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38. And, in good truth, I hold Marcion, and Valentinian, and Basilides, and other heretics, to be sainted men when compared18451845 Reading “sic ut istius comparatione,” for the “sicut istius paratione” of the codex. with this person. For they did display a certain kind of intellect, and they did, indeed, think themselves capable of understanding all Scripture, and did thus constitute themselves leaders18461846 Reading se ductores, for the seductores, etc., of the codex. for those who were willing to listen to them. But notwithstanding this, not one of these dared to proclaim himself to be either God, or Christ, or the Paraclete, as this fellow has done, who is ever disputing, on some occasions about the ages,18471847 Seculis. and on others about the sun, and how these objects were made, as though he were superior to them himself; for every person who offers an exposition of the method in which any object has been made, puts himself forward as superior to and older than the subject of his discussion. But who may venture to speak of the substance of God, unless, it may be, our Lord Jesus Christ alone? And, indeed, I do not make this statement on the bare authority of my own words, but I confirm it by the authority of that Scripture which has been our instructor. For the apostle addresses the following words to us: “That ye may be lights in this world, holding18481848 Continentes. the word of life for my glory against the day of Christ, seeing that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.”18491849 Phil. ii. 13. We ought to understand what is the force and meaning of this saying; for the word may suit the leader, but the effectual work suits the king.18501850 The precise meaning and connection are somewhat obscure here. The text gives, “verbum enim ducis obtinet locum, opera vero regis.” And the idea is taken to be, that the actual work of thoroughly doing away with the ignorance of men was something that suited only the perfect King who was expected, and that had not been accomplished by Manes. And accordingly, as one who looks for the arrival of his king, strives to be able to present all who are under his charge as obedient, and ready, and estimable, and lovely, and faithful, and not less also as blameless, and abounding in all that is good, so that he may himself get commendation from the king, and be deemed by him to be worthy of greater honours, as having rightly governed the province which was entrusted to his administration; so also does the blessed Paul give us to understand our position when he uses these words: “That ye may be as lights in this world, holding the word of life for my glory against the day of Christ.” For the meaning of this saying is, that our Lord Jesus Christ, when He comes, will see that his doctrine has proved profitable in us, and that, finding that he, the apostle, has not run in vain, neither laboured in vain, He will bestow on him the crown of recompense. And again, in the same epistle, he also warns us not to mind earthly things, and tells us that we ought to have our conversation in heaven; from which also we look for the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ.18511851 Phil. iii. 19. And as the knowledge of the date of the last day is no secure position for us, he has given us, to that effect, a declaration on the subject in the epistle which he wrote to the Thessalonians, thus: “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you; for yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”18521852 1 Thess. v. 1, 2. How, then, does this man stand up and try to persuade us to emigrate his opinions, importuning every individual whom he meets to become a Manichæan, and going about and creeping into houses, and endeavouring to deceive minds laden with sins?18531853 Alluding to 2 Tim. iii. 6. But we do not hold such sentiments. Nay, rather, we should be disposed to present the things themselves before you all, and bring them into comparison, if it please you, with what we know of the perfect Paraclete. For you observe that18541854 Routh inserts interdum pœnitet = sometimes he uses the penitential style, which Migne omits. sometimes he uses the interrogative style, and sometimes the deprecatory. But in the Gospel of our Saviour it is written that those who stand on the left hand of the King will say: “Lord, when saw we Thee an hungered, or athirst, or naked, or a stranger, or in prison, and did not minister unto Thee?”18551855 Matt. xxv. 44. Thus they will implore Him to be indulgent with them. But what reply is that righteous Judge and King represented as making to them? “Depart from me into everlasting fire, ye workers of iniquity.”18561856 Matt. xxv. 46; Luke xiii. 27. He casts them into everlasting fire, although they cease not to direct their entreaties to Him. Do you see, then, O Manes, what manner of event that advent of the perfect King is destined to be? Do you not perceive that it will not be such a perfection, or consummation, as you allege? But if the great day of judgment is to be looked for after that King, surely this man is greatly inferior to Him. But if he is inferior, he cannot be perfect. And if he is not to be perfect, it is not of him that the apostle speaks. But if it is not of him that the apostle speaks, while he still makes the mendacious statement that it is of himself that the said word of the apostle was spoken, then surely he is to be judged a false prophet. Much more, too, might be said to the same effect. But if we were to think of going over in detail all that might thus be adduced, time would fail us for the accomplishment of so large a task. Hence I have deemed it abundantly sufficient thus to have brought under your 213notice only a few things out of many, leaving the yet remaining portions of such a discussion to those who have the inclination to go through with them.
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