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48. On hearing these statements, the multitudes assembled were greatly moved, as if they felt that these reasonings gave the correct account of the truth, and that Archelaus could have nothing to urge against them; for this was indicated by the commotion which arose among them. But when the crowd of auditors became quiet again, Archelaus made answer in the following manner: No one, truly, shall ever be able to prove himself mightier than the voice of our Lord Jesus Christ, neither is there found any name equal to His, as it is written: “Wherefore God hath exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name.”20292029    Phil. ii. 9. Nor, again, in the matter of testimony can any one ever be equal to Him; and accordingly I shall simply adduce the testimonies of His own voice in answer to you,—first of all, indeed, with the view of solving those difficulties which have been enunciated by you, so that you may not say, as is your wont to do, that these are matters which are not in harmony with the Person Himself.20302030    Sibi ipsi. Now, you maintain that the man who brought the word to Jesus about His mother and His brethren was rebuked by Him as if he was in error, as the writer was in error.20312031    Secundum id quod scriptorem fefellit. [i.e. on that supposition.] Well, I affirm that neither was this person rebuked who brought Him the message about His mother and His brethren, nor was Peter only named blessed above him; but each of these two parties received from Him the answer that was properly called forth by their several utterances, as the discourse will demonstrate in what follows. When one is a child, he thinks as a child, he speaks as a child; but when he becomes a mature man, those things are to be done away which are proper for a child:20322032    1 Cor. xiii. 11. in other words, when one reaches forth unto those things which are before, he will forget those which are behind.20332033    Phil. iii. 13. Hence, when our Lord Jesus Christ was engaged in teaching and healing the race of men, so that all pertaining to it might not utterly perish together, and when the minds of all those who were listening to Him were intently occupied with these interests, it made an interruption altogether inopportune when this messenger came in and put Him in mind of His mother and His brethren. What then? Ought He, now,20342034    Reading “debuitne etiam” for the bad version of the Codex Casinensis, “debuit et etiam.” yourself being judge,20352035    The text gives, “se ipso judicante,” for which “te ipso,” etc., may be substituted. to have left those whom He was healing and instructing, and gone to speak with His mother and His brethren? Would you not by such a supposition at once lower the character of the Person Himself? When, again, He chose certain men who were laden and burdened with sins for the honour of discipleship,20362036    In the Codex Casinensis the sentence stands in this evidently corrupt form: “cum enim peccatis bonus et gravatus ad discipulatum diligit.” We adopt the emendation given in Migne: “cum enim peccatis onustos et gravatos ad discipulatum delegit.” to the number of twelve, whom He also named His apostles, He gave them this injunction, Leave father and mother, that you may be made worthy of me;20372037    Matt. x. 37. intending by this that thence forward the memory of father or mother should no more impair the stedfastness of their heart. And on another occasion, when a different individual chose to say to Him, “I will go and bury my father,” He answered, “Let the dead bury their dead.”20382038    Luke ix. 59, 60. Behold, then, how my Lord Jesus Christ edifies His disciples unto all things necessary, and delivers His sacred words to every one, in due accordance with what is meet for him. And just in the same way, too, on this other occasion, when a certain person came in with the inconsiderate message about His mother, He did not embrace the occurrence as an opportunity for leaving His Father’s commission unattended to even for the sake of having His mother with Him. But in order to show you still more clearly that this is the real account of the matter, let me remind you that Peter, on a certain season, subsequent to the time of his receiving that declaration of blessedness from Him, said to Jesus, “Be it far from Thee, Lord:20392039    Propitius esto, Domine. this shall not be unto Thee.”20402040    Matt. xvi. 22. [Possibly the first words by which Satan fell.] This he said after Jesus had announced to him that the Son of man must go up to Jerusalem, and be killed, and rise again the third day.20412041    Matt. xvi. 21. And in answer then to Peter He said: “Get thee behind me, Satan; for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.”20422042    Matt. xvi. 23. [Satan seems to have rebelled against man’s creation.] Now, since it is your opinion that the man who brought the message about His mother and His brethren was rebuked by Jesus, and that he who said a little before, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,” obtained the word of blessing, mark you that Jesus (may be said to have) rather preferred that person to whom He condescended to give the more gracious and indulgent answer; whereas Peter, even after that benediction, now got no appellation expressive of indulgence addressed to him, by reason of his having failed carefully to observe the nature of the announcement that 225was made to him. For the error of that messenger was at once corrected by the tenor of the reply; but the dulness of this apostle’s apprehension was condemned with a severer rebuke. And from this you may perceive that the Lord Jesus, observing what was proper and opportune with regard to the interrogations thus addressed to Him, gave to each the reply that was worthy of it, and suited to it. But supposing that, as you say, Peter was pronounced blessed on the ground of his having said what was true, and that that messenger was reproved on account of the error he committed, tell me then why it is, that when the devils confessed Him, and said, “We know Thee, who Thou art, the holy God,”20432043    Luke iv. 34, reading sanctus Deus. [i.e., not the received text.] He rebuked them, and commanded them to be silent?20442044    Reading silere. The Codex Casinensis gives sinire, which may be meant for sinere = give over. Why was it not the case, if He does indeed take pleasure in the testimonies borne to Him by those who confess Him, that He recompensed them also with benedictions, as He did to Peter when he gave utterance to the truth? But if that would be an absurd supposition, it only remains that we must understand the words spoken by Him always in accordance with the place, the time, the persons, the subjects, and the due consideration of the circumstances.20452045    Pro accidentium salute. For only this method will save us from falling into the error of pronouncing rashly on His sayings, and thus making ourselves liable to merited chastisement: and this will also help me to make it more and more intelligible to you, that the man who brought the tidings of His mother was much rather the person honoured.20462046    We have adopted Migne’s arrangement of these clauses. Routh, however, puts them thus: And that it may be made more intelligible to you, etc.,… (for in forgetfulness, etc., you have turned off, etc.), listen to me now for a brief space. However, in forgetfulness of the subject which was proposed to us for discussion, you have turned off to a different theme. Nevertheless listen to me for a brief space. For if you choose, indeed, to consider those words somewhat more carefully, we shall find that the Lord Jesus displayed great clemency in the case of the former of these two parties; and this I shall prove to you by illustrations suited to your capacity. A certain king who had taken up arms, and gone forth to meet an enemy, was earnestly considering and planning how he might subdue those hostile and foreign forces. And when his mind was occupied with many cares and anxieties, after he had forced his way among his adversaries, and when, further, as he began afterwards to make captives of them, the anxious thought was now also pressing upon him as to how he might secure the safety and interests of those who had toiled with him, and borne the burden of the war,20472047    Reading “pondus belli toleraverant,” instead of the “pondus bellico tolerarant” of the Codex Casinensis. a certain messenger broke inopportunely in upon him, and began to remind him of domestic matters. But he was astonished at the man’s boldness, and at his unseasonable suggestions, and thought of delivering such a fellow over to death. And had that messenger not been one who was able to appeal to his tenderest affections in bringing the news that it was well with those at home, and that all went on prosperously and successfully there, that punishment might have been his instant and well-merited doom. For what else should be a king’s care, so long as the time of war endures, than to provide for the safety of the people of his province, and to look after military matters? And even thus it also was that that messenger came inopportunely in upon my Lord Jesus Christ, and brought the report about His mother and His brethren unseasonably, just when He was fighting against ills which had assailed the very citadel of the heart, and when He was healing those who for a long time had been under the power of diverse infirmities, and when He had now put forth His utmost effort to secure the salvation of all. And truly that man might have met with a sentence like that pronounced on Peter, or even one severer still. But the hearing of the name of His mother and His brethren drew forth His clemency.


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