Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Writings in Connection with the Manichæan Controversy.: Chapter 9
Chapter 9.—Harmony of the Old and New Testament on the Precepts of Charity. 51
14. Come now, let us examine, or rather let us take notice,—for it is obvious and can be seen, at once,—whether the authority of the Old Testament too agrees with those statements taken from the gospel and the apostle. What need to speak of the first statement, when it is clear to all that it is a quotation from the law given by Moses? For it is there written, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." 52 And not to go farther for a passage of the Old Testament to compare with that of the apostle, he has himself added one. For after saying that no tribulation, no distress, no persecution, no pressure of bodily want, no peril, no sword, separates us from the love of Christ, he immediately adds, "As it is written, For Thy sake we are in suffering all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." 53 The Manichæans are in the habit of saying that this is an interpolation,—so unable are they to reply, that they are forced in their extremity to say this. But every one can see that this is all that is left for men to say when it is proved that they are wrong.
15. And yet I ask them if they deny that this is said in the Old Testament, or if they hold that the passage in the Old Testament does not agree with that of the apostle. For the first, the books will prove it; and as for the second, those prevaricators who fly off at a tangent will be brought to agree with me, if they will only reflect a little and consider what is said, or else I will press upon them the opinion of those who judge impartially. For what could agree more harmoniously than these passages? For tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, cause great suffering to man while in this life. So all these words are implied in the single quotation from the law, where it is said, "For Thy sake we are in suffering." 54 The only other thing is the sword, which does not inflict a painful life, but removes whatever life it meets with. Answering to this are the words, "We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." And love could not have been more plainly expressed than by the words, "For Thy sake." Suppose, then, that this testimony is not found in the Apostle Paul, but is quoted by me, must you not prove, you heretic, either that this is not written in the old law, or that it does not harmonize with the apostle? And if you dare not say either of these things (for you are shut up by the reading of the manuscript, which will show that it is written, and by common sense, which sees that nothing could agree better with what is said by the apostle), why do you imagine that there is any force in accusing the Scriptures of being corrupted? And once more, what will you reply to a man who says to you, This is what I understand, this is my view, this is my belief, and I read these books only because I see that everything in them agrees with the Christian faith? Or tell me at once if you will venture deliberately to tell me to the face that we are not to believe that the apostles and martyrs are spoken of as having endured great sufferings for Christs sake, and as having been accounted by their persecutors as sheep for the slaughter? If you cannot say this, why should you bring a charge against the book in which I find what you acknowledge I ought to believe?
[The most satisfactory feature of Augustins apology for the Old Testament Scriptures is his demonstration of the substantial agreement of the Old Testament with undisputed portions of the New Testament.—A.H.N.]45:52
Deut. vi. 5.45:53
Rom. 8:36, Ps. 44:22.45:54
Retract. i. 7, § 2:—"In the book on the morals of the Catholic Church, where I have quoted the words, For Thy sake we are in suffering all day long, we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter, the inaccuracy of my manuscript misled me; for my recollection of the Scriptures was defective from my not being at that time familiar with them. For the reading of the other manuscripts has a different meaning: not, we suffer, but we suffer death, or, in one word, we are killed. That this is the true reading is shown by the Greek text of the Septuagint, from which the Old Testament was translated into Latin. I have indeed made a good many remarks on the words, For thy sake we suffer, and the things said are not wrong in themselves; but, as regards the harmony of the Old and New Testaments, this case certainly does not prove it. The error originated in the way mentioned above, and this harmony is afterwards abundantly proved from other passages."
Next: Chapter 10
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