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Chapter XI.—Avoid the deadly errors of the Docetæ.

Flee, therefore, those evil offshoots [of Satan], which produce death-bearing fruit, whereof if any one tastes, he instantly dies. For these men are not the planting of the Father. For if they were, they would appear as branches of the cross, and their fruit would be incorruptible. By it806806    i.e., the cross. He calls you through His passion, as being His members. The head, therefore, cannot be born by itself, without its members; God, who is [the Saviour] Himself, having promised their union.807807    Both text and meaning here are doubtful.

Do ye also avoid those wicked offshoots of his,808808    i.e., Satan’s. Simon his firstborn son, and Menander, and Basilides, and all his wicked mob of followers,809809    Literally, “loud, confused noise.” the worshippers of a man, whom also the prophet Jeremiah pronounces accursed.810810    The Ebionites, who denied the divine nature of our Lord, are here referred to. Flee also the impure Nicolaitanes, falsely so called,811811    It seems to be here denied that Nicolas was the founder of this school of heretics. who are lovers of pleasure, and given to calumnious speeches. Avoid also the children of the evil one, Theodotus and Cleobulus, who produce death-bearing fruit, whereof if any one tastes, he instantly dies, and that not a mere temporary death, but one that shall endure for ever. These men are not the planting of the Father, but are an accursed brood. And says the Lord, “Let every plant which my heavenly Father has not planted be rooted up.”812812    Matt. xv. 13. For if they had been branches of the Father, they would not have been “enemies of the cross of Christ,”813813    Phil. iii. 18. but rather of those who “killed the Lord of glory.”814814    1 Cor. ii. 8. But now, by denying the cross, and being ashamed of the passion, they cover the transgression of the Jews, those fighters against God, those murderers of the Lord; for it were too little to style them merely murderers of the prophets. But Christ invites you to [share in] His immortality, by His passion and resurrection, inasmuch as ye are His members.


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