Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. IV:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Life of Antony. (Vita Antoni.): Section 80
80. And these signs are sufficient to prove that the faith of Christ alone is the true religion. But see! you still do not believe and are seeking for arguments. We however make our proof “not in the persuasive words of Greek wisdom 1128 ” as our teacher has it, but we persuade by the faith which manifestly precedes argumentative proof. Behold there are here some vexed with demons;—now there were certain who had come to him very disquieted by demons, and bringing them into the midst he said,—Do you cleanse them either by arguments and by whatever art or magic you choose, calling upon your idols, or if you are unable, put away your strife with us and you shall see the power of the Cross of Christ. And having said this he called upon Christ, and signed the sufferers two or three times with the sign of the Cross. And immediately the men stood up whole, and in their right mind, and forthwith gave thanks unto the Lord. And the philosophers, as they are called, wondered, and were astonished exceedingly at the understanding of the man and at the sign which had been wrought. But Antony said, Why marvel ye at this? We are not the doers of these things, but it is Christ who worketh them by means of those who believe on Him. Believe, therefore, also yourselves, and you shall see that with us there is no trick of words, but faith through love which is wrought in us towards Christ; which if you yourselves should obtain you will no longer seek demonstrative arguments, but will consider faith in Christ sufficient. These are the words of Antony. And they marvelling at this also, saluted him and departed, confessing the benefit they had received from him 1129 .
1 Cor. ii. 4.217:1129
The above argument with the philosophers runs upon the general lines of that of Athanasius c. Gent. The point which we miss here is the Euhemerism upon which Athanasius so strongly insists. This latter view would be naturally less congenial to Antonys mind than the view that the gods were merely demons.
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