REPLY TO FAUSTUS THE MANICHAEAN

CONTRA FAUSTUM MANICHAEUM A.D. 400

BOOK XXII Part II

51. Now, having defended the character of the patriarch, and refuted an accusation arising from these detestable errors, let us avail ourselves of the opportunity of searching out the symbolical meaning, and let us knock with the reverence of faith, that the Lord may open to us the typical significance of the four wives of Jacob, of whom two were free, and two slaves. We see that, in the wife and bond-slaves of Abraham, the apostle understands the two Testaments.(3) But there, one represents each; here, the application does not suit so well, as there are two and two. There, also, the son of the bond-slave is disinherited; lint here the sons of the slaves receive the land of promise along with the sons of the free women: so that this type must have a different meaning.

52. Supposing that the two free wives point to the New Testament, by which we are called to liberty, what is the meaning of there being two? Perhaps because in Scripture, as the attentive reader will find, we are said to have two lives in the body of Christ,--one temporal, in which we suffer pain, and one eternal, in which we shall behold the blessedness of God. We see the one in the Lord's passion, and the other in His resurrection. The names of the women point to this meaning: It is said that Leah means Suffering, and Rachel the First Principle made visible, or the Word which makes the First Principle visible. The action, then, of our mortal human life, in which we live by faith, doing many painful tasks without knowing what benefit may result from them to those in whom we are interested, is Leah, Jacob's first wife. And thus she is said to have had weak eyes. For the purposes of mortals are timid, and our plans uncertain. Again, the hope of the eternal contemplation of God, accompanied with a sure and delightful perception of truth, is Rachel. And on this account she is described as fair and well-formed. This is the beloved of every pious student, and for this he serves the grace of God, by which our sins, though like scarlet, are made white as snow.(1) For Laban means making white; and we read that Jacob served Laban for Rachel.(2) No man turns to serve righteousness, in subjection to the grace of forgiveness, but that he may live in peace in the Word which makes visible the First Principle, or God; that is, he serves for Rachel, not for Leah. For what a man loves in the works of righteousness is not the toil of doing and suffering. No one desires this life for its own sake; as Jacob desired not Leah, who yet was brought to him, and became his wife, and the mother of children. Though she could not be loved of herself, the Lord made her be borne with as a step to Rachel; and then she came to be approved of on account of her children. Thus every useful servant of God, brought into His grace by which his sins are made white, has in his mind, and heart, and affection, when he thus turns to God, nothing but the knowledge of wisdom. This we often expect to attain as a reward for practising the seven precepts of the law which concern the love of our neighbor, that we injure no one: namely, Honor thy father and mother; Thou shall not commit adultery; Thou shall not kill; Thou shalt not steal; Thou shall not bear false witness; Thou shalt not desire thy neighbor's wife; Thou shall not covet thy neighbor's property. When a man has obeyed these to the best of his ability, and, instead of the bright joys of truth which he desired and hoped for, finds in the darkness of the manifold trials of this world that he is bound to painful endurance, or has embraced Leah instead of Rachel, if there is perseverance in his love, he bears with the one in order to attain the other; and as if it were said to him, Serve seven Other years for Rachel, he hears seven new commands,--to be poor in spirit, to be meek, to be a mourner, to hunger and thirst after righteousness, to be merciful, pure, and a peacemaker.(3) A man would desire, if it were possible, to obtain at once the joys of lovely and perfect wisdom, without the endurance of toil in action and suffering; but this is impossible in mortal life. This seems to be meant, when it is said to Jacob: "It is not the custom in our country to marry the younger before the elder."(4) The elder may very well mean the first in order of time. So, in the discipline of man, the toil of doing the work of righteousness precedes the delight of understanding the truth.

53. To this purpose it is written: "Thou hast desired wisdom; keep the commandments, and the Lord shall give it thee."(5) The commandments are those concerning righteousness, and the righteousness is that which is by faith, surrounded with the uncertainty of temptations; so that understanding is the reward of a pious belief of what is not yet understood. The meaning I have given to these words, "Thou hast desired wisdom; keep the commandments, and the Lord shall give it thee, "I find also in the passage, "Unless ye believe, ye shall not understand;"(6) showing that as righteousness is by faith, understanding comes by wisdom. Accordingly, in the case of those who eagerly demand evident truth, we must not condemn the desire, but regulate it, so that beginning with faith it may proceed to the desired end through good works. The life of virtue is one of toil; the end desired is unclouded wisdom. Why should I believe, says one, what is not clearly proved? Let me hear some word which will disclose the first principle of all things. This is the one great craving of the rational soul in the pursuit of truth. And the answer is, What you desire is excellent, and well worthy of your love; but Leah is to be married first, and then Rachel. The proper effect of your eagerness is to lead you to submit to the right method, instead of rebelling against it; for without this method you cannot attain what you so eagerly long for. And when it is attained, the possession of the lovely form of knowledge will be in this world accompanied with the toils of righteousness. For however clear and true our perception in this life may be of the unchangeable good, the mortal body is still a weight on the mind and the earthly tabernacle is a clog on the intellect in its manifold activity. The end then, is one, but many things must be gone through for the sake of it.

54. Thus Jacob has two free wives; for both are daughters of the remission of sins, or of whitening, that is, of Laban. One is loved, the other is borne. But she that is borne is the most and the soonest fruitful, that she may be loved, if not for herself, at least for her children. For the toil of the righteous is specially fruitful in those whom they beget for the kingdom of God, by preaching the gospel amid many trials and temptations; and they call those their joy and crown for whom they are in labors more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in deaths often,(2)--for whom they have fightings without and fears within.(3) Such births result most easily and plentifully from the word of faith, the preaching of Christ crucified, which speaks also of His human nature as far as it can be easily understood, so as not to hurt the weak eyes of Leah. Rachel, again, with clear eye, is beside herself to God,(4) and sees in the beginning the Word of God with God, and wishes to bring forth, but cannot; for who shall declare His generation? So the life devoted to contemplation, in order to see with no feeble mental eye things invisible to flesh, but understood by the things that are made, and to discern the ineffable manifestation of the eternal power and divinity of God, seeks leisure from all occupation, and is therefore barren. In this habit of retirement, where the fire of meditation burns bright, there is a want of sympathy with human weakness, and with the need men have of our help in their calamities. This life also burns with the desire for children (for it wishes to teach what it knows, and not to go with the corruption of envy(5)), and sees its sister-life fully occupied with work and with bringing forth; and it grieves that men run after that virtue which cares for their wants l and weaknesses, instead of that which has a divine imperishable lesson to impart. This is what is meant when it is said, "Rachel envied her sister."(6) Moreover, as the pure intellectual perception of that which is not matter, and so is not the object of the bodliy sense, cannot be expressed in words which spring from the flesh, the doctrine of wisdom prefers to get some lodging for divine truth in the mind by whatever material figures and illustrations occur, rather than to give up teaching these things; and thus Rachel preferred that her husband should have children by her handmaid, rather than that she should be without any children. Bilhah, the name of her handmaid, is said to mean old; and so, even when we speak of the spiritual and unchangeable nature of God, ideas are suggested relating to the old life of the bodily senses.

55. Leah, too, got children by her handmaid, from the desire of having a numerous family. Zilpah, her handmaid, is, interpreted, an open mouth. So Leah's handmaid represents those who are spoken of in Scripture as engaging in the preaching of the gospel with open mouth, but not with open heart. Thus it is written of some: "This people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me."(7) To such the apostle says: "Thou that preachest that a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery?"(8) But that even by this arrangement the free wife of Jacob, the type of labor or endurance, might obtain children to be heirs of the kingdom, the Lord says: "What they say, do; but do not after their works."(9) And again, the apostolic life, when enduring imprisonment, says: "Whether Christ is preached in pretence or in truth, I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice."(10) It is the joy of the mother over her numerous family, though born of her handmaid.

56. In one instance Leah owed her becoming a mother to Rachel, who, in return for some mandrakes, allowed her husband to give her night to her sister. Some, I know, think that eating this fruit has the effect of making barren women productive, and that Rachel, from her desire for children, was thus bent on getting the fruit from her sister. But I should not agree to this, even had Rachel conceived at the time. As Leah then conceived, and, besides, had two other children before God opened Rachel's womb, there is no reason for supposing any such quality in the mandrake, without any experience to prove it. I will give my explanation; those better able than I may give a better. Though this fruit is not often met with, I had once, to my great satisfaction, on account of its connection with this passage of Scripture, an opportunity of seeing it. I examined the fruit as carefully as I could, not with the help of any recondite knowledge of the nature of roots or the virtues of plants, but only as to what I or any one might learn from the sight, and smell, and taste. I thought it a nice-looking fruit, and sweet-smelling, but insipid; and I confess it is hard to say why Rachel desired it so much, unless it was for its rarity and its sweet smell. Why the incident should be narrated in Scripture, in which the fancies of women would not be mentioned as important unless it was intended that we should learn some important lesson from them, the only thing I can think of is the very simple idea that the fruit represents a good character; not the praise given a man by a few just and wise people, but popular report, which bestows greatness and renown on a man, and which is not desirable for its own sake, but is essential to the success of good men in their endeavors to benefit their fellow-men. So the apostle says, that it is proper to have a good report of those that are without;(1) for though they are not infallible, the lustre of their praise and the odor of their good opinion are a great help to the efforts of those who seek to benefit them. And this popular renown is not obtained by those that are highest in the Church, unless they expose themselves to the toils and hazards of an active life. Thus the son of Leah found the mandrakes when he went out into the field, that is, when walking honestly towards those that are without. The pursuit of wisdom, on the other hand, retired from the busy crowd, and lost in calm meditation, could never obtain a particle of this public approval, except through those who take the management of public business, not for the sake of being leaders, but in order to be useful. These men of action and business exert themselves for the public benefit, and by a popular use of their influence gain the approval of the people even for the quiet life of the student and inquirer after truth; and thus through Leah the mandrakes come into the hands of Rachel. Leah herself got them from her first-born son, that is, in honor of her fertility, which represents all the useful result of a laborious life exposed to the com mort vicissitudes; a life which many avoid on account of its troublesome engagements, because, although they might be able to take the lead, they are bent on study, and devote all their powers to the quiet pursuit of knowledge, in love with the beauty of Rachel.

57. But as it is right that this studious life should gain public approval by letting itself be known, while it cannot rightly gain this approval if it keeps its follower in retirement, instead of using his powers for the management of ecclesiastical affairs, and so prevents his being generally useful; to this purpose Leah says to her sister, "Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son's mandrakes also?"(2) The husband represents all those who, though fit for active life, and able to govern the Church, in administering to believers the mystery of the faith, from their love of learning and of the pursuit of wisdom, desire to relinquish all troublesome occupations, and to bury themselves in the classroom. Thus the words, "Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son's mandrakes also?" mean, "Is it a small matter that the life of study keeps in retirement men required for the toils of public life? and does it ask for popular renown as well?"

58. To get this renown justly, Rachel gives her husband to her sister for the night; that is, those who, by a talent for business, are fitted for government, must for the public benefit consent to bear the burden and suffer the hardships of public life; lest the pursuit of wisdom, to which their leisure is devoted, should be evil spoken of, and should not gain from the multitude the good opinion, represented by the fruit, which is necessary for the encouragement of their pupils. But the life of business must be forced upon them. This is clearly shown by Leah's meeting Jacob when coming from the field, and laying hold of him, saying, "Thou shalt come in to me; for I have hired thee with my son's mandrakes."(3) As if she said, Dost thou wish the knowledge which thou lovest to be well thought of? Do not shirk the toil of business. The same thing happens constantly in the Church. What we read is explained by what we meet with in our own experience. Do we not everywhere see men coming from secular employments, to seek leisure for the study and contemplation of truth, their beloved Rachel, and intercepted mid-way by ecclesiastical affairs, which require them to be set to work, as if Leah said to them, You must come in to me? When such men minister in sincerity the mystery of God, so as in the night of this world to beget sons in the faith, popular approval is gained also for that life, in love for which they were led to abandon worldly pursuits, and from the adoption of which they were called away to undertake the benevolent task of government. In all their labors they aim chiefly at this, that their chosen way of life may have greater and wider renown, as having supplied the people with such leaders; as Jacob consents to go with Leah, that Rachel may obtain the sweet-smelling and good-looking fruit. Rachel, too, in course of time, by the mercy of God, brings forth a child herself, but not till after some time; for it seldom happens that there is a sound, though only partial, apprehension, without fleshly ideas, of such sacred lessons of wisdom as this: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."(1)

59. This must suffice as a reply to the false accusations brought by Faustus against the three fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, from whom the God whom the Catholic Church worship was pleased to take His name. This is not the place to discourse on the merits and piety of these three men, or on the dignity of their prophetic character, which is beyond the comprehension of carnal minds. It is enough in this treatise to defend them against the calumnious attacks of malevolence and falsehood, in case those who read the Scriptures in a carping and hostile spirit should fancy that they have proved anything against the sacredness and the profitableness of these books, by their attempts to blacken the character of men who are there mentioned so honorably.

60. It should be added that Lot, the brother, that is the blood relation, of Abraham, is not to be ranked as equal to those of whom God says, "I am the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob;" nor does he belong to those testified to in Scripture as having continued righteous to the end, although in Sodom he lived a pious and virtuous life, and showed a praiseworthy hospitality, so that he was rescued from the fire, and a land was given by God to his seed to dwell in, for the sake of his uncle Abraham. On these accounts he is commended in Scripture--not for intemperance or incest. But when we find bad and good actions recorded of the same person, we must take warning from the one, and example from the other. As, then, the sin of Lot, of whom we are told that he was righteous previous to this sin, instead of bringing a stain on the character of God, or the truth of Scripture, rather calls on us to approve and admire the record in its resemblance to a faithful mirror, which reflects not only the beauties and perfections, but also the faults and deformities, of those who approach it; still more, in the case of Judah, who lay with his daughter-in-law, we may see how groundless are the reproaches cast on the narrative. The sacred record has an authority which raises it far above not merely the cavils of a handful of Manichaeans, but the determined enmity of the whole Gentile world; for, in confirmation of its claims, we see that already it has brought nearly all people from their idolatrous superstitions to the worship of one God, according to the rule of Christianity. It has conquered the world, not by violence and warfare, but by the resistless force of truth. Where, then, is Judah praised in Scripture? Where is anything good said of him, except that in the blessing pronounced by his father he is distinguished above the rest, because of the prophecy that Christ would come in the flesh from his tribe?(2)

61. Judah, as Faustus says, committed fornication; and besides that, we can accuse him of selling his brother into Egypt. Is it any disparagement to light, that in revealing all things it discloses what is unsightly? So neither is the character of Scripture affected by the evil deeds of which we are informed by the record itself. Undoubtedly, by the eternal law, which requires the preservation of natural order, and forbids the transgression of it, conjugal intercourse should take place only for the procreation of children, and after the celebration of marriage, so as to maintain the bond of peace. Therefore, the prostitution of women, merely for the gratification of sinful passion, is condemned by the divine and eternal law. To purchase the degradation of another, disgraces the purchaser; so that, though the sin would have been greater if Judah had knowingly lain with his daughter-in-law (for if, as the Lord says, man and wife are no more two, but one flesh,(3) a daughter-in-law is the same as a daughter); still, it is plain that, as regards his own intention, he was disgraced by his intercourse with an harlot. The woman, on the other hand, who deceived her father-in-law, sinned not from wantonness, or because she loved the gains of iniquity, but from her desire to have children of this particular family. So, being disappointed in two of the brothers, and not obtaining the third, she succeeded by craft in getting a child by their father; and the reward which she got was kept, not as an ornament, but as a pledge. It would certainly have been better to have remained childless than to become a mother without marriage. Still, her desire to have her father-in-law as the father of her children was very different from having a criminal affection for him. And when, by his order, she was brought out to be killed, on her producing the staff and necklace and ring, saying that the father of the child was the man who had given her those pledges, Judah acknowledged them, and said, "She hath been more righteous than I"--not praising her, but condemning himself. He blamed her desire to have children less than his own unlawful passion, which had led him to one whom he thought to be an harlot. In a similar sense, it is said of some that they justified Sodom;(1) that is, their sin was so great, that Sodom seemed righteous in comparison. And even allowing that this woman is not spoken of as comparatively less guilty, but is actually praised by her father-in-law, while, on account of her not observing the established rites of marriage, she is a criminal in the eye of the eternal law of right, which forbids the transgression of natural order, both as regards the body, and first and chiefly as regards the mind, what wonder though one sinner should praise another?

62. The mistake of Faustus and of Manichaeism generally, is in supposing that these objections prove anything against us, as if our reverence for Scripture, and our profession of regard for its authority, bound us to approve of all the evil actions mentioned in it; whereas the greater our homage for the Scripture, the more decided must be our condemnation of what the truth of Scripture itself teaches us to condemn. In Scripture, all fornication and adultery are condemned by the divine law; accordingly, when actions of this kind are narrated, without being expressly condemned, it is intended not that we should praise them, but that we should pass judgment on them ourselves. Every one execrates the cruelty of Herod in the Gospel, when, in his uneasiness on hearing of the birth of Christ, he commanded the slaughter of so many infants.(2) But this is merely narrated without being condemned. Or if Manichaean absurdity is bold enough to deny the truth of this narrative, since they do not admit the birth of Christ, which was what troubled Herod, let them read the account of the blind fury of the Jews, which is related without any expression of reproach, although the feeling of abhorrence is the same in all.

63. But, it is said, Judah, who lay with his daughter-in-law, is reckoned as one of the twelve patriarchs. And was not Judas, who betrayed the Lord, reckoned among the twelve apostles? And was not this one of them, who was a devil, sent along with them to preach the gospel?(3) In reply to this, it will be said that after his crime Judas hanged himself, and was removed from the number of the apostles; while Judah, after his evil conduct, was not only blessed along with his brethren, but got special honor and approval from his father, who is so highly spoken of in Scripture. But the main lesson to be learned from this is, that this prophecy refers not to Judah, but to Christ, who was foretold as to come in the flesh from his tribe; and the very reason for the mention of this crime of Judah is to be found in the desirableness of teaching us to look for another meaning in the words of his father, which are seen not to be applicable to him in his misconduct, from the praise which they express.

64. Doubtless, the intention of Faustus' calumnies is to damage this very assertion, that Christ was born of the tribe of Judah. Especially, as in the genealogy given by Matthew we find the name of Zara, whom this woman Tamar bore to Judah. Had Faustus wished to reproach Jacob's family merely, and not Christ's birth, he might have taken the case of Reuben the first-born, who committed the unnatural crime of defiling his father's bed, of which fornication the apostle says, that it was not so much as named among the Gentiles.(4) Jacob also mentions this in his blessing, charging his son with the infamous deed. Faustus might have brought up this, as Reuben seems to have been guilty of deliberate incest, and there was no harlot's disguise in this case, were it not that Tamar's conduct in desiring nothing but to have children is more odious to Faustus than if she had acted from criminal passion, and did he not wish to discredit the incarnation, by bringing reproach on Christ's progenitors. Faustus unhappily is not aware that the most true and truthful Saviour is a teacher, not only in His words, but also in His birth. In His fleshly origin there is this lesson for those who should believe on Him from all nations, that the sins of their fathers need be no hindrance to them. Besides, the Bridegroom, who was to call good and bad to His marriage,(5) was pleased to assimilate Himself to His guests, in being born of good and bad. He thus confirms as typical of Himself the symbol of the Passover, in which it was commanded that the lamb to be eaten should be taken from the sheep or from the goats--that is, from the righteous or the wicked.(6) Preserving throughout the indication of divinity and humanity, as man He consented to have both bad and good as His parents, while as God He chose the miraculous birth from a virgin.

65. The impiety, therefore, of Faustus' attacks on Scripture can injure no one but himself; for what he thus assails is now deservedly the object of universal reverence. As has been said already, the sacred record, like a faithful mirror, has no flattery in its portraits, and either itself passes sentence upon human actions as worthy of approval or disapproval, or leaves the reader to do so. And not only does it distinguish men as blameworthy or praiseworthy, but it also takes notice of cases where the blameworthy deserve praise, and the praiseworthy blame. Thus, although Saul was blameworthy, it was not the less praiseworthy in him to examine so carefully who had eaten food during the curse, and to pronounce the stern sentence in obedience to the commandment of God.(1) So, too, he was right in banishing those that had familiar spirits and wizards out of the land.(2) And although David was praiseworthy, we are not called on to approve or imitate his sins, which God rebukes by the prophet. And so Pontius Pilate was not wrong in pronouncing the Lord innocent, in spite of the accusations of the Jews;(3) nor was it praiseworthy in Peter to deny the Lord thrice; nor, again, was he praiseworthy on that occasion when Christ called him Satan because, not understanding the things of God, he wished to withhold Christ from his passion, that is, from our salvation. Here Peter, immediately after being called blessed, is called Satan.(4) Which character most truly belonged to him, we may see from his apostleship, and from his crown of martyrdom.

66. In the case of David also, we read of both good and bad actions. But where David's strength lay, and what was the secret of his success, is sufficiently plain, not to the blind malevolence with which Faustus assails holy writings and holy men, but to pious discernment, which bows to the divine authority, and at the same time judges correctly of human conduct. The Manichaeans will find, if they read the Scriptures, that God rebukes David more than Faustus does.(5) But they will read also of the sacrifice of his penitence, of his surpassing gentleness to his merciless and bloodthirsty enemy, whom David, pious as he was brave, dismissed unhurt when now and again he fell into his hands.(6) They will read of his memorable humility under divine chastisement, when the kingly neck was so bowed under the Master's yoke, that he bore with perfect patience bitter taunts from his enemy, though he was armed, and had armed men with him. And when his companion was enraged at such things being said to the king, and was on the point of requiting the insult on the head of the scoffer, he mildly restrained him, appealing to the fear of God in support of his own royal order, and saying that this bad happened to him as a punishment from God, who had sent the man to curse him.(7) They will read how, with the love of a shepherd for the flock entrusted to him, he was willing to die for them, when, after he had numbered the people, God saw good to punish his sinful pride by lessening the number he boasted of. In this destruction, God, with whom there is no iniquity, in His secret judgment, both took away the lives of those whom He knew to be unworthy of life, and by this diminution cured the vainglory which had prided itself on the number of the people. They will read of that scrupulous fear of God in his regard for the emblem of Christ in the sacred anointing, which made David's heart smite him with regret for having secretly cut off a small piece of Saul's garment, that he might prove to him that he had no wish to kill him, when he might have done it. They will read of his judicious behavior as regards his children, and also of his tenderness toward them--how, when one was sick, he entreated the Lord for him with many tears and with much self-abasement, but when he died, an innocent child, he did not mourn for him; and again, how, when his youthful son was carried away with unnatural hostility to an infamous violation of his father's bed, and in a parricidal war, he wished him to live, and wept for him when he was killed; for he thought of the eternal doom of a soul guilty of such crimes, and desired that he should live to escape this doom by being brought to submission and repentance. These, and many other praiseworthy and exemplary things, may be seen in this holy man by a candid examination of the Scripture narrative, especially if in humble piety and unfeigned faith we regard the judgment of God, who knew the secrets of David's heart, and who, in His infallible inspection, so approves of David as to commend him as a pattern to his sons.

67. It must have been on account of this inspection of the depths of David's heart by the Spirit of God that, when on being reproved by the prophet, he said, I have sinned, he was considered worthy to be told, immediately after this brief confession, that he was pardoned--that is, that he was admitted to eternal salvation. For he did not escape the correction of the fatherly rod, of which God spoke in His threatening, that, while by his confession he obtained eternal exemption, he might be tried by temporal chastisement. And it is a remarkable evidence of the strength of David's faith, and of his meek and submissive spirit, that, when he had been told by the prophet that God had forgiven him, although the threatened consequences were still permitted to follow, he did not accuse the prophet of having deluded him, or murmur against God as having mocked him with a declaration of forgiveness. This deeply holy man, whose soul was lifted up unto God, and not against God, knew that had not the Lord mercifully accepted his confession and repentance, his sins would have deserved eternal punishment. So when, instead of this, he was made to smart under temporal correction, he saw that, while the pardon remained good, wholesome discipline was also provided. Saul, too, when he was reproved by Samuel, said, I have sinned.(1) Why, then, was he not considered fit to be told, as David was, that the Lord had pardoned his sin? Is there acceptance of persons with God? Far from it. While to the human ear the words were the same, the divine eye saw a difference in the heart. The lesson for us to learn from these things is, that the kingdom of heaven is within us,(2) and that we must worship God from our inmost feelings, that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth may speak, instead of honoring Him with our lips, like the people of old, while our hearts are far from Him. We may learn also to judge of men, whose hearts we cannot see, only as God judges, who sees what we cannot, and who cannot be biased or misled. Having, on the high authority of sacred Scripture, the plainest announcement of God's opinion of David, we may regard as absurd or deplorable the rashness of men who hold a different opinion. The authority of Scripture, as regards the character of these men of ancient times, is supported by the evidence from the prophecies which they contain, and which are now receiving their fulfillment.

68. We see the same thing in the Gospel, where the devils confess that Christ is the Son of God in the words used by Peter, but with a very different heart. So, though the words were the same, Peter is praised for his faith, while the impiety of the devils is checked. For Christ, not by human sense. but by divine knowledge, could inspect and infallibly discriminate the sources from which the words came. Besides, there are multitudes who confess that Christ is the Son of the living God, without meriting the same approval as Peter--not only of those who shall say in that day, "Lord, Lord," and shall receive the sentence, "Depart from me," but also of those who shall be placed on the right hand. They may probably never have denied Christ even once; they may never have opposed His suffering for our salvation; they may never have forced the Gentiles to do as the Jews;(3) and yet they shall not be honored equally with Peter, who, though he did all these things, will sit on one of the twelve thrones, and judge not only the twelve tribes, but the angels. So, again, many who have never desired another man's wife, or procured the death of the husband, as David did, will never reach the place which David nevertheless held in the divine favor. There is a vast difference between what is in itself so undesirable that it must be utterly rejected, and the rich and plenteous harvest which may afterwards appear. For farmers are best pleased with the fields from which, after weeding them, it may be, of great thistles, they receive an hundred-fold; not with fields which have never had any thistles, and hardly bear thirty-fold.

69. So Moses, too, who was so faithful a servant of God in all his house; the minister of the holy, just, and good law; of whose character the apostle speaks in the words here quoted;(4) the minister also of the symbols which, though not conferring salvation, promised the Saviour, as the Saviour Himself shows, when He says, "If ye believed Moses, ye would also believe me, for he wrote of me,"--from which passage we have already sufficiently answered the presumptuous cavils of the Manichaeans;--this Moses, the servant of the living, the true, the most high God, that made heaven and earth, not of a foreign substance, but of nothing--not from the pressure of necessity, but from plenitude of goodness--not by the suffering of His members, but by the power of His word;--this Moses, who humbly put from him this high ministry, but obediently accepted it, and faithfully kept it, and diligently fulfilled it; who ruled the people with vigilance, reproved them with vehemence, loved them with fervor, and bore with them in patience, standing for his subjects before God to receive His counsel, and to appease His wrath;--this great and good man is not to be judged of from Faustus' malicious representations, but from what is said by God, whose word is a true expression of His true opinion of this man, whom He knew because He made him. For the sins of men are also known to God, though He is not their author; but He takes notice of them as a judge in those who refuse to own them, and pardons them as a father in those who make confession. His servant Moses, as thus described, we love and admire, and to the best of our power imitate, coming indeed far short of his merits, though we have killed no Egyptian, nor plundered any one, nor carried on any war; which actions of Moses were in one case prompted by the zeal of the future champion of his people, and in the other cases commanded by God.

70. It might be shown that, though Moses slew the Egyptian, without being commanded by God, the action was divinely permitted, as, from the prophetic character of Moses, it prefigured something in the future. Now however, I do not use this argument, but view the action as having no symbolical meaning. In the light, then, of the eternal law, it was wrong for one who had no legal authority to kill the man, even though he was a bad character, besides being the aggressor. But in minds where great virtue is to come, there is often an early crop of vices, in which we may still discern a disposition for some particular virtue, which will come when the mind is duly cultivated. For as farmers, when they see land bringing forth huge crops, though of weeds, pronounce it good for corn; or when they see wild creepers, which have to be rooted out, still consider the land good for useful vines; and when they see a hill covered with wild olives, conclude that with culture it will produce good fruit: so the disposition of mind which led Moses to take the law into his own hands, to prevent the wrong done to his brother, living among strangers, by a wicked citizen of the country from being unrequited, was not unfit for the production of virtue, but from want of culture gave signs of its productiveness in an unjustifiable manner. He who afterwards, by His angel, called Moses on Mount Sinai, with the divine commission to liberate the people of Israel from Egypt, and who trained him to obedience by the miraculous appearance in the bush burning but not consumed, and by instructing him in his ministry, was the same who, by the call addressed from heaven to Saul when persecuting the Church, humbled him, raised him up, and animated him; or in figurative words, by this stroke He cut off the branch, grafted it, and made it fruitful. For the fierce energy of Paul, when in his zeal for hereditary traditions he persecuted the Church, thinking that he was doing God service, was like a crop of weeds showing great signs of productiveness. It was the same in Peter, when he took his sword out of its sheath to defend the Lord, and cut off the right ear of an assailant, when the Lord rebuked him with something like a threat, saying, "Put up thy sword into its sheath; for he that taketh the sword shall perish by the sword."(1) To take the sword is to use weapons against a man's life, without the sanction of the con stituted authority. The Lord, indeed, had told His disciples to carry a sword; but He did not tell them to use it. But that after this sin Peter should become a pastor of the Church was no more improper than that Moses, after smiting the Egyptian, should become the leader of the congregation. In both cases the trespass originated not in inveterate cruelty, but in a hasty zeal which admitted of correction. In both cases there was resentment against injury, accompanied in one case by love for a brother, and in the other by love, though still carnal, of the Lord. Here was evil to be subdued or rooted out; but the heart with such capacities needed only, like good soil, to be cultivated to make it fruitful in virtue.

71. Then, as for Faustus' objection to the spoiling of the Egyptians, he knows not what he says. In this Moses not only did not sin, but it would have been sin not to do it. It was by the command of God,(2) who, from His knowledge both of the actions and of the hearts of men, can decide on what every one should be made to suffer, and through whose agency. The people at that time were still carnal, and engrossed with earthly affections; while the Egyptians were in open rebellion against God, for they used the gold, God's creature, in the service of idols, to the dishonor of the Creator, and they had grievously oppressed strangers by making them work without pay. Thus the Egyptians deserved the punishment, and the Israelites were suitably employed in inflicting it. Perhaps, indeed, it was not so much a command as a permission to the Hebrews to act in the matter according to their own inclinations; and God, in sending the message by Moses, only wished that they should thus be informed of His permission. There may also have been mysterious reasons for what God said to the people on this matter. At any rate, God's commands are to be submissively received, not to be argued against. The apostle says, "Who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been His counsellor?"(3) Whether, then, the reason was what I have said, or whether in the secret appointment of God, there was some unknown reason for His telling the people by Moses to borrow things from the Egyptians, and to take them away with them, this remains certain, that this was said for some good reason, and that Moses could not lawfully have done otherwise than God told him, leaving to God the reason of the command, while the servant's duty is to obey.

72. But, says Faustus, it cannot be admitted that the true God, who is also good, ever gave such a command. I answer, such a command can be rightly given by no other than the true and good God, who alone knows the suitable command in every case, and who alone is incapable of inflicting unmerited suffering on any one. This ignorant and spurious goodness of the human heart may as well deny what Christ says, and object to the wicked being made to suffer by the good God, when He shall say to the angels, "Gather first the tares into bundles to burn them." The servants, however, were stopped when they wished to do this prematurely: "Lest by chance, when ye would gather the tares, ye root up the wheat also with them."(1) Thus the true and good God alone knows when, to whom, and by whom to order anything, or to permit anything. In the same way, this human goodness, or folly rather, might object to the Lord's permitting the devils to enter the swine, which they asked to be allowed to do with a mischievous intent?(2) especially as the Manichaeans believe that not only pigs, but the vilest insects, have human souls. But setting aside these absurd notions, this is undeniable, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the only son of God, and therefore the true and good God, permitted the destruction of swine belonging to strangers, implying loss of life and of a great amount of property, at the request of devils. No one can be so insane as to suppose that Christ could not have driven the devils out of the men without gratifying their malice by the destruction of the swine. If, then, the Creator and Governor of all natures, in His superintendence, which, though mysterious, is ever just, indulged the violent and unjust inclination of those lost spirits already doomed to eternal fire, why should not the Egyptians, who were unrighteous oppressors, be spoiled by the Hebrews, a free people, who would claim payment for their enforced and painful toil, especially as the earthly possessions which they thus lost were used by the Egyptians in their impious rites, to the dishonor of the Creator? Still, if Moses had originated this order, or if the people had done it spontaneously, undoubtedly it would have been sinful; and perhaps the people did sin, not in doing what God commanded or permitted, but in some desire of their own for what they took. The permission given to this action by divine authority was in accordance with the just and good counsel of Him who uses punishments both to restrain the wicked and to educate His own people; who knows also how to give more advanced precepts to those able to bear them, while He begins on a lower scale in the treatment of the feeble. As for Moses, he can be blamed neither for coveting the property, nor for disputing, in any instance, the divine authority.

73. According to the eternal law, which requires the preservation of natural order, and forbids the transgression of it, some actions have an indifferent character, so that men are blamed for presumption if they do them without being called upon, while they are deservedly praised for doing them when required. The act, the agent, and the authority for the action are all of great importance in the order of nature. For Abraham to sacrifice his son of his own accord is shocking madness. His doing so at the command of God proves him faithful and submissive. This is so loudly proclaimed by the very voice of truth, that Faustus, eagerly rummaging for some fault, and reduced at last to slanderous charges, has not the boldness to attack this action. It is scarcely possible that he can have forgotten a deed so famous, that it recurs to the mind of itself without any study or reflection, and is in fact repeated by so many tongues, and portrayed in so many places, that no one can pretend to shut his eyes or his ears to it. If, therefore, while Abraham's killing his son of his own accord would have been unnatural, his doing it at the command of God shows not only guiltless but praiseworthy compliance, why does Faustus blame Moses for spoiling the Egyptians? Your feeling of disapproval for the mere human action should be restrained by a regard for the divine sanction. Will you venture to blame God Himself for desiring such actions? Then "Get thee behind me, Satan, for thou understandest not the things which be of God, but those which be of men." Would that this rebuke might accomplish in you what it did in Peter, and that you might hereafter preach the truth concerning God, which you now, judging by feeble sense, find fault with! as Peter became a zealous messenger to announce to the Gentiles what he objected to at first, when the Lord spoke of it as His intention.

74. Now, if this explanation suffices to satisfy human obstinacy and perverse misinterpretation of right actions of the vast difference between the indulgence of passion and presumption on the part of men, and obedience to the command of God, who knows what to permit or to order, and also the time and the persons, and the due action or suffering in each case, the account of the wars of Moses will not excite surprise or abhorrence, for in wars carried on by divine command, he showed not ferocity but obedience; and God in giving the command, acted not in cruelty, but in righteous retribution, giving to nil what they deserved, and warning those who needed warning. What is the evil in war? Is it the death of some who will soon die in any case, that others may live in peaceful subjection? This is mere cowardly dislike, not any religious feeling. The real evils in war are love of violence, revengeful cruelty, fierce and implacable enmity, wild resistance, and the lust of power, and such like; and it is generally to punish these things, when force is required to inflict the punishment, that, in obedience to God or some lawful authority, good men undertake wars, when they find themselves in such a position as regards the conduct of human affairs, that right conduct requires them to act, or to make others act in this way. Otherwise John, when the soldiers who came to be baptized asked, What shall we do? would have replied, Throw away your arms; give up the service; never strike, or wound, or disable any one. But knowing that such actions in battle were not murderous but authorized by law, and that the soldiers did not thus avenge themselves, but defend the public safety, he replied, "Do violence to no man, accuse no man falsely, and be content with your wages."(1) But as the Manichaeans are in the habit of speaking evil of John, let them hear the Lord Jesus Christ Himself ordering this money to be given to Caesar, which John tells the soldiers to be content with. "Give," He says, "to Caesar the things that are Caesar's."(2) For tribute-money is given on purpose to pay the soldiers for war. Again, in the case of the centurion who said, "I am a man under authority, and have soldiers under me: and I say to one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it," Christ gave due praise to his faith;(3) He did not tell him to leave the service. But there is no need here to enter on the long discussion of just and unjust ways.

75. A great deal depends on the causes for which men undertake wars, and on the authority they have for doing so; for the natural order which seeks the peace of mankind, ordains that the monarch should have the power of undertaking war if he thinks it advisable, and that the soldiers should perform their military duties in behalf of the peace and safety of the community. When war is undertaken in obedience to God, who would rebuke, or humble, or crush the pride of man, it must be allowed to be a righteous war; for even the wars which arise from human passion cannot harm the eternal well-being of God, nor even hurt His saints; for in the trial of their patience, and the chastening of their spirit, and in bearing fatherly correction, they are rather benefited than injured. No one can have any power against them but what is given him from above. For there is no power but of God,(4) who either orders or permits. Since, therefore, a righteous man, serving it may be under an ungodly king, may do the duty belonging to his position in the State in fighting by the order of his sovereign,--for in some cases it is plainly the will of God that he should fight, and in others, where this is not so plain, it may be an unrighteous command on the part of the king, while the soldier is innocent, because his position makes obedience a duty,--how much more must the man be blameless who carries on war on the authority of God, of whom every one who serves Him knows that He can never require what is wrong?

76. If it is supposed that God could not enjoin warfare, because in after times it was said by the Lord Jesus Christ, "I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but if any one strike thee on the right cheek, turn to him the left also,"(5) the answer is, that what is here required is not a bodily action, but an inward disposition. The sacred seat of virtue is the heart, and such were the hearts of our fathers, the righteous men of old. But order required such a regulation of events, and such a distinction of times, as to show first of all that even earthly blessings (for so temporal kingdoms and victory over enemies are considered to be, and these are the things which the community of the ungodly all over the world are continually begging from idols and devils) are entirely under the control and at the disposal of the one true God. Thus, under the Old Testament, the secret of the kingdom of heaven, which was to be disclosed in due time, was veiled, and so far obscured, in the disguise of earthly promises. But when the fullness of time came for the revelation of the New Testament, which was hidden under the types of the Old, clear testimony was to be borne to the truth, that there is another life for which this life ought to be disregarded, and another kingdom for which the opposition of all earthly kingdoms should be patiently borne. Thus the name martyrs, which means witnesses, was given to those who, by the will of God, bore this testimony, by their confessions, their sufferings, and their death. The number of such witnesses is so great, that if it pleased Christ--who called Saul by a voice from heaven, and having changed him from a wolf to a sheep, sent him into the midst of wolves--to unite them all in one army, and to give them success in battle, as He gave to the Hebrews, what nation could withstand them? what kingdom would remain unsubdued? But as the doctrine of the New Testament is, that we must serve God not for temporal happiness in this life, but for eternal felicity hereafter, this truth was most strikingly confirmed by the patient endurance of what is commonly called adversity for the sake of that felicity. So in fullness of time the Son of God, made of a woman, made under the law, that He might redeem them that were under the law, made of the seed of David according to the flesh sends His disciples as sheep into the midst of wolves, and bids them not fear those that can kill the body, but cannot kill the soul, and promises that even the body will be entirely restored, so that not a hair shall be lost.(1) Peter's sword He orders back into its sheath, restoring as it was before the ear of His enemy that had been cut off. He says that He could obtain legions of angels to destroy His enemies, but that He must drink the cup which His Father's will had given Him.(2) He sets the example of drinking this cup, then hands it to His followers, manifesting thus, both in word and deed, the grace of patience. Therefore God raised Him from the dead, and has given Him a name which is above every name; that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and of things in earth, and of things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.(3) The patriarchs and prophets, then, have a kingdom in this world, to show that these kingdoms, too, are given and taken away by God: the apostles and martyrs had no kingdom here, to show the superior desirableness of the kingdom of heaven. The prophets, however, could even in those times die for the truth, as the Lord Himself says, "From the blood of Abel to the blood of Zacharia;(4) and in these days, since the commencement of the fulfillment of what is prophesied in the psalm of Christ, under the figure of Solomon, which means the peacemaker, as Christ is our peace,(5) "All kings of the earth shall bow to Him, all nations shall serve Him,"(6) we have seen Christian emperors, who have put all their confidence in Christ, gaining splendid victories over ungodly enemies, whose hope was in the rites of idolatry and devil-worship. There are public and undeniable proofs of the fact, that on one side the prognostications of devils were found to be fallacious, and on the other, the predictions of saints were a means of support; and we have now writings in which those facts are recorded.

77. If our foolish opponents are surprised at the difference between the precepts given by God to the ministers of the Old Testament, at a time when the grace of the New was still undisclosed, and those given to the preachers of the New Testament, now that the obscurity of the Old is removed, they will find Christ Himself saying one thing at one time, and another at another. "When I sent you," He says, "without scrip, or purse, or shoes, did ye lack anything? And they said, Nothing. Then saith He to them, But now, he that hath a scrip, let him take it, and also a purse; and he that hath not a sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." If the Manichaeans found passages in the Old and New Testaments differing in this way, they would proclaim it as a proof that the Testaments are opposed to each other. But here the difference is in the utterances of one and the same person. At one time He says, "I sent you without scrip, or purse, or shoes, and ye lacked nothing;" at another, "Now let him that hath a scrip take it, and also a purse; and he that hath a tunic, let him sell it and buy a sword." Does not this show how, without any inconsistency, precepts and counsels and permissions may be changed, as different times require different arrangements? If it is said that there was a symbolical meaning in the command to take a scrip and purse, and to buy a sword, why may there not be a symbolical meaning in the fact, that one and the same God commanded the prophets in old times to make war, and forbade the apostles? And we find in the passage that we have quoted from the Gospel, that the words spoken by the Lord were carried into effect by His disciples. For, besides going at first without scrip or purse, and yet lacking nothing, as from the Lord's question and their answer it is plain they did, now that He speaks of buying a sword, they say, "Lo, here are two swords;" and He replied, "It is enough." Hence we find Peter with a weapon when he cut off the assailant's ear, on which occasion his spontaneous boldness was checked, because, although he had been told to take a sword, he had not been told to use it.(1) Doubtless, it was mysterious that the Lord should require them to carry weapons, and forbid the use of them. But it was His part to give the suitable precepts, and it was their part to obey without reserve.

78. It is therefore mere groundless calumny to charge Moses with making war, for there would have been less harm in making war of his own accord, than in not doing it when God commanded him. And to dare to find fault with God Himself for giving such a command, or not to believe it possible that a just and good God did so, shows, to say the least, an inability to consider that in the view of divine providence, which pervades all things from the highest to the lowest, time can neither add anything nor take away; but all things go, or come, or remain according to the order of nature or desert in each separate case, while in men a right will is in union with the divine law, and ungoverned passion is restrained by the order of divine law; so that a good man wills only what is commanded, and a bad man can do only what he is permitted, at the same time that he is punished for what he wills to do unjustly. Thus, in all the things which appear shocking and terrible to human feebleness, the real evil is the injustice; the rest is only the result of natural properties or of moral demerit. This injustice is seen in every case where a man loves for their own sake things which are desirable only as means to an end, and seeks for the sake of something else things which ought to be loved for themselves. For thus, as far as he can, he disturbs in himself the natural order which the eternal law requires us to observe. Again, a man is just when he seeks to use things only for the end for which God appointed them, and to enjoy God as the end of all, while he enjoys himself and his friend in God and for God. For to love in a friend the love of God is to love the friend for God. Now both justice and injustice, to be acts at all, must be voluntary; otherwise, there can be no just rewards or punishments; which no man in his senses will assert. The ignorance and infirmity which prevent a man from knowing his duty, or from doing all he wishes to do, belong to God's secret penal arrangement, and to His unfathomable judgments, for with Him there is no iniquity. Thus we are informed by the sure word of God of Adam's sin; and Scripture truly declares that in him all die, and that by him sin entered into the world, and death by sin.(2) And our experience gives abundant evidence, that in punishment for this sin our body is corrupted, and weighs down the soul, and the clay tabernacle clogs the mind in its manifold activity;(3) and we know that we can be freed from this punishment only by gracious interposition. So the apostle cries out in distress, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? The grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord."(4) So much we know; but the reasons for the distribution of divine judgment and mercy, why one is in this condition, and another in that, though just, are unknown. Still, we are sure that all these things are due either to the mercy or the judgment of God, while the measures and numbers and weights by which the Creator of all natural productions arranges all things are concealed from our view. For God is not the author, but He is the controller of sin; so that sinful actions, which are sinful because they are against nature, are judged and controlled, and assigned to their proper place and condition, in order that they may not bring discord and disgrace on universal nature. This being the case, and as the judgments of God and the movements of man's will contain the hidden reason why the same prosperous circumstances which some make a right use of are the ruin of others, and the same afflictions under which some give way are profitable to others, and since the whole mortal life of man upon earth is a trial,(5) who can tell whether it may be good or bad in any particular case--in time of peace, to reign or to serve, or to be at ease or to die--or in time of war, to command or to fight, or to conquer or to be killed? At the same time, it remains true, that whatever is good is so by the divine blessing, and whatever is bad is so by the divine judgment.

79. Let no one, then, be so daring as to make rash charges against men, not to say against God. If the service of the ministers of the Old Testament, who were also heralds of the New, consisted in putting sinners to death, and that of the ministers of the New Testament, who are also interpreters of the Old, in being put to death by sinners, the service in both cases is rendered to one God, who, varying the lesson to suit the times, teaches both that temporal blessings are to be sought from Him, and that they are to be forsaken for Him, and that temporal distress is both sent by Him and should be endured for Him. There was, therefore, no cruelty in the command, or in the action of Moses when, in his holy jealousy for his people, whom he wished to be subject to the one true God, on learning that they had fallen away to the worship of an idol made by their own hands, he impressed their minds at the time with a wholesome fear, and gave them a warning for the future, by using the sword in the punishment of a few, whose just punishment God, against whom they had sinned, appointed in the depth of His secret judgment to be immediately inflicted. That Moses acted as he did, not in cruelty, but in great love, may be seen from the words in which he prayed for the sins of the people: "If Thou wilt forgive their sin, forgive it; and if not, blot me out of Thy book."(1) The pious inquirer who compares the slaughter with the prayer will find in this the clearest evidence of the awful nature of the injury done to the soul by prostitution to the images of devils, since such love is roused to such anger. We see the same in the apostle, who, not in cruelty, but in love, delivered a man up to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.(2) Others, too, he delivered up, that they might learn not to blaspheme.(3) In the apocryphal books of the Manichaeans there is a collection of fables, published by some unknown authors under the name of the apostles. The books would no doubt have been sanctioned by the Church at the time of their publication, if holy and learned men then in life, and competent to determine the matter, had thought the contents to be true. One of the stories is, that the Apostle Thomas was once at a marriage feast in a country where he was unknown, when one of the servants struck him, and that he forthwith by his curse brought a terrible punishment on this man. For when he went out to the fountain to provide water for the guests, a lion fell on him and killed him, and the hand with which he had given a slight blow to the apostle was torn off, in fulfillment of the imprecation, and brought by a dog to the table at which the apostle was reclining. What could be more cruel than this? And yet, if I mistake not, the story goes on to say, that the apostle made up for the cruelty by obtaining for the man the blessing of pardon in the next world; so that, while the people of this strange country learned to fear the apostle as being so dear to God, the man's eternal welfare was secured in exchange for the loss of this mortal life. It matters not whether the story is true or false. At any rate, the Manichaeans, who regard as genuine and authentic books which the canon of the Church rejects, must allow, as shown in the story, that the virtue of patience, which the Lord enjoins when He says, "If any one smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him thy left also," may be in the inward disposition, though it is not exhibited in bodily action or in words. For when the apostle was struck, instead of turning his other side to the man, or telling him to repeat the blow, he prayed to God to pardon his assailant in the next world, but not to leave the injury unpunished at the time. Inwardly he preserved a kindly feeling, while outwardly he wished the man to be punished as an example. As the Manichaeans believe this, rightly or wrongly, they may also believe that such was the intention of Moses, the servant of God, when he cut down with the sword the makers and worshippers of the idol; for his own words show that he so entreated for pardon for their sin of idolatry as to ask to be blotted out of God's book if his prayer was not heard. There is no comparison between a stranger being struck with the hand, and the dishonor done to God by forsaking Him for an idol, when He had brought the people out of the bondage of Egypt, had led them through the sea, and had covered with the waters the enemy pursuing them. Nor, as regards the punishment, is there any comparison between being killed with the sword and being torn in pieces by wild beasts. For judges in administering the law condemn to exposure to wild beasts worse criminals than are condemned to be put to death by the sword.

80. Another of Faustus' malicious and impious charges which has to be answered, is about the Lord's saying to the prophet Hosea, "Take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms."(4) As regards this passage, the impure mind of our adversaries is so blinded that they do not understand the plain words of the Lord in His gospel, when He says to the Jews, "The publicans and harlots shall go into the kingdom of heaven before you."(5) There is nothing contrary to the mercifulness of truth, or inconsistent with Christian faith, in a harlot leaving fornication, and becoming a chaste wife. Indeed, nothing could be more unbecoming in one professing to be a prophet than not to believe that all the sins of the fallen woman were pardoned when she changed for the better. So when the prophet took the harlot as his wife, it was both good for the woman to have her life amended, and the action symbolized a truth of which we shall speak presently. But it is plain what offends the Manichaeans in this case; for their great anxiety is to prevent harlots from being with child. It would have pleased them better that the woman should continue a prostitute, so as not to bring their god into confinement, than that she should become the wife of one man, and have children.

81. As regards Solomon, it need only be said that the condemnation of his conduct in the faithful narrative of holy Scripture is much more serious than the childish vehemence of Faustus' attacks. The Scripture tells us with faithful accuracy both the good that Solomon had at first, and the evil actions by which he lost the good he began with; while Faustus, in his attacks, like a man closing his eyes, or with no eyes at all, seeks no guidance from the light, but is prompted only by violent animosity. To pious and discerning readers of the sacred Scriptures evidence of the chastity of the holy men who are said to have had several wives is found in this, that Solomon, who by his polygamy gratified his passions, instead of seeking for offspring, is expressly noted as chargeable with being a lover of women. This, as we are informed by the truth which accepts no man's person, led him down into the abyss of idolatry.

82. Having now gone over all the cases in which Faustus finds fault with the Old Testament, and having attended to the merit of each, either defending men of God against the calumnies of carnal heretics, or, where the men were at fault, showing the excellence and the majesty of Scripture, let us again take the cases in the order of Faustus' accusations, and see the meaning of the actions recorded, what they typify, and what they foretell. This we have already done in the case of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, of whom God said that He was their God, as if the God of universal nature were the God of none besides them; not honoring them with an unmeaning title, but because He, who could alone have a full and perfect knowledge, knew the sincere and remarkable charity of these men; and because these three patriarchs united formed a notable type of the future people of God, in not only having free children by free women, as by Sarah, and Rebecca, and Leah, and Rachel, but also bond children, as of this same Rebecca was born Esau, to whom it was said, "Thou shalt serve thy brother;"(1) and in having by bond women not only bond children, as by Hagar, but also free children, as by Bilhah and Zilphah. Thus also in the people of God, those spiritually free not only have children born into the enjoyment of liberty, like those to whom it is said, "Be ye followers of me, as I also am of Christ"(2) but they have also children born into guilty bondage, as Simon was born of Philip.(3) Again, from carnal bondmen are born not only children of guilty bondage, who imitate them, but also children of happy liberty, to whom it is said, "What they say, do; but do not after their works."(4) Whoever rightly observes the fulfillment of this type in the people of God, keeps the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, by continuing to the end in union with some, and in patient endurance of others. Of Lot, also, we have already spoken, and have shown what the Scripture mentions as praiseworthy in him, and what as blameworthy and the meaning of the whole narrative.

83. We have next to consider the prophetic significance of the action of Judah in lying with his daughter-in-law. But, for the sake of those whose understanding is feeble, we shall begin with observing, that in sacred Scripture evil actions are sometimes prophetic not of evil, but of good. Divine providence preserves throughout its essential goodness, so that, as in the example given above, from adulterous intercourse a man-child is born, a good work of God from the evil of man, by the power of nature, and not due to the misconduct of the parents; so in the prophetic Scriptures, where both good and evil actions are recorded, the narrative being itself prophetic, foretells something good even by the record of what is evil, the credit being due not to the evil-doer, but to the writer. Judah, when, to gratify his sinful passion, he went in to Tamar, had no intention by his licentious conduct to typify anything connected with the salvation of men, any more than Judas, who betrayed the Lord, intended to produce any result connected with the salvation of men. So then if from the evil deed of Judas the Lord brought the good work of our redemption by His own passion, why should not His prophet, of whom He Himself says "He wrote of me," for the sake of instructing us make the evil action of Judah significant of something good? Under the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the prophet has compiled a narrative of actions so as to make a continuous prophecy of the things he designed to foretell. In foretelling good, it is of no consequence whether the typical actions are good or bad. If it is written in red ink that the Ethiopians are black, or in Black ink that the Gauls are white, this circumstance does not affect the information which the writing conveys. No doubt, if it was a painting instead of a writing, the wrong color would be a fault; so when human actions are represented for example or for warning much depends on whether they are good or bad. But when actions are related or recorded as types, the merit or demerit of the agents is a matter of no importance, as long as there is a true typical relation between the action and the thing signified. So in the case of Caiaphas in the Gospel as regards his iniquitous and mischievous intention, and even as regards his words in the sense in which he used them, that a just man should be put to death unjustly, assuredly they were bad; and yet there was a good meaning in his words which he did not know of when he said, "It is expedient that one man should die for the people and that the whole nation perish not." So it is written of Him, "This he spake not of himself; but being the high priest, he prophesied that Jesus should die for the people."(1) In the same way the action of Judah was bad as regards his sinful passion, but it typified a great good he knew nothing of. Of himself he did evil while it was not of himself that he typified good. These introductory remarks apply not only to Judah, but also to all the other cases where in the narrative of bad actions is contained a prophecy of good.

84. In Tamar, then, the daughter-in-law of Judah, we see the people of the kingdom of Judah, whose kings, answering to Tamar's husbands, were taken from this tribe. Tamar means bitterness; and the meaning is suitable, for this people gave the cup of gall to the Lord.(2) The two sons of Judah represent two classes of kings who governed ill--those who did harm and those who did no good. One of these sons was evil or cruel before the Lord; the other spilled the seed on the ground that Tamar might not become a mother. There are only those two kinds of useless people in the world--the injurious and those who will not give the good they have but lose it or spill it on the ground. And as injury is worse than not doing good, the evil-doer is called the eider and the other the younger. Er, the name of the elder, means a preparer of skins, which were the coats given to our first parents when they were punished with expulsion from paradise.(3) Onan, the name of the younger, means, their grief; that is, the grief of those to whom he does no good, wasting the good he has on the earth. The loss of life implied in the name of the elder is a greater evil than the want of help implied in the name of the younger. Both being killed by God typifies the removal of the kingdom from men of this character. The meaning of the third son of Judah not being joined to the woman, is that for a time the kings of Judah were not of that tribe. So this third son did not become the husband of Tamar; as Tamar represents the tribe of Judah, which continued to exist, although the people received no king from it. Hence the name of this son, Selom, means, his dismission. None of those types apply to the holy and righteous men who, like David, though they lived in those times, belong properly to the New Testament, which they served by their enlightened predictions. Again, in the time when Judah ceased to have a king of its own tribe, the eider Herod does not count as one of the kings typified by the husbands of Tamar; for he was a foreigner, and his union with the people was never consecrated with the holy oil. His was the power of a stranger, given him by the Romans and by Caesar. And it was the same with his sons, the tetrarchs, one of whom, called Herod, like his father, agreed with Pilate at the time of the Lord's passion.(4) So plainly were these foreigners considered as distinct from the sacred monarchy of Judah, that the Jews themselves, when raging against Christ, exclaimed openly, "We have no king but Caesar."(5) Nor was Caesar properly their king, except in the sense that all the world was subject to Rome. The Jews thus condemned themselves, only to express their rejection of Christ, and to flatter Caesar.

85. The time when the kingdom was removed from the tribe of Judah was the time appointed for the coming of Christ our Lord, the true Saviour, who should come not for harm, but for great good. Thus was it prophesied, "A prince shall not fail from Judah, nor a leader from his loins, till He come for whom it is reserved: He is the desire of nations."(6) Not only the kingdom, but all government, of the Jews had ceased, and also, as prophesied by Daniel, the sacred anointing from which the name Christ or Anointed is derived. Then came He for whom it was reserved, the desire of nations; and the holy of holies was anointed with the oil of gladness above His fellows.(7) Christ was born in the time of the eider Herod, and suffered in the time of Herod the tetrarch. He who thus came to the lost sheep of the house of Israel was typified by Judah when he went to shear his sheep in Thamna, which means, failing. For then the prince had failed from Judah, with all the government and anointing of the Jews, that He might come for whom it was reserved. Judah, we are told, came with his Adullamite shepherd, whose name was Iras; and Adullamite means, a testimony in water. So it was with this testimony that the Lord came, having indeed greater testimony than that of John;(1) but for the sake of his feeble sheep he made use of the testimony in water. The name Iras, too, means, vision of my brother. So John saw his brother, a brother in the family of Abraham, and from the relationship of Mary and Elisabeth; and the same person he recognised as his Lord and his God, for, as he himself says, he received of His fullness.(2) On account of this vision, among those born of woman, there has arisen no greater than he;(3) because, of all who foretold Christ, he alone saw what many righteous men and prophets desired to see and saw not. He saluted Christ from the womb;(4) he knew Him more certainly from seeing the dove; and therefore, as the Adullamite, he gave testimony by water. The Lord came to shear His sheep, in releasing them from painful burdens, as it is said in praise of the Church in the Song of Songs, that her teeth are like a flock of sheep after shearing.(5)

86. Next, we have Tamar changing her dress; for Tamar also means changing. Still, the name of bitterness must be retained--not that bitterness in which gall was given to the Lord, but that in which Peter wept bitterly.(6) For Judah means confession; and bitterness is mingled with confession as a type of true repentance. It is this repentance which gives fruitfulness to the Church established among all nations. For "it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead, and that repentance and the remission of sins be preached among all nations in His name, beginning at Jerusalem."(7) In the dress Tamar put on there is a confession of sins; and Tamar sitting in this dress at the gate of AEnan or AEnaim, which means fountain, is a type of the Church called from among the nations. She ran as a hart to the springs of water, to meet with the seed of Abraham; and there she is made fruitful by one who knows her not, as it is foretold, "A people whom I have not known shall serve me."(8) Tamar received under her disguise a ring, a bracelet, a staff; she is sealed in her calling, adorned in her justification, raised in her glorification. For "whom He predestinated, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified."(9) This was while she was still disguised, as I have said; and in the same state she conceives, and becomes fruitful in holiness. Also the kid promised is sent to her as to a harlot. The kid represents rebuke for sin, and it is sent by the Adullamite already mentioned, who, as it were, uses the reproachful words, "O generation of vipers!"(10) But this rebuke for sin does not reach her, for she has been changed by the bitterness of confession. Afterwards, by exhibiting the pledges of the ring and bracelet and staff, she prevails over the Jews, in their hasty judgment of her, who are now represented by Judah himself; as at this day we hear the Jews saying that we are not the people of Christ, and have not the seed of Abraham. But when we exhibit the sure tokens of our calling and justification and glorification, they will immediately be confounded, and will acknowledge that we are justified rather than they. I should enter into this more particularly, taking, as it were, each limb and joint separately, as the Lord might enable me, were it not that such minute inquiry is prevented by the necessity of bringing this work to a close, for it is already longer than is desirable.

87. As regards the prophetic significance of David's sin, a single word must suffice. The names occurring in the narrative show what it typifies. David means, strong of hand, or desirable; and what can be stronger than the Lion of the tribe of Judah, who has conquered the world, or more desirable than He of whom the prophet says, "The desire of all nations shall come?"(11) Bersabee means, well of satisfaction, or seventh well: either of these interpretations will suit our purpose. So, in the Song of Songs, the spouse, who is the Church, is called a well of living water;(12) or again, the number seven represents the Holy Spirit, as in the number of days in Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came from heaven. We learn also from the book of Tobit, that Pentecost was the feast of seven weeks.(13) To forty-nine, which is seven times seven, one is added to denote unity. To this effect is the saying of the apostle: "Bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."(14) The Church becomes a well of satisfaction by this gift of the Spirit, the number seven denoting its spirituality; for it is in her a fountain of living water springing up unto everlasting life, and he who has it shall never thirst.(15) Uriah, Bersabee's husband, must, from the meaning of his name, be understood as representing the devil. It is in union to the devil that all are bound whom the grace of God sets free, that the Church without spot or wrinkle may be married to her true Saviour. Uriah means, my light of God; and Hittite means, cut off, referring either to his not abiding in the truth, when he was cut off on account of his pride from the celestial light which he had of God, or to his transforming himself into an angel of light, because after losing his real strength by his fall, he still dares to say, My light is of God. The literal David, then, was guilty of a heinous crime, which God by the prophet condemned in the rebuke addressed to David, and which David atoned for by his repentance. On the other hand, He who is the desire of all nations loved the Church when washing herself on the roof, that is, when cleansing herself from the pollution of the world, and in spiritual contemplation mounting above her house of clay, and trampling upon it; and after commencing an acquaintance, He puts to death the devil, whom He first entirely removes from her, and joins her to Himself in perpetual union. While we hate the sin, we must not overlook the prophetical significance; and while we love, as is His due, that David who in His mercy has freed us from the devil, we may also love the David who by the humility of his repentance healed the wound made by his transgression.

88. Little need be said of Solomon, who is spoken of in Holy Scripture in terms of the strongest disapproval and condemnation, while nothing is said of his repentance and restoration to the divine favor. Nor can I find in his lamentable fall even a symbolical connection with anything good. Perhaps the strange women he lusted after may be thought to represent the Churches chosen from among the Gentiles. This idea might have been admissible, if the women had left their gods for Solomon's sake to worship his God. But as he for their sakes offended his God and worshipped their gods, it seems impossible to think of any good meaning. Doubtless, something is typified, but it is something bad, as in the case already explained of Lot's wife and daughters. We see in Solomon a notable pre-eminence and a notable fall. Now, this good and evil which we see in him at different periods, first good and then evil, are in our day found together in the Church. What is good in Solomon represents, I think, the good members of the Church; and what was bad in him represents the bad members. Both are in one man, as the bad and the good are in the chaff and grain of one floor, or in the tares and wheat of one field. A closer inquiry into what is said of Solomon in Scripture might disclose, either to me or to others of greater learning and greater worth, some more probable interpretation. But as we are now engaged on a different subject, we must not allow this matter to break the connection of our discourse.

89. As regards the prophet Hosea, it is unnecessary for me to explain the meaning of the command, or of the prophet's conduct, when God said to him, "Go and take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and produce children of whoredoms," for the Scripture itself informs us of the origin and purpose of this direction. It proceeds thus: "For the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the Lord. So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son. And the Lord said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Judah, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel. And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel. And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name No-mercy: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away. But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the Lord their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen. Now when she had weaned No-mercy, she conceived, and bare a son. Then said God, Call his name Not-my-people: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God. Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured for multitude; and it shall come to pass that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God. Then shall the children of Israel and the children of Judah be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel. Say ye unto your brethren, My people; and to your sister, She hath found mercy."(1) Since the typical meaning of the command and of the prophet's conduct is thus explained in the same book by the Lord Himself, and since the writings of the apostles declare the fulfillment of this prophecy in the preaching of the New Testament, every one must accept the explanation thus given of the command and of the action of the prophet as the true explanation. Thus it is said by the Apostle Paul, "That He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom He hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles. As He saith also in Hosea, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there shall they be called the children of the living God."(1) Here Paul applies the prophecy to the Gentiles. So also Peter, writing to the Gentiles, without naming the prophet, borrows his expressions when he says, "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye might show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light; which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy."(2) From this it is plain that the words of the prophet, "And the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured for multitude," and the words immediately following, "And it shall be that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there they shall be called the children of the living God," do not apply to that Israel which is after the flesh, but to that of which the apostle says to the Gentiles, "Ye therefore are the seed of Abraham, and heirs according to the promise."(3) But, as many Jews who were of the israel after the flesh have believed, and will yet believe; for of these were the apostles, and all the thousands in Jerusalem of the company of the apostles, as also the churches of which Paul speaks, when he says to the Galatians, "I was unknown by face to the churches of Judaea which were in Christ;"(4) and again, he explains the passage in the Psalms, where the Lord is called the cornerstone,(5) as referring to His uniting in Himself the two walls of circumcision and uncircumcision, "that He might make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and that He might come and preach peace to them that are far off, and to them that are nigh," that is, to the Gentiles and to the Jews; "for He is our peace, who hath made of both one;"(6) to the same purpose we find the prophet speaking of the Jews as the children of Judah, and of the Gentiles as children of Israel, where he says, "The children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and shall make to themselves one head, and shall go up from the land." Therefore, to speak against a prophecy thus confirmed by actual events, is to speak against the writings of the apostles as well as those of the prophets; and not only to speak against writings, but to impugn in the most reckless manner the evidence clear as noonday of established facts. In the case of the narrative of Judah, it is perhaps not so easy to recognize, under the disguise of the woman called Tamar, the harlot representing the Church gathered from among the corruption of Gentile superstition; but here, where Scripture explains itself, and where the explanation is confirmed by the writings of the apostles, instead of dwelling longer on this, we may proceed at once to inquire into the meaning of the very things to which Faustus objects in Moses the servant of God.

90. Moses killing the Egyptian in defending one of his brethren reminds us naturally of the destruction of the devil, our assailant in this land of strangers, by our defender the Lord Christ. And as Moses hid the dead body in the sand, even so the devil, though slain, remains concealed in those who are not firmly settled. The Lord, we know, builds the Church on a rock; and those who hear His word and do it, He compares to a wise man who builds his house upon a rock, and who does not yield or give way before temptation; and those who hear and do not, He compares to a foolish man who builds on the sand, and when his house is tried its ruin is great.(7)

91. Of the prophetic significance of the spoiling of the Egyptians, which was done by Moses at the command of the Lord his God, who commands nothing but what is most just, I remember to have set down what occurred to me at the time in my book entitled On Christian Doctrine;(8) to the effect that the gold and silver and garments of the Egyptians typified certain branches of learning which may be profitably learned or taught among the Gentiles. This may be the true explanation; or we may suppose that the vessels of gold and silver represent the precious souls, and the garments the bodies, of those from among the Gentiles who join themselves to the people of God, that along with them they may be freed from the Egypt of this world. Whatever the true interpretation may be, the pious student of the Scriptures will feel certain that in the command, in the action, and in the narrative there is a purpose and a symbolic meaning.

92. It would take too long to go through all the wars of Moses. It is enough to refer to what has already been said, as sufficient for the purpose in this reply to Faustus of the prophetic and symbolic character of the war with Amalek.(1) There is also the charge of cruelty made against Moses by the enemies of Scriptures, or by those who have never read anything. Faustus does not make any specific charge, but speaks of Moses as commanding and doing many cruel things. But, knowing the things they are in the habit of bringing forward and of misrepresenting, I have already taken a particular case and have defended it, so that any Manichaeans who are willing to be corrected, and all other ignorant and irreligious people, may see that there is no ground for their accusations. We must now inquire into the prophetic significance of the command, that many of those who, while Moses was absent, made an idol for themselves should be slain without regard to relationship. It is easy to see that the slaughter of these men represents the warfare against the evil principles which led the people into the same idolatry. Against such evil we are commanded to wage war in the words of the psalm, "Be ye angry and sin not.(2) And a similar command is given by the apostle, when he says, "Mortify your members which are on earth fornication, uncleanness, luxury, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry."(3)

93. It requires closer examination to see the meaning of the first action of Moses in burning the calf in fire, and grinding it to powder, and sprinkling it in the water for the people to drink. The tables given to him, written with the finger of God, that is, by the agency of the Holy Spirit, he may have broken, because he judged the people unworthy of having them read to them; and he may have burned the calf, and ground it, and scattered it so as to be carried away by the water, in order to let nothing of it remain among the people. But why should he have made them drink it? Every one must feel anxious to discover the typical significance of this action. Pursuing the inquiry, we may find that in the calf there was an embodiment of the devil, as there is in men of all nations who have the devil as their head or leader in their impious rites. The calf is gold, because there is a semblance of wisdom in the institution of idolatrous worship. Of this the apostle says, "Knowing God, they glorified Him not as God, nor were thankful; but they became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise they became foolish, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of corruptible man, and of birds, and of four-footed beasts, and of creeping things."(4) From this so-called wisdom came the golden calf, which was one of the forms of idolatry among the chief men and professed sages of Egypt. The calf, then, represents every body or society of Gentile idolaters. This impious society the Lord Christ burns with that fire of which He says in the Gospel, "I am come to send fire on the earth;"(5) for, as there is nothing hid from His heat,(6) when the Gentiles believe in Him they lose the form of the devil in the fire of divine influence. Then all the body is ground, that is, after the dissolution of the combination in the membership of iniquity comes humiliation under the word of truth. Then the dust is sprinkled in the water, that the Israelites, that is, the preachers of the gospel, may in baptism admit those formerly idolaters into their own body, that is, the body of Christ. To Peter, who was one of those Israelites, it was said of the Gentiles, "Kill, and eat."(7) To kill and eat is much the same as to grind and drink. So this calf, by the fire of zeal, and the keen penetration of the word, and the water of baptism, was swallowed up by the people, instead of their being swallowed up by it.

94. Thus, when the very passages on which the heretics found their objections to the Scriptures are studied and examined, the more obscure they are the more wonderful are the secrets which we discover in reply to our questions; so that the mouths of blasphemers are completely stopped, and the evidence of the truth so stifles them that they cannot even utter a sound. The unhappy men who will not receive into their hearts the sweetness of the truth must feel its force as a gag in their mouths. All those passages speak of Christ. The head now ascended into heaven along with the body still suffering on earth is the full development of the whole purpose of the authors of Scripture, which is well called Sacred Scripture. Every part of the narrative in the prophetical books should be viewed as having a figurative meaning, except what serves merely as a framework for the literal or figurative predictions of this king and of his people. For as in harps and other musical instruments the musical sound does not come from all parts of the instrument, but from the strings, and the rest is only for fastening and stretching the strings so as to tune them, that when they are struck by the musician they may give a pleasant sound; so in these prophetical narratives the circumstances selected by the prophetic spirit either predict some future event, or if they have no voice of their own, they serve to connect together other significant utterances.

95. Should the heretics reject our exposition of those allegorical narratives, or even insist on understanding them only in a literal sense, to dispute about such a difference of understanding would be as useless as to dispute about a difference of taste. Only, the fact that the divine precepts have either a moral and religious character or a prophetic meaning must be believed, whether intelligently or not. Moreover, the figurative interpretations must all be in the interest of morality and religion. So, if the Manichaeans or any others disagree with our interpretation, or differ from us in method or in any particular opinion, suffice it that the character of the fathers whom God commends for their conduct and obedience to His precepts is vindicated on a principle which all but those inveterate in their hostility will acknowledge to be true; and that the purity and dignity of the Scriptures are maintained in reference to those passages which the enemies of the truth find fault with, where certain actions are either praised or blamed, or merely narrated for us to form a judgment of them.

96. In fact, nothing could have been devised more likely to instruct and benefit the pious reader of sacred Scripture than that, besides describing praiseworthy characters as examples, and blameworthy characters as warnings, it should also narrate cases where good men have gone back and fallen into evil, whether they are restored to the right path or continue irreclaimable; and also where bad men have changed, and have attained to goodness, whether they persevere in it or relapse into evil; in order that the righteous may be not lifted up in the pride of security, nor the wicked hardened in despair of cure. And even those passages in Scripture which contain no examples or warnings are either required for connection, so as to pass on to essential matters, or, from their very appearance of superfluity, indicate the presence of some secret symbolical meaning. For in the books we speak of, so far from there being a want or a scarcity of prophetical announcements, such announcements are numerous and distinct; and now that the fulfillment has actually taken place, the testimony thus borne to the divine authority of the books is irresistibly strong, so that it is mere madness to suppose that there can be any useless or unmeaning passages in books to which all classes of men and of minds do homage, and which themselves predict what we see thus actually coming to pass.

97. If, then, any one reading of the action of David, of which he repented when the Lord rebuked and threatened him, find in the narrative an encouragement to sin, is Scripture to be blamed for this? Is not the man's own guilt in proportion to the abuse which he makes for his own injury or destruction of what was written for his recovery and release? David is set forth as a great example of repentance, because men who fall into sin either proudly disregard the cure of repentance, or lose themselves in despair of obtaining salvation or of meriting pardon. The example is for the benefit of the sick, not for the injury of those in health. If madmen destroy themselves, or if evil-doers destroy others, with surgical instruments, it is not the fault of surgery.

98. Even supposing that our fathers the patriarchs and prophets, of whose devout and religious habits so good a report is given in that Scripture which every one who knows it, and has not lost entirely the use of his reason, must admit to have been provided by God for the salvation of men, were as lustful and cruel as the Manichaeans falsely and fanatically allege, they might still be shown to be superior not only to those whom the Manichaeans call the Elect, but also to their god himself. Is there in the licentious intercourse of man with woman anything so bad as the self-abasement of unclouded light by mixture with darkness? Here, is a man prompted by avarice and greed to pass off his wife as his sister and sell her to her lover; but worse still and more shocking, that one should disguise his own nature to gratify criminal passion, and submit gratuitously to pollution and degradation. Why, even one who knowingly lies with his own daughters is not equally criminal with one who lets his members share in the defilement of all sensuality as gross as this, or grosser. And is not the Manichaean god a partaker in the contamination of the most atrocious acts of uncleanness? Again, if it were true, as Faustus says, that Jacob went from one to another of his four wives, not desiring offspring, but resembling a he-goat in licentiousness, he would still not be sunk so low as your god, who must not only have shared in this degradation, from his being confined in the bodies of Jacob and his wives so as to be mixed up with all their movements, but also, in union with this very he-goat of Faustus' coarse comparison, must have endured all the pains of animal appetite, incurring fresh defilement at every step, as partaking in the passion of the male, the conception of the female, and the birth of the kid. And, in the same way, supposing Judah to have been guilty not only of fornication, but of incest, a share in the heats and impurities of this incestuous passion would also belong to your god. David repented of his sin in loving the wife of another, and in ordering the death of her husband; but when will your god repent of giving up his members to the wanton passion of the male and female chiefs of the race of darkness, and of putting to death not the husband of his mistress, but his own children, whom he confines in the members of the very demons who were his own lovers? Even if David had not repented, nor been thus restored to righteousness, he would still have been better than your god. David may have been defiled by this one act, or to the extent to which one man is capable of such defilement; but your god suffers the pollution of his members in all such actions by whomsoever committed. The prophet Hosea, too, is accused by Faustus: and, supposing him to have taken the harlot to wife because he had a criminal affection for her, if he is licentious and she a prostitute, their souls, according to your own assertion, are parts and members of your god and of his nature. In plain language, the harlot herself must be your god. You cannot pretend that your god is not confined in the contaminated body, or that he is only present, while preserving entire the purity of his own nature; and you acknowledge that the members of your god are so defiled as to require a special purification. This harlot, then, for whom you venture to find fault with the man of God, even if she had not been changed for the better by becoming a chaste wife, would still have been your god; at least you must admit her soul to have been a part, however small, of your god. But one single harlot is not so bad as your god, for he on account of his mixture with the race of darkness shares in every act of prostitution; and wherever such impurities are perpetrated, he goes through the corresponding experiences of abandonment, of release, and of confinement, and this from generation to generation, till this most corrupt part reaches its final state in the mass of darkness, like an irreclaimable harlot. Such are the evils and such the shameful abominations which your god could not ward off from his members, and to which he was brought irresistibly by his merciless enemy; for only by the sacrifice of his own subjects, or rather his own parts, could he effect the destruction of his formidable assailant. Surely, there was nothing so bad as this in killing an Egyptian so as to preserve uninjured a fellow-countryman. Yet Faustus finds fault with this most absurdly, while with amazing infatuation he overlooks the case of his own god. Would it not have been better for him to have carried off the gold and silver vessels of the Egyptians, than to let his members be carried off by the race of darkness? And yet the worshippers of this unfortunate god find fault with the servant of our God for carrying on wars, in which he with his followers were always victorious, so that, under the leadership of Moses, the children of Israel carried captive their enemies, men and women, as your god would have done too, if he had been able. You profess to accuse Moses of doing wrong, while in fact you envy his success. There was no cruelty in punishing with the sword those who had sinned grievously against God. Indeed, Moses entreated pardon for this sin, even offering to bear himself in their stead the divine anger. But even had he been cruel instead of compassionate, he would still have been better than your god. For if any of his followers had been sent to break the force of the enemy and had been taken captive, he would never, if victorious, have condemned him when he had done no wrong, but acted in obedience to orders. And yet this is what your god is to do with the part of himself which is to be fastened in the mass of darkness, because it obeyed orders, and advanced at the risk of its own life in defence of his kingdom against the body of the enemy. But, says the Manichaean, this part, after mixture and combination with evil during the course of ages, has not been obedient. But why? If the obedience was voluntary, the guilt is real, and the punishment just. But from this it would follow that there is no nature opposed to sin; otherwise it would not sin voluntarily; and so the whole system of Manichaeism falls at once. If, again, this part suffers from the power of this enemy against whom it was sent, and is subdued by a force it was unable to resist, the punishment is unjust, and flagrantly cruel. The god who is defended on the plea of necessity is a fit object of worship to those who refuse to worship the one true God. Still, it must be allowed that, however debasing the worship of this god may be, the worshippers are so far better than their deity, that they have an existence, while he is nothing more than a fabulous invention. Proceed we now to the rest of Faustus' vagaries.(1)

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