Texts from the History of the Relationship
- Written by Augustine of Hippo
- De Catechizandis Rudibus
- Contra Faustum
- Exposition on Psalm 57
- Exposition on Psalm 59
- On the Creed
- De Civitate Dei
[Salmond translation, courtesy of newadvent.org]
Chapter 1.-How Augustine Writes in Answer to a Favor Asked by a Deacon of Carthage
1. You have requested me, brother Deogratias, to send you in writing something which might be of service to you in the matter of catechizing the uninstructed. For you have informed me that in Carthage, where you hold the position of a deacon, persons, who have to be taught the Christian faith from its very rudiments, are frequently brought to you by reason of your enjoying the reputation of possessing a rich gift in catechizing, due at once to an intimate acquaintance with the faith, and to an attractive method of discourse; but that you almost always find yourself in a difficulty as to the manner in which a suitable declaration is to be made of the precise doctrine, the belief of which constitutes us Christians: regarding the point at which our statement of the same ought to commence, and the limit to which it should be allowed to proceed: and with respect to the question whether, when our narration is concluded, we ought to make use of any kind of exhortation, or simply specify those precepts in the observance of which the person to whom we are discoursing may know the Christian life and profession to be maintained. At the same time, you have made the confession and complaint that it has often befallen you that in the course of a lengthened and languid address you have become profitless and distasteful even to yourself, not to speak of the learner whom you have been endeavoring to instruct by your utterance, and the other parties who have been present as hearers; and that you have been constrained by these straits to put upon me the constraint of that love which I owe to you, so that I may not feel it a burdensome thing among all my engagements to write you something on this subject.
2. As for myself then, if, in the exercise of those capacities which through the bounty of our Lord I am enabled to present, the same Lord requires me to offer any manner of aid to those whom He has made brethren to me, I feel constrained not only by that love and service which is due from me to you on the terms of familiar friendship, but also by that which I owe universally to my mother the Church, by no means to refuse the task, but rather to take it up with a prompt and devoted willingness. For the more extensively I desire to see the treasure of the Lord distributed, the more does it become my duty, if I ascertain that the stewards, who are my fellow-servants, find any difficulty in laying it out, to do all that lies in my power to the end that they may be able to accomplish easily and expeditiously what they sedulously and earnestly aim at.
Chapter 3.-Of the Full Narration to Be Employed in Catechizing
5. The narration is full when each person is catechized in the first instance from what is written in the text, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth," on to the present times of the Church. This does not imply, however, either that we ought to repeat by memory the entire Pentateuch, and the entire Books of Judges, and Kings, and Esdras, and the entire Gospel and Acts of the Apostles, if we have learned all these word for word; or that we should put all the matters which are contained in these volumes into our own words, and in that manner unfold and expound them as a whole. For neither does the time admit of that, nor does any necessity demand it. But what we ought to do is, to give a comprehensive statement of all things, summarily and generally, so that certain of the more wonderful facts may be selected which are listened to with superior gratification, and which have been ranked so remarkably among the exact turning-points (of the history); that, instead of exhibiting them to view only in their wrappings, if we may so speak, and then instantly snatching them from our sight, we ought to dwell on them for a certain space, and thus, as it were, unfold them and open them out to vision, and present them to the minds of the hearers as things to be examined and admired. But as for all other details, these should be passed over rapidly, and thus far introduced and woven into the narrative. The effect of pursuing this plan is, that the particular facts which we wish to see specially commended to attention obtain greater prominence in consequence of the others being made to yield to them; while, at the same time, neither does the learner, whose interest we are anxious to stimulate by our statement, come to these subjects with a mind already exhausted, nor is confusion induced upon the memory of the person whom we ought to be instructing by our teaching.
6. In all things, indeed, not only ought our own eye to be kept fixed upon the end of the commandment, which is "charity, out of a pure heart, and a good conscience, and faith unfeigned," to which we should make all that we utter refer; but in like manner ought the gaze of the person whom we are instructing by our utterance to be moved toward the same, and guided in that direction. And, in truth, for no other reason were all those things which we read in the Holy Scriptures written, previous to the Lord's advent, but for this,-namely, that His advent might be pressed upon the attention, and that the Church which was to be, should be intimated beforehand, that is to say, the people of God throughout all nations; which Church is His body, wherewith also are united and numbered all the saints who lived in this world, even before His advent, and who believed then in His future coming, just as we believe in His past coming. For (to use an illustration) Jacob, at the time when he was being born, first put forth from the womb a hand, with which also he held the foot of the brother who was taking priority of him in the act of birth; and next indeed the head followed, and thereafter, at last, and as matter of course, the rest of the members: while, nevertheless the head in point of dignity and power has precedence, not only of those members which followed it then, but also of the very hand which anticipated it in the process of the birth, and is really the first, although not in the matter of the time of appearing, at least in the order of nature. And in an analogous manner, the Lord Jesus Christ, previous to His appearing in the flesh, and coming forth in a certain manner out of the womb of His secrecy, before the eyes of men as Man, the Mediator between God and men, "who is over all, God blessed for ever," sent before Him, in the person of the holy patriarchs and prophets, a certain portion of His body, wherewith, as by a hand, He gave token beforetime of His own approaching birth, and also supplanted the people who were prior to Him in their pride, using for that purpose the bonds of the law, as if they were His five fingers. For through five epochs of times there was no cessation in the foretelling and prophesying of His own destined coming; and in a manner consonant with this, he through whom the law was given wrote five books; and proud men, who were carnally minded, and sought to "establish their own righteousness," were not filled with blessing by the open hand of Christ, but were debarred from such good by the hand compressed and closed; and therefore their feet were tied, and "they fell, while we are risen, and stand upright." But although, as I have said, the Lord Christ did thus send before Him a certain portion of His body, in the person of those holy men who came before Him as regards the time of birth, nevertheless He is Himself the Head of the body, the Church, and all these have been attached to that same body of which He is the head, in virtue of their believing in Him whom they announced prophetically. For they were not sundered (from that body) in consequence of fulfilling their course before Him, but rather were they made one with the same by reason of their obedience. For although the hand may be put forward away before the head, still it has its connection beneath the head. Wherefore all things which were written aforetime were written in order that we might be taught thereby, and were our figures, and happened in a figure in the case of these men. Moreover they were written for our sakes, upon whom the end of the ages has come.
Chapter 4.-That the Great Reason for the Advent of Christ Was the Commendation of Love
7. Moreover, what greater reason is apparent for the advent of the Lord than that God might show His love in us, commending it powerfully, inasmuch as "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us"? And furthermore, this is with the intent that, inasmuch as charity is "the end of the commandment," and "the fulfilling of the law," we also may love one another and lay down our life for the brethren, even as He laid down His life for us. And with regard to God Himself, its object is that, even if it were an irksome task to love Him, it may now at least cease to be irksome for us to return His love, seeing that "He first loved us," and "spared not His own only Son, but delivered Him up for us all." For there is no mightier invitation to love than to anticipate in loving; and that soul is over hard which, supposing it unwilling indeed to give love, is unwilling also to give the return of love. But if, even in the case of criminal and sordid loves, we see how those who desire to be loved in return make it their special and absorbing business, by such proofs as are within their power, to render the strength of the love which they themselves bear plain and patent; if we also perceive how they affect to put forward an appearance of justice in what they thus offer, such as may qualify them in some sort to demand that a response be made in all fairness to them on the part of those souls which they are laboring to beguile; if, further, their own passion burns more vehemently when they observe that the minds which they are eager to possess are also moved now by the same fire: if thus, I say, it happens at once that the soul which before was torpid is excited so soon as it feels itself to be loved, and that the soul which was enkindled already becomes the more inflamed so soon as it is made cognizant of the return of its own love, it is evident that no greater reason is to be found why love should be either originated or enlarged, than what appears in the occasion when one who as yet loves not at all comes to know himself to be the object of love, or when one who is already a lover either hopes that he may yet be loved in turn, or has by this time the evidence of a response to his affection. And if this holds good even in the case of base loves, how much more in (true) friendship? For what else have we carefully to attend to in this question touching the injuring of friendship than to this, namely, not to give our friend cause to suppose either that we do not love him at all, or that we love him less than he loves us? If, indeed, he is led to entertain this belief, he will be cooler in that love in which men enjoy the interchange of intimacies one with another; and if he is not of that weak type of character to which such an offense to affection will serve as a cause of freezing off from love altogether, he yet confines himself to that kind of affection in which he loves, not with the view of enjoyment to himself, but with the idea of studying the good of others. But again it is worth our while to notice how,-although superiors also have the wish to be loved by their inferiors, and are gratified with the zealous attention paid to them by such, and themselves cherish greater affection towards these inferiors the more they become cognizant of that,-with what might of love, nevertheless, the inferior kindles so soon as he learns that he is beloved by his superior. For there have we love in its more grateful aspect, where it does not consume itself in the drought of want, but flows forth in the plenteousness of beneficence. For the former type of love is of misery, the latter of mercy. And furthermore, if the inferior was despairing even of the possibility of his being loved by his superior, he will now be inexpressibly moved to love if the superior has of his own will condescended to show how much he loves this person who could by no means be bold enough to promise himself so great a good. But what is there superior to God in the character of Judge? and what more desperate than man in the character of sinner?-than man, I ask, who had given himself all the more unreservedly up to the wardship and domination of proud powers which are unable to make him blessed, as he had come more absolutely to despair of the possibility of his being an object of interest to that power which wills not to be exalted in wickedness, but is exalted in goodness.
8. If, therefore, it was mainly for this purpose that Christ came, to wit, that man might learn how much God loves him; and that he might learn this, to the intent that he might be kindled to the love of Him by whom he was first loved, and might also love his neighbor at the command and showing of Him who became our neighbor, in that He loved man when, instead of being a neighbor to Him, he was sojourning far apart: if, again, all divine Scripture, which was written aforetime, was written with the view of presignifying the Lord's advent; and if whatever has been committed to writing in times subsequent to these, and established by divine authority, is a record of Christ, and admonishes us of love, it is manifest that on those two commandments of love to God and love to our neighbor hang not only all the law and the prophets, which at the time when the Lord spoke to that effect were as yet the only Holy Scripture, but also all those books of the divine literature which have been written at a later period for our health, and consigned to remembrance. Wherefore, in the Old Testament there is a veiling of the New, and in the New Testament there is a revealing of the Old. According to that veiling, carnal men, understanding things in a carnal fashion, have been under the dominion, both then and now, of a penal fear. According to this revealing, on the other hand, spiritual men,-among whom we reckon at once those then who knocked in piety and found even hidden things opened to them, and others now who seek in no spirit of pride, lest even things uncovered should be closed to them,-understanding in a spiritual fashion, have been made free through the love wherewith they have been gifted. Consequently, inasmuch as there is nothing more adverse to love than envy, and as pride is the mother of envy, the same Lord Jesus Christ, God-man, is both a manifestation of divine love towards us, and an example of human humility with us, to the end that our great swelling might be cured by a greater counteracting remedy. For here is great misery, proud man! But there is greater mercy, a humble God! Take this love, therefore, as the end that is set before you, to which you are to refer all that you say, and, whatever you narrate, narrate it in such a manner that he to whom you are discoursing on hearing may believe, on believing may hope, on hoping may love.
Chapter 16.-A Specimen of a Catechetical Address; First, the Case of a Catechumen with Worthy Views
24. Nevertheless, however that may be, let us here suppose that some one has come to us who desires to be made a Christian, and who belongs indeed to the order of private persons, and yet not to the class of rustics, but to that of the city-bred, such as those whom you cannot fail to come across in numbers in Carthage. Let us also suppose that, on being asked whether the inducement leading him to desire to be a Christian is any advantage looked for in the present life, or the rest which is hoped for after this life, he has answered that his inducement has been the rest that is yet to come. Then perchance such a person might be instructed by us in some such strain of address as the following:" Thanks be to God, my brother; cordially do I wish you joy, and I am glad on your account that, amid all the storms of this world, which are at once so great and so dangerous, you have bethought yourself of some true and certain security. For even in this life men go in quest of rest and security at the cost of heavy labors, but they fail to find such in consequence of their wicked lusts. For their thought is to find rest in things which are unquiet, and which endure not. And these objects, inasmuch as they are withdrawn from them and pass away in the course of time, agitate them by fears and griefs, and suffer them not to enjoy tranquility. For if it be that a man seeks to find his rest in wealth, he is rendered proud rather than at ease. Do we not see how many have lost their riches on a sudden,-how many, too, have been undone by reason of them, either as they have been coveting to possess them, or as they have been borne down and despoiled of them by others more covetous than themselves? And even should they remain with the man all his life long, and never leave their lover, yet would he himself (have to) leave them at his death. For of what measure is the life of man, even if he lives to old age? Or when men desire for themselves old age, what else do they really desire but long infirmity? So, too, with the honors of this world,-what are they but empty pride and vanity, and peril of ruin? For holy Scripture speaks in this wise: 'All flesh is grass, and the glory of man is as the flower of grass. The grass withers, the flower thereof falls away; but the word of the Lord endures for ever.' Consequently, if any man longs for true rest and true felicity, he ought to lift his hope off things which are mortal and transitory, and fix it on the word of the Lord; so that, cleaving to that which endures for ever, he may himself together with it endure for ever.
25. "There are also other men who neither crave to be rich nor go about seeking the vain pomps of honors, but who nevertheless are minded to find their pleasure and rest in dainty meats, and in fornications, and in those theatres and spectacles which are at their disposal in great cities for nothing. But it fares with these, too, in the same way; or they waste their small means in luxury, and subsequently, under pressure of want, break out into thefts and burglaries, and at times even into highway robberies, and so they are suddenly filled with fears both numerous and great; and men who a little before were singing in the house of revelry, are now dreaming of the sorrows of the prison. Moreover, in their eager devotion to the public spectacles, they come to resemble demons, as they incite men by their cries to wound each other, and instigate those who have done them no hurt to engage in furious contests with each other, while they seek to please an insane people. And if they perceive any such to be peaceably disposed, they straightway hate them and persecute them, and raise an outcry, asking that they should be beaten with clubs, as if they had been in collusion to cheat them; and this iniquity they force even the judge, who is the (appointed) avenger of iniquities, to perpetrate. On the other hand, if they observe such men exerting themselves in horrid hostilities against each other, whether they be those who are called sintœ, or theatrical actors and players, or charioteers, or hunters,-those wretched men whom they engage in conflicts and struggles, not only men with men, but even men with beasts,-then the fiercer the fury with which they perceive these unhappy creatures rage against each other, the better they like them, and the greater the enjoyment they have in them; and they favor them when thus excited, and by so favoring them they excite them all the more, the spectators themselves striving more madly with each other, as they espouse the cause of different combatants, than is the case even with those very men whose madness they madly provoke, while at the same time they also long to be spectators of the same in their mad frenzy. How then can that mind keep the soundness of peace which feeds on strifes and contentions? For just as is the food which is received, such is the health which results. In fine, although mad pleasures are no pleasures, nevertheless let these things be taken as they are, and it still remains the case that, whatever their nature may be, and whatever the measure of enjoyment yielded by the boasts of riches, and the inflation of honors, and the spendthrift pleasures of the taverns, and the contests of the theatres, and the impurity of fornications, and the pruriency of the baths, they are all things of which onelittle fever deprives us, while, even from those who still survive, it takes away the whole false happiness of their life. Then there remains only a void and wounded conscience, destined to apprehend that God as a Judge whom it refused to have as a Father, and destined also to find a severe Lord in Him whom it scorned to seek and love as a tender Father. But you, inasmuch as you seek that true rest which is promised to Christians after this life, wilt taste the same sweet and pleasant rest even here among the bitterest troubles of this life, if you continue to love the commandments of Him who has promised the same. For quickly will you feel that the fruits of righteousness are sweeter than those of unrighteousness, and that a man finds a more genuine and pleasurable joy in the possession of a good conscience in the midst of troubles than in that of an evil conscience in the midst of delights. For you have not come to be united to the Church of God with the idea of seeking from it any temporal advantage.
Chapter 17.-The Specimen of Catechetical Discourse Continued, in Reference Specially to the Reproval of False Aims on the Catechumen's Part
26. "For there are some whose reason for desiring to become Christians is either that they may gain the favor of men from whom they look for temporal advantages, or that they are reluctant to offend those whom they fear. But these are reprobate; and although the church bears them for a time, as the threshing-floor bears the chaff until the period of winnowing, yet if they fail to amend and begin to be Christians in sincerity in view of the everlasting rest which is to come, they will be separated from it in the end. And let not such flatter themselves, because it is possible for them to be in the threshing-floor along with the grain of God. For they will not be together with that in the barn, but are destined for the fire, which is their due. There are also others of better hope indeed, but nevertheless in no inferior danger. I mean those who now fear God, and mock not the Christian name, neither enter the church of God with an assumed heart, but still look for their felicity in this life, expecting to have more felicity in earthly things than those enjoy who refuse to worship God. And the consequence of this false anticipation is, that when they see some wicked and impious men strongly established and excelling in this worldly prosperity, while they themselves either possess it in a smaller degree or miss it altogether, they are troubled with the thought that they are serving God without reason, and so they readily fall away from the faith.
27. "But as to the man who has in view that everlasting blessedness and perpetual rest which is promised as the lot destined for the saints after this life, and who desires to become a Christian, in order that he may not pass into eternal fire with the devil, but enter into the eternal kingdom together with Christ, such an one is truly a Christian; (and he will be) on his guard in every temptation, so that he may neither be corrupted by prosperity nor be utterly broken in spirit by adversity, but remain at once modest and temperate when the good things of earth abound with him, and brave and patient when tribulations overtake him. A person of this character will also advance in attainments until he comes to that disposition of mind which will make him love God more than he fears hell; so that even were God to say to him, 'Avail yourself of carnal pleasures for ever, and sin as much as you are able, and you shall neither die nor be sent into hell, but you will only not be with me, he would be terribly dismayed, and would altogether abstain from sinning, not now (simply) with the purpose of not falling into that of which he was wont to be afraid, but with the wish not to offend Him whom he so greatly loves: in whom alone also there is the rest which eye has not seen, neither has ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man (to conceive),-the rest which God has prepared for them that love Him.
28. "Now, on the subject of this rest Scripture is significant, and refrains not to speak, when it tells us how at the beginning of the world, and at the time when God made heaven and earth and all things which are in them, He worked during six days, and rested on the seventh day. For it was in the power of the Almighty to make all things even in one moment of time. For He had not labored in the view that He might enjoy (a needful) rest, since indeed "He spoke, and they were made; He commanded, and they were created;" but that He might signify how, after six ages of this world, in a seventh age, as on the seventh day, He will rest in His saints; inasmuch as these same saints shall rest also in Him after all the good works in which they have served Him,-which He Himself, indeed, works in them, who calls them, and instructs them, and puts away the offenses that are past, and justifies the man who previously was ungodly. For as, when by His gift they work that which is good, He is Himself rightly said to work (that in them), so, when they rest in Him, He is rightly said to rest Himself. For, as regards Himself, He seeks no cessation, because He feels no labor. Moreover He made all things by His Word; and His Word is Christ Himself, in whom the angels and all those purest spirits of heaven rest in holy silence. Man, however in that he fell by sin, has lost the rest which he possessed in His divinity, and receives it again (now) in His humanity; and for this purpose He became man, and was born of a woman, at the seasonable time at which He Himself knew it behooved it so to be fulfilled. And from the flesh assuredly He could not sustain any contamination, being Himself rather destined to purify the flesh. Of His future coming the ancient saints, in the revelation of the Spirit, had knowledge, and prophesied. And thus were they saved by believing that He was to come, even as we are saved by believing that He has come. Hence ought we to love God who has so loved us as to have sent His only Son, in order that He might endue Himself with the lowliness of our mortality, and die both at the hands of sinners and on behalf of sinners. For even in times of old, and in the opening ages, the depth of this mystery ceases not to be prefigured and prophetically announced.
Chapter 18.-Of What is to Be Believed on the Subject of the Creation of Man and Other Objects
29. "Whereas, then, the omnipotent God, who is also good and just and merciful, who made all things,-whether they be great or small, whether they be highest or lowest, whether they be things which are seen, such as are the heavens and the earth and the sea, and in the heavens, in particular, the sun and the moon and other luminaries, and in the earth and the sea, again, trees and shrubs and animals each after their kind, and all bodies celestial or terrestrial alike, or whether they be things which are not seen, such as are those spirits whereby bodies are animated and endowed with life,-made also man after His own image, in order that, as He Himself, in virtue of His omnipotence, presides over universal creation, so man, in virtue of that intelligence of his by which he comes to know even his Creator and worships Him, might preside over all the living creatures of earth: Whereas, too, he made the woman to be an helpmeet for him: not for carnal concupiscence,-since, indeed, they had not corruptible bodies at that period, before the punishment of sin invaded them in the form of mortality,-but for this purpose, that the man might at once have glory of the woman in so far as he went before her to God, and present in himself an example to her for imitation in holiness and piety, even as he himself was to be the glory of God in so far as he followed his wisdom:
30. "Therefore did he place them in a certain locality of perpetual blessedness, which the Scripture designates Paradise: and he gave them a commandment, on condition of not violating which they were to continue for ever in that blessedness of immortality; while, on the other hand, if they transgressed it, they were to sustain the penalties of mortality. Now God knew beforehand that they would trangress it. Nevertheless, in that He is the author and maker of everything good, He chose rather to make them, as He also made the beasts, in order that He might replenish the earth with the good things proper to earth. And certainly man, even sinful man, is better than a beast. And the commandment, which they were not to keep, He yet preferred to give them, in order that they might be without excuse when He should begin to vindicate Himself against them. For whatever man may have done, he finds God worthy to be praised in all His doings: if he shall have acted rightly, he finds Him worthy to be praised for the righteousness of His rewards: if he shall have sinned, he finds Him worthy to be praised for the righteousness of His punishments: if he shall have confessed his sins and returned to an upright life, he finds Him worthy to be praised for the mercy of His pardoning favors. Why, then, should God not make man, although He foreknew that he would sin, when He might crown him if he stood, and set him right if he fell, and help him if he rose, Himself being always and everywhere glorious in goodness, righteousness, and clemency? Above all, why should He not do so, since He also foreknew this, namely, that from the race of that mortality there would spring saints, who should not seek their own, but give glory to their Creator; and who, obtaining deliverance from every corruption by worshipping Him, should be counted worthy to live for ever, and to live in blessedness with the holy angels? For He who gave freedom of will to men, in order that they might worship God not of slavish necessity but with ingenuous inclination, gave it also to the angels; and hence neither did the angel, who, in company with other spirits who were his satellites, forsook in pride the obedience of God and became the devil, do any hurt to God, but to himself. For God knows how to dispose of souls that leave Him, and out of their righteous misery to furnish the inferior sections of His creatures with the most appropriate and befitting laws of His wonderful dispensation. Consequently, neither did the devil in any manner harm God, whether in falling himself, or in seducing man to death; nor did man himself in any degree impair the truth, or power, or blessedness of His Maker, in that, when his partner was seduced by the devil, he of his own deliberate inclination consented unto her in the doing of that which God had forbidden. For by the most righteous laws of God all were condemned, God Himself being glorious in the equity of retribution, while they were shamed through the degradation of punishment: to the end that man, when he turned away from his Creator, should be overcome by the devil and made his subject, and that the devil might be set before man as an enemy to be conquered, when he turned again to his Creator; so that whosoever should consent unto the devil even to the end, might go with him into eternal punishments; whereas those who should humble themselves to God, and by His grace overcome the devil, might be counted worthy of eternal rewards.
Chapter 19.-Of the Co-Existence of Good and Evil in the Church, and Their Final Separation
31. "Neither ought we to be moved by the consideration that many consent unto the devil, and few follow God; for the grain, too, in comparison with the chaff, has greatly the defect in number. But even as the husbandman knows what to do with the mighty heap of chaff, so the multitude of sinners is nothing to God, who knows what to do with them, so as not to let the administration of His kingdom be disordered and dishonored in any part. Nor is the devil to be supposed to have proved victorious for the mere reason of his drawing away with him more than the few by whom he may be overcome. In this way there are two communities-one of the ungodly, and another of the holy-which are carried down from the beginning of the human race even to the end of the world, which are at present commingled in respect of bodies, but separated in respect of wills, and which, moreover, are destined to be separated also in respect of bodily presence in the day of judgment. For all men who love pride and temporal power with vain elation and pomp of arrogance, and all spirits who set their affections on such things and seek their own glory in the subjection of men, are bound fast together in one association; nay, even although they frequently fight against each other on account of these things, they are nevertheless precipitated by the like weight of lust into the same abyss, and are united with each other by similarity of manners and merits. And, again, all men and all spirits who humbly seek the glory of God and not their own, and who follow Him in piety, belong to one fellowship. And, notwithstanding this, God is most merciful and patient with ungodly men, and offers them a place for penitence and amendment.
32. "For with respect also to the fact that He destroyed all men in the flood, with the exception of one righteous man together with his house, whom He willed to be saved in the ark, He knew indeed that they would not amend themselves; yet, nevertheless, as the building of the ark went on for the space of a hundred years, the wrath of God which was to come upon them was certainly preached to them: and if they only would have turned to God, He would have spared them, as at a later period He spared the city of Nineveh when it repented, after He had announced to it, by means of a prophet, the destruction that was about to overtake it. Thus, moreover, God acts, granting a space for repentance even to those who He knows will persist in wickedness, in order that He may exercise and instruct our patience by His own example; whereby also we may know how greatly it befits us to bear with the evil in long-suffering, when we know not what manner of men they will prove hereafter, seeing that He, whose cognizance nothing that is yet to be escapes, spares them and suffers them to live. Under the sacramental sign of the flood, however, in which the righteous were rescued by the wood, there was also a fore-announcement of the Church which was to be, which Christ, its King and God, has raised on high; by the mystery of His cross, in safety from the submersion of this world. Moreover, God was not ignorant of the fact that, even of those who had been saved in the ark, there would be born wicked men, who would cover the face of the earth a second time with iniquities. But, nevertheless, He both gave them a pattern of the future judgment, and fore-announced the deliverance of the holy by the mystery of the wood. For even after these things wickedness did not cease to sprout forth again through pride, and lusts, and illicit impieties, when men, forsaking their Creator, not only fell to the (standard of the) creature which God made, so as to worship instead of God that which God made, but even bowed their souls to the works of the hands of men and to the contrivances of craftsmen, wherein a more shameful triumph was to be won over them by the devil, and by those evil spirits who rejoice in finding themselves adored and reverenced in such false devices, while they feed their own errors with the errors of men.
33. "But in truth there were not wanting in those times righteous men also of the kind to seek God piously and to overcome the pride of the devil, citizens of that holy community, who were made whole by the humiliation of Christ, which was then only destined to enter, but was revealed to them by the Spirit. From among these, Abraham, a pious and faithful servant of God, was chosen, in order that to him might be shown the sacrament of the Son of God, so that thus, in virtue of the imitation of his faith, all the faithful of all nations might be called his children in the future. Of him was born a people, by whom the one true God who made heaven and earth should be worshipped when all other nations did service to idols and evil spirits. In that people, plainly, the future Church was much more evidently prefigured. For in it there was a carnal multitude that worshipped God with a view to visible benefits. But in it there were also a few who thought of the future rest, and looked longingly for the heavenly fatherland, to whom through prophecy was revealed the coming humiliation of God in the person of our King and Lord Jesus Christ, in order that they might be made whole of all pride and arrogance through that faith. And with respect to these saints who in point of time had precedence of the birth of the Lord, not only their speech, but also their life, and their marriages, and their children, and their doings, constituted a prophecy of this time, at which the Church is being gathered together out of all nations through faith in the passion of Christ. By the instrumentality of those holy patriarchs and prophets this carnal people of Israel, who at a later period were also called Jews, had ministered unto them at once those visible benefits which they eagerly desired of the Lord in a carnal manner, and those chastisements, in the form of bodily punishments, which were intended to terrify them for the time, as was befitting for their obstinacy. And in all these, nevertheless, there were also spiritual mysteries signified, such as were meant to bear upon Christ and the Church; of which Church those saints also were members, although they existed in this life previous to the birth of Christ, the Lord, according to the flesh. For this same Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, the Word of the Father, equal and co-eternal with the Father, by whom all things were made, was Himself also made man for our sakes, in order that of the whole Church, as of His whole body, He might be the Head. But just as when the whole man is in the process of being born, although he may put the hand forth first in the act of birth, yet is that hand joined and compacted together with the whole body under the head, even as also among these same patriarchs some were born with the hand put forth first as a sign of this very thing: so all the saints who lived upon the earth previous to the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, although they were born antecedently, were nevertheless united under the Head with that universal body of which He is the Head.
Chapter 20.-Of Israel's Bondage in Egypt, Their Deliverance and Passage Through the Red Sea
34. "That people, then, having been brought down into Egypt, were in bondage to the harshest of kings; and, taught by the most oppressive labors, they sought their deliverer in God; and there was sent to them one belonging to the people themselves, Moses, the holy servant of God, who, in the might of God, terrified the impious nation of the Egyptians in those days by great miracles, and led forth the people of God out of that land through the Red Sea, where the water parted and opened up a way for them as they crossed it, whereas, when the Egyptians pressed on in pursuit, the waves returned to their channel and overwhelmed them, so that they perished. Thus, then, just as the earth through the agency of the flood was cleansed by the waters from the wickedness of the sinners, who in those times were destroyed in their inundation, while the righteous escaped by means of the wood; so the people of God, when they went forth from Egypt, found a way through the waters by which their enemies were devoured. Nor was the sacrament of the wood wanting there. For Moses smote with his rod, in order that that miracle might be effected. Both these are signs of holy baptism, by which the faithful pass into the new life, while their sins are done away with like enemies, and perish. But more clearly was the passion of Christ prefigured in the case of that people, when they were commanded to slay and eat the lamb, and to mark their door-posts with its blood, and to celebrate this rite every year, and to designate it the Lord's passover. For surely prophecy speaks with the utmost plainness of the Lord Jesus Christ, when it says that "He was led as a lamb to the slaughter." And with the sign of His passion and cross, you are this day to be marked on your forehead, as on the door-post, and all Christians are marked with the same.
35. "Thereafter this people was conducted through the wilderness for forty years. They also received the law written by the finger of God, under which name the Holy Spirit is signified, as it is declared with the utmost plainness in the Gospel. For God is not defined by the form of a body, neither are members and fingers to be thought of as existent in Him in the way in which we see them in ourselves. But, inasmuch as it is through the Holy Spirit that God's gifts are divided to His saints, in order that, although they vary in their capacities, they may nevertheless not lapse from the concord of charity, and inasmuch as it is especially in the fingers that there appears a certain kind of division, while nevertheless there is no separation from unity, this may be the explanation of the phrase. But whether this may be the case, or whatever other reason may be assigned for the Holy Spirit being called the finger of God, we ought not at any rate to think of the form of a human body when we hear this expression used. The people in question, then, received the law written by the finger of God, and that in good sooth on tables of stone, to signify the hardness of their heart in that they were not to fulfill the law. For, as they eagerly sought from the Lord gifts meant for the uses of the body, they were held by carnal fear rather than by spiritual charity. But nothing fulfills the law save charity. Consequently, they were burdened with many visible sacraments, to the intent that they should feel the pressure of the yoke of bondage in the observances of meats, and in the sacrifices of animals, and in other rites innumerable; which things, at the same time, were signs of spiritual matters relating to the Lord Jesus Christ and to the Church; which, furthermore, at that time were both understood by a few holy men to the effect of yielding the fruit of salvation, and observed by them in accordance with the fitness of the time, while by the multitude of carnal men they were observed only and not understood.
36. "In this manner, then, through many varied signs of things to come, which it would be tedious to enumerate in complete detail, and which we now see in their fulfillment in the Church, that people were brought to the land of promise, in which they were to reign in a temporal and carnal way in accordance with their own longings: which earthly kingdom, nevertheless, sustained the image of a spiritual kingdom. There Jerusalem was founded, that most celebrated city of God, which, while in bondage, served as a sign of the free city, which is called the heavenly Jerusalem which latter term is a Hebrew word, and signifies by interpretation the 'vision of peace.' The citizens thereof are all sanctified men, who have been, who are, and who are yet to be; and all sanctified spirits, even as many as are obedient to God with pious devotion in the exalted regions of heaven, and imitate not the impious pride of the devil and his angels. The King of this city is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God, by whom the highest angels are governed, and at the same time the Word that took unto Himself human nature, in order that by Him men also might be governed, who, in His fellowship, shall reign all together in eternal peace. In the service of prefiguring this King in that earthly kingdom of the people of Israel, King David stood forth pre-eminent, of whose seed according to the flesh that truest King was to come, to wit, our Lord Jesus Christ, 'who is over all, God blessed for ever.' In that land of promise many things were done, which held good as figures of the Christ who was to come, and of the Church, with which you will have it in your power to acquaint yourself by degrees in the Holy Books.
Chapter 21.-Of the Babylonian Captivity, and the Things Signified Thereby
37. "Howbeit, after the lapse of some generations, another type was presented, which bears very emphatically on the matter in hand. For that city was brought into captivity, and a large section of the people were carried off into Babylonia. Now, as Jerusalem signifies the city and fellowship of the saints, so Babylonia signifies the city and fellowship of the wicked, seeing that by interpretation it denotes confusion. On the subject of these two cities, which have been running their courses, mingling the one with the other, through all the changes of time from the beginning of the human race, and which shall so move on together until the end of the world, when they are destined to be separated at the last judgment, we have spoken already a little ago. That captivity, then, of the city of Jerusalem, and the people thus carried into Babylonia in bondage, were ordained so to proceed by the Lord, by the voice of Jeremiah, a prophet of that time. And there appeared kings of Babylon, under whom they were in slavery, who on occasion of the captivity of this people were so wrought upon by certain miracles that they came to know the one true God who founded universal creation, and worshipped Him, and commanded that He should be worshipped. Moreover the people were ordered both to pray for those by whom they were detained in captivity, and in their peace to hope for peace, to the effect that they should beget children, and build houses, and plant gardens and vineyards. But at the end of seventy years, release from their captivity was promised to them. All this, furthermore, signified in a figure that the Church of Christ in all His saints, who are citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem, would have to do service under the kings of this world. For the doctrine of the apostles speaks also in this wise, that 'every soul should be subject to the higher powers,' and that there 'should be rendered all things to all men, tribute to whom tribute (is due), custom to whom custom,' and all other things in like manner which, without detriment to the worship of our God, we render to the rulers in the constitution of human society: for the Lord Himself also, in order to set before us an example of this sound doctrine, did not deem it unworthy of Him to pay tribute on account of that human individuality wherewith He was invested. Again, Christian servants and good believers are also commanded to serve their temporal masters in equanimity and faithfulness; whom they will hereafter judge, if even on to the end they find them wicked, or with whom they will hereafter reign in equality, if they too shall have been converted to the true God. Still all are enjoined to be subject to the powers that are of man and of earth, even until, at the end of the predetermined time which the seventy years signify, the Church shall be delivered from the confusion of this world, like as Jerusalem was to be set free from the captivity in Babylonia. By occasion of that captivity, however, the kings of earth too have themselves been led to forsake the idols on account of which they were wont to persecute the Christians, and have come to know, and now worship, the one true God and Christ the Lord; and it is on their behalf that the Apostle Paul enjoins prayer to be made, even although they should persecute the Church. For he speaks in these terms: 'I entreat, therefore, that first of all supplications, adorations, intercessions, and givings of thanks be made for kings, for all men, and all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, with all godliness and charity.' Accordingly peace has been given to the Church by these same persons, although it be but of a temporal sort,-a temporal quiet for the work of building houses after a spiritual fashion, and planting gardens and vineyards. For witness your own case, too,-at this very time we are engaged, by means of this discourse, in building you up and planting you. And the like process is going on throughout the whole circle of lands, in virtue of the peace allowed by Christian kings, even as the same apostle thus expresses himself: 'You are God's husbandry; you are God's building.'
38. "And, indeed, after the lapse of the seventy years of which Jeremiah had mystically prophesied, to the intent of prefiguring the end of times, with a view still to the perfecting of that same figure, no settled peace and liberty were conceded again to the Jews. Thus it was that they were conquered subsequently by the Romans and made tributary. From that period, in truth, at which they received the land of promise and began to have kings, in order to preclude the supposition that the promise of the Christ who was to be their Liberator had met its complete fulfillment in the person of any one of their kings, Christ was prophesied of with greater clearness in a number of prophecies; not only by David himself in the book of Psalms, but also by the rest of the great and holy prophets, even on to the time of their conveyance into captivity in Babylonia; and in that same captivity there were also prophets whose mission was to prophesy of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Liberator of all. And after the restoration of the temple, when the seventy years had passed, the Jews sustained grievous oppressions and sufferings at the hands of the kings of the Gentiles, fitted to make them understand that the Liberator was not yet come, whom they failed to apprehend as one who was to effect for them a spiritual deliverance, and whom they fondly longed for on account of a carnal liberation.
Chapter 22.-Of the Six Ages of the World
39. "Five ages of the world, accordingly, having been now completed (there has entered the sixth). Of these ages the first is from the beginning of the human race, that is, from Adam, who was the first man that was made, down to Noah, who constructed the ark at the time of the flood. Then the second extends from that period on to Abraham, who was called the father indeed of all nations which should follow the example of his faith, but who at the same time in the way of natural descent from his own flesh was the father of the destined people of the Jews; which people, previous to the entrance of the Gentiles into the Christian faith, was the one people among all the nations of all lands that worshipped the one true God: from which people also Christ the Savior was decreed to come according to the flesh. For these turning-points of those two ages occupy an eminent place in the ancient books. On the other hand, those of the other three ages are also declared in the Gospel, where the descent of the Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh is likewise mentioned. For the third age extends from Abraham on to David the king; the fourth from David on to that captivity whereby the people of God passed over into Babylonia; and the fifth from that transmigration down to the advent of our Lord Jesus Christ. With His coming the sixth age has entered on its process; so that now the spiritual grace, which in previous times was known to a few patriarchs and prophets, may be made manifest to all nations; to the intent that no man should worship God but freely, fondly desiring of Him not the visible rewards of His services and the happiness of this present life, but that eternal life alone in which he is to enjoy God Himself: in order that in this sixth age the mind of man may be renewed after the image of God, even as on the sixth day man was made after the image of God. For then, too, is the law fulfilled, when all that it has commanded is done, not in the strong desire for things temporal, but in the love of Him who has given the commandment. Who is there, moreover, who should not be earnestly disposed to give the return of love to a God of supreme righteousness and also of supreme mercy, who has first loved men of the greatest unrighteousness and the loftiest pride, and that, too, so deeply as to have sent in their behalf His only Son, by whom He made all things, and who being made man, not by any change of Himself, but by the assumption of human nature, was designed thus to become capable not only of living with them, but also of dying at once for them and by their hands?
40. "Thus, then, showing forth the New Testament of our everlasting inheritance, wherein man was to be renewed by the grace of God and lead a new life, that is, a spiritual life; and with the view of exhibiting the first one as an old dispensation, wherein a carnal people acting out the old man (with the exception of a few patriarchs and prophets, who had understanding, and some hidden saints), and leading a carnal life, desiderated carnal rewards at the hands of the Lord God, and received in that fashion but the figures of spiritual blessings;-with this intent, I say, the Lord Christ, when made man, despised all earthly good things, in order that He might show us how these things ought to be despised; and He endured all earthly ills which He was inculcating as things needful to be endured; so that neither might our happiness be sought for in the former class, nor our unhappiness be apprehended in the latter. For being born of a mother who, although she conceived without being touched by man and always remained thus untouched, in virginity conceiving, in virginity bringing forth, in virginity dying, had nevertheless been espoused to a handicraftsman, He extinguished all the inflated pride of carnal nobility. Moreover, being born in the city of Bethlehem, which among all the cities of Judæa was so insignificant that even in our own day it is designated a village, He willed not that any one should glory in the exalted position of any city of earth. He, too, whose are all things and by whom all things were created, was made poor, in order that no one, while believing in Him, might venture to boast himself in earthly riches. He refused to be made by men a king, because He displayed the pathway of humility to those unhappy ones whom pride had separated from Him; and yet universal creation attests the fact of His everlasting kingdom. And hungered was He who feeds all men; thirsty was He by whom is created whatsoever is drunk, and who in a spiritual manner is the bread of the hungry and the fountain of the thirsty; in journeying on earth, wearied was He who has made Himself the way for us into heaven; as like one dumb and deaf in the presence of His revilers was He by whom the dumb spoke and the deaf heard; bound was He who freed us from the bonds of infirmities; scourged was He who expelled from the bodies of man the scourges of all distresses; crucified was He who put an end to our crucial pains; dead did He become who raised the dead. But He also rose again, no more to die, so that no one should from Him learn so to contemn death as if he were never to live again.
Chapter 23.-Of the Mission of the Holy Spirit Fifty Days after Christ's Resurrection
41. "Thereafter, having confirmed the disciples, and having sojourned with them forty days, He ascended up into heaven, as these same persons were beholding Him. And on the completion of fifty days from His resurrection He sent to them the Holy Spirit (for so He had promised), by whose agency they were to have love shed abroad in their hearts, to the end that they might be able to fulfill the law, not only without the sense of its being burdensome, but even with a joyful mind. This law was given to the Jews in the ten commandments, which they call the Decalogue. And these commandments, again, are reduced to two, namely that we should love God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind; and that we should love our neighbor as ourselves. For that on these two precepts hang all the law and the prophets, the Lord Himself has at once declared in the Gospel and shown in His own example. For thus it was likewise in the instance of the people of Israel, that from the day on which they first celebrated the passover in a form, slaying and eating the sheep, with whose blood their door-posts were marked for the securing of their safety,-from this day, I repeat, the fiftieth day in succession was completed, and then they received the law written by the finger of God, under which phrase we have already stated that the Holy Spirit is signified. And in the same manner, after the passion and resurrection of the Lord, who is the true passover, the Holy Ghost was sent personally to the disciples on the fiftieth day: not now, however, by tables of stone significant of the hardness of their hearts; but, when they were gathered together in one place at Jerusalem itself, suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as if a violent blast were being borne onwards, and there appeared to them tongues cloven like fire, and they began to speak with tongues, in such a manner that all those who had come to them recognized each his own language (for in that city the Jews were in the habit of assembling from every country wheresoever they had been scattered abroad, and had learned the diverse tongues of diverse nations); and thereafter, preaching Christ with all boldness, they wrought many signs in His name,-so much so, that as Peter was passing by, his shadow touched a certain dead person, and the man rose in life again.
42. "But when the Jews perceived so great signs to be wrought in the name of Him, whom, partly through ill-will and partly in ignorance, they crucified, some of them were provoked to persecute the apostles, who were His preachers; while others, on the contrary, marveling the more at this very circumstance, that so great miracles were being performed in the name of Him whom they had derided as one overborne and conquered by themselves, repented, and were converted, so that thousands of Jews believed on Him. For these parties were not bent now on craving at the hand of God temporal benefits and an earthly kingdom, neither did they look any more for Christ, the promised king, in a carnal spirit; but they continued in immortal fashion to apprehend and love Him, who in mortal fashion endured on their behalf at their own hands sufferings so heavy, and imparted to them the gift of forgiveness for all their sins, even down to the iniquity of His own blood, and by the example of His own resurrection unfolded immortality as the object which they should hope for and long for at His hands. Accordingly, now mortifying the earthly cravings of the old man, and inflamed with the new experience of the spiritual life, as the Lord had enjoined in the Gospel, they sold all that they had, and laid the price of their possessions at the feet of the apostles, in order that these might distribute to every man according as each had need; and living in Christian love harmoniously with each other, they did not affirm anything to be their own, but they had all things in common, and were one in soul and heart toward God. Afterwards these same persons also themselves suffered persecution in their flesh at the hands of the Jews, their carnal fellow-countrymen, and were dispersed abroad, to the end that, in consequence of their dispersion, Christ should be preached more extensively, and that they themselves at the same time should be followers of the patience of their Lord. For He who in meekness had endured them, enjoined them in meekness to endure for His sake.
43. "Among those same persecutors of the saints the Apostle Paul had once also ranked; and he raged with eminent violence against the Christians. But, subsequently, he became a believer and an apostle, and was sent to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, suffering (in that ministry) things more grievous on behalf of the name of Christ than were those which he had done against the name of Christ. Moreover, in establishing churches throughout all the nations where he was sowing the seed of the gospel, he was wont to give earnest injunction that, as these converts (coming as they did from the worship of idols and without experience in the worship of the one God) could not readily serve God in the way of selling and distributing their possessions, they should make offerings for the poor brethren among the saints who were in the churches of Judea which had believed in Christ. In this manner the doctrine of the apostle constituted some to be, as it were, soldiers, and others to be, as it were, provincial tributaries, while it set Christ in the centre of them like the corner-stone (in accordance with what had been announced beforetime by the prophet), in whom both parties, like walls advancing from different sides, that is to say, from Jews and from Gentiles, might be joined together in the affection of kinship. But at a later period heavier and more frequent persecutions arose from the unbelieving Gentiles against the Church of Christ, and day by day was fulfilled that prophetic word which the Lord spoke when He said, 'Behold, I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves.'
Chapter 24.-Of the Church in Its Likeness to a Vine Sprouting and Suffering Pruning
44. "But that vine, which was spreading forth its fruitful shoots throughout the circle of lands, according as had been prophesied with regard to it, and as had been foretold by the Lord Himself, sprouted all the more luxuriantly in proportion as it was watered with richer streams of the blood of martyrs. And as these died in behalf of the truth of the faith in countless numbers throughout all lands, even the persecuting kingdoms themselves desisted, and were converted to the knowledge and worship of Christ, with the neck of their pride broken. Moreover it behoved that this same vine should be pruned in accordance with the Lord's repeated predictions, and that the unfruitful twigs should be cut out of it, by which heresies and schisms were occasioned in various localities, under the name of Christ, on the part of men who sought not His glory but their own; whose oppositions, however, also served more and more to discipline the Church, and to test and illustrate both its doctrine and its patience.
45. "All these things, then, we now perceive to be realized precisely as we read of them in predictions uttered so long before the event. And as the first Christians, inasmuch as they did not see these things literally made good in their own day, were moved by miracles to believe them; so as regards ourselves, inasmuch as all these things have now been brought to pass exactly as we read of them in those books which were written a long time previous to the fulfillment of the things in question, wherein they were all announced as matters yet future, even as they are now seen to be actually present, we are built up unto faith, so that, enduring and persevering in the Lord, we believe without any hesitation in the destined accomplishment even of those things which still remain to be realized. For, indeed, in the same Scriptures, tribulations yet to come are still read of, as well as the final day of judgment itself, when all the citizens of these two states shall receive their bodies again, and rise and give account of their life before the judgment-seat of Christ. For He will come in the glory of His power, who of old condescended to come in the lowliness of humanity; and He will separate all the godly from the ungodly,-not only from those who have utterly refused to believe in Him at all, but also from those who have believed in Him to no purpose and without fruit. To the one class He will give an eternal kingdom together with Himself, while to the other He will award eternal punishment together with the devil. But as no joy yielded by things temporal can be found in any measure comparable to the joy of life eternal which the saints are destined to attain, so no torment of temporal punishments can be compared to the everlasting torments of the unrighteous.
Chapter 25.-Of Constancy in the Faith of the Resurrection
46. "Therefore, brother, confirm yourself in the name and help of Him in whom you believe, so as to withstand the tongues of those who mock our faith, in whose case the devil speaks seductive words, bent above all on making a mockery of the faith in a resurrection. But, judging from your own history, believe that, seeing you have been, you will also be hereafter, even as you perceive yourself now to be, although previously you were not. For where was this great structure of your body, and where this formation and compacted connection of members a few years ago, before you were born, or even before you were conceived in your mother's womb? Where, I repeat, was then this structure and this stature of your body? Did it not come forth to light from the hidden secrets of this creation, under the invisible formative operations of the Lord God, and did it not rise to its present magnitude and fashion by those fixed measures of increase which come with the successive periods of life? Is it then in any way a difficult thing for God, who also in a moment brings together out of secrecy the masses of the clouds and veils the heavens in an instant of time, to make this quantity of your body again what it was, seeing that He was able to make it what formerly it was not? Consequently, believe with a manful and unshaken spirit that all those things which seem to be withdrawn from the eyes of men as if to perish, are safe and exempt from loss in relation to the omnipotence of God, who will restore them, without any delay or difficulty, when He is so minded,-those of them at least, I should say, that are judged by His justice to merit restoration; in order that men may give account of their deeds in their very bodies in which they have done them; and that in these they may be deemed worthy to receive either the exchange of heavenly incorruption in accordance with the deserts of their piety, or the corruptible condition of body in accordance with the deserts of their wickedness,-and that, too, not a condition such as may be done away with by death, but such as shall furnish material for everlasting pains.
47. "Flee, therefore, by steadfast faith and good manners,-flee, brother, those torments in which neither the torturers fail, nor do the tortured die; to whom it is death without end, to be unable to die in their pains. And be kindled with love and longing for the everlasting life of the saints, in which neither will action be toilsome nor will rest be indolent; in which the praise of God will be without irksomeness and without defect; wherein there will be no weariness in the mind, no exhaustion in the body; wherein, too, there shall be no want, whether on your own part, so that you should crave for relief, or on your neighbor's part, so that you should be in haste to carry relief to him. God will be the whole enjoyment and satisfaction of that holy city, which lives in Him and of Him, in wisdom and beatitude. For as we hope and look for what has been promised by Him, we shall be made equal to the angels of God, and together with them we shall enjoy that Trinity now by sight, wherein at present we walk by faith. For we believe that which we see not, in order that through these very deserts of faith we may be counted worthy also to see that which we believe, and to abide in it; to the intent that these mysteries of the equality of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and the unity of this same Trinity, and the manner in which these three subsistences are one God, need no more be uttered by us in words of faith and sounding syllables, but may be drunk in in purest and most burning contemplation in that silence.
48. "These things hold fixed in your heart, and call upon the God in whom you believe, to defend you against the temptations of the devil; and be careful, lest that adversary come stealthily upon you from a strange quarter, who, as a most malevolent solace for his own damnation, seeks others whose companionship he may obtain in that damnation. For he is bold enough not only to tempt Christian people through the instrumentality of those who hate the Christian name, or are pained to see the world taken possession of by that name, and still fondly desire to do service to idols and to the curious rites of evil spirits, but at times he also attempts the same through the agency of such men as we have mentioned a little ago, to wit, persons severed from the unity of the Church, like the twigs which are lopped off when the vine is pruned, who are called heretics or schismatics. Howbeit sometimes also he makes the same effort by means of the Jews, seeking to tempt and seduce believers by their instrumentality. Nevertheless, what ought above all things to be guarded against is, that no individual may suffer himself to be tempted and deceived by men who are within the Catholic Church itself, and who are borne by it like the chaff that is sustained against the time of its winnowing. For in being patient toward such persons, God has this end in view, namely, to exercise and confirm the faith and prudence of His elect by means of the perverseness of these others while at the same time He also takes account of the fact that many of their number make an advance, and are converted to the doing of the good pleasure of God with a great impetus, when led to take pity upon their own souls. For not all treasure up for themselves, through the patience of God, wrath in the day of the wrath of His just judgment; but many are brought by the same patience of the Almighty to the most wholesome pain of repentance. And until that is effected, they are made the means of exercising not only the forbearance, but also the compassion of those who are already holding by the right way. Accordingly, you will have to witness many drunkards, covetous men, deceivers gamesters, adulterers, fornicators, men who bind upon their persons sacrilegious charms and others given up to sorcerers and astrologers, and diviners practised in all kinds of impious arts. You will also have to observe how those very crowds which fill the theatres on the festal days of the pagans also fill the churches on the festal days of the Christians. And when you see these things you will be tempted to imitate them. Nay, why should I use the expression, you will see, in reference to what you assuredly are acquainted with even already? For you are not ignorant of the fact that many who are called Christians engage in all these evil things which I have briefly mentioned. Neither are you ignorant that at times, perchance, men whom you know to bear the name of Christians are guilty of even more grievous offenses than these. But if you have come with the notion that you may do such things as in a secured position, you are greatly in error; neither will the name of Christ be of any avail to you when He begins to judge in utmost strictness, who also of old condescended in utmost mercy to come to man's relief. For He Himself has foretold these things, and speaks to this effect in the Gospel: 'Not every one that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father. Many shall say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, in your name we have eaten and drunken.' For all, therefore, who persevere in such works the end is damnation. Consequently, when you see many not only doing these things but also defending and recommending them, keep yourself firmly by the law of God, and follow not its willful transgressors. For it is not according to their mind, but according to His truth that you will be judged.
49. "Associate with the good, whom you perceive to be at one with you in loving your King. For there are many such for you to discover, if you also begin to cultivate that character yourself. For if in the public spectacles you wished to be in congenial company, and to attach yourself closely to men who are united with you in a liking for some charioteer, or some hunter, or some player or other, how much more ought you to find pleasure in associating with those who are at one with you in loving that God, with regard to whom no one that loves Him shall ever have cause for the blush of shame, inasmuch as not only is He Himself incapable of being overcome, but He will also render those unconquerable who are affectionately disposed toward Him. At the same time, not even on those same good men, who either anticipate you or accompany you on the way to God, ought you to set your hope, seeing that no more ought you to place it on yourself, however great may be the progress you have made, but on Him who justifies both them and you, and thus makes you what you are. For you are secure in God, because He changes not; but in man no one prudently counts himself secure. But if we ought to love those who are not righteous as yet, with the view that they may be so, how much more warmly ought those to be loved who already are righteous? At the same time, it is one thing to love man, and another thing to set one's hope in man; and the difference is so great, that God enjoins the one and forbids the other. Moreover, if you have tosustain either any insults or any sufferings in the cause of the name of Christ, and neither fall away from the faith nor decline from the good way, you are certain to receive the greater reward; whereas those who give way to the devil in such circumstances, lose even the less reward. But be humble toward God, in order that He may not permit you to be tempted beyond your strength."
Chapter 26.-Of the Formal Admission of the Catechumen, and of the Signs Therein Made Use of
50. At the conclusion of this address the person is to be asked whether he believes these things and earnestly desires to observe them. And on his replying to that effect then certainly he is to be solemnly signed and dealt with in accordance with the custom of the Church. On the subject of the sacrament, indeed, which he receives, it is first to be well impressed upon his notice that the signs of divine things are, it is true, things visible, but that the invisible things themselves are also honored in them, and that that species, which is then sanctified by the blessing, is therefore not to be regarded merely in the way in which it is regarded in any common use. And thereafter he ought to be told what is also signified by the form of words to which he has listened, and what in him is seasoned by that (spiritual grace) of which this material substance presents the emblem. Next we should take occasion by that ceremony to admonish him that, if he hears anything even in the Scriptures which may carry a carnal sound, he should, even although he fails to understand it, nevertheless believe that something spiritual is signified thereby, which bears upon holiness of character and the future life. Moreover, in this way he learns briefly that, whatever he may hear in the canonical books of such a kind as to make him unable to refer it to the love of eternity, and of truth, and of sanctity, and to the love of our neighbor, he should believe that to have been spoken or done with a figurative significance; and that, consequently, he should endeavor to understand it in such a manner as to refer it to that twofold (duty of) love. He should be further admonished, however, not to take the term neighbor in a carnal sense, but to understand under it every one who may ever be with him in that holy city, whether there already or not yet apparent. And (he should finally be counselled) not to despair of the amendment of any man whom he perceives to be living under the patience of God for no other reason, as the apostle says, than that he may be brought to repentance.
51. If this discourse, in which I have supposed myself to have been teaching some uninstructed person in my presence, appears to you to be too long, you are at liberty to expound these matters with greater brevity. I do not think, however, that it ought to be longer than this. At the same time, much depends on what the case itself, as it goes on, may render advisable, and what the audience actually present shows itself not only to bear, but also to desire. When, however, rapid despatch is required, notice with what facility the whole matter admits of being explained. Suppose once more that some one comes before us who desires to be a Christian; and accordingly, suppose further that he has been interrogated, and that he has returned the answer which we have taken the former catechumen to have given; for, even should he decline to make this reply, it must at least be said that he ought to have given it;-then all that remains to be said to him should be put together in the following manner:-
52. Of a truth, brother, that is great and true blessedness which is promised to the saints in a future world. All visible things, on the other hand, pass away, and all the pomp, and pleasure, and solicitude of this world will perish, and (even now) they drag those who love them along with them onward to destruction. The merciful God, willing to deliver men from this destruction, that is to say, from everlasting pains, if they should not prove enemies to themselves, and if they should not withstand the mercy of their Creator, sent His only-begotten Son, that is to say, His Word, equal with Himself, by whom He made all things. And He, while abiding indeed in His divinity, and neither receding from the Father nor being changed in anything, did at the same time, by taking on Himself human nature, and appearing to men in mortal flesh, come unto men; in order that, just as death entered among the human race by one man, to wit, the first that was made, that is to say, Adam, because he consented unto his wife when she was seduced by the devil to the effect that they (both) transgressed the commandment of God; even so by one man, Jesus Christ, who is also God, the Son of God, all those who believe in Him might have all their past sins done away with, and enter into eternal life.
Chapter 27.-Of the Prophecies of the Old Testament in Their Visible Fulfillment in the Church
53. "For all those things, which at present you witness in the Church of God, and which you see to be taking place under the name of Christ throughout the whole world, were predicted long ages ago. And even as we read of them, so also we now see them. And by means of these things we are built up unto faith. Once of old there occurred a flood over the whole earth, the object of which was that sinners might be destroyed. And, nevertheless, those who escaped in the ark exhibited a sacramental sign of the Church that was to be, which at present is floating on the waves of the world, and is delivered from submersion by the wood of the cross of Christ. It was predicted to Abraham, a faithful servant of God, a single man, that of Him it was determined that a people should be born who should worship one God in the midst of all other nations which worshipped idols; and all things which were prophesied of as destined to happen to that people have come to pass exactly as they were foretold. Among that people Christ, the King of all saints and their God, was also prophesied of as destined to come of the seed of that same Abraham according to the flesh, which (flesh) He took unto Himself, in order that all those also who became followers of His faith might be sons of Abraham; and thus it has come to pass: Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, who belonged to that race. It was foretold by the prophets that He would suffer on the cross at the hands of that same people of the Jews, of whose lineage, according to the flesh, He came; and thus it has come to pass. It was foretold that He would rise again: He has risen again; and, in accordance with these same predictions of the prophets, He has ascended into heaven and has sent the Holy Spirit to His disciples. It was foretold not only by the prophets, but also by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, that His Church would exist throughout the whole world, extended by the martyrdoms and sufferings of the saints; and this was foretold at a time when as yet His name was at once undeclared to the Gentiles, and made a subject of derision where it was known; and, nevertheless, in the power of His miracles, whether those which He wrought by His own hand or those which he effected by means of His servants, as these things are being reported and believed, we already see the fulfillment of that which was predicted, and behold the very kings of the earth, who formerly were wont to persecute the Christians, even now brought into subjection to the name of Christ. It was also foretold that schisms and heresies would arise from His Church, and that under His name they would seek their own glory instead of Christ's, in such places as they might be able to command; and these predictions have been realized.
54. "Will those things, then, which yet remain fail to come to pass? It is manifest that, just as the former class of things which were foretold have come to pass, so will these latter also come to pass. I refer to all the tribulations of the righteous, which yet wait for fulfillment, and to the day of judgment, which will separate all the wicked from the righteous in the resurrection of the dead;-and not only will it thus separate those wicked men who are outside the Church, but also it will set apart for the fire, which is due to such, the chaff of the Church itself, which must be borne with in utmost patience on to the last winnowing. Moreover, they who deride the (doctrine of a) resurrection, because they think that this flesh, inasmuch as it becomes corrupt, cannot rise again, will certainly rise in the same unto punishment, and God will make it plain to such, that He who was able to form these bodies when as yet they were not, is able in a moment to restore them as they were. But all the faithful who are destined to reign with Christ shall rise with the same body in such wise that they may also be counted worthy to be changed into angelic incorruption; so that they may be made equal unto the angels of God, even as the Lord Himself has promised; and that they may praise Him without any failure and without any weariness, ever living in Him and of Him, with such joy and blessedness as can be neither expressed nor conceived by man.
55. "Believe these things, therefore, and be on your guard against temptations (for the devil seeks for others who may be brought to perish along with himself); so that not only may that adversary fail to seduce you by the help of those who are without the Church, whether they be pagans, or Jews, or heretics; but you yourself also may decline to follow the example of those within the Catholic Church itself whom you see leading an evil life, either indulging in excess in the pleasures of the belly and the throat, or unchaste, or given up to the vain and unlawful observances of curious superstitions, whether they be addicted to (the inanities of) public spectacles, or charms, or divinations of devils, or be living in the pomp and inflated arrogance of covetousness and pride, or be pursuing any sort of life which the law condemns and punishes. But rather connect yourself with the good, whom you will easily find out, if you yourself were once become of that character; so that you may unite with each other in worshipping and loving God for His own sake; for He himself will be our complete reward to the intent that we may enjoy His goodness and beauty in that life. He is to be loved, however, not in the way in which any object that is seen with the eyes is loved, but as wisdom is loved, and truth, and holiness, and righteousness, and charity, and whatever else may be mentioned as of kindred nature; and further, with a love conformable to these things not as they are in men, but as they are in the very fountain of incorruptible and unchangeable wisdom. Whomsoever, therefore, you may observe to be loving these things, attach yourself to them, so that through Christ, who became man in order that He might be the Mediator between God and men, you may be reconciled to God. But as regards the perverse, even if they find their way within the walls of the Church, think not that they will find their way into the kingdom of heaven; for in their own time they will be set apart, if they have not altered to the better. Consequently, follow the example of good men, bear with the wicked, love all; forasmuch as you know not what he will be tomorrow who today is evil. Howbeit, love not the unrighteousness of such; but love the persons themselves with the express intent that they may apprehend righteousness; for not only is the love of God enjoined upon us, but also the love of our neighbor, on which two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. And this is fulfilled by no one save the man who has received the (other) gift, the Holy Spirit, who is indeed equal with the Father and with the Son; for this same Trinity is God; and on this God every hope ought to be placed. On man our hope ought not to be placed, of whatsoever character he may be. For He, by whom we are justified, is one thing; and they, together with whom we are justified, are another. Moreover, it is not only by lusts that the devil tempts, but also by the terrors of insults, and pains, and death itself. But whatever a man shall have suffered on behalf of the name of Christ, and for the sake of the hope of eternal life, and shall have endured in constancy, (in accordance therewith) the greater reward shall be given him; whereas, if he shall give way to the devil, he shall be damned along with him. But works of mercy, conjoined with pious humility, meet with this acknowledgment from God, to wit, that He will not suffer His servants to be tempted more than they are able to bear."
Contra Faustum ["Against Faustus the Manichæan"]: Book 12 (ca 400) - excerpts
[courtesy of newadvent.org]
7. To enumerate all the passages in the Hebrew prophets referring to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, would exceed the limits of a volume, not to speak of the brief replies of which this treatise consists. The whole contents of these Scriptures are either directly or indirectly about Christ. Often the reference is allegorical or enigmatical, perhaps in a verbal allusion, or in a historical narrative, requiring diligence in the student, and rewarding him with the pleasure of discovery. Other passages, again, are plain; for, without the help of what is clear, we could not understand what is obscure. And even the figurative passages, when brought together, will be found so harmonious in their testimony to Christ as to put to shame the obtuseness of the skeptic.
8. In the creation God finished His works in six days, and rested on the seventh. The history of the world contains six periods marked by the dealings of God with men. The first period is from Adam to Noah; the second, from Noah to Abraham; the third, from Abraham to David; the fourth, from David to the captivity in Babylon; the fifth, from the captivity to the advent of lowliness of our Lord Jesus Christ; the sixth is now in progress, and will end in the coming of the exalted Savior to judgment. What answers to the seventh day is the rest of the saints,-not in this life, but in another, where the rich man saw Lazarus at rest while he was tormented in hell; where there is no evening, because there is no decay. On the sixth day, in Genesis, man is formed after the image of God; in the sixth period of the world there is the clear discovery of our transformation in the renewing of our mind, according to the image of Him who created us, as the apostle says. Colossians 3:10 As a wife was made for Adam from his side while he slept, the Church becomes the property of her dying Savior, by the sacrament of the blood which flowed from His side after His death. The woman made out of her husband's side is called Eve, or Life, and the mother of living beings; and the Lord says in the Gospel: "Unless a man eat my flesh and drink my blood, he has no life in him." John 6:53 The whole narrative of Genesis, in the most minute details, is a prophecy of Christ and of the Church with reference either to the good Christians or to the bad. There is a significance in the words of the apostle when he calls Adam "the figure of Him that was to come;" Romans 5:14 and when he says, "A man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery; but I speak concerning Christ and the Church." Ephesians 5:31-32 This points most obviously to the way in which Christ left His Father; for "though He was in the form of God, and thought it not robbery to be equal with God, He emptied Himself, and took upon Him the form of a servant." Philippians 2:6-7 And so, too, He left His mother, the synagogue of the Jews which cleaved to the carnality of the Old Testament, and was united to the Church His holy bride, that in the peace of the New Testament they two might be one flesh. For though with the Father He was God, by whom we were made, He became in the flesh partaker of our nature, that we might become the body of which He is the head.
9. As Cain's sacrifice of the fruit of the ground is rejected, while Abel's sacrifice of his sheep and the fat thereof is accepted, so the faith of the New Testament praising God in the harmless service of grace is preferred to the earthly observances of the Old Testament. For though the Jews were right in practicing these things, they were guilty of unbelief in not distinguishing the time of the New Testament when Christ came, from the time of the Old Testament. God said to Cain, "If you offer well, yet if you divide not well, you have sinned." If Cain had obeyed God when He said, "Be content, for to you shall be its reference, and you shall rule over it," he would have referred his sin to himself, by taking the blame of it, and confessing it to God; and so assisted by supplies of grace, he would have ruled over his sin, instead of acting as the servant of sin in killing his innocent brother. So also the Jews, of whom all these things are a figure, if they had been content, instead of being turbulent, and had acknowledged the time of salvation through the pardon of sins by grace, and heard Christ saying, "They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance;" Matthew 9:12-13 and, "Every one that commits sin is the servant of sin;" and, "If the Son make you free, you shall be free indeed," John 8:34, 36 -they would in confession have referred their sin to themselves, saying to the Physician, as it is written in the Psalm, "I said, Lord, be merciful to me; heal my soul, for I have sinned against You." And being made free by the hope of grace, they would have ruled over sin as long as it continued in their mortal body. But now, being ignorant of God's righteousness, and wishing to establish a righteousness of their own, proud of the works of the law, instead of being humbled on account of their sins, they have not been content; and in subjection to sin reigning in their mortal body, so as to make them obey it in the lusts thereof, they have stumbled on the stone of stumbling, and have been inflamed with hatred against him whose works they grieved to see accepted by God. The man who was born blind, and had been made to see, said to them, "We know that God hears not sinners; but if any man serve Him, and do His will, him He hears;" John 9:31 as if he had said, God regards not the sacrifice of Cain, but he regards the sacrifice of Abel. Abel, the younger brother, is killed by the elder brother; Christ, the head of the younger people, is killed by the elder people of the Jews. Abel dies in the field; Christ dies on Calvary.
10. God asks Cain where his brother is, not as if He did not know, but as a judge asks a guilty criminal. Cain replies that he knows not, and that he is not his brother's keeper. And what answer can the Jews give at this day, when we ask them with the voice of God, that is, of the sacred Scriptures, about Christ, except that they do not know the Christ that we speak of? Cain's ignorance was pretended, and the Jews are deceived in their refusal of Christ. Moreover, they would have been in a sense keepers of Christ, if they had been willing to receive and keep the Christian faith. For the man who keeps Christ in his heart does not ask, like Cain, Am I my brother's keeper? Then God says to Cain, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood cries unto me from the ground." So the voice of God in the Holy Scriptures accuses the Jews. For the blood of Christ has a loud voice on the earth, when the responsive Amen of those who believe in Him comes from all nations. This is the voice of Christ's blood, because the clear voice of the faithful redeemed by His blood is the voice of the blood itself.
11. Then God says to Cain: "You are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood at your hand. For you shall till the earth, and it shall no longer yield unto you its strength. A mourner and an abject shall you be on the earth." It is not, Cursed is the earth, but, Cursed are you from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood at your hand. So the unbelieving people of the Jews is cursed from the earth, that is, from the Church, which in the confession of sins has opened its mouth to receive the blood shed for the remission of sins by the hand of the people that would not be under grace, but under the law. And this murderer is cursed by the Church; that is, the Church admits and avows the curse pronounced by the apostle: "Whoever are of the works of the law are under the curse of the law." Galatians 3:10 Then, after saying, Cursed are you from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood at your hand, what follows is not, For you shall till it, but, You shall till the earth, and it shall not yield to you its strength. The earth he is to till is not necessarily the same as that which opened its mouth to receive his brother's blood at his hand. From this earth he is cursed, and so he tills an earth which shall no longer yield to him its strength. That is, the Church admits and avows the Jewish people to be cursed, because after killing Christ they continue to till the ground of an earthly circumcision, an earthly Sabbath, an earthly passover, while the hidden strength or virtue of making known Christ, which this tilling contains, is not yielded to the Jews while they continue in impiety and unbelief, for it is revealed in the New Testament. While they will not turn to God, the veil which is on their minds in reading the Old Testament is not taken away. This veil is taken away only by Christ, who does not do away with the reading of the Old Testament, but with the covering which hides its virtue. So, at the crucifixion of Christ, the veil was rent in twain, that by the passion of Christ hidden mysteries might be revealed to believers who turn to Him with a mouth opened in confession to drink His blood. In this way the Jewish people, like Cain, continue tilling the ground, in the carnal observance of the law, which does not yield to them its strength, because they do not perceive in it the grace of Christ. So too, the flesh of Christ was the ground from which by crucifying Him the Jews produced our salvation, for He died for our offences. But this ground did not yield to them its strength, for they were not justified by the virtue of His resurrection, for He arose again for our justification. As the apostle says: "He was crucified in weakness, but He lives by the power of God." 2 Corinthians 13:4 This is the power of that ground which is unknown to the ungodly and unbelieving. When Christ rose, He did not appear to those who had crucified Him. So Cain was not allowed to see the strength of the ground which he tilled to sow his seed in it; as God said, "You shall till the ground, and it shall no longer yield unto you its strength."
12. "Groaning and trembling shall you be on the earth." Here no one can fail to see that in every land where the Jews are scattered they mourn for the loss of their kingdom, and are in terrified subjection to the immensely superior number of Christians. So Cain answered, and said: "My case is worse, if Thou drivest me out this day from the face of the earth, and from Your face shall I be hid, and I shall be a mourner and an outcast on the earth; and it shall be that every one that finds me shall slay me." Here he groans indeed in terror, lest after losing his earthly possession he should suffer the death of the body. This he calls a worse case than that of the ground not yielding to him its strength, or than that of spiritual death. For his mind is carnal; for he thinks little of being hid from the face of God, that is, of being under the anger of God, were it not that he may be found and slain. This is the carnal mind that tills the ground, but does not obtain its strength. To be carnally minded is death; but he, in ignorance of this, mourns for the loss of his earthly possession, and is in terror of bodily death. But what does God reply? "Not so," He says; "but whosoever shall kill Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold." That is, It is not as you say, not by bodily death shall the ungodly race of carnal Jews perish. For whoever destroys them in this way shall suffer sevenfold vengeance, that is, shall bring upon himself the sevenfold penalty under which the Jews lie for the crucifixion of Christ. So to the end of the seven days of time, the continued preservation of the Jews will be a proof to believing Christians of the subjection merited by those who, in the pride of their kingdom, put the Lord to death.
13. "And the Lord God set a mark upon Cain, lest any one finding him should slay him." It is a most notable fact, that all the nations subjugated by Rome adopted the heathenish ceremonies of the Roman worship; while the Jewish nation, whether under Pagan or Christian monarchs, has never lost the sign of their law, by which they are distinguished from all other nations and peoples. No emperor or monarch who finds under his government the people with this mark kills them, that is, makes them cease to be Jews, and as Jews to be separate in their observances, and unlike the rest of the world. Only when a Jew comes over to Christ, he is no longer Cain, nor goes out from the presence of God, nor dwells in the land of Nod, which is said to mean commotion. Against this evil of commotion the Psalmist prays, "Suffer not my feet to be moved;" and again, "Let not the hands of the wicked remove me;" and, "Those that trouble me will rejoice when I am moved:" and, "The Lord is at my right hand, that I should not be moved;" and so in innumerable places. This evil comes upon those who leave the presence of God, that is, His loving-kindness. Thus the Psalmist says, "I said in my prosperity, I shall never be moved." But observe what follows, "Lord, by Your favor You have given strength to my honor; You hid Your face, and I was troubled;" which teaches us that not in itself, but by participation in the light of God, can any soul possess beauty, or honor, or strength. The Manichæans should think of this, to keep them from the blasphemy of identifying themselves with the nature and substance of God. But they cannot think, because they are not content. The Sabbath of the heart they are strangers to. If they were content, as Cain was told to be, they would refer their sin to themselves; that is, they would lay the blame on themselves, and not on a race of darkness that no one ever heard of, and so by the grace of God they would prevail over their sin. But now the Manichæans, and all who oppose the truth by their various heresies, leave the presence of God, like Cain and the scattered Jews, and inhabit the land of commotion, that is, of carnal disquietude, instead of the enjoyment of God, that is instead of Eden, which is interpreted Feasting, where Paradise was planted. But not to depart too much from the argument of this treatise I must limit myself to a few, short remarks under this head.
[Philip Schaff, translator; courtesy of Christian Classics Ethereal Library]
7. "He has sent from heaven and has saved me" (ver. 3). Now the Man Himself, now the Flesh Itself, now the Son of God after His partaking of ourselves, of Him it is manifest, how He was saved, and has sent from heaven the Father and has saved Him, has sent from heaven, and has raised Him again: but in order that you may know, that also the Lord Himself has raised again Himself; both truths are written in Scripture, both that the Father has raised Him again, and that Himself Himself has raised again. Hear ye how the Father has raised Him again: the Apostle says, "He has been made," he says, " obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross: wherefore God also has exalted Him, and has given Him a name which is above every name" [Philippians 2:8-9]. You have heard of the Father raising again and exalting the Son; hear ye how that He too Himself His flesh has raised again. Under the figure of a temple He says to the Jews, "Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up" [John 2:19]. But the Evangelist has explained to us what it was that He said: "But this," he says, "He spoke of the Temple of His Body." Now therefore out of the person of one praying, out of the person of a man, out of the person of the flesh, He says, "He has saved me. He has given unto reproach those that trampled on me." Them that have trampled on Him, that over Him dead have insulted, that Him as though man have crucified, because God they perceived not, them He has given unto reproach. See ye whether it has not been so done. The thing we do not believe as yet to come, but fulfilled we acknowledge it. The Jews raged against Christ, they were overbearing against Christ. Where? In the city of Jerusalem. For where they reigned, there they were puffed up, there their necks they lifted up. After the Passion of the Lord thence they were rooted out; and they lost the kingdom, wherein Christ for King they would not acknowledge. In what manner they have been given unto reproach, see ye: dispersed they have been throughout all nations, nowhere having a settlement, nowhere a sure abode. But for this reason still Jews they are, in order that our books they may carry to their confusion. For whenever we wish to show Christ prophesied of, we produce to the heathen these writings. And lest perchance men hard of belief should say that we Christians have composed these books, so that together with the Gospel which we have preached we have forged the Prophet, through whom there might seem to be foretold that which we preach: by this we convince them; namely, that all the very writings wherein Christ has been prophesied are with the Jews, all these very writings the Jews have. We produce documents from enemies, to confound other enemies. In what sort of reproach therefore are the Jews? A document the Jew carries, wherefrom a Christian may believe. Our librarians they have become, just as slaves are wont behind their masters to carry documents, in such sort that these faint in carrying, those profit by reading. Unto such a reproach have been given the Jews: and there has been fulfilled that which so long before has been foretold, "He has given unto reproach those that trampled on me." But how great a reproach it is, brethren, that this verse they should read, and themselves being blind should look upon their mirror! For in the same manner the Jews appear in the holy Scripture which they carry, as appears the face of a blind man in a mirror: by other men it is seen, by himself not seen.
[Philip Schaff, translator; courtesy of Christian Classics Ethereal Library]
The Second Part.
1. For, behold, the Jews are enemies, whom this Psalm seems to imply; the law of God they hold, and therefore of them has been said, "Slay not them, lest sometime they forget Your law:" in order that the nation of Jews might remain, and by it remaining the number of Christians might increase. Throughout all nations they remain certainly, and Jews they are, nor have they ceased to be what they were: that is, this nation has not so yielded to Roman institutions, as to have lost the form of Jews; but has been subjected to the Romans so as that it still retains its own laws; which are the laws of God. But what in their case has been done? "You tithe mint and cummin, and have forsaken the weightier matters of the law, mercy, and judgment, straining a gnat, but swallowing a camel" [Matthew 23:23-24]. This to them the Lord says. And in truth so they are; they hold the law, hold the Prophets; read all things, sing all things: the light of the Prophets therein they see not, which is Christ Jesus. Not only Him now they see not, when he is sitting in Heaven: but not even at that time saw they Him, when among them humble He was walking, and they were made guilty by shedding the blood of the Same; but not all. This even today we commend to the notice of your Love. Not all: because many of them were turned to Him whom they slew, and by believing on Him, they obtained pardon even for the shedding of His blood: and they have given an example for men; how they ought not to despair that sin of whatsoever kind would be remitted to them, since even the killing of Christ was remitted to them confessing....
2. What in them will You slay? The Crucify, Crucify, which they cried out, not them that cried out. For they willed to blot out, cut off, destroy Christ: but Thou, by raising to life Christ, whom they willed to destroy, dost slay the "transgressions of their mouth, the discourse of their lips." For in that He whom they cried out should be destroyed, lives, they are taken with dread: and that He whom on earth they despised, in heaven is adored by all nations, they wonder: thus are there slain the transgressions of them, and the discourse of their lips. What is, "let them be taken in their pride"? Because to no purpose have strong men rushed on, and it has fallen out to them as it were to think themselves to have done somewhat, and they have prevailed against the Lord. They were able to crucify a man, weakness might prevail and virtue be slain; and they thought themselves somewhat, as it were strong men, as it were mighty men, as it were prevailing, as it were a lion prepared for prey, as it were fat bulls, as of them in another place he makes mention: "Fat bulls have beset me." But what have they done in the case of Christ? Not life, but death they have slain.... And what now has come to pass in those men that have been converted? For it was told to them that He whom they slew rose again. They believed Him to have risen again, because they saw that He, being in Heaven, thence sent the Holy Spirit, and filled those that on Him believed; and they found themselves to have condemned naught, and to have done naught. Their doing issued in emptiness, the sin remained. Because therefore the doing was made void, but the sin remained upon the doers; they were taken in their pride, they saw themselves under their iniquity. It remained therefore for them to confess the sin, and for Him to pardon, that had given Himself up to sinners, and to forgive His death, having been slain by men dead, and making alive men dead. They were taken therefore in their pride.
[C.L. Cornish, trans.; courtesy of newadvent.org]
1. Receive, my children, the Rule of Faith, which is called the Symbol (or Creed). And when you have received it, write it in your heart, and be daily saying it to yourselves; before ye sleep, before ye go forth, arm you with your Creed. The Creed no man writes so as it may be able to be read: but for rehearsal of it, lest haply forgetfulness obliterate what care has delivered, let your memory be your record-roll: what you are about to hear, that are you to believe; and what you shall have believed, that are about to give back with your tongue. For the Apostle says, "With the heart man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." For this is the Creed which you are to rehearse and to repeat in answer. These words which you have heard are in the Divine Scriptures scattered up and down: but thence gathered and reduced into one, that the memory of slow persons might not be distressed; that every person may be able to say, able to hold, what he believes. For have ye now merely heard that God is Almighty? But ye begin to have him for your father, when you have been born by the church as your Mother.
2. Of this, then, you have now received, have meditated, and having meditated have held, that you should say, "I believe in God the Father Almighty." God is Almighty, and yet, though Almighty, He cannot die, cannot be deceived, cannot lie; and, as the Apostle says, "cannot deny Himself." How many things that He cannot do, and yet is Almighty! yea therefore is Almighty, because He cannot do these things. For if He could die, He were not Almighty; if to lie, if to be deceived, if to do unjustly, were possible for Him, He were not Almighty: because if this were in Him, He should not be worthy to be Almighty. To our Almighty Father, it is quite impossible to sin. He does whatsoever He will: that is Omnipotence. He does whatsoever He rightly will, whatsoever He justly will: but whatsoever is evil to do, He wills not. There is no resisting one who is Almighty, that He should not do what He will. It was He Who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, invisible and visible. Invisible such as are in heaven, thrones, dominions, principalities, powers, archangels, angels: all, if we shall live aright, our fellow-citizens. He made in heaven the things visible; the sun, the moon, the stars. With its terrestrial animals He adorned the earth, filled the air with things that fly, the land with them that walk and creep, the sea with them that swim: all He filled with their own proper creatures. He made also man after His own image and likeness, in the mind: for in that is the image of God. This is the reason why the mind cannot be comprehended even by itself, because in it is the image of God. To this end were we made, that over the other creatures we should bear rule: but through sin in the first man we fell, and are all come into an inheritance of death. We were brought low, became mortal, were filled with fears, with errors: this by desert of sin: with which desert and guilt is every man born. This is the reason why, as you have seen today, as you know, even little children undergo exsufflation, exorcism; to drive away from them the power of the devil their enemy, which deceived man that it might possess mankind. It is not then the creature of God that in infants undergoes exorcism or exsufflation: but he under whom are all that are born with sin; for he is the first of sinners. And for this cause by reason of one who fell and brought all into death, there was sent One without sin, Who should bring unto life, by delivering them from sin, all that believe in Him.
3. For this reason we believe also in His Son, that is to say, God the Father Almighty's, "His Only Son, our Lord." When you hear of the Only Son of God, acknowledge Him God. For it could not be that God's Only Son should not be God. What He is, the same did He beget, though He is not that Person Whom He begot. If He be truly Son, He is that which the Father is; if He be not that which the Father is, He is not truly Son. Observe mortal and earthly creatures: what each is, that it engenders. Man besets not an ox, sheep besets not dog, nor dog sheep. Whatever it be that begets, that which it is, it begets. Hold ye therefore boldly, firmly, faithfully, that the Begotten of God the Father is what Himself is, Almighty. These mortal creatures engender by corruption. Does God so beget? He that is begotten mortal generates that which himself is; the Immortal generates what He is: corruptible begets corruptible, Incorruptible begets Incorruptible: the corruptible begets corruptibly, Incorruptible, Incorruptibly: yea, so begets what Itself is, that One begets One, and therefore Only. You know, that when I pronounced to you the Creed, so I said, and so you are bounden to believe; that we "believe in God the Father Almighty, and in Jesus Christ His Only Son." Here too, when you believe that He is the Only, believe Him Almighty: for it is not to be thought that God the Father does what He will, and God the Son does not what He will. One Will of Father and Son, because one Nature. For it is impossible for the will of the Son to be any whit parted from the Father's will. God and God; both one God: Almighty and Almighty; both One Almighty.
4. We do not bring in two Gods as some do, who say, "God the Father and God the Son, but greater God the Father and lesser God the Son." They both are what? Two Gods? Thou blushest to speak it, blush to believe it. Lord God the Father, you say, and Lord God the Son: and the Son Himself says, "No man can serve two Lords." In His family shall we be in such wise, that, like as in a great house where there is the father of a family and he has a son, so we should say, the greater Lord, the lesser Lord? Shrink from such a thought. If you make to yourselves such like in your heart, you set up idols in the "one soul." Utterly repel it. First believe, then understand. Now to whom God gives that when he has believed he soon understands; that is God's gift, not human frailness. Still, if you do not yet understand, believe: One God the Father, God Christ the Son of God. Both are what? One God. And how are both said to be One God? How? Do you marvel? In the Acts of the Apostles, "There was," it says, "in the believers, one soul and one heart." There were many souls, faith had made them one. So many thousands of souls were there; they loved each other, and many are one: they loved God in the fire of charity, and from being many they are come to the oneness of beauty. If all those many souls the dearness of love made one soul, what must be the dearness of love in God, where is no diversity, but entire equality! If on earth and among men there could be so great charity as of so many souls to make one soul, where Father from Son, Son from Father, has been ever inseparable, could They both be other than One God? Only, those souls might be called both many souls and one soul; but God, in Whom is ineffable and highest conjunction, may be called One God, not two Gods.
5. The Father does what He will, and what He will does the Son. Do not imagine an Almighty Father and a not Almighty Son: it is error, blot it out within you, let it not cleave in your memory, let it not be drunk into your faith, and if haply any of you shall have drunk it in, let him vomit it up. Almighty is the Father, Almighty the Son. If Almighty begat not Almighty, He begat not very Son. For what say we, brethren, if the Father being greater begat a Son less than He? What said I, begat? Man engenders, being greater, a son being less: it is true: but that is because the one grows old, the other grows up, and by very growing attains to the form of his father. The Son of God, if He grows not because neither can God wax old, was begotten perfect. And being begotten perfect, if He grows not, and remained not less, He is equal. For that you may know Almighty begotten of Almighty, hear Him Who is Truth. That which of Itself Truth says, is true. What says Truth? What says the Son, Who is Truth? "Whatsoever things the Father does, these also the Son likewise does." The Son is Almighty, in doing all things that He wills to do. For if the Father does some things which the Son does not, the Son said falsely, "Whatsoever things the Father does, these also the Son does likewise." But because the Son spoke truly, believe it: "Whatsoever things the Father does, these also the Son does likewise," and you have believed in the Son that He is Almighty. Which word although ye said not in the Creed, yet this is it that you expressed when you believed in the Only Son, Himself God. Hath the Father anything that the Son has not? This Arian heretic blasphemers say, not I. But what say I? If the Father has anything that the Son has not, the Son lies in saying, "All things that the Father has, are Mine." Many and innumerable are the testimonies by which it is proved that the Son is Very Son of God the Father, and the Father God has His Very-begotten Son God, and Father and Son is One God.
6. But this Only Son of God, the Father Almighty, let us see what He did for us, what He suffered for us. "Born of the Holy Ghost and of the Virgin Mary." He, so great God, equal with the Father, born of the Holy Ghost and of the Virgin Mary, born lowly, that thereby He might heal the proud. Man exalted himself and fell; God humbled Himself and raised him up. Christ's lowliness, what is it? God has stretched out a hand to man laid low. We fell, He descended: we lay low, He stooped. Let us lay hold and rise, that we fall not into punishment. So then His stooping to us is this, "Born of the Holy Ghost and of the Virgin Mary." His very Nativity too as man, it is lowly, and it is lofty. Whence lowly? That as man He was born of men. Whence lofty? That He was born of a virgin. A virgin conceived, a virgin bore, and after the birth was a virgin still.
7. What next? "Suffered under Pontius Pilate." He was in office as governor and was the judge, this same Pontius Pilate, what time as Christ suffered. In the name of the judge there is a mark of the times, when He suffered under Pontius Pilate: when He suffered, "was crucified, dead, and buried." Who? what? for whom? Who? God's Only Son, our Lord. What? Crucified, dead, and buried. For whom? for ungodly and sinners. Great condescension, great grace! "What shall I render unto the Lord for all that He has bestowed on me?"
8. He was begotten before all times, before all worlds. "Begotten before." Before what, He in Whom is no before? Do not in the least imagine any time before that Nativity of Christ whereby He was begotten of the Father; of that Nativity I am speaking by which He is Son of God Almighty, His Only Son our Lord; of that am I first speaking. Do not imagine in this Nativity a beginning of time; do not imagine any space of eternity in which the Father was and the Son was not. Since when the Father was, since then the Son. And what is that "since," where is no beginning? Therefore ever Father without beginning, ever Son without beginning. And how, you will say, was He begotten, if He have no beginning? Of eternal, coeternal. At no time was the Father, and the Son not, and yet Son of Father was begotten. Whence is any manner of similitude to be had? We are among things of earth, we are in the visible creature. Let the earth give me a similitude: it gives none. Let the element of the waters give me some similitude: it has not whereof to give. Some animal give me a similitude: neither can this do it. An animal indeed engenders, both what engenders and what is engendered: but first is the father, and then is born the son. Let us find the coeval and imagine it coeternal. If we shall be able to find a father coeval with his son, and son coeval with his father, let us believe God the Father coeval with His Son, and God the Son coeternal with His Father. On earth we can find some coeval, we cannot find any coeternal. Let us stretch the coeval and imagine it coeternal. Some one, it may be, will put you on the stretch, by saying, "When is it possible for a father to be found coeval with his son, or son coeval with his father? That the father may beget he goes before in age; that the son may be begotten, he comes after in age: but this father coeval with son, or son with father, how can it be?" Imagine to yourselves fire as father, its shining as son; see, we have found the coevals. From the instant that the fire begins to be, that instant it begets the shining: neither fire before shining, nor shining after fire. And if we ask, which begets which? the fire the shining, or the shining the fire? Immediately ye conceive by natural sense, by the innate wit of your minds ye all cry out, The fire the shining, not the shining the fire. Lo, here you have a father beginning; lo, a son at the same time, neither going before nor coming after. Lo, here then is a father beginning, lo, a son at the same time beginning. If I have shown you a father beginning, and a son at the same time beginning, believe the Father not beginning, and with Him the Son not beginning either; the one eternal, the other coeternal. If you get on with your learning, you understand: take pains to get on. The being born, you have; but also the growing, you ought to have; because no man begins with being perfect. As for the Son of God, indeed, He could be born perfect, because He was begotten without time, coeternal with the Father, long before all things, not in age, but in eternity. He then was begotten coeternal, of which generation the Prophet said, "His generation who shall declare?" begotten of the Father without time, He was born of the Virgin in the fullness of times. This nativity had times going before it. In opportunity of time, when He would, when He knew, then was He born: for He was not born without His will. None of us is born because he will, and none of us dies when he will: He, when He would, was born; when He would, He died: how He would, He was born of a Virgin: how He would, He died; on the cross. Whatever He would, He did: because He was in such wise Man that, unseen, He was God; God assuming, Man assumed; One Christ, God and Man.
9. Of His cross what shall I speak, what say? This extremest kind of death He chose, that not any kind of death might make His Martyrs afraid. The doctrine He showed in His life as Man, the example of patience He demonstrated in His Cross. There, you have the work, that He was crucified; example of the work, the Cross; reward of the work, Resurrection. He showed us in the Cross what we ought to endure, He showed in the Resurrection what we have to hope. Just like a consummate task-master in the matches of the arena, He said, Do, and bear; do the work and receive the prize; strive in the match and you shall be crowned. What is the work? Obedience. What the prize? Resurrection without death. Why did I add,"without death?" Because "Lazarus rose, and died: Christ rose again, "dies no more, death will no longer have dominion over Him."
10. Scripture says, "You have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord." When we read what great trials Job endured, it makes one shudder, it makes one shrink, it makes one quake. And what did he receive? The double of what he had lost. Let not a man therefore with an eye to temporal rewards be willing to have patience, and say to himself," Let me endure loss, God will give me back sons twice as many; Job received double of all, and begat as many sons as he had buried." Then is this not the double? Yes, precisely the double, because the former sons still lived. Let none say, "Let me bear evils, and God will repay me as He repaid Job:" that it be now no longer patience but avarice. For if it was not patience which that Saint had, nor a brave enduring of all that came upon him; the testimony which the Lord gave, whence should he have it?"Have you observed," says the Lord, "my servant Job? For there is not like him any on the earth, a man without fault, true worshipper of God." What a testimony, my brethren, did this holy man deserve of the Lord! And yet him a bad woman sought by her persuasion to deceive, she too representing that serpent, who, like as in Paradise he deceived the man whom God first made, so likewise here by suggesting blasphemy thought to be able to deceive a man who pleased God. What things he suffered, my brethren! Who can have so much to suffer in his estate, his house, his sons, his flesh, yea in his very wife who was left to be his tempter! But even her who was left, the devil would have taken away long ago, but that he kept her to be his helper: because by Eve he had mastered the first man, therefore had he kept an Eve. What things, then, he suffered! He lost all that he had; his house fell; would that were all! it crushed his sons also. And, to see that patience had great place in him, hear what he answered;"The Lord gave, the Lord has taken away; as it pleased the Lord, so has it been done; blessed be the name of the Lord." He has taken what He gave, is He lost Who gave? He has taken what He gave. As if he should say, He has taken away all, let Him take all, send me away naked, and let me keep Him. What shall I lack if I have God? or what is the good of all else to me, if I have not God? Then it came to his flesh, he was stricken with a wound from head to foot; he was one running sore, one mass of crawling worms: and showed himself immovable in his God, stood fixed. The woman wanted, devil's helper as she was not husband's comforter, to put him up to blaspheme God. "How long," said she, "do you suffer" so and so; "speak some word against the Lord, and die." So then, because he had been brought low, he was to be exalted. And this the Lord did, in order to show it to men; as for His servant, He kept greater things for him in heaven. So then Job who was brought low, He exalted; the devil who was lifted up, He brought low: for "He puts down one and sets up another." But let not any man, my beloved brethren, when he suffers any such-like tribulations, look for a reward here: for instance, if he suffer any losses, let him not peradventure say,"The Lord gave, the Lord has taken away; as it pleased the Lord, so is it done: blessed be the name of the Lord;" only with the mind to receive twice as much again. Let patience praise God, not avarice. If what you have lost you seek to receive back twofold, and therefore praisest God, it is of covetousness you praise, not of love. Do not imagine this to be the example of that holy man; you deceive yourself. When Job was enduring all, he was not hoping for to have twice as much again. Both in his first confession when he bore up under his losses, and bore out to the grave the dead bodies of his sons, and in the second when he was now suffering torments of sores in his flesh, you may observe what I am saying. Of his former confession the words run thus: "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away: as it pleased the Lord, so is it done: blessed be the name of the Lord." He might have said, "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; He that took away can once more give; can bring back more than He took." He said not this, but, "As it pleased the Lord," said he, "so is it done:" because it pleases Him, let it please me: let not that which has pleased the good Lord displease His submissive servant; what pleased the Physician, not displease the sick man. Hear his other confession: "You have spoken," said he to his wife, "like one of the foolish women. If we have received good at the hand of the Lord, why shall we not bear evil?" He did not add, what, if he had said it, would have been true. "The Lord is able both to bring back my flesh into its former condition, and that which He has taken away from us, to make manifold more:" lest he should seem to have endured in hope of this. This was not what he said, not what he hoped. But, that we might be taught, did the Lord that for him, not hoping for it, by which we should be taught, that God was with him: because if He had not also restored to him those things, there was the crown indeed, but hidden, and we could not see it. And therefore what says the divine Scripture in exhorting to patience and hope of things future, not reward of things present? "You have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord." Why is it, "the patience of Job," and not, You have seen the end of Job himself? You would open your mouth for the "twice as much;" wouldest say, "Thanks be to God; let me bear up: I receive twice as much again, like Job." "Patience of Job, end of the Lord." The patience of Job we know, and the end of the Lord we know. What end of the Lord? "My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?" They are the words of the Lord hanging on the cross. He did as it were leave Him for present felicity, not leave Him for eternal immortality. In this is "the end of the Lord." The Jews hold Him, the Jews insult, the Jews bind Him, crown Him with thorns, dishonor Him with spitting, scourge Him, overwhelm Him with revilings, hang Him upon the tree, pierce Him with a spear, last of all bury Him. He was as it were left: but by whom? By those insulting ones. Therefore you shall but to this end have patience, that you may rise again and not die, that is, never die, even as Christ. For so we read, "Christ rising from the dead henceforth dies not."
11. "He ascended into heaven:" believe. "He sits at the right hand of the Father:" believe. By sitting, understand dwelling: as [in Latin] we say of any person, "In that country he dwelt (sedit) three years." The Scripture also has that expression, that such an one dwelt (sedisse) in a city for such a time. Not meaning that he sat and never rose up? On this account the dwellings of men are called seats (sedes). Where people are seated (in this sense), are they always sitting? Is there no rising, no walking, no lying down? And yet they are called seats (sedes). In this way, then, believe an inhabiting of Christ on the right hand of God the Father: He is there. And let not your heart say to you, What is He doing? Do not want to seek what is not permitted to find: He is there; it suffices you. He is blessed, and from blessedness which is called the right hand of the Father, of very blessedness the name is, right hand of the Father. For if we shall take it carnally, then because He sits on the right hand of the Father, the Father will be on His left hand. Is it consistent with piety so to put Them together, the Son on the right, the Father on the left? There it is all right-hand, because no misery is there.
12. "Thence He shall come to judge the quick and dead." The quick, who shall be alive and remain; the dead, who shall have gone before. It may also be understood thus: The living, the just; the dead, the unjust. For He judges both, rendering unto each his own. To the just He will say in the judgment, "Come, you blessed of My Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world." For this prepare yourselves, for these things hope, for this live, and so live, for this believe, for this be baptized, that it may be said to you, "Come ye blessed of My Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." To them on the left hand, what? "Go into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels." Thus will they be judged by Christ, the quick and the dead. We have spoken of Christ's first nativity, which is without time; spoken of the other in the fullness of time, Christ's nativity of the Virgin; spoken of the passion of Christ; spoken of the coming of Christ to judgment. The whole is spoken, that was to be spoken of Christ, God's Only Son, our Lord. But not yet is the Trinity perfect.
13. It follows in the Creed, "And in the Holy Ghost." This Trinity, one God, one nature, one substance, one power; highest equality, no division, no diversity, perpetual dearness of love. Would ye know the Holy Ghost, that He is God? Be baptized, and you will be His temple. The Apostle says, "Do you not know that your bodies are the temple within you of the Holy Ghost, Whom you have of God?" A temple is for God: thus also Solomon, king and prophet, was bidden to build a temple for God. If he had built a temple for the sun or moon or some star or some angel, would not God condemn him? Because therefore he built a temple for God he showed that he worshipped God. And of what did he build? Of wood and stone, because God deigned to make unto Himself by His servant an house on earth, where He might be asked, where He might be had in mind. Of which blessed Stephen says, "Solomon built Him an house; howbeit the Most High dwells not in temples made by hand." If then our bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost, what manner of God is it that built a temple for the Holy Ghost? But it was God. For if our bodies be a temple of the Holy Ghost, the same built this temple for the Holy Ghost, that built our bodies. Listen to the Apostle saying, "God has tempered the body, giving unto that which lacked the greater honor;" when he was speaking of the different members that there should be no schisms in the body. God created our body. The grass, God created; our body Who created? How do we prove that the grass is God's creating? He that clothes, the same creates. Read the Gospel, "If then the grass of the fields," says it, "which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, God so clothes." He, then, creates Who clothes. And the Apostle: "You fool, that which you sow is not quickened except it die; and that which you sow, you sow not that body that shall be, but a bare grain, as perchance of wheat, or of some other corn; but God gives it a body as He would, and to each one of seeds its proper body." If then it be God that builds our bodies, God that builds our members, and our bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost, doubt not that the Holy Ghost is God. And do not add as it were a third God; because Father and Son and Holy Ghost is One God. So believe ye.
14. It follows after commendation of the Trinity, "The Holy Church." God is pointed out, and His temple. "For the temple of God is holy," says the Apostle, "which (temple) are you." This same is the holy Church, the one Church, the true Church, the catholic Church, fighting against all heresies: fight, it can: be fought down, it cannot. As for heresies, they went all out of it, like as unprofitable branches pruned from the vine: but itself abides in its root, in its Vine, in its charity. "The gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
15. "Forgiveness of sins." You have [this article of] the Creed perfectly in you when you receive Baptism. Let none say, "I have done this or that sin: perchance that is not forgiven me." What have you done? How great a sin have you done? Name any heinous thing you have committed, heavy, horrible, which you shudder even to think of: have done what you will: have you killed Christ? There is not than that deed any worse, because also than Christ there is nothing better. What a dreadful thing is it to kill Christ! Yet the Jews killed Him, and many afterwards believed on Him and drank His blood: they are forgiven the sin which they committed. When you have been baptized, hold fast a good life in the commandments of God, that you may guard your Baptism even unto the end. I do not tell you that you will live here without sin; but they are venial, without which this life is not. For the sake of all sins was Baptism provided; for the sake of light sins, without which we cannot be, was prayer provided. What has the Prayer? "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors." Once for all we have washing in Baptism, every day we have washing in prayer. Only, do not commit those things for which you must needs be separated from Christ's body: which be far from you! For those whom you have seen doing penance, have committed heinous things, either adulteries or some enormous crimes: for these they do penance. Because if theirs had been light sins, to blot out these daily prayer would suffice.
16. In three ways then are sins remitted in the Church; by Baptism, by prayer, by the greater humility of penance; yet God does not remit sins but to the baptized. The very sins which He remits first, He remits not but to the baptized. When? when they are baptized. The sins which are after remitted upon prayer, upon penance, to whom He remits, it is to the baptized that He remits. For how can they say, "Our Father," who are not yet born sons? The Catechumens, so long as they be such, have upon them all their sins. If Catechumens, how much more Pagans? how much more heretics? But to heretics we do not change their baptism. Why? because they have baptism in the same way as a deserter has the soldier's mark: just so these also have Baptism; they have it, but to be condemned thereby, not crowned. And yet if the deserter himself, being amended, begin to do duty as a soldier, does any man dare to change his mark?
17. We believe also "the resurrection of the flesh," which went before in Christ: that the body too may have hope of that which went before in its Head. The Head of the Church, Christ: the Church, the body of Christ. Our Head is risen, ascended into heaven: where the Head, there also the members. In what way the resurrection of the flesh? Lest any should chance to think it like as Lazarus's resurrection, that you may know it to be not so, it is added, "Into life everlasting." God regenerate you! God preserve and keep you! God bring you safe unto Himself, Who is the Life Everlasting. Amen.
(Schaff translation; Courtesy of Christian Classics Ethereal Library)
Chapter 46.-Of the Birth of Our Savior, Whereby the Word Was Made Flesh; And of the Dispersion of the Jews among All Nations, as Had Been Prophesied.
While Herod, therefore, reigned in Judea, and Caesar Augustus was emperor at Rome, the state of the republic being already changed, and the world being set at peace by him, Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judah, man manifest out of a human virgin, God hidden out of God the Father. For so had the prophet foretold: "Behold, a virgin s hall conceive in the womb, and bring forth a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which, being interpreted, is, God with us." [Isa. vii. 14, as in Matt. i. 23.] He did many miracles that He might commend God in Himself, some of which, even as many as seemed sufficient to proclaim Him, are contained in the evangelic Scripture. The first of these is, that He was so wonderfully born, and the last, that with His body raised up again from the dead He ascended into heaven. But the Jews who slew Him, and would not believe in Him, because it behooved Him to die and rise again, were yet more miserably wasted by the Romans, and utterly rooted out from their kingdom, where aliens had already ruled over them, and were dispersed through the lands (so that indeed there is no place where they are not), and are thus by their own Scriptures a testimony to us that we have not forged the prophecies about Christ. And very many of them, considering this, even before His passion, but chiefly after His resurrection, believed on Him, of whom it was predicted, "Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, the remnant shall be saved." [Isa. x. 22, as in Rom. ix. 27, 28.] But the rest are blinded, of whom it was predicted, "Let their table be made before them a trap, and a retribution, and a stumbling-block. Let their eyes be darkened lest they see, and bow down their back always." [Ps. lxix. 22, 23; Rom. xi. 9, 10.] Therefore, when they do not believe our Scriptures, their own, which they blindly read, are fulfilled in them, lest perchance any one should say that the Christians have forged these prophecies about Christ which are quoted under the name of the sibyl, or of others, if such there be, who do not belong to the Jewish people. For us, indeed, those suffice which are quoted from the books of our enemies, to whom we make our acknowledgment, on account of this testimony which, in spite of themselves, they contribute by their possession of these books, while they themselves are dispersed among all nations, wherever the Church of Christ is spread abroad. For a prophecy about this thing was sent before in the Psalms, which they also read, where it is written, "My God, His mercy shall prevent me. My God hath shown me concerning mine enemies, that Thou shalt not slay them, lest they should at last forget Thy law: disperse them in Thy might." [Ps. lxix. 10, 11.] Therefore God has shown the Church in her enemies the Jews the grace of His compassion, since, as saith the apostle, "their offense is the salvation of the Gentiles." [Rom xi. 11.] And therefore He has not slain them, that is, He has not let the knowledge that they are Jews be lost in them, although they have been conquered by the Romans, lest they should forget the law of God, and their testimony should be of no avail in this matter of which we treat. But it was not enough that he should say, "Slay them not, lest they should at last forget Thy law," unless he had also added, "Disperse them;" because if they had only been in their own land with that testimony of the Scriptures, and not everywhere, certainly the Church which is everywhere could not have had them as witnesses among all nations to the prophecies which were sent before concerning Christ.