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BOOK II

[The Athens MS. does not begin till Chapter VII. The first set of objections in the Book is therefore lost Chapters VII-XI contain answers to five objections. This looks as if Chapter 1 was in the nature of an introduction, unless there were six objections, and Macarius has combined two of them in one answer, as he does more than once in the later part of his work.]

CHAPTER VII. This is an answer to an objection based on the words of S. Matt. x. 34 ff.: "I came not to send peace on the earth, but a sword. I came to separate a man from his father," etc.

The first part of the answer is lacking, and the rest is lengthy and diffuse. The following is a summary of it:---

[To those who wish to receive the heavenly armour Christ speaks thus: "This warfare will mean putting away all earthly thoughts and giving up all human dear ones. After the victory a heavenly Father will take the place of the earthly one who has been renounced. This is the only way to conquer sin. The man who prefers earthly relationships will not survive the fray, and is not a soldier worthy of me."

Success in such a warfare may be plainly seen in the deaths of the martyrs. They were able to leave all those that were dear, and take up their cross and follow Christ. This is what is meant by the "sword," which cuts relations from each other, as it cut Thecla from Theocleia. 76 Daughters have taken this sword and cut themselves off from their mothers either by martyrdom or virgins' vows. Sons of great men have left their family customs to practise abstinence. Nor are those angered who are left behind. Go through the cities of 33 the East, and the province of Syria, 77 and test my words. Look at the royal city of Antioch, 78 and see what countless divisions there are. Some marry, others refuse; some are luxurious, others ascetic. 79 In a single house the "sword" of salvation cuts them apart, doing so without wound or pain, for it cuts not bodies but dispositions asunder. 80

If the words bear an allegorical meaning, 81 the man divided from his father means the Apostles separated from the law. The daughter is the flesh, and the mother circumcision. The daughter-in-law is the Church, and the mother-in-law the synagogue. The sword that cuts is the grace of the Gospel.]

CHAPTER VIII. Answer to an objection based on the saying: "Who is my brother and sister ?" and the words which Christ added, as He pointed to His disciples, "Behold my brethren and my mother" (Matt. xii. 48-49).

[These words were a reproof to those Jews who regarded Christ as merely a man, and not the Only Begotten. 82 So He asks, "Who is my brother, if I am the Only Begotten ? Who is my mother, if I created all things ? What man, acknowledging mother and brethren, ever 34 did the miracles I have done ? As no such man ever has done or will do them, why call me a mere man with brethren ? The man born blind saw the Godhead with the eyes of his soul, but you are blind to the brightness of such power in your midst. So I say to you as to blind men, ' He that doeth the will of my Father (with which mine is identical) is my mother and brother,' for in so doing he both brings me forth as a mother does, having conceived me in doing the Father's will, and he also is brought forth along with me, not by coming into personal subsistence, 83 but by being made one in grace of will. For he that doeth the will of my Father bringeth me forth in the fellowship of the deed, and is brought forth with me. For he that believes that I am the Only Begotten of God in some sense begets me, not in subsistence but in faith, being mystically present with that which is begotten."

Note that Christ does not specify any of His Apostles by name,but simply says, "He that doeth the will of the Father."]

CHAPTER IX. Answer to an objection based on S. Mark x. 18 and S. Matt. xii. 35. Come now, let us also make clear the question of those two sayings: "None is good save God," and "The good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good."

See how plainly here also Jesus dissociates Himself from man when He says, "None is good save one, even God." And without doubt Christ is Himself God, even as John says, "And the Word was God." Also the Saviour Himself, revealing the essence of His own Godhead, says, "I and the Father are one"; which means that undoubtedly He who spoke the words was God. Why, then, if He be God, did He deny that He was God, by saying, " None is good save one, even God; why callest 35 thou me good?" If your desire is to pay a genuine heed to the saying, the subject will become clear and easily grasped, though it be disputed and a matter of discussion among many. A certain young man of comely appearance pictured in the Saviour's presence a state of righteous action, 84 imagining that He, who for man's sake had become man, was like other men, possessed of no relationship besides that which is mortal. This young man played the impostor and desired to show himself off as often receiving much praise at the hands of many, besides thinking that the Lord was an ordinary man. So it was not as God but as man that he addressed Him when he came near and said, "Good master." Christ faces the man who has such an opinion of Him by saying, "Why dost thou call me good when thou thinkest me a mere man? Thou art mistaken, young man, in holding the theory that I am mortal and yet addressing me as good; for among men there is nothing inherently good, but in God alone. So according to thee at least I deny that I am good, since I am reckoned as a man. For if thou didst hold the belief that God is in me, and the unalloyed nature of the Godhead, thou wouldst have decided that I bear affinity to the nature of the Good, and wouldst have had no doubt. 85 But since thou didst secretly steal away the good that is absolute, and dost bear unreasoning witness to the good that is relative, 86 thou canst not reckon me as a partner of this thy reckless act of theft. For do not suppose that I myself have ever used the word 'good' without due thought. For even if I said 'The good man out of the good treasure bringeth forth that which is good,' I do not call the man good absolutely, but relatively, whenever he performs some good action through sharing in that which is good. Take an illustration. The fire is warm, and that which is brought near 36 the fire is also said to be warm. 87 But one is called warm absolutely and the other relatively. It is not that the identity of name steals away the truth and has a single way of expressing the matter. Rather is the difference of the nature of each wont to determine the identity of name. Thus if any one calls the Creator good, and also that which is created, he makes it plain that in the one case the goodness is in Himself, and in the other case it is derived from another. Hence a man is good, 88 not as having this possession from his own nature, but as having obtained this advantage from another. But God is good, not as having received or won this from another, but as a good which is. absolute, and as such is neither changeable nor visible." This then must be the distinction in your mind with regard to what is "good." It will prevent you from thinking that Christ stultified His own words by saying, "No one is good save one, even God." For the absolute good, the inherent good, the archetypal good, the invisible and unchangeable good,---this, He declares, is unique, and the Godhead underlies it. But the relative good, the good that is easily altered, that does not stand steadfast, but suffers change,---this He connects with man, and also with any created thing; as for example when He called a fish or an egg good, by saying, "Ye know how to give good gifts to your children."

CHAPTER X. Answer to an objection based on S. Matt, xvii. 15: "Have pity on my son, for he is lunatic," although it was not the effect of the moon, but of a demon.

[In answering this question, we will also consider the apparently uncalled-for rebuke which Christ adds to the multitude, in the words "O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you ? "

The dragon or demon was cunning enough to attack 37 the boy at the changes of the moon, so that men might think that his sufferings were due to its influence. Thus by one act he accomplished two objects, for he both tortured the boy's body, and suggested blasphemy to the minds of those who saw it, for if they ascribed it to the moon's action, they would naturally blame Him who created the moon.

Christ perceives that they likewise have been affected by the demon, and so calls them a "faithless generation," because of their ideas about the moon. By expelling the demon, He shows them their error.

S. Matthew does not prove, by saying that "a lunatic boy" was brought to Christ, that he really was under the moon's influence. Like a good historian, he recorded things as he heard them, not as they actually were.]

CHAPTER XI. Answer to an objection based on S. John v. 31: How is it that Christ said, "If I bear witness to myself, my witness is not true," and yet He did bear witness to Himself, as He was accused of doing when He said, "I am the light of the world"? (John viii. 12, 13).

[Such witness is not true in man's case, but it is in God's. The Jews thought Christ was only man, but it would have been a sad thing for the world if He had accepted their judgment and sought man's witness for His divine acts.

So He speaks as man when He does not bear witness to Himself, but seeks it from God. But it is as God that He says He is the Light, the Truth, etc., disdaining witness from his inferiors. He therefore simply allows that if, in their erroneous judgment, He is merely man, His witness is not true. Thus He contradicts, not His own statement, but their opinion about Him.] 38

CHAPTER XII. Objection based on the discrepancy of the Gospels about the Crucifixion.

The Philosopher.

But he with bitterness, and with very grim look, bent forward and declared to us yet more savagely that the Evangelists were inventors and not historians of the events concerning Jesus. For each of them wrote an account of the Passion which was not harmonious but as contradictory as could be. For one records that, when he was crucified, a certain man filled a sponge with vinegar and brought it to him (Mark xv. 36). But another says in a different way, "When they had come to the place Golgotha, they gave him to drink wine mingled with gall, and when he had tasted it, he would not drink" (Matt. xxvii. 33). And a little further, "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice saying, Eloim, Eloim, lama sabachthani ? That is, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" This is Matthew ( v. 46). And another says, "Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar. Having therefore bound a vessel 89 full of the vinegar with a reed, they offered it to his mouth. When therefore he had taken the vinegar, Jesus said, It is finished, and having bowed his head, he gave up the ghost" (John xix. 29). But another says, "And he cried out with a loud voice and said, Father, into thy hands I will commend 90 my spirit." This happens to be Luke (Luke xxiii. 46). From this out-of-date and contradictory record, one can receive it as the statement of the suffering, not of one man, but of many. For if one says "Into thy hands I will commend my spirit," and another " It is finished," and another "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ?" and another " My God, my God, why didst thou reproach me ?" 91 it is plain that this is a discordant invention, and either 39 points to many who were crucified, or one who died hard 92 and did not give a clear view of his passion to those who were present. But if these men were not able to tell the manner of his death in a truthful way, and simply repeated it by rote, neither did they leave any clear record concerning the rest of the narrative.

CHAPTER XVII. Answer to the objection based on the discrepancy of the Evangelists.

The Christian.

Thus far and in such words did he declaim, setting forth with boasting the Hellenic view. But we were not overcome by the din of his words, nor did we fear for our life. Though we shrank from speaking the essential word as the result of acquaintance with it, we spoke as the divine grace gave us help. Speaking as follows, we gave a clear interpretation of the Evangelists as preserving one tenor of a single record, though with interchange of phraseology.

No one seeks the truth that is in the nature of the facts from syllables or letters, but starting from the fact he estimates the divergences of language. For instance, if some one simply speaks of the rational as " man," and another as "mortal," another as "endowed with speech," and yet another as "human being," he will mention many things in word, but there will be one thing that underlies them all. And whether any one says " mortal," or "human being," or "endowed with speech," he means nothing else but "man." Similarly in the case of the outer garment. Whether a man speaks of a "mantle" or a "cloak" or a "robe" or "woven garment," he does not mean many things, but some one thing with an interchange of names. Thus the Evangelists, writing in their eagerness of what was once done at the Crucifixion, spoke one in one way and one in another, but they did not mar the record. So then, if one said 40 "vinegar" and another said "wine," they made no mistake. And in the case of the sponge and the hyssop do not think it strange when you hear it said, "Having bound a vessel of vinegar to a hyssop they gave him to drink"; and again, "Having filled a sponge with vinegar they brought it to him." For the reed and the sponge and the hyssop seem to point in one direction in their origin, for each of them comes as a wild plant, and afterwards is cut down. Therefore when he had to say "reed," he said "hyssop" on account of the similar course of their growth and cutting. And most particularly do they observe the rule of the record, and do not write a single thing beyond what was spoken then amid the seething confusion of that deed of madness.

For His accusers were Jews, and His judges were Romans, both of them a barbarian race, 93 which does not lay claim to the language of freedom, and has not grasped the subtlety of Hellenic education. Moreover, everything was at that moment being driven about in confusion; the earth was trembling from beneath as though smitten by a blow, and the rocks were being rent and struck by the crash. Then suddenly there fell a darkness that could be felt, and the sun hid the rays that belong to it. No one was then in his sober senses, but was blinded by the confusion of the elements, while the innermost recesses were shaken of sky and earth and under the earth. . . . 94 Tell me, then, who was sound in mind amid such a state of things as this? Who was strong in soul ? Who had not been stricken in mind ? Whose understanding was not harassed ? Who did not throw out his words as if he were in liquor? Who was not like a cheap-jack in the obscurity of his utterances ? Who did not behold the things that were coming to pass as a deep and mighty vision of their dreams? No man, young or old, no woman, whether aged or virgin, no one of tender age, was possessed of steady reasoning, but all were senseless as though 41 heaven's thunder were sounding in their ears, and all did different things, losing their wits and not preserving the sequence of things, nor reason, nor habit. Wherefore those who wrote recorded their frenzy and the strange happening that then befell in word and deed, without seemliness, but without a word of falsehood.

Again, it is not allowable for a historian to write anything beyond the things done or said, even though the language be barbarian. And you yourself have Herodotus who was not a foreigner, but a clever writer of history, but he put sayings of a foreign kind in his history, even barbarous names of mountains and rivers, which would never have been mentioned at all, had he not discovered them from somewhere and written them down, with more careful regard for truth than for purity of style. It is therefore not surprising if the Evangelists seem to record some things that are strange. For it was not their care that what they said should have force, but their zeal was to preserve the truth of what was stated. And even if some woman or some man said something that was not consistent or was a solecism, all their desire was only to set this down. For they perceived that in this way the record would be above suspicion before the world, if the writing of the history was unaffected, and not at all elaborate. Those who wrote these things were not descended from men who were educated or skilled in letters. And even if they had been educated, it was not fitting to rob the history of its unlettered expressions, and to adorn the action with cleverness of language, but rather to preserve the character of what was said in the way that it was spoken.

CHAPTER XIII. Objection, based on S. John xix. 33-35 (the piercing with the spear).

It will be proved from another passage that the accounts of his death were all a matter of guess-work. For John writes : "But when they came to Jesus, when they saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs; but 42 one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water." For only John has said this, and none of the others. Wherefore he is desirous of bearing witness to himself when he says: "And he that saw it hath borne witness, and his witness is true" (v. 35). This is haply, as it seems to me, the statement of a simpleton. For how is the witness true when its object has no existence ? For a man witnesses to something real; but how can witness be spoken of concerning a thing which is not real ?

CHAPTER XVIII. Answer to the objection based on S. John xix. 33-35.

Pray do not let that passage trouble you either, in that it is only John who says: "When they came to Jesus, they brake not his legs," while the others do not record it. For when he alone said it, he is not deserving of rejection. Rather is he naturally to be praised, because in his zeal he called this to mind.

And indeed through saying this he has spoken something else greater still, which also preserves the mystery of the dispensation, and introduces the word of marvel. For he says : "One of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side." This was in order that the opened side might grant an inlet to the cleansing, which had hitherto been closed, 95 so that when the blood and water flowed like a spring, those who dwelt in the country of the captivity might be delivered by the blood, and those who had the stripes of their sins might be washed in the water. This then has been done, not in a superfluous way, but of intention, with the divine forethought as it were underlying it. For since [? the flow of death came from His side] 96 the cause of salvation must needs also flow from His side From His side did the blow spring, from His side flowed also the spring of life. 97 From His side came the disease and also the healing. From His side was the wandering 43 and from his side was the returning. From His side was the pain, and from His side was the painlessness.

John, the one witness of this, which is itself the one secret thing, testifies to that which is secret. John has proclaimed that the smiting of His side has been made good by His side.

This is true, even if he is the only one who says it, and the other three do not. For another is telling the truth when he tells of the beggar Lazarus and the rich fool, though the other three do not mention them. This is my answer so far.

CHAPTER XIV. Objection based on the Resurrection of Christ and His manifestation of Himself (Matt. xxviii. 6, etc.).

There is also another argument whereby this corrupt opinion can be refuted. I mean the argument about that Resurrection of His which is such common talk everywhere, as to why Jesus, after His suffering and rising again (according to your story), did not appear to Pilate who punished Him and said He had done nothing worthy of death, or to Herod King of the Jews, or to the High-priest of the Jewish race, or to many men at the same time and to such as were worthy of credit, and more particularly among Romans both in the Senate and among the people. The purpose would be that, by their wonder at "the things concerning Him, they might not pass a vote of death against Him by common consent, which implied the impiety of those who were obedient to Him. But He appeared to Mary Magdalene, a coarse woman who came from some wretched little village, and had once been possessed by seven demons, and with her another utterly obscure Mary, who was herself a peasant woman, and a few other people who were not at all well known. And that, although He said: "Henceforth shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming with the clouds." For if He had shown Himself to men of note, all would believe through them, and no judge would punish them as fabricating monstrous 44 stories. 98 For surely it is neither pleasing to God nor to any sensible man that many should be subjected on His account to punishments of the gravest kind.

CHAPTER XIX. Answer to the objection based on the Resurrection of Christ and His manifestation of Himself (Matt. xxviii. 6, etc.).

Come now, and let us examine carefully that other action also which does not seem to you to have been rightly done. I mean why the Saviour, after having conquered the power of death and returned on the third day after His Passion from the depths of the earth, did not appear to Pilate. It was in order that those who have learnt how to do away with what is good, should not do away with the true fact. It was to prevent any base suspicion from base men from creeping in and stealing away the truth of the Lord's Passion. It was to prevent the unscrupulous from thinking that what took place was untrue, that the tongues of the Jews might not again hiss out the poison of the dragon, and that the fact might not become the universal scandal of the world.

For at once, if He had shown Himself to Pilate and the men of note who were about him, at once, I say, they would have spread abroad a statement, through the device of cheating, namely, that Pilate had nailed one man to the cross in place of another, through some plan of screening him; that he had done this as either himself deceived, or as being altogether put out of countenance with regard to Him, as is often wont to happen in such matters face to face. 99 Whence they would say that He had appeared to him after rising as the result of an intrigue, desiring to proclaim on authority the resurrection which had not taken place as if it had done 45 so, and to strengthen by the Roman power a lying statement. Thus the matter was contrived as a mockery; the earnestness shown was mere play-acting. He who had had no passion was solemnly parading within the Praetorium as if He had had it and conquered it; some criminal had been delivered over to the cross in His stead ; a trick had taken place in a court of law. He whom they had seized had got His freedom by a cunning device, and a form of jugglery; some other condemned man had been bound without exciting suspicion. And now Pilate, who had just judged Him according to appearance, had no more appearance of so doing, but was embracing Him who was still answerable, as if He were a friend. This action was a new one added to the evils already done against Judaea. Great is the resulting ridicule in the East. We Jews have an indelible shame in having fought against one man and not got the better of Him. See how much knavery the deceiver wrought, both while He lived and when He died in pretence.

[Macarius continues this lament of the Jews at some length, picturing Pilate as telling the Emperor, and orders being issued to believe what they knew to be a fraud, while they themselves were held up to odium for murdering the Saviour of the race, and felt most acutely of all the extreme publicity and officialism of the whole thing.]

Because of the likelihood of such happenings, and of such foolish talking on the part of the Jews, He did not appear to Pilate when He rose from the dead, lest that which had been done rightly should be judged as a trick of rascality and deceit. Nor did He approach men of repute of the company of the Romans, that there might not seem to be need of human support and co-operation for the confirmation of the story of the Resurrection. But He made Himself manifest to women who were not able to give help, nor to persuade any one about the Resurrection. Then He appeared to the disciples who were also themselves without power, and largely obscure because of their poverty. This He did fittingly and well, that the story of the Resurrection might not 46 be heralded by the help of the power of the world's rulers, but that it might be strengthened and confirmed through men who were inferior and made no show in their life according to the flesh, so that the proclamation might not be a human thing, but a divine.

CHAPTER XV. Objection based on the words: "Now is the judgment of the world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast outside" (John xii. 31).

Any one will feel quite sure that the records are mere fairy tales, if he reads another piece of clap-trap that is written in the Gospel, where Christ says: "Now is the judgment of the world, now the ruler of this world shall be cast outside" (John xii. 31). For tell me, in the name of God, what is this judgment which then takes place, and who is the ruler of the world who is cast outside ? If indeed you intend to say it is the Emperor, I answer that there is no sole ruler (for many rule the world 100 ), nor was he cast down. 101 But if you mean some one who is abstract and incorporeal, he cannot be cast outside. For where should he be cast, to whom it fell to be the ruler of the world? If you are going to reply that there exists another world somewhere, into which the ruler will be cast, pray tell us this from a record which can convince us. But if there is not another (and it is impossible that two worlds should exist) where should the ruler be cast, if it be not in that world in which he happens to be already ? And how is a man cast down in that world in which he is ? Unless it is like the case of an earthenware vessel, which, if it and its contents are broken, a man causes to be cast outside, not into the void, but into another body of air or earth, or perhaps of something else. If then in like manner, 47 when the world is broken (which is impossible), he that is in it will be cast outside, what sort of place is there outside into which he will be cast ? And what is there peculiar in that place in the way of quantity and quality, height and depth, length or breadth ? For if it is possessed of these things, then it follows that it is a world. And what is the cause of the ruler of the world being cast out, as if he were a stranger to the world ? If he be a stranger, how did he rule it ? And how is he cast out ? By his own will, or against it ? Clearly against it. That is plain from the language, for that which is "cast out," is cast out unwillingly. But the wrong-doer is not he that endures force, but he that uses it.

All this obscure nonsense in the Gospels ought to be offered to silly women, not to men. For if we were prepared to investigate such points more closely, we should discover thousands of obscure stories which do not contain a single word worth finding. 102

CHAPTER XX. Answer to the objection based on S. John xii. 31.

[Note that there are two readings : "cast out," and "cast down," and that the words which follow are: "I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto myself."

"World" does not mean all creation (which is subject to God), but men, who can subject themselves to some one else. And "ruler" does not mean the Creator, but an arch-demon that by guile rules man (who may be termed "the world within the world" 103 ).

The verse means that Christ came to free them from his tyranny, casting him out and down from it. His rule was only recent, and not universal. He is said to rule "the world," although only "man" is meant, and there is more in the world than man.

For this identification of whole and part, we may compare the saying that a man is ill when one limb is so, or that all a cloak is poor because a tassel is lost. If 48 it means everything that exists, we must remember that there are things invisible as well, thrones and powers, etc. Inspired language similarly uses whole for part, as when S. Paul says, "I am crucified to the world." He does not mean all the world, but the evil and fleshly part of it. If then S. Paul calls the fleshly side, which he painfully crucified, "the world," it was natural that the Saviour, when His cross was set up, should speak similarly of the weak and wavering human race.

Such was Christ's judgment in dividing men from their deceiver. Their former ruler was cast down, but they themselves were to be drawn upwards, as is suggested in v. 32. For He took a human body as the cord with which to judge His kin, and, binding it to His Godhead, He drew men up to heavenly abodes (for the race is bound to that body of His as by a rope, and drawn upward).

The "casting down" of the world's tyrant is not literal, but metaphorical. Supposing an earthly king passes judgment on one in authority, his fall is not from a hill or a housetop, but from his own power. He may still remain in the palace, but his authority is gone. So is it with the "strongman" whom Christ, as the "stronger man," cast down from his earthly power.]

CHAPTER XVI. Objection based on S. John viii. 43, 44.

Come now, let us listen to that shadowy saying also which was directed against the Jews, when He said, "Ye cannot hear my word, because ye are of your father the devil (Slanderer), and ye wish to do the lusts of your father," Explain to us then who the Slanderer is, who is the father of the Jews. For those who do the lusts of their father, do so fittingly, as yielding to the desire of their father, and out of respect for him. And if the father is evil, the charge of evil must not be fastened on the children. Who then is that father, by doing whose lusts they did not hearken to Christ? For when the Jews said, "We have one father, even 49 God," He sets aside this statement by saying, "Ye are of your father the Slanderer" (that is, Ye are of the Slanderer). Who then is that Slanderer, and where does he chance to be? And by slandering whom did he obtain this epithet ? For he does not seem to have this name as an original one, but as the result of something that happened. (Whatever we learn, we shall understand as we ought.) For if it is from a slander that he is called Slanderer, among whom did he appear and work the forbidden action ? Even in this, it is he who accepts the slander who will appear unscrupulous, while he that is slandered is most wronged. And it will be seen that it was not the Slanderer himself who did any wrong, but he who showed him the excuse for the slander. It is the man who places a stake on the road at night who is responsible, and not the man who walks along and stumbles over it. It is the man who fixed it there who receives the blame. Just so, it is he who places an occasion of slander in the way who does the greater wrong, not he who takes hold of it or he who receives it.

And tell me another thing. Is the Slanderer subject to human affections or not? If he is not, he would never have slandered. But if he is subject, he ought to meet with forgiveness; for no one who is troubled by bodily ailments is judged as a wrongdoer, but receives pity from all as being sorely tried.

CHAPTER XXI. Answer to the objection based on S. John viii. 43, 44.

[First observe that the verse following throws some light on these difficult words, namely, " He is a liar and so is his father " 104 (John viii. 44).

It is not that the Slanderer himself is the Jews' father. Nor does Christ say so. The words do not mean "You are of your father the Slanderer," but "Ye are of the 50 father of the Slanderer." 105 So the slander does not originate in himself, but in his father's promptings. In fact, their relation may be compared with that of the divine Son and Father. As those who believe the Son are brought to the Father as His heirs, so those who believe the Slanderer are dragged from their true Father by that Antichrist, and brought to his father who is the opposite of God. 106

You want to know who the father of the Slanderer is, and what the slander was. You have heard of the fall of man from Paradise, and the slander of the serpent, when sin and death entered. It was thence that the Slanderer and his father got their terribleness. The serpent slandered men to God, and God to men. His "father" was a spiritual force who took possession of him. This was he of whom Job said, "He waxed headstrong against the Almighty" (Job xv. 25). This angel of deceit found the serpent, and by sowing in him the seed of slander, became the father of the Slanderer. When therefore the Jews rejected Christ's words and turned from His Father, they turned by their rebellion to the rebellious father of the serpent. That was why Christ spoke these words.]

Let this much suffice. If you approve, we will at this place solemnly conclude the argument, which has been sufficiently discussed. At some other time, if any point arises of the things that perplex, we will meet you again, and speak, as the divine gift grants us aid.


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