, a heretic of the fourth century, well known in ecclesiastical history for having revived the errors of the Gnostics and Manicheans, was a Spaniard, of high birth, and great fortune, with considerable talents and eloquence. His opinions first became known in the year 379, and were rapidly diffused in Spain. But in the ensuing year a council was held by the bishops of Aquitaine at Saragossa, in which the Prisciliianists were solemnly condemned. He was then but a layman, but soon after he was ordained bishop of Labina, or Lavila, supposed to be Avila, one of the cities of Galicia, by two bishops of his | own party. In the year 384, or, as Baronius in his Annals writes, 387, the ringleaders of this sect were put to death by the emperor Maximus, having been convicted before the magistrates of the grossest immoralities. These were, Priscillian himself, Felicissimus, and Armenus, two ecclesiastics, who had but very lately embraced his doctrine; Asarinus and Aurelius, two deacons Latronianus, or, as Jerome calls him, Matronianus, a layman and Eucrocia, the widow of the orator Delphidius, who had professed eloquence in the city of Bourdeaux a few years before. These were all beheaded at Treves. The rest of Priscillian’s followers, whom they could discover or apprehend, were either banished or confined. The bodies of Priscillian, and those who suffered with him, were conveyed by the friends and adherents into Spain, and there interred with great pomp and solemnity; their names were added to those of other saints and martyrs, their firmness extolled, and their doctrine embraced by such numbers of proselytes that it spread in a short time over all the provinces between the Pyrenees and the ocean. The author of the notes upon Sulpitius Severus tells us that he saw the name of Priscillian in some not very ancient martyrologies. In practice they did not much differ from the Manichees the same, or nearly the same, infamous mysteries being ascribed to both: for, in the trial of Priscillian, before the emperor Maximus, it was alledged that he had countenanced all manner of debauchery, that he had held nocturnal assemblies of lewd women, and that he used to pray naked among them. Others, however, are of opinion that these charges had not much foundation, and that the execution of Priscillian and his followers was rather a disgrace than an advantage to the Christian cause. 1


Mosheim and Milner.—Lardner’s Works.