Oh Ungrateful and Impious Age, Prepared for Its Own Destruction by Its Extraordinary Obstinacy! If...
Oh ungrateful and impious age, prepared [3391] for its own destruction by its extraordinary obstinacy! If there had come to you a physician from lands far distant and unknown to you before, offering some medicine to keep off from you altogether every kind of disease and sickness, would you not all eagerly hasten to him? Would you not with every kind of flattery and honour receive him into your houses, and treat him kindly? Would you not wish that that kind of medicine should be quite sure, and should be genuine, which promised that even to the utmost limits of life you should be free from such countless bodily distresses? And though it were a doubtful matter, you would yet entrust yourselves to him; nor would you hesitate to drink the unknown draught, indited by the hope of health set before you and by the love of safety. [3392] Christ shone out and appeared to tell us news of the utmost importance, bringing an omen of prosperity, and a message of safety to those who believe. What, I pray you, means [3393] this cruelty, what such barbarity, nay rather, to speak more truly, scornful [3394] pride, not only to harass the messenger and bearer of so great a gift with taunting words; but even to assail Him with fierce hostility, and with all the weapons which can be showered upon Him, and with all modes of destruction? Are His words displeasing, and are you offended when you hear them? Count them as but a soothsayer's empty tales. Does He speak very stupidly, and promise foolish gifts? Laugh with scorn as wise men, and leave Him in His folly [3395] to be tossed about among His errors. What means this fierceness, to repeat what has been said more than once; what a passion, so murderous? to declare implacable hostility towards one who has done nothing to deserve it at your hands; to wish, if it were allowed you, to tear Him limb from limb, who not only did no man any harm, but with uniform kindness [3396] told His enemies what salvation was being brought to them from God Supreme, what must be done that they might escape destruction and obtain an immortality which they knew not of? And when the strange and unheard-of things which were held out staggered the minds of those who heard Him, and made them hesitate to believe, though master of every power and destroyer of death itself He suffered His human form to be slain, that from the result [3397] they might know that the hopes were safe which they had long entertained about the soul's salvation, and that in no other way could they avoid the danger of death.


[3391] So Ursinus suggested in the margin, followed by LB. and Orelli, reading in privatam perniciem p-a-r-atum for the ms. p-r-iv-atum, which is clearly derived from the preceding privatam, but is, though unintelligible also, retained in the two Roman edd. The conclusion of the sentence is, literally, "obstinacy of spirit."

[3392] In the original, spe salutis proposita atque amore incolumitatis.

[3393] Lit., "is"--est.

[3394] So all the edd., reading fastidi-os-um supercilium, which Crusius says the ms. reads with os omitted, i.e., "pride, scorn."

[3395] So the edd., reading fatuita-tem, for the ms. fatuita-n-tem, which may, however, point to a verb not found elsewhere.

[3396] i.e., to friends and foes alike. The ms. reads æqualiter benignus hostibus dicere, which is retained by Orelli, supporting an ellipsis of fuerit, i.e., "He was kind to say," which might be received; but it is more natural to suppose that -t has dropped off, and read diceret as above, with the two Roman editions and LB. Gelenius, followed by Ursinus, emended omnibus docuerit--"with uniform kindness taught to all." It may be well to give here an instance of the very insufficient grounds on which supposed references to Scripture are sometimes based. Orelli considers that Arnobius here refers (videtur respexisse, he says) to Colossians 1:21, 22, "You, that were sometimes alienated and enemies in mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled in the body of His flesh through death," to which, though the words which follow might indeed be thought to have a very distant resemblance, they can in no way be shown to refer.

[3397] i.e., from His resurrection, which showed that death's power was broken by Him.

64 what then constrains you
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