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ANF01. The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus
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Chapter LXVIII.—He complains of the obstinacy of Trypho; he answers his objection; he convicts the Jews of bad faith.

And Trypho said, “You endeavour to prove an incredible and well-nigh impossible thing; [namely], that God endured to be born and become man.”

“If I undertook,” said I, “to prove this by doctrines or arguments of man, you should not bear with me. But if I quote frequently Scriptures, and so many of them, referring to this point, and ask you to comprehend them, you are hard-hearted in the recognition of the mind and will of God. But if you wish to remain for ever so, I would not be injured at all; and for ever retaining the same [opinions] which I had before I met with you, I shall leave you.”

And Trypho said, “Look, my friend, you made yourself master of these [truths] with much labour and toil.22032203    [Note the courteous admission of Trypho, and the consent of both parties to the duty of searching the Scriptures.] And we accordingly must diligently scrutinize all that we meet with, in order to give our assent to those things which the Scriptures compel us [to believe].”

Then I said to this, “I do not ask you not to strive earnestly by all means, in making an investigation of the matters inquired into; but [I ask you], when you have nothing to say, not to contradict those things which you said you had admitted.”

And Trypho said, “So we shall endeavour to do.”

I continued again: “In addition to the questions I have just now put to you, I wish to put more: for by means of these questions I shall strive to bring the discourse to a speedy termination.”

And Trypho said, “Ask the questions.”

Then I said, “Do you think that any other one is said to be worthy of worship and called Lord and God in the Scriptures, except the Maker of all, and Christ, who by so many Scriptures was proved to you to have become man?”

And Trypho replied, “How can we admit this, when we have instituted so great an inquiry as to whether there is any other than the Father alone?”

Then I again said, “I must ask you this also, that I may know whether or not you are of a different opinion from that which you admitted some time ago.”22042204    τέως: Vulg. παρὰ Θεῷ, vitiose. —Otto.

He replied, “It is not, sir.”

Then again I, “Since you certainly admit these things, and since Scripture says, ‘Who shall declare His generation?’ ought you not now to suppose that He is not the seed of a human race?”

And Trypho said, “How then does the Word say to David, that out of his loins God shall take to Himself a Son, and shall establish His kingdom, and shall set Him on the throne of His glory?”

And I said, “Trypho, if the prophecy which Isaiah uttered, ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive,’ is said not to the house of David, but to another house of the twelve tribes, perhaps the matter would have some difficulty; but since this prophecy refers to the house of David, Isaiah has explained how that which was spoken by God to David in mystery would take place. But perhaps you are not aware of this, my friends, that there were many sayings written obscurely, or parabolically, or mysteriously, and symbolical actions, which the prophets who lived after the persons who said or did them expounded.”

“Assuredly,” said Trypho.

“If therefore, I shall show that this prophecy of Isaiah refers to our Christ, and not to Hezekiah, as you say, shall I not in this matter, too, compel you not to believe your teachers, who venture to assert that the explanation which your seventy elders that were with Ptolemy the king of the Egyptians gave, is untrue in certain respects? For some statements in the Scriptures, which appear explicitly to convict them of a foolish and vain opinion, these they venture to assert have not been so written. But other statements, which they fancy they can distort and harmonize with human actions,22052205    The text is corrupt, and various emendations have been proposed. these, they say, refer not to this Jesus Christ of ours, but to him of whom they are pleased to explain them. Thus, for instance, they have taught you that this Scripture which we are now discussing refers to Hezekiah, in which, as I promised, I shall show they are wrong. And since they are compelled, they agree that some Scriptures which we mention to them, and which expressly prove that Christ was to suffer, to be worshipped, and [to be called] God, and which I have already recited to you, do refer indeed to Christ, but they venture to assert that this man is not Christ. But they admit that He will come to suffer, and to reign, and to be worshipped, and to be God;22062206    Or, “and to be worshipped as God.” and this opinion I shall in like manner show to be ridiculous and silly. But since I am pressed to answer first to what was said by you in jest, I shall make answer to it, and shall afterwards give replies to what follows.


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