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Chapter XII.—The Heresy of the Elchasaites a Derivative One.

Inasmuch as (Elchasai) considers, then, that it would be an insult to reason that these mighty and ineffable mysteries should be trampled under foot, or that they should be committed to many, he advises that as valuable pearls10231023    Matt. vii. 6. they should be preserved, expressing himself thus: “Do not recite this account to all men, and guard carefully these precepts, because all men are not faithful, nor are all women straightforward.” Books containing these (tenets), however, neither the wise men of the Egyptians secreted in shrines, nor did Pythagoras, a sage of the Greeks, conceal them there. For if at that time Elchasai had happened to live, what necessity would there be that Pythagoras, or Thales, or Solon, or the wise Plato, or even the rest of the sages of the Greeks, should become disciples of the Egyptian priests, when they could obtain possession of such and such wisdom from Alcibiades, as the most astonishing interpreter of that wretched Elchasai? The statements, therefore, that have been made for the purpose of attaining a knowledge of the madness of these, would seem sufficient for those endued with sound mind. And so it is, that it has not appeared expedient to quote more of their formularies, seeing that these are very numerous and ridiculous. Since, however, we have not omitted those practices that have risen up in our own day, and have not been silent as regards those prevalent before our time, it seems proper, in order that we may pass through all their systems, and leave nothing untold, to state what also are the (customs) of the Jews, and what are the diversities of opinion among them, for I imagine that these as yet remain behind for our consideration. Now, when I have broken silence on these points, I shall pass on to the demonstration of the Doctrine of the Truth, in 134order that, after the lengthened argumentative struggle against all heresies, we, devoutly pressing forward towards the kingdom’s crown, and believing the truth, may not be unsettled.


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