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125The Extant Writings of Julius Africanus.


I.—The Epistle to Aristides.



[Africanus on the Genealogy in the Holy Gospels.10331033    This letter, as given by Eusebius, is acephalous. A large portion of it is supplied by Cardinal Angelo Mai in the Bibliotheca nova Patrum, vol. iv. pp. 231 and 273. We enclose in brackets the parts wanting in Gallandi, who copied Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., i. 7). On this celebrated letter of Africanus to Aristides, consult especially Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., i. 7); also Jerome, comm. on Matt. i. 16; Augustine, Retract., ii. 7; Photius, cod. xxxiv. p. 22; and in addition to these, Zacharias Chrysopol. in Bibl. P. P. Lugd., vol. xix. p. 751.—Some indeed incorrectly allege that this discrepant enumeration and mixing of the names both of priestly men, as they think, and royal, was made properly,10341034    δικαίως. in order that Christ might be shown rightfully to be both Priest and King; as if any one disbelieved this, or had any other hope than this, that Christ is the High Priest of His Father, who presents our prayers to Him, and a supramundane King, who rules by the Spirit those whom He has delivered, a cooperator in the government of all things. And this is announced to us not by the catalogue of the tribes, nor by the mixing of the registered generations, but by the patriarchs and prophets. Let us not therefore descend to such religious trifling as to establish the kingship and priesthood of Christ by the interchanges of the names. For the priestly tribe of Levi, too, was allied with the kingly tribe of Juda, through the circumstance that Aaron married Elizabeth the sister of Naasson,10351035    Ex. vi. 23. and that Eleazar again married the daughter of Phatiel,10361036    Ex. vi. 25. and begat children. The evangelists, therefore, would thus have spoken falsely, affirming what was not truth, but a fictitious commendation. And for this reason the one traced the pedigree of Jacob the father of Joseph from David through Solomon; the other traced that of Heli also, though in a different way, the father of Joseph, from Nathan the son of David. And they ought not indeed to have been ignorant that both orders of the ancestors enumerated are the generation of David, the royal tribe of Juda.10371037    [Heb. vii. 14.] For if Nathan was a prophet, so also was Solomon, and so too the father of both of them; and there were prophets belonging to many of the tribes, but priests belonging to none of the tribes, save the Levites only. To no purpose, then, is this fabrication of theirs. Nor shall an assertion of this kind prevail in the Church of Christ against the exact truth, so as that a lie should be contrived for the praise and glory of Christ. For who does not know that most holy word of the apostle also, who, when he was preaching and proclaiming the resurrection of our Saviour, and confidently affirming the truth, said with great fear, “If any say that Christ is not risen, and we assert and have believed this, and both hope for and preach that very thing, we are false witnesses of God, in alleging that He raised up Christ, whom He raised not up?”10381038    1 Cor. xv. 12, etc. And if he who glorifies God the Father is thus afraid lest he should seem a false witness in narrating a marvellous fact, how should not he be justly afraid, who tries to establish the truth by a false statement, preparing an untrue opinion? For if the generations are different, and trace down no genuine seed to Joseph, and if all has been stated only with the view of establishing the position of Him who was to be born—to confirm the truth, namely, that He who was to be would be king and priest, there being at the same time no proof given, but the dignity of the words being brought down to a feeble hymn,—it is evident that no praise accrues to God from that, since it is a falsehood, but rather judgment returns on him who asserts it, because he vaunts an unreality as though it were reality. Therefore, that we may expose the ignorance also of him who speaks thus, and prevent any one from stumbling at this folly, I shall set forth the true history of these matters.]

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