Table of Contents
Chapter I.—Absurd ideas of the disciples of Valentinus as to the origin, name, order, and conjugal productions of their fancied Æons, with the passages of Scripture which they adapt to their opinions.
Chapter II.—The Propator was known to Monogenes alone. Ambition, disturbance, and danger into which Sophia fell; her shapeless offspring: she is restored by Horos. The production of Christ and of the Holy Spirit, in order to the completion of the Æons. Manner of the production of Jesus.
Chapter VII.—The mother Achamoth, when all her seed are perfected, shall pass into the Pleroma, accompanied by those men who are spiritual; the Demiurge, with animal men, shall pass into the intermediate habitation; but all material men shall go into corruption. Their blasphemous opinions against the true incarnation of Christ by the Virgin Mary. Their views as to the prophecies. Stupid ignorance of the Demiurge.
Chapter III.—The Bythus and Pleroma of the Valentinians, as well as the God of Marcion, shown to be absurd; the world was actually created by the same Being who had conceived the idea of it, and was not the fruit of defect or ignorance.
Chapter XVII.—Inquiry into the production of the Æons: whatever its supposed nature, it is in every respect inconsistent; and on the hypothesis of the heretics, even Nous and the Father Himself would be stained with ignorance.
Chapter XXII.—The thirty Æons are not typified by the fact that Christ was baptized in His thirtieth year: He did not suffer in the twelfth month after His baptism, but was more than fifty years old when He died.
Chapter I.—The apostles did not commence to preach the Gospel, or to place anything on record until they were endowed with the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit. They preached one God alone, Maker of heaven and earth.
Chapter IV.—The truth is to be found nowhere else but in the Catholic Church, the sole depository of apostolical doctrine. Heresies are of recent formation, and cannot trace their origin up to the apostles.
Chapter V.—Christ and His apostles, without any fraud, deception, or hypocrisy, preached that one God, the Father, was the founder of all things. They did not accommodate their doctrine to the prepossessions of their hearers.
Chapter XIV.—If Paul had known any mysteries unrevealed to the other apostles, Luke, his constant companion and fellow-traveller, could not have been ignorant of them; neither could the truth have possibly lain hid from him, through whom alone we learn many and most important particulars of the Gospel history.
Chapter XV.—Refutation of the Ebionites, who disparaged the authority of St. Paul, from the writings of St. Luke, which must be received as a whole. Exposure of the hypocrisy, deceit, and pride of the Gnostics. The apostles and their disciples knew and preached one God, the Creator of the world.
Chapter XVIII.—Continuation of the foregoing argument. Proofs from the writings of St. Paul, and from the words of Our Lord, that Christ and Jesus cannot be considered as distinct beings; neither can it be alleged that the Son of God became man merely in appearance, but that He did so truly and actually.
Chapter XX.—God showed himself, by the fall of man, as patient, benign, merciful, mighty to save. Man is therefore most ungrateful, if, unmindful of his own lot, and of the benefits held out to him, he do not acknowledge divine grace.
Chapter XXI.—A vindication of the prophecy in Isa. vii. 14 against the misinterpretations of Theodotion, Aquila, the Ebionites, and the Jews. Authority of the Septuagint version. Arguments in proof that Christ was born of a virgin.
Chapter XXIV.—Recapitulation of the various arguments adduced against Gnostic impiety under all its aspects. The heretics, tossed about by every blast of doctrine, are opposed by the uniform teaching of the Church, which remains so always, and is consistent with itself.
Chapter XXV.—This world is ruled by the providence of one God, who is both endowed with infinite justice to punish the wicked, and with infinite goodness to bless the pious, and impart to them salvation.
Chapter II.—Proofs from the plain testimony of Moses, and of the other prophets, whose words are the words of Christ, that there is but one God, the founder of the world, whom Our Lord preached, and whom He called His Father.
Chapter III.—Answer to the cavils of the Gnostics. We are not to suppose that the true God can be changed, or come to an end because the heavens, which are His throne and the earth, His footstool, shall pass away.
Chapter IV.—Answer to another objection, showing that the destruction of Jerusalem, which was the city of the great King, diminished nothing from the supreme majesty and power of God, for that this destruction was put in execution by the most wise counsel of the same God.
Chapter V.—The author returns to his former argument, and shows that there was but one God announced by the law and prophets, whom Christ confesses as His Father, and who, through His word, one living God with Him, made Himself known to men in both covenants.
Chapter VI.—Explanation of the words of Christ, “No man knoweth the Father, but the Son,” etc.; which words the heretics misinterpret. Proof that, by the Father revealing the Son, and by the Son being revealed, the Father was never unknown.
Chapter VII.—Recapitulation of the foregoing argument, showing that Abraham, through the revelation of the Word, knew the Father, and the coming of the Son of God. For this cause, he rejoiced to see the day of Christ, when the promises made to him should be fulfilled. The fruit of this rejoicing has flowed to posterity, viz., to those who are partakers in the faith of Abraham, but not to the Jews who reject the Word of God.
Chapter VIII.—Vain attempts of Marcion and his followers, who exclude Abraham from the salvation bestowed by Christ, who liberated not only Abraham, but the seed of Abraham, by fulfilling and not destroying the law when He healed on the Sabbath-day.
Chapter X.—The Old Testament Scriptures, and those written by Moses in particular, do everywhere make mention of the Son of God, and foretell His advent and passion. From this fact it follows that they were inspired by one and the same God.
Chapter XI.—The old prophets and righteous men knew beforehand of the advent of Christ, and earnestly desired to see and hear Him, He revealing himself in the Scriptures by the Holy Ghost, and without any change in Himself, enriching men day by day with benefits, but conferring them in greater abundance on later than on former generations.
Chapter XII.—It clearly appears that there was but one author of both the old and the new law, from the fact that Christ condemned traditions and customs repugnant to the former, while He confirmed its most important precepts, and taught that He was Himself the end of the Mosaic law.
Chapter XIII.—Christ did not abrogate the natural precepts of the law, but rather fulfilled and extended them. He removed the yoke and bondage of the old law, so that mankind, being now set free, might serve God with that trustful piety which becometh sons.
Chapter XIV.—If God demands obedience from man, if He formed man, called him and placed him under laws, it was merely for man’s welfare; not that God stood in need of man, but that He graciously conferred upon man His favours in every possible manner.
Chapter XV.—At first God deemed it sufficient to inscribe the natural law, or the Decalogue, upon the hearts of men; but afterwards He found it necessary to bridle, with the yoke of the Mosaic law, the desires of the Jews, who were abusing their liberty; and even to add some special commands, because of the hardness of their hearts.
Chapter XVI.—Perfect righteousness was conferred neither by circumcision nor by any other legal ceremonies. The Decalogue, however, was not cancelled by Christ, but is always in force: men were never released from its commandments.
Chapter XIX.—Earthly things may be the type of heavenly, but the latter cannot be the types of others still superior and unknown; nor can we, without absolute madness, maintain that God is known to us only as the type of a still unknown and superior being.
Chapter XX.—That one God formed all things in the world, by means of the Word and the Holy Spirit: and that although He is to us in this life invisible and incomprehensible, nevertheless He is not unknown; inasmuch as His works do declare Him, and His Word has shown that in many modes He may be seen and known.
Chapter XXIII.—The patriarchs and prophets by pointing out the advent of Christ, fortified thereby, as it were, the way of posterity to the faith of Christ; and so the labours of the apostles were lessened inasmuch as they gathered in the fruits of the labours of others.
Chapter XXIV.—The conversion of the Gentiles was more difficult than that of the Jews; the labours of those apostles, therefore who engaged in the former task, were greater than those who undertook the latter.
Chapter XXVII—The sins of the men of old time, which incurred the displeasure of God, were, by His providence, committed to writing, that we might derive instruction thereby, and not be filled with pride. We must not, therefore, infer that there was another God than He whom Christ preached; we should rather fear, lest the one and the same God who inflicted punishment on the ancients, should bring down heavier upon us.
Chapter XXVIII.—Those persons prove themselves senseless who exaggerate the mercy of Christ, but are silent as to the judgment, and look only at the more abundant grace of the New Testament; but, forgetful of the greater degree of perfection which it demands from us, they endeavour to show that there is another God beyond Him who created the world.
Chapter XXXI.—We should not hastily impute as crimes to the men of old time those actions which the Scripture has not condemned, but should rather seek in them types of things to come: an example of this in the incest committed by Lot.
Chapter XXXIII.—Whosoever confesses that one God is the author of both Testaments, and diligently reads the Scriptures in company with the presbyters of the Church, is a true spiritual disciple; and he will rightly understand and interpret all that the prophets have declared respecting Christ and the liberty of the New Testament.
Chapter XXXV.—A refutation of those who allege that the prophets uttered some predictions under the inspiration of the highest, others from the Demiurge. Disagreements of the Valentinians among themselves with regard to these same predictions.
Chapter XXXIX.—Man is endowed with the faculty of distinguishing good and evil; so that, without compulsion, he has the power, by his own will and choice, to perform God’s commandments, by doing which he avoids the evils prepared for the rebellious.
Chapter XLI.—Those persons who do not believe in God, but who are disobedient, are angels and sons of the devil, not indeed by nature, but by imitation. Close of this book, and scope of the succeeding one.
Chapter I.—Christ alone is able to teach divine things, and to redeem us: He, the same, took flesh of the Virgin Mary, not merely in appearance, but actually, by the operation of the Holy Spirit, in order to renovate us. Strictures on the conceits of Valentinus and Ebion.
Chapter II.—When Christ visited us in His grace, He did not come to what did not belong to Him: also, by shedding His true blood for us, and exhibiting to us His true flesh in the Eucharist, He conferred upon our flesh the capacity of salvation.
Chapter III.—The power and glory of God shine forth in the weakness of human flesh, as He will render our body a participator of the resurrection and of immortality, although He has formed it from the dust of the earth; He will also bestow upon it the enjoyment of immortality, just as He grants it this short life in common with the soul.
Chapter IV.—Those persons are deceived who feign another God the Father besides the Creator of the world; for he must have been feeble and useless, or else malignant and full of envy, if he be either unable or unwilling to extend external life to our bodies.
Chapter V.—The prolonged life of the ancients, the translation of Elijah and of Enoch in their own bodies, as well as the preservation of Jonah, of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the midst of extreme peril, are clear demonstrations that God can raise up our bodies to life eternal.
Chapter VI.—God will bestow salvation upon the whole nature of man, consisting of body and soul in close union, since the Word took it upon Him, and adorned with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, of whom our bodies are, and are termed, the temples.
Chapter VII.—Inasmuch as Christ did rise in our flesh, it follows that we shall be also raised in the same; since the resurrection promised to us should not be referred to spirits naturally immortal, but to bodies in themselves mortal.
Chapter VIII.—The gifts of the Holy Spirit which we receive prepare us for incorruption, render us spiritual, and separate us from carnal men. These two classes are signified by the clean and unclean animals in the legal dispensation.
Chapter X.—By a comparison drawn from the wild olive-tree, whose quality but not whose nature is changed by grafting, he proves more important things; he points out also that man without the Spirit is not capable of bringing forth fruit, or of inheriting the kingdom of God.
Chapter XIII.—In the dead who were raised by Christ we possess the highest proof of the resurrection; and our hearts are shown to be capable of life eternal, because they can now receive the Spirit of God.
Chapter XIV.—Unless the flesh were to be saved, the Word would not have taken upon Him flesh of the same substance as ours: from this it would follow that neither should we have been reconciled by Him.
Chapter XVII.—There is but one Lord and one God, the Father and Creator of all things, who has loved us in Christ, given us commandments, and remitted our sins; whose Son and Word Christ proved Himself to be, when He forgave our sins.
Chapter XVIII.—God the Father and His Word have formed all created things (which They use) by Their own power and wisdom, not out of defect or ignorance. The Son of God, who received all power from the Father, would otherwise never have taken flesh upon Him.
Chapter XX.—Those pastors are to be heard to whom the apostles committed the Churches, possessing one and the same doctrine of salvation; the heretics, on the other hand, are to be avoided. We must think soberly with regard to the mysteries of the faith.
Chapter XXI.—Christ is the head of all things already mentioned. It was fitting that He should be sent by the Father, the Creator of all things, to assume human nature, and should be tempted by Satan, that He might fulfil the promises, and carry off a glorious and perfect victory.
Chapter XXII.—The true Lord and the one God is declared by the law, and manifested by Christ His Son in the Gospel; whom alone we should adore, and from Him we must look for all good things, not from Satan.
Chapter XXVI.—John and Daniel have predicted the dissolution and desolation of the Roman Empire, which shall precede the end of the world and the eternal kingdom of Christ. The Gnostics are refuted, those tools of Satan, who invent another Father different from the Creator.
Chapter XXIX.—All things have been created for the service of man. The deceits, wickedness, and apostate power of Antichrist. This was prefigured at the deluge, as afterwards by the persecution of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
Chapter XXX.—Although certain as to the number of the name of Antichrist, yet we should come to no rash conclusions as to the name itself, because this number is capable of being fitted to many names. Reasons for this point being reserved by the Holy Spirit. Antichrist’s reign and death.
Chapter XXXI.—The preservation of our bodies is confirmed by the resurrection and ascension of Christ: the souls of the saints during the intermediate period are in a state of expectation of that time when they shall receive their perfect and consummated glory.
Chapter XXXII.—In that flesh in which the saints have suffered so many afflictions, they shall receive the fruits of their labours; especially since all creation waits for this, and God promises it to Abraham and his seed.
Chapter XXXIII.—Further proofs of the same proposition, drawn from the promises made by Christ, when He declared that He would drink of the fruit of the vine with His disciples in His Father’s kingdom, while at the same time He promised to reward them an hundred-fold, and to make them partake of banquets. The blessing pronounced by Jacob had pointed out this already, as Papias and the elders have interpreted it.
Chapter XXXIV.—He fortifies his opinions with regard to the temporal and earthly kingdom of the saints after their resurrection, by the various testimonies of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Daniel; also by the parable of the servants watching, to whom the Lord promised that He would minister.
Chapter XXXV.—He contends that these testimonies already alleged cannot be understood allegorically of celestial blessings, but that they shall have their fulfilment after the coming of Antichrist, and the resurrection, in the terrestrial Jerusalem. To the former prophecies he subjoins others drawn from Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the Apocalypse of John.
Chapter XXXVI.—Men shall be actually raised: the world shall not be annihilated; but there shall be various mansions for the saints, according to the rank allotted to each individual. All things shall be subject to God the Father, and so shall He be all in all.