hospitality of a deacon with whom 
he lodged by corrupting his wife, who for a good 
while followed him, but was at length brought back 
to the Church by the perseverance of the Christians 8 . 
Where his subsequent residence was we do not learn. 
The circumstance which brought him more particu- 
larly under the notice of Irenaeus was that his opi- 
nions and the consequent depravity of morals had 
spread to the neighbourhood of Lyons 9 . The prac- 
tical mischief appears first to have attracted his 
attention, and he was thence led to inquire into the 
speculative system which produced such fruits. Both 
the one and the other shall be noticed in their order. 

The scheme differed in reality very little in its 

5 I. xii. 3. 

6 I. xiii. 1. Magistri emendatorem se esse glorians. 

7 Adv. Valent. 4. s I. xiii. 5. See p. 202, note 9 . 9 Ibid. 


frame-work from that of Valentinus, Ptolemy, and 
Colorbasus ; the latter of whom Irenaeus represents 
him as more particularly agreeing with ! ; but it was 
differently dressed up. Instead of making the Ful- 
ness a system of personal beings or emanations, he 
made it the name of the Great First Cause, consist- 
ing of thirty letters, instead of as many iEons, di- 
vided into four syllables, of which the two first con- 
sisted of four letters each, the third of ten, and the 
fourth of twelve. This name originated in the wish 
of the Great Father to reveal himself. He there- 
fore opened his mouth, and spoke a Word like him- 
self, which was 'Apyri, the Beginning ; (this was the 
first syllable ;) then a second, a third, and a fourth. 
What the three latter are we are not told : but they 
have continued to sound on from that day to the 
present, and will continue so to do, until they all 
unite in sounding forth together the same letter, 
when the consummation of all things will take place. 
About this matter, however, there is some obscurity, 
the passage not being very intelligible 2 . 

It would be tedious beyond measure to enter into 
the application of this particular notion to the gene- 
ral Gnostic scheme : but he held a particular doc- 
trine in regard to Jesus, which it will be proper to 
mention. He thought that he was the joint pro- 

1 I. xiv. 1. ■ Ibid. 

MARCUS. 313 

duction of Man and the Church, the Word and Life; 
but that in producing him the angel Gabriel took 
the place of the Word, the Holy Spirit of Life, the 
Power of the Most High of Man, and the Virgin 
Mary of the Church : that the Supreme Father 
chose him in the womb to manifest himself in him 
by means of the Word, who therefore descended 
upon him at his baptism in the form of a dove 3 . 

I come now to the practice of Marcus. He openly 
pretended supernatural powers, communicated to 
him by a familiar spirit, which he flattered his fol- 
lowers, chiefly women, by professing to communicate 
to them 4 . The Eucharist he found especially suited 
to his purpose, and was the first apparently who 
taught any thing like transubstantiation. He used, 
like the Church, wine mingled with water, but pre- 
tended to bring down into it by his prayers, the 
blood of the supernal Grace ; and accordingly, 
lengthening out his devotion, that the chemical 
agents, which he doubtless employed, might have 
time to act, he at length produced the liquid, of a 
much deeper colour than when he began his incan- 
tations. In another of his tricks he gave his female 
friends a part. He requested one of them to take 
the mingled cup, and to offer the prayer of bene- 
diction ; whereupon he poured the contents of it 

3 I. xv. 3. 4 I. xiii. 3. 


into a much larger cup, which he himself held, 
which, as he pronounced the mystical blessing upon 
the woman he employed, gradually became full with 
the contents of the smaller, and at length over- 
flowed 5 . This again was, in all probability, effected 
by some chemical agent, deposited in the bottom of 
the larger cup, and producing a gradual efferves- 
cence : but in those days of ignorance it stamped 
the worker of such wonders as something more 
than ordinary man. 

In communicating, as he pretended, to his devo- 
tees a portion of the grace he possessed, he pur- 
posely contrived, in the most subtle manner, to 
inflame their sensual desires, and to direct them to- 
wards himself, without using a single word or act to 
which he could not immediately give a mystical 
meaning ; so that, if his wishes did not succeed, 
there was nothing with which he could be charged, 
without subjecting the person who so charged him 
to the imputation of having put an unholy meaning 
upon holy things. And if they did succeed, the 
victim, if not conscience-seared, would feel self- 
corrupted and self-betrayed. In this way he became 
master, not only of the persons, but also of the sub- 
stance of many women of wealth and station 6 . To 
make his arts, however, the more successful, he ad- 

5 I. xiii. 2. 5 Ibid. 3. 

MARCUS. 3 1 5 

ministered to them inflammatory drugs 7 : and still 
more to guard himself from their defection, under 
the terror of conscience, and the dread of future 
judgment, he taught them a form of words, to be 
addressed to their mother Achamoth, whom he 
represents as seated with God on his throne, by 
means of which they would be rendered invisible to 
the Judge, and pass unhurt to their heavenly spouses 
the angels 8 . 

Such a scheme as this was too palatable to human 
nature not to have many followers ; and accordingly 
it found its way to Lyons, where Irenaeus was bishop. 
The exact nature of it was first learnt by the con- 
fessions of his victims and those of his followers, 
when, recovering from their delusion, they wished 
to be readmitted to the Church. One particular 
instance I have already mentioned, of his having 
seduced the wife of a deacon in Asia Minor, with 
whom he had lodged. This person remained with 
him for a long time ; but, being at length restored 
by the unwearied efforts of the Christians, spent the 
rest of her life bewailing the pollution she had sus- 
tained. This was not the only instance of repent- 
ance ; but most appear to have dreaded the public 
acknowledgment which was then required in the 
case of gross transgression, and thus never to have 
returned 9 . 

7 I. xiii. 5. See p. 202, note 9 . 8 Ibid. 6. 9 Ibid. 5. 7. 




There is one feature of the Gnostic scheme com- 
mon to almost every variety of the Gnostics, which 
was reserved for a separate detail; and which Iienseus 
introduces immediately after the account of the 
Marcosian heresy, having probably been able to 
obtain a more perfect account of their views on that 
subject, than of those of any other sect. That 
feature is their ordinance of Redemption 1 ; which was 
in fact the initiating rite of their perfect adepts 2 , 
and without denying baptism, threw it into the 
back ground, and thus virtually annulled it 3 . The 
professed object of this rite was the regeneration of 
those who underwent it, preparatory to their entering 
into the Fulness 4 . The outward form of it was 
various, according to the fancy of the mystagogue 5 . 
Some celebrated it as a marriage ; others made it a 
baptism in water, with varying forms of words 6 ; 
others again poured a mixture of oil and water upon 
the head of the person who received it ; whilst some 
declared, that the blessing being purely spiritual, all 
outward signs were unavailing and impertinent ; that 
knowledge was in fact redemption, and that those, 

1 I. xxi. 1. 2 Ibid. 2. 3 Ibid. l. 

4 Ibid. 2. s Ibid. 1. 6 Ibid. 3. 


and those alone, who were perfect in knowledge 
were partakers of it 7 . 

In most cases the Redemption was effected during 
the lifetime of those who were made partakers of 
it ; but the dead were not excluded. The rite was 
administered immediately after death. 

In all cases the effect of it was to enable the 
initiated to escape the power of the Creator and his 
angels, and, leaving their souls behind them, to enter 
into the Fulness 8 . 



Gnosticism is now well-nigh forgotten, or noticed 
only by those who are led to an acquaintance with it 
either by its connexion with certain passages in the 
New Testament, or by a systematic study of the 
early Fathers of the Church. And yet it existed in 
the world, and spread over the civilized portions of 
it as a system of philosophy at a time when heathen 
speculation had attained its highest refinement, and 
Christianity had introduced certainty to take the 

7 I. xxi. 4. 8 Ibid. 5. 


place of speculation. But that it should have taken 
hold on the minds of men to such an extent and at 
such a time, is surely one of the most unaccountable 
facts in the history of the human mind. To us, 
even the Platonic system would appear so much 
more rational and intelligible, and the Christian doc- 
trine so much more simple and natural, and, if I 
may so say, manly, that in their presence one won- 
ders what there could have been to recommend 
Gnosticism. The Grecian schemes were so many 
efforts of unassisted reason to find out truth by 
simple speculation. They could therefore never be 
propounded as certainties, but only as probabilities. 
They accordingly rested on their probability, and 
struck out many truths. They bear about them the 
air of the conclusions of men searching after truth, 
and having in some degree attained it. Christianity, 
on the other hand, professed to be a revelation from 
above. It did not pretend to speculate or to reason ; 
it taught its doctrines as infallible truths, and sup- 
ported its teaching by miracles, and an appeal to 
fulfilled prophecy. Gnosticism was like neither. It 
was in fact gratuitous speculation, founded upon 
nothing but the fact of a great difficulty, which 
human reason had never yet solved, the causation of 
evil ; but it claimed no support from reason ; it pro- 
pounded no proofs ; but put itself forward as the 
revealed solution of this difficulty. It wrought mi- 
racles, indeed, which might have served where the 


Christian miracles were unknown, but poor and weak 
indeed to put in competition with them, for they 
were mere juggles. They answered no beneficial 
end ; they were over in a few minutes ; they submit- 
ted themselves to no daily and hourly proof; and 
although professing to support a higher and purer 
God than was ever before thought of, they were of 
the same nature as those practised by heathen sor- 
cerers. But to have solved this great difficulty, the 
system ought at least to have been uniform, or at 
most progressive. No teacher should have contra- 
dicted another, however much he might improve 
upon him. And yet this was far from being the 
case. The various successive teachers not only pulled 
down what their predecessors had set up, but even 
contemporary leaders contradicted each other. This 
would have been perfectly consistent if they had set 
up as mere speculators ; but they claimed a sort of 
inspiration ; nay, whilst setting aside the Gospel, they 
claimed support from the Gospel ; whilst making 
higher pretensions than they allowed the Apostles, 
they professed to have a tradition received from the 
Apostles ; whilst utterly overthrowing the religion of 
Christ, they appealed to his words and teaching as 
supporting them. 

But although borrowing support from Christianity, 
it was not itself in any sense a religion. It taught 
no present devotion towards any superior being. It 



had no offerings, no prayers, still less any expiations. 
Although some of its teachers practised rites bor- 
rowed from the eucharist, they had no religious ob- 
ject. They were mere juggles. Although the idea 
of glorifying the beings above entered into the sys- 
tem, yet it affected only the beings above man, or 
man after he quitted this state. It had no place on 
earth. This was a place of discipline, or training, for 
a state in which he was to glorify the great First 
Cause ; but he had nothing to do with glorifying him 
here. The great object of man here was knowledge. 
In this respect it was analogous to the Grecian phi- 
losophies ; for they had no connection with religion, 
but were rather antagonists to it. They tended to 
overthrow the heathen superstitions, but they fur- 
nished nothing to replace them. They taught, it 
may be, moral duties ; but it was not upon any prin- 
ciples of religion, but rather of social benefit. They 
attained to better notions on the unity and nature of 
God than were entertained by their compatriots, but 
they led not to a purer worship of him. At best 
they refined and mysticized the mythology and reli- 
gious observances of the old religions. In this re- 
spect, then, of being unconnected with religion, it 
was like the philosophical systems of its own and 
former times ; but it went further than they in being 
essentially irreligious, by placing the perfection of 
man in knowledge, and that only. By this means the 
necessity of religion of any kind was totally done 


away. Curiosity was substituted for devotion, and 
unbounded liberty for duty, whether to God or to 

Curiosity being thus canonized, it is remarkable 
that the Gnostic system had baits for almost every 
description of it. It is curiosity, the desire of know- 
ing what others know, fully as much as passion and 
appetite, which leads men into the various descrip- 
tions of vice ; and this species of curiosity was not 
only allowed, but even sanctioned and stimulated. 
Men were told that it was the express destiny of 
every one who was to be perfect, to know everything 
that could be known in this world ; and not only 
that, but that if a person failed of acquiring the 
requisite knowledge in one lifetime, his soul must 
pass into another and another body, until it had 
arrived at the necessary degree of information. It 
is true that this implied, in its literal meaning, the 
knowledge of good as well as of evil. But it requires 
little acquaintance with human nature to tell us in 
what sense it would be most commonly taken. And 
if any scruples still remained, they were removed by 
the doctrine that all actions were naturally indiffer- 
ent, and that nothing but human opinion, or the 
arbitrary will of a tyrannical being, the Jewish God, 
had ever made any such thing as moral distinctions. 
Thus a vicious curiosity became a duty, if such a 
term had been allowable in Gnosticism ; or, at all 



events, that man who did not foster and indulge it 
to the utmost, was fighting against his own interest. 

There is another kind of curiosity, which has go- 
verned many in all ages, and which is not even yet 
extinct, and that is, a desire to be acquainted with 
future or unknown circumstances, or to possess a 
power beyond the reach of ordinary men. There 
have been always those who have professed them- 
selves possessors of this supernatural knowledge, and 
of course others who have desired either to possess it 
or to witness and profit by its exercise. From this 
desire has arisen the whole of magic from the begin- 
ning, and the science of astrology in particular. Ac- 
cordingly, this was a marked feature in many of the 
Gnostic teachers, that they laid claim to magical 
powers ; and herein they differed from the heathen 
philosophers, and became the antagonists of the 
Christian apostles. Simon Magus, for instance, who 
is generally reckoned the first Gnostic leader, was a 
magician, and there is great reason to suspect that 
his faith was more a reliance on the Apostles, on the 
supposition of their having some deeper art than his 
own, than the faith of the heart in the principles of 
the Gospel. 

But there is another class of persons who could 
neither be imposed on by the pretensions to super- 
natural power, nor the seductions of evil appetites, 


whose cast of character is altogether intellectual, and 
whose temptations must therefore be intellectual. 
The attention of such persons had in all ages been 
directed to the unseen things of creation, the invi- 
sible springs of all earthly motions and actions, the 
secret agencies of nature, the nature of the Great 
Original of all things, the methods of his providential 
government, the time and manner of the creation, 
the origin of evil, the future state of mankind after 
their departure from this earthly scene. Questions 
of this kind had engaged the curiosity of minds of 
the higher order ever since civilization began, and no 
system could find acceptance with them which offered 
no solution of such questions. Gnosticism accord- 
ingly furnished food for the curiosity of these, and 
that in greater abundance than any other system yet 

Besides the Gentile speculatists, there was also 
the philosophical Jew, who had become acquainted 
with the Grecian learning, and had thus come to 
endeavour to account, upon new principles, for the 
economy of the divine government under the law; 
partly for his own satisfaction, partly to render it 
palatable to his heathen friends. Two points in his 
law would present difficulty : first, the endless forms 
and ceremonies considered with reference to God, 
who, being a spirit, would require a spiritual worship, 



(for this is a truth which this class of Jews were 
fully sensible of,) together with the prohibitions of 
various animals ; and secondly, the severities which 
God himself exercised and taught their forefathers to 
exercise against idolaters. And no doubt many Jews 
of this class were become practically unbelievers by 
speculating upon points which their forefathers im- 
plicitly received and devoutly practised. 

There was again another class ; viz. Christians by 
birth and education, brought up in leisure, and given 
to study, who, never having received the Gospel 
humbly and practically, became infected with the 
unsettled spirit of speculative inquiry. These would 
see the apparent incongruities between the law and 
the Gospel, especially in the spirit in which each 
was administered ; and instead of being contented to 
be ignorant of that which had not been revealed, 
would endeavour to form some system independent 
of revelation, by which to account for these incon- 
gruities. To these two classes we shall see that 
Gnosticism also adapted itself; and indeed to the 
latter it would be specially adapted in the licen- 
tiousness of its morals. For being brought up with- 
out their own choice in a system of great strictness, 
at which their nature perhaps rebelled, and which 
they had themselves never heartily embraced ; and 
yet not liking to renounce it on the distinct avowal 


of a love of vice, they would gladly close with a 
scheme which gave unbounded license the character 
of superior wisdom, and even of duty itself. 

We see then what there was in the character of 
the times to prepare men for such a system as Gnos- 
ticism. But it did not grow up at once into all its 
completeness. It developed itself by degrees, as men 
were prepared for it ; and when we have considered 
it in its leading features, we can scarcely fail to 
acquiesce in the view of it taken by the Christian 
writers contemporary with it ; viz. that it was a 
scheme specially concocted by the author of evil, as 
antagonist to Christianity. 

Simon Magus, as all agree, was the first teacher of 
Gnosticism ; and when he first appeared in that cha- 
racter in Samaria, it is obvious that he could have 
known but little of the Gospel, and this may ac- 
count for the little notice taken of it in his system. 
He came as the great power of God, that is, as God 
manifested on earth ; and he wrought pretended 
miracles in confirmation of his pretensions. It is 
remarkable that none of his successors made any 
such pretension as this, although they too, at least 
some of them, professed miraculous power. He was 
therefore the antagonist of Christ ; strictly Antichrist, 
in a higher sense than any other. He taught that 
the God of the Jews was not truly God, but only, 


like the Jupiter of heathenism, one of a set of angelic 
powers; that the Supreme God had nothing to do 
with the origination of evil further than that he had 
created those angelic powers from whom it had 
sprung ; nay, that he had not created them directly, 
but by his thought, which, taking a personal charac- 
ter, was the actual Creator of these ; that therefore 
the Supreme Being had nothing to do with anything 
in this world, excepting in so far as he had inter- 
fered to remedy the mischief occasioned by the 
angels. It was in this way that he endeavoured to 
reconcile the imperfections of this world with the 
perfection of God. But he went further than this ; 
for by making the Creator of this world and the 
God of the Old Testament an imperfect being, he in 
reality denied God, whilst professing to know more 
of him than other men. 

This part of the system only accounted for phy- 
sical evil, and such moral evils as oppression and 
violence : but moral evil, as we commonly under- 
stand it, he treated in quite a different way ; i. e. by 
denying that it was evil at all ; for he asserted that 
it was so only through the tyrannical imposition of 
the angels. Nay, he even went so far as to assert 
that he himself was God, come down from above to 
rescue men from their thraldom by teaching them 
the truth of things ; and thus to restore them to their 
rightful liberty, by showing them that they might 


do whatever they listed, and indeed ought to do so to 
vindicate his authority, which had been usurped by 
the angels. A more plausible scheme of blasphemy 
and licentiousness could scarcely have been concocted 
for the philosophizing Jew, or the heathen who had 
looked into Judaism merely as a rival system of bar- 
barian philosophy. It recognised all the facts of the 
Old Testament ; but it totally neutralized them, and 
destroyed altogether the religion with which they 
would have appeared to be inseparably blended. 

When Christianity began to spread, and Jesus was 
believed on by multitudes, and reverenced by many 
who did not receive him, it became politic to recog- 
nise the Gospel in the same manner in which the 
Law had been recognised. Accordingly, the external 
facts of the life of Jesus were not disputed, but a 
new spirit was given to them. Jesus was a mani- 
festation of the Supreme God, as Simon was ; come 
upon the same errand, to destroy the Jewish law; 
and thence an object of hatred to the Jews, who 
triumphed so far as to crucify the external body in 
which he appeared, but had no power over him who 
had inhabited it. Here there was just enough of 
truth to impose upon a person brought up to believe 
the Gospel without really loving it, and falsehood 
enough altogether to prevent its reception. 

The sketch which I have now traced is the nu- 


cleus of Gnosticism. Simon's dignifying his para- 
mour with the title of the Thought of the First 
Cause, and his figment of her having been in a per- 
petual state of transmigration, was no doubt an after 
thought to cover the grossness which prying minds 
might fancy in the great empiric; an end which might 
not be sufficiently accomplished by his doctrine that 
all actions were indifferent. 

Whether Simon really invented the first ogdoad 
of pure emanations from the Great Father may be 
doubted ; for the testimony to that fact does not 
appear sufficiently early, and those who assert it con- 
tradict each other in the names of them. But that 
he taught that there were Excellences and Powers, 
as well as angels, appears from Irenseus. Yet as 
that author undertakes to tell the share which Simon 
had in forming the system, and certainly attributes 
the regularity of it to his successors, it appears most 
probable that he defined nothing as to the number 
or functions of those celestial beings. 

The sketch, however, of Simon, to whatever ex- 
tent he went, was sufficiently filled up by his suc- 
cessors. In his system of angelic beings they defined 
their number, and to a certain extent fixed their 
functions. There was at last a body of these 
formed between the Supreme Being and the authors 
of this world, perfect in holiness and obedience. 


The defection of one of these was made as much as 
possible the work of accident. She was made, 
according to various schemes, sometimes to be totally 
excluded from this perfect society, sometimes to be 
restored to it again, leaving an imperfect offspring 
behind her. From her or her offspring, sprang the 
Creator, who is sometimes represented as the chief 
of seven angels, sometimes as a peculiar being 
having the angels under him. The creation of man 
is represented as the work of this imperfect being, 
but the spark of heavenly life in him as an emana- 
tion, more or less direct, from the First Cause. In 
this way the scheme became more definite ; but 
from the same cause it became a set of schemes 
more or less inconsistent with each other, but all 
aiming at having a succession of mysteries to be 
communicated by degrees. In this way the minds 
of men were amused and tantalized, and prevented 
from a serious search after truth ; whilst if one 
scheme was searched to the bottom, and its stock of 
mysteries exhausted, there was still another and 
another refinement to lure him away from the real 
truth. There was, however, the uniform tendency 
to remove the government of this world from the 
cognizance of the Supreme Being, and to represent 
the author of the law and the prophets as an imper- 
fect, self-contradictory, cruel being. There was the 
same mode of rendering null the distinction between 
moral good and evil, by attributing it to opinion, or 


custom, or the ordinance of the God of this world. 
There was the same attempt to nullify the Gospel, 
by doing away with the Christian idea of the incar- 
nate Son of God, and representing the advent of 
Jesus as a portion of the Gnostic scheme. For whe- 
ther Jesus was considered as only apparently a man, 
or as merely a man ; whether the Saviour dwelt in 
him or made use of him ; whether it were the Saviour, 
or the Christ, or the Only-begotten, or the Jesus 
above, who interested himself for the redemption of 
the spiritual seed, it all amounted to the same thing 
in the end. It abolished the real salvation of the 
soul ; it took away the incarnation and atonement ; 
it made the Gospel of no effect. 

The nature of the redemption it preached was like- 
wise everywhere the same. It was not a redemption 
from the dominion of sin, but by denying that there 
was any such thing as sin. Whether it taught that 
the simple practical knowledge of this fact was all 
the redemption necessary, or that some initiatory 
rite was requisite to give that knowledge, or that a 
full knowledge of the Gnostic theory was to be 
superadded to qualify for eternal redemption, — whe- 
ther it led its votaries to defy the God of the Old 
Testament, or taught them mystic forms by which 
to elude him when sitting in judgment, it all 
amounted to the same thing. Lewdness of the 
grossest kind was denied to be any sin. There were, 



indeed, some who embraced the general theory, and 
with it believed that the flesh, as being the work of 
the Creator, was to be denied and mortified in every- 
way, and who therefore decried marriage l itself, and 
forbad to eat flesh ; but they were the few. The 
opposite use of the undervaluing of the flesh was 
the more popular and the more prevalent. 

Hitherto, perhaps, there has appeared but little in 
common with our own times ; but there were other 
features of Gnosticism, in which it will appear to 
have been the parent of Antinomianism, even that 
of the most recent days. If any one is at all familiar 
with the high Calvinism of Toplady and his school, 
he will have found that it strongly resembled the 
Gnosticism of the age of Irenseus. It is of the 
essence of strict Calvinism to teach that individuals 
are inevitably destined to salvation ; and so it was in 
Gnosticism. The spiritual seed must all be brought 
back again from earthly degradation ; none can fail 
of being so, first or last. It may be destined to 
numerous transmigrations; but the spirit must finally 
be wafted upward to the eternal Fulness 2 . Again, 
the spiritual pride and presumption of the genuine 
Antinomian is a very observable trait : his speaking 

1 Irenaeus (I. xxviii. 1) expressly says that they thought mar- 
riage to be pollution and whoredom, and (xxiv. 2) that it and 
its natural consequences were from Satan. 

2 I. vi. 1, 2. 


of all as carnal who do not adopt his scheme ; his 
placing religion not in holiness, but in knowing the 
truth ; his assumption of superior illumination ; his 
declarations that none but those specially favoured 
are capable of knowing the truth ; all this is merely a 
repetition of Gnosticism. The Gnostic called himself 
spiritual, and the Churchman carnal 3 ; he was the 
elect and perfect, and the orthodox the ignorant and 
simple 4 ; he derived his very name from his making 
knowledge paramount to all other things"; he declared 
that none were capable of receiving his scheme but 
the spiritual seed 6 ; that to others good works were 
necessary and useful 7 , but that their lot, however 
praiseworthy, could never be the same as that of the 
elect s . So, again, the abuse of the doctrine of justi- 
fication by faith is as early as those times. They 
declared that faith and love was the sum of their 
religion 9 ; that the law might be a restraint suited 
to inferior natures, but that to them it would be a 
degradation to submit their minds to its yoke ; and 
that, in fact, whatever acts they might commit, it 
was impossible for them either to be polluted by 
those acts or to fail of salvation \ Who would not 
suppose that the modern ultra-Calvinist was the 
speaker ? So again, at that time, as in these days 

I. v. 2. * I. vi. 4. III. xv. 2. 5 I. vi. 1, 

I. vi. 1. 7 I. vi. 2. 4. 6 I. vii. 1. 

9 I. xxv. 5. ' I. vi. 2. 

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