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

ABOUT this time also, for a very short time, arose the heresy of those called Nicolaites, of which also mention is made in the Revelation of John. These boasted of Nicolaus as their founder, one of those deacons who with Stephen were appointed by the apostles to minister unto the poor. Clement of Alexandria, in the third book of his Stromata, relates the following respecting him, “Having a beautiful wife, and being reproached, after the ascension of our Lord, with jealousy by the apostles, he conducted her into the midst of them, and permitted any one that wished to marry her. This they say was perfectly consistent with that expression of his, ‘that every one ought to abuse his own flesh.’ And thus those that adopted his heresy, following both this example and expression literally, rush headlong into fornication without shame. I have ascertained, however, that Nicolaus lived with no other woman than the one to whom he was married, but that his daughters continued in the state of virginity to advanced life; that his son also remained uncorrupt. It would appear, therefore, from these facts, that the introduction of his wife into the midst of the apostles, on account of jealousy, was rather the suppression of passion; and, therefore, abstinence from those pleasures that are so eagerly pursued, was inculcated by the expression, ‘we ought to abuse the flesh.’ For I do not think that, according to the saying of our Lord, he wished to serve two masters, the flesh and the Lord. They indeed say that Matthew thus taught to fight against and to abuse the flesh, not to give way to any thing for the sake of pleasure, and to cultivate the Spirit by faith and knowledge.” But it may suffice to have said thus much concerning those who have attempted to mutilate the truth, and which again became extinct, sooner than said.








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