We May Give yet Another Illustration, if it Seems Good to You. ...
We may give yet another illustration, if it seems good to you. A certain man, the head of a household, and possessed of great riches, was minded to journey abroad for a time, and promised to his sons that he would send them some one who would take his place, and divide among them equally the substance falling to them. And, in truth, not long after that, he did despatch to them a certain trustworthy and righteous and true man. And on his arrival, this man took charge of the whole substance, and first of all exerted himself to arrange it and administer it, giving himself great labour in journeying, and even [1676] working diligently with his own hands, and toiling like a servant for the good of the estate. Afterwards feeling that his end was at hand, [1677] the man wrote out a will, demitting the inheritance to the relations and all the next of kin; and he gave them his seals, and called them together one by one by name, and charged them to preserve the inheritance, and to take care of the substance, and to administer it rightly, even as they had received it, and to take their use of its goods and fruits, as they were themselves left its owners and heirs. If, moreover, any person were to ask to be allowed to benefit by the fruits of this field, they were to show themselves indulgent to such. But if, on the other hand, any one were to declare himself partner in the heirship with them, and were to make his demands on that ground, [1678] they were to keep aloof from him, and pronounce him an alien; and further, they were to hold that the individual who desired to be received among them ought all the more on that account to do work. [1679] Well, then, granting that all these things have been well and rightly disposed of and settled, and that they have continued in that condition for a very long time, how shall we deal with one who presents himself well-nigh three hundred years after, and sets up his claim to the heirship? Shall we not cast him off from us? Shall we not justly pronounce such a one an alien -- one who cannot prove himself to have belonged to those related to our Master, who never was with our departed Lord in the hour of His sickness, who never walked in the funeral procession of the Crucified, who never stood by the sepulchre, who has no knowledge whatsoever of the manner or the character of His departure, and who, in fine, is now desirous of getting access to the storehouse of corn without presenting any token from him who placed it under lock and seal? Shall we not cast him off from us like a robber and a thief, and thrust him out of our number by all possible means? Yet this man is now in our presence, and fails to produce any of the credentials which we have summarized in what we have already said, and declares that he is the Paraclete whose mission was presignified by Jesus. And by this assertion, in his ignorance perchance, he will make out Jesus Himself to be a liar; [1680] for thus He who once said that He would send the Paraclete no long time after, will be proved only to have sent this person, if we accept the testimony which he bears to himself, after an interval of three hundred years and more. [1681] In the day of judgment, then, what will those say to Jesus who have departed this life from that time on to the present period? Will they not meet Him with words like these: "Do not punish us rigorously if we have failed to do Thy works. For why, when Thou didst promise to send the Paraclete under Tiberius Cæsar, to convince us of sin and of righteousness, [1682] didst Thou send Him only under Probus the Roman emperor, and didst leave us orphaned, not withstanding that Thou didst say, I will not leave you comfortless (orphaned),' [1683] and after Thou hadst also assured us that Thou wouldest send the Paraclete presently after Thy departure? What could we orphans do, having no guardian? We have committed no fault; it is Thou that hast deceived us." But away with such a supposition in the case of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of every soul. [1684] For He did not confine Himself to mere promises; [1685] but when He had once said, "I go to my Father, and I send the Paraclete to you," [1686] straightway He sent (that gift of the Paraclete), dividing and imparting the same to His disciples, -- bestowing it, however, in greater fulness upon Paul. [1687]

[1676] The text has, "sedens ipse per se," etc.; for which we adopt "sed et ipse," etc.

[1677] The Codex Casinensis gives, "deinde die moriturus," which may be either a mistake for "deinde moriturus," or a contraction for "deinde die qua moriturus"--then on the day that he was about to die, etc.

[1678] The codex has, "Sin autem conderem se dicens, exposceret, devitarent persequi," etc.; which is corrected to, "Sin autem cohæredem se dicens exposceret, devitarent atque," etc., which emendation is followed in the translation.

[1679] Opus autem magis facere debere.

[1680] The same sort of argument is employed against the Montanists by Theodorus of Heracleia on John's Gospel, ch. xiv. 17.

[1681] It is remarked in Migne, that it is only in the heat of his contention that this statement is made by Archelaus as to the date of the appearance of Manes; for from the death of Christ on to the time of this discussion there are only some 249 years. [Is it not probable that here is a token of the spurious character of not a little of this work?]

[1682] John 16:8.

[1683] John 14:18.

[1684] Reading "sed absit hoc a Domino nostro Jesu Christo Salvatore omnis animæ," instead of the codex's "sed absit hanc a Domino Jesu Christo Salvatore omne animæ."

[1685] If the reference, however, is to 2 Peter 3:9, as Routh suggests, it may rather be = He was not slack concerning His promises. The text is, "non enim moratus est in promissionibus suis." [A noteworthy reference to the second Epistle of St. Peter. For, if this work be a mere romance, yet its undoubted antiquity makes it useful, not only in this, but in many other critical matters.]

[1686] John 14:12; xvi. 28.

[1687] Reading "abundantius vero conferens Paulo," instead of the corrupt text in the Codex Casinensis, "abundantibus vero confitens Paulo."

26 the judges said if
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