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13. My brethren, I indeed am a disciple of Christ, and, moreover, an apostle of Jesus; and it is owing to the exceeding kindness of Marcellus that I have hastened hither, with the view of showing him clearly in what manner he ought to keep the system of divine religion, so that the said Marcellus verily, who at present has put himself, like one who has surrendered himself prisoner, under the doctrine of Archelaus, may not, like the dumb animals, which are destitute of intellect and understand not what they do, be fatally smitten to the ruin of his soul, in consequence of any failure in the possession of further facilities for setting about the right observance of divine worship. I know, furthermore, and am certain, that if Marcellus is once set right,15491549 Reading emendato. Codex Casinensis gives enim dato. it will be quite possible that all of you may also have your salvation effected; for your city hangs suspended upon his judgment. If vain presumption is rejected by every one of you, and if those things which are to be declared by me be heard with a real love for the truth, ye will receive the inheritance of the age to come, and the kingdom of heaven. I, in sooth, am the Paraclete, whose mission was announced of old time by Jesus, and who was to come to “convince the world of sin and unrighteousness.”15501550 John xvi. 8. Injustitia. This reading, de injustitia, may be due to an error on the part of the scribe, but is more probably to be referred to the practice pursued by Manes in altering and corrupting the sacred text to suit his own tenets. See Epiphanius on this heresy, num. 53, and cap. 53, infra. [“He introduced much new matter.”] And even as Paul, who was sent before me, said of himself, that “he knew in part, and prophesied in part,”15511551 1 Cor. xiii. 9. so I reserve the perfect for myself, in order that I may do away with that which is in part. Therefore receive ye this third testimony, that I am an elect apostle of Christ; and if ye choose to accept my words, ye will find salvation; but if ye refuse them, eternal fire will have you to consume you. For as Hymenæus and Alexander were “delivered unto Satan, that they might learn not to blaspheme,”15521552 1 Tim. i. 20. so will all ye also be delivered unto the prince of punishments, because ye have done injury to the Father of Christ, in so far as ye declare Him to be the cause of all evils, and the founder of unrighteousness, and the creator of all iniquity. By such doctrine ye do, indeed, bring forth from the same fountain both sweet water and bitter,—a thing which can in no possible way be either done or apprehended. For who ought to be believed? Should it be those masters of yours whose enjoyment is in the flesh, and who pamper themselves with the richest delights; or our Saviour Jesus Christ, who says, as it is written in the book of the Gospels, “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit,”15531553 Matt. vii. 18. and who in another place assures us that the “father of the devil15541554 Patrem diaboli. is a liar and a murderer from the beginning,”15551555 John viii. 44. and tells us again that men’s desire was for the darkness,15561556 Referring, perhaps, to John i. 5. so that they would not follow that Word that had been sent forth in the beginning from the light,15571557 The text gives, “ut insequerentur.…Verbum, et inimicum,” etc. The sense seems to be as above, supposing either that the verb insequerentur is used with the meaning of assailing, persecuting, or that the ut is put for ut ne, as is the case with the excæcat ut at the close of the sentence. and (once more shows us) the man who is the enemy of the same, the sower of tares,15581558 Matt. xiii. 25. and the god and prince of the age of this world, who blinds the minds of men that they may not be obedient to the truth in the Gospel of Christ?15591559 Eph. vi. 12; 2 Cor. iv. 4. Is that God good who has no wish that the men who are his own should be saved? And, not to go over a multitude of other matters, and waste much time, I may defer15601560 Reading differens. But Codex Casinensis gives disserens. till another opportunity the exposition of the true doctrine; and taking it for granted that I have said enough on this subject for the present, I may revert to the matter immediately before me, and endeavour satisfactorily to demonstrate the absurdity of these men’s teaching, and show that none of these things can be attributed to the God and Father of our Lord and Saviour, but that we must take Satan to be the cause of all our ills. To him, certainly, these must be carried back, for all ills of this kind are generated by him. But those things also which are written in the prophets and the law are none the less to be ascribed to him; for he it is who spake then in the prophets, introducing into their minds very many ignorant notions of God, as well as temptations and passions. They, too, set forth that devourer of blood and flesh; and to that Satan and to his prophets all these things properly pertain which he wished to transfer15611561 Transformare. to the Father of Christ, prepared as he was to write a few things in the way of truth, that by means of these he might also gain credence for those other statements of his which are false. Hence it is well for us to receive nothing at all of all those things which have been written of old even down to John, and indeed to embrace only the kingdom of heaven, which has been preached in the Gospel since his days; for they verily but made a 188mockery of themselves, introducing as they did things ridiculous and ludicrous, keeping some small words given in obscure outline in the law, but not understanding that, if good things are mixed up with evil, the result is, that by the corruption of these evil things, even those others which are good are destroyed. And if, indeed, there is any one who may prove himself able to demonstrate that the law upholds the right, that law ought to be kept; but if we can show it to be evil, then it ought to be done away with and rejected, inasmuch as it contains the ministration of death, which was graven,15621562 Informatum. which also covered and destroyed the glory on the countenance of Moses.15631563 1 Cor. iii. 7. It is a thing not without peril, therefore, for any one of you to teach the New Testament along with the law and the prophets, as if they were of one and the same origin; for the knowledge of our Saviour renews the one from day to day, while the other grows old and infirm, and passes almost into utter destruction.15641564 Cf. Heb. viii. 13. And this is a fact manifest to those who are capable of exercising discernment. For just as, when the branches of a tree become aged, or when the trunk ceases to bear fruit any more, they are cut down; and just as, when the members of the body suffer mortification, they are amputated, for the poison of the mortification diffuses itself from these members through the whole body, and unless some remedy be found for the disease by the skill of the physician, the whole body will be vitiated; so, too, if ye receive the law without understanding its origin, ye will ruin your souls, and lose your salvation. For “the law and the prophets were until John;”15651565 Luke xvi. 16. but since John the law of truth, the law of the promises, the law of heaven, the new law, is made known to the race of man. And, in sooth, as long as there was no one to exhibit to you this most true knowledge of our Lord Jesus, ye had not sin. Now, however, ye both see and hear, and yet ye desire to walk in ignorance,15661566 In inscitias ire vultis. It is proposed to read inficias = and yet ye desire to deny the truth. Routh suggests, et odistis et in inscitiam ire vultis = and ye hate it, and choose to take your way into ignorance. in order that ye may keep15671567 Supplying observetis in the clause ut legem, etc. that law which has been destroyed and abandoned. And Paul, too, who is held to be the most approved apostle with us, expresses himself to the same effect in one of his epistles, when he says: “For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a prevaricator.”15681568 Prævaricatorem. Gal. ii. 18 [Vulgate. But see p. 176]. And in saying this he pronounces on them as Gentiles, because they were under the elements of the world,15691569 Gal. iv. 3. before the fulness of faith came, believing then as they did in the law and the prophets.
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