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ANF01. The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus
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Chapter IV.—Antichrist is at hand: let us therefore avoid Jewish errors.

It therefore behoves us, who inquire much concerning events at hand,14681468    Or it might be rendered, “things present.” Cotelerius reads, “de his instantibus.” to search diligently into those things which are able to save us. Let us then utterly flee from all the works of iniquity, lest these should take hold of us; and let us hate the error of the present time, that we may set our love on the world to come: let us not give loose reins to our soul, that it should have power to run with sinners and the wicked, lest we become like them. The final stumbling-block (or source of danger) approaches, concerning which it is written, as Enoch14691469    The Latin reads, “Daniel” instead of “Enoch;” comp. Dan. ix. 24–27. says, “For for this end the Lord has cut short the times and the days, that His Beloved may hasten; and He will come to the inheritance.” And the prophet also speaks thus: “Ten kingdoms shall reign upon the earth, and a little king shall rise up after them, who shall subdue under one three of the kings.”14701470    Dan. vii. 24, very loosely quoted. In like manner Daniel says concerning the same, “And I beheld the fourth beast, wicked and powerful, and more savage than all the beasts of the earth, and how from it sprang up ten horns, and out of them a little budding horn, and how it subdued under one three of the great horns.”14711471    Dan. vii. 7, 8, also very inaccurately cited. Ye ought therefore to understand. And this also I further beg of you, as being one of you, and loving you both individually and collectively more than my own soul, to take heed now to yourselves, and not to be like some, adding largely to your sins, and saying, “The covenant is both theirs and ours.”14721472    We here follow the Latin text in preference to the Greek, which reads merely, “the covenant is ours.” What follows seems to show the correctness of the Latin, as the author proceeds to deny that the Jews had any further interest in the promises. But they thus finally lost it, after Moses had already received it. For the Scripture saith, “And Moses was fasting in the mount forty days and forty nights, and received the covenant from the Lord, tables of stone written with the finger of the hand of the Lord;”14731473    Ex. xxxi. 18, Ex. xxxiv. 28. but turning away to idols, they lost it. For the Lord speaks thus to Moses: “Moses go down quickly; for the people whom thou hast brought out of the land of Egypt have transgressed.”14741474    Ex. xxxii. 7; Deut. ix. 12. And Moses understood [the meaning of God], and cast the two tables out of his hands; and their covenant was broken, in order that the covenant of the beloved Jesus might be sealed upon our heart, in the hope which flows from believing in Him.14751475    Literally, “in hope of His faith.” Now, being desirous to write many things to you, not as your teacher, but as becometh one who loves you, I have taken care not to fail to write to you from what I myself possess, with a view to your purification.14761476    The Greek is here incorrect and unintelligible; and as the Latin omits the clause, our translation is merely conjectural. Hilgenfeld’s text, if we give a somewhat peculiar meaning to ἐλλιπεῖν, may be translated: “but as it is becoming in one who loves you not to fail in giving you what we have, I, though the very offscouring of you, have been eager to write to you.” We take earnest14771477    So the Cod. Sin. Hilgenfeld reads, with the Latin, “let us take.” heed in these last days; for the whole [past] time of your faith will profit you nothing, unless now in this wicked time we also withstand coming sources of danger, as becometh the sons of God. That the Black One14781478    The Latin here departs entirely from the Greek text, and quotes as a saying of “the Son of God” the following precept, nowhere to be found in the New Testament: “Let us resist all iniquity, and hold it in hatred.” Hilgenfeld joins this clause to the former sentence. may find no means of entrance, let us flee from every vanity, let us utterly hate the works of the way of wickedness. Do not, by retiring apart, live a solitary life, as if you were already [fully] justified; but coming together in one place, make common inquiry concerning what tends to your general welfare. For the Scripture saith, “Woe to them who are wise to themselves, and prudent in their own sight!”14791479    Isa. v. 21. Let us be spiritually-minded: let us be a perfect temple to God. As much as in us lies, let us meditate upon the fear of God, and let us keep His commandments, that we may rejoice in His ordinances. The Lord will judge the world without respect of persons. Each will receive as he has done: if he is righteous, his righteousness will precede him; if he is wicked, the reward of wickedness is before him. Take heed, lest resting at our ease, as those who are the called [of God], we should fall asleep in our sins, and the wicked prince, acquiring power over us, should thrust us away from the kingdom of the Lord. And all the more attend to this, my brethren, when ye reflect and behold, that after so great signs and wonders were wrought in Israel, they were thus [at length] abandoned. Let us beware lest we be found [fulfilling that saying], as it is written, “Many are called, but few are chosen.”14801480    An exact quotation from Matt. xx. 16 or Matt. xxii. 14. It is worthy of notice that this is the first example in the writings of the Fathers of a citation from any book of the New Testament, preceded by the authoritative formula, “it is written.”


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