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Book II, (partial)

I am distrustful of all that seek, or seem to seek to serve the Lord in the flesh., on whom the word can be assayed that says; to be taken with thanksgiving, or, accursed is the man that takes flesh for his arm.

     Chapter 1

     The course pursued by the apostles after the ascension of Christ.

1.  First, then, in the place of Judas, the betrayer, Matthias, who, as has been shown was also one of the Seventy, was chosen to the apostolate. And there were appointed to the diaconate, for the service of the congregation, by prayer and the laying on of the hands of the apostles, approved men, seven in number, of whom Stephen was one.

2.  He first, after the Lord, was stoned to death at the time of his ordination by the slayers of the Lord, as if he had been promoted for this very purpose. And thus he was the first to receive the crown, corresponding to his name, which belongs to the martyrs of Christ, who are worthy of the meet of victory.

3.  Then James, whom the ancients surnamed the Just on account of the excellence of his virtue, is recorded to have been the first to be made bishop of the church of Jerusalem. This James was called the brother of the Lord because he was known as a son of Joseph.

4.  And Joseph was supposed to be the father of Christ, because the Virgin, being betrothed to him, "was found with child by the Holy Ghost before they came together," as the account of the holy Gospels shows.

5.  But Clement in the sixth book of his Hypotyposes writes thus: "For they say that Peter and James and John after the ascension of our Savior, as if also preferred by our Lord, strove not after honor, but chose James the Just bishop of Jerusalem."

6.   But the same writer, in the seventh book of the same work, relates also the following things concerning him: "The Lord after his resurrection imparted knowledge to James the Just and to John and Peter, and they imparted it to the rest of the apostles, and the rest of the apostles to the seventy, of whom Barnabas was one.

7.   But there were two Jamesís: one called the Just, who was thrown from the pinnacle of the temple and was beaten to death with a club by a fuller, and another who was beheaded." Paul also makes mention of the same James the Just, where he writes, "Other of the apostles I saw none save James the Lord's brother."

8.   At that time also the promise of our Savior to the king of the Osrhoenians was fulfilled. For Thomas, under a divine impulse, sent Thaddeus to Edessa as a preacher and evangelist of the religion of Christ, as we have shown a little above from the document found there.

9.   When he came to that place he healed Agars by the word of Christ; and after bringing all the people there into the right attitude of mind by means of his works, and leading them to adore the power of Christ, he made them disciples of the Saviorís teaching. And from that time down to the present the whole city of the Edessenes has been devoted to the name of Christ, offering no common proof of the beneficence of our Savior toward them also.

10.   These things have been drawn from ancient accounts; but let us now turn again to the divine Scripture. When the first and greatest persecution was instigated by the Jews against the church of Jerusalem in connection with the martyrdom of Stephen, and when all the disciples, except the Twelve, were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria, some, as the divine Scripture says, went as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, but could not yet venture to impart the word of faith to the nations, and therefore preached it to the Jews alone.

11.   During this time Paul was still persecuting the church, and entering the houses of believers was dragging men and women away and committing them to prison. With the diaconate, being among those who were scattered abroad, went down to Samaria, and being filled with the divine power, he first preached the word to the inhabitants of that country. And divine grace worked so mightily with him that even Simon Magus with many others was attracted by his words.

12.   Simon was at that time so celebrated, and had acquired, by his jugglery, such influence over those who were deceived by him, that he was thought to be the great power of God. But at this time, being amazed at the wonderful deeds wrought by Philip through the divine power, he reigned and counterfeited his faith in Christ, even going so far as to receive baptism.

13.   And what is surprising, the same thing is done even to this day by those who follow his most impure heresy. For they, after the manner of their forefather, slipping into the Church, like a pestilential and leprous disease greatly afflict those into whom they are able to infuse the deadly and terrible poison concealed in themselves. The most of these have been expelled as soon as they have been caught in their wickedness, as Simon himself, when detected by Peter, received the merited punishment.

14.   But as the preaching of the Saviorís Gospel was daily advancing, a certain providence led from the land of the Ethiopians an officer of the queen of that country, for Ethiopia even to the present day is ruled, according to ancestral custom, by a woman.

15.   He, first from among the Gentiles, received the mysteries of the divine word from Philip in consequence of a revelation, and having become the first-fruits of believers throughout the world, he is said to have been the first on returning to his country to proclaim the knowledge of the God of the universe and the life-giving sojourn of our Savior among men; so that through him in truth the prophecy obtained its fulfillment, which declares that "Ethiopia stretches out her hand unto God."

16.   In addition to these, Paul, that chosen vessel, not of men neither through men, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ himself and of God the Father who raised him from the dead, was appointed an apostle, being made worthy of the call by a vision and by a voice which was uttered in a revelation from heaven.

        How Tiberius was affected when informed by Pilate concerning Christ.

17.   And when the wonderful resurrection and ascension of our Savior were already noised abroad, in accordance with an ancient custom which prevailed among the rulers of the provinces, of reporting to the emperor the novel occurrences which took place in them, in order that nothing might escape him, Pontius Pilate informed Tiberius of the reports which were noised abroad through all Palestine concerning the resurrection of our Savior Jesus from the dead.

18.   He gave an account also of other wonders, which he had learned of him, and how, after his death, having risen from the dead, he was now believed by many to be a God. They say that Tiberius referred the matter to the Senate, but that they rejected it, ostensibly because they had not first examined into the matter (for an ancient law prevailed that no one should be made a god by the Romans except by a vote and decree of the Senate), but in reality because the saving teaching of the divine Gospel did not need the confirmation and recommendation of men.

19.   But although the Senate of the Romans rejected the proposition made in regard to our Savior, Tiberius still retained the opinion which he had held at first, and contrived no hostile measures against Christ. These things are recorded by Tertullian, a man well versed in the laws of the Romans, and in other respects of high repute, and one of those especially distinguished in Rome.

20.   In his apology for the Christians, which was written by him in the Latin language, and has been translated into Greek, he writes as follows: "But in order that we may give an account of these laws from their origin, it was an ancient decree that no one should be consecrated a god by the emperor until the Senate had expressed its approval. Marcus Aurelius did thus concerning a certain idol, alburnus.

21.   And this is a point in favor of our doctrine, that among you divine dignity is conferred by human decree. If a god does not please a man he is not made a god. Thus, according to this custom, it is necessary for man to be gracious to God.

22.   Tiberius, therefore, under whom the name of Christ made its entry into the world, when this doctrine was reported to him from Palestine, where it first began, communicated with the Senate, making it clear to them that he was pleased with the doctrine.

23.   But the Senate, since it had not itself proved the matter, rejected it. But Tiberius continued to hold his own opinion, and threatened death to the accusers of the Christians." Heavenly providence had wisely instilled this into his mind in order that the doctrine of the Gospel, unhindered at its beginning, might spread in all directions throughout the world.

 

    Chapter 2 .

1.  Thus, under the influence of heavenly power, and with the divine cooperation, the doctrine of the Savior, like the rays of the sun, quickly illumined the whole world; and straightway, in accordance with the divine Scriptures, the voice of the inspired evangelists and apostles went forth through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.

2.   In every city and village, churches were quickly established, filled with multitudes of people like a replenished threshing-floor. And those whose minds, in consequence of errors which had descended to them from their forefathers, were fettered by the ancient disease of idolatrous superstition, were by the power of Christ operating through the teaching and the wonderful works of his disciples set free, as it were, from terrible masters, and found a release from the most cruel bondage.

3.   They renounced with abhorrence every specie of demoniacal polytheism, and confessed that there was only one God, the creator of all things, and him they honored with the rites of true piety, through the inspired and rational worship, which has been planted by our Savior among men.

4.   But the divine grace being now poured out upon the rest of the nations Cornelius, of Caesarea in Palestine, with his whole house, through a divine revelation and the agency of Peter, first received faith in Christ; and after him a multitude of other Greeks in Antioch, to whom those who were scattered by the persecution of Stephen had preached the Gospel.

5.   When the church of Antioch was now increasing and abounding, and a multitude of prophets from Jerusalem were on the ground, among them Barnabas and Paul and in addition many other brethren, the name of Christians first sprang up there, as from a fresh and life-giving fountain.

6.   And Agabus, one of the prophets who was with them, uttered a prophecy concerning the famine, which was about to take place, and Paul and Barnabas were sent to relieve the necessities of the brethren.

        After the death of Tiberius.

7.   Tiberius died, after having reigned about twenty-two years, and Caius succeeded him in the empire. He immediately gave the government of the Jews to Agrippa, making him king over the tetrarch's of Philip and of Lysanias; in addition to which he bestowed upon him, not long afterward, the tetrarchs of Herod, having punished Herod (the one under whom the Savior suffered) and his wife Herodias with perpetual exile on account of numerous crimes. Josephus is a witness to these facts.

8.   Under this emperor Philo became known; a man most celebrated not only among many of our own, but also among many scholars without the Church. He was a Hebrew by birth, but was inferior to none of those who held high dignities in Alexandria. How exceedingly he labored in the Scriptures and in the studies of his nation is plain to all from the work, which he has done.

9.   How familiar he was with philosophy and with the liberal studies of foreign nations, it is not necessary to say, since he is reported to have surpassed all his contemporaries in the study of Platonic and Pythagorean philosophy, to which he particularly devoted his attention.

        Philo's embassy to Caius in behalf of the Jews.

10.   Philo has given us an account, in five books, of the misfortunes of the Jews under Caius. He recounts at the same time the madness of Caius: how he called himself a god, and performed as emperor innumerable acts of tyranny; and he describes further the miseries of the Jews under him, and gives a report of the embassy upon which he himself was sent to Rome in behalf of his fellow-countrymen in Alexandria; how when he appeared before Caius in behalf of the laws of his fathers he received nothing but laughter and ridicule, and almost incurred the risk of his life.

11.   Josephus also makes mention of these things in the eighteenth book of his Antiquities, in the following words: "A sedition having arisen in Alexandria between the Jews that dwell there and the Greeks, three deputies were chosen from each faction and went to Caius.

12.   One of the Alexandrian deputies was Apion, who uttered many slanders against the Jews; among other things saying that they neglected the honors due to Caesar.  For while all other subjects of Rome erected altars and temples to Caius, and in all other respects treated him just as they did the gods, they alone considered it disgraceful to honor him with statues and to swear by his name.

13.   And when Apion had uttered many severe charges by which he hoped that Caius would be aroused, as indeed was likely, Philo, the chief of the Jewish embassy, a man celebrated in every respect, a brother of Alexander the Alabarch, and not unskilled in philosophy, was prepared to enter upon a defense in reply to his accusations.

14.   But Caius prevented him and ordered him to leave, and being very angry, it was plain that he meditated some severe measure against them. And Philo departed covered with insult and told the Jews that were with him to be of good courage; for while Caius was raging against them he was in fact already contending with God."  Thus far Josephus.

15.   And Philo himself, in the work On the Embassy that he wrote, describes accurately and in detail the things, which were done by him at that time. But I shall omit the most of them and record only those things, which will make clearly evident to the reader that the misfortunes of the Jews came upon them not long after their daring deeds against Christ and on account of the same.

16.   And he relates that at Rome in the reign of Tiberius, Sejanus, who at that time enjoyed great influence with the emperor, made every effort to utterly destroy the Jewish nation; and that in Judea he attempted something contrary to the Jewish law in respect to the temple, which at that time was still standing in Jerusalem, and so excited them to the greatest tumults.

 

    Chapter 3

    The misfortunes, which overwhelmed the Jews.

1.   After the death of Tiberius, Caius received the empire, and, besides innumerable other acts of tyranny against many people, he greatly afflicted especially the whole nation of the Jews These things we may learn briefly from the words of Philo, who writes as follows:

2.   So great was the caprice of Caius in his conduct toward all, and especially toward the nation of the Jews that he appropriated to himself their places of worship in the other cities, and beginning with Alexandria he filled them with images and statues of himself (for in permitting others to erect them he really erected them himself).

3.   The temple in the holy city, which had hereunto been left untouched, and had been regarded as an inviolable asylum, he altered and transformed into a temple of his own, that it might be called the temple of the visible jupiter, (the younger Caius).

4.   Innumerable other terrible and almost indescribable calamities came upon the Jews in Alexandria during the reign of the same emperor, and are recorded by the same author in his second work, to which he gave the title, On the Virtues.  Josephus also agrees with him, who likewise indicates that the misfortunes of the whole nation began with the time of Pilate, and with their daring crimes against the Savior.

5.   Hear what be says in the second book of his Jewish war, where he writes as follows: "Pilate being sent to Judea as procurator by Tiberius, secretly carried veiled images of the emperor, called ensigns, to Jerusalem by night.  The following day this caused the greatest disturbance among the Jews, for those who were near, were confounded at the sight, beholding their laws as it were, trampled under foot. For they allow no image to be set up in their city."

6.   Comparing these things with the writings of the evangelists, you will see that it was not long before there came upon them the penalty for the exclamation which they had uttered under the same Pilate, when they cried out that they had no other king than Caesar.

7.   The same writer further records that after this, another calamity overtook them. He writes as follows: "After this he stirred up another tumult by making use of the holy treasure, which is called Corban, in the construction of an aqueduct three hundred stadia in length.

8.   The multitude were greatly displeased at it, and when Pilate was in Jerusalem they surrounded his tribunal and complained loudly.  But anticipating the tumult, he had distributed throughout the crowd armed soldiers disguised in citizen's clothing, forbidding them to use the sword, but commanding them to strike with clubs those who would make an outcry. To them he gave the prearranged signal from the tribunal.

9.   And the Jews being beaten, many of them perished in consequence of the blows, while many others were trampled under foot by their own countrymen in their flight, and thus lost their lives. But the multitude, overawed by the fate of those who were slain, held their peace.

10.   In addition to these the same author records many other tumults, which were stirred up in Jerusalem itself, and shows that from that time seditions and wars and mischievous plots followed each other in quick succession, and never ceased in the city and in all Judea until finally the siege of Vespasian overwhelmed them. Thus the divine vengeance overtook the Jews for the crimes, which they dared to commit against Christ.

           Pilate's suicide.

11.   It is worthy to note that Pilate himself, who was governor in the time of our Savior, is reported to have fallen into such misfortunes under Caius, whose times we are recording, that he was forced to become his own murderer and executioner; and thus divine vengeance, as it seems, was not long in overtaking him.

12.   This is stated by those Greek historians who have recorded the Olympiads, together with the respective events, which have taken place in each period. 

(Leonard: Another record of the "Letters of Herod and Pilate" (included in "Biblical Records" gives a different account.   And this being stated by as Eusebius says - Greek historians, I call to remembrance the words of Paul as he said; "Greeks are always liars.  But what the real truth is I do not know. )

        The famine which took place in the reign of Claudius.

13.   Caius had held the power not quite four years when he was succeeded by the emperor Claudius. Under him the world was visited with a famine, which writers that are entire strangers to our religion have recorded in their histories. And thus the prediction of Agabus recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, according to which the whole world was to be visited by a famine, received its fulfillment.

14.   And Luke, in the Acts, after mentioning the famine in the time of Claudius, and stating that the brethren of Antioch, each according to his ability, sent to the brethren of Judea by the hands of Paul and Barnabas, adds the following account.

          The martyrdom of James the apostle.

15.    Now about that time (it is clear that he means the time of Claudius) Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the Church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword."

16.   And concerning this James, Clement, in the seventh book of his Hypotyposes, relates a story, which is worthy of mention; telling it as he received it from those who had lived before him. He says that the one who led James to the judgment-seat, when he saw him bearing his testimony, was moved, and confessed that he was himself also a Christian.

17.   They were both therefore, he says, led away together; and on the way he begged James to forgive him. And he, after considering a little, said, "Peace be with thee," and kissed him. And thus they were both beheaded at the same time.

18.   And then, as the divine Scripture says, Herod, upon the death of James, seeing that the deed pleased the Jews, attacked Peter also and committed him to prison, and would have slain him if he had not, by the divine appearance of an angel who came to him by night, been wonderfully released from his bonds, and thus liberated for the service of the Gospel.  Such was the providence of God in respect to Peter.

          A divine vengeance.

19.   The consequences of the king's undertaking against the apostles were not long deferred, but the avenging minister of divine justice overtook him immediately after his plots against them, as the book of Acts records. For when he had journeyed to Caesarea, on a notable feast-day, clothed in a splendid and royal garment, he delivered an address to the people from a lofty throne in front of the tribunal.

20.   And when all the multitude applauded the speech, as if it were the voice of a god and not of a man, the Scripture relates that an angel of the Lord smote him, and being eaten of worms he gave up the ghost.

21.   We must admire the account of Josephus for its agreement with the divine Scriptures in regard to this wonderful event; for he clearly bears witness to the truth in the nineteenth book of his Antiquities, where he relates the wonder in the following words:

22.   He had completed the third year of his reign over all Judea when he came to Caesarea, which was formerly called Strataís Tower. There he held games in honor of Caesar, learning that this was a festival observed in behalf of Caesar's safety. At this festival was collected a great multitude of the highest and most honorable men in the province.

23.   And on the second day of the games he proceeded to the theater at break of day, wearing a garment entirely of silver and of wonderful texture. And there the silver, illuminated by the reflection of the sun's earliest rays, shone marvelously, gleaming so brightly as to produce a sort of fear and terror in those who gazed upon him.

24.   And immediately his flatterers, some from one place, others from another, raised up their voices in a way that was not for his good, calling him a god, and saying, `Be thou merciful; if up to this time we have feared thee as a man, henceforth we confess that thou art superior to the nature of mortals.'

25.   The king did not rebuke them, nor did he reject their impious flattery. But after a little, looking up, he saw an angel sitting above his head. And this he quickly perceived would be the cause of evil as it had once been the cause of good fortune, and he was smitten with a heart-piercing pain.

26.   And straightway distress, beginning with the greatest violence, seized his bowels. And looking upon his friends he said,  I your god am now commanded to depart this life. I therefore disprove the lying words you have just uttered concerning me.  

27.  He who has been called immortal by you is now led away to die; but our destiny must be accepted as God has determined it.  For we have passed our life by no means ingloriously, but in that splendor which is pronounced happiness.'

28.   And when he had said this he labored with an increase of pain. He was accordingly carried in haste to the palace, while the report spread among all that the king would undoubtedly soon die. But the multitude, with their wives and children, sitting on sackcloth after the custom of their fathers, implored God in behalf of the king, and every place was filled with lamentation and tears. And the king as he lay in a lofty chamber, and saw them below lying prostrate on the ground, could not refrain from weeping himself.

29.   And after suffering continually for five days with pain in the bowels, he departed this life, in the fifty-fourth year of his age, and in the seventh year of his reign.  Four years he ruled under the emperor Caius.  Three of them over the tetrarchs of Philip, to which was added in the fourth year that of Herod -and three years during the reign of the emperor Claudius."

30.   I marvel greatly that Josephus, in these things as well as in others, so fully agrees with the divine Scriptures. But if there should seem to any one to be a disagreement in respect to the name of the king, the time at least and the events show that the same person is meant, whether the change of name has been caused by the error of a copyist, or is due to the fact that he, like so many, bore two names.

 

     Chapter 4

     The impostor Theudas and his followers.

1.   Luke, in the Acts, introduces Gamaliel as saying, at the consultation which was held concerning the apostles, that at the time referred to, "rose up Theudas boasting himself to be somebody; who was slain; and as many as obeyed him were scattered."  Let us therefore add the account of Josephus concerning this man.  He records in the work mentioned just above, the following circumstances:

2.   While Fadus was procurator of Judea a certain impostor called Theudas persuaded a very great multitude to take their possessions and follow him to the river Jordan. For he said that he was a prophet, and that the river should be divided at his command, and afford them an easy passage.

3.   And with these words he deceived many. But Fadus did not permit them to enjoy their folly, but sent a troop of horsemen against them, who fell upon them unexpectedly and slew many of them and took many others alive.  They took Theudas himself captive, and cut off his head and carried it to Jerusalem." Besides this he also makes mention of the famine, which took place in the reign of Claudius, in the following words.

      

4.   And at this time it came to pass that the great famine took place in Judea, in which the queen Helen, having purchased grain from Egypt with large sums, distributed it to the needy."

5.   You will find this statement also in agreement with the Acts of the Apostles, where it is said that the disciples at Antioch, "each according to his ability determined to send relief to the brethren that dwelt in Judea; which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Paul."

6.   But splendid monuments of this Helen, of whom the historian has made mention, are still shown in the suburbs of the city which is now called Aelia, But she is said to have been queen of the Adiabeni.

        Simon Magus.

7.   But faith in our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ having now been diffused among all men, the enemy of man's salvation contrived a plan for seizing the imperial city for himself.  He conducted there the above mentioned Simon, aiding him in his deceitful arts, and led many of the inhabitants of Rome astray, and thus brought them into his own power.

8.   This is stated by Justin, one of our distinguished writers who lived not long after the time of the apostles. Concerning him I shall speak in the proper place. Take and read the work of this man, who in the first Apology, which he addressed to Antonine in behalf of our religion, writes as follows:

9.   And after the ascension of the Lord into heaven the demons put forward certain men who said they were gods, and who were not only allowed by you to go un-persecuted, but were even deemed worthy of honors. One of them was Simon, a Samaritan of the village of Gitto, who in the reign of Claudius Caesar performed in your imperial city some mighty acts of magic by the art of demons operating in him, and was considered a god, and was honored as a god by them with a statue, which was erected in the river Tiber, between the two bridges, and bore this inscription in the Latin tongue, Simoni Deo Sancto, that is, To Simon the Holy God.

10.  And nearly all the Samaritans and a few even of other nations confess and worshiped him as the first God. And there went around with him at that time a certain Helena who had formerly been a prostitute in Tyre of Phoenicia; and her they call - the first idea - that proceeded from him."

11.   Justin relates these things, and Irenaeus also agrees with him in the first book of his work, Against Heresies, where he gives an account of the man and of his profane and impure teaching. It would be superfluous to quote his account here, for it is possible for those who wish to know the origin and the lives and the false doctrines of each of the heresiarchs that have followed him, as well as the customs practiced by them all, to find them treated at length in the above-mentioned work of Irenaeus.

12.   We have understood that Simon was the author of all heresy. From his time down to the present those who have followed his heresy, reigned with the sober philosophy of the Christians, which is celebrated among all on account of its purity of life. 

13.   But they nevertheless embraced again the superstitions of idols, which they seemed to have renounced.  And they fall down before pictures and images of Simon himself and of the above-mentioned Helena who was with him; and they venture to worship them with incense and sacrifices and libations.

14.   But those matters which they keep more secret than others, in regard to which they say that one upon hearing them would be astonished, and to use one of the written phrases in vogue among them, would be confounding, being full of amazing things, and of madness and folly, of such a sort that it is impossible not only to put them in writing, but for modest men even to utter them with the lips on account of their excessive baseness and lewdness.

15.   For what ever could be conceived of, viler than the vilest thing - all that has been outdone by this most abominable sect, which is composed of those who make a sport of those miserable females that are literally overwhelmed with all kinds of vices.

        The preaching of the apostle Peter in Rome.

16.   The evil power, who hates all that is good and plots against the salvation of men, constituted Simon at that time the father and author of such wickedness, as if to make him a mighty antagonist of the great, inspired apostles of our Savior.

17.   For that divine and celestial grace, which cooperates with its ministers by their appearance and presence, quickly extinguished the kindled flame of evil, and humbled and cast down through them every high thing that exalted itself against the knowledge of God.

18.   Wherefore neither the conspiracy of Simon nor that of any of the others who arose at that period, could accomplish anything in those apostolic times.  For everything was conquered and subdued by the splendors of the truth and by the divine word itself which had but lately begun to shine from heaven upon men, and which was then flourishing upon earth, and dwelling in the apostles themselves.

19.   The above-mentioned impostor was thus smitten in the eyes of his mind by a divine and miraculous flash, and after his evil deeds having been first detected by the apostle Peter in Judea, he fled and made a great journey across the sea from the East to the West, thinking that only thus could he live according to his mind.

20.   And coming to the city of Rome, by the mighty cooperation of that power which was lying in wait there, he was in a short time so successful in his undertaking that those who dwelt there honored him as a god by the erection of a statue.

21.   But this did not last long, for straightway during the reign of Claudius, the all-good and gracious Providence, which watches over all things led Peter, that strongest and greatest of the apostles, and the one who on account of his virtue was the speaker for all the others, to Rome against this great corrupter of life.

22.   He, like a noble commander of God, clad in divine armor, carried the costly merchandise of the light of the understanding from the East to those who dwelt in the West, proclaiming the light itself, and the word which brings salvation to souls, and preaching the kingdom of heaven.

 

     Chapter 5

     The gospel according to Mark.

1.   And thus when the divine word had made its home among them, the power of Simon was quenched and immediately destroyed, together with the man himself. And so greatly did the splendor of piety illumine the minds of Peter's hearers that they were not satisfied with hearing it once only, nor being content with the unwritten teaching of the divine Gospel, they besought Mark, a follower of Peter, but with all sorts of entreaties.

2.   And the one whose Gospel is extant, that he would leave them a written monument of the doctrine which had been orally communicated to them.  Nor did they cease until they had prevailed with the man, and had thus become the occasion of the written Gospel, which bears the name of Mark.

3.   And they say that Peter when he had learned, through a revelation of the Spirit of that which had been done, was pleased with the zeal of the men, and that the work obtained the sanction of his authority for the purpose of being used in the churches.

4.   Clement in the eighth book of his Hypotyposes gives this account, and the bishop of Hierapolis named Papias, agrees with him.  Peter makes mention of Mark in his first epistle which they say that he wrote in Rome, as indicated by him, when he calls the city by a figure of Babylon, in the following words: "The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, salutes you; and so does Marcus my son."

        Mark first proclaimed Christianity to the inhabitants of Egypt.

5.   And they say that this Mark was the first sent to Egypt, and that he proclaimed the Gospel, which he had written, and was the first to establish churches in Alexandria.  And the multitude of believers, both men and women, that were collected there at the very outset, who lived lives of the most philosophical and excessive asceticism, was so great, that Philo thought it worthwhile to describe their pursuits, their meetings, their entertainments, and their whole manner of life."

        Philo's account of the ascetics of Egypt.

6.   It is also said that Philo in the reign of Claudius became acquainted with Peter at Rome, who was then preaching there. Nor is this indeed improbable for the work of which we have spoken, and which was composed by him some years later, clearly contains those rules of the Church, which are even to this day observed among us.

7.   And since he describes as accurately as possible the life of our ascetics, it is clear that he not only knew, but that he also approved, and venerated and extolled the apostolic men of his time, who were as it seems of the Hebrew race, and, after the manner of the Jews observed most of the customs of the ancients.

8.   In the work to which he gave the title, ďOn a contemplative life or, on suppliants, after affirming in the first place that he will add to those things which he is about to relate nothing contrary to truth or of his own invention, he says that these men were called Therapeutae, and the women that were with them Therapeutrides.

9.   He then adds the reasons for such a name, explaining it from the fact that they applied remedies and healed the souls of those who came to them, by relieving them like physicians of evil passions, or from the fact that they served and worshiped the Deity in purity and sincerity.

10.   Whether Philo himself gave them this name, employing an epithet well suited to their mode of life, or whether the first of them really called themselves so in the beginning, since the name of Christians was not yet everywhere known, we need not discuss here.

11.   He bears witness, however, that first of all they renounced their property.  He says; when they begin the philosophical mode of life they give up their goods to their relatives, and then renouncing all the cares of life, they go forth beyond the walls and dwell in lonely fields and gardens, knowing well that intercourse with people of a different character is unprofitable and harmful. They did this at that time, as seems probable, under the influence of a spirited and ardent faith, practicing in emulation the prophets' mode of life.

12.   For in the Acts of the Apostles, a work universally acknowledged as authentic, it is recorded that all the companions of the apostles sold their possessions and their property and distributed to all according to the necessity of each one, so that no one among them was in want. "For as many as were possessors of lands or houses, as the account says, sold them and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles' feet, so that distribution was made unto every man according as he had need."

13.   Philo bears witness to facts very much like those here described and then adds the following account: "Everywhere in the world is this race found. For it was fitting that both Greek and Barbarian should share in what is perfectly good. But the race particularly abounds in Egypt, in each of its so-called nomes, and especially about Alexandria.

14.   The best men from every quarter emigrate, as if to a colony of the Therapeut's fatherland, to a certain very suitable spot which lies above the lake Maria upon a low hill excellently situated on account of its security and the mildness of the atmosphere."

15.   And then a little further on, after describing the kind of houses which they had, he speaks as follows concerning their churches, which were scattered about here and there: "In each house there is a sacred apartment which is called a sanctuary and monastery, where quite alone, they perform the mysteries of the religious life.

16.   They bring nothing into it, neither drink nor food, nor any of the other things which contribute to the necessities of the body, but only the laws, and the inspired oracles of the prophets, and hymns and such other things as augment and perfect their knowledge and piety.

17.   And after some other matters he says:  "The whole interval, from morning to evening, is for them a time of exercise. For they read the Holy Scriptures, and explain the philosophy of their fathers in an allegorical manner, regarding the written words as symbols of hidden truth, which is communicated in obscure figures.

18.   They also have writings of ancient men, who were the founders of their sect, and who left many monuments of the allegorical method. These they use as models, and imitate their principles."

19.   These things seem to have been stated by a man who had heard them expounding their sacred writings. But it is highly probable that the works of the ancients, which he says they had, were the Gospels and the writings of the apostles, and probably some expositions of the ancient prophets, such as are contained in the Epistle to the Hebrews, and in many others of Paul's Epistles.

20.   Then again he writes as follows concerning the new psalms which they composed: "So that they not only spend their time in meditation, but they also compose songs and hymns to God in every variety of miter and melody, though they divide them, of course into measures of more than common solemnity."

21.   The same book contains an account of many other things, but it seemed necessary to select those facts, which exhibit the characteristics of the ecclesiastical mode of life. But if any one thinks that what has been said is not peculiar to the Gospel polity, but that it can be applied to others besides those mentioned, let him be convinced by the subsequent words of the same author, in which, if he is unprejudiced, he will find undisputed testimony on this subject.

22.   Philo's words are as follows:  "Having laid down temperance as a sort of foundation in the soul, they build upon it the other virtues. None of them may take food or drink before sunset, since they regard philosophizing as a work worthy of the light, but attention to the wants of the body as proper only in the darkness, and therefore assign the day to the former, but to the latter a small portion of the night.  

 

(Leonard: The Lord Himself walked through the grain-fields in the light of day, even on a sabbath, grinding the ears to eat the grains.   Are they therefore censuring the Lord, the One they are supposed to be serving, along with the hypocritical Jews?)

 

23.   But some, in whom a great desire for knowledge dwells, forget to take food for three days; and some are so delighted and feast so luxuriously upon wisdom, which furnishes doctrines richly and without stint, that they abstain even twice as long as this, and are accustomed, after six days, scarcely to take necessary food." These statements of Philo we regard as referring clearly and indisputably to those of our communion.

 

(Leonard:  If thus they spend so much effort in the Scriptures, how did they not comprehend the meaning of "grace" that it is by gift, and not works wherein virtue rests?  Or how it was said, God is Spirit, and in Spirit He is served?  What then has food or drink, or times and rituals to do with Godliness?

Jonathan, son of Saul, dipped his finger in honey and ate, and his reply to his father's oath was, that he troubled Israel.  Is there a lesson here?

 

Quote: "Let no one disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, taking his stand on visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.
If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the universe, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world? Why do you submit to regulations, "Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch", according to human precepts and doctrines?

These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting rigor of devotion and self-abasement and severity to the body, but they are of no value in checking the indulgence of the flesh."

 

"The appearance of wisdom" so Paul said; and "Why do you live as if you still belonged to the world?   It was because they still did belong to the world, and never did live in Christ, making a semblance instilled by the devil in order if possibly to deceive the elect, to draw them away from Christ.)

 

24.   But if after these things any one still obstinately persists in denying the reference, let him renounce his incredulity and be convinced by yet more striking examples, which are to be found nowhere else than in the evangelical religion of the Christians.

25.   For they say that there were women also with those of whom we are speaking, and that the most of them were aged virgins who had preserved their chastity, not out of necessity, as some of the priestesses among the Greeks, but rather by their own choice, through zeal and a desire for wisdom. And that in their earnest desire to live with it as their companion they paid no attention to the pleasures of the body, seeking not mortal but immortal progeny, which only the pious soul is able to bear of itself.  

 

(Leonard:  This (verse 25 underlined) as well as on many other occasions, they seem to imply that only virgins can be chaste?  A married women with children can be more chaste than a virgin.  For it is not in the act of sex, as in the flesh, where chastity is lost, but in the heart, in the spirit.   A man shall cleave to his wife -- is of God and therefore holy and chaste.

 As with a man, for a women to look upon a man in lust, she has already committed adultery with him, and how then is she a virgin?

When are those striving for salvation ever going to learn that - it is not in the flesh, not in the flesh, not in the flesh!!!  A thousand repetitions and still they do not understand?  Is it so hard to serve in spirit, to accept what God has sanctioned with thanksgiving?  Behold said the Lord; "I did not command you concerning sacrifices, but that you should judge rightly, and keep righteousness, etc, etc."

And why O Eusebius are you relating all these things that are abominable to the sons of God, and you seem to relish in it, which is not a good sign for you Eusebius.)

 

26.   Then after a little he adds still more emphatically: "They expound the sacred Scriptures figuratively by means of allegories. For the whole law seems to these men to resemble a living organism, of which the spoken words constitute the body, while the hidden sense stored up within the words constitutes the soul. This hidden meaning has first been particularly studied by this sect, which sees, revealed as in a mirror of names, the surpassing beauties of the thoughts."

27.   Why is it necessary to add to these things their meetings and the respective occupations of the men and of the women during those meetings, and the practices which are even to the present day habitually observed by us, especially such as we are accustomed to observe at the feast of the Saviorís passion, with fasting and night watching and study of the divine Word.

28.   These things the above-mentioned author has related in his own work, indicating a mode of life which has been preserved to the present time by us alone recording especially the vigils kept in connection with the great festival, and the exercises performed during those vigils.  

 

(Leonard:  In verse 26, underlined, it states "sect" which is normally understood those in contradiction of the truth.  And in 28 - "by us alone",  where is the truth and where is the sect?)

 

29.   And the hymns customarily recited by us, and describing how, while one sings regularly in time, the others listen in silence, and join in chanting only the close of the hymns; and how, on the days referred to they sleep on the ground on beds of straw, and to use his own words, "taste no wine at all, nor any flesh, but water is their only drink, and with their bread is salt and hyssop.  

 

(Leonard: This sounds more like a sect, a people gone astray from the truth, and not willing to accept truth nor the teaching of the Lord and the apostles.  Quote: Paul to Timothy,  Take a little wine with your water.  And for eating flesh, to Peter, "Do not call unholy what the Lord calls Holy. And a dozen or more examples, or reproves if you will.

And as for "salt and hyssop,  salt has its use but not upon bread, and soap has a better use than to be consumed.)

30.   In addition to this Philo describes the order of dignities, which is among those who carry on the services of the church, mentioning the diaconate, and the office of bishop, which takes the precedence over all the others. But whosoever desires a more accurate knowledge of these matters may get it from the history already cited.

31.   But it is clear to every one, that Philo, when he wrote these things, had in view the first heralds of the Gospel and the customs handed down from the beginning by the apostles.  

 

(Leonard: This my dear Eusebius, you should not have said, since such things are definitely not the customs handed down by the apostles, and as such a lie of your mouth.)