These Things, Moreover, He Has Said with the view of Showing us that all Others...
These things, moreover, he has said with the view of showing us that all others who may come after him will be false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed, like an angel of light. What great thing therefore is it, if his ministers also be transformed into the ministers of righteousness? -- whose end shall be according to their works. [1800] He indicates, further, what manner of men these were, and points out by whom they were being circumvented. And when the Galatians are minded to turn away from the Gospel, he says to them: "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would turn you away [1801] from the Gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which has been delivered to you, let him be accursed." [1802] And again he says: "To me, who am the least of all the apostles, [1803] is this grace given;" [1804] and," I fill up that which was behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh." [1805] And once more, in another place, he declares of himself that he was a minister of Christ more than all others, [1806] as though after him none other was to be looked for at all; for he enjoins that not even an angel from heaven is thus to be received. And how, then, shall we credit the professions of this Manes, who comes from Persis, [1807] and declares himself to be the Paraclete? By this very thing, indeed, I rather recognise in him one of those men who transform themselves, and of whom the Apostle Paul, that elect vessel, has given us very clear indication when he says: "Now in the last times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received [1808] with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving." [1809] The Spirit in the evangelist Matthew is also careful to give note of these words of our Lord Jesus Christ: "Take heed that no man deceive you: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. But if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false apostles, [1810] and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. If they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: if they shall say, Behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not." [1811] And yet, after all these directions, this man, who has neither sign nor portent of any kind to show, who has no affinity to exhibit, who never even had a place among the number of the disciples, who never was a follower of our departed Lord, in whose inheritance we rejoice, -- this man, I say, although he never stood by our Lord in His weakness, and although he never came forward as a witness of His testament, yea rather, although he never came even within the acquaintance of those who ministered to Him in His sickness, and, in fine, although he obtains the testimony of no person whatsoever, desires us to believe this profession which he makes of being the Paraclete; whereas, even were you to do signs and wonders, we would still have to reckon you a false Christ, and a false prophet, according to the Scriptures. And therefore it is well for us to act with the greater caution, in accordance with the warning which the sainted apostle gives us, when, in the epistle which he wrote to the Colossians, he speaks in the following terms: "Continue in the faith grounded and rooted, [1812] and not to be moved away [1813] from the hope of the Gospel, which we have heard, [1814] and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven." [1815] And again: "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him; rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any one spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead." [1816] And after all these matters have been thus carefully set forth, the blessed apostle, like a father speaking to his children, adds the following words, which serve as a sort of seal to his testament: "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, [1817] I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing." [1818]


[1800] 2 Corinthians 9:14, 15. The text gives "velut angelum lucis," as if the Greek had read hos. So also Cyprian, in the beginning of his book on The Unity of the Church. [Vol. v. p. 422, sec. 3.]

[1801] Avertere vos.

[1802] Galatians 1:6-8.

[1803] Infimo omnium apostolorum.

[1804] Ephesians 3:8.

[1805] Colossians 1:24.

[1806] 2 Corinthians 11:23.

[1807] The Codex Casinensis gives, "de Persida venientem monet;" for which corrupt reading it is proposed to substitute "de Perside venientem Manem," etc.

[1808] Reading percipiendum with the Vulgate. But the Codex Casinensis has perficiendum.

[1809] 1 Timothy 4:1-4.

[1810] These words falsi apostoli seem to be added by way of explanation, as they are not found either in the Greek or the Vulgate.

[1811] Matthew 24:4, 5, 23-26.

[1812] Radicati.

[1813] Immobiles.

[1814] Audivimus.

[1815] Colossians 1:23.

[1816] Colossians 2:6-9.

[1817] The text gives "circum cucurri," perhaps for "cursum cucurri." The Vulgate has "cursum consummavi."

[1818] 2 Timothy 4:7, 8.

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