Irenaeus, ag. Heresies Liv.4 ch.28

1 Inasmuch, then, as in both Testaments there is the same righteousness of God (displayed] when God takes vengeance, in the one case indeed typically, temporarily, and more moderately; but in the other, really, enduringly, and more rigidly: for the fire is eternal, and the wrath of God which shall be revealed from heaven from the face of our Lord (as David also says, "But the face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth"(2)), entails a heavier punishment on those who incur it,--the ciders pointed out that those men are devoid of sense, who, (arguing] from what happened to those who formerly did not obey God, do endeavour to bring in another Father, setting over against (these punishments] what great things the Lord had done at His coming to save those who received Him, taking compassion upon them; while they keep silence with regard to His judgment; and all those things which shall come upon such as have heard His words, but done them not, and that it were better for them if they had not been born,(3) and that it shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the judgment than for that city which did not receive the word of His disciples.(4)

For as, in the New Testament, that faith of men (to be placed] in God has been increased, receiving in addition (to what was already revealed] the Son of God, that man too might be a partaker of God; so is also our walk in life required to be more circumspect, when we are directed not merely to abstain from evil actions, but even from evil thoughts, and from idle words, and empty talk, and scurrilous-language:(5) thus also the punishment of those who do not believe the Word of God, and despise His advent, and are turned away backwards, is increased; being not merely temporal, but rendered also eternal. For to whomsoever the Lord shall say, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire,"(6) these shall be damned for ever; and to whomsoever He shall say, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you for eternity,"(7) these do receive the kingdom for ever, and make constant advance in it; since there is one and the same God the Father, and His Word, who has been always present with the human race, by means indeed of various dispensations, and has wrought out many things, and saved from the beginning those who are saved, (for these are they who love God, and follow the Word of God according to the class to which they belong,) and has judged those who are judged, that is, those who forget God, and are blasphemous, and transgressors of His word.

For the sesame heretics already mentioned by us have fallen away from themselves, by accusing the Lord, in whom they say that they believe. For those points to which they call attention with regard to the God who then awarded temporal punishments to the unbelieving, and smote the Egyptians, while He saved those that were obedient; these same (facts, I say,] shall nevertheless repeat themselves in the Lord, who judges for eternity those whom He doth judge, and lets go free for eternity those whom He does let go free: and He shall (thus] be discovered, according to the language used by these men, as having been the cause of their most heinous sin to those who laid hands upon Him, and pierced Him. For if He had not so Come, it follows that these men could not have become the slayers of their Lord; and if He had not sent prophets to them, they certainly could not have killed them, nor the apostles either. To those, therefore, who assail us, and say, If the Egyptians had not been afflicted with plagues, and, when pursuing after Israel, been choked in the sea, God could not have saved His people, this answer may be given;--Unless, then, the Jews had become the slayers of the Lord (which did, indeed, take eternal life away from them), and, by killing the apostles and persecuting the Church, had fallen into an abyss of wrath, we could not have been saved. For as they were saved by means of the blindness of the Egyptians, so are we, too, by that of the Jews; if, indeed, the death of the Lord is the condemnation of those who fastened Him to the cross, and who did not believe His advent, but the salvation of those who believe in Him. For the apostle does also say in the Second (Epistle] to the Corinthians: "For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them which are saved, and in them which perish: to the one indeed the savour of death unto death, but to the other the savour of life unto life." To whom, then, is there the savour of death unto death, unless to those who believe not neither are subject to the Word of God? And who are they that did even then give themselves over to death? Those men, doubtless, who do not believe, nor submit themselves to God. And again, who are they that have been saved and received the inheritance? Those, doubtless, who do believe God, and who have continued in His love; as did Caleb (the son] of Jephunneh and Joshua (the son] of Nun,(2) and innocent children,(3) who have had no sense of evil. But who are they that are saved now, and receive life eternal? Is it not those who love God, and who believe His promises, and who "in malice have become as little children?"(4)


1 "But," say they, "God hardened the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants."(5) Those, then, who allege such difficulties, do not read in the Gospel that passage where the Lord replied to the disciples, when they asked Him, "Why speakest Thou unto them in parables?"--"Because it is given unto you to know the mystery of the kingdom of heaven; but to thorn I speak in parables, that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not hear, understanding they may not understand; in order that the prophecy of Isaiah regarding them may be fulfil leading, Make the heart of this people gross and make their ears dull, and blind their eyes. But blessed are your eyes, which see the things that ye see; and your ears, which hear what ye do hear.(6) For one and the same God (that blesses others] inflicts blindness upon those who do not believe, but who set Him at naught; just as the sun, which is a creature of His, (acts with regard] to those who, by reason of any weakness of the eyes cannot behold his light; but to those who believe in Him and follow Him, He grants a fuller and greater illumination of mind. In accordance with this word, therefore, does the apostle say, in the Second the] to the Corinthians: "In whom the this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ should shine (unto them]."(7) And again, in that to the Romans: "And as they did not think fit to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up to a reprobate mind, to do those things that are not convenient."(8) Speaking of antichrist, too, he says clearly in the Second to the Thessalonians: "And for this cause God shall send them the working of error, that they should believe a lie; that they all might be judged who believed not the truth, but consented to iniquity."(9)

If, therefore, in the present time also, God, knowing the number of those who will not believe, since He foreknows all things, has given them over to unbelief, and turned away His face from men of this stamp, leaving them in the darkness which they have themselves chosen for themselves, what is there wonderful if He did also at that time give over to their unbelief, Pharaoh, who never would have believed, along with those who were with him? As the Word spake to Moses from the bush: "And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, unless by a mighty hand."(10) And for the reason that the Lord spake in parables, and brought blindness upon Israel, that seeing they might not see, since He knew the (spirit of] unbelief in them, for the same reason did He harden Pharaoh's heart; in order that, while seeing that it was the finger of God which led forth the people, he might not believe, but be precipitated into a sea of unbelief, resting in the notion that the exit of these (Israelites] was accomplished by magical power, and that it was not by the operation of God that the Red Sea afforded a passage to the people, but that this occurred by merely natural causes (sed naturaliter sic se habere).


1 Those, again, who cavil and find fault because the people did, by God's command, upon the eve of their departure, take vessels of all kinds and raiment from the Egyptians," and so went away, from which (spoils], too, the tabernacle was constructed in the wilderness, prove themselves ignorant of the righteous dealings of God, and of His dispensations; as also the presbyter remarked: For if God had not accorded this in the typical exodus, no one could now be saved in our true exodus; that is, in the faith in which we have been established, and by which we have been brought forth from among the number of the Gentiles. For in some cases there follows us a small, and in others a large amount of property, which we have acquired from the mammon of unrighteousness. For from what source do we derive the houses in which we dwell, the garments in which we are clothed, the vessels which we use, and everything else ministering to our every-day life, unless it be from those things which, when we were Gentiles, we acquired by avarice, or received them from our heathen parents, relations, or friends who unrighteously obtained them?--not to mention that even now we acquire such things when we are in the faith. For who is there that sells, and does not wish to make a profit from him who buys? Or who purchases anything, and does not wish to obtain good value from the seller? Or who is there that carries on a trade, and does not do so that he may obtain a livelihood thereby? And as to those believing ones who are in the royal palace, do they not derive the utensils they employ from the property which belongs to Caesar; and to those who have not, does not each one of these (Christians] give according to his ability? The Egyptians were debtors to the (Jewish] people, not alone as to property, but as their very lives, because of the kindness of the patriarch Joseph in former times; but in what way are the heathen debtors to us, from whom we receive both gain and profit? Whatsoever they amass with labour, these things do we make use of without labour, although we are in the faith.

Up to that time the people served the Egyptians in the most abject slavery, as saith the Scripture: "And the Egyptians exercised their power rigorously upon the children of Israel; and they made life bitter to them by severe labours, in mortar and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field which they did, by all the works in which they oppressed them with rigour."(1) And with immense labour they built for them fenced cities, increasing the substance of these men throughout a long course of years, and by means of every species of slavery; while these (masters] were not only ungrateful towards them, but had in contemplation their utter annihilation. In what way, then, did (the Israelites] act unjustly, if out of many things they took a few, they who might have possessed much property had they not served them, and might have gone forth wealthy, while, in fact, by receiving only a very insignificant recompense for their heavy servitude, they went away poor? It is just as if any free man, being forcibly carried away by another, and serving him for many years, and increasing his substance, should be thought, when he ultimately obtains some support, to possess some small portion of his (master's] property, but should in reality depart, having obtained only a little as the result of his own great labours, and out of vast possessions which have been acquired, and this should be made by any one a subject of accusation against him, as if he had not acted properly.(2) He (the accuser) will rather appear as an unjust judge against him who had been forcibly carried away into slavery. Of this kind, then, are these men also, who charge the people with blame, because they appropriated a few things out of many, but who bring no charge against those who did not render them the recompense due to their fathers' services; nay, but even reducing them to the most irksome slavery, obtained the highest profit from them. And (these objectors] allege that (the Israelites] acted dishonestly, because, for-sooth, they took away for the recompense of their labours, as I have observed, unstamped gold and silver in a few vessels; while they say that they themselves (for lot truth be spoken, although to some it may seem ridiculous) do act honestly, when they carry away in their girdles from the labours of others, coined gold, and silver, and brass, with Caesar's inscription and image upon it.

If, however, a comparison be instituted between us and them, (I would ask] which party shall seem to have received (their worldly goods] in the fairer manner? Will it be the (Jewish] people, (who took] from the Egyptians, who were at all points their debtors; or we, (who receive property] from the Romans and other nations, who are under no similar obligation to us? Yea, moreover, through their instrumentality the world is at peace, and we walk on the highways without fear, and sail where we will.(3) Therefore, against men of this kind (namely, the heretics) the word of the Lord applies, which says: "Thou hypocrite, first cast the beam out of thine eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote out of thy brother's eye."(4) For if he who lays these things to thy charge, and glories in his own wisdom, has been separated from the company of the Gentiles, and possesses nothing (derived from] other people's goods, but is literally naked, and barefoot, and dwells homeless among the mountains, as any of those animals do which feed on grass, he will stand excused (in using such language], as being ignorant of the necessities of our mode of life. But if he do partake of what, in the opinion of men, is the property of others, and if (at the same time] he runs down their type,(5) he proves himself most unjust, turning this kind of accusation against himself. For he will be found carrying about property not belonging to him, and coveting goods which are not his. And therefore has the Lord said: "Judge not, that ye be not judged: for with what judgment ye shall judge, ye shall be judged."(1) (The meaning is] not certainly that we should not find fault with sinners, nor that we should consent to those who act wickedly; but that we should not pronounce an unfair judgment on the dispensations of God, inasmuch as He has Himself made provision that all things shall turn out for good, in a way consistent with justice. For, because He knew that we would make a good use of our substance which we should possess by receiving it from another, He says, "He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise."(2) And, "For I was an hungered, and ye gave Me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink; I was naked and ye clothed Me."(3) And, "When thou doest thine alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth."(4) And we are proved to be righteous by whatsoever else we do well, redeeming, as it were, our property from strange hands. But thus do I say, "from strange hands," not as if the world were not God's possession, but that we have gifts of this sort, and receive them from others, in the same way as these men had them from the Egyptians who knew not God; and by means of these same do we erect in ourselves the tabernacle of God: for God dwells in those who act uprightly, as the Lord says: "Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, that they, when ye shall be put to flight,"(5) may receive you into eternal tabernacles."(6) For whatsoever we acquired from unrighteousness when we were heathen, we are proved righteous, when we have become believers, by applying it to the Lord's advantage.

As a matter of course, therefore, these things were done beforehand in a type, and from them was the tabernacle of God constructed; those persons justly receiving them, as I have shown, while we were pointed out beforehand in them,--(we] who should afterwards serve God by the things of others. For the whole exodus of the people out of Egypt, which took place under divine guidance,(7) was a type and image of the exodus of the Church which should take place from among the Gentiles;(8) and for this cause He leads it out at last from this world into His own inheritance, which Moses the servant of God did not (bestow], but which Jesus the Son of God shall give for an inheritance. And if any one will devote a dose attention to those things which are stated by the prophets with regard to the (time of the] end, and those which John the disciple of the Lord saw in the Apocalypse,(9) he will find that the nations (are to] receive the same plagues universally, as Egypt then did particularly.



1 WHEN recounting certain matters of this kind respecting them of old time, the presbyter (before mentioned] was in the habit of instructing us, and saying: "With respect to those misdeeds for which the Scriptures themselves blame the patriarchs and prophets, we ought not to inveigh against them, nor become like Ham, who ridiculed the shame of his father, and so fell under a curse; but we should (rather] give thanks to God in their behalf, inasmuch as their sins have been forgiven them through the advent of our Lord; for He said that they gave thanks (for us], and gloried in our salvation.' With respect to those actions, again, on which the Scriptures pass no censure, but which are simply set down (as having occurred], we ought not to become the accusers (of those who committed them], for we are not more exact than God, nor can we be superior to our Master; but we should search for a type (in theme. For not one of those things which have been set down in Scripture without being condemned is without significance." An example is found in the case of Lot, who led forth his daughters from Sodom, and these then conceived by their own father; and who left behind him within the confines (of the land] his wife, (who remains] a pillar of salt unto this day. For Lot, not acting under the impulse of his own will, nor at the prompting of carnal concupiscence, nor having any knowledge or thought of anything of the kind, did (in fact] work out a type (of future events]. As says the Scripture: "And that night the eider went in and lay with her father; and Lot knew not when she lay down, nor when she arose."(1) And the same thing took place in the case of the younger: "And he knew not," it is said, "when she slept with him, nor when she arose."(2) Since, therefore, Lot knew not (what he did], nor was a slave to lust (in his actions], the arrangement (designed by God] was carried out, by which the two daughters (that is, the two churches(3)), who gave birth to children begotten of one and the same father, were pointed out, apart from (the influence of] the lust of the flesh. For there was no other person, (as they supposed], who could impart to them quickening seed, and the means of their giving birth to children, as it is written: "And the elder said unto the younger, And there is not a man on the earth to enter in unto us after the manner of all the earth: come, let us make our father drunk with wine, and let us lie with him, and raise up seed from our father."(4)

Thus, after their simplicity and innocence, did these daughters (of Lot] so speak, imagining that all mankind had perished, even as the Sodomites had done, and that the anger of God had come down upon the whole earth. Wherefore also they are to be held excusable, since they supposed that they only, along with their father, were left for the preservation of the human race; and for this reason it was that they deceived their father. Moreover, by the words they used this fact was pointed out--that there is no other one who can confer upon the elder and younger church the (power of] giving birth to children, besides our Father. Now the father of the human race is the Word of God, as Moses points out when he says, "Is not He thy father who hath obtained thee (by generation], and formed thee, and created thee?"s At what time, then, did He pour out upon the human race the life-giving seed--that is, the Spirit of the remission of sins, through means of whom we are quickened? Was it not then, when He was eating with men, and drinking wine upon the earth? For it is said, "The Son of man came eating and drinking;(6) and when He had lain down, He fell asleep, and took repose. As He does Himself say in David, "I slept, and took repose."(7) And because He used thus to act while He dwelt and lived among us, He says again, "And my sleep became sweet unto me."(8) Now this whole matter was indicated through Lot, that the seed of the Father of a

l--that is, of the Spirit of God, by whom all things were made--was commingled and united with flesh--that is, with His own workmanship; by which commixture and unity the two synagogues--that is, the two churches--produced from their own father living sons to the living God.

And while these things were taking place, his wife remained in (the territory of] Sodore, no longer corruptible flesh, but a pillar of salt which endures for ever;(9) and by those natural processes(10) which appertain to the human race, indicating that the Church also, which is the salt of the earth,(11) has been left behind within the confines of the earth, and subject to human sufferings; and while entire members are often taken away from it, the pillar of salt still endures,(12) thus typifying the foundation of the faith which maketh strong, and sends forward, children to their Father.


1 After this fashion also did a presbyter,(13) a disciple of the apostles, reason with respect to the two testaments, proving that both were truly from one and the same God. For (he maintained] that there was no other God besides Him who made and fashioned us, and that the discourse of those men has no foundation who affirm that this world of ours was made either by angels, or by any other power whatsoever, or by another God. For if a man be once moved away from the Creator of all things, and if he grant that this creation to which we belong was formed by any other or through any other (than the one God], he must of necessity fall into much inconsistency, and many contradictions of this sort; to which he will (be able to] furnish no explanations which can be regarded as either probable or true. And, for this reason, those who introduce other doctrines conceal from us the opinion which they themselves hold respecting God, because they are aware of the untenable, and absurd nature of their doctrine, and are afraid lest, should they be vanquished, they should have some difficulty in making good their escape. But if any one believes in (only] one God, who also made all things by the Word, as Moses likewise says, "God said, Let there be light: and there was light;"(2) and as we read in the Gospel, "All things were made by Him; and without Him was nothing made;"(3) and the Apostle Paul (says] in like manner, "There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father, who is above all, and through all, and in us all"(4)--this man will first of all "hold the head, from which the whole body is compacted and bound together, and, through means of every joint according to the measure of the ministration of each several part, maketh increase of the body to the edification of itself in love."(5) And then shall every word also seem consistent to him,(6) if he for his part diligently read the Scriptures in company with those who are presbyters in the Church, among whom is the apostolic doctrine, as I have pointed out.

For all the apostles taught that there were indeed two testaments among the two peoples; but that it was one and the same God who appointed both for the advantage of those men (for whose(7) sakes the testaments were given) who were to believe in God, I have proved in the third book from the very teaching of the apostles; and that the first testament was not given without reason, or to no purpose, or in an accidental sort of manner; but that it subdued(8) those to whom it was given to the service of God, for their benefit (for God needs no service from men), and exhibited a type of heavenly things, inasmuch as man was not yet able to see the things of God through means of immediate vision;(9) and foreshadowed the images of those things which (now actually] exist in the Church, in order that our faith might be firmly established;(10) and contained a prophecy of things to come, in order that man might learn that God has foreknowledge of all things.



1 A spiritual disciple of this sort truly receiving the Spirit of God, who was from the beginning, in all the dispensations of God, present with mankind, and announced things future, revealed things present, and narrated things past--(such a man] does indeed "judge all men, but is himself judged by no man."(11) For he judges the Gentiles, "who serve the creature more than the Creator,"(12) and with a reprobate mind spend all their labour on vanity. And he also judges the Jews, who do not accept of the word of liberty, nor are willing to go forth free, although they have a Deliverer present (with them]; but they pretend, at a time unsuitable (for such conduct], to serve, (with observances] beyond (those required by] the law, God who stands in need of nothing, and do not recognise the advent of Christ, which He accomplished for the salvation of men, nor are willing to understand that all the prophets announced His two advents: the one, indeed, in which He became a man subject to stripes, and knowing what it is to bear infirmity,(13) and sat upon the foal of an ass,(14) and was a stone rejected by the builders,(15) and was led as a sheep to the slaughter,(16) and by the stretching forth of His hands destroyed Amalek;(17) while He gathered from the ends of the earth into His Father's fold the children who were scattered abroad,(18) and remembered His own dead ones who had formerly fallen asleep,(19) and came down to them that He might deliver them: but the second in which He will come on the clouds,(20) bringing on the day which burns as a furnace?(21) and smiting the earth with the word of His mouth?(22) and slaying the impious with the breath of His lips, and having a fan in His hands, and cleansing His floor, and gathering the wheat indeed into His barn, but burning the chaff with unquenchable fire.(23)

Moreover, he shall also examine the doctrine of Marcion, (inquiring] how he holds that there are two gods, separated from each other by an infinite distance.(1) Or how can he be good who draws away men that do not belong to him from him who made them, and calls them into his own kingdom? And why is his goodness, which does not save all (thus], defective? Also, why does he, indeed, seem to be good as respects men, but most unjust with regard to him who made men, inasmuch as he deprives him of his possessions? Moreover, how could the Lord, with any justice, if He belonged to another father, have acknowledged the bread to be His body, while He took it from that creation to which we belong, and affirmed the mixed cup to be His blood?(2) And why did He acknowledge Himself to be the Son of man, if He had not gone through that birth which belongs to a human being? How, too, could He forgive us those sins for which we are answerable to our Maker and God? And how, again, supposing that He was not flesh, but was a man merely in appearance, could He have been crucified, and could blood and water have issued from His pierced side?(3) What body, moreover, was it that those who buried Him consigned to the tomb? And what was that which rose again from the dead?

(This spiritual man] shall also judge all the followers of Valentinus, because they do indeed confess with the tongue one God the Father, and that all things derive their existence from Him, but do at the same time maintain that He who formed all things is the fruit of an apostasy or defect. (He shall judge them, too, because] they do in like manner confess with the tongue one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, but assign in their (system of] doctrine a production of his own to the Only-begotten, one of his own also to the Word, another to Christ, and yet another to the Saviour; so that, according to them, all these beings are indeed said (in Scripture to be], as it were, one; (while they maintain], notwithstanding, that each one of them should be understood (to exist] separately (from the rest], and to have (had] his own special origin, according to his peculiar conjunction. (It appears], then(4) that their tongues alone, forsooth, have conceded the unity (of God], while their (real] opinion and their understanding (by their habit of investigating profundities) have fallen away from (this doctrine of] unity, and taken up the notion of manifold deities,--(this, I say, must appear] when they shall be examined by Christ as to the points (of doctrine] which they have invented. Him, too, they affirm to have been born at a later period than the Pleroma of the Aeons, and that His production took place after (the occurrence of] a degeneracy or apostasy; and they maintain that, on account of the passion which was experienced by Sophia, they themselves were brought to the birth. But their own special prophet Homer, listening to whom they have invented such doctrines, shall himself reprove them, when he expresses himself as follows:--

"Hateful to me that man as Hades' gates,

Who one thing thinks, while he another states."(5)

(This spiritual man] shall also judge the vain speeches of the perverse Gnostics, by showing that they are the disciples of Simon Magus.

He will judge also the Ebionites; (for] how can they be saved unless it was God who wrought out their salvation upon earth? Or how shall man pass into God, unless God has (first] passed into man? And how shall he (man) escape from the generation subject to death, if not by means(6) of a new generation, given in a wonderful and unexpected manner (but as a sign of salvation) by God--(I mean] that regeneration which flows from the virgin through faith?(7) Or how shall they receive adoption from God if they remain in this (kind of] generation, which is naturally possessed by man in this world? And how could He (Christ) have been greater than Solomon,(8) or greater than Jonah, or have been the Lord of David,(9) who was of the same substance as they were? How, too, could He have subdued(10) him who was stronger than men,(11) who had not only overcome man, but also retained him under his power, and conquered him who had conquered, while he set free mankind who had been conquered, unless He had been greater than man who had thus been vanquished? But who else is superior to, and more eminent than, that man who was formed after the likeness of God, except the Son of God, after whose image man was created? And for this reason He did in these last days(12) exhibit the similitude; (for] the Son of God was made man, assuming the ancient production (of His hands] into His own nature,(13) as I have shown in the immediately preceding book.

He shall also judge those who describe Christ as (having become man] only in (human] opinion. For how can they imagine that they do themselves carry on a real discussion, when their Master was a mere imaginary being? Or how can they receive anything stedfast from Him, if He was a merely imagined being, and not a verity? And how can these men really be partaken of salvation, if He in whom they profess to believe, manifested Himself as a merely imaginary being? Everything, therefore, connected with these men is unreal, and nothing (possessed of the character of] truth; and, in these circumstances, it may be made a question whether (since, perchance, they themselves in like manner are not men, but mere dumb animals) they do not present,(1) in most cases, simply a shadow of humanity.

He shall also judge false prophets, who, without having received the gift of prophecy from God, and not possessed of the fear of God, but either for the sake of vainglory, or with a view to some personal advantage, or acting in some other way under the influence of a wicked spirit, pretend to utter prophecies, while all the time they lie against God.

He shall also judge those who give rise to schisms, who are destitute of the love of God, and who look to their own special advantage rather than to the unity of the Church; and who for trifling reasons, or any kind of reason which occurs to them, cut in pieces and divide the great and glorious body of Christ, and so far as in them lies, (positively] destroy it,--men who prate of peace while they give rise to war, and do in truth strain out a gnat, but swallow a camel.(2) For no reformation of so great importance can be effected by them, as will compensate for the mischief arising from their schism. He shall also judge all those who are beyond the pale of the truth, that is, who are outside the Church; but he himself shall be judged by no one. For to him all things are consistent: he has a full faith in one God Almighty, of whom are all things; and in the Son of God, Jesus Christ our Lord, by whom are all things, and in the dispensations connected with Him, by means of which the Son of God became man; and a firm belief in the Spirit of God, who furnishes us with a knowledge of the truth, and has set forth the dispensations of the Father and the Son, in virtue of which He dwells with every generation of men,(3) according to the will of the Father.

True knowledge(4) is (that which consists in] the doctrine of the apostles, and the ancient constitution(5) of the Church throughout all the world, and the distinctive manifestation of the body(6) of Christ according to the successions of the bishops, by which they have handed down that Church which exists in every place, and has come even unto us, being guarded and preserved(7) without any forging of Scriptures, by a very complete system(8) of doctrine, and neither receiving addition nor (suffering] curtailment (in the truths which she believes]; and (it consists in] reading (the word of God] without falsification, and a lawful and diligent exposition in harmony with the Scriptures, both without danger and without blasphemy; and (above all, it consists in] the pre-eminent gift of love,(9) which is more precious than knowledge, more glorious than prophecy, and which excels all the other gifts (of God].

Wherefore the Church does in every place, because of that love which she cherishes towards God, send forward, throughout all time, a multitude of martyrs to the Father; while all others(10) not only have nothing of this kind to point to among themselves, but even maintain that such witness-bearing is not at all necessary, for that their system of doctrines is the true witness (for Christ], with the exception, perhaps, that one or two among them, during the whole time which has elapsed since the Lord appeared on earth, have occasionally, along with our martyrs, borne the reproach of the name (as if he too (the heretic] had obtained mercy), and have been led forth with them (to death], being, as it were, a sort of retinue granted unto them. For the Church alone sustains with purity the reproach of those who suffer persecution for righteousness' sake, and endure all sorts of punishments, and are put to death because of the love which they bear to God, and their confession of His Son; often weakened indeed, yet immediately increasing her members, and becoming whole again, after the same manner as her type," Lot's wife, who became a pillar of salt. Thus, too, (she passes through an experience] similar to that of the ancient prophets, as the Lord declares, "For so persecuted they the prophets who were before you;", inasmuch as she does indeed, in a new fashion, suffer persecution from those who do not receive the word of God, while the self-same spirit rests upon her(2) (as upon these ancient prophets].

And indeed the prophets, along with other things which they predicted, also foretold this, that all those on whom the Spirit of God should rest, and who would obey the word of the Father, and serve Him according to their ability, should suffer persecution, and be stoned and slain. For the prophets prefigured in themselves all these things, because of their love to God, and on account of His word. For since they themselves were members of Christ, each; one of them in his place as a member did, in accordance with this, set forth the prophecy (assigned him]; all of them, although many, prefiguring only one, and proclaiming the things which pertain to one. For just as the working of the whole body is exhibited through means of our members, while the figure of a complete man is not displayed by one member, but through means of all taken together, so also did all the prophets prefigure the one (Christ]; while every one of them, in his special place as a member, did, in accordance with this, fill up the (established] dispensation, and shadowed forth beforehand that particular working of Christ which was connected with that member.

For some of them, beholding Him in glory, saw His glorious life (conversationem) at the Father's right hand;(3) others beheld Him coming on the clouds as the Son of man;(4) and those who declared regarding Him, "They shall look on Him whom they have pierced,"(5) indicated His (second] advent, concerning which He Himself says, "Thinkest thou that when the Son of man cometh, He shall find faith on the earth?''(6) Paul also refers to this event when he says, "If, however, it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you, and to you that are troubled rest with us, at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven, with His mighty angels, and in a flame of fire."(7) Others again, speaking of Him as a judge, and (referring], as if it were a burning furnace, (to] the day of the Lord, who "gathers the wheat into His barn, but will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire,''(8) were accustomed to threaten those who were unbelieving, concerning whom also the Lord Himself declares, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, which my Father has prepared for the devil and his angels."(9) And the apostle in like manner says (of them], "Who shall be punished with everlasting death from the face of the Lord, and from the glory of His power, when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in those who believe in Him."(10) There are also some (of them] who declare, "Thou art fairer than the children of men;"(11) and, "God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows;"(12) and, "Gird Thy sword upon Thy thigh, O Most Mighty, with Thy beauty and Thy fairness, and go forward and proceed prosperously; and rule Thou because of truth, and meekness, and righteousness."(13) And whatever other things of a like nature are spoken regarding Him, these indicated that beauty and splendour which exist in His kingdom, along with the transcendent and pre-eminent exaltation (belonging] to all who are under His sway, that those who hear might desire to be found there, doing such things as are pleasing to God. Again, there are those who say, "He is a man, and who shall know him?"(14) and, "I came unto the prophetess, and she bare a son, and His name is called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God;"(15) and those (of them] who proclaimed Him as Immanuel, (born] of the Virgin, exhibited the union of the Word of God with His own workmanship, (declaring] that the Word should become flesh, and the Son of God the Son of man (the pure One opening purely that pure womb which regenerates men unto God, and which He Himself made pure); and having become this which we also are, He (nevertheless] is the Mighty God, and possesses a generation which cannot be declared. And there are also some of them who say, "The Lord hath spoken in Zion, and uttered His voice from Jerusalem;"(16) and, "In Judah is God known;"(17)--these indicated His advent which took place in Judea. Those, again, who declare that "God comes from the south, and from a mountain thick with foliage,"(18) announced His advent at Bethlehem, as I have pointed out in the preceding book.(19) From that place, also, He who rules, and who feeds the people of His Father, has come. Those, again, who declare that at His coming "the lame man shall leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall (speak] plainly, and the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall hear,"(1) and that "the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, shall be strengthened,"(2) and that "the dead which are in the grave shall arise,"(3) and that He Himself" shall take (upon Him] our weaknesses, and bear our sorrows,"(4)--(all these] proclaimed those works of healing which were accomplished by Him.

Some of them, moreover--(when they predicted that] as a weak and inglorious man, and as one who knew what it was to bear infirmity,(5) and sitting upon the foal of an ass,(6) He should come to Jerusalem; and that He should give His back to stripes,(7) and His cheeks to palms (which struck Him]; and that He should be led as a sheep to the slaughter;(8) and that He should have vinegar and gall given Him to drink;(9) and that He should be forsaken by His friends and those nearest to Him;(10) and that He should stretch forth His hands the whole day long;(11) and that He should be mocked and maligned by those who looked upon Him;(12) and that His garments should be parted, and lots cast upon His raiment;(13) and that He should be brought down to the dust of death? with all (the other] things of a like nature--prophesied His coming in the character of a man as He entered Jerusalem, in which by His passion and crucifixion He endured all the things which have been mentioned. Others, again, when they said, "The holy Lord remembered His own dead ones who slept in the dust, and came down to them to raise them up, that He might save them,"(15) furnished us with the reason on account of which He suffered all these things. Those, moreover, who said, "In that day, saith the Lord, the sun shall go down at noon, and there shall be darkness over the earth in the clear day; and I will turn your feast days into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation,"(16) plainly announced that obscuration of the sun which at the time of His crucifixion took place from the sixth hour onwards, and that after this event, those days which were their festivals according to the law, and their songs, should be changed into grief and lamentation when they were handed over to the Gentiles. Jeremiah, too, makes this point still clearer, when he thus speaks concerning Jerusalem: "She that hath born (seven] languisheth; her soul hath become weary; her sun hath gone down while it was yet noon; she hath been confounded, and suffered reproach: the remainder of them will I give to the sword in the sight of their enemies."(17)

Those of them, again, who spoke of His having slumbered and taken sleep, and of His having risen again because the Lord sustained Him,(18) and who enjoined the principalities of heaven to set open the everlasting doors, that the King of glory might go in,(19) proclaimed beforehand His resurrection from the dead through the Father's power, and His reception into heaven. And when they expressed themselves thus, "His going forth is from the height of heaven, and His returning even to the highest heaven; and there is no one who can hide himself from His heat,"(20) they announced that very truth of His being taken up again to the place from which He came down, and that there is no one who can escape His righteous judgment. And those who said, "The Lord hath reigned; let the people be enraged: (even] He who sitteth upon the cherubim; let the earth be moved,"(21) were thus predicting partly that wrath from all nations which after His ascension came upon those who believed in Him, with the movement of the whole earth against the Church; and partly the fact that, when He comes from heaven with His mighty angels, the whole earth shall be shaken, as He Himself declares, "There shall be a great earthquake, such as has not been from the beginning."(22) And again, when one says, "Whosoever is judged, let him stand opposite; and whosoever is justified, let him draw near to the servant(23) of God;"(24) and, "Woe unto you, for ye shall wax old as doth a garment, and the moth shall eat you up;" and, "All flesh shall be humbled, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in the highest,"(25)--it is thus indicated that, after His passion and ascension, God shall cast down under His feet all who were opposed to Him, and He shall be exalted above all, and there shall be no one who can be justified or compared to Him.

And those of them who declare that God would make a new covenant(26) with men, not such as that which He made with the fathers at Mount Horeb, and would give to men a new heart and a new spirit;" and again, "And remember ye not the things of old: behold, I make new things which shall now arise, and ye shall know it; and I will make a way in the desert, and riven in a dry land, to give drink to my chosen people, my people whom I have acquired, that they may show forth my praise,"(1)--plainly announced that liberty which distinguishes the new covenant, and the new wine which is put into new bottles,(2) (that is], the faith which is in Christ, by which He has proclaimed the way of righteousness sprung up in the desert, and the streams of the Holy Spirit in a dry land, to give water to the elect people of God, whom He has acquired, that they might show forth His praise, but not that they might blaspheme Him who made these things, that is, God.

And all those other points which I have shown the prophets to have uttered by means of so long a series of Scriptures, he who is truly spiritual will interpret by pointing out, in regard to every one of the things which have been spoken, to what special point in the dispensation of the Lord is referred, and (by thus exhibiting] the entire system of the work of the Son of God, knowing always the same God, and always acknowledging the same Word of God, although He has (but] now been manifested to us; acknowledging also at all times the same Spirit of God, although He has been poured out upon us after a new fashion in these last times, (knowing that He descends] even from the creation of the world to its end upon the human race simply as such, from whom those who believe God and follow His word receive that salvation which flows from Him. Those, on the other hand, who depart from Him, and despise His precepts, and by their deeds bring dishonour on Him who made them, and by their opinions blaspheme Him who nourishes them, heap up against themselves most righteous judgment.(3) He therefore (1e., the spiritual man) sifts and tries them all, but he himself is tried by no man:(4) he neither blasphemes his Father, nor sets aside His dispensations, nor inveighs against the fathers, nor dishonours the prophets, by maintaining that they were (sent] from another God (than he worships], or again, that their prophecies were derived from different sources.(5)

Irenaeus, ag. Heresies Liv.4 ch.28