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Pagan Origin of Partialist Doctrines by Pitrat

The Docetes professed the same belief as the Carpocratians


Lest

we might be suspected of partiality in the exposition of the belief of those Christian sects in regard to future punishment, we will _exclusively_ make our extracts from the works of Bergier, Feller, and other Catholic theologians and historians.

The Cerinthians did not believe the doctrine of endless hell. The Basilidians believed in Metempsychosis, or transmigration of the souls. In consequence they did not hold the dogma of endless hell. Eusebe informs us, in his Ecclesiastical History, that Basilide had written on the four Gospels twenty-four books; and that his sect was numerous. It flourished till the fourth century.

The Millenaries, who existed mainly in the second and third centuries, believed that Jesus Christ would soon come from heaven, to reign one thousand years over the righteous; that this reign would be temporal; and that it would be followed by a general judgment: but they did not hold that future punishment would be endless, for they were silent about its nature.

The Marcionites believed in a good principle, God, and in a bad one, the Devil; the latter had created our body. Jesus Christ had but an apparent flesh. Our body should not come again to life; they believed like Pythagoras, of whom Marcion was a follower, in the doctrine of Metempsychosis: such was their belief. They made so many proselytes, that, even in the fifth century, their sect was numerous

in Italy, in Egypt, in Palestine, in Syria, in Arabia, in Persia, and in other oriental countries.

The Valentinians held that Jesus Christ was not God; that he had redeemed the world only from sin, by freeing men of the empire of evil Eons, or geniuses, who had the government of the universe. They believed in the doctrine of Metempsychosis, or transmigration of the souls. In consequence, they neither knew nor believed the dogma of endless hell. Valentin had an immense number of disciples, and his sect spread in Asia, and in Africa; in Europe it extended as far as Gaul, where, according to the testimony of Ireneus, bishop of Lyons, the Valentinians were very numerous.

The Marcosians formed a numerous religious body towards the end of the second century. Their sect spread as far as Gaul. They believed the doctrine of Metempsychosis.

The Theodotians and the Artemonians, in the second century, professed that Jesus Christ was not God, and believed in Metempsychosis.

The Carpocratians believed in the pre-existence of the souls, and taught that they had sinned in an anterior state of existence; that, as a punishment for those crimes, they had been condemned to animate other bodies, and would pass into other bodies as long as they would not have been sufficiently purified by this expiation. They denied the divinity of Jesus Christ, and the belief of the resurrection of the body. Carpocrate, of Alexandria, founded this sect in the second century.

The Docetes professed the same belief as the Carpocratians, with the difference that they did not admit that Jesus Christ had a natural body. They had exactly the same belief in regard to Metempsychosis. This sect existed in the second century. The Patripassians, the Noetians, the Praxeans, and the Sabellians have been silent on the dogma of endless hell.

Tatian, one of the most prominent ecclesiastical writers of the second century, established the sect of the Tatianists, who believed that Jesus Christ had not really suffered, and that he had not redeemed the world by his blood. They also held the doctrine of Metempsychosis. Of the many works of Tatian we have only his Discourse against the Pagans, and his Diatessaron.


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