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

THE faith of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, having now been diffused abroad among all men, the enemy of salvation devising some scheme of seizing upon the imperial city for himself, brought thither Simon, whom we mentioned before. Coming to the aid of his insidious artifices, he attached many of the inhabitants of Rome to himself, in order to deceive them. This is attested by Justin, who was one of our distinguished writers, not long after the times of the apostles, concerning whom I shall say what is necessary in the proper place. The reader may see for himself, in the first defence of our religion, addressed to Antonine, where he writes thus: “And after the ascension of our Lord into heaven, certain men were suborned by demons as their agents, who said that they were gods. These were not only suffered to pass without persecution, but were even deemed worthy of honours by you. Simon, a certain Samaritan of the village called Githon, was one of the number, who, in the reign of Claudius Cæsar, performed many magic rites by the operation of demons, was considered a god, in your imperial city of Rome, and was honoured by you with a statue as a god, in the river Tiber (on an island), between the two bridges, having the superscription in Latin, Simoni Deo Sancto, which is, To Simon the Holy God. And nearly all the Samaritans, with a few also of other nations, worship him, confessing him as the Supreme God, and a certain Helen also, who had before been a public prostitute in Tyre of Phœnicia, but now attached herself to Simon, they called ‘the first intelligence’ that proceeded from him.” Such is the testimony of Justin, with which also Irenæus coincides in his first book against Heresies, where he also subjoins an account of the impiety and corrupt doctrine of the man, which it would be superfluous for us to detail; as it is in the power of those who wish, to learn the origin, and the lives, and the false doctrines, not only of this one, but likewise of all the heresiarchs respectively, as also of the institutions and principles of all of them, as treated at large in the above-mentioned book of Irenæus. Simon, however, we have understood to have taken the lead in all heresy; from whom also, down to the present time, those that followed him still affected the modest philosophy of the Christians, so celebrated for purity of life among all. From this, however, they appeared again to depart, and again to embrace the superstitions of idols, falling down before the pictures and statues of this selfsame Simon, and the aforesaid Helen with him; venturing to offer them worship by incense, and sacrifices, and libations. Those matters which are kept more secret by them than these, at the first mention of which they say one would be astonished, and to use an oracular phrase with them, would be confounded, happen in truth to be so full of amazement, and folly, and madness, such as they are, that it is not only impossible to commit them to writing, but even to utter them with the lips to modest men, on account of their excessive baseness and obscenity. For every vile corruption that could either be done or devised, is practised by this most abominable heresy, of a sect that ensnare those wretched females who are literally overwhelmed with every kind of vice.








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