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of Saturninus, because he was a very obscure person, and his opinions were so much like those of Basilides.
Beausobre observes, that · Clement of Alexandria makes no mention at all of Menander and Saturninus. For which reason he concludes that they made very little figure in the world, and bad but few followers.
Saturninus, however, called by some Saturnilus, is in most writers of heresies. Epiphanius makes very little addition to Irenæus ; and at the beginning of his article uses an expression denoting his obscurity. Theodoret · seeins to transcribe Irenæus. And the accounts of Philaster and · Augustine are so like the rest, that I shall only refer to them. It will be proper just to mention in this place the order of the most early heretics. In Irenæus they stand thus: Simon, Menander, Saturninus, Basilides, Carpocrates. In Epiphanius : Simon, Menander, Saturnilus, Basilides, the Nicolaitans, the Gnostics, the Carpocratians; which order is also observed by Augustine. Theodoret’s is the same with that of Irenæus. In Philaster it is Simon, Menander, Saturninus, Basilides, Nicolaitans.
of his Time.
I proceed to Basilides, who in all the writers quoted in the last chapter, is the third in order among Christian heretics, and next after Saturninus. Epiphanius expressly says that these two were fellow-disciples. And Eusebius, agreeably to Irenæus, as before transcribed, and possibly to other ancient writers whom he had read, says that, - from Menander, successor of Simon, proceeded two leaders of heresies, Saturninus of Antioch, and Basilides of Alexandria, who set up schools of their hateful doctrine, one in Syria, the other in Ægypt.' And I before gave an account from Eusebius of a work of Agrippa Castor against Basilides, supposed to have been written about the year 132, or some short time after.
Though learned moderns may not exactly agree about the time of Basilides, the difference between them is not very great. Tillemont thinks Basilides' left the church in the time of Trajan, and appeared chiefly in the time of Adrian. Basnage * speaks of him at the year 121. Mill' supposeth him to have flourished about the year 123 ; Cave about the year 112, or soon after. Grabe says, Basilides " began to spread his notions in the time of Trajan, but chiefly under • Adrian, and probably did not die before the beginning of the reign of Antoninus the Pious.' Which account cannot be much amiss. It is plain from the order of the most early heresies, before taken notice of, that Basilides must have lived near the times of the apostles; as is also observed by the ancient author of ° the Acts of Archelaus. "And by Clement of Alexandria we are informed that . Basilides, or his followers, boasted that he had been taught by Glaucias, a disciple. of St. Peter : where likewise Clement supposeth that Basilides arose in the time of Adrian, and, reached to Antoninus the Pious, who did not begin his reign before the year 138. Theodoret says, that Menander was master to Saturninus and Basilides, and that both were in the time of Adrian.
a Hist. Manich. T. ii. p. 1. fin.
| Proleg. n. 264. • Μετα τατον Σατορνινος τις ανεση. Η. xxiii. cap. 1. in. m Claruit circa ann. 112. juxta alios aliquanto serius. Vixit c H. Fab. lib. i.
præcipue sub Hadriano; et sub imperii ejus extrema ; saltem d Cap. xxxi. e Aug. cap. iii.
ineunte principatum ejus successore, obiisse videtur. Cav. ' Lib. i. cap. xxiii -xxv.
H.L. T. i. p. 49. 8 Δυο γαρ οτοι εγενοντο συσχολασαι, Βασιλειδης και Σατορ- r Cæpit enim hæresin condere sub Trajano, et propagavit Ylvos. H. xxij. r. i. in.
sub Hadriano, uti prolixe contra Dallæum probavit Pearsonius. h Aπο γBν τε Μεγανδρε, αν διαδοχον το Σιμωνος ηδη προτε- P 2. Vindic. Ignat. cap. vii. Imo et tunc mortuum esse ρον παραδεδωκαμεν, αμφισομος ωσπερ και δικεφαλος οριωδης idem vult. Ast quidquid hujus rei sit, id certum est, sub τις προελθεσα δυναμις, δυειν αιρεσεων διαφορων αρχηγός κα- Hadriano maxime floruisse intelicem illam plantam. Grab. TESTOAT. H. E. l. iv. c. vii. p. 147. ed. Reading.
Spic. T. ii. p. 36. i Mem. Ecc. Sub Tra.
• Fuit-Basilides antiquior, non longe post nostrorum Vid, Basnag. ann. 121, n. vi.
Apostolorun tempora. Arch. p. 101.
The Account of him as given by Irenæus and other ancient Authors.
Having said thus much concerning the time of Basilides, I return to Irenæus, who, immediately after the above cited passage relating to Saturninnis, inserted in the foregoing chapter, proceeds: But ‘Basilides, that he might appear to have a more sublime and more probable scheme, * went much farther, and taught that from the self-existent Father was born Nus or Under• standing; of Nus Logos; of Logos Phronesis, Prudence or Providence; of Phronesis Sophia • and Dunamis
, Wisdom and Power ; of Dunamis and Sophia, Powers, Principalities and Angels, whom they call the superior angels, by whom the first heaven was made ; from these • proceeded other angels, and other heavens, to the number of 365, both angels and heavens : • and therefore there are so many days in the year answerable to the number of the heavens. • Farther they say that the angels which uphold the lower heaven, seen by us, made all things
in this world, and then divided the earth among themselves. And the chief of these, they say, • is he who is thought to be the God of the Jews. And because he would bring other nations • into subjection to the Jews, the other princes opposed him, and other nations opposed that • people. But the self-existent and ineffable Father seeing them in danger of being ruined, sent • his first begotten Nus, who also is said to be Christ, for the salvation of such as believe in him,
and to deliver them from the tyranny of the makers of the world ; and that he appeared on • earth as man and wrought miracles; but he did not suffer; for Simon of Cyrene being compelled to bear the cross, was crucified for him ; he was transformed into the likeness of Jesus, and Jesus took the shape of Simon, and stood by looking on, and laughing at the error and ig• norance of those who thought they had him in their power; after which he ascended to • heaven. They who understand these things are to be delivered from the princes of this world. • They also hold that men ought not to confess him who was crucified, but him who came in the • form of man, and was supposed to be crucified, and was called Jesus, and was sent of the • Father, that by this dispensation he might destroy the works of the makers of the world. • He likewise taught that the soul only would be saved, for the body is in its own nature cor* ruptible, and incapable of immortality. He moreover says that the prophecies are from the • princes makers of the world, and that the law was given by the chief of them who brought the • people out of the land of Ægypt. They make light of things offered to idols, and partake of • them without scruple. And all other actions, and all kinds of lewdness, are looked upon by
4 Κατω δε, σερι τες Αδριανα το βασιλεως χρονες οι τας libertatem credentium ei a potestate eorum qui mundum fa-, αιρεσεις επινόησαντες γεγoνασι, και μεχρι γε της Αντωνινα τα bricaverunt. Et gentibus ipsorum autem apparuisse eum in πρεσβυτερα διετειναν ηλικιας, καθαπερ ο Βασιλειδης, καν Γλαυ- terrâ hominem, et virtutes perfecisse. Quapropter neque pasκιαν επιγραφηται διδασκαλον, ως αυχεσιν αυτοι, τον Πετρα έρ- sum.eum, sed Simonem quemdam Cyrenæum angariatum jurved. Cl. Str. p. 764. D.
portâsse crucem ejus pro eo ; et hunc secundum ignorantiam • Aμφω δε επι Αδριαν8 τ8 Καισαρος εγενοντο. Η. F. 1. 1. et errorem crucifixum, transfiguratum ab eo, qui putaretur c. 3. p. 193. D.
ipse esse Jesus ; et ipsum autem Jesum Simonis accepisse c Basilides autem, ut altius aliquid et verisimilius invenisse formam, et stantem irrisisse eos. Quoniam enim virtus invideatur, in immensum extendit sententiam doctrinæ suæ, corporalis erat, et Nûs innati Patris, transfiguratum quemadostendens Nûn primo ab innato natum Patre, ab hoc autem modum vellet, el sic adscendisse ad eum qui miserat eum. natum Logon, deinde Logo Phronesin, a Phronesi autem Et liberatos igitur eos, qui hæc sciant, a mundi fabricatoribus Sophian et Dunamin, a Dunami autem et Sophiâ Virtutes, principibus ; et non oportere confiteri eum, qui sit crucifixus, et Principes, et Angelos, quos et primos vocat, et ab iis pri- sed eum qui in hominis formâ venerit, et putatus sit cruci-. mum cælum factum. Dehinc ab horum derivatione alios fixus, et vocatus sit Jesus, et missus a Patre, uti per disposiautem factos, aliud coelum simile priori fecisse-aliud ter- tionem hanc opera mundi fabricatorum dissolveret. Animæ tium deformâsse cælum, et a tertio deorsum descendentium autem solæ esse salutem : corpus enim naturâ corruptibile exquartum, et deinceps secundum eum modum alteros et alteros sistit. Prophetias autem et ipsas a mundi fabricatoribus fuisse Principes et angelos factos esse dicunt, et cælos ccclxv. Qua- ait principibus, proprie autem legem a principe ipsorum, qui propter et tot dies habere annum, secundum numerum cælo- eduxerit populum de terra Ægypti. Contemnere autem idorum. Eos autem qui posterius continent cælum angelos, lothyta, et nibil arbitrari, sed sine aliquâ trepidatione uti iis : quod etiam a nobis videtur, constituisse ea quæ sunt in mundo habere autem et reliquarum operationem usum indifferentem, omnia, et partes sibi fecisse terre, et earum quæ super eam et universæ libidinis. Utuntur autem et hi magiâ, 'et incantasunt gentium. Esse autem principem ipsorum eum, qui Ju- tionibus. Trecentorum autem sexaginta quinque cælorum dæorum putatur esse Deus. 'Et quoniam hic suis hominibus, locales positiones distribuunt, similiter ut mathematici. llloid est Judæis, voluit subjicere reliquas gentes, reliquos omnes rum enim theoremata accipientes in suum characterem doc-. principes restitisse ei, et contra egisse. Innatum autem et in- trinæ transtulerunt: esse autem principem illorum Abraxas, nominatum patrem videntem perditionem ipsorum misisse pri- et propter hoc ccclxv. numeros habere in se. Iren. lib. i. cap. mogenitumn Nûn suam (et hunc esse qui dicitur Christus) in 24. [al. cap. 22, 23.] p. 101, 102.
them as indifferent. They practise magic also, and incantations. They have distributed the • local positions of the three hundred and sixty-five heavens, just as the mathematicians do. • For they have adopted their theorems, and introduced them into their scheme ; the prince of • which they call Abraxas, that name having in it the number three hundred and sixty-five.'
Eusebius, agreeably to what Irenæus says at the beginning of this article, observes, as from him, that · Saturninus a contented himself with the scheme he had received from Menander; but • Basilides aimed at farther innovations. And to the like purpose • Theodoret. And perhaps for this reason Origen calls his scheme a long story or heap of fictions.
An Examination of several of the Opinions attributed to him.
Let us now go over the several particulars in Irenæus, some slightly, others more distinctly; for I do not intend to insist on their account of their creation of the world, or the formation of man, or their doctrines concerning two natures and election. These last especially are abstruse and intricate notions. After all I could say, I might not give a right explication of them. I therefore content myself with referring to Beausobre, who hath bestowed great pains in examining these points.
Clement of Alexandria has several times hinted these things.
He likewise supposed that there were several æons, or emanations from the eternal Father. But it has been observed that the account of Irenæus, and the authors who follow him, is defective; for Clement of Alexandria mentions two more, Justice and Peace. I shall place in the note a part of Philaster's ' article of Basilides, to shew how that Latin author represented his
Concerning his Nolion of three hundred and sixty-five Heavens.
Basilides is said by Irenæus and others to have believed that there were three hundred and sixty-five heavens, according to the number of the days of the Ægyptian year; which account is generally admitted by moderns, as true. Perhaps it is not needful for us to make any particular inquiries into this point. For if this was only an error in philosophy, and not brought into their religious or theological scheme, we are little concerned about it. But Beausobre s
• Τα μεν εν πλεισα τον Σατοργινον τα αυτα τα Μενανδρω ψευδολογησαι ο Ειρηναιος δηλοι προσχηματι δε απορρητων τον Βασιλειδην εις το απειρον Τειναι τας επινοιας. κ. λ. Η. Ε. lib. 4. cap. 7. p. 119. D.
b Fab. lib. i. cap. iv. vii.
d Vid. Str. lib. 2. p. 363, 409. lib. 3. p. 473. lib. 4. 540. D. lib. 5. p. 545. D.
• Ita Irenæus, Epiphanius, Theodoretus. At Basilidis genealogiam integram non referunt. Nam ex Clemente Alex. 1. 4. Str. p 539. Βασιλειδης απος ατησας-δικαιοσυνην δε
και την θυγατερα αυτης την ειρηνην υπολαμβανει εν ογδοαδι μενειν ενδιατεταγμενας. Νec dubium quin in prima sua conjugatione Evvocar seu Eyyy habuerit, niasculosque cum feminis in ogdaode copulaverit. Massuet. Diss. Iren. p. Ixi. n. 116.
'De innato et solo Deo patum fuisse intellectum, de intellectu verbum, de verbo sensum, de sensu autem et virtute sapientiam, de virtute autem et sapientiâ principatus et potestates et angelos factos diversos. H. 32. p. 65, 66.
& Hist. de Manich. T. ii. p. 9, 10.
does not give credit to it. He thinks that Irenæus must have made some mistake. The absurdity is so great that that it ought not to be ascribed to a learned astronomer, as Basilides was. Moreover Irenæus says that herein Basilides followed the mathematicians. But were there ever any astronomers of this opinion from whom he could take it? Whence this supposition proceeded it is not easy to guess. But possibly Basilides said that there were three hundred and sixty-five angels, who presided each over
one day of the year ; a notion which seems to have been entertained by some in the East. The same learned writer farther argues in this manner : · Clement of Alexandria was well acquainted with the Basilidian theology.' And in one of his remaining works he treats the question, whether there are more heavens than one. He cites some words of the prophet Zephaniah, though not in our Hebrew copies, where mention is made of a fifth heaven; and the words of St. Paul 2 Cor. xii. 2, where he speaks of a third heaven. He likewise takes notice of the opinion of some philosophers, who spake of seven heavens below the sphere of the fixed stars. How could he here omit so uncommon an opinion as that of three hundred and sixty-five heavens, if held by the Basilidians; especially when he lays hold of every opportunity to confute them, because this heresy had then many followers at Alexandria?
He believed the World was made by Angels, the chief of whom presided over the Jews.
BASILIDES supposed this lower world to have been made by angels. This is an opinion which many went into out of respect, though a false respect, for the Deity. They thought it below the Supreme Being to meddle with matter in order to give it form and beauty. They judged it to be unworthy of him to make perishing and mortal beings. Above all, they could not endure the supposition that God was the author of the many evils that are in this world. If God had made this world they argued it would have been perfect. But as there are in it many imperfections it cannot be the work of God, infinitely perfect, and infinitely good.
They chose therefore to ascribe this world to angels; who seeing matter which was eternal, agitated in a tumultuous and disorderly manner, determined to reduce it to order; and having in their mind the world of spirits, to which they belonged, and which served as a model to them, they would make one like it in matter. God, who knew their design, did not interpose to prevent it. Our world therefore was made by angels with the tacit consent of the Supreme Being. This opinion of theirs concerning the formation of the world, was opposite to the opinion of the orthodox or catholic Christians. For, as Beausobre observes, they always endeavoured to pre* serve the unity of the creating principle; but the philosophers who made profession of Chris
tianity obstinately maintained the contrary error. Their design was to justify Providence, and to represent the material principle as the cause of all evil. The intention was commendable, but the execution was bad; for the systems they formed did not solve, but only palliate, these difficulties. And in their very first principles they directly opposed the divine authority of Moses and the prophets, and consequently in the end the divine authority of Jesus Christ : but they denied this consequence, and always maintained a high veneration for the Son of God. Wherefore it is unjust to attribute to them impious sentiments which they never held, but in their whole conduct disavowed.
By some Basilides is said to have ascribed the formation of this world to the inferior angels. But that, I think, is not clear; for if he did, he herein differed from Saturninus, who, according to Irenæus, seems to have taught that the world was made by seven angels, whom he does not represent of an inferior rank, but rather of the first order; as next to the æons, or first emanations from the eternal and ineffable Father. Moreover in Clement of Alexandria, who did not write upon hearsay reports, but who has given us the very words of Basilides himself, he is spoken of as maintaining honourable thoughts of the angel creator, or the chief of the angels who made
Ποτερον εν ορθως ένα ερανον ειρηκαμεν η πολλές και απειρες. Str. 1ib. V. p. 586. Β.
Ć Hist. de Manich. T. ii. p.2. No. 1.
the world. For he said that 'the creator formed the world for the honour of the invisible God, whose image and prophet he was; and that the creator was worthy to be praised, and a very
When a distribution was afterwards made of things, the chief of the angels, creators, had the people of the Jews particularly to his share. A doctrine which, in the main, was received by many ancients, and is in part founded upon Deut. xxxii. 8; which, according to the version of the Seventy, is to this purpose : · When the Most High divided the nations, and separated the • sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the angels of God.' And this opinion they endeavoured to support by Dan. X. 13, 21-xii. 1.
His Opinion concerning the Person of Christ.
We proceed to the account which Irenæus gives of their doctrine concerning the person of Christ. • The eternal Father, seeing the ruin of the world, sent his first-begotten Nus, or Un• derstanding, for the salvation of them that believe in him, and to deliver them from the power • of the angel creators. He appeared as man, and wrought many miracles; but he was not cru•cified, the Jews having through mistake crucified Simon the Cyrenian in his stead."
Here it is fit to observe what Basilides said to the honour of Jesus. He supposed him to be the first-begotten of the Father, and to have come into this lower world for the salvation of men, and with an express order and commission from the Father. He likewise supposed Jesus to have wrought here many miracles.
But he did not think Jesus to be really man, but in appearance only. So say many ancient writers : insomuch that it is difficult to deny or contest this ; and yet perhaps we may presently see somewhat that may make us hesitate about it. For,' as Beausobre says, “undoubtedly • Basilides did not believe the incarnation, or the hypostatic union of the Son of God with flesh; • but then he never denied that Jesus was a real person, in whom the understanding or Son of • God, displayed his power, whom he filled with his gifts and illuminations, and invested with extraordinary influence.'
Of the Story of Simon the Cyrenian, and whether he believed that Christ suffered.
As for Jesus taking the shape of Simon the Cyrenian, and transforming Simon into his own, it is so absurd a story that I confess it appears to me incredible. It must certainly be a misrepresentation founded in some mistake, possibly upon the consequences drawn by others from some opinions of theirs, which consequences they did not allow,
Beausobre too says plainly, the ridiculous comedy of Simon transformed into Jesus, and crucified in his stead, is a fable, which Irenæus found I know not where. And,' and as the same acute writer observes, · Massuet ' perceived that this account is contradicted by Clement
* Ου γαρ αυθεντικως ευρεθη μορφη, αλλα το ονομα επληρω- αυτος περι Χρισ8, ως δοκησει πεφηνοτος, ομοιως δοξαζει ειναι σαν τους ερησαν εν πλασει, συνεργει δε και το το les
αορατον εις δε φησιν αυτον φαντασιαν εν τα φαινεσθαι, μη είναι δε ανοισιν τα πεπλασμενε τον μεν γαρ δημιεργον, ως θεον και θρωπον, μηδε σαρκα ειληφεναι. Epiph. H. 24. n. ii. πατερα κληθεντα, εικονα το αληθινε Θεέ, και προφητην προ- Ib. p. 25. 11. vi.
e lb. σειπεν, ζωγραφον δε την σοφιαν, ής το πλασμα η εικων, εις f Ad eam distinctionem- baud satis attendisse videtur doçay to aspats. Clem. Alex. Strom. lib. iv. p. 509. D. Clemens Alex. dum scripsit. lib. iv. Strom. quod Basilides
• Τον μεγισον και προς αυτων ανυμναμενον Θεον. Ιb. 1. ii. ' hominem peccandi potestate præditum ausus esset dicere p. 376. B.
• Dominum : quod falsum videtur, si ad veruni Christum rein ipsâ prius carne ejus erraverunt : aut nullius veri- feratur, quem hominem quidem esse fatebatur : utcumque tatis contendentes eam secundum Marcionem et Basilidem ; ferri potest, si de ementito Christo, nempe Simone Cyrenæo aut propriæ qualitatis, cundum hæreses Valentini, et Apel- intelligatur, qui sub Christi specie ac figurâ cruci affixus fuit. lis. I'ertull. de Res. Car, cap. 2. p. 379. D. p. 314. 29. Kai Mass. Diss. Iren. p. Ixi. n. 117.