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“sectaries, and the gross immoralities with which
ralities. This was enough to rouse the persecuting
-- ERESY, in Greek, (says Lardner, in his His-
5. “Heretics, (says Lardner, ) have often been treated with much harshness and great severity of expression. Some seem to have reckoned that they had a right to say the worst things of Heretics which they could ; and others have thought themselves obliged to believe all the evil that has been reported of them. 6. “One thing laid to the charge of many of those Heretics is Magic—another thing is lewdness, and all manner of wickedness, and likewise teaching it. There is no small agreement between the charges brought against the first Christians in the beginning of the second century, and the charges against the Heretics in later authors; which may create a suspicion that these last were formed upon the model of the former, and consequently are without ground.” 7. “What the crimes, were, which were laid to the charge of the Primitive Christians, we know from divers writers, Greek and Latin —From whom it appears that, besides atheism, or impiety to the established deities, they were charged with having their wives in common, with promiscuous lewdness in their assemblies, with incest, and eating human flesh, especially young children, whom they first killed and then ate, at their nocturnal meetings, where persons of each sex, and cvery age were present.” - 8. “ Turner says, these calumnies seem to have begun with Christianity itself. Tacitus, speaking of the Christians in the time of Vero, says, they were generally hated for their wickedness ; that is, they lay under a bad character with the people.” 9. “The Romans, (says Mosheim,) concluded, that the christian sect, [i.e. heresy, was not only unsupportably daring and arrogant, but, moreover, an enemy to the public tranquility, and every way proper to excite civil wars and commotions in the empire.” 10. “ Tacitus, reproaches them with the odious character of haters of mankind, and styles the religion of JEsus a destructive sufterstition. Suetonius speaks of the Christians, and their doctrine, in terms of the like kind.” He calls christianity “a
** foisonous and mulignant superstition.”
11. What is here added, may sufficiently show **** upon what ground the charge of heresy was excited and continued against the Heretics. Thus says Paul : I confess, that after the way which they call heresy, so * xxiv. worshift I the God [not gods] of my futhers. And it was predicted by Christ Jesus himself, that his followers should have their name cast out as evil, and all manner of evil spoken against them falsely.
12. From which it appears, that while the ashologists, the honorable Catholic Fathers, cleared themselves of those ridiculous charges, by uniting with the universal faith and manners invented by Saccas, they rolled over the burden of reproach upon those who would not conform : Of course a heretic in the second or third century, according to the universal opinion, must be a magician, an athcist, a lewd incestuous man-eater.
13. According to Lardner, St. Jerome scruples not o to say, “They are worse than heathens, the worst of Yo “all men; and if they are free from all reproach in " 225. “ their lives, yet they have only the shadow and ap“pearance of virtue, not the truth.” “This is cer- p. 235. “tain, (says Lardner,) that as bad things were said * of the Primitive Christians by Jews and heathens, ‘as ever were said of the ancient heretics by Cath* olics.”
14. And we might add, that as bad things were said by Jews, heathens, and Catholics, against Christ and his followers, in the three first centuries, as can be said by Antichristians, against the followers of Christ in this latter day; which may appear, not only from those general charge s which have been mcmtioned, but from many things of the like nature, which were published to the world, with some appearance of authority; of which the following may serve as a specimen.
15. CEI.sus, an Epicurean Philosopher of the second century, wrote a book against the Christians, entitled “The TRUE Word.” Lardner thinks it was a time of persecution when he wrote, [about the year of Christ 176] because he several times speaks of the Christians as teaching their principles private
ly, and holding assemblies contrary to law, and hiding
“is now reckoned by the Christians to be the Son of
“God.” “In another place, Celsus calls Jesus “the
“ first author of this sedition.”
17. “After this he brings in his Jew, arguing * against Jesus in this manner. First, that he pre“tended he was born of a virgin : then he reproaches ‘ him with his birth in a Jewish village, and of a poor “woman of that country, who subsisted by the labour * of her hands.” 18. “And he says, she was put away by her hus* band, who was a carpenter by trade, he having found, ‘that she was guilty of adultery. Then he says, that “having been turned out of doors by her husband, ‘she wandered about in a shameful manner, till she ‘llad brought forth Jesus, in an obscure place; and ‘that he being in want, served in Egypt for a liveli* hood; and having there learned some charms, such * as the Egyptians are fond of, he returned home; ‘and then valuing himself upon those charms, he * set up himself for a God.” 19. Again—“That the mother of Jesus, being ‘great with child, was put away by the carpenter, who “ had espoused her, he having convicted her of adul* tery with a soldier named Pantheras.-Afterwards • Celsus goes on : “Was the mother of Jesus hand“some, that God should be in love with her beauty 2 “It is unworthy of God, to suppose him to be taken “ with a corruptible body, or to be in love with a wo“man, whether she be of royal descent or otherwise.” 20. “In another place Celsus says: “But if God “would send forth a spirit from himself, what need “ had he to breathe him into the womb of a woman & “For, since he knew how to make men, he might “have formed a body for this spirit, and not cast his “own spirit into such filth.”