Archelaus (Cont.)The Acts of the Disputation with the Heresiarch Manes. (Cont.)

53. After this event all the effects which he had brought with him from Egypt remained in her possession. And she rejoiced greatly over his death, and that for two reasons: first, because she did not regard his arts with satisfaction; and secondly, because she had obtained such an inheritance, for it was one of great value.470 But as she was all alone, she bethought herself of having some one to attend her; and she got for that purpose a boy of about seven years of age, named Corbicius,471 to whom she at once gave his freedom, and whom she also instructed in letters. When this boy had reached his twelfth year the old woman died, and left to him all her possessions, and among other things those four books which Scythianus had written, each of them consisting of a moderate number of lines.472 When his mistress was once buried, Corbicius began to make his own use of all the property that had been left him. Abandoning the old locality, he took up his abode in the middle of the city, where the king of Persia had his residence; and there altering his name, he called himself Manes instead of Corbicius, or, to speak more correctly, not Manes, but Mani:473 for that is the kind of inflection employed in the Persian language. Now, when this boy had grown to be a man of well-nigh sixty years of age,474 he had acquired great erudition in all the branches of learning taught in those parts, and I might almost say that in these he surpassed all others. Nevertheless he had been a still more diligent student of the doctrines contained in these four books; and he had also gained three disciples, whose names were Thomas, Addas, and Hermas. Then, too, he took these books, and transcribed475 them in such wise that he introduced into them much new matter which was simply his own, and which can be likened only to old wives’ fables. Those three disciples, then, he thus had attached to him as conscious participants in his evil counsels; and he gave, moreover, his own name to the books, and deleted the name of their former owner, as if he bad composed them all by himself. Then it seemed good to him to send his disciples, with the doctrines which he had committed to writing in the books, into the upper districts of that province, and through various cities and villages, with the view of securing followers. Thomas accordingly determined to take possession of the regions of Egypt, and Addas those of Scythia, while Hermas alone chose to remain with the man himself. When these, then, had set out on their course, the king’s son was seized with a certain sickness; and as the king was very anxious to see him cured, he published a decree offering a large reward, and engaging to bestow it upon any one who should prove himself capable of restoring the prince.476 On the report of this, all at haphazard, like the men who are accustomed to play the game of cubes, which is another name for the dice,477 Manes presented himself before the king, declaring that he would cure the boy. And when the king heard that, he received him courteously, and welcomed him heartily. But not utterly to weary my hearers with the recital of the many things which he did, let me simply say that the boy died, or rather was bereft of life, in his hands. Then the king ordered Manes to be thrust into prison, and to be loaded with chains of iron weighing half a hundredweight.478 Moreover, those two disciples of his who had been sent to inculcate his doctrine among the different cities were also sought for with a view to punishment. But they took to flight, without ever ceasing,479 however, to introduce into the various localities which they visited that teaching of theirs which is so alien to the faith, and which has been inspired only by Antichrist.


54. But after these events they returned to their master, and reported what had befallen them; and at the same thee they got an account of the numerous ills which had overtaken him. When, therefore, got access to him, as I was saying,480 they called his attention to all the sufferings they had had to endure in each several region; and as for the rest, they urged it upon him that regard ought now to be had to the question of safety;481 for they had been in great terror test any of the miseries which were inflicted on him should fall to their own lot. But he counselled them to fear nothing, and rose to harangue them. And then, while he lay in prison, he ordered them to procure copies of the books of the law of the Christians; for these disciples who had been despatched by him through the different communities were held in execration by all men, and most of all by those with whom the name of Christians was an object of honour. Accordingly, on receiving a small supply of money, they took their departure for those districts in which the books of the Christians were published;482 and pretending that they were Christian messengers,483 they requested that the books might be shown them, with a view to their acquiring copies. And, not to make a lengthened narrative of this, they thus got possession of all the books of our Scriptures, and brought them back with them to their master, who was still in prison. On receiving these copies, that astute personage set himself to seek out, all the statements in our books that seemed to favour his notion of a dualism; which, however, was not really his notion, but rather that of Scythianus, who had promulgated it a long time before him. And just as he did in disputing with me, so then too, by rejecting some things and altering others in our Scriptures, he tried to make out that they advanced his own doctrines, only that the name of Christ was attached to them there. That name, therefore, he pretended on this account to assume to himself, in order that the people in the various communities, hearing the holy and divine name of Christ, might have no temptation to execrate and harass484 those disciples of his. Moreover, when they485 came upon the word which is given us in our Scriptures touching the Paraclete, he took it into his head that he himself might be that Paraclete; for he had not read with sufficient care to observe that the Paraclete had come already, – namely, at the time when the apostles were still upon earth. Accordingly, when he had made up these impious inventions, he sent his disciples also to proclaim these fictions and errors with all boldness, and to make these false and novel words known in every quarter. But when the king of Persia learned this fact, he prepared to inflict condign punishment upon him. Manes, however, received information of the king’s intention, having been warned of it in sleep, and made his escape out of prison, and succeeding in taking to flight, for he had bribed his keepers with a very large sum of money. Afterwards he took up his residence in the castle of Arabion; and from that place he sent by the hand of Turbo the letter which he wrote to our Marcellus, in which letter he intimated his intention of visiting him. On his arrival there, a contest took place between him and me, resembling the disputation which you have observed and listened to here; in which discussion we sought to show, as far as it was in our power, that he was a false prophet. I may add, that the keeper of the prison who had let him escape was punished, and that the king gave orders that the man should be sought for and apprehended wherever he might be found. And as these things have come trader my own cognizance, it was needful that I should also make the fact known to you, that search is being made for this fellow even to the present day by the king of Persia. 


55. On hearing this, the multitude wished to seize Manes and hand him over to the power of those foreigners who were their neighbours, and who dwelt beyond the river Stranga,486 especially as also some time before this certain parties had come to seek him out; who, however, had to take their leave again without finding any trace of him, for at that time he was in flight. However, when Archelaus made this declaration, Manes at once took to flight, and succeeded in making his escape good before any one followed in pursuit of him. For the people were detained by the narrative which was given by Archelaus, whom they heard with great pleasure;487 nevertheless some of them did follow in close pursuit after him. But he made again for the roads by which he had come, and crossed the river, and effected his return to the castle of Arabion.488 There, however, he was afterwards apprehended and brought before the king, who, being inflamed with the strongest indignation against him, and fired with the desire of avenging two deaths upon him, – namely, the death of his own son, and the death of the keeper of the prison, – gave orders that he should b e flayed and hung before the gate of the city, and that his skin should he dipped in certain medicaments and inflated; his flesh, too, he commanded to be given as a prey to the birds.489 When these things came under the knowledge of Archelaus at a later period, he added an account of them to the former discussion, so that all the facts might be made known to all, even as I, who have written490 narrative of491 these matters, have explained the circumstances in what precedes. And all the Christians, therefore, having assembled, resolved that the decision should be given against him transmitting that as a sort of epilogue to his death which would be in proper consonance with the other circumstances of his life. Besides that, Archelaus added words to the following effect: – My brethren, let none of you be incredulous in regard to the statements made by me: I refer to the assertion that Manes was not himself the first author of this impious dogma, but that it was only made public by him in certain regions of the earth. For assuredly that man is not at once to be reckoned the author of anything who has simply been the bearer of it to some quarter or other, but only he has a right to that credit who has been the discoverer of it. For as the helmsman who receives the ship which another has built, may convey it to any countries he pleases, and yet he remains one who has had nothing to do with the construction of the vessel, so also is this man’s position to be understood. For he did not impart its origin to this matter really from the beginning; but be was only the means of transmitting to men what had been discovered by another, as we know on the evidence of trustworthy testimonies, on the ground of which it has been our purpose to prove to you that the invention of this wickedness did not come from Manes,492 but that it originated with another, and that other indeed a foreigner, who appeared a long thee before him. And further, that the dogma remained unpublished for a time, until at length the doctrines which had thus been lying in obscurity for a certain period were brought forward publicly by him as if they were his own, the title of the writer having been deleted, as I have shown above. Among the Persians there was also a certain promulgator of similar tenets, one Basilides,493 of more ancient date, who lived no long time after the period of our apostles. This man was of a shrewd disposition himself, and as he observed that at that thee all other subjects were preoccupied, he determined to affirm that same dualism which was maintained also by Scythianus. And as, in fine, he had nothing to advance which was properly his own, he brought the sayings of others before his adversaries.494 And all his books contain some matters at once difficult and extremely harsh. The thirteenth book of his Tractates, however, is still extant, which begins in the following manner: “In writing the thirteenth book of our Tractates, the wholesome word furnished us with the necessary and fruitful word.”495 Then he illustrates how it, the antagonism between good and evil, is produced under the figures of a rich principle and a poor principle, of which the latter is by nature without root and without place, and only supervenes upon things.496 This is the only topic497 which the book contains. Does it not then contain a strange498 word;499 and, as certain parties have been thus minded, will ye not also all be offended with the book itself, which has such a beginning as this? – But Basilides, returning to the subject after an introduction of same live hundred lines,500 more or less, proceeds thus: “Give up this vain and curious variations,501 and let us rather find out what inquiries the foreigners502 have instituted on the subject of good and evil, and what opinions they have been led to adopt on all these subjects. For certain among them have maintained that there are for all things two beginnings,503 to which they have referred good and evil, holding that these beginnings are without beginning and ungenerate; that is to say, that in the origins of things there were light and darkness, which existed of themselves and which were not merely declared to exist.504 While these subsisted by themselves, they led each its own proper mode of life, such as it was its will to lead, and such as was competent to it; for in the case of all things, what is proper to any one is also in amity with the same, and nothing seems evil to itself. But after they came to know each other, and after the darkness began to contemplate the light, then, as if fired with a passion for something superior to itself the darkness pressed on to have intercourse with the light.” 


A Fragment of the Same Disputation.505

The fragment is introduced by Cyril in the following terms: – He, i.e., Manes, fled from prison and came into Mesopotamia; but there he was met by that buckler of righteousness,506 Bishop Archelaus. And in order to bring him to the test in the presence of philosophical judges, this person convened an assembly of Grecian auditors, so as to preclude the possibility of its being alleged that the judges were partial, as might have been the case had they been Christians. Then the matter proceeded as we shall now indicate: – 


1. Archelaus said to Manes: Give us a statement now of the doctrines you promulgate. – Thereupon the man, whose mouth was like an open sepulchre, (Psa_5:9) began at once with a word of blasphemy against the Maker of all things, saying: The God of the Old Testament is the inventor of evil, who speaks thus of Himself: “I am a consuming fire.” (Deu_4:24) – But the sagacious Archelaus completely undid this blasphemy. For he said: If the God of the Old Testament, according to your allegation, calls Himself a fire, I whose son is He who says, “I am come to send fire upon the earth?” (Luk_12:49) If you find fault with one who says, “The Lord killeth and maketh alive,” (1Sa_2:6) why do you honour Peter, who raised Tabitha to life, (Act_9:40) but also put Sapphira to death? (Act_5:10) And if again, you find fault with the one because He has prepared a fire, (Deu_32:22) why do you not find fault with the other, who says, “Depart from me into everlasting fire?” (Mat_25:41) If you find fault with Him who says, “I, God, make peace, and create evil,” (Isa_45:7) explain to us how Jesus says, “I came not to send peace, but a sword.”507 Since both persons speak in the same terms, one or other of these two things must follow: namely, either they are both good508 because they use the same language; or, if Jesus passes without censure though He speaks in such terms, you midst tell us why you reprehend Him who employs a similar mode of address in the Old Testament.


2. Then Manes made the following reply to him: And what manner of God now is it that blinds one? For it is Paul who uses these words: “In whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the-Gospel should shine in them.” (2Co_4:4) But Archelaus broke in and refuted this very well, saying: Read, however, a word or two of what precedes that sentence, namely, “But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid in them that are lost.” You see that it is hid in them that are lost. “For it is not meet to give the holy things to dogs.” (Mat_7:6) And furthermore, is it only the God of the Old Testament that has blinded the minds of them who believe not? Nay, has not Jesus Himself also said: “Therefore speak I to them in parables: that seeing, they may not see?”509 Is it then because He hated them that He desired them not to see? Or is it not on account of their unworthiness, since they closed their own eyes? For wherever wickedness is a matter self-chosen, there too there is the absence of grace. “For unto him that hath shall be given, but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he seemeth to have.” (Mat_25:29)


3. But even although510 we should be under the necessity of accepting the exegesis advocated by some, – for the subject is not altogether unworthy of notice, – and of saying thus, that He hath actually blinded the minds511 of them that believe not, we should still have to affirm that He hath blinded them for good, in order that they may recover their sight to behold things that are holy. For it is not said that He hath blinded their soul,512 but only that He hath blinded the minds of them that believe not. And that mode of expression means something like this: Blind the whorish mind of the whore-monger, and the man is saved; blind the rapacious and thievish mind of the thief and the man is saved. But do you decline to understand the sentence thus? Well, there is still another interpretation. For the sun blinds those who have bad sight; and those who have watery eyes are also blinded when they are smitten by the light: not, however, because it is of the nature of the sun to blind, but because the eye’s own constitution513 is not one of correct vision. And in like manner, those whose hearts are afflicted with the ailment of unbelief are not capable of looking upon the rays of the glory of the Godhead. And again, it is not said, “He hath blinded their minds lest they should hear the Gospel” but rather “lest the light of the glory of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ should shine unto them.” For to hear the Gospel is a thing committed514 to all; but the glory of the Gospel of Christ is imparted only to the sincere and genuine. For this reason the Lord spake in parables to those who were incapable of hearing, but to His disciples He explained these parables in private. For the illumination of the glory is for those who have been enlightened, while the blinding is for them who believe not. These mysteries, which the Church now declares to you who are transferred from the lists of the catechumens, it is not her custom to declare to the Gentiles. For we do not declare the mysteries touching the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit to a Gentile; neither do we speak of the mysteries plainly in presence of the catechumens; but many a time we express ourselves in an occult manner, so that the faithful who have intelligence may apprehend the truths referred to, while those who have not that intelligence may receive no hurt.




(Spotless virgin, etc., and note 391.)

Oh that “foolish and unlearned questions” had been avoided, as the Scripture (2Ti_2:23; Tit_3:9) bids! Surely, we should be as decent about the conjugal relations of the Blessed Virgin as we are socially in all such matters. Pearson, as in the note, says all that should be said on such a subject. Photius, in his thirtieth epistle, expounds the text Mat_1:25. But it did not rest there. Let it rest here.



(Get thee behind me, Satan, and note 402.)

I adopt the views of those who reverently suppose that when it was said, “Let us make man,” etc., Lucifer conceived rebellion, and said, “This be far from Thee, Lord;” fearing the creature made in God’s own image might outshine himself. Hence our Lord applies the epithet “Satan” to Peter when he ventures to use similar language. Possibly there lurks a reference to this in such language as Job_4:18. I have previously referred to the Messias and Anti-Messias of the Rev. Charles Ingham Black (London, 1854), in which this view is singularly well argued. It is well to halt, however, with a confession, that, while it seems intimated in Holy Scripture, it cannot be proved as revealed. Hence let us reverently say what is said by the Psalmist in Psa_131:1, and confess what is written in Deu_29:29. I go so far, only because the words on which this note is a comment seem to authorize inquiry as to the force of “Satan” just there. I state what seems the reference, but go no farther. Compare Dan_4:35.



(I shrink from repeating, and note 432.)

The delicacy of feeling here expressed is most honourable to the sentiment of the Church at this period. Not till St. Bernard’s day was it hinted515 even in the West, that the Blessed Virgin was conceived without taint of original sin; and he rebukes the innovators with a holy indignation.516 It shocks him that questions were thus raised as to her parents, their amplexus maritales, etc. 



(In presence of the catechumens)

Here is testimony to the catechumen system of the primitive Church which appears to me not inconsistent with the period to which it is assigned. No doubt this gradual instruction of the disciple is based upon the example of our Lord Himself, who spoke in parables, (Mat_13:34; Mar_4:33) and taught “as they were able to hear it.” But the disciplina arcani was designed chiefly to protect the Church from the profaneness of the heathen, and it fell into desuetude after the Council of Nice.


General Note.

As I have not infrequently treated the rise of the great Alexandrian school as an outcrop from the learning and piety of Apollos, I take this space to record my reasons: 1. Apart from the question in formal shape, I hold that the character and influence of this brilliant Alexandrian must have operated upon Alexandrian converts. 2. But the frequent employment by the Alexandrians of the expressions (Act_18:24) used concerning him by St. Luke, almost textually, confirms my suspicion that they had his high example always before them. 3. The catechetical school was certainly established in Alexandria from apostolic times.517 By whom more probably than by Apollos? 4. St. Mark’s connection with Alexandria rests on no scriptural evidence, yet it is credited. 5. That of Apollos is narrated in Scripture, and I can conceive of nothing so probable as that, remembering his own instruction by Aquila and Priscilla (Act_18:26), be should have founded catechetical schools for others, 6. All this is conjectural, indeed, but it agrees with known facts. 7. The silence of Clement and the rest is an objection quite as fatal to the claims of St. Mar_8:1-38. The unanimity of the Alexandrians, from Pantaenus downward, in assigning to St. Paul the authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews, while it was so much debated elsewhere, suggests that they had early evidence on this point. 9. Clement’s testimony about St. Luke convinces me that Apollos had no claim to it, but had testified to the Alexandrians that the Apostle was the author, and St. Luke his inspired amanuensis by whom the words were not servilely taken down, but reported in idioms of his own: whether out of St. Paul’s “Hebrew” or not, is another question. 10. Apollos disappears from history about A.D. 64, on his way homeward,518 bearing the Epistle to Titus, and (who can doubt?) a copy, of that to the Hebrews, written the previous year. All these facts agree with my conjectures that Apollos closed his labours in his native city.





470 But the Codex Reg. Alex. Vat. reads, “erat enim multum percuniae arida” – for she had a great greed for money.

471 But Cyril, Epiphanius, and others, make the name Cubricus (Κούβρικος).

472 Versuum.

473 This may express with sufficient nearness the original, “nec Manem sed Manes.”

474 The Codex Casinensis gives sexaginta regularly. The Codex Reg. Alex. Vat. reads septuaginta, seventy.

475 Transfert eos. It may be also “translated them.”

476 The text gives, “edictum proposuit in vita,” etc. For in vita it is proposed to read invitans; and that is confirmed by the Codex Reg. Alex. Vat.

477 We adopt the reading, “qui cubum, quod nomen est tali, ludere solent.” The text gives, “qui cibum quod nomen est tale eludere solent.” The Codex Reg. Alex. Vat. seems to read, “qui cubum quod nomen est aleae ludere solent.”

478 Ferri talento.

479 The text gives, “quique fugientes licet nunquam cessarunt,” etc. Codex Reg. Alex. Vat. has, “licet nunquam cessarent.” etc.

480 Reading “dicebam.” But the Codex Casinensis gives “dicebant,” and the Codex Reg. Alex. Vat. has “decebat” – as became them.

481 Reading “converti ad salutem,” for “conventi,” etc., as it is them.

482 Conscribebantur. [Note this concerning the Christian books.]

483 Nuntios. But Codex Reg. Alex. Vat. gives “novitios,” novices.

484 The text gives “fatigarent.” But Codex Reg. Alex. Vat. gives “fugarent” – expel.

485 The text gives “invenientes.” The Codex Reg. Alex. Vat. more correctly has “inveniens” – when he came upon.

486 But Codex Reg. Alex. Vat. reads “Stracum fluvium.”

487 The text gives, “evadere potuit dum nemo eum insequeretur. Sed populus, cum Archelai quem libenter audiebant realtione tenerene eum insequeretur is populus, et Archelai quem libenter audiebant relatione tenerentur.” Routh suggests, “dum eum nemo insequeretur, sed populus Archelai,” etc.

488 The same Codex Vat. reads Adrabion here.

489 The Codex Reg. Alex. Vat. ends with these words.

490 [See p. 177, supra. A fair discussion as to authenticity.]

491 Inscripsi.

492 Codex Casinensis reads, “non ex Manen originem mali hujus Manes esse.” We adopt the conjecture, “non ex Mane originem mali hujus manasse.”

493 The following note on this Basilides may be given from Migne: – Although Eusebius (Hist. Eccles., iv. 7) tells us that the Basilides who taught heresy shortly after the times of the apostles was an Alexandrian, and opened schools of error in Egypt, the Basilides mentioned here by Archelaus may still be one and the same person with that Alexandrian, notwithstanding that it is said that he taught his heresy among the Persians. For it may very well be the case that Basilides left Alexandria, and made an attempt to infect the Persians also with his heretical dogmas, At the same time, there is no mention among ancient authorities, so far as I know, of a Persian Basilides. The Alexandrian Basilides also wrote twenty-four books on the Gospel, as the same Eusebius testifies; and these do not appear to be different from those books of Tractates which Archelaus cites, and from the Exegetics, from the twenty-third book of which certain passages are given by Clement of Alexandria in the fourth book of his Stromateis. It is not clear, however, whether that Gospel on which Basilides wrote was the Gospel of the Apostles, or another which he made up for himself, and of which mention is made in Origen’s first Homily on Luke, in Jerome’s prologue to his Commentary on Matthew, and in Ambrose’s prologue to the Gospel of Luke.” We may add that Gieseler (Studien und Kritiken, i. 1830, p. 397) denies that the person meant here is Basilides the Gnostic, specially on account of the peculiar designation, Basilides quidam antiquior. But his objections are combated by Baur and Neander. See the Church History of the latter, ii. p. 50, ed. Bohn.

494 The text is, “aliis dictis proposuit adversariis.” Perhaps we may read, “aliorum dicta,” etc.

495 The text is, “necessarium sermonem uberemque salutaris sermo praestavit.” May it be = the word of salvation furnished the word which was requisite, etc.?

496 The text is, “per parvulam divitis et pauperis naturam sine radice et sine loco rebus supervenientem unde pullulaverit indicat.” The reading seems defective. But the general intention of this very obscure and fragmentary sentence appears to be as given above. So Neander understands it as conveying a figurative description of the two principles of light and darkness, expressed in the Zoroastrian doctrine immediately cited, – the rich being the good principle, and the poor the evil. He also supposes the phrase “without root and without place” to indicate the “absoluteness of the principle, that springs up all at once, and mixes itself up with the development of existence.” – See Church History, ii. 51 (Bohn). Routh confesses his inability to understand what can be meant by the term parvulam, and suggests parabolam.

497 Caput.

498 Alium.

499 Routh adopts the interrogative form here, so as to make the connection stand thus: But is this the only topic which the book contains? Does it not also contain another discussion, etc.?

500 Versibus.

501 Varietate.

502 By the barbari here are evidently meant the Persians.

503 Principles.

504 The text is, “non quae esse dicebantur.” Routh proposes, “non quae factae, or genitae, esse dicebantur,” = which were not declared to have been made.

505 From Cyril of Jerusalem, Catecheses, vi. § 27-29. [And see the Introductory Notice, p. 175.]

506 Reading οπλον δικαιοσύνης. Others read οπλῳ = Archelaus met him with the buckler of righteousness.

507 Mat_10:34. Various of the MSS. add, ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν, upon the earth.

508 The text gives χαλοί. Routh seems to prefer κακοί, evil.

509 Mat_13:13. The text is, ἵνα βλέποντες μὴ βλέπωσι.

510 For εἰ δὲ δεῖ καὶ ὡς, etc., various codices read εἰ δὲ δικαίως, etc.

511 νοήματα, thoughts.

512 ψυχήν.

513 ὺπόστασις.

514 ἐφίεται.

515 Save only by Mohammed.

516 St. Bernard, Opp., tom. i. Compare note 432, p. 227, supra. See the Abbé Laborde on the Impossibility, etc., translated by the editor of this series, ed. Baltimore, 1855.

517 See vol. 2. p. 342, Elucidation II., this series. Note also, in the same volume, what is said, pp. 166-167.

518 Lewin, St. Paul, vol. ii. p. 340.