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

THE heresy of the Phrygians, as it was called, still continuing to prevail in Phrygia, Apollonius undertook to refute it in a particular work which he wrote; on the one hand correcting their false predictions in reference to what they said, and on the other describing the life of those who were its founders. Hear him in his own words respecting Montanus: “But who,” says he, “is this new teacher? His works and his doctrines sufficiently show it. This is he that taught the dissolutions of marriage, he that imposed laws of fasting, that called Pepuza and Tymium, little places in Phrygia, a Jerusalem, in order to collect men from every quarter thither; who established exactors of money, and under the name of offerings, devised the artifice to procure presents; who provided salaries for those that preached his doctrine, that it might grow strong by gormandizing and gluttony.” Thus far concerning Montanus; and further on he writes concerning his prophetesses: “We show, therefore,” says he, “that these same leading prophetesses, as soon as they were filled with the spirit, abandoned their husbands. How then can they utter this falsehood, who call Prisca a virgin?” He afterwards proceeds again: “Does it not appear to you that the Scripture forbids any prophet to receive gifts and money? When, therefore, I see a prophetess receiving both gold and silver, and precious garments, how can fail to reject her?” Again, further on, respecting a certain one of their confessors, he says: “Moreover, Themison, who was completely clad in a most plausible covetousness, could not bear the great characteristic of confession, but threw aside bonds and imprisonment for the abundance of wealth, and though it became him to walk humbly, boasted as a martyr, and dared to imitate the apostles by drawing up a certain catholic epistle, to instruct those who had a better faith than himself, to contend for doctrines of empty sound, and to utter impieties against the Lord and his apostles and the holy church.” Again, speaking of others that are honoured among them as martyrs, he writes thus: “But not to speak of many, let the prophetess tell us the circumstances of Alexander, who called himself a martyr, with whom she feasted, the same too that is adored by numbers; whose robberies and other crimes, for which he was punished, it is not for us to tell, but which are preserved in the public records. Which of them forgives another his sins? Does the prophetess forgive the martyr his robberies? or the martyr forgive the prophetess her avarice? Although the Lord has said, ‘Lay not up for yourselves gold or silver, nor two coats,’ these, in direct opposition, have committed great crimes in regard to the possession of things thus prohibited. For we shall show, that those that are called martyrs and prophets among them, have derived pecuniary gain, not only from the wealthy, but from the poor, and from widows and orphans, and if they have any confidence (of innocence) in this, let them stand and settle these matters with us; so that, if they are convicted, they may abandon their misdemeanours hereafter.

“The fruits of a prophet must be examined; for by its fruits the tree is known. But that those who wish may understand the circumstances respecting this Alexander, he was tried by Æmilius Frontinus, the proconsul (of Asia) at Ephesus, not for the name (of Christian) but for the robberies which he dared to commit, as he had already been a transgressor. Then, however, pretending to the name of the Lord, he was liberated, after he had spread his errors among the faithful there. But the church of the place whence he sprung would not receive him, because he was a robber. Those, however, that wish to learn his history, can consult the public archives of Asia. And yet the prophet pretends to be ignorant of this man, with whom he lived many years. By refuting him, we also overturn the pretensions of the prophet. The same thing could be shown in many others, and if they have the courage let them undergo the test of argument.” In another part of the same work, he adds the following, respecting their boasted prophets: “If,” says he, “they deny that their prophets took presents, let them at least acknowledge, that, if they should be proved to have received them, they are no prophets. And of these matters we will furnish a thousand proofs. But it is necessary that all the fruits of a prophet should be examined. Tell me, does a prophet dye (his hair)? Does a prophet stain (his eyelids)? Does a prophet delight in ornament? Does a prophet play with tablets and dice? Does he take usury? Let them first acknowledge these things, whether they are right or not; and I will show that they have been done by them.”

This same Apollonius relates in the same work, that it was forty years from the time that Montanus undertook his pretended prophecy down to the period when he wrote his work. And again he says, that Zoticus, who was also mentioned by the former historian, when Maximilla was pretending to utter prophecies at Pepuza, attempted to interfere and reason with the spirit by which she was stimulated, but was hindered by those that followed her opinions. He mentions, also, a certain Thraseas among the martyrs of the times, and also that it was handed down by tradition, that our Saviour commanded his disciples not to depart from Jerusalem for twelve years. He quotes, also, the Revelations of John as testimony; and relates, also, that a dead man was raised by the divine power, through the same John, at Ephesus. Many other matters he also states; by which he abundantly refutes the error of the above-mentioned heresy. These are the matters stated by Apollonius.








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