Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. II:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
On Christian Doctrine: Chapter 32
Chapter 32.—The Second Rule of Tichonius.
45. The second rule is about the twofold division of the body of the Lord; but this indeed is not a suitable name, for that is really no part of the body of Christ which will not be with Him in eternity. We ought, therefore, to say that the rule is about the true and the mixed body of the Lord, or the true and the counterfeit, or some such name; because, not to speak of eternity, hypocrites cannot even now be said to be in Him, although they seem to be in His Church. And hence this rule might be designated thus: Concerning the mixed Church. Now this rule requires the reader to be on his guard when Scripture, although it has now come to address or speak of a different set of persons, seems to be addressing or speaking of the same persons as before, just as if both sets constituted one body in consequence of their being for the time united in a common participation of the sacraments. An example of this is that passage in the Song of Solomon, “I am black, but comely, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.” 1900 For it is not said, I was black as the tents of Kedar, but am now comely as the curtains of Solomon. The Church declares itself to be at present both; and this because the good fish and the bad are for the time mixed up in the one net. 1901 For the tents of Kedar pertain to Ishmael, who “shall not be heir with the son of the free woman.” 1902 And in the same way, when God says of the good part of the Church, “I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known; I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight: these things will I do unto them, and not forsake them;” 1903 He immediately adds in regard to the other part, the bad that is mixed with the good, “They shall be turned back.” Now these words refer to a set of persons altogether different from the former; but as the two sets are for the present united in one body, He speaks as if there were no change in the subject of the sentence. They will not, however, always be in one body; for one of them is that wicked servant of whom we are told in the gospel, whose lord, when he comes, “shall cut him asunder and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites.” 1904
Song of Sol. 1.5.569:1901
Matt. 13:47, 48.569:1902
Matt. 24:50, 51.
Next: Chapter 33
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