CHAP. XLI.--THE WOE PRONOUNCED ON THE TRAITOR A JUDICIAL ACT, WHICH DISPROVES CHRIST TO BE SUCH AS MARCION WOULD HAVE HIM TO BE. CHRIST'S CONDUCT BEFORE THE COUNCIL EXPLAINED.CHRIST EVEN THEN DIRECTS THE MINDS OF HIS JUDGES TO THE PROPHETIC EVIDENCES OF HIS OWN MISSION. THE MORAL RESPONSIBILITY OF THESE MEN ASSERTED.
"Woe," says He, "to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed!"(3) Now it is certain that in this woe must be understood the imprecation and threat of an angry and incensed Master, unless Judas was to escape with impunity after so vast a sin. If he were meant to escape with impunity, the was an idle word; if not, he was of course to be punished by Him against whom he had committed the sin of treachery. Now, if He knowingly permitted the man, whom He(4) deliberately elected to be one of His companions, to plunge into so great a crime, you must no longer use an argument against the Creator in Adam's case, which may now recoil on your own God:(5) either that he was ignorant, and had no foresight to hinder the future sinner;(6) or that he was unable to hinder him, even if he was ignorant;(7) or else that he was unwilling, even if he had the foreknowledge and the ability; and so deserved the stigma of maliciousness, in having permitted the man of his own choice to perish in his sin. I advise you therefore (willingly) to acknowledge the Creator in that god of yours, rather than against your will to be assimilating your excellent god to Him.
For in the case of Peter,(8) too, he gives you proof that he is a jealous God, when he destined the apostle, after his presumptuous protestations of zeal, to a flat denial of him, rather than prevent his fall. (9) The Christ of the prophets was destined, moreover, to be betrayed with a kiss,(10) for He was the Son indeed of Him who was "honoured with the lips" by the people. (11) When led before the council, He is asked whether He is the Christ.(12) Of what Christ could the Jews have inquired(13) but their own? Why, therefore, did He not, even at that moment, declare to them the rival (Christ)? You reply, In order that He might be able to suffer. In other words, that this most excellent god might plunge men into crime, whom he was still keeping in ignorance. But even if he had told them, he would yet have to suffer. For he said, "If I tell you, ye will not believe."(14) And refusing to believe, they would have continued to insist on his death. And would he not even more probably still have had to suffer, if had announced himself as sent by the rival god, and as being, therefore, the enemy of the Creator? It was not, then, in order that He might suffer, that He at that critical moment refrained from proclaiming(15) Himself the other Christ, but because they wanted to extort a confession from His mouth, which they did not mean to believe even if He had given it to them, whereas it was their bounden duty to have acknowledged Him in consequence of His works, which were fulfilling their Scriptures. It was thus plainly His course to keep Himself at that moment unrevealed,(16) because a spontaneous recognition was due to Him. But yet for all this, He with a solemn gesture(17) says, "Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God."(18) For it was on the authority of the prophecy of Daniel that He intimated to them that He was "the Son of man,"(19) and of David's Psalm, that He would "sit at the right hand of God."(20) Accordingly, after He had said this, and so suggested a comparison of the Scripture, a ray of light did seem to show them whom He would have them understand Him to be; for they say: "Art thou then the Son of God?"(21) Of what God, but of Him whom alone they knew? Of what God but of Him whom they remembered in the Psalm as having said to His Son, "Sit Thou on my right hand?" Then He answered, "Ye say that I am;"(1) as if He meant: It is ye who say this--not I. But at the same time He allowed Himself to be all that they had said, in this their second question.(2) By what means, however, are you going to prove to us that they pronounced the sentence "Ergo tu fulius Dei es" inter-rogatively, and not affirmatively?(3) Just as, (on the one hand,) because He had shown them in an indirect manner,(4) by passages of Scripture, that they ought to regard Him as the Son of God, they therefore meant their own words, "Thou art then the Son of God," to be taken in a like (indirect) sense,(5) as much as to say, "You do not wish to say this of yourself plainly,(6) so, (on the other hand,) He likewise answered them, "Ye say that I am," in a sense equally free from doubt, even affirmatively;(7) and so completely was His statement to this effect, that they insisted on accepting that sense which His statement indicated.(8)
CHAP. XLII.--OTHER INCIDENTS OF THE PASSION MINUTELY COMPARED WITH PROPHECY. PILATE AND HEROD. BARABBAS PREFERRED TO JESUS. DETAILS OF THE CRUCIFIXION. THE EARTHQUAKE AND THE MID-DAY DARKNESS. ALL WONDERFULLY FORETOLD IN THE SCRIPTURES OF THE CREATOR. CHRIST'S GIVING UP THE GHOST NO EVIDENCE OF MARCION'S DOCETIC OPINIONS. IN HIS SEPULTURE THERE IS A REFUTATION THEREOF.
For when He was brought before Pilate, they proceeded to urge Him with the serious charge(9), of declaring Himself to be Christ the King;(10) that is, undoubtedly, as the Son of God, who was to sit at God's right hand. They would, however, have burdened Him(11) with some other title, if they had been uncertain whether He had called Himself the Son of God--if He had not pronounced the words, "Ye say that I am," so as (to admit) that He was that which they said He was. Likewise, when Pirate asked Him, "Art thou Christ (the King)?" He answered, as He had before (to the Jewish council)(12) "Thou sayest that I am"(13) in order that He might not seem to have been driven by a fear of his power to give him a fuller answer. "And so the Lord hath stood on His trial."(14) And he placed His people on their trial. The Lord Himself comes to a trial with "the elders and rulers of the people," as Isaiah predicted.(15) And then He fulfilled all that had been written of His passion. At that time "the heathen raged, and the people imagined vain things; the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers gathered themselves together against the Lord and against His Christ."(16) The heathen were Pilate and the Romans; the people were the tribes of Israel; the kings were represented in Herod, and the rulers in the chief priests.
When, indeed, He was sent to Herod gratuitously(17) by Pilate,(18) the words of Hosea were accomplished, for he had prophesied of Christ: "And they shall carry Him bound as a present to the king."(19) Herod was "exceeding glad" when he saw Jesus, but he heard not a word from Him.(20) For, "as a lamb before the shearer is dumb, so He opened not His mouth,"(21) because "the Lord had given to Him a disciplined tongue, that he might know how and when it behoved Him to speak"(22)--even that "tongue which clove to His jaws," as the Psalm(23) said it should, through His not speaking. Then Barabbas, the most abandoned criminal, is released, as if he were the innocent man; while the most righteous Christ is delivered to be put to death, as if he were the murderer.(24) Moreover two malefactors are crucified around Him, in order that He might Le reckoned amongst the transgressors.(25) Although His raiment was, without doubt, parted among the soldiers, and partly distributed by lot, yet Marcion has erased it all (from his Gospel),(26) for he had his eye upon the Psalm: "They parted my garments amongst them, and cast lots upon my vesture."(27) You may as well take away the cross itself! But even then the Psalm is not silent concerning it: "They pierced my hands and my feet."(28) Indeed, the details of the whole event are therein read: "Dogs compassed me about; the assembly of the wicked enclosed me around. All that looked upon me laughed me to scorn; they did shoot out their lips and shake their heads, (saying,) He hoped in God, let Him deliver Him."(1) Of what use now is (your tampering with) the testimony of His garments? If you take it as a booty for your false Christ, still all the Psalm (compensates) the vesture of Christ. (2) But, behold, the very elements are shaken. For their Lord was suffering. If, however, it was their enemy to whom all this injury was done, the heaven would have gleamed with light, the sun would have been even more radiant, and the day would have prolonged its course(3)--gladly gazing at Marcion's Christ suspended on his gibbet! These proofs(4) would still have been suitable for me, even if they had not been the subject of prophecy. Isaiah says: "I will clothe the heavens with blackness."(5) This will be the day, concerning which Amos also writes: And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord, that the sun shall go down at noon and the earth shall be dark in the clear day." (6) (At noon)(7) the veil of. the temple was rent"(8) by the escape of the cherubim,(9) which "left the daughter of Sion as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers."(10) With what constancy has He also, in Psalm xxx., laboured to present to us the very Christ! He calls with a loud voice to the Father, "Into Thine hands I commend my spirit,"(11) that even when dying He might expend His last breath in fulfilling the prophets. Having said this, He gave up the ghost."(12) Who? Did the spirit(13) give itself up; or the flesh the spirit? But the spirit could not have breathed itself out. That which breathes is one thing, that which is breathed is another. If the spirit is breathed it must needs be breathed by another. If, however, there had been nothing there but spirit, it would be said to have departed rather than expired.(14) What, however, breathes out spirit but the flesh, which both breathes the spirit whilst it has it, and breathes it out when it loses it? Indeed, if it was not flesh (upon the cross), but a phantom(15) of flesh (and(16) a phantom is but spirit, and(16) so the spirit breathed its own self out, and departed as it did so), no doubt the phantom departed, when the spirit which was the phantom departed: and so the phantom and the spirit disappeared together, and were nowhere to be seen. (17) Nothing therefore remained upon the cross, nothing hung there, after "the giving up of the ghost;"(18) there was nothing to beg of Pilate, nothing to take down from the cross, nothing to wrap in the linen, nothing to lay in the new sepulchre.(19) Still it was not nothing(20) that was there. What was there, then? If a phantom Christ was yet there. If Christ had departed, He had taken away the phantom also. The only shift left to the impudence of the heretics, is to admit that what remained there was the phantom of a phantom! But what if Joseph knew that it was a body which he treated with so much piety?(21) That same Joseph "who had not consented" with the Jews in their crime?(22) The "happy man who walked not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seat of the scornful."(23)
CHAP. XLIII.--CONCLUSIONS.JESUS AS THE CHRIST OF THE CREATOR PROVED FROM THE EVENTS OF THE LAST CHAPTER OF ST. LUKE. THE PIOUS WOMEN AT THE SEPULCHRE. THE ANGELS AT THE RESURRECTION. THE MANIFOLD APPEARANCES OF CHRIST AFTER THE RESURRECTION. HIS MISSION OF THE APOSTLES AMONGST ALL NATIONS. ALL SHOWN TO BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE WISDOM OF THE ALMIGHTY FATHER, AS INDICATED IN PROPHECY. THE BODY OF CHRIST AFTER DEATH NO MERE PHANTOM. MARCION'S MANIPULATION OF THE GOSPEL ON THIS POINT.
It was very meet that the man who buried the Lord should thus be noticed in prophecy, and thenceforth be "blessed;"(24) since prophecy does not omit the (pious) office of the women who resorted before day-break to the sepulchre with the spices which they had prepared.(1) For of this incident it is said by Hosea: "To seek my face they will watch tiIl day-light, saying unto me, Come, and let us return to the Lord: for He hath taken away, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up; after two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up."(2) For who can refuse to believe that these words often revolved(3) in the thought of those women between the sorrow of that desertion with which at present they seemed to themselves to have been smitten by the Lord, and the hope of the resurrection itself, by which they rightly supposed that all would be restored to them? But when "they found not the body (of the Lord Jesus),"(4) "His sepulture was removed from the midst of them,"(5) according to the prophecy of Isaiah. "Two angels however, appeared there."(6) For just so many honorary companions(7) were required by the word of God, which usually prescribes "two witnesses."(8) Moreover, the women, returning from the sepulchre, and from this vision of the angels, were foreseen by Isaiah, when he says, "Come, ye women, who return from the vision;"(9) that is, "come," to report the resurrection of the Lord. It was well, however, that the unbelief of the disciples was so persistent, in order that to the last we might consistently maintain that Jesus revealed Himself to the disciples as none other than the Christ of the prophets. For as two of them were taking a walk, and when the Lord had joined their company, without its appearing that it was He, and whilst He dissembled His knowledge of what had just taken place,(10) they say: "But we trusted that it had been He which should have redeemed Israel,"(11)--meaning their own, that is, the Creator's Christ. So far had He been from declaring Himself to them as another Christ! They could not, however, deem Him to be the Christ of the Creator; nor, if He was so deemed by them, could He have tolerated this opinion concerning Himself, unless He were really He whom He was supposed to be. Otherwise He would actually be the author of error, and the prevaricator of truth, contrary to the character of the good; God. But at no time even after His resurrection did He reveal Himself to them as any other than what, on their own showing, they had always thought Him to be. He pointedly(12) reproached them: "O fools, and slow of heart in not believing that which He spake unto you."(13) By saying this, He proves that He does not belong to the rival god, but to the same God. For the same thing was said by the angels to the women: "Remember how He spake unto you when He was yet in Galilee, saying, The Son of man must be delivered up, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again."(14) "Must be delivered up; "and why, except that it was so written by God the Creator? He therefore upbraided them, because they were offended solely at His passion, and because they doubted of the truth of the resurrection which had been reported to them by the women, whereby (they showed that) they had not believed Him to have been the very same as they had thought Him to be. Wishing, therefore, to be believed by them in this wise, He declared Himself to be just what they had deemed Him to be--the Creator's Christ, the Redeemer of lsrael. But as touching the reality of His body, what can be plainer? When they were doubting whether He were not a phantom--nay, were supposing that He was one--He says to them, "Why are ye troubled, and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? See(15) my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; for a spirit hath not bones, as ye see me have."(16) Now Marcion was unwilling to expunge from his Gospel some statements which even made against him--I suspect, on purpose, to have it in his power from the passages which he did not suppress, when he could have done so, either to deny that he had expunged anything, or else to justify his suppressions, if he made any. But he spares only such passages as he can subvert quite as well by explaining them away as by expunging them from the text. Thus, in the passage before us, he would have the words, "A spirit hath not bones, as ye see me have," so transposed, as to mean, "A spirit, such as ye see me to be, hath not bones;" that is to say, it is not the nature of a spirit to have bones. But what need of so tortuous a construction, when He might have simply said, "A spirit hath not bones, even as you observe that I have not?" Why, moreover, does He offer His hands and His feet for their examination--limbs which consist of bones--if He had no bones? Why, too, does He add, "Know that it is I myself,"(1) when they had before known Him to be corporeal? Else, if He were altogether a phantom, why did He upbraid them for supposing Him to be a phantom? But whilst they still believed not, He asked them for some meat,(2) for the express purpose of showing them that He had teeth.(3) And now, as I would venture to believe,(4) we have accomplished our undertaking. We have set forth Jesus Christ as none other than the Christ of the Creator. Our proofs we have drawn from His doctrines, maxims,(5) affections, feelings, miracles, sufferings, and even resurrection--as foretold by the prophets.(6) Even to the last He taught us (the same truth of His mission), when He sent forth His apostles to preach His gospel "among all nations;"(7) for He thus fulfilled the psalm: "Their sound is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world."(8) Marcion, I pity you; your labour has been in vain. For the Jesus Christ who appears in your Gospel is mine.