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

ABOUT the same time, we have understood, appeared Cerinthus, the leader of another heresy. Caius, whose words we quoted above, in “The Disputation,” attributed to him, writes thus respecting him: “But Cerinthus, by means of revelations, which he pretended were written by a great apostle, also falsely pretended to wonderful things, as if they were showed him by angels, asserting, that after the resurrection there would be an earthly kingdom of Christ, and that the flesh, i. e. men, again inhabiting Jerusalem, would be subject to desires and pleasures.” Being also an enemy to the divine Scriptures, with a view to deceive men, he said “that there would be a space of a thousand years for celebrating nuptial festivals.” Dionysius also, who obtained the episcopate of Alexandria in our day, in the second book “On Promises,” where he says some things as if received by ancient tradition, makes mention of the same man, in these words: “But it is highly probable that Cerinthus, the same that established the heresy that bears his name, designedly affixed the name (of John) to his own forgery. For one of the doctrines that he taught was, that Christ would have an earthly kingdom. And as he was a voluptuary, and altogether sensual, he conjectured that it would consist in those things that he craved in the gratification of appetite and lust; i. e. in eating, drinking, and marrying, or in such things whereby he supposed these sensual pleasures might be presented in more decent expressions; viz. in festivals, sacrifices, and the slaying of victims.” Thus far Dionysius. But Irenæus, in his first book against heresies, adds certain false doctrines of the man, though kept more secret, and gives a history in his third book, that deserves to be recorded, as received by tradition from Polycarp. He says that John the apostle once entered a bath to wash; but ascertaining Cerinthus was within, he leaped out of the place, and fled from the door, not enduring to enter under the same roof with him, and exhorted those with him to do the same, saying, “Let us flee, lest the bath fall in, as long as Cerinthus, that enemy of the truth, is within.”








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