NICENE AND POST-NICENE FATHERS OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH – by Rev.Bishop Uwe AE.Rosenkranz

A SELECT LIBRARY

 

OF THE

 

NICENE AND

POST-NICENE FATHERS

 

OF

 

THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH

 


 

 

 

 

EDITED BY

PHILIP SCHAFF, D.D., LL.D.,

PROFESSOR IN THE UNION THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, NEW YORK,

IN CONNECTION WITH A NUMBER OF PATRISTIC SCHOLARS OF EUROPE AND AMERICA.

VOLUME VI

ST. AUGUSTINE:

SERMON ON THE MOUNT, HOMILIES ON THE GOSPELS,

HOMILIES ON THE GOSPELS

NEW YORK:

THE CHRISTIAN LITERATURE COMPANY

1888

Copyright, 1888, by

THE CHRISTIAN LITERATURE COMPANY

Volume VI

Preface

Introductory Essay. St. Augustin as an Exegete

St. Aurelius Augustin

Our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount

Book I

Book II

The Harmony of the Gospels

Introductory Essay

Translator’s Introductory Notice

Book I

Book II

Book III

Book IV

Sermons on Selected Lessons of the New Testament

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PREFACE

This volume contains the exegetical and homiletical writings of St. Augustin on the Gospels.

The seventh volume will be devoted to his Commentary on the Gospel and First Epistle of John, and the Soliloquies. It will be finished by the 1st of next April.

The eighth and last volume is reserved for his Commentary on the Psalms, and will appear in July, 1888.

These eight volumes will form the most complete edition of St. Augustin’s Works in the English language, embracing the Edinburgh and Oxford translations, and several treatises never before translated, with introductions and explanatory notes.

Arrangements have been made for the regular issue of the Works of St. Chrysostom according to the terms of the Publisher’s Prospectus, which so far has been promptly carried out. The favourable reception of the preceding volumes by the public and the press, including some leading theological journals of Europe (such as The Church Quarterly Review, and Harnack’s Theologische Literaturzeitung), will encourage the editor and publisher to carry on this Patristic Library with undiminished energy and zeal.

PHILIP SCHAFF.

New York, December, 1887.

St. Aurelius Augustin

Bishop of Hippo

INTRODUCTORY ESSAY

ST. AUGUSTIN AS AN EXEGETE

BY THE REV. DAVID SCHLEY SCHAFF.

The exegetical writings of Augustin are commentaries on Genesis (first three chapters), the Psalms, the Gospel and First Epistle of John, the Sermon on the Mount, the Epistles to the Romans and Galatians, and a Harmony of the Gospels. Many of his commentaries, like those of Chrysostom, are expository homilies preached to his congregation at Hippo; all are practical rather than grammatical and critical. He only covered the first five verses of the first chapter of Romans, and found his comments so elaborate, that, from fear of the immense proportions a commentary on the whole Epistle would assume, he drew back from the task. Augustin’s other writings abound in quotations from Scripture, and pertinent expositions. His controversies with the Manichæans and Donatists were particularly adapted to render him thorough in the knowledge of the Bible, and skilled in its use.

The opinions of Augustin’s ability as an exegete, and the worth of his labors in the department of connected Biblical exposition, have greatly differed. Some not only represent him at his weakest in this capacity, but disparage his exegesis as of inferior merit. Others have given him, and some at the present time still give him, a very high rank among the chief commentators of the early Church. Père Simon, as quoted by Archbishop Trench (Sermon on the Mount, p. 65), says, “One must needs read a vast deal in the exegetical writings of Augustin to light on any thing which is good.” Reuss expresses himself thus: “The fact is, that his exegesis was the weak side of the great man” (Gesch. d. heil. Schriften N. T. p. 263). Farrar, in his History of Interpretation (p. 24), declares his comments to be “sometimes painfully beside the mark,” and in general depreciates the value of Augustin’s expository writings.

On the other hand, the student is struck with the profound esteem in which Augustin was held as an interpreter of Scripture during the Middle Ages. His exposition was looked upon as the highest authority; and a saying was current, that, if one had Augustin on his side, it was sufficient (Si Augustinus adest, sufficit ipse tibi). So powerful was his influence, that Rupert of Deutz, in the preface to his Commentary on St. John, deemed it necessary to state, in part in vindication of his own effort, that, though the eagle wings of the Bishop of Hippo overshadowed the Gospel, he did not exhaust the right of all Christians to handle the Gospel. The Reformers quote Augustin more frequently than any Father, and were greatly indebted to his writings, especially for their views on sin and grace. Among modern opinions according to him a high rank in this department may be mentioned two. The Rev. H. Browne, in the preface to the translation of Augustin’s Homilies on St. John, in the Oxford Library of the Fathers (I. vi.), is somewhat extravagant in his praise, when he says, that, “as an interpreter of the Word of God, St. Augustin is acknowledged to stand at an elevation which few have reached, none surpassed.” Archbishop Trench, in the essay on Augustin as an interpreter of Scripture, prefixed to his edition of the Sermon on the Mount, accords equal praise, and speaks specifically of the “tact and skill with which he unfolded to others the riches which the Word contains” (p. 133).

The truth certainly is not with those who minimize Augustin’s services in the department of exposition. Whether we compare him with ancient or modern commentators, he will fall behind the greatest in some particulars; but in profundity of insight into the meaning of the text, in comprehensive knowledge of the whole Scriptures, in simplicity of spiritual aim, he stands in the first rank. It is as a contributor to theological and religious thought that he asserts his eminence. Exposition is something more than bald textual and lexicographical comment: it aims also at a spiritual perception of the truth as it is in Christ, and requires a capacity to extract, for the spiritual nutriment of the reader, the vital forces of the Scriptures. In this sense Augustin is eminently worthy of study. Of textual details, he gives only the barest minimum of any value. His mistakes, arising out of his slender philological apparatus and his reverence for the LXX., are numerous and glaring. He often wanders far away from the plain meaning of the text, into allegorical and typical fancies, like the other Fathers, and many of the older Protestant commentators. He was not prepared for, nor did he aim at, grammatico-historical exegesis in the modern sense of the word; but be possessed extraordinary acumen and depth, spiritual insight, an uncommon knowledge of Scripture as a whole, and a pious intention to bring the truth to the convictions of men, and to extend the kingdom of Christ.

As to Augustin’s special equipment for the work of an exegete and on his exegetical principles, the following may be added:—

Exegetical Equipment

1. Augustin had no knowledge of Hebrew (Confessions, xi. 3; in this ed. vol. i. p. 164). His knowledge of Greek was only superficial, and far inferior to that of Jerome (vol. i. p. 9). He depended almost entirely on the imperfect old Latin version before its revision by Jerome, and was at first even prejudiced against this revision, the so-called Vulgate. But it should be remembered that only two of the great expositors of the ancient Church were familiar with Hebrew,—Origen and Jerome. Augustin knew only a few Hebrew words. In the treatise on Christian Doctrine (ii. 11, 16; this ed. vol. ii. p. 540) he adduces the words Amen and Hallelujah as being left untranslated on account of the sacredness of the original forms, and the words Racha and Hosanna as being untranslatable by any single Latin equivalents. In the Sermon on the Mount (i. 9, 23) he refers again to Racha, and defends its Hebrew origin as against those who derived it from the Greek term ῥάκος (a rag).

Augustin’s linguistic attainments seem to have included familiarity with Punic (Sermon on the Mount, ii. 14, 47). The Phoenician origin of the North African people, the location of his birthplace and his episcopal diocese, furnish an explanation of this.

2. For the Old Testament, Augustin used, besides the Latin version, occasionally the Septuagint, and had at hand the versions of Symmachus, Theodotion, and Aquila (Quæst. in Num. 52). He had profound reverence for the LXX., and was inclined to give credit to the Jewish tradition that each of the translators was confined in a separate cell, and on comparing their work, which they had accomplished without communication with each other, found their several versions to agree, word for word. He held that the original was given through them in Greek by the special direction of the Holy Spirit, and in such a way as to be most suitable for the Gentiles (Christian Doctrine, ii. 15, 22; this ed. p. 542). He declared that the Latin copies were to be corrected from the LXX., which was as authoritative as the Hebrew. Such a claim for the authority of the Greek translation would make a knowledge of the Hebrew almost unnecessary.

This excessive reverence for the LXX. has led Augustin to uphold, in his exegesis of the Old Testament, all its errors of translation, which a different view, coupled with a knowledge of Hebrew, would in most cases have prevented him from accepting. Even at its plain and palpable mistakes he takes no offence. He accepts the translation, “Yet three days and Nineveh shall be overthrown,” as of equal authority with the “forty days” of the original, claiming a special symbolic meaning for both.

3. For the New Testament, Augustin used some Latin translation or translations older than the Vulgate. He declares the Latin translations to be without number (Christian Doctr. ii. 11, 16; this ed. vol. ii. p. 540). There was already in his day “an endless diversity” of readings in the Latin manuscripts. He vindicated for the Greek original the claim of final authority, to which the Latin copies were to yield. As there was likewise diversity of text among the Greek copies, he laid down the rule, that those manuscripts were to be chosen for comparison by the Latin student which were preserved in the churches of greater learning and research (Christian Doctr. ii. 15, 22; in this ed. ii. p. 543). Not infrequently does Augustin cite the readings of the Greek. In some cases he makes references to passages where there is a conflict of text in the Latin authorities. He differs quite largely from Jerome’s Vulgate, to which he offered opposition, on the ground that a new translation might unsettle the faith of some. In these variations of construction and language he was sometimes nearer the original than Jerome. Sometimes he does not approximate so closely. As a matter of interest, and for the convenience of the reader, the differences of Augustin’s text and the Vulgate will be found, in all important cases, noted down in this edition of the Sermon on the Mount.

Examples of Augustin’s improvement upon the Vulgate are the omission of the clause, “and despitefully use you” (et calumniantibus vos, Matt. 5:44), the use of quotidianum panem (“daily bread”) instead of supersubstantialem, and of inferas (“bring”) instead of inducas (“lead”), in the fourth and sixth petitions of the. Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:11, 12). In reference to the last passage, it must be said, however, that he notes a difference in the Latin mss., some using infero, some induco; and while he adopts the former verb, he finds the terms equivalent in meaning (Serm. on the Mt. ii. 9, 30).

4. Augustin’s textual and grammatical comments are few in number, but they cannot be said to be wanting in all value. A few instances will suffice for a judgment of their merit:—

In the Harmony of the Gospels (ii. 29, 67), writing of the daughter of Jairus (Matt. 9:29), he mentions that some codices contain the reading “woman” (mulier) for “damsel.” Commenting on Matt. 5:22, “Whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause,” he includes the expression “without a cause” (εἰκη̂) without even a hint of its spuriousness (Serm. on the Mt. i. 9, 25); but in his Retractations (i. 19. 4) he makes the correction, “The Greek manuscripts do not contain sine causa.” Tischendorf, Westcott and Hort, the Vulgate and the Revised English Version, in agreement with the oldest mss., omit the clause. He refers to a conflict of the Greek and Latin text of Matt. 5:39 (“Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek”), and follows the authority of the Greek in omitting the adjective “right” (Serm. on the Mt. i. 19, 58). At Matt. 6:4 he casts out, on the authority of the Greek, the adverb palam (“openly”), which was found in many Latin translations (as it is also found in the Textus Receptus, but not in the Vulgate, and the Sinaitic, B, D, and other mss.). Commenting on Matt. 7:12, “Wherefore all things whatsoever ye would that men,” etc., he refers to the addition of “good” before “things” by the Latins, and insists upon its erasure on the basis of the Greek text (Serm. on the Mt. ii. 22, 74).

On occasion, though very rarely, he quotes the Greek, as in the Sermon on the Mount (νὴ τὴν καύχησιν, i. 17, 51; ἱμάτιον, i. 19, 60), in confirmation of his opinions of the text.

At other times he compares Greek and Latin terms of synonymous or kindred meanings. One of the most important of these is the passage (City of God, x. 1; this ed. vol. ii. p. 181) where he draws a clear distinction between λατρεία, θρησκεία, εὐσέβεια, θεοσέβεια. Other examples of the kind under review are given by Trench (p. 20 sqq.).

It is evident that Augustin’s equipment was defective from the stand-point of the modern critical exegete. It would be wrong, however, to say that he shows no concern about textual questions. But his exegetical power shows itself in other ways than minute textual investigation,—in comprehensive comparison of Scripture with Scripture, and penetrating spiritual vision. To these qualities he adds a purpose to be exhaustive, sparing no pains to develop the full meaning of the passage under review. More exhaustive discussions can hardly be found, to take a single example, than that on Matt. 5:25, “Agree with thine adversary quickly” (Serm. on the Mt. xi. 31, where, however, the view least reasonable is taken), or spiritually satisfactory ones than the discussion of the gradation of sin and its punishment (Matt. 5:21, 22; Serm. on the Mt. ix. 22), and “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matt. 7:1), or pungently suggestive than the handling of the words of our Lord at the marriage feast at Cana: “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” (John 2:4; Homily VIII.), or more indicative of great principles underlying the vindication to the evangelists of a true historical character and of independence of each other (at least in minor details) than discussions like that about the differences in the details of the miracle of the five loaves and two fishes, alone common of the miracles to the fourfold Gospel (a sort of prelude to works like Blunt’s Undesigned Coincidences), and the relation of this miracle to the miracle of the seven loaves (Harmony, xlvi.–l.).

Exegetical Principles

Augustin has laid down in a separate treatise a code of exegetical principles. His Christian Doctrine (vol. ii. of this series) is the earliest manual of Biblical hermeneutics. In spite of irrelevant and lengthy digressions, it contains many suggestions of value, which have not been improved upon in modern treatises on the subject.

1. He emphasizes Hebrew and Greek scholarship as an important aid to the expositor, and an essential condition of the interpretation of the figurative language of Scripture (ii. 11, 16; 16, 23, this ed., pp. 539, 543).

2. He will have his interpreter acquainted with sacred geography (ii. 29, 45, p. 549), natural history (ii. 16, 24, p. 543; 29, 45, p. 549), music (ii. 16, 26, p. 544), chronology (ii. 28, 42, p. 549) and the science of numbers (ii. 16, 25, p. 543), natural science generally (ii. 29, 45 sqq., p. 549 sqq.), history (ii. 28, 43, p. 549), dialectics (ii. 31, 48, p. 550), and the writings of the ancient philosophers (ii. 40, 60, p. 554). He was the first to suggest a work which has been realized in our dictionaries of the Bible. Pertinent to the subject he says, “What some men have done in regard to all words and names found in Scripture, in the Hebrew and Syriac and Egyptian and other tongues, taking up and interpreting separately such as were left in Scripture without interpretation; and what Eusebius has done in regard to the history of the past … I think might be done in regard to other matters.… For the advantage of his brethren a competent man might arrange in their several classes, and give an account of, the unknown places, and animals and plants, and trees and stones and metals, and other species of things mentioned in Scripture” (ii. 39, 59, p. 554). It is, in view of this sage suggestion, almost incomprehensible that Augustin pays no attention to these subjects in his commentaries. Jerome, on the other hand, is quite rich in these departments.

3. He presses the view that the Scripture is designed to have more interpretations than one (Christ. Doctr. iii. 27, 38 sq.; this ed. p. 567). Augustin constantly applies this canon (e.g., on the petition, “Thy will be done,” Sermon on the Mount, ii. 6, 21–23). He adopted the seven rules of the Donatist Tichonius as assisting to a deep understanding of the Word. These rules relate (1) to the Lord and His body, (2) to the twofold division of the Lord’s body, (3) to the promises and the Law, (4) to species and genus, (5) to times, (6) to recapitulation, (7) to the devil and his body (Christ. Doctr. iii. 30, 42, pp. 568–573). He explains and illustrates these laws at length, but denies that they exhaust the rules for discovering the hidden truth of Scripture.

4. He commends the method of interpreting obscure passages by the light of passages that are understood, and prefers it before the interpretation by reason (Christ. Doctr. iii. 29, 39, p. 567).

5. The spirit and intent of the interpreter are of more importance than verbal accuracy and critical acumen (a qualification not always too strictly insisted upon in these modern days of commentators and critical Biblical study). One must be in sympathy with the Gospel of Christ to interpret its records. Even the mistakes of an exegete, properly disposed, may confirm religious faith and character; and so far forth are his labors to be commended, though he himself is to be corrected, that he err not again after the same manner. “If the mistaken interpretation,” he says, “tends to build up love, which is the end of the commandment, the interpreter goes astray in much the same way as a man who, by mistake, quits the highroad, but yet reaches, through the fields, the same place to which the road leads” (Christ. Doctr. i. 36, 41 sq.; ii. p. 533).

That Augustin followed his own canons of interpretation, his writings show. He does not hesitate to put more than one interpretation upon a text (as especially in the Psalms), and none has been more elaborate in comparing Scripture with Scripture than he. If he had possessed the familiarity with the Hebrew that he recommends so strongly to others, he would have been preserved from the misinterpretations with which his commentaries on the Old Testament abound.

Use of Allegory

Augustin’s use of allegory has exposed him to much harsh criticism. What was the practice of all, ought not to be considered a mortal fault in one. None of the ancient expositors were free from it. Some of the modern expositors, except as their works are designed only as a critical arsenal for the student, are defective because of all absence of the allegorical element.

Where Scripture itself has led the way, as in the case of the allegory of Hagar and Sarah (Gal. 4) and other cases, the uninspired penman will be pardoned if he follow. The use of the allegorical method, however, was carried to the most unreasonable excess, reaching its culmination in Gregory’s Commentary on Job. That writer finds that the patriarch of Uz represents Christ, his sons the clergy, his three daughters the three classes of the laity who are to worship the Trinity, his friends the heretics, the oxen and she-asses the heathen, etc. The frequent extravagance of Augustin, proceeding out of his intellectual and Scriptural exuberance, cannot be commended; but it will be found that his allegory is seldom commonplace, and mingled with it, where it is most vicious, are comments of rare aptness and common sense. In the Old Testament he looks upon almost every character and event as symbolic of Christ and Christian institutions. But, as Trench well says, “it is indeed far better to find Christ everywhere in the Old Testament than to find Him nowhere” (p. 54).

In his effort to display the unity and harmony of all Scripture (to which he was forced by the controversy with the Manichæans) he often strains after comparisons; and this came to be so much of a habit with him, that, where he had no special purpose to gain, he is guilty of the same excess. An instance among many is furnished in the opening chapters of the Sermon on the Mount (iv. 11), where a close comparison is instituted between the Beatitudes and the seven Spiritual operations of Isa. 11:2, 3. The historical element is nowhere denied, but something else is constantly being superinduced upon it, especially in the Old Testament.

A single illustration of Augustin’s allegorical interpretation will suffice. Turning away from the Psalms, where his imagination is particularly fertile along this line, I extract one on the parable of the five loaves and two fishes, as found in the XXIV. Homily on John. The five loaves mean the five Books of Moses. They are not wheaten, but barley, because they belong to the Old Testament. The nature of barley is such that it is hard to be got at, as the kernel is set in a coating of husk which is tenacious and hard to be stripped off. Such is the letter of the Old Testament, enveloped in a covering of carnal sacraments. The little lad represents the people of Israel, which, in its childishness of mind, carried but did not eat. The two fishes signify the persons of the Priest and King, which therefore point to Christ. The multiplication of the loaves signifies the exposition into many volumes of the five Books of Moses. There were five thousand people fed, because they were under the Law, which is unfolded in five books. “They sat upon the grass;” that is, they were carnally minded, and rested in carnal things. The “fragments” are the truths of hidden import which the people cannot receive, and which were therefore entrusted to the twelve apostles.

The excessive taste for this style of interpretation, in which the homilists and Biblical writers of a thousand years had revelled, was sternly rebuked by the Reformers. Especially did Luther utter his protest, on the ground that the fancies into which this method was apt to lead had a tendency to shake confidence in the literal truth of the sacred volume. He remarks, “Augustin said beautifully that a figure proves nothing;” but, probably from the high regard he had for the great theologian, he did not condemn his allegorizing exegesis.

However much the great African bishop may have laid himself open to the rebuke of a more critical and mechanical age in this regard and others, his exegesis will continue to be admired for the diligence with which the sacred text is scanned, the reverent frame of heart with which it is approached, and the rich treasures of spiritual truth which it brings forth to the willing and devout reader.

ST. AUGUSTIN:

OUR LORD’S SERMON ON THE MOUNT

ACCORDING TO MATTHEW.

[De Sermone Domini in Monte Secundum Matthaeum.]

translated by

THE REV. WILLIAM FINDLAY, M.A.,

larkhall.

revised and annotated by

THE REV. D. S. SCHAFF,

kansas city.

CONTENTS

OUR LORD’S SERMON ON THE MOUNT

BOOK I

explanation of the first part of the sermon delivered by our lord on the mount, as contained in the fifth chapter of matthew

BOOK II

on the latter part of our lord’s sermon on the mount, contained in the sixth and seventh chapters of matthew

OUR LORD’S SERMON ON THE MOUNT

BOOK I

explanation of the first part of the sermon delivered by our lord on the mount, as contained in the fifth chapter of matthew.

Chap. i

1. If any one will piously and soberly consider the sermon which our Lord Jesus Christ spoke on the mount, as we read it in the Gospel according to Matthew, I think that he will find in it, so far as regards the highest morals, a perfect standard of the Christian life: and this we do not rashly venture to promise, but gather it from the very words of the Lord Himself. For the sermon itself is brought to a close in such a way, that it is clear there are in it all the precepts which go to mould the life. For thus He speaks: “Therefore, whosoever heareth these words of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat2 upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these words of mine, and doeth them not, I will liken unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” Since, therefore, He has not simply said, “Whosoever heareth my words,” but has made an addition, saying, “Whosoever heareth these words of mine,” He has sufficiently indicated, as I think, that these sayings which He uttered on the mount so perfectly guide the life of those who may be willing to live according to them, that they may justly be compared to one building upon a rock. I have said this merely that it may be clear that the sermon before us is perfect in all the precepts by which the Christian life is moulded; for as regards this particular section a more careful treatment will be given in its own place.

2. The beginning, then, of this sermon is introduced as follows: “And when He saw the great multitudes, He went up into a mountain:2 and when He was set, His disciples came unto Him: and He opened His mouth, and taught them, saying.” If it is asked what the “mountain” means, it may well be understood as meaning the greater precepts of righteousness; for there were lesser ones which were given to the Jews. Yet it is one God who, through His holy prophets and servants, according to a thoroughly arranged distribution of times, gave the lesser precepts to a people who as yet required to be bound by fear; and who, through His Son, gave the greater ones to a people whom it had now become suitable to set free by love. Moreover, when the lesser are given to the lesser, and the greater to the greater, they are given by Him who alone knows how to present to the human race the medicine suited to the occasion. Nor is it surprising that the greater precepts are given for the kingdom of heaven, and the lesser for an earthly kingdom, by that one and the same God who made heaven and earth. With respect, therefore, to that righteousness which is the greater, it is said through the prophet, “Thy righteousness is like the mountains of God:” and this may well mean that the one Master alone fit to teach matters of so great importance teaches on a mountain. Then He teaches sitting, as behooves the dignity of the instructor’s office; and His disciples come to Him, in order that they might be nearer in body for hearing His words, as they also approached in spirit to fulfil His precepts. “And He opened His mouth, and taught them, saying.” The circumlocution before us, which runs, “And He opened His mouth,” perhaps gracefully intimates by the mere pause that the sermon will be somewhat longer than usual, unless, perchance, it should not be without meaning, that now He is said to have opened His own mouth, whereas under the old law He was accustomed to open the mouths of the prophets.4

3. What, then, does He say? “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” We read in Scripture concerning the striving after temporal things, “All is vanity and presumption of spirit;” but presumption of spirit means audacity and pride: usually also the proud are said to have great spirits; and rightly, inasmuch as the wind also is called spirit. And hence it is written, “Fire, hail, snow, ice, spirit of tempest.”6 But, indeed, who does not know that the proud are spoken of as puffed up, as if swelled out with wind? And hence also that expression of the apostle, “Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.” And “the poor in spirit” are rightly understood here, as meaning the humble and God-fearing, i.e. those who have not the spirit which puffeth up. Nor ought blessedness to begin at any other point whatever, if indeed it is to attain unto the highest wisdom; “but the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;”8 for, on the other hand also, “pride” is entitled “the beginning of all sin.” Let the proud, therefore, seek after and love the kingdoms of the earth; but “blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”10

Chap. ii

4. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall by inheritance possess the earth:” that earth, I suppose, of which it is said in the Psalm, “Thou art my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”12 For it signifies a certain firmness and stability of the perpetual inheritance, where the soul, by means of a good disposition, rests, as it were, in its own place, just as the body rests on the earth, and is nourished from it with its own food, as the body from the earth. This is the very rest and life of the saints. Then, the meek are those who yield to acts of wickedness, and do not resist evil, but overcome evil with good. Let those, then, who are not meek quarrel and fight for earthly and temporal things; but “blessed are the meek, for they shall by inheritance possess the earth,” from which they cannot be driven out.

5. “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” Mourning is sorrow arising from the loss of things held dear; but those who are converted to God lose those things which they were accustomed to embrace as dear in this world: for they do not rejoice in those things in which they formerly rejoiced; and until the love of eternal things be in them, they are wounded by some measure of grief. Therefore they will be comforted by the Holy Spirit, who on this account chiefly is called the Paraclete, i.e. the Comforter, in order that, while losing the temporal joy, they may enjoy to the full that which is eternal.3

6. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” Now He calls those parties, lovers of a true and indestructible good. They will therefore be filled with that food of which the Lord Himself says, “My meat is to do the will of my Father,” which is righteousness; and with that water, of which whosoever “drinketh,” as he also says, it “shall be in him a well of water, springing up into everlasting life.”

7. “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” He says that they are blessed who relieve the miserable, for it is paid back to them in such a way that they are freed from misery.

8. “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” How foolish, therefore, are those who seek God with these outward eyes, since He is seen with the heart! as it is written elsewhere, “And in singleness of heart seek Him.”7 For that is a pure heart which is a single heart: and just as this light cannot be seen, except with pure eyes; so neither is God seen, unless that is pure by which He can be seen.

9. “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” It is the perfection of peace, where nothing offers opposition; and the children of God are peacemakers, because nothing resists God, and surely children ought to have the likeness of their father. Now, they are peacemakers in themselves who, by bringing in order all the motions of their soul, and subjecting them to reason—i.e. to the mind and spirit—and by having their carnal lusts thoroughly subdued, become a kingdom of God: in which all things are so arranged, that that which is chief and pre-eminent in man rules without resistance over the other elements, which are common to us with the beasts; and that very element which is pre-eminent in man, i.e. mind and reason, is brought under subjection to something better still, which is the truth itself, the only-begotten Son of God. For a man is not able to rule over things which are inferior, unless he subjects himself to what is superior. And this is the peace which is given on earth to men of goodwill; this the life of the fully developed and perfect wise man. From a kingdom of this sort brought to a condition of thorough peace and order, the prince of this world is cast out, who rules where there is perversity and disorder.10 When this peace has been inwardly established and confirmed, whatever persecutions he who has been cast out shall stir up from without, he only increases the glory which is according to God; being unable to shake anything in that edifice, but by the failure of his machinations making it to be known with how great strength it has been built from within outwardly. Hence there follows: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Chap. iii

10. There are in all, then, these eight sentences. For now in what remains He speaks in the way of direct address to those who were present, saying: “Blessed shall ye be when men shall revile you and persecute you.” But the former sentences He addressed in a general way: for He did not say, Blessed are ye poor in spirit, for yours is the kingdom of heaven; but He says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven:” nor, Blessed are ye meek, for ye shall inherit the earth; but, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” And so the others up to the eighth sentence, where He says: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” After that He now begins to speak in the way of direct address to those present, although what has been said before referred also to His present audience; and that which follows, and which seems to be spoken specially to those present, refers also to those who were absent, or who would afterwards come into existence.

For this reason the number of sentences before us is to be carefully considered. For the beatitudes begin with humility: “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” i.e. those not puffed up, while the soul submits itself to divine authority, fearing lest after this life it go away to punishment, although perhaps in this life it might seem to itself to be happy. Then it (the soul) comes to the knowledge of the divine Scriptures, where it must show itself meek in its piety, lest it should venture to condemn that which seems absurd to the unlearned, and should itself be rendered unteachable by obstinate disputations. After that, it now begins to know in what entanglements of this world it is held by reason of carnal custom and sins: and so in this third stage, in which there is knowledge, the loss of the highest good is mourned over, because it sticks fast in what is lowest. Then, in the fourth stage there is labour, where vehement exertion is put forth, in order that the mind may wrench itself away from those things in which, by reason of their pestilential sweetness, it is entangled: here therefore righteousness is hungered and thirsted after, and fortitude is very necessary; because what is retained with delight is not abandoned without pain. Then, at the fifth stage, to those persevering in labour, counsel for getting rid of it is given; for unless each one is assisted by a superior, in no way is he fit in his own case to extricate himself from so great entanglements of miseries. But it is a just counsel, that he who wishes to be assisted by a stronger should assist him who is weaker in that in which he himself is stronger: therefore “blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” At the sixth stage there is purity of heart, able from a good conscience of good works to contemplate that highest good, which can be discerned by the pure and tranquil intellect alone. Lastly is the seventh, wisdom itself—i.e. the contemplation of the truth, tranquillizing the whole man, and assuming the likeness of God, which is thus summed up: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” The eighth, as it were, returns to the starting-point, because it shows and commends what is complete and perfect: therefore in the first and in the eighth the kingdom of heaven is named, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven;” and, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven:” as it is now said, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”2 Seven in number, therefore, are the things which bring perfection: for the eighth brings into light and shows what is perfect, so that starting, as it were, from the beginning again, the others also are perfected by means of these stages.

Chap. iv

11. Hence also the sevenfold operation of the Holy Ghost, of which Isaiah speaks, seems to me to correspond to these stages and sentences. But there is a difference of order: for there the enumeration begins with the more excellent, but here with the inferior. For there it begins with wisdom, and closes with the fear of God: but “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” And therefore, if we reckon as it were in a gradually ascending series, there the fear of God is first, piety second, knowledge third, fortitude fourth, counsel fifth, understanding sixth, wisdom seventh. The fear of God corresponds to the humble, of whom it is here said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit,”
i.e. those not puffed up, not proud: to whom the apostle says, “Be not high-minded, but fear;”
i.e. be not lifted up. Piety corresponds to the meek: for he who inquires piously honours Holy Scripture, and does not censure what he does not yet understand, and on this account does not offer resistance; and this is to be meek: whence it is here said, “Blessed are the meek.” Knowledge corresponds to those that mourn who already have found out in the Scriptures by what evils they are held chained which they ignorantly have coveted as though they were good and useful. Fortitude corresponds to those hungering and thirsting: for they labour in earnestly desiring joy from things that are truly good, and in eagerly seeking to turn away their love from earthly and corporeal things: and of them it is here said, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness.” Counsel corresponds to the merciful: for this is the one remedy for escaping from so great evils, that we forgive, as we wish to be ourselves forgiven; and that we assist others so far as we are able, as we ourselves desire to be assisted where we are not able: and of them it is here said, “Blessed are the merciful.” Understanding corresponds to the pure in heart, the eye being as it were purged, by which that may be beheld which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, and what hath not entered into the heart of man: and of them it is here said,
“Blessed are the pure in heart.” Wisdom corresponds to the peacemakers, in whom all things are now brought into order, and no passion is in a state of rebellion against reason, but all things together obey the spirit of man, while he himself also obeys God: and of them it is here said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

12. Moreover, the one reward, which is the kingdom of heaven, is variously named according to these stages. In the first, just as ought to be the case, is placed the kingdom of heaven, which is the perfect and highest wisdom of the rational soul. Thus, therefore, it is said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven:” as if it were said, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” To the meek an inheritance is given, as it were the testament of a father to those dutifully seeking it: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” To the mourners comfort, as to those who know what they have lost, and in what evils they are sunk: “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” To those hungering and thirsting, a full supply, as it were a refreshment to those labouring and bravely contending for salvation: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” To the merciful mercy, as to those following a true and excellent counsel, so that this same treatment is extended toward them by one who is stronger, which they extend toward the weaker: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” To the pure in heart is given the power of seeing God, as to those bearing about with them a pure eye for discerning eternal things: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” To the peacemakers the likeness of God is given, as being perfectly wise, and formed after the image of God by means of the regeneration of the renewed man: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” And those promises can indeed be fulfilled in this life, as we believe them to have been fulfilled in the case of the apostles. For that all-embracing change into the angelic form, which is promised after this life, cannot be explained in any words. “Blessed,” therefore, “are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” This eighth sentence, which goes back to the starting-point, and makes manifest the perfect man, is perhaps set forth in its meaning both by the circumcision on the eighth day in the Old Testament, and by the resurrection of the Lord after the Sabbath, the day which is certainly the eighth, and at the same time the first day; and by the celebration of the eight festival days which we celebrate in the case of the regeneration of the new man; and by the very number of Pentecost. For to the number seven, seven times multiplied, by which we make forty-nine, as it were an eighth is added, so that fifty may be made up, and we, as it were, return to the starting-point: on which day the Holy Spirit was sent, by whom we are led into the kingdom of heaven, and receive the inheritance, and are comforted; and are fed, and obtain mercy, and are purified, and are made peacemakers; and being thus perfect, we bear all troubles brought upon us from without for the sake of truth and righteousness.

Chap. v

13. “Blessed are ye,” says He, “when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven.” Let any one who is seeking after the delights of this world and the riches of temporal things under the Christian name, consider that our blessedness is within; as it is said of the soul of the Church4 by the mouth of the prophet, “All the beauty of the king’s daughter is within;” for outwardly revilings, and persecutions, and disparagements are promised; and yet, from these things there is a great reward in heaven, which is felt in the heart of those who endure, those who can now say, “We glory in tribulations: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”6 For it is not simply the enduring of such things that is advantageous, but the bearing of such things for the name of Christ not only with tranquil mind, but even with exultation. For many heretics, deceiving souls under the Christian name, endure many such things; but they are excluded from that reward on this account, that it is not said merely, “Blessed are they which endure persecution;” but it is added,” for righteousness’ sake.” Now, where there is no sound faith, there can be no righteousness, for the just [righteous] man lives by faith. Neither let schismatics promise themselves anything of that reward; for similarly, where there is no love, there cannot be righteousness, for “love worketh no ill to his neighbour;” and if they had it, they would not tear in pieces Christ’s body, which is the Church.2

14. But it may be asked, What is the difference when He says, “when men shall revile you,” and “when they shall say all manner of evil against you,” since to revile is just this, to say evil against?4 But it is one thing when the reviling word is hurled with contumely in presence of him who is reviled, as it was said to our Lord, “Say we not the truth that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?”6 and another thing, when our reputation is injured in our absence, as it is also written of Him, “Some said, He is a prophet; others said, Nay, but He deceiveth the people.”8 Then, further, to persecute is to inflict violence, or to assail with snares, as was done by him who betrayed Him, and by them who crucified Him. Certainly, as for the fact that this also is not put in a bare form, so that it should be said, “and shall say all manner of evil against you,” but there is added the word “falsely,” and also the expression “for my sake;” I think that the addition is made for the sake of those who wish to glory in persecutions, and in the baseness of their reputation; and to say that Christ belongs to them for this reason, that many bad things are said about them; while, on the one hand, the things said are true, when they are said respecting their error; and, on the other hand, if sometimes also some false charges are thrown out, which frequently happens from the rashness of men, yet they do not suffer such things for Christ’s sake. For he is not a follower of Christ who is not called a Christian according to the true faith and the catholic discipline.

15. “Rejoice,” says He, “and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven.” I do not think that it is the higher parts of this visible world that are here called heaven. For our reward, which ought to be immoveable and eternal, is not to be placed in things fleeting and temporal. But I think the expression “in heaven” means in the spiritual firmament, where dwells everlasting righteousness: in comparison with which a wicked soul is called earth, to which it is said when it sins, “Earth thou art, and unto earth thou shalt return.” Of this heaven the apostle says, “For our conversation is in heaven.”11 Hence they who rejoice in spiritual good are conscious of that reward now; but then it will be perfected in every part, when this mortal also shall have put on immortality. “For,” says He, “so persecuted they the prophets also which were before you.” In the present case He has used “persecution” in a general sense, as applying alike to abusive words and to the tearing in pieces of one’s reputation; and has well encouraged them by an example, because they who speak true things are wont to suffer persecution: nevertheless did not the ancient prophets on this account, through fear of persecution, give over the preaching of the truth.

Chap. vi

16. Hence there follows most justly the statement, “Ye are the salt of the earth;” showing that those parties are to be judged insipid, who, either in the eager pursuit after abundance of earthly blessings, or through the dread of want, lose the eternal things which can neither be given nor taken away by men. “But if the salt have lost13 its savour, wherewith shall it be salted?”
i.e., If ye, by means of whom the nations in a measure are to be preserved [from corruption], through the dread of temporal persecutions shall lose the kingdom of heaven, where will be the men through whom error may be removed from you, since God has chosen you, in order that through you He might remove the error of others? Hence the savourless salt is “good for nothing, but to be cast out, and trodden under foot of men.” It is not therefore he who suffers persecution, but he who is rendered savourless by the fear of persecution, that is trodden under foot of men. For it is only one who is undermost that can be trodden under foot; but he is not undermost, who, however many things he may suffer in his body on the earth, yet has his heart fixed in heaven.

17. “Ye are the light of the world.” In the same way as He said above, “the salt of the earth,” so now He says, “the light of the world.” For in the former case that earth is not to be understood which we tread with our bodily feet, but the men who dwell upon the earth, or even the sinners, for the preserving of whom and for the extinguishing of whose corruptions the Lord sent the apostolic salt. And here, by the world must be understood not the heavens and the earth, but the men who are in the world or love the world, for the enlightening of whom the apostles were sent. “A city that is set on2 an hill cannot be hid,” i.e. [a city] founded upon great and distinguished righteousness, which is also the meaning of the mountain itself on which our Lord is discoursing. “Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel measure.”4 What view are we to take? That the expression “under a bushel measure” is so used that only the concealment of the candle is to be understood, as if He were saying, No one lights a candle and conceals it? Or does the bushel measure also mean something, so that to place a candle under a bushel is this, to place the comforts of the body higher than the preaching of the truth; so that one does not preach the truth so long as he is afraid of suffering any annoyance in corporeal and temporal things? And it is well said a bushel measure, whether on account of the recompense of measure, for each one receives the things done in his body,—”that every one,” says the apostle, “may there receive the things done in his body;” and it is said in another place, as if of this bushel measure of the body, “For with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again:”6—or because temporal good things, which are carried to completion in the body, are both begun and come to an end in a certain definite number of days, which is perhaps meant by the “bushel measure;” while eternal and spiritual things are confined within no such limit, “for God giveth not the Spirit by measure.” Every one, therefore, who obscures and covers up the light of good doctrine by means of temporal comforts, places his candle under a bushel measure. “But on a candlestick.”8 Now it is placed on a candlestick by him who subordinates his body to the service of God, so that the preaching of the truth is the higher, and the serving of the body the lower; yet by means even of the service of the body the doctrine shines more conspicuously, inasmuch as it is insinuated into those who learn by means of bodily functions, i.e. by means of the voice and tongue, and the other movements of the body in good works. The apostle therefore puts his candle on a candlestick, when he says, “So fight I, not as one that beateth the air; but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means, when I preach to others, I myself should be found a castaway.”10 When He says, however, “that it may give light to all who are in the house,” I am of opinion that it is the abode of men which is called a house, i.e. the world itself, on account of what He says before, “Ye are the light of the world;” or if any one chooses to understand the house as being the Church, this, too, is not out of place.

Chap. vii

18. “Let your light,” says He, “so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” If He had merely said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works,” He would seem to have fixed an end in the praises of men, which hypocrites seek, and those who canvass for honours and covet glory of the emptiest kind. Against such parties it is said, “If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ;”12 and by the prophet, “They who please men are put to shame, because God hath despised them;” and again, “God hath broken the bones of those who please men;” and again the apostle, “Let us not be desirous of vainglory;”14 and still another time, “But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.” Hence our Lord has not said merely, “that they may see your good works,” but has added, “and glorify your Father who is in heaven:” so that the mere fact that a man by means of good works pleases men, does not there set it up as an end that he should please men; but let him subordinate this to the praise of God, and for this reason please men, that God may be glorified in him. For this is expedient for them who offer praise, that they should honour, not man, but God; as our Lord showed in the case of the man who was carried, where, on the paralytic being healed, the multitude, marvelling at His powers, as it is written in the Gospel, “feared and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.”16 And His imitator, the Apostle Paul, says, “But they had heard only, that he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed; and they glorified God in me.”

19. And therefore, after He has exhorted His hearers that they should prepare themselves to bear all things for truth and righteousness, and that they should not hide the good which they were about to receive, but should learn with such benevolence as to teach others, aiming in their good works not at their own praise, but at the glory of God, He begins now to inform and to teach them what they are to teach; as if they were asking Him, saying: Lo, we are willing both to bear all things for Thy name, and not to hide Thy doctrine; but what precisely is this which Thou forbiddest us to hide, and for which Thou commandest us to bear all things? Art Thou about to mention other things contrary to those which are written in the law? “No,” says He; “for think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”

Chap. viii

20. In this sentence the meaning is twofold. We must deal with it in both ways. For He who says, “I am not come3 to destroy the law, but to fulfil,” means it either in the way of adding what is wanting, or of doing what is in it. Let us then consider that first which I have put first: for he who adds what is wanting does not surely destroy what he finds, but rather confirms it by perfecting it; and accordingly He follows up with the statement, “Verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one iota or one tittle shall in nowise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” For, if even those things which are added for completion are fulfilled, much more are those things fulfilled which are sent in advance as a commencement. Then, as to what He says, “One iota or one tittle shall in nowise pass from the law,” nothing else can be understood but a strong expression of perfection, since it is pointed out by means of single letters, among which letters “iota” is smaller than the others, for it is made by a single stroke; while a “tittle” is but a particle of some sort at the top of even that. And by these words He shows that in the law all the smallest particulars even are to be carried into effect.5 After that He subjoins: “Whosoever, therefore, shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven.” Hence it is the least commandments that are meant by “one iota” and “one tittle.” And therefore, “whosoever shall break and shall teach [men] so,”—i.e. in accordance with what he breaks, not in accordance with what he finds and reads,—”shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven;” and therefore, perhaps, he will not be in the kingdom of heaven at all, where only the great can be. “But whosoever shall do and teach [men] so,”—i.e. who shall not break, and shall teach men so, in accordance with what he does not break,—”shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” But in regard to him who shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven, it follows that he is also in the kingdom of heaven, into which the great are admitted: for to this what follows refers.

Chap. ix

21. “For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven;”
i.e., unless ye shall fulfil not only those least precepts of the law which begin the man, but also those which are added by me, who am not come to destroy the law, but to fulfil it, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. But you say to me: If, when He was speaking above of those least commandments, He said that whosoever shall break one of them, and shall teach in accordance with his transgression, is called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but that whosoever shall do them, and shall teach [men] so, is called great, and hence will be already in the kingdom of heaven, because he is great: what need is there for additions to the least precepts of the law, if he can be already in the kingdom of heaven, because whosoever shall do them, and shall so teach, is great? For this reason that sentence is to be understood thus: “But whosoever shall do and teach men so, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven,”—i.e. not in accordance with those least commandments, but in accordance with those which I am about to mention. Now what are they? “That your righteousness,” says He, “may exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees;” for unless it shall exceed theirs, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever, there fore, shall break those least commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called the least; but whosoever shall do those least commandments, and shall teach men so, is not necessarily to be reckoned great and meet for the kingdom of heaven; but yet he is not so much the least as the man who breaks them. But in order that he may be great and fit for that kingdom, he ought to do and teach as Christ now teaches, i.e. in order that his righteousness may exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees. The righteousness of the Pharisees is, that they shall not kill; the righteousness of those who are destined to enter into the kingdom of God, that they be not angry without a cause. The least commandment, therefore, is not to kill; and whosoever shall break that, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall fulfil that commandment not to kill, will not, as a necessary consequence, be great and meet for the kingdom of heaven, but yet he ascends a certain step. He will be perfected, however, if he be not angry without a cause; and if he shall do this, he will be much further removed from murder. For this reason he who teaches that we should not be angry, does not break the law not to kill, but rather fulfils it; so that we preserve our innocence both outwardly when we do not kill, and in heart when we are not angry.

22. “Ye have heard” therefore, says He, “that it was said to them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment. But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of the gehenna of fire.” What is the difference between being in danger of the judgment, and being in danger of the council, and being in danger of the gehenna of fire? For this last sounds most weighty, and reminds us that certain stages were passed over from lighter to more weighty, until the gehenna of fire was reached. And, therefore, if it is a lighter thing to be in danger of the judgment than to be in danger of the council, and if it is also a lighter thing to be in danger of the council than to be in danger of the gehenna of fire, we must understand it to be a lighter thing to be angry with a brother without a cause than to say “Raca;” and again, to be a lighter thing to say “Raca” than to say “Thou fool.” For the danger would not have gradations, unless the sins also were mentioned in gradation.

23. But here one obscure word has found a place, for “Raca” is neither Latin nor Greek. The others, however, are current in our language. Now, some have wished to derive the interpretation of this expression from the Greek, supposing that a ragged person is called “Raca,” because a rag is called in Greek ῥάκος; yet, when one asks them what a ragged person is called in Greek, they do not answer “Raca;” and further, the Latin translator might have put the word ragged where he has placed “Raca,” and not have used a word which, on the one hand, has no existence in the Latin language, and, on the other, is rare in the Greek. Hence the view is more probable which I heard from a certain Hebrew whom I had asked about it; for he said that the word does not mean anything, but merely expresses the emotion of an angry hind. Grammarians call those particles of speech which express an affection of an agitated mind interjections; as when it is said by one who is grieved, “Alas,” or by one who is angry, “Hah.” And these words in all languages are proper names, and are not easily translated into another language; and this cause certainly compelled alike the Greek and the Latin translators to put the word itself, inasmuch as they could find no way of translating it.

24. There is therefore a gradation in the sins referred to, so that first one is angry, and keeps that feeling as a conception in his heart; but if now that emotion shall draw forth an expression of anger not having any definite meaning, but giving evidence of that feeling of the mind by the very fact of the outbreak wherewith he is assailed with whom one is angry, this is certainly more than if the rising anger were restrained by silence; but if there is heard not merely an expression of anger, but also a word by which the party using it now indicates and signifies a distinct censure of him against whom it is directed, who doubts but that this is something more than if merely an exclamation of anger were uttered? Hence in the first there is one thing, i.e. anger alone; in the second two things, both anger and a word that expresses anger; in the third three things, anger and a word that expresses anger, and in that word the utterance of distinct censure. Look now also at the three degrees of liability,—the judgment, the council, the gehenna of fire. For in the judgment an opportunity is still given for defence; in the council, however, although there is also wont to be a judgment, yet because the very distinction compels us to acknowledge that there is a certain difference in this place, the production of the sentence seems to belong to the council, inasmuch as it is not now the case of the accused himself that is in question, whether he is to be condemned or not, but they who judge confer with one another to what punishment they ought to condemn him, who, it is clear, is to be condemned; but the gehenna of fire does not treat as a doubtful matter either the condemnation, like the judgment, or the punishment of him who is condemned, like the council; for in the gehenna of fire both the condemnation and the punishment of him who is condemned are certain. Thus there are seen certain degrees in the sins and in the liability to punishment; but who can tell in what ways they are invisibly shown in the punishments of souls? We are therefore to learn how great the difference is between the righteousness of the Pharisees and that greater righteousness which introduces into the kingdom of heaven, because while it is a more serious crime to kill than to inflict reproach by means of a word, in the one case killing exposes one to the judgment, but in the other anger exposes one to the judgment, which is the least of those three sins; for in the former case they were discussing the question of murder among men, but in the latter all things are disposed of by means of a divine judgment, where the end of the condemned is the gehenna of fire. But whoever shall say that murder is punished by a more severe penalty under the greater righteousness if a reproach is punished by the gehenna of fire, compels us to understand that there are differences of gehennas.

25. Indeed, in the three statements before us, we must observe that some words are understood. For the first statement has all the words that are necessary. “Whosoever,” says He, “is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment.” But in the second, when He says, “and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca,” there is understood the expression without cause, and thus there is subjoined, “shall be in danger of the council.” In the third, now, where He says, “but whosoever shall say, Thou fool,” two things are understood, both to his brother and without cause. And in this way we defend the apostle when he calls the Galatians fools, to whom he also gives, the name of brethren; for he does not do it without cause. And here the word brother is to be understood for this reason, that the case of an enemy is spoken of afterwards, and how he also is to be treated under the greater righteousness.

Chap. x

26. Next there follows here: “Therefore, if thou hast brought thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” From this surely it is clear that what is said above is said of a brother: inasmuch as the sentence which follows is connected by such a conjunction that it confirms the preceding one; for He does not say, But if thou bring thy gift to the altar; but He says, “Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar.” For if it is not lawful to be angry with one’s brother without a cause, or to say “Raca,” or to say
“Thou fool,” much less is it lawful so to retain anything in one’s mind, as that indignation may be turned into hatred. And to this belongs also what is said in another passage: “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” We are therefore commanded, when about to bring our gift to the altar, if we remember that our brother hath ought against us, to leave the gift before the altar, and to go and be reconciled to our brother, and then to come and offer the gift.6 But if this is to be understood literally, one might perhaps suppose that such a thing ought to be done if the brother is present; for it cannot be delayed too long, since you are commanded to leave your gift before the altar. If, therefore, such a thing should come into your mind respecting one who is absent, and, as may happen, even settled down beyond the sea, it is absurd to suppose that your gift is to be left before the altar until you may offer it to God after having traversed both lands and seas. And therefore we are compelled to have recourse to an altogether internal and spiritual interpretation, in order that what has been said may be understood without absurdity.

27. And so we may interpret the altar spiritually, as being faith itself in the inner temple of God, whose emblem is the visible altar. For whatever offering we present to God, whether prophecy, or teaching, or prayer, or a psalm, or a hymn, and whatever other such like spiritual gift occurs to the mind, it cannot be acceptable to God, unless it be sustained by sincerity of faith, and, as it were, placed on that fixedly and immoveably, so that what we utter may remain whole and uninjured. For many heretics, not having the altar, i.e. true faith, have spoken blasphemies for praise; being weighed down, to wit, with earthly opinions, and thus, as it were, throwing down their offering on the ground. But there ought also to be purity of intention on the part of the offerer. And therefore, when we are about to present any such offering in our heart, i.e. in the inner temple of God (“For,” as it is said, “the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are;” and, “That Christ may dwell in the inner man2 by faith in your hearts”) if it occur to our mind that a brother hath ought against us, i.e. if we have injured him in anything (for then he has something against us; whereas we have something against him if he has injured us, and in that case it is not necessary to proceed to reconciliation: for you will not ask pardon of one who has done you an injury, but merely forgive him, as you desire to be forgiven by the Lord what you have committed against Him), we are therefore to proceed to reconciliation, when it has occurred to our mind that we have perhaps injured our brother in something; but this is to be done not with the bodily feet, but with the emotions of the mind, so that you are to prostrate yourself with humble disposition before your brother, to whom you have hastened in affectionate thought, in the presence of Him to whom you are about to present your offering. For thus, even if he should be present, you will be able to soften him by a mind free from dissimulation, and to recall him to goodwill by asking pardon, if first you have done this before God, going to him not with the slow movement of the body, but with the very swift impulse of love; and then coming, i.e. recalling your attention to that which you were beginning to do, you will offer your gift.

28. But who acts in a way that he is neither angry with his brother without a cause, nor says “Raca” without a cause, nor calls him a fool without a cause, all of which are most proudly committed; or so, that, if perchance he has fallen into any of these, he asks pardon with suppliant mind, which is the only remedy; who but just the man that is not puffed up with the spirit of empty boasting? “Blessed” therefore “are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Let us look now at what follows.

Chap. xi

29. “Be kindly disposed,” says he, “toward thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.” I understand who the judge is: “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.”5 I understand who the officer is: “And angels,” it is said, “ministered unto Him:” and we believe that He will come with His angels to judge the quick and the dead. I understand what is meant by the prison: evidently the punishments of darkness, which He calls in another passage the outer darkness:7 for this reason, I believe, that the joy of the divine rewards is something internal in the mind itself, or even if anything more hidden can be thought of, that joy of which it is said to the servant who deserved well, “Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord;” just as also, under this republican government, one who is thrust into prison is sent out from the council chamber, or from the palace of the judge.

30. But now, with respect to paying the uttermost farthing, it may be understood without absurdity either as standing for this, that nothing is left unpunished; just as in common speech we also say “to the very dregs,” when we wish to express that something is so drained out that nothing is left: or by the expression “the uttermost farthing” earthly sins may be meant. For as a fourth part of the separate component parts of this world, and in fact as the last, the earth is found; so that you begin with the heavens, you reckon the air the second, water the third, the earth the fourth. It may therefore seem to be suitably said, “till thou hast paid the last fourth,” in the sense of “till thou hast expiated thy earthly sins:” for this the sinner also heard, “Earth thou art, and unto earth shalt thou return.”10 Then, as to the expression “till thou hast paid,” I wonder if it does not mean that punishment which is called eternal. For whence is that debt paid where there is now no opportunity given of repenting and of leading a more correct life? For perhaps the expression “till thou hast paid” stands here in the same sense as in that passage where it is said, “Sit Thou at my right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool;” for not even when the enemies have been put under His feet, will He cease to sit at the right hand: or that statement of the apostle, “For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet;”2 for not even when they have been put under His feet, will He cease to reign. Hence, as it is there understood of Him respecting whom it is said, “He must reign, till He hath put His enemies under His feet” that He will reign for ever, inasmuch as they will be for ever under His feet: so here it may be understood of him respecting whom it is said, “Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing,” that he will never come out; for he is always paying the uttermost farthing, so long as he is suffering the everlasting punishment of his earthly sins. Nor would I say this in such a way as that I should seem to prevent a more careful discussion respecting the punishment of sins, as to how in the Scriptures it is called eternal; although in all possible ways it is to be avoided rather than known.

31. But let us now see who the adversary himself is, with whom we are enjoined to agree quickly, whiles we are in the way with him. For he is either the devil, or a man, or the flesh, or God, or His commandment. But I do not see how we should be enjoined to be on terms of goodwill, i.e. to be of one heart or of one mind, with the devil. For some have rendered the Greek word which is found here “of one heart,” others “of one mind:” but neither are we enjoined to show goodwill to the devil (for where there is goodwill there is friendship: and no one would say that we are to make friends with the devil); nor is it expedient to come to an agreement with him, against whom we have declared war by once for all renouncing him, and on conquering whom we shall be crowned; nor ought we now to yield to him, for if we had never yielded to him, we should never have fallen into such miseries. Again, as to the adversary being a man, although we are enjoined to live peaceably with all men, as far as lieth in us, where certainly goodwill, and concord, and consent may be understood; yet I do not see how I can accept the view, that we are delivered to the judge by a man, in a case where I understand Christ to be the judge, “before” whose “judgment-seat we must all appear,” as the apostle says: how then is he to deliver me to the judge, who will appear equally with me before the judge? Or if any one is delivered to the judge because he has injured a man, although the party who has been injured does not deliver him, it is a much more suitable view, that the guilty party is delivered to the judge by that law against which he acted when he injured the man. And this for the additional reason, that if any one has injured a man by killing him, there will be no time now in which to agree with him; for he is not now in the way with him, i.e. in this life: and yet a remedy will not on that account be excluded, if one repents and flees for refuge with the sacrifice of a broken heart to the mercy of Him who forgives the sins of those who turn to Him, and who rejoices more over one penitent than over ninety-nine just persons. But much less do I see how we are enjoined to bear goodwill towards, or to agree with, or to yield to, the flesh. For it is sinners rather who love their flesh, and agree with it, and yield to it; but those who bring it into subjection are not the parties who yield to it, but rather they compel it to yield to them.

32. Perhaps, therefore, we are enjoined to yield to God, and to be well-disposed towards Him, in order that we may be reconciled to Him, from whom by sinning we have turned away, so that He can be called our adversary. For He is rightly called the adversary of those whom He resists, for “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble;” and “pride is the beginning of all sin, but the beginning of man’s pride is to become apostate from God;”7 and the apostle says, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” And from this it may be perceived that no nature [as being] bad is an enemy to God, inasmuch as the very parties who were enemies are being reconciled. Whoever, therefore, while in this way, i.e. in this life, shall not have been reconciled to God by the death of His Son, will be delivered to the judge by Him, for “the Father judgeth no man, but hath delivered all judgment to the Son;” and so the other things which are described in this section follow, which we have already discussed. There is only one thing which creates a difficulty as regards this interpretation, viz. how it can be rightly said that we are in the way with God, if in this passage. He Himself is to be understood as the adversary of the wicked, with whom we are enjoined to be reconciled quickly; unless, perchance, because He is everywhere, we also, while we are in this way, are certainly with Him. For as it is said, “If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me.” Or if the view is not accepted, that the wicked are said to be with God, although there is nowhere where God is not present,—just as we do not say that the blind are with the light, although the light surrounds their eyes,—there is one resource remaining: that we should understand the adversary here as being the commandment of God. For what is so much an adversary to those who wish to sin as the commandment of God, i.e. His law and divine Scripture, which has been given us for this life, that it may be with us in the way, which we must not contradict, lest it deliver us to the judge, but which we ought to submit to quickly? For no one knows when he may depart out of this life. Now, who is it that submits to divine Scripture, save he who reads or hears it piously, deferring to it as of supreme authority; so that what he understands he does not hate on this account, that he feels it to be opposed to his sins, but rather loves being reproved by it, and rejoices that his maladies are not spared until they are healed; and so that even in respect to what seems to him obscure or absurd, he does not therefore raise contentious contradictions, but prays that he may understand, yet remembering that goodwill and reverence are to be manifested towards so great an authority? But who does this, unless just the man who has come, not harshly threatening, but in the meekness of piety, for the purpose of opening and ascertaining the contents of his father’s will? “Blessed,” therefore, “are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” Let us see what follows.

Chap. xii

33. “Ye have heard that it was said to them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” The lesser righteousness, therefore, is not to commit adultery by carnal connection; but the greater righteousness of the kingdom of God is not to commit adultery in the heart. Now, the man who does not commit adultery in the heart, much more easily guards against committing adultery in actual fact. Hence He who gave the later precept confirmed the earlier; for He came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it. It is well worthy of consideration that He did not say, Whosoever lusteth after a woman, but,
“Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her,”
i.e. turneth toward her with this aim and this intent, that he may lust after her; which, in fact, is not merely to be tickled by fleshly delight, but fully to consent to lust; so that the forbidden appetite is not restrained, but satisfied if opportunity should be given.

34. For there are three things which go to complete sin: the suggestion of, the taking pleasure in, and the consenting to. Suggestion takes place either by means of memory, or by means of the bodily senses, when we see, or hear, or smell, or taste, or touch anything. And if it give us pleasure to enjoy this, this pleasure, if illicit, must be restrained. Just as when we are fasting, and on seeing food the appetite of the palate is stirred up, this does not happen without pleasure; but we do not consent to this liking, and we repress it by the right of reason, which has the supremacy. But if consent shall take place, the sin will be complete, known to God in our heart, although it may not become known to men by deed. There are, then, these steps: the suggestion is made, as it were, by a serpent, that is to say, by a fleeting and rapid, i.e. a temporary, movement of bodies: for if there are also any such images moving about in the soul, they have been derived from without from the body; and if any hidden sensation of the body besides those five senses touches the soul, that also is temporary and fleeting; and therefore the more clandestinely it glides in, so as to affect the process of thinking, the more aptly is it compared to a serpent. Hence these three stages, as I was beginning to say, resemble that transaction which is described in Genesis, so that the suggestion and a certain measure of suasion is put forth, as it were, by the serpent; but the taking pleasure in it lies in the carnal appetite, as it were in Eve; and the consent lies in the reason, as it were in the man: and these things having been acted through, the man is driven forth, as it were, from paradise, i.e. from the most blessed light of righteousness, into death—in all respects most righteously. For he who puts forth suasion does not compel. And all natures are beautiful in their order, according to their gradations; but we must not descend from the higher, among which the rational mind has its place assigned, to the lower. Nor is any one compelled to do this; and therefore, if he does it, he is punished by the just law of God, for he is not guilty of this unwillingly. But yet, previous to habit, either there is no pleasure, or it is so slight that there is hardly any; and to yield to it is a great sin, as such pleasure is unlawful. Now, when any one does yield, he commits sin in the heart. If, however, he also proceeds to action, the desire seems to be satisfied and extinguished; but afterwards, when the suggestion is repeated, a greater pleasure is kindled, which, however, is as yet much less than that which by continuous practice is converted into habit. For it is very difficult to overcome this; and yet even habit itself, if one does not prove untrue to himself, and does not shrink back in dread from the Christian warfare, he will get the better of under His (i.e. Christ’s) leadership and assistance; and thus, in accordance with primitive peace and order, both the man is subject to Christ, and the woman is subject to the man.

35. Hence, just as we arrive at sin by three steps,—suggestion, pleasure, consent,—so of sin itself there are three varieties,—in heart, in deed, in habit,—as it were, three deaths: one, as it were, in the house, i.e. when we consent to lust in the heart; a second now, as it were, brought forth outside the gate, when assent goes forward into action; a third, when the mind is pressed down by the force of bad habit, as if by a mound of earth, and is now, as it were, rotting in the sepulchre. And whoever reads the Gospel perceives that our Lord raised to life these three varieties of the dead. And perhaps he reflects what differences may be found in the very word of Him who raises them, when He says on one occasion, “Damsel, arise;” on another, “Young man,3 I say unto thee, Arise;” and when on another occasion He groaned in the spirit, and wept, and again groaned, and then afterwards “cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.”5

36. And therefore, under the category of the adultery mentioned in this section, we must understand all fleshly and sensual lust. For when Scripture so constantly speaks of idolatry as fornication, and the Apostle Paul calls avarice by the name of idolatry, who doubts but that every evil lust is rightly called fornication, since the soul, neglecting the higher law by which it is ruled, and prostituting itself for the base pleasure of the lower nature as its reward (so to speak), is thereby corrupted? And therefore let every one who feels carnal pleasure rebelling against right inclination in his own case through the habit of sinning, by whose unsubdued violence he is dragged into captivity, recall to mind as much as he can what kind of peace he has lost by sinning, and let him cry out, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ.”7 For in this way, when he cries out that he is wretched, in the act of bewailing he implores the help of a comforter. Nor is it a small approach to blessedness, when he has come to know his wretchedness; and therefore “blessed” also “are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Chap. xiii

37. In the next place, He goes on to say: “And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should go into hell.” Here, certainly, there is need of great courage in order to cut off one’s members.10 For whatever it is that is meant by the “eye,” undoubtedly it is such a thing as is ardently loved. For those who wish to express their affection strongly are wont to speak thus: I love him as my own eyes, or even more than my own eyes. Then, when the word “right” is added, it is meant perhaps to intensify the strength of the affection. For although these bodily eyes of ours are turned in a common direction for the purpose of seeing, and if both are turned they have equal power, yet men are more afraid of losing the right one. So that the sense in this case is: Whatever it is which thou so lovest that thou reckonest it as a right eye, if it offends thee, i.e. if it proves a hindrance to thee on the way to true happiness, pluck it out and cast it from thee. For it is profitable for thee, that one of these which thou so lovest that they cleave to thee as if they were members, should perish, rather than that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

38. But since He follows it up with a similar statement respecting the right hand, “If thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should go into hell,” He compels us to inquire more carefully what He has spoken of as an eye. And as regards this inquiry, nothing occurs to me as a more suitable explanation than a greatly beloved friend: for this, certainly, is something which we may rightly call a member which we ardently love; and this friend a counsellor, for it is an eye, as it were, pointing out the road; and that in divine things, for it is the right eye: so that the left is indeed a beloved counsellor, but in earthly matters, pertaining to the necessities of the body; concerning which as a cause of stumbling it was superfluous to speak, inasmuch as not even the right was to be spared. Now, a counsellor in divine things is a cause of stumbling, if he endeavours to lead one into any dangerous heresy under the guise of religion and doctrine. Hence also let the right hand be taken in the sense of a beloved helper and assistant in divine works: for in like manner as contemplation is rightly understood as having its seat in the eye, so action in the right hand; so that the left hand may be understood in reference to works which are necessary for this life, and for the body.

Chap. xiv

39. “It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement.” This is the lesser righteousness of the Pharisees, which is not opposed by what our Lord says: “But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is loosed from her husband committeth adultery.”2 For He who gave the commandment that a writing of divorcement should be given, did not give the commandment that a wife should be put away; but “whosoever shall put away,” says He, “let him give her a writing of divorcement,” in order that the thought of such a writing might moderate the rash anger of him who was getting rid of his wife. And, therefore, He who sought to interpose a delay in putting away, indicated as far as He could to hard-hearted men that He did not wish separation. And accordingly the Lord Himself in another passage, when a question was asked Him as to this matter, gave this reply: “Moses did so because of the hardness of your hearts.” For however hard-hearted a man may be who wishes to put away his wife, when he reflects that, on a writing of divorcement being given her, she could then without risk marry another, he would be easily appeased. Our Lord, therefore, in order to confirm that principle, that a wife should not lightly be put away, made the single exception of fornication; but enjoins that all other annoyances, if any such should happen to spring up, be borne with fortitude for the sake of conjugal fidelity and for the sake of chastity; and he also calls that man an adulterer who should marry her that has been divorced by her husband. And the Apostle Paul shows the limit of this state of affairs, for he says it is to be observed as long as her husband liveth; but on the husband’s death he gives permission to marry.4 For he himself also held by this rule, and therein brings forward not his own advice, as in the case of some of his admonitions, but a command enjoined by the Lord when he says: “And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife6 depart from her husband: but and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.” I believe that, according to a similar rule, if he shall put her away, he is to remain unmarried, or be reconciled to his wife. For it may happen that he puts away his wife for the cause of fornication, which our Lord wished to make an exception of. But now, if she is not allowed to marry while the husband is living from whom she has departed, nor he to take another while the wife is living whom he has put away, much less is it right to commit unlawful acts of fornication with any parties whomsoever. More blessed indeed are those marriages to be reckoned, where the parties concerned, whether after the procreation of children, or even through contempt of such an earthly progeny, have been able with common consent to practise self-restraint toward each other: both because nothing is done contrary to that precept whereby the Lord forbids a spouse to be put away (for he does not put her away who lives with her not carnally, but spiritually), and because that principle is observed to which the apostle gives expression, “It remaineth, that they that have wives be as though they had none.”8

Chap. xv

40. But it is rather that statement which the Lord Himself makes in another passage which is wont to disturb the minds of the little ones, who nevertheless earnestly desire to live now according to the precepts of Christ: “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” For it may seem a contradiction to the less intelligent, that here He forbids the putting away of a wife saving for the cause of fornication, but that elsewhere He affirms that no one can be a disciple of His who does not hate his wife. But if He were speaking with reference to sexual intercourse, He would not place father, and mother, and brothers in the same category. But how true it is, that “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and they that use violence take it by force!”10 For how great violence is necessary, in order that a man may love his enemies, and hate his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers! For He commands both things who calls us to the kingdom of heaven. And how these things do not contradict each other, it is easy to show under His guidance; but after they have been understood, it is difficult to carry them out, although this too is very easy when He Himself assists us. For in that eternal kingdom to which He has vouchsafed to call His disciples, to whom He also gives the name of brothers, there are no temporal relationships of this sort. For “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female;”
“but Christ is all, and in all.” And the Lord Himself says: “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage,2 but are as the angels of God in heaven.” Hence it is necessary that whoever wishes here and now to aim after the life of that kingdom, should hate not the persons themselves, but those temporal relationships by which this life of ours, which is transitory and is comprised in being born and dying, is upheld; because he who does not hate them, does not yet love that life where there is no condition of being born and dying, which unites parties in earthly wedlock.

41. Therefore, if I were to ask any good Christian who has a wife, and even though he may still be having children by her, whether he would like to have his wife in that kingdom; mindful in any case of the promises of God, and of that life where this incorruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality; though at present hesitating from the greatness, or at least from a certain degree of love, he would reply with execration that he is strongly averse to it. Were I to ask him again, whether he would like his wife to live with him there, after the resurrection, when she had undergone that angelic change which is promised to the saints, he would reply that he desired this as strongly as he reprobated the other. Thus a good Christian is found in one and the same woman to love the creature of God, whom he desires to be transformed and renewed; but to hate the corruptible and mortal conjugal connection and sexual intercourse: i.e. to love in her what is characteristic of a human being, to hate what belongs to her as a wife. So also he loves his enemy, not in as far as he is an enemy, but in as far as he is a man; so that he wishes the same prosperity to come to him as to himself, viz. that he may reach the kingdom of heaven rectified and renewed. This is to be understood both of father and mother and the other ties of blood, that we hate in them what has fallen to the lot of the human race in being born and dying, but that we love what can be carried along with us to those realms where no one says, My Father; but all say to the one God, “Our Father:” and no one says, My mother; but all say to that other Jerusalem, Our mother: and no one says, My brother; but each says respecting every other, Our brother. But in fact there will be a marriage on our part as of one spouse (when we have been brought together into unity), with Him who hath delivered us from the pollution of this world by the shedding of His own blood. It is necessary, therefore, that the disciple of Christ should hate these things which pass away, in those whom he desires along with himself to reach those things which shall for ever remain; and that he should the more hate these things in them, the more he loves themselves.

42. A Christian may therefore live in concord with his wife, whether with her providing for a fleshly craving, a thing which the apostle speaks by permission, not by commandment; or providing for the procreation of children, which may be at present in some degree praiseworthy; or providing for a brotherly and sisterly fellowship, without any corporeal connection, having his wife as though he had her not, as is most excellent and sublime in the marriage of Christians: yet so that in her he hates the name of temporal relationship, and loves the hope of everlasting blessedness. For we hate, without doubt, that respecting which we wish at least, that at some time hereafter it should not exist; as, for instance, this same life of ours in the present world, which if we were not to hate as being temporal, we would not long for the future life, which is not conditioned by time. For as a substitute for this life the soul is put, respecting which it is said in that passage, “If a man hate not his own soul also, he cannot be my disciple.” For that corruptible meat is necessary for this life, of which the Lord Himself says, “Is not the soul6 more than meat?” i.e. this life to which meat is necessary. And when He says that He would lay down His soul for His sheep, He undoubtedly means this life, as He is declaring that He is going to die for us.

Chap. xvi

43. Here there arises a second question, when the Lord allows a wife to be put away for the cause of fornication, in what latitude of meaning fornication is to be understood in this passage,—whether in the sense understood by all, viz. that we are to understand that fornication to be meant which is committed in acts of uncleanness; or whether, in accordance with the usage of Scripture in speaking of fornication (as has been mentioned above), as meaning all unlawful corruption, such as idolatry or covetousness, and therefore, of course, every transgression of the law on account of the unlawful lust [involved in it]. But let us consult the apostle, that we may not say rashly. “And unto the married I command,” says he, “yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: but and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband.” For it may happen that she departs for that cause for which the Lord gives permission to do so. Or, if a woman is at liberty to put away her husband for other causes besides that of fornication, and the husband is not at liberty, what answer shall we give respecting this statement which he has made afterwards, “And let not the husband put away his wife”? Wherefore did he not add, saving for the cause of fornication, which the Lord permits, unless because he wishes a similar rule to be understood, that if he shall put away his wife (which he is permitted to do for the cause of fornication), he is to remain without a wife, or be reconciled to his wife? For it would not be a bad thing for a husband to be reconciled to such a woman as that to whom, when nobody had dared to stone her, the Lord said, “Go, and sin no more.”2 And for this reason also, because He who says, It is not lawful to put away one’s wife saving for the cause of fornication, forces him to retain his wife, if there should be no cause of fornication: but if there should be, He does not force him to put her away, but permits him, just as when it is said, Let it not be lawful for a woman to marry another, unless her husband be dead; if she shall marry before the death of her husband, she is guilty; if she shall not marry after the death of her husband, she is not guilty, for she is not commanded to marry, but merely permitted. If, therefore, there is a like rule in the said law of marriage between man and woman, to such an extent that not merely of the woman has the same apostle said, “The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband;” but he has not been silent respecting him, saying, “And likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife;”—if, then, the rule is similar, there is no necessity for understanding that it is lawful for a woman to put away her husband, saving for the cause of fornication, as is the case also with the husband.

44. It is therefore to be considered in what latitude of meaning we ought to understand the word fornication, and the apostle is to be consulted, as we were beginning to do. For he goes on to say, “But to the rest speak I, not the Lord.” Here, first, we must see who are “the rest,” for he was speaking before on the part of the Lord to those who are married, but now, as from himself, he speaks to “the rest:” hence perhaps to the unmarried, but this does not follow. For thus he continues: “If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.” Hence, even now he is speaking to those who are married. What, then, is his object in saying “to the rest,” unless that he was speaking before to those who were so united, that they were alike as to their faith in Christ; but that now he is speaking to “the rest,” i.e. to those who are so united, that they are not both believers? But what does he say to them? “If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not put him away.” If, therefore, he does not give a command as from the Lord, but advises as from himself, then this good result springs from it, that if any one act otherwise, he is not a transgressor of a command, just as he says a little after respecting virgins, that he has no command of the Lord, but that he gives his advice; and he so praises virginity, that whoever will may avail himself of it; yet if he shall not do so, he may not be judged to have acted contrary to a command. For there is one thing which is commanded, another respecting which advice is given, another still which is allowed. A wife is commanded not to depart from her husband; and if she depart, to remain unmarried, or to be reconciled to her husband: therefore it is not allowable for her to act otherwise. But a believing husband is advised, if he has an unbelieving wife who is pleased to dwell with him, not to put her away: therefore it is allowable also to put her away, because it is no command of the Lord that he should not put her away, but an advice of the apostle: just as a virgin is advised not to marry; but if she shall marry, she will not indeed adhere to the advice, but she will not act in opposition to a command. Allowance is given4 when it is said, “But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.” And therefore, if it is allowable that an unbelieving wife should be put away, although it is better not to put her away, and yet not allowable, according to the commandment of the Lord, that a wife should be put away, saving for the cause of fornication, [then] unbelief itself also is fornication.

45. For what sayest thou, O apostle? Surely, that a believing husband who has an unbelieving wife pleased to dwell with him is not to put her away? Just so, says he. When, therefore, the, Lord also gives this command, that a man should not put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, why dost thou say here, “I speak, not the Lord “? For this reason, viz. that the idolatry which unbelievers follow, and every other noxious superstition, is fornication. Now, the Lord permitted a wife to be put away for the cause of fornication; but in permitting, He did not command it: He gave opportunity to the apostle for advising that whoever wished should not put away an unbelieving wife, in order that, perchance, in this way she might become a believer. “For,” says he, “the unbelieving husband is sanctified in the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified in the brother.” I suppose it had already occurred that some wives were embracing the faith by means of their believing husbands, and husbands by means of their believing wives; and although not mentioning names, he yet urged his case by examples, in order to strengthen his counsel. Then he goes on to say, “Else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.” For now the children were Christians, who were sanctified at the instance of one of the parents, or with the consent of both; which would not take place unless the marriage were broken up by one of the parties becoming a believer, and unless the unbelief of the spouse were borne with so far as to give an opportunity of believing. This, therefore, is the counsel of Him whom I regard as having spoken the words, “Whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.”2

46. Moreover, if unbelief is fornication, and idolatry unbelief, and covetousness idolatry, it is not to be doubted that covetousness also is fornication. Who, then, in that case can rightly separate any unlawful lust whatever from the category of fornication, if covetousness is fornication? And from this we perceive, that because of unlawful lusts, not only those of which one is guilty in acts of uncleanness with another’s husband or wife, but any unlawful lusts whatever, which cause the soul making a bad use of the body to wander from the law of God, and to be ruinously and basely corrupted, a man may, without crime, put away his wife, and a wife her husband, because the Lord makes the cause of fornication an exception; which fornication, in accordance with the above considerations, we are compelled to understand as being general and universal.

47. But when He says, “saving for the cause of fornication,” He has not said of which of them, whether the man or the woman. For not only is it allowed to put away a wife who commits fornication; but whoever puts away that wife even by whom he is himself compelled to commit fornication, puts her away undoubtedly for the cause of fornication. As, for instance, if a wife should compel one to sacrifice to idols, the man who puts away such an one puts her away for the cause of fornication, not only on her part, but on his own also: on her part, because she commits fornication; on his own, that he may not commit fornication. Nothing, however, is more unjust than for a man to put away his wife because of fornication, if he himself also is convicted of committing fornication. For that passage occurs to one: “For wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.”4 And for this reason, whosoever wishes to put away his wife because of fornication, ought first to be cleared of fornication; and a like remark I would make respecting the woman also.

48. But in reference to what He says, “Whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery,” it may be asked whether she also who is married commits adultery in the same way as he does who marries her. For she also is commanded to remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband; but this in the case of her departing from her husband. There is, however, a great difference whether she put away or be put away. For if she put away her husband, and marry another, she seems to have left her former husband from a desire of changing her marriage connection, which is, without doubt, an adulterous thought. But if she be put away by the husband, with whom she desired to be, he indeed who marries her commits adultery, according to the Lord’s declaration; but whether she also be involved in a like crime is uncertain,—although it is much less easy to discover how, when a man and woman have intercourse one with another with equal consent, one of them should be an adulterer, and the other not. To this is to be added the consideration, that if he commits adultery by marrying her who is divorced from her husband (although she does not put away, but is put away), she causes him to commit adultery, which nevertheless the Lord forbids. And hence we infer that, whether she has been put away, or has put away her husband, it is necessary for her to remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband.

49. Again, it is asked whether, if, with a wife’s permission, either a barren one, or one who does not wish to submit to intercourse, a man shall take to himself another woman, not another man’s wife, nor one separated from her husband, he can do so without being chargeable with fornication? And an example is found in the Old Testament history; but now there are greater precepts which the human race has reached after having passed that stage; and those matters are to be investigated for the purpose of distinguishing the ages of the dispensation of that divine providence which assists the human race in the most orderly way; but not for the purpose of making use of the rules of living. But yet it may be asked whether what the apostle says, “The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband; and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife,” can be carried so far, that, with the permission of a wife, who possesses the power over her husband’s body, a man can have intercourse with another woman, who is neither another man’s wife nor divorced from her husband; but such an opinion is not to be entertained, lest it should seem that a woman also, with her husband’s permission, could do such a thing, which the instinctive feeling of every one prevents.

50. And yet some occasions may arise, where a wife also, with the consent of her husband, may seem under obligation to do this for the sake of that husband himself; as, for instance, is said to have happened at Antioch about fifty years ago, in the times of Constantius. For Acyndinus, at that time prefect and at one time also consul, when he demanded of a certain public debtor the payment of a poundweight of gold, impelled by I know not what motive, did a thing which is often dangerous in the case of those magistrates to whom anything whatever is lawful, or rather is thought to be lawful, viz. threatened with an oath and with a vehement affirmation, that if he did not pay the foresaid gold on a certain day which he had fixed, he would be put to death. Accordingly, while he was being kept in cruel confinement, and was unable to rid himself of that debt, the dread day began to impend and to draw near. He happened, however, to have a very beautiful wife, but one who had no money wherewith to come to the relief of her husband; and when a certain rich man had had his desires inflamed by the beauty of this woman, and had learned that her husband was placed in that critical situation, he sent to her, promising in return for a single night, if she would consent to hold intercourse with him, that he would give her the pound of gold. Then she, knowing that she herself had not power over her body, but her husband, conveyed the intelligence to him, telling him that she was prepared to do it for the sake of her husband, but only if he himself, the lord by marriage of her body, to whom all that chastity was due, should wish it to be done, as if disposing of his own property for the sake of his life. He thanked her, and commanded that it should be done, in no wise judging that it was an adulterous embrace, because it was no lust, but great love for her husband, that demanded it, at his own bidding and will. The woman came to the villa of that rich man, did what the lewd man wished; but she gave her body only to her husband, who desired not, as was usual, his marriage rights, but life. She received the gold; but he who gave it took away stealthily what he had given, and substituted a similar bag with earth in it. When the woman, however, on reaching her home, discovered it, she rushed forth in public in order to proclaim the deed she had done, animated by the same tender affection for her husband by which she had been forced to do it; she goes to the prefect, confesses everything, shows the fraud that had been practised upon her. Then indeed the prefect first pronounces himself guilty, because the matter had come to this by means of his threats, and, as if pronouncing sentence upon another, decided that a pound of gold should be brought into the treasury from the property of Acyndinus; but that she (the woman) be installed as mistress of that piece of land whence she had received the earth instead of the gold. I offer no opinion either way from this story: let each one form a judgment as he pleases, for the history is not drawn from divinely authoritative sources; but yet, when the story is related, man’s instinctive sense does not so revolt against what was done in the case of this woman, at her husband’s bidding, as we formerly shuddered when the thing itself was set forth without any example. But in this section of the Gospel nothing is to be more steadily kept in view, than that so great is the evil of fornication, that, while married people are bound to one another by so strong a bond, this one cause of divorce is excepted; but as to what fornication is, that we have already discussed.

Chap. xvii

51. “Again,” says He, “ye have heard that it hath been said to them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oath: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; neither by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more3 than these cometh of evil.” The righteousness of the Pharisees is not to forswear oneself; and this is confirmed by Him who gives the command not to swear, so far as relates to the righteousness of the kingdom of heaven. For just as he who does not speak at all cannot speak falsely, so he who does not swear at all cannot swear falsely. But yet, since he who takes God to witness swears, this section must be carefully considered, lest the apostle should seem to have acted contrary to the Lord’s precept, who often swore in this way, when he says, “Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God I lie not;” and again, “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.”5 Of like nature also is that asseveration, “For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers.” Unless, perchance, one were to say that it is to be reckoned swearing only when something is spoken of by which one swears; so that he has not used an oath, because he has not said, by God; but has said, “God is witness.” It is ridiculous to think so; yet because of the contentious, or those very slow of apprehension, lest any one should think there is a difference, let him know that the apostle has used an oath in this way also, saying, “By your rejoicing, I die daily.”7 And let no one think that this is so expressed as if it were said, Your rejoicing makes me die daily; just as it is said, By his teaching he became learned, i.e. by his teaching it came about that he was perfectly instructed: the Greek copies decide the matter, where we find it written, Νὴ τὴν καύχησιν ὑμετέραν, an expression which is used only by one taking an oath. Thus, then, it is understood that the Lord gave the command not to swear in this sense, lest any one should eagerly seek after an oath as a good thing, and by the constant use of oaths sink down through force of habit into perjury. And therefore let him who understands that swearing is to be reckoned not among things that are good, but among things that are necessary, refrain as far as he can from indulging in it, unless by necessity, when he sees men slow to believe what it is useful for them to believe, except they be assured by an oath. To this, accordingly, reference is made when it is said, “Let your speech be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay;” this is good, and what is to be desired. “For whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil;”
i.e., if you are compelled to swear, know that it comes of a necessity arising from the infirmity of those whom you are trying to persuade of something; which infirmity is certainly an evil, from which we daily pray to be delivered, when we say, “Deliver us from evil.” Hence He has not said, Whatsoever is more than these is evil; for you are not doing what is evil when you make a good use of an oath, which, although not in itself good, is yet necessary in order to persuade another that you are trying to move him for some useful end; but it “cometh of evil” on his part by whose infirmity you are compelled to swear.9 But no one learns, unless he has had experience, how difficult it is both to get rid of a habit of swearing, and never to do rashly what necessity sometimes compels him to do.

52. But it may be asked why, when it was said, “But I say unto you, Swear not at all,” it was added, “neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne,” etc., up to “neither by thy head.” I suppose it was for this reason, that the Jews did not think they were bound by the oath, if they had sworn by such things: and since they had heard it said, “Thou shalt perform unto the Lord thine oath,” they did not think an oath brought them under obligation to the Lord, if they swore by heaven, or earth, or by Jerusalem, or by their head; and this happened not from the fault of Him who gave the command, but because they did not rightly understand it. Hence the Lord teaches that there is nothing so worthless among the creatures of God, as that any one should think that he may swear falsely by it; since created things, from the highest down to the lowest, beginning with the throne of God and going down to a white or black hair, are ruled by divine providence. “Neither by heaven,” says He, “for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool:” i.e., when you swear by heaven or the earth, do not imagine that your oath does not bring you under obligation to the Lord; for you are convicted of swearing by Him who has heaven for His throne, and the earth for His footstool. “Neither by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King;” a better expression than if He had said, “My [city]; although, however, we understand Him to have meant this. And, because He is undoubtedly the Lord, the man who swears by Jerusalem is bound by his oath to the Lord. “Neither shalt thou swear by thy head.” Now, what could any one suppose to belong more to himself than his own head? But how is it ours, when we have not the power of making one hair white or black? Hence, whoever should wish to swear even by his own head, is bound by his oath to God, who in an ineffable way keeps all things in His power, and is everywhere present. And here also all other things are understood, which could not of course be enumerated; just as that saying of the apostle we have mentioned, “By your rejoicing, I die daily.” And to show that he was bound by this oath to the Lord, he has added, “which I have in Christ Jesus.”

53. But yet (I make the remark for the sake of the carnal) we must not think that heaven is called God’s throne, and the earth His footstool, because God has members placed in heaven and in earth, in some such way as we have when we sit down; but that seat means judgment. And since, in this organic whole of the universe, heaven has the greatest appearance, and earth the least,—as if the divine power were more present where the beauty excels, but still were regulating the least degree of it in the most distant and in the lowest regions,—He is said to sit in heaven, and to tread upon the earth. But spiritually the expression heaven means holy souls, and earth sinful ones: and since the spiritual man judges all things, yet he himself is judged of no man, he is suitably spoken of as the seat of God; but the sinner to whom it is said, “Earth thou art, and unto earth shalt thou return,”3 because, in accordance with that justice which assigns what is suitable to men’s deserts, he is placed among things that are lowest, and he who would not remain in the law is punished under the law, is suitably taken as His footstool.

Chap. xviii

54. But now, to conclude by summing up this passage, what can be named or thought of more laborious and toilsome, where the believing soul is straining every nerve of its industry, than the subduing of vicious habit? Let such an one cut off the members which obstruct the kingdom of heaven, and not be overwhelmed by the pain: in conjugal fidelity let him bear with everything which, however grievously annoying it may be, is still free from the guilt of unlawful corruption, i.e. of fornication: as, for instance, if any one should have a wife either barren, or misshapen in body, or faulty in her members,—either blind, or deaf, or lame, or having any other defect,—or worn out by diseases and pains and weaknesses, and whatever else may be thought of exceeding horrible, fornication excepted, let him endure it for the sake of his plighted love and conjugal union; and let him not only not put away such a wife, but even if he have her not, let him not marry one who has been divorced by her husband, though beautiful, healthy, rich, fruitful. And if it is not lawful to do such things, much less is it to be deemed lawful for him to come near any other unlawful embrace; and let him so flee from fornication, as to withdraw himself from base corruption of every sort. Let him speak the truth, and let him commend it not by frequent oaths, but by the probity of his morals; and with respect to the innumerable crowds of all bad habits rising up in rebellion against him, of which, in order that all may be understood, a few have been mentioned, let him betake himself to the citadel of Christian warfare, and let him lay them prostrate, as if from a higher ground. But who would venture to enter upon labours so great, unless one who is so inflamed with the love of righteousness, that, as it were utterly consumed with hunger and thirst, and thinking there is no life for him till that is satisfied, he puts forth violence to obtain the kingdom of heaven? For otherwise he will not be able bravely to endure all those things which the lovers of this world reckon toilsome and arduous, and altogether difficult in getting rid of bad habits. “Blessed,” therefore, “are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”

55. But yet, when any one encounters difficulty in these toils, and advancing through hardships and roughnesses surrounded with various temptations, and perceiving the troubles of his past life rise up on this side and on that, becomes afraid lest he should not be able to carry through what he has undertaken, let him eagerly avail himself of the counsel that he may obtain assistance. But what other counsel is there than this, that he who desires to have divine help for his own infirmity should bear that of others, and should assist it as much as possible? And so, therefore, let us look at the precepts of mercy. The meek and the merciful man, however, seem to be one and the same: but there is this difference, that the meek man, of whom we have spoken above, from piety does not gainsay the divine sentences which are brought forward against his sins, nor those statements of God which he does not yet understand; but he confers no benefit on him whom he does not gainsay or resist. But the merciful man in such a way offers no resistance, that he does it for the purpose of correcting him whom he would render worse by resisting.

Chap. xix

56. Hence the Lord goes on to say: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, that ye resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat [tunic, undergarment], let him have thy cloak3 also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.” It is the lesser righteousness of the Pharisees not to go beyond measure in revenge, that no one should give back more than he has received: and this is a great step. For it is not easy to find any one who, when he has received a blow, wishes merely to return the blow; and who, on hearing one word from a man who reviles him, is content to return only one, and that just an equivalent; but he avenges it more immoderately, either under the disturbing influence of anger, or because he thinks it just, that he who first inflicted injury should suffer more severe injury than he suffered who had not inflicted injury. Such a spirit was in great measure restrained by the law, where it was written, “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth;” by which expressions a certain measure is intended, so that the vengeance should not exceed the injury. And this is the beginning of peace: but perfect peace is to have no wish at all for such vengeance.

57. Hence, between that first course which goes beyond the law, that a greater evil should be inflicted in return for a lesser, and this to which the Lord has given expression for the purpose of perfecting the disciples, that no evil at all should be inflicted in return for evil, a middle course holds a certain place, viz. that as much be paid back as has been received; by means of which enactment the transition is made from the highest discord to the highest concord, according to the distribution of times. See, therefore, at how great a distance any one who is the first to do harm to another, with the desire of injuring and hurting him, stands from him who, even when injured, does not pay back the injury. That man, however, who is not the first to do harm to any one, but who yet, when injured, inflicts a greater injury in return, either in will or in deed, has so far withdrawn himself from the highest injustice, and made so far an advance to the highest righteousness; but still he does not yet hold by what the law given by Moses commanded. And therefore he who pays back just as much as he has received already forgives something: for the party who injures does not deserve merely as much punishment as the man who was injured by him has innocently suffered. And accordingly this incomplete, by no means severe, but [rather] merciful justice, is carried to perfection by Him who came to fulfil the law, not to destroy it. Hence there are still two intervening steps which He has left to be understood, while He has chosen rather to speak of the very highest development of mercy. For there is still what one may do who does not come fully up to that magnitude of the precept which belongs to the kingdom of heaven; acting in such a way that he does not pay back as much, but less; as, for instance, one blow instead of two, or that he cuts off an ear for an eye that has been plucked out. He who, rising above this, pays back nothing at all, approaches the Lord’s precept, but yet he does not reach it. For still it seems to the Lord not enough, if, for the evil which you may have received, you should inflict no evil in return, unless you be prepared to receive even more. And therefore He does not say, “But I say unto you,” that you are not to return evil for evil; although even this would be a great precept: but He says, “that ye resist not evil;” so that not only are you not to pay back what may have been inflicted on you, but you are not even to resist other inflictions. For this is what He also goes on to explain: “But whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also:” for He does not say, If any man smite thee, do not wish to smite him; but, Offer thyself further to him if he should go on to smite thee. As regards compassion, they feel it most who minister to those whom they greatly love as if they were their children, or some very dear friends in sickness, or little children, or insane persons, at whose hands they often endure many things; and if their welfare demand it, they even show themselves ready to endure more, until the weakness either of age or of disease pass away. And so, as regards those whom the Lord, the Physician of souls, was instructing to take care of their neighbours, what else could He teach them, than that they endure quietly the infirmities of those whose welfare they wish to consult? For all wickedness arises from infirmity2 of mind: because nothing is more harmless than the man who is perfect in virtue.

58. But it may be asked what the right cheek means. For this is the reading we find in the Greek copies, which are most worthy of confidence; though many Latin ones have only the word “cheek,” without the addition of “right.” Now the face is that by which any one is recognised; and we read in the apostle’s writings, “For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face:” then immediately he adds, “I speak as concerning reproach;”4 so that he explains what striking on the face is, viz. to be contemned and despised. Nor is this indeed said by the apostle for this reason, that they should not bear with those parties; but that they should bear with himself rather, who so loved them, that he was willing that he himself should be spent for them. But since the face cannot be called right and left, and yet there may be a worth according to the estimate of God and according to the estimate of this world, it is so distributed as it were into the right and left cheek, that whatever disciple of Christ might have to bear reproach for being a Christian, he should be much more ready to bear reproach in himself, if he possesses any of the honours of this world. Thus this same apostle, if he had kept silence respecting the dignity which he had in the world, when men were persecuting in him the Christian name, would not have presented the other cheek to those that were smiting the right one. For when he said, I am a Roman citizen,6 he was not unprepared to submit to be despised, in that which he reckoned as least, by those who had despised in him so precious and life-giving a name. For did he at all the less on that account afterwards submit to the chains, which it was not lawful to put on Roman citizens, or did lie wish to accuse any one of this injury? And if any spared him on account of the name of Roman citizenship, yet he did not on that account refrain from offering an object they might strike at, since he wished by his patience to cure of so great perversity those whom he saw honouring in him what belonged to the left members rather than the right. For that point only is to be attended to, in what spirit he did everything, how benevolently and mildly he acted toward those from whom he was suffering such things. For when he was smitten with the hand by order of the high priest, what he seemed to say contumeliously when he affirms, “God shall smite thee, thou whited wall,” sounds like an insult to those who do not understand it; but to those who do, it is a prophecy. For a whited wall is hypocrisy, i.e. pretence holding forth the sacerdotal dignity before itself, and under this name, as under a white covering, concealing an inner and as it were sordid baseness. For what belonged to humility he wonderfully preserved, when, on its being said to him, “Revilest thou the high priest?” he replied, “I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, Thou shall not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.”2 And here he showed with what calmness he had spoken that which he seemed to have spoken in anger, because he answered so quickly and so mildly, which cannot be done by those who are indignant and thrown into confusion. And in that very statement he spoke the truth to those who understood him, “I wist not that he was the high priest:” as if he said, I know another High Priest, for whose name I bear such things, whom it is not lawful to revile, and whom ye revile, since in me it is nothing else but His name that ye hate. Thus, therefore, it is necessary for one not to boast of such things in a hypocritical way, but to be prepared in the heart itself for all things, so that he can sing that prophetic word, “My heart is prepared,4 O God, my heart is prepared.” For many have learned how to offer the other cheek, but do not know how to love him by whom they are struck. But in truth, the Lord Himself, who certainly was the first to fulfil the precepts which He taught, did not offer the other cheek to the servant of the high priest when smiting Him thereon; but, so far from that, said, “If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smitest thou me?”6 Yet was He not on that account unprepared in heart, for the salvation of all, not merely to be smitten on the other cheek, but even to have His whole body crucified.

59. Hence also what follows, “And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also,” is rightly understood as a precept having reference to the preparation of heart, not to a vain show of outward deed. But what is said with respect to the coat and cloak is to be carried out not merely in such things, but in the case of everything which on any ground of right we speak of as being ours for time. For if this command is given with respect to what is necessary, how much more does it become us to contemn what is superfluous! But still, those things which I have called ours are to be included in that category under which the Lord Himself gives the precept, when He says, “If any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat.” Let all these things therefore be understood for which we may be sued at the law, so that the right to them may pass from us to him who sues, or for whom he sues; such, for instance, as clothing, a house, an estate, a beast of burden, and in general all kinds of property. But whether it is to be understood of slaves also is a great question. For a Christian ought not to possess a slave in the same way as a horse or money: although it may happen that a horse is valued at a greater price than a slave, and some article of gold or silver at much more. But with respect to that slave, if he is being educated and ruled by time as his master, in a way more upright, and more honourable, and more conducing to the fear of God, than can be done by him who desires to take him away, I do not know whether any one would dare to say that he ought to be despised like a garment. For a man ought to love a fellow-man as himself, inasmuch as he is commanded by the Lord of all (as is shown by what follows) even to love his enemies.

60. It is carefully to be observed that every tunic is a garment,9 but that every garment is not a tunic. Hence the word garment means more than the word tunic. And therefore I think it is so expressed, “And if any one will sue thee at the law, and take away thy tunic, let him have thy garment also,” as if He had said, Whoever wishes to take away thy tunic, give over to him whatever other clothing thou hast. And so some have interpreted the word pallium, which in the Greek as used here is ἱμάτιον.

61. “And whosoever,” says He, “shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him other two.” And this, certainly, not so much in the sense that thou shouldest do it on foot, as that thou shouldest be prepared in mind to do it. For in the Christian history itself, which is authoritative, you will find no such thing done by the saints, or by the Lord Himself when in His human nature, which He condescended to assume, He was showing us an example of how to live; while at the same time, in almost all places, you will find them prepared to bear with equanimity whatever may have been wickedly forced upon them. But are we to suppose it is said for the sake of the mere expression, “Go with him other two;” or did He rather wish that three should be completed,—the number which has the meaning of perfection; so that every one should remember when he does this, that he is fulfilling perfect righteousness by compassionately bearing the infirmities of those whom he wishes to be made whole? It may seem for this reason also that He has recommended these precepts by three examples: of which the first is, if any one shall smite thee on the cheek; the second, if any one shall wish to take away thy coat; the third, if any one shall compel thee to go a mile: in which third example twice as much is added to the original unit, so that in this way the triplet is completed. And if this number in the passage before us does not, as has been said, mean perfection, let this be understood, that in laying down His precepts, as it were beginning with what is more tolerable, He has gradually gone on, until He has reached as far as the enduring of twice as much more. For, in the first place, He wished the other cheek to be presented when the right had been smitten, so that you may be prepared to bear less than you have borne. For whatever the right means, it is at least something more dear than that which is meant by the left; and if one who has borne with something in what is more dear, bears with it in what is less dear, it is something less. Then, secondly, in the case of one who wishes to take away a coat, He enjoins that the garment also should be given up to him: which is either just as much, or not much more; not, however, twice as much. In the third place, with respect to the mile, to which He says that two miles are to be added, He enjoins that you should bear with even twice as much more: thus signifying that whether it be somewhat less than the original demand, or just as much, or more, that any wicked man shall wish to take from thee, it is to be borne with tranquil mind.

Chap. xx

62. And, indeed, in these three classes of examples, I see that no class of injury is passed over. For all matters in which we suffer any injustice are divided into two classes: of which the one is, where restitution cannot be made; the other, where it can. But in that case where restitution cannot be made, a compensation in revenge is usually sought. For what does it profit, that on being struck you strike in return? Is that part of the body which was injured for that reason restored to its original condition? But an excited mind desires such alleviations. Things of that sort, however, afford no pleasure to a healthy and firm one; nay, such an one judges rather that the other’s infirmity is to be compassionately borne with, than that his own (which has no existence) should be soothed by the punishment of another.

63. Nor are we thus precluded from inflicting such punishment [requital] as avails for correction, and as compassion itself dictates; nor does it stand in the way of that course proposed, where one is prepared to endure more at the hand of him whom he wishes to set right. But no one is fit for inflicting this punishment except the man who, by the greatness of his love, has overcome that hatred wherewith those are wont to be inflamed who wish to avenge themselves. For it is not to be feared that parents would seem to hate a little son when, on committing an offence, he is beaten by them that he may not go on offending. And certainly the perfection of love is set before us by the imitation of God the Father Himself when it is said in what follows: “Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them3 which persecute you;” and yet it is said of Him by the prophet, “For whom the Lord loveth He correcteth; yea, He scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.” The Lord also says, “The servant that knows not5 his Lord’s will, and does things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes; but the servant that knows his Lord’s will, and does things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with many stripes.” No more, therefore, is sought for, except that he should punish to whom, in the natural order of things, the power is given; and that he should punish with the same goodwill which a father has towards his little son, whom by reason of his youth he cannot yet hate. For from this source the most suitable example is drawn, in order that it may be sufficiently manifest that sin can be punished in love rather than be left unpunished; so that one may wish him on whom he inflicts it not to be miserable by means of punishment, but to be happy by means of correction, yet be prepared, if need be, to endure with equanimity more injuries inflicted by him whom he wishes to be corrected, whether he may have the power of putting restraint upon him or not.

64. But great and holy men, although they at the time knew excellently well that that death which separates the soul from the body is not to be dreaded, yet, in accordance with the sentiment of those who might fear it, punished some sins with death, both because the living were struck with a salutary fear, and because it was not death itself that would injure those who were being punished with death, but sin, which might be increased if they continued to live. They did not judge rashly on whom God had bestowed such a power of judging. Hence it is that Elijah inflicted death on many, both with his own hand and by calling down fire from heaven;2 as was done also without rashness by many other great and godlike men, in the same spirit of concern for the good of humanity. And when the disciples had quoted an example from this Elias, mentioning to the Lord what had been done by him, in order that He might give to themselves also the power of calling down fire from heaven to consume those who would not show Him hospitality, the Lord reproved in them, not the example of the holy prophet, but their ignorance in respect to taking vengeance, their knowledge being as yet elementary; perceiving that they did not in love desire correction, but in hated desired revenge. Accordingly, after He had taught them what it was to love one’s neighbour as oneself, and when the Holy Spirit had been poured out, whom, at the end of ten days after His ascension, He sent from above, as He had promised,4 there were not wanting such acts of vengeance, although much more rarely than in the Old Testament. For there, for the most part, as servants they were kept down by fear; but here mostly as free they were nourished by love. For at the words of the Apostle Peter also, Ananias and his wife, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles, fell down dead, and were not raised to life again, but buried.

65. But if the heretics who are opposed to the Old Testament will not credit this book, let them contemplate the Apostle Paul, whose writings they read along with us, saying with respect to a certain sinner whom he delivered over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, “that the spirit may be saved.”6 And if they will not here understand death (for perhaps it is uncertain), let them acknowledge that punishment [requital] of some kind or other was inflicted by the apostle through the instrumentality of Satan; and that he did this not in hatred, but in love, is made plain by that addition, “that the spirit may be saved.” Or let them notice what we say in those books to which they themselves attribute great authority, where it is written that the Apostle Thomas imprecated on a certain man, by whom he had been struck with the palm of the hand, the punishment of death in a very cruel form, while yet commending his soul to God, that it might be spared in the world to come,—whose hand, torn from the rest of his body after he had been killed by a lion, a dog brought to the table at which the apostle was feasting. It is allowable for us not to credit this writing, for it is not in the catholic canon; yet they both read it, and honour it as being thoroughly uncorrupted and thoroughly truthful, who rage very fiercely (with I know not what blindness) against the corporeal punishments which are in the Old Testament, being altogether ignorant in what spirit and at what stage in the orderly distribution of times they were inflicted.

66. Hence, in this class of injuries which is atoned for by punishment, such a measure will be preserved by Christians, that, on an injury being received, the mind will not mount up into hatred, but will be ready, in compassion for the infirmity, to endure even more; nor will it neglect the correction, which it can employ either by advice, or by authority, or by [the exercise of] power. There is another class of injuries, where complete restitution is possible, of which there are two species: the one referring to money, the other to labour. And therefore examples are subjoined: of the former in the case of the coat and cloak, of the latter in the case of the compulsory service of one and two miles; for a garment may be given back, and he whom you have assisted by labour may also assist you, if it should be necessary. Unless, perhaps, the distinction should rather be drawn in this way: that the first case which is supposed, in reference to the cheek being struck, means all injuries that are inflicted by the wicked in such a way that restitution cannot be made except by punishment; and that the second case which is supposed, in reference to the garment, means all injuries where restitution can be made without punishment; and therefore, perhaps, it is added, “if any man will sue thee at the law,” because what is taken away by means of a judicial sentence is not supposed to be taken away with such a degree of violence as that punishment is due; but that the third case is composed of both, so that restitution may be made both without punishment and with it. For the man who violently exacts labour to which he has no claim, without any judicial process, as he does who wickedly compels a man to go with him, and forces in an unlawful way assistance to be rendered to himself by one who is unwilling, is able both to pay the penalty of his wickedness and to repay the labour, if he who endured the wrong should ask it again. In all these classes of injuries, therefore, the Lord teaches that the disposition of a Christian ought to be most patient and compassionate, and thoroughly prepared to endure more.

67. But since it is a small matter merely to abstain from injuring, unless you also confer a benefit as far as you can, He therefore goes on to say, “Give to every one that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.” “To every one that asketh,” says He; not, Everything to him that asketh: so that you are to give that which you can honestly and justly give. For what if he should ask money, wherewith he may endeavour to oppress an innocent man? what if, in short, he should ask something unchaste? But not to recount many examples, which are in fact innumerable, that certainly is to be given which may hurt neither thyself nor the other party, as far as can be known or supposed by man; and in the case of him to whom you have justly denied what he asks, justice itself is to be made known, so that you may not send him away empty. Thus you will give to every one that asketh you, although you will not always give what he asks; and you will sometimes give something better, when you have set him right who was making unjust requests.

68. Then, as to what He says, “From him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away,” it is to be referred to the mind; for God loveth a cheerful giver. Moreover, every one who accepts anything borrows, even if he himself is not going to pay it; for inasmuch as God pays back more to the merciful, whosoever does a kindness lends at interest. Or if it does not seem good to understand the borrower in any other sense than of him who accepts of anything with the intention of repaying it, we must understand the Lord to have included those two methods of doing a favour. For we either give in a present what we give in the exercise of benevolence, or we lend to one who will repay us. And frequently men who, setting before them the divine reward, are prepared to give away in a present, become slow to give what is asked in loan, as if they were destined to get nothing in return from God, inasmuch as he who receives pays back the thing which is given him. Rightly, therefore, does the divine authority exhort us to this mode of bestowing a favour, saying, “And from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away:” i.e., do not alienate your goodwill from him who asks it, both because your money will be useless, and because God will not pay you back, inasmuch as the man has done so; but when you do that from a regard to God’s precept, it cannot be unfruitful with Him who gives these commands.

Chap. xxi

69. In the next place, He goes on to say, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy: But I say unto you, Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He commandeth5 His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the Gentiles the very same?7 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.” For without this love, wherewith we are commanded to love even our enemies and persecutors, who can fully carry out those things which are mentioned above? Moreover, the perfection of that mercy, wherewith most of all the soul that is in distress is cared for, cannot be stretched beyond the love of an enemy; and therefore the closing words are: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.” Yet in such a way that God is understood to be perfect as God, and the soul to be perfect as a soul.

70. That there is, however, a certain step [in advance] in the righteousness of the Pharisees, which belongs to the old law, is perceived from this consideration, that many men hate even those by whom they are loved; as, for instance, luxurious children hate their parents for restraining them in their luxury. That than therefore rises a certain step, who loves his neighbour, although as yet he hates his enemy. But in the kingdom of Him who came to fulfil the law, not to destroy it, he will bring benevolence and kindness to perfection, when he has carried it out so far as to love an enemy. For the former stage, although it is something, is yet so little that it may be reached even by the publicans as well. And as to what is said in the law, “Thou shalt hate thine enemy,” it is not to be understood as the voice of command addressed to a righteous man, but rather as the voice of permission to a weak man.

71. Here indeed arises a question in no way to be blinked, that to this precept of the Lord, wherein He exhorts us to love our enemies, and to do good to those who hate us, and to pray for those who persecute us, many other parts of Scripture seem to those who consider them less diligently and soberly to stand opposed; for in the prophets there are found many imprecations against enemies, which are thought to be curses: as, for instance, that one, “Let their table become a snare,” and the other things which are said there; and that one, “Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow,”2 and the other statements which are made either before or afterwards in the same Psalm by the prophet, as bearing on the case of Judas. Many other statements are found in all parts of Scripture, which may seem contrary both to this precept of the Lord, and to that apostolic one, where it is said, “Bless, and curse not;” while it is both written of the Lord, that He cursed the cities which received not His word;4 and the above-mentioned apostle thus spoke respecting a certain man, “The Lord will reward him according to his works.”

72. But these difficulties are easily solved, for the prophet predicted by means of imprecation what was about to happen, not as praying for what he wished, but in the spirit of one who saw it beforehand. So also the Lord, so also the apostle; although even in the words of these we do not find what they have wished, but what they have foretold. For when the Lord says, “Woe unto thee, Capernaum,” He does not utter anything else than that some evil will happen to her as a punishment of her unbelief; and that this would happen the Lord did not malevolently wish, but saw by means of His divinity. And the apostle does not say, May [the Lord] reward; but, “The Lord will reward him according to his work;” which is the word of one who foretells, not of one uttering an imprecation. Just as also, in regard to that hypocrisy of the Jews of which we have already spoken, whose destruction he saw to he impending, he said, “God shall smite thee, thou whited wall.” But the prophets especially are accustomed to predict future events under the figure of one uttering an imprecation, just as they have often foretold those things which were to come under the figure of past time: as is the case, for example, in that passage, “Why have the nations raged, and the peoples imagined vain things?”7 For he has not said, Why will the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? although he was not mentioning those things as if they were already past, but was looking forward to them as yet to come. Such also is that passage, “They have parted my garments among them, and have cast lots upon my vesture:” for here also he has not said, They will part my garments among them, and will cast lots upon my vesture. And yet no one finds fault with these words, except the man who does not perceive that variety of figures in speaking in no degree lessens the truth of facts, and adds very much to the impressions on our minds.

Chap. xxii

73. But the question before us is rendered more urgent by what the Apostle John says: “If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and the Lord shall give him life for him who sinneth not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.” For he manifestly shows that there are certain brethren for whom we are not commanded to pray, although the Lord bids us pray even for our persecutors. Nor can the question in hand be solved, unless we acknowledge that there are certain sins in brethren which are more heinous than the persecution of enemies. Moreover, that brethren mean Christians can be proved by many examples from the divine Scriptures. Yet that one is plainest which the apostle thus states: “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified in the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified in the brother.”10 For he has not added the word our; but has thought it plain, as he wished a Christian who had an unbelieving wife to be understood by the expression brother. And therefore he says a little after, “But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart: a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases.” Hence I am of opinion that the sin of a brother is unto death, when any one, after coming to the knowledge of God through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, makes an assault on the brotherhood, and is impelled by the fires of envy to oppose that grace itself by which he is reconciled to God. But the sin is not unto death, if any one has not withdrawn his love from a brother, but through some infirmity of disposition has failed to perform the incumbent duties of brotherhood. And on this account our Lord also on the cross says, “Father, forgive12 them; for they know not what they do:” for, not yet having become partakers of the grace of the Holy Spirit, they had not yet entered the fellowship of the holy brotherhood. And the blessed Stephen in the Acts of the Apostles prays for those by whom he is being stoned, because they had not yet believed on Christ, and were not fighting against that common grace. And the Apostle Paul on this account, I believe, does not pray for Alexander, because he was already a brother, and had sinned unto death, viz. by making an assault on the brotherhood through envy. But for those who had not broken off their love, but had given way through fear, he prays that they may be pardoned. For thus he expresses it: “Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord will reward him according to his works. Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.”2 Then he adds for whom he prays, thus expressing it: “At my first defence no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.”

74. It is this difference in their sins which separates Judas the betrayer from Peter the denier: not that a penitent is not to be pardoned, for we must not come into collision with that declaration of our Lord, where He enjoins that a brother is to be pardoned, when he asks his brother to pardon him; but that the ruin connected with that sin is so great, that he cannot endure the humiliation of asking for it, even if he should be compelled by a bad conscience both to acknowledge and divulge his sin. For when Judas had said, “I have sinned, in that I have betrayed the innocent blood,” yet it was easier for him in despair to run and hang himself,5 than in humility to ask for pardon. And therefore it is of much consequence to know what sort of repentance God pardons. For many much more readily confess that they have sinned, and are so angry with themselves that they vehemently wish they had not sinned; but yet they do not condescend to humble the heart and to make it contrite, and to implore pardon: and this disposition of mind we must suppose them to have, as feeling themselves already condemned because of the greatness of their sin.

75. And this is perhaps the sin against the Holy Ghost, i.e. through malice and envy to act in opposition to brotherly love after receiving the grace of the Holy Ghost,—a sin which our Lord says is not forgiven either in this world or in the world to come. And hence it may be asked whether the Jews sinned against the Holy Ghost, when they said that our Lord was casting out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of the devils: whether we are to understand this as said against our Lord Himself, because He says of Himself in another passage, “If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of His household!” or whether, inasmuch as they had spoken from great envy, being ungrateful for so manifest benefits, although they were not yet Christians, they are, from the very greatness of their envy, to be supposed to have sinned against the Holy Ghost? This latter is certainly not to be gathered from our Lord’s words. For although He has said in the same passage, “And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever speaketh a word against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come;” yet it may seem that He admonished them for this purpose, that they should come to His grace, and after accepting of it should not so sin as they have now sinned. For now they have spoken a word against the Son of man, and it may be forgiven them, if they be converted, and believe on Him, and receive the Holy Ghost; but if, after receiving Him, they should choose to envy the brotherhood, and to assail the grace they have received, it cannot be forgiven them, neither in this world nor in the world to come. For if He reckoned them so condemned, that there was no hope left for them, He would not judge that they ought still to be admonished, as He did by adding the statement, “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt.”7

76. Let it be understood, therefore, that we are to love our enemies, and to do good to those who hate us, and to pray for those who persecute us, in such a way, that it is at the same time understood that there are certain sins of brethren for which we are not commanded to pray; lest, through unskilfulness on our part, divine Scripture should seem to contradict itself (a thing which cannot happen). But whether, as we are not to pray for certain parties, so we are also to pray against some, has not yet become sufficiently evident. For it is said in general, “Bless, and curse not;” and again, “Recompense to no man evil for evil.” Moreover, while you do not pray for one, you do not therefore pray against him: for you may see that his punishment is certain, and his salvation altogether hopeless; and you do not pray for him, not because you hate him, but because you feel you can profit him nothing, and you do not wish your prayer to be rejected by the most righteous Judge. But what are we to think respecting those parties against whom we have it revealed that prayers were offered by the saints, not that they might be turned from their error (for in this way prayer is offered rather for them), but that final condemnation might come upon them: not as it was offered against the betrayer of our Lord by the prophet; for that, as has been said, was a prediction of things to come, not a wish for punishment: nor as it was offered by the apostle against Alexander; for respecting that also enough has been already said: but as we read in the Apocalypse of John of the martyrs praying that they may be avenged; while the well-known first martyr prayed that those who stoned him should be pardoned.

77. But we need not be moved by this circumstance. For who would venture to affirm, in regard to those white-robed saints, when they pleaded that they should be avenged, whether they pleaded against the men themselves or against the dominion of sin? For of itself it is a genuine avenging of the martyrs, and one full of righteousness and mercy, that the dominion of sin should be overthrown, under which dominion they were subjected to so great sufferings. And for its overthrow the apostle strives, saying, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body.” But the dominion of sin is destroyed and overthrown, partly by the amendment of men, so that the flesh is brought under subjection to the spirit; partly by the condemnation of those who persevere in sin, so that they are righteously disposed of in such a way that they cannot be troublesome to the righteous who reign with Christ. Look at the Apostle Paul; does it not seem to you that he avenges the martyr Stephen in his own person, when he says: “So fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection”?3 For he was certainly laying prostrate, and weakening, and bringing into subjection, and regulating that principle in himself whence he had persecuted Stephen and the other Christians. Who then can demonstrate that the holy martyrs were not asking from the Lord such an avenging of themselves, when at the same time, in order to their being avenged, they might lawfully wish for the end of this world, in which they had endured such martyrdoms? And they who pray for this, on the one hand pray for their enemies who are curable, and on the other hand do not pray against those who have chosen to be incurable: because God also, in punishing them, is not a malevolent Torturer, but a most righteous Disposer. Without any hesitation, therefore, let us love our enemies, let us do good to those that hate us, and let us pray for those who persecute us.

Chap. xxiii

78. Then, as to the statement which follows, “that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven,” it is to be understood according to that rule in virtue of which John also says, “He gave them power to become the sons of God.”5 For one is a Son by nature, who knows nothing at all of sin; but we, by receiving power, are made sons, in as far as we perform those things which are commanded us by Him. And hence the apostolic teaching gives the name of adoption to that by which we are called to an eternal inheritance, that we may be joint-heirs with Christ. We are therefore made sons by a spiritual regeneration, and we are adopted into the kingdom of God, not as aliens, but as being made and created by Him: so that it is one benefit, His having brought us into being through His omnipotence, when before we were nothing; another, His having adopted us, so that, as being sons, we might enjoy along with Him eternal life for our participation. Therefore He does not say, Do those things, because ye are sons; but, Do those things, that ye may be sons.

79. But when He calls us to this by the Only-begotten Himself, He calls us to His own likeness. For He, as is said in what follows, “maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Whether you are to understand His sun as being not that which is visible to the fleshly eyes, but that wisdom of which it is said, “She is the brightness of the everlasting light;”8 of which it is also said, “The Sun of righteousness has arisen upon me;” and again, “But unto you that fear the name of the Lord shall the Sun of righteousness arise:” so that you would also understand the rain as being the watering with the doctrine of truth, because Christ hath appeared to the good and the evil, and is preached to the good and the evil. Or whether you choose rather to understand that sun which is set forth before the bodily eyes not only of men, but also of cattle; and that rain by which the fruits are brought forth, which have been given for the refreshment of the body, which I think is the more probable interpretation: so that that spiritual sun does not rise except on the good and holy; for it is this very thing which the wicked bewail in that book which is called the Wisdom of Solomon, “And the sun rose not upon us:”10 and that spiritual rain does not water any except the good; for the wicked were meant by the vineyard of which it is said “I will also command my clouds that they rain no rain upon it.” But whether you understand the one or the other, it takes place by the great goodness of God, which we are commanded to imitate, if we wish to be the children of God. For who is there so ungrateful as not to feel how great the comfort, so far as this life is concerned, which that visible light and the material rain bring? And this comfort we see bestowed in this life alike upon the righteous and upon sinners in common. But He does not say, “who maketh the sun to rise on the evil and on the good;” but He has added the word “His,” i.e. which He Himself made and established, and for the making of which He took nothing from any one, as it is written in Genesis respecting all the luminaries; and He can properly say that all the things which He has created out of nothing are His own: so that we are hence admonished with how great liberality we ought, according to His precept, to give to our enemies those things which we have not created, but have received from His gifts.

80. But who can either be prepared to bear injuries from the weak, in as far as it is profitable for their salvation; and to choose rather to suffer more injustice from another than to repay what he has suffered; to give to every one that asketh anything from him, either what he asks, if it is in his possession, and if it can rightly be given, or good advice, or to manifest a benevolent disposition, and not to turn away from him who desires to borrow; to love his enemies, to do good to those who hate him, to pray for those who persecute him;—who, I say, does these things, but the man who is fully and perfectly merciful? And with that counsel misery is avoided, by the assistance of Him who says, “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.”4 “Blessed,” therefore, “are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” But now I think it will be more convenient, that at this point the reader, fatigued with so long a volume, should breathe a little, and recruit himself for considering what remains in another book.

BOOK II

on the latter part of our lord’s sermon on the mount, contained in the sixth and seventh chapters of matthew.

Chap. i

1. The subject of mercy, with the treatment of which the first book came to a close, is followed by that of the cleansing of the heart, with which the present one begins. The cleansing of the heart, then, is as it were the cleansing of the eye by which God is seen; and in keeping that single, there ought to be as great care as the dignity of the object demands, which can be beheld by such an eye. But even when this eye is in great part cleansed, it is difficult to prevent certain defilements from creeping insensibly over it, from those things which are wont to accompany even our good actions,—as, for instance, the praise of men. If, indeed, not to live uprightly is hurtful; yet to live uprightly, and not to wish to be praised, what else is this than to be an enemy to the affairs of men, which are certainly so much the more miserable, the less an upright life on the part of men gives pleasure? If, therefore, those among whom you live shall not praise you when living uprightly, they are in error: but if they shall praise you, you are in danger; unless you have a heart so single and pure, that in those things in which you act uprightly you do not so act because of the praises of men; and that you rather congratulate those who praise what is right, as having pleasure in what is good, than yourself; because you would live uprightly even if no one were to praise you: and that you understand this very praise of you to be useful to those who praise you, only when it is not yourself whom they honour in your good life, but God, whose most holy temple every man is who lives well; so that what David says finds its fulfilment, “In the Lord shall my soul be praised; the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.”2 It belongs therefore to the pure eye not to look at the praises of men in acting rightly, nor to have reference to these while you are acting rightly, i.e. to do anything rightly with the very design of pleasing men. For thus you will be disposed also to counterfeit what is good, if nothing is kept in view except the praise of man; who, inasmuch as he cannot see the heart, may also praise things that are false. And they who do this, i.e. who counterfeit goodness, are of a double heart. No one therefore has a single, i.e. a pure heart, except the man who rises above the praises of men; and when he lives well, looks at Him only, and strives to please Him who is the only Searcher of the conscience. And whatever proceeds from the purity of that conscience is so much the more praiseworthy, the less it desires the praises of men.

2. “Take heed, therefore,” says He, “that ye do not your righteousness4 before men, to be seen of them:” i.e., take heed that ye do not live righteously with this intent, and that ye do not place your happiness in this, that men may see you. “Otherwise ye have no reward of your Father who is in heaven:” not if ye I should be seen by men; but if ye should live righteously with the intent of being seen by men. For, [were it the former], what would become of the statement made in the beginning of this sermon, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hilt cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works”? But He did not set up this as the end; for He has added, “and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” But here, because he is finding fault with this, if the end of our right actions is there, i.e. if we act rightly with this design, only of being seen of men; after He has said, “Take heed that ye do not your righteousness before men,” He has added nothing. And hereby it is evident that He has said this, not to prevent us from acting rightly before men, but lest perchance we should act rightly before men for the purpose of being seen by them, i.e. should fix our eye on this, and make it the end of what we have set before us.

3. For the apostle also says, “If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ;” while he says in another place, “Please all men in all things, even as I also please all men in all things.”2 And they who do not understand this think it a contradiction; while the explanation is, that he has said he does not please men, because he was accustomed to act rightly, not with the express design of pleasing men, but of pleasing God, to the love of whom he wished to turn men’s hearts by that very thing in which he was pleasing men. Therefore he was both right in saying that he did not please men, because in that very thing he aimed at pleasing God: and right in authoritatively teaching that we ought to please men, not in order that this should be sought for as the reward of our good deeds; but because the man who would not offer himself for imitation to those whom he wished to be saved, could not please God; but no man possibly can imitate one who has not pleased him. As, therefore, that man would not speak absurdly who should say, In this work of seeking a ship, it is not a ship, but my native country, that I seek: so the apostle also might fitly say, In this work of pleasing men, it is not men, but God, that I please; because I do not aim at pleasing men, but have it as my object, that those whom I wish to be saved may imitate me. Just as he says of an offering that is made for the saints, “Not because I desire a gift, but I desire fruit;” i.e., In seeking your gift, I seek not it, but your fruit. For by this proof it could appear how far they had advanced Godward, when they offered that willingly which was sought from them not for the sake of his own joy over their gifts, but for the sake of the fellowship of love.

4. Although when He also goes on to say, “Otherwise ye have no reward of your Father who is in heaven,” He points out nothing else but that we ought to be on our guard against seeking man’s praise as the reward of our deeds, i.e. against thinking we thereby attain to blessedness.

Chap. ii

5. “Therefore, when thou doest thine alms,” says He, “do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men.” Do not, says He, desire to become known in the same way as the hypocrites. Now it is manifest that hypocrites have not that in their heart also which they hold forth before the eyes of men. For hypocrites are pretenders, as it were setters forth of other characters, just as in the plays of the theatre. For he who acts the part of Agamemnon in tragedy, for example, or of any other person belonging to the history or legend which is acted, is not really the person himself, but personates him, and is called a hypocrite. In like manner, in the Church, or in any phase of human life, whoever wishes to seem what he is not is a hypocrite. For he pretends, but does not show himself, to be a righteous man; because he places the whole fruit [of his acting] in the praise of men, which even pretenders may receive, while they deceive those to whom they seem good, and are praised by them. But such do not receive a reward from God the Searcher of the heart, unless it be the punishment of their deceit: from men, however, says He, “They have received their reward;” and most righteously will it be said to them, Depart from me, ye workers of deceit; ye had my name, but ye did not my works. Hence they have received their reward, who do their alms for no other reason than that they may have glory of men; not if they have glory of men, but if they do them for the express purpose of having this glory, as has been discussed above. For the praise of men ought not to be sought by him who acts rightly, but ought to follow him who acts rightly, so that they may profit who can also imitate what they praise, not that he whom they praise may think that they are profiting him anything.

6. “But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.” If you should understand unbelievers to be meant by the left hand, then it will seem to be no fault to wish to please believers; while nevertheless we are altogether prohibited from placing the fruit and end of our good deed in the praise of any men whatever. But as regards this point, that those who have been pleased with your good deeds should imitate you, we are to act before the eyes not only of believers, but also of unbelievers, so that by our good works, which are to be praised, they may honour God, and may come to salvation. But if you should be of opinion that the left hand means an enemy, so that your enemy is not to know when you do alms, why did the Lord Himself, when His enemies the Jews were standing round, mercifully heal men? why did the Apostle Peter, by healing the lame man whom he pitied at the gate Beautiful, bring also the wrath of the enemy upon himself, and upon the other disciples of Christ? Then, further, if it is necessary that the enemy should not know when we do our alms, how shall we do with the enemy himself so as to fulfil that precept, “If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink”?

7. A third opinion is wont to be held by carnal people, so absurd and ridiculous, that I would not mention it had I not found that not a few are entangled in that error, who say that by the expression left hand a wife is meant; so that, inasmuch as in family affairs women are wont to be more tenacious of money, it is to be kept hid from them when their husbands compassionately spend anything upon the needy, for fear of domestic quarrels. As if, forsooth, men alone were Christians, and this precept were not addressed to women also! From what left hand, then, is a woman enjoined to conceal her deed of mercy? Is a husband also the left hand of his wife? A statement most absurd. Or if any one thinks that they are left hands to each other; if any part of the family property be expended by the one party in such a way as to be contrary to the will of the other party, such a marriage will not be a Christian one; but whichever of them should choose to do alms according to the command of God, whomsoever he should find opposed, would inevitably be an enemy to the command of God, and therefore reckoned among unbelievers,—the command with respect to such parties being, that a believing husband should win his wife, and a believing wife her husband, by their good conversation and conduct; and therefore they ought not to conceal their good works from each other, by which they are to be mutually attracted, so that the one may be able to attract the other to communion in the Christian faith. Nor are thefts to be perpetrated in order that God may be rendered propitious. But if anything is to be concealed as long as the infirmity of the other party is unable to bear with equanimity what nevertheless is not done unjustly and unlawfully; yet, that the left hand is not meant in such a sense on the present occasion, readily appears from a consideration of the whole section, whereby it will at the same time be discovered what He calls the left hand.

8. “Take heed,” says He, “that ye do not your righteousness before men, to be seen of them; otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.” Here He has mentioned righteousness generally, then He follows it up in detail. For a deed which is done in the way of alms is a certain part of righteousness, and therefore He connects the two by saying, “Therefore, when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men.” In this there is a reference to what He says before, “Take heed that ye do not your righteousness before men, to be seen of them.” But what follows, “Verily I say unto you, They have received their reward,” refers to that other statement which He has made above, “Otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.” Then follows, “But when thou doest alms.” When He says, “But thou,” what else does He mean but, Not in the same manner as they? What, then, does He bid me do? “But when thou doest alms,” says He, “let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.” Hence those other parties so act, that their left hand knoweth what their right hand doeth. What, therefore, is blamed in them, this thou art forbidden to do. But this is what is blamed in them, that they act in such a way as to seek the praises of men. And therefore the left hand seems to have no more suitable meaning than just this delight in praise. But the right hand means the intention of fulfilling the divine commands. When, therefore, with the consciousness of him who does alms is mixed up the desire of man’s praise, the left hand becomes conscious of the work of the right hand: “Let not, therefore, thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth;” i.e. Let there not be mixed up in thy consciousness the desire of man’s praise, when in doing alms thou art striving to fulfil a divine command.

9. “That thine alms may be in secret.” What else is meant by “in secret,” but just in a good conscience, which cannot be shown to human eyes, nor revealed by words? since, indeed, the mass of men tell many lies. And therefore, if the right hand acts inwardly in secret, all outward things, which are visible and temporal, belong to the left hand. Let thine alms, therefore, be in thine own consciousness, where many do alms by their good intention, even if they have no money or anything else which is to be bestowed on one who is needy. But many give alms outwardly, and not inwardly, who either from ambition, or for the sake of some temporal object, wish to appear merciful, in whom the left hand only is to be reckoned as working. Others again hold, as it were, a middle place between the two; so that, with a design which is directed Godward, they do their alms, and yet there insinuates itself into this excellent wish also some desire after praise, or after a perishable and temporal object of some sort or other. But our Lord much more strongly prohibits the left hand alone being at work in us, when He even forbids its being mixed up with the works of the right hand: that is to say, that we are not only to beware of doing alms from the desire of temporal objects alone; but that in this work we are not even to have regard to God in such a way as that there should be mingled up or united therewith the grasping after outward advantages. For the question under discussion is the cleansing of the heart, which, unless it be single, will not be clean. But how will it be single, if it serves two masters, and does not purge its vision by the striving after eternal things alone, but clouds it by the love of mortal and perishable things as well? “Let thine alms,” therefore, “be in secret; and thy Father, who seeth in secret, shall reward thee.” Altogether most righteously and most truly. For if you expect a reward from Him who is the only Searcher of the conscience, let conscience itself suffice thee for meriting a reward. Many Latin copies have it thus, “And thy Father who seeth in secret shall reward thee openly;” but because we have not found the word “openly” in the Greek copies, which are earlier,2 we have not thought that anything was to be said about it.

Chap. iii

10. “And when ye pray,” says He, “ye shall not be as the hypocrites are; for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men.” And here also it is not the being seen of men that is wrong, but doing these things for the purpose of being seen of men; and it is superfluous to make the same remark so often, since there is just one rule to be kept, from which we learn that what we should dread and avoid is not that men know these things, but that they be done with this intent, that the fruit of pleasing men should be sought after in them. Our Lord Himself, too, preserves the same words, when He adds similarly, “Verily I say unto you, They have received their reward;” hereby showing that He forbids this,—the striving after that reward in which fools delight when they are praised by men.

11. “But when ye pray,” says He, “enter into your bed-chambers.” What are those bed-chambers but just our hearts themselves, as is meant also in the Psalm, when it is said, “What ye say in your hearts, have remorse for even in your beds”?5 “And when ye have shut the doors,” says He, “pray to your Father who is in secret.”7 It is a small matter to enter into our bed-chambers if the door stand open to the unmannerly, through which the things that are outside profanely rush in and assail our inner man. Now we have said that outside are all temporal and visible things, which make their way through the door, i.e. through the fleshly sense into our thoughts, and clamorously interrupt those who are praying by a crowd of vain phantoms. Hence the door is to be shut, i.e. the fleshly sense is to be resisted, so that spiritual prayer may be directed to the Father, which is done in the inmost heart, where prayer is offered to the Father which is in secret. “And your Father,” says He, “who seeth in secret, shall reward you.” And this had to be wound up with a closing statement of such a kind; for here at the present stage the admonition is not that we should pray, but as to how we should pray. Nor is what goes before an admonition that we should give alms, but as to the spirit in which we should do so, inasmuch as He is giving instructions with regard to the cleansing of the heart, which nothing cleanses but the undivided and single-minded striving after eternal life from the pure love of wisdom alone.

12. “But when ye pray,” says He, “do not speak much, as the heathen do; for they think9 that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” As it is characteristic of the hypocrites to exhibit themselves to be gazed at when praying, and their fruit is to please men, so it is characteristic of the heathen, i.e of the Gentiles, to think they are heard for their much speaking. And in reality, every kind of much speaking comes from the Gentiles, who make it their endeavour to exercise the tongue rather than to cleanse the heart. And this kind of useless exertion they endeavour to transfer even to the influencing of God by prayer, supposing that the Judge, just like man, is brought over by words to a certain way of thinking. “Be not ye, therefore, like unto them,” says the only true Master. “For your Father knoweth what things are necessary for you, before ye ask Him.” For if many words are made use of with the intent that one who is ignorant may be instructed and taught, what need is there of them for Him who knows all things, to whom all things which exist, by the very fact of their existence, speak, and show themselves as having been brought into existence; and those things which are future do not remain concealed from His knowledge and wisdom, in which both those things which are past, and those things which will yet come to pass, are all present and cannot pass away?

13. But since, however few they may be, yet there are words which He Himself also is about to speak, by which He would teach us to pray; it may be asked why even these few words are necessary for Him who knows all things before they take place, and is acquainted, as has been said, with what is necessary for us before we ask Him? Here, in the first place, the answer is, that we ought to urge our case with God, in order to obtain what we wish, not by words, but by the ideas which we cherish in our mind, and by the direction of our thought, with pure love and sincere desire; but that our Lord has taught us the very ideas in words, that by committing them to memory we may recollect those ideas at the time we pray.

14. But again, it may be asked (whether we are to pray in ideas or in words) what need there is for prayer itself, if God already knows what is necessary for us; unless it be that the very effort involved in prayer calms and purifies our heart, and makes it more capacious for receiving the divine gifts, which are poured into us spiritually. For it is not on account of the urgency of our prayers that God hears us, who is always ready to give us His light, not of a material kind, but that which is intellectual and spiritual: but we are not always ready to receive, since we are inclined towards other things, and are involved in darkness through our desire for temporal things. Hence there is brought about in prayer a turning of the heart to Him, who is ever ready to give, if we will but take what He has given; and in the very act of turning there is effected a purging of the inner eye, inasmuch as those things of a temporal kind which were desired are excluded, so that the vision of the pure heart may be able to bear the pure light, divinely shining, without any setting or change: and not only to bear it, but also to remain in it; not merely without annoyance, but also with ineffable joy, in which a life truly and sincerely blessed is perfected.

Chap. iv

15. But now we have to consider what things we are taught to pray for by Him through whom we both learn what we are to pray for, and obtain what we pray for. “After this manner, therefore, pray ye,” says He: “Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily4 bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”6 Seeing that in all prayer we have to conciliate the goodwill of him to whom we pray, then to say what we pray for; goodwill is usually conciliated by our offering praise to him to whom the prayer is directed, and this is usually put in the beginning of the prayer: and in this particular our Lord has bidden us say nothing else but “Our Father who art in heaven.” For many things are said in praise of God, which, being scattered variously and widely over all the Holy Scriptures, every one will be able to consider when he reads them: yet nowhere is there found a precept for the people of Israel, that they should say “Our Father,” or that they should pray to God as a Father; but as Lord He was made known to them, as being yet servants, i.e. still living according to the flesh. I say this, however, inasmuch as they received the commands of the law, which they were ordered to observe: for the prophets often show that this same Lord of ours might have been their Father also, if they had not strayed from His commandments: as, for instance, we have that statement, “I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me;” and that other,” I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the Most High;”2 and this again, “If then I be a Father, where is mine honour? and if I be a Master, where is my fear?” and very many other statements, where the Jews are accused of showing by their sin that they did not wish to become sons: those things being left out of account which are said in prophecy of a future Christian people, that they would have God as a Father, according to that gospel statement, “To them gave He power to become the sons of God.”4 The Apostle Paul, again, says, “The heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant;” and mentions that we have received the Spirit of adoption, “whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”

16. And since the fact that we are called to an eternal inheritance, that we might be fellow-heirs with Christ and attain to the adoption of sons, is not of our deserts, but of God’s grace; we put this very same grace in the beginning of our prayer, when we say “Our Father.” And by that appellation both love is stirred up—for what ought to be dearer to sons than a father?—and a suppliant disposition, when men say to God, “Our Father:” and a certain presumption of obtaining what we are about to ask; since, before we ask anything, we have received so great a gift as to be allowed to call God “Our Father.” For what would He not now give to sons when they ask, when He has already granted this very thing, namely, that they might be sons? Lastly, how great solicitude takes hold of the mind, that he who says “Our Father,” should not prove unworthy of so great a Father! For if any plebeian should be permitted by the party himself to call a senator of more advanced age father; without doubt he would tremble, and would not readily venture to do it, reflecting on the humbleness of his origin, and the scantiness of his resources, and the worthlessness of his plebeian person: how much more, therefore, ought we to tremble to call God Father, if there is so great a stain and so much baseness in our character, that God might much more justly drive forth these from contact with Himself, than that senator might the poverty of any beggar whatever! Since, indeed, he (the senator) despises that in the beggar to which even he himself may be reduced by the vicissitude of human affairs: but God never falls into baseness of character. And thanks be to the mercy of Him who requires this of us, that He should be our Father,—a relationship which can be brought about by no expenditure of ours, but solely by God’s goodwill. Here also there is an admonition to the rich and to those of noble birth, so far as this world is concerned, that when they have become Christians they should not comport themselves proudly towards the poor and the low of birth; since together with them they call God “Our Father,”—an expression which they cannot truly and piously use, unless they recognise that they themselves are brethren.

Chap. v

17. Let the new people, therefore, who are called to an eternal inheritance, use the word of the New Testament, and say, “Our Father who art in heaven,”
i.e. in the holy and the just. For God is not contained in space. For the heavens are indeed the higher material bodies of the world, but yet material, and therefore cannot exist except in some definite place; but if God’s place is believed to be in the heavens, as meaning the higher parts of the world, the birds are of greater value than we, for their life is nearer to God. But it is not written, The Lord is nigh unto tall men, or unto those who dwell on mountains; but it is written, “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart,” which refers rather to humility. But as a sinner is called earth, when it is said to him, “Earth thou art, and unto earth shalt thou return;”9 so, on the other hand, a righteous man may be called heaven. For it is said to the righteous, “For the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” And therefore, if God dwells in His temple, and the saints are His temple, the expression “which art in heaven” is rightly used in the sense, which art in the saints. And most suitable is such a similitude, so that spiritually there may be seen to be as great a difference between the righteous and sinners, as there is materially between heaven and earth.

18. And for the purpose of showing this, when we stand at prayer, we turn to the east, whence the heaven rises: not as if God also were dwelling there, in the sense that He who is everywhere present, not as occupying space, but by the power of His majesty, had forsaken the other parts of the world; but in order that the mind may be admonished to turn to a more excellent nature, i.e. to God, when its own body, which is earthly, is turned to a more excellent body, i.e. to a heavenly one. It is also suitable for the different stages of religion, and expedient in the highest degree, that in the minds of all, both small and great, there should be cherished worthy conceptions of God. And therefore, as regards those who as yet are taken up with the beauties that are seen, and cannot think of anything incorporeal, inasmuch as they must necessarily prefer heaven to earth, their opinion is more tolerable, if they believe God, whom as yet they think of after a corporeal fashion, to be in heaven rather than upon earth: so that when at any future time they have learned that the dignity of the soul exceeds even a celestial body, they may seek Him in the soul rather than in a celestial body even; and when they have learned how great a distance there is between the souls of sinners and of the righteous, just as they did not venture, when as yet they were wise only after a carnal fashion, to place Him on earth, but in heaven, so afterwards with better faith or intelligence they may seek Him again in the souls of the righteous rather than in those of sinners. Hence, when it is said, “Our Father which art in heaven,” it is rightly understood to mean in the hearts of the righteous, as it were in His holy temple. And at the same time, in such a way that he who prays wishes Him whom he invokes to dwell in himself also; and when he strives after this, practises righteousness,—a kind of service by which God is attracted to dwell in the soul.

19. Let us see now what things are to be prayed for. For it has been stated who it is that is prayed to, and where He dwells. First of all, then, of those things which are prayed for comes this petition, “Hallowed be Thy name.” And this is prayed for, not as if the name of God were not holy already, but that it may be held holy by men; i.e., that God may so become known to them, that they shall reckon nothing more holy, and which they are more afraid of offending. For, because it is said, “In Judah is God known; His name is great in Israel,” we are not to understand the statement in this way, as if God were less in one place, greater in another; but there His name is great, where He is named according to the greatness of His majesty. And so there His name is said to be holy, where He is named with veneration and the fear of offending Him. And this is what is now going on, while the gospel, by becoming known everywhere throughout the different nations, commends the name of the one God by means of the administration of His Son.

Chap. vi

20. In the next place there follows, “Thy kingdom come.” Just as the Lord Himself teaches in the Gospel that the day of judgment will take place at the very time when the gospel shall have been preached among all nations: a thing which belongs to the hallowing of God’s name. For here also the expression “Thy kingdom come” is not used in such a way as if God were not now reigning. But some one perhaps might say the expression “come” meant upon earth; as if, indeed, He were not even now really reigning upon earth, and had not always reigned upon it from the foundation of the world. “Come,” therefore, is to be understood in the sense of “manifested to men.” For in the same way also as a light which is present is absent to the blind, and to those who shut their eyes; so the kingdom of God, though it never departs from the earth, is yet absent to those who are ignorant of it. But no one will be allowed to be ignorant of the kingdom of God, when His Only-begotten shall come from heaven, not only in a way to be apprehended by the understanding, but also visibly in the person of the Divine Man, in order to judge the quick and the dead. And after that judgment, i.e. when the process of distinguishing and separating the righteous from the unrighteous has taken place, God will so dwell in the righteous, that there will be no need for any one being taught by man, but all will be, as it is written, “taught of God.” Then will the blessed life in all its parts be perfected in the saints unto eternity, just as now the most holy and blessed heavenly angels are wise and blessed, from the fact that God alone is their light; because the Lord hath promised this also to His own: “In the resurrection,” says He, “they will be as the angels in heaven.”4

21. And therefore, after that petition where we say, “Thy kingdom come,” there follows, “Thy will be done, as in heaven so in earth:” i.e., just as Thy will is in the angels who are in heaven, so that they wholly cleave to Thee, and thoroughly enjoy Thee, no error beclouding their wisdom, no misery hindering their blessedness; so let it be done in Thy saints who are on earth, and made from the earth, so far as the body is concerned, and who, although it is into a heavenly habitation and exchange, are yet to be taken from the earth. To this there is a reference also in that doxology of the angels, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of goodwill:” so that when our goodwill has gone before, which follows Him that calleth, the will of God is perfected in us, as it is in the heavenly angels; so that no antagonism stands in the way of our blessedness: and this is peace. “Thy will be done” is also rightly understood in the sense of, Let obedience be rendered to Thy precepts: “as in heaven so on earth,” i.e. as by the angels so by men. For, that the will of God is done when His precepts are obeyed, the Lord Himself says, when He affirms, “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me;” and often, “I came, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me;”3 and when He says, “Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”5 And therefore, in those at least who do the will of God, the will of God is accomplished; not because they cause God to will, but because they do what He wills, i.e. they do according to His will.

22. There is also that other interpretation, “Thy will be done as in heaven so on earth,”—as in the holy and just, so also in sinners. And this, besides, may be understood in two ways: either that we should pray even for our enemies (for what else are they to be reckoned, in spite of whose will the Christian and Catholic name still spreads?), so that it is said, “Thy will be done as in heaven so on earth,”—as if the meaning were, As the righteous do Thy will, in like manner let sinners also do it, so that they may be converted unto Thee; or in this sense, “Let Thy will be done as in heaven so on earth,” so that every one may get his own; which will take place at the last judgment, the righteous being requited with a reward, sinners with condemnation—when the sheep shall be separated from the goats.

23. That other interpretation also is not absurd, may, it is thoroughly accordant with both our faith and hope, that we are to take heaven and earth in the sense of spirit and flesh. And since the apostle says, “With the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin,” we see that the will of God is done in the mind, i.e. in the spirit. But when death shall have been swallowed up in victory, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, which will happen at the resurrection of the flesh, and at that change which is promised to the righteous, according to the prediction of the same apostle, let the will of God be done on earth, as it is in heaven; i.e., in such a way that, in like manner as the spirit does not resist God, but follows and does His will, so the body also may not resist the spirit or soul, which at present is harassed by the weakness of the body, and is prone to fleshly habit: and this will be an element of the perfect peace in the life eternal, that not only will the will be present with us, but also the performance of that which is good. “For to will,” says he, “is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not:” for not yet in earth as in heaven, i.e. not yet in the flesh as in the spirit, is the will of God done. For even in our misery the will of God is done, when we suffer those things through the flesh which are due to us in virtue of our mortality, which our nature has deserved because of its sin. But we are to pray for this, that the will of God may be done as in heaven so in earth; that in like manner as with the heart we delight in the law after the inward man, so also, when the change in our body has taken place, no part of us may, on account of earthly griefs or pleasures, stand opposed to this our delight.

24. Nor is that view inconsistent with truth, that we are to understand the words, “Thy will be done as in heaven so in earth,” as in our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, so also in the Church: as if one were to say, As in the man who fulfilled the will of the Father, so also in the woman who is betrothed to him. For heaven and earth are suitably understood as if they were man and wife; since the earth is fruitful from the heaven fertilizing it.

Chap. vii

25. The fourth petition is, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Daily bread is put either for all those things which meet the wants of this life, in reference to which He says in His teaching, “Take no thought for the morrow:” so that on this account there is added, “Give us this day:” or, it is put for the sacrament of the body of Christ, which we daily receive: or, for the spiritual food, of which the same Lord says, “Labour for the meat which perisheth not;” and again, “I am the bread of life,11 which came down from heaven.” But which of these three views is the more probable, is a question for consideration. For perhaps some one may wonder why we should pray that we may obtain the things which are necessary for this life,—such, for instance, as food and clothing,—when the Lord Himself says, “Be not anxious what ye shall eat, or what ye shall put on.” Can any one not be anxious for a thing which he prays that he may obtain; when prayer is to be offered with so great earnestness of mind, that to this refers all that has been said about shutting our closets, and also the command, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”? Certainly He does not say, Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and then seek those other things; but “all these things,” says He, “shall be added unto you,” that is to say, even though ye are not seeking them. But I know not whether it can be found out, how one is rightly said not to seek what he most earnestly pleads with God that he may receive.

26. But with respect to the sacrament of the Lord’s body (in order that they may not start a question, who, the most of them being in Eastern parts, do not partake of the Lord’s supper daily, while this bread is called daily bread: in order, therefore, that they may be silent, and not defend their way of thinking about this matter even by the very authority of the Church, because they do such things without scandal, and are not prevented from doing them by those who preside over their churches, and when they do not obey are not condemned; whence it is proved that this is not understood as daily bread in these parts: for, if this were the case, they would be charged with the commission of a great sin, who do not on that account receive it daily; but, as has been said, not to argue at all to any extent from the case of such parties), this consideration at least ought to occur to those who reflect, that we have received a rule for prayer from the Lord, which we ought not to transgress, either by adding or omitting anything. And since this is the case, who is there who would venture to say that we ought only once to use the Lord’s Prayer, or at least that, even if we have used it a second or a third time before the hour at which we partake of the Lord’s body, afterwards we are assuredly not so to pray during the remaining hours of the day? For we shall no longer be able to say, “Give us this day,” respecting what we have already received; or every one will be able to compel us to celebrate that sacrament at the very last hour of the day.

27. It remains, therefore, that we should understand the daily bread as spiritual, that is to say, divine precepts, which we ought daily to meditate and to labour after. For just with respect to these the Lord says, “Labour for the meat which perisheth not.” That food, moreover, is called daily food at present, so long as this temporal life is measured off by means of days that depart and return. And, in truth, so long as the desire of the soul is directed by turns, now to what is higher, now to what is lower, i.e. now to spiritual things, now to carnal, as is the case with him who at one time is nourished with food, at another time suffers hunger; bread is it daily necessary, in order that the hungry man may be recruited, and he who is falling down may be raised up. As, therefore, our body in this life, that is to say, before that great change, is recruited with food, because it feels loss; so may the soul also, since by means of temporal desires it sustains as it were a loss in its striving after God, be reinvigorated by the food of the precepts. Moreover, it is said, “Give us this day,” as long as it is called to-day, i.e. in this temporal life. For we shall be so abundantly provided with spiritual food after this life unto eternity, that it will not then be called daily bread; because there the flight of time, which causes days to succeed days, whence it may be called to-day, will not exist. But as it is said, “To-day, if ye will hear His voice,” which the apostle interprets in the Epistle to the Hebrews, As long as it is called to-day;3 so here also the expression is to be understood, “Give us this day.” But if any one wishes to understand the sentence before us also of food necessary for the body, or of the sacrament of the Lord’s body, we must take all three meanings conjointly; that is to say, that we are to ask for all at once as daily bread, both the bread necessary for the body, and the visible hallowed bread, and the invisible bread of the word of God.

Chap. viii

28. The fifth petition follows: “And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.” It is manifest that by debts are meant sins, either from that statement which the Lord Himself makes, “Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing;6 or from the fact that He called those men debtors who were reported to Him as having been killed, either those on whom the tower fell, or those whose blood Herod had mingled with the sacrifice. For He said that men supposed it was because they were debtors above measure i.e. sinners, and added, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise die.” Here, therefore, it is not a money claim that one is pressed to remit, but whatever sins another may have committed against him. For we are enjoined to remit a money claim by that precept rather which has been given above, “If any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also;” nor is it necessary to remit a debt to every money debtor, but only to him who is unwilling to pay, to such an extent that he wishes even to go to law. “Now the servant of the Lord,” as says the apostle, “must not go to law.”2 And therefore to him who shall be unwilling, either spontaneously or when requested, to pay the money which he owes, it is to be remitted. For his unwillingness to pay will arise from one of two causes, either that he has it not, or that he is avaricious and covetous of the property of another; and both of these belong to a state of poverty: for the former is poverty of substance, the latter poverty of disposition. Whoever, therefore, remits a debt to such an one, remits it to one who is poor, and performs a Christian work; while that rule remains in force, that he should be prepared in mind to lose what is owing to him. For if he has used exertion in every way, quietly and gently, to have it restored to him, not so much aiming at a money profit, as that he may bring the man round to what is right, to whom without doubt it is hurtful to have the means of paying, and yet not to pay; not only will he not sin, but he will even do a very great service, in trying to prevent that other, who is wishing to make gain of another’s money, from making shipwreck of the faith; which is so much more serious a thing, that there is no comparison. And hence it is understood that in this fifth petition also, where we say, “Forgive us our debts,”
the words are spoken not indeed in reference to money, but in reference to all ways in which any one sins against us, and by consequence in reference to money also. For the man who refuses to pay you the money which he owes, when he has the means of doing so, sins against you. And if you do not forgive this sin, you will not be able to say, “Forgive us, as we also forgive;” but if you pardon it, you see how he who is enjoined to offer such a prayer is admonished also with respect to forgiving a money debt.

29. That may indeed be construed in this way, that when we say, “Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive,” then only are we convicted of having acted contrary to this rule, if we do not forgive them who ask pardon, because we also wish to be forgiven by our most gracious Father when we ask His pardon. But, on the other hand, by that precept whereby we are enjoined to pray for our enemies, it is not for those who ask pardon that we are enjoined to pray. For those who are already in such a state of mind are no longer enemies. By no possibility, however, could one truthfully say that he prays for one whom he has not pardoned. And therefore we must confess that all sins which are committed against us are to be forgiven, if we wish those to be forgiven by our Father which we commit against Him. For the subject of revenge has been sufficiently discussed already, as I think.4

Chap. ix

30. The sixth petition is, “And brings us not into temptation.” Some manuscripts have the word “lead,” which is, I judge, equivalent in meaning: for both translations have arisen from the one Greek word which is used. But many parties in prayer express themselves thus, “Suffer us not to be led into temptation;” that is to say, explaining in what sense the word “lead” is used. For God does not Himself lead, but suffers that man to be led into temptation whom He has deprived of His assistance, in accordance with a most hidden arrangement, and with his deserts. Often, also, for manifest reasons, He judges him worthy of being so deprived, and allowed to be led into temptation. But it is one thing to be led into temptation, another to be tempted. For without temptation no one can be proved, whether to himself, as it is written, “He that hath not been tempted, what manner of things doth he know?”6 or to another, as the apostle says, “And your temptation in my flesh ye despised not:” for from this circumstance he learnt that they were stedfast, because they were not turned aside from charity by those tribulations which had happened to the apostle according to the flesh. For even before all temptations we are known to God, who knows all things before they happen.

31. When, therefore, it is said, “The Lord your God tempteth (proveth) you, that He may know if ye love Him,” the words “that He may know” are employed for what is the real state of the case, that He may make you know: just as we speak of a joyful day, because it makes us joyful; of a sluggish frost, because it makes us sluggish; and of innumerable things of the same sort, which are found either in ordinary speech, or in the discourse of learned men, or in the Holy Scriptures. And the heretics who are opposed to the Old Testament, not understanding this, think that the brand of ignorance, as it were, is to be placed upon Him of whom it is said, “The Lord your God tempteth you:” as if in the Gospel it were not written of the Lord, “And this He said to tempt (prove) him, for He Himself knew what He would do.” For if He knew the heart of him whom He was tempting, what is it that He wished to see by tempting him? But in reality, that was done in order that he who was tempted might become known to himself, and that he might condemn his own despair, on the multitudes being filled with the Lord’s bread, while he had thought they had not enough to eat.

32. Here, therefore, the prayer is not, that we should not be tempted, but that we should not be brought into temptation: as if, were it necessary that any one should be examined by fire, he should pray, not that he should not be touched by the fire, but that he should not be consumed. For “the furnace proveth the potter’s vessels. and the trial of tribulation righteous men.” Joseph therefore was tempted with the allurement of debauchery, but he was not brought into temptation.3 Susanna was tempted, but she was not led or brought into temptation; and many others of both sexes: but Job most of all, in regard to whose admirable stedfastness in the Lord his God, those heretical enemies of the Old Testament, when they wish to mock at it with sacrilegious mouth, brandish this above other weapons, that Satan begged that he should be tempted.5 For they put the question to unskilful men by no means able to understand such things, how Satan could speak with God: not understanding (for they cannot, inasmuch as they are blinded by superstition and controversy) that God does not occupy space by the mass of His corporeity; and thus exist in one place, and not in another, or at least have one part here, and another elsewhere: but that He is everywhere present in His majesty, not divided by parts, but everywhere complete. But if they take a fleshly view of what is said, “The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool,”—to which passage our Lord also bears testimony, when He says, “Swear not at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool,”7—what wonder if the devil, being placed on earth, stood before the feet of God, and spoke something in His presence? For when will they be able to understand that there is no soul, however wicked, which can yet reason in any way, in whose conscience God does not speak? For who but God has written the law of nature in the hearts of men?—that law concerning which the apostle says: “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing them witness, and their thoughts9 the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another, in the day when the Lord shall judge the secrets of men.”11 And therefore, as in the case of every rational soul, which thinks and reasons, even though blinded by passion, we attribute whatever in its reasoning is true, not to itself but to the very light of truth by which, however faintly, it is according to its capacity illuminated, so as to perceive some measure of truth by its reasoning; what wonder if the depraved spirit of the devil, perverted though it be by lust, should be represented as having heard from the voice of God Himself, i.e. from the voice of the very Truth, whatever true thought it has entertained about a righteous man whom it was proposing to tempt? But whatever is false is to be attributed to that lust from which he has received the name of devil. Although it is also the case that God has often spoken by means of a corporeal and visible creature whether to good or bad, as being Lord and Governor of all, and Disposer according to the merits of every deed: as, for instance, by means of angels, who appeared also under the aspect of men; and by means of the prophets, saying, Thus saith the Lord. What wonder then, if, though not in mere thought, at least by means of some creature fitted for such a work, God is said to have spoken with the devil?

33. And let them not imagine it unworthy of His dignity, and as it were of His righteousness, that God spoke with him: inasmuch as He spoke with an angelic spirit, although one foolish and lustful, just as if He were speaking with a foolish and lustful human spirit. Or let such parties themselves tell us how He spoke with that rich man, whose most foolish covetousness He wished to censure, saying: “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be which thou hast provided?”13 Certainly the Lord Himself says so in the Gospel, to which those heretics, whether they will or no, bend their necks. But if they are puzzled by this circumstance, that Satan asks from God that a righteous man should be tempted; I do not explain how it happened, but I compel them to explain why it is said in the Gospel by the Lord Himself to the disciples, “Behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat;” and He says to Peter, “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.”2 And when they explain this to me, they explain to themselves at the same time that which they question me about. But if they should not be able to explain this, let them not dare with rashness to blame in any book what they read in the Gospel without offence.

34. Temptations, therefore, take place by means of Satan not by his power, but by the Lord’s permission, either for the purpose of punishing men for their sins, or of proving and exercising them in accordance with the Lord’s compassion. And there is a very great difference in the nature of the temptations into which each one may fall. For Judas, who sold his Lord, did not fall into one of the same nature as Peter fell into, when, under the influence of terror, he denied his Lord. There are also temptations common to man, I believe, when every one, though well disposed, yet yielding to human frailty, falls into error in some plan, or is irritated against a brother, in the earnest endeavour to bring him round to what is right, yet a little more than Christian calmness demands: concerning which temptations the apostle says, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man;” while he says at the same time, “But God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear4 it.” And in that sentence he makes it sufficiently evident that we are not to pray that we may not be tempted, but that we may not be led into temptation. For we are led into temptation, if such temptations have happened to us as we are not able to bear. But when dangerous temptations, into which it is ruinous for us to be brought and led, arise either from prosperous or adverse temporal circumstances, no one is broken down by the irksomeness of adversity, who is not led captive by the delight of prosperity.6

35. The seventh and last petition is, “But deliver us from evil.” For we are to pray not only that we may not be led into the evil from which we are free, which is asked in the sixth place; but that we may also be delivered from that into which we have been already led. And when this has been done, nothing will remain terrible, nor will any temptation at all have to be feared. And yet in this life, so long as we carry about our present mortality, into which we were led by the persuasion of the serpent, it is not to be hoped that this can be the case; but yet we are to hope that at some future time it will take place: and this is the hope which is not seen, of which the apostle, when speaking, said, “But hope which is seen is not hope.”8 But yet the wisdom which is granted in this life also, is not to be despaired of by the faithful servants of God. And it is this, that we should with the most wary vigilance shun what we have understood, from the Lord’s revealing it, is to be shunned; and that we should with the most ardent love seek after what we have understood, from the Lord’s revealing it, is to be sought after. For thus, after the remaining burden of this mortality has been laid down in the act of dying, there shall be perfected in every part of man at the fit time, the blessedness which has been begun in this life, and which we have from time to time strained every nerve to lay hold of and secure.

Chap. x

36. But the distinction among these seven petitions is to be considered and commended. For inasmuch as our temporal life is being spent now, and that which is eternal hoped for, and inasmuch as eternal things are superior in point of dignity, albeit it is only when we have done with temporal things that we pass to the other; although the three first petitions begin to be answered in this life, which is being spent in the present world (for both the hallowing of God’s name begins to be carried on just with the coming of the lord of humility; and the coming of His kingdom, to which He will come in splendour, will be manifested, not after the end of the world, but in the end of the world; and the perfect doing of His will in earth as in heaven, whether you understand by heaven and earth the righteous and sinners, or spirit and flesh, or the Lord and the Church, or all these things together, will be brought to completion just with the perfecting of our blessedness, and therefore at the close of the world), yet all three will remain to eternity. For both the hallowing of God’s name will go on for ever, and there is no end of His kingdom, and eternal life is promised to our perfected blessedness. Hence those three things will remain consummated and thoroughly completed in that life which is promised us.

37. But the other four things which we ask seem to me to belong to this temporal life. And the first of them is, “Give us this day our daily bread.” For whether by this same thing which is called daily bread be meant spiritual bread, or that which is visible in the sacrament or in this sustenance of ours, it belongs to the present time, which He has called “to-day,” not because spiritual food is not everlasting, but because that which is called daily food in the Scriptures is represented to the soul either by the sound of the expression or by temporal signs of any kind: things all of which will certainly no more have existence when all shall be taught of God, and thus shall no longer be making known to others by movement of their bodies, but drinking in each one for himself by the purity of his mind the ineffable light of truth itself. For perhaps for this reason also it is called bread, not drink, because bread is converted into aliment by breaking and masticating it, just as the Scriptures feed the soul by being opened up and made the subject of discourse; but drink, when prepared, passes as it is into the body: so that at present the truth is bread, when it is called daily bread; but then it will be drink, when there will be no need of the labour of discussing and discoursing, as it were of breaking and masticating, but merely of drinking unmingled and transparent truth. And sins are at present forgiven us, and at present we forgive them; which is the second petition of these four that remain: but then there will be no pardon of sins, because there will be no sins. And temptations molest this temporal life; but they will have no existence when these words shall be fully realized, “Thou shall hide them in the secret of Thy presence.”2 And the evil from which we wish to be delivered, and the deliverance from evil itself, belong certainly to this life, which as being mortal we have deserved at the hand of God’s justice, and from which we are delivered by His mercy.

Chap. xi

38. The sevenfold number of these petitions also seems to me to correspond to that sevenfold number out of which the whole sermon before us has had its rise. For if it is the fear of God through which the poor in spirit are blessed, inasmuch as theirs is the kingdom of heaven; let us ask that the name of God may be hallowed among men through that “fear which is clean, enduring for ever.”4 If it is piety through which the meek are blessed, inasmuch as they shall inherit the earth; let us ask that His kingdom may come, whether it be over ourselves, that we may become meek, and not resist Him, or whether it be from heaven to earth in the splendour of the Lord’s advent, in which we shall rejoice, and shall be praised, when He says, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation6 of the world.” For “in the Lord,” says the prophet, “shall my soul be praised; the meek shall hear thereof, and be glad.”8 If it is knowledge through which those who mourn are blessed, inasmuch as they shall be comforted; let us pray that His will may be done as in heaven so in earth, because when the body, which is as it were the earth, shall agree in a final and complete peace with the soul, which is as it were heaven, we shall not mourn: for there is no other mourning belonging to this present time, except when these contend against each other, and compel us to say, “I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind;” and to testify our grief with tearful voice, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?10 If it is fortitude through which those are blessed who hunger and thirst after righteousness, inasmuch as they shall be filled; let us pray that our daily bread may be given to us to-day, by which, supported and sustained, we may be able to reach that most abundant fulness. If it is prudence through which the merciful are blessed, inasmuch as they shall obtain mercy; let us forgive their debts to our debtors, and let us pray that ours may be forgiven to us. If it is understanding through which the pure in heart are blessed, inasmuch as they shall see God; let us pray not to be led into temptation, lest we should have a double heart, in not seeking after a single good, to which we may refer all our actings, but at the same time pursuing things temporal and earthly. For temptations arising from those things which seem to men burdensome and calamitous, have no power over us, if those other temptations have no power which befall us through the enticements of such things as men count good and cause for rejoicing. If it is wisdom through which the peacemakers are blessed, inasmuch as they shall be called the children of God; let us pray that we may be freed from evil, for that very freedom will make us free, i.e. sons of God, so that we may cry in the spirit of adoption, “Abba, Father.”

39. Nor are we indeed carelessly to pass by the circumstance, that of all those sentences in which the Lord has taught us to pray, He has judged that that one is chiefly to be commended which has reference to the forgiveness of sins: in which He would have us to be merciful, because it is the only wisdom for escaping misery. For in no other sentence do we pray in such a way that we, as it were, enter into a compact with God: for we say, “Forgive us, as we also forgive.” And if we lie in that compact, the whole prayer is fruitless. For He speaks thus: “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Chap. xii

40. There follows a precept concerning fasting, having reference to that same purification of heart which is at present under discussion. For in this work also we must be on our guard, lest there should creep in a certain ostentation and hankering after the praise of man, which would make the heart double, and not allow it to be pure and single for apprehending God. “Moreover, when ye fast,” says He, “be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear2 unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. But ye, when ye fast, anoint your head, and wash your face; that ye appear not unto men to fast, but unto your Father which is in secret: and your Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward you.” It is manifest from these precepts that all our effort is to be directed towards inward joys, lest, seeking a reward from without, we should be conformed to this world, and should lose the promise of a blessedness so much the more solid and firm, as it is inward, in which God has chosen that we should become conformed to the image of His Son.4

41. But in this section it is chiefly to be noticed, that there may be ostentatious display not merely in the splendour and pomp of things pertaining to the body, but also in doleful squalor itself; and the more dangerous on this account, that it deceives under the name of serving God. And therefore he who is very conspicuous by immoderate attention to the body, and by the splendour of his clothing or other things, is easily convicted by the things themselves of being a follower of the pomps of the world, and misleads no one by a cunning semblance of sanctity; I but in regard to him who, under a profession of Christianity, fixes the eyes of men upon himself by unusual squalor and filth, when he does it voluntarily, and not under the pressure of necessity, it may be conjectured from the rest of his actings whether he does this from contempt of superfluous attention to the body, or from a certain ambition: for the Lord has enjoined us to beware of wolves under a sheep’s skin; but “by their fruits,” says He, “shall ye know them.” For when by temptations of any kind those very things begin to be withdrawn from them or refused to them, which under that veil they either have obtained or desire to obtain, then of necessity it appears whether it is a wolf in a sheep’s skin or a sheep in its own. For a Christian ought not to delight the eyes of men by superfluous ornament on this account, because pretenders also too often assume that frugal and merely necessary dress, that they may deceive those who are not on their guard: for those sheep also ought not to lay aside their own skins, if at any time wolves cover themselves there with.

42. It is usual, therefore, to ask what He means, when He says: “But ye, when ye fast, anoint your head, and wash your faces, that ye appear not unto men to fast.” For it would not be right in any one to teach (although we may wash our face according to daily custom) that we ought also to have our heads anointed when we fast. If, then, all admit this to be most unseemly, we must understand this precept with respect to anointing the head and washing the face as referring to the inner man. Hence, to anoint the head refers to joy; to wash the face, on the other hand, refers to purity: and therefore that man anoints his head who rejoices inwardly in his mind and reason. For we rightly understand that as being the head which has the pre-eminence in the soul, and by which it is evident that the other parts of man are ruled and governed. And this is done by him who does not seek his joy from without, so as to draw his delight in a fleshly way from the praises of men. For the flesh, which ought to be subject, is in no way the head of the whole nature of man. “No man,” indeed, “ever yet hated his own flesh,” as the apostle says, when giving the precept as to loving one’s wife;6 but the man is the head of the woman, and Christ is the head of the man. Let him, therefore, rejoice inwardly in his fasting8 in this very circumstance, that by his fasting he so turns away from the pleasure of the world as to be subject to Christ, who according to this precept desires to have the head anointed. For thus also he will wash his face, i.e. cleanse his heart, with which he shall see God, no veil being interposed on account of the infirmity contracted from squalor; but being firm and stedfast, inasmuch as he is pure and guileless. “Wash you,” says He, “make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes.” From the squalor, therefore, by which the eye of God is offended, our face is to be washed. For we, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image.2

43. Often also the thought of things necessary belonging to this life wounds and defiles our inner eye; and frequently it makes the heart double, so that in regard to those things in which we seem to act rightly with our fellowmen, we do not act with that heart wherewith the Lord enjoins us; i.e., it is not because we love them, but because we wish to obtain some advantage from them for the necessity of the present life. But we ought to do them good for their eternal salvation, not for our own temporal advantage. May God, therefore, incline our heart to His testimonies, and not to covetousness. For “the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.”4 But he who looks after his brother from a regard to his own necessities in this life, does not certainly do so from love, because he does not look after him whom he ought to love as himself, but after himself; or rather not even after himself, seeing that in this way he makes his own heart double, by which he is hindered from seeing God, in the vision of whom alone there is certain and lasting blessedness.

Chap. xiii

44. Rightly, therefore, does he who is intent on cleansing our heart follow up what He has said with a precept, where He says: “Lay not up6 for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt,8 and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” If, therefore, the heart be on earth, i.e. if one perform anything with a heart bent on obtaining earthly advantage, how will that heart be clean which wallows on earth? But if it be in heaven, it will be clean, because whatever things are heavenly are clean. For anything becomes polluted when it is mixed with a nature that is inferior, although not polluted of its kind; for gold is polluted even by pure silver, if it be mixed with it: so also our mind becomes polluted by the desire after earthly things, although the earth itself be pure of its kind and order. But we would not understand heaven in this passage as anything corporeal, because everything corporeal is to be reckoned as earth. For he who lays up treasure for himself in heaven ought to despise the whole world. Hence it is in that heaven of which it is said, “The heaven of heavens is the Lord’s
i.e. in the spiritual firmament: for it is not in that which is to pass away that we ought to fix and place our treasure and our heart, but in that which ever abideth; but heaven and earth shall pass away.

45. And here He makes it manifest that He gives all these precepts with a view to the cleansing of the heart, when He says: “The candle of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If, therefore, the light [lamp]13 that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” And this passage we are to understand in such a way as to learn from it that all our works are pure and well-pleasing in the sight of God, when they are done with a single heart, i.e. with a heavenly intent, having that end of love in view; for love is also the fulfilling of the law. Hence we ought to take the eye here in the sense of the intent itself, wherewith we do whatever we are doing; and if this be pure and right, and looking at that which ought to be looked at, all our works which we perform in accordance therewith are necessarily good. And all those works He has called the whole body; for the apostle also speaks of certain works of which he disapproves as our members, and teaches that they are to be mortified, saying, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, covetousness,”15 and all other such things.

46. It is not, therefore, what one does, but the intent with which he does it, that is to be considered. For this is the light in us, because it is a thing manifest to ourselves that we do with a good intent what we are doing; for everything which is made manifest is light. For the deeds themselves which go forth from us to human society, have an uncertain issue; and therefore He has called them darkness. For I do not know, when I present money to a poor man who asks it, either what he is to do with it, or what he is to suffer from it; and it may happen that he does some evil with it, or suffers some evil on account of it, a thing I did not wish to happen when I gave it to him, nor would I have given it with such an intention. If, therefore, I did it with a good intention,—a thing which was known to me when I was doing it, and is therefore called light,—my deed also is lighted up, whatever issue it shall have; but that issue, inasmuch as it is uncertain and unknown, is called darkness. But if I have done it with a bad intent, the light itself even is darkness. For it is spoken of as light, because every one knows with what intent he acts, even when he acts with a bad intent; but the light itself is darkness, because the aim is not directed singly to things above, but is turned downwards to things beneath, and makes, as it were, a shadow by means of a double heart. “If, therefore, the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” i.e., if the very intent of the heart with which you do what you are doing (which is known to you) is polluted by the hunger after earthly and temporal things, and blinded, how much more is the deed itself, whose issue is uncertain, polluted and full of darkness! Because, although what you do with an intent which is neither upright nor pure, may turn out for some one’s good, it is the way in which you have done it, not how it has turned out for him, that is reckoned to you.

Chap. xiv

47. Then, further, the statement which follows, “No man can serve two masters,” is to be referred to this very intent, as He goes on to explain, saying: “For either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will submit to the one, and despise the other.” And these words are to be carefully considered; for who the two masters are he forthwith shows, when He says, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Riches are said to be called mammon among the Hebrews. The Punic name also corresponds: for gain is called mammon in Punic.3 But he who serves mammon certainly serves him who, as being set over those earthly things in virtue of his perversity, is called by our Lord the prince of this world. A man will therefore “either hate” this one, “and love the other,”
i.e. God; “or he will submit to the one, and despise the other. For whoever serves mammon submits to a hard and ruinous master: for, being entangled by his own lust, he becomes a subject of the devil, and he does not love him; for who is there who loves the devil? But yet he submits to him; as in any large house he who is connected with another man’s maid servant submits to hard bondage on account of his passion. even though he does not love him whose maid-servant he loves.

48. But “he will despise the other,” He has said; not, he will hate. For almost no one’s conscience can hate God; but he despises, i.e. he does not fear Him, as if feeling himself secure in consideration of His goodness. From this carelessness and ruinous security the Holy Spirit recalls us, when He says by the prophet, “My son, do not add sin upon sin, and say, The mercy of God is great;” and, “Knowest thou not that the patience6 of God inviteth thee to repentance?”8 For whose mercy can be mentioned as being so great as His, who pardons all the sins of those who return, and makes the wild olive a partaker of the fatness of the olive? and whose severity as being so great as His, who spared not the natural branches, but broke them off because of unbelief? But let not any one who wishes to love God, and to beware of offending Him, suppose that he can serve two masters;10 and let him disentangle the upright intention of his heart from all doubleness: for thus he will think of the Lord with a good heart, and in simplicity of heart will seek Him.

Chap. xv

49. “Therefore,” says He, “I say unto you, Have not anxiety for your life, what ye shall eat;13 nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.” Lest perchance, although it is not now superfluities that are sought after, the heart should be made double by reason of necessaries themselves, and the aim should be wrenched aside to seek after those things of our own, when we are doing something as it were from compassion; i.e. so that when we wish to appear to be consulting for some one’s good, we are in that matter looking after our own profit rather than his advantage: and we do not seem to ourselves to be sinning for this reason, that it is not superfluities, but necessaries, which we wish to obtain. But the Lord admonishes us that we should remember that God, when He made and compounded us of body and soul, gave us much more than food and clothing, through care for which He would not have us make our hearts double. “Is not,” says He, “the soul more than the meat?” So that you are to understand that He who gave the soul will much more easily give meat. “And the body than the raiment,”
i.e. is more than raiment: so that similarly you are to understand, that He who gave the body will much more easily give raiment.

50. And in this passage the question is wont to be raised, whether the food spoken of has reference to the soul, since the soul is incorporeal, and the food in question is corporeal food. But let us admit that the soul in this passage stands for the present life, whose support is that corporeal nourishment. In accordance with this signification we have also that statement: “He that loveth his soul shall lose it.” And here, unless we understand the expression of this present life, which we ought to lose for the kingdom of God, as it is clear the martyrs were able to do, this precept will be in contradiction to that sentence where it is said: “What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose2 his own soul?”

51. “Behold,” says He, “the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them: are ye not much better than they?” i.e. ye are of more value. For surely a rational being such as man has a higher rank in the nature of things than irrational ones, such as birds. “Which of you, by taking thought, can add one cubit unto his stature?5 And why take ye thought for raiment?” That is to say, the providence of Him by whose power and sovereignty it has come about that your body was brought up to its present stature, can also clothe you; but that it is not by your care that it has come about that your body should arrive at this stature, may be understood from this circumstance, that if you should take thought, and should wish to add one cubit to this stature, you cannot. Leave, therefore, the care of protecting the body to Him by whose care you see it has come about that you have a body of such a statute.

52. But an example was to be given for the clothing too, just as one is given for the food. Hence He goes on to say, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed7 like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven; shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” But these examples are not to be treated as allegories, so that we should inquire what the fowls of heaven or the lilies of the field mean: for they stand here, in order that from smaller matters we may be persuaded respecting greater ones; just as is the case in regard to the judge who neither feared God nor regarded man, and yet yielded to the widow who often importuned him to consider her case, not from piety or humanity, but that he might be saved annoyance. For that unjust judge does not in any way allegorically represent the person of God; but yet as to how far God, who is good and just, cares for those who supplicate Him, our Lord wished the inference to be drawn from this circumstance, that not even an unjust man can despise those who assail him with unceasing petitions, even were his motive merely to avoid annoyance9

Chap. xvi

53. “Therefore be not anxious,” says He,
“saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?11 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Here He shows most manifestly that these things are not to be sought as if they were our blessings in such sort, that on account of them we ought to do well in all our actings, but yet that they are necessary. For what the difference is between a blessing which is to be sought, and a necessary which is to be taken for use, He has made plain by this sentence, when He says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”13 The kingdom and the righteousness of God therefore are our good; and this is to be sought, and there the end is to be set up, on account of which we are to do everything which we do. But because we serve as soldiers in this life, in order that we may be able to reach that kingdom, and because our life cannot be spent without these necessaries, “These things shall be added unto you,” says He; “but seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” For in using that word “first,” He has indicated that this is to be sought later, not in point of time, but in point of importance: the one as being our good, the other as being something necessary for us; but the necessary on account of that good.

54. For neither ought we, for example, to preach the gospel with this object, that we may eat; but to eat with this object, that we may preach the gospel: for if we preach the gospel for this cause, that we may eat, we reckon the gospel of less value than food; and in that case our good will be in eating, but that which is necessary for us in preaching the gospel. And this the apostle also forbids, when he says it is lawful for himself even, and permitted by the Lord, that they who preach the gospel should live of the gospel, i.e. should have from the gospel the necessaries of this life; but yet that he has not made use of this power. For there were many who were desirous of having an occasion for getting and selling the gospel, from whom the apostle wished to cut off this occasion, and therefore he submitted to a way of living by his own hands. For concerning these parties he says in another passage, “That I may cut off occasion from them which seek2 occasion.” Although even if, like the rest of the good apostles, by the permission of the Lord he should live of the gospel, he would not on that account place the end of preaching the gospel in that living, but would rather make the gospel the end of his living; i.e., as I have said above, he would not preach the gospel with this object, that he might get his food and all other necessaries; but he would take such things for this purpose, in order that he might carry out that other object, viz. that willingly, and not of necessity, he should preach the gospel. For this he disapproves of when he says, “Do ye not know, that they which minister in the temple eat the things which are of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. But I have used none of these things.” Hence he shows that it was permitted, not commanded; otherwise he will be held to have acted contrary to the precept of the Lord. Then he goes on to say: “Neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.”5 This he said, as he had already resolved, because of some who were seeking occasion, to gain a living by his own hands. “For if I preach the gospel,” says he, “I have nothing to glory of:” i.e., if I preach the gospel in order that such things may be done in my case, or, if I preach with this object, in order that I may obtain those things, and if I thus place the end of the gospel in meat and drink and clothing. But wherefore has he nothing to glory of? “Necessity,” says he, “is laid upon me;” i.e. so that I should preach the gospel for this reason, because I have not the means of living, or so that I should acquire temporal fruit from the preaching of eternal things; for thus, consequently, the preaching of the gospel will be a matter of necessity, not of free choice. “For woe is unto me,” says he, “if I preach not the gospel!” But how ought he to preach the gospel? Evidently in such a way as to place the reward in the gospel itself, and in the kingdom of God: for thus he can preach the gospel, not of constraint, but willingly. “For if I do this thing willingly,” says he, “I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me;” if, constrained by the want of those things which are necessary for temporal life, I preach the gospel, others will have through me the reward of the gospel, who love the gospel itself when I preach it; but I shall not have it, because it is not the gospel itself I love, but its price lying in those temporal things. And this is something sinful, that any one should minister the gospel not as a son, but as a servant to whom a stewardship of it has been committed; that he should, as it were, pay out what belongs to another, but should himself receive nothing from it except victuals, which are given not in consideration of his sharing in the kingdom, but from without, for the support of a miserable bondage. Although in another passage he calls himself also a steward. For a servant also, when adopted into the number of the children, is able faithfully to dispense to those who share with him that property in which he has acquired the lot of a fellow-heir. But in the present case, where he says, “But if against my will, a dispensation (stewardship) is committed unto me,” he wished such a steward to be understood as dispenses what belongs to another, and from it gets nothing himself.

55. Hence anything whatever that is sought for the sake of something else, is doubtless inferior to that for the sake of which it is sought; and therefore that is first for the sake of which you seek such a thing, not the thing which you seek for the sake of that other. And for this reason, if we seek the gospel and the kingdom of God for the sake of food, we place food first, and the kingdom of God last; so that if food were not to fail us, we would not seek the kingdom of God: this is to seek food first, and then the kingdom of God. But if we seek food for this end, that we may gain the kingdom of God, we do what is said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Chap. xvii

56. For in the case of those who are seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, i.e. who are preferring this to all other things, so that for its sake they are seeking the other things, there ought not to remain behind the anxiety lest those things should fail which are necessary to this life for the sake of the kingdom of God. For He has said above, “Your Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.” And therefore, when He had said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” He did not say, Then seek such things (although they are necessary), but He affirms “all these things shall be added unto you,”
i.e. will follow, if ye seek the former, without any hindrance on your part: lest while ye seek such things, ye should be turned away from the other; or lest ye should set up two things to be aimed at, so as to seek both the kingdom of God for its own sake, and such necessaries: but these rather for the sake of that other; so shall they not be wanting to you. For ye cannot serve two masters. But the man is attempting to serve two masters, who seeks both the kingdom of God as a great good, and these temporal things. He will not, however, be able to have a single eye, and to serve the Lord God alone, unless he take all other things, so far as they are necessary, for the sake of this one thing, i.e. for the sake of the kingdom of God. But as all who serve as soldiers receive provisions and pay, so all who preach the gospel receive food and clothing. But all do not serve as soldiers for the welfare of the republic, but some do so for what they get: so also all do not minister to God for the welfare of the Church, but some do so for the sake of these temporal things, which they are to obtain in the shape as it were of provisions and pay; or both for the one thing and for the other. But it has been already said above, “Ye cannot serve two masters.” Hence it is with a single heart and only for the sake of the kingdom of God that we ought to do good to all; and we ought not in doing so to think either of the temporal reward alone, or of that along with the kingdom of God: all which temporal things He has placed under the category of to-morrow, saying, “Take no thought for to-morrow.” For to-morrow is not spoken of except in time, where the future succeeds the past. Therefore, when we do anything good, let us not think of what is temporal, but of what is eternal; then will that be a good and perfect work. “For the morrow,” says He, “will be anxious for the things of itself;”4
i.e., so that, when you ought, you will take food, or drink, or clothing, that is to say, when necessity itself begins to urge you. For these things will be within reach, because our Father knoweth that we have need of all these things. For “sufficient unto the day,” says He, “is the evil thereof;”
i.e. it is sufficient that necessity itself will urge us to take such things. And for this reason, I suppose, it is called evil, because for us it is penal: for it belongs to this frailty and mortality which we have earned by sinning. Do not add, therefore, to this punishment of temporal necessity anything more burdensome, so that you should not only suffer the want of such things, but should also for the purpose of satisfying this want enlist as a soldier for God.

57. In the use of this passage, however, we must be very specially on our guard, lest perchance, when we see any servant of God making provision that such necessaries shall not be wanting either to himself or to those with whose care he has been entrusted, we should decide that he is acting contrary to the Lord’s precept, and is anxious for the morrow. For the Lord Himself also, although angels ministered to Him,7 yet for the sake of example, that no one might afterwards be scandalized when he observed any of His servants procuring such necessaries, condescended to have money bags, out of which whatever might be required for necessary uses might be provided; of which bags, as it is written, Judas, who betrayed Him, was the keeper and the thief. In like manner, the Apostle Paul also may seem to have taken thought for the morrow, when he said: “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the saints of Galatia, even so do ye: upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store what shall seem good unto him, that there be no gatherings when I come. And when I come,2 whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem. And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me. Now I will come unto you when I shall pass through Macedonia: for I shall pass through Macedonia. And it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you, that ye may bring me on my journey whithersoever I go. For I will not see you now by the way; but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit. But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.” In the Acts of the Apostles also it is written, that such things as are necessary for food were provided for the future, on account of an impending famine. For we thus read: “And in these days came prophets down from Jerusalem to Antioch,4 and there was great rejoicing. And when we were gathered together, there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Cæsar. Then the disciples, every one according to his ability, determined to send relief to the elders for the brethren which dwelt in Judæa, which also they did by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.”6 And in the case of the necessaries presented to him, wherewith the same Apostle Paul when setting sail was laden, food seems to have been furnished for more than a single day. And when the same apostle writes, “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working8 with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth;” to those who misunderstand him he does not seem to keep the Lord’s precept, which runs, “Behold the fowls of the air; for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns;” and, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin;” while he enjoins the parties in question to labour, working with their hands, that they may have something which they may be able to give to others also. And in what he often says of himself, that he wrought with his hands that he might not be burdensome;10 and in what is written of him, that he joined himself to Aquila on account of the similarity of their occupation, in order that they might work together at that from which they might make a living; he does not seem to have imitated the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. From these and such like passages of Scripture, it is sufficiently apparent that our Lord does not disapprove of it, when one looks after such things in the ordinary way that men do; but only when one enlists as a soldier of God for the sake of such things, so that in what he does he fixes his eye not on the kingdom of God, but on the acquisition of such things.

58. Hence this whole precept is reduced to the following rule, that even in looking after such things we should think of the kingdom of God, but in the service of the kingdom of God we should not think of such things. For in this way, although they should sometimes be wanting (a thing which God often permits for the purpose of exercising us), they not only do not weaken our proposition, but even strengthen it, when it is examined and tested. For, says He, “we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope: And hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Now, in the mention of his tribulations and labours, the same apostle mentions that he has had to endure not only prisons and shipwrecks and many such like annoyances, but also hunger and thirst, cold and nakedness.13 But when we read this, let us not imagine that the promises of God have wavered, so that the apostle suffered hunger and thirst and nakedness while seeking the kingdom and righteousness of God, although it is said to us, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you:” since that Physician to whom we have once for all entrusted ourselves wholly, and from whom we have the promise of life present and future, knows such things just as helps, when He sets them before us, when He takes them away, just as He judges it expedient for us; whom He rules and directs as parties who require both to be comforted and exercised in this life, and after this life to be established and confirmed in perpetual rest. For man also, when he frequently takes away the fodder from his beast of burden, is not depriving it of his care, but rather does what he is doing in the exercise of care.

Chap. xviii

59. And inasmuch as when such things are either provided against the time to come, or reserved, if there is no cause wherefore you should expend them, it is uncertain with what intention it is done, since it may be done with a single heart, and also with a double one, He has seasonably added in this passage: “Judge not, that ye be not judged.2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged, and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” In this passage, I am of opinion that we are taught nothing else, but that in the case of those actions respecting which it is doubtful with what intention they are done, we are to put the better construction on them. For when it is written, “By their fruits ye shall know them,” the statement has reference to things which manifestly cannot be done with a good intention; such as debaucheries, or blasphemies, or thefts, or drunkenness, and all such things, of which we are permitted to judge, according to the apostle’s statement: “For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? “4 But concerning the kind of food, because every kind of human food can be taken indiscriminately with a good intention and a single heart, without the vice of concupiscence, the same apostle forbids that they who ate flesh and drank wine be judged by those who abstained from such kinds of sustenance: “Let not him that eateth,” says he, “despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not, judge him that eateth.” There also he says: “Who art thou that judges another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth.” For in reference to such matters as can be done with a good and single and noble intention, although they may also be done with an intention the reverse of good, those parties wished, howbeit they were [mere] men, to pronounce judgment upon the secrets of the heart, of which God alone is Judge.

60. To this category belongs also what he says in another passage: “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the thoughts of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.”7 There are therefore certain ambiguous actions, respecting which we are ignorant with what intention they are performed, because they may be done both with a good or with an evil one, of which it is rash to judge, especially for the purpose of condemning. Now the time will come for these to be judged, when the Lord “will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts.” In another passage also the same apostle says: “Some men’s aims are manifest beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.” He calls those sins manifest, with regard to which it is clear with what intention they are done; these go before to judgment, because if a judgment shall follow, it is not rash. But those which are concealed follow, because neither shall they remain hid in their own time. So we must understand with respect to good works also. For he adds to this effect: “Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.” Let us judge, therefore, with respect to those which are manifest; but respecting those which are concealed, let us leave the judgment to God: for they also cannot be hid, whether they be good or evil, when the time shall come for them to be manifested.

61. There are two things, moreover, in which we ought to beware of rash judgment; when it is uncertain with what intention any thing is done; or when it is uncertain what sort of a person he is going to be, who at preset is manifestly either good or bad. If, therefore, any one, for example, complaining of his stomach, would not fast, and you, not believing this, were to attribute it to the vice of gluttony, you would judge rashly. Likewise, if you were to come to know the gluttony and drunkenness as being manifest, and were so to administer reproof as if the man could never be amended and changed, you would nevertheless judge rashly. Let us not therefore reprove those things about which we do not know with what intention they are done; nor let us so reprove those things which are manifest, as that we should despair of a return to a right state of mind; and thus we shall avoid the judgment of which in the present instance it is said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”

62. But what He says may cause perplexity: “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” Is it the case, then, that if we shall judge any thing with a rash judgment, God will also judge rashly with respect to us? or if we shall measure any thing with an unjust measure, is there with God also an unjust measure, according to which it shall be measured to us again? (for by the expression measure also, I suppose the judgment itself is meant.) By no means does God either judge rashly, or recompense to any one with an unjust measure; but it is so expressed, inasmuch as that very same rashness wherewith you punish another must necessarily punish yourself. Unless, perchance, it is to be imagined that injustice does harm in some way to him against whom it goes forth, but in no way to him from whom it goes forth; but nay, it often does no harm to him who suffers the injury, but it must necessarily do harm to him who inflicts it. For what harm did the injustice of the persecutors do to the martyrs? None; but very much to the persecutors themselves. For although some of them were turned from the error of their ways, yet at the time at which they were acting as persecutors, their wickedness was blinding them. So also a rash judgment frequently does no harm to him who is the object of the rash judgment; but to him who judges rashly, the rashness itself must necessarily do harm. According to such a rule, I judge of that saying also: “Every one that strikes with the sword shall perish with the sword.”2 For how many take the sword, and yet do not perish with the sword, Peter himself being an instance! But lest any should think that he escaped such punishment by the pardon of his sins (although nothing could be more absurd than to think that the punishment of the sword, which did not befall Peter, could have been greater than that of the cross, which actually befell him), yet what would they say of the malefactors who were crucified with our Lord; for both he who got pardon, got it after he was crucified, and the other did not get it at all? Or had they perhaps crucified all whom they had slain; and did they therefore themselves too deserve to suffer the same thing? It is ridiculous to think so. For what else is meant by the statement, “For all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword,” but that the soul dies by that very sin, whatever it may be, which it has committed?

Chap. xix

63. And inasmuch as the Lord is admonishing us in this passage with respect to rash and unjust judgment,—for He wishes that whatever we do, we should do it with a heart that is single and directed toward God alone; and inasmuch as, with respect to many things, it is uncertain with what intention they are done, regarding which it is rash to judge; inasmuch, moreover, as those parties especially judge rashly respecting things that are uncertain, and readily find fault, who love rather to censure and to condemn than to amend and to improve, which is a fault arising either from pride or from envy; therefore He has subjoined the statement: “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” So that if perchance, for example, he has transgressed in anger, you should find fault in hatred; there being, as it were, as much difference between anger and hatred as between a mote and a beam. For hatred is inveterate anger, which, as it were simply by its long duration, has acquired so great strength as to be justly called a beam. Now, it may happen that, though you are angry with a man, you wish him to be turned from his error; but if you hate a man, you cannot wish to convert him.

64. “Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye;” i.e., first cast the hatred away from thee, and then, but not before, shalt thou be able to amend him whom thou lovest. And He well says, “Thou hypocrite.” For to make complaint against vices is the duty of good and benevolent men; and when bad men do it, they are acting a part which does not belong to them; just like hypocrites, who conceal under a mask what they are, and show themselves off in a mask what they are not. Under the designation hypocrites, therefore, you are to understand pretenders. And there is, in fact, a class of pretenders much to be guarded against, and troublesome, who, while they take up complaints against all kinds of faults from hatred and spite, also wish to appear counsellors. And therefore we must piously and cautiously watch, so that when necessity shall compel us to find fault with or rebuke any one, we may reflect first whether the fault is such as we have never had, or one from which we have now become free; and if we have never had it, let us reflect that we are men, and might have had it; but if we have had it, and are now free from it, let the common infirmity touch the memory, that not hatred but pity may go before that fault-finding or administering of rebuke: so that whether it shall serve for the conversion of him on whose account we do it, or for his perversion (for the issue is uncertain), we at least from the singleness of our eye may be free from care. If, however, on reflection, we find ourselves involved in the same fault as he is whom we were preparing to censure, let us not censure nor rebuke; but yet let us mourn deeply over the case, and let us invite him not to obey us, but to join us in a common effort.

65. For in regard also to what the apostle says,—”Unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law (not being under the law), that I might gain them that are under the law; to them that are without law, as without law (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ), that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might gain all,”—he did not certainly so act in the way of pretence, as some wish it to be understood, in order that their detestable pretence may be fortified by the authority of so great an example; but he did so from love, under the influence of which he thought of the infirmity of him whom he wished to help as if it were his own. For this he also lays as the foundation beforehand, when he says: “For although I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.”2 And that you may understand this as being done not in pretence, but in love, under the influence of which we have compassion for men who are weak as if we were they, he thus admonishes us in another passage, saying, “Brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” And this cannot be done, unless each one reckon the infirmity of another as his own, so as to bear it with equanimity, until the party for whose welfare he is solicitous is freed from it.

66. Rarely, therefore, and in a case of great necessity, are rebukes to be administered; yet in such a way that even in these very rebukes we may make it our earnest endeavour, not that we, but that God, should be served. For He, and none else, is the end: so that we are to do nothing with a double heart, removing from our own eye the beam of envy, or malice, or pretence, in order that we may see to cast the mote out of a brother’s eye. For we shall see it with the dove’s eyes,—such eyes as are declared to belong to the spouse of Christ, whom God hath chosen for Himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle,5
i.e. pure and guileless.

Chap. xx

67. But inasmuch as the word “guileless” may mislead some who are desirous of obeying God’s precepts, so that they may think it wrong, at times, to conceal the truth, just as it is wrong at times to speak a falsehood, and inasmuch as in this way,—by disclosing things which the parties to whom they are disclosed are unable to bear,—they may do more harm than if they were to conceal them altogether and always, He very rightly adds: “Give not that which is holy to the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” For the Lord Himself, although He never told a lie, yet showed that He was concealing certain truths, when He said, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” And the Apostle Paul, too, says: “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal.”7

68. Now, in this precept by which we are forbidden to give what is holy to the dogs, and to cast our pearls before swine, we must carefully inquire what is meant by holy, what by pearls, what by dogs, what by swine. A holy thing is something which it is impious to violate and to corrupt; and the very attempt and wish to commit that crime is held to be criminal, although that holy thing should remain in its nature inviolable and incorruptible. By pearls, again, are meant whatever spiritual things we ought to set a high value upon, both because they lie hid in a secret place, are as it were brought up out of the deep, and are found in wrappings of allegory, as it were in shells that have been opened. We may therefore legitimately understand that one and the same thing may be called both holy and a pearl: but it gets the name of holy for this reason, that it ought not to be corrupted; of a pearl for this reason, that it ought not to be despised. Every one, however, endeavours to corrupt what he does not wish to remain uninjured: but he despises what he thinks worthless, and reckons to be as it were beneath himself; and therefore whatever is despised is said to be trampled on. And hence, inasmuch as dogs spring at a thing in order to tear it in pieces, and do not allow what they are tearing in pieces to remain in its original condition, “Give not,” says He, “that which is holy unto the dogs:” for although it cannot be torn in pieces and corrupted, and remains unharmed and inviolable, yet we must think of what is the wish of those parties who bitterly and in a most unfriendly spirit resist, and, as far as in them lies, endeavour, if it were possible, to destroy the truth. But swine, although they do not, like dogs, fall upon an object with their teeth, yet by recklessly trampling on it defile it: “Do not therefore cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” We may therefore not unsuitably understand dogs as used to designate the assailants of the truth, swine the despisers of it.

69. But when He says, “they turn again and rend you,” He does not say, they rend the pearls themselves. For by trampling on them, just when they turn in order that they may hear something more, they yet rend him by whom the pearls have just been cast before them which they have trampled on. For you would not easily find out what pleasure the man could have who has trampled pearls under foot, i.e. has despised divine things whose discovery is the result of great labour. But in regard to him who teaches such parties, I do not see how he would escape being rent in pieces through their anger and wrathfulness. Moreover, both animals are unclean, the dog as well as the swine. We must therefore be on our guard, lest anything should be opened up to him who does not receive it: for it is better that he should seek for what is hidden, than that he should either attack or slight at what is open. Neither, in fact, is any other cause found why they do not receive those things which are manifest and of importance, except hatred and contempt, the one of which gets them the name of dogs, the other that of swine. And all this impurity is generated by the love of temporal things, i.e. by the love of this world, which we are commanded to renounce, in order that we may be able to be pure. The man, therefore, who desires to have a pure and single heart, ought not to appear to himself blameworthy, if he conceals anything from him who is unable to receive it. Nor is it to be supposed from this that it is allowable to lie: for it does not follow that when truth is concealed, falsehood is uttered. Hence, steps are to be taken first, that the hindrances which prevent his receiving it may be removed; for certainly if pollution is the reason he does not receive it, he is to be cleansed either by word or by deed, as far as we can possibly do it.

70. Then, further, when our Lord is found to have made certain statements which many who were present did not accept, but either resisted or despised, He is not to be thought to have given that which is holy to the dogs, or to have cast pearls before swine: for He did not give such things to those who were not able to receive them, but to those who were able, and were at the same time present; whom it was not meet that He should neglect on account of the impurity of others. And when tempters put questions to Him, and He answered them, so that they might have nothing to gainsay, although they might pine away from the effects of their own poisons, rather than be filled with His food, yet others, who were able to receive His teaching, heard to their profit many things in consequence of the opportunity created by these parties. I have said this, lest any one, perhaps, when he is not able to reply to one who puts a question to him, should seem to himself excused, if he should say that he is unwilling to give that which is holy to the dogs, or to cast pearls before swine. For he who knows what to answer ought to do it, even for the sake of others, in whose minds despair arises, if they believe that the question proposed cannot be answered: and this in reference to matters that are useful, and that belong to saving instruction. For many things which may be the subject of inquiry on the part of idle people are needless and vain, and often hurtful, respecting which, however, something must be said; but this very point is to be opened up and explained, viz. why such things ought not to form the subject of inquiry. In reference, therefore, to things that are useful, we ought sometimes to give a reply to what is asked of us: just as the Lord did, when the Sadducees had asked Him about the woman who had seven husbands, to which of them she would belong in the resurrection. For He answered that in the resurrection they will neither marry, nor be given in marriage, but will be as the angels in heaven. But sometimes, he who asks is to be asked something else, by telling which he would answer himself as to the matter he asked about; but if he should refuse to make a statement, it would not seem to those who are present unfair, if he himself should not hear anything as to the matter he inquired about. For those who put the question, tempting Him, whether tribute was to be paid, were asked another question, viz. whose image the money bore which was brought forward by themselves; and because they told what they had been asked, i.e. that the money bore the image of Cæsar, they gave a kind of answer to themselves in reference to the question they had asked the Lord: and accordingly from their answer He drew this inference, “Render therefore unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” When, however, the chief priests and elders of the people had asked by what authority He was doing those things, He asked them about the baptism of John: and when they would not make a statement which they saw to be against themselves, and yet would not venture to say anything bad about John, on account of the bystanders, “Neither tell I you,” says He, “by what authority I do these things;”2 a refusal which appeared most just to the bystanders. For they said they were ignorant of that which they really knew, but did not wish to tell. And, in truth, it was right that they who wished to have an answer to what they asked, should themselves first do what they required to be done toward them; and if they had done this, they would certainly have answered themselves. For they themselves had sent to John, asking who he was; or rather they themselves, being priests and Levites, had been sent, supposing that he was the very Christ, but he said that he was not, and gave forth a testimony concerning the Lord: a testimony respecting which if they chose to make a confession, they would teach themselves by what authority as the Christ He was doing those things; which as if ignorant of they had asked, in order that they might find an avenue for calumny.

Chap. xxi

71. Since, therefore, a command had been given that what is holy should not be given to dogs, and pearls should not be cast before swine, a hearer might object and say, conscious of his own ignorance and weakness, and hearing a command addressed to him, that he should not give what he felt that he himself had not yet received,—might (I say) object and say, What holy thing do you forbid me to give to the dogs, and what pearls do you forbid me to cast before swine, while as yet I do not see that I possess such things? Most opportunely He has added the statement: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” The asking refers to the obtaining by request soundness and strength of mind, so that we may be able to discharge those duties which are commanded; the seeking, on the other hand, refers to the finding of the truth. For inasmuch as the blessed life is summed up in action and knowledge, action wishes for itself a supply of strength, contemplation desiderates that matters should be made clear: of these therefore the first is to be asked, the second is to be sought; so that the one may be given, the other found. But knowledge in this life belongs rather to the way than to the possession itself: but whoever has found the true way, will arrive at the possession itself, which, however, is opened to him that knocks.

72. In order, therefore, that these three things—viz. asking, seeking, knocking—may be made clear, let us suppose, for example, the case of one weak in his limbs, who cannot walk: in the first place, he is to be healed and strengthened so as to be able to walk; and to this refers the expression He has used, “Ask.” But what advantage is it that he is now able to walk, or even run, if he should go astray by devious paths? A second thing therefore is, that he should find the road that leads to the place at which he wishes to arrive; and when he has kept that road, and arrived at the very place where he wishes to dwell, if he find it closed, it will be of no use either that he has been able to walk, or that he has walked and arrived, unless it be opened to him: to this, therefore, the expression refers which has been used, “Knock.”

73. Moreover, great hope has been given, and is given, by Him who does not deceive when He promises: for He says, “Every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.” Hence there is need of perseverance, in order that we may receive what we ask, and find what we seek, and that what we knock at may be opened. Now, just as He talked of the fowls of heaven and of the lilies of the field, that we might not despair of food and clothing being provided for us, so that our hopes might rise from lesser things to greater; so also in this passage, “Or what man is there of you,” says He, “whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?” How do the evil give good things? Now, He has called those evil3 who are as yet the lovers of this world and sinners. And, in fact, the good things are to he called good according to their feeling, because they reckon these to be good things. Although in the nature of things also such things are good, but temporal, and pertaining to this feeble life: and whoever that is evil gives them, does not give of his own; for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof, who made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is.5 How much reason, therefore, there is for the hope that God will give us good things when we ask Him, and that we cannot be deceived, so that we should get one thing instead of another, when we ask Him; since we even, although we are evil, know how to give that for which we are asked? For we do not deceive our children; and whatever good things we give are not given of our own, but of what is His.

Chap. xxii

74. Moreover, a certain strength and vigour in walking along the path of wisdom lies in good morals, which are made to extend as far as to purification and singleness of heart,—a subject on which He has now been speaking long, and thus concludes: “Therefore all good things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” In the Greek copies we find the passage runs thus: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” But I think the word “good” has been added by the Latins to make the sentence clear. For the thought occurred, that if any one should wish something wicked to be done to him, and should refer this clause to that,—as, for instance, if one should wish to be challenged to drink immoderately, and to get drunk over his cups, and should first do this to the party by whom he wishes it to be done to himself,—it would be ridiculous to imagine that he had fulfilled this clause. Inasmuch, therefore, as they were influenced by this consideration, as I suppose, one word was added to make the matter clear; so that in the statement, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you,” there was inserted the word “good.” But if this is wanting in the Greek copies, they also ought to be corrected: but who would venture to do this? It is to be understood, therefore, that the clause is complete and altogether perfect, even if this word be not added. For the expression used, “whatsoever ye would,” ought to be understood as used not in a customary and random, but in a strict sense. For there is no will except in the good: for in the case of bad and wicked deeds, desire is strictly spoken of, not will. Not that the Scriptures always speak in a strict sense; but where it is necessary, they so keep a word to its perfectly strict meaning, that they do not allow anything else to be understood.

75. Moreover, this precept seems to refer to the love of our neighbour, and not to the love of God also, seeing that in another passage He says that there are two precepts on which “hang all the law and the prophets.” For if He had said, All things whatsoever ye would should be done to you, do ye even so; in this one sentence He would have embraced both those precepts: for it would soon be said that every one wishes that he himself should be loved both by God and by men; and so, when this precept was given to him, that what he wished done to himself he should himself do, that certainly would be equivalent to the precept that he should love God and men. But when it is said more expressly of men, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them,” nothing else seems to be meant than, “Thou shall love thy neighbour as thyself.” But we must carefully attend to what He has added here: “for this is the law and the prophets.” Now, in the case of these two precepts, He not merely says, The law and the prophets hang; but He has also added, “all the law and the prophets,”2 which is the same as the whole of prophecy: and in not making the same addition here, He has kept a place for the other precept, which refers to the love of God. Here, then, inasmuch as He is following out the precepts with respect to a single heart, and it is to be dreaded lest any one should have a double heart toward those from whom the heart can be hid, i.e. toward men, a precept with respect to that very thing was to be given. For there is almost nobody that would wish that any one of double heart should have dealings with himself. But no one can bestow anything upon a fellowman with a single heart, unless he so bestow it that he expects no temporal advantage from him, and does it with the intention which we have sufficiently discussed above, when we were speaking of the single eye.

76. The eye, therefore, being cleansed and rendered single, will be adapted and suited to behold and contemplate its own inner light. For the eye in question is the eye of the heart. Now, such an eye is possessed by him who, in order that his works may be truly good, does not make it the aim of his good works that he should please men; but even if it should turn out that he pleases them, he makes this tend rather to their salvation and to the glory of God, not to his own empty boasting; nor does he do anything that is good tending to his neighbour’s salvation for the purpose of gaining by it those things that are necessary for getting through this present life; nor does he rashly condemn a man’s intention and wish in that action in which it is not apparent with what intention and wish it has been done; and whatever kindnesses he shows to a man, he shows them with the same intention with which he wishes them shown to himself, viz. as not expecting any temporal advantage from him: thus will the heart be single and pure in which God is sought. “Blessed,” therefore, “are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”

Chap. xxiii

77. But because this belongs to few, He now begins to speak of searching for and possessing wisdom, which is a tree of life; and certainly, in searching for and possessing, i.e. contemplating this wisdom, such an eye is led through all that precedes to a point where there may now be seen the narrow way and the strait gate. When, therefore, He says in continuation, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it; He does not say so for this reason, that the Lord’s yoke is rough, or His burden heavy; but because few are willing to bring their labours to an end, giving too little credit to Him who cries, “Come unto me, all ye that labour, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: for my yoke is easy,2 and my burden is light”4 (hence, moreover, the sermon before us took as its starting-point the lowly and meek in heart): and this easy yoke and light burden which many spurn, few submit to; and on that account the way becomes narrow which leadeth unto life, and the gate strait by which it is entered.

Chap. xxiv

78. Here, therefore, those who promise a wisdom and a knowledge of the truth which they do not possess, are especially to be guarded against; as, for instance, heretics, who frequently commend themselves on account of their fewness. And hence, when He had said that there are few who find the strait gate and the narrow way, lest they [the heretics] should falsely substitute themselves under the pretext of their fewness, He immediately added, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” But such parties do not deceive the single eye, which knows how to distinguish a tree by its fruits. For He says: “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” Then He adds the similitudes: “Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so, every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit6 is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”

79. And in [the interpretation of] this passage we must be very much on our guard against the error of those who judge from these same two trees that there are two original natures, the one of which belongs to God, but the other neither belongs to God nor springs from Him. And this error has both been already discussed in other books [of ours] very copiously, and if that is still too little, will be discussed again; but at present we have merely to show that the two trees before us do not help them. In the first place, because it is so clear that He is speaking of men, that whoever reads what goes before and what follows will wonder at their blindness. Secondly, they fix their attention on what is said, “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit,” and therefore think that neither can it happen that an evil soul should be changed into something better, nor a good one into something worse; as if it were said, A good tree cannot become evil, nor an evil tree good. But it is said, “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” For the tree is certainly the soul itself, i.e. the man himself, but the fruits are the works of the man; an evil man, therefore, cannot perform good works, nor a good man evil works. If an evil man, therefore, wishes to perform good works, let him first become good. So the Lord Himself says in another passage more plainly: “Either make the tree good, or make the tree bad.” But if He were figuratively representing the two natures of such parties by these two trees, He would not say, “Make:” for who of the sons of men can make a nature? Then also in that passage, when He had made mention of these two trees, He added, “Ye hypocrites, how can ye, being evil, speak good things?” As long, therefore, as any one is evil, he cannot bring forth good fruits; for if he were to bring forth good fruits, he would no longer be evil. So it might most truly have been said, snow cannot be warm; for when it begins to be warm, we no longer call it snow, but water. It may therefore come about, that what was snow is no longer so; but it cannot happen that snow should be warm. So it may come about, that he who was evil is no longer evil; it cannot, however, happen that an evil man should do good. And although he is sometimes useful, this is not the man’s own doing; but it is done through him, in virtue of the arrangements of divine providence: as, for instance, it is said of the Pharisees, “What they bid you, do; but what they do, do not consent to do.” This very circumstance, that they spoke things that were good, and that the things which they spoke were usefully listened to and done, was not a matter belonging to them: for, says He, “they sit in Moses’ seat.”9 It was, therefore, when engaged through divine providence in preaching the law of God, that they were able to be useful to their hearers, although they were not so to themselves. Respecting such it is said in another place by the prophet, “They have sown wheat, but shall reap thorns;” because they teach what is good, and do what is evil. Those, therefore, who listened to them, and did what was said by them, did not gather grapes of thorns, but through the thorns gathered grapes of the vine: just as, were any one to thrust his hand through a hedge, or were at least to gather a grape from a vine which was entangled in a hedge, that would not be the fruit of the thorns, but of the vine.

80. The question, indeed, is most rightly put, What are the fruits He would wish us to attend to, whereby we might know the tree? For many reckon among the fruits certain things which belong to the sheep’s clothing, and in this way are deceived by wolves: as, for instance, either fastings, or prayers, or almsgivings; but unless all of these things could be done even by hypocrites, He would not say above, “Take heed that ye do not your righteousness before men, to be seen of them.” And after prefixing this sentence, He goes on to speak of those very three things, almsgiving, prayer, fasting. For many give largely to the poor, not from compassion, but from vanity; and many pray, or rather seem to pray, while not keeping God in view, but desiring to please men; and many fast, and make a wonderful show of abstinence before those to whom such things appear difficult, and by whom they are reckoned worthy of honour: and catch them with artifices of this sort, while they hold up to view one thing for the purpose of deceiving, and put forth another for the purpose of preying upon or killing those who cannot see the wolves under that sheep’s clothing. These, therefore, are not the fruits by which He admonishes us that the tree is known. For such things, when they are done with a good intention in sincerity, are the appropriate clothing of sheep; but when they are done in wicked deception, they cover nothing else but wolves. But the sheep ought not on this account to hate their own clothing, because the wolves often conceal themselves therein.

81. What the fruits are by the finding of which we may know an evil tree, the apostle tells us: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adulteries, fornications, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatreds, variances, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” And what the fruits are by which we may know a good tree, the very same apostle goes on to tell us: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” It must be known, indeed, that “joy” stands here in a strict and proper sense; for bad men are, strictly speaking, not said to rejoice, but to make extravagant demonstrations of joy: just as we have said above, that “will” which the wicked do not possess, stands in a strict sense where it is said, “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” In accordance with that strict sense of the word, in virtue of which joy is spoken of only in the good, the prophet also speaks, saying: “Rejoicing is not for the wicked, saith the Lord.”3 So also “faith” stands, not certainly as meaning any kind of it, but true faith: and the other things which find a place here have certain resemblances of their own in bad men and deceivers; so that they entirely mislead, unless one has the pure and single eye by which he may know such things. It is accordingly the best arrangement, that the cleansing of the eye is first discussed, and then mention is made of what things were to be guarded against.

Chap. xxv

82. But seeing that, however pure an eye one may have, i.e. with however single and sincere a heart one may live, he yet cannot look into the heart of another: whatever things could not have become apparent in deeds or words, are disclosed by trials. Now trial is twofold; either in the hope of obtaining some temporal advantage, or in the terror of losing it. And especially must we be on our guard, lest, when striving after wisdom, which can be found in Christ alone, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge;—we must be on our guard, I say, lest, under the very name of Christ, we be deceived by heretics, or by any parties whatever defective in intelligence, and lovers of this world. For on this account He adds a warning, saying, “Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord,5 shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven:” lest we should think that the mere fact of one saying to our Lord, “Lord, Lord,” belongs to those fruits; and from that he should seem to us to be a good tree. But those are the fruits, to do the will of the Father who is in heaven, in the doing of which He has condescended to exhibit Himself as an example.

83. But the question may fairly be started, how with this sentence the statement of the apostle is to be reconciled, where he says, “No man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed; and no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost:” for neither can we say that any who have the Holy Spirit will not enter into the kingdom of heaven, if they persevere onwards to the end; nor can we affirm that those who say, “Lord, Lord,” and yet do not enter into the kingdom of heaven, have the Holy Spirit. How then does no one say “that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost,” unless it is because the apostle has used the word “say” here in a strict and proper sense, so that it implies the will and understanding of him who says? But the Lord has used the word which He employs in a general sense: “Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.” For he also who neither wishes nor understands what he says, seems to say it; but he properly says it, who gives expression to his will and mind by the sound of his voice: just as, a little before, what is called “joy” among the fruits of the Spirit is called so in a strict and proper sense, not in the way in which the same apostle elsewhere uses the expression, “Rejoiceth not in iniquity:”2 as if any one could rejoice in iniquity: for that transport of a mind making confused and boisterous demonstrations of joy is not joy; for this latter is possessed by the good alone. Hence those also seem to say it, who neither perceive with the understanding nor engage with the deliberate consent of the will in this which they utter, but utter it with the voice merely; and after this manner the Lord says, “Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.” But truly and properly those parties say it whose utterance in speech really represents their will and intention; and it is in accordance with this signification that the apostle has said, “No one can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.”

84. And besides, it belongs especially to the matter in hand, that, in striving after the contemplation of the truth, we should not only not be deceived by the name of Christ, by means of those who have the name and have not the deeds; but also not by certain deeds and miracles, for when the Lord performed of the same kind for the sake of unbelievers, He has warned us not to be deceived by such things, thinking that an invisible wisdom is present where we see a visible miracle. Hence He annexes the statement: “Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name, and in Thy name have cast out devils, and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I say unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.” He will not, therefore, recognise any but the man that worketh righteousness. For He forbade also His own disciples themselves to rejoice in such things, viz. that the spirits were subject unto them: “But rejoice,” says He, “because your names are written in heaven;”4 I suppose, in that city of Jerusalem which is in heaven, in which only the righteous and holy shall reign. “Know ye not,” says the apostle, “that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?”

85. But perhaps some one may say that the unrighteous cannot perform those visible miracles, and may believe rather that those parties are telling a lie, who will be found saying, “We have prophesied in Thy name, and have cast out devils in Thy name, and have done many wonderful works.” Let him therefore read what great things the magi of the Egyptians did who resisted Moses, the servant of God; or if he will not read this, because they did not do them in the name of Christ, let him read what the Lord Himself says of the false prophets, speaking thus: “Then, if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch that the very elect shall be deceived.7 Behold, I have told you before.”

86. How much need, therefore, is there of the pure and single eye, in order that the way of wisdom may be found, against which there is the clamour of so great deceptions and errors on the part of wicked and perverse men, to escape from all of which is indeed to arrive at the most certain peace, and the immoveable stability of wisdom! For it is greatly to be feared, lest, by eagerness in quarrelling and controversy, one should not see what can be seen by few, that small is the disturbance of gainsayers, unless one also disturbs himself. And in this direction, too, runs that statement of the apostle: “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that think differently;10 if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.” “Blessed,” therefore, “are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”12

87. Hence we must take special notice how terribly the conclusion of the whole sermon is introduced: “Therefore, whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them, is like unto a wise man, which built his house upon the rock.” For no one confirms what he hears or understands, unless by doing. And if Christ is the rock, as many Scripture testimonies proclaim,2 that man builds in Christ who does what he hears from Him. “The rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.” Such an one, therefore, is not afraid of any gloomy superstitions (for what else is understood by rain, when it is put in the sense of anything bad?), or of rumours of men, which I think are compared to winds; or of the river of this life, as it were flowing over the earth in carnal lusts. For it is the man who is seduced by the prosperity that is broken down by the adversities arising from these three things; none of which is feared by him who has his house founded upon a rock, i.e. who not only hears, but also does, the Lord’s commands. And the man who hears and does them not is in dangerous proximity to all these, for he has no stable foundation; but by hearing and not doing, he builds a ruin. For He goes on to say: “And every one that heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them not, shall be like unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat5 upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at His doctrine: for He taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.”7 This is what I said before was meant by the prophet in the Psalms, when he says: “I will act confidently in regard of him. The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried and proved in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” And from this number, I am admonished to trace back those precepts also to the seven sentences which He has placed in the beginning of this sermon, when He was speaking of those who are blessed; and to those seven operations of the Holy Spirit, which the prophet Isaiah mentions;9 but whether the order before us, or some other, is to be considered in these, the things we have heard from the Lord are to be done, if we wish to build upon a rock.

St. Augustin:

THE HARMONY OF THE GOSPELS

translated by

THE REV. S. D. F. SALMOND, D.D.,

free college, aberdeen.

edited, with notes and introduction, by

THE REV. M. B. RIDDLE, D.D.,

professor of new-testament exegesis, western theological seminary, allegheny, pa.

INTRODUCTORY ESSAY

BY PROFESSOR M. B. RIDDLE, D.D.

The treatise of Augustin On the Harmony of the Evangelists (De Consensu Evangelistarum) is regarded as the most laborious task undertaken by the great African Father. But its influence has been much less obvious than that of his strictly exegetical and doctrinal works. Dr. Salmond, in his Introductory Notice, gives a discriminating and just estimate of it. Jerome was, in some respects, far better equipped for such a task than Augustin; yet one cannot study this work, bearing in mind the hermeneutical tendencies of the fourth century, without having an increased respect for the ability, candour, and insight of the great theologian when engaged in labours requiring linguistic knowledge, which he did not possess. Despite his ignorance of the correct text in many difficult passages, his lack of familiarity with the Greek original, many of his explanations have stood the test of time, finding acceptance even among the exegetes of this age.

Most modern Harmonies give indications of the abiding influence of the work. Yet the treatise itself has not called forth extended comments. From its character it directs attention to the problems it discusses rather than to its own solutions of them. Hence the difficulty of presenting an adequate Bibliographical List in connection with this work. All Gospel Harmonies, all Lives of Christ, all discussions of the apparent discrepancies of the Gospels, stand related to it. As a complete list was out of the question, it seemed fitting to preface this edition of the work with a few general statements in regard to Harmonies of the Gospels.

The early date of the oldest work of this character, before a.d. 170 (see below), attests the genuineness of our four canonical Gospels, by proving that they, and they only, were generally accepted at that time. But it also shows that the existence of four Gospels, recognised as genuine and authoritative, naturally calls forth harmonistic efforts. Two questions confront every intelligent reader of these four Gospels: (1) In view of the variation in the order of events as narrated by the different evangelists, what is the more probable chronological order? (2) In view of the variation in details, what is, in each case, the correct explanation of such variations? These problems are largely exegetical; but those of the former class soon lead to the historical method of treatment, while those of the latter class lead to apologetic discussions, when apparent discrepancies are discovered. The work of Augustin deals more largely with the latter; more recent Harmonies lay greater stress upon the historical and chronological questions. The methods represent the tendencies of the age to which they respectively belong. The historical method is doubtless the more correct one; but, when it assumes the extreme form of destructive criticism, it denies the possibility of harmony. On the other hand, the apologetic method, when linked with a mechanical view of inspiration, too often adopts interpretations that are ungrammatical, in order to ignore the necessity of harmonizing differences. The true position lies between these extremes: the grammatico-historical sense must be accepted; the correct text of each Gospel must be determined, independently of verbal variations; the truthfulness of each evangelist must be assumed, until positive error is proven; the more definite statements are to be used in explaining the less definite; the characteristics of each evangelist must be given their proper weight in determining the probabilities of greater or less accuracy of detail.

But the necessary limitations of harmonistic methods should be fully recognised. Absolute certainty is often impossible: there will always be room for difference of judgment. For example, there is to-day as little agreement as ever in regard to the length of our Lord’s ministry; i.e., whether the Evangelist John refers to three or four passovers. The Tripaschal and Quadripaschal theories still divide scholars, as in past ages of the Church.

Still, the progress made in textual criticism has, by indicating more positively the exact words of all four accounts, laid the foundation for better results in harmonistic labours.

One great advantage of a Harmony, as now constructed, with the text of the evangelists in parallel columns, or in independent sections when the matter is peculiar to one of them, is the emphasis it gives to the historical sequence. The movement of the evangelical narrative is made more apparent; the relations of the events shed light upon the entire story; the purpose of discourses and journeys appears; the training of the Twelve can be better studied; the emphasis placed upon the closing events of our Lord’s life on earth is made more obvious. A comparison of the several accounts gives to the events new significance, often reveals minute and undesigned coincidences which attest the truthfulness of all the narrators. Now that the attempt to secure mechanical uniformity in the narratives has been universally rejected by scholars, another advantage of a Harmony is seen to be this: that it sets forth most strikingly the verbal differences and correspondences of the parallel passages. Only by a minute comparison of these can we discover the data for a settlement of the problem respecting the origin and relation of the Synoptic Gospels.

The dangers attending harmonistic methods are obvious enough, and appeared very early. The tendency has been to create a rigid verbal uniformity. Hence the peculiarities of the several evangelists are obscured; the text of one is, consciously or unconsciously, conformed to that of another. The Gospel of Mark, the most individual and striking of the Synoptics, probably the oldest, has been repeatedly altered to correspond with that of Matthew. When uniformity could not be secured by this process, false exegesis was often resorted to, and hermeneutical principles avowed which injured the cause of truth. Evangelical truth cannot be defended with the weapons of error. This vicious method was usually the result of mechanical views of inspiration. That view of inspiration which rightly recognises language as vital, and which therefore seeks to know the meaning of every word, has no worse foe than the hermeneutical principle which ignores the historical sense of any word of Scripture.

The tendency just referred to brought harmonistic labours into disrepute. The immense activity of the present century in exegetical theology has not taken this direction. Moreover, the historical method received its greatest impulse from the tendency-theory of the Tübingen school, which presupposes the impossibility of constructing a Harmony of the four Gospels. Hence the reaction, in Germany especially, has been excessive.

Yet Harmonies are still prepared, and are still useful. Harmonistic labours have their rightful, though limited, place in the field of Exegetical Theology.

A very brief sketch of the leading works of this character will serve to illustrate the above statements.

The earliest attempt at constructing a Harmony was that of Tatian (died a.d. 172). The date of its appearance was between a.d. 153 and 170; and its title, Diatessaron, furnishes abundant evidence of the early acceptance of our four canonical Gospels. Our knowledge of this work was, until recently, very slight. But the discovery of an Armenian translation of a commentary upon it, by Ephraem the Syrian, has enabled Zahn to reconstruct a large part of the text. The commentary was translated into Latin in 1841, but little attention was paid to it until an edition by Moesinger appeared in 1876. The influence of Tatian’s Diatessaron upon the Greek text seems to have been unfortunate. Many of the corruptions in the received text of the Gospel of Mark are probably due to the confusion of the separate narratives occasioned by this work. Tregelles (in the new edition of Horne’s Introduction, vol. iv. p. 40) says that it “had more effect apparently in the text of the Gospels in use throughout the Church than all the designed falsifications of Marcion and every scion of the Gnostic blood.” It seems to have contained nothing indicating heretical bias or intentional alteration.

The next Harmony was that of Ammonius of Alexandria, the teacher of Origen, the first work bearing this title (‘Αρμονία). It appeared about a.d. 220, but has been lost. Until recently it was supposed that the sections into which some early mss. divide the Gospels were those of Ammonius himself; but, while he did make such divisions, those bearing his name are to be attributed to Eusebius (see below). Ammonius made Matthew the basis of his work, and by his arrangement destroyed the continuity of the separate narratives. Every Harmony based upon the order of Matthew must be a failure.

Eusebius of Cæsarea (died a.d. 340) adopted a similar set of divisions, adding to them numbers from 1 to 10, called “Canons,” which indicate the parallelisms of the sections. These sections and canons are printed in Tischendorf’s critical editions of the Greek Testament, and in some other editions. The influence of this system seems to have been great, but Eusebius often accepts a parallelism where there is really none whatever. Some of the sections are very brief, containing only part of a verse. Hence the tables of sections furnish no basis for estimating the matter common to two or more evangelists.

The work of Augustin comes next in order; it deals little with chronological questions, and shows no trace of such complete textual labour as that of Eusebius.

The Reformation gave a new impulse to this department of Biblical study. In the sixteenth century many Harmonies appeared. Among the authors are the well-known names of Osiander, Jansen, Robert Stephens, John Calvin, Du Moulin, Chemnitz. These works were written in Latin, as a rule; and they are worthy of the age which produced them. Lack of sufficient critical material prevented complete accuracy, but the exegetical methods of the sixteenth century obtain in the Harmonies also.

The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries present little in this field of labour that deserves favourable notice. The undisputed reign of the Textus Receptus impeded investigation; the supernaturalism of the dominant theology was not favourable to historical investigation; the mechanical theory of inspiration led to arbitrary and forced interpretations. Even the older rationalism, which explained away the supernatural, was scarcely more faulty in its exegesis than many an orthodox commentator. The labours of J. Lightfoot deserve grateful recognition. This great Hebrew scholar did not finish his Harmony of the Gospels, but shed great light upon many of the problems involved, by his knowledge of Jewish customs. J. A. Bengel, the pioneer of modern textual criticism of the New Testament, published a valuable Harmony in German. W. Newcome published a Harmony of the Gospels in Greek (Dublin, 1778). He follows Le Clerc (Amsterdam, 1779), and his Harmony is the basis of the more modern work by Edward Robinson (see below).

While the Tübingen school, by its tendency-theory, virtually denied the possibility of constructing a Harmony, it compelled the conservative theologians to adopt the historical method. Thus there has been gathered much material for harmonistic labours. But in Germany, as in England and America, Lives of Christ have been more numerous than Harmonies.

K. Wieseler and C. Tischendorf, among recent German scholars, have published valuable Harmonies. In England the work most in use is that of E. Greswell. The Archbishop of York, William Thomson, presents in Smith’s Bible Dictionary a valuable table of the Harmony of the Four Gospels (article “Gospels,” Am. ed. vol. ii. p. 751).

An interesting edition of the Synoptic Gospels is that of W. G. Rushbrooke (Synopticon, Cambridge, 1880–81). It is designed to show, by different type and colour, the divergences and correspondences of the three Gospels. The Greek text is that of Tischendorf, corrected from that of Westcott and Hort. It presents in the readiest form the material for harmonistic comparisons; but the editor has prepared it with a purpose diametrically opposed to that of the Harmonist, namely, to construct from the matter common to the Synoptists a “triple tradition,” which will, in the author’s judgment, approximately present the “source” from which all have drawn. The work has great value apart from its theory of the origin of the Synoptic Gospels.

In America Edward Robinson published, in repeated editions, a Harmony of the Gospels in Greek and also in English. He had previously reprinted that of Newcome.

S. J. Andrews (Life of our Lord; New York, 1863), has sought “to arrange the events of the Lord’s life, as given us by the evangelists, so far as possible, in a chronological order, and to state the grounds of this order.” It is virtually a Harmony, with the full text of the Gospels omitted. Few works of the kind equal it in value, though it needs revision in the light of the more recent results of textual criticism.

Frederic Gardiner has published a Harmony of the Four Gospels in Greek (Andover, 1871, 1876). It gives the text of Tischendorf (eighth edition), with a collation of the Textus Receptus, and of the texts of Griesbach, Lachmann, and Tregelles. The authorities are cited in the case of important variations. Another valuable feature is a comparative table, presenting in parallel columns the arrangement adopted by Greswell, Stroud, Robinson, Thomson, Tischendorf, and Gardiner.

A number of works, aiming to consolidate into one narrative the four accounts, have been passed over.

The Harmony of Dr. Robinson, which has held its ground for more than forty years, has been recently revised by the present writer. The text of Tischendorf has been substituted for that of Hahn; all the various readings materially affecting the sense which are found in Tregelles, Westcott and Hort, and in the Revised English version of 1881, have been given in footnotes, with a selection of the leading authorities (mss. and versions) for or against each reading cited. The Appendix has been enlarged to meet the new phases of discussion; but the whole volume is what it purports to be,—a revision of the standard work of Dr. Robinson. In the matter of the Greek text, the author would probably have done what has now been done by the editor. A similar but less extensive revision of the English Harmony of Dr. Robinson has been published.

Allegheny, Pa., Nov. 14, 1887.

TRANSLATOR’S INTRODUCTORY NOTICE

In the remarkable work known as his Retractations, Augustin makes a brief statement on the subject of this treatise on the Harmony of the Evangelists. The sixteenth chapter of the second book of that memorable review of his literary career, contains corrections of certain points on which he believed that he had not been sufficiently accurate in these discussions. In the same passage he informs us that this treatise was undertaken during the years in which he was occupied with his great work on the Trinity, and that, breaking in upon the task which had been making gradual progress under his hand, he wrought continuously at this new venture until it was finished. Its composition is assigned to about the year 400 a.d. The date is determined in the following manner: In the first book there is a sentence (§ 27) which appears to indicate that, by the time when Augustin engaged himself with this effort, the destruction of the idols of the old religion was being carried out under express imperial authority. No law of that kind, however, affecting Africa, seems to be found expressed previous to those to which he refers at the close of the eighteenth book of the City of God. There he gives us to understand that such measures were put in force in Carthage, under Gaudentius and Jovius, the associates of the Emperor Honorius, and states that for the space of nearly thirty years from that time the Christian religion made advances large enough to arrest general attention. Before that period, which must have been about the year 399, the idols could not be destroyed, as Augustin elsewhere indicates (Serm. lxii. 11, n. 17), but with the consent of the parties to whom they belonged. These considerations are taken to fix the composition of this work to a date not earlier than the close of 399 a.d.

Among Augustin’s numerous theological productions, this one takes rank with the most toilsome and exhaustive. We find him expressing himself to that effect now and again, when he has occasion to allude to it. Thus, in the 112th Tractate on John (n. 1), he calls it a laborious piece of literature; and in the 117th Tractate on the same evangelist, he speaks of the themes here dealt with as matters which were discussed with the utmost painstaking.

Its great object is to vindicate the Gospel against the critical assaults of the heathen. Paganism, having tried persecution as its first weapon, and seen it fail, attempted next to discredit the new faith by slandering its doctrine, impeaching its history, and attacking with special persistency the veracity of the Gospel writers. In this it was aided by some of Augustin’s heretical antagonists, who endeavoured at times to establish a conspicuous inconsistency between the Jewish Scriptures and the Christian, and at times to prove the several sections of the New Testament to be at variance with each other. Many alleged that the original Gospels had received considerable additions of a spurious character. And it was a favorite method of argumentation, adopted both by heathen and by Manichæan adversaries, to urge that the evangelical historians contradicted each other. Thus, in the present treatise (i. 7), Augustin speaks of this matter of the discrepancies between the Evangelists as the palmary argument wielded by his opponents. Hence, as elsewhere he sought to demonstrate the congruity of the Old Testament with the New, he set himself here to exonerate Christianity from the charge of any defect of harmony, whether in the facts recorded or in the order of their narration, between its four fundamental historical documents.

The plan of the work is laid out in four great divisions. In the first book, he refutes those who asserted that Christ was only the wisest among men, and who aimed at detracting from the authority of the Gospels, by insisting on the absence of any written compositions proceeding from the hand of Christ Himself, and by affirming that the disciples went beyond what had been His own teaching both on the subject of His divinity, and on the duty of abandoning the worship of the gods. In the second, he enters upon a careful examination of Matthew’s Gospel, on to the record of the supper, comparing it with Mark, Luke, and John, and exhibiting the perfect harmony subsisting between them. In the third, he demonstrates the same consistency between the four Evangelists, from the account of the supper on to the end. And in the fourth, he subjects to a similar investigation those passages in Mark, Luke, and John, which have no proper parallels in Matthew.

For the discharge of a task like this, Augustin was gifted with much, but he also lacked much. The resources of a noble and penetrating intellect, profound spiritual insight, and reverent love for Scripture, formed high qualifications at his command. But he was deficient in exact scholarship. Thoroughly versed in Latin literature, as is evinced here by the happy notices of Ennius, Cicero, Lucan, and others of its great writers, he knew little Greek, and no Hebrew. He refers more than once in the present treatise to his ignorance of the original language of the Old Testament; and while his knowledge of that of the New was probably not so unserviceable as has often been supposed, instances like that in which he solves the apparent difficulty in the two burdens, mentioned in Gal. 6, without alluding to the distinction between the Greek words, make it sufficiently plain that it was not at least his invariable habit to prosecute these studies with the original in his view. Hence we find him missing many explanations which would at once have suggested themselves, had he not so implicitly followed the imperfect versions of the sacred text.

An analysis of the contents of the work might show much that is of interest to the Biblical critic. Principles elsewhere theoretically enunciated are seen here in their free application. In some respects, this effort is one of a more severely scientific character than is often the case with Augustin. It displays much less digression than is customary with him. The tendency to extravagant allegorizing is also less frequently indulged in, although it does come to the surface at times, as in the notable example of the interpretation of the names Leah and Rachel. His inordinate dependence upon the Septuagint, however, is as broadly marked here as anywhere. As he sometimes indicates an inclination to accept the story of Aristeas, in this composition he almost goes the length of claiming a special inspiration for these translators. On the other hand, in many passages we have the privilege of seeing his resolve to be no uncritical expositor. He pauses often to chronicle varieties of reading, sometimes in the Latin text and sometimes in the Greek. Thus he notices the occurrence of Lebbæus for Thaddæus, of Dalmanutha for Magedan, and the like, and mentions how some codices read woman for maid, in the sentence, The maid is not dead, but sleepeth (Matt. 9:24).

His principles of harmonizing are ordinarily characterized by simplicity and good sense. In general, he surmounts the difficulty of what may seem at first sight discordant versions of one incident, by supposing different instances of the same circumstances, or repeated utterances of the same words. He holds emphatically by the position, that wherever it is possible to believe two similar incidents to have taken place, no contradiction can legitimately be alleged, although no Evangelist may relate them both together. All merely verbal variations in the records of the same occurrence he regards as matters of too little consequence to create any serious perplexity to the student whose aim is honestly to reach the sense intended. Such narratives as those of the storm upon the lake, the healing of the centurion’s servant, and the denials of Peter, furnish good examples of his method, and of the fair and fearless spirit of his inquiry. And however unsuccessful we may now judge some of his endeavours, when we consider the comparative poverty of his materials, and the untrodden field which he essayed to search, we shall not deny to this treatise the merit of grandeur in original conception, and exemplary faithfulness in actual execution.

S. D. F. S.

CONTENTS OF THE TREATISE ON “THE HARMONY OF THE GOSPELS.”

BOOK I

Chap. I.—On the authority of the Gospels

Chap. II.—On the order of the evangelists, and the principles on which they wrote

Chap. III.—Of the fact that Matthew, together with Mark, had specially in view the kingly character of Christ, whereas Luke dealt with the priestly

Chap. IV.—Of the fact that John undertook the exposition of Christ’s divinity

Chap. V.—Concerning the two virtues, of which John is conversant with the contemplative, the other evangelists with the active

Chap. VI.—Of the four living creatures in the Apocalypse, etc.

Chap. VII.—Statement of Augustin’s reason for undertaking this work on the harmony of the evangelists, etc.,

Chap. VIII.—Of the question why, if Christ is believed to have been the wisest of men on the testimony of common narrative report, He should not be believed to be God on the testimony of the superior report of preaching

Chap. IX.—Of certain persons who pretend that Christ wrote books on the arts of magic

Chap. X.—Of some who suppose that the books were inscribed with the names of Peter and Paul

Chap. XI.—In opposition to those who imagine that Christ converted the people to Himself by magical arts,

Chap. XII.—Of the fact that the God of the Jews, after the subjugation of that people, was still not accepted by the Romans, because His commandment was that He alone should be worshipped, etc.

Chap. XIII.—Of the question why God suffered the Jews to be reduced to subjection

Chap. XIV.—Of the fact that the God of the Hebrews, although the people were conquered, proved Himself to be unconquered, by overthrowing the idols, and by turning all the Gentiles to His own service.

Chap. XV.—Of the fact that the pagans, when constrained to laud Christ, have launched their insults against His disciples

Chap. XVI.—Of the fact that, on the subject of the destruction of idols, the apostles taught nothing different from what was taught by Christ or by the prophets

Chap. XVII.—In opposition to the Romans, who rejected the God of Israel alone

Chap. XVIII.—Of the fact that the God of the Hebrews is not received by the Romans, because His will is that He alone should be worshipped

Chap. XIX.—The proof that this God is the true God

Chap. XX.—Of the fact that nothing is discovered to have been predicted by the prophets of the pagans in opposition to the God of the Hebrews

Chap. XXI.—An argument for the exclusive worship of this God, who, while He prohibits other deities from being worshipped, is not Himself interdicted by other divinities from being worshipped

Chap. XXII.—Of the opinion entertained by the Gentiles regarding our God

Chap. XXIII.—Of the follies which the Pagans have indulged in regarding Jupiter and Saturn

Chap. XXIV.—Of the fact that those persons who reject the God of Israel, in consequence fail to worship all the gods; and, on the other hand, that those who worship other gods, fail to worship Him

Chap. XXV.—Of the fact that false gods do not forbid others to be worshipped along with themselves, etc.,

Chap. XXVI.—Of the fact that idolatry has been subverted by the name of Christ, and by the faith of Christians according to the prophecies

Chap. XXVII.—An argument urging it upon the remnant of idolaters that they should at length become servants of this true God, who everywhere is subverting idols

Chap. XXVIII.—Of the predicted rejection of idols

Chap. XXIX.—Of the question why the heathen should refuse to worship the God of Israel, even although they deem Him to be only the presiding divinity of the elements

Chap. XXX.—Of the fact that, as the prophecies have been fulfilled, the God of Israel has now been made known everywhere

Chap. XXXI.—The fulfilment of the prophecies concerning Christ

Chap. XXXII.—A statement in vindication of the doctrine of the apostles as opposed to idolatry, in the words of the prophecies

Chap. XXXIII.—A statement in opposition to those who make the complaint that the bliss of human life has been impaired by the entrance of Christian times

Chap. XXXIV.—Epilogue to the preceding

Chap. XXXV.—Of the fact that the mystery of a mediator was made known to those who lived in ancient times by the agency of prophecy, as it is now declared to us in the Gospel

BOOK II

Chap. I.—A statement of the reason why the enumeration of the ancestors of Christ is carried down to Joseph, while Christ was not born of that man’s seed, but of the Virgin Mary

Chap. II.—An explanation of the sense in which Christ is the son of David, although he was not begotten in the way of ordinary generation by Joseph the son of David

Chap. III.—A statement of the reason why Matthew enumerates one succession of ancestors for Christ, and Luke another

Chap. IV.—Of the reason why forty generations are found in Matthew, etc.

Chap. V.—A statement of the manner in which Luke’s procedure is proved to be in harmony with Matthew’s in those matters concerning the conception and the infancy or boyhood of Christ, etc.

Chap. VI.—On the position given to the preaching of John the Baptist in all the four evangelists

Chap. VII.—Of the two Herods

Chap. VIII.—An explanation of the statement made by Matthew, to the effect that Joseph was afraid to go with the infant Christ into Jerusalem on account of Archelaus, and yet was not afraid to go into Galilee, where Herod, that prince’s brother, was tetrarch.

Chap. IX.—An explanation of the circumstance that Matthew states that Joseph’s reason for going into Galilee with the child Christ was his fear of Archelaus, who was reigning in Jerusalem in place of his father, while Luke tells us that the reason for going was, that their city Nazareth was there

Chap. X.—A statement of the reason why Luke tells us that “His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover” along with the boy; while Matthew intimates that their dread of Archelaus made them afraid to go there on their return from Egypt

Chap. XI.—An examination of the question as to how it was possible for them to go up, according to Luke’s statement, with Him to the temple, when the days of the purification of the mother of Christ were accomplished, in order to perform the usual rites, if it is correctly recorded by Matthew, that Herod had already learned that the child was born in whose stead he slew so many children

Chap. XII.—Concerning the words ascribed to John by all the four evangelists respectively

Chap. XIII.—Of the baptism of Jesus

Chap. XIV.—Of the words of the voice that came from heaven upon Him when He had been baptized

Chap. XV.—An explanation of the circumstance that, according to the Evangelist John, John the Baptist says, “I knew Him not;” while, according to the others, it is found that he did already know Him

Chap. XVI.—Of the temptation of Jesus

Chap. XVII.—Of the calling of the apostles as they were fishing

Chap. XVIII.—Of the date of His departure into Galilee

Chap. XIX.—Of the lengthened sermon which, according to Matthew, He delivered on the mount

Chap. XX.—An explanation of the circumstance that Matthew tells us how the centurion came to Jesus on behalf of his servant, while Luke’s statement is that the centurion despatched friends to Him

Chap. XXI—Of the order in which the narrative concerning Peter’s mother-in-law is introduced

Chap. XXII.—Of the order of the incidents which are recorded after this section, etc.

Chap. XXIII.—Of the person who said to the Lord, “I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest,” etc.

Chap. XXIV.—Of the Lord’s crossing the lake on that occasion on which He slept in the vessel, etc.

Chap. XXV.—Of the man sick of the palsy to whom the Lord said, “Thy sins are forgiven thee,” and “Take up thy bed,” etc.

Chap. XXVI.—Of the calling of Matthew, etc.

Chap. XXVII.—Of the feast at which it was objected at once that Christ ate with sinners, and that His disciples did not fast, etc.

Chap. XXVIII.—Of the raising of the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue, and of the woman who touched the hem of His garment, etc.

Chap. XXIX.—Of the two blind men and the dumb demoniac whose stories are related only by Matthew

Chap. XXX.—Of the section where it is recorded, that being moved with compassion for the multitudes, He sent His disciples, giving them power to work cures, and charged them with many instructions, directing them how to live, etc.

Chap. XXXI.—Of the account given by Matthew and Luke of the occasion when John the Baptist was in prison, and despatched his disciples on a mission to the Lord

Chap. XXXII.—Of the occasion on which He upbraided the cities because they repented not, etc.

Chap. XXXIII.—Of the occasion on which He calls them to take. His yoke and burden upon them, etc.

Chap. XXXIV.—Of the passage in which it is said the disciples plucked the ears of corn and ate them, etc.

Chap. XXXV.—Of the man with the withered hand, who was restored on the Sabbath-day, etc.

Chap. XXXVI.—Of another question which demands our consideration, namely, whether, in passing from the account of the man whose withered hand was restored, these three evangelists proceed to their next subjects in such a way as to create no contradictions in regard to the order of their narrations

Chap. XXXVII.—Of the consistency of the accounts given by Matthew and Luke regarding the dumb and blind man who was possessed with a devil

Chap. XXXVIII.—Of the occasion on which it was said that He cast out devils in Beelzebub, etc.

Chap. XXXIX.—Of the question as to the manner of Matthew’s agreement with Luke in the accounts given of the Lord’s reply to certain persons who sought a sign, when He spoke of Jonas the prophet, etc.,

Chap. XL.—Of the question as to whether there is any discrepancy between Matthew on the one hand, and Mark and Luke on the other, in regard to the order in which the notice is given of the occasion on which His mother and His brethren were announced to Him

Chap. XLI.—Of the words which were spoken out of the ship on the subject of the sower, whose seed, as he sowed it, fell partly on the wayside, etc.

Chap. XLII.—Of His coming into His own country, etc.

Chap. XLIII.—Of the mutual consistency of the accounts which are given by Matthew, Mark, and Luke of what was said by Herod on hearing about the wonderful works of the Lord, etc.

Chap. XLIV.—Of the order in which the accounts of John’s imprisonment and death are given by these three evangelists

Chap. XLV.—Of the order and method in which all four evangelists come to the miracle of the five loaves,

Chap. XLVI.—Of the question as to how the four evangelists harmonize with each other on this same subject on the miracle of the five loaves

Chap. XLVII.—Of His walking upon the water, etc.

Chap. XLVIII.—Of the absence of any discrepancy between Matthew and Mark on the one hand, and John on the other, in the accounts of what took place after the other side of the lake was reached

Chap. XLIX.—Of the women of Canaan who said, “Yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ tables,” and of the harmony between the account given by Matthew and that by Luke

Chap. L.—Of the occasion on which He fed the multitudes with the seven loaves, etc.

Chap. LI.—Of Matthew’s declaration that, on leaving these parts, He came into the coasts of Magedan, etc.,

Chap. LII.—Of Matthew’s agreement with Mark in the statement about the leaven of the Pharisees, etc.

Chap. LIII.—Of the occasion on which He asked the disciples whom men said that He was, etc.

Chap. LIV.—Of the occasion on which He announced His coming passion to the disciples, etc.

Chap. LV.—Of the harmony between the three evangelists in the notices which they subjoin of the manner in which the Lord charged the man to follow Him who wished to come after Him

Chap. LVI.—Of the manifestation which the Lord made of Himself to His disciples on the mountain, etc.

Chap. LVII.—Of the harmony between Matthew and Mark in the accounts given of the occasion on which He spoke to the disciples concerning the coming of Elias

Chap. LVIII.—Of the man who brought before Him his son, whom the disciples were unable to heal, etc.

Chap. LIX.—Of the occasion on which the disciples were exceeding sorry when He spoke of His passion, etc.,

Chap. LX.—Of His paying the tribute money out of the mouth of the fish, etc.

Chap. LXI.—Of the little child whom He set before them for their imitation, etc.

Chap. LXII.—Of the harmony subsisting between Matthew and Mark in the accounts which they offer of the time when He was asked whether it was lawful to put away one’s wife, etc.

Chap. LXIII.—Of the little children on whom He laid His hands, etc.

Chap. LXIV.—Of the occasions on which He foretold His passion in private to His disciples, etc.

Chap. LXV.—Of the absence of any antagonism between Matthew and Mark, or between Matthew and Luke, in the account offered of the giving of sight to the blind men of Jericho

Chap. LXVI.—Of the colt of the ass which is mentioned by Matthew, etc.

Chap. LXVII.—Of the expulsion of the sellers and buyers from the temple, etc.

Chap. LXVIII.—Of the withering of the fig-tree, etc.

Chap. LXIX.—Of the harmony between the first three evangelists in their accounts of the occasion on which the Jews asked the Lord by what authority He did these things

Chap. LXX.—Of the two sons who were commanded by their father to go into his vineyard, etc.

Chap. LXXI.—Of the marriage of the king’s son, to which the multitudes were invited, etc.

Chap. LXXII.—Of the harmony characterizing the narratives given by these three evangelists regarding the duty of rendering to Cæsar the coin bearing his image, etc.

Chap. LXXIII.—Of the person to whom the two precepts concerning the love of God and the love of our neighbour were commended, etc.

Chap. LXXIV.—Of the passage in which the Jews are asked to say whose son they suppose Christ to be, etc.,

Chap. LXXV.—Of the Pharisees who sit in the seat of Moses, and enjoin things which they do not, etc.

Chap. LXXVI.—Of the harmony in respect of the order of narration between Matthew and the other two evangelists in the accounts given on the occasion of which He foretold the destruction of the temple.

Chap. LXXVII.—Of the harmony subsisting between the three evangelists in their narratives of the discourse which He delivered on the Mount of Olives, etc.

Chap. LXXVIII.—Of the question whether there is any contradiction between Matthew and Mark on the one hand, and John on the other, in so far as the former state that after two days was to be the feast of the passover, and afterwards tell us that He was in Bethany, while the latter gives a parallel narrative of what took place at Bethany, but mentions that it was six days before the passover

Chap. LXXIX.—Of the concord between Matthew, Mark, and John in notices of the supper at Bethany, etc.,

Chap. LXXX.—Of the harmony characterizing the accounts which are given by Matthew, Mark, and Luke, of the occasion on which He sent His disciples to make preparations for His eating the passover

BOOK III

Chap. I.—Of the method in which the four evangelists are shown to be at one in the accounts given of the Lord’s Supper and the indication of His betrayer

Chap. II.—Of the proof of their freedom from discrepancies in notices given of predictions of Peter’s denials,

Chap. III.—Of the manner in which it can be shown that no discrepancies exist between them in the accounts which they give of the words which were spoken by the Lord, on to the time of His leaving the house in which they had supped

Chap. IV.—Of what took place in the piece of ground or garden to which they came on leaving the house after the supper, etc.

Chap. V.—Of the accounts which are given by all the four evangelists in regard to what was done and said on the occasion of His apprehension, etc.

Chap. VI.—Of the harmony characterizing the accounts which these evangelists give of what happened when the Lord was led away to the house of the high priest, etc.

Chap. VII.—Of the thorough harmony of the evangelists in the different accounts of what took place in the early morning, previous to the delivery of Jesus to Pilate, etc.

Chap. VIII.—Of the absence of any discrepancies in the accounts which the evangelists give of what took place in Pilate’s presence

Chap. IX.—Of the mockery which He sustained at the hands of Pilate’s cohort, etc.

Chap. X.—Of the method in which we can reconcile the statement which is made by Matthew, Mark, and Luke, to the effect that another person was pressed into the service of carrying the cross of Jesus, with that given by John, who says that Jesus bore it Himself

Chap. XI.—Of the consistency of Matthew’s version with that of Mark in the account of the potion offered Him to drink, which is introduced before the narrative of His crucifixion

Chap. XII.—Of the concord preserved among all the four evangelists on the parting of His raiment

Chap. XIII.—Of the hour of the Lord’s passion, etc.

Chap. XIV.—Of the harmony preserved among all the evangelists on the subject of the two robbers, etc.

Chap. XV.—Of the consistency of the accounts given by Matthew, Mark, and Luke on the subject of the parties who insulted the Lord

Chap. XVI.—Of the derision ascribed to the robbers, etc.

Chap. XVII.—Of the harmony of the four evangelists in their notices of the draught of vinegar

Chap. XVIII.—Of the Lord’s successive utterances when He was about to die, etc.

Chap. XIX.—Of the rending of the veil of the temple, etc.

Chap. XX.—Of the question as to the consistency of the several notices given by Matthew, Mark, and Luke, on the subject of the astonishment felt by the centurion and those who were with him

Chap. XXI.—Of the women who were standing there, etc.

Chap. XXII.—Of the question whether the evangelists are all at one on the narrative regarding Joseph, etc.,

Chap. XXIII.—Of the question whether the first three evangelists are quite in harmony with John in the accounts given of His burial

Chap. XXIV.—Of the absence of all discrepancies in the narratives constructed by the four evangelists on the subject of the events which took place about the time of the Lord’s resurrection

Chap. XXV.—Of Christ’s subsequent manifestations of Himself to the disciples, etc.

BOOK IV

Chap. I.—Of the question regarding the proof that Mark’s Gospel is in harmony with the rest in what is narrated from its beginning down to the section where it is said, “And they go into Capharnaum, and straightway on the Sabbath-day He taught them;” which incident is reported also by Luke

Chap. II.—Of the man out of whom the unclean spirit that was tormenting him was cast, etc.

Chap. III.—Of the question whether Mark’s reports of the repeated occasions on which the name of Peter was brought into prominence are not at variance with the statement which John has given us, etc.

Chap. IV.—Of the words, “The more He charged them to tell no one, so much the more a great deal they published it,” etc.

Chap. V.—Of the statement which John made concerning the man who cast out devils, etc.

Chap. VI.—Of the circumstance that Mark has recorded more than Luke as spoken by the Lord in connection with the case of this man who was casting out devils in the name of Christ, etc.

Chap. VII.—Of the fact that from this point on to the Lord’s Supper, no question calling for special examination is raised by Mark’s Gospel

Chap. VIII.—Of Luke’s Gospel, and specially of the harmony between its commencement and the beginning of the book of the Acts of the Apostles

Chap. IX.—Of the question how it can be shown that the narrative of the haul of fishes which Luke has given us is not to be identified with the record of an apparently similar incident which John has reported subsequently to the Lord’s resurrection, etc.

Chap. X.—Of the Evangelist John, and the distinction between him and the other three

THE HARMONY OF THE GOSPELS

BOOK I

the treatise opens with a short statement on the subject of the authority of the evangelists, their number, their order, and the different plans of their narratives. augustin then prepares for the discussion of the questions relating to their harmony, by joining issue in this book with those who raise a difficulty in the circumstance that christ has left no writing of his own, or who falsely allege that certain books were composed by him on the arts of magic. he also meets the objections of those who, in opposition to the evangelical teaching, assert that the disciples of christ at once ascribed more to their master than he really was, when they affirmed that he was god, and inculcated what they had not been instructed in by him, when they interdicted the worship of the gods. against these antagonists he vindicates the teaching of the apostles, by appealing to the utterances of the prophets, and by showing that the god of israel was to be the sole object of worship, who also, although he was the only deity to whom acceptance was denied in former times by the romans, and that for the very reason that he prohibited them from worshipping other gods along with himself, has now in the end made the empire of rome subject to his name, and among all nations has broken their idols in pieces through the preaching of the gospel, as he had promised by his prophets that the event should be.

chap. i.—on the authority of the gospels

1. In the entire number of those divine records which are contained in the sacred writings, the gospel deservedly stands pre-eminent. For what the law and the prophets aforetime announced as destined to come to pass, is exhibited in the gospel in its realization and fulfilment. The first preachers of this gospel were the apostles, who beheld our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in person when He was yet present in the flesh. And not only did these2 men keep in remembrance the words heard from His lips, and the deeds wrought by Him beneath their eyes; but they were also careful, when the duty of preaching the gospel was laid upon them, to make mankind acquainted with those divine and memorable occurrences which took place at a period antecedent to the formation of their own connection with Him in the way of discipleship, which belonged also to the time of His nativity, His infancy, or His youth, and with regard to which they were able to institute exact inquiry and to obtain information, either at His own hand or at the hands of His parents or other parties, on the ground of the most reliable intimations and the most trustworthy testimonies. Certain of them also—namely, Matthew and John—gave to the world, in their respective books, a written account of all those matters which it seemed needful to commit to writing concerning Him.

2. And to preclude the supposition that, in what concerns the apprehension and proclamation of the gospel, it is a matter of any consequence whether the enunciation comes by men who were actual followers of this same Lord here when He manifested Himself in the flesh and had the company of His disciples attendant on Him, or by persons who with due credit received facts with which they became acquainted in a trustworthy manner through the instrumentality of these former, divine providence, through the agency of the Holy Spirit, has taken care that certain of those also who were nothing more than followers of the first apostles should have authority given them not only to preach the gospel, but also to compose an account of it in writing. I refer to Mark and Luke. All those other individuals, however, who have attempted or dared to offer a written record of the acts of the Lord or of the apostles, failed to commend themselves in their own times as men of the character which would induce the Church to yield them its confidence, and to admit their compositions to the canonical authority of the Holy Books. And this was the case not merely because they were persons who could make no rightful claim to have credit given them in their narrations, but also because in a deceitful manner they introduced into their writings certain matters which are condemned at once by the catholic and apostolic rule of faith, and by sound doctrine.

chap. ii.—on the order of the evangelists, and the principles on which they wrote

3. Now, those four evangelists whose names have gained the most remarkable circulation over the whole world, and whose number has been fixed as four,—it may be for the simple reason that there are four divisions of that world through the universal length of which they, by their number as by a kind of mystical sign, indicated the advancing extension of the Church of Christ,—are believed to have written in the order which follows: first Matthew, then Mark, thirdly Luke, lastly John. Hence, too, [it would appear that] these had one order determined among them with regard to the matters of their personal knowledge and their preaching [of the gospel], but a different order in reference to the task of giving the written narrative. As far, indeed, as concerns the acquisition of their own knowledge and the charge of preaching, those unquestionably came first in order who were actually followers of the Lord when He was present in the flesh, and who heard Him speak and saw Him act; and [with a commission received] from His lips they were despatched to preach the gospel. But as respects the task of composing that record of the gospel which is to be accepted as ordained by divine authority, there were (only) two, belonging to the number of those whom the Lord chose before the passover, that obtained places,—namely, the first place and the last. For the first place in order was held by Matthew, and the last by John. And thus the remaining two, who did not belong to the number referred to, but who at the same time had become followers of the Christ who spoke in these others, were supported on either side by the same, like sons who were to be embraced, and who in this way were set in the midst between these twain.

4. Of these four, it is true, only Matthew is reckoned to have written in the Hebrew language; the others in Greek. And however they may appear to have kept each of them a certain order of narration proper to himself, this certainly is not to be taken as if each individual writer chose to write in ignorance of what his predecessor had done, or left out as matters about which there was no information things which another nevertheless is discovered to have recorded. But the fact is, that just as they received each of them the gift of inspiration, they abstained from adding to their several labours any superfluous conjoint compositions. For Matthew is understood to have taken it in hand to construct the record of the incarnation of the Lord according to the royal lineage, and to give an account of most part of His deeds and words as they stood in relation to this present life of men. Mark follows him closely, and looks like his attendant and epitomizer. For in his narrative he gives nothing in concert with John apart from the others: by himself separately, he has little to record; in conjunction with Luke, as distinguished from the rest, he has still less; but in concord with Matthew, he has a very large number of passages. Much, too, he narrates in words almost numerically and identically the same as those used by Matthew, where the agreement is either with that evangelist alone, or with him in connection with the rest. On the other hand, Luke appears to have occupied himself rather with the priestly lineage and character4 of the Lord. For although in his own way he carries the descent back to David, what he has followed is not the royal pedigree, but the line of those who were not kings. That genealogy, too, he has brought to a point in Nathan the son of David, which person likewise was no king. It is not thus, however, with Matthew. For in tracing the lineage along through Solomon the king,6 he has pursued with strict regularity the succession of the other kings; and in enumerating these, he has also conserved that mystical number of which we shall speak hereafter.

chap. iii.—of the face that matthew, together with mark, had specially in view the kingly character of christ, whereas luke dealt with the priestly

5. For the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the one true King and the one true Priest, the former to rule us, and the latter to make expiation for us, has shown us how His own figure bore these two parts together, which were only separately commended [to notice] among the Fathers. This becomes apparent if (for example) we look to that inscription which was affixed to His cross—”King of the Jews:” in connection also with which, and by a secret instinct, Pilate replied, “What I have written, I have written.”2 For it had been said aforetime in the Psalms, “Destroy not the writing of the title.” The same becomes evident, so far as the part of priest is concerned, if we have regard to what He has taught us concerning offering and receiving. For thus it is that He sent us beforehand a prophecy4 respecting Himself, which runs thus, “Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedek.” And in many other testimonies of the divine Scriptures, Christ appears both as King and as Priest. Hence, also, even David himself, whose son He is, not without good reason, more frequently declared to be than he is said to be Abraham’s son, and whom Matthew and Luke have both alike held by,—the one viewing him as the person from whom, through Solomon, His lineage can be traced down, and the other taking him for the person to whom, through Nathan, His genealogy can be carried up,—did represent the part of a priest, although he was patently a king, when he ate the shew-bread. For it was not lawful for any one to eat that, save the priests only.6 To this it must be added that Luke is the only one who mentions how Mary was discovered by the angel, and how she was related to Elisabeth, who was the wife of Zacharias the priest. And of this Zacharias the same evangelist has recorded the fact, that the woman whom he had for wife was one of the daughters of Aaron, which is to say she belonged to the tribe of the priests.8

6. Whereas, then, Matthew had in view the kingly character, and Luke the priestly, they have at the same time both set forth pre-eminently the humanity of Christ: for it was according to His humanity that Christ was made both King and Priest. To Him, too, God gave the throne of His father David, in order that of His kingdom there should be none end. And this was done with the purpose that there might be a mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,10 to make intercession for us. Luke, on the other hand, had no one connected with him to act as his summarist in the way that Mark was attached to Matthew. And it may be that this is not without a certain solemn significance. For it is the right of kings not to miss the obedient following of attendants; and hence the evangelist, who had taken it in hand to give an account of the kingly character of Christ, had a person attached to him as his associate who was in some fashion to follow in his steps. But inasmuch as it was the priest’s wont to enter all alone into the holy of holies, in accordance with that principle, Luke, whose object contemplated the priestly office of Christ, did not have any one to come after him as a confederate, who was meant in some way to serve as an epitomizer of his narrative.12

chap. iv.—of the fact that john undertook the exposition of christ’s divinity

7. These three evangelists, however, were for the most part engaged with those things which Christ did through the vehicle of the flesh of man, and after the temporal fashion. But John, on the other hand, had in view that true divinity of the Lord in which He is the Father’s equal, and directed his efforts above all to the setting forth of the divine nature in his Gospel in such a way as he believed to be adequate to men’s needs and notions.14 Therefore he is borne to loftier heights, in which he leaves the other three far behind him; so that, while in them you see men who have their conversation in a certain manner with the man Christ on earth, in him you perceive one who has passed beyond the cloud in which the whole earth is wrapped, and who has reached the liquid heaven from which, with clearest and steadiest mental eye, he is able to look upon God the Word, who was in the beginning with God, and by whom all things were made. And there, too, he can recognise Him who was made flesh in order that He might dwell amongst us;16 [that Word of whom we say,] that He assumed the flesh, not that He was changed into the flesh. For had not this assumption of the flesh been effected in such a manner as at the same time to conserve the unchangeable Divinity, Such a word as this could never have been spoken,—namely, “I and the Father are one.” For surely the Father and the flesh are not one. And the same John is also the only one who has recorded that witness which the Lord gave concerning Himself, when He said: “He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father also;” and, “I am in the Father, and the Father is in me;”2
“that they may be one, even as we are one;” and, “Whatsoever the Father doeth, these same things doeth the Son likewise.”4 And whatever other statements there may be to the same effect, calculated to betoken, to those who are possessed of right understanding, that divinity of Christ in which He is the Father’s equal, of all these we might almost say that we are indebted for their introduction into the Gospel narrative to John alone. For he is like one who has drunk in the secret of His divinity more richly and somehow more familiarly than others, as if he drew it from the very bosom of his Lord on which it was his wont to recline when He sat at meat.

chap. v.—concerning the two virtues, of which john is conversant with the contemplative, the other evangelists with the active

8. Moreover, there are two several virtues (or talents) which have been proposed to the mind of man. Of these, the one is the active, and the other the contemplative: the one being that whereby the way is taken, and the other that whereby the goal is reached; the one that by which men labour in order that the heart may be purified to see God, and the other that by which men are disengaged7 and God is seen. Thus the former of these two virtues is occupied with the precepts for the right exercise of the temporal life, whereas the latter deals with the doctrine of that life which is everlasting. In this way, also, the one operates, the other rests; for the former finds its sphere in the purging of sins, the latter moves in the light of the purged. And thus, again, in this mortal life the one is engaged with the work of a good conversation; while the other subsists rather on faith, and is seen only in the person of the very few, and through the glass darkly, and only in part in a kind of vision of the unchangeable truth.9 Now these two virtues are understood to be presented emblematically in the instance of the two wives of Jacob. Of these I have discoursed already up to the measure of my ability, and as fully as seemed to be appropriate to my task, (in what I have written) in opposition to Faustus the Manichæan. For Lia, indeed, by interpretation means “labouring,”11 whereas Rachel signifies “the first principle seen.” And by this it is given us to understand, if one will only attend carefully to the matter, that those three evangelists who, with pre-eminent fulness, have handled the account of the Lord’s temporal doings and those of His sayings which were meant to bear chiefly upon the moulding of the manners of the present life, were conversant with that active virtue; and that John, on the other hand, who narrates fewer by far of the Lord’s doings, but records with greater carefulness and with larger wealth of detail the words which He spoke, and most especially those discourses which were intended to introduce us to the knowledge of the unity of the Trinity and the blessedness of the life eternal, formed his plan and framed his statement with a view to commend the contemplative virtue to our regard.

chap. vi.—of the four living creatures in the apocalypse, which have been taken by some in one application, and by others in another, as apt figures of the four evangelists

9. For these reasons, it also appears to me, that of the various parties who have interpreted the living creatures in the Apocalypse as significant of the four evangelists, those who have taken the lion to point to Matthew, the man to Mark, the calf to Luke, and the eagle to John, have made a more reasonable application of the figures than those who have assigned the man to Matthew, the eagle to Mark, and the lion to John. For, in forming their particular idea of the matter, these latter have chosen to keep in view simply the beginnings of the books, and not the full design of the several evangelists in its completeness, which was the matter that should, above all, have been thoroughly examined. For surely it is with much greater propriety that the one who has brought under our notice most largely the kingly character of Christ, should be taken to be represented by the lion. Thus is it also that we find the lion mentioned in conjunction with the royal tribe itself, in that passage of the Apocalypse where it is said, “The lion of the tribe of Judah hath prevailed.” For in Matthew’s narrative the magi are recorded to have come from the east to inquire after the King, and to worship Him whose birth was notified to them by the star. Thus, too, Herod, who himself also was a king, is [said there to be] afraid of the royal child, and to put so many little children to death in order to make sure that the one might be slain.2 Again, that Luke is intended under the figure of the calf, in reference to the pre-eminent sacrifice made by the priest, has been doubted by neither of the two [sets of interpreters]. For in that Gospel the narrator’s account commences with Zacharias the priest. In it mention is also made of the relationship between Mary and Elisabeth. In it, too, it is recorded that the ceremonies proper to the earliest priestly service were attended to in the case of the infant Christ;4 and a careful examination brings a variety of other matters under our notice in this Gospel, by which it is made apparent that Luke’s object was to deal with the part of the priest. In this way it follows further, that Mark, who has set himself neither to give an account of the kingly lineage, nor to expound anything distinctive of the priesthood, whether on the subject of the relationship or on that of the consecration, and who at the same time comes before us as one who handles the things which the man Christ did, appears to be indicated simply under the figure of the man among those four living creatures. But again, those three living creatures, whether lion, man, or calf, have their course upon this earth; and in like manner, those three evangelists occupy themselves chiefly with the things which Christ did in the flesh, and with the precepts which He delivered to men, who also bear the burden of the flesh, for their instruction in the rightful exercise of this mortal life. Whereas John, on the other hand, soars like an eagle above the clouds of human infirmity, and gazes upon the light of the unchangeable truth with those keenest and steadiest eyes of the heart.

chap. vii.—a statement of augustin’s reason for undertaking this work on the harmony of the evangelists, and an example of the method in which he meets those who allege that christ wrote nothing himself, and that his disciples made an unwarranted affirmation in proclaiming him to be god

10. Those sacred chariots of the Lord, however, in which He is borne throughout the earth and brings the peoples under His easy yoke and His light burden, are assailed with calumnious charges by certain persons who, in impious vanity or in ignorant temerity, think to rob of their credit as veracious historians those teachers by whose instrumentality the Christian religion has been disseminated all the world over, and through whose efforts it has yielded fruits so plentiful that unbelievers now scarcely dare so much as to mutter their slanders in private among themselves, kept in check by the faith of the Gentiles and by the devotion of all the peoples. Nevertheless, inasmuch as they still strive by their calumnious disputations to keep some from making themselves acquainted with the faith, and thus prevent them from becoming believers, while they also endeavour to the utmost of their power to excite agitations among others who have already attained to belief, and thereby give them trouble; and further, as there are some brethren who, without detriment to their own faith, have a desire to ascertain what answer can be given to such questions, either for the advantage of their own knowledge or for the purpose of refuting the vain utterances of their enemies, with the inspiration and help of the Lord our God (and would that it might prove profitable for the salvation of such men), we have undertaken in this work to demonstrate the errors or the rashness of those who deem themselves able to prefer charges, the subtilty of which is at least sufficiently observable, against those four different books of the gospel which have been written by these four several evangelists. And in order to carry out this design to a successful conclusion, we must prove that the writers in question do not stand in any antagonism to each other. For those adversaries are in the habit of adducing this as the palmary7 allegation in all their vain objections, namely, that the evangelists are not in harmony with each other.

11. But we must first discuss a matter which is apt to present a difficulty to the minds of some. I refer to the question why the Lord has written nothing Himself, and why He has thus left us to the necessity of accepting the testimony of other persons who have prepared records of His history. For this is what those parties—the a pagans more than any—allege when they lack boldness enough to impeach or blaspheme the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and when they allow Him—only as a man, however—to have been possessed of the most distinguished wisdom. In making that admission, they at the same time assert that the disciples claimed more for their Master than He really was; so much more indeed that they even called Him the Son of God, and the Word of God, by whom all things were made, and affirmed that He and God are one. And in the same way they dispose of all other kindred passages in the epistles of the apostles, in the light of which we have been taught that He is to be worshipped as one God with the Father. For they are of opinion that He is certainly to be honoured as the wisest of men; but they deny that He is to be worshipped as God.

12. Wherefore, when they put the question why He has not written in His own person, it would seem as if they were prepared to believe regarding Him whatever He might have written concerning Himself, but not what others may have given the world to know with respect to His life, according to the measure of their own judgment. Well, I ask them in turn why, in the case of certain of the noblest of their own philosophers, they have accepted the statements which their disciples left in the records they have composed, while these sages themselves have given us no written accounts of their own lives? For Pythagoras, than whom Greece in those days did not possess any more illustrious personage in the sphere of that contemplative virtue, is believed to have written absolutely nothing, whether on the subject of his own personal history or on any other theme whatsoever. And as to Socrates, to whom, on the other hand, they have adjudged a position of supremacy above all others in that active virtue by which the moral life is trained, so that they do not hesitate also to aver that he was even pronounced to be the wisest of men by the testimony of their deity Apollo,—it is indeed true that he handled the fables of Æsop in some few short verses, and thus made use of words and numbers of his own in the task of rendering the themes of another. But this was all. And so far was he from having the desire to write anything himself, that he declared that he had done even so much only because he was constrained by the imperial will of his demon, as Plato, the noblest of all his disciples, tells us. That was a work, also, in which he sought to set forth in fair form not so much his own thoughts, as rather the ideas of another. What reasonable ground, therefore, have they for believing, with regard to those sages, all that their disciples have committed to record in respect of their history, while at the same time they refuse to credit in the case of Christ what His disciples have written on the subject of His life? And all the more may we thus argue, when we see how they admit that all other men have been excelled by Him in the matter of wisdom, although they decline to acknowledge Him to be God. Is it, indeed, the case that those persons whom they do not hesitate to allow to have been by far His inferiors, have had the faculty of making disciples who can be trusted in all that concerns the narrative of their careers, and that He failed in that capacity? But if that is a most absurd statement to venture upon, then in all that belongs to the history of that Person to whom they grant the honour of wisdom, they ought to believe not merely what suits their own notions, but what they read in the narratives of those who learned from this sage Himself those various facts which they have left on record on the subject of His life.

chap. viii.—of the question why, if christ is believed to have been the wisest of men on the testimony of common narrative report, he should not be believed to be god on the testimony of the superior report of preaching

13. Besides this, they ought to tell us by what means they have succeeded in acquiring their knowledge of this fact that He was the wisest of men, or how it has had the opportunity of reaching their ears. If they have been made acquainted with it simply by current report, then is it the case that common report forms a more trustworthy informant on the subject of His history than those disciples of His who, as they have gone and preached of Him, have disseminated the same report like a penetrating savour throughout the whole world?4 In fine, they ought to prefer the one kind of report to the other, and believe that account of His life which is the superior of the two. For this report, indeed, which is spread abroad with a wonderful clearness from that Church catholic6 at whose extension through the whole world those persons are so astonished, prevails in an incomparable fashion over the unsubstantial rumours with which men like them occupy themselves. This report, furthermore, which carries with it such weight and such currency, that in dread of it they can only mutter their anxious and feeble snatches of paltry objections within their own breasts, as if they were more afraid now of being heard than wishful to receive credit, proclaims Christ to be the only-begotten Son of God, and Himself God, by whom all things were made. If, therefore, they choose report as their witness, why does not their choice fix on this special report, which is so pre-eminently lustrous in its remarkable definiteness? And if they desire the evidence of writings, why do they not take those evangelical writings which excel all others in their commanding authority? On our side, indeed, we accept those statements about their deities which are offered at once in their most ancient writings and by most current report. But if these deities are to be considered proper objects for reverence, why then do they make them the subject of laughter in the theatres? And if, on the other hand, they are proper objects for laughter, the occasion for such laughter must be all the greater when they are made the objects of worship in the theatres. It remains for us to look upon those persons as themselves minded to be witnesses concerning Christ, who, by speaking what they know not, divest themselves of the merit of knowing what they speak about. Or if, again, they assert that they are possessed of any books which they can maintain to have been written by Him, they ought to produce them for our inspection. For assuredly those books (if there are such) must be most profitable and most wholesome, seeing they are the productions of one whom they acknowledge to have been the wisest of men. If, however, they are afraid to produce them, it must be because they are of evil tendency; but if they are evil, then the wisest of men cannot have written them. They acknowledge Christ, however, to be the wisest of men, and consequently Christ cannot have written any such thing.

chap. ix.—of certain persons who pretend that christ wrote books on the arts of magic

14. But, indeed, these persons rise to such a pitch of folly as to allege that the books which they consider to have been written by Him contain the arts by which they think He wrought those miracles, the fame of which has become prevalent in all quarters. And this fancy of theirs betrays what they really love, and what their aims really are. For thus, indeed, they show us how they entertain this opinion that Christ was the wisest of men only for the reason that He possessed the knowledge of I know not what illicit arts, which are justly condemned, not merely by Christian discipline, but even by the administration of earthly government itself. And, in good sooth, if there are people who affirm that they have read books of this nature composed by Christ, then why do they not perform with their own hand some such works as those which so greatly excite their wonder when wrought by Him, by taking advantage of the information which they have derived from these books?

chap. x.—of some who are man enough to suppose that the books were inscribed with the names of peter and paul

15. Nay more, as by divine judgment, some of those who either believe, or wish to have it believed, that Christ wrote matter of that description, have even wandered so far into error as to allege that these same books bore on their front, in the form of epistolary superscription, a designation addressed to Peter and Paul. And it is quite possible that either the enemies of the name of Christ, or certain parties who thought that they might impart to this kind of execrable arts the weight of authority drawn from so glorious a name, may have written things of that nature under the name of Christ and the apostles. But in such most deceitful audacity they have been so utterly blinded as simply to have made themselves fitting objects for laughter, even with young people who as yet know Christian literature only in boyish fashion, and rank merely in the grade of readers.

16. For when they made up their minds to represent Christ to have written in such strain as that to His disciples, they bethought themselves of those of His followers who might best be taken for the persons to whom Christ might most readily be believed to have written, as the individuals who had kept by Him on the most familiar terms of friendship. And so Peter and Paul occurred to them, I believe, just because in many places they chanced to see these two apostles represented in pictures as both in company with Him. For Rome, in a specially honourable and solemn manner,3 commends the merits of Peter and of Paul, for this reason among others, namely, that they suffered [martyrdom] on the same day. Thus to fall most completely into error was the due desert of men who sought for Christ and His apostles not in the holy writings, but on painted walls. Neither is it to be wondered at, that these fiction-limners were misled by the painters. For throughout the whole period during which Christ lived in our mortal flesh in fellowship with His disciples, Paul had never become His disciple. Only after His passion, after His resurrection, after His ascension, after the mission of the Holy Spirit from heaven, after many Jews had been converted and had shown marvellous faith, after the stoning of Stephen the deacon and martyr, and when Paul still bore the name Saul, and was grievously persecuting those who had become believers in Christ, did Christ call that man [by a voice] from heaven, and made him His disciple and apostle.2 How, then, is it possible that Christ could have written those books which they wish to have it believed that He did write before His death, and which were addressed to Peter and Paul, as those among His disciples who had been most intimate with Him, seeing that up to that date Paul had not yet become a disciple of His at all?

chap. xi.—in opposition to those who foolishly imagine that christ converted the people to himself by magical arts

17. Moreover, let those who madly fancy that it was by the use of magical arts that He was able to do the great things which He did, and that it was by the practice of such rites that He made His name a sacred thing to the peoples who were to be converted to Him, give their attention to this question,—namely, whether by the exercise of magical arts, and before He was born on this earth, He could also have filled with the Holy Spirit those mighty prophets who aforetime declared those very things concerning Him as things destined to come to pass, which we can now read in their accomplishment in the gospel, and which we can see in their present realization in the world. For surely, even if it was by magical arts that He secured worship for Himself, and that, too, after His death, it is not the case that He was a magician before He was born. Nay, for the office of prophesying on the subject of His coming, one nation had been most specially deputed; and the entire administration of that commonwealth was ordained to be a prophecy of this King who was to come, and who was to found a heavenly state drawn out of all nations.

chap. xii.—of the fact that the god of the jews, after the subjugation of that people, was still not accepted by the romans, because his commandment was that he alone should be worshipped, and images destroyed

18. Furthermore, that Hebrew nation, which, as I have said, was commissioned to prophesy of Christ, had no other God but one God, the true God, who made heaven and earth, and all that therein is. Under His displeasure they were ofttimes given into the power of their enemies. And now, indeed, on account of their most heinous sin in putting Christ to death, they have been thoroughly rooted out of Jerusalem itself, which was the capital of their kingdom, and have been made subject to the Roman empire. Now the Romans were in the habit of propitiating the deities of those nations whom they conquered by worshipping these themselves, and they were accustomed to undertake the charge of their sacred rites. But they declined to act on that principle with regard to the God of the Hebrew nation, either when they made their attack or when they reduced the people. I believe that they perceived that, if they admitted the worship of this Deity, whose commandment was that He only should be worshipped, and that images should be destroyed, they would have to put away from them all those objects to which formerly they had undertaken to do religious service, and by the worship of which they believed their empire had grown. But in this the falseness of their demons mightily deceived them. For surely they ought to have apprehended the fact that it is only by the hidden will of the true God, in whose hand resides the supreme power in all things, that the kingdom was given them and has been made to increase, and that their position was not due to the favour of those deities who, if they could have wielded any influence whatever in that matter, would rather have protected their own people from being over-mastered by the Romans, or would have brought the Romans themselves into complete subjection to them.

19. Certainly they cannot possibly affirm that the kind of piety and manners exemplified by them became objects of love and choice on the part of the gods of the nations which they conquered. They will never make such an assertion, if they only recall their own early beginnings, the asylum for abandoned criminals and the fratricide of Romulus. For when Remus and Romulus established their asylum, with the intention that whoever took refuge there, be the crime what it might be with which he stood charged, should enjoy impunity in his deed, they did not promulgate any precepts of penitence for bringing the minds of such wretched men back to a right condition. By this bribe of impunity did they not rather arm the gathered band of fearful fugitives against the states to which they properly belonged, and the laws of which they dreaded? Or when Romulus slew his brother, who had perpetrated no evil against him, is it the case that his mind was bent on the vindication of justice, and not on the acquisition of absolute power? And is it true that the deities did take their delight in manners like these, as if they were themselves enemies to their own states, in so far as they favoured those who were the enemies of these communities? Nay rather, neither did they by deserting them harm the one class, nor did they by passing over to their side in any sense help the other. For they have it not in their power to give kingship or to remove it. But that is done by the one true God, according to His hidden counsel. And it is not His mind to make those necessarily blessed to whom He may have given an earthly kingdom, or to make those necessarily unhappy whom He has deprived of that position. But He makes men blessed or wretched for other reasons and by other means, and either by permission or by actual gift distributes temporal and earthly kingdoms to whomsoever He pleases, and for whatsoever period He chooses, according to the fore-ordained order of the ages.

chap. xiii.—of the question why god suffered the jews to be reduced to subjection

20. Hence also they cannot meet us fairly with this question: Why, then, did the God of the Hebrews, whom you declare to be the supreme and true God, not only not subdue the Romans under their power, but even fail to secure those Hebrews themselves against subjugation by the Romans? For there were open sins of theirs that went before them, and on account of which the prophets so long time ago predicted that this very thing would overtake them; and above all, the reason lay in the fact, that in their impious fury they put Christ to death, in the commission of which sin they were made blind [to the guilt of their crime] through the deserts of other hidden transgressions. That His sufferings also would be for the benefit of the Gentiles, was foretold by the same prophetic testimony. Nor, in another point of view, did the fact appear clearer, that the kingdom of that nation, and its temple, and its priesthood, and its sacrificial system, and that mystical unction which is called χρῖσμα in Greek, from which the name of Christ takes its evident application, and on account of which that nation was accustomed to speak of its kings as anointed ones, were ordained with the express object of prefiguring Christ, than has the kindred fact become apparent, that after the resurrection of the Christ who was put to death began to be preached unto the believing Gentiles, all those things came to their end, all unrecognised as the circumstance was, whether by the Romans, through whose victory, or by the Jews, through whose subjugation, it was brought about that they did thus reach their conclusion.

chap. xiv.—of the fact that the god of the hebrews, although the people were conquered, proved himself to be unconquered, by overthrowing the idols, and by turning all the gentiles to his own service

21. Here indeed we have a wonderful fact, which is not remarked by those few pagans who have remained such,—namely, that this God of the Hebrews who was offended by the conquered, and who was also denied acceptance by the conquerors, is now preached and worshipped among all nations. This is that God of Israel of whom the prophet spake so long time since, when he thus addressed the people of God: “And He who brought thee out, the God of Israel, shall be called (the God) of the whole earth.” What was thus prophesied has been brought to pass through the name of the Christ, who comes to men in the form of a descendant of that very Israel who was the grandson of Abraham, with whom the race of the Hebrews began.4 For it was to this Israel also that it was said, “In thy seed shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed.” Thus it is shown that the God of Israel, the true God who made heaven and earth, and who administers human affairs justly and mercifully in such wise that neither does justice exclude mercy with Him, nor does mercy hinder justice, was not overcome Himself when His Hebrew people suffered their overthrow, in virtue of His permitting the kingdom and priesthood of that nation to be seized and subverted by the Romans. For now, indeed, by the might of this gospel of Christ, the true King and Priest, the advent of which was prefigured by that kingdom and priesthood, the God of Israel Himself is everywhere destroying the idols of the nations. And, in truth, it was to prevent that destruction that the Romans refused to admit the sacred rites of this God in the way that they admitted those of the gods of the other nations whom they conquered. Thus did He remove both kingdom and priesthood from the prophetic nation, because He who was promised to men through the agency of that people had already come. And by Christ the King He has brought into subjection to His own name that Roman empire by which the said nation was overcome; and by the strength and devotion of Christian faith, He has converted it so as to effect a subversion of those idols, the honour ascribed to which precluded His worship from obtaining entrance.

22. I am of opinion that it was not by means of magical arts that Christ, previous to His birth among men, brought it about that those things which were destined to come to pass in the course of His history, were pre-announced by so many prophets, and prefigured also by the kingdom and priesthood established in a certain nation. For the people who are connected with that now abolished kingdom, and who in the wonderful providence of God are scattered throughout all lands, have indeed remained without any unction from the true King and Priest; in which anointing the import of the name of Christ is plainly discovered. But notwithstanding this, they still retain remnants of some of their observances; while, on the other hand, not even in their state of overthrow and subjugation have they accepted those Roman rites which are connected with the worship of idols. Thus they still keep the prophetic books as the witness of Christ; and in this way in the documents of His enemies we find proof presented2 of the truth of this Christ who is the subject of prophecy. What, then, do these unhappy men disclose themselves to be, by the unworthy method in which they laud the name of Christ? If anything relating to the practice of magic has been written under His name, while the doctrine of Christ is so vehemently antagonistic to such arts, these men ought rather in the light of this fact to gather some idea of the greatness of that name, by the addition of which even persons who live in opposition to His precepts endeavour to dignify their nefarious practices. For just as, in the course of the diverse errors of men, many persons have set up their varied heresies against the truth under the cover of His name, so the very enemies of Christ think that, for the purposes of gaining acceptance for opinions which they propound in opposition to the doctrine of Christ, they have no weight of authority at their service unless they have the name of Christ.

chap. xv.—of the fact that the pagans, when constrained to laud christ, have launched their insults against his disciples

23. But what shall be said to this, if those vain eulogizers of Christ, and those crooked slanderers of the Christian religion, lack the daring to blaspheme Christ, for this particular reason that some of their philosophers, as Porphyry of Sicily has given us to understand in his books, consulted their gods as to their response on the subject of [the claims of] Christ, and were constrained by their own oracles to laud Christ? Nor should that seem incredible. For we also read in the Gospel that the demons confessed Him;5 and in our prophets it is written in this wise: “For the gods of the nations are demons.” Thus it happens, then, that in order to avoid attempting aught in opposition to the responses of their own deities, they turn their blasphemies aside from Christ, and pour them forth against His disciples. It seems to me, however, that these gods of the Gentiles, whom the philosophers of the pagans may have consulted, if they were asked to give their judgment on the disciples of Christ, as well as on Christ Himself, would be constrained to praise them in like manner.

chap. xvi.—of the fact that, on the subject of the destruction of idols, the apostles taught nothing different from what was taught by christ or by the prophets

24. Nevertheless these persons argue still to the effect that this demolition of temples, and this condemnation of sacrifices, and this shattering of all images, are brought about, not in virtue of the doctrine of Christ Himself, but only by the hand of His apostles, who, as they contend, taught something different from what He taught. They think by this device, while honouring and lauding Christ, to tear the Christian faith in pieces. For it is at least true, that it is by the disciples of Christ that at once the works and the words of Christ have been made known, on which this Christian religion is established, with which a very few people of this character are still in antagonism, who do not now indeed openly assail it, but yet continue even in these days to utter their mutterings against it. But if they refuse to believe that Christ taught in the way indicated, let them read the prophets, who not only enjoined the complete destruction of the superstitions of idols, but also predicted that this subversion would come to pass in Christian times. And if these spoke falsely, why is their word fulfilled with so mighty a demonstration? But if they spoke truly, why is resistance offered to such divine power?

chap. xvii.—in opposition to the romans who rejected the god of israel alone

25. However, here is a matter which should meet with more careful consideration at their hands,—namely, what they take the God of Israel to be, and why they have not admitted Him to the honours of worship among them, in the way that they have done with the gods of other nations that have been made subject to the imperial power of Rome? This question demands an answer all the more, when we see that they are of the mind that all the gods ought to be worshipped by the man of wisdom. Why, then, has He been excluded from the number of these others? If He is very mighty, why is He the only deity that is not worshipped by them? If He has little or no might, why are the images of other gods broken in pieces by all the nations, while He is now almost the only God that is worshipped among these peoples? From the grasp of this question these men shall never be able to extricate themselves, who worship both the greater and the lesser deities, whom they hold to be gods, and at the same time refuse to worship this God, who has proved Himself stronger than all those to whom they do service. If He is [a God] of great virtue, why has He been deemed worthy only of rejection? And if He is [a God] of little or no power, why has He been able to accomplish so much, although rejected? If He is good, why is He the only one separated from the other good deities? And if He is evil, why is He, who stands thus alone, not subjugated by so many good deities? If He is truthful, why are His precepts scorned? And if He is a liar, why are His predictions fulfilled?

chap. xviii.—of the fact that the god of the hebrews is not received by the romans, because his will is that he alone should be worshipped

26. In fine, they may think of Him as they please. Still, we may ask whether it is the case that the Romans refuse to consider evil deities as also proper objects of worship,—those Romans who have erected fanes to Pallor and Fever, and who enjoin both that the good demons are to been treated, and that the evil demons are to be propitiated. Whatever their opinion, then, of Him may be, the question still is, Why is He the only Deity whom they have judged worthy neither of being called upon for help, nor of being propitiated? What God is this, who is either one so unknown, that He is the only one not discovered as yet among so many gods, or who is one so well known that He is now the only one worshipped by so many men? There remains, then, nothing which they can possibly allege in explanation of their refusal to admit the worship of this God, except that His will was that He alone should be worshipped; and His command was, that those gods of the Gentiles that they were worshipping at the time should cease to be worshipped. But an answer to this other question is rather to be required of them, namely, what or what manner of deity they consider this God to be, who has forbidden the worship of those other gods for whom they erected temples and images,—this God, who has also been possessed of might so vast that His will has prevailed more in effecting the destruction of their images than theirs has availed to secure the non-admittance of His worship. And, indeed, the opinion of that philosopher of theirs is given in plain terms, whom, even on the authority of their own oracle, they have maintained to have been the wisest of all men. For the opinion of Socrates is, that every deity whatsoever ought to be worshipped just in the manner in which he may have ordained that he should be worshipped. Consequently it became a matter of the supremest necessity with them to refuse to worship the God of the Hebrews. For if they were minded to worship Him in a method different from the way in which He had declared that He ought to be worshipped, then assuredly they would have been worshipping not this God as He is, but some figment of their own. And, on the other hand, if they were willing to worship Him in the manner which He had indicated, then they could not but perceive that they were not at liberty to worship those other deities whom He interdicted them from worshipping. Thus was it, therefore, that they rejected the service of the one true God, because they were afraid that they might offend the many false gods. For they thought that the anger of those deities would be more to their injury, than the goodwill of this God would be to their profit.

chap. xix.—the proof that this god is the true god

27. But that must have been a vain necessity and a ridiculous timidity. We ask now what opinion regarding this God is formed by those men whose pleasure it is that all gods ought to be worshipped. For if He ought not to be worshipped, how are all worshipped when He is not worshipped? And if He ought to be worshipped, it cannot be that all others are to be worshipped along with Him. For unless He is worshipped alone, He is really not worshipped at all. Or may it perhaps be the case, that they will allege Him to be no God at all, while they call those gods who, as we believe, have no power to do anything except so far as permission is given them by His judgment,—have not merely no power to do good to any one, but no power even to do harm to any, except to those who are judged by Him, who possesses all power, to merit so to be harmed? But, as they themselves are compelled to admit, those deities have shown less power than He has done. For if those are held to be gods whose prophets, when consulted by men, have returned responses which, that I may not call them false, were at least most convenient for their private interests, how is not He to be regarded as God whose prophets have not only given the congruous answer on subjects regarding which they were consulted at the special time, but who also, in the case of subjects respecting which they were not consulted, and which related to the universal race of man and all nations, have announced prophetically so long time before the event those very things of which we now read, and which indeed we now behold? If they gave the name of god to that being under whose inspiration the Sibyl sung of the fates of the Romans, how is not He (to be called) God, who, in accordance with the announcement aforetime given, has shown us how the Romans and all nations are coming to believe in Himself through the gospel of Christ, as the one God, and to demolish all the images of their fathers? Finally, if they designate those as gods who have never dared through their prophets to say anything against this God, how is not He (to be designated) God, who not only commanded by the mouth of His prophets the destruction of their images, but who also predicted that among all the Gentiles they would be destroyed by those who should be enjoined to abandon their idols and to worship Him alone, and who, on receiving these injunctions, should be His servants?2

chap. xx.—of the fact that nothing is discovered to have been predicted by the prophets of the pagans in opposition to the god of the hebrews

28. Or let them aver, if they are able, that some Sibyl of theirs, or any one whatever among their other prophets, announced long ago that it would come to pass that the God of the Hebrews, the God of Israel, would be worshipped by all nations, declaring, at the same time, that the worshippers of other gods before that time had rightly rejected Him; and again, that the compositions of His prophets would be in such exalted authority, that in obedience to them the Roman government itself would command the destruction of images, the said seers at the same time giving warning against acting upon such ordinances;—let them, I say, read out any utterances like these, if they can, from any of the books of their prophets. For I stop not to state that those things which we can read in their books repeat a testimony on behalf of our religion, that is, the Christian religon, which they might have heard from the holy angels and from our prophets themselves; just as the very devils were compelled to confess Christ when He was present in the flesh. But I pass by these matters, regarding which, when we bring them forward, their contention is that they were invented by our party. Most certainly, however, they may themselves be pressed to adduce anything which has been prophesied by the seers of their own gods against the God of the Hebrews; as, on our side, we can point to declarations so remarkable at once for number and for weight recorded in the books of our prophets against their gods, in which also we can both note the command and recite the prediction and demonstrate the event. And over the realization of these things, that comparatively small number of heathens who have remained such are more inclined to grieve than they are ready to acknowledge that God who has had the power to foretell these things as events destined to be made good; whereas in their dealings with their own false gods, who are genuine demons, they prize nothing else so highly as to be informed by their responses of something which is to take place with them.4

chap. xxi.—an argument for the exclusive worship of this god, who, while he prohibits other deities from being worshipped, is not himself interdicted by other divinities from being worshipped

29. Seeing, then, that these things are so, why do not these unhappy men rather apprehend the fact that this God is the true God, whom they perceive to be placed in a position so thoroughly separated from the company of their own deities, that, although they are compelled to acknowledge Him to be God, those very persons who profess that all gods ought to be worshipped are nevertheless not permitted to worship Him along with the rest? Now, since these deities and this God cannot be worshipped together, why is not He selected who forbids those others to be worshipped; and why are not those deities abandoned, who do not interdict Him from being worshipped? Or if they do indeed forbid His worship, let the interdict be read. For what has greater claims to be recited to their people in their temples, in which the sound of no such thing has ever been heard? And, in good sooth, the prohibition directed by so many against one ought to be more notable and more potent than the prohibition launched by one against so many. For if the worship of this God is impious, then those gods are profitless, who do not interdict men from that impiety; but if the worship of this God is pious, then, as in that worship the commandment is given that these others are not to be worshipped, their worship is impious. If, again, those deities forbid His worship, but only so diffidently that they rather fear to be heard2 than dare to prohibit, who is so unwise as not to draw his own inference from the fact, who fails to perceive that this God ought to be chosen, who in so public a manner prohibits their worship, who commanded that their images should be destroyed, who foretold that demolition, who Himself effected it, in preference to those deities of whom we know not that they ordained abstinence from His worship, of whom we do not read that they foretold such an event, and in whom we do not see power sufficient to have it brought about? I put the question, let them give the answer: Who is this God, who thus harasses all the gods of the Gentiles, who thus betrays all their sacred rites, who thus renders them extinct?

chap. xxii.—of the opinion entertained by the gentiles regarding our god

30. But why do I interrogate men whose native wit has deserted them in answering the question as to who this God is? Some say that He is Saturn. I fancy the reason of that is found in the sanctification of the Sabbath; for those men assign that day to Saturn. But their own Varro, than whom they can point to no man of greater learning among them, thought that the God of the Jews was Jupiter, and he judged that it mattered not what name was employed, provided the same subject was understood under it; in which, I believe, we see how he was subdued by His supremacy. For, inasmuch as the Romans are not accustomed to worship any more exalted object than Jupiter, of which fact their Capitol is the open and sufficient attestation, and deem him to be the king of all gods; when he observed that the Jews worshipped the supreme God, he could not think of any object under that title other than Jupiter himself. But whether men call the God of the Hebrews Saturn, or declare Him to be Jupiter, let them tell us when Saturn dared to prohibit the worship of a second deity. He did not venture to interdict the worship even of this very Jupiter, who is said to have expelled him from his kingdom,—the son thus expelling the father. And if Jupiter, as the more powerful deity and the conqueror, has been accepted by his worshippers, then they ought not to worship Saturn, the conquered and expelled. But neither, on the other hand, did Jove put his worship under the ban. Nay, that deity whom he had power to overcome, he nevertheless suffered to continue a god.

chap. xxiii.—of the follies which the pagans have indulged in regarding jupiter and saturn

31. These narratives of yours, say they, are but fables which have to be interpreted by the wise, or else they are fit only to be laughed at; but we revere that Jupiter of whom Maro says that

“All things are full of Jove,”

—Virgil’s Eclogues, iii. v. 60;

that is to say, the spirit of life that vivifies all things. It is not without some reason, therefore, that Varro thought that Jove was worshipped by the Jews; for the God of the Jews says by His prophet, “I fill heaven and earth.”4 But what is meant by that which the same poet names Ether? How do they take the term? For he speaks thus:

“Then the omnipotent father Ether, with fertilizing showers,

Came down into the bosom of his fruitful spouse.”

—Virgil’s Georgics, ii. 325.

They say, indeed, that this Ether is not spirit, but a lofty body in which the heaven is stretched above the air.6 Is liberty conceded to the poet to speak at one time in the language of the followers of Plato, as if God was not body, but spirit, and at another time in the language of the Stoics, as if God was a body? What is it, then, that they worship in their Capitol? If it is a spirit, or if again it is, in short, the corporeal heaven itself, then what does that shield of Jupiter there which they style the Ægis? The origin of that name, indeed, is explained by the circumstance that a goat nourished Jupiter when he was concealed by his mother. Or is this a fiction of the poets? But are the capitols of the Romans, then, also the mere creations of the poets? And what is the meaning of that, certainly not poetical, but unmistakeably farcical, variability of yours, in seeking your gods according to the ideas of philosophers in books, and revering them according to the notions of poets in your temples?

32. But was that Euhemerus also a poet, who declares both Jupiter himself, and his father Saturn, and Pluto and Neptune his brothers, to have been men, in terms so exceedingly plain that their worshippers ought all the more to render thanks to the poets, because their inventions have not been intended so much to disparage them as rather to dress them up? Albeit Cicero mentions that this same Euhemerus was translated into Latin by the poet Ennius.2 Or was Cicero himself a poet, who, in counselling the person with whom he debates in his Tusculan Disputations, addresses him as one possessing knowledge of things secret, in the following terms: “If, indeed, I were to attempt to search into antiquity, and produce from thence the subjects which the writers of Greece have given to the world, it would be found that even those deities who are reckoned gods of the higher orders have gone from us into heaven. Ask whose sepulchres are pointed out in Greece: call to mind, since you have been initiated, the things which are delivered in the mysteries: then, doubtless, you will comprehend how widely extended this belief is.” This author certainly makes ample acknowledgment of the doctrine that those gods of theirs were originally, men. He does, indeed, benevolently surmise that they made their way into heaven. But he did not hesitate to say in public, that even the honour thus given them in general repute4 was conferred upon them by men, when he spoke of Romulus in these words: “By good will and repute We have raised to the immortal gods that Romulus who rounded this city.” How should it be such a wonderful thing, therefore, to suppose that the more ancient men did with respect to Jupiter and Saturn and the others what the Romans have done with respect to Romulus, and what, in good truth, they have thought of doing even in these more recent times also in the case of Cæsar? And to these same Virgil has addressed the additional flattery of song, saying:

“Lo, the star of Cæsar, descendant of Dione, arose.”

Eclogue, ix. ver. 47.

Let them see to it, then, that the truth of history do not turn out to exhibit to our view sepulchres erected for their false gods here upon the earth! and let them take heed lest the vanity of poetry, instead of fixing, may be but feigning stars for their deities there in heaven. For, in reality, that one is not the star of Jupiter, neither is this one the star of Saturn; but the simple fact is, that upon these stars, which were set from the foundation of the world, the names of those persons were imposed after their death by men who were minded to honour them as gods on their departure from this life. And with respect to these we may, indeed, ask how there should be such ill desert in chastity, or such good desert in voluptuousness, that Venus should have a star, and Minerva be denied one among those luminaries which revolve along with the sun and moon?

33. But it may be said that Cicero, the Academic sage, who has been bold enough to make mention of the sepulchres of their gods, and to commit the statement to writing, is a more doubtful authority than the poets; although he did not presume to offer that assertion simply as his own personal opinion, but put it on record as a statement contained among the traditions of their own sacred rites. Well, then, can it also be maintained that Varro either gives expression merely to an invention of his own, as a poet might do, or puts the matter only dubiously, as might be the case with an Academician, because he declares that, in the instance of all such gods, the matters of their worship had their origin either in the life which they lived, or in the death which they died, among men? Or was that Egyptian priest, Leon, either a poet or an Academician, who expounded the origin of those gods of theirs to Alexander of Macedon, in a way somewhat different indeed from the opinion advanced by the Greeks, but nevertheless so far accordant therewith as to make out their deities to have been originally men?

34. But what is all this to us? Let them assert that they worship Jupiter, and not a dead man; let them maintain that they have dedicated their Capitol not to a dead man, but to the Spirit that vivifies all things and fills the world. And as to that shield of his, which was made of the skin of a she-goat in honour of his nurse, let them put upon it whatever interpretation they please. What do they say, however, about Saturn?9 What is it that they worship under the name of Saturn? Is not this the deity that was the first to come down to us from Olympus (of whom the poet sings):

“Then from Olympus’ height came down

Good Saturn, exiled from his crown

By Jove, his mightier heir:

He brought the rate to union first

Erewhile, on mountain-tops dispersed,

And gave them statutes to obey,

And willed the land wherein he lay

Should Latium’s title bear.”

—Virgil’s Æneid, viii. 320–324, Conington’s trans.

Does not his very image, made as it is with the head covered, present him as one under concealment? Was it not he that made the practice of agriculture known to the people of Italy,—a fact which is expressed by the reaping-hook?2 No, say they; for you may see whether the being of whom such things are recorded was a man, and indeed one particular king: we, however, interpret Saturn to be universal Time, as is signified also by his name in Greek: for he is called Chronus, which word, with the aspiration thus given it, is also the vocable for time: whence, too, in Latin he gets the name of Saturn, as if it meant that he is sated with years. But now, what we are to make of people like these I know not, who, in their very effort to put a more favourable meaning upon the names and the images of their gods, make the confession that the very god who is their major deity, and the father of the rest, is Time. For what else do they thus betray but, in fact, that all those gods of theirs are only temporal, seeing that the very parent of them all is made out to be Time?

35. Accordingly, their more recent philosophers of the Platonic school, who have flourished in Christian times, have been ashamed of such fancies, and have endeavoured to interpret Saturn in another way, affirming that he received the name Χρόνος in order to signify, as it were, the fulness of intellect; their explanation being, that in Greek fulness7 is expressed by the term χόρος, and intellect or mind by the term νοῦς; which etymology seems to be favoured also by the Latin name, on the supposition that the first part of the word (Saturnus) came from the Latin, and the second part from the Greek: so that he got the title Saturnus as an equivalent to satur, νοῦς. For they saw how absurd it was to have that Jupiter regarded as a son of Time, whom they either considered, or wished to have considered, eternal deity. Furthermore, however, according to this novel interpretation, which it is marvellous that Cicero and Varro should have suffered to escape their notice, if their ancient authorities really had it, they call Jupiter the son of Saturn, thus denoting him, it may be, as the spirit that proceedeth forth from that supreme mind—the spirit which they choose to look upon as the soul of this world, so to speak, filling alike all heavenly and all earthly bodies. Whence comes also that saying of Maro, which I have cited a little ago, namely, “All things are full of Jove”? Should they not, then, if they are possessed of the ability, alter the superstitions indulged in by men, just as they alter their interpretation; and either erect no images at all, or at least build capitols to Saturn rather than to Jupiter? For they also maintain that no rational soul can be produced gifted with wisdom, except by participation in that supreme and unchangeable wisdom of his; and this affirmation they advance not only with respect to the soul of a man, but even with respect to that same soul of the world which they also designate Jove. Now we not only concede, but even very particularly proclaim, that there is a certain supreme wisdom of God, by participation in which every soul whatsoever that is constituted truly wise acquires its wisdom. But whether that universal corporeal mass, which is called the world, has a kind of soul, or, so to speak, its own soul, that is to say, a rational life by which it can govern its own movements, as is the case with every sort of animal, is a question both vast and obscure. That is an opinion which ought not to be affirmed, unless its truth is clearly ascertained; neither ought it to be rejected, unless its falsehood is as clearly ascertained. And what will it matter to man, even should this question remain for ever unsolved, since, in any case, no soul becomes wise or blessed by drawing from any other soul but from that one supreme and immutable wisdom of God?

36. The Romans, however, who have founded a Capitol in honour of Jupiter, but none in honour of Saturn, as also these other nations whose opinion it has been that Jupiter ought to be worshipped pre-eminently and above the rest of the gods, have certainly not agreed in sentiment with the persons referred to; who, in accordance with that mad view of theirs, would dedicate their loftiest citadels rather to Saturn, if they had any power in these things, and who most particularly would annihilate those mathematicians and nativity-spinners12 by whom this Saturn, whom their opponents would designate the maker of the wise, has been placed with the character of a deity of evil among the other stars. But this opinion, nevertheless, has prevailed so mightily against them in the mind of humanity, that men decline even to name that god, and call him Ancient rather than Saturn; and that in so fearful a spirit of superstition, that the Carthaginians have now gone very near to change the designation of their town, and call it the town of the Ancient2 more frequently than the town of Saturn.

chap. xxiv.—of the fact that those persons who reject the god of israel, in consequence fail to worship all the gods; and, on the other hand, that those who worship other gods, fail to worship him

37. It is well understood, therefore, what these worshippers of images are convicted in reality of revering, and what they attempt to colour over. But even these new interpreters of Saturn must be required to tell us what they think of the God of the Hebrews. For to them also it seemed right to worship all the gods, as is done by the heathen nations, because their pride made them ashamed to humble themselves under Christ for the remission of their sins. What opinion, therefore, do they entertain regarding the God of Israel? For if they do not worship Him, then they do not worship all gods; and if they do worship Him, they do not worship Him in the way that He has ordained for His own worship, because they worship others also whose worship He has interdicted. Against such practices He issued His prohibition by the mouth of those same prophets by whom He also announced beforehand the destined occurrence of those very things which their images are now sustaining at the hands of the Christians. For whatever the explanation may be, whether it be that the angels were sent to those prophets to show them figuratively, and by the congruous forms of visible objects, the one true God, the Creator of all things, to whom the whole universe is made subject, and to indicate the method in which He enjoined His own worship to proceed; or whether it was that the minds of some among them were so mightily elevated by the Holy Spirit, as to enable them to see those things in that kind of vision in which the angels themselves behold objects: in either case it is the incontestable fact, that they did serve that God who has prohibited the worship of other gods; and, moreover, it is equally certain, that with the faithfulness of piety, in the kingly and in the priestly office, they ministered at once for the good of their country, and in the interest of those sacred ordinances which were significant of the coming of Christ as the true King and Priest.

chap. xxv.—of the fact that the false gods do not forbid others to be worshipped along with themselves. that the god of israel is the true god, is proved by his works, both in prophecy and in fulfilment

38. But further, in the case of the gods of the Gentiles (in their willingness to worship whom they exhibit their unwillingness to worship that God who cannot be worshipped together with them), let them tell us the reason why no one is found in the number of their deities who thinks of interdicting the worship of another; while they institute them in different offices and functions, and hold them to preside each one over objects which pertain properly to his own special province. For if Jupiter does not prohibit the worship of Saturn, because he is not to be taken merely for a man, who drove another man, namely his father, out of his kingdom, but either for the body of the heavens, or for the spirit that fills both heaven and earth, and because thus he cannot prevent that supernal mind from being worshipped, from which he is said to have emanated: if, on the same principle also, Saturn cannot interdict the worship of Jupiter, because he is not [to be supposed to be merely] one who was conquered by that other in rebellion,—as was the case with a person of the same name, by the hand of some one or other called Jupiter, from whose arms he was fleeing when he came into Italy,—and because the primal mind favours the mind that springs from it: yet Vulcan at least might [be expected to] put under the ban the worship of Mars, the paramour of his wife, and Hercules [might be thought likely to interdict] the worship of Juno, his persecutor. What kind of foul consent must subsist among them, if even Diana, the chaste virgin, fails to interdict the worship, I do not say merely of Venus, but even of Priapus? For if the same individual decides to be at once a hunter and a farmer, he must be the servant of both these deities; and yet he will be ashamed to do even so much as erect temples for them side by side. But they may aver, that by interpretation Diana means a certain virtue, be it what they please; and they may tell us that Priapus really denotes the deity of fecundity,—to such an effect, at any rate, that Juno may well be ashamed to have such a coadjutor in the task of making females fruitful. They may say what they please; they may put any explanation upon these things which in their wisdom they think fit: only, in spite of all that, the God of Israel will confound all their argumentations. For in prohibiting all those deities from being worshipped, while His own worship is hindered by none of them, and in at once commanding, foretelling, and effecting destruction for their images and sacred rites, He has shown with sufficient clearness that they are false and lying deities, and that He Himself is the one true and truthful God.

39. Moreover, to whom should it not seem strange that those worshippers, now become few in number, of deities both numerous and false, should refuse to do homage to Him of whom, when the question is put to them as to what deity He is, they dare not at least assert, whatever answer they may think to give, that He is no God at all? For if they deny His deity, they are very easily refuted by His works, both in prophecy and in fulfilment. I do not speak of those works which they deem themselves at liberty not to credit, such as His work in the beginning, when He made heaven and earth, and all that is in them. Neither do I specify here those events which carry us back into the remotest antiquity, such as the translation of Enoch,2 the destruction of the impious by the flood, and the saving of righteous Noah and his house from the deluge, by means of the [ark of] wood. I begin the statement of His doings among men with Abraham. To this man, indeed, was given by an angelic oracle an intelligible promise, which we now see in its realization. For to him it was said, “In thy seed shall all nations be blessed.”4 Of his seed, then, sprang the people of Israel, whence came the Virgin Mary, who was the mother of Christ; and that in Him all the nations are blessed, let them now be bold enough to deny if they can. This same promise was made also to Isaac the son of Abraham. It was given again to Jacob the grandson of Abraham. This Jacob was also called Israel, from whom that whole people derived both its descent and its name so that indeed the God of this people was called the God of Israel: not that He is not also the God of the Gentiles, whether they are ignorant of Him or now know Him; but that in this people He willed that the power of His promises should be made more conspicuously apparent. For that people, which at first was multiplied in Egypt, and after a time was delivered from a state of slavery there by the hand of Moses, with many signs and portents, saw most of the Gentile nations subdued under it, and obtained possession also of the land of promise, in which it reigned in the person of kings of its own, who sprang from the tribe of Judah. This Judah, also, was one of the twelve sons of Israel, the grandson of Abraham. And from him were descended the people called the Jews, who, with the help of God Himself, did great achievements, and who also, when He chastised them, endured many sufferings on account of their sins, until the coming of that Seed to whom the promise was given, in whom all the nations were to be blessed, and [for whose sake] they were willingly to break in pieces the idols of their fathers.

chap. xxvi.—of the fact that idolatry has been subverted by the name of christ, and by the faith of christians according to the prophecies

40. For truly what is thus effected by Christians is not a thing which belongs only to Christian times, but one which was predicted very long ago. Those very Jews who have remained enemies to the name of Christ, and regarding whose destined perfidy these prophetic writings have not been silent, do themselves possess and peruse the prophet who Says: “O Lord my God, and my refuge in the day of evil, the Gentiles shall come unto Thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have worshipped mendacious idols, and there is no profit in them.” Behold, that is now being done; behold, now the Gentiles are coming from the ends of the earth to Christ, uttering things like these, and breaking their idols! Of signal consequence, too, is this which God has done for His Church in its world-wide extension, in that the Jewish nation, which has been deservedly overthrown and scattered abroad throughout the lands, has been made to carry about with it everywhere the records of our prophecies, so that it might not be possible to look upon these predictions as concocted by ourselves; and thus the enemy of our faith has been made a witness to our truth. How, then, can it be possible that the disciples of Christ have taught what they have not learned from Christ, as those foolish men in their silly fancies object, with the view of getting the superstitious worship of heathen gods and idols subverted? Can it be said also that those prophecies which are still read in these days, in the books of the enemies of Christ, were the inventions of the disciples of Christ?

41. Who, then, has effected the demolition of these systems but the God of Israel? For to this people was the announcement made by those divine voices which were addressed to Moses: “Hear, O Israel; the Lord thy God is one God.” “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above or that is in the earth beneath.”8 And again, in order that this people might put an end to these things wherever it received power to do so, this commandment was also laid upon the nation: “Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them; thou shalt not do after their works, but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images.” But who shall say that Christ and Christians have no connection with Israel, seeing that Israel was the grandson of Abraham, to whom first, as afterwards to his son Isaac, and then to his grandson Israel himself, that promise was given, which I have already mentioned, namely: “In thy seed shall all nations be blessed”? That prediction we see now in its fulfilment in Christ. For it was of this line that the Virgin was born, concerning whom a prophet of the people of Israel and of the God of Israel sang in these terms: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son; and they shall call2 His name Emmanuel.” For by interpretation, Emmanuel means, “God with us.” This God of Israel, therefore, who has interdicted the worship of other gods, who has interdicted the making of idols, who has commanded their destruction, who by His prophet has predicted that the Gentiles from the ends of the earth would say, “Surely our fathers have worshipped mendacious idols, in which there is no profit;” this same God is He who, by the name of Christ and by the faith of Christians, has ordered, promised, and exhibited the overthrow of all these superstitions. In vain, therefore, do these unhappy men, knowing that they have been prohibited from blaspheming the name of Christ, even by their own gods, that is to say, by the demons who fear the name of Christ, seek to make it out, that this kind of doctrine is something strange to Him, in the power of which the Christians dispute against idols, and root out all those false religions, wherever they have the opportunity.

chap. xxvii.—an argument urging it upon the remnant of idolaters that they should at length become servants of this true god, who everywhere is subverting idols

42. Let them now give their answer with respect to the God of Israel, to whom, as teaching and enjoining such things, witness is borne not only by the books of the Christians, but also by those of the Jews. Regarding Him, let them ask the counsel of their own deities, who have prevented the blaspheming of Christ. Concerning the God of Israel, let them give a contumelious response if they dare. But whom are they to consult? or where are they to ask counsel now? Let them peruse the books of their own authorities. If they consider the God of Israel to be Jupiter, as Varro has written (that I may speak for the time being in accordance with their own way of thinking), why then do they not believe that the idols are to be destroyed by Jupiter? If they deem Him to he Saturn, why do they not worship Him? Or why do they not worship Him in that manner in which, by the voice of those prophets through whom He has made good the things which He has foretold, He has ordained His worship to be conducted? Why do they not believe that images are to be destroyed by Him, and the worship of other gods forbidden? If He is neither Jove nor Saturn (and surely, if He were one of these, He would not speak out so mightily against the sacred rites of their Jove and Saturn), who then is this God, who, with all their consideration for other gods, is the only Deity not worshipped by them, and who, nevertheless, so manifestly brings it about that He shall Himself be the sole object of worship, to the overthrow of all other gods, and to the humiliation of everything proud and highly exalted, which has lifted itself up against Christ in behalf of idols, persecuting and slaying Christians? But, in good truth, men are now asking into what secret recesses these worshippers withdraw, when they are minded to offer sacrifice; or into what regions of obscurity they thrust back these same gods of theirs, to prevent their being discovered and broken in pieces by the Christians. Whence comes this mode of dealing, if not from the fear of those laws and those rulers by whose instrumentality the God of Israel discovers His power, and who are now made subject to the name of Christ. And that it should be so He promised long ago, when He said by the prophet: “Yea, all kings of the earth shall worship Him: all nations shall serve Him.”5

chap. xxviii.—of the predicted rejection of idols

43. It cannot be questioned that what was predicted at sundry times by His prophets is now being realized,—namely, the announcement that He would disclaim His impious people (not, indeed, the people as a whole, because even of the Israelites many have believed in Christ; for His apostles themselves belonged to that nation), and would humble every proud and injurious person, so that He should Himself alone be exalted, that is to say, alone be manifested to men as lofty and mighty; until idols should be cast away by those who believe, and be concealed by those who believe not; when the earth is broken by His fear, that is to say, when the men of earth are subdued by fear, to wit, by fearing His law, or the law of those who, being at once believers in His name and rulers among the nations, shall interdict such sacrilegious practices.

44. For these things, which I have thus briefly stated in the way of introduction, and with a view to their readier apprehension, are thus expressed by the prophet: And now, O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord. For He has disclaimed His people the house of Israel, because the country was replenished, as from the beginning, with their soothsayings as with those of strangers, and many strange children were born to them. For their country was replenished with silver and gold, neither was there any numbering of their treasures; their land also is full of horses, neither was there any numbering of their chariots: their land also is full of the abominations of the works of their own hands, and they have worshipped that which their own fingers have made. And the mean man has bowed himself, and the great man2 has humbled himself; and I will not forgive it them. And now enter ye into the rocks, and hide yourselves in the earth from before the fear of the Lord, and from the majesty of His power, when He arises to crush the earth: for the eyes of the Lord are lofty, and man is low; and the haughtiness of men shall be humbled, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the Lord of Hosts shall be upon every one that is injurious and proud, and upon every one that is lifted up and humbled, and they shall be brought low; and upon every cedar of Lebanon of the high ones and the lifted up,4 and upon every tree of the Lebanon of Bashan, and upon every mountain, and upon every high hill,6 and upon every ship of the sea, and upon every spectacle of the beauty of ships. And the contumely of men shall be humbled and shall fall, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day; and all things made by hands they shall hide in dens, and in holes of the rocks, and in caves of the earth, from before the fear of the Lord, and from the majesty of His power, when He arises to crush the earth: for in that day a man shall cast away the abominations of gold and silver, the vain and evil things which they made for worship, in order to go into the clefts of the solid rock, and into the holes of the rocks, from before the fear of the Lord, and from the majesty of His power, when He arises to break the earth in pieces.8

chap. xxix.—of the question why the heathen should refuse to worship the god of israel, even although they deem him to be only the presiding divinity of the elements?

45. What do they say of this God of Sabaoth, which term, by interpretation, means the God of powers or of armies, inasmuch as the powers and the armies of the angels serve Him? What do they say of this God of Israel; for He is the God of that people from whom came the seed wherein all the nations were to be blessed? Why is He the only deity excluded from worship by those very persons who contend that all the gods ought to be worshipped? Why do they refuse their belief to Him who both proves other gods to be false gods, and also overthrows them? I have heard one of them declare that he had read, in some philosopher or other, the statement that, from what the Jews did in their sacred observances, he had come to know what God they worshipped. “He is the deity,” said he, “that presides over those elements of which this visible and material universe is constructed;” when in the Holy Scriptures of His prophets it is plainly shown that the people of Israel were commanded to worship that God who made heaven and earth, and from whom comes all true wisdom. But what need is there for further disputation on this subject, seeing that it is quite sufficient for my present purpose to point out how they entertain any kind of presumptuous opinions regarding that God whom yet they cannot deny to be a God? If, indeed, He is the deity that presides over the elements of which this world consists, why is He not worshipped in preference to Neptune, who presides over the sea only? Why not, again, in preference to Silvanus, who presides over the fields and woods only? Why not in preference to the Sun, who presides over the day only, or who also rules over the entire heat of heaven? Why not in preference to the Moon, who presides over the night only, or who also shines pre-eminent for power over moisture? Why not in preference to Juno, who is supposed to hold possession of the air only? For certainly those deities, whoever they may be, who preside over the parts, must necessarily be under that Deity who wields the presidency over all the elements, and over the entire universe. But this Deity prohibits the worship of all those deities. Why, then, is it that these men, in opposition to the injunction of One greater than those deities, not only choose to worship them, but also decline, for their sakes, to worship Him? Not yet have they discovered any constant and intelligible judgment to pronounce on this God of Israel; neither will they ever discover any such judgment, until they find out that He alone is the true God, by whom all things were created.

chap. xxx.—of the fact that, as the prophecies have been fulfilled, the god of israel has now been made known everywhere

46. Thus it was with a certain person named Lucan, one of their great declaimers in verse. For a long time, as I believe, he endeavored to find out, by his own cogitations, or by the perusal of the books of his own fellow-countrymen, who the God of the Jews was; and failing to prosecute his inquiry in the way of piety, he did not succeed. Yet he chose rather to speak of Him as the uncertain God whom he did not find out, than absolutely to deny the title of God to that Deity of whose existence he perceived proofs so great. For he says:

“And Judæa, devoted to the worship

Of an uncertain God.”

—Lucan, Book ii. towards the end.

And as yet this God, the holy and true God of Israel, had not done by the name of Christ among all nations works so great as those which have been wrought after Lucan’s times up to our own day. But now who is so obdurate as not to be moved, who so dull as not to be inflamed, seeing that the saying of Scripture is fulfilled, “For there is not one that is hid from the heat thereof;”4 and seeing also that those other things which were predicted so long time ago in this same Psalm from which I have cited one little verse, are now set forth in their accomplishment in the clearest light? For under this term of the “heavens” the apostles of Jesus Christ were denoted, because God was to preside in them with a view to the publishing of the gospel. Now, therefore, the heavens have declared the glory of God, and the firmament has proclaimed the works of His hands. Day unto day has given forth speech, and night unto night has shown knowledge. Now there is no speech or language where their voices are not heard. Their sound has gone out into all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. Now hath He set His tabernacle in the sun, that is, in manifestation; which tabernacle is His Church. For in order to do so (as the words proceed in the passage) He came forth from His chamber like a bridegroom; that is to say, the Word, wedded with the flesh of man, came forth from the Virgin’s womb. Now has He rejoiced as a strong man, and has run His race. Now has His going forth been made from the height of heaven, and His return even to the height of heaven. And accordingly, with the completest propriety, there follows upon this the verse which I have already mentioned: “And there is not one that is hid from the heat thereof [or, His heat].” And still these men make choice of their little, weak, prating objections, which are like stubble to be reduced to ashes in that fire, rather than like gold to be purged of its dross by it; while at once the fallacious monuments of their false gods have been brought to nought, and the veracious promises of that uncertain God have been proved to be sure.

chap. xxxi.—the fulfilment of the prophecies concerning christ

47. Wherefore let those evil applauders of Christ, who refuse to become Christians, desist from making the allegation that Christ did not teach that their gods were to be abandoned, and their images broken in pieces. For the God of Israel, regarding whom it was declared aforetime that He should be called the God of the whole earth, is now indeed actually called the God of the whole earth. By the mouth of His prophets He predicted that this would come to pass, and by Christ He did bring it eventually to pass at the fit time. Assuredly, if the God of Israel is now named the God of the whole earth, what He has commanded must needs be made good; for He who has given the commandment is now well known. But, further, that He is made known by Christ and in Christ, in order that His Church may be extended throughout the world, and that by its instrumentality the God of Israel may be named the God of the whole earth, those who please may read a little earlier in the same prophet. That paragraph may also be cited by me. It is not so long as to make it requisite for us to pass it by. Here there is much said about the presence, the humility, and the passion of Christ, and about the body of which He is the Head, that is, His Church, where it is called barren, like one that did not bear. For during many years the Church, which was destined to subsist among all the nations with its children, that is, with its saints, was not apparent, as Christ remained yet unannounced by the evangelists to those to whom He had not been declared by the prophets. Again, it is said that there shall be more children for her who is forsaken than for her who has a husband, under which name of a husband the Law was signified, or the King whom the people of Israel first received. For neither had the Gentiles received the Law at the period at which the prophet spake; nor had the King of Christians yet appeared to the nations, although from these Gentile nations a much more fruitful and numerous multitude of saints has now proceeded. It is in this manner, therefore, that Isaiah speaks, commencing with the humility of Christ, and turning afterwards to an address to the Church, on to that verse which we have already instanced, where he says: And He who brought thee out, the same God of Israel, shall be called the God of the whole earth.2 Behold, says he, my Servant shall deal prudently, and shall be exalted and honoured exceedingly. As many shall be astonied at Thee; so shall Thy marred visage, nevertheless, be seen by all, and Thine honour by men. For so shall many nations be astonied at Him, and the kings shall shut their mouths. For they shall see to whom it has not been told of Him; and those who have not heard shall understand. O Lord, who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? We have proclaimed before Him as a servant, as a root in a thirsty soil; He hath no form nor comeliness. And we have seen Him, and He had neither beauty nor seemliness; but His countenance is despised, and His state rejected by all men: a man stricken, and acquainted with the bearing of infirmities; on account of which His face is turned aside, injured, and little esteemed. He bears our infirmities, and is in sorrows for us. And we did esteem Him to be in sorrows, and to be stricken and in punishment. But He was wounded for our transgressions, and He was enfeebled for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed. All we, like sheep, have gone astray, and the Lord hath given Him up for our sins. And whereas He was evil entreated, He opened not His mouth; He was brought as a sheep to the slaughter; and as a lamb before him who shears it is dumb, so He opened not His mouth. In humility was His judgment taken. Who shall declare His generation? For His life shall be cut off out of the land; by the iniquities of my people is He led to death. Therefore shall I give the wicked for His sepulture, and the rich on account of His death; because He did no iniquity, neither was any deceit in His mouth. The Lord is pleased to clear Him in regard to His stroke.4 If ye shall give your soul for your offences, ye shall see the seed of the longest life. And the Lord is pleased to take away His soul from sorrows, to show Him the light, and to set Him forth in sight, and to justify the righteous One who serves many well; and He shall bear their sins. Therefore shall He have many for His inheritance, and shall divide the spoils of the strong; for which reason His soul was delivered over to death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bare the sins of many, and was delivered for their iniquities. Rejoice, O barren, thou that dost not bear: exult, and cry aloud, thou that dost not travail with child; for more are the children of the desolate than those of her who has a husband. For the Lord hath said, Enlarge the place of thy tent, and fix thy courts;6 there is no reason why thou shouldst spare: lengthen thy cords, and strengthen Thy stakes firmly. Yea, again and again break thou forth on the right hand and on the left. For thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and thou shall inhabit the cities which were desolate. There is nothing for thee to fear. For thou shalt prevail, and be not thou confounded as if thou shall be put to shame. For thou shall forget thy confusion for ever: thou shalt not remember the shame of thy widowhood, since I who made thee am the Lord; the Lord is His name: and He who brought thee out, the very God of Israel, shall be called the God of the whole earth.

48. What can be said in opposition to this evidence, and this expression of things both foretold and fulfilled? If they suppose that His disciples have given a false testimony on the subject of the divinity of Christ, will they also doubt the passion of Christ? No: they are not accustomed to believe that He rose from the dead; but, at the same time, they are quite ready to believe that He suffered all that men are wont to suffer, because they wish Him to be held to be a man and nothing more. According to this, then, He was led like a sheep to the slaughter; He was numbered with the transgressors; He was wounded for our sins; by His stripes were we healed; His face was marred, and little esteemed, and smitten with the palms, and defiled with the spittle; His position was disfigured on the cross; He was led to death by the iniquities of the people Israel; He is the man who had no form nor comeliness when He was buffeted with the fists, when He was crowned with the thorns, when He was derided as He hung (upon the tree); He is the man who, as the lamb is dumb before its shearer, opened not His mouth, when it was said to Him by those who mocked Him, “Prophesy to us, thou Christ.” Now, however, He is exalted verily, now He is honoured exceedingly; truly many nations are now astonied at Him. Now the kings have shut their mouth, by which they were wont to promulgate the most ruthless laws against the Christians. Truly those now see to whom it was not told of Him, and those who have not heard understand.2 For those Gentile nations to whom the prophets made no announcement, do now rather see for themselves how true these things are which were of old reported by the prophets; and those who have not heard Isaiah speak in his own proper person, now understand from his writings the things which he spoke concerning Him. For even in the said nation of the Jews, who believed the report of the prophets, or to whom was that arm of the Lord revealed, which is this very Christ who was announced by them,4 seeing that by their own hands they perpetrated those crimes against Christ, the commission of which had been predicted by the prophets whom they possessed? But now, indeed, He possesses many by inheritance; and He divides the spoils of the strong, since the devil and the demons have now been cast out and given up, and the possessions once held by them have been distributed by Him among the fabrics of His churches and for other necessary services.

chap. xxxii.—a statement in vindication of the doctrine of the apostles as opposed to idolatry, in the words of the prophecies

49. What, then, do these men, who are at once the perverse applauders of Christ and the slanderers of Christians, say to these facts? Can it be that Christ, by the use of magical arts, caused those predictions to be uttered so long ago by the prophets? or have His disciples invented them? Is it thus that the Church, in her extension among the Gentile nations, though once barren, has been made to rejoice now in the possession of more children than that synagogue had which, in its Law or its King, had received, as it were, a husband? or is it thus that this Church has been led to enlarge the place of her tent, and to occupy all nations and tongues, so that now she lengthens her cords beyond the limits to which the rights of the empire of Rome extend, yea, even on to the territories of the Persians and the Indians and other barbarous nations? or that, on the right hand by means of true Christians, and on the left hand by means of pretended Christians, His name is being made known among such a multitude of peoples? or that His seed is made to inherit the Gentiles, so as now to inhabit cities which had been left desolate of the true worship of God and the true religion? or that His Church has been so little daunted by the threats and furies of men, even at times when she has been covered with the blood of martyrs, like one clad in purple array, that she has prevailed over persecutors at once so numerous, so violent, and so powerful? or that she has not been confounded, like one put to shame, when it was a great crime to be or to become a Christian? or that she is made to forget her confusion for ever, because, where sin had abounded, grace did much more abound? or that she is taught not to remember the shame of her widowhood, because only for a little was she forsaken and subjected to opprobrium, while now she shines forth once more with such eminent glory? or, in fine, is it only a fiction concocted by Christ’s disciples, that the Lord who made her, and brought her forth from the denomination of the devil and the demons, the very God of Israel is now called the God of the whole earth; all which, nevertheless, the prophets, whose books are now in the hands of the enemies of Christ, foretold so long before Christ became the Son of man?

50. From this, therefore, let them understand that the matter is not left obscure or doubtful even to the slowest and dullest minds: from this, I say, let these perverse applauders of Christ and execrators of the Christian religion understand that the disciples of Christ have learned and taught, in opposition to their gods, precisely what the doctrine of Christ contains. For the God of Israel is found to have enjoined in the books of the prophets that all these objects which those men are minded to worship should be held in abomination and be destroyed, while He Himself is now named the God of the whole earth, through the instrumentality of Christ and the Church of Christ, exactly as He promised so long time ago. For if, indeed, in their marvellous folly, they fancy that Christ worshipped their gods, and that it was only through them that He had power to do things so great as these, we may well ask whether the God of Israel also worshipped their gods, who has now fulfilled by Christ what He promised with respect to the extension of His own worship through all the nations, and with respect to the detestation and subversion of those other deities? Where are their gods? Where are the vaticinations of their fanatics, and the divinations of their prophets?7 Where are the auguries, or the auspices, or the soothsayings, or the oracles of demons? Why is it that, out of the ancient books which constitute the records of this type of religion, nothing in the form either of admonition or of prediction is advanced to oppose the Christian faith, or to controvert the truth of those prophets of ours, who have now come to be so well understood among all nations? “We have offended our gods,” they say in reply, “and they have deserted us for that reason: that explains it also why the Christians have prevailed against us, and why the bliss of human life, exhausted and impaired, goes to wreck among us.” We challenge them, however, to take the books of their own seers, and read out to us any statement purporting that the kind of issue which has come upon them would be brought on them by the Christians: nay, we challenge them to recite any passages in which, if not Christ (for they wish to make Him out to have been a worshipper of their own gods), at least this God of Israel, who is allowed to be the subverter of other deities, is held up as a deity destined to be rejected and worthy of detestation. But never will they produce any such passage, unless, perchance, it be some fabrication of their own. And if ever they do cite any such statement, the fact that it is but a fiction of their own will betray itself in the unnoticeable manner in which a matter of so grave importance is found adduced; whereas, in good truth, before what has been predicted should have come to pass, it behoved to have been proclaimed in the temples of the gods of all nations, with a view to the timeous preparation and warning of all who are now minded2 to be Christians.

chap. xxxiii.—a statement in opposition to those who make the complaint that the bliss of human life has been impaired by the entrance of christian times

51. Finally, as to the complaint which they make with respect to the impairing of the bliss of human life by the entrance of Christian times, if they only peruse the books of their own philosophers, who reprehend those very things which are now being taken out of their way in spite of all their unwillingness and murmuring, they will indeed find that great praise is due to the times of Christ. For what diminution is made in their happiness, unless it be in what they most basely and luxuriously abused, to the great injury of their Creator? or unless, perchance, it be the case that evil times originate in such circumstances as these, in which throughout almost all states the theatres are falling, and with them, too, the dens of vice and the public profession of iniquity: yea, altogether the forums and cities in which the demons used to be worshipped are falling. How comes it, then, that they are falling, unless it be in consequence of the failure of those very things, in the lustful and sacrilegious use of which they were constructed? Did not their own Cicero, when commending a certain actor of the name of Roscius, call him a man so clever as to be the only one worthy enough to make it due for him to come upon the stage; and yet, again, so good a man as to be the only one so worthy as to make it due for him not to approach it? What else did he disclose with such remarkable clearness by this saying, but the fact that the stage was so base there, that a person was under the greater obligation not to connect himself with it, in proportion as he was a better man than most? And yet their gods were pleased with such things of shame as he deemed fit only to be removed to a distance from good men. But we have also an open confession of the same Cicero, where he says that he had to appease Flora, the mother of sports, by frequent celebration;4 in which sports such an excess of vice is wont to be exhibited, that, in comparison with them, others are respectable, from engaging in which, nevertheless, good men are prohibited. Who is this mother Flora, and what manner of goddess is she, who is thus conciliated and propitiated by a practice of vice indulged in with more than usual frequency and with looser reins? How much more honourable now was it for a Roscius to step upon the stage, than for a Cicero to worship a goddess of this kind! If the gods of the Gentile nations are offended because the supplies are lessened which are instituted for the purpose of such celebrations, it is apparent of what character those must be who are delighted with such things. But if, on the other hand, the gods themselves in their wrath diminish these supplies, their anger yields us better services than their placability. Wherefore let these men either confute their own philosophers, who have reprehended the same practices on the side of wanton men; or else let them break in pieces those gods of theirs who have made such demands upon their worshippers, if indeed they still find any such deities either to break in pieces or to conceal. But let them cease from their blasphemous habit of charging Christian times with the failure of their true prosperity,—a prosperity, indeed, so used by them that they were sinking into all that is base and hurtful,—lest thereby they be only putting us all the more emphatically in mind of reasons for the ampler praise of the power of Christ.

chap. xxxiv.—epilogue to the preceding

52. Much more might I say on this subject, were it not that the requirements of the task which I have undertaken compel me to conclude this book, and revert to the object originally proposed. When, indeed, I took it in hand to solve those problems of the Gospels which meet us where the four evangelists, as it seems to certain critics, fail to harmonize with each other, by setting forth to the best of my ability the particular designs which they severally have in view, I was met first by the necessity of discussing a question which some are accustomed to bring before us,—the question, namely, as to the reason why we cannot produce any writings composed by Christ Himself. For their aim is to get Him credited with the writing of some other composition, I know not of what sort, which may be suitable to their inclinations, and with having indulged in no sentiments of antagonism to their gods, but rather with having paid respect to them in a kind of magical worship; and their wish is also to get it believed that His disciples not only gave a false account of Him when they declared Him to be the God by whom all things were made, while He was really nothing more than a man, although certainly a man of the most exalted wisdom, but also that they taught with regard to these gods of theirs something different from what they had themselves learned from Him. This is how it happens that we have been engaged preferentially in pressing them with arguments concerning the God of Israel, who is now worshipped by all nations through the medium of the Church of the Christians, who is also subverting their sacrilegious vanities the whole world over, exactly as He announced by the mouth of the prophets so long ago, and who has now fulfilled those predictions by the name of Christ, in whom He had promised that all nations should be blessed. And from all this they ought to understand that Christ could neither have known nor taught anything else with regard to their gods than what was enjoined and foretold by the God of Israel through the agency of these prophets of His by whom He promised, and ultimately sent, this very Christ, in whose name, according to the promise given to the fathers, when all nations were pronounced blessed, it has come to pass that this same God of Israel should be called the God of the whole earth. By this, too, they ought to see that His disciples did not depart from the doctrine of their Master when they forbade the worship of the gods of the Gentiles, with the view of preventing us from addressing our supplications to insensate images, or from having fellowship with demons, or from serving the creature rather than the Creator with the homage of religious worship.

chap. xxxv.—of the fact that the mystery of a mediator was made known to those who lived in ancient times by the agency of prophecy, as it is now declared to us in the gospel

53. Wherefore, seeing that Christ Himself is that Wisdom of God by whom all things were created, and considering that no rational intelligences, whether of angels or of men, receive wisdom except by participation in this Wisdom wherewith we are united by that Holy Spirit through whom charity is shed abroad in our hearts (which Trinity at the same time constitutes one God), Divine Providence, having respect to the interests of mortal men whose time-bound life was held engaged in things which rise into being and die,2 decreed that this same Wisdom of God, assuming into the unity of His person the (nature of) man, in which He might be born according to the conditions of time, and live and die and rise again, should utter and perform and bear and sustain things congruous to our salvation; and thus, in exemplary fashion, show at once to men on earth the way for a return to heaven, and to those angels who are above us, the way to retain their position in heaven. For unless, also, in the nature of the reasonable soul, and under the conditions of an existence in time, something came newly into being,—that is to say, unless that began to be which previously was not,—there could never be any passing from a life of utter corruption and folly into one of wisdom and true goodness. And thus, as truth in the contemplative lives in the enjoyment of things eternal, while faith in the believing is what is due to things which are made, man is purified through that faith which is conversant with temporal things, in order to his being made capable of receiving the truth of things eternal. For one of their noblest intellects, the philosopher Plato, in the treatise which is named the Timæus, speaks also to this effect: “As eternity is to that which is made, so truth to faith.” Those two belong to the things above,—namely, eternity and truth; these two belong to the things below,—namely, that which is made and faith. In order, therefore, that we may be called off from the lowest objects, and led up again to the highest, and in order also that what is made may attain to the eternal, we must come through faith to truth. And because all contraries are reduced to unity by some middle factor, and because also the iniquity of time alienated us from the righteousness of eternity, there was need of some mediatorial righteousness of a temporal nature; which mediatizing factor might be temporal on the side of those lowest objects, but also righteous on the side of these highest, and thus, by adapting itself to the former without cutting itself off from the latter, might bring back those lowest objects to the highest. Accordingly, Christ was named the Mediator between God and men, who stood between the immortal God and mortal man, as being Himself both God and man, who reconciled man to God, who continued to be what He (formerly) was, but was made also what He (formerly) was not. And the same Person is for us at once the (centre of the) said faith in things that are made, and the truth in things eternal.

54. This great and unutterable mystery, this kingdom and priesthood, was revealed by prophecy to the men of ancient time, and is now preached by the gospel to their descendants. For it behoved that, at some period or other, that should be made good among all nations which for a long time had been promised through the medium of a single nation. Accordingly, He who sent the prophets before His own descent also despatched the apostles after His ascension. Moreover, in virtue of the man assumed by Him, He stands to all His disciples in the relation of the head to the members of His body. Therefore, when those disciples have written matters which He declared and spake to them, it ought not by any means to be said that He has written nothing Himself; since the truth is, that His members have accomplished only what they became acquainted with by the repeated statements of the Head. For all that He was minded to give for our perusal on the subject of His own doings and sayings, He commanded to be written by those disciples, whom He thus used as if they were His own hands. Whoever apprehends this correspondence of unity and this concordant service of the members, all in harmony in the discharge of diverse offices under the Head, will receive the account which he gets in the Gospel through the narratives constructed by the disciples, in the same kind of spirit in which he might look upon the actual hand of the Lord Himself, which He bore in that body which was made His own, were he to see it engaged in the act of writing. For this reason let us now rather proceed to examine into the real character of those passages in which these critics suppose the evangelists to have given contradictory accounts (a thing which only those who fail to understand the matter aright can fancy to be the case); so that, when these problems are solved, it may also be made apparent that the members in that body have preserved a befitting harmony in the unity of the body itself, not only by identity in sentiment, but also by constructing records consonant with that identity.

BOOK II

in this book augustin undertakes an orderly examination of the gospel according to matthew, on to the narrative of the supper, and institutes a comparison between it and the other gospels by mark, luke, and john, with the view of demonstrating a complete harmony between the four evangelists throughout all these sections.

the prologue

1. Whereas, in a discourse of no small length and of imperative importance, which we have finished within the compass of one book, we have refuted the folly of those who think that the disciples who have given us these Gospel histories deserve only to be disparagingly handled, for the express reason that no writings are produced by us with the claim of being compositions which have proceeded immediately from the hand of that Christ whom they refuse indeed to worship as God, but whom, nevertheless, they do not hesitate to pronounce worthy to be honoured as a man far surpassing all other men in wisdom; and as, further, we have confuted those who strive to make Him out to have written in a strain suiting their perverted inclinations, but not in terms calculated, by their perusal and acceptance, to set men right, or to turn them from their perverse ways, let us now look into the accounts which the four evangelists have given us of Christ, with the view of seeing how self-consistent they are, and how truly in harmony with each other. And let us do so in the hope that no offence, even of the smallest order may be felt in this line of things in the Christian faith by those who exhibit more curiosity than capacity, in so far as they think that a study of the evangelical books, conducted not in the way of a merely cursory perusal, but in the form of a more than ordinarily careful investigation, has disclosed to them certain matters of an inapposite and contradictory nature, and in so far as their notion is, that these things are to be held up as objections in the spirit of contention, rather than pondered in the spirit of consideration.

chap. i.—a statement of the reason why the enumeration of the ancestors of christ is carried down to joseph, while christ was not born of that man’s seed, but of the virgin mary

2. The evangelist Matthew has commenced his narrative in these terms: “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” By this exordium he shows with sufficient clearness that his undertaking is to give an account of the generation of Christ according to the flesh. For, according to this, Christ is the Son of man,—a title which He also gives very frequently to Himself,2 thereby commending to our notice what in His compassion He has condescended to be on our behalf. For that heavenly and eternal generation, in virtue of which He is the only-begotten Son of God, before every creature, because all things were made by Him, is so ineffable, that it is of it that the word of the prophet must be understood when he says, “Who shall declare His generation?” Matthew therefore traces out the human generation of Christ, mentioning His ancestors from Abraham downwards, and carrying them on to Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born. For it was not held allowable to consider him dissociated from the married estate which was entered into with Mary, on the ground that she gave birth to Christ, not as the wedded wife of Joseph, but as a virgin. For by this example an illustrious recommendation is made to faithful married persons of the principle, that even when by common consent they maintain their continence, the relation can still remain, and can still be called one of wedlock, inasmuch as, although there is no connection between the sexes of the body, there is the keeping of the affections of the mind; particularly so for this reason, that in their case we see how the birth of a son was a possibility apart from anything of that carnal intercourse which is to be practised with the purpose of the procreation of children only. Moreover, the mere fact that he had not begotten Him by act of his own, was no sufficient reason why Joseph should not be called the father of Christ; for indeed he could be in all propriety the father of one whom he had not begotten by his own wife, but had adopted from some other person.

3. Christ, it is true, was also supposed to be the son of Joseph in another way, as if He had been born simply of that man’s seed. But this supposition was entertained by persons whose notice the virginity of Mary escaped. For Luke says: “And Jesus Himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph.” This Luke, however, instead of naming Mary His only parent, had not the slightest hesitation in also speaking of both parties as His parents, when he says: “And the boy grew and waxed strong, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was in Him: and His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.”2 But lest any one may fancy that by the “parents” here are rather to be understood the blood relations of Mary along with the mother herself, what shall be said to that preceding word of the same Luke, namely, “And His father and mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of Him”?4 Since, then, he also makes the statement that Christ was born, not in consequence of Joseph’s connection with the mother, but simply of Mary the virgin, how can he call him His father, unless it be that we are to understand him to have been truly the husband of Mary, without the intercourse of the flesh indeed, but in virtue of the real union of marriage; and thus also to have been in a much closer relation the father of Christ, in so far as He was born of his wife, than would have been the case had He been only adopted from some other party? And this makes it clear that the clause, “as was supposed,” is inserted with a view to those who are of opinion that He was begotten by Joseph in the same way as other men are begotten.

chap. ii.—an explanation of the sense in which christ is the son of david, although he was not begotten in the way of ordinary generation by joseph the son of david

4. Thus, too, even if one were able to demonstrate that no descent, according to the laws of blood, could be claimed from David for Mary, we should have warrant enough to hold Christ to be the son of David, on the ground of that same mode of reckoning by which also Joseph is called His father. But seeing that the Apostle Paul unmistakably tells us that “Christ was of the seed of David according to the flesh,” how much more ought we to accept without any hesitation the position that Mary herself also was descended in some way, according to the laws of blood, from the lineage of David? Moreover, since this woman’s connection with the priestly family also is a matter not left in absolute obscurity, inasmuch as Luke inserts the statement that Elisabeth, whom he records to be of the daughters of Aaron,7 was her cousin, we ought most firmly to hold by the fact that the flesh of Christ sprang from both lines; to wit, from the line of the kings, and from that of the priests, in the case of which persons there was also instituted a certain mystical unction which was symbolically expressive among this people of the Hebrews. In other words, there was a chrism; which term makes the import of the name of Christ patent, and presents it as something indicated so long time ago by an intimation so very intelligible.

chap. iii.—a statement of the reason why matthew enumerates one succession of ancestors for christ, and luke another

5. Furthermore, as to those critics who find a difficulty in the circumstance that Matthew enumerates one series of ancestors, beginning With David and travelling downwards to Joseph, while Luke specifies a different succession, tracing it from Joseph upwards as far as to David,10 they might easily perceive that Joseph may have had two fathers,—namely, one by whom he was begotten, and a second by whom he may have been adopted. For it was an ancient custom also among that people to adopt children with the view of making sons for themselves of those whom they had not begotten. For, leaving out of sight the fact that Pharaoh’s daughter12 adopted Moses (as she was a foreigner), Jacob himself adopted his own grandsons, the sons of Joseph, in these very intelligible terms: “Now, therefore, thy two sons which were born unto thee before I came unto thee, are mine: Ephraim and Manasseh shall be mine, as Reuben and Simeon: and thy issue which thou begettest after them shall be thine.” Whence also it came to pass that there were twelve tribes of Israel, although the tribe of Levi was omitted, which did service in the temple; for along with that one the whole number was thirteen, the sons of Jacob themselves being twelve. Thus, too, we can understand how Luke, in the genealogy contained in his Gospel, has named a father for Joseph, not in the person of the father by whom he was begotten, but in that of the father by whom he was adopted, tracing the list of the progenitors upwards until David is reached. For, seeing that there is a necessity, as both evangelists give a true narrative,—to wit, both Matthew and Luke,—that one of them should hold by the line of the father who begat Joseph, and the other by the line of the father who adopted him, whom should we suppose more likely to have preserved the lineage of the adopting father, than that evangelist who has declined to speak of Joseph as begotten by the person whose son he has nevertheless reported him to be? For it is more appropriate that one should have been called the son of the man by whom he was adopted, than that he should be said to have been begotten by the man of whose flesh he was not descended. Now when Matthew, accordingly, used the phrases, “Abraham begat Isaac,”
“Isaac begat Jacob,” and so on, keeping steadily by the term “begat,” until he said at the close, “and Jacob begat Joseph,” he gave us to know with sufficient clearness, that he had traced out the order of ancestors on to that father by whom Joseph was not adopted, but begotten.

6. But even although Luke had said that Joseph was begotten by Heli, that expression ought not to disturb us to such an extent as to lead us to believe anything else than that by the one evangelist the father begetting was mentioned, and by the other the father adopting. For there is nothing absurd in saying that a person has begotten, not after the flesh, it may be, but in love, one whom he has adopted as a son. Those of us, to wit, to whom God has given power to become His sons, He did not beget of His own nature and substance, as was the case with His only Son; but He did indeed adopt us in His love. And this phrase the apostle is seen repeatedly to employ just in order to distinguish from us the only-begotten Son who is before every creature, by whom all things were made, who alone is begotten of the substance of the Father; who, in accordance with the equality of divinity, is absolutely what the Father is, and who is declared to have been sent with the view of assuming to Himself the flesh proper to that race to which we too belong according to our nature, in order that by His participation in our mortality, through His love for us, He might make us partakers of His own divinity in the way of adoption. For the apostle speaks thus: “But when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”4 And yet we are also said to be born of God,—that is to say, in so far as we, who already were men, have received power to be made the sons of God,—to be made such, moreover, by grace, and not by nature. For if we were sons by nature, we never could have been aught else. But when John said, “To them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name,” he proceeded at once to add these words, “which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Thus, of the same persons he said, first, that having received power they became the sons of God, which is what is meant by that adoption which Paul mentions; and secondly, that they were born of God. And in order the more plainly to show by what grace this is effected, he continued thus: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,”6—as if he meant to say, What wonder is it that those should have been made sons of God, although they were flesh, on whose behalf the only Son was made flesh, although He was the Word? Howbeit there is this vast difference between the two cases, that when we are made the sons of God we are changed for the better; but when the Son of God was made the son of man, He was not indeed changed into the worse, but He did certainly assume to Himself what was below Him. James also speaks to this effect: “Of His own will begat He us by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of His creatures.”8 And to preclude our supposing, as it might appear from the use of this term “begat,” that we are made what He is Himself, he here points out very plainly, that what is conceded to us in virtue of this adoption, is a kind of headship among the creatures.

7. It would be no departure from the truth, therefore, even had Luke said that Joseph was begotten by the person by whom he was really adopted. Even in that way he did in fact beget him, not indeed to be a man, but certainly to be a son; just as God has begotten us to be His sons, whom He had previously made to the effect of being men. But He begat only one to be not simply the Son, which the Father is not, but also God, which the Father in like manner is. At the same time, it is evident that if Luke had employed that phraseology, it would be altogether a matter of dubiety as to which of the two writers mentioned the father adopting, and which the father begetting of his own flesh; just as, on the other hand, although neither of them had used the word “begat,” and although the former evangelist had called him the son of the one person, and the latter the son of the other, it would nevertheless be doubtful which of them named the father by whom he was begotten, and which the father by whom he was adopted. As the case stands now, however,—the one evangelist saying that “Jacob begat Joseph,” and the other speaking of “Joseph who was the son of Heli,”—by the very distinction which they have made between the expressions, they have elegantly indicated the different objects which they have taken in hand. But surely it might easily suggest itself, as I have said, to a man of piety decided enough to make him consider it right to seek some worthier explanation than that of simply crediting the evangelist with stating what is false; it might, I repeat, readily suggest itself to such a person to examine what reasons there might be for one man being (supposed) capable of having two fathers. This, indeed, might have suggested itself even to those detractors, were it not that they preferred contention to consideration.

chap. iv.—of the reason why forty generations (not including christ himself) are found in matthew, although he divides them into three successions of fourteen each

8. The matter next to be introduced, moreover, is one requiring, in order to its right apprehension and contemplation, a reader of the greatest attention and carefulness. For it has been acutely observed that Matthew, who had proposed to himself the task of commending the kingly character in Christ, named, exclusive of Christ Himself, forty men in the series of generations. Now this number denotes the period in which, in this age and on this earth, it behoves us to be ruled by Christ in accordance with that painful discipline whereby “God scourgeth,” as it is written, “every son that He receiveth;” and of which also an apostle says that “we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”2 This discipline is also signified by that rod of iron, concerning which we read this statement in a Psalm: “Thou shalt rule them with a rod of iron;” which words occur after the saying, “Yet I am set king by Him upon His holy hill of Zion!”4 For the good, too, are ruled with a rod of iron, as it is said of them: “The time is come that judgment should begin at the house of God; and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be to them that obey not the gospel of God? and if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” To the same persons the sentence that follows also applies: “Thou shall dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” For the good, indeed, are ruled by this discipline, while the wicked are crushed by it. And these two different classes of persons are mentioned here as if they were the same, on account of the identity of the signs6 employed in reference to the wicked in common with the good.

9. That this number, then, is a sign of that laborious period in which, under the discipline of Christ the King, we have to fight against the devil, is also indicated by the fact that both the law and the prophets solemnized a fast of forty days,—that is to say, a humbling of the soul,—in the person of Moses and Elias, who fasted each for a space of forty days. And what else does the Gospel narrative shadow forth under the fast of the Lord Himself, during which forty days He was also tempted of the devil,8 than that condition of temptation which appertains to us through all the space of this age, and which He bore in the flesh which He condescended to take to Himself from our mortality? After the resurrection also, it was His will to remain with His disciples on the earth not longer than forty days, continuing to mingle for that space of time with this life of theirs in the way of human intercourse, and partaking along with them of the food needful for mortal men, although He Himself was to die no more; and all this was done with the view of signifying to them through these forty days, that although His presence should be hidden from their eyes, He would yet fulfil what He promised when He said, “Lo, I am with you, even to the end of the world.”10 And in explanation of the circumstance that this particular number should denote this temporal and earthly life, what suggests itself most immediately in the meantime, although there may be another and subtler method of accounting for it, is the consideration that the seasons of the years also revolve in four successive alternations, and that the world itself has its bounds determined by four divisions, which Scripture sometimes designates by the names of the winds,—East and West, Aquilo [or North] and Meridian [or South]. But the number forty is equivalent to four times ten. Furthermore, the number ten itself is made up by adding the several numbers in succession from one up to four together.

10. In this way, then, as Matthew undertook the task of presenting the record of Christ as the King who came into this world, and into this earthly and mortal life of men, for the purpose of exercising rule over us who have to struggle with temptation, he began with Abraham, and enumerated forty men. For Christ came in the flesh from that very nation of the Hebrews, with a view to the keeping of which as a people distinct from the other nations, God separated Abraham from his own country and his own kindred. And the circumstance that the promise contained an intimation of the race from which He was destined to come, served very specially to make the prediction and announcement concerning Him something all the clearer. Thus the evangelist did indeed mark out fourteen generations in each of three several members, stating that from Abraham until David there were fourteen generations, and from David until the carrying away into Babylon other fourteen generations, and another fourteen from that period on to the nativity of Christ.2 But he did not then reckon them all up in one sum, counting them one by one, and saying that thus they make up forty-two in all. For among these progenitors there is one who is enumerated twice, namely Jechonias, with whom a kind of deflection was made in the direction of extraneous nations at the time when the transmigration into Babylon took place. When the enumeration, moreover, is thus bent from the direct order of progression, and is made to form, if we may so say, a kind of corner for the purpose of taking a different course, what meets us at that corner is mentioned twice over,—namely, at the close of the preceding series, and at the head of the deflection specified. And this, too, was a figure of Christ as the one who was, in a certain sense, to pass from the circumcision to the uncircumcision, or, so to speak, from Jerusalem to Babylon, and to be, as it were, the corner-stone to all who believe on Him, whether on the one side or on the other. Thus was God making preparations then in a figurative manner for things which were to come in truth. For Jechonias himself, with whose name the kind of corner which I have in view was prefigured, is by interpretation the “preparation of God.”4 In this way, therefore, there are really not forty-two distinct generations named here, which would be the proper sum of three times fourteen; but, as there is a double enumeration of one of the names, we have here forty generations in all, taking into account the fact that Christ Himself is reckoned in the number, who, like the kingly president over this [significant] number forty, superintends the administration of this temporal and earthly life of ours.

11. And inasmuch as it was Matthew’s intention to set forth Christ as descending with the object of sharing this mortal state with us, he has mentioned those same generations from Abraham on to Joseph, and on to the birth of Christ Himself, in the form of a descending scale, and at the very beginning of his Gospel. Luke, on the other hand, details those generations not at the commencement of his Gospel, but at the point of Christ’s baptism, and gives them not in the descending, but in the ascending order, ascribing to Him preferentially the character of a priest in the expiation of sins, as where the voice from heaven declared Him, and where John himself delivered his testimony in these terms: “Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world!” Besides, in the process by which he traces the genealogy upwards, he passes Abraham and carries us back to God, to whom, purified and atoned for, we are reconciled. Of merit, too, He has sustained in Himself the origination of our adoption; for we are made the sons of God through adoption, by believing on the Son of God. Moreover, on our account the Son of God was pleased to be made the son of man by the generation which is proper to the flesh. And the evangelist has shown clearly enough that he did not name Joseph the son of Heli on the ground that he was begotten of him, but only on the ground that he was adopted by him. For he has spoken of Adam also as the son of God, who, strictly speaking, was made by God, but was also, as it may be said, constituted a son in paradise by the grace which afterwards he lost through his transgression.

12. In this way, it is the taking of our sins upon Himself by the Lord Christ that is signified in the genealogy of Matthew, while in the genealogy of Luke it is the abolition of our sins by the Lord Christ that is expressed. In accordance with these ideas, the one details the names in the descending scale, and the other in the ascending. For when the apostle says, “God sent His Son in the likeness of the flesh of sin,” he refers to the taking of our sins upon Himself by Christ. But when he adds, “for sin, to condemn sin in the flesh,”7 he expresses the expiation of sins. Consequently Matthew traces the succession downwards from David through Solomon, in connection with whose mother it was that he sinned; while Luke carries the genealogy upwards to the same David through Nathan, by which prophet God took away2 his sin. The number, also, which Luke follows does most certainly best indicate the taking away of sins. For inasmuch as in Christ, who Himself had no sin, there is assuredly no iniquity allied to the iniquities of men which He bore in His flesh, the number adopted by Matthew makes forty when Christ is excepted. On the contrary, inasmuch as, by clearing us of all sin and purging us, He places us in a right relation to His own and His Father’s righteousness (so that the apostle’s word is made good: “But he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit”4), in the number used by Luke we find included both Christ Himself, with whom the enumeration begins, and God, with whom it closes; and the sum becomes thus seventy-seven, which denotes the through remission and abolition of all sins. This perfect removal of sins the Lord Himself also clearly represented under the mystery of this number, when He said that the person sinning ought to be forgiven not only seven times, but even unto seventy times seven.

13. A careful inquiry will make it plain that it is not without some reason that this latter number is made to refer to the purging of all sins. For the number ten is shown to be, as one may say, the number of justice [righteousness] in the instance of the ten precepts of the law. Moreover, sin is the transgression of the law. And the transgression of the number ten is expressed suitably in the eleven; whence also we find instructions to have been given to the effect that there should be eleven curtains of haircloth constructed in the tabernacle;7 for who can doubt that the haircloth has a bearing upon the expression of sin? Thus, too, inasmuch as all time in its revolution runs in spaces of days designated by the number seven, we find that when the number eleven is multiplied by the number seven, we are brought with all due propriety to the number seventy-seven as the sign of sin in its totality. In this enumeration, therefore, we come upon the symbol for the full remission of sins, as expiation is made for us by the flesh of our Priest, with whose name the calculation of this number starts here; and as reconciliation is also effected for us with God, with whose name the reckoning of this number is here brought to its conclusion by the Holy Spirit, who appeared in the form of a dove on the occasion of that baptism in connection with which the number in question is mentioned.

chap. v.—a statement of the manner in which luke’s procedure is proved to be in harmony with matthew’s in those matters concerning the conception and the infancy or boyhood of christ, which are omitted by the one and recorded by the other

14. After the enumeration of the generations, Matthew proceeds thus: Now the birth of Christ was on this wise. Whereas His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.10 What Matthew has omitted to state here regarding the way in which that came to pass, has been set forth by Luke after his account of the conception of John. His narrative is to the following effect: And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David: and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw12 these things, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her: Fear not, Mary; for thou hast found favour with God. Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born shall be called the Son of God;14 and then follow matters not belonging to the question at present in hand. Now all this Matthew has recorded [summarily], when he tells us of Mary that “she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” Neither is there any contradiction between the two evangelists, in so far as Luke has set forth in detail what Matthew has omitted to notice; for both bear witness that Mary conceived by the Holy Ghost. And in the same way there is no want of concord between them, when Matthew, in his turn, connects with the narrative something which Luke leaves out. For Matthew proceeds to give us the following statement: Then Joseph, her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins. 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 His name shall be called Emmanuel, which, being interpreted, is, God with us. Then Joseph, being raised from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife; and knew her not till she had brought forth her first-born son;2 and he called His name Jesus. Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judæa, in the days of Herod the king, and so forth.

15. With respect to the city of Bethlehem, Matthew and Luke are at one. But Luke explains in what way and for what reason Joseph and Mary came to it; whereas Matthew gives no such explanation. On the other hand, while Luke is silent on the subject of the journey of the magi from the east, Matthew furnishes an account of it. That narrative he constructs as follows, in immediate connection with what he has already offered: Behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is He that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him. Now, when Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled. And in this manner the account goes on, down to the passage where of these magi it is written that, “being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.”5 This entire section is omitted by Luke, just as Matthew fails to mention some other circumstances which are mentioned by Luke: as, for example, that the Lord was laid in a manger; and that an angel announced His birth to the shepherds; and that there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God; and that the shepherds came and saw that that was true which the angel had announced to them; and that on the day of His circumcision He received His name; as also the incidents reported by the same Luke to have occurred after the days of the purification of Mary were fulfilled,—namely, their taking Him to Jerusalem, and the words spoken in the temple by Simeon or Anna concerning Him, when, filled with the Holy Ghost, they recognized Him. Of all these things Matthew says nothing.

16. Hence, a subject which deserves inquiry is the question concerning the precise time when these events took place which are omitted by Matthew and given by Luke, and those, on the other hand, which have been omitted by Luke and given by Matthew. For after his account of the return of the magi who had come from the east to their own country, Matthew proceeds to tell us how Joseph was warned by an angel to flee into Egypt with the young child, to prevent His being put to death by Herod; and then how Herod failed to find Him, but slew the children from two years old and under; thereafter, how, when Herod was dead, Joseph returned from Egypt, and, on hearing that Archelaus reigned in Judæa instead of his father Herod, went to reside with the boy in Galilee, at the city Nazareth. All these facts, again, are passed over by Luke. Nothing, however, like a want of harmony can be made out between the two writers merely on the ground that the latter states what the former omits, or that the former mentions what the latter leaves unnoticed. But the real question is as to the exact period at which these things could have taken place which Matthew has linked on to his narrative; to wit, the departure of the family into Egypt, and their return from it after Herod’s death, and their residence at that time in the town of Nazareth, the very place to which Luke tells us that they went back after they had performed in the temple all things regarding the boy according to the law of the Lord. Here, accordingly, we have to take notice of a fact which will also hold good for other like cases, and which will secure our minds against similar agitation or disturbance in subsequent instances. I refer to the circumstance that each evangelist constructs his own particular narrative on a kind of plan which gives it the appearance of being the complete and orderly record of the events in their succession. For, preserving a simple silence on the subject of those incidents of which he intends to give no account, he then connects those which he does wish to relate with what he has been immediately recounting, in such a manner as to make the recital seem continuous. At the same time, when one of them mentions facts of which the other has given no notice, the order of narrative, if carefully considered, will be found to indicate the point at which the writer by whom the omissions are made has taken the leap in his account, and thus has attached the facts, which it was his purpose to introduce, in such a manner to the preceding context as to give the appearance of a connected series, in which the one incident follows immediately on the other, without the interposition of anything else. On this principle, therefore, we understand that where he tells us how the wise men were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, and how they went back to their own country by another way, Matthew has simply omitted all that Luke has related respecting all that happened to the Lord in the temple, and all that was said by Simeon and Anna; while, on the other hand, Luke has omitted in the same place all notice of the journey into Egypt, which is given by Matthew, and has introduced the return to the city of Nazareth as if it were immediately consecutive.

17. If any one wishes, however, to make up one complete narrative out of all that is said or left unsaid by these two evangelists respectively, on the subject of Christ’s nativity and infancy or boyhood, he may arrange the different statements in the following order:—Now the birth of Christ was on this wise. There was, in the days of Herod the king of Judæa, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia; and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were well stricken in years. And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God, in the order of his course, according to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord: and the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense. And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord: and he shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people perfect2 for the Lord. And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. And the angel, answering, said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to show thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou hast not believed my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season. And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried in the temple. And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: and he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless. And it came to pass that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house. And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein He looked upon me, to take away my reproach among men. And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art full of grace,4 the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who is called2 barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; and entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. And it came to pass, that when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: and she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? for, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed art thou that didst believe, for there shall be a performance of those things which were told thee from the Lord. And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For He hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For He that is mighty hath done to me great things, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on them that fear Him, from generation to generation. He hath made4 strength with His arm; He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He hath sent empty away. He hath holpen His servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy: as He spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever. And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.6 Then it proceeds thus:—She was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins. 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; which, being interpreted, is, God with us. Then Joseph, being raised from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife, and knew her not.8

Now Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered, and she brought forth a son. And her neighbours and her relatives10 heard that the Lord magnified His mercy with her; and they congratulated her. And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John. And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all. And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue, and he spake and praised God. And fear came on all them that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judæa. And all they that had heard them laid them up in their heart, saying, What manner of child, thinkest thou, shall this be? For the hand of the Lord was with him. And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, Blessed be the Lord God of lsrael; for He hath visited and redeemed His people, and hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David; as He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world began; (to give) salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us: to perform mercy with our fathers, and to remember His holy covenant, the oath which He sware to Abraham our father that He would give to us; in order that, being saved out of the hand of our enemies, we might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all our days. And thou, child, shalt be called the Prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways; to give knowledge of salvation unto His people, for the remission12 of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts until the day of his showing unto Israel. And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. This first taxing2 was made when Syrinus was governor of Syria. And all went to be taxed,4 every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped Him in swaddling-clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds watching and keeping the virgils of the night over their flock. And, lo, the angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling-clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of goodwill.6 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they understood the saying which had been told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it, wondered also at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, His name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before He was conceived in the womb.8 And then it proceeds thus: Behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying. Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him. Now when Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judæa; for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou, Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently the time of the star which appeared unto them. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star which they had seen in the east went before them, until it came and stood over where the young child was. And when they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they found10 the child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshipped Him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts, gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return unto Herod, they departed into their own country another way. Then, after this account of their return, the narrative goes on thus:12 When the days of her (His mother’s) purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they brought Him to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord), and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtle-doves, or two young pigeons. And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was in him.

And it had been revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when His parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for Him after the custom of the law, then took he Him up in his arms, and said, Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word: for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel. And His father and mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of Him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary His mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign that shall be spoken against; and a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with her husband seven years from her virginity; and she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers day and night. And she, coming in that instant, gave thanks2 also unto the Lord, and spake of Him to all them that looked for the redemption of Jerusalem. And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord,4 behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and His mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word; for Herod will seek the young child to destroy Him. When he arose, he took the young child and His mother by night, and departed into Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my Son. Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation and great mourning,6 Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not. But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, Arise, and take the young child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel; for they are dead which sought the young child’s life. And he arose, and took the young child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judæa, in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither; and being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee; and he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene. And8 the child grew, and waxed strong, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was in Him. And His parents went to Jerusalem every year, at the feast of the passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem, after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and His parents knew not of it. But they, supposing Him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought Him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found Him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking Him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them and asking them questions. And all that heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. And when they saw Him, they were amazed. And His mother said to Him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I sought thee sorrowing. And He said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?10 And they understood not the saying which He spake unto them. And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them; and His mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and age,12 and in favour with God and men.

chap. vi.—on the position given to the preaching of john the baptist in all the four evangelists

18. Now at this point commences the account of the preaching of John, which is presented by all the four. For after the words which I have placed last in the order of his narrative thus far,—the words with which he introduces the testimony from the prophet, namely, He shall be called a Nazarene,—Matthew proceeds immediately to give us this recital: “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judæa,” etc. And Mark, who has told us nothing of the nativity or infancy or youth of the Lord, has made his Gospel begin with the same event,—that is to say, with the preaching of John. For it is thus that he sets out: The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; as it is written in the prophet Isaiah,2 Behold, I send a messenger before Thy face, which shall prepare Thy way before Thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight. John was in the wilderness baptizing, and preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins,4 etc. Luke, again, follows up the passage in which he says, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and age, and in favour with God and man,” by a section in which he speaks of the preaching of John in these terms: Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Cæsar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judæa, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituræa and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness,6 etc. The Apostle John, too, the most eminent of the four evangelists, after discoursing of the Word of God, who is also the Son, antecedent to all the ages of creaturely existence, inasmuch as all things were made by Him, has introduced in the immediate context his account of the preaching and testimony of John, and proceeds thus: There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This will be enough at once to make it plain that the narratives concerning John the Baptist given by the four evangelists are not at variance with one another. And there will be no occasion for requiring or demanding that to be done in all detail in this instance which we have already done in the case of the genealogies of the Christ who was born of Mary, to the effect of proving how Matthew and Luke are in harmony with each other, of showing how we might construct one consistent narrative out of the two, and of demonstrating on behoof of those of less acute perception, that although one of these evangelists may mention what the other omits, or omit what the other mentions, he does not thereby make it in any sense difficult to accept the veracity of the account given by the other. For when a single example [of this method of harmonizing] has been set before us, whether in the way in which it has been presented by me, or in some other method in which it may more satisfactorily be exhibited, every man can understand that, in all other similar passages, what he has seen done here may be done again.

19. Accordingly, let us now study, as I have said, the harmony of the four evangelists in the narratives regarding John the Baptist. Matthew proceeds in these terms: In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judæa. Mark has not used the phrase “In those days,” because he has given no recital of any series of events at the head of his Gospel immediately before this narrative, so that he might be understood to speak in reference to the dates of such events under the terms, “In those days.”9 Luke, on the other hand, with greater precision has defined those times of the preaching or baptism of John, by means of the notes of the temporal power. For he says: Now, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Cæsar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judæa, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituræa and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness. We ought not, however, to understand that what was actually meant by Matthew when He said, “In those days,” was simply the space of days literally limited to the specified period of these powers. On the contrary, it is apparent that he intended the note of time which was conveyed in the phrase “In those days,” to be taken to refer to a much longer period. For he first gives us the account of the return of Christ from Egypt after the death of Herod,—an incident, indeed, which took place at the time of His infancy or childhood, and with which, consequently, Luke’s statement of what befell Him in the temple when He was twelve years of age is quite consistent.11 Then, immediately after this narrative of the recall of the infant or boy out of Egypt, Matthew continues thus in due order: “Now, in those days came John the Baptist.” And thus under that phrase he certainly covers not merely the days of His childhood, but all the days intervening between His nativity and this period at which John began to preach and to baptize. At this period, moreover, Christ is found already to have attained to man’s estate; for John and he were of the same age;13 and it is stated that He was about thirty years of age when He was baptized by the former.

chap. vii.—of the two herods

20. But with respect to the mention of Herod, it is well understood that some are apt to be influenced by the circumstance that Luke has told us how, in the days of John’s baptizing, and at the time when the Lord, being then a grown man, was also baptized, Herod was tetrarch of Galilee; whereas Matthew tells us that the boy2 Jesus returned from Egypt after the death of Herod. Now these two accounts cannot both be true, unless we may also suppose that there were two different Herods. But as no one can fail to be aware that this is a perfectly possible case, what must be the blindness in which those persons pursue their mad follies, who are so quick to launch false charges against the truth, of the Gospels; and how miserably inconsiderate must they be, not to reflect that two men may have been called by the same name? Yet this is a thing of which examples abound on all sides. For this latter Herod is understood to have been the son of the former Herod: just as Archelaus also was, whom Matthew states to have succeeded to the throne of Judæa on the death of his father; and as Philip was, who is introduced by Luke as the brother of Herod the tetrarch, and as himself tetrarch of Ituræa. For the Herod who sought the life of the child Christ was king; whereas this other Herod, his son, was not called king, but tetrarch, which is a Greek word, signifying etymologically one set over the fourth part of a kingdom.

chap. viii.—an explanation of the statement made by matthew, to the effect that joseph was afraid to go with the infant christ into jerusalem on account of archelaus, and yet was not afraid to go into galilee, where herod, that prince’s brother, was tetrarch

21. Here again, however, it may happen that a difficulty will be found, and that some, seeing that Matthew has told us how Joseph was afraid to go into Judæa with the child on his return, expressly for the reason that Archelaus the son reigned there in place of his father Herod, may be led to ask how he could have gone into Galilee, where, as Luke bears witness, there was another son of that Herod, namely, Herod the tetrarch. But such a difficulty can only be founded on the fancy that the times indicated as those in which there was such apprehension on the child’s account were identical with the times dealt with now by Luke: whereas it is conspicuously evident that there is a change in the periods, because we no longer find Archelaus represented as king in Judæa; but in place of him we have Pontius Pilate, who also was not the king of the Jews, but only their governor, in whose times the sons of the eider Herod, acting under Tiberius Cæsar, held not the kingdom, but the tetrarchy. And all this certainly had not come to pass at the time when Joseph, in fear of the Archelaus who was then reigning in Judæa, betook himself, together with the child, into Galilee, where was also his city Nazareth.

chap. ix.—an explanation of the circumstance that matthew states that joseph’s reason for going into galilee with the child christ was his fear of archelaus, who was reigning at that time in jerusalem in place of his father, while luke tells us that the reason for going into galilee was the fact that their city nazareth was there

22. Or may a question perchance be raised as to how Matthew tells us that His parents went with the boy Jesus into Galilee, because they were unwilling to go into Judæa in consequence of their fear of Archelaus; whereas it would rather appear that the reason for their going into Galilee was, as Luke has not failed to indicate, the consideration that their city was Nazareth of Galilee? Well, but we must observe, that when the angel said to Joseph in his dreams in Egypt, “Arise, and take the young child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel,” the words were understood at first by Joseph in a way that made him consider himself commanded to journey into Judæa. For that was the first interpretation that could have been put upon the phrase, “the land of Israel.” But again, after ascertaining that Archelaus, the son of Herod, was reigning there, he declined to expose himself to such danger, inasmuch as this phrase, “the land of Israel,” was capable also of being so understood as to cover Galilee too, because the people of Israel were occupants of that territory as well as the other. At the same time, this question also admits of being solved in another manner. For it might have appeared to the parents of Christ that they were called to take up their residence along with the boy, concerning whom such information had been conveyed to them through the responses of angels, just in Jerusalem itself, where was the temple of the Lord: and it may thus be, that when they came back out of Egypt, they would have gone directly thither in that belief, and have taken up their abode there, had it not been that they were terrified at the presence of Archelaus. And certainly they did not receive any such instructions from heaven to take up their residence there as would have made it their imperative duty to set at nought the fears they entertained of Archelaus.

chap. x.—a statement of the reason why luke tells us that “his parents went to jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover” along with the boy; while matthew intimates that their dread of archelaus made them afraid to go there on their return from egypt

23. Or does any one put to us this question, How was it, then, that His parents went up to Jerusalem every year during the boyhood of Christ, as Luke’s narrative bears, if they were prevented from going there by the fear of Archelaus? Well, I should not deem it any very difficult task to solve this question, even although none of the evangelists has given us to understand how long Archelaus reigned there. For it might have been the case that, simply for that one day, and with the intention of returning forthwith, they went up on the day of the feast, without attracting any notice among the vast multitudes then assembled, to the city where, nevertheless, they were afraid to make their residence on other days. And thus they might at once have saved themselves from the appearance of being so irreligious as to neglect the observance of the feast, and have avoided drawing attention upon themselves by a continued sojourn. But further, although all the evangelists have omitted to tell us what was the length of the reign of Archelaus, we have still open to us this obvious method of explaining the matter, namely, to understand the custom to which Luke refers, when he says that they were in the habit of going to Jerusalem every year, as one prosecuted at a time when Archelaus was no more an object of fear. But if the reign of Archelaus should be made out to have lasted for a somewhat longer period on the authority of any extra-evangelical history which appears to deserve credit, the consideration which I have indicated above should still prove quite sufficient,—namely, the supposition that the fear which the parents of the child entertained of a residence in Jerusalem was, nevertheless, not of such a nature as to lead them to neglect the observance of the sacred festival to which they were under obligation in the fear of God, and which they might very easily go about in a manner that would not attract public attention to them. For surely it is nothing incredible that, by taking advantage of favourable opportunities, whether by day or by hour, men may (safely venture to) approach places in which they nevertheless are afraid to be found tarrying.

chap. xi.—an examination of the question as to how it was possible for them to go up, according to luke’s statement, with him to jerusalem to the temple, when the days of the purification of the mother of christ were accomplished, in order to perform the usual rites, if it is correctly recorded by matthew, that herod had already learned from the wise men that the child was born in whose stead, when he sought for him, he slew so many children

24. Hereby also we see how another question is solved, if any one indeed finds a difficulty in it. I allude to the question as to how it was possible, on the supposition that the elder Herod was already anxious (to obtain information regarding Him), and agitated by the intelligence received from the wise men concerning the birth of the King of the Jews, for them, when the days of the purification of His mother were accomplished, to go up in any safety with Him to the temple, in order to see to the performance of those things which were according to the law of the Lord, and which are specified by Luke. For who can fail to perceive that this solitary day might very easily have escaped the notice of a king, whose attention was engaged with a multitude of affairs? Or if it does not appear probable that Herod, who was waiting in the extremest anxiety to see what report the wise men would bring back to him concerning the child, should have been so long in finding out how he had been mocked, that, only after the mother’s purification was already past, and the solemnities proper to the first-born were performed with respect to the child in the temple, nay more, only after their departure into Egypt, did it come into his mind to seek the life of the child, and to slay so many little ones;—if, I say, any one finds a difficulty in this, I shall not pause to state the numerous and important occupations by which the king’s attention may have been engaged, and for the space of many days either wholly diverted from such thoughts, or prevented from following them out. For it is not possible to enumerate all the cases which might have made that perfectly possible. No one, however, is so ignorant of human affairs as either to deny or to question that there may very easily have been many such matters of importance (to preoccupy the king). For to whom will not the thought occur, that reports, whether true or false, of many other more terrible things may possibly have been brought to the king, so that the person who had been apprehensive of a certain royal child, who after a number of years might prove an adversary to himself or to his sons, might be so agitated with the terrors of certain more immediate dangers, as to have his attention forcibly removed from that earlier anxiety, and engaged rather with the devising of measures to ward off other more instantly threatening perils? Wherefore, leaving all such considerations unspecified, I simply venture on the assertion that, when the wise men failed to bring back any report to him, Herod may have believed that they had been misled by a deceptive vision of a star, and that, after their want of success in discovering Him whom they had supposed to have been born, they had been ashamed to return to him; and that in this way the king, having his fears allayed, had given up the idea of asking after and persecuting the child. Consequently, when they had gone with Him to Jerusalem after the purification of His mother, and when those things had been performed in the temple which are recounted by Luke, inasmuch as the words which were spoken by Simeon and Anna in their prophesyings regarding Him, when publicity began to be given to them by the persons who had heard them, were like to call back the king’s mind then to its original design, Joseph obeyed the warning conveyed to him in the dream, and fled with the child and His mother into Egypt. Afterwards, when the things which had been done and said in the temple were made quite public, Herod perceived that he had been mocked; and then, in his desire to get at the death of Christ, he slew the multitude of children, as Matthew records.2

chap. xii.—concerning the words ascribed to john by all the four evangelists respectively

25. Moreover, Matthew makes up his account of John in the following manner:—Now in those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judæa, and saying, Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is He that is spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight. Mark also and Luke agree in presenting this testimony of Isaiah as one referring to John.4 Luke, indeed, has likewise recorded some other words from the same prophet, which follow those already cited, when he gives his narrative of John the Baptist. The evangelist John, again, mentions that John the Baptist did also personally advance this same testimony of Isaiah regarding himself. And, to a similar effect, Matthew here has given us certain words of John which are unrecorded by the other evangelists. For he speaks of him as “preaching in the wilderness of Judæa, and saying, Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand;”
which words of John have been omitted by the others. In what follows, however, in immediate connection with that passage in Matthew’s Gospel,—namely, the sentence, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight,”—the position is ambiguous; and it does not clearly appear whether this is something recited by Matthew in his own person, or rather a continuance of the words spoken by John himself, so as to lead us to understand the whole passage to be the reproduction of John’s own utterance, in this way: “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand; for this is He that was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah,” and so on. For it ought to create no difficulty against this latter view, that he does not say, “For I am He that was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah,” but employs the phraseology, “For this is He that was spoken of.” For that, indeed, is a mode of speech which the evangelists Matthew and John are in the habit of using in reference to themselves. Thus Matthew has adopted the phrase, “He found7 a man sitting at the receipt of custom,” instead of “He found me.” John, too, says, “This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things, and we know that his testimony is true,”9 instead of “I am,” etc., or, “My testimony is true.” Yea, our Lord Himself very frequently uses the words, “The Son of man,” or, “The Son of God,”11 instead of saying, “I.” So, again, He tells us that “it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day,” instead of saying, “It behoved me to suffer.” Consequently it is perfectly possible that the clause, “For this is He that was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah,” which immediately follows the saying, “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” may be but a continuation of what John the Baptist said of himself; so that only after these words cited from the speaker himself will Matthew’s own narrative proceed, being thus resumed: “And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair,” and so forth. But if this is the case, then it need not seem wonderful that, when asked what he had to say regarding himself, he should reply, according to the narrative of the evangelist John, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness,”13 as he had already spoken in the same terms when enjoining on them the duty of repentance. Accordingly, Matthew goes on to tell us about his attire and his mode of living, and continues his account thus: And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins, and his meat was locusts and wild honey. Mark also gives us this same statement almost in so many words. But the other two evangelists omit it.

26. Matthew then proceeds with his narrative, and says: Then went out to him Jerusalem and all Judæa, and all the region round about Jordan, and were baptized by him in Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance; and think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. For now the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be hewn down and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance; but He that is to come after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire: whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. This whole passage is also given by Luke, who ascribes almost the same words to John. And where there is any variation in the words, there is nevertheless no real departure from the sense. Thus, for example, Matthew tells us that John said, “And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father,” where Luke puts it thus: “And begin not to say, We have Abraham to our father.” Again, in the former we have the words, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance;” whereas the latter brings in the questions put by the multitudes as to what they should do, and represents John to have replied to them with a statement of good works as the fruits of repentance,—all which is omitted by Matthew. So, when Luke tells us what reply the Baptist made to the people when they were musing in their hearts concerning Him, and thinking whether He were the Christ, he gives us simply the words, “I indeed baptize you with water,” and does not add the phrase, “unto repentance.” Further, in Matthew the Baptist says, “But he that is to come after me is mightier than I;” while in Luke he is exhibited as saying, “But one mightier than I cometh.” In like manner, according to Matthew, he says, “whose shoes I am not worthy to bear;” but according to the other, his words are, “the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose.” The latter sayings are recorded also by Mark, although he makes no mention of those other matters. For, after noticing his attire and his mode of living, he goes on thus: “And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose: I have baptized you with water, but He shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit.” In the notice of the shoes, therefore, he differs from Luke in so far as he has added the words, “to stoop down;” and in the account of the baptism he differs from both these others in so far as he does not say, “and in fire,” but only, “in the Holy Spirit.” For as in Matthew, so also in Luke, the words are the same, and they are given in the same order, “He shall baptize you in the Spirit and in fire,”—with this single exception, that Luke has not added the adjective “Holy,”2 while Matthew has given it thus: “in the Holy Spirit and in fire.” The statements made by these three are attested by the evangelist John, when he says: “John bears witness4 of Him, and cries, saying, This was He of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me; for He was before me.” For thus he indicates that the thing was spoken by John at the time at which those other evangelists record him to have uttered the words. Thus, too, he gives us to understand that John was repeating and calling into notice again something which he had already spoken, when he said, “This was He of whom I spake, He that cometh after me.”

27. If now the question is asked, as to which of the words we are to suppose the most likely to have been the precise words used by John the Baptist, whether those recorded as spoken by him in Matthew’s Gospel, or those in Luke’s, or those which Mark has introduced, among the few sentences which he mentions to have been uttered by him, while he omits notice of all the rest, it will not be deemed worth while creating any difficulty for oneself in a matter of that kind, by any one who wisely understands that the real requisite in order to get at the knowledge of the truth is just to make sure of the things really meant, whatever may be the precise words in which they happen to be expressed. For although one writer may retain a certain order in the words, and another present a different one, there is surely no real contradiction in that. Nor, again, need there be any antagonism between the two, although one may state what another omits. For it is evident that the evangelists have set forth these matters just in accordance with the recollection each retained of them, and just according as their several predilections prompted them to employ greater brevity or richer detail on certain points, while giving, nevertheless, the same account of the subjects themselves.

28. Thus, too, in what more pertinently concerns the matter in hand, it is sufficiently obvious that, since the truth of the Gospel, conveyed in that word of God which abides eternal and unchangeable above all that is created, but which at the same time has been disseminated throughout the world by the instrumentality of temporal symbols, and by the tongues of men, has possessed itself of the most exalted height of authority, we ought not to suppose that any one of the writers is giving an unreliable account, if, when several persons are recalling some matter either heard or seen by them, they fail to follow the very same plan, or to use the very same words, while describing, nevertheless, the self-same fact. Neither should we indulge such a supposition, although the order of the words may be varied; or although some words may be substituted in place of others, which nevertheless have the same meaning; or although something may be left unsaid, either because it has not occurred to the mind of the recorder, or because it becomes readily intelligible from other statements which are given; or although, among other matters which (may not bear directly on his immediate purpose, but which) he decides on mentioning rather for the sake of the narrative, and in order to preserve the proper order of time, one of them may introduce something which he does not feel called upon to expound as a whole at length, but only to touch upon in part; or although, with the view of illustrating his meaning, and making it thoroughly clear, the person to whom authority is given to compose the narrative makes some additions of his own, not indeed in the subject-matter itself, but in the words by which it is expressed; or although, while retaining a perfectly reliable comprehension of the fact itself, he may not be entirely successful, however he may make that his aim, in calling to mind and reciting anew with the most literal accuracy the very words which he heard on the occasion. Moreover, if any one affirms that the evangelists ought certainly to have had that kind of capacity imparted to them by the power of the Holy Spirit, which would secure them against all variation the one from the other, either in the kind of words, or in their order, or in their number, that person fails to perceive, that just in proportion as the authority of the evangelists [under their existing conditions] is made pre-eminent, the credit of all other men who offer true statements of events ought to have been established on a stronger basis by their instrumentality: so that when several parties happen to narrate the same circumstance, none of them can by any means be rightly charged with untruthfulness if he differs from the other only in such a way as can be defended on the ground of the antecedent example of the evangelists themselves. For as we are not at liberty either to suppose or to say that any one of the evangelists has stated what is false, so it will be apparent that any other writer is as little chargeable with untruth, with whom, in the process of recalling anything for narration, it has fared only in a way similar to that in which it is shown to have fared with those evangelists. And just as it belongs to the highest morality to guard against all that is false, so ought we all the more to be ruled by an authority so eminent, to the effect that we should not suppose ourselves to come upon what must be false, when we find the narratives of any writers differ from each other in the manner in which the records of the evangelists are proved to contain variations. At the same time, in what most seriously concerns the faithfulness of doctrinal teaching, we should also understand that it is not so much in mere words, as rather truth in the facts themselves, that is to be sought and embraced; for as to writers who do not employ precisely the same modes of statement, if they only do not present discrepancies with respect to the facts and the sentiments themselves, we accept them as holding the same position in veracity.2

29. With respect, then, to those comparisons which I have instituted between the several narratives of the evangelists, what do these present that must be considered to be of a contradictory order? Are we to regard in this light the circumstance that one of them has given us the words, “whose shoes I am not worthy to bear,” whereas the others speak of the “unloosing of the latchet of the shoe”? For here, indeed, the difference seems to be neither in the mere words, nor in the order of the words, nor in any matter of simple phraseology, but in the actual matter of fact, when in the one case the “bearing of the shoe” is mentioned, and in the other the “unloosing of the shoe’s latchet.” Quite fairly, therefore, may the question be put, as to what it was that John declared himself unworthy to do—whether to bear the shoes, or to unloose the shoe’s latchet. For if only the one of these two sentences was uttered by him, then that evangelist will appear to have given the correct narrative who was in a position to record what was said; while the writer who has given the saying in another form, although he may not indeed have offered an [intentionally] false account of it, may at any rate be taken to have made a slip of memory, and will be reckoned thus to have stated one thing instead of another. It is only seemly, however, that no charge of absolute unveracity should be laid against the evangelists, and that, too, not only with regard to that kind of unveracity which comes by the positive telling of what is false, but also with regard to that which arises through forgetfulness. Therefore, if it is pertinent to the matter to deduce one sense from the words “to bear the shoes,” and another sense from the words “to unloose the shoe’s latchet,” what should one suppose the correct interpretation to be put on the facts, but that John did give utterance to both these sentences, either on two different occasions or in one and the same connection? For he might very well have expressed himself thus, “whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose, and whose shoes I am not worthy to bear:” and then one of the evangelists may have reproduced the one portion of the saying, and the rest of them the other; while, notwithstanding this, all of them have really given a veracious narrative. But further, if, when he spoke of the shoes of the Lord, John meant nothing more than to convey the idea of His supremacy and his own lowliness, then, whichever of the two sayings may have actually been uttered by him, whether that regarding the unloosing of the latchet of the shoes, or that respecting the bearing of the shoes, the self-same sense is still correctly preserved by any writer who, while making mention of the shoes in words of his own, has expressed at the same time the same idea of lowliness, and thus has not made any departure from the real mind [of the person of whom he writes]. It is therefore a useful principle, and one particularly worthy of being borne in mind, when we are speaking of the concord of the evangelists, that there is no divergence [to be supposed] from truth, even when they introduce some saying different from what was actually uttered by the person concerning whom the narrative is given, provided that, notwithstanding this, they set forth as his mind precisely what is also so conveyed by that one among them who reproduces the words as they were literally spoken. For thus we learn the salutary lesson, that our aim should be nothing else than to ascertain what is the mind and intention of the person who speaks.

chap. xiii.—of the baptism of jesus

30. Matthew then continues his narrative in the following terms: “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbade Him, saying, I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me? And Jesus answering, said unto him, Suffer it to be so now; for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered Him.” The others also attest the fact that Jesus came to John. The three also mention that He was baptized. But they omit all mention of one circumstance recorded by Matthew, namely, that John addressed the Lord, or that the Lord made answer to John.2

chap. xiv.—of the words or the voice that came from heaven upon him when he had been baptized

31. Thereafter Matthew proceeds thus: “And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water; and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him; and, lo, a voice from heaven saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” This incident is also recorded in a similar manner by two of the others, namely Mark and Luke. But at the same time, while preserving the sense intact, they use different modes of expression in reproducing the terms of the voice which came from heaven. For although Matthew tells us that the words were, “This is my beloved Son,” while the other two put them in this form, “Thou art my beloved Son,” these different methods of speech serve but to convey the same sense, according to the principle which has been discussed above. For the heavenly voice gave utterance only to one of these sentences; but by the form of words thus adopted, namely, “This is my beloved Son,” it was the evangelist’s intention to show that the saying was meant to intimate specially to the hearers there [and not to Jesus] the fact that He was the Son of God. With this view, he chose to give the sentence, “Thou art my beloved Son,” this turn, “This is my beloved Son,” as if it were addressed directly to the people. For it was not meant to intimate to Christ a fact which He knew already; but the object was to let the people who were present hear it, for whose sakes indeed the voice itself was given. But furthermore now, with regard to the circumstance that the first of them puts the saying thus, “In whom I am well pleased,” the second thus,
“In Thee I am well pleased;” and the third thus,
“In Thee it has pleased me;”—if you ask which of these different modes represents what was actually expressed by the voice, you may fix on whichever you will, provided only that you understand that those of the writers who have not reproduced the self-same form of speech have still reproduced the identical sense intended to be conveyed. And these variations in the modes of expression are also useful in this way, that they make it possible for us to reach a more adequate conception of the saying than might have been the case with only one form, and that they also secure it against being interpreted in a sense not consonant with the real state of the case. For as to the sentence, “In whom I am well pleased,” if any one thinks of taking it as if it meant that God is pleased with Himself in the Son, he is taught a lesson of prudence by the other turn which is given to the saying, “In Thee I am well pleased.”2 And on the other hand, if, looking at this last by itself, any one supposes the meaning to be, that in the Son the Father had favour with men, he learns something from the third form of the utterance, “In Thee it has pleased me.” From this it becomes sufficiently apparent, that whichever of the evangelists may have preserved for us the words as they were literally uttered by the heavenly voice, the others have varied the terms only with the object of setting forth the same sense more familiarly; so that what is thus given by all of them might be understood as if the expression were: In Thee I have set my good pleasure; that is to say, by Thee to do what is my pleasure.4 But once more, with respect to that rendering which is contained in some codices of the Gospel according to Luke, and which bears that the words heard in the heavenly voice were those that are written in the Psalm, “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten Thee;” although it is said not to be found in the more ancient Greek codices, yet if it can be established by any copies worthy of credit, what results but that we suppose both voices to have been heard from heaven, in one or other verbal order?

chap. xv.—an explanation of the circumstance that, according to the evangelist john, john the baptist says, “i knew him not;” while. according to the others, it is found that he did already know him

32. Again, the account of the dove given in the Gospel according to John does not mention the time at which the incident happened, but contains a statement of the words of John the Baptist as reporting what he saw. In this section, the question rises as to how it is said, “And I knew Him not: but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining on Him, the same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Spirit.” For if he came to I know Him only at the time when he saw the dove descending upon Him, the inquiry is raised as to how he could have said to Him, as He came to be baptized, “I ought rather to be baptized of Thee.”7 For the Baptist addressed Him thus before the dove descended. From this, however, it is evident that, although he did know Him [in a certain sense] before this time,—for he even leaped in his mother’s womb when Mary visited Elisabeth,—there was yet something which was not known to him up to this time, and which he learned by the descending of the dove,—namely, the fact that He baptized in the Holy Spirit by a certain divine power proper to Himself; so that no man who received this baptism from God, even although he baptized some, should be able to say that that which he imparted was his own, or that the Holy Spirit was given by him.

chap. xvi.—of the temptation of jesus

33. Matthew proceeds with his narrative in these terms: “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. And when the tempter came to Him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. And so the account continues, until we come to the words, Then the devil left him: and, behold, angels came and ministered unto Him.”10 This whole narrative is given also in a similar manner by Luke, although not in the same order. And this makes it uncertain which of the two latter temptations took place first: whether it was that the kingdoms of the world were shown Him first, and then that He Himself was taken up to the pinnacle of the temple thereafter; or whether it was that this latter act occurred first, and that the other scene followed it. It is, however, a matter of no real consequence, provided it be clear that all these incidents did take place. And as Luke sets forth the same events and ideas in different words, attention need not ever be called to the fact that no loss results thereby to truth. Mark, again, does indeed attest the fact that He was tempted of the devil in the wilderness for forty days and forty nights; but he gives no statement of what was said to Him, or of the replies He made. At the same time, he does not fail to notice the circumstance which is omitted by Luke, namely, that the angels ministered unto Him. John, however, has left out this whole passage.

chap. xvii.—of the calling of the apostles as they were fishing

34. Matthew’s narrative is continued thus: “Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, He departed into Galilee.” Mark states the same fact, as also does Luke,2 only Luke says nothing in the present section as to John being cast into prison. The evangelist John, again, tells us that, before Jesus went into Galilee, Peter and Andrew were with Him one day, and that on that occasion the former had this name, Peter, given him, while before that period he was called Simon. Likewise John tells us, that on the day following, when Jesus was now desirous of going forth unto Galilee, He found Philip, and said to him that he should follow Him. Thus, too, the evangelist comes to give the narrative about Nathanael. Further, he informs us that on the third day, when He was yet in Galilee, Jesus wrought the miracle of the turning of the water into wine at Cana.4 All these incidents are left unrecorded by the other evangelists, who continue their narratives at once with the statement of the return of Jesus into Galilee. Hence we are to understand that there was an interval here of several days, during which those incidents took place in the history of the disciples which are inserted at this point by John. Neither is there anything contradictory here to that other passage where Matthew tells us how the Lord said to Peter, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church.”6 But we are not to understand that that was the time when he first received this name; but we are rather to suppose that this took place on the occasion when it was said to him, as John mentions, “Thou shall be called Cephas, which is, by interpretation, A stone.” Thus the Lord could address him at that later period by this very name, when He said, “Thou art Peter.” For He does not say then, “Thou shalt be called Peter,” but, “Thou art Peter;” because on a previous occasion he had already been spoken to in this manner, “Thou shalt be called.”

35. After this, Matthew goes on with his narrative in these terms: “And leaving the city of Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capharnaum, which is upon the sea-coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim;” and so forth, until we come to the conclusion of the sermon which He delivered on the mount. In this section of the narrative, Mark agrees with him in attesting the calling of the disciples Peter and Andrew, and a little after that, the calling of James and John. But whereas Matthew introduces in this immediate context his account of that lengthened sermon which He delivered on the mount, after He cured a multitude, and when great crowds followed Him, Mark has inserted other matters at this point, touching His teaching in the synagogue, and the people’s amazement at His doctrine. Then, too, he has stated what Matthew also states, although not till after that lengthened sermon has been given, namely, that “He taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.” He has likewise given us the account of the man out of whom the unclean spirit was cast; and after that the story of Peter’s mother-in-law. In these things, moreover, Luke is in accord with him. But Matthew has given us no notice of the evil spirit here. The story of Peter’s mother-in-law, however, he has not omitted, only he brings it in at a later stage.9

36. In this paragraph, moreover, which we are at present considering, the same Matthew follows up his account of the calling of those disciples to whom, when they were engaged in fishing, He gave the command to follow Him, by a narrative to the effect that He went about Galilee, teaching in the synagogues, and preaching the gospel, and healing all manner of sickness; and that when multitudes had gathered about Him, He went up into a mountain, and delivered that lengthened sermon [already alluded to]. Thus the evangelist gives us ground for understanding that those incidents which are recorded by Mark after the election of those same disciples, took place at the period when He was going about Galilee, and teaching in their synagogues. We are at liberty also to suppose that what happened to Peter’s mother-in-law came in at this point; and that he has mentioned at a later stage what he has passed over here, although he has not indeed brought up at that later point, for direct recital, everything else which is omitted at the earlier.

37. The question may indeed be raised as to how John gives us this account of the calling of the disciples, which is to the effect that, certainly not in Galilee, but in the vicinity of the Jordan, Andrew first of all became a follower of the Lord, together with another disciple whose name is not declared; that, in the second place, Peter got that name from Him; and thirdly, that Philip was called to follow Him; whereas the other three evangelists, in a satisfactory concord with each other, Matthew and Mark in particular being remarkably at one here, tell us that the men were called when they were engaged in fishing. Luke, it is true, does not mention Andrew by name. Nevertheless, we can gather that he was in that same vessel, from the narrative of Matthew and Mark, who furnish a concise history of the manner in which the affair was gone about. Luke, however, presents us with a fuller and clearer exposition of the circumstances, and gives us also an account of the miracle which was performed there in the haul of fishes, and of the fact that previous to that the Lord spake to the multitudes when He was seated in the boat. There may also seem to be a discrepancy in this respect, that Luke records the saying, “From henceforth thou shalt catch men,” as if it had been addressed by the Lord to Peter alone, while the others have exhibited it as spoken to both the brothers.2 But it may very well be the case that these words were spoken first to Peter himself, when he was seized with amazement at the immense multitude of fishes which were caught, and this will then be the incident introduced by Luke; and that they were addressed to the two together somewhat later, which [second utterance] will be the one noticed by the other two evangelists. Therefore the circumstance which we have mentioned with regard to John’s narrative deserves to be carefully considered; for it may indeed be supposed to bring before us a contradiction of no slight importance. For if it be the case that in the vicinity of the Jordan, and before Jesus went into Galilee, two men, on hearing the testimony of John the Baptist, followed Jesus; that of these two disciples the one was Andrew, who at once went and brought his own brother Simon to Jesus; and that on this occasion that brother received the name Peter, by which he was thereafter to be called,—how can it be said by the other evangelists that He found them engaged in fishing in Galilee, and called them there to be His disciples? How can these diverse accounts be reconciled, unless it be that we are to understand that those men did not gain such a view of Jesus on the occasion connected with the vicinity of the Jordan as would lead them to attach themselves to Him for ever, but that they simply came to know who He was, and, after their first wonder at His Person, returned to their former engagements?

38. For [it is noticeable that] again in Cana of Galilee, after He had turned the water into wine, this same John tells us how His disciples believed on Him. The narrative of that miracle proceeds thus: “And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there. And both Jesus was called and His disciples to the marriage.” Now, surely, if it was on this occasion that they believed on Him, as the evangelist tells us a little further on, they were not yet His disciples at the time when they were called to the marriage. This, however, is a mode of speech of the same kind with what is intended when we say that the Apostle Paul was born in Tarsus of Cilicia;5 for certainly he was not an apostle at that period. In like manner are we told here that the disciples of Christ were invited to the marriage, by which we are to understand, not that they were already disciples, but only that they were to be His disciples. For, at the time when this narrative was prepared and committed to writing, they were the disciples of Christ in fact; and that is the reason why the evangelist, as the historian of past times, has thus spoken of them.

39. But further, as to John’s statement, that “after this He went down to Capharnaum, He and His mother, and His brethren and His disciples; and they continued there not many days;” it is uncertain whether by this period these men had already attached themselves to Him, in particular Peter and Andrew, and the sons of Zebedee. For Matthew first of all tells us that He came and dwelt in Capharnaum,7 and then that He called them from their boats as they were engaged in fishing. On the other hand, John says that His disciples came with Him to Capharnaum. Now it may be the case that Matthew has but gone over here something he had omitted in its proper order. For he does not say, “After this, walking by the sea of Galilee, He saw two brethren,” but, without any indication of the strict consecution of time, simply, “And walking by the sea of Galilee, He saw two brethren,” and so forth: consequently it is quite possible that he has recorded at this later period not something which took place actually at that later time, but only something which he had omitted to introduce before; so that the men may be understood in this way to have come along with Him to Capharnaum, to which place John states that He did come, He and His mother and His disciples: or should we rather suppose that these were a different body of disciples, as He [may already have] had a follower in Philip, whom He called in this particular manner, by saying to him, “Follow me”? For in what order all the twelve apostles were called is not apparent from the narratives of the evangelists. Indeed, not only is the succession of the various callings left unrecorded; but even the fact of the calling is not mentioned in the case of all of them, the only vocations specified being those of Philip, and Peter and Andrew, and the sons of Zebedee, and Matthew the publican, who was also called Levi.9 The first and only person, however, who received a separate name from Him was Peter. For He did not give the sons of Zebedee their names individually, but He called them both together the sons of thunder.2

40. Besides, we ought certainly to note the fact that the evangelical and apostolical Scriptures do not confine this designation of His “disciples” to those twelve alone, but give the same appellation to all those who believed on Him, and were educated under His instruction for the kingdom of heaven. Out of the whole number of such He chose twelve, whom He also named apostles, as Luke mentions. For a little further on he says: And He came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the concourse of His disciples and a great multitude of people.4 And surely he would not speak of a “concourse” [or “crowd”] of disciples if he referred only to twelve men. In other passages of the Scriptures also the fact is plainly apparent, that all those were called His disciples who were instructed by Him in what pertained to eternal life.

41. But the question may be asked, how He called the fishermen from their boats two by two, namely, calling Peter and Andrew first, and then going forward a little and calling other two, namely the sons of Zebedee, according to the narratives of Matthew and Mark; whereas Luke’s version of the matter is, that both their boats were filled with the immense haul of fishes. And his statement bears further, that Peter’s partners, to wit, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were summoned to the men’s help when they were unable to drag out their crowded nets, and that all who were there were astonished at the enormous draught of fishes which had been taken; and that when Jesus said to Peter, “Fear not, from henceforth thou shall catch men,” although the words had been addressed to Peter alone, they all nevertheless followed Him when they had brought their ships to land. Well, we are to understand by this, that what Luke introduces here was what took place first, and that these men were not called by the Lord on this occasion, but only that the prediction was uttered to Peter by himself, that he would be a fisher of men. That saying, moreover, was not intended to convey that they would never thereafter be catchers of fish. For we read that even after the Lord’s resurrection they were engaged again in fishing.6 The words, therefore, imported simply that thereafter he would catch men, and they did not bear that henceforth he would not catch fish. And in this way we are at perfect liberty to suppose that they returned to the catching of fish, according to their habit; so that those incidents which are related by Matthew and Mark might easily take place at a period subsequent to this. I refer to what occurred at the time when He called the disciples two by two, and Himself gave them the command to follow Him, at first addressing Peter and Andrew, and then the others, namely, the two sons of Zebedee. For on that occasion they did not follow Him only after they had drawn up their ships on shore, as with the intention of returning to them, but they went after Him immediately, as after one who summoned and commanded them to follow Him.

chap. xviii.—of the date of his departure into galilee

42. Furthermore, we must consider the question how the evangelist John, before there is any mention of the casting of John the Baptist into prison, tells us that Jesus went into Galilee. For, after relating how He turned the water into wine at Cana of Galilee, and how He came down to Capernaum with His mother and His disciples, and how they abode there not many days, he tells us that He went up then to Jerusalem on account of the passover; that after this He came into the land of Judæa along with His disciples, and tarried there with them, and baptized; and then in what follows at this point the evangelist says: “And John also was baptizing in Ænon, near to Salim, because there was much water there; and they came, and were baptized: for John was not yet cast into prison.” On the other hand, Matthew says: “Now when He had heard that John was cast into prison, Jesus departed into Galilee.”8 In like manner, Mark’s words are: “Now, after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee.” Luke, again, says nothing indeed about the imprisonment of John; but notwithstanding this, after his account of the baptism and temptation of Christ, he also makes a statement to the same effect with that of these other two, namely, that Jesus went into Galilee. For he has connected the several parts of his narrative here in this way: “And when all the temptation was ended, the devil departed from Him for a season; and Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and there went out a fame of Him through all the region round about,”10 From all this, however, we may gather, not that these three evangelists have made any statement opposed to the evangelist John, but only that they have left unrecorded the Lord’s first advent in Galilee after His baptism; on which occasion also He turned the water into wine there. For at that period John had not yet been cast into prison. And we are also to understand that these three evangelists have introduced into the context of these narratives an account of another journey of His into Galilee, which took place after John’s imprisonment, regarding which return into Galilee the evangelist John himself furnishes the following notice: “When, therefore, Jesus knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus makes and baptizes more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself baptized not, but His disciples), he left Judæa, and departed again into Galilee.” So, then, we perceive that by that time John had been already cast into prison; and further, that the Jews had heard that He was making and baptizing more disciples than John had made and baptized.

chap. xix.—of the lengthened sermon which, according to matthew, he delivered on the mount

43. Now, regarding that lengthened sermon which, according to Matthew, the Lord delivered on the mount, let us at present see whether it appears that the rest of the evangelists stand in no manner of antagonism to it. Mark, it is true, has not recorded it at all, neither has he preserved any utterances of Christ’s in any way resembling it, with the exception of certain sentences which are not given connectedly, but occur here and there, and which the Lord repeated in other places. Nevertheless, he has left a space in the text of his narrative indicating the point at which we may understand this sermon to have been spoken, although it has been left unrecited. That is the place where he says: “And He was preaching in their synagogues, and in all Galilee, and was casting out devils.” Under the head of this preaching, in which he says Jesus engaged in all Galilee, we may also understand that discourse to be comprehended which was delivered on the mount, and which is detailed by Matthew. For the same Mark continues his account thus: “And there came a leper to Him, beseeching Him; and kneeling down to Him, said, If Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean.”3 And he goes on with the rest of the story of the cleansing of this leper, in such a manner as to make it intelligible to us that the person in question is the very man who is mentioned by Matthew as having been healed at the time when the Lord came down from the mount after the delivery of His discourse. For this is how Matthew gives the history there: “Now, when He was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him; and, behold, there came a leper, and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean;” and so on.

44. This leper is also referred to by Luke, not indeed in this order, but after the manner in which the writers are accustomed to act, recording at a subsequent point things which have been omitted at a previous stage, or bringing in at an earlier point occurrences which took place at a later period, according as they had incidents suggested to their minds by the heavenly influence, with which indeed they had become acquainted before, but which they were afterwards prompted to commit to writing as they came up to their recollection. This same Luke, however, has also left us a version of his own of that copious discourse of the Lord, in a passage which he commences just as the section in Matthew begins. For in the latter the words run thus: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven;”6 while in the former they are put thus: “Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.” Then, too, much of what follows in Luke’s narrative is similar to what we have in the other. And finally, the conclusion given to the sermon is repeated in both Gospels in its entire identity,—namely, the story of the wise man who builds upon the rock, and the foolish man who builds upon the sand; the only difference being, that Luke speaks only of the stream beating against the house, and does not mention also the rain and the wind, as they occur in Matthew. Accordingly, it might very readily be believed that he has there introduced the self-same discourse of the Lord, but that at the same time he has omitted certain sentences which Matthew has inserted; that he has also brought in other sayings which Matthew has not mentioned; and that, in a similar manner, he has expressed certain of these utterances in somewhat different terms, but without detriment to the integrity of the truth.

45. This we might very well suppose to have been the case, as I have said, were it not that a difficulty is felt to attach to the circumstance that Matthew tells us how this discourse was delivered on a mount by the Lord in a sitting posture; while Luke says that it was spoken on a plain by the Lord in a standing posture. This difference, accordingly, makes it seem as if the former referred to one discourse, and the latter to another. And what should there be, indeed, to hinder [us from supposing] Christ to have repeated elsewhere some words which He had already spoken, or from doing a second time certain things which He had already done on some previous occasion? However, that these two discourses, of which the one is inserted by Matthew and the other by Luke, are not separated by a long space of time, is with much probability inferred from the fact that, at once in what precedes and in what follows them, both the evangelists have related certain incidents either similar or perfectly identical, so that it is not unreasonably felt that the narrations of the writers who introduce these things are occupied with the same localities and days. For Matthew’s recital proceeds in the following terms: “And there followed Him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judæa, and from beyond Jordan. And seeing the multitudes, He went up into a mountain; and when He was set, His disciples came unto Him: and He opened His mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven;” and so forth. Here it may appear that His desire was to free Himself from the great crowds of people, and that for this reason He went up into the mountain, as if He meant to withdraw Himself from the multitudes, and seek an opportunity of speaking with His disciples alone. And this seems to be certified also by Luke, whose account is to the following effect: “And it came to pass in those days, that He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called unto Him His disciples: and of them He chose twelve, whom also He named apostles; Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alpheus, and Simon, who is called Zelotes, Judas the brother of James, and Judas Scarioth, which was the traitor. And He came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of His disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judæa and Jerusalem, and from the sea-coast of Tyre2 and Sidon, which had come to hear Him, and to be healed of their diseases; and they that were vexed with unclean spirits were healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch Him; for there went virtue out of Him, and healed them all. And He lifted up His eyes on His disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of heaven;”4 and so on. Here the relation permits us to understand that, after selecting on the mountain twelve disciples out of the larger body, whom He also named apostles (which incident Matthew has omitted), He then delivered that discourse which Matthew has introduced, and which Luke has left unnoticed,—that is to say, the one on the mount; and that thereafter, when He had now come down, He spoke in the plain a second discourse similar to the first, on which Matthew is silent, but which is detailed by Luke; and further, that both these sermons were concluded in the same manner.

46. But, again, as regards what Matthew proceeds to state after the termination of that discourse—namely this, “And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at His doctrine,”7—it may appear that the speakers there were those multitudes of disciples out of whom He had chosen the twelve. Moreover, when the evangelist goes on immediately in these terms, “And when He was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him; and, behold, there came a leper and worshipped Him,” we are at liberty to suppose that that incident took place subsequently to both discourses,—not only after the one which Matthew records, but also after the one which Luke inserts. For it is not made apparent what length of time elapsed after the descent from the mountain. But Matthew’s intention was simply to indicate the fact itself, that after that descent there were great multitudes of people with the Lord on the occasion when He cleansed the leper, and not to specify what period of time had intervened. And this supposition may all the more readily be entertained, since [we find that] Luke tells us how the same leper was cleansed at a time when the Lord was now in a certain city,—a circumstance which Matthew has not cared to mention.

47. After all, however, this explanation may also be suggested,—namely, that in the first instance the Lord, along with His disciples and no others, was on some more elevated portion of the mountain, and that during the period of His stay there He chose out of the number of His followers those twelve; that then He came down in company with them, not indeed from the mountain itself, but from that said altitude on the mountain, into the plain—that is to say, into some level spot which was found on the slope of the mountain, and which was capable of accommodating great multitudes; and that thereafter, when He had seated Himself, His disciples took up their position next Him, and in these circumstances He delivered both to them and to the other multitudes who were present one discourse, which Matthew and Luke have both recorded, their modes of narrating it being indeed different, but the truth being given with equal fidelity by the two writers in all that concerns the facts and sayings which both of them have recounted. For we have already prefaced our inquiry with the position, which indeed ought of itself to have been obvious to all without the need of any one to give them counsel to that effect beforehand, that there is not [necessarily] any antagonism between writers, although one may omit something which another mentions; nor, again, although one states a fact in one way, and another in a different method, provided that the same truth is set forth in regard to the objects and sayings themselves. In this way, therefore, Matthew’s sentence, “Now when He was come down from the mountain,” may at the same time be understood to refer also to the plain, which there might very well have been on the slope of the mountain. And thereafter Matthew tells the story of the cleansing of the leper, which is also given in a similar manner by Mark and Luke.

chap. xx.—an explanation of the circumstance that matthew tells us how the centurion came to jesus on behalf of his servant, while luke’s statement is that the centurion despatched friends to him

48. After these things, Matthew proceeds with his narrative in the following terms: “And when Jesus was entered into Capharnaum, there came unto Him a centurion, beseeching Him, and saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, and he is grievously tormented;” and so forth, on to the place where it is said, “And his servant was healed in the self-same hour.” This case of the centurion’s servant is related also by Luke; only Luke does not bring it in, as Matthew does, after the cleansing of the leper, whose story he has recorded as something suggested to his recollection at a later stage, but introduces it after the conclusion of that lengthened sermon already discussed. For he connects the two sections in this way: “Now when He had ended all His sayings in the audience of the people, He entered into Capharnaum; and a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear unto him, was sick and ready to die;” and so forth, until we come to the verse where it is said that he was healed.2 Here, then, we notice that it was not till after He had ended all His words in the hearing of the people that Christ entered Capharnaum; by which we are to understand simply that He did not make that entrance before He had brought these sayings to their conclusion; and we are not to take it as intimating the length of that period of time which intervened between the delivery of these discourses and the entrance into Capharnaum. In this interval that leper was cleansed, whose case is recorded by Matthew in its own proper place, but is given by Luke only at a later point.

49. Accordingly, let us proceed to consider whether Matthew and Luke are at one in the account of this servant. Matthew’s words, then, are these: “There came unto Him a centurion, beseeching Him, and saying, My servant lieth at home sick of the palsy.” Now this seems to be inconsistent with the version presented by Luke, which runs thus: “And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto Him the elders of the Jews, beseeching Him that He would come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they besought Him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom He should do this: for he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue. Then Jesus went with them. And when He was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying unto Him, Lord, trouble not Thyself; for I am not worthy that Thou shouldest enter under my roof: wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto Thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.”5 For if this was the manner in which the incident took place, how can Matthew’s statement, that there “came to Him a certain centurion,” be correct, seeing that the man did not come in person, but sent his friends? The apparent discrepancy, however, will disappear if we look carefully into the matter, and observe that Matthew has simply held by a very familiar mode of expression. For not only are we accustomed to speak of one as coming even before he actually reaches the place he is said to have approached,7 whence, too, we speak of one as making small approach or making great approach to what he is desirous of reaching; but we also not unfrequently speak of that access,9 for the sake of getting at which the approach is made, as reached even although the person who is said to reach another may not himself see the individual whom he reaches, inasmuch as it may be through a friend that he reaches the person whose favour is necessary to him. This, indeed, is a custom which has so thoroughly established itself, that even in the language of every-day life now those men are called Perventores who, in the practice of canvassing,11 get at the inaccessible ears, as one may say, of any of the men of influence, by the intervention of suitable personages. If, therefore, access itself is thus familiarly said to be gained by the means of other parties, how much more may an approach13 be said to take place, although it be by means of others, which always remains something short of actual access! For it is surely the case, that a person may be able to do very much in the way of approach, but yet may have failed to succeed in actually reaching what he sought to get at. Consequently it is nothing out of the way for Matthew,—a fact, indeed, which may be understood by any intelligence,—when thus dealing with an approach on the part of the centurion to the Lord, which was effected in the person of others, to have chosen to express the matter in this compendious method, “There came a centurion to Him.”

50. At the same time, however, we must be careful enough to discern a certain mystical depth in the phraseology adopted by the evangelist, which is in accordance with these words of the Psalm, “Come ye to Him, and be ye lightened.” For in this way, inasmuch as the Lord Himself commended the faith of the centurion, in which indeed his approach was really made to Jesus, in such terms that He declared, “I have not found so great faith in Israel,” the evangelist wisely chose to speak of the man himself as coming to Jesus, rather than to bring in the persons through whom he had conveyed his words. And furthermore, Luke has unfolded the whole incident to us just as it occurred, in a form constraining us to understand from his narrative in what manner another writer, who was also incapable of making any false statement, might have spoken of the man himself as coming. It is in this way, too, that the woman who suffered from the issue of blood, although she took hold merely of the hem of His garment, did yet touch the Lord more effectually than those multitudes did by whom He was thronged.2 For just as she touched the Lord the more effectually, in so far as she believed the more earnestly, so the centurion also came the more really to the Lord, inasmuch as he believed the more thoroughly. And now, as regards the rest of this paragraph, it would be a superfluous task to go over in detail the various matters which are recounted by the one and omitted by the other. For, according to the principle brought under notice at the outset, there is not to be found in these peculiarities any actual antagonism between the writers.

chap. xxi.—of the order in which the narrative concerning peter’s mother-in-law is introduced

51. Matthew proceeds in the following terms: “And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever. And He touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.” Matthew has not indicated the date of this incident; that is to say, he has specified neither before what event nor after what occurrence it took place. For we are certainly under no necessity of supposing that, because it is recorded after a certain event, it must also have happened in actual matter of fact after that event. And unquestionably, in this case, we are to understand that he has introduced for record here something which he had omitted to notice previously. For Mark brings in this narrative before his account of that cleansing of the leper which he would appear to have placed after the delivery of the sermon on the mount;4 which discourse, however, he has left unrelated. And thus, too, Luke inserts this story of Peter’s mother-in-law after an occurrence6 which it follows likewise in Mark’s version, but also before that lengthened discourse, which has been reproduced by him, and which may appear to be one with the sermon which Matthew states to have been delivered on the mount. For of what consequence is it in what place any of them may give his account; or what difference does it make whether he inserts the matter in its proper order, or brings in at a particular point what was previously omitted, or mentions at an earlier stage what really happened at a later, provided only that he contradicts neither himself nor a second writer in the narrative of the same facts or of others? For as it is not in one’s own power, however admirable and trustworthy may be the knowledge he has once obtained of the facts, to determine the order in which he will recall them to memory (for the way in which one thing comes into a person’s mind before or after another is something which proceeds not as we will, but simply as it is given to us), it is reasonable enough to suppose that each of the evangelists believed it to have been his duty to relate what he had to relate in that order in which it had pleased God to suggest to his recollection the matters he was engaged in recording. At least this might hold good in the case of those incidents with regard to which the question of order, whether it were this or that, detracted nothing from evangelical authority and truth.

52. But as to the reason why the Holy Spirit, who divideth to every man severally as He will, and who therefore undoubtedly, with a view to the establishing of their books on so distinguished an eminence of authority, also governs and rules the minds of the holy men themselves in the matter of suggesting the things they were to commit to writing, has left one historian at liberty to construct his narrative in one way, and another in a different fashion, that is a question which any one may look into with pious consideration, and for which, by divine help, the answer also may possibly be found. That, however, is not the object of the work which we have taken in hand at present. The task we have proposed to ourselves is simply to demonstrate that not one of the evangelists contradicts either himself or his fellow-historians, whatever be the precise order in which he may have had the ability or may have preferred to compose his account of matters belonging to the doings and sayings of Christ; and that, too, at once in the case of subjects identical with those recorded by others, and in the case of subjects different from these. For this reason, therefore, when the order of times is not apparent, we ought not to feel it a matter of any consequence what order any of them may have adopted in relating the events. But wherever the order is apparent, if the evangelist then presents anything which seems to be inconsistent with his own statements, or with those of another, we must certainly take the passage into consideration, and endeavour to clear up the difficulty.

chap. xxii.—of the order of the incidents which are recorded after this section and of the question whether matthew mark, and luke are consistent with each other in these

53. Matthew, accordingly, continues his narration thus: “Now when the even was come, they brought unto Him many that were possessed with devils; and He cast out the spirits with His word, and healed all that were sick: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.” That this belongs in date to the same day, he indicates with sufficient clearness by these words which he subjoins, “Now when the even was come.” In a similar manner, after concluding his account of the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law with the sentence, “And she ministered unto them,” Mark has appended the following statement: “And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto Him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed of the devils. And all the city was gathered together at the door. And He healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew Him. And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place.”2 Here Mark appears to have preserved the order in such wise, that after the statement conveyed in the words “And at even,” he gives this note of time: “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day.” And although there is no absolute necessity for supposing either that, when we have the words “And at even,” the reference must be to the evening of the very same day, or that when the phrase “In the morning” meets us, it must mean the morning after the self-same night; still, however that may be, this order in the occurrences may fairly appear to have been preserved with a view to an orderly arrangement of the times. Moreover, Luke, too, after relating the story of Peter’s mother-in-law, while he does not indeed say expressly, “And at even,” has at least used a phrase which conveys the same sense. For he proceeds thus: “Now when the sun had set,4 all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them, and healed them. And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And He, rebuking them, suffered them not to speak: for they knew that He was Christ. And when it was day, He departed and went into a desert place.” Here, again, we see precisely the same order of times preserved as we discovered in Mark. But Matthew, who appears to have introduced the story of Peter’s mother-in-law not according to the order in which the incident itself took place, but simply in the succession in which he had it suggested to his mind after previous omission, has first recorded what happened on that same day, to wit, when even was come; and thereafter, instead of subjoining the notice of the morning, goes on with his account in these terms: “Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave commandment to depart unto the other side of the lake.” This, then, is something new, differing from what is given in the context by Mark and Luke, who, after the notice of the even, bring in the mention of the morning. Consequently, as regards this verse in Matthew, “Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave commandment to depart unto the other side of the lake,” we ought simply to understand that he has introduced here another fact which he has had brought to mind at this point,—namely, the fact that on a certain day, when Jesus had seen great multitudes about Him, He gave instructions to cross to the other side of the lake.

chap. xxiii.—of the person who said to the lord, “i will follow thee whithersoever thou goest;” and of the other things connected therewith, and of the order in which they are recorded by matthew and luke

54. He next appends the following statement: “And a certain scribe came and said unto Him, Master, I will follow Thee whithersoever thou goest;” and so on, down to the words, “Let the dead bury their dead.” We have a narrative in similar terms also in Luke. But he inserts it only after a variety of other matters, and without any explicit note of the order of time, but after the fashion of one only bethinking himself of the incident at that point. He leaves us also uncertain whether he brings it in there as something previously omitted, or as an anticipatory notice of something which in actual fact took place subsequently to those incidents by which it is followed in the history. For he proceeds thus: “And it came to pass, that as they went in the way, a certain man said unto Him, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest.” And the Lord’s answer is given here in precisely the same terms as we find recited in Matthew. Now, although Matthew tells us that this took place at the time when He gave commandment to depart unto the other side of the lake, and Luke, on the other hand, speaks of an occasion when they “went in the way,” there is no necessary contradiction in that. For it may be the case that they went in the way just in order to come to the lake. Again, in what is said about the person who begged to be allowed first to bury his father, Matthew and Luke are thoroughly at one. For the mere fact that Matthew has introduced first the words of the man who made the request regarding his father, and that he has put after that the saying of the Lord, “Follow me,” whereas Luke puts the Lord’s command, “Follow me,” first, and the declaration of the petitioner second, is a matter of no consequence to the sense itself. Luke has also made mention of yet another person, who said, “Lord, I will follow Thee, but let me first bid them farewell which are at home at my house;”2 of which individual Matthew says nothing. And thereafter Luke proceeds to another subject altogether, and not to what followed in the actual order of time. The passage runs: “And after these things, the Lord appointed other seventy-two also.” That this occurred “after these things” is indeed manifest; but at what length of time after these things the Lord did so is not apparent. Nevertheless, in this interval that took place which Matthew subjoins next in succession. For the same Matthew still keeps up the order of time, and continues his narrative, as we shall now see.

chap. xxiv.—of the lord’s crossing the lake on that occasion on which he slept in the vessel, and of the casting out of those devils whom he suffered to go into the swine; and of the consistency of the accounts given by matthew, mark, and luke of all that was done and said on these occasions

55. “And when He was entered into a ship, His disciples followed Him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea.” And so the story goes on, until we come to the words, “And He came into His own city.” Those two narratives which are told by Matthew in continuous succession,—namely, that regarding the calm upon the sea after Jesus was roused from His sleep and had commanded the winds, and that concerning the persons who were possessed with the fierce devil, and who brake their bands and were driven into the wilderness,—are given also in like manner by Mark and Luke.5 Some parts of these stories are expressed, indeed, in different terms by the different writers, but the sense remains the same. This is the case, for example, when Matthew represents the Lord to have said, “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” while Mark’s version is, “Why are ye fearful? Is it that ye have no faith?”7 For Mark’s word refers to that perfect faith which is like a grain of mustard seed; and so he, too, speaks in effect of the “little faith.” Luke, again, puts it thus: “Where is your faith?” Accordingly, the whole utterance may perhaps have gone thus: “Why are ye fearful? Where is your faith, O ye of little faith?” And so one of them records one part, and another another part, of the entire saying. The same may be the case with the words spoken by the disciples when they awoke Him. Matthew gives us: “Lord, save us: we perish.”9 Mark has: “Master, carest Thou not that we perish?” And Luke says simply, “Master, we perish.”11 These different expressions, however, convey one and the same meaning on the part of those who were awaking the Lord, and who were wishful to secure their safety. Neither need we inquire which of these several forms is to be preferred as the one actually addressed to Christ. For whether they really used the one or the other of these three phraseologies, or expressed themselves in different words, which are unrecorded by any one of the evangelists, but which were equally well adapted to give the like representation of what was meant, what difference does it make in the fact itself? At the same time, it may also possibly have been the case that, when several parties in concert were trying to awake Him, all these various modes of expression had been used, one by one person, and another by another. In the same way, too, we may deal with the exclamation on the stilling of the tempest, which, according to Matthew, was, “What manner of man is this, that the winds and the sea obey Him?” according to Mark, “What man, thinkest thou, is this,13 that both the wind and the sea obey Him?” and according to Luke, “What man, thinkest thou, is this?2 for He commandeth both the winds and the sea, and they obey Him.” Who can fail to see that the sense in all these forms is quite identical? For the expression, “What man, thinkest thou, is this?” has precisely the same import with the other, “What manner of man is this?”4 And where the words “He commandeth”
are omitted, it can at least be understood as a matter of course that the obedience is rendered to the person commanding.

56. Moreover, with respect to the circumstance that Matthew states that there were two men who were afflicted with the legion of devils which received permission to go into the swine, whereas Mark and Luke instance only a single individual, we may suppose that one of these parties was a person of some kind of superior notability and repute, whose case was particularly lamented by that district, and for whose deliverance there was special anxiety. With the intention of indicating that fact, two of the evangelists have judged it proper to make mention only of the one person, in connection with whom the fame of this deed had been spread abroad the more extensively and remarkably. Neither should any scruple be excited by the different forms in which the words uttered by the possessed have been reproduced by the various evangelists. For we may either resolve them all into one and the same thing, or suppose them all to have been actually spoken. Nor, again, should we find any difficulty in the circumstance that with Matthew the address is couched in the plural number, but with Mark and Luke in the singular. For these latter two tell us at the same time, that when the man was asked what was his name, he answered that he was Legion, because the devils were many. Nor, once more, is there any discrepancy between Mark’s statement that the herd of swine was round about the mountain,6 and Luke’s, that they were on the mountain. For the herd of swine was so great that one portion of it might be on the mountain, and another only round about it. For, as Mark has expressly informed us, there were about two thousand swine.

chap. xxv.—of the man sick of the palsy to whom the lord said, “thy sins are forgiven thee,” and “take up thy bed;” and in especial, of the question whether matthew and mark are consistent with each other in their notice of the place where this incident took place, in so far as matthew says it happened “in his own city,” while mark says it was in capharnaum

57. Hereupon Matthew proceeds with his recital, still preserving the order of time, and connects his narrative in the following manner:—”And He entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into His own city. And, behold, they brought to Him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed;” and so on, down to where it is said, “But when the multitude saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.” Mark and Luke have also told the story of this paralytic. Now, as regards Matthew’s stating that the Lord said,” Son, be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee;” while Luke makes the address run, not as “son,” but as “man,”—this only helps to bring out the Lord’s meaning more explicitly. For these sins were [thus said to be] forgiven to the “man,” inasmuch as the very fact that he was a man would make it impossible for him to say, “I have not sinned;” and at the same time, that mode of address served to indicate that He who forgave sins to man was Himself God. Mark, again, has given the same form of words as Matthew, but he has left out the terms, “Be of good cheer.” It is also possible, indeed, that the whole saying ran thus: “Man, be of good cheer: son, thy sins are forgiven thee;” or thus: “Son, be of good cheer: man, thy sins are forgiven thee;” or the words may have been spoken in some other congruous order.

58. A difficulty, however, may certainly arise when we observe how Matthew tells the story of the paralytic after this fashion: “And He entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into His own city. And, behold, they brought to Him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed;” whereas Mark speaks of the incident as taking place not in His own city, which indeed is called Nazareth, but in Capharnaum. His narrative is to the following effect:—”And again He entered into Capharnaum after some days; and it was noised that He was in the house. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and He spake a word unto them. And they came unto Him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. And when they could not come nigh unto Him for the press, they uncovered the roof where He was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. And when Jesus saw their faith;” and so forth. Luke, on the other hand, does not mention the place in which the incident happened, but gives the tale thus: “And it came to pass on a certain day that He was sitting teaching,2 and there were Pharisees and doctors of the law also sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judæa, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them. And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before Him. And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the house-top, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus. And when He saw their faith, He said, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee;” and so forth. The question, therefore, remains one between Mark and Matthew, in so far as Matthew writes of the incident as taking place in the Lord’s city;4 while Mark locates it in Capharnaum. This question would be more difficult to solve if Matthew mentioned Nazareth by name. But, as the case stands, when we reflect that the state of Galilee itself might have been called Christ’s city, because Nazareth was in Galilee, just as the whole region which was made up of so many cities6 is yet called a Roman state; when, further, it is considered that so many nations are comprehended in that city, of which it is written, “Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God;”8 and also that God’s ancient people, though dwelling in so many cities, have yet been spoken of as one house, the house of Israel,—who can doubt that [it may be fairly said that] Jesus wrought this work in His own city [or, state], inasmuch as He did it in the city of Capharnaum, which was a city of that Galilee to which He had returned when He crossed over again from the country of the Gerasenes, so that when He came into Galilee He might correctly be said to have come into His own city [or, state], in whichever town of Galilee He might happen to be? This explanation may be vindicated more particularly on the ground that Capharnaum itself held a position of such eminence in Galilee that it was reckoned to be a kind of metropolis. But even were it altogether illegitimate to take the city of Christ in the sense either of Galilee itself, in which Nazareth was situated, or of Capharnaum, which was distinguished as in a certain sense the capital of Galilee, we might still affirm that Matthew has simply passed over all that happened after Jesus came into His own city until He reached Capharnaum, and that he has simply tacked on the narrative of the healing of the paralytic at this point; just as the writers do in many instances, leaving unnoticed much that intervenes, and, without any express indication of the omissions they are making, proceeding precisely as if what they subjoin, followed actually in literal succession.

chap. xxvi.—of the calling of matthew, and of the question whether matthew’s own account is in harmony with those of mark and luke when they speak of levi the son of alphæus

59. Matthew next continues his narrative in the following terms:—”And as Jesus passed forth from thence, He saw a man named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and He saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed Him.” Mark gives this story also, and keeps the same order, bringing it in after the notice of the healing of the man who was sick of the palsy. His version runs thus: “And He went forth again by the sea-side; and all the multitude resorted unto Him, and He taught them. And as He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphæus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed Him.”12 There is no contradiction here; for Matthew is the same person with Levi. Luke also introduces this after the story of the healing of the same man who was sick of the palsy. He writes in these terms: “And after these things He went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and He said unto him, Follow me. And he left all, rose up, and followed Him.” Now, from this it will appear to be the most reasonable explanation to say that Matthew records these things here in the form of things previously passed over, and now brought to mind. For certainly we must believe that Matthew’s calling took place before the delivery of the sermon on the mount. For Luke tells us that on this mountain on that occasion the election was made of all these twelve, whom Jesus also named apostles, out of the larger body of the disciples.14

chap. xxvii.—of the feast at which it was objected at once that christ ate with sinners, and that his disciples did not fast; of the circumstance that the evangelists seem to give different accounts of the parties by whom these objections were alleged; and of the question whether matthew and mark and luke are also in harmony with each other in the reports given of the words of these persons, and of the replies returned by the lord

60. Matthew, accordingly, goes on to say: “And it came to pass, as He sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and His disciples;” and so on, down to where we read, “But they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.” Here Matthew has not told us particularly in whose house it was that Jesus was sitting at meat along with the publicans and sinners. This might make it appear as if he had not appended this notice in its strict order here, but had introduced at this point, in the way of reminiscence, something which actually took place on a different occasion, were it not that Mark and Luke, who repeat the account in terms thoroughly similar, have made it plain that it was in the house of Levi—that is to say, Matthew—that Jesus sat at meat, and all these sayings were uttered which follow. For Mark states the same fact, keeping also the same order, in the following manner: “And it came to pass, as He sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus.”2 Accordingly, when he says, “in his house,” he certainly refers to the person of whom he was speaking directly before, and that was Levi. To the same effect, after the words, “He saith unto him, Follow me; and he left all, rose up, and followed Him,” Luke has appended immediately this statement: “And Levi made Him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them.” And thus it is manifest in whose house it was that these things took place.

61. Let us next look into the words which these three evangelists have all brought in as having been addressed to the Lord, and also into the replies which were made by Him. Matthew says: “And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto His disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?” This reappears very nearly in the same words in Mark: “How is it that He eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?”5 Only we find thus that Matthew has omitted one thing which Mark inserts—namely, the addition “and drinketh.” But of what consequence can that be, since the sense is fully given, the idea suggested being that they were partaking of a repast in company? Luke, on the other hand, seems to have recorded this scene somewhat differently. For his version proceeds thus: “But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against His disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?” But his intention in this certainly is not7 to indicate that their Master was not referred to on that occasion, but to intimate that the objection was levelled against all of them together, both Himself and His disciples; the charge, however, which was to be taken to be meant both of Him and of them, being addressed directly not to Him, but to them. For the fact is that Luke himself, no less than the others, represents the Lord as making the reply, and saying, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” And He would not have returned that answer to them, had not their words, “Why do ye eat and drink?” been directed very specially to Himself. For the same reason, Matthew and Mark have told us that the objection which was brought against Him was stated immediately to His disciples, because, when the allegation was addressed to the disciples, the charge was thereby laid all the more seriously against the Master whom these disciples were imitating and following. One and the same sense, therefore, is conveyed; and it is expressed all the better in consequence of these variations employed in some of the terms, while the matter of fact itself is left intact. In like manner we may deal with the accounts of the Lord’s reply. Matthew’s runs thus: “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick; but go ye and learn what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”9 Mark and Luke have also preserved for us the same sense in almost the same words, with this exception, that they both fail to introduce that quotation from the prophet, “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice.” Luke, again, after the words, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners,” has added the term, “unto repentance.” This addition serves to bring out the sense more fully, so as to preclude any one from supposing that sinners are loved by Christ, purely for the very reason that they are sinners. For this similitude also of the sick indicates clearly what God means by the calling of sinners,—that it is like the physician with the sick,—and that its object verily is that men should be saved from their iniquity as from disease; which healing is effected by repentance.

62. In the same way, we may subject what is said about the disciples of John to examination. Matthew’s words are these: “Then came to Him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft?” The purport of Mark’s version is similar: “And the disciples of John and the Pharisees2 used to fast. And they come and say unto Him, Why do the disciples of John and the Pharisees4 fast, but thy disciples fast not?” The only semblance of a discrepancy that can be found here, is in the possibility of supposing that the mention of the Pharisees as having spoken along with the disciples of John is an addition of Mark’s, while Matthew states only that the disciples of John expressed themselves to the above effect. But the words which were actually uttered by the parties, according to Mark’s version, rather indicate that the speakers and the persons spoken of were not the same individuals. I mean, that the persons who came to Jesus were the guests who were then present, that they came because the disciples of John and the Pharisees were fasting, and that they uttered the above words with respect to these parties. In this way, the evangelist’s phrase, “they come,” would not refer to the persons regarding whom he had just thrown in the remark, “And the disciples of John and the Pharisees were fasting.” But the case would be, that as those parties were fasting, some others here, who are moved by that fact, come to Him, and put this question to Him, “Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not?” This is more clearly expressed by Luke. For, evidently with the same idea in his mind, after stating what answer the Lord returned in the words in which He spoke about the calling of sinners under the similitude of those who are sick, he proceeds thus: “And they said unto Him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees, but thine eat and drink?”6 Here, then, we see that, as was the case with Mark, Luke has mentioned one party as speaking to this intent in relation to other parties. How comes it, therefore, that Matthew says, “Then came to Him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast?” The explanation may be, that those individuals were also present, and that all these various parties were eager to advance this charge, as they severally found opportunity. And the sentiments which sought expression on this occasion have been conveyed by the three evangelists under varied terms, but yet without any divergence from a true statement of the fact itself.

63. Once more, we find that Matthew and Mark have given similar accounts of what was said about the children of the bridegroom not fasting as long as the bridegroom is with them, with this exception, that Mark has named them the children of the bridals, while Matthew has designated them the children of the bridegroom.8 That, however, is a matter of no moment. For by the children of the bridals we understand at once those connected with the bridegroom, and those connected with the bride. The sense, therefore, is obvious and identical, and neither different nor contradictory. Luke, again, does not say, “Can the children of the bridegroom fast?” but, “Can ye make the children of the bridegroom fast, while the bridegroom is with them?” By expressing it in this method, the evangelist has elegantly opened up the self-same sense in a way calculated to suggest something else. For thus the idea is conveyed, that those very persons who were speaking would try to make the children of the bridegroom mourn and fast, inasmuch as they would [seek to] put the bridegroom to death. Moreover, Matthew’s phrase, “mourn,” is of the same import as that used by Mark and Luke, namely, “fast.” For Matthew also says further on, “Then shall they fast,” and not, “Then shall they mourn.” But by the use of this phrase, he has indicated that the Lord spoke of that kind of fasting which pertains to the lowliness of tribulation. In the same way, too, the Lord may be understood to have pictured out a different kind of fasting, which stands related to the rapture of a mind dwelling in the heights of things spiritual, and for that reason estranged in a certain measure from the meats that are for the body, when He made use of those subsequent similitudes touching the new cloth and the new wine, by which He showed that this kind of fasting is an incongruity for sensual and carnal people, who are taken up with the cares of the body, and who consequently still remain in the old mind. These similitudes are also embodied in similar terms by the other two evangelists. And it should be sufficiently evident that there need be no real discrepancy, although one may introduce something, whether belonging to the subject-matter itself, or merely to the terms in which that subject is expressed, which another leaves out; provided only that there be neither any departure from a genuine identity in sense, nor any contradiction created between the different forms which may be adopted for expressing the same thing.

chap. xxviii.—of the raising of the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue, and of the woman who touched the hem of his garment; of the question, also, as to whether the order in which these incidents are narrated exhibits any contradiction in any of the writers by whom they are reported; and in particular, of the words in which the ruler of the synagogue addressed his request to the lord

64. Still keeping by the order of time, Matthew next continues to the following effect: “While He spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped Him, saying, My daughter is even now dead; but come and lay Thy hand upon her, and she shall live;” and so on, until we come to the words, “and the maid arose. And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.” The other two, namely, Mark and Luke, in like manner give this same account, only they do not keep by the same order now. For they bring up this narrative in a different place, and insert it in another connection; to wit, at the point where He crosses the take and returns from the country of the Gerasenes, after casting out the devils and permitting them to go into the swine. Thus Mark introduces it, after he has related what took place among the Gerasenes, in the following manner: “And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto Him: and He was nigh unto the sea. And there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw Him, he fell at His feet,” etc.2 By this, then, we are certainly to understand that the occurrence in connection with the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue did take place after Jesus had passed across the lake again in the ship. It does not, however, appear from the words themselves how long after that passage this thing happened. But that some time did elapse is clear. For had there not been an interval, no period would be left within which those circumstances might fall which Matthew has just related in the matter of the feast in his house. These, indeed, he has told after the fashion of the evangelists, as if they were the story of another person’s doings. But they are the story really of what took place in his own case, and at his own house. And after that narrative, what follows in the immediate context is nothing else than this notice of the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue. For he has constructed the whole recital in such a manner, that the mode of transition from one thing to the other has itself indicated with sufficient clearness that the words immediately, following give the narrative of what actually took place in immediate consecution. For after mentioning, in connection with the former incident, those words which Jesus spake with respect to the new cloth and the new wine, he has subjoined these other words, without any interruption in the narrative, namely, “While He spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler.” And this shows that, if the person approached Him while He was speaking these things, nothing else either done or said by Him could have intervened. In Mark’s account, on the other hand, the place is quite apparent, as we have already pointed out, where other things [left unrecorded by him] might very well have come in. The case is much the same also with Luke, who, when he proceeds to follow up his version of the story of the miracle wrought among the Gerasenes, by giving his account of the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue, does not pass on to that in any such way as to place it in antagonism with Matthew’s version, who, by his words, “While He yet spake these things,” gives us plainly to understand that the occurrence took place after those parables about the cloth and the wine. For when he has concluded his statement of what happened among the Gerasenes, Luke passes to the next subject in the following manner; “And it came to pass that, when Jesus was returned, the people gladly received Him; for they were all waiting for Him. And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue, and he fell down at Jesus’ feet,” and so on.4 Thus we are given to understand that the crowd did indeed receive Jesus forthwith on the said occasion: for He was the person for whose return they were waiting. But what is conveyed in the words which are directly added, “And, behold, there came a man whose name was Jairus,” is not to be taken to have occurred literally in immediate succession. On the contrary, the feast with the publicans, as Matthew records it, took place before that. For Matthew connects this present incident with that feast in such a way as to make it impossible for us to suppose that any other sequence of events can be the correct order.

65. In this narrative, then, which we have undertaken to consider at present, all these three evangelists indeed are unquestionably at one in the account which they give of the woman who was afflicted with the issue of blood. Nor is it a matter of any real consequence, that something which is passed by in silence by one of them is related by another; or that Mark says, “Who touched my clothes?” while Luke says, “Who touched me?” For the one has only adopted the phrase in use and wont, whereas the other has given the stricter expression. But for all that, both of them convey the same meaning. For it is more usual with us to say, “You are tearing me,” than to say, “You are tearing my clothes;” as, notwithstanding the term, the sense we wish to convey is obvious enough.

66. At the same time, however, there remains the fact that Matthew represents the ruler of the synagogue to have spoken to the Lord of his daughter, not merely as one likely to die, or as dying, or as on the very point of expiring, but as even then dead; while these other two evangelists report her as now nigh unto death, but not yet really dead, and keep so strictly to that version of the circumstances, that they tell us how the persons came at a later stage with the intelligence of her actual death, and with the message that for this reason the Master ought not now to trouble Himself by coming, with the purpose of laying His hand upon her, and so preventing her from dying,—the matter not being put as if He was one possessed of ability to raise the once dead to life. It becomes necessary for us, therefore, to investigate this fact, lest it may seem to exhibit any contradiction between the accounts. And the way to explain it is to suppose that, by reason of brevity in the narrative, Matthew has preferred to express it as if the Lord had been really asked to do what it is clear He did actually do, namely, raise the dead to life. For what Matthew directs our attention to, is not the mere words spoken by the father about his daughter, but what is of more importance, his mind and purpose. Thus he has given words calculated to represent the father’s real thoughts. For he had so thoroughly despaired of his child’s case, that not believing that she whom he had just left dying, could possibly now be found yet in life, his thought rather was that she might be made alive again. Accordingly two of the evangelists have introduced the words which were literally spoken by Jairus. But Matthew has exhibited rather what the man secretly wished and thought. Thus both petitions were really addressed to the Lord; namely, either that He should restore the dying damsel, or that, if she was already dead, He might raise her to life again. But as it was Matthew’s object to tell the whole story in short compass, he has represented the father as directly expressing in his request what, it is certain, had been his own real wish, and what Christ actually did. It is true, indeed, that if those two evangelists, or one of them, had told us that the father himself spake the words which the parties who came from his house uttered,—namely, that Jesus should not now trouble Himself, because the damsel had died,—then the words which Matthew has put into his mouth would not be in harmony with his thoughts. But, as the case really stands, it is not said that he gave his consent to the parties who brought that report, and who bade the Master no more think of coming now. And together with this, we have to observe, that when the Lord addressed him in these terms, “Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole,” He did not find fault with him on the ground of his want of belief, but really encouraged him to a yet stronger faith. For this ruler had faith like that which was exhibited by the person who said, “Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief.”3

67. Seeing, then, that the case stands thus, from these varied and yet not inconsistent modes of statement adopted by the evangelists, we evidently learn a lesson of the utmost utility, and of great necessity,—namely, that in any man’s words the thing which we ought narrowly to regard is only the writer’s thought which was meant to be expressed, and to which the words ought to be subservient; and further, that we should not suppose one to be giving an incorrect statement, if he happens to convey in different words what the person really meant whose words he fails to reproduce literally. And we ought not to let the wretched cavillers at words fancy that truth must be tied somehow or other to the jots and tittles of letters; whereas the fact is, that not in the matter of words only, but equally in all other methods by which sentiments are indicated, the sentiment itself, and nothing else, is what ought to be looked at.

68. Moreover, as to the circumstance that some codices of Matthew’s Gospel contain the reading, “For the woman is not dead, but sleepeth,” while Mark and Luke certify that she was a damsel of the age of twelve years, we may suppose that Matthew has followed the Hebrew mode of speech here. For in other passages of Scripture, as well as here, it is found that not only those who had already known a man, but all females in general, including untouched virgins, are called women.5 That is the case, for instance, where it is written of Eve, “He made it into a woman;”7 and again, in the book of Numbers, where the women who have not known a man by lying with him, that is to say, the virgins, are ordered to be saved from being put to death.9 Adopting the same phraseology, Paul, too, says of Christ Himself, that He was “made of a woman.” And it is better, therefore, to understand the matter according to these analogies, than to suppose that this damsel of twelve years of age was already married, or had known a man.

chap. xxix.—of the two blind men and the dumb demoniac whose stories are related only by matthew

69. Matthew proceeds with his narrative in the following terms: “And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed Him, crying and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy on us;” and so on, down to the verse where we read, “But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.” Matthew is the only one who introduces this account of the two blind men and the dumb demoniac. For those two blind men, whose story is given also by the others,3 are not the two before us here. Nevertheless there is such similarity in the occurrences, that if Matthew himself had not recorded the latter incident as well as the former, it might have been thought that the one which he relates at present has also been given by these other two evangelists. There is this fact, therefore, which we ought to bear carefully in mind,—namely, that there are some occurrences which resemble each other. For we have a proof of this in the circumstance that the very same evangelist mentions both incidents here. And thus, if at any time we find any such occurrences narrated individually by the several evangelists, and discover some contradiction in the accounts, which seems not to admit of being solved [on the principle of harmonizing], it may occur to us that the explanation simply is, that this [apparently contradictory] circumstance did not take place [on that particular occasion], but that what did happen then was only something resembling it, or something which was gone about in a similar manner.

chap. xxx.—of the section where it is recorded, that being moved with compassion for the multitudes, he sent his disciples, giving them power to work cures, and charged them with many instructions, directing them how to live; and of the question concerning the proof of matthew’s harmony here with mark and luke, especially on the subject of the staff, which matthew says the lord told them they were not to carry, while according to mark it is the only thing they were to carry; and also of the wearing of the shoes and coats

70. As to the events next related, it is true that their exact order is not made apparent by Matthew’s narrative. For after the notices of the two incidents in connection with the blind men and the dumb demoniac, he continues in the following manner: “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the kingdom of the gospel, and healing every sickness and every disease. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they were troubled and prostrate,5 as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith He unto His disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest. And when He had called unto Him His twelve disciples, He gave them power against unclean spirits;” and so forth, down to the words, “Verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.”7 This whole passage which we have now mentioned shows how He gave many counsels to His disciples. But whether Matthew has subjoined this section in its historical order, or has made its order dependent only on the succession in which it came up to his own mind, as has already been said, is not made apparent. Mark appears to have handled this paragraph in a succinct method, and to have entered upon its recital in the following terms: “And He went round about the villages, teaching in their circuit: and He called unto Him the twelve, and began to send them by two and two, and gave them power over unclean spirits;” and so on, down to where we read, “Shake off the dust from your feet for a testimony against them.”9 But before narrating this incident, Mark has inserted, immediately after the story of the raising of the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue, an account of what took place on that occasion on which, in His own country, the people were astonished at the Lord, and asked from whence He had such wisdom and such capabilities, when they perceived His judgment: which account is given by Matthew after these counsels to the disciples, and after a number of other matters.11 It is uncertain, therefore, whether what thus happened in His own country has been recorded by Matthew in the succession in which it came to mind, after having been omitted at first, or whether it has been introduced by Mark in the way of an anticipation; and which of them, in short, has kept the order of actual occurrence, and which of them the order of his own recollection. Luke, again, in immediate succession to the mention of the raising of the daughter of Jaïrus to life, subjoins this paragraph, bearing on the power and the counsels given to the disciples, and that indeed with as great brevity as Mark. This evangelist, however, does not, any more than the others, introduce the subject in such a way as to produce the impression that it comes in also in the strictly historical order. Moreover, with regard to the names of the disciples, Luke, who gives their names in another place,2—that is to say, in the earlier passage, where they are [represented as being] chosen on the mountain,—is not at variance in any respect with Matthew, with the exception of the single instance of the name of Judas the brother of James, whom Matthew designates Thaddæus, although some codices also read Lebbæus. But who would ever think of denying that one man may be known under two or three names?

71. Another question which it is also usual to put is this: How comes it that Matthew and Luke have stated that the Lord said to His disciples that they were not to take a staff with them, whereas Mark puts the matter in this way: “And He commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only;” and proceeds further in this strain, “no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse:” thereby making it quite evident that his narrative belongs to the same place and circumstances with which the narratives of those others deal who have mentioned that the staff was not to be taken? Now this question admits of being solved on the principle of understanding that the staff which, according to Mark, was to be taken, bears one sense, and that the staff which, according to Matthew and Luke, was not to be taken with them, is to be interpreted in a different sense; just in the same way as we find the term “temptation” used in one meaning, when it is said, “God tempteth no man,”5 and in a different meaning where it is said, “The Lord your God tempteth [proveth] you, to know whether ye love Him.” For in the former case the temptation of seduction is intended; but in the latter the temptation of probation. Another parallel occurs in the case of the term “judgment,” which must be taken in one way, where it is said, “They that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of judgment;”7 and in another way, where it is said, “Judge me, O God, and discern my cause, in respect of an ungodly nation.”9 For the former refers to the judgment of damnation, and the latter to the judgment of discrimination.

72. And there are many other words which do not retain one uniform signification, but are introduced so as to suit a variety of connections, and thus are understood in a variety of ways, and sometimes, indeed, are adopted along with an explanation. We have an example in the saying, “Be not children in understanding; howbeit in malice be ye little children, that in understanding ye may be perfect.”11 For here is a sentence which, in a brief and pregnant form, might have been expressed thus: “Be ye not children; howbeit be ye children.” The same is the case with the words, “If any man among you thinketh himself to be wise in this world, let him become a fool that he may be wise.” For what else is the statement there but this: “Let him not be wise, that he may be wise”? Moreover, the sentences are sometimes so put as to exercise the judgment of the inquirer. An instance of this kind occurs in what is said in the Epistle to the Galatians: “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so ye will fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man thinketh himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But it is meet that every man should prove his own work; and then shall he have rejoicing in himself, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden.”13 Now, unless the word “burden” can be taken in different senses, without doubt one would suppose that the same writer contradicts himself in what he says here, and that, too, when the words are placed in such close neighbourhood in one paragraph. For when he has just said, “One shall bear another’s burdens,” after the lapse of a very brief interval he says, “Every man shall bear his own burden.” But the one refers to the burdens which are to be borne in sharing in one’s infirmity, the other to the burdens borne in the rendering of an account of our own actions to God: the former are burdens to be borne in our [duties of] fellowship with brethren; the latter are those peculiar to ourselves, and borne by every man for himself. And in the same way, once more, the “rod” of which the apostle spoke in the words, “Shall I come unto you with a rod?”15 is meant in a spiritual sense; while the same term bears the literal meaning when it occurs of the rod applied to a horse, or used for some other purpose of the kind, not to mention, in the meantime, also other metaphorical significations of this phrase.

73. Both these counsels, therefore, must be accepted as having been spoken by the Lord to the apostles; namely, at once that they should not take a staff, and that they should take nothing save a staff only. For when He said to them, according to Matthew, “Provide neither gold nor silver, nor money in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet a staff,” He added immediately, “for the workman is worthy of his meat.” And by this He makes it sufficiently obvious why it is that He would have them provide and carry none of these things. He shows that His reason was, not that these things are not necessary for the sustenance of this life, but because He was sending them in such a manner as to declare plainly that these things were due to them by those very persons who were to hear believingly the gospel preached by them; just as wages are the soldier’s due, and as the fruit of the vine is the right of the planters, and the milk of the flock the right of the shepherds. For which reason Paul also speaks in this wise: “Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?” For under these figures he was speaking of those things which are necessary to the preachers of the gospel. And so, a little further on, he says: “If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? If others are partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power.”2 This makes it apparent that by these instructions the Lord did not mean that the evangelists should not seek their support in any other way than by depending on what was offered them by those to whom they preached the gospel (otherwise this very apostle acted contrary to this precept when he acquired a livelihood for himself by the labours of his own hands, because he would not be chargeable to any of them), but that He gave them a power in the exercise of which they should know such things to be their due. Now, when any commandment is given by the Lord, there is the guilt of non-obedience if it is not observed; but when any power is given, any one is at liberty to abstain from its use, and, as it were, to recede from his right. Accordingly, when the Lord spake these things to the disciples, He did what that apostle expounds more clearly a little further on, when he says, “Do ye not know that they who minister in the temple4 live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained, that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. But I have used none of these things.” When he says, therefore, that the Lord ordained it thus, but that he did not use the ordinance, he certainly indicates that it was a power to use that was given him, and not a necessity of service that was imposed upon him.

74. Accordingly, as our Lord ordained what the apostle declares Him to have ordained,—namely, that those who preach the gospel should live of the gospel,—He gave these counsels to the apostles in order that they might be without the care of providing or of carrying with them things necessary for this life, whether great or the very smallest; consequently He introduced this term, “neither a staff,” with the view of showing that, on the part of those who were faithful to Him, all things were due to His ministers, who themselves, too, required nothing superfluous. And thus, when He added the words, “For the workman is worthy of his meat,” He indicated quite clearly, and made it thoroughly plain, how and for what reason it was that He spake all these things. It is this kind of power, therefore, that the Lord denoted under the term “staff,” when He said that they should “take nothing” for their journey, save a staff only. For the sentence might also have been briefly expressed in this way: “Take with you none of the necessaries of life, neither a staff, save a staff only.” So that the phrase “neither a staff” may be taken to be equivalent to “not even the smallest things;” while the addition, “save a staff only,” may be understood to mean that, in virtue of that power which they received from the Lord, and which was signified by the name “staff” [or, “rod”], even those things which were not carried with them would not be wanting to them. Our Lord therefore used both phrases. But inasmuch as one and the same evangelist has not recorded them both, the writer who has told us that the rod, as introduced in the one sense, was to be taken, is supposed to be in antagonism to him who has told us that the rod, as occurring again in the other sense, was not to be taken. After this explanation of the matter, however, no such supposition ought to be entertained.

75. In like manner, also, when Matthew tells us that the shoes were not to be carried with them on the journey, what is intended is the checking of that care which thinks that such things must be carried with them, because otherwise they might be unprovided. Thus, too, the import of what is said regarding the two coats is, that none of them should think of taking with him another coat in addition to the one in which he was clad, as if he was afraid that he might come to be in want, while all the time the power (which was received from the Lord) made him sure of getting what was needful. To the same effect, when Mark says that they were to be shod with sandals or soles, he gives us to understand that this matter of the shoe has some sort of mystical significance, the point being that the foot is to be neither covered, nor yet left bare to the ground; by which the idea may be conveyed that the gospel was neither to be concealed, nor yet made to depend on the good things of earth. And as to the fact that what is forbidden is neither the carrying nor the possessing of two coats, but more distinctly the putting of them on,—the words being, “and not put on two coats,”—what counsel is conconveyed to them therein but this, that they ought to walk not in duplicity, but in simplicity?

76. Thus it is not by any means to be made a matter of doubt that the Lord Himself spake all these words, some of them with a literal import, and others of them with a figurative, although the evangelists may have introduced them only in part into their writings,—one inserting one section, and another giving a different portion. Certain passages, at the same time, have been recorded in identical terms either by some two of them, or by some three, or even by all the four together. And yet not even when this is the case can we take it for granted that everything has been committed to writing which was either uttered or done by Him. Moreover, if any one fancies that the Lord could not in the course of the same discourse have used some expressions with a figurative application and others with a literal, let him but examine His other addresses, and he will see how rash and inconsiderate such a notion is. For, then (to mention but a single instance which occurs meantime to my mind), when Christ gives the counsel not to let the left hand know what the right hand doeth, he may suppose himself under the necessity of accepting in the same figurative sense at once the almsgivings themselves referred to, and the other instructions offered on that occasion.

77. In good truth, I must repeat here once more an admonition which it behoves the reader to keep in mind, so as not to be requiring that kind of advice so very frequently, namely, that in various passages of His discourses, the Lord has reiterated much which He had uttered already on other occasions. It is needful, indeed, to call this fact to mind, lest, when it happens that the order of such passages does not appear to fit in with the narrative of another of the evangelists, the reader should fancy that this establishes some contradiction between them; whereas he ought really to understand it to be due to the fact that something is repeated a second time in that connection which had been already expressed elsewhere. And this is a remark that should be held applicable not only to His words, but also to His deeds. For there is nothing to hinder us from believing that the same thing may have taken place more than once. But for a man to impeach the gospel simply because he does not believe in the repeated occurrence of some incident, which no one [at least] can prove to be an impossible event, betrays mere sacrilegious vanity.

chap. xxxi.—of the account given by matthew and luke of the occasion when john the baptist was in prison, and despatched his disciples on a mission to the lord

78. Matthew proceeds with his narrative in the following terms: “And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding His twelve disciples, He departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. Now, when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, and said unto Him, Art thou He that should come, or do we look for another?” and so on, until we come to the words, “And Wisdom is justified of her children.” This whole section relating to John the Baptist, touching the message which he sent to Jesus, and the tenor of the reply which those whom he despatched received, and the terms in which the Lord spoke of John after the departure of these persons, is introduced also by Luke.3 The order, however, is not the same. But it is not made clear which of them gives the order of his own recollections, and which keeps by the historical succession of the things themselves.

chap. xxxii.—of the occasion on which he upbraided the cities because they repented not, which incident is recorded by luke as well as by matthew; and of the question regarding matthew’s harmony with luke in the matter of the order

79. Thereafter Matthew goes on as follows: “Then began He to upbraid the cities wherein most of His mighty works were done, because they repented not;” and so on, down to where we read, “It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom at the day of judgment, than for you.” This section likewise is given by Luke, who reports it also as an utterence from the lips of the Lord in connection with a certain continuous discourse which He delivered. This circumstance makes it the rather appear that Luke has recorded these words in the strict consecution in which they were spoken by the Lord, while Matthew has kept by the order of his own recollections. Or if it is supposed that Matthew’s words, “Then began He to upbraid the cities,” must be taken in such a way as to imply that the intention was to express, by the term “then,” the precise point of time at which the saying was uttered, and not to signify in a somewhat broader way the period at which many of these things were done and spoken, then I say that any one entertaining that idea may equally well believe these sentences to have been pronounced on two different occasions. For if it is the fact that even in one and the same evangelist some things are found which the Lord utters twice over, as is the case with this very Luke in the instance of the counsel not to take a scrip for the journey, and so with other things in like manner which we find to have been spoken by the Lord in two different places,—why should it seem strange if some other word of the Lord, which was originally uttered on two separate occasions, may happen also to be recorded by two several evangelists, each of whom gives it in the order in which it was actually spoken, and if thus the order seems to be different in the two, simply because the sentences were uttered both on the occasion noticed by the one, and on that referred to by the other?

chap. xxxiii.—of the occasion on which he calls them to take his yoke and burden upon them, and of the question as to the absence of any discrepancy between matthew and luke in the order of narration

80. Matthew proceeds thus: “At that time Jesus answered and said, I make my acknowledgment to Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent,” and so on, down to where we read, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”3 This passage is also noticed by Luke, but only in part. For he does not give us the words, “Come unto me, all ye that labour,” and the rest. It is, however, quite legitimate to suppose that all this may have been said on one occasion by the Lord, and yet that Luke has not recorded the whole of what was said on that occasion. For Matthew’s phrase is, that “at that time Jesus answered and said,” by which is meant the time after His upbraiding of the cities. Luke, on the other hand, interposes some matters, although they are not many, after that upbraiding of the cities; and then he subjoins this sentence: “In that hour He rejoiced in the Holy Spirit, and said.”5 Thus, too, we see that even if Matthew’s expression had been, not “at that time,” but “in that very hour,” still what Luke inserts in the interval is so little that it would not appear an unreasonable thing to give it as all spoken in the same hour.

chap. xxxiv.—of the passage in which it is said that the disciples plucked the ears of corn and ate them; and of the question as to how matthew, mark, and luke are in harmony with each other with respect to the order of narration there

81. Matthew continues his history in the following terms: “At that time Jesus went on the Sabbath-day through the corn; and His disciples were an hungered, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat;” and so forth, on to the words, “For the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath-day.” This is also given both by Mark and by Luke, in a way precluding any idea of antagonism.7 At the same time, these latter do not employ the definition “at that time.” That fact, consequently, may perhaps make it the more probable that Matthew has retained the order of actual occurrence here, and that the others have kept by the order of their own recollections; unless, indeed, this phrase “at that time” is to be taken in a broader sense, that is to say, as indicating the period at which these many and various incidents took place.

chap. xxxv.—of the man with the withered hand, who was restored on the sabbath-day; and of the question as to how matthew’s narrative of this incident can be harmonized with those of mark and luke, either in the matter of the order of events, or in the report of the words spoken by the lord and by the jews

82. Matthew continues his account thus: “And when He was departed thence, He went into their synagogue: and, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered;” and so on, down to the words, “And it was restored whole, like as the other.” The restoring of this man who had the withered hand is also not passed over in silence by Mark and Luke.10 Now, the circumstance that this day is also designated a Sabbath might possibly lead us to suppose that both the plucking of the ears of corn and the healing of this man took place on the same day, were it not that Luke has made it plain that it was on a different Sabbath that the cure of the withered hand was wrought. Accordingly, when Matthew says, “And when He was departed thence, He came into their synagogue,” the words do indeed import that the said coming did not take place until after He had departed from the previously mentioned locality; but, at the same time, they leave the question undecided as to the number of days which may have elapsed between His passing from the aforesaid corn-field and His coming into their synagogue; and they express nothing as to His going there in direct and immediate succession. And thus space is offered us for getting in the narrative of Luke, who tells us that it was on another Sabbath that this man’s hand was restored. But it is possible that a difficulty may be felt in the circumstance that Matthew has told us how the people put this question to the Lord, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath-day?” wishing thereby to find an occasion for accusing Him; and that in reply He set before them the parable of the sheep in these terms: “What man shall there be among you that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the Sabbath-day, will he not lay hold on it and lift it out? How much, then, is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath-days;” whereas Mark and Luke rather represent the people to have had this question put to them by the Lord, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath-day, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill?”2 We solve this difficulty, however, by the supposition that the people in the first instance asked the Lord, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath-day?” that thereupon, knowing the thoughts of the men who were thus seeking an occasion for accusing Him, He set the man whom He had been on the point of healing in their midst, and addressed to them the interrogations which Mark and Luke mention to have been put; that, as they remained silent, He next put before them the parable of the sheep, and drew the conclusion that it was lawful to do good on the Sabbath-day; and that, finally, when He had looked round about on them with anger, as Mark tells us, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch forth thine hand.”

chap. xxxvi.—of another question which demands our consideration, namely, whether, in passing from the account of the man whose withered hand was restored, these three evangelists proceed to their next subjects in such a way as to create no contradictions in regard to the order of their narrations

83. Matthew continues his narrative, connecting it in the following manner with what precedes: “But the Pharisees went out and held a council against Him, how they might destroy Him. But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew Himself from thence: and great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all; and charged them that they should not make Him known: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet Esaias, saying;” and so forth, down to where it is said, “And in His name shall the Gentiles trust.” He is the only one that records these facts. The other two have advanced to other themes. Mark, it is true, seems to some extent to have kept by the historical order: for he tells us how Jesus, on discovering the malignant disposition which was entertained toward Him by the Jews, withdrew to the sea along with His disciples, and that then vast multitudes flocked to Him, and He healed great numbers of them.4 But, at the same time, it is not quite clear at what precise point He begins to pass to a new subject, different from what would have followed in strict succession. He leaves it uncertain whether such a transition is made at the point where he tells us how the multitudes gathered about Him (for if that was the case now, it might equally well have been the case at some other time), or at the point where He says that “He goeth up into a mountain.” It is this latter circumstance that Luke also appears to notice when he says, “And it came to pass in those days, that He went out into a mountain to pray.” For by the expression “in those days,” he makes it plain enough that the incident referred to did not occur in immediate succession upon what precedes.6

chap. xxxvii.—of the consistency of the accounts given by matthew and luke regarding the dumb and blind man who was possessed with a devil

84. Matthew then goes on with his recital in the following fashion: “Then was brought unto Him one possessed with a devil, blind and dumb; and He healed him, insomuch that he both spake and saw.” Luke introduces this narrative, not in the same order, but after a number of other matters. He also speaks of the man only as dumb, and not as blind in addition.8 But it is not to be inferred, from the mere circumstance of his silence as to some portion or other of the account, that he speaks of an entirely different person. For he has likewise recorded what followed [immediately after that cure], as it stands also in Matthew.

chap. xxxviii.—of the occasion on which it was said to him that he cast out devils in the power of beelzebub, and of the declarations drawn forth from him by that circumstance in regard to the blasphemy against the holy spirit, and with respect to the two trees; and of the question whether there is not some discrepancy in these sections between matthew and the other two evangelists, and particularly between matthew and luke

85. Matthew proceeds with his narrative in the following term: “And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils but in Beelzebub, the prince of the devils. And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself shall be brought to desolation;” and so on, down to the words, “By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Mark does not bring in this allegation against Jesus, that He cast out devils in [the power of] Beelzebub, in immediate sequence on the story of the dumb man; but after certain other matters, recorded by himself alone, he introduces this incident also, either because he recalled it to mind in a different connection, and so appended it there, or because he had at first made certain omissions in his history, and after noticing these, took up this order of narration again.2 On the other hand, Luke gives an account of these things almost in the same language as Matthew has employed. And the circumstance that Luke here designates the Spirit of God as the finger of God, does not betray any departure from a genuine identity in sense; but it rather teaches us an additional lesson, giving us to know in what manner we are to interpret the phrase “the finger of God” wherever it occurs in the Scriptures. Moreover, with regard to other matters which are left unmentioned in this section both by Mark and by Luke, no difficulty can be raised by these. Neither can that be the case with some other circumstances which are related by them in somewhat different terms, for the sense still remains the same.

chap. xxxix.—of the question as to the manner of matthew’s agreement with luke in the accounts which are given of the lord’s reply to certain persons who sought a sign, when he spoke of jonas the prophet, and of the ninevites, and of the queen of the south, and of the unclean spirit which, when it has gone out of the man, returns and finds the house garnished

86. Matthew goes on and relates what followed thus: “Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign of thee;” and so on, down to where we read, “Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.” These words are recorded also by Luke in this connection, although in a somewhat different order.5 For he has mentioned the fact that they sought of the Lord a sign from heaven at an earlier point in his narrative, which makes it follow immediately on his version of the miracle wrought on the dumb man. He has not, however, recorded there the reply which was given to them by the Lord. But further on, after [telling us how] the people were gathered together, he states that this answer was returned to the persons who, as he gives us to understand, were mentioned by him in those earlier verses as seeking of Him a sign from heaven. And that reply he also subjoins, only after introducing the passage regarding the woman who said to the Lord, “Blessed is the womb that bare thee.” This notice of the woman, moreover, he inserts after relating the Lord’s discourse concerning the unclean spirit that goes out of the man, and then returns and finds the house garnished. In this way, then, after the notice of the woman, and after his statement of the reply which was made to the multitudes on the subject of the sign which they sought from heaven, he brings in the similitude of the prophet Jonas; and then, directly continuing the Lord’s discourse, he next instances what was said concerning the Queen of the South and the Ninevites. Thus he has rather related something which Matthew has passed over in silence, than omitted any of the facts which that evangelist has narrated in this place. And furthermore, who can fail to perceive that the question as to the precise order in which these words were uttered by the Lord is a superfluous one? For this lesson also we ought to learn, on the unimpeachable authority of the evangelists,—namely, that no offence against truth need be supposed on the part of a writer, although he may not reproduce the discourse of some speaker in the precise order in which the person from whose lips it proceeded might have given it; the fact being, that the mere item of the order, whether it be this or that, does not affect the subject-matter itself. And by his present version Luke indicates that this discourse of the Lord was of greater length than we might otherwise have supposed; and he records certain topics handled in it, which resemble those which are mentioned by Matthew in his recital of the sermon which was delivered on the mount.7 So that we take these words to have been spoken twice over, to wit, on that previous occasion, and again on this one. But on the conclusion of this discourse Luke proceeds to another subject, as to which it is uncertain whether, in the account which he gives of it, he has kept by the order of actual occurrence. For he connects it in this way: “And as He spake, a certain Pharisee besought Him to dine with him.” He does not say, however, “as He spake these words,” but only “as He spake.” For if he had said, “as He spake these words,” the expression would of course have compelled us to suppose that the incidents referred to, besides being recorded by him in this order, also took place on the Lord’s part in that same order.

chap. xl.—of the question as to whether there is any discrepancy between matthew on the one hand, and mark and luke on the other, in regard to the order in which the notice is given of the occasion on which his mother and his brethren were announced to him

87. Matthew then proceeds with his narrative in the following terms: “While He yet talked to the people, behold, His mother and His brethren stood without, desiring to speak to Him;” and so on, down to the words, “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” Without doubt, we ought to understand this to have occurred in immediate sequence on the preceding incidents. For he has prefaced his transition to this narrative by the words, “While He yet talked to the people;” and what does this term “yet” refer to, but to the very matter of which He was speaking on that occasion? For the expression is not, “When He talked to the people, behold, His mother and His brethren;” but, “While He was yet speaking,” etc. And that phraseology compels us to suppose that it was at the very time when He was still engaged in speaking of those things which were mentioned immediately above. For Mark has also related what our Lord said after His declaration on the subject of the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. He gives it thus: “And there came His mother and His brethren,”3 omitting certain matters which meet us in the context connected with that discourse of the Lord, and which Matthew has introduced there with greater fulness than Mark, and Luke, again, with greater fulness than Matthew. On the other hand, Luke has not kept the historical order in the report which he offers of this incident, but has given it by anticipation, and has narrated it as he recalled it to memory, at a point antecedent to the date of its literal occurrence. But furthermore, he has brought it in in such a manner that it appears dissociated from any close connection either with what precedes it or with what follows it. For, after reporting certain of the Lord’s parables, he has introduced his notice of what took place with His mother and His brethren in the following manner: “Then came to Him His mother and His brethren, and could not come at Him for the press.” Thus he has not explained at what precise time it was that they came to Him. And again, when he passes off from this subject, he proceeds in these terms: “Now it came to pass on one of the days, that He went into a ship with His disciples.”5 And certainly, when he employs this expression, “it came to pass on one of the days,” he indicates clearly enough that we are under no necessity of supposing that the day meant was the very day on which this incident took place, or the one following in immediate succession. Consequently, neither in the matter of the Lord’s words, nor in that of the historical order of the occurrences related, does Matthew’s account of the incident which occurred in connection with the mother and the brethren of the Lord, exhibit any want of harmony with the versions given of the same by the other two evangelists.

chap. xli.—of the words which were spoken out of the ship on the subject of the sower, whose seed, as he sowed it, fell partly on the wayside, etc.; and concerning the man who had tares sowed over and above his wheat; and concerning the grain of mustard seed and the leaven; as also of what he said in the house regarding the treasure hid in the field, and the pearl, and the net cast into the sea, and the man that brings out of his treasure things new and old; and of the method in which matthew’s harmony with mark and luke is proved both with respect to the things which they have reported in common with him, and in the matter of the order of narration

88. Matthew continues thus: “In that day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the seaside: and great multitudes were gathered together unto Him, so that He went into a ship and sat, and the whole multitude stood on the shore. And He spake many things unto them in parables, saying;” and so on, down to the words, “Therefore every scribe which is instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.” That the things narrated in this passage took place immediately after the incident touching the mother and the brethren of the Lord, and that Matthew has also retained that historical order in his version. of these events, is indicated by the circumstance that, in passing from the one subject to the other, he has expressed the connection by this mode of speech: “In that day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea-side; and great multitudes were gathered together unto Him.” For by adopting this phrase, “in that day” (unless perchance the word “day,” in accordance with a use and wont of the Scriptures, may signify simply “time”), he intimates clearly enough either that the thing now related took place in immediate succession on what precedes, or that much at least could not have intervened. This inference is confirmed by the fact that Mark keeps by the same order. Luke, on the other hand, after his account of what happened with the mother and the brethren of the Lord, passes to a different subject. But at the same time, in making that transition, he does not institute any such connection as bears the appearance of a want of consistency with this order.2 Consequently, in all those passages in which Mark and Luke have reported in common with Matthew the words which were spoken by the Lord, there is no questioning their harmony with one another. Moreover, the sections which are given by Matthew only are even much more beyond the range of controversy. And in the matter of the order of narration, although it is presented somewhat differently by the various evangelists, according as they have proceeded severally along the line of historical succession, or along that of the succession of recollection, I see as little reason for alleging any discrepancy of statement or any contradiction between any of the writers.

chap. xlii.—of his coming into his own country, and of the astonishment of the people at his doctrine, as they looked with contempt upon his lineage; of matthew’s harmony with mark and luke in this section; and in particular, of the question whether the order of narration which is presented by the first of these evangelists does not exhibit some want of consistency with that of the other two

89. Matthew thence proceeds as follows: “And it came to pass that, when Jesus had finished these parables, He departed thence: and when He was come into His own country, He taught them in their synagogues;” and so on, down to the words, “And He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”5 Thus he passes from the above discourse containing the parables, on to this passage, in such a way as not to make it absolutely necessary for us to take the one to have followed in immediate historical succession upon the other. All the more may we suppose this to be the case, when we see how Mark passes on from these parables to a subject which is not identical with Matthew’s directly succeeding theme, but quite different from that, and agreeing rather with what Luke introduces; and how he has constructed his narrative in such a manner as to make the balance of credibility rest on the side of the supposition, that what followed in immediate historical sequence was rather the occurrences which these two latter evangelists both insert in near connection [with the parables],—namely, the incidents of the ship in which Jesus was asleep, and the miracle performed in the expulsion of the devils in the country of the Gerasenes,—two events which Matthew has already recalled and introduced at an earlier stage of his record.7 At present, therefore, we have to consider whether [Matthew’s report of] what the Lord spoke, and what was said to Him in His own country, is in concord with the accounts given by the other two, namely, Mark and Luke. For, in widely different and dissimilar sections of his history, John mentions words, either spoken to the Lord or spoken by Him, which resemble those recorded in this passage by the other three evangelists.

90. Now Mark, indeed, gives this passage in terms almost precisely identical with those which meet us in Matthew; with the one exception, that what he says the Lord was called by His fellow-townsmen is, “the carpenter, and the son of Mary,” and not, as Matthew tells us, the “carpenter’s son.” Neither is there anything to marvel at in this, since He might quite fairly have have been designated by both these names. For in taking Him to be the son of a carpenter, they naturally also took Him to be a carpenter. Luke, on the other hand, sets forth the same incident on a wider scale, and records a variety of other matters which took place in that connection. And this account he brings in at a point not long subsequent to His baptism and temptation, thus unquestionably introducing by anticipation what really happened only after the occurrence of a number of intervening circumstances. In this, therefore, every one may see an illustration of a principle of prime consequence in relation to this most weighty question concerning the harmony of the evangelists, which we have undertaken to solve by the help of God,—the principle, namely, that it is not by mere ignorance that these writers have been led to make certain omissions, and that it is as little through simple ignorance of the actual historical order of events that they have [at times] preferred to keep by the order in which these events were recalled to their own memory. The correctness of this principle may be gathered most clearly from the fact that, at a point antecedent to any account given by him of anything done by the Lord at Capharnaum, Luke has anticipated the literal date, and has inserted this passage which we have at present under consideration, and in which we are told how His fellow-citizens at once were astonished at the might of the authority which was in Him, and expressed their contempt for the meanness of His family. For he tells us that He addressed them in these terms: “Ye will surely say unto me, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capharnaum, do also here in thy country;” while, so far as the narrative of this same Luke is concerned, we have not yet read of Him as having done anything at Capharnaum. Furthermore, as it will not take up much time, and as, besides, it is both a very simple and a highly needful matter to do so, we insert here the whole context, showing the subject from which and the method in which the writer has come to give the contents of this section. After his statement regarding the Lord’s baptism and temptation, he proceeds in these terms: “And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from Him for a season. And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of Him through all the region round about. And He taught in their synagogues, and was magnified of all. And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up: and, as his custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath-day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto Him the book of the prophet Esaias: and when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me. He hath sent me to preach the gospel to the poor, to proclaim deliverance to the captives, and sight to the blind; to set at liberty them that are bruised, to proclaim the accepted year of the Lord, and the day of retribution. And when He had closed the book, He gave it again to the minister, and sat down: and the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on Him. And He began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. And all bare Him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son? And He said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capharnaum, do also here in thy country.”2 And so he continues with the rest, until this entire section in his narrative is gone over. What, therefore, can be more manifest, than that he has knowingly introduced this notice at a point antecedent to its historical date, seeing it admits of no question that he knows and refers to certain mighty deeds done by Him before this period in Capharnaum, which, at the same time, he is aware he has not as yet narrated in detail? For certainly he has not made such an advance with his history from his notice of the Lord’s baptism, as that he should be supposed to have forgotten the fact that up to this point he has not mentioned any of the things which took place in Capharnaum; the truth being, that he has just begun here, after the baptism, to give us his narrative concerning the Lord personally.

chap. xliii.—of the mutual consistency of the accounts which are given by matthew, mark, and luke of what was said by herod on hearing about the wonderful works of the lord, and of their concord in regard to the order of narration

91. Matthew continues: “At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, and said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist: he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do show forth themselves in him.” Mark gives the same passage, and in the same manner, but not in the same order.5 For, after relating how the Lord sent forth the disciples with the charge to take nothing with them on the journey save a staff only, and after bringing to its close so much of the discourse which was then delivered as has been recorded by him, he has subjoined this section. He does not, however, connect it in such a way as to compel us to suppose that what it narrates took place actually in immediate sequence on what precedes it in the history. And in this, indeed, Matthew is at one with him. For Matthew’s expression is, “at that time,” not “on that day,” or “at that hour.” Only there is this difference between them, that Mark refers not to Herod himself as the utterer of the words in question, but to the people, his statement being this: “They said that John the Baptist was risen from the dead;” whereas Matthew makes Herod himself the speaker, the phrase being: “He said unto his servants.” Luke, again, keeping the same order of narration as Mark, and introducing it also indeed, like Mark, in no such way as to compel us to suppose that his order must have been the order of actual occurrence, presents his version of the same passage in the following terms: “Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by Him: and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead; and of some, that Elias had appeared; and of others, that one of the old prophets was risen again. And Herod said, John have I beheaded: but who is this of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see Him.” In these words Luke also attests Mark’s statement, at least, so far as concerns the affirmation that it was not Herod himself, but other parties, who said that John was risen from the dead. But as regards his mentioning how Herod was perplexed, and his bringing in thereafter those words of the same prince: “John have I beheaded: but who is this of whom I hear such things?” we must either understand that after the said perplexity he became persuaded in his own mind of the truth of what was asserted by others, when he spoke to his servants, in accordance with the version given by Matthew, which runs thus: “And he said to his servants, This is John the Baptist: he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do show forth themselves in him;” or we must suppose that these words were uttered in a manner betraying that he was still in a state of perplexity. For had he said, “Can this be John the Baptist?” or, “Can it chance that this is John the Baptist?” there would have been no need of saying anything about a mode of utterance by which he might have revealed his dubiety and perplexity. But seeing that these forms of expression are not before us, his words may be taken to have been pronounced in either of two ways: so that we may either suppose him to have been convinced by what was said by others, and so to have spoken the words in question with a real belief [in John’s reappearance]; or we may imagine him to have been still in that state of hesitancy of which mention is made by Luke. Our explanation is favoured by the fact that Mark, who had already told us how it was by others that the statement was made as to John having risen from the dead, does not fail to let us know also that in the end Herod himself spoke to this effect: “It is John whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead.”2 For these words may also be taken to have been pronounced in either of two ways,—namely, as the utterances either of one corroborating a fact, or of one in doubt. Moreover, while Luke passes on to a new subject after the notice which he gives of this incident, those other two, Matthew and Mark, take occasion to tell us at this point in what way John was put to death by Herod.

chap. xliv.—of the order in which the accounts of john’s imprisonment and death are given by these three evangelists

92. Matthew then proceeds with his narrative in the following terms: “For Herod laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother’s wife;” and so on, down to the words, “And his disciples came and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.” Mark gives this narrative in similar terms.4 Luke, on the other hand, does not relate it in the same succession, but introduces it in connection with his statement of the baptism wherewith the Lord was baptized. Hence we are to understand him to have acted by anticipation here, and to have taken the opportunity of recording at this point an event which took place actually a considerable period later. For he has first reported those words which John spake with regard to the Lord—namely, that “His fan is in His hand, and that He will thoroughly purge His floor, and will gather the wheat into His garner; but the chaff He will burn up with fire unquenchable;” and immediately thereafter he has appended his statement of an incident which the evangelist John demonstrates not to have taken place in direct historical sequence. For this latter writer mentions that, after Jesus had been baptized, He went into Galilee at the period when He turned the water into wine; and that, after a sojourn of a few days in Capharnaum, He left that district and returned to the land of Judæa, and there baptized a multitude about the Jordan, previous to the time when John was imprisoned. Now what reader, unless he were all the better versed6 in these writings, would not take it to be implied here that it was after the utterance of the words with regard to the fan and the purged floor that Herod became incensed against John, and cast him into prison? Yet, that the incident referred to here did not, as matter of fact, occur in the order in which it is here recorded, we have already shown elsewhere; and, indeed, Luke himself puts the proof into our hands. For if [he had meant that] John’s incarceration took place immediately after the utterance of those words, then what are we to make of the fact that in Luke’s own narrative the baptism of Jesus is introduced subsequently to his notice of the imprisonment of John? Consequently it is manifest that, recalling the circumstance in connection with the present occasion, he has brought it in here by anticipation, and has thus inserted it in his history at a point antecedent to a number of incidents, of which it was his purpose to leave us some record, and which, in point of time, were antecedent to this mishap that befell John. But it is as little the case that the other two evangelists, Matthew and Mark, have placed the fact of John’s imprisonment in that position in their narratives which, as is apparent also froth their own writings, belonged to it in the actual order of events. For they, too, have told us how it was on John’s being cast into prison that the Lord went into Galilee; and then, after [relating] a number of things which He did in Galilee, they come to Herod’s admonition or doubt as to the rising again from the dead of that John whom he beheaded;2 and in connection with this latter occasion, they give us the story of all that occurred in the matter of John’s incarceration and death.

chap. xlv.—of the order and the method in which all the four evangelists come to the narration of the miracle of the five loaves

93. After stating how the report of John’s death was brought to Christ, Matthew continues his account, and introduces it in the following connection: “When Jesus heard of it, He departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed Him on foot out of the cities. And He went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and He healed their sick.” He mentions, therefore, that this took place immediately after John had suffered. Consequently it was after this that those things took place which have been previously recorded—namely, the circumstances which alarmed Herod, and induced him to say, “John have I beheaded.”4 For it must surely be understood that these incidents occurred subsequently which report carried to the ears of Herod, so that he became anxious, and was in perplexity as to who that person possibly could be of whom he heard things so remarkable, when he had himself put John to death. Mark, again, after relating how John suffered, mentions that the disciples who had been sent forth returned to Jesus, and told Him all that they had done and taught; and that the Lord (a fact which he alone records) directed them to rest for a little while in a desert place, and that He went on board a vessel with them, and departed; and that the crowds of people, when they perceived that movement, went before them to that place; and that the Lord had compassion on them, and taught them many things; and that, when the hour was now advancing, it came to pass that all who were present were made to eat of the five loaves and the two fishes. This miracle has been recorded by all the four evangelists. For in like manner, Luke, who has given an account of the death of John at a much earlier stage in his narrative,6 in connection with the occasion of which we have spoken, in the present context tells us first of Herod’s perplexity as to who the Lord could be, and immediately thereafter appends statements to the same effect with those in Mark,—namely, that the apostles returned to Him, and reported to Him all that they had done; and that then He took them with Him and departed into a desert place, and that the multitudes followed Him thither, and that He spake to them concerning the kingdom of God, and restored those who stood in need of healing. Then, too, he mentions that, when the day was declining, the miracle of the five loaves was wrought.

94. But John, again, who differs greatly from those three in this respect, that he deals more with the discourses which the Lord delivered than with the works which He so marvellously wrought, after recording how He left Judæa and departed the second time into Galilee, which departure is understood to have taken place at the time to which the other evangelists also refer when they tell us that on John’s imprisonment He went into Galilee,—after recording this, I say, John inserts in the immediate context of his narrative the considerable discourse which He spake as He was passing through Samaria, on the occasion of His meeting with the Samaritan woman whom He found at the well; and then he states that two days after this He departed thence and went into Galilee, and that thereupon He came to Cana of Galilee, where He had turned the water into wine, and that there He healed the son of a certain nobleman. But as to other things which the rest have told us He did and said in Galilee, John is silent. At the same time, however, he mentions something which the others have left unnoticed,—namely, the fact that He went up to Jerusalem on the day of the feast, and there wrought the miracle on the man who had the infirmity of thirty-eight years standing, and who found no one by whose help he might be carried down to the pool in which people afflicted with various diseases were healed. In connection with this, John also relates how He spake many things on that occasion. He tells us, further, that after these events He departed across the sea of Galilee, which is also the sea of Tiberias, and that a great multitude followed Him; that thereupon He went away to a mountain, and there sat with His disciples,—the passover, a feast of the Jews, being then nigh; that then, on lifting up His eyes and seeing a very great company, He fed them with the five loaves and the two fishes;2 which notice is given us also by the other evangelists. And this makes it certain that he has passed by those incidents which form the course along which these others have come to introduce the notice of this miracle into their narratives. Nevertheless, while different methods of narration, as it appears, are prosecuted, and while the first three evangelists have thus left unnoticed certain matters which the fourth has recorded, we see how those three, on the one hand, who have been keeping nearly the same course, have found a direct meeting-point with each other at this miracle of the five loaves; and how this fourth writer, on the other hand, who is conversant above all with the profound teachings of the Lord’s discourses, in relating some other matters on which the rest are silent, has sped round in a certain method upon their track, and, while about to soar off from their pathway after a brief space again into the region of loftier subjects, has found a meeting-point with them in the view of presenting this narrative of the miracle of the five loaves, which is common to them all.

chap. xlvi.—of the question as to how the four evangelists harmonize with each other on this same subject of the miracle of the five loaves

95. Matthew then proceeds and carries on his narrative in due consecution to the said incident connected with the five loaves in the following manner: “And when it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals. But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat;” and so forth, down to where we read, “And the number of those who ate was five thousand men, besides women and children.” This miracle, therefore, which all the four evangelists record,4 and in which they are supposed to betray certain discrepancies with each other, must be examined and subjected to discussion, in order that we may also learn from this instance some rules which will be applicable to all other similar cases in the form of principles regulating modes of statement in which, however diverse they may be, the same sense is nevertheless retained, and the same veracity in the expression of matters of fact is preserved. And, indeed, this investigation ought to begin not with Matthew, although that would be in accordance with the order in which the evangelists stand, but rather with John, by whom the narrative in question is told with such particularity as to record even the names of the disciples with whom the Lord conversed on this subject. For he gives the history in the following terms: “When Jesus than lifted up His eyes, and saw a very great company come unto Him, He saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this He said to prove him; for He Himself knew what He would do. Philip answered Him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto Him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two fishes; but what are they among so many? Jesus said therefore, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. Jesus then took the loaves; and when He had given thanks, He distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. And when they were filled, He said unto His disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that they be not lost. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.”

96. The inquiry which we have here to handle does not concern itself with a statement given by this evangelist, in which he specifies the kind of loaves; for he has not omitted to mention, what has been omitted by the others, that they were barley loaves. Neither does the question deal with what he has left unnoticed,—namely, the fact that, in addition to the five thousand men, there were also women and children, as Matthew tells us. And it ought now by all means to be a settled matter, and one kept regularly in view in all such investigations, that no one should find any difficulty in the there circumstance that something which is unrecorded by one writer is related by another. But the question here is as to how the several matters narrated by these writers may be [shown to be] all true, so that the one of them, in giving his own peculiar version, does not put out of court the account offered by the other. For if the Lord, according to the narrative of John, on seeing the multitudes before Him, asked Philip, with the view of proving him, whence bread might be got to be given to them, a difficulty may be raised as to the truth of the statement which is made by the others,—namely, that the disciples first said to the Lord that He should send the multitudes away, in order that they might go and purchase food for themselves in the neighbouring localities, and that He made this reply to them, according to Matthew: “They need not depart; give ye them to eat.” With this last Mark and Luke also agree, only that they leave out the words, “They need not depart.” We are to suppose, therefore, that after these words the Lord looked at the multitude, and spoke to Philip in the terms which John records, but which those others have omitted. Then the reply which, according to John, was made by Philip, is mentioned by Mark as having been given by the disciples,—the intention being, that we should understand Philip to have returned this answer as the mouthpiece of the rest; although they may also have put the plural number in place of the singular, according to very frequent usage. The words here actually ascribed to Philip—namely, “Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little”2—have their counterpart in this version by Mark, “Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat?” The expression, again, which the same Mark relates to have been used by the Lord, namely, “How many loaves have ye?” has been passed by without notice by the rest. On the other hand, the statement occurring in John, to the effect that Andrew made the suggestion about the five loaves and the two fishes, appears in the others, who use here the plural number instead of the singular, as a notice referring the suggestion to the disciples generally. And, indeed, Luke has coupled Philip’s reply together with Andrew’s answer in one sentence. For when he says, “We have no more but five loaves and two fishes,” he reports Andrew’s response; but when he adds, “except we should go and buy meat for all this people,” he seems to carry us back to Philip’s reply, only that he has left unnoticed the “two hundred pennyworth.” At the same time, that [sentence about the going and buying meat] may also be understood to be implied in Andrew’s own words. For after saying, “There is a lad here which hath five barley loaves and two fishes,” he likewise subjoined, “But what are they among so many?” And this last clause really means the same as the expression in question, namely, “except we should go and buy meat for all this people.”

97. From all this variety of statement which is found in connection with a genuine harmony in regard to the matters of fact and the ideas conveyed, it becomes sufficiently clear that we have the wholesome lesson inculcated upon us, that what we have to look to in studying a person’s words is nothing else than the intention of the speakers; in setting forth which intention all truthful narrators ought to take the utmost pains when they record anything, whether it may relate to man, or to angels, or to God. For the subjects’ mind and intention admit of being expressed in words which should leave no appearance of any discrepancies as regards the matter of fact.

98. In this connection, it is true, we ought not to omit to direct the reader’s attention to certain other matters which may turn out to be of a kindred nature with those already considered. One of these is found in the circumstance that Luke has stated that they were ordered to sit down by fifties, whereas Mark’s version is that it was by hundreds and by fifties. This difference, however, creates no real difficulty. The truth is, that the one has reported simply a part, and the other has given the whole. For the evangelist who has introduced the notice of the hundreds as well as the fifties has just mentioned something which the other has left unmentioned. But there is no contradiction between them on that account. If, indeed, the one had noticed only the fifties, and the other only the hundreds, they might certainly have seemed to be in some antagonism with each other, and it might not have been easy to make it plain that both instructions were actually uttered, although only the one has been specified by the former writer, and the other by the latter. And yet, even in such a case, who will not acknowledge that when the matter was subjected to more careful consideration, the solution should have been discovered? This I have instanced now for this reason, that matters of that kind do often present themselves, which, while they really contain no discrepancies, appear to do so to persons who pay insufficient attention to them, and pronounce upon them inconsiderately.

chap. xlvii.—of his walking upon the water, and of the questions regarding the harmony of the evangelists who have narrated that scene, and regarding the manner in which they pass off from the section recording the occasion on which he fed the multitudes with the five loaves

99. Matthew goes on with his account in the following terms: “And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, He was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night He came unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit;” and so on, down to the words, “They came and worshipped Him, saying, Of a truth Thou art the Son of God.” In like manner, Mark, after narrating the miracle of the five loaves, gives his account of this same incident in the following terms: “And when it was late, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and He alone on the land. And He saw them toiling in rowing: for the wind was contrary to them,” and so on.2 This is similar to Matthew’s version, except that nothing is said as to Peter’s walking upon the waters. But here we must see to it, that no difficulty be found in what Mark has stated regarding the Lord, namely, that, when He walked upon the waters, He would also have passed by them. For in what way could they have understood this, were it not that He was really proceeding in a different direction from them, as if minded to pass those persons by like strangers, who were so far from recognizing Him that they took Him to be a spirit? Who, however, is so obtuse as not to perceive that this bears a mystical significance? At the same time, too, He came to the help of the men in their perturbation and outcry, and said to them, “Be of good cheer, it is I; be not afraid.” What is the explanation, therefore, of His wish to pass by those persons whom nevertheless He thus encouraged when they were in terror, but that that intention to pass them by was made to serve the purpose of drawing forth those cries to which it was meet to bear succour?

100. Furthermore, John still tarries for a little space with these others. For, after his recital of the miracle of the five loaves, he also gives us some account of the vessel that laboured, and of the Lord’s act in walking upon the sea. This notice he connects with his preceding narrative in the following manner: “When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take Him by force and make Him a king, He departed again into a mountain Himself alone. And when it became late, His disciples went down unto the sea; and when they had entered into a ship, they came over the sea to Capharnaum: and it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them. And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew,” and so on. In this there cannot appear to be anything contrary to the records preserved in the other Gospels, unless it be the circumstance that Matthew tells us how, when the multitudes were sent away, He went up into a mountain, in order that there He might pray alone; while John states that He was on a mountain with those same multitudes whom He fed with the five loaves.4 But seeing that John also informs us how He departed into a mountain after the said miracle, to preclude His being taken possession of by the multitudes, who wished to make Him a king, it is surely evident that they had come down from the mountain to more level ground when those loaves were provided for the crowds. And consequently there is no contradiction between the statements made by Matthew and John as to His going up again to the mountain. The only difference is, that Matthew uses the phrase “He went up,” while John’s term is “He departed.” And there would be an antagonism between these two, only if in departing He had not gone up. Nor, again, is any want of harmony betrayed by the fact that Matthew’s words are, “He went up into a mountain apart to pray;” whereas John puts it thus: “When He perceived that they would come to make Him a king, He departed again into a mountain Himself alone.” Surely the matter of the departure is in no way a thing antagonistic to the matter of prayer. For, indeed, the Lord, who in His own person transformed the body of our humiliation in order that He might make it like unto the body of His own glory, hereby taught us also the truth that the matter of departure should be to us in like manner grave matter for prayer. Neither, again, is there any defect of consistency proved by the circumstance that Matthew has told us first how He commanded His disciples to embark in the little ship, and to go before Him unto the other side of the lake until He sent the multitudes away, and then informs us that, after the multitudes were sent away, He Himself went up into a mountain alone to pray; while John mentions first that He departed unto a mountain alone, and then proceeds thus: “And when it became late, His disciples came down unto the sea; and when they had entered into a ship,” etc. For who will not perceive that, in recapitulating the facts, John has spoken of something as actually done at a later point by the disciples, which Jesus had already charged them to do before His own departure unto the mountain; just as it is a familiar procedure in discourse, to revert in some fashion or other to any matter which otherwise would have been passed over? But inasmuch as it may not be specifically noted that a reversion, especially when done briefly and instantaneously, is made to something omitted, the auditors are sometimes led to suppose that the occurrence which is mentioned at the later stage also took place literally at the later period. In this way the evangelist’s statement really is, that to those persons whom he had described as embarking in the ship and coming across the sea to Capharnaum, the Lord came, walking toward them upon the waters, as they were toiling in the deep; which approach of the Lord of course took place at the earlier point, during the said voyage in which they were making their way to Capharnaum.

101. On the other hand, Luke, after the record of the miracle of the five loaves, passes to another subject, and diverges from this order of narration. For he makes no mention of that little ship, and of the Lord’s pathway over the waters. But after the statement conveyed in these words, “And they did all eat, and were filled, and there was taken up of fragments that remained to them twelve baskets,” he has subjoined the following notice: “And it came to pass, as He was alone praying, His disciples were with Him; and He asked them, saying, Who say the people that I am?” Thus he relates in this succession something new, which is not given by those three who have left us the account of the manner in which the Lord walked upon the waters, and came to the disciples when they were on the voyage. It ought not, however, on this account, to be supposed that it was on that same mountain to which Matthew has told us He went up in order to pray alone, that He said to His disciples, “Who say the people that I am?” For Luke, too, seems to harmonize with Matthew in this, because his words are, “as He was alone praying;” while Matthew’s were, “He went up unto a mountain alone to pray.” But it must by all means be held to have been on a different occasion that He put this question, since [it is said here, both that] He prayed alone, and [that] the disciples were with Him. Thus Luke, indeed, has mentioned only the fact of His being alone, but has said nothing of His being without His disciples, as is the case with Matthew and John, since [according to these latter] they left Him in order to go before Him to the other side of the sea. For with unmistakeable plainness Luke has added the statement that “His disciples also were with Him.” Consequently, in saying that He was alone, he meant his statement to refer to the multitudes, who did not abide with Him.

chap. xlviii.—of the absence of any discrepancy between matthew and mark on the one hand, and john on the other, in the accounts which the three give together of what took place after the other side of the lake was reached

102. Matthew proceeds as follows: “And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Genesar. And when the men of that place had knowledge of Him, they sent out unto all that country round about, and brought unto Him all that were diseased, and besought Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole. Then came to Him scribes and Pharisees from Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread,” and so on, down to the words, “But to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.” This is also related by Mark, in a way which precludes the raising of any question about discrepancies. For anything expressed here by the one in a form differing from that used by the other, involves at least no departure from identity in sense. John, on the other hand, fixing his attention, as his wont is, upon the Lord’s discourses, passes on from the notice of the ship, which the Lord reached by walking upon the waters, to what took place after they disembarked upon the land, and mentions that He took occasion from the eating of the bread to deliver many lessons, dealing pre-eminently with divine things. After this address, too, his narrative is again borne on to one subject after another, in a sublime strain.4 At the same time, this transition which he thus makes to different themes does not involve any real want of harmony, although he exhibits certain divergencies from these others, with the order of events presented by the rest of the evangelists. For what is there to hinder us from supposing at once that those persons, whose story is given by Matthew and Mark, were healed by the Lord, and that He delivered this discourse which John recounts to the people who followed Him across the sea? Such a supposition is made all the more reasonable by the fact that Capharnaum, to which place they are said, according to John, to have crossed, is near the lake of Genesar; and that, again, is the district into which they came, according to Matthew, on landing.

chap. xlix.—of the woman of canaan who said, “yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ tables,” and of the harmony between the account given by matthew and that by luke

103. Matthew, accordingly, proceeds with his narrative, after the notice of that discourse which the Lord delivered in the presence of the Pharisees on the subject of the unwashed hands. Preserving also the order of the succeeding events, as far as it is indicated by the transitions from the one to the other, he introduces this account into the context in the following manner: “And Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto Him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But He answered her not a word,” and so on, down to the words, “O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.” This story of the woman of Canaan is recorded also by Mark, who keeps the same order of events, and gives no occasion to raise any question as to a want of harmony, unless it be found in the circumstance that he tells us how the Lord was in the house at the time when the said woman came to Him with the petition on behalf of her daughter.2 Now we might readily suppose that Matthew has simply omitted mention of the house, while nevertheless relating the same occurrence. But inasmuch as he states that the disciples made the suggestion to Him in these terms, “Send her away, for she crieth after us,” he seems to imply distinctly that the woman gave utterance to these cries of entreaty behind the Lord as He walked on. In what sense, then, could it have been “in the house,” unless we are to take Mark to have intimated the fact, that she had gone into the place where Jesus then was, when he mentioned at the beginning of the narrative that He was in the house? But when Matthew says that “He answered her not a word,” he has given us also to understand what neither of the two evangelists has related explicitly,—namely, the fact that during that silence which He maintained Jesus went out of the house. And in this manner all the other particulars are brought into a connection which from this point onwards presents no kind of appearance of discrepancy. For as to what Mark records with respect to the answer which the Lord gave her, to the effect that it was not meet to take the children’s bread and cast it unto the dogs, that reply was returned only after the interposition of certain sayings which Matthew has not left unrecorded. That is to say, [we are to suppose that] there came in first the request which the disciples addressed to Him in regard to the woman’s case, and the answer He gave them, to the effect that He was not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel; that next there was her own approach, or, in other words, her coming after Him, and worshipping Him, saying, “Lord, help me;” and that then, after all these incidents, those words were spoken which have been recorded by both the evangelists.

chap. l.—of the occasion on which he fed the multitudes with the seven loaves, and of the question as to the harmony between matthew and mark in their accounts of that miracle

104. Matthew proceeds with his narrative in the following terms: “And when Jesus had departed from thence, He came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there. And great multitudes came unto Him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them; insomuch that the multitudes wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel. Then Jesus called His disciples unto Him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat,” and so on, down to the words, “And they that did eat were four thousand men, besides women and children.” This other miracle of the seven loaves and the few little fishes is recorded also by Mark, and that too in almost the same order; the exception being that he inserts before it a narrative given by no other,—namely, that relating to the deaf man whose ears the Lord opened, when He spat and said, “Effeta,” that is, Be opened.

105. In the case of this miracle of the seven loaves, it is certainly not a superfluous task to call attention to the fact that these two evangelists, Matthew and Mark, have thus introduced it into their narrative. For if one of them had recorded this miracle, who at the same time had taken no notice of the instance of the five loaves, he would have been judged to stand opposed to the rest. For in such circumstances, who would not have supposed that there was only the one miracle wrought in actual fact, and that an incomplete and unveracious version of it had been given by the writer referred to, or by the others, or by all of them together; so [that we must have imagined] either that the one evangelist, by a mistake on his own part, had been led to mention seven loaves instead of five; or that the other two, whether as having both presented an incorrect statement, or as having been misled through a slip of memory, had put the number five for the number seven. In like manner, it might have been supposed that there was a contradiction between the twelve baskets and the seven baskets,2 and again, between the five thousand and the four thousand, expressing the numbers of those who were fed. But now, since those evangelists who have given us the account of the miracle of the seven loaves have also not failed to mention the other miracle of the five loaves, no difficulty can be felt by any one, and all can see that both works were really wrought. This, accordingly, we have instanced, in order that, if in any other passage we come upon some similar deed of the Lord’s, which, as told by one evangelist, seems so utterly contrary to the version of it given by another that no method of solving the difficulty can possibly be found, we may understand the explanation to be simply this, that both incidents really took place, and that they were recorded separately by the two several writers. This is precisely what we have already recommended to attention in the matter of the seating of the multitudes by hundreds and by fifties. For were it not for the circumstance that both these numbers are found noted by the one historian, we might have supposed that the different writers had made contradictory statements.

chap. li.—of matthew’s declaration that, on leaving these parts, he came into the coasts of magedan; and of the question as to his agreement with mark in that intimation, as well as in the notice of the saying about jonah, which was returned again as an answer to those who sought a sign

106. Matthew continues as follows: “And He sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magedan;” and so on, down to the words, “A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it but the sign of the prophet Jonas.” This has already been recorded in another connection by the same Matthew.5 Hence again and again we must hold by the position that the Lord spake the same words on repeated occasions; so that when any completely irreconcilable difference appears between statements of His utterances, we are to understand the words to have been spoken twice over. In this case, indeed, Mark also keeps the same order; and after his account of the miracle of the seven loaves, subjoins the same intimation as is given us in Matthew, only with this difference, that Matthew’s expression for the locality is not Dalmanutha, as is read in certain codices, but Magedan. There is no reason, however, for questioning the fact that it is the same place that is intended under both names. For most codices, even of Mark’s Gospel, give no other reading than that of Magedan.7 Neither should any difficulty be felt in the fact that Mark does not say, as Matthew does, that in the answer which the Lord returned to those who sought after a sign, He referred to Jonah, but mentions simply that He replied in these terms: “There shall no sign be given unto it.” For we are given to understand what kind of sign they asked—namely, one from heaven. And he has simply omitted to specify the words which Matthew has introduced regarding Jonas.

chap. lii.—of matthew’s agreement with mark in the statement about the leaven of the pharisees, as regards both the subject itself and the order of narrative

107. Matthew proceeds: “And He left them, and departed. And when His disciples were come to the other side, they forgot to take bread. Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed, and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees;” and so forth, down to where we read, “Then understood they that He bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” These words are recorded also by Mark, and that likewise in the same order.9

chap. liii.—of the occasion on which he asked the disciples whom men said that he was; and of the question whether, with regard either to the subject-matter or the order, there are any discrepancies between matthew, mark, and luke

108. Matthew continues thus: “And Jesus came into the coasts of Cæsarea Philippi; and He asked His disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I, the Son of man, am? And they said, Some say that Thou art John the Baptist; some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets;” and so on, down to the words, “And whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Mark relates this nearly in the same order. But he has brought in before it a narrative which is given by him alone,—namely, that regarding the giving of sight to that blind man who said to the Lord, “I see men as trees walking.”2 Luke, again, also records this incident, inserting it after his account of the miracle of the five loaves; and, as we have already shown above, the order of recollection which is followed in his case is not antagonistic to the order adopted by these others. Some difficulty, however, may be imagined in the circumstance that Luke’s representation bears that the Lord put this question, as to whom men held Him to be, to His disciples at a time when He was alone praying, and when His disciples were also with Him; whereas Mark, on the other hand, tells us that the question was put by Him to the disciples when they were on the way. But this will be a difficulty only to the man who has never prayed on the way.4

109. I recollect having already stated that no one should suppose that Peter received that name for the first time on the occasion when He said to Him, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church.” For the time at which he did obtain this name was that referred to by John, when he mentions that he was addressed in these terms: “Thou shalt be called Cephas, which is, by interpretation, Peter.” Hence, too, we are as little to think that Peter got this designation on the occasion to which Mark alludes, when he recounts the twelve apostles individually by name, and tells us how James and John were called the sons of thunder, merely on the ground that in that passage he has recorded the fact that He surnamed him Peter.6 For that circumstance is noticed there simply because it was suggested to the writer’s recollection at that particular point, and not because it took place in actual fact at that specific time.

chap. liv.—of the occasion on which he announced his coming passion to the disciples, and of the measure of concord between matthew, mark, and luke in the accounts which they give of the same

110. Matthew proceeds in the following strain: “Then charged He His disciples that they should tell no man that He was Jesus the Christ. From that time forth began Jesus to show unto His disciples how that He must go into Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders, and chief priests, and scribes;” and so on, down to where we read, “Thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” Mark and Luke add these passages in the same order. Only Luke says nothing about the opposition which Peter expressed to the passion of Christ.

chap. lv.—of the harmony between the three evangelists in the notices which they subjoin of the manner in which the lord charged the man to follow him who wished to come after him

111. Matthew continues thus: “Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me;” and so on, down to the words, “And then He shall reward every man according to his work.” This is appended also by Mark, who keeps the same order. But he does not say of the Son of man, who was to come with His angels, that He is to reward every man according to his work. Nevertheless, he mentions at the same time that the Lord spoke to this effect: “Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”9 And this may be taken to bear the same sense as is expressed by Matthew, when he says, that “He shall reward every man according to his work.” Luke also adds the same statements in the same order, slightly varying the terms indeed in which they are conveyed, but still showing a complete parallel with the others in regard to the truthful reproduction of the self-same ideas.11

chap. lvi.—of the manifestation which the lord made of himself, in company with moses and elias, to his disciples on the mountain; and of the question concerning the harmony between the first three evangelists with regard to the order and the circumstances of that event; and in especial, the number of the days, in so far as matthew and mark state that it took place after six days, while luke says that it was after eight days

112. Matthew proceeds thus: “Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here which shall not taste of death till they see the Son of man coming in His kingdom. And after six days, Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and brought them up into an high mountain;” and so on, down to where we read, “Tell the vision to no man until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.” This vision of the Lord upon the mount in the presence of the three disciples, Peter, James, and John, on which occasion also the testimony of the Father’s voice was borne Him from heaven, is related by the three evangelists in the same order, and in a manner expressing the same sense completely. And as regards other matters, they may be seen by the readers to be in accordance with those modes of narration of which we have given examples in many passages already, and in which there are diversities in expression without any consequent diversity in meaning.

113. But with respect to the circumstance that Mark, along with Matthew, tells us how the event took place after six days, while Luke states that it was after eight days, those who find a difficulty here do not deserve to be set aside with contempt, but should be enlightened by the offering of explanations. For when we announce a space of days in these terms, “after so many days,” sometimes we do not include in the number the day on which we speak, or the day on which the thing itself which we intimate beforehand or promise is declared to take place, but reckon only the intervening days, on the real and full and final expiry of which the incident in question is to occur. This is what Matthew and Mark have done. Leaving out of their calculation the day on which Jesus spoke these words, and the day on which He exhibited that memorable spectacle on the mount, they have regarded simply the intermediate days, and thus have used the expression, “after six days.” But Luke, reckoning in the extreme day at either end, that is to say, the first day and the last day, has made it “after eight days,” in accordance with that mode of speech in which the part is put for the whole.

114. Moreover, the statement which Luke makes with regard to Moses and Elias in these terms, “And it came to pass, as they departed from Him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here,” and so forth, ought not to be considered antagonistic to what Matthew and Mark have subjoined to the same effect, as if they made Peter offer this suggestion while Moses and Elias were still talking with the Lord. For they have not expressly said that it was at that time, but rather they have simply left unnoticed the fact which Luke has added,—namely, that it was as they went away that Peter made the suggestion to the Lord with respect to the making of three tabernacles. At the same time, Luke has appended the intimation that it was as they were entering the cloud that the voice came from heaven,—a circumstance which is not affirmed, but which is as little contradicted, by the others.

chap. lvii.—of the harmony between matthew and mark in the accounts given of the occasion on which he spoke to the disciples concerning the coming of elias

115. Matthew goes on thus: “And His disciples asked Him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come and restore all things. But I say unto you, that Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that He spake unto them of John the Baptist.” This same passage is given also by Mark, who keeps also the same order; and although he exhibits some diversity of expression, he makes no departure from a truthful representation of the same sense.4 He has not, however, added the statement, that the disciples understood that the Lord had referred to John the Baptist in saying that Elias was come already.

chap. lviii.—of the man who brought before him his son, whom the disciples were unable to heal; and of the question concerning the agreement between these three evangelists also in the matter of the order of narration here

116. Matthew goes on in the following terms: “And when He was come to the multitude, there came to Him a certain man, kneeling down before Him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son; for he is lunatic, and sore vexed;” and so on, down to the words, “Howbeit this kind is not cast out but by prayer and fasting.”6 Both Mark and Luke record this incident, and that, too, in the same order, without any suspicion of a want of harmony.

chap. lix.—of the occasion on which the disciples were exceeding sorry when he spoke to them of his passion, as it is related in the same order by the three evangelists

117. Matthew continues thus: “And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men; and they shall kill Him, and the third day He shall rise again. And they were exceeding sorry.” Mark and Luke record this passage in the same order.9

chap. lx.—of his paying the tribute money out of the mouth of the fish, an incident which matthew alone mentions

118. Matthew continues in these terms:
“And when they were come to Capharnaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said to him, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes;” and so on, down to where we read: “Thou shall find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.” He is the only one who relates this occurrence, after the interposition of which he follows again the order which is pursued also by Mark and Luke in company with him.

chap. lxi.—of the little child whom he set before them for their imitation, and of the offences of the world; of the members of the body causing offences; of the angels of the little ones, who behold the face of the father; of the one sheep out of the hundred sheep; of the reproving of a brother in private; of the loosing and the binding of sins; of the agreement of two, and the gathering together of three; of the forgiving of sins even unto seventy times seven; of the servant who had his own large debt remitted, and yet refused to remit the small debt which his fellow-servant owed to him; and of the question as to matthew’s harmony with the other evangelists on all these subjects

119. The same Matthew then proceeds with his narrative in the following terms: “In that hour came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who, thinkest Thou, is the greater in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven;” and so on, down to the words, “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” Of this somewhat lengthened discourse which was spoken by the Lord, Mark, instead of giving the whole, has presented only certain portions, in dealing with which he follows meantime the same order. He has also introduced some matters which Matthew does not mention.3 Moreover, in this complete discourse, so far as we have taken it under consideration, the only interruption is that which is made by Peter, when he inquires how often a brother ought to be forgiven. The Lord, however, was speaking in a strain which makes it quite clear that even the question which Peter thus proposed, and the answer which was returned to him, belong really to the same address. Luke, again, records none of these things in the order here observed, with the exception of the incident with the little child whom He set before His disciples, for their imitation when they were thinking of their own greatness. For if he has also narrated some other matters of a tenor resembling those which are inserted in this discourse, these are sayings which he has recalled for notice in other connections, and on occasions different from the present: just as John5 introduces the Lord’s words on the subject of the forgiveness of sins,—namely, those to the effect that they should be remitted to him to whom the apostles remitted them, and that they should be retained to him to whom they retained them, as spoken by the Lord after His resurrection; while Matthew mentions that in the discourse now under notice the Lord made this declaration, which, however, the self-same evangelist at the same time affirms to have been given on a previous occasion to Peter. Therefore, to preclude the necessity of having always to inculcate the same rule, we ought to bear in mind the fact that Jesus uttered the same word repeatedly, and in a number of different places,—a principle which we have pressed so often upon your attention already; and this consideration should save us from feeling any perplexity, even although the order of the sayings may be thought to create some difficulty.

chap. lxii.—of the harmony subsisting between matthew and mark in the accounts which they offer of the time when he was asked whether it was lawful to put away one’s wife, and especially in regard to the specific questions and replies which passed between the lord and the jews, and in which the evangelists seem to be, to some small extent, at variance

120. Matthew continues giving his narrative in the following manner: “And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, He departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judæa beyond Jordan; and great multitudes followed Him; and He healed them there. The Pharisees also came unto Him, tempting Him, and saying, Is it lawful top a man to put away his wife for every cause?” And so on, down to the words, “He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.”8 Mark also records this, and observes the same order. At the same time, we must certainly see to it that no appearance of contradiction be supposed to arise from the circumstance that the same Mark tells us how the Pharisees were asked by the Lord as to what Moses commanded them, and that on His questioning them to that effect they returned the answer regarding the bill of divorcement which Moses suffered them to write; whereas, according to Matthew’s version, it was after the Lord had spoken those words in which He had shown them, out of the law, how God made male and female to be one flesh, and how, therefore, those [thus joined together of Him] ought not to be put asunder by man, that they gave the reply, “Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?” To this interrogation, also [as Matthew puts it], He says again in reply, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.” There is no difficulty, I repeat, in this; for it is not the case that Mark makes no kind of mention of the reply which was thus given by the Lord, but he brings it in after the answer which was returned by them to His question relating to the bill of divorcement.

121. As far as the order or method of statement here adopted is concerned, we ought to understand that it in no way affects the truth of the subject itself, whether the question regarding the permission to write a bill of divorcement given by the said Moses, by whom also it is recorded that God made male and female to be one flesh, was addressed by these Pharisees to the Lord at the time when He was forbidding the separation of husband and wife, and confirming His declaration on that subject by the authority of the law; or whether the said question was conveyed in the reply which the same persons returned to the Lord, at the time when He asked them about what Moses had commanded them. For His intention was not to offer them any reason for the permission which Moses thus granted them until they had first mentioned the matter themselves; which intention on His part is what is indicated by the inquiry which Mark has introduced. On the other hand, their desire was to use the authority of Moses in commanding the giving of a bill of divorcement, for the purpose of stopping His mouth, so to speak, in the matter of forbidding, as they believed He undoubtedly would do, a man to put away his wife. For they had approached Him with the view of saying what would tempt Him. And this desire of theirs is what is indicated by Matthew, when, instead of stating how they were interrogated first themselves, he represents them as having of their own accord put the question about the precept of Moses, in order that they might thereby, as it were, convict the Lord of doing what was wrong in prohibiting the putting away of wives. Wherefore, since the mind of the speakers, in the service of which the words ought to stand, has been exhibited by both evangelists, it is no matter how the modes of narration adopted by the two may differ, provided neither of them fails to give a correct representation of the subject itself.

122. Another view of the matter may also be taken, namely, that, in accordance with Mark’s statement, when these persons began by questioning the Lord on the subject of the putting away of a wife, He questioned them in turn as to what Moses commanded them; and that, on their replying that Moses suffered them to write a bill of divorcement and put the wife away, He made His answer to them regarding the said law which was given by Moses, reminding them how God instituted the union of male and female, and addressing them in the words which are inserted by Matthew, namely, “Have ye not read that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female?” and so on. On hearing these words, they repeated in the form of an inquiry what they had already given utterance to when replying to His first interrogation, namely the expression, “Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?” Then Jesus showed that the reason was the hardness of their heart; which explanation Mark brings in, with a view to brevity, at an earlier point, as if it had been given in reply to that former response of theirs, which Matthew has passed over. And this he does as judging that no injury could be done to the truth at whichever point the explanation might be introduced, seeing that the words, with a view to which it was returned, had been uttered twice in the same form; and seeing also that the Lord, in any case, had offered the said explanation in reply to such words.

chap. lxiii.—of the little children on whom he laid his hands; of the rich man to whom he said, “sell all that thou hast;” of the vineyard in which the labourers were hired at different hours; and of the question as to the absence of any discrepancy between matthew and the other two evangelists on these subjects

123. Matthew proceeds thus: “Then were there brought unto Him little children, that He should put His hands on them, and pray; and the disciples rebuked them;” and so on, down to where we read, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” Mark has followed the same order here as Matthew.3 But Matthew is the only one who introduces the section relating to the labourers who were hired for the vineyard. Luke, on the other hand, first mentions what He said to those who were asking each other who should be the greatest, and next subjoins at once the passage concerning the man whom they had seen casting out devils, although he did not follow Him; then he parts company with the other two at the point where he tells us how He stedfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem; and after the interposition of a number of subjects,2 he joins them again in giving the story of the rich man, to whom the word is addressed, “Sell all that thou hast,” which individual’s case is related here by the other two evangelists, but still in the succession which is followed by all the narratives alike. For in the passage referred to in Luke, that writer does not fail to bring in the story of the little children, just as the other two do immediately before the mention of the rich man. With regard, then, to the accounts which are given us of this rich person, who asks what good thing he should do in order to obtain eternal life, there may appear to be some discrepancy between them, because the words were, according to Matthew, “Why askest thou me about the good?” while according to the others they were, “Why callest thou me good?” The sentence, “Why askest thou me about the good?” may then be referred more particularly to what was expressed by the man when he put the question, “What good thing shall I do?” For there we have both the name “good” applied to Christ, and the question put.4 But the address “Good Master” does not of itself convey the question. Accordingly, the best method of disposing of it is to understand both these sentences to have been uttered, “Why callest thou me good?” and, “Why askest thou me about the good?”

chap. lxiv.—of the occasions on which he foretold his passion in private to his disciples; and of the time when the mother of zebedee’s children came with her sons, requesting that one of them should sit on his right hand, and the other on his left hand; and of the absence of any discrepancy between matthew and the other two evangelists on these subjects

124. Matthew continues his narrative in the following terms: “And Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples apart, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death, and shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify Him; and the third day He shall rise again. Then came to Him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping Him, and desiring a certain thing of Him;” and so on, down to the words, “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Here again Mark keeps the same order as Matthew, only he represents the sons of Zebedee to have made the request themselves; while Matthew has stated that it was preferred on their behalf not by their own personal application, but by their mother, as she had laid what was their wish before the Lord. Hence Mark has briefly intimated what was said on that occasion as spoken by them, rather than by her [in their name]. And to conclude with the matter, it is to them rather than to her, according to Matthew no less than according to Mark, that the Lord returned His reply. Luke, on the other hand, after narrating in the same order our Lord’s predictions to the twelve disciples on the subject of His passion and resurrection, leaves unnoticed what the other two evangelists immediately go on to record; and after the interposition of these passages, he is joined by his fellow-writers again [at the point where they report the incident] at Jericho.6 Moreover, as to what Matthew and Mark have stated with respect to the princes of the Gentiles exercising dominion over those who are subject to them,—namely, that it should not be so with them [the disciples], but that he who was greatest among them should even be a servant to the others,—Luke also gives us something of the same tenor, although not in that connection; and the order itself indicates that the same sentiment was expressed by the Lord on a second occasion.

chap. lxv.—of the absence of any antagonism between matthew and mark, or between matthew and luke, in the account offered of the giving of sight to the blind men of jericho

125. Matthew continues thus: “And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed Him. And, behold, two blind men sitting by the wayside heard that Jesus passed by, and cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David;” and so on, down to the words, “And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him.” Mark also records this incident, but mentions only one blind man. This difficulty is solved in the way in which a former difficulty was explained which met us in the case of the two persons who were tormented by the legion of devils in the territory of the Gerasenes.2 For, that in this instance also of the two blind men whom he [Matthew] alone has introduced here, one of them was of pre-eminent note and repute in that city, is a fact made clear enough by the single consideration, that Mark has recorded both his own name and his father’s; a circumstance which scarcely comes across us in all the many cases of healing which had been already performed by the Lord, unless that miracle be an exception, in the recital of which the evangelist has mentioned by name Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue, whose daughter Jesus restored to life. And in this latter instance this intention becomes the more apparent, from the fact that the said ruler of the synagogue was certainly a man of rank in the place. Consequently there can be little doubt that this Bartimæus, the son of Timæus, had fallen from some position of great prosperity, and was now regarded as an object of the most notorious and the most remarkable wretchedness, because, in addition to being blind, he had also to sit begging. And this is also the reason, then, why Mark has chosen to mention only the one whose restoration to sight acquired for the miracle a fame as widespread as was the notoriety which the man’s misfortune itself had gained.

126. But Luke, although he mentions an incident altogether of the same tenor, is nevertheless to be understood as really narrating only a similar miracle which was wrought in the case of another blind man, and as putting on record its similarity to the said miracle in the method of performance. For he states that it was performed when He was coming nigh unto Jericho; while the others say that it took place when He was departing from Jericho. Now the name of the city, and the resemblance in the deed, favour the supposition that there was but one such occurrence. But still, the idea that the evangelists really contradict each other here, in so far as the one says, “As He was come nigh unto Jericho,” while the others put it thus, “As He came out of Jericho,” is one which no one surely will be prevailed on to accept, unless those who would have it more readily credited that the gospel is unveracious, than that He wrought two miracles of a similar nature and in similar circumstances.5 But every faithful son of the gospel will most readily perceive which of these two alternatives is the more credible, and which the rather to be accepted as true; and, indeed, every gainsayer too, when he is advised concerning the real state of the case, will answer himself either by the silence which he will have to observe, or at least by the tenor of his reflections should he decline to be silent.

chap. lxvi.—of the colt of the ass which is mentioned by matthew, and of the consistency of his account with that of the other evangelists, who speak only of the ass

127. Matthew goes on with his narrative in the following terms: “And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the Mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her;” and so on, down to the words, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.” Mark also records this occurrence, and inserts it in the same order.7 Luke, on the other hand, tarries a space by Jericho, recounting certain matters which these others have omitted,—namely, the story of Zacchæus, the chief of the publicans, and some sayings which are couched in parabolic form. After instancing these things, however, this evangelist again joins company with the others in the narrative relating to the ass on which Jesus sat. And let not the circumstance stagger us, that Matthew speaks both of an ass and of the colt of an ass, while the others say nothing of the ass. For here again we must bear in mind the rule which we have already introduced in dealing with the statements about the seating of the people by fifties and by hundreds on the occasion on which the multitudes were fed with the five loaves.9 Now, after this principle has been brought into application, the reader should not feel any serious difficulty in the present case. Indeed, even had Matthew said nothing about the colt, just as his fellow-historians have taken no notice of the ass, the fact should not have created any such perplexity as to induce the idea of an insuperable contradiction between the two statements, when the one writer speaks only of the ass, and the others only of the colt of the ass. But how much less cause then for any disquietude ought there to be, when we see that the one writer has mentioned the ass to which the others have omitted to refer, in such a manner as at the same time not to leave unnoticed also the colt of which the rest have spoken! In fine, where it is possible to suppose both objects to have been included in the occurrence, there is no real antagonism, although the one writer may specify only the one thing, and another only the other. How much less need there be any contradiction, when the one writer particularizes the one object, and another instances both!

128. Again, although John tells us nothing as to the way in which the Lord despatched His disciples to fetch these animals to Him, nevertheless he inserts a brief allusion to this colt, and cites also the word of the prophet which Matthew makes use of. In the case also of this testimony from the prophet, the terms in which it is reproduced by the evangelists, although they exhibit certain differences, do not fail to express a sense identical in intention. Some difficulty, however, may be felt in the fact that Matthew adduces this passage in a forth which represents the prophet to have made mention of the ass; whereas this is not the case, either with the quotation as introduced by John, or with the version given in the ecclesiastical codices of the translation in common use. An explanation of this variation seems to me to be found in the fact that Matthew is understood to have written his Gospel in the Hebrew language. Moreover, it is manifest that the translation which bears the name of the Septuagint differs in some particulars from the text which is found in the Hebrew by those who know that tongue, and by the several scholars who have given us renderings of the same Hebrew books. And if an explanation is asked for this discrepancy, or for the circumstance that the weighty authority of the Septuagint translation diverges in many passages from the rendering of the truth which is discovered in the Hebrew codices, I am of opinion that no more probable account of the matter will suggest itself, than the supposition that the Seventy composed their version under the influence of the very Spirit by whose inspiration the things which they were engaged in translating had been originally spoken. This is an idea which receives confirmation also from the marvellous consent which is asserted to have characterized them.2 Consequently, when these translators, while not departing from the real mind of God from which these sayings proceeded, and to the expression of which the words ought to be subservient, gave a different form to some matters in their reproduction of the text, they had no intention of exemplifying anything else than the very thing which we now admiringly contemplate in that kind of harmonious diversity which marks the four evangelists, and in the light of which it is made clear that there is no failure from strict truth, although one historian may give an account of some theme in a manner different indeed from another, and yet not so different as to involve an actual departure from the sense intended by the person with whom he is bound to be in concord and agreement. To understand this is of advantage to character, with a view at once to guard against what is false, and to pronounce correctly upon it; and it is of no less consequence to faith itself, in the way of precluding the supposition that, as it were with consecrated sounds, truth has a kind of defence provided for it which might imply God’s handing over to us not only the thing itself, but likewise the very words which are required for its enunciation; whereas the fact rather is, that the theme itself which is to be expressed is so decidedly deemed of superior importance to the words in which it has to be expressed, that we would be under no obligation to ask about them at all, if it were possible for us to know the truth without the terms, as God knows it, and as His angels also know it in Him.

chap. lxvii.—of the expulsion of the sellers and buyers from the temple, and of the question as to the harmony between the first three evangelists and john, who relates the same incident in a widely different connection

129. Matthew goes on with his narrative in the following terms: “And when He was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus, the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee. And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple;” and so on, down to where we read, “But ye have made it a den of thieves.” This account of the multitude of sellers who were cast out of the temple is given by all the evangelists; but John introduces it in a remarkably different order. For, after recording the testimony borne by John the Baptist to Jesus, and mentioning that He went into Galilee at the time when He turned the water into wine, and after he has also noticed the sojourn of a few days in Capharnaum, John proceeds to tell us that He went up to Jerusalem at the season of the Jews’ passover, and when He had made a scourge of small cords, drove out of the temple those who were selling in it. This makes it evident that this act was performed by the Lord not on a single occasion, but twice over; but that only the first instance is put on record by John, and the last by the other three.

chap. lxviii.—of the withering of the fig-tree, and of the question as to the absence of any contradiction between matthew and the other evangelists in the accounts given of that incident, as well as the other matters related in connection with it; and very specially as to the consistency between matthew and mark in the matter of the order of narration

130. Matthew continues thus: “And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David, they were sore displeased, and said unto Him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise? And He left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and He lodged there. Now in the morning, as He returned into the city, He hungered. And when He saw a single fig-tree in the way, He came to it, and found nothing thereon but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig-tree withered away. And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig-tree withered away! But Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig-tree; but also, if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea, it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”2

131. Mark also records this occurrence in due succession. He does not, however, follow the same order in his narrative. For first of all, the fact which is related by Matthew, namely, that Jesus went into the temple, and cast out those who sold and bought there, is not mentioned at that point by Mark. On the other hand, Mark tells us that He looked round about upon all things, and, when the eventide was now come, went out into Bethany with the twelve. Next he informs us that on another day,4 when they were coming from Bethany, He was hungry, and cursed the fig-tree, as Matthew also intimates. Then the said Mark subjoins the statement that He came into Jerusalem, and that, on going into the temple, He cast out those who sold and bought there, as if that incident took place not on the first day specified, but on a different day. But inasmuch as Matthew puts the connection in these terms, “And He left them, and went out of the city into Bethany,”6 and tells us that it was when returning in the morning into the city that He cursed the tree, it is more reasonable to suppose that he, rather than Mark, has preserved the strict order of time so far as regards the incident of the expulsion of the sellers and buyers from the temple. For when he uses the phrase, “And He left them, and went out,” who can be understood by those parties whom He is thus said to have left, but those with whom He was previously speaking,—namely, the persons who were so sore displeased because the children cried out, “Hosanna to the Son of David”? It follows, then, that Mark has omitted what took place on the first day, when He went into the temple; and in mentioning that He found nothing on the fig-tree but leaves, he has introduced what He called to mind only there, but what really occurred on the second day, as both evangelists testify. Then, further, his account bears that the astonishment which the disciples expressed at finding how the fig-tree had withered away, and the reply which the Lord made to them on the subject of faith, and the casting of the mountain into the sea, belonged not to this same second day on which He said to the tree, “No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever,” but to a third day. For in connection with the second day, the said Mark has recorded the incident of the casting of the sellers out of the temple, which he had omitted to notice as belonging to the first day. Accordingly, it is in connection with this second day that he tells us how Jesus went out of the city, when even was come, and how, when they passed by in the morning, the disciples saw the fig-tree dried up from the roots, and how Peter, calling to remembrance, said unto Him, “Master, behold the fig-tree which Thou cursedst is withered away.” Then, too, he informs us that He gave the answer relating to the power of faith. On the other hand, Matthew recounts these matters in a manner importing that they all took place on this second day; that is to say, both the word addressed to the tree, “Let no fruit grow on thee from henceforward for ever,” and the withering that ensued so speedily in the tree, and the reply which He made on the subject of the power of faith to His disciples when they observed that withering and marvelled at it. From this we are to understand that Mark, on his side, has recorded in connection with the second day what he had omitted to notice as occurring really on the first,—namely, the incident of the expulsion of the sellers and buyers from the temple. On the other hand, Matthew, after mentioning what was done on the second day,—namely, the cursing of the fig-tree as He was returning in the morning from Bethany into the city,—has omitted certain facts which Mark has inserted, namely, His coming into the city, and His going out of it in the evening, and the astonishment which the disciples expressed at finding the tree dried up as they passed by in the morning; and then to what had taken place on the second day, which was the day on which the tree was cursed, he has attached what really took place on the third day,—namely, the amazement of the disciples at seeing the tree’s withered condition, and the declaration which they heard from the Lord on the subject of the power of faith. These several facts Matthew has connected together in such a manner that, were we not compelled to turn our attention to the matter by Mark’s narrative, we should be unable to recognise either at what point or with regard to what circumstances the former writer has left anything unrecorded in his narrative. The case therefore stands thus: Matthew first presents the facts conveyed in these words, “And He left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and He lodged there. Now in the morning, as He returned into the city, He hungered; and when He saw a single fig-tree in the way, He came to it, and found nothing thereon but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever; and presently the fig-tree withered away.” Then, omitting the other matters which belonged to that same day, he has immediately subjoined this statement, “And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is it withered away!” although it was on another day that they saw this sight, and on another day that they thus marvelled. But it is understood that the tree did not wither at the precise time when they saw it, but presently when it was cursed. For what they saw was not the tree in the process of drying up, but the tree already dried completely up; and thus they learned that it had withered away immediately on the Lord’s sentence.

chap. lxix.—of the harmony between the first three evangelists in their accounts of the occasion on which the jews asked the lord by what authority he did these things

132. Matthew continues his narrative in the following terms: “And when He was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto Him as He was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, whence was it?” and so on, down to the words, “Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.” The other two, Mark and Luke, have also set forth this whole passage, and that, too, in almost as many words.3 Neither does there appear to be any discrepancy between them in regard to the order, the only exception being found in the circumstance of which I have spoken above,—namely, that Matthew omits certain matters belonging to a different day, and has constructed his narrative with a connection which, were our attention not called [otherwise] to the fact, might lead to the supposition that he was still treating of the second day, where Mark deals with the third. Moreover, Luke has not appended his notice of this incident, as if he meant to go over the days in orderly succession; but after recording the expulsion of the sellers and buyers from the temple, he has passed by without notice all that is contained in the statements above—His going out into Bethany, and His returning to the city, and what was done to the fig-tree, and the reply touching the power of faith which was made to the disciples when they marvelled. And then, after all these omissions, he has introduced the next section of his narrative in these terms: “And He taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests, and the scribes, and the chief of the people sought to destroy Him; and could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear Him. And it came to pass, that on one of these days, as He taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon Him, with the elders, and spake unto Him, saying, Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things?” and so on; all which the other two evangelists record in like manner. From this it is apparent that he is in no antagonism with the others, even with regard to the order; since what he states to have taken place “on one of those days,” may be understood to belong to that particular day on which they also have reported it to have occurred.

chap. lxx.—of the two sons who were commanded by their father to go into his vineyard, and of the vineyard which was let out to other husbandmen; of the question concerning the consistency of matthew’s version of these passages with those given by the other two evangelists, with whom he retains the same order; as also, in particular, concerning the harmony of his version of the parable, which is recorded by all the three, regarding the vineyard that was let out; and in reference specially to the reply made by the persons to whom that parable was spoken, in relating which matthew seems to differ somewhat from the others

133. Matthew goes on thus: “But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to-day in my vineyard. But he answered and said, I will not; but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir; and went not;” and so on, down to the words, “And whosoever shall fall upon this stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” Mark and Luke do not mention the parable of the two sons to whom the order was given to go and labour in the vineyard. But what is narrated by Matthew subsequently to that,—namely, the parable of the vineyard which was let out to the husbandmen, who persecuted the servants that were sent to them, and afterwards put to death the beloved son, and thrust him out of the vineyard,—is not left unrecorded also by those two. And in detailing it they likewise both retain the same order, that is to say, they bring it in after that declaration of their inability to tell which was made by the Jews when interrogated regarding the baptism of John, and after the reply which He returned to them in these words: “Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.”2

134. Now no question implying any contradiction between these accounts rises here, unless it be raised by the circumstance that Matthew, after telling us how the Lord addressed to the Jews this interrogation, “When the lord, therefore, of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?” adds, that they answered and said, “He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.” For Mark does not record these last words as if they constituted the reply returned by the men; but he introduces them as if they were really spoken by the Lord immediately after the question which was put by Him, so that in a certain way He answered Himself. For [in this Gospel] He speaks thus: “What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others.” But it is quite easy for us to suppose, either that the men’s words are subjoined here without the insertion of the explanatory clause “they said,” or “they replied,” that being left to be understood; or else that the said response is ascribed to the Lord Himself rather than to these men, because when they answered with such truth, He also, who is Himself the Truth, really gave the same reply in reference to the persons in question.

135. More serious difficulty, however, may be created by the fact that Luke not only does not speak of them as the parties who made that answer (for he, as well as Mark, attributes these words to the Lord), but even represents them to have given a contrary reply, and to have said, “God forbid.” For his narrative proceeds in these terms: “What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them? He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid. And He beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?” How then is it that, according to Matthew’s version, the men to whom He spake these words said, “He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out this vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons;” whereas, according to Luke, they gave a reply inconsistent with any terms like these, when they said, “God forbid”? And, in truth, what the Lord proceeds immediately to say regarding the stone which was rejected by the builders, and yet was made the head of the corner, is introduced in a manner implying that by this testimony those were confuted who were gainsaying the real meaning of the parable. For Matthew, no less than Luke, records that passage as if it were intended to meet the gainsayers, when he says, “Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?” For what is implied by this question, “Did ye never read,” but that the answer which they had given was opposed to the real intention [of the parable]? This is also indicated by Mark, who gives these same words in the following manner: “And have ye not read this scripture, The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner?” This sentence, therefore, appears to occupy in Luke, rather than the others, the place which is properly assignable to it as originally uttered. For it is brought in by him directly after the contradiction expressed by those men when they said, “God forbid.” And the form in which it is cast by him,—namely, “What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?”—is equivalent in sense to the other modes of statement. For the real meaning of the sentence is indicated equally well, whichever of the three phrases is used, “Did ye never read?” or, “And have ye not read?” or, “What is this, then, that is written?”

136. It remains, therefore, for us to understand that among the people who were listening on that occasion, there were some who replied in the terms related by Matthew, when he writes thus: “They say unto Him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen;” and that there were also some who answered in the way indicated by Luke, that is to say, with the words, “God forbid.” Accordingly, those persons who had replied to the Lord to the former effect, were replied to by these other individuals in the crowd with the explanation, “God forbid.” But the answer which was really given by the first of these two parties, to whom the second said in return, “God forbid,” has been ascribed both by Mark and by Luke to the Lord Himself, on the ground that, as I have already intimated, the Truth Himself spake by these men, whether as by persons who knew not that they were wicked, in the same way that He spake also by Caiaphas, who when he was high priest prophesied without realizing what he said, or as by persons who did understand, and who had come by this time both to knowledge and to belief. For there was also present on this occasion that multitude of people at whose hand the prophecy had already received a fulfilment, when they met Him in a mighty concourse on His approach, and hailed Him with the acclaim, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.”2

137. Neither should we stumble at the circumstance that the same Matthew has stated that the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the Lord, and asked Him by what authority He did these things, and who gave Him this authority, on the occasion when He to, in turn, interrogated them concerning the baptism of John, inquiring whence it was, whether from heaven or of men; to whom also, on their replying that they did not know, He said, “Neither do I tell you by what authority I do those things.” For he has followed up this with the words introduced in the immediate context, “But what think ye? A certain man had two sons,” and so forth. Thus this discourse is brought into a connection which is continued, uninterrupted by the interposition either of any thing or of any person, down to what is related regarding the vineyard which was let out to the husbandmen. It may, indeed, be supposed that He spake all these words to the chief priests and the elders of the people, by whom He had been interrogated with regard to His authority. But then, if these persons had indeed questioned Him with a view to tempt Him, and with a hostile intention, they could not be taken for men who had believed, and who cited the remarkable testimony in favour of the Lord which was taken from a prophet; and surely it is only if they had the character of those who believed, and not of those who were ignorant, that they could have given a reply like this: “He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard to other husbandmen.” This peculiarity [of Matthew’s account], however, should not by any means so perplex us as to lead us to imagine that there were none who believed among the multitudes who listened at this time to the Lord’s parables. For it is only for the sake of brevity that the same Matthew has passed over in silence what Luke does not fail to mention,—namely, the fact that the said parable was not spoken only to the parties who had interrogated Him on the subject of His authority, but to the people. For the latter evangelist puts it thus: “Then began He to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard,” and so on. Accordingly, we may well understand that among the people then assembled there might also have been persons who could listen to Him as those did who before this had said, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord;” and that either these, or some of them, were the individuals who replied in the words, “He will miserably destroy these wicked men, and will let out his vineyard to other husbandmen.” The answer actually returned by these men, moreover, has been attributed to the Lord Himself by Mark and Luke, not only because their words were really His words, inasmuch as He is the Truth that ofttimes speaks even by the wicked and the ignorant, moving the mind of man by a certain hidden instinct, not in the merit of man’s holiness, but by the right of His own proper power; but also because the men may have been of a character admitting of their being reckoned, not without reason, as already members in the true body of Christ, so that what was said by them might quite warrantably be ascribed to Him whose members they were. For by this time He had baptized more than John,4 and had multitudes of disciples, as the same evangelists repeatedly testify; and from among these followers He also drew those five hundred brethren, to whom the Apostle Paul tells us that He showed Himself after His resurrection. And this explanation of the matter is supported by the fact that the phrase which occurs in the version by this same Matthew,—namely, “They say unto Him,6 He will miserably destroy those wicked men,”—is not put in a form necessitating us to take the pronoun illi in the plural number, as if it was intended to mark out the words expressly as the reply made by the persons who had craftily questioned Him on the subject of His authority; but the clause, “They say unto Him,” is so expressed that the term illi should be taken for the singular pronoun, and not the plural, and should be held to signify “unto Him,” that is to say, unto the Lord Himself, as is made clear in the Greek codices, without a single atom of ambiguity.

138. There is a certain discourse of the Lord which is given by the evangelist John, and which may help us more readily to understand the statement I thus make. It is to this effect: “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If ye continue in my word, then ye shall be my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. And they answered Him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever; but the Son abideth for ever. If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.”4 Now surely it is not to be supposed that He spake these words, “Ye seek to kill me” to those persons who had already believed on Him, and to whom He had said, “If ye abide in my word, then shall ye be my disciples indeed.” But inasmuch as He had spoken in these latter terms to the men who had already believed on Him, and as, moreover, there was present on that occasion a multitude of people, among whom there were many who were hostile to Him, even although the evangelist does not tell us explicitly who those parties were who made the reply referred to, the very nature of the answer which they gave, and the tenor of the words which thereupon were rightly directed to them by Him, make it sufficiently clear what specific persons were then addressed, and what words were spoken to them in particular. Precisely, therefore, as in the multitude thus alluded to by John there were some who had already believed on Jesus, and also some who sought to kill Him, in that other concourse which we are discussing at present there were some who had craftily questioned the Lord on the subject of the authority by which He did these things; and there were also others who had hailed Him, not in deceit, but in faith, with the acclaim, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.” And thus, too, there were persons present who could say, “He will destroy those men, and will give his vineyard to others.” This saying, furthermore, may be rightly understood to have been the voice of the Lord Himself, either in virtue of that Truth which in His own Person He is Himself, or on the ground of the unity which subsists between the members of His body and the head. There were also certain individuals present who, when these other parties gave that kind of answer, said to them, “God forbid,” because they understood the parable to be directed against themselves.

chap. lxxi.—of the marriage of the king’s son, to which the multitudes were invited; and of the order in which matthew introduces that section as compared with luke, who gives us a somewhat similar narrative in another connection

139. Matthew goes on as follows: “And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard His parables, they perceived that He spake of them: and when they sought to lay hands on Him, they feared the multitude, because they took Him for a prophet. And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king which made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding, and they would not come;” and so on, down to the words, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” This parable concerning the guests who were invited to the wedding is related only by Matthew. Luke also records something which resembles it. But that is really a different passage, as the order itself sufficiently indicates, although there is some similarity between the two.6 The matters introduced, however, by Matthew immediately after the parable concerning the vineyard, and the killing of the son of the head of the house,—namely, the Jews’ perception that this whole discourse was directed against them, and their beginning to contrive treacherous schemes against Him,—are attested likewise by Mark and Luke, who also keep the same order in inserting them. But after this paragraph they proceed to another subject, and immediately subjoin a passage which Matthew has also indeed introduced in due order, but only subsequently to this parable of the marriage, which he alone has put on record here.

chap. lxxii.—of the harmony characterizing the narratives given by these three evangelists regarding the duty of rendering to cæsar the coin bearing his image, and regarding the woman who had been married to the seven brothers

140. Matthew then continues in these terms:
“Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle Him in His talk. And they send out unto Him their disciples, with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man; for thou regardest not the person of men: tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute to Cæsar, or not?” and so on, down to the words, “And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at His doctrine.” Mark and Luke give a similar account of these two replies made by the Lord,—namely, the one on the subject of the coin, which was prompted by the question as to the duty of giving tribute to Cæsar; and the other on the subject of the resurrection, which was suggested by the case of the woman who had married the seven brothers in succession. Neither do these two evangelists differ in the matter of the order.2 For after the parable which told of the men to whom the vineyard was let out, and which also dealt with the Jews (against whom it was directed), and the evil counsel they were devising (which sections are given by all three evangelists together), these two, Mark and Luke, pass over the parable of the guests who were invited to the wedding (which only Matthew has introduced), and thereafter they join company again with the first evangelist, when they record these two passages which deal with Cæsar’s tribute, and the woman who was the wife of seven different husbands, inserting them in precisely the same order, with a consistency which admits of no question.

chap. lxxiii.—of the person to whom the two precepts concerning the love of god and the love of our neighbour were commended; and of the question as to the order of narration which is observed by matthew and mark, and the absence of any discrepancy between them and luke

141. Matthew then proceeds with his narrative in the following terms: “But when the Pharisees had heard that He had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. And one of them, which was a lawyer, asked Him a question, tempting Him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” This is recorded also by Mark, and that too in the same order. Neither should there be any difficulty in the statement made by Matthew, to the effect that the person by whom the question was put to the Lord tempted Him; whereas Mark4 says nothing about that, but tells us at the end of the paragraph how the Lord said to the man, as to one who answered discreetly, “Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.” For it is quite possible that, although the man approached Him with the view of tempting Him, he may have been set right by the Lord’s response. Or we need not at any rate take the tempting referred to in a bad sense, as if it were the device of one who sought to deceive an adversary; but we may rather suppose it to have been the result of caution, as if it were the act of one who wished to have further trial of a person who was unknown to him. For it is not without a good purpose that this sentence has been written, “He that is hasty to give credit is light-minded, and shall be impaired.”

142. Luke, on the other hand, not indeed in this order, but in a widely different connection, introduces something which resembles this. But whether in that passage he is actually recording this same incident, or whether the person with whom the Lord [is represented to have] dealt in a similar manner there on the subject of those two commandments is quite another individual, is altogether uncertain. At the same time, it may appear right to regard the person who is introduced by Luke as a different individual from the one before us here, not only on the ground of the remarkable divergence in the order of narration, but also because he is there reported to have replied to a question which was addressed to him by the Lord, and in that reply to have himself mentioned those two precepts. The same opinion is further confirmed by the fact that, after telling us how the Lord said to him, “This do, and thou shall live,”—thus instructing him to do that great thing which, according to his own answer, was contained in the law,—the evangelist follows up what had passed with the statement, “But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?”7 Thereupon, too [according to Luke], the Lord told the story of the man who was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers. Consequently, considering that this individual is described at the outset as tempting Christ, and is represented to have repeated the two commandments in his reply; and considering, further, that after the counsel which was given by the Lord in the words, “This do, and thou shalt live,” he is not commended as good, but, on the contrary, has this said of him, “But he, willing to justify himself,” etc., whereas the person who is mentioned in parallel order both by Mark and by Luke received a commendation so marked, that the Lord spake to him in these terms, “Thou art not far from the kingdom of God,”—the more probable view is that which takes the person who appears on that occasion to be a different individual from the man who comes before us here.

chap. lxxiv.—of the passage in which the jews are asked to say whose son they suppose christ to be; and of the question whether there is not a discrepancy between matthew and the other two evangelists, in so far as he states the inquiry to have been, “what think ye of christ? whose son is he?” and tells us that to this they replied, “the son of david;” whereas the others put it thus, “how say the scribes that christ is david’s son?”

143. Matthew goes on thus: “Now when the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, What think ye of Christ? Whose son is He? They say unto Him, The son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in Spirit call Him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on my right hand, till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool? If David then call Him Lord, how is He his son? And no man was able to answer Him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask Him any more questions.” This is given also by Mark in due course, and in the same order.2 Luke, again, only omits mention of the person who asked the Lord which was the first commandment in the law, and, after passing over that incident in silence, observes the same order once more as the others, narrating just as these do this question which the Lord put to the Jews concerning Christ, as to how He was David’s son. Neither is the sense at all affected by the circumstance that, as Matthew puts it, when Jesus had asked them what they thought of Christ, and whose son He was, they [the Pharisees] replied, “The son of David,” and then He proposed the further query as to how David then called Him Lord; whereas, according to the version presented by the other two, Mark and Luke, we do not find either that these persons were directly interrogated, or that they made any answer. For we ought to take this view of the matter, namely, that these two evangelists have introduced the sentiments which were expressed by the Lord Himself after the reply made by those parties, and have recorded the terms in which He spoke in the hearing of those whom He wished profitably to instruct in His authority, and to turn away from the teaching of the scribes, and whose knowledge of Christ amounted then only to this, that He was made of the seed of David according to the flesh, while they did not understand that He was God, and on that ground also the Lord even of David. It is in this way, therefore, that in the accounts given by these two evangelists, the Lord is mentioned in a manner which makes it appear as if He was discoursing on the subject of these erroneous teachers to men whom He desired to see delivered from the errors in which these scribes were involved. Thus, too, the question, which is presented by Matthew in the form, “What say ye?” is to be taken not as addressed directly to these [Pharisees], but rather as expressed only with reference to those parties, and directed really to the persons whom He was desirous of instructing.

chap. lxxv.—of the pharisees who sit in the seat of moses, and enjoin things which they do not, and of the other words spoken by the lord against these same pharisees; of the question whether matthew’s narrative agrees here with those which are given by the other two evangelists, and in particular with that of luke, who introduces a passage resembling this one, although it is brought in not in this order, but in another connection

144. Matthew proceeds with his account, observing the following order of narration: “Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to His disciples, saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: all, therefore, whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not;” and so on, down to the words, “Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Luke also mentions a similar discourse which was spoken by the Lord in opposition to the Pharisees and the scribes and the doctors of the law, but reports it as delivered in the house of a certain Pharisee, who had invited Him to a feast. In order to relate that passage, he has made a digression from the order which is followed by Matthew, about the point at which they have both put on record the Lord’s sayings respecting the sign of the three days and nights in the history of Jonas, and the queen of the south, and the unclean spirit that returns and finds the house swept.5 And that paragraph is followed up by Matthew with these words: “While He yet talked to the people, behold, His mother and His brethren stood without, desiring to speak with Him.” But in the version which the third Gospel presents of the discourse then spoken by the Lord, after the recital of certain sayings of the Lord which Matthew has omitted to notice, Luke turns off from the order which he had been observing in concert with Matthew, to that his immediately subsequent narrative runs thus: “And as He spake, a certain Pharisee besought Him to dine with him: and He went in, and sat down to meat. And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that He had not first washed before dinner. And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and platter.” And after this, Luke reports other utterances which were directed against the said Pharisees and scribes and teachers of the law, which are of a similar tenor to those which Matthew also recounts in this passage which we have taken in hand at present to consider.2 Wherefore, although Matthew records these things in a manner which, while it is true indeed that the house of that Pharisee is not mentioned by name, yet does not specify as the scene where the words were spoken any place entirely inconsistent with the idea of His having been in the house referred to; still the facts that the Lord by this time [i.e. according to Matthew’s Gospel] had left Galilee and come into Jerusalem, and that the incidents alluded to above, on to the discourse which is now under review, are so arranged in the context after His arrival as to make it only reasonable to understand them to have taken place in Jerusalem, whereas Luke’s narrative deals with what occurred at the time when the Lord as yet was only journeying towards Jerusalem, are considerations which lead me to the conclusion that these are not the same, but only two similar discourses, of which the former evangelist has reported the one, and the latter the other.

145. This is also a matter which requires some consideration,—namely, the question how it is said here, “Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord,” when, according to this same Matthew, they had already expressed themselves to this effect.5 Besides, Luke likewise tells us that a reply containing these very words had previously been returned by the Lord to the persons who had counselled Him to leave their locality, because Herod sought to kill Him. That evangelist represents these self-same terms, which Matthew records here, to have been employed by Him in the declaration which He directed on that occasion against Jerusalem itself. For Luke’s narrative proceeds in the following manner: “The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto Him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee. And He said unto them, Go ye and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to-day and to-morrow, and the third day I am perfected. Nevertheless, I must walk to-day, and to-morrow, and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house shall be left unto you desolate: and I say unto you, that ye shall not see me until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.” There does not seem, however, to be anything contradictory to the narration thus given by Luke in the circumstance that the multitudes said, when the Lord was approaching Jerusalem, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.” For, according to the order which is followed by Luke, He had not yet come to the scene in question, and the words had not been uttered. But since he does not tell us that He did actually leave the place at that time, not to return to it until the period came when such words would be spoken by them (for He continues on His journey until he arrives at Jerusalem; and the saying, “Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to-day and to-morrow, and the third day I am perfected,” is to be taken to have been uttered by Him in a mystical and figurative sense: for certainly He did not suffer at a time answering literally to the third day after the present occasion; nay, He immediately goes on to say, “Nevertheless, I must walk to-day, and to-morrow, and the day following”), we are indeed constrained also to put a mystical interpretation upon the sentence, “Ye shall not see me henceforth, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord,” and to understand it to refer to that advent of His in which He is to come in His effulgent brightness;7 it being thereby also implied, that what He expressed in the declaration, “I cast out devils, and I do cures to-day and to-morrow, and the third day I am perfected,” bears upon His body, which is the Church. For devils are cast out when the nations abandon their ancestral superstitions and believe on Him; and cures are wrought when men renounce the devil and this world, and live in accordance with His commandments, even unto the consummation of the resurrection, in which there shall, as it were, be realized that perfecting on the third day; that is to say, the Church shall be perfected up to the measure of the angelic fulness through the realized immortality of the body as well as the soul. Therefore the order followed by Matthew is by no means to be understood to involve a digression to another connection. But we are rather to suppose, either that Luke has antedated the events which took place in Jerusalem, and has introduced them at this point simply as they were here suggested to his recollection, before his narrative really brings the Lord to Jerusalem; or that the Lord, when drawing near the same city on that occasion, did actually reply to the persons who counselled Him to be on His guard against Herod, in terms resembling those in which Matthew represents Him to have spoken also to the multitudes at a period when He had already arrived in Jerusalem, and when all these events had taken place which have been detailed above.

chap. lxxvi.—of the harmony in respect of the order of narration subsisting between matthew and the other two evangelists in the accounts given of the occasion on which he foretold the destruction of the temple

146. Matthew proceeds with his history in the following terms: “And Jesus went out and departed from the temple; and His disciples came to Him for to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye all these things? Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another which shall not be thrown down.” This incident is related also by Mark, and nearly in the same order. But he brings it in after a digression of some small extent, which is made with a view to mention the case of the widow who put the two mites into the treasury,2 which occurrence is recorded only by Mark and Luke. For [in proof that Mark’s order is essentially the same as Matthew’s, we need only notice that] in Mark’s version also, after the account of the Lord’s discussion with the Jews on the occasion when He asked them how they held Christ to be David’s son, we have a narrative of what He said in warning them against the Pharisees and their hypocrisy,—a section which Matthew has presented on the amplest scale, introducing into it a larger number of the Lord’s sayings on that occasion. Then after this paragraph, which has been handled briefly by Mark, and treated with great fulness by Matthew, Mark, as I have said, introduces the passage about the widow who was at once so extremely poor, and yet abounded so remarkably. And finally, without interpolating anything else, he subjoins a section in which he comes again into unison with Matthew,—namely, that relating to the destruction of the temple. In like manner, Luke first states the question which was propounded regarding Christ, as to how He was the son of David, and then mentions a few of the words which were spoken in cautioning them against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. Thereafter he proceeds, as Mark does, to tell the story of the widow who cast the two mites into the treasury. And finally he appends the statement, which appears also in Matthew and Mark, on the subject of the destined overthrow of the temple.4

chap. lxxvii.—of the harmony subsisting between the three evangelists in their narratives of the discourse which he delivered on the mount of olives, when the disciples asked when the consummation should happen

147. Matthew continues in the following strain: “And as He sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered, and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many;” and so on, down to where we read, “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.” We have now, therefore, to examine this lengthened discourse as it meets us in the three evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke. For they all introduce it in their narratives, and that, too, in the same order. Here, as elsewhere, each of these writers gives some matters which are peculiar to himself, in which, nevertheless, we have not to apprehend any suspicion of inconsistency. But what we have to make sure of is the proof that, in those passages which are exact parallels, they are nowhere to be regarded as in antagonism with each other. For if anything bearing the appearance of a contradiction meets us here, the simple affirmation that it is something wholly distinct, and uttered by the Lord in similar terms indeed, but on a totally different occasion, cannot be deemed a legitimate mode of explanation in a case like this, where the narrative, as given by all the three evangelists, moves in the same connection at once of subjects and of dates. Moreover, the mere fact that the writers do not all observe the same order in the reports which they give of the same sentiments expressed by the Lord, certainly does not in any way affect either the understanding or the communication of the subject itself, provided the matters which are represented by them to have been spoken by Him are not inconsistent the one with the other.

148. Again, what Matthew states in this form, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come,” is given also in the same connection by Mark in the following manner: “And the gospel must first be published among all nations.”2 Mark has not added the words, “and then shall the end come;” but he indicates what they express, when he uses the phrase “first “in the sentence, “And the gospel must first be published among all nations.” For they had asked Him about the end. And therefore, when He addresses them thus, “The gospel must first be published among all nations,” the term “first” clearly suggests the idea of something to be done before the consummation should come.

149. In like manner, what Matthew states thus, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, whoso readeth, let him understand,” is put in the following form by Mark: “But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation standing where it ought not, let him that readeth understand.”4 But though the phrase is thus altered, the sense conveyed is the same. For the point of the clause “where it ought not,” is that the abomination of desolation ought not to be in the holy place. Luke’s method of putting it, again, is neither, “And when ye shall see the abomination of desolation stand in the holy place,” nor, “where it ought not,” but, “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with an army, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.” At that time, therefore, will the abomination of desolation be in the holy place.

150. Again, what is given by Matthew in the following terms: “Then let them which be in Judæa flee into the mountains; and let him which is on the house-top not come down to take anything out of his house; neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes,” is reported also by Mark almost in so many words. On the other hand, Luke’s version proceeds thus: “Then let them which are in Judæa flee to the mountains.”7 Thus far he agrees with the other two. But he presents what is subsequent to that in a different form. For he goes on to say, “And let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto: for these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.” Now these statements seem to present differences enough between each other. For the one, as it occurs in the first two evangelists, runs thus: “Let him which is on the house-top not come down to take anything out of his house;” whereas what is given by the third evangelist is to this effect: “And let them which are in the midst of it depart out.” The import, however, may be, that in the great agitation which will arise in the face of so mighty an impending peril, those shut up in the state of siege (which is expressed by the phrase, “they which are in the midst of it”) will appear upon the house-top [or “wall”], amazed and anxious to see what terror hangs over them, or what method of escape may open. Still the question rises, How does this third evangelist say here, “let them depart out,” when he has already used these terms: “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with an army”? For what is brought in after this—namely, the sentence, “And let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto”—appears to form part of one consistent admonition; and we can perceive how those who are outside the city are not to enter into it; but the difficulty is to see how those who are in the midst of it are to depart out, when the city is already compassed with an army. Well, may not this expression, “in the midst of it,” indicate a time when the danger will be so urgent as to leave no opportunity open, so far as temporal means are concerned, for the preservation of this present life in the body, and that the fact that this will be a time when the soul ought to be ready and free, and neither taken up with, nor burdened by, carnal desires, is imported by the phrase employed by the first two writers—namely, “on the house-top,” or, “on the wall”? In this way the third evangelist’s phraseology, “let them depart out” (which really means, let them no more be engrossed with the desire of this life, but let them be prepared to pass into another life), is equivalent in sense to the terms used by the other two,” let him not come down to take anything out of his house” (which really means, “let not his affections turn towards the flesh, as if it could yield him anything to his advantage then”). And in like manner the phrase adopted by the one, “And let not them that are in the countries enter thereunto” (which is to say, “Let not those who, with good purpose of heart, have already placed themselves outside it, indulge again in any carnal lust or longing after it”), denotes precisely what the other two evangelists embody in the sentence, “Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes,” which is much the same as to state that he should not again involve himself in cares of which he had been unburdened.

151. Moreover, Matthew proceeds thus: “But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath-day.” Part of this is given and part omitted by Mark, when he says, “And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter.” Luke, on the other hand, leaves this out entirely, and instead of it introduces something which is peculiar to himself, and by which he appears to me to have cast light upon this very clause which has been set before us somewhat obscurely by these others. For his version runs thus: “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass.” This is to be understood to be the same flight as is mentioned by Matthew, which should not be taken in the winter or on the Sabbath-day. That “winter,” moreover, refers to these “cares of this life” which Luke has specified directly; and the “Sabbath-day” refers in like manner to the “surfeiting and drunkenness.” For sad cares are like a winter; and surfeiting and drunkenness drown and bury the heart in carnal delights and luxury—an evil which is expressed under the term “Sabbath-day,” because of old, as is the case with them still, the Jews had the very pernicious custom of revelling in pleasure on that day, when they were ignorant of the spiritual Sabbath. Or, if something else is intended by the words which thus appear in Matthew and Mark, Luke’s terms may also be taken to bear on something else, while no question implying any antagonism between them need be raised for all that. At present, however, we have not undertaken the task of expounding the Gospels, but only that of defending them against groundless charges of falsehood and deceit. Furthermore, other matters which Matthew has inserted in this discourse, and which are common to him and Mark, present no difficulty. On the other hand, with respect to those sections which are common to him and Luke, [it is to be remarked that] these are not introduced into the present discourse by Luke, although in regard to the order of narration here they are at one. But he records sentences of like tenor in other connections, either reproducing them as they suggested themselves to his memory, and thus bringing them in by anticipation so as to relate at an earlier point words which, as spoken by the Lord, belong really to a later; or else, giving us to understand that they were uttered twice over by the Lord, once on the occasion referred to by Matthew, and on a second occasion, with which Luke himself deals.

chap. lxxviii.—of the question whether there is any contradiction between matthew and mark on the one hand, and john on the other, in so far as the former state that after two days was to be the feast of the passover, and afterwards tells us that he was in bethany, while the latter gives a parallel narrative of what took place at bethany, but mentions that it was six days before the passover

152. Matthew continues thus: “And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, He said unto His disciples, Ye know that after two days will be the feast of the passover, and the Son of man shall be betrayed to be crucified.” This is attested in like manner by the other two,—namely, Mark and Luke,—and that, too, with a thorough harmony on the subject of the order of narration.3 They do not, however, introduce the sentence as one spoken by the Lord Himself. They make no statement to that effect. At the same time, Mark, speaking in his own person, does tell us that “after two days was the feast of the passover and of unleavened bread.” And Luke likewise gives this as his own affirmation: “Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the passover;” that is to say, it “drew nigh” in this sense, that it was to take place after two days’ space, as the other two are more apparently at one in expressing it. John, on the other hand, has mentioned in three several places the nearness of this same feast-day. In the two earlier instances the intimation is made when he is engaged in recording certain matters of another tenor. But on the third occasion his narrative appears clearly to deal with those very times, in connection with which the other three evangelists also notice the subject,—that is to say, the times when the Lord’s passion was actually imminent.

153. But to those who look into the matter without sufficient care, there may seem to be a contradiction involved in the fact that Matthew and Mark, after stating that the passover was to be after two days, have at once informed us how Jesus was in Bethany on that occasion, on which the account of the precious ointment comes before us; whereas John, when he is about to give us the same narrative concerning the ointment, begins by telling us that Jesus came to Bethany six days before the passover. Now, the question is, how the passover could be spoken of by those two evangelists as about to be celebrated two days after, seeing that we find them, immediately after they have made this statement, in company with John, giving us an account of the scene with the ointment in Bethany; while in that connection the last-named writer informs us, that the feast of the passover was to take place six days after. Nevertheless, those who are perplexed by this difficulty simply fail to perceive that Matthew and Mark have brought in their account of the scene which was enacted in Bethany really in the form of a recapitulation, not as if the time of its occurrence was actually subsequent to the [time indicated in the] announcement made by them on the subject of the two days’ space, but as an event which had already taken place at a date when there was still a period of six days preceding the passover. For neither of them has appended his account of what took place at Bethany to his statement regarding the celebration of the passover after two days’ space in any such terms as these: “After these things, when He was in Bethany.” But Matthew’s phrase is this: “Now when Jesus was in Bethany.” And Mark’s version is simply this: “And being in Bethany,” etc.; which is a method of expression that may certainly be taken to refer to a period antecedent to the utterance of what was said two days before the passover. The case, therefore, stands thus: As we gather from the narrative of John, Jesus came to Bethany six days before the passover; there the supper took place, in connection with which we get the account of the precious ointment; leaving this place, He came next to Jerusalem, sitting upon an ass; and thereafter happened those things which they relate to have occurred after this arrival of His in Jerusalem. Consequently, even although the evangelists do not mention the fact, we understand that between the day on which He came to Bethany, and which witnessed the scene with the ointment, and the day to which all these deeds and words which are at present before us belonged, there elapsed a period of four days, so that at this point might come in the day which the two evangelists have defined by their statement as to the celebration of the passover two days after. Further, when Luke says, “Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh,” he does not indeed make any express mention of a two days’ space; but still, the nearness which he has instanced ought to be accepted as made good by this very space of two days. Again, when John makes the statement that “the Jews’ passover was nigh at hand,”2 he does not intend a two days’ space to be understood thereby, but means that there was a period of six days before the passover. Thus it is that, on recording certain matters immediately after this affirmation, with the intention of specifying what measure of nearness he had in view when he spoke of the passover as nigh at hand, he next proceeds in the following strain: “Then Jesus, six days before the passover, came to Bethany, where Lazarus had died, whom Jesus raised from the dead; and there they made Him a supper.”4 This is the incident which Matthew and Mark introduce in the form of a recapitulation, after the statement that after two days would be the passover. In their recapitulation they thus come back upon the day in Bethany, which was yet a six days’ space off from the passover, and give us the account which John also gives of the supper and the ointment. Subsequently to that scene, we are to suppose Him to come to Jerusalem, and then, after the occurrence of the other things recorded, to reach this day, which was still a two days’ space from the passover, and from which these evangelists have made this digression, with the object of giving a recapitulatory notice of the incident with the ointment in Bethany. And after the completion of that narrative, they return once more to the point from which they made the digression; that is to say, they now proceed to record the words spoken by the Lord two days before the passover. For if we remove the notice of the incident at Bethany, which they have introduced as a digression from the literal order, and have given in the form of a recollection and recapitulation inserted at a point subsequent to its actual historical position, and if we then set the narrative in its regular connection, the recital will go on as follows;—according to Matthew, the Lord’s words coming in thus: “Ye know that after two days shall be the feast of the passover, and the Son of man shall be betrayed to be crucified. Then assembled together the chief priests and the elders of the people unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, and consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill Him. But they said, Not on the feast-day, lest there be an uproar among the people. Then one of the twelve, called Judas Scarioth, went unto the chief priests,” etc. For between the place where it is said, “lest there be an uproar among the people,” and the passage where we read, “then one of the disciples, called Judas, went,” etc., that notice of the scene at Bethany intervenes, which they have introduced by way of recapitulation. Consequently, by leaving it out, we have established such a connection in the narrative as may make our conclusion satisfactory, that there is no contradiction here in the matter of the order of times. Again, if we deal with Mark’s Gospel in like manner, and omit the account of the same supper at Bethany, which he also has brought in as a recapitulation, his narrative will proceed in the following order: “Now after two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take Him by craft, and put Him to death. For they said, Not on the feast-day, lest there be an uproar of the people. And Judas Scariothes, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray Him.”2 Here, again, the incident at Bethany which these evangelists have inserted, by way of recapitulation, is placed between the clause, “lest there be an uproar of the people,” and the verse which we have attached immediately to that, namely, “And Judas Scariothes, one of the twelve.” Luke, on the other hand, has simply omitted the said occurrence at Bethany. This is the explanation which we give in reference to the six days before the passover, which is the space mentioned by John when narrating what took place at Bethany, and in reference to the two days before the passover, which is the period specified by Matthew and Mark when presenting their account, in direct sequence upon the statement thus made, of that same scene in Bethany which has been recorded also by John.

chap. lxxix.—of the concord between matthew, mark, and john in their notices of the supper at bethany, at which the woman poured the precious ointment on the lord, and of the method in which these accounts are to be harmonized with that of luke, when he records an incident of a similar nature at a different period

154. Matthew, then, continuing his narrative from the point up to which we had concluded its examination, proceeds in the following terms: “Then assembled together the chief priests and the elders of the people unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, and consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty and kill Him: but they said, Not on the feast-day, lest there be an uproar among the people. Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, there came unto Him a woman having an alabaster box of precious ointment, and poured it on His head as He sat at meat;” and so on down to the words, “there shall also this that this woman hath done be told for a memorial of her.” The scene with the woman and the costly ointment at Bethany we have now to consider, as it is thus detailed. For although Luke records an incident resembling this, and although the name which he assigns to the person in whose house the Lord was supping might also suggest an identity between the two narratives (for Luke likewise names the host “Simon”), still, since there is nothing either in nature or in the customs of men to make the case an incredible one, that as one man may have two names, two men may with all the greater likelihood have one and the same name, it is more reasonable to believe that the Simon in whose house [it is thus supposed, according to Luke’s version, that] this scene at Bethany took place, was a different person from the Simon [named by Matthew]. For Luke, again, does not specify Bethany as the place where the incident which he records happened. And although it is true that he in no way particularizes the town or village in which that occurrence took place, still his narrative does not seem to deal with the same locality. Consequently, my opinion is, that there is but one interpretation to be put upon the matter. That is not, however, to suppose that the woman who appears in Matthew was an entirely different person from the woman who approached the feet of Jesus on that occasion in the character of a sinner, and kissed them, and washed them with her tears, and wiped them with her hair, and anointed them with ointment, in reference to whose case Jesus also made use of the parable of the two debtors, and said that her sins, which were many, were forgiven her because she loved much. But my theory is, that it was the same Mary who did this deed on two separate occasions, the one being that which Luke has put on record, when she approached Him first of all in that remarkable humility, and with those tears, and obtained the forgiveness of her sins.5 For John, too, although he has not given the kind of recital which Luke has left us of the circumstances connected with that incident, has at least mentioned the fact, in commending the same Mary to our notice, when he has just begun to tell the story of the raising of Lazarus, and before his narrative brings the Lord to Bethany itself. The history which he offers us of that transaction proceeds thus: “Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary, and her sister Martha. It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.” By this statement John attests what Luke has told us when he records a scene of this nature in the house of a certain Pharisee, whose name was Simon. Here, then, we see that Mary had acted in this way before that time. And what she did a second time in Bethany is a different matter, which does not belong to Luke’s narrative, but is related by three of the evangelists in concert, namely, John, Matthew, and Mark.2

155. Let us therefore notice how harmony is maintained here between these three evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and John, regarding whom there is no doubt that they record the self-same occurrence at Bethany, on occasion of which the disciples also, as all three mention, murmured against the woman, ostensibly on the ground of the waste of the very precious ointment. Now the further fact that Matthew and Mark tell us that it was the Lord’s head on which the ointment was poured, while John says it was His feet, can be shown to involve no contradiction, if we apply the principle which we have already expounded in dealing with the scene of the feeding of the multitudes with the five loaves. For as there was one writer who, in giving his account of that incident, did not fail to specify that the people sat down at once by fifties and by hundreds, although another spoke only of the fifties, no contradiction could be supposed to emerge. There might indeed have seemed to be some difficulty, if the one evangelist had referred only to the hundreds, and the other only to the fifties; and yet, even in that case, the correct finding should have been to the effect that they were seated both by fifties and by hundreds. And this example ought to have made it plain to us, as I pressed it upon my readers in discussing that section, that even where the several evangelists introduce only the one fact each, we should take the case to have been really, that both things were elements in the actual occurrence. In the same way, our conclusion with regard to the passage now before us should be, that the woman poured the ointment not only upon the Lord’s head, but also on His feet. It is true that some person may possibly be found absurd and artful enough to argue, that because Mark states that the ointment was poured out only after the alabaster vase was broken, there could not have remained in the shattered vessel anything with which she could anoint His feet. But while a person of that character, in his endeavours to disprove the veracity of the Gospel, may contend that the vase was broken, in a manner making it impossible that any portion of the contents could have been left in it, how much better and more accordant with piety must the position of a very different individual appear, whose aim will be to uphold the truthfulness of the Gospel, and who may therefore contend that the vessel was not broken in a manner involving the total outpouring of the ointment! Moreover, if that calumniator is so persistently blinded as to attempt to shatter the harmony of the evangelists on this subject of the shattering of the vase,4 he should rather accept the alternative, that the [Lord’s] feet were anointed before the vessel itself was broken, and that it thus remained whole, and filled with ointment sufficient for the anointing also of the head, when, by the breakage referred to, the entire contents were discharged. For we allow that there is a due regard to the several parts of our nature when the act commences with the head, but [we may also say that] an equally natural order is preserved when we ascend from the feet to the head.

156. The other matters belonging to this incident do not seem to me to raise any question really involving a difficulty. There is the circumstance that the other evangelists mention how the disciples murmured about the [wasteful] outpouring of the precious ointment, whereas John states that Judas was the person who thus expressed himself, and tells us, in explanation of the fact, that “he was a thief.” But I think it is evident that this same Judas was the person referred to under the [general] name of the disciples, the plural number being used here instead of the singular, in accordance with that mode of speech of which we have already introduced an explanation in the case of Philip and the miracle of the five loaves. It may also be understood in this way, that the other disciples either felt as Judas felt, or spoke as he did, or were brought over to that view of the matter by what Judas said, and that Matthew and Mark consequently have expressed in word what was really the mind of the whole company; but that Judas spoke as he did just because he was a thief, whereas what prompted the rest was their care for the poor; and further, that John has chosen to record the utterance of such sentiments only in the instance of that one [among the disciples] whose habit of acting the thief he believed it right to bring out in connection with this occasion.

chap. lxxx.—of the harmony characterizing the accounts which are given by matthew, mark, and luke, of the occasion on which he sent his disciples to make preparations for his eating the passover

157. Matthew proceeds thus: “Then one of the twelve, who is called Judas [of] Scarioth, went unto the chief priests, and said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver Him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver;” and so on down to the words, “And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them, and they made ready the passover.” Nothing in this section can be supposed to stand in any contradiction with the versions of Mark and Luke, who record this same passage in a similar manner.2 For as regards the statement given by Matthew in these terms, “Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand: I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples,” it just indicates the person whom Mark and Luke name the “goodman of the house,”4 or the “master of the house,” in which the dining-room was shown them where they were to make ready the passover. And Matthew has expressed this by simply bringing in the phrase, “to such a man,” as a brief explanation introduced by himself with the view of succinctly giving us to understand who the person referred to was. For if he had said that the Lord addressed them in words like these: “Go into the city, and say unto him [or “it”],6 The Master saith, My time is at hand, I will keep the passover at thy house,” it might have been supposed that the terms were intended to be directed to the city itself. For this reason, therefore, Matthew has inserted the statement, that the Lord bade them go “to such a man,” not, however, as a statement made by the Lord, whose instructions he was recording, but simply as one volunteered by himself, with the view of avoiding the necessity of narrating the whole at length, when it seemed to him that this was all that required to be mentioned in order to bring out with sufficient accuracy what was really meant by the person who gave the order. For who can fail to see that no one naturally speaks to others in such an indefinite fashion as this, “Go ye to such a man”? If, again, the words had been, “Go ye to any one whatsoever,” or “to any one you please,” the mode of expression might have been correct enough, but the person to whom the disciples were sent would have been left uncertain: whereas Mark and Luke present him as a certain definitely indicated individual, although they pass over his name in silence. The Lord Himself, we may be sure, knew to what person it was that He despatched them. And in order that those also whom He was thus sending might be able to discover the individual meant, He gave them, before they set out, a particular sign which they were to follow,—namely, the appearance of a man bearing a pitcher or a vessel of water,—and told them, that if they went after him, they would reach the house which He intended. Hence, seeing that it was not competent here to employ the phraseology,
“Go to any one you please,” which is indeed legitimate enough, so far as the demands of linguistic propriety are concerned, but which an accurate statement of the matter dealt with here renders inadmissible in this passage, with how much less warrant could an expression like this have been used here (by the speaker Himself), “Go to such a man,” which the usage of correct language can never admit at all? But it is manifest that the disciples were sent by the Lord, plainly, not to any man they pleased, but to “such a man,” that is to say, to a certain definite individual. And that is a thing which the evangelist, speaking in his own person, could quite rightly have related to us, by putting it in this way: “He sent them to such a man, in order to say to him, I will keep the passover at thy house.” He might also have expressed it thus: “He sent them to such a man, saying, Go, say to him, I will keep the passover at thy house.” And thus it is that, after giving us the words actually spoken by the Lord Himself, namely, “Go into the city,” he has introduced this addition of his own, “to such a man,” which he does, however, not as if the Lord had thus expressed Himself, but simply with the view of giving us to understand, although the name is left unrecorded, that there was a particular person in the city to whom the Lord’s disciples were sent, in order to make ready the passover. Thus, too, after the two [or three] words brought in that manner as an explanation of his own, he takes up again the order of the words as they were uttered by the Lord Himself, namely, “And say unto him, The Master saith.” And if you ask now “to whom” they were to say this, the correct reply is given [at once] in these terms, To that particular man to whom the evangelist has given us to understand that the Lord sent them, when, speaking in His own person, he introduced the clause, “to such a man.” The clause thus inserted may indeed contain a rather unusual mode of expression, but still it is a perfectly legitimate phraseology when it is thus understood. Or it may be, that in the Hebrew language, in which Matthew is reported to have written, there is some peculiar usage which might make it entirely accordant with the laws of correct expression, even were the whole taken to have been spoken by the Lord Himself. Whether that is the case, those who understand that tongue may decide. Even in the Latin language itself, indeed, this kind of expression might also be used, in terms like these: “Go into the city to such a man as may be indicated by a person who shall meet you carrying a pitcher of water.” If the instructions were conveyed in such words as these, they could be acted upon without any ambiguity. Or again, if the terms were anything like these, “Go into the city to such a man, who resides in this or the other place, in such and such a house,” then the note thus given of the place and the designation of the house would make it quite possible to understand the commission delivered, and to execute it. But when these instructions, and all others of a similar order, are left entirely untold, the person who in such circumstances uses this kind of address, “Go to such a man, and say unto him,” cannot possibly be listened to intelligently for this obvious reason, that when he employs the terms, “to such a man,” he intends a certain particular individual to be understood by them, and yet offers us no hint by which he may be identified. But if we are to suppose that the clause referred to is one introduced as an explanation by the evangelist himself, [we may find that] the requirements of brevity will render the expression somewhat obscure, without, however, making it incorrect. Moreover, as to the fact, that where Mark speaks of a pitcher of water, Luke mentions a vessel,2 the simple explanation is, that the one has used a word indicative of the kind of vessel, and the other a term indicative of its capacity, while both evangelists have nevertheless preserved the real meaning actually intended.

158. Matthew proceeds thus: “Now when the even was Come, He sat down with the twelve disciples; and as they did eat, He said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say, Lord, is it I?” and so on, down to where we read, “Then Judas, which betrayed Him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.” In what we have now presented for consideration here, the other three evangelists,4 who also record such matters, offer nothing calculated to raise any question of serious difficulty.

BOOK III

this book contains a demonstration of the harmony of the evangelists from the accounts of the supper on to the end of the gospel, the narratives given by the several writers being collated, and the whole arranged in one orderly connection.

prologue

1. Inasmuch as we have now reached that point in the history at which all the four evangelists necessarily hold their course in company on to the conclusion, without presenting any serious divergence the one from the other, if it happens anywhere that one of them makes mention of something which another leaves unnoticed, it appears to me that we may demonstrate the consistency maintained by the various evangelists with greater expedition, if from this point onwards we now bring all the statements given by all the writers together into one connection, and arrange the whole in a single narration, and under one view. I consider that in this way the task which we have undertaken may be discharged with greater convenience and facility than otherwise might be the case. What we have now before us, therefore, is to attempt the construction of a single narrative, in which we shall include all the particulars, and for which we shall possess the attestation of those evangelists who, (each selecting for recital out of the whole number of facts those which he had either the ability or the desire to relate,) have prepared these records for us:2 this being done in such a manner, moreover, that all these statements, in regard to which we have to prove an entire freedom from contradictions, are taken as made by all the evangelists together.

chap. i.—of the method in which the four evangelists are shown to be at one in the accounts given of the lord’s supper and the indication of his betrayer

2. Let us commence here, accordingly, with the notice presented by Matthew, [which runs thus]: “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to His disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.” Both Mark and Luke also gave this section.4 It is true that Luke has made mention of the cup twice over: first before He gave the bread; and, secondly, after the bread has been given. But the fact is, that what is stated in that earlier connection has been introduced, according to this writer’s habit, by anticipation, while the words which he has inserted here in their proper order are left unrecorded in those previous verses, and the two passages when put together make up exactly what stands expressed by those other evangelists. John, on the other hand, has said nothing about the body and blood of the Lord in this context; but he plainly certifies that the Lord spake to that effect on another occasion,6 with much greater fulness than here. At present, however, after recording how the Lord rose from supper and washed the disciples’ feet, and after telling us also the reason why the Lord dealt thus with them, in expressing which He had intimated, although still obscurely, and by the use of a testimony of Scripture, the fact that He was being betrayed by the man who was to eat of His bread, at this point John comes to the section in question, which the other three evangelists also unite in introducing. He presents it thus: “When Jesus had thus said, He was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, That one of you shall betray me. Then the disciples looked (as the same John subjoins) one on another, doubting of whom He spake.”
“And (as Matthew and Mark tell us) they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto Him, Is it I? And He answered and said (as Matthew proceeds to state), He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.” Matthew also goes on to make the following addition to the preceding: “The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of Him; but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man shall be betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.” Mark, too, is at one with him here as regards both the words themselves and the order of narration.2 Then Matthew continues thus: “Then Judas, which betrayed Him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.” Even these words did not say explicitly whether he was himself the man. For the sentence still admits of being understood as if its point was this, “I am not the person who has said so.” All this, too, may quite easily have been uttered by Judas and answered by the Lord without its being noticed by all the others.

3. After this, Matthew proceeds to insert the mystery of His body and blood, as it was committed then by the Lord to the disciples. Here Mark and Luke act correspondingly. But after He had handed the cup to them, [we find that] He spoke again concerning His betrayer, in terms which Luke recounts, when he says, “But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. And truly the Son of man goeth as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom He shall be betrayed.” At this point we must now suppose that to come in which is narrated by John while these others omit it, just as John has also passed by certain matters which they have detailed. In accordance with this, after the giving of the cup, and after the Lord’s subsequent saying which has been brought in by Luke,—namely, “But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table,” etc.,—the statement made by John is [to be taken as immediately] subjoined. It is to the following effect: “Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, and said unto him,5 Who is he of whom He speaketh? He then, when he had laid himself on Jesus’ breast, saith unto Him, Lord, who is it? Jesus answered, He it is to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when He had dipped the sop, He gave it to Judas, the son of Simon [of] Scarioth. And after the sop Satan then entered into him.”

4. Here we must take care not to let John underlie the appearance not only of standing in antagonism to Luke, who had stated before this, that Satan entered into the heart of Judas at the time when he made his bargain with the Jews to betray Him on receipt of a sum of money, but also of contradicting himself. For, at an earlier point, and previous to [his notice of] the receiving of this sop, he had made use of these terms: “And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas to betray Him.” And how does he enter into the heart, but by putting unrighteous persuasions into the thoughts of unrighteous men? The explanation, however, is this. We ought to suppose Judas to have been more fully taken possession of by the devil now, just as on the other hand, in the instance of the good, those who had already received the Holy Spirit on that occasion, subsequently to His resurrection, when He breathed upon them and said, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost,”8 also obtained a fuller gift of that Spirit at a later time, namely, when He was sent down from above on the day of Pentecost. In like manner, Satan then entered into this man after the sop. And (as John himself mentions in the immediate context) “Jesus saith unto him, What thou doest, do quickly. Now no man at the table knew for what intent He spake this unto him; for some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor. He then, having received the sop, went immediately out; and it was night. Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus saith, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in Him: and if God be glorified in Him, God shall also glorify Him in Himself, and shall straightway glorify Him.”

chap. ii.—of the proof of their freedom from any discrepancies in the notices given of the predictions of peter’s denials

5. “Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and, as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say unto you. A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. Simon Peter saith unto Him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now, but thou shalt follow me afterwards. Peter saith unto Him, Lord, why cannot I follow Thee now? I will lay down my life for Thy sake. Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, until thou deniest me thrice.” John, from whose Gospel I have taken the passage introduced above, is not the only evangelist who details this incident of the prophetic announcement of his own denial to Peter. The other three also record the same thing. They do not, however, take one and the same particular point in the discourses [of Christ] as their occasion for proceeding to this narration. For Matthew and Mark both introduce it in a completely parallel order, and at the same stage of their narrative, namely, after the Lord left the house in which they had eaten the passover; while Luke and John, on the other hand, bring it in before He left that scene. Still we might easily suppose, either that it has been inserted in the way of a recapitulation by the one couple of evangelists, or that it has been inserted in the way of an anticipation by the other; only such a supposition may be made more doubtful by the circumstance that there is so remarkable a diversity, not only in the Lord’s words, but even in those sentiments of His by which the incident in question is introduced, and by which Peter was moved to venture his presumptuous asseveration that he would die with the Lord or for the Lord. These considerations may constrain us rather to understand the narratives really to import that the man uttered his presumptuous declaration thrice over, as it was called forth by different occasions in the series of Christ’s discourses, and that also three several times the answer was returned him by the Lord, which intimated that before the cock crew he would deny Him thrice.

6. And surely there is nothing incredible in supposing that Peter was moved to such an act of presumption on several occasions, separated from each other by certain intervals of time, as he was actually instigated to deny Him repeatedly. Neither should it seem unreasonable to fancy that the Lord gave him a reply in similar terms at three successive periods, especially when [we see that] in immediate connection with each other, and without the interposition of anything else either in fact or word, Christ addressed the question to him three several times whether he loved Him, and that, when Peter returned the same answer thrice over, He also gave him thrice over the self-same charge to feed His sheep. That it is the more reasonable thing to suppose that Peter displayed his presumption on three different occasions, and that thrice over he received from the Lord a warning with respect to his triple denial, is further proved, as we may see, by the very terms employed by the evangelists, which record sayings uttered by the Lord in diverse form and of diverse import. Let us here call attention again to that passage which I introduced a little ago from the Gospel of John. There we certainly find that He had expressed Himself in this way: “Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you. A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. Simon Peter saith unto Him, Lord, whither goest Thou?”3 Now, surely it is evident here that what moved Peter to utter this question, “Lord, whither goest Thou?” was the words which the Lord Himself had spoken. For he had heard Him say, “Whither I go, ye cannot come.” Then Jesus made this reply to the said Peter: “Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now, but thou shall follow me afterwards.” Thereupon Peter expressed himself thus: “Lord, why cannot I follow Thee now? I will lay down my life for Thy sake.” And to this presumptuous declaration the Lord responded by predicting his denial. Luke, again, first mentions how the Lord said, “Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not; and, when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren:” next he proceeds immediately to tell us how Peter replied to this effect: “Lord, I am ready to go with Thee, both unto prison and to death;” and then he continues thus: “And He said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.”5 Now, who can fail to perceive that this is an occasion by itself, and that the incident in connection with which Peter was incited to make the presumptuous declaration already referred to is an entirely different one? But, once more, Matthew presents us with the following passage: “And when they had sung an hymn,” he says, “they went out into the Mount of Olives. Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.” The same passage is given in precisely the same form by Mark.7 What similarity is there, however, in these words, or in the ideas expressed by them, either to the terms in which John represents Peter to have made his presumptuous declaration, or to those in which Luke exhibits him as uttering such an asseveration? And so we find that in Matthew’s narrative the connection proceeds immediately thus: “Peter answered and said unto Him, Though all men shall be offended because of Thee, yet will I never be offended. Jesus saith unto him, Verily, I say unto thee, that this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. Peter saith unto him, Though I should die with Thee, yet will I not deny Thee. Likewise also said all His disciples.”

7. All this is recorded almost in the same language also by Mark, only that he has not put in so general a form what the Lord said with regard to the manner in which the event [of Peter’s failure] was to be brought about, but has given it a more particular turn. For his version is this: “Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.” Thus it appears that all of them tell us how the Lord foretold that Peter would deny Him before the cock crew, but that they do not all mention how often the cock was to crow, and that Mark is the only one who has presented a more explicit notice of this incident in the narrative. Hence some are of opinion that Mark’s statement is not in harmony with those of the others. But this is simply because they do not give sufficient attention to the facts of the case, and, above all, because they approach the question under the cloud of a prejudiced mind, in consequence of their being possessed by a hostile disposition towards the gospel. The fact is, that Peter’s denial, when taken as a whole, is a threefold denial. For he remained in the same state of mental agitation, and harboured the same mendacious intention, until what had been foretold regarding him was brought to his mind, and healing came to him by bitter weeping and sorrow of heart. It is evident, however, that if this complete denial—that is to say, the threefold denial—is taken to have commenced only after the first crowing of the cock, three of the evangelists will appear to have given an incorrect account of the matter. For Matthew’s version is this: “Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice;” and Luke puts it thus: “I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me;” and John presents it in this form: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, the cock shall not crow till thou hast denied me thrice.” And thus, in different terms and with words introduced in diverse successions, these three evangelists have expressed one and the same sense as conveyed by the words which the Lord spake—namely, the fact that, before the cock should crow, Peter was to deny Him thrice. On the other hand, if [we suppose that] he went through the whole triple denial before the cock began to crow at all, then Mark will be made to underlie the charge of having given a superfluous statement when he puts these words into the Lord’s mouth: “Verily I say unto thee, That this day, before the cock crow twice, thou shall deny me thrice.” For to what purpose would it be to say, “before the cock crow twice,” when, on the supposition that this entire threefold denial was gone through previous to the first crowing of the cock, it is self-evident that a negation, which would thus be proved to have been completed before the first cockcrow, must also, as matter of course, be understood to have been fully uttered before the second cockcrow and before the third, and, in short, before all the cockcrowings which took place on that same night? But, inasmuch as this threefold denial was begun previous to the first crowing of the cock, those three evangelists concerned themselves with noticing, not the time at which Peter was to complete it, but the extent3 to which it was to be carried, and the period at which it was to commence; that is to say, their object was to bring out the facts that it was to be thrice repeated, and that it was to begin previous to the cockcrowing. At the same time, so far as the man’s own mind is concerned, we might also quite well understand it to have been engaged in, as a whole, previous to the first cockcrow. For although it is true that, so far as regards the actual utterance of the individual who was guilty of the denial, that threefold negation was only entered upon previous to the first cockcrow, and really finished before the second cockcrow, still it is equally true that, in so far as the disposition of mind and the apprehensions indulged by Peter were concerned, it was conceived, as a whole, before the first cockcrow. Neither is it a matter of any consequence of what duration those intervals of delay were which elapsed between the several utterances of that thrice-recurring voice, if it is the case that the denial completely possessed his heart even previous to the first cockcrow,—in consequence, indeed, of his having imbibed a spirit of terror so abject as to make him capable of denying the Lord when he was questioned regarding Him, not only once, but a second time, and even a third time. Thus, a more correct and careful consideration of the matter might show us5 that, precisely as it is declared that the man who looketh on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart, so, in the present instance, inasmuch as in the words which he spoke, Peter merely expressed the apprehension which he had already conceived with such intensity in his mind as to make it capable of enduring even on to a third repetition of his denial of the Lord, this threefold negation is to be assigned as a whole to that particular period at which the fear that sufficed thus to carry him on to a threefold denial took possession of him. In this way, too, it may be made apparent that, even if the words in which the denial was couched began to break forth from him only after the first cockcrow, when his heart was smitten by the inquiries addressed to him, it would involve neither any absurdity nor any untruthfulness, although it were said that before the cock crew he denied Him thrice, seeing that, in any case, previous to the crowing of the cock, his mind had been assailed by an apprehension violent enough to be able to draw him2 on even to a third denial. All the less, therefore, ought we to feel any difficulty in the matter, if it appears that the threefold denial, as expressed also in the thrice-recurring utterances of the person who made the denial, was entered upon previous to the crowing of the cock, although it was not completed before the first cockcrow. We may take a parallel case, and suppose an intimation to be made to the following effect to a person: “This night, before the cock crow, you will write a letter to me, in which you will revile me thrice.” Well, surely in this instance, if the man began to write the letter before the cock had crowed at all, and finished it after the cock had crowed for the first time, that would be no reason for alleging that the intimation previously made was false. The fact, therefore, is that, in putting these words into the Lord’s lips, “Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice,” Mark has given us a plainer indication of the intervals of time which separated the utterances themselves. And when we come to the said section of the evangelical narrative, we shall see that the circumstances are presented in a manner which exhibits, in that connection also, the harmony subsisting among the evangelists.

8. If, however, the demand is to get at the very words, literally and completely, which the Lord addressed to Peter, we answer that it is impossible to discover these; and further, that it is simply superfluous to ask them, inasmuch as the speaker’s meaning—to intimate which was the object He had in view in uttering the words—admits of being understood with the utmost plainness, even under the diverse terms employed by the evangelists. And whether, then, it be the case that Peter, instigated at different occasions in the course of the Lord’s sayings, made his presumptuous declaration three several times, and had his denial foretold him thrice over by the Lord, as is the more probable result to which our investigation points us; or whether it may appear that the accounts given by all the evangelists are capable of being reduced to a single statement, when a certain order of narration is adopted, so that it could be proved that it was only on one occasion that the Lord predicted to Peter, on the exhibition of his presumptuous spirit, the fact that he would deny Him;—in either case, any contradiction between the evangelists will fail to be detected, as nothing of that nature really exists.

chap. iii.—of the manner in which it can be shown that no discrepancies exist between them in the accounts which they give of the words which were spoken by the lord, on to the time of his leaving the house in which they had supped

9. At this point, therefore, we may now follow, as far as we can, the order of the narrative, as gathered from all the evangelists together. Thus, then, after the prediction in question had been made to Peter, according to John’s version, the same John proceeds with his statement, and introduces in this connection the Lord’s discourse, which was to the following effect: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions;” and so forth. He narrates at length the sayings, so memorable and so pre-eminently sublime, of which He delivered Himself in the course of that address, until, in due connection, he comes to the passage where the Lord speaks as follows: “O righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee: but I have known Thee, and these have known that Thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it; that the love wherewith Thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.”4 Again we find, according to the narrative given by Luke, that there arose “a strife among them which of them should be accounted the greatest. And He said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. And ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations: and I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” The said Luke also immediately subjoins to these words the following passage: “And the Lord said to Simon: Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto Him: Lord, I am ready to go with Thee, both into prison, and to death. And He said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shall thrice deny that thou knowest me. And He said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye anything? And they said, Nothing. Then said He unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. For I say unto you, this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And He was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And He said unto them, It is enough.”2 Next comes the passage, given both by Matthew and by Mark: “And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the Mount of Olives. Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. Peter answered and said unto Him, Though all men shall be offended because of Thee, yet will I never be offended. Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. Peter saith unto Him, Though I should die with Thee, yet will I not deny Thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.” We have introduced the preceding section as it is presented by Matthew. But Mark also records it almost in so many and the same words, with the exception of the apparent discrepancy, which we have already cleared up above, on the subject of the crowing of the cock.

chap. iv.—of what took place in the piece of ground or garden to which they came on leaving the house after the supper; and of the method in which, in john’s silence on the subject, a real harmony can be demonstrated between the other three evangelists—namely, matthew, mark, and luke

10. Matthew then proceeds with his narrative in the same connection as follows: “Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane.” This is mentioned also by Mark.5 Luke, too, refers to it, although he does not notice the piece of ground by name. For he says: “And He came out, and went, as was His wont, to the Mount of Olives; and His disciples also followed Him. And when He was at the place, He said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.” That is the place which the other two have instanced under the name of Gethsemane. There, we understand, was the garden which John brings into notice when he gives the following narration: “When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which He entered, and His disciples.”7 Then taking Matthew’s record, we get this statement next in order: “He said unto His disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith He unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And He went a little farther, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt. And He cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What! could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me except I drink it, Thy will be done. And He came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. And He left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then cometh He to His disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that shall betray me.”9

11. Mark also records these passages, introducing them quite in the same method and succession. Some of the sentences, however, are given with greater brevity by him, and others are somewhat more fully explained. These sayings of our Lord, indeed, may seem in one portion to stand in some manner of contradiction to each other as they are presented in Matthew’s version. I refer to the fact that [it is stated there that] He came to His disciples after His third prayer, and said to them, “Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that shall betray me.” For what are we to make of the direction thus given above, “Sleep on now, and take your rest,” when there is immediately subjoined this other declaration, “Behold, the hour is at hand,” and thereafter also the instruction, “Arise, let us be going “? Those readers who perceive something like a contradiction here, seek to pronounce these words, “Sleep on now, and take your rest,” in a way betokening that they were spoken in reproach, and not in permission. And this is an expedient which might quite fairly be adopted were there any necessity for it. Mark, however, has reproduced these sayings in a manner which implies that after He had expressed himself in the terms, “Sleep on now, and take your rest,” He added the words, “It is enough,” and then appended to these the further statement, “The hour is come; behold, the Son of man shall be betrayed.” Hence we may conclude that the case really stood thus: namely, that after addressing these words to them, “Sleep on now, and take your rest,” the Lord was silent for a space, so that what He had thus given them permission to do might be [seen to be] really acted upon; and that thereafter He made the other declaration “Behold the hour is come” Thus it is that in Mark’s Gospel we find those words [regarding the sleeping] followed immediately by the phrase, “It is enough;” that is to say,” the rest which you have had is enough now.” But as no distinct notice is introduced of this silence on the Lord’s part which intervened then, the passage comes to be understood in a forced manner, and it is supposed that a peculiar pronunciation must be given to these words.

12. Luke, on the other hand, has omitted to mention the number of times that He prayed. He has told us, however, a fact which is not recorded by the others—namely, that when He prayed He was strengthened by an angel, and that, as He prayed more earnestly, He had a bloody sweat, with drops falling down to the ground. Thus it appears that when he makes the statement, “And when He rose up from prayer, and was come to His disciples,” he does not indicate how often He had prayed by that time. But still, in so doing, he does not stand in any kind of antagonism to the other two. Moreover, John does indeed mention how He entered into the garden along with His disciples. But he does not relate how He was occupied there up to the period when His betrayer came in along with the Jews to apprehend Him.

13. These three evangelists, therefore, have in this manner narrated the same incident, just as, on the other hand, one man might give three several accounts of a single occurrence, with a certain measure of diversity in his statements, and yet without any real contradiction. Luke, for example, has specified the distance to which He went forward from the disciples—that is to say, when He withdrew from them in order to pray—more definitely than the others. For he tells us that it was “about a stone’s cast.” Mark, again, states first of all in his own words how the Lord prayed that, “If it were possible, the hour might pass from Him,” referring to the hour of His Passion, which be also expresses presently by the term “cup.” He then reproduces the Lord’s own words, in the following manner: “Abba, Father, all things are possible to Thee: take away this cup from me.” And if we connect with these terms the clause which is given by the other two evangelists, and for which Mark himself has also already introduced a clear parallel, presented as a statement made in his own person instead of the Lord’s, the whole sentence will be exhibited in this form: “Father, if it be possible, (for) all things are possible unto Thee, take away this cup from me.” And it will be so put just to prevent any one from supposing that He made the Father’s power less than it is when He said, “If it be possible.” For thus His words were not “If Thou canst do it;” but “If it be possible.” And anything is possible which He wills. Therefore, the expression, “If it be possible,” has here just the same force as, “If Thou wilt.” For Mark has made the sense in which the phrase, “If it be possible,” is to be taken quite plain, when he says, “All things are possible unto Thee.” And further, the fact that these writers have recorded how He said, “Nevertheless, not what I will, but what Thou wilt” (an expression which means precisely the same as this other form, “Nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done”), shows us clearly enough that it was with reference not to any absolute impossibility on the Father’s side, but only to His will, that these words, “If it be possible,” were spoken. This is made the more apparent by the plainer statement which Luke has presented to the same effect. For his version is not, “If it be possible,” but, “If Thou be willing.” And to this clearer declaration of what was really meant we may add, with the effect of still greater clearness, the clause which Mark has inserted, so that the whole will proceed thus: “If Thou be willing, (for) all things are possible unto Thee, take away this cup from me.”

14. Again, as to Mark’s mentioning that the Lord said not only “Father,” but “Abba, Father,” the explanation simply is, that “Abba” is in Hebrew exactly what “Pater” is in Latin. And perhaps the Lord may have used both words with some kind of symbolical significance, intending to indicate thereby, that in sustaining this sorrow He bore the part of His body, which is the Church, of which He has been made the corner-stone, and which comes to Him [in the person of disciples gathered] partly out of the Hebrews, to whom He refers when He says “Abba,” and partly out of the Gentiles, to whom He refers when He says “Pater” [Father]. The Apostle Paul also makes use of the same significant expression. For he says, “In whom we cry, Abba, Father;”2 and, in another passage, “God sent His Spirit into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” For it was meet that the good Master and true Saviour, by sharing in the sufferings of the more infirm,4 should in His own person illustrate the truth that His witnesses ought not to despair, although it might perchance happen that, through human frailty, sorrow might steal in upon their hearts at the time of suffering; seeing that they would overcome it if, mindful that God knows what is best for those whose well-being He regards, they gave His will the preference over their own. On this subject, however, as a whole, the present is not the time for entering on any more detailed discussion. For we have to deal simply with the question concerning the harmony of the evangelists, from whose varied modes of narration we gather the wholesome lesson that, in order to get at the truth, the one essential thing to aim at in dealing with the terms is simply the intention which the speaker had in view in using them. For the word “Father” means just the same as the phrase “Abba, Father.” But with a view to bring out the mystic significance, the expression, “Abba, Father,” is the clearer form; while, for indicating the unity, the word “Father” is sufficient. And that the Lord did indeed employ this method of address, “Abba, Father,” must be accepted as matter of fact. But still His intention would not appear very obvious were there not the means (since others use simply the term “Father”) to show that under such a form of expression those two Churches, which are constituted, the one out of the Jews, and the other out of the Gentiles, are presented as also really one. In this way, then, [we m