Hippolytus (Cont.)The Refutation of All Heresies. (Cont.)

Book X. (Cont.)

Chap. XXIX. – The Doctrine of the Truth Continued.

Therefore this solitary and supreme Deity, by an exercise of reflection, brought forth the Logos first; not the word in the sense of being articulated by voice, but as a ratiocination of the universe, conceived and residing in the divine mind. Him alone He produced from existing things; for the Father Himself constituted existence, and the being born from Him was the cause of all things that are produced. [Elucidation XVI.] The Logos was in the Father Himself, bearing the will of His progenitor, and not being unacquainted with the mind of the Father. For simultaneously37 with His procession from His Progenitor, inasmuch as He is this Progenitor’s first-born, He has, as a voice in Himself, the ideas conceived in the Father. And so it was, that when the Father ordered the world to come into existence, the Logos one by one completed each object of creation, thus pleasing God. And some things which multiply by generation38 He formed male and female; but whatsoever beings were designed for service and ministration He made either male, or not requiring females, or neither male nor female. For even the primary substances of these, which were formed out of nonentities, viz., fire and spirit, water and earth, are neither male nor female; nor could male or female proceed from any one of these, were it not that God, who is the source of all authority, wished that the Logos might render assistance39 in accomplishing a production of this kind. I confess that angels are of fire, and I maintain that female spirits are not present with them. And I am of opinion that sun and moon and stars, in like manner, are produced from fire and spirit, and are neither male nor female. And the will of the Creator is, that swimming and winged animals are from water, male and female. For so God, whose will it was, ordered that there should exist a moist substance, endued with productive power. And in like manner God commanded, that from earth should arise reptiles and beasts, as well males and females of all sorts of animals; for so the nature of the things produced admitted. For as many things as He willed, God made from time to time. These things He created through the Logos, it not being possible for things to be generated otherwise than as they were produced. But when, according as He willed, He also formed (objects), He called them by names, and thus notified His creative effort.40 And making these, He formed the ruler of all, and fashioned him out of all composite substances.41 The Creator did not wish to make him a god, and failed in His aim; nor an angel, – be not deceived, – but a man. For if He had willed to make thee a god, He could have done so. Thou hast the example of the Logos. His will, however, was, that you should be a man, and He has made thee a man. But if thou art desirous of also becoming a god, obey Him that has created thee, and resist not now, in order that, being found faithful in that which is small, you may be enabled to have entrusted to you also that which is great.(Mat_25:21, Mat_25:23; Luk_16:10, Luk_16:11, Luk_16:12. [Also 2Pe_1:4, one of the king-texts of the inspired oracles.])

The Logos alone of this God is from God himself; wherefore also the Logos is God, being the substance of God.42 Now the world was made from nothing; wherefore it is not God; as also because this world admits of dissolution whenever the Creator so wishes it. But God, who created it, did not, nor does not, make evil. He makes what is glorious and excellent; for He who makes it is good. Now man, that was brought into existence, was a creature endued with a capacity of self-determination,43 yet not possessing a sovereign intellect,44 nor holding sway over all things by reflection, and authority, and power, but a slave to his passions, and comprising all sorts of contrarieties in himself. But man, from the fact of his possessing a capacity of self-determination, brings forth what is evil,45 that is, accidentally; which evil is not consummated except you actually commit some piece of wickedness. For it is in regard of our desiring anything that is wicked, or our meditating upon it, that what is evil is so denominated. Evil had no existence from the beginning, but came into being subsequently.46 Since man has free will, a law has been defined for his guidance by the Deity, not without answering a good purpose. For if man did not possess the power to will and not to will, why should a law be established? For a law will not be laid down for an animal devoid of reason, but a bridle and a whip; (Psa_32:9) whereas to man has been given a precept and penalty to perform, or for not carrying into execution what has been enjoined. For man thus constituted has a law been enacted by just men in primitive ages. Nearer our own day was there established a law, full of gravity and justice, by Moses, to whom allusion has been already made, a devout man, and one beloved of God.

Now the Logos of God controls all these; the first begotten Child of the Father, the voice of the Dawn antecedent to the Morning Star. (Psa_110:3; 2Pe_1:18, 2Pe_1:19) Afterwards just men were born, friends of God; and these have been styled prophets,47 on account of their foreshowing future events. And the word of prophecy48 was committed unto them, not for one age only; but also the utterances of events predicted throughout all generations, were vouchsafed in perfect clearness. And this, too, not at the time merely when seers furnished a reply to those present;49 but also events that would happen throughout all ages, have been manifested beforehand; because, in speaking of incidents gone by, the prophets brought them back to the recollection of humanity; whereas, in showing forth present occurrences, they endeavoured to persuade men not to be remiss; while, by foretelling future events, they have rendered each one of us terrified on beholding events that had been predicted long before, and on expecting likewise those events predicted as still future. Such is our faith, O all ye men, – ours, I say, who are not persuaded by empty expressions, nor caught away by sudden impulses of the heart, nor beguiled by the plausibility of eloquent discourses, yet who do not refuse to obey words that have been uttered by divine power. And these injunctions has God given to the Word. But the Word, by declaring them, promulgated the divine commandments, thereby turning man from disobedience, not bringing him into servitude by force of necessity, but summoning him to liberty through a choice involving spontaneity.

This Logos the Father in the latter days sent forth, no longer to speak by a prophet, and not wishing that the Word, being obscurely proclaimed, should be made the subject of mere conjecture, but that He should be manifested, so that we could see Him with our own eyes. This Logos, I say, the Father sent forth, in order that the world, on beholding Him, might reverence Him who was delivering precepts not by the person of prophets, nor terrifying the soul by an angel, but who was Himself – He that had spoken – corporally present amongst us. This Logos we know to have received a body from a virgin, and to have remodelled the old man50 by a new creation. And we believe the Logos to have passed through every period in this life, in order that He Himself might serve as a law for every age, [See Irenaeus (a very beautiful passage), vol. 1. p. 391, sec. 4.] and that, by being present (amongst) us, He might exhibit His own manhood as an aim for all men. And that by Himself in Person He might prove that God made nothing evil, and that man possesses the capacity of self-determination, inasmuch as he is able to will and not to will, and is endued with power to do both. [See vol. 4. pp. 255 (sec. 8) and 383] This Man we know to have been made out of the compound of our humanity. For if He were not of the same nature with ourselves, in vain does He ordain that we should imitate the Teacher. For if that Man happened to be of a different substance from us, why does He lay injunctions similar to those He has received on myself, who am born weak; and how is this the act of one that is good and just? In order, however, that He might not be supposed to be different from us, He even underwent toil, and was willing to endure hunger, and did not refuse to feel thirst, and sunk into the quietude of slumber. He did not protest against His Passion, but became obedient unto death, and manifested His resurrection. Now in all these acts He offered up, as the first-fruits, His own manhood, in order that thou, when thou art in tribulation, mayest not be disheartened, but, confessing thyself to be a man (of like nature with the Redeemer), mayest dwell in expectation of also receiving what the Father has granted unto this Son.51


Chap. XXX. – The Author’s Concluding Address.

Such is the true doctrine in regard of the divine nature, O ye men, Greeks and Barbarians, Chaldeans and Assyrians, Egyptians and Libyans, Indians and Ethiopians, Celts, and ye Latins, who lead armies, and all ye that inhabit Europe, and Asia, and Libya.52 And to you I am become an adviser, inasmuch as I am a disciple of the benevolent Logos, and hence humane, in order that you may hasten and by us may be taught who the true God is, and what is His well-ordered creation. Do not devote your attention to the fallacies of artificial discourses, nor the vain promises of plagiarizing heretics,53 but to the venerable simplicity of unassuming truth. And by means of this knowledge you shall escape the approaching threat of the fire of judgment, and the rayless scenery of gloomy Tartarus,54 where never shines a beam from the irradiating voice of the Word!

You shall escape the boiling flood of hell’s55 eternal lake of fire and the eye ever fixed in menacing glare of fallen angels chained in Tartarus as punishment for their sins; and you shall escape the worm that ceaselessly coils for food around the body whose scum56 has bred it. Now such (torments) as these shall thou avoid by being instructed in a knowledge of the true God. And thou shalt possess an immortal body, even one placed beyond the possibility of corruption, just like the soul. And thou shalt receive the kingdom of heaven, thou who, whilst thou didst sojourn in this life, didst know the Celestial King. And thou shalt be a companion of the Deity, and a co-heir with Christ, no longer enslaved by lusts or passions, and never again wasted by disease. For thou hast become God:57 for whatever sufferings thou didst undergo while being a man, these He gave to thee, because thou wast of mortal mould, but whatever it is consistent with God to impart, these God has promised to bestow upon thee, because thou hast been deified, and begotten unto immortality.58 This constitutes the import of the proverb, “Know thyself;” i.e., discover God within thyself, for He has formed thee after His own image. For with the knowledge of self is conjoined the being an object of God’s knowledge, for thou art called by the Deity Himself. Be not therefore inflamed, O ye men, with enmity one towards another, nor hesitate to retrace59 with all speed your steps. For Christ is the God above all, and He has arranged to wash away sin from human beings,60 rendering regenerate the old man. And God called man His likeness from the beginning, and has evinced in a figure His love towards thee. And provided thou obeyest His solemn injunctions, and becomest a faithful follower of Him who is good, thou shall resemble Him, inasmuch as thou shall have honour conferred upon thee by Him. For the Deity, (by condescension,) does not diminish aught of the divinity of His divine61 perfection; having made thee even God unto His glory!62





37 This passage is differently rendered, according as we read φωνὴ with Bunsen, or φωνὴν with Dr. Wordsworth. The latter also alters the reading of the ms. (at the end of the next sentence), ἀπετελεῖτο ἀπέσκων Θεῷ, into ἀπετελεῖ τὸ ἄρεσκον, “he carried into effect what was pleasing to the Deity.”

38 Dr. Wordsworth suggest for γενέσει, ἐπιγενέσει, i.e., a continuous series of procreation.

39 See Origen, in Joann., tom. ii. sec. 8.

40 [Rather, His will.]

41 Compare Origen, in Joann., sec. 2, where we have a similar opinion stated. A certain parallel in this and other portions of Hippolytus’ concluding remarks, induces the transcriber, no doubt, to write “Origen’s opinion” in the margin.

42 [Nicene doctrine, ruling out all conditions of time from the idea of the generation of the Logos.]

43 αὐτεξούσιος. Hippolytus here follows his master Irenaeus (Haer., iv. 9), and in doing so enunciates an opinion, and uses an expression adopted universally by patristic writers, up to the period of St. Augustine. This great philosopher and divine, however, shook the entire fabric of existing theology respecting the will, and started difficulties, speculative ones at least, which admit of no solution short of the annihilation of finite thought and volition. See translator’s Treatise on Metaphysics, chap. x. [Also compare Irenaeus, vol. 1. p. 518, and Clement, vol. 2. pp. 319 passim to 525; also vol. 3. p. 301, and vol. 4. Tertull. and Origen. See Indexes on Free-will.]

44 Dr. Wordsworth translates the passage thus: “Endued with free will, but not dominant; having reason, but not able to govern,” etc.

45 [One of the most pithy of all statements as to the origin of subjective evil, i.e., evil in humanity.]

46 See Origen, in Joann., tom. ii. sec. 7.

47 In making the Logos a living principle in the prophets, and as speaking through them to the Church of God in all ages, Hippolytus agrees with Origen. This constitutes another reason for the marginal note “Origen’s opinion,” already mentioned. (See Origen, Περὶ Ἀρχῶν, i. 1.)

48 Hippolytus expresses similar opinions respecting the economy of the prophets, in his work, de Antichristo, sec. 2.

49 Hippolytus here compares the ancient prophets with the oracles of the gentiles. The heathen seers did not give forth their vaticinations spontaneously, but furnished responses to those only who made inquiries after them, says Dr. Wordsworth.

50 πεφυρακότα. This is the reading adopted by Cruice and Wordsworth. The translator has followed Cruice’s rendering, refinxisse, while Dr. Wordsworth construes the word “fashioned.” The latter is more literal, as φυράω means to knead, though the sense imparted to it by Cruice would seem more coincident with the scriptural account (1Co_5:7; 2Co_5:17; Gal_6:15). Bunsen does not alter πεφορηκότα, the reading of the ms., and translates it, “to have put on the old man through a new formation.” Sauppe reads πεφυρηκότα. See Hippolytus, De Christo, sec. 26, in Danielem, (p. 205, Mai); and Irenaeus, v. 6.

51 This is the reading adopted by Cruice and Bunsen. Dr. Wordsworth translates the passage thus: “acknowledging thyself a man of like nature with Christ, and thou also waiting for the appearance of what thou gavest him.” The source of consolation to man which Hippolytus, according to Dr. Wordsworth, is here anxious to indicate, is the glorification of human nature in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Dr. Wordsworth therefore objects to Bunsen’s rendering, as it gives to the passage a meaning different from this.

52 [The translator’s excessive interpolations sometimes needlessly dilute the terse characteristics of the author. Thus, with confusing brackets, the Edinburgh reads: “who so often lead your armies to victory.” This is not Hippolytus, and, in such instances, I feel bound to reduce a plethoric text.]

53 [Here the practical idea of the Philosophumena comes out; and compare vol. 4. pp. 469 and 570.]

54 Dr. Wordsworth justifies Hippolytus’ use of the pagan word “Tartarus,” by citing the passage (2Pe_2:4), “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness (σειραῖς ζόφου ταρταρώσας), to be reserved unto judgment,” etc. [Elucidation XVII. and vol. 4. p. 140, beginning line 375.]

55 Schneidewin suggests a comparison of this passage with Hippolytus’ fragment, Against Plato, concerning the Cause of the Universe (p. 220, ed. Fabricii; p. 68, ed. de Lagarde).

56 The different renderings of this passage, according to different readings, are as follow: “And the worm the scum of the body, turning to the Body that foamed it forth as to that which nourisheth it” (Wordsworth). “The worm which winds itself without rest round the mouldering body, to feed upon it (Bunsen and Scott). “The worm wriggling as over the filth of the (putrescent) flesh towards the exhaling body” (Roeper). “The worm turning itself towards the substance of the body, towards, (I say,) the exhalations of the decaying frame, as to food” (Schneidewin). The words chiefly altered are: ἀπουσίαν, into (1) ἐπ ̓ οὐσίαν, (2) ἐπ ̓ ἀλουσίᾳ, (3) ἀπαύστως; and ἐπιστρεφόμενον into (1) ἐπιστρέφον, (2) ἐπὶ τροφήν.

57 [This startling expression is justified by such texts as 2Pe_1:4 compared with Joh_17:22, Joh_17:23, and Rev_3:21. Thus Christ overrules the Tempter (Gen_3:5), and gives more than was offered by the “Father of Lies.”]

58 [Compare Joh_10:34 with Rev_5:10. Kings of the earth may be called “gods,” in a sense: ergo, etc.]

59 Bunsen translates thus: “Doubt not that you will ever exist again,” – a rendering which Dr. Wordsworth controverts in favour of the one adopted above.

60 Bunsen translates thus: “For Christ is He whom the God of all has ordered to wash away the sins,” etc. Dr. Wordsworth severely censures this rendering in a lengthened note.

61 πτωχευει. Bunsen translates, “for God acts the beggar for thee,” which is literal, though rather unintelligible. Dr. Wordsworth renders the word thus: “God has a longing for thee.”

62 Hippolytus, by his argument, recognises the duty not merely of overthrowing error but substantiating truth, or in other words, the negative and positive aspect of theology. His brief statement (chap. xxviii.-xxx.) in the latter department, along with being eminently reflective, constitutes a noble specimen of patristic eloquence. [This is most just; and it must be observed, that having summed up his argument against the heresies derived from carnal and inferior sources, and shown in the primal truth, he advances (in chap. xxviii.) to the Nicene position, and proves himself one of the witnesses on whose traditive testimony that sublime formulary was given to the whole church as the κτῆμα ἐς ἀεὶof Christendom, – a formal countersign of apostolic doctrine.]




(Who first propounded these heresies)

Hippolytus seems to me to have felt the perils to the pure Gospel of many admissions made by Clement and other Alexandrian doctors as to the merits of some of the philosophers of the Gentiles. Very gently, but with prescient genius, he adopts this plan of tracing the origin and all the force of heresies to “philosophy falsely so called.” The existence of this “cloud of locusts” is (1) evidence of the antagonism of Satan; (2) of the prophetic spirit of the apostles; (3) of the tremendous ferment produced by the Gospel leaven as soon as it was hid in the “three measures of meal” by “the Elect Lady,” the Ecclesia Dei; (4) of the fidelity of the witnesses, – that grand, heroic glory of the Ante-Nicene Fathers, – who never suffered these heresies to be mistaken for the faith, or to corrupt the Scriptures; and (5) finally of the power of the Holy Spirit, who gave them victory over errors, and enabled them to define truth in all the crystalline beauty of that “Mountain of Light,” that true Koh-i-noor, the Nicene Symbol. Thus, also, Christ’s promises were fulfilled.




See Irenaeus, p. 350, sec. 5, vol. 1., this series, where I have explained this jargon of heresy. But I think it worth while to make use here of two notes on the subject, which I made in 1845,1 with little foresight of these tasks in 1885.

Fleury (tom. ii.) makes this statement: “Les Nicolaites donnaient une infinite de noms barbares aux princes et aux puissances qu’ils mettaient en chaque ciel. Ils en nommaient un caulaucauch, abusant d’un passage d’Isaie, ou se lisent ces mots hebreux: cau-la-cau, cau-la-cau, pour representer l’insolence avec laquelle les impies se moquaient du prophete, en repetant plusieurs fois quelques-unes de ses paroles.” Compare Guerricus, thus: “Vox illa taedii et des-perationis, quae apud Isaiam (Isa_28:13) legitur, quia, viz., moram faciente Domino, frequentibus nuntiis ejus increduli et illusores insultare videntur: manda remanda,” etc. See the spurious Bernardina, “de Adventu Dom., serm. i.,” S. Bernard., opp. Paris (ed. Mabillon), vol. ii. P. 1799.



(The Phrygians call Papa)

Hippolytus had little idea, when he wrote this, what the word Papa was destined to signify in mediaeval Rome. The Abba of Holy Writ has its equivalent in many Oriental languages, as well as in the Greek and Latin, through which it has passed into all the dialects of Europe. It was originally given to all presbyters, as implied in their name of elders, and was a title of humility when it became peculiar to the bishops, as (1Pe_5:3) non Domini sed patres. St. Paul (1Co_4:15) shows that “in Christ” – that is, under Him – we may have such “fathers ;” and thus, while he indicates the true sense of the precept, he leads us to recognise a prophetic force and admonition in our Saviour’s words (Mat_23:1-39), “Call no man your father upon the earth.” Thus interpreted, these words seem to be a warning against the sense to which this name, Papa, became, long afterwards, restricted, in Western Europe: Notre St. Pere, le Pape, as they say in France. This was done by the decree of the ambitious Hildebrand, Gregory VII. (who died A.D. 1085), when, in a synod held at Rome, he defined that “the title Pope should be peculiar to one only in the Christian world.” The Easterns, of course, never paid any respect to this novelty and dictation, and to this day their patriarchs are popes; and not only so, for the parish priests of the Greek churches are called by the same name. I was once cordially invited to take a repast “with the pope,” on visiting a Greek church on the shores of the Adriatic. It is said, however, that a distinction is made between the words papas and papas; the latter being peculiar to inferiors, according to the refinements of Goar, a Western critic. Valeat quantum. But I must here note, that as “words are things,” and as infinite damage has been done to history and to Christian truth by tolerating this empiricism of Rome, I have restored scientific accuracy, in this series, whenever reference is made to the primitive bishops of Rome, who were no more “Popes” than Cincinnatus was an emperor. It is time that theological science should accept, like other sciences, the language of truth and the terminology of demonstrated fact. The early bishops of Rome were geographically important, and were honoured as sitting in the only apostolic see of the West; but they were almost inconsiderable in the structural work of the Ante-Nicene ages, and have left no appreciable impress on its theology. After the Council of Nice they were recognised as patriarchs, though equals among brethren, and nothing more, The ambition of Boniface III. led him to name himself “universal bishop. This was at first a mere name “of intolerable pride,” as his predecessor Gregory had called it, but Nicholas I. (A.D. 858) tried to make it real, and, by means of the false decretals, created himself the first “Pope” in the modern sense, imposing his despotism on the West, and identifying it with the polity of Western churches, which alone submitted to it. Thus, it was never Catholic, and came into existence only by nullifying the Nicene Constitutions, and breaking away from Catholic communion with the parent churches of the East. Compare Casaubon (Exercit., xiv. p. 280, etc.) in his comments on Baronius. I have thus stated with scientific precision what all candid critics and historians, even the Gallicans included, enable us to prove. Why, then, keep up the language of fiction and imposture,2 so confusing to young students? I believe the youthful Oxonians whom our modern Tertullian carried with him into the papal schism, could never have been made dupes but for the persistent empiricism of orthodox writers who practically adopt in words what they refute in argument, calling all bishops of Rome “Popes,” and even including St. Peter’s blessed name in this fallacious designation.3 In this series I adhere to the logic of facts, calling (1) all the bishops of Rome from Linus to Sylvester simply bishops; and (2) all their successors to Nicholas I. “patriarchs” under the Nicene Constitutions, which they professed to honour, though, after Gregory the Great, they were ever vying with Constantinople to make themselves greater. (3) Nicholas, who trampled on the Nicene Constitutions, and made the false decretals the canon law of the Western churches, was therefore the first “Pope” who answers to the Tridentine definitions. Even these, however, were never able to make dogmatic4 the claim of “supremacy,” which was first done by Pius IX. in our days. A canonical Primacy is one thing: a self-asserted Supremacy is quite another, as the French doctors have abundantly demonstrated.



(Contemporaneous heresy)

Here begins that “duplicating of our knowledge” of primitive Rome of which Bunsen speaks so justly A thorough mastery of this book will prepare us to understand the great Cyprian in all his relations with the Roman Province, and not less to comprehend the affairs of Novatian.

Bunsen, with all respect, does not comprehend the primitive system, and reads it backward, from the modern system, which travesties antiquity even in its apparent conformities. These conformities are only the borrowing of old names for new contrivances. Thus, he reads the cardinals of the eleventh century into the simple presbytery of comprovincial bishops of the third century,5 just as he elsewhere lugs in the Ave Maria of modern Italy to expound the Evening Hymn to the Trinity. [see vol. 2. p. 298, this series] In a professed Romanist, like De Maistre, this would be resented as jugglery. But let us come to facts. Bunsen’s preliminary remarks6 are excellent. But when he comes to note an “exceptional system” in the Roman “presbytery,” he certainly confuses all things. Let us recur to Tertullian. [vol. 4. p. 114, Elucidation II., this series.] See how much was already established in his day, which the Council of Nicaea recognised a century later as (τὰ ἀρκαῖα ἔθη) old primitive institutions. In all things the Greek churches were the exemplar and the model for other churches to follow. “Throughout the provinces of Greece,” he says, “there are held, in definite localities, those councils,” etc. “If we also, in our diverse provinces, observe,” etc. Now, these councils, or “meetings,” in spite of the emperors or the senate who issued mandates against them, as appears from the same passage, were, in the Roman Province, made up of the comprovincial bishops: and their gatherings seem to have been called “the Roman presbytery;” for, as is evident, the bishops and elders were alike called “presbyters,” the word being as common to both orders as the word pastors or clergymen in our days. According to the thirty-fourth of the “Canons Apostolical,” as Bunsen remarks, “the bishops of the suburban towns, including Portus, also formed at that time an integral part of the Roman presbytery.” This word also refers to all the presbyters of the diocese of Rome itself; and I doubt not originally the laity had their place, as they did in Carthage: “the apostles, elders, and brethren” being the formula of Scripture; or, “with the whole Church,” which includes them, – omni plebe adstante.7 Now, all this accounts, as Bunsen justly observes, for the fact that one of the “presbytery” should be thus repeatedly called presbyter and “at the same time have the charge of the church at Portus, for which (office) there was no other title than the old one of bishop; for such was the title of every man who presided over the congregation in any city, – at Ostia, at Tusculum, or in the other suburban cities.

Now let us turn to the thirty-fourth8 “Apostolical Canon” (so called), and note as follows: “It is necessary that the bishops of every nation should know who is chief among them, and should recognise him as their head by doing nothing of great moment without his consent; and that each of them should do such things only as pertain to his own parish and the districts under him. And neither let him do any thing without the consent of all, for thus shall there be unity of heart, and thus shall God be glorified through our Lord Jesus Christ.” I do not pause to expound this word parish, for I am elucidating Hippolytus by Bunsen’s aid, and do not intend to interpolate my own theory of the primitive episcopate.

Let the “Apostolical Constitutions” go for what they are worth:9 I refer to them only under lead of Dr. Bunsen. But now turn to the Nicene Council (Canon VI.) as follows: “Let the ancient customs prevail in Egypt, Libya, and Pentapolis, so that the Bishop of Alexandria have jurisdiction in all these provinces, since the like is customary in Rome also. Likewise in Antioch and the other provinces, let the churches retain their privileges.” Here the Province of Rome is recognised as an ancient institution, while its jurisdiction and privileges are equalized with those of other churches. Now, Rufinus, interpreting this canon, says it means, “the ancient custom of Alexandria and Rome shall still be observed; that the one shall have the care or government of the Egyptian, and the other that of the suburbicary churches.” Bunsen refers us to Bingham, and from him we learn that the suburbicary region, as known to the Roman magistrates, included only “a hundred miles about Rome.”10 This seems to have been canonically extended even to Sicily on the south, but certainly not to Milan on the north. Suffice it, Hippolytus was one of those suburbicarian bishops who sat in the Provincial Council of Rome; without consent of which the Bishop of Rome could not, canonically, do anything of importance, as the canon above cited ordains. Such are the facts necessary to a comprehension of conflicts excited by “the contemporaneous heresy,” here noted.



(Affairs of the Church)

“Zephyrinus imagines that he administers the affairs of the Church – an uninformed and shamefully corrupt man.” This word imagines is common with Hippolytus in like cases, and Dr. Wordsworth gives an ingenious explanation of this usage. But it seems to me to be based upon the relations of Hippolytus as one of the synod or “presbytery,” without consent of which the bishop could do nothing important. Zephyrinus, on the contrary, imagined himself competent to decide as to the orthodoxy of a tenet or of a teacher, without his comprovincials. This, too, relieves our author from the charge of egotism when he exults in the defeat of such a bishop.11 He says, it is true, “Callistus threw off Sabellius through fear of me,” and we may readily believe that; but he certainly means to give honour to others in the Province when he says,” We resisted Zephyrinus and Callistus;” “We nearly converted Sabellius;” “All were carried away by the hypocrisy of Callistus, except ourselves.” This man cried out to his episcopal brethren, “Ye are Ditheists,” apparently in open council. His council prevailed over him by the wise leadership of Hippolytus, however; and he says of the two guilty bishops, “Never, at any time, have we been guilty of collusion with them.” They only imagined, therefore, that they were managing the “affairs of the Church.” The fidelity of their comprovincials preserved the faith of the Apostles in apostolic Rome.



(We offered them opposition)

Here we see that Hippolytus had no idea of the sense some put upon the convenire of his master Irenaeus. [see vol. 1. pp. 415, 460, this series] It was not “necessary” for them to conform their doctrines to that of the Bishop of Rome, evidently; nor to “the Church of Rome” as represented by him. To the church which presided over a province, indeed, recourse was to be had by all belonging to that province; but it is our author’s grateful testimony, that to the council of comprovincials, and not to any one bishop therein, Rome owed its own adhesion to orthodoxy at this crisis.

All this illustrates the position of Tertullian, who never thinks of ascribing to Rome any other jurisdiction than that belonging to other provinces. As seats of testimony, the apostolic sees, indeed, are all to be honoured. “In Greece, go to Corinth; in Asia Minor, to Ephesus; if you are adjacent to Italy, you have Rome; whence also (an apostolic) authority is at hand for us in Africa.” Such is his view of “contemporaneous affairs.”



(Heraclitus the Obscure)

“Well might he weep,” says Tayler Lewis, “as Lucian represents him, over his overflowing universe of perishing phenomena, where nothing stood; … nothing was fixed, but, as in a mixture, all things were confounded.” He was “the weeping philosopher.”

Here let me add Henry Nelson Coleridge’s remarks on the Greek seed-plot of those philosophies which were begotten of the Egyptian mysteries, and which our author regards as, in turn, engendering “all heresies,” when once their leaders felt, like Simon Magus, a power in the Gospel of which they were jealous, and of which they wished to make use without submitting to its yoke. “Bishop Warburton,” says Henry Nelson Coleridge, “discovered, perhaps, more ingenuity than sound judgment in his views of the nature of the Greek mysteries; entertaining a general opinion that their ultimate object was to teach the initiated a pure theism, and to inculcate the certainty and the importance of a future state of rewards and punishments. I am led by the arguments of Villoison and Ste. Croix to doubt the accuracy of this.” In short, he supposes a “pure pantheism,” or Spinosism, the substance of their teaching.12



(Imagine themselves to be disciples of Christ)

This and the foregoing chapter offer us a most overwhelming testimony to the independence of councils. In the late “Council of Sacristans” at the Vatican, where truth perished, Pius IX. refused to all the bishops of what he accounted “the Catholic universe” what the seven suburbicarian bishops were able to enforce as a right, in the primitive age, against two successive Bishops of Rome, who were patrons of heresy. These heretical prelates persisted; but the Province remained in communion with the other apostolic provinces, while rejecting all communion with them. All this will help us in studying Cyprian’s treatise On Unity, and it justifies his own conduct.



(The episcopal throne)

The simple primitive cathedra, [see vol. 2. p. 12, also 4. 210] of which we may learn something from the statue of Hippolytus, was, no doubt, “a throne” in the eyes of an ambitious man. Callistus is here charged, by one who knew him and his history, with obtaining this position by knavish words and practices. The question may well arise, in our Christian love for antiquity, How could such things be, even in the age of martyrdoms? Let us recollect, that under the good Bishop Pius, when his brother wrote the Hermas, the peril of wealth and love of money began to be imminent at Rome. Tertullian testifies to the lax discipline of that see when he was there. Minucius Felix lets us into the impressions made by the Roman Christians upon surrounding heathen: they were a set of conies burrowing in the earth; a “light-shunning people,” lurking in the catacombs. And yet, while this fact shows plainly that good men were not ambitious to come forth from these places of exile and suffering, and expose themselves needlessly to death, it leads us to comprehend how ambitious men, studiosi novarum rerum, could remain above ground, conforming very little to the discipline of Christ, making friends with the world, and yet using their nominal religion on the principle that “gain is godliness.” There were some wealthy Christians; there were others, like Marcia in the palace, sufficiently awakened to perceive their own wickedness, and anxious to do favours to the persecuted flock, by way, perhaps, of compounding for sins not renounced. And when we come to the Epistles of Cyprian,13 we shall see what opportunities were given to desperate men to make themselves a sort of brokers to the Christian community; for selfish ends helping them in times of peril, and rendering themselves, to the less conscientious, a medium for keeping on good terms with the magistrates. Such a character was Callistus, one of “the grievous wolves” foreseen by St. Paul when he exhorted his brethren night and day, with tears, to beware of them. How he made himself Bishop of Rome, the holy Hippolytus sufficiently explains.



(Unskilled in ecclesiastical definitions)

It has been sufficiently demonstrated by the learned Dollinger, than whom a more competent and qualified witness could not be named, that the late pontiff, Pius IX., was in this respect, as a bishop, very much like Callistus. Moreover, his chief adviser and prime minister, Antonelli, was notoriously Callistus over again; standing towards him in the same relations which Callistus bore to Zephyrinus. Yet, by the bull Ineffabilis, that pontiff has retrospectively clothed the definitions of Zephyrinus and Callistus with infallibility; thus making himself also a partaker in their heresies, and exposing himself to the anathemas with which the Catholic councils overwhelmed his predecessor Honorius and others. That at such a crisis the testimony of Hippolytus should come to light, and supply a reductio ad absurdum to the late papal definitions, may well excite such a recognition of divine providence as Dr. Bunsen repeatedly suggests.



(All consented – we did not)

The Edinburgh editor supposes that the use of the plural we, in this place, is the official plural of a bishop. It has been already explained, however, that he is speaking of the provincial bishops with whom he withstood Callistus when the plebs were carried away by his hypocrisy. In England, bishops in certain cases, are a “corporation sole;” and, as such, the plural is legal phraseology. All bishops, however, use the plural in certain documents, as identifying themselves with the universal episcopate, on the Cyprianic principle – Episcopatus unus est, etc.

In Act_5:13 is a passage which may be somewhat explained, perhaps, by this: “All consented … we did not.” The plebs joined themselves to the apostles; “but of the rest durst no man join himself to them: howbeit, the plebs magnified them, and believers were added,” etc. “The rest” (τῶν δὲ λοιπῶν) here means the priests, the Pharisees, and Sadducees, the classes who were not the plebs, as appears by what immediately follows. (Act_5:17)



(Our condemnatory sentence)

Again: Hippolytus refers to the action of the suburbicarian bishops in provincial council. And here is the place to express dissatisfaction with the apologetic tone of some writers, who seem to think Hippolytus too severe, etc. As if, in dealing with such “wolves in sheep’s clothing,” this faithful leader could show himself a true shepherd without emphasis and words of abhorrence. Hippolytus has left to the Church the impress of his character (see p. 5, supra) as “superlatively sweet and amiable.” Such was St. John, the beloved disciple; but he was not less a “son of thunder.” Our Divine Master was “the Lamb,” and “the Lion;” the author of the Beatitudes, and the author of those terrific woes; the “meek and gentle friend of publicans and sinners,” and the “lash of small cords” upon the backs of those who made His Father’s house a “den of thieves.” Such was Chrysostom, such was Athanasius, such was St. Paul, and such have ever been the noblest of mankind; tender and considerate, gentle and full of compassion; but not less resolute, in the crises of history, in withstanding iniquity in the persons of arch-enemies of truth, and setting the brand upon their foreheads. Good men, who hate strife, and love study and quiet, and to be friendly with others; men who never permit themselves to indulge a personal enmity, or to resent a personal affront; men who forgive injuries to the last farthing when they only are concerned, – may yet crucify their natures in withstanding evil when they are protecting Christ’s flock, or fulfilling the command to “contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.” What the Christian Church owes to the loving spirit of Hippolytus in the awful emergencies of his times, protecting the poor sheep, and grappling with wolves for their sake, the Last Day will fully declare. But let us who know nothing of such warfare concede nothing, in judging of his spirit, to the spirit of our unbelieving age, which has no censures except for the defenders of truth: – 

“Eternal smiles its emptiness betray,

As shallow streams run dimpling all the way.”

Bon Dieu, bon diable, as the French say, is the creed of the times. Every one who insults the faith of Christians, who betrays truths he was sworn to defend, who washes his hands but then gives Christ over to be crucified, must be treated with especial favour. Christ is good: so is Pilate; and Judas must not be censured. My soul be with Hippolytus when the gear Judge holds his assize. His eulogy is in the psalm: (Psa_106:30-31) “Then stood up Phinehas, and executed judgment: and so the plague was stayed. And that was counted unto him for righteousness unto all generations, for evermore.”



(As if he had not sinned)

There is an ambiguity in the facts as given in the Edinburgh edition, of which it is hard to relieve the text. The word καθίστασθαι is rendered to retain (their places) in the first instance, as if the case were all one with the second instance, where μένειν is justly rendered to continue. The second case seems, then, to cover all the ground. What need to speak of men “twice or thrice married,” if a man once married, after ordination is not to be retained? The word retained is questionable in the first instance; and I have adopted Wordsworth’s reading, to be enrolled, which is doubtless the sense.

This statement of our author lends apparent countenance to the antiquity of the “Apostolic Constitutions,” so called. Perhaps Hippolytus really supposed them to be apostolic. By Canon XVII. of that collection, a man twice married, after baptism cannot be “on the sacerdotal list at all.” By Canon XXVI., an unmarried person once admitted to the clergy cannot be permitted to marry. These are the two cases referred to by our author. In the Greek churches this rule holds to this day; and the Council of Nice refused to prohibit the married clergy to live in that holy estate, while allowing the traditional discipline which Hippolytus had in view in speaking of a violation of the twenty-sixth traditional canon as a sin. As Bingham has remarked, however, canons of discipline may be relaxed when not resting on fundamental and scriptural laws.



(Attempt to call themselves a Catholic Church)

The Callistians, it seems, became a heretical sect, and yet presumed to call themselves a “Catholic Church.” Yet this sect, while Callistus lived, was in full communion with the Bishop of Rome. Such communion, then, was no test of Catholicity. Observe the enormous crimes of which this lawless one was guilty; he seems to antedate the age of Theodora’s popes and Marozia’s, and what Hippolytus would have said of them is not doubtful. It is remarkable that he employed St. Paul’s expression, however, ὁ ἄνομος, (2Th_2:8) “that wicked” or that “lawless one,” seeing, in such a bishop, what St. Gregory did in another, – “a forerunner of the Antichrist.”




Bunsen remarks that Theodoret speaks of this sect14 under the head of the “Noetians.” Wordsworth quotes as follows: “Callistus took the lead in propagating this heresy after Noetus, and devised certain additions to the impiety of the doctrine.” In other words, he was not merely a heretic, but himself a heresiarch. He gives the whole passage textually,15 and institutes interesting parallelisms between the Philosophumena and Theodoret, who used our author, and boldly borrowed from him. 



(The cause of all things)

When one looks at the infinite variety of opinions, phrases, ideas, and the like, with which the heresies of three centuries threatened to obscure, defile, and destroy the revelations of Holy Scripture, who can but wonder at the miracle of orthodoxy? Note with what fidelity the good fight of faith was maintained, the depositum preserved, and the Gospel epitomized at last in the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan definitions, which Professor Shedd, as I have previously noted, declares to be the accepted confession of all the reformed, reputed orthodox, as well as of Greeks and Latins. Let us not be surprised, that, during these conflicts, truth on such mysterious subjects was reflected from good men’s minds with slight variations of expression. Rather behold the miracle of their essential agreement, and of their entire harmony in the Great Symbol, universally accepted as the testimony of the Ante-Nicene witnesses. The Word was Himself the cause of all created things; Himself increate; His eternal generation implied in the eternity of His existence and His distinct personality.




I am a little surprised at the innocent statement of the learned translator, that “Dr. Wordsworth justifies Hippolytus’ use of this word.” It must have occurred to every student of the Greek Testament that St. Peter justifies this use in the passage quoted by Wordsworth, which one would think must be self-suggested to any theologian reading our author’s text. In short, Hippolytus quotes the second Epistle of St. Peter16 when he uses this otherwise startling word. Josephus also employs it;17 it was familiar to the Jews, and the apostle had no scruple in adopting a word which proves the Gentile world acquainted with a Gehenna as well as a Sheol.



(For Christ is the God)

Dr. Wordsworth justly censures Bunsen for his rendering of this passage,18 also for manufacturing for Hippolytus a “Confession of Faith” out of his tenth book. (vol. i. p. 141. etc.) I must refer the student to that all-important chapter in Dr. Wordsworth’s work (cap. xi.) on the “Development of Christian Doctrine.” It is masterly, as against Dr. Newman, as well; and the respectful justice which he renders at the same time to Dr. Bunsen is worthy of all admiration. Let it be noted, that, while one must be surprised by the ready command of literary and theological materials which the learned doctor and chevalier brings into instantaneous use for his work, it is hardly less surprising, in spite of all that, that he was willing to throw off his theories and strictures, without any delay, during the confusions of that memorable year 1851, when I had the honour of meeting him among London notabilities. He says to his “dearest friend, Archdeacon Hare, … Dr. Tregelles informed me last week of the appearance of the work (of Hippolytus).… I procured a copy in consequence, and perused it as soon as I could; and I have already arrived at conclusions which seem to me so evident that I feel no hesitation in expressing them to you at once.” These conclusions were creditable to his acumen and learning in general; eminently so. But the theories he had so hastily conceived, in other particulars, crop out in so many crudities of theological caprice, that nobody should try to study his theoretical opinions without the aid of that calm reviewal they have received from Dr. Wordsworth’s ripe and sober scholarship and well-balanced intellect.


General Note.

I avail myself of a little spare space to add, from Michelet’s friend, E. Quinet,19 the passage to which I have made a reference on p. 156. Let me say, however, that Quinet and Michelet are specimens of that intellectual revolt against Roman dogma which is all but universal in Europe in our day, and of which the history of M. Renan is a melancholy exposition. To Quinet, with all his faults, belongs the credit of having more thoroughly understood than any theological writer the absolute revolution created by the Council of Trent; and he justly remarks that the Jesuits showed their address “in making this revolution, without anywhere speaking of it.” Hence a dull world has not observed it. Contrasting this pseudo-council with the free councils of antiquity, M. Quinet says: “The Council of Trent has not its roots in all nations; it does not assemble about it the representatives of all nations … omni plebe adstante, according to the ancient formula. … The East and the North are, almost equally, wanting; and this is why the king of France refused it the title of a council.” He quotes noble passages from Bossuet.20





1 I venture to state this to encourage young students to keep pen in hand in all their researches, and always to make notes.

2 Pompey and others were called imperatores before the Caesars; but who includes them with the Roman emperors?

3 How St. Peter would regard it, see 1Pe_5:1-3. I am sorry to find Dr. Schaff, in his useful compilation, History of the Christian Church, vol. ii. p. 166, dropping into the old ruts of fable, after sufficiently proving just before, what I have maintained. He speaks of “the insignificance of the first Popes,” – meaning the early Bishops of Rome, men who minded their own business, but could not have been “insignificant” had they even imagined themselves “Popes.”

4 See Bossuet, passim, and all the Gallican doctors down to our own times. In England the “supremacy” was never acknowledged, nor in France, until now.

5 See his Hippol., vol. i. pp. 209, 311.

6 p. 207.

7 Even Quinet notes this. See his Ultramontanism, p. 40, ed. 1845.

8 Bunsen gives it as the thirty-fifth, vol. i. p. 311.

9 Of which we shall learn in vol. viii., this series.

10 See Bingham, book ix. cap. i. sec. 9.

11 Wordsworth, chap. viii. p. 93.

12 Introduction to Greek Classics, p. 228.

13 See Treatise on the Lapsed, infra.

14 Bunsen, p. 134; Theodor., tom. iv. pt. i. p. 343, ed. Hal. 1772.

15 St. Hippol., p. 315.

16 ταρταρώσας, 2Pe_2:4. A sufficient answer to Dr. Bunsen, vol. iv. p. 33, who says this epistle was not known to the primitive Church.

17 See Speaker’s Comm., ad loc.

18 St. Hippol., p. 301, with original text.

19 A translation of Quinet, on Ultramontanism, appeared in London in a semi-infidel series, 1845.

20 See pp. 40, 47.