Faustus willing to believe not only that the Jewish but that all Gentile prophets wrote of Christ, if it should be proved; but he would none the less insist upon rejecting their superstitions. Augustine maintains that all Moses wrote is of Christ, and that his writings must be either accepted or rejected as a whole.
1. Faustus said: You ask why we do not believe Moses, when Christ says, "Moses wrote of me; and if you believed Moses, you would also believe me." I should be glad if not only Moses, but all prophets, Jew and Gentile, had written of Christ. It would be no hindrance, but a help to our faith, if we could cull testimonies from all hands agreeing in favor of our God. You could extract the prophecies of Christ out of the superstition which we should hate as much as ever. I am quite willing to believe that Moses, though so much the opposite of Christ, may seem to have written of Him. No one but would gladly find a flower in every thorn, and food in every plant, and honey in every insect, although we would not feed on insects or on grass, nor wear thorns as a crown. No one but would wish pearls to be found in every deep, and gems in every land, and fruit on every tree. We may eat fish from the sea without drinking the water. We may take the useful, and reject what is hurtful. And why may we not take the prophecies of Christ from a religion the rites of which we condemn as useless? This need not make us liable to be led into the bondage of the errors; for we do not hate the unclean spirits less because they confessed plainly and openly that Jesus was the Son of God. If any similar testimony is found in Moses, I will accept it. But I will not on this account be brought into subjection to his law, which to my mind is pure Paganism. There is no reason whatever for thinking that I can have any objections to receiving prophecies of Christ from every spirit.
2. Since you have proved that Christ declared that Moses wrote of him, I should be very grateful if you would show me what he has written. I have searched the Scriptures, as we are told to do, and have found no prophecies of Christ, either because there are none, or because I could not understand them. The only escape from this perplexity was in one or other of two conclusions. Either this verse must be spurious, or Jesus a liar. As it is not consistent with piety to suppose God a liar, I preferred to attribute falsehood to the writers, rather than to the Author, of truth. Moreover, He Himself tells that those who came before him were thieves and robbers, which applies first of all to Moses. And when, on the occasion of His speaking of His own majesty, and calling Himself the light of the world, the Jews angrily rejoined, "You bear witness of yourself, your witness is not true," I do not find that He appealed to the prophecies of Moses, as might have been expected. Instead of this, as having no connection with the Jews, and receiving no testimony from their fathers, He replied: "It is written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one who bear witness of myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness of me." He referred to the voice from heaven which all had heard: "This is my beloved Son, believe Him." I think it likely that if Christ had said that Moses wrote of Him, the ingenious hostility of the Jews would have led them at once to ask what He supposed Moses to have written. The silence of the Jews is a proof that Jesus never made such a statement.
3. My chief reason, however, for suspecting the genuineness of this verse is what I said before, that in all my search of the writings of Moses I have found no prophecy of Christ. But now that I have found in you a reader of superior intelligence, I hope to learn something; and I promise to be grateful if no feeling of ill-will prevents you from giving me the benefit of your higher attainments, as your lofty style of reproof entitles me to expect from you. I ask for instruction in whatever the writings of Moses contain about our God and Lord which has escaped me in reading. I beseech you not to use the ignorant argument that Christ affirms Moses to have written of Him. For suppose you had not to deal with me, as in my case there is an obligation to believe Him whom I profess to follow, but with a Jew or a Gentile, in reply to the statement that Moses wrote of Christ, they will ask for proofs. What shall we say to them? We cannot quote Christ's authority, for they do not believe in Him. We must point out what Moses wrote.
4. What, then, shall we point to? Shall it be that passage which you often quote where the God of Moses says to him: "I will raise up unto them from among their brethren a prophet like you?" Deuteronomy 18:15 But the Jew can see that this does not refer to Christ, and there is every reason against our thinking that it does. Christ was not a prophet, nor was He like Moses: for Moses was a man, and Christ was God; Moses was a sinner, and Christ sinless; Moses was born by ordinary generation, and Christ of a virgin according to you, or, as I hold, not born at all: Moses, for offending his God, was put to death on the mountain; and Christ suffered voluntarily, and the Father was well pleased in Him. If we were to assert that Christ was a prophet like Moses, the Jew would either deride us as ignorant or pronounce us untruthful.
5. Or shall we take another favorite passage of yours: "They shall see their life hanging, and shall not believe their life?" Deuteronomy 28:66 You insert the words "on a tree," which are not in the original. Nothing can be easier than to show that this has no reference to Christ. Moses is uttering dire threatenings in case the people should depart from his law, and says among other things that they would be taken captive by their enemies, and would be expecting death day and night, having no confidence in the life allowed them by their conquerors, so that their life would hang in uncertainty from fear of impending danger. This passage will not do, we must try others. I cannot admit that the words, "Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree," refer to Christ, or when it is said that the prince or prophet must be killed who should try to turn away the people from their God, or should break any of the commandments. Deuteronomy 13:5 That Christ did this I am obliged to grant. But if you assert that these things were written of Christ, it may be asked in reply, What spirit dictated these prophecies in which Moses curses Christ and orders him to be killed? If he had the Spirit of God, these things are not written of Christ; if they are written of Christ, he had not the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God would not curse Christ, or order Him to be killed. To vindicate Moses, you must confess that these passages too have no reference to Christ. So, if you have no others to show, there are none. If there are none, Christ could not have said that there were; and if Christ did not say so, that verse is spurious.
6. The next verse too is suspicious, "If you believed Moses, you would also believe me;" for the religion of Moses is so entirely different from that of Christ, that if the Jews believed one, they could not believe the other. Moses strictly forbids any work to be done on Sabbath, and gives as a reason for this prohibition that God made the world and all that is therein in six days, and rested on the seventh day, which is Sabbath; and therefore blessed or sanctified it as His haven of repose after toil, and commanded that breaking the Sabbath should be punished with death. The Jews, in obedience to Moses, insisted strongly on this, and so would not even listen to Christ when He told them that God always works, and that no day is appointed for the intermission of His pure and unwearied energy, and that accordingly He Himself had to work incessantly even on Sabbath. "My Father," he says, "works always, and I too must work." John 5:17 Again, Moses places circumcision among the rites pleasing to God, and commands every male to be circumcised in the foreskin of his flesh, and declares that this is a necessary sign of the covenant which God made with Abraham, and that every male not circumcised would be cut off from his tribe, and from his part in the inheritance promised to Abraham and to his seed. Genesis 17:9-14 In this observance, too, the Jews were very zealous, and consequently could not believe in Christ, who made light of these things, and declared that a man when circumcised became twofold a child of hell. Matthew 23:15 Again, Moses is very particular about the distinction in animal foods, and discourses like an epicure on the merits of fish, and birds, and quadrupeds, and orders some to be eaten as clean, and others which are unclean not to be touched. Among the unclean he reckons the swine and the hare, and fish without scales, and quadrupeds that neither divide the hoof nor chew the cud. In this also the Jews carefully obeyed Moses, and so could not believe in Christ, who taught that all food is alike, and though he allowed no animal food to his own disciples, gave full liberty to the laity to eat whatever they pleased, and taught that men are polluted not by what goes into the mouth, but by the evil things which come out of it. In these and many other things the doctrine of Jesus, as everybody knows, contradicts that of Moses.
7. Not to enumerate all the points of difference, it is enough to mention this one fact, that most Christian sects, and, as is well known, the Catholics, pay no regard to what is prescribed in the writings of Moses. If this does not originate in some error, but in the doctrine correctly transmitted from Christ and His disciples, you surely must acknowledge that the teaching of Jesus is opposed to that of Moses, and that the Jews did not believe in Christ on account of their attachment to Moses. How can it be otherwise than false that Jesus said to the Jews, "If you believed Moses, you would believe me also," when it is perfectly clear that their belief in Moses prevented them from believing in Jesus, which they might have done if they had left off believing in Moses? Again I ask you to show me anything that Moses wrote of Christ.
8. Elsewhere Faustus says: When you find no passage to point to, you use this weak and inappropriate argument, that a Christian is bound to believe Christ when he says that Moses wrote of Him, and that whoever does not believe this is not a Christian. It would be far better to confess at once that you cannot find any passage. This argument might be used with me, because my reverence for Christ compels me to believe what He says. Still it may be a question whether this is Christ's own declaration, requiring absolute belief, or only the writer's, to be carefully examined. And disbelief in falsehood is no offense to Christ, but to impostors. But of whatever use this argument may be with Christians, it is wholly inapplicable in the case of the Jew or Gentile, with whom we are supposed to be discussing. And even with Christians the argument is objectionable. When the Apostle Thomas was in doubt, Christ did not spurn him from Him. Instead of saying, "Believe, if you are a disciple; whoever does not believe is not a disciple," Christ sought to heal the wounds of his mind by showing him the marks of the wounds in His own body. Does it become you then to tell me that I am not a Christian because I am in doubt, not about Christ, but about the genuineness of a remark attributed to Christ? But, you say, He calls those especially blessed, who have not seen, and yet have believed. If you think that this refers to believing without the use of judgment and reason, you are welcome to this blind blessedness. I shall be content with rational blessedness.
9. Augustine replied: Your idea of taking any prophecies of Christ to be found in Moses, as a fish out of the sea, while you throw away the water from which the fish is taken, is a clever one. But since all that Moses wrote is of Christ, or relates to Christ, either as predicting Him by words and actions, or as illustrating His grace and glory, you, with your faith in the untrue and untruthful Christ from the writings of Manichæus, and your unbelief in Moses, will not even eat the fish. Moreover, though you are sincere in your hostility to Moses, you are hypocritical in your praise of fish. For how can you say that there is no harm in eating a fish taken out of the sea, when your doctrine is that such food is so hurtful, that you would rather starve than make use of it? If all flesh is unclean, as you say it is, and if the wretched life of your god is confined in all water or plants, from which it is liberated by your using them for food, according to your own vile superstition, you must throw away the fish you have praised, and drink the water and eat the thistles you speak of as useless. As for your comparison of the servant of God to devils, as if his prophecies of Christ resembled their confession, the servant does not refuse to bear the reproach of his master. If the Master of the house was called Beelzebub, how much more they of His household! Matthew 10:25 You have learned this reproach from Christ's enemies; and you are worse than they were. They did not believe that Jesus was Christ, and therefore thought Him an impostor. But the only doctrine you believe in is that which dares to make Christ a liar.
10. What reason have you for saying that the law of Moses is pure Paganism? Is it because it speaks of a temple, and an altar of sacrifices, and priests? But all these names are found also in the New Testament. "Destroy," Christ says, "this temple, and in three days I will raise it up;" John 2:19 and again, "When you offer your gift at the altar;" Matthew 5:24 and again, "Go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for yourself a sacrifice as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them." Matthew 8:4 What these things prefigured the Lord Himself partly tells us, when He calls His own body the temple; and we learn also from the apostle, who says, "The temple of God is holy, which temple you are;" 1 Corinthians 3:17 and again, "I beseech you therefore by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God;" Romans 12:1 and in similar passages. As the same apostle says, in words which cannot be too often quoted, these things were our examples, for they were not the work of devils, but of the one true God who made heaven and earth, and who, though not needing such things, yet, suiting His requirements to the time, made ancient observances significant of future realities. Since you pretend to abhor Paganism, though it is only that you may lead astray by your deception unlearned Christians or those not established in the faith, show us any authority in Christian books for your worship and service of the sun and moon. Your heresy is liker Paganism than the law of Moses is. For you do not worship Christ, but only something that you call Christ, a fiction of your own fancy; and the gods you serve are either the bodies visible in the heavens, or hosts of your own contrivance. If you do not build shrines for these worthless idols, the creatures of the imagination, you make your hearts their temple.
11. You ask me to show what Moses wrote of Christ. Many passages have already been pointed out. But who could point out all? Besides, when any quotation is made, you are ready perversely to try to give the words another meaning; or if the evidence is too strong to be resisted, you will say that you take the passage as a sweet fish out of the salt water, and that you will not therefore consent to drink all the brine of the books of Moses. It will be enough, then, to take those passages in the Hebrew law which Faustus has chosen for criticism, and to show that, when rightly understood, they apply to Christ. For if the things which our adversary ridicules and condemns are made to prove that he himself is condemned by Christian truth, it will be evident that either the mere quotation or the careful examination of the other passages will be enough to show their agreement with Christian faith. Well, then, O you full of all subtlety, when the Lord in the Gospel says, "If you believed Moses, you would believe me also, for he wrote of me," John 5:46 there is no occasion for the great perplexity you pretend to be in, or for the alternative of either pronouncing this verse spurious or calling Jesus a liar. The verse is as genuine as its words are true. I preferred, says Faustus, to attribute falsehood to the writers, rather than to the Author of truth. What sort of faith can you have in Christ as the author of truth, when your doctrine is that His flesh and His death, His wounds and their marks, were feigned? And where is your authority for saying that Christ is the author of truth, if you dare to attribute falsehood to those who wrote of Him, whose testimony has come down to us with the confirmation of those immediately succeeding them? You have not seen Christ, nor has He conversed with you as with the apostles, nor called you from heaven as He did Saul. What knowledge or belief can we have of Christ, but on the authority of Scripture? Or if there is falsehood in the Gospel which has been widely published among all nations, and has been held in such high sacredness in all churches since the name of Christ was first preached, where shall we find a trustworthy record of Christ? If the Gospel is called in question in spite of the general consent regarding it, there can be no writing which a man may not call spurious if he does not wish to believe it.
12. You go on to quote Christ's words, that all who came before Him were thieves and robbers. How do you know that these were Christ's words, but from the Gospel? You profess faith in these words, as if you had heard them from the mouth of the Lord Himself. But if any one declares the verse to be spurious, and denies that Christ said this, you will have, in reply, to exert yourself in vindication of the authority of the Gospel. Unhappy being! What you refuse to believe is written in the same place as that which you quote as spoken by the Lord Himself. We believe both, for we believe the sacred narrative in which both are contained. We believe both that Moses wrote of Christ, and that all that came before Christ were thieves and robbers. By their coming He means their not being sent. Those who were sent, as Moses and the holy prophets, came not before Him, but with Him. They did not proudly wish to precede Him, but were the humble bearers of the message which He uttered by them. According to the meaning which you give to the Lord's words, it is plain that with you there can be no prophets. And so you have made a Christ for yourselves who should prophesy a Christ to come. If you have any prophets of your own, they will have, of course, no authority, as not being recognized by any others; but if there are any that you dare to quote as prophesying that Christ would come in an unreal body, and would suffer an unreal death, and would show to His doubting disciples unreal marks of wounds, not to speak of the abominable nature of such prophecies, and of the evident untruthfulness of those who commend falsehood in Christ, by your own interpretation those prophets must have been thieves and robbers, for they could not have spoken of Christ as coming in any manner unless they had come before Him. If by those who came before Christ we understand those who would not come with Him—that is, with the Word of God—but without being sent by God brought their own falsehoods to men, you yourselves, although you are born in this world after the death and the resurrection of Christ, are thieves and robbers. For, without waiting for His illumination that you might preach His truth, you have come before Him to preach up your own deceits.
13. In the passage where we read of the Jews saying to Christ, You bear witness of yourself, your witness is not true, you do not see that Christ replies by saying that Moses wrote of Him, simply because you have not got the eye of piety to see with. The answer of Christ is this: "It is written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true; I am one who bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me bears witness of me." John 8:17-18 What does this mean, if rightly understood, but that this number of witnesses required by the law was fixed upon and consecrated in the spirit of prophecy, that even thus might be prefigured the future revelation of the Father and Son, whose spirit is the Holy Spirit of the inseparable Trinity? So it is written: "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established." Deuteronomy 19:15 As a matter of fact, one witness generally speaks the truth, while a number tell lies. And the world, in its conversion to Christianity, believed one apostle preaching the gospel rather than the mistaken multitude who persecuted him. There was a special reason for requiring this number of witnesses, and in His answer the Lord implied that Moses prophesied of Him. Do you carp at His saying your law instead of the law of God? But, as every one knows, this is the common expression in Scripture. Your law means the law given to you. So the apostle speaks of his gospel, while at the same time he declares that he received it not from man, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. You might as well say that Christ denies God to be His Father, when He uses the words your Father instead of our Father. Again, you should refuse to believe the voice which you allude to as having come from heaven, This is my beloved Son, believe Him, because you did not hear it. But if you believe this because you find it in the sacred Scriptures, you will also find there what you deny, that Moses wrote of Christ, besides many other things that you do not acknowledge as true. Do you not see that your own mischievous argument may be used to prove that this voice never came from heaven? To your own destruction, and to the detriment of the welfare of mankind, you try to weaken the authority of the gospel, by arguing that it cannot be true that Christ said that Moses wrote of Him; because if He had said this, the ingenious hostility of the Jews would have led them at once to ask what He supposed Moses to have written of Him. In the same way, it might be impiously argued that if that voice had really come from heaven, all the Jews who heard it would have believed. Why are you so unreasonable as not to consider that, as it was possible for the Jews to remain hardened in unbelief after hearing the voice from heaven, so it was possible for them, when Christ said that Moses wrote of Him, to refrain from asking what Moses wrote, because in their ingenious hostility they were afraid of being proved to be in the wrong?
14. Besides that this argument is an impious assault on the gospel, Faustus himself is aware of its feebleness, and therefore insists more on what he calls his chief difficulty—that in all his search of the writings of Moses he has found no prophecies of Christ. The obvious reply is, that he does not understand. And if any one asks why he does not understand, the answer is that he reads with a hostile, unbelieving mind; he does not search in order to know, but thinks he knows when he is ignorant. This vainglorious presumption either blinds the eye of his understanding so as to prevent his seeing anything, or distorts his vision, so that his remarks of approval or disapproval are misdirected. I ask, he says, for instruction in whatever the writings of Moses contain about our God and Lord, which has escaped me in reading. I reply at once that it has all escaped him, for all is written of Christ. As we cannot go through the whole, I will, with the help of God, comply with your request, to the extent I have already promised, by showing that the passages which you specially criticise refer to Christ. You tell me not to use the ignorant argument that Christ affirms Moses to have written of Him. But if I use this argument, it is not because I am ignorant, but because I am a believer. I acknowledge that this argument will not convince a Gentile or a Jew. But, in spite of all your evasions, you are obliged to confess that it tells against you, who boast of possessing a kind of Christianity. You say, Suppose you had not to deal with me, as in my case there is an obligation to believe Him whom I profess to follow, but with a Jew or a Gentile. This is as much as to say that you, at any rate, with whom I have at present to do, are satisfied that Moses wrote of Christ; for you are not bold enough to discard altogether the well-grounded authority of the Gospel where Christ's own declaration is recorded. Even when you attack this authority indirectly, you feel that you are attacking your own position. You are aware that if you refuse to believe the Gospel, which is so generally known and received, you must fail utterly in the attempt to substitute for it any trustworthy record of the sayings and doings of Christ. You are afraid that the loss of the Christian name might lead to the exposure of your absurdities to universal scorn and condemnation. Accordingly you try to recover yourself, by saying that your profession of Christianity obliges you to believe these words of the Gospel. So you, at any rate, which is all that we need care for just now, are caught and slain in this death blow to your errors. You are forced to confess that Moses wrote of Christ, because the Gospel, which your profession obliges you to believe, states that Christ said so. As regards a discussion with a Jew or a Gentile, I have already shown as well as I could how I think it should be conducted.
15. I still hold that there is a reference to Christ in the passage which you select for refutation, where God says to Moses, "I will raise up unto them from among their brethren a prophet like you." Deuteronomy 18:15 The string of showy antitheses with which you try to ornament your dull discourse does not at all affect my belief of this truth. You attempt to prove, by a comparison of Christ and Moses, that they are unlike, and that therefore the words, "I will raise up a prophet like you," cannot be understood of Christ. You specify a number of particulars in which you find a diversity: that the one is man, and the other God; that one is a sinner, the other sinless; that one is born of ordinary generation, the other, as we hold, of a virgin, and, as you hold, not even of a virgin; the one incurs God's anger, and is put to death on a mountain, the other suffers voluntarily, having throughout the approval of His Father. But surely things may be said to be like, although they are not like in every respect. Besides the resemblance between things of the same nature, as between two men, or between parents and children, or between men in general, or any species of animals, or in trees, between one olive and another, or one laurel and another, there is often a resemblance in things of a different nature, as between a wild and a tame olive, or between wheat and barley. These things are to some extent allied. But there is the greatest possible distance between the Son of God, by whom all things were made, and a beast or a stone. And yet in the Gospel we read, "Behold the Lamb of God," John 1:29 and in the apostle, "That rock was Christ." 1 Corinthians 10:4 This could not be said except on the supposition of some resemblance. What wonder, then, if Christ condescended to become like Moses, when He was made like the lamb which God by Moses commanded His people to eat as a type of Christ, enjoining that its blood should be used as a means of protection, and that it should be called the Passover, which every one must admit to be fulfilled in Christ? The Scripture, I acknowledge, shows points of difference; and the Scripture also, as I call on you to acknowledge, shows points of resemblance. There are points of both kinds, and one can be proved as well as the other. Christ is unlike man, for He is God; and it is written of Him that He is "over all, God blessed for ever." Romans 9:5 Christ is also like man, for He is man; and it is likewise written of Him, that He is the "Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus." 1 Timothy 2:5 Christ is unlike a sinner, for He is ever holy; and He is like a sinner, for "God sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, that by sin He might condemn sin in the flesh." Romans 8:3 Christ is unlike a man born in ordinary generation, for He was born of a virgin; and yet He is like, for He too was born of a woman, to whom it was said, "That holy thing which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God." Luke 1:35 Christ is unlike a man, who dies on account of his own sin, for He died without sin, and of His own free-will; and again, He is like, for He too died a real death of the body.
16. You ought not to say, in disparagement of Moses, that he was a sinner, and that he was put to death on a mountain because his God was angry with him. For Moses could glory in the Lord as his Saviour, who is also the Saviour of him who says, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief." 1 Timothy 1:15 Moses, indeed, is accused by the voice of God, because his faith showed signs of weakness when he was commanded to draw water out of the rock. Numbers 9:10-12 In this he may have sinned as Peter did, when from the weakness of his faith he became afraid in the midst of the waves. Matthew 14:30 But we cannot think from this, that he who, as the Gospel tells us, was counted worthy to be present with the Lord along with holy Elias on the mount of transfiguration, was separated from the eternal fellowship of the saints. The sacred history shows in what favor he was with God even after his sin. But since you may ask why God speaks of this sin as deserving the punishment of death, and as I have promised to point out prophecies of Christ in those passages which you select for criticism, I will try, with the Lord's help, to show that what you object to in the death of Moses is, when rightly understood, prophetical of Christ.
17. We often find in the symbolic passages of Scripture, that the same person appears in different characters on different occasions. So, on this occasion, Moses represents and prefigures the Jewish people as placed under the law. As, then, Moses, when he struck the rock with his rod, doubted the power of God, so the people who were under the law given by Moses, when they nailed Christ to the cross, did not believe Him to be the power of God. And as water flowed from the smitten rock for those that were thirsty, so life comes to believers from the stroke of the Lord's passion. The testimony of the apostle is clear and decisive on this point, when he says, "This rock was Christ." 1 Corinthians 10:4 In the command of God, that the death of the flesh of Moses should take place on the mountain, we see the divine appointment that the carnal doubt of the divinity of Christ should die on Christ's exaltation. As the rock is Christ, so is the mountain. The rock is the fortitude of His humiliation; the mountain the height of His exaltation. For as the apostle says, "This rock was Christ," so Christ Himself says, "A city set upon an hill cannot be hid," Matthew 5:14 showing that He is the hill, and believers the city built upon the glory of His name. The carnal mind lives when, like the smitten rock, the humiliation of Christ on the cross is despised. For Christ crucified is to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness. And the carnal mind dies when, like the mountain-top, Christ is seen in His exaltation. "For to them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God, and the wisdom of God." 1 Corinthians 1:23-24 Moses therefore ascended the mount, that in the death of the flesh he might be received by the living spirit. If Faustus had ascended, he would not have uttered carnal objections from a dead mind. It was the carnal mind that made Peter dread the smiting of the rock, when, on the occasion of the Lord's foretelling His passion, he said, "Be it far from You, Lord; spare Yourself." And this sin too was severely rebuked, when the Lord replied, "Get behind me, Satan; you are an offense unto me: for you savor not the things which be of God, but those which be of men." Matthew 16:22-23 And where did this carnal distrust die but in the glorification of Christ, as on a mountain height? If it was alive when Peter timidly denied Christ, it was dead when he fearlessly preached Him. It was alive in Saul, when, in his aversion to the offense of the cross, he made havoc of the Christian faith, and where but on this mountain had it died, when Paul was able to say, "I live no longer, but Christ lives in me?" Galatians 2:20
18. What other reason has your heretical folly to give for thinking that there is no prophecy of Christ in the words, "I will raise up unto them a Prophet from among their brethren, like you?" Your showing Christ to be unlike Moses is no reason; for we can show that in other respects He is like. How can you object to Christ's being called a prophet, since He condescended to be a man, and actually foretold many future events? What is a prophet, but one who predicts events beyond human foresight? So Christ says of Himself: "A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country." Matthew 13:57 But, turning from you, since you have already acknowledged that your profession of Christianity obliges you to believe the Gospel, I address myself to the Jew, who enjoys the poor privilege of liberty from the yoke of Christ, and who therefore thinks it allowable to say: Your Christ spoke falsely; Moses wrote nothing of him.
19. Let the Jews say what prophet is meant in this promise of God to Moses: "I will raise up unto them a Prophet from among their brethren, like you." Many prophets appeared after Moses; but one in particular is here pointed out. The Jews will perhaps naturally think of the successor of Moses, who led into the promised land the people that Moses had brought out of Egypt. Having this successor of Moses in his mind, he may perhaps laugh at me for asking to what prophet the words of the promise refer, since it is recorded who followed Moses in ruling and leading the people. When he has laughed at my ignorance, as Faustus supposes him to do, I will still continue my inquiries, and will desire my laughing opponent to give me a serious answer to the question why Moses changed the name of this successor, who was preferred to himself as the leader of the people into the promised land, to show that the law given by Moses not to save, but to convince the sinner, cannot lead us into heaven, but only the grace and truth which are by Jesus Christ. This successor was called Osea, and Moses gave him the name of Jesus. Why then did he give him this name when he sent him from the valley of Pharan into the land into which he was to lead the people? The true Jesus says, "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself." John 14:3 I will ask the Jew if the prophet does not show the prophetical meaning of these things when he says, "God shall come from Africa, and the Holy One from Pharan." Does this not mean that the holy God would come with the name of him who came from Africa by Pharan, that is, with the name of Jesus? Then, again, it is the Word of God Himself who speaks when He promises to provide this successor to Moses, speaking of him as an angel—a name commonly given in Scripture to those carrying any message. The words are: "Behold I send my angel before your face, to preserve you in the way, and to bring you into the land which I have sworn to give you. Take heed unto him, and obey, and beware of unbelief in him; for he will not take anything from you wrongfully, for my name is in him." Exodus 23:20-21 Consider these words. Let the Jew, not to speak of the Manichæan, say what other angel he can find in Scripture to whom these words apply, but this leader who was to bring the people into the land of promise. Then let him inquire who it was that succeeded Moses, and brought in the people. He will find that it was Jesus, and that this was not his name at first, but after his name was changed. It follows that He who said, "My name is in him," is the true Jesus, the leader who brings His people into the inheritance of eternal life, according to the New Testament, of which the Old was a figure. No event or action could have a more distinctly prophetical character than this, where the very name is a prediction.
20. It follows that this Jew, if he wishes to be a Jew inwardly, in the spirit, and not in the letter, if he wishes to be thought a true Israelite, in whom is no guile, will recognize in this dead Jesus, who led the people into the land of mortality, a figure of the true living Jesus, whom he may follow into the land of life. In this way, he will no longer in a hostile spirit resist so plain a prophecy, but, influenced by the allusion to the Jesus of the Old Testament, he will be prepared to listen meekly to Him whose name he bore, and who leads to the true land of promise; for He says, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the land." Matthew 5:4 The Gentile also, if his heart is not too stony, if he is one of those stones from which God raises up children unto Abraham, must allow it to be wonderful that in the ancient books of the people of whom Jesus was born, so plain a prophecy, including His very name, is found recorded; and must remark at the same time, that it is not any man of the name of Jesus who is prophesied of, but a divine person, because God said that His name was in that man who was appointed to rule the people, and to lead them into the kingdom, and who by a change of name was called Jesus. In His being sent with this new name, He brings a great and divine message, and is therefore called an Angel, which, as every tyro in Greek knows, means messenger. No Gentile, therefore, if he were not perverse and obstinate, would despise these books merely because he is not subject to the law of the Hebrews, to whom the books belong; but would think highly of the books, no matter whose they were, on finding in them prophecies of such ancient date, and of what he sees now taking place. Instead of despising Christ Jesus because He is foretold in the Hebrew Scriptures, he would conclude that one thought worthy of being the subject of prophetic description, whoever the writers might be, for so many ages before His coming into the world—sometimes in plain announcements, sometimes in figure by symbolic actions and utterances—must claim to be regarded with profound admiration and reverence, and to be followed with implicit reliance. Thus the facts of Christian history would prove the truth of the prophecy, and the prophecy would prove the claims of Christ. Call this fancy, if it is not actually the case that men all over the world have been led, and are now led, to believe in Christ by reading these books.
21. In view of the multitudes from all nations who have become zealous believers in these books, it is laughably absurd to tell us that it is impossible to persuade a Gentile to learn the Christian faith from Jewish books. Indeed, it is a great confirmation of our faith that such important testimony is borne by enemies. The believing Gentiles cannot suppose these testimonies to Christ to be recent forgeries; for they find them in books held sacred for so many ages by those who crucified Christ, and still regarded with the highest veneration by those who every day blaspheme Christ. If the prophecies of Christ were the production of the preachers of Christ, we might suspect their genuineness. But now the preacher expounds the text of the blasphemer. In this way the Most High God orders the blindness of the ungodly for the profit of the saint, in His righteous government bringing good out of evil, that those who by their own choice live wickedly may be, in His just judgment, made the instruments of His will. So, lest those that were to preach Christ to the world should be thought to have forged the prophecies which speak of Christ as to be born, to work miracles, to suffer unjustly, to die, to rise again, to ascend to heaven, to publish the gospel of eternal life among all nations, the unbelief of the Jews has been made of signal benefit to us; so that those who do not receive in their heart for their own good these truths, carry, in their hands for our benefit the writings in which these truths are contained. And the unbelief of the Jews increases rather than lessens the authority of the books, for this blindness is itself foretold. They testify to the truth by their not understanding it. By not understanding the books which predict that they would not understand, they prove these books to be true.
22. In the passage, "You shall see your life hanging, and shall not believe your life," Deuteronomy 28:16 Faustus is deceived by the ambiguity of the words. The words may be differently interpreted; but that they cannot be understood of Christ is not said by Faustus, nor can be said by anyone who does not deny that Christ is life, or that He was seen by the Jews hanging on the cross, or that they did not believe Him. Since Christ Himself says, "I am the life," John 14:6 and since there is no doubt that He was seen hanging by the unbelieving Jews, I see no reason for doubting that this was written of Christ; for, as Christ says, Moses wrote of Him. Since we have already refuted Faustus' arguments by which he tries to show that the words, "I will raise up from among their brethren a prophet like you," do not apply to Christ, because Christ is not like Moses, we need not insist on this other prophecy. Since, in the one case, his argument is that Christ is unlike Moses, so here he ought to argue that Christ is not the life, or that He was not seen hanging by the unbelieving Jews. But as he has not said this, and as no one will now venture to say so, there should be no difficulty in accepting this too as a prophecy of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, uttered by His servant. These words, says Faustus, occur in a chapter of curses. But why should it be the less a prophecy because it occurs in the midst of prophecies? Or why should it not be a prophecy of Christ, although the context does not seem to refer to Christ? Indeed, among all the curses which the Jews brought on themselves by their sinful pride, nothing could be worse than this, that they should see their Life— that is, the Son of God — hanging, and should not believe their Life. For the curses of prophecy are not hostile imprecations, but announcements of coming judgment. Hostile imprecations are forbidden, for it is said, "Bless, and curse not." Romans 12:14 But prophetic announcements are often found in the writings of the saints, as when the Apostle Paul says: "Alexander the coppersmith has done me much evil; the Lord shall reward him according to his works." 2 Timothy 4:14 So it might be thought that the apostle was prompted by angry feeling to utter this imprecation: "I would that they were even made eunuchs that trouble you." Galatians 5:12 But if we remember who the writer is, we may see in this ambiguous expression an ingenious style of benediction. For there are eunuchs which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. Matthew 19:12 If Faustus had a pious appetite for Christian food, he would have found a similar ambiguity in the words of Moses. By the Jews the declaration, "You shall see your life hanging, and shall not believe your life," may have been understood to mean that they would see their life to be in danger from the threats and plots of their enemies, and would not expect to live. But the child of the Gospel, who has heard Christ say, "He wrote of me," distinguishes in the ambiguity of the prophecy between what is thrown to swine and what is addressed to man. To his mind the thought immediately suggests itself of Christ hanging as the life of man, and of the Jews not believing in Him for this very reason, that they saw Him hanging. As to the objection that these words, "You shall see your life hanging, and shall not believe your life," are the only words referring to Christ in a passage containing maledictions not applicable to Christ, some might grant that this is true. For this prophecy might very well occur among the curses pronounced by the prophet upon the ungodly people, for these curses are of different kinds. But I, and those who with me consider more closely the saying of the Lord in His Gospel, which is not, He wrote also of me, as admitting that Moses wrote other things not referring to Christ, but, "He wrote of me," as teaching that in searching the Scriptures we should view them as intended solely to illustrate the grace of Christ, see a reference to Christ in the rest of the passage also. But it would take too much time to explain this here.
23. So far from these words of Faustus' quotation being proved not to refer to Christ by their occurring among the other curses, these curses cannot be rightly understood except as prophecies of the glory of Christ, in which lies the happiness of man. And what is true of these curses is still more true of this quotation. If it could be said of Moses that his words have a different meaning from what was in his mind, I would rather suppose him to have prophesied without knowing it, than allow that the words, "You shall see your life hanging, and shall not believe your life," are not applicable to Christ. So the words of Caiaphas had a different meaning from what he intended, when, in his hostility to Christ, he said that it was expedient that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish, where the Evangelist added that he said this not of himself, but, since he was high priest, he prophesied. John 11:49-51 But Moses was not Caiaphas; and therefore when Moses said to the Hebrew people, "You shall see your life hanging, and shall not believe your life," he not only spoke of Christ, as he certainly did, even though he spoke without knowing the meaning of what he said, but he knew that he spoke of Christ. For he was a most faithful steward of the prophetic mystery, that is, of the priestly unction which gives the knowledge of the name of Christ; and in this mystery even Caiaphas, wicked as he was, was able to prophesy without knowing it. The prophetic unction enabled him to prophesy, though his wicked life prevented him from knowing it. Who then can say that there are no prophecies of Christ in Moses, with whom began that unction to which we owe the knowledge of Christ's name, and by which even Caiaphas, the persecutor of Christ, prophesied of Christ without knowing it?
24. We have already said as much as appeared desirable of the curse pronounced on every one that hangs on a tree. Enough has been said to show that the command to kill any prophet or prince who tried to turn away the children of Israel from their God, or to break any commandment, is not directed against Christ. The more we consider the words and actions of our Lord Jesus Christ, the more clearly will this appear; for Christ never tried to turn away any of the Israelites from their God. The God whom Moses taught the people to love and serve, is the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, whom the Lord Jesus Christ speaks of by this name, using the name in refutation of the Sadducees, who denied the resurrection of the dead. He says, "Of the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read what God said from the bush to Moses, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living; for all live unto Him." In the same words with which Christ answered the Sadducees we may answer the Manichæans, for they too deny the resurrection, though in a different way. Again, when Christ said, in praise of the centurion's faith, "Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel," He added, "And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and from the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven; but the children of the kingdom shall go into outer darkness." Matthew 8:10-12 If, then, as Faustus must admit, the God of whom Moses spoke was the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, of whom Christ also spoke, as these passages prove, it follows that Christ did not try to turn away the people from their God. On the contrary, He warned them that they would go into outer darkness, because He saw that they were turned away from their God, in whose kingdom He says the Gentiles called from the whole world will sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob; implying that they would believe in the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob. So the apostle also says: "The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, In your seed shall all nations be blessed." Galatians 3:8 It is implied that those who are blessed in the seed of Abraham shall imitate the faith of Abraham. Christ, then, did not try to turn away the Israelites from their God, but rather charged them with being turned away. The idea that Christ broke one of the commandments given by Moses is not a new one, for the Jews thought so; but it is a mistake, for the Jews were in the wrong. Let Faustus mention the commandment which he supposes the Lord to have broken, and we will point out his mistake, as we have done already, when it was required. Meanwhile it is enough to say, that if the Lord had broken any commandment, He could not have found fault with the Jews for doing so. For when the Jews blamed His disciples for eating with unwashen hands, in which they transgressed not a commandment of God, but the traditions of the elders, Christ said, "Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God, that you may observe your traditions?" He then quotes a commandment of God, which we know to have been given by Moses. "For God said," He adds, "Honor your father and mother, and he that curses father or mother shall die the death. But ye say, Whoever shall say to his father or mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever you might be profited by me, is not obliged to honor his father. So ye make the word of God of none effect by your traditions." Matthew 15:3-6 From this several things maybe learned: that Christ did not turn away the Jews from their God; that He not only did not Himself break God's commandments, but found fault with those who did so; and that it was God Himself who gave these commandments by Moses.
25. In fulfillment of our promise that we would prove the reference to Christ in those passages selected by Faustus from the writings of Moses for adverse criticism, since we cannot here point out the reference to Christ which we believe to exist in all the writings of Moses, it becomes our duty to show that this commandment of Moses, that every prophet or prince should be killed who tried to turn away the people from their God, or to break any commandment, refers to the preservation of the faith which is taught in the Church of Christ. Moses no doubt knew in the spirit of prophecy, and from what he himself heard from God, that many heretics would arise to teach errors of all kinds against the doctrine of Christ, and to preach another Christ than the true Christ. For the true Christ is He that was foretold in the prophecies uttered by Moses himself, and by the other holy men of that nation. Moses accordingly commanded that whoever tried to teach another Christ should be put to death. In obedience to this command, the voice of the Catholic Church, as with the spiritual two-edged sword of both Testaments, puts to death all who try to turn us away from our God, or to break any of the commandments. And chief among these is Manichæus himself; for the truth of the law and the prophets convinces him of error as trying to turn us away from our God, the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, whom Christ acknowledges, and as trying to break the commandments of the law, which, even when they are only figurative, we regard as prophetic of Christ.
26. Faustus uses an argument which is either very deceitful or very stupid. And as Faustus is not stupid, it is probable that he used the argument intentionally, with the design of misleading the careless reader. He says: If these things are not written of Christ, and if you cannot show any others, it follows that there are none at all. The proposition is true; but it remains to be proved, both that these things are not written of Christ, and that no other can be shown. Faustus has not proved this; for we have shown both how these things are to be understood of Christ, and that there are many other things which have no meaning but as applied to Christ. So it does not follow, as Faustus says, that nothing was written by Moses of Christ. Let us repeat Faustus' argument: If these things are not written of Christ, and if you cannot show any others, it follows that there are none at all. Perfectly so. But as both these things and many others have been shown to be written of Christ, or with reference to Christ, the true conclusion is that Faustus' argument is worthless. In the passages quoted by Faustus, he has tried, though without success, to show that they were not written of Christ. But in order to draw the conclusion that there are none at all, he should first have proved that no others can be shown. Instead of this, he takes for granted that the readers of his book will be blind, or the hearers deaf, so that the omission will be overlooked, and runs on thus: If there are none, Christ could not have asserted that there were any. And if Christ did not make this assertion, it follows that this verse is spurious. Here is a man who thinks so much of what he says himself, that he does not consider the possibility of another person saying the opposite. Where is your wit? Is this all you could say for a bad cause? But if the badness of the cause made you utter folly, the bad cause was your own choice. To prove your antecedent false, we have only to show some other things written of Christ. If there are some, it will not be true that there are none. And if there are some, Christ may have asserted that there were. And if Christ may have asserted this, it follows that this verse of the Gospel is not spurious. Coming back, then, to Faustus' proposition, If you cannot show any other, it follows that there are none at all, it requires to be proved that we cannot show any other. We need only refer to what we showed before, as sufficient to prove the truth of the text in the Gospel, in which Christ says, "If you believed Moses, you would also believe me; for he wrote of me." And even though from dullness of mind we could find nothing written of Christ by Moses, still, so strong is the evidence in support of the authority of the Gospel, that it would be incumbent on us to believe that not only some things, but everything written by Moses, refers to Christ; for He says not, He wrote also of me, but, He wrote of me. The truth then is this, that even though there were doubts, which God forbid, of the genuineness of this verse, the doubt would be removed by the number of testimonies to Christ which we find in Moses; while, on the other hand, even if we could find none, we should still be bound to believe that these are to be found, because no doubts can be admitted regarding any verse in the Gospel.
27. As to your argument that the doctrine of Moses was unlike that of Christ, and that therefore it was improbable that if they believed Moses, they would believe Christ too; and that it would rather follow that their belief in one would imply of necessity opposition to the other—you could not have said this if you had turned your mind's eye for a moment to see men all the world over, when they are not blinded by a contentious spirit, learned and unlearned, Greek and barbarian, wise and unwise, to whom the apostle called himself a debtor, Romans 1:14 believing in both Christ and Moses. If it was improbable that the Jews would believe both Christ and Moses, it is still more improbable that all the world would do so. But as we see all nations believing both, and in a common and well-grounded faith holding the agreement of the prophecy of the one with the gospel of the other, it was no impossible thing to which this one nation was called, when Christ said to them, "If you believed Moses, you would also believe me." Rather we should be amazed at the guilty obstinacy of the Jews, who refused to do what we see the whole world has done.
28. Regarding the Sabbath and circumcision, and the distinction in foods, in which you say the teaching of Moses differs from what Christians are taught by Christ, we have already shown that, as the apostle says, "all those things were our examples." 1 Corinthians 10:6 The difference is not in the doctrine, but in the time. There was a time when it was proper that these things should be figuratively predicted; and there is now a different time when it is proper that they should be openly declared and fully accomplished. It is not surprising that the Jews, who understood the Sabbath in a carnal sense, should oppose Christ, who began to open up its spiritual meaning. Reply, if you can, to the apostle, who declares that the rest of the Sabbath was a shadow of something future. Colossians 2:16-17 If the Jews opposed Christ because they did not understand what the true Sabbath is, there is no reason why you should oppose Him, or refuse to learn what true innocence is. For on that occasion when Jesus appears especially to set aside the Sabbath, when His disciples were hungry, and pulled the ears of grain through which they were passing, and ate them, Jesus, in replying to the Jews, declared His disciples to be innocent. "If you knew," He said "what this means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the innocent." Matthew 12:7 They should rather have pitied the wants of the disciples, for hunger forced them to do what they did. But pulling ears of grain, which is innocence in the teaching of Christ, is murder in the teaching of Manichæus. Or was it an act of charity in the apostles to pull the ears of grain, that they might in eating set free the members of God, as in your foolish notions? Then it must be cruelty in you not to do the same. Faustus' reason for setting aside the Sabbath is because he knows that God's power is exercised without cessation, and without weariness. It is for those to say this, who believe that all times are the production of an eternal act of God's will. But you will find it difficult to reconcile this with your doctrine, that the rebellion of the race of darkness broke your god's rest, which was also disturbed by a sudden attack of the enemy; or perhaps God never had rest, as he foresaw this from eternity, and could not feel at ease in the prospect of so dire a conflict, with such loss and disaster to his members.
29. Unless Christ had considered this Sabbath— which in your want of knowledge and of piety you laugh at— one of the prophecies written of Himself, He would not have borne such a testimony to it as He did. For when, as you say in praise of Christ, He suffered voluntarily, and so could choose His own time for suffering and for resurrection, He brought it about that His body rested from all its works on Sabbath in the tomb, and that His resurrection on the third day, which we call the Lord's day, the day after the Sabbath, and therefore the eighth, proved the circumcision of the eighth day to be also prophetical of Him. For what does circumcision mean, but the eradication of the mortality which comes from our carnal generation? So the apostle says: "Putting off from Himself His flesh, He made a show of principalities and powers, triumphing over them in Himself." Colossians 2:15 The flesh here said to be put off is that mortality of flesh on account of which the body is properly called flesh. The flesh is the mortality, for in the immortality of the resurrection there will be no flesh; as it is written, "Flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God." You are accustomed to argue from these words against our faith in the doctrine of the resurrection of the body, which has already taken place in the Lord Himself. You keep out of view the following words, in which the apostle explains his meaning. To show what he here means by flesh, he adds, "Neither shall corruption inherit incorruption." For this body, which from its mortality is properly called flesh, is changed in the resurrection, so as to be no longer corruptible and mortal. This is the apostle's statement, and not a supposition of ours, as his next words prove. "Lo" he says, "I show you a mystery: we shall all rise again, but we shall not all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the last trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall rise incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." 1 Corinthians 15:50-59 To put on immortality, the body puts off mortality. This is the mystery of circumcision, which by the law took place on the eighth day; and on the eighth day, the Lord's day, the day after the Sabbath, was fulfilled in its true meaning by the Lord. Hence it is said, "Putting off His flesh, He made a show of principalities and powers." For by means of this mortality the hostile powers of hell ruled over us. Christ is said to have made a show or example of these, because in Himself, our Head, He gave an example which will be fully realized in the liberation of His whole body, the Church, from the power of the devil at the last resurrection. This is our faith. And according to the prophetic declaration quoted by Paul, "The just shall live by faith." This is our justification. Even Pagans believe that Christ died. But only Christians believe that Christ rose again. "If you confess with your mouth," says the apostle, "that Jesus is the Lord, and believest in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved." Romans 10:9 Again, because we are justified by faith in Christ's resurrection, the apostle says, "He died for our offenses, and rose again for our justification." Romans 4:25 And because this resurrection by faith in which we are justified was prefigured by the circumcision of the eighth day, the apostle says of Abraham, with whom the observance began, "He received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of faith." Romans 4:11 Circumcision, then, is one of the prophecies of Christ, written by Moses, of whom Christ said, "He wrote of me." In the words of the Lord, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you compass sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he is made, you make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves," Matthew 23:15 it is not the circumcision of the proselyte which is meant, but his imitation of the conduct of the scribes and Pharisees, which the Lord forbids His disciples to imitate, when He says: "The scribes and Pharisees sit on Moses' seat: what they say unto you, do; but do not after their works; for they say, and do not." Matthew 23:2-3 These words of the Lord teach us both the honor due to the teaching of Moses, in whose seat even bad men were obliged to teach good things, and the reason of the proselyte becoming a child of hell, which was not that he heard from the Pharisees the words of the law, but that he copied their example. Such a circumcised proselyte might have been addressed in the words of Paul: "Circumcision verily profits, if you keep the law." Romans 2:26 His imitation of the Pharisees in not keeping the law made him a child of hell. And he was twofold more than they, probably because of his neglecting to fulfill what he voluntarily undertook, when, not being born a Jew, he chose to become a Jew.
30. Your scoff is very inappropriate, when you say that Moses discusses like a glutton what should be eaten, and commands some things to be freely used as clean, and other things as unclean to be not even touched. A glutton makes no distinction, except in choosing the sweetest food. Perhaps you wish to commend to the admiration of the uninitiated the innocence of your abstemious habits, by appearing not to know, or to have forgotten, that swine's flesh tastes better than mutton. But as this too was written by Moses of Christ in figurative prophecy, in which the flesh of animals signifies those who are to be united to the body of Christ, which is the Church, or who are to be cast out, you are typified by the unclean animals; for your disagreement with the Catholic faith shows that you do not ruminate on the word of wisdom, and that you do not divide the hoof, in the sense of making a correct distinction between the Old Testament and the New. But you show still more audacity in adopting the erroneous opinions of your Adimantus.
31. You follow Adimantus in saying that Christ made no distinction in food, except in entirely prohibiting the use of animal food to His disciples, while He allowed the laity to eat anything that is eatable; and declared that they were not polluted by what enters into the mouth, but that the unseemly things which come out of the mouth are the things which defile a man. These words of yours are unseemly indeed, for they express notorious falsehood. If Christ taught that the evil things which come out of the mouth are the only things that defile a man, why should they not be the only things to defile His disciples, so as to make it unnecessary that any food should be forbidden or unclean? Is it only the laity that are not polluted by what goes into the mouth, but by what comes out of it? In that case, they are better protected from impurity than the saints, who are polluted both by what goes in and by what comes out. But as Christ, comparing Himself with John, who came neither eating nor drinking, says that He came eating and drinking, I should like to know what He ate and drank. When exposing the perversity which found fault with both, He says: "John came neither eating nor drinking; and you say, He has a devil. The Son of man comes eating and drinking; and you say, Behold a glutton and a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners." Matthew 11:18-19 We know what John ate and drank. For it is not said that he drank nothing, but that he drank no wine or strong drink; so he must have drunk water. He did not live without food, but his food was locusts and wild honey. Matthew 3:4 When Christ says that John did not eat or drink, He means that he did not use the food which the Jews used. And because the Lord used this food, He is spoken of, in contrast with John, as eating and drinking. Will it be said that it was bread and vegetables which the Lord ate, and which John did not eat? It would be strange if one was said not to eat, because he used locusts and honey, while the other is said to eat simply because he used bread and vegetables. But whatever may be thought of the eating, certainly no one could be called a wine-bibber unless he used wine. Why then do you call wine unclean? It is not in order to subdue the body by abstinence that you prohibit these things, but because they are unclean, for you say that they are the poisonous filth of the race of darkness; whereas the apostle says, "To the pure all things are pure." Titus 1:15 Christ, according to this doctrine, taught that all food was alike, but forbade His disciples to use what the Manichæans call unclean. Where do you find this prohibition? You are not afraid to deceive men by falsehood; but in God's righteous providence, you are so blinded that you provide us with the means of refuting you. For I cannot resist quoting for examination the whole of that passage of the Gospel which Faustus uses against Moses; that we may see from it the falsehood of what was said first by Adimantus, and here by Faustus, that the Lord Jesus forbade the use of animal food to His disciples, and allowed it to the laity. After Christ's reply to the accusation that His disciples ate with unwashen hands, we read in the Gospel as follows: "And He called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear and understand. Not that which goes into the mouth defiles a man: but that which comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man. Then came His disciples, and said unto Him, Knowest Thou that the Pharisees were offended after they heard this saying?" Here, when addressed by His disciples, He ought certainly, according to the Manichæans, to have given them special instructions to abstain from animal food, and to show that His words, "Not that which goes into the mouth defiles a man, but that which goes out of the mouth," applied to the multitude only. Let us hear, then, what, according to the evangelist, the Lord replied, not to the multitude, but to His disciples: "But He answered and said, Every plant which my heavenly Father has not planted shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." The reason of this was, that in their desire to observe their own traditions, they did not understand the commandments of God. As yet the disciples had not asked the Master how they were to understand what He had said to the multitude. But now they do so; for the evangelist adds: "Then answered Peter and said unto Him, Declare unto us this parable." This shows that Peter thought that when the Lord said, "Not that which goes into the mouth defiles a man, but that which goes out of the mouth," He did not speak plainly and literally, but, as usual, wished to convey some instruction under the guise of a parable. When His disciples, then, put this question in private, does He tell them, as the Manichæans say, that all animal food is unclean, and that they must never touch it? Instead of this, He rebukes them for not understanding His plain language, and for thinking it a parable when it was not. We read: "And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever enters in at the mouth goes into the belly, and is cast out into the drought? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart, and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defiles not a man." Matthew 15:16-20
32. Here we have a complete exposure of the falsehood of the Manichæans: for it is plain that the Lord did not in this matter teach one thing to the multitude, and another in private to His disciples. Here is abundant evidence that the error and deceit are in the Manichæans, and not in Moses, nor in Christ, nor in the doctrine taught figuratively in one Testament and plainly in the other—prophesied in one, and fulfilled in the other. How can the Manichæans say that the Catholics regard none of the things that Moses wrote, when in fact they observe them all, not now in the figures, but in what the figures were intended to foretell? No one would say that one who reads the Scripture subsequently to its being written does not observe it because he does not form the letters which he reads. The letters are the figures of the sounds which he utters; and though he does not form the letters, he cannot read without examining them. The reason why the Jews did not believe in Christ, was because they did not observe even the plain literal precepts of Moses. So Christ says to them: "You pay tithe of mint and cummin, and omit the weightier matters of the law, mercy and judgment. You strain out a gnat and swallow a camel. These ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone." Matthew 23:23-24 So also He told them that by their traditions they made of none effect the commandment of God to give honor to parents. On account of this pride and perversity in neglecting what they understood, they were justly blinded, so that they could not understand the other things.
33. You see, my argument is not that if you are a Christian you must believe Christ when He says that Moses wrote of Him, and that if you do not believe this you are no Christian. The account you give of yourself in asking to be dealt with as a Jew or a Gentile is your own affair. My endeavor is to leave no avenue of error open to you. I have shut you out, too, from that precipice to which you rush as a last resort, when you say that these are spurious passages in the Gospel; so that, freed from the pernicious influence of this opinion, you may be reduced to the necessity of believing in Christ. You say you wish to be taught like the Christian Thomas, whom Christ did not spurn from Him because he doubted of Him, but, in order to heal the wounds of his mind, showed him the marks of the wounds in His own body. These are your own words. It is well that you desire to be taught as Thomas was. I feared you would make out this passage too to be spurious. Believe, then, the marks of Christ's wounds. For if the marks were real, the wounds must have been real. And the wounds could not have been real, unless His body had been capable of real wounds; which upsets at once the whole error of the Manichæans. If you say that the marks were unreal which Christ showed to His doubting disciple, it follows that He must be a deceitful teacher, and that you wish to be deceived in being taught by Him. But as no one wishes to be deceived, while many wish to deceive, it is probable that you would rather imitate the teaching which you ascribe to Christ than the learning you ascribe to Thomas. If, then, you believe that Christ deceived a doubting inquirer by false marks of wounds, you must yourself be regarded, not as a safe teacher, but as a dangerous impostor. On the other hand, if Thomas touched the real marks of Christ's wounds, you must confess that Christ had a real body. So, if you believe as Thomas did, you are no more a Manichæan. If you do not believe even with Thomas, you must be left to your infidelity.
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/140616.htm>.
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