Tertullian, Against Marcion Book 1, Part 2
CHAP. XXIV.--ON THE MISSION OF THE SEVENTY DISCIPLES, AND CHRIST'S CHARGE TO THEM. PRECEDENTS DRAWN FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT. ABSURDITY OF SUPPOSING THAT MARCION'S CHRIST COULD HAVE GIVEN THE POWER OF TREADING ON SERPENTS AND SCORPIONS.
He chose also seventy other missionaries(4) besides the twelve. Now why, if the twelve followed the number of the twelve fountains of Elim,(5) should not the seventy correspond to the like number of the palms of that place?(6) Whatever be the Antitheses of the comparison, it is a diversity in the causes, not in the powers, which has mainly produced them. But if one does not keep in view the diversity of the causes,(7) he is very apt to infer a difference of powers.(8) When the children of Israel went out of Egypt, the Creator brought them forth laden with their spoils of gold and silver vessels, and with loads besides of raiment and unleavened dough;(9) whereas Christ commanded His disciples not to carry even a staff(10) for their journey. The former were thrust forth into a desert, but the latter were sent into cities. Consider the difference presented in the occasions,(11) and you will understand how it was one and the same power which arranged the mission(12) of His people according to their poverty in the one case, and their plenty in the other. He cut down(13) their supplies when they could be replenished through the cities, just as He had accumulated" them when exposed to the scantiness of the desert. Even shoes He forbade them to carry. For it was He under whose very protection the people wore not out a shoe,(15) even in the wilderness for the space of so many years. "No one," says He, "shall ye salute by the way."(16) What a destroyer of the prophets, forsooth, is Christ, seeing it is from them that He received his precept also! When Elisha sent on his servant Gehazi before him to raise the Shunammite's son from death, I rather think he gave him these instructions:(17) "Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thine hand, and go thy way: if thou meet any man, salute him not;(18) and if any salute thee, answer him not again."(19) For what is a wayside blessing but a mutual salutation as men meet? So also the Lord commands: "Into whatsoever house they enter, let them say, Peace be to it."(20) Herein He follows the very same example. For Elisha enjoined upon his servant the same salutation when he met the Shunammite; he was to say to her: "Peace to thine husband, peace to thy child."(21) Such will be rather our Antitheses; they compare Christ with, instead of sundering Him from, the Creator. "The labourer is worthy of his hire."(22) Who could better pronounce such a sentence than the Judge? For to decide that the workman deserves his wages, is in itself a judicial act. There is no award which consists not in process of judgment. The law of the Creator on this point also presents us with a corroboration, for He judges that labouring oxen are as labourers worthy of their hire: "Thou shall not muzzle," says He. "the ox when he treadeth out the corn."(23) Now, who so good to man(24) as He who is also merciful to cattle? Now, when Christ pronounced labourers to be worthy of their hire, He, in fact, exonerated from blame that precept of the Creator about depriving the Egyptians of their gold and silver vessels.(25) For they who had built for the Egyptians their houses and cities, were surely workmen worthy of their hire, and were not instructed in a fraudulent act, but only set to claim compensation for their hire, which they were unable in any other way to exact from their masters.(26) That the kingdom of God was neither new nor unheard of, He in this way affirmed, whilst at the same time He bids them announce that it was near at hand.(27) Now it is that which was once far off, which can be properly said to have become near. If, however, a thing had never existed previous to its becoming near, it could never have been said to have approached, because it had never existed at a distance. Everything which is new and unknown is also sudden.(1) Everything which is sudden, then, first receives the accident of time(2) when it is announced, for it then first puts on appearance of form.(3) Besides it will be impossible for a thing either to have been tardy(4) all the while it remained unannounced,(5) or to have approached(6) from the time it shall begin to be announced.
He likewise adds, that they should say to such as would not receive them: "Notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you."(7) If He does not enjoin this by way of a commination, the injunction is a most useless one. For what mattered it to them that the kingdom was at hand, unless its approach was accompanied with judgment?--even for the salvation of such as received the announcement thereof. How, if there can be a threat without its accomplishment, can you have in a threatening god, one that executes also, and in both, one that is a judicial being?(8) So, again, He commands that the dust be shaken off against them, as a testimony,--the very particles of their ground which might cleave(9) to the sandal, not to mention(10) any other sort of communication with them.(11) But if their churlishness(12) and inhospitality were to receive no vengeance from Him, for what purpose does He premise a testimony, which surely forbodes some threats? Furthermore, when the Creator also, in the book of Deuteronomy, forbids the reception of the Ammonites and the Moabites into the church,(13) because, when His people came from Egypt, they fraudulently withheld provisions from them with inhumanity and inhospitality,(14) it will be manifest that the prohibition of intercourse descended to Christ from Him. The form of it which He uses--"He that despiseth you, despiseth me"(15)--the Creator had also addressed to Moses: "Not against thee have they murmured, but against me."(16) Moses, indeed, was as much an apostle as the apostles were prophets. The authority of both offices will have to be equally divided, as it proceeds from one and the same Lord, (the God) of apostles and prophets. Who is He that shall bestow "the power of treading on serpents and scorpions?"(17) Shall it be He who is the Lord of all living creatures or he who is not god over a single lizard? Happily the Creator has promised by Isaiah to give this power even to little children, of putting their hand in the cockatrice den and on the hole of the young asps without at all receiving hurt.(18) And, indeed, we are aware (without doing violence to the literal sense of the passage, since even these noxious animals have actually been unable to do hurt where there has been faith) that under the figure of scorpions and serpents are portended evil spirits, whose very prince is described(19) by the name of serpent, dragon, and every other most conspicuous beast in the power of the Creator.(20) This power the Creator conferred first of all upon His Christ, even as the ninetieth Psalm says to Him: "Upon the asp and the basilisk shall Thou tread; the lion and the dragon shall Thou trample under foot."(21) So also Isaiah: "In that day the Lord God shall draw His sacred, great, and strong sword" (even His Christ) "against that dragon, that great and tortuous serpent; and He shall slay him in that day."(22) But when the same prophet says, "The way shall be called a clean and holy way; over it the unclean thing shall not pass, nor shall be there any unclean way; but the dispersed shall pass over it, and they shall not err therein; no lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon; it shall not be found there,"(23) he points out the way of faith, by which we shall reach to God; and then to this way of faith he promises this utter crippling(24) and subjugation of all noxious animals. Lastly, you may discover the suitable times of the promise, if you read what precedes the passage: "Be strong, ye weak hands and ye feeble knees: then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall hear; then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall be articulate."(25) When, therefore, He proclaimed the benefits of His cures, then also did He put the scorpions and the serpents under the feet of His saints--even He who had first received this power from the Father, in order to bestow it upon others and then manfested it forth conformably to the order of prophecy.(1)
CHAP. XXV.--CHRIST THANKS THE FATHER FOR REVEALING TO BABES WHAT HE HAD CONCEALED FROM THE WISE. THIS CONCEALMENT JUDICIOUSLY EFFECTED BY THE CREATOR. OTHER POINTS IN ST. LUKE'S CHAP. X. SHOWN TO BE ONLY POSSIBLE TO THE CREATOR'S CHRIST.
Who shall be invoked as the Lord of heaven, that does not first show Himself(2) to have been the maker thereof? For He says, "I thank thee, (O Father,)and own Thee, Lord of heaven, because those things which had been hidden from the wise and prudent, Thou has revealed unto babes."(3) What things are these? And whose? And by whom hidden? And by whom revealed? If it was by Marcion's god that they were hidden and revealed, it was an extremely iniquitous proceeding;(4) for nothing at all had he ever produced(5) in which anything could have been hidden--no prophecies, no parables, no visions, no evidences(6) of things, or words, or names, obscured by allegories and figures, or cloudy enigmas, but he had concealed the greatness even of himself, which he was with all his might revealing by his Christ. Now in what respect had the wise and prudent done wrong,(7) that God should be hidden from them, when their wisdom and prudence had been insufficient to come to the knowledge of Him? No way had been provided by himself,(8) by any declaration of his works, or any vestiges whereby they might become(9) wise and prudent. However, if they had even failed in any duty towards a god whom they knew not, suppose him now at last to be known still they ought not to have found a jealous god in him who is introduced as unlike the Creator. Therefore, since he had neither provided any materials in which he could have hidden anything, nor had any offenders from whom he could have hidden himself: since, again, even if he had had any, he ought not to have hidden himself from them, he will not now be himself the revealer, who was not previously the concealer; so neither will any be the Lord of heaven nor the Father of Christ but He in whom all these attributes consistently meet.(10) For He conceals by His preparatory apparatus of prophetic obscurity, the understanding of which is open to faith (for "if ye will not believe, ye shall not understand"(11); and He had offenders in those wise and prudent ones who would not seek after God, although He was to be discovered in His so many and mighty works,(12) or who rashly philosophized about Him, and thereby furnished to heretics their arts;(13) and lastly, He is a jealous God. Accordingly,(14) that which Christ thanks God for doing, He long ago (15) announced by Isaiah: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the understanding of the prudent will I hide."(16) So in another passage He intimates both that He has concealed, and that He will also reveal: "I will give unto them treasures that have been hidden, and secret ones will I discover to them."(17) And again: "Who else shall scatter the tokens of ventriloquists,(18) and the devices of those who divine out of their own heart; turning wise men backward, and making their counsels foolish?"(19) Now, if He has designated His Christ as an enlightener of the Gentiles, saying, "I have set thee for a light of the Gentiles;"(20) and if we understand these to be meant in the word babes(21)--as having been once dwarfs in knowledge and infants in prudence, and even now also babes in their lowliness of faith--we shall of course more easily understand how He who had once hidden "these things," and promised a revelation of them through Christ, was the same God as He who had now revealed them unto babes. Else, if it was Marcion's god who revealed the things which had been formerly hidden by the Creator, it follows(22) that he did the Creator's work by setting forth His deeds.(23) But he did it, say you, for His destruction, that he might refute them.(24) Therefore he ought to have refuted them to those from whom the Creator had hidden them, even the wise and prudent. For if he had a kind intention in what he did, the gift of knowledge was due to those from whom the Creator had detained it, instead of the babes, to whom the Creator had grudged no gift. But after all, it is, I presume, the edification(1) rather than the demolition(2) of the law and the prophets which we have thus far found effected in Christ. "All things," He says, "are delivered unto me of my Father."(3) you may believe Him, if He is the Christ of the Creator to whom all things belong; because the Creator has not delivered to a Son who is less than Himself all things, which He created by(4) Him, that is to say, by His Word. If, on the contrary, he is the notorious stranger,(5) what are the" all things" which have been delivered to him by the Father? Are they the Creator's? Then the things which the Father delivered to the Son are good. and the Creator is therefore good, since all His "things" are good; whereas he(6) is no longer good who has invaded another's good (domains) to deliver it to his son, thus teaching robbery(7) of another's goods. Surely he must be a most mendacious being, who had no other means of enriching his son than by helping himself to another's property! Or else,(8) if nothing of the Creator's has been delivered to him by the Father, by what right(9) does he claim for himself (authority over) man? Or again, if man has been delivered to him, and man alone, then man is not "all things." But Scripture clearly says that a transfer of all things has been made to the Son. If, however, you should interpret this "all" of the whole human race, that is, all nations, then the delivery of even these to the Son is within the purpose of the Creator:(10) "I will give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession."(11) If, indeed, he has some things of his own, the whole of which he might give to his son, along with the man of the Creator, then show some one thing of them all, as a sample, that I may believe; lest I should have as much reason not to believe that all things belong to him, of whom I see nothing, as I have ground for believing that even the things which I see not are His, to whom belongs the universe, which I see. But "no man knoweth who the Father is, but the Son; and who the Son is, but the Father, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him."(12) And so it was an unknown god that Christ preached! And other heretics, too, prop themselves up by this passage; alleging in opposition to it that the Creator was known to all, both to lsrael by familiar intercourse, and to the Gentiles by nature. Well, how is it He Himself testifies that He was not known to lsrael? "But Israel cloth not know me, and my people doth not consider me;"(13) nor to the Gentiles: "For, behold," says He, "of the nations I have no man."(14) Therefore He reckoned them "as the drop of a bucket,"(15) while "Sion He left as a look-out(16) in a vineyard."(17) See, then, whether there be not here a confirmation of the prophet's word, when he rebukes that ignorance of man toward God which continued to the days of the Son of man. For it was on this account that he inserted the clause that the Father is known by him to whom the Son has revealed Him, because it was even He who was announced as set by the Father to be a light to the Gentiles, who of course required to be enlightened concerning God, as well as to Israel, even by imparting to it a fuller knowledge of God. Arguments, therefore, will be of no use for belief in the rival god which may be suitable(18) for the Creator, because it is only such as are unfit for the Creator which will be able to advance belief in His rival. If you look also into the next words, "Blessed are the eyes which see the things which ye see, for I tell you that prophets have not seen the things which ye see,"(19) you will find that they follow from the sense above, that no man indeed had come to the knowledge of God as he ought to have done,(20) since even the prophets had not seen the things which were being seen under Christ. Now if He had not been my Christ, He would not have made any mention of the prophets in this passage. For what was there to wonder at, if they had not seen the things of a god who had been unknown to them, and was only revealed a long time after them? What blessedness, however, could theirs have been, who were then seeing what others were naturally(21) unable to see, since it was of things which they had never predicted that they had not obtained the sight;(22) if it were not because they might justly(23) have seen the things pertaining to their God, which they had even predicted, but which they at the same time(24) had not seen? This, however, will be the blessedness of others, even of such as were seeing the things which others had only foretold. We shall by and by show, nay, we have already shown, that in Christ those things were seen which had been foretold, but yet had been hidden from the very prophets who foretold them, in order that they might be hidden also from the wise and the prudent. In the true Gospel, a certain doctor of the law comes to the Lord and asks, "What shall I do to inherit life?" In the heretical gospel life only is mentioned, without the attribute eternal; so that the lawyer seems to have consulted Christ simply about the life which the Creator in the law promises to prolong,(1) and the Lord to have therefore answered him according to the law, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength,"(2) since the question was concerning the conditions of mere life. But the lawyer of course knew very well in what way the life which the law meant(3) was to be obtained, so that his question could have had no relation to the life whose rules he was himself in the habit of teaching. But seeing that even the dead were now raised by Christ, and being himself excited to the hope of an eternal life by these examples of a restored(4) one, he would lose no more time in merely looking on (at the wonderful things which had made him) so high in hope.(5) He therefore consulted him about the attainment of eternal life. Accordingly, the Lord, being Himself the same,(6) and introducing no new precept other than that which relates above all others(7) to (man's) entire salvation, even including the present and the future life,(8) places before him(9) the very essence(10) of the law--that he should in every possible way love the Lord his God. If, indeed, it were only about a lengthened life, such as is at the Creator's disposal, that he inquired and Christ answered, and not about the eternal life, which is at the disposal of Marcion's god, how is he to obtain the eternal one? Surely not in the same manner as the prolonged life. For in proportion to the difference of the reward must be supposed to be also the diversity of the services. Therefore your disciple, Marcion,(11) will not obtain his eternal life in consequence of loving your God, in the same way as the man who loves the Creator will secure the lengthened life. But how happens it that, if He is to be loved who promises the prolonged I life, He is not much more to be loved who offers the eternal life? Therefore both one and the other life will be at the disposal of one and the same Lord; because one and the same discipline is to be followed(12) for one and the other life. What the Creator teaches to be loved, that must He necessarily maintain(13) also by Christ,(14) for that rule holds good here, which prescribes that greater things ought to be believed of Him who has first lesser proofs to show, than of him for whom no preceding smaller presumptions have secured a claim to be believed in things of higher import. It matters not(15) then, whether the word eternal has been interpolated by us.(16) It is enough for me, that the Christ who invited men to the eternal--not the lengthened--life, when consuited about the temporal life which he was destroying, did not choose to exhort the man rather to that eternal life which he was introducing. Pray, what would the Creator's Christ have done. if He who had made man for loving the Creator did not belong to the Creator? I suppose He would have said that the Creator was not to be loved!
CHAP.XXVI.--FROM ST. LUKE'S ELEVENTH CHAPTER OTHER EVIDENCE THAT CHRIST COMES FROM THE CREATOR. THE LORD'S PRAYER AND OTHER WORDS OF CHRIST. THE DUMB SPIRIT AND CHRIST'S DISCOURSE ON OCCASION OF THE EXPULSION. THE EXCLAMATION OF THE WOMAN IN THE CROWD.
When in a certain place he had been praying to that Father above,(17) looking up with insolent and audacious eyes to the heaven of the Creator, by whom in His rough and cruel nature he might have been crushed with hail and lightning--just as it was by Him contrived that he was (afterwards) attached to a cross(18) at Jerusalem--one of his disciples came to him and said, "Master, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples." This he said, forsooth, because he thought that different prayers were required for different gods! Now, he who had advanced such a conjecture as this should first show that another god had been proclaimed by Christ. For nobody would have wanted to know how to pray, before he had learned whom he was to pray to. If, however, he had already learned this, prove it. If you find nowhere any proof, let me tell you(19) that it was to the Creator that he asked for instruction in prayer, to whom John's disciples also used to pray. But, inasmuch as John had introduced some new order of prayer, this disciple had not improperly presumed to think that he ought also to ask of Christ whether they too must not (according to some special rule of their Master) pray, not indeed to another god, but in another manner. Christ accordingly(1) would not have taught His disciple prayer before He had given him the knowledge of God Himself. Therefore what He actually taught was prayer to Him whom the disciple had already known. In short, you may discover in the import(2) of the prayer what God is addressed therein. To whom can I say, "Father?"(3) To him who had nothing to do with making me, from whom I do not derive my origin? Or to Him, who, by making and fashioning me, became my parent?(4) Of whom can I ask for His Holy Spirit? Of him who gives not even the mundane spirit;(5) or of Him "who maketh His angels spirits," and whose Spirit it was which in the beginning hovered upon the waters.(6) Whose kingdom shall I wish to come--his, of whom I never heard as the king of glory; or His, in whose hand are even the hearts of kings? Who shall give me my daily(7) bread? Shall it be he who produces for me not a grain of miIlet-seed;(8) or He who even from heaven gave to His people day by day the bread of angels?(9) Who shall forgive me my trespasses?(10) He who, by refusing to judge them, does not retain them; or He who, unless He forgives them, will retain them, even to His judgment? Who shall suffer us not to be led into temptation? He before whom the tempter will never be able to tremble; or He who from the beginning has beforehand condemned(11) the angel tempter? If any one, with such a form,(12) invokes another god and not the Creator, he does not pray; he only blasphemes.(13) In like manner, from whom must I ask that I may receive? Of whom seek, that I may find? To whom knock, that it may be opened to me?(14) Who has to give to him that asks, but He to whom all things belong, and whose am I also that am the asker? What, however, have I lost before that other god, that I should seek of him and find it. If it be wisdom and prudence, it is the Creator who has hidden them. Shall I resort to him, then, in quest of them? If it be health(15) and life, they are at the disposal of the Creator. Nor must anything be sought and found anywhere else than there, where it is kept in secret that it may come to light. So, again, at no other door will I knock than at that out of which my privilege has reached me.(16) In fine, if to receive, and to find, and to be admitted, is the fruit of labour and earnestness to him who has asked, and sought, and knocked, understand that these duties have been enjoined, and results promised, by the Creator. As for that most excellent god of yours, coming as he professes gratuitously to help man, who was not his (creature),(17) he could not have imposed upon him any labour, or (endowed him with) any earnestness. For he would by this time cease to be the most excellent god, were he not spontaneously to give to every one who does not ask, and permit every one who seeks not to find, and open to every one who does not knock. The Creator, on the contrary,(18) was able to proclaim these duties and rewards by Christ, in order that man, who by sinning had offended his God, might toil on (in his probation), and by his perseverance in asking might receive, and in seeking might find, and in knocking might enter. Accordingly, the preceding similitude(19) represents the man who went at night and begged for the loaves, in the light of a friend and not a stranger, and makes him knock at a friend's house and not at a stranger's. But even if he has offended, man is more of a friend with the Creator than with the god of Marcion. At His door, therefore, does he knock to whom he had the right of access; whose gate he had found; whom he knew to possess bread; in bed now with His children, whom He had willed to be born.(20) Even though the knocking is late in the day, it is yet the Creator's time. To Him belongs the latest hour who owns an entire age(21) and the end thereof. As for the new god, however, no one could have knocked at his door late, for he has hardly yet(22) seen the light of morning. It is the Creator, who once shut the door to the Gentiles, which was then knocked at by the Jews, that both rises and gives, if not now to man as a friend, yet not as a stranger, but, as He says, "because of his importunity."(1) Impoprtant, however, the recent god could not have permitted any one to be in the short time (since his appearance).(2) Him, therefore, whom you call the Creator recognise also as "Father." It is even He who knows what His children require. For when they asked for bread, He gave them manna from heaven; and when they wanted flesh, He sent them abundance of quails--not a serpent for a fish, nor for an egg a scorpion.(3) It will, however, appertain to Him not to give evil instead of good, who has both one and the other in His power. Marcion's god, on the contrary, not having a scorpion, was unable to refuse to give what he did not possess; only He (could do so), who, having a scorpion, yet gives it not. In like manner, it is He who will give the Holy Spirit, at whose command(4) is also the unholy spirit. When He cast out the "demon which was dumb"(5) (and by a cure of this sort verified Isaiah),(6) and having been charged with casting out demons by Beelzebub, He said, "If I by Beelzebub cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out?"(7) By such a question what does He otherwise mean, than that He ejects the spirits by the same power by which their sons also did--that is, by the power of the Creator? For if you suppose the meaning to be, "If I by Beelzebub, etc., by whom your sons?"--as if He would reproach them with having the power of Beelzebub,--you are met at once by the preceding sentence, that "Satan cannot be divided against himself."(8) So that it was not by Beelzebub that even they were casting out demons, but (as we have said) by the power of the Creator; and that He might make this understood, He adds: "But if I with the finger of God cast out demons, is not the kingdom of God come near unto you?"(9) For the magicians who stood before Pharaoh and resisted Moses called the power of the Creator" the finger of God."(10) It was the finger of God, because it was a sign(11) that even a thing of weakness was yet abundant in strength. This Christ also showed, when, recalling to notice (and not obliterating) those ancient wonders which were really His own,(12) He said that the power of God must be understood to be the finger of none other God than Him, under(13) whom it had received this appellation. His kingdom, therefore, was come near to them, whose power was called His "finger." Well, therefore, did He connect" with the parable of "the strong man armed," whom "a stronger man still overcame,(15) the prince of the demons, whom He had already called Beelzebub and Satan; signifying that it was he who was overcome by the finger of God, and not that the Creator had been subdued by another god. Besides,(16) how could His kingdom be still standing, with its boundaries, and laws, and functions, whom, even if the whole world were left entire to Him, Marcion's god could possibly seem to have overcome as "the stronger than He," if it were not in consequence of His law that even Marcionites were constantly dying, by returning in their dissolution(17) to the ground, and were so often admonished by even a scorpion, that the Creator had by no means been overcome?(18) "A (certain) mother of the company exclaims, 'Blessed is the womb that bare Thee, and the paps which Thou hast sucked;' but the Lord said, 'Yea, rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.'"(19) Now He had in precisely similar terms rejected His mother or His brethren, whilst preferring those who heard and obeyed God.(20) His mother, however, was not here present with Him. On that former occasion, therefore, He had not denied that He was her son by birth.(21) On hearing this (salutation) the second time, He the second time transferred, as He had done before,(22) the "blessedness" to His disciples from the womb and the paps of His mother, from whom, however, unless He had in her (a real mother) He could not have transferred it.
CHAP. XXVII.--CHRIST'S REPREHENSION OF THE PHARISEES SEEKING A SIGN. HIS CENSURE OF THEIR LOVE OF OUTWARD SHOW RATHER THAN INWARD HOLINESS.SCRIPTURE ABOUNDS WITH ADMONITIONS OF A SIMILAR PURPORT, PROOFS OF HIS MISSION FROM THE CREATOR.
I prefer elsewhere refuting(23) the faults which the Marcionites find in the Creator. It is here enough that they are also found in Christ.(24) Behold how unequal, inconsistent, and capricious he is! Teaching one thing and doing another, he enjoins "giving to every one that seeks;" and yet he himself refuses to give to those "who seek a sign."(1) For a vast age he hides his own light from men, and yet says that a candle must not be hidden, but affirms that it ought to be set upon a candlestick, that it may give light to all.(2) He forbids cursing again, and cursing much more of course; and yet he heaps his woe upon the Pharisees and doctors of the law.(3) Who so closely resembles my God as: His own Christ? We have often already laid it down for certain,(4) that He could not have been branded(5) as the destroyer of the law if He had promulged another god. Therefore even the Pharisee, who invited Him to dinner in the passage before us,(6) expressed some surprise(7) in His presence that He had not washed before He sat down to meat, in accordance with the law, since it was the God of the law that He was proclaiming.(8) Jesus also interpreted the law to him when He told him that they "made clean the outside of the cup and the platter, whereas their inward part was full of ravening and wickedness." This He said, to signify that by the cleansing of vessels was to be understood before God the purification of men, inasmuch as it was about a man, and not about an unwashed vessel, that even this Pharisee had been treating in His presence. He therefore said: "You wash the outside of the cup," that is, the flesh, "but you do not cleanse your inside part,"(9) that is, the soul; adding: "Did not He that made the outside," that is, the flesh, "also make the inward part," that is to say, the soul?--by which assertion He expressly declared that to the same God belongs the cleansing of a man's external and internal nature, both alike being in the power of Him who prefers mercy not only to man's washing,(10) but even to sacrifice.(11) For He subjoins the command: "Give what ye possess as alms, and alI things shall be clean unto you."(12) Even if another god could have enjoined mercy, he could not have done so previous to his becoming known. Furthermore, it is in this passage evident that they(13) were not reproved concerning their God, but concerning a point of His instruction to them, when He prescribed to them figuratively the cleansing of their vessels, but really the works of merciful dispositions. In like manner, He upbraids them for tithing paltry herbs,(14) but at the same time "passing over hospitality(15) and the love of God. (16) The vocation and the love of what God, but Him by whose law of tithes they used to offer their rue and mint? For the whole point of the rebuke lay in this, that they cared about small matters in His service of course, to whom they failed to exhibit their weightier duties when He commanded them: "Thou shalt love with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, the Lord thy God, who hath called thee out of Egypt."(17) Besides, time enough had not yet passed to admit of Christ's requiring so premature--nay, as yet so distasteful(18)--a love towards a new and recent, not to say a hardly i yet developed,(19) deity. When, again, He upbraids those who caught at the uppermost places and the honour of public salutations, He only follows out the Creator's course,(20) who calls ambitious persons of this character "rulers of Sodom"(21) who forbids us "to put confidence even in princes,"(22) and pronounces him to be altogether wretched who places his confidence in man. But whoever(23) aims at high position, because he would glory in the officious attentions(24) of other people, (in every such case,) inasmuch as He forbade such attentions (in the shape) of placing hope and confidence in man, He at the same time(25) censured all who were ambitious of high positions. He also inveighs against the doctors of the law themselves, because they were "lading men with burdens grievous to be borne, which they did not venture to touch with even a finger of their own;"(26) but not as if He made a mock of(27) the burdens of the law with any feeling of detestation towards it. For how could He have felt aversion to the law, who used with so much earnestness to upbraid them for passing over its weightier matters, alms--giving, hospitality,(28) and the love of God? Nor, indeed, was it only these great things (which He recognized), but even(29) the tithes of rue and the cleansing of cups. But, in truth, He would rather have deemed them excusable for being unable to carry burdens which could not be borne. What, then, are the burdens which He censures?(1) None but those which they were accumulating of their own accord, when they taught for commandments the doctrines of men; for the sake of private advantage joining house to house, so as to deprive their neighbour of his own; cajoling(2) the people, loving gifts, pursuing rewards, robbing the poor of the rights of judgment, that they might have the widow for a prey and the fatherless for a spoil.(3) Of these Isaiah also says, "Woe unto them that are strong in Jerusalem!"(4) and again, "They that demand you shall rule over you."(5) And who did this more than the lawyers?(6) Now, if these offended Christ, it was as belonging to Him that they offended Him. He would have aimed no blow at the teachers of an alien law. But why is a "woe" pronounced against them for "building the sepulchres of the prophets whom their fathers had killed?"(7) They rather deserved praise, because by such an act of piety they seemed to show that they did not allow the deeds of their fathers. Was it not because (Christ) was jealous(8) of such a disposition as the Marcionites denounce,(9) visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children unto the fourth generation? What "key," indeed, was it which these lawyers had,(10) but the interpretation of the law? Into the perception of this they neither entered themselves, even because they did not believe (for "unless ye believe, ye shall not understand"); nor did they permit others to enter, because they preferred to teach them for commandments even the doctrines of men. When, therefore, He reproached those who did not themselves enter in, and also shut the door against others, must He be regarded as a disparager of the law, or as a supporter of it? If a disparager, those who were hindering the law ought to have been pleased; if a supporter, He is no longer an enemy of the law.(11) But all these imprecations He uttered in order to tarnish the Creator as a cruel Being,(12) against whom such as offended were destined to have a "woe." And who would not rather have feared to provoke a cruel Being,(13) by withdrawing allegiance(14) from Him? Therefore the more He represented the Creator to be an object of fear, the more earnestly would He teach that He ought to be served. Thus would it behove the Creator's Christ to act.
CHAP. XXVIII.--EXAMPLES FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT, BALAAM, MOSES, AND HEZEKIAH, TO SHOW HOW COMPLETELY THE INSTRUCTION AND CONDUCT OF CHRIST(15) ARE IN KEEPING WITH THE WILL AND PURPOSE OF THE CREATOR.
Justly, therefore, was the hypocrisy of the Pharisees displeasing to Him, loving God as they did with their lips, but not with their heart. "Beware," He says to the disciples, "of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy," not the proclamation of the Creator. The Son hates those who refused obedience(16) to the Father; nor does He wish His disciples to show such a disposition towards Him--not (let it be observed) towards another god, against whom such hypocrisy indeed might have been admissible, as that which He wished to guard His disciples against. It is the example of the Pharisees which He forbids. It was in respect of Him against whom the Pharisees were sinning that (Christ) now forbade His disciples to offend. Since, then, He had censured their hypocrisy, which covered the secrets of the heart, and obscured with superficial offices the mysteries of unbelief, because (while holding the key of knowledge) it would neither enter in itself, nor permit others to enter in, He therefore adds, "There is nothing covered that shall not be revealed; neither hid, which shall not be known,"(17) in order that no one should suppose that He was attempting the revelation and the recognition of an hitherto unknown and hidden god. When He remarks also on their murmurs and taunts, in saying of Him, "This man casteth out devils only through Beelzebub," He means that all these imputations would come forth to the light of day, and be in the mouths of men in consequence of the promulgation of the Gospel. He then turns to His disciples with these words, "I say unto you, my friends, Be not afraid of them which can only kill the body, and after that have no more power over you."(18) They will, however, find Isaiah had already said, "See how the just man is taken away, and no man layeth it to heart."(19) "But I will show you whom ye shall fear: fear Him who, after He hath killed, hath power to cast into hell" (meaning, of course, the Creator); "yea, I say unto you, fear Him."(1) Now, it would here be enough for my purpose that He forbids offence being given to Him whom He orders to be feared; and that He orders Him to be respected(2) whom He forbids to be offended; and that He who gives these commands belongs to that very God for whom He procures this fear, this absence of offence, and this respect. But this conclusion I can draw also from the following words: "For I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before God."(3) Now they who shall confess Christ will have to be slain(4) before men, but they will have nothing more to suffer after they have been put to death by them. These therefore will be they whom He forewarns above not to be afraid of being only killed; and this forewarning He offers, in order that He might subjoin a clause on the necessity of confessing Him: "Every one that denieth me before men shall be denied before God"(5)--by Him, of course, who would have confessed him, if he had only confessed God. Now, He who will confess the confessor is the very same God who will also deny the denier of Himself. Again, if it is the confessor who will have nothing to fear after his violent death,(6) it is the denier to whom everything will become fearful after his natural death. Since, therefore, that which will have to be feared after death, even the punishment of hell, belongs to the Creator, the denier, too, belongs to the Creator. As with the denier, however, so with the confessor: if he should deny God, he will plainly have to suffer from God, although from men he had nothing more to suffer after they had put him to death. And so Christ is the Creator's, because He shows that all those who deny Him ought to fear the Creator's hell. After deterring disciples from denial of Himself, He adds an admonition to fear blasphemy: "Whosoever shall speak against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him."(7) Now, if both the remission and the retention of sin savour of a judicial God, the Holy Ghost, who is not to be blasphemed, will belong to Him, who will not forgive the, blasphemy; just as He who, in the preceding passage, was not to be denied, belonged to, Him who would, after He had killed, also cast into hell. Now, since it is Christ who averts blasphemy from the Creator, I am at a loss to know in what manner His adversary.(8) could have come. Else, if by these sayings He throws a black cloud of censure(9) over the severity of Him who will not forgive blasphemy and will kill even to hell, it follows that the very spirit of that rival god may be blasphemed with impunity, and his Christ denied; and that there is no difference, in fact, between worshipping and despising him; but that, as there is no punishment for the contempt, so there is no reward for the worship, which men need expect. When "brought before magistrates," and examined, He forbids them "to take thought how they shall answer;" "for," says He, "the Holy Ghost shall teach you in that very hour what ye ought to say."(10) If such an injunction(11) as this comes from the Creator, the precept will only be His by whom an example was previously given. The prophet Balaam, in Numbers, when sent forth by king Balak to curse lsrael, with whom he was commencing war, was at the same moment(12) filled with the Spirit. Instead of the curse which he was come to pronounce, he uttered the blessing which the Spirit at that very hour inspired him with; having previously declared to the king's messengers, and then to the king himself, that he could only speak forth that which God should put into his mouth.(13) The novel doctrines of the new Christ are such as the Creator's servants initiated long before! But see how clear a difference there is between the example of Moses and of Christ.(14) Moses voluntarily interferes with brothers(15) who were quarrelling, and chides the offender: "Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow?" He is, however, rejected by him: "Who made thee a prince or a judge over us?"(16) Christ, on the contrary, when requested by a certain man to compose a strife between him and his brother about dividing an inheritance, refused His assistance, although in so honest a cause. Well, then, my Moses is better than your Christ, aiming as he did at the peace of brethren, and obviating their wrong. But of course the case must be different with Christ, for he is the Christ of the simply good and non-judicial god. "Who," says he, "made me a judge over you?"(17) No other word of excuse was he able to find, without using(1) that with which the wicked, man and impious brother had rejected(2) the defender of probity and piety! In short, he approved of the excuse, although a bad one, by his use of it; and of the act, although a bad one, by his refusal to make peace between brothers. Or rather, would He not show His resentment(3) at the rejection of Moses with such a word? And therefore did He not wish in a similar case of contentious brothers, to confound them with the recollection of so harsh a word? Clearly so. For He had Himself been present in Moses, who heard such a rejection--even He, the Spirit of the Creator.(4) I think that we have already, in another passage,(5) sufficiently shown that the glory of riches is condemned by our God, "who putteth down the mighty from their throne, and exalts the poor from the dunghill."(6) From Him, therefore, will proceed the parable of the rich man, who flattered himself about the increase of his fields, and to Whom God said: "Thou fool, this night shall they require thy soul of thee; then whose shall those things be which thou hast provided?"(7) It was just in the like manner that the king Hezekiah heard from Isaiah the sad doom of his kingdom, when he gloried, before the envoys of Babylon,(8) in his treasures and the deposits of his precious things.(9)
CHAP. XXIX.--PARALLELS FROM THE PROPHETS TO ILLUSTRATE CHRIST'S TEACHING IN THE REST OF THIS CHAPTER OF ST. LUKE. THE STERNER ATTRIBUTES OF CHRIST, IN HIS JUDICIAL CAPACITY, SHOW HIM TO HAVE COME FROM THE CREATOR. INCIDENTAL REBUKES OF MARCION'S DOCTRINE OF CELIBACY, AND OF HIS ALTERING OF THE TEXT OF THE GOSPEL.
Who would be unwilling that we should distress ourselves(10) about sustenance for our life, or clothing for our body,(11) but He who has provided these things already for man; and who, therefore, while distributing them to us, prohibits all anxiety respecting them as an outrage(12) against his liberality?--who has adapted the nature of "life" itself to a condition "better than meat," and has fashioned the material of "the body," so as to make it "more than raiment;" whose "ravens, too, neither sow nor reap, nor gather into storehouses, and are yet fed" by Himself; whose "lilies and grass also toil not, nor spin, and yet are clothed" by Him; whose "Solomon, moreover, was transcendent in glory, and yet was not arrayed like" the humble flower.(13) Besides, nothing can be more abrupt than that one God should be distributing His bounty, while the other should bid us take no thought about (so kindly a) distribution--and that, too, with the intention of derogating (from his liberality). Whether, indeed, it is as depreciating the Creator that he does not wish such trifles to be thought of, concerning which neither the crows nor the lilies labour, because, forsooth, they come spontaneously to hand(14) by reason of their very worthlessness,(15) will appear a little further on. Meanwhile, how is it that He chides them as being "of little faith?"(16) What faith? Does He mean that faith which they were as yet unable to manifest perfectly in a god who has hardly yet revealed,(17) and whom they were in process of learning as well as they could; or that faith which they for this express reason owed to the Creator, because they believed that He was of His own will supplying these wants of the human race, and therefore took no thought about them? Now, when He adds, "For all these things do the nations of the world seek after,"(18) even by their not believing in God as the Creator and Giver of all things, since He was unwilling that they should be like these nations, He therefore upbraided them as being defective of faith in the same God, in whom He remarked that the Gentiles were quite wanting in faith. When He further adds, "But your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things,"(19) I would first ask, what Father Christ would have to be here understood? If He points to their own Creator, He also affirms Him to be good, who knows what His children have need of; but if He refers to that other god, how does he know that food and raiment are necessary to man, seeing that he has made no such pro vision for him? For if he had known the want, he would have made the provision. If, however, he knows what things man has need of, and yet has failed to supply them, he is in the failure guilty of either malignity or weakness. But when he confessed that these things are necessary to man, he really affirmed that they are good. For nothing that is evil is necessary. So that he will not be any longer a depreciator of the works and the indulgences of the Creator, that I may here complete the answer(1) which I deferred giving above. Again, if it is another god who has foreseen man's wants, and is supplying them, how is it that Marcion's Christ himself promises them?(2) Is he liberal with another's property?(3) "Seek ye," says he, "the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you"--by himself, of course. But if by himself, what sort of being is he, who shall bestow the things of another? If by the Creator, whose all things are, then who(4) is he that promises what belongs to another? If these things are "additions" to the kingdom, they must be placed in the second rank;(5) and the second rank belongs to Him to whom the first also does; His are the food and raiment, whose is the kingdom. Thus to the Creator belongs the entire promise, the full reality(6) of its parables, the perfect equalization(7) of its similitudes; for these have respect to none other than Him to whom they have a parity of relation in every point.(8) We are servants because we have a Lord in our God. We ought "to have our loins girded:"(9) in other words, we are to be free from the embarrassments of a perplexed and much occupied life; "to have our lights burning,"(10) that is, our minds kindled by faith, and resplendent with the works of truth. And thus "to wait for our Lord,"(11) that is, Christ. Whence "returning?" If "from the wedding," He is the Christ of the Creator, for the wedding is His. If He is not the Creator's, not even Marcion himself would have gone to the wedding, although invited, for in his god he discovers one who hates the nuptial bed. The parable would therefore have failed in the person of the Lord, if He were not a Being to whom a wedding is consistent. In the next parable also he makes a flagrant mistake, when he assigns to the person of the Creator that "thief, whose hour, if the father of the family had only known, he would not have suffered his house to be broken through."(12) How can the Creator wear in any way the aspect of a thief, Lord as He is of all mankind? No one pilfers or plunders his own property, but he(13) rather acts the part of one who swoops down on the things of another, and alienates man from his Lord.(14) Again, when He indicates to us that the devil is "the thief," whose hour at the very beginning of the world, if man had known, he would never have been broken in upon(15) by him, He warns us "to be ready," for this reason, because "we know not the hour when the Son of man shall come"(16)--not as if He were Himself the thief, but rather as being the judge of those who prepared not themselves, and used no precaution against the thief. Since, then, He is the Son of man, I hold Him to be the Judge, and in the Judge I claim(17) the Creator. If then in this passage he displays the Creator's Christ under the title "Son of man," that he may give us some presage(18) of the thief, of the period of whose coming we are ignorant, you still have it ruled above, that no one is the thief of his own property; besides which, there is our principle also unimpaired(19)--that in as far as He insists on the Creator as an object of fear, in so far does He belong to the Creator, and does the Creator's work. When, therefore, Peter asked whether He had spoken the parable "unto them, or even to all,"(20) He sets forth for them, and for all who should bear rule in the churches, the similitude of stewards.(21) That steward who should treat his fellow-servants well in his Lord's absence, would on his return be set as ruler over all his property; but he who should act otherwise should be severed, and have his portion with the unbelievers, when his lord should return on the day when he looked not for him, at the hour when he was not aware(22)--even that Son of man, the Creator's Christ, not a thief, but a Judge. He accordingly, in this passage, either presents to us the Lord as a Judge, and instructs us in His character,(23) or else as the simply good god; if the latter, he now also affirms his judicial attribute, although the heretic refuses to admit it. For an attempt is made to modify this sense when it is applied to his god,--as if it were an act of serenity and mildness simply to sever the man off, and to assign him a portion with the unbelievers, under the idea that he was not summoned (before the judge), but only returned to his own state! As if this very process did not imply a judicial act! What folly! What will be the end of i the severed ones? Will it not be the for feiture of salvation, since their separation will be from those who shall attain salvation? What, again, will be the condition of the unbelievers? Will it not be damnation? Else, if these severed and unfaithful ones shall have nothing to suffer, there will, on the other hand, be nothing for the accepted and the believers to obtain. If, however, the accepted and the believers shall attain salvation, it must needs be that the rejected and the unbelieving should incur the opposite issue, even the loss of salvation. Now here is a judgment, and He who holds it out before us belongs to the Creator. Whom else than the God of retribution can I understand by Him who shall "beat His servants with stripes," either "few or many," and shall exact from them what He had committed to them? Whom is it suitable(1) for me to obey, but Him who remunerates? Your Christ proclaims, "I am come to send fire on the earth."(2) That(3) most lenient being, the lord who has no hell, not long before had restrained his disciples from demanding fire on the churlish village. Whereas He(4) burnt up Sodom and Gomorrah with a tempest of fire. Of Him the psalmist sang, "A fire shall go out before Him, and burn up His enemies round about."(5) By Hoses He uttered the threat, "I will send a fire upon the cities of Judah;"(6) and(7) by Isaiah, "A fire has been kindled in mine anger." He cannot lie. If it is not He who uttered His voice out of even the burning bush, it can be of no importance(8) what fire you insist upon being understood. Even if it be but figurative fire, yet, from the very fact that he takes from my element illustrations for His own sense, He is mine, because He uses what is mine. The similitude of fire must belong to Him who owns the reality thereof. But He will Himself best explain the quality of that fire which He mentioned, when He goes on to say, "Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division."(9) It is written "a sword,"(10) but Marcion makes an emendation(11) of the word, just as if a division were not the work of the sword. He, therefore, who refused to give peace, intended also the fire of destruction. As is the combat, so is the burning. As is the sword, so is the flame. Neither is suitable for its lord. He says at last, "The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother-in-law against the daughter-in-law, and the daughter-in-law against the mother-in-law."(12) Since this battle among the relatives(13) was sung by the prophet's trumpet in the very words, I fear that Micah(14) must have predicted it to Marcion's Christ! On this account He pronounced them "hypocrites," because they could "discern the face of the sky and the earth, but could not distinguish this time,"(15) when of course He ought to have been recognised, fulfilling (as he was) all things which had been predicted concerning them, and teaching them so. But then who could know the times of him of whom he had no evidence to prove his existence? Justly also does He upbraid them for "not even of themselves judging what is right."(16) Of old does He command by Zechariah, "Execute the judgment of truth and peace;"(17) by Jeremiah, "Execute judgment and righteousness;"(18) by Isaiah, "Judge the fatherless, plead for the widow,"(19) charging it as a fault upon the vine of Sorech,(20) that when "He looked for righteousness therefrom, there was only a cry"(21) (of oppression). The same God who had taught them to act as He commanded them,(22) was now requiring that they should act of their own accord.(23) He who had sown the precept, was now pressing to an abundant harvest from it. But how absurd, that he should now be commanding them to judge righteously, who was destroying God the righteous Judge! For the Judge, who commits to prison, and allows no release Out of it without the payment of "the very last mite,"(24) they treat of in the person of the Creator, with the view of disparaging Him. Which cavil, however, I deem it necessary to meet with the same answer.(25) For as often as the Creator's severity is paraded before us, so often is Christ (shown to be) His, to whom He urges submission by the motive of fear.
CHAP. XXX.--PARABLES OF THE MUSTARD-SEED, AND OF THE LEAVEN. TRANSITION TO THE SOLEMN EXCLUSION WHICH WILL ENSUE WHEN THE MASTER OF THE HOUSE HAS SHUT THE DOOR. THIS JUDICIAL EXCLUSION WILL BE ADMINISTERED BY CHRIST, WHO IS SHOWN THEREBY TO POSSESS THE ATTRIBUTE OF THE CREATOR.
When the question was again raised concerning a cure performed on the Sabbath-day, how did He discuss it: "Doth not each of you on the Sabbath loose his ass or his ox from the stall, and lead him away to watering?"(1) When, therefore, He did a work according to the condition prescribed by the law, He affirmed, instead of breaking, the law, which commanded that no work should be done, except what might be done for any living being;(2) and if for any one, then how much more for a human life? In the case of the parables, it is allowed that I(3) everywhere require a congruity. "The kingdom of God," says He, "is like a grain of mustard-seed which a man took and cast into his garden." Who must be understood as meant by the man? Surely Christ, because (although Marcion's) he was called "the Son of man." He received from the Father the seed of the kingdom, that is, the word of the gospel, and sowed it in his garden--in the world, of course(4)--in man at the present day, for instance.(5) Now, whereas it is said, "in his garden," but neither the world nor man is his property, but the Creator's, therefore He who sowed seed in His own ground is shown to be the Creator. Else, if, to evade this snare,(6) they should choose to transfer the person of the man from Christ to any person who receives the seed of the kingdom and sows it in the garden of his own heart, not even this meaning(7) would suit any other than the Creator. For how happens it, if the kingdom belong to the most lenient god, that it is closely followed up by a fervent judgment, the severity of which brings weeping?(8) With regard, indeed, to the following similitude, I have my fears lest it should somehow(9) presage the kingdom of the rival god! For He compared it, not to the unleavened bread which the Creator is more familiar with, but to leaven.(10) Now this is a capital conjecture for men who are begging for arguments. I must, however, on my side, dispel one fond conceit by another,"(11) and contend with even leaven is suitable for the kingdom of the Creator, because after it comes the oven, or, if you please,(12) the furnace of hell. How often has He already displayed Himself as a Judge, and in the Judge the Creator? How often, indeed, has He repelled, and in the repulse condemned? In the present passage, for instance, He says, "When once the master of the house is risen up;"(13) but in what sense except that in which Isaiah said, "When He ariseth to shake terribly the earth?"(14) "And hath shut to the door," thereby shutting out the wicked, of course; and when these knock, He will answer, "I know you not whence ye are;" and when they recount how "they have eaten and drunk in His presence," He will further say to them, "Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."(15) But where? Outside, no doubt, when they shall have been excluded with the door shut on them by Him. There will therefore be punishment inflicted by Him who excludes for punishment, when they shall behold the righteous entering the kingdom of God, but themselves detained without. By whom detained outside? If by the Creator, who shall be within receiving the righteous into the kingdom? The good God. What, therefore, is the Creator about,(16) that He should detain outside for punishment those whom His adversary shut out, when He ought rather to have kindly received them, if they must come into His hands,(17) for the greater irritation of His rival? But when about to exclude the wicked, he must, of course, either be aware that the Creator would detain them for punishment, or not be aware. Consequently either the wicked will be detained by the Creator against the will of the excluder, in which case he will be inferior to the Creator, submitting to Him unwillingly; or else, if the process is carried out with his will, then he himself has judicially determined its execution; and then he who is the very originator of the Creator's infamy, will not prove to be one whit better than the Creator. Now, if these ideas be incompatible with reason--of one being supposed to punish, and the other to liberate--then to one only power will appertain both the judgment and the kingdom and while they both belong to one, He who executeth judgment can be none else than the Christ of the Creator.
CHAP. XXXI.--CHRIST'S ADVICE TO INVITE THE POOR IN ACCORDANCE WITH ISAIAH. THE PARABLE OF THE GREAT SUPPER A PICTORIAL SKETCH OF THE CREATOR'S OWN DISPENSATIONS OF MERCY AND GRACE. THE REJECTIONS OF THE INVITATION PARALLELED BY QUOTATIONS FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT MARCION'S CHRIST COULD NOT FULFIL THE CONDITIONS INDICATED IN THIS PARABLE THE ABSURDITY OF THE MARCIONITE INTERPRETATION.
What kind of persons does He bid should be invited to a dinner or a supper?(1) Precisely such as he had pointed out by Isaiah: "Deal thy bread to the hungry man; and the beggars--even such as have no home--bring in to thine house,"(2) because, no doubt, they are "unable to recompense" your act of humanity. Now, since Christ forbids the recompense to be expected now, but promises it "at the resurrection," this is the very plan(3) of the Creator, who dislikes those who love gifts and follow after reward. Consider also to which deity(4) is better suited the parable of him who issued invitations: "A certain man made a great supper, and bade many."(5) The preparation for the supper is no doubt a figure of the abundant provision(6) of eternal life. I first remark, that strangers, and persons unconnected by ties of relationship, are not usually invited to a supper; but that members of the household and family are more frequently the favoured guests. To the Creator, then, it belonged to give the invitation, to whom also appertained those who were to be invited --whether considered as men, through their descent from Adam, or as Jews, by reason of their fathers; not to him who possessed no claim to them either by nature or prerogative. My next remark is,(7) if He issues the invitations who has prepared the supper, then, in this sense the supper is the Creator's, who sent to warn the guests. These had been indeed previously invited by the fathers, but were to be admonished by the prophets. It certainly is not the feast of him who never sent a messenger to warn--who never did a thing before towards issuing an invitation, but came down himself on a sudden--only then(8) beginning to be known, when already(9) giving his invitation; only then inviting, when already compelling to his banquet; appointing one and the same hour both for the supper and the invitation. But when invited, they excuse themselves? And fairly enough, if the invitation came from the other god, because it was so sudden; if, however, the excuse was not a fair one, then the invitation was not a sudden one. Now, if the invitation was not a sudden one, it must have been given by the Creator--even by Him of old time, whose call they had at last refused. They first refused it when they said to Aaron, "Make us gods, which shall go before us;(10) and again, afterwards, when "they heard indeed with the ear, but did not understand"(11) their calling of God. In a manner most germane(12) I to this parable, He said by Jeremiah: "Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people; and ye shall walk in all my ways, which I have commanded you."(13) This is the invitation of God. "But," says He, "they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear."(14) This is the refusal of the people. "They departed, and walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart."(15) "I have bought a field--and I have bought some oxen--and I have married a wife."(16) And still He urges them: "I have sent unto you all my servants the prophets, rising early even before day-light."(17) The Holy Spirit is here meant, the admonisher of the guests. "Yet my people hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck."(18) This was reported to the Master of the family. Then He was moved (He did well to be moved; for, as Marcion denies emotion to his god, He must be therefore my God), and commanded them to invite out of "the streets and lanes of the city."(19) Let us see whether this is not the same in purport as His words by Jeremiah: "Have I been a wilderness to the house of Israel, or a land left uncultivated?"(20) That is to say: "Then have I none whom I may call to me; have I no place whence I may bring them?" "Since my people have said, We will come no more unto thee."(21) Therefore He sent out to call others, but from the same city.(22) My third remark is this,(23) that although the place abounded with people, He yet commanded that they gather men from the highways and the hedges. In other words, we are now gathered out of the Gentile strangers; with that jealous resentment, no doubt, which He expressed in Deuteronomy: "I will hide my face from them, and I will show them what shall happen in the last days(1) (how that others shall possess their place); for they are a froward generation, children in whom is no faith. They have moved me to jealousy by that which is no god, and they have provoked me to anger with. their idols; and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people: I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation"(2)--even with us, whose hope the Jews still entertain.(3) But this hope the Lord says they should not realize;(4) "Sion being left as a cottages(5) in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers,"(6) since the nation rejected the latest invitation to Christ. (Now, I ask,) after going through all this course of the Creator's dispensation and prophecies, what there is in it which can possibly be assigned to him who has done all his work at one hasty stroke,(7) and possesses neither the Creator's(8) course nor His dispensation in harmony with the parable? Or, again in what will consist his first invitation,(9) and what his admonition(10) at the second stage? Some at first would surely decline; others afterwards must have accepted."(11) But now he comes to invite both parties promiscuously out of the city,(12) out of the hedges,(13) contrary to the drift(14) of the parable. It is impossible for him now to condemn as scorners of his invitation(15) those whom he has never yet invited, and whom he is approaching with so much earnestness. If, however, he condemns them beforehand as about to reject his call, then beforehand he also predicts(16) the election of the Gentiles in their stead. Certainly(17) he means to come the second time for the very purpose of preaching to the heathen. But even if he does mean to come again, I imagine it will not be with the intention of any longer inviting guests, but of giving to them their places. Meanwhile, you who interpret the call to this supper as an invitation to a heavenly banquet of spiritual satiety and pleasure, must remember that the earthly promises also of wine and oil and corn, and even of the city, are equally employed by the Creator as figures of spiritual things.
CHAP. XXXII.--A SORT OF SORITES, AS THE LOGICIANS CALL IT, TO SHOW THAT THE PARABLES OF THE LOST SHEEP AND THE LOST DRACHMA HAVE NO SUITABLE APPLICATION TO THE CHRIST OF MARCION.
Who sought after the lost sheep and the lost piece of silver?(18) Was it not the loser? But who was the loser? Was it not he who once possessed(19) them? Who, then, was that? Was it not he to whom they belonged?(20) Since, then, man is the property of none other than the Creator, He possessed Him who owned him; He lost him who once possessed him; He sought him who lost him; He found him who sought him; He rejoiced who found him. Therefore the purport(21) of neither parable has anything whatever to do with him(22) to whom belongs neither the sheep nor the piece of silver, that is to say, man. For he lost him not, because he possessed him not; and he sought him not, because he lost him not; and he found him not, because he sought him not; and he rejoiced not, because he found him not. Therefore, to rejoice over the sinner's repentance--that is, at the recovery of lost man--is the attribute of Him who long ago professed that He would rather that the sinner should repent and not die.
CHAP. XXXIII.--THE MARCIONITE INTERPRETATION OF GOD AND MAMMON REFUTED. THE PROPHETS JUSTIFY CHRIST'S ADMONITION AGAINST COVETOUSNESS AND PRIDE. JOHN BAPTIST THE LINK BETWEEN THE OLD AND THE NEW DISPENSATIONS OF THE CREATOR. SO SAID CHRIST--BUT SO ALSO HAD ISAIAH SAID LONG BEFORE. ONE ONLY GOD, THE CREATOR, BY HIS OWN WILL CHANGED THE DISPENSATIONS.NO NEW GOD HAD A HAND IN THE CHANGE
What the two masters are who, He says, cannot be served,(23) on the ground that while one is pleased(24) the other must needs be displeased,(25) He Himself makes clear, when He mentions God and mammon. Then, if you have no interpreter by you, you may learn again from Himself what He would have understood by mammon.(1) For when advising us to provide for ourselves the help of friends in worldly affairs, after the example of that steward who, when removed from his office,(2) relieves his lord's debtors by lessening their debts with a view to their recompensing him with their help, He said, "And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness," that is to say, of money, even as the steward had done. Now we are all of us aware that money is the instigator(3) of unrighteousness, and the lord of the whole world. Therefore, when he saw the covetousness of the Pharisees doing servile worship(4) to it, He hurled(5) this sentence against them, "Ye cannot serve God and mammon."(6) Then the Pharisees, who were covetous of riches, derided Him, when they understood that by mammon He meant money. Let no one think that under the word mammon the Creator was meant, and that Christ called them off from the service of the Creator. What folly! Rather learn therefrom that one God was pointed out by Christ. For they were two masters whom He named, God and mammon--the Creator and money. You cannot indeed serve God--Him, of course whom they seemed to serve--and mammon to whom they preferred to devote themselves.(7) If, however, he was giving himself out as another god, it would not be two masters, but three, that he had pointed out. For the Creator was a master, and much more of a master, to be sure,(8) than mammon, and more to be adored, as being more truly our Master. Now, how was it likely that He who had called mammon a master, and had associated him with God, should say nothing of Him who was really the Master of even these, that is, the Creator? Or else, by this silence respecting Him did He concede that service might be rendered to Him, since it was to Himself alone and to mammon that He said service could not be (simultaneously) rendered? When, therefore, He lays down the position that God is one, since He would have been sure to mention(9) the Creator if He were Himself a rival(10) to Him, He did (virtually) name the Creator, when He refrained from insisting"(11) that He was Master alone, without a rival god. Accordingly, this will throw light upon the sense in which it was said, "If ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?"(12) "In the unrighteous mammon," that is to say, in unrighteous riches, not in the Creator; for even Marcion allows Him to be righteous: "And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who will give to you that which is mine?"(13) For whatever is unrighteous ought to be foreign to the servants of God. But in what way was the Creator foreign to the Pharisees, seeing that He was the proper God of the Jewish nation? Forasmuch then as the words, "Who will entrust to you the truer riches?" and, "Who will give you that which is mine?" are only suitable to the Creator and not to mammon, He could not have uttered them as alien to the Creator, and in the interest of the rival god. He could only seem to have spoken them in this sense, if, when remarking(14) their unfaithfulness to the Creator and not to mammon, He had drawn some distinctions between the Creator (in his manner of mentioning Him) and the rival god--how that the latter would not commit his own truth to those who were unfaithful to the Creator. How then can he possibly seem to belong to another god, if He be not set forth, with the express intention of being separated(15) from the very thing which is in question. But when the Pharisees "justified themselves before men," 16) and placed their hope of reward in man, He censured them in the sense in which the prophet Jeremiah said, "Cursed is the man that trust-eth in man." (17) Since the prophet went on to say, "But the Lord knoweth your hearts,"(18) he magnified the power of that God who declared Himself to be as a lamp, "searching the reins and the heart."(19) When He strikes at pride in the words: "That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God,"(20) He recalls Isaiah: "For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is arrogant and lifted up, and they shall be brought low."(21) I can now make out why Marcion's god was for so long an age concealed. He was, I suppose, waiting until he had learnt all these things from the Creator. He continued his pupillage up to the time of John, and then proceeded forthwith to announce the kingdom of God, saying: "The law and the prophets were until John; since that time the kingdom of God is proclaimed."(1) Just as if we also did not recognise in John a certain limit placed between the old dispensation and the new, at which Judaism ceased and Christianity began--without, however, supposing that it was by the power of another god that there came about a cessation(2) of the law and the prophets and the commencement of that gospel in which is the kingdom of God, Christ Himself. For although, as we have shown, the Creator foretold that the old state of things would pass away and a new state would succeed, yet, inasmuch as John is shown to be both the forerunner and the pre-pater of the ways of that Lord who was to introduce the gospel and publish the kingdom of God, it follows from the very fact that John has come, that Christ must be that very Being who was to follow His harbinger John. So that, if the old course has ceased and the new has begun, with John intervening between them, there will be nothing wonderful in it, because it happens according to the purpose of the Creator; so that you may get a better proof for the kingdom of God from any quarter, however anomalous,(3) than from the conceit that the law and the prophets ended in John, and a new state of things began after him. "More easily, therefore, may heaven and earth pass away--as also the law and the prophets--than that one tittle of the Lord's words should fail."(4) "For," as says Isaiah: "the word of our God shall stand for ever."(5) Since even then by Isaiah it was Christ, the Word and Spirit(6) of the Creator, who prophetically described John as "the voice of one crying in the wilderness to prepare the way of the Lord,"(7) and as about to come for the purpose of terminating thenceforth the course of the law and the prophets; by their fulfilment and not their extinction, and in order that the kingdom of God might be announced by Christ, He therefore purposely added the assurance that the elements would more easily pass away than His words fail; affirming, as He did, the further fact, that what He had said concerning John had not fallen to the ground.
CHAP. XXXIV.--MOSES, ALLOWING DIVORCE, AND CHRIST PROHIBITING IT, EXPLAINED. JOHN BAPTIST AND HEROD. MARCION'S ATTEMPT TO DISCOVER AN ANTITHESIS IN THE PARABLE OF THE RICH MAN AND THE POOR MAN IN HADES CONFUTED. THE CREATOR'S APPOINTMENT MANIFESTED IN BOTH STATES.
But Christ prohibits divorce, saying, "Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery; and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband, also committeth adultery."(8) In order to forbid divorce, He makes it unlawful to marry a woman that has been put away. Moses, however, permitted repudiation m Deuteronomy: "When a man hath taken a wife, and hath lived with her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found unchastity in her; then let him write her a bill of divorcement and give it in her hand, and send her away out of his house."(9) You see, therefore, that there is a difference between the law and the gospel- between Moses and Christ?(10) To be sure there is!(11) But then you have rejected that other gospel which witnesses to the same verity and the same Christ.(12) There, while prohibiting divorce, He has given us a solution of this special question respecting it: "Moses," says He, "because of the hardness of your hearts, suffered you to give a bill of divorcement; but from the beginning it was not so"(13)--for this reason, indeed, because He who had "made them male and female" had likewise said, "They twain shall become one flesh; what therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."(14) Now, by this answer of His (to the Pharisees), He both sanctioned the provision of Moses, who was His own (servant), and restored to its primitive purpose(15) the institution of the Creator, whose Christ He was. Since, however, you are to be refuted out of the Scriptures which you have received, I will meet you on your own ground, as if your Christ were mine. When, therefore, He prohibited divorce, and yet at the same time represented(16) the Father, even Him who united male and female, must He not have rather exculpated(17) than abolished the enactment of Moses? But, observe, if this Christ be yours when he teaches contrary to Moses and the Creator, on the same principle must He be mine if I can show that His teaching is not contrary to them. I maintain, then, that there was a condition in the prohibition which He now made of divorce; the case supposed being, that a man put away his wife for the express purpose of(1) marrying another. His words are: "Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery; and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband, also committeth adultery,"(2)--"put away," that is, for the reason wherefore a woman ought not to be dismissed, that another wife may be obtained. For he who marries a woman who is unlawfully put away is as much of an adulterer as the man who marries one who is un-divorced. Permanent is the marriage which is not rightly dissolved; to marry,(3) therefore, whilst matrimony is undissolved, is to commit adultery. Since, therefore, His prohibition of divorce was a conditional one, He did not prohibit absolutely; and what He did not absolutely forbid, that He permitted on some occasions,(4) when there is an absence of the cause why He gave His prohibition. In very deed(5) His teaching is not contrary to Moses, whose precept He partially(6) defends, I will not(7) say confirms. If, however, you deny that divorce is in any way permitted by Christ, how is it that you on your side(8) destroy marriage, not uniting man and woman, nor admitting to the sacrament of baptism and of the eucharist those who have been united in marriage anywhere else,(9) unless they should agree together to repudiate the fruit of their marriage, and so the very Creator Himself? Well, then, what is a husband to do in your sect,(10) if his wife commit adultery? Shall he keep her? But your own apostle, you know,(11) does not permit "the members of Christ to be joined to a harlot."(12) Divorce, therefore, when justly deserved,(13) has even in Christ a defender. So that Moses for the future must be considered as being confirmed by Him, since he prohibits divorce in the same sense as Christ does, if any unchastity should occur in the wife. For in the Gospel of Matthew he says, "Whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery."(14) He also is deemed equally guilty of adultery, who marries a woman put away by her husband. The Creator, however, except on account of adultery, does not put asunder what He Himself joined together, the same Moses in another passage enacting that he who had married after violence to a damsel, should thenceforth not have it in his power to put away his wife.(15) Now, if a compulsory marriage contracted after violence shall be permanent, how much rather shall a voluntary one, the result of agreement! This has the sanction of the prophet: "Thou shalt not forsake the wife of thy youth."(16) Thus you have Christ following spontaneously the tracks of the Creator everywhere, both in permitting divorce and in for-bidding it. You find Him also protecting marriage, in whatever direction you try to escape. He prohibits divorce when He will have the marriage inviolable; He permits divorce when the marriage is spotted with unfaithfulness. You should blush when you refuse to unite those whom even your Christ has united; and repeat the blush when you disunite them without the good reason why your Christ would have them separated. I have(17) now to show whence the Lord derived this decision(18) of His, and to what end He directed it. It will thus become more fully evident that His object was not the abolition of the Mosaic ordinance(19) by any suddenly devised proposal of divorce; because it was not suddenly proposed, but had its root in the previously mentioned John. For John reproved Herod, because he had illegally married the wife of his deceased brother, who had a daughter by her (a union which the law permitted only on the one occasion of the brother dying childless,(20) when it even prescribed such a marriage, in order that by his own brother, and from his own wife,(21) seed might be reckoned to the deceased husband),(22) and was in consequence cast into prison, and finally, by the same Herod, was even put to death. The Lord having therefore made mention of John, and of course of the occurrence of his death, hurled His censure(23) against Herod in the form of unlawful marriages and of adultery, pronouncing as an adulterer even the man who married a woman that had been put away from her husband. This he said in order the more severely to load Herod with guilt, who had taken his brother's wife, after she had been loosed from her husband not less by death than by divorce; who had been impelled thereto by his lust, not by the prescription of the (Levirate) law--for, as his brother had left a daughter, the marriage with the widow could not be lawful on that very account;(1) and who, when the prophet asserted against him the law, had therefore put him to death. The remarks I have advanced on this case will be also of use to me in illustrating the subsequent parable of the rich man(2) tormented in hell, and the poor man resting in Abraham's bosom.(3) For this passage, so far as its letter goes, comes before us abruptly; but if we regard its sense and purport, it naturally(4) fits in with the mention of John wickedly slain, and of Herod, who had been condemned by him for his impious marriage.(5) It sets forth in bold outline(6) the end of both of them, the "torments" of Herod and the "comfort" of John, that even now Herod might hear that warning: "They have there Moses and the prophets, let them hear them."(7) Marcion, however, violently turns the passage to another end, and decides that both the torment and the comfort are retributions of the Creator reserved in the next life(8) for those who have obeyed the law and the prophets; whilst he defines the heavenly bosom and harbour to belong to Christ and his own god. Our answer to this is, that the Scripture itself which dazzles(9) his sight expressly distinguishes between Abraham's bosom, where the poor man dwells, and the infernal place of torment. "Hell" (I take it) means one thing, and "Abraham's bosom" another. "A great gulf." is said to separate those regions, and to hinder a passage from one to the other. Besides, the rich man could not have "lifted up his eyes,"(10) and from a distance too, except to a superior height, and from the said distance all up through the vast immensity of height and depth. It must therefore be evident to every man of intelligence who has ever heard of the Elysian fields, that there is some determinate place called Abraham's bosom, and that it is designed for the reception of the souls of Abraham's children, even from among the Gentiles (since he is "the father of many nations," which must be classed amongst his family), and of the same faith as that wherewithal he himself believed God, without the yoke of the law and the sign of circumcision. This region, therefore, I call Abraham's bosom. Although it is not in heaven, it is yet higher than hell,(11) and is appointed to afford an interval of rest to the souls of the righteous, until the consummation of all things shall complete the resurrection of all men with the "full recompense of their reward."(12) This consummation will then be manifested in heavenly promises, which Marcion, however, claims for his own god, just as if the Creator had never announced them. Amos, however, tells us of "those stories towards heaven"(13) which Christ "builds"--of course for His people. There also is that everlasting abode of which Isaiah asks, "Who shall declare unto you the eternal place, but He (that is, of course, Christ) who walketh in righteousness, speaketh of the straight path, hateth injustice and iniquity?"(14) Now, although this everlasting abode is promised, and the ascending stories (or steps) to heaven are built by the Creator, who further promises that the seed of Abraham shall be even as the stars of heaven, by virtue certainly of the heavenly promise, why may it not be possible,(15) without any injury to that promise, that by Abraham's bosom is meant some temporary receptacle of faithful souls, wherein is even now delineated an image of the future, and where is given some foresight of the glory(16) of both judgments? If so, you have here, O heretics, during your present lifetime, a warning that Moses and the prophets declare one only God, the Creator, and His only Christ, and how that both awards of everlasting punishment and eternal salvation rest with Him, the one only God, who kills and who makes alive. Well, but the admonition, says Marcion, of our God from heaven has commanded us not to hear Moses and the prophets, but Christ; Hear Him is the command.(17) This is true enough. For the apostles had by that time sufficiently heard Moses and the prophets, for they had followed Christ, being persuaded by Moses and the prophets. For even Peter would not have been able(18) to say, "Thou art the Christ," (19) unless he had beforehand heard and believed Moses and the prophets, by whom alone Christ had been hitherto announced. Their faith, indeed, had deserved this confirmation by such a voice from heaven as should bid them hear Him, whom they had recognized as preaching peace, announcing glad tidings, promising an everlasting abode, building for them steps upwards into heaven.(1) Down in hell, however, it was said concerning them: "They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them!"--event hose who did not believe them or at least did not sincerely(2) believe that after death there were punishments for the arrogance of wealth and the glory of luxury, announced indeed by Moses and the prophets, but decreed by that God, who deposes princes from their thrones, and raiseth up the poor from dunghills.(3) Since, therefore, it is quite consistent in the Creator to pronounce different sentences in the two directions of reward and punishment, we shall have to conclude that there is here no diversity of gods,(4) but only a difference in the actual matters(5) before us.
CHAP. XXXV.--THE JUDICIAL SEVERITY OF CHRIST AND THE TENDERNESS OF THE CREATOR, ASSERTED IN CONTRADICTION TO MARCION. THE CURE OF THE TEN LEPERS. OLD TESTAMENT ANALOGIES. THE KINGDOM OF GOD WITHIN YOU; THIS TEACHING SIMILAR TO THAT OF MOSES. CHRIST, THE STONE REJECTED BY THE BUILDERS. INDICATIONS OF SEVERITY IN THE COMING OF CHRIST. PROOFS THAT HE IS NOT THE IMPASSIBLE BEING MARCION IMAGINED.
Then, turning to His disciples, He says: "Woe unto him through whom offences come! It were better for him if he had not been born, or if a millstone were hanged about his neck and he were cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones,"(6) that is, one of His disciples. Judge, then, what the sort of punishment is which He so severely threatens. For it is no stranger who is to avenge the offence done to His disciples. Recognise also in Him the Judge, and one too, who expresses Himself on the safety of His followers with the same tenderness as that which the Creator long ago exhibited: "He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of my eye."(7) Such identity of care proceeds from one and the same Being. A trespassing brother He will have rebuked.(8) If one failed in this duty of reproof, he in fact sinned, either because out of hatred he wished his brother to continue in sin, or else spared him from mistaken friendship,(9) although possessing the injunction in Leviticus: "Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart; thy neighbor thou shalt seriously rebuke, and on his account shalt not contract sin."(10) Nor is it to be wondered at, if He thus teaches who forbids your refusing to bring back even your brother's cattle, if you find them astray in the road; much more should you bring back your erring brother to himself. He commands you to forgive your brother, should he trespass against you even "seven times."(11) But that surely, is a small matter; for with the Creator there is a larger grace, when He sets no limits to forgiveness, indefinitely charging you "not to bear any malice against your brother,"(12) and to give not merely to him who asks, but even to him who does not ask. For His will is, not that you should forgive(13) an offence, but forget it. The law about lepers had a profound meaning as respects(14) the forms of the disease itself, and of the inspection by the high priest.(15) The interpretation of this sense it will be our task to ascertain. Marcion's labour, however, is to object to us the strictness(16) of the law, with the view of maintaining that here also Christ is its enemy--forestalling(17) its enactments even in His cure of the ten lepers. These He simply commanded to show themselves to the priest; "and as they went, He cleansed them"(18)--without a touch, and without a word, by His silent power and simple will. Well, but what necessity was there for Christ, who had been once for all announced as the healer of our sicknesses and sins,and had proved Himself such by His acts,(19) to busy Himself with inquiries(20) into the qualities and details of cures; or for the Creator to be summoned to the scrutiny of the law in the person of Christ? If any pan of this healing was effected by Him in a way different from the law, He yet Himself did it to perfection; for surely the Lord may by Himself, or by His Son, produce after one manner, and after another manner by His servants the prophets, those proofs of His power and might especially, which (as excelling in glory and strength, because they are His own acts) rightly enough leave in the distance behind them the works which are done by His servants. But enough has been already said on this point in a former passage.(1) Now, although He said in a preceding chapter,(2) that "there were many lepers in lsrael in the days of Eliseus the prophet, and none of them was cleansed saving Naaman the Syrian," yet of course the mere number proves nothing towards a diferenee in the gods, as tending to the abasement(3) of the Creator in curing only one, and the pre-eminence of Him who healed ten. For who can doubt that many might have been cured by Him who cured one more easily than ten by him who had never healed one before? But His main purpose in this declaration was to strike at the unbelief or the pride of Israel, in that (although there were many lepers amongst them, and a prophet was not wanting to them) not one had been moved even by so conspicuous an example to betake himself to God who was working in His prophets. Forasmuch, then, as He was Himself the veritable(4) High Priest of God the Father, He inspected them according to the hidden purport of the law, which signified that Christ was the true distinguisher and extinguisher of the defilements of mankind. However, what was obviously required by the law He commanded should be done: "Go," said He, "show yourselves to the priests."(5) Yet why this, if He meant to cleanse them first? Was it as a despiser of the law, in order to prove to them that, having been cured already on the road, the law was now nothing to them, nor even the priests? Well, the matter must of course pass as it best may,(6) if anybody supposes that Christ had such views as these!(7) But there are certainly better interpretations to be found of the passage, and more deserving of belief: how that they were cleansed on this account, because(8) they were obedient, and went as the law required, when they were commanded to go to the priests; and it is not to be believed that persons who observed the law could have found a cure from a god that was destroying the law. Why, however, did He not give such a command to the leper who first returned?(9) Because Elisha did not in the case of Naaman the Syrian, and yet was not on that account less the Creator's agent? This is a sufficient answer. But the believer knows that there is a pro-founder reason. Consider, therefore, the true motives.(10) The miracle was performed in the district of Samaria, to which country also belonged one of the lepers.(11) Samaria, however, had revolted from Israel, carrying with it the disaffected nine tribes,(12) which, having been alienated(13) by the prophet Ahijah,(14) Jeroboam settled in Samaria. Besides, the Samaritans were always pleased with the mountains and the wells of their ancestors. Thus, in the Gospel of John, the woman of Samaria, when conversing with the Lord at the well, says, "No doubt(15) Thou art greater," etc.; and again, "Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; but ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship."(16) Accordingly, He who said, "Woe unto them that trust in the mountain of Samaria,"(17) vouchsafing now to restore that very region, purposely requests the men "to go and show themselves to the priests," because these were to be found only there where the temple was; submitting(18) the Samaritan to the Jew, inasmuch as "salvation was of the Jews,"(19) whether to the Israelite or the Samaritan. To the tribe of Judah, indeed, wholly appertained the promised Christ,(20) in order that men might know that at Jerusalem were both the priests and the temple; that there also was the womb(21) of religion, and its living fountain, not its mere "well."(22) Seeing, therefore, that they recognised(23) the truth that at Jerusalem the law was to be fulfilled, He healed them. whose salvation was to come(24) of faith(25) without the ceremony of the law. Whence also, astonished that one only out of the ten was thankful for his release to the divine grace, He does not command him to offer a gift according to the law, because he had already paid his tribute of gratitude when "he glorified God;(26) for thus did the Lord will that the law's requirement should be interpreted. And yet who was the God to whom the Samaritan gave thanks, because thus far not even had an Israelite heard of another god? Who else but He by whom all had hitherto been healed through Christ? And therefore it was said to him, "Thy faith hath made thee whole,"(1) because he had discovered that it was his duty to render the true oblation to Almighty God--even thanksgiving--in His true temple, and before His true High Priest Jesus Christ. But it is impossible either that the Pharisees should seem to have inquired of the Lord about the coming of the kingdom of the rival god, when no other god has ever yet been announced by Christ; or that He should have answered them concerning the kingdom of any other god than Him of whom they were in the habit of asking Him. "The kingdom of God," He says, "cometh not with observation; neither do they say, La here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."(2) Now, who will not interpret the words "within you" to mean in your hand, within your power, if you hear, and do the commandment of God? If, however, the kingdom of God lies in His commandment, set before your mind Moses on the other side, according to our antitheses, and you will find the self-same view of the case.(3) "The commandment is not a lofty one,(4) neither is it far off from thee. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, 'Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?' nor is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, 'Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it ?' But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, and in thy hands, to do it."(5) This means, "Neither in this place nor that place is the kingdom of God; for, behold, it is within you."(6) And if the heretics, in their audacity, should contend that the Lord did not give an answer about His own kingdom, but only about the Creator's kingdom, concerning which they had inquired, then the following words are against them. For He tells them that "the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected," before His coming,(7) at which His kingdom will be really(8) revealed. In this statement He shows that it was His own kingdom which His answer to them had contemplated, and which was now awaiting His own sufferings and rejection. But having to be rejected and afterwards to be acknowledged, and taken up(9) and glorified, He borrowed the very word "rejected" from the passage, where, under the figure of a stone, His twofold manifestation was celebrated by David--the first in rejection, the second in honour: "The stone," says He, "which the builders rejected, is become the head-stone of the corner. This is the Lord's doing."(10) Now it would be idle, if we believed that God had predicted the humiliation, or even the glory, of any Christ at all, that He could have signed His prophecy for any but Him whom He had foretold under the figure of a stone, and a rock, and a mountain.(11) If, however, He speaks of His own coming, why does He compare it with the days of Noe and of Lot, which were dark and terrible--a mild and gentle God as He is? Why does He bid us "remember Lot's wife,"(13) who despised the Creator's command, and was punished for her contempt, if He does not come with judgment to avenge the infraction of His precepts? If He really does punish, like the Creator,(14) if He is my Judge, He ought not to have adduced examples for the purpose of instructing me from Him whom He yet destroys, that He(15) might not seem to be my instructor. But if He does not even here speak of His own coming, but of the coming of the Hebrew Christ,(16) let us still wait in expectation that He will vouchsafe to us some prophecy of His own advent; meanwhile we will continue to believe that He is none other than He whom He reminds us of in every passage.
CHAP. XXXVI.--THE PARABLES OF THE IMPORTUNATE WIDOW, AND OF THE PHARISEE AND THE PUBLICAN. CHRIST'S ANSWER TO THE RICH RULER, THE CURE OF THE BLIND MAN. HIS SALUTATION--SON OF DAVID. ALL PROOFS OF CHRIST'S RELATION TO THE CREATOR, MARCION'S ANTITHESIS BETWEEN DAVID AND CHRIST CONFUTED.
When He recommends perseverance and earnestness in prayer, He sets before us the parable of the judge who was compelled to listen to the widow, owing to the earnestness and importunity of her requests.(17) He show us that it is God the judge whom we must importune with prayer, and not Himself, if He is not Himself the judge. But He added, that "God would avenge His own elect."(18) Since, then, He who judges will also Himself be the avenger, He proved that the Creator is on that account the specially good God,(1) whom He represented as the avenger of His own elect, who cry day and night to Him, And yet, when He introduces to our view the Creator's temple, and describes two men worshipping therein with diverse feelings--the Pharisee in pride, the publican in humility--and shows us how they accordingly went down to their homes, one rejected,(2) the other justified,(3) He surely, by thus teaching us the proper discipline of prayer, has determined that that God must be prayed to from whom men were to receive this discipline of prayer --whether condemnatory of pride, or justifying in humility.(4) I do not find from Christ any temple, any suppliants, any sentence (of approval or condemnation) belonging to any other god than the Creator. Him does He enjoin us to worship in humility, as the lifter-up of the humble, not in pride, because He brings down(5) the proud. What other god has He manifested to me to receive my supplications? With what formula of worship, with what hope (shall I approach him?) I trow, none. For the prayer which He has taught us suits, as we have proved,(6) none but the Creator. It is, of course, another matter if He does not wish to be prayed to, because He is the supremely and spontaneously good God! But who is this good God? There is, He says, "none but one."(7) It is not as if He had shown us that one of two gods was the supremely good; but He expressly asserts that there is one only good God, who is the only good, because He is the only God. Now, undoubtedly,(8) He is the good God who "sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust, and maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good;"(9) sustaining and nourishing and assisting even Marcionites themselves! When afterwards "a certain man asked him, 'Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?'" (Jesus) inquired whether he knew (that is, in other words, whether he kept) the commandments of the Creator, in order to testify(10) that it was by the Creator's precepts that eternal life is acquired.(11) Then, when he affirmed that from his youth up he had kept all the principal commandments, l (Jesus) said to him: "One thing thou yet lackest: sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."(12) Well now, Marcion, and all ye who are companions in misery, and associates in hatred(13) with that heretic, what will you dare say to this? Did Christ rescind the forementioned commandments: "Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother?" Or did He both keep them, and then add(14) what was wanting to them? This very precept, however, about giving to the poor, was very largely(15) diffused through the pages of the law and the prophets. This vainglorious observer of the commandments was therefore convicted(16) of holding money in much higher estimation (than charity). This verity of the gospel then stands unimpaired: "I am not come to destroy the law and the prophets, but rather to fulfil them."(17) He also dissipated other doubts, when He declared that the name of God and of the Good belonged to one and the same being, at whose disposal were also the everlasting life and the treasure in heaven and Himself too--whose commandments He both maintained and augmented with His own supplementary precepts. He may likewise be discovered in the following passage of Micah, saying: "He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to be ready to follow the Lord thy God?"(18) Now Christ is the man who tells us what is good, even the knowledge of the law. "Thou knowest," says He, "the commandments." "To do justly"--"Sell all that thou hast;" "to love mercy"--"Give to the poor:" "and to be ready to walk with God"--"And come," says He, "follow me."(19) The Jewish nation was from its beginning so carefully divided into tribes and clans, and families and houses, that no man could very well have been ignorant of his descent--even from the recent assessments of Augustus, which were still probably extant at this time.(20) But the Jesus of Marcion (although there could be no doubt of a person's having been born, who was seen to be a man), as being unborn, could not, of course, have possessed any public testimonial(21) of his descent, but was to be regarded as one of that obscure class of whom nothing was in any way known. Why then did the blind man, on hearing that He was passing by, exclaim, "Jesus, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me?"(1) unless he was considered, in no uncertain manner,(2) to be the Son of David (in other words, to belong to David's family) through his mother and his brethren, who at some time or other had been made known to him by public notoriety? "Those, however, who went before rebuked the blind man, that he should hold his peace."(3) And properly enough; because he was very noisy, not because he was wrong about the son of David Else you must show me, that those who rebuked him were aware that Jesus was not the Son of David, in order that they may be supposed to have had this reason for imposing silence on the blind man. But even if you could show me this, still (the blind man) would more readily have presumed that they were ignorant, than that the Lord could possibly have permitted an untrue exclamation about Himself. But the Lord "stood patient."(4) Yes; but not as confirming the error, for, on the contrary, He rather displayed the Creator. Surely He could not have first removed this man's blindness, in order that he might afterwards cease to regard Him as the Son of David! However,(5) that you may not slander(6) His patience, nor fasten on Him any charge of dissimulation, nor deny Him to be the Son of David, He very pointedly confirmed the exclamation of the blind man--both by the actual gift of healing, and by bearing testimony to his faith: "Thy faith," say Christ, "hath made thee whole."(7) What would you have the blind man's faith to have been? That Jesus was descended from that (alien) god (of Marcion), to subvert the Creator and overthrow the law and the prophets? That He was not the destined offshoot from the root of Jesse, and the fruit of David's loins, the restorer(8) also of the blind? But I apprehend there were at that time no such stone-blind persons as Marcion, that an opinion like this could have constituted the faith of the blind man, and have induced him to confide in the mere named of Jesus, the Son of David. He, who knew all this of Himself,(10) and wished others to know it also, endowed the faith of this man--although it was already gifted with a better sight, and although it was in possession of the true light--with the external vision likewise, in order that we too might learn the rule of faith, and at the same time find its recompense. Whosoever wishes to see Jesus the Son of David must believe in Him; through the Virgin's birth.(11) He who will not believe this will not hear from Him the salutation, "Thy faith hath saved thee." And so he will remain blind, falling into Antithesis after Antithesis, which mutually destroy each other,(12) just as "the blind man leads the blind down into the ditch."(13) For (here is one of Marcion's Antitheses): whereas David in old time, in the capture of Sion, was offended by the blind who opposed his admission (into the stronghold)(14)--in which respect (I should rather say) that they were a type of people equally blind,(15) who in after-times would not admit Christ to be the son of David--so, on the contrary, Christ succoured the blind man, to show by this act that He was not David's son, and how different in disposition He was, kind to the blind, while David ordered them to be slain.(16) If all this were so, why did Marcion allege that the blind man's faith was of so worthless(17) a stamp? The fact is,(18) the Son of David so acted,(19) that the Antithesis must lose its point by its own absurdity.(20) Those persons who offended David were blind, and the man who now presents himself as a suppliant to David's son is afflicted with the same infirmity.(21) Therefore the Son of David was appeased with some sort of satisfaction by the blind man when He restored him to sight, and added His approval of the faith which had led him to believe the very truth, that he must win to his help(22) the Son of David by earnest entreaty. But, after all, I suspect that it was the audacity (of the old Jebusites) which offended David, and not their malady.
CHAP. XXXVII.--CHRIST AND ZACCHAEUS. THE SALVATION OF THE BODY AS DENIED BY MARCION. THE PARABLE OF THE TEN SERVANTS ENTRUSTED WITH TEN POUNDS. CHRIST A JUDGE, WHO IS TO ADMINISTER THE WILL OF THE AUSTERE MAN, I.E. THE CREATOR.
"Salvation comes to the house" of Zacchaeus even.(1) For what reason? Was it because he also believed that Christ came by Marcion? But the blind man's cry was still sounding in the ears of all: "Jesus, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me." And "all the people gave praise unto God"--not Marcion's, but David's. Now, although Zacchaeus was probably a Gentile,(2) he yet from his intercourse with Jews had obtained a smattering(3) of their Scriptures, and, more than this, had, without knowing it, fulfilled the precepts of Isaiah: "Deal thy bread," said the prophet, "to the hungry, and bring the poor that are cast out into thine house."(4) This he did in the best possible way, by receiving the Lord, and entertaining Him in his house. "When thou seest the naked cover him."(5) This he promised to do, in an equally satisfactory way, when he offered the half of his goods for all works of mercy.(6) So also "he loosened the bands of wickedness. undid the heavy burdens, let the oppressed go free, and broke every yoke,"(7) when he said, "If I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold."(8) Therefore the Lord said, "This day is salvation come to this house."(9) Thus did He give His testimony, that the precepts of the Creator spoken by the prophet tended to salvation.(10) But when He adds, "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost,"(11) my present contention is not whether He was come to save what was lost, to whom it had once belonged, and from whom what He came to save had fallen away; but I approach a different question. Man, there can be no doubt of it, is here the subject of consideration. Now, since he consists of two pans,(12) body and soul, the point to be inquired into is, in which of these two man would seem to have been lost? If in his body, then it is his body, not his soul, which is lost. What, however, is lost, the Son of man saves. The body,(13) therefore, has the salvation. If, (on the other hand,) it is in his soul that man is lost, salvation is designed for the lost soul; and the body which is not lost is safe. If, (to take the only other supposition,) man is wholly lost, in both his natures, then it necessarily follows that salvation is appointed for the entire man; and then the opinion of the heretics is shivered to pieces,(14) who say that there is no salvation of the flesh. And this affords a confirmation that Christ belongs to the Creator, who followed the Creator in promising the salvation of the whole man. The parable also of the (ten) servants, who received their several recompenses according to the manner in which they had increased their lord's money by trading? proves Him to be a God of judgment--even a God who, in strict account,(16) not only bestows honour, but also takes away what a man seems to have.(17) Else, if it is the Creator whom He has here delineated as the "austere man," who "takes up what he laid not down, and reaps what he did not sow,"(18) my instructor even here is He, (whoever He may be,) to whom belongs the money He teaches me fruitfully to expend.(19)
CHAP. XXXVIII.--CHRIST'S REFUTATIONS OF THE PHARISEES. RENDERING DUES TO CAESAR AND TO GOD. NEXT OF THE SADDUCEES, RESPECTING MARRIAGE IN THE RESURRECTION. THESE PROVE HIM NOT TO BE MARCION'S BUT THE CREATOR'S CHRIST. MARCION'S TAMPERINGS IN ORDER TO MAKE ROOM FOR HIS SECOND GOD, EXPOSED AND CONFUTED.
Christ knew "the baptism of John, whence it was."(20) Then why did He ask them, as if He knew not? He knew that the Pharisees would not give Him an answer; then why did He ask in vain? Was it that He might judge them out of their own mouth, or their own heart? Suppose you refer these points to an excuse of the Creator, or to His comparison with Christ; then consider what would have happened if the Pharisees had replied to His question. Suppose their answer to have been, that John's baptism was "of men," they would have been immediately stoned to death.(21) Some Marcion, in rivalry to Marcion, would have stood up(22) and said: O most excellent God; how different are his ways from the Creator's! Knowing that men would rush down headlong over it, He placed them actually(1) on the very precipice. For thus do men treat of the Creator respecting His law of the tree.(2) But John's baptism was "from heaven." "Why, therefore," asks Christ, "did ye not believe him?"(3) He therefore who had wished men to believe John, purposing to censure(4) them because they had not believed him, belonged to Him whose sacrament John was administering. But, at any rate,(5) when He actually met their refusal to say what they thought, with such reprisals as, "Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things,"(6) He returned evil for evil! ''Render unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's."(7) What will be "the things which are God's?" Such things as are like Caesar's denarius--that is to say, His image and similitude. That, therefore, which he commands to be "rendered unto God," the Creator, is man, who has been stamped with His image, likeness, name, and substance.(8) Let Marcion's god look after his own mint.(9) Christ bids the denarius of man's imprint to be rendered to His Caesar, (His Caesar I say,) not the Caesar of a strange god.(10) The truth, however, must be confessed, this god has not a denarius to call his own! In every question the just and proper rule is, that the meaning of the answer ought to be adapted to the proposed inquiry. But it is nothing short of madness to return an answer altogether different from the question submitted to you. God forbid, then, that we should expect from Christ(11) conduct which would be unfit even to an ordinary man! The Sadducees, who said there was no resurrection, in a discussion on that subject, had proposed to the Lord a case of law touching a certain woman, who, in accordance with the legal prescription, had been married to seven brothers who had died one after the other. The question therefore was, to which husband must she be reckoned to belong in the resurrection?(12) This, (observe,) was the gist of the inquiry, this was the sum and substance of the dispute. And to it Christ was obliged to return a direct answer. He had nobody to fear; that it should seem advisable(13) for Him either to evade their questions, or to make them the occasion of indirectly mooring(14) a subject which He was not in the habit of teaching publicly at any other time. He therefore gave His answer, that "the children of this world marry."(15) You see how pertinent it was to the case in point. Because the question concerned the next world, and He was going to declare that no one marries there, He opens the way by laying down the principles that here, where there is death, there is also marriage. "But they whom God shall account worthy of the possession of that world and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; forasmuch as they cannot die any more, since they become equal to the angels, being made the children of God and of the resurrection."(16) If, then, the meaning of the answer must not turn on any other point than on the proposed question, and since the question proposed is fully understood from this sense of the answer,(17) then the Lord's reply admits of no other interpretation than that by which the question is clearly understood.(18) You have both the time in which marriage is permitted, and the time in which it is said to be unsuitable, laid before you, not on their own account, but in consequence of an inquiry about the resurrection. You have likewise a confirmation of the resurrection itself, and the whole question which the Sadducees mooted, who asked no question about another god, nor inquired about the proper law of marriage. Now, if you make Christ answer questions which were not submitted to Him, you, in fact, represent Him as having been unable to solve the points on which He was really consulted, and entrapped of course by the cunning of the Sadducees. I shall now proceed, by way of supererogation,(19) and after the rule (I have laid down about questions and answers),(20) to deal with the arguments which have any consistency in them.(21) They procured then a copy of the Scripture, and made short work with its text, by reading it thus:(22) "Those whom the god of that world shall account worthy." They add the phrase "of that world" to the word "god," whereby they make another god"the god of that world;" whereas the passage ought to be read thus: "Those whom God shall account worthy of the possession of that world" (removing the distinguishing phrase "of this world" to the end of the clause,(1) in other words, "Those whom God shall account worthy of obtaining and rising to that world." For the question submitted to Christ had nothing to do with the god, but only with the state, of that world. It was: "Whose wife should this woman be in that world after the resurrection?"(2) They thus subvert His answer respecting the essential question of marriage, and apply His words, "The children of this world marry and are given in marriage," as if they referred to the Creator's men, and His permission to them to marry; whilst they themselves whom the god of that world--that is, the rival god--accounted worthy of the resurrection, do not marry even here, because they are not children of this world. But the fact is, that, having been consulted about marriage in that world, not in this present one, He had simply declared the non-existence of that to which the question related. They, indeed, who had caught the very force of His voice, and pronunciation, and expression, discovered no other sense than what had reference to the matter of the question. Accordingly, the Scribes exclaimed, "Master, Thou hast well said."(3) For He had affirmed the resurrection, by describing the form(4) thereof in opposition to the opinion of the Sadducees. Now, He did not reject the attestation of those who had assumed His answer to bear this meaning. If, however, the Scribes thought Christ was David's Son, whereas (David) himself calls Him Lord,(5) what relation has this to Christ? David did not literally confute(6) an error of the Scribes, yet David asserted the honour of Christ, when he more prominently affirmed that He was his Lord than his Son,--an attribute which was hardly suitable to the destroyer of the Creator. But how consistent is the interpretation on our side of the question! For He, who had been a little while ago invoked by the blind man as "the Son of David,"(7) then made no remark on the subject, not having the Scribes in His presence; whereas He now purposely moots the point before them, and that of His own accord,(8) in order that He might show Himself whom the Mind man, following the doctrine of the Scribes, had simply declared to be the Son of David, to be also his Lord. He thus honoured the blind man's faith which had acknowledged His Sonship to David; but at the same time He struck a blow at the tradition of the Scribes, which prevented them from knowing that He was also (David's) Lord. Whatever had relation to the glory of the Creator's Christ, no other would thus guard and maintain(9) but Himself the Creator's Christ.
CHAP. XXXIX.--CONCERNING THOSE WHO COME IN THE NAME OF CHRIST. THE TERRIBLE SIGNS OF HIS COMING. HE WHOSE COMING IS SO GRANDLY DESCRIBED BOTH IN THE OLD TESTAMENT AND THE NEW TESTAMENT, IS NONE OTHER THAN THE CHRIST OF THE CREATOR. THIS PROOF ENHANCED BY THE PARABLE OF THE FIG-TREE AND ALL THE TREES. PARALLEL PASSAGES OF PROPHECY.
As touching the propriety of His names, it has already been seen(10) that both of them"(11) are suitable to Him who was the first both to announce His Christ to mankind, and to give Him the further name (12) of Jesus. The impudence, therefore, of Marcion's Christ will be evident, when he says that many will come in his name, whereas this name does not at all belong to him, since he is not the Christ and Jesus of the Creator, to whom these names do properly appertain; and more especially when he prohibits those to be received whose very equal in imposture he is, inasmuch as he (equally with them(13) ) comes in a name which belongs to another--unless it was his business to warn off from a mendaciously assumed name the disciples (of One) who, by reason of His name being properly given to Him, possessed also the verity thereof. But when "they shall by and by come and say, I am Christ,"(14) they will be received by you, who have already received one altogether like them.(15) Christ, however, comes in His own name. What will you do, then, when He Himself comes who is the very Proprietor of these names, the Creator's Christ and Jesus? Will you reject Him? But how iniquitous, how unjust and disrespectful to the good God, that you should not receive Him who comes in His own name, when you have received another in His name! Now, let us see what are the signs which He ascribes to the times. "Wars," I observe, "and kingdom against kingdom, and nation against nation, and pestilence, and famines, and earthquakes, and fearful sights, and great signs from heaven"(1)--all which things are suitable for a severe and terrible God. Now, when He goes on to say that "all these things must needs come to pass,"(2) what does He represent Himself to be? The Destroyer, or the Defender of the Creator? For He affirms thai these appointments of His must fully come to pass; but surely as the good God, He would have frustrated rather than advanced events so sad and terrible, if they had not been His own (decrees). "But before all these," He foretells that persecutions and sufferings were to come upon them, which indeed were "to turn for a testimony to them," and for their salvation.(3) Hear what is predicted in Zechariah: "The Lord of hosts(4) shall protect them; and they shall devour them, and subdue them with sling-stones; and they shall drink their blood like wine, and they shall fill the bowls as it were of the altar. And the Lord shall save them in that day, even His people, like sheep; because as sacred stones they roll,"(5) etc. And that you may not suppose that these predictions refer to such sufferings as await them from so many wars with strangers,(6) consider the nature (of the sufferings). In a prophecy of wars which were to be waged with legitimate arms, no one would think of enumerating stones as weapons, which are better known in popular crowds and unarmed tumults. Nobody measures the copious streams of blood which flow in war by bowlfuls, nor limits it to what is shed upon a single altar. No one gives the name of sheep to those who fall in battle with arms in hand, and while repelling force with force, but only to those who are slain, yielding themselves up in their own place of duty and with patience, rather than fighting in self-defence. In short, as he says, "they roll as sacred stones," and not like soldiers fight. Stones are they, even foundation stones, upon which we are ourselves edified--"built," as St.Paul says, "upon the foundation of the apostles,"(7) who, like "consecrated stones," were rolled up and down exposed to the attack of all men. And therefore in this passage He forbids men "to meditate before what they answer" when brought before tribunals,(8) even as once He suggested to Balaam the message which he had not thought of,(9) nay, contrary to what he had thought; and promised "a mouth" to Moses, when he pleaded in excuse the slowness of his speech,(10) and that wisdom which, by Isaiah, He showed to be irresistible: "One shall say, I am the Lord's, and shall call himself by the name of Jacob, and another shall subscribe himself by the name of lsrael."(11) Now, what plea is wiser and more irresistible than the simple and open"(12) confession made in a martyr's cause, who "prevails with God"--which is what "Israel" means?(13) Now, one cannot wonder that He forbade "premeditation," who actually Himself received from the Father the ability of uttering words in season: "The Lord hath given to me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season (to him that is weary);"(14) except that Marcion introduces to us a Christ who is not subject to the Father. That persecutions from one's nearest friends are predicted, and calumny out of hatred to His name,(15) I need not again refer to. But "by patience,"(16) says He, "ye shall yourselves be saved."(17) Of this very patience the Psalm says, "The patient endurance of the just shall not perish for ever;"(18) because it is said in another Psalm, "Precious (in the sight of the Lord) is the death of the just"--arising, no doubt, out of their patient endurance, so that Zechariah declares: "A crown shall be to them that endure."(19) But that you may not boldly contend that it was as announcers of another god that the apostles were persecuted by the Jews, remember that even the prophets suffered the same treatment of the Jews, and that they were not the heralds of any other god than the Creator. Then, having shown what was to be the period of the destruction, even "when Jerusalem should begin to be compassed with armies,"(1) He described the signs of the end of all things: "portents in the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity--like the sea roaring--by reason of their expectation of the evils which are coming on the earth."(2) That "the very powers also of heaven have to be shaken,"(3) you may find in Joel: "And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth--blood and fire, and pillars of smoke; the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come."(4) In Habakkuk also you have this statement: "With rivers shall the earth be cleaved; the nations shall see thee, and be m pangs. Thou shalt disperse the waters with thy step; the deep uttered its voice; the height of its fear was raised;(5) the sun and the moon stood still in their course; into light shall thy coruscations go; and thy shield shall be (like) the glittering of the lightning's flash; in thine anger thou shalt grind the earth, and shalt thresh the nations in thy wrath."(6) There is thus an agreement, I apprehend, between the sayings of the Lord and of the prophets touching the shaking of the earth, and the elements, and the nations thereof. But what does the Lord say afterwards? "And then shall they see the Son of man coming from the heavens with very great power. And when these things shall come to pass, ye shall look up, and raise your heads; for your redemption hath come near," that is, at the time of the kingdom, of which the parable itself treats.(7) "So likewise ye, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand."(8) This will be the great day of the Lord, and of the glorious coming of the Son of man from heaven, of which Daniel wrote: "Behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven,"(9) etc. "And there was given unto Him the kingly power," (10) which (in the parable) "He went away into a far country to receive for Himself," leaving money to His servants wherewithal to trade and get increase(11)--even (that universal kingdom of) all nations, which in the Psalm the Father had promised to give to Him: Ask of me, and I will give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance."(12) "And all that glory shall serve Him; His dominion shall be an everlasting one, which shall not be taker from Him, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed,"(13) because in it "men shall not die, neither shall they marry, but be like the angels."(14) It is about the same advent of the Son of man and the benefits thereof that we read in Habakkuk: "Thou wentest forth for the salvation of Thy people, even to save Thine anointed ones,(15)--in other words, those who shall look up and lift their heads, being redeemed in the time of His kingdom. Since, therefore, these descriptions of the promises, on the one hand, agree together, as do also those of the great catastrophes, on the other--both in the predictions of the prophets and the declarations of the Lord, it will be impossible for you to interpose any distinction between them, as if the catastrophes could be referred to the Creator, as the terrible God, being such as the good god (of Marcion) ought not to permit, much less expect --whilst the promises should be ascribed to the good god, being such as the Creator, in His ignorance of the said god, could not have predicted. If, however, He did predict these promises as His own, since they differ in no respect from the promises of Christ, He will be a match in the freeness of His gifts with the good god himself; and evidently no more will have been promised by your Christ than by my Son of man. (If you examine) the whole passage of this Gospel Scripture, from the inquiry of the disciples(16) down to the parable of the fig-tree(17) you will find the sense in its connection suit in every point the Son of man, so that it consistently ascribes to Him both the sorrows and the joys, and the catastrophes and the promises; nor can you separate them from Him in either respect. For asmuch, then, as there is but one Son of man whose advent is placed between the two issues of catastrophe and promise, it must needs follow that to that one Son of man belong both the judgments upon the nations, and the prayers of the saints. He who thus comes in midway so as to be common to both issues, will terminate one of them by inflicting judgment on the nations at His coming; and will at the same time commence the other by fulfilling the prayers of His saints: so that if (on the one hand) you grant that the coming of the Son of man is (the advent) of my Christ, then, when you ascribe to Him the infliction of the judgments which precede His appearance, you are compelled also to assign to Him the blessings which issue from the same. If (on the other hand) you will have it that it is the coming of your Christ, then, when you ascribe to him the blessings which are to be the result of his advent, you are obliged to impute to him likewise the infliction of the evils which precede his appearance. For the evils which precede, and the blessings which immediately follow, the coming of the Son of man, are both alike indissolubly connected with that event. Consider, therefore, which of the two Christs you choose to place in the person of the Son of man, to whom you may refer the execution of the two dispensations. You make either the Creator a most beneficent God, or else your own god terrible in his nature! Reflect, in short, on the picture presented in the parable: "Behold the fig-tree, and all the trees; when they produce their fruit, men know that summer is at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is very near."(1) Now, if the fructification of the common trees(2) be an antecedent sign of the approach of summer, so in like manner do the great conflicts of the world indicate the arrival of that kingdom which they precede. But every sign is His, to whom belong the thing of which it is the sign; and to everything is appointed its sign by Him to whom the thing belongs. If, therefore, these tribulations are the signs of the kingdom, just as the maturity of the trees is of the summer, it follows that the kingdom is the Creator's to whom are ascribed the tribulations which are the signs of the kingdom. Since the beneficent Deity had premised that these things must needs come to pass, although so terrible and dreadful, as they had been predicted by the law and the prophets, therefore He did not destroy the law and the prophets, when He affirmed that what had been foretold therein must be certainly fulfilled. He further declares, "that heaven and earth shall not pass away till all things be fulfilled."(3) What things, pray, are these? Are they the things which the Creator made? Then the elements will tractably endure the accomplishment of their Maker's dispensation. If, however, they emanate from your excellent god, I much doubt whether(4) the heaven and earth will peaceabIy allow the completion of things which their Creator's enemy has determined! If the Creator quietly submits to this, then He is no "jealous God." But let heaven and earth pass away, since their Lord has so determined; only let His word remain for evermore! And so Isaiah predicted that it should.(5) Let the disciples also be warned, "lest their hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and cares of this world; and so that day come upon them unawares, like a snare "(6)--if indeed they should forget God amidst the abundance and occupation of the world. Like this will be found the admonition of Moses,--so that He who delivers from "the snare" of that day is none other than He who so long before addressed to men the same admonition? Some places there were in Jerusalem where to teach; other places outside Jerusalem whither to retire(8)--"in the day-time He was teaching in the temple;" just as He had foretold by Hosea: "In my house did they find me, and there did I speak with them."(9) "But at night He went out to the Mount of Olives." For thus had Zechariah pointed out: "And His feet shall stand in that day on the Mount of Olives."(10) Fit hours for an audience there also were. "Early in the morning"(11) must they resort to Him, who (having said by Isaiah, "The Lord giveth me the tongue of the learned") added, "He hath appointed me the morning, and hath also given me an ear to hear."(12) Now if this is to destroy the prophets,(13) what will it be to fulfil them?
CHAP. XL.--HOW THE STEPS IN THE PASSION OF THE SAVIOUR WERE PREDETERMINED IN PROPHECY. THE PASSOVER. THE TREACHERY OF JUDAS. THE INSTITUTION OF THE LORD'S SUPPER. THE DOCETIC ERROR OF MARCION CONFUTED BY THE BODY AND THE BLOOD OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.
In like manner does He also know the very time it behoved Him to suffer, since the law prefigures His passion. Accordingly, of all the festal days of the Jews He chose the passover.(14) In this Moses had declared that there was a sacred mystery:(15) "It is the Lord's passover."(16) How earnestly, therefore, does He manifest the bent of His soul: "With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer."(17) What a destroyer of the law was this, who actually longed to keep its passover! Could it be that He was so fond of Jewish lamb?(1) But was it not because He had to be "led like a lamb to the slaughter; and because, as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so was He not to open His mouth,"(2) that He so profoundly wished to accomplish the symbol of His own redeeming blood? He might also have been betrayed by any stranger, did I not find that even here too He fulfilled a Psalm: "He who did eat bread with me hath lifted up(3) his heel against me."(4) And without a price might He have been betrayed. For what need of a traitor was there in the case of one who offered Himself to the people openly, and might quite as easily have been captured by force as taken by treachery? This might no doubt have been well enough for another Christ, but would not have been suitable in One who was accomplishing prophecies. For it was written, "The righteous one did they sell for silver."(5) The very amount and the destination(6) of the money, which on Judas' remorse was recalled from its first purpose of a fee,(7) and appropriated to the purchase of a potter's field, as narrated in the Gospel of Matthew, were clearly foretold by Jeremiah:(8) "And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of Him who was valued? and gave them for the potter's field." When He so earnestly expressed His desire to eat the passover, He considered it His own feast; for it would have been unworthy of God to desire to partake of what was not His own. Then, having taken the bread and given it to His disciples, He made it His own body, by saying, "This is my body,"(10) that is, the figure of my body. A figure, however, there could not have been, unless there were first a veritable body.(11) An empty thing, or phantom, is incapable of a figure. If, however, (as Marcion might say,) He pretended the bread was His body, because He lacked the truth of bodily substance, it follows that He must have given bread for us. It would contribute very well to the support of Marcion's theory of a phantom body,(12) that bread should have been crucified! But why call His body bread, and not rather (some other edible thing, say) a melon,(13) which Marcion must have had in lieu of a heart! He did not understand how ancient was this figure of the body of Christ, who said Himself by Jeremiah: "I was like a lamb or an ox that is brought to the slaughter, and I knew not that(14) they devised a device against me, saying, Let us cast the tree upon His bread,"(15) which means, of course, the cross upon His body. And thus, casting light, as He always did, upon the ancient prophecies,(16) He declared plainly enough what He meant by the bread, when He called the bread His own body. He likewise, when mentioning the cup and making the new testament to be sealed "in His blood,"(17) affirms the reality of His body. For no blood can belong to a body which is not a body of flesh. If any sort of body were presented to our view, which is not one of flesh, not being fleshly, it would not possess blood. Thus, from the evidence of the flesh, we get a proof of the body, and a proof of the flesh from the evidence of the blood. In order, however, that you may discover how anciently wine is used as a figure for blood, turn to Isaiah, who asks, "Who is this that cometh from Edom, from Bosor with garments dyed in red, so glorious in His apparel, in the greatness of his might? Why are thy garments red, and thy raiment as his who cometh from the treading of the full winepress?"(18) The prophetic Spirit contemplates the Lord as if He were already on His way to His passion, clad in His fleshly nature; and as He was to suffer therein, He represents the bleeding condition of His flesh under the metaphor of garments dyed in red, as if reddened in the treading and crushing process of the wine-press, from which the labourers descend reddened with the wine-juice, like men stained in blood. Much more clearly still does the book of Genesis foretell this, when (in the blessing of Judah, out of whose tribe Christ was to come according to the flesh) it even then delineated Christ in the person of that patriarch,(1) saying, "He washed His garments in wine, and His clothes in the blood of grapes"(2)--in His garments and clothes the prophecy pointed out his flesh, and His blood in the wine. Thus did He now consecrate His blood in wine, who then (by the patriarch) used the figure of wine to describe His blood.
CHAP. XLI.--THE WOE PRONOUNCED ON THE TRAITOR A JUDICIAL ACT, WHICH DISPROVES CHRIST TO BE SUCH AS MARCION WOULD HAVE HIM TO BE. CHRIST'S CONDUCT BEFORE THE COUNCIL EXPLAINED.CHRIST EVEN THEN DIRECTS THE MINDS OF HIS JUDGES TO THE PROPHETIC EVIDENCES OF HIS OWN MISSION. THE MORAL RESPONSIBILITY OF THESE MEN ASSERTED.
"Woe," says He, "to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed!"(3) Now it is certain that in this woe must be understood the imprecation and threat of an angry and incensed Master, unless Judas was to escape with impunity after so vast a sin. If he were meant to escape with impunity, the was an idle word; if not, he was of course to be punished by Him against whom he had committed the sin of treachery. Now, if He knowingly permitted the man, whom He(4) deliberately elected to be one of His companions, to plunge into so great a crime, you must no longer use an argument against the Creator in Adam's case, which may now recoil on your own God:(5) either that he was ignorant, and had no foresight to hinder the future sinner;(6) or that he was unable to hinder him, even if he was ignorant;(7) or else that he was unwilling, even if he had the foreknowledge and the ability; and so deserved the stigma of maliciousness, in having permitted the man of his own choice to perish in his sin. I advise you therefore (willingly) to acknowledge the Creator in that god of yours, rather than against your will to be assimilating your excellent god to Him. For in the case of Peter,(8) too, he gives you proof that he is a jealous God, when he destined the apostle, after his presumptuous protestations of zeal, to a flat denial of him, rather than prevent his fall.(9) The Christ of the prophets was destined, moreover, to be betrayed with a kiss,(10) for He was the Son indeed of Him who was "honoured with the lips" by the people.(11) When led before the council, He is asked whether He is the Christ.(12) Of what Christ could the Jews have inquired(13) but their own? Why, therefore, did He not, even at that moment, declare to them the rival (Christ)? You reply, In order that He might be able to suffer. In other words, that this most excellent god might plunge men into crime, whom he was still keeping in ignorance. But even if he had told them, he would yet have to suffer. For he said, "If I tell you, ye will not believe."(14) And refusing to believe, they would have continued to insist on his death. And would he not even more probably still have had to suffer, if had announced himself as sent by the rival god, and as being, therefore, the enemy of the Creator? It was not, then, in order that He might suffer, that He at that critical moment refrained from proclaiming(15) Himself the other Christ, but because they wanted to extort a confession from His mouth, which they did not mean to believe even if He had given it to them, whereas it was their bounden duty to have acknowledged Him in consequence of His works, which were fulfilling their Scriptures. It was thus plainly His course to keep Himself at that moment unrevealed,(16) because a spontaneous recognition was due to Him. But yet for all this, He with a solemn gesture(17) says, "Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God."(18) For it was on the authority of the prophecy of Daniel that He intimated to them that He was "the Son of man,"(19) and of David's Psalm, that He would "sit at the right hand of God."(20) Accordingly, after He had said this, and so suggested a comparison of the Scripture, a ray of light did seem to show them whom He would have them understand Him to be; for they say: "Art thou then the Son of God?"(21) Of what God, but of Him whom alone they knew? Of what God but of Him whom they remembered in the Psalm as having said to His Son, "Sit Thou on my right hand?" Then He answered, "Ye say that I am;"(1) as if He meant: It is ye who say this--not I. But at the same time He allowed Himself to be all that they had said, in this their second question.(2) By what means, however, are you going to prove to us that they pronounced the sentence "Ergo tu fulius Dei es" interrogatively, and not affirmatively?(3) Just as, (on the one hand,) because He had shown them in an indirect manner,(4) by passages of Scripture, that they ought to regard Him as the Son of God, they therefore meant their own words, "Thou art then the Son of God," to be taken in a like (indirect) sense,(5) as much as to say, "You do not wish to say this of yourself plainly,(6) so, (on the other hand,) He likewise answered them, "Ye say that I am," in a sense equally free from doubt, even affirmatively;(7) and so completely was His statement to this effect, that they insisted on accepting that sense which His statement indicated.(8)
CHAP. XLII.--OTHER INCIDENTS OF THE PASSION MINUTELY COMPARED WITH PROPHECY. PILATE AND HEROD. BARABBAS PREFERRED TO JESUS. DETAILS OF THE CRUCIFIXION. THE EARTHQUAKE AND THE MID-DAY DARKNESS. ALL WONDERFULLY FORETOLD IN THE SCRIPTURES OF THE CREATOR. CHRIST'S GIVING UP THE GHOST NO EVIDENCE OF MARCION'S DOCETIC OPINIONS. IN HIS SEPULTURE THERE IS A REFUTATION THEREOF.
For when He was brought before Pilate, they proceeded to urge Him with the serious charge(9), of declaring Himself to be Christ the King;(10) that is, undoubtedly, as the Son of God, who was to sit at God's right hand. They would, however, have burdened Him(11) with some other title, if they had been uncertain whether He had called Himself the Son of God--if He had not pronounced the words, "Ye say that I am," so as (to admit) that He was that which they said He was. Likewise, when Pirate asked Him, "Art thou Christ (the King)?" He answered, as He had before (to the Jewish council)(12) "Thou sayest that I am"(13) in order that He might not seem to have been driven by a fear of his power to give him a fuller answer. "And so the Lord i hath stood on His trial."(14) And he placed His people on their trial. The Lord Himself comes to a trial with "the elders and rulers of the people," as Isaiah predicted.(15) And then He fulfilled all that had been written of His passion. At that time "the heathen raged, and the people imagined vain things; the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers gathered themselves together against the Lord and against His Christ."(16) The heathen were Pilate and the Romans; the people were the tribes of Israel; the kings were represented in Herod, and the rulers in the chief priests. When, indeed, He was sent to Herod gratuitously(17) by Pilate,(18) the words of Hosea were accomplished, for he had prophesied of Christ: "And they shall carry Him bound as a present to the king."(19) Herod was "exceeding glad" when he saw Jesus, but he heard not a word from Him.(20) For, "as a lamb before the shearer is dumb, so He opened not His mouth,"(21) because "the Lord had given to Him a disciplined tongue, that he might know how and when it behoved Him to speak"(22)--even that "tongue which clove to His jaws," as the Psalm(23) said it should, through His not speaking. Then Barabbas, the most abandoned criminal, is released, as if he were the innocent man; while the most righteous Christ is delivered to be put to death, as if he were the murderer.(24) Moreover two malefactors are crucified around Him, in order that He might Le reckoned amongst the transgressors.(25) Although His raiment was, without doubt, parted among the soldiers, and partly distributed by lot, yet Marcion has erased it all (from his Gospel),(26) for he had his eye upon the Psalm: "They parted my garments amongst them, and cast lots upon my vesture."(27) You may as well take away the cross itself! But even then the Psalm is not silent concerning it: "They pierced my hands and my feet."(28) Indeed, the details of the whole event are therein read: "Dogs compassed me about; the assembly of the wicked enclosed me around. All that looked upon me laughed me to scorn; they did shoot out their lips and shake their heads, (saying,) He hoped in God, let Him deliver Him."(1) Of what use now is (your tampering with) the testimony of His garments? If you take it as a booty for your false Christ, still all the Psalm (compensates) the vesture of Christ.(2) But, behold, the very elements are shaken. For their Lord was suffering. If, however, it was their enemy to whom all this injury was done, the heaven would have gleamed with light, the sun would have been even more radiant, and the day would have prolonged its course(3)--gladly gazing at Marcion's Christ suspended on his gibbet! These proofs(4) would still have been suitable for me, even if they had not been the subject of prophecy. Isaiah says: "I will clothe the heavens with blackness."(5) This will be the day, concerning which Amos also writes: And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord, that the sun shall go down at noon and the earth shall be dark in the clear day."(6) (At noon)(7) the veil of. the temple was rent"(8) by the escape of the cherubim,(9) which "left the daughter of Sion as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers."(10) With what constancy has He also, in Psalm xxx., laboured to present to us the very Christ! He calls with a loud voice to the Father, "Into Thine hands I commend my spirit,"(11) that even when dying He might expend His last breath in fulfilling the prophets. Having said this, He gave up the ghost."(12) Who? Did the spirit(13) give itself up; or the flesh the spirit? But the spirit could not have breathed itself out. That which breathes is one thing, that which is breathed is another. If the spirit is breathed it must needs be breathed by another. If, however, there had been nothing there but spirit, it would be said to have departed rather than expired.(14) What, however, breathes out spirit but the flesh, which both breathes the spirit whilst it has it, and breathes it out when it loses it? Indeed, if it was not flesh (upon the cross), but a phantom(15) of flesh (and(16) a phantom is but spirit, and(16) so the spirit breathed its own self out, and departed as it did so), no doubt the phantom departed, when the spirit which was the phantom departed: and so the phantom and the spirit disappeared together, and were nowhere to be seen.(17) Nothing therefore remained upon the cross, nothing hung there, after "the giving up of the ghost;"(18) there was nothing to beg of Pilate, nothing to take down from the cross, nothing to wrap in the linen, nothing to lay in the new sepulchre.(19) Still it was not nothing(20) that was there. What was there, then? If a phantom Christ was yet there. If Christ had departed, He had taken away the phantom also. The only shift left to the impudence of the heretics, is to admit that what remained there was the phantom of a phantom! But what if Joseph knew that it was a body which he treated with so much piety?(21) That same Joseph "who had not consented" with the Jews in their crime?(22) The "happy man who walked not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seat of the scornful."(23)
CHAP. XLIII.--CONCLUSIONS.JESUS AS THE CHRIST OF THE CREATOR PROVED FROM THE EVENTS OF THE LAST CHAPTER OF ST. LUKE. THE PIOUS WOMEN AT THE SEPULCHRE. THE ANGELS AT THE RESURRECTION. THE MANIFOLD APPEARANCES OF CHRIST AFTER THE RESURRECTION. HIS MISSION OF THE APOSTLES AMONGST ALL NATIONS. ALL SHOWN TO BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE WISDOM OF THE ALMIGHTY FATHER, AS INDICATED IN PROPHECY. THE BODY OF CHRIST AFTER DEATH NO MERE PHANTOM. MARCION'S MANIPULATION OF THE GOSPEL ON THIS POINT.
It was very meet that the man who buried the Lord should thus be noticed in prophecy, and thenceforth be "blessed;"(24) since prophecy does not omit the (pious) office of the women who resorted before day-break to the sepulchre with the spices which they had prepared.(1) For of this incident it is said by Hosea: "To seek my face they will watch tiIl day-light, saying unto me, Come, and let us return to the Lord: for He hath taken away, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up; after two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up."(2) For who can refuse to believe that these words often revolved(3) in the thought of those women between the sorrow of that desertion with which at present they seemed to themselves to have been smitten by the Lord, and the hope of the resurrection itself, by which they rightly supposed that all would be restored to them? But when "they found not the body (of the Lord Jesus),"(4) "His sepulture was removed from the midst of them,"(5) according to the prophecy of Isaiah. "Two angels however, appeared there."(6) For just so many honorary companions(7) were required by the word of God, which usually prescribes "two witnesses."(8) Moreover, the women, returning from the sepulchre, and from this vision of the angels, were foreseen by Isaiah, when he says, "Come, ye women, who return from the vision;"(9) that is, "come," to report the resurrection of the Lord. It was well, however, that the unbelief of the disciples was so persistent, in order that to the last we might consistently maintain that Jesus revealed Himself to the disciples as none other than the Christ of the prophets. For as two of them were taking a walk, and when the Lord had joined their company, without its appearing that it was He, and whilst He dissembled His knowledge of what had just taken place,(10) they say: "But we trusted that it had been He which should have redeemed Israel,"(11)--meaning their own, that is, the Creator's Christ. So far had He been from declaring Himself to them as another Christ! They could not, however, deem Him to be the Christ of the Creator; nor, if He was so deemed by them, could He have tolerated this opinion concerning Himself, unless He were really He whom He was supposed to be. Otherwise He would actually be the author of error, and the prevaricator of truth, contrary to the character of the good; God. But at no time even after His resurrection did He reveal Himself to them as any other than what, on their own showing, they had always thought Him to be. He pointedly(12) reproached them: "O fools, and slow of heart in not believing that which He spake unto you."(13) By saying this, He proves that He does not belong to the rival god, but to the same God. For the same thing was said by the angels to the women: "Remember how He spake unto you when He was yet in Galilee, saying, The Son of man must be delivered up, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again."(14) "Must be delivered up; "and why, except that it was so written by God the Creator? He therefore upbraided them, because they were offended solely at His passion, and because they doubted of the truth of the resurrection which had been reported to them by the women, whereby (they showed that) they had not believed Him to have been the very same as they had thought Him to be. Wishing, therefore, to be believed by them in this wise, He declared Himself to be just what they had deemed Him to be--the Creator's Christ, the Redeemer of lsrael. But as touching the reality of His body, what can be plainer? When they were doubting whether He were not a phantom--nay, were supposing that He was one--He says to them, "Why are ye troubled, and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? See(15) my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; for a spirit hath not bones, as ye see me have."(16) Now Marcion was unwilling to expunge from his Gospel some statements which even made against him--I suspect, on purpose, to have it in his power from the passages which he did not suppress, when he could have done so, either to deny that he had expunged anything, or else to justify his suppressions, if he made any. But he spares only such passages as he can subvert quite as well by explaining them away as by expunging them from the text. Thus, in the passage before us, he would have the words, "A spirit hath not bones, as ye see me have," so transposed, as to mean, "A spirit, such as ye see me to be, hath not bones;" that is to say, it is not the nature of a spirit to have bones. But what need of so tortuous a construction, when He might have simply said, "A spirit hath not bones, even as you observe that I have not?" Why, moreover, does He offer His hands and His feet for their examination--limbs which consist of bones--if He had no bones? Why, too, does He add, "Know that it is I myself,"(1) when they had before known Him to be corporeal? Else, if He were altogether a phantom, why did He upbraid them for supposing Him to be a phantom? But whilst they still believed not, He asked them for some meat,(2) for the express purpose of showing them that He had teeth.(3)
And now, as I would venture to believe,(4) we have accomplished our undertaking. We have set forth Jesus Christ as none other than the Christ of the Creator. Our proofs we have drawn from His doctrines, maxims,(5) affections, feelings, miracles, sufferings, and even resurrection--as foretold by the prophets.(6) Even to the last He taught us (the same truth of His mission), when He sent forth His apostles to preach His gospel "among all nations;"(7) for He thus fulfilled the psalm: "Their sound is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world."(8) Marcion, I pity you; your labour has been in vain. For the Jesus Christ who appears in your Gospel is mine.
DR. HOLMES' NOTE
Dr. Holmes appends the following as a note to the Fourth Book. (See cap. vi. p 351.) The following statement, abridged from Dr. Lardner (The History of Heretics, chap. x. sees. 35-40), may be useful to the reader, in reference to the subject of the preceding Book:--Marcion received but eleven books of the New Testament, and these strangely curtailed and altered. He divided them into two parts, which he called <greek>to</greek> E<greek>uaggelion</greek> (the Gospel) and <greek>to</greek> A<greek>postolikon</greek> (the Apostolicon).
(1.) The former contained nothing more than a mutilated, and sometimes interpolated, edition of ST. LUKE; the name of that evangelist, however, he expunged from the beginning of his copy. Chaps. i. and ii. he rejected entirely, and began at iii. 1, reading the opening verse thus: "In the xv. year of Tiberius Caesar, God descended into Capernaum, a city of Galilee."
(2.) According to Irenaeus, Epiphanius, and Theodoret, he rejected the genealogy and baptism of Christ; whilst from Tertullian's statement (chap. vii.) it seems likely that he connected what part of chap. iii.--vers. 1, 2--he chose to retain, with chap. iv. 31, at a leap.
(3). He further eliminated the history of the tempation. That part of chap. iv. which narrates Christ's going into the synagogue at Nazareth and reading out of Isaiah he also rejected, and all afterwards to the end of yet. 30.
(4.) Epiphanius mentions sundry slight alterations in capp. v. 14, 24, vi. 5, 17. In chap. viii. 19 he expunged <greek>h</greek> <greek>mhthr</greek> <greek>autos</greek>, <greek>kai</greek> <greek>adelfoi</greek> <greek>autou</greek>. From Tertullian's remarks (chap. xix.), it would seem at first as if Marcion had added to his Gospel that answer of our Saviour which we find related by St. Matthew, chap. xii. 48: "Who is my mother, and who are my brethren?" For he represents Marcion (as in De came Christ, vii., he represents other heretics, who deny the nativity) as making use of these words for his favourite argument. But, after all, Marcion might use these words against those who allowed the authenticity of Matthew's Gospel, without inserting them in his own Gospel; or else Tertullian might quote from memory, and think that to be in Luke which was only in Matthew--as he has done at least in three instances. (Lardner refers two of these instances to passages in chap. vii. of this Book iv., where Tertullian mentions, as erasures from Luke, what really are found in Matthew v. 17 and xv. 24. The third instance referred to by Lardner probably occurs at the end of chap. ix. of this same Book iv., where Tertullian again mistakes Matt. v. 17 for a passage of Luke, and charges Marcion with expunging it; curiously enough, the mistake recurs in chap. xii. of the same Book.) In Luke x. 21 Marcion omitted the first <greek>pater</greek> and the words <greek>kai</greek> <greek>ths</greek> <greek>ghs</greek>, that he might not allow Christ to call His Father the Lord of earth, or of this world. The second <greek>pathr</greek> in this verse, not open to any inconvenience, he retained. In chap. xi. 29 he omitted the last words concerning the sign of the prophet Jonah; he also omitted all the 30th, 31st, and 32d verses; in ver. 42 he read <greek>kghsin</greek>, 'calling,' instead of <greek>emprosqen</greek> <greek>twn</greek> <greek>aggegmn</greek> <greek>tou</greek> <greek>Qeou</greek> 'judgment.' He rejected verses 49, 50, 51, because the passage related to the prophets. He entirely omitted chap. xii. 6; whilst in ver. 8 he read <greek>emprosqen</greek> <greek>tou</greek> <greek>Qeou</greek> instead of <greek>emprosqen</greek> <greek>twn</greek> <greek>aggelwn</greek> <greek>tou</greek> <greek>Qeou</greek>. He seems to have left out all the 28th verse, and expunged <greek>umwn</greek> from verses 30 and 32, reading only <greek>o</greek> <greek>pathr</greek>.
In ver. 38, instead of the words <greek>en</greek> <greek>th</greek> <greek>deutera</greek> <greek>Fugakh</greek>, <greek>kai</greek> <greek>eh</greek> <greek>trith</greek> <greek>Fulakh</greek>, he read <greek>en</greek> <greek>th</greek> <greek>esperinh</greek> <greek>Fulakh</greek>. In chap. xiii. he omitted the first five verses, whilst in the 28th verse of the same chapter, where we read, "When ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and ye yourselves thrust out," he read (by altering, adding, and transposing), "When ye shall see all the just in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves cast out, and bound without, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." He likewise excluded all the remaining verses of this chapter. All chap. xv. after the 10th verse, in which is contained the parable of the prodigal son, he eliminated from his Gospel. In xvii. 10 he left out all the words after <greek>legete</greek>. He made many alterations in the story of the ten lepers; he left out part of ver. 12, all yet. 13, and altered vet. 14, reading thus: "There met Him ten lepers; and He sent them away, saying, Show yourselves to the priest;" after which he inserted a clause from chap. iv. 27: "There were many lepers in the days of Eliseus the prophet, but none of them were cleansed, but Naaman the Syrian." In chap. xviii. 19 he added the words <greek>o</greek> <greek>pathr</greek>, and in ver. 20 altered <greek>oidas</greek>, thou knowest, into the first person. He entirely omitted verses 31-33, in which our blessed Saviour declares that the things foretold by the prophets concerning His sufferings, and death, and resurrection, should all be fulfilled. He expunged nineteen verses out of chap. xix., from the end of yet. 27 to the beginning of ver. 47. In chap. xx. he omitted ten verses, from the end of ver. 8 to the end of ver. 18. He rejected also verses 37 and 38, in which there is a reference to Moses. Marcion also erased of chap. xxi. the first eighteen verses, as well as verses 21 and 22, on account of this clause, "that all things which are written may be fulfilled;" xx. 16 was left out by him, so also verses 35-37, 50, and 51 (and, adds Lardner, conjecturally, not herein following his authority Epiphanius, also vers. 38 and 49). In chap. xxiii. 2, after the words "perverting the nation," Marcion added, "and destroying the law and the prophets;" and again, after "forbidding to give tribute unto Caesar," he added, "and perverting women and children." He also erased ver. 43. In chap. xxiv. he omitted that part of the conference between our Saviour and the two disciples going to Emmaus, which related to the prediction of His sufferings, and which is contained in verses 26 and 27. These two verses he omitted, and changed the words at the end of ver. 25, <greek>egaghsan</greek> <greek>oi</greek> <greek>proQhtai</greek>, into <greek>egaghsa</greek> <greek>uhin</greek>. Such are the alterations, according to Epiphanius, which Marcion made in his Gospel from St. Luke. Tertullian says (in the 4th chapter of the preceding Book) that Marcion erased the passage which gives an account of the parting of the raiment of our Saviour among the soldiers. But the reason he assigns for the erasure--'respiciens Psalmi prophetiam'--shows that in this, as well as in the few other instances which we have already named, where Tertullian has charged Marcion with so altering passages, his memory deceived him into mistaking Matthew for Luke, for the reference to the passage in the Psalm is only given by St. Matthew xxvii. 35.
(5.) On an impartial review of these alterations, some seem to be but slight; others might be nothing but various readings; but others, again, are undoubtedly designed perversions. There were, however, passages enough left unaltered and unexpunged by the Marcionites, to establish the reality of the flesh and blood of Christ, and to prove that the God of the Jews was the Father of Christ, and of perfect goodness as well as justice. Tertullian, indeed, observes (chap. xliii.) that "Marcion purposely avoided erasing all the passages which made against him, that he might with the greater confidence deny having erased any at all, or at least that what he had omitted was for very good reasons."
(6.) To show the unauthorized and unwarrantable character of these alterations, omissions, additions, and corruptions, the Catholic Christians asserted that their copies of St. Luke's Gospel were more ancient than Marcion's (so Tertullian in chap. iii. and iv. of this Book iv.); and they maintained also the genuineness and integrity of the unadulterated Gospel, in opposition to that which had been curtailed and altered by him (chap. v.).
I. (Deadly Sins, cap. IX., p. 356.)
TO maintain a modern and wholly uncatholic system of Penitence, the schoolmen invented a technical scheme of sins mortal and sins venial, which must not be read into the Fathers, who had no such technicalities in mind. By "deadly sins" they meant all such as St. John recognizes (I. John, v. 16, 17,) and none other; that is to say sins of surprise and infirmity, sins having in them no malice or wilful disobedience, such as an impatient word, or a momentary neglect of duty. Should a dying man commit a deliberate sin and then expire, even after a life of love and obedience, who could fail to recognize the fearful nature of such an end? But, should his last word be one of infirmity and weakness, censurable but not involving wilful disobedience, surely we may consider it as provided for by the comfortable words--"there is a sin not unto death." Yet "all unrighteousness is sin," and the Fathers held that all sin should be repented of and confessed before God; because all sin when it is finished bringeth forth death."
In St. Augustine's time, when moral theology became systematized in the West, by his mighty genius and influence, the following were recognized degrees of guilt: (1.) Sins deserving excommunication. (2.) Sins requiring to be confessed to the brother offended in order to God's forgiveness, and (3.) sins covered by God's gracious covenant, when daily confessed in the Lord's Prayer, in public, or in private. And this classification was professedly based on Holy Scripture. Thus: (1.) on the text--"To deliver such an one unto Satan, etc." (I. Cor. v. 4, 5). (2.) On the text--(Matt. xviii. 15), "Confess your sins one to another, brethren" (St. James v. 16), and (3.) on the text--(St. Matt. vi. 12,) "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us." This last St. Augustine(1) regards as the "daily medication" of our ordinary life, habitual penitence and faith and the baptismal covenant being presupposed.
The modern Trent theology has vastly amplified the scholastic teachings and refinements, and the elevation of Liguori to the rank of a church-doctor has virtually made the whole system de fide with the Latins. The Easterns know nothing of this modern and uncatholic teaching, and it is important that the student of the Ante-Nicene Patrologia should be on his guard against the novel meanings which the Trent theology imposes upon orthodox (Nicene) language. The long ages during which Eastern orthodoxy has been obscured by the sufferings and consequent ignorance of the Greeks, have indeed tainted their doctrinal and practical system, but it still subsists in amazing contrast with Latin impurity. See, on the" indulgences," of the latter, the" Orthodox Theology of Macarius, Bishop of Vinnitza," Tom. II. p. 541, Paris, 1860.
II. (Reservation of Baptism, cap. xi., note, p. 361.)
It is important, here, to observe the heretical origin of a sinful superstition which becomes conspicuous in the history of Constantine. If the church tolerated it in his case, it was doubtless in view of this extraordinary instance of one, who was a heathen still, at heart, becoming a guardian and protector of the persecuted Faithful. It is probable that he was regarded as a Cyrus or a Nebuchadnezzar whom God had raised up to protect and to deliver His people; who was to be honoured and obeyed as "God's minister" (Rom. xiii. 4,) in so far, and for this purpose. The church was scrupulous and he was superstitious; it would have been difficult to discipline him and worse not to discipline him. Tacitly, therefore, he was treated as a catechumen, but was not formally admitted even to that class. He permitted Heathenism, and while he did so, how could he be received as a Christian? The Christian church never became responsible for his life and character, but strove to reform him and to prepare him for a true confession of Christ at some "convenient season." In this, there seems to have been a great fault somewhere, chargeable perhaps to Eusebius or to some other Christian counsellor; but, when could any one say--"the emperor is sincere and humble and penitent and ought now to be received into the church." It was a political conversion, and as such was accepted, and Constantine was a heathen till near his death. As to his final penitence and acceptance--" Forbear to judge." II. Kings, x. 29-31. Concerning his baptism, see Eusebius, de Vita Const. iv. 61, see also, Mosheim's elaborate and candid views of the whole subject: First Three Centuries, Vol. II. 460-471.
III. (Peter, cap. xiii. p. 365.)
The great Gallican, Launoy, doctor of the Sorbonne, has proved that the Fathers understand the Rock to be Christ, while, only rarely, and that rhetorically, not dogmatically, St. Peter is called a stone or a rock; a usage to which neither Luther nor Calvin could object. Tertullian himself, when he speaks dogmatically, is in accord with other Fathers, and gives no countenance to the modern doctrine of Rome. See 'La Papaute, of the Abbe Guettee, pp. 42-61. It is important, also, to note that the primacy of St. Peter, more or less, whatever it may have been in the mind of the Fathers, was wholly personal, in their view.Of the fables which make it hereditary and a purtenance of Rome they knew nothing.
IV. (Loans, cap. xvii. p. 372.)
The whole subject of usury, in what it consists, etc., deserves to receive more attention than it does in our times, when nominal Christians are steeped in the sin of money-traffic to the injury of neighbours, on a scale truly gigantic. God's word clearly rebukes this sin. So does the Council of Nice.(1) Now by what is the sin defined? Certainly by the spirit of the Gospel; but, is it also, by the letter? A sophistical casuistry which maintains the letter, and then sophisticates and refines so as to explain it all away, is the product of school divinity and of modern Jesuitry; but even the great Bossuet is its apologist. (See his Traite de l' Usure. opp. ix. p. 49, etc., ed. Paris, 1846.) But for an exhaustive review of the whole matter, I ask attention to Huet, Le Regne Social, etc. (Paris, 1853) pp. 334-345.
V. (The Baptist, cap. xviii. p. 375.)
The interpretation of Tertullian, however, has the all-important merit (which Bacon and Hooker recognize as cardinal) of flowing from the Scripture without squeezing. (1.) Our Lord sent the message to John as a personal and tender assurance to him. (2.) The story illustrates the decrease of which the Baptist had spoken prophetically (St. John, iii. 30); and (3.) it sustains the great principle that Christ alone is without sin, this being the one fault recorded of the Baptist, otherwise a singular instance of sinlessness. The B. Virgin's fault (gently reproved by the Lord, St. John ii. 4.), seems in like manner introduced on this principle of exhibiting the only sinless One, in His Divine perfections as without spot. So even Joseph and Moses (Ps. cvi. 33, and Gen. xlvii. 20.) are shewn "to be but men." The policy of Joseph has indeed been extravagantly censured.
VI. (Harshness, cap. xix., note 6., p. 378. Also, cap. xxvi. p. 393.)
Tertullian seems with reflect the early view of the church as to our Lord's total abnegation of all filial relations with the Virgin,when He gave to her St. John, instead of Himself, on the Cross. For this purpose He had made him the beloved disciple and doubtless charged him with all the duties with which he was to be clothed. Thus He fulfilled the figurative law of His priesthood, as given by Moses, (Deut. xxx iii. 9,) and crucified himself, from the beginning, according to his own Law (St. Luke, xiv. 26, 27,) which he identifies with the Cross, here and also in St. Matthew, x. 37, 38. These then are the steps of His own holy example, illustrating His own precept, for doubtless, as "the Son of man," His filial love was superlative and made the sacrifice the sharper: (1.) He taught Joseph that He had no earthly father, when he said--"Wist ye not that I must be in my Father's house," (St. Luke iii. 49, Revised); but, having established this fact, he then became "subject" to both his parents, till His public ministry began. (2.) At this time, He seems to have admonished His mother, that He could not recognize her authority any longer, (St. John, ii. 4,) having now entered upon His work as the Son of God. (3.) Accordingly, He refused, thenceforth, to know her save only as one of His redeemed, excepting her in nothing from this common work for all the Human Race, (St. Matt. xii. 48,) in the passage which Tertullian so forcibly expounds. (4.) Finally, when St. Mary draws near to the cross, apparently to claim the final recognition of the previous understanding (St. John, ii. 4,) to which the Lord had referred her at Cana--He fulfils His last duty to her in giving her a son instead of Himself, and thereafter (5) recognizes her no more; not even in His messages after the Resurrection, nor when He met her with other disciples. He rewards her, instead, with the infinite love He bears to all His saints, and with the brightest rewards which are bestowed upon Faith. In this consists her superlative excellence and her conspicuous glory among the Redeemed (St. Luke, i. 47, 48,) in Christ's account.
VII. (Children, cap. xxiii. p. 386.)
In this beautiful testimony of our author to the sanctity of marriage, and the blessedness of its fruits, I see his austere spirit reflecting the spirit of Christ so tenderly and so faithfully, in the love of children, that I am warmly drawn to him. I cannot give him up to Montanism at this period of his life and labours. Surely, he was as yet merely persuaded that the prophetic charismata were not extinct, and that they had been received by his Phrygian friends, although he may still have regarded them as prophesying subject to all the infirmities which St. Paul attributes even to persons elevated by spiritual gifts. (I. Cor. xiv.) Why not recognize him in all his merits, until his open and senile lapse is complete ?
VIII. (Hades, cap. xxxiv. p. 406.)
Here again our author shews his unsettled view as to Shoal or Hades, on which see Kaye, pp. 247-150. Here he distinguishes between the Inferi and Abraham's bosom; but (in B. iii. cap. 24.) he has already, more aptly, regarded the Inferi, or Hades, as the common receptacle of departed spirits, where a "great gulf" indeed, separates between the two classes.
A caricature may sometimes illustrate characteristic features more powerfully than a true portrait. The French call the highest gallery in theatres, paradis; and I have sometimes explained it by the fact that the modern drama originated in the monkish Mysteries, revived so profanely in our own day. To reconcile the poor to a bad place they gave it the name of Paradise, thus illustrating their Mediaeval conceptions; for trickling down from Tertullian his vivid notions seem to have suffused all Western theology on this subject. Thus, then, one vast receptacle receives all the dead. The pit, as we very appropriately call it in English, answers to the place of lost spirits, where the rich man was in torments. Above, are ranged the family of Abraham reclining, as it were, in their father's bosom, by turns. Far above, under skylights, (for the old Mysteries were celebrated in the day-time) is the Paradise, where the Martyrs see God, and are represented as "under the altar" of heaven itself. Now, abandoning our grotesque illustration, but using it for its topography, let us conceive of our own globe, as having a world-wide concavity such as they imagined, from literalizing the under-world of Sheol. In its depths is the Phylace (I. Pet. iii. 19,) of "spirits in prison." In a higher region repose the blessed spirits in "Abraham's bosom." Yet nearer to the ethereal vaults, are the martyrs in Paradise, looking out into heavenly worlds. The immensity of the scale does not interfere with the vision of spirits, nor with such communications as Abraham holds with his lost son in the history of Dives and Lazarus. Here indeed Science comes to our aid, for if the telephone permits such conversations while we are in the flesh, we may at least imagine that the subtile spirit can act in like manner, apart from such contrivances. Now, so far as Tertullian is consistent with him self, I think these explanations may clarify his words and references. The Eastern Theology is less inconsistent and bears the marks alike of Plato and of Origen. But of this hereafter. Of a place, such as the Mediaeval Purgatory, affirmed as de fide by the Trent creed, the Fathers knew nothing at all. See Vol. II. p. 490, also 522, this Series.
(Passage not easy to identify, p. 390, note 14.)
Easy enough, by the LXX. See Isaiah lxiii. 3. <greek>kai</greek> <greek>tpn</greek> <greek>eqnqn</greek> <greek>ouk</greek> <greek>estin</greek> <greek>anhr</greek> <greek>met</greek> <greek>emou</greek>. The first verse, referring to Edom, leads our author to accentuate this point of Gentile ignorance.
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