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Pagan Origin of Partialist Doctrines by Pitrat

Says that the Valesians sprung up in 240


Berylle,

bishop of Ostres, in Arabia, established, in 207, the sect of the Arabics. They believed that the soul was born and died with the body, and that both would come again to life. Origen wrote against this belief, and converted the most of them to his opinions. As Origen thought and taught that the punishment of the wicked would not be endless, and that the souls transmigrated, we may safely conclude that the Arabics embraced his opinions.

The Novatians were organized into a sect by Novat and Novatian, priests of the Church of Carthage. We have perused the treatises on Trinity and on the Viands, written by Novatian, whose fragments are found in the works of Tertullian; but we have found no opinion expressed in regard to the dogma of endless hell. We heard since that there is a complete edition of his works, published in 1728, by Jackson, at London: we have not been able to obtain it.

According to the testimony of Epiphane, the Valesians held many of the doctrines of the Gnostics. From this we may safely infer that they believed in Metempsychosis. Tillemont, in his Memoirs for the Ecclesiastical History, tome 3d, says that the Valesians sprung up in 240. St. Epiphane and Tillemont are the only authors who have referred to them in their writings.

The Samosatians, whose chief was Paul of Samosate, Patriarch of Antioch, professed that the three persons of the Trinity were not three

Gods, but three attributes, under which God has manifested himself to men; that Jesus Christ was not a God, but a man to whom wisdom had been extraordinarily given. We did not find any thing in the Ecclesiastical History in regard to their doctrines about future punishment. However, as they considered Jesus Christ only as an extraordinary man, it is most probable that they kept the immemorially, and, even then, generally believed doctrine of Metempsychosis. This sect was established in 260. The famous Zenobia, who then reigned in Syria, and believed the Jewish religion, was converted to this sect.

Manes was born in Persia, in 240. He was the father of the sect of the Manicheans. We shall give a summary of their doctrines, and as their sect has been one of the most numerous, one of the most widely spread, and one whose denominational organization seems to have outlived nearly all those of the first centuries, we will add a summary of their history. We will find in their doctrines, and in their history, a weighty proof that the dogma of endless hell was not generally believed by the Christians of the first five centuries, to say the least.

To remove the least shadow of doubt about our impartiality, we continue, as done before, to take our extracts from Roman Catholic authors, who had an interest to make it appear that the dogma of endless hell was co-eval to the apostles.

We extract from Cotelier, a Roman Catholic author, tome 1, of the Apostolic Fathers, page 543, and following, these doctrines of the Manicheans:

In their opinion, the souls, or spirits, are an emanation from the good spirit, whom they considered as an uncreated light; and all bodies have been formed by the bad principle, whom they called Satan, and the power of darkness. They held that there are portions of light enclosed within all the bodies of the universe, and that they give them motion and life, wherefore those souls cannot reunite to the good principle, except when they have been purified by the means of various transmigrations from one body into another. They denied the future resurrection of the body.


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