I. Above all things, O bishop, avoid the sad and dangerous and most atheistical heresies, eschewing them as fire that burns those that come near to it. Avoid also schisms: for it is neither lawful to turn ones mind towards wicked heresies, nor to separate from those of the same sentiment out of ambition. For some who ventured to set up such practices of old did not escape punishment. For Dathan and Abiram, 3157 who set up in opposition to Moses, were swallowed up into the earth. But Corah, and those two hundred and fifty who with him raised a sedition against Aaron, were consumed by fire. Miriam also, who reproached Moses, was cast out of the camp for seven days; for she said that Moses had taken an Ethiopian to wife. 3158 Nay, in the case of Azariah and Uzziah, 3159 the latter of which was king of Judah, but venturing to usurp the priesthood, and desiring to offer incense, which it was not lawful for him to do, was hindered by Azariah the high priest, and the fourscore priests; and when he would not obey he found the leprosy to arise in his forehead, and he hastened to go out, because the Lord had reproved him.
II. Let us therefore, beloved, consider what sort of glory that of the seditious is, and what their condemnation. For if he that rises up against kings is worthy of punishment, even though he be a son or a friend, how much more he that rises up against the priests! For by how much the priesthood is more noble than the royal power, as having its concern about the soul, so much has he a greater punishment who ventures to oppose the priesthood, than he who ventures to oppose the royal power, although neither of them goes unpunished. For neither did Absalom nor Abdadan 3160 escape without punishment; nor Corah and Dathan. 3161 The former rose against David, and strove concerning the kingdom; the latter against Moses, concerning pre-eminence. And they both spake evil; Absalom of his father David, as of an unjust judge, saying to every one: “Thy words are good, but there is no one that will hear thee, and do thee justice. Who will make me a ruler?” 3162 But Abdadan: “I have no part in David, nor any inheritance in the son of Jesse.” 3163 It is plain that he could not endure to be under Davids government, of whom God spake: “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my heart, who will do all my commands.” 3164 But Dathan and Abiram, and the followers of Corah, said to Moses: “Is it a small thing that thou hast brought us out of the land of Egypt, out of a land flowing with milk and honey? And why hast thou put out our eyes? And wilt thou rule over us?” And they gathered together against him a great congregation; and the followers of Corah said: “Has God spoken alone to Moses? Why is it that He has given the high-priesthood to Aaron alone? Is not all the congregation of the Lord holy? And why is Aaron alone possessed of the priesthood?” 3165 And before this, one said: “Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us?” 3166
III. And they raised a sedition against Moses the servant of God, the meekest of all men, 3167 and faithful, and affronted 3168 so great a man with the highest ingratitude; him who was their lawgiver, and guardian, and high priest, and king, the administrator p. 451 of divine things; one that showed as a creator the mighty works of the Creator; the meekest man, freest from arrogance, and full of fortitude, and most benign in his temper; one who had delivered them from many dangers, and freed them from several deaths by his holiness; who had done so many signs and wonders from God before the people, and had performed glorious and wonderful works for their benefit; who had 3169 brought the ten plagues upon the Egyptians; who had divided the Red Sea, and had separated the waters as a wall on this side and on that side, and had led the people through them as through a dry wilderness, 3170 and had drowned Pharaoh and the Egyptians, and all that were in company with them; 3171 and had made the fountain sweet for them with wood, and had brought water out of the stony rock for them when they were thirsty; 3172 and had given them manna out of heaven, and had distributed flesh to them out of the air; 3173 and had afforded them a pillar of fire in the night to enlighten and conduct them, and a pillar of a cloud to shadow them in the day, by reason of the violent heat of the sun; 3174 and had exhibited to them the law of God, engraven from the mouth, and hand, and writing of God, in tables of stone, the perfect number of ten commandments; 3175 “to whom God spake face to face, as if a man spake to his friend;” 3176 of whom He said, “And there arose not a prophet like unto Moses.” 3177 Against him arose the followers of Corah, and the Reubenites, 3178 and threw stones at Moses, who prayed, and said: “Accept not Thou their offering.” 3179 And the glory of God appeared, and sent some down into the earth, and burnt up others with fire; and so, as to those ringleaders of this schismatical deceit which said, “Let us make ourselves a leader,” 3180 the earth opened its mouth, and swallowed them up, and their tents, and what appertained to them, and they went down alive into hell; but he destroyed the followers of Corah with fire.
Ex. vii., etc.451:3171 451:3172 451:3173 451:3174 451:3175
Ex. xxxi., etc.451:3176 451:3177 451:3178 451:3179 451:3180
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