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Saint Aurelius Augustine
Do you say that these are the words of a single weak woman giving thanks for the birth of a son? Can the mind of men be so much averse to the light of truth as not to perceive that the sayings this woman pours forth exceed her measure? Moreover, he who is suitably interested in these things which have already begun to be fulfilled even in this earthly pilgrimage also, does he not apply his: mind, and perceive, and acknowledge, that through this woman -- whose very name, which is Hannah, means "His grace" -- the very Christian religion, the very city of God, whose king and founder is Christ, in fine, the very grace of God, hath thus spoken by the prophetic Spirit, whereby the proud are cut off so that they fall, and the humble are filled so that they rise, which that hymn chiefly celebrates? Unless perchance any one will say that this woman prophesied nothing, but only lauded God with exulting praise on account of the son whom she had obtained in answer to prayer. What then does she mean when she says, "The bow of the mighty hath He made weak, and the weak are girded with strength; they that were full of bread are diminished, and the hungry have gone beyond the earth; for the barren hath born seven, and she that hath many children is waxed feeble?" Had she herself born seven, although she had been barren? She had only one when she said that; neither did she bear seven afterwards, nor six, with whom Samuel himself might be the seventh, but three males and two females. And then, when as yet no one was king over that people, whence, if she did not prophesy, did she say what she puts at the end, "He giveth strength to our kings, and shall exalt the horn of His Christ?"
Therefore let the Church of Christ, the city of the great King, full of grace, prolific of offspring, let her say what the prophecy uttered about her so long before by the mouth of this pious mother confesses, "My heart is made strong in the Lord, and my horn is exalted in my God." Her heart is truly made strong, and her horn is truly exalted, because not in herself, but in the Lord her God. "My mouth is enlarged over mine enemies;" because even in pressing straits the word of God is not bound, not even in preachers who are bound.
"I am made glad," she says, "in Thy salvation." This is Christ Jesus Himself, whom old Simeon, as we read in the Gospel, embracing as a little one, yet recognizing as great, said," Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation." Therefore may the Church say, "I am made glad in Thy salvation. For there is none holy as the Lord, and none is righteous as our God;" as holy and sanctifying, just and justifying.
"There is none holy beside Thee;" because no one becomes so except by reason of Thee. And then it follows, "Do not glory so proudly, and do not speak lofty things, neither let vaunting talk come out of your mouth. For a God of knowledge is the Lord." He knows you even when no one knows; for "he who thinketh himself to be something when he is nothing deceiveth himself."
These things are said to the adversaries of the city of God who belong to Babylon, who presume in their own strength, and glory in themselves, not in the Lord; of whom are also the carnal Israelites, the earth-born inhabitants of the earthly Jerusalem, who, as saith the apostle, "being ignorant of the righteousness of God," that is, which God, who alone is just, and the justifier, gives to man, "and wishing to establish their own," that is, which is as it were procured by their own selves, not bestowed by Him, "are not subject to the righteousness of God," just because they are proud, and think they are able to please God with their own, not with that which is of God, who is the God of knowledge, and therefore also takes the oversight of consciences, there beholding the thoughts of men that they are vain, if they are of men, and are not from Him. "And preparing," she says, "His curious designs." What curious designs do we think these are, save that the proud must fall, and the humble rise? These curious designs she recounts, saying, "The bow of the mighty is made weak, and the weak are girded with strength." The bow is made weak, that is, the intention of those who think themselves so powerful, that without the gift and help of God they are able by human sufficiency to fulfill the divine commandments; and those are girded with strength whose in ward cry is, "Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am weak."
"They that were full of bread," she says, "are diminished, and the hungry have gone beyond the earth." Who are to be understood as full of bread except those same who were as if mighty, that is, the Israelites, to whom were committed the oracles of God? But among that people the children of the bond maid were diminished -- by which word minus, although it is Latin, the idea is well expressed that from being greater they were made less -- because, even in the very bread, that is, the divine oracles, which the Israelites alone of all nations have received, they savor earthly things. But the nations to whom that law was not given, after they have come through the New Testament to these oracles, by thirsting much have gone beyond the earth, because in them they have savored not earthly, but heavenly things. And the reason why this is done is as it were sought; "for the barren," she says, "hath born seven, and she that hath many children is waxed feeble." Here all that had been prophesied hath shone forth to those who understood the number seven, which signifies the perfection of the universal Church, For which reason also the Apostle John writes to the seven churches, showing in that way that he writes to the totality of the one Church; and in the Proverbs of Solomon it is said aforetime, prefiguring this, "Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath strengthened her seven pillars." For the city of God was barren in all nations before that child arose whom we see. We also see that the temporal Jerusalem, who had many children, is now waxed feeble. Because, whoever in her were sons of the free woman were her strength; but now, forasmuch as the letter is there, and not the spirit, having lost her strength, she is waxed feeble.
"The Lord killeth and maketh alive:" He has killed her who had many children, and made this barren one alive, so that she has born seven. Although it may be more suitably understood that He has made those same alive whom He has killed. For she, as it were, repeats that by adding, "He bringeth down to hell, and bringeth up." To whom truly the apostle says, "If ye be dead with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God." Therefore they are killed by the Lord in a salutary way, so that he adds, " Savor things which are above, not things on the earth;" so that these are they who, hungering, have passed beyond the earth. "For ye are dead," he says: behold how God savingly kills! Then there follows, "And your life is hid with Christ in God:" behold how God makes the same alive! But does He bring them down to hell and bring them up again? It is without controversy among believers that we best see both parts of this work fulfilled in Him, to wit our Head, with whom the apostle has said our life is hid in God. "For when He spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all," in that way, certainly, He has killed Him. And forasmuch as He raised Him up again from the dead, He has made Him alive again. And since His voice is acknowledged in the prophecy, "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell," He has brought Him down to hell and brought Him up again. By this poverty of His we are made rich; for "the Lord maketh poor and maketh rich." But that we may know what this is, let us hear what follows: "He bringeth low and lifteth up;" and truly He humbles the proud and exalts the humble. Which we also read elsewhere, "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble." This is the burden of the entire song of this woman whose name is interpreted "His grace."
Farther, what is added, "He raiseth up the poor from the earth," I understand of none better than of Him who, as was said a little ago, "was made poor for us, when He was rich, that by His poverty we might be made rich." For He raised Him from the earth so quickly that His flesh did not see corruption. Nor shall I divert from Him what is added, "And raiseth up the poor from the dunghill." For indeed he who is the poor man is also the beggar. But by the dunghill from which he is lifted up we are with the greatest reason to understand the persecuting Jews, of whom the apostle says, when telling that when he belonged to them he persecuted the Church, "What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ; and I have counted them not only loss, but even dung, that I might win Christ." Therefore that poor one is raised up from the earth above all the rich, and that beggar is lifted up from that dunghill above all the wealthy, "that he may sit among the mighty of the people," to whom He says, "Ye shall sit upon twelve thrones," "and to make them inherit the throne of glory." For these mighty ones had said, "Lo, we have forsaken all and followed Thee." They had most mightily vowed this vow.
But whence do they receive this, except from Him of whom it is here immediately said, "Giving the vow to him that voweth?" Otherwise they would be of those mighty ones whose bow is weakened. "Giving," she saith, "the vow to him that voweth." For no one could vow anything acceptable to God, unless he received from Him that which he might vow, There follows, "And He hath blessed the years of the just," to wit, that he may live for ever with Him to whom it is said, "And Thy years shall have no end." For there the years abide; but here they pass away, yea, they perish: for before they come they are not, and when they shall have come they shall not be, because they bring their own end with them. Now of these two, that is, "giving the vow to him that voweth," and "He hath blessed the years of the just," the one is what we do, the other what we receive. But this other is not received from God, the liberal giver, until He, the helper, Himself has enabled us for the former; "for man is not mighty in strength." "The Lord shall make his adversary weak," to wit, him who envies the man that vows, and resists him, lest he should fulfill what he has vowed. Owing to the ambiguity of the Greek, it may also be understood "his own adversary." For when God has begun to possess us, immediately he who had been our adversary becomes His, and is conquered by us; but not by our own strength, "for man is not mighty in strength." Therefore "the Lord shall make His own adversary weak, the Lord is holy," that he may be conquered by the saints, whom the Lord, the Holy of holies, hath made saints. For this reason, "let not the prudent glory in his prudence, and let not the mighty glory in his might, and let not the rich glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth glory in this -- to understand and know the Lord, and to do judgment and justice in the midst of the earth," He in no small measure understands and knows the Lord who understands and knows that even this, that he can understand and know the Lord, is given to him by the Lord. "For what hast thou," saith the apostle, "that thou hast not received? But if thou hast received it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it?" That is, as if thou hadst of thine own self whereof thou mightest glory. Now, he does judgment and justice who lives aright. But he lives aright who yields obedience to God when He commands. "The end of the commandment," that is, to which the commandment has reference, "is charity out of a pure heart, and a good conscience, and faith unfeigned." Moreover, this "charity," as the Apostle John testifies, "is of God," Therefore to do justice and judgment is of God. But what is "in the midst of the earth?" For ought those who dwell in the ends of the earth not to do judgment and justice? Who would say so?
Why, then, is it added, "In the midst of the earth?" For if this had not been added, and it had only been said, "To do judgment and justice," this commandment would rather have pertained to both kinds of men -- both those dwelling inland and those on the sea-coast. But lest any one should think that, after the end of the life led in this body, there remains. a time for doing judgment and justice which he has not done while he was in the flesh, and that the divine judgment can thus be escaped, "in the midst of the earth" appears to me to be said of the time when every one lives in the body; for in this life every one carries about his own earth, which, on a man's dying, the common earth takes back, to be surely returned to him on his rising again.
Therefore "in the midst of the earth," that is, while our soul is shut up in this earthly body, judgment and justice are to be done, which shall be profitable for us hereafter, when "every one shall receive according to that he hath done in the body, whether good or bad." For when the apostle there says "in the body," he means in the time he has lived in the body. Yet if any one blaspheme with malicious mind and impious thought, without any member of his body being employed in it, he shall not therefore be guiltless because he has not done it with bodily motion, for he will have done it in that time which he has spent in the body. In the same way we may suitably understand what we read in the psalm, "But God, our King before the worlds, hath wrought salvation in the midst of the earth;" so that the Lord Jesus may be understood to be our God who is before the worlds, because by Him the worlds were made, working our salvation in the midst of the earth, for the Word was made flesh and dwelt in an earthly body.
Then after Hannah has prophesied in these words, that he who glorieth ought to glory not in himself at all, but in the Lord, she i says, on account of the retribution which is to come on the day of judgment, "The Lord hath ascended into the heavens, and hath thundered: He shall judge the ends of the earth, for He is righteous."
Throughout she holds to the order of the creed of Christians: For the Lord Christ has ascended into heaven, and is to come thence to judge the quick and dead. For, as saith the apostle, "Who hath ascended but He who hath also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up above all heavens, that He might fill all things." Therefore He hath thundered through His clouds, which He hath filled with His Holy Spirit when He ascended up. Concerning which the bond maid Jerusalem -- that is, the unfruitful vineyard -- is threatened in Isaiah the prophet that they shall rain no showers upon her. But "He shall judge the ends of the earth" is spoken as if it had been said, "even the extremes of the earth." For it does not mean that He shall not judge the other parts of the earth, who, without doubt, shall judge all men. But it is better to understand by the extremes of the earth the extremes of man, since those things shall not be judged which, in the middle time, are changed for the better or the worse, but the ending in which he shall be found who is judged. For which reason it is said, "He that shall persevere even unto the end, the same shall be saved." He, therefore, who perseveringly does judgment and justice in the midst of the earth shall not be condemned when the extremes of the earth shall be judged. "And giveth," she saith, "strength to our kings," that He may not condemn them in judging. He giveth them strength whereby as kings they rule the flesh, and conquer the world in Him who hath poured out His blood for them. "And shall exalt the horn of His Christ." How shall Christ exalt the horn of His Christ? For He of whom it was said above, "The Lord hath ascended into the heavens," meaning the Lord Christ, Himself, as it is said here, "shall exalt the horn of His Christ." Who, therefore, is the Christ of His Christ? Does it mean that He shall exalt the horn of each one of His believing people, as she says in the beginning of this hymn, "Mine horn is exalted in my God?" For we can rightly call all those christs who are anointed with His chrism, forasmuch as the whole body with its head is one Christ. These things hath Hannah, the mother of Samuel, the holy and much-praised man, prophesied, in which, indeed, the change of the ancient priesthood was then figured and is now fulfilled, since she that had many children is waxed feeble, that the barren who hath born seven might have the new priesthood in Christ.
CHAPTER 5 -- OF THOSE THINGS WHICH A MAN OF GOD SPAKE BY THE SPIRIT TO ELI THE PRIEST, SIGNIFYING THAT THE PRIESTHOOD WHICH HAD BEEN APPOINTED ACCORDING TO AARON WAS TO BE TAKEN AWAY.
But this is said more plainly by a man of God sent to Eli the priest himself, whose name indeed is not mentioned, but whose office and ministry show him to have been indubitably a prophet. For it is thus written: "And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said, Thus saith the Lord, I plainly revealed myself unto thy father's house, when they were in the land of Egypt slaves in Pharaoh's house; and I chose thy father's house out of all the sceptres of Israel to fill the office of priest for me, to go up to my altar, to burn incense and wear the ephod; and I gave thy father's house for food all the offerings made by fire of the children of Israel. Wherefore then hast thou looked at mine incense and at mine offerings with an impudent eye, and hast glorified thy sons above me, to bless the first-fruits of every sacrifice in Israel before me? Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I said thy house and thy father's house should walk before me for ever: but now the Lord saith, Be it far from me; for them that honor me will I honor, and he that despiseth me shall be despised. Behold, the days come, that I will cut off thy seed, and the seed of thy father's house, and thou shalt never have an old man in my house. And I will cut off the man of thine from mine altar, so that his eyes shall be consumed, and his heart shall melt away; and every one of thy house that is left shall fall by the sword of men. And this shall be a sign unto thee that shall come upon these thy two sons, Hophni and Phinehas; in one day they shall die both of them. And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to all that is in mine heart and in my soul; and I will build him a sure house, and he shall walk before my Christ for ever. And it shall come to pass that he who is left in thine house shall come to worship him with a piece of money, saying, Put me into one part of thy priesthood, that I may eat bread."
We cannot say that this prophecy, in which the change of the ancient priesthood is foretold with so great plainness, was fulfilled in Samuel; for although Samuel was not of another tribe than that which had been appointed by God to serve at the altar, yet he was not of the sons of Aaron, whose offspring was set apart that the priests might be taken out of it. And thus by that transaction also the same change which should come to pass through Christ Jesus is shadowed forth, and the prophecy itself in deed, not in word, belonged to the Old Testament properly, but figuratively to the New, signifying by the fact just what was said by the word to Eli the priest through the prophet. For there were afterwards priests of Aaron's race, such as Zadok and Abiathar during David's reign, and others in succession, before the time came when those things which were predicted so long before about the changing of the priesthood behoved to be fulfilled by Christ. But who that now views these things with a believing eye does not see that they are fulfilled? Since, indeed, no tabernacle, no temple, no altar, no sacrifice, and therefore no priest either, has remained to the Jews, to whom it was commanded in the law of God that he should be ordained of the seed of Aaron; which is also mentioned here by the prophet, when he says, "Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I said thy house and thy father's house shall walk before me for ever: but now the Lord saith, That be far from me; for them that honor me will I honor, and he that despiseth me shall be despised." For that in naming his father's house he does not mean that of his immediate father, but that of Aaron, who first was appointed priest, to be succeeded by others descended from him, is shown by the preceding words, when he says, "I was revealed unto thy father's house, when they were in the land of Egypt slaves in Pharaoh's house; and I chose thy father's house out of all the sceptres of Israel to fill the office of priest for me." Which of the fathers in that Egyptian slavery, but Aaron, was his father, who, when they were set free, was chosen to the priesthood? It was of his lineage, therefore, he has said in this passage it should come to pass that they should no longer be priests; which already we see fulfilled. If faith be watchful, the things are before us: they are discerned, they are grasped, and are forced on the eyes of the unwilling, so that they are seen: "Behold the days come," he says, "that I will cut off thy seed, and the seed of thy father's house, and thou shall never have an old man in mine house. And I will cut off the man of thine from mine altar, so that his eyes shall be consumed and his heart shall melt away." Behold the days which were foretold have already come. There is no priest after the order of Aaron; and whoever is a man of his lineage, when he sees the sacrifice of the Christians prevailing over the whole world, but that great honor taken away from himself, his eyes fail and his soul melts away consumed with grief.
But what follows belongs properly to the house of Eli, to whom these things were said: "And every one of thine house that is left shall fall by the sword of men. And this shall be a sign unto thee that shall come upon these thy two sons, Hophni and Phinehas; in one day they shall die both of them." This, therefore, is made a sign of the change of the priesthood from this man's house, by which it is signified that the priesthood of Aaron's house is to be changed. For the death of this man's sons signified the death not of the men, but of the priesthood itself of the sons of Aaron. But what follows pertains to that Priest whom Samuel typified by succeeding this one. Therefore the things which follow are said of Christ Jesus, the true Priest of the New Testament: "And I will raise me up a faithful Priest that shall do according to all that is in mine heart and in my soul; and I will build Him a sure house." The same is the eternal Jerusalem above. "And He shall walk," saith He, "before my Christ always." "He shall walk" means "he shall be conversant with," just as He had said before of Aaron's house, "I said that thine house and thy father's house shall walk before me for ever." But what He says, "He shall walk before my Christ," is to be understood entirely of the house itself, not of the priest, who is Christ Himself, the Mediator and Saviour.
His house, therefore, shall walk before Him. "Shall walk" may also be understood to mean from death to life, all the time this mortality passes through, even to the end of this world. But where God says, "Who will do all that is in mine heart and in my soul," we mast not think that God has a soul, for He is the Author of souls; but this is said of God tropically, not properly, just as He is said to have hands and feet, and other corporal members. And, lest it should be supposed from such language that man in the form of this flesh is made in the image of God, wings also are ascribed to Him, which man has not at all; and it is said to God, "Hide me under the shadow of Thy wings," that men may understand that such things are said of that ineffable nature not in proper but in figurative words.
But what is added, "And it shall come to pass that he who is left in thine house shall come to worship him," is not said properly of the house of this Eli, but of that Aaron, the men of which remained even to the advent of Jesus Christ, of which race there are not wanting men even to this present. For of that house of Eli it had already been said above, "And every one of thine house that is left shall fall by the sword of men." How, therefore, could it be truly said here, "And it shall come to pass that every one that is left shall come to worship him," if that is true, that no one shall escape the avenging sword, unless he would have it understood of those who belong to the race of that whole priesthood after the order of Aaron? Therefore, if it is of these the predestinated remnant, about whom another prophet has said, "The remnant shall be saved;" whence the apostle also says, "Even so then at this time also the remnant according to the election of grace is saved;" since it is easily understood to be of such a remnant that it is said, "He that is left in thine house," assuredly he believes in Christ; just as in the time of the apostle very many of that nation believed; nor are there now wanting those, although very few, who yet believe, and in them is fulfilled what this man of God has here immediately added, "He shall come to worship him with a piece of money;" to worship whom, if not that Chief Priest, who is also God? For in that priesthood after the order of Aaron men did not come to the temple or altar of God for the purpose of worshipping the priest. But what is that he says, "With a piece of money," if not the short word of faith, about which the apostle quotes the saying, "A consummating and shortening word will the Lord make upon the earth?" But that money is put for the word the psalm is a witness, where it is sung, "The words of the Lord are pure words, money tried with the fire."
What then does he say who comes to worship the priest of God, even the Priest who is God? "Put me into one part of Thy priesthood, to eat bread." I do not wish to be set in the honor of my fathers, which is none; put me in a part of Thy priesthood. For "I have chosen to be mean in Thine house;" I desire to be a member, no matter what, or how small, of Thy priesthood. By the priesthood he here means the people itself, of which He is the Priest who is the Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. This people the Apostle Peter calls "a holy people, a royal priesthood." But some have translated, "Of Thy sacrifice," not "Of Thy priesthood," which no less signifies the same Christian people. Whence the Apostle Paul says, "We being many are one bread, one body." [And again he says, "Present your bodies a living sacrifice." ] What, therefore, he has added, to "eat bread," also elegantly expresses the very kind of sacrifice of which the Priest Himself says, "The bread which I will give is my flesh for the life of the world." The same is the sacrifice not after the order of Aaron, but after the order of Melchisedec: let him that readeth understand. Therefore this short and salutarily humble confession, in which it is said, "Put me in a part of Thy priesthood, to eat bread," is itself the piece of money, for it is both brief, and it is the Word of God who dwells in the heart of one who believes. For because He had said above, that He had given for food to Aaron's house the sacrificial victims of the Old Testament, where He says, "I have given thy father's house for food all things which are offered by fire of the children of Israel," which indeed were the sacrifices of the Jews; therefore here He has said, "To eat bread," which is in the New Testament the sacrifice of the Christians.
CHAPTER 6 -- OF THE JEWISH PRIESTHOOD AND KINGDOM, WHICH, ALTHOUGH PROMISED TO BE ESTABLISHED FOR EVER, DID NOT CONTINUE; SO THAT OTHER THINGS ARE TO BE UNDERSTOOD TO WHICH ETERNITY IS ASSURED.
While, therefore, these things now shine forth as clearly as they were loftily foretold, still some one may not vainly be moved to ask, How can we be confident that all things are to come to pass which are predicted in these books as about to come, if this very thing which is there divinely spoken, "Thine house and thy father's house shall walk before me for ever," could not have effect? For we see that priesthood has been changed; and there can be no hope that what was promised to that house may some time be fulfilled, because that which succeeds on its being rejected and changed is rather predicted as eternal. He who says this does not yet understand, or does not recollect, that this very priesthood after the order of Aaron was appointed as the shadow of a future eternal priesthood; and therefore, when eternity is promised to it, it is not promised to the mere shadow and figure, but to what is shadowed forth and prefigured by it. But lest it should be thought the shadow itself was to remain, therefore its mutation also behoved to be foretold.
In this way, too, the kingdom of Saul himself, who certainly was reprobated and rejected, was the shadow of a kingdom yet to come which should remain to eternity. For, indeed, the oil with which he was anointed, and from that chrism he is called Christ, is to be taken in a mystical sense, and is to be understood as a great mystery; which David himself venerated so much in him, that he trembled with smitten heart when, being hid in a dark cave, which Saul also entered when pressed by the necessity of nature, he had come secretly behind him and cut off a small piece of his robe, that he might be able to prove how he had spared him when he could have killed him, and might thus remove from his mind the suspicion through which he had vehemently persecuted the holy David, thinking him his enemy. Therefore he was much afraid test he should be accused of violating so great a mystery in Saul, because he had thus meddled even his clothes. For thus it is written: "And David's heart smote him because he had taken away the skirt of his cloak." But to the men with him, who advised him to destroy Saul thus delivered up into his hands, he saith, "The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord's christ, to lay my hand upon him, because he is the Lord's christ." Therefore he showed so great reverence to this shadow of what was to come, not for its own sake, but for the sake of what it prefigured. Whence also that which Samuel says to Saul, "Since thou hast not kept my commandment which the Lord commanded thee, whereas now the Lord would have prepared thy kingdom over Israel for ever, yet now thy kingdom shall not continue for thee; and the Lord will seek Him a man after His own heart, and the Lord will command him to be prince over His people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee," is not to be taken as if God had settled that Saul himself should reign for ever, and afterwards, on his sinning, would not keep this promise; nor was He ignorant that he would sin, but He had established his kingdom that it might be a figure of the eternal kingdom. Therefore he added, "Yet now thy kingdom shall not continue for thee." Therefore what it signified has stood and shall stand; but it shall not stand for this man, because he himself was not to reign for ever, nor his offspring; so that at least that word "for ever" might seem to be fulfilled through his posterity one to another. "And the Lord," he saith, "will seek Him a man," meaning either David or the Mediator of the New Testament, who was figured in the chrism with which David also and his offspring was anointed. But it is not as if He knew not where he was that God thus seeks Him a man, but, speaking through a man, He speaks as a man, and in this sense seeks us. For not only to God the Father, but also to His Only-begotten, who came to seek what was lost, we had been known already even so far as to be chosen in Him before the foundation of the world. "He will seek Him" therefore means, He will have His own (just as if He had said, Whom He already has known to be His own He will show to others to be His friend). Whence in Latin this word (quaerit) receives a preposition and becomes acquirit (acquires), the meaning of which is plain enough; although even Without the addition of the preposition quaerete is understood as acquirere, whence gains are called quaestus.
CHAPTER 7 -- OF THE DISRUPTION OF THE KINGDOM OF ISRAEL, BY WHICH THE PERPETUAL DIVISION OF THE SPIRITUAL FROM THE CARNAL ISRAEL WAS PREFIGURED.
Again Saul sinned through disobedience, and again Samuel says to him in the word of the Lord, "Because thou hast despised the word of the Lord, the Lord hath despised thee, that thou mayest not be king over Israel." And again for the same sin, when Saul confessed it, and prayed for pardon, and besought Samuel to return with him to appease the Lord, he said, "I will not return with thee: for thou hast despised the word of the Lord, and the Lord will despise thee that thou mayest not be king over Israel. And Samuel turned his face to go away, and Saul Laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle, and rent it. And Samuel said unto him, The Lord hath rent the kingdom from Israel out of thine hand this day, and will give it to thy neighbor, who is good above thee, and will divide Israel in twain. And He will not be changed, neither will He repent: for He is not as a man, that He should repent; who threatens and does not persist." He to whom it is said, "The Lord will despise thee that thou mayest not be king over Israel," and "The Lord hath rent the kingdom from Israel out of thine hand this day," reigned forty years over Israel -- that is, just as long a time as David himself -- yet heard this in the first period of his reign, that we may understand it was said because none of hid race was to reign, and that we may look to the race of David, whence also is sprung, according to the flesh, the Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
But the Scripture has not what is read in most Latin copies, "The Lord hath rent the kingdom of Israel out of thine hand this day," but just as we have set it down it is found in the Greek copies, "The Lord hath rent the kingdom from Israel out of thine hand;" that the words "out of thine hand" may be understood to mean "from Israel." Therefore this man figuratively represented the people of Israel, which was to lose the kingdom, Christ Jesus our Lord being about to reign, not carnally, but Spiritually. And when it is said of Him, "And will give it to thy neighbor," that is to be referred to the fleshly kinship, for Christ, according to the flesh, was of Israel, whence also Saul sprang. But what is added, "Good above thee," may indeed be understood, "Better than thee," and indeed some have thus translated it; but it is better taken thus, "Good above thee," as meaning that because He is good, therefore He must be above thee, according to that other prophetic saying, "Till I put all Thine enemies under Thy feet." And among them is Israel, from whom, as His persecutor, Christ took away the kingdom; although the Israel in whom there was no guile may have been there too, a sort of grain, as it were, of that chaff. For certainly thence came the apostles, thence so many martyrs, of whom Stephen is the first, thence so many churches, which the Apostle Paul names, magnifying God in their conversion.
Of which thing I do not doubt what follows is to be understood, "And will divide Israel in twain," to wit, into Israel pertaining to the bond woman, and Israel pertaining to the free. For these two kinds were at first together, as Abraham still clave to the bond woman, until the barren, made fruitful by the grace of God, cried, "Cast out the bond woman and her son." We know, indeed, that on account of the sin of Solomon, in the reign of his son Rehoboam, Israel was divided in two, and continued so, the separate parts having their own kings, until that whole nation was overthrown with a great destruction, and carried away by the Chaldeans. But what was this to Saul, when, if any such thing was threatened, it would be threatened against David himself, whose son Solomon was? Finally, the Hebrew nation is not now divided internally, but is dispersed through the earth indiscriminately, in the fellowship of the same error. But that division with which God threatened the kingdom and people in the person of Saul, who represented them, is shown to be eternal and unchangeable by this which is added, "And He will not be changed, neither will He repent: for He is not as a man, that He should repent; who threatens and does not persist," -- that is, a man threatens and does not persist, but not God, who does not repent like man. For when we read that FIe repents, a change of circumstance is meant, flowing from the divine immutable foreknowledge. Therefore, when God is said not to repent, it is to be understood that He does not change.
We see that this sentence concerning this division of the people of Israel, divinely uttered in these words, has been altogether irremediable and quite perpetual. For whoever have turned, or are turning, or shall turn thence to Christ, it has been according to the foreknowledge of God, not according to the one and the same nature of the human race. Certainly none of the Israelites, who, cleaving to Christ, have continued in Him, shall ever be among those Israelites who persist in being His enemies even to the end of this life, but shall for ever remain in the separation which is here foretold. For the Old Testament, from the Mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, profiteth nothing, unless because it bears witness to the New Testament. Otherwise, however long Moses is read, the veil is put over their heart; but when any one shall turn thence to Christ, the veil shall be taken away. For the very desire of those who turn is changed from the old to the new, so that each no longer desires to obtain carnal but spiritual felicity. Wherefore that great, prophet Samuel himself, before he had anointed Saul, when he had cried to the Lord for Israel, and He had heard him, and when he had offered a whole burnt-offering, as the aliens were coming to battle against the people of God, and the Lord thundered above them and they were confused, and fell before Israel and were overcome; [then] he took one stone and set it up between the old and new Massephat [Mizpeh], and called its name Ebenezer, which means "the stone of the helper," and said, "Hitherto hath the Lord helped us." Massephat is interpreted "desire." That stone of the helper is the mediation of the Saviour, by which we go from the old Massephat to the new -- that is, from the desire with which carnal happiness was expected in the carnal kingdom to the desire with which the truest spiritual happiness is expected in the kingdom of heaven; and since nothing is better than that, the Lord helpeth us hitherto.
CHAPTER 8 -- OF THE PROMISES MADE TO DAVID IN HIS SON, WHICH ARE IN NO WISE FULFILLED IN SOLOMON, BUT MOST FULLY IN CHRIST.
And now I see I must show what, pertaining to the matter I treat of, God promised to David himself, who succeeded Saul in the kingdom, whose change prefigured that final change on account of which all things were divinely spoken, all things were committed to writing. When many things had gone prosperously with king David, he thought to make a house for God, even that temple of most excellent renown which was afterwards built by king Solomon his son. While he was thinking of this, the word of the Lord came to Nathan the prophet, which he brought to the king, in which, after God had said that a house should not be built unto Him by David himself, and that in all that long time He had never commanded any of His people to build Him a house of cedar, he says, "And now thus shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith God Almighty, I took thee from the sheepcote that thou mightest be for a ruler over my people in Israel: and I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies from before thy face, and have made thee a name, according to the name of the great ones who are over the earth. And I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant him, and he shall dwell apart, and shall be troubled no more; and the son of wickedness shall not humble him any more, as from the beginning, from the days when I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give thee rest from all thine enemies, and the Lord will tell [hath told] thee, because thou shall build an house for Him. And it shall come to pass when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shall sleep with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will prepare his kingdom. He shall build me an house for my name;and I will order his throne even to eternity. I will be his Father, and he shall be my son. And if he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the sons of men: but my mercy I will not take away from him, as I took it away from those whom I put away from before my face. And his house shall be faithful, and his kingdom even for evermore before me, and his throne shall be set up even for evermore."
He who thinks this grand promise was fulfilled in Solomon greatly errs; for he attends to the saying, "He shall build me an house," but he does not attend to the saying, "His house shall be faithful, and his kingdom for evermore before me." Let him therefore attend and behold the house of Solomon full of strange women worshipping false gods, and the king himself, aforetime wise, seduced by them, and cast down into the same idolatry: and let him not dare to think that God either promised this falsely, or was unable to fore-know that Solomon and his house would become what they did. But we ought not to be in doubt here, or to see the fulfillment of these things save in Christ our Lord, who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh, lest we should vainly and uselessly look for some other here, like the carnal Jews. For even they understand this much, that the son whom they read of in that place as promised to David was not Solomon; so that, with wonderful blindness to Him who was promised and is now declared with so great manifestation, they say they hope for another. Indeed, even in Solomon there appeared some image of the future event, in that he built the temple, and had peace according to his name (for Solomon means "pacific"), and in the beginning of his reign was wonderfully praiseworthy; but while, as a shadow of Him that should come, he foreshowed Christ our Lord, he did not also in his own person resemble Him. Whence some things concerning him are so written as if they were prophesied of himself, while the Holy Scripture, prophesying even by events, somehow delineates in him the figure of things to come. For, besides the books of divine history, in which his reign is narrated, the 72nd Psalm also is inscribed in the title with his name, in which so many things are said which cannot at all apply to him, but which apply to the Lord Christ with such evident fitness as makes it quite apparent that in the one the figure is in some way shadowed forth, but in the other the truth itself is presented. For it is known within what bounds the kingdom of Solomon was enclosed; and yet in that psalm, not to speak of other things, we read, "He shall have dominion from sea even to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth," which we see fulfilled in Christ. Truly he took the beginning of His reigning from the river where John baptized; for, when pointed out by him, He began to be acknowledged by the disciples, who called Him not only Master, but also Lord.
Nor was it for any other reason that, while his father David was still living, Solomon began to reign, which happened to none other of their kings, except that from this also it might be clearly apparent that it was not himself this prophecy spoken to his father signified beforehand, saying, "And it shall come to pass when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shall sleep with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will prepare His kingdom." How, therefore, shall it be thought on account of what follows, "He shall build me an house," that this Solomon is prophesied, and not rather be understood on account of what precedes, "When thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will raise up thy seed after thee," that another pacific One is promised, who is foretold as about to be raised up, not before David's death, as he was, but after it? For however long the interval of time might be before Jesus Christ came, beyond doubt it was after the death of king David, to whom He was so promised, that He behoved to come, who should build an house of God, not of wood and stone, but of men, such as we rejoice He does build. For to this house, that is, to believers, the apostle saith, "The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."
CHAPTER 9 -- HOW LIKE THE PROPHECY ABOUT CHRIST IN THE 89TH PSALM IS TO THE THINGS PROMISED IN NATHAN'S PROPHECY IN THE BOOKS OF SAMUEL.
Wherefore also in the 89th Psalm, of which the title is, "An instruction for himself by Ethan the Israelite," mention is made of the promises God made to king David, and some things are there added similar to those found in the Book of Samuel, such as this, "I have sworn to David my servant that I will prepare his seed for ever." And again, "Then thou spakest in vision to thy sons, and saidst, I have laid help upon the mighty One, and have exalted the chosen One out of my people. I have found David my servant, and with my holy oil I have anointed him. For mine hand shall help him, and mine arm shall strengthen him. The enemy shall not prevail against him, and the son of iniquity shall harm him no more. And I will beat down his foes from before his face, and those that hate him will I put to flight. And my truth and my mercy shall be with him, and in my name shall his horn be exalted. I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers. He shall cry unto me, Thou art my Father, my God, and the undertaker of my salvation. Also I will make him my first-born, high among the kings of the earth. My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall be faithful (sure) with him. His seed also will I set for ever and ever, and his throne as the days of heaven." Which words, when rightly understood, are all understood to be about the Lord Jesus Christ, under the name of David, on account of the form of a servant, which the same Mediator assumed from the virgin of the seed of David. For immediately something is said about the sins of his children, such as is set down in the Book of Samuel, and is more readily taken as if of Solomon. For there, that is, in the Book of Samuel, he says, "And if he commit iniquity I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the sons of men; but my mercy will I not take away from him," meaning by stripes the strokes of correction. Hence that saying, "Touch ye not my christs." For what else is that than, Do not harm them? But in the psalm, when speaking as if of David, He says something of the same kind there too. "If his children," saith He, "forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; if they profane my righteousnesses, and keep not my commandments; I will visit their iniquities with the rod, and their faults with stripes: but my mercy I will not make void from him." a He did not say "from them," although He spoke of his children, not of himself; but he said "from him," which means the same thing if rightly understood. For of Christ Himself, who is the head of the Church, there could not be found any sins which required to be divinely restrained by human correction, mercy being still continued; but they are found in His body and members, which is His people. Therefore in the Book of Samuel it is said, "iniquity of Him," but in the psalm, "of His children," that we may understand that what is said of His body is in some way said of Himself. Wherefore also, when Saul persecuted His body, that is, His believing people, He Himself saith from heaven, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" Then in the following words of the psalm He says, "Neither will I hurt in my truth, nor profane my covenant, and the things that proceed from my lips I will not disallow. Once have I sworn by my holiness, if I lie unto David," -- that is, I will in no wise lie unto David; for Scripture is wont to speak thus. But what that is in which He will not lie, He adds, saying, "His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me, and as the moon perfected for ever, and a faithful witness in heaven."
CHAPTER 1O -- HOW DIFFERENT THE ACTS IN THE KINGDOM OF THE EARTHLY JERUSALEM ARE FROM THOSE WHICH GOD HAD PROMISED, SO THAT THE TRUTH OF THE PROMISE SHOULD BE UNDERSTOOD TO PERTAIN TO THE GLORY OF THE OTHER KING AND KINGDOM.
That it might not be supposed that a promise so strongly expressed and confirmed was fulfilled in Solomon, as if he hoped for, yet did not find it, he says, "But Thou hast cast off, and hast brought to nothing, O Lord." This truly was done concerning the kingdom of Solomon among his posterity, even to the overthrow of the earthly Jerusalem itself, which was the seat of the kingdom, and especially the destruction of the very temple which had been built by Solomon. But lest on this account God should be thought to have done contrary to His promise, immediately he adds, "Thou hast delayed Thy Christ." Therefore he is not Solomon, nor yet David himself, if the Christ of the Lord is delayed. For while all the kings are called His christs, who were consecrated with that mystical chrism, not only from king David downwards, but even from that Saul who first was anointed king of that same people, David himself indeed calling him the Lord's christ, yet there was one true Christ, whose figure they bore by the prophetic unction, who, according to the opinion of men, who thought he was to be understood as come in David or in Solomon, was long delayed, but who, according as God had disposed, was to come in His own time. The following part of this psalm goes on to say what in the meantime, while He was delayed, was to become of the kingdom of the earthly Jerusalem, where it was hoped He would certainly reign: "Thou hast overthrown the covenant of Thy servant; Thou hast profaned in the earth his sanctuary. Thou hast broken down all his walls; Thou hast put his strong-holds in fear. All that pass by the way spoil him; he is made a reproach to his neighbors. Thou hast set up the right hand of his enemies; Thou hast made all his enemies to rejoice. Thou hast turned aside the help of his sword, and hast not helped him in war. Thou hast destroyed him from cleansing; Thou hast dashed down his seat to the ground. Thou hast shortened the days of his seat; Thou hast poured confusion over him." All these things came upon Jerusalem the bond woman, in which some also reigned who were children of the free woman, holding that kingdom in temporary stewardship, but holding the kingdom of the heavenly Jerusalem, whose children they were, in true faith, and hoping in the true Christ. But how these things came upon that kingdom, the history of its affairs points out if it is read.
CHAPTER 11 -- OF THE SUBSTANCE OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD, WHICH THROUGH HIS ASSUMPTION OF FLESH IS IN CHRIST, WHO ALONE HAD POWER TO DELIVER HIS OWN SOUL FROM HELL.
But after having prophesied these things, the prophet betakes him to praying to God; yet even the very prayer is prophecy: "How long, Lord, dost Thou turn away in the end?" "Thy face" is understood, as it is elsewhere said, "How long dost Thou turn away Thy face from me?" For therefore some copies have here not "dost," but "wilt Thou turn away;" although it could be understood, "Thou turnest away Thy mercy, which Thou didst promise to David." But when he says, "in the end," what does it mean, except even to the end? By which end is to be understood the last time, when even that nation is to believe in Christ Jesus, before which end what He has just sorrowfully bewailed must come to pass. On account of which it is also added here, "Thy wrath shall burn like fire. Remember what is my substance." This cannot be better understood than of Jesus Himself, the substance of His people, of whose nature His flesh is. "For not in vain," he says, "hast Thou made all the sons of men." For unless the one Son of man had been the substance of Israel, through which Son of man many sons of men should be set free, all the sons of men would have been made wholly in vain. But now, indeed, all mankind through the fall of the first man has fallen from the truth into vanity; for which reason another psalm says, "Man is like to vanity: his days pass away as a shadow;" yet God has not made all the sons of men in vain, because He frees many from vanity through the Mediator Jesus, and those whom He did not foreknow as to be delivered, He made not wholly in vain in the most beautiful and most just ordination of the whole rational creation, for the use of those who were to be delivered, and for the comparison of the two cities by mutual contrast. Thereafter it follows, "Who is the man that shall live, and shall not see death? shall he snatch his soul from the hand of hell?" Who is this but that substance of Israel out of the seed of David, Christ Jesus, of whom the apostle says, that "rising from the dead He now dieth not, and death shall no more have dominion over Him?" For He shall so live and not see death, that yet He shall have been dead; but shall have delivered His soul from the hand of hell, whither He had descended in order to loose some from the chains of hell; but He hath delivered it by that power of which He says in the Gospel, "I have the power of laying down my life, and I have the power of taking it again."
CHAPTER 12 -- TO WHOSE PERSON THE ENTREATY FOR THE PROMISES IS TO BE UNDERSTOOD TO BELONG, WHEN HE SAYS IN THE PSALM, "WHERE ARE THINE ANCIENT COMPASSIONS, LORD?" ETC.
But the rest of this psalm runs thus: "Where are Thine ancient compassions, Lord, which Thou swarest unto David in Thy truth? Remember, Lord, the reproach of Thy servants, which I have borne in my bosom of many nations; wherewith Thine enemies have reproached, O Lord, wherewith they have reproached the change of Thy Christ." Now it may with very good reason be asked whether this is spoken in the person of those Israelites who desired that the promise made to David might be fulfilled to them; or rather of the Christians, who are Israelites not after the flesh but after the Spirit.
This certainly was spoken or written in the time of Ethan, from whose name this psalm gets its title, and that was the same as the time of David's reign; and therefore it would not have been said, "Where are Thine ancient compassions, Lord, which Thou hast sworn unto David in Thy truth?" unless the prophet had assumed the person of those who should come long afterwards, to whom that time when these things were promised to David was ancient. But it may be understood thus, that many nations, when they persecuted the Christians, reproached them with the passion of Christ, which Scripture calls His change, because by dying He is made immortal. The change of Christ, according to this passage, may also be understood to be reproached by the Israelites, because, when they hoped He would be theirs, He was made the Saviour of the nations; and many nations who have believed in Him by the New Testament now reproach them who remain in the old with this: so that it is said, "Remember, Lord, the reproach of Thy servants;" because through the Lord's not forgetting, but rather pitying them, even they after this reproach are to believe. But what I have put first seems to me the most suitable meaning. For to the enemies of Christ who are reproached with this, that Christ hath left them, turning to the Gentiles, this speech is incongruously assigned, "Remember, Lord, the reproach of Thy servants," for such Jews are not to be styled the servants of God; but these words fit those who, if they suffered great humiliations through persecution for the name of Christ, could call to mind that an exalted kingdom had been promised to the seed of David, and in desire of it, could say not despairingly, but as asking, seeking, knocking, "Where are Thine ancient compassions, Lord, which Thou swarest unto David in Thy truth? Remember, Lord, the reproach of Thy servants, that I have borne in my bosom of many nations;" that is, have patiently endured in my inward parts. "That Thine enemies have reproached, O Lord, wherewith they have reproached the change of Thy Christ," not thinking it a change, but a consumption. But what does "Remember, Lord," mean, but that Thou wouldst have compassion, and wouldst for my patiently borne humiliation reward me with the excellency which Thou swarest unto David in Thy truth? But if we assign these words to the Jews, those servants of God who, on the conquest of the earthly Jerusalem, before Jesus Christ was born after the manner of men, were led into captivity, could say such things, understanding the change of Christ, because indeed through Him was to be surely expected, not an earthly and carnal felicity, such as appeared during the few years of king Solomon, but a heavenly and spiritual felicity; and when the nations, then ignorant of this through unbelief, exulted over and insulted the people of God for being captives, what else was this than ignorantly to reproach with the change of Christ those who understand the change of Christ? And therefore what follows when this psalm is concluded, "Let the blessing of the Lord be for evermore, amen, amen," is suitable enough for the whole people of God belonging to the heavenly Jerusalem, whether for those things that lay hid in the Old Testament before the New was revealed, or for those that, being now revealed in the New Testament, are manifestly discerned to belong to Christ. For the blessing of the Lord in the seed of David does not belong to any particular time, such as appeared in the days of Solomon, but is for evermore to be hoped for, in which most certain hope it is said, "Amen, amen;" for this repetition of the word is the confirmation of that hope. Therefore David understanding this, says in the second Book of Kings, in the passage from which we digressed to this psalm, "Thou hast spoken also for Thy servant's house for a great while to come." Therefore also a little after he says, "Now begin, and bless the house of Thy servant for evermore," etc., because the son was then about to be born from whom his posterity should be continued to Christ, through whom his house should be eternal, and should also be the house of God. For it is called the house of David on account of David's race; but the selfsame is called the house of God on account of the temple of God, made of men, not of stones, where shall dwell for evermore the people with and in their God, and God with and in His people, so that God may fill His people, and the people be filled with their God, while God shall be all in all, Himself their reward in peace who is their strength in war. Therefore, when it is said in the words of Nathan, "And the Lord will tell thee what an house thou shalt build for Him," it is afterwards said in the words of David, "For Thou, Lord Almighty, God of Israel, hast opened the ear of Thy servant, saying, I will build thee an house." For this house is built both by us through living well, and by God through helping us to live well; for "except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it." And when the final dedication of this house shall take place, then what God here says by Nathan shall be fulfilled, "And I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant him, and he shall dwell apart, and shall be troubled no more; and the son of iniquity shall not humble him any more, as from the beginning, from the days when I appointed judges over my people Israel."
CHAPTER 13 -- WHETHER THE TRUTH OF THIS PROMISED PEACE CAN BE ASCRIBED TO THOSE TIMES PASSED AWAY UNDER SOLOMON.
Whoever hopes for this so great good in this world, and in this earth, his wisdom is but folly. Can any one think it was fulfilled in the peace of Solomon's reign? Scripture certainly commends that peace with excellent praise as a shadow of that which is to come. But this opinion is to be vigilantly opposed, since after it is said, "And the son of iniquity shall not humble him any more," it is immediately added, "as from the beginning, from the days in which I appointed judges over my people Israel." For the judges were appointed over that people from the time when they received the land of promise, before kings had begun to be there. And certainly the son of iniquity, that is, the foreign enemy, humbled him through periods of time in which we read that peace alternated with wars; and in that period longer times of peace are found than Solomon had, who reigned forty years. For under that judge who is called Ehud there were eighty years of peace. Be it far from us, therefore, that we should believe the times of Solomon are predicted in this promise, much less indeed those of any other king whatever. For none other of them reigned in such great peace as he; nor did that nation ever at all hold that kingdom so as to have no anxiety lest it should be subdued by enemies: for in the very great mutability of human affairs such great security is never given to any people, that it should not dread invasions hostile to this life. Therefore the place of this promised peaceful and secure habitation is eternal, and of right belongs eternally to Jerusalem the free mother, where the genuine people of Israel shall be: for this name is interpreted "Seeing God;" in the desire of which reward a pious life is to be led through faith in this miserable pilgrimage.
CHAPTER 14 -- OF DAVID'S CONCERN IN THE WRITING OF THE PSALMS.
In the progress of the city of God through the ages, therefore, David first reigned in the earthly Jerusalem as a shadow of that which was to come. Now David was a man skilled in songs, who dearly loved musical harmony, not with a vulgar delight, but with a believing disposition, and by it served his God, who is the true God, by the mystical representation of a great thing. For the rational and well-ordered concord of diverse sounds in harmonious variety suggests the compact unity of the well-ordered city. Then almost all his prophecy is in psalms, of which a hundred and fifty are contained in what we call the Book of Psalms, of which some will have it those only were made by David which are in scribed with his name. But there are also some who think none of them were made by him except those which are marked "Of David;" but those which have in the title "For David" have been made by others who assumed his person. Which opinion is refuted by the voice of the Saviour Himself in the Gospel, when He says that David himself by the Spirit said Christ was his Lord; for the 110th Psalm begins thus, "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou at my right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool." And truly that very psalm, like many more, has in the title, not "of David," but "for David." But those seem to me to hold the more credible opinion, who ascribe to him the authorship of all these hundred and fifty psalms, and think that he prefixed to some of them the names even of other men, who prefigured something pertinent to the matter, but chose to have no man's name in the titles of the rest, just as God inspired him in the management of this variety, which, although dark, is not meaningless. Neither ought it to move one not to believe this that the names of some prophets who lived long after the times of king David are read in the inscriptions of certain psalms in that book, and that the things said there seem to be spoken as it were by them. Nor was the prophetic Spirit unable to reveal to king David, when he prophesied, even these names of future prophets, so that he might prophetically sing something which should suit their persons; just as it was revealed to a certain prophet that king Josiah should arise and reign after more than three hundred years, who predicted his future deeds also along with his name.
CHAPTER 15 -- WHETHER ALL THE THINGS PROPHESIED IN THE PSALMS CONCERNING CHRIST AND HIS CHURCH SHOULD BE TAKEN UP IN THE TEXT OF THIS WORK.
And now I see it may be expected of me that I shall open up in this part of this book what David may have prophesied in the Psalms concerning the Lord Jesus Christ or His Church. But although I have already done so in one instance, I am prevented from doing as that expectation seems to demand, rather by the abundance than the scarcity of matter. For the necessity of shunning prolixity forbids my setting down all things; yet I fear lest if I select some I shall appear to many, who know these things, to have passed by the more necessary. Besides, the proof that is adduced ought to be supported by the context of the whole psalm, so that at least there may be nothing against it if everything does not support it; lest we should seem, after the fashion of the centos, to gather for the thing we wish, as it were, verses out of a grand poem, what shall be found to have been written not about it, but about some other and widely different thing. But ere this could be pointed out in each psalm, the whole of it must be expounded; and how great a work that would be, the volumes of others, as well as our own, in which we have done it, show well enough. Let him then who will, or can, read these volumes, and he will find out how many and great things David, at once king and prophet, has prophesied concerning Christ and His Church, to wit, concerning the King and the city which He has built.
CHAPTER 16 -- OF THE THINGS PERTAINING TO CHRIST AND THE CHURCH, SAID EITHER OPENLY OR TROPICALLY IN THE 45TH PSALM.
For whatever direct and manifest prophetic utterances there may be about anything, it is necessary that those which are tropical should be mingled with them; which, chiefly on account of those of slower understanding, thrust upon the more learned the laborious task of clearing up and expounding them. Some of them, indeed, on the very first blush, as soon as they are spoken, exhibit Christ and the Church, although some things in them that are less intelligible remain to be expounded at leisure. We have an example of this in that same Book of Psalms: "My heart bubbled up a good matter: I utter my words to the king. My tongue is the pen of a scribe, writing swiftly. Thy form is beautiful beyond the sons of men; grace is poured out in Thy lips: therefore God hath blessed Thee for evermore. Gird Thy sword about Thy thigh, O Most Mighty. With Thy goodliness and Thy beauty go forward, proceed prosperously, and reign, because of Thy truth, and meekness, and righteousness; and Thy right hand shall lead Thee forth wonderfully. Thy sharp arrows are most powerful: in the heart of the king's enemies. The people shall fall under Time. Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a rod of direction is the rod of Thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hast hated iniquity: therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of exultation above Thy fellows. Myrrh and drops, and cassia from Thy vestments, from the houses of ivory: out of which the daughters of kings have delighted Thee in Thine honor." Who is there, no matter how slow, but must here recognize Christ whom we preach, and in whom we believe, if he hears that He is God, whose throne is for ever and ever, and that He is anointed by God, as God indeed anoints, not with a visible, but with a spiritual and intelligible chrism? For who is so untaught in this religion, or so deaf to its far and wide spread fame, as not to know that Christ is named from this chrism, that is, from this anointing? But when it is acknowledged that this King is Christ, let each one who is already subject to Him who reigns because of truth, meekness, and righteousness, inquire at his leisure into these other things that are here said tropically: how His form is beautiful beyond the sons of men, with a certain beauty that is the more to be loved and admired the less it is corporeal; and what His sword, arrows, and other things of that kind may be, which are set down, not properly, but tropically.
Then let him look upon His Church, joined to her so great Husband in spiritual marriage and divine love, of which it is said in these words which follow, "The queen stood upon Thy right hand in gold-embroidered vestments, girded about with variety. Hearken, O daughter, and look, and incline thine ear; forget also thy people, and thy father's house. Because the King hath greatly desired thy beauty; for He is the Lord thy God. And the daughters of Tyre shall worship Him with gifts; the rich among the people shall entreat Thy face. The daughter of the King has all her glory within, in golden fringes, girded about with variety. The virgins shall be brought after her to the King: her neighbors shall be brought to Thee. They shall be brought with gladness and exultation: they shall be led into the temple of the King. Instead of thy fathers, sons shall be born to thee: thou shalt establish them as princes over all the earth. They shall be mindful of thy name in every generation and descent. Therefore shall the people acknowledge thee for evermore, even for ever and ever." I do not think any one is so stupid as to believe that some poor woman is here praised and described, as the spouse, to wit, of Him to whom it is said, "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a rod of direction is the rod of Thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity: therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of exultation above Thy fellows;" that is, plainly, Christ above Christians. For these are His fellows, out of the unity and concord of whom in all nations that queen is formed, as it is said of her in another psalm, "The city of the great King." The same is Sion spiritually, which name in Latin is interpreted speculatio (discovery); for she descries the great good of the world to come, because her attention is directed thither. In the same way she is also Jerusalem spiritually, of which we have already said many things. Her enemy is the city of the devil, Babylon, which is interpreted "confusion." Yet out of this Babylon this queen is in all nations set free by regeneration, and passes from the worst to the best King -- that is, from the devil to Christ. Wherefore it is said to her, "Forget thy people and thy father's house." Of this impious city those also are a portion who are Israelites only in the flesh and not by faith, enemies also of this great King Himself, and of His queen. For Christ, having come to them, and been slain by them, has the more become the King of others, whom He did not see in the flesh. Whence our King Himself says through the prophecy of a certain psalm, "Thou wilt deliver me from the contradictions of the people; Thou wilt make me head of the nations. A people whom I have not known hath served me: in the hearing of the ear it hath obeyed me." Therefore this people of the nations, which Christ did not know in His bodily presence, yet has believed in that Christ as announced to it; so that it might be said of it with good reason, "In the hearing of the ear it hath obeyed me," for "faith is by hearing." This people, I say, added to those who are the true Israelites both by the flesh and by faith, is the city of God, which has brought forth Christ Himself according to the flesh, since He was in these Israelites only. For thence came the Virgin Mary, in whom Christ assumed flesh that He might be man. Of which city another psalm says, "Mother Sion, shall a man say, and the man is made in her, and the Highest Himself hath founded her." Who is this Highest, save God? And thus Christ, who is God, before He became man through Mary in that city, Himself rounded it by the patriarchs and prophets. As therefore was said by prophecy so long before to this queen, the city of God, what we already can see fulfilled, "Instead of thy fathers, sons are born to thee; thou shall make them princes over all the earth;" so out of her sons truly are set up even her fathers [princes] through all the earth, when the people, coming together to her, confess to her with the confession of eternal praise for ever and ever. Beyond doubt, whatever interpretation is put on what is here expressed somewhat darkly in figurative language, ought to be in agreement with these most manifest things.
CHAPTER 17 -- OF THOSE THINGS IN THE 110TH PSALM WHICH RELATE TO THE PRIESTHOOD OF CHRIST, AND IN THE 22ND TO HIS PASSION.
Just as in that psalm also where Christ is most openly proclaimed as Priest, even as He is here as King, "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou at my right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool." That Christ sits on the right hand of God the Father is believed, not seen; that His enemies also are put under His feet doth not yet appear; it is being done, [therefore] it will appear at last: yea, this is now believed, afterward it shall be seen. But what follows, "The Lord will send forth the rod of Thy strength out of Sion, and rule Thou in the midst of Thine enemies," is so clear, that to deny it would imply not merely unbelief and mistake, but downright impudence. And even enemies must certainly confess that out of Sion has been sent the law of Christ which we call the gospel, and acknowledge as the rod of His strength. But that He rules in the midst of His enemies, these same enemies among whom He rules themselves bear witness, gnashing their teeth and consuming away, and having power to do nothing against Him. Then what he says a little after, "The Lord hath sworn and will not repent," by which words He intimates that what He adds is immutable, "Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek," who is permitted to doubt of whom these things are said, seeing that now there is nowhere a priesthood and sacrifice after the order of Aaron, and everywhere men offer under Christ as the Priest, which Melchizedek showed when he blessed Abraham? Therefore to these manifest things are to be referred, when rightly understood, those things in the same psalm that are set down a little more obscurely, and we have already made known in our popular sermons how these things are to be rightly understood. So also in that where Christ utters through prophecy the humiliation of His passion, saying, "They pierced my hands and feet; they counted all my bones. Yea, they looked and stared at me." By which words he certainly meant His body stretched out on the cross, with the hands and feet pierced and perforated by the striking through of the nails, and that He had in that way made Himself a spectacle to those who looked and stared. And he adds, "They parted my garments among them, and over nay vesture they cast lots." How this prophecy has been fulfilled the Gospel history narrates. Then, indeed, the other things also which are said there less openly are rightly understood when they agree with those which shine with so great clearness; especially because those things also which we do not believe as past, but survey as present, are beheld by the whole world, being now exhibited just as they are read of in this very psalm as predicted so long before. For it is there said a little after, "All the ends of the earth shall remember, and turn unto the Lord, and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before Him; for the kingdom is the Lord's, and He shall rule the nations."
CHAPTER 18 -- OF THE 3RD, 41ST, 15TH, AND 68TH PSALMS, IN WHICH THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF THE LORD ARE PROPHESIED.
About His resurrection also the oracles of the Psalms are by no means silent. For what else is it that is sung in His person in the 3rd Psalm, "I laid me down and took a sleep, [and] I awaked, for the Lord shall sustain me?" Is there perchance any one so stupid as to believe that the prophet chose to point it out to us as something great that He had i slept and risen up, unless that sleep had been death, and that awaking the resurrection, which behoved to be thus prophesied concerning Christ? For in the 41st Psalm also it is shown much more clearly, where in the person of the Mediator, in the usual way, things are narrated as if past which were prophesied as yet to come, since these things which were yet to come were in the predestination and foreknowledge of God as if they were done, because they were certain. He says, "Mine enemies speak evil of me; When shall he die, and his name perish? And if he came in to see me, his heart spake vain things: he gathered iniquity to himself. He went out of doors, and uttered it all at once. Against me all mine enemies whisper together: against me do they devise evil They have planned an unjust thing against me. Shall not he that sleeps also rise again?" These words are certainly so set down here that he may be understood to say nothing else than if he said, Shall not He that died recover life again? The previous words clearly show that His enemies have mediated and planned His death, and that this was executed by him who came in to see, and went out to betray. But to whom does not Judas here occur, who, from being His disciple, became His betrayer? Therefore because they were about to do what they had plotted -- that is, were about to kill Him -- he, to show them that with useless malice they were about to kill Him who should rise again, so adds this verse, as if he, said, What vain thing are you doing? What will be your crime will be my sleep. "Shall not He that sleeps also rise again?" And yet he indicates in the following verses that they should not commit so great an impiety with impunity, saying," Yea, the man of my peace m whom I trusted, who ate my bread, hath enlarged the heel over me;" that is, hath trampled me under foot. "But Thou," he saith, "O Lord, he merciful unto me, and raise me up, that I may requite them." Who can now deny this who sees the Jews, after the passion and resurrection of Christ, utterly rooted up from their abodes by warlike slaughter and destruction? For, being slain by them, He has risen again, and has requited them meanwhile by temporary discipline, save that for those who are not corrected He keeps it in store for the time when He shall judge the quick and the dead. For the Lord Jesus Himself, in pointing out that very man to the apostles as His betrayer, quoted this very verse of this psalm, and said it was fulfilled in Himself: "He that ate my bread enlarged the heel over me." But what he says, "In whom I trusted," does not suit the head but the body. For the Saviour Himself was not ignorant of him concerning whom He had already said before, "One of you is a devil." But He is wont to assume the person of His members, and to ascribe to Himself what should be said of them, because the head and the body is one Christ; whence that saying in the Gospel, "I was an hungered, and ye gave me to eat." Expounding which, He says, "Since ye did it to one of the least of mine, ye did it to me." Therefore He said that He had trusted, because his disciples then had trusted concerning Judas; for he was numbered with the apostles.
But the Jews do not expect that the Christ whom they expect will die; therefore they do not think ours to be Him whom the law and the prophets announced, but feign to themselves I know not whom of their own, exempt from the suffering of death. Therefore, with wonderful emptiness and blindness, they contend that the words we have set down signify, not death and reSUrrection, but sleep and awaking again. But the 16th Psalm also cries to them, "Therefore my heart is jocund, and my tongue hath exulted; moreover, my flesh also shall rest in hope: for Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt Thou give Thine Holy One to see corruption." Who but He that rose again the third day could say his flesh had rested in this hope; that His soul, not being left in hell, but speedily returning to it, should revive it, that it should not be corrupted as corpses are wont to be, which they can in no wise say of David the prophet and king? The 68th Psalm also cries out, "Our God is the God of Salvation: even of the Lord the exit was by death." What could be more openly said? For the God of salvation is the Lord Jesus, which is interpreted Saviour, or Healing One. For this reason this name was given, when it was said before He was born of the virgin: "Thou shall bring forth a Son, and shalt call His name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins." Because His blood was shed for the remission of their sins, it behoved Him to have no other exit from this life than death. Therefore, when it had been said, "Our God is the God of salvation," immediately it was added, "Even of the Lord the exit was by death," in order to show that we were to be saved by His dying. But that saying is marvellous, "Even of the Lord," as if it was said, Such is that life of mortals, that not even the Lord Himself could go out of it otherwise save through death.
CHAPTER 19 -- OF THE 69TH PSALM, IN WHICH THE OBSTINATE UNBELIEF OF THE JEWS IS DECLARED.
But when the Jews will not in the least yield to the testimonies of this prophecy, which are so manifest, and are also brought by events to so clear and certain a completion, certainly that is fulfilled in them which is written in that psalm which here follows. For when the things which pertain to His passion are prophetically spoken there also in the person of Christ, that is mentioned which is unfolded in the Gospel: "They gave me gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar for drink." And as it were after such a feast and dainties in this way given to Himself, presently He brings in [these words]: "Let their table become a trap before them, and a retribution, and an offence: let their eyes be dimmed that they see not, and their back be always bowed down," etc. Which things are not spoken as wished for, but are predicted under the prophetic form of wishing. What wonder, then, if those whose eyes are dimmed that they see not do not see these manifest things? What wonder if those do not look up at heavenly things whose back is always bowed down that they may grovel among earthly things? For these words transferred from the body signify mental faults. Let, these things which have been said about the Psalms, that is, about king David's prophecy, suffice, that we may keep within some bound. But let those readers excuse us who knew them all before; and let them not complain about those perhaps stronger proofs which they know or think I have passed by.
CHAPTER 20 -- OF DAVID'S REIGN AND MERIT; AND OF HIS SON SOLOMON, AND THAT PROPHECY RELATING TO CHRIST WHICH IS FOUND EITHER IN THOSE BOOKS WHICH ARE JOINED TO THOSE WRITTEN BY HIM, OR IN THOSE WHICH ARE INDUBITABLY HIS.
David therefore reigned in the earthly Jerusalem, a son of the heavenly Jerusalem, much praised by the divine testimony; for even his faults are overcome by great piety, through the most salutary humility of his repentance, that he is altogether one of those of whom he himself says, "Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered." After him Solomon his son reigned over the same whole people, who, as was said before, began to reign while his father was still alive. This man, after good beginnings, made a bad end. For indeed "prosperity, which wears out the minds of the wise," hurt him more than that wisdom profiled him, which even yet is and shall hereafter be renowned, and was then praised far and wide. He also is found to have prophesied in his hooks, of which three are received as of canonical authority, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs. But it has been customary to ascribe to Solomon other two, of which one is called Wisdom, the other Ecclesiasticus, on account of some resemblance of style -- but the more learned have no doubt that they are not his; yet of old the Church, especially the Western, received them into authority -- in the one of which, called the Wisdom of Solomon, the passion of Christ is most openly prophesied. For indeed His impious murderers are quoted as saying, "Let us lie in wait for the righteous, for he is unpleasant to us, and contrary to our works; and he upbraideth us with our transgressions of the law, and objecteth to our disgrace the transgressions of our education. He professeth to have the knowledge of God, and he calleth himself the Son of God. He was made to reprove our thoughts. He is grievous for as even to behold; for his life is unlike other men's and his ways are different. We are esteemed of him as counterfeits; and he abstaineth from our ways as from filthiness. He extols the latter end of the righteous; and glorieth that he hath God for his Father. Let us see, therefore, if his words be true; and let us try what shall happen to him, and we shall know what shall be the end of him. For if the righteous be the Son of God, He will undertake for him, and deliver him out of the hand of those that are against him. Let us put him to the question with contumely and torture, that we may know his reverence, and prove his patience. Let us condemn him to the most shameful death; for by His own sayings He shall be respected. These things did they imagine, and were mistaken; for their own malice hath quite blinded them." But in Ecclesiasticus the future faith of the nations is predicted in this manner: "Have mercy Upon us, O God, Ruler of all, and send Thy fear upon all the nations: lift up Thine hand over the strange nations, and let them see Thy power. As Thou wast sanctified in us before them, so be Thou sanctified in them before us, and let them acknowledge Thee, according as we also have acknowledged Thee; for there is not a God beside Thee, O Lord." We see this prophecy in the form of a wish and prayer fulfilled through Jesus Christ. But the things which are not written in the canon of the Jews cannot be quoted against their contradictions with so great validity.
But as regards those three books which it is evident are Solomon's and held canonical by the Jews, to show what of this kind may be found in them pertaining to Christ and the Church demands a laborious discussion, which, if now entered on, would lengthen this work unduly. Yet what we read in the Proverbs of impious men saying, "Let us unrighteously hide in the earth the righteous man; yea, let us swallow him up alive as hell, and let us take away his memory from the earth: let us seize his precious possession," is not so obscure that it may not be understood, without laborious exposition, of Christ and His possession the Church. Indeed, the gospel parable about the wicked husbandmen shows that our Lord Jesus Himself said something like it: "This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours."
In like manner also that passage in this same book, on which we have already touched when we were speaking of the barren woman who hath born seven, must soon after it was tittered have come to be understood of only Christ and the Church by those who knew that Christ was the Wisdom of God. "Wisdom hath builded her an house, and hath set up seven pillars; she hath sacrificed her victims, she hath mingled her wine in the bowl; she hath also furnished her table. She hath sent her servants summoning to the bowl with excellent proclamation, saying, Who is simple, let him turn aside to me. And to the void of sense she hath said, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled for you." Here certainly we perceive that the Wisdom of God, that is, the Word co-eternal with the Father, hath builded Him an house, even a human body in the virgin womb, and hath subjoined the Church to it as members to a head, hath slain the martyrs as victims, hath furnished a table with wine and bread, where appears also the priesthood after the order of Melchizedek, and hath called the simple and the void of sense, because, as saith the apostle, "He hath chosen the weak things of this world that He might confound the things which are mighty." Yet to these weak ones she saith what follows, "Forsake simplicity, that ye may live; and seek prudence, that ye may have life." But to be made partakers of this table is itself to begin to have life. For when he says in.another book, which is called Ecclesiastes, "There is no good for a man, except that he should eat and drink," what can he be more credibly understood to say, than what belongs to the participation of this table which the Mediator of the New Testament Himself, the Priest after the order of Melchizedek, furnishes with His own body and blood? For that sacrifice has succeeded all the sacrifices of the Old Testament, which were slain as a shadow of that which was to come; wherefore also we recognize the voice in the 40th Psalm as that of the same Mediator speaking through prophesy," Sacrifice and offering Thou didst not desire; but a body hast Thou perfected for me." Because, instead of all these sacrifices and oblations, His body is offered, and is served up to the partakers of it. For that this Ecclesiastes, in this sentence about eating and drinking, which he often repeats, and very much commends, does not savor the dainties of carnal pleasures, is made plain enough when he says, "It is better to go into the house of mourning than to go into the house of feasting." And a little after He says, "The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, and the heart of the simple in the house of feasting." But I think that more worthy of quotation from this book which relates to both cities, the one of the devil, the other of Christ, and to their kings, the devil and Christ: "Woe to thee, O land," he says, "when thy king is a youth, and thy princes eat in the morning! Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in season, in fortitude, and not in confusion!" He has called the devil a youth, because of the folly and pride, and rashness and unruliness, and other vices which are wont to abound at that age; but Christ is the Son of nobles, that is, of the holy patriarchs, of those belonging to the free city, of whom He was begotten in the flesh. The princes of that and other cities are eaters in the morning, that is, before the suitable hour, because they do not expect the seasonable felicity, which is the true, in tile world to come, desiring to be speedily made happy with the renown of this world; but the princes of the city of Christ patiently wait for the time of a blessedness that is not fallacious. This is expressed by the words, "in fortitude, and not in confusion," because hope does not deceive them; of which the apostle says, "But hope maketh not ashamed." A psalm also saith, "For they that hope in Thee shall not be put to shame." But now the Song of Songs is a certain spiritual pleasure of holy minds, in the marriage of that King and Queen-city, that is, Christ and the Church. But this pleasure is wrapped up in allegorical veils, that the Bridegroom may be more ardently desired, and more joyfully unveiled, and may appear; to whom it is said in this same song, "Equity hath delighted Thee; and the bride who there hears, "Charity is in thy delights." We pass over many things in silence, in our desire to finish this work.
CHAPTER 21 -- OF THE KINGS AFTER SOLOMON, BOTH IN JUDAH AND ISRAEL.
The other kings of the Hebrews after Solomon are scarcely found to have prophesied, "through certain enigmatic words or actions of theirs, what may pertain to Christ and the Church, either in Judah or Israel; for so were the parts of that people styled, when, on account of Solomon's offence, from the time of Rehoboam his son, who succeeded him in the kingdom, it was divided by God as a punishment. The ten tribes, indeed, which Jeroboam the servant of Solomon received, being appointed the king in Samaria, were distinctively called Israel, although this had been the name of that whole people; but the two tribes, namely, of Judah and Benjamin, which for David's sake, lest the kingdom should be wholly wrenched from his race, remained subject to the city of Jerusalem, were called Judah, because that was the tribe whence David sprang. But Benjamin, the other tribe which, as was said, belonged to the same kingdom, was that whence Saul sprang before David. But these two tribes together, as was said, were called Judah, and were distinguished by this name from Israel which was the distinctive title of the ten tribes under their own king. For the tribe of Levi, because it was the priestly one, bound to the servitude of God, not of the kings, was reckoned the thirteenth. For Joseph, one of the twelve sons of Israel, did not, like the others, form one tribe, but two, Ephraim and Manasseh. Yet the tribe of Levi also belonged more to the kingdom of Jerusalem, where was the temple of God whom it served. On the division of the people, therefore, Rehoboam, son of Solomon, reigned in Jerusalem as the first king of Judah, and Jeroboam, servant of Solomon, in Samaria as king of Israel. And when Rehoboam wished as a tyrant to pursue that separated part with war, the people were prohibited from fighting with their brethren by God, who told them through a prophet that He had done this; whence it appeared that in this matter there had been no sin either of the king or people of Israel, but the accomplished will of God the avenger. When this was known, both parts settled down peaceably, for the division made was not religious but political.
CHAPTER 22 -- OF JEROBOAM, WHO PROFANED THE PEOPLE PUT UNDER HIM BY THE IMPIETY OF IDOLATRY, AMID WHICH, HOWEVER, GOD DID NOT CEASE TO INSPIRE THE PROPHETS, AND TO GUARD MANY FROM THE CRIME OF IDOLATRY.
But Jeroboam king of Israel, with perverse mind, not believing in God, whom he had proved true in promising and giving him the kingdom, was afraid lest, by coming to the temple of God which was in Jerusalem, where, according to the divine law, that whole nation was to come in order to sacrifice, the people should be seduced from him, and return to David's line as the seed royal; and set up idolatry in his kingdom, and with horrible impiety beguiled the people, ensnaring them to the worship of idols with himself. Yet God did not altogether cease to reprove by the prophets, not only that king, but also his successors and imitators in his impiety, and the people too. For there the great and illustrious prophet Elijah and Elisha his disciple arose, who also did many wonderful works. Even there, when Elijah said, "O Lord, they have slain Thy prophets, they have digged down Thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life," it was answered that seven thousand men were there who had not bowed the knee to Baal.
CHAPTER 23 -- OF THE VARYING CONDITION OF BOTH THE HEBREW KINGDOMS, UNTIL THE PEOPLE OF BOTH WERE AT DIFFERENT TIMES LED INTO CAPTIVITY, JUDAH BEING AFTERWARDS RECALLED INTO HIS KINGDOM, WHICH FINALLY PASSED INTO THE POWER OF THE ROMANS.
So also in the kingdom of Judah pertaining to Jerusalem prophets were not lacking even in the times of succeeding kings, just as it pleased God to send them, either for the prediction of what was needful, or for correction of sin and instruction in righteousness; for there, too, although far less than in Israel, kings arose who grievously offended God by their impieties, and, along with their people, who were like them, were smitten with moderate scourges. The no small merits of the pious kings there are praised indeed. But we read that in Israel the kings were, some more, others less, yet all wicked. Each part, therefore, as the divine providence either ordered or permitted, was both lifted up by prosperity and weighed down by adversity of various kinds; and it was afflicted not Only by foreign, but also by civil wars with each other, in order that by certain existing causes the mercy or anger of God might be manifested; until, by His growing indignation, that whole nation was by the conquering Chaldeans not only overthrown in its abode, but also for the most part transported to the lands of the Assyrians -- first, that part of the thirteen tribes called Israel, but afterwards Judah also, when Jerusalem and that most noble temple was cast down -- in which lands it rested seventy years in captivity. Being after that time sent forth thence, they rebuilt the overthrown temple. And although very many stayed in the lands of the strangers, yet the kingdom no longer had two separate parts, with different kings over each, but in Jerusalem there was one prince over them; and at certain times, from every direction wherever they were, and from whatever place they could, they all came to the temple of God which was there. Yet not even then were they without foreign enemies and conquerors; yea, Christ found them tributaries of the Romans.
CHAPTER 24 -- OF THE PROPHETS, WHO EITHER WERE THE LAST AMONG THE JEWS, OR WHOM THE GOSPEL HISTORY REPORTS ABOUT THE TIME OF CHRIST'S NATIVITY.
But in that whole time after they returned from Babylon, after Malachi, Haggai, and Zechariah, who then prophesied, and Ezra, they had no prophets down to the time of the Saviour's advent except another Zechariah, the father of John, and Elisabeth his wife, when the nativity of Christ was already close at hand; and when He was already born, Simeon the aged, and Anna a widow, and now very old; and, last of all, John himself, who, being a young man, did not predict that Christ, now a young man, was to come, but by prophetic knowledge pointed Him out though unknown; for which reason the Lord Himself says, "The law and the prophets were until John." But the prophesying of these five is made known to us in the gospel, where the virgin mother of our Lord herself is also found to have prophesied before John. But this prophecy of theirs the wicked Jews do not receive; but those innumerable persons received it who from them believed the gospel. For then truly Israel was divided in two, by that division which was foretold by Samuel the prophet to king Saul as immutable. But even the reprobate Jews hold Malachi, Haggai, Zechariah, and Ezra as the last received into canonical authority. For there are also writings of these, as of others, who being but a very few in the great multitude of prophets, have written those books which have obtained canonical authority, of whose predictions it seems good to me to put in this work some which pertain to Christ and His Church; and this, by the Lord's help, shall be done more conveniently in the following book, that we may not further burden this one, which is already too long.
Excerpts on the Two Cities
Book XIV Chap. 28
Accordingly, two cities have been formed by two loves: the earthly by the love of self, even to the contempt of God; the heavenly by the love of God, even to the contempt of self. The former, in a word, glories in itself, the latter in the Lord. For the one seeks glory from men; but the greatest glory of the other is God, the witness of conscience. The one lifts up its head in its own glory; the other says to its God, "Thou art my glory, and the lifter up of mine head." In the one, the princes and the nations it subdues are ruled by the love of ruling; in the other, the princes and the subjects serve one another in love, the latter obeying, while the former take thought for all. The one delights in its own strength, represented in the persons of its rulers; the other says to its God, "I will love Thee, O Lord, my strength." And therefore the wise men of the one city, living according to man, have sought for profit to their own bodies or souls, or both, and those who have known God "glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened; professing themselves to be wise,"--that is, glorying in their own wisdom, and being possessed by pride,--"they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things." For they were either leaders or followers of the people in adoring images, "and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever." But in the other city there is no human wisdom, but only godliness, which offers due worship to the true God, and looks for its reward in the society of the saints, of holy angels as well as holy men, "that God may be all in all."
Book XV. CHAP. 4
But the earthly city, which shall not be everlasting (for it will no longer be a city when it has been committed to the extreme penalty), has its good in this world, and rejoices in it with such joy as such things can afford. But as this is not a good which can discharge its devotees of all distresses, this city is often divided against itself by litigations, wars, quarrels, and such victories as are either life-destroying or short-lived. For each part of it that arms against another part of it seeks to triumph over the nations through itself in bondage to vice. If, when it has conquered, it is inflated with pride, its victory is life-destroying; but if it turns its thoughts upon the common casualties of our mortal condition, and is rather anxious concerning the disasters that may befall it than elated with the successes already achieved, this victory, though of a higher kind, is still only shot-lived; for it cannot abidingly rule over those whom it has victoriously subjugated. But the things which this city desires cannot justly be said to be evil, for it is itself, in its own kind, better than all other human good. For it desires earthly peace for the sake of enjoying earthly goods, and it makes war in order to attain to this peace; since, if it has conquered, and there remains no one to resist it, it enjoys a peace which it had not while there were opposing parties who contested for the enjoyment of those things which were too small to satisfy both. This peace is purchased by toilsome wars; it is obtained by what they style a glorious victory. Now, when victory remains with the party which had the juster cause, who hesitates to congratulate the victor, and style it a desirable peace? These things, then, are good things, and without doubt the gifts of God. But if they neglect the better things of the heavenly city, which are secured by eternal victory and peace never-ending, and so inordinately covet these present good things that they believe them to be the only desirable things, or love them better than those things which are believed to be better,--if this be so, then it is necessary that misery follow and ever increase.
Book 19. CHAP. 17.
But the families which do not live by faith seek their peace in the earthly advantages of this life; while the families which live by faith look for those eternal blessings which are promised, and use as pilgrims such advantages of time and of earth as do not fascinate and divert them from God, but rather aid them to endure with greater ease, and to keep down the number of those burdens of the corruptible body which weigh upon the soul. Thus the things necessary for this mortal life are used by both kinds of men and families alike, but each has its own peculiar and widely different aim in using them. The earthly city, which does not live by faith, seeks an earthly peace, and the end it proposes, in the well-ordered concord of civic obedience and rule, is the combination of men's wills to attain the things which are helpful to this life. The heavenly city, or rather the part of it which sojourns on earth and lives by faith, makes use of this peace only because it must, until this mortal condition which necessitates it shall pass away. Consequently, so long as it lives like a captive and a stranger in the earthly city, though it has already received the promise of redemption, and the gift of the Spirit as the earnest of it, it makes no scruple to obey the laws of the earthly city, whereby the things necessary for the maintenance of this mortal life are administered; and thus, as this life is common to both cities, so there is a harmony between them in regard to what belongs to it. But, as the earthly city has had some philosophers whose doctrine is condemned by the divine teaching, and who, being deceived either by their own conjectures or by demons, supposed that many gods must be invited to take an interest in human affairs, and assigned to each a separate function and a separate department,--to one the body, to another the soul; and in the body itself, to one the head, to another the neck, and each of the other members to one of the gods; and in like manner, in the soul, to one god the natural capacity was assigned, to another education, to another anger, to another lust; and so the various affairs of life were assigned,--cattle to one, corn to another, wine to another, oil to another, the woods to another, money to another, navigation to another, wars and victories to another, marriages to another, births and fecundity to another, and other things to other gods: and as the celestial city, on the other hand, knew that one God only was to be worshipped, and that to Him alone was due that service which the Greeks call latreia, and which can be given only to a god, it has come to pass that the two cities could not have common laws of religion, and that the heavenly city has been compelled in this matter to dissent, and to become obnoxious to those who think differently, and to stand the brunt of their anger and hatred and persecutions, except in so far as the minds of their enemies have been alarmed by the multitude of the Christians and quelled by the manifest protection of God accorded to them. This heavenly city, then, while it sojourns on earth, calls citizens out of all nations, and gathers together a society of pilgrims of all languages, not scrupling about diversities in the manners, laws, and institutions whereby earthly peace is secured and maintained, but recognizing that, however various these are, they all tend to one and the same end of earthly peace. It therefore is so far from rescinding and abolishing these diversities, that it even preserves and adopts them, so long only as no hindrance to the worship of the one supreme and true God is thus introduced. Even the heavenly city, therefore, while in its state of pilgrimage, avails itself of the peace of earth, and, so far as it can without injuring faith and godliness, desires and maintains a common agreement among men regarding the acquisition of the necessaries of life, and makes this earthly peace bear upon the peace of heaven; for this alone can be truly called and esteemed the peace of the reasonable creatures, consisting as it does in the perfectly ordered and harmonious enjoyment of God and of one another in God. When we shall have reached that peace, this mortal life shall give place to one that is eternal, and our body shall be no more this animal body which by its corruption weighs down the soul, but a spiritual body feeling no want, and in all its members subjected to the will. In its pilgrim state the heavenly city possesses this peace by faith; and by this faith it lives righteously when it refers to the attainment of that peace every good action towards God and man; for the life of the city is a social life.
Chapter 30.-That in the Books of the Old Testament, Where It is Said that God Shall Judge the World, the Person of Christ is Not Explicitly Indicated, But It Plainly Appears from Some Passages in Which the Lord God Speaks that Christ is Meant.
Argument-Concerning the last judgment, and the declarations regarding it in the old and new testaments.
Chapter I.-That Although God is Always Judging, It is Nevertheless Reasonable to Confine Our Attention in This Book to His Last Judgment.
Intending to speak, in dependence on God's grace, of the day of His final judgment, and to affirm it against the ungodly and incredulous, we must first of all lay, as it were, in the foundation of the edifice the divine declarations. Those persons who do not believe such declarations do their best to oppose to them false and illusive sophisms of their own, either contending that what is adduced from Scripture has another meaning, or altogether denying that it is an utterance of God's. For I suppose no man who understands what is written, and believes it to be communicated by the supreme and true God through holy men, refuses to yield and consent to these declarations, whether he orally confesses his consent, or is from some evil influence ashamed or afraid to do so; or even, with an opinionativeness closely resembling madness, makes strenuous efforts to defend what he knows and believes to be false against what he knows and believes to be true.
That, therefore, which the whole Church of the true God holds and professes as its creed, that Christ shall come from heaven to judge quick and dead, this we call the last day, or last time, of the divine judgment. For we do not know how many days this judgment may occupy; but no one who reads the Scriptures, however negligently, need be told that in them "day" is customarily used for "time." And when we speak of the day of God's judgment, we add the word last or final for this reason, because even now God judges, and has judged from the beginning of human history, banishing from paradise, and excluding from the tree of life, those first men who perpetrated so great a sin. Yea, He was certainly exercising judgment also when He did not spare the angels who sinned, whose prince, overcome by envy, seduced men after being himself seduced. Neither is it without God's profound and just judgment that the life of demons and men, the one in the air, the other on earth, is filled with misery, calamities, and mistakes. And even though no one had sinned, it could only have been by the good and right judgment of God that the whole rational creation could have been maintained in eternal blessedness by a persevering adherence to its Lord. He judges, too, not only in the mass, condemning the race of devils and the race of men to be miserable on account of the original sin of these races, but He also judges the voluntary and personal acts of individuals. For even the devils pray that they may not be tormented,<37.htm#P3774_2079151">1 which proves that without injustice they might either be spared or tormented according to their deserts. And men are punished by God for their sins often visibly, always secretly, either in this life or after death, although no man acts rightly save by the assistance of divine aid; and no man or devil acts unrighteously save by the permission of the divine and most just judgment. For, as the apostle says, "There is no unrighteousness with God;"<37.htm#P3775_2079615">2 and as he elsewhere says, "His judgments are inscrutable, and His ways past finding out"<37.htm#P3776_2079720">3 In this book, then, I shall speak, as God permits, not of those first judgments, nor of these intervening judgments of God, but of the last judgment, when Christ is to come from heaven to judge the quick and the dead. For that day is properly called the day of judgment, because in it there shall be no room left for the ignorant questioning why this wicked person is happy and that righteous man unhappy. In that day true and full happiness shall be the lot of none but the good, while deserved and supreme misery shall be the portion of the wicked, and of them only.
Chapter 2.-That in the Mingled Web of Human Affairs God's Judgment is Present, Though It Cannot Be Discerned.
In this present time we learn to bear with equanimity the ills to which even good men are subject, and to hold cheap the blessings which even the wicked enjoy. And consequently, even in those conditions of life in which the justice of God is not apparent, His teaching is salutary. For we do not know by what judgment of God this good man is poor and that bad man rich; why he who, in our opinion, ought to suffer acutely for his abandoned life enjoys himself, while sorrow pursues him whose praiseworthy life leads us to suppose he should be happy; why the innocent man is dismissed from the bar not only unavenged, but even condemned, being either wronged by the iniquity of the judge, or overwhelmed by false evidence, while his guilty adversary, on the other hand, is not only discharged with impunity, but even has his claims admitted; why the ungodly enjoys good health, while the godly pines in sickness; why ruffians are of the soundest constitution, while they who could not hurt any one even with a word are from infancy afflicted with complicated disorders; why he who is useful to society is cut off by premature death, while those who, as it might seem, ought never to have been so much as born have lives of unusual length; why he who is full of crimes is crowned with honors, while the blameless man is buried in the darkness of neglect. But who can collect or enumerate all the contrasts of this kind? But if this anomalous state of things were uniform in this life, in which, as the sacred Psalmist says, "Man is like to vanity, his days as a shadow that passeth away,"<37.htm#P3780_2082001">4 -so uniform that none but wicked men won the transitory prosperity of earth, while only the good suffered its ills,-this could be referred to the just and even benign judgment of God. We might suppose that they who were not destined to obtain those everlasting benefits which constitute human blessedness were either deluded by transitory blessings as the just reward of their wickedness, or were, in God's mercy, consoled them, and that they who were not destined to suffer eternal torments were afflicted with temporal chastisement for their sins, or were stimulated to greater attainment in virtue. But now, as it is, since we not only see good men involved in the ills of life, and bad men enjoying the good of it, which seems unjust, but also that evil often overtakes evil men, and good surprises the good, the rather on this account are God's judgments unsearchable, and His ways past finding out. Although, therefore, we do not know by what judgment these things are done or permitted to be done by God, with whom is the highest virtue, the highest wisdom, the highest justice, no infirmity, no rashness, no unrighteousness, yet it is salutary for us to learn to hold cheap such things, be they good or evil, as attach indifferently to good men and bad, and to covet those good things which belong only to good men, and flee those evils which belong only to evil men. But when we shall have come to that judgment, the date of which is called peculiarly the day of judgment, and sometimes the day of the Lord, we shall then recognize the justice of all God's judgments, not only of such as shall then be pronounced, but, of all which take effect from the beginning, or may take effect before that time. And in that day we shall also recognize with what justice so many, or almost all, the just judgments of God in the present life defy the scrutiny of human sense or insight, though in this matter it is not concealed from pious minds that what is concealed is just.
Chapter 3.-What Solomon, in the Book of Ecclesiastes, Says Regarding the Things Which Happen Alike to Good and Wicked Men.
Solomon, the wisest king of Israel, who reigned in Jerusalem, thus commences the book called Ecclesiastes, which the Jews number among their canonical Scriptures: "Vanity of vanities, said Ecclesiastes, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labor which he hath taken under the sun?"<37.htm#P3784_2084427">5 And after going on to enumerate, with this as his text, the calamities and delusions of this life, and the shifting nature of the present time, in which there is nothing substantial, nothing lasting, he bewails, among the other vanities that are under the sun, this also, that though wisdom excelleth folly as light excelleth darkness, and though the eyes of the wise man are in his head, while the fool walketh in darkness,<37.htm#P3785_2084873">6 yet one event happeneth to them all, that is to say, in this life under the sun, unquestionably alluding to those evils which we see befall good and bad men alike. He says, further, that the good suffer the ills of life as if they were evil doers, and the bad enjoy the good of life as if they were good. "There is a vanity which is done upon the earth; that there be just men unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked: again, there be wicked men, to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous. I said, that this also is vanity."<37.htm#P3786_2085457">7 This wisest man devoted this whole book to a full exposure of this vanity, evidently with no other object than that we might long for that life in which there is no vanity under the sun, but verity under Him who made the sun. In this vanity, then, was it not by the just and righteous judgment of God that man, made like to vanity, was destined to pass away? But in these days of vanity it makes an important difference whether he resists or yields to the truth, and whether he is destitute of true piety or a partaker of it,-important not so far as regards the acquirement of the blessings or the evasion of the calamities of this transitory and vain life, but in connection with the future judgment which shall make over to good men good things, and to bad men bad things, in permanent, inalienable possession. In fine, this wise man concludes this book of his by saying, "Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is every man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every despised person, whether it be good, or whether it be evil."<37.htm#P3787_2086531">8 What truer, terser, more salutary enouncement could be made? "Fear God, he says, and keep His commandments: for this is every man." For whosoever has real existence, is this, is a keeper of God's commandments; and he who is not this, is nothing. For so long as he remains in the likeness of vanity, he is not renewed in the image of the truth. "For God shall bring into judgment every work,"-that is, whatever man does in this life,-"whether it be good or whether it be evil, with every despised person,"-that is, with every man who here seems despicable, and is therefore not considered; for God sees even him and does not despise him nor pass him over in His judgment.
Chapter 4.-That Proofs of the Last Judgment Will Be Adduced, First from the New Testament, and Then from the Old.
The proofs, then, of this last judgment of God which I propose to adduce shall be drawn first from the New Testament, and then from the Old. For although the Old Testament is prior in point of time the New has the precedence in intrinsic value; for the Old acts the part of herald to the New. We shall therefore first cite passages from the New Testament, and confirm them by quotations from the Old Testament. The Old contains the law and the prophets, the New the gospel and the apostolic epistles. Now the apostle says "By the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; now the righteousness of God is by faith of Jesus Christ upon all them that believe."<37.htm#P3791_2088093">9 This righteousness of God belongs to the New Testament, and evidence for it exists in the old books, that is to say, in the law and the prophets. I shall first, then state the case, and then call the witnesses. This order Jesus Christ Himself directs us to observe, saying, "The scribe instructed in the kingdom of God is like a good householder, bringing out of his treasure things new and old."<37.htm#P3792_2088511">10 He did not say" old and new," which He certainly would have said had He not wished to follow the order of merit rather than that of time.
Chapter 5.-The Passages in Which the Saviour Declares that There Shall Be a Divine Judgment in the End of the World.
The Saviour Himself, while reproving the cities in which He had done great works, but which had not believed, and while setting them in unfavorable comparison with foreign cities, says, "But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment than for you."<37.htm#P3796_2089077">11 And a little after He says, "Verily, I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for thee."<37.htm#P3797_2089237">12 Here He most plainly predicts that a day of judgment is to come. And in another place He says, "The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the words of Solomon; and behold, a greater than Solomon is here."<37.htm#P3798_2089754">13 Two things we learn from this passage, that a judgment is to take place, and that it is to take place at the resurrection of the dead. For when He spoke of the Ninevites and the queen of the south, He certainly spoke of dead persons, and yet He said that they should rise up in the day of judgment. He did not say, "They shall condemn," as if they themselves were to be the judges, but because, in comparison with them, the others shall be justly condemned.
Again, in another passage, in which He was speaking of the present intermingling and future separation of the good and bad,-the separation which shall be made in the day of judgment,-He adduced a comparison drawn from the sown wheat and the tares sown among them, and gave this explanation of it to His disciples: "He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man,"<38.htm#P3800_2090600">14 etc. Here, indeed, He did not name the judgment or the day of judgment, but indicated it much more clearly by describing the circumstances, and foretold that it should take place in the end of the world.
In like manner He says to His disciples, "Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."<38.htm#P3802_2091116">15 Here we learn that Jesus shall judge with His disciples. And therefore He said elsewhere to the Jews, "If I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges."<38.htm#P3803_2091348">16 Neither ought we to suppose that only twelve men shall judge along with Him, though He says that they shall sit upon twelve thrones; for by the number twelve is signified the completeness of the multitude of those who shall judge. For the two parts of the number seven (which commonly symbolizes totality), that is to say four and three, multiplied into one another, give twelve. For four times three, or three times four, are twelve. There are other meanings, too, in this number twelve. Were not this the right interpretation of the twelve thrones, then since we read that Matthias was ordained an apostle in the room of Judas the traitor, the Apostle Paul, though he labored more than them all,<38.htm#P3804_2092067">17 should have no throne of judgment; but he unmistakeably considers himself to be included in the number of the judges when he says, "Know ye not that we shall judge angels?"<38.htm#P3805_2092258">18 The same rule is to be observed in applying the number twelve to those who are to be judged. For though it was said, "judging the twelve tribes of Israel," the tribe of Levi, which is the thirteenth, shall not on this account be exempt from judgment, neither shall judgment be passed only on Israel and not on the other nations. And by the words "in the regeneration," He certainly meant the resurrection of the dead to be understood; for our flesh shall be regenerated by incorruption, as our soul is regenerated by faith.
Many passages I omit, because, though they seem to refer to the last judgment, yet on a closer examination they are found to be ambiguous, or to allude rather to some other event,-whether to that coming of the Saviour which continually occurs in His Church, that is, in His members, in which comes little by little, and piece by piece, since the whole Church is His body, or to the destruction of the earthly Jerusalem. For when He speaks even of this, He often uses language which is applicable to the end of the world and that last and great day of judgment, so that these two events cannot be distinguished unless all the corresponding passages bearing on the subject in the three evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, are compared with one another,-for some things are put more obscurely by one evangelist and more plainly by another,-so that it becomes apparent what things are meant to be referred to one event. It is this which I have been at pains to do in a letter which I wrote to Hesychius of blessed memory, bishop of Salon, and entitled, "Of the End of the World."<38.htm#P3807_2093878">19
I shall now cite from the Gospel according to Matthew the passage which speaks of the separation of the good from the wicked by the most efficacious and final judgment of Christ: "When the Son of man," he says, "shall come in His glory, . . . then shall He say also unto them on His left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."<38.htm#P3809_2094277">20 Then He in like manner recounts to the wicked the things they had not done, but which He had said those on the right hand had done. And when they ask when they had seen Him in need of these things, He replies that, inasmuch as they had not done it to the least of His brethren, they had not done it unto Him, and concludes His address in the words, "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal." Moreover, the evangelist John most distinctly states that He had predicted that the judgment should be at the resurrection of the dead. For after saying, "The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father: he that honoreth not the Son, honoreth not the Father which hath sent Him;" He immediately adds, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment; but is passed from death to life."<38.htm#P3810_2095332">21 Here He said that believers on Him should not come into judgment. How, then, shall they be separated from the wicked by judgment, and be set at His right hand, unless judgment be in this passage used for condemnation? For into judgment, in this sense, they shall not come who hear His word, and believe on Him that sent Him.
Chapter 6.-What is the First Resurrection, and What the Second.
After that He adds the words, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself."<38.htm#P3814_2096014">22 As yet He does not speak of the second resurrection, that is, the resurrection of the body, which shall be in the end, but of the first, which now is. It is for the sake of making this distinction that He says, "The hour is coming, and now is." Now this resurrection regards not the body, but the soul. For souls, too, have a death of their own in wickedness and sins, whereby they are the dead of whom the same lips say, "Suffer the dead to bury their dead,"<38.htm#P3815_2096496">23 -that is, let those who are dead in soul bury them that are dead in body. It is of these dead, then-the dead in ungodliness and wickedness-that He says, "The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live." "They that hear," that is, they who obey, believe, and persevere to the end. Here no difference is made between the good and the bad. For it is good for all men to hear His voice and live, by passing to the life of godliness from the death of ungodliness. Of this death the Apostle Paul says, "Therefore all are dead, and He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them and rose again."<38.htm#P3816_2097243">24 Thus all, without one exception, were dead in sins, whether original or voluntary sins, sins of ignorance, or sins committed against knowledge; and for all the dead there died the one only person who lived, that is, who had no sin whatever, in order that they who live by the remission of their sins should live, not to themselves, but to Him who died for all, for our sins, and rose again for our justification, that we, believing in Him who justifies the ungodly, and being justified from ungodliness or quickened from death, may be able to attain to the first resurrection which now is. For in this first resurrection none have a part save those who shall be eternally blessed; but in the second, of which He goes on to speak, all, as we shall learn, have a part, both the blessed and the wretched. The one is the resurrection of mercy, the other of judgment. And therefore it is written in the psalm, "I will sing of mercy and of judgment: unto Thee, O Lord, will I sing."<38.htm#P3817_2098243">25
And of this judgment He went on to say, "And hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man." Here He shows that He will come to judge in that flesh in which He had come to be judged. For it is to show this He says, "because He is the Son of man." And then follow the words for our purpose: "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment."<38.htm#P3819_2098835">26 This judgment He uses here in the same sense as a little before, when He says, "He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but is passed from death to life;" i.e., by having a part in the first resurrection, by which a transition from death to life is made in this present time, he shall not come into damnation, which He mentions by the name of judgment, as also in the place where He says, "but they that have done evil unto the resurrection of judgment," i.e., of damnation. He, therefore, who would not be damned in the second resurrection, let him rise in the first. For "the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live," i.e., shall not come into damnation, which is called the second death; into which death, after the second or bodily resurrection, they shall be hurled who do not rise in the first or spiritual resurrection. For "the hour is coming" (but here He does not say, "and now is," because it shall come in the end of the world in the last and greatest judgment of God) "when all that are in the graves shall hear His voice and shall come forth." He does not say, as in the first resurrection, "And they that Hear shall live." For all shall not live, at least with such life as ought alone to be called life because it alone is blessed. For some kind of life they must have in order to hear, and come forth from the graves in their rising bodies. And why all shall not live He teaches in the words that follow: "They that have done good, to the resurrection of life,"-these are they who shall live; "but they that have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment,"-these are they who shall not live, for they shall die in the second death. They have done evil because their life has been evil; and their life has been evil because it has not been renewed in the first or spiritual resurrection which now is, or because they have not persevered to the end in their renewed life. As, then, there are two regenerations, of which I have already made mention,-the one according to faith, and which takes place in the present life by means of baptism; the other according to the flesh, and which shall be accomplished in its incorruption and immortality by means of the great and final judgment,-so are there also two resurrections,-the one the first and spiritual resurrection, which has place in this life, and preserves us from coming into the second death; the other the second, which does not occur now, but in the end of the world, and which is of the body, not of the soul, and which by the last judgment shall dismiss some into the second death, others into that life which has no death.
Chapter 7.-What is Written in the Revelation of John Regarding the Two Resurrections, and the Thousand Years, and What May Reasonably Be Held on These Points.
The evangelist John has spoken of these two resurrections in the book which is called the Apocalypse, but in such a way that some Christians do not understand the first of the two, and so construe the passage into ridiculous fancies. For the Apostle John says in the foresaid book, "And I saw an angel come down from heaven. . . . Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power; but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years."<38.htm#P3823_2102291">27 Those who, on the strength of this passage, have suspected that the first resurrection is future and bodily, have been moved, among other things, specially by the number of a thousand years, as if it were a fit thing that the saints should thus enjoy a kind of Sabbath-rest during that period, a holy leisure after the labors of the six thousand years since man was created, and was on account of his great sin dismissed from the blessedness of paradise into the woes of this mortal life, so that thus, as it is written, "One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day,"<38.htm#P3824_2102942">28 there should follow on the completion of six thousand years, as of six days, a kind of seventh-day Sabbath in the succeeding thousand years; and that it is for this purpose the saints rise, viz., to celebrate this Sabbath. And. this opinion would not be objectionable, if it were believed that the joys of the saints in that Sabbath shall be spiritual, and consequent on the presence of God; for I myself, too, once held this opinion.<38.htm#P3825_2103397">29 But, as they assert that those who then rise again shall enjoy the leisure of immoderate carnal banquets, furnished with an amount of meat and drink such as not only to shock the feeling of the temperate, but even to surpass the measure of credulity itself, such assertions can be believed only by the carnal. They who do believe them are called by the spiritual Chiliasts, which we may literally reproduce by the name Millenarians.<38.htm#P3826_2103846">30 It were a tedious process to refute these opinions point by point: we prefer proceeding to show how that passage of Scripture should be understood.<38.htm#P3827_2104010">31
The Lord Jesus Christ Himself says, "No man can enter into a strong man's house, and Spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man"<38.htm#P3829_2104412">32 -meaning by the strong man the devil, because he had power to take captive the human race; and meaning by his goods which he was to take, those who had been held by the devil in divers sins and iniquities, but were to become believers in Himself. It was then for the binding of this strong one that the apostle saw in the Apocalypse "an angel coming down from heaven, having the key of the abyss, and a chain in his hand. And he laid hold," he says, "on the dragon, that old serpent, which is called the devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,"-that is, bridled and restrained his power so that he could not seduce and gain possession of those who were to be freed. Now the thousand years may be understood in two ways, so far as occurs to me: either because these things happen in the sixth thousand of years or sixth millennium (the latter part of which is now passing), as if during the sixth day, which is to be followed by a Sabbath which has no evening, the endless rest of the saints, so that, speaking of a part under the name of the whole, he calls the last part of the millennium-the part, that is, which had yet to expire before the end of the world-a thousand years; or he used the thousand years as an equivalent for the whole duration of this world, employing the number of perfection to mark the fullness of time. For a thousand is the cube of ten. For ten times ten makes a hundred, that is; the square on a plane superficies. But to give this superficies height, and make it a cube, the hundred is again multiplied by ten, which gives a thousand. Besides, if a hundred is sometimes used for totality, as when the Lord said by way of promise to him that left all and followed Him "He shall receive in this world an hundredfold;"<38.htm#P3830_2106206">33 of which the apostle gives, as it were, an explanation when he says, "As having nothing, yet possessing all things,"<38.htm#P3831_2106343">34 -for even of old it had been said, The whole world is the wealth of a believer,-with how much greater reason is a thousand put for totality since it is the cube, while the other is only the square? And for the same reason we cannot better interpret the words of the psalm, "He hath been mindful of His covenant for ever, the word which He commanded to a thousand generations,"<38.htm#P3832_2106740">35 than by understanding it to mean "to all generations."
"And he cast him into the abyss,"-i.e., cast the devil into the abyss. By the abyss is meant the countless multitude of the wicked whose hearts are unfathomably deep in malignity against the Church of God; not that the devil was not there before, but he is said to be cast in thither, because, when prevented from harming believers, he takes more complete possession of the ungodly. For that man is more abundantly possessed by the devil who is not only alienated from God, but also gratuitously hates those who serve God. "And shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years should be fulfilled." "Shut him up,"-i.e., prohibited him from going out, from doing what was forbidden. And the addition of "set a seal upon him" seems to me to mean that it was designed to keep it a secret who belonged to the devil's party and who did not. For in this world this is a secret, for we cannot tell whether even the man who seems to stand shall fall, or whether he who seems to lie shall rise again. But by the chain and prison-house of this interdict the devil is prohibited and restrained from seducing those nations which belong to Christ, but which he formerly seduced or held in subjection. For before the foundation of the world God chose to rescue these from the power of darkness, and to translate them into the kingdom of the Son of His love, as the apostle says.<38.htm#P3834_2108231">36 For what Christian is not aware that he seduces nations even now, and draws them with himself to eternal punishment, but not those predestined to eternal life? And let no one be dismayed by the circumstance that the devil often seduces even those who have been regenerated in Christ, and begun to walk in God's way. For "the Lord knoweth them that are His,"<38.htm#P3835_2108606">37 and of these the devil seduces none to eternal damnation. For it is as God, from whom nothing is hid even of things future, that the Lord knows them; not as a man, who sees a man at the present time (if he can be said to see one whose heart he does not see), but does not see even himself so far as to be able to know what kind of person he is to be. The devil, then, is bound and shut up in the abyss that he may not seduce the nations from which the Church is gathered, and which he formerly seduced before the Church existed. For it is not said "that he should not seduce any man," but "that he should not seduce the nations"-meaning, no doubt, those among which the Church exists-"till the thousand years should be fulfilled,"-i.e., either what remains of the sixth day which consists of a thousand years, or all the years which are to elapse till the end of the world.
The words, "that he should not seduce the nations till the thousand years should be fulfilled," are not to be understood as indicating that afterwards. he is to seduce only those nations from which the predestined Church is composed, and from seducing whom he is restrained by that chain and imprisonment; but they are used in conformity with that usage frequently employed in Scripture and exemplified in the psalm, "So our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until He have mercy upon us,"<38.htm#P3837_2109987">38 -not as if the eyes of His servants Would no longer wait upon the Lord their God when He had mercy upon them. Or the order of the words is unquestionably this, "And he shut him up and set a seal upon him, till the thousand years should be fulfilled;" and the interposed clause, "that he should seduce the nations no more," is not to be understood in the connection in which it stands, but separately, and as if added afterwards, so that the whole sentence might be read, "And He shut him up and set a seal upon him till the thousand years should be fulfilled, that he should seduce the nations no more,"-i.e., he is shut up till the thousand years be fulfilled, on this account, that he may no more deceive the nations.
Chapter 8.-Of the Binding and Loosing of the Devil.
"After that," says John, "he must be loosed a little season." If the binding and shutting up of the devil means his being made unable to seduce the Church, must his loosing be the recovery of this ability? By no means. For the Church predestined and elected before the foundation of the world, the Church of which it is said, "The Lord knoweth them that are His," shall never be seduced by him. And yet there shall be a Church in this world even when the devil shall be loosed, as there has been since the beginning, and shall be always, the places of the dying being filled by new believers. For a little after John says that the devil, being loosed, shall draw the nations whom he has seduced in the whole world to make war against the Church, and that the number of these enemies shall be as the sand of the sea. "And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. And the devil who seduced them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever."<38.htm#P3841_2111945">39 This relates to the last judgment, but I have thought fit to mention it now, lest any one might suppose that in that short time during which the devil shall be loose there shall be no Church upon earth, whether because the devil finds no Church, or destroys it by manifold persecutions. The devil, then, is not bound during the whole time which this book embraces,-that is, from the first coming of Christ to the end of the world, when He shall come the second time,-not bound in this sense, that during this interval, which goes by the name of a thousand years, he shall not seduce the Church, for not even when loosed shall he seduce it. For certainly if his being bound means that he is not able or not permitted to seduce the Church, what can the loosing of him mean but his being able or permitted to do so? But God forbid that such should be the case! But the binding of the devil is his being prevented from the exercise of his whole power to seduce men, either by violently forcing or fraudulently deceiving them into taking part with him. If he were during so long a period permitted to assail the weakness of men, very many persons, such as God would not wish to expose to such temptation, would have their faith overthrown, or would be prevented from believing; and that this might not happen, he is bound.
But when the short time comes he shall be loosed. For he shall rage with the whole force of himself and his angels for three years and six months; and those with whom he makes war shall have power to withstand all his violence and stratagems. And if he were never loosed, his malicious power would be less patent, and less proof would be given of the steadfast fortitude of the holy city: it would, in short, be less manifest what good use the Almighty makes of his great evil. For the Almighty does not absolutely seclude the saints from his temptation, but shelters only their inner man, where faith resides, that by outward temptation they may grow in grace. And He binds him that he may not, in the free and eager exercise of his malice, hinder or destroy the faith of those countless weak persons, already believing or yet to believe, from whom the Church must be increased and completed; and he will in the end loose him, that the city of God may see how mighty an adversary it has conquered, to the great glory of its Redeemer, Helper, Deliverer. And what are we in comparison with those believers and saints who shall then exist, seeing that they shall be tested by the loosing of an enemy with whom we make war at the greatest peril even when he is bound? Although it is also certain that even in this intervening period there have been and are some soldiers of Christ so wise and strong, that if they were to be alive in this mortal condition at the time of his loosing, they would both most wisely guard against, and most patiently endure, all his snares and assaults.
Now the devil was thus bound not only when the Church began to be more and more widely extended among the nations beyond Judea, but is now and shall be bound till the end of the world, when he is to be loosed. Because even now men are, and doubtless to the end of the world shall be, converted to the faith from the unbelief in which he held them. And this strong one is bound in each instance in which he is spoiled of one of his goods; and the abyss in which he is shut up is not at an end when those die who were alive when first he was shut up in it, but these have been succeeded, and shall to the end of the world be succeeded, by others born after them with a like hate of the Christians, and in the depth of whose blind hearts he is continually shut up as in an abyss. But it is a question whether, during these three years and six months when he shall be loose, and raging with all his force, any one who has not previously believed shall attach himself to the faith. For how in that case would the words hold good, "Who entereth into the house of a strong one to spoil his goods, unless first he shall have bound the strong one?" Consequently this verse seems to compel us to believe that during that time, short as it is, no one will be added to the Christian community, but that the devil will make war with those who have previously become Christians, and that, though some of these may be conquered and desert to the devil, these do not belong to the predestinated number of the sons of God. For it is not without reason that John, the same apostle as wrote this Apocalypse, says in his epistle regarding certain persons, "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have remained with us."<38.htm#P3844_2116620">40 But what shall become of the little ones? For it is beyond all belief that in these days there shall not be found some Christian children born, but not yet baptized, and that there shall not also be some born during that very period; and if there be such, we cannot believe that their parents shall not find some way of bringing them to the laver of regeneration. But if this shall be the case, how shall these goods be snatched from the devil when he is loose, since into his house no man enters to spoil his goods unless he has first bound him? On the contrary, we are rather to believe that in these days there shall be no lack either of those who fall away from, or of those who attach themselves to the Church; but there shall be such resoluteness, both in parents to seek baptism for their little ones, and in those who shall then first believe, that they shall conquer that strong one, even though unbound,-that is, shall both vigilantly comprehend, and patiently bear up against him, though employing such wiles and putting forth such force as he never before used; and thus they shall be snatched from him even though unbound. And yet the verse of the Gospel will not be untrue, "Who entereth into the house of the strong one to spoil his goods, unless he shall first have bound the strong one?" For in accordance with this true saying that order is observed-the strong one first bound, and then his goods spoiled; for the Church is so increased by the weak and strong from all nations far and near, that by its most robust faith in things divinely predicted and accomplished, it shall be able to spoil the goods of even the unbound devil. For as we must own that, "when iniquity abounds, the love of many waxes cold,"<38.htm#P3845_2118369">41 and that those who have not been written in the book of life shall in large numbers yield to the severe and unprecedented persecutions and stratagems of the devil now loosed, so we cannot but think that not only those whom that time shall find sound in the faith, but also some who till then shall be without, shall become firm in the faith they have hitherto rejected and mighty to conquer the devil even though unbound, God's grace aiding them to understand the Scriptures, in which, among other things, there is foretold that very end which they themselves see to be arriving. And if this shall be so, his binding is to be spoken of as preceding, that there might follow a spoiling of him both bound and loosed; for it is of this it is said, "Who shall enter into the house of the strong one to spoil his goods, unless he shall first have bound the strong one?"
Chapter 9.-What the Reign of the Saints with Christ for a Thousand Years Is, and How It Differs from the Eternal Kingdom.
But while the devil is bound, the saints reign with Christ during the same thousand years, understood in the same way, that is, of the time of His first coming.<38.htm#P3849_2119537">42 For, leaving out of account that kingdom concerning which He shall say in the end, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, take possession of the kingdom prepared for you,"<38.htm#P3850_2119744">43 the Church could not now be called His kingdom or the kingdom of heaven unless His saints were even now reigning with Him, though in another and far different way; for to His saints He says, "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world."<38.htm#P3851_2120013">44 Certainly it is in this present time that the scribe well instructed in the kingdom of God, and of whom we have already spoken, brings forth from his treasure things new and old. And from the Church those reapers shall gather out the tares which He suffered to grow with the wheat till the harvest, as He explains in the words "The harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered together and burned with fire, so shall it be in the end of the world. The Son of man shall send His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all offenses."<38.htm#P3852_2120635">45 Can He mean out of that kingdom in which are no offenses? Then it must be out of His present kingdom, the Church, that they are gathered. So He says, "He that breaketh one of the least of these commandments, and teacheth men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven: but he that doeth and teacheth thus shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."<38.htm#P3853_2121021">46 He speaks of both as being in the kingdom of heaven, both the man who does not perform the commandments which He teaches,-for "to break" means not to keep, not to perform,-and the man who does and teaches as He did; but the one He calls least, the other great. And He immediately adds, "For I say unto you, that except your righteousness exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees,"-that is, the righteousness of those who break what they teach; for of the scribes and Pharisees He elsewhere says, "For they say and do not;"<38.htm#P3854_2121562">47 -unless therefore, your righteousness exceed theirs that is, so that you do not break but rather do what you teach, "ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven."<38.htm#P3855_2121743">48 We must understand in one sense the kingdom of heaven in which exist together both he who breaks what he teaches and he who does it, the one being least, the other great, and in another sense the kingdom of heaven into which only he who does what he teaches shall enter. Consequently, where both classes exist, it is the Church as it now is, but where only the one shall exist, it is the Church as it is destined to be when no wicked person shall be in her. Therefore the Church even now is the kingdom of Christ, and the kingdom of heaven. Accordingly, even now His saints reign with Him, though otherwise than as they shall reign hereafter; and yet, though the tares grow in the Church along with the wheat, they do not reign with Him. For they reign with Him who do what the apostle says, "If ye be risen with Christ, mind the things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. Seek those things which are above, not the things which are on the earth."<38.htm#P3856_2122737">49 Of such persons he also says that their conversation is in heaven.<38.htm#P3857_2122825">50 In fine, they reign with Him who are so in His kingdom that they themselves are His kingdom. But in what sense are those the kingdom of Christ who, to say no more, though they are in it until all offenses are gathered out of it at the end of the world, yet seek their own things in it, and not the things that are Christ's?<38.htm#P3858_2123169">51
It is then of this kingdom militant, in which conflict with the enemy is still maintained, and war carried on with warring lusts, or government laid upon them as they yield, until we come to that most peaceful kingdom in which we shall reign without an enemy, and it is of this first resurrection in the present life, that the Apocalypse speaks in the words just quoted. For, after saying that the devil is bound a thousand years and is afterwards loosed for a short season, it goes on to give a sketch of what the Church does or of what is done in the Church in those days, in the words, "And I saw seats and them that sat upon them, and judgment was given." It is not to be supposed that this refers to the last judgment, but to the seats of the rulers and to the rulers themselves by whom the Church is now governed. And no better interpretation of judgment being given can be produced than that which we have in the words, "What ye bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and what ye loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."<38.htm#P3860_2124219">52 Whence the apostle says, "What have I to do with judging them that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?"<38.htm#P3861_2124360">53 "And the souls," says John, "of those who were slain for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God,"-understanding what he afterwards says, "reigned with Christ a thousand years,"<38.htm#P3862_2124564">54 -that is, the souls of the martyrs not yet restored to their bodies. For the souls of the pious dead are not separated from the Church, which even now is the kingdom of Christ; otherwise there would be no remembrance made of them at the altar of God in the partaking of the body of Christ, nor would it do any good in danger to run to His baptism, that we might not pass from this life without it; nor to reconciliation, if by penitence or a bad conscience any one may be severed from His body. For why are these things practised, if not because the faithful, even though dead, are His members? Therefore, while these thousand years run on, their souls reign with Him, though not as yet in conjunction with their bodies. And therefore in another part of this same book we read, "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth and now, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; for their works do follow them."<38.htm#P3863_2125516">55 The Church, then, begins its reign with Christ now in the living and in the dead. For, as the apostle says, "Christ died that He might be Lord both of the living and of the dead."<38.htm#P3864_2125715">56 But he mentioned the souls of the martyrs only, because they who have contended even to death for the truth, themselves principally reign after death; but, taking the part for the whole, we understand the words of all others who belong to the Church, which is the kingdom of Christ.
As to the words following, "And if any have not worshipped the beast nor his image, nor have received his inscription on their forehead, or on their hand," we must take them of both the living and the dead. And what this beast is, though it requires a more careful investigation, yet it is not inconsistent with the true faith to understand it of the ungodly city itself, and the community of unbelievers set in opposition to the faithful people and the city of God. "His image" seems to me to mean his simulation, to wit, in those men who profess to believe, but live as unbelievers. For they pretend to be what they are not, and are called Christians, not from a true likeness but from a deceitful image. For to this beast belong not only the avowed enemies of the name of Christ and His most glorious city, but also the tares which are to be gathered out of His kingdom, the Church, in the end of the world. And who are they who do not worship the beast and his image, if not those who do what the apostle says, "Be not yoked with unbelievers?"<38.htm#P3866_2127063">57 For such do not worship, i.e., do not consent, are not subjected; neither do they receive the inscription, the brand of crime, on their forehead by their profession, on their hand by their practice. They, then, who are free from these pollutions, whether they still live in this mortal flesh, or are dead, reign with Christ even now, through this whole interval which is indicated by the thousand years, in a fashion suited to this time.
"The rest of them," he says, "did not live." For now is the hour when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live; and the rest of them shall not live. The words added, "until the thousand years are finished," mean that they did not live in the time in which they ought to have lived by passing from death to life. And therefore, when the day of the bodily resurrection arrives, they shall come out of their graves, not to life, but to judgment, namely, to damnation, which is called the second death. For whosoever has not lived until the thousand years be finished, i.e., during this whole time in which the first resurrection is going on,-whosoever has not heard the voice of the Son of God, and passed from death to life,-that man shall certainly in the second resurrection, the resurrection of the flesh, pass with his flesh into the second death. For he goes to say "This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection," or who experiences it. Now he experiences it who not only revives from the death of sin, but continues in this renewed life. "In these the second death hath no power." Therefore it has power in the rest, of whom he said above, "The rest of them did not live until the thousand years were finished;" for in this whole intervening time called a thousand years, however lustily they lived in the body, they were not quickened to life out of that death in which their wickedness held them, so that by this revived life they should become partakers of the first resurrection, and so the second death should have no power over them.
Chapter 10.-What is to Be Replied to Those Who Think that Resurrection Pertains Only to Bodies and Not to Souls.
There are some who suppose that resurrection can be predicated only of the body, and therefore they contend that this first resurrection (of the Apocalypse) is a bodily resurrection. For, say they, "to rise again" can only be said of things that fall. Now, bodies fall in death.<38.htm#P3871_2129544">58 There cannot, therefore, be a resurrection of souls, but of bodies. But what do they say to the apostle who speaks of a resurrection of souls? For certainly it was in the inner and not the outer man that those had risen again to whom he says, "If ye have risen with Christ, mind the things that are above."<38.htm#P3872_2129937">59 The same sense he elsewhere conveyed in other words, saying, "That as Christ has risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life."<38.htm#P3873_2130125">60 So, too, "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.<38.htm#P3874_2130237">61 " As to what they say about nothing being able to rise again but what falls, whence they conclude that resurrection pertains to bodies only, and not to souls, because bodies fall, why do they make nothing of the words, "Ye that fear the Lord, wait for His mercy; and go not aside lest ye fall;"<38.htm#P3875_2130550">62 and" To his own Master he stands or falls;"<38.htm#P3876_2130614">63 and "He that thinketh he standeth, let him take heed lest he fall?"<38.htm#P3877_2130700">64 For I fancy this fall that we are to take heed against is a fall of the soul, not of the body. If, then, rising again belongs to things that fall, and souls fall, it must be owned that souls also rise again. To the words, "In them the second death hath no power," are added the words, "but they shall be priests of God and Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years;" and this refers not to the bishops alone, and presbyters, who are now specially called priests in the Church; but as we call all believers Christians on account of the mystical chrism, so we call all priests because they are members of the one Priest. Of them the Apostle Peter says, "A holy people, a royal priesthood."<38.htm#P3878_2131415">65 Certainly he implied, though in a passing and incidental way, that Christ is God, saying priests of God and Christ, that is, of the Father and the Son, though it was in His servant-form and as Son of man that Christ was made a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. But this we have already explained more than once.
Chapter 11.-Of Gog and Magog, Who are to Be Roused by the Devil to Persecute the Church, When He is Loosed in the End of the World.
"And when the thousand years are finished, Satan shall be loosed from his prison, and shall go out to seduce the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, and shall draw them to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea." This then, is his purpose in seducing them, to draw them to this battle. For even before this he was wont to use as many and various seductions as he could continue. And the words "he shall go out" mean, he shall burst forth from lurking hatred into open persecution. For this persecution, occurring while the final judgment is imminent, shall be the last which shall be endured by the holy Church throughout the world, the whole city of Christ being assailed by the whole city of the devil, as each exists on earth. For these nations which he names Cog and Magog are not to be understood of some barbarous nations in some part of the world, whether the Getae and Massagetae, as some conclude from the initial letters, or some other foreign nations not under the Roman government. For John marks that they are spread over the whole earth, when he says, "The nations which are in the four corners of the earth," and he added that these are Gog and Magog. The meaning of these names we find to be, Cog, "a roof," Magog, "from a roof,"-a house, as it were, and he who comes out of the house. They are therefore the nations in which we found that the devil was shut up as in an abyss, and the devil himself coming out from them and going forth, so that they are the roof, he from the roof. Or if we refer both words to the nations, not one to them and one to the devil, then they are both the roof, because in them the old enemy is at present shut up, and as it were roofed in; and they shall be from the roof when they break forth from concealed to open hatred. The words, "And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and encompassed the camp of the saints and the beloved city," do not mean that they have come, or shall come, to one place, as if the camp of the saints and the beloved city should be in some one place; for this camp is nothing else than the Church of Christ extending over the whole world. And consequently wherever the Church shall be,-and it shall be in all nations, as is signified by "the breadth of the earth,"-there also shall be the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and there it shall be encompassed by the savage persecution of all its enemies; for they too shall exist along with it in all nations,-that is, it shall be straitened, and hard pressed, and shut up in the straits of tribulation, but shall not desert its military duty, which is signified by the word "camp."
Chapter 12.-Whether the Fire that Came Down Out of Heaven and Devoured Them Refers to the Last Punishment of the Wicked.
The words, "And fire came down out of heaven and devoured them," are not to be understood of the final punishment which shall be inflicted when it is said, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire;"<38.htm#P3885_2134877">66 for then they shall be cast into the fire, not fire come down out of heaven upon them. In this place "fire out of heaven" is well understood of the firmness of the saints, wherewith they refuse to yield obedience to those who rage against them. For the firmament is "heaven," by whose firmness these assailants shall be pained with blazing zeal, for they shall be impotent to draw away the saints to the party of Antichrist. This is the fire which shall devour them, and this is "from God;" for it is by God's grace the saints become unconquerable, and so torment their enemies. For as in a good sense it is said, "The zeal of Thine house hath consumed me,"<38.htm#P3886_2135556">67 so in a bad sense it is said, "Zeal hath possessed the uninstructed people, and now fire shall consume the enemies."<38.htm#P3887_2135691">68 "And now," that is to say, not the fire of the last judgment. Or if by this fire coming down out of heaven and consuming them, John meant that blow wherewith Christ in His coming is to strike those persecutors of the Church whom He shall then find alive upon earth, when He shall kill Antichrist with the breath of His mouth,<38.htm#P3888_2136038">69 then even this is not the last judgment of the wicked; but the last judgment is that which they shall suffer when the bodily resurrection has taken place.
Chapter 13.-Whether the Time of the Persecution or Antichrist Should Be Reckoned in the Thousand Years.
This last persecution by Antichrist shall last for three years and six months, as we have already said, and as is affirmed both in the book of Revelation and by Daniel the prophet. Though this time is brief, yet not without reason is it questioned whether it is comprehended in the thousand years in which the devil is bound and the saints reign with Christ, or whether this little season should be added over and above to these years. For if we say that they are included in the thousand years, then the saints reign with Christ during a more protracted period than the devil is bound. For they shall reign with their King and Conqueror mightily even in that crowning persecution when the devil shall now be unbound and shall rage against them with all his might. How then does Scripture define both the binding of the devil and the reign of the saints by the same thousand years, if the binding of the devil ceases three years and six months before this reign of the saints with Christ? On the other hand, if we say that the brief space of this persecution is not to be reckoned as a part of the thousand years, but rather as an additional period, we shall indeed be able to interpret the words, "The priests of God and of Christ shall reign with Him a thousand years; and when the thousand years shall be finished, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison;" for thus they signify that the reign of the saints and the bondage of the devil shall cease simultaneously, so that the time of the persecution we speak of should be contemporaneous neither with the reign of the saints nor with the imprisonment of Satan, but should be reckoned over and above as a superadded portion of time. But then in this case we are forced to admit that the saints shall not reign with Christ during that persecution. But who can dare to say that His members shall not reign with Him at that very juncture when they shall most of all, and with the greatest fortitude, cleave to Him, and when the glory of resistlance and the crown of martyrdom shall be more conspicuous in proportion to the hotness of the battle? Or if it is suggested that they may be said not to reign, because of the tribulations which they shall suffer, it will follow that all the saints who have formerly, during the thousand years, suffered tribulation, shall not be said to have reigned with Christ during the period of their tribulation, and consequently even those whose souls the author of this book says that he saw, and who were slain for the testimony of Jesus and the word of God, did not reign with Christ when they were suffering persecution, and they were not themselves the kingdom of Christ, though Christ was then pre-eminently possessing them. This is indeed perfectly absurd, and to be scouted. But assuredly the victorious souls of the glorious martyrs having overcome and finished all griefs and toils, and having laid down their mortal members, have reigned and do reign with Christ till the thousand years are finished, that they may afterwards reign with Him when they have received their immortal bodies. And therefore during these three years and a half the souls of those who were slain for His testimony, both those which formerly passed from the body and those which shall pass in that last persecution, shall reign with Him till the mortal world come to an end, and pass into that kingdom in which there shall be no death. And thus the reign of the saints with Christ shall last longer than the bonds and imprisonment of the devil, because they shall reign with their King the Son of God for these three years and a half during which the devil is no longer bound. It remains, therefore, that when we read that "the priests of God and of Christ shall reign with Him a thousand years; and when the thousand years are finished, the devil shall be loosed from his imprisonment," that we understand either that the thousand years of the reign of the saints does not terminate, though the imprisonment of the devil does,-so that both parties have their thousand years, that is, their complete time, yet each with a different actual duration approriate to itself, the kingdom of the saints being longer, the imprisonment of the devil shorter, -or at least that, as three years and six months is a very short time, it is not reckoned as either deducted from the whole time of Satan's imprisonment, or as added to the whole duration of the reign of the saints, as we have shown above in the sixteenth book<38.htm#P3892_2140797">70 regarding the round number of four hundred years, which were specified as four hundred, though actually somewhat more; and similar expressions are often found in the sacred writings, if one will mark them.
Chapter 14.-Of the Damnation of the Devil and His Adherents; And a Sketch of the Bodily Resurrection of All the Dead, and of the Final Retributive Judgment.
After this mention of the closing persecution, he summarily indicates all that the devil, and the city of which he is the prince, shall suffer in the last judgment. For he says, "And the devil who seduced them is cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, in which are the beast and the false prophet, and they shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever." We have already said that by the beast is well understood the wicked city. His false prophet is either Antichrist or that image or figment of which we have spoken in the same place. After this he gives a brief narrative of the last judgment itself, which shall take place at the second or bodily resurrection of the dead, as it had been revealed to him: "I saw a throne great and white, and One sitting on it from whose face the heaven and the earth fled away, and their place was not found." He does not say, "I saw a throne great and white, and One sitting on it, and from His face the heaven and the earth fled away," for it had not happened then, i.e., before the living and the dead were judged; but he says that he saw Him sitting on the throne from whose face heaven and earth fled away, but afterwards. For when the judgment is finished, this heaven and earth shall cease to be, and there will be a new heaven and a new earth. For this world shall pass away by transmutation, not by absolute destruction. And therefore the apostle says, "For the figure of this world passeth away. I would have you be without anxiety."<38.htm#P3896_2142661">71 The figure, therefore, passes away, not the nature. After John had said that he had seen One sitting on the throne from whose face heaven and earth fled, though not till afterwards, he said, "And I saw the dead, great and small: and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of the life of each man: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their deeds." He said that the books were opened, and a book; but he left us at a loss as to the nature of this book, "which is," he says, "the book of the life of each man." By those books, then, which he first mentioned, we are to understand the sacred books old and new, that out of them it might be shown what commandments God had enjoined; and that book of the life of each man is to show what commandments each man has done or omitted to do. If this book be materially considered, who can reckon its size or length, or the time it would take to read a book in which the whole life of every man is recorded? Shall there be present as many angels as men, and shall each man hear his life recited by the angel assigned to him? In that case there will be not one book containing all the lives, but a separate book for every life. But our passage requires us to think of one only. "And another book was opened," it says. We must therefore understand it of a certain divine power, by which it shall be brought about that every one shall recall to memory all his own works, whether good or evil, and shall mentally survey them with a marvellous rapidity, so that this knowledge will either accuse or excuse conscience, and thus all and each shall be simultaneously judged. And this divine power is called a book, because in it we shall as it were read all that it causes us to remember. That he may show who the dead, small and great, are who are to be judged, he recurs to this which he had omitted or rather deferred, and says, "And the sea presented the dead which were in it; and death and hell gave up the dead which were in them." This of course took place before the dead were judged, yet it is mentioned after. And so, I say, he returns again to what he had omitted. But now he preserves the order of events, and for the sake of exhibiting it repeats in its own proper place what he had already said regarding the dead who were judged. For after he had said, "And the sea presented the dead which were in it, and death and hell gave up the dead which were in them," he immediately subjoined what he had already said, "and they were judged every man according to their works." For this is just what he had said before, "And the dead were judged according to their works."
Chapter 15.-Who the Dead are Who are Given Up to Judgment by the Sea, and by Death and Hell.
But who are the dead which were in the sea, and which the sea presented? For we cannot suppose that those who die in the sea are not in hell, nor that their bodies are preserved in the sea; nor yet, which is still more absurd, that the sea retained the good, while hell received the bad. Who could believe this? But some very sensibly suppose that in this place the sea is put for this world. When John then wished to signify that those whom Christ should find still alive in the body were to be judged along with those who should rise again, he called them dead, both the good to whom it is said, "For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God,"<39.htm#P3900_2146134">72 and the wicked of whom it is said, "Let the dead bury their dead."<39.htm#P3901_2146219">73 They may also be called dead, because they wear mortal bodies, as the apostle says, "The body indeed is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness;"<39.htm#P3902_2146416">74 proving that in a living man in the body there is both a body which is dead, and a spirit which is life. Yet he did not say that the body was mortal, but dead, although immediately after he speaks in the more usual way of mortal bodies. These, then, are the dead which were in the sea, and which the sea presented, to wit, the men who were in this world, because they had not yet died, and whom the world presented for judgment. "And death and hell," he says, "gave up the dead which were in them." The sea presented them because they had merely to be found in the place where they were; but death and hell gave them up or restored them, because they called them back to life, which they had already quitted. And perhaps it was not without reason that neither death nor hell were judged sufficient alone, and both were mentioned,-death to indicate the good, who have suffered only death and not hell; hell to indicate the wicked, who suffer also the punishment of hell. For if it does not seem absurd to believe that the ancient saints who believed in Christ and His then future coming, were kept in places far removed indeed from the torments of the wicked, but yet in hell, until Christ's blood and His descent into these places delivered them, certainly good Christians, redeemed by that precious price already paid, are quite unacquainted with hell while they wait for their restoration to the body, and the reception of their reward. After saying, "They were judged every man according to their works," he briefly added what the judgment was: "Death and hell were cast into the lake of fire;" by these names designating the devil and the whole company of his angels, for he is the author of death and the pains of hell. For this is what he had already, by anticipation, said in clearer language: "The devil who seduced them was cast into a lake of fire and brimstone." The obscure addition he had made in the words, "in which were also the beast and the false prophet," he here explains, "They who were not found written in the book of life were cast into the lake of fire." This book is not for reminding God, as if things might escape Him by forgetfulness, but it symbolizes His predestination of those to whom eternal life shall be given. For it is not that God is ignorant, and reads in the book to inform Himself, but rather His infallible prescience is the book of life in which they are written, that is to say, known beforehand
Chapter 16.-Of the New Heaven and the New Earth.
Having finished the prophecy of judgment, so far as the wicked are concerned, it remains that he speak also of the good. Having briefly explained the Lord's words, "These will go away into everlasting punishment," it remains that he explain the connected words, "but the righteous into life eternal." "And I saw," he says, "a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth have passed away; and there is no more sea."<39.htm#P3908_2149490">77 This will take place in the order which he has by anticipation declared in the words, "I saw One sitting on the throne, from whose face heaven and earth fled." For as soon as those who are not written in the book of life have been judged and cast into eternal fire,-the nature of which fire, or its position in the world or universe, I suppose is known to no man, unless perhaps the divine Spirit reveal it to some one,-then shall the figure of this world pass away in a conflagration of universal fire, as once before the world was flooded with a deluge of universal water. And by this universal conflagration the qualities of the corruptible elements which suited our corruptible bodies shall utterly perish, and our substance shall receive such qualities as shall, by a wonderful transmutation, harmonize with our immortal bodies, so that, as the world itself is renewed to some better thing, it is fitly accommodated to men, themselves renewed in their flesh to some better thing. As for the statement, "And there shall be no more sea," I would not lightly say whether it is dried up with that excessive heat, or is itself also turned into some better thing. For we read that there shall be a new heaven and a new earth, but I do not remember to have anywhere read anything of a new sea, unless what I find in this same book, "As it were a sea of glass like crystal " But he was not then speaking of this end of the world, neither does he seem to speak of a literal sea, but "as it were a sea." It is possible that, as prophetic diction delights in mingling figurative and real language, and thus in some sort veiling the sense, so the words "And there is no more sea" may be taken in the same sense as the previous phrase, "And the sea presented the dead which were in it." For then there shall be no more of this world, no more of the surgings and restlessness of human life, and it is this which is symbolized by the sea.
Chapter 17.-Of the Endless Glory of the Church.
"And I saw," he says, "a great city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice from the throne, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, but neither shall there be any more pain: because the former things have passed away. And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new."<39.htm#P3913_2152092">79 This city is said to come down out of heaven, because the grace with which God formed it is of heaven. Wherefore He says to it by Isaiah, "I am the Lord that formed thee."<39.htm#P3914_2152284">80 It is indeed descended from heaven from its commencement, since its citizens during the course of this world grow by the grace of God, which cometh down from above through the laver of regeneration in the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. But by God's final judgment, which shall be administered by His Son Jesus Christ, there shall by God's grace be manifested a glory so pervading and so new, that no vestige of what is old shall remain; for even our bodies shall pass from their old corruption and mortality to new incorruption and immortality. For to refer this promise to the present time, in which the saints are reigning with their King a thousand years, seems to me excessively barefaced, when it is most distinctly said, "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, but there shall be no more pain." And who is so absurd, and blinded by contentious opinionativeness, as to be audacious enough to affirm that in the midst of the calamities of this mortal state, God's people, or even one single saint, does live, or has ever lived, or shall ever live, without tears or pain, -the fact being that the holier a man is, and the fuller of holy desire, so much the more abundant is the tearfulness of his supplication? Are not these the utterances of a citizen of the heavenly Jerusalem: "My tears have been my meat day and night;"<39.htm#P3915_2153702">81 and "Every night shall I make my bed to swim; with my tears shall I water my couch;"<39.htm#P3916_2153805">82 and "My groaning is not hid from Thee;"<39.htm#P3917_2153862">83 and "My sorrow was renewed?"<39.htm#P3918_2153912">84 Or are not those God's children who groan, being burdened, not that they wish to be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality may be swallowed up of life?<39.htm#P3919_2154088">85 Do not they even who have the first-fruits of the Spirit groan within themselves, waiting for the adoption, the redemption of their body?<39.htm#P3920_2154244">86 Was not the Apostle Paul himself a citizen of the heavenly Jerusalem, and was he not so all the more when he had heaviness and continual sorrow of heart for his Israelitish brethren?<39.htm#P3921_2154447">87 But when shall there be no more death in that city, except when it shall be said, "O death, where is thy contention?<39.htm#P3922_2154582">88 O death, where is thy sting? The sting of death is sin."<39.htm#P3923_2154783">89 Obviously there shall be no sin when it can be said, "Where is "-But as for the present it is not some poor weak citizen of this city, but this same Apostle John himself who says, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."<39.htm#P3924_2155066">90 No doubt, though this book is called the Apocalypse, there are in it many obscure passages to exercise the mind of the reader, and there are few passages so plain as to assist us in the interpretation of the others, even though we take pains; and this difficulty is increased by the repetition of the same things, in forms so different, that the things referred to seem to be different, although in fact they are only differently stated. But in the words, "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, but there shall be no more pain," there is so manifest a reference to the future world and the immortality and eternity of the saints,-for only then and only there shall such a condition be realized,-that if we think this obscure, we need not expect to find anything plain in any part of Scripture.
Chapter 18.-What the Apostle Peter Predicted Regarding the Last Judgment.
Let us now see what the Apostle Peter predicted concerning this judgment. "There shall come," he says, "in the last days scoffers. . . . Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness."<39.htm#P3928_2156273">91 There is nothing said here about the resurrection of the dead, but enough certainly regarding the destruction of this world. And by his reference to the deluge he seems as it were to suggest to us how far we should believe the ruin of the world will extend in the end of the world. For he says that the world which then was perished, and not only the earth itself, but also the heavens, by which we understand the air, the place and room of which was occupied by the water. Therefore the whole, or almost the whole, of the gusty atmosphere (which he calls heaven, or rather the heavens, meaning the earth's atmosphere, and not the upper air in which sun, moon, and stars are set) was turned into moisture, and in this way perished together with the earth, whose former appearance had been destroyed by the deluge. "But the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men." Therefore the heavens and the earth, or the world which was preserved from the water to stand in place of that world which perished in the flood, is itself reserved to fire at last in the day of the judgment and perdition of ungodly men. He does not hesitate to affirm that in this great change men also shall perish: their nature, however, shall notwithstanding continue, though in eternal punishments. Some one will perhaps put the question, If after judgment is pronounced the world itself is to burn, where shall the saints be during the conflagration, and before it is replaced by a new heavens and a new earth, since somewhere they must be, because they have material bodies? We may reply that they shall be in the upper regions into which the flame of that conflagration shall not ascend, as neither did the water of the flood; for they shall have such bodies that they shall be wherever they wish. Moreover, when they have become immortal and incorruptible, they shall not greatly dread the blaze of that conflagration, as the corruptible and mortal bodies of the three men were able to live unhurt in the blazing furnace.
Chapter 19.-What the Apostle Paul Wrote to the Thessalonians About the Manifestation of Antichrist Which Shall Precede the Day of the Lord.
I see that I must omit many of the statements of the gospels and epistles about this last judgment, that this volume may not become unduly long; but I can on no account omit what the Apostle Paul says, in writing to the Thessalonians, "We beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,"<39.htm#P3932_2158884">92 etc.
No one can doubt that he wrote this of Antichrist and of the day of judgment, which he here calls the day of the Lord, nor that he declared that this day should not come unless he first came who is called the apostate -apostate, to wit, from the Lord God. And if this may justly be said of all the ungodly, how much more of him? But it is uncertain in what temple he shall sit, whether in that ruin of the temple which was built by Solomon, or in the Church; for the apostle would not call the temple of any idol or demon the temple of God. And on this account some think that in this passage Antichrist means not the prince himself alone, but his whole body, that is, the mass of men who adhere to him, along with him their prince; and they also think that we should render the Greek more exactly were we to read, not "in the temple of God," but "for" or "as the temple of God," as if he himself were the temple of God, the Church.<39.htm#P3934_2159940">93 Then as for the words, "And now ye know what withholdeth," i.e., ye know what hindrance or cause of delay there is, "that he might be revealed in his own time;" they show that he was unwilling to make an explicit statement, because he said that they knew. And thus we who have not their knowledge wish and are not able even with pains to understand what the apostle referred to, especially as his meaning is made still more obscure by what he adds. For what does he mean by "For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now holdeth, let him hold until he be taken out of the way: and then shall the wicked be revealed?" I frankly confess I do not know what he means. I will nevertheless mention such conjectures as I have heard or read.
Some think that the Apostle Paul referred to the Roman empire, and that he was unwilling to use language more explicit, lest he should incur the calumnious charge of wishing ill to the empire which it was hoped would be eternal; so that in saying, "For the mystery of iniquity doth already work," he alluded to Nero, whose deeds already seemed to be as the deeds of Antichrist. And hence some suppose that he shall rise again and be Antichrist. Others, again, suppose that he is not even dead, but that he was concealed that he might be supposed to have been killed, and that he now lives in concealment in the vigor of that same age which he had reached when he was believed to have perished, and will live until he is revealed in his own time and restored to his kingdom.<39.htm#P3936_2161605">94 But I wonder that men can be so audacious in their conjectures. However, it is not absurd to believe that these words of the apostle, "Only he who now holdeth, let him hold until he be taken out of the way," refer to the Roman empire, as if it were said, "Only he who now reigneth, let him reign until he be taken out of the way." "And then shall the wicked be revealed:" no one doubts that this means Antichrist. But others think that the words, "Ye know what withholdeth," and "The mystery of iniquity worketh," refer only to the wicked and the hypocrites who are in the Church, until they reach a number so great as to furnish Antichrist with a great people, and that this is the mystery of iniquity, because it seems hidden; also that the apostle is exhorting the faithful tenaciously to hold the faith they hold when he says, "Only he who now holdeth, let him hold until he be taken out of the way," that is, until the mystery of iniquity which now is hidden departs from the Church. For they suppose that it is to this same mystery John alludes when in his epistle he says, "Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us."<39.htm#P3937_2163002">95 As therefore there went out from the Church many heretics, whom John calls "many antichrists," at that time prior to the end, and which John calls "the last time," so in the end they shall go out who do not belong to Christ, but to that last Antichrist, and then he shall be revealed.
Thus various, then, are the conjectural explanations of the obscure words of the apostle. That which there is no doubt he said is this, that Christ will not come to judge quick and dead unless Antichrist, His adversary, first come to seduce those who are dead in soul; although their seduction is a result of God's secret judgment already passed. For, as it is said "his presence shall be after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and with all seduction of unrighteousness in them that perish." For then shall Satan be loosed, and by means of that Antichrist shall work with all power in a lying though a wonderful manner. It is commonly questioned whether these works are called "signs and lying wonders" because he is to deceive men's senses by false appearances, or because the things he does, though they be true prodigies, shall be a lie to those who shall believe that such things could be done only by God, being ignorant of the devil's power, and especially of such unexampled power as he shall then for the first time put forth. For when he fell from heaven as fire, and at a stroke swept away from the holy Job his numerous household and his vast flocks, and then as a whirlwind rushed upon and smote the house and killed his children, these were not deceitful appearances, and yet they were the works of Satan to whom God had given this power. Why they are called signs and lying wonders, we shall then be more likely to know when the time itself arrives. But whatever be the reason of the name, they shall be such signs and wonders as shall seduce those who shall deserve to be seduced, "because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved." Neither did the apostle scruple to go on to say, "For this cause God shall send upon them the working of error that they should believe a lie." For God shall send, because God shall permit the devil to do these things, the permission being by His own just judgment, though the doing of them is in pursuance of the devil's unrighteous and malignant purpose, "that they all might be judged who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." Therefore, being judged, they shall be seduced, and, being seduced, they shall be judged. But, being judged, they shall be seduced by those secretly just and justly secret judgments of God, with which He has never ceased to judge since the first sin of the rational creatures; and, being seduced, they shall be judged in that last and manifest judgment administered by Jesus Christ, who was Himself most unjustly judged and shall most justly judge.
Chapter 20.-What the Same Apostle Taught in the First Epistle to the Thessalonians Regarding the Resurrection of the Dead.
But the apostle has said nothing here regarding, the resurrection of the dead; but in his first Epistle to the Thessalonians he says, "We would not have you to be ignorant brethren, concerning them which are asleep,"<39.htm#P3942_2166260">96 etc. These words of the apostle most distinctly proclaim the future resurrection of the dead, when the Lord Christ shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
But it is commonly asked whether those whom our Lord shall find alive upon earth, personated in this passage by the apostle and those who were alive with him, shall never die at all, or shall pass with incomprehensible swiftness through death to immortality in the very moment during which they shall be caught up along with those who rise again to meet the Lord in the air? For we cannot say that it is impossible that they should both die and revive again while they are carried aloft through the air. For the words, "And so shall we ever be with the Lord," are not to be understood as if he meant that we shall always remain in the air with the Lord; for He Himself shall not remain there, but shall only pass through it as He comes. For we shall go to meet Him as He comes, not where He remains; but "so shall we be with the Lord," that is, we shall be with Him possessed of immortal bodies wherever we shall be with Him. We seem compelled to take the words in this sense, and to suppose that those whom the Lord shall find alive upon earth shall in that brief space both suffer death and receive immortality: for this same apostle says, "In Christ shall all be made alive;"<39.htm#P3944_2167622">97 while, speaking of the same resurrection of the body, he elsewhere says, "That which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die."<39.htm#P3945_2167773">98 How, then, shall those whom Christ shall find alive upon earth be made alive to immortality in Him if they die not, since on this very account it is said, "That which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die?" Or if we cannot properly speak of human bodies as sown, unless in so far as by dying they do in some sort return to the earth, as also the sentence pronounced by God against the sinning father of the human race runs, "Earth thou art, and unto earth shalt thou return,"<39.htm#P3946_2168275">99 we must acknowledge that those whom Christ at His coming shall find still in the body are not included in these words of the apostle nor in those of Genesis; for, being caught up into the clouds, they are certainly not sown, neither going nor returning to the earth, whether they experience no death at all or die for a moment in the air.
But, on the other hand, there meets us the saying of the same apostle when he was speaking to the Corinthians about the resurrection of the body, "We shall all rise," or, as other mss. read, "We shall all sleep."<39.htm#P3948_2168846">100 Since, then, there can be no resurrection unless death has preceded, and since we can in this passage understand by sleep nothing else than death, how shall all either sleep or rise again if so many persons whom Christ shall find in the body shall neither sleep nor rise again? If, then, we believe that the saints who shall be found alive at Christ's coming, and shall be caught up to meet Him, shall in that same ascent pass from mortal to immortal bodies, we shall find no difficulty in the words of the apostle, either when he says, "That which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die," or when he says, "We Shall all rise," or "all sleep," for not even the saints shall be quickened to immortality unless they first die, however briefly; and consequently they shall not be exempt from resurrection which is preceded by sleep, however brief. And why should it seem to us incredible that that multitude of bodies should be, as it were, sown in the air, and should in the air forthwith revive immortal and incorruptible, when we believe, on the testimony of the same apostle, that the resurrection shall take place in the twinkling of an eye, and that the dust of bodies long dead shall return with incomprehensible facility and swiftness to those members that are now to live endlessly? Neither do we suppose that in the case of these saints the sentence, "Earth thou art, and unto earth shalt thou return," is null, though their bodies do not, on dying, fall to earth, but both die and rise again at once while caught up into the air. For "Thou shalt return to earth" means, Thou shalt at death return to that which thou weft before life began. Thou shalt, when examinate, be that which thou weft before thou wast animate. For it was into a face of earth that God breathed the breath of life when man was made a living soul; as if it were said, Thou art earth with a soul, which thou wast not; thou shalt be earth without a soul, as thou wast. And this is what all bodies of the dead are before they rot; and what the bodies of those saints shall be if they die, no matter where they die, as soon as they shall give up that life which they are immediately to receive back again. In this way, then, they return or go to earth, inasmuch as from being living men they shall be earth, as that which becomes cinder is said to go to cinder; that which decays, to go to decay; and so of six hundred other things. But the manner in which this shall take place we can now only feebly conjecture, and shall understand it only when it comes to pass. For that there shall be a bodily resurrection of the dead when Christ comes to judge quick and dead, we must believe if we would be Christians. But if we are unable perfectly to comprehend the manner in which it shall take place, our faith is not on this account vain. Now, however, we ought, as we formerly promised, to show, as far as seems necessary, what the ancient prophetic books predicted concerning this final judgment of God; and I fancy no great time need be spent in discussing and explaining these predictions, if the reader has been careful to avail himself of the help we have already furnished.
Chapter 21.-Utterances of the Prophet Isaiah Regarding the Resurrection of the Dead and the Retributive Judgment.
The prophet Isaiah says, "The dead shall rise again, and all who were in the graves shall rise again; and all who are in the earth shall rejoice: for the dew which is from Thee is their health, and the earth of the wicked shall fall."<39.htm#P3952_2172374">101 All the former part of this passage relates to the resurrection of the blessed; but the words, "the earth of the wicked shall fall," is rightly understood as meaning that the bodies of the wicked shall fall into the ruin of damnation. And if we would more exactly and carefully scrutinize the words which refer to the resurrection of the good, we may refer to the first resurrection the words, "the dead shall rise again," and to the second the following words, "and all who were in the graves shall rise again." And if we ask what relates to those saints whom the Lord at His coming shall find alive upon earth, the following clause may suitably be referred to them; "All who are in the earth shall rejoice: for the dew which is from Thee is their health." By "health" in this place it is best to understand immortality. For that is the most perfect health which is not repaired by nourishment as by a daily remedy. In like manner the same prophet, affording hope to the good and terrifying the wicked regarding the day of judgment, says, "Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will flow down upon them as a river of peace, and upon the glory of the Gentiles as a rushing torrent; their sons shall be carried on the shoulders, and shall be comforted on the knees. As one whom his mother comforteth, so shall I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem. And ye shall see, and your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall rise up like a herb; and the hand of the Lord shall be known by His worshippers, and He shall threaten the contumacious. For, behold, the Lord shall come as a fire, and as a whirlwind His chariots, to execute vengeance with indignation, and wasting with a flame of fire. For with fire of the Lord shall all the earth be judged, and all flesh with His sword: many shall be wounded by the Lord."<39.htm#P3953_2174216">102 In His promise to the good he says that He will flow down as a river of peace, that is to say, in the greatest possible abundance of peace. With this peace we shall in the end be refreshed; but of this we have spoken abundantly in the preceding book. It is this river in which he says He shall flow down upon those to whom He promises so great happiness, that we may understand that in the region of that felicity, which is in heaven, all things are satisfied from this river. But because there shall thence flow, even upon earthly bodies, the peace of incorruption and immortality, therefore he says that He shall flow down as this river, that He may as it were pour Himself from things above to things beneath, and make men the equals of the angels. By "Jerusalem," too, we should understand not that which serves with her children, but that which, according to the apostle, is our free mother, eternal in the heavens.<39.htm#P3954_2175163">103 In her we shall be comforted as we pass toilworn from earth's cards and calamities, and be taken up as her children on her knees and shoulders. Inexperienced and new to such blandishments, we shall be received into unwonted bliss. There we shall see, and our heart shall rejoice. He does not say what we shall see; but what but God, that the promise in the Gospel may be fulfilled in us, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God?"<39.htm#P3955_2175628">104 What shall we see but all those things which now we see not, but believe in, and of which the idea we form, according to our feeble capacity, is incomparably less than the reality? "And ye shall see," he says, "and your heart shall rejoice." Here ye believe, there ye shall see.
But because he said, "Your heart shall rejoice," lest we should suppose that the blessings of that Jerusalem are only spiritual, he adds, "And your bones shall rise up like a herb," alluding to the resurrection of the body, and as it were supplying an omission he had made. For it will not take place when we have seen; but we shall see when it has taken place. For he had already spoken of the new heavens and the new earth, speaking repeatedly, and under many figures, of the things promised to the saints, and saying,"There shall be new heavens, and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered nor come into mind; but they shall find in it gladness and exultation. Behold, I will make Jerusalem an exultation, and my people a joy. And I will exult in Jerusalem, and joy in my people; and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her;"<39.htm#P3957_2176778">105 and other promises, which some endeavor to refer to carnal enjoyment during the thousand years. For, in the manner of prophecy, figurative and literal expressions are mingled, so that a serious mind may, by useful and salutary effort, reach the spiritual sense; but carnal sluggishness, or the slowness of an uneducated and undisciplined mind, rests in the superficial letter, and thinks there is nothing beneath to be looked for. But let this be enough regarding the style of those prophetic expressions just quoted. And now, to return to their interpretation. When he had said, "And your bones shall rise up like a herb," in order to show that it was the resurrection of the good, though a bodily resurrection, to which he alluded, he added, "And the hand of the Lord shall be known by His worshippers." What is this but the hand of Him who distinguishes those who worship from those who despise Him? Regarding these the context immediately adds, "And He shall threaten the contumacious," or, as another translator has it, "the unbelieving." He shall not actually threaten then, but the threats which are now uttered shall then be fulfilled in effect. "For behold," he says, "the Lord shall come as a fire, and as a whirlwind His chariots, to execute vengeance with indignation, and wasting with a flame of fire. For with fire of the Lord shall all the earth be judged, and all flesh with His sword: many shall be wounded by the Lord." By fire, whirlwind, sword, he means the judicial punishment of God. For he says that the Lord Himself shall come as a fire, to those, that is to say, to whom His coming shall be penal. By His chariots (for the word is plural)we suitably understand the ministration of angels. And when he says that all flesh and all the earth shall be judged with His fire and sword, we do not understand the spiritual and holy to be included, but the earthly and carnal, of whom it is said that they "mind earthly things,"<39.htm#P3958_2178747">106 and "to be carnally minded is death,"<39.htm#P3959_2178807">107 and whom the Lord calls simply flesh when He says, "My Spirit shall not always remain in these men, for they are flesh."<39.htm#P3960_2178949">108 As to the words, "Many shall be wounded by the Lord," this wounding shall produce the second death. It is possible, indeed, to understand fire, sword, and wound in a good sense. For the Lord said that He wished to send fire on the earth.<39.htm#P3961_2179206">109 And the cloven tongues appeared to them as fire when the Holy Spirit came.<39.htm#P3962_2179302">110 And our Lord says, "I am not come to send peace on earth, but a sword."<39.htm#P3963_2179393">111 And Scripture says that the word of God is a doubly sharp sword,<39.htm#P3964_2179478">112 on account of the two edges, the two Testaments. And in the Song of Songs the holy Church says that she is wounded with love,<39.htm#P3965_2179624">113 -pierced, as it were, with the arrow of love. But here, where we read or hear that the Lord shall come to execute vengeance, it is obvious in what sense we are to understand these expressions.
After briefly mentioning those who shall be consumed in this judgment, speaking of the wicked and sinners under the figure of the meats forbidden by the old law, from which they had not abstained, he summarily recounts the grace of the new testament, from the first coming of the Saviour to the last judgment, of which we now speak; and herewith he concludes his prophecy. For he relates that the Lord declares that He is coming to gather all nations, that they may come and witness His glory.<39.htm#P3967_2180337">114 For, as the apostle says, "All have sinned and are in want of the glory of God."<39.htm#P3968_2180440">115 And he says that He will do wonders among them, at which they shall marvel and believe in Him; and that from them He will send forth those that are saved into various nations, and distant islands which have not heard His name nor seen His glory, and that they shall declare His glory among the nations, and shall bring the brethren of those to whom the prophet was speaking, i.e., shall bring to the faith under God the Father the brethren of the elect Israelites; and that they shall bring from all nations an offering to the Lord on beasts of burden and waggons (which are understood to mean the aids furnished by God in the shape of angelic or human ministry), to the holy city Jerusalem, which at present is scattered over the earth, in the faithful saints. For where divine aid is given, men believe, and where they believe, they come. And the Lord compared them, in a figure, to the children of Israel offering sacrifice to Him in His house with psalms, which is already everywhere done by the Church; and He promised that from among them He would choose for Himself priests and Levites, which also we see already accomplished. For we see that priests and Levites are now chosen, not from a certain family and blood, as was originally the rule in the priesthood according to the order of Aaron, but as befits the new testament, under which Christ is the High Priest after the order of Melchisedec, in consideration of the merit which is bestowed upon each man by divine grace. And these priests are not to be judged by their mere title, which is often borne by unworthy men, but by that holiness which is not common to good men and bad.
After having thus spoken of this mercy of God which is now experienced by the Church, and is very evident and familiar to us, he foretells also the ends to which men shall come when the last judgment has separated the good and the bad, saying by the prophet, or the prophet himself speaking for God, "For as the new heavens and the new earth shall remain before me, said the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain, and there shall be to them month after month, and Sabbath after Sabbath. All flesh shall come to worship before me in Jerusalem, said the Lord. And they shall go out, and shall see the members of the men who have sinned against me: their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be for a spectacle to all flesh."<39.htm#P3970_2182871">116 At this point the prophet closed his book, as at this point the world shall come to an end. Some, indeed, have translated "carcass"<39.htm#P3971_2183028">117 instead of "members of the men," meaning by carcases the manifest punishment of the body, although carcase is commonly used only of dead flesh, while the bodies here spoken of shall be animated, else they could not be sensible of any pain; but perhaps they may, without absurdity, be called carcases, as being the bodies of those who are to fall into the second death. And for the same reason it is said, as I have already quoted, by this same prophet, "The earth of the wicked shall fall."<39.htm#P3972_2183560">118 It is obvious that those translators who use a different word for men do not mean to include only males, for no one will say that the women who sinned shall not appear in that judgment; but the male sex, being the more worthy, and that from which the woman was derived, is intended to include both sexes. But that which is especially pertinent to our subject is this, that since the words "All flesh shall come," apply to the good, for the people of God shall be composed of every race of men,-for all men shall not be present, since the greater part shall be in punishment,-but, as I was saying, since flesh is used of the good, and members or carcases of the bad, certainly it is thus put beyond a doubt that that judgment in which the good and the bad shall be allotted to their destinies shall take place after the resurrection of the body, our faith in which is thoroughly established by the use of these words.
Chapter 22.-What is Meant by the Good Going Out to See the Punishment of the Wicked.
But in what way shall the good go out to see the punishment of the wicked? Are they to leave their happy abodes by a bodily movement, and proceed to the places of punishment, so as to witness the torments of the wicked in their bodily presence? Certainly not; but they shall go out by knowledge. For this expression, go out, signifies that those who shall be punished shall be without. And thus the Lord also calls these places "the outer darkness,"<39.htm#P3976_2185134">119 to which is opposed that entrance concerning which it is said to the good servant, "Enter into the joy of thy Lord," that it may not be supposed that the wicked can enter thither and be known, but rather that the good by their knowledge go out to them, because the good are to know that which is without. For those who shall be in torment shall not know what is going on within in the joy of the Lord; but they who shall enter into that joy shall know what is going on outside in the outer darkness. Therefore it is said, "They shall go out," because they shall know what is done by those who are without. For if the prophets were able to know things that had not yet happened, by means of that indwelling of God in their minds, limited though it was, shall not the immortal saints know things that have already happened, when God shall be all in all?<39.htm#P3977_2186009">120 The seed, then, and the name of the saints shall remain in that blessedness,-the seed, to wit, of which John says, "And his seed remaineth in him;"<39.htm#P3978_2186179">121 and the name, of which it was said through Isaiah himself, "I will give them an everlasting name."<39.htm#P3979_2186300">122 "And there shall be to them month after month, and Sabbath after Sabbath," as if it were said, Moon after moon, and rest upon rest, both of which they shall themselves be when they shall pass from the old shadows of time into the new lights of eternity. The worm that dieth not, and the fire that is not quenched, which constitute the punishment of the wicked, are differently interpreted by different people. For some refer both to the body, others refer both to the soul; while others again refer the fire literally to the body, and the worm figuratively to the soul, which seems the more credible idea. But the present is not the time to discuss this difference, for we have undertaken to occupy this book with the last judgment, in which the good and the bad are separated: their rewards and punishments we shall more carefully discuss elsewhere.
Chapter 23.-What Daniel Predicted Regarding the Persecution of Antichrist, the Judgment of God, and the Kingdom of the Saints.
Daniel prophesies of the last judgment in such a way as to indicate that Antichrist shall first come, and to carry on his description to the eternal reign of the saints. For when in prophetic vision he had seen four beasts, signifying four kingdoms, and the fourth conquered by a certain king, who is recognized as Antichrist, and after this the eternal kingdom of the Son of man, that is to say, of Christ, he says, "My spirit was terrified, I Daniel in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me,"<39.htm#P3983_2187815">123 etc. Some have interpreted these four kingdoms as signifying those of the Assyrians, Persians, Macedonians, and Romans. They who desire to understand the fitness of this interpretation may read Jerome's book on Daniel, which is written with a sufficiency of care and erudition. But he who reads this passage, even half asleep, cannot fail to see that the kingdom of Antichrist shall fiercely, though for a short time, assail the Church before the last judgment of God shall introduce the eternal reign of the saints. For it is patent from the context that the time, times, and half a time, means a year, and two years, and half a year, that is to say, three years and a half. Sometimes in Scripture the same thing is indicated by months. For though the word times seems to be used here in the Latin indefinitely, that is only because the Latins have no dual, as the Greeks have, and as the Hebrews also are said to have. Times, therefore, is used for two times. As for theten kings, whom, as it seems, Antichrist is to find in the person of ten individuals when he comes, I own I am afraid we may be deceived in this, and that he may come unexpectedly while there are not ten kings living in the Roman world. For what if this number ten signifies the whole number of kings who are to precede his coming, as totality is frequently symbolized by a thousand, or a hundred, or seven, or other numbers, which it is not necessary to recount?
In another place the same Daniel says, "And there shall be a time of trouble, such as was not since there was born a nation upon earth until that time: and in that time all Thy people which shall be found written in the book shall be delivered. And many of them that sleep in the mound of earth shall arise, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting confusion. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and many of the just as the stars for ever."<39.htm#P3985_2189793">124 This passage is very similar to the one we have quoted from the Gospel,<39.htm#P3986_2189886">125 at least so far as regards the resurrection of dead bodies. For those who are there said to be "in the graves" are here spoken of as "sleeping in the mound of earth," or, as others translate, "in the dust of earth," There it is said, "They shall come forth;" so here, "They shall arise." There, "They that have done good, to the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment;" here, "Some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting confusion." Neither is it to be supposed a difference, though in place of the expression in the Gospel, "All who are in their graves," the prophet does not say "all," but "many of them that sleep in the mound of earth." For many is sometimes used in Scripture for all. Thus it was said to Abraham, "I have set thee as the father of many nations,"though in another place it was said to him, "In thy seed shall all nations be blessed."<39.htm#P3987_2190821">126 Of such a resurrection it is said a little afterwards to the prophet himself, "And come thou and rest: for there is yet a day till the completion of the consummation; and thou shall rest, and rise in thy lot in the end of the days."<39.htm#P3988_2191089">127
Chapter 24.-Passages from the Psalms of David Which Predict the End of the World and the Last Judgment.
There are many allusions to the last judgment in the Psalms, but for the most part only casual and slight. I cannot, however, omit to mention what is said there in express terms of the end of this world: "In the beginning hast Thou laid the foundations of the earth, O Lord; and the heavens are the work of Thy hands. They shall perish, but Thou shall endure; yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; and as a vesture Thou shall change them, and they shall be changed: but Thou art the same, and Thy years shall not fail."<39.htm#P3992_2191743">128 Why is it that Porphyry, while he lauds the piety of the Hebrews in worshipping a God great and true, and terrible to the gods themselves, follows the oracles of these gods in accusing the Christians of extreme folly because they say that this world shall perish? For here we find it said in the sacred books of the Hebrews, to that God whom this great philosopher acknowledges to be terrible even to the gods themselves, "The heavens are the work of Thy hands; they shall perish." When the heavens, the higher and more secure part of the world, perish, shall the world itself be preserved? If this idea is not relished by Jupiter, whose oracle is quoted by this philosopher as an unquestionable authority in rebuke of the credulity of the Christians, why does he not similarly rebuke the wisdom of the Hebrews as folly, seeing that the prediction is found in their most holy books? But if this Hebrew wisdom, with which Porphyry is so captivated that he extols it through the utterances of his own gods, proclaims that the heavens are to perish, how is he so infatuated as to detest the faith of the Christians partly, if not chiefly, on this account, that they believe the world is to perish?-though how the heavens are to perish if the world does not is not easy to see. And, indeed, in the sacred writings which arepeculiar to ourselves, and not common to the Hebrews and us,-I mean the evangelic and apostolic books,-the following expressions are used: "The figure of this world passeth away;"<39.htm#P3993_2193265">129 "The world passeth away;"<39.htm#P3994_2193314">130 "Heaven and earth shall pass away,"<39.htm#P3995_2193372">131 -expressions which are, I fancy, somewhat milder than "They shall perish." In the Epistle of the Apostle Peter, too, where the world which then was is said to have perished, being overflowed with water, it is sufficiently obvious What part of the world is signified by the whole, and in what sense the word perished is to be taken, and what heavens were kept instore, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.<39.htm#P3996_2193840">132 And when he says a little afterwards, "The day of the Lord will come as a thief; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great rush, and the elements shall melt with burning heat, and the earth and the works which are in it shall be burned up and then adds, "Seeing, then, that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be?"<39.htm#P3997_2194225">133 -these heavens which are to perish may be understood to be the same which he said were kept in store reserved for fire; and the elements which are to be burned are those which are full of storm and disturbance in this lowest part of the world in which he said that these heavens were kept in store; for the higher heavens in whose firmament are set the stars are safe, and remain in their integrity. For even the expression of Scripture, that "the stars shall fall from heaven,"<39.htm#P3998_2194731">134 not to mention that a different interpretation is much preferable, rather shows that the heavens themselves shall remain, if the stars are to fall from them. This expression, then, is either figurative, as is more credible, or this phenomenon will take place in this lowest heaven, like that mentioned by Virgil,-
"A meteor with a train of light Athwart the sky gleamed dazzling bright,Then in Idaean woods was lost."<40.htm#P4000_2195171">135
But the passage I have quoted from the psalm seems to except none of the heavens from the destiny of destruction; for he says, "The heavens are the works of Thy hands: they shall perish;" so that, as none of them are excepted from the category of God's works, none of them are excepted from destruction. For our opponents will not condescend to defend the Hebrew piety, which has won the approbation of their gods, by the words of the Apostle Peter, whom they vehemently detest; nor will they argue that, as the apostle in his epistle understands a part when he speaks of the whole world perishing in the flood, though only the lowest part of it, and the corresponding heavens were destroyed, so in the psalm the whole is used for a part, and it is said "They shall perish," though only the lowest heavens are to perish. But since, as I said, they will not condescend to reason thus, lest they should seem to approve of Peter's meaning, or ascribe as much importance to the final conflagration as we ascribe to the deluge, whereas they contend that no waters or flames could destroy the whole human race, it only remains to them to maintain that their gods lauded the wisdom of the Hebrews because they had not read this psalm.
It is the last judgment of God which is referred to also in the 50th Psalm in the words, "God shall come manifestly, our God, and shall not keep silence: fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about Him. He shall call the heaven above, and the earth, to judge His people. Gather His saints together to Him; they who make a covenant with Him over sacrifices."<40.htm#P4003_2196813">136 This we understand of our Lord Jesus Christ, whom we look for from heaven to judge the quick and the dead. For He shall come manifestly to judge justly the just and the unjust, who before came hiddenly to be unjustly judged by the unjust. He, I say, shall come manifestly, and shall not keep silence, that is, shall make Himself known by His voice of judgment, who before, when he came hiddenly, was silent before His judge when He was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and, as a lamb before the shearer, opened not His mouth as we read that it was prophesied of Him by Isaiah,<40.htm#P4004_2197409">137 and as we see it fulfilled in the Gospel.<40.htm#P4005_2197472">138 As for the fire and tempest, we have already said how these are to be interpreted when we were explaining a similar passage in Isaiah.<40.htm#P4006_2197630">139 As to the expression, "He shall call the heaven above," as the saints and the righteous are rightly called heaven, no doubt this means what the apostle says, "We shallbe caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air."<40.htm#P4007_2197889">140 For if we take the bare literal sense, how is it possible to call the heaven above, as if the heaven could be anywhere else than above? And the following expression, "And the earth to judge His people," if we supply only the words, "He shall call," that is to say, "He shall call the earth also," and do not supply "above," seems to give us a meaning in accordance with sonnet doctrine, the heaven symbolizing those who will judge along with Christ, and the earth those who shall be judged; and thus the words, "He shall call the heaven above," would not mean, "He shall catch up into the air," but "He shall lift up to seats of judgment." Possibly, too, "He shall call the heaven," may mean, He shall call the angels in the high and lofty places, that He may descend with them to do judgment; and "He shall call the earth also" would then mean, He shall call the men on the earth to judgment. But if with the words "and the earth" we understand not only "He shall call," but also "above," so as to make the full sense be, He shall call the heaven above, and He shall call the earth above, then I think it is best understood of the men who shall be caught up to meet Christ in the air, and that they are called the heaven with reference to their souls, and the earth with reference to their bodies. Then what is "to judge His people," but to separate by judgment the good from the bad, as the sheep from the goats? Then he turns to address the angels: "Gather His saints together unto Him." For certainly a matter so important must be accomplished by the ministry of angels. And if we ask who the saints are who are gathered unto Him by the angels, we are told, "They who make a covenant with Him over sacrifices." This is the whole life of the saints, to make a covenant with God over sacrifices. For "over sacrifices" either refers to works of mercy, which are preferable to sacrifices in the judgment of God, who says, "I desire mercy more than sacrifices,"<40.htm#P4008_2199874">141 or if "over sacrifices" means in sacrifices, then these very works of mercy are the sacrifices with which God is pleased, as I remember to have stated in the tenth book of this work;<40.htm#P4009_2200076">142 and in these works the saints make a covenant with God, because they do them for the sake of the promises which are contained in His new testament or covenant. And hence, when His saints have been gathered to Him and set at His right hand in the last judgment, Christ shall say, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and ye gave me to eat,"<40.htm#P4010_2200525">143 and so on, mentioning the good works of the good, and their eternal rewards assigned by the last sentence of the Judge.
Chapter 25.-Of Malachi's Prophecy, in Which He Speaks of the Last Judgment, and of a Cleansing Which Some are to Undergo by Purifying Punishments.
The prophet Malachi or Malachias, who is also called Angel, and is by some (for Jerome<40.htm#P4014_2200899">144 tells us that this is the opinion of the Hebrews) identified with Ezra the priest,<40.htm#P4015_2201011">145 others of whose writings have been received into the canon, predicts the last judgment, saying, "Behold, He cometh, saith the Lord Almighty; and who shall abide the day of His entrance? . . . for I am the Lord your God, and I change not."<40.htm#P4016_2201281">146 From these words it more evidently appears that some shall in the last judgment suffer some kind of purgatorial punishments; for what else can be understood by the word, "Who shall abide the day of His entrance, or who shall be able to look upon Him? for He enters as a moulder's fire, and as the herb of fullers: and He shall sit fusing and purifying as if over gold and silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and pour them out like gold and silver?" Similarly Isaiah says, "The Lord shall wash the filthiness of the sons and daughters of Zion, and shall cleanse away the blood from their midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning."<40.htm#P4017_2201987">147 Unless perhaps we should say that they are cleansed from filthiness and in a manner clarified, when the wicked are separated from them by penal judgment, so that the elimination and damnation of the one party is the purgation of the others, because they shall henceforth live free from the contamination of such men. But when he says, "And he shall purify the sons of Levi, and pour them out like gold and silver, and they shall offer to the Lord sacrifices in righteousness; and the sacrifices of Judah and Jerusalem shall be pleasing to the Lord," he declares that those who shall be purified shall then please the Lord with sacrifices of righteousness, and consequently they themselves shall be purified from their own unrighteousness which made them displeasing to God. Now they themselves, when they have been purified, shall be sacrifices of complete and perfect righteousness; for what more acceptable offering can such persons make to God than themselves? But this question of purgatorial punishments we must defer to another time, to give it a more adequate treatment. By the sons of Levi and Judah and Jerusalem we ought to understand the Church herself, gathered not from the Hebrews only, but from other nations as well; nor such a Church as she now is, when "if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us,"<40.htm#P4018_2203360">148 but as she shall then be, purged by the last judgment as a threshing-floor by a winnowing wind, and those of her members who need it being cleansed by fire, so that there remains absolutely not one who offers sacrifice for his sins. For all who make such offerings are assuredly in their sins, for the remission of which they make offerings, that having made to God an acceptable offering, they may then be absolved.
Chapter 26.-Of the Sacrifices Offered to God by the Saints, Which are to Be Pleasing to Him, as in the Primitive Days and Former Years.
And it was with the design of showing that His city shall not then follow this custom, that God said that the sons of Levi should offer sacrifices in righteousness,-not therefore in sin, and consequently not for sin. And hence we see how vainly the Jews promise themselves a return of the old times of sacrificing according to the law of the old testament, grounding on the words which follow, "And the sacrifice of Judah and Jerusalem shall be pleasing to the Lord, as in the primitive days, and as in former years." For in the times of the law they offered sacrifices not in righteousness but in sins, offering especially and primarily for sins, so much so that even the priest himself, whom we must suppose to have been their most righteous man, was accustomed to offer, according to God's commandments, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. And therefore we must explain how we are to understand the words, "as in the primitive days, and as in former years;" for perhaps he alludes to the time in which our first parents were in paradise. Then, indeed, intact and pure from all stain and blemish of sin, they offered themselves to God as the purest sacrifices. But since they were banished thence on account of their transgression, and human nature was condemned in them, with the exception of the one Mediator and those who have been baptized, and are as yet infants, "there is none clean from stain, not even the babe whose life has been but for a day upon the earth."<40.htm#P4022_2205430">149 But if it be replied that those who offer in faith may be said to offer in righteousness, because the righteous lives by faith,<40.htm#P4023_2205578">150 -he deceives himself, however, if he says that he has no sin, and therefore he does not say so, because he lives by faith,-will any man say this time of faith can be placed on an equal footing with that consummation when they who offer sacrifices in righteousness shall be purified by the fire of the last judgment? And consequently, since it must be believed that after such a cleansing the righteous shall retain no sin, assuredly that time, so far as regards its freedom from sin, can be compared to no other period, unless to that during which our first parents lived in paradise in the most innocent happiness before their transgression. It is this period, then, which is properly understood when it is said, "as in the primitive days, and as in former years." For in Isaiah, too, after the new heavens and the new earth have been promised, among other elements in the blessedness of the saints which are there depicted by allegories and figures, from giving an adequate explanation of which I am prevented by a desire to avoid prolixity, it is said, "According to the days of the tree of life shall be the days of my people."<40.htm#P4024_2206730">151 And who that has looked at Scripture does not know where God planted the tree of life, from whose fruit He excluded our first parents when their own iniquity ejected them from paradise, and round which a terrible and fiery fence was set?
But if any one contends that those days of the tree of life mentioned by the prophet Isaiah are the present times of the Church of Christ, and that Christ Himself is prophetically called the Tree of Life, because He is Wisdom, and of wisdom Solomon says, "It is a tree of life to all who embrace it;"<40.htm#P4026_2207289">152 and if they maintain that our first parents did not pass years in paradise, but were driven from it so soon that none of their children were begotten there, and that therefore that time cannot be alluded to in words which run, "as in the primitive days, and as in former years," I forbear entering on this question, lest by discussing everything I become prolix, and leave the whole subject in uncertainty. For I see another meaning, which should keep us from believing that a restoration of the primitive days and former years of the legal sacrifices could have been promised to us by the prophet as a great boon. For the animals selected as victims under the old law were required to be immaculate, and free from all blemish whatever, and symbolized holy men free from all sin, the only instance of which character was found in Christ. As, therefore, after the judgment those who are worthy of such purification shall be purified even by fire, and shall be rendered thoroughly sinless, and shall offer themselves to God in righteousness, and be indeed victims immaculate and free from all blemish whatever, they shall then certainly be, "as in the primitive days, and as in former years," when the purest victims were offered, the shadow of this future reality. For there shall then be in the body and soul of the saints the purity which was symbolized in the bodies of these victims.
Then, with reference to those who are worthy not of cleansing but of damnation, He says, "And I will draw near to you to judgment, and I will be a swift witness against evildoers and against adulterers;" and after enumerating other damnable crimes, He adds, "For I am the Lord your God, and I am not changed." It is as if He said, Though your fault has changed you for the worse, and my grace has changed you for the better, I am not changed. And he says that He Himself will be a witness, because in His judgment He needs no witnesses; and that He will be "swift," either because He is to come suddenly, and the judgment which seemed to lag shall be very swift by His unexpected arrival, or because He will convince the consciences of men directly and without any prolix harangue. "For," as it is written, "in the thoughts of the wicked His examination shall be conducted."<40.htm#P4028_2209572">153 And the apostle says, "The thoughts accusing or else excusing, in the day in which God shall judge the hidden things of men, according to my gospel in Jesus Christ."<40.htm#P4029_2209757">154 Thus, then, shall the Lord be a swift witness, when He shall suddenly bring back into the memory that which shall convince and punish the conscience.
Chapter 27.-Of the Separation of the Good and the Bad, Which Proclaim the Discriminating Influence of the Last Judgment.
The passage also which I formerly quoted for another purpose from this prophet refers to the last judgment, in which he says, "They shall be mine, saith the Lord Almighty, in the day in which I make up my gains,"<40.htm#P4033_2210263">155 etc. When this diversity between the rewards and punishments which distinguish the righteous from the wicked shall appear under that Sun of righteousness in the brightness of life eternal,-a diversity which is not discerned under this sun which shines on the vanity of this life,-there shall then be such a judgment as has never before been.
Chapter 28.-That the Law of Moses Must Be Spiritually Understood to Preclude the Damnable Murmurs of a Carnal Interpretation
In the succeeding words, "Remember the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded to him in Horeb for all Israel,"<40.htm#P4037_2210871">156 the prophet opportunely mentions precepts and statutes, after declaring the important distinction hereafter to be made between those who observe and those who despise the law. He intends also that they learn to interpret the law spiritually, and find Christ in it, by whose judgment that separation between the good and the bad is to be made. For it is not without reason that the Lord Himself says to the Jews, "Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me."<40.htm#P4038_2211374">157 For by receiving the law carnally without perceiving that its earthly promises were figures of things spiritual, they fell into such murmurings as audaciously to say, "It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, and that we have walked suppliantly before the face of the Lord Almighty? And now we call aliens happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up."<40.htm#P4039_2211790">158 It was these words of theirs which in a manner compelled the prophet to announce the last judgment, in which the wicked shall not even in appearance be happy, but shall manifestly be most miserable; and in which the good shall be oppressed with not even a transitory wretchedness, but shall enjoy unsullied and eternal felicity. For he had previously cited some similar expressions of those who said, "Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and such are pleasing to Him."<40.htm#P4040_2212308">159 It was, I say, by understanding the law of Moses carnally that they had come to murmur thus against God. And hence, too, the writer of the 73d Psalm says that his feet were almost gone, his steps had well-nigh slipped, because he was envious of sinners while he considered their prosperity, so that he said among other things, How doth God know, and is there knowledge in the Most High? and again, Have I sanctified my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency?<40.htm#P4041_2212796">160 He goes on to say that his efforts to solve this most difficult problem, which arises when the good seem to be wretched and the wicked happy, were in vain until he went into the sanctuary of God, and understood the last things.<40.htm#P4042_2213048">161 For in the last judgment things shall not be so; but in the manifest felicity of the righteous and manifest misery of the wicked quite another state of things shall appear.
Chapter 29.-Of the Coming of Elias Before the Judgment, that the Jews May Be Converted to Christ by His Preaching and Explanation of Scripture.
After admonishing them to give heed to the law of Moses, as he foresaw that for a long time to come they would not understand it spiritually and rightly, he went on to say, "And, behold, I will send to you Elias the Tishbite before the great and signal day of the Lord come: and he shall turn the heart of the father to the son, and the heart of a man to his next of kin, lest I come and utterly smite the earth."<40.htm#P4046_2213797">162 It is a familiar theme in the conversation and heart of the faithful, that in the last days before the judgment the Jews shall believe in the true Christ, that is, our Christ, by means of this great and admirable prophet Elias who shall expound the law to them. For not without reason do we hope that before the coming of our Judge and Saviour Elias shall come, because we have good reason to believe that he is now alive; for, as Scripture most distinctly informs us,<40.htm#P4047_2214288">163 he was taken up from this life in a chariot of fire. When, therefore, he is come, he shall give a spiritual explanation of the law which the Jews at present understand carnally, and shall thus "turn the heart of the father to the son," that is, the heart of fathers to their children; for the Septuagint translators have frequently put the singular for the plural number. And the meaning is, that the sons, that is, the Jews, shall understand the law as the fathers, that is, the prophets, and among them Moses himself, understood it. For the heart of the fathers shall be turned to their children when the children understand the law as their fathers did; and the heart of the children shall be turned to their fathers when they have the same sentiments as the fathers. The Septuagint used the expression, "and the heart of a man to his next of kin," because fathers and children are eminently neighbors to one another. Another and a preferable sense can be found in the words of the Septuagint translators, who have translated Scripture with an eye to prophecy, the sense, viz., that Elias shall turn the heart of God the Father to the Son, not certainly as if he should bring about this love of the Father for the Son, but meaning that he should make it known, and that the Jews also, who had previously hated, should then love the Son who is our Christ. For so far as regards the Jews, God has His heart turned away from our Christ, this being their conception about God and Christ. But in their case the heart of God shall be turned to the Son when they themselves shall turn in heart, and learn the love of the Father towards the Son. The words following, "and the heart of a man to his next of kin,"-that is, Elias shall also turn the heart of a man to his next of kin,-how can we understand this better than as the heart of a man to the man Christ? For though in the form of God He is our God, yet, taking the form of a servant, He condescended to become also our next of kin. It is this, then, which Elias will do, "lest," he says, "I come and smite the earth utterly." For they who mind earthly things are the earth. Such are the carnal Jews until this day; and hence these murmurs of theirs against God, "The wicked are pleasing to Him," and "It is a vain thing to serve God."<40.htm#P4048_2216599">164
Chapter 30.-That in the Books of the Old Testament, Where It is Said that God Shall Judge the World, the Person of Christ is Not Explicitly Indicated, But It Plainly Appears from Some Passages in Which the Lord God Speaks that Christ is Meant.
There are many other passages of Scripture bearing on the last judgment of God,-so many, indeed, that to cite them all would swell this book to an unpardonable size. Suffice it to have proved that both Old and New Testament enounce the judgment. But in the Old it is not so definitely declared as in the New that the judgment shall be administered by Christ, that is, that Christ shall descend from heaven as the Judge; for when it is therein stated by the Lord God or His prophet that the Lord God shall come, we do not necessarily understand this of Christ. For both the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are the Lord God. We must not, however, leave this without proof. And therefore we must first show how Jesus Christ speaks in the prophetical books under the title of the Lord God, while yet there can be no doubt that it is Jesus Christ who speaks; so that in other passages where this is not at once apparent, and where nevertheless it is said that the Lord God will come to that last judgment, we may understand that Jesus Christ is meant. There is a passage in the prophet Isaiah which illustrates what I mean. For God says by the prophet, "Hear me, Jacob and Israel, whom I call. I am the first, and I am for ever: and my hand has rounded the earth, and my right hand has established the heaven. I will call them, and they shall stand together, and be gathered, and hear. Who has declared to them these things? In love of thee I have done thy pleasure upon Babylon, that I might take away the seed of the Chaldeans. I have spoken, and I have called: I have brought him, and have made his way prosperous. Come ye near unto me, and hear this. I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; when they were made, there was I. And now the Lord God and His Spirit hath sent me."<40.htm#P4052_2218663">165 It was Himself who was speaking as the Lord God; and yet we should not have understood that it was Jesus Christ had He not added, "And now the Lord God and His Spirit hath sent me." For He said this with reference to the form of a servant, speaking of a future event as if it were past, as in the same prophet we read, "He was led as a sheep to the slaughter,"<40.htm#P4053_2219051">166 not "He shall be led;" but the past tense is used to express the future. And prophecy constantly speaks in this way.
There is also another passage in Zechariah which plainly declares that the Almighty sent the Almighty; and of what persons can this be understood but of God the Father and God the Son? For it is written, "Thus saith the Lord Almighty, After the glory hath He sent me unto the nations which spoiled you; for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of His eye Behold, I will bring mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants: and ye shall know that the Lord Almighty hath sent me."<40.htm#P4055_2219689">167 Observe, the Lord Almighty saith that the Lord Almighty sent Him. Who can presume to understand these words of any other than Christ, who is speaking to the lost sheep of the house of Israel? For He says in the Gospel, "I am not sent save to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,"<40.htm#P4056_2219994">168 which He here compared to the pupil of God's eye, to signify the profoundest love. And to this class of sheep the apostles themselves belonged. But after the glory, to wit, of His resurrection,-for before it happened the evangelist said that "Jesus was not yet glorified,"<40.htm#P4057_2220288">169 -He was sent unto the nations in the persons of His apostles; and thus the saying of the psalm was fulfilled, "Thou wilt deliver me from the contradictions of the people; Thou wilt set me as the head of the nations,"<40.htm#P4058_2220526">170 So that those who had spoiled the Israelites, and whom the Israelites had served when they were subdued by them, were not themselves to be spoiled in the same fashion, but were in their own persons to become the spoil of the Israelites. For this had been promised to the apostles when the Lord said, "I will make you fishers of men."<40.htm#P4059_2220883">171 And to one of them He says, "From henceforth thou shalt catch men."<40.htm#P4060_2220972">172 They were then to become a spoil, but in a good sense, as those who are snatched from that strong one when he is bound by a stronger.<40.htm#P4061_2221125">173
In like manner the Lord, speaking by the same prophet, says, "And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and mercy; and they shall look upon me because they have insulted me, and they shall mourn for Him as for one very dear, and shall be in bitterness as for an only-begotten."<40.htm#P4063_2221595">174 To whom but to God does it belong to destroy all the nations that are hostile to the holy city Jerusalem, which "come against it," that is, are opposed to it, or, as some translate, "come upon it," as if putting it down under them; or to pour out upon the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and mercy? This belongs doubtless to God, and it is to God the prophet ascribes the words; and yet Christ shows that He is the God who does these so great and divine things, when He goes on to say, "And they shall look upon me because they have insulted me, and they shall mourn for Him as if for one very dear (or beloved), and shall be in bitterness for Him as for an only-begotten." For in that day the Jews-those of them, at least, who shall receive the spirit of grace and mercy-when they see Him coming in His majesty, and recognize that it is He whom they, in the person of their parents, insulted when He came before in His humiliation, shall repent of insulting Him in His passion: and their parents themselves, who were the perpetrators of this huge impiety, shall see Him when they rise; but this will be only for their punishment, and not for their correction. It is not of them we are to understand the words, "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and mercy, and they shall look upon me because they have insulted me;" but we are to understand the words of their descendants, who shall at that time believe through Elias. But as we say to the Jews, You killed Christ, although it was their parents who did so, so these persons shall grieve that they in some sort did what their progenitors did. Although, therefore, those that receive the spirit of mercy and grace, and believe, shall not be condemned with their impious parents, yet they shall mourn as if they themselves had done what their parents did. Their grief shall arise not so much from guilt as from pious affection. Certainly the words which the Septuagint have translated, "They shall look upon me because they insulted me," stand in the Hebrew,"They shall look upon me whom they pierced."<40.htm#P4064_2223774">175 And by this word the crucifixion of Christ is certainly more plainly indicated. But the Septuagint translators preferred to allude to the insult which was involved in His whole passion. For in point of fact they insuited Him both when He was arrested and when He was bound, when He was judged, when He was mocked by the robe they put on Him and the homage they did on bended knee, when He was crowned with thorns and struck with a rod on the head, when He bore His cross, and when at last He hung upon the tree. And therefore we recognize more fully the Lord's passion when we do not confine ourselves to one interpretation, but combine both, and read both "insulted" and "pierced."
When, therefore, we read in the prophetical books that God is to come to do judgment at the last, from the mere mention of the judgment, and although there is nothing else to determine the meaning, we must gather that Christ is meant; for though the Father will judge, He will judge by the coming of the Son. For He Himself, by His own manifested presence, "judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son;"<40.htm#P4066_2224896">176 for as the Son was judged as a man, He shall also judge in human form. For it is none but He of whom God speaks by Isaiah under the name of Jacob and Israel, of whose seed Christ took a body, as it is written, "Jacob is my servant, I will uphold Him; Israel is mine elect, my Spirit has assumed Him: I have put my Spirit upon Him; He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor cease, neither shall His voice be heard without. A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench: but in truth shall He bring forth judgment. He shall shine and shall not be broken, until He sets judgment in the earth: and the nations shall hope in His name."<40.htm#P4067_2225603">177 The Hebrew has not "Jacob" and "Israel;" but the Septuagint translators, wishing to show the significance of the expression "my servant," and that it refers to the form of a servant in which the Most High humbled Himself, inserted the name of that man from whose stock He took the form of a servant. The Holy Spirit was given to Him, and was manifested, as the evangelist testifies, in the form of a dove.<40.htm#P4068_2226033">178 He brought forth judgment to the Gentiles, because He predicted what was hidden from them. In His meekness He did not cry, nor did He cease to proclaim the truth. But His voice was not heard, nor is it heard, without, because He is not obeyed by those who are outside of His body. And the Jews themselves, who persecuted Him, He did not break, though as a bruised reed they had lost their integrity, and as smoking flax their light was quenched; for He spared them, having come to be judged and not yet to judge. He brought forth judgment in truth, declaring that they should be punished did they persist in their wickedness. His face shone on the Mount,<40.htm#P4069_2226707">179 His fame in the world. He is not broken nor over come, because neither in Himself nor in His Church has persecution prevailed to annihilate Him. And therefore that has not, and shall not, be brought about which His enemies said or say, "When shall He die, and His name perish?"<40.htm#P4070_2227011">180 "until He set judgment in the earth." Behold, the hidden thing which we were seeking is discovered. For this is the last judgment, which He will set in the earth when He comes from heaven. And it is in Him, too, we already see the concluding expression of the prophecy fulfilled: "In His name shall the nations hope." And by this fulfillment, which no one can deny, men are encouraged to believe in that which is most impudently denied. For who could have hoped for that which even those who do not yet believe in Christ now see fulfilled among us, and which is so undeniable that they can but gnash their teeth and pine away? Who, I say, could have hoped that the nations would hope in the name of Christ, when He was arrested, bound, scourged, mocked, crucified, when even the disciples themselves had lost the hope which they had begun to have in Him? The hope which was then entertained scarcely by the one thief on the cross, is now cherished by nations everywhere on the earth, who are marked with the sign of the cross on which He died that they may not die eternally.
That the last judgment, then, shall be administered by Jesus Christ in the manner predicted in the sacred writings is denied or doubted by no one, unless by those who, through some incredible animosity or blindness, decline to believe these writings, though already their truth is demonstrated to all the world. And at or in connection with that judgment the following events shall come to pass, as we have learned: Elias the Tishbite shall come; the Jews shall believe; Antichrist shall persecute; Christ shall judge; the dead shall rise; the good and the wicked shall be separated; the world shall be burned and renewed. All these things, we believe, shall come to pass; but how, or in what order, human understanding cannot perfectly teach us, but only the experience of the events themselves. My opinion, however, is, that they will happen in the order in which I have related them.
Two books yet remain to be written by me, in order to complete, by God's help, what I promised. One of these will explain the punishment of the wicked, the other the happiness of the righteous; and in them I shall be at special pains to refute, by God's grace, the arguments by which some unhappy creatures seem to themselves to undermine the divine promises and threatenings, and to ridicule as empty words statements which are the most salutary nutriment of faith. But they who are instructed in divine things hold the truth and omnipotence of God to be the strongest arguments in favor of those things which, however incredible they seem to men, are yet contained in the Scriptures, whose truth has already in many ways been proved; for they are sure that God can in no wise lie, and that He can do what is impossible to the unbelieving.
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