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for he pretended not himself to be the Holy Ghost, though he has been accused of it.
By virtue of this divine mission, he rejected the Old and reformed the New Testament. ile pretended either that the Gospels were not the works of apostles or apostolical men whose naines they bare, or that if they were, they had been falsified by Judaizing Christians : but it appears not that he or his followers took upon them to curtail or interpolate the New Testament,
Having denied the inspiration, or at least the superior authority, of the Hebrew prophets, he opposed to them other prophets, whose books the eastern nations pretended to have preserved. lle affirmed that every nation had been favoured with prophets, and that the Christian church, being chiefly composed of Gentiles, ought to be guided by those illuminated Gentile teachers, and not by Hebrew instructors.
He admitted the authority of Apocryphal books composed to maintain the heresies of the Docete and of the Encrutites, whose notions he also adopted ; those of the former, who held that Christ had only the appearance of a man, and those of the latter, who condemned marriage and the use of animal food.
Manichæus believed that the divine nature was extended and limited : but as he linited not the divine perfections, his error was the less noxious, nor were some of the fathers free from it.
He held a Trinity, and the consubstantiality of the persons, but he thought them as really distinct as three men. We must not hence charge him with tritheisin, unless we would involve in the same charge many of the most illustrious fathers, wlio were in the same sentiment,
He acknowledged only one God, to whom he as. cribed all the attributes that seemed to him to belong to a being supremely perfect. Having no idea of a substance without place and extension, he conceived the divinity to be a living immaterial light, which had resided from all eternity in the highest heaven, accompanied with pure and immortal spirits, whom he called Æons, and who were emanations of the divine essence. This was a Platonic notion.
Yet were these Æons infinitely beneath their author, and not, properly speaking, gods.
The highest heaven and the intelligent agents who inhabit it, compose the intellectual world which is eternal. The luminous substance, of which heaven is formed, is coeternal with God; it is also self-existent, since from nothing nothing can proceed : but the heaven and the Æons have only a secondary eternity, since they have a cause, which is God; yet as this cause hath operated from all eternity, they are likewise eternal. This also was Platonic.
From the essence of the Father have emanated two persons, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. These two emanations are far superior to all the others; they are consubstantial with the Father, but subordinate, and they have not absolute independency, which belongs to him alone. The first of these, since the formation of the material world, resides in the sun and moon, the second in the air. There they execute the orders of the Father, and there they will remain, till the consummation of the age. In this part of the Manichæan system there are notions not remote from the Hebrew and the Egyptian Theology.
In a corner of infinite space resided from all eternity an evil power, which Manichæus called matter in phi
losophic losophic style, the devil in vulgar style, and durka sess in mystical language, which was that of the Jugi. The empire of this power was divided into five regions, the uppermost of which surrounded and contained within it the rest. Each of these regions liad one of the elements of matter, together with living a-, nimals formed out of it; each bad also its ruling prince, but all were under the dominion of the greut. prince, the sole head of the evil powers.
These two empires being thus divided by I know not what bounds, God knew the darkness, but the darkness knew not him, or the light, nor would ever have known the happy realms, ita scdition which arose in it had not caused the powers of darkness to come forth from their limits. Seeing the light, they projected to make an irruption into that kingdom, and to seize it. God opposed to them a power
cailed the first man, who was armed with the five elements of the celestial substance. Among these clements was that of light, by which was probably meant the human soul. But this first man being too weak for his adversaries, God sent to his aid a second power, ' called the living spirit, wlio delivered himn. liowever the dæmons having seized a part of the heavenly substance, light and darkness became blended together. This fable was intended as a solution of the origin of natural and moral evil.
The living spirit having conquered the dæmons, chained them in the air, leaving them no more liberty than he judged suitable to his own designs. There, in their fury, they are the cause of tempests, thunder, lightning, rain and contagious distempers.
The two substances being mixed, the living spirit judged that he could make something grand and bearitiful out of them ; and indeed this was the intentio, Bb 4
of the Supreme God in permitting this mixture. The Spirit began then by separating the parts of the celestial substance which were preserved from the contagion of matter, and of them he formed the sun and moon : of those which were corrupted only in a small degree he made the planets, and the lower heaven, The rest remained confounded with the material substance, and it was all employed in forming our sublunary world where good and evil are intermixed,
As human souls were the most excellent parts of the celestial substance which the princes of darkness had seized, they contrived to retain them. prince formed two organized bodies upon the model of the first man, whom he had belield. He made them of different sexes, and in them he inclosed the first souls which he had taken. His project was to charm them by the sweet impressions of the senses, to make them love their prisons, and to incline them irresistibly to perpetuate their captivity by the allurements of concupiscence : and as generation continues to produce bodies resembling the two first, the souls which Mutter in the air, and are dispersed every where in these lower regions, imprudently enter into the corporeal prisons which concupiscence continually produces and prepares for their reception : there they willingly continue, enamoured with their habitation.
Sonls, being of celestial origin, have by nature the seeds ot' virtue, and the knowledge of duty ; but when they are united to bodies, they drink in the cup of oblivion a pernicious puison, which deprives them of their memory. That was Platonic,
To remedy this inconvenience, the divine provi, dence at first made use of the ministry of good angels, wlio taught the ancient patriarchs salutary
truths. These transmitted the knowledge of them to their descendants; and that this might never be totally extinguished, God hath not ceased to raise up in all times and in all nations wise men and prophets, till at last it pleased him to send his Son into the world. This divine minister instructed human souls concerning their true origin, the causes of their captivity, and the means of their deliverance. After having wrought innumerable miracles to confirm his doctrine, he taught them by bis mystical crucifixion, how they ought to mortify the flesh with its affections : he also shewed them by his mystical resurrection and ascension, that death destroys not the man, but only breaks his prison, and restores to purified souls the liberty of returning to their heavenly country.
Flesh being composed of matter, and of the most vicious part of matter, it followed thence that the Son of God could only take the figure, not the real nature, of man. Therefore Manichæus denied the incarnation, and the birth of Christ from a virgin. He denied also that Christ made use of food for his sustenance, that he had a soul susceptible of the innocent affections, that he suffered, died, and rose again. He acknowledged that all this was done in appearance, but not in reality.
He denied also the resurrection of the flesh, since that would be a perpetuating of those evils of which the flesh is the cause. lle disapproved of marriage, as being the invention of the devils, to tie the souls to the flesh, and to retard their return to heaven. He strongly recommended all the austerities which serve to mortify the body; and for the same reason he disapproved of the use of wine and of Acsh, pretending that it nourished the body too