Book ii. --Of the Harmony of the Old and New Laws.
After the faith was broken by the dint

Of the foe's breathing renegades, [1394] and sworn

With wiles the hidden pest [1395] emerged; with lies

Self-prompted, scornful of the Deity

5 That underlies the sense, he did his plagues

Concoct: skilled in guile's path, he mixed his own

Words impious with the sayings of the saints.

And on the good seed sowed his wretched tares,

Thence willing that foul ruin's every cause

10 Should grow combined; to wit, that with more speed

His own iniquitous deeds he may assign

To God clandestinely, and may impale

On penalties such as his suasion led;

False with true veiling, turning rough with smooth,

15 And, (masking his spear's point with rosy wreaths,)

Slaying the unwary unforeseen with death

Supreme. His supreme wickedness is this:

That men, to such a depth of madness sunk!

Off-broken boughs! [1396] should into parts divide

20 The endlessly-dread Deity; Christ's deeds

Sublime should follow with false praise, and blame

The former acts, [1397] God's countless miracles,

Ne'er seen before, nor heard, nor in a heart

Conceived; [1398] and should so rashly frame in words

25 The impermissible impiety

Of wishing by "wide dissimilitude

Of sense" to prove that the two Testaments

Sound adverse each to other, and the Lord's

Oppose the prophets' words; of drawing down

30 All the Law's cause to infamy; and eke

Of reprobating holy fathers' life

Of old, whom into friendship, and to share

His gifts, God chose. Without beginning, one

Is, for its lesser part, accepted. [1399] Though

35 Of one are four, of four one, [1400] yet to them

One part is pleasing, three they (in a word)

Reprobate: and they seize, in many ways,

On Paul as their own author; yet was he

Urged by a frenzied impulse of his own

40 To his last words: [1401] all whatsoe'er he spake

Of the old covenant [1402] seems hard to them

Because, deservedly, "made gross in heart." [1403]

Weight apostolic, grace of beaming word,

Dazzles their mind, nor can they possibly

45 Discern the Spirit's drift. Dull as they are,

Seek they congenial animals!

But ye

Who have not yet, (false deity your guide,

Reprobate in your very mind, [1404] ) to death's

Inmost caves penetrated, learn there flows

50 A stream perennial from its fount, which feeds

A tree, (twice sixfold are the fruits, its grace!)

And into earth and to the orb's four winds

Goes out: into so many parts doth flow

The fount's one hue and savour. [1405] Thus, withal,

55 From apostolic word descends the Church,

Out of Christ's womb, with glory of His Sire

All filled, to wash off filth, and vivify

Dead fates. [1406] The Gospel, four in number, one

In its diffusion 'mid the Gentiles, this,

60 By faith elect accepted, Paul hands down

(Excellent doctor!) pure, without a crime;

And from it he forbade Galatian saints

To turn aside withal; whom "brethren false,"

(Urging them on to circumcise themselves,

65 And follow "elements," leaving behind

Their novel "freedom,") to "a shadow old

Of things to be" were teaching to be slaves.

These were the causes which Paul had to write

To the Galatians: not that they took out

70 One small part of the Gospel, and held that

For the whole bulk, leaving the greater part

Behind. And hence 'tis no words of a book,

But Christ Himself, Christ sent into the orb,

Who is the gospel, if ye will discern;

75 Who from the Father came, sole Carrier

Of tidings good; whose glory vast completes

The early testimonies; by His work

Showing how great the orb's Creator is:

Whose deeds, conjoined at the same time with words,

80 Those faithful ones, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John,

Recorded unalloyed (not speaking words

External), sanctioned by God's Spirit, 'neath

So great a Master's eye!

This paschal Lamb

Is hung, a victim, on the tree: Him Paul,

85 Writing decrees to Corinth, with his torch, [1407]

Hands down as slain, the future life and God

Promised to the fathers, whom before

He had attracted.

See what virtue, see

What power, the paschal image [1408] has; ye thus

90 Will able be to see what power there is

In the true Passover.

Lest well-earned love

Should tempt the faithful sire and seer, [1409] to whom

His pledge and heir [1410] was dear, whom God by chance [1411]

Had given him, to offer him to God

95 (A mighty execution!), there is shown

To him a lamb entangled by the head

In thorns; a holy victim -- holy blood

For blood -- to God. From whose piacular death,

That to the wasted race [1412] it might be sign

100 And pledge of safety, signed are with blood

Their posts and thresholds many: [1413] -- aid immense!

The flesh (a witness credible) is given

For food. The Jordan crossed, the land possessed,

Joshua by law kept Passover with joy,

105 And immolates a lamb; and the great kings

And holy prophets that were after him,

Not ignorant of the good promises

Of sure salvation; full of godly fear

The great Law to transgress, (that mass of types

110 In image of the Supreme Virtue once

To come,) did celebrate in order due

The mirrorly-inspected passover. [1414]

In short, if thou recur with rapid mind

To times primordial, thou wilt find results

115 Too fatal following impious words. That man

Easily credulous, alas! and stripped

Of life's own covering, might covered be

With skins, a lamb is hung: the wound slays sins,

Or death by blood effaces or enshrouds

120 Or cherishes the naked with its fleece.

Is sheep's blood of more worth than human blood,

That, offered up for sins, it should quench wrath?

Or is a lamb (as if he were more dear!)

Of more worth than much people's? aid immense!

125 As safeguard of so great salvation, could

A lamb, if offered, have been price enough

For the redeemed? Nay: but Almighty God,

The heaven's and earth's Creator, infinite, [1415]

Living, and perfect, and perennially

130 Dwelling in light, is not appeased by these,

Nor joys in cattle's blood. Slain be all flocks;

Be every herd upburned into smoke;

That expiatively 't may pardon win

Of but one sin: in vain at so vile price;

135 Will the stained figure of the Lord -- foul flesh --

Prepare, if wise, such honours: [1416] but the hope

And faith to mortals promised of old --

Great Reason's counterpart [1417] -- hath wrought to bring

These boons premeditated and prepared

140 Erst by the Father's passing parent-love;

That Christ should come to earth, and be a man!

Whom when John saw, baptism's first opener, John,

Comrade of seers, apostle great, and sent

As sure forerunner, witness faithful; John,

145 August in life, and marked with praise sublime, [1418]

He shows, to such as sought of olden time

God's very Paschal Lamb, that He is come

At last, the expiation of misdeed,

To undo many's sins by His own blood,

150 In place of reprobates the Proven One,

In place of vile the dear; in body, man;

And, in life, God: that He, as the slain Lamb,

Might us accept, [1419] and for us might outpour

Himself Thus hath it pleased the Lord to spoil

155 Proud death: thus wretched man will able be

To hope salvation. This slain paschal Lamb

Paul preaches: nor does a phantasmal shape

Of the sublime Lord (one consimilar

To Isaac's silly sheep [1420] ) the passion bear,

160 Wherefore He is called Lamb: but 'tis because,

As wool, He these renewed bodies clothes,

Giving to many covering, yet Himself

Never deficient. Thus does the Lord shroud

In His Sire's virtue, those whom, disarrayed

165 Of their own light, He by His death redeemed,

Virtue which ever is in Him. So, then,

The Shepherd who hath lost the sheep Himself

Re-seeks it. He, prepared to tread the strength

Of the vine, and its thorns, or to o'ercome

170 The wolf's rage, and regain the cattle lost,

And brave to snatch them out, the Lion He

In sheepskin-guise, unasked presents Himself

To the contemned [1421] teeth, baffling by His garb

The robber's bloody jaws.

Thus everywhere

175 Christ seeks force-captured Adam; treads the path

Himself where death wrought ruin; permeates

All the old heroes' monuments; [1422] inspects

Each one; the One of whom all types were full;

Begins e'en from the womb to expel the death

180 Conceived simultaneously with seed

Of flesh within the bosom; purging all

Life's stages with a silent wisdom; debts

Assuming; [1423] ready to cleanse all, and give

Their Maker back the many whom the one [1424]

185 Had scattered. And, because one direful man

Down-sunk in pit iniquitous did fall,

By dragon-subdued virgin's [1425] suasion led;

Because he pleased her wittingly; [1426] because

He left his heavenly covering [1427] behind:

190 Because the "tree" their nakedness did prove;

Because dark death coerced them: in like wise

Out of the self-same mass [1428] re-made returns

Renewed now, -- the flower of flesh, and host

Of peace, -- a flesh from espoused virgin born,

195 Not of man's seed; conjoined to its own

Artificer; without the debt of death.

These mandates of the Father through bright stars

An angel carries down, that angel-fame

The tidings may accredit; telling how

200 "A virgin's debts a virgin, flesh's flesh,

Should pay." Thus introduced, the Giant-Babe,

The Elder-Boy, the Stripling-Man, pursues

Death's trail. Thereafter, when completed was

The ripe age of man's strength, when man is wont

205 To see the lives that were his fellows drop

By slow degrees away, and to be changed

In mien to wrinkles foul and limbs inert,

While blood forsakes his veins, his course he stayed,

And suffered not his fleshly garb to age.

210 Upon what day or in what place did fall

Most famous Adam, or outstretched his hand

Rashly to touch the tree, on that same day,

Returning as the years revolve, within

The stadium of the "tree" the brave Athlete,

215 'Countering, outstretched His hands, and, penalty

For praise pursuing, [1429] quite did vanquish death,

Because He left death of His own accord

Behind, disrobing Him of fleshly slough,

And of death's dues; and to the "tree" affixed

220 The serpent's spoil -- "the world's [1430] prince" vanquisht quite!

Grand trophy of the renegades: for sign

Whereof had Moses hung the snake, that all,

Who had by many serpents stricken been,

Might gaze upon the dragon's self, and see

225 Him vanquisht and transfixt.

When, afterwards,

He reached the infernal region's secret waves,

And, as a victor, by the light which aye

Attended Him, revealed His captive thrall,

And by His virtue thoroughly fulfilled

230 The Father's bidding, He Himself re-took

The body which, spontaneous, He had left:

This was the cause of death: this same was made

Salvation's path: a messenger of guile

The former was; the latter messenger

235 Of peace: a spouse her man [1431] did slay; a spouse

Did bear a lion: [1432] hurtful to her man [1433]

A virgin [1434] proved; a man [1435] from virgin born

Proved victor: for a type whereof, while sleep

His [1436] body wrapped, out of his side is ta'en

240 A woman, [1437] who is her lord's [1438] rib; whom, he,

Awaking, called "flesh from his flesh, and bones

From his own bones;" with a presaging mind

Speaking. Faith wondrous! Paul deservedly,

(Most certain author!) teaches Christ to be

245 "The Second Adam from the heavens." [1439] Truth,

Using her own examples, doth refulge;

Nor covets out of alien source to show

Her paces keen: [1440] this is a pauper's work,

Needy of virtue of his own! Great Paul

250 These mysteries -- taught to him -- did teach; to wit,

Discerning that in Christ thy glory is,

O Church! from His side, hanging on high "tree,"

His lifeless body's "blood and humour" flowed.

The blood the woman [1441] was; the waters were

255 The new gifts of the font: [1442] this is the Church,

True mother of a living people; flesh

New from Christ's flesh, and from His bones a bone.

A spot there is called Golgotha, -- of old

The fathers' earlier tongue thus called its name, --

260 "The skull-pan of a head:" here is earth's midst;

Here victory's sign; here, have our elders taught,

There was a great head [1443] found; here the first man,

We have been taught, was buried; here the Christ

Suffers; with sacred blood the earth [1444] grows moist.

265 That the old Adam's dust may able be,

Commingled with Christ's blood, to be upraised

By dripping water's virtue. The "one ewe"

That is, which, during Sabbath-hours, alive

The Shepherd did resolve that He would draw

270 Out of th' infernal pit. This was the cause

Why, on the Sabbaths, He was wont to cure

The prematurely dead limbs of all flesh;

Or perfected for sight the eyes of him

Blind from his birth -- eyes which He had not erst

275 Given; or, in presence of the multitude,

Called, during Sabbath-hours, one wholly dead

To life, e'en from the sepulchre. [1445] Himself

The new man's Maker, the Repairer good

Of th' old, supplying what did lack, or else

280 Restoring what was lost. About to do --

When dawns "the holy day" -- these works, for such

As hope in Him, in plenitude, (to keep

His plighted word,) He taught men thus His power

To do them.

What? If flesh dies, and no hope

285 Is given of salvation, say, what grounds

Christ had to feign Himself a man, and head

Men, or have care for flesh? If He recalls [1446]

Some few, why shall He not withal recall

All? Can corruption's power liquefy

290 The body and undo it, and shall not

The virtue of the Lord be powerful

The undone to recall?

They, who believe

Their bodies are not loosed from death, do not

Believe the Lord, who wills to raise His own

295 Works sunken; or else say they that the Good

Wills not, and that the Potent hath not power, --

Ignorant from how great a crime they suck

Their milk, in daring to set things infirm

Above the Strong. [1447] In the grain lurks the tree;

300 And if this [1448] rot not, buried in the earth,

It yields not tree-graced fruits. [1449] Soon bound will be

The liquid waters: 'neath the whistling cold

They will become, and ever will be stones,

Unless a mighty power, by leading on

305 Soft-breathing warmth, undo them. The great bunch

Lurks in the tendril's slender body: if

Thou seek it, it is not; when God doth will,

'Tis seen to be. On trees their leaves, on thorns

The rose, the seeds on plains, are dead and fail,

310 And rise again, new living. For man's use

These things doth God before his eyes recall

And form anew -- man's, for whose sake at first [1450]

The wealthy One made all things bounteously.

All naked fall; with its own body each

315 He clothes. Why man alone, on whom He showered

Such honours, should He not recall in all

His first perfection [1451] to Himself? man, whom

He set o'er all?

Flesh, then, and blood are said

To be not worthy of God's realm, as if

320 Paul spake of flesh materially. He

Indeed taught mighty truths; but hearts inane

Think he used carnal speech: for pristine deeds

He meant beneath the name of "flesh and blood;"

Remembering, heavenly home -- slave that he is,

325 His heavenly Master's words; who gave the name

Of His own honour to men born from Him

Through water, and from His own Spirit poured

A pledge; [1452] that, by whose virtue men had been

Redeemed, His name of honour they withal

330 Might, when renewed, receive. Because, then, He

Refused, on the old score, the heavenly realm

To peoples not yet from His fount re-born,

Still with their ancient sordid raiment clad --

These are "the dues of death" -- saying that that

335 Which human is must needs be born again, --

"What hath been born of flesh is flesh; and what

From Spirit, life;" [1453] and that the body, washed,

Changing with glory its old root's new seeds, [1454]

Is no more called "from flesh:" Paul follows this;

340 Thus did he speak of "flesh." In fine, he said [1455]

This frail garb with a robe must be o'erclad,

This mortal form be wholly covered;

Not that another body must be given,

But that the former one, dismantled, [1456] must

345 Be with God's kingdom wholly on all sides

Surrounded: "In the moment of a glance,"

He says, "it shall be changed:" as, on the blade,

Dispreads the red corn's [1457] face, and changes 'neath

The sun's glare its own hue; so the same flesh,

350 From "the effulgent glory" [1458] borrowing,

Shall ever joy, and joying, [1459] shall lack death;

Exclaiming that "the body's cruel foe

Is vanquisht quite; death, by the victory

Of the brave Christ, is swallowed;" [1460] praises high

355 Bearing to God, unto the highest stars.


[1393] I have so frequently had to construct my own text (by altering the reading or the punctuation of the Latin) in this book, that, for brevity's sake, I must ask the reader to be content with this statement once for all, and not expect each case to be separately noted.

[1394] The "foe," as before, is Satan; his "breathing instruments" are the men whom he uses (cf. Shakespeare's "no breather" = no man, in the dialogue between Orlando and Jacques, As you Like it, act iii.. sc. 2); and they are called "renegades," like the Evil One himself, because they have deserted from their allegiance to God in Christ.

[1395] Heresy.

[1396] Cf. John 15:2, 4, 5, 6; Romans 11:17-20. The writer simply calls them "abruptos homines;" and he seems to mean excommunicated, like Marcion.

[1397] i.e., those recorded in the Old Testament.

[1398] I have followed Migne's suggestion here, and transposed one line of the original. The reference seems to be to Isaiah 64:4, quoted in 1 Corinthians 2:9, where the Greek differs somewhat remarkably from the LXX.

[1399] Unless some line has dropped out here, the construction, harsh enough in my English, is yet harsher in the Latin. "Accipitur" has no subject of any kind, and one can only guess from what has gone before, and what follows, that it must mean "one Testament."

[1400] Harsh still. It must refer to the four Gospels--the "coat without seam"--in their quadrate unity; Marcion receiving but one--St. Luke's--and that without St. Luke's name, and also in a mutilated and interpolated form.

[1401] This seems to be the sense. The allusion is to the fact that Marcion and his sect accepted but ten of St. Paul's Epistles: leaving out entirely those to Timothy and Titus, and all the other books, except his one Gospel.

[1402] It seems to me that the reference here must evidently be to the Epistle to the Hebrews, which treats specially of the old covenant. If so, we have some indication as to the authorship, if not the date, of the book: for Tertullian himself, though he frequently cites the Epistle, appears to hesitate (to say the least) as to ascribing it to St. Paul.

[1403] Comp. Isaiah 6:9, 10, with Acts 28:17-29.

[1404] The reference seems to be to Romans 1:28; comp., too, Titus 1:15, 16.

[1405] The reference is to Genesis 2:9-14.

[1406] Fata mortua. This extraordinary expression appears to mean "dead men;" men who, through Adam, are fated, so to speak, to die, and are under the sad fate of being "dead in trespasses and sins." See Ephesians 2:1. As far as quantity is concerned, it might as well be "facta mortua," "dead works," such as we read of in Hebrews 6:1; ix. 14. It is true these works cannot strictly be said to be ever vivified; but a very similar inaccuracy seems to be committed by our author lower down in this same book.

[1407] I have followed Oehler's "face" for the common "phase;" but what the meaning is I will not venture to decide. It may probably mean one of two things: (a) that Paul wrote by torchlight; (b) that the light which Paul holds forth in his life and writings, is a torch to show the Corinthians and others Christ.

[1408] i.e., the legal passover, "image" or type of "the true Passover," Christ. See 1 Corinthians 5:6-9.

[1409] Abraham. See Genesis 22:1-19.

[1410] Isaac, a pledge to Abraham of all God's other promises.

[1411] Forte. I suppose this means out of the ordinary course of nature; but it is a strange word to use.

[1412] Israel, wasted by the severities of their Egyptian captivity.

[1413] "Multa;" but "muta" ="mute" has been suggested, and is not inapt.

[1414] I have given what appears to be a possible sense for these almost unintelligible lines. They run as follows in Oehler:-- "Et reliqui magni reges sanctique prophetæ, Non ignorantes certæ promissa salutis, Ingentemque metu pleni transcendere legem, Venturam summæ virtutis imagine molem, Inspectam e speculo celebrarunt ordine pascham." I rather incline to alter them somehow thus :-- "Ingentemque metu plenis transcendere legem, Venturum in summæ virtutis imagine,--solem Inspectum e speculo,--celebrarunt ordine pascham;" connecting these three lines with "non ignorantes," and rendering:-- "Not ignorant of the good promises Of sure salvation; and that One would come, For such as filled are with godly fear The law to overstep, a mighty One, In Highest Virtue's image,--the Sun seen In mirror:--did in order celebrate The passover." That is, in brief, they all, in celebrating the type, looked forward to the Antitype to come.

[1415] Immensus.

[1416] This, again, seems to be the meaning, unless the passage (which is not probable) be corrupt. The flesh, "foul" now with sin, is called the "stained image of the Lord," as having been originally in His image, but being now stained by guilt.

[1417] Faith is called so, as being the reflection of divine reason.

[1418] i.e., the praise of Christ Himself. See Matthew 11:7-15, with the parallel passage, Luke 7:24-30; comp. also John 5:33-35.

[1419] i.e., perhaps "render acceptable."

[1420] See above, 91-99.

[1421] i.e., teeth which He contemned, for His people's sake: not that they are to us contemptible.

[1422] i.e., perhaps permeating, by the influence of His death, the tombs of all the old saints.

[1423] i.e., undertaking our debts in our stead.

[1424] Adam. See Romans 5. passim.

[1425] It is an idea of the genuine Tertullian, apparently, that Eve was a "virgin" all the time she was with Adam in Paradise. A similar idea appears in the "Genesis" above.

[1426] Consilio. Comp. 1 Tim. ii. 14, "Adam was not deceived."

[1427] Called "life's own covering" (i.e., apparently his innocence) in 117, above.

[1428] Or, "ore."

[1429] Comp. Hebrews 12:2, "Who, for the joy that was set before Him"--"hos anti tes prokeimenes hauto charas.

[1430] Mundi. See John 14:30.

[1431] Virum.

[1432] "The Lion of the tribe of Juda." Revelation 5:5.

[1433] Viro. This use of "man" may be justified, to say nothing of other arguments, from Jeremiah 44:19, where "our men" seem plainly ="our husbands." See marg.

[1434] Virgo: a play on the word in connection with the "viro" and what follows.

[1435] Vir.

[1436] i.e., Adam's. The constructions, as will be seen, are oddly confused throughout, and I rather suspect some transposition of lines.

[1437] Mulier.

[1438] Mariti.

[1439] See 1 Corinthians 15:22 sqq., especially 45, 47.

[1440] Acres gressus.

[1441] Femina.

[1442] Lavacri.

[1443] "Os;" lit., "face" or "mouth."

[1444] Terra.

[1445] This would seem to refer to Lazarus; but it seems to be an assumption that his raising took place on a Sabbath.

[1446] i.e., to life.

[1447] I have ventured to alter the "Morti," of the edd. into "Forti;" and "causas" (as we have seen) seems, in this late Latin, nearly ="res."

[1448] i.e., the grain.

[1449] This may seem an unusual expression, as it is more common to regard the fruit as gracing the tree, than the tree the fruit. But, in point of fact, the tree, with its graceful form and foliage, may be said to give a grace to the fruit; and so our author puts it here: "decoratos arbore fructus."

[1450] I read "primum" here for "primus."

[1451] "Tantum" ="tantum quantum primo fuerat," i.e., with a body as well as a spirit.

[1452] Pignus: "the promise of the Father" (Acts 1:4); "the earnest of the Spirit" (2 Corinthians 1:22; v. 5.). See, too, Ephesians 1:13, 14; Romans 8:23.

[1453] The reference is to John 3:6, but it is not quite correctly given.

[1454] See note on 245, above.

[1455] See 2 Corinthians 5:1. sqq.

[1456] I read "inermum"--a very rare form--here for "inermem." But there seems a confusion in the text, which here, as elsewhere, is probably corrupt.

[1457] "Ceræ," which seems senseless here, I have changed to "cereris."

[1458] There seems to be a reference to 2 Peter 1:17.

[1459] Here again I have altered the punctuation by a very simple change.

[1460] See 1 Corinthians 15:54; Isaiah 25:8 (where the LXX. have a strange reading).

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