Christian Churches of God
The Treatise of Ermengaudus
(Edition 1.0 19983001-19983001)
Ermengardus, or Ermengaudus, was a writer of the 12th or 13th century. His treatise Against the Waldensians was published by Jacob Gretser of Ingolstadt in April 1614, with Bernard, Abbot of Fons Calidus and Ebrard of Bethynia; later this trio of anti-Waldensian writers was discredited in Bibliothecae Patrum (Paris, 1644-1655, Vol. 4, and Lyons, 1777, Vol. 24). It should also be connected, in turn, with Gretser’s Works.
LETTERS AND SPECIAL ORDINANCES
POPE OF ROME
ARRANGED IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER
THE SURVIVING DOCUMENTS
INCLUDING THOSE OF
ST. STEPHAN FOUNDER OF THE GRANDIMONTENSIAN ORDER; A WORKER; HENRY OF CASTRUM MARSIACUM; S.R.E. CARDINALS; BALDWIN ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY; BERNARD ABBOT OF HOT SPRING; STEPHAN OF LICIACUM; PETER BERNARD; WILLIAM OF TRAHINACUM; GERARD ITHERIUS; THE GRANDIMONTENSIANS; REINER; LAURENCE; LEODIENSIAN MONKS; ERMENGAUDUS; HENRY SEPTIMELLENSIS
ARRANGED BY J.-P. MIGNE
EDITOR OF THE UNIVERSAL LIBRARY OF THE CLERGY
THE ENTIRE RANGE OF THE SEVERAL BRANCHES OF ECCLESIASTICAL SCIENCE
PATROLOGIA LATINA VOLUME 204
Printed by Usines Brepols S.A. - Turnhout (Belgium)
D 1968 0095/31
PRINTED IN BELGIUM
About the Year of Our Lord 1192
(Fabric., Biblioth. med. et inf. Lat., II, 107.)
Ermengardus, or Ermengaudus, a writer of the 12th or 13th century. His treatise Against the Waldensians (1) (only 19 chapters of it, the last part having been mutilated) was published by Jacob Gretser of Ingolstadt in April 1614, with Bernard, Abbot of Fons Calidus [“Hot Spring”] and Ebrard of Bethynia; later this trio of anti-Waldensian writers was discredited in Bibliothecae Patrum (Paris, 1644-1655, Vol.4, and Lyons, 1777, Vol.24). It should also be connected, in turn, with Gretser’s Works, Vol.12.
(1) Pamelius, on Cyprian’s epistle 63
The standard ploy here as with other works of the time is to try to assert that the Waldensians were Manichean Dualists because they said there was one True God and that the god of this works was Satan. That was standard rhetoric of the day. The defence of the OT is specious as the Waldensians followed it meticulously in respect of the Sabbath, Festivals and Foodlaws. Some of the breakaway Puritan sects unrelated to the Waldensians did follow the NT excluding the OT and this was a good catchall. The later chapters get down to an analysis of the problems and objections faced by the Roman Church in relation to Church buildings and Altars and the various, what were then, innovative additions to the Trinitarian Church. Celibacy had just been introduced to the ministry. So we see here an attack on the Waldensians who were certainly not celibate and had married clergy and considered it an obligation to have children and raise them in the Lord. One must read this treatise with this point of view in mind. The paper will give the historical development of the Church doctrines of the time regarding celibacy and crosses and altars and other things (Editor).
What we see here is the rise of two conflicting doctrines and sects both classed as Waldensians or Albigensians. What is clearly emerging here is a Gnostic sect of Vegetarian heresy who called themselves Cathari or Puritans that ran more or less alongside the true Waldensians who regarded Vegetariansm as a doctrine of demons. The distinctions are not made or seen, perhaps deliberately, here by Ermengaudus.
This bizarre situation that was to bring persecution on the Waldensians entered the Churches of God at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries in the Seventh Day Adventists and destroyed it theologically to preserve the heretical doctrine of Gnostic vegetarianism (see the paper
THE TREATISE OF ERMENGAUDUS
Who say and believe that this world and all things visible were not made by God, but by the devil.
(Gretser’s Works, vol. XII, p. 223.)
The Treatise of Ermengaudus
That God is the creator of all things
Heretics say and believe that the world, and all things seen in it, namely the sky which we see, and the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and the earth, and all animals, and men, and those things which are seen in it, the sea and the fish, and all things which are seen or are in it (so they say in their obscure writings) were not made by the omnipotent God, but by the prince of evil spirits. To these heretics and to their knavish error very many authorities in the New Testament give the lie.
There is this in the Gospel of St. John, who wrote against heretics asserting such error, saying: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. This was in the beginning with God: Everything was made by him, and without him nothing was made” (John.1:1-4). From this it is clear that God the omnipotent, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, created and made all things visible and invisible, as the apostle St. Paul in his Epistle to the Hebrews bears witness, saying: “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God” (Heb.11:3). Again, in the same Epistle: “He that built all things is God” (Heb.3:4). Again, in the Acts of the Apostles is found that all the apostles and disciples gathered together as one have raised their voices with one accord, saying: “Lord God, thou who hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein, etc. (Acl.14.)” Again, there is that which John says in Revelations: “And the angel, which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth, lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven and earth, and all things that therein are,” etc. (Rev. 10:5-6). Again, in the same work: “Fear the Lord and give glory to him; for he is coming in the hour of his judgment; and worship him, who made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that is in them, and the fountains of waters” (Rev. 14:7). Again, Paul in his Epistle to the Hebrews said: “And thou, in the beginning, Lord, established the earth, and the heavens are the works of thy hands (Heb. 2).” Again, in the Gospel according to Matthew: “I confide in thee, father of heaven and earth,” etc. (Matt. 9) Again, John concerning the same subject: “And the world was made by him,” etc. (John 1)
And let these authorities in the New Testament suffice for you, although there are many authorities in the New and the Old Testaments, and there are among the prophets those who, testifying to the same things, revealed that God created and made everything visible and invisible. Again, in the Acts of the Apostles, Paul and Barnabas say: “Brother men, we preach unto you, turn from these vanities unto the living and true God, which made heaven and earth, and all things that are therein, giving rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling your hearts with food and gladness (Acts 14).”
That there are not two gods
The proposition made by the heretics that there are two gods - one omnipotent and the other malign - is put forward contrary to all divine Scripture. For all divinely inspired Scripture of the New and Old Testaments, and of all the prophets, asserts that there is one God and one only. For St. Paul says in his Epistle to the Ephesians: “One Lord, one faith, one baptism. One Being is God and Father of all, who is above all, and in us all”. (Eph. 4) Again, Mark says in his Gospel: “One of the scribes asked Lord Jesus which was the first commandment of all; and Jesus answered him: ‘For the first commandment of all is: Hear, Israel: Thy God is one God. And the second: Love thy Lord God with all thy heart, etc.’ And the scribe said unto him: ‘Well, Master, thou hast said the truth, for there is one God, and there is none other but he.’” (Mark 12)
That Moses’ Law was given and made known by the true God
The heretics say: “The Law of Moses, which we call the Old Law, was not given by the omnipotent God, but by the prince of evil spirits”. This error is contradicted by very many authorities in divine Scripture. For in the Gospel according to Matthew the Lord says: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets, but to fulfil”. (Matt. 5) If the law had been given by the devil, he who is the Son of God would not have said he was fulfilling it, but rather that he was demolishing it. Again, according to Luke: “When the days of Mary’s purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord, as it is written in the law of the Lord, etc., and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord.” (Luke 2) And again: “And when all things had been performed according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.” (ibid.) And this is certain, without any doubt, that Christ, who is true God and true man, would not consent that the precepts of a law of the devil should be complied with or fulfilled in respect of himself.
Again, in the Gospel according to John the Lord says: “Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: he that accuses you is Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed in Moses, ye would perhaps also believe in me, for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” (John 5) It is as if he were saying: “He who does not believe the words of the old law, and does accept it as part of his faith, cannot believe or accept the words of the Gospel for his own salvation. Again, in the Gospel according to Luke: When a certain lawyer who asked him what he should do to inherit eternal life, the Lord asked him what was written in the law; to which the lawyer said to him in reply: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbour as thyself.” And he said unto him: “Thou hast answered right: this do and thou shalt live.” (Luke 10) For if the Law of Moses had not been given by God, Christ would never have promised life in return for the observance of these precepts. Again, in the same Gospel, the Lord testifies: “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them”, etc. (Luke 16) From this it is clear that observance of the law and the prophets does not permit man to go to the regions of Hell.
Again, in the same Gospel, when Christ had risen from the dead, two disciples went into the village Emmaus, and Christ appeared to them and bore witness to the law, saying: “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24) For if the law had been given to Moses by the devil, Christ would never have taught it to his disciples and expounded it to them. Again, in the same passage, [the Embodiment of] Truth itself said: “That all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses and in the prophets, and in the psalms concerning me.” (ibid.) Again, in the Gospel according to Matthew, when the Pharisees ask why his disciples transgressed the traditions of the elders, the Lord says: “Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God said: ‘Honour thy father and mother; and he that curseth his father or mother, let him die the death.” (Matt. 15) And this testimony concerning the law of Moses is unequivocal. And Christ said that this testimony was spoken and given by God; therefore the law was given by God.
Again, in the Act of the Apostles, Paul said: “I declare unto you a God who made heaven and earth and all things that are in it; since he is Lord of heaven and earth.” (Acts 17) The same Paul, in the same book, defends himself against the Jews concerning those charges of which he was accused before Caesar’s Governor Felix, saying: “This I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I God my Father, believing all things which are written in the law and the prophets.” (Acts 24) Again, Paul in his Letter to the Romans: “Do you not know”, he says, “that the law is sin? God forbid! The law is indeed holy and good, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” (Rom. 7)
That Moses was not a sorcerer
Again, there are certain heretics who assert that Moses was a sorcerer and that almighty God did not speak to him and did not give him the law. Paul wrote against this error in his Epistle to the Hebrews, saying: “God, who in sundry places and in divers manners spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son.” (Heb. 1) But Moses is one of the prophets to whom God spoke. He is also called “faithful in mine house”. (Num. 12) Again, in the same Epistle [Hebrews]: “For every house is builded by some man; but he that created all things is God. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after, but Christ as a son in his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the glory of hope firm unto the end.” (Heb. 3) Certainly the Apostle does not testify that he was a sorcerer, but that he was a faithful servant in the house of God.
Moreover, Moses is called friend and faithful to God in many Scriptures in the New and Old Testaments and in the prophets. Thus St. Paul has made mention of him in his Epistle [to] the Hebrews, saying: “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, denied that he was the son of Pharaoh, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasure of temporal sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasury of the Egyptians. For he had respect unto the recompense of God.” (Heb. 11) From these references it is most certainly clear, that St. Paul had no doubts concerning Moses, the law of Moses or the God of the Hebrews: on the contrary, he asserted and believed in his heart that Moses was both holy and good, that the law was holy and good, and that the God of the Hebrews was the almighty God.
That marriage is lawful
Heretics who follow the heretic Tatianus, who condemned all matrimony, lump together the act of marriage by both husband and wife and say and believe that by no means can such people be saved. But there are many attestations in the divine Scriptures of New and Old Testaments that give the lie to this error.
It is stated in the Gospel according to Matthew that the Pharisees questioned the Lord, saying: “ ‘Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for any cause at all?’ And he answered and said unto them: Have ye not read, that he that made them in the beginning made them male and female, and said: For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they twain shall be in one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”(Matt. 19) But Christ came into this world for this purpose: to draw man away from all evil, and the same applies to woman. But everything that holds man back from eternal life is evil, but, if it were evil to (practise) matrimony, Christ would never prohibit divorce; and neither would he consent to it, since he consented to no evil. Again, in Mark on the same subject: “But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female”, etc. (Mark 10) Again, in Luke: “There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias of the course [= order] of Abia, etc. And they were both righteous before the Lord, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” (Luke 1) It follows therefore, that because they were righteous, they will be saved. “And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they were both well stricken in years.” (ibid) And it should also be noted that it was not due to the man that he had no child, but it was due to the woman, because she was barren. “And an angel of the Lord appeared to Zacharias in the temple and said to him: ‘Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard. For thy wife shall bear thee a child, and thou shalt call his name John, etc. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord; and he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb.’” (ibid) Again: “Whereby shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well stricken in years.” (ibid) And note that he said this, not believing the words of the angel on account of his wife’s old age, for she had passed beyond the reproductive age. Again: “They made signs to his father, how he would have him called.” (ibid) The evangelist would not call him father, unless he had a child. For no one can be a natural father, unless he has a natural child. Again: “His father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit.” (ibid) Notice the threefold affirmation of paternity. And the Gospel does not withdraw from them the credit of being righteous before the Lord for the procreation of a child if they walk in all the commandments of the Lord - neither in the Old Testament, nor in the New.
Again, in an Epistle to the Corinthians the Apostle says, giving advice to the Christian faithful: “As far as fornication is concerned, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife her due, and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The woman hath not power of her own body, but the husband [does]; and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the woman [does]. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to prayer.” (ICor. 7) That is, do not restrain your natural desires unless the other so wishes it. Again, in the same Epistle: “But I say to the unmarried and widowed: It is good for them if they abide, even as I; but if they cannot control their instincts, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to be burnt. And unto those who are joined in matrimony I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband, but if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her own husband.” (ibid) Again, this follows: “Therefore if any man hath a wife that believeth not, and be pleased to live with him, let him not put her away, etc. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife” and vice versa; “else were your children unclean. But now they are holy.” (ibid) The Apostle did not believe that husband and wife, if they are believers, lose their sanctity as the price of their marital obligation, as long as the rest of their works are good.
Again, the Apostle says in the same Episle: “If thou accept a wife, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned.” (ibid) Again, in the same Epistle the Apostle says: “He that giveth his virgin in marriage doeth well: and he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.” (ibid) The Apostle would not give these abovementioned precepts to his disciples if he believed they must be damned on account of their conjugal state.
Again, the Apostle in an Epistle to Timothy: “The Spirit saith clearly that in most recent times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to spirits of perversity, and doctrines of devils; of those speaking falsehood in hypocrisy, prohibiting to marry.” (ITim. 4) And note that the Holy Spirit has openly made it clear that some depart from the faith, and that they adhere to (doctrines) of devils, speak falsehood in hypocrisy. And such are those that prohibit marriage. Again, in the same Epistle the Apostle [says]: “I will that the junior [women] marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to an adversary to speak reproachfully (ITim. 5).” And note that the Apostle did not believe that there was any case for the damnation of married people on account of this behaviour.
Again, we have [a reference] in St. Peter’s Epistle I: Truly, the Apostle St. Peter - who was appointed by God Chief of the Apostles, and also head of the whole Church, as in the Gospel Christ says: “Thou shalt be called Cephas,” and in the same: “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church (Matt. 16)” -, after he had written his teaching for the faithful Christian men, wrote for the women how they should be subject to their own husbands whilst preserving their humility and modesty, saying: “Likewise, let also the women be in subjection to their own husbands; that, if any [husbands] obey not the word, they may without the word be won by the conversation of the women, etc., for after this manner in the old time the holy women, who trusted in God, adorned themselves for their own husbands, even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well,” (IPet. 3). Here St. Peter signifies that husbands do not leave their wives nor wives their husbands; for Abraham did not leave his wife Sara, except through death: but, by God’s will he knew her and begat a child, just as Elcana begat Anna [or Annas], and Joachim Susanna.
Again, St. Paul in an Epistle to the Corinthians [says]: “I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is the man, but the head of Christ is God. The man is not of the woman, but the woman is of the man. For the man was not created for the woman, but the woman for the man. Nevertheless, neither is the man without the woman, nor the woman without the man, in the Lord (ICor. 11).”
Again, according to John (Chapter 2) it is recorded that our Saviour, and his Mother, and his disciples went on invitation to a wedding, and at that same wedding he made the first of his own signs in the presence of his disciples, namely [making] wine from water. On this account it is quite certain that marriage is good, for it is not to be believed that, if it were not good, Christ would have come: not only (because) [he is said] to have performed a miracle there. Again, Paul [says] in an Epistle to the Corinthians: “The woman is bound by the law of [sic] her husband, as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead [lit.: be asleep], she is free from the law of her husband; and let her marry whom she will, only in the Lord (ICor. 7).” Again, Paul to Timothy: “A woman shall be saved through child-bearing, if they [the children] continue in faith, and charity, and holiness, and sobriety (ITim. 2).”
That the conception and birth of John the Baptist was proclaimed by a good angel
Again, [it is alleged] that John the Baptist was proclaimed not by a good angel, but by one of the devil. Nor do they believe that he [John] was good. But against this error many testimonies are found in the Gospel; for example St. John wrote in his Gospel: “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came for a witness,” etc. (John 1) Again, he gave the same testimony, in the same Gospel, concerning Christ: “Behold, the Lamb of God, behold him which taketh away the sins of the world (ibid.).” Again, John gave witness concerning Christ: “He that sent me to baptize in water, the same said unto me: ‘Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit of God descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth in the Holy Spirit,’ ” etc. (ibid) Again, in the same Gospel: “He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth, and heareth him with joy, rejoiceth because of the bridegroom’s voice. This my joy therefore is fulfilled (John 3).” Again, in the Gospel according to Matthew Christ commends John the Baptist himself, saying: “Verily I say unto you, among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist (Matt. 11).” Again: “What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A prophet? I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written: Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare my way before thee (ibid.).” He who thinks evil, or perversely, against Christ, and against the Apostles, is also against the catholic faith.
We have it in the Gospel that John the Baptist himself baptized Christ in the river of Jordan, and that he saw the holy Spirit descending upon him in the likeness of a dove, and the heavens opened, and the voice of the Father saying: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Matt. 4).” If he himself had been proclaimed by an evil spirit, as the heretics say, Christ would never permit himself to be baptized by him: nor would he be willing that so great a sacrament should be originated by him. Again, in Matthew, Christ himself approves him, saying to the Pharisees: “Verily, verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: the publicans and the sinners and the harlots believed him. And ye when seeing him, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him (Matt. 21)[”Behold, concerning John the Baptist Christ asserts <saying> that John himself walked in the way of righteousness, in which is the way to the kingdom of God, and that he proclaimed it [i.e. the way]. For he would not do this if he were evil or had been proclaimed by an evil spirit. Again, in the Gospel according to John concerning the commendation of John the Baptist: “Ye sent unto John: he bare witness unto the truth. But I receive not testimony from man; but, this I say, that ye may be saved: He was a burning and a shining light. And ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light (John 5).”
Concerning Christ’s incarnation, birth, passion, death, resurrection, and whether he really ate and drank
Concerning the incarnation of Christ there are some heretics: among them those following the Condoman heresy, who say that “Christ was not born of woman; neither did he have real flesh, nor did he really die; nor did he suffer anything: but he simulated his passion. They believe that he neither ate nor drank; that he had as it were an imaginary body; and that he did not rise from the dead.
Against this error of those heretics who don’t believe Christ was born of a virgin woman, to be put to death, we have testimony in Matthew: “When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea (Matt. 2).” Again, in the same Gospel: “The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying: Arise and take the boy with his mother Mary,” etc. (ibid). Again, in the Gospel according to Luke: “And Joseph went up from Galilee unto the city of Bethlehem, to be taxed there with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And the days were accomplished that she should be delivered; and she brought forth her first-born son, etc.” (Luke 2) Again, in the same Gospel, the angel of the Lord announced the birth to the shepherds, saying: “For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people, for unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and placed in a manger (ibid.).” Again, in the same Gospel: “After eight days were accomplished, so that the boy might be circumcised, his name was called Jesus: which was so named by the angel, before he was conceived in the womb (ibid.).” Again, in the same Gospel: “When Jesus was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast day, and when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the boy Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and his parents knew not of it, etc. And Jesus increased in age and grace, and in the holy Spirit with God, and men (ibid.).” Again, in the Epistle to the Galatians, [here is] Paul attesting that Christ had been born of woman, when he said: “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son born of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law (Gal. 4).”
We have even more testimonies concerning Christ’s conception, birth, circumcision, boyhood, lifetime, adolescence. Again, John [says] concerning the nativity: “To this end was I born, and for this purpose came I, that I should bear witness unto the truth (John 18).”
On the incarnation of Christ [there are] testimonies against the heretics, who do not believe that Christ had real flesh, but that he assumed a body made of air.
But against this error John wrote his Gospel, saying: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word, etc. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (John 1).” Again, in the same Gospel: “The Jews besought Pilate, because it was the Day of Preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, etc., that their legs might be broken. And some soldiers brake the legs of the first, and of the other, which was crucified with him; but when they had come to Jesus, as they saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs, but one of the soldiers with a spear opened his side; and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record; and his record is true (John 19).” And John says in his first Epistle: “Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus is come in the flesh, is of God. And every spirit that disembodieth Jesus, is not of God,” that is, denies that he is a man of flesh (2). “And this is Antichrist (IJohn 4).” Similarly in the same Epistle: “And we know that the Son of God came, and put on flesh for us, and was dead, and rose from the dead, for us (ibid.).” Again, the same John [says] in his second Epistle: “Now many deceivers are come out into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an Antichrist. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine,” that is, in the apostolic faith, “he hath both the Father and the Son. If any come to you, and bring not this doctrine, but deny that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, receive him not into your
(2) That is, consisting of real flesh.
house, neither give him greeting. For he that saith unto him ‘Greeting’ is partaker of his evil works
(I [sic] John 9-11).”
Again, Paul [says] in his Epistle to the Romans: “Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy Scriptures concerning his Son, which was made for him of the seed of David according to the flesh, which was predestined the Son of God,” etc. (Rom. 1.) Again, Peter says in his first Epistle: “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind, for he that hath suffered in the flesh, hath ceased from sins (IPet. 4).”
Again, against the same heretics who do not believe that Christ suffered, nor that he was dead: against this error Matthew wrote in his Gospel, saying: “After Jesus had been scourged, Pilate delivered him unto the Jews, to be crucified: then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus in the governor’s hall, and they stripped him and put on him a scarlet robe, and when they had plaited a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand,” etc. Again, in the same Gospel: “Then they crucified him,” etc. Again, in the same Gospel: “Then one of the soldiers took a spear and pierced his side, and there came forth blood and water (Matt. 27).” These references concern Christ’s passion and his death. The other evangelists give the same testimonies in their own Gospels. Again, in the Acts of the Apostles: “Standing among the Jews with all the [other] apostles, Peter said: Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God by words, virtues, wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves know: him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have cast down by the hands of wicked men and slain; whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of hell (Acts 2).” And this testimony concerns the passion and death of Christ, and also his resurrection, because all the apostles bore witness, abiding in the same place.
Again, Peter [speaks] of the passion of Christ in his Epistle I: “Christ suffered for us, leaving you an example, that ye should follow his steps, etc. When he suffered, he threatened not; who bare our sins in his own body on the tree, by whose death we were healed (IPet. 2).” Again, Paul spoke of his death in his Epistle to the Romans: “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5).” The same man says in the same Epistle: “Christ Jesus, that died for us, yea rather, that is also risen again (Rom. 8);” and more testimonies are available concerning these matters.
Concerning the resurrection of Christ, against the heretics who do not believe that Christ rose from the dead Matthew says in his Gospel concerning the resurrection of Christ: “The angel said unto the women: Fear not ye; I know that ye seek Jesus which was crucified (Matt. 28).” Mark and Luke give this same testimony in their Gospels. Again, John says in his Gospel: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. But he was speaking of the temple of his body. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he said this,” etc. (John 2) Again, in the Gospel according to Luke, [he says], confirming the evidence that Christ had human flesh: “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and feet (Luke 24).” Again, John [says] in his Gospel concerning the resurrection of the flesh: “When the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood in the midst of his disciples, and said unto them: Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas: Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side, and be not faithless, but believing (John 20).”
There are some of the heretics who do not believe that Christ ate and drank, while he spent time with his disciples before his passion. But against this error, which should be done away with, we have in the Gospel according to Matthew testimony which Christ himself put forward, saying: “For John the Baptist came, neither eating bread, nor drinking wine, and they say: He hath a devil. The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say: Behold a man gluttonous, and a bibber of wine, a friend of publicans and sinners (Matt. 10 [sic]).” Again, Luke in his Gospel affords testimony that he ate, saying: “And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him (Luke 7).” It is most certain that he did eat; otherwise he would not be invited to eat by someone else.
Again, Luke [says] in the same Gospel: “A certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him; and he went in and lay down (Luke 11).” The same man testifies in the same Gospel: “And it came to pass, that when Jesus had entered the house of a certain leader of the Pharisees, he ate bread.” Again, John [says] in his Gospel: “Rabbi, eat (John 4).” His own disciples said this to him, when he had come from Samaria, bringing foodstuffs, which they had eaten, etc. If anyone objects that he had said this to them: “I have other food to eat that ye know not of (ibid.),” it is true that, because Christ himself used two foods, namely that of the flesh and that of the spirit, he referred here to the latter. For it is nonetheless to be believed, as the other evangelists testify, that he used worldly food.
Again, in the Gospel according to Matthew, when his disciples asked him, saying: “Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the Passover? (Matt. 26)”, they said “for thee to eat the Passover”, not for themselves; which proves that he ate worldly food while he was with them. Again, in the same Gospel (is) the testimony that Christ himself said: “He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, this man shall betray me (ibid.).” It is not to be believed that Christ himself would dip his hand in the dish unless he ate. Mark and Luke testify this same point in their Gospels. These testimonies refer to Christ’s meal before his crucifixion.
Luke testifies that he ate in the presence of his disciples actually after his crucifixion. He says: “Have ye here anything to eat? And they offered him a piece of a broiled fish and a honeycomb. And when he had eaten in their presence, he took up what remained and gave it to them (Luke 24).” Luke testifies likewise in the Acts of the Apostles, saying: “And as he ate with them he commanded them, that they should not depart from Jerusalem (Acts 1).” And thus it is most certain and sure that Christ, before he was crucified, behaved in an entirely human way, as Paul testifies in his Epistle to the Philippians, saying: “For let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, when he was in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but laid aside his glory in accepting the form of a servant, and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself even unto death (Phil. 4 [sic]).” And let this suffice on the subject of Christ’s humanity.
Concerning the building of churches
Concerning the institutions of ecclesiastics it is written in the Old Testament that the Lord showed to Moses on the mountain a tabernacle not built by hand, saying: “Go, and make a tabernacle similar to this, not built by hand, in which I may live among them, when I speak to you: in which gifts may be offered by the priests, and libations, and sacrifices, and sacrificial victims and offerings brought by the people of Israel.”
Then Moses faithfully acted according to the commandment of the Lord. And later Moses, when the people of Israel entered the promised land, brought it down with him into Siloah, in which was the ark of the testimony, within which was a golden urn containing manna, and tablets of the testimony, and the rod of Aaron, which had put forth leaves.
Then, much later, Solomon the son of David at God’s command built a temple made by hand in Jerusalem; in which all the people of Israel used to assemble to worship and sacrifice: just as their fathers also had been accustomed to come in the former tabernacle: thus observing the lawful commandments of the Lord until the advent of Christ.
And when Christ came, wishing not to weaken the law but to fulfil it, he wished to be presented in it by his parents, and according to the law given by God, to be consecrated as the custom was. It is recorded that after this he came into the temple in his youth with his parents, when he was twelve years old (Luke 2). But when he was thirty years of age he came to Jerusalem, as is recorded in the Gospel according to Matthew, “and went into the temple, and cast out of the temple all those who were buying and selling, saying: My house shall be called the house of prayer (Matt. 21);” for even Christ himself testified that the temple “was the house of God (and) of prayer.” Again, Mark offers the same testimony in the same words in his Gospel (Chapter 11); and he also forbade anyone to bring a vessel through the temple. Again, John wrote in his Gospel, saying: “And Jesus found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep, and doves, etc. (John 2)”
It is recorded in the Gospels that Christ came into the temple many times, and he used to teach the people there; and in it he used to perform many signs and miracles in healing the sick, as the evangelist Matthew relates: “And the blind and the lame came to Jesus, and he healed them (Matt. 21).” We have also in the Gospels that, while Jesus had been walking through the cities of Israel preaching, he was entering for preference the synagogues of the Jews, and there teaching the people about the kingdom of God, and in them he performed many signs and miracles, as it is recorded in Matthew: “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the Gospel, and healing every sickness and every disease (Matt. 9).” Again, in the Gospel of Matthew he himself testifies, saying to you: “I sat daily among you teaching in the temple (Matt. 26).” John testifies in the same words in his Gospel: “I ever taught in the synagogue and in the temple, whither all the Jews resort; and in secret have I said nothing (John 18).”
If you object to us that he used to teach more often in places other than in temples or synagogues, it is true; but on account of the multitude of crowds coming to him he went away in mountains and in other places lest they be in the way of the attendants of the temple and synagogues, making them less able to offer their prayers and perform those duties with which they had been charged.
But after the Ascension the disciples, desiring to imitate Christ their Master and Saviour, as long as they remained in Jerusalem used to come into the temple daily to pray, as is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles: “The apostles were continuing daily and praying with one accord in the temple (Acts 2).” And again: “Peter and John went up into the temple to pray, at the ninth hour of prayer (Acts 3).” Again, in the same Book, when Annas the high priest, and all who were with him, laid hands on the apostles and put them in the public prison: “And the angel of the Lord opened the doors of the prison during the night and, leading them out, said: Go, and standing in the temple speak to the people all the words of this man’s life (ibid.).” From this the house of prayer built by hand, which we call a church, had its beginning.
When the apostles and their disciples had been driven out of Jerusalem and had, by God’s will, been dispersed through different parts of the world, and had seen in every one of the cities of the Jews buildings of synagogues, they went on to the gentiles. Finding inside the cities of the gentiles temples to various idols in which they offered their prayers and their sacrifices to idols of demons, they agreed to work assiduously toward the destruction of these temples. The apostles entered into advice from the Holy Spirit, so that they might more easily be able to pull [the people] out of such great error and evildoing and rescue them from the devil’s chains, that they might bid them build houses made by hand in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit. They aimed to show them how to build them in the likeness of a temple, in which the faithful people might come together to baptize, and worship, and sacrifice, hear the word of God, and carry out all the sacraments of Christianity, faithfully and devoutly. And into those houses, which because of the congregation of people we call ecclesiae [Greek for assemblies; now = churches], the apostles appointed ministers, that is, bishops, elders, deacons, to perform Christ’s ritual, as it is written in the Acts of the Apostles: “And when they had ordained elders in every church, and had prayed with those fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed (Acts 23 [sic]).”
From this source we have it that for the first time elders were ordained by the apostles in the Church of God. In an Epistle to the Corinthians we have deacons; contradicting whom, the Apostle called the house in which the faithful were congregated an ecclesia, saying: “Have you not houses to eat and to drink in? Or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? Praise you? In this I praise you not (ICor. 11).”
Again, Paul says in an Epistle to the Corinthians: “Let women keep silence in the churches. For it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are to be under obedience, as saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is a shame for a woman to speak in the church (ICor. 14).”
In this and many other places the Apostle gives us to understand that every house where the faithful are gathered together to participate in the appointed sacraments of Christ is to be named an ecclesia [i.e. a church].
Again, John, speaking threateningly of Diotrephes, wrote in his last Epistle: “Wherefore if I come, I will remind [him?] forcibly of his deeds, which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and as if those things were not enough for him, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that do receive them [and] casteth them out of the church.” Again, Paul [writes] to Timothy: “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the Lord’s house, which is the church of the living God, etc. (ITim. 3).”
In these testimonies of the Apostles written above, and in many others included in this treatise, it is plainly shown that house of God, and house of prayer, mean and are understood as a church built by hand, in which Christ’s sacraments are performed by ordained ministers for the salvation of the Christian faithful.
But because all heretics consider that a church made by hand, the altars which are in them, the sacraments which are performed in them by the ministers of God, and all the ecclesiastical accoutrements amount to nothing, and say that they accomplish nothing towards the salvation of souls, and treat them with contempt, we shall briefly cite testimonies to demolish this great and heinous error. We shall deal first with the altar, without which a church ought not to be made by hand, nor ought it to be called such [Editors’ note: perhaps to be blessed is meant]; and upon which gifts, offerings and sacrifices for atonement of sins are offered. We have it in the Gospel according to Matthew that [the Personification of] Truth itself teaches him who makes an offering and instructs him on how he ought to make it, saying: “If thou bring thy gift to the altar and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar and go thy way first to be reconciled to thy brother; and then thou shalt come and offer thy gift (Matt. 16 [sic]).” Christ himself is signifying this, that the faithful should have altars in churches on which to offer gifts.
Again, in the Gospel according to Luke: Christ himself wished to be offered by his parents in the temple, according to the law of the Lord, and that sacrifices be offered on his behalf at the altar which was in the temple, that is “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons (Luke 2).” From this it is given to be understood that, just as Christ wished to be offered to the altar and that a sacrifice be given on his behalf, so all the faithful who are in the regions of the world should, one and all, have altars on which to offer gifts and offerings to God for their sins. Again, Paul, on the same subject, instructing his disciples in an Epistle to the Corinthians that they should have altars and render service to God upon them, wrote as follows: “They which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar (ICor. 9).” Again, as it is written in the Acts of the Apostles, Paul “offered in the temple offerings on behalf of himself and of the others who had been purified with him (Acts 21);” being unwilling to scorn the altars or to count them as nothing. On the contrary, he set an example by them.
Against those above-mentioned errors we can cite, as it were, a huge swarm of witnesses from the Old Testament - for example, from the law, the prophets and the Psalms. But, because the heretics themselves are unwilling to respond (or to bring reason to bear against the testimonies opposing them in the Old Testament, the law and the prophets) - doubtless because they are ignorant; otherwise they would have been at once convinced -, for this reason we have been unwilling to labour over these testimonies except only over those which we have selected from the books of the New Testament; to which they cannot be willing to respond or to adduce any reason: they now have an unjust cause.
On church singing
Again, the heretics disapprove of church singing and of the praises which priests render to God their Creator concerning the New and Old Testaments. Against this error we adduce the testimony of Paul, speaking in his Epistle to the Ephesians: “Be filled with the holy Spirit, speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing in your hearts to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, God and the Father (Eph. 5).”
Again, here is Paul on the same subject, speaking to the Colossians: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you abundantly in all wisdom, as you teach and admonish one another in psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord (Col. 3).”
Again, in Revelations John saw 24 elders [who] “fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them golden vials, full of odours, which are the prayers of saints; and they were singing a new song, saying: Thou art worthy, Lord, to take the book, and to open the seals thereof, for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God in thy blood (Rev. 5).”
Again, in the same book John says: “And a voice which I heard, as of harpers harping on their harps, and they were singing as it were a new song, before the throne of God (Rev. 14).” And in the same place: “Having the harps of God, and singing the song of Moses the servant of God,” etc. (Rev. 15) Again, John says in the same book: “I heard a loud voice of many crowds saying in heaven: Alleluia: praise and glory and power are our God’s; for true and righteous are his judgments (Rev. 12 [sic]).)
Concerning the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ
Now that we have touched upon some, but not all, of the testimonies that occur to us concerning the house of the Lord, which is the church, let us bring to the fore divine authority against the distorted view of the heretics concerning the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, which is the most worthy of all sacraments, and the consecration of which is celebrated in the house of the Lord, which is the Church of the living God as Paul attests (ITim. 3).
Christ, seeing the threat of death hanging over himself and wishing to commend to us the sacrament of his body and blood, took bread and gave thanks, blessed and broke it and gave it to his disciples; and he did the same thing with the cup. Hence the evangelist Matthew wrote: “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it and brake it, and gave it to his disciples, and said: Take, and eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying: Drink ye all [of you] of this. For this is my blood of the new testament, which will be shed for many in remission of sins (Matt. 26).”
Again, here is Mark on the same subject: “And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed and brake it, and gave to them, and said: Take, this is my body. And taking the cup, he gave thanks and gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said unto them: This is my blood, of the new testament, which will be shed for many (Mark 14).” Again, Luke says: “And he took bread and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying: This is my body, which will be given for you; this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup, saying after he had dined: For this cup is the new testament in my blood, which will be shed for you (Luke 22).” For truly, the evangelists affirm that the Lord took bread, and gave it to his disciples, saying: “This is my body.”
Note each detail: “He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it.” It is not stated in the Gospel that the Lord took his own body, that he blessed it, that he broke it, that he gave it to his disciples; on the contrary, the evangelists bear witness that he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them, saying: “This is my body; this is my cup of the new testament in my blood, which will be shed for you.”
But the heretics say that the demonstrative pronoun this does not refer to the bread, which he was holding in his hands, and blessing, and breaking, and distributing to his disciples; but that it refers to his body, which ?incorporates? [Translator’s note: Verb perticiebat not understood] all these things. From this their utterly atrocious error had its origin - their not knowing the force of the pronoun. This cannot refer to anything except those things of which mention has been made. But in handing down this sacrament no mention of his body had as yet been made: therefore what they assert is quite false. But just as flour, and water, and salt, when these three things have been mixed together and cooked, are not flour and water and salt as they had been before; on the contrary, it is really pure and simple bread, and is so called; just so, the bread which Jesus Christ took in his hands after supper, once he had broken it, is understood and believed to be Christ’s body, not bread; and this is what Christ our Saviour and Redeemer gave to his disciples at the supper, saying: “Take, and eat; this is my body.” The same reasoning applies also to the cup, after he had given thanks and given it to his disciples and said to them: “Drink ye all of this; this is my blood of the new testament, which will be shed for many in remission of sins.” And he added: “As often as ye do this, do it in remembrance of me.”
These words which were uttered by Christ at the supper in addition to that sacrament should especially be noted, being as it were a final testament. But when he said “As often as ye do this, do it in remembrance of me,” it is signified in these words that Christ did not wish that very great and most holy sacrament to end there. On the contrary, he enjoined his apostles, as his heirs, and their successors, to keep this sacrament for ever and ever after his passion and resurrection and ascension, in memory of his passion and in expectation of eternal salvation.
When Lord Jesus had gathered together his disciples, to give them his flesh in the form of bread and his blood in the form of wine, he made them a promise, as is contained in the Gospel of St. John. He says: “The bread which I shall give you is my flesh for the life of the world.” But the Jews, when they heard this, began to dispute among themselves, saying: “How can he give us his flesh to eat?” Because of disputation of this sort, and because he recognized that they did not have an understanding spirit, he said to them with absolute assurance: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I shall revive him on the last day.”
From these words it should be noted that no one can have eternal life unless he has eaten his flesh and drunk his blood, in accordance with that which he himself said. But Christ himself did not want to deceive his own disciples, nor to have his own promise become empty. But he gave his disciples his own flesh and his own blood in the form of bread and wine at the last supper so that they might eat it without recoiling in horror. But whatever words Christ spoke are very sure and very true and do not deceive in any way. For many are the true words he spoke, which, if someone else had said them, would seem to be untrue and would not be believed.
For he said: “I am the door; by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved (John 10). I am the good shepherd (John 6). I am the living bread; I am the vine, and ye are the branches (John 15). I am the way, the truth and the life (John 14).” For so great is the strength and power of God that all things he has said (have been done), for he never deceives or disregards anyone, as the Psalmist said: “He said, and they were done; he commanded, and they were created (Psalm 148).”
And it should be observed that the evangelist did not put this down as a thing of the past, but as something ongoing; although he was writing after the passion, understanding and believing that, just as Christ said, he was, and is, and shall be evermore (Rev. 1); thus his own words, which Christ uttered at the supper in the presence of his disciples, and taught them, hold within them the same force that they had among the apostles in the sacrament of the bread and wine, that is, of the body and blood of the Lord; and they will hold the same strength and power and validity among the servants of God until the end of time.
Our Lord Jesus Christ heard of the dispute that was taking place among the Jews concerning his flesh, and he said to them: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you will not have life and resurrection for eternity.” He said this so that the promise associated with the eating of his sacrament might not seem to them hard to understand and of no use, but sure and useful - capable of being taken at the present time in the form of the bread and wine which he gave them at the supper, to be shared out as his own body. Having stated this, he added: “ For my flesh is food indeed: and my blood is drink indeed (John 6).”
But there are some heretics who believe that by hearing the word of God, they are eating the flesh of the Son of man and drinking his blood, as if Christ, who knows all things, did not know how to say: “My Word is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed,” putting one word in place of another.
But when he said: “My flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed”, he did not say “My flesh is heard, or understood, indeed”; but, spiritual grace being in operation, “My flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.”
And Christ was speaking literally (3) when he said this, and it is most certain, concerning the sacrament of the bread and the wine, that he bestowed it upon them at the supper; and this sacrament is daily consecrated by ordained ministers of God upon the altar of the Church of God in commemoration of his words. But, because he wanted then and there to demonstrate the use of this sacrament to people who would thoroughly understand, he added: “He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him (John 6).” And: “He that eateth me, even he shall live because of me. (ibid)”
And this is the power of this sacrament, and its use to him who well understands it: that its consequence is that the faithful person certainly dwells in God, and God in him. And such a thing bears much fruit, as John testifies: “For, without me,” as the [Personification of] Truth himself says, “ye can do nothing.”
Indeed, St. Paul heard, understood and believed in the power and usefulness of this great and very sure sacrament, and wishing to instruct his disciples by words and deeds while leaving out nothing useful towards their salvation, so that it might be held in their memories by those who came after
(3) Literally, because in truth, in reality and in substance we eat the body of Christ and drink his blood.
him for ever, he wrote in his Epistle addressed to the Corinthians, saying: “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you; that our Lord Jesus Christ, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and giving thanks brake it and said: Take and eat; this is my body, which shall be betrayed for you, this do ye in remembrance of me (ICor. 11).” And this should be noted: that Christ bade his disciples to perform this sacrament in memory of him; and so that they might pass it on to their own disciples just as they had received it from him, so that the memory of him and of his passion might be held among the faithful by means of this sacrament for evermore to the end of time. (ibid.)
Again: “After the same manner also [he took] the cup, after he had supped, saying: This cup is of the new testament in my blood, this do ye, as oft as ye drink, in memory of me, for as often as ye eat this bread, and drink the cup, ye shall proclaim the Lord’s death, till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink the cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord (ibid.).” But if, as the heretics say, the bread and consecrated wine have no worth, why would the Apostle state that one who receives, worthlessly, consecrated bread is guilty of the body and blood of the Lord? For, if anyone eats ordinary bread, he is not said or believed to be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. And on that account the Apostle (warns) that before anyone wishes to take this sacrament of what is clearly bread and wine: “Let him examine himself,” that is, purge himself from his sins; “and so let him eat of that bread and drink of the cup (ibid.).”
Again, the Apostle himself gives the reason why one must take [the bread and wine] when purged of his sins when he says: “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh a judgment upon himself, not discerning the Lord’s body (ibid.).”
Again, in approving and affirming this sacrament to be the Lord’s body, as he had shown the Corinthians in word and deed, the Apostle wrote in his Epistle addressed to them, saying: “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? And the bread which we break, is it not the sharing of the body of Christ? (ICor. 10).” It is not in token of reward for the consecrator, but in token of the power and truth of the holy Spirit: “For we being many are one bread, one body, all of us who partake of the one bread (ibid.).”
In this chapter the apostle Paul makes it clear that he himself performed this sacrament which he had received from the Lord. The other apostles also do the same thing. Again, the apostle Paul says in the same Epistle: “When ye come together into one place, it is not now to eat the Lord’s supper: for each one taketh his own supper beforehand to eat. And: One indeed is hungry, while another is drunken (ICor. 11).” But coming together into one place, eating one’s own individual meals and not sharing them with others, but getting drunk - these actions do not constitute eating the Lord’s supper. In criticizing the Corinthians, the Apostle asks: “Have ye not houses to eat and to drink in?” - meaning everyday meals. “Or despise ye the Church of God, and shame them that have not?” (Ibid.) I praise you in this: that you come together into one place in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; I do not praise you in this: that you eat your own individual meals and despise those that have not and that get drunk, not having anything to eat.
Hence it is clear and manifest that the disciples of the apostles, in imitation of their teachers, carry out the performance of this sacrament from memory throughout the whole world
And we say and believe, and the whole Roman Church since it was first founded by St. Peter and Paul says and believes, that every man who does not have faith in this sacrament nor in the other teachings of the apostles, namely baptism, confession and repentance and the other teachings of the apostles, is hostile to the unity of the holy Church and of the Catholic faith and is set apart from the company of the holy faithful, namely those dead and those still living, and is damned for evermore.
Concerning the sacrament of baptism
Now that we have untangled, albeit unworthily, the matter of the handling of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, celebrated universally in the Catholic Church stretched throughout the whole world, let us start on the subject of baptism; and against the heretics’ errors defiling the sacrament of baptising in water by contradicting the testimonies which the Holy Spirit brought to bear for our guidance let us adduce the authorities in the New Testament.
For some of the heretics say that this sacrament of baptism in water, if it lacks the laying on of their hands upon the recipient, is of no use toward the attainment of everlasting salvation for adults, nor even for little ones. And this error is the greatest of all the errors in which they secretly wallow. We have it in the Gospels that John the Baptist was sent by almighty God to baptize in water, so as to be the precursor and true herald of Christ, as the Baptist himself testifies, saying, (and) John testifies in his Gospel: “A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven (John 3).” And: “He that sent me to baptize in water, the same said unto me: Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit of God descending, and remaining [on him] like a dove, the same is he which baptizeth in the Holy Spirit (John 1).”
Again, at the baptism of Christ, the heavens were opened, the voice of the Father was heard, the Holy Spirit appeared (Matt. 4). Observe a great and God-given sacrament of loyalty. For the whole Trinity was involved in the baptism of Christ, and it is worthy of note. The Father is heard, the Son is baptized, the Holy Spirit appears in the form of a dove. The Son of God having been baptized, the heavens are opened. And it is because the institution and sacrament of baptism is of such great significance that the Lord says to Nicodemus in the Gospel: “Verily, verily I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3).” Again: “Verily, verily I say unto thee, except a man be reborn of water and of the Holy Spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh, is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit, is spirit (ibid.).”
Listen, you heretic: You should have two births, namely that of the flesh and that of the spirit: and as the divine proclamation testifies, he who lacks a spiritual birth cannot see the kingdom of God nor enter into it; but spiritual birth cannot be had unless one has a birth in the flesh. So how is it that you say that birth in the flesh is bad when it is followed by a spiritual birth which allows one to see the kingdom of God and enter into it, since spiritual birth cannot be had without a birth in the flesh? For one who has not yet been born cannot be reborn. So one should first be born, and later reborn.
We have it in the Gospels that John the Baptist, inspired by the Holy Spirit, went off into the wilderness and preached and performed repentance and baptism by water to those who came to him. Hence Christ Jesus, wishing to sanctify and confirm baptism by water, came to him and thought fit to receive baptism by water from him, showing an example to all the faithful that they should receive the sacrament of baptism by water for the salvation of their souls; for by it they are cleansed from all sins both original and committed; and without it, it is the faith of the Church worldwide that everyone scorning this sacrament and declining to receive it in no way deserves eternal life, nor can he attain it, as our Saviour Jesus Christ testifies in the Gospel of St. John, saying: “Except a man be reborn of water and of the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
We have it also in the Gospel that his disciples, on his orders, believed and baptized in [the name of] the Son of God before the passion; for he [John] says: “When therefore Jesus knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus baptized not, but his disciples [did], he left Judaea (John 4)”, etc.
But it should be known that John the Baptist baptized in the name of the Lord, who had sent him. But our Lord Jesus Christ, because he was sent down from heaven by the Father, bringing with him eternal salvation for the human race, taught his disciples the use of the sacrament of baptism, sending them throughout the whole world, and he bade them preach the kingdom of God and to baptize, adding, “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28),” etc. As is found at the end of St. Matthew the evangelist, he appeared to his disciples on the mountain and said to them: “Go ye, teach all nations, baptizing them (ibid.),” etc. And he added: “He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned (Mark 16).” From this authority we can well understand that to no one who disbelieves in the use of the sacrament of baptism is it of any advantage towards salvation, even if he receives it.
The heretics also say that this sacrament can be beneficial to no one unless he seeks it with his own mouth and heart; thence deriving this error, that for little children baptism by water is of no avail.
But we have it in the Gospel of St. Mark that the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to his disciples after his resurrection and said to them: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature: he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved (ibid.).”
In this instance he made no distinction between big ones and little ones, or males and females, since he said, “to every creature.” And it is for this reason that it is the faith of the Catholic Church throughout the whole world, in whatever region the name of Christ is celebrated and believed, that all people, be they little or big, or men or women, if they receive this sacrament of baptism, are saved; and from all their sins, whether original or committed, by combining with the Holy Spirit they are cleansed and purified, unless they fall into the corruption of sin after their bath of baptism [and] before they die.
As for what the heretics say about little ones not being able to be saved in baptism, against this error St. Paul had this to say in an Epistle to the Corinthians: “If any believing brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And if a believing woman hath a husband that believeth not and he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not put away her husband. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the believing wife, and the unbelieving wife by the believing husband. Else were your children unclean: but as it is they are holy (ICor. 7).”
The Apostle says that the children of faithful parents are clean and holy; but much more is it to be believed that little ones baptized in the faith of their fathers, immersion in water having been performed by ministers (of the Church) and by the invocation of the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, are believed to be cleansed and saved.
Hence we have it in Matthew’s Gospel that the daughter of a woman of Canaan was made whole by the faith of the woman (Matt. 15). Again, we have it in the Gospel that some people, bringing to Jesus a man struck with palsy and lying on a bed, could not get near him because of the crowd standing before him in the entrance to the house; so that they might set the palsied one before him, they even lowered him through the roof-tiles in front of him, so that he might heal him; “But when he saw the faith of those (Luke 5)” who brought him, he restored health to the sick man. Again, when a nobleman approached Jesus on behalf of his son, he heard from the Lord: “Go, and as thou believest, so may it befall thee, and thy son is made whole from that hour (John 5 [sic]).” Again, the deceased daughter of a ruler of the Synagogue was restored to life by the Lord at the request of her father (Matt. 9). Again, while the son of a certain widowed woman was being carried out through the gate of the city for burial, the Lord was moved to pity by the weeping and wailing of the mother, brought him back to life and restored him to his mother.
And it is on account of these authorities in the Gospels, and very many other testimonies which are contained in the apostolic Scriptures, that the whole Church throughout the whole world believes and holds that spiritual grace is given to infants and boys by almighty God in baptism in the faith of their fathers through the invocation of the holy Trinity made by ministers of the Church, as Paul testifies, saying: “I have planted, Apollo watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planted any thing; neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase (ICor. 3).” And because the Apostle said, “God giveth the increase,” every single person of the faith should believe that, whoever it is that baptizes after making the invocation in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, God gives the increase, that is, spiritual (grace), to the recipient of this sacrament, whether he be little or big.
Hence Peter said in the Acts of the Apostles: “Let every one of you be baptized in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2).”
Again, you speak heresy when you say that a sinner cannot baptize: how, then, did the apostles baptize? - for they were sinners, as John attests when he says: “If we have said that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (I John 1).”
Again, [when] you say that the Holy Spirit, which you give, is not given to priests through their office, you are lying. And how do you say that you give the Holy Spirit when you yourself contradict the Holy Spirit as much as you can? And when it is in the power of God alone to give the Holy Spirit?
Again, we find in the Acts of the Apostles that “the apostles laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8).” It is not said that they gave it, but that through the laying on of their [the apostles’] hands the people received the Holy Spirit.
Also in the Acts of the Apostles: “And they went down both into the water, Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him; and the Holy Spirit descended upon him (ibid.).”
Again, we find in the Gospels concerning infants and little children that our Lord Jesus Christ approved of the age of little ones, as he says to his disciples when they held back people who were presenting little ones to him: “Suffer little children to come unto me; and forbid them not to come unto me; for of such is the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 19; Mark 10; Luke 18).” Therefore whoever does not believe that the baptism of little children and of infants is efficacious toward salvation for eternal life believes contrary to the Gospel, and is as one who denies little children access to Christ.
Again, we have it in an Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians that in the earliest days of the Church the disciples of the apostles were baptized for the dead, believing that this was conferring upon the latter the salvation of their souls. For the Apostle says: “If the dead rise not from the dead, what shall they do which are baptized for the dead? If the totally dead do not rise, to what end are they still baptized for them? And to what end do we preach every hour?” (ICor. 15)(3*) So if it was the
(3*) On this Apostolic reference and its meaning, see Bellarmine, Book 1 On Purgatory, chapter 6.
belief of the earliest apostolic Church that baptism of the living for the dead conferred eternal salvation upon those dead, though the latter had not heard or received it, and it was for that reason the former were baptized for them, how much more should the faithful believe simply that little ones baptized in the faith of their fathers will proceed to eternal salvation and spiritual grace. And let that suffice on the subject of baptism.
Concerning the sacrament of repentance
We have said concerning the sacrament of baptism that it is the first plank after shipwreck; and for this reason in second place after baptism we must say of repentance that it behoves us to confirm, contrary to the heretical distortion, that it is genuinely a sacrament. The preaching of John begins with repentance. For he says: “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matt. 3).” What the forerunner had said, Christ himself later taught at the beginning of his preaching, saying: “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matt. 4).” And Peter addresses those who had been “pricked in their heart” by his preaching: “Repent ye, he said, and let every one of you be baptized (Acts 2).” To quote Peter again: “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out (Acts 3).”
But let us present examples to illustrate each of the following prerequisites: contrition in the inmost heart, oral confession, and atonement prescribed by an elder [of the Church]. That contrition in the inmost heart is necessary we have on the authority of the Psalmist who says: “A contrite and an humbled heart, O God, thou wilt not despise (Psalm 50).” For contrition is a pricking of the heart, which is born out of remembrance of past wickedness, as [we read] in the Gospel: “And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which had said: Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice: and he went out of doors and wept bitterly (Matt. 26).” Behold how he was pricked in his heart: for remembering past wickedness he had recourse to tears.
Again, oral confession is necessary. This is done in two ways: confession of God and of sins. Confession of God is as stated by the Lord in the Gospel: “Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father (Matt. 10).” Confession of sins is as stated in a Psalm of David: “Confess unto the Lord, for he is good; for his mercy is everlasting (Psalm 105).” He said that God was good and merciful; for, if a person confesses, he is prepared to be merciful. For he foresaw his mercies from afar through the Holy Spirit when he said: “I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever (Psalm 88).” Again: “I will sing of mercy and judgment unto thee, O Lord (Psalm 100).” Again: “Thy mercies are many, O Lord (Psalm 156).” Again, [here is] David: “I said, I will confess to the Lord, against myself, my unrighteousness (Psalm 31).” For confession is a solemn statement of one’s own behaviour together with a self-accusation. Hence this: “He that accuseth himself first is righteous (Prov 18).” And Jacob [says] in the canonical Epistle: “Both of you confess your sins, and pray for each other, that you may be saved (Jac. 5).” And the apostle Paul: “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Rom. 10).” Behold, we have on the authority of Jacob that we are to confess our sins. He did not say “Confess individually to God”, as the heretic says, but “Both of you confess.” And that we should confess to priests is stated by the Lord in the Gospel: “Go, shew thyself unto the priest (Luke 17).” And here is Jacob: “Let anyone among you who is enfeebled bring in elders of the Church, and let them pray over him (Jac 5).”
Moreover, that expiation is necessary is mentioned in the Gospel, where Luke says: “Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance (Luke 3).” Note: Bringing forth worthy fruits, worthy of repentance, is nothing other than making the worthy expiation enjoined by an elder. Expiation is the sentence or judgment handed down by the priest to the penitent for his sin. And this is the judgment of which it was said: “The Lord shall not pass judgment twice against that same [sin] (Nahum 1).” And Paul [says]: “If we should judge ourselves, we shall assuredly not be judged (ICor. 11).” And Peter [says]: “Now is the time that judgment is to begin from the house of God (IPeter 4).”
And this is the power that the Lord gave to mankind, namely the power of binding and releasing. For [the Personification of] Truth itself says: “Whose soever sins ye remit, thy are remitted unto him; and whose soever ye retain, they are retained (John 20).” For just as in the Old Testament lepers were ordered to show themselves to the priests, so that they might determine who were clean and who unclean, so even now by virtue of his office a priest is to know, when he has heard the various details of sins, who should be bound and who released. Again, after Christ has restored Lazarus to life, he says to his disciples: “Loose him (John 11)”; the Lord wanted them to release him whom he had restored to life, and to show that he was released. And in this way God dismisses sins by means of his servant. For since God dismisses sins, let man also dismiss them; (however,) God does it one way and man another. God does so in his own right; for he dismisses sins when he wishes, as his own agent; men do so, not in their own right, but by the grace working in them and through them. And thus it is true that God alone dismisses sins, just as he says in the prophet: “I am he that wipes out the iniquities and the sins of the people (Isa. 42).” Again: “To him who alone doeth great wonders (Psalm 135).” And there is no denial that men also do wonders. But not in their own right, as God does. Again: “None is good, but only God (Luke 18)”, for he is good in his own right; and yet we do not deny that there are good men. And just as men dismiss sins, it is not in their own right, but God dismisses them through their ministries of service.
But you say that anyone can be saved without confession and adduce that authority which says: “In whatever hour the sinner laments [his sins], he shall be saved (Ezech.33).” To which it must be said that when a person wishes to confess but cannot, a truly invisible priest, namely God, absolves him from transgression worthy of eternal punishment because of the contrition in his heart; but when a person does not confess orally when he can do it, he does not absolve him. For it is certain that he who has a contrite heart wants to confess; but he can abandon that good wish. For a person does not, while he is in this life, wish for something which he cannot avoid. And if, once the willingness is lost, he is unwilling to confess, and then dies, there is no doubt that he is damned for that sin which he was unwilling to confess; for no sin goes unpunished; for either a person does the punishing or God does. So it is clear that God alone dismisses sins by restoring life more inwardly through grace; and that a priest dismisses them, not by restoring life inwardly, but by absolving from a future debt of eternal punishment through the expiation that he imposes. In reality, the quotation you cite (“In whatever hour the sinner laments his sins, he shall be saved”) refers to those who, being in instant danger of death, cannot have time for atonement. It is as if it said: The sinner, in whatever hour in this life he truly repents, in the future life he shall not perish. Or, it may be said of everyone: “In whatever hour he laments his sins, he shall be saved”; for it is then that the salvation of the sinner begins.
But now that we have talked about what must be considered in relation to repentance, we must explain what repentance is. For repentance is to lament evil deeds which one has committed and not to commit the deeds that are to be lamented. For he who deplores deeds he has done but does other such deeds either still does not know how to repent or is insincere. Again, one who keeps on doing what he has repented is being contemptuous, not repentant; and he is seen as not humbly seeking God, but as proudly mocking him. Isaiah says to sinners: “Wash you, make you clean (Isa. 1).” He washes and is clean who laments past deeds and is not guilty of again doing the deeds lamented. And this is true repentance which our Lord spoke of in the Gospel: “Greater is the joy in heaven for the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth than over ninety and nine just persons which need no repentance (Luke 15).” Not that anyone is just in God’s eyes who may need no repentance, but “who need no repentance”, that is, who think they don’t need it. And this is what the heretics still maintain, with the arrogance of the Pharisees. For these are they of whom Solomon said: “They rejoice when they have done evil, and delight in the wickedest things (Prov. 2).” Let what we have said concerning repentance suffice for the nonce.
On the laying on of hands
After dealing with repentance we come to the laying on of hands, which they call “consolation” - a practice which the heretics take upon themselves to use in place of the laying on of hands, contrary to the precepts of the Lord and the practices established by the apostles. First let us say how and by what persons it is performed and what they feel about it. The method of “consolation” is as follows: The man who is called the chief, or bishop, or deacon is nominated director of other heretics who are subject to him. And when they want to carry out a “consolation” on any man or woman, the man who is called “senior” and is ordained washes his hands, and similarly all those who wish to be present wash their hands. Then the “senior”, holding the book of the Gospels in his hands, admonishes the person or persons who are coming together to receive the “consolation” that they should place all their faith in this “consolation”, and their hope for the salvation of their souls in God and this “consolation”. And so placing the book upon their heads they say the Lord’s Prayer seven times; and then he says the Gospel of St John, starting at “In the beginning” and up to that point in the Gospel where it says, “Grace and truth came to pass through Jesus Christ” (John 1), while everyone listens. And so ends this “consolation”.
Let us see by what persons it is performed. Actually it is by those who are called among them “ordained”. If these are not available, their place is taken by those who are called “consolers”; and if men are not present, women only do it for the weak.
Let us discuss how they feel about it. For in that [ceremony] virtually all have their faith and hope of salvation; and they believe that the remission of all their sins and the cleansing of their transgressions result for them by it, without any expiation, if they meet death. And they believe that by it pardon is granted to them not only for venial sins that they have committed but also for criminal ones perpetrated. They also say that no one, big or small, man or woman, can proceed to the heavenly kingdom and the company of angels by any work, good deed or religious contemplation, or even martyrdom, even if he does the impossible and abstains from all sins and transgressions, unless he has received that “consolation” from the “consolers” themselves.
They also believe that if he who performs this “consolation” has fallen into any of the sins that they call “criminal” (such as eating flesh, or egg or cheese, or killing a bird or any animal, except unintentionally), or even those sins which the Roman Church labels “criminal” (such as murder, adultery, fornication, uncleanness, theft, false witness, perjury, rape), no benefit results for those receiving “consolation” from that person. For they say that such a one who has fallen thus does not have the Holy Spirit, and they believe that what he does not have he cannot give to someone else. Indeed, they believe that the same person ought to receive that “consolation” again from another, if he desires to be saved; and that this ought to be done, as has been said, in absolutely every case, be they men or women, when they have fallen.
But the Roman apostolic Church judges, on the basis of many authorities, that all these aforesaid practices of the heretics are mortal errors; for they are not done by those by whom they ought to be done, it [sic] was not instituted either by Jesus Christ or by the apostles, nor was it done in their time. We have it in the Gospels that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, when boys and even sick people were brought to him, laid hands upon them; and he blessed them, and they were cured. And we do not find that this function was granted to any of the disciples before the passion [nor] until he rose from the dead. But after his resurrection he gave the powers of baptism and of laying on hands in the name of the Lord to the apostles only, and passed it on that those who had been ordained by them had the same powers of baptizing and laying on hands - that is, those whom God had chosen and those whom the apostles themselves deemed worthy. Hence we have it in the Acts of the Apostles that when the sorcerer Simon offered St. Peter money and asked that the power of giving the Holy Spirit be given to him, so that anyone on whom he laid hands might receive the Holy Spirit, Peter answered: “Thou hast neither lot nor part in this matter under discussion, because thou hast thought that the gift of God is purchased with money. But ask God, and repent of this great wickedness of yours which has climbed into thy heart (Acts 8).” And thus he condemned him as unworthy of this godly duty by rejecting him.
We have it also in the same book that the apostles ordained elders and deacons for the performance of the same divine sacraments throughout all the cities in which the name of our Lord Jesus Christ was noised abroad and the Christian faithful remained steadfast. For example: “When they had ordained for them elders in every Church (Acts 14).” Again, in the same book, when Paul wanted to go from Asia to Jerusalem, visiting on the way Churches in which he had ordained elders and bishops, he came to Miletus. Thence he sent to Ephesus and summoned the older people of the Church and said to them: “Take heed unto yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit has made you bishops, to manage the Church of God, which he hath acquired with his own blood (Acts 20).” And after our Lord Jesus Christ had chosen the apostles, and after his ascension the apostles had appointed bishops and elders and even deacons in every Church to perform all the divine rites, and were passing on the same power and tradition to those they had ordained; anyone who acts and believes contrary to this apostolic tradition errs greatly and is working towards his own death. Hence the apostle Jacob says: “He who has kept the law as a whole, but offends against one of its provisions, is guilty of breaching all its provisions (Jac. 2).” Again, Paul says: “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump (ICor. 5).” And let these remarks suffice against the characters of the heretics.
Now let us turn to the manner of their “consolation”. The heretics give this “consolation” to big and small, men and women, though it was never performed by the apostles nor among their disciples, nor is it recorded as having been assigned to them. Again, the apostles laid hands only upon those whom they wished to ordain as preachers, elders or deacons over the people: we find no mention of others in holy Scripture, except that they preached, and baptized them with invocation of the Holy Spirit, as our Lord Jesus Christ had taught and enjoined them; as it is written: “Go ye, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28).” But he gave them a form and a method [for them to follow] which have been sedulously preserved in the Church right down to the present day. Hence it is very sedulously to be wondered at, from what such a custom as the heretics’ “consolation” had its beginning or took its origin; for it seems to have its beginning neither from the apostles nor from the apostolic men who succeeded the apostles; for it differs greatly from what all of these said and did and wrote. And for this reason one must believe how it is with those about whom Paul wrote in an Epistle to Timothy: “The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts they shall heap to themselves teachers with wanton ears, and indeed they shall turn away from the truth (IITim. 4).”
Again, these people are not willing to believe or to obey the words of the prophets, the teachings handed down by the apostles, the customs of the apostolic men, or even the writings of the holy Fathers. The heretics themselves judge to be damned all people, whatever their mode of life, who have not received that “consolation” from them. And in this they contradict the word of our Lord Jesus Christ, who said to his disciples: “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged; condemn not, etc. (Luke 6).” And for this reason it may be they who are referred to in what he added: “With the same judgment whereby ye judge shall ye be judged; and with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again (ibid.).” And because they judge and condemn all others who are not of their persuasion, their own condemnation and judgment, God willing, shall be upon their own heads. Again, they do not pay attention to, or obey, the advice of the apostle St. Paul, who says: “Judge not before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts (ICor. 4).” And in another place: “The Lord knoweth them that are his (IITim. 2).”
On the eating of flesh and certain other things
It is the faith of all the heretics that no one can be saved if, after receiving his “consolation”, he eats flesh or cheese or eggs, unless he receives penance from them and afterwards also is “consoled” by them again. But since this great error must be demolished, let us try to meet it with the testimonies of the Evangelists, and also of the apostles, and of the Epistles and Acts.
For we have it in the Gospel that the Lord said to his disciples: “Into whatsoever house you enter, remain [there] eating and drinking such things as are put before you (Luke 10).” He made no exception of foods for them, such as flesh or other edibles, but spoke to cover all [foods]: Eat whatever things are put before you. Again, in the Gospel according to Matthew we find that he said: “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but the things which cometh out of the mouth, these are the things that defile a man. For out of the heart proceed murders, adulteries, thefts, false witness, etc. (Matt. 15).” Again, we have it in the Gospels that Jesus Christ our Lord at the Supper with his disciples ate the flesh of the paschal lamb, as Luke wrote clearly in his Gospel: “And there came the day of unleavened bread, on which it was necessary that the Paschal lamb be killed: And he sent Peter and John, saying: Go and prepare us the Paschal lamb, that we may eat. But they said: Where wilt thou that we prepare thee the Paschal lamb? etc. The Master saith unto thee: Where is the lodging, where I may eat the Paschal lamb with my disciples? etc. And they went, and found as he had said unto them, and they made ready the Paschal lamb. And when the hour was come, he lay down at table, and the twelve with him; and he said unto them: With desire I have desired to eat this Paschal lamb with you before I suffer. For I say unto you that I will not eat that [sic] of this until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God (Luke 22).” And the other evangelists wrote words similar to these (Matt. 26; Mark 14). Behold how clearly the evangelists wrote that Christ ate the Paschal lamb; and that Paschal lamb which had to be killed was the Paschal lamb about which the Lord had taught Moses (Exod. 12). And Christ ate the Paschal lamb; and that lamb was flesh: therefore Christ ate flesh. Why, then, heretic, do you prohibit the eating of flesh?
Again, Paul says in an Epistle to the Corinthians: “Everything that is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience’ sake. If any of them that believe not call you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go, that which is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience’ sake. But if any man say: This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not, for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience’ sake; but conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other (ICor. 10).”
Again, Paul [says] to Timothy: “Every creature of God is good; and nothing is to be refused that is received with thanksgiving. For it is sanctified through the word of God and prayer (ITim. 4).” And we know and believe that Christ, who is the word and wisdom of God, having assumed flesh from the womb of the Virgin, came into the world for no other purpose except the salvation of souls. He would not have done these things written of above, nor ordered them to be done, if he were the judgment and damnation of the souls of the faithful. Moreover, neither would the apostles and those who, imbued with spiritual wisdom, have been made imitators of Christ do them, nor would they have written them: neither would they perform the eating of flesh or other foods if they knew such action represented a damnable sin for those performing it. Again, Paul says to the Romans: “Him that is weak in the faith, receive ye, but not in doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he eateth all things. But he who is weak may eat vegetables. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him that eateth not, judge him that eateth. For God hath received him. Who art thou, that judgest the servant of others? To his own master he standeth or falleth. But he shall stand: for God is able to make him stand”, etc., to the end of the chapter. (Rom. 14). The person whom the Apostle calls weak in the faith is the one who judges and condemns one who eats flesh and drinks wine. And it is the worst error to judge a servant of God, since God says: “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged; condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned (Luke 6).”
But the statement: “It is good not to eat flesh and not to drink wine (Rom 14)” is not an injunction, but advice given to those who are willing to do harm to their own bodies, lest they fall into the temptations of devils if they don’t believe that people are damned by the eating of flesh. And again, the Apostle says to the Colossians: “Let no man judge you in food, or in drink, etc. (Col. 2).” And again, the Apostle says to Titus: “Unto the pure all things are pure; but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure (Tit. 1).” Again: “Even their mind and conscience are defiled (ibid.).” “Hearken unto me, all of you, and understand: There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile a man (Mark 7).”
On the resurrection of the dead
Now that we have talked about the eating of foods, let us speak on the resurrection of the dead. For the heretics, repeating the error of the Sadducees, reject the resurrection of the bodies of the dead, (or) of people.
But let them listen to Christ, who has this to say: “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they shall neither marry nor be given in marriage; but shall be as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead ye have not read that which was spoken by God, saying unto you: I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. He is not the God of the dead, but of the living (Matt. 22).” Again, in the same Gospel Matthew says: “And the graves were opened, and many bodies of the saints, which had slept, arose. And coming out of the graves after his resurrection, they went into the holy city, and appeared unto many (Matt. 27).” Hear, you heretic: the bodies arose.
Again: The Lord [says] in the Gospel according to John: “Marvel not at this, for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and shall come forth, they that have done good into the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, into the resurrection of judgment (John 5).” Again, in the same Gospel [sic]: “And when the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory, and before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate them one from another as a shepherd divideth the sheep from the goats”, etc. (Matt. 25)
Not only is resurrection of the dead confirmed by testimonies in the Gospels, but Paul also, in discussing the question of resurrection in his epistles, had much to say on the subject to the Corinthians: “Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, neither is Christ risen. And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching foolish, and your faith is also foolish (ICor. 15).”
But here the heretics object: “For flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God (ibid.).” But in saying this the Apostle was not referring to the substance of flesh and blood, but to the works of flesh and blood: as the Apostle explains in the words that follow, saying: “Neither shall corruption inherit incorruption (ibid.).”
The Apostle, seeing that the Corinthians had been led astray in this error, and wishing to put them on sure ground concerning resurrection, wrote to them: “It is sown in corruption, it rises in incorruption; it is sown in dishonour, it rises in glory; it is sown in weakness, it rises in power; it is sown a natural body, it rises a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. (ibid.).” Again, Paul writes to the Thessalonians: “But I would not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as the others, which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died, and rose again, even so them also which had slept will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that, in the coming of the Lord, we which are alive, and are left, shall not precede them which have been asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with command, and with the voice of an angel, and with the trump of God; and the dead which are in Christ shall rise first”, etc. (IThess. 4). Again, here is Paul to the Philippians: “And our conversation is in heaven; from whence we look for our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall re-shape our lowly body that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working of his power (Phil. 1 [sic]).” Again, Matthew says in his Gospel: “And I say unto you, that many shall come from the East and West and shall lie down at table with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping, and gnashing of teeth (Matt 8).” If “weeping” of the eyes, which postulates the flesh, and “gnashing of teeth”, which points to bones, will be there, then resurrection of the same limbs that died is actual fact.
Concerning the invocation of the saints and prayers for the deceased
Some heretics assert that the saints and their prayers for those still alive in the world serve no purpose for those striving for Christ, and that the deceased receive no comfort from indulgences and prayers of the living. Against this warped opinion let us defend the faith of ourselves and of all Catholic scholars by means of the established precepts of the Church of God.
Sometimes the living pray for the deceased, and the dead for the living, as we find in the Gospel according to Luke. For a rich man spoke thus to Abraham: “I pray thee, Father, that thou wouldest send him into my father’s house, that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torments (Luke 16).” This rich man was buried in hell, and yet he was praying for the living. What, then, is to be said about the saints, who had wretched ends, and desired not their own salvation but that of others, and are exalted for the salvation of the chosen ones of the future? Now, John says in Revelations: “And another angel came, and stood before the altar, having a golden censer in his hand; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar, which is before the throne. And the smoke of the incense which came with the prayers of the saints ascended up before God from the angel’s hand.” You hear that the saints pray, and if they pray, they pray either for themselves or for others. They do not pray for themselves, because they have no necessity: they don’t need an increase of any power. So they pray for others. And if it is for others, then it is either for the damned or for those worthy of salvation. But it is not for the damned, for John has this to say in Revelations: “I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held, and they were shouting with a loud voice, saying: How long, Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” (Rev. 6) And in Genesis the Lord says to Cain: “The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the earth (Gen 4).” And on the subject of Abel, Paul says: “And by it he being dead yet speaketh (Heb. 11).” So it is obvious that they are not pleading for the damned, upon whom they demand vengeance. So they are praying for those worthy of salvation, living or deceased: and if the deceased pray for the living, it is obvious that the living pray much more for the dead.
But the deceased fall into three categories. There are some who are exceedingly good, and these are joined with God among the celestials at their very demise, and attain everlasting joy without necessity of punishment, as Peter, John and others bear witness. And these cannot be helped by prayers, for they need no help. To these the Lord said: “Rejoice because your names are written in heaven (Luke 10)”; and there is the thief, to whom the Lord said: “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise (Luke 23).” Then there are some who are exceedingly bad, who go on sinning until their death, or live among criminals, and are not converted through repentance. And these, when they suffer their first death, also suffer a second, about which John in Revelations has this to say: “He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death (Rev. 2)”, that is, by everlasting death. And these cannot be set free by the intervention of the saints, nor by any indulgence, for in hell there is no redemption, and God himself does not deign to be moved on behalf of such people. Then there are some who are neither exceedingly good nor exceedingly bad, who after they have committed sins have been driven by repentance and confessed them; but they go the way of all flesh without having done penance. And these are not damned, nor are they immediately saved, but they are punished by having to wait to receive salvation. And these are helped by prayers and indulgences: God does not spurn prayers on their behalf, for they have not been sinners right up to their death. Hence John says in his first Epistle: “These things I write unto you, that ye may know that ye have eternal life. Because ye believe in the name of the Son of God. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask anything in accordance with his will, he heareth us. And we know that he heareth us whatsoever we seek. We know that we have the petitions that we desire of him. If any man knoweth his brother sinneth a sin which is not unto death, let him ask; and he shall give him life for him that sinneth not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that anyone shall pray for that (IJohn 5).” Again, there are sinners unto death about whom Judas says in the Canonical Epistle (verse 3): “For them a tempest of darkness is held in store for evermore.”
We have said for whom one should pray, and have proved our point on the authority of John. Now, that prayer will have been of benefit to the deceased (is made clear) in the Acts of the apostles: “But Peter put them all outside and kneeled down and prayed: and turning him to the body said: Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. And he gave her his hand and lifted her up. And when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive (Acts 9).” Again, Martha says to Jesus: “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died (John 11).” Again, in the Book of the Maccabees: “But the mighty Judas took up a collection and sent twelve thousand drachmas of silver to Jerusalem, as a sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and honorably about the resurrection. For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would seem superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead; and [he did it] because he considered that these who had accepted their sleep with godliness had a splendid reward laid up for them. So it is a holy and healthy thought to pray for the deceased, that they may be freed from sin (IIMacc 12).” And since it was the custom among people of old, and was seen to be right, to pray for the dead, because they were not able to be saved at once, but went down to hell to wait, what shall we say about those who can be saved at once?
Now, there are some who say that no one can be saved who only repents at the moment of death, and that one should not pray for such a person. But let us hear what the Lord says to the thief, who repents in the end but who does not have it in his power to do penance: “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise (Luke 23).” Again: “In whatever hour a sinner laments [his sins], he shall be saved (Ezek. 33).” But you say that you can cause a sinner to be saved without repentance and penance. It is observed that in this you are trying to usurp God’s power, since the Lord said in the prophet: “I am he that blotteth out the transgressions and sins of the people (Isa. 43).” But God does not blot out the sin of this sinner whom you claim to save, since he is not repentant. Take care, then, lest you presume to say something equally detestable about what remains.
On swearing oaths
Let us deal with the swearing of oaths, and reveal from the original source, from the treasure house of the Scriptures, what oath is legitimate and what is illegitimate. For Moses says in Genesis: “By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord to Abraham, saying: Because thou hast done this thing”, etc. (Gen. 22). Again, Moses says to the people of Israel: “Fear the Lord thy God; and thou shalt swear by his name (Deut. 6).” Behold, you heretic! Hear the prophet Moses confirming what God attests in the Gospel when he says: “Swear not, neither by heaven nor by the earth (Matt. 5).” The Lord, who swore by his own self to Noah and to Abraham, was prohibiting swearing by things of his natural creation. Hence Moses says: “By the name of thy God shalt thou swear (Deut. 10).” Again: “Thou shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths (Matt. 5).” And the Lord says: “Thou shalt not swear by my name falsely (Levit. 19).” And Moses agrees with this statement, saying: “Thou shalt not swear falsely by the name of the living God.” Again, Abraham says to his servant: “Swear unto me by the God of heaven.” Behold, Abraham, to whom the Lord had sworn by his own self, wished to be sworn to by the Creator, and not by a thing created; he knew that an oath should be sworn by [the Creator] himself. Concerning this swearing of oaths Zacharias says: “The oath which he sware to our father Abraham he shall grant unto us (Luke 1).” And Habakkuk says: “In taking up, thou shalt take up thy bow: the oaths to the tribes, which thou didst speak (Habak. 3).” And David says in a Psalm: “Once have I sworn by my holiness if I will lie [sic] unto David, his seed shall endure for ever (Psalm 88).” Here is David again: “He that sweareth an oath to his neighbour and doth not deceive,” etc. (Psalm 54) Again David: “The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent (Psalm 109).” Not only did he swear, but he did not repent. In this it is demonstrated that that oath is not evil. For an action is certified sure when it is confirmed by the doer.
Again, in the book of Ecclesiasticus: “Therefore the Lord by swearing an oath made him grow among his people (Eccl. 44).” Again, it is made clear to the Corinthians: “And I call upon God as a witness upon my soul (IITim. 1).” Again: “I bear witness before God (IITim. 4).” And here is Paul: “Be ye not slothful, but imitators of them who by faith and patience inherited the promises. For when God promised to Abraham, because he had no one greater by whom to swear, he sware by himself, saying: Only by blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew by his promises the immutability of his counsel, included in it an oath; that by these two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have a very strong consolation who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope (Heb. 6).” Again, Peter says concerning David in the Acts of the apostles: “Therefore, since he was a prophet and knew because God had sworn with an oath to him, foreseeing concerning the fruit of his loins that he would sit upon his throne, that he spake of the resurrection of Christ (Acts 2).”
But you, heretic, throw up as an objection what the Lord says in the Gospel: “Swear not at all; neither by heaven, nor by the earth (Matt. 5).” Here he is forbidding swearing by things created, because one should not adduce a created thing, but the Creator, as confirmation of an oath. But if it is a sin to swear by the Creator, and God has so sworn, then he has sinned.
You throw up another objection: “Let your conversation be ‘Is, is’, ‘Is not, is not’ (Matt. 5).”See who is meant by this verb “I am, you are”. For it shows the divine being, as the Lord said to Moses: “If they ask my name, thou shalt say to them: He who is, hath sent me to you (ibid.).” Again, we find in Revelations: “I am alpha and omega (Rev. 1).” Behold, this verb “is” shows the divine being, which exclusively is; and that whereby anything is, it holds to be its own. And the person who says “is” brings God into his testimony. And if the person who is speaking is false in pronouncing “is”, he is taking the name of the Lord God in vain; for the Lord forbids it, saying: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain (Exod. 20).” But, since the Lord said: “Let your conversation be ‘Is, is’, ‘is not, is not,” his teaching is that those whose life is in harmony should see to it that their words are also in harmony.
Again you cast up the objection: “But whatsoever is more, cometh of evil (Matt. 5).” Note that what was said was, “cometh of evil”; he did not say “is evil”, but “cometh from evil”, that is, from disbelief. But listen, you heretic; you ought to love your neighbour as yourself, as the Lord says: “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Moreover, John says: “He that loveth not his brother, whom he sees, how can he love God, whom he seeth not? (IJohn 4).” But you say that your brothers are only those who agree with your heretical perverseness; which is by no means the case. For every human being is your brother, and your neighbour. If your neighbour does not share your beliefs, you should do all you can to recall him to belief by bringing the faith to bear. If you do not do this, you do not want him to be saved, nor are you fulfilling the divine commandment.
John has more to say on the swearing of oaths in Revelations: “And the angel, which held his right foot upon the sea and his left foot on the earth, lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by Him that Liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven and all things that therein are, and the earth and the things that therein are, and the sea and the things which are therein (Rev. 10).” Behold! You hear a sufficient witness in the angel, who swore and bore witness that God created all things; and do you contradict this statement, you heretic? Do you believe that the angel sinned? Nonsense! For the angels of God cannot sin, because they are established by, and bound by, the highest good. Let the above be enough for you, heretic, on the subject of the swearing of oaths; for it would take an age to spell out all the examples that come to mind.
Now that chapters have been set out to deal with the evidence of the above quotations, that evidence should be sufficient. Let us now deal with the question of killing. And in whatever manner God ...not to kill .... (The remainder of the parchment manuscript has been lost, unless perhaps the death of the author himself cut short his plans for the work begun and to some extent completed.)