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Chapter VIII.—Examples of a Similar Kind from the New.

We produce, too, our remaining (evidences).  For we now hasten to modern proofs.  On the threshold of the Gospel,10581058    See Luke ii. 36–38.  See de Monog., c. viii. Anna the prophetess, daughter of Phanuel, “who both recognised the infant Lord, and preached many things about Him to such as were expecting the redemption of Israel,” after the pre-eminent distinction of long-continued and single-husbanded widowhood, is additionally graced with the testimony of “fastings” also; pointing out, as she does, what the duties are which should characterize attendants of the Church, and (pointing out, too, the fact) that Christ is understood by none more than by the once married and often fasting.

By and by the Lord Himself consecrated His own baptism (and, in His own, that of all) by fasts;10591059    Matt. iv. 12; Luke iv. 1, 2; comp. de Bapt., c. xx. having (the power) to make “loaves out of stones,”10601060    See Matt. iv. 3; Luke iv. 3. say, to make Jordan flow with wine perchance, if He had been such a “glutton and toper.”10611061    See c. ii.  Nay, rather, by the virtue of contemning food He was initiating “the new man” into “a severe handling” of “the old,”10621062    Comp. Eph. iv. 22, 23; and, for the meaning of sugillationem (“severe handling”), comp. 1 Cor. ix. 27, where St. Paul’s word ὑπωπιάζω (="I smite under the eye,” Eng. ver. “I keep under”) is perhaps exactly equivalent in meaning. that He might show that (new man) to the devil, again seeking to tempt him by means of food, (to be) too strong for the whole power of hunger.

Thereafter He prescribed to fasts a law—that they are to be performed “without sadness:”10631063    Matt. vi. 16–18.  for why should what is salutary be sad?  He taught likewise that fasts are to be the weapons for battling with the more direful demons:10641064    See Matt. xvii. 21; Mark ix. 29.  for what wonder if the same operation is the instrument of the iniquitous spirit’s egress as of the Holy Spirit’s ingress?  Finally, granting that upon the centurion Cornelius, even before baptism, the honourable gift of the Holy Spirit, together with the gift of prophecy besides, had hastened to descend, we see that his fasts had been heard,10651065    See Acts x. 44–46, 1–4, 30. I think, moreover, that the apostle too, in the Second of Corinthians, among his labours, and perils, and hardships, after “hunger and thirst,” enumerates “fasts” also “very many.”10661066    2 Cor. xi. 27.


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