as the Acts of Andrew, Thomas, and John: and he particularly mentions the Memoir of the apostles, taken notice of by Orosius.

10. According to Jerom the Priscillianists made use of apocryphal books of the Old, as well as of the New Testament; particularly, the Ascension of Isaiah, and the Revelation of Elias.


11. It must therefore, I think, be allowed, that the Priscillianists, beside the canonical scriptures of the Old and New Testament, made use of apocryphal books: what respect, they had for them, is not certain; but from these testimonies it may be reckoned probable, that they shewed them a good deal of respect, more than catholics generally did: though after all, they need not to be supposed to have equalled them to those scriptures, which are usually called canonical. This then was their doctrine concerning the scriptures.


12. By several they are said to have held the Sabellian doctrine concerning the Deity. So Augustine in his book of Heresies, and elsewhere; so likewise Orosius. It is the last particular in Orosius's Memoir, and in Augustine's chapter concerning the Priscillianists in his book of Heresies but it makes the first in Pope Leo's letter concerning the errors of the Priscillianists written in the year 447.

13. Pope Leo presently afterwards' charges them with agreeing with the Arians in their sentiment concerning the person of Christ: whether consistently, or not, let others determine.


14. They are supposed to have had some doctrine concerning the innascibility of Christ: we see it in the confessions of those who renounced Priscillianism before the council of Toledo, and returned to the catholics. Pope Leo seems not to have understood the meaning of this, though it be one of his articles of accusation against them, and he talks a good deal about it. I do not perceive Orosius or Augustine to say any thing distinctly about this point.

15. They had also some opinions concerning the soul, which were disliked by many of the catholics. They are said to have held, that the soul was consubstantial to the Deity: so says Leo; nor is this denied, but supposed to be their opinion, both by Orosius and Augustine. To the like purpose Jerom,' in a passage which I transcribe below; shewing, that there were among Christians, as well as among the philosophers, different opinions concerning the origin of the soul.


16. Farther, Pope Leo adds, It was also said, that they believed the pre-existence of human souls, and that they had sinned in heaven, before they were sent into bodies. And Orosius

tatis suæ auctoritatem doctrinam Domini mentiuntur. Turib. cap. v. ap. S. Leon. p. 232.

a Ascensio enim Isaïa et Apocalypsis Eliæ hoc habent testimonium. Et per hanc occasionem, multaque hujusmodi, Hispaniarum et Lusitaniæ deceptæ sunt mulierculæ, &c. In Is. capi lxiv. T. iii. p. 473, 474. Conf. ad Theodor. ep. 53. al. 29. p. 581. T. iv.

De Christo Sabellianam sectam tenent, eumdem ipsum esse dicentes, non solum Filium, sed etiam Patrem, et Spiritum Sanctum. De Hær. cap. 70.

• Contra quam veritatem Priscillianus Sabellianum antiquum dogma restituit, ubi ipse Pater qui Filius, qui et Spiritus Sanctus perhibetur. Ad. Oros. cap. 4. T. viii.

Trinitatem autem solo verbo loquebatur. Nam unionem absque ullâ existentiâ aut proprietate asserens-Patrem, Filium, et Spiritum Sanctum, hunc esse unum Christum dicebat. Oros. Comm. ap. S. Aug. T. viii.


Primo itaque capitulo demonstratur, quam impie sentiant de Trinitate, qui et Patris, et Filii, et Spiritûs Sancti, unam atque eamdem asserunt esse personam, tamquam idem Deus nunc Pater, nunc Filius, nunc Spiritus Sanctus nominetur. Ep. 15. cap. i. p. 227.

In secundo capitulo ostenditur ineptum vanumque commentum de processionibus quarumdam virtutum ex Deo. In quo Arianorum suffragantur errori, dicentium, quod Pater Filio prior sit.-Ibid. cap. 2.

Symphosius episcopus dixit: Hanc ego doctrinam, quæ, aut duo principia dicit, aut Filium innascibilem, cum ipso auctore damno, qui scripsit. Concil. Tolet. i. ap. Labb. Conc T. ii. p. 1229. Vid. et supr. not." p. 477, 478.


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h Tertii vero capituli sermo designat, quod iidem impii asserant, ideo Unigenitum dici Filium Dei, quia solus sit natus ex virgine. Quod utique non auderent dicere, nisi Pauli Samosateni et Photini virus hausissent: qui dixerunt, Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, antequam nasceretur ex virgine Mariâ, non fuisse. Si autem isti aliud de suo sensu intelligi volunt, neque principium de matre dant Christo asserant necesse est, non unum esse Filium Dei.Quoquoversum igitur se contulerint, in magnæ tendunt impietatis abruptum.

-Ib. cap. 3.

i Quinto capitulo refertur, quod animam hominis, divinæ asserant esse substantiæ, nec a naturâ Creatoris sui conditionis nostræ distare naturam. Quam impietatem, ex Philosophorum quorumdam et Manichæorum opinione manantem, catholica fides damnat. Ib. cap. v. p. 228.

* Vid. Aug. ad Oros. cap. i. et iv. T. viii.

1 Super animæ statu memini vestræ quæstiunculæ, imo maximæ ecclesiasticæ quæstionis: Utrum lapsa de cœlo sit, ut Pythagoras Philosophus, omnesque Platonici, et Origenes, putant; an a propria Dei substantia, ut Stoici, Manichæus, et Hispana Priscilliani hæresis suspicantur; an in thesauro ha beantur Dei, olim conditæ, ut quidam ecclesiastici stultâ persuasione confidunt; an quotidie a Deo fiant, ut mittantur in corpora;-an certe ex traduce, ut Tertullianus, Apollinaris, et maxima pars Occidentalium autumant, &c. Ad Marcellin. et Anaps. ep. 78. al. 82. T. iv. p. 642.

in Decimo autem capitulo feruntur asserere, animas, quæ humanis corporibus inseruntur, fuisse sine corpore, et in cœlesti habitatione peccâsse. Leo. ib. c. 10.


docens animam, quæ a Deo náta sit, de quodam

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and' Augustine both speak of their believing the pre-existence of human souls, and their descent from heaven, through several regions, into bodies allotted to them. But they do not say, that they supposed those souls to have sinned in their pre-existent state.

17. Another opinion ascribed to them by Pope Leo is, that the sons of promise are born of women, but conceived by the Holy Spirit. I do not observe this in Orosius, or Augustine: perhaps it is a consequence, which some deduced from their principles. Whether allowed by them, may not be certain; nor is it very intelligible: and perhaps there is nothing heretical in it.

18. Several other opinions are imputed to them: whether rightly, or not, cannot be certainly said, as we have none of their writings; and what their enemies say is not easy to be understood. However, I observe farther,

19. Pope Leo says, they fasted on the day of Christ's nativity, and on the Lord's-day; which may be true, so far as I know: and though herein was an irregularity, yet in their way they honoured those days. Moreover, I think, it ought to be allowed, that this adds not any credit to the charge of licentiousness.

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20. Another article imputed to them is a disadvantageous opinion of marriage. Pope Leo says,They condemn marriage, and the procreation of children; in which, as in almost every thing else, they agree with the Manichees. And, as their manners shew, they therefore dislike marriage, because of the confinement of that state, and it is an obstruction to lewdness.'


21. Augustine expresseth himself to this purpose: With regard to diet, they look upon 'the flesh of animals as impure. Where this sect prevails, it is a common thing with them to separate men from their wives, and women from their husbands, without mutual consent. For • all fleshly productions, they ascribe not to the good and true God, but to malignant angels.' This, probably, was the reason of their disliking marriage: and they must consequently have condemned fornication, and every kind of uncleanness.

22. Pope Leo says, that upon this head the Priscillianists agreed with the Manichees.' We have no writings of Priscillianists, to give us light, and but very imperfect accounts of their opinions concerning the Manichees we have fuller information; and we can be satisfied, that as they had a disadvantageous notion of marriage, they absolutely condemned fornication, and such like things. This I suppose so have been made out formerly; I would now confirm it by a passage of Faustus not yet alleged: We do not think,' says that Manichean bishop, that the lives and manners of robbers are to be approved, because Jesus shewed mercy to a robber on the cross; or that we are to approve the lives of publicans and harlots, because Christ ⚫ declared their sins to be forgiven, and that they went into the kingdom of heaven before those who behaved proudly. For when he absolved a woman taken in adultery, whom the Jews brought before him, he said to her, "Go, and sin no more.” And Pope Gregory the first, surnamed the great, as well as Leo, says; the Manichees condemned marriage, because they had observed virginity to be commended in the sacred oracles. If therefore the Priscillianists condemned marriage, it may be supposed, that they went upon the like grounds with the Mani

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chees and if they judged marriage itself not sufficiently pure, they loudly condemned fornication, and all sins of the flesh.

IX. We are now led to the consideration of two branches of immorality charged upon the Priscillianists, by some writers of the fourth and fifth centuries. One is lying, to conceal their principles; the other is the practice of impurity: I shall transcribe in the margin these charges as expressed by Augustine and Jerom; afterwards I shall take notice of what is said by Pope Leo and if I speak to both these charges together, for the sake of brevity, I hope it will not be

taken amiss.



1. Of their falsehood Augustine speaks in the article for this sect, in his book of Heresies and in another work. He says, they approved of lying, to conceal from others their real principles and actions: they were said to have this among the rules of their sect, Swear, forswear: but never betray a secret.

2. Augustine speaks of lewd women among the Priscillianists.


3. Jerom speaks of the Priscillianists, as practising lewdness in a very shameful manner. But there are considerations, which may dispose us to think, that here is some misrepresentation or aggravation of both these points.

(1.) It is very likely, that the charge of falsehood against these people, as well as of impurity, was partly owing to their being reckoned a branch of the Gnostics, to whom such things were generally imputed. A passage of Sulpicius, which I place below, may justify this supposition.

(2.) Augustine seems not to have full proof of the falsehood, which he imputes to them. He says, it was reported of them, and it had been confirmed by some who had once been of the sect and had left them. But the testimony of such persons I take to be of little or no value; some such people might be willing to say any thing, to ingratiate themselves with their new friends.


(3.) There were martyrs among the Priscillianists, as Augustine allows. Therefore, probably, there were seasons, when they reckoned themselves obliged to declare the truth: though at other times, from prudential considerations, they might judge it proper to be upon the reserve, as indeed most people will think, who lie under difficulties and discouragements.



(4.) Augustine himself acquits them of excessive lewdness. For he says, A more impure sect, possibly, may be found; but never were there any men comparable to them for falsehood.'



(5.) According to Augustine, the Priscillianists had an argument in behalf of lying from Thamar. Whereupon he says, Why do they think, that Thamar is to be imitated when she ⚫ lied, and that Judah may not be imitated in the commission of uncleanness?' Augustine therefore knew very well, that the Priscillianists did not approve of fornication, or adultery, or any other such sins of the flesh.

(6.) Jerom, in his letter to Ctesiphon, speaks of Priscillianism as a doctrine of perfection, and that they pretended to uncommon degrees of knowledge and holiness. If therefore they transgressed, it was not by principle, but through infirmity, and the force of sudden temptation, as the men of other sects too often do.

(7.) In another work he speaks of the Priscillianists, as asserting, that with due care men may arrive at such perfection, as to be free from sin, even in thought. They who had this -Qui quidem partem habent Gnosticæ hæreseos de Basilidis impietate venientem. Ad Ctesiph. ep. 43. T. iv. p. 476.


Propter occultandas autem contaminationes et turpitudines suas habent in suis dogmatibus et hæc verba : Jura, perjura, secretum prodere noli. De Hær. cap. 70. T. viii.

e Namque tum primum infamis illa Gnosticorum hæresis intra Hispanias deprehensa, superstitio exsecrabilis, arcanis occultata secretis. Hist. Sa. 1. ii. c. 46. al. 61. in.

f-Exsecrantur Priscillianistarum falsa martyria. Contr. Mendac. cap. v. n. 9. T. vi.

* See before note b

Possunt enim aliqui hæretici reperiri fortasse immundiores. Sed nullus istis fallacia comparatur. Alii quippe, ut sunt hominum vitia, de hujus vitæ consuetudine vel infirmitate mentiuntur. Isti autem in ipsâ nefariâ doctrinâ hæresis suæ præceptum habere perhibentur, ut occultandorum dogmatum suorum causâ etiam falsâ juratione mentiantur. Hi, qui eos experti sunt, et ipsorum fuerant, atque ab eis Dei misericordiâ liberati sunt, etiam verba ipsa præcepti hujus ista commemorant: Jura, perjura, secretum prodere noli. Ep. 237. al. 253. n. 3. T. ii.

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Cur autem isti imitandum sibi Thamar existimant mentientem, et imitandum Judam non existimant fornicantem? Contr. Mendac. cap. xiv. n. 30. T. vi.

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Priscillianus in Hispaniâ, pars Manichæi-verbum perfectionis et scientiæ sibi vindicantes. Ad Ctesiph. ep. 43. p. 476. in. ut præteream Manichæum, Priscillianum, quorum omnino ista sententia est: posse ad perfectionem, et non dicam ad similitudinem, sed æqualitatem Dei humanam virtutem et scientiam pervenire; ita ut asserant se ne cogitatione quidem et ignorantiâ, quum ad consummationis culmen ascenderunt, posse peccare. Adv. Pelag. Dial i. T. iv. p. 484. in.

notion, must have aimed at perfection, and could not by principle indulge themselves in evil actions.

(8.) I do not observe Orosius, in the account which he gives Augustine of the Priscillianists, to charge them either with falsehood or lewdness.

X. We now proceed to Pope Leo; for I have thought it worth the while to place him by himself, and to consider distinctly what he says; I therefore transcribe him largely below. The sum of what he says is this: The Priscillianists agree with the Manichees in sentiments, con⚫sequently in practice. Wicked and obscene mysteries had been proved upon the Manichees; and therefore they were also used by the Priscillianists. Moreover, such things had been proved

the Priscillianists in former times.'

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In answer to which I say: 1. I am of opinion, that obscene mysteries never were proved upon the Manichees by Pope Leo, or any others. And I would willingly refer to what has been already observed relating to this point in this volume, and particularly to the Remarks, upon Mr. Bower's account of the Manichees. 2. Supposing such things to have been proved concerning the Manichees, it does not follow, that they may be righteously ascribed to the Priscillianists. For allowing the Priscillianists to have agreed with the Manichees in some of their peculiarities, it cannot be thence reasonably concluded, that they embraced them all: yea it is apparent, that they differed from them, and in a material_point, receiving the scriptures of the Old Testament: not now to mention any thing else. 3. Pope Leo says, obscene mysteries had been proved upon the Priscillianists in former times; referring, I suppose, to the trial of Priscillian and his friends. To which I answer: I am of opinion, that they were not then proved upon Priscillian nor his followers; and of this let every one judge, who has perused the preceding part of this chapter. 4. I think, it appears, that Pope Leo had not any positive proof, that the Priscillianists used obscene mysteries, or practised any wickedness by principle: for he alleges not any such proof; and founds his charges against them upon their supposed agreement with the Manichees, and the transactions of former times.

XI. As yet I have taken nothing from Philaster, because the Priscillianists are no where mentioned by him under that name. But he has an article of heretics, whom he calls Abstinents, which I shall now transcribe at the bottom of the



It is the opinion of Fabricius, and Tillemont, that the Priscillianists are the heretics here intended by Philaster.

What he says is briefly this: That in Gaul, and Spain, and Aquitain, there was a sort of Abstinents, a branch of the Gnostics and Manichees, who dissolved marriages without mutual consent, and enjoined abstinence from some kinds of food. And he shews the inconveniences of the former of those doctrines, and confutes it by texts of scripture, as he does also the latter. He moreover says, that they captivated many people.

Whenever this article was written by Philaster, it tends greatly to wipe off some aspersions

a In exsecrabilibus autem mysteriis eorum, quæ quanto immundiora sunt, tanto diligentius occulantur, unum prorsus nefas est, una est obscœnitas, et similis turpitudo. Quam etsi eloqui erubescimus, solicitissimis tamen inquisitionibus indagatam, et Manichæorum, qui comprehensi sunt, confessione detectam, ad publicam fecimus pervenire notitiam.-Quod autem de Manichæorum fœdissimo scelere, hoc etiam de Priscillianistarum incestissimâ consuetudine olim compertum, multumque vulgatum est. Qui enim per omnia sunt impietate sensuum pares, non possunt in sacris suis esse dissimiles. Ep. 15. cap. 16. p. 230, 231.

bP. 158-160.

CP. 240-243.

Sunt in Galliis, et Hispaniis, et Aquitania, veluti Abstinentes, qui et Gnosticorum et Manichæorum particulam perniciosissimam æque sequuntur, eamdemque non dubitant prædicare: separantes persuasionibus conjugia hominum, et escarum abstinentiam promittentes, quæ non ex legis præcepto, sed promotionis cœlestis, et dignitatis causâ voluntati hominum talis a Christo concessa est gratia. Dicit enim Dominus Petro: 'Non omnes capiunt hoc verbum,' Matt. xix. 11.] Et iterum idem Dominus ait: Qui dimiserit uxorem suam sine causâ criminis, facit eam mæchari.' [ib. ver. 9.] Aliud est itaque consensu communi hoc fieri, laudis causâ


majoris consequenda a Domino, et aliud contra legem sua-
dere, contraque amborum facere voluntatem. Et iterum:
'Qui non manducat, manducantem non spernat : et qui man-
ducat, non manducantem non judicet.' [Rom. xiv. 3.] Quod
ex voluntate est itaque, laudis est amplioris, immo potius mer-
cedis cœlestis est desiderium. Quod autem extra legem est,
non a Deo Christo est traditum, sed inani hominum præsum-
tione et errore inventum. Scriptum est enim, 'Do vobis
omnia edere, sicut fœnum.' [Gen. ix. 3.] Hoc autem ideo
faciunt, ut escas paulatim spernentes, dicant eas non esse
bonas, et ita non a Deo hominibus escæ causâ fuisse concessas
sed a Diabolo factas ut adserant, ita sentiunt. Inque hoc jam
creaturam non a Deo creatam, sed a Diabolo eam factam præ-
dicare nituntur. Perque hoc mendacium multorum animas
captivârunt. Philast. H. 84. Abstinentes.

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which were cast upon the Priscillianists. Their distinguishing character was not licentiousness, but rigour and abstinence: this was their profession, this their outward appearance; and thereby they gained upon many people. If this article of Philaster was written soon after the rise of Priscillianism, and before the trial of Priscillian at Treves, (which may be reckoned very probable) it confirms the conjecture mentioned some while ago; that the charges brought against him were first invented about that time.

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The only two articles imputed to these Abstinents by Philaster, are their rigid doctrines about marriage and diet. These, as I apprehend, first induced men to call them Manichees: and having once given them that denomination, or said that they were a branch of the Gnostics and Manichees, men were led to ascribe to them all the enormities, which were generally imputed to those people.


XII. Upon the whole, from what has passed before us in this chapter, I think it appears, that the Priscillianists received the scriptures of the Old and New Testament, which were generally received by other Christians. They likewise made use of apocryphal books; but what resp they had for them cannot be now clearly determined. Some ecclesiastics, who went under this denomination, are represented, from an ill-judged zeal and without sufficient reason, to have deserted their stations in the church, to betake themselves to a retired and solitary course of life. They had errors concerning the soul, and some other matters. They seem to have had a disadvantageous opinion of marriage, and thereby sometimes made unhappy breaches in families, if their adversaries do not aggravate. They also had rules about diet, not founded in reason, nor scripture. Some of these people are blamed for not consuming the eucharist at church: and they were irregular in fasting, when other Christians feasted. But as we have none of their writings remaining, we do not know their whole system with certainty. By some they have been charged with obscene doctrines, and lewd practices. But so far as we are able to judge upon the evidence that has been produced, they rather appear to have made high pretensions to sanctity and purity,. and to have practised uncommon mortifications.


DIODORUS, of a good family, and probably born at Antioch, in which city he long resided, was ordained bishop of Tarsus in Cilicia by Meletius bishop of Antioch about the year 378. He died in 394, or sooner.


• Και την μεν το γενες εκ ελοδιζείο περιφάνειαν, την δε ύπερ της πίςεως ταλαιπωριαν ασπασίως ὑπέμεινε. Τheod. H. E. 1. iv. c. 25. p. 188. B.

b Ib.l. v. c. 4. in.


2. St. Jerom, whom I place below, reckons the time when he was presbyter the most shining period of his life. He does not assign the reasons of that judgment: but they may be collected from other writers, particularly the ecclesiastical historians of those times.

3. Diodorus, whilst presbyter, seems to have had the direction of some monastery, or school, in or near the city of Antioch. At which time he instructed divers young men in the knowledge of the scriptures, and the principles of religion: among whom three, who were afterwards very eminent, are particularly mentioned; Maximus bishop of Seleucia in Isauria, Theodore bishop of Mopsuestia in Cilicia, and John Chrysostom bishop of Constantinople. Chrysostom in an oration calls Diodorus his father, and boasts of the share he had in his esteem.


4. Moreover, Jerom may have an eye to some sufferings, which he underwent from the

c Diodorus, Tarsensis Episcopus, dum Antiochiæ esset Presbyter, magis claruit. Extantque ejus in Apostolum commentarii, et multa alia, ad Eusebii magis Emiseni characterem pertinentia; cujus cum sensum secutus sit, eloquentiam imi

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