« Prev Chapter LXXIX Next »

Chapter LXXIX.

But if in these matters any one were to imagine that it is superstition rather than wickedness which appears in the multitude of those who believe the word, and should charge our doctrine with making men superstitious, we shall answer him by saying that, as a certain legislator36743674    [i.e., Solon.  S.] replied to the question of one who asked him whether he had enacted for his citizens the best laws, that he had not given them absolutely the best, but the best which they were capable of receiving; so it might be said by the Father of the Christian doctrine, I have given the best laws and instruction for the improvement of morals of which the many were capable, not threatening sinners with imaginary labours and chastisements, but with such as are real, and necessary to be applied for the correction of those who offer resistance, although they do not at all understand the object of him who inflicts the punishment, nor the effect of the labours.  For the doctrine of punishment is both attended with utility, and is agreeable to truth, and is stated in obscure terms with advantage.36753675    [See Gieseler’s Church History, vol. i. p. 212 (also 213), with references there.  But see Elucidation IV. p. 77, vol. iii., this series, and Elucidation at close of this book.  See also Robertson’s History of the Church, vol. i. p. 156.  S.]  Moreover, as for the most part it is not the wicked whom the ambassadors of Christianity gain over, neither do we insult God.  For we speak regarding Him both what is true, and what appears to be clear to the multitude, but not so clear to them as it is to those few who investigate the truths of the Gospel in a philosophical manner.


« Prev Chapter LXXIX Next »





Advertisements



| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |