Manes Said: You are Caught in the Charge You Yourself Bring Forward. ...
Manes said: [1688] You are caught in the charge you yourself bring forward. For you have been speaking now against yourself, and have not perceived that, in trying to cast reproaches in my teeth, you lay yourself under the greater fault. Tell me this now, I pray you: if, as you allege, those who have died from the time of Tiberius on to the days of Probus are to say to Jesus, "Do not judge us if we have failed to do Thy works, for Thou didst not send the Paraclete to us, although Thou didst promise to send Him;" [1689] will not those much more use such an address who have departed this life from the time of Moses on to the advent of Christ Himself? And will not those with still greater right express themselves in terms like these: "Do not deliver us over to torments, [1690] seeing that we had no knowledge of Thee imparted to us?" And will it only be those that have died thus far previously to His advent who may be seen making such a charge with right? Will not those also do the same who have passed away from Adam's time on to Christ's advent? For none of these either obtained any knowledge of the Paraclete, or received instruction in the doctrine of Jesus. But only this latest generation of men, which has run its course from Tiberius onward, as you make it out, [1691] is to be saved: for it is Christ Himself that "has re-deemed them from the curse of the law;" [1692] as Paul, too, has given these further testimonies, that "the letter killeth, and quickeneth no man," [1693] and that "the law is the ministration of death," [1694] and "the strength of sin." [1695] Archelaus said: You err, not knowing the Scriptures, neither the power of God. [1696] For many have also perished after the period of Christ's advent on to this present period, and many are still perishing, -- those, to wit, who have not chosen to devote themselves to works of righteousness; whereas only those who have received Him, and yet receive Him, "have obtained power to become the sons of God." [1697] For the evangelist has not said all have obtained that power; neither, on the other hand, however, has he put any limit on the time. But this is his expression: "As many as received Him." Moreover, from the creation of the world He has ever been with righteous men, and has never ceased to require their blood at the hands of the wicked, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zacharias. [1698] And whence, then, did righteous Abel and all those succeeding worthies, [1699] who are enrolled among the righteous, derive their righteousness when as yet there was no law of Moses, and when as yet the prophets had not arisen and discharged the functions of prophecy? Were they not constituted righteous in virtue of their fulfilling the law, "every one of them showing the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing them witness?" [1700] For when a man "who has not the law does naturally the things contained in the law, he, not having the law, is a law unto himself." [1701] And consider now the multitude of laws thus existing among the several righteous men who lived a life of uprightness, at one time discovering for themselves the law of God implanted in their hearts, at another learning of it from their parents, and yet again being instructed in it further by the ancients and the elders. But inasmuch as only few were able to rise by this medium [1702] to the height of righteousness, that is to say, by means of the traditions of parents, when as yet there was no law embodied in writing, God had compassion on the race of man. and was pleased to give through Moses a written law to men, since verily the equity of the natural law failed to be retained in all its perfection in their hearts. In consonance, therefore, with man's first creation, a written legislation was prepared which was given through Moses in behoof of the salvation of very many. For if we reckon that man is justified without the works of the law, and if Abraham was counted righteous, how much more shall those obtain righteousness who have fulfilled the law which contains the things that are expedient for men? And seeing that you have made mention only of three several scriptures, in terms of which the apostle has declared that "the law is a ministration of death," [1703] and that "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law," [1704] and that "the law is the strength of sin," [1705] you may now advance others of like tenor, and bring forward any passages which may seem to you to be written against the law, to any extent you please.


[1688] The opening sentences of this chapter are given in a very corrupt form in our Codex Casinensis. Its text stands thus: "Tuum et ipsius indicio comprehensus es; hæc enim versum te locutus, ignorans, qui dum, me vis probra conjicere majori culpæ se succumbit. Dic age mihi studias qua Tiberio usque ad Probum defuncti sunt, dicent ad Jesum nolite nos judicare," etc. We have adopted these emendations: tuimet for tuum et; adversum for versum; ignoras for ignorans; in me for me; succumbis for se succumbit; si, ut ais, qui a, for studias qua; and noli for nolite.

[1689] Supplying missurum, which is not in the codex.

[1690] Reading "noli nos tradere tormentis," instead of the meaningless "noli nostra de tormentis" of the codex.

[1691] Reading ut ais instead of ut eas.

[1692] Galatians 3:13.

[1693] Nec quemquam vivificat. 2 1 Corinthians 3:6.

[1694] 2 Corinthians 3:7.

[1695] 1 Corinthians 15:56.

[1696] Matthew 22:29.

[1697] John 1:12.

[1698] Matthew 13:35.

[1699] Reading reliqui per ordinem for the qui per ordinem of the codex.

[1700] Romans 2:15.

[1701] Romans 2:14.

[1702] Reading "per hunc modum." But the Codex Casinensis gives "per hunc mundum"--through this world.

[1703] 2 Corinthians 3:7.

[1704] Galatians 3:13.

[1705] 1 Corinthians 15:56.

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