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10. APPENDIX 2 — SIMON MAGUS IN THE APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTIONS

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10. APPENDIX 2 — SIMON MAGUS IN THE APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTIONS



Apostolic Constitutions, VI. i. 7-10: WHENCE THE HERESIES SPRANG, AND WHO WAS THE RINGLEADER OF THEIR IMPIETY 7. Now the original of the new heresies began thus: the devil entered into one Simon, of a village called Gitthae, a Samaritan, by profession a magician, and made him the minister of his wicked design. For when Philip our fellow-apostle, by the gift of the Lord and the energy of His Spirit, performed the miracles of healing in Samaria, insomuch that the Samaritans were affected, and embraced the faith of the God of the universe, and of the Lord Jesus, and were baptized into His name; nay, and that Simon himself, when he saw the signs and wonders which were done without any magic ceremonies, fell into admiration, and believed, and was baptized, and continued in fasting and prayer, — we heard of the grace of God which was among the Samaritans by Philip, and came down to them; and enlarging much upon the word of doctrine, we laid our hands upon all that were baptized, and we conferred upon them the participation of the Spirit. But when Simon saw that the Spirit was given to believers by the imposition of our hands, he took money, and offered it to us, saying, “Give me also the power, that on whomsoever I also shall lay my hand, he may receive the Holy Ghost;” being desirous that as the devil deprived Adam by his tasting of the tree of that immortality which was promised him, so also that Simon might entice us by the receiving of money, and might thereby cut us off from the gift of God, that so by exchange we might sell to him for money the inestimable gift of the Spirit. But as we were all troubled at this offer, I Peter, with a fixed attention on that malicious serpent which was in him, said to Simon: “Let thy money go with thee to perdition, because thou hast thought to purchase the gift of God with money. Thou hast no part in this matter, nor lot in this faith; for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray to the Lord, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive thou art in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity.” But then Simon was terrified, and said: “I entreat you, pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of those things which ye have spoken come upon me.”

WHO WERE THE SUCCESSORS OF SIMON’S IMPIETY, AND WHAT HERESIES THEY SET UP 8. But when we went forth among the Gentiles to preach the word of life, then the devil wrought in the people to send after us false apostles to the corrupting of the word; and they sent forth one Cleobius, and joined him with Simon, and these became disciples to one Dositheus, whom they despising, put him down from the principality. Afterwards also others were the authors of absurd doctrines: Cerinthus, and Marcus, and Menander, and Basilides, and Saturnilus. Of these some own the doctrine of many gods, some only of three, but contrary to each other, without beginning, and ever with one another, and some of an infinite number of them, and those unknown ones also. And some reject marriage; and their doctrine is, that it is not the appointment of God; and others abhor some kinds of food: some are impudent in uncleanness, such as those who are falsely called Nicolaitans. And Simon meeting me Peter, first at Caesarea Stratonis (where the faithful Cornelius, a Gentile, believed on the Lord Jesus by me), endeavored to pervert the word of God; there being with me the holy children, Zacchaeus, who was once a publican, and Barnabas; and Nicetas and Aquila, brethren of Clement the bishop and citizen of Rome, who was the disciple of Paul, our fellow-apostle and fellow-helper in the Gospel. I thrice discoursed before them with him concerning the true Prophet, and concerning the monarchy of God; and when I had overcome him by the power of the Lord, and had put him to silence, I drove him away into Italy.

HOW SIMON, DESIRING TO FLY BY SOME MAGICAL ARTS, FELL DOWN HEADLONG FROM ON HIGH AT THE PRAYERS OF PETER, AND BRAKE HIS FEET, AND HANDS, AND ANKLE-BONES 9. Now when he was in Rome, he mightily disturbed the Church, and subverted many, and brought them over to himself, and astonished the Gentiles with his skill in magic, insomuch that once, in the middle of the day, he went into their theater, and commanded the people that they should bring me also by force into the theater, and promised he would fly in the air; and when all the people were in suspense at this, I prayed by myself. And indeed he was carried up into the air by demons, and did fly on high in the air, saying that he was returning into heaven, and that he would supply them with good things from thence. And the people making acclamations to him, as to a God, I stretched out my hands to heaven, with my mind, and besought God through the Lord Jesus to throw down this pestilent fellow, and to destroy the power of those demons that made use of the same for the seduction and perdition of men, to dash him against the ground, and bruise him, but not to kill him. And then, fixing my eyes on Simon, I said to him: “If I be a man of God, and a real apostle of Jesus Christ, and a teacher of piety, and not of deceit, as thou art, Simon, I command the wicked powers of the apostate from piety, by whom Simon the magician is carried, to let go their hold, that he may fall down headlong from his height, that he may be exposed to the laughter of those that have been seduced by him.” When I had said these words, Simon was deprived of his powers, and fell down headlong with a great noise, and was violently dashed against the ground, and had his hip and ankle-bones broken; and the people cried out, saying, “There is one only God, whom Peter rightly preaches in truth.” And many left him; but some who were worthy of perdition continued in his wicked doctrine. And after this manner the most atheistical heresy of the Simonians was first established in Rome; and the devil wrought by the rest of the false apostles also.

HOW THE HERESIES DIFFER FROM EACH OTHER, AND FROM THE TRUTH 10. Now all these had one and the same design of atheism, to blaspheme Almighty God, to spread their doctrine that He is an unknown being, and not the Father of Christ, nor the Creator of the world; but one who cannot be spoken of, ineffable, not to be named, and begotten by Himself; that we are not to make use of the law and the prophets; that there is no providence and no resurrection to be believed; that there is no judgment nor retribution; that the soul is not immortal; that we must only indulge our pleasures, and turn to any sort of worship without distinction. Some of them say that there are many gods, some that there are three gods without beginning, some that there are two unbegotten gods, some that there are innumerable Aeons. Further, some of them teach that men are not to marry, and must abstain from flesh and wine, affirming that marriage, and the begetting of children, and the eating of certain foods, are abominable; that so, as sober persons, they may make their wicked opinions to be received as worthy of belief. And some of them absolutely prohibit the eating of flesh, as being the flesh not of brute animals, but of creatures that have a rational soul, as though those that ventured to slay them would be charged with the crime of murder. But others of them affirm that we must only abstain from swine’s flesh, but may eat such as are clean by the law; and that we ought to be circumcised, according to the law, and to believe in Jesus as in an holy man and a prophet. But others teach that men ought to be impudent in uncleanness, and to abuse the flesh, and to go through all unholy practices, as if this were the only way for the soul to avoid the rulers of this world. Now all these are the instruments of the devil, and the children of wrath.




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