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BOOK IV

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

WHEN a large number of points had been raised by the judgment of my Greek opponent, and we had made clear the obscurity that was in them by means of much sweat and labour and toil, the philosopher plainly marked out, so to speak, this fourth contest, for which, even with your help, Theosthenes, 235 we scarcely took heart. 236 But what argument it contained I must now relate.

When no small company was again gathered together, but a large and distinguished one, as though his intention was purposely to perplex us by the sight of so many persons, he began to rend in pieces the apostolic judgment, to the accompaniment of much laughter, saying as follows:---

THE CHRISTIAN

(Introduction to the answers of Macarius to the objections of Chapters 1 to X.)

After all this boasting and terribleness of speech, the ears of those who stood by were full of fear, and the understanding of our chosen witnesses was contracted. We, perceiving the canon of the New Testament thus trampled underfoot, were smitten in mind and sick in soul, and troubled in every bodily sense, so that we almost 118 said, "Lord, save us, we perish." Encircled by so great a storm of cunning devices, but encouraged by some unseen assistance, we stood facing the hurricane which came down upon us, making the Holy Spirit our ally against the face of it. Then, like men rowing in a boat, we began to ply the oars of our tongue and hastened to smite the first of the waves.

CHAPTER I. Objection based on S. Paul's saying that "the fashion of this world passeth away" (1 Cor. vii. 31).

What does Paul mean by saying that the fashion of the world 237 passes away? And how is it possible for them that have to be as though they had not, 238 and they that rejoice as though they rejoiced not, and how can the other old-wives' talk be credible ? For how is it possible for him that has to become as though he had not ? And how is it credible that he who rejoices should be as though he rejoiced not? Or how can the fashion of this world pass away ? What is it that passes away, and why does it do so? For if the Creator 239 were to make it pass away He would incur the charge of moving and altering that which was securely founded. Even if He were to change the fashion into something better, in this again He stands condemned, as not having realised at the time of creation a fitting and suitable fashion for the world, but having created it incomplete, and lacking the better arrangement. In any case, how is one to know that it is into what is good that the world would change if it came to an end late in time ? And what benefit is there in the order of phenomena being changed ? And if the condition of the visible world is gloomy and a cause for grief, in this, too, the Creator 119 hears the sound of protest, 240 being reduced to silence by the sound of reasonable charges 240 against Him, in that He contrived the parts of the earth in grievous fashion, and in violation of the reasonableness of nature, and afterwards repented, and decided to change the whole. Perchance Paul by this saying teaches him that has, to be minded as though he had not, in the sense that the Creator, having the world, makes the fashion of it pass away, as though He had it not. And he says that he that rejoices does not rejoice, in the sense that the Creator is not pleased when He looks upon the fair and beautiful thing He has created, but, as being much grieved over it, He formed the plan of transferring and altering it. So then let us pass over this trivial saying with mild laughter.

CHAPTER XI. Answer to the objection based on S. Paul's saying that " the fashion of this world passeth away " (1 Cor. vii. 31).

[Truly there is a "passing away" for the cloud of your cunning imagination as well as for the fashion of the world ! "The fashion of the world" may be understood in many ways. For example, it may mean our transitory life, or the bodily variation in the different ages of men. Or, again, as "fashion" means "appearance," it may be used of a man's shadow, which disappears as soon as the sun goes in. Even so is "the fashion of the world" a passing appearance.

"The fashion of the world" also refers to the deceitfulness of things human, be they honours or kingdoms or what you will. In a day a man may pass from a palace to a dungeon, and in this sense he that hath, and that rejoiceth, must be as he that doth not. (Of course there are also changes of the opposite kind, such as from the dunghill to luxury.) We may find instances of such "passing away" in Croesus, dethroned by Cyrus, 120 and in Cyrus, conquered by Tomyris. Or look on Babylon, the capital of Assyria, once so fair and of such enormous proportions, 241 then desolated by the Persians, and now not preserving a trace of its former greatness. Or the once all-powerful Macedonian nation, now absorbed in the Roman Empire. And it is superfluous to record how many local rulers have evaporated like smoke, or how many women who were queens have perished, 242 or of how many famous men the glory has departed.

The change in "the fashion of the world" is clearly seen in the seasons. The spring with all its beauty yields to scorching summer. Soon the time of ripe fruit hastens on to autumn, and then comes the winter, in which we are now, 243 to take away our joy. Yes, all things change, even as the sea never maintains a perpetual calm.

If you wish to make out that things do not change, you must also show that they are uncreated, for it is only that which has no beginning that can be without an end. And if you think human things do not "pass away," you necessarily make them everlasting! Why, even an uncivilised Scythian would tell you the difference between what is uncreated and lasting, and what is created and passing away.

Paul therefore rightly added : "Let not him that rejoiceth rejoice," for the object of his rejoicing soon passes. Even day and night are uncertain; the day may be bright or stormy, and there is no fixed hour at which the night begins, but sometimes it is ten hours long, sometimes twelve. 121

CHAPTER II. Objection based on the saying of S. Paul that "we which are alive shall be caught up in the clouds" (1 Thess. iv. 15-17).

Let us consider another wise remark of his, astounding and perverted, wherein he says, "We which are alive and remain, shall not go before them that are asleep unto the coming of the Lord, for the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive shall be caught up together with them in a cloud, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (1 Thess. iv. 15-17). 244 Here is a thing that indeed rises in the air and shoots up to heaven, an enormous and far-reaching lie. This, when recited to the beasts without understanding, causes even them to bellow and croak out their sounding din in reply, when they hear of men in the flesh flying like birds in the air, or carried on a cloud. For this boast is a mighty piece of quackery, that living things, pressed down by the burden of physical bulk, should receive the nature of winged birds, and cross the wide air like some sea, using the cloud as a chariot. Even if such a thing is possible, it is monstrous, and apart from all that is suitable. For nature which created all things 245 from the beginning appointed places befitting the things which were brought into being, and ordained that each should have its proper sphere, the sea for the water creatures, the land for those of the dry ground, the air for winged creatures, and the higher atmosphere for heavenly bodies. If one of these were moved from its proper abode, it would disappear on arrival in a strange condition and abode. For instance, if you wanted to take a creature of the 122 water and force it to live on the dry land, it is readily destroyed and dies. Again, if you throw a land animal of a dry kind into the water, it will be drowned. And if you cut off a bird from the air, it will not endure it, and if you remove a heavenly body from the upper atmosphere, it will not stand it. Neither has the divine and active Word of God done this, nor ever will do it, although He is able to change the lot of the things that come into being. For He does not do and purpose anything according to His own ability, but according to its suitability He preserves things, and keeps the law of good order. So, even if He is able to do so, He does not make the earth to be sailed over, nor again does He make the sea to be ploughed or tilled; nor does He use His power in making virtue into wickedness nor wickedness into virtue, nor does He adapt a man to become a winged creature, nor does He place the stars below and the earth above.

Wherefore we may reasonably declare that it is full of twaddle to say that men will ever be caught up into the air.

And Paul's lie becomes very plain when he says, "We which are alive." For it is three hundred years since he said this, 246 and no body has anywhere been caught up, either Paul's or any one else's. So it is time this saying of Paul became silent, for it is driven away in confusion.

CHAPTER XII. Answer to the objection based on S. Paul's words that "we which are alive shall be caught up in the clouds" (1 Thess. iv. 15-17).

[We must act as reasoning beings, and look for a mystic meaning in the words. He means that at Christ's second coming the godly will be caught up from the corruption of this life. Just as the water in the sea is heavy, and yet is drawn up into the air in clouds, so shall man be drawn up by angelic might. For the "cloud," which is sometimes high and sometimes near the earth, signifies the angels, who both rise to heaven and descend to earth in the course of their service. For this we may 123 refer to Abbakum, 247 drawn up by a cloud from Judaea, and carried and set down over the Babylonian pit, or to the angels which Jacob saw ascending and descending. The prophets also show angels to be clouds, as when Isaiah says (xv. 6), " I will command the clouds not to rain upon the vine," i.e. the angels are not to rain visions upon Israel. Again Daniel says (vii. 13) that Christ will come "with the clouds of heaven," while Christ said He would come and all the angels with Him (Matt. xxv. 31).

Also the Psalms speak of "Clouds and darkness round about him" (Ps. xcvii. 2), where His judgment-seat is the severity of the law, which will be combined with the grace of the Gospel (cf. Ps. civ. 3). Also the Gospel says, "He shall send forth his angels and gather the elect from the four winds of heaven " (Mark xiii. 26, 27).

That it was the Apostle's habit to allegorise thus, may be seen from such pasages as "The night is far spent, the day is at hand."

At the end of the world, it is the trumpet of angelic voices which will sound, and give man the power to rise, just as the horses of fire, which were really angels, took up Elijah.

With regard to your argument that everything must remain in its own element, mark that it is not by remaining in themselves, but in something different, that created things are preserved. You cannot keep fire in fire, but in the air. What is wet is kept in what is dry, as water in a vessel, etc. The same applies to things light and heavy, and to soul and body.

And mark further that things are only what they are, relatively to something else. For example, there would be no test of an unrighteous man if there were no righteousness. So it is not strange that angels should draw men up just as clouds draw water. (For the identification of men with water, see Isaiah xvii. 13, " Behold many nations as water.")

There is no falsehood in Paul declaring that " We 124 shall be caught up," although the resurrection did not take place in his day, for he is very fond of identifying his own humanity with that of the whole race.

CHAPTER III. Objection based on S. Matthew's words that the Gospel should be preached in all the world (Matt. xxiv. I4). 248

We must mention also that saying which Matthew gave us, in the spirit of a slave who is made to bend himself in a mill-house, when he said, "And the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world, and then shall the end come." 249 For lo, every quarter of the inhabited world has experience of the Gospel, and all the bounds and ends of the earth possess it complete, 250 and nowhere is there an end, nor will it ever come. So let this saying only be spoken in a corner!

CHAPTER XIII. Answer to the objection based on S. Matthew's words that the Gospel should be preached in all the world (Matt. xxiv. 14).

[The word "end" may be used in more senses than one; for example, the end of war is peace, and the end of ignorance is knowledge. And so the end of wickedness is godliness. This is exactly the end which has come about through the preaching of the Gospel. So that they who once in their ignorance served idols' temples, now in the light of knowledge serve God as temples of the Holy Spirit. And therefore, in this 125 sense, an "end" has come to the tragic side of the world.

But if we take the ordinary meaning of "end," we may say, first, that it is even now close at the doors; and secondly, that the Gospel has not yet been preached everywhere. Seven races of the Indians who live in the desert in the south-east have not received it; 251 nor the Ethiopians who are called Macrobians, 252 dwelling in the south-west, at the mouth of the ocean. These may be described as "Having laws that no one should wrong or be wronged by another, drinking milk and eating flesh, living for something like a hundred and fifty years, and never diseased or weakly until the end." Then, of course, there are in the west both the Maurusians and those who dwell beyond the great northern river Ister, which is gathered from five-and-thirty streams, and, carrying countless merchant vessels on its broad and constant stream, shuts off the country of the Scythians, where twelve tribes of nomad barbarians live, of whose savage state Herodotus tells us, and their evil customs derived from their ancestors. But the Gospel must " be preached for a witness unto all (nations)" before the end comes.

When all men have heard it, then great will be the punishment of those who reject it. And so God in His mercy delays the revolution of time which brings the end. This He does without real alteration of His will. Even the human mind can now make a triangle into a square and a square into a triangle without altering the size, and therefore God can, without changing the sum total of time, make one day to be a thousand years, and a thousand years to be one day. 253 So we must find no 126 difficulty in this lengthening of the time. It is for us and for our benefit that the end has not yet come.]

CHAPTER IV. Objection based on the divine assurance given to both S. Paul and S. Peter, and their martyrdom in spite of it.

Let us look at what was said to Paul, "The Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee" (Acts xviii. 9-10). And yet no sooner was he seized in Rome than this fine fellow, who said that we should judge angels, had his head cut off. 254 And Peter again, who received authority to feed the lambs, was nailed to a cross and impaled on it. 255 And countless others, who held opinions like theirs, were either burnt, or put to death by receiving some kind of punishment or maltreatment. This is not worthy of the will of God, nor even of a godly man, that a multitude of men should be cruelly punished through their relation to His own grace and faith, while the expected resurrection and coming remains unknown.

CHAPTER XIV. Answer to the objection based on the divine assurance given to both S. Paul and S. Peter, and their martyrdom in spite of it.

[In each case the martyrdom came after the struggle of life was over, and the great work of bringing souls to Christ in many lands had been fulfilled.

Such an end to their life meant a higher fame. The highest honour is for soldiers who defend their country against the enemy to the death. So, after having marshalled the faithful all over the world into Christ's army, and stayed the fierceness of the enemy from the 127 rest, they won an unfading crown, and encouraged many to win it likewise. A violent death was a seal upon their life, and proved the greatness of their zeal. 256

During their work both Peter and Paul were many times protected by their Lord from the plots of the Jews, but when the seeds of their faith had taken root, He granted them the final glory of martyrdom. In thus treating His soldiers, God acted as a wise general, for many were hostile, and might have ascribed their works to magic had they died an ordinary death, or vanished from before tribunals. 257 To conquer torments by enduring to the end was their best answer to these.

Some paltry critics are prepared to find fault with the saints in either case. If they are protected from death, these would assert that they would never have endured to the end. If they face it to the end, they would say that it proved they were not really righteous men. And so God, in His love for His saints, sometimes rescues them from death, as in the case of Daniel and the three children, and sometimes lets them witness by their death that they are neither cowards nor hypocrites, as in the case of Peter and Paul.]

CHAPTER V. Objection based on Christ's words that many should come in His name, saying, I am Christ (Matt. xxiv. 4, 5).

And there is another dubious little saying which one may manifestly take hold of, when Christ says : "Take heed that no man deceive you; for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many." And behold! three hundred years have passed by, and even more, and no one of the kind has anywhere appeared. Unless indeed you are going to adduce 128 Apollonius of Tyana, 258 a man who was adorned with all philosophy. But you would not find another. Yet it is not concerning one but concerning many that He says that such shall arise.

CHAPTER XV. Answer to the objection based on Christ's words that many should come in His name, saying, I am Christ (Matt. xxiv. 4, 5).

[You only speak thus from ignorance. I can tell you of many men who in Christ's name deceived many, and finally deceived themselves to their ruin.]

At once then I can tell you of Manes in Persia, who imitated the name of Christ, and corrupted by his error many a satrapy and many a country in the East, and up to this day pollutes the world by creeping over it with his injurious seed. 259 And another is Montanus in Phrygia, who, bearing this name, underwent in the name of the Lord an ascetic and unnatural course of life, revealing himself as the abode of a baneful demon, and feeding on his error through all the land of Mysia as far as that of Asia. And so great was the power of the hidden demon which lurked within him, that he very nearly tainted the whole world with the poison of his error. And why should I tell you of Cerinthus and Simon, or Marcion or Bardesanes, 260 or Droserius 261 or Dositheus the Cilician, 262 or countless others whose number I shrink from reckoning. All these and those who affected them, appropriating to themselves the name of Christianity, wrought unspeakable error in the world, and have taken numberless spoils and captives. Moreover, as these are 129 Anti-christs, or contrary to God, their followers are no longer willing to bear the name of Christian, but like to be called, after the name of their leaders, Manichaeans, Montanists, Marcionists, Droserians, and Dositheans. Do you see the baneful armies of many Antichrists terribly inflamed against Christ and the Christians, and then do you say that none of the things has come of which the Saviour prophesied? Do you behold the armed array of those contrary to God, and then do you set aside the Saviour's prediction ? It is not right to do so, but rather to assent to what was said by Him. So much for this objection.]

CHAPTER VI. Objection based on the saying about the Day of Judgment in the Apocalypse of Peter. 263

By way of giving plenty of such sayings, let me quote also what was said in the Apocalypse of Peter. He thus introduces the statement that the heaven will be judged together with the earth. "The earth shall present all men to God in the day of judgment, itself too being about to be judged, together with the heaven which contains it." No one is so uneducated or so stupid as not to know that the things which have to do with earth are subject to disturbance, and are not naturally such as to preserve their order, but are uneven; whereas the things in heaven have an order which remains perpetually alike, and always goes on in the same way, and never suffers alteration, nor indeed will it ever do so. For it stands as God's most exact piece of workmanship. Wherefore it is impossible that the things should be undone which are worthy of a better fate, as being fixed by a divine ordinance which cannot be touched.

And why will heaven be judged ? Will it some day be shown to have committed some sin, though it preserves the order which from the beginning was approved by God, and abides in sameness always ? Unless indeed some one will address the Creator, slanderously asserting 130 that heaven is deserving of judgment, as having allowed the judge to speak any portents against it which are so wondrous and so great. 264

CHAPTER VII. Objection based on the similar words in Isaiah about the heaven being rolled up as a scroll (Isa. xxxiv. 4).

And it 265 makes this statement again, which is full of impiety, saying : "And all the might of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heaven shall be rolled together as a scroll, and all the stars shall fall as leaves from a vine, and as leaves fall from a fig tree." And another boast is made in portentous falsehood and monstrous quackery : "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away " (Matt. xxiv. 35). For, pray, how could any one say that the words of Jesus would stand, if heaven and earth no longer existed ? Moreover, if Christ were to do this and bring heaven down, He would be imitating the most impious of men, even those who destroy their own children. For it is acknowledged by the Son that God is Father of heaven and earth when He says : "Father, Lord of heaven and earth" (Matt. xi. 25). And John the Baptist magnifies heaven and declares that the divine gifts of grace are sent from it, when he says : "A man can do 266 nothing, except it be given him from heaven" (John iii. 27). And the prophets 267 say that neaven is the holy habitation of God, in the words : "look down from thy holy habitation, 268 and bless thy people Israel" (Deut. xxvi. 15).

If heaven, which is so great and of such importance 131 in the witness borne to it, shall pass away, what shall be the seat thereafter of Him who rules over it? And if the element of earth perishes, what shall be the footstool of Him who sits there, for He 269 says: "The heaven is my throne, and the earth is the footstool of my feet." So much for the passing away of heaven and earth.

CHAPTER XVI. Answer to the two objections based on the words of the Apocalypse of Peter and of Isaiah concerning the passing away of heaven and earth.

[It is plain that the passing away of heaven and earth is through no fault of theirs, and equally plain that it must be accepted as a scriptural fact. For even if we pass over the Apocalypse of Peter, 270 we are brought to the same thing by the other two passages---by Isaiah xxxiv. 4 : "The heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll, and all the stars shall fall, as leaves fall from a vine, and as leaves fall from a fig tree"; and by Matthew xxiv. 35: "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."

All the rest of creation was created, not for its own sake, but for man's sake. Man alone was created for his own sake, that he might glorify the wisdom of Him who made him. Not that such glorifying adds to God's glory, any more than for a man to warm himself adds to the warmth of the fire. So man gives God nothing new, but makes himself part of God by his union with the Godhead. 271 So the world was like a great house made for man to live in. But soon he failed to be what the Creator made him, and in utter folly fell and was corrupted with regard to divine things. God therefore 132 resolved to send him to another place through death, in order that, after a separation from the flesh which covered him, he might again bring it to incorruptibility. So, when the master was removed from the house, that house was obliged to undergo what had not been intended for it. Just as it is right for the keeper of a vineyard only to let his tent remain until the fruit is plucked, and then he says farewell to his tent, and also to the beauty of the vineyard, so must the beauty of heaven and earth be lost, as soon as the reasoning essence 272 of man, which abides in the world as in a tent, departs to its own appointed place, when the fruit of righteousness has everywhere been plucked. 273

Thus the world's splendour will be of no more use when man is gone. And yet as man will pass through death into a better and incorruptible state, so will it be with all the world. It will be like a damaged silver vessel, which the artificer melts down, and then makes a new and better one of it. It passes away, but the . "Logos" 274 of it remains with the artificer. Just so Christ says His "Logos" 275 will remain when heaven and earth have passed away. Therefore all created things will in this way have a second and a better beginning. 276

There is a deep meaning in the prophet's words "as leaves fall from a vine or a fig tree." For the fall of the leaves looks like the end of the life of the tree, but it is really the advance to something better. His purpose in choosing out these two particular trees may be either because, owing to careful husbandry, they only cast their leaves once (a type of God's care for His universe), or because, in speaking of the world passing away because 133 of man's sin, it is appropriate to mention the fig, which was the first mark of Adam's fall, in the apron which he made; and the vine, which marked Noah's shame.

There is also a mystic meaning in his words, "The heaven shall be rolled up as a scroll." For the heavenly book of Christ's earthly life was now closed to the disciples, and will only be opened again afresh when man is freed from the decay of this life.

You ask where God's seat will be when His throne and His footstool have passed away. The prophet's words were really meant to make us realise the greatness of One whose relation to the great universe was such. They do not suggest that God will be affected by the change of these things. Indeed, there are many passages in the Psalms ( e.g. cii. 25-27) to prove that God's seat is for ever, and certainly He had a habitation before heaven and earth were created. The Psalmist compares them to an old garment rolled up and changed; such indeed is the work of the heavenly fuller.

Yet another allegory underlies the words. Heaven and earth may mean man, in his twofold nature. His soul is the throne of God the Word, and his body, which Christ took, is His footstool. To this mystery the Baptist refers in his words about the latchet of His shoe (Mark i. 7), and the Psalmist when he says, "Fall down before his footstool, for he is holy" (Ps. xcviii. 5). Although the Word said He would dwell in men and walk in them (2 Cor. vi. 16, from Lev. xxvi. 11, 12), yet men have so sinned that they have fallen like stars, and are no longer fit to be His habitation. Accordingly, there must be a new beginning, "a new heaven and a new earth" (Isa. lxv. 17).]

CHAPTER VIII. Objection based on the comparisons of the grain of mustard seed, etc. (Matt. xiii. 31-33 and 45, 46).

Let us touch on another piece of teaching even more fabulous than this, and obscure as night, contained in the words, "The kingdom of heaven is like unto a grain 134 of mustard seed" ; and again, "The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven"; and once more, "It is like unto a merchant seeking goodly pearls." These imaginings do not come from (real) men, nor even from women who put their trust in dreams. For when any one has a message to give concerning great and divine matters, he is obliged to make use of common things which pertain to men, in order to make his meaning clear, but not such degraded and unintelligible things as these. These sayings, besides being base and unsuitable to such matters, have in themselves no intelligent meaning or clearness. And yet it was fitting that they should be very clear indeed, because they were not written for the wise or understanding, but for babes.

CHAPTER IX. Objection based on Christ's words about revealing these things unto babes (Matt. xi. 25). 277

If indeed it was necessary to express that other utterance, as Jesus says, "I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes," and as it is written in Deuteronomy (xxix. 29), "The hidden things for the Lord our God, and the manifest things for us," 278 therefore the things that are written for the babes and the ignorant ought to be clearer and not wrapped in riddles. For if the mysteries have been hidden from the wise, and unreasonably poured out to babes and those that give suck, it is better to be desirous of senselessness and ignorance, and this is the great achievement of the wisdom of Him who came to earth, to hide the rays of knowledge from the wise, and to reveal them to fools and babes. 135

CHAPTER XVII. Answer to the two objections (Chaps. VIII and IX) based on the comparisons of the grain of mustard seed, etc. (Matt. xiii. 31, etc.), and Christ's words about revealing these things unto babes (Matt. xi. 25).

[Great things are rightly compared with the small things of everyday life. This is just what philosophers do, for to get a conception of our enormous earth in its relation to heaven, they compare it to a mere point, a grain of millet. And even heaven itself was embraced by Aratus of Cilicia 279 in so feeble a thing as a small circle.

Why then should not Christ similarly compare the kingdom of heaven to "leaven" ? For it is the small leaven that fits large quantities of meal for man's food, and this is the way the kingdom affects human society. The woman who took the meal is obviously creation, and the "three measures" of it are either present, past, or future; man's body, soul, and spirit; or the three dimensions.

So again with the "grain of mustard seed" ; it is hot and pungent, useful both for cleansing and for seasoning food, and also of surprising growth. The kingdom has its counterpart in all this, for it cleanses from evil, warms the understanding, and when sown in the world it uplifts men to holiness. Therefore Christ chose, not a sacred bean like the Greeks, 280 but a mustard seed, to show the cleansing power of the kingdom.

The "pearl" likewise is chosen to show its preciousness. The pearl has a watery dwelling at first, which suggests the lowly dwelling of the Godhead in flesh. Then afterwards the heavenly pearl brings its heavenly brightness to all who obtain it through their good works.

The sayings were thus quite clear, and were for those who were babes only in wickedness, and not in knowledge 136 of the mysteries. It is against the wisdom of this world that Christ closed His heavenly doctrines. 281 ]

CHAPTER X. Objection based on the saying about the sick needing a physician, and not the righteous (Matt. ix. 12 ; Luke v. 31).

It is right to examine another matter of a much more reasonable kind (I say this by way of contrast), "They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick." Christ unravels these things to the multitude about His own coming to earth. If then it was on account of those who are weak, as He Himself says, that He faced sins, were not our forefathers weak, and were not Our ancestors diseased with sin ? And if indeed those who are whole need not a physician, and He came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance, so that Paul speaks thus : "Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief" (1 Tim. i. 15); if then this is so, and he that has gone astray is called, and he that is diseased is healed, and the unrighteous is called, but the righteous is not, it follows that he who was neither called nor in need of the healing of the Christians would be a righteous man who had not gone astray. For he who has no need of healing is the man who turns away from the word which is among the faithful, and the more he turns away from it, the more righteous and whole he is, and the less he goes astray.

CHAPTER XVIII. Answer to the objection based on the saying about the sick needing a physician, and not the righteous (Matt. ix. 12; Luke v. 31).

[It is quite plain that in dividing sick and whole, righteous and sinners, Christ is referring to the two kinds of reasonable beings. The "whole"and the "righteous" are the angels, whose pure and uncorruptible nature 137 requires no call to repentance. The "sick" and the "sinners" are the race of, men, whose glory was at first equal to the angels, but they fell into the sickness of sin. 282 The Word in pity came down to call and heal them, as we see in His words: "Behold, thou art made whole, sin no more" (John v. 14). He actually mingled Himself with them and with their life, in order to draw 'hem upward, so that He might rejoice over those on earth as well as those in heaven.

His call began directly man had fallen, with the cry, "Adam, where art thou ?" It was extended to Cain, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses and the prophets. The angels were already close to Him, so there was no need to call them, but He called men, whb were fallen far away. Had men obeyed God's first commands, the Creator would not have become a physician and come down to call them back from disobedience. As it was, He had to cry to one : "What hast thou done?" (Gen. iii. 9); to another, "Come out from thy land" (Gen. xii. 1), etc., calling them to be as Himself.

It is a mistake to suppose that He only called men during His earthly life. Had it been so, He would have said: "I am not here now to call the righteous," etc. But the aorist tense "I came" leaves His coming quite undefined, so that it extends from Adam and the Patriarchs onwards.

And if some have refused the call, the fault is in their own choice. The heavenly sun is like the earthly, whose brightness is for all, and yet some who are drunken remain in the darkness.

Let us now be at peace, unless you have some other cause of perplexity to bring forward.] 138

CHAPTER XIX. Objection based on the saying: "But ye were washed, but ye were sanctified" (1 Cor. vi. 11).

The Philosopher. 283

He, as though roused from some condition of detachment from the earth, directed against us a saying from Homer, speaking thus with no little laughter: "Rightly did Homer order the manly Greeks to be silent, as they had been trained: he published abroad the wavering sentiment of Hector, addressing the Greeks in measured language, saying, 'Stay, ye Argives; smite not, ye Achaean youths; for Hector of the waving plume is resolved to speak a word.'" Even so we now all sit in quietness here; for the interpreter of the Christian doctrines promises us and surely affirms that he will unravel the dark passages of the Scriptures.

Tell therefore, my good sir, to us who are following what you have to say, what the Apostle means when he says, "But such were some of you" (plainly something base), "but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God" (1 Cor. vi. 11). For we are surprised and truly perplexed in mind at such things, if a man, when once he is washed from so many defilements and pollutions, shows himself to be pure ; if by wiping off the stains of so much weakness in his life, fornication, adultery, drunkenness, theft, unnatural vice, poisoning, and countless base and disgusting things, and simply by being baptised and calling on the name of Christ, he is quite easily freed from them, and puts off the whole of his guilt just as a snake puts off his old slough. Who is there who would not, on the strength of these, venture on evil deeds, some mentionable and others not, and do such things as are neither to be uttered in speech nor endured in deeds, in the knowledge that he will receive remission from so many criminal actions only by believing and being baptised, and in the 139 hope that he will after this receive pardon from Him who is about to judge the quick and the dead? These things incline the man who hears them to commit sin, and in each particular he is thus taught to practise what is unlawful. These things have the power to set aside the training of the law, and cause righteousness itself to be of no avail against the unrighteous. They introduce into the world a form of society which is without law, and teach men to have no fear of ungodliness ; when a man sets aside a pile of countless wrongdoings simply by being baptised. Such then is the boastful fiction of the saying.

CHAPTER XXV. Answer to the objection based on the saying: "But ye were washed, but ye were sanctified" (1 Cor. vi. 11).

The Christian. 284

The Greek, by importing such terrible language into his questionings, seemed to be mocking us and casting us into the confusion of perplexity. But we, earnestly imploring in our heart the aid of Him who reveals the deep things of darkness, and makes clear the knowledge of man by His teaching, faced in due season each of the arguments he had spoken. We addressed the band of them thus : "What great themes and how mightily obscure are they in the way you have set them before us ! But accept the plain answer to them, since it is Christ that brings you this interpretation through our means. Hearken then first to the first point, and to the second expressed in the second discourse, then to the third likewise, and the fourth and fifth, and again to the sixth question at issue, along with the seventh." 285

We must therefore speak first of the saying uttered by 140 the Apostle : "And such were some of you; but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the spirit of our God."

[If the sinful creature is sometimes pitied and freely forgiven by his Creator, it is only what we see in things human. The law may decide that a wrongdoer is to be punished, but the king whose law it is may overrule it by his pardoning grace, even though the man does not deserve it, A reprieve from death has often been given thus. Such grace does not conform to the letter of the law, for, if it did, it would not be grace. There are already many things that God's grace gives us which we have not deserved, such as the light of the sun. Rightly then does he give sinners freedom from their sin, as a father pitying his children. But His deed is made to shine forth as a gift of grace, that it may not be ascribed to their own doing. The law does not join in its Master's gift of grace, but punishes the sin; and the Lord does not stoop to the level of the law, but simply forgives it.

A true illustration of all this has just occurred. It is not a story of long ago, for it happened only yesterday. Certain obvious criminals, by supplicating the king during his royal progress, obtained a reversal of their sentence, and were let off without any punishment, while certain others, who did not approach him, were condemned, in spite of their obvious innocence of a share in the crimes committed. 286 Why then should the Apostle be blamed in what he says to those who have been "washed" and freed from the penalty that was theirs under the law?

Note that to the words "Ye were washed" he adds "in the name of the Lord." Just as a signature carries weight either in the army or the law-court if it is in the king's hand, and not if it is in men's own, just so the 141 water only has the power to cleanse from the stain of evil when it has been marked by the name of Christ.]

For the naming of the Saviour Jesus, that mystically takes place upon the water, makes it no longer common water, but causes it to be set apart, and indescribably potent to wash away not only that which shows on the visible body, but the very hidden part of the conscience. It is able to furnish the reason with weapons like an army, and to fill with life the man who is washed in it, so that he no longer fears the threatening of the law, which was hanging over the heads of those who are liable to it. For he flees for refuge to the Master of the law Himself, and receives from Him the whole armour of grace, and is thus able to pierce the battle-line of the passions. See then the defence and the array which follows, see the flash of light given by the Apostle's teaching. He does not say at once "Ye were sanctified," but he puts first "Ye were washed"; for first a man is washed and then he is purified, that is to say, sanctified. For as soda when put in water wipes out the dirt, so the name of Christ, when wrapped in the waters, cleanses him who comes to them from his fall, and reveals him shining with the bright light of grace. Then after the sanctification it completes his justification, when every unrighteous deed has been put off.

He says 287 that this does not befall those who are in a state of salvation in any other way than "in the name of the Lord and the Spirit of God." In a way that is inspired and altogether fitting, he laid down the dogma that grace is supplied to the faithful from the Trinity, when he said it was in the name of the Lord and the Spirit, 288 and not only Spirit, but God's Spirit. For he 142 thus names the Godhead of the Three, by saying, not "in the names" but "in the name." For there is one name of God both upon the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and God is one in three Persons, and is so named. The Father does not receive the believer without the Son, nor does the Son bring any one to the Father apart from the Spirit. For behold the mystic sense in which he said, "But ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified." For the man whom Jesus has washed, is sanctified by the Spirit. And the Father justifies him whom the Spirit has sanctified. This is not because Christ in washing him cannot sanctify, nor that the Spirit in sanctifying has not power to justify, nor that the Father in justifying is too weak to wash or sanctify whomsoever He wills. For the Father is sufficient both to wash and to sanctify and to justify all things, and the Son and the Holy Spirit likewise. But it is fitting that the Son, as Son, should adopt men as sons, and that the Holy Spirit, as Spirit, should sanctify them, and that the Father should justify him that receives sanctification, in order that the name of the three Persons may be known in one essence. 289 The Apostle was instructed in this opinion by the Gospel, where it says, "Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost" (Matt, xxviii. 19), and so he welcomes at the laver of baptism the name of the Trinity, saying, "But ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God."

[If men ever use the gift as an opportunity for sinning, it is not the fault of Him who gives the grace, any more than it is the fault of one who gives a dinner, if the guests get drunk at it. You speak of men afterwards going on still in their evil ways; but if they do, they cut themselves off from the blessings which their baptism 143 has brought, and receive no pity, but cause harm to themselves by their very treatment of the gift.]

CHAPTER XX. Objection based on the Monarchy of God. 290

But let us make a thorough investigation concerning the single rule 291 of the only God and the manifold rule of those who are worshipped as gods. You do not know how to expound the doctrine even of the single rule. For a monarch is not one who is alone in his existence, but who is alone in his rule. Clearly he rules over those who are his fellow-tribesmen, men like himself, just as the Emperor Hadrian was a monarch, not because he existed alone, nor because he ruled over oxen and sheep (over which herdsmen or shepherds rule), but because he ruled over men who shared his race and possessed the same nature. Likewise God would not properly be called a monarch, unless He ruled over other gods; for this would befit His divine greatness and His heavenly and abundant honour.

CHAPTER XXVI. Answer to objection based on the Monarchy of God.

[As you have taken an image to express the rule of one God over many, the first point in my answer must be the matter of similarity in name. 292 It is quite wrong to suppose that because things bear the same name they must be identical in reality. For example, the name 144 of "warm" is given both to the fire and to the man who is warmed by it, but it is only the fire that is so by nature. He who has warmed himself is also warm, but only relatively. 293 So God alone is a god absolutely; the others are only such relatively, 294 although the name of "God" may be given to "gods many and lords many." God rules not as having the same name as other gods and therefore as one of them, but as supreme, and without being one of them. He is uncreate, and they are creatures, whom He has made, and it is thus that He rules over them. He does not grudge them the name of god if they simply draw their divinity from nearness to Him ; it is when they turn away from Him that they fall into darkness.

The case of Hadrian is not a parallel, for as man he cannot be master of his fellow-men (who are like himself), but only as having the added power of tyrant. Bat God's is not a tyrannical rule over those who are like Himself, but a loving rule over His inferiors.

We may liken Him to the sun, which gives things light and beauty till they themselves are bright, and yet receives nothing back from them. Just so God makes the angels shine with a reflected Godhead, though they have no part in His actual deity.

And so the right thing to do is to worship Him who is God absolutely. To worship one who is merely such relatively is as great a mistake as to hope to get heat and light from a red-hot iron instead of from the fire itself, for the metal will soon resume its own nature. Such is the case of the man who worships an angel or any other spiritual being except the one true God.

As the sun gives light to all, and yet loses none, and as the teacher imparts his teaching and yet retains his wisdom, so does God give all things and yet lack none, and so did power go out from Christ to heal the sick, and yet it remained within Him.] 145

CHAPTER XXI. Objection based on the immortal angels (Matt. xxii. 29-30), and the finger of God, with which He wrote on the tables of stone (Exod. xxxi. 18).

At any rate, if you say that angels stand before God, who are not subject to feeling and death, and immortal in their nature, whom we ourselves speak of as gods, because they are close to the Godhead, why do we dispute about a name ? And are we to consider it only a difference of nomenclature ? 295 For she who is called by the Greeks Athene is called by the Romans Minerva; and the Egyptians, Syrians, and Thracians address her by some other name. But I suppose nothing in the invocation of the goddess is changed or lost by the difference of the names. The difference therefore is not great, whether a man calls them gods or angels, since their divine nature bears witness to them, as when Matthew writes thus: "And Jesus answered and said, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God; for in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels in heaven" (Matt. xxii. 29-30). Since therefore He confesses that the angels have a share in the divine nature, 296 those who make a suitable object of reverence for the gods, do not think that the god 297 is in the wood or stone or bronze from which the image is manufactured, nor do they consider that, if any part of the statue is cut off, it detracts from the power of the god. For the images of living creatures and the temples were set up by the ancients for the sake of remembrance, in order that those who approach thither might come to the knowledge of the god when they go; or, that, as they 146 observe a special time and purify themselves generally, 298 they may make use of prayers and supplications, asking from them the things of which each has need. For if a man makes an image of a friend, of course he does not think that the friend is in it, or that the limbs of his body are included in the various parts of the representation ; but honour is shown towards the friend by means of the image. But in the case of the sacrifices that are brought to the gods, these are hot so much a bringing of honour to them as a proof of the inclination of the worshippers, to show that they are not without a sense of gratitude. It is reasonable that the form of the statues should be the fashion of a man, since man is reckoned to be the fairest of living creatures and an image of God. It is possible to get hold of this doctrine from another saying, which asserts positively that God has fingers, with which He writes, saying, "And he gave to Moses the two tables which were written by the finger of God" (Exod. xxxi. 18). Moreover, the Christians also, imitating the erection of the temples, build very large houses, 299 into which they go together and pray, although there is nothing to prevent them from doing this in their own houses, since the Lord 300 certainly hears from every place. 147

CHAPTER XXVII. Answer to the objection based on the immortal angels (Matt. xxii. 29-30), and the finger of God, with which He wrote on the tables of stone (Exod. xxxi. 18).

Further, we will state the proposition in due measure concerning the angels and their immortality, and how in the kingdom of heaven "they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as angels in heaven." Christ, wishing to show the blessedness of those who have been granted to dwell in the heavenly place, and the misfortune of those who dwell amid the corruption of the earth, and have received their condition through the unclean growth of the flesh, being begotten and begetting and departing quickly like leaves, conveys the following meaning: "Those who have been thought worthy to enter into a life which knows no destruction, embark on a course which is worthy of kings, and is such as the angels have. They are rid of physical union, they no longer experience death, nor even birth, and are shut off from earthly embraces and bonds." He said this in order that any man who was well disposed, on hearing of a rational existence in heaven, which is associated with the Word of immortality, might adapt his life to the imitation of them, 301 and in his deeds would zealously affect their merit, refraining from marriage and fleeing from the symbols of corruption. And in the end he would pass through the door of death, and rise, with earthly weights removed, to the hall of the blessed, that is, of the angels. He does not however represent them by fashioning images of them, 302 as you yourself declare, nor does he speak to 148 what is a shadow and rejoice in that which his imagination has created, associating with things soulless and material as if they were possessed of life, delighting in dead visions of forms, bringing his supplication to a dumb thing which he has moulded, deciding that the divine lurks in stone and wood, imagining that such matter as cannot be held at all, is held by bronze and iron, and picturing in a dead vision and without any sense that he is catching that which cannot be caught. 303

And again, if it be true that angels have sometimes appeared in human form, yet they were not really that which appeared, but that which they were was invisible. And if any one fashions a picture or a representation in bronze, he does not make that which it really is, nor does he enclose its nature therein.

[As for God being so material as to have "fingers," etc., Scripture does not mean that He can be divided into limbs and parts of a body. This is not meant to refer to His nature, but He is thus spoken of in order that men may understand. To suppose that God has material fingers and other parts because man must conceive of Him thus, is no more true than that it is a real lion that a man has seen when he has beheld one in a dream. Similarly the angels who appeared to Abraham were not really of the human form and behaviour they appeared to be, as is sufficiently proved by the way they consumed the food offered them. So Abraham made no image of them, except in the mindful tablets of his mind.] 149

CHAPTER XXII. Objection based on the Incarnation of the Word.

But even supposing any one of the Greeks were so light-minded as to think that the gods dwell within the statues, his idea would be a much purer one than that of the man who believes that the Divine entered into the womb of the Virgin Mary, and became her unborn child, before being born and swaddled in due course, for it is a place full of blood and gall, and things more unseemly still.

CHAPTER XXVIII. Answer to the objection based on the Incarnation of the Word.

If it seems to you far preferable that the Divine should be pleased to dwell in a statue, and not have been made flesh in Mary on account of the humiliation of such an experience, listen more fully to the mystery of the doctrine, how that the all-sufficient and creative Word, though He be great and powerful and far removed from feeling, yet has not feared to face all the things that are a cause of shame among ourselves. For He is without feeling in that wherein He is not ashamed to be born like men who are subject to feeling. He is without defilement in that wherein He receives no corruption through wickedness. Therefore the Word is made flesh, not lowering Himself to the disease or humiliation of the flesh, but leading the things of the flesh to His own immortality. For just as the sun when it descends into wetness does not receive a sense of wetness, and is not found to be muddy, but dries up the wetness of the mud, keeping the water away from itself altogether, and not having its rays affected, even so God the Word, who is the Sun of the world of mind, though descending to the flesh, draws up no sickness therefrom, and is not found either overcome by its passions or falling by reason of the weakness of its evil nature. On the contrary, by leading it up from its slippery places, and dragging it up out of its 150 misfortunes, He set it in a divine blessedness that was allotted to it, giving it warmth when it was wasting away, and holding it together when it was being dissolved by its sins. The result was to make it irresistible and invincible and able to conquer the assaults of its defects, so that the flesh might retain its nature and yet disown the accusation which that nature involves, preserving its limits and yet rejecting the confusion which those limits cause. This is the reason that He worked out the fulfilment of the dispensation, not in any other thing, but in the flesh. Nor did He do this in flesh of any unique kind, but in human flesh, and moreover in that of a virgin. This was in order that He might show that it was from the virgin earth that He took the flesh and made it in the beginning, as the dwelling-place of mind and reason and soul, and in like manner He now prepared a temple for Himself from a maid and virgin, without needing the hand and art of man. Pray, which is the more precious of the two---soil, or a virgin? Man or mud ? Surely man is superior to mud, and a virgin more precious than soil. If, therefore, God is not ashamed to take soil from the earth, but works in muddy material and fashions man from it, how will He delay to take man from man, or how will He hesitate to wear flesh from a virgin ? Will He not set aside all lingering and delay, and take hold of that compound which is more precious than the earth, and make from it an image that bears His Godhead, in the birth of the Only-begotten ? 304 It is as dwelling in this image that He shakes the world by the beauty of His virtue, and flashes light upon all by the grace of His gift.

Prometheus, whose story is well known among yourselves, fashions man, and there is no shame at all about it. And Zeus makes in Athena a woman who came to life, and you approve of the myth and magnify the fact, without seeing anything shameful in it or reckoning it a 151 misfortune, and not enquiring into the question of hidden parts. And yet, if there is really any shame about it at all, it is much more shameful to fashion parts and conceal them with certain coverings, than to pass through them for the sake of the dispensation and the word that brings profit. 305 For he who makes a building and then turns round and refuses to live in it, stands self-accused, and is an implacable judge of himself, because he did not reckon that there was any question of shame when he was making it; but after its completion, he slanders the result of his own labours, by judging the work on which he has lavished his care to be unfit to dwell in. So the Deity, in making man, incurs the charge of injustice, if He is ashamed to dwell in him, and refuses to take His portion from him. For by so doing He has made the workmanship of His own exertion to be of no value at all, and has slandered all His own wisdom by ignoring it, because He made a representation of His own glory, and then decided that it was shameful to dwell in it.

CHAPTER XXIII. Objection based on the saying: "Thou shalt not revile gods" (Exod. xxii. 28).

I could also give proof to you of that insidious name of "gods" from the law, when it cries out and admonishes the hearer with much reverence, "Thou, shalt not revile gods, and thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people." For it does not speak to us of other gods than those already within our reckoning, from what we know in the words, "Thou shalt not go after gods" (Jer. vii. 6); and again, "If ye go and worship other gods" (Deut. xii. 28). It is not men, but the gods who are held in honour by us, that are meant, not only by Moses, but by his successor Joshua. For he says to the people, "And now fear him and serve him alone, and put away the gods whom your fathers served" (Josh. xxiv. 14). And it is not concerning men, 152 but incorporeal beings that Paul says, "For though there be that are called gods, whether on earth or in heaven, yet to us there is but one God and Father, of whom are all things" (1 Cor. viii. 5). Therefore you make a great mistake in thinking that God is angry if any other is called a god, and obtains the same title as Himself. For even rulers do not object to the title from their subjects, 306 nor masters from slaves. And it is not right to think that God is more petty-minded than men. Enough then about the fact that gods exist, and ought to receive honour.

CHAPTER XXIX. Answer to the objection based on the saying: " Thou shall not revile gods " (Exod. xxii. 28).

[So we must be afraid to hold such an opinion, but we must confess that God took our flesh, and not think of Him as dwelling in statues. 307 Nor must we call the four elements gods, nor deify the stars, even though the name of their motion may suggest it. 308 It is the charioteer and not the horses that receives the crown of victory, and the honour must be all for God who guides the stars. Even though statues were actually to talk, we must not give them honour. The words of Moses, "Thou shall not revile gods," are spoke of men, not gods. What he means is that those may be called "gods" to whom the word of God has come, just as those are called warm whom the fire has warmed. 309 It is only men's folly that has imagined God to be in images. Moses does not mean supernatural gods in this sense, for no one would uselessly revile such a god, which had no consciousness whereby to perceive his abuse. The Deity is no more interfered 153 with by men bearing His name, than a man would be by a dog being called after him. To call mean things " gods" does God Himself no harm, it is only mocking the name. God is not angry at it, but it only brings harm on those who do it.]

CHAPTER XXIV. Objection based on the resurrection of the flesh. 310

Let us once again discuss the question of the resurrection of the dead. For what is the reason that God should act thus, and upset in this random way the succession of events that has held good until now, whereby He ordained that races should be preserved and not come to an end, though from the beginning He has laid down these laws and framed things thus? The things which have once been determined by God, and preserved through such long ages, ought to be everlasting, and ought not to be condemned by Him who wrought them, and destroyed as if they had been made by some mere man, and arranged as mortal things by one who is himself a mortal. Wherefore it is ridiculous if, when the whole is destroyed, the resurrection shall follow, and if He shall raise---shall we say ?---the man who died three years before the resurrection, and along with him Priam and Nestor who died a thousand years before, and others who lived before them from the beginning of the human race. And if any one is prepared to grasp even this, he will find that the question of the resurrection is one full of silliness. For many have often perished in the sea, and their bodies have been consumed by fishes, while many have been eaten by wild beasts and birds. How then is it possible for their bodies to rise up? Come then, and let us put to the test this statement which is so lightly made. Let us take an example. A man was shipwrecked, the 154 mullets devoured his body, next these were caught and eaten by some fishermen, who were killed and devoured by dogs; when the dogs died ravens and vultures feasted on them and entirely consumed them. How then will the body of the shipwrecked man be brought together, seeing that it was absorbed by so many creatures? Again, suppose another body to have been consumed by fire, and another to have come in the end to the worms, how is it possible for it to return to the essence 311 which was there from the beginning ?

You will tell me that this is possible with God, but this is not true. For all things are not possible with Him ; He simply cannot bring it about that Homer should not have become a poet, or that Troy should not be taken. Nor indeed can He make twice two, which make the number four, to be reckoned as a hundred, even though this may seem good to Him. Nor can God ever become evil, even though He wishes; nor would He be able to sin, as being good by nature. If then He is unable to sin or to become evil, this does not befall Him through His weakness. In the case of those who have a disposition and fitness for a certain thing, and then are prevented from doing it, it is clear that it is by their weakness that they are prevented. But God is by nature good, and is not prevented from being evil; nevertheless, even though He is not prevented, he cannot become bad.

And pray consider a further point. How unreasonable it is if the Creator shall stand by and see the heaven melting, though no one ever conceived anything more wonderful than its beauty, and the stars falling, and the earth perishing ; and yet He will raise up the rotten and corrupt bodies of men, some of them, it is true, belonging to admirable men, but others without charm or symmetry before they died, and affording a most unpleasant sight. Again, even if He could easily make them rise in a comely form, it would be impossible for the earth to hold all those who had died from the beginning of the world, if they were to rise again. 155

CHAPTER XXX. Answer to the objection based on the resurrection of the flesh.

[Do not raise an uproar against me, for there is no doubt that the resurrection is a difficulty. I will speak simply, and not with any flowery language which might deceive, like a base coin washed over with gold.]

First of all we may fitly consider the following point: has that which is created come into being from what existed already or not? If it was from what had an existence, there was no sense in attaching a beginning to it. But if such a beginning has to be attached, the reason is quite plain ( i.e. that it was made from nothing). But if, from being nothing, God has given it an existence, what kind of essence 312 did He grant to that which had none just before? For He who brought into being that which was not, will be all the more likely to preserve that which came into existence, even when it is dissolved, and to think it deserving of a better conclusion to be added. For it is the property of a nature that is unbegotten to change for the better the existence of the things that are begotten, and to lead to a renewal the things which He has created in time, and to wipe off with grace the things which were stained with the poison of wickedness, and to consider the things which were exhausted as worthy of a second beginning and a kind of remaking. For the world, after again receiving a better form and covering, does not dissolve its being, but on the contrary, it rejoices in being clothed with a fairer beauty than that which it received before. It befits the Divine alone to remain in a state of sameness, but for creation it is suitable that it should suffer change and alteration. Therefore the present life and order is our guide, leading us like children to the future assembly of immortality, and preparing us to face the glory that will lead us upward. For our present life is like a womb 156 containing a babe, for it holds down the whole being of things in obscurity, in the forgetfulness of ignorance, where the light does not penetrate. The whole of what is growing must rise from the present age as from the membrane which holds it in the womb, and must receive a second mode of life in the light of the abiding place which is inviolable.

You would like to think that corruption goes on without end, that it is born in foulness and dies in filth, that it begets and is begotten and is covered in forgetfulness, that evil flourishes and calamity increases, that it melts through want and grows thin through poverty, suffering ill by day and sleeping by night, eating in luxury and then again in bitterness weighed down with satiety, and suffering in scarcity ; a state alike of slavery and mastership, the rich man standing up and the poor man lying down, the old man falling and the young man rising, the breasts of women growing and the babe receiving suck, sorrow being brought by care and disease by toil, the life of the country hated and the life of the city welcomed, equality being shunned and that which is unequal being sought after, the nature of things troubled by much anomaly, cast down in winter and burning in summer, brightened by the flowers of spring in their season, and nourished by the fruits of autumn, digging the earth and working its clods . . . making a tragedy of existence and a comedy of life. . . . And that the hateful covering of these things should never pass away, even late in time, nor their dark robe disappear ; that the soul should never be free from the inhuman earth; that lamentation should never be silent ; . . . that the violence of tyrants should never die; . . . that the toil of those that groan should never be lightened, nor the tears of the mourners comforted ; that the virtues of those who have mastered themselves should never shine forth, nor the boasting of the proud be quenched ; that the deeds of the unrighteous should never be punished, nor the success of the righteous be seen ; that there should be no judgment of the cunning of quackery and no honour for the guilelessness of the sincere; . . . that the earth should 157 never be freed from pollutions, 313 nor the sea have rest from navigation ; 314 that the world should not be turned round like a wheel and preserve its essence while changing its form ; that everything in the whole world should not receive a renewal apart from the things which transcend it, nor receive a genuine newness of life; that the order of things should never put off its disorder, nor cast aside the unseemliness which it has now, but retain its grievous garb beyond the limits of time, and be yet more exhausted by its calamities !

For that which appears to be brought down upon the world as wholly a ruin and a destruction is really the beginning of immortality and the starting-point of salvation. For a second beautifying of life will make it a success, when rational nature shall a second time receive in the resurrection the word of a beginning which will be indissoluble. It is for the sake of man that the whole suffers change, seeing that it was also for his sake that at the outset it was deemed worthy of a beginning. Man was made on his own account, not on account of any other being, but heaven and earth and the things that appertain to them are created on man's account, and when he receives a change and alteration, the whole must be changed and wiped out along with him. Think of an architect who builds a house to begin with, and then when it has grown weak in course of time and come to an end by a fall, he raises it up again and considers it worthy of better workmanship and comeliness, not troubling himself which stone was laid first in the beginning or which was second or third in the building ; but he erects it by setting in the last stones among the first and the first among the last, and the middle ones haphazard, not in the least disturbing the plan of the erection thereby, nor causing the arrangement of his workmanship to be found fault with; but, by applying suitable adornment to the house and decorating the form of its appearance, he receives abundant praise 158 for his skill. Just in the same way God became the maker of reasoning beings like an architect making a house, and created man in the beginning, and built him as the sacred abode of divine power, composed of many kindred races like stones. And after he has been made for many ages and seasons, and has fallen by many experiences of sins, and in the end is altogether undone and destroyed, He will raise him up again, and will bring nature together with skilful understanding and wise authority, and will gather together the things that have been scattered, allowing none of the things that have fallen to perish; and, even though He place the first among the last in His arrangement, and bring those at the end into the first rank of merit, He will not at all disturb what He has done, but will grant that setting forth of the resurrection which is suitable to each.

And even if it is as you say, and Priam or Nestor died a thousand years ago, while some other man may die three days before the resurrection, none of them when he rises again will feel either measureless grief or abundance of joy therefrom, but each of them will receive what is suitable to him in accordance with his own deeds, and he will not have either blame or praise for the arrangement of the resurrection, neither for its speediness nor again for its tardiness, but it will be his own manner of life that he will either delight in or find fault with. For with God a period of a thousand years is reckoned as one brief day (cf. 2 Peter iii. 8), 315 and again the brief space, if He thinks fit, becomes the stretching out of countless ages. Therefore these are the words of petty folk, when they say, "If He is going to raise up the man who died three days before in like manner as the man of a thousand years before, He does a very great injustice."

[For in ancient times men lived to be five hundred or more, and the man who died just before the resurrection may have had a sorry life and not lived to be thirty. It is doubtless in accordance with a divine plan that the 159 former should sleep the longest, and the latter should receive speedier consolation.

As for your childish objection based on the shipwrecked man who was eaten by fishes and they by men, the men by dogs, and the dogs by vultures, making it impossible for his resurrection to take place, your words are like those of a man dreaming in a drunken sleep.]

For you suggest that He who makes the fire would not have the power to work in the way that fire does, in bringing about the resurrection. For when there is silver and gold lying in the soil, or lead and tin, bronze and iron, as it were hidden away somewhere, fire, by burning the soil and heating the material, brings out the silver and gold, etc., so as to separate them, allowing none of their essence to perish, unless there is something earthy in them anywhere which admits of destruction. If then the power of fire is so strong and has such a drastic effect that it brings out pure material from some other material, and preserves the essence of each undestroyed, even though the gold has fallen into countless cavities, and is dissolved into endless fragments and scattered into mire or clay, in heaps of earth or of dung; and if the fire, when applied to all, preserves the gold and expels the substance of the parts that are destructible, what are we to say about Him who ordained the nature of the fire ? Pray would He not have the power without even an effort to change man, His rational treasure more precious than gold, who is contained in matter of various kinds, and to set before Him safe and sound those who have perished by land or sea, in rivers or in lakes, those who have been eaten by wild beasts or birds, those who have been dissolved into fine dust that cannot be measured ? Will He be found to be less effective than the fire? And will He be impotent by the arguments you have adduced ?

As for that strange phantasy which has come into your head, that God cannot do all things, you think to shape it into plausibility by means of your arguments, but it is really like a prop without 160 foundation, and does not stand. How shall we make it clear to you that God has power to do all things ? Shall it be from the divine essence itself, or from the sense of fitness ? Or shall we test the question from both of the two, and expound to you first, if that is what you like, the meaning of the point at issue as judged from the inviolable nature itself? For instance, if God is able to make that which has been made to be not made, that which is created necessarily changes into that which is uncreated. But if we grant this, it follows that we may argue that there are two uncreated things; or rather, nothing is created, but the whole is uncreated. From such reasoning much that is fabulous results, for in this way even that which is uncreated will be created. But when that which is uncreated comes under the head of the created, the argument about the created does not stand. For who will be the maker of the created, if the uncreated does not exist?

Akin to this is the question whether God, who is uncreated, can make Himself created. As some say that it is impossible for the uncreated to become created, He cannot do so. And since He is righteous, He will grant justice by avenging the downtrodden. For if He were not to do this, His power would manifestly be nothing but slackness and folly, that He should make all things and penetrate them by a law of creation, and then that He should despise them, giving no honour to that which welcomed virtue in this life, and no judgment to that which gave heed to wickedness during the course of existence; but that He should allow that which is good and its opposite to be plunged alike in forgetfulness, neither crowning the virtue as virtue nor laying bare the wickedness, . . . but simply allowing human nature to be tossed about in silence, as though it had no existence, and making no investigation of either the wickedness in it or the virtue. Such a belief as this does not suit with the divine providence, nor does this idea accord with the immortal nature. On the contrary, it is altogether different, and quite strange and foreign to the attitude of Him who 161 is inviolable 316 and far removed from it, that God should thus have no care for the things of His own creation, standing by and watching the destruction of the theory of His creative workmanship, and paying no heed when men depart into obscurity.

We conclude therefore that He will raise up all things, and will grant them a second existence. He will judge the world for the things wherein it has sinned, sparing those who have believed in Him sincerely, and punishing those who were not willing to receive Him, nor reverencing the mystery of His appearing. All the colts that are signed with the king's letter and mark are deemed worthy of a royal stable and manger; and even though they be feeble in body and ineffective in strength and sluggish in running, and though they be not like the rest in condition, yet because of that which is marked on them 317 they are precious and honourable. But all those that have not the royal branding, even though they may be nimble and swift, and impossible to overtake, and though they be of good racing ancestry, and of high renown, are nevertheless expelled from the royal stables (and this illustration is not a myth or the narrative of a story-teller, but a genuine record, and a true relation of known facts). Just in the same way all who were sealed with the sign of salvation, who engraved the almighty Name on the tablet of their soul, all who judged their confession towards God more potent than their own sins, these have escaped the danger of the judgment to come, and sailed without harm past what may be called Charybdis, gazing with the eye of faith on the common light of their salvation and the abundant redemption of Him who came to earth. For as the man who had put on a breastplate strong and thick and that cannot be loosed from his shoulders, is unwounded in war, and is not taken prisoner when terrors stand round about him, even so the man who has put on the confession of Him who is mightier than he, has no fear of the threatening of universal judgment. For as the fire does not consume 162 that which is called "inviolable," 318 and does not burn the sword but brightens and tempers it, so those who are dipped in the inviolable Name will never be affected by fire or by judgment, which will flee before the Name which is named upon them.

If a man has an eye that is able to see, the sun fills it with abundant light when it is opened, but when the eye is shut it commits it to darkness. The sun itself does nothing wrong, and does not harm his vision; but the man who is possessed of sight has brought his own penalty. He is not wronged by the sun's rays, but he made darkness for himself out of those things in which he might have shown himself to be co-operating with the light, by receiving a proof of light in his seeing the sun, and by having a proof of darkness in his not seeing it, he himself being in both cases his own arbiter and judge. Even thus a man who believes in God and trusts in Him, who may be termed the divine light of the mind, is found to be a partner of God in whom he believes, shunning the darkness of ignorance and want of knowledge, and nourished by the brightness of heavenly doctrines, being himself aware of salvation beforehand through beholding the divine, and having in his own possession, as a great and sufficient preservation of his faith, the remedy of salvation. But the man who is disabled by the blindness of wilful unbelief, and, turning away from the brightness of the light in which all may share, moves in the darkness like some creature swimming in the depths of the sea, showing no fulfilment of the good deeds of virtue, receives no praise even though he be wise apart from the light. And even though he co-operate with those who are near him, he receives no dignity; and even if he does what is righteous but does not take the light as test and judge, his labours are subject to blame, and he does not escape from accusation. And even though his soul be trained in natural righteousness, hating plunder and refraining from theft, not breaking through the rights of other men's marriages, not despising or insulting his neighbour, 163 but fighting for his fatherland, enduring ills on behalf of his kindred, and showing all kinds of excellences in his deeds, he is without sanctification and does everything to no purpose, since he does not accept the mastership of Him who perishes not, as the judge of all that is done by him.

For as beauty has no praise apart from the beauty of the light, and a reckoning does not receive its completion apart from the measuring rule of the things that are measured, even so right action and all the virtue and ordering of men's deeds, when it does not accept as test and judge the unsleeping eye of that gaze which beholds all things, is like a pearl hidden in the mud, the beauty of which is not seen in the light but is concealed in a rubbish heap. 319 For tell me, who will crown or reward the restraint of the man who has self-control ? Who will honour the soldier with pay after his deed of valour? Who will deem worthy of rewards the man who has contended in the games ? Is not his running, merely considered in itself, a matter of blame? Is not the success of the man who has done his soldiering to no purpose apart from his general ? Is not the contest of him who has the mastery of himself a pitiable thing without one to crown him ? Is not the tribute of subjects of no benefit without a king? Even thus the issue of every kind of righteousness is stripped of the reward of the good, if it be not done in the name and to the honour of the Creator. And, on the other hand, any man who believes that there is One who is potent to behold and judge his deeds and activities, even though he be full of guilt, and the servant of unholy practices, and though he have set himself to be a follower of abominable deeds, by bringing the examination of his own deeds before the eyes of the Creator (just as the sick man discloses the affections of his body to a sympathetic physician), he is freed from all grief and trouble, and is rid of the countless stripes of his transgressions. For the Saviour is able to sa--- . . .

(Here the Athens MS. ends.)


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