Chapter XLI.—The Woe Pronounced on the Traitor a Judicial Act, Which Disproves Christ to Be Such as Marcion Would Have Him to Be. Christs Conduct Before the Council Explained. Christ Even Then Directs the Minds of His Judges to the Prophetic Evidences of His Own Mission. The Moral Responsibility of These Men Asserted.
“Woe,” says He, “to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed!” 5094 Now it is certain that in this woe must be understood the imprecation and threat of an angry and incensed Master, unless Judas was to escape with impunity after so vast a sin. If he were meant to escape with impunity, the “woe” was an idle word; if not, he was of course to be punished by Him against whom he had committed the sin of treachery. Now, if He knowingly permitted the man, whom He 5095 deliberately elected to be one of His companions, to plunge into so great a crime, you must no longer use an argument against the Creator in Adams case, which may now recoil on your own God: 5096 either that he was ignorant, and had no foresight to hinder the future sinner; 5097 or that he was unable to hinder him, even if he was ignorant; 5098 or else that he was unwilling, even if he had the foreknowledge and the ability; and so deserved the stigma of maliciousness, in having permitted the man of his own choice to perish in his sin. I advise you therefore (willingly) to acknowledge the Creator in that god of yours, rather than against your will to be assimilating your excellent god to Him. For in the case of Peter, 5099 too, he gives you proof that he is a jealous God, when he destined the apostle, after his presumptuous protestations of zeal, to a flat denial of him, rather than prevent his fall. 5100 The Christ of the prophets was destined, moreover, to be betrayed with a kiss, 5101 for He was the Son indeed of Him who was “honoured with the lips” by the people. 5102 When led before the council, He is asked whether He is the Christ. 5103 Of what Christ could the Jews have inquired 5104 but their own? Why, therefore, did He not, even at that moment, declare to them the rival (Christ)? You reply, In order that He might be able to suffer. In other words, that this most excellent god might plunge men into crime, whom he was still keeping in ignorance. But even if he had told them, he would yet have to suffer. For he said, “If I tell you, ye will not believe.” 5105 And refusing to believe, they would have continued to insist on his death. And would he not even more probably still have had to suffer, if had announced himself as sent by the rival god, and as being, therefore, the enemy of the Creator? It was not, then, in order that He might suffer, that He at that critical moment refrained from proclaiming 5106 Himself the other Christ, but because they wanted to extort a confession from His mouth, which they did not mean to believe even if He had given it to them, whereas it was their bounden duty to have acknowledged Him in consequence of His works, which were fulfilling their Scriptures. It was thus plainly His course to keep Himself at that moment unrevealed, 5107 because a spontaneous recognition was due to Him. But yet for all this, He with a solemn gesture 5108 says, “Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God.” 5109 For it was on the authority of the prophecy of Daniel that He intimated to them that He was “the Son of man,” 5110 and of Davids Psalm, that He would “sit at the right hand of God.” 5111 Accordingly, after He had said this, and so suggested a comparison of the Scripture, a ray of light did seem to show them whom He would have them understand Him to be; for they say: “Art thou then the Son of God?” 5112 Of what God, but of Him whom alone they knew? Of what God but of Him whom they remembered in the Psalm as having said to p. 420 His Son, “Sit Thou on my right hand?” Then He answered, “Ye say that I am;” 5113 as if He meant: It is ye who say this—not I. But at the same time He allowed Himself to be all that they had said, in this their second question. 5114 By what means, however, are you going to prove to us that they pronounced the sentence “Ergo tu filius Dei es” interrogatively, and not affirmatively? 5115 Just as, (on the one hand,) because He had shown them in an indirect manner, 5116 by passages of Scripture, that they ought to regard Him as the Son of God, they therefore meant their own words, “Thou art then the Son of God,” to be taken in a like (indirect) sense, 5117 as much as to say, “You do not wish to say this of yourself plainly,” 5118 so, (on the other hand,) He likewise answered them, “Ye say that I am,” in a sense equally free from doubt, even affirmatively; 5119 and so completely was His statement to this effect, that they insisted on accepting that sense which His statement indicated. 5120
Ut perseveraverint in eo quod pronuntiatio sapiebat.…See Luke xxii. 71.
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