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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV:
Writings in Connection with the Manichæan Controversy.: Chapter 28

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 28.—Manichæus Places Five Natures in the Region of Darkness.

31.  "There dwelt," he says, "in that region fiery bodies, destructive races."  By speaking of dwelling, he must mean that those bodies were animated and in life.  But, not to appear to cavil at a word, let us see how he divides into five classes all these inhabitants of this region.  "Here," he says, "was boundless darkness, flowing from the same source in immeasurable abundance, with the productions properly belonging to it. p. 143 Beyond this were muddy turbid waters, with their inhabitants; and inside of them winds terrible and violent, with their prince and their progenitors.  Then, again, a fiery region of destruction, with its chiefs and peoples.  And, similarly, inside of this a race full of smoke and gloom, where abode the dreadful prince and chief of all, having around him innumerable princes, himself the mind and source of them all.  Such are the five natures of the pestiferous region."  We find here five natures mentioned as part of one nature, which he calls the pestiferous region.  The natures are darkness, waters, winds, fire, smoke; which he so arranges as to make darkness first, beginning at the outside.  Inside of darkness he puts the waters; inside of the waters, the winds; inside of the winds, the fire; inside of the fire, the smoke.  And each of these natures had its peculiar kind of inhabitants, which were likewise five in number.  For to the question, Whether there was only one kind in all, or different kinds corresponding to the different natures; the reply is, that they were different:  as in other books we find it stated that the darkness had serpents; the waters swimming creatures, such as fish; the winds flying creatures, such as birds; the fire quadrupeds, such as horses, lions, and the like; the smoke bipeds, such as men.

Next: Chapter 29

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