HOME CHAT NAB PRAYERS FORUMS COMMUNITY RCIA MAGAZINE CATECHISM LINKS CONTACT
 CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC SAINTS INDEX  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC DICTIONARY  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Home
 
Bible
 
Catechism
 
Chat
 
Catholic Encyclopedia
 
Church Fathers
 
Classics Library
 
Church Documents
 
Discussion
 
Mysticism
 
Prayer
 
Prayer Requests
 
RCIA
 
Vocations
 
Ray of Hope
 
Saints
 
Social Doctrine
 
Links
 
Contact
 







A History Of The Church In Seven Books by Socrates

BUT amidst the good corn, tares are accustomed to spring up; for Satan’s envy loves to plot insidiously against the good. Hence it was that a little while before the time of Constantine, a species of heathenish Christianity made its appearance together with that which was real: just as false prophets and false apostles heretofore insinuated themselves amongst those who were constituted of God. For at that time a dogma of Empedocles the heathen philosopher, was by Manichæus attempted to be amalgamated with Christian doctrine. Eusebius Pamphilus indeed has mentioned this person in the seventh book of his Ecclesiastical History; but since he did not enter into minute details concerning him, I deem it incumbent on me to supply some particulars which he has left unnoticed: thus it will be known who this Manichæus was, whence he came, and what was the nature of his presumptuous daring.

A Saracen named Scythian having married a captive from the Upper Thebes, dwelt on her account in Egypt, where after studying the learning of the Egyptians, he introduced the theory of Empedocles and Pythagoras among the doctrines of the Christian faith. Asserting that there were two natures, a good and an evil one, he termed, as Empedocles had done, the latter Discord, and the former Friendship. Of this Scythian, Buddas who had been previously called Terebinthus, became a disciple; and he having proceeded to Babylon, which the Persians inhabit, made many extravagant statements respecting himself, declaring that he was born of a virgin, and brought up in the mountains. The same man afterwards composed four books, one he entitled The Mysteries, another The Gospel, a third The Treasure, and the fourth Heads: but pretending to perform some mystic rites, he was hurled down a precipice by the devil, and so perished. He was buried by a woman at whose house he had lodged, who taking possession of his property, bought a boy about seven years old whose name was Cubricus: this lad she enfranchised, and having given him a liberal education, she soon after died, leaving him all that belonged to Terebinthus, including the books he had written on the principles inculcated by Scythian. Cubricus, now free, taking these things with him travelled into Persia, where he changed his name, calling himself Manes; and disseminated the books of Buddas or Terebinthus among his deluded followers, as his own. Now the contents of these treatises are apparently accordant with Christianity in expression, but thoroughly Pagan in sentiment: for Manichæus being an impious person, incited his disciples to acknowledge a plurality of gods, and taught them to worship the sun. He also introduced Fatalism, taking away human free-will; and distinctly affirmed a transmutation of bodies, a notion which closely approximates to, and was doubtless borrowed from the opinions of Empedocles, Pythagoras, and the Egyptians, respecting the transmigration of souls. He denied that Christ existed in the flesh, asserting that he was an unsubstantial apparition; and rejected moreover the Law and the Prophets, calling himself the Comforter: of which dogmas are totally repugnant to the orthodox faith of the church. In his epistles he even dared to assume the title of Apostle; but a pretension so unfounded brought upon him merited retribution in the following manner. The son of the Persian monarch having been attacked with disease, his father became anxious for his recovery, and left no means* untried in order to effect it; and as he had heard of the specious† deceptions of Manichæus, under the impression that these miracles were real, he sent for him as an apostle, trusting that through him his son might be restored. The impostor accordingly presented himself at court, and with well-dissembled mysticism of manner undertook the cure of the young prince: the child however died under his hands, and the king seeing his hope thus painfully frustrated, shut up the deceiver in prison, with intent to put him to death. Manichæus contriving to escape, fled into Mesopotamia, and so for a time saved himself; but the king of Persia having discovered where he was secreted, caused him to be brought thence by force, and after having flayed him alive, he stuffed his skin with chaff, and suspended it in front of the gate of the city. These are no fabrications of ours, but facts which we collected from a book entitled “The disputation of Archelaus bishop of Cascharum,” (one of the cities of Mesopotamia); in which the author states that he disputed with Manichæus face to face, and mentions the circumstances connected with his life to which we have now alluded. The envy of Satan thus delights, as we before remarked, to be insidiously at work in the midst of a prosperous condition of affairs. But for what reason the goodness of God permits this to be done, whether lie wishes thereby to bring into activity the excellence of the principles of the church, and to utterly break down the self-importance which is wont to unite itself with faith; or for what other cause, is too difficult a question for present discussion. Nor would it be consistent with the object here proposed, which is neither to examine the soundness of doctrinal views, nor to analyse the mysterious purposes of the providential arrangements of God; but to detail as faithfully as possible the transactions which have taken place in the churches. Having then described the way in which the corrupt superstition of the Manichæans sprang up a little before the time of Constantine, we will return to the series of events which are the proper subjects of this history.








Copyright ©1999-2018 e-Catholic2000.com