Chapter LXIV.—Constantines Edict against the Heretics.
“Victor Constantinus, Maximus Augustus, to the heretics.
“Understand now, by this present statute, ye Novatians, Valentinians, Marcionites, Paulians, ye who are called Cataphrygians, 3304 and all ye who devise and support heresies by means of your private assemblies, with what a tissue of falsehood and vanity, with what destructive and venomous errors, your doctrines are inseparably interwoven; so that through you the healthy soul is stricken with disease, and the living becomes the prey of everlasting death. Ye haters and enemies of truth and life, in league with destruction! All your counsels are opposed to the truth, but familiar with deeds of baseness; full of absurdities and fictions: and by these ye frame falsehoods, oppress the innocent, and withhold the light from them that believe. Ever trespassing under the mask of godliness, ye fill all things with defilement: ye pierce the pure and guileless conscience with deadly wounds, while ye withdraw, one may almost say, the very light of day from the eyes of men. But why should I particularize, when to speak of your criminality as it deserves demands more time and leisure than I can give? For so long and unmeasured is the catalogue of your offenses, so hateful and altogether atrocious are they, that a single day would not suffice to recount them all. And, indeed, it is well to turn ones ears and eyes from such a subject, lest by a description of each particular evil, the pure sincerity and freshness of ones own faith be impaired. Why then do I still bear with such abounding evil; especially since this protracted clemency is the cause that some who were sound are become tainted with this pestilent disease? Why not at once strike, as it were, at the root of so great a mischief by a public manifestation of displeasure?
Sufficiently good general accounts of these various heresies may be found in Blunt. Dict. of Sects, Heresies, Ecclesiastical Parties, and Schools of Religious Thought, Lond. 1874, p. 382–389, Novatians; p. 612–614, Valentinians; p. 296–298, Marcionites; p. 515–517, Samosatenes (Paulians); p. 336–341, Montanists (Cataphrygians). Or see standard Encyclopædias.