Tertullian, Against Marcion Book 5, Part 1




There is nothing without a beginning but God alone. Now, inasmuch as the beginning: occupies the first place in the condition of all things, so it must necessarily take precedence in the treatment of them, if a clear knowledge is to be arrived at concerning their condition; for you could not find the means of examining even the quality of anything, unless you were certain of its existence, and that after discovering its origin.(1) Since therefore I am brought, in the course of my little work, to this point,(2) I require to know of Marcion the origin of his apostles even--I, who am to some degree a new disciple? the follower of no other master; who at the same time(5) can believe nothing, except that nothing ought to be believed hastily(6) (and that I may further say is hastily believed, which is believed without any examination(7) of its beginning); in short, I who have the best reason possible for bringing this inquiry to a most careful solution,(8) since a man is affirmed to me to be an apostle whom I do not find mentioned in the Gospel in the catalogue, of the apostles. Indeed, when I hear that this man was chosen by the Lord after He had attained His rest in heaven, I feel that a kind of improvidence is imputable to Christ, for not knowing before that this man was necessary to Him; and because He thought that he must be added to the apostolic body in the way of a fortuitous encounter(10) rather than a deliberate selection; by necessity (so to speak), and not voluntary choice, although the members of the apostolate had been duly ordained, and were now dismissed to their several missions. Wherefore, O shipmaster of Pontus,(1) if you have never taken on board your small craft(2) any contraband goods or smuggler's cargo, if you have never thrown overboard or tampered with a freight, you are still more careful and conscientious, I doubt not, in divine things; and so I should be glad if you would inform us under what bill of lading(3) you admitted the Apostle Paul on board, who ticketed him,(4) what owner forwarded him,(5) who handed him to you,(6) that so you may land him without any misgiving,(7) lest he should turn out to belong to him,(8) who can substantiate his claim to him by producing all his apostolic writings.(9) He professes himself to be "an apostle"--to use his own, words--"not of men, nor by man, but by Jesus Christ."(10) Of course, any one may make a profession concerning himself; but his profession is only rendered valid by the authority of a second person. One man signs, another countersigns;(11) one man appends his seal, another registers in the public records.(12) No one is at once a proposer and a seconder to himself. Besides, you have read, no doubt, that "many shall come, saying, I am Christ."(13) Now if any one can pretend that he is Christ, how much more might a man profess to be an apostle of Christ ! But still, for my own part, I appear(14) in the character of a disciple and an inquirer; that so I may even thus(15) both refute your belief, who have nothing to support it, and confound your shamelessness, who make claims without possessing the means of establishing them. Let there be a Christ, let there be an apostle, although of another god; but what matter? since they are only to draw their proofs out of the Testament of the Creator. Because even the book of Genesis so long ago promised me the Apostle Paul. For among the types and prophetic blessings which he pronounced over his sons, Jacob, when he turned his attention to Benjamin, exclaimed, "Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf; in the morning He shall devour the prey, and at night he shall impart nourishment."(16) He foresaw that Paul would arise out of the tribe of Benjamin, a voracious wolf, devouring his prey in the morning: in order words, in the early period of his life he would devastate the Lord's sheep, as a persecutor of the churches; but in the evening he would give them nourishment, which means that in his declining years he would educate the fold of Christ, as the teacher of the Gentiles. Then, again, in Saul's conduct towards David, exhibited first in violent persecution of him, and then in remorse and reparation,(17) on his receiving from him good for evil, we have nothing else than an anticipation(18) of Paul in Saul--belonging, too, as they did, to the same tribe--and of Jesus in David, from whom He descended according to the Virgin's genealogy.(19) Should you, however, disapprove of these types,(20) the Acts of the Apostles," at all events, have handed down to me this career of Paul, which you must not refuse to accept. Thence I demonstrate that from a persecutor he became "an apostle, not of men, neither by man;"(22) thence am I led to believe the Apostle himself; thence do I find reason for rejecting your defence of him,(23) and for bearing fearlessly your taunt. "Then you deny the Apostle Paul." I do not calumniate him whom I defend.(24) I deny him, to compel you to the proof of him. I deny him, to convince you that he is mine. If you have regard to our belief you should admit the particulars which comprise it. If you challenge us to your belief, (pray) tell us what things constitute its basis.(25) Either prove the truth of what you believe, or failing in your proof, (tell us) how you believe. Else what conduct is yours,(26) believing in opposition to Him from whom alone comes the proof of that which you believe? Take now from my point of view(27) the apostle, in the same manner as you have received the Christ--the apostle shown to be as much mine as the Christ is. And here, too, we will fight within the same lines, and challenge our adversary on the mere ground of a simple rule,(1) that even an apostle who is said not to belong to the Creator-nay, is displayed as in actual hostility to the Creator--can be fairly regarded as teaching(2) nothing, knowing nothing, wishing nothing in favour of the Creator whilst it would be a first principle with him to set forth(3) another god with as much eagerness as he would use in withdrawing us from the law of the Creator. It is not at all likely that he would call men away from Judaism without showing them at the same time what was the god in whom he invited them to believe; because nobody could possibly pass from allegiance to the Creator without knowing to whom he had to cross over. For either Christ had already revealed another god--in which case the apostle's testimony would also follow to the same effect, for fear of his not being else regarded(4) as an apostle of the god whom Christ had revealed, and because of the impropriety of his being concealed by the apostle who had been already revealed by Christ--or Christ had made no such revelation concerning God; then there was all the greater need why the apostle should reveal a God who could now be made known by no one else, and who would undoubtedly be left without any belief at all, if he were revealed not even by an apostle. We have laid down this as our first principle, because we wish at once to profess that we shall pursue the same method here in the apostle's case as we adopted before in Christ's case, to prove that he proclaimed no new god;(5) that is, we shall draw our evidence from the epistles of St. Paul himself. Now, the garbled form in which we have found the heretic's Gospel will have already prepared us to expect to find(6) the epistles also mutilated by him with like perverseness--and that even as respects their number.(7)


The epistle which we also allow to be the most decisive(8) against Judaism, is that wherein the apostle instructs the Galatians. For the abolition of the ancient law we fully admit, and hold that it actually proceeds from the dispensation of the Creator,--a point which we have already often treated in the course of our discussion, when we showed that the innovation was foretold by the prophets of our God.(9) Now, if the Creator indeed promised that "the ancient things should pass any,"(10) to be superseded by a new course of things which should arise, whilst Christ marks the period of the separation when He says, "The law and the prophets were until John"(11)--thus making the Baptist the limit between the two dispensations of the old things then terminating--and the new things then beginning, the apostle cannot of course do otherwise, (coming as he does) in Christ, who was revealed after John, than invalidate "the old things" and confirm "the new," and yet promote thereby the faith of no other god than the Creator, at whose instance(12) it was foretold that the ancient things should pass away. Therefore both the abrogation of the law and the establishment of the gospel help my argument even in this epistle, wherein they both have reference to the fond assumption of the Galatians, which led them to suppose that faith in Christ (the Creator's Christ, of course) was obligatory, but without annulling the law, because it still appeared to them a thing incredible that the law should be set aside by its own author. Again,(13) if they had at all heard of any other god from the apostle, would they not have concluded at once, of themselves, that they must give up the law of that God whom they had left, in order to follow another? For what man would be long in learning, that he ought to pursue a new discipline, after he had taken up with a new god? Since, however,(14) the same God was declared in the gospel which had always been so well known in the law, the only change being in the dispensation,(15) the sole point of the question to be discussed was, whether the law of the Creator ought by the gospel to be excluded in the Christ of the Creator? Take away this point, and the controversy falls to the ground. Now, since they would all know of themselves,(16) on the withdrawal of this point, that they must of course renounce all submission to the Creator by reason of their faith in another god, there could have been no call for the apostle to teach them so earnestly that which their own belief must have spontaneously suggested to them. Therefore the entire purport of this epistle is simply to show us that the supersession(1) of the law comes from the appointment of the Creator--a point, which we shall still have to keep in mind.(2) Since also he makes mention of no other god (and he could have found no other opportunity of doing so, more suitable than when his purpose was to set forth the reason for the abolition of the law--especially as the prescription of a new god would have afforded a singularly good and most sufficient reason), it is clear enough in what sense he writes, "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him who hath called you to His grace to another gospel"(3)--He means) "another" as to the conduct it prescribes, not in respect of its worship; "another" as to the discipline it teaches, not in respect of its divinity; because it is the office of(4) Christ's gospel to call men from the law to grace, not from the Creator to another god. For nobody had induced them to apostatize from(5) the Creator, that they should seem to "be removed to another gospel," simply when they return again to the Creator. When he adds, too, the words, "which is not another,"(6) he confirms the fact that the gospel which he maintains is the Creator's. For the Creator Himself promises the gospel, when He says by Isaiah: "Get thee up into the high mountain, thou that bringest to Sion good tidings; lift up thy voice with strength, thou that bringest the gospel to Jerusalem."(7) Also when, with respect to the apostles personally, He says, "How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, that bring good tidings of good"(8)--even proclaiming the gospel to the Gentiles, because He also says, "In His name shall the Gentiles trust;"(9) that is, in the name of Christ, to whom He says, "I have given thee as a light of the Gentiles."(10) However, you will have it that it is the gospel of a new god which was then set forth by the apostle. So that there are two gospels for(11) two gods; and the apostle made a great mistake when he said that "there is not another" gospel," since there is (on the hypothesis)(13) another; and so he might have made a better defence of his gospel, by rather demonstrating this, than by insisting on its being but one. But perhaps, to avoid this difficulty, you will say that he therefore added just afterwards, "Though an angel from heaven preach any other gospel, let him be accursed,"(14) because he was aware that the Creator was going to introduce a gospel! But you thus entangle yourself still more. For this is now the mesh in which you are caught. To affirm that there are two gospels, is not the part of a man who has already denied that there is another. His meaning, however, is clear, for he has mentioned himself first (in the anathema): "But though we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel."(15) It is by way of an example that he has expressed himself. If even he himself might not preach any other gospel, then neither might an angel. He said "angel"' in this way, that he might show how much more men ought not to be believed, when neither an angel nor an apostle ought to be; not that he meant to apply(16) an angel to the gospel of the Creator. He then cursorily touches on his own conversion from a persecutor to an apostle--confirming thereby the Acts of the Apostles,(17) in which book may be found the very subject(18) of this epistle, how that certain persons interposed, and said that men ought to be circumcised, and that the law of Moses was to be observed; and how the apostles, when consulted, determined, by the authority of the Holy Ghost, that "a yoke should not be put upon men's necks which their fathers even had not been able to bear."(19) Now, since the Acts of the Apostles thus agree with Paul, it becomes apparent why you reject them. It is because they declare no other God than the Creator, and prove Christ to belong to no other God than the Creator; whilst the promise of the Holy Ghost is shown to have been fulfilled in no other document than the Acts of the Apostles. Now, it is not very likely that these(20) should be found in agreement with the apostle, on the one hand, when they described his career in accordance with his own statement; but should, on the other hand, be at variance with him when they announce the (attribute of) divinity in the Creator's Christ--as if Paul did not follow(1) the preaching of the apostles when he received from them the prescription(2) of not teaching the Law.(3)


But with regard to the countenance(4) of Peter and the rest of the apostles, he tells us s that "fourteen years after he went up to Jerusalem," in order to confer with them(6) about the rule which he followed in his gospel, lest perchance he should all those years have been running, and be running still, in vain, (which would be the case,) of course, if his preaching of the gospel fell short of their method.(7) So great had been his desire to be approved and supported by those whom you wish on all occasions(8) to be understood as in alliance with Judaism! When indeed he says, that "neither was Titus circumcised,"(9) he for the first time shows us that circumcision was the only question connected with the maintenance(10) of the law, which had been as yet agitated by those whom he therefore calls "false brethren unawares brought in."(11) These persons went no further than to insist on a continuance of the law, retaining unquestionably a sincere belief in the Creator. They perverted the gospel in their teaching, not indeed by such a tampering with the Scripture(12) as should enable them to expunge(13) the Creator's Christ, but by so retaining the ancient regime as not to exclude the Creator's law. Therefore he says: "Because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ, that they might bring us into bondage, to whom we gave place by subjection not even for an hour."(14) Let us only attend to the clear(15) sense and to the reason of the thing, and the perversion of the Scripture will be apparent. When he first says, "Neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised," and then adds, "And that because of false brethren unawares brought in,"(16) etc., he gives us an insight into his reason(17) for acting in a clean contrary way,(18) showing us wherefore he did that which he would neither have done nor shown to us, if that had not happened which induced him to act as he did. But then(19) I want you to tell us whether they would have yielded to the subjection that was demanded,(20) if these false brethren had not crept in to spy out their liberty? I apprehend not. They therefore gave way (in a partial concession), because there were persons whose weak faith required consideration.(21) For their rudimentary belief, which was still in suspense about the observance of the law, deserved this concessive treatment,(22) when even the apostle himself had some suspicion that he might have run, and be still running, in vain.(23) Accordingly, the false brethren who were the spies of their Christian liberty must be thwarted in their efforts to bring it under the yoke of their own Judaism before that Paul discovered whether his labour had been in vain, before that those who preceded him in the apostolate gave him their right hands of fellowship, before that he entered on the office of preaching to the Gentiles, according to their arrangement with him.(24) He therefore made some concession, as was necessary, for a time; and this was the reason why he had Timothy circumcised,(25) and the Nazarites introduced into the temple,(26) which incidents are described in the Acts. Their truth may be inferred from their agreement with the apostle's own profession, how "to the Jews he became as a Jew, that he might gain the Jews, and to them that were under the law, as under the law,"--and so here with respect to those who come in secretly,--"and lastly, how he became all things to all men, that he might gain all."(1) Now, inasmuch as the circumstances require such an interpretation as this, no one will refuse to admit that Paul preached that God and that Christ whose law he was excluding all the while, however much he allowed it, owing to the times, but which he would have had summarily to abolish if he had published a new god. Rightly, then, did Peter and James and John give their right hand of fellowship to Paul, and agree on such a division of their work, as that Paul should go to the heathen, and themselves to the circumcision.(2) Their agreement, also, "to remember the poor"(3) was in complete conformity with the law of the Creator, which cherished the poor and needy, as has been shown in our observations on your Gospel.(4) It is thus certain that the question was one which simply regarded the law, while at the same time it is apparent what portion of the law it was convenient to have observed. Paul, however, censures Peter for not walking straightforwardly according to the truth of the gospel. No doubt he blames him; but it was solely because of his inconsistency in the matter of "eating,"(5) which he varied according to the sort of persons (whom he associated with) "fearing them which were of the circumcision,"(6) but not on account of any perverse opinion touching another god. For if such a question had arisen, others also would have been "resisted face to face" by the man who had not even spared Peter on the comparatively small matter of his doubtful conversation. But what do the Marcionites wish to have believed (on the point)? For the rest, the apostle must (be permitted to) go on with his own statement, wherein he says that "a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith:"(7) faith, however, in the same God to whom belongs the law also. For of course he would have bestowed no labour on severing faith from the law, when the difference of the god would, if there had only been any, have of itself produced such a severance. Justly, therefore, did he refuse to "build up again (the structure of the law) which he had overthrown."(8) The law, indeed, had to be overthrown, from the moment when John "cried in the wilderness, Prepare ye the ways of the Lord," that valleys(9) and hills and mountains may be filled up and levelled, and the crooked and the rough ways be made straight and smooth(10)--in other words, that the difficulties of the law might be changed into the facilities of the gospel. For he remembered that the time was come of which the Psalm spake, "Let us break their bands asunder, and cast off their yoke from us;"(11) since the time when "the nations became tumultuous, and the people imagined vain counsels;" when "the kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against His Christ,"(12) in order that thenceforward man might be justified by the liberty of faith, not by servitude to the law,(13) "because the just shall live by his faith."(14) Now, although the prophet Habakkuk first said this, yet you have the apostle here confirming the prophets, even as Christ did. The object, therefore, of the faith whereby the just man shall live, will be that same God to whom likewise belongs the law, by doing which no man is justified. Since, then, there equally are found the curse in the law and the blessing in faith, you have both conditions set forth by(15) the Creator: "Behold," says He, "I have set before you a blessing and a curse."(16) You cannot establish a diversity of authors because there happens to be one of things; for the diversity is itself proposed by one and the same author. Why, however, "Christ was made a curse for us,"(17) is declared by the apostle himself in a way which quite helps our side, as being the result of the Creator's appointment. But yet it by no means follows, because the Creator said of old, "Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree,"(18) that Christ belonged to another god, and on that account was accursed even then in the law. And how, indeed, could the Creator have cursed by anticipation one whom He knew not of? Why, however, may it not be more suitable for the Creator to have delivered His own Son to His own curse, than to have submitted Him to the malediction of that god of yours,--in behalf, too, of man, who is an alien to him? Now, if this appointment of the Creator respecting His Son appears to you to be a cruel one, it is equally so in the case of your own god; if, on the contrary, it be in accordance with reason in your god, it is equally so--nay, much more so--in mine. For it would be more credible that that God had provided blessing for man, through the curse of Christ, who formerly set both a blessing and a curse before man, than that he had done so, who, according to you,(1) never at any time pronounced either. "We have received therefore, the promise of the Spirit," as the apostle says, "through faith," even that faith by which the just man lives, in accordance with the Creator's purpose.(2) What I say, then, is this, that that God is the object of faith who prefigured the grace of faith. But when he also adds, ".For ye are all the children of faith,"(3) it becomes dear that what the heretic's industry erased was the mention of Abraham's name; for by faith the apostle declares us to be "children of Abraham,"(4) and after mentioning him he expressly called us "children of faith" also. But how are we children of faith? and of whose faith, if not Abraham's? For since "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness;"(5) since, also, he deserved for that reason to be called "the father of many nations," whilst we, who are even more like him(6) in believing in God, are thereby justified as Abraham was, and thereby also obtain life--since the just lives by his faith,--it therefore happens that, as he in the previous passage called us "sons of Abraham," since he is in faith our (common) father,(7) so here also he named us "children of faith," for it was owing to his faith that it was promised that Abraham should be the father of (many) nations. As to the fact itself of his calling off faith from circumcision, did he not seek thereby to constitute us the children of Abraham, who had believed previous to his circumcision in the flesh?(8) In short,(9) faith in one of two gods cannot possibly admit us to the dispensation(10) of the other,(11) so that it should impute righteousness to those who believe in him, and make the just live through him, and declare the Gentiles to be his children through faith. Such a dispensation as this belongs wholly to Him through whose appointment it was already made known by the call of this self-same Abraham, as is conclusively shown(12)' by the natural meaning.(13)


"But," says he, "I speak after the manner of men: when we were children, we were placed in bondage under the elements of the world."(14) This, however, was not said "after the manner of men." For there is no figure(15) here, but literal truth. For (with respect to the latter clause of this passage), what child (in the sense, that is, in which the Gentiles are children) is not in bondage to the elements of the world, which he looks up to(16) in the light of a god? With regard, however, to the former clause, there was a figure (as the apostle wrote it); because after he had said, "I speak after the manner of men," he adds), "Though it be but a man's covenant, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto."(17) For by the figure of the permanency of a human covenant he was defending the divine testament. "To Abraham were the promises made, and to his seed. He said not 'to seeds,' as of many; but as of one, 'to thy seed,' which is Christ."(18) Fie on(19) Marcion's sponge! But indeed it is superfluous to dwell on what he has erased, when he may be more effectually confuted from that which he has retained.(20) "But when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth His Son"(21)--the God, of course, who is the Lord of that very succession of times which constitutes an age; who also ordained, as "signs" of time, suns and moons and constellations and stars; who furthermore both predetermined and predicted that the revelation of His Son should be postponed to the end of the times.(1) "It shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain (of the house) of the Lord shall be manifested";(2) "and in the last days I will. pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh"(3) as Joel says. It was characteristic of Him (only)(4) to wait patiently for the fulness of time, to whom belonged the end of time no less than the beginning. But as for that idle god, who has neither any work nor any prophecy, nor accordingly any time, to show for himself what has he ever done to bring about the fulness of time, or to wait patiently its completion? If nothing, what an impotent state to have to wait for the Creator's time, in servility to the Creator! But for what end did He send His Son? "To redeem them that were under the law,"(5) in other words, to "make the crooked ways straight, and the rough places smooth," as Isaiah says(6)--in order that old things might pass away, and a new course begin, even "the new law out of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem,"(7) and "that we might receive the adoption of sons,"(8) that is, the Gentiles, who once were not sons. For He is to be "the light of the Gentiles," and "in His name shall the Gentiles trust."(9) That we may have, therefore the assurance that we are the children of God, "He hath sent forth His Spirit into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father."(10) For "in the last days," saith He," I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh."(11) Now, from whom comes this grace, but from Him who proclaimed the promise thereof? Who is (our) Father, but He who is also our Maker? Therefore, after such affluence (of grace), they should not have returned "to weak and beggarly elements."(12) By the Romans, however, the rudiments of learning are wont to be called elements. He did not therefore seek, by any depreciation of the mundane elements, to turn them away from their god, although, when he said just before, "Howbeit, then, ye serve them which by nature are no gods,"(13) he censured the error of that physical or natural superstition which holds the elements to be god; but at the God of those elements he aimed not in this censure.(14) He tells us himself clearly enough what he means by "elements," even the rudiments of the law: "Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years"(15)--the sabbaths, I suppose, and "the preparations,"(16) and the fasts, and the "high days."(17) For the cessation of even these, no less than of cicumcision, was appointed by the Creator's decrees, who had said by Isaiah, "Your new moons, and your sabbaths, and your high days I cannot bear; your fasting, and feasts, and ceremonies my soul hateth;"(18) also by Amos, "I hate, I despise your feast-days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies;"(19) and again by Hosea, "I will cause to cease all her mirth, and her feast-days, and her sabbaths, and her new moons, and all her solemn assemblies."(20) The institutions which He set up Himself, you ask, did He then destroy? Yes, rather than any other. Or if another destroyed them, he only helped on the purpose of the Creator, by removing what even He had condemned. But this is not the place to discuss the question why the Creator abolished His own laws. It is enough for us to have proved that He intended such an abolition, that so it may be affirmed that the apostle determined nothing to the prejudice of the Creator, since the abolition itself proceeds from the Creator. But as, in the case of thieves, something of the stolen goods is apt to drop by the way, as a clue to their detection; so, as it seems to me, it has happened to Marcion: the last mention of Abraham's name he has left untouched (in the epistle), although no passage required his erasure more than this, even his partial alteration of the text.(21) "For (it is written) that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bond maid, the other by a free woman; but he who was of the bond maid was born after the flesh, but he of the free woman was by promise: which things are allegorized"(22) (that is to say, they presaged something besides the literal history); "for these are the two covenants," or the two exhibitions (of the divine plans),(1) as we have found the word interpreted," the one from the Mount Sinai," in relation to the synagogue of the Jews, according to the law, "which gendereth to bondage"--"the other gendereth" (to liberty, being raised) above all principality, and power, and dominion, and every name that is l named, not only in this world, but in that which is to come, "which is the mother of us all," in which we have the promise of (Christ's) holy church; by reason of which he adds in conclusion: "So then, brethren, we are not children of the bond woman, but of the free."(2) In this passage he has undoubtedly shown that Christianity had a noble birth, being sprung, as the mystery of the allegory indicates, from that son of Abraham who was born of the free woman; whereas from the son of the bond maid came the legal bondage of Judaism. Both dispensations, therefore, emanate from that same God by whom,(3) as we have found, they were both sketched out beforehand. When he speaks of "the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free,"(4) does not the very phrase indicate that He is the Liberator who was once the Master? For Galba himself never liberated slaves which were not his own, even when about to restore free men to their liberty.(5) By Him, therefore, will liberty be bestowed, at whose command lay the enslaving power of the law. And very properly. It was not meet that those who had received liberty should be "entangled again with the yoke of bondage"(6)--that is, of the law; now that the Psalm had its prophecy accomplished: "Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us, since the rulers have gathered themselves together against the Lord and against His Christ.''(7) All those, therefore, who had been delivered from the yoke of slavery he would earnestly have to obliterate the very mark of slavery--even circumcision, on the authority of the prophet's prediction. He remembered how that Jeremiah had said, "Circumcise the foreskins of your heart;"(8) as Moses likewise had enjoined, "Circumcise your hard hearts"(9)--not the literal flesh. If, now, he were for excluding circumcision, as the messenger of a new god, why does he say that "in Christ neither circumcisoin availeth anything, nor uncircumcision?(10) For it was his duty to prefer the rival principle of that which he was abolishing, if he had a mission from the god who was the enemy of circumcision. Furthermore, since both circumcision and uncircumcision were attributed to the same Deity, both lost their power(11) in Christ, by reason of the excellency of faith--of that faith concerning which it had been written, "And in His name shall the Gentiles trust?"(12)--of that faith "which," he says "worketh by love."(13) By this saying he also shows that the Creator is the source of that grace. For whether he speaks of the love which is due to God, or that which is due to one's neighbor--in either case, the Creator's grace is meant: for it is He who enjoins the first in these words, "Thou shalt love God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength;" (14) and also the second in another passage: "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."(15) "But he that troubleth you shall have to bear judgment."(16) From what God? From (Marcion's) most excellent god? But he does not execute judgment. From the Creator? But neither will He condemn the maintainer of circumcision. Now, if none other but the Creator shall be found to execute judgment, it follows that only He, who has determined on the cessation of the law, shall be able to condemn the defenders of the law; and what, if he also affirms the law in that portion of it where it ought (to be permanent)? "For," says he, "all the law is fulfilled in you by this: 'Thou shalt love thy neighhour as thyself.' "(17) If, indeed, he will have it that by the words "it is fulfilled" it is implied that the law no longer has to be fulfilled, then of course he does not mean that I should any more love my neighbour as myself, since this precept must have ceased together with the law. But no! we must evermore continue to observe this commandment. The Creator's law, therefore, has received the approval of the rival god, who has, in fact, bestowed upon it not the sentence of a summary dismissal,(18) but the favour of a compendious acceptance;(19) the gist of it all being concentrated in this one precept! But this condensation of the law is, in fact, only possible to Him who is the Author of it. When, therefore, he says, "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ,"(1) since this cannot be accomplished except a man love his neighhour as himself, it is evident that the precept, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (which, in fact, underlies the injunction, 'Bear ye one another's burdens"), is really "the law of Christ," though literally the law of the Creator. Christ, therefore, is the Creator's Christ, as Christ's law is the Creator's law. "Be not deceived,(2) God is not mocked."(3) But Marcion's god can be mocked; for he knows not how to be angry, or how to take vengeance. "For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."(4) It is then the God of recompense and judgment who threatens(5) this. "Let us not be weary in well-doing;"(6) and "as we have opportunity, let us do good."(7) Deny now that the Creator has given a commandment to do good, and then a diversity of precept may argue a difference of gods. If, however, He also announces recompense, then from the same God must come the harvest both of death(8) and of life. But "in due time we shall reap;"(9) because in Ecclesiastes it is said, "For everything there will be a time."(10) Moreover, "the world is crucified unto me," who am a servant of the Creator--"the world," (I say,) but not the God who made the world--"and I unto the world,"(11) not unto the God who made the world. The world, in the apostle's sense, here means life and conversation according to worldly principles; it is in renouncing these that we and they are mutually crucified and mutually slain. He calls them "persecutors of Christ."(12) But when he adds, that "he bare in his body the scars(13) of Christ"-- since scars, of course, are accidents of body(14)--he therefore expressed the truth, that the flesh of Christ is not putative, but real and substantial,(15) the scars of which he represents as borne upon his body.


My preliminary remarks(16) on the preceding epistle called me away from treating of its superscription,(17) for I was sure that another opportunity would occur for considering the matter, it being of constant recurrence, and in the same form too, in every epistle. The point, then, is, that it is not (the usual) health which the apostle prescribes for those to whom he writes, but "grace and peace."(18) I do not ask, indeed, what a destroyer of Judaism has to do with a formula which the Jews still use. For to this day they salute each other(19) with the greeting of "peace," and formerly in their Scriptures they did the same. But I understand him by his practice(20) plainly enough to have corroborated the declaration of the Creator: "How beautiful are the feet of them that bring glad tidings of good, who preach the gospel of peace!"(21) For the herald of good, that is, of God's "grace" was well aware that along with it "peace" also was to be proclaimed.(22) Now, when he announces these blessings as "from God the Father and the Lord Jesus,"(23) he uses titles that are common to both, and which are also adapted to the mystery of our faith; and I suppose it to be impossible accurately to determine what God is declared to be the Father and the Lord Jesus, unless (we consider) which of their accruing attributes are more suited to them severally.(25) First, then, I assert that none other than the Creator and Sustainer of both man and the universe can be acknowledged as Father and Lord; next, that to the Father also the title of Lord accrues by reason of His power, and that the Son too receives the same through the Father; then that "grace and peace" are not only His who had them published, but His likewise to whom offence had been given. For neither does grace exist, except after offence; nor peace, except after war. Now, both the people (of Israel) by their transgression of His laws,(1) and the whole race of mankind by their neglect of natural duty,(2) had both sinned and rebelled against the Creator. Marcion's god, however, could not have been offended, both because he was unknown to everybody, and because he is incapable of being irritated. What grace, therefore, can be had of a god who has not been offended? What peace from one who has never experienced rebellion? "The cross of Christ," he says, "is to them that perish foolishness; but unto such as shall obtain salvation, it is the power of God and the wisdom of God."(3) And then, that we may known from whence this comes, he adds: "For it is written, 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.'"(4) Now, since these are the Creator's words, and since what pertains to the doctrine s of the cross he accounts as foolishness, therefore both the cross, and also Christ by reason of the cross, will appertain to the Creator, by whom were predicted the incidents of the cross. But if(6) the Creator, as an enemy, took away their wisdom in order that the cross of Christ, considered as his adversary, should be accounted foolishness, how by any possibility can the Creator have foretold anything about the cross of a Christ who is not His own, and of whom He knew nothing, when He published the prediction? But, again, how happens it, that in the system of a Lord(7) who is so very good, and so profuse in mercy, some carry off salvation, when they believe the cross to be the wisdom and power of God, whilst others incur perdition, to whom the cross of Christ is accounted folly;--(how happens it, I repeat,) unless it is in the Creator's dispensation to have punished both the people of Israel and the human race, for some great offence committed against Him, with the loss of wisdom and prudence? What follows will confirm this suggestion, when he asks, "Hath not God infatuated the wisdom of this world?"(8) and when he adds the reason why: "For after that, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God(9) by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe."(10) But first a word about the expression "the world;" because in this passage particularly,(11) the heretics expend a great deal of their subtlety in showing that by world is meant the lord of the world. We, however, understand the term to apply to any person that is in the world, by a simple idiom of human language, which often substitutes that which contains for that which is contained. "The circus shouted," "The forum spoke," and "The basilica murmured," are well-known expressions, meaning that the people in these places did so. Since then the man, not the god, of the world(12) in his wisdom knew not God, whom indeed he ought to have known (both the Jew by his knowledge of the Scriptures, and all the human race by their knowledge of God's works), therefore that God, who was not acknowledged in His wisdom, resolved to smite men's knowledge with His foolishness, by saving all those who believe in the folly of the preached cross. "Because the Jews require signs," who ought to have already made up their minds about God, "and the Greeks seek after wisdom,''(13) who rely upon their own wisdom, and not upon God's. If, however, it was a new god that was being preached, what sin had the Jews committed, in seeking after signs to believe; or the Greeks, when they hunted after a wisdom which they would prefer to accept? Thus the very retribution which overtook both Jews and Greeks proves that God is both a jealous God and a Judge, inasmuch as He infatuated the world's wisdom by an angry(14) and a judicial retribution. Since, then, the causes(15) are in the hands of Him who gave us the Scriptures which we use, it follows that the apostle, when treating of the Creator, (as Him whom both Jew and Gentile as yet have) not known, means undoubtedly to teach us, that the God who is to become known (in Christ) is the Creator. The very "stumbling-block" which he declares Christ to be "to the Jews,"(16) points unmistakeably(17) to the Creator's prophecy respecting Him, when by Isaiah He says: "Behold I lay in Siona stone of stumbling and a rock of offence."(18) This rock or stone is Christ.(19) This stumbling-stone Marcion retains still.(20)
Now, what is that "foolishness of God which is wiser than men," but the cross and death of Christ? What is that "weakness of God which is stronger than men,"(1) but the nativity and incarnation(2) of God? If, however, Christ was not born of the Virgin, was not constituted of human flesh, and thereby really suffered neither death nor the cross there was nothing in Him either of foolishness or weakness; nor is it any longer true, that "God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise;" nor, again, hath "God chosen the weak things of the world to confound the mighty;" nor "the base things" and the least things "in the world, and things which are despised, which are even as nothing" (that is, things which really(3) are not), "to bring to nothing things which are" (that is, which really are).(4) For nothing in the dispensation of God is found to be mean, and ignoble, and contemptible. Such only occurs in man's arrangement. The very Old Testament of the Creators itself, it is possible, no doubt, to charge with foolishness, and weakness, and dishonour and meanness, and contempt. What is more foolish and more weak than God's requirement of bloody sacrifices and of savoury holocausts? What is weaker than the cleansing of vessels and of beds?(6) What more dishonourable than the discoloration of the reddening skin?(7) What so mean as the statute of retaliation? What so contemptible as the exception in meats and drinks? The whole of the Old Testament, the heretic, to the best of my belief, holds in derision. For God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound its wisdom. Marcion's god has no such discipline, because he does not take after(8) (the Creator) in the process of confusing opposites by their opposites, so that "no flesh shall glory; but, as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."(9) In what Lord? Surely in Him who gave this precept.(10) Unless, forsooth, the Creator en-joined us to glory in the god of Marcion


By all these statements, therefore, does he show us what God he means, when he says, "We speak the wisdom of God among them that are perfect."(11) It is that God who has confounded the wisdom of the wise, who has brought to nought the understanding of the prudent, who has reduced to folly(12) the world's wisdom, by choosing its foolish things, and disposing them to the attainment of salvation. This wisdom, he says, once lay hidden in things that were foolish, weak, and lacking in honour; once also was latent under figures, allegories, and enigmatical types; but it was afterwards to be revealed in Christ, who was set "as a light to the Gentiles,"(13) by the Creator who promised through the mouth of Isaiah that He would discover "the hidden treasures, which eye had not seen."(14) Now, that that god should have ever hidden anything who had never made a cover wherein to practise concealment, is in itself a wholly incredible idea. If he existed, concealment of himself was out of the question--to say nothing(15) of any of his religious ordinances.(16) The Creator, on the contrary, was as well known in Himself as His ordinances were. These, we know, were publicly instituted(17) in Israel; but they lay overshadowed with latent meanings, in which the wisdom of God was concealed(18) to be brought to light by and by amongst "the perfect," when the time should come, but "pre-ordained in the counsels of God before the ages."(19) But whose ages, if not the Creator's? For because ages consist of times, and times are made up of days, and months, and years; since also days, and months, and years are measured by suns, and moons, and stars, which He ordained for this purpose (for "they shall be," says He, "for signs of the months and the years"), (20) it clearly follows that the ages belong to the Creator, and that nothing of what was fore-ordained before the ages can be said to be the property of any other being than Him who claims the ages also as His own. Else let Marcion show that the ages belong to his god. He must then also claim the world itself for him; for it is in it that the ages are reckoned, the vessel as it were(1) of the times, as well as the signs thereof, or their order. But he has no such demonstration to show us. I go back therefore to the point, and ask him this question: Why did (his god) fore-ordain our glory before the ages of the Creator? I could understand his having predetermined it before the ages, if he had revealed it at the commencement of time.(2) But when he does this almost at the very expiration of all the ages(3) of the Creator, his predestination before the ages, and not rather within the ages, was in vain, because he did not mean to make any revelation of his purpose until the ages had almost run out their course. For it is wholly inconsistent in him to be so forward in planning purposes, who is so backward in revealing them. In the Creator, however, the two courses were perfectly compatible--both the predestination before the ages and the revelation at the end thereof, because that which He both fore-ordained and revealed He also in the intermediate space of time announced by the pre-ministration of figures, and symbols, and allegories. But because (the apostle) subjoins, on the subject of our glory, that "none of the princes of this world knew it for had they known it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory,"(4) the heretic argues that the princes of this world crucified the Lord (that is, the Christ of the rival god) in order that this blow might even recoil(5) on the Creator Himself. Any one, however, who has seen from what we have already said how our glory must be regarded as issuing from the Creator, will already have come to the conclusion that, inasmuch as the Creator settled it in His own secret purpose, it properly enough was unknown to all the princes(6) and powers of the Creator, on the principle that servants are not permitted to know their masters' plans, much less the fallen angels and the leader of transgression himself, the devil; for I should contend that these, on account of their fall, were greater strangers still to any knowledge of the Creator's dispensations. But it is no longer open to me(7) even to interpret the princes and powers of this world as the Creator's, since the apostle imputes ignorance to them, whereas even the devil according to our Gospel recognised Jesus in the temptation,(8) and, according to the record which is common to both (Marcionites and ourselves) the evil spirit knew that Jesus was the Holy One of God, and that Jesus was His name, and that He was come to destroy them.(9) The parable also of the strong man armed, whom a stronger than he overcame and seized his goods, is admitted by Marcion to have reference to the Creator:(10) therefore the Creator could not have been ignorant any longer of the God of glory, since He is overcome by him;(11) nor could He have crucified him whom He was unable to cope with. The inevitable inference, therefore, as it seems to me, is that we must believe that the princes and powers of the Creator did knowingly crucify the God of glory in His Christ, with that desperation and excessive malice with which the most abandoned slaves do not even hesitate to slay their masters. For it is written in my Gospel(12) that "Satan entered into Judas."(13) According to Marcion, however, the apostle in the passage under consideration(14) does not allow the imputation of ignorance, with respect to the Lord of glory, to the powers of the Creator; because, indeed, he will have it that these are not meant by "the princes of this world." But (the apostle) evidently(15) did not speak of spiritual princes; so that he meant secular ones, those of the princely people, (chief in the divine dispensation, although) not, of course, amongst the nations of the world, and their rulers, and king Herod, and even Pilate, and, as represented by him,(16) that power of Rome which was the greatest in the world, and then presided over by him. Thus the arguments of the other side are pulled down, and our own proofs are thereby built up. But you still maintain that our glory comes from your god, with whom it also lay in secret. Then why does your god employ the self-same Scripture(17) which the apostle also relies on? What has your god to do at all with the sayings of the prophets? "Who hath discovered the mind of the Lord, or who hath been His counsellor?"(18) So says Isaiah. What has he also to do with illustrations from our God? For when (the apostle) calls himself "a wise master-builder,"(19) we find that the Creator by Isaiah designates the teacher who sketches(20) out the divine discipline by the same title, "I will take away from Judah the cunning artificer,"(1) etc. And was it not Paul himself who was there foretold, destined "to be taken away from Judah"--that is, from Judaism--for the erection of Christianity, in order "to lay that only foundation, which is Christ?"(2) Of this work the Creator also by the same prophet says, "Behold, I lay in Sion for a foundation a precious stone and honourable; and he that resteth thereon shall not be confounded."(3) Unless it be, that God professed Himself to be the builder up of an earthly work, that so He might not give any sign of His Christ, as destined to be the foundation of such as believe in Him, upon which every man should build at will the superstructure of either sound or worthless doctrine; forasmuch as it is the Creator's function, when a man's work shall be tried by fire,(or) when a reward shall be recompensed to him by fire; because it is by fire that the test is applied to the building which you erect upon the foundation which is laid by Him, that is, the foundation of His Christ.(4) "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"(5) Now, since man is the property, and the work, and the image and likeness of the Creator, having his flesh, formed by Him of the ground, and his soul of His afflatus, it follows that Marcion's god wholly dwells in a temple which belongs to another, if so be we are not the Creator's temple. But "if any man defile the temple of God, he shall be himself destroyed"(6)--of course, by the God of the temple.(7) If you threaten an avenger, you threaten us with the Creator. "Ye must become fools, that ye may be wise." (8) Wherefore? "Because the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God."(9) With what God? Even if the ancient Scriptures have contributed nothing in support of our view thus far,(10) an excellent testimony turns up in what (the apostle) here adjoins: "For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness; and again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain."(11) For in general we may conclude for certain that he could not possibly have cited the authority of that God whom he was bound to destroy, since he would not teach for Him.(12) "Therefore," says he, "let no man glory in man;"(13) an injunction which is in accordance with the teaching of the Creator, "wretched is the man that trusteth in man;"(14) again, "It is better to trust in the Lord than to confide in man;"(15) and the same thing is said about glorying (in princes).(16)


"And the hidden things of darkness He will Himself bring to light,"(17) even by Christ; for He has promised Christ to be a Light,(18) and Himself He has declared to be a lamp, "searching the hearts and reins."(19) From Him also shall "praise be had by every man,"(20) from whom proceeds, as from a judge, the opposite also of praise. But here, at least, you say he interprets the world to be the God thereof, when he says: "We are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men."(21) For if by world he had meant the people thereof, he would not have afterwards specially mentioned "men." To prevent, however, your using such an argument as this, the Holy Ghost has providentially explained the meaning of the passage thus: "We are made a spectacle to the world," i.e. "both to angels," who minister therein, "and to men," who are the objects of their ministration.(22) Of course,(23) a man of the noble courage of our apostle (to say nothing of the Holy Ghost) was afraid, when writing to the children whom he had begotten in the gospel, to speak freely of the God of the world; for against Him he could not possibly seem to have a word to say, except only in a straightforward manner!(1) I quite admit, that, according to the Creator's law,(2) the man was an offender" who had his father's wife."(3) He followed, no doubt,(4) the principles of natural and public law. When, however, he condemns the man "to be delivered unto Satan,"(5) he becomes the herald of an avenging God. It does not matter(6) that he also said, "For the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord,"(7) since both in the destruction of the flesh and in the saving of the spirit there is, on His part, judicial process; and when he bade "the wicked person be put away from the midst of them,"(8) he only mentioned what is a very frequently recurring sentence of the Creator. "Purge out the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened."(9) The unleavened bread was therefore, in the Creator's ordinance, a figure of us (Christians). "For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us."(10) But why is Christ our passover, if the passover be not a type of Christ, in the similitude of the blood which saves, and of the Lamb, which is Christ?(11) Why does (the apostle) clothe us and Christ with symbols of the Creator's solemn rites, unless they had relation to ourselves? When, again, he warns us against fornication, he reveals the resurrection of the flesh. "The body," says he, "is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body,"(12) just as the temple is for God, and God for the temple. A temple will therefore pass away(15) with its god, and its god with the temple. You see, then, how that "He who raised up the Lord will also raise us up."(14) In the body will He raise us, because the body is for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And suitably does he add the question: "Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ?''(15) What has the heretic to say? That these members of Christ will not rise again, for they are no longer our own? "For," he says, "ye are bought with a price."(16) A price! surely none at all was paid, since Christ was a phantom, nor had He any corporeal substance which He could pay for our bodies! But, in truth, Christ had wherewithal to redeem us; and since He has redeemed, at a great price, these bodies of ours, against which fornication must not be committed (because they are now members of Christ, and not our own), surely He will secure, on His own account, the safety of those whom He made His own at so much cost! Now, how shall we glorify, how shall we exalt, God in our body,(27) which is doomed to perish? We must now encounter the subject of marriage, which Marcion, more continent(18) than the apostle, prohibits. For the apostle, although preferring the grace of continence,(19) yet permits the contraction of marriage and the enjoyment of it,(20) and advises the continuance therein rather than the dissolution thoreof.(21) Christ plainly forbids divorce, Moses unquestionably permits it.(22) Now, when Marcion wholly prohibits all carnal intercourse to the faithful (for we will say nothing(23) about his catechumens), and when he prescribes repudiation of all engagements before marriage, whose teaching does he follow, that of Moses or of Christ? Even Christ,(24) however, when He here commands "the wife not to depart from her husband, or if she depart, to remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband,"(25) both permitted divorce, which indeed He never absolutely prohibited, and confirmed (the sanctity) of marriage, by first forbidding its dissolution; and, if separation had taken place, by wishing the nuptial bond to be resumed by reconciliation. But what reasons does (the apostle) allege for continence? Because "the time is short."(26) I had almost thought it was because in Christ there was another god! And yet He from whom emanates this shortness of the time, will also send what suits the said brevity. No one makes provision for the time which is another's. You degrade your god, O Marcion, when you make him circumscribed at all by the Creator's time. Assuredly also, when (the apostle) rules that marriage should be "only in the Lord,"(27) that no Christian should intermarry with a heathen, he maintains a law of the Creator, who everywhere prohibits marriage with strangers. But when he says, "although there be that are called gods, whether in l heaven or in earth,"(1) the meaning of his words is clear--not as if there were gods in reality, but as if there were some who are called gods, without being truly so. He introduces his discussion about meats offered to idols with a statement concerning idols (themselves): "We know that an idol is nothing in the world."(2) Marcion, however, does not say that the Creator is not God; so that the apostle can hardly be thought to have ranked the Creator amongst those who are called gods, without being so; since, even if they had been gods, "to us there is but one God, the Father."(3) Now, from whom do all things come to us, but from Him to whom all things belong? And pray, what things are these? You have them in a preceding part of the epistle: "All things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come."(4) He makes the Creator, then the God of all things, from whom proceed both the world and life and death, which. cannot possibly belong to the other god. From Him, therefore, amongst the "all things" comes also Christ.(5) When he teaches that every man ought to live of his own industry,(6) he begins with a copious induction of examples--of soldiers, and shepherds, and husbandmen.(7) But he(8) wanted divine authority. What was the use, however, of adducing the Creator's, which he was destroying? It was vain to do so; for his god had no such authority! (The apostle) says: "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn,"(9) and adds: "Doth God take care of oxen?" Yes, of oxen, for the sake of men! For, says he, "it is written for our sakes."(10) Thus he showed that the law had a symbolic reference to ourselves, and that it gives its sanction in favour of those who live of the gospel. (He showed) also, that those who preach the gospel are on this account sent by no other god but Him to whom belongs the law, which made provision for them, when he says: "For our sakes was this writ. ten."(11) Still he declined to use this power which the law gave him, because he preferred working without any restraint.(12) Of this he boasted, and suffered no man to rob him of such glory(13)--certainly with no view of destroying the law, which he proved that another man might use. For behold Marcion, in his blindness, stumbled at the rock whereof our fathers drank in the wilderness. For since "that rock was Christ,"(14) it was, of course, the Creator's, to whom also belonged the people. But why resort to the figure of a sacred sign given by an extraneous god?(15) Was it to teach the very truth, that ancient things prefigured the Christ who was to be educed(16) out of them? For, being about to take a cursory view of what befell the people (of Israel) he begins with saying: "Now these things happened as examples for us."(17) Now, tell me, were these examples given by the Creator to men belonging to a rival god? Or did one god borrow examples from another, and a hostile one too? He withdraws me to himself in alarm(28) from Him from whom he transfers my allegiance. Will his antagonist make me better disposed to him? Should I now commit the same sins as the people, shall I have to suffer the same penalties, or not?(19) But if not the same, how vainly does he propose to me terrors which I shall not have to endure! From whom, again, shall I have to endure them? If from the Creator, What evils does it appertain to Him to inflict? And how will it happen that, jealous God as He is, He shall punish the man who offends His rival, instead of rather encouraging(20) him. If, however, from the other god--but he knows not how to punish. So that the whole declaration of the apostle lacks a reasonable basis, if it is not meant to relate to the Creator's discipline. But the fact is, the apostle's conclusion corresponds to the beginning: "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples; and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."(21) What a Creator! how prescient already, and considerate in warning Christians who belong to another god! Whenever cavils occur the like to those which have been already dealt with, I pass them by; certain others I despatch briefly. A great argument for another god is the permission to eat of all kinds of meats, contrary to the law.(22) Just as if we did not ourselves allow that the burdensome ordinances of the law were abrogated--but by Him who imposed them, who also promised the new condition of things.(1) The same, therefore, who prohibited meats, also restored the use of them, just as He had indeed allowed them from the beginning. If, however, some strange god had come to destroy our God, his foremost prohibition would certainly have been, that his own votaries should abstain from supporting their lives on the resources of his adversary.


"The head of every man is Christ."(2) What Christ, if He is not the author of man? The head he has here put for authority; now "authority" will accrue to none else than the "author." Of what man indeed is He the head? Surely of him concerning whom he adds soon afterwards: "The man ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image of God."(3) Since then he is the image of the Creator (for He, when looking on Christ His Word, who was to become man, said, "Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness"(4)), how can I possibly have another head but Him whose image I am? For if I am the image of the Creator there is no room in me for another head But wherefore "ought the woman to have power over her head, because of the angels?"(5) If it is because "she was created for the man,''(6) and taken out of the man, according to the Creator's purpose, then in this way too has the apostle maintained the discipline of that God from whose institution he explains the reasons of His discipline. He adds: "Because of the angels."(7) What angels? In other words, whose angels? If he means the fallen angels of the Creator,(8) there is great propriety in his meaning. It is right that that face which was a snare to them should wear some mark of a humble guise and obscured beauty. If, however, the angels of the rival god are referred to, what fear is there for them? for not even Marcion's disciples, (to say nothing of his angels,) have any desire for women. We have often shown before now, that the apostle classes heresies as evil(9) among "works of the flesh," and that he would have those persons accounted estimable(10) who shun heresies as an evil thing. In like manner, when treating of the gospel,(11) we have proved from the sacrament of the bread and the cup(12) the verity of the Lord's body and blood in opposition to Marcion's phantom; whilst throughout almost the whole of my work it has been contended that all mention of judicial attributes points conclusively to the Creator as to a God who judges. Now, on the subject of "spiritual gifts,"(13) I have to remark that these also were promised by the Creator through Christ; and I think that we may derive from this a very just conclusion that the bestowal of a gift is not the work of a god other than Him who is proved to have given the promise. Here is a prophecy of Isaiah "There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a flower(14) shall spring up from his root; and upon Him shall rest the Spirit of the Lord." After which he enumerates the special gifts of the same "The spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of religion.(15) And with the fear of the Lord(16) shall the Spirit fill Him."(17) In this figure of a flower he shows that Christ was to arise out of the rod which sprang from the stem of Jesse; in other words, from the virgin of the race of David, the son of Jesse. In this Christ the whole substantia of the Spirit would have to rest, not meaning that it would be as it were some subsequent acquisition accruing to Him who was always, even before His incarnation, the Spirit of God;(18) so that you cannot argue from this that the prophecy has reference to that Christ who (as mere man of the race only of David) was to obtain the Spirit of his God. (The prophet says,) on the contrary, that from the time when (the true Christ) should appear in the flesh as the flower predicted,(19) rising from the root of Jesse, there would have to rest upon Him the entire operation of the Spirit of grace, which, so far as the Jews were concerned, would cease and come to an end. This result the case itself shows; for after this time the Spirit of the Creator never breathed amongst them. From Judah were taken away "the wise man, and the cunning artificer, and the counsellor, and the prophet;"(1) that so it might prove true that "the law and the prophets were until John.''(2) Now hear how he declared that by Christ Himself, when returned to heaven, these spiritual gifts were to be sent: "He ascended up. on high," that is, into heaven; "He led captivity captive," meaning death or slavery of man; "He gave gifts to the sons of men,"(3) that is, the gratuities, which we call charismata. He says specifically "sons of men,"(4) and not men promiscuously; thus exhibiting to us those who were the children of men truly so called, choice men, apostles. "For," says he, "I have begotten you through the gospel;"(5) and "Ye are my children, of whom I travail again in birth."(6) Now was absolutely fulfilled that promise of the Spirit which was given by the word of Joel: "In the last days will I pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh, and their sons and their daughters shall prophesy; and upon my servants and upon my handmaids will I pour out of my Spirit."(7) Since, then, the Creator promised the gift of His Spirit in the latter days; and since Christ has in these last days appeared as the dispenser of spiritual gifts (as the apostle says, "When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son;"(8) and again, "This I say, brethren, that the time is short"(9)), it evidently follows in connection with this prediction of the last days, that this gift of the Spirit belongs to Him who is the Christ of the predicters. Now compare the Spirit's specific graces, as they are described by the apostle, and promised by the prophet Isaiah. "To one is given," says he, "by the Spirit the word of wisdom;" this we see at once is what Isaiah declared to be "the spirit of wisdom." "To another, the word of knowledge;" this will be "the (prophet's) spirit of understanding and counsel." "To another, faith by the same Spirit;" this will be "the spirit of religion and the fear of the Lord." "To another, the gifts of healing, and to another the working of miracles;" this will be "the spirit of might." "To another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another divers kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues;" this will be "the spirit of knowledge."(10) See how the apostle agrees with the prophet both in making the distribution of the one Spirit, and in interpreting His special graces. This, too, I may confidently say: he who has likened the unity of our body throughout its manifold and divers members to the compacting together of the various gifts of the Spirit,(11) shows also that there is but one Lord of the human body and of the Holy Spirit. This Spirit, (according to the apostle's showing,)(12) meant not(13) that the service(14) of these gifts should be in the body,(15) nor did He place them in the human body); and on the subject of the superiority of love(16) above all these gifts, He even taught the apostle that it was the chief commandment,(17) just as Christ has shown it to be: "Thou shalt love the Lord with all thine heart and soul,(18) with all thy strength, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbour as thine own self."(19) When he mentions the fact that "it is written in the law,"(20) how that the Creator would speak with other tongues and other lips, whilst confirming indeed the gift of tongues by such a mention, he yet cannot be thought to have affirmed that the gift was that of another god by his reference to the Creator's prediction.(21) In precisely the same manner,(22) when enjoining on women silence in the church, that they speak not for the mere sake(23) of learning(24) (although that even they have the right of prophesying, he has already shown(25) when he covers the woman that prophesies with a veil), he goes to the law for his sanction that woman should be under obedience.(26) Now this law, let me say once for all, he ought to have made no other acquaintance with, than to destroy it. But that we may now leave the subject of spiritual gifts, facts themselves will be enough to prove which of us acts rashly in claiming them for his God, and whether it is possible that they are opposed to our side, even if(27) the Creator promised them for His Christ who is not yet revealed, as being destined only for the Jews, to have their operations in His time, in His Christ, and among His people. Let Marcion then exhibit, as gifts of his god, some prophets, such as have not spoken by human sense, but with the Spirit of God, such as have both predicted things to come, and have made manifest(1) the secrets of the heart;(2) let him produce a psalm, a vision, a prayer(3)--only let it be by the Spirit,(4) in an ecstasy, that is, in a rapture,(5) whenever an interpretation of tongues has occurred to him; let him show to me also, that any woman of boastful tongue(6) in his community has ever prophesied from amongst those specially holy sisters of his. Now all these signs (of spiritual gifts) are forthcoming from my side without any difficulty, and they agree, too, with the rules, and the dispensations, and the instructions of the Creator; therefore without doubt the Christ, and the Spirit, and the apostle, belong severally(7) to my God. Here, then, is my frank avowal for any one who cares to require it.


Meanwhile the Marcionite will exhibit nothing of this kind; he is by this time afraid to say which side has the better right to a Christ who is not yet revealed. Just as my Christ is to be expected,(8) who was predicted from the beginning, so his Christ therefore has no existence, as not having been announced from the beginning. Ours is a better faith, which believes in a future Christ, than the heretic's, which has none at all to believe in. Touching the resurrection of the dead,(9) let us first inquire how some persons then denied it. No doubt in the same way in which it is even now denied, since the resurrection of the flesh has at all times men to deny it. But many wise men claim for the soul a divine nature, and are confident of its undying destiny, and even the multitude worship the dead(10) in the presumption which they boldly entertain that their souls survive. As for our bodies, however, it is manifest that they perish either at once by fire or the wild beasts,(11) or even when most carefully kept by length of time. When, therefore, the apostle refutes those who deny the resurrection of the flesh, he indeed defends, in opposition to them, the precise matter of their denial, that is, the resurrection of the body. You have the whole answer wrapped up in this.(12) All the rest is superfluous. Now in this very point, which is called the resurrection of the dead, it is requisite that the proper force of the words should be accurately maintained.(13) The word dead expresses simply what has lost the vital principle,(14) by means of which it used to live. Now the body is that which loses life, and as the result of losing it becomes dead. To the body, therefore, the term dead is only suitable. Moreover, as resurrection accrues to what is dead, and dead is a term applicable only to a body, therefore the body alone has a resurrection incidental to it. So again the word Resurrection, or (rising affairs), embraces only that which has fallen down. "To rise," indeed, can be predicated of that which has never fallen down, but had already been always lying down. But "to rise again" is predicable only of that which has fallen down; because it is by rising again, in consequence of its having fallen down, that it is said to have re-risen.(15) For the syllable RE always implies iteration (or happening again). We say, therefore, that the body falls to the ground by death, as indeed facts themselves show, in accordance with the law of God. For to the body it was said, ("Till thou return to the ground, for out of it wast thou taken; for) dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."(16) That, therefore, which came from the ground shall return to the ground. Now that falls down which returns to the ground; and that rises again which falls down. "Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection."(17) Here in the word man, who consists of bodily sub stance, as we have often shown already, is presented to me the body of Christ. But if we are all so made alive in Christ, as we die in Adam, it follows of necessity that we are made alive in Christ as a bodily substance, since we died in Adam as a bodily substance. The similarity, indeed, is not complete, unless our revival(18) in Christ concur in identity of substance with our mortality(1) in Adam. But at this point(2) (the apostle) has made a parenthetical statement(3) concerning Christ, which, bearing as it does on our present discussion, must not pass unnoticed. For the resurrection of the body will receive all the better proof, in proportion as I shall succeed in showing that Christ belongs to that God who is believed to have provided this resurrection of the flesh in His dispensation. When he says, "For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet,"(4) we can see at once(5) from this statement that he speaks of a God of vengeance, and therefore of Him who made the following promise to Christ: "Sit Thou at my right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool. The rod of Thy strength shall the Lord send forth from Sion, and He shall rule along with Thee in the midst of Thine enemies."(6) It is necessary for me to lay claim to those Scriptures which the Jews endeavour to deprive us of, and to show that they sustain my view. Now they say that this Psalm(7) was a chant in honour of Hezekiah,(8) because "he went up to the house of the Lord,"(9) and God turned back and removed his enemies. Therefore, (as they further hold,) those other words, "Before the morning star did I beget thee from the womb,"(10) are applicable to Hezekiah, and to the birth of Hezekiah. We on our side(11) have published Gospels (to the credibility of which we have to thank(12) them(13) for having given some confirmation, indeed, already in so great a subject(14)); and these declare that the Lord was born at night, that so it might be "before the morning star," as is evident both from the star especially, and from the testimony of the angel, who at night announced to the shepherds that Christ had at that moment been born,(15) and again from the place of the birth, for it is towards night that persons arrive at the (eastern)" inn." Perhaps, too, there was a mystic purpose in Christ's being born at night, destined, as He was, to be the light of the truth amidst the dark shadows of ignorance. Nor, again, would God have said, "I have begotten Thee," except to His true Son. For although He says of all the people (Israel), "I have begotten(16) children,"(17) yet He added not "from the womb." Now, why should He have added so superfluously this phrase "from the womb" (as if there could be any doubt about any one's having been born from the womb), unless the Holy Ghost had wished the words to be with especial care(18) understood of Christ? "I have begotten Thee from the womb," that is to say, from a womb only, without a man's seed, making it a condition of a fleshly body(19) that it should come out of a womb. What is here added (in the Psalm), "Thou art a priest for ever,"(20) relates to (Christ) Himself. Hezekiah was no priest; and even if he had been one, he would not have been a priest for ever. "After the order," says He, "of Melchizedek." Now what had Hezekiah to do with Melchizedek, the priest of the most high God, and him uncircumcised too, who blessed the circumcised Abraham, after receiving from him the offering of tithes? To Christ, however, "the order of Melchizedek" will be very suitable; for Christ is the proper and legitimate High Priest of God. He is the Pontiff of the priesthood of the uncircumcision, constituted such, even then, for the Gentiles, by whom He was to be more fully received, although at His last coming He will favour with His acceptance and blessing the circumcision also, even the race of Abraham, which by and by is to acknowledge Him. Well, then, there is also another Psalm, which begins with these words: "Give Thy judgments, O God, to the King," that is, to Christ who was to come as King, "and Thy righteousness unto the King's son,"(21) that is, to Christ's people; for His sons are they who are born again in Him. But it will here be said that this Psalm has reference to Solomon. However, will not those portions of the Psalm which apply to Christ alone, be enough to teach us that all the rest, too, relates to Christ, and not to Solomon? "He shall come down," says He, "like rain upon a fleece,(1) and like dropping showers upon the earth,"(2) describing His descent from heaven to the flesh as gentle and unobserved.(3) Solomon, however, if he had indeed any descent at all, came not down like a shower, because he descended not from heaven. But I will set before you more literal points.(4) "He shall have dominion," says the Psalmist, "from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth."(5) To Christ alone was this given; whilst Solomon reigned over only the moderately-sized kingdom of Judah. "Yea, all kings shall fall down before Him." Whom, indeed, shall they all thus worship, except Christ? "All nations shall serve Him."(6) To whom shall all thus do homage, but Christ? "His name shall endure for ever." Whose name has this eternity of fame, but Christ's? "Longer than the sun shall His name remain," for longer than the sun shall be the Word of God, even Christ. "And in Him shall all nations be blessed."(7) In Solomon was no nation blessed; in Christ every nation. And what if the Psalm proves Him to be even God? "They shall call Him blessed."(8) (On what ground?) Because blessed Is the Lord God of Israel, who only doeth wonderful things."(9) "Blessed also is His glorious name, and with His glory shall all the earth be filled."(10) On the contrary, Solomon (as I make bold to affirm) lost even the glory which he had from God, seduced by his love of women even into idolatry. And thus, the statement which occurs in about the middle of this Psalm, "His enemies shall lick the dust"(11) (of course, as having been, (to use the apostle's phrase,) "put under His feet"(12)), will bear upon the very object which I had in view, when I both introduced the Psalm, and insisted on my opinion of its sense,--namely, that I might demonstrate both the glory of His kingdom and the subjection of His enemies in pursuance of the Creator's own plans, with the view of laying down(13) this conclusion, that none but He can be believed to be the Christ of the Creator.


Let us now return to the resurrection, to the defence of which against heretics of all sorts we have given indeed sufficient attention in another work of ours.(14) But we will not be wanting (in some defence of the doctrine) even here, in consideration of such persons as are ignorant of that little treatise. "What," asks he, "shall they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not?"(15) Now, never mind(16) that practice, (whatever it may have been.) The Februarian lustrations(17) will perhaps(18) answer him (quite as well), by praying for the dead.(19) Do not then suppose that the apostle here indicates some new god as the author and advocate of this (baptism for the dead. His only aim in alluding to it was) that he might all the more firmly insist upon the resurrection of the body, in proportion as they who were vainly baptized for the dead resorted to the practice from their belief of such a resurrection. We have the apostle in another passage defining "but one baptism."(20) To be "baptized for the dead" therefore means, in fact, to be baptized for the body;(21) for, as we have shown, it is the body which becomes dead. What, then, shall they do who are baptized for the body,(1) if the body(2) rises not again? We stand, then, on firm ground (when we say) that(3) the next question which the apostle has discussed equally relates to the body. But "some man will say, 'How are the dead raised up? With what body do they come?'"(4) Having established the doctrine of the resurrection which was denied, it was natural(5) to discuss what would be the sort of body (in the resurrection), of which no one had an idea. On this point we have other opponents with whom to engage, For Marcion does not in any wise admit the resurrection of the flesh, and it is only the salvation of the soul which he promises; consequently the question which he raises is not concerning the sort of body, but the very substance thereof. Notwithstanding,(6) he is most plainly refuted even from what the apostle advances respecting the quality of the body, in answer to those who ask, "How are the dead raised up? with what body do they come?" For as he treated of the sort of body, he of course ipso facto proclaimed in the argument that it was a body which would rise again. Indeed, since he proposes as his examples "wheat grain, or some other grain, to which God giveth a body, such as it hath pleased Him;"(7) since also he says, that "to every seed is its own body;"(8) that, consequently,(9) "there is one kind of flesh of men, whilst there is another of beasts, and (another) of birds; that there are also celestial bodies and bodies terrestrial; and that there is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars"(10)--does he not therefore intimate that there is to be(11) a resurrection of the flesh or body, which he illustrates by fleshly and corporeal samples? Does he not also guarantee that the resurrection shall be accomplished by that God from whom proceed all the (creatures which have served him for) examples? "So also," says he, "is the resurrection of the dead."(12) How? Just as the grain, which is sown a body, springs up a body. This sowing of the body he called the dissolving thereof in the ground, "because it is sown in corruption," (but "is raised) to honour and power."(13) Now, just as in the case of the grain, so here: to Him will belong the work in the revival of the body, who ordered the process in the dissolution thereof. If, however, you remove the body from the resurrection which you submitted to the dissolution, what becomes of the diversity in the issue? Likewise, "although it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body."(14) Now, although the natural principle of life(15) and the spirit have each a body proper to itself, so that the "natural body" may fairly be taken(16) to signify the soul,(17) and "the spiritual body" the spirit, yet that is no reason for supposing(18) the apostle to say that the soul is to become spirit in the resurrection, but that body (which, as being born along with the soul, and as retaining its life by means of the soul,(19) admits of being called animal (or natural(20)) will became spiritual, since it rises through the Spirit to an eternal life. In short, since it is not the soul, but the flesh which is "sown in corruption," when it turns to decay in the ground, it follows that (after such dissolution) the soul is no longer the natural body, but the flesh, which was the natural body, (is the subject of the future change), forasmuch as of a natural body it is made a spiritual body, as he says further down, "That was not first which is spiritual."(21) For to this effect he just before remarked of Christ Himself: "The first man Adam was made a living soul, the last Adam was made a quickening spirit."(22) Our heretic, however, in the excess of his folly, being unwilling that the statement should remain in this shape, altered "last Adam" into "last Lord;"(23) because he feared, of course, that if he allowed the Lord to be the last (or second) Adam, we should contend that Christ, being the second Adam, must needs belong to that God who owned also the first Adam. But the falsification is transparent. For why is there a first Adam, unless it be that there is also a second Adam? For things are not classed together unless they be severally alike, and have an identity of either name, or substance, or origin.(24) Now, although among things which are even individually diverse, one must be first and another last, yet they must have one author. If, however, the author be a different one, he himself indeed may be called the last. But the thing which he introduces is the first, and that only can be the last, which is like this first in nature.(1) It is, however, not like the first in nature, when it is not the work of the same author. In like manner (the heretic) will be refuted also with the word "man:" "The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven."(2) Now, since the first was a how can there be a second, unless he is a man also? Or, else, if the second is" Lord," was the first "Lord" also?(3) It is, however, quite enough for me, that in his Gospel he admits the Son of man to be both Christ and Man; so that he will not be able to deny Him (in this passage), in the "Adam" and the "man" (of the apostle). What follows will also be too much for him. For when the apostle says, "As is the earthy," that is, man, "such also are they that are earthy"-men again, of course; "therefore as is the heavenly," meaning the Man, from heaven, "such are the men also that are heavenly." For he could not possibly have opposed to earthly men any heavenly beings that were not men also; his object being the more accurately to distinguish their state and expectation by using this name in common for them both. For in respect of their present state and their future expectation he calls men earthly and heavenly, still reserving their parity of name, according as they are reckoned (as to their ultimate conditions) in Adam or in Christ. Therefore, when exhorting them to cherish the hope of heaven, he says: "As we have borne the image of the earthy, so let us also bear the image of the heavenly,"(6)--language which relates not to any condition of resurrection life, but to the rule of the present time. He says, Let us bear, as a precept; not We shall bear, in the sense of a promise--wishing us to walk even as he himself was walking, and to put off the likeness of the earthly, that is, of the old man, in the works of the flesh. For what are this next words? "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God."(7) He means the works of the flesh and blood, which, in his Epistle to the Galatians, deprive men of the kingdom of God.(8) In other passages also he is accustomed to put the natural condition instead of the works that are done therein, as when he says, that "they who are in the flesh cannot please God."(9) Now, when shall we be able to please God except whilst we are in this flesh? There is, I imagine, no other time wherein a man can work. If, however, whilst we are even naturally living in the flesh, we yet eschew the deeds of the flesh, then we shall not be in the flesh; since, although we are not absent from the substance of the flesh, we are notwithstanding strangers to the sin thereof. Now, since in the word flesh we are enjoined to put off, not the substance, but the works of the flesh, therefore in the use of the same word the kingdom of God is denied to the works of the flesh, not to the substance thereof. For not that is condemned in which evil is done, but only the evil which is done in it. To administer poison is a crime, but the cup in which it is given is not guilty. So the body is the vessel of the works of the flesh, whilst the soul which is within it mixes the poison of a wicked act. How then is it, that the soul, which is the real author of the works of the flesh, shall attain to(10) the kingdom of God, after the deeds done in the body have been stoned for, whilst the body, which was nothing but (the soul's) ministering agent, must remain in condemnation? Is the cup to be punished, but the poisoner to escape? Not that we indeed claim the kingdom of God for the flesh: all we do is, to assert a resurrection for the substance thereof, as the gate of the kingdom through which it is entered. But the resurrection is one thing, and the kingdom is another. The resurrection is first, and afterwards the kingdom. We say, therefore, that the flesh rises again, but that when changed it obtains the kingdom. "For the dead shall be raised incorruptible," even those who had been corruptible when their bodies fell into decay; "and we shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.(11) For this corruptible"--and as he spake, the apostle seemingly pointed to his own flesh--" must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality."(12) in order, indeed, that it may be rendered a fit substance for the kingdom of God. "For we shall be like the angels."(13) This will be the perfect change of our flesh--only after its resurrection.(1) Now if, on the contrary,(2) there is to be no flesh, how then shall it put on incorruption and immortality? Having then become something else by its change, it will obtain the kingdom of God, no longer the (old) flesh and blood, but the body which God shall have given it. Rightly then does the apostle declare, "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God;"(3) for this (honour) does he ascribe to the changed condition(4) which ensues on the resurrection. Since, therefore, shall then be accomplished the word which was written by the Creator, "O death, where is thy victory"--or thy struggle?(5) "O death, where is thy sting?"(6) --written, I say, by the Creator, for He wrote them by His prophet(7)--to Him will belong the gift, that is, the kingdom, who proclaimed the word which is to be accomplished in the kingdom. And to none other God does he tell us that "thanks" are due, for having enabled us to achieve "the victory" even over death, than to Him from whom he received the very expression(8) of the exulting and triumphant challenge to the mortal foe.




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