Ante-nicene fathers



Download 6.35 Mb.
Page42/127
Date31.05.2016
Size6.35 Mb.
1   ...   38   39   40   41   42   43   44   45   ...   127


“Observe, too, how the same promises are made to Isaac and to Jacob. For thus He speaks to Isaac: ‘And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.’459 And to Jacob: ‘And in thee and in thy seed shall all families of the earth be blessed.’460 He says that neither to Esau nor to Reuben, nor to any other; only to those of whom the Christ should arise, according to the dispensation, through the Virgin Mary. But if you would consider the blessing of Judah, you would perceive what I say. For the seed is divided from Jacob, and comes down through Judah, and Phares, and Jesse, and David. And this was a symbol of the fact that some of your nation would be found children of Abraham, and found, too, in the lot of Christ; but that others, who are indeed children of Abraham, would be like the sand on the sea-shore, barren and fruitless, much in quantity, and without number indeed, but bearing no fruit whatever, and only drinking the water of the sea. And a vast multitude in your nation are convicted of being of this kind, imbibing doctrines of bitterness and godlessness, but spurning the word of God. He speaks therefore in the passage relating to Judah: ‘A prince shall not fail from Judah, nor a ruler from his thighs, till that which is laid up for him come; and He shall be the expectation of the nations.’461 And it is plain that this was spoken not of Judah, but of Christ. For all we out of all nations do expect not Judah, but Jesus, who led your fathers out of Egypt. For the prophecy referred even to the advent of Christ: ‘Till He come for whom this is laid up, and He shall be the expectation of nations.’ Jesus came, therefore, as we have shown at length, and is expected again to appear above the clouds; whose name you profane, and labour hard to get it profaned over all the earth. It were possible for me, sirs,” I continued, “to contend against you about the reading which you so interpret, saying it is written, ‘Till the things laid up for Him come; ’though the Seventy have not so explained it, but thus, ‘Till He comes for whom this is laid up.’ But since what follows indicates that the reference is to Christ (for it is, ‘and He shall be the expectation of nations’), I do not proceed to have a mere verbal controversy with you, as I have not attempted to establish proof about Christ from the passages of Scripture which are not admitted by you462 which I quoted from the words of Jeremiah the prophet, and Esdras, and David; but from those which are even now admitted by you, which had your teachers comprehended, be well assured they would have deleted them, as they did those about the death of Isaiah, whom you sawed asunder with a wooden saw. And this was a mysterious type of Christ being about to cut your nation in two, and to raise those worthy of the honour to the everlasting kingdom along with the holy patriarchs and prophets; but He has said that He will send others to the condemnation of the unquenchable fire along with similar disobedient and impenitent men from all the nations. ‘For they shall come, ’He said, ‘from the west and from the east, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness.’463 And I have mentioned these things, taking nothing whatever into consideration, except the speaking of the truth, and refusing to be coerced by any one, even though I should be forthwith torn in pieces by you. For I gave no thought to any of my people, that is, the Samaritans, when I had a communication in writing with Caesar,464 but stated that they were wrong in trusting to the magician Simon of their own nation, who, they say, is God above all power, and authority, and might.”

Chapter CXXI.—From the Fact that the Gentiles Believe in Jesus, It is Evident that He is Christ.

And as they kept silence, I went on: “[The Scripture], speaking by David about this Christ, my friends, said no longer that ‘in His seed’ the nations should be blessed, but ‘in Him.’ So it is here: ‘His name shall rise up for ever above the sun; and in Him shall all nations be blessed.’465 But if all nations are blessed in Christ, and we of all nations believe in Him, then He is indeed the Christ, and we are those blessed by Him. God formerly gave the sun as an object of worship,466 as it is written, but no one ever was seen to endure death on account of his faith in the sun; but for the name of Jesus you may see men of every nation who have endured and do endure all sufferings, rather than deny Him. For the word of His truth and wisdom is more ardent and more light-giving than the rays of the sun, and sinks down into the depths of heart and mind. Hence also the Scripture said, ‘His name shall rise up above the sun.’ And again, Zechariah says, ‘His name is the East.’467 And speaking of the same, he says that ‘each tribe shall mourn.’468 But if He so shone forth and was so mighty in His first advent (which was without honour and comeliness, and very contemptible), that in no nation He is unknown, and everywhere men have repented of the old wickedness in each nation’s way of living, so that even demons were subject to His name, and all powers and kingdoms feared His name more than they feared all the dead, shall He not on His glorious advent destroy by all means all those who hated Him, and who unrighteously departed from Him, but give rest to His own, rewarding them with all they have looked for? To us, therefore, it has been granted to hear, and to understand, and to be saved by this Christ, and to recognise all the [truths revealed] by the Father. Wherefore He said to Him: ‘It is a great thing for Thee to be called my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and turn again the dispersed of Israel. I have appointed Thee for a light to the Gentiles, that Thou mayest be their salvation unto theend of the earth.’469

Chapter CXXII.—The Jews Understand This of the Proselytes Without Reason.

“You think that these words refer to the stranger470 and the proselytes, but in fact they refer to us who have been illumined by Jesus. For Christ would have borne witness even to them; but now you are become twofold more the children of hell, as He said Himself.471 Therefore what was written by the prophets was spoken not of those persons, but of us, concerning whom the Scripture speaks: ‘I will lead the blind by a way which they knew not; and they shall walk in paths which they have not known. And I am witness, saith the Lord God, and my servant whom I have chosen.’472 To whom, then, does Christ bear witness? Manifestly to those who have believed. But the proselytes not only do not believe, but twofold more than yourselves blaspheme His name, and wish to torture and put to death us who believe in Him; for in all points they strive to be like you. And again in other words He cries: ‘I the Lord have called Thee in righteousness, and will hold Thine hand, and will strengthen Thee, and will give Thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out the prisoners from their bonds.’473 These words, indeed, sirs, refer also to Christ, and concern the enlightened nations; or will you say again, He speaks to them of the law and the proselytes? ”

Then some of those who had come on the second day cried out as if they had been in a theatre, “But what? does He not refer to the law, and to those illumined by it? Now these are proselytes.”

“No,” I said, looking towards Trypho, “since, if the law were able to enlighten the nations and those who possess it, what need is there of a new covenant? But since God announced beforehand that He would send a new covenant, and an everlasting law and commandment, we will not understand this of the old law and its proselytes, but of Christ and His proselytes, namely us Gentiles, whom He has illumined, as He says somewhere: ‘Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard Thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped Thee, and I have given Thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, and to inherit the deserted.’474 What, then, is Christ’s inheritance? Is it not the nations? What is the covenant of God? Is it not Christ? As He says in another place: ‘Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten Thee. Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the nations for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession.’475

Chapter CXXIII.—Ridiculous Interpretations of the Jews. Christians are the True Israel.

“As, therefore, all these latter prophecies refer to Christ and the nations, you should believe that the former refer to Him and them in like manner. For the proselytes have no need of a covenant, if, since there is one and the same law imposed on all that are circumcised, the Scripture speaks about them thus: ‘And the stranger shall also be joined with them, and shall be joined to the house of Jacob; ’476 and because the proselyte, who is circumcised that he may have access to the people, becomes like one of themselves,477 while we who have been deemed worthy to be called a people are yet Gentiles, because we have not been circumcised. Besides, it is ridiculous for you to imagine that the eyes of the proselytes are to be opened while your own are not, and that you be understood as blind and deaf while they are enlightened. And it will be still more ridiculous for you, if you say that the law has been given to the nations, but you have not known it. For you would have stood in awe of God’s wrath, and would not have been lawless, wandering sons; being much afraid of hearing God always say, ‘Children in whom is no faith. And who are blind, but my servants? and deaf, but they that rule over them? And the servants of God have been made blind. You see often, but have not observed; your ears have been opened, and you have not heard.’478 Is God’s commendation of you honourable? and is God’s testimony seemly for His servants? You are not ashamed though you often hear these words. You do not tremble at God’s threats, for you are a people foolish and hard-hearted. ‘Therefore, behold, I will proceed to remove this people, ’saith the Lord; ‘and I will remove them, and destroy the wisdom of the wise, and hide the understanding of the prudent.’479 Deservedly too: for you are neither wise nor prudent, but crafty and unscrupulous; wise only to do evil, but utterly incompetent to know the hidden counsel of God, or the faithful covenant of the Lord, or to find out the everlasting paths. ‘Therefore, saith the Lord, I will raise up to Israel and to Judah the seed of men and the seed of beasts.’480 And by Isaiah He speaks thus concerning another Israel: ‘In that day shall there be a third Israel among the Assyrians and the Egyptians, blessed in the land which the Lord of Sabaoth hath blessed, saying, blessed shall my people in Egypt and in Assyria be, and Israel mine inheritance.’481 Since then God blesses this people, and calls them Israel, and declares them to be His inheritance, how is it that you repent not of the deception you practise on yourselves, as if you alone were the Israel, and of execrating the people whom God has blessed? For when He speaks to Jerusalem and its environs, He thus added: ‘And I will beget men upon you, even my people Israel; and they shall inherit you, and you shall be a possession for them; and you shall be no longer bereaved of them.’”482

“What, then? ”says Trypho; “are you Israel? and speaks He such things of you? ”

“If, indeed,” I replied to him, “we had not entered into a lengthy483 discussion on these topics, I might have doubted whether you ask this question in ignorance; but since we have brought the matter to a conclusion by demonstration and with your assent, I do not believe that you are ignorant of what I have just said, or desire again mere contention, but that you are urging me to exhibit the same proof to these men.” And in compliance with the assent expressed in his eyes, I continued: “Again in Isaiah, if you have ears to hear it, God, speaking of Christ in parable, calls Him Jacob and Israel. He speaks thus: ‘Jacob is my servant, I will uphold Him; Israel is mine elect, I will put my Spirit upon Him, and He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry, neither shall any one hear His voice in the street: a bruised reed He shall not break, and smoking flax He shall not quench; but He shall bring forth judgment to truth: He shall shine,484 and shall not be broken till He have set judgment on the earth. And in His name shall the Gentiles trust.’485 As therefore from the one man Jacob, who was surnamed Israel, all your nation has been called Jacob and Israel; so we from Christ, who begat us unto God, like Jacob, and Israel, and Judah, and Joseph, and David, are called and are the true sons of God, and keep the commandments of Christ.”

Chapter CXXIV.—Christians are the Sons of God.

And when I saw that they were perturbed because I said that we are the sons of God, I anticipated their questioning, and said, “Listen, sirs, how the Holy Ghost speaks of this people, saying that they are all sons of the Highest; and how this very Christ will be present in their assembly, rendering judgment to all men. The words are spoken by David, and are, according to your version of them, thus: ‘God standeth in the congregation of gods; He judgeth among the gods. How long do ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Judge for the orphan and the poor, and do justice to the humble and needy. Deliver the needy, and save the poor out of the hand of the wicked. They know not, neither have they understood; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth shall be shaken. I said, Ye are gods, and are all children of the Most High. But ye die like men, and fall like one of the princes. Arise, O God! judge the earth, for Thou shalt inherit all nations.’486 But in the version of the Seventy it is written, ‘Behold, ye die like men, and fall like one of the princes, ’487 in order to manifest the disobedience of men,—I mean of Adam and Eve,—and the fall of one of the princes, i.e., of him who was called the serpent, who fell with a great overthrow, because he deceived Eve. But as my discourse is not intended to touch on this point, but to prove to you that the Holy Ghost reproaches men because they were made like God, free from suffering and death, provided that they kept His commandments, and were deemed deserving of the name of His sons, and yet they, becoming like Adam and Eve, work out death for themselves; let the interpretation of the Psalm be held just as you wish, yet thereby it is demonstrated that all men are deemed worthy of becoming “gods,” and of having power to become sons of the Highest; and shall be each by himself judged and condemned like Adam and Eve. Now I have proved at length that Christ is called God.

Chapter CXXV.—He Explains What Force the Word Israel Has, and How It Suits Christ.

“I wish, sirs,” I said, “to learn from you what is the force of the name Israel.” And as they were silent, I continued: “I shall tell you what I know: for I do not think it fight, when I know, not to speak; or, suspecting that you do know, and yet from envy or from voluntary ignorance deceive yourselves,488 to be continually solicitous; but I speak all things simply and candidly, as my Lord said: ‘A sower went forth to sow the seed; and some fell by the wayside; and some among thorns, and some on stony ground, and some on good ground.’489 I must speak, then, in the hope of finding good ground somewhere; since that Lord of mine, as One strong and powerful, comes to demand back His own from all, land will not condemn His steward if He recognises that he, by the knowledge that the Lord is powerful and has come to demand His own, has given it to every bank, and has not digged for any cause whatsoever. Accordingly the name Israel signifies this, A man who overcomes power; for >isra is a man overcoming, and >el is power.490 And that Christ would act so when He became man was foretold by the mystery of Jacob’s wrestling with Him who appeared to him, in that He ministered to the will of the Father, yet nevertheless is God, in that He is the first-begotten of all creatures. For when He became man, as I previously remarked, the devil came to Him—i.e., that power which is called the serpent and Sa-tan—tempting Him, and striving to effect His downfall by asking Him to worship him. But He destroyed and overthrew the devil, having proved him to be wicked, in that he asked to be worshipper as God, contrary to the Scripture; who is an apostate from the will of God. For He answers him, ‘It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shall thou serve.’491 Then, overcome and convicted, the devil departed at that time. But since our Christ was to be numbed, i.e., by pain and experience of suffering, He made a previous intimation of this by touching Jacob’s thigh, and causing it to shrink. But Israel was His name from the beginning, to which He altered the name of the blessed Jacob when He blessed him with His own name, proclaiming thereby that all who through Him have fled for refuge to the Father, constitute the blessed Israel. But you, having understood none of this, and not being prepared to understand, since you are the children of Jacob after the fleshly seed, expect that you shall be assuredly saved. But that you deceive yourselves in such matters, I have proved by many words.

Chapter CXXVI.—The Various Names of Christ According to Both Natures. It is Shown that He is God, and Appeared to the Patriarchs.



“But if you knew, Trypho,” continued I, “who He is that is called at one time the Angel of great counsel,492 and a Man by Ezekiel, and like the Son of man by Daniel, and a Child by Isaiah, and Christ and God to be worshipped by David, and Christ and a Stone by many, and Wisdom by Solomon, and Joseph and Judah and a Star by Moses, and the East by Zechariah, and the Suffering One and Jacob and Israel by Isaiah again, and a Rod, and Flower, and Corner-Stone, and Son of God, you would not have blasphemer Him who has now come, and been born, and suffered, and ascended to heaven; who shall also come again, and then your twelve tribes shall mourn. For if you had understood what has been written by the prophets, you would not have denied that He was God, Son of the only, unbegotten, unutterable God. For Moses says somewhere in Exodus the following: ‘The Lord spoke to Moses, and said to him, I am the Lord, and I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, being their God; and my name I revealed not to them, and I established my covenant with them.’493 And thus again he says, ‘A man wrestled with Jacob, ’494 and asserts it was God; narrating that Jacob said, ‘I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.’ And it is recorded that he called the place where He wrestled with him, appeared to and blessed him, the Face of God (Peniel). And Moses says that God appeared also to Abraham near the oak in Mature, when he was sitting at the door of his tent at mid-day. Then he goes on to say: ‘And he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, three men stood before him; and when he saw them, he ran to meet them.’495 a After a little, one of them promises a son to Abraham: ‘Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall. I of a surety bear a child, and I am old? Is anything impossible with God? At the time appointed I will return, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. And they went away from Abraham.’496 Again he speaks of them thus: ‘And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom.’497 Then to Abraham He who was and is again speaks: ‘I will not hide from Abraham, my servant, what I intend to do.’”498 And what follows in the writings of Moses I quoted and explained; “from which I have demonstrated,” I said, “that He who is described as God appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, and the other patriarchs, was appointed under the authority of the Father and Lord, and ministers to His will.” Then I went on to say what I had not said before: “And so, when the people desired to eat flesh, and Moses had lost faith in Him, who also there is called the Angel, and who promised that God would give them to satiety, He who is both God and the Angel, sent by the Father, is described as saying and doing these things. For thus the Scripture says: ‘And the Lord said to Moses Will the Lord’s hand not be sufficient? thou shall know now whether my word shall conceal thee or not.’499 And again, in other words, it thus says: ‘But the Lord spoke unto me, Thou shalt not go over this Jordan: the Lord thy God, who goeth before thy face, He shall cut off the nations.’500

Chapter CXXVII.—These Passages of Scripture Do Not Apply to the Father, But to the Word.

“These and other such sayings are recorded by the lawgiver and by the prophets; and I suppose that I have stated sufficiently, that wherever501 God says, ‘God went up from Abraham, ’502 or, ‘The Lord spake to Moses, ’503 and ‘The Lord came down to behold the tower which the sons of men had built, ’504 or when ‘God shut Noah into the ark, ’505 you must not imagine that the unbegotten God Himself came down or went up from any place. For the ineffable Father and Lord of all neither has come to any place, nor walks, nor sleeps, nor rises up, but remains in His own place, wherever that is, quick to behold and quick to hear, having neither eyes nor ears, but being of indescribable might; and He sees all things, and knows all things, and none of us escapes His observation; and He is not moved or confined to a spot in the whole world, for He existed before the world was made. How, then, could He talk with any one, or be seen by any one, or appear on the smallest portion of the earth, when the people at Sinai were not able to look even on the glory of Him who was sent from Him; and Moses himself could not enter into the tabernacle which he had erected, when it was filled with the glory of God; and the priest could not endure to stand before the temple when Solomon conveyed the ark into the house in Jerusalem which he had built for it? Therefore neither Abraham, nor Isaac, nor Jacob, nor any other man, saw the Father and ineffable Lord of all, and also of Christ, but [saw] Him who was according to His will His Son, being God, and the Angel because He ministered to His will; whom also it pleased Him to be born man by the Virgin; who also was fire when He conversed with Moses from the bush. Since, unless we thus comprehend the Scriptures, it must follow that the Father and Lord of all had not been in heaven when what Moses wrote took place: ‘And the Lord rained upon Sodom fire and brimstone from the Lord out of heaven; ’506 and again, when it is thus said by David: ‘Lift up your gates, ye rulers; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting gates; and the King of glory shall enter; ’507 and again, when He says: ‘The Lord says to my Lord, Sit at My right hand, till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.’508

Chapter CXXVIII.—The Word is Sent Not as an Inanimate Power, But as a Person Begotten of the Father’s Substance.

“And that Christ being Lord, and God the Son of God, and appearing formerly in power as Man, and Angel, and in the glory of fire as at the bush, so also was manifested at the judgment executed on Sodom, has been demonstrated fully by what has been said.” Then I repeated once more all that I had previously quoted from Exodus, about the vision in the bush, and the naming of Joshua (Jesus), and continued: “And do not suppose, sirs, that I am speaking superfluously when I repeat these words frequently: but it is because I know that some wish to anticipate these remarks, and to say that the power sent from the Father of all which appeared to Moses, or to Abraham, or to Jacob, is called an Angel because He came to men (for by Him the commands of the Father have been proclaimed to men); is called Glory, because He appears in a vision sometimes that cannot be borne; is called a Man, and a human being, because He appears strayed in such forms as the Father pleases; and they call Him the Word, because He carries tidings from the Father to men: but maintain that this power is indivisible and inseparable from the Father, just as they say that the light of the sun on earth is indivisible and inseparable from the sun in the heavens; as when it sinks, the light sinks along with it; so the Father, when He chooses, say they, causes His power to spring forth, and when He chooses, He makes it return to Himself. In this way, they teach, He made the angels. But it is proved that there are angels who always exist, and are never reduced to that form out of which they sprang. And that this power which the prophetic word calls God, as has been also amply demonstrated, and Angel, is not numbered [as different] in name only like the light of the sun but is indeed something numerically distinct, I have discussed briefly in what has gone before; when I asserted that this power was begotten from the Father, by His power and will, but not by abscission, as if the essence of the Father were divided; as all other things partitioned and divided are not the same after as before they were divided: and, for the sake of example, I took the case of fires kindled from a fire, which we see to be distinct from it, and yet that from which many can be kindled is by no means made less, but remains the same.




Share with your friends:
1   ...   38   39   40   41   42   43   44   45   ...   127




The database is protected by copyright ©essaydocs.org 2020
send message

    Main page