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Pagan Origin of Partialist Doctrines by Pitrat

Said concerning the doctrines of the Priscillianists


1176, the council of Albi, which some authors call council of Lombez, was held against the Manicheans, who, as said above, were called Albigenses. In this council they were condemned under the calling of Good Men. Fleury, who, in the seventy-second book of his Ecclesiastical History, quotes the acts of the council, ascribes to them the above doctrines; so does the historian Rainerius; and Bossuet, in the ninth book of his History of Variations, cites other authors who confirm all these accusations. The condemnation of the Manicheans, or Albigenses, was confirmed by the general council of Latran, in 1179. A crusade was ordered against them by the Pope, Innocent III., and a strict inquisition was organized. Simon, count of Montford, was appointed, by the Pope, general-in-chief of the crusaders; then the slaughter commenced. It lasted eighteen years: the Albigenses, or Manicheans, were exterminated, a few only secretly found their way to the Alps, where they concealed themselves, and afterwards united to the Valdenses. Several hundred thousands were either burnt alive, or tortured on racks, or put to the sword; all were slain: men, old men, young men, women, children, and infants; and during those horrible ceremonies of death, the soldiers of the Pope sung the Veni Creator Spiritus, etc., a hymn of invocation to the Holy Spirit.

From the doctrines and history of the Manicheans we draw the following argument:


to the unanimous testimony of the Roman Catholic authors themselves, from about the middle of the third century to the thirteenth, the Manicheans composed a numerous body of Christians, and did not believe the dogma of endless hell. So constant were they in this disbelief, that they persisted in it till nearly every one of them was exterminated; therefore it is an undeniable historical fact that this large denomination of Christians did not hold the dogma of hell, in the third, fourth, fifth, etc., centuries.

Let us examine the doctrine of the Christian sects, which sprung up in the fourth century, in regard to endless hell. We continue to take our extracts from Roman Catholic authors.

Priscillian, a Spaniard, was the founder of the Christian sect of Priscillianists, in the year 380. This denomination of Christians believed in the doctrine of Metempsychosis. They held that the souls passed into the bodies of other men, until they were purified, by their transmigrations, of the sins they had committed in an anterior life. They denied the resurrection of human bodies. Priscillian was condemned to death, and the penalty of death was decreed against the Priscillianists. The emperor Maxime, and the pope Leon, used fire, racks, and swords against them; they slew thousands of them, nevertheless they increased so that they were numerous yet in the sixth century in Spain and in Italy. Tillemont, in his Ecclesiastical Memoir, tome 8, refers to Sulpice-Severe, to Ambrosius, and to St. Augustine, for the confirmation of the above, said concerning the doctrines of the Priscillianists.

The other principal sects of the fourth century were the Donatists, the Photinians, the Macedonians, the Apollinarists, the Jovinians, the Collyridians, and the Pelagians. The Nestorians, the Eutichians, and the Monothelites, sprang up in the fifth century. We have not found in their writings any passages referring to the dogma of endless hell. However we must state that we had the opportunity of perusing only about two-thirds of the numerous and voluminous, we would add tedious, works composed pro and con concerning their respective tenets.

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