By David Braunsberg
In 1916, Adolf von Harnack gathered together the remaining fragments of Porphyry’s anti-Christian work from ancient Christian writings. Harnack published these fragments in a book in their original Greek and Latin with discussion and notes in German. I have searched through his book and found the sources of these fragments. This page was researched from Harnack’s book. Most of these fragments are in works that have been translated into English, but they have never been gathered together in one place. The fragments gathered together below are from available English translations of Christian writings. I am working on finding someone who can translate the remaining fragments into English.
A large number of the fragments come from Macarius Magnes’ work titled the Apocriticus. Macarius leaves the pagan of his work anonymous. It seems pretty conclusive that he is Hierocles. In support of this here is what T. W. CRAFER says in the introduction to his translation of the Apocritica:
"Nowhere else does so detailed an attack on Christianity remain to us. It evidently comes from one who is not merely engaged in the vulgar work of trying to destroy the faith; for he claims a higher morality, and writes as a philosopher. And the modern character of many of his attacks, and of some of his actual arguments, give his work more than an antiquarian interest. These assaults of long ago, which were successfully parried by a champion of the faith, may have a reassuring effect upon those who think that their religion has never met with such plausible assaults as to-day. They reflect the master-mind of Porphyry, the great Neoplatonist philosopher, but even Harnack admits that they are borrowed from him by some smaller man, who thus popularized his work. This is exactly the case of so many who speak and write against the Church to-day. And the most recent tendency of those who refuse to accept the Christian faith is to approve at least in some sense of its Founder Himself, but deny that the Church has either the power or the right to interpret Him to the world. The objections before us are mostly to the human side of the faith, and are directed against the Evangelists rather than the Leader whose words and deeds they profess to recount, and against the unreasonableness of the Apostles and their teaching rather than that of Christ. We will take the theory as substantiated that the author was Hierocles, who attacked Christianity with the pen before he tried to destroy it with the sword of persecution. Harnack has given unintentional support by showing that the Apocriticus is really to be divided into two parts, after iii. 19, though the author has concealed the division. This is a new argument for the theory that he is using the two books of the Philaletheis Logoi, or Philalethes, of Hierocles. But there are other problems connected with the Apocriticus which this theory helps to solve. For instance, Duchesne adduces an inscription as proving that, before his governorship of Bithynia in A.D. 304 he had been in office at Palmyra. Now Macarius came from Asia Minor, but when he points his opponent to the effects of the faith, it is to Syria that he turns, especially to Edessa and Antioch. Again, we find that in the Apocriticus the life of Christ is belittled by adducing that of Apollonius of Tyana, whose miracles were said to be superior, and who, instead of humbly submitting to death, "spoke boldly to the Emperor Domitian and then disappeared." Eusebius himself wrote an answer to Hierocles, in which he says that Apollonius was thus adduced, and gives a statement of Philostratus about him, saying, "He says that he disappeared from the judgment-seat." Lactantius gives similar testimony, for in writing about Hierocles he speaks of Apollonius "who, as you describe, suddenly was not to be found at the judgment-seat, when Domitian wished to punish him." It may be added that, whereas the language of the objector in the Apocriticus has nothing in common with the extant words of Porphyry, there are a few sentences given by Eusebius as occurring verbatim in the Philalethes of Hierocles, in which, out of eleven words of a distinctive kind, no less than seven are found in the Apocriticus."
Twice in the Apocriticus we hear the pagan referring to Apollonius and comparing him to Christ (see #’s 68 and 71 below). Hoffman objects to Crafer’s conclusion that these fragments are from Hierocles. Hoffman says that comparing Apollonius with Jesus does not prove that the pagan of the Apocritica is Hierocles, since Celsus did the same thing. However it seems that Hoffman is mistaken. There is only one reference to Apollonius in the Contra Celsum, book 6, chapter 41, but it is Origen, not Celsus who refers to Apollonius (see Appendix 1, below). There could be a possible allusion to Apollonius by Celsus although that is not certain. Origen says "But let us observe how this Jew of Celsus asserts that, "if this at least would have helped to manifest his divinity, he ought accordingly to have at once disappeared from the cross." Celsus could have Apollonius in mind when he says this, although we don’t know for sure. There could be other reasons why Celsus made this statement. He could have found it hard to believe that Jesus did not do any miracles when his enemies mocked him to come down from the cross. Since Jesus miraculously disappeared from his friends from Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35), Celsus might have believed that it would have been better for Jesus to disappear on the cross to prove to his enemies who he really was. But it is obvious from Origen’s words (see Appendix 1, below), that Celsus made no direct mention of Apollonius. We can never know for sure if Celsus had Apollonius in mind. It is possible that Celsus could have heard oral traditions about Apollonius or read the earlier works on Apollonius by Moeragenes, but I don’t know whether or not Moeragenes mentioned Apollonius’ disappearance.
The only original thing about Hierocles was that he compared Christ to Apollonius of Tyana. Eusebius of Caesaria read Hierocles’ work against the Christians and says: "Hierocles, of all the writers who have ever attacked us, stands alone in selecting Apollonius, as he has recently done, for the purposes of comparison and contrast with our Saviour." It is possible that Eusebius was wrong in saying that Hierocles is the first critic of Christianity to compare Jesus with Apollonius. But we cannot know for sure since the works of the early critics of Christianity, for the most part, are lost.
According to Hoffman, Hierocles was "a Christian hater and pupil of Porphyry." Eusebius said that all the other arguments of Hierocles "are not his own, but have been pilfered in the most shameless manner, not only I may say in respect of their ideas, but even of their words and syllables, from other authorities." Since most of Hierocles’ work was plagerized from other critics of Christianity, we can assume that many of the arguments of the pagan preserved in the Apocritica indirectly come from Porphyry. That is why they have been kept in this collection. Eusebius also says that all of the other arguments used by Hierocles "have, even in advance of any special work that might be written in answer to them, been upset and exposed beforehand in a work which in as many as eight books Origen composed against the book which Celsus wrote and—even more boastfully than the "Lover of Truth,"—entitled "True Reason." The work of Celsus is there subjected to an examination in an exhaustive manner and on the scale above mentioned by the author in question, who in his comprehensive survey of all that anyone has said or will ever say on the same topic, has forestalled any solution of your difficulties which I could offer. To this work of Origen I must refer those who in good faith and with genuine "love of truth " desire accurately to understand my own position." (Eusebius, Against Hierocles, chapter 1). And Origen, Contra Celsum.
1. Eusebius, Preparation for the Gospel, I.2.1ff: "For in the first place any one might naturally want to know who we are that have come forward to write. Are we Greeks or Barbarians? Or what can there be intermediate to these? And what do we claim to be, not in regard to the name, because this is manifest to all, but in the manner and purpose of our life? For they would see that we agree neither with the opinions of the Greeks, nor with the customs of the Barbarians."
Ibid., I.5: "But to understand the sum of the first and greatest benefit of the word of salvation, you must take into consideration the superstitious delusion of the ancient idolatry, whereby the whole human race in times long past was ground down by the constraint of daemons: but from that most gloomy darkness, as it were, the word by its divine power delivered both Greeks and Barbarians alike, and translated them all into the bright intellectual daylight of the true worship of God the universal King.
But why need I spend time in endeavouring to show that we have not devoted ourselves to an unreasoning faith, but to wise and profitable doctrines which contain the way of true religion? As the present work is to be a complete treatise on this very subject, we exhort and beseech those who are fitly qualified to follow demonstrative arguments, that they give heed to sound sense, and receive the proofs of our doctrines more reasonably, and 'be ready to give an answer to every man that asketh us the reason of the hope that is in us.'
But since all are not so qualified, and the word is kind and benevolent, and rejects no one at all, but heals every man by remedies suitable to him, and invites the unlearned and simple to the amendment of their ways, naturally in the introductory teaching of those who are beginning with the simpler elements, women and children and the common herd, we lead them on gently to the religious life, and adopt the sound faith to serve as a remedy, and ractic into them right opinions of God's providence, and the immortality of the soul, and the life of virtue.
Is it not in this way that we also see men scientifically curing those who are suffering from bodily diseases, the physicians themselves having by much practice and education acquired the doctrines of the healing art, and conducting all their operations according to reason, while those who come to them to be cured give themselves up to faith and the hope of better health, though they understand not accurately any of the scientific theories, but depend only on their good hope and faith?
And when the best of the physicians has come upon the scene, he prescribes with full knowledge both what must be avoided and what must be done, just like a ruler and master; and the patient obeys him as a king and lawgiver, believing that what has been prescribed will be beneficial to him.
Thus scholars also accept the words of instruction from their teachers, because they believe that the lesson will be good for them: philosophy, moreover, a man would not touch before he is persuaded that the profession of it will be useful to him: and so one man straightway chooses the doctrines of Epicurus, and another emulates the Cynic mode of life, another follows the philosophy of Plato, another that of Aristotle, and yet another prefers the Stoic philosophy to all, each of them having embraced his opinion with a better hope and faith that it will be beneficial to him.
Thus also men pursue the ordinary professions, and some adopt the military and others the mercantile life, having: assumed again by faith that the pursuit will supply them with a living. In marriages also the first approaches and unions formed in the hope of begetting children had their beginnings from a good faith.
Again, a man sails forth on an uncertain voyage, without having cast out any other anchor of safety for himself than faith and good hope alone: and, again, another takes to husbandry, and after casting his seed into the earth sits waiting for the turn of the season, believing that what decayed upon the ground, and was hidden by floods of rains, will spring up again as it were from the dead to life: and, again, any one setting out from his own land on a long journey in a foreign country takes with him as good guides his hope and his faith.
And when you cannot but perceive that man's whole life depends on these two things—hope and faith—why do you wonder if also the things that are better for the soul are imparted by faith to some, who have not leisure to be taught the particulars in a more logical way, while others have opportunity to pursue the actual arguments, and to learn the proofs of the doctrines advocated? But now that we have made this short introduction, which will not be without advantage, let us go back to the first indictment, and give an answer to those who inquire who we are and whence we come. Well then, that being Greeks by race, and Greeks by sentiment, and gathered out of all sorts of nations, like the chosen men of a newly enlisted army, we have become deserters from the superstition of our ancestors,—this even we ourselves should never deny. But also that, though adhering to the Jewish books and collecting out of their prophecies the greater part of our doctrine, we no longer think it agreeable to live in like manner with those of the Circumcision,—this too we should at once acknowledge.
It is time, therefore, to submit our explanation of these matters. In what other way then can it appear that we have done well in forsaking the customs of our forefathers, except by first setting them forth publicly and bringing them under the view of our readers? For in this way the divine power of the demonstration of the Gospel will become manifest, if it be plainly shown to all men what are the evils that it promises to cure, and of what kind they are. And how can the reasonableness of our pursuing the study of the Jewish Scriptures appear, unless their excellence also be proved? It will be right also to state fully for what reason, though gladly accepting their Scriptures, we decline to follow their mode of life: and, in conclusion, to state what is our own account of the Gospel argument, and what Christianity should properly be called, since it is neither Hellenism nor Judaism, but a new and true kind of divine philosophy, bringing evidence of its novelty from its very name.
First of all then let us carefully survey the most ancient theologies, and especially those of our own forefathers, celebrated even till now in every city, and the solemn decisions of noble philosophers concerning the constitution of the world and concerning the gods, that we may learn whether we did right or not in departing from them.
And in the clear statement of what is to be proved I shall not set down my own words, but those of the very persons who have taken the deepest interest in the worship of those whom they call gods, that so the argument may stand clear of all suspicion of being invented by us."
2. Jerome, Epistle 57:8-9: "Let us pass on to other passages, for the brief limits of a letter do not suffer us to dwell too long on any one point. The same Matthew says:-"Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet saying, Behold a virgin shall be with child and shall bring forth a son and they shall call his name Emmanuel." The rendering of the Septuagint is, "Behold a virgin shall receive seed and shall bring forth a son, and ye shall call his name Emmanuel." If people cavil at words, obviously 'to receive seed' is not the exact equivalent of 'to be with child,' and 'ye shall call' differs from 'they shall call.' Moreover in the Hebrew we read thus, "Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel." Ahaz shall not call him so for he was convicted of want of faith, nor the Jews for they were destined to deny him, but she who is to conceive him, and bear him, the virgin herself. In the same evangelist we read that Herod was troubled at the coming of the Magi and that gathering together the scribes and the priests he demanded of them where Christ should be born and that they answered him, "In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet; And thou Bethlehem in the land of Judah art not the least among the princes of Judah, for out of thee shall come a governor that shall rule my people Israel." In the Vulgate this passage appears as follows:-"And thou Bethlehem, the house of Ephratah, art small to be among the thousands of Judah, yet one shall come out of thee for me to be a prince in Israel." You will be more surprised still at the difference in words and order between Matthew and the Septuagint if you look at the Hebrew which runs thus:-"But thou Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel." Consider one by one the words of the evangelist:-"And thou Bethlehem in the land of Judah." For "the land of Judah" the Hebrew has "Ephratah" while the Septuagint gives "the house of Ephratah." The evangelist writes, "art not the least among the princes of Judah." In the Septuagint this is, "art small to be among the thousands of Judah," while the Hebrew gives, "though thou be little among the thousands of Judah." There is a contradiction here-and that not merely verbal-between the evangelist and the prophet; for in this place at any rate both Septuagint and Hebrew agree. The evangelist says that he is not little among the princes of Judah, while the passage from which he queries says exactly the opposite of this, "Thou art small indeed and little; but yet out of thee, small and little as thou art, there shall come forth for me a leader in Israel," a sentiment in harmony with that of the apostle, "God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty." Moreover the last clause "to rule" or "to feed my people Israel" clearly runs differently in the original. I refer to these passages, not to convict the evangelists of falsification-a charge worthy only of impious men like Celsus, Porphyry, and Julian-but to bring home to my critics their own want of knowledge, and to gain from them such consideration that they may concede to me in the case of a simple letter what, whether they like it or not, they will have to concede to the Apostles in the Holy Scriptures.
3. Epiphanius, Against Heresies 51:8: 8.1 And so, in the course of their refutations of the Gospel account, certain other Greek philosophers—I mean Porphyry, Celsus, and that dreadful, deceitful serpent of Jewish extraction, Philosabbatius—accuse the holy apostles, though they themselves are natural and carnal, make war by fleshly means and cannot please God, and have not understood the things which have been said by the Spirit.
(2) Tripping over the words of the truth because of the blindness of their ignorance, each of them lit upon this point and said, "How can the day of his birth in Bethlehem have a circumcision eight days after it, and forty days later the pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the things Simeon and Anna did for him, (3) when an angel appeared to him the night he was born, after the arrival of the magi who came to worship him, and who opened their bags and offered him gifts? As it says, 'An angel appeared to him saying, Arise, take thy wife and the young child and go unto Egypt, for Herod seeketh the young child's life.' (4) Now then, if he was taken to Egypt the very night he was born and was there until Herod died, how can he stay [in Bethlehem] for eight days and be circumcised? Or how can Luke fail to be caught in a lie when he tells us that Jesus was brought to Jerusalem after forty days?"—so they say in blasphemy against their own heads, because he says, "On the fortieth day they brought him to Jerusalem and returned to Nazareth from there."
4. Macarius, Apocriticus IV:3: "We must mention also that saying which Matthew gave us, in the spirit of a slave who is made to bend himself in a mill-house, when he said, "And the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world, and then shall the end come." For lo, every quarter of the inhabited world has experience of the Gospel, and all the bounds and ends of the earth possess it complete, and nowhere is there an end, nor will it ever come. So let this saying only be spoken in a corner!"
5. Macarius, Apocriticus II:12: "But he with bitterness, and with very grim look, bent forward and declared to us yet more savagely that the Evangelists were inventors and not historians of the events concerning Jesus. For each of them wrote an account of the Passion which was not harmonious but as contradictory as could be. For one records that, when he was crucified, a certain man filled a sponge with vinegar and brought it to him (Mark xv. 36). But another says in a different way, "When they had come to the place Golgotha, they gave him to drink wine mingled with gall, and when he had tasted it, he would not drink" (Matt. xxvii. 33). And a little further, "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice saying, Eloim, Eloim, lama sabachthani ? That is, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" This is Matthew (v. 46). And another says, "Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar. Having therefore bound a vessel full of the vinegar with a reed, they offered it to his mouth. When therefore he had taken the vinegar, Jesus said, It is finished, and having bowed his head, he gave up the ghost" (John xix. 29). But another says, "And he cried out with a loud voice and said, Father, into thy hands I will commend my spirit." This happens to be Luke (Luke xxiii. 46). From this out-of-date and contradictory record, one can receive it as the statement of the suffering, not of one man, but of many. For if one says "Into thy hands I will commend my spirit," and another " It is finished," and another "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ?" and another " My God, my God, why didst thou reproach me ?" it is plain that this is a discordant invention, and either points to many who were crucified, or one who died hard and did not give a clear view of his passion to those who were present. But if these men were not able to tell the manner of his death in a truthful way, and simply repeated it by rote, neither did they leave any clear record concerning the rest of the narrative."
6. Macarius, Apocriticus, II:13: "It will be proved from another passage that the accounts of his death were all a matter of guess-work. For John writes: "But when they came to Jesus, when they saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs; but one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water." For only John has said this, and none of the others. Wherefore he is desirous of bearing witness to himself when he says: "And he that saw it hath borne witness, and his witness is true" (v. 35). This is haply, as it seems to me, the statement of a simpleton. For how is the witness true when its object has no existence? For a man witnesses to something real; but how can witness be spoken of concerning a thing which is not real?"
7. Macarius, Apocrititcus III: 19: "It is only natural that there is much that is unseemly in all this long-winded talk thus poured out. The words, one might say, provoke a battle of inconsistency against each other. How would some man in the street be inclined to explain that Gospel saying, which Jesus addresses to Peter when He says, "Get thee behind me, Satan, thou art an offence unto me, for thou mindest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men" (Matt. xvi. 23), and then in another place, "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven"? For if He so condemned Peter as to call him Satan, and thought of him as cast behind Him, and an offence, and one who had received no thought of what was divine in his mind; and if He so rejected him as having committed mortal sin, that He was not prepared to have him in His sight any more, but thrust him behind Him into the throng of the outcast and vanished; how is it right to find this sentence of exclusion against the leader and "chief of the disciples? At any rate, if any one who is in his sober senses ruminates over this, and then hears Christ say (as though He had forgotten the words He had uttered against Peter), " Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church," and "To thee I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven,"—will he not laugh aloud till he nearly bursts his mouth? Will he not open it wide as he might from his seat in the theatre? Will he not speak with a sneer and hiss loudly? Will he not cry aloud to those who are near him? Either when He called Peter Satan He was drunk and overcome with wine, and He spoke as though in a fit; or else, when He gave this same disciple the keys of the kingdom of heaven, He was painting dreams, in the imagination of His sleep. For pray how was Peter able to support the foundation of the Church, seeing that thousands of times he was readily shaken from his judgment ? What sort of firm reasoning can be detected in him, or where did he show any unshaken mental power, seeing that, though he heard what Jesus had said to him, he was terribly frightened because of a sorry maidservant, and three times foreswore himself, although no great necessity was laid upon him? We conclude then that, if He was right in taking him up and calling him Satan, as having failed of the very essence of godliness, He was inconsistent, as though not knowing what He had done, in giving him the authority of leadership."
8. Macarius, ibid., III: 20: "It is also plain that Peter is condemned of many falls, from the statement in that passage where Jesus said to him, "I say not unto thee until seven times, but until seventy times seven shalt thou forgive the sin of him that does wrong." But though he received this commandment and injunction, he cut off the ear of the high-priest's servant who had done no wrong, and did him harm although he had not sinned at all. For how did he sin, if he went at the command of his master to the attack which was then made on Christ ?"
9. Macarius, ibid., III: 21: "This Peter is convicted of doing wrong in other cases also. For in the case of a certain man called Ananias, and his wife Sapphira, because they did not deposit the whole price of their land, but kept back a little for their own necessary use, Peter put them to death, although they had done no wrong. For how did they do wrong, if they did not wish to make a present of all that was their own ? But even if he did consider their act to be one of wrongdoing, he ought to have remembered the commands of Jesus, who had taught him to endure as many as four hundred and ninety sins against him ; he would then at least have pardoned one, if indeed what had occurred could really in any sense be called a sin. And there is another thing which he ought to have borne in mind in dealing with others—namely, how he himself, by swearing that he did not know Jesus, had not only |96 told a lie, but had foresworn himself, in contempt of the judgment and resurrection to come."
10. Jerome, Epistle 130:14: "I think it unnecessary to warn you against covetousness since it is the way of your family both to have riches and to despise them. The apostle too tells us that covetousness is idolatry, and to one who asked the Lord the question: "Good Master what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?" He thus replied: "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come and follow me." Such is the climax of complete and apostolic virtue-to sell all that one has and to distribute to the poor, and thus freed from all earthly encumbrance to fly up to the heavenly realms with Christ. To us, or I should rather say to you, a careful stewardship is entrusted, although in such matters full freedom of choice is left to every individual, whether old or young. Christ's words are "if thou wilt be perfect." I do not compel you, He seems to say, I do not command you, but I set the palm before you, I shew you the prize; it is for you to choose whether you will enter the arena and win the crown. Let us consider how wisely Wisdom has spoken. "Sell that thou hast." To whom is the command given? Why, to him to whom it was said, "if thou wilt be perfect." Sell not a part of thy goods but "all that thou hast." And when you have sold them, what then? "Give to the poor." Not to the rich, not to your kinsfolk, not to minister to self indulgence; but to relieve need. It does not matter whether a man is a priest or a relation or a connexion, you must think of nothing but his poverty. Let your praises come from the stomachs of the hungry and not from the rich banquets of the overfed. We read in the Acts of the Apostles how, while the blood of the Lord was still warm and believers were in the fervour of their first faith, they all sold their possessions and laid the price of them at the apostles' feet (to shew that money ought to be trampled underfoot) and "distribution was made unto every man according as he had need." But Ananias and Sapphira proved timid stewards, and what is more, deceitful ones; therefore they brought on themselves condemnation. For having made a vow they offered their money to God as if it were their own and not His to whom they had vowed it; and keeping back for their own use a part of that which belonged to another, through fear of famine which true faith never fears, they drew down on themselves suddenly the avenging stroke, which was meant not in cruelty towards them but as a warning to others. In fact the apostle Peter by no means called down death upon them as Porphyry foolishly says. He merely announced God's judgment by the spirit of prophecy, that the doom of two persons might be a lesson to many. From the time of your dedication to perpetual virginity your property is yours no longer; or rather is now first truly yours because it has come to be Christ's. Yet while your grandmother and mother are living you must deal with it according to their wishes. If, however, they die and rest in the sleep of the saints (and I know that they desire that you should survive them); when your years are riper, and your will steadier, and your resolution stronger, you will do with your money what seems best to you, or rather what the Lord shall command, knowing as you will that hereafter you will have nothing save that which you have here spent on good works. Others may build churches, may adorn their walls when built with marbles, may procure massive columns, may deck the unconscious capitals with gold and precious ornaments, may cover church doors with silver and adorn the altars with gold and gems. I do not blame those who do these things; I do not repudiate them. Everyone must follow his own judgment. And it is better to spend one's money thus than to hoard it up and brood over it. However your duty is of a different kind. It is yours to clothe Christ in the poor, to visit Him in the sick, to feed Him in the hungry, to shelter Him in the homeless, particularly such as are of the household of faith, to support communities of virgins, to take care of God's servants, of those who are poor in spirit, who serve the same Lord as you day and night, who while they are on earth live the angelic life and speak only of the praises of God. Having food and raiment they rejoice and count themselves rich. They seek for nothing more, contented if only they can persevere in their design. For as soon as they begin to seek more they are shewn to be undeserving even of those things that are needful."
11. Macarius, Apocriticus III: 22: "This man who stood first in the band of the disciples, taught as he had been by God to despise death, but escaping when seized by Herod, became a cause of punishment to those who guarded him. For after he had escaped during the night, when day came there was a stir among the soldiers as to how Peter had got out. And Herod, when he had sought for him and failed to find him, examined the guards, and ordered them to be "led away," that is to say, put to death. So it is astonishing how Jesus gave the keys of heaven to Peter, if he were a man such as this; and how to one who was disturbed with such agitation and overcome by such experiences did He say "Feed my lambs" ? For I suppose the sheep are the faithful who have advanced to the mystery of perfection, while the lambs stand for the throng of those who are still catechumens, fed so far on the gentle milk of teaching. Nevertheless, Peter is recorded to have been crucified after feeding the lambs not even for a few months, although Jesus had said that the gates of Hades should not prevail against him. Again, Paul condemned Peter when he said, "For before certain came from James, he ate with the Gentiles, but when they came he separated himself, fearing those of the circumcision; and many Jews joined with him in his hypocrisy" (Gal. ii. 12). In this likewise there is abundant and important condemnation, that a man who had become interpreter of the divine mouth should live in hypocrisy, and behave himself with a view to pleasing men. Moreover, the same is true of his taking about a wife, for this is what Paul says: "Have we not power to take about a sister, a wife, as also the rest of the apostles, and Peter?" (1 Cor. ix. 5). And then he adds (2 Cor. xi. 13), "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers." If then Peter is related to have been involved in so many base things, is it not enough to make one shudder to imagine that he holds the keys of heaven, and looses and binds, although he is fast bound, so to speak, in countless inconsistencies."
12. Macarius, ibid., III: 30: "He remained a little while in deep and solemn thought, and then said: "You seem to me very much like inexperienced captains, who, while still afloat on the voyage that lies before them, look on themselves as afloat on another sea. Even thus are you seeking for other passages to be laid down by us, although you have |100 not completed the vital points in the questions which you still have on hand."
If you are really filled with boldness about the questions, and the points of difficulty have become clear to you, tell us how it was that Paul said, "Being free, I made myself the slave of all, in order that I might gain all" (1 Cor. ix. 19), and how, although he called circumcision "concision," he himself circumcised a certain Timothy, as we are taught in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts xvi. 3). Oh, the downright stupidity of it all! It is such a stage as this that the scenes in the theatre portray, as a means of raising laughter. Such indeed is the exhibition which jugglers give. For how could the man be free who is a slave of all? And how can the man gain all who apes all? For if he is without law to those who are without law, as he himself says, and he went with the Jews as a Jew and with others in like manner, truly he was the slave of manifold baseness, and a stranger to freedom and an alien from it; truly he is a servant and minister of other people's wrong doings, and a notable zealot for unseemly things, if he spends his time on each occasion in the baseness of those without law, and appropriates their doings to himself.
These things cannot be the teachings of a sound mind, nor the setting forth of reasoning that is free. But the words imply some one who is somewhat crippled in mind, and weak in his reasoning. For if he lives with those who are without law, and also in his writings accepts the Jews' religion gladly, having a share in each, he is confused with each, mingling with the falls of those who are base, and subscribing himself as their companion. For he who draws such a line through circumcision as to remove those who wish to fulfil it, and then performs circumcision himself, stands as the weightiest of all accusers of himself when he says: "If I build again those things which I loosed, I establish myself as a transgressor."
13. Macarius, ibid., III: 31: "This same Paul, who often when he speaks seems to forget his own words, tells the chief captain that he is not a Jew but a Roman, although he had previously said, "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, and brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, instructed according to the exact teaching of the law of my fathers." But he who said, "I am a Jew," and "I am a Roman," is neither thing, although he attaches himself to both. For he who plays the hypocrite and speaks of what he is not, lays the foundation of his deeds in guile, and by putting round him a mask of deceit, he cheats the clear issue and steals the truth, laying siege in different ways to the soul's understanding, and enslaving by the juggler's art those who are easily influenced. The man who welcomes in his life such a principle as this, differs not at all from an implacable and bitter foe, who enslaving by his hypocrisy the minds of those beyond his own borders, takes them all captive in inhuman fashion. So if Paul is in pretence at one time a Jew, at another a Roman, at one time without law, and at another a Greek, and whenever he wishes is a stranger and an enemy to each thing, by stealing into each, he has made each useless, robbing each of its scope by his flattery.
We conclude then that he is a liar and manifestly brought up in an atmosphere of lying. And it is beside the point for him to say : "I speak the truth in Christ, I lie not" (Rom. ix. 1). For the man who has just now conformed to the law, and to-day to the Gospel, is rightly regarded as knavish and hollow both in private and in public life."
14. Macarius, ibid., III: 32: "That he dissembles the Gospel for the sake of vainglory, and the law for the sake of covetousness, is plain from his words, "Who ever goeth to war at his own charges? Who shepherdeth the flock and doth not eat of the milk of the flock?" (1 Cor. ix. 7). And, in his desire to get hold of these things, he calls in the law as a supporter of his covetousness, saying, "Or doth not the law say these things? For in the law of Moses it is written, Thou shall not muzzle an ox that is treading out the corn " (v. 9). Then he adds a statement which is obscure and full of nonsense, by way of cutting off the divine forethought from the brute beasts, saying, "Doth God take care of the oxen, or doth he say it on our account? On our account it was written" (v. 10). It seems to me that in saying this he is mocking the wisdom of the Creator, as if it contained no forethought for the things that had long ago been brought into being. For if God does not take care of oxen, pray, why is it written, "He hath subjected all things, sheep and oxen and beasts and birds and the fishes" (Ps. viii. 8-9) ? If He takes account of fishes, much more of oxen which plough and labour. Wherefore I am amazed at such an impostor, who pays such solemn respect to the law because he is insatiable, for the sake of getting a sufficient contribution from those who are subject to him."
15. Macarius, ibid., III: 33: "Then he suddenly turns like a man who jumps up from sleep scared by a dream, with the cry, "I Paul bear witness that if any man do one thing of the law, he is a debtor to do the whole law" (Gal. v. 3). This is instead of saying simply that it is not right to give heed to those things that are spoken by the law. This fine fellow, sound in mind and understanding, instructed in the accuracy of the law of his fathers, who had so often cleverly recalled Moses to mind, appears to be soaked with wine and drunkenness; for he makes an assertion which removes the ordinance of the law, saying to the Galatians, "Who bewitched you that ye should not obey the truth," that is, the Gospel? (Gal. iii. 1). Then, exaggerating, and making it horrible for a man to obey the law, he says, "As many as are under the law are under a curse" (Gal. iii. 10). The man who writes to the Romans "The law is spiritual" (vii. 14), and again, "The law is holy and the commandment holy and just," places under a curse those who obey that which is holy! Then, completely confusing the nature of the question, he confounds the whole matter and makes it obscure, so that he who listens to him almost grows dizzy, and dashes against the two things as though in the darkness of the night, stumbling over the law, and knocking against the Gospel in confusion, owing to the ignorance of the man who leads him by the hand."
16. Macarius, ibid., III: 34: "For see here, look at this clever fellow's record. After countless utterances which he took from the law in order to get support from it, he made void the judgment of his own words by saying, "For the law entered that the offence might abound"; and before these words, "The goad of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law" (1 Cor. xv. 56). He practically sharpens his own tongue like a sword, and cuts the law to pieces without mercy limb by limb. And this is the man who in many ways inclines to obey the law, and says it is praiseworthy to live according to it. And by taking hold of this ignorant opinion, which he does as though by habit, he has overthrown his own judgments on all other occasions."
17. Macarius, ibid., III: 35: "When he speaks again of the eating of things sacrificed to idols, he simply teaches that these matters are indifferent, telling them not to be inquisitive nor to ask questions, but to eat things even though they be sacrificed to idols, provided only that no one speaks to them in warning. Wherein he is represented as saying, "The things which they sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, but I would not that you should have fellowship with demons" (1 Cor. x. 20).
Thus he speaks and writes: and again he writes with indifference about such eating, "We know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one" (1 Cor. viii. 4), and a little after this, "Meat will not commend us to God, neither, if we eat, are we the better, neither, if we eat not, are we the worse" (v. 8). Then, after all this prating of quackery, he ruminated, like a man lying in bed, and said, "Eat all that is sold in the shambles, asking no questions for conscience' sake, for the earth is the Lord's and the ractice thereof" (1 Cor. x. 25-26). Oh, what a stage farce, got from no one ! Oh, the monstrous inconsistency of his utterance! A saying which destroys itself with its own sword! Oh, novel kind of archery, which turns against him who drew the bow, and strikes him!"
18. Macarius, ibid., III: 36: "In his epistles we find another saying like these, where he praises virginity, and then turns round and writes, "In the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from meats" (1 Tim. iv. 1 and 3). And in the Epistle to the Corinthians he says, "But concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord" (1 Cor. vii. 25). Therefore he that remains single does not do well, nor will he that refrains from marriage as from an evil thing lead the way in obedience, since they have not a command from Jesus concerning virginity. And how is it that certain people boast of their virginity as if it were some great thing, and say that they are filled with the Holy Ghost similarly to her who was the mother of Jesus?
But we will now cease our attack on Paul, knowing what a battle of the giants he arms against him by his language. But if you are possessed of any resources for replying to these questions, answer without delay."
19. Macarius, ibid., IV: 1: "What does Paul mean by saying that the fashion of the world passes away? And how is it possible for them that have to be as though they had not, and they that rejoice as though they rejoiced not, and how can the other old-wives' talk be credible? For how is it possible for him that has to become as though he had not ? And how is it credible that he who rejoices should be as though he rejoiced not? Or how can the fashion of this world pass away ? What is it that passes away, and why does it do so? For if the Creator were to make it pass away He would incur the charge of moving and altering that which was securely founded. Even if He were to change the fashion into something better, in this again He stands condemned, as not having ractice at the time of creation a fitting and suitable fashion for the world, but having created it incomplete, and lacking the better arrangement. In any case, how is one to know that it is into what is good that the world would change if it came to an end late in time? And what benefit is there in the order of phenomena being changed? And if the condition of the visible world is gloomy and a cause for grief, in this, too, the Creator hears the sound of protest, being reduced to silence by the sound of reasonable charges against Him, in that He contrived the parts of the earth in grievous fashion, and in violation of the reasonableness of nature, and afterwards repented, and decided to change the whole. Perchance Paul by this saying teaches him that has, to be minded as though he had not, in the sense that the Creator, having the world, makes the fashion of it pass away, as though He had it not. And he says that he that rejoices does not rejoice, in the sense that the Creator is not pleased when He looks upon the fair and beautiful thing He has created, but, as being much grieved over it, He formed the plan of transferring and altering it. So then let us pass over this trivial saying with mild laughter."
20. Macarius, ibid., IV: 2: "Let us consider another wise remark of his, astounding and perverted, wherein he says, "We which are alive and remain, shall not go before them that are asleep unto the coming of the Lord, for the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive shall be caught up together with them in a cloud, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (1 Thess. iv. 15-17). Here is a thing that indeed rises in the air and shoots up to heaven, an enormous and far-reaching lie. This, when recited to the beasts without understanding, causes even them to bellow and croak out their sounding din in reply, when they hear of men in the flesh flying like birds in the air, or carried on a cloud. For this boast is a mighty piece of quackery, that living things, pressed down by the burden of physical bulk, should receive the nature of winged birds, and cross the wide air like some sea, using the cloud as a chariot. Even if such a thing is possible, it is monstrous, and apart from all that is suitable. For nature which created all things from the beginning appointed places befitting the things which were brought into being, and ordained that each should have its proper sphere, the sea for the water creatures, the land for those of the dry ground, the air for winged creatures, and the higher atmosphere for heavenly bodies. If one of these were moved from its proper abode, it would disappear on arrival in a strange condition and abode. For instance, if you wanted to take a creature of the water and force it to live on the dry land, it is readily destroyed and dies. Again, if you throw a land animal of a dry kind into the water, it will be drowned. And if you cut off a bird from the air, it will not endure it, and if you remove a heavenly body from the upper atmosphere, it will not stand it. Neither has the divine and active Word of God done this, nor ever will do it, although He is able to change the lot of the things that come into being. For He does not do and purpose anything according to His own ability, but according to its suitability He preserves things, and keeps the law of good order. So, even if He is able to do so, He does not make the earth to be sailed over, nor again does He make the sea to be ploughed or tilled; nor does He use His power in making virtue into wickedness nor wickedness into virtue, nor does He adapt a man to become a winged creature, nor does He place the stars below and the earth above.
Wherefore we may reasonably declare that it is full of twaddle to say that men will ever be caught up into the air.
And Paul's lie becomes very plain when he says, "We which are alive." For it is three hundred years since he said this, and no body has anywhere been caught up, either Paul's or any one else's. So it is time this saying of Paul became silent, for it is driven away in confusion."
21. Macarius, ibid., IV: 4: "Let us look at what was said to Paul, "The Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee" (Acts xviii. 9-10). And yet no sooner was he seized in Rome than this fine fellow, who said that we should judge angels, had his head cut off. And Peter again, who received authority to feed the lambs, was nailed to a cross and impaled on it. And countless others, who held opinions like theirs, were either burnt, or put to death by receiving some kind of punishment or maltreatment. This is not worthy of the will of God, nor even of a godly man, that a multitude of men should be cruelly punished through their relation to His own grace and faith, while the expected resurrection and coming remains unknown."
22. Eusebius, History of the Church, VI: 19:1-12: "The Greek philosophers of his age are witnesses to his proficiency in these subjects. We find frequent mention of him in their writings. Sometimes they dedicated their own works to him; again, they submitted their labours to him as a teacher for his judgment. Why need we say these things when even Porphyry, who lived in Sicily in our own times and wrote books against us, attempting to traduce the Divine Scriptures by them, mentions those who have interpreted them; and being unable in any way to find a base accusation against the doctrines, for lack of arguments turns to reviling and calumniating their interpreters, attempting especially to slander Origen, whom he says he knew in his youth. But truly, without knowing it, he commends the man; telling the truth about him in some cases where he could not do otherwise; but uttering falsehoods where he thinks he will not be detected. Sometimes he accuses him as a Christian; again he describes his proficiency in philosophic learning. But hear his own words:
"Some persons, desiring to find a solution of the baseness of the Jewish Scriptures rather than abandon them, have had recourse to explanations inconsistent and incongruous with the words written, which explanations, instead of supplying a defence of the foreigners, contain rather approval and praise of themselves. For they boast that the plain words of Moses are enigmas, and regard them as oracles full of hidden mysteries; and having bewildered the mental judgment by folly, they make their explanations." Farther on he says:
"As an example of this absurdity take a man whom I met when I was young, and who was then greatly celebrated and still is, on account of the writings which he has left. I refer to Origen, who is highly honoured by the teachers of these doctrines. For this man, having been a hearer of Ammonius, who had attained the greatest proficiency in philosophy of any in our day, derived much benefit from his teacher in the knowledge of the sciences; but as to the correct choice of life, he pursued a course opposite to his. For Ammonius, being a Christian, and brought up by Christian parents, when he gave himself to study and to philosophy straightway conformed to the life required by the laws. But Origen, having been educated as a Greek in Greek literature, went over to the barbarian recklessness. And carrying over the learning which he had obtained, he hawked it about, in his life conducting himself as a Christian and contrary to the laws, but in his opinions of material things and of the Deity being like a Greek, and mingling Grecian teachings with foreign fables. For he was continually studying Plato, and he busied himself with the writings of Numenius and Cronius, Apollophanes, Longinus, Moderatus, and Nicomachus, and those famous among the Pythagoreans. And he used the books of Chaeremon the Stoic, and of Cornutus. Becoming acquainted through them with the figurative interpretation of the Grecian mysteries, he applied it to the Jewish Scriptures."
These things are said by Porphyry in the third book of his work against the Christians. He speaks truly of the industry and learning of the man, but plainly utters a falsehood (for what will not an opposer of Christians do?) when he says that he went over from the Greeks, and that Ammonius fell from a life of piety into heathen customs. For the doctrine of Christ was taught to Origen by his parents, as we have shown above. And Ammonius held the divine philosophy unshaken and unadulterated to the end of his life. His works yet extant show this, as he is celebrated among many for the writings which he has left.
23. Jerome, Illustrious Men 55: "Ammonius, a talented man of great philosophical learning, was distinguished at Alexandria, at the same time. Among many and distinguished monuments of his genius, is the elaborate work which he composed On the harmony of Moses and Jesus, and the Gospel canons, which he worked out, and which Eusebius of Caesarea, afterwards followed. Porphyry falsely accused him of having become a heathen again, after being a Christian, but it is certain that he continued a Christian until the very end of his life."
24. Eusebius, Preparation for the Gospel, I: 9: 20ff: "In fact the polytheistic error of all the nations is only seen long ages afterwards, having taken its beginning from the Phoenicians and Egyptians, and passed over from them to the other nations, and even to the Greeks themselves. For this again is affirmed by the history of the earliest ages; which history itself it is now time for us to review, beginning from the Phoenician records.
Now the historian of this subject is Sanchuniathon, an author of great antiquity, and older, as they say, than the Trojan times, one whom they testify to have been approved for the accuracy and truth of his Phoenician History. Philo of Byblos, not the Hebrew, translated his whole work from the Phoenician language into the Greek, and published it. The author in our own day of the compilation against us mentions these things in the fourth book of his treatise Against the Christians, where he bears the following testimony to Sanchuniathon, word for word:
[PORPHYRY] 'Of the affairs of the Jews the truest history, because the most in accordance with their places and names, is that of Sanchoniathon of Berytus, who received the records from Hierombalus the priest of the god Ieuo; he dedicated his history to Abibalus king of Berytus, and was approved by him and by the investigators of truth in his time. Now the times of these men fall even before the date of the Trojan war, and approach nearly to the times of Moses, as is shown by the successions of the kings of Phoenicia. And Sanchoniathon, who made a complete collection of ancient history from the records in the various cities and from the registers in the temples, and wrote in the Phoenician language with a love of truth, lived in the reign of Semiramis, the queen of the Assyrians, who is recorded to have lived before the Trojan war or in those very times. And the works of Sanchoniathon were translated into the Greek tongue by Philo of Byblos.'
So wrote the author before mentioned, bearing witness at once to the truthfulness and antiquity of the so-called theologian. But he, as he goes forward, treats as divine not the God who is over all, nor yet the gods in the heaven, but mortal men and women, not even refined in character, such as it would be right to approve for their virtue, or emulate for their love of wisdom, but involved in the dishonour of every kind of vileness and wickedness.
He testifies also that these are the very same who are still regarded as gods by all both in the cities and in country districts. But let me give you the proofs of this out of his writings."
25. Augustine, Epistle 102:30: "Question VI. The last question proposed is concerning Jonah, and it is put as if it were not from. Porphyry, but as being a standing subject of ridicule among the Pagans; for his words are: "In the next place, what are we to believe concerning Jonah, who is said to have been three days in a whale's belly? The thing is utterly improbable and incredible, that a man swallowed with his clothes on should have existed in the inside of a fish. If, however, the story is figurative, be pleased to explain it. Again, what is meant by the story that a gourd sprang up above the head of Jonah after he was vomited by the fish? What was the cause of this gourd's growth?" Questions such as these I have seen discussed by Pagans amidst loud: laughter, and with great scorn."
26. Eusebius, Demonstration, VI: 18: 11: "But who would not be surprised at the racticedt of a prophecy which revealed that the Jewish people would undergo these sufferings in the days of the Lord? For as soon as Jesus our Lord and Saviour had come and the Jews had outraged Him, everything that had been predicted was fulfilled against them without exception 500 years after the prediction: from the time of Pontius Pilate to the sieges under Nero, Titus and Vespasian they were never free from all kinds of successive calamities, as you may gather from the history of Flavius Josephus. It is probable that half the city at that time perished in the siege, as the prophecy says. And not long after, in the reign of Hadrian, there was another Jewish revolution, and the remaining half of the city was again besieged and driven out, so that from that day to this the whole place has not been trodden by them.
Now if any one supposes that this was fulfilled in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, let him inquire if the rest of the prophecy can be referred to the times of Antiochus—I mean the captivity undergone by the people, the standing of the Lord's feet on the Mount of Olives, and whether the Lord became King of all the earth in that day, and whether the name of the Lord encircled the whole earth and the desert during the reign of Antiochus. And how can the racticed of the remainder of the prophecy in the days of Antiochus be asserted? But, according to my interpretation, they are fulfilled both literally and also in another sense. For after the coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ, their city, Jerusalem itself, and the whole system and institutions of the Mosaic worship were destroyed; and at once they underwent captivity in mind as well as body, in refusing to accept the Saviour and Ransomer of the souls of men, Him Who came to preach release to those enslaved by evil daemons, and giving of sight to those blind in mind. And while they suffered through their unbelief, those of them who recognized their Ransomer became His own disciples, apostles and evangelists, and many others of the Jews believed on Him, of whom the apostle says, "So also now there is a remnant according to the election of grace." And "If the Lord of Sabaoth had not left unto us a seed we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorra." They were preserved safe from the metaphorical siege, and also from the siege literally understood. For the apostles and disciples of our Saviour, and all the Jews that believed on Him, being far from the land of Judaea, and scattered among the other nations, were enabled at that time to escape the ruin of the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And the prophecy anticipated and foretold this where it said, "And the remnant of my people shall not be utterly destroyed." To which it adds afterwards, "And the Lord shall go forth, and shall fight for those nations, as a day of his battle in the day of war." For which nations will the Lord fight, but for those that shall besiege Jerusalem? The passage shews that the Lord Himself will fight for the besiegers, being among them and drawn up with them, like their general and commander warring against Jerusalem. For it does not say that the Lord will fight against the nations. With whom and against whom, then, will He fight? Surely against Jerusalem and her inhabitants, concerning whom it is spoken."
27. Macarius, Apocriticus III: 18: "Come now, let us here mention another saying to you. Why is it that when the tempter tells Jesus "Cast thyself down from the temple,", He does not do it, but says to him, "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God," whereby it seems to me that He spoke in fear of the danger from the fall? For if, as you declare, He not only did various other miracles, but even raised up dead |90 men by His word alone, He ought to have shown forthwith that He was capable of delivering others from danger by hurling Himself down from the height, and not receiving any bodily harm thereby. And the more so, because there is a passage of Scripture somewhere which says with regard to Him, "In their hands they shall bear thee up, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone." So the really fair thing to do, was to demonstrate to those who were present in the temple that He was God's Son, and was able to deliver from danger both Himself and those who were His."
28. Macarius, ibid., III: 4: "And if we would speak of this record likewise, it will appear to be really a piece of knavish nonsense, since Matthew says that two demons from the tombs met with Christ, and then that in fear of Him they went into the swine, and many were killed. But Mark did not shrink from making up an enormous number of swine, for he puts it thus: "He said unto him, Go forth, thou unclean spirit, from the man. And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, Many. And he besought him that he would not cast him out of the country. And there was there a herd of swine feeding. And the demons besought him that he would suffer them to depart into the swine. And when they had departed into the swine, they rushed down the steep into the sea, about two thousand, and were choked; and they that fed them fled!" (Mark v. 8, etc.). What a myth! What humbug! What flat mockery! A herd of two thousand swine ran into the sea, and were choked and perished!
And when one hears how the demons besought Him that they might not be sent into the abyss, and how Christ was prevailed on and did not do so, but sent them into the swine, will not one say : "Alas, what ignorance ! Alas, what foolish knavery, that He should take account of murderous spirits, which were working much harm in the world, and that He should grant them what they wished." What the demons wished was to dance through life, and make the world a perpetual plaything. They wanted to stir up the sea, and fill the world's whole theatre with sorrow. They wanted to trouble the elements by their disturbance, and to crush the whole creation by their hurtfulness. So at all events it was not right that, instead of casting these originators of evil, who had treated mankind so ill, into that region of the abyss which they prayed to be delivered from, He should be softened by their entreaty and suffer them to work another calamity.
If the incident is really true, and not a fiction (as we explain it), Christ's saying convicts Him of much baseness, that He should drive the demons from one man, and send them into helpless swine; also that He should terrify with panic those who kept them, making them fly breathless and excited, and agitate the city with the disturbance which resulted. For was it not just to heal the harm not merely of one man or two or three or thirteen, but of everybody, especially as it was for this purpose that He was testified to have come into this life ? But to merely loose one man from bonds which were invisible, and to inflict similar bonds upon others; to free certain men happily from their fears, but to surround others with fears without reason—this should rightfully be called not right action but rascality.
And again, in taking account of enemies and allowing them to take up their abode in another place and dwell there, He is acting like a king who ruins the region that is subject to him. For the latter, being unable to drive the barbarians out of every country, sends them from one place to another to abide, delivering one country from the evil and handing another over to it. If therefore Christ in like manner, unable to drive the demon from His borders, sent him into the herd of swine, he does indeed work something racticed which can catch the ear, but it is also full of the suspicion of baseness. For when a right-thinking man hears this, he passes a judgment at once, forms his opinion on the narrative, and gives his vote in accordance with the matter. This is the way he will speak: "If he does not free from hurt everything beneath the sun, but pursues those that do the harm into different countries, and if he takes care of some, but has no heed of others, it is not safe to flee to this man and be saved. For he who is saved spoils the condition of him who is not, while he who is not saved becomes the accuser of him who is. Wherefore, according to my judgment, the record contained in this narrative is a fiction."
Once more, if you regard it as not fiction, but bearing some relation to truth, there is really plenty to laugh at for those who like to open their mouths. For come now, here is a point we must carefully inquire into : how was it that so large a herd of swine was being kept at that time in the land of Judea, seeing that they were to the Jews from the beginning the most unclean and hated form of beast? And, again, how were all those swine choked, when it was a lake and not a deep sea ? It may be left to babes to make a decision about all this."
29. Jerome, Against Vigilantius, 10: "I cannot traverse all the topics embraced in the letters of the reverend presbyters; I will adduce a few points from the tracts of Vigilantius. He argues against the signs and miracles which are wrought in the basilicas of the martyrs, and says that they are of service to the unbelieving, not to believers, as though the question now were for whose advantage they occur, not by what power. Granted that signs belong to the faithless, who, because they would not obey the word and doctrine, are brought to believe by means of signs. Even our Lord wrought signs for the unbelieving, and yet our Lord's signs are not on that account to be impugned, because those people were faithless, but must be worthy of greater admiration because they were so powerful that they subdued even the hardest hearts, and compelled men to believe. And so I will not have you tell me that signs are for the unbelieving; but answer my question-how is it that poor worthless dust and ashes are associated with this wondrous power of signs and miracles? I see, I see, most unfortunate of mortals, why you are so sad and what causes your fear. That unclean spirit who forces you to write these things has often been tortured by this worthless dust, aye, and is being tortured at this moment, and though in your case he conceals his wounds, in others he makes confession. You will hardly follow the heathen and impious Porphyry and Eunomius, and pretend that these are the tricks of the demons, and that they do not really cry out, but feign their torments. Let me give you my advice go to the basilicas of the martyrs, and some day you will be cleansed; you will find there many in like case with yourself, and will be set on fire, not by the martyrs' tapers which offend you, but by invisible flames; and you will then confess what you now deny, and will freely proclaim your name-that you who speak in the person of Vigilantius are really either Mercury, for greedy of gain was he; or Nocturnus, who, according to Plautus's "Amphitryon," slept while ractic, two nights together, had his adulterous connection with Alcmena, and thus begat the mighty Hercules; or at all events Father Bacchus, of drunken fame, with the tankard hanging from his shoulder, with his ever ruby face, foaming lips, and unbridled brawling."
30. Macarius, Book I, fragment from Nicephorus: (seems to be only Macarius' words, the pagan of the dialogue must have objected to the woman with the issue of blood in the Gospel story): "CONCERNING Berenice, or the woman with the issue of blood. ... Berenice, who once was mistress of a famous place, and honoured ruler of the great city of Edessa, having been delivered from an unclean issue of blood and speedily healed from a painful affection, whom many physicians tormented at many times, but increased the affection to the worst of maladies with no betterment at all, He made to be celebrated and famous in story till the present day in Mesopotamia, or rather in all the world—so great was her experience—for she was made whole by a touch of the saving hem of His garment. For the woman, having had the record of the deed itself nobly represented in bronze, gave it to her son, as something done recently, not long before. ..."
31. Macarius, Apocriticus II: 7: CHAPTER VII. This is an answer to an objection based on the words of S. Matt. X. 34 ff.: "I came not to send peace on the earth, but a sword. I came to separate a man from his father," etc.
The first part of the answer is lacking, and the rest is lengthy and diffuse. The following is a summary of it:—
[To those who wish to receive the heavenly armour Christ speaks thus: "This warfare will mean putting away all earthly thoughts and giving up all human dear ones. After the victory a heavenly Father will take the place of the earthly one who has been renounced. This is the only way to conquer sin. The man who prefers earthly relationships will not survive the fray, and is not a soldier worthy of me."
Success in such a warfare may be plainly seen in the deaths of the martyrs. They were able to leave all those that were dear, and take up their cross and follow Christ. This is what is meant by the "sword," which cuts relations from each other, as it cut Thecla from Theocleia. Daughters have taken this sword and cut themselves off from their mothers either by martyrdom or virgins' vows. Sons of great men have left their family customs to practise abstinence. Nor are those angered who are left behind. Go through the cities of the East, and the province of Syria, and test my words. Look at the royal city of Antioch, and see what countless divisions there are. Some marry, others refuse; some are luxurious, others ascetic. In a single house the "sword" of salvation cuts them apart, doing so without wound or pain, for it cuts not bodies but dispositions asunder.
If the words bear an allegorical meaning, the man divided from his father means the Apostles separated from the law. The daughter is the flesh, and the mother circumcision. The daughter-in-law is the Church, and the mother-in-law the synagogue. The sword that cuts is the grace of the Gospel.]
32. Macarius, ibid., IV: 9: "If indeed it was necessary to express that other utterance, as Jesus says, "I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes," and as it is written in Deuteronomy (xxix. 29), "The hidden things for the Lord our God, and the manifest things for us," therefore the things that are written for the babes and the ignorant ought to be clearer and not wrapped in riddles. For if the mysteries have been hidden from the wise, and unreasonably poured out to babes and those that give suck, it is better to be desirous of senselessness and ignorance, and this is the great achievement of the wisdom of Him who came to earth, to hide the rays of knowledge from the wise, and to reveal them to fools and babes."
33. Macarius, ibid., II: 8: (As with chapter 7 it seems that the words of the pagan are lost)
"CHAPTER VIII. Answer to an objection based on the saying: "Who is my brother and sister?" and the words which Christ added, as He pointed to His disciples, "Behold my brethren and my mother" (Matt. Xii. 48-49).
[These words were a reproof to those Jews who regarded Christ as merely a man, and not the Only Begotten. So He asks, "Who is my brother, if I am the Only Begotten ? Who is my mother, if I created all things ? What man, acknowledging mother and brethren, ever did the miracles I have done? As no such man ever has done or will do them, why call me a mere man with brethren? The man born blind saw the Godhead with the eyes of his soul, but you are blind to the brightness of such power in your midst. So I say to you as to blind men, ' He that doeth the will of my Father (with which mine is identical) is my mother and brother,' for in so doing he both brings me forth as a mother does, having conceived me in doing the Father's will, and he also is brought forth along with me, not by coming into personal subsistence, but by being made one in grace of will. For he that doeth the will of my Father bringeth me forth in the fellowship of the deed, and is brought forth with me. For he that believes that I am the Only Begotten of God in some sense begets me, not in subsistence but in faith, being mystically present with that which is begotten."
Note that Christ does not specify any of His Apostles by name, but simply says, "He that doeth the will of the Father."]
34. Macarius, ibid., IV: 8: "Let us touch on another piece of teaching even more fabulous than this, and obscure as night, contained in the words, "The kingdom of heaven is like unto a grain of mustard seed"; and again, "The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven"; and once more, "It is like unto a merchant seeking goodly pearls." These imaginings do not come from (real) men, nor even from women who put their trust in dreams. For when any one has a message to give concerning great and divine matters, he is obliged to make use of common things which pertain to men, in order to make his meaning clear, but not such degraded and unintelligible things as these. These sayings, besides being base and unsuitable to such matters, have in themselves no intelligent meaning or clearness. And yet it was fitting that they should be very clear indeed, because they were not written for the wise or understanding, but for babes."
35. Macarius, ibid., III: 6: "Come, let us unfold for you another saying from the Gospel which is absurdly written without any credibility, and has a still more absurd narrative attached to it. It was when Jesus, after sending on the disciples to cross the sea after a feast, Himself came upon them at the fourth watch of the night when they were terribly troubled by the surging of the storm, for they were toiling all night against the force of the waves.
Now the fourth watch is the tenth hour of the night, after which three further hours are left. But those who relate the truth about that locality say that there is not a sea there, but a small lake coming from a river under the hill in the country of Galilee, beside the city of Tiberias; this is easy for small boats to sail across in not more than two hours, nor can it admit of either wave or storm. So Mark goes very wide of the truth when he very absurdly gives the fabulous record that, when nine hours of the night had passed, Jesus proceeded at the tenth, namely the fourth watch of the night, and found the disciples sailing on the pond. Then he calls it a sea, and not merely that, but a stormy sea, and a terribly angry one, causing them fear with the tossing of the waves. He does this in order that he may thereupon introduce Christ as working some mighty miracle in having caused a great and fearful storm to cease, and saved the disciples in their danger from the deep, and from the sea. From such childish records we know the Gospel to be a sort of cunningly woven curtain. Wherefore we investigate each point the more carefully."
36. Macarius, ibid., II: 10: (once again it seems that the words of the objection are lost, this is Macarius' answer) CHAPTER X. Answer to an objection based on S. Matt, xvii. 15: "Have pity on my son, for he is lunatic," although it was not the effect of the moon, but of a demon.
[In answering this question, we will also consider the apparently uncalled-for rebuke which Christ adds to the multitude, in the words "O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you?"
The dragon or demon was cunning enough to attack the boy at the changes of the moon, so that men might think that his sufferings were due to its influence. Thus by one act he accomplished two objects, for he both tortured the boy's body, and suggested blasphemy to the minds of those who saw it, for if they ascribed it to the moon's action, they would naturally blame Him who created the moon.
Christ perceives that they likewise have been affected by the demon, and so calls them a "faithless generation," because of their ideas about the moon. By expelling the demon, He shows them their error.
S. Matthew does not prove, by saying that "a lunatic boy" was brought to Christ, that he really was under the moon's influence. Like a good historian, he recorded things as he heard them, not as they actually were.]
37. Macarius, ibid., III: 5: Let us examine another saying even more baffling than these, when He says, "It is easier for a camel to go through a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven."
If it be indeed the case that any one who is rich is not brought into the so-called kingdom of heaven though he have kept himself from the sins of life, such as murder, theft, adultery, cheating, impious oaths, body-snatching, and the wickedness of sacrilege, of what use is just dealing to righteous men, if they happen to be rich? And what harm is there for poor men in doing every unholy deed of baseness? For it is not virtue that takes a man up to heaven, but lack of possessions. For if his wealth shuts out the rich man from heaven, by way of contrast his poverty brings a poor man into it. And so it becomes lawful, when a man has learnt this lesson, to pay no regard to virtue, but without let or hindrance to cling to poverty alone, and the things that are most base. This follows from poverty being able to save the poor man, while riches shut out the rich man from the undefiled abode.
Wherefore it seems to me that these cannot be the words of Christ, if indeed He handed down the rule of truth, but of some poor men who wished, as a result of such vain talking, to deprive the rich of their substance. At any rate, no longer ago than yesterday, reading these words to women of noble birth, "Sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven," they persuaded them to distribute to poor men all the substance and possession which they had, and, themselves entering into a state of want, to gather by begging, turning from a position of freedom to unseemly asking, and from prosperity to a pitiable character, and in the end, being compelled to go to the houses of the rich (which is the first thing, or rather the last thing, in disgrace and misfortune), and thus to lose their own belongings under the pretext of godliness, and to covet those of others under the force of want.
Accordingly, it seems to me that these are the words of some woman in distress."
38. Macarius, ibid., II: 9: (the objection of the pagan is lost, this is Macarius' answer) CHAPTER IX. Answer to an objection based on S. Mark x. 18 and S. Matt. xii. 35. Come now, let us also make clear the question of those two sayings: "None is good save God," and "The good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good."
See how plainly here also Jesus dissociates Himself from man when He says, "None is good save one, even God." And without doubt Christ is Himself God, even as John says, "And the Word was God." Also the Saviour Himself, revealing the essence of His own Godhead, says, "I and the Father are one"; which means that undoubtedly He who spoke the words was God. Why, then, if He be God, did He deny that He was God, by saying, " None is good save one, even God; why callest thou me good?" If your desire is to pay a genuine heed to the saying, the subject will become clear and easily grasped, though it be disputed and a matter of discussion among many. A certain young man of comely appearance pictured in the Saviour's presence a state of righteous action, imagining that He, who for man's sake had become man, was like other men, possessed of no relationship besides that which is mortal. This young man played the impostor and desired to show himself off as often receiving much praise at the hands of many, besides thinking that the Lord was an ordinary man. So it was not as God but as man that he addressed Him when he came near and said, "Good master." Christ faces the man who has such an opinion of Him by saying, "Why dost thou call me good when thou thinkest me a mere man? Thou art mistaken, young man, in holding the theory that I am mortal and yet addressing me as good; for among men there is nothing inherently good, but in God alone. So according to thee at least I deny that I am good, since I am reckoned as a man. For if thou didst hold the belief that God is in me, and the unalloyed nature of the Godhead, thou wouldst have decided that I bear affinity to the nature of the Good, and wouldst have had no doubt. But since thou didst secretly steal away the good that is absolute, and dost bear unreasoning witness to the good that is relative, thou canst not reckon me as a partner of this thy reckless act of theft. For do not suppose that I myself have ever used the word 'good' without due thought. For even if I said 'The good man out of the good treasure bringeth forth that which is good,' I do not call the man good absolutely, but relatively, whenever he performs some good action through sharing in that which is good. Take an illustration. The fire is warm, and that which is brought near |36 the fire is also said to be warm. But one is called warm absolutely and the other relatively. It is not that the identity of name steals away the truth and has a single way of expressing the matter. Rather is the difference of the nature of each wont to determine the identity of name. Thus if any one calls the Creator good, and also that which is created, he makes it plain that in the one case the goodness is in Himself, and in the other case it is derived from another. Hence a man is good, not as having this possession from his own nature, but as having obtained this advantage from another. But God is good, not as having received or won this from another, but as a good which is. Absolute, and as such is neither changeable nor visible." This then must be the distinction in your mind with regard to what is "good." It will prevent you from thinking that Christ stultified His own words by saying, "No one is good save one, even God." For the absolute good, the inherent good, the archetypal good, the invisible and unchangeable good,—this, He declares, is unique, and the Godhead underlies it. But the relative good, the good that is easily altered, that does not stand steadfast, but suffers change,—this He connects with man, and also with any created thing; as for example when He called a fish or an egg good, by saying, "Ye know how to give good gifts to your children."
39. Macarius, ibid., IV: 5: "And there is another dubious little saying which one may manifestly take hold of, when Christ says : "Take heed that no man deceive you; for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many." And behold! Three hundred years have passed by, and even more, and no one of the kind has anywhere appeared. Unless indeed you are going to adduce Apollonius of Tyana, a man who was adorned with all philosophy. But you would not find another. Yet it is not concerning one but concerning many that He says that such shall arise."
40. Macarius, ibid., III: 7: "Moreover, as we have found another inconsequent little utterance spoken by Christ to His disciples, we have decided not to remain silent about this either. It is where He says, "The poor ye have always, but me ye have not always." The reason for this statement is as follows: A certain woman brought an alabaster box of ointment and poured it on His head. And when they saw it, and complained of the unseasonableness of the action, He said, "Why do ye trouble the woman? She hath wrought a good work on me. The poor ye have always, but me ye have not always." For they raised no small murmuring, that the ointment was not rather sold for a great price, and given to the poor for expenditure on their hunger. Apparently as the result of this inopportune conversation, He uttered this nonsensical saying, declaring that He was not always with them, although elsewhere He confidently affirmed and said to them, "I shall be with you until the end of the world" (Matt. xxviii. 20). But when He was disturbed about the ointment, He denied that He was always with them."
41. Macarius, ibid., III: 2: "Moreover, there is another saying which is full of obscurity and full of stupidity, which was spoken by |58 Jesus to His disciples. He said, "Fear not them that kill the body," and yet He Himself being in an agony and keeping watch in the expectation of terrible things, besought in prayer that His passion should pass from Him, and said to His intimate friends, "Watch and pray, that the temptation may not pass by you." For these sayings are not worthy of God's Son, nor even of a wise man who despises death."
42. Macarius, ibid., III: 1: "Why did not Christ utter anything worthy of one who was wise and divine, when brought either before the high-priest or before the governor? He might have given instruction to His judge and those who stood by and made them better men. But He endured to be smitten with a reed and spat on and crowned with thorns, unlike Apollonius, who, after speaking boldly to the Emperor Domitian, disappeared from the royal court, and after not many hours was plainly seen in the city then called Dicaearchia, but now Puteoli. But even if Christ had to suffer according to God's commands, and was obliged to endure punishment, yet at least He should have endured His Passion with some boldness, and uttered words of force and wisdom to Pilate His judge, instead of being mocked like any gutter-snipe."
43. Macarius, ibid., II: 14: "There is also another argument whereby this corrupt opinion can be refuted. I mean the argument about that Resurrection of His which is such common talk everywhere, as to why Jesus, after His suffering and rising again (according to your story), did not appear to Pilate who punished Him and said He had done nothing worthy of death, or to Herod King of the Jews, or to the High-priest of the Jewish race, or to many men at the same time and to such as were worthy of credit, and more particularly among Romans both in the Senate and among the people. The purpose would be that, by their wonder at "the things concerning Him, they might not pass a vote of death against Him by common consent, which implied the impiety of those who were obedient to Him. But He appeared to Mary Magdalene, a coarse woman who came from some wretched little village, and had once been possessed by seven demons, and with her another utterly obscure Mary, who was herself a peasant woman, and a few other people who were not at all well known. And that, although He said: "Henceforth shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming with the clouds." For if He had shown Himself to men of note, all would believe through them,and no judge would punish them as fabricating monstrous stories. For surely it is neither pleasing to God nor to anysensible man that many should be subjected on His account to punishments of the gravest kind."
44. Macarius, ibid., II: 11: (the actual objection of the pagan is lost, this is Macarius' answer) CHAPTER XI. Answer to an objection based on S. John v. 31: How is it that Christ said, "If I bear witness to myself, my witness is not true," and yet He did bear witness to Himself, as He was accused of doing when He said, "I am the light of the world"? (John viii. 12, 13).
[Such witness is not true in man's case, but it is in God's. The Jews thought Christ was only man, but it would have been a sad thing for the world if He had accepted their judgment and sought man's witness for His divine acts.
So He speaks as man when He does not bear witness to Himself, but seeks it from God. But it is as God that He says He is the Light, the Truth, etc., disdaining witness from his inferiors. He therefore simply allows that if, in their erroneous judgment, He is merely man, His witness is not true. Thus He contradicts, not His own statement, but their opinion about Him.]
45. Macarius, ibid., III: 3: "Again the following saying appears to be full of stupidity: "If ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me, for he wrote concerning me." He said it, but all the same nothing which Moses wrote has been preserved. For all his writings are said to have been burnt along with the temple. All that bears the name of Moses was written 1180 years afterwards, by Ezra and those of his time. And even if one were to concede that the writing is that of Moses, it cannot be shown that Christ was anywhere called God, or God the Word, or Creator. And pray who has spoken of Christ as crucified?"
46. Macarius, ibid., III: 15: "But he, with a smile on his face, made reply in a fresh attack on us, saying: You are like the more audacious among those who run in a race, and proclaim their victory until the contest comes, challenging many to run in the course; for you have taken up the same attitude, in your desire to bring in another inquiry from the starting-point, as one might say. Speak to us therefore, my friend, beginning from the following point:—
That saying of the Teacher is a far-famed one, which says, "Except ye eat my flesh and drink my blood, ye have no life in yourselves." Truly this saying is not merely beast-like and absurd, but is more absurd than any absurdity, and more beast-like than any fashion of a beast, that a man should taste human flesh, and drink the blood of members of the same tribe and race, and that by doing this he should have eternal life. For, tell, me, if you do this, what excess of savagery do you introduce into life? Rumour does not record—I do not say, this action, but even the mention of this strange and novel deed of impiety. The phantoms of the Furies never revealed this to those who lived in strange ways, nor would the Potidasans have accepted it unless they had been reduced by a savage hunger. Once the banquet of Thyestes became such, owing to a sister's grief, and the Thracian Tereus took his fill of such food unwillingly. Harpagus was deceived by Astyages when he feasted on the flesh of his dearest, and it was against their desire that all these underwent such a pollution. But no one living in a state of peace prepared such a table in his life; no one learnt from a teacher any knowledge so foul. If you look up Scythia in the records, and go through the Macrobian Ethiopians, and if you career through the ocean girdle round about, you will find men who eat, live, and devour roots; you will hear of men who eat reptiles and feed on mice, but they refrain altogether from human flesh.
What then does this saying mean? [Even if there is a mystical meaning hidden in it, yet that does not pardon the outward significance, which places men lower than the beasts. Men have made up strange tales, but nothing so pernicious as this, with which to gull the simple.]
Wherefore it seems to me that neither Mark nor Luke nor even Matthew recorded this, because they regarded the saying as not a comely one, but strange and discordant, and far removed from practiced life. Even you yourself could scarcely be pleased at reading it, and far less any man who has had the advantage of a liberal education."
47. Macarius, ibid., II: 16: "Come now, let us listen to that shadowy saying also which was directed against the Jews, when He said, "Ye cannot hear my word, because ye are of your father the devil (Slanderer), and ye wish to do the lusts of your father," Explain to us then who the Slanderer is, who is the father of the Jews. For those who do the lusts of their father, do so fittingly, as yielding to the desire of their father, and out of respect for him. And if the father is evil, the charge of evil must not be fastened on the children. Who then is that father, by doing whose lusts they did not hearken to Christ? For when the Jews said, "We have one father, even |49 God," He sets aside this statement by saying, "Ye are of your father the Slanderer" (that is, Ye are of the Slanderer). Who then is that Slanderer, and where does he chance to be? And by slandering whom did he obtain this epithet ? For he does not seem to have this name as an original one, but as the result of something that happened. (Whatever we learn, we shall understand as we ought.) For if it is from a slander that he is called Slanderer, among whom did he appear and work the forbidden action ? Even in this, it is he who accepts the slander who will appear unscrupulous, while he that is slandered is most wronged. And it will be seen that it was not the Slanderer himself who did any wrong, but he who showed him the excuse for the slander. It is the man who places a stake on the road at night who is responsible, and not the man who walks along and stumbles over it. It is the man who fixed it there who receives the blame. Just so, it is he who places an occasion of slander in the way who does the greater wrong, not he who takes hold of it or he who receives it.
And tell me another thing. Is the Slanderer subject to human affections or not? If he is not, he would never have slandered. But if he is subject, he ought to meet with forgiveness; for no one who is troubled by bodily ailments is judged as a wrongdoer, but receives pity from all as being sorely tried.
48. Macarius, ibid., II: 15: Any one will feel quite sure that the records are mere fairy tales, if he reads another piece of clap-trap that is written in the Gospel, where Christ says: "Now is the judgment of the world, now the ruler of this world shall be cast outside" (John xii. 31). For tell me, in the name of God, what is this judgment which then takes place, and who is the ruler of the world who is cast outside ? If indeed you intend to say it is the Emperor, I answer that there is no sole ruler (for many rule the world), nor was he cast down. But if you mean some one who is abstract and incorporeal, he cannot be cast outside. For where should he be cast, to whom it fell to be the ruler of the world? If you are going to reply that there exists another world somewhere, into which the ruler will be cast, pray tell us this from a record which can convince us. But if there is not another (and it is impossible that two worlds should exist) where should the ruler be cast, if it be not in that world in which he happens to be already? And how is a man cast down in that world in which he is? Unless it is like the case of an earthenware vessel, which, if it and its contents are broken, a man causes to be cast outside, not into the void, but into another body of air or earth, or perhaps of something else. If then in like manner, when the world is broken (which is impossible), he that is in it will be cast outside, what sort of place is there outside into which he will be cast? And what is there peculiar in that place in the way of quantity and quality, height and depth, length or breadth? For if it is possessed of these things, then it follows that it is a world. And what is the cause of the ruler of the world being cast out, as if he were a stranger to the world ? If he be a stranger, how did he rule it? And how is he cast out? By his own will, or against it? Clearly against it. That is plain from the language, for that which is "cast out," is cast out unwillingly. But the wrong-doer is not he that endures force, but he that uses it.
All this obscure nonsense in the Gospels ought to be offered to silly women, not to men. For if we were prepared to investigate such points more closely, we should discover thousands of obscure stories which do not contain a single word worth finding."
49. Eusebius, Demonstration of the Gospel, I: 1: 8-11: Now I am quite well aware, that it is usual in the case of all who have been properly taught that our Lord and Saviour Jesus is truly the Christ of God to persuade themselves in the first place that their belief is strictly in agreement with what the prophets witness about Him. And secondly, to forewarn all those, with whom they may enter on an argument, that it is by no means easy to establish their position by definite proofs. And this is why in attacking this subject myself I must of course endeavour, with God's help, to supply a complete treatment of the Proof of the Gospel from these Hebrew theologians. And the importance of my writing docs not lie in the fact that it is, as might be suggested, a polemic against the Jews. Perish the thought, far from that! For if they would fairly consider it, it is really on their side. For as it establishes Christianity on the basis of the antecedent prophecies, so it establishes Judaism from the complete racticed of its prophecies. To the Gentiles too it should appeal, if they would fairly consider it, because of the extraordinary foreknowledge shown in the prophetic writers, and of the actual events that occurred in agreement with their prophecies. It should convince them of the inspired and certain nature of the truth we hold: it should silence the tongues of false accusers by a more logical method of proof, which slanderers contend that we never offer, who in their daily arguments with us keep pounding away with all their might with the implication forsooth that we are unable to give a logical demonstration of our case, but require those who come to us to rest on faith alone.
My present work ought to have something to say to a calumny like this, as it will assuredly rebut the empty lies and blasphemy of godless heretics against the holy prophets by its exposition of the agreement of the new with the old. My argument will dispense with a longer systematic interpretation of the prophecies, and will leave such a task to any who wish to make the study, and are able to expound such works. And I shall take as my teacher the sacred command which says "sum up many things in few words," and aspire to follow it. I shall only offer such help in regard to the texts, and to the points which bear on the subject under consideration, as is absolutely necessary for their clear interpretation.
But I will now cease my Introduction and begin my Proof. As we have such a mob of slanderers flooding us with the accusation that we are unable logically to present a clear demonstration of the truth we hold, and think it enough to retain those who conic to us by faith alone, and as they say that we only teach our followers like irrational animals to shut their eyes and staunchly obey what we say without examining it at all, and call them therefore "the faithful" because of their faith as distinct from reason, I made a natural division of the calumnies of our position in my "Preparation" of the subject as a whole. On the one side I placed the attacks of the polytheistic Gentiles, who accuse us of apostasy from our ancestral gods, and make a great point of the implication, that in recognizing the Hebrew oracles we honour the work of Barbarians more than those of the Greeks. And on the other side I set the accusation of the Jews, in which they claim to be justly incensed against us, because we do not embrace their manner of life, though we make use of their sacred writings. Such being the division, I met the first so far as I could in my Preparation for the Gospel by allowing that we were originally Greeks, or men of other nations who had absorbed Greek ideas, and enslaved by ancestral ties in the deceits of polytheism. But I went on to say that our conversion was due not to emotional and unexamined impulse, but to judgment and sober reasoning, and that our devotion to the oracles of the Hebrews thus had the support of judgment and sound reason.
And now I have to defend myself against the second class of opponents, and to embark on the investigation it requires. It has to do with those of the Circumcision, it has not yet been investigated, but I hope in time to dispose of it in the present work on the Proof of the Gospel. And so now with an invocation of the God of Jews and Greeks alike in our Saviour's Name we will take as our first object of inquiry, what is the character of the religion set before Christians. And in this same inquiry we shall record the solutions of all the points investigated."
50. Eusebius, Preparation for the Gospel, I: 3: 1: "These being questions which would naturally be the first put to us, let us, after invoking the God of the universe through our Saviour, His own Word, as our High Priest, proceed to clear away the first of the objections put forward, by proving at the outset that they were false accusers who declared that we can establish nothing by demonstration, but hold to an unreasoning faith.
This then we will disprove at once, and with no long argument, both from the proofs which we employ towards those who come for instruction in our doctrines, and from our replies to those who oppose us in more argumentative discussions, and by the debates, whether written or unwritten, which we are zealous in holding both privately with each inquirer, and publicly with the multitudes; and especially by the books which we have in hand, comprising the general treatment of the Demonstration of the Gospel, in which is included our present discourse proclaiming to all men the good tidings of all the grace of God and His heavenly blessing, and accrediting in a more logical way by very many manifest proofs the dispensation of God concerning our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
51. Macarius, Apocriticus V fragment: (it seems that these are only the words of Macarius. We could infer from this that the pagan may have made some objection about Abraham's faith): [From F. Turrianus (De la Torre), Dogmaticus de Justificatione, ad Germanos adversus Luteranos, Romae, 1557, p. 37.]
The subject is Faith and Works, and Turrianus says that Magnetes writes as follows concerning the faith of Abraham:—
For having believed through good works, he was well-pleasing to God, and therefore was considered worthy of the friendship of Him who is higher. By doing these things he caused his faith to shine brighter than the sun. And together with his faith he works what is right, wherefore he is beloved of God and honoured. For, knowing that faith is the foundation of success, he roots it deep, building upon it the multitude of mercies. For, joining each of the two things with a kindred bond, he raises on each a lofty rampart, by acquiring a faith which receives the testimony of works. Nor again does he allow the works to be base, or sundered from the faith, but knowing that faith is a seed which produces abundant fruit, he brings together all things that are brought in contact with the seed, earth, ploughman, wallet, yoke, plough, and as many things as the husbandman's skill has devised. For as the seed is not sown apart from these, and reason completes none of the things mentioned above apart from the seed, so faith which in some sense stands for mystical seed, is unfruitful if it abides alone, unless it grow by means of good works. And in like manner the linking together of good deeds is a useless thing and altogether incomplete, unless it have faith woven in with it. Wherefore, in order that it may reveal Abraham as making the grace of his works to shine forth from faith, the divine Scripture says, "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness" (Gen. xv. 6).
You see how faith made preceding good deeds of virtue to be reckoned for righteousness, just as the sowing makes the land to bring forth fruit.
For as a light makes the quality of the oil to shine forth when put in a lamp, so faith, being as it were put into a lamp, made the virtue of Abraham's works to give a brilliant light. For Abraham, as a natural result of his teaching, welcomed what was just and equal in social life, and showed himself serviceable to his neighbours, and without guile, living to avoid evil both in giving and in receiving, giving consolation without stint to those who needed it; in a word, he refrained from evil practices. But even if these things were good in appearance and respected, yet no one reckoned them, no one set virtue under its right heading, for no one had the power to do so. Save God only, and he did not yet believe. But when Abraham believed God, these things, experiences of this kind that were good, were reckoned unto Abraham for righteousness.
Turrianus ends the above quotation with the words "Hactenus Magnetes," but there are strong reasons for thinking that he is still reproducing the substance of the Apocriticus in the words that follow.
After referring to the above three parables of the building, the seed, and the lamp, he adds (in Latin):—
There is yet a fourth parable, and a very apt one, as it seems to me---namely, that of the lump and the leaven, showing how faith is like the lump, while good and spiritual works are like leaven. For bread is unpleasant without leaven, and difficult for digestion and nutrition; and again, leaven alone without the lump is altogether useless, but when it is added to the lump it makes it pleasant and firm, wholesome and easy of digestion. Even so love, when we walk according to God's commands, is like leaven in binding and permeating the whole lump of faith, that is to say, by making it firm and fermenting it, it renders it wholesome and useful. Thus the lump of faith without the leaven of love and good works is neither useful nor a wholesome food for the soul, nor is it pleasing to God ; nor again is love fitting, however wide it be, without the lump of faith. But it is the combination and mingling of the two that is wholesome. This new mixture of faith and good works is pleasing to God, without the old leaven, that is to say, without the corruption of concupiscence which is in the world."
52. Macarius, ibid., IV: 20:
"But let us make a thorough investigation concerning the single rule of the only God and the manifold rule of those who are worshipped as gods. You do not know how to expound the doctrine even of the single rule. For a monarch is not one who is alone in his existence, but who is alone in his rule. Clearly he rules over those who are his fellow-tribesmen, men like himself, just as the Emperor Hadrian was a monarch, not because he existed alone, nor because he ruled over oxen and sheep (over which herdsmen or shepherds rule), but because he ruled over men who shared his race and possessed the same nature. Likewise God would not properly be called a monarch, unless He ruled over other gods; for this would befit His divine greatness and His heavenly and abundant honour."
53. Macarius, ibid., IV: 21: "At any rate, if you say that angels stand before God, who are not subject to feeling and death, and immortal in their nature, whom we ourselves speak of as gods, because they are close to the Godhead, why do we dispute about a name ? And are we to consider it only a difference of nomenclature? For she who is called by the Greeks Athene is called by the Romans Minerva; and the Egyptians, Syrians, and Thracians address her by some other name. But I suppose nothing in the invocation of the goddess is changed or lost by the difference of the names. The difference therefore is not great, whether a man calls them gods or angels, since their divine nature bears witness to them, as when Matthew writes thus: "And Jesus answered and said, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God; for in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels in heaven" (Matt. xxii. 29-30). Since therefore He confesses that the angels have a share in the divine nature, those who make a suitable object of reverence for the gods, do not think that the god is in the wood or stone or bronze from which the image is manufactured, nor do they consider that, if any part of the statue is cut off, it detracts from the power of the god. For the images of living creatures and the temples were set up by the ancients for the sake of remembrance, in order that those who approach thither might come to the knowledge of the god when they go; or, that, as they observe a special time and purify themselves generally, they may make use of prayers and supplications, asking from them the things of which each has need. For if a man makes an image of a friend, of course he does not think that the friend is in it, or that the limbs of his body are included in the various parts of the representation ; but honour is shown towards the friend by means of the image. But in the case of the sacrifices that are brought to the gods, these are hot so much a bringing of honour to them as a proof of the inclination of the worshippers, to show that they are not without a sense of gratitude. It is reasonable that the form of the statues should be the fashion of a man, since man is reckoned to be the fairest of living creatures and an image of God. It is possible to get hold of this doctrine from another saying, which asserts positively that God has fingers, with which He writes, saying, "And he gave to Moses the two tables which were written by the finger of God" (Exod. xxxi. 18). Moreover, the Christians also, imitating the erection of the temples, build very large houses, into which they go together and pray, although there is nothing to prevent them from doing this in their own houses, since the Lord certainly hears from every place."
54. Macarius, ibid., IV: 22: "But even supposing any one of the Greeks were so light-minded as to think that the gods dwell within the statues, his idea would be a much purer one than that of the man who believes that the Divine entered into the womb of the Virgin Mary, and became her unborn child, before being born and swaddled in due course, for it is a place full of blood and gall, and things more unseemly still."
55. Macarius, ibid., IV: 23: "I could also give proof to you of that insidious name of "gods" from the law, when it cries out and admonishes the hearer with much reverence, "Thou, shalt not revile gods, and thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people." For it does not speak to us of other gods than those already within our reckoning, from what we know in the words, "Thou shalt not go after gods" (Jer. vii. 6); and again, "If ye go and worship other gods" (Deut. xii. 28). It is not men, but the gods who are held in honour by us, that are meant, not only by Moses, but by his successor Joshua. For he says to the people, "And now fear him and serve him alone, and put away the gods whom your fathers served" (Josh. xxiv. 14). And it is not concerning men, but incorporeal beings that Paul says, "For though there be that are called gods, whether on earth or in heaven, yet to us there is but one God and Father, of whom are all things" (1 Cor. viii. 5). Therefore you make a great mistake in thinking that God is angry if any other is called a god, and obtains the same title as Himself. For even rulers do not object to the title from their subjects, nor masters from slaves. And it is not right to think that God is more petty-minded than men. Enough then about the fact that gods exist, and ought to receive honour."
56. Augustine, Epistle 102: 16: "Question III. Let us now look to the question which comes next in order. "They find fault," he says, "with the sacred ceremonies, the sacrificial victims, the burning of incense, and all the other parts of worship in our temples; and yet the same kind of worship had its origin in antiquity with themselves, or from the God whom they worship, for He is represented by them as having been in need of the first-fruits."
57. Eusebius, Preparation for the Gospel, V: 1: 9ff: "Nor, since the divine power of our Saviour in the Gospel shone forth like light upon all men, is any man now so mad as to dare to propitiate the murderous and bloodthirsty and misanthropic and inhuman daemons by the murder of his best-beloved, and by the slaughter of men in sacrifices, such as the sages and kings of old, being verily possessed by daemons, loved to practise.
But with regard to the fact that the evil daemons no longer have any power to prevail since our Saviour's advent among men, the very same author who is the advocate of the daemons in our time, in his compilation against us, bears witness by speaking in the following manner:
[PORPHYRY] 'And now they wonder that for so many years the plague has attacked the city, Asclepius and the other gods being no longer resident among us. For since Jesus began to be honoured, no one ever heard of any public assistance from the gods.'
This is Porphyry's statement in his very words. If then, according to this confession, 'since Jesus began to be honoured no one ever heard of any public assistance from the gods, because neither Asclepius nor the other gods were any longer resident,' what ground is there henceforth for the opinion that they are gods and heroes?
For why do not rather the gods and Asclepius prevail over the power of Jesus? If indeed, as they would say, He is a mortal man—perhaps they would even say that He is a deceiver—while they are gods and saviours, why then have they all fled in a body, Asclepius and all, having turned their backs to this mortal, and given over all humanity forthwith into the power of Him who, as they would say, is no longer living?
But He even after death, ever continues to be honoured every day among all nations, plainly showing the certainty and divinity of the life after death to those who are able to discern it.
Moreover though He is one, and as might be supposed alone, He drives away the multitude of the gods throughout the whole world, and bringing their honours to naught, so prevails that they are gods no longer, nor exercise any power, nor anywhere show themselves, nor reside as they were wont in the cities, because they were no gods but evil daemons; while only His honours, and those of the God of the universe who sent Him down, increase every day, and advance to greater dignity over all humanity."
58. Augustine, Epistle 102: 8:
Question II. Concerning the epoch of the Christian religion, they have advanced, moreover, some other things, which they might call a selection of the more weighty arguments of Porphyry against the Christians: "If Christ," they say, "declares Himself to be the Way of salvation, the Grace and the Truth, and affirms that in Him alone, and only to souls believing in Him, is the way of return to God, what has become of men who lived in the many centuries before Christ came? To pass over the time," he adds, "which preceded the rounding of the kingdom of Latium, let us take the beginning of that power as if it were the beginning of the human race. In Latium itself gods were worshipped before Alba was built; in Alba, also, religious rites and forms of worship in the temples were maintained. Rome itself was for a period of not less duration, even for a long succession of centuries, unacquainted with Christian doctrine. What, then, has become of such an innumerable multitude of souls, who were in no wise blameworthy, seeing that He in whom alone saving faith can be exercised had not yet favoured men with His advent? The whole world, moreover, was not less zealous than Rome itself in the worship racticed in the temples of the gods. Why, then," he asks, "did He who is called the Saviour withhold Himself for so many centuries of the world? And let it not be said," he adds, "that provision had been made for the human race by the old Jewish law. It was only after a long time that the Jewish law appeared and flourished within the narrow limits of Syria, and after that, it gradually crept onwards to the coasts of Italy; but this was not earlier than the end of the reign of Caius, or, at the earliest, while he was on the throne. What, then, became of the souls of men in Rome and Latium who lived before the time of the Caesars, and were destitute of the grace of Christ, because He had not then come?"
59. Jerome, Epistle 133: 9: "But you will demur to this and say that I follow the teaching of the Manichaeans and others who make war against the church's doctrine in the interest of their belief that there are two natures diverse from one another and that there is an evil nature which can in no wise be changed. But it is not against me that you must make this imputation but against the apostle who knows well that God is one thing and man another, that the flesh is weak and the spirit strong. "The flesh lusteth against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would." But from me you will never hear that any nature is essentially evil. Let us learn then from him who tells us so in what sense the flesh is weak. Ask him why he has said: "the good that I would, I do not; the evil which I would not, that I do." What necessity fetters his will? What compulsion commands him to do what he dislikes? And why must he do not what he wishes but what he dislikes and does not wish? He will answer you thus: "nay, but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say unto him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour and another unto dishonour?" Bring a yet graver charge against God and ask Him why, when Esau and Jacob were still in the womb, He said: "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." Accuse Him of injustice because, when Achan the son of Carmi stole part of the spoil of Jericho, He butchered so many thousands for the fault of one. Ask Him why for the sin of the sons of Eli the people were well-nigh annihilated and the ark captured. And why, when David sinned by numbering the people, so many thousands lost their lives. Or lastly make your own the favourite cavil of your associate Porphyry, and ask how God can be described as pitiful and of great mercy when from Adam to Moses and from Moses to the coming of Christ He has suffered all nations to die in ignorance of the Law and of His commandments. For Britain, that province so fertile in despots, the Scottish tribes, and all the barbarians round about as far as the ocean were alike without knowledge of Moses and the prophets. Why should Christ's coming have been delayed to the last times? Why should He not have come before so vast a number had perished? Of this last question the blessed apostle in writing to the Romans most wisely disposes by admitting that he does not know and that only God does. Do you too, then, condescend to remain ignorant of that into which you inquire. Leave to God His power over what is His own; He does not need you to justify His actions. I am the hapless being against whom you ought to direct your insults, I who am for ever reading the words: "by grace ye are saved," and "blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered." Yet, to lay bare my own weakness, I know that I wish to do many things which I ought to do and yet cannot. For while my spirit is strong and leads me to life my flesh is weak and draws me to death. And I have the warning of the Lord in my ears: "watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
60. Augustine, Epistle 102: 28: "Question V. The objector who has brought forward these questions from Porphyry has added this one in the next place: Will you have the goodness to instruct me as to whether Solomon said truly or not that God has no Son?"
61. Macarius, Apocriticus IV: 10: "It is right to examine another matter of a much more reasonable kind (I say this by way of contrast), "They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick." Christ unravels these things to the multitude about His own coming to earth. If then it was on account of those who are weak, as He Himself says, that He faced sins, were not our forefathers weak, and were not Our ancestors diseased with sin ? And if indeed those who are whole need not a physician, and He came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance, so that Paul speaks thus: "Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief" (1 Tim. I. 15); if then this is so, and he that has gone astray is called, and he that is diseased is healed, and the unrighteous is called, but the righteous is not, it follows that he who was neither called nor in need of the healing of the Christians would be a righteous man who had not gone astray. For he who has no need of healing is the man who turns away from the word which is among the faithful, and the more he turns away from it, the more righteous and whole he is, and the less he goes astray."
62. Macarius, ibid., IV: 19: "He, as though roused from some condition of detachment from the earth, directed against us a saying from Homer, speaking thus with no little laughter: "Rightly did Homer order the manly Greeks to be silent, as they had been trained: he published abroad the wavering sentiment of Hector, addressing the Greeks in measured language, saying, 'Stay, ye Argives; smite not, ye Achaean youths; for Hector of the waving plume is resolved to speak a word.'" Even so we now all sit in quietness here; for the interpreter of the Christian doctrines promises us and surely affirms that he will unravel the dark passages of the Scriptures.
Tell therefore, my good sir, to us who are following what you have to say, what the Apostle means when he says, "But such were some of you" (plainly something base), "but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God" (1 Cor. vi. 11). For we are surprised and truly perplexed in mind at such things, if a man, when once he is washed from so many defilements and pollutions, shows himself to be pure ; if by wiping off the stains of so much weakness in his life, fornication, adultery, drunkenness, theft, unnatural vice, poisoning, and countless base and disgusting things, and simply by being ractice and calling on the name of Christ, he is quite easily freed from them, and puts off the whole of his guilt just as a snake puts off his old slough. Who is there who would not, on the strength of these, venture on evil deeds, some mentionable and others not, and do such things as are neither to be uttered in speech nor endured in deeds, in the knowledge that he will receive remission from so many criminal actions only by believing and being ractice, and in the hope that he will after this receive pardon from Him who is about to judge the quick and the dead? These things incline the man who hears them to commit sin, and in each particular he is thus taught to practise what is unlawful. These things have the power to set aside the training of the law, and cause righteousness itself to be of no avail against the unrighteous. They introduce into the world a form of society which is without law, and teach men to have no fear of ungodliness; when a man sets aside a pile of countless wrongdoings simply by being ractice. Such then is the boastful fiction of the saying."
63. Macarius, ibid., IV: 6: "By way of giving plenty of such sayings, let me quote also what was said in the Apocalypse of Peter. He thus introduces the statement that the heaven will be judged together with the earth. "The earth shall present all men to God in the day of judgment, itself too being about to be judged, together with the heaven which contains it." No one is so uneducated or so stupid as not to know that the things which have to do with earth are subject to disturbance, and are not naturally such as to preserve their order, but are uneven; whereas the things in heaven have an order which remains perpetually alike, and always goes on in the same way, and never suffers alteration, nor indeed will it ever do so. For it stands as God's most exact piece of workmanship. Wherefore it is impossible that the things should be undone which are worthy of a better fate, as being fixed by a divine ordinance which cannot be touched.
And why will heaven be judged ? Will it some day be shown to have committed some sin, though it preserves the order which from the beginning was approved by God, and abides in sameness always ? Unless indeed some one will address the Creator, slanderously asserting that heaven is deserving of judgment, as having allowed the judge to speak any portents against it which are so wondrous and so great."
64. Macarius, ibid., IV: 7: "And it makes this statement again, which is full of impiety, saying: "And all the might of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heaven shall be rolled together as a scroll, and all the stars shall fall as leaves from a vine, and as leaves fall from a fig tree." And another boast is made in portentous falsehood and monstrous quackery : "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away " (Matt. xxiv. 35). For, pray, how could any one say that the words of Jesus would stand, if heaven and earth no longer existed ? Moreover, if Christ were to do this and bring heaven down, He would be imitating the most impious of men, even those who destroy their own children. For it is acknowledged by the Son that God is Father of heaven and earth when He says : "Father, Lord of heaven and earth" (Matt. xi. 25). And John the Baptist magnifies heaven and declares that the divine gifts of grace are sent from it, when he says : "A man can do nothing, except it be given him from heaven" (John iii. 27). And the prophets say that heaven is the holy habitation of God, in the words: "look down from thy holy habitation, and bless thy people Israel" (Deut. xxvi. 15).
If heaven, which is so great and of such importance in the witness borne to it, shall pass away, what shall be the seat thereafter of Him who rules over it? And if the element of earth perishes, what shall be the footstool of Him who sits there, for He says: "The heaven is my throne, and the earth is the footstool of my feet." So much for the passing away of heaven and earth."
65. Augustine, Epistle 102: 22: "Question IV. Let us, in the next place, consider what he has laid down concerning the proportion between sin and punishment when, misrepresenting the gospel, he says: "Christ threatens eternal punishment to those who do not believe in Him;" and yet He says in another place, "With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." "Here," he remarks, "is something sufficiently absurd and contradictory; for if He is to award punishment according to measure, and all measure is limited by the end of time, what mean these threats of eternal punishment?"
66. Augustine, Epistle 102: 2: "Question I. Concerning the resurrection. This question perplexes some, and they ask, Which of two kinds of resurrection corresponds to that which is promised to us? Is it that of Christ, or that of Lazarus? They say, "If the former, how can this correspond with the resurrection of those who have been born by ordinary generations, seeing that He was not thus born? If, on the other hand, the resurrection of Lazarus is said to correspond to ours, here also there seems to be a discrepancy, since the resurrection of Lazarus was accomplished in the case of a body not yet dissolved, but the same body in which he was known by the name of Lazarus; whereas ours is to be rescued after many centuries from the mass in which it has ceased to be distinguishable from other things. Again, if our state after the resurrection is one of blessedness, in which the body shall be exempt from every kind of wound, and from the pain of hunger, what is meant by the statement that Christ took food, and showed his wounds after His resurrection? For if He did it to convince the doubting, when the wounds were not real, He racticed on them a deception; whereas, if He showed them what was real, it follows that wounds received by the body shall remain in the state which is to ensue after resurrection."
67. Macarius, Apocriticus IV: 24: "Let us once again discuss the question of the resurrection of the dead. For what is the reason that God should act thus, and upset in this random way the succession of events that has held good until now, whereby He ordained that races should be preserved and not come to an end, though from the beginning He has laid down these laws and framed things thus? The things which have once been determined by God, and preserved through such long ages, ought to be everlasting, and ought not to be condemned by Him who wrought them, and destroyed as if they had been made by some mere man, and arranged as mortal things by one who is himself a mortal. Wherefore it is ridiculous if, when the whole is destroyed, the resurrection shall follow, and if He shall raise—shall we say?—the man who died three years before the resurrection, and along with him Priam and Nestor who died a thousand years before, and others who lived before them from the beginning of the human race. And if any one is prepared to grasp even this, he will find that the question of the resurrection is one full of silliness. For many have often perished in the sea, and their bodies have been consumed by fishes, while many have been eaten by wild beasts and birds. How then is it possible for their bodies to rise up? Come then, and let us put to the test this statement which is so lightly made. Let us take an example. A man was shipwrecked, the mullets devoured his body, next these were caught and eaten by some fishermen, who were killed and devoured by dogs; when the dogs died ravens and vultures feasted on them and entirely consumed them. How then will the body of the shipwrecked man be brought together, seeing that it was absorbed by so many creatures? Again, suppose another body to have been consumed by fire, and another to have come in the end to the worms, how is it possible for it to return to the essence which was there from the beginning?
You will tell me that this is possible with God, but this is not true. For all things are not possible with Him ; He simply cannot bring it about that Homer should not have become a poet, or that Troy should not be taken. Nor indeed can He make twice two, which make the number four, to be reckoned as a hundred, even though this may seem good to Him. Nor can God ever become evil, even though He wishes; nor would He be able to sin, as being good by nature. If then He is unable to sin or to become evil, this does not befall Him through His weakness. In the case of those who have a disposition and fitness for a certain thing, and then are prevented from doing it, it is clear that it is by their weakness that they are prevented. But God is by nature good, and is not prevented from being evil; nevertheless, even though He is not prevented, he cannot become bad.
And pray consider a further point. How unreasonable it is if the Creator shall stand by and see the heaven melting, though no one ever conceived anything more wonderful than its beauty, and the stars falling, and the earth perishing ; and yet He will raise up the rotten and corrupt bodies of men, some of them, it is true, belonging to admirable men, but others without charm or symmetry before they died, and affording a most unpleasant sight. Again, even if He could easily make them rise in a comely form, it would be impossible for the earth to hold all those who had died from the beginning of the world, if they were to rise again."
68. Macarius, ibid., III: 17: "Look at a similar saying, which is naturally suggested by it, "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, verily I say unto you, ye shall say to this mountain, Be thou removed and be thou cast into the sea, and it shall not be impossible for you."
It is obvious therefore that any one who is unable to remove a mountain in accordance with this bidding, is not worthy to be reckoned one of the family of the faithful. So you are plainly refuted, for not only are the rest of Christians not reckoned among the faithful, but not even are any of your bishops or priests worthy of this saying."
69. Macarius, ibid., III: 16: "Again, consider in detail that other passage, where He says, "Such signs shall follow them that believe: they shall lay hands upon sick folk, and they shall recover, and if they drink any deadly drug, it shall in no wise hurt them." So the right thing would be for those selected for the priesthood, and particularly those who lay claim to the episcopate or presidency, to make use of this form of test. The deadly drug should be set before them in order that the man who received no harm from the drinking of it might be given precedence of the rest. And if they are not bold enough to accept this sort of test, they ought to confess that they do not believe in the things Jesus said. For if it is a peculiarity of the faith to overcome the evil of a poison and to remove the pain of a sick man, the believer who does not do these things either has not become a genuine |86 believer, or else, though his belief is genuine, the thing that he believes in is not potent but feeble."
Fragments from Jerome's Commentary on Daniel
Daniel 2:40: Jerome speaking about the fourth empire described in this verse says: "This last the Jews and the impious Porphyry apply to the people of Israel, who they insist will be the strongest power at the end of the ages, and will crush all realms and will rule forever."
Daniel 2:47: Jerome says commenting on this verse: "Porphyry falsely impugns this passage on the ground that a very proud king would never worship a mere captive, as if, forsooth, the Lycaonians had not been willing to offer blood sacrifices to Paul and Barnabason account of the mighty miracles they had wrought."
Jerome's comment on Daniel 2:48: "In this manner also the slanderous critic of the church has ventured to castigate the prophet because he did not reject the gifts and because he willingly accepted honor of the Babylonians."
Jerome's comment on Daniel 3:98ff (or 4: 1ff.): "The epistle of Nebuchadnezzar was inserted in the volume of the prophet, in order that the book might not afterwards be thought to have been manufactured by some other author, as the accuser (Porphyry) falsely asserts, but the product of Daniel himself."
Jerome's comment on Daniel 5:10: "Josephus says she was Belshazzar's grandmother, whereas Origin says she was his mother. She therefore knew about previous events of which the king was ignorant. So much for Porphyry's far-fetched objection [lit: "Therefore let Porphyry stay awake nights"-evigilet], who fancies that she was the king's wife, and makes fun of the fact that she knows more than her husband does."
Jerome's comment on Daniel 7:13-14: "Let Porphyry answer the query of whom out of all mankind this language might apply to, or who this person might be who was so powerful as to break and smash to pieces the little horn, whom he interprets to be Antiochus? If he replies that the princes of Antiochus were defeated by Judas Maccabaeus, then he must explain how Judas could be said to come with the clouds of heaven like unto the Son of man, and to be brought unto the Ancient of days, and how it could be said that authority and royal power was bestowed upon him, and that all (671) peoples and tribes and language-groups served him, and that his power is eternal and not terminated by any conclusion."
Jerome on Daniel 11:37-39: "Likewise in regard to the statement, "…and he shall take measures to fortify Maozin, together with a strange god whom he has acknowledged ; and he shall increase glory and grant them power over many, and shall divide the land as a free gift,"… Porphyry explained this as meaning that the man is going to fortify the citadel in Jerusalem and will station garrisons in the rest of the cities, and will instruct the Jews to worship a strange god, which doubtless means Jupiter. And displaying the idol to them, he will persuade them that they should worship it. Then he will bestow upon the deluded both honor and very great glory, and he shall deal with the rest who have borne rule in Judaea, and apportion estates unto them in return for their falsehood, and shall distribute gifts."
Jerome's comment on Daniel 12:13: "From this remark it is demonstrated that the whole context of the prophecy has to do with the resurrection of all the dead, (p. 580) at the time when the prophet also is to rise. And it is vain for Porphyry to claim that all these things which were spoken concerning the Antichrist under the type of Antiochus actually refer to Antiochus alone. As we have already mentioned, these false claims have been answered at greater length by Eusebius of Caesarea, Apollinarius of Laodicea, and partially also by this very able writer, the martyr Methodius; and anyone who knows of these things can look them up in their writings."
Origen, Contra Celsum, Book VI, chapter 41:"In the next place, as if he had forgotten that it was his object to write against the Christians, he says that, "having become acquainted with one Dionysius, an Egyptian musician, the latter told him, with respect to magic arts, that it was only over the uneducated and men of corrupt morals that they had any power, while on philosophers they were unable to produce any effect, because they were careful to observe a healthy manner of life." If, now, it had been our purpose to treat of magic, we could have added a few remarks in addition to what we have already said on this topic; but since it is only the more important matters which we have to notice in answer to Celsus, we shall say of magic, that any one who chooses to inquire whether philosophers were ever led captive by it or not, can read what has been written by Moiragenes regarding the memoirs of the magician and philosopher Apollonius of Tyana, in which this individual, who is not a Christian, but a philosopher, asserts that some philosophers of no mean note were won over by the magic power possessed by Apollonius, and resorted to him as a sorcerer; and among these, I think, he especially mentioned Euphrates and a certain Epicurean. Now we, on the other hand, affirm, and have learned by experience, that they who worship the God of all things in conformity with the Christianity which comes by Jesus, and who live according to His Gospel, using night and day, continuously and becomingly, the prescribed prayers, are not carried away either by magic or demons. For verily "the angel of the Lord encamps round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them" from all evil; and the angels of the little ones in the Church, who are appointed to watch over them, are said always to behold the face of their Father who is in heaven, whatever be the meaning of "face" or of "behold.""
1. From Divine Institutes, Book V, chapters 2-3: Another wrote the same subject with more bitterness, who was then of the number of the judges, and who was especially the adviser of enacting persecution; and not contented with this crime, he also pursued with writings those whom he bad persecuted. For he composed two books, not against the Christians, test he might appear to assail them in a hostile manner but to the Christians, that he might be thought to consult for them with humanity and kindness. And in these writings he endeavoured so to prove the falsehood of sacred Scripture, as though it were altogether contradictory to itself; for he expounded some chapters which seemed to be at variance with themselves, enumerating so many and such secret things, that he sometimes appears to have been one of the same sect. But if this was so, what Demosthenes will be able to defend from the charge of impiety him who became the betrayer of the religion to which he had given his assent, and of the faith the name of which he had assumed, and of the mystery which he had received, unless it happened by chance that the sacred writings fell into his hands? What rashness was it, therefore, to dare to destroy that which no one explained to him! It was well that he either learned nothing or understood nothing. For contradiction is as far removed from the sacred writings as he was removed from faith and truth. He chiefly, however, assailed Paul and Peter, and the other disciples, as disseminators of deceit whom at the same time he testified to have been unskilled and unlearned. For he says that some of them made gain by the craft of fishermen, as though he took it ill that some Aristophanes or Aristarchus did not devise that subject.
The desire of inventing, therefore, and craftiness were absent from these men, since they were unskilful. Or what unlearned man could invent things adapted to one another, and coherent, when the most learned of the philosophers, Plato and Aristotle, and Epicurus and Zeno, themselves spoke things at variance with one another, and contrary? For this is the nature of falsehoods, that they cannot be coherent. But their teaching, because it is true, everywhere agrees, and is altogether consistent with itself; and on this account it effects persuasion, because it is based on a consistent plan. They did not therefore devise that religion for the sake of gain and advantage, inasmuch as both by their precepts and in reality they followed that course of life which is without pleasures, and despised all things which are reckoned among good things, and since they not only endured death for their faith, but also both knew and foretold that they were about to die, and afterwards that all who followed their system would suffer cruel and impious things. But he affirmed that Christ Himself was put to flight by the Jews, and having collected a band of nine hundred men, committed robberies. Who would venture to oppose so great an authority? We must certainly believe this, for perchance some Apollo announced it to him in his slumbers. So many robbers have at all times perished, and do perish daily, and you yourself have certainly condemned many: which of them after his crucifixion was called, I will not say a God, but a man? But you perchance believed it from the circumstance of your having consecrated the homicide Mars as a god, though you would not have done this if the Areopagites had crucified him.
The same man, when he endeavoured to overthrow his wonderful deeds, and did not however deny them, wished to show that Apollonius performed equal or even greater deeds. It is strange that he omitted to mention Apuleius, of whom many and wonderful things are accustomed to be related. Why therefore, O senseless one, does no one worship Apollonius in the place of God? unless by chance you alone do so, who are worthy forsooth of that god, with whom the true God will punish you everlastingly. If Christ is a magician because He performed wonderful deeds, it is plain that Apollonius, who, according to your-description. when Domitian wished to punish him, suddenly disappeared on his trial, was more skilful than He who was both arrested and crucified. But perhaps he wished from this very thing to prove the arrogance of Christ, in that He made Himself God, that the other may appear to have been more modest, who, though he performed greater actions, as this one thinks, nevertheless did not claim that for himself. I omit at present to compare the works themselves, because in the second and preceding book I have spoken respecting the fraud and tricks of the magic art. I say that there is no one who would not wish that that should especially befall him after death which even the greatest kings desire. For why do men prepare for themselves magnificent sepulchres why statues and images? why by some illustrious deeds, or even by death undergone in behalf of their countrymen, do they endeavour to deserve the good opinions of men? Why, in short, have you yourself wished to raise a monument of your talent, built with this detestable folly, as if with mud, except that you hope for immortality from the remembrance of your name? It is foolish, therefore, to imagine that Apollonius did not desire that which he would plainly wish for if he were able to attain to it; because there is no one who refuses immortality, and especially when you say that he was both adored by some as a god, and that his image was set up under the name of Hercules, the averter of evil, and is even now honoured by the Ephesians.
He could not therefore after death be believed to be a god, because it was evident that he was both a man and a magician; and for this reason he affected divinity under the title of a name belonging to another, for in his own name he was unable to attain it, nor did he venture to make the attempt. But he of whom we speak could both be believed to be a god, because he was not a magician, and was believed to be such because he was so in truth. I do not say this, he says, that Apollonius was not accounted a god, because he did not wish it, but that it may be evident that we, who did not at once connect a belief in his divinity with wonderful deeds, are wiser than you, who on account of slight wonders believed that he was a god. It is not wonderful if you, who are far removed from the wisdom of God, understand nothing at all of those things which you have read, since the Jews, who from the beginning had frequently read the prophets, and to whom the mystery of God had been assigned, were nevertheless ignorant of what they read. Learn, therefore, if you have any sense, that Christ was not believed by us to be God on this account, because He did wonderful things, but because we saw that all things were done in His case which were announced to us by the prediction of the prophets. He performed wonderful deeds: we might have supposed Him to be a magician, as you now suppose Him to be, and the Jews then supposed Him, if all the prophets did not with one accord proclaim that Christ would do those very things. Therefore we believe Him to be God, not more from His wonderful deeds and works, than from that very cross which you as dogs lick, since that also was predicted at the same time. It was not therefore on His own testimony (for who can be believed when he speaks concerning himself? ), but on the testimony of the prophets who long before foretold all things which He did and suffered, that He gained a belief in His divinity, which could have happened neither to Apollonius, nor to Apuleius, nor to any of the magicians; nor can it happen at any time. When, therefore, he had poured forth such absurd ravings of his ignorance, when he had eagerly endeavoured utterly to destroy the truth, he dared to give to his books which were impious and the enemies of God the title of "truth-loving." O blind breast! O mind more black than Cimmerian darkness, as they say! He may perhaps have been a disciple of Anaxagoras, to whom snows were as black as ink. But it is the same blindness, to give the name of falsehood to truth, and of truth to falsehood. Doubtless the crafty man wished to conceal the wolf under the skin of a sheep, that he might ensnare the reader by a deceitful title. Let it be true; grant that you did this from ignorance, not from malice: what truth, however, have you brought to us, except that, being a defender of the gods, you had at last betrayed those very gods? For, having set forth the praises of the Supreme God, whom you confessed to be king, most mighty, the maker of all things, the fountain of honours, the parent of all, the creator and preserver of all living creatures, you took away the kingdom from your own Jupiter; and when you had driven him from the supreme power, you reduced him to the rank of servants. Thus your own conclusion convicts you of folly, vanity, and error. For you affirm that the gods exist, and yet you subject and enslave them to that God whose religion you attempt to overturn.
2. From Lactantius Of the Manner in Which the Persecutors Died, chapter 16: "But what need of a particular recital of those things, especially to you, my best beloved Donatus, who above all others was exposed to the storm of that violent persecution? For when you had fallen into the hands of the prefect Flaccinian, no puny murderer, and afterwards of Hierocles, who from a deputy became president of Bithynia, the author and adviser of the persecution, and last of all into the hands of his successor Priscillian, you displayed to mankind a pattern of invincible magnanimity. Having been nine times exposed to racks and diversified torments, nine times by a glorious profession of your faith you foiled the adversary; in nine combats you subdued the devil and his chosen soldiers; and by nine victories you triumphed, over this world and its terrors. How pleasing the spectacle to God, when He beheld you a conqueror, yoking in your chariot not white horses, nor enormous elephants, but those very men who had led captive the nations! After this sort to lord it over the lords of the earth is triumph indeed! Now, by your valour were they conquered, when you set at defiance their flagitious edicts, and, through stedfast faith and the fortitude of your soul, you routed all the vain terrors of tyrannical authority. Against you neither scourges, nor iron claws, nor fire, nor sword, nor various kinds of torture, availed aught; and no violence could bereave you of your fidelity and persevering resolution. This it is to be a disciple of God, and this it is to be a soldier of Christ; a soldier whom no enemy can dislodge, or wolf snatch, from the heavenly camp; no artifice ensnare, or pain of body subdue, or torments overthrow. At length, after those nine glorious combats, in which the devil was vanquished by you, he dared not to enter the lists again with one whom, by repeated trials, he had found unconquerable; and he abstained from challenging you any more, lest you should have laid hold on the garland of victory already stretched out to you; an unfading garland, which, although you have not at present received it, is laid up in the kingdom of the Lord for your virtue and deserts. But let us now return to the course of our narrative."
3. Eusebius, Against Hierocles, chapter 4; "For when we have thoroughly examined these facts, we shall no doubt obtain a clear demonstration of the solidity and, as he imagines to himself, of the accuracy in detail of the condemnation which the "Lover of Truth," who has at the same time taken possession of the supreme courts all over the province, passes on Christians, and at the same time of what they are pleased to call our reckless and facile credulity, for we are accounted by them to be mere foolish and deluded mortals."
4. Eusebius, ibid., chapter 19: "SUCH are the stories which Hierocles, who has been entrusted to administer the supreme courts of justice all over the province, finds true and reliable after due enquiry, at the same time that he condemns us for our excessive credulity and frivolity ; and after himself believing such things when he finds them in Philostratus, he proceeds to brag about himself and says (I quote his very words): "Let us anyhow observe how much better and more cautiously we accept such things, and what opinion we hold of men gifted with such powers and virtues.""