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Chapter XXVII.—Christ’s Reprehension of the Pharisees Seeking a Sign. His Censure of Their Love of Outward Show Rather Than Inward Holiness. Scripture Abounds with Admonitions of a Similar Purport. Proofs of His Mission from the Creator.
I prefer elsewhere refuting45754575 Purgare. the faults which the Marcionites find in the Creator. It is here enough that they are also found in Christ.45764576 From the Marcionite point of view. Behold how unequal, inconsistent, and capricious he is! Teaching one thing 394and doing another, he enjoins “giving to every one that seeks;” and yet he himself refuses to give to those “who seek a sign.”45774577 Luke xi. 29. For a vast age he hides his own light from men, and yet says that a candle must not be hidden, but affirms that it ought to be set upon a candlestick, that it may give light to all.45784578 Luke xi. 33. He forbids cursing again, and cursing much more of course; and yet he heaps his woe upon the Pharisees and doctors of the law.45794579 Luke vi. 28, also xi. 37–52. Who so closely resembles my God as His own Christ? We have often already laid it down for certain,45804580 Fiximus. that He could not have been branded45814581 Denotari. as the destroyer of the law if He had promulged another god. Therefore even the Pharisee, who invited Him to dinner in the passage before us,45824582 Tunc. expressed some surprise45834583 Retractabat. in His presence that He had not washed before He sat down to meat, in accordance with the law, since it was the God of the law that He was proclaiming.45844584 Circumferret. Jesus also interpreted the law to him when He told him that they “made clean the outside of the cup and the platter, whereas their inward part was full of ravening and wickedness.” This He said, to signify that by the cleansing of vessels was to be understood before God the purification of men, inasmuch as it was about a man, and not about an unwashed vessel, that even this Pharisee had been treating in His presence. He therefore said: “You wash the outside of the cup,” that is, the flesh, “but you do not cleanse your inside part,”45854585 Luke xi. 39. that is, the soul; adding: “Did not He that made the outside,” that is, the flesh, “also make the inward part,” that is to say, the soul?—by which assertion He expressly declared that to the same God belongs the cleansing of a man’s external and internal nature, both alike being in the power of Him who prefers mercy not only to man’s washing,45864586 Lavacro. but even to sacrifice.45874587 Matt. ix. 13, xii. 7; comp. Hos. viii. 6. For He subjoins the command: “Give what ye possess as alms, and all things shall be clean unto you.”45884588 Luke xi. 41. Even if another god could have enjoined mercy, he could not have done so previous to his becoming known. Furthermore, it is in this passage evident that they45894589 The Pharisees and lawyers. were not reproved concerning their God, but concerning a point of His instruction to them, when He prescribed to them figuratively the cleansing of their vessels, but really the works of merciful dispositions. In like manner, He upbraids them for tithing paltry herbs,45904590 Holuscula. but at the same time “passing over hospitality45914591 Marcion’s gospel had κλῆσιν (vocationem, perhaps a general word for hospitality) instead of κρίσιν, judgment,—a quality which M. did not allow in his god. See Epiphanius, Hæres. xlii., Schol. 26 (Oehler and Fr. Junius). and the love of God.”45924592 Luke xi. 42. The vocation and the love of what God, but Him by whose law of tithes they used to offer their rue and mint? For the whole point of the rebuke lay in this, that they cared about small matters in His service of course, to whom they failed to exhibit their weightier duties when He commanded them: “Thou shalt love with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, the Lord thy God, who hath called thee out of Egypt.”45934593 Deut. vi. 5. Besides, time enough had not yet passed to admit of Christ’s requiring so premature—nay, as yet so distasteful45944594 Amaxam.—a love towards a new and recent, not to say a hardly yet developed,45954595 Nondum palam facto. deity. When, again, He upbraids those who caught at the uppermost places and the honour of public salutations, He only follows out the Creator’s course,45964596 Sectam administrat. who calls ambitious persons of this character “rulers of Sodom,”45974597 Isa. i. 10. who forbids us “to put confidence even in princes,”45984598 Ps. cxviii. 9. and pronounces him to be altogether wretched who places his confidence in man. But whoever45994599 Quodsiquis. aims at high position, because he would glory in the officious attentions46004600 Officiis. of other people, (in every such case,) inasmuch as He forbade such attentions (in the shape) of placing hope and confidence in man, He at the same time46014601 Idem. censured all who were ambitious of high positions. He also inveighs against the doctors of the law themselves, because they were “lading men with burdens grievous to be borne, which they did not venture to touch with even a finger of their own;”46024602 Luke xi. 46. but not as if He made a mock of46034603 Suggillans. the burdens of the law with any feeling of detestation towards it. For how could He have felt aversion to the law, who used with so much earnestness to upbraid them for passing over its weightier matters, alms—giving, hospitality,46044604 Vocationem: Marcion’s κλῆσιν. and the love of God? Nor, indeed, was it only these great things (which He recognized), but even46054605 Nedum. the tithes of rue and the cleansing of cups. But, 395in truth, He would rather have deemed them excusable for being unable to carry burdens which could not be borne. What, then, are the burdens which He censures?46064606 Taxat. None but those which they were accumulating of their own accord, when they taught for commandments the doctrines of men; for the sake of private advantage joining house to house, so as to deprive their neighbour of his own; cajoling46074607 Clamantes. the people, loving gifts, pursuing rewards, robbing the poor of the rights of judgment, that they might have the widow for a prey and the fatherless for a spoil.46084608 See Isa. v. 5, 23, and x. 2. Of these Isaiah also says, “Woe unto them that are strong in Jerusalem!”46094609 Isa. xxviii. 14. and again, “They that demand you shall rule over you.”46104610 The books point to Isa. iii. 3, 4 for this; but there is only a slight similarity in the latter clause, even in the Septuagint. And who did this more than the lawyers?46114611 Legis doctores: the νομικοί of the Gospels. Now, if these offended Christ, it was as belonging to Him that they offended Him. He would have aimed no blow at the teachers of an alien law. But why is a “woe” pronounced against them for “building the sepulchres of the prophets whom their fathers had killed?”46124612 Luke xi. 47. They rather deserved praise, because by such an act of piety they seemed to show that they did not allow the deeds of their fathers. Was it not because (Christ) was jealous46134613 Zelotes. of such a disposition as the Marcionites denounce,46144614 Arguunt. visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children unto the fourth generation? What “key,” indeed, was it which these lawyers had,46154615 Luke xi. 52. but the interpretation of the law? Into the perception of this they neither entered themselves, even because they did not believe (for “unless ye believe, ye shall not understand”); nor did they permit others to enter, because they preferred to teach them for commandments even the doctrines of men. When, therefore, He reproached those who did not themselves enter in, and also shut the door against others, must He be regarded as a disparager of the law, or as a supporter of it? If a disparager, those who were hindering the law ought to have been pleased; if a supporter, He is no longer an enemy of the law.46164616 As Marcion held Him to be. But all these imprecations He uttered in order to tarnish the Creator as a cruel Being,46174617 A Marcionite position. against whom such as offended were destined to have a “woe.” And who would not rather have feared to provoke a cruel Being,46184618 Sævum. by withdrawing allegiance46194619 Deficiendo. from Him? Therefore the more He represented the Creator to be an object of fear, the more earnestly would He teach that He ought to be served. Thus would it behove the Creator’s Christ to act.
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