(chapters 10-12)


The sick of the palsy is healed,(21) and that in public, in the sight of the people. For, says Isaiah, "they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God."(22) What glory, and what excellency? "Be strong, ye weak hands, and ye feeble knees:"(23) this refers to the palsy. "Be strong; fear not."(24) Be strong is not vainly repeated, nor is fear not vainly added; because with the renewal of the limbs there was to be, according to the promise, a restoration also of bodily energies: "Arise, and take up thy couch;" and likewise moral courage(1) not to be afraid of those who should say, "Who can forgive sins, but God alone?" So that you have here not only the fulfilment of the prophecy which promised a particular kind of healing, but also of the symptoms which followed the cure. In like manner, you should also recognise Christ in the same prophet as the forgiver of sins. "For," he says, "He shall remit to many their sins, and shall Himself take away our sins."(2) For in an earlier passage, speaking in the person of the Lord himself, he had said: "Even though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them as white as snow; even though they be like crimson, I will whiten them as wool."(3) In the scarlet colour He indicates the blood of the prophets; in the crimson, that of the Lord, as the brighter. Concerning the forgiveness of sins, Micah also says: "Who is a God like unto Thee? pardoning iniquity, and passing by the transgressions of the remnant of Thine heritage. He retaineth not His anger as a testimony against them, because He delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, and will have compassion upon us; He wipeth away our iniquities, and casteth our sins into the depths of the sea."(4) Now, if nothing of this sort had been predicted of Christ, I should find in the Creator examples of such a benignity as would hold out to me the promise of similar affections also in the Son of whom He is the Father. I see how the Ninevites obtained forgiveness of their sins from the Creator(5)--not to say from Christ, even then, because from the beginning He acted in the Father's name. I read, too, how that, when David acknowledged his sin against Uriah, the prophet Nathan said unto him, "The Lord hath cancelled(6) thy sin, and thou shalt not die;"(7) how king Ahab in like manner, the husband of Jezebel, guilty of idolatry and of the blood of Naboth, obtained pardon because of his repentance;(8) and how Jonathan the son of Saul blotted out by his deprecation the guilt of a violated fast.(9) Why should I recount the frequent restoration of the nation itself after the forgiveness of their sins?--by that God, indeed, who will have mercy rather than sacrifice, and a sinner's repentance rather than his death.(10) You will first have to deny that the Creator ever forgave sins; then you must in reason show(11) that He never ordained any such prerogative for His Christ; and so you will prove how novel is that boasted(12) benevolence of the, of course, novel Christ when you shall have proved that it is neither compatible with(13) the Creator nor predicted by the Creator. But whether to remit sins can appertain to one who is said to be unable to retain them, and whether to absolve can belong to him who is incompetent even to condemn, and whether to forgive is suitable to him against whom no offence can be committed, are questions which we have encountered elsewhere,(14) when we preferred to drop suggestions(15) rather than treat them anew.(16) Concerning the Son of man our rule(17) is a twofold one: that Christ cannot lie, so as to declare Himself the Son of man, if He be not truly so; nor can He be constituted the Son of man, unless He be born of a human parent, either father or mother. And then the discussion will turn on the point, of which human parent He ought to be accounted the son--of the father or the mother? Since He is (begotten) of God the Father, He is not, of course, (the son) of a human father. If He is not of a human father, it follows that He must be (the son) of a human mother. If of a human mother, it is evident that she must be a virgin. For to whom a human father is not ascribed, to his mother a husband will not be reckoned; and then to what mother a husband is not reckoned, the condition of virginity belongs.(18) But if His mother be not a virgin, two fathers will have to be reckoned to Him--a divine and a human one. For she must have a husband, not to be a virgin; and by having a husband, she would cause two fathers--one divine, the other human--to accrue to Him, who would thus be Son both of God and of a man. Such a nativity (if one may call it so)(19) the mythic stories assign to Castor or to Hercules. Now, if this distinction be observed, that is to say, if He be Son of man as born of His mother, because not begotten of a father, and His mother be a virgin, because His father is not human--He will be that Christ whom Isaiah foretold that a virgin should conceive,(20) On what principle you, Marcion, can admit Him Son of man, I cannot possibly see. If through a human father, then you deny him to be Son of God; if through a divine one also,(1) then you make Christ the Hercules of fable; if through a human mother only, then you concede my point; if not through a human father also,(2) then He is not the son of any man,(3) and He must have been guilty of a lie for having declared Himself to be what He was not. One thing alone can help you in your difficulty: boldness on your part either to surname your God as actually the human father of Christ, as Valentinus did(4) with his AEon; or else to deny that the Virgin was human, which even Valentinus did not do. What now, if Christ be described(5) in Daniel by this very title of "Son of man?" Is not this enough to prove that He is the Christ of prophecy? For if He gives Himself that appellation which was provided in the prophecy for the Christ of the Creator, He undoubtedly offers Himself to be understood as Him to whom (the appellation) was assigned by the prophet. But perhaps(6) it can be regarded as a simple identity of names;(7) and yet we have maintained(8) that neither Christ nor Jesus ought to have been called by these names, if they possessed any condition of diversity. But as regards the appellation "Son of man," in as far as it Occurs by accident,(9) in so far there is a difficulty in its occurrence along with(10) a casual identity of names. For it is of pure(11) accident, especially when the same cause does not appear(12) whereby the identity may be occasioned. And therefore, if Marcion's Christ be also said to be born of man, then he too would receive an identical appellation, and there would be two Sons of man, as also two Christs and two Jesuses. Therefore, since the appellation is the sole right of Him in whom it has a suitable reason,(13) if it be claimed for another in whom there is an identity of name, but not of appellation,(14) then the identity of name even looks suspicious in him for whom is claimed without reason the identity of appellation. And it follows that He must be believed to be One and the Same, who is found to be the more fit to receive both the name and the appellation; while the other is excluded, who has no right to the appellation, because he has no reason to show for it. Nor will any other be better entitled to both than He who is the earlier, and has had allotted to Him the name of Christ and the appellation of Son of man, even the Jesus of the Creator. It was He who was seen by the king of Babylon in the furnace with His martyrs: "the fourth, who was like the Son of man."(15) He also was revealed to Daniel himself expressly as "the Son of man, coming in the clouds of heaven" as a Judge, as also the Scripture shows.(16) What I have advanced might have been sufficient concerning the designation in prophecy of the Son of man. But the Scripture offers me further information, even in the interpretation of the Lord Himself. For when the Jews, who looked at Him as merely man, and were not yet sure that He was God also, as being likewise the Son of God, rightly enough said that a man could not forgive sins, but God alone, why did He not, following up their point(17) about man, answer them,that He(18) had power to remit sins; inasmuch as, when He mentioned the Son of man, He also named a human being? except it were because He wanted, by help of the very designation "Son of man" from the book of Daniel, so to induce them to reflect(19) as to show them that He who remitted sins was God and man--that only Son of man, indeed, in the prophecy of Daniel, who had obtained the power of judging, and thereby, of course, of forgiving sins likewise (for He who judges also absolves); so that, when once that objection of theirs(20) was shattered to pieces by their recollection of Scripture, they might the more easily acknowledge Him to be the Son of man Himself by His own actual forgiveness of sins. I make one more observation,(21) how that He has nowhere as yet professed Himself to be the Son of God--but for the first time in this passage, in which for the first time He has remitted sins; that is, in which for the first time He has used His function of judgment, by the absolution. All that the opposite side has to allege in argument against these things, (I beg you) carefully weigh(22) what it amounts to. For it must needs strain itself to such a pitch of infatuation as, on the one hand, to maintain that (their Christ) is also Son of man, in order to save Him from the charge of falsehood; and, on the other hand, to deny that He was born of woman, lest they grantthat He was the Virgin's son. Since, however, the divine authority and the nature of the case, and common sense, do not admit this insane position of the heretics, we have here the opportunity of putting in a veto(1) in the briefest possible terms, on the substance of Christ's body, against Marcion's phantoms. Since He is born of man, being the Son of man. He is body derived from body.(2) You may, I assure you,(3) more easily find a man born without a heart or without brains, like Marcion himself, than without a body, like Marcion's Christ. And let this be the limit to your examination of the heart, or, at any rate, the brains of the heretic of Pontus.(4)


The publican who was chosen by the Lord,(5) he adduces for a proof that he was chosen as a stranger to the law and uninitiated in(6) Judaism, by one who was an adversary to the law. The case of Peter escaped his memory, who, although he was a man of the law, was not only chosen by the Lord, but also obtained the testimony of possessing knowledge which was given to him by the Father.(7) He had nowhere read of Christ's being foretold as the light, and hope, and expectation of the Gentiles! He, however, rather spoke of the Jews in a favourable light, when he said, "The whole needed not a physician, but they that are sick."(8) For since by "those that are sick" he meant that the heathens and publicans should be understood, whom he was choosing, he affirmed of the Jews that they were "whole" for whom he said that a physician was not necessary. This being the case, he makes a mistake in coming down(9) to destroy the law, as if for the remedy of a diseased condition. because they who were living under it were "whole," and "not in want of a physician." How, moreover, does it happen that he proposed the similitude of a physician, if he did not verify it? For, just as nobody uses a physician for healthy persons, so will no one do so for strangers, in so far as he is one of Marcion's god-made men,(10) having to himself both a creator and preserver, and a specially good physician, in his Christ. This much the comparison predetermines, that a physician is more usually furnished by him to whom the sick people belong. Whence, too, does John come upon the scene? Christ, suddenly; and just as suddenly, John!(11) After this fashion occur all things in Marcion's system. They have their own special and plenary course(12) in the Creator's dispensation. Of John, however, what else I have to say will be found in another passage.(13) To the several points which now come before us an answer must be given. This, then, I will take care to do(14)--demonstrate that, reciprocally, John is suitable to Christ, and Christ to Joan, the latter, of course, as a prophet of the Creator, just as the former is the Creator's Christ; and so the heretic may blush at frustrating, to his own frustration, the mission of John the Baptist. For if there had been no ministry of John at all--"the voice," as Isaiah calls him, "of one crying in the wilderness," and the preparer of the ways of the Lord by denunciation and recommendation of repentance; if, too, he had not baptized (Christ) Himself(15) along with others, nobody could have challenged the disciples of Christ, as they ate and drank, to a comparison with the disciples of John, who were constantly fasting and praying; because, if there existed any diversity(16) between Christ and John, and their followers respectively, no exact comparison would be possible, nor would there be a single point where it could be challenged. For nobody would feel surprise, and nobody would be perplexed, although there should arise rival predictions of a diverse deity, which should also mutually differ about modes of conduct,(17) having a prior difference about the authorities(18) upon which they were based. Therefore Christ belonged to John, and John to Christ; while both belonged to the Creator, and both were of the law and the prophets, preachers and masters. Else Christ would have rejected the discipline of John, as of the rival god, and would also have defended the disciples, as very properly pursuing a different walk, because consecrated to the service of another and contrary deity. But as it is, while modestly(19) giving a reason why "the children of the bridegroom are unable to fast during the time the bridegroom is with them," but promising that "they should afterwards fast, when the bridegroom was taken away from them,"(1) He neither defended the disciples, (but rather excused them, as if they had not been blamed without some reason), nor rejected the discipline of John, but rather allowed(2) it, referring it to the time of John, although destining it for His own time. Otherwise His purpose would have been to reject it,(3) and to defend its opponents, if He had not Himself already belonged to it as then in force. I hold also that it is my Christ who is meant by the bridegroom, of whom the psalm says: "He is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber; His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and His return is back to the end of it again."(4) By the mouth of Isaiah He also says exultingly of the Father: "Let my soul rejoice in the Lord; for He hath clothed me with the garment of salvation and with the tunic of joy, as a bridegroom. He hath put a mitre round about my head, as a bride."(5) To Himself likewise He appropriates(6) the church, concerning which the same(7) Spirit says to Him: "Thou shall clothe Thee with them all, as with a bridal ornament."(8) This spouse Christ invites home to Himself also by Solomon from the call of the Gentiles, because you read: "Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse."(9) He elegantly makes mention of Lebanon (the mountain, of course) because it stands for the name of frankincense with the Greeks;(10) for it was from idolatry that He betrothed Himself the church. Deny now, Marcion, your utter madness, (if you can)! Behold, you impugn even the law of your god. He unites not in the nuptial bond, nor, when contracted, does he allow it; no one does he baptize but a coelebs or a eunuch; until death or divorce does he reserve baptism.(11) Wherefore, then, do you make his Christ a bridegroom? This is the designation of Him who united man and woman, not of him who separated them.

You have erred also in that declaration of Christ, wherein He seems to make a difference between things new and old. You are inflated about the old bottles, and brain-muddled with the new wine;and therefore to the old (that is to say, to the prior) gospel you have sewed on the patch of your new-fangled heresy. I should like to know in what respect the Creator is inconsistent with Himself.(12) When by Jeremiah He gave this precept, "Break up for yourselves new pastures,"(13) does He not turn away from the old state of things? And when by Isaiah He proclaims how "old things were passed away; and, behold, all things, which I am making, are new,"(14) does He not advert to a new state of things? We have generally been of opinion's that the destination of the former state of things was rather promised by the Creator, and exhibited in reality by Christ, only under the authority of one and the same God, to whom appertain both the old things and the new. For new wine is not put into old bottles, except by one who has the old bottles; nor does anybody put a new piece to an old garment, unless the old garment be forthcoming to him. That person only(16) does not do a thing when it is not to be done, who has the materials wherewithal to do it if it were to be done. And therefore, since His object in making the comparison was to show that He was separating the new condition(17) of the gospel from the old state(18) of the law, He proved that that(19) from which He was separating His own(20) ought not to have been branded(21) as a separation(22) of things which were alien to each other; for nobody ever unites his own things with things that are alien to them,(23) in order that he may afterwards be able to separate them from the alien things. A separation is possible by help of the conjunction through which it is made. Accordingly, the things which He separated He also proved to have been once one; as they would have remained, were it not for His separation. But still we make this concession, that there is a separation, by reformation, by amplification,(24) by progress; just as the fruit is separated from the seed, although the fruit comes from the seed. So likewise the gospel is separated from the law, whilst it advances(25) from the law--a different thing(26) from it, but not an alien one; diverse, but not contrary. Nor in Christ do we even find any novel form of discourse. Whether He proposes similitudes or refute questions, it comes from the seventy-seventh Psalm. "I will open," says He, "my mouth in a parable" (that is, in a similitude); "I will utter dark problems" (that is, I will set forth questions).(1) If you should wish to prove that a man belonged to another race, no doubt you would fetch your proof from the idiom of his language.


Concerning the Sabbath also I have this to premise, that this question could not have arisen, if Christ did not publicly proclaim(2) the Lord of the Sabbath. Nor could there be any discussion about His annulling(3) the Sabbath, if He had a right(4) to annul it. Moreover, He would have the right, if He belonged to the rival god; nor would it cause surprise to any one that He did what it was right for Him to do. Men's astonishment therefore arose from their opinion that it was improper for Him to proclaim the Creator to be God and yet to impugn His Sabbath. Now, that we may decide these several points first, lest we should be renewing them at every turn to meet each argument of our adversary which rests on some novel institution s of Christ, let this stand as a settled point, that discussion concerning the novel character of each institution ensued on this account, because as nothing was as yet advanced by Christ touching any new deity, so discussion thereon was inadmissible; nor could it be retorted, that from the very novelty of each several institution another deity was clearly enough demonstrated by Christ, inasmuch as it was plain that novelty was not in itself a characteristic to be wondered at in Christ, because it had been foretold by the Creator. And it would have been, of course, but right that a new(6) god should first be expounded, and his discipline be introduced afterwards; because it Would be the god that would impart authority to the discipline, and not the discipline to the god; except that (to be sure) it has happened that Marcion acquired his very perverse opinions not from a master, but his master from his opinion! All other points respecting the Sabbath I thus rule. If Christ interfered with(7) the Sabbath, He simply acted after the Creator's example; inasmuch as in the siege of the city of Jericho the carrying around the walls of the ark of the covenant for eight days running, and therefore on a Sabbath-day, actually(8) annulled the Sabbath, by the Creator's command--according to the opinion of those who think this of Christ in this passage of St. Luke, in their ignorance that neither Christ nor the Creator violated the Sabbath, as we shall by and by show. And yet the Sabbath was actually then broken(9) by Joshua,(10) so that the present charge might be alleged also against Christ. But even if, as being not the Christ of the Jews, He displayed a hatred against the Jews' most solemn day, He was only professedly following(11) the Creator, as being His Christ, in this very hatred of the Sabbath; for He exclaims by the mouth of Isaiah: "Your new moons and your Sabbaths my soul hateth."(12) Now, in whatever sense these words were spoken, we know that an abrupt defence must, in a subject of this sort, be used in answer to an abrupt challenge. I shall now transfer the discussion to the very matter in which the teaching of Christ seemed to annul the Sabbath. The disciples had been hungry; on that the Sabbath day they had plucked some ears and rubbed them in their hands; by thus preparing their food, they had violated the holy day. Christ excuses them, and became their accomplice in breaking the Sabbath. The Pharisees bring the charge against Him. Marcion sophistically interprets the stages of the controversy (if I may call in the aid of the truth of my Lord to ridicule his arts), both in the scriptural record and in Christ's purpose.(13) For from the Creator's Scripture, and from the purpose of Christ, there is derived a colourable precedent(14)--as from the example of David, when he went into the temple on the Sabbath, and provided food by boldly breaking up the shew-bread.(15) Even he remembered that this privilege (I mean the dispensation from fasting) was allowed to the Sabbath from the very beginning, when the Sabbath-day itself was instituted. For although the Creator had forbidden that the manna should be gathered for two days, He yet permitted it on the one occasion only of the day before the Sabbath, in order that the yesterday's provision of food might free from fasting the feast of the following Sabbath-day. Good reason, therefore, had the Lord for pursuing the same principle in the annulling of the Sabbath (since that is the word which men will use); good reason, too, for expressing the Creator's will,(1) when He bestowed the privilege of not fasting on the Sabbath-day. In short, He would have then and there(2) put an end to the Sabbath, nay, to the Creator Himself, if He had commanded His disciples to fast on the Sabbath-day, contrary to the intention(3) of the Scripture and of the Creator's will. But because He did not directly defend(4) His disciples, but excuses them; because He interposes human want, as if deprecating censure; because He maintains the honour of the Sabbath as a day which is to be free from gloom rather than from work;(5) because he puts David and his companions on a level with His own disciples in their fault and their extenuation; because He is pleased to endorse(6) the Creator's indulgence:(7) because He is Himself good according to His example--is He therefore alien from the Creator? Then the Pharisees watch whether He would heal on the Sabbath-day,(8) that they might accuse Him--surely as a violator of the Sabbath, not as the propounder of a new god; for perhaps I might be content with insisting on all occasions on this one point, that another Christ(9) is nowhere proclaimed. The Pharisees, however, were in utter error concerning the law of the Sabbath, not observing that its terms were conditional, when it enjoined rest from labour, making certain distinctions of labour. For when it says of the Sabbath-day, "In it thou shalt not do any work of thine,"(10) by the word thine(11) it restricts the prohibition to human work--which every one performs in his own employment or business--and not to divine work. Now the work of healing or preserving is not proper to man, but to God. So again, in the law it says, "Thou shalt not do any manner of work in it,"(12) except what is to be done for any soul,(13) that is to say, in the matter of delivering the soul;(14) because what is God's work may be done by human agency for the salvation of the soul. By God, however, would that be done which the man Christ was to do, for He was likewise God.(15) Wishing, therefore, to initiate them into this meaning of the law by the restoration of the withered hand, He requires, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath-days to do good, or not? to save life, or to destroy it?"(16) In order that He might, whilst allowing that amount of work which He was about to perform for a soul,(17) remind them what works the law of the Sabbath forbade--even human works; and what it enjoined--even divine works, which might be done for the benefit of any soul,(18) He was called "Lord of the Sabbath,"(19) because He maintained(20) the Sabbath as His own institution. Now, even if He had annulled the Sabbath, He would have had the right to do so,(21) as being its Lord, (and) still more as He who instituted it. But He did not utterly destroy it, although its Lord, in order that it might henceforth be plain that the Sabbath was not broken(22) by the Creator, even at the time when the ark was carried around Jericho. For that was really(23) God's work, which He commanded Himself, and which He had ordered for the sake of the lives of His servants when exposed to the perils of war. Now, although He has in a certain place expressed an aversion of Sabbaths, by calling them your Sabbaths,(24) reckoning them as men's Sabbaths, not His own, because they were celebrated without the fear of God by a people full of iniquities, and loving God "with the lip, not the heart,"(25) He has yet put His own Sabbaths (those, that is, which were kept according to His prescription) in a different position; for by the same prophet, in a later passage,(26) He declared them to be "true, and delightful, and inviolable." Thus Christ did not at all rescind the Sabbath: He kept the law thereof, and both in the former case did a work which was beneficial to the life of His disciples, for He indulged them with the relief of food when they were hungry, and in the present instance cured the withered hand; in each case intimating by facts, "I came not to destroy, the law, but to fulfil it,"(1) although Marcion has gagged(2) His mouth by this word.(3) For even in the case before us He fulfilled the law, while interpreting its condition; moreover, He exhibits in a dear light the different kinds of work, while doing what the law excepts from the sacredness of the Sabbath(4) and while imparting to the Sabbath-day itself, which from the beginning had been consecrated by the benediction of the Father, an additional sanctity by His own beneficent action. For He furnished to this day divine safeguards,(5)--a course which(6) His adversary would have pursued for some other days, to avoid honouring the Creator's Sabbath, and restoring to the Sabbath the works which were proper for it. Since, in like manner, the prophet Elisha on this day restored to life the dead son of the Shunammite woman,(7) you see, O Pharisee, and you too, O Marcion, how that it was proffer employment for the Creator's Sabbaths of old(8) to do good, to save life, not to destroy it; how that Christ introduced nothing new, which was not after the example,(9) the gentleness, the mercy, and the prediction also of the Creator. For in this very example He fulfils(10) the prophetic announcement of a specific healing: "The weak hands are strengthened," as were also "the feeble knees"(11)in the sick of the palsy.