Ὁρμῶνται δὲ ἀπὸ μωρῶν ὀπτασιῶν καὶ μαρτυριῶν ἐν ᾧ εὐαγγελίῳ ἐπαγγέλλονται. φάσκουσι γὰρ οὕτως ὅτι· “ἔστην ἐπὶ ὄρους ὑψηλοῦ καὶ εἶδον ἄνθρωπον μακρὸν καὶ ἄλλον κολοβόν, καὶ ἤκουσα ὡσεὶ φωνὴν βροντῆς καὶ ἤγγισα τοῦ ἀκοῦσαι καὶ ἐλάλησε πρός με καὶ εἶπεν· ἐγὼ σὺ καὶ σὺ ἐγώ, καὶ ὅπου ἐὰν ᾖς, ἐγὼ ἐκεῖ εἰμι, καὶ ἐν ἅπασίν εἰμι ἐσπαρμένος. καὶ ὅθεν ἐὰν θέλῃς, συλλέγεις με, ἐμὲ δὲ συλλέγων ἑαυτὸν συλλέγεις.” καὶ ὦ τῆς τοῦ διαβόλου ὑποσπορᾶς. πόθεν τὸν νοῦν ἐξέτρεψε τῆς ἀνθρωπότητος καὶ εἰς μωρὰ καὶ ἀσύστατα περιέσπασεν ἀπὸ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ἀληθείας; οὐκ ἔστι γὰρ σχεδὸν τῷ νοῦν ἔχοντι χρεία ἀπὸ γραφῆς ἢ ἀπὸ παραδειγμάτων ἢ ἑτέρου τινὸς πράγματος ποιεῖσθαι τούτων τὴν ἀνατροπήν. τῷ γὰρ ὀρθῷ λογισμῷ εὔδηλος αὐτῶν καὶ φωρατὴ ἡ τῆς μωρολογίας δραματουργία καὶ μοιχῶν ἐργασία. ταῦτά τοι καὶ τὰ τοιαῦτα εἰσηγούμενοι οἱ ἀμφὶ τὴν γνῶσιν συνεζευγμένοι τῇ τοῦ Νικολάου αἱρέσει τῆς ἀληθείας ἐκπεπτώκασιν, οὐ μόνον τὸν νοῦν τῶν πεισθέντων αὐτοῖς ἐκτρέψαντες, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὰ σώματα καὶ τὰς ψυχὰς δουλώσαντες πορνείᾳ καὶ πολυμιξίᾳ· αὐτὴν δῆθεν τὴν σύναξιν αὐτῶν ἐν αἰσχρότητι πολυμιξίας φύροντες, ἔσθοντές τε καὶ παραπτόμενοι καὶ ἀνθρωπίνων σαρκῶν καὶ ἀκαθαρσιῶν. ὧν οὐ τολμήσω τὸ πᾶν ἐξειπεῖν, εἰ μή τι ἀναγκασθείην διὰ τὴν ὑπερβολὴν τῆς ἐν ἐμοὶ ἀλγούσης διανοίας περὶ τῶν ματαίως ὑπ’ αὐτῶν γινομένων, ἐκπληττόμενος εἰς οἷον ὄγκον καὶ κακῶν βυθὸν ὁ ἐχθρὸς τῶν ἀνθρώπων διάβολος ἄγει τοὺς αὐτῷ πειθομένους, ὥστε μιᾶναι καὶ νοῦν καὶ καρδίαν καὶ χεῖρας καὶ στόματα καὶ σώματα καὶ ψυχὰς τούτων τῶν ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ ἐν τῇ τοσαύτῃ σκοτώσει παγιδευθέντων.
(Epiphanius of Salamis, Panarion 26.3.1-4)
They* begin with foolish visions and proof texts in what they claim is a Gospel. For they make this allegation: “I stood upon a lofty mountain, and saw a man who was tall, and another, little of stature. And I heard as it were the sound of thunder and drew nigh to hear, and he spake with me and said, I am thou and thou art I, and wheresoever thou art, there am I; and I am sown in all things. And from wheresoever thou wilt thou gatherest me, but in gathering me, thou gatherest thyself.” What a devil’s sowing! How has he managed to divert the minds of mankind and distract them from the telling of the truth to things that are foolish and untenable? A person with good sense hardly needs to formulate these people’s refutation from scripture, illustrations or anything else. The acting out of the foolish words of adulterers and the putting of them into practice is plain for sound reason to see and detect. Now in telling these stories and others like them, those who have yoked themselves to Nicolaus’ sect for the sake of “knowledge” have lost the truth and not merely perverted their converts’ minds, but have also enslaved their bodies and souls to fornication and promiscuity. They foul their supposed assembly itself with the dirt of promiscuous fornication and eat and handle both human flesh and uncleanness. I would not dare to utter the whole of this if I were not somehow compelled to from the excess of the feeling of grief within me over the futile things they do—appalled as I am at the mass and depth of evils into which he enemy of mankind, the devil, leads those who trust him, so as to pollute the minds, hearts, hands, mouths, bodies and souls of the persons he has trapped in such deep darkness.
* i.e. Gnostics.
(tr. Frank Williams)