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Chapter V.—By the Rule of Antiquity, the Catholic Gospels are Found to Be True, Including the Real St. Luke’s. Marcion’s Only a Mutilated Edition. The Heretic’s Weakness and Inconsistency in Ignoring the Other Gospels.35853585 [On this whole chapter and subject, consult Kaye, pp. 278–289.]
On the whole, then, if that is evidently more true which is earlier, if that is earlier which is from the very beginning, if that is from the beginning which has the apostles for its authors, then it will certainly be quite as evident, that that comes down from the apos350tles, which has been kept as a sacred deposit35863586 Sacrosanctum. Inviolate. Westcott, On the Canon, p. 384. Compare De Præscript. Hæret. c. 36, supra. in the churches of the apostles. Let us see what milk the Corinthians drank from Paul; to what rule of faith the Galatians were brought for correction; what the Philippians, the Thessalonians, the Ephesians read by it; what utterance also the Romans give, so very near35873587 De proximo. Westcott renders this, “who are nearest to us.” See in loco. (to the apostles), to whom Peter and Paul conjointly35883588 et…et. [N.B. Not Peter’s See, then.] bequeathed the gospel even sealed with their own blood. We have also St. John’s foster churches.35893589 Alumnas ecclesias. He seems to allude to the seven churches of the Apocalypse. For although Marcion rejects his Apocalypse, the order35903590 [Not the Order of bishops (as we now speak) but of their succession from St. John. Kaye, p. 219.] of the bishops (thereof), when traced up to their origin, will yet rest on John as their author. In the same manner is recognised the excellent source35913591 Generositas. of the other churches. I say, therefore, that in them (and not simply such of them as were founded by apostles, but in all those which are united with them in the fellowship of the mystery of the gospel of Christ35923592 De societate sacramenti. [i.e. Catholic Unity.]) that Gospel of Luke which we are defending with all our might has stood its ground from its very first publication; whereas Marcion’s Gospel is not known to most people, and to none whatever is it known without being at the same time35933593 Eadem. condemned. It too, of course,35943594 Plane. has its churches, but specially its own—as late as they are spurious; and should you want to know their original,35953595 Censum. you will more easily discover apostasy in it than apostolicity, with Marcion forsooth as their founder, or some one of Marcion’s swarm.35963596 Examine. Even wasps make combs;35973597 Favos. See Pliny, Nat. Hist. xi. 21. so also these Marcionites make churches. The same authority of the apostolic churches will afford evidence35983598 Patrocinabitur. [Jones on the Canon, Vol. I. p. 66.] to the other Gospels also, which we possess equally through their means,35993599 Proinde per illas. and according to their usage—I mean the Gospels of John and Matthew—whilst that which Mark published may be affirmed to be Peter’s36003600 See Hieronymus, Catal. Scriptt. Eccles. c. 8. whose interpreter Mark was. For even Luke’s form36013601 Digestum. of the Gospel men usually ascribe to Paul.36023602 See above, chap. 2, p. 347. And it may well seem36033603 Capit videri. that the works which disciples publish belong to their masters. Well, then, Marcion ought to be called to a strict account36043604 Flagitandus. concerning these (other Gospels) also, for having omitted them, and insisted in preference36053605 Potius institerit. on Luke; as if they, too, had not had free course in the churches, as well as Luke’s Gospel, from the beginning. Nay, it is even more credible that they36063606 The Gospels of the apostles John and Matthew, and perhaps Mark’s also, as being St. Peter’s. existed from the very beginning; for, being the work of apostles, they were prior, and coeval in origin with36073607 Dedicata cum. the churches themselves. But how comes it to pass, if the apostles published nothing, that their disciples were more forward in such a work; for they could not have been disciples, without any instruction from their masters? If, then, it be evident that these (Gospels) also were current in the churches, why did not Marcion touch them—either to amend them if they were adulterated, or to acknowledge them if they were uncorrupt? For it is but natural36083608 Competit. that they who were perverting the gospel, should be more solicitous about the perversion of those things whose authority they knew to be more generally received. Even the false apostles (were so called) on this very account, because they imitated the apostles by means of their falsification. In as far, then, as he might have amended what there was to amend, if found corrupt, in so far did he firmly imply36093609 Confirmavit. that all was free from corruption which he did not think required amendment. In short,36103610 Denique. he simply amended what he thought was corrupt; though, indeed, not even this justly, because it was not really corrupt. For if the (Gospels) of the apostles36113611 Apostolica, i.e., evangelia. have come down to us in their integrity, whilst Luke’s, which is received amongst us,36123612 That is, the canonical Gospel of St. Luke, as distinct from Marcion’s corruption of it. [N.B. “Us” = Catholics.] so far accords with their rule as to be on a par with them in permanency of reception in the churches, it clearly follows that Luke’s Gospel also has come down to us in like integrity until the sacrilegious treatment of Marcion. In short, when Marcion laid hands on it, it then became diverse and hostile to the Gospels of the apostles. I will therefore advise his followers, that they either change these Gospels, however late to do so, into a conformity with their own, whereby they may seem to be in agreement with the apostolic writings (for they are daily retouching their work, as daily they are convicted by us); or else that they blush for their master, who stands self-condemned36133613 Traducto. either way—when once36143614 Nunc—nunc. he hands on the truth of the gospel conscience smitten, or again36153615 Nunc—nunc. subverts it by shameless tampering. 351Such are the summary arguments which we use, when we take up arms36163616 Expedimur. against heretics for the faith36173617 Fide, integrity. of the gospel, maintaining both that order of periods, which rules that a late date is the mark of forgers,36183618 Posteritati falsariorum præscribentem. and that authority of churches36193619 [Mark the authority of churches. He uses the plural—quod ab omnibus.] which lends support to the tradition of the apostles; because truth must needs precede the forgery, and proceed straight from those by whom it has been handed on.
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