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wards he gives an account of the original scheme of Valentinus, which does not appear

Mosheim has fallen. He says (ubi sup.); “ Among those who are reported to have been disciples of Valentinus was Ptolemy, a subtile and eloquent man, who departed in several particulars from the common opinions of his sect, especially in naming and arranging the Æons differently from his master, and, as appears, in changing them into powers of God. Secundus, on the other hand, whom Irenæus reckons among the principal disciples of Valentinus, maintained that the Æons were substances or persons."

" It is certain,” says Mosheim in his note on this passage, “ that Ptolemy differed from Secundus concerning the nature of the Æons, the former regarding them as attributes and powers of the divine nature, and the latter as substances or persons; while each contended that his was the true opinion of his master.” Hence Mosheim concludes, that Valentinus was a man of some genius, but of weak understanding, who left most of his opinions obscurely defined.

Mosheim says that Ptolemy regarded the Æons as “ attributes and powers of the divine nature," not “as substances or persons." This statement is inconsistent not merely with the true system of Ptolemy, but equally with that of his followers, which Mosheim ascribes to him; and is directly contrary to the account of Tertullian, who says that “ Ptolemy numbered the Æons in classes and gave them distinct names, assigning to them the character of personal existences, but external to the Deity, while Valentinus had included those existences in the totality of the Divinity, as feelings, affections, and emotions : " " Eam si. e. Valentini viam] postmodum instravit nominibus et numeris Æonum distinctis; in personales substantias, sed extra Deum, determinatas (f. determinans), quas Valentinus in ipsâ summâ divinitatis, ut sensus et adfectus et motus, incluserat.” Advers. Valentin. c. 4. p. 251.

I have noticed particularly these errors of Mosheim, because from his high reputation, in many respects well deserved, and

to have differed in any essential particular from the modification of it by Ptolemy.

The statements of Irenæus respecting the Valentinians are confirmed by Tertullian in a work written expressly against that sect,f which so closely resembles the account of Irenæus, as to leave little doubt that he took this for the basis of his own; though there is no reason for supposing that his acquaintance with the doctrines of the Valentinians was derived only from the writings of that earlier father. Many notices of them are found in his other works, and in those of Clement of Alexandria, and of Origen. These notices confirm what is stated by Irenæus, and add something to the information which he affords.

We have also some remains of the writings of Valentinians themselves. The most important of them is a letter by Ptolemy, preserved by Epiphanius. It is addressed to a lady,

from the general familiarity with his name, as a writer on ecclesiastical history, he is likely to be one of the first authors consulted by an English student. But his accounts of the Gnostics are not to be relied on. He did not, as I conceive, rightly apprehend their distinguishing characteristics; and, at the same time, the bent of his mind to systematize and form hypotheses led him to overlook and mistake facts, so that he is often incorrect, falling into such errors as have just been remarked.

* Lib. I. c. 11. p. 52, seq. † Adversus Valentinianos.

| Hæres. XXXIII. p. 216, seqq. The letter of Ptolemy is also printed in the Appendix to Massuet's edition of Irenæus.

whose name was Flora, and contains an account of his opinions concerning the origin and character of the Jewish Law, and the God of the Jews, whom he identifies with the Maker of the World. However erroneous may be the opinions of Ptolemy, he expresses himself with good sense, and his manner is unobjectionable.

Epiphanius has likewise given an extract from the work of some one, whom he calls a Valentinian, but whose name he does not mention.* It relates to the derivation of the Æons. The writer commences by professing his intention to speak of “things nameless and supercelestial, which cannot be fully comprehended by principalities, nor powers, nor those in subjection, nor by any one, but are manifest only to the thought of the Unchangeable ;” and he proceeds in a manner conformable to this annunciation, so discouraging to a common reader. It is a very offensive specimen of the extravagances of some of the Gnostics. Epiphanius, as has been mentioned, ascribes it to a Valentinian. But, from its want of correspondence with the preceding accounts of the different systems held by Valentinus and his follow

Hæres. XXXI. p. 168, seqq., et apud Irenæi Opp. Ed. Massuet. p. 355.

ers, it affords additional proof, either that the speculations of the Valentinians were continually changing their form, or that the names of ancient sects were very loosely applied in the time of Epiphanius.*

There is also a work consisting in great part of extracts from one or more writers of the school of Valentinus. But it is of less value than might be expected. It presents no connected system. Its language is very obscure ; its text appears to have been but ill preserved, and there is a difficulty in distinguishing between the words and sentiments of the compiler and those which he quotes.

* In the passage quoted by Epiphanius, there are allusions of the grossest kind in reference to the production of the Æons. Such language, as Clement of Alexandria informs us, was used, in his time, by the followers of an individual, named Prodicus; but Clement, in speaking of them, exculpates the Valentinians from the imputation of such impurity: Ei qùe xad ούτοι, καθάπερ οι από Ουαλεντίνου, πνευματικές ετίθεντο κοινωνίας, ίσως τις αυτών την υπόληψιν επεδίξατο σαρκικής δε ύβρεως κοινωνίαν εις προφητείαν αγίαν ανάγειν απεγνωκότος έστι την σωτηρίαν. Stromat. ΙΙΙ. $ 4. pp. 524, 525.

+ The title of this compilation is ’Ex Two Osodérou, raà [f. 'Ex των Θεοδότου. Α] της Ανατολικής καλουμίνης Διδασκαλίας κατά τους Ουαλεντίνου χρόνους Επιτομαι, that is, if the proposed emendation be admitted ; " From the Writings of Theodotus. The Heads of the Oriental Doctrine, so called, as it existed in the Age of Valentinus.” I shall quote the work under the name of “ Doctrina Orientalis.” It may be found in Potter's edition of the Works of Clement of Alexandria, p. 966, seqq.

Beside the writings mentioned, Origen has preserved various passages from a commentary on the Gospel of John by Heracleon, a distinguished Valentinian of the second century; and Clement of Alexandria affords us another extract from Heracleon and a few extracts from the works of Valentinus himself.*

Of the opinions of Marcion and his followers, our information is nearly or quite as ample. Irenæus indeed gives but a short account of them, it having been his intention, as he states, to refute that heretic in a separate treatise. This work, if he ever accomplished it, which is not probable, is now lost. The reasons which he assigns for discussing Marcion's system by itself deserve attention. He says,

" Because Marcion alone has dared openly to mutilate the Scriptures, and has gone beyond all others in shamelessly disparaging the character of God [the Creator], I shall oppose him by himself, confuting him from his own writings; and with the help of God effect his overthrow by means of those discourses of our Lord and his apostle [St. Paul], which are respected by him, and

* These fragments of Heracleon and Valentinus are collected in the Appendix to Massuet's edition of Irenæus.

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