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Against Hermogenes.

Containing an Argument Against His Opinion that Matter is Eternal.

[Translated by Dr. Holmes.]


Chapter I.—The Opinions of Hermogenes, by the Prescriptive Rule of Antiquity Shown to Be Heretical. Not Derived from Christianity, But from Heathen Philosophy. Some of the Tenets Mentioned.

We are accustomed, for the purpose of shortening argument,61296129    Compendii gratia. [The reference here to the De Præscript. forbids us to date this tract earlier than 207 a.d. Of this Hermogenes, we only know that he was probably a Carthaginian, a painter, and of a versatile and clever mind.] to lay down the rule against heretics of the lateness of their date.61306130    This is the criterion prescribed in the Præscript. Hæret.xxxi. xxxiv., and often applied by Tertullian.  See our Anti-Marcion, pp. 272, 345, 470, and passim. For in as far as by our rule, priority is given to the truth, which also foretold that there would be heresies, in so far must all later opinions be prejudged as heresies, being such as were, by the more ancient rule of truth, predicted as (one day) to happen. Now, the doctrine of Hermogenes has this61316131    The tam novella is a relative phrase, referring to the fore-mentioned rule. taint of novelty. He is, in short,61326132    Denique. a man living in the world at the present time; by his very nature a heretic, and turbulent withal, who mistakes loquacity for eloquence, and supposes impudence to be firmness, and judges it to be the duty of a good conscience to speak ill of individuals.61336133    Maldicere singuiis. Moreover, he despises God’s law in his painting,61346134    Probably by painting idols (Rigalt.; and so Neander). maintaining repeated marriages,61356135    It is uncertain whether Tertullian means to charge Hermogenes with defending polygamy, or only second marriages, in the phrase nubit assidue. Probably the latter, which was offensive to the rigorous Tertullian; and so Neander puts it. alleges the law of God in defence of lust,61366136    Quoting Gen. i. 28, “Be fruitful and multiply” (Rigalt.). and yet despises it in respect of his art.61376137    Disregarding the law when it forbids the representation of idols.  (Rigalt.). He falsifies by a twofold process—with his cautery and his pen.61386138    Et cauterio et stilo. The former instrument was used by the encaustic painters for burning in the wax colours into the ground of their pictures (Westropp’s Handbook of Archæology, p. 219).  Tertullian charges Hermogenes with using his encaustic art to the injury of the scriptures, by practically violating their precepts in his artistic works; and with using his pen (stilus) in corrupting the doctrine thereof by his heresy. He is a thorough adulterer, both doctrinally and carnally, since he is rank indeed with the contagion of your marriage-hacks,61396139    By the nubentium contagium, Tertullian, in his Montanist rigour, censures those who married more than once. and has also failed in cleaving to the rule of faith as much as the apostle’s own Hermogenes.61406140    2 Tim. i. 15. However, never mind the man, when it is his doctrine which I question. He does not appear to acknowledge any other Christ as Lord,61416141    Thus differing from Marcion. though he holds Him in a different way; but by this difference in his faith he really makes Him another being,—nay, he takes from Him everything which is God, since he will not have it that He made all things of nothing. For, turning away from Christians to the philosophers, from the Church to the Academy and the Porch, he learned there from the Stoics how to place Matter (on the same level) with the Lord, just as if it too had existed ever both unborn and unmade, having no beginning at all nor end, out of which, according to him,61426142    The force of the subjunctive, ex qua fecerit. the Lord afterwards created all things.

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