« PreviousContinue »
from Pope Leo, who opposed it, compounding it out of the profaneness of Paganism, the blindness of Judaism, the deviltry of magic, and in fine, whatever is sacrilegious and blasphemous in all heresies.*
Beausobre, in his large and learned work, exhibits at great length, 1, the accounts of the Greek and Latin writers, drawn mostly, as we have seen, from the book of Archelaus, together with an investigation of their correctness; 2, the accounts of the Oriental writers, Persian, Syrian, Arabian. The first are Christian, the second Mohammedan, but all alike opposed to the Manichæans. The Mohammedans, who tolerate the Jews and Christians, not regarding them as excluded from the divine compassion, suppose that there is no grace possible for the Manichæans, and place them in hell next to the Atheists. As almost nothing has been preserved of the writings of Manes, the dogmas of the sect, and of its chief, as well as his history, have to be learned from opposers; and there is much truth in the remark of Beausobre, that the disposition of antiquity was to receive without examination all that rumor published to the disadvantage of the heretics, to exaggerate the absurdity of their opinions, and to put down as articles of their original faith, all the consequences which could result from their principles.t
The Oriental writers,-Persian, Syrian and Arabian,-differ so much from the Grecian writers, that it might be supposed that the Manes of the Greeks and he of the Orientals are two distinct heresiarchs, who, whatever resemblance there may have been in their opinions, had almost none in their history. I Beausobre adds to this remark, that, in comparing the Greeks and Latins with the Orientals, you know not with whom are to be found the worst reasonings or the most fabulous histories.
The name of this heresiarch has given rise to not a little curious and learned etymological conjecture. The Acts of Archelaus make Manes to have been purchased as a slave, at the age of seven years, under the name of Cubricus, by a woman who set him free and put him to his studies. Archelaus asserts farther that he took the name of Manes at the age of twelve years, on the death of his benefactress; but the more probable conjecture is that his mistress gave him that name when she
* Baronius, Annales, 277.
set him free,—a thing not uncommon in the East on such occasions. The learned and sagacious Archbishop Usher having dropped a suggestion in his Annals on the similarity between the name of Menahem king of Israel, and that of Manes,* Beausobre has sought to confirm the conjecture, which indeed is unquestionably the right one. The name of Manes is nothing but that of Manaem, that is to say, the Paraclete, the Comforter, changed first into Manem, and thence by the Greeks, not admitting the termination m, into Manen or Manes.t It was very natural to suppose, (Paraclete being one of the Oriental significations of the name,) that Manes chose it because of his pretensions to be considered the Paraclete promised in the New Testament. We think it more likely that the name, acting with and upon his growing fanaticism, suggested to him the pretension, or rather confirmed him in it. He may have really persuaded himself that he had been thus marked and designated beforehand by a higher power, as the revealer of new truth, and the world's comforter that was to come.
According to the testimony of the Chronicle of Edessa, Manes was born in the year 239 or 240 of the Christian Era. I D'Herbelotą makes him to have lived under the reigns of Sapor and Hormisdas, but to have been put to death by Varanes the son of Hormisdas, in the year 277 or 278. He is supposed by some to have been one of the Persian Magi, by others a Chaldean. He was regarded as one of the most skilful of all men in the sciences of the Persians and Babylonians. He understood the Greek language, then uncommon in the East; he
* The suggestion is thrown out by Usher in the following remark on 2 Kings 15 : 14, on the name of King Menahem. A Sulpicio Severo, Lib. I. Hist. Pac., Manes hic appellatur; eodem quo Manes vel Manichæus hæresiarcha nomine. Utriusque vero nomen paracletum, sive consolatorem signififat.-Usher, Annales, 47.
+ Hist. du Manich. Tom. I. pp. 71, 72.—Cyril, Epiphanius and others remark upon the Greek signification of the name: “ You will hate all heretics in general,” says Cyril,“ but especially him who takes his name from madness, uavias." Cyril, Catechesis, VI. 12.— Titus of Bostra has the same remark: Manichæus, qui a barbarie et furore nomen ducit. Titus Bost. Contr. Man. Bibliot. Patrum, IV. 443.
| Hist. du Manich. Tom. I. p. 65. s Bibliot. Orient. Voc. Mani.
was skilful in music, the mathematics, geography, astronomy, astrology, medicine and painting.* He believed in the spherical figure of the earth, and had himself constructed a terrestrial globe. When or how he became a Christian, we are not told; but he is said to have joined to his knowledge of the sciences an acquaintance with the Scriptures, and so great a zeal for the faith, that he was made a Christian priest at Ahvaz, a considerable city of one of the smaller Persian provinces. Here he taught and interpreted the sacred books, and disputed with the Jews, the Magi, and Pagan strangers from abroad.t
The churches of Persiaľ were in a tranquil state when Manes first broached his heresy; and there was at the head of the clergy of the East, a proud, imperious, unworthy primate, Papas by name, under whose administration a state of things had come about not unfavorable to the progress of the heretic. Under these circumstances Manes set himself up for an apostle, boasted that he had received his apostleship immediately from heaven, and alleged in proof of it, first, the perfection and plenitude of his knowledge, and second, the promise which Christ had made to the church of sending the Paraclete, the Comforter.
Most of the Grecian writers have accused Manes of professing himself to be the Paraclete; but whether he meant that he was himself the personification of the Holy Spirit, or simply that the Holy Spirit dwelt in him, is difficult to say. Eusebius is the first writer who declares him to have pretended that he was the Paraclete. In the Acts of Archelaus it is said, that “as he found in the sacred books the name of Paraclete, he pretended himself to be that Paraclete." The historian Socrates declares that he called himself the Paraclete, and also named
* Hist. du Manich. Tom, I.
İLightfoot, Vol. VII., also Vol. XII. p. 574, argues that St. Peter himself had preached in Chaldea, and that when he wrote his epistles he was in Babylon, the use of the word Bosor, in 2 Pet. 2: 15, indicating the Chaldee dialect. § Hist, du Manich. Tom. I. p.
186. || Eusebius, Hist. Ecc. ch. 31.
| See the whole original Acta Disputationis in Routh's. Reliquiæ Sacræ, Vol. IV. Also quoted in Beausobre, Tom,
himself in his epistles an Apostle of Christ.* Cyril of Jerusalem also makes the same charge. The Epistle of Manes to Marcellus, as given by Epiphanius and others from the book of the Acts of Archelaus, commences thus: “Manes, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, and all the Saints and Virginst with me, to Marcellus my dear son: Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”$ Beausobre thinks the charge made against Manes of having professed himself to be the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, is not true, for how should he make this pretension, and at the same time call himself simply an Apostle of Jesus Christ ? He brings Augustine to witness that Manes began all his letters with these words : MANES THE APOSTLE OF JESUS CHRIST.). The assertion, however, is not made merely on the authority of the book of the Acts of Archelaus, of which Beausobre denies the authenticity, since, if Beausobre's opinion be correct, Eusebius mentions it before that book had been published ; and as it is repeated by almost every writer on the subject, it seems highly probable. Mosheim is of opinion that Manes asserted himself to have been the Paraclete. Titus, bishop of Bostra, a calm and apparently impartial controversialist, distinctly makes this accusation.***
A number of places may be collected from Augustine on this point, but this Father does not, that we are aware of, anywhere distinctly affirm that Manes asserted himself to be the Paraclete, but only that the Holy Ghost dwelt in him with full authority.tt
The record of the blasphemous pretensions of Manes is not
* Socrates, Hist. Ecc. ch. 22. + Cyril, Catechesis, 6, § 16.
I Πάντες άγιοι και παρθένοι. Tillemont supposes that these saints and virgins were disciples of Manes of both
but Beausobre supposes the terms saints and virgins to refer to one and the same class, viz. men who had taken the vow of celibacy and chastity. Beausobre, Vol. I.
93. § Epiphanius, Adv. Hæres. L. II. i Hist. du Manich. Tom. I. ch. 2. § 10.
Mosheim, Ecc. Hist. Vol. I. p. 234. ** Paracletum se appellavit, usu nominis quod non solum supra nominem, sed supra angelum est. Titus Bost. Præf. Contr. Manich. Lib. III. Bib. Patr. IV. 467.
tt Augustine, Confe ss. L.V. 8, 9.
confined to the Greek writers. “This impostor,” says D'Herbelot,“ having heard say that Jesus Christ had promised to send after him a Paraclete, wished to persuade the ignorant people of Persia that himself was the Paraclete, who would announce to them from God a new religion."* Continuing the history from D'Herbelot, who omits all mention of that famous dispute with Archelaus, bishop of Mesopotamia, which figures so largely in the accounts of the earliest writers, we observe that after Manes had for some time attracted admiration by his various knowledges, he began to collect disciples, who opposed the worship and ceremonies of the Zoroastrian religion, professed hitherto by the Persians. To avoid the wrath of Sapor on this account, he fled to Turquestan, into a city or town named in Hyde and Beausobre Tchighil, where he made himself popular by adorning the temples with paintings. Here he preached his doctrine and gathered disciples. Having discovered a convenient grotto in which was a sweet fountain, he gathered provisions for a year, and in order to pass for some divinity, or more probably, if this story be true, to support his pretensions to be considered the Paraclete, told his disciples that he was going to heaven for a year, after which he should descend to earth again, and would reappear in the cave which he pointed out to them. In this retreat he perfected and arranged his scheme of philosophy and religion, and prepared a gospel for his disciples, with all the art, which as a skilful painter he was master of. At the expiration of the
year they did not fail to seek him, and then he showed them that wonderful book, which he professed to have brought from heaven, bearing the name, as D'Herbelot has it, of Erzenk, or Ertenk.t It was full of wondrous images and figures, magical, astrological and prophetical, adorned and painted with such marvellous skill and beauty, that it became so celebrated in all Persia as to pass
into a proverb. I Lardner observes that the eastern authors, quoted by Hyde and Herbelot, are not ancient but modern, being either Moham
* Bibl. Orient. Voc. Mani. + Ibid.
# Kemal Esfahani, Poëte Persien, pour louer l'habilité d'un Peintre, dit “que ses ouvrages faisoient plier le Livre d'Ertenk, et mépriser toutes ses figures." " Bibl. Orient. Voc. Ertenk and Erzenk.