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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV:
Writings in Connection with the Manichæan Controversy.: Chapter 46

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 46.—The Unspeakable Doctrine of the Fundamental Epistle.

For they even say that Adam, the first man, was created by certain princes of darkness so that the light might be held by them lest it should escape.  For in the epistle which they call Fundamental, Manichæus wrote as follows respecting the way in which the Prince of Darkness, whom they represent as the father of the first man, spoke to the rest of his allied princes of darkness, and how he acted:  "Therefore with wicked inventions he said to those present:  What does this huge light that is rising seem to you to be?  See how the pole moves, how it shakes most of the powers.  Wherefore it is right for me rather to ask you beforehand for whatever light you have in your powers:  since thus I will form an image of that great one who has appeared in his glory, through which we may be able to rule, freed in some measure from the conversation of darkness.  Hearing these things, and deliberating for a long time among themselves, they thought it most just to furnish what was demanded of them.  For they did not have confidence in being able to retain the light that they had forever; hence they thought it better to offer it to their Prince, by no means without hope that in this way they would rule.  It must be considered therefore how they furnished the light that they had.  For this also is scattered throughout all the divine scriptures and the heavenly secrets; but to the wise it is easy enough to know how it was given:  for it is known immep. 364 diately and openly by him who should truly and faithfully wish to consider.  Since there was a promiscuous throng of those who had come together, females and males of course, he impelled them to copulate among themselves:  in which copulation the males emitted seed, the females were made pregnant.  But the offspring were like those who had begotten them, the first obtaining as it were the largest portion of the parents’ strength.  Taking these as a special gift their Prince rejoiced.  And just as even now we see take place, that the nature of evil taking thence strength forms the fashioner of bodies, so also the aforesaid Prince, taking the offspring of his companions, which had the senses of their parents, sagacity, light, procreated at the same time with themselves in the process of generation, devoured them; and very many powers having been taken from food of this kind, in which there was present not only fortitude, but much more astuteness and depraved sensibilities from the ferocious race of the progenitors, he called his own spouse to himself, springing from the same stock as himself, emitted, like the rest the abundance of evils that he had devoured, himself also adding something from his own thought and power, so that his disposition became the former and arranger of all the things that he had poured forth; whose consort received these things as soil cultivated in the best way is accustomed to receive seed.  For in her were constructed and woven together the images of all heavenly and earthly powers, so that what was formed obtained the likeness, so to speak, of a full orb."

Next: Chapter 47

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