The origin of the name, Paulicians, is: “Constantine, from the neighborhood of Samosata and connected with a Gnostic generation. …found in the perusal of the New Testament a world unknown, and became animated with the hope (about 660) of bringing back a state of things which had existed in the apostolic church.
He assumed the name of Silvanus, and called those communities which acknowledged him as a reformer, Pauline congregations. By their opponents they were called Paulicians.”1 Instead of Constantine having originated the Paulicians, or of their beginning in his time, Mosheim says: “Constantine revived, under the reign of Constans, the drooping faction of the Paulicians, which was now ready to expire and propagated with great success its pestilential doctrines.”* Thus, they were revived, just were Schaff and others leave them, in a weak condition under the name Donatists. But, as is seen in Chapter XIX of this book, this is not the origin of the people who were called Paulicians.
Manichaeism being the main charge against the Paulicians, is here noticed first.
“Photius possessed great ability. …Gass says another synod deposed Photius in 867 as a 'liar and adulterer, parricide and heretic.' This is the chief witness on whose evidence the Paulicians are condemned.”2
* Mosheim's Eccl. Hist., cent. 7, part 2, sec. 1.
1 Hase's Hist. Chr. Ch., p. 159.
2 Armitage's Hist. Bap., pp. 234, 236, 237.
Mosheim says: “The Greeks treated the Paulicians …as Manichaeans; though, if we may credit the testimony of Photius, the Paulicians, expressed the utmost abhorrence of Manes and his doctrine.” Even Mosheim concedes: “Most evident it is that they were not altogether Manichaeans, though they embraced some opinions that resembled certain tenets of that abominable sect.”1
Kurtz: “The Catholic controversial writers of the ninth century traced the sect of the Paulicians and even their name to a Manichaean family of the fourth century...But later investigations have failed to discover any trace of Manichaean tenets in their system.”2 Universal Knowledge: “The charge of Manichaeism was falsely brought against them by their persecutors.”3
Cramp: “Manichaeism was looked upon as a concentration of all that was outrageously bad in religious opinion and became the fashion to call all heretics Manichaeans. Hence many excellent men have been so stigmatized whose views and practices accorded with the word of God.”4
Armitage: “They have always been coupled with Manichaeans and nothing has been too base to say of them. Bossuett and Bowers have distinguished themselves in this calumny, but Bowers has been effectively answered by the learned Lardner. …The Paulicians themselves certainly should have known what they were, and both these witnesses (Photius and Siculus) explicitly state that they repelled the charge with great spirit. But what differences did it make with these maligners? So…
1 Mosheim's Eccl. Hist., cent. 9, part l, sec. 5.
2 Kurtz's Ch. Hist., vol. I, p. 207.
3 Art. Paulicians.
4 Cramp's Hist. Bap., p. 68.
…long as they could befoul their fame by that odious brand, they pinned it to them as if it were true. Gibbon states that the Paulicians disclaimed the theology of Manes, and the other kindred heresies, and the trinity generations of eons which had been created by the fruitful fancy of Valentine. The Paulicians sincerely condemned the memory and the opinions of the Manichaean sect, and complained of the injustice which impressed the invidious name on the simple votaries of St. Paul and of Christ. Although these witnesses judged them by a false standard of their own raising, to which the Paulicians are allowed no counter evidence, nor cross examination, nothing but denial and protest, Photius pretended fair play when he took up his pen to write 'Contra Manichaeas' in one book, without telling what they did believe; and then, on a false assumption, followed by three others to confute them as though they were disciples of Manes. …There were different classes of Manichaeans as well as Paulicians, but Photius and Siculus lump them en masse and convict themselves again and again of misrepresentations in matters of public notoriety. …They admit that Constantine, the leader of the Paulicians, received the New Testament as his inspired guide, and cited it to prove his tenets, and then charged him with claiming to speak by the Holy Spirit. They failed to charge him with any new doctrine, but alleged that he pretended to speak by the Holy Spirit, and then charged him with borrowing his doctrines from the Scythian, Pythagorean, and other
pagan teachers. They condemned him for professing to be the power of God, but failed to show that he ever attempted miracles! They ridicule the Paulicians as an aristocratic organization, then sneered at them because they gave the Scriptures to everybody because they had no priests, and because instead of listening to the ravings of their inspired leader, they read the Scriptures publicly! They charged them with dissolute lives, with gluttony and obscenity at their festivals; and, in the same breath, tell us that they studiously married, drank no wine and ate no flesh! They taught that they might eat fruit, herbs, bread, but neither eggs nor fish. In other things they discredit their whole testimony under ordinary rules which govern evidence.”1 “Arnold, of Germany, Beausobre and Lardner have honored themselves and the subject with sedate investigation and judicial candor, and
have set right many of the inconsistencies and contradictions of Photius and Siculus.”1
Wm. R. Williams: “The Paulicians, a later body, were eminent especially for their love of Paul's Epistles, which they so admired, that their teachers, many of them, changed their names for those of some of Paul's helpers and converts. For centuries defamed and pursued, they held their course, testifying and witnessing. Hase, the modern church historian, himself a Rationalist, speaks of them as continuing under various names down quite near to our own age.”2
Dr. Brockett, a special investigator of the Paulicians, says: “With the proofs now at our command of the identity of the Cat florists and the Waldenses with the Bogomiles,” (Paulicianists) “this admission proves fatal to the Manichaean doctrines of the whole.” † 3
Sir William Jones, one of the most learned investigators, says: “Their public appearance soon attracted the notice of the Catholic party who immediately branded them with the opprobrious name of Manichaeans; but they…
† That some of them held to a modified, and, almost harmless Manichaeism, is not denied. Some of them, for a time, may have been seriously Manichaean. [Here see Chapter IV, of this book.]
1 Armitage's Hist. Bap., pp. 234,236, 237.
2 William E. William's Lect. on Bap. Hist., pp. 129,130,
3 The Bogomilles, by L. P. Brockett, p. 125.
…sincerely (says Gibbon), condemned the memory and the opinions of the Manichaean sect and complained of the injustice which impressed that invidious name on them.”1
Of their great leader, Benedict says: “From the time he got acquainted with these writings (the gospels and Paul's Epistles) it is said he would touch no other book. He threw away his Manichaean library and exploded and rejected many of the abused notions of his countrymen.”2 So Jones substantially says.3 Benedict: “The religious practices of this people are purposely mangled and misrepresented.”2
Says Neander of the Manichaean charge against the Paulicians: “The truth is that in their period there was a universal inclination to call everything of a dualistic tendency Manichaean; while no one seemed to correctly understand the distinctive marks which separated the gnostic from the Manichaean tenets. We find nothing at all, however, in the doctrines of the Paulicians which would lead us to presume that they were an offshoot from Manichaeism; on the other hand we find much which contradicts such a supposition.” †
Jortin: “Though charged with the Manichaean errors they have been honorably freed from this reproach by respectable writers.”4
Notice, secondly, the charge that the Paulicians rejected parts of the Bible. Cramp does not so much as regard the charge worthy of notice. He mentions their leader as having had given him by a deacon, “a copy of the gospels and of the Epistles of Paul.” That he “read,…
† Neander's Hist. Chr. Ch., vol. 3, p. 244.
1 Jones’ Ch. Hist., p. 244.
2 Benedict's Hist. Baptist, p. 12.
3 Jones' Ch. Hist., p. 243.
4 Jortin's Rem. on Hist., vol. 3, p. 478; Lardaer's Cred. G. Hist., vol. 3, pp. 422,546; Cramp's Bap. Hist, pp. 71, 73, 77.
…believed and obeyed.” Manichaeism, by which he had been deluded, was immediately renounced. His Manichaean books were thrown aside and the sacred writings exclusively studied.1 This is pretty conclusive evidence that so far as the Paulicians had knowledge of the Bible they fully accepted it as inspired. Gibbon says of Constantine, the Paulician leader: “The four gospels and the epistles” (it is not certain they were able to possess the whole Bible) “became the measure of his studies and the rule of his faith; and the Catholics who dispute his interpretation acknowledge that his text was genuine and sincere. But he attached himself with peculiar devotion to the writings and character of St. Paul. The name of the Paulicians is derived by their enemies from some unknown teacher; but I am confident that they gloried in their affinity to the Apostles to the Gentiles. …In the gospels and the epistles of St. Paul his faithful follower investigated the creed of Christianity; and whatever may be the success a Protestant reader will applaud the spirit of the inquiry.”2 This does not harmonize with Gibbon's and some others' statement that they rejected the Old Testament and the Epistles of Peter. No man can be a consistent follower of the gospels and Paul's Epistles and at the same time reject the Old Testament — their very root, so much preached from in these books. As this charge is, therefore, self-evidently false as to the Old Testament, there is no reason for believing the rest of it, especially as the Epistles of Peter in no way are discordant with the gospels and Paul's Epistles.
Hase says: “Their principal attention was directed to a revival of apostolic and spiritual Christianity.
1 Jortin's Rem, on Hist., vol. 3, p. 478; Lardner's Cred, G. Hist., vol. 3, pp, 422, 546; Cramp's Bap. Hist,, pp, 71, 73, 67.
2 Armitage's Bap. Hist., p. 237.
On every subject they appealed to the New Testament as a sacred book for the people in the text used by the church, but with the exclusion of the Epistles of Peter.”*
Mosheim: “They received all the books of the New Testament except the two Epistles of Peter, which they rejected for reasons unknown to us, and their copies were the same with those used by all the Christians, without the least interpolation of the sacred text; in which respect they also differed from the Manichaeans.”1
Says Dr. Brockett, perhaps the highest authority as to the Paulicians; “This assertion that they rejected the entire Old Testament...is reiterated by all the Greek and Roman Catholic writers, from Petrus Siculus, in the ninth century, Monachus and Alanus in the thirteenth, down to Mathew Paris, Roger de Hoveden, and Gevase of Canterbury: yet we have the most conclusive evidence that it was not true. Euthymius Zygabenus, the secretary of the Emperor Alexius Comnenus when Basil was examined by the emperor, and a most bitter enemy of the Bogomiles, states in his Panoplia (as stated by Evans' Historical Review, etc., p. 36) the Bogomiles accepted seven holy books, which he enumerates as follows: 1. The Psalms; 2. The Sixteen Prophets; 3, 4, 5 and 6. The Gospels; 7. The Acts of the Apostles, The Epistles and The Apocalypse. Some writers have charged them with rejecting the Epistles of Peter and the Apocalypse, but there is no evidence of this. The Bogomiles' New Testament was word/or word that of the early Sclavic apostle, Methodius. Of this Jirecek furnishes, on page 177, the most conclusive proofs. If, then, this statement of their enemies, like so many others, is proved to be false, what…
* Hase's Hist. Chr. Ch., p. 160.
1 Mosheim's Eccl. Hist., part 2, chap. 5, sec. 6.
…assurance is there that their alleged dualistic doctrines were anything more than an old falsehood revamped.”1
Considering the slanderous character of the witnesses who make this charge, the inconsistency and contradictory nature of their testimony for it, and the positive testimony to the contrary, all fair minded men must agree on throwing it out of court. Even it were proven, since they had not the necessary opportunities to test the Biblical canon; since it is not infallibly certain we have all the canonical books; and since, therefore, to test their being Baptists by their infallibility as to the canon, would be an unreasonably severe and unfair test, we may dismiss the charge.
Martin Luther, at one time, rejected the book of James. Giving them no opportunity to look into a book for an answer when asked, what are the canonical books, not near half the churches of any denomination could mention them; yea, more, there are useful preachers whom this test would confuse. Here, read Chapter IV of this book: Let us quit torturing these ancient witnesses for the truth on a rack that few churches of our own time could stand.
The origin of the charge is given by Sir Wm. Jones: “One of their imputed errors is that they rejected the whole of the Old Testament writings; a charge which was also brought by the writers of the Catholic school against the Waldenses and others with equal regard to truth and justice. But this calumny is easily accounted for. The advocates of popery, to support their innovations and usurpations in the kingdom of Christ, were driven to the Old Testament for authority, adducing the kingdom of David for example. And when their adversaries rebutted the argument, insisting that the parallel did not hold, for…
l The Bogomiles, by L. P. Brockett, p, 126.
…that the kingdom of Christ, which is not of this world, is a very different state of things from the kingdom of David, their opponents accused them of giving up the divine authority of the Old Testament. Upon similar principles it is not difficult to vindicate the Paulicians from other charges brought against them.”1
Says Prof. Geo. P. Fisher, D. D.: The Paulicians “did not oppose marriage.” †
To the charge that they denied baptism and the supper, I reply, (1) they were accused of this by enemies, who, like Campbellites, were unable to see the differences between denying the ordinances as ordinances and denying them as saving institutions. (2.) History contradicts the charge. Kurtz does not so much as notice this charge. Neither does Wadington. See their histories. Jones says: “In these churches of the Paulicians, the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's supper they held to be peculiar to the communion of the faithful, i. e. restricted to believers.”2
Gibbon is quoted: “In practice, or at least in theory, of the sacraments, the Paulicians were inclined to abolish all visible objects of worship, and the gospels were, in their judgments, the baptism and communion of the faithful.”2 The reader will observe (a) that Gibbon is very uncertain as to what was the position of the Paulicians. (b) His statement, that the “words of the gospel were baptism and communion of the faithful,” taken in connection with the statement that they “were inclined to abolish” the “sacraments as visible objects of worship” implies that while they observed the ordinances they did not look to them for a medium of salvation, but looked to…
† Fisher's Hist. Chr. Ch., p. 162.
1 Jones' Ch. Hist., p. 245.
2 Benedict's Hist. Bap., p. 12.
…the words of the gospel. Being a poor infidel and thus blind to spiritual things, Gibbon understood this to mean rejecting the ordinances.
Mosheim: “They rejected baptism and in a more especial manner, the baptism of infants, as a ceremony that was in no respect essential to salvation. They rejected, for the same reason, the sacrament of the Lord's supper.”1
Whatever Mosheim may mean to teach, this statement must be taken in the light of its phrase, “As a
ceremony that was in no respect essential to salvation.” Just as in cent. 11, part 2, chap. 5, sec. 4, he says: “They considered marriage as a pernicious institution, and absurdly condemned without distinction all connubial bonds,” which a foot note to the same page thus explains; “The eleventh article is scarcely credible, at least, as it is here expressed. It is more than reasonable to suppose these mystics did not absolutely condemn marriage, but only held celibacy in high esteem, as a mark of superior sanctity and virtue.” The truth is, while this note hits the mark as to their not rejecting marriage, it misses it as to the explanation of the charge. The explanation in this and in the case of baptism and the supper is: The Romanists accused them of rejecting both marriage and the two ordinances because they denied them as sacraments — rejecting them only as saving institutions. Mosheim's explanation of their meaning, in cent. 9, part 2, chap. 5, sec. 6, yet more clearly sluts us up to this interpretation: “They refused to celebrate the holy institution of the Lord's supper; for as they looked upon many precepts and injunctions of the gospel to be of merely figurative and parabolic nature, so they understood by the bread and wine, which Christ is said to…
1 Moshelm's Eccl. Hist., cent. 9, part 2, chap. 5, sec. 6.
…have administered to his disciples at his last supper, the divine discourses of the Savior, which are a spiritual food and nourishment for the soul, and fill it with repose, satisfaction and delight.” Taking baptism and the supper as “merely figurative and parabolic,” symbolizing the great truths of the gospel ,…is the Baptist position of all ages, for which, by those who look to them as saviors, from Campbellism to its mother Rome, Baptists have been unceasingly misrepresented and reproached.
Mosheim makes the same blundering interpretation in cent. 12, part 2, chap. 5, sec. 4, where, treating them as Catharists — from not knowing they were Paulicians — he says, they held “that baptism and the Lord's supper were useless institutions, destitute of all saving power.” Just as Campbellites and other Romanists, today, charge Baptists with making these two ordinances “useless,” simply because they can see no use in obeying Jesus unless the obedience saves from hell. Benedict gives us an illustration of the same charge, made in a discussion, against the Baptists, at a time when no one doubts that they baptized and observed the supper. In this discussion, between a Baptist and a Romanist, the Romanist says: “You Anabaptists, tell us once, something about supper. I suppose you observe none, since you know nothing about a sacrament * * * Yes, you have always the scriptures at your finger ends, for you Anabaptists read nothing but the holy scripture, hence it is that you read nothing concerning the sacrament of the altar.” * * * Therefore you are ignorant of the sacrament of the altar.”1
Says Brockett: “Harmenopoulos, a Byzantine monk of the tenth century, more candid than most of his fellows, says, as quoted by Evans, that the Bogomiles…
1 Benedict's Hist. Bap., p. 101.
…practiced the right of water baptism (and if they did they must have received it from the Paulicians) but did not attribute to it any perfecting virtue (тελειоυν) virtue.1 This last expression is significant in this connection as showing that this rite was administered to all believers (Credentes) in distinction from spiritual baptism, or consolamentum …It is, we believe, generally admitted that the early Armenian church, of which the Paulicians were an offshoot, did not practice trine immersion, though they immersed their converts once.”2
Brockett proves they baptized, by “Their well known and universally admitted repudiation of infant
baptism. Harmenopoulos, a Greek priest of the twelfth century, expressly declares that they did practice single immersion but without unction, etc., and only upon adults, on the profession of their faith. He adds that they did. not attribute to it any saving or perfecting virtues, which is in accordance with their other teaching.” Reinero, the inquisitor, who had originally been one of them, says: “They say that a man is first baptized when he is received into their community and has been baptized by them, and then hold that baptism is of no advantage to infants, since they cannot actually believe. We find in the histories of Jirecek and Hilferding numerous incidental allusions to the baptism of persons of high rank, such as the ban Culin, Tvartko III, King Stephen Thomas, the Duke of St. Sava, etc. * * * who are said to have been baptized into the Bogomile faith. That during the period of the greatest persecutions, the ordinances were administered secretly, and perhaps at night is very probable, but there is no evidence that it was ever omitted. That would have been impossible in an oriental…
1 The Bogomiles, p. 119.
2 Idem, p. 119.
…church.1 To the authorities here named for the proposition that the Credentes, or believers were baptized must be added Alarms de Insulis, a French writer of about A. D. 1200, whose treatise against heretics was published by Massons of Lyons, in 1612. He is cited by Hallam, Middle Ages, vol. 3, pp. 359, 360, note Am.”2 Alanus speaking of Albigenses, who were fully identified with the Bogomiles, says: “They rejected infant baptism, but were divided as to the reason ...It does not appear they rejected either of the sacraments.”3 “Nothing is said by Hoveden of their rejection of the sacraments of baptism and the eucharist, which would have certainly been mentioned by as careful a writer as Hoveden if it had existed.”3
As to their having opposed marriage, though it has been disprovingly alluded to, in the foregoing, I will quote the statement of Prof. Geo. P. Fisher; The Paulicians “did not oppose marriage.” 4
While I have more testimony to prove the Paulicians were Baptists as to the ordinances, I conclude this point with these as amply sufficient: (1.) They did administer the ordinances. (2.) Only to believers. (3.) They recognized the scriptural truth, that only immersion is baptism. (4.) As they baptized only believers they believed in a regenerate church membership.
The Paulicians were Baptists in church government. Of them Benedict quotes Gibbon: “Churches were founded upon the plan and model of the churches. They were incapable of desiring the wealth and honors of the Catholic prelacy; such anti-Christian pride they bitterly…
1 Idem, p. 41.
2 Idem, pp. 121, 122.
3 The Bogomiles, p. 122.
4 Fisher's Hist, Chr., Ch., p. 162, also p. 126 of Church Perpetuity.
…condemned.”1 Armitage: “Dr. Semler accords them more correct ideas of godliness, worship and church government than the Catholics of their time, and these virtues drew upon them more persecution from the hierarchy than their doctrinal views.”2 Robinson: They were called “ Acephali, or headless.”3 They were doubtless as Benedict explains, so called because they rejected Romish rules. Mosheim: “They had not, like the Manichaeans, an ecclesiastical government administered by bishops, priests and deacons; they had no sacred order of men distinguished by their manner of life or any other circumstance from the rest of the assembly; nor had councils, synods or such like institutions any place in their religious polity.”4 This language might be misunderstood to mean that they had no ministers at all. But it is the contrast between the simplicity of the ministry, as among Baptists now, and the prelacy, as in the Romish churches now. The next words of Mosheim clearly so explain: “They had certain doctors whom they called Sunecdemi, i. e. companions in the journey of life, and also notarii. Among these there reigned a perfect equality, and they had no peculiar rights, privileges nor external mark of dignity to distinguish them from the people. The only singularity that attended their promotion to the rank of doctors was, that they changed their lay names for scripture ones.”4 Wadington quotes and adopts the statement of Mosheim as his own.* Kurtz: “Their form of worship was very simple and their church government modeled after that of…
* Wadington's Ch. Hist., p. 478.
1 Benedict's Hist. Bap., p. 13.
2 Armitage's Hist. Bap., p. 239.
3 Robinson's Eccl. Researches, p. 92.
4 Mosheim's Eccl. Hist., cent. 9, part 2, chap. 5, sec. 5; Wadington's Ch. Hist., p. 478.
…apostolic times.”1 Kurtz shows the apostolic church government to be what we regard Baptist.
Says Hase: “The community of Paulicians had a chief. …but neither he nor any of his fellow pilgrims and scribes exercised any hierarchal powers.”*
Neander says: “They recognized it as belonging to the popular essence of Christianity. That it aimed to establish a higher fellowship of life among all ranks and all classes, tolerating no such distinctions as the existing ones between clergy or priests and laity. They had among them, it is true, persons who administered ecclesiastical offices, but these, like the rest, were to be looked upon as members of the communities. They were distinguished from others neither by dress, nor by any outward mark. The names, also, of their church officers were so chosen, as to denote the peculiarity of their vocation, which was to administer the office of spiritual teaching, to the exclusion of all sacredotal prerogatives.” **
Dr. Brockett says: “A hierarchy of any sort was utterly abhorrent to the spirit and temper of both the Bogomiles and their affiliated sects in the West.”2 Some have supposed they had an ecclesiastical chief dignitary. But as Brockett says, and the foregoing quotations prove: “The Bosnian djed, or elder, seems to have been at this time about A. D. 1220 the presiding officer of the affiliated sects or denominations, somewhat like the former presidents of our triennial conventions. He was primus inter pares, but possessed no judicial or ecclesiastical…
* Hase's Hist. Chr.Ch., p. 160.
** Meander's Hist. Chr. Ch., vol. 3, p. 264.
1 Kurtz's Ch. Hist., vol. 1, p. 271.
2 The Bogomiles, p. 58, 60, 71.
…authority”1 [See Jirecek, Geschichte der Bulgaren, p. 180.]
Neander says of their doctrine and life: “Certain it is that the Paulician doctrines as a whole, not only required,” but were calculated to foster, a spirit of sober and strict morality.” †
Sir William Jones, of the Paulicians, says: “I see no reason to doubt that we should see in them the genuine successors of the Christians of the first two centuries.”2
I, therefore, conclude this examination of the Paulicians in the language of perhaps the highest authority on the subject — Brockett — “The Armenian Paulicianists were clearly Baptists.”3
† Neander's Hist. Chr. Ch., vol. 3, p. 266.
1 Idem, p. 127.
2 Jones' Ch. Hist., p. 245.
3 Bap. Eev., vol. 4, No. 10.