Faustus denies that the prophets predicted Christ. Augustine proves such prediction from the New Testament, and expounds at length the principal types of Christ in the Old Testament.
1. Faustus said: Why do I not believe the prophets? Rather why do you believe them? On account, you will reply, of their prophecies about Christ. For my part, I have read the prophets with the most eager attention, and have found no such prophecies. And surely it shows a weak faith not to believe in Christ without proofs and testimonies. Indeed, you yourselves are accustomed to teach that Christian faith is so simple and absolute as not to admit of laborious investigations. Why, then, should you destroy the simplicity of faith by buttressing it with evidences, and Jewish evidences too? Or if you are changing your opinion about evidences, what more trustworthy witness could you have than God Himself testifying to His own Son when He sent Him on earth—not by a prophet or an interpreter—by a voice immediately from heaven: "This is my beloved Son, believe Him?" Matthew 3:17 And again He testifies of Himself: "I came forth from the Father, and have come into the world;" John 16:28 and in many similar passages. When the Jews quarrelled with this testimony, saying "You bear witness of yourself, your witness is not true," He replied: "Although I bear witness of myself, my witness is true. It is written in your law, The witness of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness of me." John 8:13-18 He does not mention the prophets. Again He appeals to the testimony of His own works, saying, "If you believe not me, believe the works;" John 10:38 not, "If you believe not me, believe the prophets." Accordingly we require no testimonies concerning our Saviour. All we look for in the prophets is prudence and virtue, and a good example, which, you are well aware, are not to be found in the Jewish prophets. This, no doubt, explains your referring me at once to their predictions as a reason for believing them, without a word about their actions. This may be good policy, but it is not in harmony with the declaration of Scripture, that it is impossible to gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles. This may serve meanwhile as a brief and sufficient reply to the question, why we do not believe the prophets. The fact that they did not prophesy of Christ is abundantly proved in the writings of our fathers. I shall only add this, that if the Hebrew prophets knew and preached Christ, and yet lived such vicious lives, what Paul says of the wise men among the Gentiles might be applied to them: "Though they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, nor were thankful; but they became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened." Romans 1:21 You see the knowledge of great things is worth little, unless the life corresponds.
2. Augustine replied: The meaning of all this is, that the Hebrew prophets foretold nothing of Christ, and that, if they did, their predictions are of no use to us, and they themselves did not live suitably to the dignity of such prophecies. We must therefore prove the fact of the prophecies; and their use for the truth and steadfastness of our faith; and that the lives of the prophets were in harmony with their words. In this threefold discussion, it would take a long time under the first head to quote from all the books the passages in which Christ may be shown to have been predicted. Faustus' frivolity may be met effectually by the weight of one great authority. Although Faustus does not believe the prophets, he professes to believe the apostles. Above, as if to satisfy the doubts of some opponent, he declares that he assuredly believes the Apostle Paul. Let us then hear what Paul says of the prophets. His words are: "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, which He had promised before by His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh." Romans 1:1-3 What more does Faustus wish? Will he maintain that the apostle is speaking of some other prophets, and not of the Hebrew prophets? In any case, the gospel spoken of as promised was concerning the Son of God, who was made for Him of the seed of David according to the flesh: and to this gospel the apostle says that he was separated. So that the Manichæan heresy is opposed to faith in the gospel, which teaches that the Son of God was made of the seed of David according to the flesh. Besides, there are many passages where the apostle plainly testifies in behalf of the Hebrew prophets, with an authority by which the necks of these proud Manichæans are broken.
3. "I speak the truth in Christ," says the apostle, "I lie not, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow of heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ, for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: who are Israelites; to whom pertains the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service and the promises; whose are the fathers, and of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever." Romans 9:1-5 Here is the most abundant and express testimony and the most solemn commendation. The adoption here spoken of is evidently through the Son of God; as the apostle says to the Galatians: "In the fullness of time, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, that He might redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." Galatians 4:4-5 And the glory spoken of is chiefly that of which he says in the same Epistle to the Romans: "What advantage has the Jew? Or what profit is there in circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because unto them were committed the oracles of God." Romans 3:1-2 Can the Manichæans tell us of any oracles of God committed to the Jews besides those of the Hebrew prophets? And why are the covenants said to belong especially to the Israelites, but because not only was the Old Testament given to them, but also the New was prefigured in the Old? Our opponents often display much ignorant ferocity in attacking the dispensation of the law given to the Israelites, not understanding that God wishes us to be not under the law, but under grace. They are here answered by the apostle himself, who, in speaking of the advantages of the Jews, mentions this as one, that they had the giving of the law. If the law had been bad, the apostle would not have referred to it in praise of the Jews. And if Christ had not been preached by the law, the Lord Himself would not have said, "If you believe Moses, you would have believed me, for he wrote of me;" John 5:46 nor would He have borne the testimony He did after His resurrection, saying, "All things must needs be fulfilled that were written in the law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me." Luke 24:44
4. But because the Manichæans preach another Christ, and not Him whom the apostles preached, but a false Christ of their own false contrivance, in imitation of whose falsehood they themselves speak lies, though they may perhaps be believed when they are not ashamed to profess to be the followers of a deceiver, that has befallen them which the apostle asserts of the unbelieving Jews: "When Moses is read, a veil is upon their heart." Neither will this veil which keeps them from understanding Moses be taken away from them till they turn to Christ; not a Christ of their own making, but the Christ of the Hebrew prophets. For, as the apostle says, "When you shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away." 2 Corinthians 3:15-16 We cannot wonder that they do not believe in the Christ who rose from the dead, and who said, "All things must needs be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me;" for this Christ has Himself told us what Abraham said to a hard-hearted rich man when he was in torment in hell, and asked Abraham to send some one to his brothers to teach them, that they might not come too into that place of torment. Abraham's reply was: "They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them." And when the rich man said that they would not believe unless some one rose from the dead, he received this most truthful answer: "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they believe even though one rose from the dead." Luke 16:27-31 Wherefore, the Manichæans will not hear Moses and the prophets, and so they do not believe Christ, though He rose from the dead. Indeed, they do not even believe that Christ rose from the dead. For how can they believe that He rose, when they do not believe that He died? For, again, how can they believe that He died, when they deny that He had a mortal body?
5. But we reject those false teachers whose Christ is false, or rather, whose Christ never existed. For we have a Christ true and truthful, foretold by the prophets, preached by the apostles, who in innumerable places refer to the testimonies of the law and the prophets in support of their preaching. Paul, in one short sentence, gives the right view of this subject. "Now," he says, "the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets." Romans 3:21 What prophets, if not of Israel, to whom, as he expressly says, pertain the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the promises? And what promises, but about Christ? Elsewhere, speaking of Christ, he says concisely: "All the promises of God are in Him yea." 2 Corinthians 1:20 Paul tells me that the giving of the law pertained to the Israelites. He also tells me that Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes. He also tells me that all the promises of God are in Christ yea. And you tell me that the prophets of Israel foretold nothing of Christ. Shall I believe the absurdities of Manichæus relating a vain and long fable in opposition to Paul? Or shall I believe Paul when he forewarns us: "If any man preach to you another gospel than that which we have preached, let him be accursed?"
6. Our opponents may perhaps ask us to point out passages where Christ is predicted by the prophets of Israel. One would think they might be satisfied with the authority of the apostles, who declare that what we read in the writings of the Hebrew prophets was fulfilled in Christ, or with that of Christ Himself, who says that these things were written of Him. Whoever is unable to point out the passages should lay the blame on his own ignorance; for the apostles and Christ and the sacred Scriptures are not chargeable with falsehood. However, one instance out of many may be adduced. The apostle, in the verses following the passage quoted above, says: "The word of God cannot fail. For they are not all Israel which are of Israel; neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall your seed be called: that is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of promise are counted for the seed." Romans 9:6-8 What can our opponent say against this, in view of the declaration made to Abraham: "In your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed?" At the time when the apostle gave the following exposition of this promise, "To Abraham and to his seed were the promises made. He says not, To seed, as of many, but as of one, To your seed, which is Christ," Galatians 3:16 a doubt on this point might then have been less inexcusable, for at that time all nations had not yet believed on Christ, who is preached as of the seed of Abraham. But now that we see the fulfillment of what we read in the ancient prophecy—now that all nations are actually blessed in the seed of Abraham, to whom it was said thousands of years ago, "In your seed shall all nations be blessed,"— it is mere obstinate folly to try to bring in another Christ, not of the seed of Abraham, or to hold that there are no predictions of Christ in the prophetical books of the children of Abraham.
7. To enumerate all the passages in the Hebrew prophets referring to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, would exceed the limits of a volume, not to speak of the brief replies of which this treatise consists. The whole contents of these Scriptures are either directly or indirectly about Christ. Often the reference is allegorical or enigmatical, perhaps in a verbal allusion, or in a historical narrative, requiring diligence in the student, and rewarding him with the pleasure of discovery. Other passages, again, are plain; for, without the help of what is clear, we could not understand what is obscure. And even the figurative passages, when brought together, will be found so harmonious in their testimony to Christ as to put to shame the obtuseness of the sceptic.
8. In the creation God finished His works in six days, and rested on the seventh. The history of the world contains six periods marked by the dealings of God with men. The first period is from Adam to Noah; the second, from Noah to Abraham; the third, from Abraham to David; the fourth, from David to the captivity in Babylon; the fifth, from the captivity to the advent of lowliness of our Lord Jesus Christ; the sixth is now in progress, and will end in the coming of the exalted Saviour to judgment. What answers to the seventh day is the rest of the saints—not in this life, but in another, where the rich man saw Lazarus at rest while he was tormented in hell; where there is no evening, because there is no decay. On the sixth day, in Genesis, man is formed after the image of God; in the sixth period of the world there is the clear discovery of our transformation in the renewing of our mind, according to the image of Him who created us, as the apostle says. Colossians 3:10 As a wife was made for Adam from his side while he slept, the Church becomes the property of her dying Saviour, by the sacrament of the blood which flowed from His side after His death. The woman made out of her husband's side is called Eve, or Life, and the mother of living beings; and the Lord says in the Gospel: "Except a man eat my flesh and drink my blood, he has no life in him." John 6:53 The whole narrative of Genesis, in the most minute details, is a prophecy of Christ and of the Church with reference either to the good Christians or to the bad. There is a significance in the words of the apostle when he calls Adam "the figure of Him that was to come;" Romans 5:14 and when he says, "A man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery; but I speak concerning Christ and the Church." Ephesians 5:31-32 This points most obviously to the way in which Christ left His Father; for "though He was in the form of God, and thought it not robbery to be equal with God, He emptied Himself, and took upon Him the form of a servant." Philippians 2:6-7 And so, too, He left His mother, the synagogue of the Jews which cleaved to the carnality of the Old Testament, and was united to the Church His holy bride, that in the peace of the New Testament they two might be one flesh. For though with the Father He was God, by whom we were made, He became in the flesh partaker of our nature, that we might become the body of which He is the head.
9. As Cain's sacrifice of the fruit of the ground is rejected, while Abel's sacrifice of his sheep and the fat thereof is accepted, so the faith of the New Testament praising God in the harmless service of grace is preferred to the earthly observances of the Old Testament. For though the Jews were right in practising these things, they were guilty of unbelief in not distinguishing the time of the New Testament when Christ came, from the time of the Old Testament. God said to Cain, "If you offer well, yet if you divide not well, you have sinned." If Cain had obeyed God when He said, "Be content, for to you shall be its reference, and you shall rule over it," he would have referred his sin to himself, by taking the blame of it, and confessing it to God; and so assisted by supplies of grace, he would have ruled over his sin, instead of acting as the servant of sin in killing his innocent brother. So also the Jews, of whom all these things are a figure, if they had been content, instead of being turbulent, and had acknowledged the time of salvation through the pardon of sins by grace, and heard Christ 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;" Matthew 9:12-13 and, "Every one that commits sin is the servant of sin;" and, "If the Son make you free, you shall be free indeed," John 8:34, 36 — they would in confession have referred their sin to themselves, saying to the Physician, as it is written in the Psalm, "I said, Lord, be merciful to me; heal my soul, for I have sinned against You." And being made free by the hope of grace, they would have ruled over sin as long as it continued in their mortal body. But now, being ignorant of God's righteousness, and wishing to establish a righteousness of their own, proud of the works of the law, instead of being humbled on account of their sins, they have not been content; and in subjection to sin reigning in their mortal body, so as to make them obey it in the lusts thereof, they have stumbled on the stone of stumbling, and have been inflamed with hatred against him whose works they grieved to see accepted by God. The man who was born blind, and had been made to see, said to them, "We know that God hears not sinners; but if any man serve Him, and do His will, him He hears;" John 9:31 as if he had said, God regards not the sacrifice of Cain, but he regards the sacrifice of Abel. Abel, the younger brother, is killed by the elder brother; Christ, the head of the younger people, is killed by the elder people of the Jews. Abel dies in the field; Christ dies on Calvary.
10. God asks Cain where his brother is, not as if He did not know, but as a judge asks a guilty criminal. Cain replies that he knows not, and that he is not his brother's keeper. And what answer can the Jews give at this day, when we ask them with the voice of God, that is, of the sacred Scriptures, about Christ, except that they do not know the Christ that we speak of? Cain's ignorance was pretended, and the Jews are deceived in their refusal of Christ. Moreover, they would have been in a sense keepers of Christ, if they had been willing to receive and keep the Christian faith. For the man who keeps Christ in his heart does not ask, like Cain, Am I my brother's keeper? Then God says to Cain, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood cries unto me from the ground." So the voice of God in the Holy Scriptures accuses the Jews. For the blood of Christ has a loud voice on the earth, when the responsive Amen of those who believe in Him comes from all nations. This is the voice of Christ's blood, because the clear voice of the faithful redeemed by His blood is the voice of the blood itself.
11. Then God says to Cain: "You are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood at your hand. For you shall till the earth, and it shall no longer yield unto you its strength. A mourner and an abject shall you be on the earth." It is not, Cursed is the earth, but, Cursed are you from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood at your hand. So the unbelieving people of the Jews is cursed from the earth, that is, from the Church, which in the confession of sins has opened its mouth to receive the blood shed for the remission of sins by the hand of the people that would not be under grace, but under the law. And this murderer is cursed by the Church; that is, the Church admits and avows the curse pronounced by the apostle: "Whoever are of the works of the law are under the curse of the law." Galatians 3:10 Then, after saying, Cursed are you from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood at your hand, what follows is not, For you shall till it, but, You shall till the earth, and it shall not yield to you its strength. The earth he is to till is not necessarily the same as that which opened its mouth to receive his brother's blood at his hand. From this earth he is cursed, and so he tills an earth which shall no longer yield to him its strength. That is, the Church admits and avows the Jewish people to be cursed, because after killing Christ they continue to till the ground of an earthly circumcision, an earthly Sabbath, an earthly passover, while the hidden strength or virtue of making known Christ, which this tilling contains, is not yielded to the Jews while they continue in impiety and unbelief, for it is revealed in the New Testament. While they will not turn to God, the veil which is on their minds in reading the Old Testament is not taken away. This veil is taken away only by Christ, who does not do away with the reading of the Old Testament, but with the covering which hides its virtue. So, at the crucifixion of Christ, the veil was rent in two, that by the passion of Christ hidden mysteries might be revealed to believers who turn to Him with a mouth opened in confession to drink His blood. In this way the Jewish people, like Cain, continue tilling the ground, in the carnal observance of the law, which does not yield to them its strength, because they do not perceive in it the grace of Christ. So too, the flesh of Christ was the ground from which by crucifying Him the Jews produced our salvation, for He died for our offenses. But this ground did not yield to them its strength, for they were not justified by the virtue of His resurrection, for He arose again for our justification. As the apostle says: "He was crucified in weakness, but He lives by the power of God." 2 Corinthians 13:4 This is the power of that ground which is unknown to the ungodly and unbelieving. When Christ rose, He did not appear to those who had crucified Him. So Cain was not allowed to see the strength of the ground which he tilled to sow his seed in it; as God said, "You shall till the ground, and it shall no longer yield unto you its strength."
12. "Groaning and trembling shall you be on the earth." Here no one can fail to see that in every land where the Jews are scattered they mourn for the loss of their kingdom, and are in terrified subjection to the immensely superior number of Christians. So Cain answered, and said: "My case is worse, if You drive me out this day from the face of the earth, and from Your face shall I be hid, and I shall be a mourner and an outcast on the earth; and it shall be that every one that finds me shall slay me." Here he groans indeed in terror, lest after losing his earthly possession he should suffer the death of the body. This he calls a worse case than that of the ground not yielding to him its strength, or than that of spiritual death. For his mind is carnal; for he thinks little of being hid from the face of God, that is, of being under the anger of God, were it not that he may be found and slain. This is the carnal mind that tills the ground, but does not obtain its strength. To be carnally minded is death; but he, in ignorance of this, mourns for the loss of his earthly possession, and is in terror of bodily death. But what does God reply? "Not so," He says; "but whosoever shall kill Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold." That is, It is not as you say, not by bodily death shall the ungodly race of carnal Jews perish. For whoever destroys them in this way shall suffer sevenfold vengeance, that is, shall bring upon himself the sevenfold penalty under which the Jews lie for the crucifixion of Christ. So to the end of the seven days of time, the continued preservation of the Jews will be a proof to believing Christians of the subjection merited by those who, in the pride of their kingdom, put the Lord to death.
13. "And the Lord God set a mark upon Cain, lest any one finding him should slay him." It is a most notable fact, that all the nations subjugated by Rome adopted the heathenish ceremonies of the Roman worship; while the Jewish nation, whether under Pagan or Christian monarchs, has never lost the sign of their law, by which they are distinguished from all other nations and peoples. No emperor or monarch who finds under his government the people with this mark kills them, that is, makes them cease to be Jews, and as Jews to be separate in their observances, and unlike the rest of the world. Only when a Jew comes over to Christ, he is no longer Cain, nor goes out from the presence of God, nor dwells in the land of Nod, which is said to mean commotion. Against this evil of commotion the Psalmist prays, "Suffer not my feet to be moved;" and again, "Let not the hands of the wicked remove me;" and, "Those that trouble me will rejoice when I am moved:" and, "The Lord is at my right hand, that I should not be moved;" and so in innumerable places. This evil comes upon those who leave the presence of God, that is, His loving-kindness. Thus the Psalmist says, "I said in my prosperity, I shall never be moved." But observe what follows, "Lord, by Your favor You have given strength to my honor; You hid Your face, and I was troubled;" which teaches us that not in itself, but by participation in the light of God, can any soul possess beauty, or honor, or strength. The Manichæans should think of this, to keep them from the blasphemy of identifying themselves with the nature and substance of God. But they cannot think, because they are not content. The Sabbath of the heart they are strangers to. If they were content, as Cain was told to be, they would refer their sin to themselves; that is, they would lay the blame on themselves, and not on a race of darkness that no one ever heard of, and so by the grace of God they would prevail over their sin. But now the Manichæans, and all who oppose the truth by their various heresies, leave the presence of God, like Cain and the scattered Jews, and inhabit the land of commotion, that is, of carnal disquietude, instead of the enjoyment of God, that is instead of Eden, which is interpreted Feasting, where Paradise was planted. But not to depart too much from the argument of this treatise I must limit myself to a few, short remarks under this head.
14. Omitting therefore many passages in these Books where Christ may be found, but which require longer explanation and proof, although the most hidden meanings are the sweetest, convincing testimony may be obtained from the enumeration of such things as the following:— That Enoch, the seventh from Adam, pleased God, and was translated, as there is to be a seventh day of rest into which all will be translated who, during the sixth day of the world's history, are created anew by the incarnate Word. That Noah, with his family is saved by water and wood, as the family of Christ is saved by baptism, as representing the suffering of the cross. That this ark is made of beams formed in a square, as the Church is constructed of saints prepared unto every good work: for a square stands firm on any side. That the length is six times the breadth, and ten times the height, like a human body, to show that Christ appeared in a human body. That the breadth reaches to fifty cubits; as the apostle says, "Our heart is enlarged," 2 Corinthians 6:11 that is, with spiritual love, of which he says again, "The love of God is shed abroad in our heart by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us." Romans 5:5 For in the fiftieth day after His resurrection, Christ sent His Holy Spirit to enlarge the hearts of His disciples. That it is three hundred cubits long, to make up six times fifty; as there are six periods in the history of the world during which Christ has never ceased to be preached—in five foretold by the prophets, and in the sixth proclaimed in the gospel. That it is thirty cubits high, a tenth part of the length; because Christ is our height, who in his thirtieth year gave His sanction to the doctrine of the gospel, by declaring that He came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it. Now the ten commandments are to be the heart of the law; and so the length of the ark is ten times thirty. Noah himself, too, was the tenth from Adam. That the beams of the ark are fastened within and without with pitch, to signify by compact union the forbearance of love, which keeps the brotherly connection from being impaired, and the bond of peace from being broken by the offenses which try the Church either from without or from within. For pitch is a glutinous substance, of great energy and force, to represent the ardor of love which, with great power of endurance, bears all things in the maintenance of spiritual communion.
15. That all kinds of animals are inclosed in the ark; as the Church contains all nations, which was also set forth in the vessel shown to Peter. That clean and unclean animals are in the ark; as good and bad take part in the sacraments of the Church. That the clean are in sevens, and the unclean in twos; not because the bad are fewer than the good, but because the good preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace; and the Spirit is spoken of in Scripture as having a sevenfold operation, as being "the Holy Spirit of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and might, of knowledge and piety, and of the fear of God." Isaiah 11:2-3 So also the number fifty, which is connected with the advent of the Holy Spirit, is made up of seven times seven, and one over; whence it is said, "Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." Ephesians 4:3 The bad, again, are in twos, as being easily divided, from their tendency to schism. That Noah, counting his family, was the eighth; because the hope of our resurrection has appeared in Christ, who rose from the dead on the eighth day, that is, on the day after the seventh, or Sabbath day. This day was the third from His passion; but in the ordinary reckoning of days, it is both the eighth and the first.
16. That the whole ark together is finished in a cubit above; as the Church, the body of Christ gathered into unity, is raised to perfection. So Christ says in the Gospel: "He that gathers not with me, scatters." Matthew 12:30 That the entrance is on the side; as no man enters the Church except by the sacrament of the remission of sins which flowed from Christ's opened side. That the lower spaces of the ark are divided into two and three chambers: as the multitude of all nations in the Church is divided into two, as circumcised and uncircumcised; or into three, as descended from the three sons of Noah. And these parts of the ark are called lower, because in this earthly state there is a difference of races, and above we are completed in one. Above there is no diversity; for Christ is all and in all, finishing us, as it were, in one cubit above with heavenly unity.
17. That the flood came seven days after Noah entered the ark; as we are baptized in the hope of the future rest, which was denoted by the seventh day. That all flesh on the face of the earth, outside the ark, was destroyed by the flood; as, beyond the communion of the Church, though the water of baptism is the same, it is efficacious only for destruction, and not for salvation. That it rained for forty days and forty nights; as the sacrament of heavenly baptism washes away all the guilt of the sins against the ten commandments throughout all the four quarters of the world (four times ten is forty), whether that guilt has been contracted in the day of prosperity or in the night of adversity.
18. That Noah was five hundred years old when God told him to make the ark, and six hundred when he entered the ark; which shows that the ark was made during one hundred years, which seem to correspond to the years of an age of the world. So the sixth age is occupied with the construction of the Church by the preaching of the gospel. The man who avails himself of the offer of salvation is made like a square beam, fitted for every good work, and forms part of the sacred fabric. Again, it was the second month of the six hundredth year when Noah entered the ark, and in two months there are sixty days; so that here, as in every multiple of six, we have the number denoting the sixth age.
19. That mention is made of the twenty seventh day of the month; as we have already seen the significance of the square in the beams. Here especially it is significant; for as twenty-seven is the cube of three, there is a trinity in the means by which we are, as it were, squared, or fitted for every good work. By the memory we remember God; by the understanding we know Him; by the will we love Him. That in the seventh month the ark rested; reminding us again of the seventh day of rest. And here again, to denote the perfection of those at rest, the twenty-seventh day of the month is mentioned for the second time. So what is promised in hope is realized in experience. There is here a combination of seven and eight; for the water rose fifteen cubits above the mountains, pointing to a profound mystery in baptism—the sacrament of our regeneration. For the seventh day of rest is connected with the eighth of resurrection. For when the saints receive again their bodies after the rest of the intermediate state, the rest will not cease; but rather the whole man, body and soul united, renewed in the immortal health, will attain to the realization of his hope in the enjoyment of eternal life. Thus the sacrament of baptism, like the waters of Noah, rises above all the wisdom of the proud. Seven and eight are also combined in the number of one hundred and fifty, made up of seventy and eighty, which was the number of days during which the water prevailed, pointing out the deep import of baptism in consecrating the new man to hold the faith of rest and resurrection.
20. That the raven sent out after forty days did not return, being either prevented by the water or attracted by some floating carcass; as men defiled by impure desire, and therefore eager for things outside in the world, are either baptized, or are led astray into the company of those to whom, as they are outside the ark, that is, outside the Church, baptism is destructive. That the dove when sent forth found no rest, and returned; as in the New Testament rest is not promised to the saints in this world. The dove was sent forth after forty days, a period denoting the length of human life. When again sent forth after seven days, denoting the sevenfold operation of the Spirit, the dove brought back a fruitful olive branch; as some even who are baptized outside of the Church, if not destitute of the fatness of charity, may come after all, as it were in the evening, and be brought into the one communion by the mouth of the dove in the kiss of peace. That, when again sent forth after seven days, the dove did not return; as, at the end of the world, the rest of the saints shall no longer be in the sacrament of hope, as now, while in the communion of the Church, they drink what flowed from the side of Christ, but in the perfection of eternal safety, when the kingdom shall be delivered up to God and the Father, and when, in that unclouded contemplation of unchangeable truth, we shall no longer need natural symbols.
21. There are many other points which we cannot take notice of even in this cursory manner. Why in the six hundred and first year of Noah's life— that is, after six hundred years were completed— the covering of the ark is removed, and the hidden mystery, as it were, disclosed. Why the earth is said to have dried on the twenty-seventh day of the second month; as if the number fifty-seven denoted the completion of the rite of baptism. For the twenty-seventh day of the second month is the fifty-seventh day of the year; and the number fifty-seven is seven times eight, which are the numbers of the spirit and the body, with one over, to denote the bond of unity. Why they leave the ark together, though they entered separately. For it is said: "Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark;" the men and the women being spoken of separately; which denotes the time when the flesh lusts against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh. But they go forth, Noah and his wife, and his sons and their wives—the men and women together. For in the end of the world, and in the resurrection of the just, the body will be united to the spirit in perfect harmony, undisturbed by the wants and the passions of mortality. Why, after leaving the ark, only clean animals are offered in sacrifice to God, though both clean and unclean were in the ark.
22. Then, again, it is significant that when God speaks to Noah, and begins anew, as it were, in order, by repetition in various forms, to draw attention to the figure of the Church, the sons of Noah are blessed, and told to replenish the earth, and all animals are given to them for food; as was said to Peter of the vessel, "Kill and eat." That they are told to pour out the blood when they eat; that the former life may not be kept shut up in the conscience, but may be, as it were, poured out in confession. That God makes the bow, which appears in the clouds only when the sun shines, the sign of His covenant with men, and with every living thing, that He will not destroy them with a flood; as those do not perish by the flood, in separation from the Church, who in the clouds of God— that is, in the prophets and in all the sacred Scriptures— discern the glory of Christ, instead of seeking their own glory. The worshippers of the sun, however, need not pride themselves on this; for they must understand that the sun, as also a lion, a lamb, and a stone, are used as types of Christ because they have some resemblance, not because they are of the same substance.
23. Again, the sufferings of Christ from His own nation are evidently denoted by Noah being drunk with the wine of the vineyard he planted, and his being uncovered in his tent. For the mortality of Christ's flesh was uncovered, to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness; but to them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, both Shem and Japhet, the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 1 Corinthians 1:23-25
Moreover, the two sons, the eldest and the youngest, carrying the garment backwards, are a figure of the two peoples, and the sacrament of the past and completed passions of the Lord. They do not see the nakedness of their father, because they do not consent to Christ's death; and yet they honor it with a covering, as knowing whence they were born. The middle son is the Jewish people, for they neither held the first place with the apostles, nor believed subsequently with the Gentiles. They saw the nakedness of their father, because they consented to Christ's death; and they told it to their brethren outside, for what was hidden in the prophets was disclosed by the Jews. And thus they are the servants of their brethren. For what else is this nation now but a desk for the Christians, bearing the law and the prophets, and testifying to the doctrine of the Church, so that we honor in the sacrament what they disclose in the letter?
24. Again, every one must be impressed, and be either enlightened or confirmed in the faith, by the blessing of the two sons who honored the nakedness of their father, though they turned away their faces, as displeased with the evil done by the vine. "Blessed," he says, "be the Lord God of Shem." For although God is the God of all nations, even the Gentiles acknowledge Him to be in a peculiar sense the God of Israel. And how is this to be explained but by the blessing of Japhet? The occupation of all the world by the Church among the Gentiles was exactly foretold in the words: "Let God enlarge Japhet, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem." That is for the Manichæan to attend to. You see what the state of the world actually is. The very thing that you are astonished and grieved at in us is this, that God is enlarging Japhet. Is He not dwelling in the tents of Shem?— that is, in the churches built by the apostles, the sons of the prophets. Hear what Paul says to the believing Gentiles: "You were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants; having no hope of the promise, and without God in the world." In these words there is a description of the state of Japhet before he dwelt in the tents of Shem. But observe what follows: "Now then;" he says, "you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner-stone." Here we have Japhet enlarged, and dwelling in the tents of Shem. These testimonies are taken from the epistles of the apostles, which you yourselves acknowledge, and read, and profess to follow. You occupy an unhappy middle position in a building of which Christ is not the chief corner-stone. For you do not belong to the wall of those who, like the apostles, being of the circumcision, believed in Christ; nor to the wall of those who, being of the uncircumcision, like all the Gentiles, are joined in the unity of faith, as in the fellowship of the corner-stone. However, all who accept and read any books of our canon in which Christ is spoken of as having been born and having suffered in the flesh, and who do not unite with us in a common veiling with the sacrament of the mortality, uncovered by the passion, but without the knowledge of piety and charity make known that from which we all are born—although they differ among themselves, whether as Jews and heretics, or as heretics of one kind or other—are still all useful to the Church, as being all alike servants, either in bearing witness to or in proving some truth. For of heretics it is said: "There must be heresies, that those who are approved among you may be manifested." 1 Corinthians 11:19 Go on, then, with your objections to the Old Testament Scriptures! Go on, you servants of Ham! You have despised the flesh from which you were born when uncovered. For you could not have called yourselves Christians unless Christ had come into the world, as foretold by the prophets, and had drunk of His own vine that cup which could not pass from Him, and had slept in His passion, as in the drunkenness of the folly which is wiser than men; and so, in the hidden counsel of God, the disclosure had been made of that infirmity of mortal flesh which is stronger than men. For unless the Word of God had taken on Himself this infirmity, the name of Christian, in which you also glory, would not exist in the earth. Go on, then, as I have said. Declare in mockery what we may honor with reverence. Let the Church use you as her servants to make manifest those members who are approved. So particular are the predictions of the prophets regarding the state and the sufferings of the Church, that we can find a place even for you in what is said of the destructive error by which the reprobate are to perish, while the approved are to be manifested.
25. You say that Christ was not foretold by the prophets of Israel, when, in fact, their Scriptures teem with such predictions, if you would only examine them carefully, instead of treating them with levity. Who in Abraham leaves his country and kindred that he may become rich and prosperous among strangers, but He who, leaving the land and country of the Jews, of whom He was born in the flesh, is now extending His power, as we see, among the Gentiles? Who in Isaac carried the wood for His own sacrifice, but He who carried His own cross? Who is the ram for sacrifice, caught by the horns in a. bush, but He who was fastened to the cross as an offering for us?
26. Who in the angel striving with Jacob, on the one hand is constrained to give him a blessing, as the weaker to the stronger, the conquered to the conqueror, and on the other hand puts his thigh-bone out of joint, but He who, when He suffered the people of Israel to prevail against Him, blessed those among them who believed, while the multitude, like Jacob's thigh-bone, halted in their carnality? Who is the stone placed under Jacob's head, but Christ the head of man? And in its anointing the very name of Christ is expressed, for, as all know, Christ means anointed. Christ refers to this in the Gospel, and declares it to be a type of Himself, when He said of Nathanael that he was an Israelite indeed, in whom was no guile, and when Nathanael, resting his head, as it were, on this Stone, or on Christ, confessed Him as the Son of God and the King of Israel anointing the Stone by his confession, in which he acknowledged Jesus to be Christ. On this occasion the Lord made appropriate mention of what Jacob saw in his dream "Verily I say unto you, You shall see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man." John 1:47-51 This Jacob saw, who in the blessing was called Israel, when he had the stone for a pillow, and had the vision of the ladder reaching from earth to heaven, on which the angels of God were ascending and descending. Genesis 28:11-18 The angels denote the evangelists, or preachers of Christ. They ascend when they rise above the created universe to describe the supreme majesty of the divine nature of Christ as being in the beginning God with God, by whom all things were made. They descend to tell of His being made of a woman, made under the law, that He might redeem them that were under the law. Christ is the ladder reaching from earth to heaven, or from the carnal to the spiritual: for by His assistance the carnal ascend to spirituality; and the spiritual may be said to descend to nourish the carnal with milk when they cannot speak to them as to spiritual, but as to carnal. 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 There is thus both an ascent and a descent upon the Son of man. For the Son of man is above as our head, being Himself the Saviour; and He is below in His body, the Church. He is the ladder, for He says, "I am the way." We ascend to Him to see Him in heavenly places; we descend to Him for the nourishment of His weak members. And the ascent and descent are by Him as well as to Him. Following His example, those who preach Him not only rise to behold Him exalted, but let themselves down to give a plain announcement of the truth. So the apostle ascends, "Whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God;" and descends, "Whether we be sober, it is for your sake." And by whom did he ascend and descend? "For the love of Christ constrains us: for we thus judge, that if one died for all, then all died; and that He died for all, that they which live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto Him that died for them, and rose again." 2 Corinthians 5:13-15
27. The man who does not find pleasure in these views of sacred Scripture is turned away to fables, because he cannot bear sound doctrine. The fables have an attraction for childish minds in people of all ages; but we who are of the body of Christ should say with the Psalmist; "O Lord, the wicked have spoken to me pleasing things, but they are not after Your law." In every page of these Scriptures, while I pursue my search as a son of Adam in the sweat of my brow, Christ either openly or covertly meets and refreshes me. Where the discovery is laborious my ardor is increased, and the spoil obtained is eagerly devoured, and is hidden in my heart for my nourishment.
28. Christ appears to me in Joseph, who was persecuted and sold by his brethren, and after his troubles obtained honor in Egypt. We have seen the troubles of Christ in the world, of which Egypt was a figure, in the sufferings of the martyrs. And now we see the honor of Christ in the same world which He subdues to Himself, in exchange for the food which He bestows. Christ appears to me in the rod of Moses, which became a serpent when cast on the earth as a figure of His death, which came from the serpent. Again, when caught by the tail it became a rod, as a figure of His return after the accomplishment of His work in His resurrection to what He was before, destroying death by His new life, so as to leave no trace of the serpent. We, too, who are His body, glide along in the same mortality through the folds of time; but when at last the tail of this course of things is laid hold of by the hand of judgment that it shall go no further, we shall be renewed, and rising from the destruction of death, the last enemy, we shall be the sceptre of government in the right hand of God.
29. Of the departure of Israel from Egypt, let us hear what the apostle himself says: "I would not, brethren, that you should be ignorant that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and did all eat the same spiritual meat, and did all drink of the same spiritual drink. For they drank of the spiritual rock which followed them, and that rock was Christ." 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 The explanation of one thing is a key to the rest. For if the rock is Christ from its stability, is not the manna Christ, the living bread which came down from heaven, which gives spiritual life to those who truly feed on it? The Israelites died because they received the figure only in its carnal sense. The apostle, by calling it spiritual food, shows its reference to Christ, as the spiritual drink is explained by the words, "That rock was Christ," which explain the whole. Then is not the cloud and the pillar Christ, who by His uprightness and strength supports our feebleness; who shines by night and not by day, that they who see not may see, and that they who see may be made blind? In the clouds and the Red Sea there is the baptism consecrated by the blood of Christ. The enemies following behind perish, as past sins are put away.
30. The Israelites are led through the wilderness, as those who are baptized are in the wilderness while on the way to the promised land, hoping and patiently waiting for that which they see not. In the wilderness are severe trials, lest they should in heart return to Egypt. Still Christ does not leave them; the pillar does not go away. The bitter waters are sweetened by wood, as hostile people become friendly by learning to honor the cross of Christ. The twelve fountains watering the seventy palm trees are a figure of apostolic grace watering the nations. As seven is multiplied by ten, so the decalogue is fulfilled in the sevenfold operation of the Spirit. The enemy attempting to stop them in their way is overcome by Moses stretching out his hands in the figure of the cross. The deadly bites of serpents are healed by the brazen serpent, which was lifted up that they might look at it. The Lord Himself gives the explanation of this: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believes in Him may not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:14 So in many other things we may find a protest against the obstinacy of unbelieving hearts. In the passover a lamb is killed, representing Christ, of whom it is said in the Gospel, "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" John 1:29 In the passover the bones of the lamb were not to be broken; and on the cross the bones of the Lord were not broken. The evangelist, in reference to this, quotes the words, "A bone of Him shall not be broken." John 19:36 The posts were marked with blood to keep away destruction, as people are marked on their foreheads with the sign of the Lord's passion for their salvation. The law was given on the fiftieth day after the passover; so the Holy Spirit came on the fiftieth day after the passion of the Lord. The law is said to have been written with the finger of God; and the Lord says of the Holy Spirit, "With the finger of God I cast out devils." Luke 11:20 Such are the Scriptures in which Faustus, after shutting his eyes, declares that he can see no prediction of Christ. But we need not wonder that he should have eyes to read and yet no heart to understand, since, instead of knocking in devout faith at the door of the heavenly secret, he dares to act in profane hostility. So let it be, for so it ought to be. Let the gate of salvation be shut to the proud. The meek, to whom God teaches His ways, will find all these things in the Scriptures, and those things which he does not see he will believe from what he sees.
31. He will see Jesus leading the people into the land of promise; for this name was given to the leader of Israel, not at first, or by chance, but on account of the work to which he was called. He will see the cluster from the land of promise hanging from a wooden pole. He will see in Jericho, as in this perishing world, an harlot, one of those of whom the Lord says that they go before the proud into the kingdom of heaven, putting out of her window a scarlet line symbolic of blood, as confession is made with the mouth for the remission of sins. He will see the walls of Jericho, like the frail defences of the world, fall when compassed seven times by the ark of the covenant; as now in the course of the seven days of time the covenant of God compasses the whole globe, that in the end, death, the last enemy, may be destroyed, and the Church, like one single house, be saved from the destruction of the ungodly, purified from the defilement of fornication by the window of confession in the blood of remission.
32. He will see the times of the judges precede those of the kings, as the judgment will precede the kingdom. And under both the judges and the kings he will see Christ and the Church repeatedly prefigured in many and various ways. Who was in Samson, when he killed the lion that met him as he went to get a wife among strangers, but He who, when going to call His Church from among the Gentiles, said, "Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world?" John 16:33 What means the hive in the mouth of the slain lion, but that, as we see, the very laws of the earthly kingdom which once raged against Christ have now lost their fierceness, and have become a protection for the preaching of gospel sweetness? What is that woman boldly piercing the temples of the enemy with a wooden nail, but the faith of the Church casting down the kingdom of the devil by the cross of Christ? What is the fleece wet while the ground was dry, and again the fleece dry while the ground was wet, but the Hebrew nation at first possessing alone in its typical institution Christ the mystery of God, while the whole world was in ignorance? And now the whole world has this mystery revealed, while the Jews are destitute of it.
33. To mention only a few things in the times of the kings, at the very outset does not the change in the priesthood when Eli was rejected and Samuel chosen, and in the kingdom when Saul was rejected and David chosen, clearly predict the new priesthood and kingdom to come in our Lord Jesus Christ, when the old, which was a shadow of the new, was rejected? Did not David, when he ate the show-bread, which it was not lawful for any but the priests to eat, prefigure the union of the kingdom and priesthood in one person, Jesus Christ? In the separation of the ten tribes from the temple while two were left, is there not a figure of what the apostle asserts of the whole nation: "A remnant is saved by the election of grace."? Romans 11:5
34. In the time of famine, Elijah is fed by ravens bringing bread in the morning and flesh in the evening; but the Manichæans cannot in this perceive Christ, who, as it were, hungers for our salvation, and to whom sinners come in confession, having now the first-fruits of the Spirit, while in the end, that is to say in the evening of the age, they will have the resurrection of their bodies also. Elijah is sent to be fed by a widow woman of another nation, who was going to gather two sticks before she died, denoting the two wooden beams of the cross. Her meal and oil are blessed, as the fruit and cheerfulness of charity do not diminish by expenditure, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7
35. The children that mocked Elisha by calling out Baldhead, are devoured by wild beasts, as those who in childish folly scoff at Christ crucified on Calvary are destroyed by devils. Elisha sends his servants to lay his staff on the dead body, but it does not revive; he comes himself, and lays himself exactly upon the dead body, and it revives: as the Word of God sent the law by His servant, without any profit to mankind dead in sins; and yet it was not sent without purpose by Him who knew the necessity of its being first sent. Then He Himself came, conformed Himself to us by participation in our death, and we were revived. When they were cutting down wood with axes, the iron, flying off the wood, sank to the bottom of the river, and came up again when the wood was thrown in by Elisha. So, when Christ's bodily presence was cutting down the unfruitful trees among the unbelieving Jews, according to the saying of John, "Behold, the axe is laid to the roots of the tree," Matthew 3:10 by the death they inflicted, Christ was separated from His body, and descended to the depths of the infernal world; and then, when His body was laid in the tomb, like the wood on the water, His spirit returned, like the iron to the handle, and He rose. The reader will observe how many things of this kind are omitted for the sake of brevity.
36. As regards the departure to Babylon, where the Spirit of God by the prophet Jeremiah enjoins them to go, telling them to pray for the people in whose land they dwell as strangers, because in their peace they would find peace, and to build houses, and plant vineyards and gardens—the figurative meaning is plain, when we consider that the true Israelites, in whom is no guile, passed over in the ministry of the apostles with the ordinances of the gospel into the kingdom of the Gentiles. So the apostle, like an echo of Jeremiah, says to us, "I will first of all that prayer, supplications, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men, and for those in authority, that we may live a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and charity; for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth." 1 Timothy 2:1-4 Accordingly the basilicas of Christian congregations have been built by believers as abodes of peace, and vineyards of the faithful have been renewed, and gardens planted, where chief among the plants is the mustard tree, in whose wide-spreading branches the pride of the Gentiles, like the birds of heaven, in its soaring ambition, takes shelter. Again, in the return from captivity after seventy years, according to Jeremiah's prophecy, and in the restoration of the temple, every believer in Christ must see a figure of our return as the Church of God from the exile of this world to the heavenly Jerusalem, after the seven days of time have fulfilled their course. Joshua the high priest, after the captivity, who rebuilt the temple, was a figure of Jesus Christ, the true High Priest of our restoration. The prophet Zechariah saw this Joshua in a filthy garment; and after the devil who stood by to accuse him was defeated, the filthy garment was taken from him, and a dress of honor and glory given him. So the body of Jesus Christ, which is the Church, when the adversary is conquered in the judgment at the end of the world, will pass from the pains of exile to the glory of everlasting safety. This is the song of the Psalmist at the dedication of his house: "You have turned for me my mourning into gladness; You have removed my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness, that my glory may sing praise unto You, and not be silent."
37. It is impossible, in a digression like this, to refer, however briefly, to all the figurative predictions of Christ which are to be found in the law and the prophets. Will it be said that these things happened in the regular course of things, and that it is a mere ingenious fancy to make them typical of Christ? Such an objection might come from Jews and Pagans; but those who wish to be considered Christians must yield to the authority of the apostle when he says, "All these things happened to them for an example;" and again, "These things are our examples." For if two men, Ishmael and Isaac, are types of the two covenants, can it be supposed that there is no significance in the vast number of particulars which have no historical or natural value? Suppose we were to see some Hebrew characters written on the wall of a noble building, should we be so foolish as to conclude that, because we cannot understand the characters, they are not intended to be read, and are mere painting, without any meaning? So, whoever with a candid mind reads all these things that are contained in the Old Testament Scriptures, must feel constrained to acknowledge that they have a meaning.
38. As an example of those particulars which have no meaning at all if not a symbolic one: Granting that it was necessary that woman should be made as an help meet for man, what natural reason can be assigned for her being taken from his side while he slept? Granting that an ark was required in order to escape from the flood, why should it have precisely these dimensions, and why should they be recorded for the devout study of future generations? Granting that the animals were brought into the ark to preserve the various races, why should there be seven clean and two unclean? Granting that the ark must have a door, why should it be in the side, and why should this fact be committed to writing? Abraham is commanded to sacrifice his son: we may allow that this proof of his obedience was required in order to make it conspicuous in all ages; we may allow, too, that it was a proper thing for the son to carry the wood instead of the aged father, and that in the end the fatal stroke was forbidden, lest the father should be left childless. But what had the shedding of the ram's blood to do with Abraham's trial? Or if it was necessary to complete the sacrifice, was the ram any the better of being caught by the horns in a bush? The human mind, that is to say, a rational mind, is led by the consideration of the way in which these apparently superfluous things are blended with what is necessary, first to acknowledge their significance, and then to try to discover it.
39. The Jews themselves, who scoff at the crucified Saviour in whom we believe, and who consequently will not allow that Christ is predicted in the sayings and actions recorded in the Old Testament, are compelled to come to us for an explanation of those things which, if not explained, must appear trifling and ridiculous. This led Philo, a Jew of great learning, whom the Greeks speak of as rivalling Plato in eloquence, to attempt to explain some things without any reference to Christ, in whom he did not believe. His attempt only shows the inferiority of all ingenious speculations, when made without keeping Christ in view, to whom all the predictions really point. So true is that saying of the apostle: "When they shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away." 2 Corinthians 3:16 For instance, Noah's ark is, according to Philo, a type of the human body, member by member: with this view, he shows that the numerical proportions agree perfectly. For there is no reason why a type of Christ should not be a type of the human body, too, since the Saviour of mankind appeared in a human body, though what is typical of a human body is not necessarily typical of Christ. Philo's explanation fails, however, as regards the door in the side of the ark. He actually, for the sake of saying something, makes this door represent the lower apertures of the body. He has the hardihood to put this in words, and on paper. Indeed, he knew not the door and could not understand the symbol. Had he turned to Christ the veil would have been taken away, and he would have found the sacraments of the Church flowing from the side of Christ's human body. For, according to the announcement, "They two shall be one flesh," some things in the ark which is a type of Christ, refer to Christ, and some to the Church. This contrast between the explanations which keep Christ in view, and all other ingenious perversions, is the same in every particular of all the figures in Scripture.
40. The Pagans, too, cannot deny our right to give a figurative meaning to both words and things, especially as we can point to the fulfillment of the types and figures. For the Pagans themselves try to find in their own fables figures of natural and religious truth. Sometimes they give clear explanations, while at other times they disguise their meaning, and what is sacred in the temples becomes a jest in the theatres. They unite a disgraceful licentiousness to a degrading superstition.
41. Besides this wonderful agreement between the types and the things typified, the adversary may be convinced by plain prophetic intimations, such as this: "In your seed shall all nations be blessed." This was said to Abraham, Genesis 22:18 and again to Isaac, Genesis 26:4 and again to Jacob. Genesis 28:14 Hence the significance of the words "I am the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob." Exodus 3:6 God fulfills His promise to their seed in blessing all nations. With a like significance, Abraham himself, when he made his servant swear, told him to put his hand under his thigh; Genesis 24:2 for he knew that thence would come the flesh of Christ, in whom we have now, not the promise of blessing to all nations, but the promise fulfilled.
42. I should like to know, or rather, it would be well not to know, with what blindness of mind Faustus reads the passage where Jacob calls his sons, and says, "Assemble, that I may tell you the things that are to happen in the last day. Assemble and hear, you sons of Jacob; give ear to Israel, your father." Surely these are the words of a prophet. What, then, does he say of his son Judah, of whose tribe Christ came of the seed of David according to the flesh, as the apostle teaches? "Judah," he says, "your brethren shall praise you: your hand shall be upon the backs of your enemies; the sons of your father shall bow down to you. Judah is a lion's cub; my son and offspring: bowing down, you have gone up: you sleep as a lion, and as a young lion, who will rouse him up? A prince shall not depart from Judah, nor a leader from his loins, till those things come which have been laid up for him. He also is the desire of nations: binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt with sackcloth, he shall wash his garment in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: his eyes are bright with wine, and his teeth whiter than milk." There is no falsehood or obscurity in these words when we read them in the clear light of Christ. We see His brethren the apostles and all His joint-heirs praising Him, seeking, not their own glory, but His. We see His hands on the backs of His enemies, who are bent and bowed to the earth by the growth of the Christian communities in spite of their opposition. We see Him worshipped by the sons of Jacob, the remnant saved according to the election of grace. Christ, who was born as an infant, is the lion's cub, as it is added, My son and offspring, to show why this whelp, in whose praise it is said, "The lion's cub is stronger than the herd," Proverbs 30:30 is even in infancy stronger than its elders. We see Christ ascending the cross, and bowing down when He gave up His spirit. We see Him sleeping as a lion, because in death itself He was not the conquered, but the conqueror, and as a lion's cub; for the reason of His birth and of His death was the same. And He is raised from the dead by Him whom no man has seen or can see; for the words, "Who will raise Him up?" point to an unknown power. A prince did not depart from Judah, nor a leader from his loins, till in due time those things came which had been laid up in the promise. For we learn from the authentic history of the Jews themselves, that Herod, under whom Christ was born, was their first foreign king. So the sceptre did not depart from the seed of Judah till the things laid up for him came. Then, as the promise is not only to the believing Jews, it is added: "He is the desire of the nations." Christ bound His foal— that is, His people— to the vine, when He preached in sackcloth, crying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." The Gentiles made subject to Him are represented by the ass's colt, on which He also sat, leading it into Jerusalem, that is, the vision of peace teaching the meek His ways. We see Him washing His garments in wine; for He is one with the glorious Church, which He presents to Himself, not having spot or wrinkle; to whom also it is said by Isaiah: "Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow." Isaiah 1:18 How is this done but by the remission of sins? And the wine is none other than that of which it is said that it is "shed for many, for the remission of sins." Christ is the cluster that hung on the pole. So it is added, "and His clothes in the blood of the grape." Again, what is said of His eyes being bright with wine, is understood by those members of His body who are enabled, in holy aberration of mind from the current of earthly things, to gaze on the eternal light of wisdom. So Paul says in a passage quoted before: "If we be beside ourselves, it is to God." Those are the eyes bright with wine. But he adds: "If we be sober, it is for your sakes." The babes needing to be fed with milk are not forgotten, as is denoted by the words, "His teeth are whiter than milk."
43. What can our deluded adversaries say to such plain examples, which leave no room for perverse denial, or even for sceptical uncertainty? I call on the Manichæans to begin to inquire into these subjects, and to admit the force of these evidences, on which I have no time to dwell; nor do I wish to make a selection, in case the ignorant reader should think there are no others, while the Christian student might blame me for the omission of many points more striking than those which occur to me at the moment. You will find many passages which require no such explanation as has been given here of Jacob's prophecy. For instance, every reader can understand the words, "He was led as a lamb to the slaughter," and the whole of that plain prophecy, "With His stripes we are healed"— "He bore our sins." Isaiah liii We have a poetical gospel in the words: "They pierced my hands and feet. They have told all my bones. They look and stare upon me. They divided my garments among them, and cast lots on my vesture." The blind even may now see the fulfillment of the words: "All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn unto the Lord, and all kingdoms of the nations shall worship before Him." The words in the Gospel, "My soul is sorrowful, even unto death," "My soul is troubled," are a repetition of the words in the Psalm, "I slept in trouble." And who made Him sleep? Whose voices cried, Crucify him, crucify him? The Psalm tells us: "The sons of men, their teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword." But they could not prevent His resurrection, or His ascension above the heavens, or His filling the earth with the glory of His name; for the Psalm says: "Be Thou exalted, O God, above the heavens, and let Your glory be above all the earth." Every one must apply these words to Christ: "The Lord said unto me, You are my Son, this day have I begotten You. Ask of me, and I will give You the heathen for Your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Your possession." And what Jeremiah says of wisdom plainly applies to Christ: "Jacob delivered it to his son, and Israel to his chosen one. Afterwards He appeared on earth, and conversed with men."
44. The same Saviour is spoken of in Daniel, where the Son of man appears before the Ancient of days, and receives a kingdom without end, that all nations may serve Him. Daniel 7:13-14 In the passage quoted from Daniel by the Lord Himself, "When you shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place, let him that reads understand," Matthew 24:15 the number of weeks points not only to Christ, but to the very time of His advent. With the Jews, who look to Christ for salvation as we do, but deny that He has come and suffered, we can argue from actual events. Besides the conversion of the heathen, now so universal, as prophesied of Christ in their own Scriptures, there are the events in the history of the Jews themselves. Their holy place is thrown down, the sacrifice has ceased, and the priest, and the ancient anointing; which was all clearly foretold by Daniel when he prophesied of the anointing of the Most Holy. Daniel 9:24-27 Now, that all these things have taken place, we ask the Jews for the anointed Most Holy, and they have no answer to give. But it is from the Old Testament that the Jews derive all the knowledge they have of Christ and His advent. Why do they ask John whether he is Christ? Why do they say to the Lord, "How long do you make us to doubt? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly." Why do Peter and Andrew and Philip say to Nathanael, "We have found Messias, which is interpreted Christ," but because this name was known to them from the prophecies of their Scriptures? In no other nation were the kings and priests anointed, and called Anointed or Christs. Nor could this symbolic anointing be discontinued till the coming of Him who was thus prefigured. For among all their anointed ones the Jews looked for one who was to save them. But in the mysterious justice of God they were blinded; and thinking only of the power of the Messiah, they did not understand His weakness, in which He died for us. In the book of Wisdom it is prophesied of the Jews: "Let us condemn him to an ignominious death; for he will be proved in his words. If he is truly the Son of God, He will aid him; and deliver him from the hand of his enemies. Thus they thought, and erred; for their wickedness blinded them." Wisdom 2:18-21 These words apply also to those who, in spite of all these evidences, in spite of such a series of prophecies, and of their fulfillment, still deny that Christ is foretold in the Scriptures. As often as they repeat this denial, we can produce fresh proofs, with the help of Him who has made such provision against human perversity, that proofs already given need not be repeated.
45. Faustus has an evasive objection, which he no doubt thinks a most ingenious way of eluding the force of the clearest evidence of prophecy, but of which one is unwilling to take any notice, because answering it may give it an appearance of importance which it does not really possess. What could be more irrational than to say that it is weak faith which will not believe in Christ without evidence? Do our adversaries, then, believe in testimony about Christ? Faustus wishes us to believe the voice from heaven as distinguished from human testimony. But did they hear this voice? Has not the knowledge of it come to us through human testimony? The apostle describes the transmission of this knowledge, when he says: "How shall they call on Him on whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach except they be sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of them who publish peace, who bring good tidings!" Romans 10:14-15 Clearly, in the preaching of the apostles there was a reference to prophetic testimony. The apostles quoted the predictions of the prophets, to prove the truth and importance of their doctrines. For although their preaching was accompanied with the power of working miracles, the miracles would have been ascribed to magic, as some even now venture to insinuate, unless the apostles had shown that the authority of the prophets was in their favor. The testimony of prophets who lived so long before could not be ascribed to magical arts. Perhaps the reason why Faustus will not have us believe the Hebrew prophets as witnesses of the true Christ, is because he believes Persian heresies about a false Christ.
46. According to the teaching of the Catholic Church, the Christian mind must first be nourished in simple faith, in order that it may become capable of understanding things heavenly and eternal. Thus it is said by the prophet: "Unless ye believe, you shall not understand." Simple faith is that by which, before we attain to the height of the knowledge of the love of Christ, that we may be filled with all the fullness of God, we believe that not without reason was the dispensation of Christ's humiliation, in which He was born and suffered as man, foretold so long before by the prophets through a prophetic race, a prophetic people, a prophetic kingdom. This faith teaches us, that in the foolishness which is wiser than men, and in the weakness which is stronger than men, is contained the hidden means of our justification and glorification. There are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, which are opened to no one who despises the nourishment transmitted through the breast of his mother that is, the milk of apostolic and prophetic instruction; or who, thinking himself too old for infantile nourishment, devours heretical poison instead of the food of wisdom, for which he rashly thought himself prepared. To require simple faith is quite consistent with requiring faith in the prophets. The very use of simple faith is to believe the prophets at the outset, while the understanding of the person who speaks in the prophets is attained after the mind has been purified and strengthened.
47. But, it is said, if the prophets foretold Christ, they did not live in a way becoming their office. How can you tell whether they did or not? You are bad judges of what it is to live well or ill, whose justice consists in giving relief to an inanimate melon by eating it, instead of giving food to the starving beggar. It is enough for the babes in the Catholic Church, who do not yet know the perfect justice of the human soul, and the difference between the justice aimed at and that actually attained, to think of those men according to the wholesome doctrine of the apostles, that the just lives by faith. "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness. For the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In your seed shall all nations be blessed." Galatians 3:6, 8 These are the words of the apostle. If you would, at his clear well-known voice, wake up from your unprofitable dreams, you would follow in the footsteps of our father Abraham, and would be blessed, along with all nations, in his seed. For, as the apostle says, "He received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had, yet being uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all that believe in uncircumcision; that he might be the father of circumcision not only to those who are of the circumcision, but also to those who follow the footsteps of the faith of our father Abraham in uncircumcision." Romans 4:11-12 Since the righteousness of Abraham's faith is thus set forth as an example to us, that we too, being justified by faith, may have peace with God, we ought to understand his manner of life, without finding fault with it; lest, by a premature separation from mother-Church, we prove abortions, instead of being brought forth in due time, when the conception has arrived at completeness.
48. This is a brief reply to Faustus in behalf of the character of the patriarchs and prophets. It is the reply of the babes of our faith, among whom I would reckon myself, inasmuch as I would not find fault with the life of the ancient saints, even if I did not understand its mystical character. Their life is proclaimed to us with approval by the apostles in their Gospel, as they themselves in their prophecy foretold the future apostles, that the two Testaments, like the seraphim, might cry to one another, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of hosts." Isaiah 6:3 When Faustus, instead of the vague general accusation which he makes here, condemns particular actions in the lives of the patriarchs and the prophets, the Lord their God, and ours also, will assist me to reply suitably and appropriately to the separate charges. For the present, the reader must choose whether to believe the commendation of the Apostle Paul or the accusations of Faustus the Manichæan.
Source. Translated by Richard Stothert. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 4. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1887.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/140612.htm>.
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