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Chapter 73.—161.  Petilianus said:  "Since then you are not blessed by falsifying the commands of God, the Lord Christ condemns you by His divine decrees:  ‘Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men:  for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint, and anise, and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith:  these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.  Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.  Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.’"21742174     Matt. xxiii. 13, 15, 23, 24, 27, 28.

568

162.  Augustin answered:  Tell me whether you have said anything which may not equally be said against you in turn by any slanderous and evil-speaking tongue.  But from what has been said by me before, any one who wishes may find out that these things may be said against you, not by way of empty abuse, but with the support of truthful testimony.  As, however, the opportunity is presented to us we must not pass this by.  There is no doubt that to the ancient people of God circumcision stood in the place of baptism.  I ask, therefore, putting the case that the Pharisees against whom those words you quote are spoken, had made some proselyte, who, if he were to imitate them, would, as it is said, become twofold more the child of hell than themselves, supposing that he were to be converted, and desire to imitate Simeon, or Zacharias, or Nathanael, would it be necessary that he should be circumcised again by them?  And if it is absurd to put this case why, although in empty fashion and with empty sounds you compare us to men like this, do you nevertheless baptize after us?  But if you are really men like this, how much better and how much more in accordance with truth do we act in not baptizing after you, as neither was it right that those whom I have mentioned should be circumcised after the worst of Pharisees!  Furthermore, when such men sit in the seat of Moses, for which the Lord preserved its due honor, why do you blaspheme the apostolic chair on account of men whom, justly or unjustly, you compare with these?


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