Epiphanius Against Heresies 48

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Against those who are called Phrygians or Montanists or, also, Tascodrugians. Number 28, but 48 of the series

1,1 Out of these in turn there emerges another sect, called the sect of the Phrygians. It originated at the same time as the Encratites, and is their successor. (2) For the Montanists had their beginning about the nineteenth year of Hadrian’s successor Antoninus Pius, while Marcion, Tatian, and the Encratites who succeeded him had theirs in Hadrian’s time and after Hadrian.

1,3 These Phrygians too, as we call them, accept every scripture of the Old and the New Testaments and likewise affirm the resurrection of the dead. But they boast of having one Montanus as a prophet, and Priscilla and Maximilla as prophetesses, and by paying heed to them have lost their wits. (4) They agree with the holy catholic church about the Father,the Son and the Holy Spirit, but have separated themselves by “giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils” and saying, “We must receive the gifts of grace as well.”

1.5 God’s holy church also receives the gifts of grace—but the real gifts, which have already been tried in God’s holy church through the Holy Spirit, and by prophets and apostles, and the Lord himself. (6) For the apostle John says in his Epistle, “Try the spirits, whether they be of God;” and again, “Ye have heard that Antichrist cometh, and now many Antichrists have come. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us: but that it might be made known that they were not of us. For this cause write I unto you, little children,” and so on. (7) The Phrygians are truly not “of ” the saints themselves. They “went out” by their contentiousness, and “gave heed” to spirits of error and fictitious stories.

2,1 For see here, by their thesis itself they are convicted of inability to keep their contentious promises. If we must receive gifts of grace, and if there must be gifts of grace in the church, why do they have no more prophets after Montanus, Priscilla and Maximilla? Has grace stopped operating, then? Never fear, the grace in the holy church does not stop working! (2) But if the prophets prophesied up until a certain point, and no more <after that>, then neither Priscilla nor Maximilla prophesied; <they delivered their prophecies after> the ones which were tried by the holy apostles, in the holy church.

2,3 Their stupidity will be refuted in two ways, then. Either they should show that there are prophets after Maximilla, so that their so-called “grace” will not be inoperative. Or Maximilla and her like will be proved false prophets, since they dared to receive inspiration after the end of the prophetic gifts—not from the Holy Spirit but from devils’ imposture— and delude her audience. 2,4 And see how they can be refuted from the very things they say! Their so-called prophetess, Maximilla, says, “After me there will be no prophet more, but the consummation.” (5) See here, the Holy Spirit and the spirits of error are perfectly recognizable! Everything the prophets have said, they also said rationally and with understanding; and the things they said have come true and are still coming true. (6) But Maximilla said that the consummation would come after her, and no consummation has come yet—even after so many emperors, and such a lapse of time! (7) There have been about years from Maximilla’s time until ours, the twelfth year of Valentinian and Valens and the <eighth> of Gratian, and we have yet to see the consummation which was announced by this woman who boasted of being a prophetess, but did not even know the day of her own death.

2,8 And it is plain to see that none who have estranged themselves from the truth have retained any soundness of reason. Like babes bitten by the perennial deceiver, the serpent, they have surrendered themselves to destruction and to being caught outside the fold and dragged off to be the wolf’s meat <and> thus perish. This is because they did not hold on to the Head but deserted the truth and hazarded themselves in shipwreck, and in the surf of all sorts of error. (9) If Maximilla says there will never be another prophet, she is denying that they have the gift, and that it is still to be found among them. If their gift persists [only] until Maximilla, then, as I said before, she had no portion of the gifts either.

3,1 For she has gone astray. The Lord has set his seal on the church, and perfected the gifts of grace <in> her. When prophets were needed the same saints, filled with the Holy Spirit, delivered all the prophecies for our benefit—[delivered them] in the true Spirit, with sound mind and rational intellect, in proportion to their < faith > in the gifts of grace the Spirit was giving to each, and “in proportion to the faith.” (2) But what have these people said that was beneficial? What have they said that was in proportion to the faith? Indeed, how can they be any but the persons of whom the Lord said, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves?” By comparing what they have said with <the teachings> of the Old and New Testaments—which are true, and which have been delivered and prophesied in truth—let us determine which is <really> prophecy, and which false prophecy. (4) A prophet always spoke with composure and understanding, and delivered his oracles by the Holy Spirit’s inspiration. He said everything with a sound mind like “Moses, the servant of God and faithful in all his house, who saw the glory of God <apparently, and not in dark speeches.” And thus the man who saw> was called a prophet in the Old Testament. (5) Scripture says, “The vision which Isaiah the son of Amoz, the prophet, saw: I saw <the> Lord sitting upon a throne high and lifted up. And I saw Seraphim and Cherubim, and I heard the Lord saying unto me, Go and tell this people, Hear indeed and ye shall not understand; and see indeed, and ye shall not perceive.” And after hearing this from the Lord he went to the people and said, “Thus saith the Lord.” (6) Can’t you see that this is the speech of a sober person who is not out of his senses, and that the words were not delivered as the speech of a mind distraught?

3,7 Similarly, when the prophet Ezekiel heard the Lord say, “Bake thee bread on human dung,” he said, “Not so, Lord; nothing common or unclean hath at any time come into my mouth.” (8) Understanding that which had been threateningly said to him by the Lord, he did not go ahead and do [it] as though he were out of his senses. Since his mind was sound and rational he prayed and said, “Not so, Lord.” These—both the teaching and the discussion—are marks of <the> true prophets, whose minds are sound in the Holy Spirit.

3,9 And who can deny that Daniel was filled with all wisdom and in possession of his senses? He found the answers to Nebuchadnezzar’s riddles, (10) recalled Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams when they had eluded even the dreamer, and with his soundness of mind and the superiority of his gift, gave the explanation at once. For he had wisdom greater than everyone’s by the gift of the Holy Spirit, who truly gives wisdom—to the prophet and to those who, through the prophet, are vouchsafed the teaching of the truth. 3,11 But when the Phrygians profess to prophesy, it is plain that they are not sound of mind and rational. Their words are ambiguous and odd, with nothing right about them.

(4,1) Montanus, for instance, says, “Lo, the man is as a lyre, and I fly over him as a pick. The man sleepeth, while I watch. Lo, it is the Lord that distracteth the hearts of men, and that giveth the heart to man.”

4,2 Now what rational person who receives the “profitable” message with understanding and cares for his salvation, can fail to despise a false religion like this, and the speech of someone who boasts of being a prophet but cannot talk like a prophet? (3) For the Holy Spirit never spoke in him. Such expressions as “I fly,” and “strike,” and “watch,” and “The Lord distracteth men’s hearts,” are the utterances of an ecstatic. They are not the words of a rational man, but of someone of a different stamp from the Holy Spirit who spoke in the prophets.

4,4 When the Phrygians are undertaking to combine falsehood with truth and rob of their intelligence persons who care for accuracy, they pile up texts to make a false case for their imposture, and <to prove their lies from them>, say that certain scriptures bear a resemblance to it. <For instance>, the holy scripture has said, “God sent an ‘ecstasy’ upon Adam, and he slept.” But Adam’s case was nothing like theirs. (5) In their case God did not mean to fashion a body—his reason for putting Adam into a trance—and, of his extreme lovingkindness, give them a similar experience. (6) God brought the unconsciousness of sleep upon Adam, not distraction of mind. There are many different forms of ecstasy. We call stupefaction from excess of wonder an ecstasy; and madness is called ecstasy because it is out of touch with reality. (7) But Adam’s “ecstasy” of sleep was so called in a different sense, one related to the activity of his body, especially because the holy Adam whom God’s hand had fashioned was cast into a very deep trance.

5,1 For it is indeed plain that the sacred scripture was right to call this ecstasy. When someone is asleep, all his senses leave him and take a rest. Though the sense of sight is there, for example, it does not see; the eye is closed, and the mover in the man, the spirit or soul, is at rest. (2) If there is an unpleasant odor in the house or even a pleasant one, the sense of smell is there but does not perceive the odor; this sense has gone off to take a rest. (3) If there are bitter, or salty or sweet fluids in the mouth, the sense of taste does not perceive them; it lies in the ecstasy of rest without doing what it did in the man when he was awake.

5,4 The ear is there, but the hearing is not functioning as a sense. And if people are talking in the house it often does not hear what anyone says unless the man wakes up; for the time being, its function is suspended. (5) Creatures can be crawling on our bodies, but we do not feel their touch on our bodies unless their onslaught is severe; the whole body has abandoned its activity for the rest of sleep.

5,6 For the body is made of earth and envelops the soul, and since God made it serviceable to us in this way, it is allowed a time of withdrawal from its full sensation to a state of rest. The soul itself does not abandon its function of governance or thought. (7) It often imagines and sees itself as though it were awake, and walks around, does work, crosses the sea, addresses crowds—and sees itself in more situations, and more striking ones, in its dreams. (8) But it is not like a madman, or an ecstatic in a transport. He takes frightful things in hand while awake in body and soul, and often does grievous harm to himself and his neighbors. He does not know what he is saying and doing, for he has fallen into the ecstasy of folly.

6,1 Beloved, Ι have needed to gather all this material <about> the various kinds of ecstasy because of the text, “The Lord sent an ecstasy upon Adam, and he slept.” (2) And Ι have explained why going to sleep is called an “ecstasy from the Lord” in that passage. It is because of the compassion and lovingkindess God has granted to all, so that one may be removed from care and the business of living to the rest of sleep. (3) In Adam’s case, however, God further called it ecstasy because it made him insensitive to pain for a time, because of the side God meant to take from him and make into his wife.

6,4 But Adam’s senses and wits were not in abeyance. He recognized Eve as soon as he awoke, and said, “This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘wife,’ for she was taken out of her husband.” (5) And as you see, he was aware of the past and the present, and made a prophecy of the future. Look here, by saying “bone of my bone” he took notice of what had happened while he was asleep. And he was aware of the present; after his wife had been made he was aware that she had been taken from <his> body. (6) And of the future he prophesied, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.” These are not the words of a man in an ecstasy or without understanding, but of a person of sound mind.

7,1 But if I also have to speak of “I said in my ecstasy, all men are liars,” the meaning of this, again, is different. These are not the words of a mad-man and an ecstatic <as the Phrygians claim>—far from it!—(2) but of someone who is very surprised, and is taking more notice than usual <of> things that are <not> fit to be said and done. For since the prophet was astonished, he also speaks with astonishment here.
7,3 The prophets fell into trances, <but> not into distraction. Peter too was in an “ecstasy,” not because he was irrational but because he saw things other than what men usually see in the everyday world. (4) “For he saw a sheet let down, bound at the four corners, and in it all manner of four-footed beasts and creeping things and birds of the air.” (5) Observe that St. Peter was rational, and not out of his mind. For when he heard <the words>, “Arise, kill and eat,” he did not obey like a person of unsound mind, but told the Lord, “Not so, Lord; nothing common or unclean hath at any time come into my mouth.”

7,6 And the holy David said, “<I said>, all men are liars.” In saying, “I said,” he was speaking for himself, and saying that people lie. Thus he was not lying—but he expressed great astonishment because he was amazed and astounded at God’s lovingkindness and the things the Lord had told him. (7) And, seeing that everyone is in need of God’s mercy, he ascribed truth-telling to the Lord alone, and realized that every human being is deserving of punishment—thus evidencing the true Spirit, who spoke in the prophets and revealed to them the depths of the exact knowledge of God.

7,8 Abraham too fell into ecstasy—not the abeyance of his wits but the distraction of fear. He saw the furnace and the torches about sundown <and was afraid, as> other prophets said when they saw visions in their right minds. (9) Moses, for example, said, “I fear exceedingly and quake.” But Abraham knew what the Lord was saying, for <scripture says>, “Thou shalt know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger 400 years in a land that is not theirs.” (10) And you see how plain it is that everything was said in truth by the prophets with sound mind and sober reason, and not in madness.

8,1 But even though they choose to reply, “The former gifts are not like the latter,” how can they prove it? The holy prophets and the holy apostles prophesied alike. (2) In the first place, those who saw the two men in white when the Savior ascended into heaven did not see them in derangement, but with sound minds heard [them say], “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up unto heaven? This same Jesus, who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come,” and so on. (3) And then, as I said, Peter was in his right mind when he saw, heard, and gave his answer, and said, “Not so, Lord.”

8,4 Agabus spoke prophetically and hinted at his meaning with an unusual gesture, when he took Paul’s girdle, bound his own feet, and said, “He whose girdle this is, him shall they bind and carry to Jerusalem.” (5) And in turn, prophets came down to Antioch and declared that there would be a world-wide famine, and their prediction did not fail; to show that they were true prophets, the scripture adds at once, “Which thing came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.”

8,6 And the most holy apostle Paul prophesied, “Now the Spirit saith expressly that in the last days harsh times shall come,” and so on. (7) And again, in another place, “Some shall fall away from sound doctrine, giving heed to seducing <spirits> and doctrines of devils, forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be partaken of by us <who receive them> with thanksgiving.” (8) The material before this <will> itself <make it plain> that <this> has clearly come true, in you and in others like you. Most of these sects forbid marriage and enjoin abstinence from foods, though they do not do this for discipline’s sake or for greater virtue with its rewards and crowns, but because they regard these creatures of the Lord as abominations.

9,1 Now the holy catholic church reveres virginity, monogamy and purity, commends widowhood, and honors and accepts lawful wedlock; but it forbids fornication, adultery and unchastity. (2) This will show the character of the holy catholic church and the false customs of the others—[show], <likewise>, who has seen fit to avoid every imposture, crooked path and uphill track. (3) For I have said before—as has just been said by the most holy apostle and I shall now repeat—that it was to make us secure and distinguish the character of the holy catholic church from the imposture of the sects, that Paul said how arrogantly the sects which forbid matrimony and prescribe abstinence from foods prohibit God’s good ordinances by law.

9,4 For it was <with> a certain fitness that the divine Word said, “Wilt thou be perfect?” in the Gospel. Although he makes allowances for human clay and its frailty, he rejoices in those who can show the marks of piety and choose to practice virginity, purity and continence. Still, he honors marriage to one spouse, (5) even though he prefigures the gifts of the priesthood chiefly by means of persons who stayed continent after one marriage, and persons who remained virgin, and his holy apostles so established the canonical rule of the priesthood, with decency and holiness. (6) But if, from frailty, someone needs to contract a second marriage after the death of his wife, the rule of the truth does not prohibit this—that is, provided he is not a priest. But these people do forbid it—“forbidding to marry,”44 as scripture says. They expel anyone who has contracted a second marriage, and make their rule against second marriage a matter of compulsion. For our part, we lay necessity on no one. As a good counsel we urge those who can [to follow this rule], but we lay no necessity on one who cannot, and surely do not expel him from life. (9) The holy word everywhere declared that we must bear with the frailty of the weak. We shall find at once that, to shame people like these <who expel persons> who do not have the same gift as they, the holy apostle says, “Younger widows refuse; (10) for after they wax wanton against Christ they will marry, having condemnation because they have left their first faith.” For widows who have promised and broken their promise have condemnation, while those who made no promise, but married from frailty, will not have condemnation. If they were to have condemnation, why did Paul say, “Let them marry, guide the house.”

10,1 We find then that every prophet, whether in the Old Testament or in the New, prophesies with understanding, as St. John said in Revelation: “The Lord revealed these things to his servants through his servant John,” and, “Thus saith the Lord.” (2) The person who said this was sound of mind and understanding—see how <he says the same as the Old Testament prophets who say>, “Thus saith the Lord,” and “the vision which he saw.”

10,3 But this Montanus, who has deceived his victims with his boast of being a prophet, describes things which are not consistent with sacred scripture. For in his so-called prophecy he says, “Why sayest thou, [Only] he that is more than man can be saved? For the righteous shall shine an hundredfold brighter than the sun; and the least of you that are saved, an hundredfold brighter than the moon.”

10,4 But the Lord confounds him. And it is he who has the power to grant radiance to the faces of the saints, who made Moses’ face shine, and who will transform his saints, who are sown in dishonor and raised in glory, at the coming resurrection of bodies. (5) Not transform bodies other than their own but change their own bodies, raised entire, and receiving glory, after <the resurrection>, from him who gives glory unstintingly to his saints. For as Lord and God he has the power to grant and bestow glory.

10,6 But although he has <the power> to grant this, he did not make promises like Montanus’; he said, “Your faces shall shine as the sun.” Now if Jesus Christ, who has the power and is our true Master and Lord, says that the faces of the righteous will shine as the sun, how can Montanus promise a hundred times more? (7) Only if he is like the one who promised Adam, “Ye shall be as gods,” and secured his expulsion from the glory he had and the enjoyment of Paradise, and his degradation to the corruption of death.

11,1 This same Montanus goes on to add, “I am the Lord God, the Almighty, dwelling in a man.” (2) Happily the sacred scripture, and the course of the Holy Spirit’s teaching, keeps us safe by giving us warnings so that we will know which are the counterfeits of the strange spirit and the opposites of the truth. (3) Simply by saying this, Montanus has suggested that we remember the words of the Lord. For the Lord says in the Gospel, “I came in my Father’s name and ye received me not. Another shall come in his own name, and such a one will ye receive.” (4) Montanus is thus in total disagreement with the sacred scriptures, as any attentive reader can see. And since he is in disagreement, <he himself>, and the sect which like him boasts of having prophets and gifts, are strangers to the holy catholic church. He did not receive these gifts; he departed from them.

11,5 What rational person would dare to call these people prophets instead of < saying > that such prophets are deceivers? Christ taught us, “I send unto you the Spirit, the Paraclete,” and to give the signs of the Paraclete, said, “He shall glorify me.” (6) And in fact it is plain that the holy apostles glorified the Lord after receiving the Paraclete Spirit, while this Montanus glorifies himself. The Lord glorified his Father; and in turn, the Lord Christ glorified the Spirit by calling him the Spirit of truth. Montanus, however, glorifies only himself, and says that he is the Father almighty, and that <the deceitful spirit> which dwells in him <is the Paraclete>—proof positive that he is not the Father, was not sent by the Father, and has received nothing from the Father. (7) “In the Lord was all the fullness of the Godhead pleased to dwell bodily,” and “Of his fullness have all the prophets received,” as St. John has told us. (8) And see how all the ancient [prophets] announced Christ, and how those who came after them glorified Christ and confessed him. But Montanus intruded himself by saying that he was somebody, proof that he is not Christ, was not sent by Christ, and has received nothing from Christ.

11,9 This pathetic little nobody, Montanus, says in turn, “Neither angel nor messenger, but I the Lord, God the Father, have come.” In so saying he will be exposed as a heretic, for he is not glorifying Christ, whom every regular gift which has been given in the holy church truly glorified. (10) For we shall find that Montanus is outside the body of the church and the Head of all, and “does not hold the Head, from whom the whole body, knit together, increaseth,” as scripture says. For the actual true Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, showed that he was a Son; but Montanus even says that he is the Father.

12,1 When you Phrygians say you left the church over gifts of grace how can we believe you? Even though you are disguised with the title of “Christian,” you have launched another enemy attack on us. You have taken up the barbarians’ quarrel and mimicked the enmity of the Trojans, who were also Phrygians! (2) Things that are different from gifts and—as your own prophets say—not the same kind that the Lord promises, can- not be gifts.

12,3 And in turn, you introduce us to—Maximilla! Even your names are different and scary, with nothing pleasant and melodious about them, but with a certain wildness and savagery. (4) At once this Maximilla, who belongs to these so-called Phrygians—listen to what she says, children of Christ! “Hearken not unto me, but hearken unto Christ!

12,5 Even where she seemed to be glorifying Christ, she was wrong. If she were Christ’s she would talk like the holy apostles, as each <of them> says—Peter first, who says, “We have heard of him.” And the Lord himself says, “He that heareth you, heareth me.” And Paul says, “Be ye imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”

12,6 But in the act of lying she is telling the truth, even against her will. She is right to say not to listen to her, but to Christ. Unclean spirits are often forced to denounce themselves <as> not of the truth and to show, willy nilly and under duress, who their Lord is. (7) As the damsel with the oracular spirit said, “These men are servants of the most high God”; and [as the demon in the Gospel said], “Why hast thou come before the time to torment us? I know thee who thou art, the holy one of God.” So Maximilla, under compulsion, said not to listen to her, but to Christ. (8) Now how can those who have heard this from her and believed her care to listen to her—when they have learned from her not to listen to her, but to the Lord! In fact if they had any sense they shouldn’t listen to her, since her oracles are of the earth.

12,9 And don’t tell me that she was in a rational state! A rational person doesn’t condemn himself in his own teaching. If she said anything like, “Don’t listen to me,” what sort of spirit was speaking in her? (10) For if she spoke humanly, then she was not in the Holy Spirit—for it is plain that in saying, “Do not listen to me,” she was speaking humanly, and was not in the Holy Spirit. But if she was not in the Holy Spirit from on high but was thinking humanly, she knew nothing and was no prophetess. For she did not have the Holy Spirit, but spoke and delivered her oracles with human intelligence.

12,11 But if she did speak and prophesy in the Holy Spirit—what sort of Holy Spirit would say, “Don’t listen to me?” The blindness of deceit is stone blind—and great is the word of God, which gives us understanding in every way, so that we may know what has been spoken by the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, here in the person of the Father, there in the person of the Son, there in the person of the Holy Spirit!

12,12 And if the spirit in Maximilla were a holy <spirit>, it would not forbid its own utterances. “One is the Holy Spirit, that divideth to each as he will.” (13) And if he has the power to divide as he will, and is called the Spirit of knowledge and the Spirit of piety, and is said to be the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ, proceeding from the Father and receiving of the Son and not foreign to the Father and the Son—then he didn’t say, “Do not listen to me!” (14) For the Spirit gave Christ’s message and Christ sends the Spirit, and casts out devils by the Holy Spirit. And the Son gives the Father’s message and the Father sanctified the Son and sent him into the world, that they might know him, and might glorify him as they glorify the Father. And the notion of those who separate themselves from the following of Christ is all wrong.

13,1 In turn the same Maximilla—this “rational knowledge and teaching,” if I may be sarcastic—says, “The Lord hath sent me perforce, will- ing and not willing, to be votary, herald and interpreter of this burden and covenant and promise, to impart the knowledge of God.” (2) Let us look to the firm foundation of our life, beloved, and the lighted pathway, and not trip on words of the adversary and the prey of the strange spirit. (3) See the prophet here, who spoke like that and denounced herself, not willingly but under compulsion. Our Lord did not come into the world unwillingly, and was not sent under compulsion by the Father. (4) He has the will in concert with the Father, and the performance of it in concert with the Holy Spirit. And as he himself has the will—and the giving of grace to all, not perforce but by his superabundant lovingkindness—in concert with the Father, even so, those whom he has called, he has called of their own choice, imposing no necessity and clapping no collars on them. (5) For he says, “Ye that thirst, come to me,” and again, “If any man will come after me let him follow me.” And he said the same through Isaiah: “If ye be willing and hearken.” And later, to show who was speaking, the prophet said, “For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken these things.”

13,6 And are you fully aware of their disagreement with the sacred text, and the difference between their notion and opinion, and the faith and following of God? (7) For Maximilla also said that she compelled the willing and the unwilling [to know God]—so that her very words make her a liar. She neither taught the knowledge of God—which she did not know—to the willing, nor compelled the unwilling [to learn it]. (8) It goes without saying that the whole world does not know Maximilla’s name, or her misstatements. And their erroneous notion is all wrong, and no part of God’s truth.

14,1 Phrygians also venerate a deserted spot in Phrygia, a town once called Pepuza though it is now leveled, and say that the heavenly Jerusalem will descend there. (2) And so they resort there, celebrate certain mysteries on the site, and, as they suppose, sanctify <themselves>. For this breed is also to be found in Cappadocia and Galatia—and in Phrygia as I said, which is why the sect is called the Phrygian. But they are in Cilicia too and, for the most part, in Constantinople.

14,3 But to omit nothing that bears on the name of every sect I have discussed, I shall also speak, in its turn, of the Tascodrugians’. For this name is used either in this sect itself, or the one after it, which is called the sect of the Quintillianists—for this name too originates with these people themselves.

14,4 They are called Tascodrugians for the following reason. Their word for “peg” is “tascus,” and “drungus” is their word for “nostril” or “snout.” And since they put their licking finger, as we call it, on their nostril when they pray, for dejection, if you please, and would-be righteousness, some people have given them the name of Tascodrugians, or “nose-pickers.”7596

14,5 They say that a shocking, wicked thing is done in this sect—or in its sister sect, the one called the sect of the Quintillianists or Priscillianists, and Pepuzians. (6) At a certain festival they pierce a child—just a little baby—all over its body with bronze needles and get its blood for sacrifice, if you please.

15,1 But I am content with what I have said about this sect in its turn, beloved. I promised to withhold nothing about any sect I know, but to disclose what I have learned by word of mouth, and from treatises, documents, and persons who truly confirmed my notion. (2) Thus, by writing no more than I know, I will <not> appear to be guilty of inventing my own false charges against people, and of getting into the same position as they by not telling the truth, but declaring things that they have neither seen, heard, nor learned from the true teaching of the Holy Spirit.

15,3 I give all the facts, as I said, with accuracy, about each sect, and make these shocking disclosures for the readers’ correction. And I prepare a sort of medicine made of refutation from the words of sacred scripture and right reasonings, (4) and compound < it > in the Lord for two purposes: for the recovery of the sufferers from their illness and great pain, but for (5) a prophylactic, as it were, for those who have never contracted the disease. Thus may I too be called a disciple of the Lord’s disciples for imparting the medicine of the truth to the wise, and a disciple of the Savior himself, the help of bodies and souls.

15,6 Now, with the power of Christ, let me set myself to go on to the rest, since I feel that this here will be enough for this sect. I have crushed its poison, and the venom on its hooked fangs, with the cudgel of the truth of the cross. For it is like the viper of hemorrhage, whose mischief is to drain the blood from its victims’ entire bodies and so cause their deaths. (7) For this sect and the sect of Quintillianists do the same thing. They stab the body of an innocent child and get its blood to drink, and delude their victims by <pretending>, if you please, that this is initiation in the name of Christ.

15,8 But as we go on to the rest by the power of Christ, let us call upon his truth that we may track down the meaning of each imposture, and after detecting and refuting it, render our accustomed thanks in all things to God.