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The Meaning of the Word Heresy.

Heresy, in Greek, signifies . election or choice, and is used " for any opinion which a mau chooseth as best, or most probable.

Heresy and heretic are often used by ancient writers as words of indifferent meaning. And the several ways of philosophizing were called sects or heresies.

Instances of the innocent meaning of the word heresy occur in the New Testament, Acts v. 17. “ Then the high-priest rose up, and all they that were with him, which is the sect of the Sadducees.” Ch. xv. 5. “ Then rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees, which believed.” xxvi. 5. “ After 3 the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.”

Josephus, in like manner, speaking of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes, calls them sects or heresies, without any mark of censure. They i were the several ways of philosophizing among the Jews. k

In several places of the epistles of the New Testament, as 1 Cor. xi. 19. Gal. v. 20. 2 Pet. ii. 1. Tit. iii. 10. the words heresy and heretic are used in a bad sense. Nor is it, I apprehend, void of reproach in Acts xxiv. 5, where Tertullus, the orator, pleading before Felix, says of Paul: “ We have found this man a pestilent fellow-and'a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.' Nor does the meaning appear quite innocent in Acts xxviii. 22. “ As m concerning this sect we know that it is every where spoken against." Nor in chap. xxiv. 14. 6. But this I confess unto thee, that " after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and the prophets." Where the apostle honestly owns before Felix that he was a Christian, or of that way which most of the Jewish people called heresy, or a sect, a new sect or heresy. At the same time he intimates, (though without being very solicitous to avoid the imputation) that the scheme and principles professed and taught by him, was so agreeable to the law and the prophets, that there hardly was sufficient reason to call it heresy, or to reckon the followers of it a new and distinct sect.

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a Aipois autem Græce ab electione dicitur: quod scilicet Ηρξαμην τα πολιτευεσθαι, τη φαρισαίων αιρεσει κατακοeam sibi unusquisque eligat disciplinam, quam putat esse λεθων, η παραπλησιος εςι τη παρ Ελλησι δωϊκη λεγομενη. meliorem. Hieron. ad Galat. cap. v. Ton. 4. P. i. p. 302. Joseph. Vit.n.2.-yeves de coopa aautpa, ans de pagiConf. Suicer. V. Aspegis, et Cleric. H. E. An. 83. n. ii. iii. σαιων αιρεσεως. Ιb. n. 38. Kατα δε τον χρονον τατον τρεις

Αίρεσις η λογω τινι κατα το φαινόμενον ακολοθεσα, η αίρεσεις των Ιεδαίων τσαντών η μεν Φαρισαίων ελέγετο, ή δε doxaca ax028 hely. 'Suid. Vid. et Diog. Laërt. lib. i. proæm. Σαδδακαιων, η τριτη δε Εσσηνων. Αntig. Jud. 1. 13. C. ν. η. 9. sect. 19, 20.

Τρια γαρ παρα Ιεδαιοις ειδη φιλοσοφειται, και το μεν Ιπποδοτος δε- εννεα φησιν αιρεσεις ειναι των φιλοσο- αιρετισαι Φαρισαιοι, το δε Εαδδεκαιοι, τριτον δε, ο δε και δοκει Pwe xai aywras. Suid. et Diog. Laërt. ibid. Opiniones CEUVOTETA AGXEIV, Econvoi xaravtal. De B. I. 1. 2. c. 8. n. 2. omnium philosophorum, qui sectas varias condiderunt- Ιεδαιοις φιλοσοφιαι τρεις ησαν. Αntig. 1. 18. c. 1. η. 2. sex non parvis voluminibus quidam Celsus absolvit. Augustin. * Of the Jewish sects may be seen more at large in this de Hær. in Præf.

work, Vol. i. p. 66–72. d Cato autem perfectus Stoïcus, et ea sentit, et in eâ est -πρωτος ατην τε της των Ναζωραιων αιρεσεως. . hæresi, &c. Cicero. Paradox. Intro. Ed. Verbrug. pars 10. η Περι μεν γαρ της αίρεσεως ταυτης. κ. λ. Tom. 15.p. 3820. • Η οσα αίρεσις των Σαδδακαιων. -κατα την οδον, ήν λεγεσιν αίρεσιν. 1 Γινες των απο της αίρεσεως των Φαρισαίων. .

° The reader, if he thinks fit, may see what was said for• Κατα την ακριβες ατην αίρεσιν της ημετερας θρησκείας. . merly upon this text, Vol. i. p. 104, 105.



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Among Christians these words are very frequently taken in a bad sense: the reason of which seems to lie in what Tertullian says, with a view to the primary meaning of the word heresy, viz. a chosen opinion and doctrine: * that there should be no heresies among Christians, and that heretic forfeits the character of a Christian, forasmuch as there is nothing left to their invention. They ought all to adhere to the doctrine taught by, and received from Christ and his apostles, who have delivered all the principles of true religion.

Therefore he says that Marcion is plainly convicted to be a heretic, because he had chosen a faith different from what he had received in the catholic church. And Adam, he says, may be called a heretic, because he made a choice contrary to the divine order.

And with regard to the presumption of those men who introduced new opinions, he pleasantly says that ' invention is an heretical privilege, and that 8 heretics, as well as poets and painters, have a certain license allowed them.

And it is no uncommon thing for catholic writers to blame those called heretics, who took to themselves a particular denomination from some one man or leader. So particularly Justin Martyr. And we have seen upon divers occasions, how the most rational and understanding Christians disclaimed all names but that of their master Jesus Christ.

We may here take notice of an observation of some learned moderns, that * though in Christian writers heresy is often used as equivalent to opinion, and particularly a wrong opinion, or false doctrine; yet that is not the most ancient sense of the word, but sect or party. And indeed it must be so understood in several passages alleged at the beginning of this article.

I may just add, that Chrysostom, Theodoret, and others, whose words are cited by Suicer, do not by heretics, in 1 Cor. xi. 19, understand wrong opinions, but contentions and divisions.


It is difficult to define what is Heresy, or who is an Heretic.

But though so much has been said for settling the meaning of the word, it is not easy to shew by an exact definition what is heresy, or who is an heretic. Thus much is acknowledged by Augustine, who says that' every heresy is an error, but every error is not an heresy. In another place he says, It seems to him that heresy is, when a man for the sake of glory or power, or other secular advantages, either invents, or embraces and follows new and false opinions: and he thinks there is a great difference between such a one, and another who is deluded by him under the specious appearances of truth or piety. This will acquit many from the charge of heresy, or very much abate their guilt.

• Sed et in omni pene epistolà de adulterinis doctrinis fu- · Aut quis dubitabit, ipsum illud Adæ delictum hæresin giendis inculcans, hæreses taxat, quarum opera sunt adulteræ pronuntiare, quod per electionem suæ potius quam divinæ doctrinæ, hæreses dictæ Græcâ voce ex interpretatione elec- sententiæ admisit?. -Rndis admodum hæreticus fuit. Non tionis, quâ quis sive ad instituendas, sive ad suscipiendas eas obaudiit. Non tamen blasphemavit Creatorem, &c. Adv. utitur. Nobis vero nihil ex nostro arbitrio inducere licet, sed M. 1. 2. c. 2. p. 454. C. D. p. 363. Ed. Fran. nec eligere quod aliquis de arbitrio suo induxerit. Apostolos Licuit et Valentino, ex privilegio hæretico, carnem Domimi habemus auctores, qui nec ipsi quidquam ex suo ar- Christi spiritalem comminisci. Quidvis eam fingere potuit, bitrio, quod inducerent, elegerunt; sed acceptam a Christo quisquis humanam credere noluit. De C. C. cap. 15. p. 370. disciplinam fideliter nationibus adsignaverunt. De Præscr. p. 306. Ed. Fran. Hær. c. 6. p. 232. B. p. 202. Ed. Fran.

si forte poetica, et pictoria licentia, et tertia jam b Si enim hæretici sunt, Christiani esse non possunt, non hæretica. Adv. Marc. I. i. c. 3. in. p. 431. p. 351. – Christo habendo quod de suâ electione sectati hæreticorum Και εισιν αυτων, οι μεν τινες καλεμενοι Μαρκιανοι, οι δε nomina admittunt. Ib. cap. 37. p. 245. p. 212. Ed. Fran. Ουαλεντιανοι, οι δε Βασιλειδιανοι, οι δε Σατορνιλιανοι, και

* Si propheta es, prænuntia aliquid: si apostolus, prædica addos ari.q orojati, amo 18 apX57T8 The yewens 4a505. publice: si apostolicus, cum apostolis senti: si tantum Chris- ονομαζομενος. ον τροπον και έκαςος των φιλοσοφειν νομιζονταν tianus es, crede quod traditum est.

Si nihil istorum es, me- απο τ8 πατρος το λογα το όνομα της φιλοσοφει φιλοσοφιας rito dixerim, morere. Nam et mortuus es, qui non es Chris- vysitar peçelv. Dialog. cum Tr. p. 253, 254. Paris, 1636. tianus, non credendo quod creditum Christianos facit. Id. de i See Vol.ii. p. 399, 420, 531. Carne Chr. cap. 2. p. 358. p. 298. Ed. Fran. Unde autem * Postea etiam hæreses dictæ vulgo apud Christianos opi. extranei et inimici apostolis hæretici, nisi ex diversitate doc- niones ipsæ, cæque a rectâ doctrinâ abhorrentes, et hæretici trinæ, quam unusquisque de suo arbitrio adversus apostolos vocati, qui eas tuebantur: quamvis peculiarem nullam aut protulit, aut recepit? De Præscr. Hær. c. 37. p. 212. Ed. sectam, quæ seorsim a cæteris Christianis ageret, condere ad-, Fran.

grederentur. Quo tamen sensu in Apostolorum scriptis non, Marcion Deum, quem invenerat, exstincto lumine fidei occurrunt. Cleric. H. E. An. 83. a. ii. suæ, amisit. Non negabunt discipuli ejus, primam illius Diximus vocem aigarews hac tertià significatione sumi, fidem nobiscum fuisse, ipsius literis testibus; ut hinc jam 1 Cor. xi. 19. Hic tamen dissimulandum non est, veteres destinari possit hæreticus, qui deserto quod prius fuerat, id non intelligere doctrinam orthodoxiæ contrariam, sed contenpostea sibi elegerit, quod retro non erat, &c. Ady. Marc, 1. i. tiones, &c. Suicer. V. Aiçeris. p. 119, 120. €.4. p. 431. A. p. 350. Ed. Fran,

However, for better understanding this matter we may farther observe, that it is generally allowed that a heretic is one who professeth to be a Christian, but is not supposed to be of the church, having either separated himself from it, or been excluded from it by others. Such descriptions of heretics are very common in Augustine and Tertullian, who says that heretics haye no communion with other Christians, but are strangers without the church.

But whether they were allowed by others to be Christians or not, they always called themselves Christians, and laid claim to that character. What is said of the Valentinians by so ancient a writer as Irenæus is very observable. When ' the ecclesiastical (or orthodox) Christians refused to converse with them, they complained of it as hard usage, since they held the same or like doctrine with them. Lactantius says that 8 all heretics affirmed that they were the best Christians and the catholic church. To the like purpose Salvian: they believe what they profess to be true; and they think themselves to be orthodox. As they are heretics in our esteem, so are we in theirs. And as for those of the two first centuries who called themselves Christians, and professed faith in Jesus, what good reason can there be to dispute their veracity and integrity? The profession of the Christian name was not then the way to honour, profit, or pleasure.

Jerom says that heresy" is an opinion different from the right interpretation of scripture. • He therefore who holds such an opinion may be a heretic, though he is not separated from the • church.' Nay 'he supposeth that pastors of the church may teach heresy.


a Non enim omnis error hæresis est : quamvis omnis hæ- ses exierunt, quæ vocabulo Christiano decipiunt. Id. De resis, quæ in vitio ponitur, nisi errore aliquo hæresis esse non Baptism. Contr. Donat. 1. 5. c. 15. n. 20. T. 9. T. 7. 142. possit. Quid ergo faciat hæreticum, regulari quâdam definitione K. Statim enim ut unaquæque heresis existebat, et a concomprehendi, sicut ego existimo, aut omnino non potest, aut gregatione catholicæ communionis exibat- 1b. cap. 19. 11. difficillime potest. Quod in processu hujus operis declarabi- 24. T. 7. 143. E. tur. De Hæresib. pr. Tom. 8. Tom. 6. f. 3. Đ. Vene. 1570. e Hæretici autem nullum habent consortium nostræ disci

• Nunc vero, cum inter hæc duo plurimum intersit; quan- plinæ, quos extraneos utique testatur ipsa ademptio conmudoquidem hæreticus est, ut mea fert opinio, qui alicujus tem- nicationis. Non debeo in illis cognoscere quod nihi est præporalis commodi, et maxime gloriæ principatusque sui gratiâ, ceptum, quia non idem Deus est nobis et illis, nec unus falsas ac novas opiniones vel gignit, vel sequitur. Ille autem, Christus, id est, idem, ideoque nec baptismus unus, quia non qui hujusmodi hominibus credit, homo est imaginatione qua- idem. De Baptism. c. 15. p. 262. D. p. 224. Ed. Fran. dam veritatis ac pietatis illusus. De Util. Cred. c. i. in. Tom. r Qui etiam queruntur de nobis, quod, cum similia nobis8. T. 6. 29 E.

cum sentiant, sine causâ abstineamus nos a communicatione • Παντες οι απο τοτων όρμωμενοι, ως εφημεν, Χριςιανοι eorum, et cum eadem dicant, et eamdem habeant doctrinam, malaytat. Just. M. Ap. ii. p. 70. B. T018T65 Elya. ay- vocemus eos hæreticos. Iren. 1. 3. c. XV. n. 2. p. 203. p. 237. δρας, ομολογαντας εαυτος ειναι Χριστιανος, και τον σαυροθεντα Ed. Grab. Ox. 1702. Ιησεν ομολογειν, και κυριον και Χριςον, και μη τα εκεινε διδαγ- & Sed tamen quia singuli quique cætus hæreticorum se popeata

di. QOXOVTAG Dial. cum. Tryph. p. 253. A. Vid. ib. E. tissimum Christianos, et suam esse catholicam ecclesiam puItaque ille hæreticus, siquidem de his nobis sermo est, qui se tant, sciendum est, &c. Instit. l. 4. c. ult. p. 450. p. 519. Christianos dici volunt. Aug. de util. cred. c. 14. n. 30. in. T. Ed. Walchii Lips. 1715. 8. T. 6. 35. E. Insidiantur hæretici, pallio velati nominis " Hæretici ergo sunt, sed non scientes. Denique apud nos Christiani. Enarr. in PS. LX. p. 5. T. 4. T. 8. 202. F. Et sunt hæretici, apud se non sunt. Nam in tantum se catholicos vos, et omnes hæretici, qui quoquo modo Christiani appellan- esse judicant, ut nos ipsos titulo hæreticæ appellationis infatur. Contr. Faust. 1. 20. c. x. sub tin. T. 8. T. 6. 117. M. Et ment. Salvian. De Gub. I. 5. p. 100. p. 153. Ox. 1633. quoniam quoquo modo Christianum se videri cupit. Contr. i Nihil enim causæ erat, cur Valentiniani videri vellent Advers. L. et Pto. I. i. c. i. T. 8. T. 6. 188. M.

Christiani, a cujus nominis societate iis temporibus nil comd Qui ergo in ecclesiâ Christi morbidum aliquid pravumque modi sperari poterat, sed potius mala omvia. Heuman. ap. sapiunt, si correpti, ut sanum rectumque sapiant, resistunt Act. Lips. Mens. April. 1712. p. 176. contumaciter, suaque pestifera et mortifera dogmata emen- * Aiçeris autem Græce ab electione dicitur. Quicumque dare nolunt, sed defensare persistunt, hæretici fiunt, et foras igitur aliter scripturam intelligit, quam sensus Spiritus Sancti exeuntes habentur in exercitibus inimicis. Aug. De Civ. Dei. flagitat, quo conscripta est, licet de Ecclesiâ non recesserit, 1. 18. c. 51. T. 7. T. 5. 194. A. Extolluntur inde, et super- tamen hæreticus appellari potest; et de carnis operibus est, biunt inde, et videntur sibi sapientes. Hoc autem contigit eligens quæ pejora sunt. Hieron. in Gal. c. 5. T. 4. P. i. omnibus hæreticis; qui cum essent animales et carnales defendendo sententias suas pravas, quas falsas esse non potue- Possumus autem hoc juxta tropologiam et de Ecclesiæ runt videre, exclusi sunt de catholicà. Ejusd. Enarr. in Ps. principibus intelligere, qui tamen non digne regunt oves Docxxx. c. 9. T. 4. T. 8. 502. A. Baptizatum autem posse mini—Perdunt oves pastores, qui docent. In Jerem. c. xxiii. separari ab Ecclesiâ quis dubitavit? Inde quippe omnes bære. T. 3. p. 634.

P. 302.

Elsewhere he speaks of heretics being excluded from the church. At other times he says that "heretics withdraw and separate themselves from the church; as does Cyprian also in a passage cited by us formerly.

Origen seems to have supposed that great errors only ought to be reckoned heresies, such as those of Marcion, Valentinus, and Basilides, and some others, who did not believe the same God to have been the God of the Old and New Testament.


Of the Causes of Heresies.

We need not solicitously inquire into the causes of heresies, or the moving principles of heretics. It is well known that heresies have been often ascribed to pride, a 'love of preeminence, envy, revenge, " disappointed ambition, love of sensual' pleasure, a desire to be wise and knowing above others, and curiosity to search out the reason of all things, and to other faulty causes and principles : which indeed may have very much contributed to the great variety of opinions which there has been among Christians ; from which those who are called catholics, and who have been generally esteemed orthodox, have not been always free.

One cause already hinted, of no small effect in this affair, may have been an eager curiosity to pry into and know every thing. Took curious inquiries into the origin of evil seem to have misled many men. The question was difficult, and they went into several opinions, some of which were wrong and absurd. Their prejudices and their arguments upon this head occur in ' Tertullian, “ Epiphanius, · Jerom, and others, as we shall see more particularly hereafter.


a Omnis enim hæreticus nascitur in Ecclesiâ, sed de Eccle- 1664. Egenum et pauperem intellige ecclesiasticum virum, siâ projicitur: et contendit, et pugnat contra Ecclesiam. In qui veritatis simplicitate contentus, hæreticorum supellectilem, Jerem. cap. xxii. p. 631.

et eloquentiæ fulgorem, argumentorumque divitias, non rePropterea vero a semet ipso dicitur damnatus, quia forni- quirit. "Id. in Amos. cap. iv. p. 1398. Omnes enim hæreticatoret cætera vitia, per sacerdotes de Ecclesiâ propellun- corum principes intumescunt superbiâ, &c. In Amos cap. ii. tur. Hæretici autem in semetipsos sententiam ferunt, suo 1383. Quis enim hæreticorum non in superbiam extollitur, arbitrio de Ecclesiâ recedentes. Quæ recessio propriæ con- Ecclesiæ simplicitatem parvi pendens, et fidem imperitiam rescientiæ videtur esse damnatio. Inter hæresim et schisma putans. Id. in Abd. c. i. p. 1458. fin. hoc esse arbitrantur, quod hæresis perversum dogma habeat. Ούτος [Μοντανος] οισρηθεις ερωτι φιλαρχιας παρακλητος Schisma propter episcopalem dissensionem ab Ecclesiâ separe- εαυτον προσηγορεισε. Theod. H. F. 1. 3. c. 2. tur, &c. Id. ad Tit. iii. T. 4. p. 439. Conf. eund. in Js. c. 8 Ζηλωσας λοιπόν, και εις μεγαν αρθεις θυμον και υπερηφα. xxï. T. 3. p. 196. c See Vol. ji. p. 22.

νιαν, το σχισμα εργαζεται ο τοιοτος, εαυτω την αίρεσιν προσηd Quid vero sit hæreticus homo, pro viribus nostris secun- σαμενος, και ειπων. Εγω σχισω την εκκλησιας υμων και βαλω dum quod sentire possumus, describamus. Omnis qui se oxroma sy auth EIS TOY alwrd. Epiph. contr. Marcion. H. 42. Christo credere profitetur, et tamen alium Deum Legis

n. 2. D. et Prophetarum, alium Evangeliorum Deum dicit, et 11 Huic, ut et multis aliis hæreticis, effrænis ambitio, si Patrem Domini nostri Jesu Christi, non eum dicit esse, qui a Tertulliano fides, ruinæ occasio fuit. Speraverat,'inquit adv. Lege et Prophetis prædicatur, sed alium nescio quem, igno- Valentin. cap. 4, ' episcopatum Valentinus, quia et ingenio tum omnibus- Hujusmodi homines hæreticos designamus poterat, et eloquio. 'Sed alium ex Martyrii prærogativă loci

-sicut sectatores Marcionis, et Valentini, et Basilidis, et ii 'positum indignatus, de ecclesiâ authenticæ regulæ abrupit, qui se Ethnianos appellant-sed et Apelles_Pamph. pro ad expugnandam conversus veritatem.' Massuet. Diss. Pr. Orig. Apol. ap. Hieron. Tom. v. p. 226.

ad. Iren. p. xvi. e Omnes tument, omnes scientiam pollicentur. Ante sunt i Nulla enim hæresis, nisi propter gulam ventremque conperfecti catechumeni, quam edocti. Ipsæ mulieres hæreticæ, struitur, ut seducat mulierculas oneratas peccatis. Hieron. in quam procaces ! Tertullian. De Pr. Hær.cap. xli. 111.213. Fran. Jerem. cap. iv. T. 3. p. 543. fin. Quis enim hæreticorum non superbus est ? Qui ecclesiasticam * Eadem materia apud hæreticos et philosophos volutatur, despiciens simplicitatem, ita habeat Ecclesiæ homines quasi idem retractatus implicantur. Unde malum, et quare ? et bruta animalia, et in tantum superbiæ injuriæque tumore eri- unde homo, et quomodo? Tertull. Pr. cap. vii. p. 232. D. gitur, ut contra ipsum Creatorem arniet os suum. Hieron. in 203. Fran. Is. cap. xvi. T. 3. p. 171. Hæretici matrem habent iniqui- Languens enim (quod et nunc multi, et maxime hætatis suæ superbiam, dum semper altiora scire se jactitant, et retici) circa mali quæstionem : Unde malum? Tertull. adv. in Ecclesiæ contumeliam debacchantur. Id. in Osee. cap. v. Marc. I. i. cap. 2. p. 431. p. 351. Fran. p. 1266. Et quia semper hæretici tumentes superbiâ, et in- Εχει δε η αρχη αυτης της κακης προφασεως την αιτιαν cidentes in laqueum diaboli, magna sibi promittunt. Id. in απο τα ζητειν, και λεγειν, ποθεν το κακον. Epiph. Contra Amos. cap. iv. p. 1402. Vide hæreticos in dialecticâ sibi et Basilid. H. 24. n. vi. vii. rhetoricà, et omnium sophismatum dogmatibus applaudentes, » Dicat hæc Marcion, et omnes hæretici, qui Creatoris opecontemnere Ecclesiæ rusticitatem, &c. In Sophon. ib. p. ribus illudunt. Vestrum decretum huc usque perveniet, ut


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