Abelians, Abelites, Abelonians

Or ABELONIANS, a sect which arose in the diocese of Hippoo in Africa, and is supposed to have begun in the reign of Arcadius, and ended in that of Theodosius. Indeed, it was not calculated for being of any long continuance. They regulated marriage after the example of Abel, who, they pretended, was married, but lived in a state of continence: they therefore allowed each man to marry one woman, but enjoined them to live in the same state. To keep up the sect, when a man and woman entered into this society, they adopted a boy and a girl, who were to inherit their goods, and to marry upon the same terms of not having children, but of adopting two of different sexes.

Abelians, Abelites, Abelonians. a sect which arose about the year 360, near Hippo, in Africa, and borrowed their name from Abel, the son of Adam, because, as they supposed, he died unmarried, and without children. Though they did not abstain from matrimony, yet they had no carnal knowledge of their wives, that they might not be instrumental in propagating original sin. That their numbers might be kept up, they adopted the children of others, on whom they settled their property, on condition that they would adhere to the principles of the sect. It does not appear to have continued long in existence, but it has recently been revived among the Shakers of America.