CHAP. XXIV.--ON THE MISSION OF THE SEVENTY DISCIPLES, AND CHRIST'S CHARGE TO THEM. PRECEDENTS DRAWN FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT. ABSURDITY OF SUPPOSING THAT MARCION'S CHRIST COULD HAVE GIVEN THE POWER OF TREADING ON SERPENTS AND SCORPIONS.
He chose also seventy other missionaries(4) besides the twelve. Now why, if the twelve followed the number of the twelve fountains of Elim,(5) should not the seventy correspond to the like number of the palms of that place?(6) Whatever be the Antitheses of the comparison, it is a diversity in the causes, not in the powers, which has mainly produced them. But if one does not keep in view the diversity of the causes,(7) he is very apt to infer a difference of powers.(8) When the children of Israel went out of Egypt, the Creator brought them forth laden with their spoils of gold and silver vessels, and with loads besides of raiment and unleavened dough;(9) whereas Christ commanded His disciples not to carry even a staff(10) for their journey. The former were thrust forth into a desert, but the latter were sent into cities. Consider the difference presented in the occasions,(11) and you will understand how it was one and the same power which arranged the mission(12) of His people according to their poverty in the one case, and their plenty in the other. He cut down(13) their supplies when they could be replenished through the cities, just as He had accumulated" them when exposed to the scantiness of the desert. Even shoes He forbade them to carry. For it was He under whose very protection the people wore not out a shoe,(15) even in the wilderness for the space of so many years. "No one," says He, "shall ye salute by the way."(16) What a destroyer of the prophets, forsooth, is Christ, seeing it is from them that He received his precept also! When Elisha sent on his servant Gehazi before him to raise the Shunammite's son from death, I rather think he gave him these instructions:(17) "Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thine hand, and go thy way: if thou meet any man, salute him not;(18) and if any salute thee, answer him not again."(19) For what is a wayside blessing but a mutual salutation as men meet? So also the Lord commands: "Into whatsoever house they enter, let them say, Peace be to it."(20) Herein He follows the very same example. For Elisha enjoined upon his servant the same salutation when he met the Shunammite; he was to say to her: "Peace to thine husband, peace to thy child."(21) Such will be rather our Antitheses; they compare Christ with, instead of sundering Him from, the Creator. "The labourer is worthy of his hire."(22) Who could better pronounce such a sentence than the Judge? For to decide that the workman deserves his wages, is in itself a judicial act. There is no award which consists not in process of judgment. The law of the Creator on this point also presents us with a corroboration, for He judges that labouring oxen are as labourers worthy of their hire: "Thou shall not muzzle," says He. "the ox when he treadeth out the corn."(23) Now, who so good to man(24) as He who is also merciful to cattle? Now, when Christ pronounced labourers to be worthy of their hire, He, in fact, exonerated from blame that precept of the Creator about depriving the Egyptians of their gold and silver vessels.(25) For they who had built for the Egyptians their houses and cities, were surely workmen worthy of their hire, and were not instructed in a fraudulent act, but only set to claim compensation for their hire, which they were unable in any other way to exact from their masters.(26) That the kingdom of God was neither new nor unheard of, He in this way affirmed, whilst at the same time He bids them announce that it was near at hand.(27) Now it is that which was once far off, which can be properly said to have become near. If, however, a thing had never existed previous to its becoming near, it could never have been said to have approached, because it had never existed at a distance. Everything which is new and unknown is also sudden.(1) Everything which is sudden, then, first receives the accident of time(2) when it is announced, for it then first puts on appearance of form.(3) Besides it will be impossible for a thing either to have been tardy(4) all the while it remained unannounced,(5) or to have approached(6) from the time it shall begin to be announced.
He likewise adds, that they should say to such as would not receive them: "Notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you."(7) If He does not enjoin this by way of a commination, the injunction is a most useless one. For what mattered it to them that the kingdom was at hand, unless its approach was accompanied with judgment?--even for the salvation of such as received the announcement thereof. How, if there can be a threat without its accomplishment, can you have in a threatening god, one that executes also, and in both, one that is a judicial being?(8) So, again, He commands that the dust be shaken off against them, as a testimony,--the very particles of their ground which might cleave(9) to the sandal, not to mention(10) any other sort of communication with them.(11) But if their churlishness(12) and inhospitality were to receive no vengeance from Him, for what purpose does He premise a testimony, which surely forbodes some threats? Furthermore, when the Creator also, in the book of Deuteronomy, forbids the reception of the Ammonites and the Moabites into the church,(13) because, when His people came from Egypt, they fraudulently withheld provisions from them with inhumanity and inhospitality,(14) it will be manifest that the prohibition of intercourse descended to Christ from Him. The form of it which He uses--"He that despiseth you, despiseth me"(15)--the Creator had also addressed to Moses: "Not against thee have they murmured, but against me."(16) Moses, indeed, was as much an apostle as the apostles were prophets. The authority of both offices will have to be equally divided, as it proceeds from one and the same Lord, (the God) of apostles and prophets. Who is He that shall bestow "the power of treading on serpents and scorpions?"(17) Shall it be He who is the Lord of all living creatures or he who is not god over a single lizard? Happily the Creator has promised by Isaiah to give this power even to little children, of putting their hand in the cockatrice den and on the hole of the young asps without at all receiving hurt.(18) And, indeed, we are aware (without doing violence to the literal sense of the passage, since even these noxious animals have actually been unable to do hurt where there has been faith) that under the figure of scorpions and serpents are portended evil spirits, whose very prince is described(19) by the name of serpent, dragon, and every other most conspicuous beast in the power of the Creator.(20) This power the Creator conferred first of all upon His Christ, even as the ninetieth Psalm says to Him: "Upon the asp and the basilisk shall Thou tread; the lion and the dragon shall Thou trample under foot."(21) So also Isaiah: "In that day the Lord God shall draw His sacred, great, and strong sword" (even His Christ) "against that dragon, that great and tortuous serpent; and He shall slay him in that day."(22) But when the same prophet says, "The way shall be called a clean and holy way; over it the unclean thing shall not pass, nor shall be there any unclean way; but the dispersed shall pass over it, and they shall not err therein; no lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon; it shall not be found there,"(23) he points out the way of faith, by which we shall reach to God; and then to this way of faith he promises this utter crippling(24) and subjugation of all noxious animals. Lastly, you may discover the suitable times of the promise, if you read what precedes the passage: "Be strong, ye weak hands and ye feeble knees: then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall hear; then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall be articulate."(25) When, therefore, He proclaimed the benefits of His cures, then also did He put the scorpions and the serpents under the feet of His saints--even He who had first received this power from the Father, in order to bestow it upon others and then manfested it forth conformably to the order of prophecy.(1)
CHAP. XXV.--CHRIST THANKS THE FATHER FOR REVEALING TO BABES WHAT HE HAD CONCEALED FROM THE WISE. THIS CONCEALMENT JUDICIOUSLY EFFECTED BY THE CREATOR. OTHER POINTS IN ST. LUKE'S CHAP. X. SHOWN TO BE ONLY POSSIBLE TO THE CREATOR'S CHRIST.
Who shall be invoked as the Lord of heaven, that does not first show Himself(2) to have been the maker thereof? For He says, "I thank thee, (O Father,)and own Thee, Lord of heaven, because those things which had been hidden from the wise and prudent, Thou has revealed unto babes."(3) What things are these? And whose? And by whom hidden? And by whom revealed? If it was by Marcion's god that they were hidden and revealed, it was an extremely iniquitous proceeding;(4) for nothing at all had he ever produced(5) in which anything could have been hidden--no prophecies, no parables, no visions, no evidences(6) of things, or words, or names, obscured by allegories and figures, or cloudy enigmas, but he had concealed the greatness even of himself, which he was with all his might revealing by his Christ. Now in what respect had the wise and prudent done wrong,(7) that God should be hidden from them, when their wisdom and prudence had been insufficient to come to the knowledge of Him? No way had been provided by himself,(8) by any declaration of his works, or any vestiges whereby they might become(9) wise and prudent. However, if they had even failed in any duty towards a god whom they knew not, suppose him now at last to be known still they ought not to have found a jealous god in him who is introduced as unlike the Creator. Therefore, since he had neither provided any materials in which he could have hidden anything, nor had any offenders from whom he could have hidden himself: since, again, even if he had had any, he ought not to have hidden himself from them, he will not now be himself the revealer, who was not previously the concealer; so neither will any be the Lord of heaven nor the Father of Christ but He in whom all these attributes consistently meet.(10) For He conceals by His preparatory apparatus of prophetic obscurity, the understanding of which is open to faith (for "if ye will not believe, ye shall not understand"(11); and He had offenders in those wise and prudent ones who would not seek after God, although He was to be discovered in His so many and mighty works,(12) or who rashly philosophized about Him, and thereby furnished to heretics their arts;(13) and lastly, He is a jealous God. Accordingly,(14) that which Christ thanks God for doing, He long ago (15) announced by Isaiah: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the understanding of the prudent will I hide."(16) So in another passage He intimates both that He has concealed, and that He will also reveal: "I will give unto them treasures that have been hidden, and secret ones will I discover to them."(17) And again: "Who else shall scatter the tokens of ventriloquists,(18) and the devices of those who divine out of their own heart; turning wise men backward, and making their counsels foolish?"(19) Now, if He has designated His Christ as an enlightener of the Gentiles, saying, "I have set thee for a light of the Gentiles;"(20) and if we understand these to be meant in the word babes(21)--as having been once dwarfs in knowledge and infants in prudence, and even now also babes in their lowliness of faith--we shall of course more easily understand how He who had once hidden "these things," and promised a revelation of them through Christ, was the same God as He who had now revealed them unto babes. Else, if it was Marcion's god who revealed the things which had been formerly hidden by the Creator, it follows(22) that he did the Creator's work by setting forth His deeds.(23) But he did it, say you, for His destruction, that he might refute them.(24) Therefore he ought to have refuted them to those from whom the Creator had hidden them, even the wise and prudent. For if he had a kind intention in what he did, the gift of knowledge was due to those from whom the Creator had detained it, instead of the babes, to whom the Creator had grudged no gift. But after all, it is, I presume, the edification(1) rather than the demolition(2) of the law and the prophets which we have thus far found effected in Christ.
"All things," He says, "are delivered unto me of my Father."(3) you may believe Him, if He is the Christ of the Creator to whom all things belong; because the Creator has not delivered to a Son who is less than Himself all things, which He created by(4) Him, that is to say, by His Word. If, on the contrary, he is the notorious stranger,(5) what are the" all things" which have been delivered to him by the Father? Are they the Creator's? Then the things which the Father delivered to the Son are good. and the Creator is therefore good, since all His "things" are good; whereas he(6) is no longer good who has invaded another's good (domains) to deliver it to his son, thus teaching robbery(7) of another's goods. Surely he must be a most mendacious being, who had no other means of enriching his son than by helping himself to another's property! Or else,(8) if nothing of the Creator's has been delivered to him by the Father, by what right(9) does he claim for himself (authority over) man? Or again, if man has been delivered to him, and man alone, then man is not "all things." But Scripture clearly says that a transfer of all things has been made to the Son. If, however, you should interpret this "all" of the whole human race, that is, all nations, then the delivery of even these to the Son is within the purpose of the Creator:(10) "I will give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession."(11) If, indeed, he has some things of his own, the whole of which he might give to his son, along with the man of the Creator, then show some one thing of them all, as a sample, that I may believe; lest I should have as much reason not to believe that all things belong to him, of whom I see nothing, as I have ground for believing that even the things which I see not are His, to whom belongs the universe, which I see.
But "no man knoweth who the Father is, but the Son; and who the Son is, but the Father, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him."(12) And so it was an unknown god that Christ preached! And other heretics, too, prop themselves up by this passage; alleging in opposition to it that the Creator was known to all, both to lsrael by familiar intercourse, and to the Gentiles by nature. Well, how is it He Himself testifies that He was not known to lsrael? "But Israel cloth not know me, and my people doth not consider me;"(13) nor to the Gentiles: "For, behold," says He, "of the nations I have no man."(14) Therefore He reckoned them "as the drop of a bucket,"(15) while "Sion He left as a look-out(16) in a vineyard."(17) See, then, whether there be not here a confirmation of the prophet's word, when he rebukes that ignorance of man toward God which continued to the days of the Son of man. For it was on this account that he inserted the clause that the Father is known by him to whom the Son has revealed Him, because it was even He who was announced as set by the Father to be a light to the Gentiles, who of course required to be enlightened concerning God, as well as to Israel, even by imparting to it a fuller knowledge of God. Arguments, therefore, will be of no use for belief in the rival god which may be suitable(18) for the Creator, because it is only such as are unfit for the Creator which will be able to advance belief in His rival.
If you look also into the next words, "Blessed are the eyes which see the things which ye see, for I tell you that prophets have not seen the things which ye see,"(19) you will find that they follow from the sense above, that no man indeed had come to the knowledge of God as he ought to have done,(20) since even the prophets had not seen the things which were being seen under Christ. Now if He had not been my Christ, He would not have made any mention of the prophets in this passage. For what was there to wonder at, if they had not seen the things of a god who had been unknown to them, and was only revealed a long time after them? What blessedness, however, could theirs have been, who were then seeing what others were naturally(21) unable to see, since it was of things which they had never predicted that they had not obtained the sight;(22) if it were not because they might justly(23) have seen the things pertaining to their God, which they had even predicted, but which they at the same time(24) had not seen? This, however, will be the blessedness of others, even of such as were seeing the things which others had only foretold. We shall by and by show, nay, we have already shown, that in Christ those things were seen which had been foretold, but yet had been hidden from the very prophets who foretold them, in order that they might be hidden also from the wise and the prudent.
In the true Gospel, a certain doctor of the law comes to the Lord and asks, "What shall I do to inherit life?" In the heretical gospel life only is mentioned, without the attribute eternal; so that the lawyer seems to have consulted Christ simply about the life which the Creator in the law promises to prolong,(1) and the Lord to have therefore answered him according to the law, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength,"(2) since the question was concerning the conditions of mere life. But the lawyer of course knew very well in what way the life which the law meant(3) was to be obtained, so that his question could have had no relation to the life whose rules he was himself in the habit of teaching. But seeing that even the dead were now raised by Christ, and being himself excited to the hope of an eternal life by these examples of a restored(4) one, he would lose no more time in merely looking on (at the wonderful things which had made him) so high in hope.(5) He therefore consulted him about the attainment of eternal life. Accordingly, the Lord, being Himself the same,(6) and introducing no new precept other than that which relates above all others(7) to (man's) entire salvation, even including the present and the future life,(8) places before him(9) the very essence(10) of the law--that he should in every possible way love the Lord his God. If, indeed, it were only about a lengthened life, such as is at the Creator's disposal, that he inquired and Christ answered, and not about the eternal life, which is at the disposal of Marcion's god, how is he to obtain the eternal one? Surely not in the same manner as the prolonged life. For in proportion to the difference of the reward must be supposed to be also the diversity of the services. Therefore your disciple, Marcion,(11) will not obtain his eternal life in consequence of loving your God, in the same way as the man who loves the Creator will secure the lengthened life. But how happens it that, if He is to be loved who promises the prolonged I life, He is not much more to be loved who offers the eternal life? Therefore both one and the other life will be at the disposal of one and the same Lord; because one and the same discipline is to be followed(12) for one and the other life. What the Creator teaches to be loved, that must He necessarily maintain(13) also by Christ,(14) for that rule holds good here, which prescribes that greater things ought to be believed of Him who has first lesser proofs to show, than of him for whom no preceding smaller presumptions have secured a claim to be believed in things of higher import. It matters not(15) then, whether the word eternal has been interpolated by us.(16) It is enough for me, that the Christ who invited men to the eternal--not the lengthened--life, when consuited about the temporal life which he was destroying, did not choose to exhort the man rather to that eternal life which he was introducing. Pray, what would the Creator's Christ have done. if He who had made man for loving the Creator did not belong to the Creator? I suppose He would have said that the Creator was not to be loved!
CHAP.XXVI.--FROM ST. LUKE'S ELEVENTH CHAPTER OTHER EVIDENCE THAT CHRIST COMES FROM THE CREATOR. THE LORD'S PRAYER AND OTHER WORDS OF CHRIST. THE DUMB SPIRIT AND CHRIST'S DISCOURSE ON OCCASION OF THE EXPULSION. THE EXCLAMATION OF THE WOMAN IN THE CROWD.
When in a certain place he had been praying to that Father above,(17) looking up with insolent and audacious eyes to the heaven of the Creator, by whom in His rough and cruel nature he might have been crushed with hail and lightning--just as it was by Him contrived that he was (afterwards) attached to a cross(18) at Jerusalem--one of his disciples came to him and said, "Master, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples." This he said, forsooth, because he thought that different prayers were required for different gods! Now, he who had advanced such a conjecture as this should first show that another god had been proclaimed by Christ. For nobody would have wanted to know how to pray, before he had learned whom he was to pray to. If, however, he had already learned this, prove it. If you find nowhere any proof, let me tell you(19) that it was to the Creator that he asked for instruction in prayer, to whom John's disciples also used to pray. But, inasmuch as John had introduced some new order of prayer, this disciple had not improperly presumed to think that he ought also to ask of Christ whether they too must not (according to some special rule of their Master) pray, not indeed to another god, but in another manner. Christ accordingly(1) would not have taught His disciple prayer before He had given him the knowledge of God Himself. Therefore what He actually taught was prayer to Him whom the disciple had already known. In short, you may discover in the import(2) of the prayer what God is addressed therein.
To whom can I say, "Father?"(3) To him who had nothing to do with making me, from whom I do not derive my origin? Or to Him, who, by making and fashioning me, became my parent?(4) Of whom can I ask for His Holy Spirit? Of him who gives not even the mundane spirit;(5) or of Him "who maketh His angels spirits," and whose Spirit it was which in the beginning hovered upon the waters.(6) Whose kingdom shall I wish to come--his, of whom I never heard as the king of glory; or His, in whose hand are even the hearts of kings? Who shall give me my daily(7) bread? Shall it be he who produces for me not a grain of miIlet-seed;(8) or He who even from heaven gave to His people day by day the bread of angels?(9) Who shall forgive me my trespasses?(10) He who, by refusing to judge them, does not retain them; or He who, unless He forgives them, will retain them, even to His judgment? Who shall suffer us not to be led into temptation? He before whom the tempter will never be able to tremble; or He who from the beginning has beforehand condemned(11) the angel tempter? If any one, with such a form,(12) invokes another god and not the Creator, he does not pray; he only blasphemes.
Accordingly, the preceding similitude(19) represents the man who went at night and begged for the loaves, in the light of a friend and not a stranger, and makes him knock at a friend's house and not at a stranger's. But even if he has offended, man is more of a friend with the Creator than with the god of Marcion. At His door, therefore, does he knock to whom he had the right of access; whose gate he had found; whom he knew to possess bread; in bed now with His children, whom He had willed to be born.(20) Even though the knocking is late in the day, it is yet the Creator's time. To Him belongs the latest hour who owns an entire age(21) and the end thereof. As for the new god, however, no one could have knocked at his door late, for he has hardly yet(22) seen the light of morning. It is the Creator, who once shut the door to the Gentiles, which was then knocked at by the Jews, that both rises and gives, if not now to man as a friend, yet not as a stranger, but, as He says, "because of his importunity."(1) Important, however, the recent god could not have permitted any one to be in the short time (since his appearance).(2) Him, therefore, whom you call the Creator recognise also as "Father." It is even He who knows what His children require. For when they asked for bread, He gave them manna from heaven; and when they wanted flesh, He sent them abundance of quails--not a serpent for a fish, nor for an egg a scorpion.(3) It will, however, appertain to Him not to give evil instead of good, who has both one and the other in His power.
Marcion's god, on the contrary, not having a scorpion, was unable to refuse to give what he did not possess; only He (could do so), who, having a scorpion, yet gives it not. In like manner, it is He who will give the Holy Spirit, at whose command(4) is also the unholy spirit.
When He cast out the "demon which was dumb"(5) (and by a cure of this sort verified Isaiah),(6) and having been charged with casting out demons by Beelzebub, He said, "If I by Beelzebub cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out?"(7) By such a question what does He otherwise mean, than that He ejects the spirits by the same power by which their sons also did--that is, by the power of the Creator? For if you suppose the meaning to be, "If I by Beelzebub, etc., by whom your sons?"--as if He would reproach them with having the power of Beelzebub,--you are met at once by the preceding sentence, that "Satan cannot be divided against himself."(8) So that it was not by Beelzebub that even they were casting out demons, but (as we have said) by the power of the Creator; and that He might make this understood, He adds: "But if I with the finger of God cast out demons, is not the kingdom of God come near unto you?"(9) For the magicians who stood before Pharaoh and resisted Moses called the power of the Creator" the finger of God."(10) It was the finger of God, because it was a sign(11) that even a thing of weakness was yet abundant in strength. This Christ also showed, when, recalling to notice (and not obliterating) those ancient wonders which were really His own,(12) He said that the power of God must be understood to be the finger of none other God than Him, under(13) whom it had received this appellation. His kingdom, therefore, was come near to them, whose power was called His "finger." Well, therefore, did He connect" with the parable of "the strong man armed," whom "a stronger man still overcame,(15) the prince of the demons, whom He had already called Beelzebub and Satan; signifying that it was he who was overcome by the finger of God, and not that the Creator had been subdued by another god. Besides,(16) how could His kingdom be still standing, with its boundaries, and laws, and functions, whom, even if the whole world were left entire to Him, Marcion's god could possibly seem to have overcome as "the stronger than He," if it were not in consequence of His law that even Marcionites were constantly dying, by returning in their dissolution(17) to the ground, and were so often admonished by even a scorpion, that the Creator had by no means been overcome?