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He is also accused of using Magic and Incantations.
IRENÆUs farther says, that the Basilidians make ‘use of magic, and incantations, andinvocations, and other curious arts. It should be observed here that Tertullian, the most ancient copier of Irenæus, says nothing of this kind; and as we have only a Latin translation of this chapter of Irenæus, and various readings even in that, it is not unlikely that this may be a corrupted place: especially, as neither Clement of Alexandria, nor Origen, who omit no opportunity of reproaching the Basilidians, lay any thing of this kind to their charge. It may be farther remarked that the ancient fathers perpetually coufound astronomy and astrology with magic; mathematician and magician are with them the same. All these considerations make me very doubtful about the truth of this accusation. I would not however be understood to deny their using some superstitious practices, in order to deliver themselves from certain maladies. Others, even orthodox Christians, did this at Antioch, long after the Basilidian heresy was extinct, as will appear in the sequel. The notion of dæmons, or the souls of dead men having the power over living men, was universally prevalent among the heathens, and was believed by many Christians. The Valentinians said that baptism in the name of Jesus was sufficient to deliver Christians from the power of these. Perhaps the Basilidians, who resembled the Valentinians in many respects, might be of the same opinion. Many of the fathers were believers in the effi- . cacy of certain names to expel dæmons. Justin Martyr, in his dispute with Trypho the Jew, assures us that “all dæmons subniit to the name of Jesus ; but when you use any other name, • either of kings, righteous men, proplets, or patriarchs, they will not submit: but if any one
adjure them by the God of Abraham, of Isaac, or of Jacob, they perhaps will obey. Where• fore your exorcists use some certain arts, as well as those of the Gentiles in adjuring them, • together with certain fumes and ligatures.' Irenæus ' himself says that the Jews even now use this invocation, the name of God, to drive away dæmons. Origen likewise informs us that the names of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, joined to the name of God, have such power that not only the Jews use them in their prayers to God, and in casting out dæmons, but also all other exorcists. And he in another place asserts that many use this expression, the God of
Abraham, to cast out dæmons, without knowing who Abraham was. If therefore Justin Martyr, Irenæus, and Origen, believed the use of certain names to be thus powerful in expelling dæmons, it is not at all improbable that the Basilidians, who undoubtedly were filled with the same notions of dæmonism which had overrun the whole world, should use the name of Jesus to deliver those whom they supposed to be possessed from the power of dæmons; or should regard baptism and faith as sufficient preservatives against their influence. But they ought not on this account to be accused of magic. Superstitious and faulty they undoubtedly were, but not more so than many of the catholics. The magicians,' says Clement of Alexandria, boast' that they have dæmons as ministers of their impiety, and, as it were, enrolled in the number of " their domestics; and that they force them to become their servants by their incantations. But this is very different from believing that baptism in the name of Jesus, or invoking him, will deliver them from the power of dæmons, when they think themselves possessed; or be a preservative against such influence. The former is in a high degree criminal, and what no consistent Christian could ever comply with. The latter was the general sentiment of Christians for
a Utuntur autem et hi magia, et incantationibus, et invoca- ? Et propter hoc Judæi usque nunc hac ipsâ adfatione dæ. tionibus, et reliquâ universâ periergia. Ad. Hær lib. i. cap. monas effugant. Iren. lib. 2. cap. 5. p. 123. ed. Grabe. 23. p. 98. Gr.
και Ων τοσετον δυναται τα ονόματα συναπτομενα τη τε Θεε • Massuet reads magia et imaginibus. Feuardentius has re- προσηγορια, ας και μονον τας απο το εθνος χρηθαι εν ταις προς jected imaginibus, and so has Grabe. Epiphanius and Theo
Θεον ευχαις, και
εν το κατεπα δειν δαιμονας, τω, ο Θεος doret have only magic. See Beaus. H. M. T. ii. p. 45. n. 18. Αβρααμ, και ο Θεος Ισαακ, και ο Θεος Ιακως: αλλα γαρ Gabrei not. in loc.
σχεδον και παντας τες τα των επωδων και μαγειων πραγμα• Δαιμονας αψυχές, νεκρων ειδωλα καμοντων. Sibyllinor. TEUOPLEVDs. Con. Cel. lib. 4. p. 183, 4. ed Spenceri. Opp. 1. 8. p. 084. ed Gallæi. See also p. 27. note A, under the Tom. 1 p. 526. n. 33. ed. Bened. article Lucius. C. H. section 10.
h Παραλαμβανεσι την, Θεος Αβρααμ, λεξιν, ουκ επιςαμενοι d In Eclo. Theod. sect. 74 et seq. See before, B. 1. ČE TIS ESIY • Aspaan. Ib. lib. 1. p. 17. ed. Spenceri. Opp.
• Κατα γαρ το ονοματος αυτο τοτε τα υίε τε Θε8-----σαν Tom. I. p. 339. n. 22. Bened. δαιμονιον εξορκιζομενον νικαται, και υποτασσεται: εαν δε κατα Μαγοι δε ηδη, ασεβειας της σφων αυτων υπηρετας δαιμοπαντος ονόματος των παρ' υμιν γεγενημενων, βασιλεων, η δι- γας αυχεσιν, οικετας αυτες εαυτοις καταγραψαντες τες κατκαιών, η προφητων, η πατριαρχων, εξορκιζητε υμεις, εκ υποτα. αναγκασμενες, δελες ταις επαοιδαις πεποιηκότες, Coh. al. γησεται εδες των δαιμονίων" αλλ' ει αρα εξορκιζοι τις υμων Gentes, p. 39. C.ed. Paris. p. 52, ed. Potteri. κατα τ8 Θε8 Αβρααμ. . - ισως υποταγησεται. κ. τ. λ. Jus. Mar. Dial. 2. p. 320, 1. ed. Thirlby.
Of the Meaning of Caulacau, and his Definition of Faith and Hope.
The Basilidians use the word Caulacau,' and apply it to a person : Theodoret says to the Saviour of the world. It is taken from Isaiah xxviii. 10,' where we have translated it, line
upon line, but the Seventy render it, hope upon hope, Entida En' chaid. The only meaning that can be drawn from which, if understood in the sense of the Seventy, is, that they regarded our Saviour as the foundation and support of all their hopes; a sentiment becoming Christians, though expressed in an affected, enigmatical manner.
I would just observe farther concerning the opinions of Basilides, that he defines faith to bed an assent of the soul to the truth of things which are not perceivable by the senses, because they are not present, and hope he calls an expectation of good.
Of the Name Abraxas, which he is said to have given to the Prince of the Heavens.
We come now to what Irenæus says farther, that they call the prince of the heavens Abraxas, that name having in it the number three hundred and sixty-five.' The very same thing is said by Theodoret, who seems to have copied him.'
Upon this occasion we are led to consider a common notion among the moderns, that the Basilidians had amulets, or preservatives, or magical figures, with certain inscriptions. There are in the cabinets of the curious great numbers of stones or gems, which are usually ascribed to them. When I read the account of these things in Montfaucon's Antiquity explained, where the collection is very large, I thought they were too numerous, too costly, and too heathenish, to be remains of any Christian sect.
a Quemadmodum et mundus nomen esse, in quo dicunt and incomprehensible to all these angels and powers, as Caudescendisse et ascendisse salvatorem, esse Caulacau. Igitur lacau or the Saviour himself was. qui hæc didicerit, et angelos omnes cognoverit, et causas eo- Τον δε Σωτηρα και Κυριον Καυλακαναν ονομαζεσι. , Ηer. rum, invisibilem et incomprehensibilem eum angelis et po- Fab. lib. 1. cap. 4. p. 195. D. testatibus universis fieri, quemadmodum et Caulacau fuisse. • The words in the original are ps 1p. If we consider this Iren. I. 1. c. 23. p. 98, 99. ed. Grabe. Beausobre would as derived from 7p to stretch out, it may metaphorically refer amend this, which Grabe says is corrupted, by changing mun- to the stretching of the mind towards an object, and therefore dus into mundi, and leaving out the first esse. But this, he owns, may signify hope or expectation. Thus the Seventy un. will not agree with the following sentence, where Caulacau derstood it. And as the Basilidians were most prevalent in is attributed to a person, and is not the name of the world. Ægypt, they undoubtedly used this translation, and would This is agreeable to what Theodoret says. I think a sense therefore naturally understand the words in the sense there may be made out by reading in connection with the preceding given. If understood in that sense, and applied as a name to context, as follows: Et deinceps nituntur 365 ementitorum our Saviour, it seems to imply what is asserted above. coelorum nomina, et principia, et angelos et virtutes exponere, Όριζονται 787
οι απο Βασιλειδε την αισιν, ψυχης συνκα. quemadmodum et mundi nomen; in quo dicunt descendisse ταθεσιν προς τι των μη κινεντων αισθησιν, δια το μη παρειναι. et ascendisse salvatorem, qui est Caulaca. The meaning then EATIS de wgoodoxia xtysews ayants. Clem. Strom. lib. 2. po will be, they endeavour to explain the names, elements, an- 371. A. B. ed. Paris. p. 443. ed. Potter. gels, and virtues of these 365 feigned heavens, as also the • Esse autem principem illorum (cælorum) Alpagas, et name of this world, (that is, the name assigned it in their propter hoc ccclxv. munerum habere in se. Iren. lib. i. system of astronomy,) into which the Saviour descended, cap. 23. p. 99. ed. Grabe. and then ascended from it again, who himself was called Cau- Ειναι δε τον αρχοντα αυτων φησιν Αζρασαξ. ή γαρ ψηφος lacau : and that he who knows all these angels, and can ex- το ονοματος των τ. ξ. ε. ερανων σημαινεν τον 10%. H. F. plain their origin and causes, will himself become invisible, lib. 1. cap. 4. p. 195. D.
Of the Number, Costliness, and heathenish Origin of those Gems called Abraxai.
They are, I say, very numerous. The collections that have been made of these things are very large: and many more may be in being, not yet discovered; and others undoubtedly totally lost. The costliness appears in the number and in the materials. They are indeed too considerable to have been the production and possession of all the Christians of the first three centuries, though they had all taken delight in such things. That they are heathenish and Ægyptian, is obvious at first sight. And truly Montfaucon was in the right to let his plates of Abraxas follow his Ægyptian deities. I put in the margin some passages from him, acknowledging all these three particulars—their numbers, costliness, and heathenish origin. For, he says, there are in the cabinets of Europe almost innumerable engraved gems of this kind; and they have on them the figures or images of the cock, the dog, the lion, the ape and the sphinx, all well known to be symbols of heathen deities, some of one god, some of another. They have also on them, beside lao, Adonai, and Abraxas, the names and images of Isis, Osiris, Serapis, Harpo. crates, Canopus, Scarabæus, and every kind of thing which the Ægyptians placed among their gods. Of these figures Montfaucon has six-and-thirty plates well filled. They are so numerous that he found it needful, for the sake of order and perspicuity, to divide them into several classes, seven in number, which I place in the margin.!
Of the Derivation and Meaning of the Word Abraxas, and to what the Basilidians applied it.
Berore I proceed any farther in this argument, I would observe concerning the word Abraxas, that many learned men have inquired into its derivation and meaning. Beausobre, in whom the opinions of some others may be seen,
seen, hath given a probable solution of it, which I shall notice hereafter.
I must also premise that many learned moderns affirm that the · Basilidians used to call the supreme God Abraxas. For this they have the authority of Jerom,' and of the author of the additions to Tertullian's book of Prescriptions. But these writers are mistaken, as we may conclude from Irenæus, whose authority is much better. From him we learn their opinion was that the Father of all was ineffable, or without a name. He also assures us that Abraxas was the first of their three hundred and sixty-five heavens, or the prince of the angels that resided in them. Indeed I think if Abraxas had been their name for the Supreme Deity, Irenæus would have mentioned it at the beginning of his article, and not at the end, in his account of their notion about the heavens.
* I. Quis putaret portentosam illam religionem a viris hoc cænobio sunt. c. 3. n. i. p. 357. Alia hujusmodi bene Christianam religionem profitentibus adoptandam, et cum multa variis ex locis amuleta corrasimus. Hæc cum iis consacris ejus mysteriis commiscendam fore ? Quis illam de diis juncta, quæ Chimetus in editione libelli Joannis Mæcarii pub. ineptam monstrosamque opinionem nationis omnium super- licavit, et cum iis quæ aliis in libris sunt emissa, amplam effistitiosissimæ cum arcanis sanctissimisque veræ religionis mys- cient collectionem, quam septem in classes distribuimus. teriis conjungendam unquam credidisset? Illud tamen se- Prima classis est Abraxæorum schematum cum capite galli: cundo ecclesiæ seculo fecere Gnostici, Basilidiani, et Valen- secunda eorum, quorum vel caput vel corpus levois est, quos tiniani. Irenæus, Epiphanius, Hieronymus, aliique patres, rum inscriptio sæpe est Mithras: tertia eorum, quæ vel inhæreticæ hujusmodi impietatis ceu specimen tantum dede- scriptionem vel figuram Serapidis habent: quarta eorun quæ runt: monumenta ab illis hæreticis relicta, quæ ad usque vel Anubim vel Scarabæos, vel serpentes aut sphingas, aut nostram ætatem devenerunt, multa nos docent, quæ, iis indi- simias præferunt: quinta eorum, quæ figuras exhibent buciis destituta, in æternam inducta oblivionem fuissent. II. manas, vel alatas, vel alis carentes: sexta est inscriptionum Musea multa per Europam innumeras pene insculptas gemmas absque figuris, et inscriptionum Hebræarum : septima eorum subministrant, ubi cum nominibus sacris lao, quod idem est quæ insolitan, portentosioremque formam præ se ferunt, atque Jehova Sabaoth, Adonai, frequentius cum nomine Ibid. n. ii. p. 358. Abraxas, figuræ visuntur sive galli, sive canis, leonis, item c Histoire du Manich. T. ii. p. 55, 56. simiæ, sphingis. In iis etiam conspiciuntur Isis, Osiris, Se- • Ibid. T. ii. p. 52--54. See also Grabe's notes upon rapis, Harpocrates, Canopus, Scarabæus, et quidquid Ægyptii Irenæus, on the word Abraxas, p. 99. in deorum numerum retulerant. Illud autem docent gemmæ e Tunc Basilides summum Deum Abraxas cum 365 Æoniillæ, quæ ideo Abraxas vocantur, quia illud nomen frequen- bus commentatus est. Adv. Lucif. p. 304. In. Ut Basilides, tius, quam alia nomina, ibi occurrit. Montf. Antiquité ex- qui omnipotentem Deum appellat Abraxas, et eumdem se. pliquée. Lib. iii. cap. 1. Tom. 2. P. ii. p 353.
cundum Græcas literas, et annui cursûs numerum dicit in 6 Ex istâ, ut videtur, officina diffusus est ille ingens lapil- solis circulo contineri ; quem ethnici, sub eodem numero lorum numerus, qui in multis Europæ museis visuntur, quo- aliarum literarum, vocant Mithram. In Os. c. iii. p. 1392. rumque copia in dies noya eruitur. Plusquain sexaginta in
Epiphanius seems to say they a place the power or prince Abrasax at the head of their powers or principalities. Philaster has not one word about Abraxas in his article of Basilides, though it be longer than usual. Augustine only says; o it was with them a sacred name, because it contained in it the number three hundred and sixty-five. Tillemont says little of the meaning of Abraxas, because he found I suppose but little of it in the ancient authors which he perused. I have inserted in the note below all that he says of the Basilidians; likewise ? what he further mentions concerning this name.
It probably referred to their philosophical Arcana.
If the Basilidians made use of the word Abraxas, as it appears from Irenæus "they did; it is very probable they applied it to the arcana of their philosophy, and not to their theology Jerom assures us that it is the same with Mythras. Now Mythras is the deity which the Persians worship, or the Sun. This at once explains why Abraxas is said to be the chief of the three hundred and sixty-five heavens, or angels who reside in them, and rule over the three hundred and sixty-five days of the year. For the sun being the fountain of light, and the immediate cause of day, may with great propriety be said to preside over all the days of the also, in the hieroglyphical language, be said to contain in himself the parts of which the year is composed, and to rule over it. The word Abraxas is made up of those elements of the Greek alphabet, which in numeration have the value of three hundred and sixty-five. It is therefore a technical term, and is much in the spirit of the cabbalistic or oriental philosophy; this, joined with that hieroglyphical turn for which the Ægyptians were remarkable, will account for the emblematical figures that appear on several of those gems and stones called by Montfaucon,
a Postea Basilides hæreticus erupit: hic esse dicit summum 8 Abraxas ou Abrasax, nom superstitieux parmi les BasiliDeum nomine Abraxan, a quo mentem creatam, quam Græce diens, et peut-être leur Dieu. H. p. 220. voy appellat. De Præs. C. 40. p. 214. 41. Fran. 1597.
Vid. p. 545, of this chap: note e • İnnatum autem et innominatum patrem. Irep. lib. 1. i Ibid. p. 546, note e. cap. 23. p. 98. Gr. e Vid. p. 545, note €.
a=l B=2 p=100 a=1&=60 a=l o=2001+2+ Λεγει δε την υπερανω τατων δυναμιν ειναι, και αρχην 100+1+60+1+200=365. Mer9p25 eumdem numerun asparag. x. T. 1. Hær. 24. n. vii.
valet. Vid. Spanh. His. Ecc. secundi seculi de Basilidianis. The name is found written buth ways in ancient authors, | Extra seriem vulgarium, quæ in nummis et marmoribus Abraxas and Abrasax. Il est vrai que on lit Abrasax et adhibentur, formarum ponimus eas, quæ in amuletis, vulgo Abraxas, en mettant un X (E) pour une S (E) mais outre Talismans, usurpantur. Amuleta autem hujusmodi, in gemqu'il l'a fallu, afin que les lettres numérales fissent le nombre mis et lapillis variæ formæ et magnitudinis insculpta, Abraxas de trois-cens soixante-cinq, c'est qu'il est assez ordinaire aux etiam vocantur, et magno numero visuntur in museis variis, in Grecs de mettre le & pour Erypa, un X pour une S. Les nostroque nominatim non pauca, portentosis figuris, præstigiis exemples en sont frequens dans Platon. Les Athéniens en characteribusque non vulgaribus oppleta_Hi vero Basiliparticulier le faisoient. Beausobre His. du Manich. Tom. diani, a Basilide parente nuncupati, virtutes et angelos multos ji.
esse putabant; quorum primum et præcipuum, atque, ut ait ¿ Quod trecentos sexaginta quinque cælos esse dicebat, Epiphanius, superiorem angelorum virtutem ac principium, quo numero dierum annus includitur. Unde etiam quasi Abrasax nuncupabant: quia hæ literæ, si numerice accipiansanctum nomen commendabat, quod est alpagas: cujus tur, ret, id est, 365, conficiunt, quot scilicet diebus sol cursum nominis literæ, secundum Græcam supputationem, eumdem absolvit-totidemque virtutes numerabant-His itaque 365 numerum complent. Hær. iv. T. vi. p. 4. Venet. 1570. virtutibus totidem anni dies designabant; vel singulas singulis
I S. Jérome comptoit apparemment ces cieux imaginaires diebus præesse somniabant: quibus omnibus præfici ac domi. lorsqu'il dit, que Basilide avoit inventé 365 éons ou siécles niari Abraxam suum, sive solem, opinabantur. Hinc est, avec un soverain Dieu Abraxas. Car, à cause que ce mot d' quod hanc virtutem Apaoag, (frequenter item A6pufas conAbraxas ou Abrasax selon d'autres contient dans le chiffre scribunt) cum radiis aliisque solaribus symbolis depingant; Grec le nombre de 365, les Basilidiens en faisoient un nom videlicet, in lapillis et gemmis--His porro omnibus solem sacré. Meni. Eccle. Basilid. Tom. ii. p. 220.
subindicant. Nam gallus gallinaceus, utpote solis prænuntius,
Abraxæi. There is, however, no sufficient evidence to prove that all his classes are entitled to that name, because on very many that word is not found; and there is still less proof that they belonged to the Basilidians.
The Gems ealled Abraxæi were used by the Heathens as Charms.
Every one knows that, in the system of ancient mythology, Apollo and the sun were the same; Apollo was also the god • of healing. On this account, in the true spirit of hieroglyphics and mythology, these gems were undoubtedly used by the heathens, and probably were used by some superstitious Christians, who being but lately converted, still retained a relish for their for. mer absurdities, as amulets or charms, to drive away agues and other diseases. It is not unlikely that such were found among the orthodox as well as among the Basilidians. For Montfaucon acknowledges it, and indeed proves it by a quotation from Chrysostom, that long after the Basilidian heresy was extinct, the Christians at Antioch used to bind brass coins of Alexander the Great about their feet and heads, to keep off or drive away diseases. It is nothing wonderful then if in Ægypt, a country overrun with superstition, some of the new converts to Christianity should weakly join with the heathens in the use of charms and amulets.
The Christians accused of worshipping Serapis.
This appears to be fact from a letter of the emperor Adrian, preserved by Vopiscns. A common report was, it seems, then spread in Ægypt, that the Christians worshipped Serapis. The letter goes so far as to say that the Jews, the Samaritans, and the Christians, that even the chief master of the synagogue, the Christian presbyters and bishops, and even the patriarch himself, worshipped Serapis, as well as Christ. Had this accusation been confined to a part of the Christians or Jews, or had any particular sort of heretics been mentioned, one might have thought it possible; but the charge is so general that it can never be true. We must therefore seek for something in the customs of those times which will account for the rise of such a calumny. And I think the use of amulets, which it is not improbable prevailed among some of the Christians in Ægypt, as we are sure it afterwards did at Antioch, will account for it. The emperor makes no mention of the Basilidians, but charges the Christians at large with the crime.
solis symbolum est. Flagellum autem, equis solaribus agi-
Ovid. Met. lib. 1. v. 521, 2.
suis nummos æneos Alexandri Macedonis alligant? Hæccine spes nostra ? An, post crucem et mortem servatoris, in regem profanæ religionis spem nostram habebimus ? Montfaucon's Antiq. Expl. p. 373. Jam supra vidimus in multorum. lapillorum inscriptionibus, eos ad morbos curandos fuisse daios. Hujusmodi præstigiæ in omnibus pene Christianismi seculis usurpatæ sunt. Ibid. 377, 8.
· Hist. August. Script. T. ii. p. 719. et seq. ed. Lug. Bat. 1671.
• In Ægypto orta fama et calumnia est, Christianos Serapin colere. Unde Hadrianus in epistola suâ apud Vopiscum hæc habet: ' Ægyptum, quam mihi laudabas, Serviane carissime, totam didici levem, pendulam, et ad omnia famæ momenta volitantem. Illi, qui Serapin colunt, Christiani sunt; devoti sunt Serapidi, qui se Christi episcopos dicunt. Nemo illic archi-synagogus Judæorum, nemo Samarites, nemo Christianorum Presbyter; non mathematicus, non aruspex, non aliptes. Ipse ille Patriarcha, cum Ægyptum venerit, ab aliis Serapidem adorare, ab aliis cogitur Christum. Montfaucon Palæo. Grae. p. 178.