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Chapter XXIV.—Christ is Mind, According to the Manichæans; What is He in the View of the Church? Incongruity in Their Idea of Christ; That He Suffered Only in Appearance, a Dream of the Manichæans; Nothing is Attributed to the Word by Way of Fiction.

Christ, too, they do not acknowledge; yet they speak of Christ, but they take some other element, and giving to the Word, designating His sacred person, some other signification than that in which it is rightly received, they say that He is mind. But if, when they speak of Him as that which is known, and that which knows, and wisdom as having the same meaning, they are found to agree with those things which the Church doctors say of Him, how comes it then that they reject all that is called ancient history? But let us see whether they make Him to be something adventitious and new, and which has come on from without, and by accident, as the opinion of some is. For they who hold this opinion say, as seems very plausible, that the seventh year, when the powers of perception became distinct, He made His entrance into the body. But if Christ be mind, as they imagine, then will He be both Christ and not Christ. For before that mind and sense entered, He was not. But if Christ, as they will have it, be mind, then into Him already existing does the mind make its entrance, and thus, again, according to their opinion, will it be mind. Christ, therefore, is and is not at the same time. But if, according to the more approved sect of them, mind is all things which are, since they assume matter to be not produced, and coeval so to speak with God, this first mind and matter they hold to be Christ; if, indeed, Christ be the mind, which is all things, and matter is one of those things which are, and is itself not produced.

They say it was by way of appearance, and in this manner, that the divine virtue in matter was affixed to the cross; and that He Himself did not undergo this punishment, since it was impossible that He should suffer this; which assertion Manichæus himself has taken in hand to teach in a book written upon the subject, that the divine virtue was enclosed in matter, and again departs from it. The mode of this they invent. That it should be said, indeed, in the doctrine of the Church, that He gave Himself up for the remission of sins, obtains credit from the vulgar, and appears likewise in the Greek histories, which say that some “surrendered themselves to death in order to ensure safety to their countrymen.” And of this doctrine the Jewish history has an example, which prepares the son of Abraham as a sacrifice to God.22052205    Gen. xxii. 1. But to subject Christ to His passion merely for the sake of display, betrays great ignorance, for the Word is God’s representative, to teach and inform us of actual verities.


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