CHAP. XIII.--CHRIST'S CONNECTION WITH THE CREATOR SHOWN. MANY QUOTATIONS OUT OF THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHETICALLY BEAR ON CERTAIN EVENTS OF THE LIFE OF JESUS--SUCH AS HIS ASCENT TO PRAYING ON THE MOUNTAIN; HIS SELECTION OF TWELVE APOSTLES; HIS CHANGING SIMON'S NAME TO PETER, AND GENTILES FROM TYRE AND SIDON RESORTING TO HIM.
Surely to Sion He brings good tidings, and to Jerusalem peace and all blessings; He goes up into a mountain, and there spends a night in prayer,(12) and He is indeed heard by the Father. Accordingly turn over the prophets, and learn therefrom His entire course.(13) "Into the high mountain," says Isaiah, "get Thee up, who bringest good tidings to Sion; lift up Thy voice with strength, who bringest good tidings to Jerusalem."(14) "They were mightily(15) astonished at His doctrine; for He was teaching as one who had power."(16) And again: "Therefore, my people shall know my name in that day." What name does the prophet mean, but Christ's? "That I am He that doth speak--even I."(17) For it was He who used to speak in the prophets--the Word, the Creator's Son. "I am present, while it is the hour, upon the mountains, as one that bringeth glad tidings of peace, as one that publisheth good tidings of good."(18) So one of the twelve (minor prophets), Naburn: "For behold upon the mountain the swift feet of Him that bringeth glad tidings of peace."(19) Moreover, concerning the voice of His prayer to the Father by night, the psalm manifestly says: "O my God, I will cry in the day-time, and Thou shalt hear; and in the night season, and it shall not be in vain to me."(20) in another passage touching the same voice and place, the psalm says: "I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and He heard me out of His holy mountain."(21) You have a representation of the name; you have the action of the Evangelizer; you have a mountain for the site; and the night as the time; and the sound of a voice; and the audience of the Father: you have, (in short,) the Christ of the prophets.
But why was it that He chose twelve apostles,(22) and not some other number? In truth,(23) I might from this very point conclude(24) of my Christ, that He was foretold not only by the words of prophets, but by the indications of facts. For of this number I find figurative hints up and down the Creator's dispensation(25) in the twelve springs of Elfin;(26) in the twelve gems of Aaron's priestly vestment;(27) and in the twelve stones appointed by Joshua to be taken out of the Jordan, and set up for the ark of the covenant. Now, the same number of apostles was thus portended, as if they were to be fountains and rivers which should water the Gentile world, which was formerly dry and destitute of knowledge (as He says by Isaiah: "I will put streams in the unwatered ground"(28)); as if they were to be gems to shed lustre upon the church's sacred robe, which Christ, the High Priest of the Father, puts on; as if, also, they were to be stones massive in their faith, which the true Joshua took out of the layer of the Jordan, and placed in the sanctuary of His covenant. What equally good defence of such a number has Marcion's Christ to show? It is impossible that anything can be shown to have been done by him unconnectedly,(1) which cannot be shown to have been done by my Christ in connection (with preceding types).(2) To him will appertain the event(3) in whom is discovered the preparation for the same.(4) Again, He changes the name of Simon to peter,(5) inasmuch as the Creator also altered the names of Abram, and Sarai, and Oshea, by calling the latter Joshua, and adding a syllable to each of the former. But why Peter? If it was because of the vigour of his faith, there were many solid materials which might lend a name from their strength. Was it because Christ was both a rock and a stone? For we read of His being placed "for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence."(6) I omit the rest of the passage.(7) Therefore He would fain(8) impart to the dearest of His disciples a name which was suggested by one of His own especial designations in figure; because it was, I suppose, more peculiarly fit than a name which might have been derived from no figurative description of Himself.
(9) There come to Him from Tyre, and from other districts even, a transmarine multitude. This fact the psalm had in view: "And behold tribes of foreign people, and Tyre, and the people of the Ethiopians; they were there. Sion is my mother, shall a man say; and in her was born a man" (forasmuch as the God-man was born), and He built her by the Father's will; that you may know how Gentiles then flocked to Him, because He was born the God-man who was to build the church according to the Father's will--even of other races also.(10) So says Isaiah too: "Behold, these come from far; and these from the north and from the west;(11) and these from the land of the Persians."(12) Concerning whom He says again: "Lift up thine eyes round about, and behold, all these have gathered themselves together."(13) And yet again:"Thou seest these unknown and strange ones; and thou wilt say in thine heart, Who hath begotten me these? But who hath brought me up these? And these, where have they been?"(14) Will such a Christ not be (the Christ) of the prophets? And what will be the Christ of the Marcionites? Since perversion of truth is their pleasure, he could not be (the Christ) of the prophets.
CHAP. XIV.--CHRIST'S SERMON ON THE MOUNT. IN MANNER AND CONTENTS IT SO RESEMBLES THE CREATOR'S DISPENSATIONAL WORDS AND DEEDS. IT SUGGESTS THEREFORE THE CONCLUSION THAT JESUS IS THE CREATOR'S CHRIST. THE BEATITUDES.
I now come to those ordinary precepts of His, by means of which He adapts the peculiarity(15) of His doctrine to what I may call His official proclamation as the Christ.(16) "Blessed are the needy" (for no less than this is required for interpreting the word in the Greek,(17) "because theirs is the kingdom of heaven."(18) Now this very fact, that He begins with beatitudes, is characteristic of the Creator, who used no other voice than that of blessing either in the first fiat or the final dedication of the universe: for "my heart," says He, "hath indited a very good word."(19) This will be that "very good word" of blessing which is admitted to be the initiating principle of the New Testament, after the example of the Old. What is there, then, to wonder at, if He entered on His ministry with the very attributes(20) of the Creator, who ever in language of the same sort loved, consoled, protected, and avenged the beggar, and the poor, and the humble, and the widow, and the orphan? So that you may believe this private bounty as it were of Christ to be a rivulet streaming from the springs of salvation. Indeed, I hardly know whiCh way to turn amidst so vast a wealth of good words like these; as if I were in a forest, or a meadow, or an orchard of apples. I must therefore look out for such matter as chance may present to me.(21) In the psalm he exclaims: "Defend the fatherless and the needy; do justice to the humble and the poor; deliver the poor, and rid the needy out of the hand of the wicked."(22) Similarly in the seventy-first Psalm: "In righteousness shall He judge the needy amongst the people, and shall save the children of the poor."(1) And in the following words he says of Christ: "All nations shall serve Him."(2) Now David only reigned over the Jewish nation, so that nobody can suppose that this was spoken of David; whereas He had taken upon Himself the condition of the poor, and such as were oppressed with want, "Because He should deliver the needy out of the hand of the mighty man; He shall spare the needy and the poor, and shall deliver the souls of the poor. From usury and injustice shall He redeem their souls, and in His sight shall their name be honoured."(3) Again: "The wicked shall be turned into hell, even all the nations that forget God; because the needy shall not alway be forgotten; the endurance of the poor shall not perish for ever."(4) Again: "Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high, and yet looketh on the humble things that are in heaven and on earth!--who raiseth up the needy from off the ground, and out of the dunghill exalteth the poor; that He may set him with the princes of His people,"(5) that is, in His own kingdom. And likewise earlier, in the book of Kings,(6) Hannah the mother of Samuel gives glory to God in these words: "He raiseth the poor man from the ground, and the beggar, that He may set him amongst the princes of His people (that is, in His own kingdom), and on thrones of glory" (even royal ones).(7) And by Isaiah how He inveighs against the oppressors of the needy "What mean ye that ye set fire to my vineyard, and that the spoil of the poor is in your houses? Wherefore do ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the face of the needy?"(8) And again: "Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees; for in their decrees they decree wickedness, turning aside the needy from judgment, and taking away their rights from the poor of my people."(9) These righteous judgments He requires for the fatherless also, and the widows, as well as for consolation(10) to the very needy themselves. "Do justice to the fatherless, and deal justly with the widow; and come, let us be reconciled,(11) saith the Lord."(12) To him, for whom in every stage of lowliness there is provided so much of the Creator's compassionate regard, shall be given that kingdom also which is promised by Christ, to whose merciful compassion belong, and for a great while have belonged,(13) those to whom the promise is made. For even if you suppose that the promises of the Creator were earthly, but that Christ's are heavenly, it is quite clear that heaven has been as yet the property of no other God whatever, than Him who owns the earth also; quite clear that the Creator has given even the lesser promises (of earthly blessing), in order that I may more readily believe Him concerning His greater promises (of heavenly blessings) also, than (Marcion's god), who has never given proof of his liberality by any preceding bestowal of minor blessings.
"Blessed are they that hunger, for they shall be filled."(14) I might connect this clause with the former one, because none but the poor and needy suffer hunger, if the Creator had not specially designed that the promise of a similar blessing should serve as a preparation for the gospel, that so men might know it to be His.(15) For thus does He say, by Isaiah, concerning those whom He was about to call from the ends of the earth--that is, the Gentiles: "Behold, they shall come swiftly with speed:"(16) swiftly, because hastening towards the fulness of the times; with speed, because unclogged by the weights of the ancient law. They shall neither hunger nor thirst. Therefore they shall be filled,--a promise which is made to none but those who hunger and thirst. And again He says: "Behold, my servants shall be filled, but ye shall be hungry; behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty."(17) As for these oppositions, we shall see whether they are not premonitors of Christ.(18) Meanwhile the promise of fulness to the hungry is a provision of God the Creator.
"Blessed are they that weep, for they shall laugh."(19) Turn again to the passage of Isaiah: "Behold, my servants shall exult with joy, but ye shall be ashamed; behold, my servants shall be glad, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart."(20) And recognise these oppositions also in the dispensation of Christ. Surely gladness and joyous exultation is promised to those who are in an opposite condition--to the sorrowful, and sad, and anxious. Just as it is said in the 125th Psalm: "They who sow in tears shall reap in joy."(21) Moreover, laughter is as much an accessory to the exulting and glad, as weeping is to the sorrowful and grieving. Therefore the Creator, in foretelling matters for laughter and tears, was the first who said that those who mourned should laugh. Accordingly, He who began (His course) with consolation for the poor, and the humble, and the hungry, and the weeping, was at once eager(1) to represent Himself as Him whom He had pointed out by the mouth of Isaiah: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the poor."(2) "Blessed are the needy, because theirs is the kingdom of heaven."(3) "He hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted."
(4) "Blessed are they that hunger, for they shall be filled."(5) "To comfort all that mourn."(6) "Blessed are they that weep, for they shall laugh."(7) "To give unto them that mourn in Sion, beauty (or glory) for ashes, and the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness."(8) Now since Christ, as soon as He entered on His course,(9) fulfilled such a ministration as this, He is either, Himself, He who predicted His own coming to do all this; or else if he is not yet come who predicted this, the charge to Marcion's Christ must be a ridiculous one (although I should perhaps add a necessary(10) one), which bade him say,
"Blessed shall ye be, when men shall hate you, and shall reproach you, and shall cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake."(11) In this declaration there is, no doubt, an exhortation to patience. Well, what did the Creator say otherwise by Isaiah? "Fear ye not the reproach of men, nor be diminished by their contempt."(12) What reproach? what contempt? That which was to be incurred for the sake of the Son of man. What Son of man? He who (is come) according to the Creator's will. Whence shall we get our proof? From the very cutting off, which was predicted against Him; as when He says by Isaiah to the Jews, who were the instigators of hatred against Him: "Because of you, my name is blasphemed amongst the Gentiles;"(13) and in another passage: "Lay the penalty on(14) Him who surrenders(15) His own life, who is held in contempt by the Gentiles, whether servants or magistrates."(16) Now, since hatred was predicted against that Son of man who has His mission from the Creator, whilst the Gospel testifies that the name of Christians, as derived from Christ, was to be hated for the Son of man's sake, because He is Christ, it determines the point that that was the Son of man in the matter of hatred who came according to the Creator's purpose, and against whom the hatred was predicted. And even if He had not yet come, the hatred of His name which exists at the present day could not in any case have possibly preceded Him who was to bear the name.(17) But He has both suffered the penalty(18) in out presence, and surrendered His life, laying it down for our sakes, and is held in contempt by the Gentiles. And He who was born (into the world) will be that very Son of man on whose account our name also is rejected.
CHAP. XV.--SERMON ON THE MOUNT CONTINUED. ITS WOES IN STRICT AGREEMENT WITH THE CREATOR'S DISPOSITION. MANY QUOTATIONS OUT OF THE OLD TESTAMENT IN PROOF OF THIS.
"In the like manner," says He,(19) "did their fathers unto the prophets." What a turncoat(20) is Marcion's Christ! Now the destroyer, now the advocate of the prophets! He destroyed them as their rival, by converting their disciples; he took up their cause as their friend, by stigmatizing(21) their persecutors. But,(22) in as far as the defence of the prophets could not be consistent in the Christ of Marcion, who came to destroy them; in so far is it becoming to the Creator's Christ that He should stigmatize those who persecuted the prophets, for He in all things accomplished their predictions. Again, it is more characteristic of the Creator to upbraid sons with their fathers' sins, than it is of that god who chastizes no man for even his own misdeeds. But you will say, He cannot be regarded as defending the prophets simply because He wished to affirm the iniquity of the Jews for their impious dealings with their own prophets. Well, then, in this case,(23) no sin ought to have been charged against the Jews: they were rather deserving of praise and approbation when they maltreated(24 those whom the absolutely good god of Marcion, after so long a time, bestirred himself(2) to destroy. I suppose, however, that by this time he bad ceased to be the absolutely good god;(2) he had now sojourned a considerable while even with the Creator, and was no longer (like) the god of Epicurus(3) purely and simply. For see how he condescends(4) to curse, and proves himself capable of taking offence and feeling anger! He actually pronounces a woe! But a doubt is raised against us as to the import of this word, as if it carried with it less the sense of a curse than of an admonition. Where, however, is the difference, since even an admonition is not given without the sting of a threat, especially when it is embittered with a woe? Moreover, both admonition and threatening will be the resources of him s who knows how to feel angry, For no one will forbid the doing of a thing with an admonition or a threat, except him who will inflict punishment for the doing of it. No one would inflict punishment, except him who was susceptible of anger. Others, again, admit that the word implies a curse; but they will have it that Christ pronounced the woe, not as if it were His own genuine feeling, but because the woe is from the Creator, and He wanted to set forth to them the severity of the Creator in order that He might the more commend His own long-suffering(6) in His beatitudes Just as if it were not competent to the Creator, in the pre-eminence of both His attributes as the good God and Judge, that, as He had made clemency(7) the preamble of His benediction so He should place severity in the sequel of His curses; thus fully developing His discipline in both directions, both in following out the blessing and in providing against the curse.(8) He had already said of old, "Behold, I have set before you blessing and cursing."(9) Which statement was really a presage of(10) this temper of the gospel. Besides, what sort of being is that who, to insinuate a belief in his own goodness, invidiously contrasted(11) with it the Creator's severity? Of little worth is the recommendation which has for its prop the defamation of another. And yet by thus setting forth the severity of the Creator, he, in fact, affirmed Him to be an object of fear.(12) Now if He be an object of fear, He is of course more worthy of being obeyed than slighted; and thus Marcion's Christ begins to teach favourably to the Creator's interests.(13) Then, on the admission above mentioned, since the woe which has regard to the rich is the Creator's, it follows that it is not Christ, but the Creator, who is angry with the rich; while Christ approves of(14) the incentives of the rich(15)--I mean, their pride, their pomp,(16) their love of the world, and their contempt of God, owing to which they deserve the woe of the Creator. But how happens it that the reprobation of the rich does not proceed from the same Gad who had just before expressed approbation of the poor? There is nobody but reprobates the opposite of that which he has approved. If, therefore, there be imputed to the Creator the woe pronounced against the rich, there must be claimed for Him also the promise of the blessing upon the poor; and thus the entire work of the Creator devolves on Christ.--If to Marcion's god there be ascribed the blessing of the poor, he must also have imputed to him the malediction of the rich; and thus will he become the Creator's equal,(17) both good and judicial; nor will there be left any room for that distinction whereby two gods are made; and when this distinction is removed, there will remain the verity which pronounces the Creator to be the one only God.
Since, therefore, "woe" is a word indicative of malediction, or of some unusually austere(18) exclamation; and since it is by Christ uttered against the rich, I shall have to show that the Creator is also a despiser(19) of the rich, as I have shown Him to be the defender(20) of the poor, in order that I may prove Christ to be on the Creator's side in this matter, even when He enriched Solomon.(21) But with respect to this man, since, when a choice was left to him, he preferred asking for what he knew to be well-pleasing to God--even wisdom--he further merited the attainment of the riches, which he did not prefer. The endowing of a man indeed with riches, is not an incongruity to God, for by the help of riches even rich men are comforted and assisted; moreover, by them many a work of justice and charity is carried out. But yet there are serious faults(22) which accompany riches; and it is because of these that woes are denounced on the rich, even in the Gospel. "Ye have received," says He, "your consolation;"(23) that is, of course, from their riches, in the pomps and vanities of the world which these purchase for them. Accordingly, in Deuteronomy, Moses says: "Lest, when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, as well as thy silver and thy gold, thine heart be then lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God."(1) in similar terms, when king Hezekiah became proud of his treasures, and gloried in them rather than in God before those who had come on an embassy from Babylon,(2) (the Creator) breaks forth(3) against him by the mouth of Isaiah: "Behold, the days come when all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store, shall be carried to Babylon."(4) So by Jeremiah likewise did He say: "Let not the rich man glory in his riches but let him that glorieth even glory in the Lord."(5) Similarly against the daughters of Sion does He inveigh by Isaiah, when they were haughty through their pomp and the abundance of their riches,(6) just as in another passage He utters His threats against the proud and noble: "Hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth, and down to it shall descend the illustrious, and the great, and the rich (this shall be Christ's 'woe to the rich'); and man(7) shall be humbled," even he that exalts himself with riches; "and the mighty man(8) shall be dishonoured," even he who is mighty from his wealth.(9) Concerning whom He says again: "Behold, the Lord of hosts shall confound the pompous together with their strength: those that are lifted up shall be hewn down, and such as are lofty shall fall by the sword."(10) And who are these but the rich? Because they have indeed received their consolation, glory, and honour and a lofty position from their wealth. In Ps. xlviii. He also turns off our care from these and says: "Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, and when his glory is increased: for when he shall die, he shall carry nothing away; nor shall his glory descend along with him."(11) So also in Ps. lxi.: "Do not desire riches; and if they do yield you their lustre,(12) do not set your heart upon them."(13) Lastly, this very same woe is pronounced of old by Amos against the rich, who also abounded in delights. "Woe unto them," says he, "who sleep upon beds of ivory, and deliciously stretch themselves upon their couches; who eat the kids from the flocks of the goats, and sucking calves from the flocks of the heifers, while they chant to the sound of the viol; as if they thought they should continue long, and were not fleeting; who drink their refined wines, and anoint themselves with the costliest ointments."(14) Therefore, even if I could do nothing else than show that the Creator dissuades men from riches, without at the same time first condemning the rich, in the very same terms in which Christ also did, no one could doubt that, from the same authority, there was added a commination against the rich in that woe of Christ, from whom also had first proceeded the dissuasion against the material sin of these persons, that is, their riches. For such commination is the necessary sequel to such a dissuasive.
He inflicts a woe also on "the full, because they shall hunger; on those too which laugh now,, because they shall mourn."(15) To these will correspond these opposites which occur, as we have seen above, in the benedictions of the Creator: "Behold, my servants shall be full, but ye shall be hungry "--even because ye have been filled; "behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed"(16)--even ye who shall mourn, who now are laughing. For as it is written in the psalm, "They who sow in tears shall reap in joy,"(17) so does it run in the Gospel: They who sow in laughter, that is, in joy, shall reap in tears. These principles did the Creator lay down of old; and Christ has renewed them, by simply bringing them into prominent view,(18) not by making any change in them. "Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets."(19) With equal stress does the Creator, by His prophet Isaiah, censure those who seek after human flattery and praise: "O my people, they who call you happy mislead you, and disturb the paths of your feet."(20) In another passage He forbids all implicit trust in man, and likewise in the applause of man; as by the prophet Jeremiah: "Cursed be the man that trusteth in man."(21) Whereas in Ps. cxvii. it is said: "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man; it is better to trust in the Lord than to place hope in princes."(22) Thus everything which is caught at by men is adjured by the Creator, down to their good words.(1) It is as much His property to condemn the praise and flattering words bestowed on the false prophets by their fathers, as to condemn their vexatious and persecuting treatment of the (true) prophets. As the injuries suffered by the prophets could not be imputed(2) to their own God, so the applause bestowed on the false prophets could not have been displeasing to any other god but the God of the true prophets.