Book iv. --Of Marcion's Antitheses.

What the Inviolable Power bids

The youthful people, [1540] which, rich, free, and heir,

Possesses an eternal hope of praise

(By right assigned) is this: that with great zeal

5 Burning, armed with the love of peace -- yet not

As teachers (Christ alone doth all things teach [1541] ),

But as Christ's household -- servants -- o'er the earth

They should conduct a massive war; [1542] should raze

The wicked's lofty towers, savage walls,

10 And threats which 'gainst the holy people's bands

Rise, and dissolve such empty sounds in air.

Wherefore we, justly speaking emulous words, [1543]

Out of his [1544] own words even strive to express

The meaning of salvation's records, [1545] which

15 Large grace hath poured profusely; and to ope

To the saints' eyes the Bandit's [1546] covert plague:

Lest any untrained, daring, ignorant,

Fall therein unawares, and (being caught)

Forfeit celestial gifts.

God, then, is One

20 To mortals all and everywhere; a Realm

Eternal, Origin of light profound;

Life's Fount; a Draught fraught [1547] with all wisdom. He

Produced the orb whose bosom all things girds;

Him not a region, not a place, includes as

25 In circuit: matter none perennial is, [1548]

So as to be self-made, or to have been

Ever, created by no Maker: heaven's,

Earth's, sea's, and the abyss's [1549] Settler [1550] is

The Spirit; air's Divider, Builder, Author,

30 Sole God perpetual, Power immense, is He. [1551]

Him had the Law the People [1552] shown to be

One God, [1553] whose mighty voice to Moses spake

Upon the mount. Him this His Virtue, too,

His Wisdom, Glory, Word, and Son, this Light

35 Begotten from the Light immense, [1554] proclaims

Through the seers' voices, to be One: and Paul, [1555]

Taking the theme in order up, thus too

Himself delivers; "Father there is One [1556]

Through whom were all things made: Christ One, through whom

40 God all things made;" [1557] to whom he plainly owns

That every knee doth bow itself; [1558] of whom

Is every fatherhood [1559] in heaven and earth

Called: who is zealous with the highest love

Of parent-care His people-ward; and wills

45 All flesh to live in holy wise, and wills

His people to appear before Him pure

Without a crime. With such zeal, by a law [1560]

Guards He our safety; warns us loyal be;

Chastens; is instant. So, too, has the same

50 Apostle (when Galatian brethren

Chiding) -- Paul -- written that such zeal hath he. [1561]

The fathers'sins God freely rendered, then,

Slaying in whelming deluge utterly Parents alike with progeny, and e'en

55 Grandchildren in "fourth generation" [1562] now

Descended from the parent-stock, when He

Has then for nearly these nine hundred years

Assisted them. Hard does the judgment seem?

The sentence savage? And in Sodom, too,

60 That the still guiltless little one unarmed

And tender should lose life: for what had e'er

The infant sinned? What cruel thou mayst think,

Is parent-care's true duty. Lest misdeed

Should further grow, crime's authors He did quench,

65 And sinful parents' brood. But, with his sires,

The harmless infant pays not penalties

Perpetual, ignorant and not advanced

In crime: but lest he partner should become

Of adult age's guilt, death immature

70 Undid spontaneous future ills.

Why, then,

Bids God libation to be poured to Him

With blood of sheep? and takes so stringent means

By Law, that, in the People, none transgress

Erringly, threatening them with instant death

75 By stoning? and why reprobates, again,

These gifts of theirs, and says they are to Him

Unwelcome, while He chides a People prest

With swarm of sin? [1563] Does He, the truthful, bid,

And He, the just, at the same time repel?

80 The causes if thou seekst, cease to be moved

Erringly: for faith's cause is weightier

Than fancied reason. [1564] Through a mirror [1565] -- shade

Of fulgent light! -- behold what the calf's blood,

The heifer's ashes, and each goat, do mean:

85 The one dismissed goes off, the other falls

A victim at the temple.

With calf's blood

With water mixt the seer [1566] (thus from on high

Bidden) besprinkled People, vessels all,

Priests, and the written volumes of the Law.

90 See here not their true hope, nor yet a mere

Semblance devoid of virtue: [1567] but behold

In the calf's type Christ destined bodily

To suffer; who upon His shoulders bare

The plough-beam's hard yokes, [1568] and with fortitude

95 Brake His own heart with the steel share, and poured

Into the furrows water of His own

Life's blood. For these "temple-vessels" do

Denote our bodies: God's true temple [1569] He,

Not dedicated erst; for to Himself

100 He by His blood associated men,

And willed them be His body's priests, Himself

The Supreme Father's perfect Priest by right.

Hearing, sight, step inert, He cleansed; and, for a "book," [1570]

Sprinkled, by speaking [1571] words of presage, those

105 His witnesses: demonstrating the Law

Bound by His holy blood.

This cause withal

Our victim through "the heifer" manifests

From whose blood taking for the People's sake

Piacular drops, them the first Levite [1572] bare

110 Within the veil; and, by God's bidding, burned

Her corse without the camp's gates; with whose ash

He cleansed lapsed bodies.

Thus our Lord (who us

By His own death redeemed), without the camp [1573]

Willingly suffering the violence

115 Of an iniquitous People, did fulfil

The Law, by facts predictions proving; [1574] who

A people of contamination full

Doth truly cleanse, conceding all things, as

The body's Author rich; within heaven's veil

120 Gone with the blood which -- One for many's deaths --

He hath outpoured.

A holy victim, then,

Is meet for a great priest; which worthily

He, being perfect, may be proved to have,

And offer. He a body hath: this is

125 For mortals a live victim; worthy this

Of great price did He offer, One for all.

The [1575] semblance of the "goats" teaches that they

Are men exiled out of the "peoples twain" [1576]

As barren; [1577] fruitless both; (of whom the Lord

130 Spake also, in the Gospel, telling how

The kids are severed from the sheep, and stand

On the left hand [1578] ): that some indeed there are

Who for the Lord's Name's sake have suffered: thus

That fruit has veiled their former barrenness:

135 And such, the prophet teaches, on the ground

Of that their final merit worthy are

Of the Lord's altar: others, cast away

(As was th' iniquitous rich man, we read,

By Lazarus [1579] ), are such as have remained

140 Exiled, persistent in their stubbornness.

Now a veil, hanging in the midst, did both

Dissever, [1580] and had into portions twain

Divided the one shrine. [1581] The inner parts

Were called "Holies of holies." Stationed there

145 An altar shone, noble with gold; and there,

At the same time, the testaments and ark

Of the Law's tablets; covered wholly o'er

With lambs'skins [1582] dyed with heaven's hue; within

Gold-clad; [1583] and all between of wood. Here are so

150 The tablets of the Law; here is the urn

Replete with manna; here is Aaron's rod

Which puts forth germens of the cross [1584] -- unlike

The cross itself, yet born of storax-tree [1585] -- And over it -- in uniformity

155 Fourfold -- the cherubim their pinions spread,

And the inviolable sanctities [1586]

Covered obediently. [1587] Without the veil

Part of the shrine stood open: facing it,

Heavy with broad brass, did an altar stand;

160 And with two triple sets (on each side one)

Of branches woven with the central stem,

A lampstand, and as many [1588] lamps:

The golden substance wholly filled with light

The temple. [1589]

Thus the temple's outer face,

165 Common and open, does the ritual

Denote, then, of a people lingering

Beneath the Law; amid whose [1590] gloom there shone

The Holy Spirit's sevenfold unity

Ever, the People sheltering. [1591] And thus

170 The Lampstand True and living Lamps do shine

Persistently throughout the Law and Seers

On men subdued in heart. And for a type

Of earth, [1592] the altar -- so tradition says --

Was made. Here constantly, in open space,

175 Before all eyes were visible of old

The People's "works," [1593] which ever -- "not without

Blood" [1594] -- it did offer, shedding out the gore

Of lawless life. [1595] There, too, the Lord -- Himself

Made victim on behalf of all -- denotes

180 The whole earth [1596] -- altar in specific sense.

Hence likewise that new covenant author, whom

No language can describe, Disciple John,

Testifies that beneath such altar he

Saw souls which had for Christ's name suffered,

185 Praying the vengeance of the mighty God

Upon their slaughter. [1597] There, [1598] meantime, is rest.

In some unknown part there exists a spot

Open, enjoying its own light; 'tis called

"Abraham's bosom;" high above the glooms, [1599]

190 And far removed from fire, yet 'neath the earth. [1600]

The brazen altar this is called, whereon

(We have recorded) was a dusky veil. [1601]

This veil divides both parts, and leaves the one

Open, from the eternal one distinct

195 In worship and time's usage. To itself

Tis not unfriendly, though of fainter love,

By time and space divided, and yet linked

By reason. 'Tis one house, though by a veil

Parted it seems: and thus (when the veil burst,

200 On the Lord's passion) heavenly regions oped

And holy vaults, [1602] and what was double erst

Became one house perennial.

Order due

Traditionally has interpreted

The inner temple of the people called

205 After Christ's Name, with worship heavenly,

God's actual mandates following; (no "shade"

Is herein bound, but persons real; [1603] ) complete

By the arrival of the "perfect things." [1604]

The ark beneath a type points out to us

210 Christ's venerable body, joined, through "wood," [1605]

With sacred Spirit: the aërial [1606] skins

Are flesh not born of seed, outstretcht on "wood;" [1607]

At the same time, with golden semblance fused, [1608]

Within, the glowing Spirit joined is

215 Thereto; that, with peace [1609] granted, flesh might bloom

With Spirit mixt. Of the Lord's flesh, again,

The urn, golden and full, a type doth bear.

Itself denotes that the new covenant's Lord

Is manna; in that He, true heavenly Bread,

220 Is, and hath by the Father been transfused [1610]

Into that bread which He hath to His saints

Assigned for a pledge: this Bread will He

Give perfectly to them who (of good works

The lovers ever) have the bonds of peace

225 Kept. And the double tablets of the law

Written all over, these, at the same time,

Signify that that Law was ever hid

In Christ, who mandate old and new fulfilled,

Ark of the Supreme Father as He is,

230 Through whom He, being rich, hath all things given.

The storax-rod, too, nut's fruit bare itself;

(The virgin's semblance this, who bare in blood

A body:) on the "wood" [1611] conjoined 'twill lull

Death's bitter, which within sweet fruit doth lurk,

235 By virtue of the Holy Spirit's grace:

Just as Isaiah did predict "a rod"

From Jesse's seed [1612] -- Mary -- from which a flower

Issues into the orb.

The altar bright with gold

Denotes the heaven on high, whither ascend

240 Prayers holy, sent up without crime: the Lord

This "altar" spake of, where if one doth gifts

Offer, he must first reconciliate

Peace with his brother: [1613] thus at length his prayers

Can flame unto the stars. Christ, Victor sole

245 And foremost. [1614] Priest, thus offered incense born

Not of a tree, but prayers. [1615]

The cherubim [1616]

Being, with twice two countenances, one,

And are the one word through fourfold order led; [1617]

The hoped comforts of life's mandate new,

250 Which in their plenitude Christ bare Himself

Unto us from the Father. But the wings

In number four times six, [1618] the heraldings

Of the old world denote, witnessing things

Which, we are taught, were after done. On these [1619]

255 The heavenly words fly through the orb: with these

Christ's blood is likewise held context, so told

Obscurely by the seers' presaging mouth.

The number of the wings doth set a seal

Upon the ancient volumes; teaching us

260 Those twenty-four have certainly enough

Which sang the Lord's ways and the times of peace:

These all, we see, with the new covenant

Cohere. Thus also John; the Spirit thus

To him reveals that in that number stand

265 The enthroned elders white [1620] and crowned, who (as

With girding-rope) all things surround, before

The Lord's throne, and upon the glassy sea

Subigneous: and four living creatures, winged

And full of eyes within and outwardly,

270 Do signify that hidden things are oped,

And all things shut are at the same time seen,

In the word's eye. The glassy flame-mixt sea

Means that the laver's gifts, with Spirit fused

Therein, upon believers are conferred.

275 Who could e'en tell what the Lord's parent-care

Before His judgment-seat, before His bar,

Prepared hath? that such as willing be

His forum and His judgment for themselves

To antedate, should 'scape! that who thus hastes

280 Might find abundant opportunity!

Thus therefore Law and wondrous prophets sang;

Thus all parts of the covenant old and new,

Those sacred rights and pregnant utterances

Of words, conjoined, do flourish. Thus withal,

285 Apostles' voices witness everywhere;

Nor aught of old, in fine, but to the new

Is joined.

Thus err they, and thus facts retort

Their sayings, who to false ways have declined;

And from the Lord and God, eternal King,

290 Who such an orb produced, detract, and seek

Some other deity 'neath feigned name,

Bereft of minds, which (frenzied) they have lost;

Willing to affirm that Christ a stranger is

To the Law; nor is the world's [1621] Lord; nor doth will

295 Salvation of the flesh; nor was Himself

The body's Maker, by the Father's power. [1622]

Them must we flee, stopping (unasked) our ears;

Lest with their speech they stain innoxious hearts.

Let therefore us, whom so great grace [1623] of God

300 Hath penetrated, and the true celestial words

Of the great Master-Teacher in good ways

Have trained, and given us right monuments; [1624]

Pay honour ever to the Lord, and sing

Endlessly, joying in pure faith, and sure

305 Salvation. Born of the true God, with bread

Perennial are we nourished, and hope

With our whole heart after eternal life.


[1539] The state of the text in some parts of this book is frightful. It has been almost hopeless to extract any sense whatever out of the Latin in many passages--indeed, the renderings are in these cases little better than guess-work--and the confusion of images, ideas, and quotations is extraordinary.

[1540] See the preceding book.

[1541] I have changed the unintelligible "daret" of the edd. into "docet." The reference seems to be to Matthew 23:8; James 3:1; 1 Pet. v. 2, 3.

[1542] Molem belli deducere terræ.

[1543] Æmulamenta. Migne seems to think the word refers to Marcion's "Antitheses."

[1544] i.e., apparently Marcion's.

[1545] Monumenta.

[1546] See the opening of the preceding book.

[1547] "Conditus;" i.e., probably (in violation of quantity) the past part. of "condio" = flavoured, seasoned.

[1548] I have altered the punctuation here.

[1549] Inferni.

[1550] Locator.

[1551] These lines are capable, according to their punctuation, of various renderings, which for brevity's sake I must be content to omit.

[1552] i.e., the People of Israel. See the de Idol., p. 148, c. v. note 1.

[1553] See Deuteronomy 6:3, 4, quoted in Mark 12:29, 30.

[1554] This savours of the Nicene Creed.

[1555] Migne's pointing is followed, in preference to Oehler's.

[1556] "Unum hunc esse Patrem;" i.e., "that this One (God) is the Father." But I rather incline to read, "unumque esse;" or we may render, "This One is the Sire."

[1557] See 1 Corinthians 8:5, 6 (but notice the prepositions in the Greek; our author is not accurate in rendering them); Ephesians 4:4, 5, 6.

[1558] Ad quem se curvare genu plane omne fatetur. The reference is to Philippians 2:10; but our author is careless in using the present tense, "se curvare."

[1559] The reference is to Ephesians 3:14, 15; but here again our author seems in error, as he refers the words to Christ, whereas the meaning of the apostle appears clearly to refer them tothe Father.

[1560] Legitimos. See book iv. 91.

[1561] See Galatians 3:20. But here, again, "Galatas" seems rather like an error; for in speaking to the Corinthians St. Paul uses an expression more like our author's: see 2 Corinthians 11:2. The Latin, too, is faulty: "Talem se Paulus zelum se scripsit habere," where, perhaps, for the first "se" we should read "sic."

[1562] Comp. Exodus 20:5; Deuteronomy 5:9.

[1563] See Isaiah 1:10-15; Jeremiah 6:20.

[1564] Causa etenim fidei rationis imagine major.

[1565] Comp. 1 1 Corinthians 13:12; Hebrews 10:1.

[1566] Moses. See Hebrews 9:19-22, and the references there.

[1567] Comp. Hebrews 9:13.

[1568] Alluding probably to our Lord's bearing of the cross-beam of His cross--the beam being the "yokes," and the upright stem of the cross the "plough-beam"--on His shoulders.--See John 19:17.

[1569] Templum. Comp. John 2:19-22; Colossians 2:9.

[1570] Libro. The reference is to the preceding lines, especially 89, and Hebrews 9:19, auto to biblion. The use of "libro" is curious, as it seems to be used partly as if it would be equivalent to pro libro, "in the place of a book," partly in a more truly datival sense, "to serve the purposes of a book;" and our "for" is capable of the two senses.

[1571] For this comparison of "speaking" to "sprinkling," comp. Deuteronomy 32:2, "My doctrine shall drop as the rain; my speech shall distil as the dew," etc.; Job 29:22, "My speech dropped upon them;" with Ephesians 5:26, and with our Lord's significant action (recorded in the passage here alluded to, John 20:22) of "breathing on" (enephusesen) His disciples. Comp., too, for the "witnesses" and "words of presage," Luke 24:48, 49; Acts 1:6-8.

[1572] i.e., the chief of the Levites, the high priest.

[1573] Comp. Hebrews 13:12, 13; John 19:19, 20.

[1574] Comp. the preceding book, 355.

[1575] The passage which follows is almost unintelligible. The sense which I have offered in my text is so offered with great diffidence, as I am far from certain of having hit the meaning; indeed, the state of the text is such, that any meaning must be a matter of some uncertainty.

[1576] i.e., perhaps the Jewish and Christian peoples. Comp. adv. Jud., c. 1.

[1577] i.e., "barren" of faith and good works. The "goats" being but "kids" (see Leviticus 16:8), would, of course, be barren. "Exiled" seems to mean "excommunicated." But the comparison of the sacrificed goat to a penitent, and of the scapegoat to an impenitent, excommunicate, is extravagant. Yet I see no other sense.

[1578] See Matthew 25:31-33.

[1579] i.e., Lazarus was not allowed to help him. In that sense he may be said to have been "cast away;" but it is Abraham, not Lazarus, who pronounces his doom. See Luke 16:19-31.

[1580] i.e., in that the blood of the one was brought within the veil; the other was not.

[1581] Ædem.

[1582] The meaning seems to be, that the ark, when it had to be removed from place to place, had (as we learn from Numbers 4:5) to be covered with "the second veil" (as it is called in Hebrews 9:3), which was "of blue," etc. But that this veil was made "of lambs' skins" does not appear; on the contrary, it was made of "linen." The outer veil, indeed (not the outmost, which was of "badgers' skins," according to the Eng. ver.; but of "huakinthina dermata"--of what material is not said--according to the LXX.), was made "of rams' skins;" but then they were "dyed red" (heruthrodanomena, LXX.), not "blue." So there is some confusion in our author.

[1583] The ark was overlaid with gold without as well as within. (See Exodus 25:10, 11; xxxvii. 1, 2; and this is referred to in Hebrews 9:3, 4--kiboton...perikekalummenen--where our Eng. ver. rendering is defective, and in the context as well.) This, however, may be said to be implied in the following words: "and all between," i.e., between the layers above and beneath, "of wood."

[1584] Migne supposes some error in these words. Certainly the sense is dark enough; but see lower down.

[1585] It yielded "almonds," according to the Eng. ver. (Numbers 17:8). But see the LXX.

[1586] Sagmina. But the word is a very strange one to use indeed. See the Latin Lexicons, s.v.

[1587] It might be questionable whether "jussa" refers to "cherubim" or to "sagmina."

[1588] i.e., twice three + the central one = 7.

[1589] Our author persists in calling the tabernacle temple.

[1590] i.e., the Law's.

[1591] "Tegebat," i.e., with the "fiery-cloudy pillar," unless it be an error for "regebat," which still might apply to the pillar.

[1592] Terræ.

[1593] "Operæ," i.e., sacrifices. The Latin is a hopeless jumble of words without grammatical sequence, and any rendering is mere guesswork.

[1594] Hebrews 9:7.

[1595] i.e., of animals which, as irrational, were "without the Law."

[1596] Terram.

[1597] Revelation 6:9, 10.

[1598] i.e., beneath the altar. See the 11th verse ib.

[1599] Or possibly, "deeper than the glooms:" "altior a tenebris."

[1600] Terra.

[1601] See 141, 142, above.

[1602] Cælataque sancta. We might conjecture "celataque sancta," ="and the sanctuaries formerly hidden."

[1603] This sense appears intelligible, as the writer's aim seems to be to distinguish between the "actual" commands of God, i.e., the spiritual, essential ones, which the spiritual people "follow," and which "bind"--not the ceremonial observance of a "shadow of the future blessings" (see Hebrews 10:1), but "real persons," i.e., living souls. But, as Migne has said, the passage is probably faulty and mutilated.

[1604] Comp. Hebrews 7:19; x. 1; xi. 11, 12.

[1605] "Lignum:" here probably ="the flesh," which He took from Mary; the "rod" (according to our author) which Isaiah had foretold.

[1606] Aërial, i.e., as he said above, "dyed with heaven's hue."

[1607] "Ligno," i.e., "the cross," represented by the "wood" of which the tabernacle's boards, on which the coverings were stretched (but comp. 147-8, above), were made.

[1608] As the flame of the lamps appeared to grow out of and be fused with the "golden semblance" or "form" of the lampstand or candlestick.

[1609] Of which the olive--of which the pure oil for the lamps was to be made: Exodus 27:20; Leviticus 24:2-is a type. "Peace" is granted to "the flesh" through Christ's work and death in flesh.

[1610] Traditus.

[1611] In ligno. The passage is again in an almost desperate state.

[1612] Isaiah 11:1, 2.

[1613] Matthew 5:23, 24.

[1614] Primus.

[1615] See Revelation 8:3, 4.

[1616] Here ensues a confused medley of all the cherubic figures of Moses, Ezekiel, and St. John.

[1617] i.e., by the four evangelists.

[1618] The cherubim, (or, "seraphim" rather,) of Isaiah 6.have each six wings. Ezekiel mentions four cherubim, or "living creatures." St. John likewise mentions four "living creatures." Our author, combining the passages, and thrusting them into the subject of the Mosaic cherubim, multiplies the six (wings) by the four (cherubs), and so attains his end--the desired number "twenty-four"--to represent the books of the Old Testament, which (by combining certain books) may be reckoned to be twenty-four in number.

[1619] These wings.

[1620] There is again some great confusion in the text. The elders could not "stand enthroned:" nor do they stand "over," but "around" God's throne; so that the "insuper solio" could not apply to that.

[1621] Mundi.

[1622] Virtute.

[1623] Honestas.

[1624] Or, "records:" "monumenta," i.e., the written word, according to the canon.

book iii of the harmony of
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