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30. The judges said: Speak to those points, Archelaus, which he has just now propounded. Archelaus said: By the prince of the world, and the wicked one, and darkness, and death, he means one and the same thing, and alleges that the law has been given by that being, on the ground of the scriptural statement that it is “the ministration of death,” as well as on the ground of other things which he has urged against it. Well, then, I say17171717 Reading inquam for the iniquam of the Codex Casinensis. But Routh suggests iniquæ, in reference to what has been said towards the close of ch. xxviii. that since, as we have explained above, the law which was written naturally on men’s hearts did not keep carefully by the memory of evil things, and since there was not a sufficiently established tradition among the elders, inasmuch as hostile oblivion always attached itself to the memory,17181718 The codex gives, “cum eas inimica semper memoriæ ineresis sed oblivio;” which is corrected thus, “cum eis inimica semper memoriæ inhæsisset oblivio.” and one man was instructed in the knowledge of that law by master, and another by himself, it easily came about that transgressions of the law engraved by nature did take place, and that through the violation of the commandments death obtained its kingship among men. For the race of men is of such a nature, that it needs to be ruled by God with a rod of iron. And so death triumphed and reigned with all its power on to Moses, even over those who had not sinned, in the way which we have explained: over sinners indeed, as these were its proper objects, and under subjection to it,—men after the type of Cain and Judas;17191719 The text writes it Juda. but also over the righteous, because they refused to consent to it, and rather withstood it, by putting away from themselves the vices and concupiscence of lusts,—men like those who have arisen at times from Abel 203on to Zacharias;17201720 Matt. xxiii. 35.—death thus always passing, up to the time of Moses, upon those after that similitude.17211721 This would appear to be the meaning of these words, “transferens semper usque ad tempus in similes illius,” if we suppose the speaker still to be keeping Rom. v. 12–14 in view. Routh suggests transiens.
But after Moses had made his appearance, and had given the law to the children of Israel, and had brought into their memory all the requirements of the law, and all that it behoved men to observe and do under it, and when he delivered over to death only those who should transgress the law, then death was cut off from reigning over all men; for it reigned then over sinners alone, as the law said to it, “Touch not those that keep my precepts.”17221722 Referring perhaps to Ps. cv. 15. Moses therefore served the ministration of this word upon death, while he delivered up to destruction17231723 Reading interitui tradens for the interit ut tradens of the codex. all others who were transgressors of the law; for it was not with the intent that death might not reign in any territory at all that Moses came, inasmuch as multitudes were assuredly held under the power of death even after Moses. And the law was called a “ministration of death” from the fact that then only transgressors of the law were punished, and not those who kept it, and who obeyed and observed the things which are in the law, as Abel did, whom Cain, who was made a vessel of the wicked one, slew. However, even after these things death wished to break the covenant which had been made by the instrumentality of Moses, and to reign again over the righteous; and with this object it did indeed assail the prophets, killing and stoning those who had been sent by God, on to Zacharias. But my Lord Jesus, as maintaining the righteousness of the law of Moses, was wroth with death for its transgression of the covenant17241724 Reading pacti for the acti of the codex. and of that whole ministration, and condescended to appear in the body of man, with the view of avenging not Himself, but Moses, and those who in a continuous succession after him had been oppressed by the violence of death. That wicked one, however, in ignorance of the meaning of a dispensation of this kind, entered into Judas, thinking to slay Him by that man’s means, as before he had put righteous Abel to death. But when he had entered into Judas, he was overcome with penitence, and hanged himself; for which reason also the divine word says: “O death, where is thy victory? O death,17251725 Mors. where is thy sting?” And again: “Death is swallowed up of victory.”17261726 1 Cor. xv. 54, 55. It is for this reason, therefore, that the law is called a “ministration of death” because it delivered sinners and transgressors over to death; but those who observed it, it defended from death; and these it also established in glory, by the help and aid of our Lord Jesus Christ.
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