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An Ecclesiastical History To The 20th Year Of The Reign Of Constantine by Eusebius

ABOUT this time, also, Rhodon, a native of Asia, being instructed, as himself says, by Tatian, with whom we have already become acquainted, and having written various other books, among the rest also combated the heresy of Marcion. This, he says, was split into various opinions in his time; and describing those that occasioned the division, he also accurately refutes the perverse doctrines devised by each of them. Hear him in his own words: “Hence,” says he, “they are also divided among themselves, as they maintain a doctrine that cannot stand. For from this herd arose Apelles, who assuming a gravity of deportment, and presuming upon his age, professed to believe but one principle, and that the prophetic declarations proceeded from an adverse spirit. He was deluded, however, by the responsive oracular answers of a certain virgin under demoniacal influence, and whose name was Philumena. But others, as the Mariner Marcion himself, introduced two principles, to which sect belong Potitus and Basilicus. These following that wolf of Pontus (Marcion), and, like the former, unable to find the division of things, sunk into licentiousness, and roundly asserted, without any proof, that there were two principles. Others, again, declining from them to a still greater error, established not only two but three natures.” Of these, the chief and leader was Syneros, as those that established his school say. But the same author writes, that he also had some conference with Apelles. “For,” says he, “the old man Apelles, when he came into conversation with us, was refuted in many of his false assertions. Hence, he also said, that one ought not to examine doctrine, but that each one should continue as he believed. For he asserted, that those who trusted in him that was crucified would be saved, if they were only found engaged in good works. But he asserted, that the most obscure of all things was, as we before said, the question respecting the Deity.” He said there was one principle, as our doctrine asserts: then, after advancing the whole of his opinion, he subjoins the following: “When I said to him, ‘How do you prove this? or how can you say there is one principle? I wish you to explain;’ he said, ‘that the prophecies refuted themselves, because they uttered nothing that was true, for they are inconsistent and false, and contradict themselves; but said, that he did not, however, know there was only one principle, he was only moved to adopt this opinion.’ Then conjuring him to speak the truth, he swore that he did speak the truth, and said he did not understand how there could be a God without being produced, but that he believed it. On learning this, I laughed, and reproved him; because whilst he asserted that he was a teacher, he knew not how to establish that which he taught.”

In the same work which he addressed to Callistion, he confesses that he himself was taught by Tatian at Rome, and says, also, that a book of questions had been written by Tatian, in which he professes to explain what was hidden and obscure in the sacred writings: Rhodon promises that he would give solutions to these questions in a work of his own. There is also a commentary of his extant, on the Hexæmeron. But this same Apelles uttered innumerable impieties against the law of Moses, and in many works he reviled the sacred Scriptures, using no small exertions, as it seems, to refute and overturn them. Thus far, however, respecting these.








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