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5. On receiving the epistle, then, Marcellus opened it, and read it in the presence of Archelaus, the bishop of the place. And the following is a copy of what it contained:14681468 This letter, along with the reply of Marcellus, is given by Epiphanius in his Heresies, n. 6, from which the Greek text is taken.—
Manichæus, an apostle of Jesus Christ, and all the saints who are with me, and the virgins, to Marcellus, my beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace be with you from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ; and may the right hand of light preserve you safe from this present evil world, and from its calamities, and from the snares of the wicked one. Amen.
I was exceedingly delighted to observe the love cherished by you, which truly is of the largest measure. But I was distressed at your faith, which is not in accordance with the right standard. Wherefore, deputed as I am to seek the elevation of the race of men, and sparing,14691469 φειδόμενος. The Latin gives subveniens, relieving. as I do, those who have given themselves over to deceit and error, I have considered it needful to despatch this letter to you, with a view, in the first place, to the salvation of your own soul, and in the second place also to that of the souls of those who are with you, so as to secure you against14701470 The Greek text of Epiphanius gave πρὸς τὸ ἀδιάκριτον. Petavius substituted πρὸς τὸ μή ἀδιάκριτον; and that reading is confirmed by the Latin, uti ne indiscretos animos geras. dubious opinions, and specially against notions like those in which the guides of the simpler class of minds indoctrinate their subjects, when they allege that good and evil have the same original subsistence,14711471 ἀπὸ τοῦ αὐτοῦ φέρεσθαι. and when they posit the same beginning for them, without making any distinction or discrimination between light and darkness, and between the good and the 182evil or worthless, and between the inner man and the outer, as we have stated before, and without ceasing to mix up and confound together the one with the other. But, O my son, refuse thou thus thoughtlessly to identify these two things in the irrational and foolish fashion common to the mass of men, and ascribe no such confusion to the God of goodness. For these men refer the beginning and the end and the paternity of these ills to God Himself,—“whose end is near a curse.”14721472 ὧν τὸ τέλος κατάρας ἐγγύς. Cf. Heb. vi. 8. For they do not believe the word spoken by our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ Himself in the Gospels,14731473 The text gives ἐν τοῖς εἰρημένοις εὐαγγελίοις, for which τοῖς εἰρημένοις ἐν τοῖς εὐαγγελίοις may be proposed. namely, that “a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.”14741474 Matt. vii. 18. And how they can be bold enough to call God the maker and contriver of Satan and his wicked deeds, is a matter of great amazement to me. Yea, would that even this had been all the length to which they had gone with their silly efforts, and that they had not declared that the only-begotten Christ, who has descended from the bosom of the Father,14751475 John i. 18. is the son of a certain woman, Mary, and born of blood and flesh and the varied impurities proper to women!14761476 τῆς ἄλλης δυσωδίας τῶν γυναικῶν. Howbeit, neither to write too much in this epistle, nor to trespass at too great length upon your good nature,—and all the more so that I have no natural gift of eloquence,—I shall content myself with what I have said. But you will have full knowledge of the whole subject when I am present with you, if indeed you still continue to care for14771477 φείδῃ. your own salvation. For I do not “cast a snare upon any one,”14781478 1 Cor. vii. 35. as is done by the less thoughtful among the mass of men. Think of what I say, most honourable son.
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