Tertullian - Trinity - The Apology
That which has come forth out of God is at once God and the Son of God, and the two are one. In this way also, as He is Spirit of Spirit and God of God, He is made a second in manner of existence-in position, not in nature. [Great diversity exists among the critics as to the date of this Apology; see Kaye, pp. xvi. 48, 65. Mosheim says, a.d. 198, Kaye a.d. 204.]
born 155, /160, Carthage [now in Tunisia] d. after 220, , Carthage
To Tertullian, the "trinity" is God, His Reason and the Word as an expression of that Reason. Because God is pure Spirit, all which He does as Father is Spirit. That which extends from Spirit into flesh is the Son. Tertullian does not think of three, separated persons in the Godhead!
The Catholic Encyclopedia notes that: In Scripture there is as yet no single term by which the Three Divine Persons are denoted together. The word trias (of which the Latin trinitas is a translation) is first found in Theophilus of Antioch about A. D. 180. He speaks of "the Trinity of God [the Father], His Word and His Wisdom ("Ad. Autol.", II, 15).
[Of course, Theophilus used the word trinity as we might describe our own nature as a trinity of body, soul and spirit. To Theophilus, the trinity is God putting His own Wisdom into operation by speaking His own Words. God's Word and Wisdom are also God]
Tertullian formulated the Godhead in Latin as tres personae, una substantia. The Greek prospon which meant "face" and later "representative" or "type." Pope Damasus (c. 304-384) approved the use of persona and substantia as equivalent to hypostasis and ousia respectively. This meant that there was only one substance in God even though He "wore the mask" of even more than three personified beings.
The Catholic Encyclopedia then uses Theophilus and Tertullian to defend their fairly recent trinity of three "persons" where person is like a "people." However, the perhaps universal view of the trinity by these early writers is that God is One God who expresses Himself in three or more human-like images.
born c. 155, /160, Carthage [now in Tunisia]
died after 220, , Carthage
In his Apology, Tertullian, makes himself clear because the NATURE of God determines the nature of worship.
Others of your writers, in their wantonness, even minister to your pleasures by vilifying the gods. Examine those charming farces of your Lentuli and Hostilii, whether in the jokes and tricks it is the buffoons or the deities which afford you merriment; such farces I mean as Anubis the Adulterer, and Luna of the masculine gender, and Diana under the lash, and the reading the will of Jupiter deceased, and the three famishing Herculeses held up to ridicule.
Your dramatic literature, too, depicts all the vileness of your gods.
The Sun mourns his offspring15 [Phaethon] .cast down from heaven, and you are full of glee;
Cybele sighs after the scornful swain,16 [Atys or Attis] and you do not blush; you brook the stage recital of Jupiter's misdeeds, and the shepherd17 [Paris] judging Juno, Venus, and Minerva.
Then, again, when the likeness of a god is put on the head of an ignominious and infamous wretch,
when one impure and trained up for the art in all effeminacy, represents a Minerva or a Hercules, is not the majesty of your gods insulted, and their deity dishonored?
Yet you not merely look on, but applaud. You are, I suppose, more devout in the arena, where after the same fashion your deities dance on human blood, on the pollutions caused by inflicted punishments,
- as they act their themes and stories,
- doing their turn for the wretched criminals, except that these, too,
- often put on divinity and actually play the very gods.
We have seen in our day a representation of the mutilation of Attis, that famous god of Pessinus, and a man burnt alive as Hercules. We have made merry amid the ludicrous cruelties of the noonday exhibition, at Mercury examining the bodies of the dead with his hot iron; we have witnessed Jove's brother,18 [Pluto] mallet in hand, dragging out the corpses of the gladiators.
But who can go into everything of this sort? If by such things as these the honour of deity is assailed, if they go to blot out every trace of its majesty, we must explain them by the contempt in which the gods are held, alike by those who actually do them, and by those for whose enjoyment they are done.
This it will be said, however, is all in sport. But if I add-it is what all know and will admit as readily to be the fact-
..........that in the temples adulteries are arranged, that at the altars pimping is practised,
..........that often in the houses of the temple-keepers and priests, under the sacrificial fillets,
..........and the sacred hats,19 and the purple robes, amid the fumes of incense, deeds of licentiousness are done,I am not sure but your gods have more reason to complain of you than of Christians. It is certainly among the votaries of your religion that the perpetrators of sacrilege are always found,
19 ["Sacred hats and purple robes and incense fumes" have been associated with the same crimes, alas! in widely different relations.]
for Christians do not enter your temples even in the day-time.
Perhaps they too would be spoilers of them, if they worshipped in them.
What then do they worship, since their objects of worship are different from yours?
Already indeed it is implied, as the corollary from their rejection of the lie, that they render homage to the truth; nor continue longer in an error which they have given up in the very fact of recognizing it to be an error.
Take this in first of all, and when we have offered a preliminary refutation of some false opinions, go on to derive from it our entire religious system.
For, like some others, you are under the delusion that our god is an ass's head.20 Cornelius Tacitus first put this notion into people's minds.
20 [Caricatures of the Cricifixion are extant which show how greedily the heathen had accepted this profane idea.]
In the fifth book of his histories, beginning the (narrative of the) Jewish war with an account of the origin of the nation; and theorizing at his pleasure about the origin, as well as the name and the religion of the Jews,he states that having been delivered, or rather, in his opinion, expelled from Egypt, in crossing the vast plains of Arabia, where water is so scanty, they were in extremity from thirst; but taking the guidance of the wild asses, which it was thought might be seeking water after feeding, they discovered a fountain, and thereupon in their gratitude they consecrated a head of this species of animal.
And as Christianity is nearly allied to Judaism, from this, I suppose, it was taken for granted that we too are devoted to the worship of the same image. But the said Cornelius Tacitus (the very opposite of tacit in telling lies)informs us in the work already mentioned, that when Cneius Pompeius captured Jerusalem,
he entered the temple to see the arcana of the Jewish religion, but found no image there. [no flags, crosses or images]
Yet surely if worship was rendered to any visible object, the very place for its exhibition would be the shrine; and that all the more that the worship, however unreasonable, had no need there to fear outside beholders.
For entrance to the holy place was permitted to the priests alone, while all vision was forbidden to others by an outspread curtain. You will not, however, deny that all beasts of burden, and not parts of them, but the animals entire, are with their goddess Epona objects of worship with you.It is this, perhaps, which displeases you in us, that while your worship here is universal, we do homage only to the ass.
Then, if any of you think we render superstitious adoration to the cross, in that adoration he is sharer with us.
If you offer homage to a piece of wood at all, it matters little what it is like when the substance is the same: it is of no consequence the form, if you have the very body of the god. And yet how far does the Athenian Pallas differ from the stock of the cross, or the Pharian Ceres as she is put up uncarved to sale, a mere rough stake and piece of shapeless wood?
Every stake fixed in an upright position is a portion of the cross; we render our adoration, if you will have it so, to a god entire and complete. We have shown before that your deities are derived from shapes modelled from the cross. But you also worship victories, for in your trophies the cross is the heart of the trophy.21
21 [A premonition of the Labarum.]
The camp religion of the Romans is all through a worship of the standards, a setting the standards above all gods. Well, as those images decking out the standards are ornaments of crosses. All those hangings of your standards and banners are robes of crosses. I praise your zeal: you would not consecrate crosses unclothed and unadorned.
Others, again, certainly with more information and greater verisimilitude, believe that the sun is our god. We shall be counted Persians perhaps, though we do not worship the orb of day painted on a piece of linen cloth, having himself everywhere in his own disk.
The idea no doubt has originated from our being known to turn to the east in prayer.22But you, many of you, also under pretence sometimes of worshipping the heavenly bodies,
22 [As noted by Clement of Alexandria. See p. 535, Vol. II., and note.]
move your lips in the direction of the sunrise.
In the same way, if we devote Sunday to rejoicing, from a far different reason than Sun-worship,
we have some resemblance to those of you who devote the day of Saturn to ease and luxury, though they too go far away from Jewish ways, of which indeed they are ignorant.
But lately a new edition of our god has been given to the world in that great city: it originated with a certain vile man who was wont to hire himself out to cheat the wild beasts, and who exhibited a picture with this inscription:
The God of the Christians, born of an ass.23 He had the ears of an ass, was hoofed in one foot, carried a book,24 and wore a toga. Both the name and the figure gave us amusement.23 Onocoites. If with Oehler, Onochoietes, the meaning is "asinarius sacerdos" (Oehler).
24 Referring evidently to the Scriptures; and showing what the Bible was to the early Christians.
But our opponents ought straightway to have done homage to this biformed divinity, for they have acknowledged gods dog-headed and lion-headed, with horn of buck and ram, with goat-like loins, with serpent legs, with wings sprouting from back or foot. These things we have discussed ex abundanti, that we might not seem willingly to pass by any rumor against us unrefuted. Having thoroughly cleared ourselves, we turn now to an exhibi-ition of what our religion really is.
The object of our worship is the One God,
He who by His commanding word,
His arranging wisdom,
His mighty power,
brought forth from nothing this entire mass of our world, with all its array of elements, bodies, spirits, for the glory of His majesty; whence also the Greeks have bestowed on it the name of Kosmos. The eye cannot see Him, though He is (spiritually) visible.
Therefore, rather than THREE PERSONS, God is almost always identified by the three major images of His work in the world.
He is incomprehensible, though in grace He is manifested. He is beyond our utmost thought, though our human faculties conceive of Him. He is therefore equally real and great.
But that which, in the ordinary sense, can be seen and handled and conceived,
is inferior to the eyes by which it is taken in, and the hands by which it is tainted, and the faculties by which it is discovered; but that which is infinite is known only to itself.
This it is which gives some notion of God, while yet beyond all our conceptions-our very incapacity of fully grasping Him affords us the idea of what He really is. He is presented to our minds in His transcendent greatness, as at once known and unknown.
And this is the crowning guilt of men, that they will not recognize One, of whom they cannot possibly be ignorant.Would you have the proof from the works of His hands, so numerous and so great, which both contain you and sustain you, which minister at once to your enjoyment, and strike you with awe;
or would you rather have it from the testimony of the soul itself?
Though under the oppressive bondage of the body, though led astray by depraving customs, though enervated by lusts and passions, though in slavery to false gods;
yet, whenever the soul comes to itself, as out of a surfeit, or a sleep, or a sickness, and attains something of its natural soundness, it speaks of God; using no other word, because this is the peculiar name of the true God.
"God is great and good"-"Which may God give," are the words on every lip. It bears witness, too, that God is judge, exclaiming, "God sees," and, "I commend myself to God," and, "God will repay me." O noble testimony of the soul by nature. [Though we are not by nature good, in our present estate; this is elsewhere demonstrated by Tertullian, as see cap. xviii.] Christian! Then, too, in using such words as these, it looks not to the Capitol, but to the heavens. It knows that there is the throne of the living God, as from Him and from thence itself came down.
But, that we might attain an ampler and more authoritative knowledge at once of Himself, and of His counsels and will,For from the first He sent messengers into the world,-men whose stainless righteousness
..........God has added a written revelation
..........for the behoof of every one whose heart is set on seeking Him,
..........that seeking he may find, and finding believe, and believing obey.
made them worthy to know the Most High,
..........and to reveal Him,-men abundantly endowed with the Holy Spirit,
......... that they might proclaim that there is one God only who made all things,
It was because of musical idolatry that God turned the Israelites over to worship the starry host. When He saved them by Grace He had commanded no sacrifices or burnt offerings. When people say that thee "spirit" told them to repeat the music (noise) of 'making the lambs dumb before the slaughter" they are not listening to a holy spirit.Jer. 7:21 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel;
Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh.
Jer. 7:22 For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them
in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt,
concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices:
Jer. 7:23 But this thing commanded I them, saying,
Obey my voice, and I will be your God,
and ye shall be my people:
and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you,
that it may be well unto you.
Jer. 7:24 But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear,
but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart,
and went backward, and not forward.
Jer. 7:25 Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day
I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets,
daily rising up early and sending them:
Jer. 7:26 Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear,
but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers.
who formed man from the dust of the ground (for He is the true Prometheus who gave order to the world by arranging the seasons and their course),-these have further set before us the proofs He has given of His majesty in judgments by floods and fires, the rules appointed by Him for securing His favour, as well as the retribution in store for the ignoring, forsaking and keeping them, as being about at the end of all to adjudge His worshippers to everlasting life, and the wicked to the doom of fire at once without ending and without break, raising up again all the dead from the beginning, reforming and renewing them with the object of awarding either recompense.
The Scibes wrote for the kings who were "given in God's anger and taken away in His anger." We are warned about the "lying pen of the Scribes" when they boast about the temple which God had not commanded but permitted at a Jebusite High Place because that was what they had been abandoned to.
Christ in Spirit wrote for the spiritual people through the Prophets and Apostles who all repudiated the Civil-Military-Clergy complex as robbers and parasites. Christ had inspired Isaiah and Ezekiel who named the hypocrites as "speakers, singers and instrument players." The MARK was of people who had no intention of obeying the Word.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites (actors, stage-players) because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, Matthew 23:29
And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Matthew 23:30
Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Matthew 23:31
Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Matthew 23:32
Ye serpents (cunning, Satans), ye generation of vipers (poisoners), how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Matthew 23:33
Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: 1 Thess 2:15
Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost. 1 Thess 2:16
Once these things were with us, too, the theme of ridicule. We are of your stock and nature: men are made, not born, Christians.The preachers of whom we have spoken are called prophets, from the office which belongs to them of predicting the future.
..........Their words, as well as the miracles which they performed,
that men might have faith in their divine authority,
..........we have still in the literary treasures they have left, and which are open to all.
Ptolemy, surnamed Philadelphus, the most learned of his race, a man of vast acquaintance with all literature, emulating, I imagine, the book enthusiasm of Pisistratus, among other remains of the past which either their antiquity or something of peculiar interest made famous, at the suggestion of Demetrius Phalereus, who was renowned above all grammarians of his time, and to whom he had committed the management of these things,
applied to the Jews for their writings-I mean the writings peculiar to them and in their tongue, which they alone possessed, for from themselves, as a people dear to God for their fathers' sake, their prophets had ever sprung, and to them they had ever spoken.
To produce the Septuagint, LXX
Now in ancient times the people we call Jews bare the name of Hebrews, and so both their writings and their speech were Hebrew. But that the understanding of their books might not be wanting, this also the Jews supplied to Ptolemy; for they gave him seventy-two interpreters-men whom the philosopher Menedemus, the well-known asserter of a Providence, regarded with respect as sharing in his views.
The same account is given by Aristus. So the king left these works unlocked to all, in the Greek language. [Kaye, p. 291. See Elucidation I. Also Vol. II., p. 334.]To this day, at the temple of Serapis, the libraries of Ptolemy are to be seen,
with the identical Hebrew originals in them.
The Jews, too, read them publicly.
..........Under a tribute-liberty, they are in the habit of going to hear them every Sabbath.
..........Whoever gives ear will find God in them;
..........whoever takes pains to understand, will be compelled to believe.
This is why those agents of Satan do not want the Word read. Rather, false teachers still scramble it in song and sermon to make themselves wise but they are still taking away the key to knowledge.
Their high antiquity, first of all, claims authority for these writings. With you, too, it is a kind of religion to demand belief on this very ground.
Well, all the substances, all the materials, the origins, classes, contents of your most ancient writings, even most nations and cities illustrious in the records of the past and noted for their antiquity in books of annals,-the very forms of your letters, those revealers and custodiers of events, nay (I think I speak still within the mark), your very gods themselves, your very temples and oracles, and sacred rites, are less ancient than the work of a single prophet,
in whom you have the thesaurus of the entire Jewish religion, and therefore too of ours.
If you happen to have heard of a certain Moses, I speak first of him: he is as far back as the Argive Inachus; by nearly four hundred years-only seven less-he precedes Danaus, your most ancient name; while he antedates by a millennium the death of Priam. I might affirm, too, that he is five hundred years earlier than Homer, and have supporters of that view. The other prophets also, though of later date, are, even the most recent of them, as far back as the first of your philosophers, and legislators, and historians. It is not so much the difficulty of the subject, as its vastness, that stands in the way of a statement of the grounds on which these statements rest; the matter is not so arduous as it would be tedious.
It would require the anxious study of many books, and the fingers busy reckoning. The histories of the most ancient nations, such as the Egyptians, the Chaldeans, the Phoenicians, would need to be ransacked; the men of these various nations who have information to give, would have to be called in as witnesses. Manetho the Egyptian, and Berosus the Chaldean, and Hieromus the Phoenician king of Tyre; their successors too, Ptolemy the Mendesian, and Demetrius Phalereus, and King Juba, and Apion, and Thallus, and their critic the Jew Josephus, the native vindicator of the ancient history of his people, who either authenticates or refutes the others. Also the Greek censors' lists must be compared, and the dates of events ascertained, that the chronological connections may be opened up, and thus the reckonings of the various annals be made to give forth light. We must go abroad into the histories and literature of all nations. And, in fact, we have already brought the proof in part before you, in giving those hints as to how it is to be effected. But it seems better to delay the full discussion of this, lest in our haste we do not sufficiently carry it out, or lest in its thorough handling we make too lengthened a digression.
To make up for our delay in this, we bring under your notice something of even greater importance; we point to the majesty of our Scriptures, if not to their antiquity. If you doubt that they are as ancient as we say, we offer proof that they are divine. And you may convince yourselves of this at once, and without going very far. Your instructors, the world, and the age, and the event, are all before you.
All that is taking place around you I was fore-announced; all that you now see with your eye was previously heard by the ear.
The swallowing up of cities by the earth; the theft of islands by the sea; wars, bringing external and internal convulsions; the collision of kingdoms with kingdoms; famines and pestilences, and local massacres, and widespread desolating mortalities; the exaltation of the lowly, and the humbling of the proud; the decay of righteousness, the growth of sin, the slackening interest in all good ways; the very seasons and elements going out of their ordinary course, monsters and portents taking the place of nature's forms-it was all foreseen and predicted before it came to pass.
While we suffer the calamities, we read of them in the Scriptures; as we examine, they are proved. Well, the truth of a prophecy, I thinks is the demonstration of its being from above. Hence there is among us an assured faith in regard to coming events as things already proved to us, for they were predicted along with what we have day by day fulfilled.
They are uttered by the same voices, they are written in the same books-the same Spirit inspires them.
All time is one to prophecy foretelling the future. Among men, it may be, a distinction of times is made while the fulfilment is going on: from being future we think of it as presents and then from being present we count it as belonging to the past. How are we to blame, I pray you, that we believe in things to come as though they already were, with the grounds we have for our faith in these two steps?
But having asserted that our religion is supported by the writings of the Jews, the oldest which exist, though it is generally known, and we fully admit that it dates from a comparatively recent period-no further back indeed than the reign of Tiberius-a question may perhaps be raised on this ground about its standing, as if it were hiding something of its presumption under shadow of an illustrious religion, one which has at any rate undoubted allowance of the law, or because, apart from the question of age, we neither accord with the Jews in their peculiarities in regard to food, nor in their sacred days, nor even in their well-known bodily sign, nor in the possession of a common name, which surely behoved to be the case if we did homage to the same God as they.
Then, too, the common people have now some knowledge of Christ, and think of Him as but a man, one indeed such as the Jews condemned, so that some may naturally enough have taken up the idea that we are worshippers of a mere human being. But we are neither ashamed of Christ-for we rejoice to be counted His disciples, and in His name to suffer-nor do we differ from the Jews concerning God.
We must make, therefore, a remark or two as to Christ's divinity. In former times the Jews enjoyed much of God's favour, when the fathers of their race were noted for their righteousness and faith. So it was that as a people they flourished greatly, and their kingdom attained to a lofty eminence; and so highly blessed were they,
that for their instruction God spake to them in special revelations, pointing out to them beforehand how they should merit His favor and avoid His displeasure.
But how deeply they have sinned, puffed up to their fall with a false trust in their noble ancestors, turning from God's way into a way of sheer impiety, though they themselves should refuse to admit it, their present national ruin would afford sufficient proof. Scattered abroad, a race of wanderers, exiles from their own land and clime, they roam over the whole world without either a human or a heavenly king, not possessing even the stranger's right to set so much as a simple footstep in their native country.
The sacred writers withal, in giving previous warning of these things, all with equal clearness ever declared that, in the last days of the world, God would, out of every nation, and people, and country, choose for Himself more faithful worshippers, upon whom He would bestow His grace, and that indeed in ampler measure, in keeping with the enlarged capacities of a nobler dispensation.
Accordingly, He appeared among us, whose coming to renovate and illuminate man's nature was pre-announced by God-I mean Christ, that Son of God.
And so the supreme Head and Master of this grace and discipline, the Enlightener and Trainer of the human race, God's own Son, was announced among us, born-but not so born as to make Him ashamed of the name of Son or of His paternal origin.
It was not His lot to have as His father, by incest with a sister, or by violation of a daughter or another's wife, a god in the shape of serpent, or ox, or bird, or lover, for his vile ends transmuting himself into the gold of Danaus. They are your divinities upon whom these base deeds of Jupiter were done.
But the Son of God has no mother in any sense which involves impurity; she, whom men suppose to be His mother in the ordinary way, had never entered into the marriage bond. [That is, by the consummation of her marriage with Joseph.]
But, first, I shall discuss His essential nature, and so the nature of His birth will be understood. We have already asserted thatGod made the world, and all which it contains,
by His Word, and Reason, and Power.
It is abundantly plain that your philosophers, too, regard the Logos-that is,
the Word and Reason-as the Creator of the universe.
For Zeno lays it down that he is the creator, having made all things according to a determinate plan; that his name is Fate, and God, and the soul of Jupiter, and the necessity of all things.
..........Cleanthes ascribes all this to spirit, which he maintains pervades the universe.
And we, in like manner, hold that the Word, and Reason, and Power,
..........by which we have said God made all,
..........have spirit as their proper and essential substratum, in which
..........the Word has in being to give forth utterances,
..........and reason abides to dispose and arrange,
..........and power is over all to execute. We have been taught that He (reason) proceeds forth from God,
and in that procession He is generated;
..........so that He is the Son of God,
..........and is called God from unity of substance with God.
..........For God, too, is a Spirit.
Even when the ray is shot from the sun,
..........it is still part of the parent mass; the sun will still be in the ray,because it is a ray of the sun-
..........there is no division of substance, but merely an extension.
Thus Christ is Spirit OF Spirit, and God OF God, as light OF light is kindled.
Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey. And the Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment. Isa 59:15
And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him. Isa 59:16
The material matrix remains entire and unimpaired, though you derive from it any number of shoots possessed of its qualities;
..........so, too, that which has come forth out of God is at once God and the Son of God, and the two are one.
..........In this way also, as He is Spirit of Spirit and God of God,
He is made a second in manner of existence-in position, not in nature;
..........and He did not withdraw from the original source, but went forth.
..........This ray of God, then, as it was always foretold in ancient times,
..........descending into a certain virgin, and made flesh in her womb,
..........is in His birth God and man united.
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; Luke 1:76To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Luke 1:77
Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, Luke 1:78
To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. Luke 1:79
The flesh formed by the Spirit is nourished, grows up to manhood, speaks, teaches, works, and is the Christ.
Receive meanwhile this fable, if you choose to call it so-it is like some of your own-while we go on to show how Christ's claims are proved, and who the parties are with you by whom such fables have been set a going to overthrow the truth, which they resemble.The Jews, too, were well aware that Christ was coming, as those to whom the prophets spake. Nay, even now His advent is expected by them; nor is there any other contention between them and us, than that they believe the advent has not yet occurred.
..........For two comings of Christ having been revealed to us:
..........a first, which has been fulfilled in the lowliness of a human lot;
..........a second, which impends over the world, now near its close, in all the majesty of Deity unveiled;
and, by misunderstanding the first, they have concluded that the second-which, as matter of more manifest prediction, they set their hopes on-is the only one.
It was the merited punishment of their sin not to understand the Lord's first advent: for if they had, they would have believed; and if they had believed, they would have obtained salvation.They themselves read how it is written of them that
they are deprived of wisdom and understanding-of the use of eyes and ears. Isa. vi. 10.].
And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Isaiah 6:9
Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. Isaiah 6:10
Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, Isaiah 6:11
And the Lord have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land. Isaiah 6:12
And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? Matt 13:10
He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. Matt 13: 11
For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Matt 13: 12
Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. Matt 13: 13
And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: Matt 13: 14
For this peoples heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. Matt 13: 15
But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. Matt 13: 16
As, then, under the force of their pre-judgment, they had convinced themselves from His lowly guise that Christ was no more than man,it followed from that, as a necessary consequence, that
they should hold Him a magician from the powers which He displayed,-
expelling devils from men by a word, restoring vision to the blind, cleansing the leprous,
reinvigorating the paralytic, summoning the dead to life again,
making the very elements of nature obey Him, stilling the storms and walking on the sea; proving that
The visit of the Magians may have been a sign to the unbelievers to make them associate Jesus with Zoroaster or some Egyptian magician.
He was the Logos of God,
..........that primordial first-begotten Word,
..........accompanied by power and reason,
..........and based on Spirit,-that He who was now doing all things by His word,
and He who had done that of old, were one and the same.
Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. 1 Pe 1:11
And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Revelation 19:10
Paul said that the Jews were blind and deaf because they rejected the Word of the Covenant even at Mount Sinai.
And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: 2 Cor 3:13
But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. 2 Cor 3:14But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. 2 Cor 3:15
Nevertheless, when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. 2 Cor 3:16
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2 Cor 3:17
But the Jews were so exasperated by His teaching, by which their rulers and chiefs were convicted of the truth, chiefly because so many turned aside to Him, that at last they brought Him before Pontius Pilate, at that time Roman governor of Syria; and, by the violence of their outcries against Him, extorted a sentence giving Him up to them to be crucified.
And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. Luke 7:29
But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him. Luke 7:30
He Himself had predicted this; which, however,And yet, nailed upon the cross, He exhibited many notable signs, by which His death was distinguished from all others.
..........would have signified little
..........had not the prophets of old done it as well.
..........At His own free-will, He with a word dismissed from Him His spirit,
..........anticipating the executioner's work.
Satan's agents are popular even though they are expert at psychological violence. They are "slick" or naked. They love to tell dramatic stories about how Satan murdered Jesus. This would make Satan more powerful and deny that Jesus laid His life down and took it up.
In the same hour, too, the light of day was withdrawn, when the sun at the very time was in his meridian blaze. Those who were not aware that this had been predicted about Christ, no doubt thought it an eclipse. You yourselves have the account of the world-portent still in your archives. [ Elucidation V.]
Then, when His body was taken down from the cross and placed in a sepulchre,
the Jews in their eager watchfulness surrounded it with a large military guard, lest, as He had predicted His resurrection from the dead on the third day, His disciples might remove by stealth His body, and deceive even the incredulous.
But, lo, on the third day there a was a sudden shock of earthquake, and the stone which sealed the sepulchre was rolled away, and the guard fled off in terror: without a single disciple near, the grave was found empty of all but the clothes of the buried One.But nevertheless, the leaders of the Jews, whom it nearly concerned both to spread abroad a lie,
..........and keep back a people tributary and submissive to them from the faith,
..........gave it out that the body of Christ had been stolen by His followers.For the Lord, you see, did not go forth into the public gaze,
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. Matt 23:15
Woe unto you, lawyers for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered. Luke 11:52
..........lest the wicked should be delivered from their error;
..........that faith also, destined to a great reward, might hold its ground in difficulty.But He spent forty days with some of His disciples down in Galilee, a region of Judea,
Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. Mt.13:13
And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: Mt.13:14
For this peoples heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. Mt.13:15
All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them Mt.13:34
That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world. Mt.13:35
instructing them in the doctrines they were to teach to others.
Thereafter, having given them commission to preach the gospel through the world,
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Matthew 28:18
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Matthew 28:19
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:20
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Mark 16:16
The sign that Jesus wasn't speaking to the Jews was in their rejection of His demand that the mighty had to become humble along with prostitutes and publicans:
But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him. Luke 7:30
Therefore, when people say: "I don't have to be baptized" there is not much point in trying to explain the importance to them. The example of Jesus was to not try anymore.
He was encompassed with a cloud and taken up to heaven,-a fact more certain far than the assertions of your Proculi concerning Romulus. All these things Pilate did to Christ; and now in fact a Christian in his own convictions, he sent word of Him to the reigning Caesar, who was at the time Tiberius.Yes, and the Caesars too would have believed on Christ,
..........if either the Caesars had not been necessary for the world,
......... or if Christians could have been Caesars. His disciples also, spreading over the world,
..........did as their Divine Master bade them;
....................and after suffering greatly themselves from the persecutions of the Jews,
................... and with no unwilling heart, as having faith undoubting in the truth,
....................at last by Nero's cruel sword sowed the seed of Christian blood at Rome.
Yes, and we shall prove that even your own gods are effective witnesses for Christ. It is a great matter if, to give you faith in Christians, I can bring forward the authority of the very beings on account of whom you refuse them credit. Thus far we have carried out the plan we laid down.
We have set forth this origin of our sect and name, with this account of the Founder of Christianity.
Let no one henceforth charge us with infamous wickedness; let no one think that it is otherwise than we have represented, for none may give a false account of his religion.
For in the very fact that he says he worships another god than he really does, he is guilty of denying the object of his worship,
and transferring his worship and homage to another; and, in the transference, he ceases to worship the god he has repudiated. We say, and before all men we say, and torn and bleeding under your tortures, we cry out,
"We worship God through Christ."
Count Christ a man, if you please; by Him and in Him God would be known and be adored.
If the Jews object, we answer that Moses, who was but a man, taught them their religion; against the Greeks we urge that Orpheus at Pieria, Musµus at Athens, Melampus at Argos, Trophonius in Boeotia, imposed religious rites; turning to yourselves, who exercise sway over the nations, it was the man Numa Pompilius who laid on the Romans a heavy load of costly superstitions.Surely Christ, then, had a right to reveal Deity, which was in fact His own essential possession,
..........not with the object of bringing boers and savages by the dread of multitudinous gods,
..........whose favour must be won into some civilization, as was the case with Numa;but as one who aimed to enlighten men already civilized, and under illusions from their very culture,
that they might come to the knowledge of the truth. Search, then, and see if that divinity of Christ be true.
If it be of such a nature that the acceptance of it transforms a man,
..........and makes him truly good,
..........there is implied in that the duty of renouncing what is opposed to it as false;
..........especially and on every ground that which, hiding itself under the names and images of dead,
..........the labours to convince men of its divinity by certain signs, and miracles, and oracles.
And we affirm indeed the existence of certain spiritual essences; nor is their name unfamiliar. The philosophers acknowledge there are demons; Socrates himself waiting on a demon's will. Why not? since it is said an evil spirit attached itself specially to him even from his childhood-turning his mind no doubt from what was good.The poets are all acquainted with demons too; even the ignorant common people make frequent use of them in cursing.
In fact, they call upon Satan, the demon-chief, in their execrations, as though from some instinctive soul-knowledge of him.
Plato also admits the existence of angels. The dealers in magic, no less, come forward as witnesses to the existence of both kinds of spirits.We are instructed, moreover, by our sacred books how from certain angels, who fell of their own flee-will, there sprang a more wicked demon-brood, condemned of God along with the authors of their race, and that chief we have referred to. It will for the present be enough, however, that some account is given of their work.
Their great business is the ruin of mankind. So, from the very first, spiritual wickedness sought our destruction. They inflict, accordingly, upon our bodies diseases and other grievous calamities, while by violent assaults they hurry the soul into sudden and extraordinary excesses.
Their marvellous subtleness and tenuity give them access to both parts of our nature. As spiritual, they can do no harm; for, invisible and intangible, we are not cognizant of their action save by its effects, as when some inexplicable, unseen poison in the breeze blights the apples and the grain while in the flower, or kills them in the bud, or destroys them when they have reached maturity; as though by the tainted atmosphere in some unknown way spreading abroad its pestilential exhalations.
So, too, by an influence equally obscure, demons and angels breathe into the soul,and rouse up its corruptions with furious passions and vile excesses;
or with cruel lusts accompanied by various errors, of which the worst is that by which these deities are commended to the favour of deceived and deluded human beings, that they may get their proper food of flesh-fumes and blood when that is offered up to idol-images.
I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Gal 1:6
Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. Gal 1:7
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. Gal 1:8
As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. Gal 1:9
For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. Gal 1:10
Aresko (g700) ar-es'-ko; prob. from 142 (through the idea of exciting emotion); to be agreeable (or by impl. to seek to be so): - please.
Airo (g142) ah'ee-ro; a prim. verb; to lift; by impl. to take up or away; fig. to raise (the voice), keep in suspense (the mind); spec. to sail away (i.e. weigh anchor); by Heb. [comp. 5375] to expiate sin: - away with, bear (up), carry, lift up, loose, make to doubt, put away, remove, take (away, up).
But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. Gal 1:11For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. Gal 1:12
For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: Gal 1:13
And profited in the Jews religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. Gal 1:14
What is daintier food to the spirit of evil, than turning men's minds away from the true God by the illusions of a false divination? And here I explain how these illusions are managed. Every spirit is possessed of wings. This is a common property of both angels and demons. So they are everywhere in a single moment; the whole world is as one place to them; all that is done over the whole extent of it, it is as easy for them to know as to report. Their swiftness of motion is taken for divinity, because their nature is unknown. Thus they would have themselves thought sometimes the authors of the things which they announce; and sometimes, no doubt, the bad things are their doing, never the good.The purposes of God, too,
they took up of old from the lips of the prophets,
even as they spoke them;
and they gather them still from their works,
when they hear them read aloud.
2 Peter 1 affirmed that the prophecies had been made more certain by Christ. Therefore, the only way to appropriate the Mind of Christ is to give heed to them--the only worship concept by Peter or Paul. Because they are revealed to eye and ear witnesses they are not subject to private interpretation which means "further expounding." Peter warned that if they do not speak that which has been inspired and left for our memory it is a mark of a false teacher. Even if we could hallucinate "music" in the School of Christ Paul commands that we use one mind and one mouth to teach that which is written. However, outlawing doubtful disputations or self-pleasure he outlawed all of the performing arts and crafts.
Thus getting, too, from this source some intimations of the future, they set themselves up as rivals of the true God, while they steal His divinations.
But the skill with which their responses are shaped to meet events, your Croesi and Pyrrhi know too well. On the other hand, it was in that way we have explained, the Pythian was able to declare that they were cooking a tortoise with the flesh of a lamb; in a moment he had been to Lydia.
From dwelling in the air, and their nearness to the stars, and their commerce with the clouds, they have means of knowing the preparatory processes going on in these upper regions, and thus can give promise of the rains which they already feel.
Very kind too, no doubt, they are in regard to the healing of diseases.
For, first of all, they make you ill;
then, to get a miracle out of it, they command the application of remedies either altogether new, or contrary to those in use, and straightway withdrawing hurtful influence, they are supposed to have wrought a cure.
What need, then, to speak of their other artifices, or yet further of the deceptive power which they have as spirits: of these Castor apparitions, of water carried by a sieve, and a ship drawn along by a girdle, and a beard reddened by a touch, all done with the one object of showing that men should believe in the deity of stones, and not seek after the only true God?
Moreover, if sorcerers call forth ghosts, and even make what seem the souls of the dead to appear;
Rev. 18:22 And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;
Rev. 18:23 And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.
Rev. 18:24 And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.
if they put boys to death, in order to get a response from the oracle; if, with their juggling illusions, they make a pretence of doing various miracles; (See Isaiah 30 from the LXX) if they put dreams into people's minds by the power of the angels and demons whose aid they have invited, by whose influence, too, goats and tables are made to divine,-
how much more likely is this power of evil to be zealous in doing with all its might, of its own inclination, and for its own objects, what it does to serve the ends of others! Or if both angels and demons do just what your gods do, where in that case is the pre-eminence of deity, which we must surely think to be above all in might?
Will it not then be more reasonable to hold that these spirits make themselves gods, giving as they do the very proofs which raise your gods to godhead, than that the gods are the equals of angels and demons?
You make a distinction of places, I suppose, regarding as gods in their temple those whose divinity you do not recognize elsewhere; counting the madness which leads one man to leap from the sacred houses, to be something different fromthat which leads another to leap from an adjoining house; looking on one who cuts his arms and secret pans as under a different furor from another who cuts his throat. The result of the frenzy is the same, and the manner of instigation is one.
But thus far we have been dealing only in words: we now proceed to a proof of facts, in which we shall show that under different names you have real identity. Let a person be brought before your tribunals, who is plainly under demoniacal possession. The wicked spirit, bidden to speak by a follower of Christ,36 will as readily make the truthful confession that he is a demon, as elsewhere he has falsely asserted that he is a god.
Or, if you will, let there be produced one of the god-possessed, as they are supposed, who, inhaling at the altar, conceive divinity from the fumes, who are delivered of it by retching, who vent it forth in agonies of gasping.
Let that same Virgin Cµlestis herself the rain-promiser, let sculapius discoverer of medicines, ready to prolong the life of Socordius, and Tenatius, and Asclepiodotus, now in the last extremity, if they would not confess, in their fear of lying to a Christian, that they were demons, then and there shed the blood of that most impudent follower of Christ. What clearer than a work like that? what more trustworthy than such a proof?
The simplicity of truth is thus set forth; its own worth sustains it; no ground remains for the least suspicion. Do you say that it is done by magic, or some trick of that sort? You will not say anything of the sort, if you have been allowed the use of your ears and eyes. For what argument can you bring against a thing that is exhibited to the eye in its naked reality? If, on the one hand, they are really gods, why do they pretend to be demons? Is it from fear of us? In that case your divinity is put in subjection to Christians; and you surely can never ascribe deity to that which is under authority of man, nay (if it adds aught to the disgrace)of its very enemies. If, on the other hand, they are demons or angels, why, inconsistently with this, do they presume to set themselves forth as acting the pan of gods? For as beings who put themselves out as gods would never willingly call themselves demons, if they were gods indeed, that they might not thereby in fact abdicate their dignity; so those whom you know to be no more than demons, would not dare to act as gods, if those whose names they take and use were really divine. For they would not dare to treat with disrespect the higher majesty of beings, whose displeasure they would feel was to be dreaded. So this divinity of yours is no divinity; for if it were, it would not be pretended to by demons, and it would not be denied by gods. But since on beth sides there is a concurrent acknowledgment that they are not gods, gather from this that there is but a single race-I mean the race of demons, the real race in both cases. Let your search, then, now be after gods; for those whom you had imagined to be so you find to be spirits of evil. The truth is, as we have thus not only shown from our own gods that neither themselves nor any others have claims to deity, you may see at once who is really God, and whether that is He and He alone whom we Christians own; as also whether you are to believe in Him, and worship Him, after the manner of our Christian faith and discipline.But at once they will say, Who is this Christ with his fables? is he an ordinary man? is he a sorcerer? was his body stolen by his disciples from its tomb? is he now in the realms below? or is he not rather up in the heavens, thence about to come again, making the whole world shake,
..........filling the earth with dread alarms,
..........making all but Christians wail-
..........as the Power of God, and the Spirit of God, as the Word, the Reason, the Wisdom, and the Son of God?
Mock as you like, but get the demons if you can to join you in your mocking; let them deny that
..........Christ is coming to judge every human soul which has existed from the world's beginning,
..........clothing it again with the body it laid aside at death;
let them declare it, say, before your tribunal, that this work has been allotted to Minos and Rhadamanthus, as Plato and the poets agree; let them put away from them at least the mark of ignominy and condemnation.
They disclaim being unclean spirits, which yet we must hold as indubitably proved by their relish for the blood and fumes and foetid carcasses of sacrificial animals, and even by the vile language of their ministers.
Let them deny that, for their wickedness condemned already, they are kept for that very judgment-day, with all their worshippers and their works.
Why, all the authority and power we have over them is from our naming the name of Christ, and recalling to their memory the woes with which God threatens them at the hands of Christ as Judge, and which they expect one day to overtake them.
Fearing Christ in God, and God in Christ, they become subject to the servants of God and Christ. So at our touch and breathing, overwhelmed by the thought and realization of those judgment fires, they leave at our command the bodies they have entered, unwilling, and distressed, and before your very eyes put to an open shame.
You believe them when they lie; give credit to them, then, when they speak the truth about themselves. No one plays the liar to bring disgrace upon his own head, but for the sake of honour rather. You give a readier confidence to people making confessions against themselves, than denials in their own behalf. It has not been an unusual thing, accordingly, for those testimonies of your deities to convert men to Christianity; forin giving full belief to them, we are led to believe in Christ. Yes, your very gods kindle up faith in our Scriptures, they build up the confidence of our hope. You do homage, as I know, to them also with the blood of Christians. On no account, then, would they lose those who are so useful and dutiful to them, anxious even to hold you fast, lest some day or other as Christians you might put them to the rout,-if under the power of a follower of Christ, who desires to prove to you the Truth, it were at all possible for them to lie.
The later Catholic view feeds most protestant understanding of God as three people or kinfolks or a family or a committee. This is neither Biblical nor Historical but is derived from the Babylonian triad where the "mother of God" was a member of their trinity.
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