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Proem (introducing the first seven questions by the Philosopher).

THIS is the third contest which our much-admired opponent prepared for us, after bringing a notable assembly of auditors. This, O Theosthenes, 107 we now unfold to your incomparable wisdom, relating to the best of our power the propositions which were the results of his reflection. When we had found a quiet spot, we spent a great deal of the day in discussion. He began to roll down upon us the loftiness of his Attic oratory, 108 so that the mighty throng of onlookers almost felt themselves joining in the contest, as they saw the terror of his wrath, which was meant to scare us away. Then, as though he were descending on us at a run from some hill, he threw us into consternation by troubling us with the force of his tongue. The beginning of his speech to us was as follows :---

Introduction to the answers of Macarius to the objections of Chapters I to VII.

When the exponent of Hellenic cunning had uttered these words against the divine teachings of Christ, he became silent for a space, as though there were no one to answer him. But we had the same feelings as the 52 man who attacked with sword-thrusts a many-headed hydra, which, when one dragon-head was cut off, immediately produced many heads instead of the one. Feeling somewhat like this, we continued exhausted for a space. For no sooner did we with persuasiveness explain three or four or five propositions of his, than he, in imitation of the mythical hydra, when one was explained, put forward countless further questions, thus proposing endless study concerning the matters in dispute. He therefore forthwith, after raising questions on so many points, declared that it was for us to make answer to each. And we, recalling to mind the things he had spoken, replied as follows, beginning with his first inquiry.

CHAPTER I. How did Jesus allow Himself to be crucified with insult?

Why did not Christ utter anything worthy of one who was wise and divine, when brought either before the high-priest or before the governor? He might have given instruction to His judge and those who stood by and made them better men. But He endured to be smitten with a reed and spat on and crowned with thorns, unlike Apollonius, 109 who, after speaking boldly to the Emperor Domitian, disappeared from the royal court, and after not many hours was plainly seen in the city then called Dicaearchia, but now Puteoli. But even if Christ had to suffer according to God's commands, and was obliged to endure punishment, yet at least He should 53 have endured His Passion with some boldness, and uttered words of force and wisdom to Pilate His judge, instead of being mocked like any gutter-snipe.

CHAPTER VIII. Answer to the objection based on the fact that Jesus allowed Himself to be crucified with insult.

Why did Christ, when brought before the high-priest and Pilate the governor, work no miraculous sign, and show no manifestation which seemed worthy of Him, nor any mighty word begotten of wisdom ? Why did He appear in humble fashion, with utterance restrained and brief, and with heavy look ?

It was in order that He might not make prophecies void of meaning, nor convict the sacred tablets of falsity, and make of none effect the toil of holy men, which they endured in their godly preaching of the message of the dispensation, as they wrote the mystery of His coming and unveiled the manner of His Passion long before. As the great Isaiah with voice of might says, "We have seen him, and he had no form nor comeliness, but his form was without honour " (Isa. liii. 2); and again, "a man smitten, and knowing how to bear sickness," and, "He was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb he was dumb." And when speaking in the Person of Christ he says, "I gave my back to scourges, my cheeks to blows ; my face was not turned away from the shame of spitting" (Isa. 1. 6). And it is possible to find thousands of other things spoken by the holy prophet concerning Him. If then, as you suggest, He had uttered violent words when standing before the high-priest or the governor, He might indeed have smitten them with divine signs, and made these men afraid by some novel sight; He might have made them suddenly fall prone to the ground by some act of miracle; but He would have flung away all prophetic testimony, He would have disregarded the foreknowledge of the noble men of old, and stultified the words of those far-famed pillars; He would have made of none effect the divine revelations of the Holy Spirit, 54 and He would simply have thrust aside all the expectation concerning Him, by fulfilling the dispensation of death by means of a phantom of the air, enslaving all things to the necessity of their fears, and constraining those who stood there by the force of His terrible brow. And if by virtue of His Godhead He had made the rock tremble at His word, or shaken the house; if by a word He had produced a thick atmosphere or made an onslaught against the purpose of these savage brutes, then He would have done wrong by forcing the governor and the high-priests into subjection, He would have erred in compelling that which was evil 110 to admit of that which was just. And in this He would have come under the suspicion that He was working these marvellous novelties by means of magic. Accordingly, He would have been judged one of those who are regarded as Gorgons. If He had terrified Pilate with fateful portents, if He had frightened the priests with signs of a novel kind, if He had reduced the Jewish nation by the sight of apparitions, it would have resulted in that which was false combating the truth. For the wonderful works which had been done by Him would have admitted of a base suspicion among men, as though they had been wrought, not in accordance with judgment, 111 but merely in phantom form and lying semblance. Hence that which had come to pass in a godly way long before, whether on land or sea, whether in town or country, would have been maligned and judged as an illusive dream and not a reality. The other result would have been the non-fulfilment of the foreknowledge of the men of old time, for Jeremiah would have made a mistake in describing Him as a guileless lamb which was led as a sacrifice (Jer. xi. 19). But, in addition to this, there would have been no truth whatever in God being enrolled among men as the Word. For he who does things foreign to the nature of men does not remain among their number, but has a separate place of vantage of his own. Again, it would have been an utter lie when some 55 one else, speaking in the Person of the Only Begotten, says (Ps. lxviii. 22), "They gave me gall for food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink." For who would have dared, if struck by the lightning of His visitation, to make ready vinegar and offer Him gall? Who would not have trembled when they saw Him stern and fearsome, and combining with His words a terrifying look, first speaking and then forthwith concealing Himself, suddenly seen and then again invisible ? Tell me, who would not have hidden himself from a countenance so full of portents? Who would have forged cross or tree, or goad or sharp nails ? Who would have ventured to master Him who could not be mastered, or to seize as a man Him whose speech and deed were more than human? But if the cross had not been set up in the ground and no nail had been sharpened as a horn, 112 then the Passion would not have atoned through the Cross, nor would He have won healing by being pierced with evil. Nor would Habakkuk have made any clear revelation when he prophesied that He had horns in His hands, that is, the nails of the cross or its horn-like arms 113 (Hab. iii. 4). And again, Moses would not be worthy of credit in declaring Him first and foremost as life that was hanged (Deut. xxviii. 66). All would have been false, with no more than verbal truth, and fr.r from the deeds of godliness, and so it would have been lawful to seek and expect another Jesus. For He who was heralded in the books of the Bible would not have come, for, as I have said, He would not have kept to such a fashion, but would have become man in the guise of a strange marvel. For if He had acted like Apollonius, 114 and had made a sport of His life by magic art, and, when speaking to the Emperor solemnly in the midst of his palace somewhere, He had been digging garden herbs at the same moment for those who kept gardens, the world would really have been justly deceived, and all creation would have been enveloped in the cloud of His deceit, since it would 56 become the blind slave of a wizard philosopher, who was able by his knavery to snatch away his body and to conceal by his phantoms the name of godliness. If He had done this He would have been judged to be neither God nor the Son of God, but one of those wizards who spend their lives in cheating.

It was in order that no stumbling-block of this kind should turn His saving Passion into mockery, and that no suspicion of the laws of magic should tamper with the mystery of the dispensation, that He bore as man the experiences of insult. And yet no shame really touched Him, for He had the indwelling of One who was not subject to human affections, 115 and He did not admit the principle of shame. For just as a vessel when filled with fire within does not receive any impression of coldness that is brought to it from without, but thrusts it away by virtue of its inward warmth, so Jesus, having the in-dwelling of God, who is a divine Fire which cannot be destroyed nor spent, reckoned as nothing the coldness of the insults, and when He saw the revilings He was not influenced thereby. Just as a child, though he sees the laughter of his comrades being turned upon him in abundance, feels no shame, so Christ turned His face from the taunts of the Jews, as though they came not from men but from babes. Even as a rock which receives the trail of countless reptiles, feels neither trace nor track nor mark, for it carries moving things upon its natural hardness, and yet is not scratched by them at all; so Jesus, when the band of the Jews rushed upon Him like reptiles, remained firm and unharmed like a rock, receiving no shame by their impress.

And there is another reason for what He did. It was fitting that before the Passion He should have kept His divine power in check, in order that after it, and while it was in progress, and when He had burst the bands of Hades and cleft the earth and raised again a band of men with souls and bodies, and revealed the company of those who have passed from hence---He should show who He was that endured the Passion, and who it was that dwelt 57 within Him. For if creation in one point 116 has been conquered by Him who seemed to be subject to human affections, 117 it was undoubtedly the God and Creator in Him that shook the world, and quenched the orgies of the foolish. And, indeed, it is not before the shock of battle but after it, that a soldier's qualities became manifest to his enemies. What greater thing could there be than to return from Hades after three days ? 118

We conclude therefore that Christ, by working no new marvel when brought before Pilate, illustrates a rule, and the conduct which results from it, seen in the theatre; namely, that a man should not rouse up the malice of the wild beasts against him by some novel and terrible mask, but should rather provoke them to the contest by a humble one, and should overcome their savagery by excelling both in skill and in strength. So He who had appeared humble in the contest, was seen to be most terrible after it, such as earth could not bear, nor could heaven endure to look upon the conflict, for the former fled hither and thither, and by its quakings made mighty efforts to escape, while the latter shut (so to speak) the eye of its light, and no longer had power to look upon that which was coming to pass. Concerning the Passion then, you may accept such points as these by way of answer.

CHAPTER II. Objection based on the saying: "If it be possible, let this cup pass from me" (Matt. xxvi. 36 seq., etc.).

Moreover, there is another saying which is full of obscurity and full of stupidity, which was spoken by 58 Jesus to His disciples. He said, "Fear not them that kill the body," and yet He Himself being in an agony and keeping watch in the expectation of terrible things, besought in prayer that His passion should pass from Him, and said to His intimate friends, "Watch and pray, that the temptation may not pass by you." 119 For these sayings are not worthy of God's Son, nor even of a wise man who despises death.

CHAPTER IX. Answer to the objection based on the saying: "If it be possible, let this cup pass from me " (Matt. xxvi. 36 seq., etc.).

( This answer sounds strange and unsatisfactory to modern ears, but the latter part is given in full, for it raises the important question of its relation to the similar explanations of the Passion given in other Fathers of the period.)

[Evidently it is Christ's inconsistency that is complained of. This is a saying where we must look below the surface, like doctors, who do not judge a herb by its being disagreeable, but look within it for some hidden use.

Christ's action in Gethsemane must be explained as follows : The devil had seen His mighty works, and was so convinced of His Godhead, that he was afraid to bring his forces against Him, and was slow in bringing on the predicted Passion. Had he altogether failed to do so, Christ's coming to take away sin would have been in vain, and the last state of the world would have been worse than the first. To prevent this misfortune, He lays bare His manhood, and pretends to be afraid of death, as a man might stir up a wild beast by making a noise. 59

Now man had met his fall through two things, a tree, and the food from that tree. In the case of the latter, Christ had already won back the victory by fasting from food; but it was only when He pretended to be hungry that the devil attacked Him as he had the first Adam, and was beaten. Just in the same way Christ now provokes him to a second conflict, by pretending to be afraid, so that by means of a tree He may counteract the deceit once caused through a tree, and when His tree is planted, He may slay from it him who himself shows his enmity in a tree.

So He really wants the cup to come quickly, not to pass away. Note that He calls it a "cup" and not "suffering"; and rightly so, as being associated with good cheer. And, indeed, He sipped nectar which was to bring life to the faithful. Thus was the devil to be finally ensnared, like a dragon with a hook. 120 ]

This is what an experienced angler often does when he wishes to draw a weighty fish from the deep. By placing a small worm on the hook, he deceives him through the greediness of his belly and draws him up. Thus, when Christ wished to draw up by his throat the cunning and deceitful dragon who is hidden in the sea of life, and is the source of all mischief, He put the body like a worm round the hook of the Godhead, and, speaking through it, he deceived the metaphorical serpent of the spirit world. Wherefore speaking as man in a psalm of long before, He revealed this, saying, "I am a worm and no man" (Ps. xxi. 17). This worm, which was brought together with God the Word and then held fast in the sea of mortal life, provoked the mouth of the dragon against itself, and seized it at the moment that it seemed to be seized itself. This worm devoured in a hidden manner the tree of death; this worm creeping imperceptibly over the mount of impossibilities, aroused the voiceless bodies of the dead. This worm 60 by coiling round and encircling Hades strangled the commanders that watched over its garrisons, and seized the mighty ones there and bound them together. This worm, descending to the archives of the despotism, cut through the leaves with their record of sins, wherein had been written the transgressions of men, and destroyed them utterly. This worm made the devil's ark disappear, which he planned and made from the tree of transgression, wherein he had put away and hidden the robe of man's glory. This worm came into being without parentage and union; it is mystic, only begotten, 121 ineffable. Through this worm the mystic hook drew up the primeval 122 dragon, concerning whom one of the chosen holy ones prophesied, "Thou shall draw a dragon with a hook." 123

The points of our answer to you are sufficient, and the fact is quite plain that Christ deprecated His Passion for the sake of the dispensation of the world.

CHAPTER III. Objection based on the saying: "If ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me" (John v. 46, 47).

Again the following saying appears to be full of stupidity : "If ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me, for he wrote concerning me." He said it, but all the same nothing which Moses wrote has been preserved. For all his writings are said to have been burnt along with the temple. All that bears the name of Moses was written 1180 years afterwards, by Ezra and those of his time. And even if one were to concede that the writing is that of Moses, it cannot be shown that Christ was anywhere called God, or God the Word, or Creator. And pray who has spoken of Christ as crucified ? 61

CHAPTER X. Answer to the objection based on S. John v. 46, 47.

I must now answer you on a third point, as to why Christ said to the Jews, "If ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me, for he wrote concerning me." That Moses did write concerning Christ the whole world openly recognised, when he said a prophet should rise up in his stead, and spoke of Him as forming man along with the Father, and related His Passion in a mystical way in the bush, and wrote of His cross and revealed it by his rod, and of the golden pot (even His pure body which had the heavenly Word within as the food which cannot moulder), and thousands of things which are akin to these and follow from them.

But when you say that Moses' writings perished in the Captivity and were written pgain incorrectly by Ezra, you will find that they were written a second time with all accuracy. For it was not one who spoke to Ezra and another to Moses, but the same Spirit taught them both, and clearly revealed the same things to each of them. The Mosaic law was like a house that is pulled down by enemies, for the same Builder brought together each part and fitted them harmoniously together by the rule of His wisdom.

[So far from the Crucified not being called God in the Old Testament, prophecy is full of it. Look, for example, at such words as "The Lord's Christ" (Ps. xix. 7); "The Lord's Word shall go out from Jerusalem" (Isa. ii. 3); and "Therefore the Lord hath anointed thee " (Ps. xliv. 8). 124

Christ spoke the words of the text in question, because, though Moses had written so much about Him, the Jews would not accept the fact.] 62

CHAPTER IV. Objection based on the incident of the swine and the demons (Matt. viii. 31, 32 ; Mark v. 1, etc.).

And if we would speak of this record likewise, it will appear to be really a piece of knavish nonsense, since Matthew says that two demons 125 from the tombs met with Christ, and then that in fear of Him they went into the swine, and many were killed. But Mark did not shrink from making up an enormous number of swine, for he puts it thus: "He said unto him, Go forth, thou unclean spirit, from the man. And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, Many. 126 And he besought him that he would not cast him out of the country. And there was there a herd of swine feeding. And the demons besought him that he would suffer them to depart into the swine. And when they had departed into the swine, they rushed down the steep into the sea, about two thousand, and were choked; and they that fed them fled !" (Mark v. 8, etc.). What a myth ! What humbug ! What flat mockery ! A herd of two thousand swine ran into the sea, and were choked and perished!

And when one hears how the demons besought Him that they might not be sent into the abyss, and how Christ was prevailed on and did not do so, but sent them into the swine, will not one say : "Alas, what ignorance ! Alas, what foolish knavery, that He should take account of murderous spirits, which were working much harm in the world, and that He should grant them what they wished." What the demons wished was to dance through life, and make the world a perpetual plaything. They wanted to stir up the sea, and fill the world's whole theatre with sorrow. They wanted to trouble the elements by their disturbance, and to crush the whole creation by their hurtfulness. So at all events it was not 63 right that, instead of casting 127 these originators of evil, who had treated mankind so ill, into that region of the abyss which they prayed to be delivered from, He should be softened by their entreaty and suffer them to work another calamity.

If the incident is really true, and not a fiction (as we explain it), Christ's saying convicts Him of much baseness, that He should drive the demons from one man, and send them into helpless swine ; also that He should terrify with panic those who kept them, making them fly breathless and excited, and agitate the city with the disturbance which resulted. For was it not just to heal the harm not merely of one man or two or three or thirteen, but of everybody, especially as it was for this purpose that He was testified to have come into this life ? 128 But to merely loose one man from bonds which were invisible, and to inflict similar bonds upon others; to free certain men happily from their fears, but to surround others with fears without reason---this should rightfully be called not right action but rascality.

And again, in taking account of enemies and allowing them to take up their abode in another place and dwell there, He is acting like a king who ruins the region that is subject to him. For the latter, being unable to drive the barbarians out of every country, sends them from one place to another to abide, delivering one country from the evil and handing another over to it. If therefore Christ in like manner, unable to drive the demon from His borders, 129 sent him into the herd of swine, he does indeed work something marvellous which cau catch the ear, but it is also full of the suspicion of baseness. For when a right-thinking man hears this, he passes a judgment at once, forms his opinion on the narrative, and gives his vote in accordance with the matter. This 64 is the way he will speak : "If he does not free from hurt everything beneath the sun, but pursues those that do the harm into different countries, and if he takes care of some, but has no heed of others, it is not safe to flee to this man and be saved. For he who is saved spoils the condition of him who is not, while he who is not saved becomes the accuser of him who is. Wherefore, according to my judgment, the record contained in this narrative is a fiction."

Once more, if you regard it as not fiction, but bearing some relation to truth, there is really plenty to laugh at for those who like to open their mouths. For come now, here is a point we must carefully inquire into : how was it that so large a herd of swine was being kept at that time in the land of Judsea, seeing that they were to the Jews from the beginning the most unclean and hated form of beast? And, again, how were all those swine choked, when it was a lake and not a deep sea ? It may be left to babes to make a decision about all this.

CHAPTER XI. The answer to the objection based on the incident of the swine and the demons (Matt. viii. 31, 32 ; Mark v. 1, etc.).

So, now that this saying is made quite plain, let us examine the point at issue in another subject, namely the question of the man possessed with the demons, and the swine choked in the sea, and the swineherds who fled from the place.

Do not let it disturb you that Matthew speaks of two men possessed with demons, but Mark of only one. For Matthew speaks of two demons, but does not say that two men were possessed by them ; 130 while Mark says there was one man, but many demons in him. For there must have been two chief demons, to which Matthew refers, of a specially evil kind, but other demons were assaulting the man along with them, or perhaps Matthew 65 speaks of the number of persons 131 affected, when he says there were two men, but Mark indicates the nature 132 that suffered, without regarding the number. And indeed the common speech of educated men often follows this usage. For example, when the shepherd guards the flock, if a man speaks in reference to nature, he says: "The shepherd carefully preserves the beast." In saying this he does not refer to one beast, for they are many in number. But since, although the beasts happen to be many, they possess one physical nature, he says "beast" by virtue of that nature. But when he says, "The shepherd preserves the beasts," he speaks in virtue of their number. And there are other cases in which what is collective is wont to be spoken of singly. For instance, "The barbarian met the king," instead of "the barbarians," or "the barbarous tribe"; and "the king brought the soldier with him," instead of "the soldiers"; and one may find countless kindred expressions. So we must not be unduly worried, if one says there were two demoniacs and the other one. For, as I have said, the one showed the nature, indicating that it was human nature that was oppressed, while the other referred to the person, showing that there happened to be, not one of them, but two. 133

We must now inquire how it was that the demons, though for a longtime they had triumphed over reasoning creation with numberless torments, begged not to depart into the abyss, when their nature was searched by the ray of Christ's Divinity. We must also seek a reason for His yielding to their entreaty and suffering them to be sent into the swine as they demanded. I imagine that the demons, being terribly overcome 134 by the fire which shone from the sight of the Saviour, fevered as 66 they were by its warmth, strove to run to the waters and assuage the burning which oppressed them. And since, as having an incorporeal nature, they were unable to enter naked into the bathing-place of the waters, they looked to the herd of swine as a kind of ladder, so that they might enter it by their means and get rid of their burning heat. 135 And the demons, in their malice, do not seek the support of other beasts, but of those forbidden by the Mosaic law. They do this under the pretence of honouring the letter of the ordinance which was being ignored by those who inhabited Palestine at that time. But do not jump to the conclusion that the herd of swine belonged to the Jews. They were those of the Roman soldiers who had taken the cities of the East under the Emperor, for what the Romans call a "settlement." 136 For as the Jews were under treaty with the Romans, cohorts and companies of the Roman Power certainly dwelt in their provinces. For since the days of Augustus who caused all the world to be. enrolled, and of Tiberius, and still earlier times, the Jews were Roman subjects, and all their country was tributary. Indeed, the Emperor simply appointed as king of Judaea Herod the son of Antipater, the latter being the man who supported the temple of Apollo at Askelon. He also sent out Pilate as governor and judge, who was himself a Greek, and the Romans had taken over all the offices among the Jews. For a long time the yoke of slavery hung round their necks, on account of their misdoings. Whence at that time there were herds of beasts belonging to Roman owners, and Roman managers answerable to their masters looked after their possessions. But all the same, the demons led the swine into the water, showing both their hostility and their guardianship of the law, and being inflamed accordingly.

As for Mark's record that Christ asked what the 67 demon's name was, as though He were ignorant of it, it was not in ignorance of the loathsome creature that He inquires what he is called, but in order that He might convict him from his own words, as a deserter from the heavenly kingdom. So He asks "What is thy name ?" and he answers "Legion." He did not exist as such then, but he once was a legion, wielding the might of the kingdom above, even as it is written, "Can I not now pray to my Father, and he will give me twelve legions of angels ?" (Matt. xxvi. 53). But that legion ran away, and was involved in the evil of desertion, finding the man a ready hiding-place; a sorry legion, indeed, which threw away its shield; not really a legion, but a bandit, stripping the earthly sphere and plundering it, and casting into incurable sorrows those who are taken captive. It was therefore in order that He might teach His hearers from what a ministry the legion had fallen, that He said "What is thy name ?" His object was not to learn it Himself, for He knew, but that the bystanders might do so. For the demons, being greatly troubled, resorted to the former naming of their rank, in order that they might remind their great and kindly king, so to speak, of the goodwill of their former warfare, practically saying, "We were once a legion; we were the soldiers of thine impartial might. Remember that position which we once held, and have pity, and do not send us into the abyss. We were thy legion, but now are wicked bandits. Once we served, but now we plunder. Once we lived near thy palace; now we have come near to the parts beneath the earth. For then we dwelt in a pure abode; now we are befouled by mire and dirt. We claim to receive a worthy abode, in order that we may not be troublesome to those who belong to the Word. For as we have incurred the penalty of an evil smell, we seek that which may gladden us 137 as a vehicle for our evil smell. We entreat to depart into a herd of swine, since we have justly been cast out of the land of eternity. We do not yearn to seize herds of sheep or 68 horses (for those beasts are clean and without pollution), but rather a throng of smelling and disorderly swine, in order that we may give a lesson to the inhabitants by what is done, and lay bare their own condition of foulness. For every one who is strong in mind and strong in thought, will be afraid to imitate a way of living which is foul and like the swine, perceiving that the demons drag such a one into the gulf of destruction. For from our evil case he will learn by some means or other of the rout we have suffered, and he will have no desire to obtain a like choice. Therefore, in order that we may be a living memorial, a great example, and a general warning, grant us the swine that they may guide us as strangers to the sea, in order that all may learn that we have not the power to control even small things, unless we are commanded and receive orders from the divine Spirit. The result will be that henceforth the whole world will look down on us, on the ground that we had not even authority over swine, and not even the herds in the country which were removed from it fell under our sway." I think it was for the sake of wise action such as this that the Saviour did not send the demons into the abyss, but into a herd of swine, and through them into the sea. He was doing good in each thing, and giving right instruction, making manifest to men both the means of punishing the demons, and the warning not to desire the life of any unclean beasts. For if He had sent them into the abyss, as you suggest, it would not have been plain to them all, because it would not have been observed; it would have been left in doubt as not being perceptible, and a matter of suspicion as not being in bodily form. For any one might have suspected that they refused to obey Christ and did not depart into the abyss, but went to men who lived over the borders not far away, and wrought mischief that was worse still through running away. But as it took place, this was not so; but it became quite plain and obvious to all, through the destruction of the swine, that the demons left their human abode and went into the sea. Take this as a sufficient answer with regard to this story. 69

CHAPTER V. Objection based on the saying about the camel going through the eye of a needle (Matt. xix. 24, etc.).

Let us examine another saying even more baffling than these, when He says, "It is easier for a camel to go through a needle, 138 than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven."

If it be indeed the case that any one who is rich is not brought into the so-called kingdom of heaven though he have kept himself from the sins of life, such as murder, theft, adultery, cheating, impious oaths, body-snatching, and the wickedness of sacrilege, of what use is just dealing to righteous men, if they happen to be rich ? And what harm is there for poor men in doing every unholy deed of baseness ? For it is not virtue that takes a man up to heaven, but lack of possessions. For if his wealth shuts out the rich man from heaven, by way of contrast his poverty brings a poor man into it. And so it becomes lawful, when a man has learnt this lesson, to pay no regard to virtue, but without let or hindrance to cling to poverty alone, and the things that are most base. This follows from poverty being able to save the poor man, while riches shut out the rich man from the undefiled abode.

Wherefore it seems to me that these cannot be the words of Christ, if indeed He handed down the rule of truth, but of some poor men who wished, as a result of such vain talking, to deprive the rich of their substance. At any rate, no longer ago than yesterday, reading these words to women of noble birth, "Sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven," they persuaded them to distribute to poor men all the substance and possession which they had, and, themselves entering into a state of want, to gather by begging, turning from a position of freedom to unseemly asking, and from prosperity to a pitiable character, and in the end, being compelled to go to the houses of the 70 rich (which is the first thing, or rather the last thing, in disgrace and misfortune), and thus to lose their own belongings under the pretext of godliness, and to covet those of others under the force of want.

Accordingly, it seems to me that these are the words of some woman in distress.

CHAPTER XII. Answer to the objection based on the saying about the camel going through the eye of a needle (Matt. xix. 24, etc.).

[First study the narrative of the rich man coming with his depraved ideas. Christ wished to lead him up through his riches to what was higher.]

It was not the case, as you declare, that his riches shut him out from the kingdom; on the contrary, they would bring him in, if he were sober and managed them well. For as a soldier, when he uses his armour skilfully and well, becomes famous through it, and noble and conspicuous, and through it has an honoured entry to the king and makes a show within his palace; and again through it he becomes notable for an archer's powers, and has a peaceful time in the cities; but if he puts it on badly, and does not wear it as he ought, he becomes subject through it to capture by every foe, and through it he is cast out of the precincts as a traitor, and the spoil is taken off by the enemy; while through it he is seen to be unpurified, and so is set aside, and is punished by being cut off from life. And no one in all this blames the armour, but the man who did not use it rightly. No one, when he sees a man glittering in a suit of armour, says that it is this that causes his glory, but the zeal of him that uses the weapons.

[And it is just so with the man of letters, the statuary, etc.] And when a man has wealth and manages it well, he becomes a partaker of the heavenly kingdom, but when he abuses it, he is shut out from it, and does not suffer this experience as a result of the wealth, but as a reasonable result of his own baseness. Nor indeed is a man who improperly persists in his poverty 71 praiseworthy on account of it. For many are poor, and they are not all praiseworthy, but each is properly so on account of his own experience. It is not his wealth that harms the rich man, but his unseemly course of life shows the wealth to be useless and unbeneficial; neither does his poverty lead the poor man up to heaven, but his bent of mind conduces to make his poverty profitable to his soul. For in rich and poor alike it is the nature of upright conduct and the disposition towards it that give lustre to his right action.

[Just as the same medicine will affect various people differently, so both riches and poverty may make a man either good or bad.] But in any case no one is put to shame in the life eternal who has lost his wealth through love of the kingdom of heaven, nor has he missed the mark through falling from his own possessions. For by giving what he has, he has received what he had not. By setting aside the earthly burdens which are grievous to be borne, he has received a fame which is light and unburdensome.

[Let me give you one instance out of many of the way that earthly riches may lead a man up to the heavenly. Job, as a rich man, fed the hungry and clothed the naked, and when the time came, he welcomed poverty aright, and looked on worms as goodly pearls. His riches always included virtue, and his poverty the love of his Maker.]

You must not therefore think that the Lord was making an absolute pronouncement when He said : "It is easier for a camel to go through a needle 139 than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven." For many are found within the kingdom who have become rich. And yet with good cause He casts 140 the rich man outside heaven, saying: " Hardly shall they that have 72 riches enter into the kingdom of heaven." Those who have them and do not impart them, and give no share to those who have none, but confine their wealth to their sole and personal enjoyment of life, and never have friendly intercourse with poor men, neither giving comfort to pitiable poverty nor alleviating the wants of those who are in trouble; those who turn their converse away from them that deserve mercy, and avoid the griefs of the despised as if they were a pollution---these men are strangers to the kingdom of heaven.

No one comes within sight of a court of law without an advocate, 141 no one ascends the judgment-seat who bears the suspicion of an accusation, no one appears before a king who is implicated in any form of complaint ; 142 no one departs to a feast who is soiled and stained, no one introduces feasting along with burdens, no one enters a palace who bears indications of a tyrant's instincts. It is as advocates of the rich that the poor exist; without them wealth is unprofitable in the sight of God. Marks of wickedness exist, and a man must cast these away and show himself free. Their existence betokens the suspicion of accusations, and the better way is to put this out of the way by one's own management, and openly serve the Divine. The accompaniments of abundance manifest themselves as spots and blemishes in men, and it is right thus to disperse these by better reasoning, and to press in to the blessed feast. 143 The guarding of possessions is a heavy burden, and it is righteous to shake off the burden and to march unencumbered to the assembly above. 144 Possessions turn into accusations of covetousness, and it is profitable to cast them away quickly, and to ride into the kingdom of heaven apart from them, if indeed a man truly believes 73 that a kingdom of holy ones does exist in heaven. But if he does not believe it, why does he bother himself at all in arguing at random without faith ?

CHAPTER VI. Objection based on the saying: "And in the fourth watch of the night he cometh to them walking on the sea " (Matt. xiv. 25; Mark vi. 48, etc.).

Come, let us unfold for you another saying from the Gospel which is absurdly written without any credibility, and has a still more absurd narrative attached to it. It was when Jesus, after sending on the disciples to cross the sea after a feast, Himself came upon them at the fourth 145 watch of the night when they were terribly troubled by the surging of the storm, for they were toiling all night against the force of the waves.

Now the fourth watch is the tenth hour of the night, after which three further hours are left. But those who relate the truth about that locality say that there is not a sea there, but a small lake coming from a river under the hill in the country of Galilee, beside the city of Tiberias; this is easy for small boats to sail across in not more than two hours, nor can it admit of either wave or storm. So Mark goes very wide of the truth when he very absurdly gives the fabulous record that, when nine hours of the night had passed, Jesus proceeded at the tenth, namely the fourth watch of the night, and found the disciples sailing on the pond. Then he calls it a sea, and not merely that, but a stormy sea, and a terribly angry one, causing them fear with the tossing of the waves. He does this in order that he may thereupon introduce Christ as working some mighty miracle in having caused a great and fearful storm to cease, and saved the disciples in their danger from the deep, and from the sea. From such childish records we know the Gospel to be a sort of cunningly woven curtain. 146 Wherefore we investigate each point the more carefully. 74

CHAPTER XIII. Answer to the objection based on the saying: "And in the fourth watch of the night he cometh to them walking on the sea " (Matt. xiv. 25 ; Mark vi. 48, etc.).

[With regard to the "fourth watch," perhaps it is to be reckoned so as to mean the fourth "hour" of the night. 147 With regard to the use of the word "sea," note three things: First, the lake was certainly very like a sea if there were fishing-boats on it. Secondly, any gathering of waters may receive the generic name of "sea." Thirdly, apart from grammatical considerations, it is enough for us that the inspired author of Genesis tells us concerning the Creator Himself that "the gathering together of the waters He called seas."

The inner meaning of the incident must not be overlooked. Having just performed a miracle which showed His dominion over bread and the wilderness, Christ now proves to men by another miracle His dominion over water and the sea. The very elements join in the proof. The unwonted force of the storm reflects what nature feels at the fact that men should fail to recognise the creative Word. And the prophecy was thus fulfilled concerning Him who "walketh upon the sea as upon a foundation."

He prays to God, and then, after terrifying them through His Godhead, He pities them through His manhood. "It is I" brings them light after cloud, for He means "I who called you to be fishers of men, and fed the five thousand." Peter's faith wavers when he says, " If thou art such, bid me come to thee." When Christ says "Come," He means "Come to faith," for if Peter had actually been able to walk on the sea it would have falsified the above prophecy by making it apply to more people than one. Add to this his presumption and want of faith in saying "if," and his failure is explained. Christ saved him just as his tongue was making 75 him sink (like a ship through its broken rudder), and taught him not to imitate the devil in the wilderness by saying " If thou art." So Christ says, "Come and learn. Thou needest this fourth watch even more, than the ship. The darkness, the winds and the waves are all in thy lack of faith and thy presumption. The four constituents which should be blended in thy body are belied by thy doubting speech." Great, indeed, was the fall of this leading Apostle. Two shipwrecks were his--- of the body and of the soul.

It was rightly "in the fourth watch " that Christ came to his help, for there were four elements that raged against them, namely, impenetrable atmosphere, rushing wind, moonless night, and roaring sea.

But there is a yet deeper allegory underlying the story. The sea denotes the brine and bitterness of existence; the night is human life; the boat is the world; those who sailed all night are the human race; the contrary wind is the devil's opposition; the fourth watch is the Saviour's coming. Note concerning this last point, that, as there are four watches in the literal night, so there are in human life. In the first watch the patriarchs helped life by their light; in the second, the law guided the boat of the world; in the third, the prophets contended for those human sailors; and in the fourth, Christ checked their fear and their foes, and ended the night by the light of His love for men. So when S. Paul says, "The night is far spent," etc., he refers to this dawn of the knowledge of God through Christianity.

Such an interpretation is supported by the passage about Elijah. His translation in a chariot of fire was foretold to him in the vision that he had in Horeb (1 Kings xix. 11), where the wind signifies the mighty word of the patriarchs, the earthquake is the Mosaic law, the fire is the prophets, and either the voice of thin air 148 is Gabriel's message, or perhaps the thin air is the body of Christ, and the voice is the Word speaking within it.] 76

CHAPTER VII. Objection based on the sayings : "The poor ye have always, but me ye have not always" (Matt, xxvi; 11, etc.), and "I will be with you until the end of the world " (Matt, xxviii. 20).

Moreover, as we have found another inconsequent little utterance spoken by Christ to His disciples, we have decided not to remain silent about this either. It is where He says, "The poor ye have always, but me ye have not always." The reason for this statement is as follows : A certain woman brought an alabaster box of ointment and poured it on His head. And when they saw it, and complained of the unseasonableness of the action, He said, "Why do ye trouble the woman ? She hath wrought a good work on me. The poor ye have always, but me ye have not always." For they raised no small murmuring, that the ointment was not rather sold for a great price, and given to the poor for expenditure on their hunger. Apparently as the result of this inopportune conversation, He uttered this nonsensical saying, declaring that He was not always with them, although elsewhere He confidently affirmed and said to them, "I shall be with you until the end of the world" 149 (Matt, xxviii. 20). But when He was disturbed about the ointment, He denied that He was always with them.

CHAPTER XIV. Answer to the objection based on the sayings : " Me ye have not always " (Matt. xxvi. 11, etc.), and "I will be with you always until the end of the world " (Matt, xxviii. 20).

[The difference may be explained by the fact that these statements were made at different times, and between them a change took place in the speaker Himself. It was before the Passion that He said they would not have Him always, seeing He was about to die. But after the Passion, He had overcome death and the laws of the body, and made man to be God. 150 So, speaking 77 as God, He tells them His power is not circumscribed by time and space, but is present always and everywhere. After the Passion He passed through everything and sealed it as His own, heaven and earth and things under the earth.

This was true in the Passion also, as well as after it, as the following considerations will show:---

During the Passion itself, of course it was as God that He took the thief to His own Paradise, and thus showed that He was not circumscribed. How altogether vile are those 151 who twist His words into a mere promise for the future, by punctuating, "Verily I say unto thee to-day, thou shalt be with me in Paradise." For this is to circumscribe Him at the time of His death. But if it was He who rent the earth, darkened the sun, and brought up the dead, why could He not take the thief to Paradise?

Again, if the earthly sun shines everywhere, why not the Heavenly ? So, when on the cross He was also everywhere, in Paradise, and in the Father. Even man passes the limits of space when he is in his dreams; can we suppose less of Christ when on the cross ? Otherwise what were the use of the cross ? The faithful got their requests and were healed during the ministry. Was there no guarantee to the faithful thief at the moment which was the very climax and sum of all Redemption?

The explanation of those scoundrels is quite untenable. They say He had power as God, but not yet as man, to take the thief to Paradise. Is such a distinction possible? Can you ask whether the faithful thief believed on Him as Divine or as only human? Such division is impossible, even in a man's faith. He is the same Lord, under many names; it matters not by which He is invoked, as Christ, or Jesus, or the Only begotten 152 of God; the effect of them all is identical. 78

Just as the smell of some herbal medicine would fill a whole house when placed in one part of it, so, as the healing medicine of Christ's body hung upon the cross, the odour of His Godhead spread through the whole house of the wide world.

Returning to the words of the objection, we conclude that after the Resurrection Jesus is circumscribed by nothing. In whatever part of the world the faithful may cry, He is there before they call Him. No separation of His Body is possible; it cannot be " unloosed," like the "latchet" the Baptist spoke of. Hence we assert that Christ both led the thief to Paradise, was present with the Apostles, and is not separated from the faithful until the end of the world.

But before the Passion, He could truthfully say, "Me ye have not always," because of the bodily separation which was about to come through His death. 153

On the occasion when Christ spoke as above about the poor, the desire that the ointment should be for the poor, and not for the anointing of Him who for us became poor, originated with Judas, who valued the earthly ointment at three hundred pieces of silver, but in his madness sold the heavenly Ointment, which was emptied on the earth, at only thirty. But Judas must not occupy the stage; he must give way to matters more important. Pray produce another objection, as this argument is most useful to us.]

CHAPTER XV. Objection based on the saying : " Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, ye have no life in yourselves" (John vi. 54).

The Greek. 154

But he, with a smile on his face, made reply in a fresh attack on us, saying: You are like the more 79 audacious among those who run in a race, and proclaim their victory until the contest comes, challenging many to run in the course; for you have taken up the same attitude, in your desire to bring in another inquiry from the starting-point, as one might say. Speak to us therefore, my friend, beginning from the following point:---

That saying of the Teacher is a far-famed one, which says, "Except ye eat my flesh and drink my blood, ye have no life in yourselves." Truly this saying is not merely beast-like and absurd, but is more absurd than any absurdity, and more beast-like than any fashion of a beast, that a man should taste human flesh, and drink the blood of members of the same tribe and race, and that by doing this he should have eternal life. For, tell, me, if you do this, what excess of savagery do you introduce into life? Rumour does not record---I do not say, this action, but even the mention of this strange and novel deed of impiety. The phantoms of the Furies never revealed this to those who lived in strange ways, nor would the Potidasans have accepted it unless they had been reduced by a savage hunger. Once the banquet of Thyestes became such, owing to a sister's grief, and the Thracian Tereus took his fill of such food unwillingly. Harpagus was deceived by Astyages when he feasted on the flesh of his dearest, and it was against their desire that all these underwent such a pollution. But no one living in a state of peace prepared such a table in his life; no one learnt from a teacher any knowledge so foul. If you look up Scythia in the records, and go through the Macrobian Ethiopians, 155 and if you career through the ocean girdle round about, you will find men who eat, live, and devour roots; you will hear of men who eat reptiles and feed on mice, but they refrain altogether from human flesh.

What then does this saying mean? [Even if there is a mystical meaning hidden in it, yet that does not pardon the outward significance, which places men lower than the beasts. Men have made up strange tales, but nothing so pernicious as this, with which to gull the simple.] 80

Wherefore it seems to me that neither Mark nor Luke nor even Matthew recorded this, because they regarded the saying as not a comely one, but strange and discordant, and far removed from civilised life. Even you yourself could scarcely be pleased at reading it, and far less any man who has had the advantage of a liberal education.

CHAPTER XXIII. Answer to the objection based on the saying : "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, ye have no life in yourselves" (John vi. 54).

The Christian. 156

When the doctrine of godliness had thus been battered, and the foundation of the Christian bulwarks was almost shaken, we sought for the support of abundant arguments. Then we set up a fortified tower, so to speak, against the enemy, and trusting in this, we remained un-wounded, although we had to face many wordy arrows, and we bore many an emptied quiver of cunning sophistry. And indeed when he who possessed his full armour at length began to grow weary from directing his bow against us with its sharpened darts and their rushing noise, we quietly directed our array against him and sharpened our weapons. We made our first letting-go, so to speak, by speaking to him and those with him about the flesh of Christ, showing that it was not strange or horrible when the Saviour said : "Except ye eat my flesh and drink my blood, ye have no life."

Consider, I pray you, and let us speak of the new-born child, and the babe that is brought forth on leaving its dark and humid abode. Except it eats the flesh and drinks the blood of its mother, it has no life, nor takes its place among men, but departs into the darkness of death. But if it receives a share of those natural springs and has abundant enjoyment of that kindred flesh, it is brought subsequently to full growth and becomes worthy 81 of a better food and position, being enrolled among men, receiving its share of education and learning the marks of a noble citizenship. Later it sometimes takes its place among men who are great and famous, gaining experience as a general or an admiral or in many a council-chamber. And the reason of all these great blessings is the eating of the flesh and drinking of the blood of the mother who bore it.

[It is true that the nourishment comes in the form of milk, but milk is really the same as blood; it is only its proximity to the air that gives it its lighter colour. Even so frost will make water white, without changing its nature. Just as the Creator makes the foul waters of the abyss trickle out in a clear fountain, so do a woman's breasts, by an elaborate mechanism, gather blood from the veins, and send it forth in a palatable form.]

If then even boys tell us these things with persuasion as coming from physiologists, and learn the real truth about such matters (and you value these things highly as well as we), what is there that seems to you disturbing if the Gospel saying of Christ may be set beside them ? For what was there horrible or strange in His teaching (as you seem to think), when He said : "Except ye eat my flesh and drink my blood, ye have no life in you" ? For tell me, whereby is that nourished which is coming to the birth ? Is it not by the blood of her that bears it, and the flesh, as has been demonstrated? This is through the cunning discovery of persuasive words, and yet it is by the same rule of truth. For if indeed Christ gave power to as many as received Him to become children of God, bringing them to their birth by some mystic word and then wrapping them in divine swaddling-clothes which cannot be described, pray tell me, whence will these children of God live and be nourished when they are just born ? Will it not certainly be by tasting the mystic flesh and drinking the mystic blood of her that bore them ? And it is none other than the wisdom of God that is constituted their mother, for she prepared her own table for her own children, and mingled her own wine for her own offspring, pouring forth richly from the two Testaments 82 as it were from two breasts. It is indeed she who nourishes her recent offspring with her own flesh and blood, makes them comrades and renders them disciples of the heavenly kingdom, and then enrols them in the assembly of the Angels on high, bringing them into their pure council chamber, and, filling them with immortality and all blessedness, makes them like unto the Father, giving to them eternal life.

Now the flesh and blood of Christ, or of Wisdom (for Christ and Wisdom are the same), are the words of the Old and New Testaments spoken with allegorical meaning, which men must devour with care and digest by calling them to mind with the understanding, and win from them not temporal but eternal life. Thus did Jeremiah eat when he received the words from the hand of Wisdom, and by eating he had life; thus did Ezekiel feel sweetness when he ate the roll of the words (Ezek. iii. 3), and the bitterness of this present life was cast away. Thus did the saints one by one, once long ago, and again and again, by eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Wisdom, that is, by receiving in themselves the knowledge and revelation of her, live for aye with a life that will never cease. It was not only to the disciples that He gave His own flesh to eat and likewise His own blood to drink (for He would not have done right in thus offering the life eternal to some at a certain season, but not supplying it to others); but it was to all men alike in whom was holiness and the spirit of prophecy, that He gave allegorically this supply of food.

But at the end of the times He gave to the Apostles bread and a cup, and said, "This is my body and my blood." And in order that I may unfold the tale more clearly, and make plain the question of the passage, I will reveal to you the physiological side of eating (if indeed you are ready to put aside your preconceived views), for you may apprehend the mystery by that means. How then do we state the case ? It is from the earth that we men have all come into being in our bodies, and it is by eating, in a certain sense, not the earth but its flesh, and drinking its blood, that we are prevented 83 from perishing. For the dry and wet products of the earth are its flesh and blood. We live by eating and drinking of these to our full satisfaction, but doing no harm to the earth when we use up its flesh and blood. For as we gladly gather the corn and the wine from it, we enjoy ourselves by living on it. And now, for the rest, lend me your ear with regard to the dispensation of the mystery, and turn your understanding to the hearing of it. How shall we express it then? In the beginning the Only Begotten Son created the earth, and from the earth He took man and wrought him, and from man He took His body and became incarnate. If therefore the body signifies the earth when simply stated, 157 and the earth is Christ's creation through His operative word, as being truly the result of His own making, and from this earth were given in later time both corn and 158 wine and also the body of man, and moreover it was this body that Christ took upon Him, it was natural that when He took the bread and the cup, He said, "This is my body and my blood." It is no mere symbol of body nor symbol of blood, as some have protested in the hardness of their mind, but in very truth the body and blood of Christ, since the body is from the earth, and the bread and wine are from the earth likewise. How is it then that no one else dared to say, "My flesh is food and my blood is drink" (John vi. 55) ? It is because no one else has been made manifest as the maker and creator of the earth, nor is it the individual creation and handiwork of any one else, but it is the peculiar work of the Son of God alone. It is for this reason that He likewise said, "this is Mine, for the creation of the earth belongs to Me and none other. For all men have come into being by receiving their body from Me after the earth, but I, before the earth was, wrought it, receiving it from no one. And I became incarnate by taking a body from it, or from what was My creation; for certainly it is from 84 Myself that I offer you My bounty; for it is from the earth that the bread is ordained as a food for you, and the earth is of My manufacture. It is from the earth likewise that the body comes, and so it is My mingling. Therefore I give the bread and the cup, having sealed it as a result of the union wherein I the Holy One was linked with that which is earthly, declaring that this is my flesh and blood."

If it were Abraham, or any other righteous man, who had said, "My flesh is meat and my blood is drink," it would have been a great and impudent lie, for he would have been offering what was another's as if it were his own, and he would have been punished greatly for recklessly giving the bread and the cup to any and saying, "This is my body, and this is my blood." For it is not his, but belongs to the One who supplied it. Neither would the things eaten impart life to them who ate, as not having the living Word in combination with them. But the earthly body which is named the body of God led those who ate into life eternal, and Christ gave indeed His own body and blood to those who believe, by inserting the life-giving medicine of His Godhead. Therefore when He spoke of the flesh as "bread and the blood as wine, He taught us plainly that the body is from the earth and the blood likewise, and that both possess the same essence.

But the common bread which is tilled on the earth, even though it be the flesh of the earth, has no promise that it contains eternal life, but it only grants those who eat it a temporary satisfaction, and soon vanishes, as being without share of divine spirit. But the bread that is tilled in the blessed land of Christ, being joined with the power of the Holy Spirit, at one taste gives a man immortality. For the mystic bread that hath inseparably acquired the Saviour's Name, 159 bestowed upon His body and His blood, joins him who eats it to the body of Christ, and makes him a member of the Saviour. 85

For just as the letter delta in the alphabet takes the force of the teacher and conveys it to him who is taught, and by its means leads him up to the teacher by putting him in touch with him, even so the body, that is to say, the bread, and the blood, which is the same as the wine, drawing the immortality of the immaculate Godhead, gives thereof to him that shares it, and by its means leads him up to the Creator's pure abode itself.

We conclude then that the Saviour's flesh is not wasted, neither is His blood used up by being drunk, but while he that eats it arrives at an increase of heavenly powers, that which is eaten is not exhausted, since it is akin to the nature which is inexhaustible, and cannot be divided from it.

Accept then, if you please, this mighty exposition of a mighty question.

CHAPTER XVI. Objection based on the saying: " If they shall drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them" (Mark xvi. 18).

Again, consider in detail that other passage, where He says, "Such signs shall follow them that believe: they shall lay hands upon sick folk, and they shall recover, and if they drink any deadly drug, 160 it shall in no wise hurt them." So the right thing would be for those selected for the priesthood, and particularly those who lay claim to the episcopate or presidency, to make use of this form of test. The deadly drug should be set before them in order that the man who received no harm from the drinking of it might be given precedence of the rest. And if they are not bold enough to accept this sort of test, they ought to confess that they do not believe in the things Jesus said. For if it is a peculiarity of the faith to overcome the evil of a poison and to remove the pain of a sick man, the believer who does not do these things either has not become a genuine 86 believer, or else, though his belief is genuine, the thing that he believes in is not potent but feeble.

CHAPTER XXIV. Answer to the objection based on the saying: "If they shall drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them" (Mark xvi. 18).

[We must not take the words about the "sickness" and the "deadly drug" in too literal a sense. Otherwise we shall find them contradicted by two facts. First, those who are unbelievers may likewise recover from deadly drugs, so that the recovery need not consist in whether men are believers or not, but in the power of the drug. Secondly, many unbelievers run away at the first sign of sickness, but we must not therefore argue that those who stay to tend the sick are believers in consequence. Such literal and manward tests will not do, or we shall have people boasting of their faith simply because they have some skill in nursing.

So the "deadly drug" must be taken in a less literal sense, and this "death" is like that wherein S. Paul says, "We are buried with Him in baptism." Here there is a "deadly drug" which actually saves men from the tyranny of sin. For to drink this in faith means the death of the savage nature within, without any harm being received. So that which harms unbelievers does not harm the faithful. We may illustrate this by a stepping-stone, which may be either a help or a stumbling-block; or by the blessing on the world which came from the fall of the Jews (Romans x.); or by the Cross, which causes both light and darkness.

"Laying hands on the sick" must have a similar spiritual explanation. Their "hands" are their practical energies, and the "sick" are changes in the seasons, which are often sick through such things as storms, or want of rain.]

Certainly Polycarp 161 is an example of this, for while 87 he exercised the office of bishop at Smyrna, the season of standing crops was greatly sick, when the heaven was not concealed by the smallest cloud, and poured down from the sky a burning heat, scorching to a great degree the vast tracts of land that lay beneath it; and it dried up the moisture of the foliage, and the trouble caused no little difficulty to men. Then that great man of God came, and when he saw the inhabitants thus afflicted, he in a sense laid his hands by means of prayer upon the burnt-up season, and suddenly made all things to be well. And later, when the land was drowned with unlimited rain, and the dwellers in it were in a pitiable state of distress, this same Polycarp stretched his hands to the air and dispelled the calamity, by healing that which was hateful to them. And indeed, before he became bishop, when he was managing a widow's house, 162 wheresoever he laid on his hands in faith, all things were well. And why should I stay to speak of the blessings conferred on men by Irenaeus of Lugdunum, or Fabian of Rome, or Cyprian of Carthage ? Passing them by, I will say something about men of to-day. How many, by stretching forth their hands in prayer to the heavenly Ruler, for the invisible diseases of suffering which press grievously upon the souls of men, have healed the afflicted invisibly in ways we know not? How many by the laying on of their hands have caused to be well those catechumens who were in their former fever of transgression or disease, raising them to the new blessing of health through the divine and mystical leaven? 163 For the responsibility that is laid upon the faithful is not so much zeal in driving away the sufferings of the body (for he knows 164 that these things train a man, rather than overthrow the government 88 of his soul), as in driving away, by counsel and action profitable to the soul, those things which are wont to harm the understanding by enslaving the judgment of the reason.

Wherefore, as at least it seems to me, the answer on this point is such as to persuade those who hear it.

CHAPTER XVII. Objection based on the saying about faith removing mountains (Matt. xvii. 20).

Look at a similar saying, 165 which is naturally suggested by it, "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, verily I say unto you, ye shall say to this mountain, Be thou removed and be thou cast into the sea, and it shall not be impossible for you." 1

It is obvious therefore that any one who is unable to remove a mountain in accordance with this bidding, is not worthy to be reckoned one of the family of the faithful. So you are plainly refuted, for not only are the rest of Christians not reckoned among the faithful, but not even are any of your bishops or priests worthy of this saying.

CHAPTER XXV. Answer to the objection based on the saying about faith removing mountains (Matt, xvii. 19).

[It is the custom of teachers only to enjoin on their pupils what they do themselves. But Christ never removed any mountain in Palestine, nor would there be any point in removing the hills He had founded for ever. Even if the believer had the power to do so, he would be prevented by the words of Scripture (Ps. xcii. 1), "He made fast the world, which shall not be shaken." So there must be some other meaning in the words. 89

The Apostles' faith was great enough to have the world put under their power, and so much greater was it than a mere mustard seed, that they could reduce cities thereby. They did not move literal mountains, such as Parnassus, or Ida, or Gargarus, or Taurus, or Bosphorus, or Sinai. But they rolled many metaphorical mountains away by driving away the demons which pressed upon men. To such mountains Jeremiah's words refer (Jer. li. 24), "I am against thee, O mountain, saith the Lord, which destroyest all the earth."

This explanation is confirmed by the context. Christ had just come down from the literal mountain and cast the demon from the boy who was called lunatic, and the words we are discussing were added when He told His disciples that it was because of their unbelief that they themselves had been unable to free the boy from the demon. So when He says "To this mountain," He means "That which has just been removed by Me from the afflicted boy." Had He simply said "a mountain" it might have meant a literal one, but as He said "this mountain," He showed that He was speaking of the demon, as being something which exalts itself against the knowledge of God.

Already He had cast many such mountains into the sea from their human habitations, when He drove those who were called legion along with the swine into the lake. In both places you must take the words as allegorical.]

CHAPTER XVIII. Objection based on the saying: " Cast thyself down" (Matt. iv. 6-7).

Come now, let us here mention another saying to you. Why is it that when the tempter tells Jesus "Cast thyself down from the temple,", 166 He does not do it, but says to him, "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God," whereby it seems to me that He spoke in fear of the danger from the fall? For if, as you declare, He not only did various other miracles, but even raised up dead 90 men by His word alone, He ought to have shown forthwith that He was capable of delivering others from danger by hurling Himself down from the height, and not receiving any bodily harm thereby. And the more so, because there is a passage of Scripture somewhere which says with regard to Him, "In their hands they shall bear thee up, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone." So the really fair thing to do, was to demonstrate to those who were present in the temple that He was God's Son, and was able to deliver from danger both Himself and those who were His.

CHAPTER XXVI. Answer to the objection based on the saying : " Cast thyself down " (Matt. iv. 6-7).

[Why did not Christ cast Himself down? Because it was the devil who told Him to, and thus to make peace with the adversary at the outset by taking his advice, is to give up the struggle. The advantage of casting Himself down was more than counterbalanced by this. Even to fulfil the words of prophecy, if it were at the immediate prompting of the devil, would be to act in concert and therefore in friendliness with him.

The question whether He should fulfil prophecy and obey the devil or not, is certainly a dilemma. But even if it were good in itself to do so, what follows makes it plain that it would have led to evil. For the devil was leading up to his final request, "Fall down and worship me." The other two requests were apparently harmless, but, had Christ yielded twice to his persuasion, it would have inclined Him to yield in the third case also. He sees the trick, and parries Belial's darts.

Certainly the prophecy referred to the Saviour, but it was a weapon which the devil had put in his own quiver, and therefore a piece of armour which Christ refused to use.] 91

CHAPTER XIX. 167 Objection based on Christ's saying to Peter: " Get thee behind me, Satan" (Matt. xvi. 23).

It is only natural that there is much that is unseemly in all this long-winded talk thus poured out. The words, one might say, provoke a battle of inconsistency against each other. How 168 would some man in the street be inclined to explain that Gospel saying, which Jesus addresses to Peter when He says, "Get thee behind me, Satan, thou art an offence unto me, for thou mindest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men" (Matt. xvi. 23), and then in another place, "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven" ? For if He so condemned Peter as to call him Satan, and thought of him as cast behind Him, and an offence, and one who had received no thought of what was divine in his mind; and if He so rejected him as having committed mortal sin, that He was not prepared to have him in His sight any more, but thrust him behind Him into the throng of the outcast and vanished; how is it right to find this sentence of exclusion against the leader and "chief of the disciples? At any rate, if any one who is in his sober senses ruminates over this, and then hears Christ say (as though He had forgotten the words He had uttered 169 against Peter), " Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church," and " To thee I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven,"--- will he not laugh aloud till he nearly bursts his mouth ? Will he not open it wide as he might from his seat 170 in the theatre ? Will he not speak with a sneer and hiss loudly? Will he not cry aloud to those who are near 92 him ? Either when He called Peter Satan He was drunk and overcome with wine, and He spoke as though in a fit; or else, when He gave this same disciple the keys of the kingdom of heaven, He was painting dreams, in the imagination of His sleep. For pray how was Peter able to support the foundation of the Church, seeing that thousands of times he was readily shaken from his judgment ? What sort of firm reasoning can be detected in him, or where did he show any unshaken mental power, seeing that, though he heard what Jesus had said to him, he was terribly frightened because of a sorry maidservant, and three times foreswore himself, although no great necessity was laid upon him ? We conclude then that, if He was right in taking him up and calling him Satan, as having failed of the very essence of godliness, He was inconsistent, as though not knowing what He had done, in giving him the authority of leadership.

CHAPTER XX. 171 Objection based on Christ's words to S. Peter about forgiving "seventy times seven " (Matt, xviii. 22).

It is also plain that Peter is condemned of many falls, from the statement in that passage where Jesus said to him, "I say not unto thee until seven times, but until seventy times seven shalt thou forgive the sin of him that does wrong." But though he received this commandment and injunction, he cut off the ear of the high-priest's servant who had done no wrong, and did him harm although he had not sinned at all. For how did he sin, if he went at the command of his master to the attack which was then made on Christ ? 93

CHAPTER XXVII. Answer to the objection based on Christ's saying to S. Peter: "Get thee behind me, Satan " (Matt. xvi. 23).

Now we must examine the objections about Peter. For truly they need testing and much explanation. Verily the foundation of the Apostles has been shaken by so great a clamour; the very apex of the gospel story has been obscured by such a cloud of unseemliness. 172 If Peter has been called by Christ an offence, and Satan, and a cause of stumbling; if Peter is convicted of having sinned in ways that cannot be forgiven, the whole band of the Apostles is attacked, and the roots of the faith are all but plucked up. It is right therefore to see the time and the place of this saying, in order that we may judge the matter and take hold of what it means.

[The blessing on Peter was an answer to his words at Caesarea Philippi: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Christ sees that he has not received this truth from "flesh and blood," nor even from angels, but as a direct revelation from the Father Himself.]

"Wherefore," he says, "receive a surname worthy of this grace, and be thou Peter (Rock-man), 173 showing to all the world a rock which is invincible and unshakeable, since the knowledge and the reasoning which thou possessest cannot be moved, in that thou hast borne witness this day to the fact that the blessed Essence cannot be shaken."

It was likely that the evil beast of deceit (the devil), hearing these words, and the witness which Peter gave to the Saviour, cunningly worked with all manner of zeal so as to strip Peter of his merit, and to overthrow the witness of Christ by the trickery of guile, and to alter the dispensation of the Passion. For he knew, he clearly 94 knew that the Passion of Christ was a release from the tyranny of his wickedness, and so he was desirous of being a hindrance to the cross. So he prompts Peter to say: "Be it far from thee, Lord, this shall not be unto thee" (Matt. xvi. 22).

Christ recognises the real speaker, and addresses the devil and not Peter when He says: "Get thee behind me, Satan." Then He turns to Peter and rebukes him for obeying the prompting of Belial, with the words, "Thou art an offence unto me," etc. Peter's sudden fall from the highest to the lowest deserved such a rebuke, and at the same time it taught the disciples not to apply their petty talk to the eternal dispensation. What might have been the persuasion of the others, if they saw Christ on earth as Peter did, and then heard Peter persuading Him to postpone His glorious redemptive Passion and stay among the things of earth ? His great faith had to have a great rebuke, and his great fall led to his great grief.

For note the height of his faith in the words, "Thou art the Christ," etc., wherein he was led up to the very court of heaven. He now knew the King upon His throne, and had it in his power to open his knowledge to those who came to him, but to keep it closed from those who were not fit for the beatific vision. 174 Hence he was said to have the keys of heaven, the power to open and shut it, and to lead men into it or out of it.

Note also the definiteness of Peter's words. He uses the article all through; it is not simply, "Thou art an anointed one, a son of a living God." For there are many anointed, many sons (the angels are called "sons of God"), many who are living, and "gods many and lords many." But the use of the article reveals the impregnable truth, and the unique nature of each. Speaking by the Holy Spirit, Peter thus reveals the impregnable rock, and gets his name of Peter (Rock-man) in consequence. 175 But 95 the devil tries to throw him from this rock on which he was so firmly set, by making him say what was unworthy of the promise, and express an unseemly sympathy. So Christ pierced him with a sharp rebuke.

Such was the rebuke implied in His healing the high-priest's servant, 176 whose ear Peter had cut off. Christ did not judge him by his stammering tongue, but by the inward desire of his soul.]

CHAPTER XXI. 177 Objection based on S. Peter's treatment of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts v. 1-11).

This Peter is convicted of doing wrong in other cases also. For in the case of a certain man called Ananias, and his wife Sapphira, because they did not deposit the whole price of their land, but kept back a little for their own necessary use, Peter put them to death, although they had done no wrong. For how did they do wrong, if they did not wish to make a present of all that was their own ? But even if he did consider their act to be one of wrongdoing, he ought to have remembered the commands of Jesus, who had taught him to endure as many as four hundred and ninety sins against him ; he would then at least have pardoned one, if indeed what had occurred could really in any sense be called a sin. And there is another thing which he ought to have borne in mind in dealing with others---namely, how he himself, by swearing that he did not know Jesus, had not only 96 told a lie, but had foresworn himself, in contempt of the judgment and resurrection to come.

CHAPTER XXVIII. Answer to the objection based on S. Peter's treatment of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts v. 1-11).

[If you understand the circumstances, you will see that Ananias did wrong, and was punished for the general good.

The preaching of the Gospel and its wonders uplifted the first Christians to heaven, and men came from all directions to drink of the fountain of grace. They gave up individual possessions and joined all together, so that wealth ceased to exist in this spiritual society. Among others, Ananias and his wife offered their property to the common stock. When once given to Christ, it was no longer their own. It was therefore wrong to keep some back, though merely in itself such a deed does not appear so.

Peter at once cut out this evil, in order that the disease might not spread to the whole body of believers. The deed was not a wrong done to Peter, and therefore it did not receive his forgiveness; 178 but it was done to the Deity, and was an outrage on the faith. Besides, if no notice had been taken, they would have thought their hidden deed escaped Christ's notice, and so would have proceeded unrebuked to worse sins, and have infected others, like a pestilence, with the same ideas. To prevent this, Peter checks the disease, and drags up the weeds before they can spread over the field.

The above is proved by Peter's question : "Why did ye resolve 179 to tempt the Holy Spirit ?" Then they were slain, by a blow, not (as you say) of a sword, but 97 of the conscience, coming from the Holy Spirit of love. Peter is therefore without any blame for the death of either of them, which was sent as a warning to the rest.]

CHAPTER XXII. Objection based on the escape of S. Peter from prison (Acts xii. 5-11) and S. Paul's words about him (Gal. ii. 12 and 2 Cor. xi. 13).

This man who stood first in the band of the disciples, taught as he had been by God to despise death, but escaping when seized by Herod, became a cause of punishment to those who guarded him. For after he had escaped during the night, when day came there was a stir among the soldiers as to how Peter had got out. And Herod, when he had sought for him and failed to find him, examined the guards, and ordered them to be "led away," that is to say, put to death. So it is astonishing how Jesus gave the keys of heaven to Peter, if he were a man such as this; and how to one who was disturbed with such agitation and overcome by such experiences did He say "Feed my lambs" ? For I suppose the sheep are the faithful who have advanced to the mystery of perfection, while the lambs stand for the throng of those who are still catechumens, fed so far on the gentle milk of teaching. 180 Nevertheless, Peter is recorded to have been crucified 181 after feeding the lambs not even for a few months, 182 although Jesus had said that the gates of Hades should not prevail against him. 183 Again, Paul condemned Peter when he said, "For before 98 certain came from James, he ate with the Gentiles, but when they came he separated himself, fearing those of the circumcision; and many Jews joined with him in his hypocrisy" 184 (Gal. ii. 12). In this likewise there is abundant and important condemnation, that a man who had become interpreter of the divine mouth should live in hypocrisy, and behave himself with a view to pleasing men. Moreover, the same is true of his taking about a wife, for this is what Paul says : " Have we not power to take about a sister, a wife, as also the rest of the apostles, and Peter?" (1 Cor. ix. 5). And then 185 he adds (2 Cor. xi. 13), "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers." If then Peter is related to have been involved in so many base things, is it not enough to make one shudder to imagine that he holds the keys of heaven, and looses and binds, although he is fast bound, so to speak, in countless inconsistencies.

CHAPTER XXIX. Answer to the objection based on S. Peter's escape from prison (Acts xii. 5-11) and other inconsistencies.

[After killing James, in his hostility to Christ, Herod wanted to wreak public vengeance on Peter. It was not that Peter fled in fear; rather he was waiting to preach Christ in Rome and then welcome the glorious cross. It was not fit that Herod's malice should thus hinder the kindling of that Gospel torch which was to be lighted among the Gentiles.

As for the death of the soldiers, Peter was no more responsible for it than the stag would be, if the shepherd killed his dogs because it escaped from them. Herod did not owe his savagery to Peter, it was his own.

The object Peter continually had in view was to do 99 and say what was most profitable. It is this which must explain that conduct of which Paul speaks. His inconsistency was not for his own sake, but for the sake of saving both Jews and Gentiles alike. For the only way properly to influence the Jews was by showing reverence for the Mosaic law. Had he rejected it in favour of the Gospel, they would naturally have turned away from him. So he skilfully avoids the Gentiles' table while there is the chance of the Jews being scandalised, hoping in time to persuade the latter to walk according to the evangelic instead of the Mosaic rule. On the other hand, in order to attract the Gentiles, he ate with them when the Jews were not there. The result was profitable to both parties. 186

When Paul speaks of "false apostles," 187 he does not refer to Peter, but to those who were sent about the world by the Jews with encyclical letters. 188 ]

The list of charges against Peter is a long one, but what I have said should suffice for you and those who sit with you. But if there lurks anywhere some other passage of the New Testament that is in dispute, announce it without delay.

CHAPTER XXX. Objection based on the inconsistency of S. Paul, in his circumcising of Timothy (Acts xvi. 3).

He remained a little while in deep and solemn thought, and then said: "You seem to me very much like inexperienced captains, who, while still afloat on the voyage that lies before them, look on themselves as afloat on another sea. Even thus are you seeking for other passages to be laid down by us, although you have 100 not completed the vital points in the questions which you still have on hand." 189

If you are really filled with boldness about the questions, and the points of difficulty have become clear to you, tell us how it was that Paul said, "Being free, I made myself the slave of all, in order that I might gain all" (1 Cor. ix. 19), and how, although he called circumcision "concision," 190 he himself circumcised a certain Timothy, as we are taught in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts xvi. 3). Oh, the downright stupidity of it all! It is such a stage as this that the scenes in the theatre portray, as a means of raising laughter. Such indeed is the exhibition which jugglers give. 191 For how could the man be free who is a slave of all ? And how can the man gain all who apes all ? 192 For if he is without law to those who are without law, 193 as he himself says, and he went with the Jews as a Jew and with others in like manner, truly he was the slave of manifold baseness, and a stranger to freedom and an alien from it; truly he is a servant and minister of other people's wrong doings, and a notable zealot for unseemly things, if he spends his time on each occasion in the baseness of those without law, and appropriates their doings to himself.

These things cannot be the teachings of a sound mind, nor the setting forth of reasoning that is free. 101 But the words imply some one who is somewhat crippled in mind, 194 and weak in his reasoning. For if he lives with those who are without law, and also in his writings accepts the Jews' religion gladly, having a share in each, he is confused with each, mingling with the falls of those who are base, and subscribing himself as their companion. For he who draws such a line through circumcision as to remove those who wish to fulfil it, and then performs circumcision himself, stands as the weightiest of all accusers of himself when he says: "If I build again those things which I loosed, I establish myself as a transgressor."

CHAPTER XXXVII. Answer to the objection based on the inconsistency of S. Paul, in his circumcising of Timothy, etc.

When his chosen band had stirred up such a swarm of subjects against Paul, and the multitude of points 195 had at length grown quiet again like bees which have rushed to the attack in dense array, we, being as it were pierced all round by the stings of the difficulties raised, stood and fought against each in dire necessity, saying thus:--- [It is not right that you should abuse a great man for behaving towards those young in faith just as a teacher, or a doctor or a general does. For a teacher educates by imitating the stammering voice of his pupil, a doctor cures by placing himself in the patient's circumstances, and a general wins over a barbarian chief to his king by adopting his customs rather than by force of arms. Paul did similar good by being all things to all men. Sometimes he is the teacher, imitating Gentiles in order to educate them to the Gospel, sometimes the doctor, saying: "Who is weak, and I am not weak ?" as if inflamed with the trouble 196 (2 Cor. xi. 29); sometimes 102 the general, softening men's prejudices by his strategy. So he went out to meet both those without law and the Jews, though he did not himself really feel as they.

Therefore he only adopted circumcision in order to enrich the law with the Gospel by giving way on one point. A good doctor may forbid a certain drug as being harmful, and yet in a bad case he may combine it with other drugs in order to overcome the disease. Just so, Paul rejected circumcision, and yet at a crisis he combined it with the doctrines of the Gospel. 197 ]

CHAPTER XXXI. Objection based on S. Paul's inconsistency in claiming at different times to be a Jew (Acts xxii. 3) and a Roman (Acts xxii. 27).

This same Paul, who often when he speaks seems to forget his own words, tells the chief captain that he is not a Jew but a Roman, although he had previously said, "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, and brought up 198 at the feet of Gamaliel, instructed according to the exact teaching of the law of my fathers." But he who said, "I am a Jew," and "I am a Roman," is neither thing, although he attaches himself to both. For he who plays the hypocrite and speaks of what he is not, lays the foundation of his deeds in guile, and by putting round him a mask of deceit, he cheats the clear issue and steals the truth, laying siege in different ways to the soul's understanding, and enslaving by the juggler's art those who are easily influenced. The man who welcomes in his life such a principle as this, differs not at all from an implacable and bitter foe, who enslaving by his hypocrisy the minds of those beyond his own borders, takes them all captive in inhuman fashion. So if Paul is in pretence at one time a Jew, at another a Roman, at one time without law, and at another a Greek, 199 and whenever he wishes is a stranger and an enemy to each 103 thing, by stealing into each, he has made each useless, robbing each of its scope by his flattery.

We conclude then that he is a liar and manifestly brought up in an atmosphere of lying. 200 And it is beside the point for him to say : "I speak the truth in Christ, I lie not" (Rom. ix. 1). For the man who has just now conformed to the law, and to-day to the Gospel, is rightly regarded as knavish and hollow 201 both in private and in public life.

CHAPTER XXXVIII. Answer to the objection based on S. Paul's claim to be both a Jew and a Roman.

[Here again Paul showed the strategic powers of a general. If a general is driven out by his own countrymen, he no longer considers himself one of them, and overcomes them by joining some one else. Just so Paul was driven by the Jews into the hands of the Romans, and so he could say he was not a Jew but a Roman.

He was not wrong in calling himself a Roman, for by the Rome ( r9wandmh = might) of the Spirit he was to teach among the Roman nation.

Just as one of the Galatian race is called an Asian by living in Asia, so might Paul become a Roman, and yet remain a Jew. When he calls himself a Jew, he honours his countrymen; when he calls himself a Roman, he proclaims his nobility. 202 ]

CHAPTER XXXII. Objection based on S. Paul's use of the law for his own advantage (as in 1 Cor. ix. 7, etc.).

That he dissembles the Gospel for the sake of vainglory, and the law for the sake of covetousness, is plain from his words, "Who ever goeth to war at his own charges? Who shepherdeth the flock and doth not eat of the milk 104 of the flock?" (1 Cor. ix. 7). And, in his desire to get hold of these things, he calls in the law as a supporter of his covetousness, saying, "Or doth not the law say these things ? For in the law of Moses it is written, Thou shall not muzzle an ox that is treading out the corn " ( v. 9). Then he adds a statement which is obscure and full of nonsense, by way of cutting off the divine forethought from the brute beasts, saying, "Doth God take care of the oxen, or doth he say it on our account? On our account it was written" ( v. 10). 203 It seems to me that in saying this he is mocking the wisdom of the Creator, as if it contained no forethought for the things that had long ago been brought into being. For if God does not take care of oxen, pray, why is it written, "He hath subjected all things, sheep and oxen and beasts and birds and the fishes" (Ps. viii. 8-9) ? If He takes account of fishes, much more of oxen which plough and labour. Wherefore I am amazed at_such an impostor, who pays such solemn respect to the law because he is insatiable, for the sake of getting a sufficient contribution from those who are subject to him.

CHAPTER XXXIX. Answer to the objection based on S. Paul's use of the law for his own advantage (1 Cor. ix. 7, etc.).

[It is not in order to get something for himself that Paul introduces the comparison of the soldier and the shepherd, but in order to make the Corinthians thankful. For a soldier does his work faithfully only as long as the State pays him; and just so a herald of the Gospel will give his best work when his hearers respond to it. Similarly, the spiritual shepherd's encouragement is to see his sheep with fair fleeces and abundant milk. Again, the labourer sows the seed of the knowledge of 105 God in his hearers' hearts, and is grieved if it does not bear fruit. 204

Therefore it was in order to benefit his hearers that Paul introduced these things, and supported them with the witness of the law, so that they might show their gratitude. For the divine grace, though lacking nothing, demands a little answering tribute from those whom it enriches. 205 ]

CHAPTER XXXIII. Objection based on his inconsistent attitude towards the law, condemning it in Gal. v. 3 and iii. 10, and approving it in Romans vii. 12 and 14.

Then he suddenly turns like a man who jumps up from sleep scared by a dream, with the cry, "I Paul bear witness that if any man do one thing of the law, 206 he is a debtor to do the whole law" (Gal. v. 3). This is instead of saying simply that it is not right to give heed to those things that are spoken by the law. This fine fellow, sound in mind and understanding, instructed in the accuracy of the law of his fathers, who had so often cleverly recalled Moses to mind, appears to be soaked with wine and drunkenness; for he makes an assertion which removes the ordinance of the law, saying to the Galatians, "Who bewitched you that ye should not obey the truth," that is, the Gospel? (Gal. iii. 1). Then, exaggerating, and making it horrible for a man to obey the law, he says, "As many as are under the law are under a curse" (Gal. iii. 10). The man who writes to the Romans "The law is spiritual" (vii. 14), and again, "The law is holy and the commandment holy and just," places under a curse those who obey that which is holy! 106 Then, completely confusing the nature of the question, he confounds the whole matter and makes it obscure, so that he who listens to him almost grows dizzy, and dashes against the two things as though in the darkness of the night, stumbling over the law, and knocking against the Gospel in confusion, owing to the ignorance of the man who leads him by the hand.

CHAPTER XL. Answer to the objection based on his inconsistent attitude towards the law.

[When he says that to do one thing in the law obliges a man to do all, he is not abusing the law, but pointing to its minuteness, and to that difficulty in carrying it out which Christ has freed us from, by coming to fulfil it Himself.

For a man who attempts to fulfil any part of it now may justly be accused of ignoring the complete fulfilment of it by the Only Begotten. He loses the effect of the Saviour's fulfilment, and yet cannot complete it himself, but is like one who has a hundred parasangs 207 to ride to reach a city, and only rides ninety-five; in which case he is no more in the city than when he started. If a man keeps countless commandments, and yet leaves one undone, it is as bad as leaving one gate of a city undefended out of thirty-five.

As an example of the difficulty in fulfilling the whole law, take two enactments, concerning the sabbath and circumcision. What is to be done with the babe born on a sabbath, upon the eighth day after its birth ? 208 Here one rule contradicts the other. If two points are so hard, what of the whole ? Indeed there are more rules than can be remembered concerning sacrifices, cleansings, etc. Such a burden proved too much for the Jews. 107 Only Christ could fulfil it, and so cancel it that none need be subject to it any more.

As a cubit-rule measures dimensions, but can itself only be measured by the man who made it, so the law, which is the measure of life, could only be measured by Christ, who made it, and finally sealed it up by placing the better measure of the Gospel beside it.

To try and fulfil what Christ has thus fulfilled, is to act in opposition to Him. Thus does Paul warn the Galatians. As for his calling the law "holy," etc., it was holy because the Holy One fulfilled it.

Again, when he brings in the witness of the law and quotes from it, "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn," 209 he is thinking of the apostolic band as the unmuzzled ox, which threshes that harvest which Christ has sowed. Hence he says, " Not concerning oxen were these things written, but concerning us" (1 Cor. ix. 10).]

CHAPTER XXXIV. Objection based on another inconsistency, in saying "The law entered that the offence might abound " (Rom. v. 20).

For see here, look at this clever fellow's record. After countless utterances which he took from the law in order to get support from it, he made void the judgment of his own words by saying, "For the law entered that the offence might abound"; and before these words, 210 "The goad 211 of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law" (1 Cor. xv. 56). He practically sharpens his own tongue like a sword, and cuts the law to pieces without mercy limb by limb. And this is the man who in many ways inclines to obey the law, and says it is 108 praiseworthy to live according to it. And by taking hold of this ignorant opinion, which he does as though by habit, he has overthrown his own judgments on all other occasions.

CHAPTER XLI. Answer to the objection based on S. Paul's saying that "The law entered that the offence may abound " (Rom. v. 20).

[There was naturally much wickedness in life, and this could not be corrected unless the law came to reveal it. Good and bad could not be distinguished till standards of right and wrong were set up. From such a life of ignorance and sin the law guided men to the life of light. But its enactments naturally revealed as sin what was not before understood as such, and in this sense it "made the offence to abound."

Sin was a "goad of death" to drive men from true life, and took its "strength" from the law, because the law punished sinners (see 1 Cor. xv. 56). A goad requires some one to wield it in order to make it deadly, and it was thus that the law wielded sin. Paul bids men flee from it, not to the law, but to Christ who is Master of the law. He does not destroy the law, but its work as "schoolmaster" ( paidagwgoandj ) is done when it has brought men to Christ (Gal. iii. 23). The law is like the moon, and the prophets like the stars, which fade away at dawn before the Sun and His twelvefold crown of Apostles, and yet remain, though without power. 212 ]

CHAPTER XXXV. Objection based on S. Paul's words about their not having "fellowship with demons" in 1 Cor. x. 20, and also what he says in 1 Cor. viii. 4 and 8 and x. 25-26.

When he speaks again of the eating of things sacrificed 109 to idols, he simply teaches that these matters are indifferent, telling them not to be inquisitive nor to ask questions, but to eat things even though they be sacrificed to idols, provided only that no one speaks to them in warning. Wherein he is represented as saying, " The things which they sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, but I would not that you should have fellowship with demons" (1 Cor. x. 20). 213

Thus he speaks and writes : and again he writes with indifference about such eating, "We know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one" (1 Cor. viii. 4), and a little after this, "Meat will not commend us to God, neither, if we eat, are we the better, neither, if we eat not, are we the worse" (v. 8). Then, after all this prating of quackery, he ruminated, like a man lying in bed, and said, "Eat all that is sold in the shambles, asking no questions for conscience' sake, for the earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof" (1 Cor. x. 25-26). Oh, what a stage farce, got from no one ! Oh, the monstrous inconsistency of his utterance ! A saying which destroys itself with its own sword! Oh, novel kind of archery, which turns against him who drew the bow, and strikes him!

CHAPTER XLII. 214 Answer to the objection based on S. Paul's words about having fellowship with demons (1 Cor. x. 20), etc.

Now that we have laid bare the full meaning of this passage, we will deal with the rest, if agreeable to you--- namely, how it was that Paul forbade them to eat things offered to idols, 215 but he does not forbid them to take what was sold in the shambles, although it was well 110 known that it was Greeks who did most of the slaughtering at that time. 216 So you may perceive in this the accuracy and wisdom of Paul, how he protects their daily life and forbids the godly to touch things sacrificed to demons, but he permitted his friends to eat what was sold in the shambles without asking questions. For the sacrifice of animals was at that time manifold, and different in various parts of the world. There was one kind to the spirits of the air, another to those on the earth, while there were other sacrifices again to those under the earth. For error, taking the deceitful serpent as its minister, whistled many a strain, charming and subduing with its deadly spells 217 earth, sea, air, and the things beneath the earth. So invisible spirits which flew in the air, which Isaiah sang of as flying serpents (Isa. xxvii. 1), demanded white and transparent sacrifices of birds, seeing that the air chances to be bright, and filled with light for the manifestation of the things that are below. But there are certain of the demons of the earth, which demanded herds of beasts for sacrifices which were black-skinned and dusky, seeing that the earth is by nature black and gloomy; and they ordered their sacrifices to be slain on lofty altars. Other demons of the regions beneath them enjoined that black offerings should be sacrificed to them in trenches, and that they should be buried alongside the remains of the things that had been slaughtered. 218 Other deceitful phantoms of things in the seas demanded sacrifices of black things that were winged and living, and ordered them to be sent down into the sea, since the sea is black and in constant motion. Seeing then that wickedness thus destroys the things without reason through those that possess it, by feeding in this pitiable way on a multitude of beasts and birds, the Apostle naturally forbade the faithful to touch such things.

You can verify these things from the book "Concerning 111 the philosophy of oracles," 219 and learn accurately the record of the things sacrificed, as you read the oracle of Apollo concerning sacrifices, 220 which Porphyry, puffed up with conceit, handed down to his intimates in a mystery, charging them with a terrible oath, as he himself reckoned, that they should not freely tell these things to many. The tragedy of this novel calamity will be well known to you, how the plotting of destroying spirits ruthlessly mangled the human race in various ways, as a flock without a shepherd, coming like an attack of wild wolves from the desert. It was impossible for any one to breathe freely, or to be quiet, but everything was forced together, from one end of heaven to the other, as though by a staff or a thunderbolt. If a man was crossing the sea, he let slip a sacrifice ; if he was journeying by land, he sacrificed four-footed beasts. If he were hollowing a cave or digging a piece of land, he threw down a sacrifice to the powers below, and many, by way of buying off their own death, buried some of their own stock while still alive. At any rate, Amistra, the wife of King Xerxes, sent fourteen boys down to Hades alive every year on her own behalf, by covering them with a mound, by way of appeasing the demons of the earth. Stakes and goads and snares had filled the world everywhere; neither air nor land, island nor sea were inopportune for their plottings ; but a girdle of guile had encircled the inhabited world, a dark veil of ignorance had enveloped it, and it was not possible for a man to live without trouble and fear. Life was full of suspicion, conditions were unreal, the very fact of chance was affected.

Since therefore the world was full of disorder, and the greater part of life was devoted to demons, he proclaims to those who wish for a brighter 221 life, that they must loathe the table of demons, lest perchance they 112 should at all corrupt the habit of the soul by their fellowship. And again, perceiving how impossible it was for any one who was clothed with flesh to renounce the daily life of the body, he gives permission by way of dispensation, and solemnly counsels them to respect the common market of the shambles and to get their victuals from it. For the matter did not call for trouble, and involved no blame for meddling with such things, seeing that those who undertook the business of the shambles were the ministers of a general and public means of diet. But there were certain servants of temples, picked out and separated from the rest, who in some kind of mystery poured out libations to images and sacrificed with a kind of mystic witchcraft. From these he bids them keep away, and not to touch them at all.

But he destroys the ignorant bounds of Greek belief, cuts their doctrine in pieces, and makes their judgment void, when he says, "An idol is nothing in the world." For the Greeks found out the naming of idols, as the serpent found out the naming of gods; but the judgment of truth does not lay down such an opinion at all. Therefore it is impossible that the theory or standard of idols should be preserved in the world. For the making of images is reasonably spoken of as images, not as idols. These figures, fashioned from gold, silver, bronze, and iron, are silver and gold, but not idols. And the dead bodies of living creatures exist as dead bodies, not as idols. Souls that are loosed from bodies are rightly souls, but not idols. But the representations in statuary of those who are called heroes are images, not idols. And the things that are skilfully painted in colours on tablets, are the delineation of bodies, but certainly not idols. And the things that are called appearances of visions are phantoms and shadows of dreams, but they are not idols. So the great Apostle speaks truth when he says, "An idol is nothing in the world." Unless perchance some one is mad enough to wish to call the elements idols, but he is refuted as he says it; for fire, water, air, and earth are not idols, but properly fire, water, air, and earth. 113

To what then do those men sacrifice who pay respect to idols ? To demons, not to idols; but he does not wish them to be partakers of demons and partakers of Christ. Those who sell food in the shambles do not act as butchers for demons, but for the common life of men, and the end they set before them is not witchcraft but profit, which neither ruins nor corrupts the man who eats. This is the answer to your problem, which you may readily be learning.

CHAPTER XXXVI. Objection based on S. Paul's words about virginity (1 Tim. iv. 1, and 1 Cor. vii. 25).

In his epistles we find another saying like these, where he praises virginity, and then turns round and writes, "In the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from meats" (1 Tim. iv. 1 and 3). And in the Epistle to the Corinthians he says, "But concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord" (1 Cor. vii. 25). Therefore he that remains single does not do well, nor will he that refrains from marriage as from an evil thing lead the way in obedience, since they have not a command from Jesus concerning virginity. 222 And how is it that certain people boast of their virginity as if it were some great thing, and say that they are filled with the Holy Ghost similarly to her who was the mother of Jesus ?

But we will now cease our attack on Paul, knowing what a battle of the giants he arms against him by his language. But if you are possessed of any resources for replying to these questions, answer without delay.

CHAPTER XLIII. Answer to the objection based on S. Paul's words about virginity (1 Tim. iv. 1, and 1 Cor. vii. 25).

[Here, as always, the context must be studied. Often in Paul's writings a phrase by itself may suggest what he 114 did not mean, as when he says, "On whom he will he hath mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth," a statement which must be taken in conjunction with his words about Him "that willeth that all men should be saved." In this passage (from 1 Corinthians) about virgins, it is not clear at once why he should say, "I have no commandment of the Lord, yet I give my judgment as one that hath obtained mercy," seeing that he had Christ speaking within him. The explanation is as follows:---

Virginity is a difficult and unnatural state, and so it is left to the individual to choose it. If Christ forced it on people by a command, they might say that the fault was His if it led to a fall. In simpler matters Christ does give a command through Paul, such as theft, adultery, slander, etc. The wisdom of all this is obvious, and to make virginity a free choice only exalts its position. There is praise for the man who does as he is commanded, but for this act of free-will beyond what is obligatory there is a higher glory. 223 Note that Paul's words show a humble reverence for what he speaks of, for he gives his opinion "as one that hath obtained mercy," not as an Apostle, nor as "judging angels" (but here the virgins are angels in his judgment).

When he says that "There shall arise certain having their Conscience seared with a hot iron," 224 it is because he knew that such heretics would attract men by guile in recommending so excellent a thing as virginity, 225 and thus using a branding-iron of godliness for their own deceitful purposes. These "seared" heresiarchs are like makers of counterfeit coin, washing over their worthless creed with the fine gold of virginity. 226 They are 115 "seared" because they know neither the dew of the Spirit nor the water of baptism, but are scorched at the Chaldean furnace. 227 They insult creation and abuse the creatures of God which He meant to be received with thanksgiving. 228 ]

Representatives of these have spread abroad in the children of the Manichaeans. 229 Such heresies does the country of the Pisidians contain, and of the Isaurians; Cilicia also, and Lycaonia and all Galatia. Their names it is irksome to repeat; for they are called Encratites and Apotactites, and Eremites, 230 not Christians. They are not seekers of protection from the grace of heaven, but rebels and wanderers from the faith of the Gospel, though, by their abstention from meats, they say that they raise the citadel of godliness. At the head of their chorus doubtless stands Dositheus, 231 a Cilician by race, who confirms their teaching in the course of eight whole books, and magnifies his case by the splendour of his language, saying again and again that marriage is an illegal act, and quite contrary to law. Here are his words, "Through union the world had its beginning ; through abstention from it, 232 it would fain have its completion." He says that the tasting of wine and the partaking of flesh is disgusting and loathsome altogether, thus 116 indeed ruthlessly lifting up a cruel branding-iron for those that delight 233 in him. By such reasoning all creation is accursed according to him, all life is under suspicion ard hurtful to everybody. Wherefore such men have come into conflict with the Divine, by insulting the beauty of the things that have been created; and nowhere have they benefited the common weal in anything, even though they do teach men to observe virginity, and set self-control as the highest point in life.

The Apostle therefore, knowing all this, protected the Church's doctrine before the time came, to prevent its admitting the attempts of heretical branding-irons. Here you will please conclude the discussion of all these questions. If there is anything which perplexes you again, we will meet and have another discussion, at the convenience of our leisure, with readiness on the part of him who comes off best. 234 117

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