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Chapter VIII.—Other Proofs from the Same Chapter, that Jesus, Who Preached at Nazareth, and Was Acknowledged by Certain Demons as Christ the Son of God, Was the Creator’s Christ. As Occasion Offers, the Docetic Errors of Marcion are Exposed.
The Christ of the Creator had36773677 Habebat. to be called a Nazarene according to prophecy; whence the Jews also designate us, on that very account,36783678 Ipso nomine, or by His very name. Nazerenes36793679 Nazaræos; or, Nazarites. [Christians were still so called by the Jews in the Third Century. Kaye, 446.] after Him. For we are they of whom it is written, “Her Nazarites were whiter than snow;”36803680 Lam. iv. 7. even they who were once defiled with the stains of sin, and darkened with the clouds of ignorance. But to Christ the title Nazarene was destined to become a suitable one, from the hiding-place of His infancy, for which He went down and dwelt at Nazareth,36813681 Descendit apud, see Luke iv. 16–30. to escape from Archelaus the son of Herod. This fact I have not refrained from mentioning on this account, because it behoved Marcion’s Christ to have forborne all connection whatever with the domestic localities of the Creator’s Christ, when he had so many towns in Judæa which had not been by the prophets thus assigned36823682 Emancipata. to the Creator’s Christ. But Christ will be (the Christ) of the prophets, wheresoever He is found in accordance with the prophets. And yet even at Nazareth He is not remarked as having preached anything new,36833683 Luke iv. 23. whilst in another verse He is said to have been rejected36843684 Luke iv. 29. by reason of a simple proverb.36853685 Luke iv. 24. Here at once, when I observe that they laid their hands on Him, I cannot help drawing a conclusion respecting His bodily substance, which cannot be believed to have been a phantom,36863686 A rebuke of Marcion’s Docetic views of Christ. since it was capable of being touched and even violently handled, when He was seized and taken and led to the very brink of a precipice. For although He escaped through the midst of them, He had already experienced their rough treatment, and afterwards went His way, no doubt36873687 Scilicet. because the crowd (as usually happens) gave way, or was even broken through; but not because it was eluded as by an impalpable disguise,36883688 Per caliginem. which, if there had been such, would not at all have submitted to any touch.
“Tangere enim et tangi, nisi corpus, nulla potest res,”36893689 “For nothing can touch and be touched but a bodily substance.” This line from Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, i. 305, is again quoted by Tertullian in his De Anima, chap. v. (Oehler).
is even a sentence worthy of a place in the world’s wisdom. In short, He did himself touch others, upon whom He laid His hands, which were capable of being felt, and conferred the blessings of healing,36903690 Luke iv. 40. which were not less true, not less unimaginary, than were the hands wherewith He bestowed them. He was therefore the very Christ of Isaiah, the healer of our sicknesses.36913691 See Isa. liii. 4. “Surely,” says he, “He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” Now the Greeks are accustomed to use for carry a word which also signifies to take away. A general promise is enough for me in passing.36923692 Interim. Whatever were the cures which Jesus effected, He is mine. We will come, however, to the kinds of cures. To liberate men, then, from evil spirits, is a cure of sickness. Accordingly, wicked spirits (just in the manner of our former example) used to go forth with a testimony, exclaiming, “Thou art the Son of God,”36933693 Luke iv. 41.—of what God, is clear enough from the case itself. But they were rebuked, and ordered not to speak; precisely because36943694 Proinde enim. Christ willed Himself to be proclaimed by men, not by unclean spirits, as the Son of God—even that Christ alone to whom this was befitting, because He had sent beforehand men through whom He might become known, and who were assuredly worthier preachers. It was natural to Him36953695 Illius erat. to refuse the proclamation of an unclean spirit, at whose command there was an abundance of saints. He, however,36963696 Porro. who had never been foretold (if, indeed, he wished to be acknowledged; for if he did not wish so much, his coming was in vain), would not have spurned the testimony of an alien or any sort of substance, who did not happen to have a substance of his own,36973697 Propriæ non habebat. but had descended in an alien one. And now, too, as the destroyer also of the Creator, he would have desired nothing better than to be acknowledged by His spirits, and to be divulged for the sake of being feared:36983698 Præ timore. only that Marcion says36993699 See above, book i. chap. vii. xxvi. and xxvii. that his god is not feared; maintaining that a good being is not an object of fear, but only a judicial being, in whom reside the grounds37003700 Materiæ. of fear—anger, severity, judgments, vengeance, condemnation. But it was from fear, undoubtedly, that the evil spirits were cowed.37013701 Cedebant. Therefore they confessed that (Christ) was the Son of a God who was to be feared, because they would have an occasion of not submitting if there were none for fearing. Besides, He showed that He was to be feared, because He drave them out, not by persuasion like a good being, but by command and reproof. Or else did he37023702 Aut nunquid. reprove them, because they were making him an object of fear, when all the while he did not want to be feared? And in what manner did he wish them to go forth, when they could not do so except with fear? So that he fell into the dilemma37033703 Necessitatem. of having to conduct himself contrary to his nature, whereas he might in his simple goodness have at once treated them with leniency. He fell, too, into another false position37043704 In aliam notam.—of prevarication, when he permitted himself to be feared by the demons as the Son of the Creator, that he might drive them out, not indeed by his own power, but by the authority of the Creator. “He departed, and went into a desert place.”37053705 Luke iv. 42. This was, indeed, the Creator’s customary region. It was proper that the Word37063706 Sermonem. [Nota Bene, Acts vii. 38.] should there appear in body, where He had aforetime, wrought in a cloud. To the gospel also was suitable that condition of place37073707 Habitus loci. which had once been determined on for the law.37083708 The law was given in the wilderness of Sinai; see Ex. xix. 1. “Let the wilderness and the solitary place, therefore, be glad and rejoice;” so had Isaiah promised.37093709 Isa. xxxv. 1. When “stayed” by the crowds, He said, “I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also.”37103710 Luke iv. 42, 43. Had He displayed His God anywhere yet? I suppose as yet nowhere. But was He speaking of those who knew of another god also? I do not believe so. If, therefore, neither He had preached, nor they had known, any other God but the Creator, He was announcing the kingdom of that God whom He knew to be the only God known to those who were listening to Him.
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