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Chapter LX.—Disciples of John Refuted.

“And, behold, one of the disciples of John asserted that John was the Christ, and not Jesus, inasmuch as Jesus Himself declared that John was greater than all men and all prophets.589589    Matt. xi. 9, 11.  ‘If, then,’ said he, ‘he be greater than all, he must be held to be greater than Moses, and than Jesus himself.  But if he be the greatest of all, then must he be the Christ.’  To this Simon the Canaanite, answering, asserted that John was indeed greater than all the prophets, and all who are born of women, yet that he is not greater than the Son of man.  Accordingly Jesus is also the Christ, whereas John is only a prophet:  and there is as much difference between him and Jesus, as between the forerunner and Him whose forerunner he is; or as between Him who gives the law, and him who keeps the law.  Having made these and similar statements, the Canaanite also was silent.  After him Barnabas,590590    We should doubtless read “Barsabas.” who also is called Matthias, who was substituted as an apostle in the place of Judas, began to exhort the people that they should not regard Jesus with hatred, nor speak evil of Him.  For it were far more proper, even for one who might be in ignorance or in doubt concerning Jesus, to love than to hate Him.  For God has affixed a reward to love, a penalty to hatred.  ‘For the very fact,’ said he, ‘that He assumed a Jewish body, and was born among the Jews, how has not this incited us all to love Him?’  When he had spoken this, and more to the same effect, he stopped.”


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