The remarks I have advanced on this case will be also of use to me in illustrating the subsequent parable of the rich man(2) tormented in hell, and the poor man resting in Abraham's bosom.(3) For this passage, so far as its letter goes, comes before us abruptly; but if we regard its sense and purport, it naturally(4) fits in with the mention of John wickedly slain, and of Herod, who had been condemned by him for his impious marriage.(5) It sets forth in bold outline(6) the end of both of them, the "torments" of Herod and the "comfort" of John, that even now Herod might hear that warning: "They have there Moses and the prophets, let them hear them."(7) Marcion, however, violently turns the passage to another end, and decides that both the torment and the comfort are retributions of the Creator reserved in the next life(8) for those who have obeyed the law and the prophets; whilst he defines the heavenly bosom and harbour to belong to Christ and his own god. Our answer to this is, that the Scripture itself which dazzles(9) his sight expressly distinguishes between Abraham's bosom, where the poor man dwells, and the infernal place of torment. "Hell" (I take it) means one thing, and "Abraham's bosom" another. "A great gulf." is said to separate those regions, and to hinder a passage from one to the other. Besides, the rich man could not have "lifted up his eyes,"(10) and from a distance too, except to a superior height, and from the said distance all up through the vast immensity of height and depth. It must therefore be evident to every man of intelligence who has ever heard of the Elysian fields, that there is some determinate place called Abraham's bosom, and that it is designed for the reception of the souls of Abraham's children, even from among the Gentiles (since he is "the father of many nations," which must be classed amongst his family), and of the same faith as that wherewithal he himself believed God, without the yoke of the law and the sign of circumcision. This region, therefore, I call Abraham's bosom. Although it is not in heaven, it is yet higher than hell,(11) and is appointed to afford an interval of rest to the souls of the righteous, until the consummation of all things shall complete the resurrection of all men with the "full recompense of their reward."(12) This consummation will then be manifested in heavenly promises, which Marcion, however, claims for his own god, just as if the Creator had never announced them. Amos, however, tells us of "those stories towards heaven"(13) which Christ "builds"--of course for His people. There also is that everlasting abode of which Isaiah asks, "Who shall declare unto you the eternal place, but He (that is, of course, Christ) who walketh in righteousness, speaketh of the straight path, hateth injustice and iniquity?"(14) Now, although this everlasting abode is promised, and the ascending stories (or steps) to heaven are built by the Creator, who further promises that the seed of Abraham shall be even as the stars of heaven, by virtue certainly of the heavenly promise, why may it not be possible,(15) without any injury to that promise, that by Abraham's bosom is meant some temporary receptacle of faithful souls, wherein is even now delineated an image of the future, and where is given some foresight of the glory(16) of both judgments? If so, you have here, O heretics, during your present lifetime, a warning that Moses and the prophets declare one only God, the Creator, and His only Christ, and how that both awards of everlasting punishment and eternal salvation rest with Him, the one only God, who kills and who makes alive. Well, but the admonition, says Marcion, of our God from heaven has commanded us not to hear Moses and the prophets, but Christ; Hear Him is the command.(17) This is true enough. For the apostles had by that time sufficiently heard Moses and the prophets, for they had followed Christ, being persuaded by Moses and the prophets. For even Peter would not have been able(18) to say, "Thou art the Christ," (19) unless he had beforehand heard and believed Moses and the prophets, by whom alone Christ had been hitherto announced. Their faith, indeed, had deserved this confirmation by such a voice from heaven as should bid them hear Him, whom they had recognized as preaching peace, announcing glad tidings, promising an everlasting abode, building for them steps upwards into heaven.(1) Down in hell, however, it was said concerning them: "They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them!"--event hose who did not believe them or at least did not sincerely(2) believe that after death there were punishments for the arrogance of wealth and the glory of luxury, announced indeed by Moses and the prophets, but decreed by that God, who deposes princes from their thrones, and raiseth up the poor from dunghills.(3) Since, therefore, it is quite consistent in the Creator to pronounce different sentences in the two directions of reward and punishment, we shall have to conclude that there is here no diversity of gods,(4) but only a difference in the actual matters(5) before us.
CHAP. XXXV.--THE JUDICIAL SEVERITY OF CHRIST AND THE TENDERNESS OF THE CREATOR, ASSERTED IN CONTRADICTION TO MARCION. THE CURE OF THE TEN LEPERS. OLD TESTAMENT ANALOGIES. THE KINGDOM OF GOD WITHIN YOU; THIS TEACHING SIMILAR TO THAT OF MOSES. CHRIST, THE STONE REJECTED BY THE BUILDERS. INDICATIONS OF SEVERITY IN THE COMING OF CHRIST. PROOFS THAT HE IS NOT THE IMPASSIBLE BEING MARCION IMAGINED.
Then, turning to His disciples, He says: "Woe unto him through whom offences come! It were better for him if he had not been born, or if a millstone were hanged about his neck and he were cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones,"(6) that is, one of His disciples. Judge, then, what the sort of punishment is which He so severely threatens. For it is no stranger who is to avenge the offence done to His disciples. Recognise also in Him the Judge, and one too, who expresses Himself on the safety of His followers with the same tenderness as that which the Creator long ago exhibited: "He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of my eye."(7) Such identity of care proceeds fro m one and the same Being. A trespassing brother He will have rebuked.(8) If one failed in this duty of reproof, he in fact sinned, either because out of hatred he wished his brother to continue in sin, or else spared him from mistaken friendship,(9) although possessing the injunction in Leviticus: "Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart; thy neighbor thou shalt seriously rebuke, and on his account shalt not contract sin."(10) Nor is it to be wondered at, if He thus teaches who forbids your refusing to bring back even your brother's cattle, if you find them astray in the road; much more should you bring back your erring brother to himself. He commands you to forgive your brother, should he trespass against you even "seven times."(11) But that surely, is a small matter; for with the Creator there is a larger grace, when He sets no limits to forgiveness, indefinitely charging you "not to bear any malice against your brother,"(12) and to give not merely to him who asks, but even to him who does not ask. For His will is, not that you should forgive(13) an offence, but forget it.
The law about lepers had a profound meaning as respects(14) the forms of the disease itself, and of the inspection by the high priest.(15) The interpretation of this sense it will be our task to ascertain. Marcion's labour, however, is to object to us the strictness(16) of the law, with the view of maintaining that here also Christ is its enemy--forestalling(17) its enactments even in His cure of the ten lepers. These He simply commanded to show themselves to the priest; "and as they went, He cleansed them"(18)--without a touch, and without a word, by His silent power and simple will. Well, but what necessity was there for Christ, who had been once for all announced as the healer of our sicknesses and sins,and had proved Himself such by His acts,(19) to busy Himself with inquiries(20) into the qualities and details of cures; or for the Creator to be summoned to the scrutiny of the law in the person of Christ? If any pan of this healing was effected by Him in a way different from the law, He yet Himself did it to perfection; for surely the Lord may by Himself, or by His Son, produce after one manner, and after another manner by His servants the prophets, those proofs of His power and might especially, which (as excelling in glory and strength, because they are His own acts) rightly enough leave in the distance behind them the works which are done by His servants. But enough has been already said on this point in a former passage. (1) Now, although He said in a preceding chapter,(2) that "there were many lepers in lsrael in the days of Eliseus the prophet, and none of them was cleansed saving Naaman the Syrian," yet of course the mere number proves nothing towards a difference in the gods, as tending to the abasement(3) of the Creator in curing only one, and the pre-eminence of Him who healed ten. For who can doubt that many might have been cured by Him who cured one more easily than ten by him who had never healed one before? But His main purpose in this declaration was to strike at the unbelief or the pride of Israel, in that (although there were many lepers amongst them, and a prophet was not wanting to them) not one had been moved even by so conspicuous an example to betake himself to God who was working in His prophets. Forasmuch, then, as He was Himself the veritable(4) High Priest of God the Father, He inspected them according to the hidden purport of the law, which signified that Christ was the true distinguis her and extinguisher of the defilements of mankind. However, what was obviously required by the law He commanded should be done: "Go," said He, "show yourselves to the priests."(5) Yet why this, if He meant to cleanse them first? Was it as a despiser of the law, in order to prove to them that, having been cured already on the road, the law was now nothing to them, nor even the priests? Well, the matter must of course pass as it best may,(6) if anybody supposes that Christ had such views as these!(7) But there are certainly better interpretations to be found of the passage, and more deserving of belief: how that they were cleansed on this account, because(8) they were obedient, and went as the law required, when they were commanded to go to the priests; and it is not to be believed that persons who observed the law could have found a cure from a god that was destroying the law. Why, however, did He not give such a command to the leper who first returned?(9) Because Elisha did not in the case of Naaman the Syrian, and yet was not on that account less the Creator's agent? This is a sufficient answer. But the believer knows that there is a pro-founder reason. Consider, therefore, the true motives.(10) The miracle was performed in the district of Samaria, to which country also belonged one of the lepers.(11) Samaria, however, had revolted from Israel, carrying with it the disaffected nine tribes,(12) which, having been alienated(13) by the prophet Ahijah,(14) Jeroboam settled in Samaria. Besides, the Samaritans were always pleased with the mountains and the wells of their ancestors. Thus, in the Gospel of John, the woman of Samaria, when conversing with the Lord at the well, says, "No doubt(15) Thou art greater," etc.; and again, "Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; but ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship."(16) Accordingly, He who said, "Woe unto them that trust in the mountain of Samaria,"(17) vouchsafing now to restore that very region, purposely requests the men "to go and show themselves to the priests," because these were to be found only there where the temple was; submitting(18) the Samaritan to the Jew, inasmuch as "salvation was of the Jews,"(19) whether to the Israelite or the Samaritan. To the tribe of Judah, indeed, wholly appertained the promised Christ,(20) in order that men might know that at Jerusalem were both the priests and the temple; that there also was the womb(21) of religion, and its living fountain, not its mere "well."(22) Seeing, therefore, that they recognised(23) the truth that at Jerusalem the law was to be fulfilled, He healed them. whose salvation was to come(24) of faith(25) without the ceremony of the law. Whence also, astonished that one only out of the ten was thankful for his release to the divine grace, He does not command him to offer a gift according to the law, because he had already paid his tribute of gratitude when "he glorified God;(26) for thus did the Lord will that the law's requirement should be interpreted. And yet who was the God to whom the Samaritan gave thanks, because thus far not even had an Israelite heard of another god? Who else but He by whom all had hitherto been healed through Christ? And therefore it was said to him, "Thy faith hath made thee whole,"(1) because he had discovered that it was his duty to render the true oblation to Almighty God--even thanksgiving--in His true temple, and before His true High Priest Jesus Christ. But it is impossible either that the Pharisees should seem to have inquired of the Lord about the coming of the kingdom of the rival god, when no other god has ever yet been announced by Christ; or that He should have answered them concerning the kingdom of any other god than Him of whom they were in the habit of asking Him. "The kingdom of God," He says, "cometh not with observation; neither do they say, La here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."(2) Now, who will not interpret the words "within you" to mean in your hand, within your power, if you hear, and do the commandment of God? If, however, the kingdom of God lies in His commandment, set before your mind Moses on the other side, according to our antitheses, and you will find the self-same view of the case.(3) "The commandment is not a lofty one,(4) neither is it far off from thee. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, 'Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?' nor is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, 'Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it ?' But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, and in thy hands, to do it."(5) This means, "Neither in this place nor that place is the kingdom of God; for, behold, it is within you."(6) And if the heretics, in their audacity, should contend that the Lord did not give an answer about His own kingdom, but only about the Creator's kingdom, concerning which they had inquired, then the following words are against them. For He tells them that "the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected," before His coming,(7) at which His kingdom will be really(8) revealed. In this statement He shows that it was His own kingdom which His answer to them had contemplated, and which was now awaiting His own sufferings and rejection. But having to be rejected and afterwards to be acknowledged, and taken up(9) and glorified, He borrowed the very word "rejected" from the passage, where, under the figure of a stone, His twofold manifestation was celebrated by David--the first in rejection, the second in honour: "The stone," says He, "which the builders rejected, is become the head-stone of the corner. This is the Lord's doing."(10) Now it would be idle, if we believed that God had predicted the humiliation, or even the glory, of any Christ at all, that He could have signed His prophecy for any but Him whom He had foretold under the figure of a stone, and a rock, and a mountain.(11) If, however, He speaks of His own coming, why does He compare it with the days of Noe and of Lot, which were dark and terrible--a mild and gentle God as He is? Why does He bid us "remember Lot's wife,"(13) who despised the Creator's command, and was punished for her contempt, if He does not come with judgment to avenge the infraction of His precepts? If He really does punish, like the Creator,(14) if He is my Judge, He ought not to have adduced examples for the purpose of instructing me from Him whom He yet destroys, that He(15) might not seem to be my instructor. But if He does not even here speak of His own coming, but of the coming of the Hebrew Christ,(16) let us still wait in expectation that He will vouchsafe to us some prophecy of His own advent; meanwhile we will continue to believe that He is none other than He whom He reminds us of in every passage.
CHAP. XXXVI.--THE PARABLES OF THE IMPORTUNATE WIDOW, AND OF THE PHARISEE AND THE PUBLICAN. CHRIST'S ANSWER TO THE RICH RULER, THE CURE OF THE BLIND MAN. HIS SALUTATION--SON OF DAVID. ALL PROOFS OF CHRIST'S RELATION TO THE CREATOR, MARCION'S ANTITHESIS BETWEEN DAVID AND CHRIST CONFUTED.
When He recommends perseverance and earnestness in prayer, He sets before us the parable of the judge who was compelled to listen to the widow, owing to the earnestness and importunity of her requests.(17) He show us that it is God the judge whom we must importune with prayer, and not Himself, if He is not Himself the judge. But He added, that "God would avenge His own elect."(18) Since, then, He who judges will also Himself be the avenger, He proved that the Creator is on that account the specially good God,(1) whom He represented as the avenger of His own elect, who cry day and night to Him, And yet, when He introduces to our view the Creator's temple, and describes two men worshipping therein with diverse feelings--the Pharisee in pride, the publican in humility--and shows us how they accordingly went down to their homes, one rejected,(2) the other justified,(3) He surely, by thus teaching us the proper discipline of prayer, has determined that that God must be prayed to from whom men were to receive this discipline of prayer --whether condemnatory of pride, or justifying in humility.(4) I do not find from Christ any temple, any suppliants, any sentence (of approval or condemnation) belonging to any other god than the Creator. Him does He enjoin us to worship in humility, as the lifter-up of the humble, not in pride, because He brings down(5) the proud. What other god has He manifested to me to receive my supplications? With what formula of worship, with what hope (shall I approach him?) I trow, none. For the prayer which He has taught us suits, as we have proved,(6) none but the Creator. It is, of course, another matter if He does not wish to be prayed to, because He is the supremely and spontaneously good God! But who is this good God? There is, He says, "none but one."(7) It is not as if He had shown us that one of two gods was the supremely good; but He expressly asserts that there is one only good God, who is the only good, because He is the only God. Now, undoubtedly,(8) He is the good God who "sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust, and maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good;"(9) sustaining and nourishing and assisting even Marcionites themselves!
When afterwards "a certain man asked him, 'Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?'" (Jesus) inquired whether he knew (that is, in other words, whether he kept) the commandments of the Creator, in order to testify(10) that it was by the Creator's precepts that eternal life is acquired.(11) Then, when he affirmed that from his youth up he had kept all the principal commandments, l (Jesus) said to him: "One thing thou yet lackest: sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."(12) Well now, Marcion, and all ye who are companions in misery, and associates in hatred(13) with that heretic, what will you dare say to this? Did Christ rescind the forementioned commandments: "Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother?" Or did He both keep them, and then add(14) what was wanting to them? This very precept, however, about giving to the poor, was very largely(15) diffused through the pages of the law and the prophets. This vainglorious observer of the commandments was therefore convicted(16) of holding money in much higher estimation (than charity). This verity of the gospel then stands unimpaired: "I am not come to destroy the law and the prophets, but rather to fulfil them."(17) He also dissipated other doubts, when He declared that the name of God and of the Good belonged to one and the same being, at whose disposal were also the everlasting life and the treasure in heaven and Himself too--whose commandments He both maintained and augmented with His own supplementary precepts. He may likewise be discovered in the following passage of Micah, saying: "He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to be ready to follow the Lord thy God?"(18) Now Christ is the man who tells us what is good, even the knowledge of the law. "Thou knowest," says He, "the commandments." "To do justly"--"Sell all that thou hast;" "to love mercy"--"Give to the poor:" "and to be ready to walk with God"--"And come," says He, "follow me."(19) The Jewish nation was from its beginning so carefully divided into tribes and clans, and families and houses, that no man could very well have been ignorant of his descent--even from the recent assessments of Augustus, which were still probably extant at this time.(20) But the Jesus of Marcion (although there could be no doubt of a person's having been born, who was seen to be a man), as being unborn, could not, of course, have possessed any public testimonial(21) of his descent, but was to be regarded as one of that obscure class of whom nothing was in any way known.
Why then did the blind man, on hearing that He was passing by, exclaim, "Jesus, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me?"(1) unless he was considered, in no uncertain manner,(2) to be the Son of David (in other words, to belong to David's family) through his mother and his brethren, who at some time or other had been made known to him by public notoriety? "Those, however, who went before rebuked the blind man, that he should hold his peace."(3) And properly enough; because he was very noisy, not because he was wrong about the son of David Else you must show me, that those who rebuked him were aware that Jesus was not the Son of David, in order that they may be supposed to have had this reason for imposing silence on the blind man. But even if you could show me this, still (the blind man) would more readily have presumed that they were ignorant, than that the Lord could possibly have permitted an untrue exclamation about Himself. But the Lord "stood patient."(4) Yes; but not as confirming the error, for, on the contrary, He rather displayed the Creator. Surely He could not have first removed this man's blindness, in order that he might afterwards cease to regard Him as the Son of David! However,(5) that you may not slander(6) His patience, nor fasten on Him any charge of dissimulation, nor deny Him to be the Son of David, He very pointedly confirmed the exclamation of the blind man--both by the actual gift of healing, and by bearing testimony to his faith: "Thy faith," say Christ, "hath made thee whole."(7) What would you have the blind man's faith to have been? That Jesus was descended from that (alien) god (of Marcion), to subvert the Creator and overthrow the law and the prophets? That He was not the destined offshoot from the root of Jesse, and the fruit of David's loins, the restorer(8) also of the blind? But I apprehend there were at that time no such stone-blind persons as Marcion, that an opinion like this could have constituted the faith of the blind man, and have induced him to confide in the mere named of Jesus, the Son of David. He, who knew all this of Hi mself,(10) and wished others to know it also, endowed the faith of this man--although it was already gifted with a better sight, and although it was in possession of the true light--with the external vision likewise, in order that we too might learn the rule of faith, and at the same time find its recompense. Whosoever wishes to see Jesus the Son of David must believe in Him; through the Virgin's birth.(11) He who will not believe this will not hear from Him the salutation, "Thy faith hath saved thee." And so he will remain blind, falling into Antithesis after Antithesis, which mutually destroy each other,(12) just as "the blind man leads the blind down into the ditch."(13) For (here is one of Marcion's Antitheses): whereas David in old time, in the capture of Sion, was offended by the blind who opposed his admission (into the stronghold)(14)--in which respect (I should rather say) that they were a type of people equally blind,(15) who in after-times would not admit Christ to be the son of David--so, on the contrary, Christ succoured the blind man, to show by this act that He was not David's son, and how different in disposition He was, kind to the blind, while David ordered them to be slain.(16) If all this were so, why did Marcion allege that the blind man's faith was of so worthless(17) a stamp? The fact is,(18) the Son of David so acted,(19) that the Antithesis must lose its point by its own absurdity.(20) Those persons who offended David were blind, and the man who now presents himself as a suppliant to David's son is afflicted with the same infirmity.(21) Therefore the Son of David was appeased with some sort of satisfaction by the blind man when He restored him to sight, and added His approval of the faith which had led him to believe the very truth, that he must win to his help(22) the Son of David by earnest entreaty. But, after all, I suspect that it was the audacity (of the old Jebusites) which offended David, and not their malady.
CHAP. XXXVII.--CHRIST AND ZACCHAEUS. THE SALVATION OF THE BODY AS DENIED BY MARCION. THE PARABLE OF THE TEN SERVANTS ENTRUSTED WITH TEN POUNDS. CHRIST A JUDGE, WHO IS TO ADMINISTER THE WILL OF THE AUSTERE MAN, I.E. THE CREATOR.
"Salvation comes to the house" of Zacchaeus even.(1) For what reason? Was it because he also believed that Christ came by Marcion? But the blind man's cry was still sounding in the ears of all: "Jesus, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me." And "all the people gave praise unto God"--not Marcion's, but David's. Now, although Zacchaeus was probably a Gentile,(2) he yet from his intercourse with Jews had obtained a smattering(3) of their Scriptures, and, more than this, had, without knowing it, fulfilled the precepts of Isaiah: "Deal thy bread," said the prophet, "to the hungry, and bring the poor that are cast out into thine house."(4) This he did in the best possible way, by receiving the Lord, and entertaining Him in his house. "When thou seest the naked cover him."(5) This he promised to do, in an equally satisfactory way, when he offered the half of his goods for all works of mercy.(6) So also "he loosened the bands of wickedness. undid the heavy burdens, let the oppressed go free, and broke every yoke,"(7) when he said, "If I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold."(8) Therefore the Lord said, "This day is salvation come to this house."(9) Thus did He give His testimony, that the precepts of the Creator spoken by the prophet tended to salvation.(10) But when He adds, "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost,"(11) my present contention is not whether He was come to save what was lost, to whom it had once belonged, and from whom what He came to save had fallen away; but I approach a different question. Man, there can be no doubt of it, is here the subject of consideration. Now, since he consists of two pans,(12) body and soul, the point to be inquired into is, in which of these two man would seem to have been lost? If in his body, then it is his body, not his soul, which is lost. What, however, is lost, the Son of man saves. The body,(13) therefore, has the salvation. If, (on the other hand,) it is in his soul that man is lost, salvation is designed for the lost soul; and the body which is not lost is safe. If, (to take the only other supposition,) man is wholly lost, in both his natures, then it necessarily follows that salvation is appointed for the entire man; and then the opinion of the heretics is shivered to pieces,(14) who say that there is no salvation of the flesh. And this affords a confirmation that Christ belongs to the Creator, who followed the Creator in promising the salvation of the whole man. The parable also of the (ten) servants, who received their several recompenses according to the manner in which they had increased their lord's money by trading? proves Him to be a God of judgment--even a God who, in strict account,(16) not only bestows honour, but also takes away what a man seems to have.(17) Else, if it is the Creator whom He has here delineated as the "austere man," who "takes up what he laid not down, and reaps what he did not sow,"(18) my instructor even here is He, (whoever He may be,) to whom belongs the money He teaches me fruitfully to expend.(19)