Jesus Christ is the only Way and Truth and Life - No one comes to the Father except by Him.

For as it was not possible that the man who had once for all been conquered, and who had been destroyed through disobedience, could reform himself, and obtain the prize of victory; and as it was also impossible that he could attain to salvation who had fallen under the power of sin,-the Son effected both these things, being the Word of God, descending from the Father, becoming incarnate, stooping low, even to death, and consummating the arranged plan of our salvation, upon whom [Paul], exhorting us unhesitatingly to believe, again says, "Who shall ascend into heaven? that is, to bring down Christ; or who shall descend into the deep? that is, to liberate Christ again from the dead." Then he continues, "If thou shall confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shall be saved." And he renders the reason why the Son of God did these things, saying, "For to this end Christ both lived, and died, and revived, that He might rule over the living and the dead." And again, writing to the Corinthians, he declares, "But we preach Christ Jesus crucified; "and adds, "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? " - St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book III, Chapter XVIII, Section 2.

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Saint Irenaeus, Against Heresies - Part 2 | Books III and IV

Against Heresies: Book III

Thou hast indeed enjoined upon me, my very dear friend, that I should
bring to light the Valentinian doctrines, concealed, as their votaries
imagine; that I should exhibit their diversity, and compose a treatise
in refutation of them. I therefore have undertaken—showing that they
spring from Simon, the father of all heretics—to exhibit both their
doctrines and successions, and to set forth arguments against them all.
Wherefore, since the conviction of these men and their exposure is in
many points but one work, I have sent unto thee [certain] books, of
which the first comprises the opinions of all these men, and exhibits
their customs, and the character of their behaviour. In the second,
again, their perverse teachings are cast down and overthrown, and, such
as they really are, laid bare and open to view. But in this, the third
book I shall adduce proofs from the Scriptures, so that I may come
behind in nothing of what thou hast enjoined; yea, that over and above
what thou didst reckon upon, thou mayest receive from me the means of
combating and vanquishing those who, in whatever manner, are
propagating falsehood. For the love of God, being rich and ungrudging,
confers upon the suppliant more than he can ask from it. Call to mind
then, the things which I have stated in the two preceding books, and,
taking these in connection with them, thou shalt have from me a very
copious refutation of all the heretics; and faithfully and strenuously
shalt thou resist them in defence of the only true and life-giving
faith, which the Church has received from the apostles and imparted to
her sons. For the Lord of all gave to His apostles the power of the
Gospel, through whom also we have known the truth, that is, the
doctrine of the Son of God; to whom also did the Lord declare: “He that
heareth you, heareth Me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth Me, and
Him that sent Me.” [3308]

[3308] Luke x. 16.

Chapter I.—The apostles did not commence to preach the Gospel, or to place
anything on record until they were endowed with the gifts and power of the
Holy Spirit. They preached one God alone, Maker of heaven and earth.
1. We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than
from those through whom the Gospel has come down to us, which they did
at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of
God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar
of our faith. [3309] For it is unlawful to assert that they preached
before they possessed “perfect knowledge,” as some do even venture to
say, boasting themselves as improvers of the apostles. For, after our
Lord rose from the dead, [the apostles] were invested with power from
on high when the Holy Spirit came down [upon them], were filled from
all [His gifts], and had perfect knowledge: they departed to the ends
of the earth, preaching the glad tidings of the good things [sent] from
God to us, and proclaiming the peace of heaven to men, who indeed do
all equally and individually possess the Gospel of God. Matthew also
issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews [3310] in their own dialect,
while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations
of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and
interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been
preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book
the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord,
who also had leaned upon His breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia.
2. These have all declared to us that there is one God, Creator of
heaven and earth, announced by the law and the prophets; and one Christ
the Son of God. If any one do not agree to these truths, he despises the companions of the Lord; nay more, he despises Christ Himself the Lord; yea, he despises the Father also, and stands self-condemned, resisting and opposing his own salvation, as is the case with all heretics.

[3309] See 1 Tim. iii. 15, where these terms are used in reference to
the Church.
[3310] On this and similar statements in the Fathers, the reader may consult Dr. Roberts’s Discussions on the Gospels, in which they are fully criticised, and the Greek original of St. Matthew’s Gospel maintained.

Chapter II.—The heretics follow neither Scripture nor tradition.
1. When, however, they are confuted from the Scriptures, they turn round and accuse these same Scriptures, as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and [assert] that they are ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from them by those who are ignorant of
tradition. For [they allege] that the truth was not delivered by means
of written documents, but viva voce: wherefore also Paul declared, “But
we speak wisdom among those that are perfect, but not the wisdom of
this world.” [3311] And this wisdom each one of them alleges to be the
fiction of his own inventing, forsooth; so that, according to their
idea, the truth properly resides at one time in Valentinus, at another
in Marcion, at another in Cerinthus, then afterwards in Basilides, or
has even been indifferently in any other opponent, [3312] who could speak nothing pertaining to salvation. For every one of these men, being altogether of a perverse disposition, depraving the system of truth, is not ashamed to preach himself.
2. But, again, when we refer them to that tradition which originates
from the apostles, [and] which is preserved by means of the succession
of presbyters in the Churches, they object to tradition, saying that
they themselves are wiser not merely than the presbyters, but even than
the apostles, because they have discovered the unadulterated truth. For
[they maintain] that the apostles intermingled the things of the law
with the words of the Saviour; and that not the apostles alone, but
even the Lord Himself, spoke as at one time from the Demiurge, at
another from the intermediate place, and yet again from the Pleroma,
but that they themselves, indubitably, unsulliedly, and purely, have
knowledge of the hidden mystery: this is, indeed, to blaspheme their
Creator after a most impudent manner! It comes to this, therefore, that
these men do now consent neither to Scripture nor to tradition.
3. Such are the adversaries with whom we have to deal, my very dear friend, endeavouring like slippery serpents to escape at all points.
Wherefore they must be opposed at all points, if perchance, by cutting
off their retreat, we may succeed in turning them back to the truth.
For, though it is not an easy thing for a soul under the influence of
error to repent, yet, on the other hand, it is not altogether
impossible to escape from error when the truth is brought alongside it.

[3311] 1 Cor. ii. 6.
[3312] This is Harvey’s rendering of the old Latin, in illo qui contra

Chapter III.—A refutation of the heretics, from the fact that, in the various
Churches, a perpetual succession of bishops was kept up.
1. It is within the power of all, therefore, in every Church, who may
wish to see the truth, to contemplate clearly the tradition of the
apostles manifested throughout the whole world; and we are in a
position to reckon up those who were by the apostles instituted bishops
in the Churches, and [to demonstrate] the succession of these men to
our own times; those who neither taught nor knew of anything like what
these [heretics] rave about. For if the apostles had known hidden
mysteries, which they were in the habit of imparting to “the perfect”
apart and privily from the rest, they would have delivered them
especially to those to whom they were also committing the Churches
themselves. For they were desirous that these men should be very
perfect and blameless in all things, whom also they were leaving behind
as their successors, delivering up their own place of government to these men; which men, if they discharged their functions honestly, would be a great boon [to the Church], but if they should fall away, the direst calamity.
2. Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this,
to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to
confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil
self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion,
assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating
that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very
ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by
the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing
out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means
of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that
every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its
pre-eminent authority, [3313] that is, the faithful everywhere,
inasmuch as the apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously
by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere.
3. The blessed apostles, then, having founded and built up the Church,
committed into the hands of Linus the office of the episcopate. Of this
Linus, Paul makes mention in the Epistles to Timothy. To him succeeded
Anacletus; and after him, in the third place from the apostles, Clement
was allotted the bishopric. This man, as he had seen the blessed
apostles, and had been conversant with them, might be said to have the
preaching of the apostles still echoing [in his ears], and their
traditions before his eyes. Nor was he alone [in this], for there were
many still remaining who had received instructions from the apostles.
In the time of this Clement, no small dissension having occurred among
the brethren at Corinth, the Church in Rome despatched a most powerful
letter to the Corinthians, exhorting them to peace, renewing their
faith, and declaring the tradition which it had lately received from
the apostles, proclaiming the one God, omnipotent, the Maker of heaven
and earth, the Creator of man, who brought on the deluge, and called
Abraham, who led the people from the land of Egypt, spake with Moses,
set forth the law, sent the prophets, and who has prepared fire for the
devil and his angels. From this document, whosoever chooses to do so,
may learn that He, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, was preached by
the Churches, and may also understand the apostolical tradition of the
Church, since this Epistle is of older date than these men who are now
propagating falsehood, and who conjure into existence another god
beyond the Creator and the Maker of all existing things. To this
Clement there succeeded Evaristus. Alexander followed Evaristus; then,
sixth from the apostles, Sixtus was appointed; after him, Telesphorus,
who was gloriously martyred; then Hyginus; after him, Pius; then after
him, Anicetus. Soter having succeeded Anicetus, Eleutherius does now,
in the twelfth place from the apostles, hold the inheritance of the
episcopate. In this order, and by this succession, the ecclesiastical
tradition from the apostles, and the preaching of the truth, have come
down to us. And this is most abundant proof that there is one and the
same vivifying faith, which has been preserved in the Church from the
apostles until now, and handed down in truth.
4. But Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed
with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia,
appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna, whom I also saw in my early
youth, for he tarried [on earth] a very long time, and, when a very old
man, gloriously and most nobly suffering martyrdom, [3314] departed
this life, having always taught the things which he had learned from
the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are
true. To these things all the Asiatic Churches testify, as do also
those men who have succeeded Polycarp down to the present time,--a man
who was of much greater weight, and a more stedfast witness of truth,
than Valentinus, and Marcion, and the rest of the heretics. He it was
who, coming to Rome in the time of Anicetus caused many to turn away
from the aforesaid heretics to the Church of God, proclaiming that he
had received this one and sole truth from the apostles,--that, namely,
which is handed down by the Church. [3315] There are also those who
heard from him that John, the disciple of the Lord, going to bathe at
Ephesus, and perceiving Cerinthus within, rushed out of the bath-house
without bathing, exclaiming, “Let us fly, lest even the bath-house fall
down, because Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within.” And
Polycarp himself replied to Marcion, who met him on one occasion, and
said, “Dost thou know me?” “I do know thee, the first-born of Satan.”
Such was the horror which the apostles and their disciples had against
holding even verbal communication with any corrupters of the truth; as
Paul also says, “A man that is an heretic, after the first and second
admonition, reject; knowing that he that is such is subverted, and
sinneth, being condemned of himself.” [3316] There is also a very
powerful [3317] Epistle of Polycarp written to the Philippians, from
which those who choose to do so, and are anxious about their salvation,
can learn the character of his faith, and the preaching of the truth.
Then, again, the Church in Ephesus, founded by Paul, and having John
remaining among them permanently until the times of Trajan, is a true
witness of the tradition of the apostles.

[3313] The Latin text of this difficult but important clause is, “Ad
hanc enim ecclesiam propter potiorem principalitatem necesse est omnem
convenire ecclesiam.” Both the text and meaning have here given rise to
much discussion. It is impossible to say with certainty of what words
in the Greek original “potiorem principalitatem” may be the
translation. We are far from sure that the rendering given above is
correct, but we have been unable to think of anything better. [A most
extraordinary confession. It would be hard to find a worse; but take
the following from a candid Roman Catholic, which is better and more
literal: “For to this Church, on account of more potent principality,
it is necessary that every Church (that is, those who are on every side
faithful) resort; in which Church ever, by those who are on every side,
has been preserved that tradition which is from the apostles.”
(Berington and Kirk, vol. i. p. 252.) Here it is obvious that the faith
was kept at Rome, by those who resort there from all quarters. She was
a mirror of the Catholic World, owing here orthodoxy to them; not the
Sun, dispensing her own light to others, but the glass bringing their
rays into a focus. See note at end of book iii.] A discussion of the subject may be seen in chap. xii. of Dr. Wordsworth’s St. Hippolytus and the Church of Rome.
[3314] Polycarp suffered about the year 167, in the reign of Marcus Aurelius. His great age of eighty-six years implies that he was contemporary with St. John for nearly twenty years.
[3315] So the Greek. The Latin reads: “which he also handed down to the
[3316] Tit. iii. 10.
[3317] ikanotate. Harvey translates this all-sufficient, and thus
paraphrases: But his Epistle is all-sufficient, to teach those that are
desirous to learn.

Chapter IV.—The truth is to be found nowhere else but in the Catholic Church,
the sole depository of apostolical doctrine. Heresies are of recent formation,
and cannot trace their origin up to the apostles.
1. Since therefore we have such proofs, it is not necessary to seek the
truth among others which it is easy to obtain from the Church; since
the apostles, like a rich man [depositing his money] in a bank, lodged
in her hands most copiously all things pertaining to the truth: so that
every man, whosoever will, can draw from her the water of life. [3318]
For she is the entrance to life; all others are thieves and robbers. On
this account are we bound to avoid them, but to make choice of the
thing pertaining to the Church with the utmost diligence, and to lay
hold of the tradition of the truth. For how stands the case? Suppose
there arise a dispute relative to some important question [3319] among
us, should we not have recourse to the most ancient Churches with which
the apostles held constant intercourse, and learn from them what is
certain and clear in regard to the present question? For how should it
be if the apostles themselves had not left us writings? Would it not be
necessary, [in that case,] to follow the course of the tradition which
they handed down to those to whom they did commit the Churches?
2. To which course many nations of those barbarians who believe in Christ do assent, having salvation written in their hearts by the Spirit, without paper or ink, and, carefully preserving the ancient tradition, [3320] believing in one God, the Creator of heaven and earth, and all things therein, by means of Christ Jesus, the Son of God; who, because of His surpassing love towards His creation,
condescended to be born of the virgin, He Himself uniting man through
Himself to God, and having suffered under Pontius Pilate, and rising
again, and having been received up in splendour, shall come in glory,
the Saviour of those who are saved, and the Judge of those who are
judged, and sending into eternal fire those who transform the truth,
and despise His Father and His advent. Those who, in the absence of
written documents, [3321] have believed this faith, are barbarians, so
far as regards our language; but as regards doctrine, manner, and tenor
of life, they are, because of faith, very wise indeed; and they do
please God, ordering their conversation in all righteousness, chastity,
and wisdom. If any one were to preach to these men the inventions of
the heretics, speaking to them in their own language, they would at
once stop their ears, and flee as far off as possible, not enduring
even to listen to the blasphemous address. Thus, by means of that
ancient tradition of the apostles, they do not suffer their mind to
conceive anything of the [doctrines suggested by the] portentous
language of these teachers, among whom neither Church nor doctrine has
ever been established.
3. For, prior to Valentinus, those who follow Valentinus had no existence; nor did those from Marcion exist before Marcion; nor, in short, had any of those malignant-minded people, whom I have above
enumerated, any being previous to the initiators and inventors of their
perversity. For Valentinus came to Rome in the time of Hyginus,
flourished under Pius, and remained until Anicetus. Cerdon, too,
Marcion’s predecessor, himself arrived in the time of Hyginus, who was
the ninth bishop. [3322] Coming frequently into the Church, and making
public confession, he thus remained, one time teaching in secret, and
then again making public confession; but at last, having been denounced
for corrupt teaching, he was excommunicated [3323] from the assembly of
the brethren. Marcion, then, succeeding him, flourished under Anicetus,
who held the tenth place of the episcopate. But the rest, who are
called Gnostics, take rise from Menander, Simon’s disciple, as I have
shown; and each one of them appeared to be both the father and the high
priest of that doctrine into which he has been initiated. But all these
(the Marcosians) broke out into their apostasy much later, even during
the intermediate period of the Church.

[3318] Rev. xxii. 17.
[3319] Latin, “modica quaestione.”
[3320] [The uneducated barbarians must receive the Gospel on testimony.
Irenaeus puts apostolic traditions, genuine and uncorrupt, in this
relation to the primary authority of the written word. 2 Thess. ii. 15,
2 Thess. iii. 6.]
[3321] Literally, “without letters;” equivalent to, “without paper and
ink,” a few lines previously.
[3322] The old Latin translation says the eighth bishop; but there is
no discrepancy. Eusebius, who has preserved the Greek of this passage,
probably counted the apostles as the first step in the episcopal
succession. As Irenaeus tells us in the preceding chapter, Linus is to
be counted as the first bishop.
[3323] It is thought that this does not mean excommunication properly
so called, but a species of self-excommunication, i.e., anticipating
the sentence of the Church, by quitting it altogether. See Valesius’s
note in his edition of Eusebius.

Chapter V.—Christ and His apostles, without any fraud, deception, or
hypocrisy, preached that one God, the Father, was the founder of all things.
They did not accommodate their doctrine to the prepossessions of their
1. Since, therefore, the tradition from the apostles does thus exist in
the Church, and is permanent among us, let us revert to the Scriptural
proof furnished by those apostles who did also write the Gospel, in
which they recorded the doctrine regarding God, pointing out that our
Lord Jesus Christ is the truth, [3324] and that no lie is in Him. As
also David says, prophesying His birth from a virgin, and the
resurrection from the dead, “Truth has sprung out of the earth.” [3325]
The apostles, likewise, being disciples of the truth, are above all
falsehood; for a lie has no fellowship with the truth, just as darkness
has none with light, but the presence of the one shuts out that of the
other. Our Lord, therefore, being the truth, did not speak lies; and
whom He knew to have taken origin from a defect, He never would have
acknowledged as God, even the God of all, the Supreme King, too, and
His own Father, an imperfect being as a perfect one, an animal one as a
spiritual, Him who was without the Pleroma as Him who was within it.
Neither did His disciples make mention of any other God, or term any
other Lord, except Him, who was truly the God and Lord of all, as these
most vain sophists affirm that the apostles did with hypocrisy frame
their doctrine according to the capacity of their hearers, and gave
answers after the opinions of their questioners,--fabling blind things
for the blind, according to their blindness; for the dull according to
their dulness; for those in error according to their error. And to
those who imagined that the Demiurge alone was God, they preached him;
but to those who are capable of comprehending the unnameable Father,
they did declare the unspeakable mystery through parables and enigmas:
so that the Lord and the apostles exercised the office of teacher not
to further the cause of truth, but even in hypocrisy, and as each individual was able to receive it!
2. Such [a line of conduct] belongs not to those who heal, or who give
life: it is rather that of those bringing on diseases, and increasing
ignorance; and much more true than these men shall the law be found,
which pronounces every one accursed who sends the blind man astray in
the way. For the apostles, who were commissioned to find out the
wanderers, and to be for sight to those who saw not, and medicine to
the weak, certainly did not address them in accordance with their
opinion at the time, but according to revealed truth. For no persons of
any kind would act properly, if they should advise blind men, just
about to fall over a precipice, to continue their most dangerous path,
as if it were the right one, and as if they might go on in safety. Or
what medical man, anxious to heal a sick person, would prescribe in
accordance with the patient’s whims, and not according to the requisite
medicine? But that the Lord came as the physician of the sick, He does
Himself declare saying, “They that are whole need not a physician, but
they that are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to
repentance.” [3326] How then shall the sick be strengthened, or how
shall sinners come to repentance? Is it by persevering in the very same
courses? or, on the contrary, is it by undergoing a great change and reversal of their former mode of living, by which they have brought upon themselves no slight amount of sickness, and many sins? But ignorance, the mother of all these, is driven out by knowledge.
Wherefore the Lord used to impart knowledge to His disciples, by which
also it was His practice to heal those who were suffering, and to keep
back sinners from sin. He therefore did not address them in accordance
with their pristine notions, nor did He reply to them in harmony with
the opinion of His questioners, but according to the doctrine leading
to salvation, without hypocrisy or respect of person.
3. This is also made clear from the words of the Lord, who did truly
reveal the Son of God to those of the circumcision—Him who had been
foretold as Christ by the prophets; that is, He set Himself forth, who
had restored liberty to men, and bestowed on them the inheritance of
incorruption. And again, the apostles taught the Gentiles that they
should leave vain stocks and stones, which they imagined to be gods,
and worship the true God, who had created and made all the human
family, and, by means of His creation, did nourish, increase,
strengthen, and preserve them in being; and that they might look for
His Son Jesus Christ, who redeemed us from apostasy with His own blood,
so that we should also be a sanctified people,--who shall also descend
from heaven in His Father’s power, and pass judgment upon all, and who
shall freely give the good things of God to those who shall have kept
His commandments. He, appearing in these last times, the chief
cornerstone, has gathered into one, and united those that were far off
and those that were near; [3327] that is, the circumcision and the uncircumcision, enlarging Japhet, and placing him in the dwelling of Shem. [3328]

[3324] John xiv. 6.
[3325] Ps. lxxxv. 11.
[3326] Luke v. 31, 32.
[3327] Eph. ii. 17.
[3328] Gen. ix. 27.

Chapter VI—The Holy Ghost, throughout the Old Testament Scriptures, made
mention of no other God or Lord, save him who is the true God.
1. Therefore neither would the Lord, nor the Holy Spirit, nor the apostles, have ever named as God, definitely and absolutely, him who was not God, unless he were truly God; nor would they have named any
one in his own person Lord, except God the Father ruling over all, and
His Son who has received dominion from His Father over all creation, as
this passage has it: “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou at my right
hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.” [3329] Here the
[Scripture] represents to us the Father addressing the Son; He who gave
Him the inheritance of the heathen, and subjected to Him all His
enemies. Since, therefore, the Father is truly Lord, and the Son truly
Lord, the Holy Spirit has fitly designated them by the title of Lord.
And again, referring to the destruction of the Sodomites, the Scripture
says, “Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah fire and
brimstone from the Lord out of heaven.” [3330] For it here points out
that the Son, who had also been talking with Abraham, had received
power to judge the Sodomites for their wickedness. And this [text
following] does declare the same truth: “Thy throne, O God, is for ever
and ever; the sceptre of Thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou hast
loved righteousness, and hated iniquity: therefore God, Thy God, hath
anointed Thee.” [3331] For the Spirit designates both [of them] by the
name, of God—both Him who is anointed as Son, and Him who does anoint,
that is, the Father. And again: “God stood in the congregation of the
gods, He judges among the gods.” [3332] He [here] refers to the Father
and the Son, and those who have received the adoption; but these are
the Church. For she is the synagogue of God, which God—that is, the
Son Himself—has gathered by Himself. Of whom He again speaks: “The God
of gods, the Lord hath spoken, and hath called the earth.” [3333] Who
is meant by God? He of whom He has said, “God shall come openly, our
God, and shall not keep silence;” [3334] that is, the Son, who came
manifested to men who said, “I have openly appeared to those who seek
Me not.” [3335] But of what gods [does he speak]? [Of those] to whom He
says, “I have said, Ye are gods, and all sons of the Most High.” [3336]To those, no doubt, who have received the grace of the “adoption, by which we cry, Abba Father.” [3337]
2. Wherefore, as I have already stated, no other is named as God, or is
called Lord, except Him who is God and Lord of all, who also said to
Moses, “I am that I am. And thus shalt thou say to the children of
Israel: He who is, hath sent me unto you;” [3338] and His Son Jesus
Christ our Lord, who makes those that believe in His name the sons of
God. And again, when the Son speaks to Moses, He says, “I am come down
to deliver this people.” [3339] For it is He who descended and ascended
for the salvation of men. Therefore God has been declared through the
Son, who is in the Father, and has the Father in Himself—He who is,
the Father bearing witness to the Son, and the Son announcing the
Father.—As also Esaias says, “I too am witness,” he declares, “saith
the Lord God, and the Son whom I have chosen, that ye may know, and believe, and understand that I am.” [3340]
3. When, however, the Scripture terms them [gods] which are no gods, it
does not, as I have already remarked, declare them as gods in every
sense, but with a certain addition and signification, by which they are
shown to be no gods at all. As with David: “The gods of the heathen are
idols of demons;” [3341] and, “Ye shall not follow other gods.” [3342]
For in that he says “the gods of the heathen”—but the heathen are
ignorant of the true God—and calls them “other gods,” he bars their
claim [to be looked upon] as gods at all. But as to what they are in
their own person, he speaks concerning them; “for they are,” he says,
“the idols of demons.” And Esaias: “Let them be confounded, all who
blaspheme God, and carve useless things; [3343] even I am witness,
saith God.” [3344] He removes them from [the category of] gods, but he
makes use of the word alone, for this [purpose], that we may know of
whom he speaks. Jeremiah also says the same: “The gods that have not
made the heavens and earth, let them perish from the earth which is
under the heaven.” [3345] For, from the fact of his having subjoined
their destruction, he shows them to be no gods at all. Elias, too, when
all Israel was assembled at Mount Carmel, wishing to turn them from
idolatry, says to them, “How long halt ye between two opinions? [3346]
If the Lord be God, [3347] follow Him.” [3348] And again, at the
burnt-offering, he thus addresses the idolatrous priests: “Ye shall
call upon the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the
Lord my God; and the Lord that will hearken by fire, [3349] He is God.”
Now, from the fact of the prophet having said these words, he proves
that these gods which were reputed so among those men, are no gods at
all. He directed them to that God upon whom he believed, and who was
truly God; whom invoking, he exclaimed, “Lord God of Abraham, God of
Isaac, and God of Jacob, hear me to-day, and let all this people know
that Thou art the God of Israel.” [3350]
4. Wherefore I do also call upon thee, Lord God of Abraham, and God of
Isaac, and God of Jacob and Israel, who art the Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ, the God who, through the abundance of Thy mercy, hast had
a favour towards us, that we should know Thee, who hast made heaven and
earth, who rulest over all, who art the only and the true God, above
whom there is none other God; grant, by our Lord Jesus Christ, the
governing power of the Holy Spirit; give to every reader of this book
to know Thee, that Thou art God alone, to be strengthened in Thee, and
to avoid every heretical, and godless, and impious doctrine.
5. And the Apostle Paul also, saying, “For though ye have served them
which are no gods; ye now know God, or rather, are known of God,”
[3351] has made a separation between those that were not [gods] and Him
who is God. And again, speaking of Antichrist, he says, “who opposeth
and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is
worshipped.” [3352] He points out here those who are called gods, by
such as know not God, that is, idols. For the Father of all is called
God, and is so; and Antichrist shall be lifted up, not above Him, but
above those which are indeed called gods, but are not. And Paul himself
says that this is true: “We know that an idol is nothing, and that
there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called
gods, whether in heaven or in earth; yet to us there is but one God,
the Father, of whom are all things, and we through Him; and one Lord
Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him.” [3353] For he has
made a distinction, and separated those which are indeed called gods,
but which are none, from the one God the Father, from whom are all
things, and, he has confessed in the most decided manner in his own
person, one Lord Jesus Christ. But in this [clause], “whether in heaven
or in earth,” he does not speak of the formers of the world, as these
[teachers] expound it; but his meaning is similar to that of Moses,
when it is said, “Thou shalt not make to thyself any image for God, of
whatsoever things are in heaven above, whatsoever in the earth beneath,
and whatsoever in the waters under the earth.” [3354] And he does thus
explain what are meant by the things in heaven: “Lest when,” he says,
“looking towards heaven, and observing the sun, and the moon, and the
stars, and all the ornament of heaven, falling into error, thou
shouldest adore and serve them.” [3355] And Moses himself, being a man
of God, was indeed given as a god before Pharaoh; [3356] but he is not
properly termed Lord, nor is called God by the prophets, but is spoken
of by the Spirit as “Moses, the faithful minister and servant of God,”
[3357] which also he was.

[3329] Ps. cx. 1.
[3330] Gen. xix. 24.
[3331] Ps. xlv. 6.
[3332] Ps. lxxxii. 1.
[3333] Ps. l. 1.
[3334] Ps. l. 3.
[3335] Isa. lxv. 1.
[3336] Ps. lxxxii. 6.
[3337] Rom. viii. 15.
[3338] Ex. iii. 14.
[3339] Ex. iii. 8.
[3340] Isa. xliii. 10.
[3341] Ps. xcvi. 5.
[3342] Ps. lxxxi. 9.
[3343] These words are an interpolation: it is supposed they have been
carelessly repeated from the preceding quotation of Isaiah.
[3344] Isa. xliv. 9.
[3345] Jer. x. 11.
[3346] Literally, “In both houghs,” in ambabus suffraginibus.
[3347] The old Latin translation has, “Si unus est Dominus Deus”—If
the Lord God is one; which is supposed by the critics to have occurred
through carelessness of the translator.
[3348] 1 Kings xviii. 21, etc.
[3349] The Latin version has, “that answereth to-day” (hodie), --an evident error for igne.
[3350] 1 Kings xviii. 36.
[3351] Gal. iv. 8, 9.
[3352] 2 Thess. ii. 4.
[3353] 1 Cor. viii. 4, etc.
[3354] Deut. v. 8.
[3355] Deut. iv. 19.
[3356] Ex. vii. 1.
[3357] Heb. iii. 5; Num. xii. 7.

Chapter VII.—Reply to an objection founded on the words of St. Paul (2 Cor.
iv. 4). St. Paul occasionally uses words not in their grammatical sequence.
1. As to their affirming that Paul said plainly in the Second [Epistle]
to the Corinthians, “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the
minds of them that believe not,” [3358] and maintaining that there is
indeed one god of this world, but another who is beyond all
principality, and beginning, and power, we are not to blame if they,
who give out that they do themselves know mysteries beyond God, know
not how to read Paul. For if any one read the passage thus—according
to Paul’s custom, as I show elsewhere, and by many examples, that he
uses transposition of words—“In whom God,” then pointing it off, and
making a slight interval, and at the same time read also the rest [of
the sentence] in one [clause], “hath blinded the minds of them of this
world that believe not,” he shall find out the true [sense]; that it is
contained in the expression, “God hath blinded the minds of the
unbelievers of this world.” And this is shown by means of the little
interval [between the clause]. For Paul does not say, “the God of this
world,” as if recognising any other beyond Him; but he confessed God as
indeed God. And he says, “the unbelievers of this world,” because they
shall not inherit the future age of incorruption. I shall show from Paul himself, how it is that God has blinded the minds of them that believe not, in the course of this work, that we may not just at present distract our mind from the matter in hand, [by wandering] at large.
2. From many other instances also, we may discover that the apostle frequently uses a transposed order in his sentences, due to the
rapidity of his discourses, and the impetus of the Spirit which is in
him. An example occurs in the [Epistle] to the Galatians, where he
expresses himself as follows: “Wherefore then the law of works? [3359]
It was added, until the seed should come to whom the promise was made;
[and it was] ordained by angels in the hand of a Mediator.” [3360] For
the order of the words runs thus: “Wherefore then the law of works?
Ordained by angels in the hand of a Mediator, it was added until the
seed should come to whom the promise was made,”—man thus asking the
question, and the Spirit making answer. And again, in the Second to the
Thessalonians, speaking of Antichrist, he says, “And then shall that
wicked be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus Christ [3361] shall slay with
the Spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy him [3362] with the presence
of his coming; [even him] whose coming is after the working of Satan,
with all power, and signs, and lying wonders.” [3363] Now in these
[sentences] the order of the words is this: “And then shall be revealed
that wicked, whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all
power, and signs, and lying wonders, whom the Lord Jesus shall slay
with the Spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the presence of
His coming.” For he does not mean that the coming of the Lord is after
the working of Satan; but the coming of the wicked one, whom we also
call Antichrist. If, then, one does not attend to the [proper] reading
[of the passage], and if he do not exhibit the intervals of breathing
as they occur, there shall be not only incongruities, but also, when
reading, he will utter blasphemy, as if the advent of the Lord could
take place according to the working of Satan. So therefore, in such
passages, the hyperbaton must be exhibited by the reading, and the
apostle’s meaning following on, preserved; and thus we do not read in
that passage, “the god of this world,” but, “God,” whom we do truly
call God; and we hear [it declared of] the unbelieving and the blinded
of this world, that they shall not inherit the world of life which is
to come.

[3358] 2 Cor. iv. 4.
[3359] This is according to the reading of the old Italic version, for
it is not so read in any of our existing manuscripts of the Greek New
[3360] Gal. iii. 19.
[3361] This world is not found in the second quotation of this passage
immediately following.
[3362] This world is not found in the second quotation of this passage
immediately following.
[3363] 2 Thess. ii. 8.

Chapter VIII.—Answer to an objection, arising from the words of Christ (Matt.
vi. 24). God alone is to be really called God and Lord, for He is without
beginning and end.
1. This calumny, then, of these men, having been quashed, it is clearly
proved that neither the prophets nor the apostles did ever name another
God, or call [him] Lord, except the true and only God. Much more [would
this be the case with regard to] the Lord Himself, who did also direct
us to “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the
things that are God’s;” [3364] naming indeed Caesar as Caesar, but
confessing God as God. In like manner also, that [text] which says, “Ye
cannot serve two masters,” [3365] He does Himself interpret, saying,
“Ye cannot serve God and mammon;” acknowledging God indeed as God, but
mentioning mammon, a thing having also an existence. He does not call
mammon Lord when He says, “Ye cannot serve two masters;” but He teaches
His disciples who serve God, not to be subject to mammon, nor to be
ruled by it. For He says, “He that committeth sin is the slave of sin.”
[3366] Inasmuch, then, as He terms those “the slaves of sin” who serve
sin, but does not certainly call sin itself God, thus also He terms
those who serve mammon “the slaves of mammon,” not calling mammon God.
For mammon is, according to the Jewish language, which the Samaritans
do also use, a covetous man, and one who wishes to have more than he
ought to have. But according to the Hebrew, it is by the addition of a
syllable (adjunctive) called Mamuel, [3367] and signifies gulosum, that
is, one whose gullet is insatiable. Therefore, according to both these
things which are indicated, we cannot serve God and mammon.
2. But also, when He spoke of the devil as strong, not absolutely so,
but as in comparison with us, the Lord showed Himself under every
aspect and truly to be the strong man, saying that one can in no other
way “spoil the goods of a strong man, if he do not first bind the
strong man himself, and then he will spoil his house.” [3368] Now we
were the vessels and the house of this [strong man] when we were in a
state of apostasy; for he put us to whatever use he pleased, and the
unclean spirit dwelt within us. For he was not strong, as opposed to
Him who bound him, and spoiled his house; but as against those persons
who were his tools, inasmuch as he caused their thought to wander away
from God: these did the Lord snatch from his grasp. As also Jeremiah
declares, “The Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and has snatched him from the
hand of him that was stronger than he.” [3369] If, then, he had not
pointed out Him who binds and spoils his goods, but had merely spoken
of him as being strong, the strong man should have been unconquered.
But he also subjoined Him who obtains and retains possession; for he
holds who binds, but he is held who is bound. And this he did without
any comparison, so that, apostate slave as he was, he might not be
compared to the Lord: for not he alone, but not one of created and
subject things, shall ever be compared to the Word of God, by whom all
things were made, who is our Lord Jesus Christ.
3. For that all things, whether Angels, or Archangels, or Thrones, or
Dominions, were both established and created by Him who is God over
all, through His Word, John has thus pointed out. For when he had
spoken of the Word of God as having been in the Father, he added, “All
things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made.” [3370]
David also, when he had enumerated [His] praises, subjoins by name all
things whatsoever I have mentioned, both the heavens and all the powers
therein: “For He commanded, and they were created; He spake, and they
were made.” Whom, therefore, did He command? The Word, no doubt, “by
whom,” he says, “the heavens were established, and all their power by
the breath of His mouth.” [3371] But that He did Himself make all
things freely, and as He pleased, again David says, “But our God is in
the heavens above, and in the earth; He hath made all things whatsoever
He pleased.” [3372] But the things established are distinct from Him
who has established them, and what have been made from Him who has made
them. For He is Himself uncreated, both without beginning and end, and
lacking nothing. He is Himself sufficient for Himself; and still
further, He grants to all others this very thing, existence; but the
things which have been made by Him have received a beginning. But
whatever things had a beginning, and are liable to dissolution, and are
subject to and stand in need of Him who made them, must necessarily in
all respects have a different term [applied to them], even by those who
have but a moderate capacity for discerning such things; so that He
indeed who made all things can alone, together with His Word, properly
be termed God and Lord: but the things which have been made cannot have
this term applied to them, neither should they justly assume that appellation which belongs to the Creator.

[3364] Matt. xxii. 21.
[3365] Matt. vi. 24.
[3366] John viii. 34.
[3367] A word of which many explanations have been proposed, but none
are quite satisfactory. Harvey seems inclined to suspect the reading to
be corrupt, through the ignorance and carelessness of the copyist.
[Irenaeus undoubtedly relied for Hebrew criticisms on some incompetent
retailer of rabbinical refinements.]
[3368] Matt. xii. 29.
[3369] Jer. xxxi. 11.
[3370] John i. 3.
[3371] Ps. xxxiii. 6.
[3372] Ps. cxv. 3.

Chapter IX.—One and the same God, the Creator of heaven and earth, is He whom
the prophets foretold, and who was declared by the Gospel. Proof of this, at
the outset, from St. Matthew’s Gospel.
1. This, therefore, having been clearly demonstrated here (and it shall
yet be so still more clearly), that neither the prophets, nor the
apostles, nor the Lord Christ in His own person, did acknowledge any
other Lord or God, but the God and Lord supreme: the prophets and the
apostles confessing the Father and the Son; but naming no other as God,
and confessing no other as Lord: and the Lord Himself handing down to
His disciples, that He, the Father, is the only God and Lord, who alone
is God and ruler of all; --it is incumbent on us to follow, if we are
their disciples indeed, their testimonies to this effect. For Matthew
the apostle—knowing, as one and the same God, Him who had given
promise to Abraham, that He would make his seed as the stars of heaven,
[3373] and Him who, by His Son Christ Jesus, has called us to the
knowledge of Himself, from the worship of stones, so that those who
were not a people were made a people, and she beloved who was not
beloved [3374] --declares that John, when preparing the way for Christ,
said to those who were boasting of their relationship [to Abraham]
according to the flesh, but who had their mind tinged and stuffed with
all manner of evil, preaching that repentance which should call them
back from their evil doings, said, “O generation of vipers, who hath
shown you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruit
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.” [3375] He preached to them,
therefore, the repentance from wickedness, but he did not declare to
them another God, besides Him who made the promise to Abraham; he, the
forerunner of Christ, of whom Matthew again says, and Luke likewise,
“For this is he that was spoken of from the Lord by the prophet, The
voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord,
make straight the paths of our God. Every valley shall be filled, and
every mountain and hill brought low; and the crooked shall be made
straight, and the rough into smooth ways; and all flesh shall see the
salvation of God.” [3376] There is therefore one and the same God, the
Father of our Lord, who also promised, through the prophets, that He
would send His forerunner; and His salvation—that is, His Word—He
caused to be made visible to all flesh, [the Word] Himself being made
incarnate, that in all things their King might become manifest. For it
is necessary that those [beings] which are judged do see the judge, and
know Him from whom they receive judgment; and it is also proper, that
those which follow on to glory should know Him who bestows upon them the gift of glory.
2. Then again Matthew, when speaking of the angel, says, “The angel of
the Lord appeared to Joseph in sleep.” [3377] Of what Lord he does himself interpret: “That it may be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, Out of Egypt have I called my son.” [3378]
“Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and shall bring forth a son, and they
shall call his name Emmanuel; which is, being interpreted, God with
us.” [3379] David likewise speaks of Him who, from the virgin, is
Emmanuel: “Turn not away the face of Thine anointed. The Lord hath
sworn a truth to David, and will not turn from him. Of the fruit of thy
body will I set upon thy seat.” [3380] And again: “In Judea is God known; His place has been made in peace, and His dwelling in Zion.”
[3381] Therefore there is one and the same God, who was proclaimed by
the prophets and announced by the Gospel; and His Son, who was of the
fruit of David’s body, that is, of the virgin of [the house of] David,
and Emmanuel; whose star also Balaam thus prophesied: “There shall come
a star out of Jacob, and a leader shall rise in Israel.” [3382] But
Matthew says that the Magi, coming from the east, exclaimed “For we
have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him;” [3383]
and that, having been led by the star into the house of Jacob to
Emmanuel, they showed, by these gifts which they offered, who it was
that was worshipped; myrrh, because it was He who should die and be
buried for the mortal human race; gold, because He was a King, “of
whose kingdom is no end;” [3384] and frankincense, because He was God,
who also “was made known in Judea,” [3385] and was “declared to those
who sought Him not.” [3386]
3. And then, [speaking of His] baptism, Matthew says, “The heavens were
opened, and He saw the Spirit of God, as a dove, coming upon Him: and
lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am
well pleased.” [3387] For Christ did not at that time descend upon
Jesus, neither was Christ one and Jesus another: but the Word of
God—who is the Saviour of all, and the ruler of heaven and earth, who
is Jesus, as I have already pointed out, who did also take upon Him
flesh, and was anointed by the Spirit from the Father—was made Jesus
Christ, as Esaias also says, “There shall come forth a rod from the
root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise from his root; and the Spirit of
God shall rest upon Him: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the
spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and piety, and the
spirit of the fear of God, shall fill Him. He shall not judge according
to glory, [3388] nor reprove after the manner of speech; but He shall
dispense judgment to the humble man, and reprove the haughty ones of
the earth.” [3389] And again Esaias, pointing out beforehand His
unction, and the reason why he was anointed, does himself say, “The
Spirit of God is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me: He hath sent Me
to preach the Gospel to the lowly, to heal the broken up in heart, to
proclaim liberty to the captives, and sight to the blind; to announce
the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance; to comfort
all that mourn.” [3390] For inasmuch as the Word of God was man from
the root of Jesse, and son of Abraham, in this respect did the Spirit
of God rest upon Him, and anoint Him to preach the Gospel to the lowly.
But inasmuch as He was God, He did not judge according to glory, nor
reprove after the manner of speech. For “He needed not that any should
testify to Him of man, [3391] for He Himself knew what was in man.”
[3392] For He called all men that mourn; and granting forgiveness to
those who had been led into captivity by their sins, He loosed them
from their chains, of whom Solomon says, “Every one shall be holden
with the cords of his own sins.” [3393] Therefore did the Spirit of God
descend upon Him, [the Spirit] of Him who had promised by the prophets
that He would anoint Him, so that we, receiving from the abundance of
His unction, might be saved. Such, then, [is the witness] of Matthew.

[3373] Gen. xv. 5.
[3374] Rom. ix. 25.
[3375] Matt. iii. 7.
[3376] Matt. iii. 3.
[3377] Matt. i. 20.
[3378] Matt. ii. 15.
[3379] Matt. i. 23.
[3380] Ps. cxxxii. 11.
[3381] Ps. lxxvi. 1.
[3382] Num. xxiv. 17.
[3383] Matt. ii. 2.
[3384] Luke i. 33.
[3385] Ps. lxxvi. 1.
[3386] Isa. lxv. 1. [A beautiful idea for poets and orators, but not to
be pressed dogmatically.]
[3387] Matt. iii. 16.
[3388] This is after the version of the Septuagint, ou kata ten doxan:
but the word doxa may have the meaning opinio as well as gloria. If
this be admitted here, the passage would bear much the same sense as it
does in the authorized version, “He shall not judge after the sight of
His eyes.”
[3389] Isa. xi. 1, etc.
[3390] Isa. lxi. 1.
[3391] This is according to the Syriac Peschito version.
[3392] John ii. 25.
[3393] Prov. v. 22.

Chapter X.—Proofs of the foregoing, drawn from the Gospels of Mark and Luke.
1. Luke also, the follower and disciple of the apostles, referring to
Zacharias and Elisabeth, from whom, according to promise, John was
born, says: “And they were both righteous before God, walking in all
the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” [3394] And
again, speaking of Zacharias: “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;” [3395] and he came to sacrifice, “entering into the temple of
the Lord.” [3396] Whose angel Gabriel, also, who stands prominently in
the presence of the Lord, simply, absolutely, and decidedly confessed
in his own person as God and Lord, Him who had chosen Jerusalem, and
had instituted the sacerdotal office. For he knew of none other above
Him; since, if he had been in possession of the knowledge of any other
more perfect God and Lord besides Him, he surely would never—as I have
already shown—have confessed Him, whom he knew to be the fruit of a
defect, as absolutely and altogether God and Lord. And then, speaking
of John, he thus says: “For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord,
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 make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” [3397] For whom, then, did he prepare the people, and in the sight of what Lord was he made great?
Truly of Him who said that John had something even “more than a
prophet,” [3398] and that “among those born of women none is greater
than John the Baptist;” who did also make the people ready for the
Lord’s advent, warning his fellow-servants, and preaching to them
repentance, that they might receive remission from the Lord when He
should be present, having been converted to Him, from whom they had
been alienated because of sins and transgressions. As also David says,
“The alienated are sinners from the womb: they go astray as soon as
they are born.” [3399] And it was on account of this that he, turning
them to their Lord, prepared, in the spirit and power of Elias, a perfect people for the Lord.
2. And again, speaking in reference to the angel, he says: “But at that
time the angel Gabriel was sent from God, who did also say to the virgin, Fear not, Mary; for thou hast found favour with God.” [3400]
And he says concerning the Lord: “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 over the house of Jacob
for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.” [3401] For who
else is there who can reign uninterruptedly over the house of Jacob for
ever, except Jesus Christ our Lord, the Son of the Most High God, who
promised by the law and the prophets that He would make His salvation
visible to all flesh; so that He would become the Son of man for this
purpose, that man also might become the son of God? And Mary, exulting
because of this, cried out, prophesying on behalf of the Church, “My
soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my
Saviour. For He hath taken up His child Israel, in remembrance of His
mercy, as He spake to our fathers, Abraham, and his seed for ever.”
[3402] By these and such like [passages] the Gospel points out that it
was God who spake to the fathers; that it was He who, by Moses,
instituted the legal dispensation, by which giving of the law we know
that He spake to the fathers. This same God, after His great goodness,
poured His compassion upon us, through which compassion “the Day-spring
from on high hath looked upon us, and appeared to those who sat in
darkness and the shadow of death, and has guided our feet into the way
of peace;” [3403] as Zacharias also, recovering from the state of
dumbness which he had suffered on account of unbelief, having been
filled with a new spirit, did bless God in a new manner. For all things
had entered upon a new phase, the Word arranging after a new manner the
advent in the flesh, that He might win back [3404] to God that human
nature (hominem) which had departed from God; and therefore men were
taught to worship God after a new fashion, but not another god, because
in truth there is but “one God, who justifieth the circumcision by
faith, and the uncircumcision through faith.” [3405] But Zacharias
prophesying, exclaimed, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; 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 begun;
salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; to
perform the mercy [promised] to our fathers, and to remember His holy
covenant, the oath which He swore to our father Abraham, that He would
grant unto us, that we, being delivered out of the hand of our enemies,
might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him,
all our days.” [3406] Then he says to John: “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 to His
people, for the remission of their sins.” [3407] For this is the
knowledge of salvation which was wanting to them, that of the Son of
God, which John made known, saying, “Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh
away the sin of the world. This is He of whom I said, After me cometh a
man who was made before me; [3408] because He was prior to me: and of
His fulness have all we received.” [3409] This, therefore, was the
knowledge of salvation; but [it did not consist in] another God, nor
another Father, nor Bythus, nor the Pleroma of thirty AEons, nor the
Mother of the (lower) Ogdoad: but the knowledge of salvation was the
knowledge of the Son of God, who is both called and actually is,
salvation, and Saviour, and salutary. Salvation, indeed, as follows: “I
have waited for Thy salvation, O Lord.” [3410] And then again, Saviour:
“Behold my God, my Saviour, I will put my trust in Him.” [3411] But as
bringing salvation, thus: “God hath made known His salvation (salutare)
in the sight of the heathen.” [3412] For He is indeed Saviour, as being
the Son and Word of God; but salutary, since [He is] Spirit; for he
says: “The Spirit of our countenance, Christ the Lord.” [3413] But
salvation, as being flesh: for “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt
among us.” [3414] This knowledge of salvation, therefore, John did
impart to those repenting, and believing in the Lamb of God, who taketh
away the sin of the world.
3. And the angel of the Lord, he says, appeared to the shepherds, proclaiming joy to them: “For [3415] there is born in the house of
David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Then [appeared] a multitude
of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, Glory in the highest to
God, and on earth peace, to men of good will.” [3416] The
falsely-called Gnostics say that these angels came from the Ogdoad, and
made manifest the descent of the superior Christ. But they are again in
error, when saying that the Christ and Saviour from above was not born,
but that also, after the baptism of the dispensational Jesus, he, [the
Christ of the Pleroma,] descended upon him as a dove. Therefore,
according to these men, the angels of the Ogdoad lied, when they said,
“For unto you is born this day a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in
the city of David.” For neither was Christ nor the Saviour born at that
time, by their account; but it was he, the dispensational Jesus, who is
of the framer of the world, the [Demiurge], and upon whom, after his
baptism, that is, after [the lapse of] thirty years, they maintain the
Saviour from above descended. But why did [the angels] add, “in the
city of David,” if they did not proclaim the glad tidings of the
fulfilment of God’s promise made to David, that from the fruit of his
body there should be an eternal King? For the Framer [Demiurge] of the
entire universe made promise to David, as David himself declares: “My
help is from God, who made heaven and earth;” [3417] and again: “In His
hand are the ends of the earth, and the heights of the mountains are
His. For the sea is His, and He did Himself make it; and His hands
founded the dry land. Come ye, let us worship and fall down before Him,
and weep in the presence of the Lord who made us; for He is the Lord
our God.” [3418] The Holy Spirit evidently thus declares by David to
those hearing him, that there shall be those who despise Him who formed
us, and who is God alone. Wherefore he also uttered the foregoing words, meaning to say: See that ye do not err; besides or above Him there is no other God, to whom ye should rather stretch out [your hands], thus rendering us pious and grateful towards Him who made, established, and [still] nourishes us. What, then, shall happen to those who have been the authors of so much blasphemy against their Creator? This identical truth was also what the angels [proclaimed].
For when they exclaim, “Glory to God in the highest, and in earth
peace,” they have glorified with these words Him who is the Creator of
the highest, that is, of super-celestial things, and the Founder of
everything on earth: who has sent to His own handiwork, that is, to
men, the blessing of His salvation from heaven. Wherefore he adds: “The
shepherds returned, glorifying God for all which they had heard and
seen, as it was told unto them.” [3419] For the Israelitish shepherds
did not glorify another god, but Him who had been announced by the law
and the prophets, the Maker of all things, whom also the angels
glorified. But if the angels who were from the Ogdoad were accustomed
to glorify any other, different from Him whom the shepherds [adored],
these angels from the Ogdoad brought to them error and not truth.
4. And still further does Luke say in reference to the Lord: “When the
days of purification were accomplished, they brought Him up to
Jerusalem, to present Him before the Lord, as it is written in the law
of the Lord, That every male opening the womb shall be called holy to
the Lord; and that they should offer a sacrifice, as it is said in the
law of the Lord, a pair of turtle-doves, or two young pigeons:” [3420]
in his own person most clearly calling Him Lord, who appointed the
legal dispensation. But “Simeon,” he also says, “blessed God, and said,
Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace; for mine eyes have
seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all
people; a light for the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of
Thy people Israel.” [3421] And “Anna” [3422] also, “the prophetess,” he
says, in like manner glorified God when she saw Christ, “and spake of
Him to all them who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.” [3423] Now by all these one God is shown forth, revealing to men the new dispensation of liberty, the covenant, through the new advent of His Son.
5. Wherefore also Mark, the interpreter and follower of Peter, does thus commence his Gospel narrative: “The beginning of the Gospel of
Jesus Christ, the Son of God; as it is written in the prophets, Behold,
I send My messenger before Thy face, which shall prepare Thy way.
[3424] The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of
the Lord, make the paths straight before our God.” Plainly does the
commencement of the Gospel quote the words of the holy prophets, and
point out Him at once, whom they confessed as God and Lord; Him, the
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who had also made promise to Him, that
He would send His messenger before His face, who was John, crying in
the wilderness, in “the spirit and power of Elias,” [3425] “Prepare ye
the way of the Lord, make straight paths before our God.” For the prophets did not announce one and another God, but one and the same;
under various aspects, however, and many titles. For varied and rich in
attribute is the Father, as I have already shown in the book preceding
[3426] this; and I shall show [the same truth] from the prophets
themselves in the further course of this work. Also, towards the
conclusion of his Gospel, Mark says: “So then, after the Lord Jesus had
spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sitteth on the
right hand of God;” [3427] confirming what had been spoken by the
prophet: “The Lord said to my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, until I
make Thy foes Thy footstool.” [3428] Thus God and the Father are truly
one and the same; He who was announced by the prophets, and handed down
by the true Gospel; whom we Christians worship and love with the whole
heart, as the Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things therein.

[3394] Luke i. 6.
[3395] Literally, “that he should place the incense.” The next clause
is most likely an interpolation for the sake of explanation.
[3396] Luke i. 8, etc.
[3397] Luke i. 15, etc.
[3398] Matt. xi. 9, 11.
[3399] Ps. lviii. 3.
[3400] Luke i. 26, etc.
[3401] Luke i. 32, 33.
[3402] Luke i. 46, 47.
[3403] Luke i. 78.
[3404] “Ascriberet Deo”—make the property of God.
[3405] Rom. iii. 30.
[3406] Luke i. 68, etc.
[3407] Luke i. 76.
[3408] Harvey observes that the Syriac, agreeing with the Latin here,
expresses priority in point of time; but our translation, without
reason, makes it the precedence of honour, viz., was preferred before
me. The Greek is, protos mou.
[3409] John i. 29, John i. 15, 16.
[3410] Gen. xlix. 18.
[3411] Isa. xii. 2.
[3412] Ps. xcviii. 2.
[3413] Lam. iv. 20, after LXX.
[3414] John i. 14.
[3415] Luke ii. 11, etc.
[3416] Thus found also in the Vulgate. Harvey supposes that the
original of Irenaeus read according to our textus receptus, and that
the Vulgate rendering was adopted in this passage by the transcribers
of the Latin version of our author. [No doubt a just remark.] There can
be no doubt, however, that the reading eudokias is supported by many and weighty ancient authorities. [But on this point see the facts as given by Burgon, in his refutation of the rendering adopted by late revisers, Revision Revised, p. 41. London, Murray, 1883.]
[3417] Ps. cxxiv. 8.
[3418] Ps. xcv. 4.
[3419] Luke ii. 20.
[3420] Luke ii. 22.
[3421] Luke ii. 29, etc.
[3422] Luke ii. 38.
[3423] The text seems to be corrupt in the old Latin translation. The
rendering here follows Harvey’s conjectural restoration of the original
Greek of the passage.
[3424] The Greek of this passage in St. Mark i. 2 reads, tas tribous
autou, i.e., His paths, which varies from the Hebrew original, to which
the text of Irenaeus seems to revert, unless indeed his copy of the
Gospels contained the reading of the Codex Bezae. [See book iii. cap.xii. 3, 14, below; also, xiv. 2 and xxiii. 3. On this Codex, see Burgon, Revision Revised, p. 12, etc., and references.]
[3425] Luke i. 17.
[3426] See ii. 35, 3.
[3427] Mark xvi. 19.
[3428] Ps. cx. 1.

Chapter XI—Proofs in continuation, extracted from St. John’s Gospel. The
Gospels are four in number, neither more nor less. Mystic reasons for this.
1. John, the disciple of the Lord, preaches this faith, and seeks, by
the proclamation of the Gospel, to remove that error which by Cerinthus
had been disseminated among men, and a long time previously by those
termed Nicolaitans, who are an offset of that “knowledge” falsely so
called, that he might confound them, and persuade them that there is
but one God, who made all things by His Word; and not, as they allege,
that the Creator was one, but the Father of the Lord another; and that
the Son of the Creator was, forsooth, one, but the Christ from above
another, who also continued impassible, descending upon Jesus, the Son
of the Creator, and flew back again into His Pleroma; and that
Monogenes was the beginning, but Logos was the true son of Monogenes;
and that this creation to which we belong was not made by the primary
God, but by some power lying far below Him, and shut off from communion
with the things invisible and ineffable. The disciple of the Lord
therefore desiring to put an end to all such doctrines, and to
establish the rule of truth in the Church, that there is one Almighty
God, who made all things by His Word, both visible and invisible;
showing at the same time, that by the Word, through whom God made the
creation, He also bestowed salvation on the men included in the
creation; thus commenced His teaching in the Gospel: “In the beginning
was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same
was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without
Him was nothing made. [3429] What was made was life in Him, and the
life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness, and the
darkness comprehended it not.” [3430] “All things,” he says, “were made
by Him;” therefore in “all things” this creation of ours is [included],
for we cannot concede to these men that [the words] “all things” are
spoken in reference to those within their Pleroma. For if their Pleroma
do indeed contain these, this creation, as being such, is not outside,
as I have demonstrated in the preceding book; [3431] but if they are
outside the Pleroma, which indeed appeared impossible, it follows, in
that case, that their Pleroma cannot be “all things:” therefore this vast creation is not outside [the Pleroma].
2. John, however, does himself put this matter beyond all controversy
on our part, when he says, “He was in this world, and the world was
made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own [things],
and His own [people] received Him not.” [3432] But according to
Marcion, and those like him, neither was the world made by Him; nor did
He come to His own things, but to those of another. And, according to
certain of the Gnostics, this world was made by angels, and not by the
Word of God. But according to the followers of Valentinus, the world
was not made by Him, but by the Demiurge. For he (Soter) caused such
similitudes to be made, after the pattern of things above, as they
allege; but the Demiurge accomplished the work of creation. For they
say that he, the Lord and Creator of the plan of creation, by whom they
hold that this world was made, was produced from the Mother; while the
Gospel affirms plainly, that by the Word, which was in the beginning
with God, all things were made, which Word, he says, “was made flesh,
and dwelt among us.” [3433]
3. But, according to these men, neither was the Word made flesh, nor Christ, nor the Saviour (Soter), who was produced from [the joint
contributions of] all [the AEons]. For they will have it, that the Word
and Christ never came into this world; that the Saviour, too, never
became incarnate, nor suffered, but that He descended like a dove upon
the dispensational Jesus; and that, as soon as He had declared the
unknown Father, He did again ascend into the Pleroma. Some, however,
make the assertion, that this dispensational Jesus did become
incarnate, and suffered, whom they represent as having passed through
Mary just as water through a tube; but others allege him to be the Son
of the Demiurge, upon whom the dispensational Jesus descended; while
others, again, say that Jesus was born from Joseph and Mary, and that
the Christ from above descended upon him, being without flesh, and
impassible. But according to the opinion of no one of the heretics was
the Word of God made flesh. For if anyone carefully examines the
systems of them all, he will find that the Word of God is brought in by
all of them as not having become incarnate (sine carne) and impassible,
as is also the Christ from above. Others consider Him to have been
manifested as a transfigured man; but they maintain Him to have been
neither born nor to have become incarnate; whilst others [hold] that He
did not assume a human form at all, but that, as a dove, He did descend
upon that Jesus who was born from Mary. Therefore the Lord’s disciple,
pointing them all out as false witnesses, says, “And the Word was made
flesh, and dwelt among us.” [3434]
4. And that we may not have to ask, Of what God was the Word made flesh? he does himself previously teach us, saying, “There was a man
sent from God, whose name was John. The same came as a witness, that he
might bear witness of that Light. He was not that Light, but [came] that he might testify of the Light.” [3435] By what God, then, was John, the forerunner, who testifies of the Light, sent [into the world]? Truly it was by Him, of whom Gabriel is the angel, who also announced the glad tidings of his birth: [that God] who also had promised by the prophets that He would send His messenger before the face of His Son, [3436] who should prepare His way, that is, that he should bear witness of that Light in the spirit and power of Elias. [3437] But, again, of what God was Elias the servant and the prophet?
Of Him who made heaven and earth, [3438] as he does himself confess.
John, therefore, having been sent by the founder and maker of this
world, how could he testify of that Light, which came down from things
unspeakable and invisible? For all the heretics have decided that the
Demiurge was ignorant of that Power above him, whose witness and herald
John is found to be. Wherefore the Lord said that He deemed him “more
than a prophet.” [3439] For all the other prophets preached the advent
of the paternal Light, and desired to be worthy of seeing Him whom they
preached; but John did both announce [the advent] beforehand, in a like
manner as did the others, and actually saw Him when He came, and
pointed Him out, and persuaded many to believe on Him, so that he did
himself hold the place of both prophet and apostle. For this is to be
more than a prophet, because, “first apostles, secondarily prophets;”
[3440] but all things from one and the same God Himself.
5. That wine, [3441] which was produced by God in a vineyard, and which
was first consumed, was good. None [3442] of those who drank of it
found fault with it; and the Lord partook of it also. But that wine was
better which the Word made from water, on the moment, and simply for
the use of those who had been called to the marriage. For although the
Lord had the power to supply wine to those feasting, independently of
any created substance, and to fill with food those who were hungry, He
did not adopt this course; but, taking the loaves which the earth had
produced, and giving thanks, [3443] and on the other occasion making
water wine, He satisfied those who were reclining [at table], and gave
drink to those who had been invited to the marriage; showing that the
God who made the earth, and commanded it to bring forth fruit, who
established the waters, and brought forth the fountains, was He who in
these last times bestowed upon mankind, by His Son, the blessing of food and the favour of drink: the Incomprehensible [acting thus] by means of the comprehensible, and the Invisible by the visible; since there is none beyond Him, but He exists in the bosom of the Father.
6. For “no man,” he says, “hath seen God at any time,” unless “the
only-begotten Son of God, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath
declared [Him].” [3444] For He, the Son who is in His bosom, declares
to all the Father who is invisible. Wherefore they know Him to whom the
Son reveals Him; and again, the Father, by means of the Son, gives
knowledge of His Son to those who love Him. By whom also Nathanael,
being taught, recognised [Him], he to whom also the Lord bare witness,
that he was “an Israelite indeed, in whom was no guile.” [3445] The
Israelite recognised his King, therefore did he cry out to Him, “Rabbi,
Thou art the Son of God, Thou art the King of Israel.” By whom also
Peter, having been taught, recognised Christ as the Son of the living
God, when [God] said, “Behold My dearly beloved Son, in whom I am well
pleased: I will put my Spirit upon Him, and He shall show judgment to
the Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear
His voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall He not break, and smoking flax shall He not quench, until He send forth judgment into contention; [3446] and in His name shall the Gentiles trust.” [3447]
7. Such, then, are the first principles of the Gospel: that there is
one God, the Maker of this universe; He who was also announced by the
prophets, and who by Moses set forth the dispensation of the
law,--[principles] which proclaim the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and ignore any other God or Father except Him. So firm is the ground
upon which these Gospels rest, that the very heretics themselves bear
witness to them, and, starting from these [documents], each one of them
endeavours to establish his own peculiar doctrine. For the Ebionites,
who use Matthew’s Gospel [3448] only, are confuted out of this very
same, making false suppositions with regard to the Lord. But Marcion,
mutilating that according to Luke, is proved to be a blasphemer of the
only existing God, from those [passages] which he still retains. Those,
again, who separate Jesus from Christ, alleging that Christ remained
impassible, but that it was Jesus who suffered, preferring the Gospel
by Mark, if they read it with a love of truth, may have their errors
rectified. Those, moreover, who follow Valentinus, making copious use
of that according to John, to illustrate their conjunctions, shall be
proved to be totally in error by means of this very Gospel, as I have
shown in the first book. Since, then, our opponents do bear testimony
to us, and make use of these [documents], our proof derived from them
is firm and true.
8. It is not possible that the Gospels can be either more or fewer in
number than they are. For, since there are four zones of the world in
which we live, and four principal winds, [3449] while the Church is
scattered throughout all the world, and the “pillar and ground” [3450]
of the Church is the Gospel and the spirit of life; it is fitting that
she should have four pillars, breathing out immortality on every side,
and vivifying men afresh. From which fact, it is evident that the Word,
the Artificer of all, He that sitteth upon the cherubim, and contains
all things, He who was manifested to men, has given us the Gospel under
four aspects, but bound together by one Spirit. As also David says,
when entreating His manifestation, “Thou that sittest between the
cherubim, shine forth.” [3451] For the cherubim, too, were four-faced,
and their faces were images of the dispensation of the Son of God. For,
[as the Scripture] says, “The first living creature was like a lion,”
[3452] symbolizing His effectual working, His leadership, and royal
power; the second [living creature] was like a calf, signifying [His]
sacrificial and sacerdotal order; but “the third had, as it were, the
face as of a man,”—an evident description of His advent as a human
being; “the fourth was like a flying eagle,” pointing out the gift of
the Spirit hovering with His wings over the Church. And therefore the
Gospels are in accord with these things, among which Christ Jesus is
seated. For that according to John relates His original, effectual, and
glorious generation from the Father, thus declaring, “In the beginning
was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” [3453]
Also, “all things were made by Him, and without Him was nothing made.”
For this reason, too, is that Gospel full of all confidence, for such
is His person. [3454] But that according to Luke, taking up [His]
priestly character, commenced with Zacharias the priest offering
sacrifice to God. For now was made ready the fatted calf, about to be
immolated for [3455] the finding again of the younger son. Matthew,
again, relates His generation as a man, saying, “The book of the
generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham;”
[3456] and also, “The birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise.” This,
then, is the Gospel of His humanity; [3457] for which reason it is,
too, that [the character of] a humble and meek man is kept up through
the whole Gospel. Mark, on the other hand, commences with [a reference
to] the prophetical spirit coming down from on high to men, saying,
“The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as it is written in
Esaias the prophet,”—pointing to the winged aspect of the Gospel; and
on this account he made a compendious and cursory narrative, for such
is the prophetical character. And the Word of God Himself used to
converse with the ante-Mosaic patriarchs, in accordance with His
divinity and glory; but for those under the law he instituted a
sacerdotal and liturgical service. [3458] Afterwards, being made man
for us, He sent the gift of the celestial Spirit over all the earth,
protecting us with His wings. Such, then, as was the course followed by
the Son of God, so was also the form of the living creatures; and such
as was the form of the living creatures, so was also the character of
the Gospel. [3459] For the living creatures are quadriform, and the
Gospel is quadriform, as is also the course followed by the Lord. For
this reason were four principal (katholikai) covenants given to the
human race: [3460] one, prior to the deluge, under Adam; the second,
that after the deluge, under Noah; the third, the giving of the law,
under Moses; the fourth, that which renovates man, and sums up all
things in itself by means of the Gospel, raising and bearing men upon
its wings into the heavenly kingdom.
9. These things being so, all who destroy the form of the Gospel are
vain, unlearned, and also audacious; those, [I mean,] who represent the
aspects of the Gospel as being either more in number than as aforesaid,
or, on the other hand, fewer. The former class [do so], that they may
seem to have discovered more than is of the truth; the latter, that
they may set the dispensations of God aside. For Marcion, rejecting the
entire Gospel, yea rather, cutting himself off from the Gospel, boasts
that he has part in the [blessings of] the Gospel. [3461] Others, again
(the Montanists), that they may set at nought the gift of the Spirit,
which in the latter times has been, by the good pleasure of the Father,
poured out upon the human race, do not admit that aspect [of the
evangelical dispensation] presented by John’s Gospel, in which the Lord
promised that He would send the Paraclete; [3462] but set aside at once
both the Gospel and the prophetic Spirit. Wretched men indeed! who wish
to be pseudo-prophets, forsooth, but who set aside the gift of prophecy
from the Church; acting like those (the Encratitae) [3463] who, on
account of such as come in hypocrisy, hold themselves aloof from the
communion of the brethren. We must conclude, moreover, that these men
(the Montanists) can not admit the Apostle Paul either. For, in his
Epistle to the Corinthians, [3464] he speaks expressly of prophetical
gifts, and recognises men and women prophesying in the Church. Sinning,
therefore, in all these particulars, against the Spirit of God, [3465]
they fall into the irremissible sin. But those who are from Valentinus,
being, on the other hand, altogether reckless, while they put forth
their own compositions, boast that they possess more Gospels than there
really are. Indeed, they have arrived at such a pitch of audacity, as
to entitle their comparatively recent writing “the Gospel of Truth,”
though it agrees in nothing with the Gospels of the Apostles, so that
they have really no Gospel which is not full of blasphemy. For if what
they have published is the Gospel of truth, and yet is totally unlike
those which have been handed down to us from the apostles, any who
please may learn, as is shown from the Scriptures themselves, that that
which has been handed down from the apostles can no longer be reckoned
the Gospel of truth. But that these Gospels alone are true and
reliable, and admit neither an increase nor diminution of the aforesaid
number, I have proved by so many and such [arguments]. For, since God
made all things in due proportion and adaptation, it was fit also that
the outward aspect of the Gospel should be well arranged and
harmonized. The opinion of those men, therefore, who handed the Gospel
down to us, having been investigated, from their very fountainheads,
let us proceed also to the remaining apostles, and inquire into their
doctrine with regard to God; then, in due course we shall listen to the
very words of the Lord.

[3429] Irenaeus frequently quotes this text, and always uses the punctuation here adopted. Tertullian and many others of the Fathers follow his example.
[3430] John i. 1, etc.
[3431] See ii. 1, etc.
[3432] John i. 10, 11.
[3433] John i. 14.
[3434] John i. 14.
[3435] John i. 6.
[3436] Mal. iii. 1.
[3437] Luke i. 17.
[3438] This evidently refers to 1 Kings xviii. 36, where Elijah invokes
God as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, etc.
[3439] Matt. xi. 9; Luke vii. 26.
[3440] 1 Cor. xii. 28.
[3441] The transition here is so abrupt, that some critics suspect the
loss of part of the text before these words.
[3442] John ii. 3.
[3443] John vi. 11.
[3444] John i. 18.
[3445] John i. 47.
[3446] The reading neikos having been followed instead of nikos, victory.
[3447] John i. 49, John vi. 69; Matt. xii. 18.
[3448] Harvey thinks that this is the Hebrew Gospel of which Irenaeus
speaks in the opening of this book; but comp. Dr. Robert’s Discussions
on the Gospels, part ii. chap. iv.
[3449] Literally, “four catholic spirits;” Greek, tessara katholika pneumata: Latin, “quatuor principales spiritus.”
[3450] 1 Tim. iii. 15.
[3451] Ps. lxxx. 1.
[3452] Rev. iv. 7.
[3453] John i. 1.
[3454] The above is the literal rendering of this very obscure sentence; it is not at all represented in the Greek here preserved.
[3455] The Greek is huper: the Latin, “pro.”
[3456] Matt. i. 1, 18.
[3457] The Greek text of this clause, literally rendered, is, “This Gospel, then, is anthropomorphic.”
[3458] Or, “a sacerdotal and liturgical order,” following the fragment
of the Greek text recovered here. Harvey thinks that the old Latin “actum” indicates the true reading of the original praxin, and that taxin is an error. The earlier editors, however, are of a contrary opinion.
[3459] That is, the appearance of the Gospel taken as a whole; it being
presented under a fourfold aspect.
[3460] A portion of the Greek has been preserved here, but it differs
materially from the old Latin version, which seems to represent the
original with greater exactness, and has therefore been followed. The
Greek represents the first covenant as having been given to Noah, at
the deluge, under the sign of the rainbow; the second as that given to
Abraham, under the sign of circumcision; the third, as being the giving
of the law, under Moses; and the fourth, as that of the Gospel, through
our Lord Jesus Christ. [Paradise with the tree of life, Adam with
Shechinah (Gen. iii. 24, Gen. iv. 16), Noah with the rainbow, Abraham
with circumcision, Moses with the ark, Messiah with the sacraments, and
heaven with the river of life, seem the complete system.]
[3461] The old Latin reads, “partem gloriatur se habere Evangelii.”
Massuet changed partem into pariter, thinking that partem gave a sense
inconsistent with the Marcionite curtailment of St. Luke. Harvey, however, observes: “But the Gospel, here means the blessings of the Gospel, in which Marcion certainly claimed a share.”
[3462] John xiv. 16, etc.
[3463] Slighting, as did some later heretics, the Pauline Epistles.
[3464] 1 Cor. xi. 4, 5.
[3465] Matt. xii. 31.

Chapter XII.—Doctrine of the rest of the apostles.
1. The Apostle Peter, therefore, after the resurrection of the Lord,
and His assumption into the heavens, being desirous of filling up the
number of the twelve apostles, and in electing into the place of Judas
any substitute who should be chosen by God, thus addressed those who
were present: “Men [and] brethren, this Scripture must needs have been
fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost, by the mouth of David, spake before
concerning Judas, which was made guide to them that took Jesus. For he
was numbered with us: [3466] ... Let his habitation be desolate, and
let no man dwell therein; [3467] and, His bishoprick let another take;”
[3468] --thus leading to the completion of the apostles, according to
the words spoken by David. Again, when the Holy Ghost had descended
upon the disciples, that they all might prophesy and speak with
tongues, and some mocked them, as if drunken with new wine, Peter said
that they were not drunken, for it was the third hour of the day; but
that this was what had been spoken by the prophet: “It shall come to
pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all
flesh, and they shall prophesy.” [3469] The God, therefore, who did
promise by the prophet, that He would send His Spirit upon the whole
human race, was He who did send; and God Himself is announced by Peter
as having fulfilled His own promise.
2. For Peter said, “Ye men of Israel, hear my words; Jesus of Nazareth,
a man approved by God among you by powers, and wonders, and signs,
which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
Him, being delivered by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of
God, by the hands of wicked men ye have slain, affixing [to the cross]:
whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death; because it
was not possible that he should be holden of them. For David speaketh
concerning Him, [3470] I foresaw the Lord always before my face; for He
is on my right hand, lest I should be moved: therefore did my heart
rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also, my flesh shall rest in
hope: because Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt Thou
give Thy Holy One to see corruption.” [3471] Then he proceeds to speak
confidently to them concerning the patriarch David, that he was dead
and buried, and that his sepulchre is with them to this day. He said,
“But since he was a prophet, and knew that God had sworn with an oath
to him, that of the fruit of his body one should sit in his throne;
foreseeing this, he spake of the resurrection of Christ, that He was
not left in hell, neither did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus,” he
said, “hath God raised up, of which we all are witnesses: who, being
exalted by the right hand of God, receiving from the Father the promise
of the Holy Ghost, hath shed forth this gift [3472] which ye now see
and hear. For David has not ascended into the heavens; but he saith
himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, until I
make Thy foes Thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know
assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified,
both Lord and Christ.” [3473] And when the multitudes exclaimed, “What
shall we do then?” Peter says to them, “Repent, and be baptized
everyone of you in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins, and ye
shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” [3474] Thus the apostles did
not preach another God, or another Fulness; nor, that the Christ who
suffered and rose again was one, while he who flew off on high was
another, and remained impassible; but that there was one and the same
God the Father, and Christ Jesus who rose from the dead; and they
preached faith in Him, to those who did not believe on the Son of God,
and exhorted them out of the prophets, that the Christ whom God
promised to send, He sent in Jesus, whom they crucified and God raised
3. Again, when Peter, accompanied by John, had looked upon the man lame
from his birth, before that gate of the temple which is called
Beautiful, sitting and seeking alms, he said to him, “Silver and gold I
have none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ
of Nazareth, rise up and walk. And immediately his legs and his feet
received strength; and he walked, and entered with them into the
temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.” [3475] Then, when a
multitude had gathered around them from all quarters because of this
unexpected deed, Peter addressed them: “Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye
at this; or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power
we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and
the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified His Son, whom
ye delivered up for judgment, [3476] and denied in the presence of
Pilate, when he wished to let Him go. But ye were bitterly set against
[3477] the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted
unto you; but ye killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from
the dead, whereof we are witnesses. And in the faith of His name, him,
whom ye see and know, hath His name made strong; yea, the faith which
is by Him, hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you
all. And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did this
wickedness. [3478] ... But those things which God before had showed by
the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ should suffer, He hath
so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may
be blotted out, and that [3479] the times of refreshing may come to you
from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus Christ, prepared
for you beforehand, [3480] whom the heaven must indeed receive until
the times of the arrangement [3481] of all things, of which God hath
spoken by His holy prophets. For Moses truly said unto our fathers,
Your Lord God shall raise up to you a Prophet from your brethren, like
unto me; Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever He shall say unto
you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, whosoever will not
hear that Prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. And all
[the prophets] from Samuel, and henceforth, as many as have spoken,
have likewise foretold of these days. Ye are the children of the
prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying
unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be
blessed. Unto you first, God, having raised up His Son, sent Him
blessing you, that each may turn himself from his iniquities.” [3482]
Peter, together with John, preached to them this plain message of glad
tidings, that the promise which God made to the fathers had been
fulfilled by Jesus; not certainly proclaiming another god, but the Son
of God, who also was made man, and suffered; thus leading Israel into
knowledge, and through Jesus preaching the resurrection of the dead,
[3483] and showing, that whatever the prophets had proclaimed as to the
suffering of Christ, these had God fulfilled.
4. For this reason, too, when the chief priests were assembled, Peter,
full of boldness, said to them, “Ye rulers of the people, and elders of
Israel, if we this day be examined by you of the good deed done to the
impotent man, by what means he has been made whole; be it known to you
all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ
of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by
Him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which
was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head-stone of
the corner. [Neither is there salvation in any other: for] there is
none other name under heaven, which is given to men, whereby we must be
saved:” [3484] Thus the apostles did not change God, but preached to
the people that Christ was Jesus the crucified One, whom the same God
that had sent the prophets, being God Himself, raised up, and gave in
Him salvation to men.
5. They were confounded, therefore, both by this instance of healing
(“for the man was above forty years old on whom this miracle of healing
took place” [3485] ), and by the doctrine of the apostles, and by the
exposition of the prophets, when the chief priests had sent away Peter
and John. [These latter] returned to the rest of their fellow-apostles
and disciples of the Lord, that is, to the Church, and related what had
occurred, and how courageously they had acted in the name of Jesus. The
whole Church, it is then said, “when they had heard that, lifted up the
voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, Thou art God, which hast
made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is; who,
through the Holy Ghost, [3486] by the mouth of our father David, Thy
servant, hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine
vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were
gathered together against the Lord, and against His Christ. For of a
truth, in this city, [3487] against Thy holy Son Jesus, whom Thou hast
anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the
people of Israel, were gathered together, to do whatsoever Thy hand and
Thy counsel determined before to be done.” [3488] These [are the]
voices of the Church from which every Church had its origin; these are
the voices of the metropolis of the citizens of the new covenant; these
are the voices of the apostles; these are voices of the disciples of
the Lord, the truly perfect, who, after the assumption of the Lord,
were perfected by the Spirit, and called upon the God who made heaven,
and earth, and the sea,--who was announced by the prophets,-- and Jesus
Christ His Son, whom God anointed, and who knew no other [God]. For at
that time and place there was neither Valentinus, nor Marcion, nor the
rest of these subverters [of the truth], and their adherents. Wherefore
God, the Maker of all things, heard them. For it is said, “The place
was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled
with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness”
[3489] to every one that was willing to believe. [3490] “And with great
power,” it is added, “gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of
the Lord Jesus,” [3491] saying to them, “The God of our fathers raised
up Jesus, whom ye seized and slew, hanging [Him] upon a beam of wood:
Him hath God raised up by His right hand [3492] to be a Prince and
Saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we
are in this witnesses of these words; as also is the Holy Ghost, whom
God hath given to them that believe in Him.” [3493] “And daily,” it is
said, “in the temple, and from house to house, they ceased not to teach
and preach Christ Jesus,” [3494] the Son of God. For this was the
knowledge of salvation, which renders those who acknowledge His Son’s
advent perfect towards God.
6. But as some of these men impudently assert that the apostles, when
preaching among the Jews, could not declare to them another god besides
Him in whom they (their hearers [3495] ) believed, we say to them, that
if the apostles used to speak to people in accordance with the opinion
instilled into them of old, no one learned the truth from them, nor, at
a much earlier date, from the Lord; for they say that He did Himself
speak after the same fashion. Wherefore neither do these men themselves
know the truth; but since such was their opinion regarding God, they
had just received doctrine as they were able to hear it. According to
this manner of speaking, therefore, the rule of truth can be with
nobody; but all learners will ascribe this practice to all [teachers],
that just as every person thought, and as far as his capability
extended, so was also the language addressed to him. But the advent of
the Lord will appear superfluous and useless, if He did indeed come
intending to tolerate and to preserve each man’s idea regarding God
rooted in him from of old. Besides this, also, it was a much heavier
task, that He whom the Jews had seen as a man, and had fastened to the
cross, should be preached as Christ the Son of God, their eternal King.
Since this, however, was so, they certainly did not speak to them in
accordance with their old belief. For they, who told them to their face
that they were the slayers of the Lord, would themselves also much more
boldly preach that Father who is above the Demiurge, and not what each
individual bid himself believe [respecting God]; and the sin was much
less, if indeed they had not fastened to the cross the superior Saviour
(to whom it behoved them to ascend), since He was impassible. For, as
they did not speak to the Gentiles in compliance with their notions,
but told them with boldness that their gods were no gods, but the idols
of demons; so would they in like manner have preached to the Jews, if
they had known another greater or more perfect Father, not nourishing
nor strengthening the untrue opinion of these men regarding God.
Moreover, while destroying the error of the Gentiles, and bearing them
away from their gods, they did not certainly induce another error upon
them; but, removing those which were no gods, they pointed out Him who
alone was God and the true Father.
7. From the words of Peter, therefore, which he addressed in Caesarea
to Cornelius the centurion, and those Gentiles with him, to whom the
word of God was first preached, we can understand what the apostles
used to preach, the nature of their preaching, and their idea with
regard to God. For this Cornelius was, it is said, “a devout man, and
one who feared God with all his house, giving much alms to the people,
and praying to God always. He saw therefore, about the ninth hour of
the day, an angel of God coming in to him, and saying, Thine alms are
come up for a memorial before God. Wherefore send to Simon, who is
called Peter.” [3496] But when Peter saw the vision, in which the voice
from heaven said to him, “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou
common,” [3497] this happened [to teach him] that the God who had,
through the law, distinguished between clean and unclean, was He who
had purified the Gentiles through the blood of His Son—He whom also
Cornelius worshipped; to whom Peter, coming in, said, “Of a truth I
perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation, he
that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is acceptable to Him.”
[3498] He thus clearly indicates, that He whom Cornelius had previously
feared as God, of whom he had heard through the law and the prophets,
for whose sake also he used to give alms, is, in truth, God. The
knowledge of the Son was, however, wanting to him; therefore did
[Peter] add, “The word, ye know, which was published throughout all
Judea, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached,
Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Ghost, and with
power; who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed
of the devil; for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all those
things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem; whom
they slew, hanging Him on a beam of wood: Him God raised up the third
day, and showed Him openly; not to all the people, but unto us,
witnesses chosen before of God, who did eat and drink with Him after
the resurrection from the dead. And He commanded us to preach unto the
people, and to testify that it is He which was ordained of God to be
the Judge of quick and dead. To Him give all the prophets witness,
that, through His name, every one that believeth in Him does receive
remission of sins.” [3499] The apostles, therefore, did preach the Son
of God, of whom men were ignorant; and His advent, to those who had
been already instructed as to God; but they did not bring in another
god. For if Peter had known any such thing, he would have preached
freely to the Gentiles, that the God of the Jews was indeed one, but
the God of the Christians another; and all of them, doubtless, being
awe-struck because of the vision of the angel, would have believed
whatever he told them. But it is evident from Peter’s words that he did
indeed still retain the God who was already known to them; but he also
bare witness to them that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, the Judge of
quick and dead, into whom he did also command them to be baptized for
the remission of sins; and not this alone, but he witnessed that Jesus
was Himself the Son of God, who also, having been anointed with the
Holy Spirit, is called Jesus Christ. And He is the same being that was
born of Mary, as the testimony of Peter implies. Can it really be, that
Peter was not at that time as yet in possession of the perfect
knowledge which these men discovered afterwards? According to them,
therefore, Peter was imperfect, and the rest of the apostles were
imperfect; and so it would be fitting that they, coming to life again,
should become disciples of these men, in order that they too might be
made perfect. But this is truly ridiculous. These men, in fact, are
proved to be not disciples of the apostles, but of their own wicked
notions. To this cause also are due the various opinions which exist
among them, inasmuch as each one adopted error just as he was capable
[3500] [of embracing it]. But the Church throughout all the world, having its origin firm from the apostles, perseveres in one and the same opinion with regard to God and His Son.
8. But again: Whom did Philip preach to the eunuch of the queen of the
Ethiopians, returning from Jerusalem, and reading Esaias the prophet,
when he and this man were alone together? Was it not He of whom the
prophet spoke: “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb
dumb before the shearer, so He opened not the mouth?” “But who shall
declare His nativity? for His life shall be taken away from the earth.”
[3501] [Philip declared] that this was Jesus, and that the Scripture
was fulfilled in Him; as did also the believing eunuch himself: and,
immediately requesting to be baptized, he said, “I believe Jesus Christ
to be the Son of God.” [3502] This man was also sent into the regions
of Ethiopia, to preach what he had himself believed, that there was one
God preached by the prophets, but that the Son of this [God] had
already made [His] appearance in human nature (secundum hominem), and
had been led as a sheep to the slaughter; and all the other statements
which the prophets made regarding Him.
9. Paul himself also—after that the Lord spoke to him out of heaven,
and showed him that, in persecuting His disciples, he persecuted his
own Lord, and sent Ananias to him that he might recover his sight, and
be baptized—“preached,” it is said, “Jesus in the synagogues at
Damascus, with all freedom of speech, that this is the Son of God, the
Christ.” [3503] This is the mystery which he says was made known to him
by revelation, that He who suffered under Pontius Pilate, the same is
Lord of all, and King, and God, and Judge, receiving power from Him who
is the God of all, because He became “obedient unto death, even the
death of the cross.” [3504] And inasmuch as this is true, when
preaching to the Athenians on the Areopagus—where, no Jews being
present, he had it in his power to preach God with freedom of
speech—he said to them: “God, who made the world, and all things
therein, He, being Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples
made with hands; neither is He touched [3505] by men’s hands, as though
He needed anything, seeing He giveth to all life, and breath, and all
things; who hath made from one blood the whole race of men to dwell
upon the face of the whole earth, [3506] predetermining the times
according to the boundary of their habitation, to seek the Deity, if by
any means they might be able to track Him out, or find Him, although He
be not far from each of us. For in Him we live, and move, and have our
being, as certain men of your own have said, For we are also His
offspring. Inasmuch, then, as we are the offspring of God, we ought not
to think that the Deity is like unto gold or silver, or stone graven by
art or man’s device. Therefore God, winking at the times of ignorance,
does now command all men everywhere to turn to Him with repentance;
because He hath appointed a day, on which the world shall be judged in
righteousness by the man Jesus; whereof He hath given assurance by
raising Him from the dead.” [3507] Now in this passage he does not only
declare to them God as the Creator of the world, no Jews being present,
but that He did also make one race of men to dwell upon all the earth;
as also Moses declared: “When the Most High divided the nations, as He
scattered the sons of Adam, He set the bounds of the nations after the
number of the angels of God;” [3508] but that people which believes in
God is not now under the power of angels, but under the Lord’s [rule].
“For His people Jacob was made the portion of the Lord, Israel the cord
of His inheritance.” [3509] And again, at Lystra of Lycia (Lycaonia),
when Paul was with Barnabas, and in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ
had made a man to walk who had been lame from his birth, and when the
crowd wished to honour them as gods because of the astonishing deed, he
said to them: “We are men like unto you, preaching to you God, that ye
may be turned away from these vain idols to [serve] the living God, who
made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein;
who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways,
although He left not Himself without witness, performing acts of
goodness, giving you rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling
your hearts with food and gladness.” [3510] But that all his Epistles
are consonant to these declarations, I shall, when expounding the
apostle, show from the Epistles themselves, in the right place. But
while I bring out by these proofs the truths of Scripture, and set
forth briefly and compendiously things which are stated in various
ways, do thou also attend to them with patience, and not deem them
prolix; taking this into account, that proofs [of the things which are]
contained in the Scriptures cannot be shown except from the Scriptures
10. And still further, Stephen, who was chosen the first deacon by the
apostles, and who, of all men, was the first to follow the footsteps of
the martyrdom of the Lord, being the first that was slain for
confessing Christ, speaking boldly among the people, and teaching them,
says: “The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham, ... and said to
him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into
the land which I shall show thee; ... and He removed him into this
land, wherein ye now dwell. And He gave him none inheritance in it, no,
not so much as to set his foot on; yet He promised that He would give
it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him. ... And God
spake on this wise, That his seed should sojourn in a strange land, and
should be brought into bondage, and should be evil-entreated four
hundred years; and the nation whom they shall serve will I judge, says
the Lord. And after that shall they come forth, and serve me in this
place. And He gave him the covenant of circumcision: and so [Abraham]
begat Isaac.” [3511] And the rest of his words announce the same God,
who was with Joseph and with the patriarchs, and who spake with Moses.
11. And that the whole range of the doctrine of the apostles proclaimed
one and the same God, who removed Abraham, who made to him the promise
of inheritance, who in due season gave to him the covenant of
circumcision, who called his descendants out of Egypt, preserved
outwardly by circumcision—for he gave it as a sign, that they might
not be like the Egyptians—that He was the Maker of all things, that He
was the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that He was the God of
glory,--they who wish may learn from the very words and acts of the
apostles, and may contemplate the fact that this God is one, above whom
is no other. But even if there were another god above Him, we should
say, upon [instituting] a comparison of the quantity [of the work done
by each], that the latter is superior to the former. For by deeds the
better man appears, as I have already remarked; [3512] and, inasmuch as
these men have no works of their father to adduce, the latter is shown
to be God alone. But if any one, “doting about questions,” [3513] do
imagine that what the apostles have declared about God should be
allegorized, let him consider my previous statements, in which I set
forth one God as the Founder and Maker of all things, and destroyed and
laid bare their allegations; and he shall find them agreeable to the
doctrine of the apostles, and so to maintain what they used to teach,
and were persuaded of, that there is one God, the Maker of all things.
And when he shall have divested his mind of such error, and of that
blasphemy against God which it implies, he will of himself find reason
to acknowledge that both the Mosaic law and the grace of the new
covenant, as both fitted for the times [at which they were given], were
bestowed by one and the same God for the benefit of the human race.
12. For all those who are of a perverse mind, having been set against
the Mosaic legislation, judging it to be dissimilar and contrary to the
doctrine of the Gospel, have not applied themselves to investigate the
causes of the difference of each covenant. Since, therefore, they have
been deserted by the paternal love, and puffed up by Satan, being
brought over to the doctrine of Simon Magus, they have apostatized in
their opinions from Him who is God, and imagined that they have
themselves discovered more than the apostles, by finding out another
god; and [maintained] that the apostles preached the Gospel still
somewhat under the influence of Jewish opinions, but that they
themselves are purer [in doctrine], and more intelligent, than the
apostles. Wherefore also Marcion and his followers have betaken
themselves to mutilating the Scriptures, not acknowledging some books
at all; and, curtailing the Gospel according to Luke and the Epistles
of Paul, they assert that these are alone authentic, which they have
themselves thus shortened. In another work, [3514] however, I shall,
God granting [me strength], refute them out of these which they still
retain. But all the rest, inflated with the false name of “knowledge,”
do certainly recognise the Scriptures; but they pervert the
interpretations, as I have shown in the first book. And, indeed, the
followers of Marcion do directly blaspheme the Creator, alleging him to
be the creator of evils, [but] holding a more tolerable [3515] theory
as to his origin, [and] maintaining that there are two beings, gods by
nature, differing from each other,--the one being good, but the other
evil. Those from Valentinus, however, while they employ names of a more
honourable kind, and set forth that He who is Creator is both Father,
and Lord, and God, do [nevertheless] render their theory or sect more
blasphemous, by maintaining that He was not produced from any one of
those AEons within the Pleroma, but from that defect which had been
expelled beyond the Pleroma. Ignorance of the Scriptures and of the
dispensation of God has brought all these things upon them. And in the
course of this work I shall touch upon the cause of the difference of
the covenants on the one hand, and, on the other hand, of their unity
and harmony.
13. But that both the apostles and their disciples thus taught as the
Church preaches, and thus teaching were perfected, wherefore also they
were called away to that which is perfect—Stephen, teaching these
truths, when he was yet on earth, saw the glory of God, and Jesus on
His right hand, and exclaimed, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and
the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” [3516] These words
he said, and was stoned; and thus did he fulfil the perfect doctrine,
copying in every respect the Leader of martyrdom, and praying for those
who were slaying him, in these words: “Lord, lay not this sin to their
charge.” Thus were they perfected who knew one and the same God, who from beginning to end was present with mankind in the various dispensations; as the prophet Hosea declares: “I have filled up visions, and used similitudes by the hands of the prophets.” [3517]
Those, therefore, who delivered up their souls to death for Christ’s
Gospel—how could they have spoken to men in accordance with
old-established opinion? If this had been the course adopted by them,
they should not have suffered; but inasmuch as they did preach things
contrary to those persons who did not assent to the truth, for that
reason they suffered. It is evident, therefore, that they did not
relinquish the truth, but with all boldness preached to the Jews and
Greeks. To the Jews, indeed, [they proclaimed] that the Jesus who was
crucified by them was the Son of God, the Judge of quick and dead, and
that He has received from His Father an eternal kingdom in Israel, as I
have pointed out; but to the Greeks they preached one God, who made all
things, and Jesus Christ His Son.
14. This is shown in a still clearer light from the letter of the
apostles, which they forwarded neither to the Jews nor to the Greeks,
but to those who from the Gentiles believed in Christ, confirming their
faith. For when certain men had come down from Judea to Antioch—where
also, first of all, the Lord’s disciples were called Christians,
because of their faith in Christ—and sought to persuade those who had
believed on the Lord to be circumcised, and to perform other things
after the observance of the law; and when Paul and Barnabas had gone up
to Jerusalem to the apostles on account of this question, and the whole
Church had convened together, Peter thus addressed them: “Men,
brethren, ye know how that from the days of old God made choice among
you, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the Gospel,
and believe. And God, the Searcher of the heart, bare them witness,
giving them the Holy Ghost, even as to us; and put no difference
between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why
tempt ye God, to impose a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which
neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that,
through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are to be saved, even as
they.” [3518] After him James spoke as follows: “Men, brethren, Simon
hath declared how God did purpose to take from among the Gentiles a
people for His name. And thus [3519] do the words of the prophets
agree, as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again
the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build the
ruins thereof, and I will set it up: that the residue of men may seek
after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, among whom my name has been
invoked, saith the Lord, doing these things. [3520] Known from eternity
is His work to God. Wherefore I for my part give judgment, that we
trouble not them who from among the Gentiles are turned to God: but
that it be enjoined them, that they do abstain from the vanities of
idols, and from fornication, and from blood; and whatsoever [3521] they
wish not to be done to themselves, let them not do to others.” [3522]
And when these things had been said, and all had given their consent,
they wrote to them after this manner: “The apostles, and the presbyters, [and] the brethren, unto those brethren from among the Gentiles who are in Antioch, and Syria, and Cilicia, greeting:
Forasmuch as we have heard that certain persons going out from us have
troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be
circumcised, and keep the law; to whom we gave no such commandment: it
seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen
men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul; men who have delivered
up their soul for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have sent
therefore Judas and Silas, that they may declare our opinion by word of
mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you
no greater burden than these necessary things; that ye abstain from
meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from fornication; and
whatsoever ye do not wish to be done to you, do not ye to others: from
which preserving yourselves, ye shall do well, walking [3523] in the
Holy Spirit.” From all these passages, then, it is evident that they
did not teach the existence of another Father, but gave the new
covenant of liberty to those who had lately believed in God by the Holy
Spirit. But they clearly indicated, from the nature of the point debated by them, as to whether or not it were still necessary to circumcise the disciples, that they had no idea of another god.
15. Neither [in that case] would they have had such a tenor with regard
to the first covenant, as not even to have been willing to eat with the
Gentiles. For even Peter, although he had been sent to instruct them,
and had been constrained by a vision to that effect, spake nevertheless
with not a little hesitation, saying to them: “Ye know how it is an
unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company with, or to come
unto, one of another nation; but God hath shown me that I should not
call any man common or unclean. Therefore came I without gainsaying;”
[3524] indicating by these words, that he would not have come to them
unless he had been commanded. Neither, for a like reason, would he have
given them baptism so readily, had he not heard them prophesying when
the Holy Ghost rested upon them. And therefore did he exclaim, “Can any
man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, who have received
the Holy Ghost as well as we?” [3525] He persuaded, at the same time,
those that were with him, and pointed out that, unless the Holy Ghost
had rested upon them, there might have been some one who would have
raised objections to their baptism. And the apostles who were with
James allowed the Gentiles to act freely, yielding us up to the Spirit
of God. But they themselves, while knowing the same God, continued in
the ancient observances; so that even Peter, fearing also lest he might
incur their reproof, although formerly eating with the Gentiles,
because of the vision, and of the Spirit who had rested upon them, yet,
when certain persons came from James, withdrew himself, and did not eat
with them. And Paul said that Barnabas likewise did the same thing.
[3526] Thus did the apostles, whom the Lord made witnesses of every
action and of every doctrine—for upon all occasions do we find Peter,
and James, and John present with Him—scrupulously act according to the
dispensation of the Mosaic law, showing that it was from one and the
same God; which they certainly never would have done, as I have already
said, if they had learned from the Lord [that there existed] another Father besides Him who appointed the dispensation of the law.

[3466] Acts i. 16, etc.
[3467] Ps. lxix. 25.
[3468] Ps. cix. 8.
[3469] Joel ii. 28.
[3470] Ps. xv. 8.
[3471] Acts ii. 22-27.
[3472] The word doron or dorema is supposed by some to have existed in
the earliest Greek texts, although not found in any extant now. It is
thus quoted by others besides Irenaeus.
[3473] Acts ii. 30-37.
[3474] Acts ii. 37, 38.
[3475] Acts iii. 6, etc.
[3476] These interpolations are also found in the Codex Bezae.
[3477] These interpolations are also found in the Codex Bezae.
[3478] These interpolations are also found in the Codex Bezae.
[3479] “Et veniant” in Latin text: hopos an elthosin in Greek. The
translation of these Greek words by “when ... come,” is one of the most
glaring errors in the authorized English version.
[3480] Irenaeus, like the majority of the early authorities, manifestly
read prokecheirismenon instead of prokekerugmenon, as in textus receptus.
[3481] Dispositionis.
[3482] Acts iii. 12, etc.
[3483] Acts iv. 2.
[3484] Acts iv. 8, etc.
[3485] Acts iv. 22.
[3486] These words, though not in textus receptus, are found in some ancient mss. and versions; but not the words “our father,” which follow.
[3487] “In hac civitate” are words not represented in the textus
receptus, but have a place in all modern critical editions of the New
[3488] Acts iv. 24, etc.
[3489] Acts iv. 31.
[3490] The Latin is, “ut convertat se unusquisque.”
[3491] Acts iv. 33.
[3492] This is following Grabe’s emendation of the text. The old Latin
reads “gloria sua,” the translator having evidently mistaken dexia for
[3493] Acts v. 30.
[3494] Acts v. 42.
[3495] These words have apparently been omitted through inadvertence.
[3496] Acts x. 1-5.
[3497] Acts x. 15.
[3498] Acts x. 34, 35.
[3499] Acts x. 37-44.
[3500] Quemadmodum capiebat; perhaps, “just as it presented itself to
[3501] Acts viii. 32; Isa. liii. 7, 8.
[3502] Acts viii. 37.
[3503] Acts ix. 20.
[3504] Phil. ii. 8.
[3505] Latin translation, tractatur; which Harvey thinks affords a
conclusive proof that Irenaeus occasionally quotes Scripture by
re-translating from the Syriac.

[3506] It will be observed that Scripture is here very loosely quoted.
[3507] Acts xvii. 24, etc.
[3508] Deut. xxxii. 8 [LXX.].
[3509] Deut. xxxii. 9.
[3510] Acts xiv. 15-17.
[3511] Acts vii. 2-8.
[3512] Book ii. ch. xxx. 2.
[3513] 1 Tim. vi. 4.
[3514] No reference is made to this promised work in the writings of his successors. Probably it never was undertaken.
[3515] Most of the mss. read “intolerabiliorem,” but one reads as above, and is followed by all the editors.
[3516] Acts vii. 56.
[3517] Hos. xii. 10.
[3518] Acts xv. 15, etc.
[3519] Irenaeus manifestly read houtos for touto, and in this he agrees
with Codex Bezae. We may remark, once for all, that in the variations
from the received text of the New Testament which occur in our author,
his quotations are very often in accordance with the readings of the Cambridge ms.
[3520] Amos ix. 11, 12.
[3521] This addition is also found in Codex Bezae, and in Cyprian and
[3522] Acts xv. 14, etc.
[3523] Another addition, also found in the Codex Bezae, and in Tertullian.
[3524] Acts x. 28, 29.
[3525] Acts x. 47.
[3526] Gal. ii. 12, 13.

Chapter XIII—Refutation of the opinion, that Paul was the only apostle who
had knowledge of the truth.
1. With regard to those (the Marcionites) who allege that Paul alone knew the truth, and that to him the mystery was manifested by
revelation, let Paul himself convict them, when he says, that one and
the same God wrought in Peter for the apostolate of the circumcision,
and in himself for the Gentiles. [3527] Peter, therefore, was an
apostle of that very God whose was also Paul; and Him whom Peter
preached as God among those of the circumcision, and likewise the Son
of God, did Paul [declare] also among the Gentiles. For our Lord never
came to save Paul alone, nor is God so limited in means, that He should
have but one apostle who knew the dispensation of His Son. And again,
when Paul says, “How beautiful are the feet of those bringing glad
tidings of good things, and preaching the Gospel of peace,” [3528] he
shows clearly that it was not merely one, but there were many who used
to preach the truth. And again, in the Epistle to the Corinthians, when
he had recounted all those who had seen God [3529] after the
resurrection, he says in continuation, “But whether it were I or they,
so we preach, and so ye believed,” [3530] acknowledging as one and the
same, the preaching of all those who saw God [3531] after the resurrection from the dead.
2. And again, the Lord replied to Philip, who wished to behold the Father, “Have I been so long a time with you, and yet thou hast not
known Me, Philip? He that sees Me, sees also the Father; and how sayest
thou then, Show us the Father? For I am in the Father, and the Father
in Me; and henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him.” [3532] To these
men, therefore, did the Lord bear witness, that in Himself they had
both known and seen the Father (and the Father is truth). To allege,
then, that these men did not know the truth, is to act the part of
false witnesses, and of those who have been alienated from the doctrine
of Christ. For why did the Lord send the twelve apostles to the lost
sheep of the house of Israel, [3533] if these men did not know the
truth? How also did the seventy preach, unless they had themselves
previously known the truth of what was preached? Or how could Peter
have been in ignorance, to whom the Lord gave testimony, that flesh and
blood had not revealed to him, but the Father, who is in heaven? [3534]
Just, then, as “Paul [was] an apostle, not of men, neither by man, but
by Jesus Christ, and God the Father,” [3535] [so with the rest;] [3536]
the Son indeed leading them to the Father, but the Father revealing to
them the Son.
3. But that Paul acceded to [the request of] those who summoned him to
the apostles, on account of the question [which had been raised], and
went up to them, with Barnabas, to Jerusalem, not without reason, but
that the liberty of the Gentiles might be confirmed by them, he does
himself say, in the Epistle to the Galatians: “Then, fourteen years
after, I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking also Titus.
But I went up by revelation, and communicated to them that Gospel which
I preached among the Gentiles.” [3537] And again he says, “For an hour
we did give place to subjection, [3538] that the truth of the gospel
might continue with you.” If, then, any one shall, from the Acts of the
Apostles, carefully scrutinize the time concerning which it is written
that he went up to Jerusalem on account of the forementioned question,
he will find those years mentioned by Paul coinciding with it. Thus the
statement of Paul harmonizes with, and is, as it were, identical with,
the testimony of Luke regarding the apostles.

[3527] Gal. ii. 8.
[3528] Rom. x. 15; Isa. lii. 7.
[3529] All the previous editors accept the reading Deum without remark,
but Harvey argues that it must be regarded as a mistake for Dominum. He
scarcely seems, however, to give sufficient weight to the quotation which immediately follows.
[3530] 1 Cor. xv. 11.
[3531] See note 9, p. 436.
[3532] John xiv. 7, 9, 10.
[3533] Matt. x. 6.
[3534] Matt. xvi. 17.
[3535] Gal. i. 1.
[3536] Some such supplement seems necessary, as Grabe suggests, though
Harvey contends that no apodosis is requisite.
[3537] Gal. ii. 1, 2.
[3538] Latin, “Ad horam cessimus subjectioni” (Gal. ii. 5). Irenaeus
gives it an altogether different meaning from that which it has in the
received text. Jerome says that there was as much variation in the copies of Scripture in his day with regard to the passage,--some retaining, others rejecting the negative (Adv. Marc. v. 3).

Chapter XIV.—If Paul had known any mysteries unrevealed to the other
apostles, Luke, his constant companion and fellow-traveller, could not have
been ignorant of them; neither could the truth have possibly lain hid from
him, through whom alone we learn many and most important particulars of the
Gospel history.
1. But that this Luke was inseparable from Paul, and his fellow-labourer in the Gospel, he himself clearly evinces, not as a
matter of boasting, but as bound to do so by the truth itself. For he
says that when Barnabas, and John who was called Mark, had parted
company from Paul, and sailed to Cyprus, “we came to Troas;” [3539] and
when Paul had beheld in a dream a man of Macedonia, saying, “Come into
Macedonia, Paul, and help us,” “immediately,” he says, “we endeavoured
to go into Macedonia, understanding that the Lord had called us to
preach the Gospel unto them. Therefore, sailing from Troas, we directed
our ship’s course towards Samothracia.” And then he carefully indicates
all the rest of their journey as far as Philippi, and how they
delivered their first address: “for, sitting down,” he says, “we spake
unto the women who had assembled;” [3540] and certain believed, even a
great many. And again does he say, “But we sailed from Philippi after
the days of unleavened bread, and came to Troas, where we abode seven
days.” [3541] And all the remaining [details] of his course with Paul
he recounts, indicating with all diligence both places, and cities, and
number of days, until they went up to Jerusalem; and what befell Paul
there, [3542] how he was sent to Rome in bonds; the name of the
centurion who took him in charge; [3543] and the signs of the ships,
and how they made shipwreck; [3544] and the island upon which they
escaped, and how they received kindness there, Paul healing the chief
man of that island; and how they sailed from thence to Puteoli, and
from that arrived at Rome; and for what period they sojourned at Rome.
As Luke was present at all these occurrences, he carefully noted them
down in writing, so that he cannot be convicted of falsehood or
boastfulness, because all these [particulars] proved both that he was
senior to all those who now teach otherwise, and that he was not
ignorant of the truth. That he was not merely a follower, but also a
fellow-labourer of the apostles, but especially of Paul, Paul has
himself declared also in the Epistles, saying: “Demas hath forsaken me,
... and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus to
Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me.” [3545] From this he shows that he was
always attached to and inseparable from him. And again he says, in the
Epistle to the Colossians: “Luke, the beloved physician, greets you.”
[3546] But surely if Luke, who always preached in company with Paul,
and is called by him “the beloved,” and with him performed the work of
an evangelist, and was entrusted to hand down to us a Gospel, learned
nothing different from him (Paul), as has been pointed out from his
words, how can these men, who were never attached to Paul, boast that
they have learned hidden and unspeakable mysteries?
2. But that Paul taught with simplicity what he knew, not only to those
who were [employed] with him, but to those that heard him, he does
himself make manifest. For when the bishops and presbyters who came
from Ephesus and the other cities adjoining had assembled in Miletus,
since he was himself hastening to Jerusalem to observe Pentecost, after
testifying many things to them, and declaring what must happen to him
at Jerusalem, he added: “I know that ye shall see my face no more.
Therefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood
of all. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of
God. Take heed, therefore, both to yourselves, and to all the flock
over which the Holy Ghost has placed you as bishops, to rule the Church
of the Lord, [3547] which He has acquired for Himself through His own
blood.” [3548] Then, referring to the evil teachers who should arise,
he said: “I know that after my departure shall grievous wolves come to
you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise,
speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” “I have
not shunned,” he says, “to declare unto you all the counsel of God.”
Thus did the apostles simply, and without respect of persons, deliver
to all what they had themselves learned from the Lord. Thus also does
Luke, without respect of persons, deliver to us what he had learned
from them, as he has himself testified, saying, “Even as they delivered
them unto us, who from the beginning were eye-witnesses and ministers
of the Word.” [3549]
3. Now if any man set Luke aside, as one who did not know the truth, he
will, [by so acting,] manifestly reject that Gospel of which he claims
to be a disciple. For through him we have become acquainted with very
many and important parts of the Gospel; for instance, the generation of
John, the history of Zacharias, the coming of the angel to Mary, the
exclamation of Elisabeth, the descent of the angels to the shepherds,
the words spoken by them, the testimony of Anna and of Simeon with
regard to Christ, and that twelve years of age He was left behind at
Jerusalem; also the baptism of John, the number of the Lord’s years
when He was baptized, and that this occurred in the fifteenth year of
Tiberius Caesar. And in His office of teacher this is what He has said
to the rich: “Woe unto you that are rich, for ye have received your
consolation;” [3550] and “Woe unto you that are full, for ye shall
hunger; and ye who laugh now, for ye shall weep;” and, “Woe unto you
when all men shall speak well of you: for so did your fathers to the
false prophets.” All things of the following kind we have known through
Luke alone (and numerous actions of the Lord we have learned through
him, which also all [the Evangelists] notice): the multitude of fishes
which Peter’s companions enclosed, when at the Lord’s command they cast
the nets; [3551] the woman who had suffered for eighteen years, and was
healed on the Sabbath-day; [3552] the man who had the dropsy, whom the
Lord made whole on the Sabbath, and how He did defend Himself for
having performed an act of healing on that day; how He taught His
disciples not to aspire to the uppermost rooms; how we should invite
the poor and feeble, who cannot recompense us; the man who knocked
during the night to obtain loaves, and did obtain them, because of the
urgency of his importunity; [3553] how, when [our Lord] was sitting at
meat with a Pharisee, a woman that was a sinner kissed His feet, and
anointed them with ointment, with what the Lord said to Simon on her
behalf concerning the two debtors; [3554] also about the parable of
that rich man who stored up the goods which had accrued to him, to whom
it was also said, “In this night they shall demand thy soul from thee;
whose then shall those things be which thou hast prepared?” [3555] and
similar to this, that of the rich man, who was clothed in purple and
who fared sumptuously, and the indigent Lazarus; [3556] also the answer
which He gave to His disciples when they said, “Increase our faith;”
[3557] also His conversation with Zaccheus the publican; [3558] also
about the Pharisee and the publican, who were praying in the temple at
the same time; [3559] also the ten lepers, whom He cleansed in the way
simultaneously; [3560] also how He ordered the lame and the blind to be
gathered to the wedding from the lanes and streets; [3561] also the
parable of the judge who feared not God, whom the widow’s importunity
led to avenge her cause; [3562] and about the fig-tree in the vineyard
which produced no fruit. There are also many other particulars to be
found mentioned by Luke alone, which are made use of by both Marcion
and Valentinus. And besides all these, [he records] what [Christ] said
to His disciples in the way, after the resurrection, and how they recognised Him in the breaking of bread. [3563]
4. It follows then, as of course, that these men must either receive the rest of his narrative, or else reject these parts also. For no persons of common sense can permit them to receive some things
recounted by Luke as being true, and to set others aside, as if he had
not known the truth. And if indeed Marcion’s followers reject these,
they will then possess no Gospel; for, curtailing that according to
Luke, as I have said already, they boast in having the Gospel [in what
remains]. But the followers of Valentinus must give up their utterly
vain talk; for they have taken from that [Gospel] many occasions for
their own speculations, to put an evil interpretation upon what he has
well said. If, on the other hand, they feel compelled to receive the
remaining portions also, then, by studying the perfect Gospel, and the
doctrine of the apostles, they will find it necessary to repent, that
they may be saved from the danger [to which they are exposed].

[3539] Acts xvi. 8, etc.
[3540] Acts xvi. 13.
[3541] Acts xx. 5, 6.
[3542] Acts xxi.
[3543] Acts xxvii.
[3544] Acts xxviii. 11.
[3545] 2 Tim. iv. 10, 11.
[3546] Col. iv. 14.
[3547] In this very important passage of Scripture, Irenaeus manifestly
read Kuriou instead of Theou, which is found in text. rec. The Codex
Bezae has the same reading; but all the other most ancient mss. agree
with the received text.
[3548] Acts xx. 25, etc.
[3549] Luke i. 2.
[3550] Luke vi. 24, etc.
[3551] Luke v.
[3552] Luke xiii.
[3553] Luke xi.
[3554] Luke vii.
[3555] Luke xii. 20.
[3556] Luke xvi.
[3557] Luke xvii. 5.
[3558] Luke xix.
[3559] Luke xviii.
[3560] Luke xvii.
[3561] Luke xviii.
[3562] Luke xiii.
[3563] Luke xxiv.

Chapter XV.—Refutation of the Ebionites, who disparaged the authority of St.
Paul, from the writings of St. Luke, which must be received as a whole.
Exposure of the hypocrisy, deceit, and pride of the Gnostics. The apostles and
their disciples knew and preached one God, the Creator of the world.
1. But again, we allege the same against those who do not recognise
Paul as an apostle: that they should either reject the other words of
the Gospel which we have come to know through Luke alone, and not make
use of them; or else, if they do receive all these, they must
necessarily admit also that testimony concerning Paul, when he (Luke)
tells us that the Lord spoke at first to him from heaven: “Saul, Saul,
why persecutest thou Me? I am Jesus Christ, whom thou persecutest;”
[3564] and then to Ananias, saying regarding him: “Go thy way; for he
is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name among the Gentiles, and
kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him, from this time,
how great things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” [3565] Those,
therefore, who do not accept of him [as a teacher], who was chosen by
God for this purpose, that he might boldly bear His name, as being sent
to the forementioned nations, do despise the election of God, and
separate themselves from the company of the apostles. For neither can
they contend that Paul was no apostle, when he was chosen for this
purpose; nor can they prove Luke guilty of falsehood, when he proclaims
the truth to us with all diligence. It may be, indeed, that it was with
this view that God set forth very many Gospel truths, through Luke’s
instrumentality, which all should esteem it necessary to use, in order
that all persons, following his subsequent testimony, which treats upon
the acts and the doctrine of the apostles, and holding the
unadulterated rule of truth, may be saved. His testimony, therefore, is
true, and the doctrine of the apostles is open and stedfast, holding
nothing in reserve; nor did they teach one set of doctrines in private,
and another in public.
2. For this is the subterfuge of false persons, evil seducers, and
hypocrites, as they act who are from Valentinus. These men discourse to
the multitude about those who belong to the Church, whom they do
themselves term “vulgar,” and “ecclesiastic.” [3566] By these words
they entrap the more simple, and entice them, imitating our
phraseology, that these [dupes] may listen to them the oftener; and
then these are asked [3567] regarding us, how it is, that when they
hold doctrines similar to ours, we, without cause, keep ourselves aloof
from their company; and [how it is, that] when they say the same
things, and hold the same doctrine, we call them heretics? When they
have thus, by means of questions, overthrown the faith of any, and
rendered them uncontradicting hearers of their own, they describe to
them in private the unspeakable mystery of their Pleroma. But they are
altogether deceived, who imagine that they may learn from the
Scriptural texts adduced by heretics, that [doctrine] which their words
plausibly teach. [3568] For error is plausible, and bears a resemblance
to the truth, but requires to be disguised; while truth is without
disguise, and therefore has been entrusted to children. And if any one
of their auditors do indeed demand explanations, or start objections to
them, they affirm that he is one not capable of receiving the truth,
and not having from above the seed [derived] from their Mother; and
thus really give him no reply, but simply declare that he is of the
intermediate regions, that is, belongs to animal natures. But if any
one do yield himself up to them like a little sheep, and follows out
their practice, and their “redemption,” such an one is puffed up to
such an extent, that he thinks he is neither in heaven nor on earth,
but that he has passed within the Pleroma; and having already embraced
his angel, he walks with a strutting gait and a supercilious
countenance, possessing all the pompous air of a cock. There are those
among them who assert that that man who comes from above ought to
follow a good course of conduct; wherefore they do also pretend a
gravity [of demeanour] with a certain superciliousness. The majority,
however, having become scoffers also, as if already perfect, and living
without regard [to appearances], yea, in contempt [of that which is
good], call themselves “the spiritual,” and allege that they have
already become acquainted with that place of refreshing which is within
their Pleroma.
3. But let us revert to the same line of argument [hitherto pursued].
For when it has been manifestly declared, that they who were the
preachers of the truth and the apostles of liberty termed no one else
God, or named him Lord, except the only true God the Father, and His
Word, who has the pre-eminence in all things; it shall then be clearly
proved, that they (the apostles) confessed as the Lord God Him who was
the Creator of heaven and earth, who also spoke with Moses, gave to him
the dispensation of the law, and who called the fathers; and that they
knew no other. The opinion of the apostles, therefore, and of those
(Mark and Luke) who learned from their words, concerning God, has been
made manifest.

[3564] Acts xxii. 8, Acts xxvi. 15.
[3565] Acts ix. 15, 16.
[3566] Latin, “communes et ecclesiasticos:” katholikous is translated
here “communes,” as for some time after the word catholicus had not
been added to the Latin language in its ecclesiastical sense. [The
Roman Creed was remarkable for its omission of the word Catholic. See
Bingham, Antiquities, book x. cap. iv. sect 11.]
[3567] We here follow the text of Harvey, who prints, without remark,
quaeruntur, instead of queruntur, as in Migne’s edition.
[3568] Such is the sense educed by Harvey from the old Latin version,
which thus runs: “Decipiuntur autem omnes, qui quod est in verbis
verisimile, se putant posse discere a veritate.” For “omnes” he would
read “omnino,” and he discards the emendation proposed by the former editors, viz., “discernere” for “discere.”

Chapter XVI.—Proofs from the apostolic writings, that Jesus Christ was one
and the same, the only begotten Son of God, perfect God and perfect man.
1. But [3569] there are some who say that Jesus was merely a receptacle
of Christ, upon whom the Christ, as a dove, descended from above, and
that when He had declared the unnameable Father He entered into the
Pleroma in an incomprehensible and invisible manner: for that He was
not comprehended, not only by men, but not even by those powers and
virtues which are in heaven, and that Jesus was the Son, but that
[3570] Christ was the Father, and the Father of Christ, God; while
others say that He merely suffered in outward appearance, being
naturally impassible. The Valentinians, again, maintain that the
dispensational Jesus was the same who passed through Mary, upon whom
that Saviour from the more exalted [region] descended, who was also
termed Pan, [3571] because He possessed the names (vocabula) of all
those who had produced Him; but that [this latter] shared with Him, the
dispensational one, His power and His name; so that by His means death
was abolished, but the Father was made known by that Saviour who had
descended from above, whom they do also allege to be Himself the
receptacle of Christ and of the entire Pleroma; confessing, indeed, in
tongue one Christ Jesus, but being divided in [actual] opinion: for, as
I have already observed, it is the practice of these men to say that
there was one Christ, who was produced by Monogenes, for the
confirmation of the Pleroma; but that another, the Saviour, was sent
[forth] for the glorification of the Father; and yet another, the
dispensational one, and whom they represent as having suffered, who
also bore [in himself] Christ, that Saviour who returned into the
Pleroma. I judge it necessary therefore to take into account the entire
mind of the apostles regarding our Lord Jesus Christ, and to show that
not only did they never hold any such opinions regarding Him; but,
still further, that they announced through the Holy Spirit, that those
who should teach such doctrines were agents of Satan, sent forth for the purpose of overturning the faith of some, and drawing them away from life.
2. That John knew the one and the same Word of God, and that He was the
only begotten, and that He became incarnate for our salvation, Jesus
Christ our Lord, I have sufficiently proved from the word of John
himself. And Matthew, too, recognising one and the same Jesus Christ,
exhibiting his generation as a man from the Virgin, [3572] even as God
did promise David that He would raise up from the fruit of his body an
eternal King, having made the same promise to Abraham a long time
previously, says: “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son
of David, the son of Abraham.” [3573] Then, that he might free our mind
from suspicion regarding Joseph, he says: “But the birth of Christ
[3574] was on this wise. When His mother was espoused to Joseph, before
they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” Then,
when Joseph had it in contemplation to put Mary away, since she proved
with child, [Matthew tells us of] the angel of God standing by him, and
saying: “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 this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was
spoken of the Lord by the prophet: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and
bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which is, God
with us;” clearly signifying that both the promise made to the fathers
had been accomplished, that the Son of God was born of a virgin, and
that He Himself was Christ the Saviour whom the prophets had foretold;
not, as these men assert, that Jesus was He who was born of Mary, but
that Christ was He who descended from above. Matthew might certainly
have said, “Now the birth of Jesus was on this wise;” but the Holy
Ghost, foreseeing the corrupters [of the truth], and guarding by
anticipation against their deceit, says by Matthew, “But the birth of
Christ was on this wise;” and that He is Emmanuel, lest perchance we
might consider Him as a mere man: for “not by the will of the flesh nor
by the will of man, but by the will of God was the Word made flesh;” [3575] and that we should not imagine that Jesus was one, and Christ another, but should know them to be one and the same.
3. Paul, when writing to the Romans, has explained this very point:
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, predestinated unto the Gospel of
God, which He had promised by His prophets in the holy Scriptures,
concerning His Son, who was made to Him of the seed of David according
to the flesh, who was predestinated the Son of God with power through
the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead of our Lord
Jesus Christ.” [3576] And again, writing to the Romans about Israel, he
says: “Whose are the fathers, and from whom is Christ according to the
flesh, who is God over all, blessed for ever.” [3577] And again, in his
Epistle to the Galatians, he says: “But when the fulness of time had
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;” [3578] plainly indicating one God, who did by the prophets
make promise of the Son, and one Jesus Christ our Lord, who was of the
seed of David according to His birth from Mary; and that Jesus Christ
was appointed the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of
holiness, by the resurrection from the dead, as being the first
begotten in all the creation; [3579] the Son of God being made the Son
of man, that through Him we may receive the adoption,--humanity [3580]
sustaining, and receiving, and embracing the Son of God. Wherefore Mark
also says: “The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of
God; as it is written in the prophets.” [3581] Knowing one and the same
Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was announced by the prophets, who from
the fruit of David’s body was Emmanuel, “the messenger of great counsel
of the Father;” [3582] through whom God caused the day-spring and the
Just One to arise to the house of David, and raised up for him an horn
of salvation, “and established a testimony in Jacob;” [3583] as David
says when discoursing on the causes of His birth: “And He appointed a
law in Israel, that another generation might know [Him,] the children
which should he born from these, and they arising shall themselves
declare to their children, so that they might set their hope in God,
and seek after His commandments.” [3584] And again, the angel said,
when bringing good tidings to Mary: “He shall he great, and shall be
called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord shall give unto Him the
throne of His father David;” [3585] acknowledging that He who is the
Son of the Highest, the same is Himself also the Son of David. And
David, knowing by the Spirit the dispensation of the advent of this
Person, by which He is supreme over all the living and dead, confessed
Him as Lord, sitting on the right hand of the Most High Father. [3586]
4. But Simeon also—he who had received an intimation from the Holy Ghost that he should not see death, until first he had beheld Christ
Jesus—taking Him, the first-begotten of the Virgin, into his hands,
blessed God, and said, “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in
peace, according to Thy word: because 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;”
[3587] confessing thus, that the infant whom he was holding in his
hands, Jesus, born of Mary, was Christ Himself, the Son of God, the
light of all, the glory of Israel itself, and the peace and refreshing
of those who had fallen asleep. For He was already despoiling men, by
removing their ignorance, conferring upon them His own knowledge, and
scattering abroad those who recognised Him, as Esaias says: “Call His
name, Quickly spoil, Rapidly divide.” [3588] Now these are the works of
Christ. He therefore was Himself Christ, whom Simeon carrying [in his
arms] blessed the Most High; on beholding whom the shepherds glorified
God; whom John, while yet in his mother’s womb, and He (Christ) in that
of Mary, recognising as the Lord, saluted with leaping; whom the Magi,
when they had seen, adored, and offered their gifts [to Him], as I have
already stated, and prostrated themselves to the eternal King, departed
by another way, not now returning by the way of the Assyrians. “For
before the child shall have knowledge to cry, Father or mother, He
shall receive the power of Damascus, and the spoils of Samaria, against
the king of the Assyrians;” [3589] declaring, in a mysterious manner
indeed, but emphatically, that the Lord did fight with a hidden hand
against Amalek. [3590] For this cause, too, He suddenly removed those
children belonging to the house of David, whose happy lot it was to
have been born at that time, that He might send them on before into His
kingdom; He, since He was Himself an infant, so arranging it that human
infants should be martyrs, slain, according to the Scriptures, for the
sake of Christ, who was born in Bethlehem of Judah, in the city of David. [3591]
5. Therefore did the Lord also say to His disciples after the resurrection, “O thoughtless ones, and slow of heart to believe all
that the prophets have spoken! Ought not Christ to have suffered these
things, and to enter into His glory?” [3592] And again does He say to
them: “These are the words which I spoke unto you while I was yet with
you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of
Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning Me. Then
opened He their understanding, that they should understand the
Scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved
Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the dead, and that repentance
for the remission of sins be preached in His name among all nations.”
[3593] Now this is He who was born of Mary; for He says: “The Son of
man must suffer many things, and be rejected, and crucified, and on the
third day rise again.” [3594] The Gospel, therefore, knew no other son
of man but Him who was of Mary, who also suffered; and no Christ who
flew away from Jesus before the passion; but Him who was born it knew
as Jesus Christ the Son of God, and that this same suffered and rose
again, as John, the disciple of the Lord, verifies, saying: “But these
are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of
God, and that believing ye might have eternal life in His name,” [3595]
foreseeing these blasphemous systems which divide the Lord, as far as
lies in their power, saying that He was formed of two different
substances. For this reason also he has thus testified to us in his
Epistle: “Little children, it is the last time; and as ye have heard
that Antichrist doth come, now have many antichrists appeared; whereby
we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were
not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with
us: but [they departed], that they might be made manifest that they are
not of us. Know ye therefore, that every lie is from without, and is
not of the truth. Who is a liar, but he that denieth that Jesus is the
Christ? This is Antichrist.” [3596]
6. But inasmuch as all those before mentioned, although they certainly
do with their tongue confess one Jesus Christ, make fools of
themselves, thinking one thing and saying another; [3597] for their
hypotheses vary, as I have already shown, alleging, [as they do,] that
one Being suffered and was born, and that this was Jesus; but that
there was another who descended upon Him, and that this was Christ, who
also ascended again; and they argue, that he who proceeded from the
Demiurge, or he who was dispensational, or he who sprang from Joseph,
was the Being subject to suffering; but upon the latter there descended
from the invisible and ineffable [places] the former, whom they assert
to be incomprehensible, invisible, and impassible: they thus wander
from the truth, because their doctrine departs from Him who is truly
God, being ignorant that His only-begotten Word, who is always present
with the human race, united to and mingled with His own creation,
according to the Father’s pleasure, and who became flesh, is Himself
Jesus Christ our Lord, who did also suffer for us, and rose again on
our behalf, and who will come again in the glory of His Father, to
raise up all flesh, and for the manifestation of salvation, and to
apply the rule of just judgment to all who were made by Him. There is
therefore, as I have pointed out, one God the Father, and one Christ Jesus, who came by means of the whole dispensational arrangements [connected with Him], and gathered together all things in Himself.
[3598] But in every respect, too, He is man, the formation of God; and
thus He took up man into Himself, the invisible becoming visible, the
incomprehensible being made comprehensible, the impassible becoming
capable of suffering, and the Word being made man, thus summing up all
things in Himself: so that as in super-celestial, spiritual, and
invisible things, the Word of God is supreme, so also in things visible
and corporeal He might possess the supremacy, and, taking to Himself
the pre-eminence, as well as constituting Himself Head of the Church,
He might draw all things to Himself at the proper time.
7. With Him is nothing incomplete or out of due season, just as with the Father there is nothing incongruous. For all these things were
foreknown by the Father; but the Son works them out at the proper time
in perfect order and sequence. This was the reason why, when Mary was
urging [Him] on to [perform] the wonderful miracle of the wine, and was
desirous before the time to partake [3599] of the cup of emblematic
significance, the Lord, checking her untimely haste, said, “Woman, what
have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come” [3600] -- waiting
for that hour which was foreknown by the Father. This is also the
reason why, when men were often desirous to take Him, it is said, “No
man laid hands upon Him, for the hour of His being taken was not yet
come;” [3601] nor the time of His passion, which had been foreknown by
the Father; as also says the prophet Habakkuk, “By this Thou shalt be
known when the years have drawn nigh; Thou shalt be set forth when the
time comes; because my soul is disturbed by anger, Thou shalt remember
Thy mercy.” [3602] Paul also says: “But when the fulness of time came,
God sent forth His Son.” [3603] By which is made manifest, that all
things which had been foreknown of the Father, our Lord did accomplish
in their order, season, and hour, foreknown and fitting, being indeed
one and the same, but rich and great. For He fulfils the bountiful and
comprehensive will of His Father, inasmuch as He is Himself the Saviour
of those who are saved, and the Lord of those who are under authority,
and the God of all those things which have been formed, the
only-begotten of the Father, Christ who was announced, and the Word of
God, who became incarnate when the fulness of time had come, at which
the Son of God had to become the Son of man.
8. All, therefore, are outside of the [Christian] dispensation, who,
under pretext of knowledge, understand that Jesus was one, and Christ
another, and the Only-begotten another, from whom again is the Word,
and that the Saviour is another, whom these disciples of error allege
to be a production of those who were made AEons in a state of
degeneracy. Such men are to outward appearance sheep; for they appear
to be like us, by what they say in public, repeating the same words as
we do; but inwardly they are wolves. Their doctrine is homicidal,
conjuring up, as it does, a number of gods, and simulating many
Fathers, but lowering and dividing the Son of God in many ways. These
are they against whom the Lord has cautioned us beforehand; and His
disciple, in his Epistle already mentioned, commands us to avoid them,
when he says: “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who
confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver
and an antichrist. Take heed to them, that ye lose not what ye have
wrought.” [3604] And again does he say in the Epistle: “Many false
prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God:
Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is
of God; and every spirit which separates Jesus Christ is not of God,
but is of antichrist.” [3605] These words agree with what was said in
the Gospel, that “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.”
Wherefore he again exclaims in his Epistle, “Every one that believeth
that Jesus is the Christ, has been born of God;” [3606] knowing Jesus
Christ to be one and the same, to whom the gates of heaven were opened,
because of His taking upon Him flesh: who shall also come in the same
flesh in which He suffered, revealing the glory of the Father.
9. Concurring with these statements, Paul, speaking to the Romans, declares: “Much more they who receive abundance of grace and righteousness for [eternal] life, shall reign by one, Christ Jesus.”
[3607] It follows from this, that he knew nothing of that Christ who
flew away from Jesus; nor did he of the Saviour above, whom they hold
to be impassible. For if, in truth, the one suffered, and the other
remained incapable of suffering, and the one was born, but the other
descended upon him who was born, and left him again, it is not one, but
two, that are shown forth. But that the apostle did know Him as one,
both who was born and who suffered, namely Christ Jesus, he again says
in the same Epistle: “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized
in Christ Jesus were baptized in His death? that like as Christ rose
from the dead, so should we also walk in newness of life.” [3608] But
again, showing that Christ did suffer, and was Himself the Son of God,
who died for us, and redeemed us with His blood at the time appointed
beforehand, he says: “For how is it, that Christ, when we were yet
without strength, in due time died for the ungodly? But God commendeth
His love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died
for us. Much more, then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be
saved from wrath through Him. 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.” [3609] He declares in the plainest manner, that the same Being who was laid hold of, and underwent suffering, and shed His blood for us, was both Christ and the Son of God, who did also rise again, and was taken up into heaven, as he himself [Paul] says: “But at the same time, [it, is] Christ [that]
died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of
God.” [3610] And again, “Knowing that Christ, rising from the dead,
dieth no more:” [3611] for, as himself foreseeing, through the Spirit,
the subdivisions of evil teachers [with regard to the Lord’s person],
and being desirous of cutting away from them all occasion of cavil, he
says what has been already stated, [and also declares:] “But if the
Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that
raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies.”
[3612] This he does not utter to those alone who wish to hear: Do not
err, [he says to all:] Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is one and the
same, who did by suffering reconcile us to God, and rose from the dead;
who is at the right hand of the Father, and perfect in all things;
“who, when He was buffeted, struck not in return; who, when He suffered, threatened not;” [3613] and when He underwent tyranny, He prayed His Father that He would forgive those who had crucified Him.
For He did Himself truly bring in salvation: since He is Himself the
Word of God, Himself the Only-begotten of the Father, Christ Jesus our

[3569] We here omit since, and insert therefore afterwards, to avoid
the extreme length of the sentence as it stands in the Latin version.
The apodosis does not occur till the words, “I judge it necessary,” are
[3570] See book i. 12, 4.
[3571] The Latin text has “Christum.” which is supposed to be an erroneous reading. See also book ii. c. xii. s. 6.
[3572] Ps. cxxxii. 11.
[3573] Matt. i. 1.
[3574] Matt. i. 18. It is to be observed that Irenaeus here reads Christ instead of Jesus Christ, as in text. rec., thus agreeing with the reading of the Vulgate in the passage.
[3575] John i. 13, 14. From this, and also a quotation of the same
passage in chap. xix. of this book, it appears that Irenaeus must have
read hos ... egennethe here, and not ohi ... egennethesan. Tertullian
quotes the verse to the same effect (Lib. de Carne Christi, cap. 19 and
[3576] Rom. i. 1-4.
[3577] Rom. ix. 5.
[3578] Gal. iv. 4, 5.
[3579] Col. i. 14, 15.
[3580] “Homine.”
[3581] Mark i. 1.
[3582] Isa. ix. 6 (LXX.).
[3583] Luke i. 69.
[3584] Ps. lxxviii. 5.
[3585] Luke i. 32.
[3586] Ps. cx. 1.
[3587] Luke ii. 29.
[3588] Isa. viii. 3.
[3589] Isa. viii. 4.
[3590] Ex. xvii. 16 (LXX.).
[3591] Matt. ii. 16.
[3592] Luke xxiv. 25.
[3593] Luke xxiv. 44, etc.
[3594] Mark viii. 31 and Luke ix. 22.
[3595] John xx. 31.
[3596] 1 John ii. 18, etc., loosely quoted.
[3597] The text here followed is that of two Syriac mss., which prove
the loss of several consecutive words in the old Latin version, and
clear up the meaning of a confused sentence, showing that the word
“autem” is here, as it probably is elsewhere, merely a contraction for
“aut eum.”
[3598] Eph. i. 10.
[3599] “Participare compendii poculo,” i.e., the cup which recapitulates the suffering of Christ, and which, as Harvey thinks, refers to the symbolical character of the cup of the Eucharist, as setting forth the passion of Christ.
[3600] John ii. 4.
[3601] John vii. 30.
[3602] Hab. iii. 2.
[3603] Gal. iv. 4.
[3604] 2 John 7, 8. Irenaeus seems to have read autous instead of heautous, as in the received text.
[3605] 1 John iv. 1, 2. This is a material difference from the received
text of the passage: “Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus
Christ is come in the flesh.” The Vulgate translation and Origen agree
with Irenaeus, and Tertullian seems to recognise both readings (Adv.
Marc., v. 16). Socrates tells us (vii. 32, p. 381) that the passage had
been corrupted by those who wished to separate the humanity of Christ
from His divinity, and that the old copies read, pan pneuma ho luei ton
‘Iesoun apo tou Theou ouk esti, which exactly agrees with Origen’s quotation, and very nearly with that of Irenaeus, now before us.
Polycarp (Ep., c. vii.) seems to allude to the passage as we have it
now, and so does Ignatius (Ep. Smyr., c. v.). See the question
discussed by Burton, in his Ante-Nicene Testimonies [to the Div. of
Christ. Another work of Burton has a similar name. See British Critic,
vol. ii. (of 1827), p. 265].
[3606] 1 John v. 1.
[3607] Rom. v. 17.
[3608] Rom. vi. 3, 4.
[3609] Rom. v. 6-10. Irenaeus appears to have read, as does the Vulgate, eis ti gar, for eti gar in text. rec.
[3610] Rom. viii. 34.
[3611] Rom. vi. 9.
[3612] Rom. viii. 11.
[3613] 1 Pet. ii. 23.

Chapter XVII.—The apostles teach that it was neither Christ nor the Saviour,
but the Holy Spirit, who did descend upon Jesus. The reason for this descent.
1. It certainly was in the power of the apostles to declare that Christ
descended upon Jesus, or that the so-called superior Saviour [came
down] upon the dispensational one, or he who is from the invisible
places upon him from the Demiurge; but they neither knew nor said
anything of the kind: for, had they known it, they would have also
certainly stated it. But what really was the case, that did they
record, [namely,] that the Spirit of God as a dove descended upon Him;
this Spirit, of whom it was declared by Isaiah, “And the Spirit of God
shall rest upon Him,” [3614] as I have already said. And again: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me.” [3615]
That is the Spirit of whom the Lord declares, “For it is not ye that
speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.” [3616] And
again, giving to the disciples the power of regeneration into God,
[3617] He said to them, “Go and teach all nations, baptizing them in
the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” [3618]For [God] promised, that in the last times He would pour Him [the Spirit] upon [His] servants and handmaids, that they might prophesy;
wherefore He did also descend upon the Son of God, made the Son of man,
becoming accustomed in fellowship with Him to dwell in the human race,
to rest with human beings, and to dwell in the workmanship of God, working the will of the Father in them, and renewing them from their old habits into the newness of Christ.
2. This Spirit did David ask for the human race, saying, “And stablish
me with Thine all-governing Spirit;” [3619] who also, as Luke says,
descended at the day of Pentecost upon the disciples after the Lord’s
ascension, having power to admit all nations to the entrance of life,
and to the opening of the new covenant; from whence also, with one
accord in all languages, they uttered praise to God, the Spirit
bringing distant tribes to unity, and offering to the Father the
first-fruits of all nations. Wherefore also the Lord promised to send
the Comforter, [3620] who should join us to God. For as a compacted
lump of dough cannot be formed of dry wheat without fluid matter, nor
can a loaf possess unity, so, in like manner, neither could we, being
many, be made one in Christ Jesus without the water from heaven. And as
dry earth does not bring forth unless it receive moisture, in like
manner we also, being originally a dry tree, could never have brought
forth fruit unto life without the voluntary rain from above. For our bodies have received unity among themselves by means of that laver which leads to incorruption; but our souls, by means of the Spirit.
Wherefore both are necessary, since both contribute towards the life of
God, our Lord compassionating that erring Samaritan woman [3621] --who
did not remain with one husband, but committed fornication by
[contracting] many marriages—by pointing out, and promising to her
living water, so that she should thirst no more, nor occupy herself in
acquiring the refreshing water obtained by labour, having in herself
water springing up to eternal life. The Lord, receiving this as a gift
from His Father, does Himself also confer it upon those who are partakers of Himself, sending the Holy Spirit upon all the earth.
3. Gideon, [3622] that Israelite whom God chose, that he might save the
people of Israel from the power of foreigners, foreseeing this gracious
gift, changed his request, and prophesied that there would be dryness
upon the fleece of wool (a type of the people), on which alone at first
there had been dew; thus indicating that they should no longer have the
Holy Spirit from God, as saith Esaias, “I will also command the clouds,
that they rain no rain upon it,” [3623] but that the dew, which is the
Spirit of God, who descended upon the Lord, should be diffused
throughout all the earth, “the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the
spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and piety, the
spirit of the fear of God.” [3624] This Spirit, again, He did confer
upon the Church, sending throughout all the world the Comforter from
heaven, from whence also the Lord tells us that the devil, like
lightning, was cast down. [3625] Wherefore we have need of the dew of
God, that we be not consumed by fire, nor be rendered unfruitful, and
that where we have an accuser there we may have also an Advocate,
[3626] the Lord commending to the Holy Spirit His own man, [3627] who
had fallen among thieves, [3628] whom He Himself compassionated, and
bound up his wounds, giving two royal denaria; so that we, receiving by
the Spirit the image and superscription of the Father and the Son,
might cause the denarium entrusted to us to be fruitful, counting out
the increase [thereof] to the Lord. [3629]
4. The Spirit, therefore, descending under the predestined dispensation, and the Son of God, the Only-begotten, who is also the Word of the Father, coming in the fulness of time, having become
incarnate in man for the sake of man, and fulfilling all the conditions
of human nature, our Lord Jesus Christ being one and the same, as He
Himself the Lord doth testify, as the apostles confess, and as the
prophets announce,--all the doctrines of these men who have invented
putative Ogdoads and Tetrads, and imagined subdivisions [of the Lord’s
person], have been proved falsehoods. These [3630] men do, in fact, set
the Spirit aside altogether; they understand that Christ was one and
Jesus another; and they teach that there was not one Christ, but many.
And if they speak of them as united, they do again separate them: for
they show that one did indeed undergo sufferings, but that the other
remained impassible; that the one truly did ascend to the Pleroma, but
the other remained in the intermediate place; that the one does truly
feast and revel in places invisible and above all name, but that the
other is seated with the Demiurge, emptying him of power. It will
therefore be incumbent upon thee, and all others who give their
attention to this writing, and are anxious about their own salvation,
not readily to express acquiescence when they hear abroad the speeches
of these men: for, speaking things resembling the [doctrine of the]
faithful, as I have already observed, not only do they hold opinions
which are different, but absolutely contrary, and in all points full of
blasphemies, by which they destroy those persons who, by reason of the
resemblance of the words, imbibe a poison which disagrees with their constitution, just as if one, giving lime mixed with water for milk, should mislead by the similitude of the colour; as a man [3631] superior to me has said, concerning all that in any way corrupt the things of God and adulterate the truth, “Lime is wickedly mixed with the milk of God.”

[3614] Isa. xi. 2.
[3615] Isa. lxi. 1.
[3616] Matt. x. 20.
[3617] Harvey remarks on this: “The sacrament of baptism is therefore
he dumanis tes anagenneseos eis Theon.” [Comp. book i. cap. xxi.]
[3618] Matt. xxviii. 19.
[3619] Ps. li. 12.
[3620] John xvi. 7.
[3621] Irenaeus refers to this woman as a type of the heathen world: for, among the Jews, Samaritan and Idolater were convertible terms.
[3622] Judg. vi. 37, etc.
[3623] Isa. v. 6.
[3624] Isa. xi. 2.
[3625] Luke x. 18.
[3626] 1 John ii. 1.
[3627] “Suum hominem,” i.e., the human race.
[3628] Luke x. 35.
[3629] Matt. xxv. 14.
[3630] The following period is translated from a Syriac fragment (see
Harvey’s Irenaeus, vol. ii. p. 439), as it supplies some words inconveniently omitted in the old Latin version.
[3631] Comp. book. i. pref. note 4.

Chapter XVIII.—Continuation of the foregoing argument. Proofs from the
writings of St. Paul, and from the words of Our Lord, that Christ and Jesus
cannot be considered as distinct beings; neither can it be alleged that the
Son of God became man merely in appearance, but that He did so truly and
1. [3632] As it has been clearly demonstrated that the Word, who existed in the beginning with God, by whom all things were made, who
was also always present with mankind, was in these last days, according
to the time appointed by the Father, united to His own workmanship,
inasmuch as He became a man liable to suffering, [it follows] that
every objection is set aside of those who say, “If our Lord was born at
that time, Christ had therefore no previous existence.” For I have
shown that the Son of God did not then begin to exist, being with the
Father from the beginning; but when He became incarnate, and was made
man, He commenced afresh [3633] the long line of human beings, and
furnished us, in a brief, comprehensive manner, with salvation; so that
what we had lost in Adam—namely, to be according to the image and likeness of God—that we might recover in Christ Jesus.
2. For as it was not possible that the man who had once for all been conquered, and who had been destroyed through disobedience, could reform himself, and obtain the prize of victory; and as it was also
impossible that he could attain to salvation who had fallen under the
power of sin,--the Son effected both these things, being the Word of
God, descending from the Father, becoming incarnate, stooping low, even
to death, and consummating the arranged plan of our salvation, upon
whom [Paul], exhorting us unhesitatingly to believe, again says, “Who
shall ascend into heaven? that is, to bring down Christ; or who shall
descend into the deep? that is, to liberate Christ again from the
dead.” [3634] Then he continues, “If thou shall confess with thy mouth
the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised
Him from the dead, thou shall be saved.” [3635] And he renders the
reason why the Son of God did these things, saying, “For to this end
Christ both lived, and died, and revived, that He might rule over the
living and the dead.” [3636] And again, writing to the Corinthians, he
declares, “But we preach Christ Jesus crucified;” [3637] and adds, “The
cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of
Christ?” [3638]
3. But who is it that has had fellowship with us in the matter of food?
Whether is it he who is conceived of by them as the Christ above, who
extended himself through Horos, and imparted a form to their mother; or
is it He who is from the Virgin, Emmanuel, who did eat butter and
honey, [3639] of whom the prophet declared, “He is also a man, and who
shall know him?” [3640] He was likewise preached by Paul: “For I
delivered,” he says, “unto you first of all, that Christ died for our
sins, according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and rose
again the third day, according to the Scriptures.” [3641] It is plain,
then, that Paul knew no other Christ besides Him alone, who both
suffered, and was buried, and rose gain, who was also born, and whom he
speaks of as man. For after remarking, “But if Christ be preached, that
He rose from the dead,” [3642] he continues, rendering the reason of
His incarnation, “For since by man came death, by man [came] also the
resurrection of the dead.” And everywhere, when [referring to] the
passion of our Lord, and to His human nature, and His subjection to
death, he employs the name of Christ, as in that passage: “Destroy not
him with thy meat for whom Christ died.” [3643] And again: “But now, in
Christ, ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of
Christ.” [3644] And again: “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of
the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every
one that hangeth upon a tree.” [3645] And again: “And through thy
knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died;” [3646]
indicating that the impassible Christ did not descend upon Jesus, but
that He Himself, because He was Jesus Christ, suffered for us; He, who
lay in the tomb, and rose again, who descended and ascended,--the Son
of God having been made the Son of man, as the very name itself doth
declare. For in the name of Christ is implied, He that anoints, He that
is anointed, and the unction itself with which He is anointed. And it
is the Father who anoints, but the Son who is anointed by the Spirit,
who is the unction, as the Word declares by Isaiah, “The Spirit of the
Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me,” [3647] --pointing out
both the anointing Father, the anointed Son, and the unction, which is
the Spirit.
4. The Lord Himself, too, makes it evident who it was that suffered; for when He asked the disciples, “Who do men say that I, the Son of
man, am?” [3648] and when Peter had replied, “Thou art the Christ, the
Son of the living God;” and when he had been commended by Him [in these
words], “That flesh and blood had not revealed it to him, but the
Father who is in heaven,” He made it clear that He, the Son of man, is
Christ the Son of the living God. “For from that time forth,” it is
said, “He began to show to His disciples, how that He must go unto
Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the priests, and be rejected, and
crucified, and rise again the third day.” [3649] He who was
acknowledged by Peter as Christ, who pronounced him blessed because the
Father had revealed the Son of the living God to him, said that He must
Himself suffer many things, and be crucified; and then He rebuked
Peter, who imagined that He was the Christ as the generality of men
supposed [3650] [that the Christ should be], and was averse to the idea
of His suffering, [and] said to the disciples, “If any man will come
after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it; and whosoever will lose it for My sake shall save it.” [3651] For these things Christ spoke openly, He being Himself the Saviour of those who should be delivered over to death for their confession of Him, and lose their lives.
5. If, however, He was Himself not to suffer, but should fly away from
Jesus, why did He exhort His disciples to take up the cross and follow
Him,--that cross which these men represent Him as not having taken up,
but [speak of Him] as having relinquished the dispensation of
suffering? For that He did not say this with reference to the
acknowledging of the Stauros (cross) above, as some among them venture
to expound, but with respect to the suffering which He should Himself
undergo, and that His disciples should endure, He implies when He says,
“For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it; and whosoever will
lose, shall find it.” And that His disciples must suffer for His sake,
He [implied when He] said to the Jews, “Behold, I send you prophets,
and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify.”
[3652] And to the disciples He was wont to say, “And ye shall stand
before governors and kings for My sake; and they shall scourge some of
you, and slay you, and persecute you from city to city.” [3653] He
knew, therefore, both those who should suffer persecution, and He knew
those who should have to be scourged and slain because of Him; and He
did not speak of any other cross, but of the suffering which He should
Himself undergo first, and His disciples afterwards. For this purpose
did He give them this exhortation: “Fear not them which kill the body,
but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to
send both soul and body into hell;” [3654] [thus exhorting them] to
hold fast those professions of faith which they had made in reference
to Him. For He promised to confess before His Father those who should
confess His name before men; but declared that He would deny those who
should deny Him, and would be ashamed of those who should be ashamed to
confess Him. And although these things are so, some of these men have
proceeded to such a degree of temerity, that they even pour contempt
upon the martyrs, and vituperate those who are slain on account of the
confession of the Lord, and who suffer all things predicted by the
Lord, and who in this respect strive to follow the footprints of the
Lord’s passion, having become martyrs of the suffering One; these we do
also enrol with the martyrs themselves. For, when inquisition shall be
made for their blood, [3655] and they shall attain to glory, then all
shall be confounded by Christ, who have cast a slur upon their
martyrdom. And from this fact, that He exclaimed upon the cross,
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” [3656] the
long-suffering, patience, compassion, and goodness of Christ are
exhibited, since He both suffered, and did Himself exculpate those who
had maltreated Him. For the Word of God, who said to us, “Love your
enemies, and pray for those that hate you,” [3657] Himself did this
very thing upon the cross; loving the human race to such a degree, that
He even prayed for those putting Him to death. If, however, any one,
going upon the supposition that there are two [Christs], forms a
judgment in regard to them, that [Christ] shall be found much the
better one, and more patient, and the truly good one, who, in the midst
of His own wounds and stripes, and the other [cruelties] inflicted upon
Him, was beneficent, and unmindful of the wrongs perpetrated upon Him,
than he who flew away, and sustained neither injury nor insult.
6. This also does likewise meet [the case] of those who maintain that
He suffered only in appearance. For if He did not truly suffer, no
thanks to Him, since there was no suffering at all; and when we shall
actually begin to suffer, He will seem as leading us astray, exhorting
us to endure buffering, and to turn the other [3658] cheek, if He did
not Himself before us in reality suffer the same; and as He misled them
by seeming to them what He was not, so does He also mislead us, by
exhorting us to endure what He did not endure Himself. [In that case]
we shall be even above the Master, because we suffer and sustain what
our Master never bore or endured. But as our Lord is alone truly
Master, so the Son of God is truly good and patient, the Word of God
the Father having been made the Son of man. For He fought and
conquered; for He was man contending for the fathers, [3659] and
through obedience doing away with disobedience completely: for He bound
the strong man, [3660] and set free the weak, and endowed His own
handiwork with salvation, by destroying sin. For He is a most holy and
merciful Lord, and loves the human race.
7. Therefore, as I have already said, He caused man (human nature) to
cleave to and to become, one with God. For unless man had overcome the
enemy of man, the enemy would not have been legitimately vanquished.
And again: unless it had been God who had freely given salvation, we
could never have possessed it securely. And unless man had been joined
to God, he could never have become a partaker of incorruptibility. For
it was incumbent upon the Mediator between God and men, by His
relationship to both, to bring both to friendship and concord, and
present man to God, while He revealed God to man. [3661] For, in what
way could we be partaken of the adoption of sons, unless we had
received from Him through the Son that fellowship which refers to
Himself, unless His Word, having been made flesh, had entered into
communion with us? Wherefore also He passed through every stage of
life, restoring to all communion with God. Those, therefore, who assert
that He appeared putatively, and was neither born in the flesh nor
truly made man, are as yet under the old condemnation, holding out
patronage to sin; for, by their showing, death has not been vanquished,
which “reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned
after the similitude of Adam’s transgression.” [3662] But the law
coming, which was given by Moses, and testifying of sin that it is a
sinner, did truly take away his (death’s) kingdom, showing that he was
no king, but a robber; and it revealed him as a murderer. It laid,
however, a weighty burden upon man, who had sin in himself, showing
that he was liable to death. For as the law was spiritual, it merely
made sin to stand out in relief, but did not destroy it. For sin had no
dominion over the spirit, but over man. For it behoved Him who was to
destroy sin, and redeem man under the power of death, that He should
Himself be made that very same thing which he was, that is, man; who
had been drawn by sin into bondage, but was held by death, so that sin
should be destroyed by man, and man should go forth from death. For as
by the disobedience of the one man who was originally moulded from
virgin soil, the many were made sinners, [3663] and forfeited life; so
was it necessary that, by the obedience of one man, who was originally
born from a virgin, many should be justified and receive salvation.
Thus, then, was the Word of God made man, as also Moses says: “God,
true are His works.” [3664] But if, not having been made flesh, He did
appear as if flesh, His work was not a true one. But what He did
appear, that He also was: God recapitulated in Himself the ancient
formation of man, that He might kill sin, deprive death of its power,
and vivify man; and therefore His works are true.

[3632] Again a Syriac fragment supplies some important words. See Harvey, vol. ii. p. 440.
[3633] So the Syriac. The Latin has, “in seipso recapitulavit,” He summed up in Himself. [As the Second Adam, 1 Cor. xv. 47.]
[3634] Rom. x. 6, 7.
[3635] Rom. x. 9.
[3636] Rom. xiv. 9.
[3637] 1 Cor. i. 23.
[3638] 1 Cor. x. 16.
[3639] Isa. viii. 14.
[3640] Jer. xvii. 9.
[3641] 1 Cor. xv. 3, 4.
[3642] 1 Cor. xv. 12.
[3643] Rom. xiv. 15.
[3644] Eph. ii. 13.
[3645] Gal. iii. 13; Deut. xxi. 23.
[3646] 1 Cor. viii. 11.
[3647] Isa. lxi. 1.
[3648] Matt. xvi. 13.
[3649] Matt. xvi. 21.
[3650] Literally, “supposing Him to be Christ according to the idea of
[3651] Matt. xvi. 24, 25.
[3652] Matt. xxiii. 24.
[3653] Matt. x. 17, 18.
[3654] Matt. x. 28.
[3655] Ps. ix. 12.
[3656] Luke xxiii. 34.
[3657] Matt. v. 44.
[3658] Matt. v. 39.
[3659] “Pro patribus, anti ton patron. The reader will here observe the
clear statement of the doctrine of atonement, whereby alone sin is done
[3660] Matt. xii. 29.
[3661] The Latin text, “et facere, ut et Deus assumeret hominem, et
homo se dederet Deo,” here differs widely from the Greek preserved by
Theodoret. We have followed the latter, which is preferred by all the
[3662] Rom. v. 14.
[3663] Rom. v. 19.
[3664] Deut. xxxii. 4.

Chapter XIX.—Jesus Christ was not a mere man, begotten from Joseph in the
ordinary course of nature, but was very God, begotten of the Father most high,
and very man, born of the Virgin.
1. But again, those who assert that He was simply a mere man, begotten
by Joseph, remaining in the bondage of the old disobedience, are in a
state of death having been not as yet joined to the Word of God the Father, nor receiving liberty through the Son, as He does Himself declare: “If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
[3665] But, being ignorant of Him who from the Virgin is Emmanuel, they
are deprived of His gift, which is eternal life; [3666] and not
receiving the incorruptible Word, they remain in mortal flesh, and are
debtors to death, not obtaining the antidote of life. To whom the Word
says, mentioning His own gift of grace: “I said, Ye are all the sons of
the Highest, and gods; but ye shall die like men.” [3667] He speaks
undoubtedly these words to those who have not received the gift of
adoption, but who despise the incarnation of the pure generation of the
Word of God, [3668] defraud human nature of promotion into God, and
prove themselves ungrateful to the Word of God, who became flesh for
them. For it was for this end that the Word of God was made man, and He
who was the Son of God became the Son of man, that man, having been
taken into the Word, and receiving the adoption, might become the son
of God. For by no other means could we have attained to
incorruptibility and immortality, unless we had been united to
incorruptibility and immortality. But how could we be joined to
incorruptibility and immortality, unless, first, incorruptibility and
immortality had become that which we also are, so that the corruptible
might be swallowed up by incorruptibility, and the mortal by immortality, that we might receive the adoption of sons?
2. For this reason [it is, said], “Who shall declare His generation?”
[3669] since “He is a man, and who shall recognise Him?” [3670] But he
to whom the Father which is in heaven has revealed Him, [3671] knows
Him, so that he understands that He who “was not born either by the
will of the flesh, or by the will of man,” [3672] is the Son of man,
this is Christ, the Son of the living God. For I have shown from the
Scriptures, [3673] that no one of the sons of Adam is as to everything,
and absolutely, called God, or named Lord. But that He is Himself in
His own right, beyond all men who ever lived, God, and Lord, and King
Eternal, and the Incarnate Word, proclaimed by all the prophets, the
apostles, and by the Spirit Himself, may be seen by all who have
attained to even a small portion of the truth. Now, the Scriptures
would not have testified these things of Him, if, like others, He had
been a mere man. But that He had, beyond all others, in Himself that
pre-eminent birth which is from the Most High Father, and also
experienced that pre-eminent generation which is from the Virgin,
[3674] the divine Scriptures do in both respects testify of Him: also,
that He was a man without comeliness, and liable to suffering; [3675]
that He sat upon the foal of an ass; [3676] that He received for drink,
vinegar and gall; [3677] that He was despised among the people, and
humbled Himself even to death and that He is the holy Lord, the
Wonderful, the Counsellor, the Beautiful in appearance, and the Mighty
God, [3678] coming on the clouds as the Judge of all men; [3679] --all
these things did the Scriptures prophesy of Him.
3. For as He became man in order to undergo temptation, so also was He
the Word that He might be glorified; the Word remaining quiescent, that
He might be capable of being tempted, dishonoured, crucified, and of
suffering death, but the human nature being swallowed up in it (the
divine), when it conquered, and endured [without yielding], and
performed acts of kindness, and rose again, and was received up [into
heaven]. He therefore, the Son of God, our Lord, being the Word of the
Father, and the Son of man, since He had a generation as to His human
nature from Mary—who was descended from mankind, and who was herself a
human being—was made the Son of man. [3680] Wherefore also the Lord
Himself gave us a sign, in the depth below, and in the height above,
which man did not ask for, because he never expected that a virgin
could conceive, or that it was possible that one remaining a virgin
could bring forth a son, and that what was thus born should be “God
with us,” and descend to those things which are of the earth beneath,
seeking the sheep which had perished, which was indeed His own peculiar
handiwork, and ascend to the height above, offering and commending to
His Father that human nature (hominem) which had been found, making in
His own person the first-fruits of the resurrection of man; that, as
the Head rose from the dead, so also the remaining part of the
body--[namely, the body] of everyman who is found in life—when the
time is fulfilled of that condemnation which existed by reason of
disobedience, may arise, blended together and strengthened through
means of joints and bands [3681] by the increase of God, each of the
members having its own proper and fit position in the body. For there
are many mansions in the Father’s house, [3682] inasmuch as there are
also many members in the body.

[3665] John viii. 36.
[3666] Rom. vi. 23.
[3667] Ps. lxxxii. 6, 7.
[3668] The original Greek is preserved here by Theodoret, differing in
some respects from the old Latin version: kai aposterountas ton
anthropon tes eis Theon anodou kai acharistountas to huper auton
sarkothenti logo tou Theou. Eis touto gar ho logos anthropos ... hina
ho anthropos ton logon choresas, kai ten huiothesian labon, huios
genetai Theou. The old Latin runs thus: “fraudantes hominem ab ea
ascensione quae est ad Dominum, et ingrate exsistentes Verbo Dei, qui
incarnatus est propter ipsos. Propter hoc enim Verbum Dei homo, et qui
Filius Dei est, Filius Hominis factus est ... commixtus Verbo Dei, et
adoptionem percipiens fiat filius Dei.” [A specimen of the liberties taken by the Latin translators with the original of Irenaeus. Others are much less innocent.]
[3669] Isa. liii. 8.
[3670] Jer. xvii. 9.
[3671] Matt. xvi. 16.
[3672] John i. 13.
[3673] See above, iii. 6.
[3674] Isa. vii. 14.
[3675] Isa. liii. 2.
[3676] Zech. ix. 9.
[3677] Ps. lxix. 21.
[3678] Isa. ix. 6.
[3679] Dan. vii. 13.
[3680] Isa. vii. 13.
[3681] Eph. iv. 16.
[3682] John xiv. 2.

Chapter XX.—God showed himself, by the fall of man, as patient, benign,
merciful, mighty to save. Man is therefore most ungrateful, if, unmindful of
his own lot, and of the benefits held out to him, he do not acknowledge divine
1. Long-suffering therefore was God, when man became a defaulter, as foreseeing that victory which should be granted to him through the
Word. For, when strength was made perfect in weakness, [3683] it showed
the kindness and transcendent power of God. For as He patiently
suffered Jonah to be swallowed by the whale, not that he should be
swallowed up and perish altogether, but that, having been cast out
again, he might be the more subject to God, and might glorify Him the
more who had conferred upon him such an unhoped-for deliverance, and
might bring the Ninevites to a lasting repentance, so that they should
be converted to the Lord, who would deliver them from death, having
been struck with awe by that portent which had been wrought in Jonah’s
case, as the Scripture says of them, “And they returned each from his
evil way, and the unrighteousness which was in their hands, saying, Who
knoweth if God will repent, and turn away His anger from us, and we
shall not perish?” [3684] --so also, from the beginning, did God permit
man to be swallowed up by the great whale, who was the author of
transgression, not that he should perish altogether when so engulphed;
but, arranging and preparing the plan of salvation, which was
accomplished by the Word, through the sign of Jonah, for those who held
the same opinion as Jonah regarding the Lord, and who confessed, and
said, “I am a servant of the Lord, and I worship the Lord God of
heaven, who hath made the sea and the dry land.” [3685] [This was done]
that man, receiving an unhoped-for salvation from God, might rise from
the dead, and glorify God, and repeat that word which was uttered in
prophecy by Jonah: “I cried by reason of mine affliction to the Lord my
God, and He heard me out of the belly of hell;” [3686] and that he
might always continue glorifying God, and giving thanks without
ceasing, for that salvation which he has derived from Him, “that no
flesh should glory in the Lord’s presence;” [3687] and that man should
never adopt an opposite opinion with regard to God, supposing that the
incorruptibility which belongs to him is his own naturally, and by thus
not holding the truth, should boast with empty superciliousness, as if
he were naturally like to God. For he (Satan) thus rendered him (man)more ungrateful towards his Creator, obscured the love which God had towards man, and blinded his mind not to perceive what is worthy of God, comparing himself with, and judging himself equal to, God.
2. This, therefore, was the [object of the] long-suffering of God, that
man, passing through all things, and acquiring the knowledge of moral
discipline, then attaining to the resurrection from the dead, and
learning by experience what is the source of his deliverance, may
always live in a state of gratitude to the Lord, having obtained from
Him the gift of incorruptibility, that he might love Him the more; for
“he to whom more is forgiven, loveth more:” [3688] and that he may know
himself, how mortal and weak he is; while he also understands
respecting God, that He is immortal and powerful to such a degree as to
confer immortality upon what is mortal, and eternity upon what is
temporal; and may understand also the other attributes of God displayed
towards himself, by means of which being instructed he may think of God
in accordance with the divine greatness. For the glory of man [is] God,
but [His] works [are the glory] of God; and the receptacle of all His
wisdom and power [is] man. Just as the physician is proved by his
patients, so is God also revealed through men. And therefore Paul
declares, “For God hath concluded all in unbelief, that He may have
mercy upon all;” [3689] not saying this in reference to spiritual
AEons, but to man, who had been disobedient to God, and being cast off
from immortality, then obtained mercy, receiving through the Son of God
that adoption which is [accomplished] by Himself. For he who holds,
without pride and boasting, the true glory (opinion) regarding created
things and the Creator, who is the Almighty God of all, and who has
granted existence to all; [such an one,] continuing in His love [3690]
and subjection, and giving of thanks, shall also receive from Him the
greater glory of promotion, [3691] looking forward to the time when he
shall become like Him who died for him, for He, too, “was made in the
likeness of sinful flesh,” [3692] to condemn sin, and to cast it, as
now a condemned thing, away beyond the flesh, but that He might call
man forth into His own likeness, assigning him as [His own] imitator to
God, and imposing on him His Father’s law, in order that he may see
God, and granting him power to receive the Father; [being] [3693] the
Word of God who dwelt in man, and became the Son of man, that He might
accustom man to receive God, and God to dwell in man, according to the
good pleasure of the Father.
3. On this account, therefore, the Lord Himself, [3694] who is Emmanuel
from the Virgin, [3695] is the sign of our salvation, since it was the
Lord Himself who saved them, because they could not be saved by their
own instrumentality; and, therefore, when Paul sets forth human
infirmity, he says: “For I know that there dwelleth in my flesh no good
thing,” [3696] showing that the “good thing” of our salvation is not
from us, but from God. And again: “Wretched man that I am, who shall
deliver me from the body of this death?” [3697] Then he introduces the
Deliverer, [saying,] “The grace of Jesus Christ our Lord.” And Isaiah
declares this also, [when he says:] “Be ye strengthened, ye hands that
hang down, and ye feeble knees; be ye encouraged, ye feeble-minded; be
comforted, fear not: behold, our God has given judgment with
retribution, and shall recompense: He will come Himself, and will save
us.” [3698] Here we see, that not by ourselves, but by the help of God,
we must be saved.
4. Again, that it should not be a mere man who should save us, nor [one] without flesh—for the angels are without flesh--[the same prophet] announced, saying: “Neither an elder, [3699] nor angel, but
the Lord Himself will save them because He loves them, and will spare
them: He will Himself set them free.” [3700] And that He should Himself
become very man, visible, when He should be the Word giving salvation,
Isaiah again says: “Behold, city of Zion: thine eyes shall see our
salvation.” [3701] And that it was not a mere man who died for us,
Isaiah says: “And the holy Lord remembered His dead Israel, who had
slept in the land of sepulture; and He came down to preach His
salvation to them, that He might save them.” [3702] And Amos (Micah)
the prophet declares the same: “He will turn again, and will have
compassion upon us: He will destroy our iniquities, and will cast our
sins into the depths of the sea.” [3703] And again, specifying the
place of His advent, he says: “The Lord hath spoken from Zion, and He
has uttered His voice from Jerusalem.” [3704] And that it is from that
region which is towards the south of the inheritance of Judah that the
Son of God shall come, who is God, and who was from Bethlehem, where
the Lord was born [and] will send out His praise through all the earth,
thus [3705] says the prophet Habakkuk: “God shall come from the south,
and the Holy One from Mount Effrem. His power covered the heavens over,
and the earth is full of His praise. Before His face shall go forth the
Word, and His feet shall advance in the plains.” [3706] Thus he
indicates in clear terms that He is God, and that His advent was [to
take place] in Bethlehem, and from Mount Effrem which is towards the
south of the inheritance, and that [He is] man. For he says, “His feet
shall advance in the plains:” and this is an indication proper to man.

[3683] 2 Cor. xii. 9.
[3684] Jon. iii. 8, 9.
[3685] Jon. i. 9.
[3686] Jon. ii. 2.
[3687] 1 Cor. i. 29.
[3688] Luke vii. 43.
[3689] Rom. xi. 32.
[3690] John xv. 9.
[3691] “Provectus.” This word has not a little perplexed the editors.
Grabe regards it as being the participle, Massuet the accusative plural
of the noun, and Harvey the genitive singular. We have doubtfully followed the latter.
[3692] Rom. viii. 3.
[3693] The punctuation and exact meaning are very uncertain.
[3694] The construction and sense of this passage are disputed. Grabe,
Massuet, and Harvey take different views of it. We have followed the rendering by Massuet.
[3695] Isa. vii. 4.
[3696] Rom. vii. 18.
[3697] Rom. vii. 24.
[3698] Isa. xxv. 3.
[3699] Grabe remarks that the word presbus, here translated “senior,”
seems rather to denote a mediator or messenger.
[3700] Isa. lxiii. 9.
[3701] Isa. xxxiii. 20.
[3702] Irenaeus quotes this as from Isaiah on the present occasion; but
in book iv. 22, 1, we find him referring the same passage to Jeremiah.
It is somewhat remarkable that it is to be found in neither prophet,
although Justin Martyr, in his dialogue with Trypho, [chap. lxxii. and
notes, Dial. with Trypho, in this volume,] brings it forward as an argument against him, and directly accuses the Jews of having fraudulently removed it from the sacred text. It is, however, to be found in no ancient version of Jewish Targum, which fact may be regarded as a decisive proof of its spuriousness.
[3703] Mic. vii. 9.
[3704] Joel iii. 16; Amos i. 2.
[3705] As Massuet observes, we must either expunge “sciut” altogether,
or read “sic” as above.
[3706] Hab. iii. 3, 5.
[3707] This quotation from Habakkuk, here commented on by Irenaeus,
differs both from the Hebrew and the LXX., and comes nearest to the old
Italic version of the passage.

Chapter XXI.—A vindication of the prophecy in Isa. vii. 14 against the
misinterpretations of Theodotion, Aquila, the Ebionites, and the Jews.
Authority of the Septuagint version. Arguments in proof that Christ was born
of a virgin.
1. God, then, was made man, and the Lord did Himself save us, giving us
the token of the Virgin. But not as some allege, among those now
presuming to expound the Scripture, [thus:] “Behold, a young woman
shall conceive, and bring forth a son,” [3708] as Theodotion the
Ephesian has interpreted, and Aquila of Pontus, [3709] both Jewish
proselytes. The Ebionites, following these, assert that He was begotten
by Joseph; thus destroying, as far as in them lies, such a marvellous
dispensation of God, and setting aside the testimony of the prophets
which proceeded from God. For truly this prediction was uttered before
the removal of the people to Babylon; that is, anterior to the
supremacy acquired by the Medes and Persians. But it was interpreted
into Greek by the Jews themselves, much before the period of our Lord’s
advent, that there might remain no suspicion that perchance the Jews,
complying with our humour, did put this interpretation upon these
words. They indeed, had they been cognizant of our future existence,
and that we should use these proofs from the Scriptures, would
themselves never have hesitated to burn their own Scriptures, which do
declare that all other nations partake of [eternal] life, and show that
they who boast themselves as being the house of Jacob and the people of
Israel, are disinherited from the grace of God.
2. For before the Romans possessed their kingdom, [3710] while as yet
the Macedonians held Asia, Ptolemy the son of Lagus, being anxious to
adorn the library which he had founded in Alexandria, with a collection
of the writings of all men, which were [works] of merit, made request
to the people of Jerusalem, that they should have their Scriptures
translated into the Greek language. And they—for at that time they
were still subject to the Macedonians—sent to Ptolemy seventy of their
elders, who were thoroughly skilled in the Scriptures and in both the
languages, to carry out what he had desired. [3711] But he, wishing to
test them individually, and fearing lest they might perchance, by
taking counsel together, conceal the truth in the Scriptures, by their
interpretation, separated them from each other, and commanded them all
to write the same translation. He did this with respect to all the
books. But when they came together in the same place before Ptolemy,
and each of them compared his own interpretation with that of every
other, God was indeed glorified, and the Scriptures were acknowledged
as truly divine. For all of them read out the common translation [which
they had prepared] in the very same words and the very same names, from
beginning to end, so that even the Gentiles present perceived that the
Scriptures had been interpreted by the inspiration of God. [3712] And
there was nothing astonishing in God having done this,--He who, when,
during the captivity of the people under Nebuchadnezzar, the Scriptures
had been corrupted, and when, after seventy years, the Jews had
returned to their own land, then, in the times of Artaxerxes king of
the Persians, inspired Esdras the priest, of the tribe of Levi, to
recast [3713] all the words of the former prophets, and to re-establish
with the people the Mosaic legislation.
3. Since, therefore, the Scriptures have been interpreted with such fidelity, and by the grace of God, and since from these God has
prepared and formed again our faith towards His Son, and has preserved
to us the unadulterated Scriptures in Egypt, where the house of Jacob
flourished, fleeing from the famine in Canaan; where also our Lord was
preserved when He fled from the persecution set on foot by Herod; and
[since] this interpretation of these Scriptures was made prior to our
Lord’s descent [to earth], and came into being before the Christians
appeared—for our Lord was born about the forty-first year of the
reign of Augustus; but Ptolemy was much earlier, under whom the
Scriptures were interpreted;--[since these things are so, I say,] truly
these men are proved to be impudent and presumptuous, who would now
show a desire to make different translations, when we refute them out
of these Scriptures, and shut them up to a belief in the advent of the
Son of God. But our faith is stedfast, unfeigned, and the only true
one, having clear proof from these Scriptures, which were interpreted
in the way I have related; and the preaching of the Church is without
interpolation. For the apostles, since they are of more ancient date
than all these [heretics], agree with this aforesaid translation; and
the translation harmonizes with the tradition of the apostles. For
Peter, and John, and Matthew, and Paul, and the rest successively, as
well as their followers, did set forth all prophetical [announcements],
just as [3714] the interpretation of the elders contains them.
4. For the one and the same Spirit of God, who proclaimed by the
prophets what and of what sort the advent of the Lord should be, did by
these elders give a just interpretation of what had been truly
prophesied; and He did Himself, by the apostles, announce that the
fulness of the times of the adoption had arrived, that the kingdom of
heaven had drawn nigh, and that He was dwelling within those that
believe on Him who was born Emmanuel of the Virgin. To this effect they
testify, [saying,] that before Joseph had come together with Mary,
while she therefore remained in virginity, “she was found with child of
the Holy Ghost;” [3715] and that the angel Gabriel 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;” [3716] and that the angel said to
Joseph in a dream, “Now this was done, that it might be fulfilled which
was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, Behold, a virgin shall be with
child.” [3717] But the elders have thus interpreted what Esaias said:
“And the Lord, moreover, said unto Ahaz, Ask for thyself a sign from
the Lord thy God out of the depth below, or from the height above. And
Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not tempt the Lord. And he said,
It is not a small thing [3718] for you to weary men; and how does the
Lord weary them? Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign;
Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son; and ye shall call His
name Emmanuel. Butter and honey shall He eat: before He knows or
chooses out things that are evil, He shall exchange them for what is
good; for before the child knows good or evil, He shall not consent to
evil, that He may choose that which is good.” [3719] Carefully, then,
has the Holy Ghost pointed out, by what has been said, His birth from a
virgin, and His essence, that He is God (for the name Emmanuel
indicates this). And He shows that He is a man, when He says, “Butter
and honey shall He eat;” and in that He terms Him a child also, [in
saying,] “before He knows good and evil;” for these are all the tokens
of a human infant. But that He “will not consent to evil, that He may
choose that which is good,”—this is proper to God; that by the fact,
that He shall eat butter and honey, we should not understand that He is
a mere man only, nor, on the other hand, from the name Emmanuel, should
suspect Him to be God without flesh.
5. And when He says, “Hear, O house of David,” [3720] He performed the
part of one indicating that He whom God promised David that He would
raise up from the fruit of his belly (ventris) an eternal King, is the
same who was born of the Virgin, herself of the lineage of David. For
on this account also, He promised that the King should be “of the fruit
of his belly,” which was the appropriate [term to use with respect] to
a virgin conceiving, and not “of the fruit of his loins,” nor “of the
fruit of his reins,” which expression is appropriate to a generating
man, and a woman conceiving by a man. In this promise, therefore, the
Scripture excluded all virile influence; yet it certainly is not
mentioned that He who was born was not from the will of man. But it has
fixed and established “the fruit of the belly,” that it might declare
the generation of Him who should be [born] from the Virgin, as
Elisabeth testified when filled with the Holy Ghost, saying to Mary,
“Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy belly;”
[3721] the Holy Ghost pointing out to those willing to hear, that the
promise which God had made, of raising up a King from the fruit of
[David’s] belly, was fulfilled in the birth from the Virgin, that is,
from Mary. Let those, therefore, who alter the passage of Isaiah thus,
“Behold, a young woman shall conceive,” and who will have Him to be
Joseph’s son, also alter the form of the promise which was given to
David, when God promised him to raise up, from the fruit of his belly,
the horn of Christ the King. But they did not understand, otherwise they would have presumed to alter even this passage also.
6. But what Isaiah said, “From the height above, or from the depth
beneath,” [3722] was meant to indicate, that “He who descended was the
same also who ascended.” [3723] But in this that he said, “The Lord
Himself shall give you a sign,” he declared an unlooked-for thing with
regard to His generation, which could have been accomplished in no
other way than by God the Lord of all, God Himself giving a sign in the
house of David. For what great thing or what sign should have been in
this, that a young woman conceiving by a man should bring forth,--a
thing which happens to all women that produce offspring? But since an
unlooked-for salvation was to be provided for men through the help of
God, so also was the unlooked-for birth from a virgin accomplished; God
giving this sign, but man not working it out.
7. On this account also, Daniel, [3724] foreseeing His advent, said
that a stone, cut out without hands, came into this world. For this is
what “without hands” means, that His coming into this world was not by
the operation of human hands, that is, of those men who are accustomed
to stone-cutting; that is, Joseph taking no part with regard to it, but
Mary alone co-operating with the pre-arranged plan. For this stone from
the earth derives existence from both the power and the wisdom of God.
Wherefore also Isaiah says: “Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I deposit in
the foundations of Zion a stone, precious, elect, the chief, the
corner-one, to be had in honour.” [3725] So, then, we understand that
His advent in human nature was not by the will of a man, but by the will of God.
8. Wherefore also Moses giving a type, cast his rod upon the earth,
[3726] in order that it, by becoming flesh, might expose and swallow up
all the opposition of the Egyptians, which was lifting itself up
against the pre-arranged plan of God; [3727] that the Egyptians
themselves might testify that it is the finger of God which works
salvation for the people, and not the son of Joseph. For if He were the
son of Joseph, how could He be greater than Solomon, or greater than
Jonah, [3728] or greater than David, [3729] when He was generated from
the same seed, and was a descendant of these men? And how was it that
He also pronounced Peter blessed, because he acknowledged Him to be the
Son of the living God? [3730]
9. But besides, if indeed He had been the son of Joseph, He could not,
according to Jeremiah, be either king or heir. For Joseph is shown to
be the son of Joachim and Jechoniah, as also Matthew sets forth in his
pedigree. [3731] But Jechoniah, and all his posterity, were
disinherited from the kingdom; Jeremiah thus declaring, “As I live,
saith the Lord, if Jechoniah the son of Joachim king of Judah had been
made the signet of my right hand, I would pluck him thence, and deliver
him into the hand of those seeking thy life.” [3732] And again:
“Jechoniah is dishonoured as a useless vessel, for he has been cast
into a land which he knew not. Earth, hear the word of the Lord: Write
this man a disinherited person; for none of his seed, sitting on the
throne of David, shall prosper, or be a prince in Judah.” [3733] And
again, God speaks of Joachim his father: “Therefore thus saith the Lord
concerning Joachim his father, king of Judea, There shall be from him
none sitting upon the throne of David: and his dead body shall be cast
out in the heat of day, and in the frost of night. And I will look upon
him, and upon his sons, and will bring upon them, and upon the
inhabitants of Jerusalem, upon the land of Judah, all the evils that I
have pronounced against them.” [3734] Those, therefore, who say that He
was begotten of Joseph, and that they have hope in Him, do cause
themselves to be disinherited from the kingdom, failing under the curse
and rebuke directed against Jechoniah and his seed. Because for this
reason have these things been spoken concerning Jechoniah, the [Holy]
Spirit foreknowing the doctrines of the evil teachers; that they may
learn that from his seed—that is, from Joseph—He was not to be born
but that, according to the promise of God, from David’s belly the King
eternal is raised up, who sums up all things in Himself, and has gathered into Himself the ancient formation [of man]. [3735]
10. For as by one man’s disobedience sin entered, and death obtained [a
place] through sin; so also by the obedience of one man, righteousness
having been introduced, shall cause life to fructify in those persons
who in times past were dead. [3736] And as the protoplast himself Adam,
had his substance from untilled and as yet virgin soil (“for God had
not yet sent rain, and man had not tilled the ground” [3737] ), and was
formed by the hand of God, that is, by the Word of God, for “all things
were made by Him,” [3738] and the Lord took dust from the earth and
formed man; so did He who is the Word, recapitulating Adam in Himself,
rightly receive a birth, enabling Him to gather up Adam [into Himself],
from Mary, who was as yet a virgin. If, then, the first Adam had a man
for his father, and was born of human seed, it were reasonable to say
that the second Adam was begotten of Joseph. But if the former was
taken from the dust, and God was his Maker, it was incumbent that the
latter also, making a recapitulation in Himself, should be formed as
man by God, to have an analogy with the former as respects His origin.
Why, then, did not God again take dust, but wrought so that the
formation should be made of Mary? It was that there might not be
another formation called into being, nor any other which should
[require to] be saved, but that the very same formation should be
summed up [in Christ as had existed in Adam], the analogy having been

[3708] Isa. vii. 14.
[3709] Epiphanius, in his De Mensuris, gives an account of these two
men. The former published his version of the Old Testament in the year
181. The latter put forth his translation half a century earlier, about
129 a.d. This reference to the version of Theodotion furnishes a note
of date as to the time when Irenaeus published his work: it must have
been subsequently to a.d. 181.
[3710] The Greek text here is, kratunai ten archen auton, translated
into Latin by “possiderent regnum suum,”—words which are somewhat
ambiguous in both languages. Massuet remarks, that “regnum eorum” would
have been a better rendering, referring the words to the Jews.
[3711] The Greek text of this narrative has been preserved by Eusebius
(Hist. Eccl., v. 8). Grabe considers it to be faulty in this passage;
so the Latin translation has been adopted here. Eusebius has poiesantos
tou Theou oper ebouleto—God having accomplished what He intended.
[3712] [See Justin Martyr, To the Greeks, cap. xiii. The testimony of
Justin naturalized this Jewish legend among Christians.]
[3713] The Greek term is anataxasthai, which the Latin renders “re memorare,” but Massuet prefers “digerere.”
[3714] This is a very interesting passage, as bearing on the question,
From what source are the quotations made by the writers of the New
Testament derived? Massuet, indeed, argues that it is of little or no
weight in the controversy; but the passage speaks for itself. Comp. Dr.
Robert’s Discussions on the Gospels, part i. ch. iv. and vii.
[3715] Matt. i. 18.
[3716] Luke i. 35.
[3717] Matt. i. 23.
[3718] We here read “non pusillum” for “num pusillum,” as in some texts. Cyprian and Tertullian confirm the former reading.
[3719] Isa. vii. 10-17.
[3720] Isa. vii. 13.
[3721] Luke i. 42.
[3722] Isa. vii. 11.
[3723] Eph. iv. 10.
[3724] Dan. ii. 34.
[3725] Isa. xxviii. 16.
[3726] Ex. vii. 9.
[3727] Ex. viii. 19.
[3728] Matt. xii. 41, 42.
[3729] Matt. xxii. 43.
[3730] Matt. xvi. 17.
[3731] Matt. i. 12-16.
[3732] Jer. xxii. 24, 25.
[3733] Jer. xxii. 28, etc.
[3734] Jer. xxxvi. 30, 31.
[3735] Harvey prefixes this last clause to the following section.
[3736] Rom. v. 19.
[3737] Gen. ii. 5.
[3738] John i. 3.

Chapter XXII.—Christ assumed actual flesh, conceived and born of the Virgin.
1. Those, therefore, who allege that He took nothing from the Virgin do
greatly err, [since,] in order that they may cast away the inheritance
of the flesh, they also reject the analogy [between Him and Adam]. For
if the one [who sprang] from the earth had indeed formation and
substance from both the hand and workmanship of God, but the other not
from the hand and workmanship of God, then He who was made after the
image and likeness of the former did not, in that case, preserve the
analogy of man, and He must seem an inconsistent piece of work, not
having wherewith He may show His wisdom. But this is to say, that He
also appeared putatively as man when He was not man, and that He was
made man while taking nothing from man. For if He did not receive the
substance of flesh from a human being, He neither was made man nor the
Son of man; and if He was not made what we were, He did no great thing
in what He suffered and endured. But every one will allow that we are
[composed of] a body taken from the earth, and a soul receiving spirit
from God. This, therefore, the Word of God was made, recapitulating in
Himself His own handiwork; and on this account does He confess Himself
the Son of man, and blesses “the meek, because they shall inherit the
earth.” [3739] The Apostle Paul, moreover, in the Epistle to the Galatians, declares plainly, “God sent His Son, made of a woman.”
[3740] And again, in that to the Romans, he says, “Concerning His Son,
who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh, who was
predestinated as the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of
holiness, by the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
2. [3742] Superfluous, too, in that case is His descent into Mary; for
why did He come down into her if He were to take nothing of her? Still
further, if He had taken nothing of Mary, He would never have availed
Himself of those kinds of food which are derived from the earth, by
which that body which has been taken from the earth is nourished; nor
would He have hungered, fasting those forty days, like Moses and Elias,
unless His body was craving after its own proper nourishment; nor,
again, would John His disciple have said, when writing of Him, “But
Jesus, being wearied with the journey, was sitting [to rest];” [3743]
nor would David have proclaimed of Him beforehand, “They have added to
the grief of my wounds;” [3744] nor would He have wept over Lazarus,
nor have sweated great drops of blood; nor have declared, “My soul is
exceeding sorrowful;” [3745] nor, when His side was pierced, would
there have come forth blood and water. For all these are tokens of the
flesh which had been derived from the earth, which He had recapitulated
in Himself, bearing salvation to His own handiwork.
3. Wherefore Luke points out that the pedigree which traces the
generation of our Lord back to Adam contains seventy-two generations,
connecting the end with the beginning, and implying that it is He who
has summed up in Himself all nations dispersed from Adam downwards, and
all languages and generations of men, together with Adam himself. Hence
also was Adam himself termed by Paul “the figure of Him that was to
come,” [3746] because the Word, the Maker of all things, had formed
beforehand for Himself the future dispensation of the human race,
connected with the Son of God; God having predestined that the first
man should be of an animal nature, with this view, that he might be
saved by the spiritual One. For inasmuch as He had a pre-existence as a
saving Being, it was necessary that what might be saved should also be
called into existence, in order that the Being who saves should not exist in vain.
4. In accordance with this design, Mary the Virgin is found obedient,
saying, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to
thy word.” [3747] But Eve was disobedient; for she did not obey when as
yet she was a virgin. And even as she, having indeed a husband, Adam,
but being nevertheless as yet a virgin (for in Paradise “they were both
naked, and were not ashamed,” [3748] inasmuch as they, having been
created a short time previously, had no understanding of the
procreation of children: for it was necessary that they should first
come to adult age, [3749] and then multiply from that time onward),
having become disobedient, was made the cause of death, both to herself
and to the entire human race; so also did Mary, having a man betrothed
[to her], and being nevertheless a virgin, by yielding obedience,
become the cause of salvation, both to herself and the whole human
race. And on this account does the law term a woman betrothed to a man,
the wife of him who had betrothed her, although she was as yet a virgin; thus indicating the back-reference from Mary to Eve, because what is joined together could not otherwise be put asunder than by inversion of the process by which these bonds of union had arisen;
[3750] so that the former ties be cancelled by the latter, that the
latter may set the former again at liberty. And it has, in fact,
happened that the first compact looses from the second tie, but that
the second tie takes the position of the first which has been
cancelled. [3751] For this reason did the Lord declare that the first
should in truth be last, and the last first. [3752] And the prophet,
too, indicates the same, saying, “instead of fathers, children have
been born unto thee.” [3753] For the Lord, having been born “the
First-begotten of the dead,” [3754] and receiving into His bosom the
ancient fathers, has regenerated them into the life of God, He having
been made Himself the beginning of those that live, as Adam became the
beginning of those who die. [3755] Wherefore also Luke, commencing the
genealogy with the Lord, carried it back to Adam, indicating that it
was He who regenerated them into the Gospel of life, and not they Him.
And thus also it was that the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by
the obedience of Mary. For what the virgin Eve had bound fast through
unbelief, this did the virgin Mary set free through faith.

[3739] Matt. v. 5.
[3740] Gal. iv. 4.
[3741] Rom. i. 3, 4.
[3742] In addition to the Greek text preserved by Theodoret in this place, we have for some way a Syriac translation, differing slightly from both Greek and Latin. It seems, however, to run smoother than either, and has therefore been followed by us.
[3743] John iv. 6.
[3744] Ps. lxix. 27.
[3745] Matt. xxvi. 38.
[3746] Rom. v. 14.
[3747] Luke i. 38.
[3748] Gen. ii. 25.
[3749] This seems quite a peculiar opinion of Irenaeus, that our first
parents, when created, were not of the age of maturity.
[3750] Literally, “unless these bonds of union be turned backwards.”
[3751] It is very difficult to follow the reasoning of Irenaeus in this
passage. Massuet has a long note upon it, in which he sets forth the
various points of comparison and contrast here indicated between Eve
and Mary; but he ends with the remark, “haec certe et quae sequuntur,
paulo subtiliora.”
[3752] Matt. xix. 30, Matt. xx. 16.
[3753] Ps. xlv. 17.
[3754] Rev. i. 5.
[3755] Comp. 1 Cor. xv. 20-22.

Chapter XXIII.—Arguments in opposition to Tatian, showing that it was
consonant to divine justice and mercy that the first Adam should first partake
in that salvation offered to all by Christ.
1. It was necessary, therefore, that the Lord, coming to the lost sheep, and making recapitulation of so comprehensive a dispensation,
and seeking after His own handiwork, should save that very man who had
been created after His image and likeness, that is, Adam, filling up
the times of His condemnation, which had been incurred through
disobedience,--[times] “which the Father had placed in His own power.”
[3756] [This was necessary,] too, inasmuch as the whole economy of
salvation regarding man came to pass according to the good pleasure of
the Father, in order that God might not be conquered, nor His wisdom
lessened, [in the estimation of His creatures.] For if man, who had
been created by God that he might live, after losing life, through
being injured by the serpent that had corrupted him, should not any
more return to life, but should be utterly [and for ever] abandoned to
death, God would [in that case] have been conquered, and the wickedness
of the serpent would have prevailed over the will of God. But inasmuch
as God is invincible and long-suffering, He did indeed show Himself to
be long-suffering in the matter of the correction of man and the probation of all, as I have already observed; and by means of the second man did He bind the strong man, and spoiled his goods, [3757] and abolished death, vivifying that man who had been in a state of death. For as the first Adam became a vessel in his (Satan’s)
possession, whom he did also hold under his power, that is, by bringing
sin on him iniquitously, and under colour of immortality entailing
death upon him. For, while promising that they should be as gods, which
was in no way possible for him to be, he wrought death in them:
wherefore he who had led man captive, was justly captured in his turn
by God; but man, who had been led captive, was loosed from the bonds of
2. But this is Adam, if the truth should be told, the first formed man,
of whom the Scripture says that the Lord spake, “Let Us make man after
Our own image and likeness;” [3758] and we are all from him: and as we
are from him, therefore have we all inherited his title. But inasmuch
as man is saved, it is fitting that he who was created the original man
should be saved. For it is too absurd to maintain, that he who was so
deeply injured by the enemy, and was the first to suffer captivity, was
not rescued by Him who conquered the enemy, but that his children were,
those whom he had begotten in the same captivity. Neither would the
enemy appear to be as yet conquered, if the old spoils remained with
him. To give an illustration: If a hostile force had overcome certain
[enemies], had bound them, and led them away captive, and held them for
a long time in servitude, so that they begat children among them; and
somebody, compassionating those who had been made slaves, should
overcome this same hostile force; he certainly would not act equitably,
were he to liberate the children of those who had been led captive,
from the sway of those who had enslaved their fathers, but should leave
these latter, who had suffered the act of capture, subject to their
enemies,--those, too, on whose very account he had proceeded to this
retaliation,-- the children succeeding to liberty through the avenging
of their fathers’ cause, but not [3759] so that their fathers, who
suffered the act of capture itself, should be left [in bondage]. For
God is neither devoid of power nor of justice, who has afforded help to
man, and restored him to His own liberty.
3. It was for this reason, too, that immediately after Adam had
transgressed, as the Scripture relates, He pronounced no curse against
Adam personally, but against the ground, in reference to his works, as
a certain person among the ancients has observed: “God did indeed transfer the curse to the earth, that it might not remain in man.”
[3760] But man received, as the punishment of his transgression, the
toilsome task of tilling the earth, and to eat bread in the sweat of
his face, and to return to the dust from whence he was taken. Similarly
also did the woman [receive] toil, and labour, and groans, and the
pangs of parturition, and a state of subjection, that is, that she
should serve her husband; so that they should neither perish altogether
when cursed by God, nor, by remaining unreprimanded, should be led to
despise God. But the curse in all its fulness fell upon the serpent,
which had beguiled them. “And God,” it is declared, “said to the
serpent: Because thou hast done this, cursed art thou above all cattle,
and above all the beasts of the earth.” [3761] And this same thing does
the Lord also say in the Gospel, to those who are found upon the left
hand: “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, which my
Father hath prepared for the devil and his angels;” [3762] indicating
that eternal fire was not originally prepared for man, but for him who
beguiled man, and caused him to offend—for him, I say, who is chief of
the apostasy, and for those angels who became apostates along with him;
which [fire], indeed, they too shall justly feel, who, like him, persevere in works of wickedness, without repentance, and without retracing their steps.
4. [These act] [3763] as Cain [did, who], when he was counselled by God
to keep quiet, because he had not made an equitable division of that
share to which his brother was entitled, but with envy and malice
thought that he could domineer over him, not only did not acquiesce,
but even added sin to sin, indicating his state of mind by his action.
For what he had planned, that did he also put in practice: he
tyrannized over and slew him; God subjecting the just to the unjust,
that the former might be proved as the just one by the things which he
suffered, and the latter detected as the unjust by those which he
perpetrated. And he was not softened even by this, nor did he stop
short with that evil deed; but being asked where his brother was, he
said, “I know not; am I my brother’s keeper?” extending and aggravating
[his] wickedness by his answer. For if it is wicked to slay a brother,
much worse is it thus insolently and irreverently to reply to the
omniscient God as if he could battle Him. And for this he did himself
bear a curse about with him, because he gratuitously brought an offering of sin, having had no reverence for God, nor being put to confusion by the act of fratricide. [3764]
5. The case of Adam, however, had no analogy with this, but was altogether different. For, having been beguiled by another under the
pretext of immortality, he is immediately seized with terror, and hides
himself; not as if he were able to escape from God; but, in a state of
confusion at having transgressed His command, he feels unworthy to
appear before and to hold converse with God. Now, “the fear of the Lord
is the beginning of wisdom;” [3765] the sense of sin leads to
repentance, and God bestows His compassion upon those who are penitent.
For [Adam] showed his repentance by his conduct, through means of the
girdle [which he used], covering himself with fig-leaves, while there
were many other leaves, which would have irritated his body in a less
degree. He, however, adopted a dress conformable to his disobedience,
being awed by the fear of God; and resisting the erring, the lustful
propensity of his flesh (since he had lost his natural disposition and
child-like mind, and had come to the knowledge of evil things), he
girded a bridle of continence upon himself and his wife, fearing God,
and waiting for His coming, and indicating, as it were, some such thing
[as follows]: Inasmuch as, he says, I have by disobedience lost that
robe of sanctity which I had from the Spirit, I do now also acknowledge
that I am deserving of a covering of this nature, which affords no
gratification, but which gnaws and frets the body. And he would no
doubt have retained this clothing for ever, thus humbling himself, if
God, who is merciful, had not clothed them with tunics of skins instead
of fig-leaves. For this purpose, too, He interrogates them, that the
blame might light upon the woman; and again, He interrogates her, that
she might convey the blame to the serpent. For she related what had
occurred. “The serpent,” says she, “beguiled me, and I did eat.” [3766]
But He put no question to the serpent; for He knew that he had been the
prime mover in the guilty deed; but He pronounced the curse upon him in
the first instance, that it might fall upon man with a mitigated rebuke. For God detested him who had led man astray, but by degrees, and little by little, He showed compassion to him who had been beguiled.
6. Wherefore also He drove him out of Paradise, and removed him far
from the tree of life, not because He envied him the tree of life, as
some venture to assert, but because He pitied him, [and did not desire]
that he should continue a sinner for ever, nor that the sin which
surrounded him should be immortal, and evil interminable and
irremediable. But He set a bound to his [state of] sin, by interposing
death, and thus causing sin to cease, [3767] putting an end to it by
the dissolution of the flesh, which should take place in the earth, so
that man, ceasing at length to live to sin, and dying to it, might begin to live to God.
7. For this end did He put enmity between the serpent and the woman and
her seed, they keeping it up mutually: He, the sole of whose foot
should be bitten, having power also to tread upon the enemy’s head; but
the other biting, killing, and impeding the steps of man, until the
seed did come appointed to tread down his head,--which was born of
Mary, of whom the prophet speaks: “Thou shalt tread upon the asp and
the basilisk; thou shalt trample down the lion and the dragon;” [3768]
indicating that sin, which was set up and spread out against man, and
which rendered him subject to death, should be deprived of its power,
along with death, which rules [over men]; and that the lion, that is,
antichrist, rampant against mankind in the latter days, should be
trampled down by Him; and that He should bind “the dragon, that old
serpent” [3769] and subject him to the power of man, who had been
conquered [3770] so that all his might should be trodden down. Now Adam
had been conquered, all life having been taken away from him:
wherefore, when the foe was conquered in his turn, Adam received new
life; and the last enemy, death, is destroyed, [3771] which at the
first had taken possession of man. Therefore, when man has been
liberated, “what is written shall come to pass, Death is swallowed up
in victory. O death, where is thy sting?” [3772] This could not be said
with justice, if that man, over whom death did first obtain dominion,
were not set free. For his salvation is death’s destruction. When therefore the Lord vivifies man, that is, Adam, death is at the same time destroyed.
8. All therefore speak falsely who disallow his (Adam’s) salvation,
shutting themselves out from life for ever, in that they do not believe
that the sheep which had perished has been found. [3773] For if it has
not been found, the whole human race is still held in a state of
perdition. False, therefore, is that man who first started this idea,
or rather, this ignorance and blindness—Tatian. [3774] As I have already indicated, this man entangled himself with all the heretics.
[3775] This dogma, however, has been invented by himself, in order
that, by introducing something new, independently of the rest, and by
speaking vanity, he might acquire for himself hearers void of faith,
affecting to be esteemed a teacher, and endeavouring from time to time
to employ sayings of this kind often [made use of] by Paul: “In Adam we
all die;” [3776] ignorant, however, that “where sin abounded, grace did
much more abound.” [3777] Since this, then, has been clearly shown, let
all his disciples be put to shame, and let them wrangle [3778] about
Adam, as if some great gain were to accrue to them if he be not saved;
when they profit nothing more [by that], even as the serpent also did
not profit when persuading man [to sin], except to this effect, that he
proved him a transgressor, obtaining man as the first-fruits of his own
apostasy. [3779] But he did not know God’s power. [3780] Thus also do
those who disallow Adam’s salvation gain nothing, except this, that
they render themselves heretics and apostates from the truth, and show
themselves patrons of the serpent and of death.

[3756] Acts i. 7.
[3757] Matt. xii. 29.
[3758] Gen. i. 26.
[3759] The old Latin translation is: “Sed non relictis ipsis patribus.”
Grabe would cancel non, while Massuet pleads for retaining it. Harvey
conjectures that the translator perhaps mistook ouk aneilemmenon for ouk analeleimenon. We have followed Massuet, though we should prefer deleting non, were it not found in all the mss.
[3760] Gen. iii. 16, etc.
[3761] Gen. iii. 14.
[3762] Matt. xxv. 41. This reading of Irenaeus agrees with that of the
Codex Bezae, at Cambridge.
[3763] Gen. iv. 7, after LXX. version.
[3764] The old Latin reads “parricidio.” The crime of parricide was
alone known to the Roman law; but it was a generic term, including the
murder of all near relations. All the editors have supposed that the original word was adelphoktonia, which has here been adopted.
[3765] Prov. i. 7, Prov. ix. 10.
[3766] Gen. iii. 13.
[3767] Rom. vi. 7.
[3768] Ps. xci. 13.
[3769] Rev. xx. 2.
[3770] Luke x. 19.
[3771] 1 Cor. xv. 26.
[3772] 1 Cor. xv. 54, 55.
[3773] Luke xv. 4.
[3774] An account of Tatian will be given in a future volume with his
only extant work.
[3775] His heresy being just a mixture of the opinions of the various
Gnostic sects.
[3776] 1 Cor. xv. 22.
[3777] Rom. v. 20.
[3778] Though unnoticed by the editors, there seems a difficulty in the
different moods of the two verbs, erubescant and concertant.
[3779] “Initium et materiam apostasiae suae habens hominem:” the meaning is very obscure, and the editors throw no light upon it.
[3780] Literally, “but he did not see God.” The translator is supposed
to have read oiden, knew, for eiden, saw.

Chapter XXIV.—Recapitulation of the various arguments adduced against Gnostic
impiety under all its aspects. The heretics, tossed about by every blast of
doctrine, are opposed by the uniform teaching of the Church, which remains so
always, and is consistent with itself.
1. Thus, then, have all these men been exposed, who bring in impious
doctrines regarding our Maker and Framer, who also formed this world,
and above whom there is no other God; and those have been overthrown by
their own arguments who teach falsehoods regarding the substance of our
Lord, and the dispensation which He fulfilled for the sake of His own
creature man. But [it has, on the other hand, been shown], that the
preaching of the Church is everywhere consistent, and continues in an
even course, and receives testimony from the prophets, the apostles,
and all the disciples—as I have proved—through [those in] the
beginning, the middle, and the end, [3781] and through the entire
dispensation of God, and that well-grounded system which tends [3782]
to man’s salvation, namely, our faith; which, having been received from
the Church, we do preserve, and which always, by the Spirit of God,
renewing its youth, as if it were some precious deposit in an excellent
vessel, causes the vessel itself containing it to renew its youth also.
For this gift of God has been entrusted to the Church, as breath was to
the first created man, [3783] for this purpose, that all the members
receiving it may be vivified; and the [means of] communion with Christ
has been distributed throughout it, that is, the Holy Spirit, the
earnest of incorruption, the means of confirming our faith, and the
ladder of ascent to God. “For in the Church,” it is said, “God hath set
apostles, prophets, teachers,” [3784] and all the other means through
which the Spirit works; of which all those are not partakers who do not
join themselves to the Church, but defraud themselves of life through
their perverse opinions and infamous behaviour. For where the Church
is, there is the Spirit of God; and where the Spirit of God is, there
is the Church, and every kind of grace; but the Spirit is truth. Those,
therefore, who do not partake of Him, are neither nourished into life
from the mother’s breasts, nor do they enjoy that most limpid fountain
which issues from the body of Christ; but they dig for themselves
broken cisterns [3785] out of earthly trenches, and drink putrid water
out of the mire, fleeing from the faith of the Church lest they be
convicted; and rejecting the Spirit, that they may not be instructed.
2. Alienated thus from the truth, they do deservedly wallow in all
error, tossed to and fro by it, thinking differently in regard to the
same things at different times, and never attaining to a well-grounded
knowledge, being more anxious to be sophists of words than disciples of
the truth. For they have not been founded upon the one rock, but upon
the sand, which has in itself a multitude of stones. Wherefore they also imagine many gods, and they always have the excuse of searching [after truth] (for they are blind), but never succeed in finding it.
For they blaspheme the Creator, Him who is truly God, who also
furnishes power to find [the truth]; imagining that they have
discovered another god beyond God, or another Pleroma, or another
dispensation. Wherefore also the light which is from God does not
illumine them, because they have dishonoured and despised God, holding
Him of small account, because, through His love and infinite benignity,
He has come within reach of human knowledge (knowledge, however, not
with regard to His greatness, or with regard to His essence—for that
has no man measured or handled—but after this sort: that we should
know that He who made, and formed, and breathed in them the breath of
life, and nourishes us by means of the creation, establishing all
things by His Word, and binding them together by His Wisdom [3786] --
this is He who is the only true God); but they dream of a non-existent
being above Him, that they may be regarded as having found out the great God, whom nobody, [they hold,] can recognise holding communication with the human race, or as directing mundane matters: that is to say, they find out the god of Epicurus, who does nothing either for himself or others; that is, he exercises no providence at all.

[3781] Literally, “through the beginnings, the means, and the end.”
These three terms refer to the Prophets, the Apostles, and the Church
[3782] The Latin is “solidam operationem,” which we know not how to translate, in accordance with the context, except as above.
[3783] This seems to be the meaning conveyed by the old Latin, “quemadmodum aspiratio plasmationi.”
[3784] 1 Cor. xii. 28.
[3785] Jer. ii. 13.
[3786] i.e., the Spirit.

Chapter XXV.—This world is ruled by the providence of one God, who is both
endowed with infinite justice to punish the wicked, and with infinite goodness
to bless the pious, and impart to them salvation.
1. God does, however, exercise a providence over all things, and
therefore He also gives counsel; and when giving counsel, He is present
with those who attend to moral discipline. [3787] It follows then of
course, that the things which are watched over and governed should be
acquainted with their ruler; which things are not irrational or vain,
but they have understanding derived from the providence of God. And,
for this reason certain of the Gentiles, who were less addicted to
[sensual] allurements and voluptuousness, and were not led away to such
a degree of superstition with regard to idols, being moved, though but
slightly, by His providence, were nevertheless convinced that they should call the Maker of this universe the Father, who exercises a providence over all things, and arranges the affairs of our world.
2. Again, that they might remove the rebuking and judicial power from
the Father, reckoning that as unworthy of God, and thinking that they
had found out a God both without anger and [merely] good, they have
alleged that one [God] judges, but that another saves, unconsciously
taking away the intelligence and justice of both deities. For if the
judicial one is not also good, to bestow favours upon the deserving,
and to direct reproofs against those requiring them, he will appear
neither a just nor a wise judge. On the other hand, the good God, if he
is merely good, and not one who tests those upon whom he shall send his
goodness, will be out of the range of justice and goodness; and his
goodness will seem imperfect, as not saving all; [for it should do so,]
if it be not accompanied with judgment.
3. Marcion, therefore, himself, by dividing God into two, maintaining
one to be good and the other judicial, does in fact, on both sides, put
an end to deity. For he that is the judicial one, if he be not good, is
not God, because he from whom goodness is absent is no God at all; and
again, he who is good, if he has no judicial power, suffers the same
[loss] as the former, by being deprived of his character of deity. And
how can they call the Father of all wise, if they do not assign to Him
a judicial faculty? For if He is wise, He is also one who tests
[others]; but the judicial power belongs to him who tests, and justice
follows the judicial faculty, that it may reach a just conclusion;
justice calls forth judgment, and judgment, when it is executed with
justice, will pass on to wisdom. Therefore the Father will excel in
wisdom all human and angelic wisdom, because He is Lord, and Judge, and
the Just One, and Ruler over all. For He is good, and merciful, and
patient, and saves whom He ought: nor does goodness desert Him in the
exercise of justice, [3788] nor is His wisdom lessened; for He saves
those whom He should save, and judges those worthy of judgment. Neither
does He show Himself unmercifully just; for His goodness, no doubt, goes on before, and takes precedency.
4. The God, therefore, who does benevolently cause His sun to rise upon
all, [3789] and sends rain upon the just and unjust, shall judge those
who, enjoying His equally distributed kindness, have led lives not
corresponding to the dignity of His bounty; but who have spent their
days in wantonness and luxury, in opposition to His benevolence, and
have, moreover, even blasphemed Him who has conferred so great benefits
upon them.
5. Plato is proved to be more religious than these men, for he allowed
that the same God was both just and good, having power over all things,
and Himself executing judgment, expressing himself thus, “And God
indeed, as He is also the ancient Word, possessing the beginning, the
end, and the mean of all existing things, does everything rightly,
moving round about them according to their nature; but retributive
justice always follows Him against those who depart from the divine
law.” [3790] Then, again, he points out that the Maker and Framer of
the universe is good. “And to the good,” he says, “no envy ever springs
up with regard to anything;” [3791] thus establishing the goodness of
God, as the beginning and the cause of the creation of the world, but
not ignorance, nor an erring AEon, nor the consequence of a defect, nor
the Mother weeping and lamenting, nor another God or Father.
6. Well may their Mother bewail them, as capable of conceiving and inventing such things for they have worthily uttered this falsehood against themselves, that their Mother is beyond the Pleroma, that is beyond the knowledge of God, and that their entire multitude became
[3792] a shapeless and crude abortion: for it apprehends nothing of the
truth; it falls into void and darkness: for their wisdom (Sophia) was
void, and wrapped up in darkness; and Horos did not permit her to enter
the Pleroma: for the Spirit (Achamoth) did not receive them into the
place of refreshment. For their father, by begetting ignorance, wrought
in them the sufferings of death. We do not misrepresent [their opinions
on] these points; but they do themselves confirm, they do themselves
teach, they do glory in them, they imagine a lofty [mystery] about
their Mother, whom they represent as having been begotten without a
father, that is, without God, a female from a female, [3793] that is,
corruption from error.
7. We do indeed pray that these men may not remain in the pit which
they themselves have dug, but separate themselves from a Mother of this
nature, and depart from Bythus, and stand away from the void, and
relinquish the shadow; and that they, being converted to the Church of
God, may be lawfully begotten, and that Christ may be formed in them,
and that they may know the Framer and Maker of this universe, the only
true God and Lord of all. We pray for these things on their behalf,
loving them better than they seem to love themselves. For our love,
inasmuch as it is true, is salutary to them, if they will but receive
it. It may be compared to a severe remedy, extirpating the proud and
sloughing flesh of a wound; for it puts an end to their pride and
haughtiness. Wherefore it shall not weary us, to endeavour with all our
might to stretch out the hand unto them. Over and above what has been
already stated, I have deferred to the following book, to adduce the
words of the Lord; if, by convincing some among them, through means of
the very instruction of Christ, I may succeed in persuading them to
abandon such error, and to cease from blaspheming their Creator, who is
both God alone, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

[3787] Literally, “who have a foresight of morals”—qui morum
providentiam habent. The meaning is very obscure. [Prov. xxii. 3, Prov.
xxvii. 12.]
[3788] The text is here very uncertain, but the above seems the probable meaning.
[3789] Matt. v. 45.
[3790] Plato, de Leg., iv. and p. 715, 16.
[3791] In Timaeo, vi. p. 29.
[3792] The Latin is “collectio eorum;” but what collectio here means,
it is not easy to determine. Grabe, with much probability, deems it the
representative of sustasis. Harvey prefers enthumema: but it is
difficult to perceive the relevancy of his references to the rhetorical
[3793] See book i. cap. xvi. note.

The editor of this American Series confines himself in general to such
occasional and very brief annotations as may suggest to students and
others the practical views which are requisite to a clear comprehension
of authors who wrote for past ages; for a sort and condition of men no
longer existing, whose extinction as a class is, indeed, largely due to
these writings. But he reserved to himself the privilege of correcting
palpable mistakes, especially in points which bear upon questions of our own times.
That our learned translators have unaccountably admitted a very
inaccurate translation of the crucial paragraph in book iii. cap. iii.
sect. 2, I have shown in the footnote at that place. It is evident, (1)
because they themselves are not satisfied with it, and (2) because I
have set it side by side with the more literal rendering of a writer
who would have preferred their reading if it could have borne the test
of criticism.
Now, the authors of the Latin translation [3794] may have designed the
ambiguity which gives the Ultramontane party an apparent advantage; but
it is an advantage which disappears as soon as it is examined, and
hence I am content to take it as it stands. Various conjectures have
been made as to the original Greek of Irenaeus; but the Latin answers
every purpose of the author’s argument, and is fatal to the claims of
the Papacy. Let me recur to the translation given, in loco, from a Roman Catholic, and this will be seen at once.
For he thus renders it:--
1. In this Church, “ever, by those who are on every side, has been preserved that tradition which is from apostles.” How would such a
proposition have sounded to Pius IX. in the Vatican Council? The faith
is preserved by those who come to Rome, not by the Bishop who presides
2. “For to this Church, on account of more potent principality, [3795]
it is necessary that every Church (that is, those who are, on every
side, faithful) resort.” The greatness of Rome, that is, as the capital
of the Empire, imparts to the local Church a superior dignity, even as
compared with Lyons, or any other metropolitical Church. Everybody visits Rome: hence you find there faithful witnesses from every side (from all the Churches); and their united testimony it is which preserves in Rome the pure apostolic traditions.
The Latin, thus translated by a candid Roman Catholic, reverses the
whole system of the Papacy. Pius IX. informed his Bishops, at the late
Council, that they were not called to bear their testimony, but to hear
his infallible decree; “reducing us,” said the Archbishop of Paris, “to
a council of sacristans.”
Sustaining these views by a few footnotes, I add (1) a literal
rendering of my own, and then (2) a metaphrase of the same, bringing
out the argument from the crabbed obstructions of the Latin text. This,
then, is what Irenaeus says: (a) “For it is necessary for every Church
(that is to say, the faithful from all parts) to meet in this Church,
on account of the superior magistracy; in which Church, by those who
are from all places, the tradition of the apostles has been preserved.”
Or, more freely rendered: (b) “On account of the chief magistracy
[3796] [of the empire], the faithful from all parts, representing every
Church, are obliged to resort to Rome, and there to come together; so
that [it is the distinction of this Church that], in it, the tradition
of the apostles has been preserved by Christians gathered together out
of all the Churches.” Taking the entire argument of our author with the
context, then, it amounts to this: “We must ask, not for local, but
universal, testimony. Now, in every Church founded by the apostles has
been handed down their traditions; but, as it would be a tedious thing
to collect them all, let this suffice. Take that Church (nearest at
hand, and which is the only Apostolic Church of the West), the great
and glorious Church at Rome, which was there founded by the two
apostles Peter and Paul. In her have been preserved the traditions of
all the Churches, because everybody is forced to go to the seat of
empire: and therefore, by these representatives of the whole Catholic
Church, the apostolic traditions have been all collected in Rome:
[3797] and you have a synoptical view of all Churches in what is there
preserved.” Had the views of the modern Papacy ever entered the head of
Irenaeus, what an absurdity would be this whole argument. He would have
said, “It is no matter what may be gathered elsewhere; for the Bishop
of Rome is the infallible oracle of all Catholic truth, and you will
always find it by his mouth.” It should be noted that Orthodoxy was
indeed preserved there, just so long as Rome permitted other Churches
to contribute their testimony on the principle of Irenaeus, and thus to
make her the depository of all Catholic tradition, as witnessed “by
all, everywhere, and from the beginning.” But all this is turned upside
down by modern Romanism. No other Church is to be heard or considered;
but Rome takes all into her own power, and may dictate to all Churches
what they are to believe, however novel, or contrary to the torrent of
antiquity in the teachings of their own founders and great doctors in
all past time.

[3794] One of the Antiochian Canons probably reflects the current
language of an earlier antiquity thus: dia to en te metropolei
pantachothen suntrechein pantas tous ta pragmata echontas: and, if so,
this suntrechein gives the meaning of convenire.
[3795] “Its more potent,” etc., is not a strict rendering: “the more potent,” rather; which leaves the principalitas to the city, not the Church.
[3796] Bishop Wordsworth inclines to the idea that the original Greek
was hikanoteran archaioteta, thus conceding that Irenaeus was speaking
of the greater antiquity of Rome as compared with other (Western)
Churches. Even so, he shows that the argument of Irenaeus is fatal to
Roman pretensions, which admit of no such ideas as he advances, and no
such freedom as that of his dealings with Rome.
[3797] Nobody has more forcibly stated the argument of Irenaeus than
the Abbe Guettee, in his exhaustive work on the Papacy. I published a
translation of this valuable historical epitome in New York (Carleton),
1867; but it is out of print. The original may be had in Paris (Fischbacher), No. 33 Rue de Seine.

Against Heresies: Book IV

1. By transmitting to thee, my very dear friend, this fourth book of the work which is [entitled] The Detection and Refutation of False Knowledge, I shall, as I have promised, add weight, by means of the
words of the Lord, to what I have already advanced; so that thou also,
as thou hast requested, mayest obtain from me the means of confuting
all the heretics everywhere, and not permit them, beaten back at all
points, to launch out further into the deep of error, nor to be drowned
in the sea of ignorance; but that thou, turning them into the haven of
the truth, mayest cause them to attain their salvation.
2. The man, however, who would undertake their conversion, must possess
an accurate knowledge of their systems or schemes of doctrine. For it
is impossible for any one to heal the sick, if he has no knowledge of
the disease of the patients. This was the reason that my
predecessors—much superior men to myself, too—were unable,
notwithstanding, to refute the Valentinians satisfactorily, because
they were ignorant of these men’s system; [3798] which I have with all
care delivered to thee in the first book in which I have also shown
that their doctrine is a recapitulation of all the heretics. For which
reason also, in the second, we have had, as in a mirror, a sight of
their entire discomfiture. For they who oppose these men (the
Valentinians) by the right method, do [thereby] oppose all who are of
an evil mind; and they who overthrow them, do in fact overthrow every
kind of heresy.
3. For their system is blasphemous above all [others], since they
represent that the Maker and Framer, who is one God, as I have shown,
was produced from a defect or apostasy. They utter blasphemy, also,
against our Lord, by cutting off and dividing Jesus from Christ, and
Christ from the Saviour, and again the Saviour from the Word, and the
Word from the Only-begotten. And since they allege that the Creator
originated from a defect or apostasy, so have they also taught that
Christ and the Holy Spirit were emitted on account of this defect, and
that the Saviour was a product of those AEons who were produced from a
defect; so that there is nothing but blasphemy to be found among them.
In the preceding book, then, the ideas of the apostles as to all these
points have been set forth, [to the effect] that not only did they,
“who from the beginning were eye-witnesses and ministers of the word”
[3799] of truth, hold no such opinions, but that they did also preach
to us to shun these doctrines, [3800] foreseeing by the Spirit those weak-minded persons who should be led astray. [3801]
4. For as the serpent beguiled Eve, by promising her what he had not himself, [3802] so also do these men, by pretending [to possess] superior knowledge, and [to be acquainted with] ineffable mysteries;
and, by promising that admittance which they speak of as taking place
within the Pleroma, plunge those that believe them into death,
rendering them apostates from Him who made them. And at that time,
indeed, the apostate angel, having effected the disobedience of mankind
by means of the serpent, imagined that he escaped the notice of the
Lord; wherefore God assigned him the form [3803] and name [of a
serpent]. But now, since the last times are [come upon us], evil is
spread abroad among men, which not only renders them apostates, but by
many machinations does [the devil] raise up blasphemers against the
Creator, namely, by means of all the heretics already mentioned. For
all these, although they issue forth from diverse regions, and
promulgate different [opinions], do nevertheless concur in the same
blasphemous design, wounding [men] unto death, by teaching blasphemy
against God our Maker and Supporter, and derogating from the salvation
of man. Now man is a mixed organization of soul and flesh, who was
formed after the likeness of God, and moulded by His hands, that is, by
the Son and Holy Spirit, to whom also He said, “Let Us make man.”
[3804] This, then, is the aim of him who envies our life, to render men
disbelievers in their own salvation, and blasphemous against God the
Creator. For whatsoever all the heretics may have advanced with the
utmost solemnity, they come to this at last, that they blaspheme the
Creator, and disallow the salvation of God’s workmanship, which the
flesh truly is; on behalf of which I have proved, in a variety of ways,
that the Son of God accomplished the whole dispensation [of mercy], and
have shown that there is none other called God by the Scriptures except
the Father of all, and the Son, and those who possess the adoption.

[3798] [The reader who marvels at the tedious recitals must note this
(1) as proof of the author’s practical wisdom, and (2) as evidence of
his fidelity in what he exhibits.]
[3799] Luke i. 2.
[3800] 2 Tim. ii. 23.
[3801] [The solemnity of the apostolic testimonies against the crop of
tares that was to spring up receives great illustration from Irenaeus.
1 John ii. 18.]
[3802] [2 Pet. ii. 19.]
[3803] [Rev. xii. 9. A little essay, Messias and Anti-Messias, by the
Rev. C. I. Black, London (Masters, 1847), is commended to those who need light on this very mysterious subject.]
[3804] Gen. i. 26.

Chapter I.—The Lord acknowledged but one God and Father.
1. Since, therefore, this is sure and stedfast, that no other God or Lord was announced by the Spirit, except Him who, as God, rules over all, together with His Word, and those who receive the Spirit of adoption, [3805] that is, those who believe in the one and true God,
and in Jesus Christ the Son of God; and likewise that the apostles did
of themselves term no one else as God, or name [no other] as Lord; and,
what is much more important, [since it is true] that our Lord [acted
likewise], who did also command us to confess no one as Father, except
Him who is in the heavens, who is the one God and the one
Father;--those things are clearly shown to be false which these
deceivers and most perverse sophists advance, maintaining that the
being whom they have themselves invented is by nature both God and
Father; but that the Demiurge is naturally neither God nor Father, but
is so termed merely by courtesy (verbo tenus), because of his ruling
the creation, these perverse mythologists state, setting their thoughts
against God; and, putting aside the doctrine of Christ, and of
themselves divining falsehoods, they dispute against the entire
dispensation of God. For they maintain that their AEons, and gods, and
fathers, and lords, are also still further termed heavens, together
with their Mother, whom they do also call “the Earth,” and “Jerusalem,”
while they also style her many other names.
2. Now to whom is it not clear, that if the Lord had known many fathers
and gods, He would not have taught His disciples to know [only] one
God, [3806] and to call Him alone Father? But He did the rather
distinguish those who by word merely (verbo tenus) are termed gods,
from Him who is truly God, that they should not err as to His doctrine,
nor understand one [in mistake] for another. And if He did indeed teach
us to call one Being Father and God, while He does from time to time
Himself confess other fathers and gods in the same sense, then He will
appear to enjoin a different course upon His disciples from what He
follows Himself. Such conduct, however, does not bespeak the good
teacher, but a misleading and invidious one. The apostles, too,
according to these men’s showing, are proved to be transgressors of the
commandment, since they confess the Creator as God, and Lord, and
Father, as I have shown—if He is not alone God and Father. Jesus,
therefore, will be to them the author and teacher of such
transgression, inasmuch as He commanded that one Being should be called
Father, [3807] thus imposing upon them the necessity of confessing the
Creator as their Father, as has been pointed out.

[3805] See iii. 6, 1.
[3806] [St. John xvii. 3.]
[3807] Matt. xxiii. 9.

Chapter II.—Proofs from the plain testimony of Moses, and of the other
prophets, whose words are the words of Christ, that there is but one God, the
founder of the world, whom Our Lord preached, and whom He called His Father.
1. Moses, therefore, making a recapitulation of the whole law, which he
had received from the Creator (Demiurge), thus speaks in Deuteronomy:
“Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words
of my mouth.” [3808] Again, David saying that his help came from the
Lord, asserts: “My help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”
[3809] And Esaias confesses that words were uttered by God, who made
heaven and earth, and governs them. He says: “Hear, O heavens; and give
ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken.” [3810] And again: “Thus saith
the Lord God, who made the heaven, and stretched it out; who
established the earth, and the things in it; and who giveth breath to
the people upon it, and spirit to them who walk therein.” [3811]
2. Again, our Lord Jesus Christ confesses this same Being as His
Father, where He says: “I confess to thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and
earth.” [3812] What Father will those men have us to understand [by
these words], those who are most perverse sophists of Pandora? Whether
shall it be Bythus, whom they have fabled of themselves; or their
Mother; or the Only-begotten? Or shall it be he whom the Marcionites or
the others have invented as god (whom I indeed have amply demonstrated
to be no god at all); or shall it be (what is really the case) the Maker of heaven and earth, whom also the prophets proclaimed,--whom Christ, too, confesses as His Father,-- whom also the law announces, saying: “Hear, O Israel; The Lord thy God is one God?” [3813]
3. But since the writings (literae) of Moses are the words of Christ,
He does Himself declare to the Jews, as John has recorded in the
Gospel: “If ye had believed Moses, ye would have believed Me: for he
wrote of Me. But if ye believe not his writings, neither will ye
believe My words.” [3814] He thus indicates in the clearest manner that
the writings of Moses are His words. If, then, [this be the case with
regard] to Moses, so also, beyond a doubt, the words of the other
prophets are His [words], as I have pointed out. And again, the Lord
Himself exhibits Abraham as having said to the rich man, with reference
to all those who were still alive: “If they do not obey Moses and the
prophets, neither, if any one were to rise from the dead and go to them, will they believe him.” [3815]
4. Now, He has not merely related to us a story respecting a poor man
and a rich one; but He has taught us, in the first place, that no one
should lead a luxurious life, nor, living in worldly pleasures and
perpetual feastings, should be the slave of his lusts, and forget God.“For there was,” He says, “a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen, and delighted himself with splendid feasts.” [3816]
5. Of such persons, too, the Spirit has spoken by Esaias: “They drink
wine with [the accompaniment of] harps, and tablets, and psalteries,
and flutes; but they regard not the works of God, neither do they
consider the work of His hands.” [3817] Lest, therefore, we should
incur the same punishment as these men, the Lord reveals [to us] their
end; showing at the same time, that if they obeyed Moses and the
prophets, they would believe in Him whom these had preached, the Son of
God, who rose from the dead, and bestows life upon us; and He shows
that all are from one essence, that is, Abraham, and Moses, and the
prophets, and also the Lord Himself, who rose from the dead, in whom
many believe who are of the circumcision, who do also hear Moses and
the prophets announcing the coming of the Son of God. But those who
scoff [at the truth] assert that these men were from another essence,
and they do not know the first-begotten from the dead; understanding
Christ as a distinct being, who continued as if He were impassible, and
Jesus, who suffered, as being altogether separate [from Him].
6. For they do not receive from the Father the knowledge of the Son; neither do they learn who the Father is from the Son, who teaches
clearly and without parables Him who truly is God. He says: “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.” [3818] For these words are evidently spoken with
reference to the Creator, as also Esaias says: “Heaven is my throne,
the earth is my footstool.” [3819] And besides this Being there is no
other God; otherwise He would not be termed by the Lord either “God” or
“the great King;” for a Being who can be so described admits neither of
any other being compared with nor set above Him. For he who has any
superior over him, and is under the power of another, this being never
can be called either “God” or “the great King.”
7. But neither will these men be able to maintain that such words were
uttered in an ironical manner, since it is proved to them by the words
themselves that they were in earnest. For He who uttered them was
Truth, and did truly vindicate His own house, by driving out of it the
changers of money, who were buying and selling, saying unto them: “It
is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have
made it a den of thieves.” [3820] And what reason had He for thus doing
and saying, and vindicating His house, if He did preach another God?
But [He did so], that He might point out the transgressors of His
Father’s law; for neither did He bring any accusation against the
house, nor did He blame the law, which He had come to fulfil; but He
reproved those who were putting His house to an improper use, and those
who were transgressing the law. And therefore the scribes and
Pharisees, too, who from the times of the law had begun to despise God,
did not receive His Word, that is, they did not believe on Christ. Of
these Esaias says: “Thy princes are rebellious, companions of thieves,
loving gifts, following after rewards, not judging the fatherless, and
negligent of the cause of the widows.” [3821] And Jeremiah, in like
manner: “They,” he says, “who rule my people did not know me; they are
senseless and imprudent children; they are wise to do evil, but to do
well they have no knowledge.” [3822]
8. But as many as feared God, and were anxious about His law, these ran
to Christ, and were all saved. For He said to His disciples: “Go ye to
the sheep of the house of Israel, [3823] which have perished.” And many
more Samaritans, it is said, when the Lord had tarried among them, two
days, “believed because of His words, and said to the woman, Now we
believe, not because of thy saying, for we ourselves have heard [Him],
and know that this man is truly the Saviour of the world.” [3824] And
Paul likewise declares, “And so all Israel shall be saved;” [3825] but
he has also said, that the law was our pedagogue [to bring us] to
Christ Jesus. [3826] Let them not therefore ascribe to the law the
unbelief of certain [among them]. For the law never hindered them from
believing in the Son of God; nay, but it even exhorted them [3827] so
to do, saying [3828] that men can be saved in no other way from the old
wound of the serpent than by believing in Him who, in the likeness of
sinful flesh, is lifted up from the earth upon the tree of martyrdom,
and draws all things to Himself, [3829] and vivifies the dead.

[3808] Deut. xxxii. 1.
[3809] Ps. cxxiv. 8.
[3810] Isa. i. 2.
[3811] Isa. xlii. 5.
[3812] Matt. xi. 25; Luke x. 21.
[3813] Deut. vi. 4.
[3814] John v. 46, 47.
[3815] Luke xvi. 31.
[3816] Luke xvi. 19.
[3817] Isa. v. 12.
[3818] Matt. v. 34.
[3819] Isa. lxvi. 1.
[3820] Matt. xxi. 13.
[3821] Isa. i. 23.
[3822] Jer. iv. 22.
[3823] Matt. x. 6.
[3824] John iv. 41.
[3825] Rom. xi. 26.
[3826] Gal. iii. 24.
[3827] Num. xxi. 8.
[3828] This passage is quoted by Augustine, in his treatise on original
sin, written to oppose Pelagius (lib. i. c. ii.), about 400 A.D.
[3829] John xii. 32, John iii. 14.

Chapter III.—Answer to the cavils of the Gnostics. We are not to suppose that
the true God can be changed, or come to an end because the heavens, which are
His throne and the earth, His footstool, shall pass away.
1. Again, as to their malignantly asserting that if heaven is indeed
the throne of God, and earth His footstool, and if it is declared that
the heaven and earth shall pass away, then when these pass away the God
who sitteth above must also pass away, and therefore He cannot be the
God who is over all; in the first place, they are ignorant what the expression means, that heaven is [His] throne and earth [His]
footstool. For they do not know what God is, but they imagine that He
sits after the fashion of a man, and is contained within bounds, but
does not contain. And they are also unacquainted with [the meaning of]
the passing away of the heaven and earth; but Paul was not ignorant of
it when he declared, “For the figure of this world passeth away.”
[3830] In the next place, David explains their question, for he says
that when the fashion of this world passes away, not only shall God
remain, but His servants also, expressing himself thus in the 101st
Psalm: “In the beginning, Thou, O Lord, hast founded the earth, and the
heavens are the works of Thy hands. They shall perish, but Thou shalt
endure, and all shall wax old as a garment; and as a vesture Thou shalt
change them, and they shall be changed: but Thou art the same, and Thy
years shall not fail. The children of Thy servants shall continue, and
their seed shall be established for ever;” [3831] pointing out plainly
what things they are that pass away, and who it is that doth endure for
ever—God, together with His servants. And in like manner Esaias says:
“Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath; for
the heaven has been set together as smoke, and the earth shall wax old
like a garment, and they who dwell therein shall die in like manner.
But my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not pass
away.” [3832]

[3830] 1 Cor. vii. 31.
[3831] Ps. cii. 25-28. The cause of the difference in the numbering of
the Psalms is that the Septuagint embraces in one psalm—the ninth—the
two which form the ninth and tenth in the Hebrew text.
[3832] Isa. li. 6.

Chapter IV.—Answer to another objection, showing that the destruction of
Jerusalem, which was the city of the great King, diminished nothing from the
supreme majesty and power of God, for that this destruction was put in
execution by the most wise counsel of the same God.
1. Further, also, concerning Jerusalem and the Lord, they venture to assert that, if it had been “the city of the great King,” [3833] it
would not have been deserted. [3834] This is just as if any one should
say, that if straw were a creation of God, it would never part company
with the wheat; and that the vine twigs, if made by God, never would be
lopped away and deprived of the clusters. But as these [vine twigs]
have not been originally made for their own sake, but for that of the
fruit growing upon them, which being come to maturity and taken away,
they are left behind, and those which do not conduce to fructification
are lopped off altogether; so also [was it with] Jerusalem, which had
in herself borne the yoke of bondage (under which man was reduced, who
in former times was not subject to God when death was reigning, and
being subdued, became a fit subject for liberty), when the fruit of
liberty had come, and reached maturity, and been reaped and stored in
the barn, and when those which had the power to produce fruit had been
carried away from her [i.e., from Jerusalem], and scattered throughout
all the world. Even as Esaias saith, “The children of Jacob shall
strike root, and Israel shall flourish, and the whole world shall be
filled with his fruit.” [3835] The fruit, therefore, having been sown
throughout all the world, she (Jerusalem) was deservedly forsaken, and
those things which had formerly brought forth fruit abundantly were
taken away; for from these, according to the flesh, were Christ and the
apostles enabled to bring forth fruit. But now these are no longer
useful for bringing forth fruit. For all things which have a beginning
in time must of course have an end in time also.
2. Since, then, the law originated with Moses, it terminated with John
as a necessary consequence. Christ had come to fulfil it: wherefore
“the law and the prophets were” with them “until John.” [3836] And
therefore Jerusalem, taking its commencement from David, [3837] and
fulfilling its own times, must have an end of legislation [3838] when
the new covenant was revealed. For God does all things by measure and
in order; nothing is unmeasured with Him, because nothing is out of
order. Well spake he, who said that the unmeasurable Father was Himself
subjected to measure in the Son; for the Son is the measure of the
Father, since He also comprehends Him. But that the administration of
them (the Jews) was temporary, Esaias says: “And the daughter of Zion
shall be left as a cottage in a vineyard, and as a lodge in a garden of
cucumbers.” [3839] And when shall these things be left behind? Is it
not when the fruit shall be taken away, and the leaves alone shall be
left, which now have no power of producing fruit?
3. But why do we speak of Jerusalem, since, indeed, the fashion of the
whole world must also pass away, when the time of its disappearance has
come, in order that the fruit indeed may be gathered into the garner,
but the chaff, left behind, may be consumed by fire? “For the day of
the Lord cometh as a burning furnace, and all sinners shall be stubble,
they who do evil things, and the day shall burn them up.” [3840] Now,
who this Lord is that brings such a day about, John the Baptist points
out, when he says of Christ, “He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost
and with fire, having His fan in His hand to cleanse His floor; and He
will gather His fruit into the garner, but the chaff He will burn up
with unquenchable fire.” [3841] For He who makes the chaff and He who
makes the wheat are not different persons, but one and the same, who
judges them, that is, separates them. But the wheat and the chaff,
being inanimate and irrational, have been made such by nature. But man,
being endowed with reason, and in this respect like to God, having been
made free in his will, and with power over himself, is himself the
cause to himself, that sometimes he becomes wheat, and sometimes chaff.
Wherefore also he shall be justly condemned, because, having been
created a rational being, he lost the true rationality, and living
irrationally, opposed the righteousness of God, giving himself over to
every earthly spirit, and serving all lusts; as says the prophet, “Man,
being in honour, did not understand: he was assimilated to senseless beasts, and made like to them.” [3842]

[3833] Matt. v. 35.
[3834] [Jer. vii. 4. One of the most powerful arguments in all
Scripture is contained in the first twelve verses of this chapter, and
it rebukes an inveterate superstition of the human heart. Comp. Rev.
ii. 5, and the message to Rome, Rom. xi. 21.]

[3835] Isa. xxvii. 6.
[3836] Luke xvi. 16.
[3837] 2 Sam. v. 7, where David is described as taking the stronghold
of Zion from the Jebusites.
[3838] The text fluctuates between “legis dationem” and “legis dationis.” We have followed the latter.
[3839] Isa. i. 8.
[3840] Mal. iv. 1.
[3841] Matt. iii. 11, etc.
[3842] Ps. xlix. 12.

Chapter V.—The author returns to his former argument, and shows that there
was but one God announced by the law and prophets, whom Christ confesses as
His Father, and who, through His word, one living God with Him, made Himself
known to men in both covenants.
1. God, therefore, is one and the same, who rolls up the heaven as a
book, and renews the face of the earth; who made the things of time for
man, so that coming to maturity in them, he may produce the fruit of
immortality; and who, through His kindness, also bestows [upon him]
eternal things, “that in the ages to come He may show the exceeding
riches of His grace;” [3843] who was announced by the law and the
prophets, whom Christ confessed as His Father. Now He is the Creator,
and He it is who is God over all, as Esaias says, “I am witness, saith
the Lord God, and my servant whom I have chosen, that ye may know, and
believe, and understand that I am. Before me there was no other God,
neither shall be after me. I am God, and besides me there is no
Saviour. I have proclaimed, and I have saved.” [3844] And again: “I
myself am the first God, and I am above things to come.” [3845] For
neither in an ambiguous, nor arrogant, nor boastful manner, does He say
these things; but since it was impossible, without God, to come to a
knowledge of God, He teaches men, through His Word, to know God. To
those, therefore, who are ignorant of these matters, and on this
account imagine that they have discovered another Father, justly does
one say, “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.”
2. For our Lord and Master, in the answer which He gave to the
Sadducees, who say that there is no resurrection, and who do therefore
dishonour God, and lower the credit of the law, did both indicate a
resurrection, and reveal God, saying to them, “Ye do err, not knowing
the Scriptures, nor the power of God.” “For, touching the resurrection
of the dead,” He says, “have ye not read that which was spoken by God,
saying, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of
Jacob?” [3847] And He added, “He is not the God of the dead, but of the
living; for all live to Him.” By these arguments He unquestionably made
it clear, that He who spake to Moses out of the bush, and declared
Himself to be the God of the fathers, He is the God of the living. For
who is the God of the living unless He who is God, and above whom there
is no other God? Whom also Daniel the prophet, when Cyrus king of the
Persians said to him, “Why dost thou not worship Bel?” [3848] did
proclaim, saying, “Because I do not worship idols made with hands, but
the living God, who established the heaven and the earth and has
dominion over all flesh.” Again did he say, “I will adore the Lord my
God, because He is the living God.” He, then, who was adored by the
prophets as the living God, He is the God of the living; and His Word
is He who also spake to Moses, who also put the Sadducees to silence,
who also bestowed the gift of resurrection, thus revealing [both]
truths to those who are blind, that is, the resurrection and God [in
His true character]. For if He be not the God of the dead, but of the
living, yet was called the God of the fathers who were sleeping, they
do indubitably live to God, and have not passed out of existence, since
they are children of the resurrection. But our Lord is Himself the
resurrection, as He does Himself declare, “I am the resurrection and
the life.” [3849] But the fathers are His children; for it is said by
the prophet: “Instead of thy fathers, thy children have been made to
thee.” [3850] Christ Himself, therefore, together with the Father, is
the God of the living, who spake to Moses, and who was also manifested
to the fathers.
3. And teaching this very thing, He said to the Jews: “Your father Abraham rejoiced that he should see my day; and he saw it, and was glad.” [3851] What is intended? “Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness.” [3852] In the first place, [he
believed] that He was the maker of heaven and earth, the only God; and
in the next place, that He would make his seed as the stars of heaven.
This is what is meant by Paul, [when he says,] “as lights in the
world.” [3853] Righteously, therefore, having left his earthly kindred,
he followed the Word of God, walking as a pilgrim with the Word, that
he might [afterwards] have his abode with the Word.
4. Righteously also the apostles, being of the race of Abraham, left
the ship and their father, and followed the Word. Righteously also do
we, possessing the same faith as Abraham, and taking up the cross as
Isaac did the wood, [3854] follow Him. For in Abraham man had learned
beforehand, and had been accustomed to follow the Word of God. For
Abraham, according to his faith, followed the command of the Word of
God, and with a ready mind delivered up, as a sacrifice to God, his
only-begotten and beloved son, in order that God also might be pleased
to offer up for all his seed His own beloved and only-begotten Son, as
a sacrifice for our redemption.
5. Since, therefore, Abraham was a prophet and saw in the Spirit the day of the Lord’s coming, and the dispensation of His suffering,
through whom both he himself and all who, following the example of his
faith, trust in God, should be saved, he rejoiced exceedingly. The
Lord, therefore, was not unknown to Abraham, whose day he desired to
see; [3855] nor, again, was the Lord’s Father, for he had learned from
the Word of the Lord, and believed Him; wherefore it was accounted to
him by the Lord for righteousness. For faith towards God justifies a
man; and therefore he said, “I will stretch forth my hand to the most
high God, who made the heaven and the earth.” [3856] All these truths,
however, do those holding perverse opinions endeavour to overthrow, because of one passage, which they certainly do not understand correctly.

[3843] Eph. ii. 7.
[3844] Isa. xliii. 10, etc.
[3845] Isa. xii. 4.
[3846] Matt. xxii. 29.
[3847] Matt. xxii. 29, etc.; Ex. iii. 6.
[3848] In the Septuagint and Vulgate versions, this story constitutes
the fourteenth chapter of the book of Daniel. It is not extant in Hebrew, and has therefore been removed to the Apocrypha, in the Anglican canon [the Greek and St. Jerome’s] of Scripture, under the title of “Bel and the Dragon.”
[3849] John xi. 25.
[3850] Ps. xlv. 16.
[3851] John viii. 56.
[3852] Rom. iv. 3.
[3853] Phil. ii. 15.
[3854] Gen. xxii. 6.
[3855] John viii. 56.
[3856] Gen. xiv. 22.

Chapter VI.—Explanation of the words of Christ, “No man knoweth the Father,
but the Son,” etc.; which words the heretics misinterpret. Proof that, by the
Father revealing the Son, and by the Son being revealed, the Father was never
1. For the Lord, revealing Himself to His disciples, that He Himself is
the Word, who imparts knowledge of the Father, and reproving the Jews,
who imagined that they, had [the knowledge of] God, while they
nevertheless rejected His Word, through whom God is made known,
declared, “No man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any
man the Father, save the Son, and he to whom the Son has willed to
reveal [Him].” [3857] Thus hath Matthew set it down, and Luke in like
manner, and Mark [3858] the very same; for John omits this passage.
They, however, who would be wiser than the apostles, write [the verse]
in the following manner: “No man knew the Father, but the Son; nor the
Son, but the Father, and he to whom the Son has willed to reveal
[Him];” and they explain it as if the true God were known to none prior
to our Lord’s advent; and that God who was announced by the prophets,
they allege not to be the Father of Christ.
2. But if Christ did then [only] begin to have existence when He came
[into the world] as man, and [if] the Father did remember [only] in the
times of Tiberius Caesar to provide for [the wants of] men, and His
Word was shown to have not always coexisted with His creatures; [it may
be remarked that] neither then was it necessary that another God should
be proclaimed, but [rather] that the reasons for so great carelessness
and neglect on His part should be made the subject of investigation.
For it is fitting that no such question should arise, and gather such
strength, that it would indeed both change God, and destroy our faith
in that Creator who supports us by means of His creation. For as we do
direct our faith towards the Son, so also should we possess a firm and
immoveable love towards the Father. In his book against Marcion, Justin
[3859] does well say: “I would not have believed the Lord Himself, if
He had announced any other than He who is our framer, maker, and nourisher. But because the only-begotten Son came to us from the one God, who both made this world and formed us, and contains and administers all things, summing up His own handiwork in Himself, my faith towards Him is stedfast, and my love to the Father immoveable, God bestowing both upon us.”
3. For no one can know the Father, unless through the Word of God, that
is, unless by the Son revealing [Him]; neither can he have knowledge of
the Son, unless through the good pleasure of the Father. But the Son
performs the good pleasure of the Father; for the Father sends, and the
Son is sent, and comes. And His Word knows that His Father is, as far
as regards us, invisible and infinite; and since He cannot be declared
[by any one else], He does Himself declare Him to us; and, on the other
hand, it is the Father alone who knows His own Word. And both these
truths has our Lord declared. Wherefore the Son reveals the knowledge
of the Father through His own manifestation. For the manifestation of
the Son is the knowledge of the Father; for all things are manifested
through the Word. In order, therefore, that we might know that the Son
who came is He who imparts to those believing on Him a knowledge of the
Father, He said to His disciples: [3860] “No man knoweth the Son but
the Father, nor the Father but the Son, and those to whomsoever the Son
shall reveal Him;” thus setting Himself forth and the Father as He
[really] is, that we may not receive any other Father, except Him who
is revealed by the Son.
4. But this [Father] is the Maker of heaven and earth, as is shown from
His words; and not he, the false father, who has been invented by
Marcion, or by Valentinus, or by Basilides, or by Carpocrates, or by
Simon, or by the rest of the “Gnostics,” falsely so called. For none of
these was the Son of God; but Christ Jesus our Lord [was], against whom
they set their teaching in opposition, and have the daring to preach an
unknown God. But they ought to hear [this] against themselves: How is
it that He is unknown, who is known by them? for, whatever is known
even by a few, is not unknown. But the Lord did not say that both the
Father and the Son could not be known at all (in totum), for in that
case His advent would have been superfluous. For why did He come
hither? Was it that He should say to us, “Never mind seeking after God;
for He is unknown, and ye shall not find Him;” as also the disciples of
Valentinus falsely declare that Christ said to their AEons? But this is
indeed vain. For the Lord taught us that no man is capable of knowing
God, unless he be taught of God; that is, that God cannot be known
without God: but that this is the express will of the Father, that God
should be known. For they shall know [3861] Him to whomsoever the Son
has revealed Him.
5. And for this purpose did the Father reveal the Son, that through His
instrumentality He might be manifested to all, and might receive those
righteous ones who believe in Him into incorruption and everlasting
enjoyment (now, to believe in Him is to do His will); but He shall
righteously shut out into the darkness which they have chosen for
themselves, those who do not believe, and who do consequently avoid His
light. The Father therefore has revealed Himself to all, by making His
Word visible to all; and, conversely, the Word has declared to all the
Father and the Son, since He has become visible to all. And therefore
the righteous judgment of God [shall fall] upon all who, like others,
have seen, but have not, like others, believed.
6. For by means of the creation itself, the Word reveals God the
Creator; and by means of the world [does He declare] the Lord the Maker
of the world; and by means of the formation [of man] the Artificer who
formed him; and by the Son that Father who begat the Son: and these
things do indeed address all men in the same manner, but all do not in
the same way believe them. But by the law and the prophets did the Word
preach both Himself and the Father alike [to all]; and all the people
heard Him alike, but all did not alike believe. And through the Word
Himself who had been made visible and palpable, was the Father shown
forth, although all did not equally believe in Him; but all saw the
Father in the Son: for the Father is the invisible of the Son, but the
Son the visible of the Father. And for this reason all spake with
Christ when He was present [upon earth], and they named Him God. Yea,
even the demons exclaimed, on beholding the Son: “We know Thee who Thou
art, the Holy One of God.” [3862] And the devil looking at Him, and tempting Him, said: “If Thou art the Son of God;” [3863] --all thus indeed seeing and speaking of the Son and the Father, but all not believing [in them].
7. For it was fitting that the truth should receive testimony from all,
and should become [a means of] judgment for the salvation indeed of
those who believe, but for the condemnation of those who believe not;
that all should be fairly judged, and that the faith in the Father and
Son should be approved by all, that is, that it should be established
by all [as the one means of salvation], receiving testimony from all,
both from those belonging to it, since they are its friends, and by
those having no connection with it, though they are its enemies. For
that evidence is true, and cannot be gainsaid, which elicits even from
its adversaries striking [3864] testimonies in its behalf; they being
convinced with respect to the matter in hand by their own plain
contemplation of it, and bearing testimony to it, as well as declaring
it. [3865] But after a while they break forth into enmity, and become
accusers [of what they had approved], and are desirous that their own
testimony should not be [regarded as] true. He, therefore, who was
known, was not a different being from Him who declared “No man knoweth
the Father,” but one and the same, the Father making all things subject
to Him; while He received testimony from all that He was very man, and
that He was very God, from the Father, from the Spirit, from angels,
from the creation itself, from men, from apostate spirits and demons,
from the enemy, and last of all, from death itself. But the Son,
administering all things for the Father, works from the beginning even
to the end, and without Him no man can attain the knowledge of God. For
the Son is the knowledge of the Father; but the knowledge of the Son is
in the Father, and has been revealed through the Son; and this was the
reason why the Lord declared: “No man knoweth the Son, but the Father;
nor the Father, save the Son, and those to whomsoever the Son shall
reveal [Him].” [3866] For “shall reveal” was said not with reference to
the future alone, as if then [only] the Word had begun to manifest the
Father when He was born of Mary, but it applies indifferently
throughout all time. For the Son, being present with His own handiwork
from the beginning, reveals the Father to all; to whom He wills, and
when He wills, and as the Father wills. Wherefore, then, in all things,
and through all things, there is one God, the Father, and one Word, and
one Son, and one Spirit, and one salvation to all who believe in Him.

[3857] Matt. xi. 27; Luke x. 22.
[3858] Not now to be found in Mark’s Gospel.
[3859] Photius, 125, makes mention of Justin Martyr’s work, logoi kata
Markionos. See also Eusebius’s Ecclesiastical History, book iv. c. 18,
where this passage of Irenaeus is quoted. [The vast importance of Justin’s startling remark is that it hinges on the words of Christ Himself, concerning His antecedents and notes as set forth in the Scriptures, St. John v. 30-39.]
[3860] [A most emphatic and pregnant text which Irenaeus here expounds
with great beauty. The reference (St. Matt. xi. 27) seems to have been
inadvertently omitted in this place where the repetition is desirable.]
[3861] The ordinary text reads cognoscunt, i.e., do know; but Harvey thinks it should be the future—cognoscent.
[3862] Mark i. 24.
[3863] Matt. iv. 3; Luke iv. 3.
[3864] Singula, which with Massuet we here understand in the sense of
[3865] Some, instead of significantibus, read signantibus, “stamping it
as true.”
[3866] Matt. xi. 27; Luke x. 22. Harvey observes here, that “it is
remarkable that this text, having been correctly quoted a short time
previously in accordance with the received Greek text, ho ean bouletas
ho huios apokalupsai, the translator now not only uses the single verb
revelaverit, but says pointedly that it was so written by the venerable
author.” It is probable, therefore, that the previous passage has been
made to harmonize with the received text by a later hand; with which,
however, the Syriac form agrees.

Chapter VII.—Recapitulation of the foregoing argument, showing that Abraham,
through the revelation of the Word, knew the Father, and the coming of the Son
of God. For this cause, he rejoiced to see the day of Christ, when the
promises made to him should be fulfilled. The fruit of this rejoicing has
flowed to posterity, viz., to those who are partakers in the faith of Abraham,
but not to the Jews who reject the Word of God.
1. Therefore Abraham also, knowing the Father through the Word, who
made heaven and earth, confessed Him to be God; and having learned, by
an announcement [made to him], that the Son of God would be a man among
men, by whose advent his seed should be as the stars of heaven, he
desired to see that day, so that he might himself also embrace Christ;
and, seeing it through the spirit of prophecy, he rejoiced. [3867]
Wherefore Simeon also, one of his descendants, carried fully out the
rejoicing of the patriarch, and said: “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy
servant depart in peace. For mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which
Thou hast prepared before the face of all people: a light for the
revelation of the Gentiles, [3868] and the glory of the people Israel.”
[3869] And the angels, in like manner, announced tidings of great joy
to the shepherds who were keeping watch by night. [3870] Moreover, Mary
said, “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in
God my salvation;” [3871] --the rejoicing of Abraham descending upon
those who sprang from him,--those, namely, who were watching, and who
beheld Christ, and believed in Him; while, on the other hand, there was
a reciprocal rejoicing which passed backwards from the children to Abraham, who did also desire to see the day of Christ’s coming.
Rightly, then, did our Lord bear witness to him, saying, “Your father
Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad.”
2. For not alone upon Abraham’s account did He say these things, but also that He might point out how all who have known God from the beginning, and have foretold the advent of Christ, have received the revelation from the Son Himself; who also in the last times was made
visible and passible, and spake with the human race, that He might from
the stones raise up children unto Abraham, and fulfil the promise which
God had given him, and that He might make his seed as the stars of
heaven, [3872] as John the Baptist says: “For God is able from these
stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” [3873] Now, this Jesus did
by drawing us off from the religion of stones, and bringing us over
from hard and fruitless cogitations, and establishing in us a faith
like to Abraham. As Paul does also testify, saying that we are children
of Abraham because of the similarity of our faith, and the promise of
inheritance. [3874]
3. He is therefore one and the same God, who called Abraham and gave him the promise. But He is the Creator, who does also through Christ
prepare lights in the world, [namely] those who believe from among the
Gentiles. And He says, “Ye are the light of the world;” [3875] that is,
as the stars of heaven. Him, therefore, I have rightly shown to be
known by no man, unless by the Son, and to whomsoever the Son shall
reveal Him. But the Son reveals the Father to all to whom He wills that
He should be known; and neither without the goodwill of the Father nor
without the agency of the Son, can any man know God. Wherefore did the
Lord say to His disciples, “I am the way, the truth, and the life and
no man cometh unto the Father but by Me. If ye had known Me, ye would
have known My Father also: and from henceforth ye have both known Him,
and have seen Him.” [3876] From these words it is evident, that He is
known by the Son, that is, by the Word.
4. Therefore have the Jews departed from God, in not receiving His
Word, but imagining that they could know the Father [apart] by Himself,
without the Word, that is, without the Son; they being ignorant of that
God who spake in human shape to Abraham, [3877] and again to Moses,
saying, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people in Egypt, and I
have come down to deliver them.” [3878] For the Son, who is the Word of
God, arranged these things beforehand from the beginning, the Father
being in no want of angels, in order that He might call the creation
into being, and form man, for whom also the creation was made; nor,
again, standing in need of any instrumentality for the framing of
created things, or for the ordering of those things which had reference
to man; while, [at the same time,] He has a vast and unspeakable number
of servants. For His offspring and His similitude [3879] do minister to
Him in every respect; that is, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Word and Wisdom; whom all the angels serve, and to whom they are subject.
Vain, therefore, are those who, because of that declaration, “No man
knoweth the Father, but the Son,” [3880] do introduce another unknown

[3867] Gen. xvii. 17.
[3868] The text has oculorum, probably by mistake for populorum.
[3869] Luke ii. 29, etc.
[3870] Luke ii. 8.
[3871] Luke i. 46.
[3872] Gen. xv. 5.
[3873] Matt. iii. 9.
[3874] Rom. iv. 12; Gal. iv. 28.
[3875] Matt. v. 14.
[3876] John xiv. 6, 7.
[3877] Gen. xviii. 1.
[3878] Ex. iii. 7, 8.
[3879] Massuet here observes, that the fathers called the Holy Spirit
the similitude of the Son.
[3880] Matt. xi. 27; Luke x. 22.

Chapter VIII.—Vain attempts of Marcion and his followers, who exclude Abraham
from the salvation bestowed by Christ, who liberated not only Abraham, but the
seed of Abraham, by fulfilling and not destroying the law when He healed on
the Sabbath-day.
1. Vain, too, is [the effort of] Marcion and his followers when they [seek to] exclude Abraham from the inheritance, to whom the Spirit through many men, and now by Paul, bears witness, that “he believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness.” [3881] And the Lord [also bears witness to him,] in the first place, indeed, by
raising up children to him from the stones, and making his seed as the
stars of heaven, saying, “They shall come from the east and from the
west, from the north and from the south, and shall recline with
Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven;” [3882] and
then again by saying to the Jews, “When ye shall see Abraham, and
Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of heaven, but
you yourselves cast out.” [3883] This, then, is a clear point, that
those who disallow his salvation, and frame the idea of another God
besides Him who made the promise to Abraham, are outside the kingdom of
God, and are disinherited from [the gift of] incorruption, setting at
naught and blaspheming God, who introduces, through Jesus Christ,
Abraham to the kingdom of heaven, and his seed, that is, the Church,
upon which also is conferred the adoption and the inheritance promised
to Abraham.
2. For the Lord vindicated Abraham’s posterity by loosing them from bondage and calling them to salvation, as He did in the case of the woman whom He healed, saying openly to those who had not faith like Abraham, “Ye hypocrites, [3884] doth not each one of you on the Sabbath-days loose his ox or his ass, and lead him away to watering?
And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath
bound these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the
Sabbath-days?” [3885] It is clear therefore, that He loosed and
vivified those who believe in Him as Abraham did, doing nothing
contrary to the law when He healed upon the Sabbath-day. For the law
did not prohibit men from being healed upon the Sabbaths; [on the
contrary,] it even circumcised them upon that day, and gave command
that the offices should be performed by the priests for the people;
yea, it did not disallow the healing even of dumb animals. Both at
Siloam and on frequent subsequent [3886] occasions, did He perform
cures upon the Sabbath; and for this reason many used to resort to Him
on the Sabbath-days. For the law commanded them to abstain from every
servile work, that is, from all grasping after wealth which is procured
by trading and by other worldly business; but it exhorted them to
attend to the exercises of the soul, which consist in reflection, and
to addresses of a beneficial kind for their neighbours’ benefit. And
therefore the Lord reproved those who unjustly blamed Him for having
healed upon the Sabbath-days. For He did not make void, but fulfilled
the law, by performing the offices of the high priest, propitiating God
for men, and cleansing the lepers, healing the sick, and Himself
suffering death, that exiled man might go forth from condemnation, and
might return without fear to his own inheritance.
3. And again, the law did not forbid those who were hungry on the
Sabbath-days to take food lying ready at hand: it did, however, forbid
them to reap and to gather into the barn. And therefore did the Lord say to those who were blaming His disciples because they plucked and ate the ears of corn, rubbing them in their hands, “Have ye not read this, what David did, when himself was an hungered; how he went into the house of God, and ate the shew-bread, and gave to those who were with him; which it is not lawful to eat, but for the priests alone?”
[3887] justifying His disciples by the words of the law, and pointing
out that it was lawful for the priests to act freely. For David had
been appointed a priest by God, although Saul persecuted him. For all
the righteous possess the sacerdotal rank. [3888] And all the apostles
of the Lord are priests, who do inherit here neither lands nor houses,
but serve God and the altar continually. Of whom Moses also says in
Deuteronomy, when blessing Levi, “Who said unto his father and to his
mother, I have not known thee; neither did he acknowledge his brethren,
and he disinherited his own sons: he kept Thy commandments, and
observed Thy covenant.” [3889] But who are they that have left father
and mother, and have said adieu to all their neighbours, on account of
the word of God and His covenant, unless the disciples of the Lord? Of
whom again Moses says, “They shall have no inheritance, for the Lord
Himself is their inheritance.” [3890] And again, “The priests the
Levites shall have no part in the whole tribe of Levi, nor substance
with Israel; their substance is the offerings (fructifications) of the
Lord: these shall they eat.” [3891] Wherefore also Paul says, “I do not
seek after a gift, but I seek after fruit.” [3892] To His disciples He
said, who had a priesthood of the Lord, [3893] to whom it was lawful
when hungry to eat the ears of corn, [3894] “For the workman is worthy
of his meat.” [3895] And the priests in the temple profaned the Sabbath, and were blameless. Wherefore, then, were they blameless?
Because when in the temple they were not engaged in secular affairs,
but in the service of the Lord, fulfilling the law, but not going
beyond it, as that man did, who of his own accord carried dry wood into
the camp of God, and was justly stoned to death. [3896] “For every tree
that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn down, and cast into the fire;” [3897] and “whosoever shall defile the temple of God, him shall God defile.” [3898]

[3881] Rom. iv. 3.
[3882] Matt. viii. 11.
[3883] Luke xiii. 28.
[3884] Harvey prefers the singular—“hypocrite.”
[3885] Luke xiii. 15, 16.
[3886] The text here is rather uncertain. Harvey’s conjectural reading
of et jam for etiam has been followed.
[3887] Luke vi. 3, 4.
[3888] This clause is differently quoted by Antonius Melissa and John
Damascenus, thus: Pas basileus dikaios hieratiken echei taxin, i.e.,
Every righteous king possesses a priestly order. Comp. 1 Pet. ii. 5, 9.
[And with St. Peter’s testimony to the priesthood of the laity, compare
the same under the law. Ex. xix. 6. The Western Church has recognised
the “Episcopate ab extra” of sovereigns; while, in the East, it has grown into Caesaropapism.]
[3889] Deut. xxxiii. 9.
[3890] Num. xviii. 20.
[3891] Deut. xviii. 1.
[3892] Phil. iv. 17.
[3893] Literally, “the Lord’s Levitical substance”—Domini Leviticam substantiam.
[3894] Literally, “to take food from seeds.”
[3895] Matt. x. 10.
[3896] Num. xv. 32, etc.
[3897] Matt. iii. 10.
[3898] 1 Cor. iii. 17.

Chapter IX.—There is but one author, and one end to both covenants.
1. All things therefore are of one and the same substance, that is, from one and the same God; as also the Lord says to the disciples “Therefore every scribe, which is instructed unto the kingdom of
heaven, is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth
out of his treasure things new and old.” [3899] He did not teach that
he who brought forth the old was one, and he that brought forth the
new, another; but that they were one and the same. For the Lord is the
good man of the house, who rules the entire house of His Father; and
who delivers a law suited both for slaves and those who are as yet
undisciplined; and gives fitting precepts to those that are free, and
have been justified by faith, as well as throws His own inheritance
open to those that are sons. And He called His disciples “scribes” and
“teachers of the kingdom of heaven;” of whom also He elsewhere says to
the Jews: “Behold, I send unto you wise men, and scribes, and teachers;
and some of them ye shall kill, and persecute from city to city.”
[3900] Now, without contradiction, He means by those things which are
brought forth from the treasure new and old, the two covenants; the
old, that giving of the law which took place formerly; and He points
out as the new, that manner of life required by the Gospel, of which
David says, “Sing unto the Lord a new song;” [3901] and Esaias, “Sing
unto the Lord a new hymn. His beginning (initium), His name is
glorified from the height of the earth: they declare His powers in the
isles.” [3902] And Jeremiah says: “Behold, I will make a new covenant,
not as I made with your fathers” [3903] in Mount Horeb. But one and the
same householder produced both covenants, the Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, who spake with both Abraham and Moses, and who has restored us anew to liberty, and has multiplied that grace which is from Himself.
2. He declares: “For in this place is One greater than the temple.”
[3904] But [the words] greater and less are not applied to those things
which have nothing in common between themselves, and are of an opposite
nature, and mutually repugnant; but are used in the case of those of
the same substance, and which possess properties in common, but merely
differ in number and size; such as water from water, and light from
light, and grace from grace. Greater, therefore, is that legislation
which has been given in order to liberty than that given in order to
bondage; and therefore it has also been diffused, not throughout one
nation [only], but over the whole world. For one and the same Lord, who
is greater than the temple, greater than Solomon, and greater than
Jonah, confers gifts upon men, that is, His own presence, and the
resurrection from the dead; but He does not change God, nor proclaim
another Father, but that very same one, who always has more to measure
out to those of His household. And as their love towards God increases,
He bestows more and greater [gifts]; as also the Lord said to His
disciples: “Ye shall see greater things than these.” [3905] And Paul
declares: “Not that I have already attained, or that I am justified, or
already have been made perfect. For we know in part, and we prophesy in
part; but when that which is perfect has come, the things which are in
part shall be done away.” [3906] As, therefore, when that which is
perfect is come, we shall not see another Father, but Him whom we now
desire to see (for “blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see
God” [3907] ); neither shall we look for another Christ and Son of God,
but Him who [was born] of the Virgin Mary, who also suffered, in whom
too we trust, and whom we love; as Esaias says: “And they shall say in
that day, Behold our Lord God, in whom we have trusted, and we have rejoiced in our salvation;” [3908] and Peter says in his Epistle:
“Whom, not seeing, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, ye have
believed, ye shall rejoice with joy unspeakable;” [3909] neither do we
receive another Holy Spirit, besides Him who is with us, and who cries,
“Abba, Father;” [3910] and we shall make increase in the very same
things [as now], and shall make progress, so that no longer through a
glass, or by means of enigmas, but face to face, we shall enjoy the
gifts of God;--so also now, receiving more than the temple, and more
than Solomon, that is, the advent of the Son of God, we have not been
taught another God besides the Framer and the Maker of all, who has
been pointed out to us from the beginning; nor another Christ, the Son
of God, besides Him who was foretold by the prophets.
3. For the new covenant having been known and preached by the prophets,
He who was to carry it out according to the good pleasure of the Father
was also preached, having been revealed to men as God pleased; that
they might always make progress through believing in Him, and by means
of the [successive] covenants, should gradually attain to perfect
salvation. [3911] For there is one salvation and one God; but the
precepts which form the man are numerous, and the steps which lead man
to God are not a few. It is allowable for an earthly and temporal king,
though he is [but] a man, to grant to his subjects greater advantages
at times: shall not this then be lawful for God, since He is [ever] the
same, and is always willing to confer a greater [degree of] grace upon
the human race, and to honour continually with many gifts those who
please Him? But if this be to make progress, [namely,] to find out
another Father besides Him who was preached from the beginning; and
again, besides him who is imagined to have been discovered in the
second place, to find out a third other, --then the progress of this
man will consist in his also proceeding from a third to a fourth; and
from this, again, to another and another: and thus he who thinks that
he is always making progress of such a kind, will never rest in one
God. For, being driven away from Him who truly is [God], and being
turned backwards, he shall be for ever seeking, yet shall never find
out God; [3912] but shall continually swim in an abyss without limits,
unless, being converted by repentance, he return to the place from
which he had been cast out, confessing one God, the Father, the
Creator, and believing [in Him] who was declared by the law and the
prophets, who was borne witness to by Christ, as He did Himself declare
to those who were accusing His disciples of not observing the tradition
of the elders: “Why do ye make void the law of God by reason of your
tradition? For God said, Honour thy father and mother; and, Whosoever
curseth father or mother, let him die the death.” [3913] And again, He
says to them a second time: “And ye have made void the word of God
[3914] by reason of your tradition;” Christ confessing in the plainest
manner Him to be Father and God, who said in the law, “Honour thy
father and mother; that it may be well with thee.” [3915] For the true
God did confess the commandment of the law as the word of God, and called no one else God besides His own Father.

[3899] Matt. xiii. 52.
[3900] Matt. xxiii. 34.
[3901] Ps. xcvi. 1.
[3902] Isa. xlii. 10, quoted from memory.
[3903] Jer. xxxi. 31.
[3904] Matt. xii. 6.
[3905] John i. 50.
[3906] These words of Scripture are quoted by memory from Phil. iii. 12, 1 Cor. iv. 4, and 1 Cor. xiii. 9, 10. It is remarkable that the second is incorporated with the preceding in a similar way, in the ancient Italic version known as the St. Germain copy.
[3907] Matt. v. 8.
[3908] Isa. xxv. 9.
[3909] 1 Pet. i. 8.
[3910] Rom. viii. 15.
[3911] This is in accordance with Harvey’s text—“Maturescere
profectum salutis.” Grabe, however, reads, “Maturescere prefectum
salutis;” making this equivalent to “ad prefectam salutem.” In most
mss. “profectum” and “prefectum” would be written alike. The same word
(“profectus”) occurs again almost immediately, with an evident
reference to and comparison with this clause.

[3912] 2 Tim. iii. 7.
[3913] Matt. xv. 3, 4.
[3914] Another variation from the textus receptus borne out by the Codex Bezae, and some ancient versions.
[3915] Ex. xx. 12, LXX.

Chapter X.—The Old Testament Scriptures, and those written by Moses in
particular, do everywhere make mention of the Son of God, and foretell His
advent and passion. From this fact it follows that they were inspired by one
and the same God.
1. Wherefore also John does appropriately relate that the Lord said to
the Jews: “Ye search the Scriptures, in which ye think ye have eternal
life; these are they which testify of me. And ye are not willing to come unto Me, that ye may have life.” [3916] How therefore did the Scriptures testify of Him, unless they were from one and the same Father, instructing men beforehand as to the advent of His Son, and foretelling the salvation brought in by Him? “For if ye had believed Moses, ye would also have believed Me; for he wrote of Me;” [3917]
[saying this,] no doubt, because the Son of God is implanted everywhere
throughout his writings: at one time, indeed, speaking with Abraham,
when about to eat with him; at another time with Noah, giving to him
the dimensions [of the ark]; at another; inquiring after Adam; at
another, bringing down judgment upon the Sodomites; and again, when He
becomes visible, [3918] and directs Jacob on his journey, and speaks
with Moses from the bush. [3919] And it would be endless to recount
[the occasions] upon which the Son of God is shown forth by Moses. Of
the day of His passion, too, he was not ignorant; but foretold Him, after a figurative manner, by the name given to the passover; [3920]
and at that very festival, which had been proclaimed such a long time
previously by Moses, did our Lord suffer, thus fulfilling the passover.
And he did not describe the day only, but the place also, and the time
of day at which the sufferings ceased, [3921] and the sign of the
setting of the sun, saying: “Thou mayest not sacrifice the passover
within any other of thy cities which the Lord God gives thee; but in
the place which the Lord thy God shall choose that His name be called
on there, thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, towards the setting of the sun.” [3922]
2. And already he had also declared His advent, saying, “There shall
not fail a chief in Judah, nor a leader from his loins, until He come
for whom it is laid up, and He is the hope of the nations; binding His
foal to the vine, and His ass’s colt to the creeping ivy. He shall wash
His stole in wine, and His upper garment in the blood of the grape; His
eyes shall be more joyous than wine, [3923] and His teeth whiter than
milk.” [3924] For, let those who have the reputation of investigating
everything, inquire at what time a prince and leader failed out of
Judah, and who is the hope of the nations, who also is the vine, what
was the ass’s colt [referred to as] His, what the clothing, and what
the eyes, what the teeth, and what the wine, and thus let them
investigate every one of the points mentioned; and they shall find that
there was none other announced than our Lord, Christ Jesus. Wherefore
Moses, when chiding the ingratitude of the people, said, “Ye infatuated
people, and unwise, do ye thus requite the Lord?” [3925] And again, he
indicates that He who from the beginning founded and created them, the
Word, who also redeems and vivifies us in the last times, is shown as
hanging on the tree, and they will not believe on Him. For he says,
“And thy life shall be hanging before thine eyes, and thou wilt not
believe thy life.” [3926] And again, “Has not this same one thy Father
owned thee, and made thee, and created thee?” [3927]

[3916] John v. 39, 40.
[3917] John v. 46.
[3918] See Gen. xviii. 13 and Gen. xxxi. 11, etc. There is an allusion
here to a favourite notion among the Fathers, derived from Philo the Jew, that the name Israel was compounded from the three Hebrew words ‘ys r’h ‘l, i.e., “the man seeing God.”
[3919] Ex. iii. 4, etc.
[3920] Feuardent infers with great probability from this passage, that
Irenaeus, like Tertullian and others of the Fathers, connected the word
Pascha with paschein, to suffer. [The LXX. constantly giving colour to
early Christian ideas in this manner, they concluded, perhaps, that
such coincidences were designed. The LXX. were credited with a sort of
inspiration, as we learn from our author.]
[3921] Latin, “et extremitatem temporum.”
[3922] Deut. xvi. 5, 6.
[3923] The Latin is, “laetifici oculi ejus a vino,” the Hebrew method
of indicating comparison being evidently imitated.
[3924] Gen. xlix. 10-12, LXX.
[3925] Deut. xxxii. 6.
[3926] Deut. xxviii. 66. Tertullian, Cyprian, and other early Fathers,
agree with Irenaeus in his exposition of this text.
[3927] Deut. xxxii. 6. “Owned thee,” i.e., following the meaning of the
Hebrew, “owned thee by generation.”

Chapter XI.—The old prophets and righteous men knew beforehand of the advent
of Christ, and earnestly desired to see and hear Him, He revealing himself in
the Scriptures by the Holy Ghost, and without any change in Himself, enriching
men day by day with benefits, but conferring them in greater abundance on
later than on former generations.
1. But that it was not only the prophets and many righteous men, who,
foreseeing through the Holy Spirit His advent, prayed that they might
attain to that period in which they should see their Lord face to face,
and hear His words, the Lord has made manifest, when He says to His
disciples, “Many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those
things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things
which ye hear, and have not heard them.” [3928] In what way, then, did
they desire both to hear and to see, unless they had foreknowledge of
His future advent? But how could they have foreknown it, unless they
had previously received foreknowledge from Himself? And how do the
Scriptures testify of Him, unless all things had ever been revealed and
shown to believers by one and the same God through the Word; He at one
time conferring with His creature, and at another propounding His law;
at one time, again, reproving, at another exhorting, and then setting
free His servant, and adopting him as a son (in filium); and, at the
proper time, bestowing an incorruptible inheritance, for the purpose of
bringing man to perfection? For He formed him for growth and increase,
as the Scripture says: “Increase and multiply.” [3929]
2. And in this respect God differs from man, that God indeed makes, but
man is made; and truly, He who makes is always the same; but that which
is made must receive both beginning, and middle, and addition, and
increase. And God does indeed create after a skilful manner, while, [as
regards] man, he is created skilfully. God also is truly perfect in all
things, Himself equal and similar to Himself, as He is all light, and
all mind, and all substance, and the fount of all good; but man
receives advancement and increase towards God. For as God is always the
same, so also man, when found in God, shall always go on towards God.
For neither does God at any time cease to confer benefits upon, or to
enrich man; nor does man ever cease from receiving the benefits, and
being enriched by God. For the receptacle of His goodness, and the
instrument of His glorification, is the man who is grateful to Him that
made him; and again, the receptacle of His just judgment is the
ungrateful man, who both despises his Maker and is not subject to His
Word; who has promised that He will give very much to those always
bringing forth fruit, and more [and more] to those who have the Lord’s
money. “Well done,” He says, “good and faithful servant: because thou
hast been faithful in little, I will appoint thee over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” [3930] The Lord Himself thus promises very much.
3. As, therefore, He has promised to give very much to those who do now
bring forth fruit, according to the gift of His grace, but not
according to the changeableness of “knowledge;” for the Lord remains
the same, and the same Father is revealed; thus, therefore, has the one
and the same Lord granted, by means of His advent, a greater gift of
grace to those of a later period, than what He had granted to those
under the Old Testament dispensation. For they indeed used to hear, by
means of [His] servants, that the King would come, and they rejoiced to
a certain extent, inasmuch as they hoped for His coming; but those who
have beheld Him actually present, and have obtained liberty, and been
made partakers of His gifts, do possess a greater amount of grace, and
a higher degree of exultation, rejoicing because of the King’s arrival:
as also David says, “My soul shall rejoice in the Lord; it shall be
glad in His salvation.” [3931] And for this cause, upon His entrance
into Jerusalem, all those who were in the way [3932] recognised David
their king in His sorrow of soul, and spread their garments for Him,
and ornamented the way with green boughs, crying out with great joy and
gladness, “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is He that cometh in
the name of the Lord: hosanna in the highest.” [3933] But to the
envious wicked stewards, who circumvented those under them, and ruled
over those that had no great intelligence, [3934] and for this reason
were unwilling that the king should come, and who said to Him, “Hearest
thou what these say?” did the Lord reply, “Have ye never read, Out of
the mouths of babes and sucklings hast Thou perfected praise?” [3935]
thus pointing out that what had been declared by David concerning the
Son of God, was accomplished in His own person; and indicating that
they were indeed ignorant of the meaning of the Scripture and the
dispensation of God; but declaring that it was Himself who was
announced by the prophets as Christ, whose name is praised in all the
earth, and who perfects praise to His Father from the mouth of babes and sucklings; wherefore also His glory has been raised above the heavens.
4. If, therefore, the self-same person is present who was announced by
the prophets, our Lord Jesus Christ, and if His advent has brought in a
fuller [measure of] grace and greater gifts to those who have received
Him, it is plain that the Father also is Himself the same who was
proclaimed by the prophets, and that the Son, on His coming, did not
spread the knowledge of another Father, but of the same who was
preached from the beginning; from whom also He has brought down liberty
to those who, in a lawful manner, and with a willing mind, and with all
the heart, do Him service; whereas to scoffers, and to those not
subject to God, but who follow outward purifications for the praise of
men (which observances had been given as a type of future things,--the
law typifying, as it were, certain things in a shadow, and delineating
eternal things by temporal, celestial by terrestrial), and to those who
pretend that they do themselves observe more than what has been prescribed, as if preferring their own zeal to God Himself, while within they are full of hypocrisy, and covetousness, and all wickedness,-- [to such] has He assigned everlasting perdition by cutting them off from life.

[3928] Matt. xiii. 17.
[3929] Gen. i. 28.
[3930] Matt. xxv. 21, etc.
[3931] Ps. xxxv. 9.
[3932] Or, “all those who were in the way of David”—omnes qui erant in
via David, in dolore animae cognoverunt suum regem.
[3933] Matt. xxi. 8.
[3934] The Latin text is ambiguous: “dominabantur eorum, quibus ratio
non constabat.” The rendering may be, “and ruled over those things with
respect to which it was not right that they should do so.”
[3935] Matt. xxi. 16; Ps. viii. 3.

Chapter XII.—It clearly appears that there was but one author of both the old
and the new law, from the fact that Christ condemned traditions and customs
repugnant to the former, while He confirmed its most important precepts, and
taught that He was Himself the end of the Mosaic law.
1. For the tradition of the elders themselves, which they pretended to
observe from the law, was contrary to the law given by Moses. Wherefore
also Esaias declares: “Thy dealers mix the wine with water,” [3936]
showing that the elders were in the habit of mingling a watered
tradition with the simple command of God; that is, they set up a
spurious law, and one contrary to the [true] law; as also the Lord made
plain, when He said to them, “Why do ye transgress the commandment of
God, for the sake of your tradition?” [3937] For not only by actual
transgression did they set the law of God at nought, mingling the wine
with water; but they also set up their own law in opposition to it,
which is termed, even to the present day, the pharisaical. In this
[law] they suppress certain things, add others, and interpret others,
again, as they think proper, which their teachers use, each one in
particular; and desiring to uphold these traditions, they were
unwilling to be subject to the law of God, which prepares them for the
coming of Christ. But they did even blame the Lord for healing on the
Sabbath-days, which, as I have already observed, the law did not
prohibit. For they did themselves, in one sense, perform acts of
healing upon the Sabbath-day, when they circumcised a man [on that
day]; but they did not blame themselves for transgressing the command
of God through tradition and the aforesaid pharisaical law, and for not
keeping the commandment of the law, which is the love of God.
2. But that this is the first and greatest commandment, and that the
next [has respect to love] towards our neighbour, the Lord has taught,
when He says that the entire law and the prophets hang upon these two
commandments. Moreover, He did not Himself bring down [from heaven] any
other commandment greater than this one, but renewed this very same one
to His disciples, when He enjoined them to love God with all their
heart, and others as themselves. But if He had descended from another
Father, He never would have made use of the first and greatest
commandment of the law; but He would undoubtedly have endeavoured by
all means to bring down a greater one than this from the perfect
Father, so as not to make use of that which had been given by the God
of the law. And Paul in like manner declares, “Love is the fulfilling
of the law:” [3938] and [he declares] that when all other things have
been destroyed, there shall remain “faith, hope, and love; but the
greatest of all is love;” [3939] and that apart from the love of God,
neither knowledge avails anything, [3940] nor the understanding of
mysteries, nor faith, nor prophecy, but that without love all are
hollow and vain; moreover, that love makes man perfect; and that he who
loves God is perfect, both in this world and in that which is to come.
For we do never cease from loving God; but in proportion as we continue
to contemplate Him, so much the more do we love Him.
3. As in the law, therefore, and in the Gospel [likewise], the first
and greatest commandment is, to love the Lord God with the whole heart,
and then there follows a commandment like to it, to love one’s
neighbour as one’s self; the author of the law and the Gospel is shown
to be one and the same. For the precepts of an absolutely perfect life,
since they are the same in each Testament, have pointed out [to us] the
same God, who certainly has promulgated particular laws adapted for
each; but the more prominent and the greatest [commandments], without
which salvation cannot [be attained], He has exhorted [us to observe]
the same in both.
4. The Lord, too, does not do away with this [God], when He shows that
the law was not derived from another God, expressing Himself as follows
to those who were being instructed by Him, to the multitude and to His
disciples: “The scribes and 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. For they bind heavy
burdens, and lay them upon men’s shoulders; but they themselves will
not so much as move them with a finger.” [3941] He therefore did not
throw blame upon that law which was given by Moses, when He exhorted it
to be observed, Jerusalem being as yet in safety; but He did throw
blame upon those persons, because they repeated indeed the words of the
law, yet were without love. And for this reason were they held as being
unrighteous as respects God, and as respects their neighbours. As also
Isaiah says: “This people honoureth Me with their lips, but their heart
is far from Me: howbeit in vain do they worship Me, teaching the
doctrines and the commandments of men.” [3942] He does not call the law
given by Moses commandments of men, but the traditions of the elders
themselves which they had invented, and in upholding which they made
the law of God of none effect, and were on this account also not
subject to His Word. For this is what Paul says concerning these men:
“For they, being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to
establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the
righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for
righteousness to every one that believeth.” [3943] And how is Christ
the end of the law, if He be not also the final cause of it? For He who
has brought in the end has Himself also wrought the beginning; and it
is He who does Himself say to Moses, “I have surely seen the affliction
of my people which is in Egypt, and I have come down to deliver them;”
[3944] it being customary from the beginning with the Word of God to ascend and descend for the purpose of saving those who were in affliction.
5. Now, that the law did beforehand teach mankind the necessity of following Christ, He does Himself make manifest, when He replied as follows to him who asked Him what he should do that he might inherit eternal life: “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”
[3945] But upon the other asking “Which?” again the Lord replies: “Do
not commit adultery, do not kill, do not steal, do not bear false
witness, honour father and mother, and thou shalt love thy neighbour as
thyself,”—setting as an ascending series (velut gradus) before those
who wished to follow Him, the precepts of the law, as the entrance into
life; and what He then said to one He said to all. But when the former
said, “All these have I done” (and most likely he had not kept them,
for in that case the Lord would not have said to him, “Keep the
commandments”), the Lord, exposing his covetousness, said to him, “If
thou wilt be perfect, go, sell all that thou hast, and distribute to
the poor; and come, follow me;” promising to those who would act thus,
the portion belonging to the apostles (apostolorum partem). And He did
not preach to His followers another God the Father, besides Him who was
proclaimed by the law from the beginning; nor another Son; nor the
Mother, the enthymesis of the AEon, who existed in suffering and
apostasy; nor the Pleroma of the thirty AEons, which has been proved
vain, and incapable of being believed in; nor that fable invented by
the other heretics. But He taught that they should obey the
commandments which God enjoined from the beginning, and do away with
their former covetousness by good works, [3946] and follow after
Christ. But that possessions distributed to the poor do annul former
covetousness, Zaccheus made evident, when he said, “Behold, the half of
my goods I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded any one, I restore
fourfold.” [3947]

[3936] Isa. i. 22.
[3937] Matt. xv. 3.
[3938] Rom. xiii. 10.
[3939] 1 Cor. xiii. 13.
[3940] 1 Cor. xiii. 2.
[3941] Matt. xxiii. 2-4.
[3942] Isa. xxix. 13.
[3943] Rom. x. 3, 4.
[3944] Ex. iii. 7, 8.
[3945] Matt. xix. 17, 18, etc.
[3946] Harvey here remarks: “In a theological point of view, it should
be observed, that no saving merit is ascribed to almsgiving: it is spoken of here as the negation of the vice of covetousness, which is wholly inconsistent with the state of salvation to which we are called.”
[3947] Luke xix. 8.

Chapter XIII.—Christ did not abrogate the natural precepts of the law, but
rather fulfilled and extended them. He removed the yoke and bondage of the old
law, so that mankind, being now set free, might serve God with that trustful
piety which becometh sons.
1. And that the Lord did not abrogate the natural [precepts] of the law, by which man [3948] is justified, which also those who were justified by faith, and who pleased God, did observe previous to the giving of the law, but that He extended and fulfilled them, is shown from His words. “For,” He remarks, “it has been said to them of old time, Do not commit adultery. But I say unto you, That every one who hath looked upon a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” [3949] And again: “It has been said, Thou shalt not kill. But I say unto you, Every one who is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in danger of the judgment.”
[3950] And, “It hath been said, Thou shalt not forswear thyself. But I
say unto you, Swear not at all; but let your conversation be, Yea, yea,
and Nay, nay.” [3951] And other statements of a like nature. For all
these do not contain or imply an opposition to and an overturning of
the [precepts] of the past, as Marcion’s followers do strenuously
maintain; but [they exhibit] a fulfilling and an extension of them, as
He does Himself declare: “Unless your righteousness shall exceed that
of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of
heaven.” [3952] For what meant the excess referred to? In the first
place, [we must] believe not only in the Father, but also in His Son
now revealed; for He it is who leads man into fellowship and unity with
God. In the next place, [we must] not only say, but we must do; for
they said, but did not. And [we must] not only abstain from evil deeds,
but even from the desires after them. Now He did not teach us these
things as being opposed to the law, but as fulfilling the law, and
implanting in us the varied righteousness of the law. That would have
been contrary to the law, if He had commanded His disciples to do
anything which the law had prohibited. But this which He did
command—namely, not only to abstain from things forbidden by the law,
but even from longing after them—is not contrary to [the law], as I
have remarked, neither is it the utterance of one destroying the law,
but of one fulfilling, extending, and affording greater scope to it.
2. For the law, since it was laid down for those in bondage, used to
instruct the soul by means of those corporeal objects which were of an
external nature, drawing it, as by a bond, to obey its commandments,
that man might learn to serve God. But the Word set free the soul, and
taught that through it the body should be willingly purified. Which
having been accomplished, it followed as of course, that the bonds of
slavery should be removed, to which man had now become accustomed, and
that he should follow God without fetters: moreover, that the laws of
liberty should be extended, and subjection to the king increased, so
that no one who is converted should appear unworthy to Him who set him
free, but that the piety and obedience due to the Master of the household should be equally rendered both by servants and children; while the children possess greater confidence [than the servants], inasmuch as the working of liberty is greater and more glorious than that obedience which is rendered in [a state of] slavery.
3. And for this reason did the Lord, instead of that [commandment], “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” forbid even concupiscence; and
instead of that which runs thus, “Thou shalt not kill,” He prohibited
anger; and instead of the law enjoining the giving of tithes, [He told
us] to share [3953] all our possessions with the poor; and not to love
our neighbours only, but even our enemies; and not merely to be liberal
givers and bestowers, but even that we should present a gratuitous gift
to those who take away our goods. For “to him that taketh away thy
coat,” He says, “give to him thy cloak also; and from him that taketh
away thy goods, ask them not again; and as ye would that men should do
unto you, do ye unto them:” [3954] so that we may not grieve as those
who are unwilling to be defrauded, but may rejoice as those who have
given willingly, and as rather conferring a favour upon our neighbours
than yielding to necessity. “And if any one,” He says, “shall compel
thee [to go] a mile, go with him twain;” [3955] so that thou mayest not
follow him as a slave, but may as a free man go before him, showing
thyself in all things kindly disposed and useful to thy neighbour, not
regarding their evil intentions, but performing thy kind offices, assimilating thyself to the Father, “who maketh His sun to rise upon the evil and the good, and sendeth rain upon the just and unjust.”
[3956] Now all these [precepts], as I have already observed, were not
[the injunctions] of one doing away with the law, but of one
fulfilling, extending, and widening it among us; just as if one should
say, that the more extensive operation of liberty implies that a more
complete subjection and affection towards our Liberator had been
implanted within us. For He did not set us free for this purpose, that
we should depart from Him (no one, indeed, while placed out of reach of
the Lord’s benefits, has power to procure for himself the means of
salvation), but that the more we receive His grace, the more we should
love Him. Now the more we have loved Him, the more glory shall we receive from Him, when we are continually in the presence of the Father.
4. Inasmuch, then, as all natural precepts are common to us and to them
(the Jews), they had in them indeed the beginning and origin; but in us
they have received growth and completion. For to yield assent to God,
and to follow His Word, and to love Him above all, and one’s neighbour
as one’s self (now man is neighbour to man), and to abstain from every
evil deed, and all other things of a like nature which are common to
both [covenants], do reveal one and the same God. But this is our Lord,
the Word of God, who in the first instance certainly drew slaves to
God, but afterwards He set those free who were subject to Him, as He
does Himself declare to His disciples: “I will not now call you
servants, for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth; but I have
called you friends, for all things which I have heard from My Father I
have made known.” [3957] For in that which He says, “I will not now
call you servants,” He indicates in the most marked manner that it was
Himself who did originally appoint for men that bondage with respect to
God through the law, and then afterwards conferred upon them freedom.
And in that He says, “For the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth,”
He points out, by means of His own advent, the ignorance of a people in
a servile condition. But when He terms His disciples “the friends of
God,” He plainly declares Himself to be the Word of God, whom Abraham
also followed voluntarily and under no compulsion (sine vinculis),
because of the noble nature of his faith, and so became “the friend of
God.” [3958] But the Word of God did not accept of the friendship of
Abraham, as though He stood in need of it, for He was perfect from the
beginning (“Before Abraham was,” He says, “I am” [3959] ), but that He
in His goodness might bestow eternal life upon Abraham himself, inasmuch as the friendship of God imparts immortality to those who embrace it.

[3948] That is, as Harvey observes, the natural man, as described in Rom. ii. 27.
[3949] Matt. v. 27, 28.
[3950] Matt. v. 21, 22.
[3951] Matt. v. 33, etc.
[3952] Matt. v. 20.
[3953] Matt. xix. 21.
[3954] Luke vi. 29-31.
[3955] Matt. v. 41.
[3956] Matt. v. 45.
[3957] John xv. 15.
[3958] Jas. ii. 23.
[3959] John viii. 58.

Chapter XIV.—If God demands obedience from man, if He formed man, called him
and placed him under laws, it was merely for man’s welfare; not that God stood
in need of man, but that He graciously conferred upon man His favours in every
possible manner.
1. In the beginning, therefore, did God form Adam, not as if He stood
in need of man, but that He might have [some one] upon whom to confer
His benefits. For not alone antecedently to Adam, but also before all
creation, the Word glorified His Father, remaining in Him; and was
Himself glorified by the Father, as He did Himself declare, “Father,
glorify Thou Me with the glory which I had with Thee before the world
was.” [3960] Nor did He stand in need of our service when He ordered us
to follow Him; but He thus bestowed salvation upon ourselves. For to
follow the Saviour is to be a partaker of salvation, and to follow
light is to receive light. But those who are in light do not themselves
illumine the light, but are illumined and revealed by it: they do
certainly contribute nothing to it, but, receiving the benefit, they
are illumined by the light. Thus, also, service [rendered] to God does
indeed profit God nothing, nor has God need of human obedience; but He
grants to those who follow and serve Him life and incorruption and
eternal glory, bestowing benefit upon those who serve [Him], because
they do serve Him, and on His followers, because they do follow Him;
but does not receive any benefit from them: for He is rich, perfect,
and in need of nothing. But for this reason does God demand service
from men, in order that, since He is good and merciful, He may benefit
those who continue in His service. For, as much as God is in want of
nothing, so much does man stand in need of fellowship with God. For
this is the glory of man, to continue and remain permanently in God’s
service. Wherefore also did the Lord say to His disciples, “Ye have not
chosen Me, but I have chosen you;” [3961] indicating that they did not
glorify Him when they followed Him; but that, in following the Son of
God, they were glorified by Him. And again, “I will, that where I am,
there they also may be, that they may behold My glory;” [3962] not
vainly boasting because of this, but desiring that His disciples should
share in His glory: of whom Esaias also says, “I will bring thy seed
from the east, and will gather thee from the west; and I will say to
the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring My sons from
far, and My daughters from the ends of the earth; all, as many as have
been called in My name: for in My glory I have prepared, and formed,
and made him.” [3963] Inasmuch as then, “wheresoever the carcase is,
there shall also the eagles be gathered together,” [3964] we do
participate in the glory of the Lord, who has both formed us, and
prepared us for this, that, when we are with Him, we may partake of His
2. Thus it was, too, that God formed man at the first, because of His
munificence; but chose the patriarchs for the sake of their salvation;
and prepared a people beforehand, teaching the headstrong to follow
God; and raised up prophets upon earth, accustoming man to bear His
Spirit [within him], and to hold communion with God: He Himself,
indeed, having need of nothing, but granting communion with Himself to
those who stood in need of it, and sketching out, like an architect,
the plan of salvation to those that pleased Him. And He did Himself
furnish guidance to those who beheld Him not in Egypt, while to those
who became unruly in the desert He promulgated a law very suitable [to
their condition]. Then, on the people who entered into the good land He
bestowed a noble inheritance; and He killed the fatted calf for those
converted to the Father, and presented them with the finest robe.
[3965] Thus, in a variety of ways, He adjusted the human race to an
agreement with salvation. On this account also does John declare in the
Apocalypse, “And His voice as the sound of many waters.” [3966] For the
Spirit [of God] is truly [like] many waters, since the Father is both
rich and great. And the Word, passing through all those [men], did
liberally confer benefits upon His subjects, by drawing up in writing a
law adapted and applicable to every class [among them].
3. Thus, too, He imposed upon the [Jewish] people the construction of
the tabernacle, the building of the temple, the election of the
Levites, sacrifices also, and oblations, legal monitions, and all the
other service of the law. He does Himself truly want none of these
things, for He is always full of all good, and had in Himself all the
odour of kindness, and every perfume of sweet-smelling savours, even
before Moses existed. Moreover, He instructed the people, who were
prone to turn to idols, instructing them by repeated appeals to
persevere and to serve God, calling them to the things of primary
importance by means of those which were secondary; that is, to things
that are real, by means of those that are typical; and by things
temporal, to eternal; and by the carnal to the spiritual; and by the
earthly to the heavenly; as was also said to Moses, “Thou shalt make
all things after the pattern of those things which thou sawest in the
mount.” [3967] For during forty days He was learning to keep [in his
memory] the words of God, and the celestial patterns, and the spiritual
images, and the types of things to come; as also Paul says: “For they
drank of the rock which followed them: and the rock was Christ.” [3968]
And again, having first mentioned what are contained in the law, he
goes on to say: “Now all these things happened to them in a figure; but
they were written for our admonition, upon whom the end of the ages is
come.” For by means of types they learned to fear God, and to continue
devoted to His service.

[3960] John xvii. 5.
[3961] John xv. 16.
[3962] John xvii. 24.
[3963] Isa. xliii. 5.
[3964] Matt. xxiv. 28.
[3965] Luke xv. 22, 23.
[3966] Rev. i. 15.
[3967] Ex. xxv. 40.
[3968] 1 Cor. x. 11.

Chapter XV.—At first God deemed it sufficient to inscribe the natural law, or
the Decalogue, upon the hearts of men; but afterwards He found it necessary to
bridle, with the yoke of the Mosaic law, the desires of the Jews, who were
abusing their liberty; and even to add some special commands, because of the
hardness of their hearts.
1. They (the Jews) had therefore a law, a course of discipline, and a
prophecy of future things. For God at the first, indeed, warning them
by means of natural precepts, which from the beginning He had implanted
in mankind, that is, by means of the Decalogue (which, if any one does
not observe, he has no salvation), did then demand nothing more of
them. As Moses says in Deuteronomy, “These are all the words which the
Lord spake to the whole assembly of the sons of Israel on the mount,
and He added no more; and He wrote them on two tables of stone, and
gave them to me.” [3969] For this reason [He did so], that they who are
willing to follow Him might keep these commandments. But when they
turned themselves to make a calf, and had gone back in their minds to
Egypt, desiring to be slaves instead of free-men, they were placed for
the future in a state of servitude suited to their wish,--[a slavery]
which did not indeed cut them off from God, but subjected them to the
yoke of bondage; as Ezekiel the prophet, when stating the reasons for
the giving of such a law, declares: “And their eyes were after the
desire of their heart; and I gave them statutes that were not good, and
judgments in which they shall not live.” [3970] Luke also has recorded
that Stephen, who was the first elected into the diaconate by the
apostles, [3971] and who was the first slain for the testimony of
Christ, spoke regarding Moses as follows: “This man did indeed receive
the commandments of the living God to give to us, whom your fathers
would not obey, but thrust [Him from them], and in their hearts turned
back again into Egypt, saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to go before us;
for we do not know what has happened to [this] Moses, who led us from
the land of Egypt. And they made a calf in those days, and offered
sacrifices to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their own
hands. But God turned, and gave them up to worship the hosts of heaven;
as it is written in the book of the prophets: [3972] O ye house of
Israel, have ye offered to Me sacrifices and oblations for forty years
in the wilderness? And ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the
star of the god Remphan, [3973] figures which ye made to worship them;”
[3974] pointing out plainly, that the law being such, was not given to
them by another God, but that, adapted to their condition of servitude,
[it originated] from the very same [God as we worship]. Wherefore also
He says to Moses in Exodus: “I will send forth My angel before thee; for I will not go up with thee, because thou art a stiff-necked people.” [3975]
2. And not only so, but the Lord also showed that certain precepts were
enacted for them by Moses, on account of their hardness [of heart], and
because of their unwillingness to be obedient, when, on their saying to
Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a writing of divorcement, and
to send away a wife?” He said to them, “Because of the hardness of your
hearts he permitted these things to you; but from the beginning it was
not so;” [3976] thus exculpating Moses as a faithful servant, but
acknowledging one God, who from the beginning made male and female, and
reproving them as hard-hearted and disobedient. And therefore it was
that they received from Moses this law of divorcement, adapted to their
hard nature. But why say I these things concerning the Old Testament?
For in the New also are the apostles found doing this very thing, on
the ground which has been mentioned, Paul plainly declaring, “But these
things I say, not the Lord.” [3977] And again: “But this I speak by
permission, not by commandment.” [3978] And again: “Now, as concerning
virgins, I have no commandment from the Lord; yet I give my judgment,
as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.” [3979] But
further, in another place he says: “That Satan tempt you not for your
incontinence.” [3980] If, therefore, even in the New Testament, the
apostles are found granting certain precepts in consideration of human
infirmity, because of the incontinence of some, lest such persons,
having grown obdurate, and despairing altogether of their salvation,
should become apostates from God,--it ought not to be wondered at, if
also in the Old Testament the same God permitted similar indulgences
for the benefit of His people, drawing them on by means of the
ordinances already mentioned, so that they might obtain the gift of
salvation through them, while they obeyed the Decalogue, and being
restrained by Him, should not revert to idolatry, nor apostatize from
God, but learn to love Him with the whole heart. And if certain
persons, because of the disobedient and ruined Israelites, do assert
that the giver (doctor) of the law was limited in power, they will find
in our dispensation, that “many are called, but few chosen;” [3981] and
that there are those who inwardly are wolves, yet wear sheep’s clothing
in the eyes of the world (foris); and that God has always preserved
freedom, and the power of self-government in man, [3982] while at the
same time He issued His own exhortations, in order that those who do
not obey Him should be righteously judged (condemned) because they have
not obeyed Him; and that those who have obeyed and believed on Him should be honoured with immortality.

[3969] Deut. v. 22.
[3970] Ezek. xx. 24.
[3971] [Acts vi. 3-7. It is evident that the laity elected, and the apostles ordained.]
[3972] Amos v. 25, 26.
[3973] In accordance with the Codex Bezae.
[3974] Acts vii. 38, etc.
[3975] Ex. xxxiii. 2, 3.
[3976] Matt. xix. 7, 8.
[3977] 1 Cor. vii. 12.
[3978] 1 Cor. vii. 6.
[3979] 1 Cor. vii. 25.
[3980] 1 Cor. vii. 5.
[3981] Matt. xx. 16.
[3982] [Note this stout assertion of the freedom of human actions.]

Chapter XVI.—Perfect righteousness was conferred neither by circumcision nor
by any other legal ceremonies. The Decalogue, however, was not cancelled by
Christ, but is always in force: men were never released from its commandments.
1. Moreover, we learn from the Scripture itself, that God gave circumcision, not as the completer of righteousness, but as a sign,
that the race of Abraham might continue recognisable. For it declares:
“God said unto Abraham, Every male among you shall be circumcised; and
ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskins, as a token of the
covenant between Me and you.” [3983] This same does Ezekiel the prophet
say with regard to the Sabbaths: “Also I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a
sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord, that
sanctify them.” [3984] And in Exodus, God says to Moses: “And ye shall
observe My Sabbaths; for it shall be a sign between Me and you for your
generations.” [3985] These things, then, were given for a sign; but the
signs were not unsymbolical, that is, neither unmeaning nor to no
purpose, inasmuch as they were given by a wise Artist; but the
circumcision after the flesh typified that after the Spirit. For “we,”
says the apostle, “have been circumcised with the circumcision made
without hands.” [3986] And the prophet declares, “Circumcise the
hardness of your heart.” [3987] But the Sabbaths taught that we should
continue day by day in God’s service. [3988] “For we have been counted,” says the Apostle Paul, “all the day long as sheep for the slaughter;” [3989] that is, consecrated [to God], and ministering continually to our faith, and persevering in it, and abstaining from all avarice, and not acquiring or possessing treasures upon earth. [3990] Moreover, the Sabbath of God (requietio Dei), that is, the kingdom, was, as it were, indicated by created things; in which [kingdom], the man who shall have persevered in serving God (Deo assistere) shall, in a state of rest, partake of God’s table.
2. And that man was not justified by these things, but that they were
given as a sign to the people, this fact shows,-- that Abraham himself,
without circumcision and without observance of Sabbaths, “believed God,
and it was imputed unto him for righteousness; and he was called the
friend of God.” [3991] Then, again, Lot, without circumcision, was
brought out from Sodom, receiving salvation from God. So also did Noah,
pleasing God, although he was uncircumcised, receive the dimensions [of
the ark], of the world of the second race [of men]. Enoch, too,
pleasing God, without circumcision, discharged the office of God’s
legate to the angels although he was a man, and was translated, and is
preserved until now as a witness of the just judgment of God, because
the angels when they had transgressed fell to the earth for judgment,
but the man who pleased [God] was translated for salvation. [3992]
Moreover, all the rest of the multitude of those righteous men who
lived before Abraham, and of those patriarchs who preceded Moses, were
justified independently of the things above mentioned, and without the
law of Moses. As also Moses himself says to the people in Deuteronomy:
“The Lord thy God formed a covenant in Horeb. The Lord formed not this
covenant with your fathers, but for you.” [3993]
3. Why, then, did the Lord not form the covenant for the fathers?
Because “the law was not established for righteous men.” [3994] But the
righteous fathers had the meaning of the Decalogue written in their
hearts and souls, [3995] that is, they loved the God who made them, and
did no injury to their neighbour. There was therefore no occasion that
they should be cautioned by prohibitory mandates (correptoriis
literis), [3996] because they had the righteousness of the law in
themselves. But when this righteousness and love to God had passed into
oblivion, and became extinct in Egypt, God did necessarily, because of
His great goodwill to men, reveal Himself by a voice, and led the
people with power out of Egypt, in order that man might again become
the disciple and follower of God; and He afflicted those who were
disobedient, that they should not contemn their Creator; and He fed
them with manna, that they might receive food for their souls (uti
rationalem acciperent escam); as also Moses says in Deuteronomy: “And
fed thee with manna, which thy fathers did not know, that thou mightest
know that man doth not live by bread alone; but by every word of God
proceeding out of His mouth doth man live.” [3997] And it enjoined love
to God, and taught just dealing towards our neighbour, that we should
neither be unjust nor unworthy of God, who prepares man for His
friendship through the medium of the Decalogue, and likewise for
agreement with his neighbour,--matters which did certainly profit man
himself; God, however, standing in no need of anything from man.
4. And therefore does the Scripture say, “These words the Lord spake to
all the assembly of the children of Israel in the mount, and He added
no more;” [3998] for, as I have already observed, He stood in need of
nothing from them. And again Moses says: “And now Israel, what doth the
Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in
all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all
thy heart, and with all thy soul?” [3999] Now these things did indeed
make man glorious, by supplying what was wanting to him, namely, the friendship of God; but they profited God nothing, for God did not at all stand in need of man’s love. For the glory of God was wanting to man, which he could obtain in no other way than by serving God. And therefore Moses says to them again: “Choose life, that thou mayest live, and thy seed, to love the Lord thy God, to hear His voice, to cleave unto Him; for this is thy life, and the length of thy days.”
[4000] Preparing man for this life, the Lord Himself did speak in His
own person to all alike the words of the Decalogue; and therefore, in
like manner, do they remain permanently with us, [4001] receiving by means of His advent in the flesh, extension and increase, but not abrogation.
5. The laws of bondage, however, were one by one promulgated to the
people by Moses, suited for their instruction or for their punishment,
as Moses himself declared: “And the Lord commanded me at that time to
teach you statutes and judgments.” [4002] These things, therefore,
which were given for bondage, and for a sign to them, He cancelled by
the new covenant of liberty. But He has increased and widened those
laws which are natural, and noble, and common to all, granting to men
largely and without grudging, by means of adoption, to know God the
Father, and to love Him with the whole heart, and to follow His word
unswervingly, while they abstain not only from evil deeds, but even
from the desire after them. But He has also increased the feeling of
reverence; for sons should have more veneration than slaves, and
greater love for their father. And therefore the Lord says, “As to
every idle word that men have spoken, they shall render an account for
it in the day of judgment.” [4003] And, “he who has looked upon a woman
to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his
heart;” [4004] and, “he that is angry with his brother without a cause,
shall be in danger of the judgment.” [4005] [All this is declared,]
that we may know that we shall give account to God not of deeds only,
as slaves, but even of words and thoughts, as those who have truly received the power of liberty, in which [condition] a man is more severely tested, whether he will reverence, and fear, and love the Lord. And for this reason Peter says “that we have not liberty as a cloak of maliciousness,” [4006] but as the means of testing and evidencing faith.

[3983] Gen. xvii. 9-11.
[3984] Ezek. xx. 12.
[3985] Ex. xxi. 13.
[3986] Col. ii. 11.
[3987] Deut. x. 16, LXX. version.
[3988] The Latin text here is: “Sabbata autem perseverantiam totius
diei erga Deum deservitionis edocebant;” which might be rendered, “The
Sabbaths taught that we should continue the whole day in the service of
God;” but Harvey conceives the original Greek to have been, ten kathemerinen diamonen tes peri ton Theon latreias.
[3989] Rom. viii. 36.
[3990] Matt. vi. 19.
[3991] Jas. ii. 23.
[3992] Massuet remarks here that Irenaeus makes a reference to the
apocryphal book of Enoch, in which this history is contained. It was
the belief of the later Jews, followed by the Christian fathers, that
“the sons of God” (Gen. vi. 2) who took wives of the daughters of men,
were the apostate angels. The LXX. translation of that passage accords
with this view. See the articles “Enoch,” “Enoch, Book of,” in Smith’s
Dictionary of the Bible. [See Paradise Lost, b. i. 323-431.]
[3993] Deut. v. 2.
[3994] 1 Tim. i. 9.
[3995] [Hearts and souls; i.e., moral and mental natures. For a correct
view of the patristic conceptions of the Gentiles before the law, this
is valuable.]
[3996] i.e., the letters of the Decalogue on the two tables of stone.
[3997] Deut. viii. 3.
[3998] Deut. v. 22.
[3999] Deut. x. 12.
[4000] Deut. xxx. 19, 20.
[4001] [Most noteworthy among primitive testimonies to the catholic reception of the Decalogue.]
[4002] Deut. iv. 14.
[4003] Matt. xii. 36.
[4004] Matt. v. 28.
[4005] Matt. v. 22.
[4006] 1 Pet. ii. 16.

Chapter XVII.—Proof that God did not appoint the Levitical dispensation for
His own sake, or as requiring such service; for He does, in fact, need nothing
from men.
1. Moreover, the prophets indicate in the fullest manner that God stood
in no need of their slavish obedience, but that it was upon their own
account that He enjoined certain observances in the law. And again,
that God needed not their oblation, but [merely demanded it], on
account of man himself who offers it, the Lord taught distinctly, as I
have pointed out. For when He perceived them neglecting righteousness,
and abstaining from the love of God, and imagining that God was to be
propitiated by sacrifices and the other typical observances, Samuel did
even thus speak to them: “God does not desire whole burnt-offerings and
sacrifices, but He will have His voice to be hearkened to. Behold, a
ready obedience is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat
of rams.” [4007] David also says: “Sacrifice and oblation Thou didst
not desire, but mine ears hast Thou perfected; [4008] burnt-offerings
also for sin Thou hast not required.” [4009] He thus teaches them that
God desires obedience, which renders them secure, rather than
sacrifices and holocausts, which avail them nothing towards
righteousness; and [by this declaration] he prophesies the new covenant
at the same time. Still clearer, too, does he speak of these things in
the fiftieth Psalm: “For if Thou hadst desired sacrifice, then would I
have given it: Thou wilt not delight in burnt-offerings. The sacrifice
of God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart the Lord will
not despise.” [4010] Because, therefore, God stands in need of nothing,
He declares in the preceding Psalm: “I will take no calves out of thine
house, nor he-goats out of thy fold. For Mine are all the beasts of the
earth, the herds and the oxen on the mountains: I know all the fowls of
heaven, and the various tribes [4011] of the field are Mine. If I were
hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is Mine, and the fulness
thereof. Shall I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?”
[4012] Then, lest it might be supposed that He refused these things in
His anger, He continues, giving him (man) counsel: “Offer unto God the
sacrifice of praise, and pay thy vows to the Most High; and call upon
Me in the day of thy trouble, and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt
glorify Me;” [4013] rejecting, indeed, those things by which sinners
imagined they could propitiate God, and showing that He does Himself
stand in need of nothing; but He exhorts and advises them to those
things by which man is justified and draws nigh to God. This same
declaration does Esaias make: “To what purpose is the multitude of your
sacrifices unto Me? saith the Lord. I am full.” [4014] And when He had
repudiated holocausts, and sacrifices, and oblations, as likewise the
new moons, and the sabbaths, and the festivals, and all the rest of the
services accompanying these, He continues, exhorting them to what
pertained to salvation: “Wash you, make you clean, take away wickedness
from your hearts from before mine eyes: cease from your evil ways, learn to do well, seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow; and come, let us reason together, saith the Lord.”
2. For it was not because He was angry, like a man, as many venture to
say, that He rejected their sacrifices; but out of compassion to their
blindness, and with the view of suggesting to them the true sacrifice,
by offering which they shall appease God, that they may receive life
from Him. As He elsewhere declares: “The sacrifice to God is an
afflicted heart: a sweet savour to God is a heart glorifying Him who
formed it.” [4015] For if, when angry, He had repudiated these
sacrifices of theirs, as if they were persons unworthy to obtain His
compassion, He would not certainly have urged these same things upon
them as those by which they might be saved. But inasmuch as God is
merciful, He did not cut them off from good counsel. For after He had
said by Jeremiah, “To what purpose bring ye Me incense from Saba, and
cinnamon from a far country? Your whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices
are not acceptable to Me;” [4016] He proceeds: “Hear the word of the
Lord, all Judah. These things saith the Lord, the God of Israel, Make
straight your ways and your doings, and I will establish you in this
place. Put not your trust in lying words, for they will not at all
profit you, saying, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, it
is [here].” [4017]
3. And again, when He points out that it was not for this that He led
them out of Egypt, that they might offer sacrifice to Him, but that,
forgetting the idolatry of the Egyptians, they should be able to hear
the voice of the Lord, which was to them salvation and glory, He
declares by this same Jeremiah: “Thus saith the Lord; Collect together
your burnt-offerings with your sacrifices and eat flesh. For I spake
not unto your fathers nor commanded them in the day that I brought them
out of Egypt, concerning burnt-offerings or sacrifices: but this word I
commanded them, saying, Hear My voice, and I will be your God, and ye
shall be My people; and walk in all My ways whatsoever I have commanded
you, that it may be well with you. But they obeyed not, nor hearkened;
but walked in the imaginations of their own evil heart, and went
backwards, and not forwards.” [4018] And again, when He declares by the
same man, “But let him that glorieth, glory in this, to understand and
know that I am the Lord, who doth exercise loving-kindness, and
righteousness, and judgment in the earth;” [4019] He adds, “For in
these things I delight, says the Lord,” but not in sacrifices, nor in
holocausts, nor in oblations. For the people did not receive these
precepts as of primary importance (principaliter), but as secondary,
and for the reason already alleged, as Isaiah again says: “Thou hast
not [brought to] Me the sheep of thy holocaust, nor in thy sacrifices
hast thou glorified Me: thou hast not served Me in sacrifices, nor in
[the matter of] frankincense hast thou done anything laboriously;
neither hast thou bought for Me incense with money, nor have I desired
the fat of thy sacrifices; but thou hast stood before Me in thy sins
and in thine iniquities.” [4020] He says, therefore, “Upon this man
will I look, even upon him that is humble, and meek, and who trembles
at My words.” [4021] “For the fat and the fat flesh shall not take away
from thee thine unrighteousness.” [4022] “This is the fast which I have
chosen, saith the Lord. Loose every band of wickedness, dissolve the
connections of violent agreements, give rest to those that are shaken,
and cancel every unjust document. Deal thy bread to the hungry
willingly, and lead into thy house the roofless stranger. If thou hast
seen the naked, cover him, and thou shalt not despise those of thine
own flesh and blood (domesticos seminis tui). Then shall thy morning
light break forth, and thy health shall spring forth more speedily; and
righteousness shall go before thee, and the glory of the Lord shall
surround thee: and whilst thou art yet speaking, I will say, Behold,
here I am.” [4023] And Zechariah also, among the twelve prophets,
pointing out to the people the will of God, says: “These things does
the Lord Omnipotent declare: Execute true judgment, and show mercy and
compassion each one to his brother. And oppress not the widow, and the
orphan, and the proselyte, and the poor; and let none imagine evil
against your brother in his heart.” [4024] And again, he says: “These
are the words which ye shall utter. Speak ye the truth every man to his
neighbour, and execute peaceful judgment in your gates, and let none of
you imagine evil in his heart against his brother, and ye shall not
love false swearing: for all these things I hate, saith the Lord
Almighty.” [4025] Moreover, David also says in like manner: “What man
is there who desireth life, and would fain see good days? Keep thy
tongue from evil, and thy lips that they speak no guile. Shun evil, and
do good: seek peace, and pursue it.” [4026]
4. From all these it is evident that God did not seek sacrifices and holocausts from them, but faith, and obedience, and righteousness, because of their salvation. As God, when teaching them His will in
Hosea the prophet, said, “I desire mercy rather than sacrifice, and the
knowledge of God more than burnt-offerings.” [4027] Besides, our Lord
also exhorted them to the same effect, when He said, “But if ye had known what [this] meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.” [4028] Thus does He bear witness to the prophets, that they preached the truth; but accuses these men (His hearers) of being foolish through their own fault.
5. Again, giving directions to His disciples to offer to God the
first-fruits [4029] of His own, created things—not as if He stood in
need of them, but that they might be themselves neither unfruitful nor
ungrateful—He took that created thing, bread, and gave thanks, and
said, “This is My body.” [4030] And the cup likewise, which is part of
that creation to which we belong, He confessed to be His blood, and
taught the new oblation of the new covenant; which the Church receiving
from the apostles, offers to God throughout all the world, to Him who
gives us as the means of subsistence the first-fruits of His own gifts
in the New Testament, concerning which Malachi, among the twelve
prophets, thus spoke beforehand: “I have no pleasure in you, saith the
Lord Omnipotent, and I will not accept sacrifice at your hands. For
from the rising of the sun, unto the going down [of the same], My name
is glorified among the Gentiles, and in every place incense is offered
to My name, and a pure sacrifice; for great is My name among the
Gentiles, saith the Lord Omnipotent;” [4031] --indicating in the
plainest manner, by these words, that the former people [the Jews]
shall indeed cease to make offerings to God, but that in every place
sacrifice shall be offered to Him, and that a pure one; and His name is
glorified among the Gentiles. [4032]
6. But what other name is there which is glorified among the Gentiles
than that of our Lord, by whom the Father is glorified, and man also?
And because it is [the name] of His own Son, who was made man by Him,
He calls it His own. Just as a king, if he himself paints a likeness of
his son, is right in calling this likeness his own, for both these
reasons, because it is [the likeness] of his son, and because it is his
own production; so also does the Father confess the name of Jesus
Christ, which is throughout all the world glorified in the Church, to
be His own, both because it is that of His Son, and because He who thus
describes it gave Him for the salvation of men. Since, therefore, the
name of the Son belongs to the Father, and since in the omnipotent God
the Church makes offerings through Jesus Christ, He says well on both
these grounds, “And in every place incense is offered to My name, and a
pure sacrifice.” Now John, in the Apocalypse, declares that the “incense” is “the prayers of the saints.” [4033]

[4007] 1 Sam. xv. 22.
[4008] Latin, “aures autem perfecisti mihi;” a reading agreeable to
neither the Hebrew nor Septuagint version, as quoted by St. Paul in
Heb. x. 9. Harvey, however, is of opinion that the text of the old
Latin translation was originally “perforasti;” indicating thus an
entire concurrence with the Hebrew, as now read in this passage. [Both
readings illustrated by their apparent reference to Ex. xxi. 6, compared with Heb. v. 7-9.]
[4009] Ps. xl. 6.
[4010] Ps. li. 17.
[4011] Or, “the beauty,” species.
[4012] Ps. l. 9.
[4013] Ps. l. 14, 15.
[4014] Isa. i. 11.
[4015] This passage is not now found in holy Scripture. Harvey
conjectures that it may have been taken from the apocryphal Gospel
according to the Egyptians. It is remarkable that we find the same
words quoted also by Clement of Alexandria. [But he (possibly with this
place in view) merely quotes it as a saying, in close connection with
Ps. li. 19, which is here partially cited. See Clement, Paedagogue, b.
iii. cap. xii.]

[4016] Jer. vi. 20.
[4017] Jer. vii. 2, 3.
[4018] Jer. vii. 21.
[4019] Jer. ix. 24.
[4020] Isa. xliii. 23, 24.
[4021] Isa. xlvi. 2.
[4022] Jer. xi. 15.
[4023] Isa. lviii. 6, etc.
[4024] Zech. vii. 9, 10.
[4025] Zech. viii. 16, 17.
[4026] Ps. xxxiv. 13, 14.
[4027] Hos. vi. 6.
[4028] Matt. xii. 7.
[4029] Grabe has a long and important note on this passage and what
follows, which may be seen in Harvey, in loc. See, on the other side,
and in connection with the whole of the following chapter, Massuet’s
third dissertation on the doctrine of Irenaeus, art. vii., reprinted in
Migne’s edition.
[4030] Matt. xxvi. 26, etc.
[4031] Mal. i. 10, 11.
[4032] [One marvels that there should be any critical difficulty here
as to our author’s teaching. Creatures of bread and wine are the body
and the blood; materially one thing, mystically another. See cap. xviii. 5 below.]
[4033] Rev. v. 8. [Material incense seems to be always disclaimed by the primitive writers.]

Chapter XVIII.—Concerning sacrifices and oblations, and those who truly offer
1. The oblation of the Church, therefore, which the Lord gave
instructions to be offered throughout all the world, is accounted with
God a pure sacrifice, and is acceptable to Him; not that He stands in
need of a sacrifice from us, but that he who offers is himself
glorified in what he does offer, if his gift be accepted. For by the
gift both honour and affection are shown forth towards the King; and
the Lord, wishing us to offer it in all simplicity and innocence, did
express Himself thus: “Therefore, when thou offerest thy gift upon the
altar, and shalt remember that thy brother hath ought against thee,
leave thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to
thy brother, and then return and offer thy gift.” [4034] We are bound,
therefore, to offer to God the first-fruits of His creation, as Moses
also says, “Thou shalt not appear in the presence of the Lord thy God
empty;” [4035] so that man, being accounted as grateful, by those things in which he has shown his gratitude, may receive that honour which flows from Him. [4036]
2. And the class of oblations in general has not been set aside; for there were both oblations there [among the Jews], and there are
oblations here [among the Christians]. Sacrifices there were among the
people; sacrifices there are, too, in the Church: but the species alone
has been changed, inasmuch as the offering is now made, not by slaves,
but by freemen. For the Lord is [ever] one and the same; but the
character of a servile oblation is peculiar [to itself], as is also
that of freemen, in order that, by the very oblations, the indication
of liberty may be set forth. For with Him there is nothing purposeless,
nor without signification, nor without design. And for this reason they
(the Jews) had indeed the tithes of their goods consecrated to Him, but
those who have received liberty set aside all their possessions for the
Lord’s purposes, bestowing joyfully and freely not the less valuable
portions of their property, since they have the hope of better things
[hereafter]; as that poor widow acted who cast all her living into the
treasury of God. [4037]
3. For at the beginning God had respect to the gifts of Abel, because
he offered with single-mindedness and righteousness; but He had no
respect unto the offering of Cain, because his heart was divided with
envy and malice, which he cherished against his brother, as God says
when reproving his hidden [thoughts], “Though thou offerest rightly,
yet, if thou dost not divide rightly, hast thou not sinned? Be at
rest;” [4038] since God is not appeased by sacrifice. For if any one
shall endeavour to offer a sacrifice merely to outward appearance,
unexceptionably, in due order, and according to appointment, while in
his soul he does not assign to his neighbour that fellowship with him
which is right and proper, nor is under the fear of God;-- he who thus
cherishes secret sin does not deceive God by that sacrifice which is
offered correctly as to outward appearance; nor will such an oblation
profit him anything, but [only] the giving up of that evil which has been conceived within him, so that sin may not the more, by means of the hypocritical action, render him the destroyer of himself. [4039]
Wherefore did the Lord also declare: “Woe unto you, scribes and
Pharisees, hypocrites, for ye are like whited sepulchres. For the
sepulchre appears beautiful outside, but within it is full of dead
men’s bones, and all uncleanness; even so ye also outwardly appear
righteous unto men, but within ye are full of wickedness and
hypocrisy.” [4040] For while they were thought to offer correctly so
far as outward appearance went, they had in themselves jealousy like to
Cain; therefore they slew the Just One, slighting the counsel of the
Word, as did also Cain. For [God] said to him, “Be at rest;” but he did
not assent. Now what else is it to “be at rest” than to forego purposed
violence? And saying similar things to these men, He declares: “Thou
blind Pharisee, cleanse that which is within the cup, that the outside
may be clean also.” [4041] And they did not listen to Him. For Jeremiah
says, “Behold, neither thine eyes nor thy heart are good; but [they are
turned] to thy covetousness, and to shed innocent blood, and for
injustice, and for man-slaying, that thou mayest do it.” [4042] And
again Isaiah saith, “Ye have taken counsel, but not of Me; and made
covenants, [but] not by My Spirit.” [4043] In order, therefore, that
their inner wish and thought, being brought to light, may show that God
is without blame, and worketh no evil—that God who reveals what is
hidden [in the heart], but who worketh not evil—when Cain was by no
means at rest, He saith to him: “To thee shall be his desire, and thou
shalt rule over him.” [4044] Thus did He in like manner speak to
Pilate: “Thou shouldest have no power at all against Me, unless it were
given thee from above;” [4045] God always giving up the righteous one
[in this life to suffering], that he, having been tested by what he
suffered and endured, may [at last] be accepted; but that the evildoer,
being judged by the actions he has performed, may be rejected.
Sacrifices, therefore, do not sanctify a man, for God stands in no need
of sacrifice; but it is the conscience of the offerer that sanctifies
the sacrifice when it is pure, and thus moves God to accept [the offering] as from a friend. “But the sinner,” says He, “who kills a calf [in sacrifice] to Me, is as if he slew a dog.” [4046]
4. Inasmuch, then, as the Church offers with single-mindedness, her
gift is justly reckoned a pure sacrifice with God. As Paul also says to
the Philippians, “I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the
things that were sent from you, the odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice
acceptable, pleasing to God.” [4047] For it behoves us to make an
oblation to God, and in all things to be found grateful to God our
Maker, in a pure mind, and in faith without hypocrisy, in well-grounded
hope, in fervent love, offering the first-fruits of His own created
things. And the Church alone offers this pure oblation to the Creator,
offering to Him, with giving of thanks, [the things taken] from His
creation. But the Jews do not offer thus: for their hands are full of
blood; for they have not received the Word, through whom it is offered
to God. [4048] Nor, again, do any of the conventicles (synagogae) of
the heretics [offer this]. For some, by maintaining that the Father is
different from the Creator, do, when they offer to Him what belongs to
this creation of ours, set Him forth as being covetous of another’s
property, and desirous of what is not His own. Those, again, who
maintain that the things around us originated from apostasy, ignorance,
and passion, do, while offering unto Him the fruits of ignorance,
passion, and apostasy, sin against their Father, rather subjecting Him
to insult than giving Him thanks. But how can they be consistent with
themselves, [when they say] that the bread over which thanks have been
given is the body of their Lord, [4049] and the cup His blood, if they
do not call Himself the Son of the Creator of the world, that is, His
Word, through whom the wood fructifies, and the fountains gush forth,
and the earth gives “first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn
in the ear.” [4050]
5. Then, again, how can they say that the flesh, which is nourished
with the body of the Lord and with His blood, goes to corruption, and
does not partake of life? Let them, therefore, either alter their
opinion, or cease from offering the things just mentioned. [4051] But
our opinion is in accordance with the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in
turn establishes our opinion. For we offer to Him His own, announcing
consistently the fellowship and union of the flesh and Spirit. [4052]
For as the bread, which is produced from the earth, when it receives
the invocation of God, is no longer common bread, [4053] but the
Eucharist, consisting of two realities, earthly and heavenly; so also
our bodies, when they receive the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible,
having the hope of the resurrection to eternity.
6. Now we make offering to Him, not as though He stood in need of it,
but rendering thanks for His gift, [4054] and thus sanctifying what has
been created. For even as God does not need our possessions, so do we
need to offer something to God; as Solomon says: “He that hath pity
upon the poor, lendeth unto the Lord.” [4055] For God, who stands in
need of nothing, takes our good works to Himself for this purpose, that
He may grant us a recompense of His own good things, as our Lord says:
“Come, ye blessed of My Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you.For I was an hungered, and ye gave Me to eat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me in: naked, and ye clothed Me; sick, and ye visited Me; in prison, and ye came to Me.”
[4056] As, therefore, He does not stand in need of these [services],
yet does desire that we should render them for our own benefit, lest we
be unfruitful; so did the Word give to the people that very precept as
to the making of oblations, although He stood in no need of them, that
they might learn to serve God: thus is it, therefore, also His will
that we, too, should offer a gift at the altar, frequently and without
intermission. The altar, then, is in heaven [4057] (for towards that
place are our prayers and oblations directed); the temple likewise [is
there], as John says in the Apocalypse, “And the temple of God was opened:” [4058] the tabernacle also: “For, behold,” He says, “the tabernacle of God, in which He will dwell with men.”

[4034] Matt. v. 23, 24.
[4035] Deut. xvi. 16.
[4036] The text of this passage is doubtful in some words.
[4037] Luke xxi. 4. [The law of tithes abrogated; the law of Acts ii.
44, 45, morally binding. This seems to be our author’s view.]
[4038] Gen. iv. 7, LXX.
[4039] The Latin text is: “ne per assimulatam operationem, magis autem
peccatum, ipsum sibi homicidam faciat hominem.”
[4040] Matt. xxiii. 27, 28.
[4041] Matt. xxiii. 26.
[4042] Jer. xxii. 17.
[4043] Isa. xxx. 1.
[4044] Gen. iv. 7.
[4045] John xix. 11.
[4046] Isa. lxvi. 3.
[4047] Phil. iv. 18.
[4048] The text here fluctuates between quod offertur Deo, and per quod
offertur Deo. Massuet adopts the former, and Harvey the latter. If the
first reading be chosen, the translation will be, “the Word who is
offered to God,” implying, according to Massuet, that the body of
Christ is really offered as a sacrifice in the Eucharist; if the second
reading be followed, the translation will be as above. [Massuet’s idea
is no more to be found, even in his text, than Luther’s or Calvin’s.
The crucial point is, how offered? One may answer “figuratively,”
“corporally,” “mystically,” or otherwise. Irenaeus gives no answer in
this place. But see below.]
[4049] Comp. Massuet and Harvey respectively for the meaning to be attached to these words.
[4050] Mark iv. 28.
[4051] “Either let them acknowledge that the earth is the Lord’s, and
the fulness thereof, or let them cease to offer to God those elements
that they deny to be vouchsafed by Him.”—Harvey.
[4052] That is, according to Harvey, “while we offer to Him His own
creatures of bread and wine, we tell forth the fellowship of flesh with
spirit; i.e., that the flesh of every child of man is receptive of the
Spirit.” The words kai homologountes ... egersin, which here occur in
the Greek text, are rejected as an interpolation by Grabe and Harvey,
but defended as genuine by Massuet.
[4053] See Harvey’s long note on this passage, and what immediately
follows. [But, note, we are only asking what Irenaeus teaches. Could
words be plainer,--“two realities,”--(i.) bread, (ii.) spiritual food?
Bread—but not “common bread;” matter and grace, flesh and Spirit. In
the Eucharist, an earthly and a heavenly part.]
[4054] The text fluctuates between dominationi and donationi.
[4055] Prov. xix. 17.
[4056] Matt. xxv. 34, etc.
[4057] [The Sursum Corda seems here in mind. The object of Eucharistic
adoration is the Creator, our “great High Priest, passed into the heavens,” and in bodily substance there enthroned, according to our author.]
[4058] Rev. xi. 19.

Chapter XIX.—Earthly things may be the type of heavenly, but the latter
cannot be the types of others still superior and unknown; nor can we, without
absolute madness, maintain that God is known to us only as the type of a still
unknown and superior being.
1. Now the gifts, oblations, and all the sacrifices, did the people
receive in a figure, as was shown to Moses in the mount, from one and
the same God, whose name is now glorified in the Church among all
nations. But it is congruous that those earthly things, indeed, which
are spread all around us, should be types of the celestial, being
[both], however, created by the same God. For in no other way could He
assimilate an image of spiritual things [to suit our comprehension].
But to allege that those things which are super-celestial and
spiritual, and, as far as we are concerned, invisible and ineffable,
are in their turn the types of celestial things and of another Pleroma,
and [to say] that God is the image of another Father, is to play the
part both of wanderers from the truth, and of absolutely foolish and
stupid persons. For, as I have repeatedly shown, such persons will find
it necessary to be continually finding out types of types, and images
of images, and will never [be able to] fix their minds on one and the
true God. For their imaginations range beyond God, they having in their
hearts surpassed the Master Himself, being indeed in idea elated and exalted above [Him], but in reality turning away from the true God.
2. To these persons one may with justice say (as Scripture itself
suggests), To what distance above God do ye lift up your imaginations,
O ye rashly elated men? Ye have heard “that the heavens are meted out
in the palm of [His] hand:” [4059] tell me the measure, and recount the
endless multitude of cubits, explain to me the fulness, the breadth,
the length, the height, the beginning and end of the
measurement,--things which the heart of man understands not, neither
does it comprehend them. For the heavenly treasuries are indeed great:
God cannot be measured in the heart, and incomprehensible is He in the
mind; He who holds the earth in the hollow of His hand. Who perceives
the measure of His right hand? Who knoweth His finger? Or who doth
understand His hand,--that hand which measures immensity; that hand
which, by its own measure, spreads out the measure of the heavens, and
which comprises in its hollow the earth with the abysses; which
contains in itself the breadth, and length, and the deep below, and the
height above of the whole creation; which is seen, which is heard and
understood, and which is invisible? And for this reason God is “above
all principality, and power, and dominion, and every name that is
named,” [4060] of all things which have been created and established.
He it is who fills the heavens, and views the abysses, who is also
present with every one of us. For he says, “Am I a God at hand, and not
a God afar off? If any man is hid in secret places, shall I not see
him?” [4061] For His hand lays hold of all things, and that it is which
illumines the heavens, and lightens also the things which are under the
heavens, and trieth the reins and the hearts, is also present in hidden
things, and in our secret [thoughts], and does openly nourish and preserve us.
3. But if man comprehends not the fulness and the greatness of His
hand, how shall any one be able to understand or know in his heart so
great a God? Yet, as if they had now measured and thoroughly
investigated Him, and explored Him on every side, [4062] they feign
that beyond Him there exists another Pleroma of AEons, and another
Father; certainly not looking up to celestial things, but truly
descending into a profound abyss (Bythus) of madness; maintaining that
their Father extends only to the border of those things which are
beyond the Pleroma, but that, on the other hand, the Demiurge does not
reach so far as the Pleroma; and thus they represent neither of them as
being perfect and comprehending all things. For the former will be
defective in regard to the whole world formed outside of the Pleroma,
and the latter in respect of that [ideal] world which was formed within
the Pleroma; and [therefore] neither of these can be the God of all.
But that no one can fully declare the goodness of God from the things
made by Him, is a point evident to all. And that His greatness is not
defective, but contains all things, and extends even to us, and is with
us, every one will confess who entertains worthy conceptions of God.

[4059] Isa. xl. 12.
[4060] Eph. i. 21.
[4061] Jer. xxiii. 23.
[4062] The Latin is, “et universum eum decurrerint.” Harvey imagines
that this last word corresponds to katatrechosi but it is difficult to
fit such a meaning into the context.

Chapter XX.—That one God formed all things in the world, by means of the Word
and the Holy Spirit: and that although He is to us in this life invisible and
incomprehensible, nevertheless He is not unknown; inasmuch as His works do
declare Him, and His Word has shown that in many modes He may be seen and
1. As regards His greatness, therefore, it is not possible to know God,
for it is impossible that the Father can be measured; but as regards
His love (for this it is which leads us to God by His Word), when we
obey Him, we do always learn that there is so great a God, and that it
is He who by Himself has established, and selected, and adorned, and
contains all things; and among the all things, both ourselves and this
our world. We also then were made, along with those things which are
contained by Him. And this is He of whom the Scripture says, “And God
formed man, taking clay of the earth, and breathed into his face the
breath of life.” [4063] It was not angels, therefore, who made us, nor
who formed us, neither had angels power to make an image of God, nor
any one else, except the Word of the Lord, nor any Power remotely
distant from the Father of all things. For God did not stand in need of
these [beings], in order to the accomplishing of what He had Himself
determined with Himself beforehand should be done, as if He did not
possess His own hands. For with Him were always present the Word and
Wisdom, the Son and the Spirit, by whom and in whom, freely and
spontaneously, He made all things, to whom also He speaks, saying, “Let
Us make man after Our image and likeness;” [4064] He taking from Himself the substance of the creatures [formed], and the pattern of things made, and the type of all the adornments in the world.
2. Truly, then, the Scripture declared, which says, “First [4065] of
all believe that there is one God, who has established all things, and
completed them, and having caused that from what had no being, all
things should come into existence:” He who contains all things, and is
Himself contained by no one. Rightly also has Malachi said among the
prophets: “Is it not one God who hath established us? Have we not all
one Father?” [4066] In accordance with this, too, does the apostle say,
“There is one God, the Father, who is above all, and in us all.” [4067]
Likewise does the Lord also say: “All things are delivered to Me by My
Father;” [4068] manifestly by Him who made all things; for He did not
deliver to Him the things of another, but His own. But in all things [it is implied that] nothing has been kept back [from Him], and for this reason the same person is the Judge of the living and the dead;
“having the key of David: He shall open, and no man shall shut: He
shall shut, and no man shall open.” [4069] For no one was able, either
in heaven or in earth, or under the earth, to open the book of the
Father, or to behold Him, with the exception of the Lamb who was slain,
and who redeemed us with His own blood, receiving power over all things
from the same God who made all things by the Word, and adorned them by
[His] Wisdom, when “the Word was made flesh;” that even as the Word of
God had the sovereignty in the heavens, so also might He have the
sovereignty in earth, inasmuch as [He was] a righteous man, “who did no
sin, neither was there found guile in His mouth;” [4070] and that He
might have the pre-eminence over those things which are under the
earth, He Himself being made “the first-begotten of the dead;” [4071]
and that all things, as I have already said, might behold their King;
and that the paternal light might meet with and rest upon the flesh of
our Lord, and come to us from His resplendent flesh, and that thus man
might attain to immortality, having been invested with the paternal light.
3. I have also largely demonstrated, that the Word, namely the Son, was
always with the Father; and that Wisdom also, which is the Spirit, was
present with Him, anterior to all creation, He declares by Solomon:
“God by Wisdom founded the earth, and by understanding hath He
established the heaven. By His knowledge the depths burst forth, and
the clouds dropped down the dew.” [4072] And again: “The Lord created
me the beginning of His ways in His work: He set me up from
everlasting, in the beginning, before He made the earth, before He
established the depths, and before the fountains of waters gushed
forth; before the mountains were made strong, and before all the hills,
He brought me forth.” [4073] And again: “When He prepared the heaven, I
was with Him, and when He established the fountains of the deep; when
He made the foundations of the earth strong, I was with Him preparing
[them]. I was He in whom He rejoiced, and throughout all time I was
daily glad before His face, when He rejoiced at the completion of the
world, and was delighted in the sons of men.” [4074]
4. There is therefore one God, who by the Word and Wisdom created and
arranged all things; but this is the Creator (Demiurge) who has granted
this world to the human race, and who, as regards His greatness, is
indeed unknown to all who have been made by Him (for no man has
searched out His height, either among the ancients who have gone to
their rest, or any of those who are now alive); but as regards His
love, He is always known through Him by whose means He ordained all
things. Now this is His Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, who in the last
times was made a man among men, that He might join the end to the
beginning, that is, man to God. Wherefore the prophets, receiving the
prophetic gift from the same Word, announced His advent according to
the flesh, by which the blending and communion of God and man took
place according to the good pleasure of the Father, the Word of God
foretelling from the beginning that God should be seen by men, and hold
converse with them upon earth, should confer with them, and should be
present with His own creation, saving it, and becoming capable of being
perceived by it, and freeing us from the hands of all that hate us,
that is, from every spirit of wickedness; and causing us to serve Him
in holiness and righteousness all our days, [4075] in order that man,
having embraced the Spirit of God, might pass into the glory of the Father.
5. These things did the prophets set forth in a prophetical manner; but
they did not, as some allege, [proclaim] that He who was seen by the
prophets was a different [God], the Father of all being invisible. Yet
this is what those [heretics] declare, who are altogether ignorant of
the nature of prophecy. For prophecy is a prediction of things future,
that is, a setting forth beforehand of those things which shall be
afterwards. The prophets, then, indicated beforehand that God should be
seen by men; as the Lord also says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for
they shall see God.” [4076] But in respect to His greatness, and His
wonderful glory, “no man shall see God and live,” [4077] for the Father
is incomprehensible; but in regard to His love, and kindness, and as to
His infinite power, even this He grants to those who love Him, that is,
to see God, which thing the prophets did also predict. “For those
things that are impossible with men, are possible with God.” [4078] For
man does not see God by his own powers; but when He pleases He is seen
by men, by whom He wills, and when He wills, and as He wills. For God
is powerful in all things, having been seen at that time indeed,
prophetically through the Spirit, and seen, too, adoptively through the
Son; and He shall also be seen paternally in the kingdom of heaven, the
Spirit truly preparing man in the Son [4079] of God, and the Son leading him to the Father, while the Father, too, confers [upon him]
incorruption for eternal life, which comes to every one from the fact
of his seeing God. For as those who see the light are within the light,
and partake of its brilliancy; even so, those who see God are in God,
and receive of His splendour. But [His] splendour vivifies them; those,
therefore, who see God, do receive life. And for this reason, He,
[although] beyond comprehension, and boundless and invisible, rendered
Himself visible, and comprehensible, and within the capacity of those
who believe, that He might vivify those who receive and behold Him
through faith. [4080] For as His greatness is past finding out, so also
His goodness is beyond expression; by which having been seen, He
bestows life upon those who see Him. It is not possible to live apart
from life, and the means of life is found in fellowship with God; but
fellowship with God is to know God, and to enjoy His goodness.
6. Men therefore shall see God, that they may live, being made immortal
by that sight, and attaining even unto God; which, as I have already
said, was declared figuratively by the prophets, that God should be
seen by men who bear His Spirit [in them], and do always wait patiently
for His coming. As also Moses says in Deuteronomy, “We shall see in
that day that God will talk to man, and he shall live.” [4081] For
certain of these men used to see the prophetic Spirit and His active
influences poured forth for all kinds of gifts; others, again, [beheld]
the advent of the Lord, and that dispensation which obtained from the
beginning, by which He accomplished the will of the Father with regard
to things both celestial and terrestrial; and others [beheld] paternal
glories adapted to the times, and to those who saw and who heard them
then, and to all who were subsequently to hear them. Thus, therefore,
was God revealed; for God the Father is shown forth through all these
[operations], the Spirit indeed working, and the Son ministering, while
the Father was approving, and man’s salvation being accomplished. As He
also declares through Hosea the prophet: “I,” He says, “have multiplied
visions, and have used similitudes by the ministry (in manibus) of the
prophets.” [4082] But the apostle expounded this very passage, when he
said, “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit; and
there are differences of ministrations, but the same Lord; and there
are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all
in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to
profit withal.” [4083] But as He who worketh all things in all is God,
[as to the points] of what nature and how great He is, [God] is
invisible and indescribable to all things which have been made by Him,
but He is by no means unknown: for all things learn through His Word
that there is one God the Father, who contains all things, and who
grants existence to all, as is written in the Gospel: “No man hath seen
God at any time, except the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of
the Father; He has declared [Him].” [4084]
7. Therefore the Son of the Father declares [Him] from the beginning,
inasmuch as He was with the Father from the beginning, who did also
show to the human race prophetic visions, and diversities of gifts, and
His own ministrations, and the glory of the Father, in regular order
and connection, at the fitting time for the benefit [of mankind]. For
where there is a regular succession, there is also fixedness; and where
fixedness, there suitability to the period; and where suitability,
there also utility. And for this reason did the Word become the
dispenser of the paternal grace for the benefit of men, for whom He
made such great dispensations, revealing God indeed to men, but
presenting man to God, and preserving at the same time the invisibility
of the Father, lest man should at any time become a despiser of God,
and that he should always possess something towards which he might
advance; but, on the other hand, revealing God to men through many
dispensations, lest man, falling away from God altogether, should cease
to exist. For the glory of God is a living man; and the life of man
consists in beholding God. For if the manifestation of God which is
made by means of the creation, affords life to all living in the earth,
much more does that revelation of the Father which comes through the Word, give life to those who see God.
8. Inasmuch, then, as the Spirit of God pointed out by the prophets
things to come, forming and adapting us beforehand for the purpose of
our being made subject to God, but it was still a future thing that
man, through the good pleasure of the Holy Spirit, should see [God], it
necessarily behoved those through whose instrumentality future things
were announced, to see God, whom they intimated as to be seen by men;
in order that God, and the Son of God, and the Son, and the Father,
should not only be prophetically announced, but that He should also be
seen by all His members who are sanctified and instructed in the things
of God, that man might be disciplined beforehand and previously
exercised for a reception into that glory which shall afterwards be
revealed in those who love God. For the prophets used not to prophesy
in word alone, but in visions also, and in their mode of life, and in
the actions which they performed, according to the suggestions of the
Spirit. After this invisible manner, therefore, did they see God, as
also Esaias says, “I have seen with mine eyes the King, the Lord of
hosts,” [4085] pointing out that man should behold God with his eyes,
and hear His voice. In this manner, therefore, did they also see the
Son of God as a man conversant with men, while they prophesied what was
to happen, saying that He who was not come as yet was present
proclaiming also the impassible as subject to suffering, and declaring
that He who was then in heaven had descended into the dust of death.
[4086] Moreover, [with regard to] the other arrangements concerning the
summing up that He should make, some of these they beheld through
visions, others they proclaimed by word, while others they indicated
typically by means of [outward] action, seeing visibly those things
which were to be seen; heralding by word of mouth those which should be
heard; and performing by actual operation what should take place by
action; but [at the same time] announcing all prophetically. Wherefore
also Moses declared that God was indeed a consuming fire [4087]
(igneum) to the people that transgressed the law, and threatened that
God would bring upon them a day of fire; but to those who had the fear
of God he said, “The Lord God is merciful and gracious, and
long-suffering, and of great commiseration, and true, and keeps justice
and mercy for thousands, forgiving unrighteousness, and transgressions,
and sins.” [4088]
9. And the Word spake to Moses, appearing before him, “just as any one
might speak to his friend.” [4089] But Moses desired to see Him openly
who was speaking with him, and was thus addressed: “Stand in the deep
place of the rock, and with My hand I will cover thee. But when My
splendour shall pass by, then thou shalt see My back parts, but My face
thou shalt not see: for no man sees My face, and shall live.” [4090]
Two facts are thus signified: that it is impossible for man to see God;
and that, through the wisdom of God, man shall see Him in the last
times, in the depth of a rock, that is, in His coming as a man. And for
this reason did He [the Lord] confer with him face to face on the top
of a mountain, Elias being also present, as the Gospel relates, [4091]
He thus making good in the end the ancient promise.
10. The prophets, therefore, did not openly behold the actual face of
God, but [they saw] the dispensations and the mysteries through which
man should afterwards see God. As was also said to Elias: “Thou shalt
go forth tomorrow, and stand in the presence of the Lord; and, behold,
a wind great and strong, which shall rend the mountains, and break the
rocks in pieces before the Lord. And the Lord [was] not in the wind;
and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord [was] not in the
earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord [was] not in
the fire; and after the fire a scarcely audible voice” (vox aurae
tenuis). [4092] For by such means was the prophet—very indignant,
because of the transgression of the people and the slaughter of the
prophets—both taught to act in a more gentle manner; and the Lord’s
advent as a man was pointed out, that it should be subsequent to that
law which was given by Moses, mild and tranquil, in which He would
neither break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax. [4093] The
mild and peaceful repose of His kingdom was indicated likewise. For,
after the wind which rends the mountains, and after the earthquake, and
after the fire, come the tranquil and peaceful times of His kingdom, in
which the spirit of God does, in the most gentle manner, vivify and
increase mankind. This, too, was made still clearer by Ezekiel, that
the prophets saw the dispensations of God in part, but not actually God
Himself. For when this man had seen the vision [4094] of God, and the
cherubim, and their wheels, and when he had recounted the mystery of
the whole of that progression, and had beheld the likeness of a throne
above them, and upon the throne a likeness as of the figure of a man,
and the things which were upon his loins as the figure of amber, and
what was below like the sight of fire, and when he set forth all the
rest of the vision of the thrones, lest any one might happen to think
that in those [visions] he had actually seen God, he added: “This was
the appearance of the likeness of the glory of God.” [4095]
11. If, then, neither Moses, nor Elias, nor Ezekiel, who had all many
celestial visions, did see God; but if what they did see were
similitudes of the splendour of the Lord, and prophecies of things to
come; it is manifest that the Father is indeed invisible, of whom also
the Lord said, “No man hath seen God at any time.” [4096] But His Word,
as He Himself willed it, and for the benefit of those who beheld, did
show the Father’s brightness, and explained His purposes (as also the
Lord said: “The only-begotten God, [4097] which is in the bosom of the
Father, He hath declared [Him];” and He does Himself also interpret the
Word of the Father as being rich and great); not in one figure, nor in
one character, did He appear to those seeing Him, but according to the
reasons and effects aimed at in His dispensations, as it is written in
Daniel. For at one time He was seen with those who were around Ananias,
Azarias, Mishael, as present with them in the furnace of fire, in the
burning, and preserving them from [the effects of] fire: “And the appearance of the fourth,” it is said, “was like to the Son of God.”
[4098] At another time [He is represented as] “a stone cut out of the
mountain without hands,” [4099] and as smiting all temporal kingdoms,
and as blowing them away (ventilans ea), and as Himself filling all the
earth. Then, too, is this same individual beheld as the Son of man
coming in the clouds of heaven, and drawing near to the Ancient of
Days, and receiving from Him all power and glory, and a kingdom. “His
dominion,” it is said, “is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom
shall not perish.” [4100] John also, the Lord’s disciple, when
beholding the sacerdotal and glorious advent of His kingdom, says in
the Apocalypse: “I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And,
being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the
candlesticks One like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment
reaching to the feet, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle; and
His head and His hairs were white, as white as wool, and as snow; and
His eyes were as a flame of fire; and His feet like unto fine brass, as
if He burned in a furnace. And His voice [was] as the voice of waters;
and He had in His right hand seven stars; and out of His mouth went a
sharp two-edged sword; and His countenance was as the sun shining in
his strength.” [4101] For in these words He sets forth something of the
glory [which He has received] from His Father, as [where He makes
mention of] the head; something in reference to the priestly office
also, as in the case of the long garment reaching to the feet. And this
was the reason why Moses vested the high priest after this fashion.
Something also alludes to the end [of all things], as [where He speaks
of] the fine brass burning in the fire, which denotes the power of
faith, and the continuing instant in prayer, because of the consuming
fire which is to come at the end of time. But when John could not endure the sight (for he says, “I fell at his feet as dead;” [4102]
that what was written might come to pass: “No man sees God, and shall
live” [4103] ), and the Word reviving him, and reminding him that it
was He upon whose bosom he had leaned at supper, when he put the
question as to who should betray Him, declared: “I am the first and the
last, and He who liveth, and was dead, and behold I am alive for
evermore, and have the keys of death and of hell.” And after these
things, seeing the same Lord in a second vision, he says: “For I saw in
the midst of the throne, and of the four living creatures, and in the
midst of the elders, a Lamb standing as it had been slain, having seven
horns, and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God, sent forth
into all the earth.” [4104] And again, he says, speaking of this very
same Lamb: “And behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was
called Faithful and True; and in righteousness doth He judge and make
war. And His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many
crowns; having a name written, that no man knoweth but Himself: and He
was girded around with a vesture sprinkled with blood: and His name is
called The Word of God. And the armies of heaven followed Him upon
white horses, clothed in pure white linen. And out of His mouth goeth a
sharp sword, that with it He may smite the nations; and He shall rule
(pascet) them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the wine-press of the
fierceness of the wrath of God Almighty. And He hath upon His vesture
and upon His thigh a name written, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”
[4105] Thus does the Word of God always preserve the outlines, as it
were, of things to come, and points out to men the various forms
(species), as it were, of the dispensations of the Father, teaching us
the things pertaining to God.
12. However, it was not by means of visions alone which were seen, and
words which were proclaimed, but also in actual works, that He was
beheld by the prophets, in order that through them He might prefigure
and show forth future events beforehand. For this reason did Hosea the
prophet take “a wife of whoredoms,” prophesying by means of the action,
“that in committing fornication the earth should fornicate from the
Lord,” [4106] that is, the men who are upon the earth; and from men of
this stamp it will be God’s good pleasure to take out [4107] a Church
which shall be sanctified by fellowship with His Son, just as that
woman was sanctified by intercourse with the prophet. And for this
reason, Paul declares that the “unbelieving wife is sanctified by the
believing husband.” [4108] Then again, the prophet names his children,
“Not having obtained mercy,” and “Not a people,” [4109] in order that,
as says the apostle, “what was not a people may become a people; and
she who did not obtain mercy may obtain mercy. And it shall come to
pass, that in the place where it was said, This is not a people, there
shall they be called the children of the living God.” [4110] That which
had been done typically through his actions by the prophet, the apostle
proves to have been done truly by Christ in the Church. Thus, too, did
Moses also take to wife an Ethiopian woman, whom he thus made an
Israelitish one, showing by anticipation that the wild olive tree is
grafted into the cultivated olive, and made to partake of its fatness.
For as He who was born Christ according to the flesh, had indeed to be
sought after by the people in order to be slain, but was to be set free
in Egypt, that is, among the Gentiles, to sanctify those who were there
in a state of infancy, from whom also He perfected His Church in that
place (for Egypt was Gentile from the beginning, as was Ethiopia also);
for this reason, by means of the marriage of Moses, was shown forth the
marriage of the Word; [4111] and by means of the Ethiopian bride, the
Church taken from among the Gentiles was made manifest; and those who
do detract from, accuse, and deride it, shall not be pure. For they
shall be full of leprosy, and expelled from the camp of the righteous.
Thus also did Rahab the harlot, while condemning herself, inasmuch as
she was a Gentile, guilty of all sins, nevertheless receive the three
spies, [4112] who were spying out all the land, and hid them at her
home; [which three were] doubtless [a type of] the Father and the Son,
together with the Holy Spirit. And when the entire city in which she
lived fell to ruins at the sounding of the seven trumpets, Rahab the
harlot was preserved, when all was over [in ultimis], together with all
her house, through faith of the scarlet sign; as the Lord also declared
to those who did not receive His advent,--the Pharisees, no doubt,
nullify the sign of the scarlet thread, which meant the passover, and
the redemption and exodus of the people from Egypt,--when He said, “The
publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of heaven before you.”

[4063] Gen. ii. 7.
[4064] Gen. i. 26.
[4065] This quotation is taken from the Shepherd of Hermas, book ii. sim. 1.
[4066] Mal. ii. 10.
[4067] Eph. iv. 6.
[4068] Matt. xi. 27.
[4069] Rev. iii. 7.
[4070] 1 Pet. ii. 23.
[4071] Col. i. 18.
[4072] Prov. iii. 19, 20.
[4073] Prov. viii. 22-25. [This is one of the favourite Messianic
quotations of the Fathers, and is considered as the base of the first
chapter of St. John’s Gospel.]
[4074] Prov. viii. 27-31.
[4075] Luke i. 71, 75.
[4076] Matt. v. 8.
[4077] Ex. xxxiii. 20.
[4078] Luke xviii. 27.
[4079] Some read “in filium” instead of “in filio,” as above.
[4080] A part of the original Greek text is preserved here, and has been followed, as it makes the better sense.
[4081] Deut. v. 24.
[4082] Hos. xii. 10.
[4083] 1 Cor. xii. 4-7.
[4084] John i. 18.
[4085] Isa. vi. 5.
[4086] Ps. xxii. 15.
[4087] Deut. iv. 24.
[4088] Ex. xxxiv. 6, 7.
[4089] Num. xii. 8.
[4090] Ex. xxxiii. 20-22.
[4091] Matt. xvii. 3, etc.
[4092] 1 Kings xix. 11, 12.
[4093] Isa. xlii. 3.
[4094] Ezek. i. 1.
[4095] Ezek. ii. 1.
[4096] John i. 18.
[4097] “This text, as quoted a short time ago, indicated the
only-begotten Son;’ but the agreement of the Syriac version induces the
belief that the present reading was that expressed by Irenaeus, and
that the previous quotation has been corrected to suit the Vulgate. The
former reading, however, occurs in book iii. c. xi. 5.”—Harvey.
[4098] Dan. iii. 26.
[4099] Dan. vii. 13, 14.
[4100] Dan. vii. 4.
[4101] Rev. i. 12.
[4102] Rev. i. 17.
[4103] Ex. xxxiii. 20.
[4104] Rev. v. 6.
[4105] Rev. xix. 11-17.
[4106] Hos. i. 2, 3.
[4107] Acts xv. 14.
[4108] 1 Cor. vii. 14. [But Hosea himself says (Hos. xii. 10), “I have
used similitudes;” and this history may be fairly referred to prophetic
vision. Dr. Pusey, in his Minor Prophets, in loc., argues against this
view, however; and his reasons deserve consideration.]
[4109] Hos. i. 6-9.
[4110] Rom. ix. 25, 26.
[4111] The text is here uncertain; and while the general meaning of the
sentence is plain, its syntax is confused and obscure.
[4112] Irenaeus seems here to have written “three” for “two” from a lapse of memory.
[4113] Matt. xxi. 31.

Chapter XXI.—Abraham’s faith was identical with ours; this faith was prefigured by the words and actions of the old patriarchs.
1. But that our faith was also prefigured in Abraham, and that he was
the patriarch of our faith, and, as it were, the prophet of it, the
apostle has very fully taught, when he says in the Epistle to the
Galatians: “He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and
worketh miracles among you, [doeth he it] by the works of the law, or
by the hearing of faith? Even as Abraham believed God, and it was
accounted unto him for righteousness. Know ye therefore, that they
which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. But the
Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith,
announced beforehand unto Abraham, that in him all nations should be
blessed. So then they which be of faith shall be blessed with faithful
Abraham.” [4114] For which [reasons the apostle] declared that this man
was not only the prophet of faith, but also the father of those who
from among the Gentiles believe in Jesus Christ, because his faith and
ours are one and the same: for he believed in things future, as if they
were already accomplished, because of the promise of God; and in like
manner do we also, because of the promise of God, behold through faith
that inheritance [laid up for us] in the [future] kingdom.
2. The history of Isaac, too, is not without a symbolical character.
For in the Epistle to the Romans, the apostle declares: “Moreover, when
Rebecca had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac,” she received
answer [4115] from the Word, “that the purpose of God according to
election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth, it was
said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people
are in thy body; and the one people shall overcome the other, and the
elder shall serve the younger.” [4116] From which it is evident, that
not only [were there] prophecies of the patriarchs, but also that the
children brought forth by Rebecca were a prediction of the two nations;
and that the one should be indeed the greater, but the other the less;
that the one also should be under bondage, but the other free; but
[that both should be] of one and the same father. Our God, one and the
same, is also their God, who knows hidden things, who knoweth all
things before they can come to pass; and for this reason has He said,
“Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” [4117]
3. If any one, again, will look into Jacob’s actions, he shall find them not destitute of meaning, but full of import with regard to the dispensations. Thus, in the first place, at his birth, since he laid hold on his brother’s heel, [4118] he was called Jacob, that is, the
supplanter—one who holds, but is not held; binding the feet, but not
being bound; striving and conquering; grasping in his hand his
adversary’s heel, that is, victory. For to this end was the Lord born,
the type of whose birth he set forth beforehand, of whom also John says
in the Apocalypse: “He went forth conquering, that He should conquer.”
[4119] In the next place, [Jacob] received the rights of the
first-born, when his brother looked on them with contempt; even as also
the younger nation received Him, Christ, the first-begotten, when the
elder nation rejected Him, saying, “We have no king but Caesar.” [4120]
But in Christ every blessing [is summed up], and therefore the latter
people has snatched away the blessings of the former from the Father,
just as Jacob took away the blessing of this Esau. For which cause his
brother suffered the plots and persecutions of a brother, just as the
Church suffers this self-same thing from the Jews. In a foreign country
were the twelve tribes born, the race of Israel, inasmuch as Christ was
also, in a strange country, to generate the twelve-pillared foundation
of the Church. Various coloured sheep were allotted to this Jacob as
his wages; and the wages of Christ are human beings, who from various
and diverse nations come together into one cohort of faith, as the
Father promised Him, saying, “Ask of Me, and I will give Thee the
heathen for Thine inheritance, the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy
possession.” [4121] And as from the multitude of his sons the prophets
of the Lord [afterwards] arose, there was every necessity that Jacob
should beget sons from the two sisters, even as Christ did from the two
laws of one and the same Father; and in like manner also from the
handmaids, indicating that Christ should raise up sons of God, both
from freemen and from slaves after the flesh, bestowing upon all, in
the same manner, the gift of the Spirit, who vivifies us. [4122] But he
(Jacob) did all things for the sake of the younger, she who had the
handsome eyes, [4123] Rachel, who prefigured the Church, for which
Christ endured patiently; who at that time, indeed, by means of His
patriarchs and prophets, was prefiguring and declaring beforehand
future things, fulfilling His part by anticipation in the dispensations
of God, and accustoming His inheritance to obey God, and to pass
through the world as in a state of pilgrimage, to follow His word, and
to indicate beforehand things to come. For with God there is nothing without purpose or due signification.

[4114] Gal. iii. 5-9; Gen. xii. 3.
[4115] Massuet would cancel these words.
[4116] Rom. ix. 10-13; Gen. xxv. 23.
[4117] Rom. ix. 13; Mal. i. 2.
[4118] Gen. xxv. 26.
[4119] Rev. vi. 2.
[4120] John xix. 15.
[4121] Ps. ii. 8.
[4122] The text of this sentence is in great confusion, and we can give
only a doubtful translation.
[4123] [Leah’s eyes were weak, according to the LXX.; and Irenaeus
infers that Rachel’s were “beautiful exceedingly.” Canticles, i. 15.]

Chapter XXII.—Christ did not come for the sake of the men of one age only,
but for all who, living righteously and piously, had believed upon Him; and
for those, too, who shall believe.
1. Now in the last days, when the fulness of the time of liberty had arrived, the Word Himself did by Himself “wash away the filth of the
daughters of Zion,” [4124] when He washed the disciples’ feet with His
own hands. [4125] For this is the end of the human race inheriting God;
that as in the beginning, by means of our first [parents], we were all
brought into bondage, by being made subject to death; so at last, by
means of the New Man, all who from the beginning [were His] disciples,
having been cleansed and washed from things pertaining to death, should
come to the life of God. For He who washed the feet of the disciples
sanctified the entire body, and rendered it clean. For this reason,
too, He administered food to them in a recumbent posture, indicating
that those who were lying in the earth were they to whom He came to
impart life. As Jeremiah declares, “The holy Lord remembered His dead
Israel, who slept in the land of sepulture; and He descended to them to
make known to them His salvation, that they might be saved.” [4126] For
this reason also were the eyes of the disciples weighed down when
Christ’s passion was approaching; and when, in the first instance, the
Lord found them sleeping, He let it pass,--thus indicating the patience
of God in regard to the state of slumber in which men lay; but coming
the second time, He aroused them, and made them stand up, in token that
His passion is the arousing of His sleeping disciples, on whose account
“He also descended into the lower parts of the earth,” [4127] to behold
with His eyes the state of those who were resting from their labours,
[4128] in reference to whom He did also declare to the disciples: “Many
prophets and righteous men have desired to see and hear what ye do see
and hear.” [4129]
2. For it was not merely for those who believed on Him in the time of
Tiberius Caesar that Christ came, nor did the Father exercise His
providence for the men only who are now alive, but for all men
altogether, who from the beginning, according to their capacity, in
their generation have both feared and loved God, and practised justice
and piety towards their neighbours, and have earnestly desired to see
Christ, and to hear His voice. Wherefore He shall, at His second
coming, first rouse from their sleep all persons of this description,
and shall raise them up, as well as the rest who shall be judged, and
give them a place in His kingdom. For it is truly “one God who”
directed the patriarchs towards His dispensations, and “has justified
the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith.”
[4130] For as in the first we were prefigured, so, on the other hand,
are they represented in us, that is, in the Church, and receive the recompense for those things which they accomplished.

[4124] Isa. iv. 4.
[4125] John xiii. 5.
[4126] This spurious quotation has been introduced before. See book
iii. 20. 4.

[4127] Eph. iv. 9.
[4128] So Harvey understands the obscure Latin text, “id quod erat inoperatum conditionis.”
[4129] Matt. xiii. 17.
[4130] Rom. iii. 30.

Chapter XXIII.—The patriarchs and prophets by pointing out the advent of
Christ, fortified thereby, as it were, the way of posterity to the faith of
Christ; and so the labours of the apostles were lessened inasmuch as they
gathered in the fruits of the labours of others.
1. For which reason the Lord declared to the disciples: “Behold, I say
unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look upon the districts (regiones),
for they are white [already] to harvest. For the harvest-man receiveth
wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal, that both he that soweth
and he that reapeth may rejoice together. For in this is the saying
true, that one soweth and another reapeth. For I have sent you forward
to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour; other men have laboured,
and ye have entered into their labours.” [4131] Who, then, are they
that have laboured, and have helped forward the dispensations of God?
It is clear that they are the patriarchs and prophets, who even
prefigured our faith, and disseminated through the earth the advent of
the Son of God, who and what He should be: so that posterity,
possessing the fear of God, might easily accept the advent of Christ,
having been instructed by the prophets. And for this reason it was,
that when Joseph became aware that Mary was with child, and was minded
to put her away privily, the angel said to him in sleep: “Fear not to
take to thee Mary thy wife; for that which is conceived in her is of
the Holy Ghost. For she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call
His name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins.” [4132]
And exhorting him [to this], he added: “Now all this has been done,
that it might be fulfilled which was spoken from 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;” thus influencing
him by the words of the prophet, and warding off blame from Mary,
pointing out that it was she who was the virgin mentioned by Isaiah
beforehand, who should give birth to Emmanuel. Wherefore, when Joseph
was convinced beyond all doubt, he both did take Mary, and joyfully
yielded obedience in regard to all the rest of the education of Christ,
undertaking a journey into Egypt and back again, and then a removal to
Nazareth. [For this reason,] those who knew not the Scriptures nor the
promise of God, nor the dispensation of Christ, at last called him the
father of the child. For this reason, too, did the Lord Himself read at
Capernaum the prophecies of Isaiah: [4133] “The Spirit of the Lord is
upon Me, because He hath anointed Me; to preach the Gospel to the poor
hath He sent Me, to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to
the captives, and sight to the blind.” [4134] At the same time, showing
that it was He Himself who had been foretold by Esaias the prophet, He
said to them: “This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears.”
2. For this reason, also, Philip, when he had discovered the eunuch of
the Ethiopians’ queen reading these words which had been written: “He
was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and as a lamb is dumb before the
shearer, so He opened not His mouth: in His humiliation His judgment
was taken away;” [4135] and all the rest which the prophet proceeded to
relate in regard to His passion and His coming in the flesh, and how He
was dishonoured by those who did not believe Him; easily persuaded him
to believe on Him, that He was Christ Jesus, who was crucified under
Pontius Pilate, and suffered whatsoever the prophet had predicted, and
that He was the Son of God, who gives eternal life to men. And
immediately when [Philip] had baptized him, he departed from him. For
nothing else [but baptism] was wanting to him who had been already
instructed by the prophets: he was not ignorant of God the Father, nor
of the rules as to the [proper] manner of life, but was merely ignorant
of the advent of the Son of God, which, when he had become acquainted
with, in a short space of time, he went on his way rejoicing, to be the
herald in Ethiopia of Christ’s advent. Therefore Philip had no great
labour to go through with regard to this man, because he was already
prepared in the fear of God by the prophets. For this reason, too, did
the apostles, collecting the sheep which had perished of the house of
Israel, and discoursing to them from the Scriptures, prove that this
crucified Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God; and they
persuaded a great multitude, who, however, [already] possessed the fear
of God. And there were, in one day, baptized three, and four, and five
thousand men. [4136]

[4131] John iv. 35, etc.
[4132] Matt. i. 20, etc.
[4133] Luke iv. 18.
[4134] Isa. lxi. 1.
[4135] Acts viii. 27; Isa. liii. 7.
[4136] Acts ii. 41, Acts iv. 4.

Chapter XXIV.—The conversion of the Gentiles was more difficult than that of
the Jews; the labours of those apostles, therefore who engaged in the former
task, were greater than those who undertook the latter.
1. Wherefore also Paul, since he was the apostle of the Gentiles, says,
“I laboured more than they all.” [4137] For the instruction of the
former, [viz., the Jews,] was an easy task, because they could allege
proofs from the Scriptures, and because they, who were in the habit of
hearing Moses and the prophets, did also readily receive the
First-begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the life of God, --Him
who, by the spreading forth of hands, did destroy Amalek, and vivify
man from the wound of the serpent, by means of faith which was
[exercised] towards Him. As I have pointed out in the preceding book,
the apostle did, in the first place, instruct the Gentiles to depart
from the superstition of idols, and to worship one God, the Creator of
heaven and earth, and the Framer of the whole creation; and that His
Son was His Word, by whom He founded all things; and that He, in the
last times, was made a man among men; that He reformed the human race,
but destroyed and conquered the enemy of man, and gave to His handiwork
victory against the adversary. But although they who were of the
circumcision still did not obey the words of God, for they were
despisers, yet they were previously instructed not to commit adultery,
nor fornication, nor theft, nor fraud; and that whatsoever things are
done to our neighbours’ prejudice, were evil, and detested by God. Wherefore also they did readily agree to abstain from these things, because they had been thus instructed.
2. But they were bound to teach the Gentiles also this very thing, that
works of such a nature were wicked, prejudicial, and useless, and
destructive to those who engaged in them. Wherefore he who had received
the apostolate to the Gentiles, [4138] did labour more than those who
preached the Son of God among them of the circumcision. For they were
assisted by the Scriptures, which the Lord confirmed and fulfilled, in
coming such as He had been announced; but here, [in the case of the
Gentiles,] there was a certain foreign erudition, and a new doctrine
[to be received, namely], that the gods of the nations not only were no
gods at all, but even the idols of demons; and that there is one God,
who is “above all principality, and dominion, and power, and every name
which is named;” [4139] and that His Word, invisible by nature, was
made palpable and visible among men, and did descend “to death, even
the death of the cross;” [4140] also, that they who believe in Him
shall be incorruptible and not subject to suffering, and shall receive
the kingdom of heaven. These things, too, were preached to the Gentiles
by word, without [the aid of] the Scriptures: wherefore, also, they who
preached among the Gentiles underwent greater labour. But, on the other
hand, the faith of the Gentiles is proved to be of a more noble description, since they followed the word of God without the instruction [derived] from the [sacred] writings (sine instructione literarum).

[4137] 1 Cor. xv. 10.
[4138] [A clear note of recognition on the part of our author, that St.
Paul’s mission was world-wide, while St. Peter’s was limited.]
[4139] Eph. i. 21.
[4140] Phil. ii. 8.

Chapter XXV.—Both covenants were prefigured in Abraham, and in the labour of
Tamar; there was, however, but one and the same God to each covenant.
1. For thus it had behoved the sons of Abraham [to be], whom God has raised up to him from the stones, [4141] and caused to take a place
beside him who was made the chief and the forerunner of our faith (who
did also receive the covenant of circumcision, after that justification
by faith which had pertained to him, when he was yet in uncircumcision,
so that in him both covenants might be prefigured, that he might be the
father of all who follow the Word of God, and who sustain a life of
pilgrimage in this world, that is, of those who from among the
circumcision and of those from among the uncircumcision are faithful,
even as also “Christ [4142] is the chief corner-stone” sustaining all
things); and He gathered into the one faith of Abraham those who, from
either covenant, are eligible for God’s building. But this faith which
is in uncircumcision, as connecting the end with the beginning, has
been made [both] the first and the last. For, as I have shown, it
existed in Abraham antecedently to circumcision, as it also did in the
rest of the righteous who pleased God: and in these last times, it again sprang up among mankind through the coming of the Lord. But circumcision and the law of works occupied the intervening period. [4143]
2. This fact is indeed set forth by many other [occurrences], but
typically by [the history of] Thamar, Judah’s daughter-in-law. [4144]
For when she had conceived twins, one of them put forth his hand first;
and as the midwife supposed that he was the first-born, she bound a
scarlet token on his hand. But after this had been done, and he had
drawn back his hand, his brother Phares came forth the first; then,
after him, Zara, upon whom was the scarlet line, [was born] the second:
the Scripture clearly pointing out that people which possessed the
scarlet sign, that is, faith in a state of circumcision, which was
shown beforehand, indeed, in the patriarchs first; but after that
withdrawn, that his brother might be born; and also, in like manner,
him who was the elder, as being born in the second place, [him] who was
distinguished by the scarlet token which was [fastened] on him, that
is, the passion of the Just One, which was prefigured from the
beginning in Abel, and described by the prophets, but perfected in the
last times in the Son of God.
3. For it was requisite that certain facts should be announced
beforehand by the fathers in a paternal manner, and others prefigured
by the prophets in a legal one, but others, described after the form of
Christ, by those who have received the adoption; while in one God are
all things shown forth. For although Abraham was one, he did in himself
prefigure the two covenants, in which some indeed have sown, while
others have reaped; for it is said, “In this is the saying true, that
it is one people’ who sows, but another who shall reap;” [4145] but it
is one God who bestows things suitable upon both—seed to the sower,
but bread for the reaper to eat. Just as it is one that planteth, and
another who watereth, but one God who giveth the increase. [4146] For
the patriarchs and prophets sowed the word [concerning] Christ, but the
Church reaped, that is, received the fruit. For this reason, too, do
these very men (the prophets) also pray to have a dwelling-place in it,
as Jeremiah says, “Who will give me in the desert the last
dwelling-place?” [4147] in order that both the sower and the reaper may
rejoice together in the kingdom of Christ, who is present with all
those who were from the beginning approved by God, who granted them His
Word to be present with them. [4148]

[4141] Matt. iii. 9.
[4142] Eph. ii. 20.
[4143] [Note, the Gentile Church was the old religion and was Catholic;
in Christ it became Catholic again: the Mosaic system was a
parenthetical thing of fifteen hundred years only. Such is the luminous
and clarifying scheme of Irenaeus, expounding St. Paul (Gal. iii.
14-20). Inferences: (1) They who speak as if the Mosaic system covered
the whole Old Testament darken the divine counsels. (2) The God of Scripture was never the God of the Jews only.]
[4144] Gen. xxxviii. 28, etc.
[4145] John iv. 37.
[4146] 1 Cor. iii. 7.
[4147] Jer. ix. 2. [A “remote dwelling-place” rather (stathmon eschaton
according to LXX.) to square with the argument.]
[4148] [The touching words which conclude the former paragraph are
illustrated by the noble sentence which begins this paragraph. The
childlike spirit of these Fathers recognises Christ everywhere, in the
Old Testament, prefigured by countless images and tokens in paternal and legal (ceremonial) forms.]

Chapter XXVI.—The treasure hid in the Scriptures is Christ; the true exposition of the Scriptures is to be found in the Church alone.
1. If any one, therefore, reads the Scriptures with attention, he will
find in them an account of Christ, and a foreshadowing of the new
calling (vocationis). For Christ is the treasure which was hid in the
field, [4149] that is, in this world (for “the field is the world”
[4150] ); but the treasure hid in the Scriptures is Christ, since He
was pointed out by means of types and parables. Hence His human nature
could not [4151] be understood, prior to the consummation of those
things which had been predicted, that is, the advent of Christ. And
therefore it was said to Daniel the prophet: “Shut up the words, and
seal the book even to the time of consummation, until many learn, and
knowledge be completed. For at that time, when the dispersion shall be
accomplished, they shall know all these things.” [4152] But Jeremiah also says, “In the last days they shall understand these things.” [4153] For every prophecy, before its fulfilment, is to men [full of]
enigmas and ambiguities. But when the time has arrived, and the
prediction has come to pass, then the prophecies have a clear and
certain exposition. And for this reason, indeed, when at this present
time the law is read to the Jews, it is like a fable; for they do not
possess the explanation of all things pertaining to the advent of the
Son of God, which took place in human nature; but when it is read by
the Christians, it is a treasure, hid indeed in a field, but brought to
light by the cross of Christ, and explained, both enriching the
understanding of men, and showing forth the wisdom of God and declaring
His dispensations with regard to man, and forming the kingdom of Christ
beforehand, and preaching by anticipation the inheritance of the holy
Jerusalem, and proclaiming beforehand that the man who loves God shall
arrive at such excellency as even to see God, and hear His word, and
from the hearing of His discourse be glorified to such an extent, that
others cannot behold the glory of his countenance, as was said by
Daniel: “Those who do understand, shall shine as the brightness of the
firmament, and many of the righteous [4154] as the stars for ever and
ever.” [4155] Thus, then, I have shown it to be, [4156] if any one read
the Scriptures. For thus it was that the Lord discoursed with the
disciples after His resurrection from the dead, proving to them from
the Scriptures themselves “that Christ must suffer, and enter into His
glory, and that remission of sins should be preached in His name
throughout all the world.” [4157] And the disciple will be perfected,
and [rendered] like the householder, “who bringeth forth from his treasure things new and old.” [4158]
2. Wherefore it is incumbent to obey the presbyters who are in the Church,--those who, as I have shown, possess the succession from the apostles; those who, together with the succession of the episcopate,
have received the certain gift of truth, according to the good pleasure
of the Father. But [it is also incumbent] to hold in suspicion others
who depart from the primitive succession, and assemble themselves
together in any place whatsoever, [looking upon them] either as
heretics of perverse minds, or as schismatics puffed up and
self-pleasing, or again as hypocrites, acting thus for the sake of
lucre and vainglory. For all these have fallen from the truth. And the
heretics, indeed, who bring strange fire to the altar of God—namely,
strange doctrines—shall be burned up by the fire from heaven, as were
Nadab and Abiud. [4159] But such as rise up in opposition to the truth,
and exhort others against the Church of God, [shall] remain among those
in hell (apud inferos), being swallowed up by an earthquake, even as
those who were with Chore, Dathan, and Abiron. [4160] But those who
cleave asunder, and separate the unity of the Church, [shall] receive
from God the same punishment as Jeroboam did. [4161]
3. Those, however, who are believed to be presbyters by many, but serve
their own lusts, and, do not place the fear of God supreme in their
hearts, but conduct themselves with contempt towards others, and are
puffed up with the pride of holding the chief seat, and work evil deeds
in secret, saying, “No man sees us,” shall be convicted by the Word,
who does not judge after outward appearance (secundum gloriam), nor
looks upon the countenance, but the heart; and they shall hear those
words, to be found in Daniel the prophet: “O thou seed of Canaan, and
not of Judah, beauty hath deceived thee, and lust perverted thy heart.
[4162] Thou that art waxen old in wicked days, now thy sins which thou
hast committed aforetime are come to light; for thou hast pronounced
false judgments, and hast been accustomed to condemn the innocent, and
to let the guilty go free, albeit the Lord saith, The innocent and the
righteous shalt thou not slay.” [4163] Of whom also did the Lord say:
“But if the evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his
coming, and shall begin to smite the man-servants and maidens, and to
eat and drink and be drunken; the lord of that servant shall come in a
day that he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.” [4164]
4. From all such persons, therefore, it behoves us to keep aloof, but
to adhere to those who, as I have already observed, do hold the
doctrine of the apostles, and who, together with the order of
priesthood (presbyterii ordine), display sound speech and blameless
conduct for the confirmation and correction of others. [4165] In this
way, Moses, to whom such a leadership was entrusted, relying on a good
conscience, cleared himself before God, saying, “I have not in
covetousness taken anything belonging to one of these men, nor have I
done evil to one of them.” [4166] In this way, too, Samuel, who judged
the people so many years, and bore rule over Israel without any pride,
in the end cleared himself, saying, “I have walked before you from my
childhood even unto this day: answer me in the sight of God, and before
His anointed (Christi ejus); whose ox or whose ass of yours have I
taken, or over whom have I tyrannized, or whom have I oppressed? or if
I have received from the hand of any a bribe or [so much as] a shoe,
speak out against me, and I will restore it to you.” [4167] And when
the people had said to him, “Thou hast not tyrannized, neither hast
thou oppressed us neither hast thou taken ought of any man’s hand,” he
called the Lord to witness, saying, “The Lord is witness, and His
Anointed is witness this day, that ye have not found ought in my hand.
And they said to him, He is witness.” In this strain also the Apostle
Paul, inasmuch as he had a good conscience, said to the Corinthians:
“For we are not as many, who corrupt the Word of God: but as of
sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ;”
[4168] “We have injured no man, corrupted no man, circumvented no man.”
5. Such presbyters does the Church nourish, of whom also the prophet says: “I will give thy rulers in peace, and thy bishops in righteousness.” [4170] Of whom also did the Lord declare, “Who then
shall be a faithful steward (actor), good and wise, whom the Lord sets
over His household, to give them their meat in due season? Blessed is
that servant whom his Lord, when He cometh, shall find so doing.”
[4171] Paul then, teaching us where one may find such, says, “God hath
placed in the Church, first, apostles; secondly, prophets; thirdly,
teachers.” [4172] Where, therefore, the gifts of the Lord have been
placed, there it behoves us to learn the truth, [namely,] from those
who possess that succession of the Church which is from the apostles,
[4173] and among whom exists that which is sound and blameless in
conduct, as well as that which is unadulterated and incorrupt in
speech. For these also preserve this faith of ours in one God who
created all things; and they increase that love [which we have] for the
Son of God, who accomplished such marvellous dispensations for our sake: and they expound the Scriptures to us without danger, neither blaspheming God, nor dishonouring the patriarchs, nor despising the prophets.

[4149] Matt. xiii. 44.
[4150] Matt. xiii. 38.
[4151] Harvey cancels “non,” and reads the sentence interrogatively.
[4152] Dan. xii. 4, 7.
[4153] Jer. xxiii. 20.
[4154] The Latin is “a multis justis,” corresponding to the Greek version of the Hebrew text. If the translation be supposed as corresponding to the Hebrew comparative, the English equivalent will be, “and above (more than) many righteous.”
[4155] Dan. xii. 3.
[4156] The text and punctuation are here in great uncertainty, and very
different views of both are taken by the editors.
[4157] Luke xxiv. 26, 47. [The walk to Emmaus is the fountain-head of
Scriptural exposition, and the forty days (Acts i. 3) is the river that
came forth like that which went out of Eden. Sirach iv. 31.]
[4158] Matt. xiii. 52. [I must express my delight in the great
principle of exposition here unfolded. The Old Scriptures are a
night-bound wilderness, till Christ rises and illuminates them,
glorying alike hill and dale, and, as this author supposes, every shrub
and flower, also, making the smallest leaf with its dewdrops glitter like the rainbow.]
[4159] Lev. x. 1, 2.
[4160] Num. xvi. 33.
[4161] 1 Kings xiv. 10.
[4162] Susanna 56.
[4163] Ibid. ver. 52, etc.; Ex. xxiii. 7.
[4164] Matt. xxiv. 48, etc.; Luke xii. 45.
[4165] [Contrast this spirit of a primitive Father, with the state of
things which Wiclif rose up to purify, five hundred years ago.]
[4166] Num. xvi. 15.
[4167] 1 Sam. xii. 3.
[4168] 2 Cor. ii. 17.
[4169] 2 Cor. vii. 2.
[4170] Isa. lx. 17.
[4171] Matt. xxiv. 45, 46.
[4172] 1 Cor. xii. 28.
[4173] [Note the limitation; not the succession only, but with it (1)pure morality and holiness and (2) unadulterated testimony. No catholicity apart from these.]

Chapter XXVII—The sins of the men of old time, which incurred the displeasure
of God, were, by His providence, committed to writing, that we might derive
instruction thereby, and not be filled with pride. We must not, therefore,
infer that there was another God than He whom Christ preached; we should
rather fear, lest the one and the same God who inflicted punishment on the
ancients, should bring down heavier upon us.
1. As I have heard from a certain presbyter, [4174] who had heard it
from those who had seen the apostles, and from those who had been their
disciples, the punishment [declared] in Scripture was sufficient for
the ancients in regard to what they did without the Spirit’s guidance.
For as God is no respecter of persons, He inflicted a proper punishment
on deeds displeasing to Him. As in the case of David, [4175] when he
suffered persecution from Saul for righteousness’ sake, and fled from
King Saul, and would not avenge himself of his enemy, he both sung the
advent of Christ, and instructed the nations in wisdom, and did
everything after the Spirit’s guidance, and pleased God. But when his
lust prompted him to take Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, the Scripture
said concerning him, “Now, the thing (sermo) which David had done
appeared wicked in the eyes of the Lord;” [4176] and Nathan the prophet
is sent to him, pointing out to him his crime, in order that he,
passing sentence upon and condemning himself, might obtain mercy and
forgiveness from Christ: “And [Nathan] said to him, There were two men
in one city; the one rich, and the other poor. The rich man had
exceeding many flocks and herds; but the poor man had nothing, save one
little ewe-lamb, which he possessed, and nourished up; and it had been
with him and with his children together: it did eat of his own bread,
and drank of his cup, and was to him as a daughter. And there came a
guest unto the rich man; and he spared to take of the flock of his own
ewe-lambs, and from the herds of his own oxen, to entertain the guest;
but he took the ewe-lamb of the poor man, and set it before the man
that had come unto him. And David’s anger was greatly kindled against
the man; and he said to Nathan, As the Lord liveth, the man that hath
done this thing shall surely die (filius mortis est): and he shall
restore the lamb fourfold, because he hath done this thing, and because
he had no pity for the poor man. And Nathan said unto him, Thou art the
man who hast done this.” [4177] And then he proceeds with the rest [of
the narrative], upbraiding him, and recounting God’s benefits towards
him, and [showing him] how much his conduct had displeased the Lord.
For [he declared] that works of this nature were not pleasing to God,
but that great wrath was suspended over his house. David, however, was
struck with remorse on hearing this, and exclaimed, “I have sinned
against the Lord;” and he sung a penitential psalm, waiting for the
coming of the Lord, who washes and makes clean the man who had been
fast bound with [the chain of] sin. In like manner it was with regard
to Solomon, while he continued to judge uprightly, and to declare the
wisdom of God, and built the temple as the type of truth, and set forth
the glories of God, and announced the peace about to come upon the
nations, and prefigured the kingdom of Christ, and spake three thousand
parables about the Lord’s advent, and five thousand songs, singing
praise to God, and expounded the wisdom of God in creation,
[discoursing] as to the nature of every tree, every herb, and of all
fowls, quadrupeds, and fishes; and he said, “Will God whom the heavens
cannot contain, really dwell with men upon the earth?” [4178] And he
pleased God, and was the admiration of all; and all kings of the earth
sought an interview with him (quaerebant faciem ejus) that they might
hear the wisdom which God had conferred upon him. [4179] The queen of
the south, too, came to him from the ends of the earth, to ascertain
the wisdom that was in him: [4180] she whom the Lord also referred to
as one who should rise up in the judgment with the nations of those men
who do hear His words, and do not believe in Him, and should condemn
them, inasmuch as she submitted herself to the wisdom announced by the
servant of God, while these men despised that wisdom which proceeded
directly from the Son of God. For Solomon was a servant, but Christ is
indeed the Son of God, and the Lord of Solomon. While, therefore, he
served God without blame, and ministered to His dispensations, then was
he glorified: but when he took wives from all nations, and permitted
them to set up idols in Israel, the Scripture spake thus concerning
him: “And King Solomon was a lover of women, and he took to himself
foreign women; and it came to pass, when Solomon was old, his heart was
not perfect with the Lord his God. And the foreign women turned away
his heart after strange gods. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the
Lord: he did not walk after the Lord, as did David his father. And the
Lord was angry with Solomon; for his heart was not perfect with the
Lord, as was the heart of David his father.” [4181] The Scripture has
thus sufficiently reproved him, as the presbyter remarked, in order that no flesh may glory in the sight of the Lord.
2. It was for this reason, too, that the Lord descended into the regions beneath the earth, preaching His advent there also, and
[declaring] the remission of sins received by those who believe in Him.
[4182] Now all those believed in Him who had hope towards Him, that is,
those who proclaimed His advent, and submitted to His dispensations,
the righteous men, the prophets, and the patriarchs, to whom He
remitted sins in the same way as He did to us, which sins we should not
lay to their charge, if we would not despise the grace of God. For as
these men did not impute unto us (the Gentiles) our transgressions,
which we wrought before Christ was manifested among us, so also it is
not right that we should lay blame upon those who sinned before
Christ’s coming. For “all men come short of the glory of God,” [4183]
and are not justified of themselves, but by the advent of the
Lord,--they who earnestly direct their eyes towards His light. And it
is for our instruction that their actions have been committed to
writing, that we might know, in the first place, that our God and
theirs is one, and that sins do not please Him although committed by
men of renown; and in the second place, that we should keep from
wickedness. For if these men of old time, who preceded us in the gifts
[bestowed upon them], and for whom the Son of God had not yet suffered,
when they committed any sin and served fleshly lusts, were rendered
objects of such disgrace, what shall the men of the present day suffer,
who have despised the Lord’s coming, and become the slaves of their own
lusts? And truly the death of the Lord became [the means of] healing
and remission of sins to the former, but Christ shall not die again in
behalf of those who now commit sin, for death shall no more have
dominion over Him; but the Son shall come in the glory of the Father,
requiring from His stewards and dispensers the money which He had
entrusted to them, with usury; and from those to whom He had given most
shall He demand most. We ought not, therefore, as that presbyter
remarks, to be puffed up, nor be severe upon those of old time, but
ought ourselves to fear, lest perchance, after [we have come to] the
knowledge of Christ, if we do things displeasing to God, we obtain no
further forgiveness of sins, but be shut out from His kingdom. [4184]
And therefore it was that Paul said, “For if [God] spared not the
natural branches, [take heed] lest He also spare not thee, who, when
thou wert a wild olive tree, wert grafted into the fatness of the olive
tree, and wert made a partaker of its fatness.” [4185]
3. Thou wilt notice, too, that the transgressions of the common people
have been described in like manner, not for the sake of those who did
then transgress, but as a means of instruction unto us, and that we
should understand that it is one and the same God against whom these
men sinned, and against whom certain persons do now transgress from
among those who profess to have believed in Him. But this also, [as the
presbyter states,] has Paul declared most plainly in the Epistle to the
Corinthians, when he says, “Brethren, I would not that ye should be
ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and were all
baptized unto Moses in the sea, and did all eat the same spiritual
meat, and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of
that spiritual rock that followed them; and the rock was Christ. But
with many of them God was not well pleased, for they were overthrown in
the wilderness. These things were for our example (in figuram nostri),
to the intent that we should not lust after evil things, as they also
lusted; neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them, as it is
written: [4186] The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to
play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them also did, and
fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ,
as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither
murmur ye, as some of them murmured, and were destroyed of the
destroyer. But all these things happened to them in a figure, and were
written for our admonition, upon whom the end of the world (saeculorum)
is come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he
fall.” [4187]
4. Since therefore, beyond all doubt and contradiction, the apostle shows that there is one and the same God, who did both enter into
judgment with these former things, and who does inquire into those of
the present time, and points out why these things have been committed
to writing; all these men are found to be unlearned and presumptuous,
nay, even destitute of common sense, who, because of the transgressions
of them of old time, and because of the disobedience of a vast number
of them, do allege that there was indeed one God of these men, and that
He was the maker of the world, and existed in a state of degeneracy;
but that there was another Father declared by Christ, and that this
Being is He who has been conceived by the mind of each of them; not
understanding that as, in the former case, God showed Himself not well
pleased in many instances towards those who sinned, so also in the latter, “many are called, but few are chosen.” [4188] As then the unrighteous, the idolaters, and fornicators perished, so also is it now: for both the Lord declares, that such persons are sent into eternal fire; [4189] and the apostle says, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived:
neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, not effeminate, nor
abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor
drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of
God.” [4190] And as it was not to those who are without that he said
these things, but to us, lest we should be cast forth from the kingdom
of God, by doing any such thing, he proceeds to say, “And such indeed
were ye; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified in the name of the
Lord Jesus Christ, and by the Spirit of our God.” And just as then,
those who led vicious lives, and put other people astray, were
condemned and cast out, so also even now the offending eye is plucked
out, and the foot and the hand, lest the rest of the body perish in
like manner. [4191] And we have the precept: “If any man that is called
a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or
a drunkard, or an extortioner, with such an one go not to eat.” [4192]
And again does the apostle say, “Let no man deceive you with vain
words; for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the
sons of mistrust. Be not ye therefore partakers with them.” [4193] And
as then the condemnation of sinners extended to others who approved of
them, and joined in their society; so also is it the case at present,
that “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” [4194] And as the
wrath of God did then descend upon the unrighteous, here also does the
apostle likewise say: “For the wrath of God shall be revealed from
heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of those men who
hold back the truth in unrighteousness.” [4195] And as, in those times,
vengeance came from God upon the Egyptians who were subjecting Israel
to unjust punishment, so is it now, the Lord truly declaring, “And
shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him? I
tell you, that He will avenge them speedily.” [4196] So says the
apostle, in like manner, in the Epistle to the Thessalonians: “Seeing
it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that
trouble you; and to you who are troubled rest with us, at the revealing
of our Lord Jesus Christ from heaven with His mighty angels, and in a
flame of fire, to take vengeance upon those who know not God, and upon
those that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall also
be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord,
and from the glory of His power; when He shall come to be glorified in
His saints, and to be admired in all them who have believed in Him.”

[4174] Polycarp, Papias, Pothinus, and others, have been suggested as
probably here referred to, but the point is involved in utter uncertainty. [Surely this testimony is a precious intimation of the apostle’s meaning (Rom. ii. 12-16), and the whole chapter is radiant with the purity of the Gospel.]
[4175] 1 Sam. xviii.
[4176] 2 Sam. xi. 27.
[4177] 2 Sam. xii. 1, etc.
[4178] 1 Kings viii. 27.
[4179] 1 Kings iv. 34.
[4180] 1 Kings x. 1.
[4181] 1 Kings xi. 1.
[4182] [1 Pet. iii. 19, 20.]
[4183] Rom. iii. 23. [Another testimony to the mercy of God in the
judgment of the unevangelized. There must have been some reason for the
secrecy with which “that presbyter’s” name is guarded. Irenaeus may
have scrupled to draw the wrath of the Gnostics upon any name but his
[4184] Rom. iii. 23. [Another testimony to the mercy of God in the
judgment of the unevangelized. There must have been some reason for the
secrecy with which “that presbyter’s” name is guarded. Irenaeus may
have scrupled to draw the wrath of the Gnostics upon any name but his
[4185] Rom. xi. 17, 21.
[4186] Ex. xxxii. 6.
[4187] 1 Cor. x. 1, etc.
[4188] Matt. xx. 16.
[4189] Matt. xxv. 41.
[4190] 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10.
[4191] Matt. xviii. 8, 9.
[4192] 1 Cor. v. 11.
[4193] Eph. v. 6, 7.
[4194] 1 Cor. v. 6.
[4195] Rom. i. 18.
[4196] Luke xviii. 7, 8.
[4197] 2 Thess. i. 6-10.

Chapter XXVIII.—Those persons prove themselves senseless who exaggerate the
mercy of Christ, but are silent as to the judgment, and look only at the more
abundant grace of the New Testament; but, forgetful of the greater degree of
perfection which it demands from us, they endeavour to show that there is
another God beyond Him who created the world.
1. Inasmuch, then, as in both Testaments there is the same
righteousness of God [displayed] when God takes vengeance, in the one
case indeed typically, temporarily, and more moderately; but in the
other, really, enduringly, and more rigidly: for the fire is eternal,
and the wrath of God which shall be revealed from heaven from the face
of our Lord (as David also says, “But the face of the Lord is against
them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth”
[4198] ), entails a heavier punishment on those who incur it,--the
elders pointed out that those men are devoid of sense, who, [arguing]
from what happened to those who formerly did not obey God, do endeavour
to bring in another Father, setting over against [these punishments]
what great things the Lord had done at His coming to save those who
received Him, taking compassion upon them; while they keep silence with
regard to His judgment; and all those things which shall come upon such
as have heard His words, but done them not, and that it were better for
them if they had not been born, [4199] and that it shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the judgment than for that city which did not receive the word of His disciples. [4200]
2. For as, in the New Testament, that faith of men [to be placed] in God has been increased, receiving in addition [to what was already
revealed] the Son of God, that man too might be a partaker of God; so
is also our walk in life required to be more circumspect, when we are
directed not merely to abstain from evil actions, but even from evil
thoughts, and from idle words, and empty talk, and scurrilous language:
[4201] thus also the punishment of those who do not believe the Word of
God, and despise His advent, and are turned away backwards, is
increased; being not merely temporal, but rendered also eternal. For to
whomsoever the Lord shall say, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into
everlasting fire,” [4202] these shall be damned for ever; and to
whomsoever He shall say, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the
kingdom prepared for you for eternity,” [4203] these do receive the
kingdom for ever, and make constant advance in it; since there is one
and the same God the Father, and His Word, who has been always present
with the human race, by means indeed of various dispensations, and has
wrought out many things, and saved from the beginning those who are
saved, (for these are they who love God, and follow the Word of God
according to the class to which they belong,) and has judged those who
are judged, that is, those who forget God, and are blasphemous, and transgressors of His word.
3. For the self-same heretics already mentioned by us have fallen away
from themselves, by accusing the Lord, in whom they say that they
believe. For those points to which they call attention with regard to
the God who then awarded temporal punishments to the unbelieving, and
smote the Egyptians, while He saved those that were obedient; these
same [facts, I say,] shall nevertheless repeat themselves in the Lord,
who judges for eternity those whom He doth judge, and lets go free for
eternity those whom He does let go free: and He shall [thus] be
discovered, according to the language used by these men, as having been
the cause of their most heinous sin to those who laid hands upon Him,
and pierced Him. For if He had not so come, it follows that these men
could not have become the slayers of their Lord; and if He had not sent
prophets to them, they certainly could not have killed them, nor the
apostles either. To those, therefore, who assail us, and say, If the
Egyptians had not been afflicted with plagues, and, when pursuing after
Israel, been choked in the sea, God could not have saved His people,
this answer may be given;--Unless, then, the Jews had become the
slayers of the Lord (which did, indeed, take eternal life away from
them), and, by killing the apostles and persecuting the Church, had
fallen into an abyss of wrath, we could not have been saved. For as
they were saved by means of the blindness of the Egyptians, so are we,
too, by that of the Jews; if, indeed, the death of the Lord is the
condemnation of those who fastened Him to the cross, and who did not
believe His advent, but the salvation of those who believe in Him. For
the apostle does also say in the Second [Epistle] to the Corinthians:
“For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them which are saved,
and in them which perish: to the one indeed the savour of death unto
death, but to the other the savour of life unto life.” [4204] To whom,
then, is there the savour of death unto death, unless to those who
believe not neither are subject to the Word of God? And who are they
that did even then give themselves over to death? Those men, doubtless,
who do not believe, nor submit themselves to God. And again, who are
they that have been saved and received the inheritance? Those,
doubtless, who do believe God, and who have continued in His love; as
did Caleb [the son] of Jephunneh and Joshua [the son] of Nun, [4205]
and innocent children, [4206] who have had no sense of evil. But who
are they that are saved now, and receive life eternal? Is it not those
who love God, and who believe His promises, and who “in malice have become as little children?” [4207]

[4198] Ps. xxxiv. 16.
[4199] Matt. xxvi. 24.
[4200] Matt. x. 15.
[4201] [Eph. v. 4. Even from the eutrapelia which might signify a
bon-mot, literally, and which certainly is not “scurrility,” unless the
apostle was ironical, reflecting on jokes with heathen considered “good.”]
[4202] Matt. xxv. 41.
[4203] Matt. xxv. 34.
[4204] 2 Cor. ii. 15, 16.
[4205] Num. xiv. 30.
[4206] [Jon. iv. 11. The tenderness of our author constantly asserts itself, as in this reference to children.]
[4207] 1 Cor. xiv. 20.

Chapter XXIX.—Refutation of the arguments of the Marcionites, who attempted
to show that God was the author of sin, because He blinded Pharaoh and his
1. “But,” say they, “God hardened the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants.” [4208] Those, then, who allege such difficulties, do not read in the Gospel that passage where the Lord replied to the disciples, when they asked Him, “Why speakest Thou unto them in parables?”—“Because it is given unto you to know the mystery of the kingdom of heaven; but to them I speak in parables, that seeing they
may not see, and hearing they may not hear, understanding they may not
understand; in order that the prophecy of Isaiah regarding them may be
fulfilled, saying, Make the heart of this people gross and make their
ears dull, and blind their eyes. But blessed are your eyes, which see
the things that ye see; and your ears, which hear what ye do hear.”
[4209] For one and the same God [that blesses others] inflicts
blindness upon those who do not believe, but who set Him at naught;
just as the sun, which is a creature of His, [acts with regard] to
those who, by reason of any weakness of the eyes cannot behold his
light; but to those who believe in Him and follow Him, He grants a
fuller and greater illumination of mind. In accordance with this word,
therefore, does the apostle say, in the Second [Epistle] to the
Corinthians: “In whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of
them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ
should shine [unto them].” [4210] And again, in that to the Romans:
“And as they did not think fit to have God in their knowledge, God gave
them up to a reprobate mind, to do those things that are not
convenient.” [4211] Speaking of antichrist, too, he says clearly in the
Second to the Thessalonians: “And for this cause God shall send them
the working of error, that they should believe a lie; that they all
might be judged who believed not the truth, but consented to iniquity.”
2. If, therefore, in the present time also, God, knowing the number of
those who will not believe, since He foreknows all things, has given
them over to unbelief, and turned away His face from men of this stamp,
leaving them in the darkness which they have themselves chosen for
themselves, what is there wonderful if He did also at that time give
over to their unbelief, Pharaoh, who never would have believed, along
with those who were with him? As the Word spake to Moses from the bush:
“And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, unless by a
mighty hand.” [4213] And for the reason that the Lord spake in
parables, and brought blindness upon Israel, that seeing they might not
see, since He knew the [spirit of] unbelief in them, for the same
reason did He harden Pharaoh’s heart; in order that, while seeing that
it was the finger of God which led forth the people, he might not
believe, but be precipitated into a sea of unbelief, resting in the
notion that the exit of these [Israelites] was accomplished by magical
power, and that it was not by the operation of God that the Red Sea afforded a passage to the people, but that this occurred by merely natural causes (sed naturaliter sic se habere).

[4208] Ex. ix. 35.
[4209] Matt. xiii. 11-16; Isa. vi. 10.
[4210] 2 Cor. iv. 4.
[4211] Rom. i. 28.
[4212] 2 Thess. ii. 11.
[4213] Ex. iii. 19.

Chapter XXX.—Refutation of another argument adduced by the Marcionites, that
God directed the Hebrews to spoil the Egyptians.
1. Those, again, who cavil and find fault because the people did, by God’s command, upon the eve of their departure, take vessels of all kinds and raiment from the Egyptians, [4214] and so went away, from
which [spoils], too, the tabernacle was constructed in the wilderness,
prove themselves ignorant of the righteous dealings of God, and of His
dispensations; as also the presbyter remarked: For if God had not
accorded this in the typical exodus, no one could now be saved in our
true exodus; that is, in the faith in which we have been established,
and by which we have been brought forth from among the number of the
Gentiles. For in some cases there follows us a small, and in others a
large amount of property, which we have acquired from the mammon of
unrighteousness. For from what source do we derive the houses in which
we dwell, the garments in which we are clothed, the vessels which we
use, and everything else ministering to our every-day life, unless it
be from those things which, when we were Gentiles, we acquired by
avarice, or received them from our heathen parents, relations, or
friends who unrighteously obtained them?--not to mention that even now
we acquire such things when we are in the faith. For who is there that
sells, and does not wish to make a profit from him who buys? Or who
purchases anything, and does not wish to obtain good value from the
seller? Or who is there that carries on a trade, and does not do so
that he may obtain a livelihood thereby? And as to those believing ones
who are in the royal palace, do they not derive the utensils they
employ from the property which belongs to Caesar; and to those who have
not, does not each one of these [Christians] give according to his
ability? The Egyptians were debtors to the [Jewish] people, not alone
as to property, but as their very lives, because of the kindness of the
patriarch Joseph in former times; but in what way are the heathen
debtors to us, from whom we receive both gain and profit? Whatsoever
they amass with labour, these things do we make use of without labour,
although we are in the faith.
2. Up to that time the people served the Egyptians in the most abject
slavery, as saith the Scripture: “And the Egyptians exercised their
power rigorously upon the children of Israel; and they made life bitter
to them by severe labours, in mortar and in brick, and in all manner of
service in the field which they did, by all the works in which they
oppressed them with rigour.” [4215] And with immense labour they built
for them fenced cities, increasing the substance of these men
throughout a long course of years, and by means of every species of
slavery; while these [masters] were not only ungrateful towards them,
but had in contemplation their utter annihilation. In what way, then,
did [the Israelites] act unjustly, if out of many things they took a
few, they who might have possessed much property had they not served
them, and might have gone forth wealthy, while, in fact, by receiving
only a very insignificant recompense for their heavy servitude, they
went away poor? It is just as if any free man, being forcibly carried
away by another, and serving him for many years, and increasing his
substance, should be thought, when he ultimately obtains some support,
to possess some small portion of his [master’s] property, but should in
reality depart, having obtained only a little as the result of his own
great labours, and out of vast possessions which have been acquired,
and this should be made by any one a subject of accusation against him,
as if he had not acted properly. [4216] He (the accuser) will rather
appear as an unjust judge against him who had been forcibly carried
away into slavery. Of this kind, then, are these men also, who charge
the people with blame, because they appropriated a few things out of
many, but who bring no charge against those who did not render them the
recompense due to their fathers’ services; nay, but even reducing them
to the most irksome slavery, obtained the highest profit from them. And
[these objectors] allege that [the Israelites] acted dishonestly,
because, forsooth, they took away for the recompense of their labours,
as I have observed, unstamped gold and silver in a few vessels; while
they say that they themselves (for let truth be spoken, although to
some it may seem ridiculous) do act honestly, when they carry away in
their girdles from the labours of others, coined gold, and silver, and
brass, with Caesar’s inscription and image upon it.
3. If, however, a comparison be instituted between us and them, [I would ask] which party shall seem to have received [their worldly
goods] in the fairer manner? Will it be the [Jewish] people, [who took]
from the Egyptians, who were at all points their debtors; or we, [who
receive property] from the Romans and other nations, who are under no
similar obligation to us? Yea, moreover, through their instrumentality
the world is at peace, and we walk on the highways without fear, and
sail where we will. [4217] Therefore, against men of this kind (namely,
the heretics) the word of the Lord applies, which says: “Thou
hypocrite, first cast the beam out of thine eye, and then shalt thou
see clearly to pull out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” [4218] For
if he who lays these things to thy charge, and glories in his own
wisdom, has been separated from the company of the Gentiles, and
possesses nothing [derived from] other people’s goods, but is literally
naked, and barefoot, and dwells homeless among the mountains, as any of
those animals do which feed on grass, he will stand excused [in using
such language], as being ignorant of the necessities of our mode of
life. But if he do partake of what, in the opinion of men, is the
property of others, and if [at the same time] he runs down their type,
[4219] he proves himself most unjust, turning this kind of accusation
against himself. For he will be found carrying about property not
belonging to him, and coveting goods which are not his. And therefore
has the Lord said: “Judge not, that ye be not judged: for with what
judgment ye shall judge, ye shall be judged.” [4220] [The meaning is]
not certainly that we should not find fault with sinners, nor that we
should consent to those who act wickedly; but that we should not
pronounce an unfair judgment on the dispensations of God, inasmuch as
He has Himself made provision that all things shall turn out for good,
in a way consistent with justice. For, because He knew that we would
make a good use of our substance which we should possess by receiving
it from another, He says, “He that hath two coats, let him impart to
him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.” [4221]
And, “For I was an hungered, and ye gave Me meat; I was thirsty, and ye
gave Me drink; I was naked and ye clothed Me.” [4222] And, “When thou
doest thine alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand
doeth.” [4223] And we are proved to be righteous by whatsoever else we
do well, redeeming, as it were, our property from strange hands. But
thus do I say, “from strange hands,” not as if the world were not God’s
possession, but that we have gifts of this sort, and receive them from
others, in the same way as these men had them from the Egyptians who
knew not God; and by means of these same do we erect in ourselves the
tabernacle of God: for God dwells in those who act uprightly, as the
Lord says: “Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of
unrighteousness, that they, when ye shall be put to flight, [4224] may
receive you into eternal tabernacles.” [4225] For whatsoever we
acquired from unrighteousness when we were heathen, we are proved
righteous, when we have become believers, by applying it to the Lord’s
4. As a matter of course, therefore, these things were done beforehand
in a type, and from them was the tabernacle of God constructed; those
persons justly receiving them, as I have shown, while we were pointed
out beforehand in them,--[we] who should afterwards serve God by the
things of others. For the whole exodus of the people out of Egypt,
which took place under divine guidance, [4226] was a type and image of
the exodus of the Church which should take place from among the
Gentiles; [4227] and for this cause He leads it out at last from this
world into His own inheritance, which Moses the servant of God did not
[bestow], but which Jesus the Son of God shall give for an inheritance.
And if any one will devote a close attention to those things which are
stated by the prophets with regard to the [time of the] end, and those
which John the disciple of the Lord saw in the Apocalypse, [4228] he will find that the nations [are to] receive the same plagues universally, as Egypt then did particularly.

[4214] Ex. iii. 22, Ex. xi. 2. [Our English translation “borrow” is a
gratuitous injury to the text. As “King of kings” the Lord enjoins a
just tax, which any earthly sovereign might have imposed uprightly. Our
author argues well.]
[4215] Ex. i. 13, 14.
[4216] This perplexed sentence is pointed by Harvey interrogatively, but we prefer the above.
[4217] [A touching tribute to the imperial law, at a moment when Christians were “dying daily” and “as sheep for the slaughter.” So powerfully worked the divine command, Luke vi. 29.]
[4218] Matt. vii. 5.
[4219] This is, if he inveighs against the Israelites for spoiling the
Egyptians; the former being a type of the Christian Church in relation
to the Gentiles.
[4220] Matt. vii. 1, 2.
[4221] Luke iii. 11.
[4222] Matt. xxv. 35, 36.
[4223] Matt. vi. 3.
[4224] As Harvey remarks, this is “a strange translation for eklipete”
of the text. rec., and he adds that “possibly the translator read ektrapete.”
[4225] Luke xvi. 9.
[4226] We here follow the punctuation of Massuet in preference to that
of Harvey.
[4227] [The Fathers regarded the whole Mosaic system, and the history
of the faithful under it, as one great allegory. In everything they saw
“similitudes,” as we do in the Faery Queen of Spenser, or the Pilgrim’s
Progress. The ancients may have carried this principle too far, but as
a principle it receives countenance from our Lord Himself and His
apostles. To us there is often a barren bush, where the Fathers saw a
bush that burned with fire.]
[4228] See Rev. xv., Rev. xvi.

Chapter XXXI.—We should not hastily impute as crimes to the men of old time
those actions which the Scripture has not condemned, but should rather seek in
them types of things to come: an example of this in the incest committed by
1. When recounting certain matters of this kind respecting them of old
time, the presbyter [before mentioned] was in the habit of instructing
us, and saying: “With respect to those misdeeds for which the
Scriptures themselves blame the patriarchs and prophets, we ought not
to inveigh against them, nor become like Ham, who ridiculed the shame
of his father, and so fell under a curse; but we should [rather] give
thanks to God in their behalf, inasmuch as their sins have been
forgiven them through the advent of our Lord; for He said that they
gave thanks [for us], and gloried in our salvation. [4229] With respect
to those actions, again, on which the Scriptures pass no censure, but
which are simply set down [as having occurred], we ought not to become
the accusers [of those who committed them], for we are not more exact
than God, nor can we be superior to our Master; but we should search
for a type [in them]. For not one of those things which have been set
down in Scripture without being condemned is without significance.” An
example is found in the case of Lot, who led forth his daughters from
Sodom, and these then conceived by their own father; and who left
behind him within the confines [of the land] his wife, [who remains] a
pillar of salt unto this day. For Lot, not acting under the impulse of
his own will, nor at the prompting of carnal concupiscence, nor having
any knowledge or thought of anything of the kind, did [in fact] work
out a type [of future events]. As says the Scripture: “And that night
the elder went in and lay with her father; and Lot knew not when she
lay down, nor when she arose.” [4230] And the same thing took place in
the case of the younger: “And he knew not,” it is said, “when she slept
with him, nor when she arose.” [4231] Since, therefore, Lot knew not
[what he did], nor was a slave to lust [in his actions], the
arrangement [designed by God] was carried out, by which the two
daughters (that is, the two churches [4232] ), who gave birth to
children begotten of one and the same father, were pointed out, apart
from [the influence of] the lust of the flesh. For there was no other
person, [as they supposed], who could impart to them quickening seed,
and the means of their giving birth to children, as it is written: “And
the elder said unto the younger, And there is not a man on the earth to
enter in unto us after the manner of all the earth: come, let us make
our father drunk with wine, and let us lie with him, and raise up seed
from our father.” [4233]
2. Thus, after their simplicity and innocence, did these daughters [of
Lot] so speak, imagining that all mankind had perished, even as the
Sodomites had done, and that the anger of God had come down upon the
whole earth. Wherefore also they are to be held excusable, since they
supposed that they only, along with their father, were left for the
preservation of the human race; and for this reason it was that they
deceived their father. Moreover, by the words they used this fact was
pointed out—that there is no other one who can confer upon the elder
and younger church the [power of] giving birth to children, besides our
Father. Now the father of the human race is the Word of God, as Moses
points out when he says, “Is not He thy father who hath obtained thee
[by generation], and formed thee, and created thee?” [4234] At what
time, then, did He pour out upon the human race the life-giving
seed—that is, the Spirit of the remission of sins, through means of
whom we are quickened? Was it not then, when He was eating with men,
and drinking wine upon the earth? For it is said, “The Son of man came
eating and drinking;” [4235] and when He had lain down, He fell asleep,
and took repose. As He does Himself say in David, “I slept, and took repose.” [4236] And because He used thus to act while He dwelt and lived among us, He says again, “And my sleep became sweet unto me.”
[4237] Now this whole matter was indicated through Lot, that the seed
of the Father of all—that is, of the Spirit of God, by whom all things
were made—was commingled and united with flesh—that is, with His own
workmanship; by which commixture and unity the two synagogues—that is,
the two churches—produced from their own father living sons to the living God.
3. And while these things were taking place, his wife remained in [the
territory of] Sodomm, no longer corruptible flesh, but a pillar of salt
which endures for ever; [4238] and by those natural processes [4239]
which appertain to the human race, indicating that the Church also,
which is the salt of the earth, [4240] has been left behind within the
confines of the earth, and subject to human sufferings; and while
entire members are often taken away from it, the pillar of salt still
endures, [4241] thus typifying the foundation of the faith which maketh
strong, and sends forward, children to their Father.

[4229] [Thus far we have a most edifying instruction. The reader will
be less edified with what follows, but it is a very striking example of
what is written: “to the pure all things are pure.” Tit. i. 15.]
[4230] Gen. xix. 33.
[4231] Gen. xix. 35.
[4232] “Id est duae synagogae,” referring to the Jews and Gentiles. Some regard the words as a marginal gloss which has crept into the text.
[4233] Gen. xix. 31, 32.
[4234] Deut. xxxii. 6, LXX. [Let us reflect that this effort to
spiritualize this awful passage in the history of Lot is an innocent
but unsuccessful attempt to imitate St. Paul’s allegory, Gal. iv. 24.]
[4235] Matt. xi. 19.
[4236] Ps. iii. 6.
[4237] Jer. xxxi. 26.
[4238] Comp. Clem. Rom., chap. xi. Josephus (Antiq., i. 11, 4) testifies that he had himself seen this pillar.
[4239] The Latin is “per naturalia,” which words, according to Harvey,
correspond to di emmenorrhoias. There is a poem entitled Sodoma
preserved among the works of Tertullian and Cyprian which contains the
following lines:--
“Dicitur et vivens, alio jam corpore, sexus
Munificos solito dispungere sanguine menses.”
[4240] Matt. v. 13.
[4241] The poem just referred to also says in reference to this pillar:--
“Ipsaque imago sibi formam sine corpore servans
Durat adhuc, et enim nuda statione sub aethram
Nec pluviis dilapsa situ, nec diruta ventis.
Quin etiam si quis mutilaverit advena formam,
Protinus ex sese suggestu vulnera complet.”
[That a pillar of salt is still to be seen in this vicinity, is now
confirmed by many modern travellers (report of Lieut. Lynch, United
States Navy), which accounts for the natural inference of Josephus and
others on whom our author relied. The coincidence is noteworthy.]

Chapter XXXII.—That one God was the author of both Testaments, is confirmed
by the authority of a presbyter who had been taught by the apostles.
1. After this fashion also did a presbyter, [4242] a disciple of the
apostles, reason with respect to the two testaments, proving that both
were truly from one and the same God. For [he maintained] that there
was no other God besides Him who made and fashioned us, and that the
discourse of those men has no foundation who affirm that this world of
ours was made either by angels, or by any other power whatsoever, or by
another God. For if a man be once moved away from the Creator of all
things, and if he grant that this creation to which we belong was
formed by any other or through any other [than the one God], he must of
necessity fall into much inconsistency, and many contradictions of this
sort; to which he will [be able to] furnish no explanations which can
be regarded as either probable or true. And, for this reason, those who
introduce other doctrines conceal from us the opinion which they
themselves hold respecting God, because they are aware of the untenable
[4243] and absurd nature of their doctrine, and are afraid lest, should
they be vanquished, they should have some difficulty in making good
their escape. But if any one believes in [only] one God, who also made
all things by the Word, as Moses likewise says, “God said, Let there be
light: and there was light;” [4244] and as we read in the Gospel, “All
things were made by Him; and without Him was nothing made;” [4245] and
the Apostle Paul [says] in like manner, “There is one Lord, one faith,
one baptism, one God and Father, who is above all, and through all, and
in us all” [4246] --this man will first of all “hold the head, from
which the whole body is compacted and bound together, and, through
means of every joint according to the measure of the ministration of
each several part, maketh increase of the body to the edification of
itself in love.” [4247] And then shall every word also seem consistent
to him, [4248] if he for his part diligently read the Scriptures in
company with those who are presbyters in the Church, among whom is the
apostolic doctrine, as I have pointed out.
2. For all the apostles taught that there were indeed two testaments among the two peoples; but that it was one and the same God who
appointed both for the advantage of those men (for whose [4249] sakes
the testaments were given) who were to believe in God, I have proved in
the third book from the very teaching of the apostles; and that the
first testament was not given without reason, or to no purpose, or in
an accidental sort of manner; but that it subdued [4250] those to whom
it was given to the service of God, for their benefit (for God needs no
service from men), and exhibited a type of heavenly things, inasmuch as
man was not yet able to see the things of God through means of
immediate vision; [4251] and foreshadowed the images of those things
which [now actually] exist in the Church, in order that our faith might
be firmly established; [4252] and contained a prophecy of things to
come, in order that man might learn that God has foreknowledge of all

[4242] Harvey remarks here, that this can hardly be the same presbyter
mentioned before, “who was only a hearer of those who had heard the
apostles. Irenaeus may here mean the venerable martyr Polycarp, bishop
of Smyrna.”
[4243] “Quassum et futile.” The text varies much in the mss.
[4244] Gen. i. 3.
[4245] John i. 3.
[4246] Eph. iv. 5, 6.
[4247] Eph. iv. 16; Col. ii. 19.
[4248] “Constabit ei.”
[4249] We here read “secundum quos” with Massuet, instead of usual “secundum quod.”
[4250] “Concurvans,” corresponding to sunkampton, which, says Harvey,
“would be expressive of those who were brought under the law, as the neck of the steer is bent to the yoke.”
[4251] The Latin is, “per proprium visum.”
[4252] [If this and the former chapter seem to us superfluous, we must
reflect that such testimony, from the beginning, has established the unity of Holy Scripture, and preserved to us—the Bible.]

Chapter XXXIII.—Whosoever confesses that one God is the author of both
Testaments, and diligently reads the Scriptures in company with the presbyters
of the Church, is a true spiritual disciple; and he will rightly understand
and interpret all that the prophets have declared respecting Christ and the
liberty of the New Testament.
1. A spiritual disciple of this sort truly receiving the Spirit of God,
who was from the beginning, in all the dispensations of God, present
with mankind, and announced things future, revealed things present, and
narrated things past--[such a man] does indeed “judge all men, but is
himself judged by no man.” [4253] For he judges the Gentiles, “who
serve the creature more than the Creator,” [4254] and with a reprobate
mind spend all their labour on vanity. And he also judges the Jews, who
do not accept of the word of liberty, nor are willing to go forth free,
although they have a Deliverer present [with them]; but they pretend,
at a time unsuitable [for such conduct], to serve, [with observances]
beyond [those required by] the law, God who stands in need of nothing,
and do not recognise the advent of Christ, which He accomplished for
the salvation of men, nor are willing to understand that all the
prophets announced His two advents: the one, indeed, in which He became
a man subject to stripes, and knowing what it is to bear infirmity,
[4255] and sat upon the foal of an ass, [4256] and was a stone rejected
by the builders, [4257] and was led as a sheep to the slaughter, [4258]
and by the stretching forth of His hands destroyed Amalek; [4259] while
He gathered from the ends of the earth into His Father’s fold the
children who were scattered abroad, [4260] and remembered His own dead
ones who had formerly fallen asleep, [4261] and came down to them that
He might deliver them: but the second in which He will come on the
clouds, [4262] bringing on the day which burns as a furnace, [4263] and
smiting the earth with the word of His mouth, [4264] and slaying the
impious with the breath of His lips, and having a fan in His hands, and
cleansing His floor, and gathering the wheat indeed into His barn, but
burning the chaff with unquenchable fire. [4265]
2. Moreover, he shall also examine the doctrine of Marcion, [inquiring]
how he holds that there are two gods, separated from each other by an
infinite distance. [4266] Or how can he be good who draws away men that
do not belong to him from him who made them, and calls them into his
own kingdom? And why is his goodness, which does not save all [thus],
defective? Also, why does he, indeed, seem to be good as respects men,
but most unjust with regard to him who made men, inasmuch as he
deprives him of his possessions? Moreover, how could the Lord, with any
justice, if He belonged to another father, have acknowledged the bread
to be His body, while He took it from that creation to which we belong,
and affirmed the mixed cup to be His blood? [4267] And why did He
acknowledge Himself to be the Son of man, if He had not gone through
that birth which belongs to a human being? How, too, could He forgive
us those sins for which we are answerable to our Maker and God? And
how, again, supposing that He was not flesh, but was a man merely in
appearance, could He have been crucified, and could blood and water
have issued from His pierced side? [4268] What body, moreover, was it
that those who buried Him consigned to the tomb? And what was that which rose again from the dead?
3. [This spiritual man] shall also judge all the followers of
Valentinus, because they do indeed confess with the tongue one God the
Father, and that all things derive their existence from Him, but do at
the same time maintain that He who formed all things is the fruit of an
apostasy or defect. [He shall judge them, too, because] they do in like
manner confess with the tongue one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God,
but assign in their [system of] doctrine a production of his own to the
Only-begotten, one of his own also to the Word, another to Christ, and
yet another to the Saviour; so that, according to them, all these
beings are indeed said [in Scripture to be], as it were, one; [while
they maintain], notwithstanding, that each one of them should be
understood [to exist] separately [from the rest], and to have [had] his
own special origin, according to his peculiar conjunction. [It
appears], then [4269] that their tongues alone, forsooth, have conceded
the unity [of God], while their [real] opinion and their understanding
(by their habit of investigating profundities) have fallen away from
[this doctrine of] unity, and taken up the notion of manifold
deities,--[this, I say, must appear] when they shall be examined by
Christ as to the points [of doctrine] which they have invented. Him,
too, they affirm to have been born at a later period than the Pleroma
of the AEons, and that His production took place after [the occurrence
of] a degeneracy or apostasy; and they maintain that, on account of the
passion which was experienced by Sophia, they themselves were brought
to the birth. But their own special prophet Homer, listening to whom
they have invented such doctrines, shall himself reprove them, when he
expresses himself as follows:--

“Hateful to me that man as Hades’ gates,
Who one thing thinks, while he another states.” [4270]
[This spiritual man] shall also judge the vain speeches of the perverse
Gnostics, by showing that they are the disciples of Simon Magus.
4. He will judge also the Ebionites; [for] how can they be saved unless
it was God who wrought out their salvation upon earth? Or how shall man
pass into God, unless God has [first] passed into man? And how shall he
(man) escape from the generation subject to death, if not by means
[4271] of a new generation, given in a wonderful and unexpected manner
(but as a sign of salvation) by God--[I mean] that regeneration which
flows from the virgin through faith? [4272] Or how shall they receive
adoption from God if they remain in this [kind of] generation, which is
naturally possessed by man in this world? And how could He (Christ)
have been greater than Solomon, [4273] or greater than Jonah, or have
been the Lord of David, [4274] who was of the same substance as they
were? How, too, could He have subdued [4275] him who was stronger than
men, [4276] who had not only overcome man, but also retained him under
his power, and conquered him who had conquered, while he set free
mankind who had been conquered, unless He had been greater than man who
had thus been vanquished? But who else is superior to, and more eminent
than, that man who was formed after the likeness of God, except the Son
of God, after whose image man was created? And for this reason He did
in these last days [4277] exhibit the similitude; [for] the Son of God
was made man, assuming the ancient production [of His hands] into His
own nature, [4278] as I have shown in the immediately preceding book.
5. He shall also judge those who describe Christ as [having become man]
only in [human] opinion. For how can they imagine that they do
themselves carry on a real discussion, when their Master was a mere
imaginary being? Or how can they receive anything stedfast from Him, if
He was a merely imagined being, and not a verity? And how can these men
really be partaken of salvation, if He in whom they profess to believe,
manifested Himself as a merely imaginary being? Everything, therefore,
connected with these men is unreal, and nothing [possessed of the
character of] truth; and, in these circumstances, it may be made a
question whether (since, perchance, they themselves in like manner are
not men, but mere dumb animals) they do not present, [4279] in most cases, simply a shadow of humanity.
6. He shall also judge false prophets, who, without having received the
gift of prophecy from God, and not possessed of the fear of God, but
either for the sake of vainglory, or with a view to some personal
advantage, or acting in some other way under the influence of a wicked
spirit, pretend to utter prophecies, while all the time they lie against God.
7. He shall also judge those who give rise to schisms, who are destitute of the love of God, and who look to their own special
advantage rather than to the unity of the Church; and who for trifling
reasons, or any kind of reason which occurs to them, cut in pieces and
divide the great and glorious body of Christ, and so far as in them
lies, [positively] destroy it,--men who prate of peace while they give
rise to war, and do in truth strain out a gnat, but swallow a camel.
[4280] For no reformation of so great importance can be effected by
them, as will compensate for the mischief arising from their schism. He
shall also judge all those who are beyond the pale of the truth, that
is, who are outside the Church; but he himself shall be judged by no
one. For to him all things are consistent: he has a full faith in one
God Almighty, of whom are all things; and in the Son of God, Jesus
Christ our Lord, by whom are all things, and in the dispensations
connected with Him, by means of which the Son of God became man; and a
firm belief in the Spirit of God, who furnishes us with a knowledge of
the truth, and has set forth the dispensations of the Father and the
Son, in virtue of which He dwells with every generation of men, [4281]
according to the will of the Father.
8. True knowledge [4282] is [that which consists in] the doctrine of the apostles, and the ancient constitution [4283] of the Church
throughout all the world, and the distinctive manifestation of the body
[4284] of Christ according to the successions of the bishops, by which
they have handed down that Church which exists in every place, and has
come even unto us, being guarded and preserved [4285] without any
forging of Scriptures, by a very complete system [4286] of doctrine,
and neither receiving addition nor [suffering] curtailment [in the
truths which she believes]; and [it consists in] reading [the word of
God] without falsification, and a lawful and diligent exposition in
harmony with the Scriptures, both without danger and without blasphemy;
and [above all, it consists in] the pre-eminent gift of love, [4287]
which is more precious than knowledge, more glorious than prophecy, and
which excels all the other gifts [of God].
9. Wherefore the Church does in every place, because of that love which
she cherishes towards God, send forward, throughout all time, a
multitude of martyrs to the Father; while all others [4288] not only
have nothing of this kind to point to among themselves, but even
maintain that such witness-bearing is not at all necessary, for that
their system of doctrines is the true witness [for Christ], with the
exception, perhaps, that one or two among them, during the whole time
which has elapsed since the Lord appeared on earth, have occasionally,
along with our martyrs, borne the reproach of the name (as if he too
[the heretic] had obtained mercy), and have been led forth with them
[to death], being, as it were, a sort of retinue granted unto them. For
the Church alone sustains with purity the reproach of those who suffer
persecution for righteousness’ sake, and endure all sorts of
punishments, and are put to death because of the love which they bear
to God, and their confession of His Son; often weakened indeed, yet
immediately increasing her members, and becoming whole again, after the
same manner as her type, [4289] Lot’s wife, who became a pillar of
salt. Thus, too, [she passes through an experience] similar to that of
the ancient prophets, as the Lord declares, “For so persecuted they the
prophets who were before you;” [4290] inasmuch as she does indeed, in a
new fashion, suffer persecution from those who do not receive the word
of God, while the self-same spirit rests upon her [4291] [as upon these
ancient prophets].
10. And indeed the prophets, along with other things which they
predicted, also foretold this, that all those on whom the Spirit of God
should rest, and who would obey the word of the Father, and serve Him
according to their ability, should suffer persecution, and be stoned
and slain. For the prophets prefigured in themselves all these things,
because of their love to God, and on account of His word. For since
they themselves were members of Christ, each one of them in his place
as a member did, in accordance with this, set forth the prophecy
[assigned him]; all of them, although many, prefiguring only one, and
proclaiming the things which pertain to one. For just as the working of
the whole body is exhibited through means of our members, while the
figure of a complete man is not displayed by one member, but through
means of all taken together, so also did all the prophets prefigure the
one [Christ]; while every one of them, in his special place as a member, did, in accordance with this, fill up the [established]
dispensation, and shadowed forth beforehand that particular working of
Christ which was connected with that member.
11. For some of them, beholding Him in glory, saw His glorious life
(conversationem) at the Father’s right hand; [4292] others beheld Him
coming on the clouds as the Son of man; [4293] and those who declared
regarding Him, “They shall look on Him whom they have pierced,” [4294]
indicated His [second] advent, concerning which He Himself says,
“Thinkest thou that when the Son of man cometh, He shall find faith on
the earth?” [4295] Paul also refers to this event when he says, “If,
however, it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to
them that trouble you, and to you that are troubled rest with us, at
the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven, with His mighty angels,
and in a flame of fire.” [4296] Others again, speaking of Him as a
judge, and [referring], as if it were a burning furnace, [to] the day
of the Lord, who “gathers the wheat into His barn, but will burn up the
chaff with unquenchable fire,” [4297] were accustomed to threaten those
who were unbelieving, concerning whom also the Lord Himself declares,
“Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, which my Father has
prepared for the devil and his angels.” [4298] And the apostle in like
manner says [of them], “Who shall be punished with everlasting death
from the face of the Lord, and from the glory of His power, when He
shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in those
who believe in Him.” [4299] There are also some [of them] who declare,
“Thou art fairer than the children of men;” [4300] and, “God, Thy God,
hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows;” [4301]
and, “Gird Thy sword upon Thy thigh, O Most Mighty, with Thy beauty and
Thy fairness, and go forward and proceed prosperously; and rule Thou
because of truth, and meekness, and righteousness.” [4302] And whatever
other things of a like nature are spoken regarding Him, these indicated
that beauty and splendour which exist in His kingdom, along with the
transcendent and pre-eminent exaltation [belonging] to all who are
under His sway, that those who hear might desire to be found there,
doing such things as are pleasing to God. Again, there are those who
say, “He is a man, and who shall know him?” [4303] and, “I came unto
the prophetess, and she bare a son, and His name is called Wonderful,
Counsellor, the Mighty God;” [4304] and those [of them] who proclaimed
Him as Immanuel, [born] of the Virgin, exhibited the union of the Word
of God with His own workmanship, [declaring] that the Word should
become flesh, and the Son of God the Son of man (the pure One opening
purely that pure womb which regenerates men unto God, and which He
Himself made pure); and having become this which we also are, He
[nevertheless] is the Mighty God, and possesses a generation which
cannot be declared. And there are also some of them who say, “The Lord
hath spoken in Zion, and uttered His voice from Jerusalem;” [4305] and,
“In Judah is God known;” [4306] -- these indicated His advent which
took place in Judea. Those, again, who declare that “God comes from the
south, and from a mountain thick with foliage,” [4307] announced His advent at Bethlehem, as I have pointed out in the preceding book.
[4308] From that place, also, He who rules, and who feeds the people of
His Father, has come. Those, again, who declare that at His coming “the
lame man shall leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall
[speak] plainly, and the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the
ears of the deaf shall hear,” [4309] and that “the hands which hang
down, and the feeble knees, shall be strengthened,” [4310] and that
“the dead which are in the grave shall arise,” [4311] and that He
Himself “shall take [upon Him] our weaknesses, and bear our sorrows,”
[4312] -- [all these] proclaimed those works of healing which were accomplished by Him.
12. Some of them, moreover--[when they predicted that] as a weak and inglorious man, and as one who knew what it was to bear infirmity, [4313] and sitting upon the foal of an ass, [4314] He should come to
Jerusalem; and that He should give His back to stripes, [4315] and His
cheeks to palms [which struck Him]; and that He should be led as a
sheep to the slaughter; [4316] and that He should have vinegar and gall
given Him to drink; [4317] and that He should be forsaken by His
friends and those nearest to Him; [4318] and that He should stretch
forth His hands the whole day long; [4319] and that He should be mocked
and maligned by those who looked upon Him; [4320] and that His garments
should be parted, and lots cast upon His raiment; [4321] and that He
should be brought down to the dust of death [4322] with all [the other]
things of a like nature—prophesied His coming in the character of a
man as He entered Jerusalem, in which by His passion and crucifixion He
endured all the things which have been mentioned. Others, again, when
they said, “The holy Lord remembered His own dead ones who slept in the
dust, and came down to them to raise them up, that He might save them,”
[4323] furnished us with the reason on account of which He suffered all
these things. Those, moreover, who said, “In that day, saith the Lord,
the sun shall go down at noon, and there shall be darkness over the
earth in the clear day; and I will turn your feast days into mourning,
and all your songs into lamentation,” [4324] plainly announced that
obscuration of the sun which at the time of His crucifixion took place
from the sixth hour onwards, and that after this event, those days
which were their festivals according to the law, and their songs,
should be changed into grief and lamentation when they were handed over
to the Gentiles. Jeremiah, too, makes this point still clearer, when he
thus speaks concerning Jerusalem: “She that hath born [seven]
languisheth; her soul hath become weary; her sun hath gone down while
it was yet noon; she hath been confounded, and suffered reproach: the
remainder of them will I give to the sword in the sight of their enemies.” [4325]
13. Those of them, again, who spoke of His having slumbered and taken
sleep, and of His having risen again because the Lord sustained Him,
[4326] and who enjoined the principalities of heaven to set open the
everlasting doors, that the King of glory might go in, [4327]
proclaimed beforehand His resurrection from the dead through the
Father’s power, and His reception into heaven. And when they expressed
themselves thus, “His going forth is from the height of heaven, and His
returning even to the highest heaven; and there is no one who can hide
himself from His heat,” [4328] they announced that very truth of His
being taken up again to the place from which He came down, and that
there is no one who can escape His righteous judgment. And those who
said, “The Lord hath reigned; let the people be enraged: [even] He who
sitteth upon the cherubim; let the earth be moved,” [4329] were thus
predicting partly that wrath from all nations which after His ascension
came upon those who believed in Him, with the movement of the whole
earth against the Church; and partly the fact that, when He comes from
heaven with His mighty angels, the whole earth shall be shaken, as He
Himself declares, “There shall be a great earthquake, such as has not
been from the beginning.” [4330] And again, when one says, “Whosoever
is judged, let him stand opposite; and whosoever is justified, let him
draw near to the servant [4331] of God;” [4332] and, “Woe unto you, for
ye shall wax old as doth a garment, and the moth shall eat you up;”
and, “All flesh shall be humbled, and the Lord alone shall be exalted
in the highest,” [4333] --it is thus indicated that, after His passion
and ascension, God shall cast down under His feet all who were opposed
to Him, and He shall be exalted above all, and there shall be no one who can be justified or compared to Him.
14. And those of them who declare that God would make a new covenant [4334] with men, not such as that which He made with the fathers at
Mount Horeb, and would give to men a new heart and a new spirit; [4335]
and again, “And remember ye not the things of old: behold, I make new
things which shall now arise, and ye shall know it; and I will make a
way in the desert, and rivers in a dry land, to give drink to my chosen
people, my people whom I have acquired, that they may show forth my praise,” [4336] --plainly announced that liberty which distinguishes the new covenant, and the new wine which is put into new bottles, [4337] [that is], the faith which is in Christ, by which He has proclaimed the way of righteousness sprung up in the desert, and the streams of the Holy Spirit in a dry land, to give water to the elect people of God, whom He has acquired, that they might show forth His praise, but not that they might blaspheme Him who made these things, that is, God.
15. And all those other points which I have shown the prophets to have
uttered by means of so long a series of Scriptures, he who is truly
spiritual will interpret by pointing out, in regard to every one of the
things which have been spoken, to what special point in the
dispensation of the Lord is referred, and [by thus exhibiting] the
entire system of the work of the Son of God, knowing always the same
God, and always acknowledging the same Word of God, although He has
[but] now been manifested to us; acknowledging also at all times the
same Spirit of God, although He has been poured out upon us after a new
fashion in these last times, [knowing that He descends] even from the
creation of the world to its end upon the human race simply as such,
from whom those who believe God and follow His word receive that
salvation which flows from Him. Those, on the other hand, who depart
from Him, and despise His precepts, and by their deeds bring dishonour
on Him who made them, and by their opinions blaspheme Him who nourishes
them, heap up against themselves most righteous judgment. [4338] He
therefore (i.e., the spiritual man) sifts and tries them all, but he
himself is tried by no man: [4339] he neither blasphemes his Father,
nor sets aside His dispensations, nor inveighs against the fathers, nor
dishonours the prophets, by maintaining that they were [sent] from another God [than he worships], or again, that their prophecies were derived from different sources. [4340]

[4253] 1 Cor. ii. 15. [The argument of this chapter hinges on Ps. xxv.
14, and expounds a difficult text of St. Paul. A man who has the mind
of God’s Spirit is the only judge of spiritual things. Worldly men are
incompetent critics of Scripture and of Christian exposition.
[4254] Rom. i. 21.
[4255] Isa. liii. 3.
[4256] Zech. ix. 9.
[4257] Ps. cxviii. 22.
[4258] Isa. liii. 7.
[4259] Ex. xvii. 11.
[4260] Isa. xi. 12.
[4261] Comp. book iii. 20, 4.
[4262] Dan. vii. 13.
[4263] Mal. iv. 1.
[4264] Isa. xi. 4.
[4265] Matt. iii. 12; Luke iii. 17.
[4266] Harvey points this sentence interrogatively.
[4267] “Temperamentum calicis:” on which Harvey remarks that “the
mixture of water with the wine in the holy Eucharist was the universal
practice of antiquity ... the wine signifying the mystical Head of the
Church, the water the body.” [Whatever the significance, it harmonizes
with the Paschal chalice, and with 1 John v. 6, and St. John’s gospel
John xix. 34, 35.]
[4268] John xix. 34.
[4269] This sentence is very obscure in the Latin text.
[4270] Iliad, ix. 312, 313.
[4271] The text is obscure, and the construction doubtful.
[4272] The Latin here is, “quae est ex virgine per fidem
regenerationem.” According to Massuet, “virgine” here refers not to
Mary, but to the Church. Grabe suspects that some words have been lost.
[4273] Matt. xii. 41, 42.
[4274] Matt. xxii. 43.
[4275] Matt. xxii. 29; Luke xi. 21, 22.
[4276] Literally, “who was strong against men.”
[4277] In fine; lit. “in the end.”
[4278] In semetipsum: lit. “unto Himself.”
[4279] We here follow the reading “proferant:” the passage is difficult
and obscure, but the meaning is as above.
[4280] Matt. xxiii. 24.
[4281] The Greek text here is skenobatoun (lit. “to tabernacle:” comp.
eskenosen, John i. 14) kath’ ekasten genean en tois anthropois: the
Latin is, “Secundum quas (dispositiones) aderat generi humano.” We have
endeavoured to express the meaning of both.
[4282] The following section is an important one, but very difficult to
translate with undoubted accuracy. The editors differ considerably both
as to the construction and the interpretation. We have done our best to
represent the meaning in English, but may not have been altogether successful.
[4283] The Greek is sustema: the Latin text has “status.”
[4284] The Latin is, “character corporis.”
[4285] The text here is, “custodita sine fictione scripturarum;” some
prefer joining “scripturarum” to the following words.
[4286] We follow Harvey’s text, “tractatione;” others read “tractatio.”
According to Harvey, the creed of the Church is denoted by
“tractatione;” but Massuet renders the clause thus: [”True knowledge
consists in] a very complete tractatio of the Scriptures, which has
come down to us by being preserved (custoditione’ being read instead of
custodita’) without falsification.”
[4287] Comp. 2 Cor. viii. 1; 1 Cor. xiii.
[4288] i.e., the heretics.
[4289] Comp. above, xxxi. 2.
[4290] Matt. v. 12.
[4291] Comp. 1 Pet. iv. 14.
[4292] Isa. vi. 1; Ps. cx. 1.
[4293] Dan. vii. 13.
[4294] Zech. xii. 10.
[4295] Luke xviii. 8. There is nothing to correspond with “putas” in the received text.
[4296] 2 Thess. i. 6-8.
[4297] Matt. iii. 12.
[4298] Matt. xxv. 41.
[4299] 2 Thess. i. 9, 10.
[4300] Ps. xlv. 2.
[4301] Ps. xlv. 7.
[4302] Ps. xlv. 3, 4.
[4303] Jer. xvii. 9 (LXX.). Harvey here remarks: “The LXX. read ‘nvs
instead of ‘nvs. Thus, from a text that teaches us that the heart is
deceitful above all things, the Fathers extract a proof of the manhood
of Christ.”
[4304] Isa. viii. 3, Isa. ix. 6, Isa. vii. 14. [A confusion of texts.]
[4305] Joel iii. 16.
[4306] Ps. lxxvi. 1.
[4307] Hab. iii. 3.
[4308] See III. xx. 4.
[4309] Isa. xxxv. 5, 6.
[4310] Isa. xxxv. 3.
[4311] Isa. xxvi. 19.
[4312] Isa. liii. 4.
[4313] Isa. liii. 3.
[4314] Zech. ix. 9.
[4315] Isa. l. 6.
[4316] Isa. liii. 7.
[4317] Ps. lxix. 21.
[4318] Ps. xxxviii. 11.
[4319] Isa. lxv. 2.
[4320] Ps. xxii. 7.
[4321] Ps. xxii. 18.
[4322] Ps. xxii. 15.
[4323] Comp. book iii. cap. xx. 4 and book iv. cap xxii. 1.
[4324] Amos viii. 9, 10.
[4325] Jer. xv. 9.
[4326] Ps. iii. 5.
[4327] Ps. xxiv. 7.
[4328] Ps. xix. 6.
[4329] Ps. xcix. 1.
[4330] Matt. xxiv. 21.
[4331] Or “son.”
[4332] Isa. l. 8, 9 (loosely quoted).
[4333] Isa. ii. 17.
[4334] Jer. xxxi. 31, 32.
[4335] Ezek. xxxvi. 26.
[4336] Isa. xliii. 19-21.
[4337] Matt. ix. 17.
[4338] Rom. ii. 5.
[4339] 1 Cor. ii. 15.
[4340] “Ex alia et alia substantia fuisse prophetias.”

Chapter XXXIV.—Proof against the Marcionites, that the prophets referred in
all their predictions to our Christ.
1. Now I shall simply say, in opposition to all the heretics, and
principally against the followers of Marcion, and against those who are
like to these, in maintaining that the prophets were from another God
[than He who is announced in the Gospel], read with earnest care that
Gospel which has been conveyed to us by the apostles, and read with
earnest care the prophets, and you will find that the whole conduct,
and all the doctrine, and all the sufferings of our Lord, were
predicted through them. But if a thought of this kind should then
suggest itself to you, to say, What then did the Lord bring to us by
His advent?--know ye that He brought all [possible] novelty, by
bringing Himself who had been announced. For this very thing was
proclaimed beforehand, that a novelty should come to renew and quicken
mankind. For the advent of the King is previously announced by those
servants who are sent [before Him], in order to the preparation and
equipment of those men who are to entertain their Lord. But when the
King has actually come, and those who are His subjects have been filled
with that joy which was proclaimed beforehand, and have attained to
that liberty which He bestows, and share in the sight of Him, and have
listened to His words, and have enjoyed the gifts which He confers, the
question will not then be asked by any that are possessed of sense what
new thing the King has brought beyond [that proclaimed by] those who
announced His coming. For He has brought Himself, and has bestowed on
men those good things which were announced beforehand, which things the
angels desired to look into. [4341]
2. But the servants would then have been proved false, and not sent by
the Lord, if Christ on His advent, by being found exactly such as He
was previously announced, had not fulfilled their words. Wherefore He
said, “Think not that I have come to destroy the law or the prophets; I
came not to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Until
heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall not pass from
the law and the prophets till all come to pass.” [4342] For by His advent He Himself fulfilled all things, and does still fulfil in the Church the new covenant foretold by the law, onwards to the consummation [of all things]. To this effect also Paul, His apostle, says in the Epistle to the Romans, “But now, [4343] without the law, has the righteousness of God been manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; for the just shall live by faith.” [4344] But this fact, that the just shall live by faith, had been previously announced [4345] by the prophets.
3. But whence could the prophets have had power to predict the advent
of the King, and to preach beforehand that liberty which was bestowed
by Him, and previously to announce all things which were done by
Christ, His words, His works, and His sufferings, and to predict the
new covenant, if they had received prophetical inspiration from another
God [than He who is revealed in the Gospel], they being ignorant, as ye
allege, of the ineffable Father, of His kingdom, and His dispensations,
which the Son of God fulfilled when He came upon earth in these last
times? Neither are ye in a position to say that these things came to
pass by a certain kind of chance, as if they were spoken by the
prophets in regard to some other person, while like events happened to
the Lord. For all the prophets prophesied these same things, but they
never came to pass in the case of any one of the ancients. For if these
things had happened to any man among them of old time, those [prophets]
who lived subsequently would certainly not have prophesied that these
events should come to pass in the last times. Moreover, there is in
fact none among the fathers, nor the prophets, nor the ancient kings,
in whose case any one of these things properly and specifically took
place. For all indeed prophesied as to the sufferings of Christ, but
they themselves were far from enduring sufferings similar to what was
predicted. And the points connected with the passion of the Lord, which
were foretold, were realized in no other case. For neither did it
happen at the death of any man among the ancients that the sun set at
mid-day, nor was the veil of the temple rent, nor did the earth quake,
nor were the rocks rent, nor did the dead rise up, nor was any one of
these men [of old] raised up on the third day, nor received into
heaven, nor at his assumption were the heavens opened, nor did the
nations believe in the name of any other; nor did any from among them,
having been dead and rising again, lay open the new covenant of liberty. Therefore the prophets spake not of any one else but of the Lord, in whom all these aforesaid tokens concurred.
4. If any one, however, advocating the cause of the Jews, do maintain
that this new covenant consisted in the rearing of that temple which
was built under Zerubbabel after the emigration to Babylon, and in the
departure of the people from thence after the lapse of seventy years,
let him know that the temple constructed of stones was indeed then
rebuilt (for as yet that law was observed which had been made upon
tables of stone), yet no new covenant was given, but they used the
Mosaic law until the coming of the Lord; but from the Lord’s advent,
the new covenant which brings back peace, and the law which gives life,
has gone forth over the whole earth, as the prophets said: “For out of
Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem;
and He shall rebuke many people; and they shall break down their swords
into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks, and they shall
no longer learn to fight.” [4346] If therefore another law and word,
going forth from Jerusalem, brought in such a [reign of] peace among
the Gentiles which received it (the word), and convinced, through them,
many a nation of its folly, then [only] it appears that the prophets
spake of some other person. But if the law of liberty, that is, the
word of God, preached by the apostles (who went forth from Jerusalem)
throughout all the earth, caused such a change in the state of things,
that these [nations] did form the swords and war-lances into
ploughshares, and changed them into pruning-hooks for reaping the corn,
[that is], into instruments used for peaceful purposes, and that they
are now unaccustomed to fighting, but when smitten, offer also the
other cheek, [4347] then the prophets have not spoken these things of
any other person, but of Him who effected them. This person is our
Lord, and in Him is that declaration borne out; since it is He Himself
who has made the plough, and introduced the pruning-hook, that is, the
first semination of man, which was the creation exhibited in Adam,
[4348] and the gathering in of the produce in the last times by the
Word; and, for this reason, since He joined the beginning to the end,
and is the Lord of both, He has finally displayed the plough, in that
the wood has been joined on to the iron, and has thus cleansed His
land; because the Word, having been firmly united to flesh, and in its
mechanism fixed with pins, [4349] has reclaimed the savage earth. In
the beginning, He figured forth the pruning-hook by means of Abel,
pointing out that there should be a gathering in of a righteous race of
men. He says, “For behold how the just man perishes, and no man
considers it; and righteous men are taken away, and no man layeth it to
heart.” [4350] These things were acted beforehand in Abel, were also
previously declared by the prophets, but were accomplished in the
Lord’s person; and the same [is still true] with regard to us, the body
following the example of the Head.
5. Such are the arguments proper [4351] [to be used] in opposition to
those who maintain that the prophets [were inspired] by a different
God, and that our Lord [came] from another Father, if perchance [these
heretics] may at length desist from such extreme folly. This is my
earnest object in adducing these Scriptural proofs, that confuting
them, as far as in me lies, by these very passages, I may restrain them
from such great blasphemy, and from insanely fabricating a multitude of

[4341] 1 Pet. i. 12.
[4342] Rom. iii. 21.
[4343] Matt. v. 17, 18.
[4344] Rom. i. 17.
[4345] Hab. ii. 4.
[4346] Isa. ii. 3, 4; Mic. iv. 2, 3.
[4347] Matt. v. 39.
[4348] Book i. p. 327, this volume.
[4349] This is following Harvey’s conjectural emendation of the text,
viz., “taleis” for “talis.” He considers the pins here as symbolical of
the nails by which our Lord was fastened to the cross. The whole
passage is almost hopelessly obscure, though the general meaning may be
[4350] Isa. lvii. 1.
[4351] [If it be remembered that we know Irenaeus here, only through a
most obscure Latin rendering, we shall be slow to censure this conclusion.]

Chapter XXXV.—A refutation of those who allege that the prophets uttered some
predictions under the inspiration of the highest, others from the Demiurge.
Disagreements of the Valentinians among themselves with regard to these same
1. Then again, in opposition to the Valentinians, and the other
Gnostics, falsely so called, who maintain that some parts of Scripture
were spoken at one time from the Pleroma (a summitate) through means of
the seed [derived] from that place, but at another time from the
intermediate abode through means of the audacious mother Prunica, but
that many are due to the Creator of the world, from whom also the
prophets had their mission, we say that it is altogether irrational to
bring down the Father of the universe to such straits, as that He
should not be possessed of His own proper instruments, by which the
things in the Pleroma might be perfectly proclaimed. For of whom was He
afraid, so that He should not reveal His will after His own way and independently, freely, and without being involved with that spirit which came into being in a state of degeneracy and ignorance? Was it that He feared that very many would be saved, when more should have listened to the unadulterated truth? Or, on the other hand, was He incapable of preparing for Himself those who should announce the Saviour’s advent?
2. But if, when the Saviour came to this earth, He sent His apostles
into the world to proclaim with accuracy His advent, and to teach the
Father’s will, having nothing in common with the doctrine of the
Gentiles or of the Jews, much more, while yet existing in the Pleroma,
would He have appointed His own heralds to proclaim His future advent
into this world, and having nothing in common with those prophecies
originating from the Demiurge. But if, when within the Pleroma, He
availed Himself of those prophets who were under the law, and declared
His own matters through their instrumentality; much more would He, upon
His arrival hither, have made use of these same teachers, and have
preached the Gospel to us by their means. Therefore let them not any
longer assert that Peter and Paul and the other apostles proclaimed the
truth, but that it was the scribes and Pharisees, and the others,
through whom the law was propounded. But if, at His advent, He sent
forth His own apostles in the spirit of truth, and not in that of
error, He did the very same also in the case of the prophets; for the
Word of God was always the self-same: and if the Spirit from the
Pleroma was, according to these men’s system, the Spirit of light, the
Spirit of truth, the Spirit of perfection, and the Spirit of knowledge,
while that from the Demiurge was the spirit of ignorance, degeneracy,
and error, and the offspring of obscurity; how can it be, that in one
and the same being there exists perfection and defect, knowledge and
ignorance, error and truth, light and darkness? But if it was
impossible that such should happen in the case of the prophets, for
they preached the word of the Lord from one God, and proclaimed the
advent of His Son, much more would the Lord Himself never have uttered
words, on one occasion from above, but on another from degeneracy
below, thus becoming the teacher at once of knowledge and of ignorance;
nor would He have ever glorified as Father at one time the Founder of
the world, and at another Him who is above this one, as He does Himself
declare: “No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old one, nor
do they put new wine into old bottles.” [4352] Let these men,
therefore, either have nothing whatever to do with the prophets, as
with those that are ancients, and allege no longer that these men,
being sent beforehand by the Demiurge, spake certain things under that
new influence which pertains to the Pleroma; or, on the other hand, let
them be convinced by our Lord, when He declares that new wine cannot be
put into old bottles.
3. But from what source could the offspring of their mother derive his
knowledge of the mysteries within the Pleroma, and power to discourse
regarding them? Suppose that the mother, while beyond the Pleroma, did
bring forth this very offspring; but what is beyond the Pleroma they represent as being beyond the pale of knowledge, that is, ignorance.
How, then, could that seed, which was conceived in ignorance, possess
the power of declaring knowledge? Or how did the mother herself, a shapeless and undefined being, one cast out of doors as an abortion, obtain knowledge of the mysteries within the Pleroma, she who was organized outside it and given a form there, and prohibited by Horos from entering within, and who remains outside the Pleroma till the consummation [of all things], that is, beyond the pale of knowledge?
Then, again, when they say that the Lord’s passion is a type of the
extension of the Christ above, which he effected through Horos, and so
imparted a form to their mother, they are refuted in the other
particulars [of the Lord’s passion], for they have no semblance of a
type to show with regard to them. For when did the Christ above have
vinegar and gall given him to drink? Or when was his raiment parted? Or
when was he pierced, and blood and water came forth? Or when did he
sweat great drops of blood? And [the same may be demanded] as to the
other particulars which happened to the Lord, of which the prophets
have spoken. From whence, then, did the mother or her offspring divine
the things which had not yet taken place, but which should occur afterwards?
4. They affirm that certain things still, besides these, were spoken from the Pleroma, but are confuted by those which are referred to in
the Scriptures as bearing on the advent of Christ. But what these are
[that are spoken from the Pleroma] they are not agreed, but give
different answers regarding them. For if any one, wishing to test them,
do question one by one with regard to any passage those who are their
leading men, he shall find one of them referring the passage in
question to the Propator—that is, to Bythus; another attributing it to
Arche—that is, to the Only-begotten; another to the Father of
all—that is, to the Word; while another, again, will say that it was
spoken of that one AEon who was [formed from the joint contributions]
of the AEons in the Pleroma; [4353] others [will regard the passage] as
referring to Christ, while another [will refer it] to the Saviour. One,
again, more skilled than these, [4354] after a long protracted silence,
declares that it was spoken of Horos; another that it signifies the
Sophia which is within the Pleroma; another that it announces the
mother outside the Pleroma; while another will mention the God who made
the world (the Demiurge). Such are the variations existing among them
with regard to one [passage], holding discordant opinions as to the
same Scriptures; and when the same identical passage is read out, they
all begin to purse up their eyebrows, and to shake their heads, and
they say that they might indeed utter a discourse transcendently lofty,
but that all cannot comprehend the greatness of that thought which is
implied in it; and that, therefore, among the wise the chief thing is
silence. For that Sige (silence) which is above must be typified by
that silence which they preserve. Thus do they, as many as they are,
all depart [from each other], holding so many opinions as to one thing,
and bearing about their clever notions in secret within themselves.
When, therefore, they shall have agreed among themselves as to the
things predicted in the Scriptures, then also shall they be confuted by
us. For, though holding wrong opinions, they do in the meanwhile,
however, convict themselves, since they are not of one mind with regard
to the same words. But as we follow for our teacher the one and only
true God, and possess His words as the rule of truth, we do all speak
alike with regard to the same things, knowing but one God, the Creator
of this universe, who sent the prophets, who led forth the people from
the land of Egypt, who in these last times manifested His own Son, that
He might put the unbelievers to confusion, and search out the fruit of

[4352] Luke v. 36, 37.
[4353] Book i. p. 334, this volume.
[4354] Illorum; following the Greek form of the comparative degree.

Chapter XXXVI.—The prophets were sent from one and the same Father from whom
the Son was sent.
1. Which [God] the Lord does not reject, nor does He say that the
prophets [spake] from another god than His Father; nor from any other
essence, but from one and the same Father; nor that any other being
made the things in the world, except His own Father, when He speaks as
follows in His teaching: “There was a certain householder, and he
planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged in it a
winepress, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went
into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent
his servants unto the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of
it. And the husbandmen took his servants: they cut one to pieces,
stoned another, and killed another. Again he sent other servants more
than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he
sent unto them his only son, saying, Perchance they will reverence my
son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves,
This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and we shall possess his
inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and
slew him. When, therefore, the lord of the vineyard shall come, what
will he do unto these husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably
destroy these wicked men, and will let out his vineyard to other husbandmen, who shall render him the fruits in their season.” [4355]
Again does the Lord say: “Have ye never read, The stone which the
builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is
the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore I say
unto you, that the kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to
a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” [4356] By these words He
clearly points out to His disciples one and the same Householder—that
is, one God the Father, who made all things by Himself; while [He
shows] that there are various husbandmen, some obstinate, and proud,
and worthless, and slayers of the Lord, but others who render Him, with
all obedience, the fruits in their seasons; and that it is the same Householder who sends at one time His servants, at another His Son.
From that Father, therefore, from whom the Son was sent to those
husbandmen who slew Him, from Him also were the servants [sent]. But
the Son, as coming from the Father with supreme authority (principali
auctoritate), used to express Himself thus: “But I say unto you.”
[4357] The servants, again, [who came] as from their Lord, spake after
the manner of servants, [delivering a message]; and they therefore used
to say, “Thus saith the Lord.”
2. Whom these men did therefore preach to the unbelievers as Lord, Him
did Christ teach to those who obey Him; and the God who had called
those of the former dispensation, is the same as He who has received
those of the latter. In other words, He who at first used that law
which entails bondage, is also He who did in after times [call His
people] by means of adoption. For God planted the vineyard of the human
race when at the first He formed Adam and chose the fathers; then He
let it out to husbandmen when He established the Mosaic dispensation:
He hedged it round about, that is, He gave particular instructions with
regard to their worship: He built a tower, [that is], He chose
Jerusalem: He digged a winepress, that is, He prepared a receptacle of
the prophetic Spirit. And thus did He send prophets prior to the
transmigration to Babylon, and after that event others again in greater
number than the former, to seek the fruits, saying thus to them (the
Jews): “Thus saith the Lord, Cleanse your ways and your doings, execute
just judgment, and look each one with pity and compassion on his
brother: oppress not the widow nor the orphan, the proselyte nor the
poor, and let none of you treasure up evil against his brother in your
hearts, and love not false swearing. Wash you, make you clean, put away
evil from your hearts, learn to do well, seek judgment, protect the
oppressed, judge the fatherless (pupillo), plead for the widow; and
come, let us reason together, saith the Lord.” [4358] And again: “Keep
thy tongue from evil, and thy lips that they speak no guile; depart
from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.” [4359] In preaching
these things, the prophets sought the fruits of righteousness. But last
of all He sent to those unbelievers His own Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
whom the wicked husbandmen cast out of the vineyard when they had slain
Him. Wherefore the Lord God did even give it up (no longer hedged
around, but thrown open throughout all the world) to other husbandmen,
who render the fruits in their seasons,--the beautiful elect tower being also raised everywhere. For the illustrious Church is [now]
everywhere, and everywhere is the winepress digged: because those who
do receive the Spirit are everywhere. For inasmuch as the former have
rejected the Son of God, and cast Him out of the vineyard when they
slew Him, God has justly rejected them, and given to the Gentiles
outside the vineyard the fruits of its cultivation. This is in
accordance with what Jeremiah says, “The Lord hath rejected and cast
off the nation which does these things; for the children of Judah have
done evil in my sight, saith the Lord.” [4360] And again in like manner
does Jeremiah speak: “I set watchmen over you; hearken to the sound of
the trumpet; and they said, We will not hearken. Therefore have the
Gentiles heard, and they who feed the flocks in them.” [4361] It is
therefore one and the same Father who planted the vineyard, who led
forth the people, who sent the prophets, who sent His own Son, and who
gave the vineyard to those other husbandmen that render the fruits in
their season.
3. And therefore did the Lord say to His disciples, to make us become
good workmen: “Take heed to yourselves, and watch continually upon
every occasion, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with
surfeiting and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that day shall
come upon you unawares; for as a snare shall it come upon all dwelling
upon the face of the earth.” [4362] “Let your loins, therefore, be
girded about, and your lights burning, and ye like to men who wait for
their lord, when he shall return from the wedding.” [4363] “For as it
was in the days of Noe, they did eat and drink, they bought and sold,
they married and were given in marriage, and they knew not, until Noe
entered into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all; as
also it was in the days of Lot, they did eat and drink, they bought and
sold, they planted and builded, until the time that Lot went out of
Sodom; it rained fire from heaven, and destroyed them all: so shall it
also be at the coming of the Son of man.” [4364] “Watch ye therefore,
for ye know not in what day your Lord shall come.” [4365] [In these
passages] He declares one and the same Lord, who in the times of Noah
brought the deluge because of man’s disobedience, and who also in the
days of Lot rained fire from heaven because of the multitude of sinners
among the Sodomites, and who, on account of this same disobedience and
similar sins, will bring on the day of judgment at the end of time (in
novissimo); on which day He declares that it shall be more tolerable
for Sodom and Gomorrah than for that city and house which shall not
receive the word of His apostles. “And thou, Capernaum,” He said, “is
it that thou shalt be exalted to heaven? [4366] Thou shalt go down to
hell. For if the mighty works which have been done in thee had been
done in Sodom, it would have remained unto this day. Verily I say unto
you, that it shall be more tolerable for Sodom in the day of judgment
than for you.” [4367]
4. Since the Son of God is always one and the same, He gives to those
who believe on Him a well of water [4368] [springing up] to eternal
life, but He causes the unfruitful fig-tree immediately to dry up; and
in the days of Noah He justly brought on the deluge for the purpose of
extinguishing that most infamous race of men then existent, who could
not bring forth fruit to God, since the angels that sinned had
commingled with them, and [acted as He did] in order that He might put
a check upon the sins of these men, but [that at the same time] He
might preserve the archetype, [4369] the formation of Adam. And it was
He who rained fire and brimstone from heaven, in the days of Lot, upon
Sodom and Gomorrah, “an example of the righteous judgment of God,”
[4370] that all may know, “that every tree that bringeth not forth good
fruit shall be cut down, and cast into the fire.” [4371] And it is He
who uses [the words], that it will be more tolerable for Sodom in the
general judgment than for those who beheld His wonders, and did not
believe on Him, nor receive His doctrine. [4372] For as He gave by His
advent a greater privilege to those who believed on Him, and who do His
will, so also did He point out that those who did not believe on Him
should have a more severe punishment in the judgment; thus extending
equal justice to all, and being to exact more from those to whom He
gives the more; the more, however, not because He reveals the knowledge
of another Father, as I have shown so fully and so repeatedly, but
because He has, by means of His advent, poured upon the human race the
greater gift of paternal grace.
5. If, however, what I have stated be insufficient to convince any one
that the prophets were sent from one and the same Father, from whom
also our Lord was sent, let such a one, opening the mouth of his heart,
and calling upon the Master, Christ Jesus the Lord, listen to Him when
He says, “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a king who made a marriage
for his son, and he sent forth his servants to call them who were
bidden to the marriage.” And when they would not obey, He goes on to
say, “Again he sent other servants, saying, Tell them that are bidden,
Come ye, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and all the fatlings are
killed, and everything is ready; come unto the wedding. But they made
light of it, and went their way, some to their farm, and others to
their merchandize; but the remnant took his servants, and some they
treated despitefully, while others they slew. But when the king heard
this, he was wroth, and sent his armies and destroyed these murderers,
and burned up their city, and said to his servants, The wedding is
indeed ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go out
therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, gather in to
the marriage. So the servants went out, and collected together as many
as they found, bad and good, and the wedding was furnished with guests.
But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man not
having on a wedding garment; and he said unto him, Friend, how camest
thou hither, not having on a wedding garment? But he was speechless.
Then said the king to his servants, Take him away, hand and foot, and
cast him into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of
teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.” [4373] Now, by these
words of His, does the Lord clearly show all [these points, viz.,] that
there is one King and Lord, the Father of all, of whom He had
previously said, “Neither shalt thou swear by Jerusalem, for it is the
city of the great King;” [4374] and that He had from the beginning
prepared the marriage for His Son, and used, with the utmost kindness,
to call, by the instrumentality of His servants, the men of the former
dispensation to the wedding feast; and when they would not obey, He
still invited them by sending out other servants, yet that even then
they did not obey Him, but even stoned and slew those who brought them
the message of invitation. He accordingly sent forth His armies and
destroyed them, and burned down their city; but He called together from
all the highways, that is, from all nations, [guests] to the marriage
feast of His Son, as also He says by Jeremiah: “I have sent also unto
you my servants the prophets to say, Return ye now, every man, from his
very evil way, and amend your doings.” [4375] And again He says by the
same prophet: “I have also sent unto you my servants the prophets
throughout the day and before the light; yet they did not obey me, nor
incline their ears unto me. And thou shall speak this word to them:
This is a people that obeyeth not the voice of the Lord, nor receiveth
correction; faith has perished from their mouth.” [4376] The Lord,
therefore, who has called us everywhere by the apostles, is He who
called those of old by the prophets, as appears by the words of the
Lord; and although they preached to various nations, the prophets were
not from one God, and the apostles from another; but, [proceeding] from
one and the same, some of them announced the Lord, others preached the
Father, and others again foretold the advent of the Son of God, while
yet others declared Him as already present to those who then were afar
6. Still further did He also make it manifest, that we ought, after our
calling, to be also adorned with works of righteousness, so that the
Spirit of God may rest upon us; for this is the wedding garment, of
which also the apostle speaks, “Not for that we would be unclothed, but
clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up by immortality.”
[4377] But those who have indeed been called to God’s supper, yet have
not received the Holy Spirit, because of their wicked conduct “shall
be,” He declares, “cast into outer darkness.” [4378] He thus clearly
shows that the very same King who gathered from all quarters the
faithful to the marriage of His Son, and who grants them the
incorruptible banquet, [also] orders that man to be cast into outer
darkness who has not on a wedding garment, that is, one who despises
it. For as in the former covenant, “with many of them was He not well
pleased;” [4379] so also is it the case here, that “many are called,
but few chosen.” [4380] It is not, then, one God who judges, and
another Father who calls us together to salvation; nor one, forsooth,
who confers eternal light, but another who orders those who have not on
the wedding garment to be sent into outer darkness. But it is one and
the same God, the Father of our Lord, from whom also the prophets had
their mission, who does indeed, through His infinite kindness, call the
unworthy; but He examines those who are called, [to ascertain] if they
have on the garment fit and proper for the marriage of His Son, because
nothing unbecoming or evil pleases Him. This is in accordance with what
the Lord said to the man who had been healed: “Behold, thou art made
whole; sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” [4381] For he
who is good, and righteous, and pure, and spotless, will endure nothing
evil, nor unjust, nor detestable in His wedding chamber. This is the
Father of our Lord, by whose providence all things consist, and all are
administered by His command; and He confers His free gifts upon those
who should [receive them]; but the most righteous Retributor metes out
[punishment] according to their deserts, most deservedly, to the
ungrateful and to those that are insensible of His kindness; and
therefore does He say, “He sent His armies, and destroyed those
murderers, and burned up their city.” [4382] He says here, “His
armies,” because all men are the property of God. For “the earth is the
Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and all that dwell
therein.” [4383] Wherefore also the Apostle Paul says in the Epistle to
the Romans, “For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are
ordained of God. Whosoever resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance
of God; and they that resist shall receive unto themselves
condemnation. For rulers are not for a terror to a good work, but to an
evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good,
and thou shalt have praise of the same; for he is the minister of God
to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he
beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, the
avenger for wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be
subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For this
cause pay ye tribute also; for they are God’s ministers, attending
continually upon this very thing.” [4384] Both the Lord, then, and the
apostles announce as the one only God the Father, Him who gave the law,
who sent the prophets, who made all things; and therefore does He say,
“He sent His armies,” because every man, inasmuch as he is a man, is
His workmanship, although he may be ignorant of his God. For He gives
existence to all; He, “who maketh His sun to rise upon the evil and the
good, and sendeth rain upon the just and unjust.” [4385]
7. And not alone by what has been stated, but also by the parable of the two sons, the younger of whom consumed his substance by living
luxuriously with harlots, did the Lord teach one and the same Father,
who did not even allow a kid to his elder son; but for him who had been
lost, [namely] his younger son, he ordered the fatted calf to be
killed, and he gave him the best robe. [4386] Also by the parable of
the workmen who were sent into the vineyard at different periods of the
day, one and the same God is declared [4387] as having called some in
the beginning, when the world was first created; but others afterwards,
and others during the intermediate period, others after a long lapse of
time, and others again in the end of time; so that there are many
workmen in their generations, but only one householder who calls them
together. For there is but one vineyard, since there is also but one
righteousness, and one dispensator, for there is one Spirit of God who
arranges all things; and in like manner is there one hire, for they all
received a penny each man, having [stamped upon it] the royal image and
superscription, the knowledge of the Son of God, which is immortality.
And therefore He began by giving the hire to those [who were engaged]last, because in the last times, when the Lord was revealed He presented Himself to all [as their reward].
8. Then, in the case of the publican, who excelled the Pharisee in
prayer, [we find] that it was not because he worshipped another Father
that he received testimony from the Lord that he was justified rather
[than the other]; but because with great humility, apart from all
boasting and pride, he made confession to the same God. [4388] The
parable of the two sons also: those who are sent into the vineyard, of
whom one indeed opposed his father, but afterwards repented, when
repentance profited him nothing; the other, however, promised to go, at
once assuring his father, but he did not go (for “every man is a liar;”
[4389] “to will is present with him, but he finds not means to perform”
[4390] ),--[this parable, I say], points out one and the same Father.
Then, again, this truth was clearly shown forth by the parable of the
fig-tree, of which the Lord says, “Behold, now these three years I come
seeking fruit on this fig-tree, but I find none” [4391] (pointing
onwards, by the prophets, to His advent, by whom He came from time to
time, seeking the fruit of righteousness from them, which he did not
find), and also by the circumstance that, for the reason already
mentioned, the fig-tree should be hewn down. And, without using a
parable, the Lord said to Jerusalem, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that
killest the prophets, and stonest those that are sent unto thee; how
often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen gathereth
her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house
shall be left unto you desolate.” [4392] For that which had been said
in the parable, “Behold, for three years I come seeking fruit,” and in
clear terms, again, [where He says], “How often would I have gathered
thy children together,” shall be [found] a falsehood, if we do not
understand His advent, which is [announced] by the prophets—if, in
fact, He came to them but once, and then for the first time. But since
He who chose the patriarchs and those [who lived under the first
covenant], is the same Word of God who did both visit them through the
prophetic Spirit, and us also who have been called together from all
quarters by His advent; in addition to what has been already said, He
truly declared, “Many shall come from the east and from the west, and
shall recline with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of
heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall go into outer darkness;
there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” [4393] If, then, those
who do believe in Him through the preaching of His apostles throughout
the east and west shall recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the
kingdom of heaven, partaking with them of the [heavenly] banquet, one
and the same God is set forth as He who did indeed choose the patriarchs, visited also the people, and called the Gentiles.

[4355] Matt. xxi. 33-41.
[4356] Matt. xxi. 42-44.
[4357] Matt. v. 22.
[4358] Jer. vii. 3; Zech. vii. 9, 10, Zech. viii. 17; Isa. i. 17-19.
[4359] Ps. xxxiv. 13, 14.
[4360] Jer. vii. 29, 30.
[4361] Jer. vi. 17, 18.
[4362] Luke xxi. 34, 35.
[4363] Luke xii. 35, 36.
[4364] Luke xvii. 26, etc.
[4365] Matt. xxiv. 42.
[4366] No other of the Greek Fathers quotes this text as above; from
which fact Grabe infers that old Latin translator, or his transcribers,
altered the words of Irenaeus [N.B.—From one example infer the rest]
to suit the Latin versions.
[4367] Matt. xi. 23, 24.
[4368] John iv. 14.
[4369] This is Massuet’s conjectural emendation of the text, viz.,
archetypum for arcaetypum. Grabe would insert per before arcae, and he
thinks the passage to have a reference to 1 Pet. iii. 20. Irenaeus, in
common with the other ancient Fathers, believed that the fallen angels
were the “sons of God” who commingled with “the daughters of men,” and
thus produced a race of spurious men. [Gen. vi. 1, 2, 3, and Josephus.]
[4370] Jude 7. [And note “strange flesh” (Gr. sarkos heteras) as to the
angels. Gen. xix. 4, 5.]
[4371] Matt. iii. 10.
[4372] Matt. xi. 24; Luke x. 12.
[4373] Matt. xxii. 1, etc.
[4374] Matt. v. 35. Instead of placing a period here, as the editors do, it seems to us preferable to carry on the construction.
[4375] Jer. xxxv. 15.
[4376] Jer. vii. 25, etc.
[4377] 2 Cor. v. 4.
[4378] Matt. xxii. 13.
[4379] 1 Cor. x. 5.
[4380] Matt. xxii. 14.
[4381] John v. 14.
[4382] Matt. xxii. 7.
[4383] Ps. xxiv. 1.
[4384] Rom. xiii. 1-7.
[4385] Matt. v. 45.
[4386] Luke xv. 11.
[4387] Matt. xx. 1, etc.
[4388] Luke xviii. 10.
[4389] Ps. cxvi. 2.
[4390] Rom. vii. 18.
[4391] Luke xiii. 6.
[4392] Luke xiii. 34; Matt. xxiii. 37.
[4393] Matt. viii. 11, 12.

Chapter XXXVII.—Men are possessed of free will, and endowed with the faculty
of making a choice. It is not true, therefore, that some are by nature good,
and others bad.
1. This expression [of our Lord], “How often would I have gathered thy
children together, and thou wouldest not,” [4394] set forth the ancient
law of human liberty, because God made man a free [agent] from the
beginning, possessing his own power, even as he does his own soul, to
obey the behests (ad utendum sententia) of God voluntarily, and not by
compulsion of God. For there is no coercion with God, but a good will
[towards us] is present with Him continually. And therefore does He
give good counsel to all. And in man, as well as in angels, He has
placed the power of choice (for angels are rational beings), so that
those who had yielded obedience might justly possess what is good,
given indeed by God, but preserved by themselves. On the other hand,
they who have not obeyed shall, with justice, be not found in
possession of the good, and shall receive condign punishment: for God
did kindly bestow on them what was good; but they themselves did not
diligently keep it, nor deem it something precious, but poured contempt
upon His super-eminent goodness. Rejecting therefore the good, and as
it were spuing it out, they shall all deservedly incur the just
judgment of God, which also the Apostle Paul testifies in his Epistle
to the Romans, where he says, “But dost thou despise the riches of His
goodness, and patience, and long-suffering, being ignorant that the
goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But according to thy
hardness and impenitent heart, thou treasurest to thyself wrath against
the day of wrath, and the revelation of the righteous judgment of God.”
“But glory and honour,” he says, “to every one that doeth good.” [4395]
God therefore has given that which is good, as the apostle tells us in
this Epistle, and they who work it shall receive glory and honour, because they have done that which is good when they had it in their power not to do it; but those who do it not shall receive the just judgment of God, because they did not work good when they had it in their power so to do.
2. But if some had been made by nature bad, and others good, these
latter would not be deserving of praise for being good, for such were
they created; nor would the former be reprehensible, for thus they were
made [originally]. But since all men are of the same nature, able both
to hold fast and to do what is good; and, on the other hand, having
also the power to cast it from them and not to do it,--some do justly
receive praise even among men who are under the control of good laws
(and much more from God), and obtain deserved testimony of their choice
of good in general, and of persevering therein; but the others are
blamed, and receive a just condemnation, because of their rejection of
what is fair and good. And therefore the prophets used to exhort men to
what was good, to act justly and to work righteousness, as I have so
largely demonstrated, because it is in our power so to do, and because
by excessive negligence we might become forgetful, and thus stand in need of that good counsel which the good God has given us to know by means of the prophets.
3. For this reason the Lord also said, “Let your light so shine before
men, that they may see your good deeds, and glorify your Father who is
in heaven.” [4396] And, “Take heed to yourselves, lest perchance your
hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and worldly
cares.” [4397] And, “Let your loins be girded about, and your lamps
burning, and ye like unto men that wait for their Lord, when He returns
from the wedding, that when He cometh and knocketh, they may open to
Him. Blessed is that servant whom his Lord, when He cometh, shall find
so doing.” [4398] And again, “The servant who knows his Lord’s will,
and does it not, shall be beaten with many stripes.” [4399] And, “Why
call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” [4400] And
again, “But if the servant say in his heart, The Lord delayeth, and
begin to beat his fellow-servants, and to eat, and drink, and to be
drunken, his Lord will come in a day on which he does not expect Him,
and shall cut him in sunder, and appoint his portion with the
hypocrites.” [4401] All such passages demonstrate the independent will
[4402] of man, and at the same time the counsel which God conveys to
him, by which He exhorts us to submit ourselves to Him, and seeks to
turn us away from [the sin of] unbelief against Him, without, however,
in any way coercing us.
4. No doubt, if any one is unwilling to follow the Gospel itself, it is
in his power [to reject it], but it is not expedient. For it is in
man’s power to disobey God, and to forfeit what is good; but [such
conduct] brings no small amount of injury and mischief. And on this
account Paul says, “All things are lawful to me, but all things are not
expedient;” [4403] referring both to the liberty of man, in which
respect “all things are lawful,” God exercising no compulsion in regard
to him; and [by the expression] “not expedient” pointing out that we
“should not use our liberty as a cloak of maliciousness,” [4404] for
this is not expedient. And again he says, “Speak ye every man truth
with his neighbour.” [4405] And, “Let no corrupt communication proceed
out of your mouth, neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor scurrility, which are not convenient, but rather giving of thanks.”
[4406] And, “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in
the Lord; walk honestly as children of the light, not in rioting and
drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in anger and
jealousy. And such were some of you; but ye have been washed, but ye
have been sanctified in the name of our Lord.” [4407] If then it were
not in our power to do or not to do these things, what reason had the
apostle, and much more the Lord Himself, to give us counsel to do some
things, and to abstain from others? But because man is possessed of
free will from the beginning, and God is possessed of free will, in
whose likeness man was created, advice is always given to him to keep
fast the good, which thing is done by means of obedience to God.
5. And not merely in works, but also in faith, has God preserved the
will of man free and under his own control, saying, “According to thy
faith be it unto thee;” [4408] thus showing that there is a faith
specially belonging to man, since he has an opinion specially his own.
And again, “All things are possible to him that believeth;” [4409] and,
“Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee.”
[4410] Now all such expressions demonstrate that man is in his own
power with respect to faith. And for this reason, “he that believeth in
Him has eternal life while he who believeth not the Son hath not
eternal life, but the wrath of God shall remain upon him.” [4411] In
the same manner therefore the Lord, both showing His own goodness, and
indicating that man is in his own free will and his own power, said to
Jerusalem, “How often have I wished to gather thy children together, as
a hen [gathereth] her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
Wherefore your house shall be left unto you desolate.” [4412]
6. Those, again, who maintain the opposite to these [conclusions], do
themselves present the Lord as destitute of power, as if, forsooth, He
were unable to accomplish what He willed; or, on the other hand, as
being ignorant that they were by nature “material,” as these men
express it, and such as cannot receive His immortality. “But He should
not,” say they, “have created angels of such a nature that they were
capable of transgression, nor men who immediately proved ungrateful
towards Him; for they were made rational beings, endowed with the power
of examining and judging, and were not [formed] as things irrational or
of a [merely] animal nature, which can do nothing of their own will,
but are drawn by necessity and compulsion to what is good, in which
things there is one mind and one usage, working mechanically in one
groove (inflexibiles et sine judicio), who are incapable of being
anything else except just what they had been created.” But upon this
supposition, neither would what is good be grateful to them, nor
communion with God be precious, nor would the good be very much to be
sought after, which would present itself without their own proper
endeavour, care, or study, but would be implanted of its own accord and
without their concern. Thus it would come to pass, that their being
good would be of no consequence, because they were so by nature rather
than by will, and are possessors of good spontaneously, not by choice;
and for this reason they would not understand this fact, that good is a
comely thing, nor would they take pleasure in it. For how can those who
are ignorant of good enjoy it? Or what credit is it to those who have
not aimed at it? And what crown is it to those who have not followed in
pursuit of it, like those victorious in the contest?
7. On this account, too, did the Lord assert that the kingdom of heaven
was the portion of “the violent;” and He says, “The violent take it by
force;” [4413] that is, those who by strength and earnest striving are
on the watch to snatch it away on the moment. On this account also Paul
the Apostle says to the Corinthians, “Know ye not, that they who run in
a racecourse, do all indeed run, but one receiveth the prize? So run,
that ye may obtain. Every one also who engages in the contest is
temperate in all things: now these men [do it] that they may obtain a
corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. But I so run, not as
uncertainty; I fight, not as one beating the air; but I make my body
livid, and bring it into subjection, lest by any means, when preaching
to others, I may myself be rendered a castaway.” [4414] This able
wrestler, therefore, exhorts us to the struggle for immortality, that
we may be crowned, and may deem the crown precious, namely, that which
is acquired by our struggle, but which does not encircle us of its own
accord (sed non ultro coalitam). And the harder we strive, so much is
it the more valuable; while so much the more valuable it is, so much
the more should we esteem it. And indeed those things are not esteemed
so highly which come spontaneously, as those which are reached by much
anxious care. Since, then, this power has been conferred upon us, both
the Lord has taught and the apostle has enjoined us the more to love
God, that we may reach this [prize] for ourselves by striving after it.
For otherwise, no doubt, this our good would be [virtually] irrational,
because not the result of trial. Moreover, the faculty of seeing would
not appear to be so desirable, unless we had known what a loss it were
to be devoid of sight; and health, too, is rendered all the more
estimable by an acquaintance with disease; light, also, by contrasting
it with darkness; and life with death. Just in the same way is the heavenly kingdom honourable to those who have known the earthly one.
But in proportion as it is more honourable, so much the more do we
prize it; and if we have prized it more, we shall be the more glorious
in the presence of God. The Lord has therefore endured all these things
on our behalf, in order that we, having been instructed by means of
them all, may be in all respects circumspect for the time to come, and
that, having been rationally taught to love God, we may continue in His
perfect love: for God has displayed long-suffering in the case of man’s
apostasy; while man has been instructed by means of it, as also the
prophet says, “Thine own apostasy shall heal thee;” [4415] God thus
determining all things beforehand for the bringing of man to
perfection, for his edification, and for the revelation of His
dispensations, that goodness may both be made apparent, and
righteousness perfected, and that the Church may be fashioned after the
image of His Son, and that man may finally be brought to maturity at some future time, becoming ripe through such privileges to see and comprehend God. [4416]

[4394] Matt. xxiii. 37.
[4395] Rom. ii. 4, 5, 7.
[4396] Matt. v. 16.
[4397] Luke xxi. 34.
[4398] Luke xii. 35, 36.
[4399] Luke xii. 47.
[4400] Luke vi. 46.
[4401] Luke xii. 45, 46; Matt. xxiv. 48-51.
[4402] to autexousion.
[4403] 1 Cor. vi. 12.
[4404] 1 Pet. ii. 16.
[4405] Eph. iv. 25.
[4406] Eph. iv. 29.
[4407] 1 Cor. vi. 11.
[4408] Matt. ix. 29.
[4409] Mark ix. 23.
[4410] Matt. viii. 13.
[4411] John iii. 36.
[4412] Matt. xxiii. 37, 38.
[4413] Matt. xi. 12.
[4414] 1 Cor. ix. 24-27.
[4415] Jer. ii. 19.
[4416] [If we but had the original, this would doubtless be found in all respects a noble specimen of primitive theology.]

Chapter XXXVIII.—Why man was not made perfect from the beginning.
1. If, however, any one say, “What then? Could not God have exhibited
man as perfect from beginning?” let him know that, inasmuch as God is
indeed always the same and unbegotten as respects Himself, all things
are possible to Him. But created things must be inferior to Him who
created them, from the very fact of their later origin; for it was not
possible for things recently created to have been uncreated. But
inasmuch as they are not uncreated, for this very reason do they come
short of the perfect. Because, as these things are of later date, so
are they infantile; so are they unaccustomed to, and unexercised in,
perfect discipline. For as it certainly is in the power of a mother to
give strong food to her infant, [but she does not do so], as the child
is not yet able to receive more substantial nourishment; so also it was
possible for God Himself to have made man perfect from the first, but
man could not receive this [perfection], being as yet an infant. And
for this cause our Lord in these last times, when He had summed up all
things into Himself, came to us, not as He might have come, but as we
were capable of beholding Him. He might easily have come to us in His
immortal glory, but in that case we could never have endured the
greatness of the glory; and therefore it was that He, who was the
perfect bread of the Father, offered Himself to us as milk, [because we
were] as infants. He did this when He appeared as a man, that we, being
nourished, as it were, from the breast of His flesh, and having, by
such a course of milk nourishment, become accustomed to eat and drink
the Word of God, may be able also to contain in ourselves the Bread of
immortality, which is the Spirit of the Father.
2. And on this account does Paul declare to the Corinthians, “I have
fed you with milk, not with meat, for hitherto ye were not able to bear
it.” [4417] That is, ye have indeed learned the advent of our Lord as a
man; nevertheless, because of your infirmity, the Spirit of the Father
has not as yet rested upon you. “For when envying and strife,” he says,
“and dissensions are among you, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?”
[4418] That is, that the Spirit of the Father was not yet with them, on
account of their imperfection and shortcomings of their walk in life.
As, therefore, the apostle had the power to give them strong meat—for
those upon whom the apostles laid hands received the Holy Spirit, who
is the food of life [eternal] --but they were not capable of receiving
it, because they had the sentient faculties of the soul still feeble
and undisciplined in the practice of things pertaining to God; so, in
like manner, God had power at the beginning to grant perfection to man;
but as the latter was only recently created, he could not possibly have
received it, or even if he had received it, could he have contained it,
or containing it, could he have retained it. It was for this reason
that the Son of God, although He was perfect, passed through the state
of infancy in common with the rest of mankind, partaking of it thus not
for His own benefit, but for that of the infantile stage of man’s
existence, in order that man might be able to receive Him. There was
nothing, therefore, impossible to and deficient in God, [implied in the
fact] that man was not an uncreated being; but this merely applied to
him who was lately created, [namely] man.
3. With God there are simultaneously exhibited power, wisdom, and
goodness. His power and goodness [appear] in this, that of His own will
He called into being and fashioned things having no previous existence;
His wisdom [is shown] in His having made created things parts of one
harmonious and consistent whole; and those things which, through His
super-eminent kindness, receive growth and a long period of existence,
do reflect the glory of the uncreated One, of that God who bestows what
is good ungrudgingly. For from the very fact of these things having
been created, [it follows] that they are not uncreated; but by their
continuing in being throughout a long course of ages, they shall
receive a faculty of the Uncreated, through the gratuitous bestowal of
eternal existence upon them by God. And thus in all things God has the
pre-eminence, who alone is uncreated, the first of all things, and the
primary cause of the existence of all, while all other things remain
under God’s subjection. But being in subjection to God is continuance
in immortality, and immortality is the glory of the uncreated One. By
this arrangement, therefore, and these harmonies, and a sequence of
this nature, man, a created and organized being, is rendered after the
image and likeness of the uncreated God,--the Father planning
everything well and giving His commands, the Son carrying these into
execution and performing the work of creating, and the Spirit
nourishing and increasing [what is made], but man making progress day
by day, and ascending towards the perfect, that is, approximating to
the uncreated One. For the Uncreated is perfect, that is, God. Now it
was necessary that man should in the first instance be created; and
having been created, should receive growth; and having received growth,
should be strengthened; and having been strengthened, should abound;
and having abounded, should recover [from the disease of sin]; and
having recovered, should be glorified; and being glorified, should see
his Lord. For God is He who is yet to be seen, and the beholding of God
is productive of immortality, but immortality renders one nigh unto God.
4. Irrational, therefore, in every respect, are they who await not the
time of increase, but ascribe to God the infirmity of their nature.
Such persons know neither God nor themselves, being insatiable and
ungrateful, unwilling to be at the outset what they have also been
created—men subject to passions; but go beyond the law of the human
race, and before that they become men, they wish to be even now like
God their Creator, and they who are more destitute of reason than dumb
animals [insist] that there is no distinction between the uncreated God
and man, a creature of to-day. For these, [the dumb animals], bring no
charge against God for not having made them men; but each one, just as
he has been created, gives thanks that he has been created. For we cast
blame upon Him, because we have not been made gods from the beginning,
but at first merely men, then at length gods; although God has adopted
this course out of His pure benevolence, that no one may impute to Him
invidiousness or grudgingness. He declares, “I have said, Ye are gods;
and ye are all sons of the Highest.” [4419] But since we could not
sustain the power of divinity, He adds, “But ye shall die like men,”
setting forth both truths—the kindness of His free gift, and our
weakness, and also that we were possessed of power over ourselves. For
after His great kindness He graciously conferred good [upon us], and
made men like to Himself, [that is] in their own power; while at the
same time by His prescience He knew the infirmity of human beings, and
the consequences which would flow from it; but through [His] love and
[His] power, He shall overcome the substance of created nature. [4420]
For it was necessary, at first, that nature should be exhibited; then,
after that, that what was mortal should be conquered and swallowed up
by immortality, and the corruptible by incorruptibility, and that man
should be made after the image and likeness of God, having received the
knowledge of good and evil.

[4417] 1 Cor. iii. 2.
[4418] 1 Cor. iii. 3.
[4419] Ps. lxxxii. 6, 7.
[4420] That is, that man’s human nature should not prevent him from becoming a partaker of the divine.

Chapter XXXIX.—Man is endowed with the faculty of distinguishing good and
evil; so that, without compulsion, he has the power, by his own will and
choice, to perform God’s commandments, by doing which he avoids the evils
prepared for the rebellious.
1. Man has received the knowledge of good and evil. It is good to obey
God, and to believe in Him, and to keep His commandment, and this is the life of man; as not to obey God is evil, and this is his death. Since God, therefore, gave [to man] such mental power (magnanimitatem)
man knew both the good of obedience and the evil of disobedience, that
the eye of the mind, receiving experience of both, may with judgment
make choice of the better things; and that he may never become indolent
or neglectful of God’s command; and learning by experience that it is
an evil thing which deprives him of life, that is, disobedience to God,
may never attempt it at all, but that, knowing that what preserves his
life, namely, obedience to God, is good, he may diligently keep it with
all earnestness. Wherefore he has also had a twofold experience,
possessing knowledge of both kinds, that with discipline he may make
choice of the better things. But how, if he had no knowledge of the
contrary, could he have had instruction in that which is good? For
there is thus a surer and an undoubted comprehension of matters
submitted to us than the mere surmise arising from an opinion regarding
them. For just as the tongue receives experience of sweet and bitter by
means of tasting, and the eye discriminates between black and white by
means of vision, and the ear recognises the distinctions of sounds by
hearing; so also does the mind, receiving through the experience of
both the knowledge of what is good, become more tenacious of its
preservation, by acting in obedience to God: in the first place,
casting away, by means of repentance, disobedience, as being something
disagreeable and nauseous; and afterwards coming to understand what it
really is, that it is contrary to goodness and sweetness, so that the
mind may never even attempt to taste disobedience to God. But if any one do shun the knowledge of both these kinds of things, and the twofold perception of knowledge, he unawares divests himself of the character of a human being.
2. How, then, shall he be a God, who has not as yet been made a man? Or
how can he be perfect who was but lately created? How, again, can he be
immortal, who in his mortal nature did not obey his Maker? For it must
be that thou, at the outset, shouldest hold the rank of a man, and then
afterwards partake of the glory of God. For thou dost not make God, but
God thee. If, then, thou art God’s workmanship, await the hand of thy
Maker which creates everything in due time; in due time as far as thou
art concerned, whose creation is being carried out. [4421] Offer to Him
thy heart in a soft and tractable state, and preserve the form in which
the Creator has fashioned thee, having moisture in thyself, lest, by
becoming hardened, thou lose the impressions of His fingers. But by
preserving the framework thou shalt ascend to that which is perfect,
for the moist clay which is in thee is hidden [there] by the
workmanship of God. His hand fashioned thy substance; He will cover
thee over [too] within and without with pure gold and silver, and He
will adorn thee to such a degree, that even “the King Himself shall
have pleasure in thy beauty.” [4422] But if thou, being obstinately
hardened, dost reject the operation of His skill, and show thyself
ungrateful towards Him, because thou wert created a [mere] man, by
becoming thus ungrateful to God, thou hast at once lost both His
workmanship and life. For creation is an attribute of the goodness of
God but to be created is that of human nature. If then, thou shalt deliver up to Him what is thine, that is, faith towards Him and subjection, thou shalt receive His handiwork, and shall be a perfect work of God.
3. If, however, thou wilt not believe in Him, and wilt flee from His
hands, the cause of imperfection shall be in thee who didst not obey,
but not in Him who called [thee]. For He commissioned [messengers] to
call people to the marriage, but they who did not obey Him deprived
themselves of the royal supper. [4423] The skill of God, therefore, is
not defective, for He has power of the stones to raise up children to
Abraham; [4424] but the man who does not obtain it is the cause to
himself of his own imperfection. Nor, [in like manner], does the light
fail because of those who have blinded themselves; but while it remains
the same as ever, those who are [thus] blinded are involved in darkness
through their own fault. The light does never enslave any one by
necessity; nor, again, does God exercise compulsion upon any one
unwilling to accept the exercise of His skill. Those persons,
therefore, who have apostatized from the light given by the Father, and
transgressed the law of liberty, have done so through their own fault,
since they have been created free agents, and possessed of power over
4. But God, foreknowing all things, prepared fit habitations for both,
kindly conferring that light which they desire on those who seek after
the light of incorruption, and resort to it; but for the despisers and
mockers who avoid and turn themselves away from this light, and who do,
as it were, blind themselves, He has prepared darkness suitable to
persons who oppose the light, and He has inflicted an appropriate
punishment upon those who try to avoid being subject to Him. Submission
to God is eternal rest, so that they who shun the light have a place
worthy of their flight; and those who fly from eternal rest, have a
habitation in accordance with their fleeing. Now, since all good things
are with God, they who by their own determination fly from God, do
defraud themselves of all good things; and having been [thus] defrauded
of all good things with respect to God, they shall consequently fall
under the just judgment of God. For those persons who shun rest shall
justly incur punishment, and those who avoid the light shall justly
dwell in darkness. For as in the case of this temporal light, those who
shun it do deliver themselves over to darkness, so that they do
themselves become the cause to themselves that they are destitute of
light, and do inhabit darkness; and, as I have already observed, the
light is not the cause of such an [unhappy] condition of existence to
them; so those who fly from the eternal light of God, which contains in
itself all good things, are themselves the cause to themselves of their
inhabiting eternal darkness, destitute of all good things, having become to themselves the cause of [their consignment to] an abode of that nature.

[4421] Efficeris.
[4422] Ps. xlv. 11.
[4423] Matt. xxii. 3, etc.
[4424] Matt. iii. 9.

Chapter XL.—One and the same God the Father inflicts punishment on the
reprobate, and bestows rewards on the elect.
1. It is therefore one and the same God the Father who has prepared
good things with Himself for those who desire His fellowship, and who
remain in subjection to Him; and who has the eternal fire for the
ringleader of the apostasy, the devil, and those who revolted with him,
into which [fire] the Lord [4425] has declared those men shall be sent
who have been set apart by themselves on His left hand. And this is
what has been spoken by the prophet, “I am a jealous God, making peace,
and creating evil things;” [4426] thus making peace and friendship with
those who repent and turn to Him, and bringing [them to] unity, but preparing for the impenitent, those who shun the light, eternal fire and outer darkness, which are evils indeed to those persons who fall into them.
2. If, however, it were truly one Father who confers rest, and another
God who has prepared the fire, their sons would have been equally
different [one from the other]; one, indeed, sending [men] into the
Father’s kingdom, but the other into eternal fire. But inasmuch as one
and the same Lord has pointed out that the whole human race shall be divided at the judgment, “as a shepherd divideth the sheep from the goats,” [4427] and that to some He will say, “Come, ye blessed of My Father, receive the kingdom which has been prepared for you,” [4428]
but to others, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, which
My Father has prepared for the devil and his angels,” [4429] one and
the same Father is manifestly declared [in this passage], “making peace
and creating evil things,” preparing fit things for both; as also there
is one Judge sending both into a fit place, as the Lord sets forth in
the parable of the tares and the wheat, where He says, “As therefore
the tares are gathered together, and burned in the fire, so shall it be
at the end of the world. The Son of man shall send His angels, and they
shall gather from His kingdom everything that offendeth, and those who
work iniquity, and shall send them into a furnace of fire: there shall
be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the just shine forth as
the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” [4430] The Father, therefore,
who has prepared the kingdom for the righteous, into which the Son has
received those worthy of it, is He who has also prepared the furnace of
fire, into which these angels commissioned by the Son of man shall send
those persons who deserve it, according to God’s command.
3. The Lord, indeed, sowed good seed in His own field; [4431] and He says, “The field is the world.” But while men slept, the enemy came,
and “sowed tares in the midst of the wheat, and went his way.” [4432]
Hence we learn that this was the apostate angel and the enemy, because
he was envious of God’s workmanship, and took in hand to render this
[workmanship] an enmity with God. For this cause also God has banished
from His presence him who did of his own accord stealthily sow the
tares, that is, him who brought about the transgression; [4433] but He
took compassion upon man, who, through want of care no doubt, but still
wickedly [on the part of another], became involved in disobedience; and
He turned the enmity by which [the devil] had designed to make [man]
the enemy of God, against the author of it, by removing His own anger
from man, turning it in another direction, and sending it instead upon
the serpent. As also the Scripture tells us that God said to the
serpent, “And I will place enmity between thee and the woman, and
between thy seed and her seed. He [4434] shall bruise thy head, and
thou shall bruise his heel.” [4435] And the Lord summed up in Himself
this enmity, when He was made man from a woman, and trod upon his [the
serpent’s] head, as I have pointed out in the preceding book.

[4425] Matt. xxv. 41.
[4426] Isa. xlv. 7.
[4427] Matt. xxv. 32.
[4428] Matt. xxv. 34.
[4429] Matt. xxv. 41.
[4430] Matt. xiii. 40-43.
[4431] Matt. xiii. 34. [Applicable to the origin of heresies.]
[4432] Matt. xiii. 28.
[4433] The old Latin translator varies from this (the Greek of which was recovered by Grabe from two ancient Catenae Patrum), making the clause run thus, that is, the transgression which he had himself introduced, making the explanatory words to refer to the tares, and not, as in the Greek, to the sower of the tares.
[4434] Following the reading of the LXX. autos sou teresei kephalen.
[4435] Gen. iii. 15.

Chapter XLI.—Those persons who do not believe in God, but who are
disobedient, are angels and sons of the devil, not indeed by nature, but by
imitation. Close of this book, and scope of the succeeding one.
1. Inasmuch as the Lord has said that there are certain angels, [viz.
those] of the devil, for whom eternal fire is prepared; and as, again,
He declares with regard to the tares, “The tares are the children of
the wicked one,” [4436] it must be affirmed that He has ascribed all
who are of the apostasy to him who is the ringleader of this
transgression. But He made neither angels nor men so by nature. For we
do not find that the devil created anything whatsoever, since indeed he
is himself a creature of God, like the other angels. For God made all
things, as also David says with regard to all things of the kind: “For
He spake the word, and they were made; He commanded, and they were created.” [4437]
2. Since, therefore, all things were made by God, and since the devil
has become the cause of apostasy to himself and others, justly does the
Scripture always term those who remain in a state of apostasy “sons of
the devil” and “angels of the wicked one” (maligni). For [the word]
“son,” as one before me has observed, has a twofold meaning: one [is a
son] in the order of nature, because he was born a son; the other, in
that he was made so, is reputed a son, although there be a difference
between being born so and being made so. For the first is indeed born
from the person referred to; but the second is made so by him, whether
as respects his creation or by the teaching of his doctrine. For when
any person has been taught from the mouth of another, he is termed the
son of him who instructs him, and the latter [is called] his father.
According to nature, then—that is, according to creation, so to
speak—we are all sons of God, because we have all been created by
God. But with respect to obedience and doctrine we are not all the sons
of God: those only are so who believe in Him and do His will. And those
who do not believe, and do not obey His will, are sons and angels of
the devil, because they do the works of the devil. And that such is the
case He has declared in Isaiah: “I have begotten and brought up
children, but they have rebelled against Me.” [4438] And again, where
He says that these children are aliens: “Strange children have lied
unto Me.” [4439] According to nature, then, they are [His] children,
because they have been so created; but with regard to their works, they
are not His children.
3. For as, among men, those sons who disobey their fathers, being
disinherited, are still their sons in the course of nature, but by law
are disinherited, for they do not become the heirs of their natural
parents; so in the same way is it with God,--those who do not obey Him
being disinherited by Him, have ceased to be His sons. Wherefore they
cannot receive His inheritance: as David says, “Sinners are alienated
from the womb; their anger is after the likeness of a serpent.” [4440]
And therefore did the Lord term those whom He knew to be the offspring
of men “a generation of vipers;” [4441] because after the manner of these animals they go about in subtilty, and injure others. For He said, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.”
[4442] Speaking of Herod, too, He says, “Go ye and tell that fox,”
[4443] aiming at his wicked cunning and deceit. Wherefore the prophet
David says, “Man, being placed in honour, is made like unto cattle.”
[4444] And again Jeremiah says, “They are become like horses, furious
about females; each one neighed after his neighbour’s wife.” [4445] And
Isaiah, when preaching in Judea, and reasoning with Israel, termed them
“rulers of Sodom” and “people of Gomorrah;” [4446] intimating that they
were like the Sodomites in wickedness, and that the same description of
sins was rife among them, calling them by the same name, because of the
similarity of their conduct. And inasmuch as they were not by nature so
created by God, but had power also to act rightly, the same person said
to them, giving them good counsel, “Wash ye, make you clean; take away
iniquity from your souls before mine eyes; cease from your iniquities.”
[4447] Thus, no doubt, since they had transgressed and sinned in the
same manner, so did they receive the same reproof as did the Sodomites.
But when they should be converted and come to repentance, and cease
from evil, they should have power to become the sons of God, and to
receive the inheritance of immortality which is given by Him. For this
reason, therefore, He has termed those “angels of the devil,” and
“children of the wicked one,” [4448] who give heed to the devil, and do
his works. But these are, at the same time, all created by the one and
the same God. When, however, they believe and are subject to God, and
go on and keep His doctrine, they are the sons of God; but when they
have apostatized and fallen into transgression, they are ascribed to
their chief, the devil—to him who first became the cause of apostasy
to himself, and afterwards to others.
4. Inasmuch as the words of the Lord are numerous, while they all proclaim one and the same Father, the Creator of this world, it was incumbent also upon me, for their own sake, to refute by many [arguments] those who are involved in many errors, if by any means,
when they are confuted by many [proofs], they may be converted to the
truth and saved. But it is necessary to subjoin to this composition, in
what follows, also the doctrine of Paul after the words of the Lord, to
examine the opinion of this man, and expound the apostle, and to
explain whatsoever [passages] have received other interpretations from
the heretics, who have altogether misunderstood what Paul has spoken,
and to point out the folly of their mad opinions; and to demonstrate
from that same Paul, from whose [writings] they press questions upon
us, that they are indeed utterers of falsehood, but that the apostle
was a preacher of the truth, and that he taught all things agreeable to
the preaching of the truth; [to the effect that] it was one God the
Father who spake with Abraham, who gave the law, who sent the prophets
beforehand, who in the last times sent His Son, and conferred salvation
upon His own handiwork—that is, the substance of flesh. Arranging,
then, in another book, the rest of the words of the Lord, which He
taught concerning the Father not by parables, but by expressions taken
in their obvious meaning (sed simpliciter ipsis dictionibus), and the
exposition of the Epistles of the blessed apostle, I shall, with God’s
aid, furnish thee with the complete work of the exposure and refutation
of knowledge, falsely so called; thus practising myself and thee in [these] five books for presenting opposition to all heretics.

[4436] Matt. xiii. 38.
[4437] Ps. cxlix. 5.
[4438] Isa. i. 2.
[4439] Ps. xviii. 45.
[4440] Ps. lviii. 3, 4.
[4441] Matt. xxiii. 33.
[4442] Matt. xvi. 6.
[4443] Luke xiii. 32.
[4444] Ps. xlix. 21.
[4445] Jer. v. 8.
[4446] Isa. i. 10.
[4447] Isa. i. 16.
[4448] Matt. xxv. 41, Matt. xiii. 38.

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