Faustus is willing to admit that Christ may have said that He came not to destroy the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them; but if He did, it was to pacify the Jews and in a modified sense. Augustine replies, and still further elaborates the Catholic view of prophecy and its fulfillment.
1. Faustus said: I will grant that Christ said that he came not to destroy the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them. But why did Jesus say this? Was it to pacify the Jews, who were enraged at seeing their sacred institutions trampled upon by Christ, and regarded him as a wild blasphemer, not to be listened to, much less to be followed? Or was it for our instruction as Gentile believers, that we might learn meekly and patiently to bear the yoke of commandment laid on our necks by the law and the prophets of the Jews? You yourself can hardly suppose that Christ's words were intended to bring us under the authority of the law and the prophets of the Hebrews. So that the other explanation which I have given of the words must be the true one. Every one knows that the Jews were always ready to attack Christ, both with words and with actual violence. Naturally, then, they would be enraged at the idea that Christ was destroying their law and their prophets; and, to appease them, Christ might very well tell them not to think that he came to destroy the law, but that he came to fulfill it. There was no falsehood or deceit in this, for he used the word law in a general sense, not of any particular law.
2. There are three laws. One is that of the Hebrews, which the apostle calls the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2 The second is that of the Gentiles, which he calls the law of nature. "For the Gentiles," he says, "do by nature the things contained in the law; and, not having the law, they are a law into themselves; who show the work of the law written on their hearts." Romans 2:14-15 The third law is the truth of which the apostle speaks when he says, "The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." Romans 8:2 Since, then, there are three laws, we must carefully inquire which of the three Christ spoke of when He said that He came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. In the same way, there are prophets of the Jews, and prophets of the Gentiles, and prophets of truth. With the prophets of the Jews, of course, every one is acquainted. If any one is in doubt about the prophets of the Gentiles, let him hear what Paul says when writing of the Cretans to Titus: "A prophet of their own has said, The Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies." Titus 1:12 This proves that the Gentiles also had their prophets. The truth also has its prophets, as we learn from Jesus as well as from Paul. Jesus says: "Behold, I send unto you wise men and prophets, and some of them you shall kill in various places." Matthew 23:34 And Paul says: "The Lord Himself appointed first apostles, and then prophets." Ephesians 4:11
3. As "the law and the prophets" may have three different meanings, it is uncertain in what sense the words are used by Jesus, though we may form a conjecture from what follows. For if Jesus had gone on to speak of circumcision, and Sabbaths, and sacrifices, and the observances of the Hebrews, and had added something as a fulfillment, there could have been no doubt that it was the law and the prophets of the Jews of which He said that He came not to destroy, but to fulfill them. But Christ, without any allusion to these, speaks only of commandments which date from the earliest times: "You shall not kill; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not bear false witness." These, it can be proved, were of old promulgated in the world by Enoch and Seth, and the other righteous men, to whom the precepts were delivered by angels of lofty rank, in order to tame the savage nature of men. From this it appears that Jesus spoke of the law and the prophets of truth. And so we find him giving a fulfillment of those precepts already quoted. "You have heard," He says, "that it was said by them of old time, You shall not kill; but I say unto you, Be not even angry." This is the fulfillment. Again: "You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery; but I say unto you, Do not lust even." This is the fulfillment. Again: "It has been said, You shall not bear false witness; but I say unto you, Swear not." This too is the fulfillment. He thus both confirms the old precepts and supplies their defects. Where He seems to speak of some Jewish precepts, instead of fulfilling them, He substitutes for them precepts of an opposite tendency. He proceeds thus: "You have heard that it has been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth; but I say unto you, Whosoever shall smite you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also." This is not fulfillment, but destruction. Again: "It has been said, You shall love your friend, and hate your enemy; but I say unto you, Love your enemies, and pray for your persecutors." This too is destruction. Again: "It has been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement; but I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery, and is himself an adulterer if he afterwards marries another woman." Matthew 5:21-44 These precepts are evidently destroyed because they are the precepts of Moses; while the others are fulfilled because they are the precepts of the righteous men of antiquity. If you agree to this explanation, we may allow that Jesus said that he came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. If you disapprove of this explanation, give one of your own. Only beware of making Jesus a liar, and of making yourself a Jew, by binding yourself to fulfill the law because Christ did not destroy it.
4. If one of the Nazareans, or Symmachians, as they are sometimes called, were arguing with me from these words of Jesus that he came not to destroy the law, I should find some difficulty in answering him. For it is undeniable that, at his coming, Jesus was both in body and mind subject to the influence of the law and the prophets. Those people, moreover, whom I allude to, practise circumcision, and keep the Sabbath, and abstain from swine's flesh and such like things, according to the law, although they profess to be Christians. They are evidently misled as well as you, by this verse in which Christ says that he came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. It would not be easy to reply to such opponents without first getting rid of this troublesome verse. But with you I have no difficulty, for you have nothing to go upon; and instead of using arguments, you seem disposed, in mere mischief, to induce me to believe that Christ said what you evidently do not yourself believe him to have said. On the strength of this verse you accuse me of dullness and evasiveness, without yourself giving any indication of keeping the law instead of destroying it. Do you too, like a Jew or a Nazarean, glory in the obscene distinction of being circumcised? Do you pride yourself in the observance of the Sabbath? Can you congratulate yourself on being innocent of swine's flesh? Or can you boast of having gratified the appetite of the Deity by the blood of sacrifices and the incense of Jewish offerings? If not, why do you contend that Christ came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it?
5. I give unceasing thanks to my teacher, who prevented me from falling into this error, so that I am still a Christian. For I, like you, from reading this verse without sufficient consideration, had almost resolved to become a Jew. And with reason; for if Christ came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it, and as a vessel in order to be filled full must not be empty, but partly filled already, I concluded that no one could become a Christian but an Israelite, nearly filled already with the law and the prophets, and coming to Christ to be filled to the full extent of his capacity. I concluded, too, that in thus coming he must not destroy what he already possesses; otherwise it would be a case, not of fulfilling, but of emptying. Then it appeared that I, as a Gentile, could get nothing by coming to Christ, for I brought nothing that he could fill up by his additions. This preparatory supply is found, on inquiry, to consist of Sabbaths, circumcision, sacrifices, new moons, baptisms, feasts of unleavened bread, distinctions of foods, drink, and clothes, and other things, too many to specify. This, then, it appeared, was what Christ came not to destroy, but to fulfill. Naturally it must appear so: for what is a law without precepts, or prophets without predictions? Besides, there is that terrible curse pronounced upon those who abide not in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them. Deuteronomy 27:15 With the fear of this curse appearing to come from God on the one side, and with Christ on the other side, seeming, as the Son of God, to say that he came not to destroy these things, but to fulfill them, what was to prevent me from becoming a Jew? The wise instruction of Manichæus saved me from this danger.
6. But how can you venture to quote this verse against me? Or why should it be against me only, when it is as much against yourself? If Christ does not destroy the law and the prophets, neither must Christians do so. Why then do you destroy them? Do you begin to perceive that you are no Christian? How can you profane with all kinds of work the day pronounced sacred in the law and in all the prophets, on which they say that God, the maker of the world, himself rested, without dreading the penalty of death pronounced against Sabbath-breakers, or the curse on the transgressor? How can you refuse to receive in your person the unseemly mark of circumcision, which the law and all the prophets declare to be honorable, especially in the case of Abraham, after what was thought to be his faith; for does not the God of the Jews proclaim that whosoever is without this mark of infamy shall perish from his people? How can you neglect the appointed sacrifices, which were made so much of both by Moses and the prophets under the law, and by Abraham in his faith? And how can you defile your souls by making no distinction in foods, if you believe that Christ came not to destroy these things, but to fulfill them? Why do you discard the annual feast of unleavened bread, and the appointed sacrifice of the lamb, which, according to the law and the prophets, is to be observed for ever? Why, in a word, do you treat so lightly the new moons, the baptisms, and the feast of tabernacles, and all the other carnal ordinances of the law and the prophets, if Christ did not destroy them? I have therefore good reason for saying that, in order to justify your neglect of these things, you must either abandon your profession of being Christ's disciple, or acknowledge that Christ himself has already destroyed them; and from this acknowledgment it must follow, either that this text is spurious in which Christ is made to say that he came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it, or that the words have an entirely different meaning from what you suppose.
7. Augustine replied: If you allow, in consideration of the authority of the Gospel, that Christ said that He came not to destroy the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them, you should show the same consideration to the authority of the apostle, when he says, "All these things were our examples;" and again of Christ, "He was not yea and nay, but in Him was yea; for all the promises of God are in Him yea;" 2 Corinthians 1:19-20 that is, they are set forth and fulfilled in Him. In this way you will see in the clearest light both what law Christ fulfilled, and how He fulfilled it. It is a vain attempt that you make to escape by your three kinds of law and your three kinds of prophets. It is quite plain, and the New Testament leaves no doubt on the matter, what law and what prophets Christ came not to destroy, but to fulfill. The law given by Moses is that which by Jesus Christ became grace and truth. John 1:17 The law given by Moses is that of which Christ says, "He wrote of me." John 5:46 For undoubtedly this is the law which entered that the offense might abound; Romans 5:20 words which you often ignorantly quote as a reproach to the law. Read what is there said of this law: "The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, wrought death in me by that which is good." Romans 7:12-13 The entrance of the law made the offense abound, not because the law required what was wrong, but because the proud and self-confident incurred additional guilt as transgressors after their acquaintance with the holy, and just, and good commandments of the law; so that, being thus humbled, they might learn that only by grace through faith could they be freed from subjection to the law as transgressors, and be reconciled to the law as righteous. So the same apostle says: "For before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which was afterwards revealed. Therefore the law was our schoolmaster in Christ Jesus; but after faith came, we are no longer under a schoolmaster." That is, we are no longer subject to the penalty of the law, because we are set free by grace. Before we received in humility the grace of the Spirit, the letter was only death to us, for it required obedience which we could not render. Thus Paul also says: "The letter kills, but the spirit gives life." 2 Corinthians 3:6 Again, he says: "For if a law had been given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law; but the Scripture has concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe." Galatians 3:21-22 And once more: "What the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, that by sin He might condemn sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Romans 8:3-4 Here we see Christ coming not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. As the law brought the proud under the guilt of transgression, increasing their sin by commandments which they could not obey, so the righteousness of the same law is fulfilled by the grace of the Spirit in those who learn from Christ to be meek and lowly in heart; for Christ came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. Moreover, because even for those who are under grace it is difficult in this mortal life perfectly to keep what is written in the law, You shall not covet, Christ, by the sacrifice of His flesh, as our Priest obtains pardon for us. And in this also He fulfills the law; for what we fail in through weakness is supplied by His perfection, who is the Head, while we are His members. Thus John says: "My little children, these things write I unto you, that you sin not; and if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: He is the propitiation for our sins." 1 John 2:1-2
8. Christ also fulfilled the prophecies, because the promises of God were made good in Him. As the apostle says in the verse quoted above, "The promises of God are in Him yea." Again, he says: "Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers." Romans 15:8 Whatever, then, was promised in the prophets, whether expressly or in figure, whether by words or by actions, was fulfilled in Him who came not to destroy the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them. You do not perceive that if Christians were to continue in the use of acts and observances by which things to come were prefigured, the only meaning would be that the things prefigured had not yet come. Either the thing prefigured has not come, or if it has, the figure becomes superfluous or misleading. Therefore, if Christians do not practise some things enjoined in the Hebrews by the prophets, this, so far from showing, as you think, that Christ did not fulfill the prophets, rather shows that He did. So completely did Christ fulfill what these types prefigured, that it is no longer prefigured. So the Lord Himself says: "The law and the prophets were until John." Luke 16:16 For the law which shut up transgressors in increased guilt, and to the faith which was afterwards revealed, became grace through Jesus Christ, by whom grace superabounded. Thus the law, which was not fulfilled in the requirement of the letter, was fulfilled in the liberty of grace. In the same way, everything in the law that was prophetic of the Saviour's advent, whether in words or in typical actions, became truth in Jesus Christ. For "the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." John 1:17 At Christ's advent the kingdom of God began to be preached; for the law and the prophets were until John: the law, that its transgressors might desire salvation; the prophets, that they might foretell the Saviour. No doubt there have been prophets in the Church since the ascension of Christ. Of these prophets Paul says: "God has set some in the Church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers," and so on. 1 Corinthians 12:28 It is not of these prophets that it was said, "The law and the prophets were until John," but of those who prophesied the first coming of Christ, which evidently cannot be prophesied now that it has taken place.
9. Accordingly, when you ask why a Christian is not circumcised if Christ came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it, my reply is, that a Christian is not circumcised precisely for this reason, that what was prefigured by circumcision is fulfilled in Christ. Circumcision was the type of the removal of our fleshly nature, which was fulfilled in the resurrection of Christ, and which the sacrament of baptism teaches us to look forward to in our own resurrection. The sacrament of the new life is not wholly discontinued, for our resurrection from the dead is still to come; but this sacrament has been improved by the substitution of baptism for circumcision, because now a pattern of the eternal life which is to come is afforded us in the resurrection of Christ, whereas formerly there was nothing of the kind. So, when you ask why a Christian does not keep the Sabbath, if Christ came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it, my reply is, that a Christian does not keep the Sabbath precisely because what was prefigured in the Sabbath is fulfilled in Christ. For we have our Sabbath in Him who said, "Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest unto your souls." Matthew 11:28-29
10. When you ask why a Christian does not observe the distinction in food as enjoined in the law, if Christ came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it, I reply, that a Christian does not observe this distinction precisely because what was thus prefigured is now fulfilled in Christ, who admits into His body, which in His saints He has predestined to eternal life, nothing which in human conduct corresponds to the characteristics of the forbidden animals. When you ask, again, why a Christian does not offer sacrifices to God of the flesh and blood of slain animals, if Christ came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it, I reply, that it would be improper for a Christian to offer such sacrifices, now that what was thus prefigured has been fulfilled in Christ's offering of His own body and blood. When you ask why a Christian does not keep the feast of unleavened bread as the Jews did, if Christ came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it, I reply, that a Christian does not keep this feast precisely because what was thus prefigured is fulfilled in Christ, who leads us to a new life by purging out the leaven of the old life. 1 Corinthians 5:7 When you ask why a Christian does not keep the feast of the paschal lamb, if Christ came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it, my reply is, that he does not keep it precisely because what was thus prefigured has been fulfilled in the sufferings of Christ, the Lamb without spot. When you ask why a Christian does not keep the feasts of the new moon appointed in the law, if Christ came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it, I reply, that he does not keep them precisely because what was thus prefigured is fulfilled in Christ. For the feast of the new moon prefigured the new creature, of which the apostle says: "If therefore there is any new creature in Christ Jesus, the old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17 When you ask why a Christian does not observe the baptisms for various kinds of uncleanness according to the law, if Christ came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it, I reply, that he does not observe them precisely because they were figures of things to come, which Christ has fulfilled. For He came to bury us with Himself by baptism into death, that as Christ rose again from the dead, so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4 When you ask why Christians do not keep the feast of tabernacles, if the law is not destroyed, but fulfilled by Christ, I reply that believers are God's tabernacle, in whom, as they are united and built together in love, God condescends to dwell, so that Christians do not keep this feast precisely because what was thus prefigured is now fulfilled by Christ in His Church.
11. I touch upon these things merely in passing with the utmost brevity, rather than omit them altogether. The subjects, taken separately, have filled many large volumes, written to prove that these observances were typical of Christ. So it appears that all the things in the Old Testament which you think are not observed by Christians because Christ destroyed the law, are in fact not observed because Christ fulfilled the law. The very intention of the observances was to prefigure Christ. Now that Christ has come, instead of its being strange or absurd that what was done to prefigure His advent should not be done any more, it is perfectly right and reasonable. The typical observances intended to prefigure the coming of Christ would be observed still, had they not been fulfilled by the coming of Christ; so far is it from being the case that our not observing them now is any proof of their not being fulfilled by Christ's coming. There can be no religious society, whether the religion be true or false, without some sacrament or visible symbol to serve as a bond of union. The importance of these sacraments cannot be overstated, and only scoffers will treat them lightly. For if piety requires them, it must be impiety to neglect them.
12. It is true, the ungodly may partake in the visible sacraments of godliness, as we read that Simon Magus received holy baptism. Such are they of whom the apostle says that "they have the form of godliness, but deny the power of it." 2 Timothy 3:5 The power of godliness is the end of the commandment, that is, love out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned. 1 Timothy 1:5 So the Apostle Peter, speaking of the sacrament of the ark, in which the family of Noah was saved from the deluge, says, "So by a similar figure baptism also saves you." And lest they should rest content with the visible sacrament, by which they had the form of godliness, and should deny its power in their lives by profligate conduct, he immediately adds, "Not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience." 1 Peter 3:21
13. Thus the sacraments of the Old Testament, which were celebrated in obedience to the law, were types of Christ who was to come; and when Christ fulfilled them by His advent they were done away, and were done away because they were fulfilled. For Christ came not to destroy, but to fulfill. And now that the righteousness of faith is revealed, and the children of God are called into liberty, and the yoke of bondage which was required for a carnal and stiffnecked people is taken away, other sacraments are instituted, greater in efficacy, more beneficial in their use, easier in performance, and fewer in number.
14. And if the righteous men of old, who saw in the sacraments of their time the promise of a future revelation of faith, which even then their piety enabled them to discern in the dim light of prophecy, and by which they lived, for the just can live only by faith; Romans 1:17 if, then, these righteous men of old were ready to suffer, as many actually did suffer, all trials and tortures for the sake of those typical sacraments which prefigured things in the future; if we praise the three children and Daniel, because they refused to be defiled by meat from the king's table, from their regard for the sacrament of their day; if we feel the strongest admiration for the Maccabees, who refused to touch food which Christians lawfully use; 2 Maccabbees vii how much more should a Christian in our day be ready to suffer all things for Christ's baptism, for Christ's Eucharist, for Christ's sacred sign, since these are proofs of the accomplishment of what the former sacraments only pointed forward to in the future! For what is still promised to the Church, the body of Christ, is both clearly made known, and in the Saviour Himself, the Head of the body, the Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, has already been accomplished. Is not the promise of eternal life by resurrection from the dead? This we see fulfilled in the flesh of Him of whom it is said, that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. John 1:14 In former days faith was dim, for the saints and righteous men of those times all believed and hoped for the same things, and all these sacraments and ceremonies pointed to the future; but now we have the revelation of the faith to which the people were shut up under the law; Galatians 3:23 and what is now promised to believers in the judgment is already accomplished in the example of Him who came not to destroy the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them.
15. It is a question among the students of the sacred Scriptures, whether the faith in Christ before His passion and resurrection, which the righteous men of old learned by revelation or gathered from prophecy, had the same efficacy as faith has now that Christ has suffered and risen; or whether the actual shedding of the blood of the Lamb of God, which was, as He Himself says, for many for the remission of sins, Matthew 26:28 conferred any benefit in the way of purifying or adding to the purity of those who looked forward in faith to the death of Christ, but left the world before it took place; whether, in fact, Christ's death reached to the dead, so as to effect their liberation. To discuss this question here, or to prove what has been ascertained on the subject, would take too long, besides being foreign from our present purpose.
16. Meanwhile it is sufficient to prove, in opposition to Faustus' ignorant cavils, how greatly they mistake who conclude, from the change in signs and sacraments, that there must be a difference in the things which were prefigured in the rites of a prophetic dispensation, and which are declared to be accomplished in the rites of the gospel; or those, on the other hand, who think that as the things are the same, the sacraments which announce their accomplishment should not differ from the sacraments which foretold that accomplishment. For if in language the form of the verb changes in the number of letters and syllables according to the tense, as done signifies the past, and to be done the future, why should not the symbols which declare Christ's death and resurrection to be accomplished, differ from those which predicted their accomplishment, as we see a difference in the form and sound of the words, past and future, suffered and to suffer, risen and to rise? For material symbols are nothing else than visible speech, which, though sacred, is changeable and transitory. For while God is eternal, the water of baptism, and all that is material in the sacrament, is transitory: the very word "God," which must be pronounced in the consecration, is a sound which passes in a moment. The actions and sounds pass away, but their efficacy remains the same, and the spiritual gift thus communicated is eternal. To say, therefore, that if Christ had not destroyed the law and the prophets, the sacraments of the law and the prophets would continue to be observed in the congregations of the Christian Church, is the same as to say that if Christ had not destroyed the law and the prophets, He would still be predicted as about to be born, to suffer, and to rise again; whereas, in fact, it is proved that He did not destroy, but fulfill those things, because the prophecies of His birth, and passion, and resurrection, which were represented in these ancient sacraments, have ceased, and the sacraments now observed by Christians contain the announcement that He has been born, has suffered, has risen. He who came not to destroy the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them, by this fulfillment did away with those things which foretold the accomplishment of what is thus shown to be now accomplished. Precisely in the same way, he might substitute for the expressions, "He is to be born, is to suffer, is to rise," which were in these times appropriate, the expressions, "He has been born, has suffered, has risen," which are appropriate now that the others are accomplished, and so done away.
17. Corresponding to this change in words is the change which naturally took place in the substitution of new sacraments instead of those of the Old Testament. In the case of the first Christians, who came to the faith as Jews, it was by degrees that they were brought to change their customs, and to have a clear perception of the truth; and permission was given them by the apostle to preserve their hereditary worship and belief, in which they had been born and brought up; and those who had to do with them were required to make allowance for this reluctance to accept new customs. So the apostle circumcised Timothy, the son of a Jewish mother and a Greek father, when they went among people of this kind; and he himself accommodated his practice to theirs, not hypocritically, but for a wise purpose. For these practices were harmless in the case of those born and brought up in them, though they were no longer required to prefigure things to come. It would have done more harm to condemn them as hurtful in the case of those to whose time it was intended that they should continue. Christ, who came to fulfill all these prophecies, found those people trained in their own religion. But in the case of those who had no such training, but were brought to Christ, the corner-stone, from the opposite wall of circumcision, there was no obligation to adopt Jewish customs. If, indeed, like Timothy, they chose to accommodate themselves to the views of those of the circumcision who were still wedded to their old sacraments, they were free to do so. But if they supposed that their hope and salvation depended on these works of the law, they were warned against them as a fatal danger. So the apostle says: "Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if you be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing;" Galatians 5:2 that is, if they were circumcised, as they were intending to be, in compliance with some corrupt teachers, who told them that without these works of the law they could not be saved. For when, chiefly through the preaching of the Apostle Paul, the Gentiles were coming to the faith of Christ, as it was proper that they should come, without being burdened with Jewish observances— for those who were grown up were deterred from the faith by fear of ceremonies to which they were not accustomed, especially of circumcision; and if they who had not been trained from their birth to such observances had been made proselytes in the usual way, it would have implied that the coming of Christ still required to be predicted as a future event—when, then, the Gentiles were admitted without these ceremonies, those of the circumcision who believed, not understanding why the Gentiles were not required to adopt their customs, nor why they themselves were still allowed to retain them, began to disturb the Church with carnal contentions, because the Gentiles were admitted into the people of God without being made proselytes in the usual way by circumcision and the other legal observances. Some also of the converted Gentiles were bent on these ceremonies, from fear of the Jews among whom they lived. Against these Gentiles the Apostle Paul often wrote, and when Peter was carried away by their hypocrisy, he corrected him with a brotherly rebuke. Galatians 2:14 Afterwards, when the apostles met in council, decreed that these works of the law were not obligatory in the case of the Gentiles, Acts 15:6-11 some Christians of the circumcision were displeased, because they failed to understand that these observances were permissible only in those who had been trained in them before the revelation of faith, to bring to a close the prophetic life in those who were engaged in it before the prophecy was fulfilled, lest by a compulsory abandonment it should seem to be condemned rather than closed; while to lay these things on the Gentiles would imply either that they were not instituted to prefigure Christ, or that Christ was still to be prefigured. The ancient people of God, before Christ came to fulfill the law and the prophets, were required to observe all these things by which Christ was prefigured. It was freedom to those who understood the meaning of the observance, but it was bondage to those who did not. But the people in those latter times who come to believe in Christ as having already come, and suffered, and risen, in the case of those whom this faith found trained to those sacraments, are neither required to observe them, nor prohibited from doing so; while there is a prohibition in the case of those who were not bound by the ties of custom, or by any necessity, to accommodate themselves to the practice of others, so that it might become manifest that these things were instituted to prefigure Christ, and that after His coming they were to cease, because the promises had been fulfilled. Some believers of the circumcision who did not understand this were displeased with this tolerant arrangement which the Holy Spirit effected through the apostles, and stubbornly insisted on the Gentiles becoming Jews. These are the people of whom Faustus speaks under the name of Symmachians or Nazareans. Their number is now very small, but the sect still continues.
18. The Manichæans, therefore have no ground for saying, in disparagement of the law and the prophets, that Christ came to destroy rather than to fulfill them, because Christians do not observe what is there enjoined: for the only things which they do not observe are those that prefigured Christ, and these are not observed because their fulfillment is in Christ, and what is fulfilled is no longer prefigured; the typical observances having properly come to a close in the time of those who, after being trained in such things, had come to believe in Christ as their fulfillment. Do not Christians observe the precept of Scripture "Hear, O Israel; the Lord your God is one God;" "You shall not make unto you an image," and so on? Do make Christians not observe the precept, "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain?" Do Christians not observe the Sabbath, even in the sense of a true rest? Do Christians not honor their parents, according to the commandment? Do Christians not abstain from fornication, and murder, and theft, and false witness, from coveting their neighbor's wife, and from coveting his property,— all of which things are written in the law? These moral precepts are distinct from typical sacraments: the former are fulfilled by the aid of divine grace, the latter by the accomplishment of what they promise. Both are fulfilled in Christ, who has ever been the bestower of this grace, which is also now revealed in Him, and who now makes manifest the accomplishment of what He in former times promised; for "the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." John 1:17 Again, these things which concern the keeping of a good conscience are fulfilled in the faith which works by love; Galatians 5:6 while types of the future pass away when they are accomplished. But even the types are not destroyed, but fulfilled; for Christ, in bringing to light what the types signified, does not prove them vain or illusory.
19. Faustus, therefore, is wrong in supposing that the Lord Jesus fulfilled some precepts of righteous men who lived before the law of Moses, such as, "You shall not kill," which Christ did not oppose, but rather confirmed by His prohibition of anger and abuse; and that He destroyed some things apparently peculiar to the Hebrew law, such as, "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth," which Christ seems rather to abolish than to confirm, when He says, "But I say unto you, that you resist not evil; but if any one smite you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also," Matthew 5:38-39 and so on. But we say that even these things which Faustus thinks Christ destroyed by enjoining the opposite, were suitable to the times of the Old Testament, and were not destroyed, but fulfilled by Christ.
20. In the first place let me ask our opponents if these ancient righteous men, Enoch and Seth, whom Faustus mentions particularly, and any others who lived before Moses, or even, if you choose, before Abraham, were angry with their brother without a cause, or said to their brother, Thou fool. If not, why may they not have taught these things as well as preached them? And if they taught these things, how can Christ be said to have fulfilled their righteousness or their teaching, any more than that of Moses, by adding, "But I say unto you, if any man is angry with his brother, or if he says Racha, or if he says, You fool, he shall be in danger of the judgment, or of the council, or of hell-fire," since these men did these very things themselves, and enjoined them upon others? Will it be said that they were ignorant of its being the duty of a righteous man to restrain his passion, and not to provoke his brother with angry abuse; or that, knowing this, they were unable to act accordingly? In that case, they deserved the punishment of hell, and could not have been righteous. But no one will venture to say that in their righteousness there was such ignorance of duty, and such a want of self-control, as to make them liable to the punishment of hell. How, then, can Christ be said to have fulfilled the law, by which these men lived by means of adding things without which they could have had no righteousness at all? Will it be said that a hasty temper and bad language are sinful only since the time of Christ, while formerly such qualities of the heart and speech were allowable; as we find some institutions vary according to the times, so that what is proper at one time is improper at another, and vice versa? You will not be so foolish as to make this assertion. But even were you to do so, the reply will be that, according to this idea, Christ came not to fulfill what was defective in the old law, but to institute a law which did not previously exist; if it is true that with the righteous men of old it was not a sin to say to their brother, You fool, which Christ pronounces so sinful, that whoever does so is in danger of hell. So, then, you have not succeeded in finding any law of which it can be said that Christ supplied its defect by these additions.
21. Will it be said that the law in these early times was incomplete as regards not committing adultery, till it was completed by the Lord, who added that no one should look on a woman to lust after her? This is what you imply in the way you quote the words, "You have heard that it has been said, You shall not commit adultery: but I say unto you, Do not lust even." "Here," you say, "is the fulfillment." But let us take the words as they stand in the Gospel, without any of your modifications, and see what character you give to those righteous men of antiquity. The words are: "You have heard that it has been said, you shall not commit adultery; but I say unto you, that whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her, has committed adultery with her already in his heart." Matthew 5:27-28 In your opinion, then, Enoch and Seth, and the rest, committed adultery in their hearts; and either their heart was not the temple of God, or they committed adultery in the temple of God. But if you dare not say this, how can you say that Christ, when He came, fulfilled the law, which was already in the time of those men complete?
22. As regards not swearing, in which also you say that Christ completed the law given to these righteous men of antiquity, I cannot be certain that they did not swear, for we find that Paul the apostle swore. With you, swearing is still a common practice, for you swear by the light, which you love as flies do; for the light of the mind which lights every man that comes into the world, as distinct from mere natural light, you know nothing of. You swear, too, by your master Manichæus, whose name in his own tongue was Manes. As the name Manes seemed to be connected with the Greek word for madness, you have changed it by adding a suffix, which only makes matters worse, by giving the new meaning of pouring forth madness. One of your own sect told me that the name Manichæus was intended to be derived from the Greek words for pouring forth manna; for χέειν means to pour. But, as it is, you only express the idea of madness with greater emphasis. For by adding the two syllables, while you have forgotten to insert another letter in the beginning of the word, you make it not Mannichæus, but Manichæus; which must mean that he pours forth madness in his long unprofitable discourses. Again, you often swear by the Paraclete,— not the Paraclete promised and sent by Christ to His disciples, but this same madness-pourer himself. Since, then, you are constantly swearing, I should like to know in what sense you make Christ to have fulfilled this part of the law, which is one you mention as belonging to the earliest times. And what do you make of the oaths of the apostle? For as to your authority, it cannot weigh much with yourselves, not to speak of me or any other person. It is therefore evident that Christ's words, "I have come not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it," have not the meaning which you give them. Christ makes no reference in these words to His comments on the ancient sayings which He quotes, and of which His discourse was an explanation, but not a fulfillment.
23. Thus, as regards murder, which was understood to mean merely the destruction of the body, by which a man is deprived of life, the Lord explained that every unjust disposition to injure our brother is a kind of murder. So John also says, "He that hates his brother is a murderer." 1 John 3:15 And as it was thought that adultery meant only the act of unlawful intercourse with a woman, the Master showed that the lust He describes is also adultery. Again, because perjury is a heinous sin, while there is no sin either in not swearing at all or in swearing truly, the Lord wished to secure us from departing from the truth by not swearing at all, rather than that we should be in danger of perjury by being in the habit of swearing truly. For one who never swears is less in danger of swearing falsely than one who is in the habit of swearing truly. So, in the discourses of the apostle which are recorded, he never used an oath, lest he should ever fall unawares into perjury from being in the habit of swearing. In his writings, on the other hand, where he had more leisure and opportunity for caution, we find him using oaths in several places, to teach us that there is no sin in swearing truly, but that, on account of the infirmity of human nature, we are best preserved from perjury by not swearing at all. These considerations will also make it evident that the things which Faustus supposes to be peculiar to Moses were not destroyed by Christ, as he says they were.
24. To take, for instance, this saying of the ancients, "You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy," how does Faustus make out that this is peculiar to Moses? Does not the Apostle Paul speak of some men as hateful to God? Romans 1:30 And, indeed, in connection with this saying, the Lord enjoins on us that we should imitate God. His words are: "That ye may be the children of your Father in heaven, who makes the sun to rise upon the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust." Matthew 5:45 In one sense we must hate our enemies, after the example of God, to whom Paul says some men are hateful; while, at the same time, we must also love our enemies after the example of God, who makes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust. If we understand this, we shall find that the Lord, in explaining to those who did not rightly understand the saying, You shall hate your enemy, made use of it to show that they should love their enemy, which was a new idea to them. It would take too long to show the consistency of the two things here. But when the Manichæans condemn without exception the precept, You shall hate your enemy, they may easily be met with the question whether their god loves the race of darkness. Or, if we should love our enemies now, because they have a part of good, should we not also hate them as having a part of evil? So even in this way it would appear that there is no opposition between the saying of ancient times, You shall hate your enemy, and that of the Gospel, Love your enemies. For every wicked man should be hated as far as he is wicked; while he should be loved as a man. The vice which we rightly hate in him is to be condemned, that by its removal the human nature which we rightly love in him may be amended. This is precisely the principle we maintain, that we should hate our enemy for what is evil in him, that is, for his wickedness; while we also love our enemy for that which is good in him, that is, for his nature as a social and rational being. The difference between us and the Manichæans is, that we prove the man to be wicked, not by nature, either his own or any other, but by his own will; whereas they think that a man is evil on account of the nature of the race of darkness, which, according to them, was an object of dread to God when he existed entire, and by which also he was partly conquered, so that he cannot be entirely set free. The intention of the Lord, then, is to correct those who, from knowing without understanding what was said by them of old time, You shall hate your enemy, hated their fellow-men instead of only hating their wickedness; and for this purpose He says, Love your enemies. Instead of destroying what is written about hatred of enemies in the law, of which He said, "I have come not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it," He would have us learn, from the duty of loving our enemies, how it is possible in the case of one and the same person, both to hate him for his sin, and to love him for his nature. It is too much to expect our perverse opponents to understand this. But we can silence them, by showing that by their irrational objection they condemn their own god, of whom they cannot say that he loves the race of darkness; so that in enjoining on every one to love his enemy, they cannot quote his example. There would appear to be more love of their enemy in the race of darkness than in the god of the Manichæans. The story is, that the race of darkness coveted the domain of light bordering on their territory, and, from a desire to possess it, formed the plan of invading it. Nor is there any sin in desiring true goodness and blessedness. For the Lord says, "The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force." Matthew 11:12 This fabulous race of darkness, then, wished to take by force the good they desired, for its beautiful and attractive appearance. But God, instead of returning the love of those who wished to possess Him, hated it so as to endeavor to annihilate them. If, therefore, the evil love the good in the desire to possess it, while the good hate the evil in fear of being defiled, I ask the Manichæans, which of these obeys the precept of the Lord, "Love your enemies"? If you insist on making these precepts opposed to one another, it will follow that your god obeyed what is written in the law of Moses, "You shall hate your enemy"; while the race of darkness obeyed what is written in the Gospel, "Love your enemies." However, you have never succeeded in explaining the difference between the flies that fly in the day-time and the moths that fly at night; for both, according to you, belong to the race of darkness. How is it that one kind love the light, contrary to their nature; while the other kind avoid it, and prefer the darkness from which they sprung? Strange, that filthy sewers should breed a cleaner sort than dark closets!
25. Nor, again, is there any opposition between that which was said by them of old time, "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," and what the Lord says, "But I say unto you, that you resist not evil; but if any one smites you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also," and so on. The old precept as well as the new is intended to check the vehemence of hatred, and to curb the impetuosity of angry passion. For who will of his own accord be satisfied with a revenge equal to the injury? Do we not see men, only slightly hurt, eager for slaughter, thirsting for blood, as if they could never make their enemy suffer enough? If a man receives a blow, does he not summon his assailant, that he may be condemned in the court of law? Or if he prefers to return the blow, does he not fall upon the man with hand and heel, or perhaps with a weapon, if he can get hold of one? To put a restraint upon a revenge so unjust from its excess, the law established the principle of compensation, that the penalty should correspond to the injury inflicted. So the precept, "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," instead of being a brand to kindle a fire that was quenched, was rather a covering to prevent the fire already kindled from spreading. For there is a just revenge due to the injured person from his assailant; so that when we pardon, we give up what we might justly claim. Thus, in the Lord's prayer, we are taught to forgive others their debts that God may forgive us our debts. There is no injustice in asking back a debt, though there is kindness in forgiving it. But as, in swearing, one who swears, even though truly, is in danger of perjury, of which one is in no danger who never swears; and while swearing truly is not a sin, we are further from sin by not swearing; so that the command not to swear is a guard against perjury: in the same way since it is sinful to wish to be revenged with an unjust excess, though there is no sin in wishing for revenge within the limits of justice, the man who wishes for no revenge at all is further from the sin of an unjust revenge. It is sin to demand more than is due, though it is no sin to demand a debt. And the best security against the sin of making an unjust demand is to demand nothing, especially considering the danger of being compelled to pay the debt to Him who is indebted to none. Thus, I would explain the passage as follows: It has been said by them of old time, You shall not take unjust revenge; but I say, Take no revenge at all: here is the fulfillment. It is thus that Faustus, after quoting, "It has been said, You shall not swear falsely; but I say unto you, swear not at all," adds: here is the fulfillment. I might use the same expression if I thought that by the addition of these words Christ supplied a defect in the law, and not rather that the intention of the law to prevent unjust revenge is best secured by not taking revenge at all, in the same way as the intention to prevent perjury is best secured by not swearing at all. For if "an eye for an eye" is opposed to "If any one smite you on the cheek, turn to him the other also," is there not as much opposition between "You shall perform unto the Lord your oath," and "Swear not at all?" Matthew 5:33-34 If Faustus thinks that there is not destruction, but fulfillment, in the one case, he ought to think the same of the other. For if "Swear not" is the fulfillment of "Swear truly," why should not "Take no revenge" be the fulfillment of "Take revenge justly"?
So, according to my interpretation, there is in both cases a guard against sin, either of false swearing or of unjust revenge; though, as regards giving up the right to revenge, there is the additional consideration that, by forgiving such debts, we shall obtain the forgiveness of our debts. The old precept was required in the case of a self-willed people, to teach them not to be extravagant in their demands. Thus, when the rage eager for unrestrained vengeance, was subdued, there would be leisure for any one so disposed to consider the desirableness of having his own debt cancelled by the Lord, and so to be led by this consideration to forgive the debt of his fellow-servant.
26. Again, we shall find on examination, that there is no opposition between the precept of the Lord about not putting away a wife, and what was said by them of old time: "Whosoever puts away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement." The Lord explains the intention of the law, which required a bill of divorce in every case where a wife was put away. The precept not to put away a wife is the opposite of saying that a man may put away his wife if he pleases; which is not what the law says. On the contrary, to prevent the wife from being put away, the law required this intermediate step, that the eagerness for separation might be checked by the writing of the bill, and the man might have time to think of the evil of putting away his wife; especially since, as it is said, among the Hebrews it was unlawful for any but the scribes to write Hebrew: for the scribes claimed the possession of superior wisdom; and if they were men of upright and pious character, their pursuits might justly entitle them to make this claim. In requiring, therefore, that in putting away his wife, a man should give her a writing of divorcement, the design was that he should be obliged to have recourse to those from whom he might expect to receive a cautious interpretation of the law, and suitable advice against separation. Having no other way of getting the bill written, the man should be obliged to submit to their direction, and to allow of their endeavors to restore peace and harmony between him and his wife. In a case where the hatred could not be overcome or checked, the bill would of course be written. A wife might with reason be put away when wise counsel failed to restore the proper feeling and affection in the mind of her husband. If the wife is not loved, she is to be put away. And that she may not be put away, it is the husband's duty to love her. Now, while a man cannot be forced to love against his will, he may be influenced by advice and persuasion. This was the duty of the scribe, as a wise and upright man; and the law gave him the opportunity, by requiring the husband in all cases of quarrel to go to him, to get the bill of divorcement written. No good or prudent man would write the bill unless it were a case of such obstinate aversion as to make reconciliation impossible. But according to your impious notions, there can be nothing in putting away a wife; for matrimony, according to you, is a criminal indulgence. The word "matrimony" shows that a man takes a wife in order that she may become a mother, which would be an evil in your estimation. According to you, this would imply that part of your god is overcome and captured by the race of darkness, and bound in the fetters of flesh.
27. But, to explain the point in hand: If Christ, in adding the words, "But I say unto you," to the quotations He makes of ancient sayings, neither fulfilled the law of primitive times by His additions, nor destroyed the law given to Moses by opposite precepts, but rather paid such deference to the Hebrew law in all the quotations He made from it, as to make His own remarks chiefly explanatory of what the law stated less distinctly, or a means of securing the design intended by the law, it follows that from the words, "I came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it" we are not to understand that Christ by His precepts filled up what was wanting in the law; but that what the literal command failed in doing from the pride and disobedience of men, is accomplished by grace in those who are brought to repentance and humility. The fulfillment is not in additional words, but in acts of obedience. So the apostle says "Faith works by love;" Galatians 5:6 and again, He that loves another has fulfilled the law." Romans 13:8 This love, by which also the righteousness of the law can be fulfilled was bestowed in its significance by Christ in His coming, through the spirit which He sent according to His promise; and therefore He said, "I came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it." This is the New Testament in which the promise of the kingdom of heaven is made to this love; which was typified in the Old Testament, suitably to the times of that dispensation. So Christ says again; "A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another." John 13:34
28. So we find in the Old Testament all or nearly all the counsels and precepts which Christ introduces with the words "But I say unto you." Against anger it is written, "My eyes troubled because of anger;" and again, "Better is he that conquers his anger, than he that takes a city." Proverbs 16:32 Against hard words, "The stroke of a whip makes a wound; but the stroke of the tongue breaks the bones." Against adultery in the heart, "You shall not covet your neighbor's wife." Exodus 20:17 It is not, "You shall not commit adultery;" but, "You shall not covet." The apostle, in quoting this, says: "I had not known lust, unless the law had said, You shall not covet." Romans 7:7 Regarding patience in not offering resistance, a man is praised who "gives his cheek to him that smites him, and who is filled full with reproach." Lamentations 3:30 Of love to enemies it is said: "If your enemy hungers, feed him; if he thirsts, give him drink." Proverbs 25:21 This also is quoted by the apostle. Romans 12:20 In the Psalm, too, it is said, "I was a peace maker among them that hated peace;" and in many similar passages. In connection also with our imitating God in refraining from taking revenge, and in loving even the wicked, there is a passage containing a full description of God in this character; for it is written: "To You alone ever belongs great strength, and who can withstand the power of Your arm? For the whole world before You is as a little grain of the balance; yea, as a drop of the morning dew that falls down upon the earth. But You have mercy upon all, for You can do all things, and winkest at the sins of men, because of repentance. For You love all things that are, and abhorrest nothing which You have made; for never would You have made anything if You had hated it. And how could anything have endured, if it had not been Your will? Or been preserved, if not called by You? But You spare all; for they are Yours, O Lord, You lover of souls. For Your good Spirit is in all things; therefore chasten them little by little that offend, and warnest them by putting them in remembrance wherein they have offended, that learning their wickedness, they may believe in You, O Lord." Christ exhorts us to imitate this long-suffering goodness of God, who makes the sun to rise upon the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust; that we may not be careful to revenge, but may do good to them that hate us, and so may be perfect, even as our Father in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:44, 48 From another passage in these ancient books we learn that, by not exacting the vengeance due to us, we obtain the remission of our own sins; and that by not forgiving the debts of others, we incur the danger of being refused forgiveness when we pray for the remission of our own debts: "He that revenges shall find vengeance from the Lord, and He will surely keep his sin in remembrance. Forgive your neighbor the hurt that he has done to you; so shall your sins also be forgiven when you pray. One man bears hatred against another, and does he seek pardon of the Lord? He shows no mercy to a man who is like himself; and does he ask forgiveness of his own sins? If he that is but flesh nourishes hatred, and asks for favor from the Lord, who will entreat for the pardon of his sins?" Sirach 28:1-5
29. As regards not putting away a wife, there is no need to quote any other passage of the Old Testament than that referred to most appropriately in the Lord's reply to the Jews when they questioned Him on this subject. For when they asked whether it is lawful for a man to put away his wife for any reason, the Lord answered: "Have ye not read, that He that made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh? Therefore they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined, let no man put asunder." Matthew 19:4-6 Here the Jews, who thought that they acted according to the intention of the law of Moses in putting away their wives, are made to see from the book of Moses that a wife should not be put away. And, by the way, we learn here, from Christ's own declaration, that God made and joined male and female; so that by denying this, the Manichæans are guilty of opposing the gospel of Christ as well as the writings of Moses. And supposing their doctrine to be true, that the devil made and joined male and female, we see the diabolical cunning of Faustus in finding fault with Moses for dissolving marriages by granting a bill of divorce, and praising Christ for strengthening the union by the precept in the Gospel. Instead of this, Faustus, consistently with his own foolish and impious notions, should have praised Moses for separating what was made and joined by the devil, and should have blamed Christ for ratifying a bond of the devil's workmanship. To return, let us hear the good Master explain how Moses, who wrote of the conjugal chastity in the first union of male and female as so holy and inviolable, afterwards allowed the people to put away their wives. For when the Jews replied, "Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?" Christ said unto them, "Moses, because of the hardness of your heart, suffered you to put away your wives." Matthew 19:7-8 This passage we have already explained. The hardness must have been great indeed which could not be induced to admit the restoration of wedded love, even though by means of the writing an opportunity was afforded for advice to be given to this effect by wise and upright men. Then the Lord quoted the same law, to show both what was enjoined on the good and what was permitted to the hard; for, from what is written of the union of male and female, He proved that a wife must not be put away, and pointed out the divine authority for the union; and shows from the same Scriptures that a bill of divorcement was to be given because of the hardness of the heart, which might be subdued or might not.
30. Since, then, all these excellent precepts of the Lord, which Faustus tries to prove to be contrary to the old books of the Hebrews, are found in these very books, the only sense in which the Lord came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it, is this, that besides the fulfillment of the prophetic types, which are set aside by their actual accomplishment, the precepts also, in which the law is holy, and just, and good, are fulfilled in us, not by the oldness of the letter which commands, and increases the offense of the proud by the additional guilt of transgression, but by the newness of the Spirit, who aids us, and by the obedience of the humble, through the saving grace which sets us free. For, while all these sublime precepts are found in the ancient books, still the end to which they point is not there revealed; although the holy men who foresaw the revelation lived in accordance with it, either veiling it in prophecy as suited the time, or themselves discovering the truth thus veiled.
31. I am disposed, after careful examination, to doubt whether the expression so often used by the Lord, "the kingdom of heaven," can be found in these books. It is said, indeed, "Love wisdom, that you may reign for ever." Wisdom 6:22 And if eternal life had not been clearly made known in the Old Testament, the Lord would not have said, as He did even to the unbelieving Jews: "Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think that you have eternal life, and they are they that testify of me." John 5:39 And to the same effect are the words of the Psalmist: "I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord." And again: "Enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death." Again, we read, "The souls of the righteous are in the hand of the Lord, and pain shall not touch them;" and immediately following: "They are in peace; and if they have suffered torture from men, their hope is full of immortality; and after a few trouble, they shall enjoy many rewards." Wisdom 3:1-5 Again, in another place: "The righteous shall live for ever, and their reward is with the Lord, and their concern with the Highest; therefore shall they receive from the hand of the Lord a kingdom of glory and a crown of beauty." Wisdom 5:16-17 These and many similar declarations of eternal life, in more or less explicit terms, are found in these writings. Even the resurrection of the body is spoken of by the prophets. The Pharisees, accordingly, were fierce opponents of the Sadducees, who disbelieved the resurrection. This we learn not only from the canonical Acts of the Apostles, which the Manichæans reject, because it tells of the advent of the Paraclete promised by the Lord, but also from the Gospel, when the Sadducees question the Lord about the woman who married seven brothers, one dying after the other, whose wife she would be in the resurrection. Matthew 22:23-28 As regards, then, eternal life and the resurrection of the dead, numerous testimonies are to be found in these Scriptures. But I do not find there the expression, "the kingdom of heaven." This expression belongs properly to the revelation of the New Testament, because in the resurrection our earthly bodies shall, by that change which Paul fully describes, become spiritual bodies, and so heavenly, that thus we may possess the kingdom of heaven. And this expression was reserved for Him whose advent as King to govern and Priest to sanctify His believing people, was ushered in by all the symbolism of the old covenant, in its genealogies, its typical acts and words, its sacrifices and ceremonies and feasts, and in all its prophetic utterances and events and figures. He came full of grace and truth, in His grace helping us to obey the precepts, and in His truth securing the accomplishment of the promises. He came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it.
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/140619.htm>.
Contact information. The editor of New Advent is Kevin Knight. My email address is feedback732 at newadvent.org. (To help fight spam, this address might change occasionally.) Regrettably, I can't reply to every letter, but I greatly appreciate your feedback — especially notifications about typographical errors and inappropriate ads.