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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV:
Writings in Connection with the Manichæan Controversy.: Chapter 18

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 18.—Only in the Catholic Church is Perfect Truth Established on the Harmony of Both Testaments.

33.  I could, according to the little ability I have, take up the points separately, and could expound and prove the truths I have learned, which are generally more excellent and lofty than words can express; but this p. 51 cannot be done while you bark at it.  For not in vain is it said, "Give not that which is holy to dogs." 90   Do not be angry.  I too barked and was a dog; and then, as was right, instead of the food of teaching, I got the rod of correction.  But were there in you that love of which we are speaking, or should it ever be in you as much as the greatness of the truth to be known requires, may God vouchsafe to show you that neither is there among the Manichæans the Christian faith which leads to the summit of wisdom and truth, the attainment of which is the true happy life, nor is it anywhere but in the Catholic teaching.  Is not this what the Apostle Paul appears to desire when he says, "For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant unto you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man:  that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the height, and length, and breadth, and depth, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye may be filled with all the fullness of God?" 91   Could anything be more plainly expressed?

34.  Wake up a little, I beseech you, and see the harmony of both Testaments, making it quite plain and certain what should be the manner of life in our conduct, and to what all things should be referred.  To the love of God we are incited by the gospel, when it is said, "Ask, seek, knock;" 92 by Paul, when he says, "That ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend;" 93 by the prophet also, when he says that wisdom can easily be known by those who love it, seek for it, desire it, watch for it, think about it, care for it.  The salvation of the mind 94 and the way of happiness is pointed out by the concord of both Scriptures; and yet you choose rather to bark at these things than to obey them.  I will tell you in one word what I think.  Do you listen to the learned men of the Catholic Church with as peaceable a disposition, and with the same zeal, that I had when for nine years I attended on you: 95   there will be no need of so long a time as that during which you made a fool of me.  In a much, a very much, shorter time you will see the difference between truth and vanity.


Footnotes

51:90

Matt. vii. 6.

51:91

Eph. iii. 14-19.

51:92

Matt. vii. 7.

51:93

Eph. iii. 7.

51:94

[Animi not mentis.—A.H.N.]

51:95

From his 19th to his 28th year.


Next: Chapter 19

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